Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years! Wow, is another year already gone? I'm getting far too old.

Howie and I enjoyed a nice quiet evening and candle light dinner with crab legs. Candice is at work tonight.

I have some illegal fireworks compliments from my good friend and neighbor LaRae. I plan on staying up just long enough to light those babies off and then head for bed. I get to work on New Years Day in the ER. I've sure enjoyed having two weeks off.

Hope all of you have a wonderful celebration and look forward to great things this year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas to Remember!

We had the crowd here and it was fun! On Christmas Eve we opened our Christmas jammies and had a fashion show and then after the little munchins were in bed and asleep we had the exchange of the white elephant gifts among the adults. Who knew that Chia pets were so cute? We certainly had a white Christmas with snow and wind non-stop! Matt had to go with his Excursion to see if he could get stuck...and he didn't.
Lynsey got her White Christmas and lots of pictures to prove it to the people in Houston.
Nate built the kids a sledding "mountain" in the back yard and that kept them entertained for hours.
Candice enjoyed taking pictures with her new camera and was a good sport when she got the bamboo plant at the white elephant exchange. She said she loves it.
Now the house is empty and I'm trying to decide where to start....laundry or dishes. I think I'll take a nap instead.

I'll post pictures when I can find the cable to my camera.........under the laundry or the dishes.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things are SWEET!

And so it begins. I'm making candy and getting ready to dip. I kinda dread doing it every year cause it's a lot of work, but when I get into it I have so much fun. It's kind of amazing that it works out at all. Candy making is for the professional isn't it?

Well, this year I've ventured into unknown territory. I've made my first ever English Toffee. I search on the internet and found a recipe that says it's the best English Toffee in the World. I checked out several, but this one did sound the best, it called for 1 pound of butter! I made a couple of batches (EASY) and then smeared them with Peter's Chocolate (the only kind I will me a snob) and this is the result. It is soooo gooooood!

I'm currently making Peanut Brittle. Once again looked on the internet and found a recipe that is called Buttery Peanut Brittle. However, I'm using cashews because I think it tastes better.

I got up at 0500 to start on all this today. I made two batches of toffee last night and a batch of caramel. I need to make another batch of carmel this morninig. I also did two batches of fondant for my orange centers and my vanilla centers, dipped in chocolate and rolled in toasted coconut.

This is the nut brittle cooking:

And this is the finished product. Looks pretty, hope it tastes good.

So this is the fruits of my labors this morning.

Before I poured the carmel over these nuts I had to take a picture. I love turtles. That requires pecans. I thought that maybe a menagerie of nuts would even be better, so in addition to the pecans, I added cashews and almonds. So this is what it looks like before the carmel is poured over it:

Then I poured carmel over the whole mess. This is what it looks like now:

I have a little dipping to get going on!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Walkin' in the Winter Wonderland.....

OK, it's finally here....the snow! The Christmas Wreath candles are burning (4 in case you were wondering) The fire is going in the fireplace, making the house toasty. Outside it's a mere 2 degrees above zero and the lights in the tree are going. I guess Christmas can come now. Except I haven't dipped my chocolates yet (tomorrow I hope) I haven't done any shopping (tomorrow I hope).

For Lynsey's benefit I'm posting some pictures of tonights snow...she's worried she'll come all the way from Texas and not have any.

So, here' proof of the snow....look at poor Elmer....he's cold. (Elmer was Howie's idea since he was a Chinese Elm tree....maybe it should be Elmer San...kinechewa)

The snow today was very fluffy and pretty. It's always pretty if I don't have to drive in it.
This past Thursday and Friday we went to Salt Lake to be chaparones for the Bel Cantos Choir and High School Orchestra. It was fun to stay in a hotel and wander around the Gateway Mall and Temple Square. We went to a Kurt Bestor Christmas Concert on Thursday night. However....Friday night we left Salt Lake at about 9:30 at night. We got to about Malad and then the snow hit....ferociously! It was a white knuckle drive for me all the way home. So, as long as I don't have to drive or be in a car in the icky weather I love the snow.

Temple Square is beautiful at Chirstmas time.

Snow is beautiful at Christmas time.

