Monday, January 24, 2011

Someone Is Cheering ... For Me?

"...I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other. I know that if we will be faithful, there is a perfectly tailored robe of righteousness ready and waiting for everyone, “robes … made … white in the blood of the Lamb.” May we encourage each other in our effort to win that prize."

I read this, after fighting "Mr. Sucky" the pool cleaning thing, the pool filter that won't turn back on so I can brush the pool, packing up Kayty's "necessities to life" that she has not seen or touched for three years or more (the sweetheart is leaving for college this summer, her room belongs on the next episode of "Hoarders" and I really don't think she knows HOW to get rid of anything, so I am "assisting")doing loads of laundry (how is it that two guys, after wearing one...I repeat one...outfit during a two day camping event come home with more laundry than a platoon of soldiers can wear in a week???), hiking (why do I gripe about going...I always just LOVE everything when I am coming off that mountain!), and trying to figure out what to make for dinner out of this venison that pleases Mr. Low Carb AND Mr. No Fat...

Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Isn't it wonderful to know that we all have Someone cheering for us??? Thank you, dear Elder Jeffery R. Holland, for reminding me of that! (Here is the article)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stuff I've Made

Creating gives me energy. It just inspires me to create, even if the creation does not come out perfectly. I love to bake my bread every week, even though sometimes the tops are darker than I would prefer, or the shape isn't what I want. It gives me a springboard to learn. Next bread baking session, I am going to decrease my length of the first rise...the bread seems to fall after baking, and I researched and found I may be letting it rise too long. Yesterday, I made the effort to make jam without pectin...Learned that stirring and attending go hand in hand. Hence, the blueberry jam burned. I still canned it - 9 cups blueberries and 6 cups sugar were not going down the drain! The next batch of plum jam came out perfect. And the experience was awesome! (All this cooking is occuring because 1. I ordered 40 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast...not the junky water injected kind, but the good be picked up on Saturday, and 2. Our extra fridge/freezer died, unexpectedly, and I have to find room for the above mentioned 40 pounds of chicken!

Anyway, I have been up to a few things. The first had been in my mind, I told my mom, and that "genie of the sewing machine" made it come to life. I use a dish towel on my counter to place my dishes to dry after I hand wash. Sometimes, in fact often, it was very unattractive, dingy... So, I mused to myself, after seeing on another blog, and then sharing with Mom...that it would be neat if I could get my rear in gear, get to the sewing machine, or ball and chain in my world, and get some cloth that would match the kitchen, take a hand towel, and encase that towel in the cloth. I would still have the dish towel to dry dishes on, but it would look nice. There...and the genie went to work. I have three green striped ones...and Thanksgiving ones...and Halloween ones (candy corn fabric - I LOVE it!)...and Christmas ones... This is the newest...Valentines Day...So cute! Thanks Mom for bringing others, and my ideas, to reality.
Then, I saw a countdown on another blog )I can't remember the name, but as soon as I do, there will be a link included!)...So I went to work. I had cookie sheets left from my Halloween Countdown just sitting on my work desk.
I got the heart boxes at the dollar store.
I used paper I had in my collection.
I used magnets that got stuck to the undried ModPodge on the Halloween Countdown board...repairs need to be made next year...
The finished product, though the boxes are empty. I have yet to find something to put inside that doesn't involve candy...Dad is now trying to lose weight, and Son is training...(Such a fun group!)I could put in "acts of kindness/service", but I do that all of the time!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Good Laugh

Got this email yesterday, and just had to share...
The following Parent Preparation lessons were written by Barrett Lemmons

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper (or anything you would like to read - also, talk on the phone to a friend...a whole conversation, with no interruptions)
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive or just try to do anything! I have been blessed to stay at home for 30 years. I remember when all were younger, with four in elementary school, someone, who shall lovingly remain nameless, calling me at around 8:30 am and asking if they woke me...huh? with 6 kids all under the age of 11???)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look? Now, my sweethearts were never this bad as little ones, though there was that one incident with the ocillating fan and the Easter eggs, but that was SO funny! However, try grease stains on the kitchen stools, sweeping up tire shavings from the patio and winding up the "Saws-All" and putting it away in its box, in the tool shed, grit from grit blasting a new truck part magnetically caught in the refrigerator seal...

