Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy.

~ Mother Teresa

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A week of Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Eve

Today I am thankful for:

  1. A change in plans
  2. The opportunity to serve
  3. The love of a good friend
  4. The understanding of Jestin's sweet Grandma
  5. Turkey Vouchers
  6. A mostly clean home
  7. The peace that I feel
  8. My sweetheart and his kind heart
  9. A not so bad winter storm
  10. Clear roads for safe travel
Let the Thanksgiving Holiday begin! :)

Jestin's Eye Surgery

Jes had his final eye surgery on Monday. It was all up in the air until just a couple of hours before, but it was a blessing I think because he wasn't stressing about it. Mostly because he thought it would be another week away! LOL Tender mercies.

It was a success, they think, as far as repairing the Retinopathy. The surgeon told us found a small cataract in that eye before the procedure, so we are thinking he may have to have another cataract surgery. But we will cross that bridge when we get there... in the mean time we are praying for no swelling.

Swelling may cause retinal detach, causing permanent vision loss. He had such extensive of a treatment this time, it is a big concern. They went ahead and gave him the same steriod shot that caused the cataract in his right eye, because the risks outweighed the possibilities. We are kind of walking on egg shells emotionally, and every change his eye goes through as he heals, we monitor closely.

But... he did have a priesthood blessing. And if that is God's will we are just so thankful for the saving of the vision in his right eye. We are thankful!

They may also have to do a small laser treatment on his right eye that he had the cataract surgery on as the membrane behind the lens has gone cloudy (which was a risk) and they say it is a quick 5-10 minutes procedure and he will be back to 20/20 again. :)

Jes has been so blessed. He is in a lot of pain, but he is thankful and so am I. I feel as though I have been given a tiny glimpse into how the families of those who had loved ones blindness healed by the Savior felt. I KNOW this is a gift from Him. And how humbling and tender that is to me...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Week Of Thanksgiving #6

Today I am thankful for:

  1. My family
  2. Pain meds for Jes
  3. Free movies from the library
  4. Food to eat
  5. Friends
  6. A telephone
  7. Our soft warm bed
  8. Being in my sweethearts arms
  9. Hugs from my kids
  10. A heater that works well

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week of Thanksgiving #5

I am thankful for:

  1. Kindergarten Carpool
  2. Chocolate
  3. Clean water to drink
  4. Cell Phones
  5. The medical profession
  6. Cars that can get us where we want to go quickly
  7. Jestin's eye surgery! :)
  8. Prayer
  9. Answers to prayer
  10. The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Christmas Ideas

I sent this email to a friend who wanted to know more about my Celebrating-Christmas-All-December-Long list. I thought maybe it would be fun to post here! They are all mostly free ideas that just make the season a little more fun! Hope you enjoy it!

Christmas all Month Long Ideas:

* Sugar cookie day
(cut out/decorate sugar cookie dough I made while they are at school)

* Snowflake day
(we all cut out a bunch of snowflakes and hang them all over the dining room from sewing thread. It's really pretty because the heater vent in the ceiling makes them "dance" all month long.) If we can afford it I try to find snowflake designed paper plates/cups to eat on for dinner that night.

* "Muppets Christmas Carol" Night (our most favorite Christmas movie!)
(watch the DVD while eating pizza and drinking rootbeer)

* Secret Santa Night
(we always give a Nativity Set, one piece at a time, for the 12 days of Christmas - 1 piece from the Nativity set for each night with a paper telling a story about each piece - so this night we read them all together (take turns reading), wrap it, get it ready and under the tree for quick delivery in the nights to come - I have copies of the stories for them if you would like them)

* Best Decor Award
(we take a box of Chocolate Orange sticks and a computer generated certificate with us in the car and drive around the neighborhood and deliver it to the home we think has the best lights/Decor - we usually do this the week before Christmas as some people wait until then to put up their lights! The families are always SO surprised! It is fun!)

* Emma Cookie Day
* Cody Cookie Day
* Cameron Cookie Day
* Caleb Cookie Day
(They get to pick what kind of cookies we make. I try to do the cookie days once a week the whole month to spread them out)

* Polar Express Night
(Watch the DVD and make Hot Cocoa to drink - we also "must" get up and dance to the Hot Chocolate song LOL)

* Temple Square/Traxx
(We always have this one on our to-do's and never quite make it! Hopefully this year! - usually someone is sick that night! :( XXcrossing our fingersXX we make it this year... I think Caleb would be THRILLED to ride the train.)

