Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stake Relief Society Conference

We had our Stake Relief Society Conference this past weekend.  The theme was: Look Ahead and Believe, taken from Elder Dube's talk from October 2013 General Conference.  We had an opening with some brief remarks, then had four workshops that the women rotated through.
They were:
Look Ahead and Believe that the Temple is a Place of Worship.  We were so blessed to have this one presented by the Kansas City Temple matron.  
Look Ahead and Believe that you can be happy in tumultuous times.
Look Ahead and Believe that you are of worth.
Look Ahead and Believe that our homes can be a refuge from the world.

The workshops were followed by a simple luncheon. One of the ladies who helped decorate owns a shop, Searcy Creek Designs, and she provided the beautiful temple pictures that you'll see.  Everyone commented that having them there made it feel like we were sitting in our homes looking out at the temple.

It was a fabulous day.  Here are some pictures of what we did.

Here is a closeup of the post-it note holder that we made for each sister.  Bought the coasters on Amazon and covered with scrapbook paper.  Put a magnet on the back and tied on the pretty ribbons. 

It really did make it look like you were looking out your living room window!  Loved it!

The sister who taught the class on our homes being a refuge told us that she'd never had a copy of The Family - a Proclamation to the World hanging in their home because the print she had was too small to really be able to read it well.  She recently got the pdf from the LDS Church's website and had it printed off in a large format from Costco.  She had it sitting on the floor of their home and didn't know where to hang it.  She knew there was a nail in the bathroom, so she hung it in there so it wouldn't get stepped on.  She related how many times she has read it and how much she has learned.  Even their teenage daughter asked that it be kept hanging in the bathroom because she had learned so much by reading it so many times!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Good Morning!

I woke up this morning tired from a long weekend, with aches in my body that I wished I wasn't having.  But when I wandered from my bedroom to the kitchen at what felt like 'way too early on a Monday morning' to take some medication, this is what I saw from our front windows. 

A big, bright full moon!  My little point and shoot doesn't do it justice.  It was a very defined full moon with a halo around it.  I stood in awe for a moment as I felt my Savior's love for me.  I felt peace and I felt gratitude.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter Storm

Yes.  We were in the middle of the snow storm that blanketed the mid-west this week.  We were out of school for three days. Two because of snow - one because of COLD.  We got about 81/2" of snow at our place - but after the snow came the wind - and drifting.  There were some crazy drifts and LOTS of snow.  I love how peaceful and clean everything looks right after a snow storm.

This one is of our front steps.  YAY for the hubby who went out and shoveled more than once and for our fabulous neighbor who loves to use his snow-blower!  Thanks Mike!

This is at our church.  Yes, there are bushes up against the building, but seriously - look at all of that snow!
Snow on our deck.

A drift out our front door.

The snow was so heavy on the bushes and trees.

Another shot of our deck and back yard.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I don't know when I first heard it - but for a lot of years 'Rabbit' has been the first word out of my mouth on the first day of the month. . . when I remember!  It's supposed to bring you luck for the rest of the month!

Our daughters loved the tradition and would often say Rabbit themselves.  They would ask me where this came from - and honestly - I didn't know.  But thinking about it yesterday - as I said Rabbit to myself while sitting in the recliner in the wee hours of the morning (I woke up with a whopper of a headache), I decided to see if it was something I had just made up, or if it really was handed down from somewhere else.

Wikipedia says this: 
The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded in Notes and Queries as being said by children in 1909:
"My two daughters are in the habit of saying 'Rabbits!' on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula."[1]

Yankee Magazine says:
Today is the first day of the month and Rabbit! was the first word spoken in this house. I grew up thinking that our family was the only family with this strange tradition. On the morning of the first day of every month, there was a slow chorus in our house, from room to room, the word “Rabbit” was spoken one and then another until we had all been granted our month’s worth of good luck. In my mind, my grandmother was the originator of the tradition, and it extended to all my aunts and uncles and cousins on my father’s side of the family. My mother was complicit so I didn’t realize it was not her tradition, growing up, but rather something she adopted once she married my father. The superstition was that if you forgot to say rabbit, spoken as the first word on the first day of the month, you would have bad luck that month. Now that I have written that down, I realize how spooky it sounds, as if we were a bunch of paleolithic cave people, clinging to the earth by virtue of luck and whimsy. Whenever I mentioned this custom to friends, they would usually ask me where that came from. My only answer was “from my grandmother,” which, of course, is the short answer. Beyond that, I had no idea.

Rabbit rabbit" is a common British superstition. The most common modern version states that a person should say "rabbit, rabbit, white rabbit", "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit", "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits",[1] "rabbit, rabbit" or simply "white rabbits" upon waking on the first day of each new month, and on doing so will receive good luck for the duration of that month. In the United States, the tradition is especially common in Nantucket, Cape Cod other towns within Massachusetts and Chester Vermont. 

However, some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1800s. Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, although, like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult. This superstition is related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a "lucky" animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit's foot for luck. Some have also believed it represents jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness.

So - if you haven't been a fan of 'Rabbit' up to this point - may you speak it first on the first of each month and enjoy good luck!

