Wednesday, December 15, 2010

thoughts of happiness

i have two unrelated thoughts.  but both have made cry and smile.

i think i've written before about the girl i tutor as a volunteer at my local elementary.  last week she was in a terrible mood and did even less than she usually does during our session.  it was frustrating and i'm afraid i left in a huff and a bit rudely when our time was up.  so monday, when i went to tutor again i strained my brain for some way to make a connection with her.  i had taken her a sticker the day i got fed up and she was disinterested in it totally.  i couldn't take another sticker - i wasn't up for further rejection.  i finally decided that all kids like gum.  i took a stick of my favorite gum, not knowing for sure how or when i would give it to her.  for one thing it was boring silver paper wrapped kind of gum - nothing that would make a kid smile.  finally i had an epiphany - but really it was revelation.  really, i truly believe that the holy ghost prompted me in coming up with that solution.  i decided to tear the piece of gum in two and let her choose a half, all the while explaining that we needed to work on her math together - i couldn't do it without her and she couldn't do it without me - we had to share.  well, she took the gum and slowly did her part.  for all of about two minutes.  then her mother came to take her to a doctor's appointment.  well, this morning i was really dreading going in.  i was worried she wouldn't be happy.  i was worried that the gum idea wouldn't work a second time.  i was worried that i would come away feeling like a failure again - for really, that was the overall feeling last week, and that doesn't do a body any good.  i took a piece of gum, but i put it in my pocket, deciding i would pull it out when it felt right.  well, she came out with her workbook, sat down as happy as could be, and willingly and easily did everything.  she even smiled and kept trying when she got stuck.  she was excited to do her math.  she asked about a sticker, so i found the one i had given her last week (it was in her math bucket) and she put it on her hand.  (i just have to interject a funny thing about the sticker.  i don't own a lot of stickers.  when i got called to teach sunbeams at church i bought a bunch of little christian type stickers at the dollar store.  i found one that had a picture of a lamb on it and it said "love."  i figured that was not too religious and would pass for a school sticker.)  by the time i left she had laughed and made friendly conversation and had done her work and felt proud of her accomplishments and she told me she would miss me.  she even gave me a hug on my way out.  now i'm tempted to say it was the magic of the piece of gum.  they say when you break bread together you create bonds of friendship - maybe with a fifth grade girl breaking gum is just as effective.  really, i think she felt love.  i think she felt the spirit - the same one i felt when prompted to share a piece of gum and give a sticker that said "love."  the tutoring miracle of today far outshines the beautiful sunrise miracle of yesterday - but both were gifts from god.

okay, now in other news.  i've been discussing gift giving with a few people lately.  after all, tis the season, right?  in processing my mixed feelings of yesterday with bret he suggested i do some reading and pondering on service.  how can i have the right feelings in relation to service.  well, this evening i came across an excellent talk by president eyring, forwarded to bret from his father who got it from his sister.  i love being a part passing on such good talks.  maybe you'll enjoy it too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

beautiful morning

it was one of those mornings where i woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  i was way grumpy and whiny and even more mad that i was in a bad mood.  i headed to the gym - knowing it would help but mostly because it's part of the routine.  on my way, though, i totally mixed it up.  the sunrise took me by such surprise i couldn't bring myself to arrive at the gym so i kept driving.  finally i pulled into a random parking lot so i could watch it without being a hazard on the road.  it went from the pretties of all pinks to a light golden color - like the hair of some princess.  it was perfect.  i was lucky to see it.  while watching, there was a christmas hymn playing on the radio - something about mary eating cherries, i think.  anyway, it was a really nice touch.  i love christmas hymns.  i did make it to the gym, and it did help.  well, it added to the goodness anyway.  when i got home i finally decided to tackle the pile of leaves in my yard.  you know how procrastinating a chore can only add to a bad mood, well finally facing it is the best feeling.  and it really didn't take that long!  when i went inside the house, though, i discovered that despite my great efforts to pick up the dog poop in my yard before raking, i somehow stepped in some.  it was nearly enough to return me to my grumpy mood, but then i realized the leaves had stuck to it and protected me from getting any of the poop on my floor before i was able to wipe it all off.

i know - pretty exciting stuff.  my point is, when i look back, it was a really good  morning. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

time well spent

some might say blogging isn't time well spent, but i do it anyway.  this is the last of my gratitude posts.  i wasn't sure what i would write, but then after a conversation with my mother on the phone i decided on a topic. i was telling her about our relief society lesson on sunday.  it was based on a talk by president uchtdorf in conference this last session.  a lot of people liked his talk and refer to it as the "simplify" talk.  it's true, he does talk about simplifying our lives.  what got me, though, was how he directed us to do so.  he said we should focus on four relationships: god, family, others, self. our teacher on sunday pointed out that it should be in that order.  i'm a to-do-lister and often those things on my list don't get done or don't get done in a timely manner.  lately i've been trying to make myself plug tasks into time slots - to help pace myself.  that hasn't really worked all that effectively, though, since i'm the boss and often tell myself i can do what i want.  anyway, after the lesson on sunday i got wondering if maybe i should try organizing my list into those four categories: relationship with god, relationship with family, relationship with others, and relationship with self.  i think it's easy to tell myself that a certain task is not important or just something making me busy.  if i look at a particular task, though, from the perspective of how it might improve one of those four relationships, then i think/hope that the task will take on new meaning and significance.  i'm pretty socially motivated.  if a task is all about bonding with someone then i enjoy it a lot more. i think if i can see a lot of my tasks as bonding with "someone" then i'll enjoy it more.  when president uchtdorf gave the talk i was initially drawn to the idea of having more charity for myself as i improve my relationship with myself, but really, i think when i work on my relationship with god or others or family i really am feeling better about myself and in effect i'm strengthening my relationship with myself.  i think that's why putting it in the order he did is so significant.  anyway, i haven't started organizing myself according to those categories yet, but i intend to next week (i try to schedule myself a week at a time).  what do y'all think?  really you should check out his talk yourself, if you haven't for a second or third time.  so anyway, today i am grateful for my many relationships - all of them!

Monday, November 29, 2010

grateful for inspiration

i was stumped all day today - wondering what i'd be grateful for. then i read julie's blog.  she's the one who got me started on this.  apparently her post today is in gratitude to the fellow that inspired her to do her own posting.  funny how things can spread.  i'm grateful for him too, i guess.  but mostly i'm grateful for julie who is and will probably always be my hero teacher.  have i already posted gratitude for her?  i can't remember.  if so, well, she deserves it doubly.  or we can just say i'm thankful for the guy who inspired her.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Today I was grateful for a good book to read while Bret took a much needed nap.
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gratitude never ends

Well, it shouldn't anyway, just because Thanksgiving is come and gone.  Thinking of things to be grateful every day is a good exercise.  I like that it gets me to post more - maybe if I keep that as my general objective in blogging it will help me do it more often.

