Thursday, December 31, 2009

Getting Ready to Ring in 2010!!

I must admit that I really don't like New Year's Eve.  I'm not sure why but something about it always depresses me.  I'd rather go to bed at 10:00 and get up and enjoy the Rose Parade and our traditional breakfast instead of hanging out until after midnight.

But tonight Stan will get home from work about 11:45, so the boys and I are going to wait up for him with some Sparkling Cider and some snacks so who knows, it may be fun.

In the meantime I am getting ready for tomorrow morning, which is always fun for us.  I am smoking two and a half pounds of salmon so we can have bagels with cream cheese and salmon for breakfast, along with some Gorilla Bread I will be baking.  As an extra treat we'll enjoy our friend Kristeen's hot chocolate with it. 

We usually eat in the living room as we watch the Rose Parade.  My husband Stan is from San Luis Obispo where Cal Poly is (his grandfather used to teach there) and they always have a float in the parade.  So we enjoy our breakfast and watch for the float and pick our favorites.

I suspect that this year we'll also be keeping an eye on the marching bands since Kevin marched in several parades this year.  I know they won't be as good as his band .....

Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!  Here's hoping that all your dreams continue to come true for you in 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whale or Mermaid?

I received this in an email from a friend and just had to share it!

Recently, in a large city in France, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.)They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp.

They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia .

Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist.

If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human?

They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT? Therefore, they don't have kids either. Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

P..S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends.

With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.

So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good grief, look how smart I am!¨

I Confess

Okay, I confess ....

You know those commercials for those blankets with the arms in them?  I made fun of them.  I thought to myself, "Why does anyone need one of those?  Put on a sweater and drape a blanket over your legs and get on with it."  Not very nice, I know.  But I found it to be a silly thing.

Over Christmas I saw the darned things everywhere!  I couldn't believe it ... who would buy one?

Then my mother gave me one for Christmas, and I must confess once more.  I'm crazy about the thing.  It is the most wonderful item I own.  I got sick the day after Christmas and I love cozying into it.  Plus, with three men in the house I can't put the heat up too high or they're all panting and complaining.  (You know how men are walking furnaces!) 

But my new blankie?  It's just super.  The last couple of days when I wake up and get ready for the day I tell myself I can go downstairs and get into my blankie with the arms. 

I am so sorry I badmouthed them.  If I was a famous person I would do their commercials for free!  I will never again make fun of something until I try it out.  I (sort of) promise....

Repentance is a good thing, and so is my blankie!

Friday, December 25, 2009


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

My family, like most in America, is a conglomeration of many different cultures.  We try to incorporate many of them into our own holiday traditions.  My mother is half Irish, half Norwegian, and my father was half Danish, half English.  So we have a lot of different customs we enjoy.

One that we always celebrated was on Christmas Eve.  My mother, through her Norwegian lineage, held a belief that the Christ Child walks again on Christmas Eve looking for a place to stay.  Of course, you won't recognize him as the Christ ... he could be your neighbor, a friend from church or school, or a stranger whose car has broken down in front of your house. 

My mother always had the house cleaned with cookies and cocoa at the ready.  And, this was most important, a light needed to be shining to lead the way to your doorstep.

I still believe in that tradition.  My house is always ready on Christmas Eve to take in whomever knocks at my door.  And by ready I don't mean a cleaned and sparkling house so much as that our hearts are ready to receive the friendship and love that may come calling, and our hands ready to serve those who need it.

"God does notice us, and he watches over us.  But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.  Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom."  Spencer W. Kimball, 1895-1995

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Ready

We have a tradition in our family for Christmas Eve.  We always have dinner of shrimp fondue with Christmas cookies for dessert.  After everything is cleaned up we have a Christmas program.  When our whole family is together, my sister is usually the one who comes up with the most elaborate and fun part of the evening but this year I've decided to give it a shot since she's not around.  I've made a Christmas Jeapordy game, and after a lot of research and technical difficulties in putting a game board together, I think I'm ready to play Alex Trebek tomorrow night.

My categories are: Who Said It? in which you must name the character and the show in which they said the quote; Christmas Song Lyrics; Santa Claus; Christmas Traditions; and Christmas Show Characters.

Like Jeapordy, my family will have to give the question to the supplied answer.  Since my family doesn't check my blog, here is a sample for you to try out... from the category of Christmas Traditions:  The tradition of using noisemakers such as these during winter carried over into the celebration of Christmas.  But instead of making noise to keep away evil things, people made noise to celebrate something happy.