* Christmas Caroling Family Home Evening
(we used to hit our own neighborhood, but now that they know so many people, we don't - they like not knowing who they sing to! LOL)
* Neighbor Gifts Delivery
(This year will be doing a Neighborhood Hot Chocolate and Donuts/Food Drive thing...EQ is sponsoring it :) hee hee! More info to come my ward members...)

* Game Night with Friends
(last year we had dinner together on a Sunday night and my friend brought this dough (I have the recipe) to make cut out cinnamon scented ornaments - similar to sugar cookies, but non-edible, and baked them. They made my house smell terrific for days! LOL and you could smell them all season from the Christmas tree. Then we played games.)

* Home Alone Double Feature
(With LOTS and Lots of popcorn!)

* Dorius Family Party OR Ward Party
(If his G'ma does theirs another night besides Christmas Eve, if not we don't count this one and often replace it with the Ward Christmas Party.)

* Ewell Family Party OR Visit with Santa
(G'pa Ewell always dresses as Santa at their party... so you could make a visit to a Santa for this night :) that's the highlight of this night anyway... LOL and it helps me know for sure we are on the right track for the kids gifts LOL)

* Festival of Lights
(we put the seats down and all load in the back of our car - usually with our old friends the Throckmorton's - yes it is very squishy - and sing Christmas Carols at the top of our lungs - you annoy the dad's in the front seats *giggle*- and go see the Festival of lights. We open the back window once we are there and let the littlest ones peer out... it's way fun and cheap!)

* Make your own Ornament and give it away
(This year I got 2 kits at the Dollar Store that makes 3 ornaments for $1! )

* Kids Shopping Trip

* Kids Shopping Trip
(We take 2 at a time and they buy each other a gift for Christmas from the Dollar Store and wrap it. I take them usually & then we hide out in my bedroom while they wrap. The ones who stay home watch Christmas cartoons with Dad)

* Temple Anniversary "Date"
(We were sealed on the 6th... so we used to go drive around the temple and talk about our family's sealing and such. This year we may take Emma to do baptisms during the day (my friend Nicole Fuentes gave me names so we can all go! ;) ) and then have her talk about it for FHE that night.)

* Santa Cookies!! - Christmas Eve Eve (LOL)
We have to make Santa cookies the day before we need them! LOL Usually I just use pre-made dough and they place them on the cookie sheet, but then we turn on Christmas music and dance in the kitchen while they cook.

* Read the Nativity - while they act it out - by "candle light" - Christmas Eve
(I bought the battery operated candles you can get at the Dollar Store. They loved to read the Scriptures about Jesus' birth by candle light  right before bed and each use their own candles to go to bed with. Last year they also wanted to act it out and it was a hoot! I am sure they will want to again this year... Sophie makes SUCH a good baby Jesus! LOL! It also nice because the candles all take 2 batteries each, so I am guaranteed to at least have 8-10 AA's for Christmas morning! LOL)

I learned to NOT tell the kids which day was for what for most of these, or even that I was planning it, so if it did not work out they weren't disappointed. They just love the surprise of Mom saying "let's go/do..." And often it took less than 15-30 min. but they were THRILLED!

One thing we have done since they were babies is read Christmas stories at bedtime every year. We have a couple of books that has a story for each night of December (Thank Aunt Becky!). We often miss one or two nights because, well, that is just how it is in December! LOL! But they love it! We usually turn off all the lights but the Christmas tree and right before family prayer we gather around the Christmas tree and read a quick story and say prayers. It really makes for a great season!

OH! Another thing we do every year that starts when we get out Christmas decor, but you could totally start it as one of your nights of Christmas in December...

