Sunday, June 20, 2021

A Beautiful Sunset


This sunset was so amazing...It just deserved it's own post.

I loved watching it melt into different colors as I sat on my front porch.  And I loved watching my friends all over this area posting pictures of their skies on social media.  It was just a really cool shared experience.

I am grateful that God puts such beauty into the night sky for us...and everywhere else for that remind us and unite us.  And I'm glad I'm slowing down enough this season to enjoy it!

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Friday, June 18, 2021

Scarlett Turns 14


Can't neglect to mention that this sweet girl turned 14 recently.

She is so fun and so full of life.  I'm so excited for her to take on high school and hope that she has all the fun and normal experiences every kid should have and just become better and happier and wiser for it.

She's my buddy.  I'm so lucky to have her. (Even if she does kill me at Phase 10 every day.  I can no longer beat her....ever!)

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Thursday, June 17, 2021



Another thing we've been doing a lot of lately is volleyball.  Our boys varsity team was in the state semi-finals, so we went to see them: Guy, Scarlett, and Me.

They both play volleyball, as did I in high school, but it was just so fun to watch my kids cheering in the student section.  It was so NORMAL!  Here's to more normal.

Our team didn't advance to the finals, but they got so far and were really fun to watch.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Made it Through this Crazy Year


I'm very happy to start putting this Pandemic behind me!  And that kind of felt like it started with the last day of school!

Sometimes I guess I really am grateful for endings.  I've been excited for Scarlett however to start high school next year.  It has brought back all sorts of memories from that exciting time in my life.  I was in it to win it!  And because the last year and a half has sort of stunted lots of kids in this generation, I'm eager to jumpstart their high school time and get them all jazzed for what lies ahead....which is lots of good stuff!

In conjunction with some other moms in my hood, we did a little celebration when the kids got off the bus.  We had food, a water fight, and an old-fashioned balloon launch.

The children wrote their "summer wishes" on a tag connected to their helium balloon and all together we launched them into the sky.

And then we rounded out the last day of school with the three oldest kids getting their second Covid shot!!  We're all so grateful for that!!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Getting in to Gardening again


As I mentioned yesterday, I've gotten back into gardening.  Since our big yard overhaul last summer, I now have lots of space to garden.  I'm specifically in to sunflowers this year and have about 20 varieties planted, but I also have veggies and pumpkins in various areas of my yard.

Unfortunately, I also have lots of critters, especially deer.  But I'm working on keeping them out of my sunflower patches!

I have a crazy goal...I want to make a big sunflower patch for a friend of mine who recently lost a child, her three-year-old boy.  I am trying really hard to keep the deer out so this goal can become a reality, but we'll see...

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Monday, June 14, 2021

Patriotic Kid Books


It's been a few weeks.  I gave myself permission to take a break after I finished homeschooling Honor!  And it has been soooooo good!  I deep dived into gardening, starting working out and taking long walks in the morning, and reconnected with some old friends. I feel so renewed.

Now I'm back and here to share a few new books with you that I discovered about the American Revolution.  Here they are.  Enjoy them with a kid near you!

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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Zee best Mother's Day

I had the best Mother's Day...actually I took the whole week and celebrated! :)  In truth, since it was "teacher appreciation week", I decided to treat myself to something each day, since I homeschooled Honor this year!  And so the two "holidays" just kind of got stretched out all week.

I took the kids out to lunch one day, bought some plants and flowers for the yard, got cards from the kids, got flowers from the girls and some friends.  It was really nice.

As a Mom, I'm just not someone who takes breaks.  I feel like I need to be on 100% of the time and for a long time, that has basically been true. So it was nice for once to let loose a little!

And I'm very grateful to my husband for making it such a fun weekend for me by serving me and treating me extra special! 

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Friday, May 14, 2021

A Tribute to my Mother on Mother's Day


I don't remember my Mom being pregnant, but she must've been because she had 5 children! I do however remember my Mom always caring for children! I remember her making Kool-aid for the neighborhood kids in the summer and hosting a parade each summer which we all lived for!
My mom has always been a protector of children. I remember in my elementary school (back in the 80's) there was a paddle in the principal's office. It had holes in it (to make it hurt more is what we kids thought!). During my time in school we started hearing of certain kids getting paddled as their punishment for misbehaving. Around that time, mom told the principal that if he ever needed to paddle one of her kids, she was to be called and he was only to do it in front of her. The paddle completely fell out of use soon after that interaction and was removed from the principal's office. (It used to hang behind his desk. I know because I got sent to the office a bunch!)
As an adult looking back, I have always suspected that my Mom's requirement that she watch the punishment caused the principal to reconsider this action and realize how pathetic it was. In doing this, my Mom not only saved ME from the paddle, but she saved those kids who were getting paddled who didn't have parents stepping in to stop it.
For this and so many other reasons, I totally idolize my Mom! She is my hero!
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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Tis the Season


I try to support Guy in the good things he is involved in and one of those things is that he plays on the volleyball team.

This week Scarlett had a band concert at the same time as one of Guy's home games.  Because of the pandemic, only senior parents could attend the band concert in person, but they livestreamed it.  So I listened to Scarlett's Band concert on my earbuds, while sitting in the gym watching the Varsity volleyball team play.

Isn't it an amazing world and time that we live in?

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Happy Birthday to My Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday.  Many years growing up, my Dad's birthday fell on Mother's Day!

I share these two photos of him today, because this is how I remember my Dad the the garden.

After working at the steel mill, he could always be found in his peaceful garden turning soil, while we told him about our day, weeding, fertilizing, etc.