But.................this is NOT beautiful at Christmas time!

Arent' there laws against this? Save the planet and global warming? Come on! This is obscene! Maybe I won't be dipping chocolates or shopping after all....I have a room to bulldoze!

Has she no pride? Can't she give me a Christmas present? A clean room!

What's a mother to do?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is it really December 9th????

Augh! OK, so now I'm hitting the panic button! I don't have the house decorated, the lights aren't up and I haven't dipped any chocolates? OK, I'm working on the decorating the house thing, but I'm not sure the lights are going to get put up this year. Is that OK? The man of the house is way too busy and has been on too many business trips. Now he is actually trying to finish the bathroom...yes the bathroom.

The one that was torn apart to the studs, no tub, no toilet, no sink. That happened on January 1st of this year. He's determined not to let an entire year go by, so this is priority #1 right now...behind work, church things, me, sleep....well, you get the picture.

This is the man of the house trying to get done with the bathroom! Kinda cute isn't he? (I can hear my children gagging now)

The guy came today to measure for the tub surround. Can I tell you how much I love tub surround? So clean, so pretty, so.....nice.

This tub surround is from the bathroom that we finished 2 years took a day to tear it apart to the studs and only 7 months to get it done, well actually there is still some trim that needs painted....

When and if we ever sell the house, the tub surround comes with us!

I did finally get a few trees up in the house and hung the stockings by the chimney with care.

My fireplace mantle needs some decorating, but I can't decide what to do. I love my fireplace mantel. When and if we ever move I'm taking the fireplace mantle.

The man of the house did that about 5 years ago when we remodeled the kitchen and dining room. He did the fireplace too. He's kinda awesome. He's a jack-of-all trades. He's the "fixer man" as Candice said when she was about 3 years old.

I did put up my trees this year. I have scaled back, I only put up 6 trees this year, I'm OK with that.

I did go a little crazy with snowmen...but I'm OK with that too.

Uhm, he's not a snowman, but he looks like one. He's doing the part of remodeling that he loves most...sanding...yuk, what a mess. I'm outta here before he makes me start working!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is it realy December 1st?

Could someone pinch me please? It's now OK for me to be playing Christmas music? (Some people in this house think Christmas music in July is a bit much)
Is it really OK for me to be burning the Christmas Wreath candle I love so much? Thanks to a great Porters sale I now have 8 of them....hopefully that will last me for the month.

I love Christmas. I love the smells, the baking, the dipping, the lights, the decorations. I love the snow! I love Christmas cards............I'm so excited!

I really have got to remove the fall decorations and get busy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends. What a year it's been! Still trying to figure out where it went.

Hope you eat plenty of turkey and stuffing. Hope you get and give lots of hugs.

You are the reason that we are thankful!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The MTC.........

All I can say is............ugh. OK, that isn't a negative comment, it's just....why does it hurt so bad? I didn't think I would be sad or cry this time...I mean after all, he's been to Iraq. This should have been an easy piece of pie. Well, imagine yourself in a movie theater and you're watching the previews of movies and little commercials. It's kind like that. You are sitting there with your know it's coming...the good bye thing...and they are showing these cute little "family" commercials. You know the ones..."isn't it about time. Those make me cry anyway. Then on the screen it pops up with statistics many gallons of milk do they go through a day at the MTC. (300 in case you wanted to know) Why did that make me cry? Anyway, then they have to sing that song..Called to Serve. Well, the whole thing is just painful! And then, before you know it you are saying goodbye!

I know that it has all been worth it...seeing the smile on Cam. He was anxious and ready to get going.

I'll sure be glad when I can quit crying.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Missionary Farewell

Wow, the call just came a few short months ago and here we are only 9 days from entering the MTC in Provo. Cam's farewell was yesterday and he did a great job. I think he was nervous....he's a man of few words, but he spoke from his heart.

We had lots of family here. Matt and Tara and family from Utah, Lyns flew in from Houston with Lexie. Nate and Sara with Krewzer. Mom and Dad came was just nice to be with family and have support from the family.

