Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Change of Plans

Next week I will be in Boise again. I had planned on sitting on the river front in Astoria, Oregon with my mom and Aunt Karen, but I guess it was just not meant to be. I am a little sad. Especially after talking to my dad today and finding out that it was 70 degrees and clear blue skies there today. Perfect weather for Astoria. Nothing sounds better than just sitting on a river bank and watching ships go by and listening to their wonderful fog horns at night. I hope there are fog horns in heaven. I love that sound.

My mom hurt her back a couple of days ago and fractured a vertebrae and needs to have it repaired. So...instead of having a fun, family history trip to the northwest with her, I am heading to Boise to take care of her. Sure, it will still be fun. We will still visit and laugh and have a great time, but it is not Astoria. She is sad too. I feel bad for her. I guess it was just not meant to be. I think she feels the same way about the northwest and misses it too. There is just something about it that pulls at our hearts. I don't think that will ever change.

For some reason I love this old town. I have a lot of ancestors that are buried in that area and a lot of family history. My grandmother was born in Astoria. My great grandfather was a gill net fisherman on the Columbia River. My grandpa was raised not far from Astoria. It is just home to me. Always has been, always will be. If I could travel anywhere in the world, that is where I would go. Hands down. No hesitation. To me, it is heaven.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Meatloaf Mystery...And A Recipe Too

A couple of days ago I made the most amazing meatloaf for dinner. It was delicious! What made it even better was that it was a HEALTHY recipe. I was surprised how much my family loved this recipe. It is definitely a keeper. In addition to being quite tasty, I also have a funny story that goes along with it.

The day after we had this for dinner, Jenni came home from work for lunch. She started looking in the fridge for the leftover meatloaf. She could not find it and then called me into the kitchen to see if I could locate it. No luck. I finally decided that Greg must have packed it for his lunch when he woke up early in the morning. We did not really think about it again until later that evening.

Greg came home from work and asks me where the leftover meatloaf is. I said "I thought you took it to work." No, he didn't. He could not find it anywhere either. We were stumped.

Later that night Greg was in the kitchen and announced that he had finally found the missing the kitchen cupboard. Evidently, he had taken it out of the fridge to pack some for his lunch. He then for some strange reason put it in the cupboard and forgot about it. Nice. That man cracks me up! I keep teasing him by telling him that now I have proof that he is old AND crazy :)

Since the meatloaf was such an incredible hit with our family, I thought I would share the recipe. It is really very, very good. I don't usually care for meatloaf, but this one was a winner. I also love that it has a serving of vegies in it as well as being only 250 calories per serving. Not too shabby.


  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown about 8 minutes. Stir in the carrots, tomato paste, thyme and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. Allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl combine the beef, oats, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom mixture, salt and pepper. Mix until just well combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high.

In a small bowl whisk the tomato sauce, molasses and mustard and pour over the meatloaf.

Cook the meatloaf until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 55-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Serving Size: one 1-inch thick slice

Per Serving:

Calories 250; Total Fat 12 g; (Sat Fat 4 g, Mono Fat 5.5 g, Poly Fat 1 g) ; Protein 21 g; Carb 14 g; Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 110 mg; Sodium 370 mg

Friday, September 24, 2010

Family Funnies

Yesterday my family was on fire. It must have been a full moon or something. Some of the stuff they were saying had me laughing quite a bit. Here are two of my favorites:

1. I was tucking Emma into bed for the night and she had just said her nightly prayers and in her prayer asked that her former teacher, Mr. Bezzant, be blessed to not be paralyzed anymore. (He had fallen off a roof last year and has had a difficult recovery). After the prayer she turned to me and in a very matter of fact manner said " Is it paralyzed or hypnotized?...I get those two mixed up."

2. I was driving to Provo with Jenni early last night. As we were driving down I told her how much fun college was back in the day and that BYU is not the same as it was back when I attended. She then told me "Yeah...I loved it then too." "Really?" I said, "That is funny because you weren't even BORN yet." We laughed a lot over that one.

I love that Heavenly Father gave us a sense of humor. Life would be far too boring without some laughter every once in a while.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Mountain Fun

Last weekend our family went up to Kamas to Austin's family cabin. We had a blast. Here are some of the pictures. Above Josh, Emma and Casey on the four wheeler.
Casey downing a rather well-topped waffle.
Upon my arrival I was greeted by Christoper who ran out to my car and announced that Josh had already wrecked on the four-wheeler. That boy. Evidently he ran into some kind of barb-wire fence and this is what happened. Can you say tetanus shot?
Yes, we learned a game with face cards...Golf. I have to say that I was pretty good at it. However, the hand above is Casey's. We took a picture because it is probably with worst hand in history. The odds of having THREE jokers are pretty crazy. Poor girl...Don't worry, there was no poker or money changing hands. Purely innocent stuff.
Emma, Casey and Cordell down at the river trying to decided whether to jump in or not. The water was rather cold.
They decided to jump in! Brrrrrr. They did not stay in long :)
Josh reading down by the river. Such a Josh moment.
Emma showing me her muddy bum.
Cordell found a hook and some fishing line and decided to make a fishing pole. No fish though. I think the gals were too loud for any fish to be anywhere close.
Watching football at the cabin. You can see Greg on the deck grilling chicken for our yummy chicken tacos. You will also notice that I do not have many pictures of Christopher, Sam, Austin or Tara. None of them wanted their pictures taken...thus I do not have any!
More watching football.
Casey, Cordell and Jenni keeping score on a paper plate of our Golf game.

