Oct 19, 2019

Purple Flurp

In case you hadn't noticed, we are reaching the end of canning season and that means that with the first big freeze, my dear friend, Pauline, will be sending me that text I wait for every year, "Come and get 'em!" Of course I mean her beautiful concord grapes!

Over the last few days, I have juiced 4 gallons of grape juice and last night I finally gave up on the possibility of making jelly anytime soon and I quickly processed them in half-gallon jars for storage until I am ready.

The Dog Walker was close by during this operation, working on his Midterm for his Race in Society class. As I was pouring off the last couple of jars, out of the blue, he said, while still hunched over his reading materials, "Remember Purple Flurp?" Funny he should mention that because a few days ago, when I was juicing the first batch, Drama Queen asked me the same question.

Now if you are a fan of the old-time Jimmy Neutron movie, you would understand that reference, but at our house, as a young boy with Autism, Dog Walker wanted to be just like Jimmy Neutron, so we created our own version of Purple Flurp to satisfy his cravings.

Back to our original conversation...

"Do you want to make Purple Flurp?" I asked as I tossed the flat metal canning lids into a pan of steaming water. He looked up at me and grinned, pencil paused for a moment, "Do you?" I couldn't help but want to please this amazing son of mine, with all of his hard work even in the most difficult circumstances. "Run up to my room and see if you can find a can of Sprite while I finish up these jars and then we will make some."

He was back in a moment with a can of Sprite Zero and I had him reach up to the highest shelf and reach down the fancy blue glasses. After filling them with ice, I put about 3 tablespoons of pure concord grape juice in each one. Then the Dog Walker filled them the rest of the way with the soda.

Ahhhh... Purple Flurp!

Oct 16, 2019

National Honor Society

With all the craziness, it seems like we have been missing a few important things, so tonight I went back and looked through the pics on my phone just to make sure. A few weeks ago, Sport got all dressed up and the two of us headed to the high school so he could be inducted into the National Honor Society.

If you remember, Sport was an officer in 9th grade when he was in the NJHS or the middle school version of NHS. He loves hanging out with the smart and motivated people, particularly the girls, and service has always been part of our lives, so NHS was a great spot for him.

I am so proud of him for his hard work and good choices!

Oct 15, 2019

Guest Blog - Update on Twizzler by Teach

Life has been so busy and crazy here as we count down the days until Crafty leaves for her mission to the Philippines on October 30. But I didn't want to lose track of the fact that our sweet baby grandson has been in the NICU and now that he is finally home, he is still on oxygen and he still has some battles to fight.

Teach wrote this part for you.

Twizzler was born after 18 hours of labor on October 5, 2019 @ 1:47 PM. He weighs 8 lbs 7 oz and 20 inches long. We are enraptured by his long fingers and mysterious hair color. (Sometimes it looks brown, sometimes red, sometimes blond!) Twizlet is still getting used to her baby brother, but was tenderly gentle when she met him. He is awake more often than not, and smells like heaven. We are so blessed to be his parents. 

Teach has some beautiful pictures, but I want to share the ones I took today. I swear he is smiling in the second one!

Oct 13, 2019

Build A Better Utah

This weekend has been so busy and part of that craziness was because of the Build a Better Utah service project. For us it started earlier in the week when we papered our neighborhood with fliers advertising the food drive that was chosen as the activity by our girl scout service unit.

Then on Friday, Drama Queen loaded her truck and I loaded my car with the Girl Scouts and we drove the entire neighborhood gathering little bags and boxes full of food set out for us on many porches. By the time we were finished, we had a good-sized pile of food in the back of the truck.

Then on Saturday afternoon, Crafty and I took five of our girl scouts over to the St. Andrew's Food pantry to drop all of those good things off. They will do so much good for families in need! I love teaching my kids to serve and protect their community and I'm so glad the Girl Scouts feels the same way!

Oct 10, 2019

Happy Birthday, Baby Doll!

