Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Present

Christmas...It was a little crazy around here!
We have had a houseful~
Curtis and Shae are staying with us for the Holidays and we also had
Rick's brother & sister-in-law and their 2 boys with us until today.
(Their 2 girls were with us for a couple of days too)
It's been a lot of fun. Glad the cousins could reconnect~
We also passed around a little stomach flu. Thankfully only 3 of us had that.
11 people with stomach flu would have certainly sent me over the proverbial edge!
A few favorites from this Christmas season:
(pictures aren't great, but I haven't had time to re-shoot...eventually I'll figure out how to take better pics with my point and shoot!)
A new Nativity

Flickering candlelight

A watchful elf

My all time favorite candle EVER!
(Christmas Presence, Gold Canyon Candles)

More flickering lights
I've had this little votive since Curtis was in kindergarten!
I love the Precious Moments Nativity on the glass.

Croaking, caroling frogs

A new Christmas tree, to fit in the alcove by the fireplace.
Love it! It has a kind of frosted look, it's really quite lovely~
Pre-lit...already have a strand of lights out. Don't love that!

Not Christmas, but a project we finally got done.
Love, love, love the family picture wall!

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas & hoping you are enjoying the Holidays with your family!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Past

Christmas Eve~ 1968
I was just a few months shy of being 3 years old.

When I was growing up, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was lighting candles on Christmas Eve.
Do you remember the Gurley candles?

There were Santas and snowmen,
Christmas trees and reindeer
I think the Christmas carolers were my favorites!
My mom had a set of 3 carolers (2 boys & a girl) and a lamp post. I loved those little candles!
On Christmas Eve, my 2 brothers and I would each have a candle. We would sit them in a jar lid to contain the wax. We would listen to Christmas music & watch for Santa's sleigh as the candles burned. When the candles burned out, that was our signal that it was time to go to bed.
Those little candles burned pretty quickly too!
We have a family Christmas party on Christmas Eve with Rick's family, so we haven't been able to carry on this tradition. We do it occasionally though. When we were in Arizona, I bought a really big Santa candle & we burned it every year. I think I'll pull him out this year...a little nostalgia sounds good to me!
We also had an "Elf on the Shelf" before they were the in thing.
During the 50's & 60's small red (or green) felt, knee-hugger elf ornaments were popular.
We had one and he would always show up the beginning of December. It was always fun to find him every year. He didn't move once he came to visit, but he kept a watchful eye on us all season long.
My kids are older, so we haven't joined the Elf on a Shelf craze, but we do have a couple of elves that I put out each keep a watchful eye & jot down if we are on the Naughty or Nice list. :)
I love traditions~ All the little moments that make the Holidays extra special!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Bloopers~ 2012

So many bloopers this year!
Sadly, I was not the one making them~ so I don't dare blog about them!
I really want to...
But I won't :)
However, here is MY contribution:
Hubby volunteered me to make rolls.
I have had some trouble baking since we moved last year.
Not sure if it's the elevation or the oven...but I am figuring out how to get things to work.
Last year, my rolls would not raise.
I solved the problem this year by using the fireplace...
I fired it up & put the rolls on T.V. trays in front of the fireplace.
Our house was 80 degrees inside~ but the rolls did raise!
It's kind of hard to tell from the pictures~ but I overcooked 1 pan of rolls. Not quite burned, but nearly!
Helpful tip:
If you are in the middle of baking while also cleaning up dinner & working on Christmas projects...
When the timer goes off~ CHECK THE OVEN!!!
Even if you are confused about why the time is going off...
Even if you think you don't have a batch of rolls in the oven...
I dumped these in the trash.
Then I dug them out so I could blog about it...
'Cause "Thanksgiving Bloopers" is becoming a regular feature here!
And I do not want to disappoint.
(Sorry, no Jell-O this year...)
Hope everyone had a wonderful, blooper free Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day


(Grandpa got to come to Shane's school for the Veterans Day Program)
Our family expresses our gratitude to all who have served our country.
Thank you
God bless you

