Posted in Family Corner

Welcome 2018 (Sending My Missionary Off)

On Tuesday morning, dark and early (haha), we drove the two hours to the airport, listening to Piano Guys the whole way while the kids slept in the car. It was drizzling rain. As soon as we walked into terminal 2, we saw at least three sets of families, encircled about their young missionaries. We knew they were missionaries, even though they didn’t have their name tags yet (they receive those in the MTC), because they were all young men or women, dressed in their Sunday best and their moms were weepy. And we were in the Salt Lake airport where LDS missionaries fly in and out all the time. (It’s fun to watch the reunions- welcome home posters, cameras out, lots of hugging and laughter.)


After checking in her suitcases, we gave Marissa our last hugs for eighteen months. Darcie, her big sister, and I, became emotional at that point. We then watched her go through security, losing sight of her from time to time as she wove back and forth. She’s such a tiny person. Finally, we couldn’t see her any longer and had to assume she’d made it through. On the way home, we stopped at IHOP for breakfast. It was a good morning for Red Velvet pancakes. Marissa then phoned us from the airport, using a calling card, and told us she had met three more sister missionaries, also going to Peru. That was very comforting to know.


She sent me a brief e-mail today letting me know she’d made it and was safe. She told me she directed the other missionaries through the Atlanta airport, which she was familiar with, thanks to all our travels by plane. She also was the only one who expected the humidity of Lima. She said the MTC (missionary training center) was “nice” and that she might get lost. I wonder how big it is? She will be there learning Spanish and being trained in all-things-missionary for the next six to eight weeks. Her p-days (preparation days) are Wednesdays so that will be the day each week when she can write me and others. The sweet thing about being a missionary mom is that we take priority. So if she only has time for one e-mail, I get it! Also, missionaries are only allowed to phone home on Mother’s Day and Christmas Day.

♥ On Monday night, Marissa was set apart by our stake president, with her dad and her big brother in the Priesthood circle. She was given a beautiful blessing and the spirit was so strong in our home. I have a testimony of missionary work and of this gospel. I know my baby girl is going to bless many lives in the next eighteen months as she serves the Lord full time. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Welcome 2018 (Christmas Recap & A Missionary Farewell)


I hope each and every one of my readers enjoyed a beautiful Christmas. On the 22nd, my family and I spent the evening on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We ate dinner at The Roof (a fabulous restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith building), walked around Temple Square to see the lights and nativities, and then we ended the night at a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert, which was spectacular. My mother and her husband joined us for the night as that was our Christmas gift to them.


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent at home, with Grandma joining us (my husband’s mom). The day after Christmas, a very special package arrived from my dearest friend, Audria. She spoiled us! My favorite gift from her was a little teapot and teacup set. She even sent a sweet gift to my daughter for her mission. Such a thoughtful and amazing friend; I feel so blessed. For the rest of the week, we were busy preparing our home for Marissa’s mission farewell. We send her off to Peru next week!

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Kevin, Marissa, Kristine & Kelsey (I snapped their photo in our theater room just before we watched the movie, RED)

Her farewell was on New Year’s Eve Day. She gave a delightful talk in our Sacrament meeting and afterwards, friends, extended family, and neighbors joined us in our home for an open house. We offered a baked potato bar and a variety of desserts which everyone seemed to enjoy. I took a picture of Marissa with each family who came out to support her and plan to send them a copy with a thank you card. One of our favorite group of guests were our long-time friends, Kevin and Kristine, and their daughter, Kelsey (they also have two sons who could not make it). We’ve known this family for twenty years now and have stayed in touch as we’ve moved around. We have even vacationed together. It was so much fun to spend the day with them, celebrating Marissa’s choice to serve the Lord on a mission for our church, and ringing in the New Year together.

♥ On this first day of January, 2018, I have a nasty head cold. Bah! Besides sneezing a few times yesterday, I felt pretty good throughout our festivities for Marissa, so at least it waited a day to hit me full on. Marcus was sweet enough to heat me up some broth to sip and I’ve been resting up as I edit the photos from Christmas and Marissa’s farewell. This week should be pretty relaxed, focused on helping Marissa finish up her packing and enjoying our last week together before she embarks on what I hope will be an amazing adventure for her. I wish all of my readers a Happy New Year. ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Merry Christmas!

One of my Christmas displays

This Christmas season has just flown by! I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely had time to think about my blog, let alone sit down and post anything. There is so much going on in my life right now, besides Christmas, but my focus is on spending time with my husband and children. I have everyone under one roof at the moment and that is rare these days. In just a few weeks time, my sweet youngest daughter will leave on her mission, and if all goes as we hope, next year we will be building a home near my aging mother-in-law. We are running into a few snags, but I have faith all will work out as it’s meant to be.

