Monday, December 26, 2011

Nothing Like It

There is nothing like settling down at the end of the day in front of a fire with some tea.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Carol of the Bells

Hark! how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, "Throw cares away."
Christmas is here bringing good cheer to young and old, meek and the bold.
Ding, dong, ding, dong--That is their song with joyful ring, all caroling.
One seems to hear words of good cheer from ev'rywhere filling the air.
Oh how they pound, raising the sound, o'er hill and dale, telling their tale,
Gaily they ring while people sing songs of good cheer Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
On, on they send, on without end, their joyful tone to ev'ry home
Ding, dong, ding, dong.


Merry Christmas!! We have enjoyed this Christmas season with bringing joy to Kaelyn’s face with trees, gifts, family, and Grinch. Jared and I had many great Christmas-y discussions. I mostly enjoyed Kaelyn recognizing Jesus wherever she is and in whatever form he is in. That continues to be an experience that builds my testimony.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We had a Christmas Eve celebration with my family on the day before Christmas Eve because that worked out best for everyone. The evening was later than usual so we didn’t get everything done that we usually like to. However, it was great just spending time with each other.

And opening presents.

I was “official photographer”. I wish I had remembered to try diffusing the flash. Instead, I shot without flash, indoors, in bad lighting. In Manual mode. I’m proud of myself but I’m afraid many of my pictures aren’t very good. I haven’t really looked yet.

Pictures to come. Sometime. When I have time...

Friday, December 23, 2011

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

Did you know that you can make your own pumpkin pie spice and not spend extra money at the grocery store for something you probably already have on hand? I’ve seen a few different versions but as long as you use cinnamon as the main spice, you are probably okay. I’ll let you know my version which I thought was pretty tasty. Also, I only made enough for the recipe I was making but this would make a great gift if you made it in a larger quantity and packaged it in cute jars. Or keep it for yourself.



2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger (we rarely use powdered ginger anymore—luckily I had just enough for my spice blend)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves (usually people put in less cloves than other ingredients but I like the taste and in this case I may or may not have accidentally grabbed the wrong measuring spoon)




Mix together.


And that is how you make pumpkin pie spice. Super easy. It took me longer to find the right spice jars and take the pictures than it did to actually make.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Questions

I thought about showing off my Christmas decorations and my thoughts about them this year. Then it got to be 10:30pm and I’m just sitting down for a breath. I’ve done enough stuff today that I feel like I can end my day. And I don’t want to take pictures of decorations. Maybe I’ll do them tomorrow. Maybe.

Instead, a friend posted this a while back. It makes for a nice easy post. (Have you noticed that I haven’t done the 30 Days of Me for a while? I got to the one where it said “a picture of you 10 years ago”. Still finding where those pictures are.)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. I thought of trying egg nog in a recipe this year but I’m not a fan of drinking it. And neither did I try a recipe with egg nog in it. Maybe next year.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa fills stockings. Presents under the tree are from people. And they are wrapped. Or in brown boxes or other mailing packages because we’re not certain if they are wrapped or not and we don’t want to ruin the surprise for ourselves.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  White all the way! I used to really like colored lights. My mom did lots of color growing up and I loved it. Now though I really like the simplicity of white lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. Although I want to in future years.

5. When do you put your decorations up? After Thanksgiving sometime. Growing up it was as soon after December 8th as possible. Everything came down by January 8th. Birthdays, you know. For me, even though Kaelyn’s birthday is Dec 12th, I think we can still make her birthday special and separate from Christmas even while decorations are up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? The ones with food on them. Or drinks in them. Hehehe. I love wassail. And bbq little smokies.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Putting together Christmas puzzles, having a bajillion people over to sing the Messiah while eat food (and do puzzles)(and run around cuz we’re kids after all)(and yes, people ate AND sang the Messiah), and singing Fa Ho Foray around the Christmas tree before my dad cut it down. I can name three favorite holiday memories, right?

