Someone has too many knives and too much time on their hands! [but amazing stuff!]


Gifts for the Mom who has Everything

Every mom needs some sushi soap, right?

Or maybe some ABC cookie cutters [Already Been Chewed!] - these take all the work out of eating a gingerbread man.

Love these cool jewel ice cubes. Fun and easy way to make your luncheon or party extra special.

Maybe some of these monkey key covers? Great colors, don't you think?

Of course, for the cultured mom, a light-up "Starry Night" pillow. It even comes complete with batteries.

Check these [and more] out here.



I'm proud to announce that I met my exercise goal for last week. I was on the elliptical machine for 42 minutes [I'm working up to 45+ this week] and I did it for 5 days out of 7. It really does feel good to work hard and get all sweaty.

Tonight is Day 1 of this week and I'm ready to go. Success feels good and that feeling certainly has me on the path to succeed again this week.

And then I get an endorphin burrito. ha!


Mother's Day is Coming!

Mother's Day is only 2 weeks away! How did that happen?

Tonight Math asked me if I had special requests for Mother's Day -- and I was amazed to discover that it's not far away. I had to admit that I hadn't given it any thought whatsoever. It just didn't seem possible that it's so close.

Mother's Day is important to me. It's a special opportunity to reflect and to express love and gratitude for the moms in my life. There are four Moms I especially need to remember: my mom, my mother-in-law, my daughter and my daughter-in-law [moms to my grandkiddoes] are all very dear and I love them immensely. I have learned so much from them and I'm proud to be a part of their lives. I'm grateful for the examples they are and I want to be like them.

One of them raised me, loved me and taught me, despite my smart mouth and cranky attitude. I repaid that by moving away from home at age 18 and never coming back to stay. But she still loves me and makes that clear.

One of them accepted me into her family and allowed me to whisk her only son and youngest child away and turn him into a husband and father. She still loves me too, and I've always appreciated her willingness to share.

One of those moms is our only daughter. I have spent my life loving her, learning from her and enjoying every second I've had with her.

One of them is a daughter of the heart. Tara was my very first in-law and she is someone I was happy to give my son to because I knew she loved him like I do.

Each one is my friend, and they're all wonderful moms. They are all very different and I'm sure I try their patience regularly. But I love each one and will always be thankful for their roles in my life.

And they all love me too. I think.

Blessed. That's me.



[picture via creative thursday]

"It takes courage to be a real friend. A friend is a person who will suggest and render the best for us regardless of the immediate consequences. Sir Winston Churchill became Great Britain’s greatest friend in his country’s darkest hour because he was courageous enough to call for “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” when some would have accepted him more readily as a friend had he advocated peaceful surrender. President Abraham Lincoln was once criticized for his attitude toward his enemies. “Why do you try to make friends of them?” asked an associate. “You should try to destroy them.” “Am I not destroying my enemies,” Lincoln gently replied, “when I make them my friends?"~ Marvin J. Ashton

I loved this quote. I think friendship is on my mind today because of a sweet email I got from my friend Holly this morning. There are so many people who have had an impact on my life and I don't think I acknowledge them enough. Holly is one of them. She moved from here a while back and I still miss their family.

My family members are high on my list of friends. I have a husband who is my dearest friend in the world. I love having a daughter who can tell me that I'm making too much of an issue and need to move on, a daughter-in-law and son who allow me into their everyday life via phone calls and email, and another son who spends more time than you might expect with his [boring old] parents. I also have a wonderful sister who lives way too far away to suit me. The list could go on and on.

Whether we are linked by blood or by circumstance, all of you are people I love dearly. Thanks for making my life happy.



"Being a full-time mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs in any field, since the payment is pure love." ~Mildred B. Vermont *[I include grandma-hood in this quote as well!]

Mark was being set apart for his new calling last night and the Stake presidency member taking care of it asked me how I was. I thought about it, and then replied that I was the luckiest person in the world because on Sundays, I got to go to Primary and be with the children there, and during the week, I spent time with my daughter and grandkiddoes. I added though that the pay wasn't great and he immediately disagreed and told me the pay was the best ever -- which took me back to this quote.

And he was right. There's no better paying job in the world.


Great Gifts

I came across the funnest [wait, is that a word?] gift items in this catalog that arrived the other day. I found myself dog-earing the pages so that I could go back and take a second look at my favorites. Here's a few of them:

I loved these 'plates with purpose'. They are platters made from recycled glass that artistically reflect the mission of a non-profit organization. And in each case, a part of the proceeds goes to support local community organizations.
Check out this 'sisters' necklace. So beautiful, and a great gift idea.
Love the locket. Open it, and there's room for a picture, but the word 'loved' is on the top half. Very sweet.
I think the license plate necklaces are very cute. They are actually made from recycled license plates by the same artist who made this.
Oh, and love this origami necklace too. There's several to choose from but I liked this pinwheel design a lot. What great gift ideas! Check them [and much more!] out.