Baby Doll turned 9 years old on Monday. It's hard to believe I began writing this blog when she was about 4 months old. So much has been happening lately that is all feels like this gigantic whirlwind that I can't control or escape from.

We had an extremely successful friend party for Baby Doll today. Without Drama Queen, I never could have pulled it off. She wanted to do a Paint Party, but as you all know, I'm just not very artistic. I left that gene to all of my kids...

Baby Doll wanted to invite all the kids in her school class and her Activity Days class plus a couple more from her Primary Class, so I had Drama Queen make a super-cute invitation, we sent in off to
Walgreens to print out 35 of them, and then Baby Doll quickly gave them all out. It seemed like as the RSVPs started to trickle in that we would have fun, but not be too crazy. Then more and more seemed positive until I started questioning if the 30 canvas boards I bought would be enough (we ended up with 2 left over!)

Drama Queen got off work and arrived about 20 minutes before the first kids started to get here and I have to confess that I was pretty nervous by then, but she took things in hand and everything pulled off smoothly except for the fact that we had 26 screaming 3rd graders in my house! We played outside for a bit, did our paintings, opened gifts, ate cake and ice cream... filled two hours with fun... and sent them home.

It was crazy, but lots of fun too.

Oct 7, 2019

Guest Blogger: Corn Maze and Corn Obstacle by the Dog Walker

My Parents Display

I don't have much to say here, but I would like to present to you the corn maze, as you all know, and a new thing that has been added to the family. As you all know that every Halloween, I've been putting up such a corn maze that everybody in the neighborhood really likes to see and possibly go trick-or-treating at the house. With the pictures being captioned, it will help you understand which house is whose in each of them, in case you want to go see both of them.

My Parents Display

I was a little worried, as usual every year, that all other houses were starting to light up with Halloween spectaculars and I was also worried with school, work, and my marriage with Puppy Lover. I just realized that I had the first Saturday and Sunday of October off, because of General Conference and that led me to the chance with my dad to get the front yard ready for me to put up the corn maze. There were a lot of times I had to take a break from it, but I managed to get it all the way done in one day. My dad was proud of me that I could get it done before dark. And my mom was also proud of me to get it done in one day, so that I won't have to worry about having to do it for days while I still have the last semester to take care of and still bring my marriage in first in my life.

My Parents Display

Speaking of which, I spent most of the Sunday at Puppy Lover's parents house. I like to call it home, but I'm not sure about that, because of the semester, it just feels like every day, for the semester, I'm living in between homes. So that I can keep my marriage and education balanced. And Puppy Lover is still trying to understand that my education will help me and her do better with our marriage.

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Back in the summertime when I was living in Puppy Lover's parents house, I discussed with them about me setting up a Halloween display for their neighborhood. I wanted to plant a garden for them in their yard, but they told me with living in North Salt Lake, the soil wasn't tenderly good enough to plant corn or any other vegetation. So I ended up buying some extra bundles of corn stalks at a Farmer's Market for $5 a bundle.

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Puppy Lover's parents were so excited to have a Halloween display on their house, since they haven't intended to put up lights for the holidays in years. Puppy Lover's mom was so glad that she had me for a husband who can make an amazing display. I wanted to make a corn maze out of this one, but with not enough stalks or poles, Puppy Lover gave me the idea with raising a strand of lights off the ground, because she was worried about them being stepped on by the trick-or-treaters, I figured instead of a corn maze, it could be called a corn obstacle, just for this year. I'll make sure by next year, I'll have enough poles and stalks to make it into a maze.

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Anyway, I got it all set up for Puppy Lover's parents' neighborhood, since they have a bunch of kids out there who love to go trick-or-treating. After watching all of General Conference, Puppy Lover's parents got things ready for a special family gathering on Puppy Lover's side of the family. Her sisters' kids were so excited to see the display when they got to the house. I demonstrated to them that, when the kids in the neighborhood come trick-or-treating at the house, they can either try the obstacle, or just skip it and go to the door to get their treats.

