The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.

I cannot believe it's only 2 months until Christmas.  I know, I know.  Here are some fun things to make for the season.

Super Cute Christmas Decorations  These look super easy and so cute!  I want to make the presents for sure!  If anyone wants to do them with me, let me know and we can make an afternoon of it.

Wooden Nativity  I want to make these too.  But I need my Dad to cut them out for me...hint, hint! 

Stocking Holders  If you have a mantle, this is such a cute idea.  Someday I will have a fireplace and mantle, and then I will definitely be doing this.

Dollar Store Ornament Wreath  I love this!  I am watching the dollar stores to find cute ornaments.

Cards that hold Cash  A cute way to give money.

Dollar Store Christmas Stocking  Here's a cute stocking to make to hang on your new holders.

I would love to see some of your cute ideas.  Share with me!

Monday, after our first snow storm of the season, we went out and picked the apples off our trees.  Our 2 little apple trees are only 3 years old, but we got 4 plastic grocery bags full of apples.  I was so excited.  I peeled and cored and sliced (using my peeler/corer/slicer..not by hand!) and bottled all morning. 

The house was warm and it smelled so good.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing rows of bottle all lined up the cupboard, and hearing them pop as they seal.  I ended up with 16 bottles of apples, and about 20 more apples that didn’t have worm holes that I saved out for the kids to eat. 

Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on all stock market profits, including retirement funds, 401(k)s and mutual funds. In other words, she wants to tax what you have invested toward your retirement as though it were a "windfall."

She needs it to help the 12 million illegal immigrants and other unemployed minorities.

This woman is frightening.

"We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income [didn't Marx say something like this?], in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest."

In other words, if you have a retirement account, you are rich and we need to tax it as if it were windfall income.

When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied "We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long way to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as 'Americans'."

That means: lower your retirement income and give it to others who have not worked as you have for it.

This lady is out of her mind and she is the Speaker of the House!

Vote in November like your way of life depended on it - because it does!
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem."

--Theodore Rubin

Making jam when 8 months pregnant, working full time, no air conditioner, and it's 98 degrees at 9:00 at night is not a good idea. 

Let me elaborate.

It was 1993.  I was pregnant with The Teenager.  It was September and it was HOT!  That is one thing I miss about Idaho, it at least cools down at night there.  Here it just stays hot!  The particular night in question, it was 9:00 and still 98 degrees.  We had a 2 level apartment with a swamp cooler.  It didn't work all that well, and swamp coolers don't work when it's hot.  Just when it's warm.

The Doctor and I were both working full time and I would come home exhausted!  We had 2 bathrooms and when we got home, we would each hit one to do our business.  The Doctor would have to come in the bathroom and wake me up because I would fall asleep on the toilet. 

Some neighbors had a plum tree that had the most delicious plums, and they let us pick as many as we wanted.  So The Doctor had the idea to make jam.  And he decided this particular night that it had to be done that night.  I was less than thrilled, but he insisted.  So we started the jam.

It was before I learned to do freezer jam, so we were cooking it on the stove.  Come to think of it, this experience is the reason I don't do cooked jam!  Well, when jam starts to boil, it splatters.  And it's hot.

So there I am, tired, hot, pregnant, and mad that I have to make jam.  And then it splatters on me.  I freaked out and was yelling and crying and The Doctor was yelling and I told him to get out.

And he did.

He walked out and left me to finish the jam.  It was our first fight.  I had never yelled at him before.  I finished the jam and soon he came back.  We apologized to each other and we were okay, but it was bad at the time.

The lesson to be learned?  When you are pregnant and hot and tired, don't make jam!  And don't yell at your husband.  Nothing good comes from that.

The alarm rings at 5:25 and I groan.  My back is killing me, reminding me that I have only been asleep for 5 hours because I had to work until 12:15 last night.  I stumble into the bathroom, hating the glare of the bright light that early in the morning. 

I go downstairs and the house is dark and cold.  But I refuse to the heat on yet.  I'm not ready for that.  I turn on the music and try to wake up while ma.king lunches.  4 lunches this morning.  Every morning.  Day in and day out.  I miss hot lunch!

