Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Costco Photos

I grew up in an age where it was expensive to take photos. We had to pay for the film, take it in to be developed (having no idea how any of said pictures turned out), and then wait. It is true that we are paying more for our cameras then we did back then, but the quality, the ability to choose which pictures to print, to download them and send them in to be printed, and then  to be able to pick them up that same day...well, it still astounds me.

I am grateful especially for the Costco Photo Shop where I can go online, order my prints, and then pick them up soon thereafter. Or I can opt to have them delivered to my home and pay for them online. Brilliant!

I love that I can do this, and it so super easy. I also love where I can 'fix' photos when needed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have spent several hours today going through two boxes...yes, just two! They are full of files that we have been holding onto for years. For example, we have tithing receipts that date back to the 70's, we even have Sam and Craig's first tithing receipts, amazingly enough.

So I am purging paper today. Can I just say how wonderful it feels? I love getting rid of things that aren't necessary to have in our lives. I hope to do this more often because it is so refreshing.

Earlier today Linzi and I were talking about Rach being gone and my no longer having a calling (at church) (other than VT, which of course is important). She was wondering what I am going to do with my time. I have had a few minor panic attacks over that one. I figure my mom is 30 years older than I am, and she is still living and I want my life to be fulfilling so I have a long way to go, in years.

One of the things I am concentrating on is really truly getting our home organized. Not just surface organized, but deeply organized. All those papers, all those boxes that have been contentedly sitting around collecting dust for years are going to be attacked, by me. It's time to get everything in it's place.

Mind you, I do not love organizing, but I do love being organized. Rach is the one that loves organizing, not me.

Today I am grateful that I can become better organized, and keep myself busy in the process.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A lovely day

We live in a society where people are bogged down with worries - bills to pay, jobs to find or work at (if they are fortunate enough to have one), groceries to purchase, car problems, children to take care of, etc. I have always been of the mindset that we have control over how our day is going. Yes, I have been victim of not choosing to have a good day, but I try, when I am able to, "get over it", whatever 'it' might be.

That being said - on my igoogle homepage I subscribe to the 'how to' section. One of those highlighted today caught my attention. It is 'how to have a lovely day'. I love that thought. How do I make my day lovely? So, I decided to read it, and it reminded me of our daughter, Rachel. She does a LOT of these things, daily! I am now going to share with you what they said, definitely summarized. If you want to read the entire article you can go here:

Now, before I go any further can I just add that I am grateful for this article because sometimes we just need a little boost and their suggestions (for the most part) are definitely something that can turn our not so good day into something lovely. It's just a wonderful thought.

