Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hallloween 2012

 My husband took pictures just before I took everything down for the year.  He loves taking pictures.  That is a good thing because that is what keeps me from posting more.  Both my husband and Candice could eat, sleep, and drink photography.  Not a true love for me.  What is?  Decorating, creating, business, and grandbabies.  Photography is a true "barrier to entry" for me right now. 
 Lori Mitchell figurines
 (Click on picture to enlarge.)

 I absolutely love this cabinet.  It is so much fun to change things up in it.

 Candice and I decked out a few crows that partied at our house this year.

I had lots more up and a bunch more that I didn't put out this year.  Sad to see it go but we will enjoy the breathing space until we pull out the Christmas decorations.  With all the snow, it feels like they should be out and up.

We had a lot of snow Friday night.  We heard tree branches breaking all night long and the power was out for most of the night.  The temperatures are in the 20's.   We spent all morning yesterday shoveling snow, cutting up tree limbs and branches and hauling it to the compost station.  The back yard is still a war zone.  We lost three big tree limbs out of the Mulberry tree.  It might be the end of our Mulberry.  We need a chain saw and tall ladder before we deal with it.  Once again we were reminded of the saying, "Don't mess with mother nature."

We lost about half the fruitless plum in the front yard but I'm not so sad about that one.  There is a lot more light in the living room now that the sun can shine in.  Of course, I can see how dirty my windows are now too.  Good thing I bought a window washing from Groupon.  He is supposed to come and clean them on December 18.   What are the chances that will really happen with this freezing weather and snow?  I sure wouldn't want to be doing it.  He had such a big response, that he had to schedule two months out.  Burrr!

We attended the BYU vs Idaho football game.  The benches were covered with snow a foot high and it was 25 degrees but BYU won by a long shot so it was good.

Please leave me a comment and let me know that you dropped by.  I would love to reconnect.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween Mantel 2012

 I know that you haven't heard from me in awhile.  I didn't get up my Halloween decorations until a couple of weeks before Halloween but I thought you might like to see them.  My husband took a few photos for me so I could take down the decorations.  My theme for this year...The Curiosity Shoppe.  You know...things you might buy at the store if you were a witch.  I like how it turned out.  What do you think?
 These are just a few of the decorations.  I'm into instagram these fast and easy.  I keep up with all my kids that way and it is a quick way for me to post and keep them informed as well.
I've given notice at work and will work until the end of November.  I'm trying to be responsible and not go crazy finishing out our last big event... the last Breaking Dawn Premiere.  I'm hoping to get projects done and help Candice with posts on her blog.  Life is full of changes...including being called as the new Relief Society President (a women's organization in The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints).  So, here's to life and the challenges placed in our path.

What have you been up to lately?  I'd love to hear.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Peru 2012

