Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy 50th!

This evening, Chelsea and I attended our elementary school's 50th anniversary celebration! It was fun to hear about the different decades and see some of the principals and teachers. Brent and Chelsea's first grade teacher started teaching there in 1969 when it first opened. One teacher said that the oak trees provided a thick canopy over the road leading across the "river" and hiding the school that was nestled by the mountain(before homes and mobile home parks were built) . One of the first PTA presidents shared that for an important meeting, she asked that each room mother (2 per classroom) bring 2 dozen cupcakes for the event. But what was heard and carried out by the room mothers was to have each child's mother bring 2 dozen cupcakes! They ended up with between 9,000-10,000 cupcakes! They were everywhere, in every crook and cranny and classroom. She collected them up at the end of the night and took them to a nearby little grocery store. The grocers graciously put them in their freezer and every day for about two weeks, this PTA president would bring from the freezer many dozen cupcakes for the children. Finally she told the grocer to give the rest away! We had children there from January1985 to June 2003. What a lot of memories are there for our family. Happy Birthday, Rios Elementary!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Question to You

I need help. (That's not unusual!) But what I need help with is advice on a travel bag. I am going on an international trip (ie Caribbean) and I want to have a bag to take on the plane (carry on) that will also be great for shopping and sight seeing trips. I like it to be organized so I can quickly locate pens, paper, travel itinerary, and my inhaler (in case I need it quickly). In the past I have always used a backpack, but I am looking for something a little different. Oh and of course it should look terrific and stylish! What should I check into getting for toting things? Share your ideas!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who else?

Last Saturday I got up while it was still dark to go get my shopping done before it got hot. I spent an hour at wal-mart and chatted with the clerk as I checked out. Then off to VONS to pick up groceries so I could make a salad and dessert for Smith get-to-gether on Sunday at Mother's. I chatted with the clerk there as well. A couple of hours later, after all the groceries were put away and I sat down for a second, I looked down at my shirt. And what did I find? My shirt was inside out! No one at home mentioned it, no one at the store, no one! I couldn't believe it - but I really could!

I do have a problem wearing clothes properly! As a teenager, a certain sister noticed on our walk home from the bus that through my white blouse she could see I had put my slip on backwards after PE. And one Sunday during Sacrament Meeting, when Chelsea was still a baby, I opened my eyes during the prayer -checking on 5 kids, and discovered a metallic thread down the middle seam of my dress. I thought (after the prayer, of course)that that was odd. I didn't have any dresses with a seam down the front and what was metallic? Then I realized, I had put my dress on backwards! Thankfully the dress had a jacket!!!

Hopefully I'll remember these experiences and improve in proper dressing now that I'm middle aged!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Alternate Routes II

On my way home from the stake baptism last night, I pulled up to the stop light behind a car with a bumper sticker; "Don't follow me. You won't get there." I laughed to myself because I live with people like that. But then I saw a hand posted sign on a telephone pole right by that car which read, "Jesus is the WAY, the truth, the life." There are alternate routes and direct routes. And when we take alternate routes, we can still get there - somehow!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Brent and I enjoyed going to the movies after doing some errands this last week. We watched the movie, "Julie and Julia," about Julie who in the early 2000's decided to create a blog about her experiences cooking each of the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook, "The Art of French Cooking,"all in one year. It was a humerous and fun movie and provided me with inspiration! Maybe I should do something similar - only using all chocolate recipes instead of French cooking! I have friends who think this is a wonderful idea and would love to read a blog about new chocolate recipes. I'm sure there are enough chocolate recipes for me to make something different every day of the year...but alas, not a practical way to promote weight loss and my wonderful, patient husband is not that fond of chocolate. It was just a thought. Here's wishing you something warm and chocolaty for dessert tomorrow!

Alternate Routes

I have a thing about alternate routes. That's what we call it when someone (generally Mike) takes a wrong turn and has to find another way to get where we are going. I always get uptight when we have to take an alternate route! Really uptight! Why???

