Monday, November 30, 2009

Fall Decorations and Cookies

I'm not a crafty or domestic person in the sense that most of my peers are. I sew- but practical things like cloths, costumes and occasionally baby gift stuff. For Super Saturday I made decorative pumpkins. They looked so good and were so easy I decided to make a set for my mother-in-law and my mother. I was so pleased with how good they turned out. You make a sleeve. Pull yarn through to sinch up the top and bottom, leave just enough space to stuff with old plastic bags (cheap and reusing), put a stick in the top for the stem, finish sinching it, hot glue leaves and ribbon on and you're done.
I love the fun shapes of sugar cookies. But I don't enjoy eating sugar cookies. They don't taste good. What is the point of making something that I'm not going to eat. I wanted to use some of the fall cookie cutters I have, so I tried to adapt a recipe for peanut butter cookies. The peanut butter made them really greasy. They worked and they tasted so yummy. On some I put a chocolate frosting.

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
The recipe only called for 2 1/2 c of flour. To try to make them more sugar cookie I tried to add a bit more flour to take away some of the greasiness. I was pleased.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day with Grandma

I work twice a month by driving to Bisbee for the morning. Once there I preform swabbing for court ordered paternity tests. Not a huge deal-its just something to put on my resume to show I was still working, something sort of kind of related (at least on paper) to my degree.When I go my mother-in-law tries to arrange her scheduled time off work to watch Baby Al. We have a cat-Shiva. She is wary of Baby Al, ever since my nephew and his chasing and calling out "kitty", she has been skidish of little humans. But of late she'll go near him and even let him touch her. Amazingly my in-laws to cats are doing the same, granted with a little more supervision, but they also don't spend time around him everyday.
Grandma loves to take pictures. She takes lots of Baby Al and uses their time together as an opportunity to take more pictures. The last time I worked she took some great ones. This is in thanks to her 2 cats (Tom and Candy). Baby Al was so happy to see the cats and that happiness showed up so well on the "film".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time to start singing Christmas. We've already been practicing "Far Far Away". Last year we learned the sing language to the chorus, and this year the children will be preforming it at the ward Christmas party. But besides the one song we sang as part of our activity this week, I've been putting off just singing Christmas songs.
This idea was really simple, it is actually for a sub because my brother is giving his farewell talk next Sunday and I really want to be there. I got the pictures off the church website. Its under the topic Christmas. I colored and then cut out each of the figures. I pasted the stable together (just 4 uneven strips made like a house) and some yellow construction paper to the back of the star (it was a little too small). I then wrote names of Church Christmas songs on the back of each picture. Again really simple. You use an actually nativity set, and I may do that later. This was just easier so that the sister who is the sub won't have to remember to return the pictures to me. I can always print, color, cut all over again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Singing Time

This is a modification from last year's activity:

"Thanks"-giving Singing Time Activity

but this year I am going to put pictures on the feathers and have the children pick the feather with the picture of what they are grateful for (ie: scriptures, prophet, temple, holidays). On the back is a song (or in some cases two songs-if two the child gets to pick which they want us to sing). Then we all sing the song about that thing.
For example, Prophets: Follow the Prophet and We Thank thee O God for a Prophet, Scriptures: Scripture Power or Book of Mormon Stories, Temples: I Love to See the Temple... You get the idea. Last time they had a hard time thinking of the song themselves so this year I picked them (also our pianist needs a little more of a heads up than having the children pick random songs.)
I'm hoping this is the improvement this activity needs to make it a great singing time.
Some other ideas to be grateful for:

  • Birthday: Any of the 'Birthday' songs we sing each week
  • Friends: Any of the 'Welcome' songs
  • Food: For Health and Strength (p21) or Popcorn Popping
  • Body: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes or My Hands (most any of the 'wiggle' songs
  • Plants/Flowers: In the Leafy Treetops or Little Purple Pansies
  • Missionaries: I Hope They Call Me on a Mission or Called to Serve
  • Jesus: Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, I Feel My Savior's Love, Jesus Said Love Everyone
  • Families: My Eternal Family, The Family is of God, Families Can Be Together Forever
  • Holidays: Any of the Christmas songs, Patriotic songs
I'm sure all of you can think of things to be grateful for too. Good Luck.
Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Haunts Haven

