Wednesday, December 31, 2008

School of Hard Knocks Attendee

For those of you who are around us a fair bit, you know that 2008 has been pretty challenging. Ok, I am just gonna say it – it has been the year from H-E-L-L. If you want details, call me. One day I will blog more about it, when I am ready and when those involved are ready. I am happy to tell it Adios.

How funny (not the ha ha funny) it is that when I started this blog earlier this year I was going to call it something cliché, like “48 and GREAT in 2008”. I am soooo very glad I didn’t. It would seriously be embarrassing now. Besides, I am not 48 anymore. Blogging has been very therapeutic for my husband and for me this year – a needed escape, a creative outlet, and it has assisted in some healing. I love technology!

As the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us, our weaknesses and challenges can become our strengths and our blessings. I have learned more than ever before that this is in fact TRUE. My dear mother would have called it making it through “the school of hard knocks”. I haven’t graduated from it yet, but really, do we ever?

So, here is what I learned in 2008:

~You NEVER know what will hit you that will prove what you are really made of

~Heavenly Father IS in charge

~The Holy Ghost is REAL and ready to reveal answers when you are ready to listen

~Prayers ARE answered – often not in the way we would hope

~Prayers are OFTEN answered through other people – this I know

~My husband is TRULY my companion, my love, and my helpmeet

~We can use the AMAZING examples of pioneer ancestors, or any worthy ancestor, as shining lights through life’s challenges

~When people say, “OH, your family will be SO blessed as you support your missionary”, don’t try to guess in what ways that will be – AND, that is only because Heavenly Father IS in charge (see #2 here) and the blessings will more than likely absolutely be ones you were NOT expecting to ever need

~Having “sufficient for your needs” is really ALL that matters, and it can be both temporal as well as spiritual

~A sense of humor is KEY to surviving life

~Friends ARE presents from God, especially ones who 1) write stake conference talks just for you, 2) pray for you even after the crisis, 3) distract you by teaching you new skills or through lunch dates and shoe shopping 4) just love you even though they don’t know what to say (which is really okay)

~It is BETTER to hear the “straight story” from those who hold information about a situation that may be unpleasant to hear, yet, it should be heard

~Family, though far away, always LOVES, cares and comes through

On less serious notes:

~politics is both exhausting and polarizing

~googlereader is a wonderful thing

~my house will never be completely clean and I cannot blame kids for that

What’s the point of it all if we don’t learn and then share, right?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost but now in Twilight

I admit it. I have been a Twilight Snob. I thought, "What is the big deal?", especially for women my age. Well. well. well. I stand corrected. I saw the movie twice actually, once with my friend Carrie and then again with my daughter. Loved it. I was lost but now I see. Guess I better read the dang books now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gifts Given, Blessings Recieved

I blogged earlier about being "ready" for the stress of preparing handmade gifts this Christmas. Well, I gotta say I waited too long to really enjoy the process as I had hoped. I really didn't make too many, although I did have fun making the things displayed here. I do hope to plan better next year because I DO love to make things for people. Below are some things I made.

I made this wreath for my sis in law and her family. I scanned in some older photos I had (her children are now grown) and I photoshopped them to create the black and white old-looking photos. I bought the frames at Kohl's, got pretty ribbons and picks, used a little glue gun, and here is how it turned out:

I really like it - and so did she! I hope it just stays together well for years to come. If not, she has a glue gun!

I made a few of these for neighbor gifts:

Good ol' Target pails with some tasty goodies inside. Les made the little ornament hangers draped over the front. Fun times!

The main thing I made this year was my first quilt! I blogged earlier a teeny bit about learning how to do that. I had saved remnants of clothes over the years that I made for my daughter since she was teeny. My intention was to one day make her a quilt from those fabrics when she was older - maybe ready to graduate high school, or get married. She is now nearly 17. I decided now was a good time. My friend Carrie very patiently helped me select the pattern, showed me how to cut the pieces in a quick way with a rotary cutter and a rotary mat, and then showed me how to FIX the pieces after I completely messed them up. I made the quilt front, and then Carrie showed me how to make the border, the quilt back, and how to bind it. I went to her house to use her wonderful long-arm to quilt it together.

Here are a few photos of the process. Here it is ready to be pinned on to the rollers:

Carrie is getting it started and showing me how to work the machine.

I am hugging the wonderful machine.

Carrie fixing the wonderful machine....


