Monday, December 6, 2010

Welcome Grandchild # 5

Welcome little Henry Robert, sounds like a future king of England. But president of the United States of American will do.

And grandma will be meeting the little prince in exactly 5 days. We have waited a long time for this and it will be special and fun.

Stay tuned for photos.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Okay, this is year of countdowns. I have only survived this year due to the wonderfulness of countdowns; they have kept me going!

This time last year we were counting down the days until Mike and Aubrey came to celebrate Christmas with us and going to the temple with Aubrey in Anchorage, Alaska.
As soon as they left we began the countdown for Mike and Aubrey's wedding in January, which was lovely. Our whole family was together for the first time in years!
Then Hawaii, with my brother David and sweet Stephanie in February.
Valli brought Madeline for a visit in March and it was wonderful to be with them.
We had a bit of a dry spell until Jenny and kids arrived around Memorial Day for a surprise three week visit. It was so nice to spend time with the grandkids (and their mom!).
Megan graced us with an apperance the first week of July and brought her lovely friend Ladessa with her to share new Alaska adventures!
Bear Lake for Pioneer Day. We were all there except for David, who was and is still in Afghanistan, and we missed him and his family so much.
Valli flew up again with Madeline to visit family and celebrate our birthdays in October. I feel so blessed to share birthdays with little Madeline.
I flew out to see my mom for a week in October and had a fun time enjoying some nice warm weather.
A secret visit to Hawaii for Thanksgiving compliments of an Alaska airlines companion fair and a serious need to get into some warm weather since we basically had so summer this year, but we did have a lovely and lengthy fall.
As of this moment, I am counting down the days until December 11 when I board the plane for Utah and my newest favorite grandchild! (They are all my favorites!)
Only 10 days to go and I am counting the hours! My only regret was missing you all so much at Thanksgiving but spending three weeks with my children for Christmas is going to more than make up for it!
That is if they can stand me for that long!
If only my luck could be this good two years in a row.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Thought

Recently I had a short conversation with a co-worker that caused me to reflect on some typical and often repeated occurrences in life. He told me that recently he attended a leadership training conference where one of the guest speakers was a former general in one of the branches of the military. I'm sorry that I don't remember more details about the man, but he made ten statements about leadership. The one that he relayed to me was "Don't feel sorry for your soldiers."

Of course the initial reaction upon hearing this is one of shock or maybe disbelief, but actually the meaning is that leadership requires us to expect the best in others, even when hard things are required. Without the proper training, soldiers will not be prepared for what they will encounter on the battlefield and they need to be prepared for anything.

At anytime during the course of our lives we find ourselves in positions of leadership and/or of being led, to teach correct principles and then live by what we teach, to give orders and take them.

The test of a true principle is that it holds up under every circumstance. I've reflected on this lately in light of my job, my calling, and my relationship with friends and family and I believe that only good can from from expecting the best in others and not feeling sorry for them for the tests we must all go through in this life. Many of our trials are the result of our choices. But we should love each other and provide support while we seek to learn and grow during our mortal tests.

I'm sure that our Heavenly Father has great expectations for us and has sent us here to learn to do the hard things, without a lot of whining and complaining, because we need to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. And he probably doesn't feel sorry for us because he knows we can do it, with His help. And we are called to help and lift others along the way.

And speaking of lifting, how often do we react to the needs of others by simply saying something quick and often thoughtless in an attempt to make them FEEL better. How much more helpful it might be if we actually took the time to bear our testimony of true principles that could inspire them to BE better.

I hope that I can remember that I am here to train to BE better, and not allow myself the temptation to try to shortcut my training.
Especially since I seem to need more of it than the average person. Thank you to all who take the time to try and train me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting a Jump on the Season

In true form, I bought the supplies to make this cute advent calendar last year. I just finished it tonight. It's made from a 24 mini muffin baking tin and magnetic squares covered with card stock and embellished. It was a lot of fun once I got started and it gave me an excuse to listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on CD while I was working. So I can check this little guy off my "to make" list although it needs a better bow. I must decide what to put in all the little compartments. Treats, scriptures, or service? Any ideas? Our Relief Society has a once a month provident living class called "Tasty Tuesday". This month the class taught simple hot water bath canning and the item canned was Carrot Cake Jam. I know that sounds so gross, but it reminds me of a really yummy spicy pineapple sauce. It's super easy to make and smells like Christmas morning! I could put the recipe here, but just google it and the first hit is a winner!
Note: We reduced the sugar to 4 cups and it was plenty sweet and still firm.
We also put our little "outdoor tree" in the arctic entry this weekend for dinner group. That is probably the only one to see daylight this year due to the holiday traveling schedule. But it's giving a nice glow to the front of the house.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Panda Bear