I can remember my mom asking us to "call dad in" from the garden for dinner.  He would enter the house carrying the largest, reddest, juiciest tomatoes you've ever seen!  And the taste!  Pure heaven.

I'm pretty sure that most of our family gardens because of the great love our own father has for gardening.

Thank you Dad for investing all of yourself into growing our family and teaching us the most valuable of life lessons. We love you!


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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

She teaches me how to plant...

I mentioned yesterday that Sunday was Coy's first day in Primary ever.  It was also Val's first day back at Primary since the Pandemic started.  And prior to that he only went for about two months!

One of the sweet parts of Primary for me is hearing the answers the children gave to the questions posed by the singing leader.

Question: What's one rule that your Mom has?

Val's Answer: "Make Mom happy."

Question: What is something that your Mother has taught you?

Val's Answer: "How to plant!"

We've done a lot of planting in the last few months...seeds, bulbs, seedlings, and plants.

This week, we planted a doozy: It will hopefully turn into a very large elephant ear that's about 5-6 feet tall!

I love planting with my children and watching things grow together.  And I'm very anxious to see what Val and Coy grow into as well!  I am still waiting to see what will happen to the seeds that I planted in my oldest children.  My prayers go out for them all every day.

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Coy's First Day of Primary!


Today was Coy Boone's first day of in-person Primary!  But I didn't fully realize it until we got home from church.  The pandemic has made everything so crazy...I almost missed it.

Thankfully, Val and Coy were asked to give the opening and closing prayers during Primary, so I have a quick picture of Coy in Primary on his first day!

And he sat surprisingly well for a kid who has never been to primary or preschool yet!  I know because I got to sit next to him.  Steve and I were called as Primary teachers during the Pandemic, but are only now actually getting to be in Primary.

It touched my heart to listen to the teachers teach these young ones, to hear them answer questions, and to sing with them.

After the last year or so that has really beat me down as a parent, I need Primary to build me back up again and help me refind my inner teacher of young ones!

But I'm so grateful I could be with Coy on his first day.  And I'm excited for all of the Primary days ahead.

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Sunday, May 9, 2021

End of School FHE

 We've done this in different ways a few times before, but with the wrapping up of Honor's 2nd grade Homeschool year, we decided we needed to have a family home evening to display some of her creations and celebrate the work of both Val and Honor this year.

I just gathered their drawings and stuff and we walked around the house as a family looking at their work and admiring it and asking questions.  It was a fun, simple way to support our young students!

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Temple site in Spring

Here's just a quick Pittsburgh Temple update. I noticed the fields were starting to come to life with bright wildflowers around the temple site, so I wanted to quickly snap a photo and this was the result. Everyone is abuzz about the temple. A groundbreaking date has not been announced, but soon... we're all hoping!❤️
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Friday, May 7, 2021

Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

I made this meal for the missionaries this week.  It's just a simple chicken tetrazzini recipe, but every time I make it I think of a friend of mine from my old ward named Susie who made it for me when I had just had my third child.

I think she had five kids at the time and she was finding time to serve me.  She was such a good example to me of service so every time I make this recipe I think of her.  I'm grateful for good examples like her.

Here's the recipe, at least how I make it:

Ok don't judge me for the totally unhealthy way I make this meal. Not sure if Susie made it this way or not. I used your recipe at first then just kind of did whatever. So ingredients:

Chicken cooked and cut up bitesized or a rotisserie chicken if you want it to go faster, mushrooms sliced and sauteed in butter (of course), dice green peppers, dice roma tomatoes, cook spaghetti al dente, set aside, in a pan combine 2 cans cream of chicken soup, thin with milk and heat, then add a few handfuls of cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Then stir in spaghetti until covered with sauce. Then add in chicken, mushrooms, toms, and green bell peppers.  You can add pepper if you like. Serve warm. That's how I make it. Nothing fancy!  As for quantities just add as much as makes you and your family happy and full. Can be frozen immediately for another night or to take to a friend!💗

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Butler Child Advocacy Center Grand Opening

I've been spending a lot of time magnifying my calling as Communication Director lately. I've built some new relationships and made some new friends through this and the other night I was able to meet some of these friends in person, which is no small miracle in this age of the pandemic!

I've been following the progress of a small group of people who pushed to have a child advocacy center built some years ago and now succeeded in renovating a larger building where more children could receive help after abuse.

The building and center was the vision of Denna Hays, and these are many members of our stake who contributed their time (100's of hours-worth) and talents to create this safe and welcoming place for these kids.

So after interacting with them online and being in complete aw of their accomplishment I got to attend the "grand opening".  They really barely know who I am but I felt so lucky to attend and I really wanted to attend to show support for their amazing work a d the work that they will do in this place. 

Here are some photos to show you some of the amazing artwork created to make the place really welcome to all who come there for services.

First here is Denna Hays, the director and person without whom this place would not exist.
Here is Jennifer Spryn, a member of our church who donated 300+ hours of her time to create this amazing life-sized tree full of animals who serve to distract the children during exams a d help set them at ease. 

Each animal was hand-made by Jennifer out of sculpy clay. And the painting of the tree is amazing too!

There is also a long hallway that was transformed by two local painters into an undersea mural. It's like walking through the ocean and it is spectacular and calming.

I am so impressed and inspired by what they have done to see to the needs of the most vulnera7 in our society and I know Heavenly Father is pleased too.

Missionaries from the area have volunteered there weekly for months and members from three different units donated their time for help with multiple projects.

I have experienced some hard things in my calling, but this was definitely an upside of my calling. What a privilege it was just to stand next to these angels on earth even for just one night.

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