Monday, May 21, 2018

Happy New Year 2016





So I'm doing the One Word Challenge this year again instead of New Year's Resolutions for the fourth time.  I really like it.  It is uplifting and consciousness-raising to have one uplifting and hopeful thing to focus on every day of the new year. 

 The first year I used the word "Believe" to motivate me.  The second year my word was "Remember."  Oh, that was a good one.  For 2015 it was "Seek".  I did a lot of seeking in 2015.  I found some answers I didn't expect to find and am really determined to follow it through.  I'll add the word to my blog side bar and the New Year's thoughts about it via a link to remind myself when I need extra motivation.  It works.  My word for 2016 is "Determination".

To be determined is to never give up.  To keep trying in the face of discouragement, disappointment or disillusionment.  It is to never, never, stop trying to achieve what you have set out to do.  

To be determined is to never give up.  To believe in yourself, your righteous desires and above all your God.  

England ~Life With The Kids on Sabbatical
















Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mothers And Daughters~

This is from 2009.  I ran across it while I was looking for something to write for my own deceased mom's 99th birthday celebration today.  This just made me tear up to think that my sweet Laura wrote this for me.  As I told her, I'm not sure I am all these things but the fact that you see me this way was very tender to me then and still is nine years later.  In this world where we are so easily misunderstood or our efforts go completely noticed,  it was fun to see how she touched upon some of my target things I wanted to teach our kids.  "Love is paying attention" is one of my favorite quotes.  Laura is very good at paying attention.  I love my girl!  I need to write a list like this about here and all the kids.  They are all so unique and special to my heart.  There could be no better gift one can give that to notice and appreciate another person in a way like this.

My Birthday 2009 on July 2nd...


I had such a fabulous birthday today. Everyone has been so sweet and kind and wonderful to me all day long. It has been such a contrast to last year when I felt sick and tired and worried to death about baby Hazel, as we spent a month in the hospital with our littlest sweetheart. Things are looking so much better this year which is just a testament that in the cycles of life we all have our ups and our downs.

Today was just superb for me. Thank you all for the lovely flowers, gifts and well-wishing. Thanks for all the phone calls and Facebook messages! Lee, thank you for the great lunch out on Wednesday! And thanks to Jim for an elegant and delicious dinner out at Scott's tonight. It was above and beyond!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better I read this on our daughter, Laura's, blog tonight. I barely recognize this woman she is talking about but it was so sweet of her and I want to keep this on my blog as part of my journal.

I hope you don't think I am being self-aggrandizing by publishing this, I just want to keep it in a safe place and close to my heart. Sometimes when people see you in ways you do not see yourself, it helps you to live up to their expectations and stretch and grow. So for those of you who live near, if you see me acting outside of this beautiful box~slap me upside the head, will ya?

Anyway, she definitely sees her mother through rose-colored glasses but this is what she wrote....

This is my Mom and today is her Birthday!

There are a million things I love about my Mom. Here are just a few in honor of her 62nd Birthday!

1. She is the most generous person I know. She would (and has on several occasions) given the shirt off her back to someone in need.

2. She loves her family and has dedicated her life to each of us.

3. She is witty and though I tend to be too serious most of the time- I do appreciate her humor!

4. My Mom is incredibly creative.

5. She has a eye for color and patterns and can decorate ANYTHING and make it look good.

6. She is totally hip. She always knows what is "IN" and what is not.

7. My Mom has the best jewelry collection I have ever seen.- rivaled only by HER mother's collection!

8. She always looks like a million bucks- cute hair, flattering clothes, fun jewelry. She is a fashion icon.

9. She is sensitive to others feelings.

10. She is a movie lover and on a moment's notice can give me a list of at least ten movies I MUST see!

11. My Mom is a professional shopper- really! She knows where to find all the good deals.

12. My Mom can make a thrift store flower arrangement look like it came from Nieman Marcus.

13. My Mom "gets" me. She can read me like a book- actually it is a little scary.

14. Being with my Mom is like being with my best friend.

15. My Mom does the laundry when she comes to visit!

16. My Mom really loves me and that is amazing to me. She has seen me struggle through the toughest times in life and she likes me just the same. Her love is unconditional and is as close to the love of God as I have ever experienced.

17. She is my biggest fan. Even when I am a total dork and do everything wrong- she thinks I am great. Every person needs a Mom like that.

