Tuesday, December 30

Fondue Fun Night!

For several years now we have hosted a New Years Eve at our home. Each year we have picked a theme for the food...we have had Italian, Oriental, Casino Royal, Fried everything, Steak, appetizers, Mexican, etc.... In recent years I loved Casino Royal...we had mocktails,boy were the kids creative. So what will it be in 2009........drum roll.......
One of my favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond was Fondue Fun Night hosted by Rays sister-in-law Amy. At our house you say fondue and someone says Fondue Fun Night!
For Christmas we received an electric fondue pot, at that moment I knew that our New Years Eve Party would be Fondue Fun Night.
I have scoured the Internet looking for fabo Fondue recipes....which I found several. The best sounding recipes are the dessert fondues of course. The cheese ones are fine, but I am not a big cheese eater and most of them contain wine or beer....So we will have to make some adjustments. A fun savory fondue I found is called supreme pizza fondue....it is marinara sauce with sausage, pepperoni, onions and peppers, you dip mozzarella cheese or bread into it, yum....
The fondue part is covered now what will we do for fun besides dipping things in to yummy pots of goodness?

Sunday, December 28

Resolution Planning

2009,will it be another year to fail?
Okay, so it is just days to the New Year, what will my new resolutions be? I usually don't like making resolutions for the New Year because the resolutions just remind me of my past failures at personal goal setting.
Growing up we always were goal setters and achievers ..... I now am a goal think abouter. I have a really hard time setting a goal,making a plan and sticking too it .... Something about and Elephant and obtainable is ringing in my ears...but hey, I want the whole thing now and not just an elephant hair.
So where to begin.....what do I want to accomplish this year? My mom always reminds me that the year will pass, so I might as well accomplish something.
When I asked the fam what I should resolve to do they looked at me with blank stares.....then commented that they thought I had already made enough plans for the New Year.....hellooooo these are plans, a resolution is a personal goal, accomplishment or a change you are working on.... personally.
So, should I resolve to exercise....I have failed at this numerous times, how about diet....another failure. When I wrote to Nelson this morning the idea came to me to work on ....... (this is going to sound church centerfold....which I'm not)... I felt like I needed to work on being Steadfast and Immovable in Christ, just like the VT message for January...... easy, but hard and so very churchy..... churchy isn't bad but ........ I will keep on working on resolution ideas.....

Friday, December 26

Ah, Christmas....it is over for 2008

Ahhhh....it is over...363 shopping days till next Christmas.Maybe it won't be the surprise it was this year.

We actually had a wonderful Christmas....did we do all we wanted to do...no, but that was okay. I am glad that it went off as well as it did.

The Missionary call from Nelson made my day...and my headache...you know from the suppressed tears. He sounded so good. He has jumped right in and is working hard, trying to help those they are teaching see the joy that being a member of the church can be in their lives. We talked to his Australian companion Elder Honda,who said he is sharp and know the lessons.
It will be a long,long time till mothers day....

We had a surprise gift, that kind of changed our plans but hey........ Our Surprise gift...well not really a gift, we had to buy it...but still nice..... in our driveway sits a cute blue and silver Smart Car! We ordered the thing almost 2 years ago. We were told in August that we wouldn't be seeing it until around February 2009. We picked it up on Tuesday Dec. 23, 2008. It is about 8 feet long, seats two people comfortably, and is fun to drive. It is just the car to take if you don't want to over purchase....where would you put the stuff. People stop and stare....on the freeway it is hard to change lanes because the cars next to you want to look at this tiny odd car. I first saw a Smart Car almost 10 years ago when we were in Germany....I thought it was so cute I bought a model car and brought it home. We looked into importing one for us but the price to do so was so limiting at the time.....when we got word that they were coming to the USA, Gary kept track of when and how to get one.....well, we got one. What a fun Christmas Present.


Tuesday, December 23

2 Days...... Dog and the Snow

Okay there are only two shopping days left till Christmas. I thought I was done...not, nor will I ever be if it keeps snowing like it is.....yikes!!!