I failed to post yesterday, but I had a good excuse.  I spent the entire day with my oldest niece.  She's in college right now and needed to work on an assignment that involved coming to SLC and visiting the Family History Library.  My good friend works there so I'm somewhat familiar with the place and since I've always wanted to learn more I was happy to spend the day with her looking for dead relatives.  As she pointed out, though, it's a lot easier to look for people who have already been found - we were just reworking the problem to find out how they were found in the first place.  I learned about the microfilm and microfiche and even the books they have there.  The microfilm and microfiche machines brought back lots of memories as that's one of the ways we had to do research back in the dark ages before the internet.  She was surprised that I had used them before and was familiar with them.  The computer and internet are amazing inventions, but I think the micro machines were pretty amazing too - considering the amount of data they contain in such a small size.  There was a lot for me to feel gratitude for yesterday, but in the end I settled on being grateful for the millions of people who have slaved over the thousands of years to record information.  One of the books we found looked like it was hand written and individually typed using what I think was onion paper.  I vaguely remember that type of paper from my days of learning to use a type writer.  The book was a just an index of a bunch of graveyards in Kansas somewhere.  It's not the sort of book that brings glory or fame or money.  But it is useful to those who seek to find their connections to the past.  It certainly reminded me of how every little act of service no matter how small it may seem can have lasting repercussions. 

So today is a new day and I haven't done much other than eat breakfast.  I had chocolate pecan pie for breakfast.  I don't think I've said it yet, but I am grateful for pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

finally rest!

i spent half of today trying to find some craft thing for a rs activity coming up.  i am NOT  a crafter.  then i spent the other half baking pies.  they didn't work out as perfectly as i planned.  then it was time to make dinner.  bret got home and after we ate we headed for a party (dessert first - pretty clever if you ask me). and now we're finally home and getting ready for bed.  i love bed.  especially after a long day like today. and even better tomorrow is a holiday!  i love holidays!

and i'll go ahead and express tomorrow's gratitude.  am i allowed?  i think so.  i've been waiting all month to say this.  i'm grateful for my good husband.  being married is wonderful.  i highly recommend it.  but bret's taken.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Tonight's is easy. Big blizzard warning led to fear for husband's safety driving home. Both turned out to be no big deal. Now hopefully tomorrow goes well.
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Monday, November 22, 2010


i've been "flying" for at least a year now and thinking about it for a few years.  i figured it was time i proclaimed my gratitude.  i'm not perfect at it, but it has changed my life for the better.  i seriously recommend you checking it out for yourself.  look over the old lady cheese of it and find some gems that will make a difference in your life.  this is what i'm grateful for today as i just finished "blessing my house."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

happy endings

today was one of those church days where i anticipated a lot of hard things.  i'm always amazed at how in the end things turn out really well.  much better than expected.  in particular i had to visit someone and apologize for an off handed comment that was taken wrong.  i hate it when i put my foot in my mouth, and this was one of those incidents that reminded me i probably do it more often than i'd like.  i'm sure i need to apologize to many people, but at least i learned about this incident.  i having been worrying about it for over a week, but was finally made amends today. i am grateful for happy endings, or maybe i should say resolutions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cool weather

Today was one of those utterly cool fall days where the leaves are fascinating as the race all over in the wind. I also just discovered it has snowed. I'm glad I was indoors for that. I'm grateful my days of driving to work in snowstorms is over but I'm also grateful I could enjoy being out among the leaves today.
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Friday, November 19, 2010


I know I missed yesterday. It wasn't the best day. Bret was sick and so all our plans went out the window leaving me grumpy. I felt bad that my reaction was selfish. But apparently not bad enough to change. Poor husband. He still isn't 100% better but I wasn't as bad. Hooray for improvement.

Tonight we went to the temple and the whole time I had a Sacrament hymn stuck in my head. One line in particular: "In the midst of affliction my table is spread.". Isn't that a great line? I love hymns. I love how they can realign your thoughts to where they should be. My table really is spread and I am grateful.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More gratitude for church leaders

I'm finally getting a leg up on this gratitude posting thing.  It's not even noon and I already came up with something I want to share.  I have been trying to follow a routine in the morning, to make sure I get the essential things done first, and one of those things is to spend some time reading and pondering the word of God.  Today I decided to read out of the General Conference edition of the Ensign.  I thought for sure I had the perfect thought to share after reading President Uchtdorf's talk, but then I read Elder Christofferson's and I couldn't help but want to share something from it instead. So I decided I could just be grateful for them both.

President Uchtdorf talked about slowing down and focusing in on the most important things in life when things seem to get hectic and out of control.  I figured with all the hub-bub gearing up with the holidays it was a perfect message.  I loved that he quoted Elder Dallin H. Oaks, from his talk about Good Better Best (one of my all time favorites), “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”  He lists three key places to focus our energy: "First, our relationship with God is most sacred and vital....He desires our happiness....Our second key relationship is with our families. Since 'no other success can compensate for failure' here, we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together....The third key relationship we have is with our fellowman. We build this relationship one person at a time—by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents."  And the fourth was my favorite when I heard him speak because it was something I had been pondering a lot at the time:  "The fourth key relationship is with ourselves. It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential."  And in his summary he said, "Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light."

Well, now that I've shared highlights from his talk you won't have to read it yourself - unless you can't help yourself.  It really is good.

I'm not sure it will be as easy to paraphrase Elder Christofferson's, but I'll try.  He talks about living a consecrated life.  He shares the scripture about the purpose of life being happiness.  He also praises hard work.  I've recently been thinking about the original 12 apostles (Bret and I have been reading the New Testament) and I'm amazed at the degree of sacrifice they made for the gospel.  Not to mention the sacrifice Christ made himself.  Elder Christofferson quotes Joseph Smith at one point and I was again reminded of the sacrifice and work offered by men who have lived consecrated lives.  Somehow that sacrifice is tied to joy.  It certainly seems like a contradiction, but in his talk he manages to explain and show how true it is.  I'll just share his conclusion and hopefully if you need more clarification or inspiration you'll just go directly to his talk:  "A consecrated life is a beautiful thing. Its strength and serenity are “as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit” (D&C 97:9). Of particular significance is the influence of a consecrated man or woman upon others, especially those closest and dearest. The consecration of many who have gone before us and others who live among us has helped lay the foundation for our happiness. In like manner future generations will take courage from your consecrated life, acknowledging their debt to you for the possession of all that truly matters. May we consecrate ourselves as sons and daughters of God, “that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope” (Moroni 7:48; see also 1 John 3:2), I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I am grateful for wise leaders who know how to expound the scriptures in ways that make them all the more precious to me.  I have loved reading the New Testament and I love that through the ages God has blessed his children with comforting words of truth and hope.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Relief Society

Tonight I went to RS presidency meeting. Usually it goes way too long and I come home way too impatient and discouraged and frustrated. Tonight, though, it was different. I felt like we truly had a spirit of charity. That felt good. I am grateful for the good sisters in my Relief Society but especially for the good women with whom I serve. They are good examples to me of hard work and true charity.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Grateful for health

