Sunday Thoughts

August 31, 2008

Words from Our Bishop
*Are we as concerned with our spiritual safety, as we are for our physical safety?? If our lives are in order, if we are doing the things that we know that we should be doing...we have no need to fear.
*Keep the Sabbath Day holy. Make sure that our Sunday activities are such that they respect the Savior. Make sure that our dress respects the Savior. Please keep our Sunday clothes on throughout the Sabbath Day.
*Be found in the temple. Let our children see us at the temple. Take our children who are old enough, to do baptisms in the temple, that they might begin to feel the sacred feelings that are there, at a young age.
*Guard our lives from pornography, take every precaution to protect our homes and our lives.
Being that is was the fifth Sunday today, we had a joint meeting with the Priesthood and Relief Society. This is the counsel that out Bishop gave to us. It was a great class and a reminder that we all needed. Thank goodness for our faithful Priesthood men. It gives me such comfort and peace to know that they are guiding and leading us, especially when times are difficult.

Banana Crunch Muffins

August 30, 2008

The granola jar is full...and my sister-in-law Kim reminded me about The Barefoot Contessa recipe for Banana Cruch Muffins...another use for granola. I love this recipe because of the chunks of banana not just mashed banana that the recipe calls for. It is a great recipe...and The Darlings loved it too! The dolop of cream cheese frosting finished it of perfectly! They would be perfect for breakfast...maybe without the frosting;)

Barefoot Contessa - Banana Crunch Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe banana (1 banana)
1 cup small pieces walnuts
1 cup granola cereal
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
dried banana pieces (optional) or granola cereal (optional) or shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add the melted butter and blend.
Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas, and add then to the flour-and-butter mixture.
Scrape the bowl and blend well.
Don't overmix.
Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola and coconut into the batter.
Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top.
Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola, or coconut, if desired.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea...

August 29, 2008

While I was out of town, The Farmer called me to tell me about the peaches at the Solecito, (that is the property that we will build our house on) we have a new pecan orchard there as well as a peach orchard and corn. He said that the peaches were bigger and more beautiful than he had ever seen. The men are picking right now and I was afraid if I didn't get over there I would miss the beautiful peaches. It has been raining alot in the afternoons, and so when the rain stopped, I set out, with The Boy (only because he wanted to check on the horses) to see the peaches. In case you are wondering....I do know that it gets muddy when it rains, BUT I thought that it hadn't rained that much! Anyway, The Boy said "Mother Dear I love you so....don't go to the peaches will get stuck," and I said "Oh no I won't, I know how to drive in mud."
Aparently I don't! I slid off the road, nearly hitting a large tree. So now what? The Farmer is out of town, and the men who work for us were gone for the I called my brother-in-law, who was at an important meeting, and he called our foreman who....
Came and pulled me out! Yes.... that is a took a tractor to pull me out! While I was waiting for the tractor to come I thought...why not take some pictures while I I started walking toward the peaches, they weren't too far away...and next thing I know I am sliding and slipping with mud up to my ankles and packed on my shoes like you cannot imagine. So I went back to the car.....
And the foreman hooked up chains, and pulled and pulled and horray! I am now free from the sticky mud. So now he is pulling me and I think, "why not take a few pictures while I am being pulled;) After all the tractor is doing all the work, right?!
And here they are! And yes, they were worth the mess...they are huge, they are beautiful and The Farmer was right! More beautiful than we have ever seen them. This little experience was a little reminder that I did grow up in the city, and I have not yet mastered a muddy farm road....

She's Going On A Mission!

August 28, 2008

Auntie Beth is going on a Mission!!! Horray! She stayed with The Darlings while we were in Chicago and when we returned...she was ready to get busy preparing to go. She will live with us while she is getting ready...The Farmer has already got things moving for her so it shouldn't be long. We are so excited to have her with us! Hugs to Auntie Beth, she will be an awesome missionary!

Catching Up!

