Sunday, December 28, 2008

Boy Scout Hero

Here is a very good story about a 12 year old boy that was able to save 2 people's lives because he listened to the Spirit. Click Here

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not Just Surviving Christmas

This is pretty darn long. So most of you should probably skip reading this post. But while you are here, notice the cute picture in the heading. It is a birdhouse that my son Lane made for me. I love it! I was asked why I have a hard time with Christmas and this is my answer. I know sometimes family and friends don't really want to hear about someone disliking Christmas. I can understand how it can put a damper on their Christmas. So I really do try to pretend that I feel otherwise. But I am a horrible actor so those who are closest to me aren't fooled a bit. It's not like Christmas is just a day. I could handle just a day. It is a whole long season!

I don't want to feel that way about the time of year we celebrate Christ’s birth. I have been working on trying to change how I feel about the Christmas season for the last few years. It's not easy but every year it gets better. Maybe one day I will actually look forward to it. Right now I am just happy enough to learn to survive it enough to get through it. And then finally January comes around and I can breathe a big sigh of relief.

I know it is quite common for some people to feel blue during the holiday season. I’m not normally a blue person. I am almost always happy, even when I am under stress. But I have had problems with how Christmas makes me feel. I don’t really know when I went from enjoying Christmas to getting sick about it. I didn’t notice it happening. A part of it may be because I have had a hard Christmas or two over my lifetime. Maybe I have some leftover feelings from then. But that is only a tiny part of it, because now my life is fabulous and has been for a while. And it keeps getting better and better. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Except to maybe add even more grandkids!

It’s taken me a couple of years to finally figure out why I dislike Christmas. And that has helped me to make changes so that every year gets better and better. I used to think it was only from lack of time and the fact that it costs too much. These are problems. I am a busy person during normal times of the year. Then you add Christmas to it with trying to juggle your job and family obligations too. There are work parties that we should go to (for political reasons) for both me and my husband. There is shopping to do, decorating the tree, decorating the house, putting up lights, wrapping presents and visiting loves who I want to see, but don’t know when I can fit in the time. It is easy to become overwhelmed. And Christmas does cost way too much.

Then there are the traditions. Who doesn’t love Christmas Traditions? Some are traditions that my mom did when I was a kid and she was a stay at home mom, Some traditions I had when I was a stay at home mom, and some are from my husband’s family that I have tried to keep up with too. I love these traditions. I enjoy them. I didn’t want to stop doing them. I remember how enjoyable they made Christmas in past years. Some of the traditions that I have tried to keep up with are making handmade cards, or even just sending out store bought cards, baking cookies or other goodies, seeing the lights around town or at Temple Square, stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree, making gingerbread houses, making homemade decorations and having parties for extended family. Oh my gosh! No wonder I am sick about Christmas. Where is the Christ? Isn’t that what Christmas is really about?

So to improve my outlook on Christmas, I am in the process of making big changes. I have been in this process for a few years now. These changes are not so easy to make, and every year I get a little bit better at it. It's not like I can just stop doing all things related to Christmas. That would be sad too. I just have to be more picky about what I do. I decided a couple of years ago I really needed to simplify my Christmas. At least for the time being, I have given up on most of the traditions that I don’t really have time for. I may start them up again when I can, maybe when I retire. I still do some things. Like this year I am making a handmade thing for some friends and family for Christmas. Other years I may not do this and I will do something else.

But the biggest change for me is to get closer to my Savior. For the last few years I have also been trying to put more Christ in my Christmas. I have found that it is easier said than done. It’s hard to put Christ in your life if you don’t know Him very well. I knew the story of Christmas. I knew, or at least thought I knew about Christ. But that really isn’t enough. I needed to get closer to Him. To start doing what I know He wants me to do to get back to him and my Father in Heaven. I was inactive for many years. And for years I felt that I was missing something. I was missing the biggest reason why I was here on Earth. I felt like I needed to get back to doing what I knew was right.

I have made changes to how I live. It can be hard to be LDS. But I know the church is true. I know the reason I am here. And I know I am happier when I do. I have more peace, even during the unavoidable stress of life. I have been starting to get closer to my Savior, and to understand more of what he did for me. I have a long way to go still, I am sure it is a lifelong journey. But I am working on it still and will happily be able to do it for the rest eternity.

I am happy to say that this year is the first in a long time that I can actually say I am starting to feel Merry during the Christmas Season. And this year I am not just pretending to be. It is starting to feel good. I still can't say I look forward to the Christmas season. That may never happen. My stomach only slightly aches when I think of the holiday season. I am not nearly as stressed, I don't miss traditions that I don't need, and thanks to the scary economy, we are spending so much less!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you can feel the peace and love of our Savior in your Christmas season too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Look what I found!

