Make Jello as box directs. After it is partially set, fold in the berries. Pour over the top of the salad. Chill until Jello is set. Plate-licking good! Enjoy!
I. LOVE. THIS. DAY!!! Seriously, it was an awesome perfect Friday! This morning, Grace came upstairs dressed like the cutest elf ever! She was excited for her last day of school until after her sixteenth birthday! Slightly happy, as you can tell!
I love this girl and the fact that she is so uninhibited!
And ...this happened...
Last night, I was making dinner and turned on the Bosch. It made a new noise that I've never heard before. I knew that it was literally a matter of seconds before it was dead. And I was right. I was sick. Grace looked at me like, "what's wrong with Mom?" when I literally started to cry. Not because my kitchen mixer died. But, because I was losing an old friend... a part of the family. We bought our Bosch when we got home from our honeymoon and for 37 years, I've baked our bread, prepared our meals and had a major "friendship/love" every day with this machine. It was seriously a sad moment.
For the past few days, friend Susan in Ohio, has been saying, "Buy a new one!" I've checked on the classifieds for a good used one. I didn't think I needed a new one, but Susan continued to encourage/taunt me... "You deserve it!" So, this morning, Doug and I did our thing around the house. He disassembled the old Bosch just to be sure that there was no hope.
After lunch, we went out for our lunch date and then to the Kitchen Kneads store, where Randy, the owner, took great interest and care of us, showing us the newest cadillac version of the Bosch. It's still the same wonderful mixer with even more whistles and bells. Over the past few years, as we knew that it's days were coming to an end, we have always said that we would never live a day without a Bosch in our home. I was texting/playing with Susan all morning about it and sent her this photo with a text.
After walking around debating, for almost an hour, because this is no small purchase for us the week before Christmas, Doug sang to me, "Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary to you, Oh my gosh! You're awesome husband just bought you a Bosch!" I was so excited that I jumped up, hugged him and kissed him in the store!
I know this sounds silly over a kitchen machine, but seriously, this mixer is a major part of our every day. Doug makes his famous morning blender drinks in it. I bake our bread. Grace and I keep the cookie jar full. I prepare our garden preserves for canning with it. It's a part of my every meal in the kitchen! Carol said tonight, "No one I've ever known uses their Bosch as much as you two times ten!!!" And she's probably right! We were joking about it and figured that the Bosch has cost us about $1 a month since we bought it, making it literally three cents a day for it's lifetime of service to our family! A very wise investment! This one should last us the rest of our lives! ha! Very happy!
We came home and I immediately started making cranberry pecan bread. While it was rising, I mentioned the company party, which I thought was Saturday evening and Doug pointed out that it was tonight! So, I got the bread in the oven, we got ready and had to leave it to ZJ to take out of the oven. We came home to nine beautiful mini- loaves and two medium loaves of bread! HAPPINESS!
WHAT A FUN company party! They gave away over $10,000 in gifts and prizes and surprised everyone with a nice bonus check! Wooohoooooo! The food was outstanding. We sat at a table with friends Jamie and Ryan and three other couples who were delightful and that we had a lot of commonalities with. It was really a lovely evening!
After the party, we connected with Carol and went over to her new home and spent a while in the hot tub for our weekly catch-up and lots of laughs. Robert is in Idaho, so it was just the three of us tonight. Doug was on one, quoting Christmas Vacation lines and we laughed and laughed. There was the slightest bit of a misty rain falling, which we kept hoping would turn to snowflakes. Perfect for the hot tub. Perfect night! Good times!
We said our goodbyes to Carol and then picked Quayd up on our way home. We are ready for bed at midnight! Best Friday ever! So excited for the holiday vacation to begin! Life is so good!! Live Joyfully!
Christmas is a story that connects heaven and earth.
from the camera
Please pass me and my family here for the rest of winter!
from the kitchen
No-Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake ~ this is too good not to share!
For the crust:
½ package Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (about 20 cookies)
10 After Eight chocolate mints
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the filling:
1 3-ounce package white chocolate pudding mix
2 cups whole milk
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 3-ounce package cheesecake-flavored regular pudding mix
½ teaspoon real peppermint extract (do not use mint extract which is typically a combination of peppermint and spearmint)
1 12-ounce container frozen whipped topping, plus extra for garnish, if desired
1-2 drops of red food coloring (optional)
Candy cane sticks, After Eight chocolate mints, and additional crushed chocolate wafers and crushed candy canes for garnish, if desired
from the heart
Bring treats to a meeting or gathering, if there's one on your calendar today. If not, deliver a treat to someone you see regularly. Pick up an extra Sonic or Starbucks or even a bakery treat to someone who would never expect it, but would absolutely appreciate it! I'll be taking Pizelles to the owners of Black Pearl today.
I love these! The pinterest site suggests that you could use cinnamon sticks, as well! Classy, cute and very inexpensive!
from the Spirit
from the Corbridge's
Grace and I enjoyed a fun afternoon making pizelles for a few friends...mine and hers. She'll be taking them to school tomorrow.
For the record, the girls will be going to school Monday. But, not on Tuesday. It's a short day with 25 minute classes and we have ortho that morning anyway. They have all assignments handed in though, which is a bonus! Both girls have gifts to share with friends. Grace will take hers tomorrow, Zeej will take hers Monday. Socks and sweets. Simple!
Zaylee called tonight. I answered. "GRAM!!! WE HAVE AN ELF!!! IT'S A GIRL AND HER NAME IS SHINY SNOWFLAKE!!!" and she hung up. She was too excited to talk. She did call about an hour later and told me that she had found her in the fridge with a note that said, "I'm very cold! Could you look inside the microwave and then make me some hot cocoa?" Inside the microwave, Kelly had put a tiny little cup for Shiny Snowflake's hot cocoa. Kelly also bought her a little Christmas tree for her bedroom and let her decorate it. Zaylee said, "It has thirty ornaments on it." Kelly is trying. We are pleased!
I took this sunrise photo last week and wanted to remember it. It was fantastic!
Tomorrow, Doug is off. We'll have one day alone because next week, the kids will all be home until the fifth of January. I'm excited for the fun to begin! Life is good! Live Joyfully!
Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
We interrupt Christmas blogging to watch the Survivor Finale! Woohooo! Now, for this family, there's really nothing on TV until January!
from the camera
from the kitchen
Sorry, no recipe today. But, I highly recommend that cocoa station, if you haven't put one together yet! Cocoa mix, marshmallows (BTW, I did not misspell it on that print yesterday... that's the way I found it on Pinterest), toffee bits, mints, caramels, candy cane stirrers, cups, napkins, and a fun tray or basket for the presentation! You need ! Mine goes up as soon as the Christmas decor comes down and stays up until the weather starts to feel more like spring than winter! Isn't this one fabulous!?
from the heart
Today's challenge is to pray for someone you don't really care for. I just heard news about someone who was not very kind to me years ago. YEARS. Honestly, I feel for them. Since I heard the news, I've actually wanted to speak to them and say,"I'm so sorry you are going through this." I know that they wouldn't really care to hear my "I'm sorry." So, I decided that it would be a good Christmas Challenge to pray for them instead. Everyone has someone that's made them feel bad at some point and time in life. Today, say a prayer for them. You will be able to feel a little more forgiving, I'm certain! It worked for me!
Yet, another, "Could this be any more simple?" idea! Grab those glass apothocary jars and put them to use! This will also be a fun one at Easter time in pastels!
from the Spirit
True happiness comes only by making others happy. ~ David O. McKay
from the Corbridge's
The ham is bought! A week from tonight, we'll be nestled all snug in our beds with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads! It's coming too quickly!
Today's excitement... Birthday lunch with Natalie (her birthday, not mine...heeheehee) at Cafe Sabor. Good times! After lunch, I picked Kelly up to help her run an errand while she was on her break and gave her her new girl elf on the shelf! Kelly was as excited about the elf as Zaylee is! She was going to wrap it in a dishcloth and put it inside the fridge, then have Zaylee grab something out of the fridge. Zaylee has been looking everywhere for the elf at their home since she returned last Friday. Kelly had mentioned that she'd seen an elf, but it kept disappearing. I can't wait to hear how it went! Kelly is doing great. We are proud of her progress! Zaylee is quite happy!
Tonight, Doug and I watched the Survivor finale and that was our big day.
A few other random thoughts...
My Bosch Kitchen Mixer is DYING. I give it minutes. (in use, that is.) I'm praying it survives the Christmas Rolls. (I believe I said that same thing on Thanksgiving Day, but it's nearing the end of it's mortal probation. ha! Doug and I priced new ones tonight. OUCH! But, Doug must have his blender drink and I must make our bread! The old one was purchased in 1977, a few days after our honeymoon. I think it's done well! *Which is why we want to replace it with another Bosch! THE BEST!!!*
Mom got her calendar and loved it! I hope Dad will too! All the mail has gone out. All packages are wrapped. I stopped by Doug's work for his lunch break today and he mentioned a "want", so I did run and pick it up for him. He'll be totally surprised! I just hope I bought the right thing. The fun of being done early is that you can pick up odds and ends last minute surprises without the stress of "I need" and enjoy being out in the hubbub!
I made brussel sprouts for dinner. Here's the recipe... if you could call it a recipe. I put half a purple onion and a bag of fresh brussel sprouts into the food processor and chopped them finely like a coleslaw. Sautee them in about 4 tbsp. of olive oil and add 1/2 to 1 tsp. minced garlic, lots of salt and pepper. Cover them and cook, stirring frequently, for about six minutes. They'll be done. Squeeze half a large lemon over before serving and stir. that's it! Doug tasted them and asked, "Is this broccoli?" They don't even taste like brussel sprouts! The kids loved them. If you are a fan, try it! You'll like it!
Bedtime! Life is so dang good! Live JOYFULLY!
from the camera
My next trip to NYC will be in the month of December so that I can see this!
from the kitchen
Carol served these potatoes (her sister, Mary Ann's recipe) once and I could not believe how incredible they were! When she gave me the recipe, I knew why. DO. NOT. JUDGE. These will be served on Christmas Eve at our home, but Doug will not be watching me prepare them and I will only be having a small serving!
8-10 very large potatoes
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese
1 - 16 oz. sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
1 finely chopped onion, sauteed
1 pound of bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup whipping cream (NOT COOL WHIP)
Boil the potatoes and mash them as you would regular mashed potatoes. Add butter, cream cheese, sour cream, onion, cheese and bacon. Whip them until smooth and creamy. Place in a 9x13" pan and there will be enough to also make an 8x8" pan, as well. Whip the cream until smooth and frothy. Use a knife to make "slits" in the potatoes and pour the cream over the top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let set before serving. Carol says that the cream will be runny until it "sets" and that they are even better the second day. I've only tried them once, but seriously, they are heavenly... possibly because of the heart attack you may have after eating them and finding yourself in heaven. SO GOOD!
from the heart
Today's challenge is simple! Two weeks ago, a man in the neighborhood came up to me and said, "Your tree looks so beautiful when we drive by at night!" It made my day. Today, I challenge you to let someone know that you appreciate their effort to decorate for the holidays. We have a lady in our neighborhood who does not attend our LDS ward. I've never even seen her, but, every time we drive by her home, since she moved in, no matter what the season, she's made an effort to have it tastefully decorated for the holidays. Today, I happened to see her walking outside in front of her home as I drove by. I stopped, got out and asked her if she was the owner of the home. I introduced myself and then told her how much I appreciate the effort she puts into her yard decor and that I've loved it ever since she moved in! I was so glad to finally meet her by chance and tell her so, without walking up to her door and knocking like a total stranger to say so! She smiled and said a most gracious "THANK YOU!!! You just made my day!!! You have no idea how much that means...especially today." I have no idea what was on her plate, but I was glad to have had the opportunity to make a difference and that I'd stopped the truck and gotten out to say so!
I love the simplicity of this beautiful, festive decor. I'm all about white and snow and frost and anything cold! BUT, this is too simple and something that most everyone has in their kitchen. It would be adorable on a Hot Cocoa "bar", which we keep hopping all winter long, even after the holidays! LOVE the white on white on cream on white on glass on...!
from the Spirit
I shared this on Facebook today. This has to be my most favorite virtual Christmas message yet!
Here's the link.
from the Corbridge's
Carol called this morning and we had a good long chat. We were talking about the fact that I'm done... totally done... with everything for the holidays. I confessed, "And actually, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I guess I'll just read or watch another Christmas movie." It gave us both a good laugh. But, it has been nice to just sit back and enjoy! Again, I keep wishing I was sitting back, watching it snow!!!
Denise and I went out for lunch to a new place in Logan. I'll pass on a repeat. We didn't sit and gab, we just ate and left. Oh well. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.
After school, I rushed Quayd to work and then back home to see the girls off to their Young Womens activity. They went to the temple for baptisms this afternoon. I'm always happy to see them happy to go to the temple!
Dinner was mustgoes and we visited a bit and headed to bed. I guess that's the kind of day you have when you are done and have nothing pressing left to do. Tomorrow, I'm going to do some service of some type. I'm not sure what yet, and I won't be telling anyone what I'm doing, but I will find something positive to fill my hours!
One of the kids' teachers sent home an email that next week, they will be just watching movies and playing games on Monday and Tuesday, there will be no assignments. The girls have been asking, "WHY do we have to go if we aren't doing anything?" So, I've told them that if, on Friday, they can show me that all assignments are done and accounted for on the Power School (computer access to teachers reports), they can stay home next week for the extra two days. Oh my word! SCREAMS of joy and delight! They are hustling to make sure they get to stay home! Quayd, on the other hand, wants to go to be able to hang with "the bros" and not have any assignments. So, the girls and I will have to plan some fun of our own before the "official" break begins! I'm looking forward to that!
I'm looking forward to having Doug home, the kids home, the event days, the undecorating, just as much as I love having it. I just love the "downtime"with the fam!!! I've promised the family that I will attempt to watch/endure the entire Star Wars series during the break. One a day, not in a row!! They are most excited. I can't even remember the first three which are now the last three??? I think??? They love to mock me about my lack of "Warsy" enthusiasm. This may put an end to that!
OH! And Dad's package! I took it to the post office today and mailed it in a plain manilla envelope. FOUR stamps. That beats the heck out of ELEVEN DOLLARS!! It will be there by Saturday. ;)
It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!!! Live joyfully!
Still no snow! I actually went all day without even a jacket! This is insane! We neeeeeeeeeed the snow!!!
from the camera
from the kitchen
I decided to share our favorite Christmas Eve menu item. We still laugh because every year, it's the favorite. Up until a few years ago, Kelly refused to even try it because it didn't "sound" good. Once we talked her into trying it, she was hooked and now, every year, she thinks that I should make two... one just for her so that she can catch up on all the years she missed out on it!
3 cups crushed pretzels
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
from the heart
Today, call someone and give them an encouraging word. That's all. Simple. Sweet. Make it short or as long as you want. Just let them know you are thinking of them!
This is too cute and so simple! I would not hang it on my front door because it would bang on the door and the ornaments would not last. But on a stationary door or wall, it would be so fun!
from the Spirit
from the Corbridge's
This day. Wow. I woke up and looked at the clock to see that it was 7:32. I jumped out of bed and called the kids' names. No answers. I was so out of it that I wondered, "Did the kids leave without prayer or goodbyes?" They would never! After calling each name, I heard a slight moan from downstairs. We had all overslept and not one alarm clock had gone off! We raced about to head to school. I dropped them off and came home to get ready for my day. Not cool.
While I was getting ready, Liza and I skyped. Buddy actually called and as I said hello, Aylabelle said, "Graaaammieeeee"!!!!! I started to cry! She said it a few times today! Best gift ever!
My number one priority for the day was to mail the packages... a return to Zagg before they charge me for the replacement iPad keyboard and an envelope for my mom, my dad and two others. I was on the phone to Mom, double checking her address, grabbing my packages and when I closed the door to the Expedition, I heard it lock. I didn't lock it! It has a mind of it's own. As I heard it, I said, "My keys are in the ignition!" Mom found that was much funnier than I did. I had Siri dial the locksmith for me and told them I would be inside the post office until they arrived. I went inside an empty post office, grabbed the priority mail envelopes, labeled them and turned around to wait in line behind eight other people. I was mailing my parents calendars that I had printed for $12 each. The guy told me that it was going to be $11 to mail each one! ELEVEN DOLLARS for twelve pieces of paper!?!? I said, "That's almost as much as I paid for the calendars." I thought about it and decided to just put them in regular envelopes and mail them first class. All this and I would leave the PO without mailing them! AND I'd locked my keys in the truck to boot!?!? Really? He weighed them and said it would be $3 instead. $15 saved. Worth it. I bought the stamps and brought them home to mail on my own again. Thankfully, we do having towing on our insurance!
The locksmith was there waiting outside. NICE Surprise! While he was writing the bill for his service, two separate people came outside of the post office and asked if I'd lost my keys because someone had found some inside. I told them that mine were locked in the ignition, thanked them and wished them a Merry Christmas.
In the meantime, I'd had to text friend, Kara, to tell her that I was going to be late for lunch. She was fine with the delay and we met for a fun lunch at Black Pearl. I love Kara! We can not talk for two months and pick up where we left off. We always laugh, always drink lots of Diet Coke and always go away feeling better for having been together. She's awesome like that!
After lunch, I visited with Doug for a bit. I've been going crazy over my purse and he keeps telling me to get a new one. I have been trying! Today, I actually found the one I've been looking for! HAPPINESS!!! And it was even on sale at JCPenney! SCORE!
While at JCP, I got a text from Liza. Her Arizona BFF delivered her first baby this morning! Woohoooo! Happiness!
I stopped for a Sonic drink on the way to pick up the kids and sat at their school for 20 minutes of silent time. I organized the new purse while enjoying the sunshine, but was wishing for some serious grey skies and lots of snow. It's just not happening and we neeeeeeeeeeed it! Not just for a white Christmas. We need the water!! We live in the desert!!!
We took Quayd to work as soon as he was dressed and did a little grocery shopping. On the way to work, I said to Quayd, "Quayd, I know that you miss Family Home Evening when you have to work, so here's our message for the night in three minutes or less. I bore my testimony to him, said "Amen" and "That's it." He said, "Amen. Thanks, Mom." and laughed at me, thinking I was being silly, but he heard me and knew that what I said, I meant.
We came home and made tacos for dinner, which for my girls, is a treat. (Probably because it's a rarity and it's not granola food.) We had a fun evening and just as Doug was saying goodnight, Liza called again. When we'd visited earlier, she'd told me about this sweet older sister in their ward, who, thankfully, adopted Liza when they first moved to Arizona. Liza adores her. The woman actually calls herself, "Grandma Arizona." Liza had told me earlier that yesterday, she had wanted bring Aylabelle's Christmas gift to her yesterday, but today was better for them. Liza had expressed concern about Juanita's husband, who has not been doing well. This afternoon, instead of Jaunita coming, her daughter came. Liza asked about Jaunita's husband and the daughter told her that he'd passed away this morning. Liza was in shock. And to think , this kind woman's husband has passed away and she was still worrying about a one-year old getting her Christmas present two weeks early. (And it was a very generous gift, at that.) Liza was pretty emotional when we Skyped. It's times like these that I wish I could just be near enough to give her hugs. (Although Facetime is a blessing! Aylabelle wets the screen giving me kisses!)
