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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Father's and Son Campout/Service Project

This past weekend was our local church/ward held a Father's and Son camp out that they have every year. This year they decided to accomplish a service project for the church's Pinetop campground. They were able to stay in their cabins which is great because the weather was rainy/snowy and cold. Here is the link to the church's website about this camp ground.
Our home teacher Jeff Gale flew home from a business trip to take Brady to the camp out. It was really kind of him to do that. Brother Gale has taken Brady since he was about 4 years old (with Jason too). It has become a tradition that he has done for us. He didn't have any sons - just 4 daughters - so he has enjoyed being a father figure for Brady at these camp outs. It's amazing to have the same dedicated home teacher for 10 + years. Thanks again Br. Gale!

The weather sure has been cold, but they were able to complete the service project. They cleared trails, cut down trees and with the tree logs they made steps. 
They worked on the fire pits. It was hard work and they were beat when they came home. Everything was wet - all the camping equipment. They even had a white out as they drove home - luckily it didn't snow until they were on their way home. I kept wondering how they would complete the service project with the bad weather. It was a blessing the white out snow waited until they were on their way home.

In sacrament meeting they thanked the men and boys for all of their hard work.
I guess the little boys found salamanders around the camp ground that they brought home to their mommies eeewwww - boys are the best. Thankfully I didn't have one brought home to me :-D.

I'm glad that Brady was able to attend the camp out and preform needed service.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Motivational Monday - "The King's Highway"

Once a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the kind decided to have a contest.
He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway best.

On the day of the contest the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos, or great food.
Some young men came in their track clothing and ran along the highway.
People traveled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris left on the road at one spot, and this got in their way and hindered their travel.
At the end of the day, a lone traveler crossed the finish line and wearily walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty, but he addressed the king with great respect and handed him a bag of gold.

He explained, "I stopped along the way to clear away a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it all, and I want you to return it to its rightful owner."

The king replied, "You are the rightful owner."

The traveler replied, "Oh no, this is not mine. I've never known such money."

"Oh yes," said the king, "you've earned this gold, for you won my contest. He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow."

The Little Things
The little things are most worthwhile.
A quiet word, a look, a smile,
A listening ear that's quick to share
Another's thoughts, another's care....
Though sometimes they may seem quite small,
These little things mean most of all.

--- By Margaret Lindsey

"What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for others?" -- George Elliot

Thursday, May 20, 2010

End of School Year Stress

The end of the school year is coming fast, only a couple of weeks left. That means finals!! Which also equals to major stress and work for Brady.
Every day has been filled with tons of home work and projects. Brady even spent most of the weekend working on homework. This week he had a huge speech / commercial for his Speech class. He wrote it this past weekend, looked at YouTube commercial videos, then found clip art. I purchased props - he did it on Miracle Grow liquid feed. This speech counts as 20% of his grade and he's been pretty stressed about it.

He's been working on memorizing it and having his words and presentation come out smoothly. I have been hearing his speech and him pacing upstairs over and over again. He is a perfectionist - which is lots of stress. He gave his presentation / speech yesterday and it all worked out great. He felt good about it.

ON TOP of the speech, he has had to memorize a poem for his English class - which he is giving today. That is a TON of information to memorize for one week. Poor little guy! 
All the knowledge pouring into his brain has been massive this week.

Needless to say... I've been giving him a free pass on many other obligations he has. I've also left him alone - because he can't even have a conversation with the brain over load. He's needed his own space this week.

I'm really proud of him and his hard work in school. He is doing a great job. This whole year he's maintained a 4.0.... so far this semester his highest class grade is 108% and his lowest is 97% and I hope he will still maintain it over the next couple of weeks - without his brain exploding - LOL!
One thing I have been very thankful for is his talent on the piano. It has been a huge stress reliever this week. He has been playing and playing to relieve his excess stress. I love listening to the music he fills our home with. One small piece of joy in a week full of stress.

