Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blessing #15

These ducks have been making an appearance in our yard recently. Last year, I saw a pair of ducks in our yard as well, but they didn't stick around. This year, they have been coming back over and over again. They really like our little waterfall/pond in the back yard and keep quacking around back there. I keep wondering if they are scouting out a nesting spot. I would love that if we had a bunch of little ducklings in our yard. How do I warn them about all of the kitty cats that prowl the area? Do squirrels matter to them? Anyhow, it has been a lot of fun to have them visit us almost daily. They did disappear when it was yucky weather but are back now that the snow is gone once again. They were timid at first, but now every morning they come to our back porch and almost demand a feeding! The kids have loved it and so have I. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given us these creatures to enjoy. I am not an animal lover by any means, but am grateful that I get to enjoy them from a distance and have them bring wonder and joy (and from some of them food) to our lives.

We were driving over to my parents home one afternoon and this is the sight we saw out our car windows. Many years ago, God sent the rainbow as a symbol to Noah and his family that he would not flood the Earth in that way again. All of us have seen a Rainbow and they are beautiful! I was obsessed with rainbows when I was a little girl. There is just something about all of those colors being placed together and how they blend and compliment one's incredible! On this day, this rainbow meant a little bit more than no more floods and colors. It was a personal reminder to me that my Heavenly Father knows us and he knows our struggles and our joys. He really is there for us. Who can doubt that he exists when there is such beauty to be found in all of his creations? Blessing #15 All of the Nature around us to remind us of our Heavenly Father and his love for us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blessing #14

I have a friend who is an amazing cook. Anyone can cook better than me (or at least enjoy it better than me) but this friend can cook and bake and make wonderful creations in the kitchen!!! I have decided to not be jealous of these kind of people anymore-just to be grateful that they exist and that they can lead those of us "culinary challenged" and give us great pointers every once in a while!! Thank you for possessing your talent! friend had this bread recipe that she called 1 Hour Bread! YEA RIGHT!!!!??? Whatever! I decided to go to a presentation that she was giving and it looked easy enough-but if you knew my bread history-you would know that I do not do bread-or bread doesn't do me-one or the other! I have tried many recipes-including my mother's infamous recipe that she does and none of them have ever worked!!! I am not exaggerating this fact! So...I decided to try my friends recipe and it actually worked!!! I thought it was a fluke and so I tried it again...AGAIN it worked!!! Again and again, I tried it and it continued to work!! Imagine my shock and surprise and with all of these successful attempts, I started trying rolls, pizza crust, cinnamon bread, the focacia bread, etc etc! I make it every week. When I haven't gotten to it yet, and have had to use store bought bread for lunches, my kids complain! They love my bread!!!! I finally have a recipe that is so easy and fast!!! I haven't perfected it to an hour, but I have gotten it down to 1 hour 15 minutes-but it still doesn't take all day!! Thank you friend and thank you Bread Gods for finally smiling down on me! Here is the recipe if any of you are interested...
Blessing #14 My 1 Hour (& 15 minutes) Bread Recipe.
2/3 cup honey or sugar
1/4 cup oil (rounded)
3 T. yeast
5 cups hot water
4 cups Flour
2 T. salt
Additional Flour

Put sugar, oil, and yeast in mixer (Bosch mixer you can do whole recipe, kitchen aide you can only fit 1/2 recipe). Add water and mix. Let sit 3 minutes to activate yeast. Add 4 cups flour and the salt (add salt last-it will kill yeast if you put it n first). Mix well to form a paste. Let raise 7 minutes. Add additional flour until dough pulls from sides of mixer pan (about 4-6 more cups). Mix it for about 4 minutes on high. Place bread in 4 greased loaf pans and set in warm oven (about 175-200 degrees) Let raise until dough is 1 inch over top of pan. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Without taking bread out, change temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
A fun tip that I love is to spray your counter with Pam when you take dough out of mixer to divide. It makes the dough less sticky and easier to make it into really pretty bread shapes.

The Focacia bread is one of your dough loaves spread into a bottom of 9X13 pan. Dimple the dough, spread liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with dry Italian dressing (about 2/3 package), garlic salt, dill, Parmesan cheese, or whatever else you want or have on hand. Raise for about 10 minutes in warm oven and then bake for the 20 minutes. YUMO!!!!

