Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Pretty Dang Good Day

After so many meh days, today has been awesome. The great tide of good karma has finally shifted my way! All three kids woke up happy and were good about getting ready for the bus. Josh was super excited to wear his new snow boots. After the kids left, I ran to the Commissary and BX to pick up some essentials because it is snowing AGAIN and it sounds like we'll be buried in the morning. Then off to the school to volunteer in Anna's classroom. Got the first two Christmas cards of the season in the mail.

Then to the base library where I found THREE newish books that are on my GoodReads list that I couldn't bring myself to buy in hardcover. Seriously? Good karma.

Then home to put the finishing touches on our 72 hour kit. Maybe it is all the snow, but we decided to rotate through our family's 72 hour kit for FHE last week and have it all ready in the garage in case we have to grab and run. A couple of years ago, I bought a bunch of backpacks at Target on clearance for about $3 each and made them into personal kits for each member of our family with a change of clothes, rain poncho, and a washcloth and towel in them. But I also wanted to include a 72 hour individual food kit in each backpack. We did something like this when Liz and I were doing enrichment in Nebraska and it was a huge hit. So I got my resources out and ordered some plastic containers (which are about a quart in size, so perfect for mixing drink packets in) and set to work. We created a food list based on this list of suggestions.

72 Hour Food Kit List

3 assorted granola bars
1 juice box
1 package crackers or cookies
1 pkg. fruit snacks
1 fruit leather
3 envelopes hot chocolate
2 envelopes instant oatmeal
1 envelope instant soup mix
1 individual sized drink mix
2 sm. packs of chewing gum
10 assorted hard candies
2 sticks beef jerky
1 bag of nuts

It a pretty tight squeeze, but if you like Tetris, this will be a cinch. I ordered a batch of 6 containers and made up an extra kit that Tony can carry in his backpack.

If you are interested in doing something similar for your family, here is the information on the containers I used.

Industrial Container

Container product # B092A
Lid number #L252

And it's only lunchtime. Gotta love karma.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I hope that everybody had a fabulous food and football-filled Thanksgiving! Ours started very snowy...we have already had more snow this year than all of last winter combined. Scary? Perhaps.

Tony's boss, Lt. Col. Goldman and his family invited our family (and another family they go to church with) over to their beautiful home on the hill in North Spokane for the afternoon. Between Maria, Allison and I, we had a wonderful feast for about 1/3 of the work. Nice. The Goldmans have two beautiful daughters and Anna just loves to go play with them...almost like having two really cool older sisters for the afternoon. They even offered to sit at the little people table to help watch our three kiddos and all we heard was giggles. They spent the rest of the afternoon watching How To Train your Dragon and playing hide and seek. Such a great family. Somehow, the ladies ended up in the family room watching football and chatting and the guys got stuck in the dining room, well, just chatting. Not sure how that happened, but it worked out well for us!

The very best part about this Thanksgiving was being together as a family. Last November, we were just beginning our 6-month deployment and it was so good to be together this year. I know this past couple of months have been a little "blog light" and "heart heavy", but this year, I continue to be thankful for this part of my life. The wonderful people I have met through our silly little blog and your kind words and support when I have needed it the most. Here's to a wonderful Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day

I got the automated call from the school district this morning saying that the few new inches of snow that fell last night and the near freezing temperatures was the perfect recipe for a stay-at-home snow day!

Despite the cold, it really looks beautiful outside. Anna especially loves the flag they attach to the fire hydrant at the end of our driveway...I can imagine why THAT would be necessary. Just ask my friend Jessica about how ill-placed that hydrant is...even when there isn't any snow on the ground. Anna tends to be a little more optimistic about it's use. As a measure. For more snow.

I'm just about done with Christmas cards and today I finished up the last step on all our Christmas thank you cards. The great Martha Stewart snowflake punch was a gift from my mom last year and I used it on our Christmas cards as well this year. She decided she needed one too this year and it was nearly impossible to find. But you can buy the elusive Himalayan snowflake punch here. Use it in good health.

Stay warm out there!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful!

