Friday, November 30, 2012

Busy weekend!

Friday morning:


*2 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls, 1 for the PTA "teacher appreciation" luncheon, 1 for a visiting teaching brunch my friend and I put on for 5 of our friends

*long afternoon nap--MAJOR rare luxury--as dh was home after another successful completion of a state inspection of his workplace

*homemade pizza dinner--I'd say we have some form of pizza 48/52 Fridays a year, almost always homemade
*Christmas shopping with dh--I still have a few things I need to pick up, especially for the girls, in order to have all gifts bought, wrapped, and ready on December 1.  This is not a chore; this is fun, as anything dh and I do together is fun. :-)


*2 of dd's friends will come over to play in the morning.  It's the first time for these friends.

*baby shower for a couple I don't know well, but who have waited far longer than they wanted to wait for a baby.  I'm really excited for them!  Gifts are in the house, but not wrapped yet.

*baking for tonight's activity.  I need 36 nice individual Christmas desserts.  They don't need to be large, but I want to think up something really good.  I'm thinking of one of these, which all came from the Betty Crocker recipe site.  Only problem is the cookies both start with a packaged mix and I don't think that will give the flavor I'm looking for.  I'm leaning toward the chocolate peppermint wedges.

*Progressive dinner with the High Priests at church.  That sounds kind of high-falutin' but it really isn't.  The High Priests are mostly the middle-to-older men at church and their dinners are usually fairly elegant affairs.  In addition to the HPs, there will be wives and older single men and women from our congregation.  We'll start at one house for appetizers, split up for dinner, then meet at a last house for dessert.  I haven't been to a progressive dinner in a long time and am looking forward to it.

There's more on Sunday (singing in church, work), but after the busy Friday and Saturday, Sunday really will be a day of rest.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A school field trip up the canyon

This canyon goes up the beautiful mountains that surround our city, but it's not just any old canyon, it is the ancient living place of Hohokam indians, natives of this area.  So this was a dual field trip.

The first part was a table learning activity.  Among other things, the children drilled holes in shells so they could be threaded into a necklace.  The children used a hand-powered drill called a pump drill because you pump it up and down with your hands.  The only thing different from what the Hohokam would have used is that this one had a nail imbedded in it as a drilling point.  I have two pictures that show how it was used.  Excuse Sophia's expression, she was focused and squinting from the sun.

The second part of the morning was spent learning about nature in the canyon.  We saw a road runner snap up a lizard for lunch, saw hawks' nests, a hummingbird nest, sand that was full of iron particles that could be pulled out with magnets, and a drying river (it's been very warm and dry here).  There was about a 15 food drop-off to the bit of remaining water, so the docents showed the children exactly how they could lie on the edge to look at the water below.  Do you think the children enjoyed doing this??

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good bye, Mother's Day gift

In May I received an ocotillo for Mother's Day, by request.  Ds planted it in the front yard where I could see it from the front window.

It never grew leaves or did any ocotillo-y things.

In August I pulled it out and took it back to Lowe's.  That was pretty awkward and not very fun.  I chose a really nice looking ocotillo to replace it, one with a better root system and a nice, full shape.

The receipt says August 10 is the day I made the exchange.  Do you know how hot it was here on August 10?  I don't have access to the records, but it was over 100F every day from May through September, so you get the idea.  That nice root system meant I had a pretty decent hole to dig in our concrete-like soil in the front yard.

I watered it, I watched it, I really had high hopes.  Nothing happened to it.  So today I gave it a return trip to Lowe's too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The latest and the greatest . . .

. . . really!  This is the latest phone in a string of phones since I have run the others through the washing machine, and it's the greatest because it cost me less than $10 to own it outright. 

Wouldn't you say that's the latest and the greatest?
~sigh~  I'm just happy to have a cell phone again.  And I'm almost ashamed to say this, but I'm very happy it's a Korean Samsung vs. the American Motorolas I've had to buy in the past with my phone company.  I expect an excellent phone this time around.