On the way home I stopped and snapped this picture. This is my next subject for drawing. What do you think? I kind of like it. Obviously the telephone pole will not be in the final product. I love the fence with the grass growing over it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Smiles & Waves

Yesterday was the first time that I have conducted Primary in a very long time. I wasn't nervous until about 5 minutes before Primary was to begin. I was watching all the children and teachers file in and my heart started to go a little crazy. Just as I thought I might very well throw up, I looked to the back of the room and there they were. My cute little CTR 6 class that I had just been released from teaching was sitting there trying to get my attention. They were all sitting there so darn cute. Each of them was smiling at me and trying to be reverent as they slyly waved at me. Oh, how I love each of those children. They are going to be such valiant missionaries and moms for the Lord someday. They are truly special. How could my day get even better after seeing that glorious site? It did...

As I was giving the presidency message I became very emotional. I was reading a poem that President Monson has quoted many times in conference about showing love for others. As I was reading I realized how incredibly quiet the room was. You could literally hear a pin drop. I know people use that terminology all the time, but for really could have heard one. It was the very definition of still. I was thinking to myself "How can 80 children plus all those adults be so quiet?" As I realized how amazingly quiet it was, I all at once felt an overwhelming sense of love from my Heavenly Father for each of those children in that room. How this touched me. I could hardly speak. It was such an intense feeling of pure love. The spirit was incredibly strong. It was wonderful. How can anyone not feel the spirit when they come in those Primary doors? Each of those children is precious and I know it sounds a little crazy, but I already love EACH of them. And while I can't teach my cute little CTR 6 class anymore, I still will look forward to seeing each of their smiling faces every Sunday. And maybe if I am lucky, one will wave at me periodically. Yes...Primary is a wonderful place to be.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heading To The Mountains

I am excited. In less than two hours we are packing up the cars and heading up past Kamas to Austin's family cabin. Tara and Austin made arrangements for our family to hang out at the cabin and eat lots of food. Emma is bringing Casey Ann and everyone else in the family is coming too...all ten of us. It should be fun! Four wheeling, playing in the river, Smores, movies, reading books and thanks to satellite TV we can even watch the U of U and BYU games. Sounds like a little slice of heaven. I will be sure to post pictures after we return :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homecoming 2010

Last Saturday was Homecoming for Josh's high school. School just started a few weeks ago. I can't believe that Homecoming was so early this year. Josh asked Jamie before school even started because so dance was so close to the start of school. They had a great time and were with a really fun group of kids. They had dinner at the Wirtz's where Deanna did her magic once again and prepared a delicious meal. The boys also had arranged ahead of time to have our neighbor, Holli, come take some pictures for them. They are really cute and show some of the kids' fun personalities.

I love how this group of kids does so many things together. All but one of them is from our ward...pretty cool. I was also happy to see that Josh's cousin and my niece, Taylir, was in the group too.

Jamie and Josh. Josh was bugged by his tie flapping about. Maybe we will do some PhotoShop.

McKay, Taylir, Jamie, Josh, Bailey, Josh W, James and Ashley
I'm loving the high-tops, Taylir!
This is the cute sign that Deanna made for the front door. Pretty clever!

Deanna and her daughter, Sarah preparing the food.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running Away & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I made chocolate chip cookies for Emma and Josh to have as a snack after school. As I was making them I remembered a story that happened years ago when Christopher was about 8 years old. It made me smile and I wanted to make sure that I somehow recorded it for his children to read one day.

Christopher was upset with me one day for something...I honestly can't remember what the problem was, but I do know that he was not a happy camper. He decided to run away. I helped him pack and told him that I would miss him very much, but if this is what he needed to do to be happy, then by all means go. I think that surprised him a bit, but it did not stop him from packing.

As he was leaving it began to rain. Poor little dude. I watched him walk across the street and go to a common area and set up camp under a picnic full view of my kitchen window. As the minutes ticked by he slowly moved his little "camp" closer to the house. He eventually ended up in the back yard under the porch of the walk out basement. He was still too stubborn to come inside. I then had a brilliant idea. I went and opened all the windows of the house and began to make chocolate chip cookies. I have no doubt that the aroma was killing him. It did not take long for him to come inside and announce that he was back home and he also inquired if he may have a cookie.

To this day he swears that it was not the cookies that lured him back, but that he missed us and wanted to come home. Okay Christopher...seriously? It had not even been one hour. If that is your all means stick to it :) I guess it does not really matter anymore, yet every time I bake chocolate chip cookies I still think of you. How glad I am that you found your way home.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just Let Me Vent For A Bit...

Okay...I really just need to murmur for a few minutes and then I will be fine. You know...get it all off my chest. Here goes...

In the past few months I have had the following things stop working around my home: My refrigerator, stove and computer. I finally have the fridge and stove replaced and now we are working on fixing the computer (it is running really slow and has a lot of issues). Just when I think "Finally! Everything is up and working" I get slammed again and this time it is by far the worse kind of punch.

A few days ago I noticed that the driver's side door to my Honda Civic was having trouble unlocking. I did not think too much about it. The next day I noticed that my key to the ignition was not working properly. The key went in, but it had to be persuaded. The day after that, they key would not even go into the ignition...not good. For all you non-mechanical people like me, this means we can't drive the car.

Greg told me he would take care of it and started calling around for the part. The news was not good. $350.00 for the part and another $65.00-$85.00 to have the new keys "flashed" (whatever that means) by the Honda dealership. This does even include possible labor. We then thought "let's call the salvage yards and see if they have any parts". They told us that they cannot even get the parts, we have to go through the dealership. GIVE ME STRENGTH. Can I just say that I have a love/hate relationship with vehicles. I love them when they work, but get very frustrated when there is a problem. car is sitting in my driveway. Ironically, it is a great little car. Good engine under the hood, but we can't get the key into it to actually prove that. I shudder to think what is next in our path after we get this car fixed. "Come what may and love it"...that seems to be my mantra lately.

Wow...I already feel much better :)