Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Never Supress a Generous Thought" - Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Good experience today. I have had yummy shredded beef in my freezer to make dinner for our mechanic for a couple of weeks. I make delicious beef sandwiches out of it, complete with sauteed peppers and onions. Well, last night, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home from dinner with mom and dad. Bell peppers were on super sale, so I decided to buy a couple and get the rest of the fixin's for the beef sandwiches - rolls, au juis mix, etc.

I texted Heather today to tell her I was bringing dinner. She said my timing was perfect. Her dog had surgery last week and she has been super stressed with her recovery. She said I must be an answer to her prayers.

When I dropped dinner off, we talked for a bit and she said that every time she is at the end of her rope and praying for help, I show up with dinner. Last time it was when her mother-in-law was in the hospital, very ill, and their basement had just flooded. She and her husband, Cary, are so good to us - very trustworthy mechanics. All I can offer them is food and I'm glad I've been able to come through at just the right time.

So, what President Monson said is right. "The prayers of people are almost always answered by the actions of others." So glad I bought the peppers, rolls, etc and took dinner. It made me feel good to help a friend. The gospel and the whisperings of the holy ghost are amazing!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Moving a Sectional Can be Like Giving Birth

AND...the sectional is IN!!!!!

It says it's for repairing holes and gouges. I definitely have a huge gouge to repair

wood filler applied...will sand and paint
So, Sandy and Hewy and Sandy's brother took me in the Hewlett's truck to get a sectional in Draper. It was perfect...good price and SHORT enough to get down into the basement. What I didn't measure was the WIDTH. It was 1/2 inch too wide to get down the "easy" way. Kamiko and friends Barnes and Mike came to help get it down. After about an hour and a half of trying every angle and removing legs from the couch, we decided the ONLY way to get it down was to chip away at the door frame. It was that or pound out a section of wall. I opted for repairing a door frame over repairing a wall. Ugh. It took a lot of tries and incremental cutting and pushing, but we finally got it in. I told Kamiko he now knows what it's like to have a baby. That sectional is NOT coming out of the basement in one piece. Here are some photos of the damage and my attempts to hide it. Thankfully Keenan is a good sport about it. I couldn't believe it.
the finished product

up close...hey, it's just the basement. Who goes down there, anyway?

My Walking Buddy turns 50!

Last night I got to go to Deer Valley in Park City and join friends and family of Sandy Hewlett to surprise her for her 50th birthday. It was awesome. My friend Kris Kokol went with me. Art and Sue Vincent, Maria and Junior Fano, Rosemary and Paul (she flies with Sandy) were there. We also got to spend time with all of Sandy's siblings, who came from as far as Florida, and her mom and fiancee. Much of Hewy's family was there, too. It really was a blast. Nice dinner and touching words by Hewy about his love for Sandy. We also got to see a slide show of her life. I have gotten to know Sandy's siblings a bit by walking with them and her brother Scott helped us pick up the sectional for our basement. She really has a great family. I feel fortunate to be included in such a great group.
Sandy's surprised face with her daughters, Jessica and Olivia looking on

Sandy, her sister Stacy and Hewy. Nice words of appreciation and admiration

Kris Kokol, Sandy and Me. Sandy was trying to cover Kris' "curves" and we were laughing hard. Turned out to be a great picture of the three of us. Good friends.

Kris, Sandy, Me and hula instructor, Maria Fano. Maria didn't like first picture of her. She said her shirt looked funny. So, we re-took the picture, using everything we had at our disposal to cover Maria's top, including Sandy's leg.

Rosemary, Sandy's flying buddy, and her husband Paul with Sandy

Some great people: Hewy, Sandy, Alicia and Alex Guerero and Art and Sue Vincent

Friday, July 13, 2012

Holy Cow!

Today at Chick Fil-A, the chicken fast-food restaurant, it was "Cow Appreciation Day," a gimmick to get you to come in for food. My sister Karen participated last year in Colorado and made me aware of this year's festivities. Anyway, if you dressed up like a cow, you got a free meal. So, I made Melia print out cow masks off the internet and we wore white and black and got sandwiches, fries and drinks. We took along our friend Jessica Hewlett and her two cousins, Tiana and Jenny. It was fun. Sandy Hewlett showed up later with Olivia, Jenny's mom, Stacy, and Sandy's mom and her fiancee. We loaned them our masks and they got in on the fun (and free food). Below is photographic proof. By the way, Kamiko and friends later took same masks for their dinner.

After ordering...Tiana, Jenny, Melia and Jessica and me.

Olivia Hewlett, Jessica Hewlett, Me, Melia, Jenny Pead and Tiana Hewlett

Olivia Hewlett, Sandy Hewlett, Stacy Pead, Grandma Helen and Don
On another note, I love it when Sandy's sister Stacy comes into town. She lives in Arizona and has one daughter, Jenny, who is a year younger than Melia. Stacy teaches PE at a private school. She always joins us for our walks and we have a great time. She is a neat lady. I sure love Sandy and her extended gang!