I'm also going to figure out T-9 texting.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Preparing for my holiday cruise

Over the weekend I took a couple of hours to get our Christmas cards ready to go.  All I have to do it drop them in the mailbox December 1.
I ran up one girl gift on the sewing machine today.  One more similar to it tomorrow.  I can't say what it is or show a picture just in case one of the girls looks at my blog.

P.S.  Although I wish I were really going on a holiday cruise, remember this is pretend--IF I were going on a cruise, leaving December 1 and returning days before Christmas, I'd have to have everything for Christmas ready by the first.

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Spaghetti

Tuesday:  Corn chowder [Everyone liked this.]

Wednesday: Vegetarian chili in the Crock Pot

Thursday:  Chicken with BBQ sauce in the Crock Pot

Friday: Pizza

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What to do with lots of pineapple?

We got two good-sized pineapples from our fruit and vegetable co-op last time.  One was ready in a few days and the other was dead green.  Just as it was getting ripe, my cute neighbor gave me a large pineapple she had already prepared for eating.  We love pineapple, but two ready at once was too much for us so . . . I made pineapple jam.

I have never made pineapple jam, but how could you go wrong with pineapple, pectin, and sugar?
The big pineapple made a batch by itself.  My pineapple was a little smaller and I had to supplement it with about half a can of commercially prepared crushed pineapple.  Not a biggie and both batches turned out nicely.  I got 6 pints and 2 half pints, in addition to about .75 pints I put into a plastic container and put in the fridge to use right away.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

No Black Friday shopping for us!

We went to the zoo instead.  Of course, there were so many families there that it WAS a zoo!

Friday, November 23, 2012

One of Caroline's drawings

My favorite is the picture of herself drawn on the pull-down shade. Don't you love that detail?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving table decoration?

I asked the girls to create thanksgiving table decorations.  They painted pictures, got out old thanksgiving placemants, and got out their stuffed animals to make a centerpiece.  Yes, we're pretty casual here.
So what do you think Elizabeth is holding here?

That's her stuffed dog dressed as . . . a turkey.  As in a cold turkey waiting to be roasted.  That's why it is pale, creamy white.  And then of course it has a mask with a comb on it.
[Ignore the pained expression on E's face--it was sunny out.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner is half cooked!

. . . and there is still a day to go!  I got some ideas from this handout on a blog I read.

The celery and onions are sauteed for the dressing and in the fridge now . . . .

The handout tells how to make your own brown-n-serve rolls, so I did that and they're in the fridge awaiting tomorrow's browning . . . .
The sweet potato casserole is ready to go into the oven (along with its tasty topping of s'more marshmallows) . . . .
One of my favorite "salads" is chilling . . . .
And the can of cranberry sauce is cold as well.
On the counter I have all the sugar and spices mixed for the pumpkin "cake" I'm making in the morning, the potatoes waiting to be boiled and mashed, and in the fridge is the small turkey.  You can see it next to the pink "salad."  In the freezer are two pies: cherry and Key Lime.

Can you tell I'm excited for my favorite holiday?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And I'm off to a fast start!

That is my wrapping box under the table next to my desk.  There is enough room on top of the table for wrapping small to medium gifts.  Bigger than that, I might have to clear off the table. ;-)

I filled out some of the gift list I posted about yesterday and ordered gifts for two family members and got the details on ordering for a third.  I gathered the pieces I needed for a gift ofr one of the girls. 

This feels good.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting organized for Christmas

A few years ago I was following The FLY Lady and she proposed a brilliant idea: Cruising through the holidays.  You pretend you'll be going on a cruise, leaving December 1 and returning right before Christmas.  Of course you'll need to have everything ready for Christmas before you leave, since you won't have time when you return. 

Naturally, I don't get to go on a cruise (LOL--don't I wish?!), but my plan is to be ready for Christmas by December 1 this year.  The past two years I have NOT been ready until about December 23 and I didn't enjoy that at all.  I'm determined to have a better Christmas this year.