Today I took a woman to the bishop's storehouse to get some food. She told me some of her stories. Our ward has a lot of people that struggle with mental as much as physical health issues that keep them from being self sufficient. In her case she sounds like she was perfectly fine until due to some unpredictable moment she wasn't. For her sake of privacy I won't say more but I AM learning that there is a fine line between well and ill and sometimes there's nothing you can do to control which side of the line you're on. Today I am grateful for my family's health.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

gratitude proclamation

tonight for our family home evening lesson my sister-in-law had us all write a "gratitude proclamation" - basically a list of things we're grateful for.  then she had us roll it up and tie it with a string and told us next time we're feeling discouraged or frustrated we can pull it out and proclaim our gratitude.  it was pretty cool.  she also showed us the mormon message about gratitude that's been circling the nets these days.  i like it.  i might as well do my part to pass it on.  enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Apparently I'm forgetful, since I am just now realizing I didn't post anything yesterday.   Maybe I wasn't feeling especially grateful.  I spent the day with my friend cooking.  I had a couple sacks of pears I received from another friend whose tree is exploding with winter pears.  They don't can that well and aren't the best for eating raw (maybe a bit unripe) but there were  a ton of them and they made a delicious pie!  Somewhere in between everything I went to another friend's house and got a haircut for next to nothing.  She did it for free last year as a sort of wedding gift.  It just occurred to me to actually go back and pay her for another cut.  I really like what she did - but so far not even Bret noticed - and I think it's pretty different!  We'll see if the ladies at church tomorrow have anything to say about it.  But anyway, I think I can say that for yesterday I am grateful for generous friends.  I spent much of today peeling and cutting more pears - for future pies.  I also made a couple quarts of pear juice.  I still have another sack full.  Maybe pear sauce next week?  I don't need any more jellies or I might try my hand at pear butter.  I did find a recipe today for pear honey - basically really thick but viscous pear puree.

Okay, now for today.  Today was great!  I spent the morning attending  a World Wide Leadership Training for church.  I LOVE our leaders. They are not only funny, but also very wise and in tune.  They get it.  They get it all.  They totally know what reality is like and yet they still believe in doing our best and believe we CAN do our best.  They really do have an eternal perspective and a Christ like approach to leadership.  I am grateful for good leadership and I hope to be a better leader myself.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

grateful for holidays

now that i don't work full time i guess you could say holidays don't matter so much.  but since my schedule is so closely tied to bret's i still enjoy days off.  today was one of those.  i know - lots of people had it off - his was just a normal non-work day - sam's club doesn't celebrate veteran's day.  neither did my school district for that matter.  but anyway, today was really nice.  lots of hanging out around the house wearing comfy clothes.  the only thing on the schedule was ward temple night - and we're about to head out for that now.  pretty nice.

one thought i had, though, while others were expressing gratitude for veterans they knew  - as far as i know i am not close to any veterans really.  i mean i have a few friends who served.  and it's not like i necessarily need or want to be especially close to a veteran, it's just that i noticed this holiday seemed to matter a lot more to those who were closely connected to veterans.  either way, i am also grateful for the service and sacrifice so many veterans have made over the years.  and by the way - if you are one yourself, bret says sam's club is giving away free foldable canes to all veterans, yesterday today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hooray for health

Today I have felt grateful for my health. For the past week I've had a slight cold. Not much, just enough to stuff me up and leave me with a general headache. I've used it as an excuse to take it easy at the gym each morning and to take a benadryl at bedtime which has allowed me to sleep soundly all night. But it did slow me down yesterday and has left me generally grumpy and unproductive all week. But today I finally felt myself getting better. My sinuses are draining and I actually had energy all day. No headache. It's like I'm a new woman. Hooray for the return of health!
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm thankful for my freezer

Last night I baked bread and rolls.  Actually, I only baked half my rolls.  The other half went in the freezer.  I plan to try baking them later and see how it works to freeze dough.  I hear it can be done.  I want to do it myself.  Today I made sandwiches and froze them.  I meant to make cookie dough.  Instead I went to the freezer and checked my supply and decided it was enough to last another week. Then I ate some.  I did finally make a bunch of pie dough blobs and put them in the freezer.  I've wanted to do that forever.  We'll be testing the experiment later in the month.  Finally, I went to my freezer and pulled out a bag that said, "Thaw and bake at 350 for 30 minutes."  I put it in the oven for an hour and had dinner ready and waiting for Bret while I was gone to two different meetings.  I love my freezer.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm sitting in my car at a train crossing. Why are trains so slow?
I'm on my way home from cleaning at the church cannery. They made applesauce this morning. I basically spent the last hour spraying a large power hose rinsing off some mystery foamy chemical. Next time they offer me galoshes I will say yes, thank you. Best part was walking home with a jar of hot off the presses applesauce. Oh, and a case of raspberry jam I couldn't help buying.
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Double the Gratitude

Yesterday I failed to post anything I was grateful for.  It's not because I was feeling especially ungrateful, it's just that I had no alone time to post anything.  So for yesterday I'd like to say that I'm grateful for my vision group.  A few friends and I get together monthly to work on various personal goals.  I learn a ton from my vision sisters.  It's been one of the best things I've ever done.  We've only been meeting for about two years - actually, two and a half, but I feel like I'm a new woman because of them.

As for today's gratitude.... I'm grateful for Fall.  I just got back from my tutoring shift.  I walked there in the rain and walked back in the snow.  Normally that wouldn't be so fun for me, but the trees are still so golden and being outside just feels magical.  I remember when I first moved to Utah years ago and walking all over campus was the most exciting thing.  I loved watching the seasons change before my eyes.  That was the best Fall ever, but I'm still reminded of it each year and it makes me smile.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grateful for in laws

I just barely posted for friday but I noticed it's now saturday so I can post again. Bret and I are spending some time with his parents. We do it about once a month since they live so close and we have the time.

Growing up I heard all the jokes and negativity about in laws so I was prepared for some real challenges when I got married. Well I must say I am blessed. Besides having quality mother and father in law i also have good brothers and sisters in law. It's been easy to get along with them all. They're the sort of people you'll be happy to have your kids spend time with. I think having such good in laws has just made being married that much easier and enjoyable.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Grateful for the gym

I haven't made it to the gym all week. Until this morning. I woke up achy as all get out. I got up gathered my things and then curled up on the couch for an hour. Finally I went to the gym. It always pays off. I came home ache free. Besides physically I came home feeling great mentally and emotionally. It always amazes me how it makes me feel better.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm grateful for lettuce

This morning I took someone to the bishop's storehouse to get some food. I was grateful for that opportunity since in our morning family prayer Bret asked that we would have the chance to serve someone. When we got home I was hungry for a snack and saw this bagged salad in the fridge. I was struck not only by the ease and convenience but also by my own blessing of prosperity. I don't know how long I'll be blessed in such a manner but I am mindful of what a great blessing it is.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pizza pockets

Why is it whenever I try to make "pocket" type food I always fail? My dough circles come out too thin and then they are weird awkward shapes and even worse they bust out and leak all over the pan. Sadness. They're such a handy freezer food I am determined to make them work!
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not related to gratitude at all

on my way to volunteer at the elementary school this morning i saw and overheard an unfortunate interaction.  the sort of thing that just worries me about our next generation.