We have a wooden manger that we keep under (or near) the Christmas tree. We have a bunch of yellow yarn cut into 2-3" lengths. Everytime we see someone do something kind/they do something kind or an act of service that no one knows about, one that would make Jesus happy, we put a piece of "straw" in the manger for "baby Jesus Christmas morning". Anyone is allowed to do it, anytime of day. The first year we did it, it was hard for Caleb because he would fill it and empty it all day long, he just liked being able to play with it! LOL The kids would get SO annoid at him! But last year they all did really well at it. We all laughed one day when I was at my wits end and I marched into the livingroom... and grabbed 5 strands of yarn and put them in the manger. The kids all wanted to know why... and I answered because I really wanted to yell at each one of you all and decided not to! They burst into giggles and it really lightened the mood. It is a fun tradition.

I hope you enjoy the ideas I try to use! If you have any others I would *LOVE* to hear them! :) Happy Traditions Planning!

A Week of Thanksgiving Day #4

This Sabbath day I am thankful for:

  1. A couple of wonderful speakers in Sacrament meeting reminding me of what I am truly thankful for.
  2. The Spirit that I felt at church today.
  3. That I could GO to church today.
  4. For a hot meal for my family.
  5. For being able to sit without back pain, even though I threw out my back again right before leaving for church.
  6. For Cody's Preisthood Preview... he is excited about becoming a deacon next year!
  7. For my hot pad.
  8. For a rub that works miracles!
  9. For great friends and neighbors.
  10. For 5 more cookbooks sold! Yea!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Week Of Thanksgiving #3

Today... this Saturday before Thanksgiving... I am so thankful for:

  1. A day of projects completed.
  2. The Elder's Quorum Turkey Bowl and Breakfast behind us. I think Jes and I did ok with it... we had just enough food leftover to take to a family with teenage boys at home whose Dad is in the hospital. All our debates over how much we needed was guided by a higher power I think! *grin*
  3. That the weather was stayed until everyone was finished eating. It made cleaning up a little crazy as we chased paper plates of food and it launched a bowl of shredded cheese all over...but for being outside.. this breakfast thing worked out ok! :)
  4. My nice clean car for a snowy week ahead.
  5. The snow that is finally here and softly falling... ahhh.
  6. For my nice warm home and clean windows to watch the falling snow.
  7. For Jes... working on JWD Electric paperwork. Bless him!
  8. For Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup after a long day out in the cold.
  9. For my aching back doing a little bit better after I faced the fear of hurting someone.
  10. For it turning out so well when I talked to this person... I so did not want to hurt anyone's feelings.
It's been a happy day! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Week Of Thanksgiving #2

I am thankful for:

  1. Friends who were given free tickets to Harry Potter and decided to invite Jes and I along. It was fun to go a real date.
  2. The $ Jes had in his pocket when we got to the movie from stringing lights for our cute "grandma" next door... we even got popcorn and some Milk Duds on our date! *grin*
  3. That Jes' continuing education is done now. What a relief!
  4. For a day of rest when I hurt the most (I hurt my back and it is makin' me crazy!)
  5. For Emmalee staying home today, she needed the rest.  This cold is kicking her butt!
  6. For Caleb's excitement to go to school! I barely got a goodbye as he ran out the door for his carpool! He loves it!
  7. That Caleb has been accepted into speech therapy and that the teachers think he will flourish and graduate from it quite quickly :)
  8. For Jes... and all he does for everyone else.
  9. For my snuggly lounge pants...
  10. For all my meds that keep me going and living the life I would like. I am BLESSED! :)


Since I received 19 boxes of cookbooks, lined with long and short pieces of card board to seperate the stacks of books, our home has become a literal engineering marvel!

Caleb L.O.V.E.S. all the pieces of cardboard. He has made buildings and bridges. He took them and lined the stairs, using the smaller pieces as braces and the longer pieces as the road, and had balloon races down the stairs.

A couple of nights ago, he discovered that he could make elaborate race tracks for his shakeable Cars toys (you shake them to "rev" their engines, then let them go and they race)

Jestin came home and saw what they were doing... within minutes he was on the floor. He changed the batteries out in all 3 racers ("refilled their gas tanks") and they had SUCH a good time!
 They made bumbs in the road to challenge their cars...
 Caleb was Lightening McQueen and he kept winning.
 Cam was "Mr. The King" and he was not so fast...
 Ready! Set! GO!!!
 Daddy kept crashing Mater! Mater is not so good at all the jumps! LOL
It was so heartwarming to see them all play together!

