Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gingerbread Houses #2

Here are the creations made by our talented family. See yesterday's post for the list of supplies needed.






Will post more photos tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What to buy for Gingerbread Houses

I think this is our third year to make houses out of graham crackers, we are learning what we should have on hand, what we use and what we should have bought. This year the only two things I didn't remember to buy were 1) small candy canes and 2) pretzel sticks for fences, etc.

Dec. 2009- for 13 people, 6 houses were made (some people didn’t feel like making one).

I saved lots of empty cereal boxes for the cardboard. Butter boxes, rice boxes, Hamburger helper, eggnog cartons. A big box to cut up for the bases.

Foil to cover the bases

2 sticks of hot glue. We glued the crackers together and to the boxes and to the base. (Jolene- thanks for suggesting the hot glue! And tell me your email address!)

6 houses used 43 full graham crackers (lots of people frosted the sides of the boxes instead of covering every side with crackers) I think it was at least 3 boxes, need to have at least 5 boxes on hand next year.

Walmart- I bought “candy cane” shaped plastic tubes that had candy inside- the candy was shaped like red and green stars, red and green trees.

Little Debbie Brownie Trees
Little Debbie Gingerbread Men

Walmart- hard candy Cake decorations, $1 per sheet, shaped like wreaths, stockings, trees, reindeer, gingerbread men.

Sweet tarts
Ice cream cones- sugar cones. 1 pkg was enough.

Spice drops gumdrops
Red hots
Peppermint circles
(remember for next year: small candy canes and pretzel sticks)

Red Twizzler Cherry Pull n Peel ropes, lots of people outlined the roofs or windows with this.

Candy necklaces- take out the elastic, the little beads are a great size.

Nekko wafers.

(walmart) Malt o meal brand Honey Graham Squares cereal (in a bag) was great as shingles.

Made 2 recipes Royal Icing. (Used 6 egg whites. 2 pounds pwdr sugar. 1 tsp. cream of tartar)

Quart freezer bags, with corners cut off to squeeze out frosting.

For the next two days, I will show photos of the houses we made using these supplies.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

22 Years ago: Moved to Cary

Wayne had been working in Salt Lake City at IBM, but switched jobs and came to Research Triangle Park in 1988. We closed on our brand new house at 101 Silvercliff Trail on Dec. 29, 1987. We had to stay in the Residence Inn on Navajo Road in Raleigh while we were waiting to move in.

We had Adam-5 1/2, Isaac-4, and Seth-2 1/2, I was 3-months pregnant with Bryce.

Here are my diary entries for a few of those days:

Mon. Dec. 28, 1987

Left the Egbert's house at 7:15 am. To Salt Lake airport expecting to leave on plane 9:15 am, Chicago airport closed due to snow. We had to wait in line 2 1/2 hours to get new flight. Finally took off at 4 pm.

Because we looked so pitiful being stranded at the airport with our tiny children all day, KSL filmed us and interviewed us, later we found out we had been on Six o'clock news in Salt Lake. Also, Deseret News took pictures, Isaac and I were on cover of Deseret News.

Plane delayed in Atlanta 4 hours, so we arrived in Raleigh 2:30 am. Hertz car rental was closed, Wayne had to hunt up another rental, arrived at Residence Inn at 5 am.

Tues. Dec. 29, 1987

Closed on our new house. (Lived in Residence Inn for 7 days, our moving van came Sunday Jan. 3.)

We were in the Cary Ward. The leadership was Bishop Bray, RS pres. Stead, EQP Maxwell. I think our stake pres. was Weed.

My first calling was as the nursery leader, with P. Council and H. Shin.

Our temple was the Washington D.C. temple, and we went there about once a year and tried to do as many sessions as we could in a couple of days.

Things have definitely changed in the last 22 years.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Gifts

Here is my tree this year. I finally had enough purple, turquoise, and lime green ornaments. Next year I'm getting rid of these red stockings and making new ones in the colors I love.

