Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving in Baltimore

None of our girls was home for Thanksgiving this year--a first for us! So we invited the Hess family over to celebrate with us. We were glad we did, as they brought half the food! The sweet potatoes Micaela made were unusual and delicious, and the pies were decadent. They also brought Travis' brother and roommate with them, who live in Virginia.

I tried to make cute edible place-cards out of ice cream cones in the shape of teepees. They ended up looking like sorry cornucopias with cake batter on the outside. I gave up and used my Sillhouette cutting machine to make paper ones! I'm much more comfortable at the computer than at the stove!

Ed barbecued the turkey and I made a very pretty salad that used sliced brussel sprouts as the base. Without any girls to help me it took all morning just to do the stuffing, potatoes and a relish tray!

It was fun getting to know the Hesses. They have two girls and two little boys, the youngest of which is only a month old. The women and girls had some fun playing bells while the men played pool and watched football after dinner.

In the evening we dressed Coda up and took her over to Lenny's for the Raven's game. Ed and I had tickets through his work. The game didn't start till 8:30 p.m.! It was amazing we were able to stay awake for the entire game.

The tickets included a fancy buffet (with crabcakes and haute cuisineThanksgiving food), and comfortable seats both inside and outside. We bundled up and watched the game outside. It was a crazy game, ending with several calls that were reviewed and reversed. The Ravens emerged victorious with a score of 22-20. We were so happy the Steelers missed their two point conversion in the last minute. That would have put us into overtime, and it was already midnight!

We had a late day, getting in bed about 2 a.m., but it was all worth it, and look at these nice caps they gave us at the game! A nice memory of Thanksgiving 2013!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stopover in Denver

I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing Crystal yesterday at the Denver airport. I had a 1 hour and 45 minutes layover, which was not really going to be very helpful (by the time you get through security and take the train), but when I found out she was dropping off her friend, Alisha at the airport, I decided to see if we could connect. I was waiting at the airport in Salt Lake City when I heard them announce the boarding for an adjacent flight (also to Denver) I asked if they could put me on the earlier flight. It worked out great, and we were able to have dinner together before I caught my flight to Baltimore. It was great to have some time together, but it just whetted my appetite for having all my girls home for Christmas.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Last Hurrah in Utah

I went to church with Mom today, and felt grateful that she attends a ward that is loving and caring. It makes it easier to leave her behind when I go home tomorrow.

Brittany and John brought a little sunshine over to Grandma's house tonight as they played and sang a little Christmas music.

The women did a little last minute crafting. I had brought the materials to make some napkin rings out of 2 inch plastic couplings.

Grandma and I did Christmas rings, and Brittany did some blue and yellow ones. I've learned a lot of things about my mother in the past year. One thing was she reads the funny papers every day. The other thing is she doesn't like crafting. I thought her napkin rings turned out very cute, despite her misgivings.

It is strange to be going home to celebrate Thanksgiving with only Ed and me in town. It was nice to get a family fix this week in Utah.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Eli and Lacy's New Home

My nephew and his wife, Lacy are having a new house built in the Salt Lake City area. They gave us a home tour today. It is such a great house for them, and I'm so happy for them.

The house has mountain views in the front and the back yard, as well as a view of the spire of the Oquirrh Mountain temple.

Abby says the neighbors aren't sure which one is Eli's wife, and one of them told her that her husband was very tall. She didn't tell him she was the sister. I wonder if they just think he has two wives!

We enjoyed going out to eat Indian food afterwards. They knew a great, small restaurant close to their house that really hit the spot. We enjoyed the meal and had enough leftover to bring Grandma a small snack.

Museum Visit with the Nuttalls

John's parents invited us to lunch and to go to the new Bloch exhibit at the art museum at BYU. It is always fun to eat at their house, as they are such creative and fun cooks. As if Marti's minestrone soup wasn't enough, they also had panini sandwiches for us, which Ellis cooked for us.

The art exhibit, entitled "Sacred Gifts featured art by two Danish Painters, Bloch and Schwarz and Hoffman from Germany. The pieces are on loan from the churches and castles in Europe, and were beautifully displayed. Many of them were taken right off the altarpiece where they have been for a hundred years.

Brittany and John took me over to see their new rec Center in Provo. It was SO beautiful! It seriously made me want to move to Provo, especially when I saw they had 6 racquetball courts! It also had a number of great pools, weight machines, and an indoor running track.