On Easter, I even made these bunny rolls that my mom always made. Later, I frosted the tails and sprinkled them with coconut. They were delicious!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blessing #13

Alex (Jeff's Brother) called us the other night and told us that he had gotten engaged to Anna. We had met her the weekend before and we definitely approved of after calling us one night and asking his older brother what he thought...the next phone call was that they were engaged. Congratulations guys!!! She is adorable and we already love her as part of our family. They of coarse are ADORABLE together!!! It is fun to watch them be so in love. Sometimes people say that "young love " is a little sickening...I believe that those who say that are just jealous. I have even caught myself saying it or thinking it-however...I for one am grateful to be around the young love. It always reminds me of my own time in life when I was like that with Jeff. I like to think that we are still like that every once in a while-but young love is a good reminder for all of us that we can still be "in love" with those we have been with for many years. Blessing #13-YOUNG LOVE!!! Sigh!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A little behind!!

I feel a little behind in my blogging. This is important to me and so I have made sure that I still keep up on it. There are a lot of things that have happened in the last little bit that I would like to post briefly.
With my dad mostly home bound, my mom tries to get out every once in a while and so I am the proud owner of the "babysitting" job every once in a while. A few days I have had the privilege to go over for quite a few hours and have enjoyed spending time with my dad, but when he goes to sleep I have tried to get something done while I am there. I have been taking my scrap book stuff over and have got quite a bit done. I still have a long ways to go-I am so far behind...but I am grateful for the chance to squeeze it in. When I am home, I am surrounded by all of the things that I should be doing there and so to be forced to leave all of my chores there, it has given me the opportunity to get so much done.


The kids had spring break a couple of weeks ago and boy did we have fun!!! HAR HAR HAR! Sara and her kids were here that week and we did have a lot of fun with them...but the weather left something to be desired! My children (as well as their mother) are very very ready for SPRING!!!! And so when "spring break" came around, we were expecting a little warmer weather than what we got that week! Calli was dying to go to the park so badly and so one day-we finally ventured out to the park. The minute we got to the park, the dark clouds rolled in and it started snowing! Yes-snowing! I love Idaho Falls. So here are the pictures that I got of the kids freezing and wet at the park. They still tried to play and have fun for a little while. I loved that Sara and her kids came with us. They made for great entertainment! We giggled a lot from our cozy warm cars!! This is Sam and Emily. They were both crying and ready to get out of the "spring" weather!

Calli in her Easter Dress that she bought with Grandma.

Easter weekend was a little nicer weather and we had a nice Easter day. We went up Nelsons to have dinner and an Easter egg hunt and to visit Grandpa's grave. We did the balloons with notes attached for Grandpa-but they didn't keep their helium (or Helaman as Quenalee kept saying) and so they just kind of floated a long with the wind until they got caught by a distant tree. Grandpa knew what the kids wrote and knows how much we love him and miss him. Jeff gave a short message about Easter and the Resurrection of our Savior and how some day we will all be able to be with Grandpa and each other forever. Even though we miss him-it really is a special thing to have someone that we love in Heaven.The "HUNT"

After our Easter with the Nelson clan, we headed back to Idaho Falls to have some time with the Ostensons. Ben, Joe, and his family were there as well as Michael's Family. The kids flew their kites out in the street and it made for some great entertainment for sure! Grandpa even made it out to watch some of the show for a while.

We got there in time to partake of the traditional Easter Bunny cake that mom always makes each Easter. So fun to have traditions and use them to keep the family one. It is really fun to have the grand kids participating in traditions that we all had growing up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blessing #12

Dad and his girls!

My Sister. My one and only one! I love her so much. I love all of my siblings so much-but having only one sister is a special thing. We are 8 years apart (almost to the day). On the day that she was blessed as a baby, I received the Holy Ghost after being baptized the day before. We never had to share clothes but did share a bed for many years while I was still at home. I remember many nights of giggles and fighting over who had more room (she says I was a bed hog!). She plays an amazing piano and even more-she plays the organ. In High School, she did the hurdles in track and ran cross-country. I did gymnastics and show choir. She was an amazing student-I was a very talented socialite. As adults we have a lot in common. We are the only ones that brought male in-laws to the family...he he. We both have children even though she has beat me out in numbers as the younger sister. We both love to scrap book-I wish we lived by one another so we could do it together. We are both serving in the Young Women organization which is fun to compare. We are both very different as well as we should be. As far as physical differences, she is teeny tiny and blonde. Small and mighty. She has four children, home schools the older ones, and thrives on educating them and helping them to learn all about their worlds! She is amazing in that way! This way that she shows her love to her children is incredible to me and so admirable. I could never do it!! Good Job Sara! I am all for public education and quiet mornings to myself!

She left on Saturday after being here in Idaho Falls for two weeks! It was the longest she has come to stay since she was married and we had such an enjoyable time with her and her family. It was great to be able to have her here and to spend a good amount of time with her. Can you believe that I didn't vacuum for two weeks because I was too busy spending all of my time with her. Sorry house! This week, my blessing # 12 is my sister Sara. I love you and am so grateful to have you in my life.