Nate and Sara went home last night as did Matt and Tara. Howard flew back to Chicago this morning...he got home late Thursday night fromChicago only to return back there today.

We had a full house for the weekend and I must say, I have some pretty cute grandkids!

Cameron had to have a picture with Lyns...cause she wasn't looking too gorgeous. It made him laugh.

And sure have a cute wife, you are one lucky guy!

Well, Cam, there's lots to do this week to get you on your way. We are proud of you, we love you and we'll miss you.
Will you miss us????????????

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm SO weird!!!

Ya, I can hear it now...."and you are just now figuring this out?" Yes, it's true, I am weird. I have spent the last 3 days fighting a migraine..."Imitrex let me down" Anyway, I needed those last three days to get this house clean.

I WANT a clean house! It's important to me, it makes me happy, it makes me calm, it is a must. So I left work early today....I'm not in the mood for health care right now. Thanks Don for listening to me whine about how busy I am and coming in to work for me! I owe you.

So, back to my story, I didn't do all the things I wanted to do this last three days because of the migraine battle. So today I left work at noon with the intent of cleaning this house....before it got mistaken for a "crack house". So what do I do???? Do I clean the kitchen? No. Do I clean the bathroom? No. Do I clean the living room? No. I clean the stupid refrigerator. Why? Please 'xplain that to me Lucy? Why do I clean the fridge when the whole world is in chaos? The fridge door closes and no one knows that it's dirty. To me, if the refrigerator is clean...the planets have aligned. All is right with the world...which is huge today considering the elections are over.

Can you believe I just posted a picture of my dirty fridge? That's disgusting. But if you really want to be disgusted, click on the picture so you can get an up-close shot. Really disgusting! So another question I have besides why would I clean the fridge when it's low on the totem pole. I want to know why there is cat hair in the bottom below the crisper! How does that happen? Are they dancing in the fridge? Are they opening the fridge and making a "sammich" and getting a mug of milk? What's with the cat hair? Ya, I'm sure you're all gagging about now.(I can see Becca running to her fridge now to check under the crisper!)

I needed my Zen. I needed a clean refrigerator.

And there's another thing.....why do I hate cleaning my oven? It's a self cleaning oven. I've had it for over 10 years. It's really self cleaning. I have only cleaned it 3 times in 10 years! Ya, I know, pass the zofran! I don't care that I have a disgusting oven. It really doesn't bother me.

Why does a dirty fridge and house send me over the edge and a dirty oven doesn't faze me in the least? (The only reason I'm cleaning it today is that my mother is coming this weekend.) I hate using the self cleaning thingy because I know it's costing me a fortune. I wish I would have gotten a me-cleaning oven instead. Since I was cleaning out the fridge I decided I would use the self cleaning oven too. The first time I used the self cleaning thingy I set off the smoke alarms in the house. Frightening really. Besides the electric meter whirring at mach 50 G force it makes the house stink. It smells hot. I hate that smell. Cameron did come up and ask what was for dinner though.

Note the little thingy on the display that says "self cln" ?

OK, I still haven't cleaned anything else and I have a lot to do before this day is over. So I need to get off this blog. But I was just hoping for some answers. Oh, gotta therapy session starts soon.

PS Update: So I am now NEARLY done with the house. I am starting to feel peace. NOW I have another question: Is it bad that the vacuum cleaner has a burnt rubber smell and there is smoke coming from the belt? I probably should have bought the right size belt last week, but that's what happens when Howie is out of town.

There is only 27:00 minutes left on my self cleaning oven time...I'll have to take out a loan to pay the electric bill but oh well. So my house smells like burnt oven cleaning and burnt vacuum belt. Anyone wanna come over for dinner?

I know you all have perfectly clean houses and fridges and you are shocked at how I live...filth and all. I'm sure I've lost a few friends, but hey, I'm just keepin' it real!
IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!! It's nearly 10:00 p.m. and I had to take a picture of the finished result.

Oooohhhhh Shiny!

Mom can come for a visit now!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What are you thankful for????

