Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'll Carry You and We'll Walk in the Light

It has been the bittersweetest day. All kinds of beauty and a lump in my throat.

THIS SONG pretty much covers it all.

Maybe I miss my Grampy. Maybe I miss my mom, who is only half-here, or my sister, how she used to be. There are so many lovely things laid out before me, so many opportunities, I feel so thankful but also surprised that so few of the people I thought I'd be sharing them with are still near. But then again, these four companions of mine are so delightful, I don't know what I can be sad about.

From upstate at school one friend writes,

Everything is changing while the day sky stays blue.

Changing around him, and me without you.

Waiting for you to arrive,

Where does the time go?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Reason I Love My Kids' School

You may have heard that I am serving as the PTO Secretary at my kids' school. This is something that was not really on my radar screen--I'm not generally the PTO type, but I am kind of in love with all the teachers at the school and I want their jobs and lives to be better, so I was motivated to help out (in my own lame way).

What kind of letters do you get from the teachers of your naughty kids? This one pretty much rocks:


Heidi didn’t have her folder or behavior chart here today so I thought I’d just email you.

I’m assuming Jim called you about the issue on the playground yesterday afternoon (Heidi mooned a classmate). This seems to have been a really hard week for Heidi on the playground. Today was an equally difficult day in the classroom. Heidi wasn’t able to follow directions at all today. She seemed to really be distracted and not listening to anything that was really happening in the classroom.

Have a nice weekend. --J


Yep. Rich talked to Jim (the principal) on his lunch hour and took away all the wii games and Heidi's other privileges. She has done equally bad at home...tough week! I have had the flu, too, and barely enough energy to do my regular mom stuff, but I did muster up the energy to wash her mouth out with soap on Wednesday night and put her to bed right after dinner yesterday for making poor choices at home. I almost cried when Jim called because I have no idea what to do with her except just trying to be consistent with what's in place...*SIGH*--Jamie



I hope you are feeling better. Keep your head up! You are an awesome mom with three beautiful, God-loving children! There is no harder job in the world. Heidi is a loving little girl who is just throwing us all a few curve balls right now, we will get through this TOGETHER! Jim and I have visited a little about maybe getting the school psychologist involved, how do you feel about that? It is a fresh new beautiful day, we are starting anew and I will pour my love on Heidi and pray we can all help her to make good choices! --J

It kinda makes me want to sing, "What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!" (nickjr fans?) I feel much better today than I did Friday... and less like locking up my naughty first grader.

You Can Thank Me Later

I pretty much hate shopping. I told my counselor in high school that I was going to college so I could afford to mail order everything (little did I know the internet was coming!). I'll admit it can be fun sometimes, but mostly it's an anxiety-filled headache for me.

I've narrowed down my issues and mostly I hate crowds and having to make important spending decisions on the spot. So I avoid these things by living in a pretty un-crowded place, always making lists and looking at sales online so I don't have to make very many decisions at the store.

So knowing this about me, you might be surprised to know I sometimes go shopping at 3am on Black Friday. Hubs and I have made this a way-fun date, and we can have Christmas done and stashed away before 7am if we play our cards right (this is combined, of course, with all the things I bought the previous year at the after-Christmas sales and stashed away). The thing that helps us "play our cards" is this little link right HERE. You don't even have to pick up a newspaper! You just peruse the ads and make your list and your action plan and go for it. One of you can go do the actual shopping more stealthily, but if the kids sleep over with Grandma and you grab some crepes at IHOP to fuel your trip, it can count as a date.

I kind of loathe Walmart, but I have to give a special shout out here because Black Friday shopping there is awesome. It' a 24-hour store, so you can go there anytime over night, fill up your cart, and just be in line when the sale officially starts. I know it's not like this everywhere--I shudder to think what kind of craziness there would be in a populated place like San Diego or Tucson--but if you live near a nice suburban Wally like I do, it's pretty sweet. And you can get really useful things like a $3 crockpot (I use mine all the time) or nice $40 mp3 players for your kids. So just give it a whirl. Subscribe to that link up there, look at the ads, and see if there is anything worth getting up for. It could be fun, even for anti-shoppers.

I wanted to share my secret recipe for soft winter skin with you, seein's how I just took the skin-smoothingest bath ever. Aside: My dermatologist said that olive oil is probably the best, most readily-available ointment for our skin, yet most people don't use it because of the smell and its associations with food. If you have terribly itchy, cracking skin like me, you have no pride when it comes to scent, etc...I use olive oil all the time, especially after doing dishes.

Get a little bowl in the kitchen and pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in it. Then pour in enough sugar to make a paste (you can do this with salt, too, but I have a lot of open skin and that can burn). If you happen to have some oils or extracts, you can add a drop or two for scent. I like my vanilla, coconut, or orange extracts the best.

Now take your little bowl to the bathroom and jump in the shower. Get yourself damp, turn off the ater, then use the paste --sugar scrub--to exfoliate your skin, giving knees and elbows and extra good scrub. Rinse with warm water and proceed to shower as usual. Use a rich moisturizer right after your shower (I just used Tree Hut Coconut Lime Shea Body Butter from Walmart & Costco and it's good!) and enjoy being baby-smooth for a few days!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Today at the Stake Provident Living Expo (which my husband organizes each year) in Bozeman, they served a wonderful lunch of three kinds of soups, rolls, and fresh fruit--perfect for a rainy fall day!

James took an orange and stuffed it in the inside pocket of his patagonia fleece. A few minutes later he patted it and said, "Mom, I'm saving this orange for Papa Bill when Jesus makes him back alive. He loves oranges and I want to share it with him."

