Monday, December 31, 2007

a year of monthly photos

In lieu of a list of resolutions: a year in review; as it were. Some of my favourite photos, one from each month, save March when I evidently bonked it. If you must know a resolution let it be this: "two". Don't ask, I won't tell, however I will let you know if I can't keep it.

Thanks to everyone who reads daily or otherwise, I appreciate it. Thanks to those of you who comment, I really appreciate that! May you reach your goals for the new year and make a few good memories as well. May we all become closer to those we love, more forgiving, more compassionate, and find humour in life in general.

Happy New Year everyone.










Unfortunately no photo for March. What happened?



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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

blessings journal

In his talk, O Remember, Remember President Eyring encouraged us to write down the blessings in our lives on a daily basis. An excerpt from that talk:

"When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.

I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.

The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when . . . ” and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day.

My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

By clicking on the link you can take the time to read the entire talk, which is well worth the extra few minutes. President Eyring is an amazing man with a keen mind and great insights. He's one of my favorites!

I am going to take his advice. I already have a journal picked out and I am going to try and make this a daily habit. How about you? Why not go out, find a great new journal that will inspire you to write down those good, positive things in your life? Wouldn't it be wonderful, to read back on this next year and see just how many good things came your way each day? It would be such a great way to live, seeing the good. Many of the blogs out there participate in daily gratitudes, that's awesome!

So we have a few days to go out and get ourselves ready. Or if you already have a blank journal lying around, how about tonight? Surely good things happened over the Christmas Holiday that insured many blessings on your family. Why not write them down?

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas at S'mee's

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Satan is in the front yard, and he's on fire.

I have been really busy the past few days; anyone else??? Yeah, well I have slacked on my everyday writing bloggity goodness. (o.k. usually just a daily update on my mundane life) Anywho, I got to thinking, What would be a good post about Christmas? Mulling over Christmas memories I came back to this one...enjoy.

A few years ago, well more like 20, we had a group of "Sister" Missionaries. It was so fun to have 6 ladies in our area who were serving the Lord. They all lived in this tiny apartment on a busy street, a duplex actually, shared with an elderly couple who owned the property.

We had become close to the Sisters, invited them to dinner, went out on "splits" with them and generally tried to be helpful. When Christmas came around we naturally felt they deserved some special considerations. Thor and I bought them a little Christmas tree and then I dug through my treasures and came up with a rather large box of Christmas ornaments.

Not just any ornaments, the ones from my childhood. Who else would treat them so nicely? Who else would appreciate the sentimentality of such a box? All the ornaments I made as a little kid and as a young woman, and a few that my own kids had made...all hand made and all the ones that you treasure. Sister Missionaries deserved my best, so I wrapped them up and took them over to the apartment.

They were so appreciative. They could hardly believe that we gave them the tree and means to decorate it. They had such a great time that night, took photos, and showed it off to the next door neighbors. For about two weeks they looked forward to coming home after a long day and seeing the pretty lights and glittered goodies. All until one night.

We were awakened by a call at 3 something o'clock in the morning by a local police officer. He wanted to inform us that our tree and ornaments had been in a fire and destroyed. We were so panicked! We envisioned the tiny duplex in flames and all the occupants fleeing into the freezing night air. Not so. The officer explained that all the tenants were safe and that except for the tree and a bit of the front yard all was well and we could in get the details in the morning.

We drove over first thing to see if everyone was fine and found the Sisters in a tizzy. It seemed that one of the Sisters had been having visions for quite sometime, visions she had kept to herself until that night. Jesus had come to her and informed her that Satan lived in the Christmas tree and needed to be destroyed. So she made a plan. She would wake up in the middle of the night when all others were asleep, take the entire tree to the front yard and set it on fire without hesitation. And so it was.

By the time the fire department arrived the tree was cremated and the yard beginning to take on the flames. All was put out and the sisters asked to file a report. (o.k. now, in my head, I am trying to see what it would have looked like for anyone on that busy street, even at 2:00 a.m., to drive by and see that tree in flames! What a sight! Holy Cow!)

In the end the poor visionary sister was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and sent home for treatment. The other sisters were assigned a new companion, and they went on to serve great missions. But I am sure they, as we, will remember the year that Satan lived in a Christmas tree!

Now, lest anyone feel that I am mocking or making fun of a mental illness, no. Please don't go there. We actually have family members who suffer (and I mean that in the most serious tone possible- suffer) with this illness. It is not fun, it's tragic. That said, the situation was kind of funny. Frankly, it was devastating at the time to lose all of our most precious ornaments, ones that were irreplaceable, but when you think about it, what a way to go and I can and do laugh about it now!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days

Not your average 12 days, give it a try. After the first three days this turns, in a very good and fun way. Enjoy!

