Saturday, May 29, 2010


As requested, here are the recipes for the camp breakfast we had a couple of weeks ago:
(The entry and pictures are a couple of posts down.)

Giant Cinnamon Roll

2   1 lb loaves frozen bread dough
1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chopped pecans

Line Dutch oven with foil, and spray with Pam.  Flatten thawed dough, and cut each loaf into four pieces.  Form each piece into a rope about 18 inches long.  Brush each rope on all sides with butter.  Stir together sugars and cinnamon. Place mixture on a sheet of foil or a cookie sheet.  Roll a rope in sugar mixture and try to coat evenly.  Shape rope into a coil in the center of the Dutch oven.  Roll another rope in sugar.  Attach to the end of the first rope in the pan, and continue coil.  Continue coating ropes, and wrapping them around to form a circle that fills the pan.  Sprinkle remaining sugar over coil.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.  Bake at 350, for 30 minutes.

My notes:

I usually use frozen dough, but I mixed up some white dough that morning for the activity.  I made too much!  That was not terrible, as the girls really seemed to enjoy eating that dough.  Also, we only sprinkled nuts on half the cinnamon roll.  I did not bother to let the dough rise.  We were in a hurry, and it turned out fine, because it wasn't frozen at all. 

To get 350 with the Dutch oven, I used about 28-30 briquettes.  We put about 10 on the bottom, and the rest on the top.   We burned it a tiny bit on the bottom in the middle, but not much....

Kaitie made a big bowl of cream cheese frosting that morning, and so each girl could add her own frosting.  This is the recipe we used for that:

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 c powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk

Combine all ingredients until smooth.

My notes:  

This frosting is too good.  We doubled this recipe.  We knew that we would need plenty, and we were right.

The eggs and bacon we made in the muffin tins were just that...eggs and bacon.  I cooked the bacon at home.  I didn't cook it to crispiness, so it would be easy to place around the edge of the muffin cups.  We sprayed the tin with Pam, placed the bacon in, and cracked an egg in each cup.  We just cooked that on the grate, over the fire, until they seemed done.  We just had to move the tin around a bit, so it wouldn't get overcooked in any one spot.   I thought it would be fun to make each one "to order," by putting cheese, potato or onion in with the egg.  We didn't end up doing that, but I still may try it sometime. 

If anyone tries these, let me know how they turn out!

Monday, May 24, 2010


On Saturday, Emilee and Riley had picture day at the dance studio.  They have a show coming up next month.  Emilee is in a few different dances, but this costume is by far my favorite:

Riley is in only one dance, and here she is, ready for hers:

I told her we will not have to shop for Halloween this year.  We are good to go for that.

The girls consented to a couple of poses together:

It wasn't long though until the poses started looking like this.....

and this.

Those are better than the poses of Kaitie on Saturday night.  I have nothing.  Kaitie was in a little show out at the college on Saturday night.  It was a reader's theater type of thing.  It was locally written material.  Kaitie had only a handful of lines, oh, and a startling scream.   She sang one solo.....I better add that it was not connected in any way to the aforementioned scream.  I thought she did a nice job. She hasn't done much acting, and this was a place to begin. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

That Time of Year

It is that time of year again, when my attention turns to....

Girl's Camp.

Although camp itself is not until July, a lot of preparation will be happening between now and then.

We started with our pre-camp cooking certification last Saturday.  We met at 8:00 am, to make an awesome breakfast.  

We started with a normal fire...the kind that is started with a match.  That's easy enough.

Soon, we had eggs and bacon going.  This was a fun variation, in the muffin tin, that turned out pretty well.  (I brought a lot of fruit, in case the eggs didn't go as planned.  The combination made a nice breakfast.) 

After the eggs were history, the girls worked on other things.  They started a couple of flint and steel fires.  That was exciting for them!  I'm sure their shouts of joy were heard all over the neighborhood.  They didn't know if it would really work, but it did.  They tried to start a fire with a magnifying glass, but that didn't work.  Some of the girls put together first aid kits.  Everyone was cooperative and helpful.  I love these girls. 

The last thing we had, was something that has become a favorite tradition for our pre-camp cooking certification:

The Giant Dutch Oven Cinnamon Roll never fails to please.  I hardly helped to make it this time.  The girls are getting pretty good at it. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Music to my Ears

I don't know exactly when Kaitie decided that she really liked to sing.  She talked very early, and I think singing followed immediately.

When she was younger, maybe five or six she sang a duet with a boy in a church program, and she did really well.  She stayed on key, even when she was nervous.  I knew then, that she could do something with it if she wanted to.  She made up a lot of songs when she was little.  It was an outlet for her.....a safe way to express her feelings.