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween

Is it just me, or is October CrAzY busy?
After  Fall break, the deer hunt, a ward party, 3 Halloween parties & the usual Halloween day festivities, I need a nap!!!
And since things weren't crazy enough, I decided to whip out a few spooky crafts.
I love me some cute mummies!
There are tons of cute versions of these little guys.
I started with the guy on the left.
I followed the instructions here: Mummy Jars
First off, it's kind of difficult to find the sheer gauze.
When I opened the package, I knew this was not the right stuff. I dug through my first aid kit & found some of the sheer gauze (looks more like cheesecloth) but it would need to be cut into I decided to go ahead with the gauze I bought. He kind of looks more like a ghost than a mummy.
I also don't like the mod-podge on this one.
Still, he's cute enough.
 I rummaged around trying to find something else to use. Everything else I had would have to be cut into strips, which I wasn't keen spending time doing. Then I remembered I have a box full of muslin strips from last year's Mummy project!
I tied 3 strips together and started wrapping the jar. I used hot glue to attach the beginning & end of the muslin on the jar, and placed a few strategic drops to hold everything in place.
Perfect! Quick, easy and so cute!
And look how cute he is all lit up!
(I used a battery operated tea light)
I made 3 of these guys.

 (Tabletop Centerpiece, my favorite decor this year)
 I might have a hard time putting him away!
I've also been making these candles.
Paper towel rolls, people!
These are fun to make!
I've made 10 so far and have 6 more to do (but not before Halloween!)
I went really drippy with mine. I think I went through 50 glue sticks!

I'd like to introduce you to a new blog friend:
Check out her awesome tutorials for making these candles.
And while you're there, check out some of her other fabulous, crafty ideas.
Make sure you visit her other site too:

My notes on the candles:
*I didn't do the masking tape "sling" to hold the tea light. Mostly because I couldn't find my masking tape!  I stuffed some newspaper in the top of each roll & that holds the tea light just fine.
*I spray painted my candles. I still need to do the dry brushing too. That will give them some added dimension.
*Make sure you don't drip glue on the inside of the roll. I did on a couple of mine & it's a pretty tight squeeze to get the tea light nestled in the roll. In fact, one of them I have to put the tea light up through the bottom, which is a pain in the patootie! :)
*My candle heights are:
10 3/4 " (full paper towel roll)
8 1/2"
6 1/2"
I also did a few smaller ones (like the ones with my table centerpiece)
They are
4" (I used a full toilet paper roll)
4 1/4" (the other half of the 6 1/2" roll)
These are so fun to use everywhere!
I love the flickering lights~
And I love mostly cutesy Halloween stuff but like a little bit of spooky/macabre too. :)
Some other favorite decor this year:
Like this so much better than the spiderweb stuff. Plus it's cheap!

This cute little witchy owl:

Another votive for my flickering lights obsession!

Mini headstones from Dollar Tree~

Now, on to the party details!
Our friends invited us to a Costume party.
I'm not a big fan of dressing up~
This was our first ever costume party...
And since I've had many requests for a picture of our costumes...
Here ya go!

(Shane was the photographer, so this is the best picture we have. Doctored up a little bit with picmonkey)
Any guesses to who we are?
My wig freaked the kids out!!!!
I actually bought 3 different wigs (do NOT tell my husband!) trying to find the right one.
I took an appetizer to the party~
"Severed Zombie Fingers in a Blood-Red Reduction"
( Little Smokies in the slow cooker w/ a can of jelled cranberry sauce & a bottle of chili sauce).
It was a fun party.
The wig drove me nuts all night
And I didn't wear my glasses so I couldn't see anything,
but other than that, it was a fun party! :)
I also do a Halloween Dinner for my family every year.
The kids wanted a Mystery Menu dinner again.
For that I served up:
A. Witch's Delight on Shoe Leather
B. Skeleton Fingers
C. Raw. Slimy Squid
D. Cyclops Poop
E. Headless Horseman w/ Vampire Teeth
F. Werewolf Guts
G. Jellied Spider Web
H. Zombie Pus
I. Tombstones
J. Ghost Brains
K. Hunchback's Club
L. Coffin Crud
M. Dried Eye of Newt
N. Bones on a Slab
O. Ghostly Apparition
P. Scarab Shells
Q. Scarecrow Stuffing
R. "Thing"
Sounds yummy, no?
Here's a link to the dessert I served~
*I used 1 cup of pecans
And dang, this stuff is good.
Even better the next day~ as in "died and gone to Heaven" better. In fact, I think I'll go sneak the last piece right now!
Tonight will be the last "party". Shane's friends will be coming here for dinner before they hit the streets. I'll be serving Mummy Dogs, chips, carrots sticks, celery sticks, dip, deviled eggs & Pomegranate 7-UP. I forgot a dessert, but I don't think they need any more sugar tonight!
Now I really need a nap!
(Mystery Menu Code Key: A=Pumpkin Crunch Cake, B=Fork, C=Spaghetti Noodles, D=Green Beans, E=Candy Pumpkins w/ Candy Corn, F=Spaghetti Sauce, G=Grated Cheese, H=Ranch Dressing, I=Garlic Bread, J=Whipped Cream, K=Spoon, L=Parmesan Cheese, M=Sunflower Seeds,
N=Symphony Bar w/ a plastic skeleton, O=Napkin, P=Croutons, Q=Salad, R=Fork)
(Again, with picmonkey!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Absolutley Amazing Lasagna