It still makes me cry, just typing it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On Monday

On Monday, we (Rich, James, and I) went to Grandma Vivian's funeral, then ate turkey dinner with her family, then took a little nap, then painted the front door red to match our dala horse.Red door...
they weren't kidding when they named that paint "Red Geranium!"
Later, Rich took us out for pizza and root beer for dinner, and we took a drive to look at the fall colors and listen to MoTab on the cd player:
"For the beauty of the earth/ for the beauty of the skies/ for the love which from our birth/ over and around us lies/ Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise..."

We stopped at the cemetery to show the girls where Grandma Vivian is buried. It is not far from Grandma Adeline's grave.

After the cemetery, we looped around East River Road, Mill Creek, the ranch, and thn home.

Here is the Yellowstone River, looking west from East River Road near Pine Creek...BEAUTIFUL!
We saw dozens of deer grazing and resting on our drive.

Look how the pink mountains reflect on the river at the ranch!
It was a gorgeous evening.
Heidi had a meltdown on the way home (I took this picture over my head--that's her foot kicking while she howls from the backseat cuz she didn't get to stop and play in the tree house at the ranch). So it was a MOSTLY perfect day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Over the Weekend

We watched 8 hours of conference and baked more bread in the sun.
The Walds stopped by with a surprise visit from Arizona
(Fred Wald was a missionary here 7 years ago).
We had a nice visit and shared some sun bread and Kindall's honey with them.
Between conference sessions on Sunday, we took the camera and a picnic to Rocky Creek Farm (again--Addie and Daddy didn't get to go on Friday).

Here are Addie, James, and Heidi on a tower of hay.
James, Heidi, and Addie on the farm truck.
Our family on the farm truck.
Addie, James, and Heidi with the pony.
Heidi, Mama, James, Daddy, and Addie in the pony yard.
James and Addie at the sign.
Looks like it was a good year for squash at the farm, too!

(We grew TONS at the ranch)
Heidi swinging
Addie swinging

Addie and James watching the pigs.


This morning we lost our "Ranch Grandma", Vivian Ellison. She has been in the hospital suffering from teh effects of a stroke for a month, so it is probably a great relief for her to pass on. Now she can continue her great love story with Grandpa Melvin after 18 lonely years. We wish comfort and blessings for her entire family.

Otherwise, the week has been fairly uneventful--cooking, cleaning, school, homework, meetings, laundry, etc. Life is good, fall is beautiful, and we are looking forward to the holidays!
PS: Here are some kitchen tips for ya:
1. I think the best seasoning for scrambled eggs is Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning. It comes in a little grinder and it's so very good.
2. This is a super yummy recipe I tried this week. It's sure to become a staple for us...
PEANUT NOODLES & CHICKEN (click for link)
1/2 pound linguine (or spaghetti or soba)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup peanut butter (chunky was so good!)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1/2 cup bean sprouts (I used tiny celery slivers instead)
1. Cook linguine following package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2. Mix together the soy sauce, lemon juice and cornstarch. In a medium-size saucepan, combine peanut butter, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup hot water. Whisk in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in the sesame oil.
3. In a large bowl, toss together linguine, chicken and peanut butter mixture. Scatter cucumber and bean sprouts over the top and serve at room temperature.

This is what THE GIRLS were doing during Saturday Afternoon session...

Girls During Conference 10.02.10 from MelinFamily on Vimeo.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Week in Review

Last Saturday we tried out our new solar oven for the first time.

We heated up the oven to about 320 degrees (it was 70 outside, with a breeze, but the sun did its thing), then put in some risen bread dough--see Heidi putting in the bread pan.
James, Addie, and Heidi watching the bread out back.
Bread cooking in the sun.

Almost ready...

Addie with a fresh-solar-baked loaf of bread.

Saturday was a FUN, SUNNY, work-around-the house kind of day.

I really enjoyed the Women's Broadcast that night!

On Sunday afternoon, Addie baked me a birthday cake while I was napping. She made this by herself and ceven cleaned up her mess (mostly). Earlier that morning, she and Heidi woke us up and told us they had breakfast for us. They made cheesy scrambled eggs, toast (from the solar bread), and sausage patties with juice and cleaned up after themselves, too! Lucky me!

My in-laws gave me some mad money for my bday so I got a good cut-and color on Wednesday.


Today (Friday) was FIELDTRIP DAY! James and I sepnt the WHOLE DAY with school kids!

This morning at 9:45, we walked with Addie's class from the school to the nursing home. Addie's class is adopting grandparents for the school year.
Here are the kids in the lounge getting orientation for the activities director.

Learning our way around
At 11:00am, we walked back to the school and joined Heidi's class for a trip to Rocky Creek Farm (about 20 miles west of town).
We had a picnic with all the first graders.

Then we took a hayride out into the fields to pick a pumpkin.

There were lots of fun things to see on the hayride--James spotted a witch!

Heidi on the hayride.

Heidi with an armful of apples, ready to make cider!

James and Heidi tossing apples into the chipper.
[the chipper is kinda fierce]

Tova (L) and Heidi at the Rocky Creek sign

James and Heidi at the sign

There was a bunny for sale under this flower cart.

James running to the Hay Fort.

Heidi on top of the Hay Fort
James hiding inside of the Hay Fort
Heidi petting the sheep.

James and Heidi after a great day at Rocky Creek Farm!


We stopped by to wish Aunt Debbie & Uncle Kurt a happy birthday (they have the same bday--isn't that cool) after our field trips and now we are cozy at home, excited for an awesome CONFERENCE WEEKEND! Woo-hoo for getting edified in your jammies! You should join us HERE-- that's where we'll be basking, all weekend long. What ever you do, this weekend, ENJOY!


Dear Loved Ones ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...