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Good question.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes. Christmas pjs! That was tradition growing up and we continue that now.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With decorations. I’m really not sure what kind of a question is this. Very vague. I posted pictures of our tree. There is a ribbon garland. Then ornaments. None of them are expensive. Most of them I got at the dollar store or Christmas clearance. A few were gifts. Our tree topper is my Christmas moose. Maybe one year we will put something else up there but probably not. I love him up there! I add some ornaments to the tree each year. This year I cheated. I added ornaments that I used last year but they were in a vase.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE!! Even if it means that I have to drive all the time.

12. Can you ice skate? Not well. I don’t think I’ve been ice skating since my very first date when I was 16. The back of my ankles were rubbed raw from the skates afterwards. (Maybe I have been once or twice since then.)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No. I don’t remember hating gifts though. If I looked back at pictures, I could probably remember the gifts. But as my trainer hears every week “what DID I do over the weekend?” when it is only Tuesday. I used to have such a good memory too.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Feeling like it is Christmas. There are a million things that make that happen. My mom was wonderful at it. It will take me many years to reach that level.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Another good question that I don’t have an answer for.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Making Christmas cookies. Every year we all got to pick a cookie recipe that we could make. That is 9 different kinds of cookies. We would put together packages and then carol to the people my parents home and visit taught as well as those who were in the Stake Presidency.

17. What tops your tree? Oh, I already gave this one away. A moose tops my tree! Jared likes it too so we probably won’t change it.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I like both. Equally. Is that bad?

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?  I like the look of candy canes. And I don’t hate the taste, I just can’t handle too much sweetness and I’d rather have cookies than candy.

20. Favorite Christmas show? Miracle on 34th Street, Muppet’s Christmas Carol, White Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (Ha, I don’t care that it only asked for one. I can answer how I want to!)

21. Saddest Christmas Song? Christmas Shoes kinda makes me sad.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Growing up it was O Little Town of Bethlehem. Then it changed to O Come O Come Immanuel when I learned a fun version by Mannheim Steamroller (and Josh made me play it over and over again—good thing I liked it).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Happy Fitness Moment

During my personal training session today, my trainer had me do shoulder lifts. That is not the correct name and a horrible description of them because you don’t actually lift your shoulders at all. But you are working your shoulders...

WHAT YOU DO: Take a resistance band, stand with both feet on the middle of it, and hold a handle in each hand. Usually he gives me the green band. Today he gave me the red band which is harder than the green band. Then with a slight bend in the elbow, you raise your arms not quite straight out to the side. Kind of in front but mostly to the side. Yeah, horrible description. You raise your arms only as far as you can WITHOUT your shoulders lifting. Repeat. I did sets of 12 except on the fourth time through the circuit (circuits are a set of exercises you do a set of each before repeating from the beginning) when he had me do 10.

The exercise right after this one with the red band was almost exactly the same but with three differences. 1) He gave me the green band. 2) I couldn’t stop and had to move quicker. 3) I had to do 20. All four times through the circuit.

Usually I’m just facing wherever but today I happened to be facing a mirror. Instead of thinking my usual “gee, Suki, you can only lift that far—you’re pathetic”, I immediately thought “HEY LOOK—DEFINITION!!!!”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good Customer Service

Since I wrote about bad customer service last month, I thought I could write about a good customer service experience today.

One of our cats has fleas. Molly, my mom’s kitten, brought them to us (yes, way back in October). I first noticed them mid-November. Actually, I noticed flea dirt but didn’t have time to look closely. A few weeks later (beginning of December), I remembered I needed to look but then didn’t see fleas. But definitely saw flea dirt. Then December was so busy and I didn’t do anything about my poor kitty.

Today Jared said that he thought maybe Kara had a food allergy because she has also been throwing up frequently. (We are certain it is her rather than Jaeden.) And then it happened. I found a flea on me. Twice. Probably the same flea since they were within 5 minutes of each other.

I did just a little bit of reading to make sure my knowledge of how to handle fleas was, in fact, accurate. It was. But I also learned of another pet store in the area that I hadn’t heard about but sounded like a place I’d like (for pets). I headed to the nearest store for a flea comb. They didn’t have it. So I went to this other store. Since this is a good customer service story, I will reveal the name of the store. Good publicity is always welcome, right?