Stay on the Path

"You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds. " ~Dag Hammarskjsld

Oh, I love this thought -- what a great comment on what we have been taught about avoiding the very appearance of evil in our lives. It's all meaningful , but I especially like the last statement: I want my garden tidy so I need not reserve any space at all for weeds.

Staying on the straight and narrow is always the best choice.


Primary Talent Show

Mason came prepared with his sunglasses -- he sure charmed me!
Ty showed off his handstand skills. Awesome!
Here's Lance, our fearless [scary?!] MC. He was great.
This one? The fastest little girl ever on her pink and purple scooter. Look at Maya's hair flying out behind her. Love her sunglasses as well. She's a star!

Yesterday was our annual Primary Talent Show. We do this as one of our Quarterly Activities every year for a very simple reason. Every child can participate and we welcome every and any talent. We serve a hot dog lunch and then it's time for the show.

This year's MC was one of our 11-year-old Scout leaders and he was wonderful. He kept the show moving and held everyone's attention as well [no small job, when you're dealing with ages from nursery through adult].

We showcased lots of talents and you would have been in awe of the range. We had the usual piano/guitar/violin/vocal solos, a recorder duet, and even a harp solo [performed with the artist's pet parakeet perched on her shoulder! Yes, literally.] But we also had stand-up comedy, magic tricks, song-and-dance routines, origami demonstrations, handstands, and even a boy who solved the Rubik's Cube faster than I believed possible. [heck, anything is faster than what I can do. I can't solve those things!]

My personal favorite? One special little girl, who brought her pink scooter and performed on the stage. She was so fast and I was so proud of her! Can you guess who that was?

I think what I loved most was the look on each child's face as we applauded the talent they shared with us. And that, for me was what it was all about.


Fun Stuff!

I was browsing yesterday and happened upon this site where I found some fun things. I know that many of you would would actually just make the items yourselves, but for me, that will never happen. So I was excited at my discovery and actually ordered the bottom item. I've even 'chatted' with the owner online and found her to be funny and responsive. Check it out.

And that tile? It's right on. Four of my greatest blessings do call me Grandma! Can't wait for it to arrive!


If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy!

No comment necessary. I'm still laughing.


Building Testimonies

“All we ask of you is that in the hearts of these children who come under your watch, care and direction, you will so inspire them that nothing in this world will be dearer to them than the Gospel.” -President Ezra Taft Benson

That's my goal. Always has been, always will be. That the children I associate with, laugh with, feel the Spirit with and love deeply will have nothing that matters more to them in their lives than the gospel. I believe that this generation of children is smarter, stronger-willed and more in tune with the Spirit than ever before. I feel so deeply the responsibility I have to teach them, nurture them and love them.

I want to see them soaking up their scriptures. I want to hear them singing the Primary songs together and feeling the Spirit as they do. I want their testimonies to take root and begin to flourish. I know they will need that knowledge and strength as they progress through their lives.

I love each one and want more than anything to inspire them, that the love of the gospel is buried deep in their hearts.


Blast from the Past #2

Yesterday my cousin and friend Carol [pictured above in the rust/orange colored dress] sent me some family pictures she had come across. What a treat! I hadn't seen any of them except the picture of the two of us at Seminary graduation in [gulp!] 1971. Yup, that's me in the blue/green dress and the hip glasses. The good news is that I remember thinking I was fat back then -- apparently not so! How fun is that?

The two pictures above that one would be my parents with my brother and I and then just me with my dad in the mid 1950's sometime. I think my parents were adorable -- and how cute was I? Another myth dispelled, I think. I thought I was kind of a homely little kid but that picture of me with my dad is way cute!! [if I do say so myself! Maybe a little too much pride there?] Look at Dad's jacket -- awesome!

She also sent a couple of pictures of my grandparents that I had never seen and that brought back some great memories of dinners at their house. Loved it.

Thanks to Carol for a fun trip back down memory lane. She says she has more pictures and will send them on -- can't wait!


Happy Monday!

This made me snicker today so I figured someone else might snicker too. Hope your Monday is going well.

I have been productive [OK, at least semi-productive] and it feels good. I did a little grocery shopping, a little playing with kiddoes [always a sunshine-y thing to do], a little lunching [nothing wrong with a little Chic-Fil-A!], and got my funny bone tickled by Miss Maya on a fast trip to the library.

She's a big "Arthur" fan and was overcome with hysterics when we found the book "Arthur's First Kiss" at the library. I think she's already read and/or seen every other one and this was new. Of course, it gave her Mama and myself lots of opportunity to tease her about true love's kiss!!

