Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pumpkin Bread

I've had several people ask for my pumpkin bread recipe, so thought I'd share here.  There aren't any pictures at this time because we've finished off the last of the bread that I made a couple of weeks ago.

It's yummy!   Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread
  • 6 eggs, beat well
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 c. vegetable/canola oil
  • 3 c. pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. cloves
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 cups flour
In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin and mix well.  Add the spices and flour and combine on low speed until mixed well, then on medium speed.  Be sure to scrape the edges of the bowl to make sure the ingredients are all mixed together.

Lightly grease and flour loaf pans.  Fill 2/3 full and bake at 300 degrees for 85 minutes.  Check with a toothpick before removing from oven.  If the toothpick still has sticky batter on it after sticking it in the center of the loaf, bake an additional 5 minutes and check again.  

Remove from oven and lay pans on their sides or on a cooling rack to cool.  When completely cool, remove the bread from the pans and put in ziplock bags, or wrap in saran wrap.  

This was a recipe my mother had and I used to make it when I was living at home (LOTS of years ago).  Our house was never wired to be able to have an electric stove, so we heated our water and cooked all of our meals on the coal/wood burning stove, and it still turned out fabulous!  And hey, I'm not THAT old - but growing up certainly was an adventure!

Hope you enjoy the bread - our family loves it.

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Prayer


 The Christ-Centered Home

I've been reading a new book by Emily Belle Freeman titled: The Christ Centered Home.  I've found that it can be purchased at any book store, but the one I order from online most frequently is Amazon or here.

Our family has had an interesting couple of years, and as I read the chapter that focused on having a household of prayer and really conversing with the Lord, I realized that we really have been doing that.  We've called on Him in our times of great need.  We've prayed for others, by name and for specific blessings that we know they need and/or desire.  On my way to work, I often pray to thank Him for the beautiful valley that we are blessed to be living in, for our family, for the amazing scenery - and last summer - for the abundance of rainbows!   I've prayed for calmness, and it has come.  I've prayed to know how to serve others, and thoughts have come into my mind.  I've prayed for our children, their spouses and our grand-children. 

I truly have found that as I've included my Father in Heaven in the details of my life, I have felt His presence in greater abundance.  I have been made aware of times when others have prayed specifically for us and our circumstances, and we have felt lifted up because of those prayers.  

I want to share a bit of my own testimony about prayer by quoting a short paragraph from this book.

"Making prayer a part of our daily routine may require us to set aside and turn upside down many of our original daily patterns.  We have to shift our thoughts vertically.  Inviting the Lord to be part of our lives will require us to live intentionally.  But the blessing of constant companionship is worth it.  The ongoing conversation will bless our lives in a way that we may have been missing out on previously.  Through prayer we can receive answers, comfort, and strength.  We can experience the miracles that can come only through prayer and fasting.  We can find direction.  Perhaps the most important lesson we can teach our children is the importance of regular prayer."

I hope that your life can be enriched and your relationship with your Father in Heaven and Savior will be enriched by making prayer a part of the intimate moments of your life.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's a girl!




The grand kids got to help announce the gender of the new baby that will be joining our family in August.  That silly string is PINK!

Miss Emma is very excited that a sister is joining the family.

We are finally enjoying some amazing spring days.  There's still snow in the mountains, and we are getting rain showers.  We love living somewhere that is like a 3D postcard each and every day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Anxiety - Part 3!

It has been such an interesting process figuring out 'life'.  It's something we all do each and every day.  Every person has different experiences that they are working through and different perspectives that they bring to the table - so each and every one of us will have different outcomes.  How I handled my situation that was causing such extreme anxiety in my life may not work for you. 

