Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Kaede! (even if it is a few days late)

This month Kaede discovered my Pinterest, just in time for her birthday. She found this pin and her new birthday cake. Much tastier and less frustrating than a fondant cake at least.

Did you see that picture in the link?  I've gained weight just planning to make this.  Me being me a recipe really is more of a suggestion than anything and the first thing I planned to do was swap peanut butter for caramel. Everything is better with caramel, right?  Of course it is! 

The other problem I had is not having two springform pans the same size. I have a ton of cake pans. Round ones, square ones, standard 9x13, ball ones that the middle pops out, etc. yes, it is a huge storage issue but I cope. I have nesting spring form pans (they came as a set from a yard sale, I promise). I do however have a cake leveler that will evenly cut a cake -- or brownies in half.  It was at least a good idea. I ended up making two batches and having thicker layer of brownie. What's wrong with more brownie? Not much of course. I did end up having to compensate with only one layer of ice cream because my springform pan is too short, but I doubt I'd have been able to get two full layers anyways. I think there maybe another solution out there but I don't know what it is yet and I'm in a hurry for it to freeze so maybe its for the best.

I'm not going to share my version of the recipe because it can still be improved.  The ice cream layers never froze solid enough that would cut without squishing out the sides.  I don't know if thinner brownie layers would have been better for that or not and I don't know if peanut butter freezes more solid than caramel.  Experimenting is definitely in order and meanwhile the first attempt was great.  I may end up using store ice cream in the future for the more solid freeze.  If I end up with perfecting this one I'll let you know.  Meanwhile you will have to click through the link to Pinterest.

one huge caramely ice cream cookie

Kaede's birthday was on Thursday and Tuesday night, realizing that her Pinterest dream party wasn't going to happen she said "Mom, for my birthday will you call Brittney and see if I can go visit Kaleb?  I really want to see him for my birthday."  I've had them give the Flints a little more space knowing that they would be inundated with well meaning people want to come visit their inspiration but such a sweet from the heart birthday wish?  Of course I'm going to follow through on that.  Thursday they were back up to PCMC so we went over a few days early to get some Kaleb time in.  If you haven't heard of Kaleb he is a little boy in our neighborhood who was hit by a car beginning of July and has been amazingly strong and such an inspiration to everyone.  The link takes you to his Facebook page for updates and the initial story.

Kaede and Kaleb

Kaede's birthday party list sounded like a blast, however unrealistic it may be.  Things were always changing around like the color theme, she decided to settle for Lagoon instead of Disney (I did mention unrealistic right?) games to be played and lets not forget the entertainment.  The one slot that didn't change was entertainment.  She preferred One Direction but since she knew that probably wasn't going to happen she wanted Brother Huff to come.  She didn't get a party at all, much less the dream version she'd plan in her free time but she did get a bouquet of flowers from Huff'nPuff.  What more does a 10 year old need for her birthday besides a visit with Kaleb, balloon flowers and ice cream cake?  I'm not certain, I do know that this one was pretty happy about it all.

Bouquet of flowers from Ryan Huff

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Today I woke up determined to be stronger than whatever yesterday was all about. Stronger than my pillow, stronger than a headache (that's been gone since Tuesday)

If I'm determined to be strong today I don't like the implication that I was weak yesterday. I have no idea what last night was all about, just that it makes for a very busy day today with things that can't be rushed like cake time in the freezer. And a long list of housework and laundry that is important to me. 

I won't say I was weak yesterday, but please, please let today be different

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I don't know how many times since Paul and I separated and especially the last year I've wondered why I have to go through this alone. What "this" is has varied from spring cleaning to shouldering major trials. Today I realized I'm not who I use to be. 

Over the last few years I've discovered my individual worth, uncovered strength buried so deep it was virtually impossible to find and been humbled far beyond what was comfortable. I've made mistakes and stood strong when I felt like crumbling. I've crumbled and had help picking up the pieces.  I'm not through this yet and have started to wondered if there is such a thing and being done with a trial. 

