Monday, October 31, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge ( #Photoblogchal ) for October: Water

It's been awhile, but I wanted to join in again this month with A 'lil Hoohaa's photo blogging challenge.  It was the theme that captured my attention:  water.  Oh, how I miss water!  Living in the desert, this challenge was really a challenge.  Where could I find water? Water is almost imaginary here, so I headed toward the lands of imagination:  theme parks!


Photo:  Water sprays from the ground, and falls from a giant fountain at Universal Studios
Photo:  Water droplets rest on spiderwebs in shrubbery at Disneyland
Photo:  The reflection of the castle at Disneyland

Photo:  Water falls at the Snow White Grotto at Disneyland

Even though I traveled a bit to find water, I should have been patient.  On Friday the 28th, we had rain!  (Hey, PJ--can you please choose "Snow" in December?  I'd like to place an order for a white Christmas!)

Photo:  A newspaper, wrapped in plastic, has raindrops on it



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Thanks for water!

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful: Home Edition

This has been a take-care-of-things-at-home week, and I'm thankful.  It feels good to tackle the mundane, yet necessary, tasks of home.  


Photo:  Light shines through a window into a dark room, with the caption: "Make your apartment, your dorm, your home, or your room a holy place where you can safely retreat from the dark distractions of the world." Russell M. Nelson


I've done loads and loads of laundry.  (1) I'm thankful for clothes, sheets, and towels.  

I've paid bills. (2) I'm thankful for sufficient money to meet our needs.

I've de-cluttered. (3) I'm thankful that still-useful items can be shared with others.

I've done some aquarium maintenance. (4) I'm thankful for beautiful fish that provide a calming influence.

I've dusted, vacuumed, and cleaned. (5) I'm thankful for the joy that comes with a clean house.

I've tackled paperwork. (6) I'm thankful for the satisfaction that comes when tasks are completed.

I've received my ballot, and will soon vote. (7) I'm thankful to live in a free country. 

I've washed dishes.  (8) I'm thankful to have plenty of good, healthy food to eat. 

I've spent time reviewing commands with Drexel.  (9) I'm thankful for a smart dog, who views training time as play time. 

I've planned (and even written some) upcoming blogging posts. Check out yesterday's post about #ThankfulActs. (9-1/2)  I'm thankful for blogging, and the friends I have made through this virtual community.

I've spent time with John.  (10) I'm thankful that John works from home, so I can spend so much time with my best friend.  This video is funny, but is definitely not my experience!






How has your week gone?  What are you thankful for this week? Comment below, and consider joining us in the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop!



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Ten Things of Thankful


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

A #ThankfulActs Challenge: Care to Join Me?

You've probably seen the memes on Facebook:  "Only __ more Mondays till Christmas!"  The romantic bustle of Silver Bells lyrics can give way to frenzy. Santa, and everyone else, makes a list and checks it twice in order to get everything done.  Some folks seem to revel in the joy of the season; others seem overwhelmed and stressed.  I've felt both feelings, even in the same day. As I think about the why of my emotions, I realize that the answer lies in the reason for doing what I'm doing.  If I am just trying to put a check on my to-do list, I am more likely to feel rushed and removed from the meaning behind the task.  If I am focused on how what I am doing will bless others, I tend to enjoy the moments more.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful: Birthday Week, So Who's Counting Edition

I had a birthday this past week, and friends, family, strangers, and even organizations (I'm talking to you, AARP!) wished me happy birthday.  Well, except the cast member at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.  He saw my birthday button and asked, "Is it your birthday?"  I said yes, and he replied, "Have a birthday."  


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Six Sentence Story: Fix

Sometimes, when I try to fix a situation, I end up in a fix, and John has to come fix that!  Linking up with Ivy's Six Sentence Stories.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Does Blogging Make You Braver?