Well, I think it started as a teenager just having gotten my driver's license and being set loose to drive on my own in Marin county. I only wanted to drive directly to my destination and I did not want to get lost! I remember the first time I passed my freeway turnoff, I pulled over to the side of the freeway and starting panicking! What was I going to do?? After calming down I realized (what most people would just automatically do) I could most likely get off at the next exit and just get back on the freeway going the other direction! It worked! This time.

As a mother of 5 children, I was always doing things right up until it was a little past time to leave to take someone somewhere. So, I always needed to know the quickest and/or the most direct route - no dillydallying driving around. And if I was going somewhere I didn't know well, a wrong turn meant being late! Some in the family may not know this, but I don't like being late(I know, but not enough to plan on leaving much earlier). So, it became a necessity in my life to not take alternate routes.

Last night, Mike, Brent and I took the trolley from EC downtown to SD to go to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. I got turned around going into town and was so sure that a more direct walking route could be taken. Mike reassured me that he knew the downtown area (after all he's been working there over a decade) and took me against my will the wrong way! But he turned out to be right this time (almost had to buy a map to prove me wrong!).

You'd think I'd learn from Mike's vast experiences of taking alternate routes (generally happens if he's caught up in a conversation or thought and I'm not directing him which road to take) but I haven't. And what about Elder Wirthlin's last general conference talk on Come What May and Love It! Here's his quote:

"...learn to laugh.

I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.

Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us." Ensign, Nov 2008

So if you see me laughing (probably hysterically) down the road - you'll know I'm lost or someone else driving is LOST!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This one was HUGE!

Look at this epi (epiphyllum)! It was a HUGE bloom like I've never seen on an epi. I had put one of Daddy's epi pots at the base of the pineapple quava tree to keep it shaded until I could plant it better (the dirt was mostly washed out of the plastic container). But it thrived there with just a little watering. It has grown up into the tree and is shooting out branches (if that's what they are called) and over the fence. I've been watching this bud develop for several days and then boom! a great huge blossom - for one day! Glad I went back to take a picture before I left for work yesterday. Fun to enjoy and think of how much Daddy loved his garden.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


At the store the other day, I remembered that I needed to buy three cards. I remembered that I needed to get two get well cards and I couldn't remember what the third card was for. It just seemed like I was supposed to get a sympathy card but I couldn't think of who it was for! But I chose the three cards believing it would come to me later why I needed the sympathy card. Well, a day or so later, it did come to me. I didn't need a sympathy card - I needed an anniversary card to wish Jack and Tamara a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lost and Found Times Two

A few weeks ago, Mike found his wedding band missing. He always takes it off at night and leaves it on his nightstand and it wasn't there. He spent a lot of time searching for it and could not find it anywhere. Of course this was upsetting to him! A day or so later, he was closing his window and had to pick up the lamp on his nightstand to open the shutters. And lo and behold, there was his wedding band! During the night that it disappeared, he had opened the window and set the lamp on top of his wedding band - and made it disappear!

The next weekend I was washing my hands and found that my diamond was missing from my wedding ring! My turn to be upset!! We had just gotten home from Murietta, so what were the chances I could ever find it. I thought I could at least retrace my steps in the house and back to the car. And lo and behold! I found it on the kitchen floor! My ring is now being repaired with a replacement white gold prong.

Guess we are just meant to be together!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Temporary Empty Nest - Getting us Prepared

I don't think it has hit me until today how quiet it is with just two of us home! Not as much dinner conversation, not as much food to prepare, no one to help take out the trash (ha, ha), not enough people to give Mina, our cat, all the feline attention she requires, no one to remind to pick up their rooms or move their laundry along.... But the positive side is the phone calls, emails, twitters, blog posts, etc. from these young adults showing us that life is going well, or struggles will be overcome. Mike shared Friday night with me some empty nest questions for thought he found online. I don't know that it made me feel better but good things to think about for the future when we are really empty nesters. Life will be great, just different. On to our next adventures!