i saw a little boy with his arms wrapped around a little girl from behind - like in a wrestling move or something.  she was saying, "let go," and he was saying, "but i love you."  they seriously looked no older than kindergarten. where or where did he learn this behavior.  what happened to tether ball and hopscotch?

grateful for learning

i've recently begun volunteering at an elementary school.  the best thing about this is that i only stay for an hour at a time and i work with kids in small groups - or just one on one.  i'm not their main teacher and i don't make the assignments, nor do i have to grade them, i just have to sit with them and help them get it done.  so far i've worked with a girl from tanzania and a boy from cuba and a boy from some other african country, but i'm not sure which.  all speak english as a second language.  i'm amazed at how much they know and how well they can communicate.  they have friends and they are attentive (as far as i can tell) and do their best.  they're only about 10 or 11 and are still young enough i can sense their innate goodness.  they seem happy to work and i've actually seen the cogs in their brains working to figure things out.  it's like seeing learning in its purest form.  when i taught high school i didn't get to see that very often - way too many distractions if it was happening at all.  i wonder if i'm as open to learning as they are.  to be teachable and fresh... is that possible after so many years of being bounced around on the rocks of life? (ha -i say that as if i've had such a hard life - but you know what i mean.) i get to go again today.  i'm looking forward to it.  maybe they'll teach me a thing or two.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Second day of gratitude

oops - i nearly forgot about doing this.  and it's only the second day!  i hope i can keep it up.

this morning i've been feeling a little harried trying to make plans for the coming month.  there are a few friends i'm trying to get together with and it's being difficult to coordinate our schedules.  not only that, there are some friends i have a few projects going with - cooking, goal setting, writing/editing, not to mention the tutoring i've recently begun at the local elementary.  when something gets a bit frustrating i try to remind myself what life would be like without it.  i am MOST definitely grateful for friends, but today i think i'll focus more on being grateful for friends that are anxiously engaged in good work and motivate me through their examples and encouragement and just plain inclusion.  i like keeping busy with good things, and i can't imagine a life without so many good people in it that make all those good things possible.  now the trick is to make sure i stay true to my values and don't just get busy for busy's sake.

now back to the kitchen with me where i'm attempting to make mock crab cakes using shredded zucchini.  yep - i found it on the web.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First day of gratitude

i have a good friend that blogs more regularly than i do.  she's long been a hero of mine, mostly because when she lived here she was a high school english teacher and i thought that was an impossible job.  she wasn't just an english teacher, though, she was an exceptional english teacher.  i may have finally had that job myself, but i know i wasn't as dedicated and academic and hard working as she was.   i still admire her, even though i'm no longer teaching.  she's the sort of teacher that makes me value public education and want teachers to be treated as professionals. probably because she is so professional.  anyway, she won't be so comfortable with all this praise so i'll move on.

yesterday she pointed out that today was the beginning on november and apparently, for the last few years, she's done a daily gratitude post in the month of november.  sort of a thanksgiving day/month celebration.  she was feeling a bit less than grateful, though, and i thought one thing i could do to support her was maybe do my own list.  you know how doing things with others is easier - at least it is for me - so i'm joining in the thanksgiving celebration.

for my first post i could list all sorts of things, like being grateful for julie and her good example, or i could say something about this being the month i was married in last year - but i figure gratitude for julie is implied by doing this whole shebang anyway, and gratitude for my good marriage will be saved for my actual anniversary.  :)  instead i've got a good story for today to express my gratitude for prayer.

yesterday was a hard day for bret and me.  we were both pretty down and sad most of the afternoon and into the evening.  some friends of ours in the ward are separating.  well, we heard that she's leaving him.  i'm not sure what all that implies for the future, but it was heavy news, just that bit.  when it was time for bed we were also worried about the burdens of today.  bret went into work an hour and a half early to take care of all the extra stuff he knew would pile up on a monday.  he usually doesn't work at this particular pharmacy on mondays, but he does on tuesdays, and when he gets in on tuesdays there's usually a pile up of stuff that got put off, and he doesn't feel right about doing that, so he figured he better get in and get to work before the store actually opens.  i'd like to point out here that his normal shift is already 10 hours so with an extra hour and a half he's in for a killer day. he has a hard job. but that's just me complaining - not him. so anyway, back to our story.  last night we said our family prayer and specifically prayed for our friends and for bret to be able to sleep soundly and be ready for today.  we even went to bed about an hour early in anticipation of the longer day.  it just so happens i can sleep like the wind.  i must have gone straight to sleep, but then i woke up with a start at midnight.  according to bret i was shaking him.  all i remember, though, is hearing him say, "good, it's not quite midnight, if i can just fall asleep now then i'll still be able to get 6 hours of sleep."  i guess he had not fallen asleep at all; he had lain there for two hours trying to fall asleep and still hadn't.  he's the sort that usually needs nine hours of sleep - six was not ideal but i knew he needed that.  so i decided it was time for serious prayer on his behalf.  i did it quietly because i didn't want to talk to him and keep him up longer.  lately we've been reading the gospel of luke together and it's chock full of miracle stories.  in our combined priesthood and relief society meeting yesterday we had a lesson on the power of the priesthood in performing healing blessings.  part of the discussion mentioned that even when the priesthood is not available there is great power in the prayer of the faithful.  i knew god can perform miracles and i felt like bret needed one and i knew that faithful prayer could work.  so i prayed and kept praying and kept consciously reminding myself that the miracle could happen.  after 20 minutes i heard the tell tale sounds of his breathing/snoring.  i knew he was asleep.  i said a quick prayer of gratitude and put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep myself.

it is not often i am the witness of such miracles.  it seems when god answers prayers it often comes in the "fourth watch" so when this prayer was answered i felt i had seen a miracle.  in the morning i asked bret how he had slept.  apparently he hadn't dreamed and he hadn't woken up a bit.  that's pretty rare for him, so i feel like that prayer was answered and then some.  not only was he able to fall asleep, he managed to stay asleep.  i am grateful for the power of prayer.

now i need to continue to pray for our friends who are going through such a hard time.  i only wish i knew how to reach out and be a support when the problem is so sensitive and private.

Friday, October 29, 2010

halloween guilt

with halloween so close i should admit the dilemma i faced last week.  now don't laugh.  i couldn't decide if i should buy candy for trick or treaters or bananas.  i'll admit right now i went with the candy, but then went through some frustrating self defending and questioning before just embracing my decision.  then today i came across this blog post that made me regret my decision.  maybe i'm doing too much analyzing - i'm sure mother would say so (right ma?), but truthfully i really really hate feeling like i'm letting corporations be in so much control of my life.  maybe it's the primal need to be in control, or the primal fear of being a victim, but either way lately i've found myself frustrated with myself.  so for this year, anyway, i'll be handing out candy.  maybe next year i'll have the guts to break out the bananas.  they're on sale for 18 cents right now!  that's only added the guilt of my decision.