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Christmas Tradition Swap!

Look what I got in the mail today! The lovely Stephanie (sorry, no blog) sent me this package of goodies. We are supposed to send a favorite holiday tradition with a tutorial "how to", a music c.d. , one hand made ornament, a recipe, and any other items we think would make a great gift.

Stephanie sent me an advent calendar -with instructions, a c.d with all kinds of different artists, and a little handmade origami fish! In addition to those was a package of fondue cheese (she's from Wisconsin!), a chocolate advent calendar, a set of DIY knitting needles, a favoured book from her childhood full of Christmas stories, and a stack of interesting papers, cards, and stickers!

I sent Stephanie the little handmade house (from the previous post), some sheet music (she plays piano and guitar), a couple of different chocolate goodies, a favourite recipe for cookies, 3 of my world famous Christmas c.d.s (lol), a spool of French ribbon and a favourite Christmas story, and a package for under the tree that go along with another tradition. (I think that's it... I sent it before I photographed it, ugh!)

It's been a great time getting to know Stephanie and I hope she enjoys the package I sent her too!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Curious George!

For the last two days I have been in the jungle! And at the lake. And building New York. My son and his wife are getting ready for baby number one, a boy, and they wanted his room to be decorated as a Curious George book. Each wall will be a different adventure. This top photo shows the almost complete (still need to add finishing touches to the tops of those palm trees) corner that takes George from the lake to the jungle. (if you look closely enough you can see the chalk outlines for fish in the lake)
Paint cans abound! However this shows how cute the jungle is going to be when we finish the tree tops! Oh and we're going to add some flowers in there too. Mommy loves her orchids, so we're going to have some growing in the jungle.
The jungle corner wraps around into Central Park and down into New York City! Lots and lots of high rise buildings! The Brooklyn Bridge, The Chrysler Building or is it Met Life?, Empire State Building, and of course a toy store, book store, and others!
Miss Liberty is out there in the harbour, George will be flying with the Man with the Yellow Hat in a helicopter, and the city wraps around to the third wall. On that wall (no photo yet) will be more tall buildings and a Fire House with "real" fake brick! George will be balancing on his blue and red ball as he goes down the street.

The 4th wall is where poor George falls into the lake, fascinated by the fish in the water. A small yellow pier and a few dragon flies will complete the total cartoon look. We took the cartoon drawings from the many stories and tried to put them on the wall as closely as possible, telling a few of his more famous adventures.

Tomorrow we head out to the OC to move the RDH back home for two weeks - I'm excited to have her home again for a bit- (she's in between apartments over the holidays), and then tamale night we have a schmancy business dinner. Always busy, but always fun!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Vintage Paper Houses

Remember when you were a little girl and your Gramma would let you help her decorate her tree? I remember going to my Gramma's and seeing all the great hand blown Santa's, the mercury glass globes, and of course the paper houses with cellophane windows. I loved those tiny little houses! Pastel colours and glittery and perfect for sitting atop a twinkle light.
I decided that I would try my hand at making on myself. I Made a pattern from graph paper first, then transfered my design onto cardboard. I used hot glue to affix each piece and then white glue to GLITTER! it up. (I waited all day to get to the glitter.)
I outlined each opening with more glitter, it got a bit gooey, I'll have to reign myself in a bit more next time!
I put all the pieces in a 200 degree oven for about five minutes to help it cure, then glued that baby together and gave her a test run on the tree.
I love it! I need to tweak the pattern just a bit, but as soon as I do I'll have one up on the tutorials page. I want a whole housing track!

Today was the last day to get our Traditions exchange in the mail. So I added my little house, some sheet music, chocolates, a story, a recipe, some Christmas decorations, and a spool of French Wire ribbon with a tutorial; and a note explaining the whole lot. I hope Stephanie enjoys the goodies!

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mixed baby greens with Gorgonzola, candied walnuts, craisins, and raspberry balsamic dressing.
So these are the only two photos I can post and still keep fairly anonymous, but you'll get the idea. All in all the food was great, very tasty, well appreciated; and the evening enjoyed by those who came. Unfortunately it was considered a flop.

We sent (as in snail mail) out 400 (yes- four hundred) invitations, one to every adult single in the area. We expected about 110 to come based on last year's attendance. Then we got a bad weather forecast and it came true: Wind, COLD, and rain on and off all day long. We ended up with around 40 guests. Unfortunately out of those 40 we only had 12 (TWELVE!) single adults actually attend. All others were in leadership or entertainers. UGH! The weather is a definite factor, however, we have had worse in the past and still had better turn out.

