Sunday, April 3, 2011

My New Blog.

I have been wanting to do a cooking blog for a while now.  I finally decided to dive in and learn as I go.  It will include cooking, canning, food storage on a tight budget and cooking tips.  So far I have enjoyed it.  I hope that you get a chance to visit it.  The address is:  Feel free to stop on by, leave comments, requests and pass it on to others.  I am also doing a guest post every Friday on my friend's blog at:  She has tons of great money saving ideas and links to deals.  Check her out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This last year has been a crazy one in my life. I'm not going to whine about all the things that have happened to me. I am however going to post about how my incredible husband has kept me grounded and mostly sane. If it wasn't for him, I would have gone off the deep end. He has been the positive one through everything and I am extremely grateful. He has taken on the full load when I was at the brink of despair and pulled me back in. I love him for all that he has done, but even more for all that he has been for me and the kids! I heard a song today written and performed by Michael Buble that to me describes my feelings about Steve. I know that it is a guy singing about a girl, but the sentiment of the song still fits.

Lyrics | Michael Buble lyrics - Everything lyrics

Thursday, March 10, 2011

things I didn't know about Grandpa

I learned so new things about my Grandpa, Tom Mounts, while I was in Carnation for his funeral. I learned that he is survived by his sister, Mary June. I learned that his father died when he was 12. That he quit school at the age of 14 to provide for his mother and 2 sisters. I learned that he was born in Colorado. That he worked as a miner. That he would often bring home the less fortunate, feed, clothe them if necessary, give them all his spare money and drop them off with a bag of food to aid them on their way. I learned that he ran a mechanic shop.
There are many things that I did know already. Grandpa was a great man who practiced what he taught especially charity. I love him greatly and will miss our little visits.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Memories Of Thomas Thatcher Mounts

Thomas Thatcher Mounts, or as I more affectionately called him, Grandpa, passed away this morning. I knew it was coming because my mom called me yesterday and told me that he was in the hospital. He was the last surviving child of Melva Thatcher and John Amer Mounts.

Grandpa, or as my younger cousins called him, Grumpa, was a gruff, but loveable man. Last night as I was thinking about him, I realized that I have no pictures of him! Of course that made me cry, but then I realized that the pictures of my favorite memories are tucked safely in my heart and mind. All I had to do was close my eyes and I was back walking through a field with him, Brett, Troy and Kathy on our way to his "favorite" fishing hole on Sinkut river on the edge of the 320 (property that he and Dad farmed). I can see him standing at the edge of the river showing us how to cast our lines up river and let them float down river to tease the fish, hoping one of them would take the bait. I remember him cutting the hook out of my hand that had been stuck there when a wild lure came flying at my face. "Hold still honey, I don't want to accidentally cut you. Be quiet or you will scare all of the fish away."

I remember butchering chickens with him and how he laughed when I got chased by a headless chicken. His question to me was, "Now, who is the chicken here and who is the girl?" I got my first anatomy lesson when he showed us the developing eggs in one of the hens that we had butchered. I remember how concerned he was with making sure that the chickens felt as little pain as possible. He always told us that we needed to be kind to animals because they too were God's creations.
I remember going to his little shop at the airport house and watching him tinker on things. I thought he could fix anything broken. I remember him holding me when Mom was in the hospital and letting me cry and then calming my fears and telling me it would be alright and that she would be home soon. I remember cooking in that kitchen with him and Grandma.

I remember going to Grandpa's house out by Sinkut Mtn, walking through the door and having him pick me up and dance me across the floor. Then watching in awe as he danced around the kitchen with Grandma, during which she giggled and said, "Oh, Tommy, stop it, I have work to do."

I remember dressing out a moose with him and him teaching me the finer points of skinning an animal. Catching horses and doctoring their wounds.

I remember playing Rummy Tile with him. He would take what seemed like forever to make his move and then sit there and go, "tick, tick, tick" when it was our turn.
I remember riding horses up to Crystal Lake and stopping to pick Thimble berries or blueberries.

Grandpa and Grandma moved to Washington when I was a teenager. When ever we would visit, he would always take time and talk to me. I remember the night before my wedding when he came in and sat on the edge of the hide-a-bed and asked me if I was sure that getting married was what I wanted to do. Then he asked if I was sure it was what I was supposed to do. Grandpa told me that if my husband ever treated me bad, to let him know because he would "tan that boy's hide" amongst other things.

