Saturday, November 29, 2008

a heart of thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving company left early this morning. And the house is deafeningly quiet. I'm sitting here reflecting on the events of the past 5 days. And I am so full of joy and thanksgiving, knowing that memories were made and very well documented I might add. Like to the tune of over 800 pics taken between the four of us with cameras! Yes, I'd say we captured every memorable moment. This pic being one of my favorite images from the week... Emolyn and her beautiful Mommy Nicole! Oh my gosh, look at their brilliant smiles... and Emolyn's ruffle tights... and her darling dimples! Yes, she completely captivates me.

My sister Kathy, her daughter Kristen and husband Joe and their daughters Kennady (6) and Mya (2) pulled in Monday night from Oklahoma City. What a blessing to share Thanksgiving this year with my side of the family! A first in my home, since moving here over 30 years ago! Our days were filled with movies, shopping, picture taking, fort building, hiking, park playing, singing "Tarzan" songs, scrapping memories with the girls, making meals, loving the rain, guys shooting hoops, singing Disney princess songs, IKEA runs, passing Emolyn around, playing with Koda & Wiley, picking lemons, baking and listening to Christmas music once the Thanksgiving meal was over!

Grammy & Pop Pop are sooo thankful for our miracle grandbaby, sweet Emolyn Kate.

Randy, Tyler, Joe and Shawn shooting hoops and playing horse.
Oh ya, the night before Thanksgiving I go out to the garage and there is water everywhere... from our hot water heater! So my Handy Handsome Husband is off to Home Depot to buy an 80 gallon water heater. He not only installs it that night but replaces the tub faucet that broke earlier that day. He was one busy boy. And yes, it's true, bad luck comes in threes... our VCR broke that day too.

My sister Kathy and I taking a photo op while hiking South Mountain with the family.
We live less than 2 miles from South Mountain Park. Did you know that South Mountain is the largest city park in the nation? We're talking 17,000 acres with 51 miles of hiking/ biking trails! I am so thankful we live mere minutes from quiet, tranquil hiking trails... even though we are planted in the middle of the 5th largest city in the nation!

What a cutie! Oh, and so is Miss Emolyn.

Little Mya fell in love with our Koda. And she kept calling Randy "Brandi", which is her Aunt's name. How cute is that!

And Kennady loved our Wiley. Kennady is so full of energy and creativity and passion. She loves life and savors every single moment.

What a sweetheart of a family. We love you guys to pieces!
And Kathy, having all of you here made our Thanksgiving extra special. Love you too!

Hiking South Mountain after two days of rain. Gorgeous!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Miranda's party

Miranda's 24th birthday slash Bon Voyage Party was everything and more that Randy & I could have hoped it would be. Our home was filled with over 50 of Miranda's dearest friends & loved ones! We celebrated Miranda with a time of sharing her life and affirming who she is. I know she came away with a deep sense of love and support as she embarks on her adventures in England. She is going to be sooo missed!

Her brothers Tyler and Shawn along with her cousin Lyle... joking around as always. Love these guys!

Tyler made her cry when he shared about what she means to him. Nothing thrills a parent more than watching their children loving each other. Makes me think of the verse I had them memorize and recite to one another while growing up... "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you". Thank you Lord for my kind, loving children.

Miranda found this Jane Austin quote the day before the party. Sooo Miranda.
Happy Birthday precious daughter!

*** Thank you NANCY for capturing these memorable moments!
Be sure to read her party post HERE. She says it so well.

*** Check out Miranda's blog. She had a bike accident on campus at ASU the other day! So scary, but she's doing OK... a little banged up. We are sooo thankful, as it could have been worse. My poor baby girl!

*** Oh, and I have my sister Kathy and my niece Kristen's family here from Oklahoma City all this week. I have so much to share with you! We are having so much fun! More fun posts to come! Check back this weekend! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

there's a party going on!

Party plans are coming to fruition around here and I am so excited! Tomorrow night we are combining our daughter Miranda's 24th birthday and a bon voyage party so that friends & family can come together and celebrate Miranda and the extraordinary woman she has become. BTW, Miranda's name means extraordinary! And that she is!
Miranda leaves for school at Royal Holloway near London in 6 weeks! I can't even begin to imagine 7 months without my girl nearby. So, let's not even go there yet. See, I'm getting all teary just thinking about it...

Anyway, I am baking up a storm. And guess what?! I used my vintage PYREX double-boiler for the first time to make THESE. Thanks for the recipe Tanya! Oh, and be sure to check out the stories behind my PYREX COOKWARE COLLECTION HERE. The double-boiler story is pretty cool!

