Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I've Learned

I've learned a few things over the past couple of weeks:

*Planning a wedding/reception long distance takes its toll. Thank goodness for phones and email.
*Just when you think the decision is made and the issue is settled, its not.
*Nicki and I are both traditionalists, especially when it comes to wedding photography (no magazine spread photography, please).

*I'm in the wrong business. Weddings/receptions are incredibly and disproportionately expensive.
*Nicki is a sensible girl (I already knew that, but never appreciated it as much as I do now).
*Thankfully (on a multitude of levels), we are not the Clinton's ($6,000/guest at dear little Chelsea's sweet affair).
*It will all be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Big Announcement!

Nicki and McKay are officially engaged! Wedding scheduled for September 17th, pending availability at the Logan Temple! Details to follow. Yippee!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Another Shameless Plug

I saw this article this morning when I was checking my email. I subscribe to Dr. Mercola's free newsletter and always find something interesting. This particular piece goes right along with what I do. Click here to read it.

I haven't used shampoo in my hair for the past year, or longer, and I don't buy Dr. Mercola's either. I use the soap I make, any bar. I just "shampoo" with my soap, rinse my hair and then use about 1/4 cup white vinegar added to 2 cups of water (give or take a bit) to get rid of any residue. It leaves my hair cleaner and softer than shampoo and conditioner and I don't have to wash it as often. It doesn't strip my hair of it's own natural, protective oils (or the color either). It is by far more gentle to my hair than shampoo and conditioner. Added bonus - since I'm not using plastics on my hair (that is what conditioners are - plastics to coat the hair shaft dried out from the detergents and chemicals in shampoo) my shower stays much cleaner! Not to mention that I am saving a bundle on shampoo and conditioner.

If you are thinking your expensive bottle is a better quality shampoo or conditioner, remember that is only slick marketing. It may even have added botanicals (for which your are being charged an arm and a leg), but all the other nasty chemicals and detergents are still there. I would put my soaps up against any shampoo or conditioner, not matter how expensive, any day of the week. 

If you are interested in switching over, remember, it may take a few shampoos with the bar soap and a few rinses with the vinegar to get your hair back to its normal, healthy self. Your hair will have a brief "detox" period. Stick with it, you will love the results. I just keep a plastic drinking cup in the shower with a jug of vinegar (the loveliest of decor, I'm sure), that way I always have it handy. And I don't stress over measurements either. A shower is supposed to be, in part, relaxing. I just add a bit of vinegar in the bottom of the cup, add water, swish it around (sometimes) then pour it on my hair. Massage it around a minute and then rinse it off. One more bonus - if you get those small pimples on your back/shoulders, it could be from your pores being opened in a warm shower, then getting clogged with your conditioner that is very difficult to wash off. The vinegar method actually cleanses your skin as it washes over your body. Don't worry, if you come to visit, you will have access to regular shampoo and conditioner - without a side of guilt;).

A few months ago, I wrote an article for a little flyer that circulates in Utah, dealing with the problems of personal care products. I highlighted some of the same ingredients as Dr. Mercola's article, only in a bit more depth. If you are interested you can click here and read it. Remember, I am not a professional writer or journalist - please forgive!

Friday, July 2, 2010

June Highlights - The "Cute" Post

This is a pretty long post for those of you who care to read it. Just so ya know.

Every year, the last day of school, (which was really in May, not June) the 5th grade here in Providence does a Civil War re-inactment. It consists of a narrator who describes key battles from the Civil War and the kids re-inact the battle by throwing water balloons to the opposing army (Confederate or Union). Kenna and Trevor have both done it and it is a very patriotic event. Both times I watched it, I got all choked up. The kids always love the water balloon part, and the parents and the rest of the community try to stay dry and enjoy the narrations of the events. It is a great little event. Trevor is a Union soldier here.

Around the end of May/beginning of June, Kent built this cute little screen to keep the birds from enjoying my strawberries. It is a tiny patch, and as much as I love the wildlife, I don't enjoy them eating all my berries. The plants in the buried garbage cans (next to the strawberries) are blueberries, which do not grow in Utah, unless you plant them in buried garbage cans filled with alkaline soil. I get a great crop of blueberries every year and love them. They sit between my raspberry patch and the strawberries. I love my berries and they are all grown organically. Love that!
We also planted our garden in these amazing garden boxes. Kent built these for me last year and gardening has never been easier. We planted corn, red peppers, squash (several varieties), carrots, parsnips, three kinds of potatoes, peas, onions (yellow and purple), cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, radishes, scallions, turnips, beans, spinach, pumpkins, cucumbers, beets, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, cilantro and a few other items. All grown organically and I love it. Note the cute shed Trevor and Kent built a couple of years ago. Next post I will do an updated garden picture - it's all filled in and growing great.