I have grown in ways I never imagined possible. I've learned that sometimes I need thee every hour isn't often enough. Prayer can get one through anything. Faith can do more than move mountains, it can give hope in the middle of the darkest night. A well timed phone call is better than the strongest medicine and true friends are priceless. 

The old me could say those things but the new me believes them with every breath I take. 

I do get weary dealing with life alone, but alone is what has forced me to grow and for that I am deeply grateful.  I've had to deal with this alone so I can become the me I'm meant to be. 

If at some point there are lessons for me to learn not being alone I would be okay with that too, this path is often lonely. 


I have ideas for a couple of different posts today. This is none of them -- what today boils down to is me needing a little perspective so today you get a gratitude list. Don't worry, other posts will be coming.

  •  I'm grateful for modern (and not so modern) medicine. I'm also grateful for insurance so I can access physicians and treatments.
  • I'm grateful for my garden and the memories from childhood tied to gardening. 
  • I'm grateful for the rain and weather we've had, it's been very refreshing. 
  • I'm grateful for prayer, in so many more ways than I can express tonight. It is what keeps me going when I don't know if I can go any further. 

Have a goodnight, and sleep well. 


Yesterday's quick haul. I ran to get some stuff for lunch quickly. 

Pardon The Dust

I'm spring cleaning and remodeling. Please hang tight and if something really doesn't work let me know. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Dutch Oven Potatoe recipe

At the great cabin party '13 I attempted to make Dutch Oven potatoes. It's one of my favorite foods ever and I will occasionally make them in the crockpot. However, when we are having a dinner at the cabin the guys are in charge of cooking most things, including the potatoes. With that background the cabin party was a learning lesson. I forgot how long they take to cook, I forgot cheese but thought I'd sub with fresh curd and that was a bad idea, forgot the charcoal chimney to get charcoal for the top, didn't keep an eye on the flame after I moved it to the camp chef and they burned.

Dutch oven potatoes aren't difficult so I'm out to redeem myself. I had a long list of what went wrong but I wasn't sure it was complete so I turn to Google research. People put strange things in dutch oven potatoes like dried fruit (?!?). That said, it is a very versatile recipe that you can add almost anything to, I guess including dried fruit. 

My dutch oven recipes never include measurements so good luck!

Dutch Oven Potatoes
1 package thick slice bacon, cut into about fourths
Onion either diced or thinly sliced (how much depends on you, my kids don't love onions so I use about 1/4 but have enjoyed some with much more onion in it)
Potatoes  at least 1 large potato per person, great as leftovers so I always make a lot more. If using something with a soft skin (yukon gold or baby red) wash and slice.  If they have a tougher skin like russets I peel them then slice. A mandolin is perfect. 
Sprite at least a can, it's cheaper to buy it in a 2-liter and I also use it in my dutch oven peach cobbler so that's what I bring. 
Old Bay Seasoning
Grated cheese probably a cup depending on how many potatoes. Something that melts well, not curds. 

Cook bacon in dutch oven to the point it's soft, not crispy.

Bacon! Yum!

Toss in the onions and sauté until clear. Enjoy the smell. 

Bacon and onions.  Best smell anywhere -- except for fresh rain.

Place in potato, sprinkling with Old Bay season layered throughout. 


Pour some sprite over top and place lid on and either put it in an oven heated to 350 or on coals/camp chef with coals on top. 

Check frequently for burning on the bottom, when potatoes are soft (very soft, I like them at the falling apart stage) cover with cheese and replace lid. You may need to add more sprite if the potatoes begin to dry out. 

Excuse me, dinner is ready.  Be back later.

Leftovers are great in the morning sautéed in a hot pan like hash browns. Redeemed!  These are wonderful


Nice and tidy printable version of Dutch Oven Potatoes

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Obedience leads to extra strength

Usually when I'm reading scriptures I study by topic using Ensign, Conference Talks, a few select books by General Authorities (okay, pretty much just Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy). It's not unusual to start with a Conference talk and work from there.

