Sunday, November 30, 2008

Boy Am I Spoiled!!!

We've gotten to a point where the nightly cooking duties are divided. We've been doing this for about the last month, and it's been heavenly. Z cooks on Sunday, I cook on Monday, Q has Tuesday, DJ Wednesday, G does Thursday, B (who begged to be added to the rotation) has Fridays. A is also begging (as of tonight) for a night, so he might just be added in for Saturday. It's amazing to only have this one night a week. I LOVE it.

G, a few months ago, told us that he didn't like to cook. He only felt this because his sisters on either side of him really like to bake--cookies, cakes, brownies, whatever is sweet and gooey and yummy--nice to have girls after my own heart.

We are trying to help him overcome his feelings of not being a cook. So, tonight G and I sat down to find a recipe for Thursday evening. Here's what we came up with. I share it here because it looked so yummy and easy--well, relatively so. The tricky part is going to be the pizza crust. I may just buy ready-made dough, or have it made up in my bread machine before he gets home at 4pm.

Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

Gotta Have Some!

I'm dying for some hot chocolate. We are absolute fanatics about it here at our house this time of year. Some of my kids are picky about the brand they ingest. Swiss Miss is too watery. They like Nestle--the big can of it. That way they can throw in as much powder as pleases them.

Tonight, I went looking for some, and it's gone. Gone. Gone. Gone! I had kids searching all over the house for it. None! So, after some thinking, I realized that there have to be recipes out there for this kind of thing. I turned to my red and white checkered Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, and sure enough. Q, who loves hot chocolate more than any of the rest of us combined, volunteered to be the chef. It should be ready any second.

Here's what it says it takes to make it:

1/3 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. sugar
4 c. milk

You start out with the chocolate, sugar and half cup of the milk, mix those together in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture just comes to boiling. You then add the rest of the milk and let it cook until it's heated through. Not too tough.

I love add-ins, so mini marshmallows are coming my way. Yippee!!!

"No Unhallowed Hand"

Any chance I can get at sharing something uplifting, I will. Thank you, Trudy, for sending this to me. I'm assuming that since this is being circulated via email, that I am okay to post it here. I have chosen to withhold the last name of the writer to protect her anononymity.

As I have stated before, I don't believe in coincidence, but I do strongly believe in miracles. I hope this story reiterates the fact that God is aware of all that goes on and watches out for each of us. We are all His children.
I have been to the Los Angeles Temple twice. Once when I was a college student when my older brother got married there, and right before I entered the MTC and was visiting that same brother. It is an amazing place. Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles--on West Santa Monica Boulevard--stands this quiet, peaceful haven on a hill above all the craziness around it. I guess, having experienced time here, the email I received today meant even more to me. Thought I'd share it here.

"Date: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 6:16 PM

"My dear family, brothers and sisters, friends and leaders:

"My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His tender mercies and mighty miracles in our behalf. I just have to share this with you. As most of you know, I am a Temple ordinance worker and work the morning shift in the LA Temple every Saturday. Today, I had the privilege of translating sister Martz-the new assistant Matron's-message during our devotional. She started like this 'The prophet Joseph Smith said that no unhallowed hand would be able to stop this Work from progressing. These past few weeks when mobs have combined and armies have gathered against the saints, the Lord has protected His house'. She went on to say that those, like her, who were inside the Temple when mobs were surrounding it, did not realize how scary and terrifying this looked on TV to the rest of us, because inside the House of the Lord all was calm and there was peace abundant. After Proposition 8 passed, the Temple began receiving threatening calls and mail from those opposing it. They were warned that more than 5000 people would come to the Temple and burn it to the ground, and stop Its work.

"The first Thursday when the mob came, the new LA Temple President called the Salt Lake City Temple Offices for instructions. He was instructed to call the local police and to insure the safety of those attending the Temple by closing the gates. The assistant Matron said today, that it was a tender mercy from the Lord that the mob chose that Thursday to come since they had only one person coming to receive his own endowment that day, which he received in time to leavebefore trouble started. The LAPD and the FBI responded quickly to the Temple Presidency's summons and patroled the grounds and kept the mob from entering the same. Most of them had never been there before and expressed their surprise at how beautiful and peaceful all around was. They were invited to come back during the Christmas season to see the lights and they promised they would.

"On Thursday, November 13th, sister Campbell, a secretary in the Temple, was opening the mail and upon opening a large manila envelope found inside a smaller one. When she opened this one, a white powder flew all around her desk. She thought this could be related to the demonstrators and feared the worst-ANTRAX. She contacted the President, who in turn called the Salt Lake City Temple office again for instructions. The FBI, the LAPD, and even the SWAT teams were once again in the grounds to investigate, and the Temple once again had to close from around 11:30 AM to 5PM. They closed the gates and were instructed to keep all the people there wherever they were found at the time. Those in the parking lot had to remain in the parking lot. Those entering the Temple had to remain in the first floor and those already upstairs were taken to the Celestial Room.

"Then, the miracles began to happen: A brother serving as a recorder that day is a Microbiologist by profession and used to deal with hazardous substances every day. He was the first to say the white powder in the envelope was only talc, and put every one at ease. Then the sister coordinator upstairs was impressed to call upstairs to the sealing area, and said 'They said we can't go down but no one said we can't go up, and I have many people in the Celestial room with their ceremonial clothes on ready to work. Could they do some sealings?' As it happened, there were four sealers present that day and they ran four sealing sessions non stop while the Temple was closed. Downstairs, someone else thought to invite those in the Lobby to do some initiatories, which they promptly did for all those hours too, brothers and sisters alike.

"Among those waiting in the parking lot there was a large group of young men and women with their leaders who had come to do Baptisms for the dead, and who waited patiently all those hours and decided when the Temple was reopened to go ahead and fulfill their assignment instead of driving back home. The Temple reopened in time for the 5:30 PM session. The next day when recording the ordinances, they discovered that they had performed 2000 sacred ordinances on Thursday, only one less than the day before when three stakes had been visiting the Temple. Once again the assistant matron reminded us of the words of the prophet Joseph Smith, 'No unhallowed hand can stop the Work from progressing...'.

"But, this is not all, a prophecy was fulfilled also. When the new LA Temple President was set apart by President Uchdorft of the First Presidency, he received a blessing and these words were pronounced: " The time has come for the LA Temple to come out of obscurity and become an Ensign for Righteousness to the world under your Presidency." The pictures of the Temple have been shown on TV, newspapers and the internet, not only in this country but worldwide. People of other faiths have called and sent letters to the Temple thanking the Church for defending marriage and protecting the family, and commenting how impressed they are by how beautiful and majestic the Temple looks . One minister of an African American church, who by his own admission had harbored ill feelings against the mormons before said ' I am impressed by your integrity and Christ like behavior, and even if I am not ready to consider you my brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be first cousins'

"I asked the assistant matron if I could share her comments and she said to go ahead. I can only add my own testimony that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the power and authority of God on earth. God Lives and Jesus, His only Begotten Son and our Savior is coming soon to redeem His people. I am grateful to know this and I pray we stand firm, steadfast and immobile while the prophecies of the signs before His Coming are fulfilled. 'Be not afraid, only believe' He has said, and also ' What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.' I testify that this is true and testify it in the Holy Name of Whom I strive to serve, even Jesus Christ. Be faithful and safe is my humble prayer.

