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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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mother and Protector

We got to attend Val's spring play at preschool this week, and boy am I glad I didn't miss it.

He was so sweet dancing around dressed like a crayon and teaching us to be kind through their little play.

At the end of the program they all recited a special poem about Mothers and handed out small gifts and certificates to the mothers on which each child finished the sentence, "I love my mommy because...."

Val said, "I love my Mommy, because she protects me."

I could not have been more flattered or felt more proud by his description of me.

He could have easily said, "She makes me sandwiches or lets me watch TV" as other kids did, but this just shows how observant this precious one is.

As Mom's, we don't always get the pats on the back, but this was a big one that I'll always remember.

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Monday, May 3, 2021

May Day

I appreciate my Mom teaching us and "enforcing" our many family traditions. One of those traditions us is giving flowers in May Day.

Steve rarely gets onboard with these traditions, but this year he got me this bouquet! I love it!

The last 8 years or so I have bought a bouquet of flowers and we split it up into mini-bouquets for neighbors or teachers  These are the ones I dropped off at the homes of the ladies I minister to...a day early actually because I knew I'd be busy on Saturday. This is definitely a fading tradition, but it lives on in our family.

What traditions do you have in your family that are rare in this day and age?

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Sunday, May 2, 2021

To Value and Encourage Young Women

There are some people in this life who are just extraordinary. One of those people is my friend Mark.

He is always so kind and encouraging to others. And he values womanhood.

Mark recently reached out and sent a special gift to encourage my girls in their art and in their spiritual journey by sending them an art kit.

I hope my boys turn out like Mark...kind, generous with compliments, and men who value the talents and contributions of women. Thank you, Mark!
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Friday, April 30, 2021

We made it!!!

We did it!!!  Honor had her last day of school yesterday...her final math assessment of 2nd grade!

It's been quite the adventure!

I'm so grateful we could have this experience together learning and growing, discovering our world and our place in it.

I will have to take some time to think about how this year has changed me. I can now say that I have taught 2nd grade (best grade in my opinion!)

I know that God, for whatever reason, gave us this special time together, and I am grateful for it. 

Now, we celebrate!

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Plant Night and Missionary Work

I brought a friend to a Relief Society activity last week where we learned gardening tips from our Stake RS president who is a Master Gardener through Penn State.

My friend and I both enjoyed it immensely and were so excited to get our plants in the ground and try out some things we had learned. It was just a nice, simple evening with useful information shared.

Then as we were saying the closing prayer, we could hear laughing and cheering coming from the cultural hall.

I had to go right away and see what was going on: the missionaries were teaching English lessons for Portuguese speakers as they do twice a week now. (Because of the Pandemic we have many sets of missionaries who served in Brazil previously!)

My friend and I popped in to observe and they were having the best time. They were loud and animated playing a game where the moderator named a kitchen appliance and a set of elders were competing to be the first to slap the appliance with a spatula.

It was so silly but hilarious.

My friend suddenly had a million questions about missionaries and what they do, and wanted to know if I am going to "let Guy go on one", which I explained to her it has never been a matter of letting but of him wanting to go.

Anyway, I'm sharing this to give an example of a positive experience introducing our friends to the gospel in a way that touches them, but doesn't necessarily have to be doctrine heavy.

I definitely hope they have .ore activities like this and I know the missionaries are doing amazing work in the service they're providing. More good things to come from this time of COVID.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Reaching Out in Love to Youth

The girls had a special visit last evening from a dear lady at church named Sue Ellis.

Sue conducts the music during Sacrament meeting and each year she takes a few youth aside and teaches them all she has learned about leading music and then has them help her lead a few songs each week.

She has picked my girls to do this.

I was really touched as I sat in on their lesson. She not only taught them the mechanics of conducting music, but she ministered to them and emphasized parts of the gospel.

I was so grateful for her energy and kindness in reaching out to my girls, drawing them in, and giving them a job to do. Her encouragement means a lot to me as their mother.

I just wanted to spotlight her and people like her in the Church who reach out to other generations and pass their wisdom on to them.  Thank you!!!
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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Dear Self...


This girl does something really funny...she writes letters to herself.

She's been doing it for a while now. I think it is something that she started during the pandemic.

She is writing these letters to read when she is away at college...over 4 years from now!

It's really, really sweet though.  The envelopes say things like "open when you're sad and miss home", "open on your birthday", "open on October 10th", "open when you think  you've found 'the one'". ETC!

She has read some of them to me.  And I'm telling you it's so sweet. She encourages herself, reminds herself that we love her, and gives herself good advice.

With letters like these I don't think she even needs me really! Yet some of these letters end with "PS - Call Mom" and "PS - Call Granny".

Today, she turned to me and said, "Mom, I wrote you a letter....but I'll send it to you in 5 years."

Typical Scarlett.

Maybe you've got a girl in your life looking for a goal to apply herself to....this might be a good one...

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Return to 2nd Hour Church


Isn't it funny how a few short years ago when they announced we'd be moving from 3 hour church to 2 hour church, it was a difficult adjustment for some of us?

And maybe a year later, the pandemic hit and we were forced to go to zero hours of in-person church and it suddenly hit us that the Lord knew exactly what was coming and prepared his entire Church to continue without missing a beat!?  

Isn't God amazing?

Lessons like these are lessons that I don't want to forget.
I want to trust Him more.  I want to remember that I follow the God of the entire Universe who sees all of time at once, knows the end from the beginning and can direct me and my family in all things and bring us safely home to him.

I want to remember that when something in my life seems to not make a lot of sense.  I want to remember this moment.

And I want to have the faith of a little child.

My little children are going back to 2nd hour church, which means they're going back to in-person Primary.

My two boys don't even remember what Primary was like.  Coy only knows Nursery.  Val only attended Primary for about two months before the shutdown.

They've been participating for two sessions of online Primary and Val (my five year old) in particular is really jazzed about going to Primary in-person. (See the video above of them singing along with the primary on zoom!)

And I'm jazzed for them....and us.

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Beat the Virus!

 I got my second dose of the Covid vaccine the other week.  There is something to gratifying in knowing that fasting, prayers, God's grace, and the relentless work of scientists brought us this much closer to overcoming this worldwide pandemic.  I am beyond grateful to be a recipient of this great blessing!  I continue to pray for further advancement against this virus! 

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Friday, April 23, 2021

Val Starts Soccer

This little cutie started playing soccer last Saturday.  Val (age 5) wasn't at all sure he wanted to take on this new adventure, but once he tried it, he was hooked.  His favorite part, I'm quite sure is making friends!

He was cute. We were cold.  He was absolutely in his element, and it was a great day for our family. I treasure all of the great days as a family a lot more these days...


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