Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Absolutely delicious looking salad made with lots of love by Christi!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Worship Music: Listening vs Singing, Loud vs Soft

Ever attend a Sacrament meeting where the opening song (and every song after that) is snail slow? You sit in the congregation trying to speed up the song by singing a little faster than the chorister is directing, but to no avail. Each song is slow enough to make you fall asleep. It was during one of these meetings that it came to me: a bright light of inspiration, a drop of knowledge that fell into my brain, a whisper of clarity. I have discovered that there are two speeds in our church music: a prelude speed, and a singing speed. The idea that there are two speeds doesn't seem to be acknowledged, widely understood, or practiced.

Prelude music
The organist may be perfectly comfortable with the pace and tempo of prelude music, and totally enjoy playing the organ before the meeting starts. The music is played at a relatively soft volume so as to be in the background and not overtake conversation or meditation. This is great!

However, when the prelude tempo is used as a singing tempo, the meeting can spiral downhill quickly, and the members who came to be uplifted, are left dragging...some may even become agitated.

Tempo:
When there is an opening song, in whatever meeting it is, the tempo for that opening song is generally faster than the prelude or meditation music. The trouble is, when that same meditation tempo is used for a congregation to sing, the congregation (although they follow) feels the slow pace, and the desire to speed it up. The chorister may be completely unaware of this concept and is doing the best he or she can, with the speed they're comfortable with.

It would be helpful for a chorister to be made aware of the two speeds, and practice keeping the meeting hymns up to speed as suggested by the numbers in the top left corner of the page, by the title.

Volume:
Most of the time, the organist can't tell how loud the organ is, because it's all loud as he or she sits on the stand playing. So if the same soft volume during the prelude music prior to the start of the meeting is carried into the meeting, the tempo naturally suggests to the congregation to sing softly. This could mean that the melody isn't emphasized and the congregation doesn't sing loud because they can't find the melody.

So if we correct the speed and volume of our hymns, not only will the congregation enjoy the worship meeting, the organist and chorister will feel more successful as the room will be filled with song!

Large Family Logistics (the long, and incomplete version)

In every family, there are rules, standards, and expectations. In large families, the schedule gets a little simpler, yet more time consuming. Therefore, a mom and dad spend more time managing the system, and making sure no one gets lost in the crowd.

According to my experience and observations of other large families, I'd like to share some insights that many people aren't aware of with respect to large families.
Two things change with large families: 1. the children may adopt the crowd mentality; meaning, they can hide behind someone else, and nothing pertains to them individually, and 2. parents may think of their children as a group, and always count them when going somewhere all together. (in and out of the car, in and out of the store, at parks, Disneyland, theaters, etc.) It's a necessity and nearly everyone does it.

On a day to day basis, there a number of necessities required to make life smooth. These are the usual physical things like: get up in the morning and make your bed, brush your teeth, brush your hair, get dressed for the day, clean your room including the floor, etc.  Then there's the interaction things between brothers and sisters like: be considerate of who needs to use the bathroom next, finding shoes that match and are yours, gathering laundry and putting it where its supposed to go (wherever that might be), and getting supplies out for meals. Now this might seem ordinary for one or two children, or even maybe three, but add seven more children, and the situation compounds. Kids being who they are, with their different personalities, there will inevitably be a little conflict here and there, that requires a mom or dad to step in and provide direction. If not, chaos ensues and escalates very quickly.

In a smaller family, these usual things might not take very much time. But in a large family, simply because of the number of bodies that need to accomplish these simple tasks, it takes a lot longer. Hence, simple schedule, more time needed.
Baths, for example, must be pushed through in a quick and timely fashion so that everyone can get in and out, because there is always someone needing to use the bathroom. The same with making school lunches and laundry! (however, laundry is in its own world) They must be done quickly and accurately.

A dad who works everyday to provide necessities and the occasional luxury is essential to making a large family work, along with the "buck-stops-here" attitude which is rarely questioned.
A mom who stays at home to manage the everyday chores, status of the home, finances, and well being of each child in the home, is also essential to making life run smoother for all.
The two work together (and constantly talk to be on the same page) to provide a standard of love, consideration, and an independence-building place for their children to learn, play, and feel secure.

Everyone has a job to do, or a chore, which 1, helps make the system run more smoothly, and 2, teaches the children responsibility and accountability. Lessons are learned in acquiring a high standard of cleanliness (meaning, you can't leave your dirty socks on the living room floor), integrity (being honest when asked if you washed your hands before making lunches), social appropriateness (meaning, you should be polite when responding to your sister, and not calling anyone names). All this and more, are learned in a large family (and in almost any other size family, as well).