Life is so full of ups and downs... every day. Make the moments count! Live joyfully!!
The best things in life, aren't things.
from the camera
I want to take a walk down this lane.
from the kitchen
Our ward Christmas Breakfast was Saturday morning. There was a Breakfast Cook-off. Oh my, the food! It was amazing! Here's the recipe to my favorite and we will definitely be having this on Christmas morning! WOW!!!
1 loaf bread, cubed
8 oz. strawberry cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
10 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Cut loaf of bread up into 1-2" cubes. You can use whatever variety of bread you prefer. Cut cream cheese into small cubes. Tawnya used the cup of softened cream cheese and put little chunks of it instead of cutting the brick of regular cream cheese and it was little burst of heaven! Combine 1/3 c. sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a small bowl. Whisk together eggs and milk in a larger bowl. Melt the butter.
To assemble, spread 1/2 of the bread cubes into the bottom of the prepared pan. Distribute small cubes or pinches of cream cheese over the top. Sprinkle surface with 1/2 of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Add remaining bread cubes over the top. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the top, moistening all of the bread. Pour the melted butter over the top. Cover and chill for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture over the surface. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and center is set.
While the casserole is baking, make the topping. In a medium heavy saucepan, mix 1 c. sugar and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Add boiling water, then heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for a couple of minutes until begins to thicken, then add berries. Continue stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Tawnya had this to the side for everyone to add as much as they liked.
Tawnya also served this second topping, as well. With both, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Here's her text to me with the recipe. (You can tell, just by reading her instructions that she is a delight!)
The whipped topping is seriously the devil. I could eat it by the spoonful! It's my brother in law's creation. It's a pint of whipping cream with 2 cups granulated sugar (I'm going to try it with less next time... Maybe 1 cup? It's pretty sweet...). Whip that all up until it's the thickness you want. Then separately mix up a package of cheesecake pudding with just enough milk to make it semi-pudding-y (totally a word). I probably used 3/4-1 cup. After that's mixed, add them to each other and beat again. And that's it! Super yummy!!!
Note: there was another casserole that was similar at the party. It seemed to be the same recipe but there were raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in it and the cook had used regular cream cheese. Also excellent! Really and truly..those strawberries and Tawnya's extra topping... best breakfast casserole that I have ever had!
from the heart
A few weeks ago, I head that a Starbucks drive-up window customer paid for the order of the person behind them and that person paid for the next person and so on for fourteen hours!!! Not one person broke the chain! I loved this story. Today's challenge, although unoriginal... pay for the person in line behind you at a drive-up window or say, "I got that" and buy the gallon of milk being purchased by the young mom in front of you. Or tape a dollar to the redbox machine with a note that says, "Your movie is on me." You get the picture. Pay it forward!
I love the look of the frosty branches and decor. It's pretty pricey and here's how to make your own. It looks pretty simple and the materials are a little pricey, as well, but you could sure make a lot of frosty things for the same price as one pre-made item. If you are crafty or looking to do a lot of frosty, this is the way to go. I think I'd use white glitter, myself. Have I mentioned that Doug says "glitter" is a four letter word?
from the Spirit
“. . . NEVER, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE SPIRITUAL VALUE OF
DOING TEMPORAL THINGS WELL FOR THOSE WHOM YOU SERVE.”
-HENRY B. EYRING
from the Corbridge's
It was a busy weekend. Quayd stayed home from school on Friday. He'd worked sick the night before and we felt that he just needed some rest. That's the only downfall to his job. He's in and out bringing in carts and taking out groceries. It's cold, he gets wet and cold. He got sick. And he is our healthiest child. So, we kept him home in bed all day Friday and then Saturday until it was time for him to go to work.
Doug had a meeting in Logan on Friday morning and I had some errands to run. So, we met for a quick lunch, then went our separate ways again. I stopped by for an hour visit with Doug's mom. I love that lady! In the evening, ZJ went to some girlfriends, Grace babysat until 9 then once she got home, we watched White Christmas with Quayd and Grace. It was a fun little night. I've been purchasing Christmas movies through the year and the kids are getting to watch some classics and oldies. They are loving them!
Somewhere in the middle, I hosted a mini-paparazzi party for Liza at home, as well as the weekend online party, which ends today. Again, if you are interested, check out the fun jewelry at this site.
On Saturday morning, we attended the best ward breakfast party. It was amazingly well-attended! WOW!!! And I've never seen so much food at a ward party! Quayd stayed home in bed and appreciated the plate that I brought home for him, as well as the extra strata that I prepared when I made the one to take to the party. That boy can eat!
That afternoon, Doug and I had some fun facetime with Liza and Buddy and Aylabelle. Buddy was on one! He was teasing me something fierce! That always makes me laugh and Liza giggle. Aylabelle is too dang cute! Just saying!
Quayd went to work in the afternoon and the girls went to Ogden for the baptism of a friend, who lives part of the time here with her dad and part of the time there with her mom. It was a wonderful experience for the girls. They were excited to tell us all about it when they got home. As soon as they walked in, we watched Miracle on 34th Street with them. It ended just as Quayd was finishing up work. A great Saturday for all!
On Sunday, we finished off the strata for breakfast and then attended our church meetings. We heard the homecoming report of one of the boys in the ward, who just returned from serving his mission in Chicago. He gave a great talk! My lesson went well with lots of participation and one of my favorite teachers in the ward taught Relief Society. Perfect Sabbath!
As the meeting was ending, we discussed with Stott and Wendy getting together after church. I thought about it for a minute and decided to make it "donut night". Since Carol and Robert are in Idaho right now, we've not been able to do our annual donut night as soon as we got back from Tithing Settlement. So, we planned a spontaneous night. The B's came over with their family. Everyone got busy doing their own job. The teens shook the donuts in the different toppings. The boys and men and Miki delivered them around the neighborhood. It took two hours from the first donut in the pan. Wendy and I had a lovely time visiting while the guys were out and about. They would come back just as we had another few plates full. This is my sweet 98 year old friend, Norma's recipe and we have used it for years. (It's on my cooking blog.) A perfect end to a perfect Sabbath... and then just as the B's were leaving, I realized that I'd not taken one single picture! I was so thankful to get on Facebook an hour later and see that one of our awesome neighbors, a photographer, had posted a picture of the donuts we delivered to her family! HAPPINESS!!!
Oh my gosh, I love this time of the year! Have I mentioned that?! This week, I have tried to keep things simple. I'm enjoying the movies and the music with the kids. Tomorrow, I'll return something that we changed our minds on and mail the packages. We're ahead of our game on neighbor treats, which is sweet. (No pun intended.) I've got another fun treat to whip up for the rest! We're getting excited about Christmas Eve and even discussing our New Years Eve already. Two weeks from today, the decorations will be put away for another year. Time flies too quickly! Make the moments count! LIVE JOYFULLY!
Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.
But, I'm not so sure we're going to get one. We're watching the movie tonight, for the first time for Doug and the kids. They are loving it! But, all the talk of snow makes me really wish we already had two feet on the ground! Life is good! LIVE JOYFULLY!
from the camera
from the kitchen
This recipe is a favorite! It comes from my friend Marilyn's friend, Valene. It's perfect for a Christmas Eve or afternoon dinner!
Cranberry Crock Pot Turkey Breast
4 lb. turkey breast roast (Butterball, Costco freezer section)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's) (Valene used about 1/3 cup on hers)
Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and bake on high for about 3 hours. Remove from crock pot and slice thinly. Serve with sauce on the side.
(Note: Valene sliced this turkey and served it over a mixed green salad with sunflower seeds and a varity of salad vegetables. Very good!) (Note: all crock pots cook differently. Mine actually took longer than 3 hours.)
from the heart
Today's challenge: Touch someone. Give someone a hug. Touch their hand or their arm. Just touch them. So many people, especially older people, miss the pleasure of the human touch. I once touched a woman who told me that I was the first person she'd touched in almost a year. HOW SAD IS THAT!?!?!
please pass a galvanized bucket, right now!? I love this!!!
from the Spirit
from the Corbridge's
A few good things from this day:
Zaylee is back with Kelly. There was a little confusion about the exchange, but, her foster-mom brought her to Black Pearl where Doug and I were having lunch. She was excited to have her favorite Tiny Spicy Chicken and head home with us. Doug and I had a few things to do and she was very patient! We got home just in time for the kids to come in. Grace and Zaylee made cookies, she played with our kitten, had dinner and the CASA worker picked her up to take her to a Christmas play before taking her to Kelly's tonight. She was excited to go home and see her dog, Tink and to be with Kelly. The goodbye with the foster mom was more tearful for her and I than it was for Zaylee. She's one tough little cookie!
This is the best news of the day! My son-in-law, Liza's husband, Buddy is officially graduated from college! It's been a long, long journey! Buddy decided to go back to school... they sold their home, moved to Arizona and started living like students again. But, it's been worth the sacrifice, as he now has completed round one! woohooooooo! We are so proud of him!!! He's managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude while working up to three jobs at a time, becoming a father, serving as First Counselor in the Bishopric and then in the Stake Young Men's Presidency and being a wonderful husband to our daughter! It's a happy day for our family!
We spent the evening continuing with our furniture rearranging downstairs and doing some serious dejunking and organizing. I usually don't do this kind of thing during the holidays, but I'm done with everything else and I'm in the mood, so why not!? I'm loving the change.
Two weeks from tonight, we'll be filling the stockings and heading to bed! Live joyfully!
There has been only one Christmas — the rest are anniversaries.
from the camera
from the kitchen
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes and it's perfect to make a large batch and share with the neighbors or co-workers... Natalie's amazing Chex Mix!
For a huge huge batch.
1 small box of Rice Chex
1 small box corn Chex
3 cups coconut
2 cups cashews or slivered almonds
1 cup craisins (optional)
1 pound butter
2 cups Karo syrup
2 cups sugar
Bring to a rolling boil and let it continue to boil for three minutes. Remove from heat and add:
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
from the heart
Today's challenge is a simple one. Take three items out of your closet and donate them today! Drop them off at the Salvation Army or give them to a friend in need.
what a fun list!!!
from the Spirit
Quoted by Thomas Monson, 2012
from the Corbridge's
my day in a nutshell...
breakfast with Carol and Taylor at 9
toured Carol's new home to see the progress she's making
quick stop at Hobby Lobby
quick bite for lunch
piked up the kids
took Quayd to work
Sonic Happy Hour with the girls
Eyebrow waxing with the girls
quick visit at Doug's brother's home
cleaned out the fridge of must-goes for dinner
wrapped today's UPS delivery
talked to Carol while she drove to Idaho and did three loads of laundry
moved furniture in the gallery, our bedroom, family room
watched Survivor at 10PM
It was a good day! Productive, very warm, happy! No complaints from me! Live Joyfully!
Christmas Gift Suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
from the camera
Tonight's photo is from my gallery on my wrapping table. Each year, I wrap the gifts and never put names on them. Each gift is numbered and a master list is kept in my planner until Christmas morning. On that morning, I have to keep it handy so that I can remember what is inside each gift box. Every year, I do something a little different to make the guessing fun. No one knows which gift belongs to who, so no one bothers touching, shaking or even trying to sneak a peak. This year, being that I have three drawers full of rubber stamps, I decided to pull them out and put them to work. Each member of the family has a personal stamp. There's a Candy Kiss, a Candy Cane, an angel, a gingerbread man, a snowflake and a star. No one knows which is theirs and it's fun to hear them in the living room several times a day near the tree, guessing, things like, "I bet Dad is the Kiss because Mom loves to kiss him!"
from the kitchen
Tonight, I've got punch on my mind. I'm hosting on Friday night and want to have something fun to serve, so I've been thinking about drinks... non-alcoholic in our home. There are some pretty amazing holiday punches.
My kids favorite is Carol's favorite holiday punch. It's an Carol's Eggnog Punch.
1 half gallon vanilla icecream
1 quart of eggnog
1 2 liter bottle Sprite or 7-up.
Here's another that I love:
2 quarts lemonade
2 quarts cranberry juice
2 liters sprite or 7-up
Garnish the punch bowl by floating fresh cranberries and lemons and Sonic Pebble Ice.
and a third, one of my favorites:
2 liters of chilled ginger ale
2 cans thawed white grape juice concentrate *I've had it mixed with 3 cans of water for each can of concentrate and I've had it straight concentrate... either is wonderful!)
frozen raspberries to float
from the heart
Recently, I have had three separate encounters that left me with my mouth just wide open! I had, literally, prayed that morning that I would be able to reach out to and share a positive experience with others...no one specific, just in general. Only hours later, I told the first person how nice they looked that day. I was very specific about what they were wearing. The person, literally, looked at me, as though to say, "You dare to speak to me?" and walked right on by without a word. *GASP!* The second person has just gone through a very difficult life experience. I approached them, touched their arm in passing, stopped and said, "How are you doing?" This person looked me in the eye and walked away without a word. *DOUBLE GASP!* The third person, I offered my assistance to and was told, under no uncertain terms, that they did not want or need my help. Okey-dokey, then. Suffice it to say, that I was stunned. Quite frankly, I barely know any of these people, they are simply acquaintances, obviously not friends. I just wanted to reach out. So, the thought of being rejected like that had a bit of a sting. But. I'm still alive.
What it has done, however, it has brought me to today's challenge, which is and has to be "from the heart" or it's not doable. Today's challenge is to try to focus or find three positive things you can think of, about the last three people you had a negative encounter with. (I'm not talking about the guy on the highway that cut you off. I'm talking about three people that you deal with regularly or see often, whether you know them personally, closely or barely... the person/people who may have a little attitude.) Look for some positive in them. You don't have to tell them. But, if you genuinely look for it, and find it, the next time you see them, you may be able to focus more on the positive than that last ugly encounter. That will be a gift to you! Good luck with this one... it might not be that easy!
This is my very favorite chalkboard of the holiday! LOVE IT!
from the Spirit
from one of my favorite people on this earth... President Uchtdorf
If the Savior were among us today, we would find Him where He always was—ministering to the meek, the downcast, the humble, the distressed, and the poor in spirit. During this Christmas season and always, may we give to Him by loving as He loves. May we remember the humble dignity of His birth, gifts, and life. And may we, through simple acts of kindness, charity, and compassion, fill the world with the light of His love and healing power.
from the camera
from the kitchen
I finally found a new cocoa machine. As I mentioned, we go through one every year. This attempt is the Mr. Coffee Cafe Cocoa Maker. So far, so good! This came with a fun recipe guide and I thought I'd share some hot cocoa recipes! I love the idea of setting up a cocoa bar in the kitchen for the kids to be able to enjoy being creative in the kitchen! This cocoa maker has a basket inside of it to drop real chocolate bars or chips. The basket is stationary, so I don't think it's needed to make these recipes. Here's a few of my favorites:
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
4 oz. dark/bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate bars, broken into bits-size pieces
10 Andes mints, unwrapped
4 cups whole milk
White Hot Chocolate
1 cup white baking chips
4 cups whole milk
stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla just before serving
Coconut Hot Chocolate
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bars, broken into bite size pieces
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp. sugar
3 cups whole milk
stir in 1 tsp. vanilla just before serving
if desired, serve with toasted coconut
Cookies & Cream Hot Chocolate
4 oz. Hersheys Cookies n Creme bar, broken into bite size pieces
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate bar, broken into bite size pieces
4 cups whole milk
If desired, sweetened whipped cream and broken Oreo cookies
Serve any of these with sweetened whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.
More to come in another entry! They are all awesome!
from the heart
First, I wanted to share a fun experience I had on Friday taking my own challenge. I was in line at a store and noticed the little 3-4 year old girl in front of me while her mom was checking out. She was absolutely a stunning looking child...beautiful! She was standing outside the shopping cart while her mom was paying. Her arms were to her side, not touching any of the little impulse items that were behind her in the lane. She was being quiet and smiled when I said "You are beautiful! And you are being such a good girl while you wait for your mom! I bet that make her so happy!" The mom turned and said, "What do you say?" She grinned and said, "thank you". Then, the mom said, "How are you, Sophia? You probably don't remember me, do you?" She was right. I didn't! She then told me, "I'm so&so's daughter." I took one look at her and said, "Oh my word! Marci!" I had not seen this girl for at least fifteen years, when she was a young teen. We had a delightful, short visit. She asked about Liza, as she was a bit younger than her. She was a delightful teen and I could instantly see that she was a delightful young mom today! I was so glad for the few seconds that we had to visit. I adore her mother, and run into her occasionally on Facebook or in town. What a delight! It made my day... which is part of the point of the challenge... to not only make others feel good, but to feel the joy of doing so!
Today's challenge, therefore, is...leave a random gift for someone who might not get a lot of attention or gifts.... an introverted co-worker, neighbor or lonely elderly person. It doesn't have to be elaborate... something as simple as a Symphony Bar. They are only a dollar right now. Write a little Merry Christmas note! Leave it without being discovered and don't tell a soul it was you!
I love this idea... a roll of coins for a stocking stuffer! Wrap it in left-over gift wrap and then cellopaper and tied it with bows on each end! Simple and fun! It would even be a great gift for kids' friends! Awesome idea!
from the Spirit
from the Corbridge's
Another productive, non-snowy day! We neeeeeeeeed some snow! It was almost sixty degrees in SLC today. This is just insane!
Today, I ran around town all alone, trying to finish things up. I am so close to, other than the grocery store or possibly Sam's Club, not having to step foot in another store until after the holidays! And as soon as a few more packages are delivered by UPS and those last few gifts are wrapped, the gallery can return to being the gallery and not Christmas Central! Have I mentioned I love this time of year!?!?
Kelly called today and asked for some advice about Zaylee. WOW!! AWESOME! We spoke several times on the phone throughout the day. She's doing great. Zaylee will be home with Kelly very soon! Both are excited. We're trying to make some plans for some time together on Christmas. The babes come first at home on Christmas. I've never been one for spending the holidays at Grandma's. So, it will be nice to have just the five of us at home on Christmas morning. We'll see how the rest of the day works out. I can't believe it's almost here! Hard to imagine! Now, just please pass some snow!
I went out to visit with Doug during his lunch break in the parking lot at his work. I've done that a lot lately and it's one of my favorite things! Uninterrupted time together is valued!!! Tonight, after dinner and Family Home Evening, we went for a short walk around the block just before his bedtime. We could hear Christmas carolers out in the neighborhood (probably a few other families having family home evening) and it just made me want to cry tears of joy! It only lasted a few seconds, but it was a thrill! I loved sharing this with Doug. I love this time of year!