After breakfast, I try to get kids moving.  The Princess takes another 45 minutes to eat. I am telling her every 5 minutes to hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.  I feel the need to tape myself and just put it on a loop!  Because she takes so long, so we don't have time to do an elaborate hairdo, just a rolled braid.   

As soon as I get them out the door, I have to race out the door too.  I am taking my work to another coworker who lives nearby.  She will take it into the office so I don't have to drive all the way there.  I then go to the gym and work out.  That was frustrating because I'm still trying to learn how to use the complicated treadmill. 

When I get home, the house is dark and cold and quiet and lonely.  I open blinds and get in the shower, missing my family.  How many hours until my kids get home?

My eyes are really sensitive to the light.  In the summer, when I go outside, I can barely open my eyes sometimes because it hurts too bad.  This has always bothered me, and I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

I even have to wear sunglasses on some cloudy days because the light still hurts.  So if you see me wearing sunglasses and it’s raining, don’t laugh!

However, I recently read that blue eyes are more sensitive to the light than brown eyes.  I guess that means that I am a more sensitive person! 

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.

~Francesca Reigler

I hope to teach my daughter to be this kind and caring.  What an amazing group of Young Women!

So, I am constantly finding blog posts that excite me, give me inspiration, make me cry, and make me think.  I want to share these with all of you, but listing them one at a time would be annoying.  So I thought I would give something a try. 

Every so often, I will post a compilation of my favorite posts.  I hope you all enjoy.  Here we go.

A Shallow Immature Angry Rant.  This is an excellent explanation of why I hate camping.  This is written by one of my favorite bloggers, Braden Bell, who wrote "The Roadshow."  Excellent book.

On Women and Men: Can't We Just Get Along.  Another post by Braden Bell. I have to admit I have been guilty of this before, and I am going to try harder.

Healthy Halloween Party Food  Tis the season...for Halloween.  Here are some really fun ways to get your kids to be excited about vegetables! 

Halloween Ideas  More Halloween ideas! 

LDS ABC's Quiet Book  Finally, a quiet book that is so cute.  I am going to make one, even though my kids don't need it! 


When I download the pictures off my camera, I immediately back them up to a CD.  I learned my lesson in 2004 when I lost 4 months of pictures because I hadn't backed them up before my hard drive crashed.  Over the years, I have accumulated quite a stack of CD's.



I will not keep them exclusively on a hard drive because hard drives crash.  Even the expensive ones.  But they were starting to take up a lot of room and I needed a different option.  Then I remembered that DVD's hold more than CD's do.  So I took all my pictures and saved them onto DVD's instead.  I went from 48 CD's to 4 DVD's.


Very cool!

Back in June, my dishwasher stopped washing my dishes well.  It was leaving white stuff all over the dishes, and left a white film on my plastics that wouldn't come off.  I tried running an empty load with just vinegar, I took apart the drain and tried and clean it out, I did multiple things and it just wasn't working.  So we shut it and locked it and put it out of commission.  We didn't have the money to replace it so we went to strictly hand washing.  The children were not thrilled, and neither was I, but we didn't have any other options. 

Two weeks ago, The Doctor was listening to the local news radio and they mentioned that recently phosphates had been regulated in dishwasher soap, going from as much as 8.7% to 0.5%.  This was causing a lot of people to complain that their dishes weren't getting clean and it was leaving a white film on their dishes. 

Sound familiar? 

When he told me about it, I immediately got online and started researching it, and found a lot of people who were complaining about it.  Some had even gone out and bought new dishwashers, to no avail.  A lot of people had resorted to crossing state lines and buying dishwasher soap in states where it hadn't been regulated yet! 

I wondered about my dishwasher soap, so I went and read the box.  "Contains no phosphates."  Ah-ha!

So I did more research and found the solution.  I went to Lowe's and bought a box of TSP - trisodium phosphate, which cost less than $5.  I added one tablespoon of it to my dishwasher, and 1 tablespoon of my dishwasher soap, then loaded the dishwasher and prayed.

Ta-daa!!!!!! It worked!  My dishes came out clean and sparkly!  I was so excited, but not anywhere near as excited as my children were!  It was The Chocoholic's week to do dishes, and when I told him he could use the dishwasher, he squealed with excitement!  He had so much fun doing the dishes that night!  If only that would last!

So if you are struggling with your dishwasher, try this out.  It worked for us!  And saved us a lot of money!