The mother accepts the responsibility of the keeping of the home, and its running smoothly. In a large family, it quickly becomes apparent that simple rules need to be enforced to keep a high standard. There is no slacking, no taking your time and day dreaming in the shower, or watching the water run down the drain while beginning to doing the dishes. A mom learns quickly about time management, and teaches her children how to be the best time mangers, sometimes with an argument, sometimes without.

Because of the time constraints of running a home with a large family, and helping children individually, there isn't much time for other outside interests. Meaning, there isn't as much time for being head of a committee, or serving as a classroom parent (for more than an hour), or even going on all-day field trips.

At this point, I would like to toss in an observation, that not all moms stay at home and do nothing but housework and change diapers. With teamwork, some moms swap babysitting with friends, and go and do everything they want to. But by and large, moms with lots of children concentrate on the efficient running of their homes, and the happiness of their husbands and children, (with some hobbies on the side, when they have literally, a few minutes here and there!)

As a mom of many children, it is keeping on track, on time, and being happy, that influences your family. It is just what you do, as a normal part of life. So a mom can feel great about teaching a class, if she has the time, or helping at scouts, if she has the time. But if she doesn't have the time, that's okay! Conversations about the activity with her children, keep her involved and close to her children.

When I was young, there was a woman I knew who had ten children. She wasn't in any prominent positions, or wasn't at every activity I was at, but she did occasionally teach a class at church. At the time, I often wondered why she wasn't more involved. Then I had twelve children, and realized that my focus and attention was on my children, not so much on being seen at, and involved in, every activity.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Scents





Have you ever walked through a department store, passed the perfume section and nearly been bowled over by the strong scents, and then finding yourself nearly running through that department?
I agree, it can be quite overwhelming, however, I just love smelling different scents.
Walking into the house after being way for a while, it's nice to smell a hint of flowers. Getting into the car, the scent of cologne; going into the mall restroom, the smell of clean linen; being in the forest, the pine tree smell.
I'm so glad there are room sprays in so many different scents because I like to spray them everywhere. Some hit me with a sourness, others are too woodsy. But I think my favorites are the strong florals, like jasmine and gardenia. My family can handle those scents, only in few and far between occasions, so I use lighter scents. My favorites right now are lavender/vanilla, apple cinnamon, and clean linen.
I love smelling some kind of scent everywhere I go.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Clam Chowder (or is it?)


You've not seen a recipe like this! 
I've tried searching for a clam chowder and even a potato soup recipe with added ingredients, and didn't find anything suitable for my idea, so I created my own recipe.
It has the usual clam chowder ingredients, like onion celery, potatoes, and the sauce making stuff like butter, flour, and cream.
But this one has a dry potato soup mix that already has the flour, milk, flour, and spices in it. It's cheating, I know, but it saves time and we like the soup mix spice blend.
So to this, I added the vegetables: celery, carrots, red potatoes (because I like the texture better than russet), fresh kernel corn, clams, and bacon bits. 
Made in a large stock pot, then refrigerated overnight, and transferred to a crockpot the next morning to gently heat up for lunch.
Holy cow, was it good!
I love clam chowder, but this was the great!
We will definitely be making this again!



Here's the recipe:
(and it makes enough for a crowd)
4-1/2 cups Augason Farms Potato Soup Mix
9 cups water
1/2 lb of baby carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced diagonaly, about 1/2 inch
8 medium sized red potatoes, peeled, chopped in 1 inch cubes
kernels sliced off 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
4 T bacon bits
2 cans minced clams, drained
drizzle or two of olive oil

Boil the potatoes until half done, or until a fork can go half way through a cube. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
In a large stock pot, mix the dry soup mix with all of the water, stirring til smooth. Heat to nearly boiling, then reduce heat to low. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, corn, and bacon bits. Stir to keep blended. Add clams, and drizzle olive oil over surface, mix well. Heat for 20 minutes,
stirring occasionally to blend. Remove from heat and allow to cool, covered, about 2 hours.
Transfer to large covered container, and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, pour soup mix into large crockpot. Heat on high for an hour then turn to low heat for 3 hours. Serve hot with crackers or bread.
Store soup in refrigerator.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lovely Double Crochet Blanket

I love this color yarn. 
It's from Red Heart and is called Williamsburg! 
With variegated colors that are closer than usual. And what I mean by that is, the amount of dye on a strand of yarn are shorter than what is most common. 
Its one of those colors you don't find in a store. But I found it on the Red Heart website while scrolling through all of their colors, looking for something unique.
The skein is a bit smaller (5 oz), though, so when I decided to make this blanket, I needed twice as much yarn as with other skeins. (of course I didn't realize that until I bought the first batch of yarn - 10 skeins, And then I saw that I needed to order another 10 skeins! And then another!) 
Luckily, the yarn was on sale - 1/2 price!
This one will be about a full size blanket, or large enough to cover just the top of a queen size bed, but at the moment, I'm about half way finished, and I can't wait till its done!
(because I have another project blanket I want to start!)




Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Soft Spot for Sweets

It's no secret that I LOVE sweets! Especially when there's chocolate involved!
Just look at this!
And this!
It looks so delicious!
Soo good!
Pinterest is the perfect place for mouth-watering, tempting desserts, and even the recipes for making them.
Gee, I wish you could order foods from the Pinterest menu!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

If Would Be Heaven To Me If.....

Aside from the religious perspective of Heaven and all of its meanings, I got to thinking about what Heaven would be like; who would be there, what we would see, how would we feel......

It would heaven to me if there were pine trees, green grasses, ferns, cool air, breezes, blue skies, clouds, and a sprinkle of rain now and then. All of my growing up and adult life has been associated with frequent camping trips in the trees. Being in the forest is a part of me. There would definitely be no bugs, flies, or spiders...

It would be heaven to me if I could be of benefit to someone else. Whether in service, or conversation, it would be heaven if my efforts were useful and helpful to someone else. Not for my own gratification, but for the betterment of others.

It would be heaven to me if I could quilt, sew, and crochet things to give away to people who needed and wanted them. These are passions of mine that I like to make and share.

It would be heaven to me if there were flowers of every kind everywhere, especially the strongly scented ones. They would be wonderful to look at, and especially nice to smell. And they'd be all over the place, wherever I went. Vines, bushes, in gardens, along the roadsides, and in vases. Everywhere!

It would be heaven to me if there were music ringing in every corner of the world. Light music, soft music, dancing music, rock music that's upbeat---all clean. The music would be the kind that sinks into your heart and makes you happy, and makes you dance, and sway.

It would be heaven to me if I could have the body I had at 24 years of age. At that age, I felt physically good (and mentally, too!) Those were the years of single-handedly moving furniture around the living room (some of it quite heavy), painting bedrooms, and mowing the grass; of carrying on my hip one toddler, holding the hand of another, and loading a cart full of groceries and kids into the car quickly. (it was hard, but I miss those days)

It would be heaven to me if I could have endless supplies for making Chocolate Chip Cookies everyday. I would eat half the batch fresh out of the oven, and share the rest each time I made them. (and I wouldn't get sick!) Speaking of baking, I would want to make danishes, breads, cakes and pies. All of which would be enjoyed by family and friends. An extension of that would be helping my husband run a little restaurant. He would do all the cooking, because he's a fantastic chef, and I'd taste test everything he made!

It would be heaven to me if I could have a Doberman Pincher dog, and not be allergic to him (it would be a male dog). I would play and roughhouse with him, walk/run around the neighborhood, and then have him rest his head on my feet while I sit on the sofa in the evening. He would be the usual black color with a little brown.

It would be heaven to me if I had all the time in the world to do all of the things I'd wanted to do during this life that take time to learn. Not that I haven't done many things in my life, but time hasn't permitted me to pursue hobbies that seemed intriguing. There wouldn't be a clock to abide by, no rush, no deadlines or time limits on when I could start something and end something, and I'd have plenty of time to learn new things. And anything I created would be of benefit to someone else.

It would be heaven to me if I could continue to bear children and not be in pain: babies, babies, babies! I loved carrying them during pregnancy, and I loved delivering them (but not the painful part). I loved their sweet newborn smell, their tiny features, and their little cries. It would be heaven to keep babies coming!

It would be heaven to me if I knew that my husband and I could be together forever. We could spend time together alone, and also with our family. We would laugh, cook, garden, eat tons, and hike hills and mountains together. This would make me beyond happy.

It would be heaven to me if I could listen to my husband sing: hymns, old songs, silly songs, anything...it would be great!

It would be heaven to me if I knew that ALL of our children were together with us throughout the eternities, and none were left out or left behind.

So many things would make heaven wonderful, but the best of all would be that we, my husband and I, and all of our children, would be happy! Together!

(in thinking more about this subject, there may be more added to this post at a later date)

UPDATE:
In thinking about what more to add about what heaven could be, I've decided that adding the word "forever" to the last thought (above) would be perfect. It would read:  ...it would be heaven if my husband and I, and all of our children could be happy together FOREVER!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Is Blogging Fading?