It's not how much we give. It's how much love we put into giving.
And now, we return to our regularly scheduled program...
from the camera
from the Heart
While we were in SLC on Tuesday night, we crossed the intersection on North Temple along with the crowd. There was a woman just outside the gates, as always, there, asking for money. Her words were pleading, "Do you have any money you could give me? Anything? Puleeeeeeez?" We'd left our money and effects in the truck so that we didn't have to hold on to things or worry about losing them. Sadly, we had to say, "Sorry, we don't." Most everyone else ignored her. As we walked into the Temple Square, in awe of the beautiful lights, I saw ZJ with a very sad and pouty face. I assumed that her brother and her were not getting along. I asked, "What's happening? What's going on?" She was in tears. "Nothing." I said, "I know nothing when I see it and that's not nothing. What's happening?" Grace whispered to me, "It's the begger lady, Mom. She wanted us to give her something." I was touched that ZJ was so concerned. I explained to her that we really did not have a penny on us. She knew and understood that, but she felt terrible that there was a woman asking for money on the streets. It touched my heart that she was so sensitive. AND SO... with that said, today's challenge is to give. Give to someone. There's a homeless person on lots of corners. If you aren't comfortable giving money, give food. Buy a homeless person a sandwich and deliver it to them. There are charities asking. Up your fast offerings or tithes. There are families with missionaries or soldiers. Donate to someone, even if it's only a dollar. Today, be charitable.
from the Kitchen
Here's a few fun ideas for cheese balls. I love this!
Pine Cone Cheese Ball
Snowman Cheese Ball
what about shredded white cheese?
Mini Cheeseballs... cheeseballs are my favorite thing in the world! How could I not love these?!
You could just plain set it on a cracker...
what about covering them with different toppings... here's cranberry, nuts and parsley
and who says it has to be a "ball" shape anyway?
or who says it has to be in one piece? *Yes, I realize that this is bread, but wouldn't this be a fun idea to do with mini-cheeseballs?
or why not a big one in the same shape?
or any other shape?
and chopping the nuts isn't always a must...
(although, I could live without the olives)
You get the idea! Whatever your recipe is, it only takes a minute more to go the extra mile! Be creative! The better it looks, the better it tastes!
I got the idea from a pin but decided to create my own list. Here's some suggestions for teenage stocking stuffers...
a wallet that holds their cellphone
extra long cell phone chargers or car charger
cologne or perfume
smelly bath products
nail polish, remover, clippers...
lotions scented for guys or gals
hobby or sports magazine
cool pens or office type gadgets like at the Staples check-out stands
gift cards to any of their favorite eateries, iTunes or a bookstore
music on CD or iTunes card
flash drive sticks
locker gadgets ~ magnets or magnetic photo frames
breath fresheners, gum, mints
soft footies or lotion socks
cool hats or caps
plug in wall fresheners from Bath and Body Works
mirrors, combs, brushes
craft items... beads,tools, art supplies
new toothbrush and their very own toothpaste
nylons or socks
pocket travel games
cool decks of cards
movie tickets, favorite teen hangout gift cards
key rings or coin purse with key rings
food items ~ popcorn, hot cocoa, oatmeal, granola packets
specialty items for grooming ~ conditioners, mousses, gels
flat irons, curlers, bobby pins, hair ponies or clippees
$1 photo books filled with pix of their friends (upload their cellphone pix)
rechargable batteries and charger
favorite drinks (sobes, pop, gatorades)
treats for munching on Christmas morning during the gift opening)
from the Spirit
Here's the link to the LDS Christmas Devotional. You don't need to be LDS to enjoy the beautiful music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the messages of Christ and the true reason for the season. Here's a quote: “And so at Christmas, the stories of sacrifice and ministering multiply across the world. Our gifts and service may gladden hearts; the kindness of others pours healing balm into our own wounds. It is living the Savior’s way of life.” Elder Todd Christofferson.
from the Corbridge's
It's 11:24PM and I am sitting in my gallery on the Lazy-Boy, literally, with the window open. It's unbelievable that this "Feels like fall" weather continues. I'm getting a bit nervous because we need a White Christmas!!! Doug and I took a walk around the block tonight before bedtime and didn't wear coats... hoodies, but not coats.
A few highlights of the weekend... which was a long one because Doug didn't have to work! BIG SMILES HERE!!! On Friday, Doug and I spent the day shopping together, online and at a few places in town. We did the biggest purchases of the season together. I love when he is a part of it! I'm so close to done! Tomorrow, should be the day! We had our weekly lunch date at El Toro, which was Doug's first time since they've moved into their new building. He loved it. It was a productive day! Most every moment of the day while at home, until late that evening, I spent at the computer working on a gift for my parents. Same gift. But, duplicated. It was a frustrating afternoon and evening. I was in tears several times before the project was completed! Doug gets so aggravated when he sees me upset over the computer. He said many times, "Do you want me to run that thing over with the truck!?" or other things along those lines. I think it will be sooner than later that I get a new laptop. Not from Santa though. It will definitely be after the holidays!
On Saturday, we had a family meeting at Doug's brothers. It didn't end until later afternoon, so Doug and I decided to stop in for a Sushi at Black Pearl. I'm so not a brave eater and the word Sushi kind of makes my whole inside turn. However, in our few years of friendship with Selena and Michael, the owners of Black Pearl, I've gotten brave and tried new things. There's only been once that I've not fallen in love with what I'm eating. On Saturday, Selena talked me into trying their Miami Sushi Roll. I was nervous but decided to be brave. Then, I decided to watch it being made and just about said, "Never mind." However. I knew that it was what Doug wanted to try and I thought I'd be brave and try it for him. WOW!!! The little orange things are fish eggs. I did not just eat the whole spoon full of them. BUT, I absolutely loved this sushi, which had tuna, crab, avocado, cream cheese, wasabi, shrimp.... It was loaded! And it was so good! I was queasy with the first bite because I knew what I was eating, but once I tasted it, I could have eaten the whole roll! SO TASTY! Whodathunkit!?
As we drove home from Black Pearl, we noticed Meet the Mormons is playing at the $4 theater. We've been planning on seeing it, but have not had time to get us all there together yet, so Doug and I decided to take the kids that night. We got home and told them to get ready because it started in an hour. What a delightful film to watch! It's not at all what I expected. I can't imagine going to see a movie like this "just because", but it's worth the watch! Six fascinating stories of six fascinating families/people that was well worth watching. We all loved it and had such a fun conversation for the rest of the evening about it. Good choice! Good night!
Our Sunday was a flawless Sabbath. We had wonderful church meetings, came home for a nummy spaghetti dinner and a savory quick bread that was not a hit with the females in the house but a huge hit with then males. (I won't be making it again.) Doug picked Zaylee up after church and she spent the afternoon and evening with us. We played CLR and made hot cocoa with toffee floats and laughed and teased. Zaylee wasn't happy that she didn't win and we all sang, "If you chance to meet a frown..." to her. We had a fun little quiet visit in the living room by the Christmas tree until Grampie came in and got us laughing. We tried taking a selfie and it didn't turn out so well, but it definitely captured the moment... that we were laughing out of control! The LDS Christmas Devotional was watched late, after Zaylee was gone. Doug and I took a short walk around the block just to have a moment of quiet time together. (It's one of my favorite things... worth the extra bother to my foot!)
It's been a great weekend. There's so much happening in our personal lives right now. It was wonderful to have a weekend together, to get so much done, to feel the Holiday Spirit, to enjoy the good spirit at church... just a great weekend. Again, thank you for your many good thoughts and prayers regarding Kelly and Zaylee. We've truly felt them! Life is truly good! Live joyfully!
as you grow older, your Christmas list gets smaller and the things you really want for the Holidays can't be bought.
Where to begin...
If you've followed this blog for anytime, you know that we've been for quite the rollercoaster ride with our daughter, Kelly, since she was fourteen. This past month has been the wildest ride yet. On Halloween night, Kelly came by with Zaylee, both dressed in costumes, for a short visit. They only stayed a bit, said goodbye and then Kelly left Zaylee to spend the night with her licensed day-care provider. (She tends Zaylee after school while Kelly is working.) Zaylee was happy to spend the night with her while Kelly attended a concert/party in Ogden, which is the city over the mountain, 45 miles south.
I wasn't happy about the situation because I think that it's a family night, not a friend night... especially if you are the mom. I didn't say much because it wouldn't have made a difference and because we are trying to maintain a better relationship with Kelly, in order to be able to see Zaylee more often.
Doug and I went to bed at midnight and at 1:50AM, my cellphone rang. It was a very hysterical Kelly,"Mom, you know that I wouldn't mess up now, Mom! You know it!" ("Now" was referring to the fact that she's less than three weeks from having her DCFS case closed, after seventeen months of jumping through their hoops to prove herself, successfully.) After a few minutes of this, I still could not understand, A) because of her sobbing and B) because we were awakened from a dead sleep. What I did get out of it was that she'd been pulled over for driving the wrong way on an unfamiliar one-way street. I finally asked to speak to the officer so that I could understand what was happening.
The officer told me that he'd done the breathalizer test and that she had passed it, but he was sure that she was probably using drugs because of her poor driving and because she'd been bawling without any tears for 20 minutes. That's normal, I told him. She's good at crying with no tears, as she's had lots of experience. I also told him that she's probably the worst driver in Utah. And then I explained that any other time in the past 20 years, I'd have said he was probably right. BUT... I explained, she has been drug-free for the past seventeen months while fighting for her life to keep from losing her daughter to the state and that she's been going through an even nastier divorce with a man who'd been convicted of child endangerment to her daughter. AND that the case was less than three weeks from being closed because, for the first time in forever, she is doing what she was supposed to be doing. The officer apologized and said, "I can't let her go. With her history and her behavior right now, I just can't. No tears, her heart is racing... Even though she passed the first test, I've done drug testing. If she's clean, we'll let her go as soon as we get the results of the drug test back." Again, I told him that this was the first time ever that I would almost assure him she was not using anything, but I understood that he had to do his job. He had listened to Kelly's pleas to, at least, let her call me to let me know that I would need to pick Zaylee up in the morning.
That was on November 1st. For the next five days, we had Zaylee here at our home. Kelly was supposed to see the judge on Tuesday morning and be home as soon as the test results came back proving that she was drug-free. NEVER not once in all these years have we accepted a collect call from the jail or bailed her out of her troubles. We are firm believers in tough love and in "the choices you make today determine your happiness tomorrow!" HOWEVER. This time, we both believed the tests would come back drug free. Kelly has done amazingly well in her efforts to get Zaylee back. She'd done every single thing that DCFS required... has a home, she's been at the same job for over four years, she's separated from her husband, she's changed a lot of her friends... the list goes on. We did accept the first call ever from Kelly, to find out what was happening. Again, she assured us that she was going to have negative results come back on the drug tests...and again... for the first... ever... we believed in her.
I'll spare the gorey details, and trust me, it's been a nightmare... but in the past month....
Kelly's husband broke into her home, ransacked it, took what he wanted all while I was sitting up the street waiting for a police officer to go with me to the home to take care of Zaylee's little dog. As I drove by and noticed an unfamiliar vehicle was there, I called the police to ask for someone to go with me. When the husband pulled away, the officer followed him, pulled him over and he blatantly lied, telling the officer that he was "helping take care of his wife's dog". Okey dokey then. The officer even noticed all the things in his truck but had to let him go????? Because they are still married. Go figure!?????
Kelly's dog was locked in a bedroom with no food or water until it was rescued by a neighbor and Kelly's landlord days later. That was a whole other story.
Zaylee was "removed" again from Kelly's care and placed in a foster home again. Because Kelly was incarcerated and Zaylee was taken back into custody of DCFS, plans for permanent termination were begun. The new foster family is caring and wonderful. We have felt blessed to know that she was with this family, who've been more than generous and kind in allowing us to spend time with Zaylee and give her some of the much needed security of family in the midst of this nightmare.
But, in the meantime, it's been a huge upset in our family. Trying to decide what's best for Zaylee, what will cause the least permanent damage to our family, trying to salute to DCFS, trying to keep Zaylee front and center in our hearts and prayers. I can't even begin to share the trauma and emotion of the past few weeks. Partly because it hurts to talk about it. Partly because we aren't "allowed" to share DCFS details. In the meantime, I will share, plans were being made for Zaylee to be officially relocated and placed in Liza and Buddy's care with future plans for adoption to take place.
Kelly lost her daughter, her job, her car, her belongings and the list goes on. All the while, she was still insisting that she was innocent. That, alone, was painful to watch... knowing that she's been so good for so long and tried so hard, yet, DCFS was still seeing that there are still missing factors that Zaylee needs in her life. Trying to consider what would be best for Zaylee, for Aylabelle if Liza and Buddy adopt Zaylee, how this would affect our family dynamics... It's really an emotional rollercoaster.
During the month, I spent countless hours dealing with it all. I could write a book. It's just unbelievable what we've experienced this past few weeks.
LONG story short... last Friday, a friend of Kelly's called the court and it was discovered that the paperwork in our county that cleared her had not been sent to the county in Ogden. The paperwork was immediately sent and she was able to be released. The drug tests, all three that the officer did, came back showing no alcohol and no drugs. Kelly had spent 27 days in jail. All was settled, her name was cleared. All charges were dropped. All fines were dropped. Apologies were even been made.
Her boss even called her and asked her to come back to work. She hadn't called work because she didn't think she stood a chance of returning. Her landlord has been very understanding. And yesterday, it was decided by DCFS that Zaylee would be returned to Kelly as soon as she settles back into her life, work and can bring her home. That should be in the next few days.
We fasted and prayed, as a family, that whatever happened, we would all be able to accept and that Zaylee would be secure and know that she is loved. There were so many prayers. The end result has been shocking to us all. Thankfully, every test came back and showed the Kelly had not messed up. It's a good sign. She's still got a long way to go, no doubt. But, she's trying. And she fought hard.
It's been an emotional roller-coaster for us all. Logistically, the outcome could have been devastating to our family in so many ways. My prayers and thoughts have been consumed by this whole situation. In the end, as many close friends have asked how we are all doing, we are happy for Kelly, hopeful for Zaylee, grateful for Liza and Buddy, who are amazing to ride this ride with us all.
I would be lying if I didn't say that I was still angry that Kelly even chose to leave Zaylee on Halloween night in the first place. If she'd have been "in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing" (our family motto), this would have never happened. But, she was there as a designated driver. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I've had every other emotion in the book from anger, to grief, to pain, to sorrow. MANY tears were shed this past month. These situations that Kelly's drama brings to our lives are always emotional, but this one... WOW! There are not enough words to even begin to describe.
It's all worked out in the end. Kelly's proven herself in many different ways here... some good. Some, not so. But, she's continuing to try. That's huge. She has shown growth through this experience. We are proud of her for her efforts. It's not over. It never is with Kelly. But, we are hopeful her. Thanks to so many friends and family for their prayers and concern and love. We've felt them. Truly.
As always, I'm open book. Life's not perfect for anyone. But, we are grateful for the challenges that help us learn and grow. Live joyfully!
Sorry... no blog tonight. I have an entry written, but, I'm not feeling ready to share it. It's been a long long day. I spent hours working on an online project and started over 11 times before it was done, due to computer issues. My fingers are saying "go to bed!"
Doug and I did have a rest of a wonderful day though, aside from the computer issues! Life is good. Live joyfully, even if you are tired!
And this too shall pass!
from the camera
this is fabulous!!!
from the heart
Today's challenge might take you a little time to find a recipient! While you are at the grocery store, library, wherever you happen to be, take notice of moms with children. When you see a child being extra-well behaved, speak to the child and mom, letting them know, "You are being such a good boy! I bet your mom is so proud of you!" or something to that affect. Just make sure that the child is recognized and that the parent has a "proud mamma moment"! It might be that your caught them at their one good moment and at Mamma's breaking point for the day! You never know. But, there's nothing that feels as good as someone else recognizing the goodness in your children!
from the kitchen
I still remember the first time I tasted magic bars... Sixth Grade, Dewey Avenue Elyria Ohio, Christmas time, Aunt Lorene made them and brought them over. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Here's an updated version of the recipe with pretzels! OH MY!
Caramel Pretzel Magic Bars
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1-14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of caramel bits (by the chocolate chips)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter & press in a sprayed 13x9in pan. Pour about half the can of condensed milk over crust. Layer your pretzels as close together as you like over the condensed milk/crust. Sprinkle caramels, chocolate chips, & coconut flakes. Pour remaining half of condensed milk on top. OPTIONAL: Break up some extra pretzels to put on top. Bake at 350*F for 20-30 min until lightly brown. Let cool completely before cutting & serving.
from the Spirit
from the Corbridge's
Natalie and I were gabbing on the phone this morning and decided to run into town for a quick breakfast and a fast trip to the mall. I picked up the Christmas jammies and the last of Doug's gifts. We stopped at Sonic on the way home for a Coke and went our separate ways. I came home and wrapped gifts the rest of the afternoon until it was time to get the kids from school and get Quayd to work. Sadly, he missed out on a nummy lasagna dinner. I am caught up on gift wrapping tonight and cleaned up the gallery. As much as I love the getting ready and being prepared, I also love the "sit back and enjoy the holidays" part with the kids and Doug! December is the most wonderful time of the year!
Many of you have wondered and asked what's going on because you've read between the lines over the past month. I've not been at liberty to discuss it, but things came to a head today and tomorrow, I'll take a day off of Christmas blogging to share a bit. Life is always full of surprises and we never know what the next moment will bring, that's for certain! I say it often...make the moments count! Live joyfully!
There's room for everyone on the nice list!
After our big night in SLC, I decided to spend the day at home and do a little cyber shopping with my foot up in the air! Denise called and invited me to lunch, so we ran to the new local pizza place in Smithfield, Garlic's, and I had a salad. It was a nice hour and I came back home to have a little more quiet time before the kids came in from school.
A friend suggested a Pandora station, Chris Botti (Holiday). Try it you'll like it! Here's my little taste of Christmas on this lovely December evening!
from the camera
from the Heart
A few days ago, a childhood friend of Dale's, posted the coolest experience on Facebook. I have thought it about it since. Her UPS man came to the door with a package, rang the bell, and asked if he could talk with her for a moment outside alone. She stepped outside and closed the door behind her. The UPS man told her that he had a package to deliver but that it was clearly identifiable and he knew that the kids were home, so he didn't want to just leave it for the kids to find and see what they were getting for Christmas. She was able to hide it outside until a better time to bring it in. AWESOMENESS!!! He deserved some serious recognition! Today's challenge will take a little more effort on your part. Today, seek out the good in an employee at a business and find their boss/manager. Let the boss know that you appreciate their effort and that they are doing a great job! Make their day!