I just wish I had known before hand!

I coulda wrapped up all that cardboard and given it to them for Christmas!


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Each day for this week up to Thanksgiving, I am going to list 10 things each day that I am thankful for:

  1. I am thankful for a good friend who needed to talk, so I had a good excuse to go window shopping and eat a frozen yogurt with her. Thanks so much for your friendship and always loving me...even when *I* am onry. *grin*
  2. I am thankful for homemade chicken noodle soup. My little girl is sick and has been asking for it for weeks. I finally made it for her to help her feel better and it was perfect for a cold fall evening.
  3. I am thankful for my new ward cookbook, and the breadstick recipe that my friend Steph put in there. Seriously! I could eat the whole pan! YUM!
  4. I am thankful that Jes has been working on my FLYSistah Norma's basement. It has been a huge blessing for us right now.
  5. I am thankful that a collector is willing to work with us, and that even though it is not so cool to have an account in collections, I also know when we are done with it, it will be that much less bondage we are in. And it feels good to have it almost settled.
  6. I am thankful for a dear friends email this week. I have missed her... a ton.
  7. I am thankful for my new pillow. We had to splurge and get a new pillow for Caleb (since he puked on his). They had one on a gonga sale at ShopKo, so we got it, even though it was too fluffy for Caleb. I gave him mine and I took the new one so he didn't have to be mad it was too big. It is PERFECT! No heartburn... and a good nights sleep. Heaven!
  8. I am thankful for my computer working well again. I am thankful to the brilliant men in our lives that know how to get it to behave. This baby has to last a while longer! *wink*
  9. I am thankful for my abilities. Often I get discouraged and feel like I can do so little, but really, I am able to do a lot and I need to remember the glass is half FULL!  :)
  10. I am so thankful that I have not gone back into full A-fib since my heart surgery. The bad heart days, I will take, as long as I don't have to fear for my life or face cardioverson. It seems this time of year reminds me of how blessed I really am when I think of the year of setting up the Christmas tree/Pink Eye and my last major bout of A-fib from it. I never want to do that again! LOL And soo... I am THANKFUL! OH SO THANKFUL! :)

It's that time of year again! We did our Family Gratitude Tree for Family Home Evening. The kids LOVE it!
 Some of my personal favorites are toilets, TP and garbage cans. LOL
The one that makes me cry is "Dad's Eyes"... 
Even in these tough times, we really are SO blessed. It is wonderful to take a moment and list a few and have our tree to look at the rest of the year to remind us of just how blessed we really are! :)

If you would like to read a great talk about gratitude... click HERE.

Happy Gratitude Month!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not your Momma's Ward Cookbook

I am pleased to present you with the fruits of my 100's of hours of loving labor:

 Our Ward Cookbook is finally HERE!!

It looks absolutely fabulous!! My heart just swells when I see it. I am so thankful to have been able to be part of this project. It is a HUGE asset to my I smile to think it blesses others as well! :)
 Our cookbook features a soft, easy-wipe surface 3 ring-binder cover, that also has quick reference info on the front cover. Each section has a tabbed divider with revelant kitchen tips and tricks for that subject. There are well over 700 recipes in this book that are tried, true and favorites! You will love the quick and easy recipes, the cute Primary children's take on their mother's cooking, and lots of fun & frugal homemade household cleaner recipes as well! This is the cookbook that every kitchen needs! :)

It also includes an easel that is easily stored inside your cookbook, but prevents spills and makes a great asset to your collection!

Most of our ward has picked theirs up, so we are offering them to ANYONE who would like one!

They are only $10!!
(that only covers the cost of printing and binding. )

If you would like to order/pick one up... I have them here at my house. We have lots of extras, but when they are gone, they are gone, so act today! :)

I would LOVE for you to enjoy the fruits of my labor of love... :)

Christmas Music

The sound of Christmas music is flowing through my house. It really is motivating me to get going on my house cleaning in preparation for the holidays! I LOVE this time of year! Thanksgiving is my very most favorite holiday!! :)

And Christmas music is bringing me great joy today....


I have a love/hate relationship with ironing. I *love* having freshly ironed clothes. I *hate* actually doing it.