Wayne surprised me with a great gift: a tubular steel office chair with seat and back made of hot pink bungee cords! When it gets delivered I will show a photo. I loved that chair when I saw it in the store a year ago, and forgot all about it.

I surprised him with a really thick picture book about Hot Rods and Street Rods, and the book "Long Way Round, the book "Long Way Down", the TV series on DVD "Long Way Round", and the TV series on DVD "Long Way Down". He is totally thrilled, and says he doesn't know how he is going to accomplish his normal tasks, because all he wants to do is read the books and watch the series again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One Year of Blogging

I started my blog one year ago today. If you look back at the beginning, I put a lot of stuff on that I had already written as emails or journal entries on the computer, so I backdated a lot of things. But I really started the blog about Dec. 27, 2008.

And I am proud to say that I have written one blog entry per day for a whole year. I hope I have something to say on here for the next year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Photos of Christmas

On Christmas Eve, we read the Christmas story from Luke and Matthew out of our special Christmas Eve book that I made way back in the early 1980's. We sing songs between each scripture verse.

Then we sing my favorite Christmas song, "C is for the Christ Child", and I lay these letters out across the floor as we sing each letter. Elizabeth and Thomas are helping me. After that, we read "The Night Before Christmas". When the kids were little, next we would place our stockings around the room and then go to sleep.

In the morning, we line up on the stairs and take a picture before opening presents. This Christmas was very unusual, we are all so old and boring that we slept in, and I am ashamed to say that we didn't start opening our presents until 10 am.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

(I am writing this ahead of time)

On Christmas morning we will be lining up for a photo on the stairs before we rush downstairs to open our presents. Only 3 of our 6 kids will be with us for Christmas morning. Tara and Zac live here, and Bryce is home from BYU.

Adam and Tiffany are in Maryland with her family, Isaac and Rachel and 2 children will be opening presents at their own house across town, and Seth and Janette are in Arizona with her family.

Isaac's family are having Christmas dinner with Rachel's family, so we will go visit them in the evening or the next day.

Seth and Janette will be flying here late tomorrow night, and Adam and Tiffany will be coming back on Sunday night, so Sunday night or Monday we will have all the kids together. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday should be packed with family activities before Tiffany and Adam leave to Maryland again to see her brother get home off his mission, and Seth and Janette will go visit her dad in Richmond for a couple of days.

Here are some photos from our stake Nativity Celebration. It was the sixth year we have had it in the stake center, and we had it three years in the Cary building before the stake center was built.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve birthday- Wayne

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband Wayne! Just think, 30 years ago today I still had a crush on your roommate and hardly knew you were alive. But in January 1980 you and I started dating, and got married in June, what a whirlwind romance!

Thank you for working so hard for our family, making money for us, cooking delicious food, serving in the church, teaching our children about the great outdoors, loving and serving us. You are the best husband and father in the whole world!

Below: One of Wayne's favorite activites.

(P. S. You are really old.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread Houses #1

I was so impressed with Tracy Sax's family, doing such intricate gingerbread houses every year, that in 2007 we made them for the first time. I have no desire to bake the gingerbread, so we made them out of graham crackers and royal icing. We did it again in 2008.

In early December I made this one at a ward party. (We have already picked off all the candy and eaten the good stuff and thrown the rest away.)

I have been spending massive amounts of money on various candy, so we can have a gingerbread-creating party at my house when all my kids get together after Christmas.

I am saving all sorts of little boxes so that we can use them as a base inside the graham crackers, it is pretty hard to make the graham crackers stay perpendicular and parallel without some form of support inside.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Isaac's birthday

Happy birthday to Isaac!
Here is a picture of big brother Adam (20 months) welcoming Isaac home from the hospital.

Here is Isaac's family picture, from Sept. 2008. What a cute family! He picked a great wife and they have fantastic little children. We are so proud of them all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dr. Suess Trees

I was teaching quilting in Lawton, Oklahoma around 2004(?) and went into a little gift shop and was enchanted with all the Dr. Suess-themed Christmas decorations which were for sale. I wanted them very badly, but did not want to spend the money.