August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Cathy! I just retuned home from a two day birthday celebration in El Paso, and did we ever have a great time! We ate, and we ate, we visited the cupcake store, we relaxed at the spa, shopped, and shopped some more, and saw a fun movie. It was so fun to spend time with great friends/family. Now it is back to business...catching up from two trips in about a weeks time...It is good to just be home!

Today Is The Day...

August 25, 2008

Today is the day say our good-byes to the puppies. Actually be began last night when the first little girl was picked up by her new family. They are thrilled with her and she will have a great home with them. She has already been named Snow White, and she will be participating in a wedding in two months, walking down the isle with her new owner. So we feel great about her new famiy! The others will go to their homes today and we are keeping two, a boy and a girl. It is sad to see them go, we have all gotten very attached to them, but we are happy that they will be loved at thier new homes.

Sunday Thoughts

August 24, 2008

I have an amazing mission president...who makes a great effort to stay in touch with his missionaries. He often writes words of advice and counsel and sometimes just funny jokes or political opinion. During two very difficult times in my married life, I answered the phone, and found his voice on the other end...ready to comfort and lift however he could. I love that man for the impact for good he has been on my life! This is written by him...Jim Ritchie...he is serving ANOTHER mission in Hawaii on the BYU campus. His insights are always great!


It has been fun being in the middle of what Charles Dickens must have tried to convey when he wrote his famous book about our unlimited potential and with that potential comes great expectations. The campus is swarming with brand new high school graduates often accompanied by anxious but excited parents who are making a drop off in-between some beach time. But, you can see by the twinkle in their mothers eye that the beach is not near as important as the dreams they have for their 'favorite 18 year old' who has been been bombarded with advice and council about the families tradition of GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Most of the parents have forgotten to tell them all the truth about their freshman year so many years ago but instead they focus on inspiring them with what this first year will mean to their future, their missions, their careers, their future families and their eternal destinies.

Not so fortunate - but just as starry eyed - are the majority who arrive without any parent lagging behind but have left their island or village for the first time to begin their ascent to the top of the world. They are trying to remember what their mother tearfully told them as they packed their meager belongings and made that very long air plane ride to another island in the Pacific.

Everyone is here with Great Expectations. Not only the students and their proud and frightened parents but the faculty, staff, food services, housing professionals, studentbody officers, local priesthood leader and administrative leaders, all who are charged from a Board of Trustees to give the church a 'return on their significant investment' in these young lives. Truly everyone (from Pres. Monson, chairman of the Board, down to the 30 missionary couples who are here supporting all of the above) has only one purpose and mission which is to assist in transferring those 'expectations' into 'actualities'. These young people MUST do well. They MUST prepare for and serve honorable full time missions. They MUST marry well in the temple. They MUST be prepared and self confident that they will be able to go home at end of these formative years self reliant and become the church and community leaders all over the Orient and Pacific Rim (and the mainland) The incredible investment by the faithful tithe payers of the church must not be wasted or invested poorly. Each of these young lives has had 'matter yet unorganized' reserved for them all subject to their fulfilling their foreordained promise. Each comes with a future posterity as numerous as the sands of the seashore anxiously waiting to see if their mother and father can fulfill those GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Eternity and Eternal Life is at stake.

This army of incoming new recruits and their accompanying excitement is tempered by my first high council assignment which was being a participant to a church disciplinary action where a fine young man and his family took a step back in their ability to pursue the race toward these eternal quests. Satan is real, and although he doesn't seem to be as obvious in this hidden paradise, he surfaces and tempts and hints and sometimes wins in his mission. His victories must be temporary and infrequent.

It's exciting being here. We have GREAT EXPECTATIONS for our service here at 'this front' and we have GREAT EXPECTATIONS for everyone we love who are serving on the other many 'fronts' where so many lives are being impacted with decisions made by us and by them which will determine the outcome of those dreams. May each of us be there for them when they come to the forks in the road they will know which one to take knowing that those decisions will determine whether that 'matter gets organized' and whether the 'sands of the seashore' get a celestial or a terrestrial home.

I Love Chicago!

