Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas already?!

New experiences are all over the place these days.  I guess that is what happens when your children grow up.  Thanksgiving was really quiet at our house.  G, D, Gram and Pa G, and me.  It was small and quiet, but we ate some delicious food, and were thankful for so much.  K and A had planned to come, but A had to work on Friday, so they spent the day with Gram and Pa C and the rest of the crew there. 
K and A came here for Christmas, and we were able to get a few favorite traditions in.  Caroling, and Swiss Christmas.  We did Christmas eve with the Guisti's and played some games.  On Christmas we had a lazy day spent in pj's and had a really good dinner with all the fixin's. 
But, the best part of the day was a Skype with Sister K.  It was great to see her and hear all the good things that are happening for her. She is loving what she is doing and is so happy.  Her happiness just could not be contained.  We had a great time chatting with her, and said our "I love you's and good byes." I missed having B here, but so happy she is doing what she is.  She too said she missed us and the activities she was missing around the holidays, but she is so happy to serve and bring the gospel to people.  It is fun to see her testimony continue to grow  each in her letters home.
It is strange to not have everyone here with us, but especially for holidays.  But it does make me realize just how lucky I am to have a family that can be together forever.  I miss them when they aren't here!  I suppose that will continue for the rest of my life.

Good things:
1.  The gift of Jesus Christ
2.  skype
3.  being a mom

  This child continues to keep things lively!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Things continue to stay so busy around here.  My friend Shelly continues to improve,  I can say I have seen miracles!  It will be a long difficult road, but thankful for the progress and miracles happening in her life. 
I have been thinking lots about the blessings of having a missionary.  And although there are so many,  the one I keep thinking most about is how hearing her experiences, and enthusiasm has put a little pressure on me to focus more on what I can do to serve those around me, and to put a lot more time into studying the gospel.  This is definitely not my strong point, and I struggle every day with making time to study.  I sort of feel like I will be left in the dust spiritually if I don't get a move on it. I love that the excitement of sharing the gospel can come across in an email, and the holy ghost testifies again and again that truth has been restored.  I am so blessed to know what so many do not.
 So, my current goal is to finish the New Testament by Christmas.  It really shouldn't be that difficult because I am almost there.  I am also trying to keep up on lessons.   And with Christmas coming, what better time to  focus on the essential truths of the gospel.  So, I give you a challenge... Put a little more focus on your studying of the gospel.  However you want to study, whatever you want to study.  Just focus on becoming a little better in whatever you feel inclined.  It will bless your life. 

Good things:
1.  pressure
2.  miracles
3.  music

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blessed beyond comprehension

Sister Koenig's blog is going private, if you would like to follow her, please contact me, and I will be happy to add you.  Just want to be safe since I have her address  posted there.

Good Things:
1.  Miracles
2.  Hope
3.  Knowledge

So grateful today for so many things.  I just have such a sense of gratitude for life, family, friends, and knowledge and hope of eternal blessings.  I have so much!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tournament of Talent

I have a good friend who has to have a bone marrow transplant.  In August, I saw that she and her family were asking for financial help through an organization online.  So I asked if I could do a fundraiser for her.  Although she wanted to say no, her family said yes.  Shelly is an amazing person.  I served with her for over six years in young women's and grew to love and respect her in so many ways.  She has worked at the school through all of my kids, and everyone just loves Shelly.  I knew people would want to help.  So I contacted some people who "get things done," and Tournament of Talent, was born.

The event took place on Saturday, and I was so happy with the results.  It was similar to American Idol.  People auditioned with any talent for a fee, fourteen were chosen to move on to the actual events, then tickets and advertising were sold.  The audience chose the winner by paying for additional votes.  We also had concessions and a live auction of a date with a young man for dinner.  Unfortunately, it was not sold out, but we were able to raise over $6500 for the Shelly. 