Ooooh!! It is soo cozy!

The happy recipient, which makes it worth every moment of sewing when she was little, fixing every mistake made while learning this process, and definitely worth completing the project.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sweet and Crunchy!

Are you needing something crunchy and sweet? LOVE this recipe - anytime I have given this to anyone they want MORE. 'Tis addicting. "Tis the season. LOVE it.

Crunchy Cereal Snack Mix

1 Bag Stick Pretzels
1 Bag Bugles (in the chips aisle - it's now in a bag instead of a box)
12 oz. box of Crispix Cereal (generic works just fine)
1 can mixed nuts (we use just cashews and peanuts because we are "nut" wimps).

Mix all of the above in a large pan or two-
see below.

Then, melt together in a medium sauce pan:

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup Karo Syrup

Boil for 2 minutes
Pour liquid mixture over cruncy ingredients and stir well. Bake @ 250 for 45 minutes.

Stir every 15 minutes with a spatula from the bottom of the pan-up. This is the most important step--otherwise ingredients will stick together and it will be impossible to remove from pan.

Helpful hint - I have purchased to large foil roaster pans for making this and for caramel popcorn. I keep them in the basement (aka my pantry) and they are the BEST for mixing and for cooking. I tried it the hard way using 4-5 different cookie tins or cake pans. That is a pain. Ponder that.

Merry Christmas

As a mom of an LDS missionary, I want to share this with anyone who hasn't seen it yet:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lizzie Jane's Little Shop of Lovely Jewelry

It's here! My Sis-in-Law Elizabeth has opened her Etsy shop. Check it out - she has lovely little Christmas earrings and many other pretties. She's local to ya'll in Utah, so take a look. I love her styles and she uses only the best quality to make her FAB creations. She will gradually be adding much more, so check back often!

Way to go, Liz!! I LOVE my things you have made for me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Birthday Time!

Today is my dear hubby’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY dearest! Wish The Mormon Third Eye a little birthday wish on his blog if you get a sec. He is out of town right now, sadly, so we celebrated last week. There is no other man on earth that I know of who loves chocolate more than I do. So, for his birthday cake, I tried something new! I made a LAVA CAKE!! You know, like the ones at Chili’s? We love those. I found a recipe that was sooo easy and DEElish. They turned out great!! I am not a big fan of bittersweet chocolate, but Richie is so I made them that way. I may experiment next time, though, and try a different type of Ghirardelli chocolate and maybe make a big one instead of 6 individual ones. Try them, you’ll like them!!

Flowers from Out of Town

When my sweet hubby goes out of town, he sends me flowers. I adore that about him. What is so funny though is that I forget about it almost every time he goes, and so I am always surprised when the flowers show up!! Is that old age?? I suppose it is. Lately he has used Pro Flowers, which delivers gorgeous flowers. They last a very long time. Here is the kind I got this time:

LOVE them. LOVE him.

Hubbies, ponder that the next time you go out of town….. it is worth it!!

(OH and if you click on the photo, you will see it says "Bagels". That is a post for another time. Remind me on Valentine's Day.)

a MARY Christmas Surprise

My dear sister- in- law, Mary, along with hubby Bill, made all of her sisters and sisters-in- law a wonderful surprise this year! She doesn’t know that I have a Christmas tree collection, but the new addition took front and center this year. I also LOVE advent things, and this fit right in. Isn't it cute how the hearts hang so randomly? THANK YOU Mary!!! Where are the missing numbers, you ask? Umm.. they fell behind the piano… gotta get some help with that.

Roll Bounce!?

So have you ever seen the movie, “Roll Bounce”? I LOVE that movie. I know - not my usual type of movies to love but I completely adore it. I even own it – and the soundtrack. I fear I reveal too much about myself here… I shall face that fear and continue. I adore the pack of boys who are obsessed with skating – their relationships with each other are very endearing. I of course love the music – my era I guess. I remember skating as a little girl at the teeny rink in our little Arizona town and aspired to be a skate dancer – haha. Yea didn’t get too far with that. The highlight of the movie is “Sweetness” played by Wesley Jonathan (if you don’t know who he is, watch a rerun on ABC Family of “What I Like About You”. He plays Amanda Bynes buddy, Gary. Very funny). There is even a “skate off” between Bow Wow (seriously, what is it with that name??) and Wesley Jonathan. Besides the retro feel of the movie, it does have a very good “family is important” theme. I wouldn’t watch it with little kiddos – there is a lot of use of the “A” word, and a few other naughty words. Still a fun one to see. Why did I think of it tonight? Great question – well, it was on VH1 tonight and I found it surfing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This IS The Place for a Hampstead Reunion

We planned a little Hampstead Ward Reunion a la Utah style while we were out west. We were sooo happy to be with former ward members whom we love and miss so much. Here are the attendees:

Rachel H. with an adorable babe in arms, Dustin (if you need a good patent attorney in SLC, he's your man) and Cheryl C. - our patient and willing hosts, and Rich and Les (neither attorneys nor dentists).

