Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

For the past week all I've seen out my window is this. We have had snow off and on for days now. I love the first snowfall of the season, but I'm afraid I'm going to be sick of it by the time spring comes again. We have lived here for 7 years and this is the first time we have had snow for Thanksgiving.

When I woke up this morning it was 29 degrees warmer than yesterday morning. Yesterday it was -8. You do the math.
Undoubtedly, snow can be beautiful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Party Crashers!

So, a few weeks ago, I decided I was going to host a little craft party at my house and invite my sisters and nieces that live nearby. Some said they were going to come and some couldn't make it. Our plan was to arrive, have dinner and craft on Friday night, then go to Gardener's Village on Saturday. So, on Friday morning I got a call from one of my sisters (Lanell) telling me that my sister from California (Janice) was coming to the party. She was coming up to Idaho to borrow my dad's chainsaw (don't even ask, but if you do, its a pretty funny story). I asked Lanell if it wouldn't have been cheaper for Janice to rent or buy a chainsaw, but at this point it was about more than borrowing my dad's obviously amazing chainsaw. Anyway, when Janice heard we were all getting together to craft, eat and talk, (our favorite best hobbies), she decided to crash the party. She wasn't invited because I didn't think in a million years she would drive 10-12 hours for a few hours of partying with us. Boy was I wrong. I'm so glad she came. But, we kept it a secret from the rest of the party-goers. April, Lanell, Ashley and Taunya arrived around 5:00, Darcie got there a bit later. Then around 8:30 Janice snuck in the house. The pictures below tell the story better than I can.
You can't tell from the picture below, but April is crying she was so surprised and happy to see Janice.
We were all sitting around feeling bad that the rest of the sisters couldn't make it, when to our surprise around 11:00 Shirlene showed up. She had told me on the phone earlier that she wasn't coming because of the cost and time. She is working on her Master's Degree at BSU and pretty involved with that, and like the rest of us, the money she would have spent on gas could go to so many other places. But then she had a "conversation" with mom that went something like this: "Mom, you wouldn't go if you were me and money was an issue". Mom, "Go be with your sisters". Shirlene "You wouldn't do this if you didn't have the money." Mom, "I have a different perspective now, go be with your sisters". So she decided to come. I halfway expected her to come, especially since I did spill the beans and tell her Janice was coming (it was a little pressure, nothing more). All the same, when she showed up I was so surprised and busy hugging her that I didn't get any photos of her walking in and surprising us all. Here we are working on the cute little pumpkin crafts we made. It was kind of challenging for some of us and we had some pretty good laughs.
Aren't these stuffed pumpkins cute!!!
After crafting we spent the rest of the night, (literally, we were up until 6:00 am) laughing, crying, talking and making some unforgettable memories. One by one we drifted off to bed for a couple hours of sleep before we were supposed to head south to Gardener's Village. Debbie didn't get there until Saturday morning because she and my brother (her hubby) work the Friday evening shift at the IF Temple. She was also surprised to see Janice and Shirlene.
Here we are Saturday morning drinking all manner of herbal teas trying to relieve our suffering-from-sleep-deprivation hang-overs and moving pretty slowly. I'm the one with the incredible bed-head in the bottom left corner. I look better than I feel.
Lanell had to leave Saturday morning-ish to go back to Pocatello, where her son was playing in a championship football game, so she couldn't go to Gardener's Village with us. This is a group photo before she left. I'm still in my pajamas!
We finally left the house around 2:00 (much, much later than we had planned) and drove down to Gardener's Village. We had a late lunch there and then walked around the many shops and had more fun. The sun was setting and reflecting this beautiful pink on the mountains to the east of us. Unfortunately, my camera wasn't quite up to the task so you can't even begin to appreciate how beautiful it was.
One final group picture before we left Gardener's Village. Back row: me and Debbie. Seated from left to right: Janice, April, Ashley and Taunya, (April's daughters), Shirlene and Darcie, (Debbie's daughter who has two buns in the oven due the first part of May, we're so happy for her).
Debbie and Darcie went home Saturday night and April and her girls were going to drive back home also, but we talked them into staying one more night. When we got home around 9:00 p.m., we made a run to Macey's (food store, not department store) so Janice could buy "Snaps". She can't find them anywhere near where she lives, so we always have to do a "snaps" run when she's here. If you don't know, snaps are colorful little licorice tubies that we McAffee's love. Debbie told Janice she thinks they taste like soap, to which Janice replied (think happy, excited voice here), "Ya, they do, and they taste like perfume too". And they really do, but they taste like soap and perfume with lots of sugar on them and we love them. I've actually converted Kent to them too. After the "snaps" run, we went home and watched, or tried to watch "Letters from Juliet", which I liked, but kept falling asleep through it.
Bright and early Sunday morning April, Ashley and Taunya drove home and Janice and Shirlene went to church with us. Right after Sac. Meeting, Shirlene left. It was so hard to say good-bye to people as they left, but Janice and Shirlene were the hardest for me because they were the last two to leave. Janice left early this morning for her drive back to CA. She drove through snow, rain, sleet, wind and sunshine, and sometimes all of it at once according to her. But she made it through the Sierra Nevadas and on home safe and sound. Thanks you girls for a glorious, albeit, unhealthy weekend. Thanks to all of you for making financial sacrifices and giving up time with your hubbies and babies (young and old) to be together. Love and miss you all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Missing Mom