This is my favorite lasagna recipe.
It is incredibly yummy!
Amazing Lasagna
1 pound ground beef
6 ounces ground pork (not sausage, see notes)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (1 pound) tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2 Tbs. parsley flakes
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.  basil leaves
24 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano leaves
12 lasagna noodles, cooked & well drained
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook and stir ground beef, ground pork, onion & garlic in large saucepan until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off all grease.
Add tomatoes, break up with a fork if necessary. Stir in tomato sauce, 2 Tbs. parsley flakes, the sugar, 1 tsp. salt and the basil. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 1 hour or until mixture is the consistency of spaghetti sauce.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbs. parsley flakes, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the oregano. Reserve 1/2 cup meat sauce for thin top layer.
In un-greased 9x13 pan, layer 1/4 each of the noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese mixture. Repeat the layers 3 times.
Spread reserved meat sauce over top, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
(Lasagna can be covered and refrigerated several hours at this point if desired. Add an additional 10-15 minutes to cook time)
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes
For easier cutting, let stand 15 minutes after removing from oven.
Yield: 12 servings
*My Notes:
Ground pork can be a little difficult to find. You can substitute a mild sausage if you have to. Try a mild Italian sausage, or a mild country sausage.
The cheddar cheese is my addition. We just like it with just a little bit of cheddar!
I use pre-grated Parmesan, I've found a brand I like. When I first started making this, I used the Kraft powdered stuff, 'cause I didn't know there was any different kind. You can use whichever you prefer.
The simmer time of the meat sauce will depend on what type of tomatoes you use. I usually use either petite diced or crushed style of tomatoes.
Start to finish takes about 2 hours. Approximately 1 hour prep/assembly & 1 hour baking time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Favorite Things~ Fall 2012 Edition

Just a few of my Fall Favorites:
Gold Canyon Candles: Gingerbread House (no longer available)
And Subway Art
Colette @ My Computer is My Canvas has some super cute
This nail polish, well the color at least.
The polish itself was thick and globby, but I persevered anyway.
Now I have orange toenails, with a black crackle overlay...
That look like they were done by a 2 year old.
*Persevered: "Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success".

This dish scrubby. Made from tulle/netting. Best scrubby I have ever used. I love that I can throw them in the dishwasher or the washer & they don't unravel.
I have got to learn to crochet (better) so I can make these.
*See Above

One of my favorite kitchen tools!
I have wanted one of these For.Ev.Er.
There's a funny story behind how I finally ended up with it. I'll have to share that another time.
(Recipe using that grated cheese...coming soon! YUMMY!)

Seeing this jars filled with yummy goodness.
I didn't get much canning done, but we are loving what I did get done.
The grape juice is totally amazing. So very, very good!
I hope to get a bigger harvest next Fall because everyone loves this stuff!

I love this stuff!
A friend suggested I try it with my kids & it is seriously awesome! Has made a huge difference with Shane!
He had a strange virus this year, right after school started & he missed 5 days of school.
(We were concerned that it was something serious as the symptoms he had looked like Juvenile Arthritis or even something more serious, but thankfully turned out to be some weird virus).
I remembered I had a bottle of these chews still, and had him start taking them.
He takes 1 a day, and then if I know he has been exposed to something, I have him take 2 a day for a few days. Last year, he was hardly sick at all. That's a big improvement from the year before!
I also am doing an Attendance Reward program with him that has helped too (not with the sickness, but with his attendance and tendency to miss school for minor ailments).

A little Halloween fun with picmonkey.
My kids think I'm crazy! :)

Beautiful Autumn colors.
Haven't the leaves just been brilliant this year?
We took a drive again yesterday & the colors are still going strong!

Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Delicious Apple Crisp

My mom has been making this yummy Apple Crisp for as long as I can remember.
She got the recipe from a newspaper clipping & I've only seen one other similar recipe.
This Crisp recipe does not have oatmeal, but does have a yummy, crunchy topping.
In addition to being yummy, it is also super easy to throw together.

Apple Crisp
4 cups apples, pared and sliced (4-5 medium apples)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
Place sliced apples in a buttered casserole dish or 9x13 pan (glass is best).
Sprinkle with spices.
Combine water and lemon juice and pour over the top.
Work together the flour, sugar and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
(You can use a pastry cutter, a mixer, or just do it by hand)
Spread evenly over the apples.
Do not cover.
Bake @ 350 until apples are tender
Approx. 45 minutes to 1 hour.
My notes:
*Use a good baking apple!
And there are lots of differing opinions on this!
 Try Granny Smith, McIntosh, Roman Beauty, Cortland or Gala apples.
*Use a potato peeler to peel the apples. It is so much easier than peeling with a knife. This is my new favorite cooking tip...thank you Internet!
*I always just combine the crisp part by hand. This is one of the first things I remember my mom teaching me to make. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Patriot Day

Free Printable available here:
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Concord Grape Juice

We were able to harvest some grapes before the stupid pesky birds & wasps got them all.
This was my first time bottling grape juice.
I was able to borrow a steam juicer, which made the process much easier!
I only got 6 quarts, but that's not too bad considering our luck with the rest of our fruit this year.
With the exception of the apricots, of course.
Hopefully peaches will be next.
Not from our tree...
We only had a few peaches, because the apricot tree has kind of overpowered the peach tree.
In fact, the apricots were larger than the peaches.
Our plan is to prune everything back this year and hopefully have a better crop next year.
(For the birds to eat, of course).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sixes...Part One

Today's the day...six years ago since our son was in a terrible, near fatal car accident.
Today...I'm just gonna ramble about some memories that have been rattling around in my head the last couple of days. Sort of a "stream of consciousness" kind of post. Might be long, feel free to skip it if it's not your thing.  There are a lot of memories,  so I'll just pick out the stand-outs.

(Well, so much for pulling out a few memories to share. I started writing and it just kept coming. I'm not editing, just posting it as is~ that's the type of post it's meant to be, I suppose. Read it if ya like. I decided to break it down into a couple of posts because this is getting quite long and I don't have any more time to spend on it today. So, more to come)

Here we go!
When I got the phone call from Rick~ I remember where I was, what I was doing. I remember calling my mom & dad and asking them to go to the hospital (we were in Arizona, Curtis was in Utah). I was on the phone with my mom at the same time the police were at the door with my dad. (Really? That's as far as I could get with the writing before I got choked up with emotion? This is a story I've told, remembered, lived so many times...strange when those emotions come flooding back).

That first night: Calling my friend Jeniel, talking with the neurosurgeon on the phone, praying with my children, crying. Not being able to be there, relying on our family (my parents, my 2 brothers, Rick's parents, Amy & Gary) to be there for us. Their constant vigil in the ICU. Trying to figure out how to get to Utah in the shortest time possible. We were going to drive, but the hospital begged our family to try and find another way, driving is too risky when you are in shock. We ended up flying to Utah the next morning, flight arranged and paid for by Gary & Amy.
Trying to get everyone packed and ready to fly to Utah very early the next morning. Praying for, and receiving help to find all the things I wanted to take with me; pictures, Curtis' favorite blanket, a stuffed doll from his childhood (Curtis slept with his Cabbage Patch doll, Buddy, until he was 12!)

My dad and brother meeting us at the airport. It was kind of emotional. The very, very long drive from Salt Lake to Provo. Probably the longest drive of my life.
Our family and friends & some of Curtis' friends gathered in the ICU waiting room.
The long, slow walk down the hall to see Curtis for the first time. You know those horror movies with the hallway that keeps getting longer and longer...that's what it felt like.
Seeing Curtis for the first time. Wow. No words can describe. I didn't cry. To be honest, he was unrecognizable. The only thing we recognized were his very ugly feet! :) The first thing I said, as I stood in shock at his bedside: "Oh Curtis, what have you done?" (There comes those pesky emotions again).

