Monday, December 31, 2012

Beautiful Music

Last night Pat kept coming and getting me to come and watch various performers as they sang beautiful music. He was especially taken with a duo that competed on Britain's Got Talent...that he just happened upon while browsing the internet/you tube. Then, since we had heard sooo much about the performance at the Christmas music concert put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir I searched for and found the performance, which is also quite beautiful.

As to the first performance I'm sharing, I have to tell you that it is quite unexpected. It just goes to show that we need to not judge others. We have no idea of what beauty they hold within, and what they can share to make our lives better.

I am so grateful for the pure talent of others. One of my greatest wishes is to be able to sing well in the next life, because I certainly can't  in this one! Oh, how I wish I could...

AND... Happy New Year! I hope it is as wonderful as it possibly can be for everyone. :)


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Warm blankets

A few years back I bought several blankets to use in our great room, and bedrooms. (Of course they are from Costco.) They are soft, warm, and cuddly! With the weather being chilly here they are perfect for snuggling and getting toasty warm. I am grateful for these blankets, and so is our cat, Missy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Costco supplies

It's no secret that I love Costco! Today we went to pick up a few supplies. One of the great deals they had (and we bought) was an emergency car kit. It has first aid supplies, jumper cables, orange emergency triangles, etc. All for the low price of $25! Of course we purchased other things there, all causing me to have even more gratitude for Costco!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sweet Baby James

James is FOUR years old today! My goodness!
Where on earth did that time go?
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was flying to Amy's
to go and meet this little guy! What a blessing he has been in our lives,
we are so grateful for him.
He is funny, smart, silly, a little mischievous, and imaginative.
He is also quite loving, and is quick to hug just about anyone.

Happy 4th Birthday to our Sweet baby James! We love you so much! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Today my "food" of choice is 7up, and I am grateful for it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gaining knowledge

Pat taught me a few new things about Excel, which I am quite grateful for! The cut and paste is so much easier now! Thanks hon!

I do love gaining knowledge about things I am familiar with that makes them, and me, that much more efficient.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thoughtful Gifts

Today is Christmas! I love Christmas for many reasons, the main one being that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. My second favorite thing about it is time spent with family. That didn't really happen this year, so I'm grateful that Pat and I have each other to celebrate with, and that we can skype with some of our kids, kids-in-law and grandkids. [Some of them are sick, not skyping today! :( ] Lastly, I am grateful for the opportunity we have of giving thoughtful gifts to one another. I love hearing the joy in the voices of those I love (or seeing it on their faces) as they react to what we have given them. I am grateful for thoughtful gift giving, it makes giving so enjoyable!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Chloe!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our Christmas Chloe!

We sure are grateful for the gift that Chloe is in our lives! She is a sweetheart, with personality plus! We love our little Chloe, so, so much! Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Prince of Peace

How grateful I am for my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

He is the Prince of Peace. 

Without Him in my life I would be so much less than I am. He has made everything that is good in my life possible; everything that is good in our family's life possible.

He willingly came to earth, with full understanding of the sacrifice He would be making, and did so to glorify our Father, and because He loves each of us, individually and collectively. He gave His all, completely, humbly, and lovingly. How grateful I am for - His miraculous birth, His exemplary life, His atoning sacrifice, and His resurrection. He has made it possible for each and every one of us to return to live in our Father's, and His, presence.

I love Him with all my heart, might and mind. I live each day in honor of Him, and strive moment by moment to be more like Him. How grateful I am for those moments when I fail, and trust in Him to help me along life's road, with open arms to forgive me and to love me.

At this Christmas season I am ever grateful for all that He has given me, and made possible for myself and those whom I cherish. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Today we were fortunate to host an extended family get-together! We had homemade soup, Superhero sandwiches, and a cake to celebrate my sister's birthday. We had a great time eating, talking, and laughing. I am grateful we could celebrate this season with our extended family; and that it made my mom really happy too. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

The sweet smell of Christmas

When Sam was little his grandparents gave him a book entitled, "The Sweet Smell of Christmas." In the book there is a bear family, where the baby bear discovers the sweet smells of Christmas throughout the book. I can't remember all the scents (it's a scratch and sniff) but the ones I do remember are: hot chocolate, vanilla, pine, and orange. I have always loved that book and so have my kids. I think I've given the book to some of our grandkids also, but I can't remember who! (if I haven't given it to your family let me know for next Christmas!)

Yesterday as I baked and the scent wafted throughout our home, it reminded me of Christmas. The scents of Christmas bring back memories of my dad, and cooking with him during the holidays. Tomorrow we are having my sister and her family over for lunch. I am preparing homemade soups today for that. Now our home has savory scents, and I love it just as much!