It snowed last night and it is C.O.L.D. Cold. Like as in "winter storm warning" and "blizzard conditions" being thrown around by the weatherman. But I'm seeing something REALLY good about the weather being frightful. I stay home. Inside where it is cozy and has hot chocolate. And get lots of stuff done. My Christmas to-do list is dwindling quickly which makes me happy. And today, I used some of the last of my autumn apples and made a batch of apple butter for teacher Thanksgiving gifts. A little sticky label and some homespun and they are ready to go for tomorrow. Lets hope that the apple butter (and the little boy who has it in his backpack) don't freeze on the way to school tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butternut Squash Bisque

I'm not too much of a soup person, but I LOVE butternut squash so when I found this recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens magazine, I had to give it a try. And it was delicious...the chipotle peppers add so much to this fall weather yumminess.

Butternut Squash Bisque

1 3-lb. butternut squash
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large Braeburn or Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 48-oz. box reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 oz. smoked Gouda or smoked cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Crumbled cooked bacon, celery leaves, and/or shaved Gouda cheese (optional)

Peel, seed, and cube butternut squash. In large pot melt butter over medium-high heat. Add fresh squash, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add apples, broth, cider, and peppers. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables and apples are tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly. When slightly cooled, puree in pot using an immersion blender. (Or puree in batches in a blender; return soup to saucepan.) Blend in sour cream. Heat through. Remove from heat; stir in shredded Gouda until melted. Top with bacon, celery leaves, and/or Gouda cheese. Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Visiting Teaching Gift

Man, oh man, am I behind on this one! I had them done before I went to Alaska, but didn't post it until now. But I'm a little excited about the way they turned out. Remember this post?? I wanted to do something like it for visiting teaching gifts for November, but wanted to keep the cost down but still make them, well, cute. So I used my leftover pumpkins, trimmed a little of the bottom so they would lay flat, bought $1 unpainted wooden frames from Michaels, painted, sanded and antiqued them, added a square of patterned paper in fall colors and attached the pumpkin with hot glue. I thought they turned out pretty cute.

I even went all pyro and burned the bottom of the tags before I mounted them on the orange cardstock. Had a little too much fun, actually. My grandparents always used to tell my dad that if he played with the fire when they went camping that he would wet the bed, so I was a little worried. Turns out, it must just be an urban legend type thing...:-).

This is the quote I used:

"How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude? President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer. Said he: “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life."

--Quoted by President Monson, 2010 October Conference

This is how it looks on my Thanksgiving sideboard.

Here, here and here are a couple other things I have done for visiting teaching gifts for November.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beautiful In White

It snowed seven inches here yesterday and today, everything looks beautiful and white and clean. My dad's headstone was completed this past week and temporarily set into the ground until the ground thaws and they can permanently set it. My mom and I went out there late this afternoon to take some photos. The sun was just beginning to set, but everything was beautiful and peaceful.

Beautiful and peaceful.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


...to Alaska!

Of course, Alaska doesn't look like this right NOW, but it does in the summer. Man, is it beautiful in the summer. Only crazy people and people with shingles actually choose to go to Alaska in November. And sometimes people who are both crazy AND have shingles.

Oh yeah, and people who gets to spend a week with their mom, just the two of them all.by.themselves.

Be back soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What I Am Is...

I saw this on Ali Edward's blog today and I loved it. LOVED it. Those Sesame Street guys have got some serious MOVES. And this might just be the first Will.i.am song (heck any Black Eyed Pea song) that I don't have to creatively edit when my kids are in the room. Please check it out...it's totally worth it. Mom, just click on the link...nothing will happen to your computer. I promise.

Will.i.am on Sesame Street

Feeling stronger already.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WHAT the...

As if I needed any proof that the last couple of months have been, shall we say, stressful, I have SHINGLES. Yes, my friends, shingles. The last time I had them, I was pregnant and no I'm not pregnant. But I think it is a ugly, painful right-on-the-side-of-my-poor-face reminder that I need to slow down. Breathe. Even though staying so busy I can't think helps dealing with "it", having shingles sucks.

REALLY sucks.