Thursday, May 27, 2010

I did something new today

I tried a piece of fruit before buying it. I have never, not once, eaten a grape or cherry at the grocery store before paying for it. Today I wanted some cherries, but they weren't the rich, dark color that usually means they are sweet and flavorful. I asked the produce manager who was a few feet away if he knew how the flavor was. He said, "Please, try some before you buy them, and if you get them home and they aren't sweet, bring them back." I said, "You really want me to eat one now?" and he said, "Yes." With that I popped one in my mouth and found it was very good and bought a couple of pounds.

If the produce guy doesn't specifically tell me to do it again in the future, I won't, but it was nice to try before I bought today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last day of school

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park,
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all
your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-
will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…

The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.
From the book Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My baby turns six

This weekend my baby turns six years old. She's a sweetie and a half and I'm grateful to have had her in my life for six years.

Once again I thought we were going miniature golfing but again I was wrong. Dd wanted to go to McDonald's for dinner, then to our favorite Western Village for the melodrama, carousel, and train ride, so we did. The McDonald's we went to is a local landmark because it's on the busiest corner in our city and there is a VERY LARGE Tyranosaurus Rex out in front and some other dinosaur in back. The T. Rex was a bit close to traffic for my taste, so I snapped the girls near the back entrance.

S wasn't angry, she was just making a face. We got to the Western Village earlier in the day thay we usually do, so we looked around a bit and went on the train before the show.

While I waited I tried to get a picture of myself and the "ticket taker" at the "train station." I ended up with a lot of myself in the picture and not much ticket taker. ;-)

Don't you wish you knew what the foreign writing actually says? I hope it's not anything obscene or inappropriate!

We had a great time together as a family. I really love them all.

Once again, I predict a wonderful year ahead for my sweet daughter.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My morning citrus walk

Arizonans grow a lot of citrus in their backyards. In my own yard I have a lemon, a grapefruit, and an orange tree. When I walk my girls to school I pass a yard with a HUGE lemon tree with HUGE lemons on it that, conveniently enough, hangs out over the fence and over the back alley where I walk. :-) I would never pick fruit from a tree like that, but if the fruit happens to fall off the tree overnight and be just lying on the ground when I walk by in the morning . . . it is MINE! This morning there were two lemons there, so I picked them up. Since this happens almost every day, you can imagine how much fresh, delicious lemonade we have been drinking over the past few months. We really love it. About half way down the alley, I found another lemon on the ground, making my take-home three lemons today. And I got exercise. What more could I ask for?

Here they are after a little rinse in my kitchen sink:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Come see what my $16.50USD bought me this morning!

3 lbs apples
7 bananas
2 lb baby-cut carrots
2 mini watermelons
1 large leaf lettuce
6 ears of corn
5 tomatoes
2 butternut squash
10 limes (Key limes?)
7 mangoes
13 small peaches
15 Brussels spouts

Of the above, 1 watermelon and 2 mangoes were in return for helping with the distribution.

I haven't participated in the co-op for the past 2 times (every other Saturday) because of family travel. It's good to have lots of fruits and veggies in the house again.

I've never prepared Brussels sprouts before so I found this recipe that I think I'll try today:


1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons butter 1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups chicken stock


Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, but not crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the skillet. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and stir in the olive oil, butter, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the onion softens and the garlic lightly browns, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer; cook until the liquid has reduced by 1/3. Add the reserved bacon, the halved Brussels sprouts, and the chicken stock. Stir, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the Brussels sprouts are tender, yet still slightly firm, about 10 minutes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My new favorite clothes drying products

I read about both of these products on a blog a few months ago, but since both are from Ikea and we don't have one in our town, I had to wait until we went to the really big city to shop there.

I was using a low-quality wooden drying rack. I liked that the parallel rods were of a decent diameter which didn't leave much of a fold line on my clothes, but it was small and wobbly. I got this one and I love it!


The only drawback is that since the lines are metal, they are thin and often leave fold lines on the clothes, I can put at least two loads at a time on it, and I can easily pick it up and move it around when it's open. It folds flat and cost $20.

The other item is a clip dryer that looks like an octopus and in fact has octopus eyes on it, which took me several weeks to notice. It's insane how much I like this item.


I have the white one. It has 16 strong clips on it, that while they are very secure, aren't hard to squeeze open at all. I use it to hang mostly underwear and socks. It can be windy here in the spring and I've never had anything come loose from the clip dryer, unlike the wire dryer. The arms fold up for storage and it cost $5.