This is so disappointing. We think much of the problem has to do with communication and offering rides to the event. Too many of these adults are elderly who do not like going out by themselves at night, driving after dark or being in the uncomfortable weather. All of these things have been addressed in the past, however this year the unit leadership dropped the ball and left the singles feeling without options. In the past, leadership made assignments that insured the singles had a driver, had someone to visit and eat with, and someone to who would badger them into going and having a good time or else! Not so this year and it showed.

I am so disappointed. I know of several ladies who I missed there tonight. No one likes being alone, and tonight they stayed home because someone didn't insist they come. Grrrr.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

I woke up yesterday morning at 4:23. With the flu. THE FLU! Holy E-gads people! Thor got this flu and has had it for a few days now, and then I woke up and thought my stomach was being forcibly removed via my mouth. I have never had such violence!

I went back to bed and got up again at 5:48....P.M.! I stayed in bed ALL day long only getting up to violently recycle whatever body fluids were left in my stomach and then to just wrench my poor tummy inside out. My tummy still hurts just from the exorcism! Let me tell you, however, I got off easy. Poor Thor is still suffering from this evil.

I am back today. In jammies and slippers and sipping water every now and then. I am two days behind with a zillion naked trees and absolutely no shopping done, but hey, the tummy demons have subsided! Whooo!

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

naked trees

A few lights in the plants and one sad litle tree on the desk top waiting for some sort of theme.
On either side of the a moire there are two trees, one with coloured lights, the other with white.
A small forest to frame one of the Nativities. ...still pondering exactly what ornaments would compliment this scene.
Another Nativity, this time flanked on both sides with one small multi-coloured tree and another 7 foot tree, which has dead lights...grrr. So first assignment is fixing those lights! Then deciding what to put on both those trees!

There are a few more trees surrounding the train and one on the buffet sideboard; that one, a white feather tree, is already finished with pastel gold, creme, and olive balls. Thank goodness one is done! Hah! Two down, 12 to go!

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

O.k. I get it. Christmas is really a pagan holiday transformed into a Christian celebration as a way to soothed those who converted and missed the good ol' winter solstice festivities. Add Santa to the mix a zillion years later and bah humbug, you got yourself a commercialized birthday party for corporate American and otherwise.

Today, again, I heard the dismal complaints of "We just got over Thanksgiving!" (as if giving thanks is something one should get over) and "When I was a kid we put up the tree on Christmas Eve!" And to that I say "Bah! Humbug!" I am a reformed Scrooge, the guy who says to Christmas, "Bring it on!"

I love Christmas. I do. I do! What is the matter with celebrating? Why can't I have a tree (or 24) up to sparkle and shine? "All the trees distort the true meaning of Christmas!" What's wrong with making lists and stuffing stockings, and sugar cookies, and sneaking around trying to make someone happier than they were the day before?

"Santa is Satan spelled by a dyslexic!" "When you lie to your children once they will never believe you again!" C'mon, really? So you never read faery tales or hide quarters under a toothless child? You've never 'fudged' or out and out lied to your kid? How 'bout that time they made you three scorched dry eggs, a stack of pancakes, watery juice and five pieces of warm bread for Mother's Day breakfast?

In our house we pray in the name of Jesus Christ at least 5 times a day. There are 3 hours of church every Sunday that teach the life and words of Christ. We have illustrations from artists' who have devoted their lives trying to capture what a Saviour would look like, in every room of our home, save the bathroom. We set goals for our lives so that someday we can stand in His presence. Jesus is more than just a once a year holiday.

Jesus Christ was born during the spring actually, during the time of taxes. But does that mean we can't celebrate His birth in December? How about celebrating His life daily? Because He is such a part of our life daily, our children and now our grandchildren, know He is real. We talk about Santa and elves for a few weeks... and the kids eventually figure it all out. Who is real, who is not. What they can feel, and what is just excitement.

In my book I think making a huge hoopla about Christmas is to be embraced, encouraged! I love that we get all excited. Yeah gifts are cool, and looking at the lights is a beautiful experience. All the gingerbread boys in the world will never diminish the real reason the truth about the Saviour's birth if we live for Him daily, they add to it.

So for me, the house will look absolutely ridiculous for about three to five weeks, we will sing carols and hymns loudly, we will eat ourselves silly and drink as much peppermint chocolate as humanly possible, and read and re-read the Christmas story, um make that the historical account of our Lord's birth, and relish in the time of year set aside for peace on Earth and pure joy.

Raise a glass of warm cider, say a prayer of thanks in your heart, and praise the Lord for His gifts to each of us. And don't be ashamed to have a good celebration.

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Raymond Crowe - A Wonderful World

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

I have been trying to post everyday for about three months now, however if there was a day that was incredibly busy or most weekends, I didn't worry. Then came NaBloPoMo and I committed!

Well today is December 1st and that means no more pressure! I made it through, grabbed a badge and took a deep cleansing breath!