Only a few more weeks and then - YEAH! Summer brain break!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Home Made Twix Bars and Other Treats

Have you noticed how SMALL candy bags have gotten that you purchase at the store? But the price is still ridiculously high for what you get. I have decided to stop purchasing candy because it is such a rip off - not because I should (I know - hanging head in shame)

I've decided to start making my own - because I love chocolate and can't have a home without it. I know I should resist.... but seriously .... we have to keep a mommy happy...*giggle. AND SHE ISN'T HAPPY WITHOUT CHOCOLATE!

I've collected lots of fun recipes and decided I need to make more then just chocolate chip cookies - I needed to start being a little more creative to quench that craving - without going to the store.... I know I'm so bad - LOL!

I found a no bake homemade Twix bar recipe. I like it - but my children couldn't get over the salt in the club crackers (I wonder if they come in low sodium). I, on the other hand, thought they were great. I'm just going to send you to the link for the step by step pictured directions here at Hoosier Homemade.

The recipe for the Twix Bars:

Club Crackers (approx. 48)
1 c. Graham Cracker crumbs
3/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/3 c. White Sugar
1/3 c. Milk
1/2 c. Margarine (butter is what I use)

Place one layer of Club Crackers in a 13×9 pan. Combine ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Bring to boil stirring constantly for approximately 5 min. Mixture should look like caramel and begin to pull away from side of pan. Pour over crackers, carefully, immediately place another layer of crackers on top pushing them down gently. Place in frig to cool.

In a microwave bowl, combine 2/3 c. Peanut Butter and 1 c. Milk Chocolate Chips for 2 min. Stir well and frost the top of the crackers. Place back in frig till firm.
Here they are... Don't they look yummy?? 
I decided to wrap them individually in wax paper and put in a zip lock bag in the fridge. I still have some two weeks later - what a great way to calm that craving... Yum!
I also decided to wrap rice crispy treats in wax paper and then put them in a zip lock bag for snacks and lunches... They lasted over two weeks too and were fresh - down to the very last one! Great idea for my small family.
We also made yellow cake mix chocolate chip cookies for a change. Brady said they tasted like frosting... Very vanilla flavor and good. You know the recipe for cake mix cookies - right?? If you don't here it is. Usually we make deviled food cake mix cookies with butterscotch chips - it's our favorite and has a texture of a brownie..

1 package of cake mix (any flavor)
1 large egg
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water.

Add chopped nuts, raisins, coconut, chocolate chips, M&M's etc. anything you like in cookies.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. combine cake mix, egg, oil and water. Beat until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredient.

Drop by teaspoon about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet (You can grease it if you want - I don't).

Bake for 15 minutes or until done. Makes about 4 dozen.

(You could also frost the cookies if you want)

Easy and yummy! Enjoy a more cost effective snacks!

Motivational Monday - "Three Green Beans and Me"

Three Green Beans and Me
Rosemarie Deppe, “Three Green Beans and Me,” Ensign, Jul 2005, 19–21

How could tending a garden teach me about God?
As a young girl, I spent my summers with my grandma, and she spent her time in her garden. She didn’t have a nice, small garden like other grandmas. She had a “work-hard-and-eat-well” garden. We would get up before the hot California sun and spend hours weeding, watering, and eventually picking. The only thing that kept me going was that once in a while, a fresh breeze rejuvenated us.

My grandma talked a little and worked a lot. I followed her around the garden, but my mind was usually somewhere else. Gardening was for grandmas, I thought. But her smile told me she was pleased as she surveyed our work. She made me promise that I would follow the counsel of President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) and plant my own garden someday.
Sowing Seeds of Obedience
Eventually I had a family of my own, and I decided to plant a garden—admittedly not out of excitement but at least out of a desire to obey the prophet and to keep my promise to Grandma. As soon as I dug up a small area of ground, however, I realized I hadn’t paid very close attention in my youth. What had come so easily for Grandma now seemed impossible for me. Did I pick a good location? How should I arrange the rows? How close should I plant the seeds?

