Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

My last Sunday Gratitudes for 2008.

I'm grateful for my testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that without Him, I am nothing. It is through him where I receive my strength. Because of Him and His sacrifice, I will be able to live with my Heavenly Father again. He knows every single one of my strengths and my weaknesses...and He loves me. My goal in 2009 is to learn more about Him and grow closer to Him.

I'm grateful for my courteous Firstborn son. Today I watched him jump up to open a door for a man whose arms were full of a wiggly, screaming child. My son wasn't supposed to be manning the door at church today. He was helping to pass the sacrament. I watched from my seat behind the pulpit (I sit there when I am not conducting the congregational hymns) as my son noticed this father and child head up the aisle and moved over to the door in order to help. I know its just a small thing. But it was one of those moments where I realized that Firstborn will grow up just fine.

I'm grateful that we are all healthy, happy, and home. That gratitude is in my prayers every single night.

I'm grateful for the high school friendships I've renewed in the past week. I was a drama geek way back in the 80's. My closest friends were part of that group. It has been fun to reconnect with them.

I'm grateful for one of the men in my ward. He asked The Love Magnet if she was ready to be the hymnbook girl again. For the past few months, my daughter (and also Thirdborn) have been helping him put hymnbooks on the folding chairs in the overflow of the chapel (our ward is so huge we fill up all three overflows). The Love Magnet loved being asked and knew exactly what to do. I am thrilled that someone else was taking the time to teach her how to give service. (During that time I am setting up in front and making sure the hymn numbers are in place.)

I'm grateful yet again for all the patient Primary teachers and Sunday school teachers my kids had this past year. Next week they will have new teachers. I hope we get to meet them before Sunday so The Love Magnet doesn't get stressed over the change in her schedule.

I'm grateful for all the friends I've met through this blog. One of these days I will be able to met you in person and give you a hug with skin on it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Morning

Impatient to come down the stairs....

Doggie Girl is impatient, too....

Secondborn wasn't sure why he was receiving cologne. He wanted to know if girls liked that stuff.

The Love Magnet wanted to help Thirdborn unwrap his presents.

She also tried to help Firstborn unwrap his.

Firstborn loved his BYU hoodie.

Mr. Wonderful loved receving a subscription to MIT Review.

The Love Magnet is ready to open her own doll hair salon.
D'ya think Thirdborn is happy about this gift?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve at Auntie M's

The Love Magnet loves Auntie M's mashed 'ta-toes almost as much as she loves Grandma's mashed 'ta-toes. She ate three helpings.

Secondborn was asked to be the donkey this year during the traditional re-enactment of the story of the birth of Christ as told in St. Luke. Secondborn came up with a fitting costume.

Mr. Wonderful chatting with Auntie M.

Santa came to visit! The Love Magnet eagerly waited for her turn to sit on his lap. As soon as she got there, she started to cry. When asked what was wrong, she said that he didn't give her a chocolate like he gave to the other kids. Forget all about telling Santa what you want, the best part is the COCOLATE!

CHOCOLATE!!! Oh thank heavens. That was all she wanted. She was done and ready to get down. The Love Magnet did remind Santa that he already came to visit her at the special ed room at her school.

Thirdborn announced that he was too big to sit on Santa's lap. He refused to go over until Firstborn and Secondborn said that they weren't too old to be with Santa.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Secret Santa with my Cookies (the women, not the holiday treats)

There is a group of women I have known for 5 years. Most of them I have never met in person.

We refer to ourselves as the Cookies. Originally brought together to swap healthy recipes, we've become so much more to each other. These women are all kindred spirits in the very best sense.

For the past four years we've had a Secret Santa swap (something that some of the Cookies have admitted that they look forward to more than any other present. The gifts in the past have been often hilarious, sometimes very touching. Last year I received from Chrissy a hand-knit wrap that I refer to has my "Chrissy Hug". The year before, cookbooks from Cape Cod from sweet Claudia. Claudia passed away this year after a brave battle against cancer. I will miss her dearly.

This year Chris in PA drew my name. She knew about the tea parties and my hunt for tea things. Chris told me she scoured antique shops looking for the perfect teacup and saucer to add to my collection. I love this! This teacup will be for me. Along with the teacup, Chris sent me the Heinz Field Cookbook filled with tailgating recipes. I mentioned to the cookies how I loved collecting regional cookbooks on my vacays. This particular cookbook will be fun to use. Now I have to plan a football party. (Not to mention I have to learn how the game is played so I can actually watch it. The Cookies know all about my sports gaffes in the past. They still love me.)
Thank you so much, Chris. I P2H you to the Nth power! xoxo

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Scarehaircare's

Happy St. Lucia Day
(and a big hug to Miss Morgan - I think of you fondly every year at this time)

Merry Christmas to you all
(we hope your holiday is filled with love)

Sunday Gratitudes (on a Tuesday)

Today as I was leaving the local Costco parking lot, I saw a woman begging on the corner. Her sign said that she was a single mom supporting two kids. All she was asking for was food. I've seen plenty of people begging for money - I have never seen anyone begging just for food.