Monday, October 25, 2010

october is nearly over!

you know, the good thing about being on holiday is that you have motivation to post on your blog.  now i'm back and life is moving along like normal.  this morning i worked hard to get my chores done before 11, hoping to be called to volunteer at the school.  that didn't happen.  but i did get to go to the airport to pick up a friend and i got called by a woman in my ward to take her to welfare square to pick up some food.  she doesn't attend our ward - something about it meeting at 11 instead of 1, but also because she's super private and doesn't want to go to church with people that live in her building.  she had some pretty extreme views on things and i imagine living her life would be hard.  she's rather fearful and guarded and nervous.  i wish i knew how to help, but i'm afraid she's pretty locked away in there.  i guess i did my part by being a ride for her.

as for the october bit - what i DIDN'T do today was rake and shovel all the leaves that fell last night.  every year the week before halloween i hope for strong winds to knock my leaves down to make the yard look all festive.  it happened again this year, but i'm not throwing a halloween party like i have the last 6 years.  i'm not sure how i feel about that.  i do feel a bit lost - no real costume plans, no decorations (i used being out of town for two weeks as my excuse), and no candy in the house.  i need to get something since i figure trick or treaters might stop by, plus i'm hoping to be a part of the stake's trunk or treat activity.

i'll miss october.  it's one of my favorite months of the year.  i love halloween - just not enough to do much about it this year, apparently.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall centerpiece

Getting home this afternoon we were greeted by a jungle of a yard. Not to mention the tomato plants. We did some major pruning and in the process knocked off a lot of greens. I think they make a great centerpiece. Bret laughed at me. What do you think? Don't worry, we also got about 20 reds and there is probably another 20 or 30 on the severely pruned vines.
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We're off

Now the trip is over and we're headed for home. This is Bret "resting" before take off. It was an early morning for us. Word is we have clear skies across the country. Sounds like a great day!
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Friday, October 15, 2010


While we've been in NH we've been eating a lot of cortland apples. Right before we got here Kirsten had bottled a ton of applesauce and apple butter and still had two large grocery bags full of apples to eat. We made more applesauce to eat as dessert and aplets. I think we may still have about 10 in the fridge. Then yesterday we got the chance to collect free macintosh drops from an orchard in MA. We estimated we brought home over 100 pounds. So today, with all the rain, we're making more applesauce. We have a crisp baking in the oven and are now working on an apple sorbet. Good times.

Earlier this morning I joined M and K to look at apartments. Nothing solid to report. They won't move until Christmas anyway.
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quechee gorge

Stunning! It was one of yesterday's activities. Today we drove to Boston to attend the temple. It was quite the drive - just as far a drive as it was to Maine. We visited Kirstin's sister afterward and picked apples. Tomorrow is our last day. It's supposed to be cold and rainy. We will probably spend it making applesauce.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stone bridge

We visited sharon vt today to see the birthplace of joseph smith. There was a short walk down to a stone bridge which was part of the turnpike leading to boston. Strange to think it was once a major thoroughfare. Can you see the large stones on the bottom right? On the way home we stopped by the holy kfc - a kfc renowned as the spot where the smith farm was when joseph had his leg surgery.

In other news for the day we got a huge scoop of ice cream for a buck 75. So good! The place was called "fore you.". It's closing for the season on oct 25 on which day they will be giving away all their leftovers. I wish we were here for another couple weeks.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Green tomatoes

For an adventure tonight we went to the garden with head lamps to pick green tomatoes. The plants were done and it threatened to freeze so we went and saved what we could. Here's Bret and Kirsten (sis in law) with our harvest. Earlier tonight we made bbq tofu pizza for dinner and had sweet potato chocolate cake for dessert. We even had a fried from their ward join us. We topped off the evening by reading and discussing eyring's talk from sunday morning general conference. Good night!
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Lunch part 2

Here we are at Maine Diner. Bret took forever to settle on a burger only to discover breakfast is served anytime so now he's back to studying the menu. Poor guy. I'm getting mac 'n cheese with lobster as recommended by the lady at Flo's. This place is crazy busy. We had to wait 20 minutes for a seat.
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The dog

The bun looks like a piece of bread. It has mayo and some onion relish topped with black pepper. Yum!
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Flo's Diner

Here's Bret not fitting in the famous dive (as recommended by the splendid table) known as Flo's. It gets lower further in - here he is at the start of the line. Lady next to us told us about another dive up the road - Maine's Diner. We're getting one dog to tide us over then heading to the diner.
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We're here!

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Friday, October 8, 2010

On the "big green"

Here we are posing in front of the dartmouth library - which is like the centerpiece of campus. In front is a big green lawn. It's the school's nickname apparently.
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Dartmouth library

The sisinlaw is giving us a tour of dartmouth starting with the reserve library which is decorated in scary murals about american civilization. I picked up a brochure to read about them on the flight home. We also visited the tower room which was super cool and beautiful. It reminded me of a library described in "the historian.". I wish I took a photo.
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Not fouling

There's a sign at the manchester airport that says no dog fouling. So instead we're hanging out in a spot of sun waiting for the brother to pick us up. We're on the last half of our trip. We're a bit bummed about that but excited for the adventures ahead!
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ice cream

We made ice cream tonight as well as bbq tofu pizza. Good delicious ending to our maryland holiday. Trouble is we have to wake up at 4:30 to catch a plane to new hampshire for the last leg of our trip. I am sad to think the trip is half over. Today we visited the national cathedral - I love that place. When we got home bret played at the park with the girls and blew bubbles with them and played princess go fish while risa and I worked on dinner. How in the world do young mothers do it without two extra adults?
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 7 - LDS DC temple

We love the gps. Today it took us here - to the temple. It looked smaller than I usually remember it. I think I've just been going to so many different ones I'm starting to see similarities. This one definitely had the flavor of a bygone era to it in terms of inner decor - I LOVED it! We got to be the witness couple which was exciting since this temple has no center aisle and we got to sit next to each other. There was only one other couple in our session as well as a single woman who was apparently a temple worker. If anything I was struck by the sadness that such beauty was going under used. As we left we saw more people, but still, there was the space and chance for so many more to enjoy it. In all our SL valley weekly temple excursions there is always a decent crowd.

In the morning we went to risa's RS activity with her. Bret babysat. We discussed cheap Halloween costumes and then discussed and tried a bit of yoga. I loved it.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010


We're headed into the city. The two things for sure on the agenda are some church presidents attend and the holocaust museum. Collins pointed out obama has only been to church once or twice but golfs every week.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Big fish

Bret is a big fish who just swallowed jonah. For family home evening with my sister's family we acted out the bible story. I got to be jesus and command jonah to go to ninevah. It was a good time. Tomorrow we head to dc proper. Any suggestions?
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shark tooth

Our youngest found the biggest shark tooth. She was drawing a line in the sand and there it was.
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Digging for shark teeth

We took a field trip to some famous cliffs (sorry can't remember the name) to look for shark teeth. Bret found quite a few. I found some cheap beads supposedly from an old ship wreck. The cliffs are made of clay. There was a dead rock fish washed up. There were lots of people and we came unprepared, unfortunately, to do any proper digging. I like being on the beach, though.
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Tying knots