Know the question??

We've also picked up our Christmas tamales which we'll enjoy for our Christmas Eve lunch.  My friend Sommar gave us some homemade salsa (which is AMAZING!!) and we'll finish up our wrapping and have the house bursting with music.  I love Christmas Eve as we prepare for the holiday.

Our final event tomorrow night is Stan's annual candle lighting ceremony.  It's how we remember that Christ came to earth and gave us His light.  With Him in our lives He lights our way and gives our lives .... everything.  We sing Christmas hymns and sit in the soft light of those candles and give ourselves time to reflect on the past year and our blessings.  It's a lovely way to wrap up the night and look forward to Christmas morning.

I hope you all have and enjoy your own family traditions as we do.  Such a special and lovely time of the year.

Oh!  And the question for the answer above:  What are Christmas bells?

Have a great holiday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Lights!

Last night was our annual Christmas Light Night where we go out and roam the city looking for the best and most fun displays of holiday lights.  And wow, did we find some!  Our very own street was almost completely decked out so we started off knowing it was going to be a fun experience.

We visited our friends homes in the area and the neighborhoods around us and also went up and visited a church north of us that has a full display you can drive through.  It had lights on the trees synchronized to music, groups of singers waving and serenading us, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Santa's workshop, and ending with a live nativity.  They had the three wisemen, an angel appearing to shepherds, and of course a star over a manger.  It was a wonderful display and experience.

It was a special night after our fast and having Stan join us at church.  Kevin is sick, but we bundled him up and he was able to join us too.  It was the end of a perfect weekend.  It made us all feel so blessed to be a family and that we share a special bond and love between us.  It's going to be a great Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Looking Forward to Sunday

Just want to thank all of you for praying and/or fasting for AJ tomorrow.  He's feeling so much more positive and upbeat.  Your prayers are working!

And another blessing: Stan has agreed to attend church with us tomorrow and to fast for AJ as well.  Since he is not of the same faith as us, this is such a special offer from him.  He loves his son and will support him anyway he can. 

AJ's spirits are up so much from last weekend, and it is because all of our dear friends, near and far, are praying for him.  Thank you all.  We'll keep you posted on his quest to become a missionary.

Friday, December 18, 2009


When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness."

~ Bob Hope, 1903-2003

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've Become a Hair Stalker!!

Yup, it's true.  I am a hair stalker.  I am in the mood for a new hair style, and have discovered that I am constantly scoping out other women's hair.  I was even watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas special last night and, while I was listening to and enjoying the music, I found that as the camera panned over the women I was looking at their hair! 

"Gee that's a cute style!"  "I wonder if that would look good on me?" "How did she get that look, with a curling iron or rollers?"   

I even ran into some friends at Costco yesterday and I was checking out their hair as well.  I guess no one's safe when looking for a new look.  Now I just want to know ..... is it ME????

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Season

The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.
--Henry David Thoreau

The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.
--Helen Keller

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you...yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.
--Mother Teresa

Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
 ~Charles Dickens

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thank You

AJ and I would like to thank all of you who have responded to our request for prayers on Sunday.  Our hearts are full.  AJ told me he feels so humbled by so many of you who are offering to pray and/or fast with him so that he may be able to serve a mission.

Last night he told me that the scripture that best describes how he feels is D&C 121:7-9. 

That is the beauty of the gospel ... we stand together.  We support and love each other in our trials and our joys. 

Our family looks forward to Sunday and feeling the strength of prayer and the spirit of the season.  We know things will turn around for AJ and it won't be long before his dream of being a missionary will be reality.  Thank you all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


About a month ago I posted the news that AJ had put in his papers for his mission.  It took a long year before he was able to submit those papers.  He wants so badly to serve a mission and that year of waiting was difficult for him. 

Unfortunately, he has hit another snag in his quest and this time it is hitting him very hard.  I am afraid he is close to giving up his dream, and I know that is not what he wants. 

Tonight he asked me if I would "ask all your ladies" if you would pray for him and if you can, join us in a fast next Sunday, the 20th, that he might be able to fulfill his desire to serve a mission.

Those of you who know AJ know what a great person he is and what a wonderful missionary he will make.  Please remember him in your prayers that this might happen for him.  Thank you very much.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

Truman Capote

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peace, Be Still

The Oakland Temple in California is near and dear to my heart as it was the first temple I ever went to.  Not only that, but I went to pagents there and other events so that it holds a special place in my memories.