Friend Susan from Ohio is taking on my challenges daily and shared her response to a thank you to a custodian today. I love it! Here's part of it:
Thank you so much for your kind words. Your note is a real morale builder at this time of year. I will share your appreciation with the staff since it is a team effort. ... Have a merry Christmas.
from the Kitchen
Marilyn's "Heavenly Hot Fudge"
This is absolutely delish!
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can of evaporated milk
4 - 7 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter and chocolate slowly in a heavy pan. Stir in the sugar, salt and milk gradually. Bring to a boil. Boil for about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve over ice cream, brownies or with a spoon. (wink!)
from the Spirit
Temple Square, last night
Christmas is what we make of it. Despite all the distractions, we can see to it that Christ is at the center of our celebration. If we have not already done so, we can establish Christmas traditions for ourselves and our families which will help us capture and keep the Spirit in Christmas.
Thomas S. Monson
from the Corbridge's
Today, when Doug called from work during his lunch hour, I thanked him for my wonderful life. Really, I am truly blessed to be a stay at home mom, to have a cozy and warm home and to have a husband who would give me on a silver platter if I asked.
I donated all of our house lights to the DI because we have a white house and they had green wires and it drove me nuts! We have never been huge decorators outside, but we did string the icicle lights across the front and a few other small things. So tonight, after dinner, Doug helped me spread the netted lights over the bench and I decorated a chair with lights for our front step. Simple. When we plugged in the little white Christmas Tree out front, it was half lit. So, we tossed it. I do plan on a few more touches outside this weekend and was grateful for Doug's help tonight!
Other than those few moments, the rest of my day was literally spent with my foot up, reading and enjoying the tree. I also took my camera for a ride to capture another beautiful Cache Valley sunset. I am obsessed by them at this time of the year. The days continue to get shorter!
Leave a little sparkle wherever you go!
from the camera
from the heart
I apologize that yesterday's challenge was missing. I wrote the blog in bits and pieces throughout the day and inadvertently deleted the challenge! OOPS! Today's challenge is simple and painless... let someone go ahead of you in a line today. Anyone. Any line. And make sure to say, "Merry Christmas" as they go ahead!
from the kitchen
1 pound of butter
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 - 1/2 cup honey
zest of one orange
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Or chop by hand and mix in a bowl. Process until smooth. Serve on anything from warm bread to crackers!
This idea is so simple it doesn't even need an explanation. But, just in case... To keep your rolls of gift wrap from unrolling and getting wrinkled and torn, cut a tube from toilet paper or paper towels lengthwise and wrap it around the gift wrap. Simple! (my photo, not my idea)
from the Spirit
"It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much; he who gives time gives more; but he who gives of himself gives all.” ~ President Thomas S. Monson
What a marvelous Tuesday afternoon and evening we enjoyed! ZJ had her ortho appointment bright and early at 8AM. We left the appointment with her sporting a new green and red tinsel smile for the month of December and did a little shopping. Then were excited for lunch at Black Pearl where ZJ tried her first sushi. New Orleans style with shrimp instead of raw fish. It was delish! We came home and I elevated my foot for an hour while Zee polished my toenails a bright Christmas red! I don't know why I need red toes in December because no one will ever see them, but just in case, right? We also finished putting the missing twisty glittery tubing on the tree, which Hobby Lobby was out of last week. Putting garlands on after the ornaments is not an easy task! Thankfully, I have my right arm, ZJ, to help!
The minute that the kids were all home from school, we were in the Expedition, with a picnic lunch packed, Sonic Route 44 IceWaters and off to pick Doug up from work before we headed to Salt Lake City for a fun evening! We had planned on going out for dinner, but when I thought the evening through, I realized that eating out would mean cutting out one or two other things because we were on a tight schedule. So, I packed our canvas cooler with sandwiches, cheese sticks, chips, crackers, oranges and peanuts. In exchange for not eating out, we stopped at Krispy Kreme for dessert on our way home!
The trip was definitely a "multi-purpose" affair. First, Doug had a meeting at 7PM. Second, I'd found Doug's Christmas present online and needed to pick it up. Third and most important, it was a great opportunity for the family to enjoy the lights on Temple Square! On top of that, during Doug's meeting, we were able to go to the mall, Target and Taipan! Who could ask for anything more!?
We arrived at Temple Square at about 5:05. We got the best and closest park in the lot, which was awesome because I knew my foot would not last all night long! We were on Temple Square just as most of the city was on their way home, so there were no crowds, no waiting to take photos at the "hot spots", no getting separated. PERFECTION! I mentioned to Doug that if were were two hours later, half the Young Men and Young Women in Utah would be there on any Tuesday night in December. Love it! The sights were breathtaking! The spirit was wonderful! The weather was cold, but nothing like we've experienced in years before, so no complaints! I did forget to bring Doug's heavy coat, so he was wearing his sports jacket and a blanket. We joked as we remembered one year ago this past week, as we stood at the Grand Canyon with no coats, Doug's sports jacket and blankets because we'd not expected Arizona to have a foot of snow and cold!
We were able to take some fun photos of other families, so that they could all be in their own pix and found a nice couple who were from South America to take ours! Here's a few of my favorites!
The Salt Lake City Temple is one of the most spectacular sights at any time of the year, but December is absolutely amazing!
Millions and millions of lights! Just as many smiles!
These are the steps on the east doors of the temple. Most brides and grooms have their photos taken here on these steps. We took individual pix of the kids on the steps in the corner pedestal. The girls were so excited and Grace decided that this is the temple she wants to marry in someday!
This pedestal is a favorite bridal shot spot, as well! We always enjoy a family pic here whenever we visit Temple Square! Look at the lights!!!
The "babes", who aren't babes at all anymore, but will always be mine!
The Cristus inside the Visitor's Center is another of my most favorite places in the city. Beautiful. The reverent feeling inside this room...any time of the year... there are no words.
Following Temple Square, we went to Layton and dropped Doug off at the Hilton for his meeting. The kids and I took a quick run into Taipan to grab something I needed. Then, we were off to Target to get a few things for Zaylee. Also a quick stop. Then, we took a break from walking at Krispy Kreme and enjoyed a treat! From there, I let the kids walk through the Layton Hills Mall and we picked Doug back up just as he was walking out the door. Perfect timing!
The drive home was filled with Christmas music, Elvis mocking and giggles from the donut sugar buzz until we had a sober conversation about life. The kids settled right down and the girls were actually falling asleep by the time we stopped at Doug's work for him to pick up his van. Quayd rode home with him that last few miles and everyone was in bed with barely a goodnight and thank you. It was such a wonderful early December activity! We've not been down to see the lights in about four years. The kids were so different this time, as teens, than they were as bewildered younger kids! They are growing up much too quickly! Life is so dang good! Live joyfully!
I used to think that being a kid on Christmas was the best thing ever,
but it turns out that HAVING kids is!
from the camera
This is such a magnificent photo! Not mine, but I love it!
from the Heart
This morning, I had just dropped the kids off at school in the lovely falling snow when the original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry came on the radio. I was suddenly transported back to 1965 when I was seven years old, living in Baltimore, Maryland. I still believed in Santa. It hadn't occurred to me to doubt. The radio only played about a dozen or so songs. It was long before every artist of every genre sang every song on their Christmas album. This was my favorite song of the season!
Honestly, hearing it this morning brought about the strangest emotions to my mind and my heart. I felt like a little child again, my parents still together, life was wonderful. In other words, I felt the Christmas magic! AND I loved it!
I realized this morning, for just a few brief moments (I actually left the car running in the garage until the song ended), that while I may be (or try to be) Queen Martha of Christmas (as my friend called me in a text today) and I may be all about being decorated and organized and efficient for the holidays... Far more important than that, I need to let the child inside me relax and enjoy and savor the moments of the holidays! It's not all about being done first, or decorating the most or the best... it's not about the newest and the latest and the coolest. It's not about the "check list". There is a reason for the Season and it's all about Christ, which is something that we do try to keep front and center during the holiday. BUT... it's even more than celebrating Christ. It's about celebrating family and making memories and experiencing true joy! I am grateful for the few short moments, this morning, that reminded me to not just carry out this holiday season, but to carry this season in my heart, like a little child once more! Tender mercy!
from the Kitchen
1/2 cup butter (only real butter, not low fat), room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup peppermint candy cane, crushed
Mix the butter and sugars in a bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until they are just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate and the peppermint candy cane. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before placing it onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet one table spoon at a time rolled up into balls. Bake in a 350F preheated oven until just lightly golden brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes.
With all the fun wooden block letters out there, this is a super simple idea for a holiday decor or even a cute little gift. A little modgepodge, some fun scrapbook paper and a bell with some ribbon! TOO CUTE! I want to make one that says "SNOW!" Totally simple, quick and easy craft and it could be made, easily, for less than $10 or even less if you use smaller letters!
from the Spirit
Christmas is the spirit of giving, without a thought of getting.
Thomas S. Monson
from the Corbridge's
Doug's submarine talk continues. After sharing the whole thing with Carol on the phone, she told Robert then texted: "Robert has a few questions...Where does one buy a sub? Can the two of you drive it yourselves? How will you see the world from under water? Will you pull it around on your submarine trailer?"
Too funny! Doug walked in from work and so I asked him Robert's questions. This text conversation followed: Doug said to tell Robert that he didn't want a Russian brand sub because he wouldn't understand all of the knobs. Robert asked "Would he understand the American brand sub?" Doug responded, "Well, at least, I could read the owners manual and I've watched Red October, so I think I have the idea." As for where he'd buy one, Doug said, "I'm thinking I could pick one up at a Navy Surplus. I'm open for suggestions though if Robert has any better ideas." He continued, " By the way, not Old Navy. Navy Surplus, cause, you know, Old Navy is mostly clothes, I think?" Seriously, I was snorting. He's really on one! The question is "WHERE did this all come from?!?!"
We really push for a peaceful, harmonious home! Doug loves peace! If there's ever a word of discord, I say, in my mommy talking to toddler voice, "Now say, "I love you, Sissy!" and "I love you, my big Bro!" The kids roll their eyes, look at me like I'm the biggest dork then laugh. They do seem to get it. I tell them often, "The world has enough troubles. Let's keep our home happy and calm and not add any more to it!" This morning, Quayd and Grace were teasing each other and I grabbed the camera. I love this look on both their faces. It's a perfect "big bro teasing, little sis adoring" depiction! I love these kids!!!
Today, Denise and I had a quick lunch at Firehouse and I did some shopping. It was a productive day! Tomorrow will be filled with lots of fun for the whole family! We're all excited! The day begins with an early morning ortho appointment for Zee. She's excited because I promised her one "day off" from school after an ortho appointment. She can hardly wait! It will be a fun day date! Life is good! We love December! Life joyfully!
It is Christmas in the Heart that puts Christmas in the air!
I can not believe it's already December! AND!!! Right now, IT'S SNOWING!!! But, I'm more than excited because it's my favorite month of the year! This year, I'm prepared on the first, which is fun. I know what I'm buying, even if it's not yet bought... the budget and the planning don't always coincide, but everything's in the works! I'm excited to share some holiday cheer, as always! I was telling Doug that my blog isn't as exciting as it was ten years ago when I began blogging. I've shared every idea that I had and most of my new ones come from Pinterest, like everyone elses! So, this year, we'll see how it goes. Here are this year's topics:
from the camera ~ some beautiful photos that "feel" like Christmas!
from the Heart ~ sentiments, good thoughts, gifts
from the Kitchen ~ recipes, some old and some new, but all tried and true
from Pinterest ~ exciting ideas for the holidays
from the Spirit ~ to remind us of the REAL reason for the season
from the Corbridge's ~ the normal ins and outs, as always
So, here we go:
from the camera
I've been collecting beautiful shots for quite some time. I don't know the links, but I wanted to share. Thanks to some unknown person for sharing it online. I want to walk in this park!
from the Heart
I've shared random acts of kindness before, but I think that we can never be kind enough. So, this year, I'm going to create a daily challenge for myself and anyone who reads my blog. Each day, I will over a challenge to do a specific random act of kindness. I'd love to hear your experiences throughout the month. Today, our first challenge is: Find a custodian and tell them thank you for awesome job that they do! Let them know that their efforts are not unnoticed! Even if you have to go out of your way, find them!
from the Kitchen
These are the cutest holiday cookies I've ever seen! I'm not a sugar cookie maker, but, my friends Denise and also Carol make the best cream cheese sugar cookies I've ever tasted and these would be something I'd make! I can't wait to pick up a bag of peppermint kisses! So simple: Make your sugar cookies or buy them, if that's your way. Roll each ball of dough in sprinkles and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake. Cookies will look under baked. Let cool 5 minutes after removing from the oven, then place a kiss in the center of each cookie.
I love this and will have one on my kitchen table this year, instead of our circle of light. We'll still have the twelve candles but it will be in this form this year! I'll share my own version soon!
from the Spirit
"Each of us is an innkeeper, and we decide if there is room for Jesus." —Neal A. Maxwell
from the Corbridge's
Picking up on the Thanksgiving weekend, on Saturday morning, my husband touched my heart like no other. We were lying in bed talking at about 6:45 (so much for sleeping in). I was telling him what's been done and what still needs to be done for Christmas. "I have already bought this and that and Grace's birthday is bought too, and Quayd wants this but it's more than we spend and I thought about getting him this but that and and and...." Then, I mentioned one specific gift, reached over to grab my iPad and show him which whatever it was. (yes, my kids read my blog.) I was looking that gift up and found it for a steal of a deal. Doug, without saying a word, reached on his side of the bed for his iPhone and dialed. "Hey, Matt. How's it going? How are things looking today?" I could hear the guy on the phone but not what he was saying. Doug said, "Okay, thanks!" He hung up the phone, threw the blankets back, stood up and grabbed his pants. "What ya doing?" He said, "I'm going to work today, so we can buy "that" for Quayd." My eyes filled up with tears. This man. He's so good and so willing and such a hard worker. I could not be any more blessed in the "good husband" department.
On the other hand.... I must share this silliness of his. So. This morning, Sunday, we woke up at about 7. Out of nowhere, Doug says, "Babe, if we could get a good deal on one, how would you feel if I bought a submarine?" I was trying really hard not to burst out laughing because you just never know where Doug's going with a topic like this. I said, "Um, Babe. You do realize that we live in the Utah desert, right?" He said, "Well, yeh, we'd have to keep it in the ocean, but think about the traveling we could do in one. We could see the whole world and lots of fish underwater." OKEY DOKEY THEN. Then he went on, for the next two hours, off and on, about this submarine. I was reviewing my lesson and he'd just come out with a statement like, "We could launch it in Bear Lake and then we could see all of the Cisco fish and possibly even the Bear Lake Monster!" He was in the shower later while I did my hair for church and he said, "You could decorate a submarine anyway you like. I know you could make it feel nice and homey." Later, he said, "Babe! You could even use those little smelly things you like in it so it would smell really nice!" This, literally went on alllllllllll morning. This man. He makes me laugh... every day! My favorite, I just remembered! He said, "We could buy one that's deisel because well, we wouldn't want a nuclear one, because, well, you know." Then, later, ZJ walked in and heard this conversation. I said, "Dad wants to buy a submarine?" Her response, "COOL!!! Can we paint it yellow!?" Doug and I both broke out in "We all live in a yellow submarine." Zeej looked at us like we were strange. Nope... she'd never heard of the song. ;)
Tomorrow, I buy Quayd's big gift! HAPPINESS! I've got a few errands to run and plan on just spending some quiet time at home. I loved every second of our weekend! It was a delight. The decorations, the food, the music, the movies... all with the family. Awesomeness! We didn't have company, which was very strange for a holiday weekend at our home, but, honestly, I quite enjoyed it. Lots of jammie time, lots of chillaxing. It really was a perfect, peaceful and happy weekend!
Life joyfully! Especially in December!!!
Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling.
The girls and I had such a fun day together in town...not Black Friday shopping, but doing our own thing! Quayd slept in and Doug was working. Our first stop was at Sonic, in hopes of buying a Sonic window sticker and we did get one! HAPPINESS! $1.39 for any size any time all day every day! No Happy Hour lines this year!
From there, we dropped off Doug's lunch and headed to the Craft Fair in Logan. I've been attending this craft fair for I can't even begin to remember... every year on Thanksgiving weekend. This was the first time I've gone with the girls and I was thrilled to share it with them. They fell in love over and over with fun items... from jewelry to scarves to hair things. I fell in love with a shelf that I'm "sleeping on" and deciding whether or not I can live without it. I might wake up "needing" the shelf and if I do, Doug and I will run in tomorrow and grab it. Merry Christmas to me!
As we were walking out of Novemberfest, we saw Santa, who has going in. ZJ said, "I need a selfie with Santa!!!" She grabbed my phone and ran to him, with no hesitation. (Where she gets her shyness, I have no idea. wink-wink!) I was laughing because Santa was singing "Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree" over and over and over. We thought he didn't know the words and Santa should know the words! I mentioned it on Facebook and found out from friend Trish, that this is the Santa that has attended their family party every year for 28 years and he never sings more than those words because everyone can remember those words. Too funny! The girls loved getting their selfie with him.
I dropped the girls off at the mall while I ran into the AT&T store to pick up ZJ's new phone. That took an hour! You'd think it were Black Friday or something!
I met the girls in the middle of the mall. We ran into the cute boy. Jordan, that ZJ calls her "best friend". They are really good friends, although, he admits that if she were sixteen, he'd be asking her on a date. I saw him and said, "Jorrrrrrrrdaaaaannnnnnnnnn!" like I was the 13 year old. He blushed and then so did I because his step-dad was right in front of him! He really is adorable. (Jordan, that is.) I told his Dad that we think he's a sweetheart, as long as they are "just friends". So far, so good!
We headed home as soon as we bought ZJ a screen protector and did not do one more bit of shopping . My foot was totally done for the day! We were also excited to get home and make turkey sandwiches for lunch! We all just chilled at home, figuring out ZJ's new phone, until Doug came home from work.
At home, a package from Aylabelle for Grammie! *Have I mentioned that my son-in-law is awesome!* Liza had mentioned to me last week that Buddy had bought me a surprise. Buddy knows my love of tablescaping and when he saw these beautiful chargers, he knew I needed them! I saw them and wanted to reset my November table!!! Now I'm very excited for next November already! They are so awesome! So is Buddy!!! We Skyped while Buddy was putting up their tree and I opened the chargers. I got to watch Aylabelle's face light up as Buddy closed the curtains and plugged in the Christmas tree for the first time. SWEET!