Pet People had awesome service. I didn’t want to spend time looking for a flea comb so I just asked someone. He showed me and then we spent probably 15 minutes talking about fleas and food allergies. He answered my questions and was really knowledgeable about it all. A lot of the information I knew already but he had some good suggestions for me to try.

I will be switching over all my business relating to cats over to them. Hopefully they carry the litter my cats like. If not, we’ll be trying another brand. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Numbered List

1) Tomorrow is THE LAST choir performance of the Christmas season. Don’t get me wrong. I love singing Christmas music and I love bringing smiles to those who are in nursing homes and may not get to see a lot of people. However, we had nine performances this season and everyone (at least the young moms who carpooled together and hence talked a lot) wanted to be done at seven.

2) I started running again! (How many times have I taken breaks from running whether because I had to or because I was lazy?) I decided the best course of action was to start at the very beginning of the C25K program. It is really hard to feel like I went backwards but hopefully it will only go upwards from here. Today I ran W1D2: 8 1-minute runs with 1 1/2 minute walks in between.

3) Kaelyn chose to watch Grinch over Elmo. She also started walking around with her hands behind her back. I was perplexed where she got that from until my dad suggested the Grinch (at that time, she had only watched it once or twice).

4) Straight No Chaser’s version of the Grinch song has a really, really, really, really low bass singing melody. It makes me positively giddy!


6) I have kept up with the dishes. Mostly. And I have a ton of clean laundry to put away.

7) We think one of our cats is having a food allergy.

8) We are shopping for a couch and already have a favorite picked out although we will still take one more day to bum test them out. (And seriously, I felt like I was in a recliner half the time because a lot of those couches are super deep. My tush only went halfway back on the cushion!)

9) We’ll be moving Kaelyn to a toddler bed ASAP. But only if ASAP means sometime in January and maybe even February because that’s just the way we roll.

10) My cousin, Emma, who has been in the hospital for over a month, is getting stronger every day! She has a long recovery ahead of her and progress is measured in terms of months.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1 Nephi 15:23-24

And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?

And I said into them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like...



Most of the day included whispy flurry snow that didn’t stick. But it was snow! My life is complete. Christmas may now happen.

Then we got to our church building for a Christmas dinner. The snow stuck over here! Yay!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Kaelyn’s 2 Yr Dr Appt

Weight: 25lb 7oz (25%)

Height: 32 1/4in (20%)

TB test results: don’t have ‘em yet, not worried

Finger prick results: hemoglobin and iron levels good

Three shots: Uhhhhh, yeah, don’t remember which ones, but she did really well

She wanted the finger bandaid off but I asked her to wait a little longer. She looked sad but then went back to playing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Found the Culprit

One of the reasons I gave up on my garden this year was because plants were starting to disappear. Not completely but they’d be chomped down. Clean off. My little watermelon included that I was so looking forward to! And not only my garden but so many of my little green plants out front were chomped down too.

We were so confused! Who was doing this? Definitely not rabbits. We took care of that problem long ago. Maybe the ninja squirrels? Although a watermelon seems pretty large for a squirrel... and what would a squirrel want with my green plants? THAT could have been the bunny though... they were working together? My mom suggested a deer but we’ve never seen any in our neighborhood.

That has been remedied.

Jared: Suki! You gotta look out the window. There’s a deer in our yard!


And not just ONE but TWO stinkin deer. Mystery solved. My garden is doomed.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Totally exciting news! We have been looking forward to this day. (Actually, it was four days ago.)

Our car is paid off! We own it! It is completely ours now! (Our black car, not the van.)




And this is our second debt paid off for the year. Check mark completed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. How lovely are thy branches! How not so lovely are the pictures. But it was a fun experimentation for me. Bonus points for me! I took pictures in MANUAL mode on my point and shoot camera! I still don’t understand what in the world I did but that’s okay. Right?

12 - December1

These aren’t even all the pictures I took. I deleted at least twice this amount.

12 - December2

Camera settings. Um. 1/30 (shutter speed?). f2.8 (aperture?). iso 1600. I think?


I was fairly pleased with what I came up with. We already know I am not a photographer. And then I took one last picture. And played with a few settings on the computer.