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning. or...try dressing them neatly, with combed hair, for school pictures...or getting anything not black on a teenager!

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot. Our sweethearts were not allowed to eat in our 15 passenger van we purchased from a company that ran Grand Canyon tours. However, we did allow some treats on long trips. They still remember getting allotted one Starburst or Tootsie Roll Pop and having to return the empty wrapper to waiting Mom's hands before they could get another. And we haven't even touched upon the fighting that ensues over who gets the front seat in said vehicle. Hey, again, we have a 15 passenger van...they didn't even have to TOUCH one another, and they would always be fighting!
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children. We are talking SIX goats...and make sure they ask, over and over, for this or that or the other thing...often at the same time!

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point. (I saw Sesame Street, Electric Company, Thundercats, Rainbow Bright, Barney, Mr. Rogers, Teletubbies, Pokemon, and ALL else in between...I just have to look at the Christmas pics to see which television toy Santa had delivered that year!)

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent! (Yep...and just relax...hopefully, they will be as hopeful as you and have sweet little grandbabies for you to see...and smile...and just love!)

~Barrett Lemmons

The Rest of the Birthday...

When you are my age, you WANT your birthday celebration to be brief, if not non-existent (except when I am with my grandbabies. Then, I want it to never end: not the birthday part, but being with those sweet ones!)However, when you are young...or 18 to be exact...they never end. He spent the day with Jessica,

was visited by Doran and Danyel, with a cute handmade card and gift,
quickly lit candles, blew them out, ate a piece of cake, and then went to dinner with Jessica.

 Also learned that when you do not take in sufficient air, 18 candles are difficult to blow out. No matter...he used his HANDS! He is now an adult and can learn the "joys" of emergency room co-pays if the burns are too bad!

Oops...forgot that he did open a gift from Dad and

The next day, it was fun all day...

Middle school reunion (last minute, Facebook Notice kinda thing) with Jessica (downtown Glendale shops...(cute little antique stores, etc.) if I would have asked him to go there, he would have kicked and screamed!...and to Cabela's (big animals, lots of guns) to Ethan and Cam's in the evening (with 3 pieces of cake in hand for those two, and Morgan) for fun and lots of games. Sunday was church-no drama there...what is it about young men leaders at church. Those boys never get their birthday even remembered once they leave the children's Primary organization??? Monday was additional celebrating: picnic and Lava Monster park tour, getting tossed in our pool, and then luring Jessica do so the same by telling her is was warm (that poor girl...NEVER trust a speaking Rice boy!), pizza oven dinner, movie...

Alas, no pics...18 year old guys don't like pictures any more than 17 yr olds...or 4 yr. olds!! Thanks are in order to all his friends who made this day very special!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sand and Stone

"Write your heartaches and disappointments in the sand. Carve your blessings in stone." I saw this on "Paula's Bread", a blog I read, this morning. She was commenting on her Christmas that didn't come up to expectations. Now, I don't know the blogging lately has consisted of just running through titles and stopping only at those that grabbed my attention...but I DO know that I am guilty of just the opposite. My latest: my "entering the working world" which lasted about 3 days! After three months of study and hard work, I started at what I thought would be doing taxes, but ended up "selling" refund anticipation loans, etc., and making sure I check when people try to cheat (with so many, many cautions, questions, and warnings about my PERSONAL responsibility for those that cheat...i left scared to death every day!) Plus, I really was not being successful in getting my sweet family to take over what I could not do, so my Sunday was filled with working, as was my every moment off. The first day totally off was so full of work at home, that I was DEAD! I guess my studying over the three months did not get them into any habit of taking up the slack. So, I had to resign. I had to give up so much because of the work I was doing all that time: no "Play It Again" marching band, limited Christmas traditions like my village, my ornaments, and just lots of stuff. This is definitely a failure that I have carved deep in stone. I kept on going, not wanting to be a quitter, but it was not working, and it felt so very badly every time I went. The distance was taking a large part of my income - income that they never really discussed with me. I never knew my hours one day to the next. It just didn't work out, but I really loved doing the taxes...the math, the fun for me. The only positive thing: I did gain much confidence in my studying abilities, so I enrolled in a college writing class...Next, to re-do and do anew my math...not afraid any more.