Yesterday marked two months since mom passed away. I really miss her. It seems like it has been years since I've seen her, talked to her or laughed with her.

Thanksgiving 2008
Dad sporting a nasty owie from a semi rearending them. His face smashed into the steering wheel. Ouch!

Mackay Dam, Summer 2009

May 2009 -I promise I did not stick my tongue in a socket just before this picture was taken. What is up with my wild hair???
Mom with granddaughters and great-granddaughters, plus Garrett.
Mom with daughters, minus Cindy, Shauna, Lanell and Shellie.
Mom with the latest batch of great-grandbabies.

June 2010 - at Hawaiian Temple

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Worst of the Tricks!

Trevor decided at the last minute to go trick-or-treating with his friends on Saturday night (yes, you saw this costume last year. We are pretty lazy when it comes to putting costumes together. Consider this recycling). He even took a pillowcase with him. I used to have huge hangups about kids trick-or-treating with pillowcases. How much candy does one need anyway? And, isn't gluttony one of the seven cardinal sins!?! Not to mention what all that sugar does to the kids - blissful energy, then the inevitable crash (like all good drugs should do, right?), tooth decay, lethargic thinking, suppressed immune system, and the list goes on.

Dumb things I have done in the past in regards to the Halloween loot:
1. Not take my kids trick-or-treating.
2. Let my kids go trick-or-treating, then make them pick out their favorite 10 items, trashing the rest (this was by far the most sadistic because it never really got trashed, Kent and I ate it. I know, we're sick!).
3. Pick out all the bubble gum loaded with sugar and trash that (I have never liked my kids "chomping" on gum, and you will never see me doing it).
4. Allow them to eat as much Halloween candy on Halloween night as they can, then trash the rest (very poor advice from a not-very-bright mom, and I fell for it. Who's the dummy here?).
5. Pay my kids for their Halloween candy - actually, I can't remember if I ever really did this, or if I've just fantasized about doing it until in my mind it has become a "real" memory.

For years Nicki and Regan have had to take the brunt of our "learning curve" when it came to parenting skills. This is just one example. I think I owe them bags of candy, if they really want to collect!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Christmas Soap!

I don't mean to jump the gun, but . . . I'm so excited to be offering this new stinking cute "Cranberry Fig" Christmas soap! (It doesn't really stink, it smells fabulous and oh, so holiday-ish). It will be ready to ship December 1st. Each bar will sell for $5.00, however, beginning Monday, November 1st, I will be taking pre-orders through November 10th and all pre-ordered soap will sell for $4.50/bar. Remember your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family (great stocking stuffer) in a cute and useful way!!! They will love something fun from someone special. To order, click here, or go to

Note: This soap is fragranced with a fragrance oil.
Photo by Bramble Berry
(Because all soaps are handmade and hand cut, slight variations may occur).

