Sunday, December 28, 2008

Of Being Married to a Perfect Man




You know, I have to say, I'm pretty certain I am married to the best guy in the world. I was visiting with my friend Karen the other morning on the phone, and we were talking about some problems we have, and she said; "Well, everyone has faults." My reply was, "Yeah, everyone except for Curtis!" Then we got to talking about how amazing Curtis is, and we both agreed, he is a pretty special guy with a gift for truly loving people. How blessed I am to be married to him!

Of Maile Ready to Help Shovel

Here is Maile, ready for winter!

Of Cherstin and Arden in Masks

Cherstin came over and showed us the beautiful mask she had made for the town masquerade ball. Arden ran and got his mask too!

Of Snow and NO SNOWBLOWERS!



Here is Alli trying to shovel her way out of our driveway so she can get to work!



Here is Curtis with the kids, shoveling off our deck.

So, I have been trying not to be too negative about the weather, but I have to vent a little...PLEASE, POWERS THAT BE, NO MORE SNOW! I know I shouldn't complain too much because we really could use the moisture, but I am so sick of shoveling. The snowplow comes down our street and leaves a huge pile of snow in front of our driveway and mailbox, every single time he comes (which has been every day the last two weeks!). Friday Alli couldn't get to work on time because in three hours of shoveling, we only had a small pathway through the pile. Thank goodness for our wonderful neighbor, Brady Gardner, who came and dug us out with his snowblower.

Speaking of snowblowers, Curtis and I decided that a snowblower was no longer a want, but a necessity. Unfortunately, I think everyone else in the nation thinks the same, as no one seems to have any available. Anywhere... We will have to get one earlier in the season next year, I think!

Of Christmas and Presents

Well...Christmas is over...it was absolutely delightful! I had invited over several folks from the rest home in town for Christmas Eve, but since none of them could make it, we went over to our neighbors, the Rammell's, and enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve with them. We also inducted them into the wonderful world of Settler's of Catan. Their girls are pretty competitive, and I don't know that I have ever played such an intense game of Settlers before! Anyway...fun, fun!
Then, Christmas was perfect. I noticed last year that there seems to be a sweet spot for the kids in regards to presents--once they get a certain amount of gifts, they seem to start getting greedy instead of thankful. So we scaled back this year, and it was fantastic. Everyone was happy, and it was just very relaxing.

video

The only disappointing thing about the season was that Ben, Kayla, Char, and Dave didn't come up on the 26th as planned, because the weather has been pretty rotton. We were looking forward to that, but I'd rather they be safe! It's all good though...Curtis has been getting a lot of work done in our basement, which will be nice to have off our minds!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Of Flat Tires And and my Father

I have recently had a couple of experiences where I have really felt my Heavenly Father's love, very much as my Father. Just one...when I was in Provo on my way to pick up Curtis from the airport, I got a very flat tire. I pulled into a parking lot and tried to call my two brothers who were in town. Neither of them were available to come help me change it, so I realized I was pretty much on my own. Now, I am ashamed to say it, but I have never actually changed a tire, though I know how to do it in theory. So, I got out my trusty car owners manuel, and proceeded to begin, and this guy walked up and asked if he could help me out. I very gratefully accepted his offer, knowing it would have taken me about two hours to change the tire (sad, I know!), and I had both the kids with me. He said he was from St. Louis, and he was there to inspect the store I was at. When I asked him what I could pay him, he refused payment, saying he figured God had put him there for a reason. Wow! This may seem like a little thing to most people, but as I drove off, I got tears in my eyes, knowing that Heavenly Father is always there for me, even in the little things, and I felt He had taken care of me since my own Dad was out of town and my brothers not around. What a comforting knowledge that is, and how grateful I am for angels like this man, who are answers to other people's prayers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Of Toys and Welfare

