Saturday, November 30, 2013

Life in Our World - A Blur

That's what November was.  A blur.  And here are the blurry pictures to prove it . . .

Calvin and I met up with Abe, Grace, Cali, and Ray in Seattle to attend the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert.  My favorite performer was the fiddler whose bow was in shreds by the time the night was over, but the very best part was enjoying it with family.

I went to the dentist.  I really don't like going so, per tradition, consoled myself with a milkshake. From the sounds of it, I have several milkshakes in my near future.

Each one of these young women are inspirational in their own right.  They are forging paths heretofore untraveled by their family members.  Jessica (in the back) can play four instruments - well.  She recently performed with the state's honors band in first chair.  Vanessa (right) is not only musically but mathematically inclined.  I believe she is will be the first to attend college in her family.  Karen (left), as does Jessica, carries huge responsibilities in her family.  Huge.  It's quite amazing seeing their successes.  

One of the nights that Calvin was in charge of Family Home Evening he fixed us Jamaican-jerked-chicken with coconut-milk-rice mixed with black beans.  It was really good.  We also went to one of his scout's basketball games.  In eighth grade those boys play so much better than I ever played as a senior in high school.  They are fast, coordinated, and jump high.  The score was 15-0 within the first few minutes.

Went to work day after day after day.  I really do have one of the best jobs.  I teach religion to high school and college kids.  The early morning class meets at the college (where this picture was taken), the other classes at the seminary building next to the high school.  

Rearranging is a quick fix to old problems.  We moved this old, old couch out and moved a piece of the sectional from the family room into its place. This has been a month of rearranging furniture, but we're done now.  I think.  

We went birthday shopping for Calvin.  He is such a particular shopper that I had time to wander the whole store before he'd made his four choices.  Three of the four choices have orange in them.

One night for Young Women's we made party favors for the ward Thanksgiving Dinner - 160 of them.  I thoroughly enjoy talking to and working with these young women.

The weekend we went to Seattle to see the TSO, I babysat Atlas and Levin while Cali, Ray, Abe, Grace, and Calvin went to a movie.  I asked Levin if he wanted to help me make meatloaf for supper.  He ran and got his stool out and put it next to the cupboard and then opened the drawer and pulled out these bowl toppers.  I put one on his head for fun and he made us both wear them as a hairnet the whole time we cooked.  Our heads were good and sweaty by the time that meatloaf was cooked.

This ham was over a year in the making.  No foolin'.  After we raised and butchered the pig, Calvin made one hind quarter into a country ham (country ham is the name for a salt-cured ham that ages for several months to a few years).  After Calvin had salt-cured the meat, he hung it in a flour sack from a hook in the food storage room and it's hung there since September 2012.

It was good.  So very good.  Especially when you'd get a bite of the salty ham with some crusted brown sugar.  He'll be making more.

Abe and Grace came and spent the holiday with us.  Last year Abe was still deployed in Afghanistan, so we were especially glad to be together this year.  Besides eating, we've had several great discussions, played Hearts every night (loser has to buy milkshakes tonight and so far Calvin is buying), gone to the temple, and watched Ender's Game.  Today Grace and I are scrapbooking while Calvin and Abe are curing bacon, making cheese, skinning antelope heads, and doing odds and ends projects.

It's been foggy the past few weeks.  I see it as a winter wonderland, but Calvin sees it as hell frozen over. So glad we have each other to provide balance in our lives.

I continued to improve my chalkboard art.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Gobble

This was a cute and easy Pinterest project.  I filled little orange gift sacks with caramel corn and attached the two tags with baker's twine.  Quick, fun to give, and inexpensive.

Links to the tags:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

52 Blessings - Mrs. Roberts

3rd Grade:
Back Row L-R:  Mrs. Roberts, me, Erik, Dusty, Bryce, Brad, George, Alan
Front Row L-R:  Anita, Aaron, Judy, David, Anita, Tamara, Starla, Theresa

4th Grade
Back Row L-R:  Aaron, David, Alan, Dusty, Brad, Erik, Bryce, Wesley, Mrs. Roberts
Front Row L-R: Tamara, Starla, Carlene, Charlotte, Judy, Anita, Jane, Anita

Mrs. Roberts was my third and fourth grade teacher.  We put our heads on our desks after lunch recess and listened while she read E.B. White and Laura Ingalls Wilder books to us.  Since she was my teacher two years in a row, I heard Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, Trumpeter of the Swan, and all of the Little House Books (in their entirety) twice.  To this day, I think E.B. White and Laura Ingalls Wilder are two of the greatest children's authors.