Holidays and family and food - they all go hand in hand. Each one gives us something to be grateful for; today my gratitude is focused on the food, rather the 'sweet (and savory) smells of Christmas.'

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The last of the baking

I just completed the last of the baking for this Christmas season. Phew! I love baking, but I love it even more when I am doing said baking with loved ones. None are around, so it kind of takes the fun out of it. Fortunately, the fun part comes later when you take the goodies to friends and neighbors and see their faces light up with delight knowing that you thought of them. One more round of goodies to our neighbors, so that should be fun! They are getting molasses crinkle cookies, blondies and no-bake fudge cookies!

I am also making one more batch of peppermint bark popcorn for Pat to take to work tomorrow. While he works at NOA, he is currently working from Kleinfelder; they are having a Christmas week! I can't remember everything they've done so far but it's been treats day, appetizer day, and a luncheon yesterday. Tomorrow is movie day with popcorn. I believe the staff is watching "National Lampoon's Christmas" movie. I doubt my husband will indulge though, except for the popcorn...that he likes!

Christmas is just a mere five days away. Nearly all the 'chore' part is completed, and I am grateful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The joy of giving

Today I definitely experienced the joy of giving. I'm not sharing this to toot my own horn, far from it, in fact. No, giving doesn't make one prideful, instead it humbles us...makes us grateful for the blessings that we have. I was able to give a gift card to someone that I am close to, and that I knew needed it. I hadn't intended for her to open the card in front of me, but she did. And when she did, she cried. She couldn't stop thanking me. For that reason I wish I had done it anonymously, but in this situation that wouldn't have worked. It also gave me a greater desire to do more for her. She is a dear friend, and I am grateful for her in my life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trader Joe's suggestions

Amazingly, I am one of those few people in the US that hasn't developed a love of Trader Joe's. Well, not yet, anyway. Usually, the few times I have actually gone in, I am lost, not sure of what to get. Even though the store is compact, they pack a lot of stuff into it! Then, the aisles are a tad small (ours in Modesto is anyway), and you find yourself hurrying along in order to keep out of the way. Invariably someone is on your tail, wanting to be right where you are at that precise moment. I know, because I experienced being the 'tail-er' today; more accurately, the patient waiter, would describe me.

Those who know my habits of shopping know that I go with a list, and am in and out quick as can be. Which is why WinCo and me sometimes, not often, don't get along. There are far too many good deals in that store for me to skate by! (which I also experienced today, but walked away with only two extra purchases...go me!)

Today as I perused the aisles of Trader Joe's I had an actual list! Recently a dear friend posted on Facebook that she was going to TJ's and all these women started giving her ideas of what to purchase there (Perhaps I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed there?). So, I went, list in hand, and spent about $50!!! I won't go into the details of sharing what I purchased, if you want to know you can ask me! However, I will share that I only hauled two grocery bags out of there! And it's not as if they are super expensive, but there were a lot of small delights awaiting me... like star shaped chocolate covered cookies, and chocolate covered peppermint Joe-Joe's. Can't wait to try those!

While I won't be heading to Modesto again anytime soon, and probably won't see the inside of another Trader Joe's for quite some time, it sure was fun to do something different today. I am grateful for the TJ experience, but most especially, the helpful list.

Monday, December 17, 2012


My mom isn't able to do much. Going out to run an errand is out of the question, unless it's a doctor's appointment. She just isn't up to it. She spends much of her day in her room sitting in her computer chair, either reading or playing games on the computer. Every so often she ventures out to the kitchen, and stays there for several hours and works on a puzzle. That makes her happy, which makes me grateful. I love that my mom is trying to stay alert through reading, playing games and doing puzzles.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Calling inspiration

This morning I woke up at 6:30, with a prompting to do something involving my calling as Visiting Teaching Coordinator. In our church the women visit one another on a monthly basis, by assignment. They are welcome to visit one another on their own, but most of us have 3+ sisters that we visit each month. As the coordinator it is my responsibility to get the report of who has and has not been visited.

The idea of visiting teaching is that we keep tabs on one another; who is having a baby, who is having a difficult time, who needs a meal brought in, who is unemployed, or simply - who needs friends. (don't we all?) That way we can report to our Bishop all of the needs that we are aware of, and he can make assignments to take care of them, or let them be and continue to let the assigned visiting teachers take care of the situation. Everyone should be accounted for; that is the hope.

However, that is not always the case. In fact, unfortunately, it too often isn't. We report our visits or non-visits monthly, but quarterly we report to Church Headquarters. I noticed an improvement of 10% from our report in June to the one in September. Yay! Now, that isn't a huge amount, but it is progress! I wanted to let the sisters know that we appreciate them, and are grateful for their service, as visiting teachers.