So, among other things, I have been thinking a lot today about Christmas toy distribution to the needy. Call me a Scrooge, but I have decided I am against it. I don't mind "needs" being taken care of, but toys....no. The reason I say this is because I ran into someone who is a student at the moment with a couple of kids at home, and she was lamenting the fact that she couldn't give her kids the bikes they want for Christmas. This lady was actually quite whiny about it, and it really irritated me. I just kept thinking to myself, "Explain to your kids that one's education is worth sacrificing for, and then make it a really special "homemade" Christmas, and focus on service and the Savior." I hear of so many stories where people did just that, and it ended up being the most memorable Christmas they had ever had. However, I just think so many people in our society focus on giving gifts as an expression of their love, and not many of them have been taught to be creative with their giving...they have been taught to rely on charity and the government if they are in hard circumstances. I was thinking the other day how I would revamp the government's welfare programs if I were in charge, and I think...well, let's just say I think a lot of the people now on welfare would hate me. BUT--they would thank me in the long run! It's all about teaching a better way..

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh Happiness and Joy

Alright--back in the summer I started making a list of things that make me happy, so I figured it's about time I write them down in my blog. (These aren't in any particular order, and I will add to it as I come up with more things!)

*Rexburg summers *new underwear and socks *photographs *trips *a good novel and a free afternoon to read it in *going out to eat *greeting Curtis when he arrives home from a trip *playing my piano *relatives *woodworking *beautiful music *jamming out in my living room *swimming in warm water (especially in the rain--only done that once, and loved it!) *fixing things *creating beautiful things *watching Stargate in bed with Curtis *my Japanese blanket from Toshi *getting letters *the Reader's Digest *being in a warm house when it's snowing *our beautiful Christmas tree *sitting by the fireplace *when my kids come in our room in the morning and snuggle by me *teaching people the gospel *crafts with my kids

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Of Travel and Babies

Well, we just got back last night from being in Provo for the past 10 days, so I have a bit to update.

Jason and Danica and their four kids came up to visit from Colorado for several days before Thanksgiving. It was so nice to see them--it has been a long time. It was fun to play games with Jason and Danica after the kids were in bed, and it was fun to see how the kids have grown over the last little while. They are good kids, but I commented to Curtis that I can see why people only have one kid at a time!

The only bad thing that happened during the visit was that my nephew, Mosiah, took a sharp edged magnet to my stainless steel fridge and scribbled all over it. Aaarrgggh! I was so irritated, especially since the kid is seven, SEVEN, and should know better, and unfortunately, I am not yet the Christlike person that thinks; "Oh, I am so grateful for the scratches on my fridge, because they remind me that people are more important the things..." Grrr.....Anyway, enough about that.

Anyway, the reason we have been in Provo for the last week and a half is because Dad and Mom went on a 10 day cruise to South America and Jamaica with Uncle Parr and Aunt Kathy. Yeah for them! They have never done anything like this before, but they deserve it more then anyone I know. Dad was so cute about it--he and Mom are always so frugal and hardworking, and it was obvious that he was embarrassed to tell people he was taking an exotic vacation! Anyway, so Curtis and I went down to help watch things at the house. It was a lot of fun--we went to a living nativity, went laser tagging, built a big gingerbread castle, looked at Christmas light, and best of all, saw our newest addition to the family. Yup, brother Dan and his wife, VY, just had their first baby--a little girl they named Amari. She is so cute, and I was excited we could be in town when she was born.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Impatience is a Virtue...???

Well, my Sweetheart is finally home! Oh, how I miss him when he is gone. I have noticed an interesting phenomenon, however. After he has been on business trips, especially for longer periods of time, it takes him a couple of days to get used to "family life" again. To be fair, it takes me a couple of days to adjust to having my spouse back--I get used to doing things my own way and making decisions on my own! BUT...it is nice to be together again. Oh, happy day!

We also have Curtis' brother and sister-in-law here with their four children. They are great people, and it is nice to see them after not having seen them for over a year. It is interesting to observe the differences in our parenting styles, though. Definitely very different...