This year I had a goal to read all of my Relief Society Lessons before our class on Sunday. I want to be able to participate in the lesson. And I know there is not enough time to cover everything in the lesson, so I didn't want to miss out on some of it. But good intentions don't really give me enough time to do everything I want to do. I only was able to get a few of the lessons read before class. But then I discovered the solution! So I thought I'd share it with you. I found on the website that they have our lesson manual available in all kinds of formats for us to use. Lessons I used the MP3 format and listened to the lesson while I did my work at home! So now I plan on keeping up with my "reading" while I am doing dishes or laundry. An I a genius or what!

I think I can probably do that with my scripture "reading" at times too. All the scriptures are available in audio form too. Scriptures and other Publications I suppose if I owned an Ipod I could put them on that too.

I know for me, reading the actual book is way better than just hearing it while I am working. So I still will do my best to make time for actual scripture study. But in the meantime, I can listen to the scriptures, and my lessons on my way too busy times at home.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Weekend Badly Needed

Happy Independence Day everyone. It's one of my favorite holidays. And who doesn't like fireworks? I just love them. Sometimes we can just sit on our roof and watch them from one end of the valley to the other. Travis and I are going to go and see fireworks tomorrow night.

I don't really have a lot to say right now. I am excited to make some goat's milk soap this weekend! Bryan's friend has goats. They gave me a whole gallon of fresh goat milk! It's home in the freezer getting all ready for me to make a beautiful batch of creamy bubbly fun when I finally get a minute. I'm thinking of Oatmeal and Honey soap. Mmmmm. Or maybe a nice Sandalwood soap.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A "Magic Pill"

I saw a sign on my doctor's office wall. It said something like this:


What if you could reduce your chances of all these just by taking a pill every day?

Premature death by 30-50%

Heart disease by 40-50%

Stroke by 30-40%

Diabetes by 30-40%

Breast cancer by 20-30%

Colon cancer by 30-50%

Osteoporosis by 40-50%

Also reduces kidney stones, and depression!


Of course the "Magic Pill" is 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Beautiful Day.

I haven't posted much lately. You guys know how it is. There is just not enough time in a day. This morning I woke to the such a beautiful sound. It was the sound of a Mourning Dove cooing it's song. I love listening to that. I could have listened to it all morning long. But my husband wasn't so excited by it waking him up. So he got up and shut the window, and turned on the fan so we couldn't hear it. I guess the poor guy really needed his sleep. He ended up sleeping in fairly late, and that is just not like him. I thought it was kind of funny that something so beautiful and relaxing to me was bothering him enough to keep him awake.

I hear that mourning doves are native to our area, but I had never seen one in my neighborhood before. I have heard many meadowlarks, and I do love those too! They are one of the benefits of living right by a big field. I hope the mourning dove comes around more often. Then I can hear both of their beautiful songs. If you don't know what they sound like, here are a couple of links so you can hear them.
Western Meadowlark
Mourning Dove Song

There is a very sweet lady that lives in my neighborhood. I think she is just beautiful inside and out. She is a very talented artist. The picture above is one she did. This afternoon she had an open house at her studio. I went in for a little while before I had to go to work. It was very cool. Her paintings are so pretty. I love the style she paints with. I don't know a lot about art. But I do know I love Vincent VanGogh's paintings. And I love Renoir's and Monet's paintings. There are others too, but I don't know their names. I do think my favorite so far is VanGough. I don't know what style they are, weather they are Impressionist or Expressionist or what. But I like the colors and the visible brush strokes, all put together to give the feeling or idea of what they are rather than a realistic picture that is more like a photograph.

Marla has so many pretty paintings. I have seen some of Marla's paintings in her home, but it was so impressive to see her beautiful collection all on display in her clean, bright and cozy little shop in an art studio. Here is her website, although it doesn't do her paintings real justice compared to seeing them in person. And some of my favorite ones are not on her website.

Marla Duggins Fine Art

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Have you ever heard of Ceviche? Traditionally it is a Seafood dish where fresh raw seafood is marinated in lime juice to “cook” it. Usually it also has peppers, tomatoes and other things added to it so it is almost like a seafood salsa. It is delicious!

We don’t actually use raw seafood in our family. The thought is just a bit hard for me to get by. Although I did have it that way once and it was good too. We used precooked imitation crab, and precooked shrimp. My family likes to eat it by scooping it up with tortilla chips. That is really good. Since chips are not very healthy, I like to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon, kind of like a cold soup. Mmmmm. It is so good, and healthy.