I have come to realize how much my faith steadies me, anchors and defines me.  I don't know how I would be without it.  But I do know that with it I am whole.

This afternoon my friend Tara and I are going to the temple in Denver.  I am so looking forward to being there, to partake of the peace therein.  To be still and know that He is.  What better time of the year to have such an experience than this time?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Lap of Luxury

It's all how you look at it.  Sometimes I see these ads for things in the paper or on television that I cannot afford and think how hard it is to have such a tight budget.  But then I sit back and look at what I really have and I have to admit, I am living the good life.

My pantry and fridge are full.  On my counter are all the things I need to start my holiday baking: nuts, sugars, flour, dried fruit, chocolate (CHOCOLATE!!!) and a Kitchen Aid mixer.  Pretty luxurious.

Last night I was upstairs in my room and I thought how I really had it made.  I have an easy chair with an ottoman and a side table with a reading lamp.  My home is warm in the midst of a really frigid spell here, and I had my pink fuzzy slippers, my pink giant hoody sweatshirt that's my robe, a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and an amazing book to read with Christmas carols playing on the stereo.  And there I sat, my feet up, and relaxing the night away, the sounds of my sons downstairs laughing at some silly movie they were watching sounding so good.  Tell me, could Oprah have it better?  I don't think so.

So, yeah, I may drive an eleven year old mini-van instead of a jaguar, live in a 2000 sq ft home instead of 25000 sq ft one, but how much room do I need to sit and relax with my hot chocolate and book? 

Yep.  I'm living in the lap of luxury and I'm lovin' it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I like this .....

It’s in every one of us
To be wise
Find your heart
Open up both your eyes
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why
It’s in every one of us
By and by

Lyrics by David Pomeranz

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A New Story

Please check out a new short story I have posted on my writing site  Based on a true story that happened to my maternal grandfather, I hope you'll give it a read and let me know what you think.  And maybe it'll help promote a good Christmas feeling as well .....


Friday, December 4, 2009


I believe in the elaborate taking care of others.  And we live in a culture where "I'm not my brother's keeper," "That's your responsibility," "Get a life" have become bywords, code phrases, anthems for elaborate indifference, selfishness, greediiness, and the failure of empathetic acceptance.  In the same way that we need to repair the economy, we need to repair the effects of an economy of selfishness.
Michael Silverblatt, NPR
1952 -

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness

Workers at a hospital in Oregon made this video to promote breast cancer awareness.  They are all wearing pink gloves that help pay for mammograms for women who can't afford it.  I thought it was a fun, uplifting and happy video.  Go down to my music list and turn it off so you can hear and enjoy as these men and women dance to help women.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.
Oprah Winfrey
1954 -

Thursday, November 26, 2009


May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Books Are Cool!

This fascinated me.  Go down and turn off the music so you can hear it.  Very clever!

Friday, November 20, 2009


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

Thank you to all my friends who have lifted me up, inspired me and helped to relight my light when I've needed it.  I have a full and grateful heart!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thinking About Uncle Ira

My Dad has two older brothers.  Neal, who is twelve years older, and Ira who is eight years older.  As a child I was fascinated by how they all looked alike, had similar expressions, etc.  I remember my late Aunt Nona laughing about it too.  My Uncle Ira died earlier this week, and I'm saddened by his passing, but grateful that his hardships are over.  He'd been battling prostate cancer for a while now and had been in a lot of pain.

I was thinking of my favorite story about Ira.  My grandmother used to tell stories about him as a troublemaker when he was growing up.  I guess the sheriff used to visit their house with some regularity.  It seems mild by today's standards, but Ira used to do things like steal watermellons and apples and make his mother crazy.

But my favorite story is one of triumph.  As a young man he went off to school at Idaho State in Pocatello.  As I remember the story, after a couple of months the university called my grandparents and told them to come and get their son... that he was not college material.

Well this made Ira so mad that he determined he would make them eat their words.  He went on to get his degree, then he got his masters, and eventually got his doctorate.  And then?  Then he was hired by Idaho State to be the dean of the School of Pharmacology.

He's an example to me that if someone tells you no or that you can't do it to dig your heels in and show them otherwise. 