I think that I rebel against the fact that it needs done until every item we own that needs ironed is in a pile calling my name.

I spent almost all of yesterday afternoon ironing the over 25 items that needed it. There were shirts (all the male people of the houses church shirts), some skirts of Emma's (that she no longer fits in *blush*), 3 pairs of Capri's of mine that I just put into the summer clothes box to be ironed next summer (bwahahaha) and a scout shirt, some pillow cases etc. How silly!

If I just DID it when I had one or two items...? I would only need 15-20 minutes tops.

But...No. I don't.

I never really learned how to iron, so I just pretend I know what I am doing. Does anyone else have trouble getting the tops of the shoulder's to look well ironed? I am sure there is a marvelous trick for this...that someone out there knows! LOL
BUT! YEE-HAW!! ALL my ironing is done.
My ironing board is put away.
My iron is put away.
And my closets have nicer looking clothes in them again.

AHHH... the peace that comes from the completion of a job you have been avoiding!! I LOVE IT! *GRIN*

Monday, November 15, 2010


Jestin was scheduled for his last eye surgery tomorrow. He has been so very nervous and anxious about it. The Retinal Specialist's office called him this morning to confirm his "8-week follow-up appointment". Uh. Huh? He replied...don't you mean my surgery? Nope. They had it scheduled as a follow-up appointment. He doesn't have a surgery on the books for Jes!

Hello??? Mc-Fly.....

We have had this planned for over 2 months. We have had them in contact with Voc. Rehab for at least that long KNOWING that was the plan for this appointment.

Anyway... it has been postponed. It has to be re-approved with the right date and info, so he likely will not go in for surgery until a week from now at the soonest.

Jes is really bummed out. He was mentally prepared to get it over with... now he has to contemplate it for another whole week! :(

Gotta love his dumb blonde office help. Yeah... she is cute. Yeah... she is super friendly to your patients... and she even flirts with the old grandpa's in the room... but Doc... if she can't do her job.. then all of that is null and void.

Just sayin'....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hello. Remember me?

I am so not doing very well at blogging anymore! I have so much to say... so much good stuff going on... and pictures... oh the pictures! But I come to this site, think of "where do I start?" and walk away again! I feel overwhelmed! I let my perfectionism kick in and take over.

I used to struggle with this in my homemaking skills and organizational skills. Many years ago, I found a new and upcoming mentor, who now is quite well known. FLYLady  became a great asset to my life almost 10 years ago. I joined her when she had less than 10,000 followers. I joined an online support group here in my area, and quickly met some of my very most dearest friends, the "FLYSistahs". We have waded through the toughest of the tough together. I also exposed my aunt Becky to FLYLady, and years ago, through the new and cool Yahoo IM service, we would take the 15 minute challenges and come back and report! FLYLady has taught me some great skills... and really blessed my life.

"You can do anything for 15 minutes"

"You are not behind! Jump in where you are!"

"Baby Steps!"

"Put out your 'hot spots' "

& "Shine your sink everyday"

Now I have to admit, when I joined the group, FLYLady was a lot tougher on us than she is now. She did not put up with whining. We have COMPLETE control over how we want our homes and lives to go and she had not patience for "stinking thinking" as she called it.

I have slipped back into letting my perfectionism take away my ability to do those baby steps, those 15-minute blitzes of what I really WANT to do anyway. I am not out of control in my homemaking and organizational life... those are a constant work in progress, and I am really pretty good at keeping up on them.

It is my love of and desire for blogging. I love to blog! And I am going to do it! Even if I only do 15 minutes here and there, this once a month thing is NOT how I want my blog life to go. And I need to take back my drive to accomplish and not let my lack of seeing it done perfectly, RIGHT NOW, stop me in my tracks any more! *wink*

So... if you want to try FLYLady out... may I suggest you start small. Set goals. Then once you have shined your sink for a couple of weeks, sign up for her zone missions. Seriously.... if you work through them... you will find yourself in a much less choatic home, with some real ambition to see yourself succeed. I promise. Just don't try to do it all at once. It takes many many weeks for something to become a habit.

Wish me luck.

And now my 15 minutes are up... and... "I'll be back!" :)