I stopped on the side of the road and pulled out 2 gallons of milk, a box of canned pineapple, and a box of canned black beans. As I was talking to her she told me that she could either pay the electricity bill or buy food. She chose to have heat in her home. It turns out that one of her children is a daughter the same age as The Love Magnet. I pulled out a gift I had just bought for TLM and added it to the pile. I wished her a Merry Christmas and drove off. I was in tears all the way home.

Here is my single gratitude - that Heavenly Father put this woman in my path today. I spent all morning with my head full of lists to get done and feeling sad that we can't make it to Utah to spend Christmas with our family. I left that woman with my heart thankful that we have employment, a home with heat, food on our table, and money for Christmas gifts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I ask you - how on earth can we keep a straight face?

(The following is a prayer given at dinner last night by The Love Magnet)

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for our day

Thank you for our food

Thank you for Christmas....DON'T TELL!

Thank you for presents......DON'T TELL!

Thank you for book......DON'T TELL! (the book is a Christmas present she made for Mr. Wonderful and me at school. We're not supposed to know about it yet.)

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I fully believe that Heavenly Father was at least smiling during that prayer.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12 Great Things About Secondborn in honor of his 12th birthday

Secondborn and two of his favorite cousins
1. Secondborn is smart. He loves school and learning new things.
2. He is very self-disciplined. I never have to worry about him doing his homework as he gets it done on his own. He is constantly making goals and working on them. He prepares in advance for tests.
3. Secondborn sees the good in people. He is a loyal friend and will look for everyone's strengths.
4. He is kind. He will seek out anyone in need of service or a friend.
5. My son is grateful. He never fails to thank me for a ride, a meal, or for helping him in any way.
6. Secondborn is patient, especially with The Love Magnet. He helps her with homework, with the computer, and with anything she asks of him. I noticed today one of the ways in which that patience paid off. I taught my daughter's Primary class today. When class was over, and all of the children were waiting for their family members to pick them up, The Love Magnet proudly told her classmates and me that she was waiting for her brother. When Secondborn came in, she jumped in his arms, totally content to be there. I pointed out to him that she had been waiting for him and did he know to come? No, he didn't, but he was sure pleased that she singled him out.
7. Secondborn is good at basketball. He consistently scored half of his team's points every game this season. He has worked hard at improving (one of his goals) and spent a lot of time with Mr. Wonderful at the church gym after Scouts, practicing his techniques.
8. He is a good example. A few of his friends have quit swearing in his presence after he told them it wasn't cool.
9. He loves to read. All he wanted for his birthday were books. I have to check his room before I go to sleep because he reads late into the night. How can I get mad at that?
10. He loves his extended family. His favorite thing about trips to Utah is seeing his favorite cousins.
11. He has a surprising love for cooking. He really enjoyed the home economics (not sure what they call it now) class this past term and came home with a few recipes. Now he wants to help out in the kitchen more. I'll encourage that. He has mastered spaghetti sauce without a recipe. He loves to make pull apart sticky rolls and Orange Julius. Time to learn how to make pizza dough. After that we'll start on Sunday dinner prep.
12. This kid loves the gospel. He has asked if he could teach the Family Night lesson tomorrow. I'm not sure what it is: Aaronic priesthood, a scripture story, something about Christmas? I"m looking forward to having my 12 year old son teach me.

Sunday Gratitudes

On December 6th, Thirdborn was baptized. I am grateful that he was ready and understood the importance of this ordinance. Thirdborn was so excited for this day.