"Your sister in Christ, P. H. A."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Up, So Very Up

Do you ever just sit and realize how many reasons you have to be happy?

Yes, I've been sick lately. I'm usually a pretty healthy person, and I don't enjoy being sick--who does? But, although I felt yucky all day yesterday and woke up this morning feeling it too, I made myself move today. I gave myself something to look forward to before I went to bed last night and made myself do it. Even though it was grocery shopping. By mid-afternoon, I was feeling much better, and I'm grateful for that.

Tonight I'm just happy. I get the feeling that life could not be better. I am blessed daily, so much so, that I feel ashamed that I overlook these blessings more often than I should. I never should. I hope that by mentioning them here, I am not misunderstood. I hope that it comes clear that I am grateful to God. I know from whom these blessings come. I know that He loves me. I know that He wants me to be happy, and I know that he wants me to succeed. I have my trials, but I know He is aware of those too, and He knows what will cause me to grow and improve. I hope I'm handling them as He would have me handle them.

I was driving in the car with the little boys earlier today. I told them that I loved them. I often sing a silly song of my own creation to express this to them. A echoed back my song with his own words. He then added something about how he shouldn't love himself. I stopped him and said, "Oh, no, you have to love yourself. If you love anybody, you must love yourself." I expalined a little of why that was important, and he decided that he really did love himself. I spent too many years of my life not loving myself and feel that it's held me back for years. I hope my children will always love themselves--not in a vain, conceited way, but in a healthy, taking care of themselves way.

Q got home early today. She showed up at 11:30, right as I as arriving home from the grocery store and was just about to walk A to the bus stop. What a treat this was to have her home!

After we walked in from the wait for the bus, I got T down for his nap, and we started in with the Thanksgiving preparations. Q makes amazing fudge. I have NEVER been successful in this (mine always turns out to be ice cream topping), so it's a source of great pride for her. She succeeded again today. We then made the salad, the pies, the cheesecake (which looks soooo yummy)--it has chocolate and caramel ice cream toppings on the top along with mini chocolate chips and pecans. I was surprised it turned out. I used neufchatel and thought this would affect the outcome, but it looks wonderful! Can't wait to have a sliver of it tomorrow.

Anyway, we spent all afternoon in the kitchen. I turned the movie "Hairspray" on my laptop and it played in the background while we baked our little hearts out. So, everything but the rolls are ready. They are still raising even though they're probably ready to go. I guess I'd better get on it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!

Grocery Shopping is Fun Again?

Wow! Not that grocery shopping was ever fun before, but my thanks goes out to Rebecca and all the people online that share great deals!

I went looking for a diaper deal a couple days ago. I had to look no further than another person's blog. I did a blog search with the words "diaper deals." Target had Huggies and Pampers on sale for $9.99 for a jumbo pack (approx. 30 diapers). I believe this same package usually costs $12.99. If you bought three, which I needed to stock up anyway, you got a $5 gift card for free. Not only that, but I had a $1.50 off coupon for each package. Yippeee!!! So, that was $25.47 for three packages of diapers plus an additional $5 to spend another time, so can I go so far as to say that I really spent $20.47? That may not sound like an outstanding deal to some of you seasoned shoppers, but considering how much time I've spent spending full price for whatever I bought for so many years, I'm thrilled to know there are other ways of doing things. I believe in this transaction I saved $18.50. If you're in need of diapers, this deal ends today.

I'm needing to grab a few more things for Thanksgiving dinner. In an earlier post, I shared that I'm only in charge of rolls, jam, a salad and a dessert. We tried out a recipe for rolls the other day, but I wasn't all that impressed with the results--yummy, but I'm out to impress, so we're trying another one this afternoon. I think I'm going to use my bread machine to mix up the dough. If this doesn't work well, Rhodes will be helping me out. You can't lose with them.

I decided to make a Turtle Cheesecake. I found the recipe in "A Taste of Home" magazine. I wanted to make something that no one could say no to. It's been so long since I've made a cheesecake that I'm hoping I didn't toss my springform pan.

My mother made a dip that we have every year. My father by marriage isn't a fan of onions, so I only make it for our family. This may sound selfish, but we're happy not to share. We LOVE it! So, I'm excited to get the stuff to make it. It's one thing that I look forward to the holidays for.
Okay, so here's the deal I'm most excited about today. This may sound silly, but cheese is so very expensive right now. It's around $9 for a 2 lb. loaf of Tillamook (our very favorite). Fred Meyer had a store coupon for $4.99, and I found an additional coupon put out by Tillamook for another $1 off. So, that's a $9 loaf of cheese for $3.99. WooHoo!!! I was hoping to double the coupon but was sad to find that it said it was not to be doubled. Sigh. I'll take the $3.99!

Oh, and Rebecca, you'd be proud of me, I'm getting frozen veggies for free! Actually, they're paying me .50 to take them off their hands. Nice of them, huh? It seems like I must be getting better at this because for the last few weeks, I've gotten at least one thing for free.

Thanks again to all of you who help my family out on a weekly basis. I'm really finding that every penny counts. I actually look forward to getting my deals all laid out and ready to go. I think it only took me about thirty minutes last night.

Oh, I decided that I'd go to WinCo first this morning and check out their shelf prices, get my produce and use any coupons that I have on stuff that I need that isn't on sale elsewhere and then go to Albertson's and buy the deals I'm aware of--including the blessed cheese.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


If you haven't noticed, I like change.

I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving for my Christmas change over, but I just couldn't wait.

I seem to be having good days and bad days right now. Today's a bad day, so while I'm laying around, here's what you get.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Come, Thou Fount

I was sent this by one of my great Young Women. She doesn't know this, but this is my favorite hymn, and I'm not sure why they deleted it from the latest hymnbook. I hope they'll put it back someday. Regardless, not to be morbid, but I want this sung at my funeral.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Associations with Others

I taught the YW lesson today to two Mia Maids--count 'em, two. The birthdays hit hard this month. The Laurel class is up to 19--where we were last year--and we're down to four.

I really enjoyed this lesson and think anyone can benefit from its message.

We emphasized the fact that we are here on earth to be with, learn from and benefit from our interactions with others. We need to have other people in our lives but everyone can work on making their relationships with others more meaningful. So, I post these things here for anyone who could benefit. I just felt that I gained a lot from studying to teach this lesson.

We spoke about three main ideas in building relationships with others.

  1. Reach out to others.
  2. Don't criticize or judge others.
  3. Pray to have more love.

The lesson talked about out gifts and talents and how these are given to help us perfect ourselves and build others. This is our challenge in life. If we don't reach out to others, how will we grow.