So, here's to Uncle Ira.  You'll be remembered well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lady is a VAM! (with apologies to Rogers and Hart)

My 18-year-old son Kevin is a senior in high school this year, and every other day (today for example) he gets two hours off between 10:15 and 12:30.  We picked him up and went out grocery shopping.  He seems to like to tag along, especially when we're picking up things like cranberry sauce, pumpkin and 22 pound turkeys!

As we were driving him back to school I was joking about how I'm an LOL (Little Old Lady) and laughing about it. 

He piped up, "No you're not!  You are not little and you're not old.  You are a VAM."

Huh??  "A VERY AWESOME MOM!"  he informed me.

How can you help but love a kid like that?

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Eventful Day

Today is a special day.  I've already posted about Kevin turning 18, but it's also a big day for AJ.  This afternoon he turned in his mission papers.

Our bishop was called to be the new Stake President yesterday, so when he called AJ to his house he said he was tempted to just shoot them out to Salt Lake.  At ant rate, he hopes to get his call in a couple of weeks.

For those of you who don't know, AJ tried to put in his papers a year ago and was told he had to lose 60 pounds first.  It was heartbreaking for him; he wanted to go so badly.  But he never gave up.  This past year has been trying, but he's done it.  And he's proven that he won't let any obstacle get in his way.

I'm so proud of him and excited for him I could burst.

Yep, it's a big day around here!

My Baby is 18!!

Today my baby, my youngest son, Kevin is eighteen years old.  I cannot believe how fast these years have gone by, how quickly this day came.  It was a high-risk pregnancy and I was on bed rest the entire nine months.  Then, because he was so big (9lbs 13oz) they told me I could deliver him naturally and they would break his shoulders to get him out, or I could have a C-section.  Well, yeah, you can guess what I chose.  Break my baby?  No way! 

He was so beautiful.  Still is.  This is a bittersweet day for me.  Now that he's 18 I know that all sorts of things are possible for him.  He can be whatever he wants, do whatever he wants.  College, mission, career, family and home of his own.  All the dreams you have for your child.  But also facing registering with the selective service and voting.  Decisions he needs to make on his own.  Sometimes contrary to what I and his father would want for him. 

And my letting go a little bit more ....  We are always letting go from our children from the moment they're born, allowing them to make their own way in this world.  Emotionally stepping back has been the hardest thing for me.  What I want to do is say, "No!  Let me take care of you forever and ever!  I'll keep you safe and with me and I'll always, always ALWAYS love you the best!" 

Can't do that.  And isn't that a little bit like what our Father in Heaven does?  He lets us go, lets us make our own way, and hopes we return to him.  And He always, always, ALWAYS loves us best.  I will follow His example.

I hope I've given Kevin the love and the strength and the wings to soar through life.  He will always have my heart and support.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!  I love you.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Everyone knows British scones, the baked confection is wonderful!  But the treat that warms my heart is Fried Scones.  This is something I've only ever had in Utah.  My grandmother made them for me once, which she served with honey butter.  They are TO DIE FOR!  When I was in school at BYU in the late 1970s there was a restaurant near campus called The Rolling Scone, which made huge scones and then opened them and stuffed them with seasoned meat, cheese, etc. and served them as sandwiches.  Also really good.

I got my grandmother's recipe one time.  I wrote it down as she told it to me, so it's not typed up in a traditional manner, but I like it that way.  It reminds me of her.  They are really good.  And if you can't find honey butter, butter them up then slather them with honey.  Really good on a cold night.  I hope you try them and enjoy them.  (Thank you Grandma!!)

Fried Scones

Lucile Hillyard

Dissolve 4 tablespoons dry yeast in 1 cup lukewarm water
Scald 4 cups of milk and let it cool
Add six (6) eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup oil or shortening
2 cups sugar
Mix all together. Add flour to make a soft dough. Raise once. Then roll out, cut and fry. This makes a lot, but you can keep in fridge and use it as you like it, or it makes delicious sweet rolls or hot rolls you can freeze.
As scones, serve warm with honey butter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Movie Review

The new Disney production of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL is perhaps one of the most perfect versions of the film I have ever seen.  Yes, that's my opinion,and it's for an animated version at that!

I have seen every version of A Christmas Carol out there, even the ones where Scrooge is a woman.  I like the black and white versions from the 1930s and 1940s, the televisions versions starring George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart, the American version starring Henry Winkler, even the cartoon version with Mr. Magoo.  And actually I like them all.