Every few years I read beginning to end, starting last Sunday and each time I find a new theme standing out which follows through to the end. It's still studying by topic, its just that the topic finds me this way. 

This go around? Obedience due to ones own faith leading to increased strength as needed for whatever it is that needs to be accomplished.  Nephi being physically strong still needed additional strength to stop Zoram, and he received what was needed. 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Softball and numb fingers

I set this blog up initially while I was newly post op from my elbow surgery and then let it sit while I couldn't do anything but sit and try to heal. I couldn't easily write and typing would have been completely 1 handed. Last summer was very difficult on all of us. Charlet took care of the house, did most if the cooking and laundry. Anytime I tried to do anything it was too much. By far the hardest 4 months of recent history. 

I went back to work first part of August, well I clocked in for 60 minutes of education on July 31.  

Tonight church ball started. Last year I worried about my arm, either stopping a line drive or batting but I was fine!  Woohoo!!  I even did a little happy dance.   Incredibly out of shape and the arm was weak from non-use but I could play softball!  Yes it's worth exclamation abuse, not being able to play ball or go rappelling was what had me starting to look at what needed to be done to fix it. 

Tonight I realized how out of shape I am and that my right arm is having problems too. Every single time I'd throw zingers would shoot down my arm and my hand was numb most of the game. There were a few wild throws while I was warming up with Ron too.


I'm sitting here with ice on my elbow finally able feel my fingers and cycling through how frequently I wake up to pain in my hand, when I dropped myself the last time I went rappelling because my right hand is my brake. 

I can't just not work for 4 months again, I can't expect Charlet to shoulder the extra responsibility, I just can't do it. 

I don't know if playing ball will make it worse or not, guess its time to talk to my ortho and see if its tolerable {pain is, my throws were not} if I'm doing further damage. If not I will keep playing but if it does more damage I need to put off what seems like the inevitable for as long as possible. 

If I can fix a swamp cooler, I can do this too--right?


PS:  school craziness has officially begun, this is how our summer ended this morning. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Missing what I use to dread

Back to school night from the middle school years on is not on my list of things I get excited about. I don't really care for the general meeting at elementary age either. 

It is in its own way a milestone though, one that being absent out of necessity instead of busy or forgetting is painful. A reminder of everything else being missed. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why yes, yes I can!

The squirrel cage in the swamp cooler stopped spinning yesterday in the middle of dishes, laundry, and baking bread {no, not changing my name to Martha anytime soon} I went outside and peeked and the belt will need to be replaced but should be okay until next year. I wiggled this that and the other thing and gave up. Mount Washmore really needs to be dealt with before back to school after all. 

I call Terry today to see if I can work a trade for tomatoes, squash, peppers and a loaf of homemade bread {I was prepared to go up with homemade strawberry jam if need be but don't tell} for a brother-do list. He gives me some things to check when I get home and *poof* it turned on immediately. 

I don't know what I did that worked but there are some times that it feels a little like Superwoman with my brothers, parents, friends and neighbors picking up  many of the pieces I let drop {flat tire coming home from girl's camp anyone?} but tackling a "man project" is empowering. Replacing the broken windows, fixing plumbing, hauling heavy stuff {okay, I've called for help more often with heavy stuff lately} all make me feel like I can do anything!  Who needs guys anyways?!?

Then I realize I don't have anyone to share my excitement with and I do. Need isn't the word I'd choose, but not being alone could definitely enhance life. Ahh, the social life of a single parent in small town Utah. 

Its time for bed, I am being floated to the nursery tomorrow and am both nervous and excited about stretching my nursing wings a little further tomorrow. 

'Night everyone, from your friendly {lucky} swamp cooler repair woman aka Heather

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Pinterest Ruler

I love Pinterest. I love to do, create, plan, dream, and browse.  More planning and dreaming than doing.  I loved the big Sears catalog when I was little planning my dream room to shopping for back to school {seriously, what didn't the Wish Book have in it to dream about?!?}. 