I went to a party at Kennon's house a few weeks ago, and SHE HAD THE TREES FROM THE DR. SUESS COLLECTION! The whole collection came back to my memory, and I remembered how much I loved all that stuff.

I started kicking myself for not having bought the whole set. They had Grinch ornaments, and swirly twirly little houses with crooked roofs and chimneys, etc. It was totally ME, but I passed it all up. Dumb stupid me.

There have been a few times in my life that I look back and hate myself for not buying something, and this is one of them. Maybe someday I will find some of these items on Ebay and can own a few of them.

(I just asked Kennon where she got them, she said she bought them at Home Goods about 2 years ago. So these might not be those exact same trees, but they are close enough.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Yesterday Seth called and told me there was something wrong with my blog. I went to see, and found a notice that said "This blog has been disabled."

I frantically clicked on all the buttons that said "Help" or "Contact Blogger", but couldn't figure out what was wrong. Then about 15 minutes later I clicked back on my blog and it was all there again, just as beautiful as ever. I have no idea why Blogger disabled it for awhile.

I am just thankful it is back. That would make me very sad to lose all these blog entries. Thats why I print off many of them for my journal (I try to do that about once a month.)

What I learned when I was frantically trying to find the answer, was that Blogger has been cracking down on spam and porn blogs, and in doing so they have inadvertantly disabled some normal innocent blogs along with the bad ones.

I learned that bad people use Blogger for spam and porn blogs. How they make their blogs look more normal is that they "scrape" items off a normal blog like mine, and put the scraped items on one of their thousands of porn blogs as a cover up. Then if the bad blog gets caught, mine looks like it is related so it is disabled too. And the bad guys are left with hundreds of other fake blogs to keep their evil stuff on.

News: Bryce will by flying in tonight from Utah! Seth and Janette don't get here until the 26th.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bright Nativity

Here is a photo of the tiny quilt I made in 2007 called "Bright Nativity with Porcelain Buttons". I had a plexiglass cookbook holder that was just the right size, so I made the quilt kind of like a little pillowcase, and I slid it down over the plexiglass. Now I can display the quilt setting on an endtable.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ten Years Ago- Temple Dedication

Ten years ago today, the Raleigh North Carolina Temple was dedicated. Our family got to go to the first session, Sat. Dec. 18, 1999 at 9 am.

Mel S. babysat Tara and Zac, because they were too young to attend, and Tara got sick and threw up.

Mindy had just come to live with us, and she got to attend also.

Wayne got to sing in the choir at the cornerstone ceremony.

We were all sitting inside the temple when Pres. Hinckley and Sister Hinckley walked in, and he waved and smiled right at us.

The next day, Sun. Dec. 19, 1999, we had no Sunday services because there were more temple dedication sessions. Wayne got to do security for President Hinckley and stood right by him.

Because I was a sub-committe chairman for the temple Open house, Wayne and I were invited to attend the second endowment session ever held in the Raleigh temple, Mon. Dec. 20, 1999.

Adam, Isaac, and Mindy went to do baptisms for the dead at the temple on Tues. Dec. 21, the first group ever in that temple.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Julie and Julia and Wayne

(Two News Flashes:
1) Bryce bought Brenan's car.

2) Also, Wayne is switching away from the 3:30 am-noon work schedule, ending tomorrow evening. Then he has one terrible week next week where he has to work midnight to 8 am. Then he has the week after Christmas off.
Starting January 4 he will be a regular person again, working normal hours. It will be nice to have him back on a normal schedule after one year of weirdness.)

(This is a photo of MR. RIGHT. There's nothing better than a man in an apron!)

Yesterday Wayne and I watched the DVD of "Julie and Julia" while he cooked a big dinner for the sister missionaries (pan-seared cod and flounder, both with Yoshida sauce, and stir-fried vegetables), and I cleaned the kitchen and mopped the kitchen floor. We enjoyed the movie, I hadn't known anything about Julia Child before that.