A couple of the things that we decided that keep us from reaching out are fear and shyness. The lesson stated that if we are shy, we need to look beyond ourselves and look for the needs of others first. We need to not be so self-conscious but be more conscious of others around us and what we can do to benefit their lives.

So, there's the challenge for this week:

Think of someone with whom you could improve your relationship and figure out what you can do to make that happen. I'd love to hear what you do.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh NO! Not the Pie! Anything but the PIE!

I really want to blog everyday, but somedays there's just nothing to talk about. So, for today, all I have to say is I LOVE pumpkin pie!!!

We are trying really hard to be frugal and stay within budget and just plain be good, but we went to Costco today. I told Z as we arrived that we needed to abide by the budget we'd set, so we did really well until we got to the bakery and the refrigerated case there. Sighhhhhh. Those pies just called to me. Z started to pick one up, and I said no, but he said, "Look. They're only $5.99. What's your time worth?" I replied with, "Yah, but my crust is better." Then he placed it in the cart. That's all she wrote. We not only left with one pie, we left with TWO.

They're in our extra fridge in the garage. Out of sight out of mind is a great thing unless pumpkin pie is involved. That pie is so going to be sitting right in front of my face in about three minutes here, and I can't wait. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight...My Honest Feelings

I went to the midnight showing of "Twilight" last night. I have to say that I wasn't disappointed. I actually really like the film and would go see it again in a heartbeat.

There were a number of things I didn't love about it. I didn't expect there to be so many hokey and silly things. I mean, what was up with Jasper's character? The first scene where Bella and Edward meet, Edward looks like he is seriously about to hurl. Did anyone else catch the part where Edward looks like he has white wings while sitting in the classroom? The first time he runs with her on his back wasn't at all realisitc, but it was all forgiveable to me, but I wonder if it should have been. Makes me wonder if I didn't love the book so much, or if I hadn't read the book, would I still have liked the movie as much as I did.

I was also sitting an a theater with a bunch of giddy teenage girls who, you could tell, were feeling the sexual tension in certain parts of the movie. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all riddled with sex, but as in the book, there is some amount of tension between Bella and Edward, which I believe is to be expected between two characters who care for each other so much.

All in all, I would say that this movie doesn't deserve its PG-13 rating. There was a mild scene of kissing and a violent scene near the end where they dismember and burn a fellow vampire, but you only get snippets of that.

I loved that this movie stayed so close to the book. I loved that it was filmed in a place that seems like my home does now--overcast and rainy. I love the relationship between Bella and Edward.

So, here's one thing that I have really pondered since reading the book and now am revisiting since seeing the movie....What is my fascination with the Bella/Edward relationship? He protects her and in some ways comes across as owning her. Is that really what I fantasize about? I'm just so drawn to that in Edward's character. She never suffers alone. He always pulls her out of the fixes she finds herself in. He saves the day. I didn't marry a man who pulls me out of fixes. He lets me figure them out and gives me as much freedom as any woman could want. I have always loved that about him, but this other side, this Edward thing is so enchanting. Couldn't I have that too? Does anyone else feel this way?

No, I didn't love Robert Pattinson in the role of Edward. He was, as Hugh Grant defines himself in "Notting Hill," "Squidgy around the edges." In parts of "Twilight," he was goofy. His expressions were overdone and almost melodramatic, but I was more than pleased with Kristin Stewart's portrayal of Bella. In a lot of the trailers, they took her voice from certain parts of the movie and overdubbed them into a different scene. Does this make sense? So, in the movie, it seemed to fit better when they put her voice in the right place saying the right thing. Having it all in context really helped my enjoyment of the film. I was especially impressed with her acting ability in the dance studio scene. She was believable. She made the movie for me.

I still love the book way better than the movie. I love the images in my mind and the feelings as I read "Twilight," but the movie is sweet and brings out good feelings.

Now, mind you, I am a teenager who never grew up and have this romantic side to me that won't quit, so I probably forgave way more than I should have, but I'd love to know what anyone else thinks as you see it.

Jiffy Lube Saga Continues

You're not going to believe this.

My car started making a grinding sound from time to time on the right hand front side--sounded like brakes, but I'd just had those replaced back in early September, so I was pretty sure that wasn't it. I had a great mechanic take care of them for me that I completely trust. I think that says a lot coming from a mechanic's daughter.

This morning, I decided that enough was enough, so I called Zan and asked him to meet me at the mechanics and took the car to have the right front brakes checked. The guy popped off the tire and saw nothing that could be wrong. The brakes looked great and everything at first inspection looked just fine. All of a sudden, he called his buddy over and said, "Hey, look at this caliper and tell me what's wrong with this."

His co-worker responded with, "Well, look at that, the bolt is missing." We checked to see if it was sheared off somehow, but no, it had fallen out or had been removed. (Note: this photo is not of my car, but the caliper is the red thing).

I started thinking back to when the sound started. It was the afternoon after I'd had Jiffy Lube change my oil. I had run some errands and was rounding the last curve in my neighborhood. From that point on, it would come and go.

I know these are fairly strong allegations, and there is no way I can prove it. But, there was no doubt that those men who were working on my car that day were unhappy with me, and after hearing everyone else's complaints about Jiffy Lube, it really raises some suspicions. I will not be returning to Jiffy Lube. Z's car now sports an Oil Can Henry's sticker inside the front windshield.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I just LOVE being tagged. It keeps me from having to think about what to blog about. Plant Buddy, one of my new blogging friends, tagged me with this one. Oh, BTW Plant Buddy, I'm going to learn something from you and your blog because my plants consider me to be Plant Enemy #1--if they had a most wanted, I'd be at the top of the list.
The tag says to post 8 Random Facts and/or Habits about myself and then choose 8 other people to tag.
After you put this link on your site, go and tag 8 other bloggers and have them link back to you.
There are benefits to this tagging game: You increase traffic to your site and meet new people.
This is my first tagging experience. . . So here goes:

1. I'd love to travel, but so far I have only been to Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona (just the very northern tip when my brother was showing us the polyg colony there--he's fascinated by that--kind of funny!), Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Texas (only the airport in Dallas/Fort Worth), and Japan and Mexico (only Tijuana--does that count?).
2. If I had a choice between a dozen roses and mixed wildflowers, I'll take the wildflowers any day. I think roses lack imagination. I used to work for a seed company and the gardeners would come in at certain times of the year with armfuls of beautiful flowers and put them on my desk. I LOVED it!
3. I've been through the Portland underground with the same brother who is fascinated by polygamists. He's always looking for adventure and sometimes drags me along. They say the Shanghai tunnels of Portland could be one of the most haunted places in Oregon. Oooh, and I've been there--be impressed. I lived to tell.
4. I love color! I'm not brave enough to get really bright in my house yet, but blues, yellows and greens are my favorites.
5. I really like liver and onions. It was a food we weren't allowed to eat as children. This ranked right up there with steak. My mom would make these things for the adults and the kids'd get frozen pizza or mac and cheese, so these became delicacies in my mind. You had to beg for a bite.
6. I've only ever received one ticket. That was for running a stop sign that was covered by an overgrown tree. Fair? Hmm. I don't know.
7. I used to teach English at a language school to help get my hubby and me through college. I taught college students from all over the world. It was a private school, so I didn't have to have a degree.
8. I love anything with nuts--cashews are the BEST! The rest of my fam doesn't love them, so I sacrifice for them. Sigh.