Hours and hours and hours spent by his bedside. While family kept a supportive vigil in the waiting room. Making friends with some other families that also had loved ones in the MICU (Medical ICU.

Wonderful, amazing doctors and nurses who have a very special place in my heart. I really believe we were blessed with the best of the best.
Visits, care packages, food, money from caring, loving friends & family.
The first time Curtis opened his eyes. I had just walked in to his room. I was alone...and kind of freaked out a bit! He wasn't awake, but had his eyes open a little. I thought something was wrong. Or at least more wrong than things already were! Thank goodness for our nurse, Barb. I hurried out to find her. Nothing was wrong, just the process of waking up from a coma.

One of the nurses telling me that Curtis always calmed down when I was there. His blood pressure, heart rate and ICP (intracranial pressure) would always go down when I was there. This meant a lot to me.
Learning a whole new lingo. Glasgow Coma Scale (his was a 3, the lowest possible score), Vena Cava filter, restraints, ICP, PEG tube (feeding tube), ventilator, vegetative state. Many of these words I already knew, experiencing them first hand was a whole 'nother thing.
Emily seeing Curtis for the first time. It was really hard for her. He was pretty banged up.

After 2 weeks, we realized this was gonna be a long haul, so we flew with the other kids back to Arizona so they could get back in school. They had been in school 10 days before we pulled them out to go to Utah. I don't know how my kids passed school that year. It was a rough, rough year.
Leaving Curtis behind @ the hospital, being cared for by the doctors and nurses, and being watched over by our family. Hard, hard, hard! Our kids being allowed in the MICU to stay good-bye to Curtis before we left. At this point, still not sure he's gonna make it. Not sure he'll stay alive until Rick & I can get back the kids settled in AZ & then fly back to Utah.
Crying in the airport terminal as we waited for our flight. I have absolutely no words to describe the devastation I felt at having to leave Curtis at this point. Funny memory from that day (well, funny that I remember it, the incident wasn't funny) Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter was killed that same day & it was all the big news of the day that everyone was talking about.

The flight to Arizona~ I sat with the boys and Rick & Emily were in the row behind us. The lady sitting next to Rick struck up a conversation about why we were traveling. As Rick briefly told her our story, she expressed her condolences and then asked some questions, she was very nice, but I remember feeling like I wanted to just turn around and scream at her to shut up! (I didn't do it!)
Later, as we waited at the baggage claim, this same lady found us and asked for our son's name so that she and her family could pray for him. We had this same type of kindness repeated over and over and over. Not only by family and friends, but by total strangers.

Some very sacred, spiritual experiences. Too sacred for me to blog about.

Meeting one of my former Young Women when we toured the rehab facility at the hospital. She was there with her mom. I completely fell apart that day. (Thanks Janice, for letting me cry on your shoulder!) Probably one of my worst days during that initial hospital stay.

Staying at the Guest House at the hospital. Rick flying to UT on Friday night or Saturday morning, and flying back to AZ early Monday morning. Having to transfer to the Hampton Inn the last 2 or so weeks. They were incredibly kind to me.
My mom and dad spent every day with us for the whole entire 2 months we were at UVRMC (except for a couple of days when my dad got sick). My dad was never afraid to help with Curtis. He would feed him, hold his pee bottle for him, and push him in his wheelchair through the halls of the rehab. I relied on their support a lot. Rick's parents were also awesome. Rick's mom flew to AZ and lived there & took care of the kids so I could stay in Utah with Curtis and so Rick could work & then be free to fly back and forth on the weekends. Never could have done it without the help of both our families.

Inpatient Rehab. Hated it at first. It was a hard transition. But once we got the kinks worked out~ I loved it there and the nurses, therapists and PCT's (patient care techs) became my family.
Long rehab days. I would get there about 8 AM and leave about 10 PM.
Walking across the street every morning. And back to the Guest House every night, feeling very much alone.

One day, our nurse Fanice came in and asked if I had had any lunch yet. I replied no, and she encouraged me to go take a break; "I'll watch over your boy while you're gone." What a kind, sweet thing for her to say to me.
More new terminology: Rancho Coma Scale, neuropsychology, left side neglect, adaptive strategies, post traumatic amnesia, the GOAT, severe traumatic brain injury.

The medical staff were always so amazed at how big Curtis was. He is a big kid. He was too tall for the beds, his feet always hung over the end of the bed.  Everyone also thought him to be much older than 19.