The most pressing thing is gifts.  My budget this year is small, so that will help simplify things nicely.
Here is a link to the list above you can download for free:

Here is a link to other gift lists on the same page:

For a number of years I've had a wrapping station and followed FLY Lady's rule that as soon as a gift comes in the house, I have to wrap it.  However, my wrapping station is not in a convenient location, so this year I'm moving it.

That's my start.  Next will come Christmas cards so they can go into the mail on December 1.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On the way home

We arrived home in the early evening after the 1,000 mile trip from Idaho to Arizona.  Bill and the kids quickly unloaded the car and we got everything sorted out.  I didn't unload much because Conor was excited to show me what he had bought me while I was gone.  A Crock Pot!  I'm very happy with it because he was responsible for something happening to my old one, I've really missed using one, and the new one is nice.

But I digress.

The girls traveled really well because of two things:

*A new DVD player for the car (the old one didn't work on the way to Idaho, so it was replaced)
*Alicia taught them to finger crochet and Grandma gave them each a ball of yarn so they crocheted yards and yards and yards of yarn!

Along the way Bill promised the girls they would be able to either play in the snow or eat ice cream.  We finally found a place in the mountains with a little snow, so we pulled to the side of the road for the girls to play.
As you can see there were only a couple of inches of snow, but they made snow balls and had fun throwing them at each other.

I love this picture because you can see the beautiful desert scenery in the background.  We drove between mountain ranges all the way through Nevada--geologically very interesting.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Look at our family!

My father-in-law's funeral was the first time in a long time all seven of Bill's children were together.  Aren't we a fine looking group?  I really love these guys and girls!  I am at the back right and our daughter-in-law is at the front left.  All the rest are Bill's children (and my children and stepchildren).
We had a really nice time together.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Today is my father-in-law's funeral

It has been several years since I attended a funeral of someone to whom I was close.  That one was so surprising and interesting that I hardly thought to shed a tear.


I think Bill's family is a lot more sentimental than the family of my dear friend.  I think there will be a lot of crying.  Seeing someone cry almost always gets me misted up at a minimum.  I hate to cry in public.
This is what I'm going to do:  I'm going to think of my favorite memories of him.  I like to think of Bob seeing the funny side of life, like Alicia in her sneakers and wedding gown.  I like to think of his playing parlor games on an almost-weekly basis for 30 years with my mother-in-law and the same other couple.  I like to think of his shooting a deer deep in the woods and hauling it out by himself--with his wooden left leg.  I like to think of hearing his Korean War stories about his better-than-perfect eyesight.

I'm almost looking forward to the funeral to hear some other good stories about him!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have you ever heard of these names?

These are two of my favorite literary characters who happen to be real people.  I visited their grave this past summer and just found the pictures again this weekend.  Honestly, it was hard to believe I was looking at the actual headstone for people I've "known" almost my entire life.  One of my daughters almost got named after her and one of them did.  Which ones?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Think about the music to which you listen

I think this also applies to TV shows we watch, what we view on the Internet, and video games we play.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

About parenting

"I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation. But it is wonderful to see husbands and wives who have worked out real partnerships where they blend together their influence and communicate effectively both about their children and to their children."
—L. Tom Perry, "Becoming Goodly Parents", Liahona and Ensign, November 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

A thank you letter

This came through my friend Sara today:
This is a thank you note to a good man.
Thank you for turning aside from a life of ease and security to run for the presidency against an incumbent.
Thank you for enduring the slander of you, your family, and your faith perpetrated by a . . . . negligent media.
Thank you for calling things such as terrorism by their right name.
Thank for selecting Paul Ryan as vice presidential running mate.
Thank you -- and your lovely wife -- for demonstrating true love.
Thank you for handling yourself with grace and equanimity in every situation.
Thank you for your patriotism.
Thank you for believing in America. It is to our eternal shame that America did not, in this time and place, believe in you.
I sure wish Mitt Romney had won the election.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Santa Fe Chicken casserole

Tuesday:  Hearty Italian Sausage Stew



Friday:  Pizza

A truly sad day for our family

Today my father-in-law died.  He was 82 and his health had declined, but no one thought today was going to be the day.  He went to church but didn't feel good, so he went home.  He felt worse so he called 911.  He died at the local hospital of an abdominal aneurysm.  He didn't linger; my mother-in-law was still at church.

