Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve Beauty Tips, Apply Liberally

Years ago, I was talked in to being a Mary Kay beauty consultant.  It took a lot of convincing because I'm not a sales person, but because I really like the products, I consented and started my "career" as a beauty consultant. (I love that term)  I realized with 4 daughters and daughters-in-law, I would have enough "business" to make it worth while.  I don't do parties nor do I find people to sell under me.  I just buy the products at a discount, give discounts to anyone who wants it (I know, other consultants don't want to hear that), give as gifts and giveaways and use it myself. 
The other day, while waiting for my grandkids preschool program to start, I got out my lip gloss. 

Kels and C8 wanted to apply the gloss liberally to themselves... 

...and others!  After watching their techniques, I realized that with them on my team, I couldn't go wrong.  Maybe it IS time to take this show on the road.

After all, who wouldn't want to look this good?
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shopping at Ross

My son, Dan, has many talents.  One of which is knowing how to find awesome buys at Ross!  I have been the grateful recipient of his gifts, most of them footwear.  Here is a Christmas gift from 2 years ago. These chic, Italian, plastic, pink, boots are the greatest!  I put them right on when I got them and did a dance!  That's how awesome they are!  That was the last time I wore them because I didn't have anything to wear them with...until now!

This year Dan out-did himself!  Imagine my surprise when I opened up the brightly wrapped Christmas box to discover this coat!  This is Clara. I don't usually name my articles of clothing, but a pink and gray wool, plaid coat with pleats in the back, a belt that ties 2 inches above my natural waist line and a fur collar deserves a name!  She is a magical coat.  Just the other night, while wearing Clara, I went to pick up a pizza and when I questioned the price of the pizza, the guy knocked off $7.00!
People open doors for me,  checkstands at Wal-mart open up when I'm ready to check out, I drove to my daughter's house in half the time that it usually takes and without a police escort!

Did I mention that it also keeps me warm?  What a coat!  What a gift!  Thanks, Dan!

Now, if I could just find those pink boots!

Friday, December 25, 2009


It's been a fun, family filled, Christmas.  Here are some pictures of the activities.
Christmas eve at Candice and Andy's house
Santa, bless his heart, took time out of his BUSY schedule to stop by and say "Hi" to the fam.
Jeanette got a gift.

Kelsey wasn't sure about Santa.

Troy just wanted to get hold of Santa's beard.  Luckily Dan was able to hold him back!

Corban gave his list of wishes to Santa. (A little too late, buddy)

The beginning of the Nativity
David has been the donkey since he was 12 years old!  According to Emily, who played Mary, the reason why Uncle Dave is the donkey is because he won't break!  Others had their own philosophy but we'll stick with Em's.

Mary. wrapping the Baby Jesus in his swaddling clothes as Joseph looks...around.

After the reading of Luke, acting out the Nativity and singing Christmas hymns at the appropriate places, we convened in the kitchen for ginger bread house decorating.
Nicole's team consisting of Kelsey and Keiti.  Their house had the fewest decorations but those girls sure had a good time eating the candy.

Jeanette, Em and Rachael putting the final touches on the only house that stayed together!

Christmas eve in new pajamas.  Perhaps this will be our next year's Christmas picture! (perhaps not!)

Christmas morning. Jacob playing the drums.

C8 admiring her Cabbage Patch Doll.

Jeanette loving her gift...

...but not as much as Jordan loving Jill's Snuggie!

Christmas dinner with my parents, brother, sister and their families.

Ending the day with a little Wizard of Oz

and a cuddle with Troy!

I am so blessed!  I hope everyone had a fabulous day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Makes Me Feel Emotional....