I didn't receive any samples or get paid to promote these items, but wanted to post about these portable drying devices I found and really like.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A week of celebration

This week we celebrated C & E's 8th birthday. The morning started with a batch of cupcakes for them to take to school to share with their class. It was easier on me this year because they are in the same class, so only one set of cupcakes.

For dinner we let them choose the venue. They wanted to go to a small Western Village that is close to our house for dinner. The food offered there is a noisy steak house and I don't really know why they choose that place since they always choose chicken nuggets. I think they connect the restaurant with the guns-and-fighting melodrama, carousel, and train ride afterward. I'm thinking next time we'll just take them for that part & see if they miss the dinner. ;-)

Once home we had two more activities. Since we were very full of dinner, we had our traditional present treasure hunt first. Years and years ago I started that because I didn't/couldn't/didn't want to wrap gifts and instead hid them around the house and made up clues to find each one. It's since become a tradition and I don't think any of the kids would stand for the typical stack of wrapped presents. Their favorite gift was a "Pillow Pets" apiece that dh had to really call around to locate. I was grateful for his legwork on that one. The most surprising gift was two handmade dresses plus pretty white jewelry and headbands from Aunt Sandra. They are for the girls to wear before/after their baptism in July. So for now they are hanging in the closet waiting for that special day.

I predict a fantastic year ahead for my sweet daughters.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting ready for pioneer days

I'm psyching myself up for a trip to Nauvoo, Illinois this summer to see pioneer things. To get ourselves in the mood, I decided to make sunbonnets to wear when we get there. Gotta have a costume, right? So why not have one that is also practical? I explained to the girls that girls and women wore sunbonnets back then because 1)they didn't have sunscreen and 2)they didn't have sunglasses.

I found a pattern and instructions on the MotherEarthNews website. The article was posted in the 1970s and the author assumes you know a lot about basic sewing. Once I figured it all out it wasn't hard to make at all, but it took quite a bit of reading and rereading to understand the directions.

I know, I know, the fabric is very UNpioneerish. I had this fabric from some pants I made 23 y/o ds last year. Just kidding. I made them when he was 18 months old. :-) But don't you think the pioneers would approve of using something already on hand?

So here is E's very modern pioneer sunbonnet:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spencer W. Kimball

Spencer W. Kimball was the Prophet and Church President of my formative teenage years. He was wonderful. Although he was an old man (78 years old) when he became the Prophet, I felt as though he really understood young people and the problems they (I!) faced. He encouraged Church members to be better people and offered practical advice to us to help us improve. Our most recently deceased Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, was the same kind of leader.

For years I've known that President Kimball lived in Thatcher, Arizona. I always wondered about it, and this past weekend I finally got to go there. After a new LDS temple is built and before it is dedicated to God, it is open for public tours. For three weeks the new Gila Valley Arizona Temple is open and we decided to take the girls to see it.

We had also promised to take them camping in our pop up trailer and combined the two into one Friday/Saturday trip.

The temple tour was wonderful and the temple was beautiful and peaceful. The place we stayed over left a lot to be desired, but it was close to the temple and easy to find. If we'd remembered to bring the key to the trailer door, it would have been easier to get in and out of the trailer. We did find that putting an ice chest on the ground outside got us up high enough to heft ourselves over the half door that remained firmly locked all weekend. :-D

On Saturday we searched out a local historical museum and had a personally guided tour of the place. The guide told us where to find President Kimball's childhood home and since it was only about three blocks away, we drove by.

I'm unsure who owns the house today, but I assume it is just a normal family because I could see a pickup truck parked at the side, but the house was kept up very nicely, as befitting a historical landmark such as this.

We arrived home about dinner time on Saturday and we are ready to go again!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Good bye, Anna

Dh called his dd Anna to ask about getting her a ticket to come for the summer as she has in past years. Let's see, she has Young Women Camp, is going to have surgery, wants to see her friends, blah, blah, blah. The end of the story is she's not coming. Having already seen what her mother has done to a couple of the other kids, I don't think I'll see her again, or at least not soon. Before the oldest one's wedding a few months ago, dh hadn't seen Child #3 in over four years, thanks to brainwashing on the part of his xw. The last couple of summers led us to expect this from Anna this year. We were not surprised.

Good bye, Anna. We wish you could have had the fortitude to stand up for yourself and escape. Instead of a childhood of emotional abuse and a teenagehood of emotional imprisonment, you could have had the loving support of a father and stepmother who want nothing more for you than your happiness and progress. No axes to grind with another adult, no sneaky little spy jobs for you to do, and no having to agree with lies you are told. Really, nothing but going to school and Church, enjoying your friends, developing your strengths, seeing what a happy family and marriage look like, and growing into a lovely young woman in the warmth of your family. I'm sorry you chose something else.