I adore how this picture is warmer than the rest of them! So cozy. And of course, my precious little daughter. Now the rest of them seem lacking.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Kaelyn

My sweet girl. :)

Her doctor’s appointment isn’t until Wednesday. Can’t wait to see how much she has grown! In numbers...

We had lunch at McDonald’s today because she has been asking for fries. She let me put her hair in pigtails. She slept during a quick trip to the grocery store which took longer than necessary because I was carrying her. She had so much fun with her cousins and aunts and uncles and Grandma and great grandparents who came to her birthday “party” and then to my choir concert. We had chili for dinner and chocolate cake for dessert. Uh, no, I didn’t get a picture of the cake. It just wasn’t picture worthy. But it sure was tasty.

Kaelyn has 11 teeth and another one sitting right underneath the gum. She has tons of facial features and talks with her hands. She prays on her own and usually has all the important elements: Heavenly Father, bless the food to make us strong, bless {insert several names which usually vary and can be anyone from Church or family or anyone else she may know}, Jesus Christ, Amen. She loves puzzles. She can sing her ABC’s. She can count to 10. Sometimes she can go to 20. She loves to read. She loves to run in circles. She loves her daddy. She points out buses and trucks and cars. She loves to sign—she works really hard at getting the more complicated ones like airplane. She is very polite for a child. When someone sneezes, she says “bless you, {insert name of person who sneezed}”. When she bumps into someone (or they bump into her), she says “sorry” and moves out of the way. She frequently says thank you and you’re welome. She says please voluntarily but when we prompt her to say please, she signs it. She loves taking showers and baths. She asks to go to the gym. She loves Sesame Street—especially Elmo. She is super good about not getting into the Christmas tree or the presents. She still doesn’t sleep through the night but 95% of the time is in her own bed. She loves wearing necklaces. Her most said phrase is “be right back, stay here.”

And now for the picture portion.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Omni 1:26

And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Movies

I have a few movies I love to watch every Christmas season.

The Muppets Christmas Carol---My youngest brother, Josh, would watch this movie frequently growing up. Often it was really late at night. Each of my siblings and I can quote and sing this movie like the back of my hand.

White Christmas---More singing and dancing. And snow, snow, snow, snow, snow!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas---When we would pick our Christmas tree, we stood in a circle and held hands while singing "fa who foray, da who doray, welcome Christmas, come this way" or whatever variation of lyrics as came to us. We were popular among the shoppers. Or maybe just weird.

Miracle on 34th Street---I like them both but the girl in the 1994 version is really cute. I have always enjoyed this movie. We just watched it tonight. Loved it as usual.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Short and Inconsequential

Yesterday, today, and part of tomorrow has been spent on the farm. My sister asked for organizational help and I can provide that. It is proving to be quite the experience. And I’ll for sure need to come back to finish up.

Hope your December is going well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Questions with Answers

Answers from Josh, Kimmi, Lindey, and Suki

Q: Which shoe do you put on first? Whichever shoe I pick up first. Yeah. Whichever shoe I pick up first but probably predominantly left. Umm...

Q: If you had to choose between not washing your bed sheets or not washing your bath towel ever again, which would you choose? Bed sheets. Bed sheets. Wait what? Bed sheets. Bed sheets.

Q: How do you eat your cookies? With my hands and my mouth. With milk. Soft and gooey. I bite into them. I just eat them. With my mouth.

Q: Do you scrunch or fold your toilet paper? Fold. Actually I wrap. I wrap too. I do both of those things. And sometimes I wrap. Wrap. Kaelyn scrunches.

Q: Have you ever stuck a foreign object up your nose? A pencil. A penny. I don’t know—just stuff. Tissue.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If she's gonna be whiny...

Lately when something is done that annoys Kaelyn, she just says "please!!" and holds out her hand for stop.

At least she is polite about it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Music

The first Christmas song that Kaelyn learned was You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

My community choir is singing that song this year. But we are also singing 6 other songs and I probably sang them all equally. Yet it wasn’t Rudolph she cared about. It was Grinch. She asks for Grinch. A lot. It’s actually pretty funny that it’s her favorite song.

She also doesn’t care about watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Unless it is that song.

Jared and I started singing tons of other Christmas songs to try to encourage her to know more. She picked a second favorite: Jingle Bells.