Funny how I can't think of a thing as I sit down to do this, but so far I've thought of enough that I don't have to delve into anything too embarrassing. I'm afraid those days are coming.

HERE'S MY LIST OF THE NEXT 8 BLOGGERS BEING TAGGED (I'm chosing eight people that I don't know very well yet that I'd like to know better):

Tink (I know I just tagged you, but it's so fun getting to know you!)
Trying to Stay Calm

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Take a minute to leave a comment telling them that you have tagged them. Be sure to leave me a comment too when you're done. HAVE FUN!!

Holiday Tag

Thanks to Patti for this new idea.

1.Eggnog or Hot Chocolate: Both. Eggnog just makes me feel guilty because of the fat content, but I do endulge from time to time--love it!
2.Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? wrapped.
3.Colored or white lights on tree and house? white tree, colored house if we get them up.
4.Do you hang mistletoe? Sometimes Z brings it home, but that's only happened once or twice.
5.When do you put your decorations up? Any time after Thanksgiving
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Stuffing
7.Favorite holiday memory as a child: When I was about eleven, my mom felt terrible that she hadn't gotten me a doll. I hadn't asked for one, but she felt strongly that I needed a new doll for Christmas. She took me up in the attic on Christmas afternoon, and we searched through my sister's old dolls (from back in the '50s), and she gave me one. It had great clothes too.
8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What about Santa? Just kidding, my brother told me. I was devastated.
9.Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes. We have a gift exchange with the in-laws. We pen those presents the night before.
10.How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Z puts the lights on and the kids decorate it. I always ended up decorating the tree alone as a child, so I don't love doing it now. I let them enjoy it.
11.Snow. Love it? or Dread it? Love, love, LOVE it!
12.Can you ice skate? If I get warmed up.
13.Do you remember your favorite gift? That's a toughie. I think it was back when I was about 9. I wanted a Barbie dreamhouse, but we couldn't afford it. My parents got me a Barbie Boutique instead. I LOVED it!
14.What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending lots of time with my family.
15.What is your favorite holiday dessert? pumpkin pie topped w/real whipped cream
16.What is your favorite holiday tradition? Spending the night at my in-laws
17.What tops your tree? A white angel
18.Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I'm a bit embarrassed to receive--never sure if I'm responding correctly. I love to give especially when I know it's just the right thing.
19.What is your favorite Christmas song? "The Sheherd's Carol" and Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven"
20.Candy Canes? Yuck or Yum? Yuck. Only in hot chocolate.

Here's a beautiful Christmas video for you. This is an LDS video that just happens to go perfectly with "Breath of Heaven." I showed this in YW last year for Christmas. Hope you enjoy it!

Now, consider yourself tagged. Let's see what your Christmas is like.

What Have You Done?

Found this on Danielle's blog. It looked like fun, so I thought I'd do it too. Plus, insomnia reigns tonight, so what better do I have to do? This insomnia thing is a total bummer as tomorrow night at this time I'll be watching "Twilight," so I could use all the sleep I can get. *Sigh*

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
101. Learned to play an instrument

Try this out. It's actually really fun to see what you've done. It also makes you think about what you want to do--so just copy and paste, then bold the things on the list you have done.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I can't let this day go by without posting about one of the two favorite men in my life. This photo is of him at 19 years of age--the day he married my mom.
Here are the things I love best about my dad. I won't give as many as his age, although I could, because it's late, and I'm already past my self-imposed curfew. So, I'll give you my top ten reasons I love my dad (in no particular order):
10. He always worked hard to support his family.
9. He took us to Klickitat, Washington, where he grew up and taught me to love that part of this world.
8. He's the smartest man I know.
7. He took the time for me, as a teenager, and helped me get back on the right path.
6. He picked the most perfect woman in the world to marry.
5. He looks for the good in all of his family and never speaks evil of any of them.
4. He loves my kids and makes the most delicious "hot cakes" for them whenever they come visit.
3. He has an undying love for the Gospel and the Savior and expresses his strong testimony in all that he does.
2. He used to sit in the backseat of the car with just me on family trips and share his knowledge of the scriptures and gospel topics--I remember especially learning about the Nicean Creed from him.
1. He endowed each of his kids with a sense of humor and the ability to laugh in the face of hard things.

Happy birthday, Dad! I love you!!!


A--Attached or Single: Attached

B--Best Friend: Z
C--Cake or Pie: Pie
D--Day of Choice: Friday
E--Essential Item: My planner and computer.
F--Favorite Color: pink
G--Greatest Accomplishment: being mom to my kids
H--Hometown: Portland, OR
I--Indulgences: ice cream and chocolate
J--January or July: July (I actually love cold weather, but I love having my kids home even more).
K--Kids: Q, G, DJ, B, A and T
L--Life is incomplete without: Z and my kids
M--Marriage Date: March 21, 1992
N--Number of Siblings: Five - Toni, Steve, Gordon, David, Matthew
O--Oranges or Apples: Oranges and Braeburn apples
P--Phobias or fears: terrorists, losing my kids, forests (alone), spiders
Q--Quotes: "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." - William Rose Wallace and the one at the bottom of my blog.
R--Reason to Smile: Everything! I had a friend in high school confront me with, "Not everything in life is a joke, Julie." I know that's true, but I also know there's someone in charge whose much more powerful than anything that can happen in this world. That keeps me smiling.
S--Season: Spring. I love the flowers the earth is blessed with.
T--Tag 5 Friends: Megan, Paige, Tink, Christy, and Breezy
U--Unknown facts about me: Haven't I exposed everything by now? Let's see...I LOVE it when people just stop by to visit unannounced and are willing to just go with the flow.
V--Very favorite store: I don't think I have one. Maybe See's Candy
W--Worst habit: picking my cuticles, but I'm getting better.
X--X-ray or Ultra Sound: Ultra sound
Y--Your favorite food: I just had the most AMAZING Swiss chocolate the other day. It just melted in my mouth. Also, if you ever go up the Columbia River Gorge, go to the Riverside Grill and have their Chicken Oscar with crab. It's soooo good!
Z--Zodiac: Aries

Striking a Balance

Yesterday was the most amazing day! By the time Z got home, the house was fairly orderly (you should have seen it the days before), dinner was on the table, all the kids were helping with various chores around the house, and I was feeling good. You could tell by Z's whole demeanor that he was happy to be home.

It just so happened that the missionaries dropped by as we were starting Family Home Evening, and it was nice that they could walk in, and I could feel happy about what they were walking in to.

If only I could copy and paste yesterday.