While our school supply list in first grade included crayons, Big Chief tablets, #2 pencils, Prang watercolors, and white paste, by the time we entered Mrs. Roberts’ room she said we were old enough for Elmer’s glue. We quickly proved our maturity by making fake fingernails with it. Starla taught us how. We turned our black tin of Prang watercolor paints over so that we had a long, smooth surface, and then spread a thin layer of glue across it. We slid the tin of paints carefully into our desks and let the glue dry for a day or two. When there were no white spots left and the glue was completely dry, we cut oblong shapes from it that fit over our fingernails. We cut a few terrifically-long ones as well as regular-long ones. We licked the back of each glue shape and attached them to our fingernails. This kept us busy many recesses.  Mrs. Roberts never scolded us or told us we couldn't make fingernails.  She just told us to make sure we cleaned up our mess.

Mrs. Roberts always grew enough Halloween pumpkins for her classes and some years she grew enough for every child in the school.  Mr. Roberts chopped down Christmas trees for our classrooms from the nearby hills, and Mrs. Roberts was in charge of much of The Christmas Play props at the Hollister School.  There is a reason The Christmas Play is all capitalized.  It was a very big deal.  And so were the props.  The year our class was snowflakes, Mrs. Roberts cut giant paper snowflakes to fit over our clothes and glittered them generously.  They stapled them the night of the play.

Mrs. and Mr. Roberts had cats, but they didn't have any children of their own.  They lived in a large, two story home out in the country.  I was always secretly glad that Mrs. Roberts only had us students. Selfish of me, I know, but I wanted her to like teaching us as much as we liked her teaching us.  She didn't have favorites (though she did have one student that riled her occasionally).

When Mrs. Roberts' mother died, Mrs. Crockett was our substitute.  Mrs. Crockett tried to teach us long division.  That was a mistake.  We needed Mrs. Roberts.  When she came back to school, I tried to tell her so.  I told Mrs. Roberts I was sorry her mom died, but hoped she looked at the bright side of things and realized she wouldn't have had so many pretty flowers if her mother was still alive.  It came out all wrong and not at all like I planned. Mrs. Roberts looked at me and laughed her funny laugh and said, "You're right," and then she looked at the bouquet of flowers sitting on the windowsill of the classroom and said, "These are very pretty flowers and I wouldn't have them if mother was still alive."

I woke up this morning thinking of Mrs. Roberts.  She's long gone now, but I do hope she knows what a blessing she was to me in my life.  I wrote a letter telling her so, but I'm not sure she got it while her mind was still alert.  Her happy laugh is a pleasant memory and her second-mile service and patience are still an example to me. Children were safe in her classroom.  I hope she knew I appreciated that.

Good teachers are blessings that never quit giving.

Mrs. Roberts gave us Happiness is a Warm Puppy by Charles Schulz.
I still have it on the shelf and read it to my classes.

What is the name of your teacher that had a positive impact on you?


Saturday, November 16, 2013

To Clara, Levin, Afton, Zeph, Atlas, Eliza, and the ones to come . . .

Thank you for coming to our family . . .

. . . and to your parents, thank you for getting them here.

Life in Our World - Five for Friday


The homemade cheese press with Calvin studying the cheese book in the background.

a block of Colby cheese

Calvin has been making cheese.  One of the things that I love and appreciate about Calvin is he gets an idea and runs with it.  When he finds something that interests him, he reads books and watches u-tube videos until he figures it out, then he does it.  If you dissected Calvin's brain you'd find a file for making black powder guns and another one for making long-bows.  You'd find others filled with butchering, curing meats, and stuffing sausages, knife-making, making cedar chests, tanning hides, growing grapes, and raising quail.  The infamous whizz-bang chicken plucker took up two files.  There's a whole file called how-to-make-your-wife-happy with a remember-to-clean-the-kitchen-when-you're-done paper in it that is stained and dog-eared.  Once in a while that paper gets misfiled, but then I find it for him and he works on that for awhile.