After not writing on any of my blogs in over a year, I thought I'd "visit" them and see what I posted last, and see if anyone else has visited.

I was quite surprised to find that my blog has been quiet. In the past, blogging was quite popular, and EVERYONE had a blog. Friends would write, check in on their favorites, post comments, and spent a good part of the day doing something with a blog. Now, things have changed. And, well, I guess I'm not too surprised that my blog has been quiet. Nothing here is THAT interesting, so it made me think…..is the blogging world fading? And is tweeting, facebooking, and website surfing taking over? Is the fan based blog world diminishing? Or is there still the massive group of people/friends still blogging, but there isn't as much notoriety with it?

I still consider it a place to write thoughts, get feedback from others, and enjoy checking in on favorite blogs for ideas, thoughts, and laughs.

I'd be curious to see how many others feel the same way, or have a different view on the whole subject….

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Take on the Long Life Salad


Based on an episode from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this salad lives up to its popularity among healthy eaters.
It's a salad with tons of good stuff, some of which, one wouldn't think could/should be combined.
It's great!
The ingredients are kale, quinoa, lentils, black beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, golden raisins, dried prunes, walnuts, and mango
Added ingredients could be sunflower seeds, pecans
I used a citrus salad dressing which adds a twist.
In this picture, I used romaine lettuce instead of kale; but kale works better.
Truly healthy, I can see where this salad would help you live longer!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Opened My Pincushion and Found This!


I made a new pincushion and wanted to get what I thought would be a few needles out of the old pincushion. Boy, was I surprised to find 38 needles hiding in the yarn stuffing!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Bible Video Phenomenon

Over the past year or so, since the church has made available some bible videos depicting the life of Christ, we'd watched a few a while back and thought, "Oh, how nice. The church has made some videos about the Savior."
But it wasn't until we started watching them more often that something remarkable happened.
The videos seem to be produced every month, if not every few weeks, or so, and the messages are straight from the scriptures.
As we marveled at how we felt after watching one or two, we decided to play the videos, non-stop, one Sunday morning before church. Our church time was at 1pm, so we had all morning to let the spirit of the videos linger, and let the scripture messages sink into our minds. It was amazing how "light" we felt attending our meetings that day, with the thoughts of the Savior always present.
Since then, we've  been thrilled at each new video that's posted, and watch them over and over. Like reading the scriptures, each time we've watched a video, something new jumps out. Some part of the scripture that had been skimmed over, all of a sudden makes more sense, or brings to memory something that needs to be addressed in our testimonies.
Because they're scripture based, we can refer to the scripture reference included at the end of most of them, and continue our study of the New Testament and the life of the Savior.
The phenomenon is that our testimonies of the Savior have grown stronger simply by watching these bible videos and allowing the messages to settle on us (along with lifting the spirit of our home!).
I wish I could tell the world about these great videos! They have such a profound effect on us!
Just try watching these videos and see if the atmosphere lifts your spirit!
Bible Videos: www.lds.org/bible-videos

Sunday, February 9, 2014

An Inheritance

An inheritance:
Inheritance is something you get from your ancestors, whether a possession or a characteristic.  In times past, land was considered an inheritance to be given to descendants. In more modern day, an inheritance might be defined as a possession left to family members in the way of money, silverware, jewelry, a set of tools, etc.

But considering the word inheritance, it requires us to look back to our ancestors, for what they’ve left for us. If we look forward, we look to our posterity. Our children.

So on the other side of the question, we could ask, what we are saving or intending to give to our children as their inheritance. Would it be a possession, a sum of money, or a knowledge of something that is important to us? What we consider to be worthwhile and valuable, will be important to our children and grandchildren, and they will treasure and cherish their inheritance from us simply because it was possessed by us. And this will draw them closer to us. Hopefully they will give ear to our values and bring honor to their name.


Now that's a grand inheritance!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Go Back and Save Us!

There's a story of a man who lived nearly 100 years ago who had a dream in which he crossed beyond the veil of this world to the world of spirits. There he saw many beautiful things and felt at peace. He was guided to a large group of people who were his relatives, who'd lived their lives many years before. When they recognized who he was, and that he was their descendant, they cheered for him and longed for him to stay with them. But then they came to understand that he had the power to enable them to be tied together forever as a family and not be eternal individuals. They all agreed and cheered for him to go back and make it possible for them to be linked together. For he was the only means in his generation that could perform this duty. All of their hopes rested on him. So he came back, in his dream, to fulfill the request of his ancestors by entering into a House of the Lord, and doing for them what they couldn't do for themselves: be linked, tied, and bound together as an eternal family.