I don't know about you, but I get teary eyed while listening to or singing Christmas songs about our Savior's birth, the feelings of Mary, the love that people have for each other, and the peace that comes because of the event that we celebrate this time of year.  Christmas stories do the same thing to me. 
With that in mind, I'd like to take you to our home on Christmas eve, 11 years ago.  Our 3 oldest children had returned from their LDS missions that year.  We had gathered for our traditional Christmas eve activity of eating, reading Luke 2 and acting out the Nativity.  On that particular year we had decided to forgo the acting since the youngest, Jacob, was 7 and didn't want to be the baby Jesus. (I won't tell you the antics my older kids did over the years during the Nativity.  Let's just say it wasn't very reverent.)  After reading in Luke, we read Christmas stories from the lives of other people.  My son, Daniel, had returned from his mission the month before and it was the first time in 2 years that all 10 of us had  been together as a family for Christmas.  Jacob was lying on the floor during the story telling, in his own little 7-year-old world.  As Dan read his story, the spirit touched his heart and he became emotional.  He paused to work around his tears and the lump in his throat.  It touched all of us and we were all quietly waiting for Dan and struggling with our own emotions.  At that point, Jacob realized that the REAL world around him was quiet.  He went from his lying position on the floor to sitting up to look at his brother and said, "Oh! Is there a picture?"  That innocent response from him, got us all laughing and has been used as a way to lessen the embarrassment during an emotional time.
We have since added 13 people to our family and more chaos to our Christmas eve tradition.  But I love to remember that Christmas eve when we were all together, with the spirit of Christmas enveloping our home and our hearts.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lion House Cookbook

Ann Marie from Old Fashioned Girl, sent me a wonderful package! She had a giveaway and I won! Hooray! She sent this beautiful angel for my tree. That was a total surprise!

I thought the giveaway was only this cookbook. Ann is so thoughtful. This Lion House Christmas Recipes was published in 1989! I looked through it and realized that most of the recipes require a trip to the store to make it just right. There are meat recipes, soups, appetizers, drinks and desserts. I tried a dessert.

Spencer W. Kimball's Raspberry Cheese Cake:

This is more like lemon cheese cake with raspberries. It's really good.

1 3 pz. pkg lemon jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup evaporated milk - chilled and whipped
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
28 graham crackers, crushed
1 cup whipping cream, whipped and sweetened
1 to 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
Dissolve gelatin in hot water; cool and blend in whipped evaporated milk

The milk will increase in volume but not whip up like whipping cream. Anyway, mine didn't.

Beat cream cheese with sugar. Gently combine gelatin mixture and cream cheese and fold in lemon juice. (I didn't gently do that, I just added the gelatin to the cream cheese and beat it in my Kitchen Aid mixer.)

Melt butter and combine with cracker crumbs. It took 3 packs of graham crackers to get the 28 (actually it was 27 if you want to get really detailed) Place half of crumbs on bottom of 9x13 pan. Pour gelatin/cream cheese mixture on top and sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Chill at least 3 hours.(Mine was very runny but it set up beautifully over night) Serve with whipped cream and fesh or frozen raspberries. Makes 12 - 15 servings.

This was really good. I took it to my family Christmas party and it was a hit! This would also be good as a summer dessert! (Just don't serve it on the snowman plate)

Now, I'm just wondering. Do you have a secret family recipe that you will never give out to others or do you feel flattered when someone asks for the recipe and you allow it to be shared?

Have a Happy Week Before Christmas!

Going to Work

Last week was a busy week at work.  Our transitional kindergarten class had their program on Friday for their families.  Lots of work went in to the program.  I arrived at school early every day last week to help in the preparations.  The program was a success!  The child who, during all our practices, sang lustily with veins popping in his neck, sat quietly and stared at his mother.  Another child, who usually sat quietly during the practice and always pointed to his nose during the song, Rudolph, with his middle finger, drowned out the other children with his singing.  It was good.  The parents loved it!
This week, with two days of school, I'm not so excited to go.  I have a house that needs my attention, Christmas preparations that have been neglected, and daughters who could use my help.  I'm not arriving early today, in fact, I may be a little late.  Perhaps some glitter lipstick and  Christmas socks will spark my enthusiasm.
Have a good day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jingle Bells - rock?