Changes Around Here

Should I just list them? Or should I explain them? Changes...changes. First of all, we had the kitchen cabinets painted. We hired our former neighbor Aaron Wigington to do it. They look fabulous. I am so glad I didn't have to do them. One too many DIY (do it yourself) projects for me right now. His price was so reasonable that it was well worth it. ($800) It took him and his painter Roberto about 3 days total to do it. In the midst of it, I even cooked dinner. I'm crazy.
See my dinner in the Crock Pot?

This is why I paid someone. I HATE the prep work involved in painting

Boxes all sprayed and waiting for doors to be hung

Doors and drawers in...waiting for knobs to come in mail

The knobs are here and it's all done! I LOVE IT!
I thought we would have to replace the countertops, but the whole kitchen looks so great now that it's not necessary. I did decide, however, to replace the green chairs that were in the family room next to the kitchen. I got some dark brown bonded leather chairs. They are actually recliners, but don't look like recliners at all. Yeah! ($700)

With the kitchen looking so great and the family room looking equally as nice, it made me re-think the front living room. I decided to move that furniture out and move the basement furniture up. Blue leather couches ended up in the living room. They needed some pillows to tie it all together. I could picture what I wanted. Was going to make pillows, but couldn't find the right fabric, so we bought some. ($80) They added just the right touch.

Ok, so now the basement has only bean bag chairs for seating. I began my search for a sectional on People list things they are selling. The trick was to find one big enough to seat us, but in small enough pieces to get downstairs. It was a beast to get the couch up from the basement and I swore I wouldn't do that again. I found one! Sandy and Matt Hewlett and Sandy's brother, Scott, drove me in Matt's truck up to Draper to get it. I also got an ottoman for even more comfortable lounging ($450 for both). Sandy tried to talk her down since we were helping her move her furniture downstairs after emptying her basement, but I was pleased with the price. It was so nice of them to take me. I was planning on making multiple trips in the van if needed. Keenan is in Hawaii with Allie, so it would have been up to me and Kamiko to do it all. I owe someone some cookies. Now it's time for me to list my couch, 3 chairs, and recliner on KSL. I can recoup some of my costs. I feel like I have a new place, but I didn't have to move.
The sectional. I was so worried about it being too long to get into the basement that I forgot to determine if it was too wide. It was. It took Kamiko and two friends and myself quite a while to get it down. Now I have to do some serious patching of the door frame. Yep, had to remove some of it to get the darn thing down.

In the midst of this, I also worked in the backyard, finally placing some stones as paths in the flower beds, weeding and talking to my plants to make sure the yard thrives. It's looking good.
The view from our kitchen door, out onto the deck that uncle Mike Sears built (with our help). I have always loved the flower beds we cut out of the yard to soften the edges of the yard. I think our place looks great. It's been a good 12 yrs.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You're of Worth...Manila Stake Young Women's Camp June 2012: I was a cook!

About two weeks ago, an email went out to sisters in our ward, seeking volunteers to help cook at girls camp. I've always wanted to go to camp with my girls and I had just finished teaching. Two good reasons to volunteer. I asked Allie if it was ok and she said she would like me to be at camp, so I offered to go and was chosen. By the way, the reason I didn't ask Mel is because she didn't go to camp this year. She had a soccer camp at the high school the same week and chose the soccer camp. It's hard to choose between two good things. I was really excited. I knew it would be a ton of work. I also wondered how it would compare to being camp director. I concluded that I prefer being responsible for food; not girls. As an added bonus, we had some great experiences, strengthened old friendships and made new ones. I also got to see friends from the ward and our cute YW three times a day, as we fed their grateful little stomachs.

Many of the cooks went up on Monday. Because of our previously-scheduled reunion, I went up Tuesday, when the bulk of the stake arrived. I got there at 9:00 am, in time to dive in and get to work. Serious work! We prepped a pasta salad for girls who had gone on an overnight hike.

After lunch was served, we worked on dinner, prepping teriyaki chicken salad and 50 lbs of rice for 500 people. We also cut up chicken, fruits and veggies for Wednesday's chicken salad. Allie and some of her friends stopped by and helped cut chicken for a while. That was really helpful.
Sherri and Mona, preparing chicken salad

Toniann and Monica, making more chicken salad...and more chicken salad

After dinner, we continued to cut chicken, made the salad for Wednesday, and cracked tons of eggs and cut tons of fruit for Wednesday's breakfast. Jean Shoaee came and prepared our meat and sauce for spaghetti dinner on Wednesday. We finished around 11:30 at night, after serving everyone hot chocolate. The smoke alarm went off in the middle of the night (false alarm). Joy. We were able to sleep in the lodge, which was really nice. Oh, a cook also snored ALL night long. EVERY breath was a snore. I think I got about 2 hours of sleep total.