My Parents Display
I'm so glad that I've been able to get the Halloween display at both homes set up for the trick-or-treaters this year. I'm hoping that they'll try a walk-through on these displays. Maybe my side of the family would like to see the display at Puppy Lover's parents' house. Maybe they can try trick-or-treating at this house, if they have the chance sometime on Halloween. It would be fun to see them. Enjoy the rest of these pictures.

My Parents Display

My Parents Display

My Parents Display

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Puppy Lover's Parents Display

Oct 6, 2019

Welcome to the Family, Twizzler!

We are so excited to welcome our new little grandson, Twizzler! He was born on Saturday, October 5 around 1:30 pm to Teach and Twiz (you probably guessed that...) and he weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz and he was 20 inches long.

Teach was induced Friday evening, so we have been on pins and needles ever since. It was a long labor, but both of them were troopers and they did a great job. My sweetie and I took a trip over after the Women's Conference. We also took Drama Queen and Twizlet with us. She loved her little brother cautiously at first, but by the end of our visit, she was quite enamored.

But I will let you be the judge. Isn't this a cute little guy?

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Boy (**John Lennon)

Oct 4, 2019

Review: Homest Sewing Machine Carrying Case

You all know that Princess has a pretty successful crafting blog that is exploding on Instagram. In fact, she just won another amazing prize from the Cricut people. As part of all that, she has been doing quite a few reviews and when I commented about how much I liked her new sewing machine cover, she hooked me up with the awesome people from Homest.

They were looking for someone to review the Sewing Machine Carrying Case with Multiple Storage Pockets. I have a couple of extra sewing machines on the shelf in my craftroom. One belonged to my mother and one belonged to my grandmother. I don't use them often, but I can't bear to part with them either. I could use covers/carrying cases for both of them, but for now, we will just talk about this nice one we got from Homest.

The minute I pulled it out of the box, I could tell it was quality. The zipper slid easily and the seams were are carefully stitched.  I was pleased and surprised by all the pockets and I had a lot of fun stuffing them full of my sewing supplies.

At first I was worried that my patterns didn't fit in the plastic pockets, but then I discovered that I only needed one side-pocket for my foot pedal, so I could use the other one for patterns.

I love the long strap for shoulder carrying and the shorter ones in case I want to use my hands.

Things like thread and scissors are just swallowed up in the many pockets although if I were to find a flaw it would be in the fact that the pockets are almost all the same side and I would prefer a couple of bigger ones and maybe some smaller ones, but I suppose that is  personal preference.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this bag.

***I received one sewing machine carrying case in exchange for my honest review.***

HOMEST Sewing Machine Carrying Case with Multiple Storage Pockets, Universal Tote Bag with Shoulder Strap Compatible with Most Standard Singer, Brother, Janome, Purple (Patent Pending)

Oct 3, 2019

Guest Blogger: Reflections: 3D Art Activity by The Dog Walker

My Mom asked me to guest blog for her about this fun activity that I did with Scout, Curly, and Baby Doll on Sunday of this week. Remember the time I talked about the Troom Troom show when I showed you the homemade giant candy bars that I made for birthdays? Well, the show has shown me another fun thing that I could try doing and I also thought it would go perfect for the 3D Art activity that my family does for Reflections: making unique bars of soap.

I was watching some of the demonstrations of how the girls on the show were making bars of soap that were so unique that you can hardly find them at any store, but that you can make something like that at home. My mind went a bit blank, wondering where can you buy a brick of soap base that you can use to make some interesting bars of soap? When I kept thinking of it, I looked up online and saw that soap base can be bought at Hobby Lobby, and you can also buy different silicone molds that can be used for baking or molding projects.