Sisters baking together

My daughters baked a kazillion sugar cookies and gingerbread people on Wednesday for our little girl craft party on Thursday. We hosted seven little neighbor girls and it was so much fun. I love my craft parties with these sweet little girls. They are so creative! They made penguins, snow globes, wreath and snowmen ornaments. Then they decorated cookies to their hearts content.

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I miss having young children of my own, so spending time with littles and watching them create adorable things just makes me happy!

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Our Christ tree

♥ I am thankful for this time of year to remember the birth of a very special baby. We have this little tabletop tree and each of the ornaments on it feature a name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Every night we unwrap a Christ ornament (the rectangle ones made out of Jenga blocks; we made these last year as a twelve-day of Christmas tradition) and read the scripture verse that goes with it. It ends our day on a spiritual note, reminding us of the true meaning of this season. ♥ Merry Christmas and thank you for your support of my blog. ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Our Favorite Christmas Storybooks

We have a tradition of reading one Christmas story each night leading up to Christmas Eve (when we read the Christmas Story out of the scriptures). I thought I’d share the storybooks we cherish the most at this time of year, the ones that remind us of the true spirit and meaning of Christmas:


The Light of Christmas, by Richard Paul Evans. A young boy discovers that the truest gifts come from selfless acts of kindness.


The Miracle Maker, by Ann Acton. A little town learns how one person can make a difference just by believing


Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, shares a childhood story, when he learned that giving is sweeter than receiving. The Christmas Train, by Thomas S. Monson.


This is also a true story. It’s the sweet story of the candy bomber. This story is read by Tom Brokaw on a DVD.


A lovely story where a Primary class focuses on the spirit of Christmas together. The Mismatched Nativity, by Merrilee Boyack.


If you’ve ever wondered what might have happened with the three gifts given to baby Jesus by the Magi, than this story is for you! The Three Gifts, by Patricia Cook Orr.


God Bless Us Every One is the story of how A Christmas Carol came to be written. This book is lovely because it comes with a DVD featuring The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


Christmas Oranges is the story of an orphan girl who receives the sweet gift of friendship at Christmas. This book is retold by Linda Bethers.


I love this book because it’s one of my favorite Christmas carols: Good King Wenceslas. This includes a DVD of Jane Seymour narrating along with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


This is the story that has been with us since the beginning of our tradition. It’s the heartwarming story of a young couple who each sacrifices for the other at Christmas. The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.

♥ We have finally received lasting snow here in Utah this winter! I’ll try to post some photos in an upcoming post. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share a few of your favorite Christmas storybooks. ♥

Posted in Family Corner, Utah Corner

Highlights of Pumpkin Walk 2017


Here in Cache Valley, every October, there is a Pumpkin Walk. It’s a free event which showcases a lot of creativity and talent. (By the way, if you click on the above link, you’ll be taken to the gallery where there are videos of Pumpkin Walks going back to 2013.)


This year, Marcus and I visited the Pumpkin Walk with several other homeschooling families in our Friday Nature Club. This is a club we started in September. Our club gathers on most Fridays for a hike or other outdoor activity.


Each year has a different theme. This year’s theme was “It’s about Time.”


The Pumpkin Walk began in 1983 when a couple opened their farm as a way to give children in their community a light-hearted version of Halloween. It began with just one pumpkin scene and was an immediate hit, attracting more visitors each year until it outgrew the farm.

little critter
Isn’t this too cute? Each group of critters is reading a book together. For example, the pig family are reading the story: If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

At that point, the city of North Logan took it over and moved it to a city park. It’s just a delightful event for children and adults alike.

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The Star Wars scene was our top favorite.

“They keep asking themselves if these are the gourds they are looking for?”
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
My favorite Halloween movie!

♥ Does your community hold a similar event with pumpkins? I’d love to hear about it. ♥

Posted in Family Corner, Joy

My Birthday Weekend & Exciting News

I was so busy last week that I didn’t get a chance to sit down and write a post. My mother came up for a visit on Thursday evening and stayed ’til Saturday night. That motivated me to thoroughly clean my house top to bottom before she arrived. I am one who works well under a time crunch. It makes me buckle down and tackle items I’ve been putting off on my to-do list. Besides the general housework that always needs to be done, I cleaned out our kitchen freezer, scrubbed the oven, decluttered our den, cleaned the boys’ laundry room downstairs (which was a tornado of laundry), and took a full load of donations to my church’s thrift store, Deseret Industries (or D.I. for short).

Our September craft for our nature club was a sun-catcher mobile.

On top of all that, Marcus and I created and assembled 20 craft kits for our nature club. We had to cut up six colors of tissue paper into 1″ squares, but it was worth it to see happy kids taking home their craft kits and then hear from some of the moms that they were busy making them up that very day.