August 22, 2008

And this is why....
Great Broadway shows and plays, like...Looking Glass Alice. We saw this last night and it was so fun! Very well done and just a great time! There are always lots of shows playing here and lots of wonderful Jazz music to enjoy. After the show we had dinner while listening to some local Jazz...a great evening.
The shopping is amazing! Can't say I bought too much...BUT...a good part of the fun is seeing shops that you wouldn't normally see and enjoy. Secretly, my favorite store here is the American Girl store;) Now that is a fun place!The landscaping all along Michigan Ave. is beautiful! Hanging baskets full of flowers, everything perfectly manicured. There are always interesting art exhibits mixed into the landscape which make it interesting and fun. This time it was mannequins dressed in all different items that can be recycled. Really great and creative!
I walked, and walked all in my new favorite shoes...that I borrowed from PreShie...but am not sure I will give back! Love the red Converse tennies.

Another favorite activity that we discovered a few years ago...Tea at the Drake Hotel. The Farmer is sure a good sport! He's game for almost anything. We head home has been a wonderful trip...I love that we have a reason to return each year.

I'm Here

August 21, 2008

We flew in to Chicago yesterday. It is beautiful! The weather is great, not rainy like our past trips. We left the kids in great hands with Aunt Beth, I am sure that they will be glad that we left, just to spend some time with their Dear Auntie.
When we lived in Ohio, this is where we came to attend the Temple. It was also a place that The Farmer traveled to often for work, and of course I went along when I could. We came to love this city and look forward to returning every year. The Farmer speaks at the US Apple Conference, representing Mexico, each year. They always host the conference at fantastic hotels right in downtown Chicago. The above picture was taken from the window of our room. While The Farmer is away(at the conference)....his wife will be out to! Shhhhhh! don't tell! He'll find out soon enough;) He has been known to hold bags on his lap on the airplane ride home....he is a good man!
Breakfast....yumm!...overlooking the lake....see why I love Chicago?!

What Would Your Title of Liberty Say?

August 19, 2008

What would your Title of Liberty say? I have really thought alot about this lately. We have land issues in our area (that is the easiest way to explain it) and a couple of years ago a group of men had a protest to defend their land. At that time, The Farmer, took a sheet and made a "Title of Liberty" to represent this group of good men. They held it high during the protest, and many photographs later, (some in the newspaper), we still have it put away. The conflict was not resolved that day, and who knows if it will be...ever. But this group of men knew what they believed and were not afraid to show it.
This was our topic for scripture study this morning and I ask that same question of The Darlings...What would your Title of Liberty say? and I hope that they will really think about it. We will be making a family "Title of Libery" next FHE, a list of what we believe, and what we hold dear. Thank goodness for Captain Moroni, for his example of a man who stands for what is right, not only does he stand...he acts on his beliefs too.

Back To School

August 18, 2008

Today marks the begining of the school year. I greet it with mixed feelings, it just seems that summer wasn't quite long enough. Back in the day, summer seemed longer. We had a great summer, but a few more weeks of vacation would have been okay with me. We are back on our schedules, back to football practice, back to sack lunches and back to homework...ugh! What would school lunches be with out some yummy homemade chocolate chip cookies, and so late last night I got to work, so that The Darlings could have a little taste of home while they are away all day.

Sunday Thoughts

August 17, 2008

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke

A Keeper

August 16, 2008

I LOVE a recipe that has been passed down through generations...and is good. This recipe came from The Farmer's Aunt Ruthie who recently passed away. Although I did not know her very well, every story I hear about her is fun and full of laughter. This cake is wonderful!!
Aunt Ruthies' Carrot Cake
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. oil
2 c. sugar
1 small can of crushed pineapple
3 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 c. coconut
3 c. grated carrots
1 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans
Beat together eggs, oil, and sugar. Add pineapple and mix. Stir in carrots, vanilla, coconut and nuts. Mix well. I like to add 2 T. ground flax seed (I try to sneak it in anywhere I can). Pour into 2 9 inch cake pans that have been oiled and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes. When cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz. pkg. of cream cheese
1/2 cube butter, softened
2 t. vanilla
1 box of powdered sugar.
Beat all together until smooth and creamy.