You can't sing Jingle Bells while sitting down...just ask Keiti! This wasn't her only rendition.
She slept well that night!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Caring for the Poor and Needy

Last week, in the local newspaper, there was an article stating that there are 4 "focuses" in the LDS church; Proclaim the Gospel, Redeem the Dead, Perfect the Saints, and Care for the Poor and Needy.
Each year at this time, people in our ward (church) donate money to the "Christmas Fund" to help those who are struggling financially and could use some help to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones.  The money is then used to buy Walmart gift cards to be given to the designated recipients. This year is no different.  There are many families in our neighborhood who are dealing with loss of job, staggering medical bills, and other economic woes.  In the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to "play Santa" by delivering these cards to many people in our neighborhood.  After putting the gift card in an envelope, I wait until dark, (that would be a good movie title) don my dark apparel,  then deliver the goods anonymously.
Tonight's the night I do it again.  There are 8 families who will have a nice surprise.  (Hopefully the surprise won't be an old woman lying in their yard with a broken ankle). In my mind's eye, I see myself taping the card to the door, ringing the doorbell, flying off the porch, running through the streets, jumping over bushes and fences, all to keep my presence unknown.

However, I know in my heart, I'm not moving as quickly as I like to think.

Hopefully I won't get caught!
Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have several nativities that I display at Christmas time.  This one was given to us anonymously by a friend during a time we were struggling financially.  It's a beautiful "Willow Tree" rendition with carvings of Mary, shepherds and animals.

This beautiful ceramic nativity is very special to me.  My Grandma Hansen had this in her curio cabinet all year round.  I always admired it and I was fortunate enough to inherit it.

This darling wooden nativity was a gift from my dear friend, Noreta, who passed away 11 years ago.  Many of my Christmas decorations were lovingly made by her.  I have many emotions when I open my Christmas boxes and rediscover the treasures of the season!

This sweet Precious Moments nativity was given to me by my daughter, Candice.

This is my Christmas stocking.  My daughter, Jeanette, made all our stockings several years ago.  I was happy that mine had the Holy Family.

I "made" this nativity.  My friend, Rhonda, from Nampa, Idaho sat down with me and helped with this craft.  Any of you who know me, know I'm all thumbs and very uncreative.  But this was a fun project, especially with Rhonda.  I like the crazed look in the donkey's eyes!  I guess that's how you get when you've traveled such a long distance carrying a heavy load.

This nativity is lots of fun for the grandkids.  They make the pieces talk, move, ride, eat, hold the baby Jesus; and I don't worry about them breaking any of it.  It's important for them to know the story of the first Christmas and to share it through play and imagination.

All of these nativities are special to me, not only because of the memories evoked by them, but because of the reminder of our Heavenly Father's love for us by giving us His Son.

If you want to make a nativity set that is really kid friendly, check out Camille's blog or Tauna's blog!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let The Season Begin!

We went to the Mormon Taberbnacle Choir Christmas Concert Thursday night! 
I don't want to bore you but I'm going to give a few details.  We left at 5:00 from South Utah County and didn't get to the Conference Center until 7:15 because of the traffic!  Andy dropped us girls (Camille, Rachael- my DIL, Darla- my friend, and me) off at the Center as he left to park the car.  Our seats were in the balcony AAALLLL the way to the west wall.  We could almost see what was going on backstage!   At first I was disappointed about our seats but was grateful to be out of the cold so I relaxed and knew it would still be a good concert. Forty minutes later, Andy was still parking the car!  I told Camille that he'll be able to find us since my silver hair is a beacon.  Camille told me that it wasn't the case in there.  I looked around and saw over a dozen  people around me with the same color of hair!  They were all 30 years older than me....or were they? 
Andy arrived and the concert started. (They weren't waiting for him, that's just the way it was)  As I sat there, I realized that even though we were off to the side of the stage, the sound was amazing, the choir was astounding and we really could see what was going on in the wings!  (Nothing scandalous, but interesting to see the set up)
Natalie Cole came out and seemed out of breath when she talked.  She had a kidney transplant this summer and is recovering from that.  She may not have been at the top of her game but she was beautiful, sincere, and according to Rachael's mom, who is in the choir, very kind and gracious!.
David McCullough is like a kind grandfather as he told the story of Winston Churchill coming to the U.S. to meet with President Franklin Roosevelt weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack.
It was a beautiful concert.  Along with many beautiful Christmas songs, the choir sang  my favorite, "O Holy Night".  There are many artists who perform that song.  My favorites are Josh Groban and Michael Crawford.  Neil Diamond's version is my least favorite!  But the Choir's rendition was angelic!  I'm so glad I went, the Christmas season has now officially begun!
The Crown Burger dinner after the concert was good too!

Rachael, Camille, Me, Darla
These pictures were taken with my phone.  Not very good but I think you can still see how cold we were!