Pinterest is the current Wish Book but with a dangerous side. I plan out Christmas on secret boards, get ideas for the girls rooms, and the recipes {I love the recipes} and general tips of how to make life easier. FHE ideas and where was it when I was in the Primary presidency?!?  I just had Sugardoodle to rely on then -- I actually think it was around I just hadn't learned to utilize it yet. 

Like anything Pinterest has a dark side. It's given moms a dangerous yard stick to judge themselves with.  We are once again put in a situation where someone's best makes something simple and ordinary beautiful and memorable -- and we are left trying to replicate it, comparing insignificant details to a strangers specialty.  If you doubt me go browse Pinterest for laundry room decor. How many of your neighbors have perfectly decorated laundry rooms?  I'm happy if my laundry gets done, forget about doing it in a decorated room. 

It reminds me of this quote from Uchdorf from his Forget Me Not talk in Relief Society general meeting. 

And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does. 

A quick click and we have set perfection as our expectation and measuring stick for everything. This week I pinned an idea for a cute menu planner/binder. Last night I had the opportunity to look at the pin. Completely unrealistic amount of time and effort went into this recipe planner for what this single mom {who works crazy shifts and never has everything done as it is } can put into a menu binder. Besides, what's wrong with my current method of creating a calendar in my google calendars for "menu" and having it to compare with my work schedule so I know which nights need crockpot or easy meals and which I can spend more kitchen time on?  

If allowed to the Pinterest mentality can creep into every aspect of our life from hours creating perfect handouts for your next lesson to ensuring the inside of every closet is showroom worthy but never being able to reach the mark on the yard stick. 

Pinterest is something I hope to keep in balance. Providing me with new recipes, bread that doesn't require kneading or excess time, inspirational thoughts and a dash of nursing humor. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Echo Chamber Meets Bouncy Ball

Today has been...interesting. One if those days at work that would be nice to come to some sympathy (and a foot rub if I'm wishing, maybe even dinner instead of being too tired for anything but a sandwich) instead of wound up dogs and teens excited about the Stake dance with a list of needs. 

My head keeps rerunning work and playing through tomorrow's to do list at top speed. Much like a hyped up bouncy ball in an echo chamber. 

Switching between day and night shift has really messed with my sleep schedule bringing crazy scary dreams. Not the kind with boogeyman and werewolves but the disturbing ones that could be true, and perhaps were at one point.   

I have another 90 minutes until I pick up a car full of girls from the dance and can even see what tonight's sleep brings. Maybe the bouncy ball will chill out a little. 

Edited to add:  I'd give up the listening ear, dinner, and foot massage if someone would have cleaned up after the dog that puked while I was picking up Charlet from the dance. Okay, not the listening ear but definitely dinner and foot massage. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Roadtrip

Road trips and Sunday don't usually fall in my same list often and I've been feeling a little disconnected from Sunday -- and an extension the rest of my week. It's like church, the Sacrament, connecting with Ward members is a hard reset. My figurative computer has been needing that hard reset.  As I was faced with the decision to make the round trip drive today or who knows when and weighing everything on the line I decided to go, and was instantly glad. 

I scheduled things for as late as possible but that still gave me just enough time to take the girls to church stay for the Sacrament and then leave. Charlet had the choice of coming or not and wanted to come so Kaede stayed with Corry's during Sacrament meeting and then home with them after. 

With wind in my favor I can make it on 1 tank of gas, I had snacks for the trip and a sandwich for the road, plans to be home for a late dinner if leftovers. We should be good right?


To begin with I expected something miraculous to happen in that first 15 minutes and it didn't--much like anytime you stand somewhere just waiting for blessings to come your way. I had told Charlet earlier that we had a "good enough excuse" and no one would question is missing but that this morning was a test of priorities and for me the Sacrament is important enough to get dressed up for and delay getting out of town a little.  See?  Shouldn't blessings have been falling all over us?  Yeah, it doesn't work quite like that.  