I had planned on just taking some Christmas candy (Dove's, Rolo's, and Candy Cane Kisses) to pass out in class and to disperse in Primary and Young Women's. But, this morning when I woke up the thought came to me that they need something just a little bit nicer than that. What came to my mind was to make a small card for each sister, and put on the card, "We could kiss you for getting your visiting teaching done this year! Thank you!" Then, I would attach a candy kiss to the card, and hand them out.

That I did. I am grateful for the inspiration that comes with our callings. I am also grateful for the 'thank you's' and smiles I got when handing those cards out. It didn't take that long to do, it wasn't a big deal, but I was still able to simply express our thanks. How I love inspiration.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Today I am grateful for something rather odd... the delete button. Isn't it nice that we can take back some of the things we choose to by simply hitting the 'delete' button? Sometimes in life I wish I could literally delete some of  the things I regret having said or done. Perhaps we can't actually delete those things, but thankfully, we can repent and strive to be better. I am grateful for that.

Friday, December 14, 2012


For the past few years I've been keeping track of several things on our Excel program. Recently there was a major incident involving our Christmas list, which could have been really ugly. Thankfully the girls called me immediately and asked if I had meant to send them the list of Christmas gifts for everyone! Fortunately I was able to contact Craig and Linzi right away and ask them to not open that file! Hopefully no one saw what they were getting. Seriously, sometimes I wonder about myself and where on earth my brain is!

Today, I am using our Excel program to keep track of what food items we have stored in our study pantry/closet. As I stated a few days back, we are really trying to fine tune what we are doing emergency preparedness wise. We have a decent amount of canned goods, baking supplies, etc. But do we have enough? No way to tell unless you've got it all categorized and organized. So, I spent this morning doing just that. Took me about three hours. No, I'm not slow, I'm just making sure everything is in it's place, on the shelves and on the computer.

One of the things we have decided to do is make up a menu for two weeks for dinners that we like. Then we take the time to figure out what we have in stock for those dinners. From there we set out to get enough of those supplies so that we can have the items we need on hand for three months. That means we'd need to have a supply of six meals for each dinner. We figured they'd also make great leftovers also, which means lunch. :)

I am grateful for Excel, it seems to help me keep track of all the facts that my brain is not able to keep track of. I'm sure it could be better then what I have, if Brad were here to help...but he's not, so there you have it! At least I have something!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Done, and Done!

Not only am I taking care of our Christmas shopping, but I am my mom's as well. Today I sent the last of the packages, sent out our Christmas cards, and finished up pretty much everything. All I have left is the wrapping, and there isn't much of that to do either this year. I love Christmas, but am so very grateful that now I get to sit back and enjoy the season.

If you don't have not so nice shoppers, or drivers, in your area then you have no idea why I am grateful.

Case in point - I was at Costco today, just picking up a few items. I happily smiled at people, because I am happy. At one point in time I was approaching a corner by the freezer aisle, when around the other corner came another person. I was going straight, he was turning. Apparently I was in his way. I stopped with plenty of room to spare, then smiled and said, "Go ahead!", rather cheerfully. He looked at me and shook his head in disgust. Seriously! Disgust!

At that point I wasn't feeling too Christmas spirit-y, so I muttered, "Sorry I am annoying you by being in the store." (not nice, I know, what can I say? I am far from perfect!) He didn't hear me, I knew he wouldn't, but I said what I thought, not that it mattered.

Then I got to my car, put away the few things I did get, and began thinking. Perhaps this gentleman was unhappy in general. Maybe his dog just died. Maybe he has no one to spend Christmas with. Maybe he is unemployed and not feeling very Christmas spirit-y himself. Whatever the reason, I repented, and truly felt badly for being perturbed with him...and even more for expressing it.

So, yes, I am indeed grateful to be home, out of the line of fire.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Cards!

Don't you just love going to the mailbox to be greeted by Christmas cards from family and friends? I sure do!  We live in a time where everyone is busily living their lives and rarely do we get a chance to really know how one another is doing. That is why I am grateful for Christmas cards, and letters. I saw on facebook recently that someone thinks they are just a chance to brag about how well you are doing. I don't see it that way at all. We want to know how others are doing and what is going in their lives!

One dear friend, whose husband was our Bishop when we were at BYU, wrote that her second husband passed away after their six year marriage. We were so sad for her, but so grateful that she chose to inform us. We love her (and her first husband, who passed away around eight years ago) and want to know what is going on in her life. Hopefully, next time we visit Utah we can stop by and visit with her. She has always been an example to me, and someday I hope to be like her, at least a little!