I think one of my favorite memories was on a visit we made to Seattle when Cameron got married. Grandpa's mind wasn't what it used to be and I had been warned that he had been pinching the kids when they got near him. No sooner had we walked through the door, then Sidnee ran up to Grandpa, climbed right up on his lap and said, "I sure love you Grandpa". He wrapped his arms around her and put his cheek against hers, squeezed her and said, "well I love you too!" He had a big smile on his face. I hadn't seen him smile like that in a long time.

The more I reflect, the more I remember. I have so many memories of Grandpa that would make this post into a short story, but I will save that for another time. So this is it for now. Until we meet again, may you have all the tamales your belly can hold! I love you, Grandpa!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Achieving balance

I am finding myself frustrated off and on as I am trying to juggle all of the comings and goings in our house with keeping the house clean and stocked with necessities. I am so tired by the end of the day that I walk but the laundry basket that is in dire need of folding and then returned to its rightful owner because I know they won't come to collect the clean laundry. I have stressed enough about it that I get headaches. I know it is possible to achieve the much needed balance in our lives that I desire. I know this because I know the Lord wants us to have balance in all things. Sometimes it is hard for me to say no to helping others because so many have helped and continue to help us at this point in our lives. I also know that we must pick and choose what we can and should do. With that said, here are some small things that I have done to start on the path to achieving not only balance in my life but for our whole household.

1. Get rid of things that we are not using. Give them to someone who needs them now. If I should need it in the future, then someone will have one that I can borrow or have.
2. Make my children responsible in helping keep the house clean. We now have a bag that has 4 daily chores in it and another that has 4 weekly chores in it. Everyday when we get home from school, each child draws a daily chore and does that chore before they change or snack. The dailies are: sweep the floor, rotate the laundry, take out the trash and unload the dishwasher. Weekly chores are: mop the floor, vacuum the living room, put all the shoes in their cubbies, and wash dirty hand prints off the walls. The dailies literally take only 3 minutes each while the weeklies take about twice as long. This is one of the best things we have done and I still don't know why we didn't think of it sooner. BTW, the kids are the ones who chose to draw rather than me assign the tasks.
3. No friends can come over during the week. We have too much going on and homework doesn't get done. They are allowed to come on Friday and Saturday if chores are done and rooms are clean.
4. Not feel guilty about telling my kids and friends no. Still very hard for me to do, but learning it is okay to tell someone that I don't have time to do something right now.
5. Play the scriptures on CD in my house while we are doing chores. It really helps keep the peace.
6. Pray often. Some days I have an all day conversation with the Lord. I know he hears me because on those really hard days, he sends me some love through a friend.
7. Be grateful by saying thank you often to the Lord and those who lighten my load. Say thank you to my kids for not fighting, for getting their homework done, for being a good example, for helping someone in need.
8. Not sweating the small stuff. The laundry will wait. It may get wrinkled in the meantime, but my kids lives won't wait. Them wanting my time and attention seems to get less every year. The 12 year old doesn't need me as much as the 5 year old, but I make sure I put down whatever I am doing and look into her eyes as she speaks to me. I do the same with all of my kids. If I happen to be busy in the kitchen, I have them come sit at the counter and talk while I do what needs to be done, making sure that I make eye contact every few seconds so they know I am paying attention. Sometimes I even make them help me while we visit.

My list is still growing and I am still trying to achieve balance in my life. It is an everyday struggle for me as I am not perfect and do not claim to be even close to perfection. I am still looking for an elusive cleaning fairy to take care of my house so that I can spend more time doing other things so if any of you has one that you will lend or give me, I promise that I will give it a good home.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Are we there yet?

Ever have one of those moments, or maybe days when you just wish you knew where life was leading you? Not mad at your current situation, just wish you knew what the plan was? I have been having a lot of those days lately. I am a planner. I don't like to leave things until the last minute or to chance. In fact I already have started Christmas lists for my kids. I really have a hard time being spontaneous or flying by the seat of my pants. Last minute schedule changes really frustrate me.
So in our current state of household affairs, I am really struggling with not know what is coming next. I actually feel very calm and know that the Lord is in control, that my husband is doing everything he can for the family and grateful that our kids are old enough for me to have the opportunity to work during the hours that they are at school. I am not angry at all or at anyone. In fact this has given us a great opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and each other, to teach our kids the difference between a want and a need and to really live by the promptings of the spirit.
Yet here I am, the planner, struggling with living in the moment and rolling with the waves of life. I don't know what tomorrow will bring because all of the plans that I made yesterday were put aside out of necessity. I don't know where I will be next month let alone next year.
It has been very interesting to be in this place where life is all up in the air, but be calm and at ease, knowing that the Lord has something in store for us, but the time for Him to let us know has not yet come to pass. We love our ward family and at the moment are content to be here and serve where we are needed.
I am so grateful for prayer and scripture that provides peace in a time of turmoil, for kids who are trying to understand and be patient, for leaders and friends who are a constant boon in this time of our life. I am grateful for obedience to principles that have been taught and for the privilege of being able to go to the temple whenever I need or want. I am especially grateful for the tender mercies that the Lord sees fit to send my way when I feel like I am about to give up and give in.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Girls Camp 2010!