Otherwise, she could care less.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I had a picture and a post all ready in my head to blog tonight. And then my computer doesn’t want to connect to my external hard drive where my pictures are.


So instead I will... hmmm, I got nothing tonight.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scripture Study

In testimony meeting today, somebody said (like many people say) “I would like to bear my testimony.” And I thought to myself “I would not like to bear my testimony, but the spirit would like me to.” Now I feel very bad that I could not find the courage to get up—not just once, but twice. I have been thinking a lot about how you can miss some of the most important revelation if you do not respond to and write down the first smaller impressions. How, then, could I not take the opportunity to respond to the prompting to bear my testimony and miss anything that might come from that? This is so far from comfortable for me so even if I am hiding behind my computer screen instead of standing in front of my ward, at least I am still responding to the prompting. And I can be a little bit more verbose.

I have never been good at studying my scriptures. Except for when I was at BYU-Idaho and I was so surrounded by wonderful people and teachers and activities that kept me centered on the gospel. I have always felt like I could never attain true studying of the scriptures. Well, if I at least read them, that was good enough, right? Better than not at all. But I would always feel a twinge of guilt when I heard “study” or “learn” or “feast” or anything like unto it.

Sometimes in my studies, I would come across a phrase that would repeat itself to me throughout the day. Was that studying? Sometimes I would focus on applying just one thing to me. Was that studying? Sometimes I would mark my scriptures. Sometimes I would keep a scripture journal. I always felt like I was lacking. I found myself praying—almost to the point where it felt like begging. “Please, please, please, plleeeeeeeease help me learn something today.” This would lead to a cycle of something breaking my reading streak and then me taking a while to get back to reading daily. I did not like this and something had to fill the missing piece.

A few weeks ago, I came across a resource that just amazed me. She was who I wanted to be like in terms of studying the scriptures. And she showed me the way. One thing she wrote was “You probably think that you can’t do this—but you’re wrong. You can. It takes time and it takes practice. You can do it.” Everything that I felt was a struggle for me was answered in her.

Since that time, I have been putting her and her tips to work in my personal scripture study. Could this really be the missing piece for me? Would this teach me how to fish so I could feed myself for eternity?

I was up reading one morning when my mom called. I realized what time it was and that I had been studying for 45 minutes. That was such an amazing feeling. That was when I knew that I could do it for myself. My testimony of scripture study really grew that day and continues to grow as I recognize the changes in my daily life just from going from reading to studying the scriptures. I thought I would rely on studying examples of how to study the scriptures for a long time, but I’m not.

I always knew that reading the scriptures helps us strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Now I know that studying the scriptures deepens our knowledge and understanding of how to live our life and how to reach our goal of living with God again. It gives me a daily peace that if I am doing the things that take care of my family’s spiritual needs, then it is more okay that I didn’t get to all of our physical wants. (Is a clean house a want or a need?)

If any of you want, I would love to hear how you structure your scripture study. What do you find works best for you? What are the struggles you face with young children? What are the struggles you face just ... because?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Shopping

Who is smart and does their Christmas shopping year round? Not me, that's for sure. I had started a few months ago.... Not sure why I didn't continue. We got some shopping done today. I think Kaelyn is set for both her birthday and Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mariella’s Tag Blanket

Valerie, my oldest sister, asked me to make her youngest daughter, Mariella, a tag blanket. Mariella loves to stick stuff—especially fabric—in her mouth. I was happy to oblige. This was my first tag blanket. Easy peasy!

12 - December

It is less than a square foot. And as you can tell, it’s not exactly even the whole way around. But Mariella sure loves it!


Thursday, December 1, 2011


Now that it is December, I can blog about Christmas stuff! It just didn't seem right to post about it in November. But we'll start those another day.

What does December bring for you this year?

My community choir had its first performance of the season today. Could have been better. We've done worse. So a success? Note to self: don't forget the black hose again. Nylon socks, actually.

Other events in December: Kaeyn's birthday, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Messiah sing along, uhhh... Okay, so not much.

Oh! I get to put together a prize pack for one of my sister-in-law's contests. I'm super excited.

Maybe I'll get pregnant.....