Rachael, Camille, Andy and me with the Temple in the background.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Reason...

Tonight we visited a woman in our ward (church) whose only daughter and her 9-year-old granddaughter were killed in a car accident a few weeks ago.  We cried with her and we laughed with her.  We gave her this picture .

It's entitled "The Good Shepherd" and was painted by Simon Dewey.
During the Christmas season we talk about hope and peace.  Our friend has hope this season.  Hope that she will see her daughter and granddaughter again.  With that hope brings peace.  That's not to say she doesn't mourn.  She told us that there's a big hole in her heart.  She misses them both dearly.

painting by Liz Lemon Swindle
The reason for Christmas starts with the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It doesn't end there.  He suffered for our sins and died that we may live again!  That knowledge gives us solace during mourning and reason to rejoice!
While we're stressing out over the preparations and activities of the holiday season, let's take a moment to give thanks for the precious babe born in Bethlehem who is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm SO Excited!

This Thursday I'm going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert!  This event is truly a phenomenal feast for the ears, eyes and emotions! 

Guests this year are:
Natalie Cole - she's unforgettable -

and David McCullough - history in the making!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fighting the cold in style!

It's cold here in Utah!  I mean, really cold!  Temperatures are 15 to 20 degrees below normal.  Dressing in layers and wearing warm clothes is a must!  The stores are packed with sweaters, long sleeved shirts, vests, coats, hoodies, and any thing else you need to fight the winter chill.
Jordan went shopping the other day in hopes of finding something warm to wear.  In his search for the perfect layered look, he found something at Savers that reminded him of his younger brother, Jacob.  With a glad heart and a deep, abiding love for this brother, he purchased the item of clothing for $2.00.  He hurried home with his new found treasure and presented it to Jacob.  With a tear in his eye and a cry of joy, Jake proudly wore his new vest...all evening, with his friends.

(Sorry to say, this is NOT a google image)
Click on the picture to see all the glorious detail.  The cats are knit with mohair, bells and bows adorn each picture.  No wonder Jacob looks ecstatic! How do you feel about Christmas sweaters and vests?  Do you have several in your closet that you bring out each year or do you avoid them?  I don't know about you, but, the more I look at this vest, the more I'm falling in love with it!  I can feel a giveaway coming up soon...if I can wrestle it away from Jake!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From Hawaii to Mexico in one short post!

What could be better than receiving a special Maui mail surprise in December?  OK, you're right, going to Hawaii would be better but this is the next best thing!  I got this wonderful surprise from Linda!  She spent 2 weeks in Maui and shared her trip through pictures and through the mail!  The calendar has the most breath-taking pictures I've ever seen!  Thank you Linda for the taste of Maui!

Now we're off to Mexico! (sort of)
One of my favorite childhood meals is Open-faced Enchiladas.  My mom made them several times a month for us and that might be the reason why I like Mexican food so much!  This is one of the easiest meals to make.
I have discovered a bit of a twist on this recipe and I'll pass it along to you. 

Open Faced Enchiladas
1 lb. browned ground beef ( I used my bottled hamburger)
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can tomato sauce
corn tortillas

Here's the twist to the recipe.  I make my own enchilada sauce.  It's super easy and costs only pennies to make.  So, if you want it super, super simple, buy the enchilada sauce.  If you want it delicious and economical and still easy, try this recipe:

Enchilada Sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder (if you want it more mild, use 1 1/2 T.)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Heat oil in large 2-quart sauce pan; stir in flour and chili powder cook for 1 minute

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Makes 3 cups.
See, I told you it was simple!
Add the ground beef from the top recipe (forget about the tomato sauce)

Place 1 or 2 corn tortillas in bubbling sauce.  Cover the tortillas with the sauce and leave for about 30 seconds.  If you leave too long, they'll break apart while removing from the pan - but that's OK if they do. With a spatula remove the tortillas and place on plate.  We like to put 2 tortillas at a time on our plate. Spoon a little more sauce on top.

Top with cheese,  lettuce,  tomatoes, sour cream, onions, cilantro, olives or anything else you'd like.
(Just a little disclaimer, I created this plate to look nice for the picture.  Yours is going to be covered with sauce - I guarantee it!)