It is a fairly new dish for our family. Kayla learned how to make Ceviche from watching her boyfriend’s mother make it. Actually, she didn’t learn directly from her. Kayla said she couldn’t get the recipe out of her. So Kayla did a little searching on the internet until she came by a ceviche recipe that was similar to what she had seen made. She then tweaked the recipe just a bit so it was pretty close to her boyfriend’s mother’s recipe. Kayla makes fabulous ceviche.

I tried making my own version of ceviche a few days ago, since Kayla wasn't home. I have to admit it was really good too. Although Kayla thought I messed up a few things. Apparently I am not supposed to put onions in it, and I cut the avocados too small, I cut the seafood too big, and I used the wrong kind of peppers. But it was really good anyway. I’m sure there is more than one way to make ceviche.

I’ll share the recipe with you. But I don’t have an actual recipe. I’ll just tell you how I made it. And then if you want to do internet searches to get an actual recipe you can. Remember this is kind of my way I did it. Kayla might disagree with some of it.

This will make a large bowl of it. Start with a whole bunch of tomatoes, about 8-12. Dice them up pretty small. Use about 5 serrano chilies, deseeded. Dice them up really small. (I used an Anaheim pepper and a jalappeno pepper, Kayla said that was wrong.) Be careful when working with the chilies. You might want to protect your hands with plastic gloves or sandwich baggies. Every time I skip this, my fingers really hurt a while after I am done. I can’t tell I am burning my skin when I am cutting them, but they really hurt later. Use a lot of cilantro, chopped up. I used about ½ of a bunch. But more might have been good. I love cilantro! Squeeze about 3 limes into the mix. I put a fair amount of onion in, cut small. Red or green would be good, unless you are like Kayla, and would rather skip the onion altogether. Dice up some avocado, maybe two. Kayla prefers larger chunks of this. I did mine small. Either way is good. Then put in corn. Kayla uses canned, I used frozen. Put in cooked shrimp and imitation crab, cut into chunks. Kayla says they should be kind of small. Pour on some Clamato juice. Don’t make it too juicy. Add salt, pepper, and oregano. I hope I am not forgetting anything. I think celery or cucumber would be good in it, but I haven’t tried it yet.
This is good right away, and even better then next day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wheat, and other things...

I had an interesting conversation this last Sunday in my Sunday School class. There were some of the men that mentioned that they want to learn how to cook with their food storage. One thing they want to learn is to make bread from wheat. I thought I'd talk to the lady in our ward that is called to help us with our food storage and see if she can set that up.

Have any of you made bread from wheat? I have made bread before, but not from my own ground wheat. I'd like to learn to do that. But I guess first I have to get a wheat grinder. And some wheat would be a good idea too.

Do any of you have a manual wheat grinder? Does it work well? Which one do I buy? I imagine that they might be hard to use if you have wimpy arms like I do. Is that true?

I remember when mom used to make cracked wheat cereal and whole wheat cereal. Mmmm. I loved that. Here is a website I came across while looking into using wheat. It has ideas about how to use it everyday in more than just bread. Wheat-More Than Just Bread

This next website isn't exactly on the subject of just wheat. I came across this while I was snooping around on the internet. It is about cooking with your long term food storage. I thought it had some great ideas for what to store, and ways to use it too. It even has recipes. Cooking from Long Term Food Storage

One final thing. Here is a link where you can find a nice new updated list of foods at our local dry pack cannery. Longer Term Storage On the side of the page there is a place to click on that says "New Home Storage Center Order Form.

I guess that is enough rambling on this. Let's keep working on what we can with food and water storage now while we have plenty.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What's up with us...

Here is Kayla with Max

I posted this on my family site too, so if you've already read it there, just skip it here.

Hi family, I just thought I’d do a post and tell you about what my family has been up to lately.

For the most part, it is just life as usual. We get up, and go to work (or school), we come home, we make dinner and work around the house or in the yard. And then we go to bed and do it all over again the next day.

Kayla is growing up way too fast. It is kind of freaking me out that she is almost 18. She is almost done with school. She started a new job a few months ago. She got a job doing collections for Gold’s Gym. She has done so well there that they are promoting her on Monday to a receptionist and giving her a raise. Kayla is dying to buy a new car. I am trying to steer her towards economical cars, but she really wants a fancy new jeep.

Travis is doing well in school. He is getting good grades, and he is attending seminary. He likes seminary. (I remember I used to love seminary too, when I wasn’t sluffing it.) Travis and Bryan have been taking long bike rides around the neighborhood. They are way too long for me to go on. I’d probably die. The other day they rode from my house all the way to Copper Hills High School, they ran around the track, and then rode home again. Copper Hills is probably about 4 miles away from my house.