I tried to dismiss the need to plant a garden. “What’s the big deal, anyway? I can just buy this stuff from the store and save myself all of this work,” I thought. But I had made a promise. I called Grandma for reminders and tips, and I began to have a fresh remembrance of our summer days together in the garden. At first, nothing happened—all that work and nothing. But finally, after several weeks, a few plants struggled through the ground and began to grow.
Weeding Out Distraction
Then the kids got sick. Life got busy. The dog ate some of the young plants. Other things seemed more important, and I didn’t think much about my garden until my grandma came to visit. I cringed when she asked about it. The walk to the garden seemed long and terrible. When we went outside, I was completely embarrassed by what we both saw. The plants had withered down to nothing, and the weeds were choking out the vegetables. Grandma’s silence spoke volumes to me. With disappointment in her voice, all she could say was, “You have neglected your garden.”

I had neglected my garden—and my promise to her. I had not cared about my garden until she was there. I knew I had disappointed her. I thought of a thousand excuses, but none of them mattered. “It’s hopeless, Grandma. I’m hopeless!”

Cultivating Hope
She looked at my garden intently. She looked at me and then looked back at my garden. “No, it’s not hopeless,” she said with a comforting smile. “I think there is something in here worth saving.” Her eyes settled on a scrawny, pathetic-looking green bean bush. I don’t even like green beans very much, but that was the plant she thought would survive.

I would have given up, but Grandma doesn’t give up on anything or anyone. She knelt down beside the little plant and began to clear away the weeds. She instructed me about what I needed to do. This time I listened carefully. Grandma believed that this green bean bush had value. It was important that it lived. I began to care about it too. I did not want to disappoint her again.

It took days to bring that little plant back to life and weeks of nurturing and care to keep it going. I’ll never forget the day I picked three green beans from that bush—I was thrilled!
Learning about Gardening—and God
Now, many gardens later, I understand what my grandma told me after that experience: “You will understand more about God if you tend your garden.”

I wondered what she meant by that. But then I remembered back to a time in college when my life looked like my neglected garden. I was withering. My gospel roots were not very deep. In the garden of my life, weeds were growing everywhere because I had neglected scripture study and prayer and had let other things become more important. I went to church, but I didn’t really listen. I made some mistakes, and I knew I needed help.

The walk to the bishop’s office—like the walk to the garden with my grandma—seemed long and terrible. I was embarrassed by what my life had become. I felt I was hopeless.

My bishop listened. He looked at me intently. Finally, with a comforting smile, he said, in effect, “No, it’s not hopeless. I see something in you that is worth saving.”

I began to understand that the power of the Atonement could restore my withered life. I came to know that Heavenly Father doesn’t give up on anybody, and I determined to try my best to not disappoint Him.
Just like the revitalizing breeze I had felt in my grandmother’s garden, the repentance process restored me. Through the blessings of the Atonement, my withered hopes slowly came back to life. It was a blessing—a blessing just for me.

I now realize that I am responsible for my garden—the garden of my life. It takes daily effort to grow closer to the Lord, just as it takes daily effort to keep a garden. Repentance repairs our mistakes, and the Atonement allows us to keep trying. I have learned that the fruits of the Spirit cannot be purchased from a store; we have to grow them ourselves by following Him.

I have never forgotten how pleased I was to see those three green beans on that scraggly bush long ago. But more important than saving the plant, I came to understand that the Lord sees someone worth saving in me.
The Law of the Harvest
“If a seed can multiply thirty, sixty, or even a hundredfold, what then is my potential if I would but cast out the stones, clean out the thorns, cultivate deeply into the soil for a good seedbed, irrigate, and nourish? It is then that I realize there is no limit to my potential so long as I conform my life to the Lord’s law of the harvest. Let me encourage you to draw close to the soil. Have your own experience in planting a garden. Then make application in your own life of this great principle of the law of the harvest.”
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Law of the Harvest,” New Era, Oct. 1980, 4.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Planting Seedlings

The plants I started from seeds in my kitchen window seal were starting to reach the top. Those tomato plants were HUGE! They needed to be planted, but it's been so cold that I didn't want to put them outside yet. I swear they grew an inch every day.
Finally, I took the time to get them in their pots outside.
It's hard to understand the scale of how big they are in a picture.