We're at some sea oriented museum near solomons island. (Calvert mariene museum). The girls are learning knot tying. We saw sting rays and skates. Then we dug for fossils. So far we've enjoyed our holiday! We had crab cakes and oyster stew for lunch. We also took a 2 hour nap much to the dismay of the girls.
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So bret and I finally made it. Now I'm at the park with the nieces. School is cancelled due to all the rain and flash flooding. In fact, driving in the dark in pounding rain last night was pretty stressful. Hooray for gps! Now I'm chillin with the girls at the "park" which is just a basketball court. The puddle in the middle makes it fun for scooters.
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Midway airport

Bret and I arrived in chicago for our layover. We called vanya but he's apparently overseas on assignment. We ate lunch and listened in on some strained conversation about religion. Then we went walking and saw this cool sculpture. I'm guessing it's of the local great lake. Anyone know which one? I'd say it is a quiz but the truth is I don't know the name. Anyone? So now we're chilling. We pulled out the gps we borrowed and I showed bret how to use it. His coworker was pretty insistent yesterday that we get one. Luckily I was bottling applesauce with someone I visit teach when bret called a bit worried we really did need one and this woman had one we could borrow. It's rather nice but she only had directions in spanish and french so I had to download the english ones off the internet. I noticed the thing cost 434 back in 2007. Yikes.
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We're off

Bret and I are hanging out at gate b-21. It doesn't get more exciting than that. Really. The excitement begins at 5 tonight when we land in dc and have to drive 2 hours to bret's brother's home. I'll try to keep you all posted while we're exploring the east coast.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The latest pair

So what do you think? Preferences? I love how quick and easy they all are. I tat while bret reads scriptures out loud.
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more stuff i make

i don't have a photo, because i'm not much of a picture taker.  but i have been busy making other things.  for one - a new style of earring (tatted) that i think i like better.

but also - the stuff that keeps me busiest - is canning.  plum juice last week - that was fun.  anyone know the difference between plum juice and prune juice?  i don't.  it's good stuff if i dilute it a bit with water.  bret thinks it's good stuff if you sugar it up.  so this morning when i was scanning the blog world i was happy to see this post!  it's all about these reusable canning lids.  whoever thought of such a thing?  so of course i entered the giveaway, but i just might have to order my own if i don't win.

other things canned so far this year:  apricots and apricot jam galore, currant jelly, strawberry jam (just freezer style so it doesn't really count as being canned), and now plum jam and plum juice.  if i weren't taking a holiday soon i would probably be canning my grape juice.  i'm hoping to get some applesauce canning in before i leave.  good times i say!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I made them myself!

I'd like to report I just finished making my very first pair of earrings. Jewelry making has always intimidated me, but then I saw this book at the library that gave me courage. It's a book of tatted jewelry. Yep, I tatted these earrings. The hardest part was threading the beads. I think this may have been the simplest project in the book but it sure felt good to do it. Success feels good. I just might try something else.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sausage patties

These patties are actually made from powdered milk. Yep. Mixed with hot water and vinegar it turns into cheese. So I mixed the cheese blob with spices and a bit of egg and bean flour then fried it into patties. I actually made five but had to eat one. A bit salty maybe and certainly not greasy but they're good! We're having breakfast for dinner tonight. Now to make pancakes.
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Friday, September 3, 2010


Anyone recognize this leaf? I found a couple vine like plants in my vegetable garden and have no idea what they are or where they came from. I finally ripped them out since they were thriving so well. That's usually the sign of a weed.

By the way, I found cat poop in my freshly seeded rows of beets. This is why I am intolerant of "pets.". They don't always know whose yard/garden they're using. I wish animal control was more supportive. Maybe it's time I invested in a cat trap.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The chipmunk

He got right under our feet. Despite the signs telling you not to feed the animals I think it's safe to assume they've been fed plenty.
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The blue jay

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Timp cave hike

Bret and I went on a field trip to timp cave today. Our friend paul invited us and it sounded fun. Well it was fun. But they were sold out on tickets to actually see the cave so we just hiked the trail for fun. Bret and I hiked half way for fun and then rested. We rested while the others kept going. We were entertained by a chipmunk and blue jay. Good times I say. Good times.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


one of my good friends started a blog on living more frugally.  recently she recruited another friend to join the effort.  one of the features on the blog is to take an ingredient that you might have too much of (due to a sale, or home garden) and use it in a multitude of delicious ways.  veronica, the new poster, has been posting ways to use zucchini and i commented  that just last night i made chocolate zucchini cake with mine.  she asked for the recipe.  i figured i might as well share it with others.  (p.s. check out tight wad in utah - the blog that not only helps you save money but also eat well.)

my recipe comes from one of my favorite cook books.  it's called "no man knows my pastries" and is a satire on life in utah as much as it is a cookbook.  it's a bit irreverent and i doubt i'll ever share it with my mother in law, but some of the recipes are good and it makes me laugh.  i think you can get it for a cent at amazon.  i bought it at the di about 8 years ago - probably paid a quarter or more for it!  i've made the recipe exactly, but last night i mixed things up a bit.  i'll give you my version (which i tried to make a bit healthier), but feel free to tweak it how you wish.

chocolate zucchini cake (or i like to call it bread so i don't feel guilty eating it for breakfast - like i did today.)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups zucchini
3 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for nuts, but i think cc are better than nuts)

beat the eggs, then add oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini.  blend thoroughly.  add all dry ingredients and blend again.  pour in 2 greased loaf pans that have been sprayed with pam.  ( loaf pans make it look like bread!)  bake at 325 for 1 hour. serve with milk for breakfast.

i did find another recipe on allrecipes that looks good, but i like this one so much and since it came from my cook book that i try to justify owning as a cook book, i choose to use my recipe.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

new fans! and a birthday

my blog isn't exactly the hottest spot on the internet but i'm happy to report i have two new fans!  self reported ones.  that sometimes helps since (as i always taught my english students) it's good to know your audience so that when you write you can meet your objective more efficiently.  or something like that.  (can i just say how happy i am NOT to be going back to school this fall?)  one of these new fans is an old high school friend, recently reconnected through the miracle of facebook.  she said she's been enjoying reading my old posts.  i took a day last week to review some of them.  WOW - the past feels so long ago!  i wasn't quite sure what to make of my emotions that came with reading about past relationships, troublesome students, fighting the good fight of getting certified as a highly qualified english teacher, and the random ramblings of my day to day experiences.  i was also reminded of many of my old fans of this blog.  i wonder if i've lost them or if they just don't comment anymore.  hard to say.  life moves on.  sometimes looking back is just weird.  anyway, back to the present!