We trying to spruce up our home here and there. We replaced some floors that needed replacing. I did a little painting. And you should see the back yard now! We dug up a bunch of our grass and made a “patio” type area. It has small pea gravel and is lined with blocks. We also bought some hanging plants for our backyard. It looks pretty. Supposedly, we are buying a hot tub.  We’ll see if that happens later. It might be kind of fun to have a hot tub.

Nikki and TJ and their kids are doing pretty good too. TJ has been doing some schooling along with his job. And Nikki just got a new job too. She is working at the same place that Kayla works. Nikki is not as outgoing as Kayla is, so she is having a hard time adjusting to the new job. But I hear she is doing a good job. Nikki is a bit shy when it comes to talking to strangers. I hear Sharaya is walking how! I can't wait to see that. And Gabriel is a smart little handful as usual.

Lane and Darcel are expecting a baby in September. Poor Darcel has been pretty sick with this baby. They have an apartment that is not very far from my house. Darcel has a little girl named Kaylee Ann. She is a very cute 5 years old bundle of energy. They make a cute family. I’ll post their picture when I find where I put them. Lane and Darcel will find out if their baby is a boy or a girl in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to find out. I’m crocheting him or her a baby blanket. I couldn’t wait to hear what gender to make it for, so I picked a color that I thought would work for either one. With this baby, and now Kaylee Ann, I will have 4 grandbabies! Whoo Hoo!

Well that is all I can think of for now. I love you all!

Almost Resting

This is Maximus and Chloe' resting in the sunshine. Max, as you can see can fit nicely in the chair. Chloe likes her food, and she is a bit more of a couch potato than Max. So it is harder for her to curl up in a small circle. She didn't quite get on the chair enough to let her head rest on the chair. I was watching her head bob up and down as she was falling asleep, waking up, falling asleep and waking up again. I've seen kids do that before when they fall asleep sitting in a chair. But this was the first time I noticed it with a dog.
A few hours later, Chloe got smart and moved to this bigger and more comfortable chair. She is a pretty princess!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Apostle Song

This is a cute little video that my friend emailed me. I hope you enjoy it :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Rare Treat

Look at my sweet little mini iris. Isn't it pretty? Well actually it is much prettier in person. I'm not the best photographer. The flowers on these irises only last for a couple of days a year. The plant is only a about 4 inches high. I think the flower will open up a bit more over the next day. But I had to take a picture now. I didn't want to miss it all together.

I was given a start for it about 8 years ago by an older lady here at work. When she gave it to me, she told me it was from her grandmothers plants and that was over 100 years old. The first few years I had it, it was multiplying like irises do. But then last year I didn't see them at all! I was worried that they were gone, and I wouldn't be able to get another one since the lady that gave it to me doesn't work here anymore. But this year this lone one came up! Whoo Hoo! I think I will transplant it to a pot after it is done flowering, and then replant it after the summer is over. I'm afraid something will happen to this one over the summer. Someone might think it is a weed and pull it out.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Visiting Teaching Workshop

Have any of you got some good ideas for a Visiting Teaching workshop? Our ward is going to have one at the end of May. So we have a few weeks to plan it. Have you gone to any that were inspiring or uplifting to you?

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Different Dinner

A while ago I ran across this interesting food item at Harmons grocery store. It is called "Israeli Couscous". I have used regular couscous in a few meals before. I like it because I think it tastes good, it goes with almost anything, and it is so fast to cook up. It really only takes a couple of minutes. But this Israeli couscous was quite a bit larger than the regular couscous. I used to think that couscous was a grain, but it is actually a pasta. Regular couscous is really small little balls if pasta. I estimate about 3 graduals of it will fit on a pin head. It's really tiny. This Israeli couscous was larger. It was more the size of a BB. It is also known as Pearl Couscous. I thought I'd try it out, although I had no idea of what to do with it yet.

I did an internet search to find recipe ideas, and I ran across this recipe:Pearl Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes and Olives.

Oh Yummy! The picture here is my actual dinner. I roasted 2 whole pints of tomatoes and some garlic cloves. The olives in the recipe were fancy ones that I had never tried before. Usually an olive for me is just the canned black ones, or the green ones you get with the red pimento in them. The olives in the recipe are Kalamata olives. They may be available in the grocery store, I'm not sure. I got these ones I used from Granato's here in Salt Lake.  The olives are salty and very flavorful. They were a little expensive, but I think they, along with the roasted tomatoes, really made the dish.