I have all my summer pots planted, a big accomplishment since we had cold weather up until the beginning weeks of June.

On June 12th, Kent and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary. He took me to this cute little get-away in Midway, Utah. Fun, huh! I ate the best crab I have ever eaten in my entire life right here in land-locked, Midway, Utah. It was so good!

I love when all the bushes and flowers start their spectacular spring & summer show.
Cute lilacs from our trees.

We've enjoyed some spectacular sunsets from the comfort of our back deck. 

Speaking of our deck . . . 

This is the view looking down -- it leaves a lot to be desired.
Under the deck it isn't much better, however, we are in the process of fixing that!

Kent spent a bit of last summer and a lot of this summer working on steps and a landing to replace the lovely dirt hill we have lived with since we bought the house. Once the hard scape is in, I get to landscape it and I can't wait. It is going to be . . . what else, CUTE!

The best thing I did for myself and my kids was marry Kent. On Father's Day we spoiled him with a mediocre lunch but made up for it with his favorite pie - homemade coconut cream. He loved it and he didn't complain much about this sweet hammock he got either. He's the best and we love him. We think he is kind of cute too!

Sometime in June I managed to get Kenna and Trevor to help me make strawberry jam, our family's favorite. The first picture captures Trevor trying to look natural - and busy! We ended up with about 35 containers and only a few gallons of it on the floor, walls and refrigerator, thanks to Kenna and Trevor's enthusiasm for stirring jam. I endured very loud (but good) music in order to enlist their help. We had fun together.

On Saturday, June 26th, we took the fam to Salt Lake City for Regan's birthday. It was not easy convincing her that she would have fun. All I could tell her was to pack for church the next day because we were going to have a great time in Salt Lake and then spend the night with Gma. & Gpa. Craven in Orem, and go to church with them the next morning. Regan was not pleased. She loves her grandparents, but certainly didn't want to spend her 19th birthday hanging out at their house. I finally convinced her that what we were doing before going to Gma. & Gpa.'s would be worth the effort, i.e., shopping at The Gateway Mall.
 After a bit of shopping, we went to PF Chang's for dinner (she has never eaten there). She was having fun, until I grabbed her and dragged her into the bathroom complaining that I thought I was going to vomit. It was all a ruse to get her away from the table so Nicki and McKay could sneak in and sit down. When we came out of the bathroom (where I had and amazing recovery, w/o vomiting, which quite perplexed and aggravated Regan) she just stopped dead in her tracks and started to cry when she saw Nicki. It was so sweet, and of course, I missed the photo op! She has been begging Nicki to take a weekend off and fly out to Utah for her birthday. Nicki kept insisting that there was no way she could do that, planning all along for this big surprise. 
Nicki and McKay - cute couple!
We took a bit of time after dinner and walked around Temple Square, a lovely and favorite place to hang out for a while. Always relaxing there. 

My cute baby Regan all grown up!
Regan and her cake after church on Sunday. It was a vanilla cake with lemon curd filling and pink frosting - a special request from Regan. Even though I couldn't wrap my head around lemon filling and pink frosting, it would have tasted okay if I hadn't over baked the cake, making it really dry, ugh! But Regan was happy! 

Monday, June 28th, my 50th birthday. It was kind of hard turning 50, but not as hard as turning 40 for some reason. Kent got me these beautiful roses. I have never seen an arrangement of roses like this before and I loved them. He had attached a gift certificate, which was very thoughtful, since he already purchased a cute watch from the Gateway Mall (Brighton's - if you've never been in there, you must go - cute purses, watches and other jewelry/accessories) for me on Saturday. Those roses aren't cute, they are beautiful and gorgeous!

The birthday cake saga. This is the cake Regan made for me, a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and sliced strawberries. It was so delicious, made even sweeter by the fact that it was the third cake she made. The first two didn't turn out quite the way she had envisioned, so she stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning making yet another cake (that is after working all day at the day care center at the hospital, she must have been exhausted). I would have been happy with the first one (especially since I was perfectly content to serve her a less-than-perfect cake on her birthday).

On June 29nd, Trevor had his piano recital. This year his teacher decided to do it at a retirement center, which I thought was such a great idea. The elderly people love and appreciate any entertainment, even if there are a few flub-ups, as there always are in recitals. Trevor is getting very good at playing piano and really likes it. He played "Crystal Dew Waltz", "The Entertainer" and a couple of other songs that I've forgotten the titles to. He played a difficult John Schmidt piece that he taught himself, surprising his piano teacher.
Just a couple of the honored guests at the recital -- they are the cutest people ever. One little lady asked me if she broke the camera when I took this shot. It was funny.