The Dublin City Girl, has committed to doing some guerrilla art all month long. December is a tad busy for me to commit to that, but I like the idea, so perhaps in January?

BooMama is gearing up and inviting all to her bloggy Christmas Tour of Homes 2007 which I always enjoy walking through. I always think I am going to participate and then something happens and I don't....maybe, maybe.

What I am participating in is the Holiday Traditions Exchange made possible by the lovely folks at Montessori by Hand. So there will be a few posts on that soon. Everything needs to be in the mail by the 10th. I am very excited!!!

So that's it for today. I am off to scale tree tops and offer up all the glitterati I can today!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

I love Mousies! Mousies what I loves to eat...

Bite they little heads off; nibble on they tiny feet!

I'm sewing a new table cloth and chair scarves today. Up this morning at 5:30 so I can get it done before meeting with the other gals I work with. We have to go shopping today for mice! Well, the ingredients for mice.

Next Saturday is our Christmas dinner for the single adults over 32. It's a big huge deal every year and it seems the older singles (60+) really look forward to being treated special and having a great time. This year we are in charge of the food. (last year was decorations and entertainment) We're serving roast beef, rosemary potatoes, roasted garlic green beans, euro greens with candied walnuts, goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette, quick breads, and cheesecake with raspberry or chocolate sauce and a mouse sitting on top. (cheese cake...mice....???)

So today we shop for mice, Monday we'll make them, and Friday we'll shop and prep the food for Saturday. Another busy day! Another busy week!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

When batter goes bad....

I had the small assignment of making some banana bread for a leadership meeting tonight. So I thought to my clever little self, "Why not make it in the bread tubes? It always comes out so cute and in those festive shapes! Just slice it up in even pieces and there you go!" Well, until it decided to be Satanic banana bread from heck! Check that top photo!

During the baking process the batter began to seep out from the bottom of the tube and mound up on the baking sheet. That and another tube decided to erupt like Kilauea 1990! Holy Hannah! That second photo shows the volcanic drain!

But alls well that ends well. The bread was salvageable for the most part. Just to be safe though I am making a trip to the local bakery and grabbing a few loaves as back up!

Update: It's really weird...the bread that drained or exploded from the tubes tasted great. But the bread from inside the tube and pretty had zero taste. Ze- Ro. Like you were eating non flavoured bread. I wonder if quick breads get all there great taste from the caramelization? It's either that or all the taste molecules got scared of the dark and just ran for their lives! Chronicler?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Painting Mermaids in watercolour.

A work in progress.

All my life I have loved water colour paintings. All my life it has eluded me. I work in pencil, oils, acrylic, pen and ink, chalk, heck I have even worked with crayons and made them "professional". But water colour? I have never done a water colour that I like when it was done.

I have been working this one piece for months, seriously. Drawing it out with a pencil, no problem. But getting the paint on the page and not looking funky..big problem. Little hint: this isn't the original, it ain't the first. I hope this is the last one, so far just a minor blooper that I hope I can fix along the way, but who knows? It's a definite learning process for me, but I think it's finally progressing in a positive way.

This is for a friend's nursery, so I want it to be good. I think after a few tries I am learning what to do and what not to do with the paint. This one may not be the last, but I'm getting close!

Cross your fingers folks. I'll post the finished painting, if I ever get it done!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


A friend of mine asked me if I would paint letters for her grand daughter's bedroom. These have been sitting on the shelf for quite some time, but I finally had a day to get them finished. The paint is matching a pillow she sent along, an Asian print, pink deep dark brown, and gold. Although the photo doesn't show it well, they picked out the perfect matches for paint. I hope they were worth the wait.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

It seems I keep reporting on things that have happened one day prior, and here I go again!

Thor and I went over to my best friends daughter's, also a good friend of ours and had such a fun time! She and her hubby had prepared all traditional Thanksgiving foods and it was fabulous. We enjoyed the company of great people and renewed friendships. After dinner we all sat around, admired the sweetest little baby girl, a true reason to be thankful, and then played "Catch Phrase".

Catch Phrase uses a small plastic box with a tiny screen that exposes a particular word. The player tries to get their team to say the word or phrase with other words, descriptions or gestures. The game is begun when the player sets a timer on the box which begins a beep...beep...beep which gradually goes faster and faster and then at last dings to indicate the time is up. The team pass the box back and forth as they guess correctly. Whichever team is holding the box when the buzzer goes off loses and the other team wins a point. There are two team buttons on the box that you press to give your points to the correct team. At the end of each round the box voices who has how many points and eventually which team wins.