Temple Trip

The Primary theme this month is "Temple blessings unite families." I was so delighted to be able to share a picture I took last week at the Rexburg Temple and the Oquirrh Mountain temple with the children. I looked through our digital pictures and printed up some of our vacation trip temple pictures. The children loved the story of all the lizards all over the Orlando Florida temple and of Brent trying to catch a lizard. I shared the story of Brent all dressed up in his Sunday best as a three year old to attend the San Diego Temple Open House. They loved hearing how this wiggly little boy was so touched by the spirit in the temple that he was reverent and awed and how he peeked over the beautiful wooden circular staircase below. Then he accidentally dropped his temple brochure and looked so devastated to lose this valued brochure, but a gentle breeze blew the brochure back through the stair slats and it landed at his feet. I'll never forget the look in his eyes as he realized the gift given back - his own little temple miracle. I shared how Chelsea who was only 18 months, would point only at the pictures in the temple with Jesus in them and say His name. And I shared about the wonderful sealing ordinances that take place in the temple and of Grandpa's conversion story. What a reverent and delightful time to share the spirit with these Primary children!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Gesture of Appreciation

Look what arrived this afternoon for me! It came with a note of appreciation for my work at a SNF I've been consulting for over the last 9 years. It is beautiful, delicious and too much fruit for just the two of us home. Wish everyone were here to enjoy it with us!!! We'll have to share it with friends and family.

The facility has just recently hired a full time R.D. to take my place as well as the diet tech's full time job in an effort to save money. Business is business, but I'm sad to leave a great group of nurses, CNA's, speech therapists, occupational therapists, dietary staff and food service director as well as other terrific employees. I will continue on for a few more weeks in training and helping out. Their gift of appreciation is a generous and kind gesture.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Out the Door

I always feel better when I see where it is my children are living. Somehow, knowing their home layout just helps me picture them there. So, it was good to see Chelsea settled into her new dorm apartment in Rexburg. Great roommates, empty but beautiful campus buildings, college life, classes, student ward, 2008 Rexburg temple, grocery shopping, new friends...all lead to a new adventure for her. Have a great summer term Chelsea!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Use a Cement Mixer

Several of us really enjoyed the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake on the cruise. So I googled the recipe and found several "Official" recipes. Here's a good one:

Recipe from Carnival Cruiseship Legend (August 2007)

Melting Chocolate Cake
Portions: 1000
70 lb semisweet chocolate
70 lb butter
700 eggs
18 lb sugar
25 lb flour

Melt chocolate and butter. Mix half egg and sugar, add flour, add remainder egg. Mix egg mixture with chocolate mixture. Pour into ramekins. Bake 15-20 min at 200 Celcius. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Someone reviewed this recipe and suggested using a cement mixer to mix the ingredients! Can you imagine cracking 700 eggs! I'll post on the recipe blog the version for serving 10 after I try out a few of the "official recipes."


What fun we had on our cruise to Avalon, Catalina Island and to Ensenada, Mexico this week! We actually got tired of eating! We ate each night in the dining room with elegant appetizers (one favorite was strawberry bisque), entrees (lobster and prime rib...) and desserts (mmm, chocolate melting cake). (Mother's and Eileen's picture didn't turn out because of backlight from sunny window!) And a few of us made it up late one night for the Mexican buffet.

Some of us enjoyed workouts in the gym or running/jogging around the track (burn up a few of the 1000s of kcals consumed). While I was on the treadmill at the bow of the ship, I was treated to the leaping and swimming of many dolphins.

We enjoyed a "high tea" onboard with finger sandwiches and yummy little desserts and herbal tea.

Some of us were more adept at towel folding (like Chelsea), but we had fun making a dog, an elephant and a bunny.

We watched a crew member carve an ice carving. He was fast! I guess you have to work fast when you are on deck and not in a walk in refrigerator!

And of course we had lots of fun visiting and playing games (5 crowns). Oh yes, and doing some napping too!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Today is our anniversary. Aren't these beautiful flowers! Mike brought them home for me last week and they are still fresh and fragrant. The stargazers have opened and are huge and beautiful. The carnations smell so good! The flowers have brightened up our home!