I was so impressed with our community, and the very generous donations of so many people.  Also impressive, was the talent, and the many people who helped with this event.  So many donated time, services, and food. It was so exciting to see the community come together and help.  What amazing and capable people I had to work with.  Thank you, Thank you to all who helped in even the smallest way.  It takes a village to pull something like this off, and I was honored to be a part of it, and see first hand how kind, caring, and generous people are.  Today, I hear of a shooting just sixty miles away, and think what is this world coming to? But then I remember the previous weeks of planning and kindness of people on Saturday, and realize there is still good in the world.  We just have to look for it.

Good things:
1. Communities that come together
2. Generous people
3. Friends who have touched my life.

Sister Koenig

About ten days prior to B leaving, I was a wreck! I kept telling myself it was a combination of other responsibilities, but as those responsibilities were finished, and I still felt a mess emotionally, I realized it was just stressed.  Generally speaking, I am mostly capable of keeping things pulled together.  But I just couldn't get things together.  I felt like crying every time I turned around.  It was difficult to watch her goodbyes.  Most difficult for me was when we took Davis to lunch right before we left to go to Provo.  We dropped him off at school and she gave him one last hug...both had tears in their eyes, and I had to send D back to school!  I guess they do like each other.

Some one told me sending a child on a mission, is "the best kept secret in the church."  I agree, if we knew how it would feel, I am not sure we would do it.  But I guess we do it because we know it will bring such growth for everyone involved, that we sacrifice for the greater good.  I won't lie, I didn't like it one bit.  It was the most difficult thing I have ever done.  The feelings in my heart and head were so confusing for me.  I knew it was the right thing, and was so happy it was happening, but my heart hurt.

We met my brother, his wife, and daughter, who was entering the MTC on the same day, for lunch just before going to the MTC.  We saw so many missionaries getting ready to go to the MTC.  The people at the restaurant call it missionary Wednesday. When we were dropping her off,  I asked how many missionaries enter that day...650!  So exciting.  It was fun to take some pictures at the Provo temple before with the girls.  They will be amazing missionaries!

She left on the 2nd of October, we received a letter written on her first night on Saturday the 5th, and then I waited, and waited, until the 10th for an email.  And that was all I needed, to know she was happy and wanted to be there.  I assumed that, but had to hear it from her.  I could already see changes in her.  So exciting to hear the happiness and spirit in her letter.  A mom just needs to know their child is happy!

She flew on the 15th.  We were able to talk to her for a few minutes at the airport.  She was so excited to get to Florida and teach.  So also said she wants to serve in Georgia and in the ghetto of Jacksonville.  I assume, she will have the opportunity to do both.  So the waiting started again... I was hoping either she or the mission president would send a quick email to let us know she arrived.   I finally got an email on Friday night saying she had arrived and would be serving with Sister Lawrence in the Brunswick, Georgia area.  I am currently not so patiently waiting for an email from Sister K with an address I can send a letter to. 

The good news, is that my emotions and mental status are much closer to  normal. (at least for me)  I am posting her letters at   if you would like to follow her. 
D and B

Tate, Challis, and Janet
 Challis and B

President and Sister Craig
Good Things:
1.  being a little more emotionally stable
2.  Seeing growth already
3.  knowing your children really do like each other

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hoping to catch up next week...

so for now, just :

Good Things:
1. A happy missionary
2. My emotions a little closer to normal
3.  A marrow donor match for my friend

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Precious moments

We got together one last time before B is off to the Jacksonville Florida mission! 

K and A came to be with us as we went to the temple for B's first time.  It was wonderful, and I can hardly wait until D can join us. There is such peace that the temple brings into my life, that I get excited when others can enjoy the blessings of the temple. 
We were also joined by Gram and Pa Carter, Gram Guisti, Brett, and friends who have had an impact in her life.  It was wonderful to have the support of so many.
We spent the next few days playing games and enjoying each others company.  Weston received a name and blessing on Sunday and that was fun to remember I was in the same place not long ago.  At least it seems not long ago!  Carters left Monday morning, and we relaxed by the pool for a bit before going to celebrate Gpa Guisti's 70th birthday with a family dinner.  On Tuesday we celebrated B's birthday with gifts, more food, and a few friends for cake.  K and A decided they didn't want to miss that fun and stayed one more day with us. 
K and A took off this morning after saying goodbye to B for 19 months.  It made me sad in a happy way, if that is possible. 
There is something about a sister's love that you just always need no matter where they are and how old you get.
I already can't wait until we can be back together again.  I am so thankful for the temples that make it possible for us to be together FOREVER in the eternities.  For now it is a temporary goodbye for these beautiful sisters.