Doug went to work at 4 this morning. As Doug was kissing me goodbye, he mentioned that he had not had time to put together a lunch, so I told him that I would bring him one when we went out. I should have put it together when he didn't call on his first break, that he had also been in big enough of a rush that he had left his phone at home. The girls teased me all day because I must have said a hundred times (no exaggeration) "I miss Doug! Where's Doug!? Why hasn't he called yet?" When Doug got home from work at 5:30, they told their dad, "Mom was dying all day long cause she missed you so much." Seriously, it was the longest day not hearing a word from him all day long! He actually borrowed a gal's phone as he was leaving work to call me and say, "Babe! Check out the sunset!" I grabbed the camera, took a few pix and then counted the minutes until he pulled in the driveway!
We had dinner, then opted not to go out on a date, but instead, to get our jammies on, pop some popcorn and watch "Christmas Vacation" with the kids. The movie hadn't even started when Doug literally busted out in laughter. The kids were laughing at him laughing! "Dad, it hasn't started yet!" And he continued to laugh through the entire movie, like he'd never seen it before. He is so fun to watch laugh! Quayd is a lot like him and laughs just as much. I've never been totally comfortable with the movie because it's crude in places. BUT, it's one of the funniest movies ever with the squirrel and the tree and the semi and the old aunt and and and... it's a tradition, right?!
Loving this family weekend! Loving the holidays! Loving life! Live joyfully!
found this on Pinterest and fell in love! Here's the website.
I get teased about my tablescaping on Thanksgiving. I do not tablescape for Thanksgiving. The food is the tablescape! There's just too much food to deal with frills and glitter at the table. We just want to eat! I also have issues with using my Thanksgiving dishes when there are Christmas decorations all around us. The browns and oranges just don't cut it with the reds and greens and I don't want to dig out what I just put away. AND I don't want to set a Christmas table for Thanksgiving. That's just wrong. So, I always have a titch of remorse on Thanksgiving when we eat the meal. This year, we were going to even use Thanksgiving paper plates but at the last minute, I decided to just pull our my sagegreen stoneware. Not even the servingware. Keeping it simple and keeping Doug happy. SCORE! Here's the fam as I was putting food on the table. Miss Zaylee was excited to join us today!
It really was a lovely, quiet, simple holiday for the Corbridges. No company. Just us and Zaylee. It was a perfect day! Zaylee was pretty certain that the best plan was to eat pies before dinner! Notice the half cherry/half peach pie. It was pretty and fun to look at. Personally, I'm not a canned pie filling fan. I'll stick with that southern style homemade apple! And yes, Sam's Club pumpkin pie... I've yet to make one that is as good as theirs! Didn't the girls do a great job with the lattice tops?!
The meal that takes nineteen hours to prepare and thirty minutes to be eaten. SO so good! This year, since it was just us, I did not make the Sweet Potato Souffle. Ironically, everyone loved the plain mashed sweet potatoes (loaded with brown sugar and butter). And that's a ton of mushrooms in the stuffing... the mushrooms turned the stuffing brown!
Zaylee had never tried pumpkin pie. "I don't like pumpkin, Gram!" But, she took one bite and it was instantly, her her new favorite! She was so excited to have "all the pie I can eat!"
After Zaylee went home, Doug's mom and her friend dropped by for a couple of hours. The kids joined in. We talked and talked. It was a delightful visit. I forgot to take a picture!
After Mom left, we all loaded up our plates with our pie samplings and watched "The Giver" together. Doug and I had decided a few weeks ago that it would be a good little surprise for the kids on Thanksgiving evening. The kids loved the movie. I liked the movie better than the book, but that's because I love Jeff Bridges. The movie ended and we were ready for prayer and bedtime because we're getting up early for some shopping in the morning. We really have nothing in mind to buy. But, the girls are really excited for the experience of Black Friday shopping. We'll see how it goes!
I'm off to bed! We want to make the most of our day tomorrow. Doug will be working tomorrow, but not on Saturday. We're planning a most casual weekend of chillaxing, eating, movies, naps, reading or whatever else flips our trigger! Life is good! Live joyfully!
I am thankful...
for my blessings are too many to count.
The house is decorated! Grace finished the downstairs family room this afternoon. ZJ helped with the tree upstairs. The food is prepared except the potatoes and rolls. The turkey is in the oven, baking upside down with oven as low as it will go all night long! We enjoyed a pre-Thanksgiving Apple Crumb pie and a movie as a family tonight. Everyone's gone to bed and Doug and I are ready to call it a night! It's been a good Thanksgiving Eve!
The movie we watched was called "Leaving Limbo". It's a sweet movie, obviously a Christian film, with a very sweet story about a girl who returns to the living after being in a coma for nineteen years. Sweet story. But, the exciting thing about the movie was the my first cousin, Mandy Brown. Mandy is Mom's brother's daughter. I've only met Uncle Junior and his family once when I was a child. It was almost eerie to watch this movie, though, because Mandy has my mom's eyes and there were many times that I felt like I was looking at a photo of my grandmother, Eliza, who I never met. She died when Mom was a teen, before I was born. It was definitely an interesting experience to watch the movie. My kids loved the story! It was a great night!
Quayd and Doug worked today. The girls and I had a great afternoon in the kitchen! What would I do without my girls!? We made the pies and desserts and salads and yams and stuffing. All ready to go! I taught the girls how to do a lattice top on the pies. They were so excited! Fun times!
ZJ made the banana cream pies. "You cook the pudding?! Really??!?"
We're calling it a night! Tonight, I am thankful for these girls who are so helpful to me. Since the injury on my foot, the girls have picked up a lot of slack where I am lacking. Grace helps so much with laundry. ZJ is such a cook and organizer! Honestly, I do not know what I would do without these two girls' help with my duties at home!
There's always something to be thankful for!
What a wonderful day! This morning, we all overslept! ZJ had felt so bad yesterday, I assumed she was staying home and I didn't roll over until 7:14! When I realized she'd not gotten up, I figured Quayd and Grace would be ready to go soon. As I listened and didn't hear a sound downstairs, I knew that we were going to be late! So, everyone got up, got ready, we raced to both schools and I headed to town to run a few errands. I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up the garland for the Christmas tyree and found only three. I needed five! I bought the three and will have to wait till next Tuesday's shipment to finish the garland on the bottom of the tree. The first three are on and I even managed to sneak in 30 minutes of attention to the tree before I picked Quayd and Grace up from school. Quayd raced in and changed clothes for work, then I grabbed my camera, took him to work and headed out to my destinations for the evening. (I actually kissed Doug hello and goodbye in one pass!
First, I met Denise and her entire family for a family photo session. Denise had rented a photography studio since it was far too cold outside! The studio was perfect! We laughed hard at the antics of the kids and grands. It was a lot of fun. I love this family!!! Here's a few of my favorite photos. I preferred the white background, but Denise requested the wooded backdrop!
I'd seen a photo taken outdoors similar to this one below and knew that I would try it one day! This was the day and I love this photo!
When I took this one, Denise's son-in-law, Brian, was standing behind me making the grands laugh so hard! It was the most natural shot of all the kids! Doesn't Nisey have adorable grands!
This was a must do, the first pic we took, just to see all those sparking blue eyes and get the kids in the mood. Not the best composition, but too cute!
and the wood background...
Look at these boys! Could they be any cuter? Tatum, in the middle, goes to lunch with us every day and he's a little clone of his dad and a character just like him! I look at these boys and remember their parents at the same ages! Good times!
Following the photo shoot, I raced home, changed to my skirt, helped the girls load up and we raced to the church to help with the little display at the Young Women in Excellence. After attending them for over twenty five years, YWiE isn't always the most exciting evening. It is, however, an important evening to recognize the girls successes and I wouldn't want to miss it. ZJ asked me why we have it every year and I told her that it's comparable to the Young Men having a Court of Honor for their scouting achievements.
Grace's personal progress goals this year... reading, practicing piano, learning how to can and seminary/scripture study.
ZJ's goals and talents shared were here scripture study, her writing, her clever crafts and developing so many homemaking skills!
We got to the church and found the most darling decor! The theme about "making lemonade" from the sour things in life and turning them into sweetness. It was nice way to review the values and themes for each class. The presentation was adorable...the girls were asked to share some of their bitter lemons in life... school, brothers, school, peer pressure... And then, they were asked what was the "Sweetness" in life. They listed family, friends, patriarchal blessings, scriptures, prayer and mostly, as was shared by Katrina, one of our leaders, "testimonies of Christ". It was beautiful! Following that, they had a fabulous game of jeopardy with the Young Women Values and Mottos and theme and leaders as topics. Christie, who's husband is a graphics designer, made a fun board for the girls to choose categories. SO clever and fun! And our team won! Then there was the food! OH MY! It was one amazing spread. I could hardly believe all of the lovely desserts! Fantastic! Lemon bars, orange cupcakes, key lime cheesecakes, lemon candies... it was just too fun... all foods that had a little tartness and a lot of sweetness! The evening was the full package! The girls loved it! I loved it!
The little gift bags were handmade lotions made by Katrina, ZJ's leader!
I was quite proud of my girls. I don't usually share things like this on the blog. We are having a family fast at this time for some family members with some specific needs. We didn't eat one bite of the desserts! We brought ours home to eat in the morning. It was toughest for ZJ, but she made it. The Young Women's President, Tina, was aware of things and saw to it that the girls brought home full plates of every treat for breakfast tomorrow. I appreciated her support!
We came home and I posted my favorite pix on Denise's facebook page so that she could see them tonight. She cried. That was the best reward of all... knowing that she loved them that much!
It's been a great day. Tonight, I'm thankful for wonderful leaders that my children have been blessed with through their years in the youth program in our ward. They have always been concerned and interested in the girls and Quayd's lives. That means more than words can express to Doug and I! Their examples and leadership has been a gift to each of the kids. The girls love their leaders...past and present. Quayd has a great relationship with his. Truly, their leaders have been one of our greatest blessings over the past five years!
Holy cow! I, literally, just realized that tomorrow is my biggest cooking day of the year! It's here!!!
Every day, be sure to tell someone "thank you".
About ten years or so ago, I was visiting friend, Anita, in the St. Louis area and she reminded me, just recently, that we stopped at Krispy Kreme in Fergeson, Missouri. I didn't even realize that I'd been there until then. Tonight, I'm glad that I am far, far away. Doug and I watched the news on CNN as the prosecutor announcemed that Officer Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of the young man in Missouri. I texted Anita, who still lives in the area, and told that I was thinking of her. She wrote back, "My chest is tight." I think that all of America could relate to that feeling to a degree.
We listened to the news conference and heard the details of the investigation. Sadly, those who were outside protesting were not listening! Hearing the facts, it sounds pretty cut and dry. And now, I watch the cars and buildings burning, the freeway shutdown and the police lights flashing, it makes me sad. Sadly, a life was lost. My heart breaks for his family. BUT. It was investigated and the decision was clear. I hear the protests of the people and I feel sad for them...do they not get that holding onto such anger and bitterness seems to negate, even defy, the pain that goes along with the loss of a life?!
Regardless of the circumstances, we live in a nation where justice is celebrated. To carry on like this just seems so senseless. I will never "get" how looting a store, burning a car, breaking a window makes anyone feel better that they don't agree with a decision of justice. Not here. Not in America. I do not get it. God bless America.
I was thinking about it as I watch the news...the same thing happens every day in our lives. Every single day, we are given a chance to forgive and forget or to just hold on to the anger or hurts that happen in our lives and make it worse! Doug reminds me often that people are good and usually well-intended. I've said all this before... If you think about it, it's true. Your spouse/partner/friend, for the most part, loves you and wants you to be happy! Why on earth would they intentionally want you to be hurt or upset or sad? So, most of the time, when an offense occurs, it's not intentional. Sometimes we just do or say things that we really don't mean or it's misinterpreted for whatever reason. Also, there's always two sides to every story. I thought it was interesting in the press conference that there were several versions of what actually happened. We all perceive things differently. The bottom line, though, as I see it, )and also as I am reminded while I study and prepare my upcoming lesson on dealing with conflict), is communicating, listening, trying to see both sides. It may not seem so simple in the heat of it. But, in reality, it really is a simple solution. Reacting never gets us anywhere! Act, not react! Enough said about that.
Today I bought the turkey and fresh veggies for Thanksgiving Day. Quayd had his ortho appointment. I met with his counselor over the phone for a bit. ZJ had a major headache and went straight to bed after school. She never came up again for the entire night. Grace did her jobs for her and did a few other things to help around the house. Quayd worked til 10. It was not your average family night, that's for sure. I didn't really slow down from one appointment to another until Doug got in from work. One tree is decorated. The big tree is still waiting, but everything else is looking good! We may end up decorating the tree after Thanksgiving dinner after all, at this rate! And that will be just fine!
Today, I'm thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in this country and the right to speak our mind in a civil way! I'm also thankful for those policemen, firefighters, soldiers and all who work so hard to protect our freedoms!
In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give,
and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.
Friday ~ I always love the days that Doug gets off but I also love the paychecks when he doesn't get a lot of time off. Given the choice, I prefer Doug over the paycheck! Unfortunately, we need both! ;) We did have a lovely day together. It was one of those Cache Valley weather days where it snowed, rained, cloudy, sunny, you name it and we kept busy through it all!
Doug and I went to lunch at Cafe Sabor and had a very nice hour together out on the patio (which they enclose, obviously, in the winter). We laughed. A lot! He's a very funny man! We ordered fajitas for two and a bowl of guacamole! OH MY! It was a lot of food! We ended up still bringing home half of it for the kids after school snack. They were very happy!
After lunch, we finally found a new dishwasher! A major part melted in the old one in late June. It was time for a new dishwasher since the part would cost about 1/4 of a new machine! So, the kids have washed dishes for four months by hand. They're still alive but I'm quite tired of the daily dish drama! HAPPINESS! They all now appreciate the dishwasher and my kitchen is as happy as I am! I'm so not a fan of dishes in the sink!
Friday after school, ZJ and I were in the living room for over an hour discussing whether or not to put up the Christmas decorations this weekend. I told her that I was thinking about putting the tree in the corner. "Nooooooooooo! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease don't! It needs to be in the bay window. That's what bay windows are for - Christmas trees!" Then, I said, I was thinking about putting it in another corner. "Nooooooooo! It needs to be in the bay window." Then, I said, "Let's just wait until Christmas Eve!" "Noooooooooooo!" This lasted an hour. I, of course, was teasing her. She was on the living room floor with tears (forced tears), begging. I'd tease back and forth. Doug came into the room, at one point and joined the joking, "Babe. You do know that's child abuse, don't you?" We made the decision to put it up on Saturday after Quayd left for his dance.
Doug and I were buying furnace filters at the Implement Store and decided to buy Quayd a pair of insulated, but cool-looking, boots so that he can do carts at work in the slush and cold. A few days earlier, his Nikes were soaked! They weren't cheap, so we told him "Happy Birthday", since he's still not thought of any birthday gifts. His initial reaction was not too excited but the next morning, when he wore them in the blizzard at work, he was very happy to have them!
Doug and I went to Stott and Wendy's to watch Edge of Tomorrow. I brought over Apple Nachos and, as we were walking out the door, ZJ suggested that we bake them. I've never done it before but it sounded like a winner. AND IT WAS!!!! OH MY!!!! Stott pulled out the icecream to go with and WOW!!! Great treat!!!
Saturday morning ~ Doug got up bright and early to get the dishwasher installed. Quayd had to be at work at 8. The girls and I got ready and ran a few errands. (I rarely go to town on Saturday!) We grabbed a bite, went to Kohls to buy Quayd a shirt for the dance and a gift card to give to the sweet checker who volunteered to work his shift. After a Sonic stop, we pulled up at Lee's just in time for Quayd to race out the door to get ready for the dance. Doug ran to the florist and picked up the wrap for Quayd to give Robin. I've never seen Quayd get ready so quickly!
Robin picked him up twenty minutes later. He was ready to roll! In our area, the big dances are not just about the dance. It's usually a day long event. They usually start earlier in the day with some fun activities... always with a large group. (I think Quayd said there were fourteen in their group this time.) For the afternoon date, they went on a photo Scavenger Hunt all over, taking pix of a crazy list of things to find and do. I had to laugh at some of the things Quayd told me that they'd photographed! These are the kind of things that take guts! They went out for hot cocoa and treats afterward and had a contest to judge who won the scavenger contest pics. Quayd said they had a great afternoon, talking, laughing and driving in the blizzard.
Then, the date is paused for an hour or two, so that everyone can go home and get dressed for the dance part of the date. For Sadie's, the girls do the asking, the planning, the buying, the driving, everything. Usually, the couples dress alike. This was a western dance, so the girls in their group had printed the "Got Sadies?" t-shirts. The boys were told to wear it with a plaid shirt and each couple in the group had a different color bandana. They went to dinner at Fredricos, then to a big barn in Hyde Park for photos of couples and the group. Usually, the dance is the smallest part of the evening. Afterwards, one of the girls' mom rented a theater for just the twelve of them to watch a movie. (Quayd thought they were watching "Edge of Tomorrow" but they ended up watching something different. He said that it was appropriate and that everyone in the group wouldn't watch it if it were not. (We have a rule that we have to see a "date movie" before the kids do because of the content. Movies today are so sexual... how embarrassing for a first date to watch something smutty! Thankfully, this wasn't an issue with Quayd or his friends!)
He came in at 11:40 and was just grinning. They had a great time. A hug goodnight at the door. He really liked Robin, who he barely knew before the dance. She's smart and athletic and "busy" and "Fun!" He was excited to tell me about it all! I loved listening! LOVE THAT BOY!!!
As soon as Quayd had left for the day date, Doug brought up the trees and holiday bins. ZJ, Grace and I got busy decorating. My foot was screaming all day and the night before, so the girls were a huge help and part of the effort! We got the upstairs decorated, but not the tree. It's waiting for a fun garland that I have to buy at Hobby Lobby in the morning! We decorated and dejunked as we went through the bins, loading Doug's van with DI donations. It was about six when we realized that we hadn't eaten much all day. Doug picked up pizza for us and just as we were sitting down to eat it, we realized that Stake Conference Saturday night session started in 35 minutes! We ate a few bites quickly, got ready and raced to the Stake Center in the storm for a wonderful evening filled with music from the USU Logan LDS Institute Choir and fabulous speakers. It was a great meeting!
We came home, filled with a sweet peace and no desire to decorate another minute. As we got ready for bed, and waited for Quayd's return, we somehow found a second wind to get a little more of the decor done. The downstairs family room and our bedroom was a nightmare but everything else was looking grand before Quayd came in from the dance!
All through the evening, my stomach was not happy about the pizza and I was up most of the night. I loved the pizza but it did not love me. By the time we woke up at 7, for Doug to go to his Stake Leadership Meeting, I knew that I wasn't going too far from home today. (TMI, I know.) Quayd also woke up with a terrible sinus headache and he never gets headaches. He slept most of the entire day. Doug and the girls went to conference.