In the evening I helped Brittany put together her arrangement of Joy to the World for our family band to record in December. It was fun teaching her how to use Finale.

John began a very long project to rebuild an accordion. It was interesting that the reeds are held in place with beeswax! There must be hundreds of reeds in the accordion, but the leathers on the 4 he finished tonight look nice and flat. It's a great start to a very long project.

Brittany brought me back to Grandma's and we stayed up way too late talking. We loved it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A day with Brittany and John

Brittany took me up to the BYU museum today. It's having a new wing added to it, so it's closed, but it's a pretty great museum, and the new wing is absolutely beautiful. Brittany worked there in her undergraduate years, and now picks up all her specimens there for the mammals class.

We picked up John from school and went over to Kohl's where we were able to spend the Kohl's cash that Ed and I earned last week. Sometimes I wonder how Kohls makes any money, we got 6 items for $40 after all our discounts!

We then went to the Provo temple and attended a session. We enjoyed the new movie very much. Grandma let me borrow her white dress, which I also liked very much. I hope she leaves it to me in her will!

We ended the evening by picking up a pie at Village Inn and taking it to Grandma's house. Nothing like a slice of chocolate caramel cream supreme and a glass of milk before bed!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Curtains, Cuisine and Computers

Mom had a few things she wanted to get done while I am here. One was washing the curtains in the living room. Getting them down was easy, but getting them to hang just right after they were washed was a pain in the rear!

I was impressed with the system Mom had thought up for the sheers. She made a gathered set of curtains and velcroed them to a strip of wood cut to match the curve of the window. They were really easy to put back up!

To reward us for all that hard work in the morning we went out to lunch at Kneaders with Mom's friends, Julie and Megan. I had a delicious cranberry turkey croissant sandwich. I feel bad that I can't try everything on the menu in one visit.

In the evening we went to a meeting of the Family History Consultants and learned how to remotely help others. We also learned how to upload pictures to Family Search. A lot of my relatives have been busy doing just that, and I was able to download a photo of my great grandfather Franklin Christensen, (tallest one in back row), with his siblings and parents, Mads and Sophie. It is a great day to be alive! I love the internet.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Physicians, Family and Feet

Ed is in Australia on business, so I thought I'd spend a few days in Utah rather than be home alone all week. With Mom and Brittany both here, I have plenty to do to keep me busy.

Today was Mom's day to visit two of her doctors. I am happy to report that she is doing very well. Her blood pressure was 124/62! Not bad for a woman of 85! Her lack of strength to work as hard as she used to frustrates her, but she's not sure what would be a normal way to feel at this age, as she's never been here before.

We stopped by to see Aunt Nadine and Uncle Markel who are doing well. The sisters enjoyed looking at some old pictures and talking about the good old days in Fairview. I used to think they looked alike, but now see that my mom takes after her dad and Nadine takes after their mother.

We did a little shopping then took a pedicure break, which left us feeling all relaxed and happy. My feet felt so soft afterwards that it felt like I was walking on marshmallows! We're planning on relaxing some more this evening so we have plenty of strength tomorrow to wash and hang curtains.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Activity Day Puppet Shows

Last night was the big night for our Activity Day girls--the day we performed our puppet shows for our families. It went terrific, and I was so proud of them. We had microphones behind the curtains, and even the girls who had not been able to practice with the mics really spoke directly into them, and we could understand every word.

The younger brothers and sisters were a great audience and really got the humor they put into it!

Some of the girls chose animal characters, and some chose people puppets. Some puppet shows had a combination of both--as did the girls with the kangaroo brother.

The five shows each had a moral point, such as obedience, courage, honesty, cheerfulness and kindness. They were:

Duck Learns to Obey                       
Bunnies Go to Church                      
The Twins’ Messy Room                 
The Grumpy Prairie Dog                 
Kindness Tames the Wolf 

The shows were written entirely by the girls. It was fun watching them improvise a little at the shows as they realized the audience was with them! It gave me an opportunity to know hidden talents in each of the girls.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pies, Pies, Pies

Lorraine taught the Relief Society Pie Making class last night. She came prepared with some beautiful pies that we all got to sample afterwards. She had a great oatmeal/coconut pie that tasted a little like pecan pie. Her rhubarb pie had nutmeg in it which gave it a really special flavor.
We each got to make a crust and take it home afterwards. It was much easier than I thought it would be, but perhaps not "easy as pie," as the saying goes.