1.  Get up early (plan ahead, don't go to bed later than midnight, but they suggest 10 PM, and I happen to agree)
2.  Begin with a stretch. Don't you love it when you have time in the morning to stretch? It so beats getting up and rushing around...I am not sure why, but it does.
3.  Have breakfast (they suggest an ambrosial one, with yogurt, fruit, granola)
4.  Wear something that makes you feel good. Who wants to go through their day wearing something that makes them feel lousy? Not I, thank you very much!
5.  Wear perfume or aftershave. You might as well smell delightful!
6.  Bake. And if you can't bake, go to a bakery.
7.  Make a cup of tea. I have to say, that having given up on tea, I sure do miss it. Instead you could sub with a cup of hot chocolate or spiced cider. It's all good.
8.  Read the newspaper. I am not one to be doing this for several reasons, 1) We don't get the newspaper, and 2) I find it kind of boring. (I know, I am bad.)
9.  Eat dessert first. Now, that is a novel idea, right? We have done this on occasion, especially when our kids were little and kind of grumpy when going out to eat; let them get dessert first, then eat their food. Worked like a charm for us! (didn't happen often though) Oh, and when you get home from a long, hot, tiring camping trip - banana splits work for dinner, at least it did in our family!
10. Go shopping for vintage clothing. It's just fun, if you like to shop! Set a budget though, you can go crazy!
11. Go for a walk - it so clears your mind and gets your body moving. So many wonderful benefits.
12. Ride a bike - one of my favorite activities. I look forward to loading our bikes up on the pathfinder and then going to a biking destination - like Monterey, Yosemite, the American River or even Bidwell Park in Chico.
13. Pick berries or fruit from your own garden. This is a huge thing at our house. We love it when our fruits are in season and we can eat them and share with others. The oranges are just beginning to turn orange...I love it!
14. Dance freely. I always loved dancing. I would dance in my car, and I love it when I see others doing the same things...though some get a little crazy, good for them! And I love that our granddaughters and Linzi have dance parties. And people think "Mormons" don't dance! We sure do!
15. Head over to your local library or book store. How fun is it to roam through books? Finding just what you want? When you find that book you are looking for you just want to shout 'Hallelujah!'
16. Write a letter --- I am stressing this because people forget that you can do this --- make it handwritten. This has so gone out of style, and it means so much to people that you would take the time to send them something you took the time to write to them.
17. Put together a movie night. I heart movie nights. My husband isn't a fan of sitting and watching a movie, but he told me the other night he would start watching movies with me. Now, that is love. :)
18. Treat and take care of your body. They recommend a spa day, but those are rather pricey. If you can't afford that simply purchase a mask or bath oils or bubble bath and treat yourself to some 'me'/pampering time. We all deserve it.
19. Make new friends. I am 56 years old, and am working on this, now that I am back in my ward and have no stake assignments keeping me away. I need friends, since most of my best ones are away living their lives.
20. Relax. So, this may be obvious, but like I said before, we all need some 'me' time. It's up to you how you choose to relax, but I can tell you that turning off sounds around you, and just being in silence is very relaxing.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Have a lovely day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


A few years ago I made all our girls cookbooks from our family recipes. They have gotten a great deal of use out of them. Some of the recipes are loved by some while others are not, and vice versa! It works, right?

I have not yet made myself such a cookbook, though I am revising the original and working on an updated one for myself. Since Rach is living with Amy they don't need to have the same cookbook, so she left hers here for me to use...Thank you Rachel!

Today I pulled that trusty little cookbook out and made cornbread - only because I had a lot of buttermilk to use up and it's the best recipe I know for that purpose! Then, with having turkey leftovers I made (from that same cookbook) chicken pillows, only in this case they are turkey pillows (and yes, I did put the mushrooms in, yum).

I love our tried and true recipes that I have collected over the years and incorporated into our family dinners, desserts, etc. I am grateful for each and everyone of them - they all have a special memory attached to them for me.

On a completely different note, I am grateful for talks given in Sacrament meeting that speak to my heart and help me to be a better person. Seriously needed today. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old books, kitchen supplies and Christmas decor!

Pat and I spent the latter part of the morning and the early part of the afternoon today up in Jackson, CA. It's a quaint town in the foothills. We went because there is a bookstore that sells used books...and I mean first edition and beyond books. I was able to get myself a compilation of Mark Twain books - with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer contained within. Yes! (our used bookstore in town told us that those are selling out since they are changing the words, making them pc - ridiculous - they are part of our history) So, I was happy to purchase that and A Christmas Carol, which I am embarrassed to admit that I have never actually read. We have an account with this particular bookstore because we 'sold' them some of our National Geographics (1930-1945 years).

Along with that we took a stroll along Jackson's Main Street - enjoying the Christmas decorations and the atmosphere. Apparently tonight is their Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony - so makes me think of Stars Hollow. We also ventured into many an antique shop and their little kitchen shop - which is an automatic happy on my part since I love kitchen wares. =)

However, the best part was spending time with my honey as we perused used books, antiques (they had some old civil engineering tools that he thought were awesome), kitchen stuff and just enjoyed being together. All in all it was a great day - ending with a stop at a roadside fruit stand/bakery where we both had a yummy smoky flavored tri-tip sandwich.