We Mourn...Again

August 14, 2008

(photo by Kim Skinner)
I should apologize before I get started...I certainly don't want this post to be a huge downer...but today i wept with a Mother who, last night, lost two sons...her only sons. It began at 12:12 am, today. The Farmer and I attended a lovely wedding last night, and celebrated the begining of a new family, with people that we love just like our own family. It was wonderful. We got home late and I fell right asleep. The Farmer on the other hand did not, and was reading when, at 12:12 am he heard gun shots that seemed close by. He left our home and drove through our little community looking for the source of the shots. He came accross nothing. He returned home and went back to bed, when the phone rang. We all know that a phone call in the middle of the night is not a good thing. This is when I woke up. Two young men in our stake, brothers, sons of The Farmer's secretary at chruch, nephews of The Farmer's counselor at church, a missionary who had just recieved his call and was to leave in 1 month for his mission, and a younger brother, had been shot and killed right in front of their home. They were at the hospital, where the Dr.'s would not attend to them because they feared for their own lives. And so The Farmer began a very long night. Life is a bit unsettled for us right now...for the community. We are seeing the tragic effects of a terrible drug war. It has not affected us directly...until now. The one young man was 18 years old, his brother 16 years old. And tell does a mother bury TWO sons? How does her heart take it? I asked The Farmer, "how do you console these great people at a time like this?" He said "You don't...You allow the Holy Ghost, The Comforter, to do that." He is right. It is grief I cannot understand, even though we have faced loss ourselves. All we can do is pray for them, help bear their burdens, and shed tears with them. I took the brothers missionary suits to the funeral home this afternoon, and I wept again.
"There have been many deaths, which leaves a melancholy reflection, but we cannot help it. When God speaks from the heavens to call us hence, we must submit to His mandates."
Joseph Smith
"I know we ought to be still and know it is of God, and be reconciled to His will;
Jospeh Smith

Fall Garden Ideas

August 13, 2008

Because this is what I am in the middle of...I thought I would share some ideas for Fall gardening. We cleaned out a section of the garden yesterday, removing plants that have done their job! We still have alot of plants that are producing so those will stay until they are done. In our Fall garden we will plant spinach (above),
This yummy and oh so good for you, vegetable,
Garlic...a must for most all of my cooking,
Beets, carrots, chard and some great lettuce mix. YUMMY!
And do not forget about marigolds...they are an excellent helper in keeping bugs away. Also Mexico celebrates "Memorial Day" which we call Dia De Los Muertos, in November, and these marigolds will be ready for that day of rememberance. Many people in our area grow flowers especially for this day. What do you grow in your Fall garden...and do you have any special tips to make the garden extra special???? I would love to hear your suggestions

Another Summer Favorite

August 12, 2008

Little Rooster, Preshie and I spent the morning in the garden. I love the garden, it is not as weed free as it should be, but I love it! I have hoped that The Darlings would learn to love it too. My Dad always kept a beautiful garden while I was growing up and we learned to work in the garden and eat from the garden as well. The Darlings are great on the eating part...but still learning to love the working part. We cleaned out a section of the garden to prepare for our Fall garden that needs to be planted. And we picked alot of squash, okra and tomatoes. YUM!! We really love okra at out house. Again something I learned to love, growing up. Most people don't enjoy okra, usually it is in gumbo or prepared in a way that it is slimy. It is a very under appreciated vegetable if you ask me....and if prepared right...a complete joy to eat! Above is what okra looks like, freshly picked from the garden. The Darlings don't like to pick it, because it leaves you itchy, but it is worth the itch!
Here is the okra sliced and ready to cook. I dust it lightly with flour and place it into a pan with 1 T. of butter and 3-4 T. of oilve oil. Cook, stirring often until browned.
Here is the finished product! Yummy! It is crisp and wonderful. Along with garden fresh tomatoes you have a great lunch that is good for you.