"Does blogging make you braver?" John asked me last night, after I had called him from a parking lot to ask him to go get money from an ATM.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful: I Like You, and Other Things


One of the wonderful things about counting your blessings, is that everything counts, no matter how small or insignificant the item might seem.  This morning, as I unplugged my Fitbit from its charger, a message appeared on the screen:  I LIKE YOU.  I get plenty of positive messages from my family everyday, but I still appreciated that affirmation from my exercise tracker.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Six Sentence Story: Season

This week's Six Sentence Story prompt caught me in a reflective state of mind.  With a birthday that ends in a "0" sneaking up on me in a few days, I guess that is to be expected.  And so, here are 5 sentences reflecting the past seasons, and one for all the future seasons:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Choices, Choices, Choices: Evaluating the Family Budget

Every so often, I sit down and evaluate our family budget.  Some expenses are fixed and necessary, but many expenses can be reduced or eliminated.  Earlier this year, we switched our home phone service to Ooma, thereby drastically reducing our bill.  (We weren't quite brave enough to stop home service completely.)  

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Right Tool for the Job

I remember once having a conversation with a friend who wanted a new sewing machine, but her husband didn't understand why she would need another one when she already had one.  ( I think she had her eye on a serger.)  He was around at the time, and I told him that John always says that it's important to have the right tool for the job.  "Stop talking!  You're beginning to make sense!" he said.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful: Juxtaposition Edition

Juxtaposition seems to be the word of the week.  Bad things happen, and good pops out.  I am thankful for the good.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Finish the Sentence Friday: A Woman of Faith and Warm Carrots

Yesterday, a police sergeant was shot dead in my friend's neighborhood.  The TV reports on Hurricane Matthew, bringing bad news from across the nation into my house.  The presidential election just leaves me shaking my head.  

With so many big stories happening, it is easy to feel insignificant and unimportant.  And yet, I hope I can make a difference in my the lives of my loved ones. What do I hope to leave as my legacy?  My desire is that my family can feel peace and love in our home, despite the negative influences in the world.  I hope that I can be an example of a person of faith, one who has optimism, gratitude, and hope for the future, even in the midst of trials and struggles.  I want to be a steady calm presence in the chaos of modern life.  

I want to be remembered as someone who could relieve stress with laughter.  I want to be like Grandma Moses, finding new interests and talents even in my older years.  I want my children to relate the stories that make them laugh, like how I always pack healthy carrot sticks on road trips, but no one eats them and then we just have baggies of warm carrots in the car. 

Yes, I want to be remembered for warm carrots, because that is a memory of safety and love, and isn't that what we need today?

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Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday.



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Thanks for warmth--whether in carrots or memories.

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Six Sentence Story: Star

As soon as I saw the prompt for this week's Six Sentence Story, I knew just the memory I could share.  The prompt:  star.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

My Version of "Pumpkin Juice"

As you might have guessed from yesterday's post, we have a Harry Potter fan in our home. We have visited Universal Studios for the express purpose of seeing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I knew that I wanted to try the (non-alcoholic) Butter Beer; what I didn't expect was to find that I really prefer pumpkin juice.  

I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to replicate the flavor of pumpkin juice. There are multiple recipes online, but none that I found tasted quite right--though they were delicious.  I decided to experiment a bit, and this is what I came up with.  Though pumpkin juice is served cold at Universal Studios, this version is also delicious warm.  I was generous (some might say "heavy-handed") with the spices; if you like things a bit more mild, you can cut the spices in half.




Ingredients:

128 oz. apple juice
46 oz. apricot nectar
2 cans (15 oz each) pumpkin
2 T ginger
1-1/2 cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons cloves
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Combine everything together and heat over the stove to blend the spices--and to make the house smell great!  Enjoy some warm, then cool the rest.  

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Thanks for pumpkins and fall!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"Engorgio, Hogwarts Robe!" or, How to Make a Cloak Bigger

Am I the only one who seems to get costumes together at the last minute? Now, I realize that Halloween is weeks away, but youngest daughter has a Harry Potter costume party this week.  The Hogwarts robe that we had ordered online was woefully mis-sized, and with no luck finding another one, it was time to get creative. (Yes, I probably could have found one in the correct size at Universal Studios, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money.)  The problem was, I wasn't sure how I was going to make the cloak bigger.  Youngest daughter was resigned to going sans cloak, and just making do with what she was going to wear underneath.