I am grateful for the time we spent together, enjoying the simple things in life.

Friday, November 25, 2011


When I was growing up my mom didn't teach me a great deal about cooking. I would get 'cooking lessons' via the phone while she was at work. She would call me around 4 PM and tell me what I was cooking and how to cook it. Eventually when I became proficient at a certain meal she would just tell me to cook that for dinner and I would.

You need to understand we didn't have a huge variety of dinners - it was mostly swiss steak, mock chow mein (i know, trust me, i know), and various other meals that I have blocked from my memory. Yes, blocked. There aren't many things I make now that I was taught to make when I was younger.

So, when I was married I ventured out and began making meals my mother never even dreamt of making. Things like chicken cordon bleu, homemade fried chicken, fettuccine alfredo, etc. My mom would tell others that I was a 'gourmet cook'. Ha! She is so funny! (and cute)

I am grateful for the ability that I have to learn new recipes and then to incorporate what we like into our meals. I am grateful for the variety of foods we eat (though there would be more if Pat's tummy could handle them).

What brought this up? Last night as Pat and I were talking about Thanksgiving I told him that our girls didn't cook the traditional turkey. He asked what they cooked instead. So, I told him - swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, stuffing (heated up from Trader Joe's, but quite delicious I am told), fresh green beans, Aunt Bev's homemade rolls (to die for, really), and for dessert - pumpkin squares and apple pie.

I guess what I should really be grateful for is that our daughters had a great deal of experience in the kitchen, so much so that they feel 'at home' there, just like I do.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So grateful...

I have much to be grateful for this year. I am sure all of you do too (all 5 of you, that is!). I thought I'd share a few of those blessings with you. I am sure you are counting your blessings today as well.

1) The gospel of Jesus Christ (Priesthood, Temple, Plan of Happiness, etc.)
2) My testimony
3) My family - each and every member individually and collectively
4) Our home - all the comforts we have
5) The United States of America - and the freedoms we have
6) The leaders of the LDS church - the love and guidance they give to us
7) The Holy Ghost - my friend, comforter, etc.
8) Food storage - when ye are prepared ye shall not fear
9) Skype - love seeing our family that is so far away
10) Even though I mentioned family I am especially grateful for Pat, Sam, Craig, Amy and Rachel, kids-in-law and grandchildren
11) Pat's job - the security it gives us in these troubled times
12) Our health
13) Our surroundings - living in California isn't the greatest these days, but I do love our surroundings; Pacific Ocean, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, etc.
14) Great friends - especially those we have known for years who continue to be our friends
15) Being able to read and write. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say considering the above list - but I love to read and I love to write (which is why I have a blog) - they both make me happy.

I won't share any more blessings that I am grateful for though there are so many. I hope you enjoy your day with your family, friends, whomever you are spending it with. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I love that we have an entire day set aside to give thanks for the many wonderful blessings we have in our lives. I love that it is a time to celebrate family and friends. I love that we are also celebrating the beginnings of this wonderful country we are blessed to live in. And, finally, I love that we celebrate the bounty that we have by having wonderful meals prepared so lovingly across this great country.

I am grateful for this time of gratitude, and am going to enjoy it wholeheartedly. (even though I miss my family)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good news!

I had an appointment with my physical therapist today - he declared my leg/ankle healthy! It worked, it really worked! Yay!!! Hallelujah! I am so grateful for good news!

Monday, November 21, 2011


We are staying home for Thanksgiving. I know, this is the first time we've ever done this with just the two of us. It does feel a bit strange. Pat has to work, I have been away from home a great deal, so it just works this year. Yes, we will miss our family a great deal, but everyone lives so far away that it isn't feasible for us to go there or for them to come here. Sigh.