But this film starring Jim Carrey, Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy to you P&P fans), Bob Hoskins, and Robin Wright Penn, is spectacular.  So true to the book that some of the spoken lines are taken directly from the novel's pages, this is most definately NOT a children's movie.  If you have young kids, do not take them to see this.  There are some frightening scenes that are very intense.

Jim Carrey did an amazing job.  His interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge was spot on.  The rest of the cast supported him in giving the viewer a trip down a wonderful road that will help you get in the holiday spirit.

I admit that I was a bit trepidacious about a Disney version of this story.  Directed by Robert Zemekus and done in the same style as his film "A Polar Express" I think if you are a fan of this story you are in for a treat.  The song as the closing credits roll sung by Andrea Boccelli, "God Bless Us Everyone" is a reason to stay after the ending.  I strongly recommend this film.  Have fun!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween Pix

I know, I'm a week late.  These are some pictures from Halloween.  It wasn't as fun for me this year since Stan had to work, but we tried to make it a good time.  Had our traditional Taco soup (see posting from October 28th for recipe) and carved pumpkins before he had to take off.

AJ got creative and mimics his Jack O'Lantirn

Kevin gave his Jack O'Lantirn goggles and a headset.  I'm not exactly sure what he's supposed to be ....

AJ was a lizard headed gentleman.  He also had a top hat that he wore, but I wanted to show off his green and blue hair.  Pretty funny!

Kevin is a dead soldier.  I thought he looked awesome!  And scarey too!

This is the boys' friend Adam.  He is a Sleestak from the old TV show/movie "Land of the Lost."  It was pretty impressive!


The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.
Charles Kuralt

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I've been stewing about something for awhile now and have decided that I just need to get it off my chest.  There's this new study out that has me so angry.  It purports that having overweight friends can make you fat.  (   Not only is that the dumbest thing I've ever heard, but that people are accepting it as fact is preposterous! 

There are two things that strike me here.  First: when are we as a nation/people going to take responsibility for our own actions?  We can't keep blaming whatever our deficits are on others.  If I am a jerk, is it because my neighbor across the street is one?  If I'm a bigoted idiot do I blame it on my boss at work?  NO--it's because I have made decisions/choices in my life that have led me to this place.  Same thing with weight or whatever. 

I have several friends who are slim while I am overweight.  I would hate to think that they would read this study and decide that they won't remain friends with me in case I make them fat.  We're all responsible for what we eat, think, do and say.  It is no one elses chore.  And if I eat with my friends, and I choose to overeat, then that is their choice to either follow my lead or not.

The second thing is that I am so sick and tired of is fat-bashing being the last acceptable prejudice.  If this study had said that hanging with a gay person would make you gay the ACLU would be up in arms.  Or if you were friends with a different race that you would emulate that race.... whatever.  But this is not only allowed, it is taken as something to keep in mind in choosing your friends.  Shamless.

I have had people refuse to sit next to me, or to be in the same area as I am already.  People who think nothing of commenting to me in the grocery store about my purchases or my weight.  I try hard to remember that it is not the size of my body that will get me to Heaven, but the size of my heart.  The Lord is not going to say "Yikes, you're a size 20 go away."  But perhaps if our heart is a measly size 2 we might have a problem. 

So, let's all strive to have bigger hearts and not worry so much about the bodies.  They don't matter except to the person who is living in it.  We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are and to live our lives to the best of our abilities. 

And I for one plan on living my life the best I can and to love my family and friends until my heart is at least an XXXL!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Family Favorite

Glazed Chicken Wings

¼ cup oil
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 lbs. chicken wings
Salt and Pepper

In saucepan, combine oil, ketchup, juice and sauce. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Sprinkle chicken in baking pan with salt and pepper, and pour on sauce. Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes. Turn chicken frequently. Serves 6.

(Note: I wound up baking it for an hour, and thought they were a little bit better with the extra cooking time.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Reaching Out

I heard something tonight that I found rather heartbreaking.  That is that first time users at the food bank have spiked 41%.  That's a lot.  Here we are living in such a blessed and wonderful country, and so many are having trouble feeding their families.  I know that for many of us we are just a paycheck away from being on the street, but there must be something we can do.

