Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Year Older???

My birthday was last week and it is usually like any other day--no cake, no celebration, I'm lucky to get a gift. But this year was different. We do always celebrate it with my parents and siblings, but it isn't usually on my birthday.

First, my friend Elisa gave me this tres leches cake early. I had just been craving strawberries that morning. Sooo nice!
My birthday was the kids' last day of school. I took them to school, then went back a little later for Elisa's little 6th grade graduation ceremony. Here she is with her two best friends. I'm so glad she is blessed with awesome girls to hang out with!
Then I had to run to the high school to pay Alexander's marching band fees, over to the junior high to rent a trombone for the summer. Then Alexander and I picked the girls up from school and we headed back to the junior high where he had forgotten his yearbook. I took all three of them for dessert to celebrate a great year with great grades. Then we had an orthodontist appointment and back home.

I had planned on taking the kids to the movies after the orthodontist, but Alex told me that we couldn't because we had to be home by 5:00. He wouldn't tell me why. He had mentioned early in the week that he had to call his grandma (my mom) about a birthday secret so I figured it had something to do with that. I was going to cook, but the kids said, "No. You shouldn't cook on your birthday." So I thought we'd go out and grab some restuarant food after my parents' visit or whatever the secret plan was.

Sometime after 5:00 I was in the kitchen and turned around to see my parents, 2 sisters, a brother-in-law and my little niece in our house. The kids were looking out the window for them and let them in without me hearing it. Surprise! They brought dinner and dessert...and fun presents. Thanks to all of them for making my birthday special.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just For Fun Wednesday

Alex was trying to remember what this song was called so he told me what he rememered of it. When I told him it's I'm Blue (Da Ba Dee Da Ba Die) , he asked me to look it up. We found this silly (and VERY repetitive) video on YouTube. Of course, he wanted me to share it with everyone. I'm sure you'll love to have the song in your head like I do.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Priceless Gift

Remember Elder Bednar's talk The Tender Mercies of the Lord from April 2005 General Conference? It has been one of my favorite talks and I'm sure that I'm not alone. When contemplating the talk many years ago, I thought of several tender mercies that the Lord had blessed me with that had helped me in tough times.
One of them happened many years ago. Elisa, my second daughter, was in nursery and our oldest, Alex, was a sunbeam. We attended a married student ward. We had been married longer than anyone else in the ward except the bishop and Alex was the only child older than nursery age. Many couples didn't have any children yet. I saw all these women still in school, getting their education and feeling fulfilled and there I was, at home all day with two small children with all of the messes, unappreciation and sleepless nights that come with that. I loved my children so much, but I started to wonder if I had messed up. Maybe I was supposed to finish school and then have children. My patriarchal blessing spoke of both. Maybe I hadn't been close enough to the Spirit to follow Heavenly Father's plan for me. I didn't express this to anyone, but it started to weigh on me.
It was time for me to renew my temple recommend and I had already done the bishopric interview and then went to President Covey for the stake presidency interview. I had seen President Covey speak once or twice, but had never really met him personally. As far as I could tell, he knew nothing about me when we met. Why would he?
The interview was going along as always when we were almost to the end. Suddenly, President Covey was silent and looking down. I was wondering why he was quiet. I wasn't perfect, but I didn't have any problems answering all the questions the way I needed to so that I could have a new recommend. A moment later, he spoke. "Sister, Heavenly Father wants you to know that He is very pleased with you. You are a good mother, wife and member of the church. He accepts your offering." Not a second passed before I had tears rolling down my face.
That night and even today, I am so grateful for that tender mercy. I am grateful for that inspired leader who was close enough to the Lord to receive a message for me. I am grateful that Heavenly Father loved me enough to send that message to me. That was a priceless gift that is so precious to me.

I found this song which was in the New Era. You can listen to it by clicking on it at LDS.org.

Janice Kapp Perry, “Tender Mercies of the Lord,” NewEra, Apr 2007, 13

1. Tender mercies of the Lord
Come in quiet ways,
Not by mere coincidence,
But by heaven’s grace.
As we choose to follow Him
With full heart and soul,
We become His chosen ones
And tender mercies flow.

2. Tender mercies of the Lord
Come in times of need.
Gifts of faith and confidence
Fill us as we plead.
Words of guidance, hope, and peace
Help us feel God’s love.
By our faith, His mercies come
Like manna from above.