Now, Kaitie has a great private voice teacher, and really tries to put into practice the things she is taught.

She also really enjoys her high school choir.  They sing a variety of music.  The combination of culture, spirit and fun is impressive.  At her choir banquet, she won the award for Outstanding Soprano.  She wasn't expecting that.  I, on the other hand, wasn't surprised at all.

This picture is from Kaitie's choir concert last week. It was great!

I recently went with Kaitie to two musical auditions.  When I told her after each one how well I thought she did, she pretty much answered that I just thought that because I am her mom.  Well, being her mom does make me prefer her as a person, no doubt.  I don't think it impairs my judgment on the music though.  When my kids perform anything, I don't see it as perfect.  I truthfully think I see all the flaws pretty clearly.  I know what they practiced.  I know what they meant to do.  I wince with each mistake.  I am so well aware of every error.  My kids think I am blinded by my love for them.  I would say that the opposite is true.  I see (and hear) them with magnifyers!  
I look forward to her upcoming performances.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

The day before Mother's Day, we drove east.  We picked up Ally in Tempe, and continued driving east to Thatcher.  Ally went to school there a few years ago.  We walked around the EAC campus for a short time, but that was not the main reason for our visit.

Quite close to the EAC campus, we had smoothies at this not-quite-open restaurant:

It was nice to have a little visit there with the Blair family, who used to be our neighbors.  Emilee was especially glad to wish her good friend a happy birthday that very day

If our smoothies were any indication, that place is sure to be a success!

Next, our family enjoyed a tour through the Gila Valley Temple. 

Kaitie was with us, but wasn't in the mood to be in the picture, so she took this picture. 

LDS temples are generally closed to the public.  When they are first constructed, and before they are dedicated, the public is invited to tour through and see the beautiful rooms, and learn a little about the purposes of the temples.  We like taking our children to these open houses, as children do not usually get to go to the temple.   They enjoyed seeing the lovely artwork, and amazing chandeliers. I think each one felt a little of the peace that exists there.  It was a good experience.

I loved this picture of Ally.  I told her she should submit it with her mission papers.  She said it wouldn't conform with the guidelines for the required picture.  (I pretty much knew that.)  On that day, she had her mission papers ready to submit, except for the picture, so that was on my mind.

That evening, we drove back to the Phoenix area.  Although we stayed in a hotel, my prepared family brought me gifts and breakfast in bed for Mother's Day.  It was SO nice.  We attended church at noon.  After church, we went to see my brother, and his family.  We had a great time there.  We actually played Clue.  I hadn't played that for so many years.  We played that growing up, and it was perfect for the afternoon.  I even won.  Mrs. Peacock did case you were wondering.  My sister from Winslow and her gang joined us, and that made it an official party.

My sister in law made the most amazing meal for us.  We mentioned that Ally needed only a picture to complete her missionary papers.  I figured I would take a few and hope for the best.  Well, we mentioned that to the right girl.  Before I knew it, a mini photo studio appeared before my eyes.

This picture of my cute niece shows how mini it is.

Ally sat in a little pink chair.  It was fun and funny, both.  

And the final outcome looked like this:

Those mission papers are turned in now.  Ally was told that in three to six weeks she will receive her mission call.  I am so excited for her.  I predicted the call will come closer to three weeks than six.  Maybe that is just my wishful thinking.  It will be so nice to know how to help her to prepare!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh the Life of a Mother....

This is a continuation of the story I started writing yesterday.  It is about when I went to stay with Ally when she got her wisdom teeth out.

As I said, the first day (Thursday) she was injected with happiness.  That didn't last.

The second day she said, "No more happiness...."  (Brian Regan)

I started calling her pain medication a "bottle of the will to live."

Our world turned clockless, which is quite surreal.  I pulled the heavy curtains so Ally could sleep whenever she wanted to.  I read a lot, and I also slept at odd times.  I tried to keep her in ice packs and medication.  This was so different than my normal life which is very clock driven.

We found a KFC, so she could eat mashed potatoes.  When we ordered just a side of potatoes at the drive through, the deep voice on the other side came back with, "Can't I sell you anything else?" 

We found a Wendy's so Ally could continue enjoying her love of vanilla Frostys.  I never had one before.  They aren't bad.

This second day (Friday), I learned that Riley had thrown up at school.

Jeff had called my mom and asked if she could pick her up from school, and take care of her until Emilee was out of school.  My mom was so great to do that.  I was sure that Riley had just eaten something crazy, and that she wasn't actually sick.  I was so wrong.  Riley was sick for the rest of the day, and into the night.   Not only was Riley sick, but so was the clothes dryer.  That was not a good combination.  Bad laundry was piling up.

