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Archive for January, 2014

Sunday

Kids are with their Dad this weekend so my Sunday morning?  Cinnamon roll and milk for breakfast, in bed no less. My heated throw keeping me feeling warm and comfortable.  I‘ve got Hillary Weeks playing in the background and watching the kittens try to figure out how to get to the empty milk glass. It’s quiet, peaceful and perfect as I’m waiting to hear from Charlet if they are going to church with me today or not. I hope so, I’d like them there when I’m set apart today but doing much more than offering backfires on me. 

I hope and pray that everyone is able to find a moment or two of peace today






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If I wasn’t feeling like I’d already picked it up from Russell’s house at Christmas, I think tonight I’d be looking for the crazy cat lady starter kit to order.  Today I was made aware of a mid-singles dance in St George tonight.  Those of you who don’t know me, I don’t dance very well.  I love to swing dance and I love the idea of dancing but it’s not my comfort zone, unless I have a swing partner that I know can make up for my lack of grace and even then I’m not certain comfort zone would be the best word choice.  I had a few hours to either talk myself into or out of it.

What does a girl do when faced with a choice like this?  She turns to friends, and this being a sensitive-ish topic and considering one friend is very busy right now I had two choices.  DiAnna who would have made me go, without a doubt including showing up on my doorstep to help me get ready (really, I think she does that just so I don’t back out of things I’m not certain I want to do) or the friend I did text.  Sorry DiAnna, and I know that you’re one of like 3 people who read my blog so yes, I’m ready and waiting for my butt kicking.  When I can’t walk straight next week, it’s DiAnna’s fault.  Reality is I may have gone if I’d had friends to go with me because someone has to have your back and as far as I know, no one I know was going or if I’d had more time to gear myself up.  In my head I’m a fantastic dancer and completely confident in a room of people who mostly know each other and I know none of them, but outside of my head I need dance lessons and a friend at least in the same town to rescue me if need be.
Instead I stayed at home, made sugar cookies for a neighbor’s birthday (isn’t a way to a man’s heart through his stomach?  I’m just perfecting my baking…) and visited with them for a little when we delivered it then came home to finish up crocheting headbands — from Christmas.  Josie’s just needs the flower sewn on and it’s my favorite, Bailie’s yarn didn’t work up well so I picked up the same color in a different weight and found  yarn as close to Josie’s vintage yarn as I could for Charlet but it’s wool and so soft.  It might turn into a hat and fingerless mittens for me.  Maybe.
Every time I’ve made these sugar cookies since I found/tweaked a recipe that gives me soft cookies that aren’t hard and hold their shape when baking I’ve been asked for the recipe so here it is — with a few side notes too, that’s what makes a recipe special after all.
They aren’t bunnies, they are sideways goldfish!  With big tails, they swim faster that way.

Ingredients
  • 5 1/2 C flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 C salted butter at room temperature if you only have unsalted butter toss 1/2 teaspoon salt in with the flour {don’t try to microwave it so it’s soft and don’t try to use it straight from the fridge.  If you are in a crazy use a food processor to get it broken down and then it will cream better.  and absolutely do.not.use.shortening.  Ever.  Even if it is butter flavored Crisco.  Just don’t do it.}
  • 1 C sour cream {yes, sour cream it’s delicious and wonderful and no one will know or be able to figure out why they’re so soft and perfect.  Your daughter’s teenage friends will raise and eyebrow, but they’re teenagers and they’ll cave in and try them}
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla {the better quality the vanilla the better the result.  Sugar cookies don’t have a lot of flavors otherwise so this recipe is one where I pull out the good stuff}
Directions
  • Sift together flour and baking soda {and salt if using unsalted butter} and set aside.  {if you have small children helping make sure they aren’t using a paddle spoon for this step or you will be sweeping up flour from everywhere}
  • Cream together butter, sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  {go ahead and be picky about what order things go in for creaming, but I’ve never noticed a difference so they all go in together and it saves time}
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture slowly-ish.  About a couple of cup fulls at a time, not tablespoons or you’ll hate me because this will take forever and no one has all day just to make cookies!
  • Dough does need to go into the fridge for at least an hour or over night before rolling it out, divide it into half and wrap with saran wrap or use a plastic bag  {Again, this is a trust me thing.  If you make these without chilling the dough I don’t want to hear about how hard they were to roll out or how they lost their shape in the oven.  It’s an important step, go do some dishes or laundry — better yet, come do mine while the hour is passing}
  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Roll the dough out onto a heavily floured counter and cut into desired shapes.  I have Christmas and Thanksgiving shaped cookie cutters but I’m over Christmas, so I found one lonely Easter Bunny  sideways goldfish with a huge fin.  I always, always, always bake cookies on parchment paper.  It’s cheap, saves on dishes, and cookies bake more evenly. 
  • How long to bake will vary depending on oven, cookie thickness, and a little bit on cookie size.  I’d check them at 7 minutes, 5 or 6 if they are thin.  You want to pull them out of the oven just before the edges brown but make sure the middle of the cookie doesn’t look wet.  Pulling them out at the perfect time is key for softness.  My oven it’s 9 minutes for thick cookies, 8 for normal {no, I don’t have numbers to go with what I mean by that be grateful I have times, Mom’s recipes always say “bake in an oven until done”  I don’t know where else you’d bake, but my point is be grateful for how much I gave you} 
  • As for frosting.  Royal Icing will give you cuter cookies, but cream cheese or butter cream frosting tastes much better.  Taste wins in my book, nearly every time so I use cream cheese frosting — today from a can, frosting recipe will have to come another day.