After Conference, Doug went to pick up Zaylee for the afternoon! While I made Belgian waffles, the girls helped pick up a bit more before they came back. We had a delightful afternoon with Zaylee. She and Grace made cookies after dinner. She loved the waffles and immediately found Mr. Jingles on the chandelier when she came in. No one had seen him yet and she found him instantly! (wink) She was excited to see the decorations up, even if it was only partially. She did let me know quite clearly, "Gram! You need to decorate the tree!" Okey dokey then! She skyped with Liza and Buddy and Aylabelle twice. I read "The Elf on the Shelf" book to her and Liza and Aylabelle. Aylabelle got up in the middle and went to get her own book to show me. It was a good visit.
Doug went hometeaching after taking Zaylee home. He was gone for.ev.er. So, we just went ahead and had scriptures without him then sat and talked and talked and talked in front of the undecorated but lit tree. Doug came in and joined us until bedtime. We'll live in the front room for the next 35 days with candles lit, lights dimmed, Christmas music in the background and warm hearts! Life is good! We are so blessed! Life joyfully! Tis the season!
Trade your expectation to appreciation and the world changes instantly.
... a new dishwasher and a good man who can install it himself!
I'm thankful for this good husband of mine's hands! Those hads work hard to provide for our family. They works hard to keep up at home! They are placed upon our heads for priesthood blessings. They give me foot massages and lotion rubs and hair brushing while we watch our favorite tv shows and old movies. They work hard in the garden all summer long. They prepare his blender drinks every morning and breakfast in bed for me on occasion. They make points when he is teaching us. They reach over and touch mine softly while we are at church, visiting friends, sitting beside each other reading or just driving down the road. His hands are gently, selfless, serving and loving!
If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!
For dinner tonight, ZJ made the salad. I thought she was going to make a Chef's salad but it was totally different. And it was GOOD! She used a big bowl of Spring Mix and Spinach, then chopped two apples, added peanuts, shredded colby-jack cheese and tossed in Poppy Seed dressing. SO TASTY! I love my young Martha!
Today was more of the recent same... chase, chase, chase, run, run, run... with a quick lunch with Carol in the middle. I love that Carol is no longer a teacher and can go to lunch, even if she's only in town half the time since she and Robert were married.
Doug's off tomorrow and I'm excited to have a day with him! He deserves a day off! We're dishwasher and Christmas shopping.
Today, I'm thankful for my Bose Dock. ZJ and I had a major jam session tonight. I love that she knows the words to all of my 70s playlist! That dock brings lots of holiday music, sabbath day music and cleaning music to our home! It was a gift a few years ago and I appreciate it every day!
to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.
thomas s. monson
How did it get to be ten o'clock!? It was a busy day... this morning, I went over to Carol's old house and we took a load of things to her new house, then visited over Sonic Diet Cokes for a few minutes before I had to race off to manage a few other pressing matters. I did squeeze in lunch with Doug at his workplace. That was a bonus! I got home just before the kids did and we kept busy until 9. We watched Survivor an hour late and everyone went to bed. Crazy days.
The highlight of my day today was "going on a walk" with Liza and Aylabelle! Oh my gosh, I do love that girl! Her little waddle/walk is precious! Notice, she has long sleeves on and the lawns are green as green can be in Arizona. I'm wrapped in a knit scarf and trying to keep warm by the heat vent!
I told Doug at lunch that I wanted to try to get started on the Christmas stuff tonight, but once I was home, I decided that I'm still enjoying my November decor so much that I don't want to take it down yet. ZJ asked, at dinner, if we were going black friday shopping and I said that I had no plans to at this moment. Doug's response was, "What? Babe? Don't you want to go play?" I love that man! The girls want to, but right now, I'm thinking I'll wait until Black Friday to decorate and will just enjoy my touches of fall throughout the house. I grabbed the camera and took a few pix of my day.
This is the grass out in the back yard below the rain gutter. To me, this shows exactly how frigid it's been this past week!
Here's my lovely November tablescape. It's as simple as can be, but it's warmed my heart to just sit by the table and enjoy it all month.
My cute little scarecrows are almost twenty years old now, but they bring me great pleasure every fall! They are keepers, for sure!
Although this corner cabinet is in the kitchen, it can be seen from the entryway and everyone that comes in comments on it. Remember this corner cabinet was purchased for $15 at a yard sale and restored ten years ago. I LOVE IT! Every holiday gets to "Sing" from this corner of my kitchen all year long! November is almost as fun as December in this corner! Notice my cute Thanksgiving Subway Print, a gift from friend Marilyn. She made me one for every month of the year!
Friend Mary Ann gave me this awesome cake pedestal. It's wire and lightweight and could never hold a cake, but these rice-stuffed pumpkins that I made in the late 90s still make me excited and they are a perfect fit for the pedestal. Isn't it fab!!
The flowers from the High Priest Dinner table decor and the acorns from Susan could not be just tossed into a box until I enjoyed them at home for a week or so!
With all the fun fall things, today, I convinced myself to wait one more week! Doug's grin, when I told him, was huge!!! And, truth be told, I always feel a little guilty, like I'm robbing Thanksgiving by jumping the gun and decorating for Christmas. The fall colors don't look good on the Thanksgiving table when there are mistletoe and holly everywhere else in the house. This is a good time to practice patience, right? (Ask me that this weekend if I get antsy again!?)
Today, I'm thankful for repentance and forgiveness. Someone apologized to me today and I had an opportunity to forgive...or to hold on and carry it around some more. It wasn't easy! For either of us! But, it all worked out well and we both felt better when all was said and done. Tonight, I am reminded of the atonement of Christ and all that he did for us, that we might exercise the agency to repent and forgive! Indeed, our greatest gift, the atonement of Christ.
Gratitude helps us see what there is instead of what there isn't.
First of all... the soup... here's my recipe. I say "my" because I really did not have a clue how much of anything to add. I just went by Selena's instructions and "a little" and "a taste" type amounts. I measured what I added, so that I could duplicate it again in the future if we liked it and we loved it! It seriously sounds like something I'd never make if I saw the recipe in a cookbook, but it was one of the best brothy soups I have ever tasted! It needs a good name. "Pork Tofu Soup" just does not sound appetizing! So, since our friend, Selena, owns the "Black Pearl", I'm calling it,
"Pearl Friend Soup"
3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups - 2 cups soy sauce
Mix and set aside.
3 heaping Tablespoons of chicken base
2 cups of leftover pork roast, chopped
1/4 cup oil (olive or vegetable)
soft tofu (there are three types, buy the softest)
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons dry cilantro or half a bunch of fresh
Boil about 4 quarts of water. Add chicken base. (I use the Sam's Club kind with the red lid.) Pour in the soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Add, rice vinegar, oil and pork. (Mine had a few onions and mushrooms cooked with it, so I tossed them in too.) Pour the tofu, gently, onto a cutting board and cut it into small pieces (about the size of a macaroni noodle). Add the tofu to the soup and simmer. Add cilantro to broth just before serving. Serve in a bowl over a scoop of cooked rice. (For the gallon of soup, I made 6 cups of cooked rice. It was perfect.) I also added just about a touch of pepper seed oil to my bowl. (Selena's suggestion) It spiced it up quite a bit!
That's that! We had quite a day. Doug and I met early this morning for a meeting that we needed to attend. We had a lunch date with Stott and Wendy after our meeting. Doug went back to work and it was time for me to pick up the kids from school. I took Quayd to work to confirm that his replacement could work for him on Saturday. He was so so excited to hear a final "yes"! Once we got home, he had a texting session with his date, getting all of the details for their date. (It's a Sadie Hawkins dance, so the girls are making all of the plans.) It sounds like it's going to be a great event! As soon as Doug got home, we had another meeting before the kids went off to Young Men and Young Women activities. Doug came home early for one more meeting and went straight to bed as soon as we said "amen" to family prayer. Tuesdays are always our crazy day, but this one was W-I-L-D!!!
In the morning, I've got to run to see Carol for a bit and then will head home and get busy on the projects that are screaming my name. It hit me this afternoon that I've really not slowed down since before New York. I'm ready! New York seems so long ago! (I am ready to return! December, after the tree at the Rock would be nice!) We've had so much going on. There's been lots on our minds and on our calendars and I, for one, am excited to spend a four day weekend at home chilling with the family over Thanksgiving! I have absolutely nooooooooooo desire to do any black Friday shopping unless it's online! I want to stay home, drink cocoa, eat leftovers and wrap up in a warm blanket with the kids and Doug and watch movies, decorate and enjoy doing nothing!
There's a lot on my mind these days and I'm anxious to blog about them. But, it's going to have to be another day when I'm not trying to race from this to that. For today, here's my gratitude in a fast ABC list. Someone mentioned that I hadn't done one in a long time, so hear's one:
Today, I'm thankful for:
a ~ Aylabelle
b ~ Buddy
c ~ coke... diet with lime and lots of ice
d ~ Dale
e ~ experiences that make us stronger
f ~ faith and family
g ~ Grace
h ~ my Husband and the love he shows me every day
i ~ my iPad! How did I ever live without it!?
j ~ joyful living
k ~ Kelly
l ~ Liza
m ~ my grandchildren
n - now! I'm so grateful for each and every moment of life and what it offers... good and bad!
o ~ our doggies
p ~ priesthood in our home
q ~ Quayd
r ~ religion in my life
s ~ snow, but, not ice cold weather
t ~ talents I've been blessed with
u ~ upcoming plans for our future
v ~ very very good friends
w ~ wisdom that I've acquired throughout my life
x ~ eXtra blessings I feel every day
y ~ youth, even if it's just in my mind!
z ~ ZJ
I am blessed and have much to be grateful for!
the root of joy is gratefulness
This weather! OH MY! It's cold! We are in a deep freeze! It's sooooooooo cold!
The kids didn't have school today, so we all slept in (till 8:30, which is huge for me!) Then we all did our chores and went to town to run a few errands and lunch. A quick stop at Hobby Lobby, a stop at the AT&T store for Quayd's phone to be checked (it's not worked for three weeks and the guy took the sim card out, put it back in and Voila, it worked!) Then, a stop at Grandma Corbridge's for a little visit. The kids always are more than willing to see Grandma and give her a hug! We came home and had an hour until Quayd had to go to work, so we all just did our own thing for a bit. It was a casual and fun day! Leftover soup for dinner. Relaxed family night together, minus Quayd.
I wanted to share these photos of the work my girl, ZJ, did Saturday! She cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, washed them down, combined any duplicates, tossed anything that shouldn't be kept and made the kitchen just shine! It's ready for the holidays! Happiness! This thirteen year old girl of ours is A.MAZ.ING!
Here's the pantry. Most of our canned goods are downstairs in the food storage room, but this is just enough to grab when we need something. I look at this picture and it's obvious that I make most things from scratch. Not too many prepared foods hit this cupboard! Also, for the record, the bottles are Sparking Apple Cider!
The corner cabinet for dry storage. She contained and organized it all. She blows me away!
The spice cabinet... I just noticed that I didn't put the curry back in it's place!
Kitchen's done! Laundry room, storage room and gallery are left, then we can get the Christmas decor out! The gallery is Christmas Central for the next few weeks and I need to get the gifts that I've already purchased bowed up and ready to go under the tree! Doug and I have some important things on the calendar tomorrow, but, once I'm home, I will get to work on the last of it and by the weekend, ZJ may get her wish... Christmas in November!
The kids start their second quarter tomorrow. Grace is so excited that she got a B+ in driver's ed! Quayd was just happy to be done with early morning Seminary. He did great, as well! ZJ has loved her Foreign language exploration class more than any class ever. She's totally interested in learning German in High School. Go figure. I'd have picked french so that we could practice together. Practically, it makes sense to learn Spanish in this day and age. But, she's wanting German. She loved it! Time will tell!
Quayd had a really rough weekend. He was asked to the Sadie Hawkins dance on October 5th by a girl that he hardly knows. They don't have any classes together but have friends in common. He was excited to say yes to her. He immediately went to work to put in for the night off, but ran into a few snags... beginning with the fact that you can't even ask that far in advance. After a few complications, the schedule for the week of the dance was posted and Quayd, sadly, was scheduled to work. He spent the entire weekend trying to find anyone who would work for him. He offered money, to trade shifts, anything he could think of. Sadly, to no avail. His last hope had no excuse, he just didn't want to. That was the hardest for Quayd. But. He handled it with a smile. After his last no, he went in this afternoon and told one of the bosses that he'd be at work "with a smile" on the day of the dance.
This afternoon, while we were at lunch, he'd got the last no and was so disappointed. He decied to say a prayer. His prayer moved me to tears. He prayed that this situation would be resolved as it was supposed to and that if he was not able to find someone to work for him, that the girl's heart would not be broken and that he would be able to have a good attitude and learn something from this experience. Literally, the girls and I were teary-eyed. When he told his Grandma what had happened, he was a little choked up about it... not for him, but for the girl who asked. He didn't want her to be disappointed or miss the dance because it's so late in the game. I know that Grandma said a special prayer for him too! She's awesome like that!
Tonight, when Quayd called to have me come and pick him up, he told me that one of the checkers had told him that if he can talk with the person who does scheduling first, she will work for him! His prayer was answered! I was so excited when he told me that I started to cry! SO excited! Tender mercies! Yagottaluvthem!
Today, I'm thankful for the obvious... an answered prayer. But, more than that, I'm thankful that the prayer answered was my son's. Even more than that, I'm thankful for the faith of my children! They are truly wonderful kids and I pray everyday that they continue on the path that they are on! As I tell them every day, the choices they make today determine their happiness tomorrow. They are making good choices today, thankfully! For this, I am most grateful!
Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
It's COLD! Three degrees this morning. CRAZY cold! I heard on the news tonight that it hadn't been this cold since January 5 last winter! As I type, it warmed up to 14. Even at Park City, it is 2 degrees! I no likee cold. I'd love about two feet more of snow right now, but cold... not so much! It's wear socks and warm jammies and drink hot cocoa weather, for sure!
Friday was one of my favorite days in a long, long time! It may seem silly but Doug and I were together every minute of the day... we worked together on the decorations for the High Priest Dinner and then went to Black Pearl for a very late, late lunch/afternoon Sushi treat. Oh my! It was divine!
Following the dinner at the Stake Center, we cleaned up and walked outside to load up in a literal blizzard! It was a white-out to drive in! Scott and Doug and I divided the food in half and went out in the storm to deliver some of the leftover food to a few families in our wards. Doug and I were met by a few unanswered doors, getting soaked from the wet, wet snow, we decided to share with a few families that we knew would answer! It all worked out. We came home to kids who were very happy to have both parents home again for the rest of the weekend!
Saturday was one of those days that we had so many things on the calendar, we knew we wouldn't be able to do it all, but we were going to try! I was invited to a party, we were all invited to a party for Carol's granddaughter, we had a family temple day, Denise wanted a girls night out, the girls had some plans of their own and Quayd worked. HOWEVER, Doug woke up shivering and shaking, chilled and aching. We'd planned on doing our fall dejunking and some prep for getting the holiday decorating in order in the morning. Instead of all that was on the calendar in the afternoon and evening, Doug took it easy at home. I did run out for an hour with Denise to split a dinner at Texas Roadhouse and to grab a few must haves before Sunday. I came home and reviewed my lesson while doing laundry. The girls worked their hearts out all day! Doug seemed to be doing a bit better by bedtime, but, it was definitely some sort of 24 hour bug. Thanksfully, he woke up Sunday morning feeling much better!
Since we were home, we did get some serious dejunking done. ZJ and I emptied and cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, rearranged my spices, my dish cupboards, the pantry and the baking center. Grace rearranged and organized all of the movies in our library, cleaned the downstairs and helped with laundry. It was a productive day, in spite of Doug not being up to par. I love productive days!
Today, I taught my Sunday School lesson on intimacy in marriage. The discussion was much better this time that the last round. This was the hardest lesson of all sixteen to teach because it is such a personal topic. We had a good discussion, a few good laughs and I felt like we all went away feeling like we'd learned something... myself usually learning the most! I love my calling!
We were very excited to make dinner after church. Doug and I have become friends with the owners of the Black Pearl restaurant. Selena had shared her recipe for making a Pork Tofu soup while we were there on Friday. Does that sound sick or what?! However, she described it and made it sound so delish that I decided to give it an attempt. Without any amounts, I had a list of ingredients and tried to prepare this soup, based on Selena's input. SCORE!!! It was so so delish! Everyone absolutely love it! Honestly, I would never even think about making this recipe if I'd been looking through a cookbook but it was divine! I'll share the recipe tomorrow because I did note how much I used of everything!
Tomorrow, the kids have no school. When I asked why not, ZJ explained, "It's so that teachers can learn to use iPads even if they don't have one." Okey dokey then. Regardless, we will be home together. Zeej wants to put up the tree... and truthh be told, it wouldn't take much to talk me into it. It's only a week early! Denise wants to go to lunch, but I had to tell her no since the kids are home. We still have some work to do... their closets and drawers with my supervision and a few other spots that need some pre-holiday attention. We'll make the most of the day, regardless of what we end up doing. According to Zeej, I'm "really to be respected" for making every day special. Her "really respected" always makes me laugh!
It was a good weekend... even if my sweatheart didn't feel so hot. We had lots of time together, some good laughs, some good talks, lots of cleaning and organizing, some planning, some great food, lots of hugs and conversation... a good weekend, indeed, even if we did miss half the things we hoped to do!
Today, I'm thankful for a family who have good appetites. My family eats just about anything I prepare and they are always complementary of the food I serve! Thankfully, aside from non-bean eathers, I have kids who love good and healthy food! I love that they love broccoli and soups of all kinds and pumpkin dishes and whole wheat flour in things! It makes cooking for them much more fun!
The greatest challenge in life is discoering who you are.
The second greatest is being happy with what you find.
A wonderful evening, if I do say so myself! Great food! Teriyaki Chicken, Buttery New Potatoes, Green Salad and delicious fresh rolls, catered by Iron Gate Grill. Raspberry Cake and Red Velvet Cake for dessert. The only thing missing was the Diet Coke!
Doug helped trim our thorny wild rose bushes for the sticks. He wore work gloves to harvest them and to keep warm in the seven degree cold then, I wore them to trim and create the centerpieces. The wild roses were a last minute thought because I was just going to use some birch twigs, but the roses still had some foilage and berries on them and hardly anything else in our world did after three days of ten degrees and below!!
They looked pretty good across the room!
The acorns have a story! Last week, on the morning that my lifelong friend, Susan's husband was having surgery, I texted her and asked if there was any chance she could send me a couple of gallons of acorns from "the Ohio". I wasn't aware of Robery's surgery, but she said that she'd try. The day after his surgery, Robert and Susan went to two parks to find enough acorns to send to me! She FexExed them and they arrived the day before the dinner. There's much to be said about this kind act! First, Robert was barely recovering! Second, if you know Susan, you know that she is so not an outdoorsy person! So, this was a true sign of friendship and love for both of them to go to this extreme to send us the acorns, which were just randomly scattered on the tables. There's even more to the story...