The teams were pretty evenly divided, two young couples, two old ones, women against men. The constant beeping sets your brain on fire as you try to think up ways to get your team to guess correctly. Some of the hints were less than helpful, which was the most fun to watch. We were all laughing so hard by the end of the games! My best friend, as pointed our by her son, used the same words and gestures for almost any word she was given to describe. After hearing that we all just about keeled over!

So for the past two days all I have done is play games and eat. Now I am trying to catch up on LOOOONG over due projects for three friends so that I can get my Christmas up. Project one was worked on today and is almost finished, yeah! See you all tamale!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving III, yeah you read that right! THREE!

O.k. so today is Sunday. Yesterday was by far one of the best days I've had all year. ALL the kids were here and the two little ones, and we had a BLAST!

#2 and his wife brought over their wii, and we all got to play with that -for hours! And then #1 and his wife brought in their Guitar Hero, which again we all had to play. OH MY HECK that was fun to watch. We have an especially quiet daughter in law who spanked everyone with guitar hero...that alone was worth whatever amount of money the thing cost. Watching her just quietly playing the game and hitting the high scores was FUN! Imagine the most shy quiet person you know turning into a rock star.

The food was great. Those ribs were history in about 15 minutes. Seriously not one left. I buy the best ribs I can find, strip the funky membrane thingy from the bone side off and then cut the rack into manageable pieces. I use a dry rub and massage it in to both sides and place the rack in a ziplock to marinate over night. In the morning I line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lay the ribs bone side down cover with more parchment, and then seal the pan with foil. Into a 225 oven for at least 6 hours, yesterday was 7, and the last half hour coat the ribs on both sides with a 50/50 blend of Mesquite Barbecue sauce and Pure honey. Back in to caramelize for 15 minutes, another swab of sauce and back in for the last 15. The ribs come completely off the bone and are so tender you can cut them with a banana. YUM.

The chicken is essentially the same routine. I buy good quality whole wings. Rinse/wash well and pat dry. No marinade. In the morning, lay the wings on a parchment covered cookie sheet. I brush the chicken with melted butter and sprinkle them liberally with garlic... no salt, nothing else, just the garlic. Cover with parchment and then seal the pan with foil. Bake at 225, for 6 hours. The last half hour coat the wings with the b-b-q sauce and caramelize for 15 minutes twice. These are great. You can also leave the sauce off and they taste great that way too.

I biffed on the pineapple upside down cake, we had so many desserts that it seemed silly to keep making more, so maybe next week.

Sunday lessons at church today were awesome. Just one point then I'll let you go. How about making a daily gratitude / blessings journal? Every night before you lay your head down take a few minutes to remember the day and acknowledge the blessings and good things that came your way during the day. When things go bad you have a reminder of just how great things have been. I have a d-i-l who did this all through her younger years. She swore by the results.

And the Thanksgiving Three? Yeah baby, a young couple, dear friends have invited Thor and I over to their home this evening to join their Thanksgiving celebration! This year rocks!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Part Deux

Today all the kids are coming home to do Thanksgiving here at the house. Everyone will be here , plus the two little boys!

We're having ribs and chicken wings, both slow roasted over 8 hours. They're amazing when they finally get done! Plus a baby greens salad with feta, cranberries, and walnuts, baked beans, home made rolls, and a fresh fruit salad. We'll munch on fresh veggies and a cheese plate while we're waiting.

One of my favorite appetizers is toasted baguette slices spread with roasted garlic and topped with goat cheese and dried cherries. I can wait for those! The girls are looking forward to their brie, and the guys love just plain cream cheese with home made chili sauce and crackers or wheat thins. We're covered.

Dessert is sugar free lemon meringue , sugar free peach pie, vanilla bean ice cream, and also a pineapple upside down cake, loaded with sugar!

I rearranged the furniture for the holidays in anticipation of more bodies in the house and also trees beginning to go up on Monday. Thor put up the lights yesterday, and we are both getting excited!

So that's the post for today. Happy shopping, if you're still out there after yesterday! Whew! See ya tamale!

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Your Bo*bie Schedule, when and how to check.

Pea wondered when/if she should go schedule a mammogram. In order to answer her question and maybe someone else's inquiries, I checked with the
National Cancer Institute. Their comments are those within the quotes, mine are italicized.

I am not by any stretch an expert; but from what I understand, every woman from teens on should give herself an educated monthly exam; establish a base line for shape etc. I use my birth date each month to check, it's an easy date to remember.

"Getting a high-quality mammogram and having a clinical breast exam (an exam done by a health care provider) on a regular basis are the most effective ways to detect breast cancer early. Like any test, mammograms have both benefits and limitations. For example, some cancers cannot be detected by a mammogram, but may be found by breast examination.

Checking one’s own breasts for lumps or other unusual changes is called breast self-exam (BSE). Studies so far have not shown that BSE alone reduces the number of deaths from breast cancer. BSE should not take the place of routine clinical breast exams and mammograms."