 Of Course we had to do some family pictures while we  were all together one last time.


I love this family.  So happy I will get to hang these on my wall to see everyday until we are back together again.  Thanks for a great weekend. 
Less than one month until the rest of us have to say good bye.  Not looking forward to that, but I am looking forward to all the opportunities that await sister K.
Good Things:
1. getting the family together
2. Opportunities of growth
3. Temples

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ice cream toppings

Three months ago, I was asked to share the recipes I used for ice cream toppings at K's wedding dinner.  Finally, I am taking the time to do that.

Hot Fudge Sauce - from Thomas 3rd ( I believe) ward cookbook years ago
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/3 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
Dash of salt

Mix together in a saucepan.  Add
1 1/2 c milk
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cook over medium heat stirring until thick.  It will thicken a little more upon cooling...but really, who likes it cool?!  It will keep well in the fridge for 2 months.

Caramel Sauce - from Pingree 1st ward cookbook not quite so many years ago
4 C sugar
1/2 lb butter (sometimes I will use half margarine)
2 C corn syrup
2 - 13 op cans evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, butter, and corn syrup.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Cook to soft ball stage and add evaporated milk about 1/2 can at a time - about every 5 minutes, or when it starts boiling real good again.  Be careful, because the milk will cause it to splatter.  Cook until:

If I am using this as ice cream sauce: I just cook it until it is the right consistency you want for your sauce.

This is the same recipe I use for chocolate dipping, either straight caramel, of putting it over pecans for turtles, or adding anise oil for licorice caramels. All of those, it needs to be cooked until firm ball.
I using just use the spoonful in cold water method to see if it is firm enough.

When your consistency is right, add the vanilla.

So there you have it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My baby is 15!

Happy Birthday to D! He is growing up too fast, soon our home will be empty.  Fifteen years ago he arrived a little before we had expected, and things have never been the same.  He is growing up to be a fine young man. I am so proud of who he has become.  He is thoughtful, sensitive, funny, intelligent, kind, responsible, hard working, helpful, confident, huggable, and mischievous.  So glad he joined our family.  I love you D.
Good things:
1.  growing up
2.  fun kids
3.  families

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Called to Serve...

This girl has been called to serve a mission for  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Jacksonville, Florida mission!  So excited for the opportunity she has to share the gospel and her talents with those waiting for her.  She is going to be a great missionary, and will touch the lives of those she serves.  I can't wait for this adventure and am proud of her.  You will  be awesome Sister K!

On a side note, this conniving sister, would have kept this a secret until she received her mission call, but she needed some insurance information to fill out the application.  She told me on Mother's day when I asked, "anything I need to know about"  "I am going on a mission," she said in her sweet little voice.  So she finished her papers, did physicals, and dental, and met with her Bishop and Stake president one last time, and things were submitted. 

We hoped for her call to arrive on Wednesday.  Her roommates did.  We hoped again for Thursday, nope. We were sure it would arrive on Friday June 14, and it did...that was a long 3days of waiting.  Now we just have to get her ready to go.  She will enter the MTC on the same day as her cousin Challis who will be serving in Columbus Ohio.  B's cousin Austin will be serving in the Macon, Georgia mission which borders her mission.  About a third of her mission is in Georgia.

Congrats Sister K!