I love Thanksgiving, it's such a mellow holiday. No gifts, no pressure, no stress. Well, except for the cooking, cleaning, cooking, and the cooking. But, other than that it's a great holiday.
Yesterday we had a great lesson in Relief Society about gratitude. The teacher was concerned that it was cliche because it was Thanksgiving and gratitude, but I loved the lesson. She helped me come to the conclusion that gratitude is a verb. You have gratitude by DOING. Great lesson Hillary!

Anyway, in an effort to think more about being grateful I wanted to list a few things that I'm grateful for.

#1 I know that seems cliche, he has to be #1 and all that stuff, but seriously, how often are you able to have someone in your life that is everything to you and is patient, kind, understanding, patient, wants to make your day happy, patient and did I mention patient? And he does his own laundry (huge bonus). And I love his prematurely gray hair. Ya, he's #1!

#2 Family...parents, kids, grandkids. It's amazing to see how our family is evolving...a work in progress. Fun, interesting, frightening.

#3 Friends...they make me laugh, they listen and they tell me when I have a bad hair day.

#4 A temple blocks away...I still have to pinch myself.

#5 Work, jobs, food on the shelves, warm home, firewood to burn, clean clothes and a washer and dryer to keep them that way.

#6 Really good moisturizers for my face....fighting wrinkles is a full time job.

#7 Steel cut oats...I love that stuff, eat it every morning. (yes, I know I'm weird)

#8 This country, this town, this's awesome to live here.

#9 Health...probably should be higher than the oatmeal, but I'm too lazy to change the numbers. In my profession I see health and the lack of health far too often. I'm grateful for my lungs, my hands, my heart, my mind, my eyes, my immune system, lymph system...yes my health and the health of those I love is pretty high up on my list.

#10 Seasons...even though I stuggle when the days get colder, darker and shorter...I love a change of seasons.

#11 Huckleberries...they make me happy. I love picking them, finding them (that means I'm in the mountains, the fresh air and in the silence) and I like eating them.

#12 My Yankee candle that's burning right now...Christmas has to be the best smell in the world. I always have several, even in the middle of the summer I'll go sniff...I LOVE that smell.

So, that's my list, boring or weird, it's me. What are you thankful for?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Solo Performance

Last night we attended the Bel Cantos Concert and really had a great time. When Candice graduates, I've decided that I'll be very sad. For many years we have gone to baseball games, orchestra concerts, track events and Bel Cantos concerts, kindergarten performances, graduations.....sheesh, it's been a lifetime of this! It's been 22 years of going to these events!!!

Now what are we going to do??? I'm not sure Howie and I are exciting enough to be entertaining without children.

Is this what is called an empty nest? I must ponder on this for awhile.

I'm not sure I'm going to accept this part of my life. I may boycott empty nesting or have an election to campaign against having a nest devoid of creatures that eat you out of house and home......but I digress.

Anyway, we went to the Bel Cantos Concert and listened to Candice sing a little solo in one of the songs they were doing. She did such a great job. Her voice is a beautiful clear soprano...where did she get her talent? She looked as cool and calm as a cucumber.

She said she was scared and shaking like crazy, but it didn't look like it.

There were two other kids from our ward that performed that night. Janeal is in a womens choir and Jake is in Bel Cantos too.

Can you see her amongst the other choir members?

Anyway, I'm not sure that I'm ready to give up this part of my life. I think I'm going to go eat a bowl of fried chocolate!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is Fall really here????

Can it really be close to the end of October? Where did this year go? My garden should now be called "the garden of freezin" or the "garden of weedin'" The leaves are beautiful but I think I would rather see green. Fall is a beautiful time of year, but I think I need to slow down a little and enjoy it more. How about you?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't Feed the Bears!

Last year Howard, Matt and Nick cut down a tree in our yard that was a true hazard. I have no idea how tall it was, but when they cut the first part of the tree down it reached to the fence line in the backyard. It was a messy tree, dropped nasty seeds and just yucky, basically served no purpose except for the firewood we are burning now. (see post below to get a glance of the firewood stacked up)

I was glad to see it go, as were our neighbors....except for the part of some "minor" damage to their roof in the process of cutting. A great friend Mike came to the rescue when we realized that we weren't going to be able to safely remove the rest of the tree without taking out the neighbors house. Thanks Mike!!!! By the middle of December all we had left was a 10 foot "stump" that Howie said he would take care of in the Spring.