Susan sent me a sweet email letting me know that they were on their way. She commented on the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had it's early beginnings in the same area in Ohio and shared some fun facts regarding those beginnings, which gave the acorns meaning beyond just decoration. I shared her email with Scott before the dinner began and suggested that he share these jewels with the guests. Just as he welcomed everyone and thanked me for my part in the evening, he said, "Sophia's not going to like this, but she's going to share some fun information with you about the acorns on the tables tonight." I looked at him and said, "Scott!!! YOU were supposed to do it!" Everyone had a good laugh. I stood up and shared the stories by reading much of Susan's email right from my iPad. Throughout the night, everyone commented about the acorns. They really did make a difference in the evening, reminding us of our "roots". Lovely!
As I mentioned earlier this week, I have had the feeling that this will be the last year that Brother Jackson (Scott) and I work together on this dinner. It's been so much fun! Just in case, I'm already thinking about next year, but I really don't feel like it will happen. Time will tell! For now, I'm so grateful for the opportunity! As I told Scott, with some other things that we've been dealing with lately, the opportunity to have this dinner to focus on and keep busy with this past two weeks has been a gift to me!
Today, I'm grateful for the talents that Heavenly Father has blessed me with! I say that humbly, for certain! Part of the entertainment for the evening was a pianist who played some old jazzy music, "Misty", "Blue Skies" and the likes, then "Sway" at the end. While she was playing, I thought, "Oh, I'd give anything to be able to play like that!" As we were cleaning up later, the sister who played piano came to me and said, "Oh, I'd give anything to be able to decorate like this! I just play the piano!" I'm grateful that Heavenly Father blesses us each with different gifts so that we can, in turn, bless those around us!
A moment of gratitude makes all the difference in your attitude.
I love this day! It was so fun! First, it snowed! All day! LOVELY! I always love snow days!!! Look outside the window next to ZJ!! LOVE IT!!! I spent the morning visiting with Susan again on the phone while glueing the acorns she'd sent to the caps. We had a few good laughs while gabbing, which was welcomed! The rest of the morning, I loaded and packed and gathered until it was time to get the kids from school and begin our marathon evening.
Zaylee's turned six years old today! We took her shopping for a few things and then went out for dinner at Firehouse when Doug got off work. One of Zaylee's little "issues", and it darned well is deserved because she's lost everything she ever had over and over and over, is that she wants to carry things that matter to her with her. If she has anything that is special to her, she does not want to leave it behind. It's heartbreaking to me. She wanted to bring all of her birthday gifts with her to dinner in her new school backpack. So, I bought her another one and called it her "special" backpack. I explained that she can carry her other one to school and leave her special things at home then when she comes to Grammie's house to visit or anyplace else that she goes, she can bring her special things in her special backpack. She liked that idea! I also gave her a new scrapbook with pictures of everyone in her world to keep in her backpack. At dinner, we Skyped with Liza and showed every picture in the album to her. She also got some sparkly new Uggs type snow boots, which she needed today!!! It was a fun little dinner. She and the girls had a good time and, of course, they had to end the night with their own personal mini-FHzookies! (By the way, a FHzookie is a cookie baked in a cast iron skillet then topped with icecream, caramel and chocolate...everyone's favorite dessert! Quayd wasn't able to join us because he was working, but the rest of us were there! Fun times!
After dinner, we went separate ways. Doug and the girls went straight to the high school for Grace's concert. I went to the high school for a bit and then to the stake center to get decorating. There was a meeting for the young men and leaders in the stake at 7. When the meeting ended, the men came into the cultural hall and got right to work. They asked for volunteers before the closing prayer in their meeting and within five minutes, 24 tables and 180 chairs were in place. I was amazed at how quickly they came and were gone without a word! AWESOME! I love seeing the boys in action. I kept thinking, "Many hands make light work!" It touched my heart to watch.
Doug and the girls came and got right to work helping me set the tables. By 9:15, the tables were almost completely set! I will go over in the morning to put the napkins on and add the sticks/twigs to the arrangements. Done! I had everything divied out and ready to put out before we got there, so it was done in no time! Brother Jackson and I were talking before the chairs and tables were set up about this event. This is our fifth year doing it together. We're pretty much a "two-man" team (plus my girls and Doug's help every year.) He's in charge of the whole thing... entertainment, menu, arrangements. I do the decor and buy the papergoods. I'm feeling like this will be our last year. I'll willingly and happily do it again next year, but I just have a feeling that this will be it. It's been a fun experience and Doug and I have loved getting to know Scott. He is my good friend, Kara's brother, so, I've just loved him from the minute I discovered that!
I shared this when it happened five years ago, but I will repeat it now. On an October Wednesday night about about 9:30, my phone rang. I answered and Scott said, "Sister Corbridge, this is Brother Jackson from the Stake High Council. My wife told me I was crazy to do this because it's such short notice, but I was wondering if you could help us decorate for the Stake High Priest Dinner? It is short notice and I apologize." I said, "I'd love to. When is it? He said, "Saturday night." I said, "This Saturday night!?" I explained that I was hosting a Halloween party for twenty women on Friday night, so this gave me, basically, Thursday to get it together since I knew that I'd be doing the party all day Friday. But, I'd be happy to give it a shot. He was so appreciative! The funny part was that at the Halloween party, I was telling the story about this High Councilman calling me late Wednesday night, asking me to decorate for over 200 people and giving me 72 hours to do it. Kara asked who was the High Councilman. I told her, "I don't know, Brother Jackson, I think he said." Kara asked, "Would that be Scott Jackson, my brother?" Yes it was! And I've loved him ever since! Scott says that as long as this is his assignment each year, it's mine. Gosh, I'm glad I hadn't said anything negative about him! He's awesome! It's been a fun gig!
Everything's looking great! It will be done in no time tomorrow and I'm going to come home and start my fall dejunking (two months later... but, hey, I've been to NYC, had Liza come, had a lot going on with family and finished the cabin insurance documents!) I'm excited that my next "fire" is Thanksgiving dinner! Wooohoooo! Life is so good!
Keep calm and be thankful!
Ten things I have to do tomorrow:
Nine things I'm praying for right now:
Eight things I am looking forward to:
Seven random things about my Wednesday:
Six words to describe my Wednesday:
five things on the calendar tomorrow:
Four people I'm appreciating today:
Three last things to finish up the decorations:
Two things I indulged in today that I rarely ever eat:
One thing that I am super grateful for today is the little tender mercies that occur in my life every day to remind me of who I am. Honestly, I know my Heavenly Father lives and he reminds me each day with His tender mercies!
Life is full of give and take.
Give thanks for everything.
Take nothing for granted.
Oh my word, it was a wonderful day! I had a ton to do and checked everything on the list off! Yagottaluvit! Tuesdays are our crazy days. The kids have Young Men/Young Women and Doug is a leader of the Young Men, so I always have or try to have dinner early for them and we never know who's going which direction or when.
This morning, I received a very interesting text from friend, Marilyn in SLC, saying that we were supposed to be together today. We've not connected since I was on my way to NYC and had set the date. Her text teased, "Are we having fun? Are we eating great things? Have we bought anything cute? Have you knocked over anything at Rodworks?" I'm anxious to see that happen!!!
I wanted to share this awesome picture that I took from inside the Marriott yesterday in Logan. Most of our trees have shed their leaves but these were just turning. Beautiful fall! Notice the snow-covered mountains in the background!
This morning, I did several errands and met Natalie for lunch in between. I was able to get everything I need for the Stake High Priest Dinner gathered. Tomorrow, I'll do the preliminary work and then be able to just "set" the tables Thursday night. I'm quite excited about this project getting done because after that, it's prep for Christmas!!! I think that this year will be my last year doing this project, but they continue to ask me for six years now. I think that next year, if they ask me to do it again, I'm going to beg them to do it after Thanksgiving. My fall ideas are running dry! But, December... now I could really look forward to that! IF they ask me again. I'm anxious to see it all come together this year!
In the afternoon, Quayd and I had a long talk about life. He's been struggling with a few things recently and I hope that I put him at ease a bit. Tonight, after prayer, and before he went downstairs, he said, "Thanks for being motherly." Okey dokey then, I'll take that as a happy moment!
As Doug was getting dressed warmly to go help in the cold with the youth service project, I said, "Oh, we are learning more about that man who kidnapped the little five year old girl from her bed in SLC." Doug asked if he was insane. I said, "Well, he seems pretty quirky but, it sounds like he lived a pretty normal life. He apparently raised three kids." Doug said, quite quickly, "Three kids? Yep, he's crazy." His wit always cracks me up just when I need a good laugh!
Right after dinner, as everyone was about to go, Liza Skyped with Aylabelle. We were laughing because Aylabelle was sitting in her high chair in a diaper, eating a frozen strawberry Popsicle while I was saying, "Wear layers! Find your gloves! Make sure to wear a hat! Get a hoodie under your coat!" Oh, the difference between Liza's Arizona weather and ours makes us tease each other a lot. I said, "It's seventeen out!" Liza said, "Yes, it's seventy here!" Aylabelle had us all laughing. She jabbers and jabbers and loves to dance! Oh my word, I love that baby!
Tonight, Grace had miss Young Womens to go to a performance at the Junior High School. It was a mandatory assignment for school. Everyone else went to a service project at the Stake Center. I stayed home and had a fun visit with friend, Susan from Ohio, on the phone.
When it was about time for everyone to return, I knew that they would be frozen. The service project was collecting canned goods all over Smithfield for the food bank. I pulled out the cocoa maker and plugged it in. It sounded strange, so I emptied it and played with it till it sounded right and refilled it with milk and cocoa. I was on the phone with Susan and it's loud, so I went into the living room. When everyone pulled in, I went back into the kitchen, telling them, "It's almost ready. It should stop any second." I found my counter covered with milk and about an inch left in the machine. The kitchen smelled like an electrical fire. HUGE mess. Sadly, it's time for a new one. Honestly, I have to buy a new one every winter! But, they are so worth it! I just need to find a higher quality machine or something! Any suggestions. We've been through three Coco-motions, two Vintage-like ones from Bed, Bath and Beyond and two from Walmart. Please pass a new one that will last more than one winter!
Tomorrow, assembly of the table decor, a little time for my lesson prep, doing some shopping with the kids in the afternoon and Survivor! It's cold! Sixteen this morning and probably pretty close tonight. I'm ready for a White Thanksgiving! Only six states are not supposed to see snow in the next eight days!
Three more days of early morning Seminary!!!
Today, I am thankful for the little modern tech things that simplify my life... microwaves, hot cocoa makers (especially when they work), cellphones, laptops, iPads, blowdryers, flat irons, garage door openers (thanks Jim Anderson!) and most of all, SKYPE/FACETIME!!!! Oh my gosh, my heart would not survive without my girls in Arizona on Facetime!
Life is a gift!
A little news from the past few days...
Giving thanks for abundance is greater than the abundance itself.
Today was our Primary Sacrament Meeting where the children sing and give talks and quote scripture verses. It's always a delightful hour, filled with emotion from pre-schoolers with stage fright, that one child who's voice stands out above all others, lots of smiling visiting parents and grandparents. This year's program, in our ward, brought tears to Doug's eyes and mine. We both commented on how large our primary has become! We had a very small primary when ZJ graduated, just two years go. Today, there are almost twice as many children!
It has been an amazing weekend, filled with wonderful positive moments. Yesterday afternoon, I was blessed to be able to attend the Stake Relief Society event, "The Parable of the Ten Virgins". This program was arranged years ago by several women from Cokeville Wyoming. Over those years, they have performed this presentation many, many times. It was amazing. Based on this painting of the Parable of the Ten Virgins, these women did a wonderful portrayal of each of the virgins, reminding us all that there's a little bit of each of the virgins in each of us. The ten virgins represent our passions and desires and strengths and talents. I found this on the website by the artist of the painting,"The Ten Virgins":
Copyright 1984 by Gayla Prince
Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered saying, Not so; lest there not be enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegoom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily, I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matthew 25:1-13
The Parable of the 10 Virgins, and thus, the message of this painting, is a message for the members of the Church. It was a message sent to the elect with a warning that even the elect can be deceived. These virgins, who symbolize both men and women, represent those who profess a belief in Christ. The lamps are symbols of their outward profession of this belief. The gifts they hold are what is most precious to them and are symbols of what they offer to Christ.
The first five virgins represent those who were wise and prepared and brought extra oil. Each of these virgins represent a virtue necessary to meet the Bridegroom and obtain the Celestial Kingdom. The other five virgins represent those who were foolish and not prepared with extra oil. Each of these virgins represent a vice that would prevent one from entering the Celestial Kingdom.
1. The first virgin represents a Christ-like person. This is the person who is meek, humble, obedient, long-suffering, gracious, and just: one who has faith, is pure in heart, one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and is a peacemaker. This virgin prays and fasts, keeps the commandments and studies the scriptures to learn of Christ. You cannot be a Christ-like person unless you know Christ. Her gifts are palm fronds – which are symbolic of Christ entering Jerusalem for the last time when those who recognized Him as the Messiah laid palm fronds at his feet. Another gift, olive branches, are symbolic of the gathering of Israel in the last days. Her final gift is seven white lilies, which represent the seven dispensations of time.
2. The second virgin represents repentance, and forgiveness, and one who has accepted the atonement of Christ for her sins. She looks to Him with love and gratitude for being her own personal Savior. Her gifts are a stalk of wheat and a vessel of water which are representative of the sacrament. She is dressed in white linen, the material Christ was wrapped in when he was taken from the cross.
3. The third virgin represents the ordinances necessary on this earth to enter the kingdom, such as: Baptism, Confirmation, Endowments, Temple Marriage, and Temple Work which includes genealogy, etc. Her gifts are two doves, which represent the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit of Promise. She is dressed in blue, trimmed with gold – blue and gold are the colors of the priesthood.
4. The fourth virgin represents truth, light and knowledge, and discovering, developing, and using talents for building up the kingdom. Scrolls are her gift, which represent the knowledge, truth, and light she has gained The lyre is also her gift, representing all the talents she has developed, not just musical talents. She is the tallest and easiest to be seen of the five wise virgins because talents and knowledge are the most obvious and easiest to be seen of the five virtues.
5. The fifth virgin represents charity, the true love of Christ, and service. She is in the background, quietly going about her business without calling attention to herself. She has a serene smile. She represents the epitome of motherhood or fatherhood, of sweet, unseen service to her family and to others. Many who have viewed this painting have compared her to Mary, the mother of Jesus. There are few, perhaps one in ten, who will reach her level of charity and service. Her gift is a basket of fruits. It represents two things: First, `By their fruits ye shall know them", and Second: The Word of Wisdom. The tray and fruits are partly hidden which represents the hidden treasures spoken of in the Word of Wisdom.
6. The sixth virgin represents vanity and seeking after riches. She is the tallest of all the 10 virgins because it is easy to see the riches of the world. She would be the one to whom wealth and possessions are most important. Her gift is a golden vessel filled with gold and precious things. Her dress is costly. Even the scarlet color of her dress, which is decorated with jewels and gold, is a sign of wealth. It is important to remember that the love of riches is evil, not the riches.
7. The seventh virgin represents the sins and pleasures of the world. This virgin is very appealing to people. She is fun-loving and fun to be around. She doesn't realize how the immodesty of her gown makes her appear or how if affects the emotions and minds of others. Her testimony is weak and she generally goes with the crowd because she isn't strong enough to stand on her own. She would live by the philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Her gift is a large vessel containing an alcoholic beverage, because drinking and sinning are alike in that they gradually dull the mind and senses until one day you wake up horrified at what you have done and become.
8. The eighth virgin represents addiction and excess. Her gifts are a swine's head which represents filthiness of body, mind, and spirit, and honeycomb which represents the addicting vices which are too sweet for us to give up. These addictions are not just what we take into our body internally, such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sugar or excess eating, etc., but also addictions of the mind and soul, such as soap operas, unrestricted T.V., listening to the wrong kind of music, R-rated or filthy movies or books. Anything that would cause the body or mind to depend upon or desire them. She has a weak will and would delight in telling or hearing dirty jokes or stories, or in repeating gossip. She seems to be inviting: "Try it,... join me.... it's fun."
9. The ninth virgin represents those who delve into dark works and idol worshiping. These are those who dleve into the mysteries of the occult, secret combinations, and perhaps other works in secret, like pornography, child abuse, and perversion. She has a band around her neck which symbolizes these sins that, first like threads and cords, become like bands and chains to drag us down to Hell. The jewel on the forehead represents the mark of the beast. The gift she gives is an idol of a goat's head and represents apostasy or anything that is put before the Lord. The goat is a symbol of Satan. She is dark and hidden. Her lamp has no glow to shine forth, it is consumed by her darkness. She consumes all light around her. Though what this virgin represents may be frightening and the power should be respected, it should be remembered that the Lord's power is greater.
10. The tenth virgin represents unrighteous power and ego. This is the one who is puffed up because she feels her calling is greater than someone else's. This is also the one who manipulates or rationalizes and would have one set of standards on Sunday and another in the business world. She wears a crown and carries a scepter which are symbols of her power. She is jealous and envious of others, even her dress is green with envy. She has a partially hidden sword which represents gossip or cutting people down behind their back. The sword also represents the many people who get hurt when someone tries to use unrighteous power. She is the first of the procession as if she feels she belongs at the front and has the right to lead. Her gift is the crown and scepter she wears, but will she give up her symbols of power even to the one to whom they belong?
The five wise virgins would have been the kind to share if they could, so there must have been a reason why they didn't. It is possible to share food, cloths, or shelter, but you can't share your own personal preparation. You can bear your testomony of Christ; you can repent for your own sins; you can do ordinances for yourself or others if they are dead; you can obtain truth, knowledge, and talents through your own labors; and you can work to develope charity and service in your own heart; but you cannot give or force these onto another. Drop by drop, each virgin, each person must prepare themselves and work out their own salvation. You can't borrow someone's else's preparation, soneone else's oil.
Every person who views this painting will find their own meaning according to the experiences of their own life. To most people it will bring mixed feelings as they see parts f themselves in all of he virgins. The waywill be clear - prepare yourself, give up the vies, and strengthen the virtues.
All the 10 virgins could be compared each with the other, but this is part of the wonder of each individual heart to make your own comparisons and find meaning for yourself. However, the value and placements of the first virgin needs to be considered. Why is she last in the procession? Why are the five wise virgins on the left rather than on the right? The first virgin knows Christ, she has become a Christ-like person. She is last in the procession, but she shall be first. "And the first shall be last and the last shall be first." We view her and the other wise virgins as if they were on the left. But as we become part of the procession, as we become one of the five wise virgins, as we join them in the painting, we are on the right.
