Monday, July 6, 2015

Pie on the Fourth of July

Last week I invited Ethel Ferger, a lady from my ward (local congregation), over to my house to teach me how to make her delicious strawberry pie, crust and all.  

Over the years I haven’t always been blessed to be surrounded by family, but the good women of the Relief Society have come to my rescue and strengthened me time and again.  They've taken care of me when I've had my babies - bringing meals in, throwing baby showers, tending older children.  They’ve called on me to share my talents - allowing me to feel useful and appreciated.  And more recently, they’ve looked after me since my dad passed away - assuring me that I am not alone.  

I am grateful for this organized sisterhood that continues to buoy me up and teach me new skills…so that I can enjoy simple pleasures like a fresh pie on the 4th of July!

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Ethel’s Strawberry Glaze Pie:

  • 1 qt. strawberries
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • Few drops red food coloring
  • 1 baked 9” pie shell (this was the main reason right here that I had Ethel come over.  One day I’ll have to put together a tutorial on her hands-free pie crust recipe.  Amazing.)
  • whipped cream

Crush 1 cup red ripe strawberries, add water and bring to boil.  Simmer 3 minutes.  Strain.  Add water if necessary to make 1 cup liquid.  Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt and add to liquid.  Stir until smooth.  Bring to a boil and stir constantly until mixture thickens.  Cool and add red food coloring.  Place remaining whole strawberries in baked pie shell.  Pour the glaze over the berries.  Top the pie with whipped cream.

A few of my friends came over, too, which was so much fun; it was like a baking class right in my very own kitchen!  And boy, was it awesome to watch Ethel whip up the ingredients like nobody’s business without exact measurements.  She was teasing me about being so precise.  Luckily, I had my new measuring spoons that I purchased for this very occasion labeled pinch, smidgen, dash, tad, etc. just so I could keep up with her...like I knew exactly what she was talking about, haha!  We had a great time and I really hope to have Ethel over again soon.  I think everyone could use a little more Ethel in their life. :)  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Family ties & a doberman named Odin

Last month we received some special visitors on their way to Northern Idaho.  My little brother & his wife stopped in for a few days with their doberman pinscher, Odin.  

Contrary to popular belief, dobermans are actually very good with children.  Their strength can be intimidating, but their protective qualities are incredible.  I know my kiddos were delighted to see Nate & Emmy, but I think they were particularly endeared to Odin.

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Hmmm…who’s walking who?  It’s hard to tell.

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We had a nice picnic at the park.  I love our beautiful park; it’s a definite plus in our subdivision.

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Check out the haunted mansion in the background.  (The original land owner of all the lots in our subdivision unexpectedly passed away a few years ago in the process of building his house.  It’s changed hands, but progress is slow - kind of an eye sore, but it makes for some tall tales.)

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In our troubled world, I couldn’t be more grateful for the knowledge I have that families are forever!  There’s been a lot of fuss lately surrounding the family unit.  How blessed I feel to have God’s unchanging laws!  A good friend of mine recently shared this thought on social media, and I couldn’t agree more: 

"Life is wonderful people.  Hug someone you love.  Hug someone you don't like.  Smile.  Sing and dance around your house!  Serve your neighbor.  No legislator or supreme court is going to determine my ultimate happiness or misery.” - B. Hammond

While the world continues to worry about redefining marriage, I’m going to keep loving my family and embracing the future.  Yes…life is wonderful people.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Early Mornings

Something I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I seem to function much better - emotionally, spiritually, physically - when I manage to start the day early.  Luke has been waking up earlier than usual the past few weeks, so instead of fighting it and trying to put him back to sleep, I’ve been going on a nice walk through the neighborhood.  As I look back over the past 8 years of having babies, nursing, meeting the demands of young children day in & day out, I find that I'd usually need sleep more than a walk (I’d consider myself lucky if I got either of those, ha!), but I’m glad to be getting into the groove of starting my day earlier.

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Luke is my serious little soul.  He listens to me talk and pray as we enjoy the serenity of those morning hours.  I think our spirits understand each other. :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cambodia

Recently my mom has been exploring the world through Discovery Expeditions & Adventures.  
 
The way in which these opportunities have come about is quite a story in and of itself, but regardless, I’ve been wanting to document a few bits and pieces of her travels.  My children are intrigued with her adventures, and it’s been neat for all of us to see more of the world through her experiences.  
 
Her first trip encompassed about two weeks in March, and the countries she explored included Vietnam, Cambodia, Loas, Myanmar, and Thailand.  I’ll start with Cambodia because I know it was her favorite country on this trip.
 
In her own words she said, 

"Cambodia is located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula of Southeast Asia.  We explored magnificent ancient temples in the jungles of Cambodia.  There are more than 1,000 ancient temples in this country.  Lots of hiking and climbing ancient stairs.  

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Here we visited one of the World's Seven Wonders, The Temple of Angkor Wat.  We watched the sunrise come up over this spectacular temple. 

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We also Visited Phnom Penh City.  I was touched by another tragic event in history,  The Killing Fields, where more than a million people were killed and buried by the Communist Khmer Rouge Regime from 1975-1979, my high school years.

The poverty here was overwhelming at times.  The people were so humble and kind.  I met a beautiful girl that insisted on massaging my tired feet after a day of hiking in the jungle.  She made $70.00 a month.  I gave her a $20.00 tip that made her sob. 

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The rice farming was fascinating...

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along with the water buffalo on the side of the roads.

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I loved watching them make palm sugar in the villages."

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Here are a few more of her favorites.  I personally love the one of her with the two little Cambodian girls.  

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I’m pleased to know that not all taxi cab drivers are as intense as the ones in NYC.  The thrill of riding a taxi around Manhattan is probably pretty comparable to riding this rig around Cambodia though, haha!

Looks thrilled, doesn’t he?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Happiest 6 Yr Old

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Carlie celebrated her 6th birthday in May, so birthday season has officially begun around here!  We spent the day together as a family, opened gifts, ate her favorite dinner (which was Hawaiian haystacks this year - I love how it keeps changing), and shared a buttermilk chocolate cake.  I remember when we were trying to decide on a name for this sweet little bundle of joy.  Jared & I both loved the name Carlie from the get-go.  Her middle name came with some extra thought, but despite her screaming entrance, she was a JOY from the very beginning.  Her Grandma Wolfley’s middle name is Joyce, and we loved that similarity, too.  Carlie has always had such a cute smile with a hearty laugh...and oh, those pretty blue eyes.  

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(Carlie, age 4)

So without further ado, I present SIX things that we all love about Carlie.

1.  Carlie is a girly girl.  She loves all things princess-y including fancy hairdos, accessories, and dress up.  

2.  She loves games, and she’s a good sport about them!  Whether it be a matching game, a board game, an outdoor game, or any other type of game...count her in!

3.  Carlie is a nurturer.  She fills up those big sister shoes pretty darn nicely.  Her inner conflict usually comes down to whether or not she should be a mom or a mermaid when she grows up; she’s torn. 

4.  This girl is an athlete, and although she can be reckless at times, she faces her challenges head on.  You know how some kiddos are just built tough?  She’s one of those kiddos.  

5.  I think she might be ahead of her years on this one, but Carlie is a tease.  She’s learning that not all people get her jokes, so we’re trying to help her mature into this side of her personality a little bit more all the time.

6.  And last but not least, she is a happy helper.  Any mom who has a happy helper knows how truly great this is!!

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(Carlie after opening a birthday package from Grandma Julie)

We love you, Carlie Joy!