The third day Ally and I  went for a drive.  We ended up visiting a cousin of mine who showed us her new house.  I loved having that little visit.  Ally still wasn't feeling wonderful, so it kind of maxed her out.  Our other planned visits didn't work out, and I decided it was just as well.  Ally needed to rest.

I was supposed to go home on the fourth day, but Ally woke up SO miserable.  She felt so awful that I think she actually caught glimpses of herself having a completely different life in an alternate time line...  (If you are not a Lost fan, just move on.  Don't worry about that line at all.)  I wasn't sure what I should do.  I found out that my mom had gotten sick, and that Kaitie was sick.  I thought maybe I should go home.  I felt so torn.

I was texting my mom and Kaitie that morning (Sunday), in order to try to be quiet and let Ally sleep.  Kaitie was so sick, but said she thought maybe I should stay with Ally one more day.  My mom texted me, "Oh the life of a mother...."  She was referring to my little situation, I knew, but it made me think of hers.  I realized that her little Game of Life kids are scattered much more than mine are.  (This is a reference to my last post.)  Her life of a mother was helping me to be able to take care of my life of a mother.  I appreciated her so much.  I knew that because of her help (and Kaitie's unselfishness) I could stay with Ally for one more day.  I called the front desk of our hotel, and extended our stay. 

Monday was a turning point for Ally.  We were able to get presentable, and check out of our room.  We went on some errands, and I took her home and got her settled there.  The extra day made a world of difference to her.

I got on the road to go home in the afternoon.   Riley was feeling better, but by then Jeff and Emilee were also sick.  My amazing mom was feeling better enough that she picked up that bad laundry, and brought it back clean and folded.  She did that for me.  She did that so I wouldn't have to come home to that kind of insanity.  She told me my work was cut out for me as it was.  It was the kindest thing she could have done for me.  

When I came home to find Jeff, Kaitie and Emilee feeling so sick, I kind of wanted to head back to Ally's.  I expected to get sick too.  Fortunately it was not my turn for that.  The people, (and the dryer) were all well again by Wednesday.  Ally got back to work on Thursday.  It was good to get everything feeling normal again.

I will update about Ally when she gets her mission papers turned in.   As you can imagine, my feelings are very mixed on that subject.  I am excited for her to go and serve the way she has wanted to nearly all of her life.  BUT it will be hard to have her further away than she already is.  Oh the life of a mother.....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Will Just Have to Call This Part One.....

When I was a kid, and I liked to play the Game of Life.   The way I remember it, we didn't even play to the end of the game that often.  I don't have too many memories of retiring to that Millionaire space.  I guess that is good.  I won't have unrealistic expectations about this.  What I do remember is the beginning of the game.  That's where it all happened.  You got your job, your salary, your house, and your pink and blue plastic children.  I loved acquiring those little child pieces!  I liked my car to be full of them.  It was better than the colorful money.  But here is where the unrealistic part sets in.  During the game, those pieces stay in the same car with you.  They don't climb into other cars and go other directions.  The Game of Life didn't prepare me well for that.....

I could write posts and posts about what it is like to have one of my pieces in a car of his own, a thousand miles away.  Another day I will do just that!

This time, it is about Ally, also in a car of her own, two hundred miles away.

A week and a half ago, I went to stay with Ally for a few days. 

I left here on a Thursday morning at about 4:45, and drove off into the sunrise.  Didn't I just write that?  Yes, that is close to a line from my last post.  This was five days later than the day I went to the airport.  My car is starting to know the way over there by itself. 

I met Ally at the office of her oral surgeon.  We had a few minutes together.  She wasn't really that nervous.  She had actually been looking forward to this day.  She was happy to be taking steps closer to getting her mission papers turned in.  Ally was also looking forward to us spending some time together, even though she would be in recovery mode.  Her words:  "We always have fun, even if we aren't happy."  That is good.  I told her we would be doing even better if we could state it the opposite way.  Think about that.

Then Ally was called back to get her impacted wisdom teeth removed.

An hour or so later, they called me back to sit by her in the recovery chair.  They had told us earlier that she wouldn't need a follow up visit, but now they wanted to schedule one.  They had told us earlier that she had enough prescriptions, but now they wanted us to get another one.  They had a rough time getting that last tooth out!

Ally couldn't talk, as her mouth was stuffed with gauze.  I feel a little queasy just typing that out.  There are just certain things I am not good with.

Ally tried to communicate with me by drawing in the air.  She drew this thing, with both hands.  Each hand made a dot, and then a semi circle.  I was slow to get it.