A party post and pics coming soon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Keep Calm and Carry On

Don't you just love it! I could not be more pleased!
I found this amazing Home Studio Etsy Shop. She takes Scrabble tiles and makes the most beautiful pendants. I saw that she had an aqua tile with one of my favorite quotes "Keep Calm and Carry On" and I just had to have it! And when you check out her expansive inventory, I know you will find one that you just have to have too. And the price is right!
Mmm, I just may have to order another. I've got my eye on THIS one and THAT one. (Oh Amy, check out that one!)
*** Oh my gosh, she's having a sale today! Yes, only today!

Another site that I want to introduce you to is Katie's Rose Cottage.
Several months ago I order one of her soldered charm necklaces and I couldn't believe it when it arrived! Simply breathtaking! The craftsmanship, quality and price is unbeatable! So impressed with her work.

Think Christmas gifts... stocking stuffers... or just because you're worth it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I made a lotta lefse!

And I was taught by the best!!
My friend Barb and her sisters Candy & Cheryl invited me to take part in their annual Lefse Making Day. I was not only honored to be in their company but now privy to their coveted family recipe that they have perfected over many decades. Seriously folks, this is THE BEST LEFSE I HAVE EVER HAD!!!
Barb's ten year old daughter Emily was awesome at rolling out the lefse dough! We were a team!

Candy was chief lefse mixer. (far left corner) She literally mixed up 11 batches. That equates to 88 lefse rounds. And then she packages them after she quarters them. Making a grand total of 352 servings of lefse!! That my friend, is a whole lotta lefse! And it only took us 4 hours! We're that good.

Lefse making is an art. I learned to roll it paper thin, using just the right amount of flour. I learned to maneuver the lefse turner... removing it from the pastry board to the lefse griddle and then to flip the lefse over when the "age spots" are just right. Thanks Cheryl!

They no longer use boiled and mashed potatoes... but have discovered that Idahoan flake potatoes are not only better but THE only brand to use. I thought I'd pass along that little tidbit.

Another family secret... after they come off the griddle, you steam them for hours in between piles and piles of sheets and towels. Keeps them soft and tender.
Mmm, are you getting that I don't keep secrets too well?
Oh, and get this! I forgot to wear my LEFSE EARRINGS!

I was also aware that I was making lefse on griddles that were bought back in the early 70's. And they were on their last leg. Seriously, their days are over and next November I will not only be bringing my very own lefse griddle, but Candy and Cheryl are getting brand new ones too!

Remember me blogging about Rice Night last December? Well, every year I bring the Swedish meatballs and Barb brings her lefse. And we're quite the hit!

So, let me tell you about my friend Barb. For many years we were a part of Sharkey Productions. A theater company that puts on plays that were thought-provoking, funny, moving and powerfully used of God to change lives.
Here's Barb & I outside our dressing room at the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix.

Here's another picture of Barb & I with the many flowers that were delivered to our dressing room before one of those shows. Take a look at Barb's gorgeous blue eyes!

Looking back, I am forever grateful to have been a part of such a gifted group of actors. I have never known such fear and euphoria... all at the same time... ever.
Thanks Barb for your love and encouragement during those years. Think of all the memories we have made together!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Toy Hall of Fame

Results just in! The 2008 inductees to the Toy Hall of Fame are the baby doll, the skateboard and... the stick. The stick!! I love that. The only other time they chose a toy that is really not an actual toy was in 2005 when the cardboard box was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. And rightly so! The cardboard box and the stick are the best toys of all!

Got me thinking of all the things I did with a stick as a kid. (or what I saw my kids doing with a stick)
* a writing instrument in the dirt or sand
* arms for a snowman
* a magic wand
* a gun
* a sword
* a sling-shot
* a bow 'n arrow (Tyler called it bone 'n arrow)
* a spear (we'd sharpen the tip, then throw it to try and stick it in the ground)
* for roasting marshmallows (now we use a garden rack)
* a riding horse
* to stoke a camp fire
* a walking stick
* whittle into something (rather scary watching my kiddos do that)
* playing fetch with our dog
* a fishing rod (never did catch a fish using one)
* to construct forts and hold up tents (made with blankets)
* to hold seed packets so we'd remember what was planted in each row
* to bat a rock or a whiffle ball
* or just to whack at something

I thought you might want to know the criteria for induction-
The National Toy Hall of Fame recognizes toys that “have engaged and delighted multiple generations, inspiring them to learn, create, and discover through play.” Criteria for induction include: icon-status (the toy is widely recognized, respected, and remembered); longevity (the toy is more than a passing fad and has enjoyed popularity over multiple generations); discovery (the toy fosters learning, creativity, or discovery through play); and innovation (the toy profoundly changed play or toy design).

So, did I forget something? Be sure to tell us what you did with a stick.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

marriage retreat weekend

We're home. And so exhausted... mentally, emotionally and physically. But totally and completely satisfied. And sooo very grateful.
What a wonderful weekend we had with 12 couples at the "A Time for Us" marriage retreat. (a ministry of our church)
Randy & I are a part of the teaching team and we were once again blown away as we watched these truths make a difference in these precious couples.
The teaching team and our dear friends- Kim, Nick, me, Randy, Marcia and Tom.

