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.

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.

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. As a family, 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 are needed 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. And experience has taught me that keeping one step ahead of everyone else, allows me to give direction and be prepared for the day; this means getting up a bit earlier, getting myself ready, and knowing how the day is to go, before the children wake up. Trust me, it saves time.

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 at school or at church.

One of the most important aspects of being a parent of many children, is being close as a father and mother. When the children see their parents sitting next to each other watching tv, or helping each other cook in the kitchen, and when they see their father opening the door for their mother, it builds a secure foundation for them to feel part of something grand. Mom giving dad a little kiss, the two of them holding hands, smiling, and laughing, are things that set the example for children to not only know that their parents love each other, but also sets the example for them to follow when they get married.

Sunday, September 3, 2017


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)

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!!!