My dog is cute, kind, temperamental, moody and most defiantly crazy!!!! He thinks the door to outside is a revolving door...in, out, in, out.....that is his way to control us. He hates the cold...can hardly go three feet outside to do his business, but if there is snow.....it is a different story. He can romp and play and get all covered in the white stuff....I guess that the snow is not cold to him. When he comes inside from one of his many forays into the snow his nose is always covered with snow...question,why would you bury your noes in the snow? My nose is cold almost all of the winter, and my dogs nose is cold and wet most of the time....why make it colder? Oh the life of a dog.....you sleep all day, and act like it is an imposition to move, and at night you sleep more....oh, and if it is to cold he can't go out to do his stuff, but if there is fresh snow....hello, I'm a puppy all over again....let me out!

Off to shop!!!!


Monday, December 22

The Poppel who Peeped in time

Shopping with 3 days till Christmas reminds me of the song “Twelve Days to Christmas” from the musical “She Loves Me”. We are now in a gift buying time crunch…the gifts we thought we would eventually get are gone from the stores (did you know that if you had shopped early a Wii Fit would have only cost $89.99… they are not in any store and on line the only sellers are selling them for as much as $250.00, plus rush shipping. YIKES...no Wii fit for the Call’s), the on line shopping possibilities are unaffordable due to the shipping rates… In the song the rushed shoppers are not “the people who shopped in time,” but the poppel who peeped in time,” and that is what we saw today a bunch of poppel, peeping… Today as we shopped we encountered all kinds of crazy, and we were probably the crazy to someone else. Early in our shopping rounds the crowd was pleasant and focused, we got a lot (or as Nelson tells me they say in NZ - we got heaps) done. I felt like we were going to win the gift shopping lottery and have it all completed by 1:00PM…..how wrong was I. As the day wore on more and more people turned in to crazy poppels…I mean really crazy poppels, peeping…maybe the weather had something to do with it. Anyway, has much fun as the hustle and bustle of the season is I hope I never wait this long to do the majority of my shopping ever again….after all Christmas is not a surprise.
Now for the wrapping….

Friday, December 19

A Blessed Beautiful Day

I feel like I have lost a month...I am missing the Christmas Season, one of my favorite times of the year...I am so far behind December isn't even on my radar, and today is the 19th.....ahhh! 6 days 'till Christmas?!?!

But today things have changed....
After attending Hayden's Jr. High Christmas music assembly (what a painful experience for the ears...I don't love beginning strings, or madrigal groups that sing flat. The Band was good..especially the guy on the snare drum in Sleigh Ride, and the bells in Mr. Grinch), we exited the building into a winter wonder land. It had been snowing since mid morning, and it has snowed several times in the past week (I know I have shoveled every time and boy are my arms sore), so I was not missing the snow....but coming out of the school everything was different, things looked better and felt exciting. When we arrived home a few minutes later my house was different as well, the decorations and lights looked special. The Christmas magic was in the air! Today was a day when everything fell together in a perfect rhythm....holiday music, snow, lights, family together, good holiday smells, Christmas projects being completed....it was a beautiful day, a perfect pre-Christmas Day. It reminded me of days from my childhood...the days that lasted forever and ever and the days when everything was just right.

With the perfectness of this day I didn't catch up on my list, or have time from the past month renewed to me...but I know this day was made for me. A day to fulfill a deep need inside of me, a day to find peace and be at peace with the way things are. Because of the perfectness of this day I know that I am loved and blessed by my Heavenly Father.
What a wonderful, blessed, beautiful day!