This week Calvin made four batches of cheese.  Two of the cheeses are still curing, but the other two are really good.  


The strawberry plants have turned their last color.

The trees are almost bare.  

The lawnmower died.



Yesterday this bird hopped into the corner on the patio.  It just happened to be under the dryer vent.  We turned it on to help him warm up.  That's all he seemed to need.  After a little while, he flew away. Sometimes an unexpected boost of encouragement is just what you didn't know you needed.

This past week or two I got some good mail and each package and letter warmed me through and made me smile real big.  One was a several-paged letter from a former student telling me of some big changes he'd made in his attitude and thanking me for being his mentor and friend.  Another was some lipstick from Ande.  Melanie sent some Book of Mormon flannel-board stories along with some colored straws and a shiny treat.  Jill sent me a happy "Happy Fall" card with 16 cute treat bags that I can't wait to use.  Nesha ordered me an amaryllis bulb in a ceramic pot with a red cardinal on it.  What fun each piece of mail was.  They all came on different days so I smiled all week long.  It was a mother-load of mail.      


For Family Home Evening on Monday night we took some frosted banana bars to a veteran to thank him for his service.  We also canned sugar for our food storage.  (We have a husband and wife in our Stake who keep a one-gallon canning machine in their garage.  Every month they encourage people to come and use it. They pick up the cans and have everything ready, plus help you can it.  It's an incredible and unheralded act of service they consistently do.)  We ended the evening by going out to supper to celebrate Veteran's Day and to thank Calvin for being a veteran.


It's been a routine week and I like routine.  Sometimes I feel a change in the air, figuratively, and it makes me more grateful than ever that I have Calvin, our family, grandkids, a warm home with cheese curing on the cupboard and cans of sugar on the shelf . . . and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that gives purpose to it all and holds everything together for me.

Speaking of change and perspective, I went to the eye doctor this week and ordered new glasses.  Ahhhh, to see clearly again.  I've never worn a pair quite like these will be.  I'm excited for them to come in.

How about you?  Did you have a routine week, too?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{13+ Pictures Taken on the 13th Day of November 2013}

Ande - This is what homeowners look like!
(Jane speaking here.  Joe and Ande closed on their home today.)

Joe - what painters look like.  So glad we're not doing it ourselves.

Zeph with his greatest objects of desire:  a piece of trash, a pinwheel pen,
and his tambourine.  Being naked doesn't hurt.

Ty practicing in the cockpit trainer

Afton wiping her nose. 

Eliza and her nose sucker.

Michelle - post work out.

Abe - Grace taking my picture for me because I'm tuckered
out after a long day of work

Grace - These items were 40-60% off and I got an additional 20% off for being
a military wife shopping during the Veteran's Day sale at Joann's. I love military discounts!

Cali - something I made

Atlas and Levin - tandem brain rotting.

Ray - I live out of my laptop bag - it's amazing what you can fit into this bag . . .
or should I say it's amazing how little I need to live off of for a few days!

Jane - preparing to read books via facetime
with Afton and Levin

Calvin - watching a gun making video
(Jane speaking here.  This is what kind of a photo you get when you say, "Just
hurry and take the picture so I can finish watching this.")

Thanks family.  I love seeing what one day brings.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Germs, Infinity, and the Like

I saw a sign on Pinterest several months ago that hung in a child's bathroom.  The saying on it got stuck in my head and I still mutter it to myself every now and then when I wash my hands.

I made little gift tags with the saying to attach as neighbor Christmas gifts.  One with "wash" for soap/towel and another with "wipe" for anti-bacterial wipes.

Feel free to copy them.

Chocolate on My Cranium ran a guest post of mine a couple of days ago.   She also pinned it.  So that makes two pins I used this week.