Helping Curtis shower for the first time. I'm sure it was a scary experience for him too! He was still not fully awake yet. I had to convince the PCT that it would take more than the two of us to help him, and I was right! There ended up being 4 of us and I think we were all drenched by the time we were through.

Pureed food, doctoring up pureed fish with sour cream so Curtis would eat it. Curtis always wanting more milk. Curtis being very adept at eating the Jell-O and spitting out the fruit that was in the Jell-O. He also really liked chocolate pudding and did I mention milk?

Curtis having to learn to eat, walk and talk all over again.  Rick spending a Sunday afternoon helping Curtis find his voice. He was talking a bit at this point, but always in a whispery voice. So Rick helped him figure out how to make the sound come out louder.

Curtis spilling soda and ice cream in the same spot in the hall outside the gym. I think they've since replaced the carpet in that hall with hard flooring. Good choice!

Eating at the hospital Snack Shack. Developing an "addiction" to Dr. Pepper (someone was always bringing me a DP!)

Late night conversations with some of the PCT's.
Thumb Wars
"Mr. Brody" (aka Gary Coleman, yes the celebrity)

Curtis wanting to go all over the hospital looking for "that tiger movie" to rent.
Being recognized all through out the hospital because of our daily rehab walks with Curtis.

Funny, sometimes strange and bizarre conversations with Curtis. I've said if before~brain injury recovery is like living in a real-life hallucination! One funny conversation we remember was with Emily. They were talking on the phone. He told her he was a "B". We are all worried about what was gonna come next, but no, he literally meant a bee, a fat, orange and black bee.

Another time, some wonderful friends in AZ had paid for Emily to fly to Utah for the weekend. That Sunday, we were in his room, Curtis was in his wheelchair, he had to be strapped in (restrained) and he was trying everything he could think of to get Emily to unstrap him so he could get up and get out of there! It was quite a funny conversation that we captured on video.

The first time that Curtis actively participated in Speech Therapy (even if it was brief). He read through a stack of flash cards, out loud! It was awesome!

The first time Curtis could answer the GOAT correctly after his therapy session. Or at least mostly correct. Even if he had forgotten by the next session.

Curtis did not make much progress in rehab. It was a discouraging few weeks. Once he had his second surgery, he started doing much better and the next thing I knew, we were being discharged.

Having to help hold Curtis down while the nurse took the staples out of his head (from his last surgery). He was furious with me! "You held me down while she hurt me! How could you do that to me!?!" It was not always fun being the mom/nurse/caregiver/therapist.

Our final staff meeting. Saying good-bye to the doctors and therapists we had grown to appreciate, admire and love. Not-so encouraging words from the physiatrist (rehab doctor), statistics, data, prognosis is bleak, blah, blah, blah. Followed up by kind and encouraging words from the neuropsychologist. Thank goodness!

My friend Connie coming to see me just a day or two before we left to take Curtis home. Curtis was in full-fledged Rancho IV at this time and I wasn't dealing with is so well. Connie was kind, patient and even made me laugh! She knew some of the staff there, and let's just say the psychologist was very earnest in her attempts to help.

The absolute fear Rick and I felt when we walked out of the rehab unit for the last time, Curtis in tow. He was at a Rancho Score of 4. Not a really good place on the scale to be. He was very, very inappropriate and combative. Saying we were scared to death is a gross understatement.

The drive home. It was horrible! Curtis was sick and confused. He thought we still lived in Spanish Fork & couldn't figure out what was taking us so damn long to get home (his words). He wouldn't keep his seat belt on, and he wanted to stop about every 1/2 an hour. He was exhausted and it was a difficult 10 hour drive home. Stopping at a park near a Wendy's and letting him sleep on the ground on a blanket. Hiking across the parking lot to buy him a chug of milk when we stopped at Pizza Hut in Flagstaff for dinner.
We got home late, but all in one piece. The next morning, Rick went to work, and my role as full time caregiver to a severely disabled son kicked in to high gear.

 I remember the next morning, just feeling like "Now What?" What the heck was I supposed to do?

...More to come~

You can also read previous (shorter!) posts here: Curtis

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Apricots, Apricots

Turns out that birds also like eating my apricots.
And so do squirrels!
(Yeah, we have all kinds of critters 'round these parts)

We did salvage two 5-gallon buckets full of apricots though.
So~ what's a gal to do with two buckets full of very ripe apricots???