It is significant that the first virgin is first because that is where we should first look. As we contemplate the challenges of repentance and preparation, we sometimes feel a hopelessness. How to rid ourselves of these foolish things and gain more of the wise qualities? It seems impossible. The answer lies with the first virgin – look to the light. Look to Christ. In order to become Christ-like, you must know Him. When you know Him, you love Him and all else comes. As you know and love Christ, you have no more desire to sin. You willingly give all your sins away. As you know and love Christ you willingly repent; you willingly take upon yourself the ordinances and receive the strength and blessings of His holy power; you willingly develop talents and thirst for knowledge; you willingly and lovingly perform services in His name. Christ is the key, the source of the light. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to become like Him."
After a brief introduction to each of the brides, we were divided into groups of 20-30 sisters and rotated through the stake center, into rooms to get to know each of the virgins on a more personal basis. They all spoke about their strenghth or weakness. The wise virgins brought a wonderful spirit and inspiring message to us all, encouraging each of us to do our best to be our best. The foolish virgins, on the other hand, brought an entirely different spirit to us all. They were humorous and had us laughing quite a bit, but as they continued with each of their passions, hearing more and more of their weaknesses, it brought about an uncomfortable feeling to us all. (I know it did me!) Things that were mentioned were our attitudes about service, thinking we were better than others or above certain tasks in life, being too caught up in the worldly things, passions that are out of control (Diet Coke came to my mind), time spent on things that are not important. It went on and on.
The dark Virgin made me the most uncomfortable. I try very hard to stay away from dark things and this just made my skin crawl. The 8th virgin, with her appetites and passions and addictions really bothered me. She was quite light minded and over the top. These two bothered me the most, even though they may not have been the things that I related to the most. (No true confessions here!)
After we met the virgins in their own rooms, we reconvened in the cultural hall for the "finale". The virgins each realized and recognized the error of their ways and the wise virgins remindes us again of their testimonies. It was a powerful message. At the end, as these foolish virgins came to the an awareness of the error of their ways, they asked the wise virgins to share their oil. The wise virgins did not share. It was brought to our attention that just like I can not sit down at a piano and give a concert performance because I've not spent the time at the piano studying and practicing for years. Nor one can not give away the knowledge that they have spent years studying and pondering to one who's barely cracked a book. The foolish virgins, then, went through the audience, pleading with everyone to spare some oil for them. However, no one shared. The foolish virgins left the cultural hall and the Bride Groom came and spoke.
Upon his arrival, was the most chilling moment of all. The foolish virgins were outside, banging on the door, pleading, crying, wailing, begging to be let inside to join the wedding. It was, literally, chilling. The thought entered all of our minds, "I do not want to be left outside! I want to be inside, included."
I went to dinner after with friends. We all made similar observations regarding the message that was delivered. It was a remarkable program and I was so grateful for the opportunity to attend. My biggest regret was that I did not bring my girls. It was advertised for Relief Society Sisters, age 18 and up, but I wanted to run home and grab the girls and say, "Start over, please!" I came home and shared every detail of the evening with them. They sat quite attentively, listening. It was, indeed, a fabulous evening and gave me much to think about on my own.
Today, I am grateful for the Relief Society! It's been a major part of my life for so many years. This past several years, I've only attended and not had a part in the leadership of it, as I did until I was 40. Many of the lessons I've learned in life, from homemaking to mothering to being a daughter of God, I learned in this wonderful organization for the women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christike attributes.
five friday night thoughts...
Today, I am grateful for the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each day, I read their words of wisdom and guidance and am inspired to be a better person. Whether it be an entire General Conference talk or just a quote, there's always much to be learned. Today, these simple words inspired me: We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become. James E. Faust
Gratitude changes everything!
I didn't get to sleep in. As a matter of fact, I was up at 4 and never did go back to bed. Crazy morning, trying to deal with a few things that needed my attention. I was happy to get out and go to town with Natalie though as soon as the morning routine was completed. We spent some serious time in Hobby Lobby and Nat has me all excited about Christmas, but I'm not allowing myself the pleasure until I've figured out the details for the High Priest dinner.
ZJ had asked at the beginning of the week if her friends could come home from school to hang out and I promised that she could at the end of the week. So, yesterday, when she reminded me, I asked what their plans were. Her answer was, "Could you take us to the temple to do baptisms?" So, as soon as they all came in from school, we dropped Quayd off at work and I took ZJ, Lindsay and Grace to the temple.
I totally spaced taking a picture of them before, so I had to beg for a shot after, with their wet hair. I was committed to never put it on Facebook, but I did get permission to share it on the blog, where their friends wouldn't look!
When they got into the truck, I said, "How about we go to Firehouse for dinner?" They love Firehouse, but seriously had to think about it with their wet hair. Of course, they went. They were happy to be seated in a booth in the corner where they couldn't be seen but enjoyed dinner and even a chocolate chip pumpkin fzhookie for dessert.
I have to laugh at the observation I made tonight. It's no secret that ZJ is Miss Congeniality and everyone knows when she is in the room and Grace is more of the quiet, gentle rose. Grace sat on my side of the booth and we watched ZJ with one of her best friends, just being silly and giggly and thirteen. On my side of the table, I watched this soon to be sixteen year old. She was laughing and giggling with them, but in a much more "refined" manner.
When we got into the truck to ride home, Grace hopped up front with me. She's so into her drivers ed class right now. The girls were in the backseat, making so much noise, laughing and squealing and "being thirteen" that I could barely hear Grace talking. Grace notices out loud, "Right signal...Roundabout...Left turn lane...Lane change..." As we were rolling down the highway into Smithfield, she commented, "As your passenger, I need to secure your safety." Okey dokey then, Miss Grace. She's going to be a very conscientious driver! The girls in the back were so loud, as she was asking me a question about the double lines on the highway, for the fourth time, that I had to ask them to give us one minute of silence so that I could hear Grace. Their response was not silence, but a "one. two. three...." as they counted quietly the sixty second minute of silence. Definitely thirteen year olds. I loved watching ZJ having so much fun! She's choosing good friends! YAY!!!
I had the "oldies" station on in the truck and the girls were singing right along with 70s and 80s songs. We cranked up the radio and were just rocking to the music. Lindsay said that I was a "Cool Mom", so that made my day. I'll take "Cool Mom" any day! As we were all singing, John Mellancamp's Jack and Diane, "Oh, yeah! Life goes on, Long after the thrill of livin' is gone..." I asked, "How do you know these songs, Linds?" She said, "My dad listens to them all the time." Score for Lindsay! One more thing to love about her!
Once home, Doug and I actually were able to sit down and discuss some important matters and even just enjoy a little chitchat for an hour before he started to doze off. The man works so dang hard! One of the important matters we were discussing was actually taking a vacation in the future! I love that! No decisions, but we are in the "thinking about it" stage! Yagotta start somewhere! For now, we're talking... well, trying to... while trying not to doze. That's what happens when we get up at 3:55 every morning!
Speaking of planning and decisions, we did make some holiday decisions! One of my favorite things to talk about! After Hobby Lobby, I'm ready to decorate... but not until that dinner is done!
It's been a great day! There are a few serious things happening in life right now. My cousin, Paula, has been hospitalized since July and has had several surgeries. She is in surgery as I type. My prayers have been with her. We've had lots on our plate lately, but things are coming together and falling into place. They always do... sometimes not in our time, but they always do.
Today, I'm grateful for every moment that I get to spend with my kids! I love having teens in the house and the busyness and activity it brings to my life!
If you want to feel rich, just count all of the gifts you have that money can't buy.
It's been another very busy day! I had more on my plate than I should have but managed to get everything done. Doug called at 9 this morning, "What ya doing, Babe?" I took a deep breath and said, "Trying to decide which order to do all that's on my list today."
I am happy to announce that the insurance documents are no longer in my possession! DONE! FINI! HAPPINESS!!!! Tomorrow, I'll start to think about the upcoming High Priest Dinner that I'm decorating.
A little bit of blogkeeping....
Here's the recipe I'd promised... This was divine!! This white sauce was similar to the one I saw made on "The Chew" while in New York City. SO tasty!
Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream White Sauce
Meat from 1 finely chopped or shredded chicken (about 2-3 cups...I used a roasted chicken from Sam's Club)
1 can of Green chilies
2 cups of chicken broth
3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. butter
3 cups monterey jack cheese (I used colby-jack and cheddar)
1 cup sour cream
Lightly oil a 9x13 baking pan with olive oil. Mix the chicken and 1 cup of cheese. Add chicken and cheese mixture to tortilla and then roll up and place in the pan seam side down.
In small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Add the broth and whisk until smooth. Allow sauce to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and chilies. (Make sure that the sauce isn't too hot or the sour cream will curdle. I made the sauce, then filled the tortillas before mixing in the sour cream.)
Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes and then broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese. (I did the sauce times 1.5, and poured it over the edges, so that some sauce would go inside of the tortillas from the ends...plus it was tasty on the spanish rice.)
This would be a great dish to make two pans and share with someone in need! It was a huge hit! Every word was positive for the entire meal!
Zaylee has left our nest. We had a wonderful little visit as she'd requested. Oh how I love that little girl.
Speaking of loving girls... this girl can make me laugh with her silliness or cry with her loveliness in seconds. I love her hugs and her smile!
Today, I express my gratitude for kind and gentle, soft-spoken words. I was visiting with someone in our home recently and I noticed how soft-spoken and gentle their voice was. My family is loud! We have very loud voices. Dale and Quayd, particularly. Doug has a very soft-spoken, gentle voice. I noticed that Liza almost whispers when she speaks to Aylabelle. I notice it whenever I am around my friend, Natalie, as well. When this visiting friend was speaking to me, I noticed that their voice was gentle and quiet and I found myself listening more intently. Doug never raises his voice. If he did, we'd know it was an emergency. I'm thankful for soft voices that speak kindly and gently in my life.
Tomorrow, I plan on going back to sleep after the kids are off to school then doing a little catch-up on laundry and then, making some serious lists for the holidays! I may even go to lunch with a friend...imagine that. Live joyfully!
Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all aournd them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable. Joseph B. Wirthlin
First of all, it's my first born son's birthday! Dale is "like...olllllllllld" today. He's closer to 40 than 30! Happy Birthday, Dale! We love you! His sweet friend has been shared some photos with me this year and I'm in heaven seeing him and Willow more than ever! Here's a few peeks at our son, Dale, who may not live near, and may have different views about life, but is one of the greatest loves of our life. He's got his Dad's love for earth and all it's beauty, for eating veggies and being adventurous. He got his mother's gift of gab and passion for living and, I'm thinking, inherited a bit of my creativity (although he has more artistic talent in his little pinky than I do in my whole body and brain!) Here are a few of Erica's photo gifts to me.
This is my favorite. It's Dale... chill. sunshine. nature. love it.
This is who and where Dale calls "home". I'm very happy for them!
Our right brained artistic son blows the most amazing glass.
Watching him work is one of the most fascinating things I've ever done.
Dale and Willow. He adores his daughter.
I'm not sure who's the bigger tease.
This was just two weeks ago. I love it!
Dale raises the most wonderful pitbulls and I'm quite certain that they don't realize that they are not people. I love his dogs!
Happy Birthday, Dale! Thanks for being you! We love you!
It was a busy Tuesday for all of us, as always, with a little extra spice thrown in. It was one of those days when things didn't go as planned and then they were quickly followed up by little tender mercies that reminded me that all was well!
Today, I'm grateful for the gift of joy in my life and the knowlege that no matter how rough the day, no matter how rude the person, no matter how big the spill, there's always still far more to be happy about than to whine about! Life is good. Live joyfully... and if it's not all joyful, try to live it anyway!
I can not not say something when things are not all "hunky-dory" in our world and I don't feel that it's honest to try and pretend. We are smack dab in the middle of some serious drama. Suffice it to say that this day has not been one I'd care to relive! I hate cryptic messages and posts, but I honestly am not at liberty to share any details yet. But, I do feel, at this point, a need to ask for a few extra prayers for Zaylee. She'll be with us for a few more days and, even with the drama, we all love having her here!
For now, a few other random thoughts:
Today, I am grateful for SKYPE! Need I say more?!
Zaylee is visiting for a few days. We had a fun weekend together, celebrating her birthday early by buying some new church clothes and a few new things to have at our house since she's outgrown everything she fit in last year. She loved it! The girls have loved having her here again. She's in heaven with the attention and playing with the kittie, which she has renamed Shadow. She's definitely an animal person. She is growing so fast and was so reverent in church and has been on her best behavior! We are loving it!
After very uplifting church meetings, we came home and all got busy in the kitchen together. Quayd even made the rice and beans. (We have a goal to teach him to cook in case he gets called to serve and LDS mission to someplace that doesn't have cold cereal or tortillas and cheese.) Everyone helped and worked together for a perfect dinner of chicken enchiladas, spanish rice and beans. Grace made apple oatmeal cookies for dessert. ZJ helped keep up with dishes and took care of Zaylee. It was fun family time and gave cause for Doug to point out, "Babe, you need a bigger kitchen." Hmmm. I wouldn't mind that at all! Oh, and I must share the recipe this week. WOW! Never again will I make my chicken chimichangas with the cream of chicken soup... not when this recipe was so simple and sooooooo much better!
We enjoyed a lovely Saturday morning with sunshine and a warm breeze winterizing the yard. Within hours, it turned into a stormy, windy afternoon and snow-covered mountains before the day was over. It is cold... a very clear reminder that winter is on it's way. At one point in the afternoon, I said, "Let's go ahead and put up the tree today!" and I received a resounding "Noooooooo!" Even I am not ready for that yet! I'm excited to enjoy this lovely month of gratitude!
Today, I express my gratitude for my calling at church. How I love teaching the gospel. I say that often. But, sharing thoughts and leading discussions on the topic of family and marriage is such a delight for me! This class is amazing. The class fills my bucket each week. I'm grateful for my gift from Heavenly Father - the ability to teach the gospel in a way that others can feel my love for it! I'm not in any way boasting. I am truly humbled for the opportunity each time it arises! Tonight, Quayd came in and layed down on the bed. We talked for 45 minutes about patriarchal blessings and the direction he is going in life. Those are my favorite teaching moments... with my children. How I love and appreciate discussing and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ!
There is no joy without gratitude.
This has to be the most wonderful weathered Halloween on record.. or at least in my memory! FABULOUS!!!
Natalie and I went up to Idaho yesterday to get a few last minute things done for the cabin insurance documents. We grabbed lunch on the way, made a few stops in Soda and headed up to the cabin. When we arrived at the ranch, before even emptying the car and taking our things into the loft, we went through the cabin and took a bunch of photos, checked through the remaining items that were needed and documented a few more things. Once finished, we went upstairs, got comfy, made broiled tuna melts and watched a couple of chick flicks, ate treats, played one round of Hand and Foot, then went to bed.
On the way to Idaho, we'd talked movies. I wasn't sure what movie we'd be in the mood to watch, so I brought about twenty for us to choose from. Somehow, the topic of Nicholas Sparks movies came up. We both agreed that we HATE Nicholas Sparks movies because someone always dies in them! On the way, we'd stopped at this little store for a second because I forgot my socks. While there, we saw a pile of $6 DVDs and I noticed Somersby, one of the movies we used to own in VHS but had not yet replaced in DVD. It has been twenty some years since I saw it and I only remembered an intense courtroom scene and that I loved the story. Nat had never seen it. We bought it and as we settled down, we, again, discussed how we were so not Nicholas Sparks fans. The movie came to the point of the courtroom scene. At that point, Nat looked at me. I looked at her. I remembered it. She realized it. She said, quite loudly, "IS HE GOING TO DIE?!!??!??!?!!?" at the same time I said, equally loud, "I'M SORRRRRYYYYY!!!!!" Not Nicholas Sparks, but it might as well have been! I'm still laughing. Oops.
This morning, we got up, did some more measuring and photos, then headed home. We got home just as the kids were coming in from school, and just in time for them to start getting ready for Halloween. The kids are too big for trick or treating, in my opinion, so they are now into having little get togethers with friends. Quayd had to work anyway, so no play for him. Just before he left for work, he decided that he would dress in costume, so with eight minutes to get ready, he decided on being a nerd and here's what he came up with. He walked into work and his friends all started cracking up, so I guess that's a hit.
It was the wool socks with the shorts that completed the outfit. Here's Quayd with my second favorite Lee's bagger/neighbor, Chase, who was a perfect Clark Kent. I teased that Quayd was Spiderman under the nerd suit!
ZJ had decided to have friends over for dinner and a movie. Grace wasn't going to participate but then I told her that she could invite a friend over. Her friend ended up not being able to come at the last minute, so she joined them and, also, at the last minute, came up with a costume from the costume box. She's finally big enough to wear the princess dress. This was a five minute choice, as well, and fortunately for her, her hair was curled from school today. Score for Grace, our beautiful princess!
Her sweet disposition shows in this one.
ZJ, on the other hand had been planning Halloween for weeks! This girl... her personality just shines! She's a riot! Taking her photos always fun because there's never a dull moment with ZJ.
I always take a group photo but this year, with manchild Quayd at work, it was just the girls.
We skyped with Liza and Aylabelle before they went to the ward party. Buddy was at the university working tonight, sadly. Liza and Aylabelle were the characters in the book, "You are Special" with the dots and the stars. Too sweet. Aylabelle kept pointing to her stars and was so proud. I love watching her be so aware of everything around her!
Liza texted me this from their ward party.
We had a quick visit from Kelly and Zaylee. Zaylee was a cute little pirate. I'd have put some more clothes on her, but I didn't say a word to Kelly. She had gotten Zaylee a costume and done her hair, I'm not going to complain. She's doing her Kelly best. Zaylee ran right past me and went straight to the garage to find the kitty.
Our last little "special guest" was Miki, who came as her favorite princess, Elsa. She was so excited about Trick or Treating with her big sister and Mom and Dad!
My favorite trick or treater of the night, however, was not one of my own. Our neighbors stopped by with their two sweet little daughters, one of which has Downs Syndrome. These two little girls are both just beautiful. The older daughter was thirsty, so I brought her inside for a quick drink. When we walked back to the front door, her sister, who's about two or three now, was in her dad's arms, just waving and smiling at us. I waved good-bye to her and she blew me a kiss. I closed the door and just started to bawl. Doug wrapped his arms around me and said, "She's a little celestial angel, isn't she?" It was the best moment of my day.
The kids are all home and in bed. The girls laughed themselves to sleep. Quayd fell asleep on the floor by the dogs after working. A storm is heading in and winter is on it's way! Doug's spent the last two days working in the yard while I was at the cabin. Tonight, after the girls friends' left, I took down all of our Halloween decor and put the Thanksgiving/November decor. I can not believe it's THANKSGIVING season! WOW!!! Where did October go!?
Life is a book. We fill the pages.