Even though I had to make a few small substitutions in the recipe, It turned out so nice! I used some dried herbs in place of some of the fresh ones it called for. I couldn't find fresh mint, so I used dried from my garden. I used rubbed Thyme instead of fresh. And in place of flat leaf parsley I used cilantro. I don't know if they are similar or not. But I like cilantro and it was delicious in this recipe.

I made chicken breasts that I had marinated in some Balsamic Vinegarette. I think it was the perfect side dish for this. They were very good together. I like the texture of eating fun little balls of pasta. The couscous was very flavorful and fun to eat.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Back Yard Visitor

Who loves birds as much as I do? If I knew how, I would be one of those geeky people that go out into nature with a fancy camera just to get their pictures. I think I will have to take some Utah Bird Watching classes someday.

Last fall I saw the most beautiful bird land on my backyard fence. It chased off all the Starlings that like to hang out in my backyard and eat my dog’s food. It was hopping all around the fence and looking into the birdhouse that Lane had made me. I thought it looked like some sort of a woodpecker, but I wasn’t sure. I tried to run and get my camera so I could take its picture, but it flew away before I could. Then just the other day when I was talking to Sondra on the phone, I saw it again! It is so beautiful. I wanted to run and get my camera again, but I figured I would miss the chance to watch it if I did.

I have looked a few times online to see what kind of bird it is, and I finally found it today. It is a female Northern Flicker. It is a type of a woodpecker. It looks just like the picture I posted on my post here. I wish I could have taken credit for this picture. It is beautiful. But I just found this online.

Did you know you can set up woodpecker feeders in your backyard to attract woodpeckers? I didn’t know that till just today. And now I am excited to give it a try. But of course I need to do some research before I do it. I have loved having humming bird feeders in my yard this last year. I think it will be cool to have a woodpecker feeder too. I hear they are beneficial to have around your yard because they eat icky things like grasshoppers, garden pests, and spiders.

Here are some interesting links I have come across in researching about my backyard friend.

Wilipedia-Northern Flicker

All About Birds

Birds Forever

Woodpecker Feeders

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Good Wife....

Most of you have probably gotten this in an email before. It's pretty funny. It is supposed to be an actual guide on how to be a good wife. Although there is speculation on the authenticity of this, it is still fun to read. I didn't want to retype this, so I just posted a link to someone else's site.

The Good Wife Guide

There is a link to that tells a little about the origins of this list. It mentions a book called "Fascinating Womanhood". I have that book. My mom gave it to me when I was a teenager. I think I tried to start reading it when I was a teenager. I never did finish the book because it made me mad. I thought it would be interesting to read it now that I am an adult with an adult brain and see if it is still offensive to me or not.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stupid Haircut

I got my haircut yesterday. I sometimes like my hair kind of short. But this time, it is a bit shorter than I had in mind. And it has layers that are pretty short too. I usually like longer layers with the shorter overall length. I'm having a hard time learning to like this cut. So far I hate it. It looks like an old ladies haircut to me. Not a cute and fashionable haircut. I'm sure glad it grows so I will not have an old ladies haircut forever!

I may post a picture another day, if I get brave.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Young Women Transitioning into Relief Society

I need a little bit of inspiration from you guys.

The transition from Young Women's to Relief Society is when a lot of the Young Women are lost. It is a time when even confident girls feel insecure. They don't see what they could possibly have in common with women who are a generation older than them. So they feel uncomfortable and they may start to avoid the whole situation by just not going. Too many of them fall away from the church this way. And sometime they don't come back.

I don't know if any of you remember the transition from Young Women's to Relief Society. I remember mine. I went from being active, to being inactive. That is of course what we want to prevent.

There is a very nice young lady in our ward. She is kind of a free spirited girl. Like a lot of teenagers she tried to stand out from the crowd. She is very sweet. She has been the one to try to fellowship Kayla into the church. Even though Kayla likes the girl a lot, Kalya really doesn't want to have anything to do with the church right now. But that hasn't stopped this girl from trying.

This girl turns 18 in a couple of weeks. That is when she leaves the Young Women's program and joins us in Relief Society. She feels like most young women do at that time, she doesn't want to leave her friends and peers and join us old ladies. Of course we are not all just old ladies, but you know the stereotype that Relief Society has.

Do any of you have any ideas to help? The Relief Society Presidency is going to take her a bag of things that we know she likes. We have a sister that we think she will get along with assigned to befriend her, and give her someone to sit by and stuff.