so, with new fans, i feel i better write something!  i did have a birthday last week.  it was pretty good.  for the next few months i'm officially older than bret.  that makes me feel special but i have to make a concerted effort to remember we're not the same age since he can never remember his age and i have to do it for him.  my bday landed on a great weekend - one of bret's longer ones.  we spent one evening with his parents, one day with my mother and brother, an evening with friends, and then an evening with the neighborhood.  i got to help put on the 7th annual night out against crime for my 'hood.  i got to be in charge of organizing the kids' games.  luckily i have super nice and enthusiastic neighbors who agreed to help.  i also luckily have a good husband who is willing to do anything i ask.  we started working around 4:30 in the afternoon and didn't get home until 11.  bret didn't complain a bit.  he actually may have enjoyed himself.  no, now that i think about it, he said it gave him a lot to think about.  maybe that's like enjoying himself.  our neighborhood isn't exactly "upscale" by any means.  we'd more likely be referred to as the "other side of the tracks" although, the real tracks (for uta trax) are actually about four blocks further west.  but our residents tend to be multinational, limited english speakers, alternative family types.  hmm, this isn't coming out right.  basically there are a lot of rentals in the area.  not to mention the hood has a reputation as being a bit of red light district (at least a few years ago it did).  so anyway, the kids that came to our games weren't exactly polite or well behaved.  neither were the parents.  rules?  what are those?  as bret said, they didn't respond to the word "no."  they didn't respond to anything.  he felt a bit run over by the kids.  not exactly the thing a new husband needs to experience.  it's not like the idea of kids sounds easy breezy anyway!  when we were cleaning up i couldn't help but smile to realize that the people doing all the work were two old women, one middle aged woman and her 10 year old son, one old man and his pregnant daughter and her husband, and then me and bret.  not exactly the sort of crew that can haul tables and chairs for 200 after having worked for three hours setting up, grilling, wrestling kids, and cleaning up.  i was impressed with their fortitude.  i, however, lay on the grass and tried to relax my back as it was causing me some severe pain after all that.  we're thinking next year of hiring the hauling of tables and chairs.  the two old ladies that do most of the work are pretty good at getting donations from businesses, but not so good at getting members of the neighborhood to pitch in.

yep, so that's how i spent my big bday weekend.  the best part was having  a good husband intent on making me happy all weekend.  he let me eat apple currant crisp for breakfast on thursday.  he took me to moochies for lunch on saturday.  and he got me a box of see's.  who could ask for anything more?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

apricots and doors

thursday i went apricot picking with two women in my neighborhood.  they're also in my ward, but i met them through my involvement in neighborhood watch.  anyway, they're great women.  i love how they've "adopted" me.  so we went picking.  the tree belonged to a 92 year old woman whose children won't let her climb ladders anymore.  another woman joined us, and i think everyone except me was well over 70.  so i got elected to climb the ladder and get on the roof to pick.  good times i tell you.

so anyway, the rest of the day was spent processing those 30 odd pounds of apricots.  the fun went into friday, as well.  somehow we managed to let a fly in.  by the time we went to bed we finally noticed it.  bret didn't want it annoying us while we slept so we lured it out of the bedroom and then closed the door.  as usual, i needed to use the restroom around 3 a.m.  guess what i did.  yep, i walked right into that closed door.  and bret slept right through my pain!

anyone want some apricot syrup?  syrup is a lot easier to make than jam.  in fact, if you try to make jam, be prepared to embrace the syrup you'll get instead.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

food adventures today

sometimes i have days where i cook a ton.  usually it's to use up things going bad in the fridge.  other times i just need to.  today was a combo.  i had avocados that were RIPE.  bret and i have been buying  a ton of them lately because they're on sale.  i'm content to leave them in the fridge and just take a couple out each week.  bret, though, thinks he must have at least five that are ripe all at once so that he can make guacamole. trouble is, guacamole requires tomatoes and i had about five avocados needing to be used today.  luckily i found tomatoes that were cheap (doing price matching through walmart).  but when i got home i decided the tomatoes weren't ripe enough and besides, i'm SICK of guacamole.  he isn't of course, but i'm all about variety and now that he's married to me he has no choice - i thrust variety at him regularly.  so what did i find online?  recipes where you take avocados and turn them into dessert - my type of recipe!  here's a link to bret's favorite (i made him try two).  i highly recommend it.  the other one i made involved a banana.  since bret was willing to let me finish the banana one so he could finish the other, i decided to experiment some more and mix cocoa powder and sugar in.  wow - that was a good idea! 

besides avocado treats i had to bake bread. i also had to make dinner.  my new favorite cookbook, no joke, is "country beans."  i love it so much i bought a copy on amazon.  i think i've tried about five recipes in there and bret loves them all.  in fact, one i've made like three times now he loves it so much.  double in fact, i made that same dish again, today, a double batch!  i had a huge costco size bag of spinach that needed using.  this recipe calls for a pound of fresh spinach.  basically it's spinach with rice and beans all mixed together and held together with beaten egg and cheese on top.  when bret got home he saw it sitting out on the counter and got excited thinking it was for dinner.  but it wasn't.  it was for the freezer.  for dinner we had mashed beans mixed with rice and cottage cheese - all baked together with olives and mushrooms.  i thought it was pretty tasty, but we both agreed it made a better burrito filling than anything.  luckily we had some tortillas (and avocados) and some sour cream and bret was as happy as if i'd fed him the spinach stuff.

but yeah, i'm tired.  my back hurts.  no more kitchen work for me.  at least for tonight.  and tomorrow.  we have plenty of leftovers in the fridge!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


This was on my front door when I got home last night. It's big and blue and beautiful in a bug sort of way. Little versions hover around my garden regularly.
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This is my second harvest of the summer. And I think I will get one more. I've made friends with a couple older women in my ward and they are happy to share with me. They also gave me a huge pile of beet greens last month and a zucchini today!
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

fried ice cream

i have many things i've intended to blog about, but today i did something that got me on the computer right away - no more blogging procrastination.  i made fried ice cream.  sort of.  for some reason i've been subscribing to a blog about raw foods.  it gives a menu for a day (including recipes) to show you how you can eat raw foods for under 10 dollars a day.  10 dollars is still a lot in my world and the servings are all a bit small, but it's fun to see how foods can go together in new ways.  well, today i tried one of the recipes!  it's for fried ice cream.  but since this is a raw foods blog, there's actually no cooking involved.  since raw foods people are all about organic type ingredients i'll admit i cheated.  i'm not that gung ho.  i had three bananas in my freezer so i took it as a sign that i could do it.  since i didn't have "cacao" and wasn't totally sure what that was, i just took a couple hand fulls of chocolate chips.  i threw in a bit of salt and ground it to death in my four cup cuisinart food processor i got for my wedding.  it was pretty runny so i threw the whole mess in an empty ice cube tray to let it "set up."  after an hour or two i mixed up 3 tablespoons of ground flax, 1 tablespoon of sweetened coconut flakes (since that's what i have in the freezer), a dash or two of cinnamon and a bit of a dash of cayenne powder.  i mixed it together in a bowl.  then i took my banana mixture cubes and took two at a time, mushing them together in my hands to make a big ball.  then i rolled the ball in the flax mixture and stuck it on a plate.  i did a couple cubes by themselves (making smaller balls) but decided i may not have enough flax mixture for that, plus that would have taken longer and i was afraid of my banana stuff melting - it was already getting soft.  i didn't bother drizzling anything over the top of them, i just ate them straight.  well, i only ate the two small cubes so far, but i don't plan to drizzle anything over the other guys.  i'm hoping bret doesn't care for them.  they sure are good though!  i figure anything made out of chocolate chips and bananas can't be all that bad.