So - a year plus since my last post on anxiety, and I'm happy to report that I'm doing well!  Let me tell you about that year ----  whew!
  • I quit my job
  • My husband retired from his job 
  • In April we spent three weeks in Utah helping our daughter with a new baby and looking for work and houses
  • Made an offer on a home - it didn't go through
  • The first part of May our house in Missouri sold!
  • We went back to Missouri and finished packing our place up and doing things to the house that had to be be done for the sale to go through
  • Phone & Skype interviews -- that happens when you are 1,000 miles away from where you are trying to find work
  • Lots of emotional good-byes to very dear friends.  Some that we likely will never see again.  Thank heavens for FB, email and phone calls!
  • Packed up and drove across country.  Do you want to know what caused me the most anxiety about all of this?  Driving behind the U-Haul!  I watched it almost go off the road, I watched it look like it could tip over while changing lanes on uneven pavement.  I watched it going way too fast down some very long hills.  I had perfect trust in our friend and driver of that van, but still - that was hard!
  • Moved in with some friends because we didn't have a house of our own.
  • We were basically homeless and unemployed!  YIKES!
  • Spent lots of time with family - so therapeutic!  
  • Went to the LDS Employment Center every day and spent hours filling out job applications, interviewing, crying over rejection letters, etc.
  • I got a job the end of July
  • Bought a home
  • Don's back is getting worse and worse
  • In October or November met with a neurosurgeon and determined that surgery was necessary
  • Major back surgery the first part of December
  • Don was called to be the bishop of our ward, that we had only been members of for three months! 
  • He's still looking for work
 When I scored the events of the year on one of those life stress inventories, the score was quite high.  Anything 300 points or more raises the odds to about 80% of having a major health breakdown in the next two years.  We scored 423!

Even with a high score on the stress inventory, we felt SO MUCH PEACE!   Staying in the upstairs apartment at our friends' place was truly a healing time for us.  When we needed a friend, we just walked down stairs.  We had prayed and fasted and received a LOT of counsel from people we trusted as we made the decision to walk away from those things that were causing us the most stress.  So even with all of the changes that we made, and the stress that they could have (should have) caused in our lives, we have never had a time in our lives when we felt peace on such a consistent basis. 

We have loved being close to our family and enjoying time with our adult children, their spouses and the grandkids.  What a blessing each of them are to us.  What a joy to have those little ones walk in our house and throw their arms around us. 

We did a lot of 'studying it out in our minds and hearts' as to what we should do each step of the way.  We felt the strong confirmation from a loving Father in Heaven as we made decisions that we were on the right path - even when we couldn't totally see the path!  We felt like Peter at times, as the Lord issued the invitation to him 'to come' - to leave the boat and walk to Him on the water.  Sometimes we felt as though we had just taken a flying leap into the wind-tossed waters - but even as we did so - we felt our Savior's outstretched arms there to catch us. 

We feel blessed.  
We feel loved.
Life is good!
We are happy! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February Update - Frost, Friends, Fun and more....

We have a fun place to go play with the grandkids here in town - it's called the Bounce and Slide.  After I got trapped in the obstacle course one a few weeks ago, I decided it was much safer to stick to the the big slide. 

We've had some amazing frost events.  We live in an area where there are a lot of streams so we tend to get more frost.  There were a couple of mornings where everything in our area was covered in this wonderful hoar frost.  It was so pretty.



Our friends, Brad and Martha Cochran brought their daughter Becca to Utah to drop her off at the MTC (Mission Training Center) in Provo.  She will spend about ten days there before flying to Nevada to begin that part of her mission.  They were able to come and spend a couple of days with us and WE LOVED IT!  It was so good to have them here.  See that 'smoggy cloud layer in this picture?  That was covering our entire beautiful valley.  From down in the valley, you couldn't even see the mountains, so we took a drive up into the mountains and enjoyed a beautiful day at Hardware Ranch.  It's a place where they feed the elk during the winter so they don't go down into the valley looking for food and cause property damage. 

 On our way up to Hardware Ranch we saw this moose eating the tops off of the sage brush.  





And then we saw the elk.  The estimate was between 400-500 elk that are fed on a daily basis.  We watched them with binoculars for about an hour.  On the weekends they take you out in the middle of the herd on wagons pulled by horses.  We've done that before and it is so fun. 




Sunday, January 17, 2016

January thus far....

For all of our friends and family that we don't see much any more, we wanted to share a bit of what is happening in our lives.  

First off, Don had his one month post-surgery check-up last week and passed with flying colors.  Most of his initial restrictions were lifted.  He still can't lift more than 10 lbs and he does need to be very careful about putting himself in situations where he could be injured.  His stamina is not where he'd like it to be yet, but the doctor told him that by the three month check-up, that he would be able to tell a big difference.  