To Infinity and Beyond
by Jane Payne

Have you used anything from Pinterest this week?  Do tell.  Do tell.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Memories - Take No More for Granted

It's hard not to take some things for granted.  Like air.  Since we take some 20,000 breaths each day, I had come to expect that there would always be another breath to inhale after I exhaled.  Always.

But one time I was on the ocean floor in Hawaii when my oxygen tank ran dry and there was no more air to breathe. None.  I will never forget the sensation of exhaling and fully expecting to inhale, but there was nothing to take in.  No air.  Nothing.  It was empty.  It was tight.  It was scary.  Air - that thing that sustains life and that I'd always expected -  was no longer available.  With the help of my scuba buddy, I shared her tank of air until we could surface.  I learned to appreciate air like never before after that experience.  I also learned to be more mindful of the little things that God provides so generously that I'd taken for granted.  Like air. 

Freedom was one of those things.  I have always lived in a country with great freedom so it was easy to just expect it to be.  Then I learned that only 4% of the world's entire population has ever known freedom.  Not everyone takes it for granted.  I am one of those few 4% that has had freedom, but because it was given so generously I came to expect it.  Always.  Like air.    

Shame on me.  

On one day a year - Veterans Day - I am reminded, lest I have forgotten, to give thanks to those who provide the vigilance, sacrifice, and service to protect and maintain God-given rights.  On that day I'm given an opportunity to thank God and those men and women who preserve and provide freedom for America.

So, with a big, deep breath, "Thank you soldiers, past and present, who have watched over and provided safety and freedom to me while I raise my family, work, sleep, play, and pray.  I am grateful to be free and humbled to be protected by you.  Thank you.  I appreciate your service and sacrifice. I appreciate you."   

Hooray for Soldiers
Grace and I welcoming home soldiers who had been deployed to Afghanistan
December 2012

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Life in Our World - Rearranged

One day I was rearranging the furniture in the living room when Calvin came in from working outside.  He took one look at what I was doing and started to back out the door he'd just entered, saying, "Ah oh . . .  I'll be back in an hour or two."

I said, "But dinner is almost ready!"

He said, "But when you're moving furniture it only means one thing:  you're frustrated.  I'll come back when it's all over."

I said, "What do you mean I'm frustrated?  About what?"

He said, "I don't know about what.  I never know about what.  All I know is you start rearranging the house when you're frustrated about something."

I had never noticed that before, but he was right.  When life seemed out of control, where the furniture went was the one thing I could control.  Some use retail therapy, some use rearrange therapy.  

I rearranged the furniture this weekend.

A lot.

Our home isn't very big and the furniture really only fits in it one way.  Oh, I can move a chair or two and the lamps without too much problem.  I can even put the floor to ceiling secretary desk in two different spots, but the other big pieces of furniture pretty much have to stay in the same place.  So I thought.

How wrong I was.  The dining room table can run north and south, and the two black, six foot shelves (that Joe and Ande left when they moved) do fit in the dining room.

The bed in our bedroom is under the opposite window and the two antique children's chairs are now bedside-tables in the back guest room with a big pot of geraniums.

No room was safe.  Even the laundry closet.  The ironing board now hangs on the wall by the laundry cupboard like a piece of art (which it really is, Cali sewed a darling and stylish ironing board cover for it).

It was a frenzy and Calvin was smart to say outside during it.  It looks good; more importantly, it feels good.  I think I can get another year out of the old flooring and wall paint that having been bothering me so badly now.

I also rearranged my schedule.

Last year I promised myself it would be the last year that I'd get up at 4:00 am to prepare lessons for seminary.  I told myself I needed to be smarter with my time and energy and prepare better.   I didn't know when I made that promise that I'd be assigned the early morning class in addition to my regularly scheduled classes.  The only way to be out the door before 6:00 am with something prepared that is worthwhile is to get up and study at 4:00 am.

I don't mind getting up early, in fact I prefer the early morning hours -- after 5:00.  But, the one thing I don't like is using up so much of my good energy during 4:00 am and 12:00 noon.  By the time I get home I'm dragging and don't get as many things done that need to be.  