We both took the day off from work and started out with a leisurely breakfast at Mimi's. Then it turned quickly into a work day of shopping and cleaning and getting ready for Chelsea's graduation on Friday. By 9 pm we had finished our list of "have to do" and felt it was just too late to go out for dinner. So we settled for a hot fudge sundae at a local restaurant and reminisced about other anniversaries. Like the one right before Andrea was born and they almost refused to serve us at Black Angus-they were afraid I'd go into labor in the restaurant! And the anniversary we splurged for a trip to Catalina Island and I took dramamine to prevent sea sickness. I slept all the way over, and slept at every bench we sat down on, and during the tours (I can remember the glass bottom boat however), and then took another tablet to go back to Long Beach. I slept the entire day! Then there was the anniversary we celebrated during the middle of the High School choir and band concert. We heard Tamara's choir and then snuck out for dinner and returned after the band performance in time to hear the last choir numbers. We've also enjoyed anniversaries in San Diego, La Jolla and Hawaii. Mike works hard to make each anniversary special for us, no matter the agenda and each anniversary sings to me our favorite song, "Perhaps Love," recorded by Placido Domingo and John Denver.

I am fortunate to be married to my best friend and my sweetheart!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Verse Two

I was serenaded with this on the way home from church today: "Peace and quiet, love and adoration, Happy Mother's Day!" Time and circumstances have changed.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Special Song in Tribute to Mother's Day

Today in Primary, as in all Primaries where Mother's Day is celebrated, we practiced songs to sing for our mothers and grandmothers next Sunday in Sacrament meeting. While the children were singing so sweetly, I remembered the song (?) that Mike would sing after just a few minutes in the car with 5 children on the way home from church after honoring mothers on Mother's Day: "Bicker, bicker, fight,fight,fight,fight; Happy Mother's Day! (He of course had lovely music he sang it to.) You know, I didn't know it then, but I look back at that as a happy memory and we've had a lot of laughs about in on subsequent Mother's days. How blessed to have 5 healthy, normal (of course, they were really all above normal - they're my children), opionated, outspoken, precocious children practicing social skills they would need throughout life!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Tamara was surprised last month to find out that I'm currently serving as a counselor in our Ward Primary. I was surprised I hadn't told her. She wondered if anyone else knew. So, I'm back in Primary since last October and enjoy working with the children. It is a lot more comfortable for me than teaching seminary, sorry to say.

I'm responsible for Cub Scouts and have been pretty busy with helping them do monthly pack meetings. Last week our pack had decided to have the theme, "Leave no trace," or "Leave nothing but Footprints." So I cut out foot cookies, decorated them with a light cocoa royal icing and put white toenails on. They looked fun and the kids thought they were cool (don't know if they understood that it tied in with the theme though). One 8 year old came up to me and said, "I sure don't like the bread on this but I like the frosting!" I got a kick out of that - who doesn't like sugar cookies and who likes to eat royal icing?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cape May, New Jersey

What a great place to visit! We spent a day in Cape May, New Jersey and loved walking on Huges and Decatur streets to take a look at many of the old Victorian homes! Most of them are now B&B places. They are kept up so beautifully! We enjoyed a little shopping, a little eating (at Lucky Bones for cod sandwiches and crabcakes), and finding our own Cape May diamonds at Sunset Beach. They are little smooth and flat quartz pebbles that wash up on the beach. When polished by a gemsmith, they become clear like diamonds. You'll always wonder now if I am wearing my actual diamond earrings or my Cape May diamonds! (big price difference!) We just missed going into the Cape May lighthouse (closed 10 mins. earlier)! We went into the lobby of the Angel of the Sea B&B to view the Victorian theme. We drove by the Emlen Physick estate-big and beautiful. So many daffodils and flowering trees were in bloom that we didn't mind the cold breezes by the sea!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jersey Coast Lighthouses

I had a great idea for our family vacation - go to 7 lighthouses on the Jersey coast. Everyone loves to see and explore inside lighthouses! I read about lighthouses on the coast and scheduled a visit to each on a day they would be opened (not all are opened everyday or have restricted hours...). After all of that, we were only able to go inside one lighthouse and that on a very rainy day! I found the internet and even the AAA book weren't always correct on times/days open. But that's ok. I think we all had fun taking a peek (or at least several pictures) of the 6 lighthouses we went to. My favorite?? Hmm. Here are some pictures - which is your favorite?