Good Things:
1.  Surprises
2.  Missions
3.  Opportunities for growth

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Night of Boxing

Davis is in blue gloves
  Truth be told, I am not a fan of boxing!  The nausea started about 3 in the afternoon.  I assumed it would subside right after his bout, which was the 2nd one, thank goodness.  However, it actually continued until after I got home.  I not only didn't  enjoy seeing my child in the ring, but all of the others as well.  I turned into Mama bear mode for all those kids.  And watching the girls was worse. 

But the good news is D took the fight with a TKO in the 3rd round.  There were 3 1 minute rounds with 1 minute rest in between.  I was really concerned after the first round, but he got serious after that.  I think the first round he may have been in shock.  I am proud of him in a weird sort of way, but really would prefer not to do it again.  My deep hope is that we are at the end of his boxing career.  But if he wants to do it again, I suppose I would support him, nausea and all!  It was good for him in the training sense, and I believe really pushed him to go beyond what he thought he could do.( I love that feeling) 

Good Things:
1.  bucket lists (that is a one time thing right?!)
2.  sense of accomplishment
3.  no permanent damage

Pat his personal boxing trainer
I just have to note, it was so difficult to get any picture during the fight.  Low light, with a spotlight, no flash, quick movement...nightmare!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Boys will be Boys

Tonight I will go to my first ever boxing event! Not really sure how I feel about that being that D will be in the ring. What's a mother to do?  He really wanted to be a part of "Night of Boxing" for a wrestling fundraiser.  I just don't understand signing up to have someone punch me...Not really my idea of fun to have someone beat the crap out of me.  Hopefully that will not be the case!  He assures me he will be fine, they have protective gear, gloves, divided into weight class, etc.  Me, on the other hand, am not really sure how I will be about watching.  Don't get me wrong, we are extremely competitive at our house.  We just have not ever been competitive in a combative (is that a word?) sport.  I do think he is prepared, he has been working his booty off getting ready for this.  I  hate to admit it, but I think he quite likes it.  Or at least until the pain sets in.  I will let you know the outcome later.

Good Things:
1.  Ability to do what you want physically
2.  Protective gear
3. hhhmmmm ice?

Monday, May 20, 2013

23 years

Yesterday was G and I's anniversary...23 years!  Hard to believe for me!  So glad I married this great guy, I couldn't be happier.  He puts up with more than his fair share of my craziness and weaknesses.  He is so perfect for me. I feel so blessed to have such a good man in my life, and he has made our family possible.  So grateful for his goodness, stability, wisdom, friendship, kindness, patience, and love.  It is wonderful to have someone to share life with.  Thanks for 23 great years, and many more to come. I love you.

Good Things:
1.  G
2.  Sealing powers
3.  Forever

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good Things

1.  Spring sunshine
2.  growing...not physically when you are my age
3.  peace

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What more could a girl want?

What a wonderful day! My heart is so full of happiness and gratitude.  It was such a pleasure to see K and A be sealed for time and all eternity.  Pres. Brent Wadsworth performed the sealing, and it was wonderful.  He said some really good things that I thought, "I have to remember that," you know what happened.  It was great to see  K and A surrounded by family and friends who have had an impact on their lives in some way.  The two of them have such good hearts, and are loved by so many people. Thank you to all who came for your support.  The veil was thin as we  knew A's Mom was there and so proud of the young man he has become.  I was especially impressed by A's grandmother telling me that he has such a good kind heart.  I had already noticed that by the tender way he treats K.  So fun to see the sweet love between a  beautiful young couple.  I hope they will always remember how good it feels to be surrounded by loved ones in the temple, and that their happiness and love can become even stronger.  So great to be in the temple with them.  I look forward to being there with B and D when they find the right one.  Something to look forward to!

Although the weather was warm, we had the wind off the sierras to make for some wind blown pictures.  Then we were off to the church for dinner.  It was beautifully set up and served by some of my good friends who worked into the night prior, and slaved away in the kitchen so I could  enjoy the day without worries. (thank you, it was wonderful to know it would be done perfectly!)  They even cleaned up, and delivered left overs to my house. 

