Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Sierra bought this Halloween headband with her own money--$6.
She is a headband girl.
Especially if the headband contains reindeer antlers or bunny ear or spiders.

Dream Whip Frosting Recipe

Rick found this recipe and good for me because when we need a good frosting recipe I just put him to work.  He kicked it into gear and helped me out this weekend with the Halloween S'more Cupcakes with this recipe:

1 8oz. package cream cheese
2 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. Dream Whip
1/2 t. almost extract
1 t. vanilla
about 3 c. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and blended.  Add extract to a small bowl, mix in the salt to dissolve then add mixture to cream cheese.  Add Cream Whip and mix well.  Finally, add the powdered sugar until frosting is desired thickness--it will stiffen once you refrigerate.
Chill frosting and cupcakes for at least an hour before piping frosting on top.  Even better if you want refrigerate overnight so the frosting won't be grainy.

**for this recipe, we added a jar of marshmallow topping and then enough powdered sugar to get the consistency we needed.

**Rick thinks that he is good enough to work at Sweet Tooth Fairy Bakery.  But then he remembered how much he likes cupcakes and decided to keep his day job.

Halloween Meal

S'more cupcakes (marshmallow filled--like a ding dong, with marshmallow dream whip frosting and a graham cracker base with graham cracker sprinkles on top):
 Mummy pretzels (the only way to eat pretzels, in my opinion
 Spinach salad & the toppings for homemade chili 
(check out the cute pumpkin bread bowls in the background on the left):

2010 Halloween Costumes

 Cole was a train man.  
Sierra is a washed out skeleton.
 Summer and I were Katniss.  
I was from the first Hunger Games book (thanks for lending me your costume, Amara).  
And Summer designed her costume entirely by herself from her interpretation of the second book (Catching Fire)
Cinna (aka Kelli) did the makeup, hair, and glitter nails.  
Kind of fun.  
But I am tired of finding flames and glitter in everything I touch.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A little Afternoon tour of my house...

This was AFTER I asked Cole to pick up his toys...
in the family room:
 in the entry way:
 in my bedroom:
 another view of the entry/stairs to basement:
 downstairs family room
 and finally, the old "playroom"/new exercise room:
Just in case anyone is keeping track...Cole's birthday is in one month.  If anyone gives him a toy/truck for his birthday, please make sure it comes with a gift receipt.  There is not room in the house for



that means, you too, Rick.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I'm slightly obscessed with obituaries. I know. I'm weird.
But this is what happened...As I was getting in the shower one afternoon last week, I was listening to the news and a name caught my attention. The news person announced that long-time Sevier County Sheriff, Phil Barney had passed away. This name caught my attention because I had heard my dad speak this name numerous times as he recounted stories of growing up in Sevier County. Phil Barney was one of my dad's best friends growing up in Annabella, Utah. And I'm not certain of their relationship, I just always assumed that they were cousins since my dad's mother was a Barney.
I suppose that the closest I ever came to meeting this man was when he came to my dad's funeral a few years ago, although I don't specifically recall the exact event. He probably did come into the Arctic Circle on occasion over the years to visit my dad as well, but I don't know for certain.
The name Phil Barney has also been in my mind recently because of a conversation that I had with my Aunt Shirley while visiting Capitol Reef this past summer. I had meant to record this little story, but now is as good a time as any. While driving to Capitol Reef I pointed out Monroe Mountain and mentioned that that is where my Grandpa Robison died in July of 1965. When we got to Torrey and settled in to camp, we went and visited with Shirley for a bit. She had just had surgery and was taking it easy. I asked her about my Grandpa and the story of when he died.
Here is the story that she recounted to me...
Grandpa Norman Robison, Dell Robison (my uncle), Gerald Robinson (my uncle), and Phil Barney were up on Monroe Mountain. Their truck had gotten stuck--really stuck. They could not get it out. So, Phil and Gerald started walking down the mountain to get help. Dell and my Grandpa stayed at the truck to wait. And apparently my Grandpa had a heart attack. When Phil and Gerald got back with help, it was too late and my Grandpa had died. Shirley told how the day unfolded. They got everyone back to town. There was a bed in the living room that my Grandma Fay was staying in. She had her own "heart condition" and was supposed to be resting and recovering in the bed. All of the kids knew that their father had died. But the doctor would not allow anyone to tell Fay that Norman had died because it might be too much for her heart to handle. So, the kids just sat around being nervous and edgy. The doctor came and gave my Grandma a shot to keep her calm. Once the medication took effect, they were allowed to tell her about Norman. She later said that she already knew something bad had happened. My dad was not there yet because he was in Las Vegas working at a service station for the sumer.
So, that left my dad, the oldest and just out of high school down to Dell, the youngest at age 9 with 4 sisters in between without a father.
So, that is why the name Phil Barney had been in my head recently. He was part of the day that my Grandpa Robison died.