But. before I planted them, I needed to sanitize and clean their pots. I had to do this because this is what it says on the seed packet:
"To avoid diseases, don't plant where tomatoes or peppers have grown in the last two years"

Well, I don't want disease, but I do want to use the same pots as last year. I emptied the old dirt into a flower bed and brought the pots into our tub for a thorough cleaning.
I Cloroxed them and cleaned them really good.
Using clean pots and new potting soil, I finally have them in their pots. I plant them as deep as I could and only left the top portion of the plant out of the ground. They are still really big! I've covered them with a container until they are used to the weather. I also need to get a stake/cage for them to start supporting them as they grow. 
Here is the celery I planted from seed. There are lots of little seedlings which I separated. It will be interesting to watch these grow. I've never planted these before. I hope I left enough room between them. If not, I'll have to remove some and thin them out as they grow.
My bell pepper plants.
And broccoli plants. I've heard lots of horror stories about home grown broccoli - having bugs. I hope it works out.. we'll test them out this year and see how it goes. I hope they don't have bugs.

I love planting my plants from seeds. It really does feel good. I can't wait until they start producing.

I have NOT planted beans, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers or carrots yet. I really need to get it done today. The peas and lettuce that I planted last month are doing great. This weekend I hope to get all of my flowers planted too. It's going to be a busy weekend - thankfully it is going to be warm (I'm soooo ready for warm).

Brady's Class Ring

Brady received his class ring this week. It is a really nice.
He chose as his interests a piano on one side of the ring.
And cross country track on the other side. He graduates in 2012 (the year the world is gonna end - LOL! - and just kidding). 2 years away until graduation - boy the time flies by.
It's hard to see, but the stone color is green because that is his favorite color.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quotes from Marjorie Pay Hinckley

This is wonderful and Priceless. I love this lady! Happy Mothers Day to you all!
"Be a Mother who is committed to loving her children into standing on higher ground than the environment surrounding them. Mother's are endowed with a love that is unlike any other love on the face of the earth."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"The family is eternal. Love must be nurtured. It must be spoken. We must put away our pride, our haughtiness, our shyness, our misunderstandings, and with humility say, "I love you. Is there something I can do to help you?" You can never be completely happy under any other circumstances."

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
Charity Never Failed

"Think about your particular assignment at this time in your life. It may be to get an education, it may be to rear children, it may be to be a grandparent, it may be to care for an relieve the suffering of someone you love, it may be to do a job in the most excellent way possible, it may be to support someone who has a difficult assignment of their own. Our assignments are varied and they change from time to time. Don't take them lightly. Give them your full heart and energy. Do them with enthusiasm. Do whatever you have to do this week with your whole heart and soul. To do less than this will leave you with an empty feeling."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead"

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old...We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. We need to renew our faith every day. We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"As we got closer to marriage, I felt completely confident that Gordon loved me. But I also knew somehow that I would never come first with him. I knew I was going to be second in his life and that the Lord was going to be first. And that was okay. It seemed to me that if you understood the gospel and the purpose of our being here, you would want a husband who put the Lord first."

-Marjorie Hinckley
"The grand and the simple. They are equally wonderful."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"There are some years in our lives that we would not want to live again. But even these years will pass away, and the lessons learned will be a future blessing."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"With intellectual curiosity the world will always be full of magic and wonder."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"The thing about growing old is that when you wake up with a new pain, you can just about count on it becoming a permanent part of your life!"

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.

I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.

I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed some-one's garden.

I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."

***Apparently this wasn't said by Majorie Pay Hinckley, but I love this quote and will leave it on this blog post.
Per Linda Johnson this is where the quote comes from:
Actually, Sister Hinckley DID NOT say or write the pearly gates quote. A woman named NADINE HOBBY said this right before she passed away from cancer. She was quoted anonymously in LDS author Jack Christianson's book "What's So Bad About Being Good?" because she didn't want her name used. However, Bro Christianson gave me permission to use her name now and let her voice be heard. I have done research on this for a while to find the source since I used the quote in a talk in 1997. Pass it on and correct the error!
"Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, "We are here in mortality, and the only way to go is through; there isn't any around!" I would add, the only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."

— Marjorie Pay Hinckley
Try a little harder to be a little better

Gordon B. Hinckley


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