Now for a little vaccuuming, a piano lesson, and prep of some porcupine meatballs [yumm! Heather's recipe!] for dinner and then onto 'Dancing with the Stars!'.

Nice day. Hope yours has been the same. Happy Monday!


Savior of the World

I don't think I have mentioned that I am now 'officially' involved with our Stake production of "Savior of the World". You may have heard Natalie mention her role in the production. Several weeks ago I was asked to take on the responsibility of working with the musical director for the play. He is super-talented and competent but is likely to be gone at least part of the summer and they need someone working with him now who could step in at full speed when he goes. I guess that's me.

I don't mind telling you that I was apprehensive -- I have done many, many stake plays in the past and I know exactly the kind of time and dedication they take. I am still the Primary president in my ward and that's a responsibility I take seriously and spend a fair amount of time on. So I felt excited but overwhelmed at the same time.

Today I attended my first rehearsal and I came away filled with gratitude that somehow, someone decided I should be involved. The kids are wonderful. They are dedicated and they are talented. Even at this first rehearsal, I felt the spirit as we worked through their music and lines.

I'm so, so thankful for this chance to help out with the music but more, for the opportunity to really feel the spirit of the play. I can tell you that it is something special. This will be a life-changing experience for anyone who allows it to be. Today, I was filled with the spirit, with gratitude and with humility at the privilege it was to be there. What a gift.

I know there will be days that I don't feel like dragging myself over to the church for *another* rehearsal and when that happens, I will remember the way I felt today. I suspect that when I do, there will be a smile on my face as I go back for more.



This one made me smile -- my husband isn't all that tall but he's definitely the cutest guy I know. Vocal cords? He has them, but he knows exactly when [and when not!] to use them. He is perfect!



"Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle." ~Amy Bloom

Nothing to add except that I'm grateful for that miracle in my life.


Doing Better

"The tragedy of life and of the world is not that men do not know God; the tragedy is that, knowing Him, they still insist on going their own way." ~William Barclay

After such a wonderful and fulfilling General Conference weekend, now I feel the need to really find a place in my life for the good intentions I am filled with. I want to be more prayerful and more open to revelation. I want to be a better mother, wife and grandma. I want to be better about scripture study and I am overflowing with the desire to measure up to what Pres. Monson says I can be.

I know I can. I have had answers to prayers and personal revelations. I have learned to know our Heavenly Father and feel His spirit as I pray. I have had some wonderful experiences in my life as a wife, a mom and a grandma. I just want to be better.

I need to learn to subject my will to His, to bend to His desire to lead me where He knows I should go. I need the faith to understand that He may take me on unfamiliar paths but they are the right ones for me.

Sometimes that's hard. But it can be done. I don't want to be someone who knows God but insists on walking another path. I want to be someone who is recognizable as a follower of Christ because I am like Him.

That's my goal: that His love is so evident in me that it will be obvious we are family.

I Love Library Elf

I'm thinking it was Holly who posted a while back about Library Elf but I want to add my voice to those who love it.

It's a great system -- all you do is go here and sign up. You can scroll through the libraries and make sure yours is on their list [there's a big long list, so it's likely you can find yours there], and then create your account. You'll need your library card number to register. Once that's done, Library Elf keeps track of all your library needs.

They email you a few days before your books are due back, they email you when any holds come in [and they are faster than the library itself, in my case, usually by several days], and they remind you if /when you have any overdue books. They have a list of the books you have checked out, a list of books you have on hold and what number you are on the waiting list.

My library has a similar set-up but Library Elf is faster and more efficient by far. I find it a great help in keeping track of my books -- especially with their email reminder of what books are coming due.

Give it a try!


Conference and Donuts

We loved watching General Conference today -- especially since we could do it at home, sprawled on our couch and recliner in our jeans. Lazy, I know. But nice and easy! Folding towels during choir numbers kept me productive too. Multi-tasking!

We loved the Solemn Assembly, and especially loved sustaining Elder D. Todd Christofferson as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was our Stake President when we lived in Nashville and he's a good, good man. [well, duh, right?] I even said to Mark a few days ago that I thought it was time he became an Apostle because I have been convinced that's where he was heading from the time he became a General Authority. His comments at the press conference with his wife Kathy were bright, funny and humble. Like I said, he's a good, good man.

Tonight is the Priesthood meeting which brings back some family memories. Back when Mark would go alone [when the kids were small] he would always bring back donuts or ice cream. It varied and I"m not sure what caused the variation -- maybe proximity to the right retail outlet. Anyhow, he would always come home with a treat for the family and that was always exciting for us.