When I went to see Ty and Michelle, Michelle had a weekly schedule that she'd created for herself.  I was really impressed with it; not only with how she organized her schedule, but her realistic, yet challenging goals.  I asked Michelle for help and she sent her schedule this week. After personalizing it to my life, I printed it out.  Though I still have the same 24 hours, the same amount of energy, the same demands and work load, I now have a better plan.  Michelle even has a point system attached to her schedule (i.e., 1 point for exercising < than 30 minutes, 2 points for exercising for > than 30 minutes).  I've gotten in the very bad habit of planning too much for the day, moving today's unfinished responsibilities to tomorrow, and this week's jobs to next week.  But no longer.  Points are now attached for setting realistic goals and getting them done on time.  I don't know what the reward at the end of the month will be yet, but it will be a good one.

Friday night Calvin and I went to the last home football game, and Saturday night I went with my sister to the high school musical, Annie.  Both were great.  I was especially impressed with the orchestra at the play, Annie has a lot of songs.    The community's support for both events was pretty sweet.

I'm glad to live in small town USA . . . with rearranged furniture.

How about you?  Do you use rearrange therapy?  Are you glad you live where you do?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Obviously

Surprise.  Surprise.  Surprise.  I walked outside to snow this morning.   I came home from work and quickly pinned a couple of crock-pot soup recipes from Pinterest for future snowy mornings.

In the last week, I've found some great Thanksgiving Pins as well.

But my favorite find of the week was this Mormon Message.  Elder Holland has a way of seeing the not-so-obvious and making it obvious.  (Kind of like the Fed Ex logo. Once you see the arrow between the e and x it's all you can see.)

Elder Holland has helped me to see things more clearly many times and I appreciate him greatly for it.  This time he helped me to better understand that just because an answer to prayer isn't obvious or as I expected, doesn't mean it wasn't answered clearly.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Life in Our World - From Weekend to Weekend

Last weekend Grace, Atlas, Cali, and I went to Snohomish to a scrapbook retreat with our friends.  One thing that makes these retreats great is we've been doing them long enough that now our daughters are old enough and coming back to join us.  This retreat Atlas came, too (and was a lovely model for many projects).

Atlas modeling Amanda's minion hat

We don't just scrapbook at these retreats:  Cali sews and quilts, Tracy does a lot of hand embroidery, Sonja and Anita always bring a crochet project or two, Susan, Jill, and Amanda do a wide variety of craft projects, Donna and Deb usually make lots of cards, and Nicole does a little bit of everything.

Nicole wearing a tu-tu she made for a friend's costume

Just Dance competitors
Nicole, Grace, and Cali

We take turns cooking and this year we had a turkey dinner, cafe rio salads, creme brulee french toast, hashbrown casseroles, and lots of good fruit.  I always look forward to this fall retreat and we had a really great time and everybody got lots done.

Amanda made a fun candy table for everyone to enjoy

This weekend the Billington's came from Idaho to visit.   A few minutes before they arrived, friends Daniel and Rosa stopped by to use our computer.  Everybody squeezed around the tilted table for supper.

(L-R) Nephi's chin, Chris, Jake, Bruce, Charlie, Rosa, Daniel, and Calvin's forehead

Calvin hatched a straight-run of chicks for my niece Charlie last spring.  This weekend the whole family hauled the roosters in the batch up to use the whizzbang chicken plucker.

(L-R) Bruce, Charlie, Calvin, Nephi (Charlie's husband), Chris, and Jake

Bruce and Chris own and operate a stock sale in Southern Idaho, so they brought us another steer to put in our pasture, too.

We had a great weekend with them.  While the men put the ribs on the grill for dinner, Chris, Charlie and I went to the Piper Barn Holiday Show.  Chris is a great shopper and is always fun to go with.

After we finished butchering the chickens and ate a supper of barbecued ribs, we went to the show Captain Phillips.

Everybody . . .

 . . . and I do mean everybody, had a great time.

In between the weekends, life went on as normal.  Except Calvin set a few goals for himself:

I am happy to report that he accomplished them.  Not once did he complain about another driver, and Tuesday when we went to the Temple and he was wearing his white shirt and dress pants and he dropped his pop and it started to spill all over, he didn't even half-way swear.  And when a friend called wanting to borrow money he did his best to try and help them.

It was another great week.