I've been reading "Confessions of an Organized Homemaker," which I saw recommended by a couple other bloggers. It's been a good reawakening for me. I'm not even 1/3 of the way through the book, but I'm bound and determined to get my house in order. No matter who is against me--not this boy:

I've been tagged a few times, and I need to get to those. I also have an award that I started to blog about (yeah! Thanks!), but I haven't gotten to that yet either. It'll all happen just not yet. Let me get a grip on life first, and I'll be back in full force.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Public Blogs

On a trial basis, I've allowed two of my kids to let their blogs go public. Here's one and here's the other. Enjoy!

What Do You Think?

When the new Willy Wonka movie came out a few years ago, G's friend's mom came up to me and said, "You know who G looks like? That boy in the new Willy Wonka movie." We had a good laugh over this, but as time has gone on, more and more people have approached us saying this.
While I was looking for a photo of G for the last post, I thought I'd take a closer look to see what I thought. Thought I'd share it with you. What do you think?

G is for Grateful; Grateful am I for G

I expressed earlier in the week that I have some new issues in my life. These issues now have issues from time to time, so things are a bit tricky. One of the things is that I find myself laying around more than I would like.

Last night, I found myself in this situation. I was laying on the couch in the living room. After a little while I tuned in to what was going on in the other room. I heard the kitchen table wiggling as if it were being wiped. After that, I heard dishes being rinsed and put in the dishwasher. Z wasn't home; he was off at the "mat." I then started to hear a male voice humming a happy little tune.

It was G.

Now, you have to understand that my children are completely unaware of my current situation, but even without knowing, they have been very supportive. I had also not asked anyone to clean the kitchen. He cleaned the entire room and hummed the whole time he did so all on his own.

I've heard of people who have kids like this. I just never thought I was one of them. Wow! He's gonna make one great husband someday.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Because My Father Read the Book of Mormon

I hope that , no matter who you are, you take the time to read this post.

I have pared nothing from this talk. I couldn't. Every word had purpose and power.

So far in this series, this is the talk I'm most excited to review. Z and I watch a conference talk each evening together. The night of this talk, I was sitting on the floor, across the room, clipping coupons, and Z was watching. At first, I was concerned about Elder Aidukaitis' accent and my ability to understand what he had to say, but that quickly passed as I felt the strong spirit his words brought. By the end, I was so impressed with the power of this man's words. He is truly a great servant of our Father in Heaven!

A number of weeks ago, Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve came to speak to the youth in our area. To us, this was a huge deal! We don't get general authorities that come out our way but when there's a big reorganization or leadership change during a stake conference, so we made sure to get all the kids that could go out to Hillsboro for this meeting.

I sat in the car and waited for the kids I had brought. They came out so excited. It was a great meeting, but one of the things that they commented about most was Elder Oaks' companion speaker, who was Elder Aidukaitis. They had also felt his strong spirit and felt of his strength.

"I consider June 2, 1940, to be a very important day in the history of my family. On this day my father was baptized into this Church.

"Writing to his father, Elder Jack McDonald, one of the missionaries who baptized my father, described the day with these words:

“'Last Sunday was an especially beautiful day. We missionaries went out to a secluded spot on the river’s edge, out in the country, and there Elder Jones and I [Elder McDonald] made our first baptism. Antony Aidukaitis entered into the icy waters and became a member of the Church. . . . Everything was perfect. The sky so blue, the countryside so still, so green, so lovely that none of us could help feeling the presence of some great influence.

“'[As we walked] with our new member, he said that he just couldn’t explain how wonderful this day had been for him, how he actually felt like a new man. . . . That was our first baptism—no credit to me or anybody. He converted himself.'”

"This event changed the history of my life. I am not sure my father was able to foresee the wisdom of his act, but I love him for what he did that day. He passed away more than 30 years ago, but I will honor and bless his name forever.

"My father was the son of Lithuanians, but he was born in Scotland. He moved to Brazil when he was still young. His ability to speak English facilitated his conversion since he could read the Book of Mormon in English, and there was not yet a reliable translation into Portuguese. This language barrier prevented my mother from joining the Church until a few years later, but when she did, she became a powerful example of dedication to others and love of God in our family. She is now 92 years old, and she is here today. It gives me great joy to say that I love her for her great faithfulness. I will also honor and bless her name forever.

"I admire the courage my father had to be baptized into the Church in spite of the circumstances he faced at the time. It was not easy for him. His wife did not get baptized with him. The vices of drinking alcohol and smoking were strong temptations for him. He was poor. His mother was against his joining the Church, and she told him that if he were baptized, she would no longer consider him her son. With fewer than 300 members in Brazil, the Church did not have a single chapel there. I am truly astonished by my father’s determination and courage.

"How could he make such a decision in the face of so many unfavorable circumstances? The answer is simple: it was because my father read the Book of Mormon. When he read it, he came to know of the truthfulness of the message of the Restoration. The Book of Mormon is a proof that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Preach My Gospel teaches that 'the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is [the] most powerful resource in conversion' ([2004], 104).

"President Gordon B. Hinckley declared: 'Those who have read [the Book of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power. . . .

'. . . Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts . . . the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God' ( “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, June 1988, 6; see also 'The Book of Mormon,' Tambuli, Oct. 1988, 7).

"These promises came true for my father and for my family. In accordance with what we have been taught, we read the scriptures as a family every day. We have done so for many years. We have read the Book of Mormon several times in our home, and we will continue to do so. As promised, the Spirit of the Lord has come into the heart of our family, and we have felt a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.

"When you know that the Book of Mormon is true, you know that Joseph Smith was called by God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. You know that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son. You know that there is only one faith and one valid baptism. You know that a prophet of God lives on the earth today and that he has all the keys of the priesthood and the right to exercise them, as Peter did anciently. You know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only name whereby you can receive salvation. You know that God the Father lives and that He loves us. You know that His plan of salvation is perfect, and you have the desire to perform ordinances, live the commandments, and endure to the end.

"I feel sad when someone who has been given the Book of Mormon and had these things explained to him still refuses to read it. I feel sad that some people allow themselves to be influenced by others, refuse to investigate the book, and set it aside as something without worth, never participating in the spiritual banquet it offers. To me, this is incomprehensible. It is as if a son or a daughter, separated from a loving father, refused to read a letter from him without even opening the envelope. Those who make such a choice are like spoiled children who refuse to even taste the meal tenderly prepared for them by their loving mother.

"God reveals His truth when people follow Moroni’s exhortation in Moroni 10:3–5. Preach My Gospel summarizes Moroni’s instructions as follows:

"One, 'read the Book of Mormon and ponder its message concerning Jesus Christ.'

"Two, 'pray to God with faith in Jesus Christ to receive a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration.'

"Three, 'pray sincerely and have real intent, which means that they intend to act on the answer they receive from God' (111).

"To those who may argue that we cannot know these things, I testify that we can, when we are humble enough to do as God has instructed us through His prophets on this earth. To believe otherwise would be to accept the absurd notion that God does not know where truth can be found or does not have the power to show it unto us. Just because someone has not acted on the promise of this book does not mean that others have not done so.

"Why do I love and honor the name of my father? Because my father read and acted on the promise of the Book of Mormon. Why do I love and honor the name of my father? Because he did not recoil from the answer he received, even while facing great challenges. Why do I love and honor the name of my father? Because he blessed my life, even before I was born, by having the courage to do what God expected him to do.