I made a unique bar of soap that was blue colored, with a bit of white and yellow on it. I made it look like a little Book of Mormon and I gave it to Crafty as an early birthday gift. I thought it was the perfect gift that she can use for her mission. She's really excited to go on the mission. When Crafty and I showed it to the family, they were very impressed and wondered if that was the newest hobby/project I thought of making for people's birthdays, instead of making the high-calorie candy bars.

For the past few months, after learning that the Reflections theme this year was "Look Within," I thought it was the perfect choice of something that the kids can make for 3D Art. Baby Doll was excited to try making a bar of soap that has never been seen by anybody before, and Curly and Scout felt the exact same way.

I showed them the different kinds of flavorings and food colorings that they can use in their bars of soap. I even taught them that they need to use rubbing alcohol to spray the molds, just to make it easy to take the soap bars out when they're set, and to spray some on the melted soap base to avoid the air bubbles when stirring the soap, colorings, and flavorings together. I even told them that their own brick of soap base has to be chopped up into tiny squares and microwaved for 20 seconds so that the soap can melt.

It was quite a time-consuming, dirty, but yet fun activity for the kids. They never thought that soap bars can be made and used for an everyday hygiene routine. The kids really enjoyed coming up with different shapes, scents, and colors of soap that can be used. The hardest part that they ever had to face with the activity was to wait for almost an hour for the soap base to set. It was hard to wait for a very long time for one soap bar to set before doing the next step of their project. 

Baby Doll made hers with two flamingos, making a heart shape position, while standing on water that's on top of a white brick that says "Dance" Scout made hers on a giant heart-shape bar of soap with a blue soap volleyball that shows how much she loves volleyball. Curly wanted to make a scientific bar of soap like a geode, but he wasn't pleased with how it turned out, so Mom suggested that maybe it could be an oyster instead. He really liked that idea and after a few changes and another small molded pearl, it turned out great.

I'm so proud of you, Baby Doll, Curly, and Scout for trying out this activity. It sure was fun teaching you guys about this new technique. I hope the judges like your 3D Art projects.

Oct 2, 2019

We Just Need a Day Off

Remember the iconic movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Today my sweetie started texting me about 11:30... he needed to take a day off. It didn't take him long to convince me that maybe we both just needed to run away for a minute. Unfortunately for him, I had just finished making my errand list and was heading out the door. Fortunately for me, he didn't care, so I waited for him to get here and we both took off in my car (which is not quite as cool as the one Ferris drives) for an afternoon together.

Our stops weren't as exciting as Ferris took either. First we dropped off Crafty's information for her mission plaque and we stopped to close an old bank account. Then we picked up some prescriptions at CVS. Since we both missed lunch, my sweetie dropped me at the Zagg store before parking in the Red Robin lot. He got us a table while I got the screen protector replaced on my phone and then walked across the parking lot to join him afterward.

During lunch we had a chance to go over Crafty's last few things she needed for her mission then when we were finished with our bottomless fries, we drove over to Seagull Book and bought her a couple of journals and some rose earrings. (My sweetie is a sucker for the rose earrings...her middle name is Rose and he can't ever just walk on by.)

We dropped some papers off at the doctor's office and then my sweetie let me out at the DI so I could go inside and buy a used briefcase for Baby Doll. She needed one as a dance prop for her performing team... I know, weird, huh? My sweetie dropped off our extra unneeded clothing and then he picked me up so we could stop by Lowe's and check on the delivery date of our new fridge (not until October 18!) Then it was time to make a quick trip to the library drive through to drop off the Dog Walker's books.

While I dozed a little, my sweetie surprised me by taking me to the car wash so we could spruce up our ride... it was fun vacuuming together, him on one side and me on the other. Finally, we swung by the studio to pick up Baby Doll from dance, dropped some checks for the boys at the bank, and headed for home.

Not a pic from today, but I didn't take any, I was too busy spending time with my sweetie.
And just for you Ferris fans, my car arrived home all in one piece. Pretty sure both of us were feeling a little more peace as well.