Friday, June 11, 2010


So yesterday I tried some visual home improvement besides the usual cupboard organization. This was my favorite.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010


i hate to say this, but i eat treats. i have a basket where i put any candy passed my way (christmas usually brings some) and gum i can't help but buy. i'm a bit of a new gum flavor lover. anyway, this basket comes in handy - just a bit too high to always be in my face, but when i need a treat i know where to find it. maybe some day i'll put healthy treats in there for a kid or something, but for now, i just like to eat stuff out of it. my favorite is the bag of cashews. the good husband also likes them. i've been tempted to get rid of the basket all together. i tell myself it's part of decluttering and saving myself some calories. what do you all think?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


so i've been experimenting with making my own yogurt.  i love yogurt and i love being frugal and i love knowing what ingredients are in my food.  not that i always follow those rules (the frugal and ingredient knowing) but it makes me happy when i do it.  so i've read a lot about making your own yogurt.  i've tried it.  in fact, i've tried it three times.  all were successful, but last night's was the best.  the first time i tried it i used a hot pad and number 10 can to insulate and warm it (can't find the site i used for direction).  i failed to realize my heating pad would go off periodically, though, and it took longer than i'd intended.  also that technique only made one quart.  last week i made it using the crock pot.  that technique may have been my worst, but there were a few factors that played into its failure.  i shouldn't say failure, it just wasn't ideal. anyway, last night i tried the cooler technique.  this was the most successful, but it was also the longest i've cultured it - pretty much 12 hours.  last night's was a double success because i made plain yogurt and greek style.  the greek one was just a starter i got when smith's was doubling coupons so basically i got a cup of yoplait greek yogurt for free.  i'd tried greek before with the crock pot, but my store bought cup of yogurt was near expiration and i think i cooled the milk too much. i didn't use a thermometer.  i liked last night's technique because it incorporated a thermometer.  by the way, i always just use powdered milk since i have a lot of it on hand.

at this very moment i have my plain yogurt mixed with some failed strawberry freezer jam in my cuisinart ice cream maker.  hooray for ice cream treats whenever i want!  i'm excited to see how the frozen yogurt turns out.  there's plenty of sugar in there from my failed jam, though, to make it decently unhealthy in case you were concerned.  and no, there's no story in the failed jam.  just that it's come in very handy for mixing into our breakfast oatmeal along with a banana or two.  i think i may fail at jam more often - no guilt about using it up.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Look! I did it! I'm exhausted. I felted an old sweater I got from my broinlaw and then I read lots of diy type blogs and I started cutting. Two broken needles later... Or was it three? Not to mention some blood. At least I'm done. I have a new church bag for my new church calling.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vacation week

The good husband had a vacation last week.  We kept ourselves busy.  It began with a quick trip to Arches - that we totally loved!
We ate well on our trip.  This is a tin foil dinner.  We had an excellent camp site as well, right next to the Colorado River.
Here's Bret standing in front of our favorite formations - the Three Gossips, or as we kept saying, the Three Sisters.
Here we are admiring the Delicate Arch - which is in front of us - not showing in the picture.  It was a bit windy.      

 After our trip we just hung out at home and took care of lots of chores, like yard work.  We took down three trees with the help of very capable friends, Rachel and Marie.  I wish I had a photo of them working.  The trees were just some measly Aspens so we managed with just a hand saw.  This week is neighborhood trash pickup so all the branches are out on the curb waiting for the city to take them away. 

Well, Bret is back at work and I'm back to the normal life at home.  I made strawberry freezer jam today - or I should say I messed some up.  I didn't read the directions carefully enough and now I fear it won't set up.  Speak up if you really want some strawberry syrup.  I suspect it will make great ice cream - we got a new ice cream maker last week - loving it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wedding Gift

Earlier today I bought something at Costco. It had a note in it:

Dear Courtney and Aha
Warm wishes to you both for a wonderful married life
Franklin Johnson Family

Just like that - no punctuation. And it's possible I have the groom's name wrong since the handwriting is a bit hard to read. I smiled, though, thinking how somebody got this gift for their wedding and returned it and here I am paying good money for it for myself. It's a pretty card. It made me reminisce happily on all the wedding gifts I got. It makes me want to write a thank you note.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


My goal today is to change out my winter clothes for summer ones. I decided to start with my toes!
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Monday, April 19, 2010

More yard stuff

When I got home from my weekend trip I noticed the daffodils by the driveway were gone. I think it was Thursday afternoon that I was chatting with the neighbor and her little boy and he was picking my grape hyacinths. I told him he could pick them but he could not pick the yellow flowers. I wasn't surprised to see the daffodils gone. I shouldn't have said anything - it was like giving a criminal a list of what you have in your house and then leaving town.

On a brighter note, I just came inside from working in the yard. I FINALLY planted all my seeds. I built a little garden using concrete edgings that used to be around some trees in my yard that I thought looked a bit tacky. They helped create a bit of a raised bed that I then filled with potting soil type stuff. Black Gold is the brand, I think. I bought it at Big Lots a couple months ago - it's a mix of the three types of stuff the square foot gardening people recommend. Then I made some rows and emptied my seed packets. I didn't exactly intend to plant every seed I had, but my hose connection was a bit crazy and water sprayed everywhere, wetting my gloves and all my seed packets. I figured they wouldn't store well being all wet, besides many of my seeds were a couple years old - well, maybe half. Anyway, I've planted beets, lettuce, radishes, marigolds, green onions, carrots, Swiss chard, and green peppers. Then in another patch I've used pretty regularly, I threw down some old potting soil, mixed it in with the base soil, and planted my tomato seeds. I now - they'll probably not produce in time, but at least the seeds are out of my face causing guilt. I've done such things in the past and managed to harvest some food. Oh, in a long open rocky spot I threw down some squash seeds - can't remember the kind - acorn I think. Anyway, I then found three planters that came with my house and have held a variety of plants over the years. I filled them with more potting soil and threw in the following seeds: chives, basil, and cilantro. I really really really hope I can harvest some food. And I really really really hope I remember to water and weed and feed the plants without accidentally taking the plant itself out by mistake. We shall see. I feel a lot better now about spring finally being here. I've ignored it long enough and my life feels a little less cluttered with the seed packets out of my kitchen and soil bags emptied where they belong. Now to figure out what's up with my hose connection. Any outdoor plumbing experts volunteering their services?

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is for my mother. Once she gave me a bag of bulbs that sat in my fridge for a good 6 months or more. I'm pretty sure these are the results.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cake overflow

This is my second time using this pan. I worry about it sticking when I dump out the cake. Apparently it had other problems - the cake was too big and overflowed onto the bottom of the oven. In the end I'm not too sad because it means I can eat some now without ruining it. I still hope it dumps out okay.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010


I was supposed to share this photo weeks ago so my family could see mine and bret's "talent" for fhe. On a miserably snowy saturday we went to costco and bought these shelves for our food storage. We managed to put them together with only one purple thumb.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Sign of spring

Last week I found my winter quilt square on the floor like this. It had unstuck itself from the wall. It should have been changed the first of march. It's now changed.
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