Dr. Brian Holman (if you need a good orthodontist in the South Jordan area, he's your man), Dan Bethers (OH, and if you need a root canal in St. George, yep - he's your man!), and babe in arms and Kirsten.

Dr. Cory Price (yes, if you need a good orthodontist north of SLC, he's your man....) and wife, dear Em with babe #4 appearing in a few months.

AND..... the boys of the above mentioned people. None of them are dentists or lawyers - yet.

We thank the Calls for all their prep and for hosting. I am soooo sad that I didn't get my camera out until the after the Smiths left (That's Dr. Greg Smith, an amazing and capable dentist in the South Jordan/SLC area.... yep! He's your man, too!!). We missed the other families who weren't able to come....oh, and they are pretty much all dentists, too.

How ironic is it that I know about one million dentists now, and my home business offers services to dental offices, and yet, I am still petrified of going to the dentist!?! There's gotta be a great story in there someplace....


Why won't my profile show anymore??

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Do any of you wait until December to come up with ideas of things to make for people for Christmas? I do. I used to obsess over it for months and months - I call those my "Wonder Woman" years. For me, trying to make homemade things for everyone on my list became too overwhelming when my kids were little. I was trying to "keep up" with my very creative friend who had 4 kids under the age of 5 and seemed to do it ALL with such ease. I was not one of those people, and the holidays became very stressful for my whole family. I finally wised up before it was too late and understood my own limits much better. So, I spent many years not making anyone anything. Now that my kids are older, I am again interested in stressing myself out and making things for people. I found this great blog somewhere today (sorry, I don't remember where!!). This blogger pulls ideas from a bunch of other blogs posting about things to make! LOVE it - just what I needed. It seems to all be in one place. Just click on her labels that interest you.

We'll see if I can finish my first-ever quilt in the works for my daughter ( SHHHHH!! Don't tell her - it's a surprise!), and make a few other things as well. If not, I will go to back to plan B.

Tait Turkey Day

[OK, so I have been trying to make a mosaic from Picasa to upload here.... Well, I made one. However, blogger won't upload the collage. It shows up as separate photos, not the collage. Maybe it's because I turned this into a three-column blog? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? If any of you techy bloggers can help, please let me know. I am tired of trying.]

We went to Utah for Thanksgiving this year. I don't think we have spent a holiday there since.....1980 something. We had a great time with Richard's family. Here are a few highlights:

David, an awesome nephew who really loves Lemonheads (long story)....

Lynnette, his talented and gorgeous wife with Jackson - this little family spent the day being thankful for Primary Children's Hospital after an incident with a doggie - both participants are fine. While they were gone, we took care of:

....Kaden. Uncle Richie did share him a little and let him take his naps.

Dear Liz came with Alexandra and Adara and Joel (below). They all were SOOO happy that I took pictures!!

OK, so Joel didn't mind it so much! Great kid!

Janet, our lovely hostess, checking out the spread.... deeLISHous.

A VERY scary man with an electric knife... yet donned in a lovely apron (actually, this was his mom's apron used many years ago for family gatherings!)

Cooperative nieces and nephews Jordan, Joel, Alexsandra and Adara....

....Les with cousins Parker and Lauren - equally as cooperative.

Aunt Lizzie, the queen of creating BEAUTIFUL jewelry, shares her talents with others (let me know if you want to buy some... her Etsy shop is almost up and running!).

Brother and Sister, hitting the bottle - of MARTINELLI'S of course...!!

More family joins us for some photos, including the girl cousin shot, full of JOYFUL gratitude...
........ or maybe that is just silliness? Annie -Bo-Bannie, Lolly Lou, Lilleth (in front), Hillary "Spike" and Bug.

Thank you, Timothys, for a wonderful, wonderful day!!