This last Sunday this girl was crying in her Young Women's class, because she says she doesn't want to go to Relief Society. She wants to stay where she is at. Does your wards do anything that you know of that eases the transition? Or do you have any ideas to help this girl feel comfortable and welcomed. Do you have any ideas on how to show her that we are not really old ladies that sit together and knit and make casseroles and green jello?. I'd like her to know about the friendships we make, and the support we give each other, and the fun we have.

I do plan on writing her a little note or card and telling her how I think she is a wonderful young women and welcoming her to Relief Society.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What I Did Today

I'm going to show you something I usually try to hide from people. My front room closet...

Notice it is packed full. My family can't hang coats in my closet! It's no wonder they throw their coats on the couch or in the kitchen. That is one of my pet peeves.

And here is everything that was hiding behind the coats. Some of this stuff I haven't set eyes on for years!

Now look how nice it is. Half of the hangers in the closet are empty, so there is even room to have more coats hung. I even have room for my carpet cleaner and vacuum! Hallelujah! I spent the day putting stuff for DI in my car so I can drop it off on the way home from work tomorrow. It was worth the many hours it took. I wish I had a week to work on all the other areas in my house that need attention.

Monday, February 18, 2008

For My Beautiful Friend...

This is for someone who I love dearly.

What are your talents? I believe you have more talents than you realize. To know what your talents are, it helps to understand what a talent is. A talent is more than things like dancing, singing, making beautiful art, or photography. Some people think of a talent as things they can create or do. They are talents, but they are only the tip of the iceberg of talents. A talent is a gift from God. And we all have talents. It is our job to develop our talents the best that we can and to not waste them. If we waste them, they will be taken away from us. We are given talents to serve others with. So that we may all benefit by each other’s talents.

The scriptures tell us:

For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.

To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.
(D&C 46: 11-12,26)

I don’t think you see yourself to your full potential. My talent is not words or communicating, so I hope I can make you realize what a wonderful and talented person you are despite that. You are a beautiful daughter of God, and you have infinite worth. You spend your life in the service of others. That to me is the greatest talent of all. You are kind and nurturing. You have a talent of loving and lifting others. You make people happy. You are a joy to be around, and a good friend. You are a bright and intelligent person. You have a good work ethic and work hard for your family from sunrise to sunset. These are all talents your Father in Heaven gave you, and you developed. And you use these talents for the service of others all the time.

You probably never thought of keeping a clean and comfortable home as a talent, but it is. So is making tasty and nutritious meals for your family, sometimes on a very tight food budget too. You have developed the talent of being a wonderful mother. You have a talent for teaching your children, and being a good example to them. You play with them, and they can feel that they are important to you and that you love them. You are unselfish, constantly giving to your family. You are brave. You face the trials and hardships in your life. At the same time, you are humble too. I see all these talents in you. Your Father in Heaven sees even more than I do. He knows what talents you have yet to discover.

You have gifts and talents that you have not discovered yet or that are dormant. You will have different stages in your life where you will get the opportunity to develop these talents. You may be able to take classes, or learn a craft of hobby. You will also develop more of your character as you go through life. There will be no end to what you can do! You started developing your talents before you came to earth. And you will continue to develop talents all through your life, and then for eternity afterwards. Isn’t that just fabulous?

You are one of my very favorite people. I love you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Food Storage (I know it's not exciting, but it is necessary!)

Look what my husband did for our family this last weekend. He bought a nice big sturdy shelf so we can do a better job on our food storage. There are actually two shelves in our little storage room, the other one is a little bit smaller than this one. He also filled our big blue barrels with fresh water. We have about 4 of them. We usually use them for camping. We take extra water when we go.

We really think it is important to do as much as you can on a food storage. I know our prophets have told us to have a food storage for as long as I can remember. It's easy to get complacent and start thinking that we have plenty of time to prepare. But I really don't believe we have a lot more time. Please do your food storage now. And don't forget to get water stored. And while you are at it, make an emergency family plan. Plan how you will get with your family members in the event of an emergency. Plan for the cell phones not working too, and cars not working. Plan where you will meet, and the route you will go to get there. Hopefully you may not need this information, but it's better to be over prepared than under prepared.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

"Acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life. . . . As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year's supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness" ("If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 36).

I want to point out what how Elder Perry mentions the times of plenty, which we are in now. And that with the way the world is now, to not set aside the counsel to prepare any longer. My husband works a job where he has seen some of how the world is. He came home from work one day a little while ago freaked out. He said we should start working earnestly on building our food storage. He had seen some things that scared him, but he couldn't tell me about them. He just told me to warn my family to get food and water and do it now. My husband isn't easily scared. So I take what he says on this subject very seriously.