It was nice to see the happy marriage of Julie Powell and her husband, and Julia Child and her husband in the movie. Its nice to see happy marriages. (At least in the film the Powell's marriage was happy. I saw later on the internet something about a divorce. But I'll just keep thinking about their cuteness together as depicted in the movie.)

As Wayne cooked and I worked alongside him, he kept grabbing me to hug me and he kept comparing us to the happy people in the movie. The women were happy cooking, and Wayne was happy cooking. And I am very happy being married to a man who loves to cook. (Below: Division of Labor. I love to do the dishes after Wayne cooks.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mormon Grapes

Here is my younger sister Carla playing dress-up. You can see the plexiglass grapes on the buffet behind her.

Here is my family, probably Easter 1967. (My dad was taking the photo.) You can see the grapes on the end table. L to R: my mom, Carla, me, Larry, Cindy, Cheryl.

These grapes were a standard feature of every LDS home in the 1960's. Directions to make them were published by the Relief Society, and I think the women in every ward in the church made them in Homemaking meeting. I think this is how they were made: by pouring colored liquid plexiglass into the opening of a glass Christmas ornament, and inserting a wire. Then after the plexiglass hardened, they cracked off the glass, and twisted the wires around a pretty stick to form the cluster of grapes.

I heard a story once, probably a myth but I still believe it, that a non-LDS person, after seeing the grapes in every LDS friends' homes, asked the LDS person, "What is the significance of grapes in your religion?"

Wayne and I went home-teaching to two of the women in his Young Adult ward last year. They were in their 20's. When I entered their apartment, I gasped when I saw grapes on their coffee table. I asked where they got them, and they said they inherited them from their grandmother. I WAS SO JEALOUS! Now it has become my quest in life to find some so I can put them on my table. I think it would be the height of kitsch! Too bad my mom got rid of hers.

(I'm usually a good speller, but I had to look that up. KITSCH: Definition: 1. something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality 2. a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition. I think this is a good definition of things in my home.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

That's Your Horoscope for Today

I am a bad person, because I like Weird Al songs. I was listening to this one the other day on my ipod, and thought I should put the lyrics on here because I think they are so funny. I can't understand why some people really do believe in horoscopes.

This is my favorite line from the song: (Taurus) "The stars predict tomorrow you'll wake up, do a bunch of stuff, and then go back to sleep. "

Now thats a horoscope prediction that will definitely come true!

"Your Horoscope For Today"

There's travel in your future when your tongue freezes to the back of a speeding bus
Fill that void in your pathetic life by playing Whack-A-Mole seventeen hours a day

Try to avoid any Virgos or Leos with the Ebola virus
You are the true Lord of the Dance, no matter what those idiots at work say

The look on your face will be priceless when you find that forty pound watermelon in your colon
Trade toothbrushes with an albino dwarf, then give a hickey to Meryl Streep

You will never find true happiness - what you gonna do, cry about it?
The stars predict tomorrow you'll wake up, do a bunch of stuff, and then go back to sleep

That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today
That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today

Your birthday party will be ruined once again by your explosive flatulence
Your love life will run into trouble when your fiance hurls a javelin through your chest

The position of Jupiter says you should spend the rest of the week face down in the mud
Try not to shove a roll of duct tape up your nose while taking your driver's test

Now is not a good time to photocopy your butt and staple it to your boss's face, oh no
Eat a bucket of tuna-flavored pudding, then wash it down with a gallon of strawberry Quik

All Virgos are extremely friendly and intelligent - except for you
Expect a big surprise today when you wind up with your head impaled upon a stick

That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today
That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today

Now you may find it inconceivable or at the very least a bit unlikely
that the relative position of the planets and the stars could have
a special deep significance or meaning that exclusively applies to only you,
but let me give you my assurance that these forecasts and predictions
are all based on solid, scientific, documented evidence, so you would have
to be some kind of moron not to realize that every single one of them is absolutely true.