On Wednesday, we awoke at 5:30 to cook breakfast. Lots of hash browns and eggs. At one point, while serving breakfast, we realized we might run out of eggs, so we had to dish up smaller portions. It looked like we were feeding kids at a fat camp. We did end up with some left-over, so we were able to announce that those who got the "diet" plate could come get more. That was probably the most disasterous meal. It tasted good, we just had trouble determining portion size.

After breakfast, we started preparing everything for dinner. Lunch was pretty much ready, since it was the chicken salad we had made the day before. Julie Shoaee literally cooked spaghetti noodles from 9:00 am til 5:00 pm when we served dinner. What a trooper. We took a break from spaghetti prep to serve chicken salad, rolls and watermelon. Meanwhile, Jean and Nati were trimming pork for Thursday's dinner. The pork roasts were to slow cook all night.

After lunch on Wednesday, Allie and I snuck home (with permission, of course) to take a shower, get my ear plugs and some other necessities. It was a nice time to visit. Allie was really enjoying her time at camp and really shined as a leader. She served her girls and I reminded her that that's exactly what brings us fulfillment - helping and serving.
A rare sight...Julie and Jean Shoaee taking a break. Julie enjoyed her daily creamsicle; Jean, a bowl of fruit.

Jean at work...a trained chef. We couldn't have done it without him.
Noodles done, we served dinner. The spaghetti was delicious. After dinner, we got pork roasts ready and cut fruit. Jean prepared our taco meat for Thursday's lunch of taco salad. We made our plan for Thursday. Mona, our fearless leader, was going to be gone. I was nominated to be in charge since I have a masters and I'm bossy. That was the concensus of all the other cooks. I recruited Julie and Pam (a lunch lady) to help me run things. Once again, we got out hot chocolate. We weren't planning on it, but the stake leaders announced that there would be hot chocolate, so we had no choice. Oh well. 
sitting down and enjoying the fruits of our labors
(from bottom left, around: Monica, Sandra, Susan, Pam, Luone, Becca, Toniann, Mona, Jason and Jen)
I taught Jen McCombie and our YW president, Rosemary Bowden how to play 5 Crowns. We were joined by Toniann, another cook and some stake leaders, including Luone Ingram, our stake camp director. We stayed up and talked and played til after 1:00 am. That's what camp is for, right. Toniann told a very touching story that I think I will always remember. Another cook up with us was my friend, Monica Budge. Her husband died in a terrible car wreck right by the temple last year right as the school year was ending. I've known Monica for years, because her youngest and Allie are the same age. Well, Toniann came upon the accident just when the emergency personnel were draping the bodies. Toniann has led a rough life and, as a result, has a very compassionate heart. She has been sick with worry all year about the wife and children of the victims. She has prayed for them many times, not knowing who they were. Well, Toniann learned it was her fellow-cook Monica. Monica told Toniann she didn't have to worry about them anymore - that their family was doing ok. What great people I got to work with.
Sherri, Toniann, Naty and Jen (with big pillow and meds - things we all needed)

I especially bonded with Jen. We kinda gravitated to each other when there was work to be done and worked and talked together. All the ladies were great.

I got up in the middle of the night to check our roasts, which were my charge now. The ear plugs worked wonders, too. We got to sleep in until about 6 on Thursday. We got up and assembled 500 fruit and yogurt parfaits and cut bagels for all. We put strawberry cream cheese on some. The girls seemed to really enjoy that meal. It was easy to prepare for us, too. I think it was my favorite. After breakfast, we prepped for lunch. Monica, who is Mexican by heritage, went home and made TWO 5-gallon buckets of salsa for our taco salads. We had a great set-up for lunch. The girls came to our counter to get a plate with chips and hot meat on it. Then, ladies put lettuce and tomatoes, as requested, then they went to the adjoining room to dress their salad with cheese, sour cream salsa, olives, ranch dressing, etc. It was super yummy.
Jen, Monica and me making necklaces

Pam, Vicky and Lisa Routh (one of our nurses)
After lunch, we shredded pork and more pork and more pork. We actually got to escape and make some crafts since we weren't prepping for Friday meals. After dinner, there was only one meal left - Friday morning Costco muffins, milk, juice and chocolate milk. We had a great time walking around camp and making cute necklaces. Girls and leaders would often ask us if we ever left the kitchen and the answer was "no." UNTIL Thursday afternoon. 