Marcus, observing butterfly chrysalis at the nature center.

Saturday was my birthday, which was why my mother was visiting me. We celebrated from Thursday night on, beginning with dinner at Olive Garden with my mother and her husband, who dropped her off. On Friday morning my mother joined Marcus and I at our nature club activity. We have just gotten this club off the ground so I was delighted with the moms who showed up and supported our activity, especially because it was raining. Last week’s activity was rained out in fact, but this time the rain was a light, though steady drizzle and the trail I had chosen was a gravel path so it was not muddy at all. Halfway down the trail is a nature center which meant we spent half of our time indoors. I was pleased with the turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Marissa, holding her unopened mission call.

On Saturday after a delicious waffle breakfast, I told Marcus to get our mail. We had forgotten to check the mail on Friday so he came back with a stack of envelopes and two of them were 8 1/2 x 11″ white envelopes. My oldest son, Zach, and I both pounced on Marcus because we knew there was a good chance one of those envelopes was my youngest daughter’s mission call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We were right! There was her mission call. Immediately, Zach and Marcus set out to pick her up from her university apartment and bring her home so she could open it with our family.

Looking at all the guesses on a world map.

A tradition for this time is to contact friends and family and ask for guesses for where the future missionary will serve. It could be practically anywhere in the world as we are a worldwide church. Guesses were coming in by text, Facebook and Instagram,  representing several countries and different states in the U.S. It was very exciting and helped to pass the time waiting for Marissa to get home.

Opening her mission call was a thrilling moment!

Once Marissa was home, over four hours later, we had pizza and salad ready for dinner. My mother’s husband had arrived in time to join us. With my husband’s mother on the phone and Zach making a video, Marissa opened her call and read aloud where she has been called to serve an 18-month mission for the Church.

I captured her expression of surprise and delight.

In January she will report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Lima, Peru. Her mission is the Cusco, Peru mission. Having lived in Peru, twice, for a total of four years, Marissa is already familiar with the customs and language (Spanish) which she will learn more fluently. We even attended our church meetings in the chapel right next door to the MTC when we last lived there.

♥ I am a missionary mom again! And we have so much to do over the next few months to prepare her. ♥ Thanks for reading! I have fun posts coming up whenever I get around to them, haha. This week I am busy preparing for a weekend trip to Tennessee where I get to meet my amazing friend, Audria, in person for the first time. I’m so happy! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

2016 Reflections

This was an interesting year for me and my family. We started the year in Arizona and ended it in Utah and spent a lot of time going back and forth.

Marcus’ first chalk pastel masterpiece.

In January we discovered chalk pastel art in our homeschool. We like to use the free tutorials on Hodgepodge.


In February we discovered a fun desert park in Tucson called, Tohono Chul. We also visited Tombstone for the first time.

My cousin made this fun cake to go with the travel theme.

In March, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s eightieth birthday. Also, my oldest son was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 23. David and I were able to be with him through most of his tests and when his neurologist confirmed his diagnosis. It was the roughest part of our year.


In April, Marissa went to her senior prom. Also, my girls and I went to a performance of Ballet West’s Beauty and the Beast.


In May, we went on a magical Disney World vacation as a family along with my baby brother and his family. It was so much fun!


In June, we experienced our first bloom night in Arizona. We saw an amazing cactus flower commonly known as the Queen of the Night, bloom right before our eyes. It only blooms once a year at night. Also, Marissa graduated from high school as a homeschool graduate. She was accepted into the university of her choice with only her transcript and ACT scores.


July was all about time with family and friends. We enjoyed a special week with favorite cousins, a summer concert with friends, a rodeo with my brother, a visit to the aquarium, a downtown parade and family time in a canyon.


August featured a country fair and preparations to send Marissa to college.


September started with moving my baby girl into her college apartment before David, Marcus and I returned to Tucson.

Creepers, spiders and Minecraft pumpkins, oh my!

October brought my first Halloween with only one child at home. We decorated our trunk for Trunk or Treat in a Minecraft theme.

My four amazing kids. I am so blessed to be their mama.

In early November, David, Marcus and I flew back to Utah for my niece’s baptism. Then Marcus stayed with his big sister for a week and a half while David and I returned to Arizona to pack. We moved home just before Thanksgiving and spent that holiday in our home as a family.

Christmas Day snow

And that brings me back to the here and now. I have felt so much joy since returning home. We have owned this house for four years now. It’s been our home-base while we’ve lived elsewhere (Peru and Arizona) for the most part. We’ve vacationed in this house for a few weeks to three months at a time, every year, and now we get to live here for hopefully all of next year (keeping fingers crossed!).

♥ Thanks for reading! I wish all of you a Happy New Year. ♥