Where was I?

A big promotion is just around the corner for someone much more talented that you
Laughter is the very best medicine, remember that when your appendix bursts next week

Get ready for an unexpected trip when you fall screaming from an open window
Work a little harder on improving your low self-esteem, you stupid freak

All your friends are laughing behind your back (kill them)
Take down all those naked pictures of Ernest Borgnine you've got hanging in your den

The stars say that you're an exciting and wonderful person, but you know they're lying
If I were you, I'd lock my doors and windows and never never never never never leave my house again

That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today
That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today

That's your horoscope for today (that's your horoscope for today)
That's your horoscope for today
That's your horoscope for today (yay yay yay yay yay)
That's your horoscope for today

By Weird Al Yankovic

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lemon Chess Pie

This Thanksgiving, Zac and I both liked this pie the best. It tastes a lot like Lemon Bars but better.


(I got the recipe from Paul and Randolyn E.)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
3 eggs
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Mix sugar and cornmeal until blended. Add butter, vanilla, and vinegar.
Stir eggs into mixture, but do not beat. Pour combined ingredients into pie shell and bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until done, which will be when the filling in the center of the pie no longer shakes when the pie pan is jiggled slightly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Marshmallow Man

In seminary this month we studied wicked King Noah. (His story is told in the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon). I tried to help the students remember who King Noah was by making this visual aid.

Why can we give King Noah the nickname "Marshmallow Man"?

1. He was white. (He was a Nephite).

2. He was fat. (Lazy, winebibber).

3. He was soft. (He knew he should let Abinadi go, but he was afraid of the priests.)

And, finally...

4. He got toasted.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

C is for the Christ Child

(Note about our stake Nativity Celebration: I just learned that we have a record 448 nativities displayed, and there have been 1400 visitors to the display so far, on Thursday and Friday. Today is the last day, ending at 9 pm. Look at for the times and directions.)

When I was young, we went to the Dickerson's house on Christmas Eve for a ward singalong. For the closing number, we always sang this song. It is my favorite Christmas song.


When I was but a youngster,
Christmas meant one thing
That I'd be getting lots of toys that day.
I learned a whole lot different
when Mother sat me down
and taught me to spell Christmas this way:

C is for the Christ Child
Born upon this day
H for Herald Angels in the night.
R's for our Redeemer,
I means Israel
S is for the Star that shone so bright.
T is for Three Wise Men,
they who travelled far.
M is for the Manger where He lay.
A's for All He stands for,
S means Shepherds came,
And thats why there's a Christmas day.

My heart is sad every time I go in any store, and see the aisles and aisles and rows of Santa themed decorations, with nothing at all to do with Christ anywhere in the store.

I am on my own personal quest to put Christ back in Christmas, and steer away from anything "Santa", just because in our culture Santa is everywhere and Christ is non-existent.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ten Years Ago- Temple Open House

Ten years ago today was the last day of the Raleigh Temple Open House, which was held for eleven days (including the VIP tours and the public tours) in December 1999. I was the Public Affairs sub-committee chairman for the open house. Randolyn was my media assistant.

Here are my diary entries for those ten days:

Wed. Dec. 1- At temple all day, VIP tours and media tours (given by Loren C. Dunn, a General Authority of the Church). Amhurst neighborhood tour 7-9 pm, 180 people.

Thurs. Dec. 2- At temple all day. Lost my voice completely today. News and Observer announced by mistake that the public tours start today (they start tomorrow). Had to give public tours to 19 people in between the VIP tours.

Fri. Dec. 3- At temple all day. Had no voice. VIP tours mixed with public tours. The public came too early. I gave public tours to 109 people in between VIP tours, before public tours were supposed to begin.

Sat. Dec. 4- Interacted with television stations, providing them with videotapes.
We had a total of 275 people go through VIP tours this week, and 1654 people in the public tours on Friday.