Sea Girt

Cape May

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monopoly in Atlantic City!

One of Mike's favorite childhood boardgames was Monopoly. So we braved a very rainy morning and drove into Atlantic City to drive those famous streets: Atlantic Ave., Pacific Ave., St. James Place, Park Place....So, of course, when we returned we had to play a game of Monopoly in celebration of being here. We had hoped to find a great spot to buy a souvenir set in Atlantic City but weren't successful. Maybe on a drier day we will return and walk the Boardwalk and find our souvenir game!
PS: Right now Grandma is actually in JAIL - isn't she dressed appropriately? And the real life banker is the one with the most cash right now! We'll have to see how this game turns out!

I am a Patriot

The Liberty Bell by H.R.H. Moore

Ring out that hallowed Bell!
Ring it long, ring it long;
Through the wide world let it tell
That Freedom's strong.

When I Pledge the Allegiance, when I hear Lee Greenwood sing, "I'm Proud to be an American," when I see the Liberty Bell, when I hear stories of the founding fathers and patriots, when I go through Independence Hall and the National Archives and see the flag fly in a parade...I become very emotional. I am so grateful to be an American and I love my country. I love reading in the Book of Mormon how this land is chosen for freedom and the restoration of the gospel. What great men under the guidance of God, established this nation for us. Thank you!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

3 Days and 2 Nights!

We did enjoy a 3 day, 2 night delightful stay in Phoenix last weekend. We even went to two different locations within Phoenix and the cost was right! Mike, Brent, and I drove out to Phoenix and helped to finish packing up Tamara and Jack's apartment for their move Sat. into their home. They have been working like crazy to have an electrician replace lights and fixtures, wiring, drywalling and repairing holes in walls, gutting out the kitchen in both the house and the guest house, painting the entire inside and getting engineered flooring in. Today the tiler comes and in two weeks the cabinets and counters in the kitchen will be installed. I guess I should let Tamara and Jack tell you all this - but I am so excited for them to have a home! It will be exciting to see pictures when it's all done! Congratulations Jack and Tamara!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Mind Tickle

I loved the quote I heard decades ago about memories are paintings on the walls of your mind. Fill your mind museum walls with uplifting memories. When I travel I try to soak up everything I see and do to paint great memories in my mind. Andrea came home for a few days with an ambitious project for the two of us. In three days we scrapbooked our week vacation last March in Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. My job was to go through the thousands of pictures from all of our digital photos on my computer and pick out just the highlights for each day's activities. It was a huge challenge - how do you select only a few of such great sights and activities? But we did it! We had the book totally completed by the time Andrea left last night (23 two page layouts). It was so fun to relive those great times. But sadly I have to admit - some of those great paintings on the walls of my mind must have fallen to the floor (old age, you say?) Good to have the pictures to tickle my mind.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Last week, the ward organist, asked me to fill in for her today. She is such a GREAT musician that I am in awe of her ability and talent. Though I am a poor substitute, I am willing to serve the Lord, giving what I have. I played the hymns at home a few times in preparation and then this morning I went to church early to practice and it went well. I made just a few mistakes (I am intolerant of my mistakes but whadjagonnadue?) in the opening song. But today, there was no cranking up the volume right after the hymn introduction and over shooting the volume and then hurriedly cranking it back down too low, then back up - can you get the picture (you'd feel seasick by the time the first verse was done). This time I just got it right (just leave it up before the intro).