Tuesday, December 16

Christmas Dreams

Today I began to really shop for Christmas. (I know I should be done...everyone I run in to reminds me of that fact).
I would love to give my family everything, but they really don’t need it, and we all know it. So what to do to show them how much I love them? I really would like to get each family member their much hoped for dreams…….
When we were growing up my mom had us all make a Christmas Wish list. Each list was an 81/2 x 11 piece of paper, tri folded. Each column had a title—NEEDS, WANTS, DREAMS. We were then to compile a list under each category of our Christmas wishes. This list making task was met with great thought. It was a joy and easy to fill out the Dream column. In this column we would place the outrageous, the unimaginable and the most hoped for. There were cars and trips and sometimes huge sums of money and fame listed under Dreams. The hardest column to fill out was the Needs. After some pondering and much erasing, we would discover once again that we were very blessed and really needed very little....Our basic needs were more than met. That left the Want column. In this column we would list the toys and all the items we at first thought we needed, then erased and moved to the Wants…. we don’t need, but we want…a whole lot.
I have had my family fill out similar lists every Christmas and this year Jordan and Laurie did the same….the tradition continues.
I love lists, especially the three lists that make up our Christmas Wishes. These lists give me goals, directions, purposes. With this Christmas Wish list I have discovered a little bit more about my family, what they are all about in each phase of their lives and what Wants and Dreams motivate them.
As parents Gary and I have tried over the years to give an item from each column of our kids Christmas List. The Needs and Wants are easy to fulfill, but it is the Dreams that make life and the gift giving fun. Early on the gifts from our Dream Lists have been tokens---toy cars, and movie, music or books to represent the hoped for dream. Some years we have had great joy granting the dream of a much hoped for trip or money to help achieve a dream. Over the years we have tried to help each other hold on to our dreams and work toward them. The best thing about the Dream List is that as the years have passed we have seen a few of our dreams really come true….A dream is a wish you heart makes.
I have kept our families Christmas Wish lists for many years. Looking back at them brings me great joy. I love the memories of each person’s excitement, and appreciation when they have received something from the list….and I especially love the memories of helping Christmas Dreams come true.
So I am off again, with Christmas Lists in hand to try to make more Christmas Dreams come true!

Monday, December 15

Elder Call

Isn't he cute?

Elder NC in NZ

We received our first letter from NZ and it sounds as if Elder Call has jumped in with both sore feet….his bike has not caught up to his area so they are hoofing it right now. He has been assigned to Rangiora, a rural area just north of Christchurch on the South Island. They have a 60 member branch and three people in their teaching pool. His companion is Elder Honda from Australia. According to Sis. Jolliffe, the Mission President's wife, Elder Honda is wonderful and dynamic. According to NC, 'he likes American football so we should get along fine.'
His Christmas Packages from the fam and Grandma Sheri were sent to his 'flat'... hey I am already picking up the lingo....No, he didn't open them.....according to him, he is not Jordan.
All is “GREAT!"
He will call on Christmas Day!

wow! no tears from mom, all is well.

Ward Party

My Ward Party is over ….. YEAH! It turned out well, but was still more work than it should have been. As much as I claimed I hated it…I have begun planning for next year’s 3 parties, an Ice Cream Social and field games, A Fall Festival- Fair, and a Night in Bethlehem. I know all the parties will require lots of work, but just knowing what I want to do will really help me get things planned and going …hopefully early!

Thursday, December 11

ARRRGH!!!! Ward Activities

Caution this is a negative post, but it does get better at the end.

I strongly dislike one of my ward callings. (Hate is to strong of a word).
I teach singing to the nursery kids for 10 minutes on Sunday and I am the Activities Chairman. (Guess which one i dislike?)
Nursery is great, please don't ever release me! However, I don't enjoy the Activities Committee....Being the chairman means I have to work my butt off, for a two hour party, with a fifty cent per person budget, once a quarter...but that is not all, all activities have to look like five star events, and I need to delegate the responsibilities involved with each of the events to others on the committee, others who have different standards and ideas than mine.
It is the delegating that is hardest part for me. I have gotten better at delegating and letting go, at allowing others to do things their way and not trying to swoop in and save them.
"If they fail or it is not up to my standard, that is okay. I will not be embarrassed by their performance." (That is my mantra right now).
I am currently in this state because Saturday morning is our Ward Christmas Party... I have tons to do myself, and I have to worry about the others coming through. The weather people tell me it is supposed to snow Saturday morning..... so we have had to change out menu plans, and snow limits participation. I also haven't had phone calls returned and who knows if those asked to volunteer to help will show up?
I use to think that this would be a fun calling, that was until I was called as Enrichment Leader several years ago...now there is a calling that is on the same level as Activities Committee. Oh, I can see how both callings could be perceived as fun. Either calling would be perfect for someone who is organized, who works well with others, who can delegate with out regret, who likes to plan and host events. (I lack several of these qualities). Both callings would be great to do if you could 'really' pick the folks to work with, and if you had some real bucks to work with....(there is my problem, I think it takes money to make these things work out. I have money can solve all taste, and vision, but no money to spend). Either calling would be great if you didn't have to kill yourself setting it up and taking it down...aha, this is when I know I am not magical...if I were, viola, all would happen with a wave of my wand.............arrrrgh!!!!!