No tours Sunday.

Mon. Dec. 6- To temple open house 4-6. My voice is getting a little better. Public open house 1575 people today.

Tues. Dec. 7- Sat. Dec. 11-( I didn't have to work at the open house these days.)

End of the day Sat. Dec. 11- A total of 31,638 people had toured the temple.

I remember Dec. 1-6, 1999 as some of the most difficult days of my life. And Wayne was so supportive! Our six kids were Adam-17, Isaac-16, Seth-14, Bryce-11, Tara-7, and Zac-6. And I was gone almost all day every day, and so exhausted. Thanks to all of you for putting up with it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Little People Nativity

This is my very favorite nativity scene, which I recently bought from ToysRUs. . The baby Jesus in this set is the most precious little baby I've ever seen in a nativity scene (I hate the ones where the baby looks like he is about 4 years old.)

Mine is the small set, it is a Fisher-Price Little People "A Christmas Story" . There is a bigger, more expensive set called "Little People Nativity" which has more animals and people. I figured I would just save money and add some of my horses, cows, chickens, sheep from my other Little People toys and mine could look just as big.

Today is the start of our stake Nativity Celebration. I took 18 of my 30 nativities over there on Wednesday. Look at for the times and directions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jello Popcorn

Note about Adam:
Adam has revamped his website, and it looks really good.

I LOVE his photography, I have always loved his drawing and digital animation, but I am currently astounded at the great photos he takes. He really has an eye for it.

Jello Popcorn:
When I was a little girl, every Christmas Eve we would go to the Dickerson's house for a big ward sing-along. Their house was small, and the guests filled every inch of it. They were a very musical family, and had an organ and a piano, and their family members accompanied us as we sang Christmas carols for about an hour. At the end, as we left, Sister Dickerson stood by the front door and handed each person a popcorn ball.

I think I have finally found a recipe that tastes like hers:

Jello Popcorn

1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar

Bring to a boil.

Take off the stove, add 1 3 oz. pkg. Jello. Return to boil. Pour over puffed rice or popcorn. Make into balls, wrap in Saran wrap.

(I popped 3 bags of microwave popcorn, and made 2 recipes of the sauce. This time I used Black Cherry Jello, next time I will use Strawberry and see which one I like the best.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Daily News, and a Cruise

On Fast Sunday, we fasted for our new ward building to get finished. The groundbreaking was October 2007. We are at 2 years, 1 month, and counting.

Our stake is having the big Nativity Celebration at the stake center this week, and every single room will be in use, so they have cancelled seminary in the building for the rest of the week. What a nice break for me.

I don't have all my Christmas shopping done, but I did order several things from the internet and I really love doing that instead of going to the stores. Someday I hope to never have to leave my house, I'll just stay in my pajamas all day every day.

I have not been doing my quilting business for at least a year. Haven't been advertising myself or entering any competitions, so all my former students have forgotten all about me. It is sad, but I just couldn't keep up the business side of my quilting business while teaching seminary for the past 4 years. But I surprised myself a week ago by entering the first competition I've entered in more than a year. Maybe my two quilts will be in a big show in March, I'll wait and see if they are accepted.

Isaac got two free tickets to the Transiberian Orchestra concert at the RBC center, and since Rachel couldn't go, Isaac invited Zac. From what I can tell, that was one of the greatest experiences in Zac's life. He absolutely loved it.

Wayne and I went to the Young Adult regional dance Friday night (we go every first Friday). He is really fun to dance with, especially swing dancing. They played "In the Mood" and we had a good time, except for the fact that I wore clogs and the stupid gym is carpeted so we couldn't do any twirls or I would have stepped out of my shoes.

For all the regular music, we don't dance. We sit in the "game room" with the Brostroms and play Speed Scrabble.

Then Saturday night we went to a party at the Dixon's house, and I just can't stop thinking about that delicious hot crab dip. Mmmm Mmmm good!