At about 35 her doc should get involved on a yearly basis with a more thorough exam, more so than the regular exam you should be getting from your doc.

At 40 you and your doc can begin to discuss mammograms and whether or not one is needed. Many times a doc will schedule one to get a base line image. If there is anything suspicious then there may be follow ups as regular as 6 months or yearly.
  • "Women age 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years.

  • Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should talk with their health care providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them.

The risk of breast cancer increases gradually as a woman gets older. However, the risk of developing breast cancer is not the same for all women. Research has shown that the following factors increase a woman’s chance of developing this disease:

  • Personal history of breast cancer—Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to develop a second breast cancer.
  • Family history—A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer increases if her mother, sister, and/or daughter have a history of breast cancer (especially if they were diagnosed before age 50).
  • Certain breast changes on biopsy—A diagnosis of atypical hyperplasia (a noncancerous condition in which cells have abnormal features and are increased in number) or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) (abnormal cells found in the lobules of the breast) increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Women who have had two or more breast biopsies for other benign conditions also have an increased chance of developing breast cancer. This increased risk is due to the condition that led to the biopsy, and not to the biopsy itself.
  • Genetic alterations (changes)—Specific alterations in certain genes (BRCA1, BRCA2, and others) increase the risk of breast cancer. These alterations are rare; they are estimated to account for no more than 10 percent of all breast cancers.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history —Women who began having periods before age 12 or went through menopause after age 55 are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have their first child after age 30 or who never have a child are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Long-term use of menopausal hormone therapy—Women who use combination estrogen-progestin menopausal hormone therapy for more than 5 years have an increased chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Breast density —Breasts appear dense on a mammogram if they contain many glands and ligaments (called dense tissue), and do not have much fatty tissue. Because breast cancers tend to develop in the dense tissue of the breast (not in the fatty tissue), those older women whose mammograms show more dense tissue are at an increased risk of breast cancer. Abnormalities in dense breasts can be more difficult to detect on a mammogram.
  • Radiation therapy ("x-ray therapy")—Women who had radiation therapy to the chest (including the breasts) before age 30 are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer throughout their lives. This includes women treated for Hodgkin lymphoma. Studies show that the younger a woman was when she received her treatment, the higher her risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
  • DES (diethylstilbestrol) —The drug DES was given to some pregnant women in the United States between 1940 and 1971. (It is no longer given to pregnant women.) Women who took DES during pregnancy may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. The possible effects on their daughters are under study.
  • Body weight—Studies have found that the chance of getting breast cancer after menopause is higher in women who are overweight or obese.
  • Physical activity level —Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Being active may help reduce risk by preventing weight gain and obesity.
  • Alcohol —Studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.
  • AND I am adding a rash, see the * below, this is extremely rare, but very DEADLY and hits young women, African American more than any others, but every time I see or hear anything about it, it has been a young white women, so it does happen. Check it.
  1. What are the chances that a woman in the United States might get breast cancer?
  2. Age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer. The older a woman is, the greater her chance of developing breast cancer. Current rates suggest that 13.2 percent of women (or one in eight) born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. This statistic is based on population averages. However, the estimated chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer for specific age groups and for specific time periods may be a more informative way to consider breast cancer risk. Estimates of developing breast cancer in 10-year age intervals—as shown below—take into account that not all women live to older ages, when breast cancer risk becomes the greatest.

    A woman’s chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer is:

    from ages 30 to 39. . . 0.44 percent (often expressed as "1 in 229")
    from ages 40 to 49. . . 1.46 percent (often expressed as "1 in 68")
    from ages 50 to 59. . . 2.73 percent (often expressed as "1 in 37 ")
    from ages 60 to 69. . . 3.82 percent (often expressed as "1 in 26 ")

    Most breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. The number of cases is especially high for women over age 60. Breast cancer is relatively uncommon in women under age 40.

Most breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. The number of cases is especially high for women over age 60. Breast cancer is relatively uncommon in women under age 40."

*There is also a lesser known breast cancer that isn't lump, but rather Inflammatory Breast Cancer or a rash; which is extremely deadly.

So ladies, unless you have a specific reason, such as one of those listed above, you shouldn't need to worry about any thing more than self exams until you are well into your forties.

However, we should all be in the habit of monthly exams, even if we don't fall into any of the marker or high risk groups.

WE NEED TO KNOW OUR BREASTS! If anything seems different form one month to the next get it checked out.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Normally I would never be posting on such a fun family day, but I committed to NaBloPoMo, so here I am. I'll be honest, I am actually writing this the day before and anticipate publishing it before I scoot out the door.