As the kids grew up, he would take the boys with him and it sort of became a girls' night for Natalie and I but they would always bring home their treat for us. Later still, the kids were grown and gone but the treat remained. Today, however, I was craving a raspberry filled donut from Krispy Kreme and I wasn't sure he wanted to make the drive from the Stake Center. So instead of waiting till after, Mark and I took a fast trip down to the Krispy Kreme store and got our donuts -- in advance.

I love what they do when you go into the store -- they give you a free hot glazed donut. How do you not buy a dozen after that? We did. Although the old man who followed us in didn't. Mark says he took his free hot glazed donut and left.

Not me.


They are Watching

“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” ~Robert Fulghum

Oh, isn't that a true statement? Today I was with Natalie and the little guys and was trying to get Mason down for his nap. He had decided that Grandma could put him to bed with a little bit of singing and rocking beforehand. But when we got to the rocking chair, he just wanted to run away and play. Eventually, I handed him back to Mom as he wasn't cooperating for Grandma [and grandma was probably a little frustrated with him.] So mom came, laid down the law and put him down. He was indignant for a few minutes, but then settled down for his nap.

I went to sit with Maya on the couch, ready for a little cuddle time as she had been at preschool all morning. She looked up at me and said, "Grandma, are you mad?" That surprised me [because I really wasn't mad] , so I quickly told her no, I wasn't mad. She said "Well, your face looks like it."

Interesting. So my frustration with Masey and his naptime game showed up on my face -- and knowing that brought the above quote to mind. Maya was watching -- very closely, in fact. I convinced her that I really wasn't mad, just a little frustrated that Mason hadn't been especially cooperative, and even more important, that there is nothing either of them can do to change the love I have for them.

That worked for her, and we had a great cuddle and some fun TV time. But it was a good reminder.

They may not be listening, but they are watching. All the time.


Blast from the Past

As I was browsing through my online Woman's Day [yes, again!], I came across these 'silly cakes' and it took me way back. [check the link for many more fun cakes].

When my Chris [who is now - gulp! - 32] was a Cub Scout, our pack did a cake auction as a fund-raiser. The boys and their dads were supposed to work together to make a cool cake to be auctioned off and the proceeds went into the Cub Scout budget. This was an instant challenge to Mark, who really gets into any kind of a 'making' thing, whether it's a cake, a lava-spewing volcano, a wind tunnel, a Pinewood Derby car or whatever. And he's good at it. So he and Chris got busy.

They ended up making a Big Mac cake, and I remember it as being pretty much exactly the way it's pictured here. The cool part was that it really was a Cub Scout's dream cake because at the auction, their cake blew away the competition. I think it went for well over $100, more than any other cake at the auction, and that would have been in the early '80's.

Now guess what's going through my head? "All my best memories come back clearly to me, some can even make me cry -- just like before, it's yesterday once more!" Gotta love the Carpenters.


Ear Issues

"You have a cough? Go home tonight, eat a whole box of Ex-Lax - tomorrow you'll be afraid to cough." ~Pearl Williams

I love the above quote -- that's sort of how I feel about doctors and spending time and money in their offices. "A cough? I'll fix that myself!" "Sore throat? Ear problems? They'll go away!" I certainly have my own medical methods and procrastination is always my first choice.

You may [or may not] remember that I came home from our Disneyland trip s
ick -- terrible sore throat, plugged up ears and pinkeye. Mark followed with the addition of a hacking cough, then Natalie and the little guys joined us. Chris was the only one who missed out -- and I think it's because he went out of town as soon as we got home.

Anyhow -- what you may not know is that my right ear has never really cleared up, leaving me with hearing and balance issues. After a week or two, I talked with my doctor about it and she told me it could take quite a bit longer for that ear to drain [it was never infected, just full of fluid] and to be patient. But, she added that if it hadn't drained within a certain time frame, that I should go see an ENT specialist.

So I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. I waited long past the time my doctor had suggested and finally yesterday Mark said "Why don't you call that ENT group and make an appointment?" I thought about it for a while and realized that I was so tired of not feeling normal [it's been a while -- we came home from the trip on Feb. 29]. So I made the appointment and saw the Dr. today.

He looked into my ear and was astounded because, according to him, it was full but not of fluid. It was not full of wax either, but rather skin cells that had sloughed off the inner part of the ear and formed a blockage. So he got out a little microscope, peered into it, grabbed the offender with his little forceps and pulled it out. Voila! [I was pretty amazed as I'd never heard of anything like this -- he said it's a little abnormal but not uncommon. Who knew?]

Once he could see, he told me that there still is fluid in both ears but not much -- and apparently I should expect that to be gone within another couple of weeks. But the bottom line is that I am hearing much better and the balance issues are gone. Just like that.

So I guess my belated doctor visit paid off. Wonder if I'll wait this long next time.

Probably. Some things never change.