So, right now, the stone has this failure engraved in it...hopefully, the stone will not prove to be marble, but maybe sandstone, and, with time, and a success or two, maybe the engraving will wash away. I sure hope so...

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Youngest Is A Child No More... got it...Today is Nathan's 18th birthday...I can no longer answer the survey question "Do you have any children living at home?" with a yes. He is a very "low key" kinda we have to really watch just what we do...

First thing this morning, I woke him up with a "birthday pancake" complete with a glow in the dark candle (found this out when I went in his dark bedroom and, upon blowing out the candle, I saw I could still see the candle!)

His sweet friends at Seminary "went to the bathroom" and did this:
 They call him "Panda"...long story!

I baked his favorite cake...Mississippi Mud

Mississippi Mud Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup coconut (this can be adjusted to your taste)
1 (10.5 Oz) bag miniature marshmallows
Chocolate Frosting

Combine melted butter with cocoa, sugar, eggs (it helps if you beat them before adding them), and vanilla. Then add flour. The mixture will be quite thick. I usually use my largest stainless steel bowl to mix and use a rubber spatula. Then add coconut and mix...again, it is a stiff dough, so it will be some work. Spread in a greased jelly roll pan (15 x 10 inch).

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top warm cake evenly with miniature marshmallows. Place pan back in oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately frost with Chocolate Frosting. (I usually dollop on the frosting and then take my knife and spread it around. It makes it look like mud!) Cool completely.

It is a rich cake, so a small piece is usually plenty.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
2 lbs. powdered sugar.

Place butter in bowl of electric mixer and begin mixing. Add cocoa powder and combine. Then, add milk, vanilla, and the powdered sugar, being mindful not to mix to vigorously after each addition, or you will be wearing the frosting!

This makes a lot of frosting...I double the recipe...because I like to have plenty, and family likes leftover frosting...and there have been so many times a boo boo has happened and I need to repair. (Case in point: Nathan came home from school today, wanted a taste, cut out the corner, crumpled a paper towel (a la Cliff Huxtable) and then frosted it, so as no one else would know.

Nano came by with his gift: A Cardinals Blanket!

Next, his sweetheart, Jessica, decorated his room and surprised him when he came home from school.
 She hid in the box to surprise him when he came in. It took FOREVER for him to FINALLY go to his room. I was afraid she was going to suffocate!
 Birthday AND football confetti!

Now they are watching a movie...eating enchiladas...then more celebrating tonight. There was going to be a surprise party, but one friend's grandfather has become gravely ill, so sad! However, I would have been so outside fridge, that I had decided I would gradually put out of use...decided to I am desperately trying to move stuff inside...Sadly, I also got a great deal on chicken breasts...I ordered 40 pounds...they will be here next Saturday! Its fine...all had to be rotated, but dinners will be great this week!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A New Chapter

Today, I returned to the workforce. It was merely an orientation, after months of studying and testing...but I filled out a time card. I will be paid. After 30 years of being a mommy, I am now an income tax preparer as well. We have needed some extra income...Hubby works in a job that will be outsourced, sooner or later. He has not had a raise in years. At least he has had no furlough weeks in months...for that we are so grateful. But living in a world with increasing prices and no increasing income was difficult, at best. We have made it, thanks to great blessings, storing food that we find on sale, and being willing to do without new furniture, dinners out, movies, vacations, and vehicles with fewer than 200,000 miles on them. I am so thankful that I had this chance to take some classes and learn a of my goals last year was to take a class to improve my marketability in the workforce...I had been trying for a long time to get a job, but my resume was not very interesting to those in the position of selecting interviewees... I won't say it was fun...8 hours of sitting and listening. And, I sure hope they were sharing the income tax horror stories, rather than what happens every day! Anyway, if I work hard, and work it right, I will still be able to keep up on my duties here that I love, as well as help our family for the next four months. Hopefully, there will be a slowdown around the middle of February so we can take a quick trip to Vegas and see a little bumblebee in her first dance recital!