We had a small food storage that would last a few months. But we have been trying to put extra effort into doing what we can. We want to get enough for all my kids and grandkids too.

I know not everyone is able to have fancy shelves, big blue barrels, or even storage rooms to put stuff in. But do what you can with any space you can find. And don't get too overwhelmed thinking there is too much to do. A years supply is hard to do. I am a long way away from that. But I am starting now with what I can do and I am going to keep growing it as the year progresses. The church says to start with a 3 month supply of food you normally use. Rotate it as you use it and get new stuff. You don't have to buy it all at once, buy a little extra every time you go shopping.

Here is a link to the church's website on Food Storage

I love you all. Please start now. I'll get off my soapbox now.

My Most Recent Batch

I haven’t made a batch of soap for 3 or 4 months. I was really going through withdrawal and we were running very low on soap. So I finally took the time to make a fairly large 8 pound batch. It turned out very pretty, in my opinion. I used a warm yummy scent called “Mayan Gold” for a small part of the batch. I like that one a lot. It’s a very soft smell that I think both men and women will like. It is the perfect smell. Here is what the manufacturer of the fragrance said about it: "This would be such a sexy men's scent! Luxurious. A mix of exotic woods, fruits and spices including patchouli, sandalwood, clary sage, mandarin orange and grapefruit touched with vanilla, chocolate and musk." Doesn't that just sound nice? I only had a little bit of that scent. I would have liked to do more of the batch with that. The rest of the batch I scented with some Cucumber Melon fragrance. I like cucumber melon. This one really smells more of cucumber than melon, so it is a clean fresh scent. I wish it did have a little more of a fruity melon fragrance. But it still turned out nice.

Like I said, I was really running low on soap. Last year I went through a lot of what I made giving them away as birthday presents for the Relief Society ladies in my ward. I wrapped them in a cute fabric and tied it off with a ribbon and a little flower. They were really cute and nice gifts that I could make for about 50 cents each. This year we are doing something different (lip balms, their cute too!) so it should be easier for me to not get so low on soap.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Very Good Soup

Last night I tried a new recipe for a soup that I saw on Studio 5 here at work. When they made it here, the fresh herbs in it smelled so fantastic that I couldn't resist trying it. I tried it and it was so good I had to make it for my family. I figured they would love it. There is nothing better than a good homemade soup on a cold winter day.

The recipe calls for butternut squash, apples, pears and onions. It has fresh herbs and a little half and half too. It was delicious. Although I did have to substitute dried herbs for the fresh herbs because I couldn't find them at the grocery store. I do recommend using fresh herbs if you possibly can. The fresh herbs are heavenly in this soup.

Here is the recipe:Butternut Harvest Bisque

The picture on the website above isn't quite right. It is a bit smoother than how mine turned out. I guess I didn't puree it quite as much as they did for the picture.

While I was making the soup, Travis kept calling it my "Fruit Soup". He thought it was a strange combination for a soup.

I made homemade biscuits to go with the soup to round off the meal. My family did like the soup, and the biscuits, but they felt like they were missing the main course because I didn't have meat in the soup. They felt like I had made 2 side dishes for dinner, and thought they were hungry a couple of hours later. So next time I make it, I'll grill some chicken breasts with it or something.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

“We’re not a weird people.”

I’m a little slow to get this post up. I’ve been meaning to all week long. I was sad to hear about the passing of President Hinckley. I was sad because I knew that I would miss him so much. But, like most who knew him, I was happy too. I know he lived an extraordinary life. I knew he was having a glorious reunion with his lovely wife, with other loved ones, and other prophets that had gone on before him.

You may have noticed the title of my post. I just liked it. It is what President Hinckley said in one of the interviews he did on prime time TV.

I love President Hinckley. I’m glad he was the prophet while I was a member of the church. I loved how you could feel his love for you. I loved how you felt like he was your friend. I loved to hear him speak. I would look forward with anticipation and almost an excitement to hear what he had to say. I loved to hear his guidance. I loved to hear his testimony. His testimony helped mine to grow.

He was a gentle and powerful force for good. I will miss him, and I am looking forward to seeing him again on the other side. Maybe then I will get the chance to tell him thanks for all the service gave for us.

I have two new goals. One of them is to remember to pray for our prophet more. I want to pray for him often, and to pray to thank our Father for him. My other goal is to follow President Hinckley’s example and serve more. I’m sure I will never measure up to what he did, but I want to do my best to serve to the best of my ability while I am alive.

Just in case you wanted to read President Hinckley’s testimony, here is one: I remember this one, just like he hoped I would. It was given during a conference in 2006. It was while I was inactive still, and having the feelings to get back to living my life the way I knew I could.