Get in the car and peek at every thing to realize I didn't fill up last night when we got home. Uhhh, I can't make the trip on 1/2 a tank even with the best wind. I also fell into the trap of "as long as I'm getting gas I should get a soda". 

Fast forward to I-70. Once you pass Richfield there is an exit for Salina and whatever highway that is on. A very poorly marked exit that is easy to miss if you are tired and trying to do the math of if you have enough time for a 5 minute roadside nap. After Salina there is a lot of nothing and then eventually a Rest Stop and then a ranch exit. 

Missed the Salina exit and at the Rest Stop I didn't realize I could turn around and by the ranch exit my bladder was going to explode. There was no bathroom, no thick forest of trees, no trees, no sagebrush or bushes. Only significant traffic and ankle high grass--and google maps to see where I went wrong. 

We get turned back around, 30 miles too late at this point and find the Rest Stop. 

The rest of the trip was similar, caught behind the RV going 40 mph on the freeway and the bazillion towns that require slowing down once we hit the highway. 

I should mention that I'm approaching this road trip backwards for how I'm familiar. 

I'm grateful for my talking google maps that is once again keeping me headed in the right direction, until my life lesson of the day hits. I started losing faith in my little app. What I thought to be the right destination wasn't. I lost faith because turning when the app told me too had me on a different road than I was use to, even though it was a better road the familiar landmarks were not there and I'd been led astray when I was listening and following right?

My perception was different than reality but in the middle of being lost in the middle of nowhere Utah I knew what I was being told was wrong. As I did my own thing and turned around for the right spot my app went crazy on me. It knew I needed more help and was trying to give it -- not that I was listening.  

I gave in and followed the little voice and ended up where I was meant to be, even though it was later than I was suppose to be there. 

How many times do we try to discuss which path is correct because we are trusting our own knowledge instead of trusting in the Gospel plan to get us to our destination?  I was tempted to turn the navigation off of Google maps because it was frustrating and annoying, I hope I never turn off the Holy Ghost because I lack faith, patience, or endurance. 

The temple wasn't my destination and my plans of walking the grounds were sabotaged by my plans being botched, but I did managed to get a stop in the middle of the road picture as we hurried by to come home. 

Cabin Party 2013

I think/hope to have started a yearly tradition. Timing kind if sucked, but when in the summer are you going to fun a Saturday that most people aren't busy?  

Girls and I went up to the cabin Friday to de-cobweb, de-spider and open up the windows at the cabin. The time at the cabin was great without electronics {yes that includes blogging} we ended up going for a slow ride around the loop and while we didn't see any elk we did see several bucks, a herd of happy cows, a gaggle {?!?} of turkeys and I ran smack into drifts of memories. No camera except for my phone {I know!  See what my life has become?!?} but this mountain is one of my places on earth. 

I'd trade all my bucket list locations to be able to call this home if I had to and I'm grateful I don't. 

Or up on top

My heart lives in these mountains.

As we were locking up and double checking everything {except the dart board} I asked Charlet if we were leaving it better than when we came. Most of what we cleaned the spiders will replace by September but I realized it ran deeper for me. 

So much of my identity and core beliefs are tied up in that little lot and buildings. I was taught how to work hard, how to have fun, importance of family and friends,as well as so many other lessons. Grandpa built the cabin to be used and enjoyed by family and friends. I don't think he was smiling down on us from heaven today I think was there with us for every pool shot, the burnt potatoes, the elk sausage breakfast. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Days? Nights? Neither? Both?!?

The other day one of our doc's jokingly {or not?!?} said "so now are you going to be asking for ambien so you can sleep at night?"  I laughed, thinking that if that were the case I'd also need something to wake me up.  

I know my family needs me working days and this is step one of getting there--this combination stuff of working days and nights. I did it before, days at DRMC nights at VVMC but my day shift was fairly set (usually Mondays ) and now its not. It feels like I lose a day/week so I get 6 days each week instead of 7.  

Here I am, suppose to be sleeping because we're going to the cabin tomorrow and I'm wide awake. Maybe I should go sort laundry?  Nah, I'll pass