Goal setting has been good for me! I did read the Book of MOrmon over 7 times last year. I watched my weight and continued to exercise. I read most of the Chronicles of Narnia...and I will finish this year. I did accomplish at least one thing in every area I had chosen. And I will continue. New things...

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Not Too Late

Just a quick note from someone who NEVER did this...until she just completed months of courses in income tax preparation: get a notebook for each car you own, take it out to the car, write down your odometer mileage, and then keep it in the car, with a pencil. It takes just a few seconds to keep track of those miles you drive, and oh how much it can help you...doctors appointments, volunteering in your children's classrooms, church driving...all those miles add up, and we often forget just how much we drive! It's only the it...Now!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

All Put Away...

I started a little tradition a few years ago. When I just would get doggone tired of Arizona's perpetual summer, I would get this cd out and play it.
Now, it's the first I play to start the decorating...and the last to play when everything is down. I put it on, took down the Christmas Clock and put it in my bedroom, returned the lamp from my bedroom to the re-located end table in the living room. And with that, Christmas if officially put away. Lots of fun, lots of memories. Hours of shopping and wrapping. Great memories...but great to have everything back where it goes.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For Christmas...

I am pretty hard to surprise!

I pay the bills...

I watch the budget...

I watch EVERYTHING!!! (At least, I THOUGHT I did!)

But this guy...


What I thought couldn't be done...


With THIS!

It sat in a the garage...for who knows how long...

I leave, every morning (except Sunday) to run...

Right through that very garage...

I come back, every morning (except Sunday) from running...

Through that very garage...

NEVER EVER seeing...

I have already made 11 pizza doughs with it...

This bread!

I can't wait!

Before, he could do little wrong...

Now, he can do NO wrong!

I sure do LOVE him!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goals For The New Year

Usually, on the first Sunday of the new year, we take a moment, go over the goals we set, both as a family and personally, last year, and then set new goal for the new year. I am a "theme" kinda guy, so I had read an article by one of our church leaders, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, that led my thinking, and my theme. Now, mind you, he is a leader in my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I feel his words apply to everyone, whether inside or outside the church.

The article was entitled, "Of Things That Matter Most" He writes of not only simplifying our lives, but of setting priorities, to make sure the things we do are the things we value and that will bring us true happiness. He talks about four relationships we need to focus on: with the Lord, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves. I used these focus points as a basis for our goals.

I printed up a sheet that said "Family Goals", and then listed the four relationships. We selected goals for our family based on those areas. Under "Relationship with the Lord", we selected family prayer and scripture study (denoting that we would read the Book of Mormon every night at 9:30 pm and have family prayer after that), Family Home Evening (with each week of the month having a lesson or activity with the focuses in mind, i.e. 1st Monday-Relationship with the Lord, 2nd Monday, relationship with family, etc.) I also printed up a sheet where each could make personal goals, privately, based on the same focuses.

It is my hope that using this "theme" and then going over this talk throughout the year, our family can stick to our goals, and remember that, while there are many wonderful things we can do, we need to focus on What matters most!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


All for one and one for all
My brother and my friend
What fun we have
The time we share

Brother till the end."

My greatest blessing: that my children...all of them...are friends!

They are there for each other: to help them when they don't have a place to stay, or when they need wires run through the attic, or when they need help fixing a vehicle, or when they need to share about the cute guy at the singles dance. 

It makes all those the same the same van...for miles and miles...all very, very worth it!

And thank you to the women who love the "Rice Boys"...

Well, Jessica....maybe, not so much! (I am sure he deserved it!)