Happy February!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A cold, hard winter!

That's what the Farmer's Almanac said we would have this year.  And we have.  We missed some days of school because of extreme cold.  -5 or so real temperature and -20 to -25 or 30 wind chill.  Even when it warmed up a smidge and some of the snow melted, it would get cold again.  There was another day or two when we could have been out of school because of cold, but were in session. 

This has been the scene outside of our house several times this winter.

Even in the midst of the cold, dark winters of our lives, God grants us some amazing vistas and reasons for hope along the way.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Look Ahead with Faith and Believe

I'm hopeful about 2014.  Good things are going to happen!  A new grandson.  Better health.  Better connections with family and friends.  Fabulous memory-making with family.  Lots of new babies joining our extended family.

My motto for the new year is:  "Look ahead with faith and believe".  

Believe that strength will come when you feel weak.  Believe that God knows the course your life needs to take and will guide you along as you ask for His help.  Believe that there is strength in making righteous choices.  Believe that forgiveness is healing.  Believe that better health is an option.   Believe that spiritual strength will come as we keep our covenants and obey the commandments, listening to counsel from prophets and apostles that is relevant to us today.  

I found this sign on the website of My Computer is My Canvas and thought I would put it here to go along with my 2014 motto.   If you would like to read Elder Dube's talk on this subject - go here. 

Happy New Year!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Countdown

How do you 'count down' the days to Christmas?  Our family has enjoyed several different ways throughout the years.  One that our girls enjoyed a LOT was the countdown using Hershey's Kisses.  A Kiss a Day until Christmas.  I don't have a picture, but what you do is take a l-o-n-g length of saran wrap and lay it on the table or the floor.  Evenly space 25 kisses on the plastic wrap, then fold it over itself so the kisses are all wrapped up.  Using short lengths of yarn or ribbon, wrap it around the plastic between each kiss and tie with a bow.  Each day, you can either untie the ribbon/yarn and pull out the kiss, or simply cut it off of the bottom.  I may have to make another one just to have a picture!  Stay tuned for that!

Several years ago at a craft workshop I made this fun count-down Santa.  His buttons are numbered and stored in the cute muslin bag which we stenciled.  Each day, someone finds the appropriate number and adds it to his Santa suit.  It's such a fun, visual way to answer the question of: "How many more days until Christmas, mom?"

Friday, November 29, 2013

These days.....

I know I'm getting older.  I can 'feel it in my bones' as my mother used to say.  She also wished she could afford to hire someone to decorate for Christmas for her.  I thought she was silly!  Not so much any more.  I totally get it!  I used to be able to decorate in a day....the tree, all the fun inside things, lights in the windows, etc.  Now it takes me several days.  I'm tired.  I just want it to be done and all the totes and boxes put away.  

I would love to take pictures after Christmas this year - then hand them off to the magic Christmas decorating fairy next year.  Then, on the appointed day -  I would come home from work, or shopping, or the movies ---  and --- ta-da!  I would walk into my perfectly decorated home.  And I wouldn't be exhausted!  

One of my Christmas decorations is a wreath that a good friend, Kathy H. made for me back in 1981.  It has been 'front and center' in our Christmas decorations every year.  It has hung in 7 different homes in 3 different states.  It's one of the first things out each year.  It reminds me of Christmases long ago....when I was single and dating the man who is now my husband.  It reminds me of friendships that endure.  It makes me feel love.

Merry Christmas all!

Monday, November 11, 2013

It must be fall.....

You know how there are things that are synonymous with other things?  Well, it's full on fall weather here.  The leaves have all turned color and most of them have dropped from the trees.  Today the temperature took a nose-dive and it's feeling a lot like fall.  It's supposed to be 18 degrees tonight!  Brrrrr.......   And it's the month of my hubby's birthday.  We like cake in this house, but we like cheese cake better!  And we really love Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake!  So this was the weekend to make the cheesecake. We're having some friends over tonight to help eat it.  And will probably take some pieces to others.  It's too much yummy goodness to keep to ourselves!

Here's how you make this yummy goodness!

1 1/2 cups thin chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
(about 30 cookies)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
4 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate
coarsely chopped
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup caramel topping
*to toast pecans, sprinkle in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until pecans begin to brown, then stirring constantly until light brown.

1) Heat oven to 300. Wrap foil around outside of bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan to prevent drips. Spray bottom and 1 inch up side of pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press crumb mixture on bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake crust 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool at room temperature 5 minutes. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled.

2) Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin; set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour filling over crust.

3) Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until edge of cheesecake is set but center still juggles slightly when moved. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes.

4) Cool in pan on cooling rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

5) Just before serving, sprinkle pecans over top of cheesecake. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate and oil uncovered on high 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted. Drizzle chocolate over pecans.

6) To serve, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake; carefully remove side of pan. Drizzle caramel topping over each serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

High Altitude Directions > Before preheating oven, place pan of water on oven rack below rack cheesecake will be baked on. In step 3, bake 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Do not run knife around edge of pan until after cheesecake has cooled 30 minutes.

Carden Park School

Progress!  Pretty soon we won't be able to see what they are doing!