Thursday, December 21, 2017

Whooo Are You?

That's the theme of my family Christmas party which I had to move from Saturday to Christmas night. It isn't that I'm inviting random people off the streets to see who they are.  If any owls stop by, we might invite them in, but the ones I have are made of paper and look like these:

The Who-Are-You theme came about when I decided to get the boys DNA text kits for Christmas. I would have done Sherry but we can barely get a card across the border, let alone DNA samples. The DNA kits came in time to swab the kids at our last party, October's Emergency Preparedness activity. Vince didn't want to do it, so I used his kit and sent them all off in the same envelope on Oct 24th.

After three and a half weeks, I got the results for everybody but Nik. After multiple email exchanges, and waiting the obligatory month before they would send a replacement kit, they finally said Nik's sample had not arrived at the lab but they would be oh-so-nice and send another one free of charge. Since they were all mailed in the same package, I said that the mailman must have opened the envelope, taken out Nik's sample, sealed the envelope back up, and sent it on its way, but thank you for being so kind as to send a replacement.  We just got his new kit last week and send it to the lab (with a tracking #); it should be there this week so he will have to wait until January to see if he is related to any of us.

The results show a mother/son relationship, so no big surprise there.  I've been studying all sorts of YouTube videos to understand what the results mean and have a tiny grasp of the basics. It was interesting to find out that there are third-party sites where you can download your raw DNA info from one of several testing places so there is a broader base of results.

I'm pretty excited to see how it goes and will be back with an update.

Monday, December 18, 2017


I was looking through my recipe box (which contains exactly 58 recipes, about 1/3 of which I actually use) and came across a Toffee recipe.  It's pretty good so I decided to throw a little life into my blog, along with a bit of Christmas cheer!


Melt 1 cup butter in pan
Add 1 & 1/3 cups sugar
1 T light Karo syrup (if they still make Karo)
3 T water

Stir occasionally and cook to hard crack.  Pour onto greased surface and spread with chocolate chips.  Ok, you don't have to do the last step but at this house, we spread the chocolate chips on a lot of things. If you like nuts, throw those on, too.

Monday, October 9, 2017

100 Years

One hundred years ago today, my mother was born on the farm in the outskirts of Preston, Idaho. It got me reminiscing about all the things my mother's hands did over the years

I'm sure she helped her parents on the farm. She mentioned how far she used to walk to school and back as a child, something like a mile and a half each way, in a dress. She didn't say whether or not it was uphill both ways.

Just jotted down a few thoughts last night:

Cared for 4 newborns, sleeping on the couch

hauled hay

did laundry in a wringer washer, hung clothes on the clothesline outside even during winter
ironed on Tuesdays (including pillowcases, handkerchiefs and levis, in between cooking and working on farm chores

stoked up the coal stove after she got to sleep in until 6:00 a.m.

cooked about 6700 homemade meals

sewed doll clothes and new Christmas pajamas with flat-felled seams

canned fruits, vegetables, bread and butter pickles, and jam

ran errands for Dad and us

visited her mother once a week

bought all the groceries

made ringlets sometimes and curled our hair with pincurls on Saturday nights

made wonderful fudge...about this time of year

played solitaire

grew a big garden

drove thousands of miles on her bicycle with Dad each summer

made mush every morning, had to double the batch when my kids were there

made meat loaf without onions though she liked them because we whined so much about it

made the best ice cream with her Junket recipe

tended us when sick, probably even when she was sick

had the most beautiful handwriting of anybody I know except my sister, Pauline. They were equals.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


We try to teach the boys to think of others.

Last week Teddy was walking to school with his Mama when they saw a man with a metal leg who was working in his yard.  Teddy said, "Mama, we need to pray for that man."

This morning before school I was showing the boys a video of the hurricane in Puerto Rico and its devastation.  Huck said, "Oh, that's so sad.  We should go play with them."

Good stuff.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Exes and Such

Last night during their goodnight bed routine, Teddy told Nik that tomorrow he wanted Papa to make waffles while they listened to "All My Exes Live in Texas" by George Strait.

I can imagine him at kindergarten working on a project while humming or singing the song, probably thinking, "All my X's Live in Texas".  He might wonder what about all the Y's and Z's, too.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

On a Dark But Not Stormy Night...

Recently two of my son's wives were gone for a week and I thought they might be feeling a little lonely so I decided to throw a "Boys Night In Party". What a great decision!

Between 6:00 and 6:30, Jared manned the grill to cook the meat. I put Nik in charge of the games. Jordan and Talon helped me move the wonderful metal statue Dad made to a better spot around back and Jordan hung up some lights that Vince had given me on the pergola. About 6:30 Kyle came over.  After eating and resting a few minutes, four of them started playing basketball. They discovered that even sons age and tire quickly.