3. Tender mercies of the Lord
Come as we repent.
Sweet forgiveness, peace of mind
Follow, heaven-sent.
Faithfulness, obedience
Help us to discern.
Blessings sweet and personal
For which our spirits yearn.

4. Tender mercies of the Lord
Comfort us and guide.
In His time and in His way,
We receive His light.
As we yield our will to His,
Blessings freely flow.
We partake of love divine
Thru mercies He bestows.

****I would love to hear a (not too private) tender mercy that has touched you and lifted you up at a time when you needed it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies

In April, I was remembering some delicious chocolate waffle cookies that a neighbor had once given us so I looked for a recipe online. I found these chocolate chip waffle cookies at Fine Cooking and thought we'd try these. It is a fun change to normal cookies and is so fast to bake a few. They are delicious all warm and melty, but not quite as good the next day. Give 'em a try!
Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c. plus 2 T. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 ½ c. old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.

In a large bowl, whisk the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

Coat the grids of the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Use a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop to portion out a cookie onto each waffle square. Close the iron and cook until set and beginning to brown, 1-1/2 to 3 minutes, depending on the heat of your waffle iron. Use a thin metal spatula to transfer the cooked cookies to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining dough, coating the grids with spray as necessary.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is it June yet???

Is your May as busy as mine? If you have children in school, I bet it is! Every year the teachers try to cram so much into this last month of school and it's crazy.

On Tuesday, Elisa had a track meet, but the sun didn't come out to welcome her. It was in the fifties, windy and very wet. Poor kids. She actually did two of her runs before they decided to send the kids back to school and have them go back on Friday.
As I walked back to my car, I saw these cold chickens huddled up against a door and just had to snap a picture.
Wednesday Alex had his final band concert of the year. He had his braces taken off on Monday so this was his first band concert without braces.
Sabrina and I snapped a few photos while they were warming up. Then I took a photo of Sabrina keeping an eye out for family.
Just a silly photo of the conductor's shadow during the performance.
Sheri didn't want to be in the photo (surprise, surprise) so she took a photo of the rest of it. Elisa decided to go to young women that night even though she isn't 12 since they were going to play human foosball. Thank you for coming, everyone!
Today I had to run from Alex's 5k over to Elisa's track meet. I parked and got out of my car right as the 5k was starting. I didn't see Alex, but snapped a photo and then took off in the van to wait for him along the way.
I stopped right before the mile 1 marker and water stop.
As I waited and saw so many people passing, I was so proud of Alex. He has a bit of asthma (not like what I had when I was young, luckily) and doesn't really run, but he chooses to do this 5k every year. I am so proud of him for doing something that isn't easy and following through with it. He doesn't even mind that he isn't in the front. Finally, I spotted him coming up...the only one holding his sides, poor guy.
Unfortunately, I couldn't go to wait for him at the finish line since I had to run to Elisa's track meet. She is a very good runner, but doesn't enjoy track. Can you tell?
Yep, she wore a (blue) jacket during her first run. Crazy. She didn't wear it during the other ones though.
She's in the lead.

You might be able to see her blue jacket at the finish line, taking first place.
The weather was much better today! (I'll tell you a secret---She just bought that shirt to make Alex, who loves Japan, jealous.)
In the semi-finals, Elisa didn't take first in her heat, but she did really well. Then I left since I thought they were done. We had been told they weren't going to run the relay, but after I left, they did. At her school, they only choose the fastest runners to run relay. I missed Elisa's team taking first place for relay.
I'm proud of both of them for doing their best!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When Times Are Tough by John Bytheway

My son, Alexander, LOVES John Bytheway and memorizes most of his CD’s word for word. He started watching The Andy Griffith Show because John talks about it often. He owns both of the John Bytheway collections, but wants more. I think I only own one of his CD’s. I attended one of his classes at BYU Women’s Conference before too. I enjoy his insights and his humor. One of his books we don’t own is When Times Are Tough: 5 Scriptures That Will Help You Get Through Almost Anything. My brother Jared lent me this book a while ago and I finally finished reading it about a month ago. It isn’t full of humor like many of his talks, but it is inspirational and helpful. Thanks for the timely help, Jared.

Even though it’s called “5 Scriptures That Will Help You”, it actually has more, along with many quotes from general authorities. Each of the 5 chapters has 5 different scriptures to help with various topics—

*5 Scriptures That Will Help You Get Through Almost Anything
*5 Scriptures That Will Strengthen Your Marriage
*5 Scriptures That Will Improve Your Family Relationships
*5 Scriptures That Will Strengthen Your Faith
*5 Scriptures That Will Motivate You to Action.