Other friends have discovered that we are going to be home - alone. There are a number of them that are as well, and some that aren't, that have invited us to spend the holiday with them. I am so grateful for their thoughtfulness for us. We still aren't positive of what we will be doing. I did purchase a turkey and all the fixin's (basic foods) but we just may end up going out to dinner with our friends, Jan and Randy. I can cook the turkey another day. :)

Isn't it nice, though, that others are so considerate and kind to us? I am deeply grateful.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

new jobs

Rach had an interview with Old Navy on Friday. She got the job! Yay!

I am grateful for blessings that come my family's way...especially ones that are really needed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Penderwicks

Some children's literature I am not a fan of, but others I love. "The Penderwicks" is just that sort of literature. It isn't a difficult read, but it is fun and entertaining. For me it is a reminder of childhood, of what it is supposed to be, filled with adventure, love for family and learning experiences along the path. I am grateful for this series of books, and for Rach recommending them to me. They are a them!

Friday, November 18, 2011


I am grateful I have projects to work on to keep me is just what I need.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grateful bonus.

Usually I only post once a day, sometimes I want to post more, but don't. I just wanted to express my gratitude for Craig calling me to check on me today. I am grateful for his concern for me in regards to Rachel being away. Thanks Craig. :)

Made me laugh!

I love the unexpected. I don't know why, but I do. I also love a bit of whimsy in my life. Isn't it great when you are going through your normal routine and something appears that you don't expect and it just makes you laugh - out loud?!

So, today, as I was grocery shopping at Food 4 Less I was walking down the baking aisle and as I looked down I saw three little birds all hopping around on the floor. I just laughed right out loud! I didn't care if anyone noticed, it was just so unexpected that I couldn't help myself. I am pretty sure I chuckled for a few minutes afterwards as well, if not openly then definitely inwardly.

I am grateful for the fun unexpected things in life that bring a smile to our face, and sometimes make us laugh out loud!

For Rach: "When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like Annie."
It still makes me laugh!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deseret Book

I went and visited my mom today. They have a Deseret Book about 2 miles from her place, which is quite amazing since there are only 2 in the state! They were also having a grand opening, but really they are at the same location, they have just tweaked things a bit.

Now you can purchase your temple clothing at the back of the store (of course you have to have a recommend, not just anyone can purchase them), which is very convenient. Then, in front they have a section for Lion House baked goods, I did not partake, though I was quite tempted to! The rest of the store is full of books, all kinds of books.

I loved browsing and spending a little time there. I purchased a Christmas gift for Pat, a current Ensign (so we can both have the Conference issue), a book for moi, and a Zions Mercantile Clock which is now displayed on our entertainment center, and it looks great!

I am grateful we have a Deseret Book so handy! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

chatting with Sam

Today, on a whim, I called our eldest on his cell...he rarely answers. I had seen on Linzi's facebook status that he has pink eye and wanted to see how he was doing. We chatted for a whole 23 minutes! He only got off because he and Sadie were at the store and well, if anyone knows Sadie they know she needs to be corralled, especially in public places! I can't blame her...the world is sure a great adventure when you are three! She is our little Eloise!

At any rate it was great to talk with Sam, I miss him. We saw him in September, and then again skyped with his family after Jack was born, but that is all the communication I've had with him. The other kids keep in touch regularly, and Linzi does a great job of that too, but Sam - not so much.

So, I am really grateful that we were able to chat today. I know it wasn't for very long, but still, it does my heart good being able to hear my child's voice and keeping that connection strong.

Oh, and Linzi, I had wanted to call about Chloe's double ear infection last week, but couldn't because I was too sick. She was in my prayers. I am so glad she is doing better. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breathing a sigh of Relief

Rach drove to Amy's today. That sentence doesn't sound like it means much, for all you know Amy could live down the street...but she doesn't. Nope. She lives in Eugene, Oregon (with her wonderful little family). It is an 8 1/2 hour drive from here to Eugene, well, depending on who is driving. If it's only Pat it's about 9 hours, if we share in the driving experience it is 8 & 1/2 hours.