Sunday, October 24, 2010


First off, I bugged Nicki to send me pictures of her bridals so I could post a bunch of them for the entire world to see. She did it and I never got the blog done. I notice she got tired of waiting for me and posted them herself. Thanks, Nicki, and so sorry!!! To see the pictures click here.

Now, on to my weekend. These girls are my best friends from childhood. As long as I can remember, I have known these girls and we have been friends. Allison is in the white shirt, then me, and Marilyn is in the purple shirt. We went to church together and saw each other in Primary (later, Mutual) every week, and many times in-between. Allison and Marilyn went to a different high school than I did, rival high schools in fact, but that never interfered with our friendship. As we got older, we only became better friends. Then we all graduated and went our separate ways.

Unfortunately, over the years, we haven't kept in touch as much as we should/could have. Allison and I send each other Christmas cards/letters every year, but I had lost touch with Marilyn quite a few years ago. In fact, I haven't seen Marilyn since she moved from our little valley where we all grew up about 32 years ago. I knew she lived in Utah, but wasn't quite sure where. When she heard that my mom had passed away, she made an effort to get my phone number and call me. It was such a delight to talk to her after so many years, and especially at such a difficult time for me. I will always be grateful for her efforts. Long story short, we decided we needed to get together, since we all live within 3 hours of each other.

They came to my home and we spent most of Saturday together, then they both left Sunday. It was such a great weekend. We caught up on everyone we knew, reminisced about the "glory days" of our youth, laughed about all the stupid, crazy stuff we used to do, and talked about things that we will take to our graves. The time went too fast. We needed a few more days to finish all our business together. The best thing about it is that we picked up right where we left off years and years ago - a sign of a true BFF! Thanks girls for making the effort. We need to make this a yearly event. Love you both!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's No Secret - I Love Fall!

I love the house decorated for fall. I try to stay away from "Halloween" only decorations, that way I can keep the stuff up for Thanksgiving too, because even though I love my house decorated, I HATE doing it (too time consuming and a brain boggle for me)! Disclaimer here: I am no photographer, as is obvious, but wanted to share the fun anyway.
I love this fall wreath.

We grew all these pumpkins (plus a few more) in our garden this year. I think we had about 40 in all, including the 3 or 4 the grasshoppers ate (oh ya, they made a feast of the garden this year).

This tree is in our backyard and it is one of my favorite things about fall. It always turns this beautiful red color, while most of the rest of the trees I see around here turn gold or orange (also beautiful, but not like this one). The picture doesn't do it justice. I wish I had a few more of these planted around the property.

I love putting all my pretty fall dishes in my china cabinet.

I bought these a few years ago. I couldn't decide which one I liked best, so I got all three without any regrets or buyer's remorse!
The over all effect. (Sorry about the glare)

I have a ton of built in shelves in our family room. Even though it is a pain to dust, having the spaces broken up does make for easier decorating.

I love this picture over our fireplace. It was painted by Del Parsons in an orphanage Kent designed down in Ecuador a few years ago (also where I served my mission). The owners of the orphanage had a print made for Kent and I and gave it to us for Christmas the year the orphanage was finished. You can't tell from this far away, but the small children in the painting are the children who live in the orphanage and the teenage girls are the girls from BYU-Idaho that volunteer to go down and work in these orphanages. The man standing in the left of the picture is the man who, with his wife, run the home the volunteers live in. I love this picture for the obvious reasons, and because it is very unique; not every member of the church has seen or has a copy of this picture. I love it. Not a fall deco - this one stays up all year.

This is a bit better, but again, I am no photographer.

Anyway, on with the decorating. I love pumpkins, about 90% of my fall decor is pumpkins, most of them are pretty generic, but a couple are definitely Jack-O-Lantern type. Here are a few of my favorites.

My token Thanksgiving decorations.

Last, but certainly not least, I bought this spooky tree quite a number of years ago when we lived in CA. I don't love it and have tried to get rid of it, however, it has turned out to be one of my kids' favorite decorations. They used to fight over who got to hang the little halloween decorations on it. (Ahh, such sweet memories)!
I hope you enjoyed your little tour. This was mostly done for Nicki, but I hope it was also fun for the rest of you "regulars".