When I get this way I think "why don't I just quit?" Why don't I just sweetly sing Saturday morning -- "Please release me,let me go"............NO, NO, NO!
I don't quit...because who else would want this awful calling. (bad, negative answer, start over). I don't quit...because I was called by the Bishop whom I've sustained...called to serve where ever I am needed in the building up of the kingdom. --Yes, that is my correct religious response, and I will serve until I am released. -- I do believe in what I said, and I am not mocking. --So just for today let me complain a little. I know that all will be fine, maybe not up to my expectations, but fine none the less because I will look at it with my church filter glasses in place and know that any short comings will be okay, ironed out by everyone else donning their church filter glasses and of course made fine by the angels....right?
Miracles can happen!!!


Wednesday, December 10

Surprise Christmas Is Coming

In 15 days it will be Christmas Day. It comes around every year on December 25th; it is not like a surprise or anything. I have 364 days of the year to prepare for it, but for some reason this year Christmas is a surprise! SURPRISE! I have the house decorated, check; I am working on the Christmas Cards, check. But there are no gifts purchased - or even thought about, no Christmas goodies made, no thoughts on a neighbor gift, and what holiday activities do I really want to I participate in or plan for this year? SURPRISE!
Christmas is a very exciting time when you are prepared for it but, when it’s not, it’s not even a good surprise. And I usually love surprises.
So where to begin…after all, the gifts, special goodies and the activities make the season bright.
I guess will have to make a list and check it twice…just like Santa.


Nelson News: We know for sure that the Elder made it to NZ...he made a purchase which appeared on his bank statement! It is probably for his bike.boy is the Exchange rate in our favor if it was the bike.

Tuesday, December 9

Oh,Christmas Cards

Several years ago I began handcrafting Christmas greeting cards for friends and family….what an undertaking. Some years they are simple other years extravagant….and the extravagant ones usually come about because of my poor planning. Once again it is time to create the cards. I have been thinking about the process for several weeks, even months now but have not settled on a fabo idea. We had the family photo taken back before the wedding (glad Jordan followed through). I have looked at old craft books and on line. I had one idea that sounded really good but when I made the practice card it looked dumb, no personality at all.
I know that most folks no longer send greeting cards (I love those words ‘greeting cards’…think Karen Carpenter singing White Christmas. She sings it so beautifully), but I like the thought greeting cards imply… ‘I thought about you and your family’, ‘hope all is well with you and yours’, ‘all is well with us’.
No, the card is not an expensive gift but in this case it ‘is the thought that counts’…
Oh Christmas Cards!

Monday, December 8

I Hope NZ is Ready for NC

Well he is really gone...gone to New Zealand for 2 years, 2 long, long, LONG...yes long years.
While Nelson was at the MTC in Provo it was just like a practice, I figured he could get home or I could get to him if we really needed to....but NZ is so, so , SO, SO far away! If he wanted to really get home he couldn't even do it by foot! When Jordan was on his mission in St. Louis, I figured that if something really catastrophic happened that he could always walk home, after all our pioneer ancestors once walked from there to here. But Nelson is going across the ocean, to unknown territory.