On a slightly different note,I have decided something. A little background first, though. In some of those college classes where they try to prepare you for the "real world" and a "real job" they tell you to be prepared in a job interview for the question, "What is one of your weaknesses?" This is a tricky question, because in a job interview, you are trying to come across as being practically perfect in every way, and heaven forbid, your potential future employer should believe you have weaknesses! Anyway, I could never think of a good answer, until this evening. Now, this is actually a problem for me, and something I need to work on overcoming, but in thinking about it, I believe it could be one of the more "attractive" weakness to a potential employer, and that is, I have a problem when I see inefficiency. I feel like I am a very efficient person when things need to get done, but unfortunately, I get impatient with other people when they aren't the same way. Same goes with timeliness (I blame that one on you, Mom and Dad.) If I am not 5-10 minutes early, I feel like I'm not on time, and when other people are late, it is hard for me to just sit back, relax, and realize that most people probably have very good reason for being late. Sigh...anyway, so patience is something I definitely need to work on!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Of Races and Losing

Oh, I forgot to mention Arden's cute saying for today. We had a race into the bathroom to brush teeth tonight. I arrived last (as usual) and Arden informed me that I was the deviled egg.

Of Girl Movies and Kids On Fridges

Well, I have had a terrible cough the last two weeks, and yesterday I finally caved in and made a doctor's appointment for today. I don't remember the last time I felt sick enough to warrant a visit to the doctor. Wouldn't you know it, I have felt just fine all day today. I feel like I just wasted $80 bucks. Blah. I have to say though, what a blessing it is that we have access to such good medical care.

Painting is coming along well. I got my second coat of maroon paint on my kitchen wall, and tested out a bunch of faux techniques on a piece of poster board. I haven't found anything yet that I absolutely love, but I'll do some more experimenting tomorrow. Arden had fun "helping" me paint during Maile's nap today. I think he mostly enjoyed sitting on top of the fridge, which I had pulled out from the wall. He even asked if he could eat his lunch up there!



Two more days 'til I pick up Curtis! It will be so nice to see him again, despite the fact that I shall have to relinquish the car again.

You know, I have to say, it is really nice to have the car while Curtis goes on his trips, but I think it's a good thing I don't have one all the time. I spend way too much money! I think it's because I don't feel like I have to plan my trips to the store so carefully, and if I forget something, it's no big deal--I can just run back to the store, and usually I find lots of other things I think I need. I am so embarrassed--I think I have been to Wal-mart almost every day Curtis has been gone! BUT--I have vowed not to set foot inside a store other then for groceries for all of December, so I will repent of my bad Wal-mart habit! (-;

The only other nice thing (besides having a car) about when Curtis goes on trips, is that I get to choose whatever I want on our Netflix queue. When Curtis is here, I usually try to get things I think he might also enjoy, but Alli and I are taking full advantage of this time that he's gone in regards to our movie selection. We are watching the "Love Comes Softly" series. We love it! It is by the director of the Little House on the Prairie series, and is kind of that same genre and time period. They are wonderful movies, in my opinion, but they are definately the kind of movie Curtis would mock. (We still love you though, my dear!)

Hmmmmm....what else did I do today?...Oh yes. My friend, Karen, came over today. She was rather upset, because as a joke, one of the Young Women's leaders in her ward had signed her girls up (when her girls had left the room) to decorate the gym for Young Women in Excellence, and had failed to mention it to Karen until earlier today. Karen was not amused. However, being the amazing lady that she is, she tried to make it a positive experience for her girls, and tried not to be upset about it in front of them. Anyway, we all went over this afternoon and worked on it for a few hours, and got it looking pretty nice.

Oh, happy days....

