Saturday, January 28, 2017

All we can do is look at this with a sigh of relief...

A few days ago I was making breakfast when Den came in and told 
me our granddaughter Emily (in Utah) had been in an accident. 

My immediate question was of course "Is she okay?"

He said she was fine but just shook up.

Then he showed me the picture...
Oh my. 
The roads were very icy and slick. Kim (her Mom) said Emily would 
have gone completely into the canal had she not run into a car 
first....which slowed her impact just enough.  

I told Den, Emily should frame that picture and put it somewhere 
special for safe she will always remember her 

Kind of reminds several years ago when Tyler was driving on those 
icy Utah roads. He came upon an intersection but because of the icy 
road he couldn't stop just as a bus was passing through.

The bus clipped his license plate off his car, and kept on going. He 
was THAT close. We are talking, what? 1/2 inch difference and that 
bus would have got him.

I read somewhere just this week that miracles happen every day but 
we have to look for them. 

Sometimes we don't have to look at all, it's just too obvious. 

This is Emily during less stressful times, although it doesn't look like it to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

McKay singing to his son

When McKay was barely walking I noticed he had great rhythm 
when music would come on. I made a mental note back then to get 
him into music lessons when he was a little older.

I never did, and I've always regretted it. 

Fast forward to this husband and father of 3, McKay wanted to play the he just got on Youtube and taught himself.

I so loved the music he brought into our home 
while he was here last month.

Be sure and see Scarlett at the very end. 
Love the Boston accent she already has, and she's only 3.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Oh that interesting DNA

Learning recently through DNA testing that my son Tyler is 34% Irish, and my brother Richard, 45%
Irish, was a complete surprise.

I would have guessed we had zero Irish in us.

Many years ago a friend of mine who is Irish, put a song on her blog about the very first immigrant to
enter Ellis Island, NY in 1892. That was Annie Moore from Ireland. She was only 15 years old and
traveled in horrible conditions on that ship with her two little brothers for 12 days, including
Christmas. I immediately loved this song and have played it more than any other song on my
playlist for years.

I just really really like it.

Now, just knowing about our Irish background sort of gives me, in a strange sort of way permission
to like this song all the more.

As for my Irish friend who put this song on her blog years ago, she had her DNA done recently and
found out she's not so Irish after all. She's mainly Scandinavian!

I sent away for my own DNA kit today. I thought siblings were all the same in their ancestral DNA,
but I'm learning that isn't the case. My brother sent me this article today explaining why. I find
this all to fascinating.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Thinking about their answers all week

After giving a Primary lesson last Sunday, I had about 10 minutes leftover so I asked this class of 7
eight year olds a question. I asked them "without mentioning any toys, what was THE VERY 
BEST part of Christmas" for them. 
I explained that it could be something about Christmas day, or the season of Christmas. 
I asked them to sit and think about it for a few moments.
Then I asked for their answers. 
One by one they raised their hands, and this is what they told me:
Kyla said her very best part of the Christmas season was that her Uncle became a doctor. I asked
her what kind of doctor and she said just smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Like it didn't
matter. But she knew her uncle was happy, so she was too. 
Sydney said one day last month she had the thought come to her that maybe she could make a
nativity for her family. So she went upstairs to her bedroom and started cutting up paper to form
the people and the animals. Then she gave it to her mom. That was her best part of Christmas.
Paige explained how her family helped 2 women who lost their husbands this past year and
didn't have much money. She said one of these families have a baby with a brain bleed and the
only way the mother could bath her each day was to get into the bathtub with the baby. So her
family bought her a special bath chair. So now the mother can bath the baby while the baby sits
in this special chair.  I loved watching Paige as she so seriously talked about this baby and the
bath chair it needed.  I know she will never forget this Christmas. 
Cali spoke in a very soft voice so I had to listen closely. She said her Dad passed a really hard test
and now he can teach math. She stopped talking as her eyes became a little misty. So I helped
her finish by asking, "And I bet you were all praying really hard that he would pass that test,
right?" And she quietly said, almost in a whisper, "Yes we were." That was her best part of

Ryan said she had slipped off a rock at Lake Powell and was drowning. Her mother had the
impression to go check on her and found her struggling. Both of her parents jumped in and
saved her life. I think she said this didn’t happen at Christmas time but she still wanted to share it.
She had tears in her eyes. Obviously still very special to her.

Claire said on Christmas morning after going to church, and then coming home to open gifts,
they got to read their scriptures and play a game about the scriptures with her family. That was
her best part of Christmas. 
Shroeder said that every day for 25 days in December, his family got to do something nice for
someone else. He explained how they had this little chart and each day they would look at the
chart and see what they got to do next to help someone. He explained it all in detail and it was
so fun for me to see his eyes light up. He was so into this. 