18. She is a great cheerleader and gives great pep talks on just about everything.

19. My mom has taught me what it means to serve others. I watched care for her mom for 13 years and I will never forget all of the time and energy and love she gave her.

20. My Mom knows what she likes. I love that!

21. My Mom is an inspiring teacher.

22. My Mom is a great cook.

23. My Mom loves potted flowers in her yard but can't keep them alive. When they die- she replaces them with new flowers. I love that because I do the same thing.24. My Mom is a great reader. I can still remember her reading to us when we were little and thinking, "I hope I can read like that someday."

25. She knows how to relax and enjoy life.

26. She knows how to make holidays and birthdays special.

27. She is the best gift giver I know. Honestly, I don't think I have ever gotten a gift from her I didn't love!

28. My Mom has a knack for entertaining. Her parties are always classy, organized, comfortable.

29. Mom (and Dad) have the best backyard BBQ's in the world. Not only because they have an awesome backyard but because they "get" how to make people feel comfortable and welcomed.

30. She loves my babies and that means the world to me.

31. She loves to snuggle- I do too.

32. She is the best shopping and lunching partner. I can still remember our Nordstrom shopping days when I was a teenager- my how time flies!

33. My Mom loves God and truly strives to do what is right.

34. My Mom taught me to decorate- a skill that has brought so much joy to my life.

35. She gave me the piano her dad gave her. I love having piano music in my home- it has blessed my life in a thousand ways.

36. She doesn't give up on people or dreams or goals.

37. She is a great travel partner- together we have been to all kinds of wonderful places. My favorite trip with Mom... that is hard to say. I loved Europe and Italy but I think those summer ED week trips will always be my favorite.

38. My Mom is a blogging maniac. She has ten blogs and keeps up with all of them. Hello, I can hardly keep up with one! Her blogs has been a great blessing to me as we live too far away and it has helped us all stay connected.

39. She has a eye for beauty. She loves trees, flowers, mountains, the sea. I love those things too.

40. She has mastered the art of "enjoying the journey". I hope I can be like that someday.

41. My mom loves music and theater and art and dancing. She taught me to love and appreciate those things too.

42. My Mom is a extraordinary speller. She can spell ANYTHING. Unfortunately for me- I didn't get that gene.

43. My Mom loves my husband like her own child. Her ability to love and accept him has blessed our lives.

44. My Mom is patient. When things don't go her way... she waits with patience for things to get better.

45. She has beautiful hands- always perfectly manicured just like her mom. I love that.

46. She has always made my family feel welcome in her home even when we come too often and stay too long.

47. She is a great writer. It is so fun to read her blogs because she really has a talent for expressing thoughts and feelings in words.

48. She kept a journal all though our growing up years. I admire the time and effort she spent doing that and look forward to reading it in full someday.

49. My Mom has a gift for languages. She can speak and understand other languages with ease. Her talent has come in handy a time or two.

50. My Mom has visited me every place I have ever lived in (and that is a lot- eleven cities and counting) Her visits are always a delight.

51. She understands my son's food allergies and always makes an effort to make her house a safe place for him to be.

52. She makes great Mexican food- fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, chili rellenos... yum!
53. She makes the BEST potato salad EVER.

54. She takes beautiful pictures- photography is definitely one of her talents.
55. When my Mom joined the Church she did it with all her heart. She embraced it fully and has taught me to do the same.

56. My Mom has the best blue hair brush on the planet. This may not seem like a virtue to some BUT it must be because I have tried to buy my own just like hers many times and it is just never the same. There is something special about Mom that makes her blue brush one of a kind! Hee- Hee

57. She makes 62 look good!

58. She loves being a grandma and makes me want to be one too.

59. She remembers things about my kids that I have forgotten. The funny things that say and do.

60. I love talking to my Mom on the phone.

61. My Mom has given me or helped me pick out every cool thing in my house.

62. My Mom is a wicked good basketball player. Seriously, she can out shoot the entire family!

63. When I think of my Mom- I think of love and happiness comfort and safety. When I think of Mom I always feel good inside.

64. She is Ross's actual birthday twin today- yeah for time zone changes!

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you and wish you all the happiness in the world!"

Friday, April 15, 2016

I Have A New Blog!