One of the things my family has tried to do is to come up with $10 a month and use it to purchase food to donate to the food bank.  I know, there are times when coming up with that measly little $10 is pretty hard, but if you can I know it makes a huge difference.  There is a store in our neighborhood that has cereal for 99 cents a box.  We purchased ten boxes one month and took them over.  Less than $10 can buy a case of canned vegetables at Costco or Sam's Club.  When soup goes on sale for $1 a can, we buy ten and donate that.  It's really pretty easy.

I know first hand how it feels to receive that kind of help to care for your family.  A few years ago I went through heart surgery, followed by two kidney surgeries.  Seven months later my husband had emergency eye surgery.  Even with insurance the medical bills piled up.  And when my husband was out on disability our bills weren't met by the disability checks.  We received food assistance through our church which literally saved us.  We wouldn't have made it without that help.

This is the season to count our blessings and reach out to those in need.  Pick up a box of Stove Top at the store, or a couple of cans of beans or cranberry sauce.  Stop by the food bank and drop it off.  It will make you feel good, and you'll help to lighten one family's burden.  Believe me, I know.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh, My (Chocolatey) Goodness!

Okay, so here's my tried and true Halloween rule:  Buy candy to give out that I do not like. 

That's it!  Easy peasy, right?  But this year my sweet husband bought two, yes two, large bags at Costco of candy that  I like.  I usually get stuff like gum or suckers, which don't really matter, at least to me.  But Stan, whom I love so much, bought chocolate.  My friends know that chocolate is one of my downfalls.  He got Hershey bars, Milky Ways, Snickers, Reese's PB Cups, and plain and peanut M&Ms. 

That would have been fine, I suppose, had we the number of kids come trick-or-treating that warranted two Costco bags of such candy, but we did not. 

Now, the sensible thing to do would be to have Stan and AJ take it to work with them and let their co-workers have at it.  But the thought makes me feel, I don't know, traiterous!  Like I would be betraying the lovely chocolate by giving it to those who don't have it's best interests at heart like I do.

I think I need therapy.

Friday, October 30, 2009


It's simple: When you haven't forgiven those who've hurt you, you turn your back against your future. When you do forgive, you start walking forward.

Tyler Perry, who forgave his abusive father,
and works the theme of forgiveness
into every play and movie he writes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Nephew Got Married!

My nephew Eric, who is my sister Cheryl's youngest son, got married in September.  Sadly, we weren't able to be there.  My Dad finally sent me some photos of the big day, and it looks like it was a lot of fun!

Here are the happy couple.  Cheryl's husband Don built the arch they're standing under.  (The man on the right is the Bishop who married them.)

This is my sister Cheryl.  I think she looks so pretty in her lovely blue dress and pearls.  She looks very "Mother of the Groom" to me too.  And now, it's one down, one to go!  My nephew Neal gets married next summer. 

I like this picture. My nephew Eric looks so happy! His cute wife Amber looks like she's happy too. After all the work and preparation, this was a good day for everyone, I'm sure!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I got this recipe one year early in my marriage.  We had it for dinner at a Homemaking Night one Halloween, and it was so good I made it for our "holiday" dinner and it's been a tradition ever since.  Just the smell of it bubbling in the cauldron lets me know that the spooks and goblins are on their way!


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can chili beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
1 can beef broth (or use water and boullion cubes if you have on hand)
2 cups water
1 envelope taco seasoning

Garnishments: corn chips, shredded cheese, sour cream

Brown ground beef and onion until fully cooked.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then turn down immediately and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

To serve, put handful of corn chips in bottom of bowl.  Ladle soup into bowl on top of chips.  Top with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Put extra corn chips on table to accompany.

The great thing about this recipe is it's easy to double, or triple, as needs be.  It's yummy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I have a question .... what do you do when you make a biggo mistake in front of your kids? 

We splurged today and took the boys out for Chinese food for lunch.  Kevin got a fortune cookie that said that if he wanted to feel good he should make a donation to the chef.  When he read it to me I scoffed and said, "Selfish bastard!"  without even thinking. 

Oh my gosh, Kevin thought that was so funny and kept repeating it.  I tried to tell him it wasn't very nice and I was sorry I said it, but like the saying goes, you can't unring a bell.

How do you handle a flub like that?

Friday, October 23, 2009


Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.
Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Color Me .... What??

So, what is that old saying???  Blondes have more fun.  I was a blonde from the day I was born, then for some reason my body decided to age on me.  Dang!  After that extremely fun experience called menopause, my hair darkened considerably, and my son informed me that I could no longer call myself a blonde.