I've been thinking about their answers all this week. These kids all come from obviously good 
homes. But they are just little kids, and yet, look how much they already know about the joy of 
being happy for others. And they already know how helping others makes them happy.
Another thought I had. So often I think good parents try to come up with memorable experiences 
for their children, but they can't be sure what is sinking in. These kids may not have ever said to 
their parents, “Oh that was such a great idea Mom” or “I’m so glad we got to do this.” or “That 
made me feel so good to help others.” But it was obvious they were thinking all of these things. 

So if I could say anything to these parents, I'd say, keep doing what you are doing. Don't ever give up. This is what life should be all about.

They've been on my mind all week. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I think these two said it very well

"I can’t speak for everyone, but I think the world would be a 
much better place if we worked harder at loving one another 
than being seen as right. Let’s have a blessed new year!"

Chip and Joanne Gaines

Or maybe I like this even better:
“It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you 
have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, 
gender, nationality or faith,” Chip writes. “That’s all 
fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that 
we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the 
nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to 
cause we won’t play that way.”

If only everyone could feel this way....

To read the rest of this article go HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My favorite game

Have you ever heard of Box of Lies?

It's a game my kids introduced me to during our Christmas campout. I was surprised at how fun it
was. And I don't play games, just ask my kids. But I like the acting involved in this.

McKenna gathered up boxes all over the house and garage and then put different things in them. Then
while one person looks into the box and describes it, the other person has to decide if they are telling
the truth about what's in there.

We all played this and not one of us told the truth. It was too fun making things up.

I just hope we didn't confuse the grandchildren, watching and taking it all in.

Monday, January 9, 2017

My two Bookclubs 2017

If you have read any of these books 
please let me know what you thought, okay?

Book club #1
First Thursday of every month at Kristi Call's

January 5th
Author: Cameron Wright
Location: Kristi’s Home

February 2nd
Author: Kurt Gentry & Gary Powers
Location: Kristi’s Home

March 2nd 
Author: Al Caraway
Location: Kristi’s Home

April 6th
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Hostess: Kristi Call
Location: Kristi’s Home

May 4th
Author: Penelope J. Stokes
Location: Kristi’s Home

June 1st 
Book: Pope Joan
Author: Donna Woolfolk Cross
Location: Kristi’s Home

July 6th 
Author: Sandra Dallas
Location: Kristi’s Home

August 3rd 
Author: Kristen Hannah
Location: Kristi’s Home

September 7th
Book: Outliers
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Location: Kristi’s Home

October 5th 
Author: Ann Howard Creel
Location: Kristi’s Home

November 2nd 
Author: Sandra Dallas
Location: Kristi’s Home

December 7th 
Book: TBA
Location: Kristi’s Home

January 4, 2018
Author: Kristin Hannah
Location: Kristi’s Home

Book club #2
3rd Tuesday of every month at Pam Biberston's

Jan 17            The Candymakers                                                              
by Wendy Mass

Feb 21           Molokai                                                                                
 by Alan Brennert

Mar 21          Secrets of a Charmed Life                                                 
by Susan Meissner

Apr 18           Thunderstruck                                                                    
by Eric Larson

May 16          The Far Pavilions                                                                
by M M Kaye

Jun 20            The Art of Racing in the Rain                                         
by Garth Stein

Jul 18             For Love and Zion                                                              
by Laurel Mouritsen

Aug 15           The Nightingale                                                                  
by Kristen Hannah

Sept 19          Where Beauty Slept                                                          
by Elizabeth Blackwell

Oct 17           Honolulu                                                                               
by Alan Brennert

Nov 21          Into the Magic Shop                                                         
by James Doty

Dec 19           The Letter to Mary                                                             
by Jason F. Wright

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Karen's (hearty) potato bar

Potato bars are tasty and all...HOWEVER
in my opinion they aren't usually very filling. 

They can even seem more like an appetizer, 
or at best, a light dinner.

While here last month, Karen introduced me to a sort of sloppy joe 
type filling to go over the potatoes, 
(before you put on everything else, like the cheese, onions, sour cream, etc.) 

photo from Lauren's Latest

I loved these so much that I asked her to make them again a few 
days later. Is that not a good mother in law thing to do, I'm not 
sure, but Karen is Karen and she acted so sweet 
about doing it all over again for me. 

Karen with Juliet, McKenna with Annie

She got this recipe from a popular food blog, Lauren's Latest. 

On Lauren's Latest this crockpot recipe is for Sloppy Joes, 
...but Karen made a few minor changes for going over potatoes:

**She used ground turkey instead of beef, only one cup of water, 
a rounded 1/4 c of brown sugar, about a T of regular mustard instead of the dry mustard.**

So be sure and take a look at the recipe HERE. It made enough for 
Karen and Tyler, McKay and McKenna, Brock and Erin, and us, 
and all 9 kids. But you could always half it for a smaller group.