So, time for the Sacrament hymn. I never feel cocky when I play - it is still pretty stressful and I am pretty humble and prayerful. But today, I knew the Sacrament hymn well, had practiced it smoothly on the organ and I was grateful to be able to play it well. So, I start the introduction feeling confident and good when I realize I hadn't skipped to the end of the intro at the bracket and so then abruptly did so. So much for getting things right. But I am sure there will be a next time. Maybe I'll get organized and get over to the church to practice and get so I can do the pedals too.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fond of Fondue Chapter 2

Tamara and Jack drove out Friday night for a quick weekend and Jocelyn came down as well. What fun to have so many of us together! While grocery shopping yesterday, I thought how much fun it would be to have a fondue dinner with everyone on Sat. So while in the store, I called Tamara to see if she could bring out her electric fondue pot (Brent and Chelsea gave me a great electric fondue pot for Christmas).

So I'm shopping for dips and sauces, shrimp, beef, chix, breads, vegetables, fruit, chocolate...and cheese for the fondues. I asked the "cheese" lady at VONS for the best cheeses to use for a nonalcoholic fondue. She had lots of opinions and advice on how to make cheese fondue. I took the cheeses she had selected for me and listened to her advice. I think she was concerned about my ability (rightly so) and her last suggestion was to look up a recipe on! Well, I didn't look up a recipe but tried to follow her advice for the cheese fondue. It was a little thick and then clumpy - but it still was very tasty.

Everyone was given something to cut or chop for our fondue dinner. How wonderful to have a lot of counter space so that everyone could help! It was fun to cook slowly one bite at a time, eat and visit. We were glad Grandma could come down and join us too!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fond of Fondue

For one of our anniversaries years ago, Mike arranged a weekend getaway in La Jolla. We stayed at the Grand Colonial hotel with an ocean view and ocean breezes! And, we enjoyed a fantastic fondue dinner at a nearby restaurant! It was so fun. We took Mother, Daddy, and Eileen there another time and we swore next time we would bring a rubber spatula to clean out the chocolate fondue pot!

So, my sweetheart made reservations for us at the same restaurant for Valentine's Day this year. And it was great! We had a Caesar salad followed by yummy cheese fondue (non alcoholic which took some talking the waitress into doing) and various meats and vegetables finishing with once again, our favorite dark chocolate fondue. It was chilly in the evening but it was fun walking past the stores along the main street. When we got to the parking lot, I discovered a walkway that had a beautiful view of the sunset over the ocean with lots of palm trees. Soooooo romantic!
(This isn't such a great picture - it was taken at dusk using a cell phone, but it is a reminder of a beautiful Pacific sunset on Valentine's Day!)

So even though I am very fond of fondue, I am even more fond of my sweetheart. Thanks, Mike for a great Valentine's Day!


Jocelyn looked up this great layout for my blog. I really like it. What attracted me to it was the distressed looked - seems fitting. Also like the asian twist. I loved the sakura blossoms in the artwork in Japan. We had a Japanese student once who taught us the song about sakura (cherry blossom) but I can't remember it anymore!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Something to Crow About

There were three crows sitting on the stone wall at one pullout at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. They were not intimidated by people at all! They were right by our car and as I opened the door they just stared at me! After a little bit, one starting to sing (or crow). I'm glad it was a big, black crow we saw and not a rattler!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oh Deer, Oh Deer, Oh Deer

Signs are posted all along the road of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon declaring in LARGE print that "It is ILLEGAL to approach or feed wildlife." No problem until we made it to the last viewpoint parking lot in the Grand Canyon Village area (west end). We just pull in to the area and there is a deer standing on the side grazing. I ask Mike to back up so I can get a picture but he thought he should pull forward so I took a blurry picture from the car window.
Then we parked and walked towards the viewpoint and lo and behold there was another deer- no two! I stayed right on the sidewalk and I didn't even call, "Here kitty" and watched the two grazing so close to the sidewalk. They started walking away so I followed them (on the sidewalk) and they led me to a little fawn! Wow! I just took tons of really bad pictures because of the light and the trees and the deer moving around. Oh deer - I think I was still legal."