So this past weekend I took the plunge.  I dyed my hair.  I went out and purchased some hair coloring that I thought looked close to what I had been when I was married twenty-one years ago, got up Saturday morning and did the deed.  Half an hour later I looked at myself in the mirror and .... YIKES!  Who was that?

Time and hormones (or perhaps the lack of such) caused the blonde hair coloring to turn my hair somewhat reddish.  Sort of a Strawberry Blonde.  Not at ALL what I was expecting.

I've been living with it for five days now and it still startles me to look in the mirror.  So I've decided I'm going to live with this for about six weeks and then ..... I think I'll pick a different color and give it a shot again.  After all, it's not rocket science.  I can play with it and see what happens next.  Which color should I try next .....  maybe Raspberry blonde????

Monday, October 19, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Book Thief

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak was recommended by several friends, and finally loaned to me by one of them. And how glad I am! This amazing book, written ostensibly for young adults, will captivate adult readers as well.

Narrated by Death and set in World War II Nazi Germany it is the story of Liesel Meminger who is brought at age nine to live with a foster family in a poor suburb of Munich. Her tough mother, who curses a blue streak, is off-set by her peaceful loving father who teaches Liesel how to read and arouses in her a love of the written word. A love, by the way, Death himself shares.

Liesel becomes the book thief when she takes a book that is abandoned on her brother’s fresh grave as she makes her way to her new home. It is this book that inspires her foster father to teach her to read, and from there she “steals” other books, one of which is rescued from a book burning to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

The family hides a Jewish man in their basement, and Death often looks at their hardships and how it shapes them. He muses on the effects of words in our lives; how words have promoted good and evil, love and hate. And how, he questions, have words put Hitler where he is. In effect, this is a story that has shaped all of us in one way or another.

Written with a beautiful, lyrical voice, THE BOOK THIEF covers the years from the late 1930s into the 1940s. Liesel has a motley group of friends who are part of a captivating story that will live on in your memory for a long time. I would highly recommend this book, and look forward to trying out some of Zusak’s other novels.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.
Helen Keller

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days when you think your life couldn't possibly get any better? I'm having one of those days. My family makes my heart sing! I have the best sons and husband I could imagine.

On top of that, I have been blessed, and I do mean blessed with the finest friends a woman could have. What more could I ask for? I still have a dark chocolate Dove bar my husband gave me for my birthday, a cold Caffeine Free Diet Coke, and a good book Tara, Rachel and Sommar have all recommended and I'm LOVING it! (A book review will probably show up later!)

So there you go ... I'm counting my blessings and find I don't have enough numbers to get up that high!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Guard well within yourself that treasure—kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
George Sand

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Love a Man in Uniform!

I finally got photos of Kevin in his band uniform, and boy does he look handsome! He plays alto sax in the Sand Creek High School Scorpion Marching Band, and I love the way those uniforms look! Just had to show off .....

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Baby is 20

My baby boy turned 20 today. I am filled with a plethora of emotions. On one hand I am so proud of him! He is such an amazing young man.

On the other, I am filled with a sense of melancholy because the days of my having a little boy trotting after me and letting me play with him and cuddle him in my lap are over.

But I am SO glad I had them!

There was a time in my life when I was certain that motherhood would not be mine. It was while I was struggling with the idea of this that I met and fell in love with my husband. I was 32 when we married, and we started our family the next year. AJ came early, and he was only given 48 hours to live. But we were blessed, and here were are today.

He has brought so much joy to my life, added such richness. It was because he was such a fun and happy baby that Stan and I had Kevin so soon after. He is an excellent son, big brother, and person. He is and will continue to be a gift to everyone around him. I am lucky to have been given this blessing of being his mother.

I've always said that I believe that the Lord must truly love me to have given me AJ to care for and raise. That doesn't seem truer to me than today as we celebrate his birthday.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt
U.S. President

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pecan Praline Bars

This is a great fall recipe. And yummy too!

Pecan Praline Bars

1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup toffee pieces
¾ cup pecans (chopped)
1 pkg milk chocolate chips (12 oz)

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 9” x 13” pan.

Cream abutter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients well. Add ¾ cup toffee pieces and ½ cup pecans. Mix well and press into pan. Bake 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over. Allow to melt, and spread to smooth. Sprinkle with remaining toffee and nuts.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: The Matchmakers

The other day I was feeling miserable and picked up a book I'd brought home from the library, and was delighted I did. One of Debbie Macomber's first books that's been reissued, THE MATCHMAKERS is a sweet romance that made me feel better reading it.