So, send out your Christmas cards, or Valentine's cards, or whatever! People are grateful to hear how you are doing, because they love you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunny morning!

This morning it was nice and sunny outside, so I decided to run errands! First, I took my mom to the bank to close out her old account. Then, I returned her home and headed out to go shopping to finish up my Christmas shopping! (Yay!) I also went grocery shopping, and Target shopping, because I could.

I am grateful we had a nice sunny morning, because now it is gray, cloudy and cold! I'm glad I could take advantage of the sunshine.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Peppermint Bark Popcorn

Can you tell it's Christmas time? I sure can! Today I made two batches of Peppermint Bark Popcorn. I made it for the first time last year and gave it to friends, as far as I know everyone loved it! I sure did! Don't you love when you discover a 'new' recipe that just finds it's way into your holiday treats? I am grateful for all the ones that we have in our family's favorites! I won't be making too many of those this year since it's just us three. But, tonight I wanted us to go out and share a few goodies with close friends, and this is one that I chose for this year. It sounds pretty simple, but it is a little bit time consuming, but is well worth it.

Here is the recipe, in case you are interested in trying it. (calls for white chocolate almond bark, which I use, but had to order it online, can't find it anywhere around here)

Peppermint Bark Popcorn

16 C popped popcorn* (fresh, or about 2 bags microwave popcorn)
1 lb almond bark
1 6 ounce box candy canes, crushed (about 1 generous cups, Bob’s brand are best!)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil or 2 teaspoons peppermint extract**
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
*if you’re using microwave popcorn, try to find an unbuttered or “natural” kind because this looks much prettier if the popcorn isn’t bright yellow!  Lightly salted is fine, I actually like a little salt in there, but avoid heavy buttered.
** If you can find flavored oils, like you would use for candy making, use them as they will best combine with the almond bark.  If using extract, it’s not unusual for it to cause the almond bark to seize, but just stir quickly and pour immediately on popcorn.  Once distributed it will be just fine. 
Place popcorn in a very large mixing bowl.
Melt almond bark according to package instructions.  When completely melted, add extract or peppermint oil.  If using extract, it’s normal for the almond bark to seize (get lumpy) which is okay, just stir very quickly, the more you wait the more it will seize.
Pour melted almond bark mixture over popcorn and pour crushed candy canes on top.  Stir to evenly coat.  Pour popcorn out onto waxed paper, parchment, or foil and spread out.
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle over popcorn mixture.  Let mixture dry completely until chocolate and almond bark are hardened.   You may place in the fridge to speed process along.
When chocolate is hardened, use your hands to break up popcorn into chunks. Toss in a bowl, a jar, a cute package, or in your mouth :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mormon Channel

This morning I attended Sacrament meeting, and as is the norm for the time being, I came home during Sunday School to get my mom some breakfast. Today our ward was meeting together for the third hour to discuss the changes in the youth program. They opted to do this since there would be few people in Relief Society then. So, I decided to stay home, where it is warm and comfy. (I am a rebel, I know. In actuality I felt I needed to be uplifted rather than instructed.)

Last night I watched a few things on the Mormon Channel, so I decided today when I came home that I would do the same. Our friend, Genie, sent me a link the other day to watch "O Come, Emanuel", which is beautiful, and quite uplifting. If you'd like to view it go here:

I am grateful for the Mormon Channel, which has many uplifting stories, songs, etc. for our benefit. I love it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Yummy nut clusters!

The other day I saw on Pinterest how to make your own double chocolate nut clusters in a crock pot! The whole crock pot idea had me sold! We already had several of the ingredients, so I opted to go to the store for the few that we didn't have and then got to work!

Fortunately the 'work' part wasn't too difficult! It only took a few minutes to gather everything together, throw it into the crock pot, turn it on, and then walk away. Yay!

The unfortunate part was that I didn't follow my own intuitive instincts and a small amount burned, which I discarded, and saved the rest of the batch by doing so! My advice, stir after you turn down the heat, and then again, about midway through. If the chocolate is all melty, it is done, believe me!

These turned out fabulous! They aren't that pretty, since I'm inexperienced at making these, but they sure do taste great! They are good enough to give away to neighbors and friends, which we will be doing, along with our peppermint bark popcorn!