It's a little sweet so it's kid friendly. 
And the meat is really stretched by all those vegetables, 
which no one can tell are even in there since they are grated.

Oh, and another tip: Karen places the potatoes on a baking sheet, rubs live oil all over her potatoes 
and then sprinkles salt on them before baking. They look beautiful that way and even taste better 
(Is that the psychological effect, not sure).

Karen and McKenna spent many moments just like this....
cooking away.

Or this....plotting the next meals.

Don't know why I'm so lucky 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

What our kids gave us for Christmas

We have 8 of them you know. Adult kids, I mean. 
And they are all married. So that means 16.

They were all so thoughtful, as you will see. 
Each one so creative and unique.

Here we go.
I'm just posting them in the order they are in my camera.

We didn't even know something like this existed.
I think of it as Siri for the home, except her name is Alexa.
She answers so many of our questions, 
plus she will play any song we request.

A picture of our Massachusetts Family!
Oh how thankful we are to have this gift.
McKenna, McKay
Grant, Scarlett, and Annie

Scarlett and Annie
The sistas (as Scarlett would say in her Boston accent)

This family took selfies of each of their children nearly every Sunday for the entire year! 
And then put it in book form for us. 
They also took several of other memories of this past year.
Oh, how special this is!!
I love going through it and watching how much the children have grown and changed 
in just one year, especially Juliet.

What a Christmas surprise these were! 

Came right to our door! Red roses are my favorite flower.

Den will enjoy these.

And I will enjoy the silence down the hall. :)

This was made just for us!
It's gorgeous and we love it!! Oh my.

I've always loved quilts, and Den's daughters have made 
many for us over the years.

The other side is so pretty too.
She designs many of her own fabrics 
so I'm trying to find out if she did for this also?

We are also loving this very plushhhhh blanket.
I've wrapped myself in it several times so far.

 The color goes perfect in our home.

We will without a doubt enjoy going to one of our favorite restaurants, Pismos! 
Fish is my favorite main dish 
and it has been since I was pregnant with Tyler. 
I ate it nearly everyday back in my last pregnancy days.
We didn't know about mercury back then but it didn't seem to hurt him at all.
(but no, this gift card is not from Tyler...I just got off on a tangent explaining how much I love fish :)

Oh this is going to be fun!
We will finally find out what Dennis is made of. 
I wish I had thought to give my Dad one of these. 
(My brother Richard found out he is 20% Spanish 
so I've been wondering ever since then how much 
Spanish my Dad has. I just never knew we had that in us, or the 45% Irish Richard is. 
We were always told we were predominately French.)

See what I mean about thoughtful creative gifts?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Highlights of our 10 family visitors

My 2 youngest sons, their wives, and 6 littles between them.

The tree looked good for the first day...

We learned quickly with 6 under 6,
 no way would the gifts last under the tree.
Thankfully we had an extra shower for that.

We had projects going on continually.

Grant was amazing. He could make mazes out of anything. 

Or paths from his sister's toys.

My bathroom seemed to be a main attraction for the littles. 

They would stay and tell me about life while I put on makeup.

Sweet babies everywhere. 
We didn't dare close the pantry door before looking inside. 

Annie just trying to get her own drink of water like everyone else.

It takes a village to get the blueberries all picked up. 
And we had one. 

You know that saying, "Where ever you go, there you are."
This applies to going to church on Christmas morning, too. 
Den needed to vacuum up where the little grand darlings 
had been before we went home. 
My Mom would be proud. She use to say, "Something is wrong 
when little children aren't making messes."

This little sweetheart, Juliet (who is a mini Karen)
worked hard while she was here.

She removed, all by herself, all of these doorstops:

No one even taught her.
How do babies know these things? 

We all have our own ways of getting comfortable. 

Some have their own version of hanging out. Oh Leo :) 

And some like to get the furniture just right before the movie.

 Grant loved it when Uncle Logan would stop by.

After the littles would go to sleep at night,
we had lots of this going on...
Life was so busy that I didn't even realize until looking back at 
several pictures that McKenna was COLD. 
I'm so sorry, McKenna. 

An unforgettable Christmas!

Leo, Tyler, Rich, Karen and Juliet
Both of these families went to tremendous effort to get here!

Grant, McKenna, Annie, McKay, and Scarlett
I kept thanking them, but my words felt so inadequate. 

The Goodbyes were by far the hardest....
especially watching the cousins.

Since they live in Massachusetts and Vancouver, WA 
We have no idea when they will be together again.

For now, we are just thankful it happened.

Karen and McKenna did most all the cooking 
and I still have some of their very scrumptious recipes to share.