Every year we go to Thor's folks' home. A sunny green acre filled to the brim with 4 generations of people all having a great reunion. Nothing ever fancy, nothing ever planned (except the food...too many people to avoid that), but always a good time.

The men usually head out back and sit in lawn chairs and talk about work. The women usually chat all over the house. And the kids chase each other all over the place, in and out of the house, making their mothers crazy.

I enjoy Thanksgiving. I try to live it every day. I try to give my thanks each day with a humble heart, knowing full well that I am one of the truly blessed. I live in a free country, I practice a true religion, I am surrounded by all my family. I have love in my life. I want for nothing.

I learned long ago that everything good and ill that happens in this world will somehow benefit me in the long run. The good things are easy for us to be thankful for, but do we really graciously and deep in our hearts have true gratitude? I hope so.

Those things that aren't much fun, that make me cry or hurt inside; well, I know that if I look on them with perspective I can see the ways they have helped me be more compassionate, more giving, thoughtful and loving. Perhaps the best thing I can learn from bad things is forgiveness. I learn from those experiences, they make me a better person...I hope!

So as we go through this day of thanksgiving, perhaps we can make it a daily habit. Just living here is a gift to be appreciated daily.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Smashing Pumpkins

Today, at 9:00, I will be doing my routine squish-o-gram. It's not October, but hey, I'm getting it done. A while back there were a few reasons for me to get on a call back list and so -lucky S'mee!- I get preferential treatment now! (read: they call me, and I get a gown with an actual working tie, not two ties, but one string. yeah that stinks.)

So as you are out and about today, pinching tomatoes, thumping melons, and being extra careful not to smash your freshly baked buns....remember somewhere, there in the dimly lit, funky chemical smelling radiology department of my uber medical center...there on that cold slab, in a less than flattering, less than modest dress, I will be flattened within a (literal) inch of my life and screamed -um screened- once again. yea. : [

If you have flat out forgotten your appointment this year, go make a call. Misery loves company!

UPDATE: It wasn't as bad as I remembered. The center where I go has been remodeled and they did a great job. The room where the actual exam is done was large, warm (who knew that was possible?), and the gal had this Native American flute type music playing...not my thing, but I think most of the other ladies would like it. The lights were dimmed and I think they were going for a "let's calm down the frightened animals" mood. The tech was very nice and talked just enough. I was in the building a total of 20 minutes and it was DONE! Whoooot!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tree Tutorial

O.k. the $40.00 Tree!
tutorial is up! Click that link for the info and have fun!

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NaBloPoMo Day 20: a meme!

Krishanna is a NaBloPoMo buddy that I have in one of my groups. She's new to my blog and so she wants to get to know me and a few others via a couple of memes. All you regulars know I love spillin' and navel gazin' so, of course, I said "yes". Her memes have a few similarities as some of the ones I did recently, so I thought I try to come up with even more S'mee goodness for you all. Here we go!

Name six guilty pleasures no one would suspect you of having: (I already told you about the fresh food, fresh flowers and chocolate...)

1. Bathing soaps and shampoos. Yeah I like the good stuff. If it doesn't smell a certain way I can't use it. It also has to leave my skin feeling a perfect balance between squeaky clean and still moisturized or I freak.

2. Long, seriously, long HOT showers. Sometimes 2 and 3 times a day. I need to keep my muscles warm or I ache like the mother I am, so I take showers. I don't have a lawn, I don't have pretty trees. I shower. Sue me.

3. I talked about this the other day, but NICE sheets. High thread count. Although I am smart about where and how much I pay. But trust bed is heaven on earth.

4. um. I also like myself some bath sheets instead of jr. high hand towels. I like a bath SHEET, you know those gynormous towels you and two of your cats can wrap up in? Yeah those. I don't do small do "regular" bath towels anymore.

Miss Otis may regret, but I do not. I always keep my lunch appointments. I am one of the "ladies who lunch". I am one of a small group of women who volunteered together and we meet once a month to yak it up and eat over a few hours. It destroys the day, but keeps the friendship alive.

I don't need to work so I can leave any time to see/visit/help my kids whenever I want. And I do that a lot. I am really really blessed.

Name six guilty pleasures you wish you had the courage/time/money to indulge*:
1. A sewing studio.*
2. A ceramic studio, complete with a kiln.*
3. Welding and metal smithing classes.*
A painting studio that was kid friendly and huge.
5. Weekly pedicures.
6. Personal chef and kitchen staff.

* I stole these from Krishanna, however I would have written them anyway! Who knew we had so much in common?
Name six pleasures you once considered guilty but have now either abandoned or made peace with:

1. Being angry. I used to be much angrier than I am now. I accepted that it was o.k. to be angry and then realized how it wasn't going to resolve anything anyway, so I let most of it go. Most of it.