Next was the reception.  Once again, my great friends and family had been hard at work the day before making sure every little detail was taken care of and things were in place.  My good sisters took over from there, and took care of food, so I could join the party.  It was fun to see so many people come and enjoy the evening.  The lemonade bar was a hit, everyone seemed to think that was fun.  The children enjoyed making wishes in the fountain, and I believe used every last penny available.  I hope there wishes came true, as  mine did.  I have to say, when K said she wanted a fountain I thought she was crazy, but it was perfect.  Annalee Wadsworth made a beautiful cake exactly how K wanted it, and it was so yummy.  I ate way more than my share! Flowers were challenging, but with help from a good visiting teacher and friend, they turned out beautiful.

What a great party it was!  My heart if so full of gratitude for the many good people that are part of my life.   As I looked around that night, I just couldn't believe how truly blessed I am to be part of something so wonderful.  Thank you to all who helped make the day fabulous, and who continue to bless my life with support, friendship, and love.  What more could a girl want?!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Here is just a sneak peek at some of the beautiful pictures taken by the fabulous HEIDI HIGLEY.  More to come later.  These were taken on Friday, the day before the wedding. I just love them!
Thank you Heidi! ( please don't copy these as she has the copyright)
4 generations

When I have pictures of the festivities, I will post more.  But I just have to say...I have the best family and friends a girl could ask for.  Everyone jumped in with both feet, and were at my beck and call for three days.  I can honestly say I didn't worry about things going wrong because I had such amazing people backing me in every direction I turned.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by such great people.  Thank you! I could not have done it without ALL of you! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We are Growing our Family!

Yes, it is true! We will be making an addition to our family.  In the adult form...K is engaged! A.B. will be joining our family April 13, in the Reno temple.  I am so excited for her and what her future will hold.  G said it best, "She can't keep the smile out of her voice."  They will be great together, and I look forward to adding a son to our family.  Welcome to this crazy family A!

Good Things:
1.  happy children
2.  forever families
3.  temples

P.S. the resolution isn't great in this one, but I love the tenderness it shows!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christmas projects!

I was dying to share these projects before Christmas I was so excited about them, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise. So, these are some projects I made for some of my favorite people.  I am just a little stingy these days as to who gets the homemade stuff. (the truth of the matter is, probably no one wants it!)  But I loved these projects this year.  A quilt for my mother in law. This was using all fabrics from my stash, I only had to buy three different pieces of 1/4 yard for just a little more variety.  I started this one during general conference cutting squares, and finally got it bound in early December.  It was perfect for the person who has everything! I am in the process of learning to use a quilting machine.  We have a local quilting shop that you can rent the machine for the day...I think I may need to go back!  So fun.  I also love crocheting hats, felted hats, slouch hats, beanie hats, or whatever else sounds fun.  So mindless once I get the hang of the pattern. I think I made six or more this year.  D's is just getting down, it sort of went to the bottom of the priority, but he could sure use it now, It is freezing here! Last but not least are the little ruffled backpacks.  I wish I had ten little girls to give them to. They were so fun and easy, I once again, I used scraps from other projects.

Good Things:
1. making stuff with my hands
2. giving it to someone who will enjoy it
3. using scraps so I have room for more purchases!

Monday, January 7, 2013


And, today, the house is quiet! Everyone is back to school and work.  It is lonely here.  We had an uneventful New Year's Eve, New Year's day with a few friends, and of course, more delicious food.  K went to visit Andrew's family.  Now, she will be working as a substitute teacher and taking some online classes.  B is going to to school, and looking for a job, and hopefully getting closer to deciding what she is going to be when she grows up.  D is finishing up his semester, and hopefully getting ready for a new adventure...swim team.  I will wonder around lost, trying to motivate myself to get something done.  G will keep busy with schoolboard and work.  And so, life goes on for us...

Good things:
1.  a new year to do better
2.  busy kids
3.  continuation of life

Belize Navidad!