Jam, of course!

 11 Pints of Freezer Jam
5 Pints of cooked Jam (pain in the patootie to make!)
4 Quarts Nectar (or Chewy Juice as Rick's family calls it)

See anything unusual in this picture?
(Besides the really dry, hope-it doesn't-burn field?)

Here's a little bit closer look.
She was in the garden, by the apricot tree. She startled Shane, or he startled her...Or both.
He ran in the house, she ran to the back yard; for her photo shoot.
Shane thought it was a really big buck, but he turned out to be a she...with big ears!  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Well Then...

Birds hate me.
No, really...
It's a proven fact.

First, there were the Robins that started chirping. The chirping started every day, as soon as there was even a hint of light in the sky, and ended never every evening when the sun went down.
It was incessant, and nearly enough to drive me insane!

Now, I normally enjoy birds.
But this was a little much.
5 AM is not a good time for me!

Add to that the latest insult:

We have a cherry tree. A little over a week ago, it was loaded with sweet, juicy, nearly-ripened cherries. We had eaten a few handfuls of cherries and were anxiously awaiting them to be fully ripened.

Saturday evening, things were looking good...
Tree still loaded with fruit.
Monday evening, I walked over to check the fruit trees...
My jaw literally dropped to the ground and I gasped!
The cherry tree was picked clean.
Every. Single. Cherry.
I was so mad!
Those stinkin' birds!!!

I knew we'd lose some cherries to the birds~ but had no clue they would eat every single cherry!!!
I guess I should have been tipped off when I saw the Starling hopping around on the the back lawn with a cherry in his mouth. I'm sure he was taunting me.
I think every bird in the county was perched in our tree, having a sweet little feast. There was quite a variety of birds, which at any other time would have been awesome...
But this time, I was just too mad!

The apricots and peaches are still looking good, but I'm sure the squirrels will probably get to them.
I'm not sure there's even any point to growing my own fruit.
I guess at least the birds won't go hungry.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eclair Cake

This is a favorite dessert around here.
It's one of those recipes that is super easy, but has a great "Wow" factor.
Makes an elegant dessert for Bridal or Baby Showers or other special events.

My recipe is a combination of 2 similar recipes, one from my recipe guru, Sharla; and one from  Amy.

Eclair Cake


1 1/2 cubes margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water
6 large eggs

In a medium saucepan, combine margarine and water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in flour. Allow mixture to cool in pan for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whip 6 eggs until well blended. Pour eggs over mixture in saucepan. Use a hand mixer to combine mixture until it has a smooth consistency and appears glossy. Spread into a greased jelly roll pan (12x17) with a rubber spatula. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely. (I make the crust the night before)
Crust will puff up, but flattens as it cools.


8 oz. package cream cheese
3 TBS. milk
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups milk
16 oz carton Cool Whip
Chocolate Syrup

Beat cream cheese and 3 TBS milk until smooth.
Beat vanilla instant pudding mix with 3 cups of milk. When thick, mix with cream cheese mixture.
Fold in Cool Whip.
Spread on cooled crust, leaving a little of the edge showing.
Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Cut into squares to serve.
Makes about 24 large squares

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mystery Solved

Well, the identity of the "Mystery Bush" has been solved.
Let me tell you, the flowers took their own sweet time in blooming!
Meanwhile, I was doing my best sleuthing work...

I asked anyone who came to the house if they knew what the bush was.
Best/Most Popular guess was lilac...but no one was sure.
I tried finding info online....Nothing was a good match...I was seriously beginning to doubt my ability to "find stuff out".
Until one night, I did a search for "late blooming lilacs" and BINGO, I had a match!!!

 They are lilac bushes, but they are not the standard, "Old Fashioned" lilac, also known as French Lilac, or Common Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris) but rather they are a hybrid, James MacFarlane/ Preston Lilac (Prestonia Vulgaris). I actually have 3 of them, 1 pink & 2 purple. They bloom about 2 weeks later than Old Fashioned lilacs.

Now we can all sleep at night~

A few other plants that have been showing off the last couple of weeks:

 (Red Twigged Dogwood)


 (Snowball Bush)

 (Red Valerian/"Jupiter's Beard")
I have a lot of these reddish/pink flowers.

 (Chives in the front garden)

(Wisteria off the back deck~ almost ready to bloom)