So I spent the morning crying, doing my theatre work and crying. Megan thought something awful had happened when I came downstairs for lunch. My face was tear streaked and the mascara was missing from my bottom lashes....yikes what a sight. No nothing awful, a mission is wonderful, but he is going so far a way for so, so long....yes Elder Nelly will be missed.

The only really good thing that came out of today was his phone call from the Airport! I got to talk to my boy for 25 minutes! He sounded wonderful. He is so positive and excited, I couldn't put a damper on his enthusiasm, so there were no tears, just tales of what has been happening, and re assurance that we are getting his letters. He has been writing letters and sending them snail mail from the MTC, he said " it's a mystery if you are getting my letters." Gary and I took to reading between the lines...He is a child of cellphones, text messaging and e-mails, he loves to have the immediate response and info at his finger tips. Writing a letter long hand and mailing it off, then waiting for a week for a response is like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean and hoping that someone will find it and respond. He will figure it out.... at least in NZ he will have e-mail...but still a weeks wait for answers.

Anyway...the funniest part of his phone call was him telling us that he purchased a news paper after checking in the airport, so as to discover who would be playing in what bowl games. I guess old ways die hard....I am sure the fact that he couldn't look up the info on his blackberry yesterday about did him in. He is an information junkie just like his dad.....I hope that he realizes that the only info he know will need can be found in his scriptures and on his knees.

I hope that NZ is ready for Elder NC...because he is ready to be there! ....... and I am ready for my Christmas phone call!


Friday, December 5


Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day….the weekend has arrived. I love Fridays for several reasons the first being the ‘Maid’ arrives. Our maid looks a lot like me, yes, she is me, however she has a distinctive outfit; orange crocs, crop jeans with flower appliqu├ęs and a t-shirt. The maid deep cleans the bathrooms, does laundry, vacuums the house, washes windows, cleans up the public areas and in general picks up after the fam. (no personal space cleaning---that is why bedrooms have doors, if I don’t like what I am seeing the door gets closed). The day I decided that it was okay to be the ‘maid’ for one day of the week, made my life and weekends a whole lot nicer. Being the ‘maid’ was better than complaining that no one was helping; complaining that the mundane have to do jobs weren’t getting done. Having the ‘maid’ come in seems to inspire everyone else to pitch in quicker and help. The ‘maid’ takes the stress off the Saturday ‘to do list’ and makes Saturday and Sunday more family, friend and fun centered…not so many tasks to be accomplished, more time for play. “Work hard, then play harder!”
Another reason I love Friday is that it is the ‘Dream’ day…the day you dream about what you are going to do on the weekend. The anticipation of what is to come is so exciting, to me almost better than the actual events of the weekend.…In your mind or dream the weekend is perfect…no unexpected interruptions, no bad weather, perfect people behaving, dressing and interacting perfectly! Even if the dream doesn’t equal the actual reality, it is nice to know that on Friday my weekend was perfect.
Friday is usually the eve of something new. On Fridays most work and school ends earlier, people’s attitudes seems to be brighter with the hope of a few change of pace days, and Friday brings the ‘maid’.
Friday is a great day!


Decorating Update...

Decorting is done...except for square wreaths, no one has them. I am going to have to make them myself or have them made. Oh the joy of the holidays. I willprobably find them everywhere next year.
Today is clean up messes an put the boxes away day.
I love Christmas decorations! They make the world look magical.


Wednesday, December 3

Where Does It All Go?