"I hope that all of you will remember that on this Sabbath day you heard me bear my witness that this is God's holy work. The vision given the Prophet Joseph in the grove of Palmyra was not an imaginary thing. It was real. It occurred in the broad light of day. Both the Father and the Son spoke to the boy. He saw Them standing in the air above him. He heard Their voices. He gave heed to Their instruction.

"It was the resurrected Lord who was introduced by His Father, the great God of the universe. For the first time in recorded history, both the Father and the Son appeared together to part the curtains and open this, the last and final dispensation, the dispensation of the fullness of times.

"The Book of Mormon is all that it purports to be—a work recorded by prophets who lived anciently and whose words have come forth "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations"

"The priesthood has been restored under the hands of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John. All the keys and authority pertaining to eternal life are exercised in this Church.

"Joseph Smith was and is a prophet, the great Prophet of this dispensation. This Church, which carries the name of the Redeemer, is true.

"I leave you my testimony, my witness, and my love for each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

President Gordon B. Hinckley
April 1, 2006, Sunday morning session of the 176th Annual World General Conference

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bright Fun

Does he look innocent to you? I have been crocheting a bright hunter orange scarf for when I go hunting. I admit it is kind of an ugly color for a scarf, but I will really appreciate it this fall when we are hunting. I have to be very careful to keep my scarf up where Max can't find it, because if he sees it, he tries to get it. And while I am crocheting on the couch, he stares at it longingly while I am working on it. If I don't pay attention, he jumps up and tries to snag it from me. I had some left over yarn that I rolled into a ball and gave it to Max to play with. He had a lot of fun with it for a while.

Max is almost blind. So I wonder if the color of the yarn is part of the appeal for him.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Grandbabies

Are Grandbabies the most fun or what?! Here are my adorable grandbabies. Gabriel is 3, and Sharaya is about 7 months old.

We had them both over for a sleep over last night. We've had many sleep overs with Gabriel over the years. But it was a first for Sharaya.

Gabriel is a big Papa's (Grandpa's) boy. He has been since he was a tiny little baby. Now that he is such a big boy, he likes to do whatever Papa does. He likes me well enough, but he adores his grandpa. In fact if he comes over, he is happy to see me, but the first thing he asks me is where is Papa.

I was kind of worried about how Sharaya would be on her first sleep over. She is teething, and she nurses and doesn't take a bottle too well. But for the most part, it went pretty well. Although I didn't get a whole lot of sleep since she wanted to be nursed and she didn't understand why I wouldn't do it. She wasn't digging the bottle too much.

Gabriel slept downstairs with his Papa on the blow up mattress, and Sharaya and I had my room to ourselves. It was nice. Gabriel and Bryan played race cars, Lincoln logs, Wind up motorcycles and stuff like that. They had a midnight snack of Cheetos too. We decided we are going to try to do a sleepover once a month. It is a great way to bond with our grandbabies and stay close. Plus it gives my daughter a break that she doesn't get very often.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Authentic Tamales

My daughter Kayla has a Hispanic boyfriend. His grandmother made us some tamales. Oh boy, were they delicious! They were fairly large made with pork with a red sauce. The sauce had a really good smoky flavor to them. It was in my opinion very spicy. But Kayla said she had watered it down for us. It was very sweet of this lady to make them for us. I will make her some soap to say thanks.

I wanted to take a picture of them, but we ate them before I got my camera out. This picture is similar to the ones she gave us.

I want to learn to make tamales. But Kayla says her boyfriends grandmother won't give out her recipe. So I will have to figure it out on my own. I'm pretty sure mine won't be as good as hers, because hers were probably the best tamales there are. But I bet I can make a pretty good one eventually. They look like quite a production to make. You have to wrap them in corn husks and steam them in a steamer. If I can figure it out, I can freeze a bunch so I only need to make them every now and then.

Do any of you know how to make real tamales?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

German Chocolate Cake

My very favorite kind of cake is German Chocolate cake. And this one is the best one I have ever had so far. I made it compleetely from scratch!

This three layer masterpeice has 10 eggs, 3 cups of milks (regular and buttermilk), 2cups of butter, and plenty of sugar. I even bought the little round cake pans special to make this recipe. The frosting of course is the best part. This homemade Coconut Peacon frosting is heavenly. The cake is very fluffy and light.

I got the recipe from a lady's website German Chocolate Cake

Bryan called my cake my "All Day Cake" since it took a long time to make. But it really wasn't an all day cake, just a few hour cake. And Bryan did say it was the best German Chocolate cake he has ever had.