My yearly pass to Disneyland. It's o.k. that I have a good time. It's o.k. that I like going there without kids.

3. Expensive shoes. I am old. I deserve shoes that feel good. I am talking shoes that are still only about $60.00, but for me, that may as well be $600.00.

4. Expensive clothes that fit. I'm short and I'm fat. I gave up tanning and/or nylons a long time ago. I have certain requirements for clothing that must be met. This takes more money than buying my clothes at Target. Again, I don't think I have ever pain more than $79.00 for anything other than a heavy winter coat, but that is still big money. But I'm old, I take care of my clothes and I am worth it.

Being funky and arsty fartsy. Wearing glasses and or clothes that are not age appropriate. Like jeans or the "old man" rims that make people stare sometimes. I'm

6. Blogs. I read lots of blogs and always look for new ones. I am still a bit bad about commenting but I am getting better. (I'll keep this one from Krishanna, it's true for me as well.)

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8 things I am passionate about:
1. Family
2. My Church
3. Friends
4. Being Creative
5. The Beach
6. Flowers and Green things
7. Learning/Growth
8. Change

8 things I want to do before I die
1. Change/Learn/Grow
2. Live as a Scriptorian
3. Live on the Coast, any warm coast
4. Learn Spanish fluently
5. Be a Missionary
6. Be a successful artist.
7. Throw one good, well attended, knock out, unforgettable, quotable, hilarious party.
8. Burn a mortgage.

8 things I say often
1. “Holy Hannah!”
2. “O.k. Don't let me forget this...”
3. “STINK!”
4. “Can I get a witness?”
5. “Hey Babe!”
6. “Do you have time to talk?”
7. “Do I need to bring my purse?”
8. “What are we doing this weekend?”

8 books I’ve read recently
1. Secret Life of Bees
2. Glass Castle
3. My Sister's Keeper
4. Geisha, A Life
5. Peculiar, In A Good Way
6. Reading Lolita In Tehran
7. The Polar Express (This very morning)
8. How I Became A Pirate! (also this morning...both to the cutest little boys on the planet!)

8 songs I could listen to over and over
1. “Come Thou Fount”- Jordon Bluth
2. “Minimum Wage”- They Might Be Giants
3. “Hell”- Squirrel Nut Zippers
4. “San Fransisco Days” - Chris Isaak
5. “School Out” - Alice Cooper
6. “Young Turks” - Rod Stewart
7. “So In Love” - k.d. lang
8. “My Old Addiction”- k.d.lang

(actually anything by k.d. lang and/or Chris Isaak)

8 things that attract me to my best friends
1. honesty
2. intelligence
3. graciousness
4. humility
5. service
6. kindness
7. caring
8. loyalty

(not in that order)

Tag 6 friends to play:

I would like to see NaBloPoMo folks do this. Please, if you read this blog and you are participating in NaBloPoMo this year, comment, let us know who you are and where to find you, and then play along! Thanks!

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Monday, November 19, 2007


Whoooo Hooooo! We just found out that our son and his wife are having a baby girl! Due date: April 1! WaaaaaaaHOOOOOOO!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

heavy metal?

Well I thought I'd dig through the ol' photo box and put up a few from the metal department. I am on the road again this morning, off to see my daughter in law and the boys. I'm sure my son will be there too! (duh) Any who, I have a loooog drive ahead of me so enjoy all the metal and see you tonight or tamale!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

The $30.00 Tree:

Both the same tree, same position, just different light trying to get the tree to look like it does in real life. You tell me...which picture do you think looks best? I just finished the tree in the foyer, and then pulled it into a spare room until Saturday night for the toy drive dinner. After Thanksgiving it will probably go in front of the window that is providing the lovely glare in the photo. I'll reposition the furniture so it fits better.

Speaking of furniture. (cue Psycho knife slashing scene music!!!) This building, although very nice and I can say many positive things about it, the furnishings are less than well done. The carpeting is a deep greyish navy blue with emerald specks. The walls are covered in a heavy corded jute/grass cloth that is like a faded forest green. In the foyer the couch and chair are covered in a lovely beige background with deep rose, deep turquoise, and blue-ish hunter green floral designs. If one wanders into the chapel they would find the same carpet and walls and the pews are covered in a bright sea foamy-teal. It makes your eyes bleed. Sweet Mercy! This is why I chose the monochromatic gold theme for the tree. It was either that or go with purple and finish off all the congregates with a mind exploding fusion of death inducing colour. (fyi: This is the new remodel colours! Somebody's niece obviously just graduated from decorating school.)

I'll have a tutorial with all the gory details on Tuesday. The tutorial will be posted as a $40.00 tree. That's how much it would cost if you didn't have as many "freebies" laying around the house as I did. Any who, you get the idea.

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