Pat and I both breathed a sigh of relief that she made it safely, in 8 & 1/2 hours! Tonight we are both very grateful.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


For the past 39 months I have served in our Stake RS presidency. This is the longest I have ever held a calling. It has been a stretch for me as I have grown in so many ways. I have loved serving with our presidency, the friendships we have formed are lasting, and I love each member of our presidency. They have all taught me so much, and I still have much to learn.

On Tuesday, when I was sick in bed with a 104 fever I received a call from our high councilman over RS, who happens to be a dear friend of ours. He wanted to meet with me, but when he discovered how sick I was he talked with me over the phone. He extended a release to me, with a sincere expression of thanks for the service rendered.

This week I have experienced mixed emotions. I knew that this was coming, I felt it for a while. I know that it is time to move forward, to serve wherever the Lord wishes for me to serve. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve in this calling, as I stated previously this has been a calling of great growth for me, especially spiritually. I am grateful to know that I will receive another calling and that there will be growth there as well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Buddy

In case you haven't noticed I love my family...a lot. They (meaning my children) are all uniquely special to me. They each have their own individual personalities, and characteristics that set them apart from one another. Yet they all share similarities as well. Sometimes that just amazes me, truly.

Rach is our youngest. She has left the nest before and I have missed her, but loved that she was finding herself, learning to fly pretty much on her own. In 2009 she returned to the nest, and stayed much longer than she had anticipated. (thank you 'economy') She finally found a job last year and worked for nine months, and she also began an etsy business selling earrings, and finally she started selling Pampered Chef.

In September she lost her job ...couldn't find it anywhere! ;) She was laid off due to our slow economy (thanks again). She wasn't sure just what to do, where to go; but realized it was time to flee the nest yet again. This time she is leaving for Eugene, OR, and going to live with Brad and Amy. There she will find a job, meet new people and have new experiences...and enjoy the scenery, living with her sis, and enjoy being called 'sissy' by a certain little boy. All in all it is good for her.

So, why do I feel like I am losing one of my best friends? Rach and I get along 99.99% of the time. The only time we don't is when one of us is in a foul mood, which isn't very often. She has been my buddy for 25 years... by her choice. She is the child that I know without a doubt chose me to be her mom. She was attached to me from the moment she took her first breath, she was a mama's girl, and it wasn't because we encouraged it, she just was. When Amy began school she came with me wherever I went, happily. That little girl hasn't changed a whole lot. She still loves tagging along with me when I go and run errands, so much so that she drags me out to run errands with her!

She leaves on Monday, and I am sad and happy all at the same time. I so want what is best for her, and for her to find her place in this life, which is not, unhappily for me, here in Manteca. It is time for her to move on, to spread her wings and fly, and become even more who she is meant to be.

How grateful I am for my buddy, for the love we share, the relationship we have, for all the hours of tears and laughter we have experienced together; for all the late night talks, the porch swing chats, and for all the support she has given me. I am grateful she is going to Oregon, I am just going to miss her and just might be lost for a while.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I am deeply grateful for all of those who have served and are now serving to ensure our freedom. I am grateful for my ancestors who served, and for my dad, and father-in-law for the brief time they spent in the military. I am grateful to my brother-in-law, Mike, and nephew, Erik, for their service. Even though none of them saw combat they still gave of their time and talents to ensure our safety. I am grateful to those friends that served, and for those parents, wives and siblings who sacrificed for them to serve.

Thank you for making our country safe, and allowing us to have the freedoms that we enjoy. I am grateful.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

La Estrella

Manteca has one really great attribute (I am sure there are others, but this one works for me right now). We have a lot of taquerias in town! There is one near our home that is de-lish! Every once in a while I get a hankering for some of their food. Since Rach is leaving on Monday I thought it'd be nice for us to have one final lunch together there. (not that she won't be back and want to go there.) Seriously, this is the kind of food that you c-r-a-v-e when you leave here, one of the few reasons to return! (I am not down on Manteca...really. I just would rather be Oregon, Utah or Idaho, if you get my drift)

So, today, a day when nothing sounded good to eat, I am grateful for La Estrella - such seriously great food.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


One of my old roomies, Shannon, will be about 20 minutes south of here this coming Saturday. She facebooked me and said we should get together. I am grateful for old friends and for the influence they have on our lives, and that we can get together about every 20 years or so! (seriously, it's been around 20 years!)