In December 2007 I started blogging.  I love it and in 2008 I wrote 475 posts.  I really enjoy writing and find it very cathartic.  I am one of those people that sorts my thoughts and life out in the written word.  This blog has served its purpose well and I have grown and changed a lot over these past 9 years.  This is post # 1900 on this blog and the last Simple Woman's Daybook was a real chore.
Just keeping the font size and colors stable and the spacing in order was a small nightmare.

I am hoping that a new slate will run much more smoothly and that One Designing Woman was just too full and worn out to perform well.  And more importantly I am hoping it was not the Designing Woman herself that was fading away!

My New Blog is called Family History In Real Time!  


It is under construction at this time but I have added a few posts from our recent trip to Utah to get it going.  Hopefully this new space will entice me back to the keyboard more often than the old one has lately.  If you are so inclined feedback and comments would probably be motivating.  See you on the other site!  Moving on as of today!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Simple Woman's Daybook~April 14, 2016

    
Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.


Just for today~Thursday, April 14, 2016


Outside my window...It is early spring and it seems our long wet winter is ending finally.  The drought we have been having for the past three years seems to have vanished.  The severity of it has vanished like a bad dream.  The green of new chartreuse leaves and the fullness of the trees is incredible eye candy here in California.  Everywhere you look, new life is budded forth and blessed our days.  We are happy....very happy.  And we are thankful for prayers answered and more keenly aware of our dependency on our Creator.

I am thankful for...Cool breezes and the sunny, longer days.   As I "mature" I find a greater dependence on light and a moderate climate. I have been mighty cold a few times this year in Utah and appreciate the warmer weather where we live.

From the learning room...God loves us deeply no matter what we are struggling with at this time.  Our struggles are for our good even when we cannot recognize at the time what that really means and are often bewildered by them.  Like a chick pecking its way out of an egg, we grow and are strengthened during times of trials.  By the time you are our age you don't ask "why me"you pray instead "help me" carry this burden.  This life is a test of our faith and allows us to choose our path.  God is always with us, do we choose to be with Him is the question?

I am reading... a PDF File created by our cousin of old Italian baptismal records and entering them into Ancestral Quest.  It is a labor of love.  Looking into the lives of peasant farmers in a tiny village in Italy from the 1600 and 1700s records is a scared blessing and a real eye opener.  Our ancestors knew struggle and they overcame it.  We learn from them that we can do the same.


Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...everything in life is spiritually based.  Every choice we make affects all of us, both body and spirit. Our spirit and our body combined make up our soul.  When they work in harmony it is for our ultimate good.  I have never understood the symbiotic relation of the two so much as I have since I have gotten healthier.  It is a journey that I will stay on for the rest of my life.  It is fully worth the effort.


I am Quoting...






Someone I am praying for this week...oh so many people but I'll mention two.  My very very good friend, Carol and her husband John have had a serious trial these nine weeks.  Carol and I took our annual trip to Salt Lake City for Rootstech.  It is the largest genealogy and family history conference in the world.  We had a great time.  It was simply wonderful.  On the day we were to come home she got a call saying John had had a heart attack.  Since February 8th John has been hospitalized following one complication after another from this by-pass surgery.  They have both been under tremendous stress and are exhausted.  I love them so much they will always be close to my heart and in my prayers.  What an example Carol has been through all of this.  Driving sometimes four hours a day in heavy traffic to get back and forth to be with John and give him the support he has needed.  She is an angel among mortals and I love her with all of my heart.



Our beautiful granddaughter, Chloe Jane.
This girl loves to cook with her Grampa! 
Tea party delights for Piper's 17th birthday!

From the kitchen...things have changed  drastically in our home in the last five months.  In November I started a serious campaign to lose weight.  So far I have lost 54 pounds since just before Thanksgiving.  I am a new person.  I feel amazingly good and marvel at the resiliency of our bodies.  I am so much healthier, have so much energy and so much gratitude.  Our kitchen is full of fresh foods and lean protein choices and no bad carbs.  What a difference a few weeks can make. Getting off the sugar train is miraculous. Everyday counts.  My thin and fit James has even lost weight.  I like the kitchen again, my body likes our better choices.  No more treats in my life like Chloe is holding above.  Lovely to look at but.....not for me.



An enjoyable movie/TV show we have watched lately...Last Love.  This is a movie from Netflix and stars Michael Caine.  Very good.  A story about love, family and friends that is nicely done.

One of my pleasures...Feeling caught up for a change.  Not a lot hanging over our heads right now.