Big News: My siblings and I, and spouses, are planning to take my mother on a cruise for her 80th birthday in March. She has been on many cruises before, but the rest of us have never gone on one. We are trying to get some really good last-minute pricing, so we still don't know when, where, or on what cruise line we are going. It will most likely be to the Caribbean, on the biggest ship we can find with a good price. And I don't want to go on Carnival.

If you've ever gone on a cruise, email me and tell me some advice.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Best Nog

Wayne's favorite drink in the whole world is eggnog. He takes a big drink, then smiles and declares, "Nectar of the Gods!"

But I have found something I like even better. We call it gnog (pronounced "guh-nog") even though on the carton it is called "holiday milk". Target sells this wonderful product only at Christmas, which is a good thing because otherwise I would buy it every time I go there.

We LOVE these flavors:
"Pumpkin Spice"
"Chocolate Mint"
and "Cherry Chocolate" (the best one, but I haven 't seen it in stock this year).

I bought "Candy Cane" flavor last year but didn't like it as well as the other three.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Our church used to have Relief Society bazaars to raise money, and the women made and sewed many items to sell. I can remember going to a bazaar with my mother and siblings around age 8. On the way home, Carla, age 3, tore open a bag and found a Raggedy Ann doll with a blue dress. Mother said it was supposed to be for her for Christmas, but let her have it ahead of time.

A month or two later, at Christmas, I received this Raggedy Ann doll wearing a pink dress. Carla was mad because her Raggedy Ann doll was a bit dirty and didn't look as fresh and new as mine did.

I named my doll Clarissa, and added her to the many dolls that slept with me in bed each night.

I have always suspected that my mom had purchased the blue doll for me and the pink doll for Carla (my mom always bought me blue things because of my blue eyes), but since Carla found the blue one she got it.

(I think this was Christmas 1967. NOTICE OUR SILVER FOIL TREE WITH HOT PINK ORNAMENTS! L to R: Cindy standing, Larry, me holding new doll Clarissa, Carla holding a cat. You can see the red hair of her Raggedy Ann doll under the rocking chair. Also, notice the two Madame Alexander dolls in front of me on the floor. I got "Bo Peep", and Carla got "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary". Cindy got "Pilgrim", which is right in front of Larry's face.) Click on photo to make it bigger.

(Here I am in front of the TV showing "Bewitched". Notice the attractive mallard duck statue on top of the TV.)

I think I can remember, in some old, old memory, that I heard Sister Lovell telling my mother one day at church that she was the one that sewed all those Raggedy Ann dolls, and it was a really difficult job. I appreciate Sister Lovell for doing that.

And I just wanted to mention that I have always had great memories of our 1960's silver foil tree. I have told Wayne about it many times. So last Christmas he surprised me with a little tabletop silver foil tree. Only mine is better than the 1960's version, because it has fiber optic lights all over it that change colors. I LOVE IT!

(Sorry, I still don't know how to turn photos sideways on this Mac.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Amy of "Little Women"

My mother had read the book, "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott, and really liked the name "Amy". So that is why I was named Amy. For some reason it was a really big deal in our family that I was named after that book.

My mother liked the Madame Alexander brand of dolls. When I was about 5-7 years old, she bought the entire set of 8" collectible dolls of the four March sisters, from the book "Little Women". For Christmas that year, Cheryl got "Meg", Cindy got "Jo", I got "Amy", and Carla got "Beth". (Above: You can see the picture from the Collectible and Antique Doll book of all four dolls. Meg in purple stripes, Jo in red, Amy in floral, Beth in pink. The book says they were manufactured from 1957-1967)

Like I said, it was a big deal that I had the "Amy" doll from the book.

A few years later, I was dressing and undressing my doll, and came upon the cloth tag in the neckline of the dress. My sisters' dolls' tags said, "Meg", "Jo" and "Beth", but my doll's tag said, "Southern Belle". I asked my mother "Why?". She confessed that the day she was buying the dolls, they were all out of the "Amy", and she substituted one she liked better. I was crushed. (Below: Southern Belle doll in blue).