I am thinking about trying to get Curtis to do the abs diet with me. I need to research more about it, but I liked it because (at least from a precursory glance) it seemed like a very healthy, common sense way to make friends with your six pack again. I usually do pretty good at eating healthy and exercising, but Curtis has been desiring to exercise more, so maybe if I offer to do this with him, he'll be more inclined to actually do something! Hmmmm....now how does one delicately suggest that to a spouse...?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Of Painting and Pressure

Aargh....Oh why was I not born a Texan?! I was so excited to make a great steak tonight, but alas, I am sitting here eating it as I write and my jaw is getting sore--that's how tough it is. I even followed explicit instructions from Charity on how to cook it (who, I am still amazed, knew everything there was to know about the particular cut of meat I bought. In all fairness, she has the added advantage of being married to a Texan.). Oh, well, at least my Roasted Browned-Butter Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar turned out splendidly. (Thanks, Lynn!)

Today has been a delightful day, despite my sweetheart being gone. (He is on business 'til the 20th.) I had the opportunity to go out with the sister missionaries, and it was fantastic! Living in Rexburg, our chances to do that come few and far between. It is amazing to me how the Lord prepares people to teach his children. For example, a few days ago I spent a lot of time pondering the decision making process, and how to know if feelings are from the Spirit, or just one's own thoughts. I was able to flip right to the scriptures I had been studying to help resolve a concern of the gal we taught. I love that! I also realized a few things. First of all, I HATE when I feel pressured by someone to do something. It really bugs me. I imagine others feel the same, and so it really bothered me that one of the sisters said (and I quote) "The reason we are pressuring you to get baptized is so you can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost." Aarrgh! First of all, in my opinion, you should NEVER pressure someone to do something of that significance, and if you have to pressure them, there are obviously some concerns that need to be resolved. Secondly, saying something like that puts such a negative connotation to it. I believe that if one is to be baptized, it should be because they are excited and joyous about the things they are learning, and WANT to be baptized. Anyway, enough of that...It really was a delightful afternoon. The highlight of our appointment with this gal was when her roommate bore testimony of the gospel. It was so powerful and beautiful. I love the gospel!

Only six more days 'til Curtis gets home!

I'd better get going on my big kitchen painting project. I am painting it maroon, and I'm going to try doing some sort of faux treatment on it. I am very excited! Kids are in bed...Hasta la pasta!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Of Tofu and Presidents

Curtis called last night before coming home from work, informing me that an old collegue of his was in town. Because of that, he was debating on going out to dinner with her and a group from work, but decided against it since they were going to a sushi bar, and, well, sushi is not really his thing. I didn't have the heart to tell him I was making tofu for dinner. (BTW, Kayla, I loved the recipe--thanks!)

Well, well, we have a new President. Barack Obama. It will be interesting to see what the next four years brings. Curtis believes our nation will become more and more of a socialist society, and I tend to agree with him. But, the populace have spoken...

Oh, I almost forgot to mention--I got a new toy--a disco ball! I am so excited, and I have been working on my dance playlist for weeks now. (I have tried to select music that is easy to dance to, and family friendly, meaning no swearing.) If any of my gentle readers have a suggestion they would like to add to this list, feel free to drop me a line. Don't be offended if your suggestion doesn't make the cut, though. I am pretty selective!

1. Dr. Jones (Aqua) 2. Can't Help Falling in Love (A Teens) 3. Dance With Me Tonight (The Wonders) 4. Cotton Eyed Joe (Starsound Orchestra) 5. The Loco-Motion 6. Pon De Replay, Radio Edit (Rihanna) 7. Zombie Jamboree (Rockapella) .....I'll add more later. I'm getting bored.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Of Deviled Eggs and Spider Webs

Well, it's the big election day! Curtis and I were just reminiscing about when we were teenagers and we would stay up until the vote was determined. I remember laying in my bed with my little radio right up by my ear so no one else would hear it, listening as each state's vote was tallied. I am a little more patient now. Or maybe a little more old and lazy. I am just fine waiting until tomorrow morning to find out who won.