Here are few quotes from the book that I copied into my quote file.

“I can’t think of any more powerful weapons than faith and knowledge of the scriptures in the which are contained the Word of God. One so armored and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy that is more to be feared than the enemies of the light . . . More to be feared than the enemies that come in the daylight that we can see are the enemies that strike in the darkness of the night that we can’t see with our eyes”
President Harold B. Lee, BYU Speeches of the Year, 9 Nov. 1954, pp. 307, as quoted in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 56

“Do not suppose that God willfully causes that, which for His own purposes, he permits.” “THE PLAY AND THE PLAN” President Boyd K. Packer, CES Fireside, 7 May 1995

“The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing in all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team’s jersey we want to wear!”
Jeffrey R. Holland, Email correspondence from Elder Holland to John Bytheway, 1 June 2004

“We can add to each other’s storehouse of self-esteem by giving deserved, specific commendation more often, remembering, too, that those who are breathless from going the second mile need deserved praise just as the fallen need to be lifted up.”
Elder Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981), 10

“If we only knew it, heavenly hosts are pulling for us—friends in heaven that we cannot now remember who yearn for our victory. This is our day to show what we can do—what life and sacrifice we can daily, hourly, instantly make for God. If we give our all, we will get His all from the greatest of all.”
Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec 1988, 2

“We can show them the joy that living the gospel brings. I’ve learned from personal experience that it’s easy for my children to see my frustration, my impatience, and my stress, but I have to make a conscious and deliberate effort to let them see the joy that comes from striving to live what I know to be true.”
John Bytheway, When Times Are Tough, p. 63

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sabrina's First Grade Program

This post is mostly for my family who didn't get to go to Sabrina's first grade program today.  I recorded some of the songs they sang too, but they aren't loading.

But I'm trying to post the part of the program where Sabrina has her lines. We'll see if this works. I think she did a very good job. She was so afraid she'd forget her lines in front of all the people, but she didn't. My baby is getting so BIG!
video
Here is Sabrina and her big eyes in her classroom after the program.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why?

Quite a while ago I bought the book Why?: Powerful Answers and Practical Reasons for Living LDS Standards by John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat for my children and they have enjoyed reading it. It addresses 29 broad questions, broken down into more specific questions in the 200 pages of answers. The great thing about it is that each question has very short articles or facts with lots of photos and graphics. The answers are doctrinal, funny or statistical.
The format is easy for kids because they can just pick up the book and start reading wherever, even if it's only for a few minutes, and they can still get something out of it. I'm sure we'll be using this book for years to come.

Examples of some of the questions are:
*Why shouldn't I date until I'm 16?
*Why can't I listen to a song that only has a couple of swear words if I hear worse than that every day at school?
*Why do some people who pay tithing still not have a lot of money?
*Why should I listen to my parents even if I think they're wrong?
*Why should I repent now and not later?

They answer questions youth might have about standards found in the LDS For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. What youth doesn't have at least a few questions about them?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheese Puffs

These puffs are light (as in opposite of heavy, not as in diet food obviously) and cheesey. I love the flavor of garlic powder on top.
Cheese Puffs
2 c. water
½ c. butter
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
2 c. flour
6 lg. eggs
2 c. Monterey-Jack cheese, shredded
½ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 t. baking powder
Garlic powder
Paprika

Preheat oven 400ยบ. Combine water and butter in a saucepan; add and pepper. Bring to a rapid boil. Add flour all at once, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a ball and comes away from sides of pan. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously by hand or in a food processor 20 seconds until smooth. Blend in Monterey-Jack cheese, baking powder, garlic powder and paprika to taste. Drop 2-inch balls of dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Just before serving brush tops with a little butter and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, garlic powder and paprika. Return to oven. Heat about five minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last Week

Patty from Pitterle Postings came up to Utah from Arizona for a family visit. She took a little time out to meet me. It was fun to get to know her better and in person and hear about her life and her 11 children. Thanks, Patty!
On Saturday, we walked as a team with family members and friends in the Autism Speaks walk in support of my nephew Avi. It was a cold day with lots of wet snow, but it was a nice walk at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake.






I guess they were expecting a warmer day since they were passing out popsicles.
Avi (and everyone) was ready to go home where it was warm by the end.