August 12, 2008

Yesterday marked the start of school for The Boy. We have all really enjoyed the freedoms of summer but are happy to get settled in again to our routines that come with school. The Boy seems happy to be back to school and after one day...says he loves his teachers and classes. Maybe we should ask him again in a few weeks;) He is also back to football practice, and came home limping last night, that's a good thing right?? Little Rooster and PreShie will start school next Monday.
Sunday evening The Boy drove his Mother's car to see Uncle Frank (aka the Bishop). He drives alot and has been very we have not had reason to worry, UNTIL...he thought that putting the car in neutral instead of park, while he ran into Uncle Frank's house, would be a great idea.
He came out to find this. The Mother's car had rolled forward and into the fence, knocking a section of it down. The Boy felt it was not his fault at all...totally the cars fault for rolling...hummmm??? No damage to the car. Uncle Frank and Aunt Cathy got some good laughs. And The Boy found that using "park" is a good thing.

Sunday Thoughts

August 10, 2008

Certainty In Uncertain Times
A wonderful talk given in Sacrament Meeting today, something I really needed to hear. Our community is suffering with much uncertianty at the are many others in the world. But we were told today that if we will "Stand In Holy Places" such as the temple, or churches or even our homes...we will be blessed and protected. Also that we have every reason to be full of hope. That we should not be pessimistic but seeking the good in all things. We should not be full of fear but full or faith that the Lord is mindful of us and our lives. The meeting closed with the choir singing "Faith in Every Footstep," an inspired ending to a wonderful meeting.

A Few Darn Cute Things!

August 9, 2008

There are just sooo many cute blogs out there! It is really fun to jump around and check them out! I am always amazed that the creativity of some of the folks out is inspiring. Anyway, just for a little fun, a few of these things struck me for different reasons. The bikes above, are too cute and they made me think of my friend Pedaling...she loves all things bicycle.
These frames...well I thought of myself..hehe..I LOVE THEM!!! Aren't they darling!?! Sweet and true messages on each of them. These can be found at Domestic Bliss, a very lovely boutique in Mesa.
And this precious playhouse...I thought of us all...don't we all secretly wish we had one for ourselves?? I sure do! Somewhere to retreat and relax. You will be delighted with the pictures of the playhouse. I have a chicken house that is pretty cute....but NOTHING like this little house, and well, I wouldn't consider the chicken house as a place to retreat and relax..atleast not for me;)
Check out Restyled Home for more about this sweet little house. You will love it~

More Pictures Of The Ranch

August 8, 2008

A Day At The Ranch

August 8, 2008

We spent the afternoon at The Ranch yesterday, and it was beautiful! This is The Ranch that The Farmer spent many days of his youth working, playing, picnicing, hunting and many other things that created wonderful memories for him now. The Darlings too have spent alot of time at The Ranch, mostly picnicing, playing and fishing. The Boy got his first deer on The Ranch.
It is a place full of great family memories for several generations.
I cannot remember seeing The Ranch so green and full of beautiful flowers. We have had so much rain this year....the streams are running and the flowers are blooming.
It was a wonderful day....shared with great friends/family. The Farmer's sister owns The Ranch now....her love for this place....reminds us how much we love it too!
Boss....the daddy dog....had a great day too...I think he is actually smiling;)
While the kids were playing in the stream, the corn was roasting in the coals of the fire, The Farmer's Mom was teaching the children about beautiful rocks, cows were calling in distance,
The Boy was catching a fish in the stream, and I said to The Farmer, "life is good, a little different than we had planned...but....we are blessed to have moments like this, and live where we live, surrounded by family that we can also call friends."
It was a wonderful day at The Ranch!

This Is What We Will Be Watching

August 5, 2008

We love Tae Kwon Do! The Boy is a black belt and Little Rooster is very close to getting his. We are very excited to watch the Olympic Tae Kwon Do team in the next couple of weeks.
The most impressive thing about the team is that 3 siblings will be competing, with their older brother as their coach, they are the Lopez family from Texas. Steven Lopez (above) is favored to win the gold in his class, he is amazing to watch.
It will be fun to watch all of the athletes who have worked so hard to prepare for these games. Can't wait to watch!

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