Whether the dream is true or not, the concept is there. It is our blessing, in our day, to have the means to link our families together, both our immediate families, and those who've passed before us, and even ensure that our posterity will be tied to us as well. For when all is said and done in the end, it'll be to our credit that we fulfilled our desire to claim our ancestors, and help other families do the same.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Living Up To My Privileges


I am blessed to live in the last days when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, there is a prophet on the earth, and my home is blessed by priesthood power. I am additionally blessed to be able to stay at home, serve in callings at church, and have the time to visit on the phone and in person with my married children. I have the opportunity to read my scriptures everyday and search ways to teach those children still living at home, the things I know to be true. And I am doubly blessed to have a husband who honors his priesthood and has a job that allows him to spend time with me during a good part of the day. For I know that the more time spent on a relationship, the stronger that relationship gets.

A big deal is made of the mothers in the Book of Mormon story about the stripling warriors; how the sons of Helaman were so faithful because they trusted in their mothers faith. I submit that not only were their mothers faithful and taught their children the gospel, but that additionally, their fathers played the foundational part in their sons testimonies. For, even though women may be a driving force in passing to their children the truths of the gospel, the priesthood, which surely filled their homes, was honored by the men of that time. Not enough is implied or said about those fathers who so valiantly provided examples to their children through their service to their fellowmen. No doubt strong families prevailed in their villages and camps, and the expectation was nothing short of obedience with exactness.

Because I have been given much, I too, must give. Because of the blessings that continue to pour into my life, I too, must return and offer what I have. I must fight the temptation to sit back and relax and enjoy "my stuff." It has been my privilege to share what has been given to me, and it is still my privilege to look for empty spots that I can fill in whatever ways I can, in service to Him from whom all blessings descend.

During this season when mothers and fathers are honored for their examples to family and friends, I count my blessings to be able to have borne children in this life. And not just borne children, borne many children. It is a blessing to me to experience the ups and downs, the happiness and sadness, the little lessons of life that one doesn't happen upon unless there are many children surrounding parents. I count my life's experience so far, as above average. Rich blessings surround me, which makes me want to return and give back, and live up to my privileges and potential.

Mother's Day


I'm sure that when someone decided to add Mother's Day to the list of national holidays, their intent was to bring honor to mothers. The same with Father's Day.

However, when you're a mother and Mother's Day rolls around, there's a mix of feelings that accompany the attention for that day. It's our challenge to focus on the positive intent of our children's love for us, instead of the natural feeling of being recognized as super deserving.

Its an opportunity for the family to express their undying love for us as mothers, and our indispensability to life as they know it. All the homemade cards, kisses, hugs, and smiles, along with the other service-oriented jobs, are what make this and Father's day fun and memorable. Amidst the slight chaos are the moments cherished when a child of any age looks you in the eye and says, "I Love You." Little surprises here and there remind you to smile and be happy all day long. Our reaction to children's expressions of love may be short lived in our minds, but last a lifetime in their minds.

Sometimes it's best to look beyond the messes, the disputes, dirty clothes on the floor, and appreciate the gestures offered from children learning how to give sincerely. Time passes too fast and children grow up and move out, leaving moms and dads with only memories of those special days.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Tree Wall Hanging

Christmas tree wall hanging - 2012

I found this design in an old quilting magazine. A hand-quilted, batting-in-the-middle, wall hanging with sequins, buttons, and beads sewn on as ornaments. I machine appliqued garland in yellow thread, and a bright yellow star on top. I hand stitched the star rays with yellow thread. 

The tree was originally supposed to be pieced together with Christmas fabric. But I wanted my tree to be all one pattern piece, so I had to design my own tree pattern, and the green fabric I used actually matches the valance next to it (not shown). 

The white background fabric is a large (about 10" x 16") piece of eyelet. I ironed some fusible webbing to machine appliqué the tree, trunk, and skirt to the background, and then added the red strips to the top and bottom. The star squares were hand sewn into each corner (because I don't like piecing little squares with the machine), and then the edges were added. The top tabs were almost the hardest to attach because just when I thought I had them all level, one would be too short. As it is, it's just a hair off, but it's done and over with! Not too bad for a first try at this pattern!

The dowel its hanging on is painted light brown and I super glued the wide red ribbon to each end, and tied a large bow at the top.


It was fun to make, so this'll be one wall hanging that we'll keep for years!