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Homemade Ice Cream

I don’t know that a food can be a tradition, but if it can ice cream is one of ours. Grandpa Len always had ice cream (maple nut specifically) and much to Grandma’s head shaking you didn’t need to finish your dinner to get some. After all, ice cream just fills in the cracks after you’re full. Terry and Becky got Lindsey the cutest vinyl design they are putting on a mirror for her. I will see if she will send me a picture. {Yay!  She did!}

 On his birthday all of us were too full for dinner and we still went out for ice cream, it was only right after all. 

Saturday I wasn’t even thinking about FHE when I said aloud, to no one “we need to make ice cream and talk about family. Call Alisha and see if you can borrow her ice cream maker”  Me being me, I had to ignore that but when I thought the same thing as the Sacrament was being passed I decided to listen and see if I could borrow their ice cream maker.  Being as awesome as she is we made arrangements to pick it up Monday.

Before I dumped in all the ingredients (well, except for the egg because I forgot it — oops) I had the kids taste them individually.  With the exception of sweetened condensed milk there wasn’t anything that would get listed as wonderful.  Even the SCM wasn’t wonderful, just better than the rest.  At the same time nothing was horrible by itself either, no tongues had to be cut off from disguistingness, and only a few sour faces at the vanilla extract.  After all the ingredients were mixed together we tasted it again.  Nothing overly exciting, taste had improved some but no one wanted to do more than stick their finger in and lick it.

The ingredients are us, individual family members.  Alone we are not nearly as exciting as we could be, we have not met our potential.  Even when we’re together as a family all in the same house (or ice cream tin) things are just kind of ‘meh at best.  It isn’t until you pour the ice and rock salt around the outside and start it churning that the concoction turns into something amazing and desirable.  The sweet liquid has turned into a family!  As the ice cream was freezing and we had dinner I wanted everyone to think of what could be our ice and salt.  It was important to me that we focus on things to do instead of not to do and I wanted everyone’s input.

We decided that as a family we will:

  • Compromise {Charlet’s example was if I say her curfew is 9 and she wants it to be 10 that she can stay out until 9:30.  *sigh*} 
  • Do everything. That may seem overwhelming, Kaede had a hard time finding the words for what she wanted to say but she mentioned “do everything” in supporting each others activities, doing all of the chores they’re suppose to and I decided that “do everything” was pretty accurate.
  • Laugh.
  • Read the Scriptures and have family prayer daily.  
The last one was my contribution.  I had looked for a quote that lists out promises that come from daily scripture study as a family and I couldn’t find the one I was looking but I did find this quote from L. Tom Perry in October 1993 General Conference.

I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come.

“I promise” coming from a General Authority during Conference isn’t simply a word choice, it is a phrase that grabs my attention and makes me listen. my word shall not pass away, but shall all be  fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the  same. Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 Promises that come from the Lord usually (always?) have 2 parts.  The part we do (or don’t do) and then the blessings or consequences.  From Moses’s time, look at the serpent (do) and be healed (blessing). They are throughout the scriptures as well as my life.  After reading the do part which as usual is fairly straight forward, until it gets hard and even then it’s still fairly straight forward (daily prayer and scripture study) and realizing the blessings are tailored to exactly what my family needs are how could I add anything else onto the list?

It also doesn’t specify anything about “immediate family” only, so we’re inviting other family to join us across the miles.  Started reading the Book of Mormon out loud, dividing the verses between all of us, one chapter a night beginning January 20, 2014.  Days the kids are at Paul’s that night they usually end up over here for part of the day anyways so we will read then, making up days that they don’t make it over the next night.

There will be times that things seem too busy, our lives are “too full” but just like Grandpa always said “there’s always room for ice cream” and to make our ice cream we have a guideline that has been given to us to follow.

~Heather

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Priesthood Blessings

The Bishop came over tonight to give Kaede a blessing, he gave Charlet one as well. I have thoughts going in so many directions, this post is likely going to be a little on the rambling side. 