I argued with Howie to let me do something fun with the stump instead of him cutting it all his spare time. I felt that his time would be utilized better repairing or building a bathroom....that's a story for another time. Suffice it to say that it's been a year on January 1st since we've had a second bathroom.

Anyway, back to the story...Howie is practical, I'm not. I wanted a bear carving, he did not. So the "stump" sat all summer. On a few occasions we would have people come over for a barbecue in the back yard and they would comment on how cute it would be to have a bear carving. Hmmm....I'm not the only one with cute ideas. After about the 4th person mentioned this he started thinking that maybe I should do something cute with the "stump".

So.....I didn't waste time. Searching and asking around I found a bear carver. Meet Barry Topham! He turned my "stump" into the cutest bear I've ever had in my backyard. I can step out the back door and here's this bear mischievously getting into a beehive. What a cute personality!

From different angles the bear has a different look...he's naughty and it makes me laugh.

Anyway, I think I'm going to have fun with the bear, but he needs a name. I need your help in naming him. He's about 10 feet tall and he's getting into the beehive. He looks totally innocent, but you can tell he's not. Matt is kind of a mischievous name, but it's already being used....

Help me name this little creature! I recommend putting your curser right on the picture so you can get a close-up view of how cute this bear is!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getting Ready for Winter

Last Saturday Howie spent the day splitting wood from the elm tree that had lived in our yard long before we bought the house. Last November was spent cutting it down...with a few mishaps. Anyway, that's another story. So, this elm tree was cut up last fall and stacked in the back. Well, those logs aren't burnable in my fireplace so they needed to be split. I called some neighbor boys and they helped stack and split. Thanks guys! So now it looks like this:

Monday Howie flew to Chicago. He did call me and tell me how hot and humid it was....rude! I've had the fireplace going nonstop and my feet are still cold. I guess I'm going to have to go put some socks on.

Anyway, I've enjoyed two days off and I've managed to have fun...canning. Yes, it is fun. Howie asked me the other day as I was so tired from peeling or blanching or pressure canning if I was having fun. I thought about it for a second and decided that yes, it is fun. Of course, it's awesome having a "spare" kitchen to can in. I can mess up that one and walk away...except when my kitchen upstairs is dirty too. Then it's not so awesome. Two kitchens to clean...yuk.

Well, my dear friend Judy has been bringing me quart jars from her mother's old stash. She was just going to send them to DI. I volunteered to take them off of her hands. I had no idea was I was volunteering for. I've probably been the recipient of about 12 dozen beautiful canning jars! But now I feel the urge to fill them all.

So, I've been making some chili, stew and today I did some baked beans and some pork and beans.

I'm kinda running out of ideas, but I am excited to have "convenience" foods to come home and eat after a long day of work or when I'm so lazy I don't want to cook a thing.

I work tomorrow but I think I'll come home and do up another batch of salsa. I can't seem to keep people from eating it. I'm still in the "you can only look at it" stage. Not the eating stage. I can tell from the furtive glances and guilty expressions that the salsa is being eaten, covertly and behind closed doors. I wasn't born yesterday and I know they are eating it....besides I can smell their salsa breath!

Anyway, I hate seeing empty jars so I'm pouring over cookbooks and racking my brain to see what I can come up with next. Linking up with Homestead Revival

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why do I live in Idaho?

OK, it snowed yesterday. Albeit, briefly, it was still white stuff coming down from the cold cold dreary sky!
No I didn't take a picture of it....I'm going to pretend it didn't happen and maybe it will stay away for a long time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This is why I live in Idaho

Many may wonder why we are crazy and live here when it's cold in the winter and winter doesn't end forever. Well, I'll tell ya! Yesterday after enjoying a nice day at home watching General Conference, we went for a drive. In less than 20 minutes we found ourselves in heaven. Beautiful fall colors!

The drive was quiet and I kept having to stop to get more shots.

Or these colors....

It was a feast for the eyes.

So, these are the reasons I live and love Idaho

Of course this is a real bonus too!