We were able to see some views of his presurgery  MRI that we hadn't seen before. The cross-section view looking down into the vertebrae was amazing.  What was amazing was how little room there was within the vertebrae with the most damage.  When we looked at that one compared to the others she showed us, our comment was: "Where is the spinal cord?"  There was a cyst sitting in there along with stenosis (which is arthritis in the spinal canal) and scar tissue -- we couldn't actually see the spinal cord because of the amount of compression that was on it.  The doctor told us that when she sees an MRI like that, that those people are usually bed or chair-bound because either a) it hurts too bad, or b) they have lost a lot of mobility.  So we count ourselves very blessed.  He is walking 2 miles a day on the treadmill and has been able to increase the speed at which he is walking quite a bit.  

The week after his surgery we had a visit in our home by the new stake president.  Our bishop had been called to be in the stake presidency...we had a bad feeling about that visit!  On December 27th, Don was called to be the bishop in our ward and today he and his counselors were sustained.  This is a very humbling position to fill and we wonder 'why'?!  But we have learned that when our Father in Heaven gives us these opportunities to serve, He will also strengthen us and lift us to accomplish the things that He would have us do. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fall in the Mountains

A couple of weeks ago Don and I took a drive up in the mountains.  The fall colors had mostly come and gone, and there weren't many bright yellows because of a fungus that affected the Quaking Aspens, but it was still an amazing day up in the mountains.  The blue of the sky, the smell of the clean mountain air, the rustling of the leaves....it was a very therapeutic day. 






Monday, October 12, 2015

Halloween Table Runner

I finally had time to do a little fabric shopping and make this cute table runner for our coffee table.  I had some different fabrics in mind when I went shopping, but I'm happy with the results.

 I was going to share with you the blog post that was my inspiration for this table runner, but when I went to the blog I couldn't find it.  I'll keep looking - and I promise - when I find it, I will update this post.  Mine is cute - hers is amazing!

And the little porcelain ghost sitting there?  The fuzzy spider on his head plays music when you push it.  We've had that ghostie for a LOT of years.  Our daughters used to enjoy him, and now our grand-kids are having some fun with him too.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Our New Home

We've been in our new home for three weeks now.  All of the boxes are either unpacked, or they've been opened and we know what's in them!  We have a gallery wall to do, and some updating of pictures that we already have hanging.  For the most part - we are settled!  We are happy to be here and it feels like home.  

As we went to help a daughter with some family pictures this afternoon, we kept remarking about how beautiful it was and what a perfect day.  Clear blue skies, fall leaves, nice temperatures and mountains!  
This our new home!  I cleaned out all of the flower beds on Saturday and I found muscles that haven't been used in a while!  We are looking forward to spring and putting in one or two Knock-out rose bushes, a hydrangea bush and tearing up some of the back yard for a garden.  There is a cement pad out back that will be home to a fire pit.

This is standing in our kitchen looking into the living room.  There is a fireplace on the right side of the wall.

This is standing in the living room looking towards the kitchen.
This is the room just as you walk in the front door.

Love this staircase.  At the top of it is the little tv/play room that is pictured below.


Master bedroom.



Master bedroom looking out to the hall.


There are two more bedrooms and a study/craft room.  Plus a HUGE pantry!  LOVE IT!!
There is plenty of room for company!   Just sayin'!

In the next few days, I'll show some of the special things we enjoy about our home in more detail.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dear Realtor.....

My husband and I have spent the last several months looking for a house to buy.  We've gone online to look, then driven around neighborhoods of houses that we like.  There has been one consistent thing that has made this house-hunting experience very frustrating, and that has been some of the photos used in the advertisement for the house.  We know that you might want your client's rooms to look bigger than they actually are, but seriously!!!!
This is a picture found in a listing....  really?  This bed is for a very tall person who doesn't mind sitting on the edge of it with their knees up around their ears. 

To this realtor's credit - they did include a 'normal' photograph also.  Why even use those wide angle shots?  Hate them.  



To be honest with you Mr. or Ms. Realtor - there are houses that we didn't even go to see because we were so disappointed with the quality of the photos that were used.  Here are a few more examples.  These photos just do not do justice to the home.  I can 'almost' say ok to some of the fish-eye lens shots -- almost....    We did actually see a couple of these rooms in real life.  They looked much better than how they were portrayed in the ad. 






Notice the squatty fridge? 


As a person who is trying to sell your home - ask to see the photos your realtor takes before they go live online.  And I beg you - please don't allow them to use wide-angle shots, they are a disservice to your home and will not help to sell your house.

We did finally find our next home - and not a single picture in the home ad was a wide-angle shot!  Likewise with the house that we sold.  Kudos to good, old-fashioned, picture it as it is photography!