Adversity is a friend, but the Adversary is not.

Now, I know this is going to seem a little silly to some, but I am so excited by the new Coke machine at our Chevron station. 

When I drink soda, which isn't very often, I try to drink only diet.  But I don't drink caffeine, so that really limits my options.  Our Chevron station carried caffeine-free Diet Coke, which is what I always got.  I never complained because it was better than drinking lemonade all the time.

But now, there is this new machine that has so many diet options!  First, look at how cool and futuristic the machine is!


Now, look at the touch screen with all the options of drinks.  Notice there is Dasani water, water with carbonation, caffeine-free diet Coke, light lemonade, Fanta free (diet), and Sprite Zero.  That is 6 different diet options without caffeine!


But wait, it get's better!  When you choose the drink you want, you can then choose different flavorings to mix with it.  And it's perfectly mixed and tastes great!  Below are all the options for the caffeine-free diet Coke.  There is cherry, lime, orange, vanilla, and raspberry.


Check out the Fanta Zero!  There is fruit punch, lime, grape, strawberry, peach, raspberry, and cherry.  How cool is that?  And you could have part of different flavors, so you could have cherry lime, or strawberry grape, etc. 


As you can tell, I am slightly pumped about this!  It's the little things that thrill me!

The alarm rings at 5:25, waking me from my slumber. My back aches, as it does every morning. I sit up and pause in the dark while saying my prayers. Finally, I stumble into the bathroom, squinting in the bright light and saying good morning to my sweet husband, who gets up at 5:00.

I go downstairs, and the house is dark and quiet. I turn on lights and music to help wake the children up. I start making lunches while singing “Puppy Love” with Donny Osmond. My youngest two are off track, so I only have 2 lunches to make this morning. And it’s even easier because we have leftovers from supper last night. My teenagers love leftovers. They love cold lunch in general because they get more food and more time to eat than when they have hot lunch. The Doctor makes his own lunch because he likes to make a salad.

Lunches are done, and we have all made our way to the living room. It’s 5:50, time for family prayer. My heart swells with joy as I look around at my family kneeling in a circle. When we are finished, we kiss each other and hug. How I love this time of the morning.

The Doctor leaves, taking The Teenager with him and dropping him off at early morning Seminary, then going on his 50 minute commute to teach high school. How he does it every day is beyond me, but how grateful I am for his willingness.

The rest of the children sit down at the table and we begin reading from the Book of Mormon while I make breakfast. We finished reading it yesterday, so today we begin on 1 Nephi again. “I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents…” There is something comforting about that verse. This begins the 9th time of reading through The Book of Mormon since I started keeping track in 2005. It gives me sense of fulfillment knowing that I am teaching my children to read the scriptures. The Princess can now read a verse nearly by herself. Joy fills my heart again.

When scriptures and breakfast are over, The Artist goes to shower while The Chocoholic and The Princess go crawl back into bed. I sit on the couch and do my personal scripture reading. I am in Isaiah and struggling. I want to understand, but why so many metaphors? But I know that by reading, someday I will move on to understanding.

The Artist is back, ready for school. It is sprinkling outside, so I offer to give him a ride, but he declines. He enjoys being alone, always has, and even the rain doesn’t bother him. I send him off, and then I get in the shower. The hot water relaxes my back and I feel ready for the day.

I dress and come downstairs. The house is quiet as I walk around opening the blinds, letting the sunlight fill the dark corners. It is supposed to rain most of the day, but for now the sun is shining and I thank my Heavenly Father for my blessings. Joy fills my heart to overflowing as I thank Him for all that I have been given. It is 8:15 and what a wonderful start to my day.

General Conference was so amazing this weekend.   I have been struggling with a few things and I got all my questions answered and a lot of reassurances that I am doing right with my family.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and cares about me. 

I was so amazed that two different speakers quoted the following during conference.  And, knowing that the talks are reviewed beforehand, it must be pretty important for them to be left in both talks. 

"Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet"

First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

Sixth: The prophet does not have to say "Thus saith the Lord" to give us scripture.

Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men's reasoning.

Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.

Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency-- the highest quorum in the Church.

Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency--the living prophet and the First Presidency--follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.

"10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react."

Steven Covey