Yesterday was delightful--we invited our good friends the Williams family over for an "election dinner." I made up ballots with different choices for each food course and passed them out to everyone before hand. Each person voted for what they thought we should have for dinner, and that's what I made. Thanks to the Williams, we had a great lazagna dinner! Myron informed me that he wanted to do a write-in for steak, but I told him too bad for him, he must not have campaigned hard enough! Afterwards, we watched a movie of the making of the constitution. I LOVE that movie--it's a full-length version done by BYU, and I have to say, it is incredible, and very well done. Curtis commented that it should be shown in theaters, that's how good it is! My favorite part of the movie is when all the state's delegates are in assembly, and everyone is bickering and arguing heatedly about the issue of representation. Ben Franklin stands up and everyone quiets down to hear what he has to say. He then asks everyone (paraphrased) "How is it that we have forgotton to importune our Creator for help in this matter? If the Maker of the universe sees every sparrow that falls to the ground, surely we should include Him in our efforts to create a great nation..." I love that, and oh, how I love our country. God bless the U.S.A.

In other news, Halloween was wonderful this year. Mom called about a week before and asked if they could come up for a visit. Of course I said yes, but then I had to actually put up a few more decorations then the lone spider web in Arden's bedroom. Curtis got really into it and made a ghost on a zip line, a ghoul by our front door with a microphone in it, so he could make creepy sounds and scare trick-or-treaters, a Jack-o-lantern spewing fog, and, oh, yes, a web cam aimed at our front door so he could watch people's reactions from all of this. Halloween is such a fun holiday! Arden was so cute, because after he got back from trick-or-treating, he would run up to the door when someone rang it and offer them candy from his own basket. Such a cute kid! We dressed him and Maile up as "deviled eggs." Arden really wanted to use the doggie costume Grandma Nielsen sent him last year, but I wouldn't let him because I liked my deviled egg idea. Lest one think I am an insensitive selfish mother, I will say that it was also way too short on him. Maybe I can get Grandma to make Arden another costume for next year. It was really cute, I have to say. It was one she had made for Curtis when he was three and she had saved it for 30 years. Wow!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Parenting 101

While Arden is in preschool on Wednesday mornings, Maile accompanies me to a parenting class on campus taught by the students. I find it highly amusing that none of them have children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mountains of Potatoes

Well, I hate to say this, but (excuse time) I don't write in my blog very often because I am afraid
the average reader would find my life terribly mundane. However, I guess that is why reality T.V. and peeking in people's lighted living room windows at night is so popular--people like to know how other people live their lives. Besides that, I have determined that I need to make my blog more for me, anyways, so, here we go. Turning over a new leaf. (How many times have I said that one?!)

So this last weekend was quite enjoyable. Uncle Steve and Andy came down to visit for a few days, and it is always so much fun to have them here. Friday night, Steve accompanied us to our annual stake fall harvest festival. It was nice, but afterwards, I was lamenting the fact to Curtis and Alli that our stake is so unoriginal in its activities. We do the exact same thing every year, and not to sound rude, but I think people are looking for something a little different, as evidenced by the very poor showing...probably about 50 people came from our whole stake. Anyway, I should not have opened my big mouth, because a couple days ago Sister Summers called me and asked me to be in charge of our ward Christmas program. Serves me right, I suppose.

Saturday, we went up to the Williams' (our dear friends) parent's lodge in Island Park and helped them cut wood for the winter. Their house is heated the old fashioned way! I have to say, I love doing hard manuel labor like that. Not only is it invigorating, but cutting wood brings back good memories from my childhood of doing the same thing. I loved when Dad would read books to us in the winter by the fireplace, and we would sit around cracking and eating (and being) nuts. Fun, fun!

Later Saturday afternoon, Steve and I went out to the country in search of some farm run potatoes to purchase. We found some, and looking in those potato sheds, I have to say, I have never seen so many potatoes in one place in my entire life! Mountains of them! I asked the farmer how long it took to truck all the potatoes out one of their sheds, and he told me about five days. Wow!