I have asked my aunts and uncles for stories about my Grandpa for a long time--long before my dad died. Since my Grandpa died 5 years before I was born, I knew very little about this man and I wanted to know more. I imagined him to be a lot like my dad in some ways. I just wanted to know more so I asked for stories. I didn't get any stories. My dad's siblings just said that it was too hard for them to talk about their dad because he had died when they were so young and at such critical points in their lives. It was too painful for any of them to write about him or talk about him, so I never got any details from any of them. I am sad now that my dad is also gone, so it is very important for me to write about my dad when I think of him so that my kids will know the kind of person that he was.
So, I'm sure there are many details that I don't know about from this day in 1965. If anyone who reads this knows more or can make any corrections, I would find it very valuable.

And because of my weird "thing" for obituaries...
here is a snippet of Phil's obituary--what a good man he was:
We are grateful for his good life, lived in the service of his fellow men. He served in law enforcement for 43 years, as a bishop of the Salina 4th Ward and as president of the Salina Utah Stake. Phil was born September 23, 1942 in Richfield to Harold J and Vera JaLune Barney. He was raised in the wonderful community of Central Valley and graduated from South Sevier High School in 1960. Active in high school sports, his heart was ever appreciative of his roots and to those who influenced his life for good. He served in the United States Army from 1961-1963 and attended college at Southern Utah University and Brigham Young University. On September 16, 1966 he married Sylvia Marie Gates in the Manti Temple. Forty-four years of loving and supporting each other will be continued through all eternity. Phil found his "niche" in law enforcement. His 43 years of service began as an officer for Richfield City in 1967. In 1968 he was hired by the Utah Highway Patrol. He was outstanding in his dedication to work, being highly recognized for his success in stolen car arrests and drug interdiction. The federal DEA included him as an instructor in drug interdiction conferences throughout the country. After 21 years, he hired on with Sevier County as a deputy continuing his efforts in drug task force work and drug interdiction. In 1999 he was elected as Sevier County Sheriff where he was serving his third term at the time of his death. Phil loved his officers, thoroughly enjoyed being involved with them and was very proud of his department and their exceptional work. He greatly enjoyed his involvement with the Utah Association of Sheriffs where he had served as an officer and president. Phil's greatest joy was his life with his wife and family.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn Colors

It is supposed to get cold this weekend after a month of the most enjoyable October weather that I can ever remember. The colors are beautiful. Here are some shots of my yard from last week. My yard was neglected this year because we spent so dang much time in Scofield. Projects were left unfinished, like the Gazebo below. But, I love the colors in the yard right now.

This swing is my favorite. It has Hollyhocks growing around it. I have cut them down to the ground once already this year and they have come back. The pinks ones are plentiful. But, there are also yellow, maroon and even some black ones.
thank you Amara for the marigolds. I will pay you back in tomatillo plants.
thank you Amara for the butterfly bush. I will pay you back in tomatillo plants.
Here is the compost bin that is being taken over by the tomatillo plants.
the tomatillos were harvested last week and I now have salsa verde on my storage room shelf.
So does my sister. That was a fun day of salsa making and crafting. Let's do it again.
Later today, I will pick the rest of the tomatoes, trim bushes, pull up marigolds, finish dismantling the garden area by the driveway and brace myself for the impending snow to come in a few days.
Thank you for a beautiful fall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

lap quilt

Little Boy Project...
I'm pretty much in love with this little number.
This is not for Cole, but if I get my act together he might get a similar one for Christmas.
I washed it once and it is just as soft and snuggly as it looks.
I hope the little guy that gets this loves it as much as I do!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Projects for Sierra