It looked sort of like this:

"A mustache?"  "A butt?"  "The letter W?"  I questioned, for a minute, before I got that it was a smiley face.  She was just drawing it with two hands like a choir director.  She was telling me she was happy.  I was amazed she could be happy after this surgery.  "She's so amazing," I thought.  "She is so excited to turn in her papers that even this can't make her unhappy."  Although that is kind of true, it sure wasn't the reason for her mood.  She was so full of nice medications at the time, she couldn't help but draw the double smiley.  She wrote me some notes too.  I will amuse her with those someday.

Soon, we were escorted out to our car.  I had reserved a room just a couple of miles away.  I thought about staying with her at her place, or staying with nearby family.  I decided not to share a bathroom with all her roommates.  I decided we would visit family rather than staying with them.

I was grateful that the hotel was granting us a super early check in.  I was sure Ally would want to sleep the day away. 

I guess when you ask for a favor at a hotel, you don't get the nicest room they have.  I think we had the only room without a balcony.  We also had the bonus of finding a doll head sitting on top of the mirror.  Is that not creepy?  I got rid of it right away, of course. 

I was sure Ally would want to sleep for the rest of the day, but I was wrong.  She was still full of some magic medicine.  She wanted to fill the new prescription, and find nourishment.  She still couldn't talk to me, because she kept that gauze in place.  She typed me lots of messages on her phone.

We went to Walgreen's for medicine, yogurt, pink milk (strawberry, but Ally called it pink milk when she was a little girl) and pudding.  We found a smoothie place.  Yay!

Back at the room, Ally couldn't feel her mouth at all, and I had to help her pour that smoothie down her throat.  We laughed until we cried.  She was right.  We were having fun.

No time to finish this now.   I will just have to call it Part One, and come back later.  

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Weeks Ago

A couple of weeks ago Emilee and I took one of her friends to the airport in Phoenix. We got up at four, hit the road at 4:30, and drove off into the sunrise.

I drove chauffeur style, alone in the front, while the two girls rode together in the middle seat. I thought they would sleep. What was I thinking? They talked and laughed the hours away.

It was easy enough to check in at the airline. We wanted to wait until the last minute to send her through security, so her time alone would be short.

I looked at books and magazines, while the girls wandered and played. They didn't want to eat, but they bought some very expensive gum and mints.

Since they got up at four, they didn't want me to take pictures. I amused myself by trying to play paparazzi. My pictures didn't turn out well at all!! I am including them here, just so you know what I am talking about.

The girls did let me take this picture, because they really liked this exhibit called Recycle Runway. I liked it too! If you look at the link, take a quick peek at the photo gallery link.   The dresses are amazing!

After saying goodbye at security, Emilee stayed at the airport until the "I'm boarding" text message came.

Emilee and I spent the next few hours shopping. I could write a couple of posts just about that. I don't enjoy shopping itself, but I had a great day with Emilee.  It is hard these days to find modest clothes. I appreciate her effort to do so. That effort takes time, and so we put in the time.

One funny thing that happened, is that she ran into a friend of hers from home. What are the chances of being in the same town (three hours from home) at the same huge mall, and at the same store at the same time?  They shopped alone for awhile, and I had more time on my own.  (No pictures this time.  I actually bought a couple of things for myself.)

Besides a cute swim suit and a nice dress, Emilee and I took away a couple of great things from this day.

1. We are so lucky! Who else gets to say that they helped Dorothy get back to Kansas? (You think I am kidding!)

2. We LIKE each other. Near the end of our car ride home, Emilee exclaimed, "I didn't even use my ipod today!" Our conversation and fun filled her entertainment needs:)

Quick Update

I wrote about Riley's preparation for Track and Field Day on Thursday. I wrote about her attention to each detail.

She came home in a bad mood.

There is a risk in planning the details the way she does. As Riley planned, she overbuilt the event in her mind. (Okay, Detail know who you are. Do you do that?)

Riley came into the house that afternoon, and told me that she didn't win anything. She is not a very driven runner, so that didn't come as a shock to me. Last year though, she did do well in some of the silly events like the shoe kick. She expected to do well in SOMETHING. Apparently, it didn't go that way.

I got her to sit and talk with me for awhile. I asked her about the events. She told me that they threw bean bag turtles into fake toilets. (Wow?) She missed every time. I told her that her turtles were luckier than the others! We got to laughing about that. We told Emilee about it. We told Kaitie and one of Kaitie's friends about it. With each sharing of the story, her mood got lighter.

I found out one thing her preparation was good for. Riley took everything she was supposed to take, and then some. That little Propel she had, with the blue ribbon tied around it, went to another little girl who didn't bring much. I reminded Riley that was more important than Tug O War!