Fortunately, I had one of those "a-ha!" moments early one morning, and I could finally picture how to make the costume larger without it taking too much effort (or money).  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take photos during the process, but the idea is so simple, hopefully words and after-photos will suffice.

Start by ripping out the side seam that extended from the bottom hem all the way up to the armpit, and down the arm to the hem at the wrist.  Do this for both the seam that goes down the right arm, and the seam that goes down the left arm.  If the cloak is lined (ours is), also rip the seam of the lining on both sides of the cloak.

Then, have the person who will be wearing the costume put the cloak on, so you can see how much fabric you will need to add.  (In the photo below, the red arrows show that I added about 12 inches of fabric.  My daughter wanted to make sure the cloak was really loose.)





(I was able to find fabric at the local fabric store that was a close-enough match to both the cloak fabric and the lining.) Cut 2 strips each of the main fabric and the lining.  Then, with right sides together, pin one side of the lining fabric to the cloak's lining (the raw seam I had ripped).  Sew that, then pin one side of the black fabric to the cloak (right sides together).  Next, attach the other side of black cloak fabric to the other side of the cloak's raw seam that you ripped (still working on the same arm, though.) In the above photo, the arrows clarify the two lines of stitching that is needed for each arm.  Then, turning the fabric inside-out, you can pin the final (for this arm) raw lining piece to the lining seam you ripped.  Just make sure that the right sides are together.  (After pinning and before sewing, I carefully turned the fabric right-side out again to make sure that I wasn't about to make a mistake.)  

In the photo below, the arrows show the two seams that are on each piece of added lining.






Repeat for the other arm.  All that is left then is finishing the hems--both at the bottom of the cloak, and at the sleeve.  You could either do an overlock stitch on the outer fabric, or do a folded hem (make a narrow fold, then fold again). Either way, make sure your outer fabric hem covers the raw edge of the lining. Then stitch in place.  

Of course, if you are skilled in casting the Engorgio spell, you might not need to do any sewing, but hopefully these directions helped any fellow Muggles out there!

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Thanks for simple projects, and for inspiration.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Family is the Point


I'm the kind of person who really likes to know why.  What is the big picture?  What are we trying to accomplish, and for what purpose? Answers to those kind of questions provide me a framework to make sense of what is going on around me. 

The visiting teaching message for October can be found here, and helps put life in perspective.  The Family is Ordained of God.  Julie B. Beck explains:

“The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
“… The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
“[Christ’s] Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. …
“… This was Christ’s doctrine. … Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life.”
Photo:  "The Father's plan for His children is a plan of love.  It is a plan to unite His children--His family--with Him."--Carole M. Stephens
The purpose of life is all about families.  Now, I recognize that not all children are born into ideal family situations, and I realize that not all adults marry nor have children.  However, regardless of circumstances beyond our control, we can speak up, encourage, and support strong families.  We can help strengthen the families we do have, and remember that we are all part of God's family.   photo visiting2_zps6d4521f3.jpg

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Thanks for families.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

General Conference (#LDSConf)--Saturday Morning Session


If you had a chance to watch General Conference this morning, you know how wonderful it was.  Prayer was emphasized quite a bit. You can view videos at this link.  

Here are a few quotes that jumped out at me:

Much of the important work of God is unseen in the eyes of the world. --Elder Neil L. Andersen


Because Joseph was a prophet--Elder Craig C. Christensen

Please, we must stop comparing ourselves to others.--J. Devn Cornish
We can pray for guidance about when to speak, what to say, and yes, on some occasions, when to be still.--Robert D. Hales



If we loved the Savior more, would we suffer less?--Elder Robert D. Hales

(This is not to say that suffering is due to not loving the Savior--rather, that the Savior is available to help us and sustain us during hard times.  As we turn to Him, we can receive strength.)

In times of trouble, our prayers become a lifeline of love and tender mercies. --Carol F. McConkie

Do you prepare yourself for a moment of prayer?--Juan A. Uceda

I wonder if we truly appreciate what we have. --President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I'm thankful for General Conference!

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