Kelli and Sierra taking apart "Tiger":
This is Sierra's "new and improved" tiger blanket. (below)
It is about 14 years old. My mom bought the fabric before Summer was born.
Summer never really got attached to the blanket.
But since we were poor, starving medical students living in Michigan when Sierra was born she must have sensed at a young age that she wasn't going to get anything besides "hand-me-downs".
So, she really attached to this blanket.
She has called it "Tiger Blanket" from the beginning.
The funny thing is that there are no tigers on the blanket.
But it sounds better than "Lion Blanket", or "Giraffe Blanket".
The blanket has been remade once already, but it was in shreds again.
So, I took it apart and put a reinforcement behind the top piece of fabric and replaced the batting and the back piece of fabric.
I hope we don't have to redo this blanket again. It might not survive.

This is the fabric I gathered last spring to make Sierra's quilt.
Well, I finished it a few days ago. It looks cute on her bed.
Now I just need to gather some fabric to make Summer a quilt.
I am going to try something new for Summer.
It's called a wonky log cabin pattern.
If I like the way it turns out, then maybe I will try to make one for my own bed.

recycle part 3

Merrell Recycling
671 N. 1000 E.
Mapleton, UT 84664

This is my recycle corner in the garage.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Recycle Part 2

Part 2

Plastic. Why do we make something that will last forever and then use it for things that will be thrown away? Most of the plastic is used one time.

There is a big blob of plastic trash stuff swirling around in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is in an area where the currents come together. It consists of plastic bags, plastic bottles, tires, fishing nets, and other nondecomposable items. It is twice the size of Texas. The trash has been dumped from cruise ships and cargo ships. It is also made up of one bottle left on the beach. One can thrown out a car window. A plastic bag blown from a landfill. All of these items have found their way to the ocean and made their way through the currents to the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. The problem now is “Who is responsible for the clean up?”

California alone consumes 11 billion of those plastic grocery bags each year. Most of them will only be used one time and then they will go to the landfill only to sit for hundreds or thousands of years—unless, of course, they get caught by the wind and blown to the ocean where the currents will take them to the Great Garbage Patch.

At the grocery store last week, the checker asked me, “Paper or Plastic?” Having forgotten to bring in my cotton grocery bags with me, I replied, “Neither.” The problem was that ‘neither’ wasn’t one of the options. I was afraid that she was going to have to call the manager for an override or something. I did manage to make it out of the store without my paper or my plastic. I did have a couple of big reusable bags in the back of the car, so I packed my stuff from the cart, into the bags and into the back of the car. It only took an extra minute or two.

I don’t do everything right. Last week we went to lunch and we brought the leftovers home in a Styrofoam box. Ooops. And I do get a newspaper. Everyday. I could read the same stuff online, but I like to read the newspaper. One of these days I will cancel, but for now I just recycle it. And I am not known for my short showers. Baby steps….

Added: Mapleton does not have a city recycle program. However, the city does endorse a private recycling program. It is actually just a local family that does this for extra income. It is the Roger Merrill family. They come around on Wednesdays which is the early out day for school, giving them extra time to make the rounds. They pick up paper for $5 per month and drop it off directly at the local schools. So, basically I am paying them $5 a month to do the same exact thing that I could do for free. Except that my time and my gas are not exactly free. I am fine with the fact that they do it for me for $5. I don't have to figure out when to make time to deal with it. They pick it up every week--rain or shine.

Then I pay them another $5 a month to pick up everything else. When I first signed up with them I asked them if I needed to separate all of the plastics according to the number on the bottom of the carton located in the middle of the triangle. They kind of laughed at me and told me to just throw it all into the same container. They would sort through it later once they picked it all up and got it home. They said that if the public had to separate it at all, most of them would find it too much of an inconvenience and wouldn't bother to recycle. So, I am totally OK with sending them off each week with one big container of my "trash" for them to sort through later. I am also perfectly fine with the fact that once they sort through all of the "trash", they take it to various locations to recycle it and get cash back for it. The amount that I would get would (again) not be worth my time and effort individually. But it certainly is worth their effort to gather all of the recyclable things from this community and get cash for it. It is absolutely worth $5 each month for me to rinse out a few cans and containers, set out on the curb once a week, and rid my conscience of any worries as to how I am going to find time to save the Earth. I think these people are pretty dang cool for taking the initiative to get their hands dirty and provide this service to the community at the same time they are making money for the needs and wants of their family.

thanks for your comments.