Valli and Madeline came over on Halloween night to pick up some things and here she is! This is the cutest costume I think I've ever seen. I wish I'd seen Valli's as well. Oops! Sorry Valli - didn't mean to chop you out. This was under the costume. Still cute for Sunday Halloween dressing. Love the tights.
Loves Grandpa's remotes.
Loves Grandpa too!
Loves to take pictures. They left for the airport very the early the next day. We hope to see them soon.
Loves tortellini! We left a little on her face.
Bye bye Madeline!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baton Rouge 2010

The month I traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit my mom and her husband, Bob. It was a fun visit and one day we took a little road trip to a neighboring parrish (Louisiana version of a county) and took a tour of this little home. It's a cute place where Bob's daughter lives right across of the street from the levee in Iberville. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, kitchen, and lovely front and back porches, all on forty acres. I understand there is a lake somewhere and plenty of land for hunting, although we didn't get back that far. The yard is also covered in huge, lovely pecan trees. Pecans cover the yard. Mom and Bob share a lovely home in Baton Rouge, but Thanksgiving is usually here where everyone has lots of space to play. My sweet baby brother and me!

A view of the mighty Mississippi from the top of the levee across the street from the little house.

Mom and Bob on the porch. Bob is a super ice guy and we get along great!
The weather was absolutely lovely, about 80 or so everyday and sunny. I can't wait to feel some nice warm rays of sun again. Here's a view of the nice cows we met grazing on the levee. What a life!
I hope to live someplace like this one day!

Happy Birthday Madeline and Grandma!

Happy Birthday to Madeline and me! Valli and Madeline came to Alaska for the birthdays and we had big fun! These less than award winning photos don't even to do the big party justice! Here's Madeline in her new jammies reading my new coookbook from Jenny. She loved the pictures of the food and kept saying "oooo"! Yummy cupcakes!
Reading with Mommy! It's Pajama Time! (The book, that is.)
Blowing out the candle with Grandma! Fun was had by all. Too bad you can't see our very cool Birthday Party headbands but Madeline didn't realize how pretty and cool it was and kept ripping it out. That and the cuter pictures had lots of messy kitchen background.

It was a fun time!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to Replace your Hard Drive

Assemble your tools: screwdriver to remove screws, replacement hard drive, and tape for mouth if things get out of control. Fortunately, tape was not needed. Unplug, unscrew and rip off the top plastic cover.
Unscrew the old one and plug in the new one.
Replace cover and plug back together.
Run recovery software disks for Windows. Wait two days for appt. with the help desk (that would be tomorrow at 10 am) to replace all the necessary software and totally re-image to actually be able to do necessaary work. Fortunately, I have enough programs on the Internet now that I could access several work programs and my online email and still be able to work. I don't know what I was worried about. I mean, if a guy can do it....and I even read the directions!

Use it Up Wear it Out Make it Do or Do Without!

Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme, but my 23 year old waterless cookwear has needed new knobs and handles for ages! The handles were so loose that we were constantly spilling food and scalding ourselves as they tilted and wobbled. And someone always seemed to catch me in the act as I tried to use the nearest knife to tighten them up! Voila! I finally went to the website and ordered new knobs and handles - since they have a lifetime warranty I only had to pay $35 for the shipping and my lovely pots and pans are as good as new! I believe they will last another 23 years.
No more spaghetti noodles going down the drain!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Conference Cinnamon Rolls!

Our traditional Saturday morning breakfast during General Conference is cinnamon rolls. I made these bags for some friends and delivered them today in time for conference!The recipe is so simple: mix together 5 cups flour, 2 T. yeast, and one yellow cake mix. Stir well (put in a plastic bag) and put into a cute fabric bag, tie with a ribbon and give with a gift tag containing the following instructions.
Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Combine mix with 2 1/2 cups hot water, mix well and let rise until double. Punch down, roll into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle and top with 1/4 c. melted butter, 2 T. cinnamon and 3/4 c. sugar. Roll up longways and cut into 18 slices. Divide between two 9 x 13 greased pans and let raise again. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting, butter cream, or a thin glaze. Yummy!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Halloween

I am going to make this cute little thing. I visited my favorite stamp store last weekend and there it was. I know it's frivolous and of no value, but it just called to me and I couldn't resist. Fall is my favorite season and October is my favorite month. I don't have time to start a new project today or tomorrow or this weekend, because I have other priorities that are much more pressing. But one day I am going to totally escape from my responsibilities and do this! Like most projects, though, I can make about 10 for the cost of making the one! Maybe I should make some extras!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fresh Bean Salad