"I invite all who hear me today to read the Book of Mormon and to apply the promise it contains. Those who do will know that the book is true.

"I bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Because of this, I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that he did not write the Book of Mormon but translated it by the power of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God on the earth today, the only man on the earth who holds all the keys of the priesthood and has the right to exercise them. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives. I know that God lives and loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Here you can listen to and watch this talk. Forgive the sign language interpreter. This was the only version of his talk I could find on youtube.

Now for Something Really Entertaining

This is a family favorite. We have a better version of it at our house, but this is what I could find for you tonight. Enjoy!!!

The Constitution of the United States of America (Part 7) - Article I, Section 6

Section 6 - Compensation

(The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Wow! That no arrest thing is like a get-out-of-jail free card. I don't know if I like that. I guess "felony" covers a lot of crimes, but you'd better not have any minor business deals with congressmen because they're not going to be held accountable for anything it sounds like.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lifetime!!! - I did it, Megan!

I've been tightening my belt pretty tight these past two weeks. I've learned that this isn't such a good idea. It makes me feel like I've gained weight and then I feel insecure when I go in to weigh in. No matter how well I eat and watch my intake, I still feel like I've gained.

Tonight I was so unsure that I asked if I could use the scale at the doctor's office when I took B in for his appointment. I was given the green light, so when no one was looking, I stepped on. I was very happy with the numbers. I had lost weight this past week--miraculous--especially considering the shrimp thingy I indulged in yesterday.

I decided that I was going to give myself a break tomorrow morning and let myself sleep in, so I drove straight over and hit the 5:15 meeting. I had made lifetime.

What this means for anyone who hasn't participated in Weight Watchers before, is that you set a goal and once you hit that goal, you must stay within two pounds of that weight for six weeks. Today was the sixth week for me. I now can stop paying for Weight Watchers. I have to weigh in once a month to keep current, and if I'm within that two pounds, I don't have to pay ever again. If I fall outside of that goal, I will have to pay for one meeting--this is somewhere around $12. Once I get back into the goal, I stop paying again. At least this is how I understand it to be. The woman who weighed me tonight didn't give me my booklet, so I'm going off what I've read on the Weight Watchers website.

If I could take a photo of myself without tossing it, I'd show you here, but you'll have to take my word for it. I just can't stand to see myself in pictures. I lost a total of 24.6 pounds and started back on May 3rd.

Official Statement

Check out the official statement from Church leadership.

I couldn't agree more. Enough of this foolishness!

I Miss Her

I'm missing my mom so badly right now. She was the BEST, and I wish you all had gotten to meet her.

I think of how we all brag about and are so proud of our own kids, but I think if my kids were to live in your house, you wouldn't find them all that spectacular. You'd think they were just kids, but the reason I can brag about them so fully is because they are the perfect kids for me. They meet my needs as far as what I need to learn in this life. They are a personalized gift to me from God.

So, if you had gotten to meet my mom, you might just have thought of her as "just a lady in the ward" or "that nice lady in the house down the street," but to and for me, she was perfect.

I was born as her fifth child. From what I understand, I was a mistake. My mom was a month away from turning 41 when I was born. She wanted a large family as she had been raised an only child but hadn't been able to have kids for sixteen years--they adopted two during that time. She told me that when she was pregnant with me the color pink was so beautiful, and after having three boys, she prayed and prayed for a girl. I used to love this story when I was a little girl. It made me feel so special.

I understand now that much of my life's purpose was to be a friend to my mom. We were so close. She was probably the easiest person to get along with of anyone I ever knew. On that, I think you'd agree with me.

At the end of her life, it was so interesting to know her needs without her being able to tell me. We were somehow connected in deeper ways than I had ever understood before. I was grateful to be able to help care for her. What a blessing that was and continues to be in my life.

The other day, as I left to take the kids to school, A, wearing his super hero cape and carrying his pirate sword, said, "I'm Mom's guard." This melted my heart and made me realize even more that we really are tied together for each others good. Isn't it great to love and be loved?! Family really is part of our Heavenly Father's plan for all of us. Sometimes this just seems so clear.

Expectations to Live Up To?

T's birthday was back on October 10th. As the day got closer we taught him, that when asked when his birthday was, to respond with "Friday." "October tenth" was just too much of a mouthful.

This morning as he joined us in our room (I was hiding under the covers, and I wish I had a picture of the face that greeted me when he found me there), we started asking him questions, "What's your name?...How old are you?...When's your birthday?" We hadn't asked that in a long time, and I had forgotten what his response would be. Of course, he answered, "Friday!"

Z chimed in with, "Well, that's today! Happy birthday!" Again, there was that face--the one from when he found me under the covers--pure JOY!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Flu Shots

Since the kids were tiny, we've done family flu shots. After G was diagnosed with asthma we were encouraged by our insurance company. Well, today was the magical day. The kids were so excited...


In order to get there in time, I had to pick G up from school a little bit early. The youngest two boys and I had been a few weeks ago and got ours. This, as I see now, was a blessing as they were not eligible for the new nasal form of the immunization and had to have actual shots.

All the way to the clinic, the kids were begging me, "Mom, I want the nose spray not the shot." This kept up until I was kind of sick of hearing it. I finally retored with, "I am not the doctor; although I often play one on TV."

I got a good kick out of myself and am still chuckling inside. The kids just sat there.

Taming the Beast - How I'm Learning to Live With a Two-Year-Old Again

A few weeks ago, I blogged about taking T's aya (binky) away from him and how easy it was.

Scratch all that, would you?

After taking it away from him, his sweet little personality changed almost overnight. I had awakened the beast. There was no turning back. Ugh!!! Run for your LIVES!!!

I think we went for a couple of weeks aya-less, and then T found one somewhere in the house. Z, who doesn't live with the beast during the day, was relentless; but okay, you got it, I caved. I was hoping to send the beast back to where he came from with the granting of a magical aya, but oh no, this was not to be. The beast remained, and now, I had caved, AND I got the distinct joy of living with this creature everyday. Gotta love those double blessings.

Now, mind you, he's not a living terror. He's still the sweet little boy I once knew; I can still see him in there, but he is quite a bit more active and harder to contain. The word, "No" has emerged as a staple in his vocabulary. This just does not fly in my world. I have strong feelings about children and respect, but I think this can be taught in loving ways. I feel that as it is shown to them, they will learn to return it. Mind you, I'm working on all of this, and this is just me writing down what I'm thinking as I go along.

Today I decided, would be the end of the beast. I have taken command again, and he will not continue the habits he's started to display if I can do anything to help it. I kind of feel like Annie Sullivan when she started out with Helen Keller. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but there is a point of comparison for you.

Here's how things are playing out so far this afternoon. At this point, T has just enough ablities to be dangerous. I started to take his shirt off him as he had spilled yogurt down his front at lunch but stopped myself knowing that that is something he could totally handle himself. What's the famous adage? "Never do for a child what that child can do for himself."