I wish more than anything that there was a worthy priesthood holder in the house. I know it’s only a phone call away no matter the time but I still find myself waiting until whatever it is has grown big enough to justify a blessing. If anything I feel more comfortable now asking than I have in a really, really long time. 
In the past year I’ve had some amazing blessings, one in particular that I wish I had transcribed. Almost immediately after I forgot what words were said but I will never forget how I felt that night or in the coming days. Some blessings I’ve known that while things won’t be easy they will be how they are suppose to be and all will be well. Others have given me the strength to get up just one more day and to get through just a little longer. A few I’ve known I’m not as alone as I’d previously felt and could feel my Heavenly Father’s love for me. 
Tonight I hope and pray that girls feel the strength and power in the Priesthood that I have. Tonight I realized that the transcript of the blessing isn’t as important as the feelings, the strength.  The part of a blessing that amazes me is the silence. The long breath between sentences where words aren’t spoken but the Spirit is strong.  There is no way to transcribe the silence. 
Tonight however there is one sentence that keeps echoing in my soul, unsure of it was meant for Charlet or for me. 

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Wide awake

I’m feeling unsettled and restless, with the feeling there is something I should be writing. I just don’t know what and definitely not why. I’ve opened the app a few times but my head isn’t sure what to say and my heart isn’t giving me any words. 

I’m so unsure of so much right now, so much that doesn’t even fit into words. I did find ‘the’ recipe for popcorn that makes me happy, thanks to Bishop Marchant. 
Surely popcorn isn’t that important though, even if I turn it into a Heather Parable about the required heat and churning to make each kernel pop. Yeah, it’s lame and a big stretch. 
ShaLiece and I went to see Saratov Project tonight, excellent and yes one I will likely buy in the future but it doesn’t seem like I’d be laying awake at night for commentary on someone else’s story. 
Life is once again in a state of flux where it seems there is little solid to stand on, but honestly that has been how things have been for the last 6 years or so. Maybe change and struggle is my solid ground?  Difficulty sleeping at night has at least become my standard, my normal and I don’t like it at all. In anyway. 
I hope you have a good night (or morning?). I’m going to find a slightly different Pandora station and see if change will help my heart settle a little. 

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Most of my NY resolutions follow the “better today than yesterday” mindset. One that doesn’t really is being a better friend and neighbor, doing a little more to make someone else’s day a little brighter, let others know how much I appreciate them. 

Now, there are lots of things going around. Paying for another’s meal or gas anonymously etc. I don’t have funds for things like that though, does anyone have any ideas of ways to pay it forward?  I’m trying to consciously do something specific each week. I know I’m writing this like I get more than a couple of hits per post that I don’t share on FB but if you happen across this and have an idea for me I’d love it if you’d share. 

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I can pinpoint date and time of the beginning of the worst night ever, and it wasn’t last night.  Last night was full of insomnia, restlessness, with underlying anxiety.  Less than two hours of sleep and then most of today spent on the road.  I last looked at the clock at 2:53 and my alarm was set for 4:45.  *yawn*  Did I mention I had to be driving before dawn?  Yep, that was me. After mastering the art of the snooze button until the very last moment I drug myself out of bed and by some small miracle was actually awake and alert.

I was about at Fillmore when I looked over my shoulder to the East to see if I could change lanes and the sky was a magnificent orange that bounced off of the mountains to the West.  A few quick minutes before the sun peeked up over the mountains the sky was a brilliant canvas of watercolors.  I debated about pulling over for a picture but I had no time for stopping, they were used up in my last two snoozes.

As I drove through the mountains and into the valley that I’ve had to trust everything was dusted with a beautiful, peaceful snow.  Majestic horses playing in the fields, ice reaching across the river and deep blue of the mountains was post card perfect.  There was almost no traffic on the road and the valley was filled not just with quiet but with peace.  Quiet has been a precious commodity around here lately, but for it to be coupled with peace was priceless.  Somewhere along the roadside all of my worries and anxieties were left behind.

As I was ready to leave, my heart having been filled up and my backpack of “worrying about not doing enough of anything” was emptied out.  I had a smile on my face and a feeling of warmth even with the cold wind blowing around me.  I stepped outside and in the same yard sitting on a power pole was a beautiful bald eagle.  He took off soaring overhead as if he was escorting me out, letting me know that everything is okay.  He’s there to watch over the valley.

I drove home the long way, tired was starting to set in and it’s easier to pull over and stretch my legs or take a quick nap away from I-15.  My first leg stretch?  Manti.  Walking around the temple grounds here was different.  I’ve walked around both StGeorge temple and SLC temple often when I’m close by and waiting, there is almost always someone else there is street clothes too and one of my favorite pictures of St. George temple has a runner resting on the steps.  Today it was just me.  People were coming and going but no one was walking around the temple grounds.  The placement of the temple is a beacon from whichever direction you are coming, at night it’s beautiful and gives direction, much brighter and easier to find than the North Star. 

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