I am also grateful for the friends I have that help me to grow and let me know I am important in their lives. What a treasure they are.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick appointments

I woke up at 3 am with my ear in great pain. It was my right ear (the ear that actually works fairly well) and that scared me. So, this morning when I got up I went on the computer and made an appointment with my doctor for 8:30 am. That gave me time to take a shower and get ready. I left home at 8:10 in hopes of getting in a tad bit earlier. That didn't happen, but that's okay.

My Dr said I have an ear infection and sinusitis and that I need to REST!

I am grateful that I got in quickly and on meds already. My ear is killing me!

I am also grateful that Rach is going to her Dr. this morning. I am quite sure she has a sinus infection. Aren't we quite the pair?

I am really happy that I can find things to be grateful about even when I feel lousy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Home Again!

After a month and a half of travelling I can happily say that I am home. Yes, it is with mixed emotions, since I love our family time together and my being home means I am far away from them. However, on the upside it feels good. I love being able to be in my space that I have created with my husband; and I love that I can see him every day - not through skyping but in person! I love that I can be on my computer and don't feel guilty about using someone else's. I love that I can sleep in my bed, sit on my couch, cook in my kitchen and just be here.

I am grateful for our home. It is comfortable and cozy and clean! I am grateful that I love being here, and that I can miss those I love at the same time... and believe me, I do! All fourteen of them! (grandkids, kids and kids-in-law) ;) (and soon Rach will be added to that list since she moves to Oregon next week... :[  )

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Blessing

Today we had the opportunity to see our most recent grandchild, Jack Austin Westmoreland, blessed. We have only missed one blessing out of eight grandchildren.

Each time we attend a blessing I am grateful. I am grateful for having the gospel in our lives, I am grateful for each new spirit that joins our family and the amazing joy they each bring, I am grateful for the worthy priesthood holders in our family that stand in the circle, and I am grateful that I can be there to experience these blessings.

I am grateful for jack, who has a very calm and sweet spirit. I know he will be a blessing to our family.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

beautiful colors

fall is in full swing here in eugene, oregon. there are golds, oranges,and  reds of many shades. it is glorious! i am grateful for the beautiful fall colors found here - how nice for them to have a real fall season!

Friday, November 4, 2011

pumpkin pie

today all the grandparents of james, gavin and jack are here in eugene. good thing eric is taking care of our home (and missy)! tonight we had our wonderful hero sandwiches for dinner (which i am also grateful for) with pumpkin pie for dessert! so yummy! it has been a long time since i've had any...and it was delicious, and i am grateful for it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


pat flies in to eugene tomorrow...can't wait to see him and for him to see jack! yay! i am grateful for tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


a little over a year ago we took gavin in to get circumcised. it was not a happy all. to me it was pretty barbaric. today we had a repeat in taking jack to be circumcised. thankfully it was not nearly as bad an experience as gavin's was. amy and i were able to be in there with him, she stroked his face, and gave him sugar water throughout the ordeal. i let him hold onto my finger, which he had a death-grip on several times throughout the procedure. all in all it was a much better experience than last year. (i do prefer them being circumcised in the hospital, but you can only do what they allow you to do.)

i am just grateful i can be here to offer my support to amy and to jack, and that rach could through watching the little boys at home. blessings come in all sorts of packages, don't they?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

jamba juice

we have been wanting jamba juice for a few days. today we were finally able to partake. mega mango! yum! tuesday is extra boost day so i was able to get the immunity and energy boost...just what i need! rach enjoyed their seasonal pumpkin smoothie and amy had the pomegranate. super good, all of them!

i am grateful for jamba juice - it is good for what ails you!