Later, when I was about 16 years old, my mother made it up to me by buying me the new edition of the Amy Little Women doll (photo in yellow dress) . She is 11" tall, so she doesnt' fit with the other 8" dolls, but she is very pretty and I'm glad to have her.

(About 16 years old, probably Christmas 1975)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Amy-doll and her cradle

I am guessing that I was around 1 1/2 when I got Amy-doll for Christmas. She was wearing the short pink check dress with rickrack trim. I do not remember when I got the cradle, maybe I got it a different Christmas. It is a beautiful hardwood cradle, which I plan to give to Tara someday.

(Here I am holding Amy-doll. L to R: me, Cindy, Larry, Cheryl. I think it is Christmas 1960 in Bartlesville.)

Since it is the Christmas season, here is a Christmas story about Amy-doll:

During the first year that I had Amy-doll, one day I was pretending she was sick. To show she had chicken-pox, I drew with ink pen all over her face. Then I cried and cried because she was ugly and I didn't want her anymore.

The next Christmas, all I asked for was a new Amy-doll. And I got a new one wearing a beautiful long blue dress. I was so happy.

Many years later, I found out that my mother had scrubbed and scrubbed to get off all that ink, and had made the doll a new dress and had given her back to me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby Doll from Hell

I have an old rubber jointed baby doll, which has seen better days. When I was little I named her "Amy-doll" because I thought she looked like me. But when my boys were bratty preteens, and saw this doll in my keepsake box, they named her "Baby Doll from Hell".

Its not a very nice thing to call her, because I did love her to pieces and it is not her fault that her hair is all rubbed off and one eye has turned a different color. But the name has stuck in our family.

When Tara and I went to the Wake County Library book sale last month, I bought a book on Antique and Collectible Dolls. I was stunned to find a picture of a "not beat up" Amy-doll in the book, (or at least a very similar doll). Who would have guessed that her real name was actually "Little Genius". I always knew that she was a Madame Alexander doll, because that was my mother's favorite brand, and she bought us many dolls from that company. And because my doll has the words "Madame Alexander" stamped on the back of her neck.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar

My mother had a real wool felt advent calendar exactly like this one when I was young. She probably bought it at the Relief Society Bazaar in our Bartlesville, Oklahoma ward. I think the little elves look really "sixties".

When I was a newlywed, my sister Cindy and I got together and, using our mom's as a pattern, made more of these for all our siblings. Only we were cheap and used nylon felt.

I don't know whatever happened to my mom's original one, but our children have always enjoyed using ours at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Hero

I was sitting in church on Sunday waiting for sacrament meeting to start. (We still have the 4:15-7:15 block, our new building is taking FOREVER to complete.) Tara had stayed home sick, and Zac was sitting at the sacrament table, so I was all alone. Wayne has been in the bishopric of the Young Adult ward in our stake for a year and a half, so most people who don't know me think I am single, or that I have an inactive husband.

I was feeling a little sorry for myself, when suddenly someone sat right down beside me, way too close. I looked, and it was Wayne! He had been at his church (25 miles away in Garner) all day since his bishopric meetings at 10 am, and had gone to all his meetings, and had decided to surprise me afterward by coming to sit with me during my sacrament meeting! What a nice surprise! That took him an extra hour of driving, and an hour and 15 minutes to attend the meeting, so he really sacrificed to do a nice thing for me! What a man! He's my hero.


We want to get new flooring in our kitchen and living room, and realize that it is smarter to paint first while the old crummy floors are in place.

The problem is I REALLY REALLY HATE TO PAINT. So this painting thing is messing up my schedule. I am never going to get the floors done at this rate.

Do any of my kids want to do service for me instead of buying me a Christmas gift? I would dearly love for my kids to paint my kitchen and living room as my Christmas gift. It would be the best Christmas present ever! We could just tape and paint one wall per day during Christmas break. What do you say?