I really liked my father-in-law.  He was smart and funny and loved to tease.  I think he liked me because I teased him right back and we both loved it.  He and my mother-in-law were married 60 years this September and they were a terrific couple.

From a boy with a very rough upbringing to a man with a great wife, seven children, thirty-three grandchildren, the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his life, dear friends, and hobbies, he came a long way. 

I will really miss him.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My second appointment of the day

 . . . was at 8:00 am!  What do you think this staid and not-too-dusty room is?
It is our Family History Center!  Atually, it's about half of it.  The other half has some microfilm/fiche readers in it, soon to be remodeled with more computers and fewer readers.  In addition, we are going through the card catalog to see which of our collection are available to read online for free.  I think those books will be donated or sold.

So the 8:00 appointment was a bi-monthly meeting of all the volunteers.  I think they need to provide cinnamon rolls and milk for the next meeting.  Perhaps I'll volunteer to provide it all.  Or can you eat in a library?

I still don't love my obligation to volunteer at the FHC, but I'm looking at it as an opportunity to help others while I learn to be a real genealogist.  Win-win, right?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mystery Quilt Update

Today is the big sewing day for the week.  Thirteen blocks has taken me about eight to nine hours today.  Ho hum.  My back is killing me.  I'd take an Excedrin if it weren't so close to bedtime. ;-)

On the good side, I like these fabrics much better than I liked the medium ones last week.  Not as jarring.  Since I had a more limited fabric selection with this group, the blocks look more like each other, too.

So here is the top one in my growing stack:
Those yellows aren't actually that yellow.  I say that every time, don't I?  LOL

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Activity Day for Girls

Today my partner brought a cute and easy craft for the girls to do.

She read a scripture from the Bible and a scripture from the Book of Mormon about thankfulness.  Next she wrote on a poster categories of things we can be grateful for.

Then she passed out the wood blocks, the 1/2 tongue depressers, and the precut scrapbook paper, along with glue sticks and bottle of white glue

Once the girls had put paper on their sticks they could write on the back of each one things she was thankful for.

The heads were flat wooden ice cream spoons with a cute bow tied on each neck.

Last, because of the danger, SHE hot-glued the "feathers" on the turkeys.  Each girl lined up her feathers in the order she preferred and that was the order they were glued on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A little romance for our 14th anniversary

Dh and I have tickets to Romeo and Juliet--in French!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote for Romney!

Here I go!

I voted for Mitt Romney!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kevin's fun conversation

This email came from Kevin this morning:
I was talking to the bishop here. We were commenting on how great lunches are here. He told us that he remembers the first missionary dupla [pair] ate lunch 3 times a week at his mom's house.
'Elder Rodrigues and Elder F*****'

"Bishop do you remember Elder F*****'s first name?"


"Tall guy, dark hair?"


 "That's my uncle." 
Then my head exploded. 
Small world eh?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In memory of Spot

Our beautiful Ameracauna chicken died today.  She was the sweetest of our four chickens and everyone's favorite. 

She had been doing poorly for weeks, and sometime in the early hours today the other chickens wounded her head.  We put her in her own container with food and water and kept her warm, hoping for the best.  She died this afternoon.  ~sob~

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Spaghetti and meatballs, cheese toast, roasted Brussels sprouts

Tuesday:  Santa Fe Chicken casserole  (I want to point out this was planned over a week ago and has nothing to do with the demise of our sweet Spot.)

Wednesday:   Smothered pork chops, scalloped potatoes


Friday:  Pizza

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Romney all the way!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Unfortunate news

Today we found out an extended family member is having major health challenges.  I wish this bouquet could make it better.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mystery Quilt III

Week 5 is the first sewing week and I was right--it's a leaf pattern.  I'm pleased!  Here are my 60s-00s retro fabric blocks.  There are ten here and that's it for the week.
The colors look rather garish here.  The quilt is going to be bright, but a bit different from the appearance here.  Each block is 9" square.