I came home and filled my crust with pumpkin filling. Ed and I are trying to watch our calories and not eat anything after dinner, but this pie didn't come out of the oven till 10 p.m.! Oops!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Sunday in the Life

I thought it might be fun to document a typical Sunday for us. This one started untypically, as Ed and I drove to church together (in the same car)! He usually has Sunday meetings before church and goes early.

I played the organ for Sacrament meeting, as I do in monthly rotations, every third month. November is my month. We had easy songs today, as we had the Primary program and the congregation sang Primary songs. I like that! My favorite part of the Primary program was the teachers and children singing a duet on A Child's Prayer. It made me cry. We also had a great Sunday School lesson on revelation and Declaration Two of the D&C (which extends the priesthood to all worthy males). It has a new preface that came about as a result of the research on the Joseph Smith papers.

I substituted in Relief Society for the pianist, who had a baby a few weeks ago. My friend, Ify,was the chorister.

Ed and I both stayed for choir after church. We practiced a few Christmas songs as well as Simple Gifts for Thanksgiving.

We finally had time for lunch about 2:30 p.m. We had chicken in salsa on rice with broccoli and fruit salad.

After lunch David and Brigham, our home teachers, came over and visited with us. We had a few good laughs, and then Brigham gave us a lesson about dihydrogen monoxide, which turned out to be plain old water water. The point was you need knowledge (the scriptures) to recognize things around you. 

I prepared and sent out a Relief Society Newsletter. I had to draw a picture of Mataya in Photoshop to include with her article on what she has learned through Relief Society. 

Then, we hunkered down with the crossword puzzle and a serving of lava cake that I whipped together. We did the NY Times Sunday puzzle in one hour, but sadly had a few mistakes. We missed three letters!

We ended the day watching the first two episodes of Call the Midwife on Netflix, which we totally enjoyed. We decided we couldn't stomach any more of the now very tedious Once Upon a Time, which we used to enjoy on Sunday nights . While we watched TV we replaced the spiral binders on all our caroling books. The original coils were too small and the pages wouldn't open. Ed crimped and I coiled.

And that was our Sunday.  There was nothing unusual to blog about, but there is a certain fascination for me in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. It is the ordinariness of the ordinary that makes the extraordinary extraordinary. (Something like you can't feel joy without pain.) Anyway, I like them both!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fall, Fridays, Food and Football

I love Ed's 9-80 days. He works an extra hour each day and gets every other Friday off work. We enjoyed taking the dog for a walk along the fire trail yesterday. During the football season people in Baltimore all wear purple on Fridays. It is actually called purple Friday. We dressed Coda up appropriately for her walk.

It wasn't all play for poor Ed, he had to finish mixing songs for our Christmas CD, which I'm happy to say has been accomplished! I posted them all on the tab of my blog entitled Christmas by the Fire. We're pretty excited about this year's songs!

Our neighbor across the street had given us some chestnuts from her tree, which I roasted in the oven last night (not by the fire). However, it was a warm and cozy evening eating chestnuts and listening to Christmas music!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bells, Bells, Bells

Trish, Mickey and I thought it would be fun to do some bells for church, as we've enjoyed playing in the community bell choir so much. So, we borrowed some music from our leader, and invited Carrie and Suzanne to ring with us. We had a good time sight reading through the music today, and found out we're not half bad. We used my set of bells to practice, but hope to borrow a set of real bells for our performance at the Relief Society Social on December 3rd!

Poor Trish had to sit between Suzanne and me, fresh from working up a sweat on our morning walk. We did 5.42 miles at 14.5 minute miles! Check it out at:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Down on the Farm off to the Printer!

Our new album is off to the press tomorrow. I spent the last month mixing the songs the Pearl Strings sang last May. It has been a huge undertaking, and quite a learning experience for me. I want to thank Amanda for recording the band and Ed for teaching me how to mix music, and for fixing things up when I messed up my computer! I have listened to each song over and over, and find it gives me great joy in hearing them.I can feel the joy in them, and remember how much fun we had deciding exactly how to do each song. I want to thank the Pearl Strings for all their hard work. Without your enthusiasm this CD wouldn't have been possible. Thanks! It's been a wonderful journey!

If you would like to listen to any of the songs, just click on the Down on the Farm Tab at the top of the blog!