Okay, I wanted to be more creative with my Christmas decorating, but after 3 days, --Where Does It All Go? I don't want to think, anymore. I keep asking everyone what did I do last year, and they don't remember. I went and looked at the photos from the last few years and the rooms all look the same....and the I still don't know what bows to use on the family room garland. The Photos did answer some questions like, who's turn is it for Christmas Eve Breakfast?--It looks like it is Adam & Christine's turn. Who do we give gifts to this year?--The Welch's. (I think that this is the year to change the gift thing around...but that is for another day).
I also want to know where I keep all of this stuff the other 11 months of the year? I keep pulling boxes out and I can't imagine how it all fits. It must grow with the added oxygen and light. Putting away the empty boxes has been a challenge. It is like a big puzzle. Hayden thinks that the boxes that I have asked him to put away are still full, and some of them are....with stuff I don't know where to put. Gary tells me that if I don't use it, give it to J&L or to the DI. Giving it to J&L is a possibility, but it is all too cute to give away. After all I picked it out, I thought it would or it did work at some point in my decorating scheme, and what if I want to use it again....It's just like the wreaths that they made me give away last year with the unused decorations....I want them this year, I know how to use them.
Finally where does the time go? It is Dec. 3, almost the 4, 21 days to the big day and I haven't even begun to shop. The question here is what to purchase for whom. No one can tell me what they would like that is within my limited budget. If it weren't for the money, I would buy everyone, anything they could dream they would want. But if I did that ,where would it all go?
Back to the boxes and the decorating. Thursday I will be done, because I am done!!!

Tuesday, December 2

Decking The Hall!

Where’s the snow? I’m listening to my favorite Christmas tunes, decorating my house and sweating to death in an unseasonable heat wave….it should at least appear blustery and late fall like. I know that it sometimes doesn’t snow until mid December. I remember Christmases without snow…but the warmth is not making me happy. I tell you as I looked down at the trees in the gully yesterday some of the trees looked as if they thought it was spring. They were that yellow spring green with what looked like buds. CRAZY! I’ll just have to sing about the snow and look at my faux snow as I decorate.
Anyway decorating my house for Christmas doesn’t just happen. It takes days, up to a week to make things look just right. As I pull out each ornament and decoration memories of seasons past come flooding back…maybe that is why it takes so long to get it done. (Taking it down can be done in a day and a half.) This year I decided to unload one storage location at time and decorate with what I found there. The only problem with this method is that like things were not put away together… (If I do this another year I will take that into consideration.) But is has been interesting and not so back breaking. It has been fun to leave spaces for known treasures to come. This also has given me the opportunity to re-think my decorations and there placement. Maybe I’ll do it new and more interesting way this year…different isn’t always better but better is always different. So back to decorating and Dreaming of a White Christmas, or at least a cooler one.

Nelson News
Nelson leaves for NZ on the 8th. He sent us his travel plans and it will be really hard not to go to the Airport...but he is rules kind of guy so I won't. Nelson mentioned the heat in his latest letter and wanted more shorts...I hope he figures out the weather in NZ, he is a hot body.


Monday, December 1

Thanksgiving Movies

Okay, I have seen the top 5 grossing movies for Thanksgiving weekend....and I only went to one movie this weekend....the rest I saw weeks ago in screenings...ah the perks of my job.

Australia Is a good movie. If you want a Western, a WWII movie and a Romance this is the movie for you. Yes, it is very long but the length didn't bother me.
Hugh Jackman!! Hugh Jackman larger than life in this film. He is fabulous!! He comes cross strong, tough, a mans- man, romantic, and emotional. Showing the male leads emotional side is not normal for most films, but it was so touching in this movie. He was wonderful -- If this film were as big as flop as some critics think I would still see this movie just for Hugh. I think that he is fine actor and not bad to look at. Nicole Kiddman does a nice job, and directs the story along nicely. But it is Brandon who plays Nullah who is the star of, and steals this movie. Brandon is an Aborigine child who has never acted before. He is charming and lovable and has an all around depth of character that is remarkable. His depth is something uncommon to even adult actors...it is probably because he comes from such a state of innocence just like his character. Director Baz Lhurman shows his influences as a director with this movie. He is known for some bold choices in his previous work but this movie is very straight forward. Without giving anything away, my recommendation is that you see this movie, if not for the entertainment value, or the Hugh Jackman eye candy, go see it just to hear the unknown story of the Stolen Generation in Australia. The cinematography is stunning,the costumes magnificent and the emotional tug of the heart is worth it. My 17 year old nephew said he cried 3 times, I did too....oh by the way if you haven't figured out my obsession by now...Hugh Jackman is in this movie!!!!!
P.S. You will hear "Somewhere Over The Rainbow " with re-newed ears.
I'd give it a B+