Thursday dinner went off without a hitch. BBQ pork sandwiches, chips, corn, fruit, followed by brownies and ice cream. We cleaned up, prepared hot chocolate and waited to join our wards for testimony meetings. I learned a lesson about inspired leadership that night. All us cooks were in our sleeping quarters, which overlooked a huge field, where all the girls were gathered in groups, rotating around and listening to bishops talke about each of the YW values. It took a long time. I was sure the girls were getting bored. Convinced that this was a bad idea. Anxious to hear what Allie had to say about it. An hour and a half later, when it was all over, the girls came in and said it was awesome - that it was one of the best parts of camp. Shame on me for questioning what the leaders had prayerfully planeed.
All the girls listening to inspired bishops
I got to then join my ward for testimony meeting. That made the whole week worth it. We heard from Brother Burnett, the only brother in the stake to be there the whole week. He is in our ward and teaches school. It was always fun to see him. Allie shared how her testimony was strengthened in Nauvoo, being in the temple and in the homes of the prophets. I was able to share my thoughts on the importance of service and the fulfillment in brings in our lives. It was the BEST way to end the week. 
The reason I came: my awesome Allie!
After testimony meeting, Jen, Rosemary and I had a rematch of 5 Crowns. Susan joined us, then others came. Once again, we were up til the wee hours, but had a great time. There was time to nap on Friday when we got home. It was a highlight of my summer. So glad I went. So glad Jen Watkins headed up a carpool to drive Melia to and from soccer camp so I could go. So glad Kamiko and Keenan took care of things so I could be gone.
Cleaned and ready to go. GOOD-BYE!

Can you believe dishes for 1500 meals a day were cleaned here (mostly thanks to Vicky)?
A few things that really touched me:

1. many of the cooks didn't even have daughters at camp; they just came to help when asked. In fact, Naty, our filipino friend, moved into her ward only 3 weeks ago and volunteered because no one else had. She had a dream earlier that she was in the mountains with a lot of people she didn't know. I think we know what that dream meant.

2. the YW and their leaders were very appreciative of our efforts. In fact, Lou Halls and other stake leaders came once and shooed us out of the kitchen and cleaned it for us.

3. the fact that we prepared 1500 meals each day was a miracle. We had experienced people, worked hard, but were blessed from above. Thank goodness Julie had put her own name in the temple. What a smart lady of faith. I think that helped all of us.

Hunter Family Reunion in Ogden Canyon, June 2012

A reunion was in the works for this year, but cancelled. the cousins were so disappointed that Jen and Scott found a way to make it happen. Boy, were we glad they did. I am so glad we all have fun getting together. We started Thursday at Jen's house, swimming and eating hot dogs and burgers. Then we headed up the canyon to Eden and stayed at Wolf Creek Resort. Derek and family shared a unit with me and my family. Rae and I took turns cooking. We had some great grub. Emily stayed in our unit since her family's unit was all boys and some extra boys, thanks to the visit of Arthur, from France, and cousin Hunter, from Reno. 

On Friday, we hung out and went to Pineview Reservoir. Rae made awesome gourmet pizza.

On Saturday, we went on a hike and swam, watched soccer, etc. Mom and dad and kids and spouses had a yummy dinner in Kris' unit. We played a G-rated version of the newlywed game, which Deb and Mark won. We learned a lot of fun things about each the fact that Rachel hates to do laundry so much that she doesn't consider it's one of Derek's chores. 

On Sunday, we went to see Music and the Spoken Word, then came back and hung out, playing sjoelbak, cards, games, etc. We also celebrated dad's 75th birthday a bit early (complete with bakery cake) since most of us were there. We missed the Crocketts and Bryners, but we still managed to have fun without them.

We had so much fun that most of us continued the festivities and went to Jen's after checking out. I got home Monday late afternoon just in time to pack for camp on Tuesday. June was busy. July will be a time to catch up and get some work done.

Melia and her roommate, Emily

Cutest thing ever...Christian and his cousin, Hunter, on our hike

Kris, Jen and Deb on our hike

Melia, Em and Derek, enjoying watermelon in our unit. We had the cool unit

Scott, Deb, Mark, Dad and Mom, Jen at the kids only dinner

Rachel and Derek enjoy our kids only dinner

Scott playing Sjoelbak

Jen tallies Scott's score

Mom gives Sjoelbak a try

Andrew plays while James, Arthur and Kris watch

Cute kids with grandpa...Melia, Allie and Andrew

A familiar sight...Arthur, Em, Rod, Kamiko and James watching soccer.
btw...Em does have a shirt on. Her straps are pulled down because of a mad sunburn.

our roommates: Rosie and Rae

Mom and Dad with his cake, memory book and scout anthology
(we think he liked the scout book better than our memory book)

A fashion show from grandma's costume box: Mel in a lovely number from the 1970's

Allie in the swimming suit grandma made to wear to girls camp one year as a joke

Mel wearing Karen's prom dress

We end this reunion eating delicious Poutine, made by our very own Canadian, James DeVuyst

Just when we thought we were stuffed, there was room for poutine!

Rosie opts for more healthy food than fries doused in gravy and cheese