Oh, and as a bonus for 'listening' to me, I'm giving you the recipe. Not as much fun as the blogs where they actually let you enter a contest, right? Oh well, if I had a LOT more people looking at my blog I'd do that, but I don't, so I won't. :)

Double Chocolate Nut Clusters


  • 2 pounds white chocolate almond bark, broken into small pieces
  • 1 pound dark chocolate almond bark, broken into small pieces
  • 4 ounces German chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) dry roasted peanuts, lightly salted
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) whole roasted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring


  1. Turn slow cooker on high and add the first six ingredients.
  2. Cook for 45 minutes (don't peek or stir).
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook one hour, stirring until all chocolate is melted. Add almond flavoring.
  4. Put into miniature Christmas muffin liners. Store in an airtight container or place on trays for holiday gifts.

Yield: 75-100 large pieces, or 200-250 small pieces

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Recipe From: Tennessee Home and Farm

Friday, December 7, 2012

Good idea

Several months ago we started a big push for us to become better prepared for an emergency. We have been working on this for years, but are really fine-tuning things a bit more. We've come across some clever ideas of things to use for an emergency. One of them is solar outdoor lights. We purchased some a few months back, but not just to pretty up our yard and give us more light...there was actually another purpose in mind.

Let's say you are at home and the power goes out. Flashlights are great, as are candles, but how simple would it be to bring in those solar lights you have to make your light even 'brighter' in a time of possible crisis? You could put them throughout your home and have no worries about candles being tipped over accidentally.

Brilliant idea! I wish I could claim it, I can't, but I can certainly pass it along to you. There are a good deal more ideas we've found and liked. I think I will post them on my other blog next week sometime, just to share with you.

I am grateful for good ideas. If you have any you'd like to share please do!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Little boys and their tales

I wish I had written more about my boys and their silly antics when they were growing up. (the girls too) But, seriously, there is just something about little boys, the things they say and do; their expressions, their goofiness, their sweetness, etc. I am grateful that Amy is sharing her blog "Every day with my boys" with the rest of us now. It is so fun to read their stories. It is seriously like reading a good book where you can't wait to see what happens next, but you really don't want it to end because you love the characters and story-line so much. Thank heavens it's not going to end!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nearly finished!

Here it is, the 5th of December and I am nearly done with my Christmas shopping, and sending! Yay!

While I love the holiday season I am not about the hustle and bustle of shopping. I am more about the joy of giving, and sending those gifts. Today I got everything together and put in their containers for shipping to Oregon, Utah and Idaho. Hallelujah! I had actually planned on sending them tomorrow, but when I saw that it was going to be foggy tomorrow I figured it was safer to go out today, in the drizzly rain. It was so worth it!

When I arrived at the post office imagine my delight when there was just one other person in front of me, and they were taking care of something relatively simple (I love the Lathrop post office, quaint, and more personal). I had no line to wait in whatsoever! Amazing! I am grateful to have been able to send out the gifts to our family and to do it in pleasant circumstances.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


This weekend I decorated our home. It looks quite Christmas-y! Then today I purchased a fresh wreath at Costco - now our front door is Christmas-y! I love it.

Turns out I'm not using as many decorations as I used to. It's just not the same without the kids. I am grateful for our home being decorated (minus the tree, yet), I love the look of Christmas and all the symbolism representing the Savior. I'd have to say that my favorite decorations are the nativity's. They are beautiful.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Faking it...

Someday's you just 'fake it til you make it.' Today is one of those days. It's not that I am down in the dumps, it is that I have a slight case of the stomach flu. Yuck. However, I can't let my mom know that I am sick or she will be stressed and feel guilty, and invite all kinds of worrisome, and somewhat negative, feelings. So, I am faking it, and pretending that I am okay when I am around her. When out of sight, I collapse, which is what I am on my way to do right about now.

I'm grateful for days like these - sounds/seems silly, but seriously who doesn't feel amazing after being sick for a day or two? It just makes me appreciate being healthy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A rose is a rose...

As you know yesterday was the anniversary of our engagement. When Pat proposed we were sitting in my car at the Provo temple. After we became engaged he reached behind the seat and pulled out a long-stemmed red rose and gave it to me. That is part one of the story. Part two is that yesterday we picked up our new freezer. Because the weather is rainy we opted not to put our old fridge outside (until we get rid of it). We had to move a few things around for the freezer, while doing so Pat picked up a small unmarked box. Upon opening it he found the jar with the rose (yes, I put it in a jar to save it) that he had given me 35 years before. I'm grateful for the sentiment of what that rose represents, and that it has lasted all these years! (Like us!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Thirty-five years ago today Pat proposed to me...obviously I said "Yes!" I'm so grateful for that moment, it changed our lives, literally forever. That decision was the best I've ever made. I'm grateful for the wonderful man my husband is, that he truly loves me unconditionally, and indulges my romanticism by celebrating our engagement anniversary. :)