Some of the classes we teach-
* submitting to strengths and protecting weaknesses
* meeting needs
* becoming a perceptive listener
* unresolved issues and how they affect your marriage
* communicating acceptance to your spouse

This year we held the retreat at Kohl's Ranch near Payson, Arizona. (an hour and a half from Tempe) We absolutely loved the facilities. The accommodations were the best and the weather and surroundings could not have been better.

We couldn't help but fall in love with the 12 couples... ranging from married a year... to a couple married 35 years.
This has to be our most favorite area of ministry that Randy & I share together. What a blessing it is to OUR marriage. We always come away all the more committed to making our marriage the best it can be.

So, we get home, download my pictures and gee, what do ya know... lots of FOOD pictures! I couldn't help it! Nick & Kim not only prepare the most delicious food, but the presentation is beyond picture perfect. See what I mean!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

favorite movie meal scenes

This may seem rather odd... but I have a list of movies that I love just because of a particular scene that centers around a meal. Do you know what I'm talking about? A meal scene that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy all over. Like you'd want to be there.

It all started when Alicia posted her "list of ten movies that she watches over and over just because she loves what the inside of the character's house looks like". And that got me thinking. I actually have a list of movies that I watch over and over just because of a particular meal scene. Ya, I know. Weird, but true.
I think it has to do with how I viewed meal times growing up. It was a big deal... 5 o'clock sharp. It was the one time in the day that our whole family came together. I felt loved and cared for when I was being fed... still do. Something happens when a meal is shared that sets the table for intimacy, interaction, vulnerability, warmth and trust. I love that.

But hey, hear me out...

Chocolat- you know the scene, the birthday dinner party, held outside, where Juliette Binoche's character serves everything chocolate... who can forget when she pours chocolate sauce over chicken... I get all emotional just thinking about it.

Twister- my very favorite meal scene. The tornado chasers are sharing an impromptu meal at Helen Hunt's aunt's house... everyone is talking and laughing loudly... the sizzling steak and eggs... the clinking of metal and glass... served on lovely, vintage Fiesta Ware. I am completely mesmerized.

Notting Hill- the scene where they are all gathered around the table and Julia Robert's character is watching everyone eating and interacting... the conversations are candid and intimate. You can feel the love circling that table.

Under The Tuscan Sun- the meals that Diane Lane's character prepares for her workers that are remodeling her villa. You can see it happening. They are becoming a family.

Hook- watching those Lost Boys devouring that lavish, unimaginable "feast" before them is so magical and moving. Makes me cry just thinking of the look on their faces.

So, were you able to recall a favorite movie meal scene after having read my list? Then let me know so I can experience it for myself.
I am sure there are many other meal scenes that I am forgetting too.
So help me out. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted today!

And it was so exciting! Really. Randy & I left the house at 5:50, got in line and got back in our van at 6:50, just as the sun was coming up. We had the best conversations with several that were in line with us. In fact, we were reminded to get our free coffee at Starbucks. So we did. But that too meant getting in another line. But that was fun too. I got such a sense that everyone was anxious and excited to be a part of something big.
But here's the deal, no matter what happens today, God is still on the throne. He knows everything. He see the big picture. He can be trusted.
So there you go... now get out there and vote!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Emolyn's 1st Halloween

Hello. My name is Emolyn and I am a kitty. I don't know why I'm a kitty. But it sure makes my Mommy & Daddy happy that I am a kitty.

My Mommy & Daddy had a party last night. And every time the doorbell rang, someone would run to the door and give out candy when the kids said "trick or treat". I am going to remember that because some day I want to say that and get candy. Everyone seems to love candy. I'm sure I will too.

But I don't think I could love anything more than my Mommy & Daddy! They are the best.

My Aunt Miranda dressed up as Twiggy. I don't know who Twiggy is, but Aunt Miranda was talking funny all night. So Twiggy must talk funny. Aunt Miranda loves to talk with funny accents. Everybody says that when she comes home from England, she will talk funny.

Guess who I just saw? Uncle Tyler! I am always happy to see my Uncle Tyler.

Uncle Tyler is my favorite toy. He makes me laugh a lot.

I was getting kinda warm as a kitty so my Mommy said I was going to be a puppy. I didn't want to be a puppy. I was happy being a kitty. But my Grammy & Pop-pop were so happy that I was a puppy.
(yawn) ~ I'm ~ getting ~ tired ~

It's hard work being a kitty & a puppy ~ good night ~

* Thank you so much Sandi Shipley Photography for taking pictures at the ODF Fall Festival. Your web site is so awesome!! Love your work Sandy! More Fall Festival pics to come!