Plans for the rest of the week...  See one of my pleasures above.  Keeping the peace.  Reducing the traffic to and from our house.

A photo I am sharing...this was taken at the Bouquets to Art Exhibit at the De Young Museum last week.



I have spent two hours trying to get the spacing and font size to work correctly on this post.  Sorry for the hassle.  The Blogger platform must be on strike or something.  It is my 1899th post so it cannot be user issues.  Bummer!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015


When it is all said and done, this is the true meaning of Christmas.  All the rest is in honor of it and symbolizing the Gift of our Father in Heaven to us, His children.  He gave us a Savior to help us live a better life in harmony with our fellowman by being our example of love and obedience.  He paid the price for our sins, allowing us to change and grow.  Without the burden of our sins we are able to  progress, if we will but repent.  Through God's grace we are made whole in Jesus Christ.  And the Earth is a better place to be because we are more like Him.  Man is that he might have joy.  The atonement is the only way to experience that fully forever.

You can find my 2015 Christmas Blog here:

http://averymerrychristmastoyou.blogspot.com

There are three posts.  You may choose any or all of the posts to read.  You may select them from the side bar on the right or just click on Older Posts at the end of the page of the first two.

Merry Christmas!  May the Spirit of Christmas remain in your heart all year.

https://youtu.be/IgqmyimVlfU  A beautiful video of Christmas Music

Friday, December 11, 2015

Yule Cheese Ball Reprise 2015


This morning I have been making cheese balls, shopping, chatting on line and cleaning the two porches.  I was thinking I should post this just in case you haven't seen it before and are looking for something great to take to a party like we are tomorrow night.

Here's what I wrote in the original post about this delectable treat:


So, there is just no good name for a cheese ball. Seriously, think about it. If you can think of one for this recipe~let me know. It is made with Blue Cheese and Blue Cheese Cheese Ball doesn't cut it, in the best of all worlds. Instead of 'name that tune' we can play 'name that cheese ball!' Wanna play?

I have concocted this recipe. Barbara and I have made it over the years for parties and small gifts. We both do make it a lot for various gatherings around the holidays. Even people that are not crazy about blue cheese love this. We were looking for a cheese ball that was colorful and Christmasy and delicious. You know how they are normally boring looking with no color and just rolled in nuts? Not this one, it just screams Christmas!

We think we have a winner here. Some people even invite us to their gatherings on the condition we bring this! It takes a little time (especially if you are photographing it) but is easy and I like that part. I am not into a bunch of labor intensive cooking. What I do love is cooking with my hubby, he is a natural in the kitchen. Lucky me! He says food talks to him...OK, so he is a little wacko! (Food has never talked to me except to discuss which part of my body it would like to attach itself to permanently!)

Tomorrow is our big family dinner for our relatives that live in our area, so Jim and I are cooking up a storm. Speaking of wacko, it's Official~ I am totally wacko about blogging about food! I have discovered it is fun to cook, photograph and to stage the food. It is 10 times more fun that just cooking! Multi-tasking lives on!

Hmmm, people do not always sell their houses but...everybody eats. Maybe I can dabble in a new facet of design for me to supplement the mad money. Actually I am pretty much kidding because these photos need much improvement but we had a lot of fun cooking and shooting the process.

Chop up some green onions.
If you are not an onion person
Add some finely chopped parsley for color.


Chop up some Craisins or dried cranberries
if you prefer calling them that

Chop up some Walnuts

This is enough for four cheese balls.
Four bricks of softened cream cheese,
a bunch
 of blue cheese,
(I am not into exact measurements, sorry!)
Craisins, green onions, nuts 
and some garlic salt~
because everything
 that isn't sweet need garlic!
I put it in a big mixing bowl and start mixing it together.
Every time I start with a big spoon but soon
find it works
 best to mix it all by hand and shape 
into balls.Thus the name...cheese balls. Brilliant!

Here are the 4 cheese balls I varied 
the sizes 
for different purposes;
parties, gifts, or whatever
.
I put my wedding rings on the cutting 
board to remind you to remove them
as it is no fun getting the cheese 
out
 of the rings if you forget 

Stab it with a cute Christmas Spreader~Fini~

Here I staged the food for you..
I had to put all these crackers back in the box afterword!
A little Pomegranate Sparkling Cider is nice with it!
Try It, You'll Like It!