After getting potatoes, we were invited to join a bunch of the college kids at Craigo's for dinner. Cousin Kristin had come up for a visit to surprise Cherstin (Curtis' sister), so it was defintely a cause for celebration. It reminded me of the last time a bunch of us cousins got together to eat--we went to Los Hermanos in Provo. The meal stood out to me because I convinced the waitress to pretend that the $50 bill Kristin paid for her meal with was counterfeit. The look on Kristin's face was priceless and will forever be etched in my memory as one of the funnier things I have seen.

In other news, our ward calling is going well. I think I am actually starting to enjoy it. Curtis and I are the nursery leaders in our ward. I generally dislike babysitting small children if they are not related to me, but I have been doing my best to enjoy it, and praying that I will be able to love and serve the kids. It's working. (Boy, I sound like I had a bad attitude! Not to worry-I have repented.) This Sunday we had a fun lesson...we talked about Lehi's dream from the Book of Mormon, and how the scriptures are the word of God, and part of the iron rod that keeps us on the straight and narrow. I had made this big cardboard cutout of a tree, and we had the kids tape leaves and fruit on it. Then we draped some string around the room (our iron rod) and had the kids follow it to the tree through the mists of darkness (our fog machine). The kids loved it! That fog machine has been one of the best splurges we have ever invested in. We have used it for lots of family home evening lessons as well!

So, more later. See, this is one of the problems I run into when trying to write...I could just keep going and going and going. Blah, blah, blah, that's me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quirky People

College life is full of quirky people, and I do not hesitate to admit
that I was once one of those quirky people. The older I become, the
more it seems that the newer one is to college, the more quirky he or
she is. (I use the word "quirky" in the kindest sense of the word.) I
have noticed that in general, as one progresses in one's college
career, it seems that one gets sucked into the "homework" vortex, at
least if one is an over-achiever, as I happened to be and now regret.
Let me explain in hopes that all the new college-goers out there will
fully appreciate and revel in the joy of being quirky while they have
the chance.
So picture this in your mind. You get dropped off for the first time
at college by your parents, after the typical trip to stuff-mart and
the grocery store for college essentials (which of course your parents
pay for, that being a traditional college tradition.) You have just
graduated from high school, where most of the people are quirky
anyway, and you had fit right in. You are a bit worried as a college
freshman, because you are now supposed to be mature, and you have
heard that in college, you actually have to study to pass your
classes. Then, you walk into the dorm where you will be staying, full
of trepidation about meeting your first roommates. After the
preliminary "hellos" and "nice-to-meet-yous," and after everyone's
parents have left following tearful goodbyes, you sit down with your
roommates for "THE MEETING," where you discuss arrangements regarding
important issues, such as the dire punishments that will befall those
who are caught stealing someone else's milk, and who has to buy the
paper plates and plasticware when every single dish in the house is
dirty. As you talk, you discover with some amazement, that you should
fit in just fine, as your roommates seem to be just as quirky and
weird as you are, perhaps even weirder! Let me give you a case in
point. My younger sister came and visited me at college for a few
days when I was a freshman. She was shocked and amazed at how
quirky…O.K., for the sake of honesty, she termed it "immature," us
college kids were. My slender blond, blue-eyed roommate had just
dumped her boyfriend whom she had dated for a whole three weeks, the
eighth in a long string of guys who were madly in love with her. I
walked into our apartment after a tedious and boring algebra class
that my sister had politely declined to attend. As I entered the
apartment, I noticed the smell of rotting fish emanating from various
places throughout our apartment. I walked over to the trash can,
thinking that someone was in big trouble for not taking out the trash
after dinner four days ago. The trash can was almost completely empty
other then a wadded up piece of paper with a big red D- peeking up and
winking lewdly at me. As I sat contemplating the nearly empty trash
can, trying to determine another possible source of the smell, I heard
a shriek from the bathroom where another of my roommates had just
stepped into--then promptly out of—the shower. She was livid and
smelled like beef. Upon further investigation, it turned out that my
roomate's ex-boyfriend, (self-named "Ben the Bandit") along with his
roommate henchmen, had broken into our apartment while we were gone,
deposited open cans of sardines at strategic hidden places throughout,
and placed beef bullion cubes inside the shower head, oblivious to the
thought that perhaps completely innocent roommates would be the
unlucky recipients of Ben the Bandit's wrath. Where my sister was at
the time all this scheming was going on, I have yet to get a straight
answer to. She admits she was in the apartment, but claimed ignorance
of the "no boys behind THE INVISIBLE LINE" rule of BYU-I, telling me
the boys had simply asked to use the bathroom, but I have my
suspicions that she found this situation highly amusing and was in on
the whole deal.
Anyway, when the last of the sardine cans had finally been retrieved,
and the shower heads had been sanitized, my roommates and I held a
hastily called roommate council, where it was determined that we just
could not allow the culprits to pull off such a devious deed
unpunished. It was decided that we would go on a raid of our own.
Unfortunately for us, we were in such a rush to exact our revenge that
we neglected to plan carefully, and our kool-aid powder in the towels
and crushed cornflakes under the sheets were a poor excuse for what we
could and should have come up with. Not to mention we failed to look
on stalker net to find out the boys' schedules, and yes, they walked
in on us. We embarrassingly beat a hasty retreat, threatening that we
would return, but the boys did not seem too worried.
Lest you have forgotten my point to all this while reading such an
enthralling account of freshman quirkiness, it is, again, enjoy it
while you can! The longer you are in college, the more homework you
have. Then you get into your upper division classes, where each
college professor assumes his or her class is the only class you are
taking, and assigns homework accordingly. It just gets worse from
there.