I showed him the yogurt and said, "Oops. Look at this. What do you think about this?" His response was, "Ewww." I asked him what he thought he should do about it. He started to take his shirt off. I had to help him a wee bit as he got it caught trying to take his arms out. Once we got it off, he took it upstairs to the laundry room. I didn't have to say a thing. The beast knew proper protocol; there was a glimmer of hope!

Once he got into his room, as we were heading for naptime, he started to pull his pants down. They were at about mid-thigh when he started to undo his diaper. I said, "Oh, okay, you want a diaper change? Please go grab me a diaper." He stood there and stared at me. I said, "Oh, you're going to go potty?" He worked to get the pants off the rest of the way and headed for the bathroom.

After a few moments, I realized that he was too short to get himself up on the toilet, so I hurried to the bathroom to prevent any further damage he might add to that done in moments of my absence. As I walked in, he was standing there holding the flusher down with one hand and grabbing bits of toilet paper to throw in with the other. I asked him to please stop flushing, but he seemed to be concerned that the newly added piece of paper wasn't going down, so he continued to hold onto the flusher. I finally walked over, realizing I was being ignored (does he not trust me?) and took his hand off the flusher, telling him that I would take care of it later.

We walked back to the bedroom.

After a story, which he chose; and a song, which he also chose; he was finally down for his nap, and I realized that he just has to know that I'm ultimately in charge. That's the bottom line. He can have choices in my kingdom, but he is merely the court jester, not the king or even the chief bull-goose looney (that would be his father--don't worry, I'm not insulting him here, it is merely the position he has chosen for himself), those roles are taken; we will take care of him; his needs will be met; we can be trusted; but, baby, get ready to do what it takes to exist under my regime. Ooo, "regime," not a good word. offered me "dynasty" I like that one.

So, in a nutshell, here are the rules I've created for myself:

  1. I'm the mom and am the ruling body in my house. I have to remember this.

  2. I should be respected as such, but I must also be the example of how to show respect.

  3. "Never do for the child what he can do for himself." Let him have as much control as he can handle.

  4. I should give my child only the choices that I can live with. Those choices should be both advantageous for him--not a good choice and a bad one to manipulate him.

  5. I must be an active participant. I can't sit back and allow him to build bad habits and reinforce them for himself daily. I've got to be up and doing.

  6. I have responsibility to teach him appropriate actions and words and undo the bad habits by teaching correct ones.

  7. At first, changing these habits might be painful for him, but that's exactly how I feel when I learn that the way I've been doing things is wrong, and my will is changed. Sometimes it seems that the more painful the consequence, and the more pleasant the right way, the less likely he will be to repeat the bad habit and adopt the good. So, let him make the bad choice, let him feel the result and then teach him the better way. (Unfortunately this is where I failed to begin with. I should have retained the aya and just started at #1 on this list. It was just that I had forgotten that I was in charge. Remember, I was the one who had unleashed the beast. The beast had taken charge and was ruling my life. I now need to show him that I am the benevolent dictator [to some degree at least for awhile until he can be trusted to live within the house rules], who can be trusted and will love him no matter what).

  8. Love on him a lot every chance I get.

Okay, there are my rules for myself. Would you like to add more? How do you deal, or have you dealt, with troubling toddlers?

Blogging My Brains Out

I'm giving this post this title because I'm feeling very bloggy today. Did you know that was an emotion? I'll think of something and the next thought will be, "Oh, maybe I'll blog about that." So, prepare yourself for an onslaught of posts from yours truly.

I went grocery shopping this morning. If you go down my sidebar, look for the Obsessive Shopper link. She is linked to a site called It took me, using her site last night, one hour to get my coupons all figured out for today. I want to thank Shauntell for making this available. Her link is to Utah stores, but Albertson's works no matter where; they all have the same deals.

I also want to thank Rebecca for getting me turned on to this new way of buying groceries for my brood. I can't believe how much I save week to week. I'm still so new to this, but it really makes it all into a game, so it's now fun to do. Today, I had the three people behind me in line, the cashier and the bag boy all cheering for me. It was so funny! I spent $63.71 and saved $158.26!!! I felt like a million bucks as I left.

I had two things I was particularly excited about buying today. One was the Dannon Frusion yogurt drinks. They weren't on sale, but I had some great coupons. There were also coupons on the bottles as I went to the shelf--buy two get one free, so I bought even more. I love the pineapple coconut ones and Z loves the peach. They are soooo yummy! I have also been wanting shrimp, so I bough a Bertolli's Shrimp Scampi and Linguine. The thing has TONS of calories. One serving is half a package. It ended up being a flippin' 12 points. I made it for lunch. Z doesn't even like shrimp. I tried to eat half a serving, but I just couldn't help myself. I went ahead and ate a serving. There goes half of my points for the day. Ugh! But, it was soooooo worth it!

From what I understand, Rebecca is doing a ward activity on the 21st to teach people her method for using coupons. She's amazing, and I highly recommend what she teaches. I mean, who can't afford to save a few bucks?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Constitution of the United States of America (Part 6) - Article I, Section 5

Article. I. - The Legislative Branch
Section 5 - Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Okay, enlighten us here. More stuff I'm clueless about.

Just to Make You Smile

A (who is five and a half) just came down to say his prayers before bed. He's working very hard on the "thee" part even though he doesn't have the asking part figured out yet. Everything is just "I thank thee..." There is something to be learned from this. those things that he should be asking for he thanks for as if they've already happened. A very optimistic kind of thinking, if you ask me.

Tonight's prayer was extra entertaining for me as there were things in it I've never heard before (things can tend to be a little rote at times if you know what I mean).

It went something like this...

"I thank thee that we have a good family, and that we don't drink alcohol or any of that bad kind of stuff....But only milk and juice and good stuff like that."

You Know Enough by Neil L. Andersen

"...Across the world, on every continent, in large cities and in small villages, we are a great family of believers. Together, we have begun our march toward eternal life. It is the journey of journeys. We go forward, taking upon us 'the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.'"

I definitely feel this way since this blogging journey has begun for me. I feel a fellowship and friendship with those whose blogs I read and those who read mine and comment. I have rekindled old friendships, built on already existing friendship and met people I never would have otherwise. This is such a wonderful, miraculous experience.

One other thing along these lines--about being "a great family of believers." I remember a number of years ago when we only had four children, Z and the kids and I went on the MAX train down to Saturday Market. We boarded the train, and it was so full that we were immediately separated. I had two children (the two youngest) and Z had the two oldest.

I stood in the aisle with the stroller as there was nowhere to sit. A man near me, who had that oh so familiar glow about him (you know what I mean) stood and offered me his seat. I told him I was fine, but he insisted. I took the seat, and in the next couple stops, another seat cleared, and he sat with us (his wife had been sitting across from me). After he sat, he said, "Are you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ?" I said, "Yes, if you mean that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." He told me that was what he meant. He said, "I could just tell. You look like one." We continued our conversation. He was working for the Oregon Portland mission as a physician. It was a great conversation until B started to cry from the stroller. The man asked if he could hold him.