Next was Nik's favorite lawn game, Kubb, which I will probably never understand but enjoy watching anyway, at least when my family is playing. It involves trying to knock over wooden blocks, team against team. After that, they played horseshoes until it got too dark to even see each other let alone the stakes.

We meandered back to the pergola which by now was glowing in the dark, very inviting. Jason swung by about 9 and we sat around chatting.  Kyle, Jordan and Jason set up the patio heat lamp I bought recently on KSL. It put out just the right amount of heat as the night chilled. Talk turned to films, actors etc. and then somebody started in with the puns and riddles, Chuck Norris, all sorts of things. We are probably better than average as a family at this stuff. "What do you do with a sick boat? You take it to the dock".  My favorite one of the night was Jared's quote: "Wanna hear a word I just made up?  Plagarism."  I smile even typing that.

It was my dad's 100th birthday, so we ate mint chocolate ice cream and wished him Happy Birthday! I was noticing the time occasionally, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30...but no way was I going to be the one to shut this party down. At the end, we were gathered around the heater like smart moths to a flame, warming but not getting consumed. Finally, Jared said, "Oh, man, it's midnight.  We had better go."

I will treasure that memory forever.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Slow Burn

'Tis Spring.  Late Spring but there technically.

There are some things I miss about Spring on the farm. The first one would be watching my dad in the field on his red tractor with the plow churning up the fresh dirt.  It required absolutely no work for me which may contribute to the "funness" of the memory. Overhead flew dozens of seagulls which had appeared from seemingly nowhere. I liked watching them but it was only a drop in the bucket of the joyful feelings the pioneers in the SLC valley must have felt when they saw the flocks of seagulls swooping down to eat all the crickets that had been eating their meager crops. 

The newly-turned clods were big and full of worms and if you stepped on a clod, it would disintegrate under your shoe, kind of a fun feeling. Once my dad brought a baby rabbit home for us to tend. The mother rabbit had met her demise from the equipment.  We watched the baby rabbit all afternoon but Dad took it back to the field before nightfall. I think he was quite mad at himself for disturbing nature but mostly because he knew it would probably not survive and that would be even more tragic.

Another memory I like is the burning of the canals. I'm not talking about any fire that got out of control or were started in fields or on the mountains. This was the kind that was tended and was set to defeat the weeds that would have clogged up the water to the fields had they been allowed to grow as they wished. I hate weeds though I don't spend anywhere as much time killing them as did my parents but when it had to do with our livelihood, as so many things did, it was instinctual to fight them to the death.

I loved to see the fields with their rows and rows of potatoes or corn or grain or really anything in those straight lines that went on as far as the eye could see...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Just an Idaho Farm Girl

Saturday I went to Lowe's to get some peat moss and play sand.  My goal was to make a spot out back where the boys can play for hours.

There is already a swing set out there and I've ordered a playhouse that should be here in a week or so. Both boys are currently into everything dinosaurs, so I recycled an old wooden bed frame into a dinosaur pit. It is a good size for two budding paleontologists.

My remembrance was that peat moss is pretty lightweight, like straw. Wrong! I expected to throw a few of them on the cart and proceed to checkout but couldn't even slide one bag across another, let alone drag them onto the cart. Luckily, an on-the-ball employee noticed and asked if I needed help. I told her, yes please.

She loaded up four bags of peat moss and three bags of sand like they were bags of cookies. The sand sacks had holes in them so she grabbed some plastic bags, threw in the bags of sand, and tied the tops. Then she cheerfully grabbed the cart and took it to the checkout. She didn't leave me there, either.  She took it to my car, filled up the trunk and ran back in the store for a big bag to cover my seat so it didn't get dirty and did it all with a smile.

I said, "Your mother taught you well."  Her reply was, "I'm from Idaho and was raised on a farm, so it's easy."

That made me nostalgic, a little happy and a little sad.  It is what it is.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Disappearing Coins

My youngest sister, Betty, slid off the hood of a slow-moving car when she was young. She got some road rash and a nasty gash on her shoulder.

I don't remember if it was Pauline or Lorraine, or maybe both, who bought her a little bank. You put a coin in a slot on top and a rumbling sound started. Wait, wait, wait.  Suddenly a boney hand reached out and quickly snatched the coin, slithered quickly into the recesses from which it sprung, and the door clamped shut.

It was a mix between wonder and fright.

I tried to find a video of one on YouTube but the closest one I could find was of hands reaching out towards piggy banks.  How times have changed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

He Was Joking Us

We were sitting around on the couches being a family one night last week and Teddy piped up, "I have a joke."  We asked him what it was and he said, "Which shark ate the banana?" Then he started one of those delightful pure-joy kid laughs that are highly-contagious.

Jokes can be fun even without a punchline.  We still go around the house asking each other, "Which shark ate the banana"" and nobody really knows.

Happy Valentine's Day Image result for valentines day