Apples, Apples, Everywhere! I Can't Escape...HELP!

Welcome, the canning maniac. This fall I have done peaches, nectarines, chicken, pears, pie apples, applesauce, plum juice, and apple juice, and I think a few others I can't recall at the moment. Shirley Reynolds brought her kids over yesterday while she went shopping, and her kids and I did yet more apples. Of course all the kids had to have a couple apples just to munch on, and today I have been finding half-eaten apples all over my house. I think I have collected them all, then one will turn up in between the cushions of the couch, or at the bottom of the slide. Hopefully I will find them all before any of them go rotten.

Changing the subject, I have a complaint about being married. (Yup, only one!) It seems like once you are married, it is forbidden to have fun dances as church activities any more. Our stake hosts a Valentine's Day dance and a Harvest Festival/dance every year, and it's mostly jazz, which, frankly, unless you happen to be over 65, is not that fun to dance to in my opinion. I guess I will have to start having my own dances. A disco ball is moving up on my priority list, I decided.

Monday, September 29, 2008

1000 Pound Pumpkins

Well, today has been one of those perfect fall days that you just want to bottle in a jar and never forget. After dropping Arden off at school, Maile and I did a little exploring around campus and came across a large orchard behind the Ricks building. You could pick apples and buy them for a buck a pound--not great, but I figured the experience for my kids would be worth a few pounds! I have fond memories of picking apples at the orchards in Illinois every year as a kid, and that's something I would love to pass on to my kids! (Thanks Mom!)

Another perfect fall day happened last Saturday. The beautiful fall weather...I love it! In the afternoon we took the kids to this giant pumpkin weighoff just outside of town. Holy Cow, those pumpkins were big! The event was so nicely done, and the doctor who sponsors it every year had chili and rolls for all. Participants and spectators were invited to bring an item of food to share. Someone had even brought a 94 pound watermelon, which we got to sample! I was so excited to find out that watermelons could actually grow in Rexburg, until I found out the owners of the watermelon had cheated and had brought it up from Utah.