Over the past few years I have been hearing about this book my mom has been working on. I had been asked to read a few sections to edit for her, but I had not read the whole book. She is now a published author. I got a copy of her book and FINALLY got to read it. First, understand how critical I am of LDS fiction. I have read very little that I feel is up to par enough to talk about. I gave up reading LDS fiction a couple years ago. But I made an exception for my mom's book. It was so good. I loved how she had so many little side plots that all fit together so well. It was so fun to read a story that was just clean- nothing to even make you uncomfortable. I'm not a huge romance reader, but this had just enough romance to keep a smile on your face, enough mystery to keep you guessing, and enough of the supernatural to make you ask yourself what you think and what you'd think if it was you.
It takes place a small Southern Arizona town, not far from where I live. I guess I'm a little bias but that is the starting of a great story. Add in a little fun clean romance, a stubborn ghost, and a who-done-it and you have Haunts Haven. I'd say more but I don't want to spoil the ending for you. Its available at any LDS bookstore and on Amazon. Take some time to add it to your Christmas wish list and to enjoy and fun LDS ghost story.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Fall Singing Time

Last Sunday I again decided to capitalize on the season of Autumn. I used the leaves that I made last year to go into my maze. I really should have had those laminated. This year I made a tree for the leaves to go in. Have a child come pick a leaf, sing the song on the back of the leaf (or play name that tune). When done with the song put it at the bottom of the tree, sing till the tree is empty or until the time is over.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Start of a New Era with a New Building

When I was a about a year my parents bought a house and moved in. One of the reasons of why they chose that location was that a brand new meetinghouse was being built down the street. They liked the idea of living close enough to a meetinghouse to walk to church. I grew up going to services in this building and running in its halls. I didn't realize how attached I was to a building until November 19, 2007. At 2am we were awaken by neighbors telling us that the church was on fire. It was arson. I don't know anything about the current investigation or if anyone has even been arrested- but for some reason I don't think anyone has been.

The church in flames was a sight to see. It was almost nothing in such a short amount of time. Thank goodness no one was inside at the time, and no one was hurt. We all stood on the street watching the building burn while in our pajamas.

In the morning there was little left, but a shell and a standing steeple. There were so many worries that The Church wasn't going to rebuild. My parent's ward was sent to a building about 10 minutes away, and all the other wards in the building were sent to other buildings to hold their services. For months there was no answer to what was going to be done. In fact, it was almost a year before it was announced that the building was going to be rebuilt. Anytime I drove by the empty lot, I felt a hole in me. One of the factors that influenced the choice to rebuild in this spot was the outcry from the neighbors (not members of the Church) who express concerns and that they miss having the building there. That was special because so often in a ward you hear about how the ward around the building begrudges that fact that they have to do with the building, with the view blocked, with the traffic (more then just one day a week too), with all the little perky members. But to hear that they missed it and wanted it rebuilt was comforting.
The new building went up so quickly. It was dedicated a few weeks ago now. I attended church with my family while visiting them this last weekend, and it still smells strongly of paint and new things. Its a beautiful building, its not the same. I am grateful they rebuilt. I'm grateful that my parents could again walk to church. One thing that is comforting, is that building or no building, it doesn't change that the Church is True!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

County Fair

Back in September, I entered a Humming Bird Cake into the County Fair. It was something I wanted to do. I was inspired by listening to Garrison Keillor on NPR's "Talk of the Nation". I don't normally listen to Keillor since he is so on "the left", but he was talking about how much of an important part of our society is the State Fair. Now I've never been impressed by the Arizona State Fair. But I live in a small county, and I thought that the idealist things I like about what a state fair should be, I might find at our local county fair. At that point I made a goal to enter something, I wasn't sure what yet, into our local county fair. I did a lot of looking into it and decided that I was going to make a Humming Bird Cake, a southern cake I was introduced to while on my mission in northern Florida. The day of I was extra careful to make it perfect then drove to the other side of the county to enter it. It looked so good.
I won first award, that means that my cake received mostly excellent scores. In winning I received a whole $3 prize. If I had entered more items and won for them I would have won a small prize for each (you can only enter one item in each category). There is best of show, which is a big prize. My cake didn't do that well.
It was fun going to the county fair, we were just surprised at how expensive it was. My mom and my sister (with her family) came down to see us that weekend. It wasn't to see my cake at the fair, but to go the the Relief Society Broadcast with me- us girls. But it was so much fun to have them there to share my achievement of my goal, I did it. I entered something and didn't humiliate myself. That was a fear, that I would be so far below all the other entries that it was a shame I even entered. But that was not the case.
If any of you are interested in trying Humming Bird Cake:

Mix dry first
3 c flour
2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp soda
Mix wet separate and then slowly add in flour mix
3 eggs beaten
3/4 c canola oil
Add to the dough
8 oz crushed pineapple (drained)
2 chopped bananas
1 c chopped pecans**optional-I never add the pecans to my dough only

Place dough into greased and floured pans. I most of the time use a sheet pan or a 13x7, but two round pans work find also.
Bake at 350' for 40-45 min. (or till all cooked and pass toothpick test)

Frosting (absolute best part)
1 box confectioner sugar (~1/2 powered sugar bag or to desired consistency)
1 stick butter
8 oz cream cheese package
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs cinnamon *optional but it really makes it wonderful
mix well
Frost when cake is cooled. Sprinkle chopped pecans onto the top of cake.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just Another Reason I love Arizona

I love Arizona Sunsets. They are the most beautiful, and they are everyday. The only place I've ever been that rival the sunsets was on the Gulf Coast of Florida (while on my mission). When I've lived out of Arizona I've missed the sunsets. Every has nice sunsets, they just aren't anything like Arizona. I wish my picture could do it justice.

I Hate being Sick

I was sick all last week. I hate being sick. I think I had the flu. Al hasn't seemed to be showing any signs of getting sick, but he did get a flu shot and we're nursing so he has that immunity. I just stayed home and tried to get rest. I don't know how our mothers ever did it. I needed rest, but baby needed my attention. I resorted a lot to the playpen. I'd put baby Al into the playpen with some toys. That would give me maybe 10 minutes of quite. Then as soon as I got him to take his nap I had to take my nap. Wow it was harder than then he was a newborn- he demands more interaction now. Again yeah for playpens.

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's Autumntime CSB pg 246

It's Autumntime-- Children's Songbook p246

It's autumn-time. It's autumn-time. The leaves are falling down.
It's autumn-time. It's autumn-time. It's all around the town.
It's autumn-time. It's autumn-time. There's yellow, red, and brown.
It's autumn-time. It's autumn-time. Bright colors can be found.

I made autumn colored leaves (yellow, red, brown, and orange-I guess it just wouldn't fit into the song) out of construction paper. I free handed most of mine, some I traced what I thought would look good on to the paper and then cut it out. I found that the easiest was to do them symetrical (eventhough a lot of leaves are not, so if your's aren't symetrical don't worry) you could even have the children cut out their own leaves if you want. I could get 4 leaves out of one normal size construction paper. I found that there were 3 different leave varieties that I made.
  1. Basic round with a point. Either with no ridges or snip a few out before opening it.
  2. Lots of edges, loop in and out to the top. Remember there are lots of different leaves and they don't need to be perfect.
  3. This one I traced out before cutting. Curves at bottom, middle and to the top. Sort of like a maple leaf.
    I made an extra large leaf for myself, it was really uneven.
Now while you sing: the song have each child start with their leaf as tall as they can be (without being on the chairs). As you sing the song, have the leaf float gently, glide, fall, dancing, down to the ground. The idea is to not have the leaf reach the ground before the song is over, not a moment after either, to time it perfect. I wish I had a camcorder last Sunday when we did it. The children were getting so into it. We spend over half of the time doing it. I know we don't have much of a Autumn, here is Arizona, we don't really have snow either, but we can still enjoy the songs.


For Halloween Al was a dinosaur. My mother-in-law got him the costume. It was just so darn cute she couldn't pass it up. It was very cute. For my husband and I, we went as Benjamin Franklin and a French Lady of the Court. I had maid my costume a couple years ago, and I made my husband's this year. I love to make costumes, its what I do. I also made a costume this year for a brother in our ward, he wanted a KISS costume. That was something different for me.
The whole idea for my husband's costume this year started out of a conversation over the summer with my family. My husband loves 'Nightmare before Christmas' and would love to be Jack for Halloween, but there is something about needing to be really tall and skinny to pull it off. so the conversation came up 'what are good costumes for people a little tubby, Ben Franklin came up as a suggestion, and my husband decided that was for him. So I used a colonial pattern, made it large enough for my husband, and I chose colors I thought appropriate and would look good on my husband. We looked really good. Just a note for anyone who would like to do also- you must have the right wig to pull off this costume, and they aren't easy to find. In the past I have ratted my own hair, but this year while looking for a 'Franklin' wig I found one I liked enough for myself. Sorry there aren't pictures of us yet. I've been working on getting them from people. My camera hasn't been working right. Its also why there are a lack of posts. Happy Halloween.