Without a pause, I unbuckled the stroller and gave this man, who not five minutes before had been a complete stranger, my baby. He held him and comforted him and our conversation continued. I realized that day the rapport we have with each other as this "family." What a great comfort this is.

Back to Elder Andersen's words, "While there are many experiences like the one we are having today, full of spiritual power and confirmation, there are also days when we feel inadequate and unprepared, when doubt and confusion enter our spirits, when we have difficulty finding our spiritual footing."

Oh man, is this guy talking to me or what?!

"Part of our victory as disciples of Christ is what we do when these feelings come."

I hope you will comment on this post and share how you deal with these feelings. I think we could all benefit from others' victories in this area. Sometimes we're strong and ready to handle things, and sometimes we're caught off-guard and need to regroup. So, what do you do?

Elder Andersen shares that when he was preparing for his mission, he felt inadequate in that he didn't know all that he needed to to go out and serve the Lord, as he prayed about it, he received the answer, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough!”

"Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.)"

"We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord’s answer will be, 'You don’t know everything, but you know enough'—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. Remember Nephi’s words: 'I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.'"

Let's face it. There are times when we just feel less than we should, at least I think most of us do. I think I've finally come around to the idea that I need to be grateful for these feelings. They are my "scourge."

Here's what I mean. Remember in the Book of Mormon, when Nephi is promised that if his seed rebels against God, the seed of his brothers--the Lamanites--will be a "scourge" to stir them up in remembrance of God (2 Nephi 2:24)? I was reading this a few years ago. I love how the Book of Mormon comes alive with different things at the times that you need them most.

At that time, I was in a calling that was, for me, a piece of cake. I loved it, but it was so easy to just do it without thinking about whose work I was doing.

Right about the time I read this particular scripture, I had a new member join my group. This person became my scourge. I could not continue successfully in this calling without leaning on the Lord to learn how to serve this person in a way he needed to be served.

These feelings of inadequacy are there to remind us that we aren't complete without the Savior in our lives--daily.

"We each have moments of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must sink them deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our spiritual home storage for moments of personal difficulty. Jesus said, 'Settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.'"

I love that Brother Andersen says that "we must sink them deep." They don't just sink there on their own. How many times have I heard or read or seen something that has caught me straight in the heart? Those things that tell me, "There's a lesson in this for you. Pay attention." So, how do we react to these times? Do we sit up and take notice and make them sink deep?

Brother Andersen shares the experience of giving a blesssing to a man who had lost a daughter in a tragic accident. In this blessing, he shared these words, "'Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision....Choose faith.'

"My friend did not know everything, but he knew enough. He chose the road of faith and obedience. He got on his knees. His spiritual balance returned.

"It has been several years since that event. A short time ago I received a letter from his son who is now serving a mission. It was full of conviction and testimony. As I read his beautiful letter, I saw how a father’s choice of faith in a very difficult time had deeply blessed the next generation.

"Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts—these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, 'Be not afraid, only believe.'"

Although I hate trials and challenges as much as the next man, I can see the blessing in them. It is in these times that we can feel the help that comes to us especially for us from our Father in Heaven who knows us perfectly.

"Through the years we take these important spiritual steps over and over again. We begin to see that 'he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.'5 Our questions and doubts are resolved or become less concerning to us. Our faith becomes simple and pure. We come to know what we already knew."

I loved this little story from Brother Andersen. "Hadley Peay is now seven years old. Hadley was born with a very serious hearing impairment requiring extensive surgery to bring even limited hearing. Her parents followed with tireless training to help her learn to speak. Hadley and her family have cheerfully adapted to the challenge of her deafness.

"Once, when Hadley was four, she was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store with her mother. She looked behind her and saw a little boy sitting in a wheelchair. She noticed that the boy did not have legs.

"Although Hadley had learned to speak, she had difficulty controlling the volume of her voice. In her louder voice, she asked her mother why the little boy did not have legs.

"Her mother quietly and simply explained to Hadley that 'Heavenly Father makes all of His children different.' 'OK,' Hadley replied.

Then, unexpectedly, Hadley turned to the little boy and said, 'Did you know that when Heavenly Father made me, my ears did not work? That makes me special. He made you with no legs, and that makes you special. When Jesus comes, I will be able to hear and you will get your legs. Jesus will make everything all right.'

'Except ye . . . become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'
Hadley knew enough."

Don't you just love this story? I just want to express how grateful I am for those who help others feel special. Sometimes we all go through rough spots--times when we forget who we are and why we're here. I'm grateful for those who diligently strive to build and uplift. Thank you!

To Blog or Not to Blog

Any of you who really know me know that I'm not the kind to put on a false front. I'm pretty much a face value kind of person. What you see is what you get. Sometimes I think this must embarass people who are around me, but I really don't have any idea of what appropriate is, so I think most people realize that and forgive me for it. Thank you! I wasn't raised by upper crust people, just simple folk who lived day by day and were happy doing so. So, there you have it.

I received some news the other day that threw me for a complete loop. I'm still reeling from it, and probably will continue to for a long, long time. I realized today that I either needed to mention it here, as it will probably affect the tone of a lot of my posts--not quite as upbeat as usual (at least I like to think that I'm usually upbeat), or I needed to stop blogging altogether until I can come to grips with this. I hate that thought, so I hope I don't chase you away with a bit of a changed attitude.

At this point, I'm not willing to share any of the details. I have seen friends go through some really hard things, and I've felt like I have kind of gone through unscathed--no majorly hard times for me. I have watched them bravely face and handle all that's come their way. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I've wondered if Heavenly Father thinks I'm too wimpy to handle hard things. I guess it's my turn to prove myself. I want Him to know that I can handle it, and that I can do it with a cheerful face. As you can tell by this post, I'm not all geared up with my cheerful face on yet, but I will get there. Just a few more prayers.

As I faced the possibility of this new trial in my life, I laid in bed one night praying to know who to talk to that would understand. It became very clear that my former mission companion was that person. It was amazing! I haven't been in touch with her since mission days and now can't even remember how we got back in touch with each other, but we've been blogging buddies for the past few months, and it's been amazing how similar our paths in life have been in all those years. I followed the prompting to talk to her, and it was miraculous! She knew my heart. Another tender mercy in my life. Thank you for being there for me, Alyson!

One of the good things I can see coming from this is that it's brought Z and I closer together. He is the one person who can hold me and tell me it's all going to be okay. I'm grateful for a good man in my life.

It has also been miraculous to see God's hand in all this. The timing of this is remarkable, and I look forward to sharing all these details in the future. Please be patient with me; I'm a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For My Birthday Girl

Had to Share!

I found this site today. This post was so funny and went so well with the study of the Constitution, I had to share it with you. Enjoy!

The Constitution of the United States of America (Part 5) - Article I, Section 4

Article. I. - The Legislative Branch
Section 4 - Elections, Meetings

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall (be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment, section 2.) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
I dont' have much to say about this. I don't know anything. Anyone care to comment here?

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