 My husband and I had the chance to go to Peru with 30 BYU engineering students.  (April 23 - May 7) The students take two semesters to study world problems and find engineering solutions.  Our first projects took place in Matinga, a little village not too far from Cuzco.  This is one of our service projects.  The school asked us to prepare their green house.  Above is the before and below the after.  We removed lots of weeds, rocks, trash, glass, and brought in top soil.  The students will help plant and take care of the garden and the school will use the produce for school lunch.
 The cooking is done inside without ventilation so lung and heart problems develop as a result of smoke inhalation.  The students designed more efficient stoves that had better combustion to decrease the smoke.  This is an oven they are building for the school.  The challenge is to use affordable materials and to teach the villagers how to make and use these inventions.
 The oven team after completion.  With this oven, they will be able to bake bread for the whole school.  To primitive?  The school was given a beautiful three burner propane stove with to propane tanks and large pots.  It is sitting unused in the library because they can't afford to buy propane and they don't know how to use it.  They were excited to learn how to use the oven and even asked for the recipes we used to make the bread.
 The students jumped right in to make the adobe for several projects.
 See, you really can bake bread in a barrel.  It was delicious too.  We also made brownies and cookies.  (When I say "we," I do mean the students.  It's the "royal" we.)
 Working along with the villagers to make this stove and oven inside a families' kitchen.  Now he will teach others how to make their own.  He worked with our students for two days to build this.
 The stove team with their completed stove.  I got to help shuttle tools back and forth.
 I also got to go to all the classrooms and tell a story about, "The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything."  Brandon and Sarah helped me.  Brandon was great to dramatically retell my story in Spanish.  We gave all the boys little matchbox/hotwheel cars and the girls made pipe cleaner bracelets, and received pencils.  We had so much fun playing soccer with them, braiding hair, painting fingernails, teaching them how to do "Cat's cradle" with string, making balloon animals, and just playing in between working on projects.
 This is one end of one families kitchen.  Those are guinea pigs.  They raise them and eat them.  Yes, we even ate guinea pig.  I can't say that any of us liked it very much...just in case you wanted to know...too many little bones.
 We had to shop for supplies in Cuzco.  We found all kinds of interesting things while looking.  Snakes in a bottle anyone?  We watched as one vendor make a poultice for a women using liquid from this bottle and other creepy things to help with arthritis.  I wonder if it really works.  It sure must stink if nothing else.
 Maybe you would like to make soup out of these.  We aren't sure what kind of animal that is but I hope I didn't have that for dinner somewhere on my journey.
 The school was given some computers by the government but they hadn't been able to figure out how to use them.  Our students figured it out and then taught the teachers so they could teach their students.
 The first day in Cuzco, they were celebrating the anniversary of their artisans market so we got to see lots of dancing and wonderful costumes.
 We even got to go to church in Cuzco.
 And, we were able to tour and hike around Machu Picchu.  It was so incredible.  Unfortunately we only had one day to sight see before getting back to work.
 Our next stop was Puno.  We worked for 4 days on the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca.  Dora and Nelson were wonderful to host us all.  We loved the time we spent there.  Below, the students are teaching the people to build water filtration systems.  All their water comes straight from the lake...the same place all their waste goes...not a good combination.  There are many health problems as a result.  (The students built a filtration system last year for Nelson and Dora. Before the filtration system they had to have their children treated for parasites every few months.  Now they don't have that problem.  Others islanders reported the same results.  This time, they taught people how to make their own systems so they could build and maintain the systems on their own and we could reach so many more people.)
 The students also built a washing machine.  The women were excited to test it out.  All the washing in done by hand.  In the wintertime, that is an especially miserable experience since they can't help but get wet while doing it.  (The elevation is 13,500 feet above sea level.  It took some adjusting to be able to breath in that high altitude and the sun was intense during the day.  So easy to get sunburned.  Quite a few of us left our sunscreen behind for the children to use.)
 This is Emerson.  At age 6 he is a hand full but you couldn't help but love him.
 Emerson even gave me a ride around his island. (See the boat in the background?  His dad makes those for a living.
 I was usually surrounded by children.  We made things out of pipe cleaners, braided hair, painted fingernails, played duck, duck, goose. (pato, pato, gonzo), London bridges,Ring Around the Rosies, and anything else I could think of.  In this picture, I'm fixing "boo boo's" with triple antibiotic and "cars" and "mickey mouse" band aids.  It seemed like everyone needed a band aid after that.

We also built water pumps.  The islands have to be watered by hand in order to keep from drying out and splitting.  That gray pipe you see sticking up to the left in our group picture is the pump.  They were so excited to have one.  Other islanders made them for their islands too.

Life on the islands is hard.  They fish every day for food to eat. 
They islands are made out of reeds.  (Twice a year the reeds detach from the bottom of the lake and they use that as the base.  They have to move all the buildings and put more reeds underneath every two weeks.  They spend 4 days cutting the reeds.  No running water, no hot water, no bathrooms, not even a kitchen sink.  They had one solar panel that provided electricity for a couple light bulbs at night.  No heating, no air conditioning, no refridgeration.

We spent the night one night and it was freezing.  The ground was frozen in the morning.  I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful night sky than I did that night though.  So many stars and it was so quiet.

We had fried trout, rice, and potatoes that night for dinner with a mint tea to drink.  We had bread and eggs for breakfast in the morning.  It was such a fun experience.

I loved being with my husband and sharing this adventure with him.  I also loved all the students.  They worked hard and played hard.  We had a devotional every morning and night and I loved hearing what each of them had to say when it was their turn to give one.  Many of them were return missionaries who were able to practice their Spanish skills.  I don't know how we would have done it without them.  The students were gracious and loving and embraced the people we visited.  I hope we made a difference in the lives of those we tried to help.  I know that they made a difference in ours.  I would love to do it all again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Valentine Exchange Number Two

 Stephanie had her Valentine Exchange Party Saturday the 11th.  There were 21 people to exchange with.  Each person was asked to bring 12 Valentine's to exchange.  Steph does it speed dating style.  Creed, my grandson, took over my speed dates.  He exchanged all my Valentine's for me and then wanted to keep everything.  He had a lot of fun doing it.  I forgot my camera so took everything home so I could take pictures and then let Creed have almost everything.  OK...I kept the chocolates.  They were delicious.   And, I couldn't give up those cute measuring cups and teaspoons either.
 Little rose post earrings put in a miniature flower pot.
leather covered bobby pins, vinyl "love", taffy
felt heart garland
 Pancakes with cinnamon frosting.  What great presentation.

A vintage valentine enlarged and embellished.

Amazing cake balls dipped in chocolate.
Letter pressed card with custom made pencils.

I shared these with Eli...delicious.

There were 3 of these in that little bag.  There was a gooey filling in the middle.

A cute card with an owl and fox tattoo.

A little shovel full of m&m's

Water colored "love" with a bit of chocolate.

Great presentation with delicious handmade chocolate
Steph made lots of sugar cookies that everyone could decorate and take home.  She had strawberries and grapes, and other treats.  Plus, she had lots of cute decorations.  Lots of Valentine love was had by all.