The next day, Secondborn was ordained a deacon and received the Aaronic priesthood. I'm grateful that he, too, was prepared and understood the importance of this day. I'm thankful for the family members who made the trip to our house for the baptism and deacon ordination. I'm so grateful for the worthy priesthood holders in our family Mr. Wonderful's dad was there. My daddy was there. Two of my brothers, a brother-in-love, and one of Mr. Wonderful's brothers were there with their families. We had a houseful. It was a good thing.
The Love Magnet monopolized her cousin R. I think R has the patience of Job. My daughter would not leave her alone the entire weekend - they colored, played with dolls, watched movies, and a host of other girly things my daughter never gets to do in a houseful of boys. I'm afraid I relied too much on my darling niece. She kept The Love Magnet occupied so I could get other things done. So here is a huge heartful of gratitude to my darling niece R for being so patient and loving with my daughter. You are going to be a great mom someday.
I also have a huge amount of gratitude for my Mom, Mother-In-Love, my Twin Sis, and my Sis-in-Love who spent the weekend helping me, counseling me, and at one point listening to me bawl (the weekend was uber overwhelming with one final down and one the following week and three the week after on top of two birthdays, a baptism and a deacon ordination to plan). I'm overcome with their love, generosity, and completely un-judging attitudes.
I'm grateful that we could take Secondborn to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. Mr. Wonderful's parents are huge family history buffs and love to do research. They brought enough family names for Firstborn, Secondborn, myself and them to do 10 names each (Mr. Wonderful did the baptisms while we stood proxy.) I love to go to the temple. Its even better with my children there. I look forward to the day when all of my children can be in the temple.
Tonight was our Stake (multiple congregations) Christmas Hymn Sing - a time where each ward (congregation) sings one of the songs they have prepared for their ward Christmas program. Our ward performed a song called "For Unto Us Is Born." Its a challenging piece and one that they thought they couldn't do. We worked hard on it for months...and it sounded beautiful tonight. I'm grateful for the support of my choir members and their willingness to use their talents and work hard.
I'm grateful for this opportunity to go to school. Its much harder than I thought it would be. I've loved it.
That being said - I'm grateful that there is a break coming up. I need it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Doing the Snoopy Happy Dance

I know I've been absent a lot and I missed Sunday Gratitudes. 'Tis the season of finals. Two so far and three more next week.

I just had to announce that I EARNED AN 'A' on my anatomy & Physiology lab final. Combine that with my lecture grade and it might actually be decent. I also aced my Psych final.

Later on tonight I will post 12 great things about Secondborn in honor of his 12th birthday. I and I can't forget Sunday Gratitudes from last week because it was doubly important.

Be back tonight.

(still doing the Snoopy Happy Dance. I'll be this feelings lasts all day......)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Soup Recipe

Chunky Potato-Crab Chowder
from Cooking Light, October 2003

This easy New England-style chowder lets the red-skinned potatoes shine. Cream-style corn is a surprise ingredient that adds a little sweetness and contributes to the creamy texture.

My notes: Big hit at our family dinner to celebrate Thirdborn's baptism. We tripled the recipe and used crab and shrimp. Easy to put together. It was nice to have a seafood chowder that I didn't feel guilty about eating.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3 1/2 cups (1-inch) cubed red potato (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add potato; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, thyme, pepper, nutmeg, corn, and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in crab, parsley, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)CALORIES 265 (23% from fat); FAT 6.8g (sat 3.8g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 176mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.5g; SODIUM 968mg; PROTEIN 16.3g; FIBER 3.1g Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2003

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thank you, Smith Nation!

Smith Nation graciously offered to send The Love Magnet one of her tea cups towards our tea party collection. She sent two (one for TLM and one for me).
Wasn't that sweet?

8 Great Things About Thirdborn (who turned 8).

(This kids forgave me for forgetting to bring cupcakes to his class for his birthday. In my defense, I was trying to get ready for his birthday party. Thirdborn publicly forgave me before I could ask him to. I'm not including this in the 8 Great Things, but I wanted you all to know just how sweet that was.)
1. Thirdborn is very creative. He is constantly making up stories and plays. He loves to invent things and will often show me drawings or creations he made with toys.
2. Thirdborn is very sensitive. He will find the new kid in class, the boy without anyone to play with, or search out someone who is having a bad day. Thirdborn will then do everything he can to make things better.
3. Thirdborn is a great friend. He constantly thinks about what he can do for others.
4. Thirdborn is an explorer. He loves to try new foods and learn about new cultures.
5. Thirdborn wants to work for the FBI when he grows up. He has a sense of right and wrong and had decided that making the world a better place involves catching the bad guys.
6. Thirdborn is a great big brother. He constantly looks out for The Love Magnet and helps her whenever he can. He reads to her almost every night.
7. Thirdborn loves to cook (hooray!) and wants to help in the kitchen. He is so excited: one of the great things about turning 8 in our house is that he will now learn how to cook spaghetti from scratch. That includes making your own sauce. No recipes allowed. Once he masters that he will move on to other meals...again no recipes allowed. (Yes, I do teach the boys to read recipes, but I think that everyone needs to know how to do a week's worth of meals without relying on recipes.)
8. Thirdborn is SO EXCITED to be baptized this week. He had a great interview with our bishop and gave his answers to Bishop's questions without hesitation. He is prepared to choose the right.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Guess what came in the mail yesterday?

Pictures will be posted tonight.

I'll also post Sunday Gratitudes on a Tuesday.

And 8 Great Things About Thirdborn who turned 8 on Saturday.

(Can you tell that I have two weeks before finals and I'm frantically trying to get the house ready fro my family to visit this weekend? I'm a bit behind on blogging....)