The first day of camp was mainly setting up our camp. We were in tents so a lot of the girls had to be taught how to set up a tent properly. After tents were up, those who wanted to went down to the field for games. We started out with the human knot, then played missionary tag, then a water balloon fight broke out thanks to the priesthood. The girls had lots of fun.

After breakfast the next day, we were off to the confidence course. There were 4 things to do so we broke up into 4 groups. Three of the things were almost ridiculously easy, but the climbing wall was not. I think that it was the hardest thing that anyone did. It was a flat 12 foot wall with a knotted rope to climb up. With Steve at the top and Mike at the bottom, each person that tried made it up the wall with the rest of the group cheering them on. It was very intimidating, but very satisfying when you could stand at the top. It really started the bonding process. Our theme was "Be strong and have courage, for you are not alone". With all the help and cheering going on you knew that you were not alone and it definitely took courage to attempt this. I loved that the leaders did it too. We all did what we were asking the girls to do and I think that made a difference to them.

This little monkey went up this wall 4 times. I thought once was enough. I still can't believe that my daughter is old enough to go to camp.

This young lady is afraid of heights. She made it to the top. Here she is just hanging upside down to have her picture taken. It was fun to get to know her.

This is one of our girls getting off the zip line. We did this after lunch. The girls loved it. So did I. You slide down a line that is about 30 feet over the parking lot going about 100 miles per hour. All of our girls that could go on it did. I don't think that some of them would have had the courage to do it if they hadn't done the wall first. The leaders ran the zip line and it was fun to see the girls faces as they came down to the end of the line.

My daughter on the zip line. We tried to get her to flip upside down, but she couldn't quite figure out how to flip over. She went 4 times and loved it. I went 6 and have the bruises from the harness because it has to be very tight. I took a running jump off the platform and I did hang upside down every time. I loved it! We finished the evening with the bishopric bringing up Panda Express. It was so tasty. We had a testimony meeting afterwards around the camp fire. Then there were camp songs. This was my favorite day because the girls let down their walls and I got to know them better. I really started to feel connected to them.

The third day we went canoeing and hiking. I forgot how much I like to be out on the water in the canoe. There was a game of dead fish boat tag started by one of the leaders that the girls loved. Someone hit Steve in the face with it. It left fish guts on his face and when he got back to shore, one of the leaders asked him why his face was bleeding. As he was washing it off, one of the girls splashed him in the face with a huge oar full of water. He promptly grabbed her life jacket and tossed her in the water thinking that she would only land in ankle deep water. She did, but she tripped while trying to get her balance and went all in. She thought that it was pretty funny. We ate lunch and then went back to camp to get dry clothes so that we could go on our hike. Our hike was supposed to be an easy 5 mile hike. It was moderate and we found out later that it is supposed to be a day hike. We went up the mountain in 2 hours and 10 minutes and came down in 1 hour and 5 minutes. It was a beautiful hike that I would love to do again without kids. When we got back to camp, dinner was ready. I was so tired that I could hardly eat. We had crafts that night and I sat around the camp fire with my new friends until after midnight. It was a very nice evening. Every time I would think about going to bed, one of the girls would start talking to me so I stayed a little bit longer.
Now that camp is over, I feel connected to the girls and want to spend more time with them. One of the girls asked me on the way home if I still got to come to young women's with them. I told her I wasn't sure. She told me she hoped so because she liked having me around. It made me feel good and like camp was a success. There were a couple of girls who I wasn't sure if camp made any dent in their tough armor, but according to their mothers, they had a lot of fun. They have already posted pictures on facebook too. It was fun to go to Y.W. yesterday. The atmosphere was very different than it has been before when I have been in there. There was no segregation of classes, everyone was mixed together and didn't seem to want to leave each other when it was time to go to their separate classes. It felt good to see the love that they were expressing for each other. I guess that means that camp was a success.