We had gotten a seed for one of these giant pumpkins from this doctor, but I think we were overzealous in our watering, and when I finally dug it out of our pot, it had rotted. Zannen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thakamagugua, the Cat

Well, what I feared would happen, has indeed happened. I was afraid if I started a blog, it would be just another one of those things I know I should do, yet don't, and here I am, a month later, and still no new posts, and yes, I do feel guilty about it. I must repent. I shall do better. I think I have written that in my journal over a dozen times. It reminds me of that quote from a smoker; "Quitting smoking's easy! I've done it hundreds of times!"

I think I actually know what the problem is. It's all Curtis' fault. I was a diligent journal writer up until I got married, then, well, I guess Curtis is a big distraction to me. A big, very sweet and cute distraction. I think that once I had a best friend to tell anything and everything I wanted to, I no longer felt the need to confide in my journal as much. Well...on second thought, I guess I can't really use that excuse because K-la is super good at writing in her blog. Hmmm....maybe it's the kids...O.K., I'll stop trying to find excuses!
So, I have this problem with writing letters and journal entries though, which I think hinders my desires to write. It is really hard for me to write short documents. I always have so much on my mind, and I'll admit it, I am a blabber. I really enjoy expressing myself. In detail. (As long as it's not on the phone!) It's another one of those things I must work on changing, as I don't believe most people care about the details anyway!

On to our news. The biggest news in the Nielsen household is that we are now first time pet owners. Yes, we have taken the plunge. We are owners of an adorable two month old calico kitten whom, after much debate we named Haiku. Arden had some interesting suggestions for names, such as "Thakamugagua," and "Pithakamuna," but those were vetoed as being too long and hard to remember. His suggestion of "Taiku" was a little warmer, and we thought "Haiku" would be a nice middle ground. Anyway, cutest cat ever! She likes to follow us around the house and pounce on our feet. (We will either have to eventually declaw, or always make sure we are wearing socks!) Curtis' legs are so hairy, that the cat mistakes them for a scratching post, which could also become a problem.



Maybe the kids and I will make a scratching post as our project tomorrow...By the way, how do people ever afford pets? Before we got the cat, I called several veterinarians to find out the cost of spaying, declawing, shots, deworming, etc...Nearly $300! That seems awfully expensive for a kitten! Luckily, our neighbor, whom we got the cat from, was fairly certain that her veterinarian husband would be able to take care of most of that for a fraction of the cost, is we would just "TAKE A CAT!" (Neighbor: "PLEASE take a cat! I know Rex would be happy to spay and declaw that cat, just PLEASE take one! Every child DESERVES a pet. It is so sad that not many people in our neighborhood have pets. Pets are great to teach responsibility to kids"...etc....) Her arguments won me over. We'll see how this goes. Thus far, alright.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kitchen Explosives

For those of you who will most likely read this blog, you are probably already aware that I come from a large family. A family of 12, to be exact. 10 kids, 2 parents. As the oldest child, I was frequently responsible for cooking meals. Because of that, I have an inbred inability to make small quantities of food. When I make food, I make a lot. There is just one small problem with this. I am not a fan of leftovers. Anyway, for mother's day this past year, I was given a pressure cooker. (Yes, very sentimental, I know.) I actually had been wanting one for quite a while, domestic goddess that I am. Today for the first time, I pressure canned some soup I had made, hoping to find a way to avoid eating this soup for the next two weeks. I set my first jar in the canner, only to have it shatter. Hmmm....not off to a good start. Canners, in my mind, are quirky little things. It feels like any minute they will explode. A kitchen time bomb waiting to go off. This shattered jar did not increase my faith in pressure cookers, espcially since I had followed the instructions in my manual to a "T." Anyway, I decided to make up my own instructions, and my other two jars remained intact. I will become master of my pressure cooker yet!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“If you are a dreamer, come in.

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer.

If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,

for we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in! Come in!”

~Shel Silverstein