The story is about two lonely people. One a widow who's son wants her to find him a new father, the other a bitter divorced man who's daughter wants the same thing. These two children contrive to throw their parents together and to, hopefully, make all their dreams come true.

Like most of Macomber's books, this one is set in Seattle in the fall and holiday season. The story isn't really deep, it doesn't ask much of you beyond coming along for the ride, but I found it to be an enchanting little book (I read it in an afternoon) and found the characters and situations realistic. None of that the governess falls for the rich prince situation here!

Anyway, if you're looking for a good story to make you feel good when you're battling, as I was, a headache or a cold, I'd recommend THE MATCHMAKERS. It'll make you forget your troubles for awhile.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chorizo Mexican Rice

This is a favorite at our house. Tonight we're celebrating a birthday and having a Mexican dinner. Stan is making his famous cheese and onion enchilladas, and I'm making this fabulous rice dish to accompany it. I first got this recipe in 1981 and have been making it ever since. It's very easy, and the taste is not like you'll find in any restaurant. (Please keep in mind that at higher altitudes it may cook faster.)


1 lb. chorizo (pork or beef) (I prefer pork)
¼ cup lard (or shortening)
2 cups uncooked rice
½ cup minced onion
1/3 cup tomato puree
4 cups regular strength beef or chicken broth

Skin chorizo and brown in lard. Mash with a fork; remove and reserve.

Brown rice and onion in the same fat. Add chorizo back in with tomato puree, and stock. Cover.

Cook on top of range over medium heat for roughly 2 hours, or in a 350º oven for 2-3 hours, until rice is fluffy.

Note: you need to check it periodically, stopping cooking when the consistency you like is reached. Add more stock if needed; and you may add salt to taste if desired.
Serves: A Lot!

Friday, September 25, 2009


People everywhere confuse what they read in the newspapers with news.
A.J. Liebling
American Journalist

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Blog

Just to let you know, I have started a new blog to spotlight my writing.

It's called Plotting It Out and you can access it on the Blog List on this blog.

I hope you'll visit it, read the first short story I've posted there, and offer feedback and support as I work on becoming a published author.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just Thinking

This has been a tough decade. Not only for my family, bur for everyone I know. And you know what I've decided? You know that old saying, "only the good die young"? Well, that's just a dumb saying as far as I'm concerned. But I do believe that the good are tested to the limit of their capabilities. And those of us who are trying to do the right thing, to live well and honorably, helping each other and serving others, I think we're all being put on the block right now.

Things are hard, but I also believe that as long as we view things with a positive and hopeful heart we will be alright. Remember that song from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town?" I think it says it all .......

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it's just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

Jules Bass
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” 1970

Friday, September 18, 2009


Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain
1835 - 1910

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm Hooked!

I've made no secret of the fact that I love Pokemon. Yes I do. I love playing my Game Boy, but there aren't many games that I am that interested in outside of Pokemon and the Golden Sun games.

But my kids have now introduced me to Professor Layton, and I AM HOOKED!! It is a "mystery" game played by solving puzzles, and it is addicting. I think it's probably good for my grey cells to be challenged like this too.

For example, one puzzle said that baby mice can reproduce every two months and have five babies. (I'm paraphrasing here.) If you brought a baby mouse home, how many mice would you have in a year?

Sometimes I have to ask AJ or Kevin for help because the solution eludes me, even after looking at the hints! It's sad, but I console myself by telling myself that there are worse addictions in life. I'm not sure what, exactly ........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spousal Support

My sweet husband Stanley! He is the best. He always supports me in whatever endeavor that I take on, be it sewing Halloween costumes, teaching a Relief Society Class or working at becoming a published writer.

Since my falls last year and the increase in my arthritis, most things are difficult for me. Especially sitting in the basement on the office chair and working on the computer. My joints ache so that I can only sit for a short time. Not conducive to writing, let me tell you. I haven't written anything new since last August.

But Stan gave me my birthday present early. He bought me a notebook computer. It's very simple, nothing special on it like a DVD R/W or anything like that. Just the Word program and a keyboard and a port for my flash drive. I'm in heaven!

Now I can write anywhere and anytime I want to. I've started my fourth book, and it feels SO GOOD to be writing again! Happy happy me!