Last Wednesday I found yet another Farmer's Market by surprise in the parking lot of the Northway Mall. I stopped by Carr's to reward myself with a hot chocolate from Starbucks for getting all my nasty chores done before work. And because I'd had no breakfast and I was hungry. And there it was. I picked up a little bag of assorted baby potatoes and these fresh green beans. I didn't even know you could grow green beans in Alaska. The result is Fresh Bean Salad.
Here's my version:
Wash, sort and cut beans and then cook in boiling water for about 4 minutes or so. Cool quickly under cold running water.
In your salad bowl, mix together 2 T. golden balsamic vinegar (or more if you like it more tangy)
2 T olive oil, 1 T. fresh oregano leaves, 3 T. diced red onion or a shallot, and 2 t. grainy mustard. Mix well.
Toss green beans in with dressing and a can of kidney beans. I am not a huge fan of chickpeas in my salads so I left them out.
I served it with some fresh chickpea and pine nut hummus and Croccantini.
Light, yummy and plenty of protein!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Relief Society Activity

Last week our ward had one of those traditional type Relief Society activities that are a bit controversial. But since we are more isolated and bring in lots of friends and neighbors, and keep the items very inexpensive, so far our stake hasn't discontinued them. It was a lot of fun and this is what we did.
Scrapbook picture frames. "BELIEVE" blocks.
Felt ornaments.
Cinnamon roll mix in a bag.
Another picture frame.
Flower hair clips.

Little boy ties.

Magnetic boards. (This one doesn't have the ribbon holder yet!)
Beaded necklaces.I'm already collecting ideas for next year in case I have to do it again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alaska Grown!

I finally got down to the South Anchorage Farmers Market (SAFM) today and was not disappointed! Fresh, certified organic (and not so organic) lovely produce from the valley. Lots of vendors selling not just produce, but cheese, honey, jams, bakery items, fresh breads, herbs and some lunch items like ribs and hot dogs. It was a lovely day and so much fun.
I scored fresh romaine, green leaf lettuce, kale, green cauliflower, radishes, tomatoes, parsnips, butter potatoes, beets, broccoli, arugula and dill. The dill smells incredible.
This next weeks menu's will include: a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, potato and kale soup, roasted parsnips and other root veggies with a pork roast, and yummy dill salmon and potatoes. I will figure out the rest!
But today we are heading out to Seward for a belated Labor Day weekend because Dick was sick last week and it rained. We also have a funeral (sort of but not really) to attend there tomorrow. The day is too lovely to waste being indoors! Back east we call this Indian Summer. Here's is just a welcomed blessing!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today was so "Fall".
I was stopped at the light near my office and the wind was blowing and the leaves were swirling and it felt just like two of my favorite fall-ish movie scenes - the one from "To Kill A Mockingbird" where the kids are running through the woods and Scout is wearing the ham, and the Halloween scene from "Meet Me in St. Louis" where it's all windy and spooky.
So, even though summer never really came, I am embracing fall. It is, after all, my favorite season. The hanging baskets are still in bloom, there are two weeks left of farmers markets, the grass is still green, there are leaves on the trees, although they are changing fast, but the signs are all there.
Hello hot chocolate, hot soup, hot bread, warm clothes, raking leaves, and the occasional (hopefully) last warm rays of sunshine before the chill sets in. We will enjoy you because you allow us a few more needed weeks to adjust to the inevitable. And thankfully, no termination dust in sight.

Cabin Quilting is the Best

I was indeed fortunate to take a couple of days to sneak down to a friends cabin and spend some time sewing. But because I forgot to click the photos in the right order, let's have a look at what we ate! For dinner, a friend made a tasty chicken tikka masala with couscous and sweet toppings.
Another friend brought ripe peaches so I threw together an impromptu peach cobbler with ingredients I found in the pantry. A quick trip to the nearly convenience store provided some ice cream to go with it.For breakfast the next morning we were treated to zucchini omelets filled with zucchini, bacon, cream cheese and onions. Really yummy!
This was what the days produced, a Kaffe Fassett Twinkle quilt (I can't wait to make mine!), two baby quilts, sample Christmas fabric gift bags, ruffle capri's, and a lovely Alaskcan fabric quilt whose pattern I forgot. Sorry about that.

Madeline's quilt.
Baby boy Western's.

Close up -

Ruffle capri's.

Copycat designer bibs.

The original $18 bib.

Finished products are so wonderful!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Mushroom Attack of 2010

This post is for Ethan and Savannah to show you how many different kinds of mushrooms we had in our yard this summer. And so many of each! The secret to having so many mushrooms is to have lots of rain and cool temperatures and very little sun. Day after day after day. Perfect for growing these nasty little fungi everywhere. So here they all are. :) I have no clue what they are....
if they are safe to eat...
or where they come from ....
This summer instead of mowing the grass,
everyone went out to mow their mushrooms.
Some people said they were safe to eat...
but I'm not sure about that. This one looks like it would grill up like a burger.
You could roast these like marshmallows!
It was an amazing summer.
So much rain...
so many mushrooms. But times are a changing. The leaves are turning yellow and falling. So we now turn from mushroom mowing to leaf raking. How fun!~