It's true. My recycle bins are always overflowing each week. It really cramps my style when we forget to take out the recycle bins EACH week because by the second week there is a ton of stuff. However, I think we could go 2 weeks between our regular trash pick-ups and not even get close to filling out trash bins.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

reduce, reuse, recycle

We are kind of nutty at our house about the recycling. On the news a few nights ago, we heard a story about the Salt Lake County Landfill. It is filling up quite rapidly. The report stated that the current landfill will run out of space in less than 50 years. That might not seem like a big deal, but when they do run out of space, the only option will be to haul the waste to another location which will likely be 100 ‘s of miles away. And it will be done by an outside company—not the city or the county. The costs for this service will be 10 times the cost for the current waste removal services. The sad part is: over 80% of the waste that is going to the Salt Lake County Landfill is recyclable.

I had a conversation not long ago with a fellow neighbor and recycler. She mentioned that she knew some people who were down right annoyed at the fact that if they were to recycle it would cost them an additional $5 to $10 a month for recycling services. However, these same people don’t flinch a bit about paying the extra $10 a month to have 2 garbage cans.

What’s the difference people???

The difference is that if you are responsible and take the extra few seconds to separate your trash from the items that can be recycled you are reducing the amount of garbage that goes to the landfill. You are being responsible with our resources. You are helping keep the world a more beautiful place.

We separate our recyclable items into 2 different containers:

Paper in one. Everything else in another container.

First Container: Paper. Newspaper. Junk Mail. Catalogs. Magazines. All of those extra copies from the computer printer. Cereal boxes. Macaroni & cheese boxes. Cake mix boxes. Cardboard boxes.

example: recycle the cake mix box, not the plastic bag

Second Container: Everything else: aluminum cans (pop). Steel cans (vegetables, fruit, soup). Plastic (milk jugs, yogurt containers, cottage cheese containers, bread bags, grocery bags). Anything with one of those triangle arrow things.

The only thing that is not recycled is glass. I wish I would find a place that would recycle glass.

Other things that do not recycle: pizza boxes that have touched food, plastic bags (like sandwich bags) and food (but that’s OK because it can go to the compost bin!!—just not rice and meat)

It makes me think of living in Michigan. When you would buy bottles or cans of pop, you would pay a deposit. So a 12 pack of Diet Coke would cost an extra $1.20. However, the streets, roadways, trails, and parks were never littered with drink cans and bottles. I knew of a little family that would go to a local recreation area to gather pop cans for FHE. They would walk around until they found enough cans to take in to recycle and then use the money they got back to buy a treat. They always looked forward to those days when they would gather cans to see how much money they could get back. So, next time you are in Michigan, notice how free the roadways are of cans and bottles. Way to go Michigan!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My girls had a gig today

I originally titled this post: "Lunch at The Senior Citizen Center" but that didn't sound as cool.
Summer played the guitar and ukelele.
Sierra played the fiddle and the piano.
Jessica is their teacher.
She is freaking awesome.
It was so fun.
The girls loved it.
They set up another gig in a few weeks.

When I learn how to upload video, you will see how much fun we had.

Yahoo, My sister can sew

Look what she finished this past weekend:

Watch for more fun projects to come. My sewing machine is back from the shop--all tuned up and ready to go. I just need to get the house clean, laundry done, lawn mowed and tomatoes bottled and I'll be ready!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Rick and I saw this on the news a few days ago...
It was a report on education in the US in comparison to Finland. Just 40 years ago Finland wasn't even a contender in many areas such as education or economy. They were a poor country, dependent on agriculture. But, as a country they have made a commitment to education. And it starts with full dedication on the part of the family. Masters Degrees are required for all teachers. Most class rooms have 3 teachers--2 for instruction and 1 for helping students who are falling behind. Many students have the same teacher for 2 or 3 years. The average Finnish student speaks 4 languages including English. One thing that has made a difference in their education system is that their teachers make 6 figures. They are not punished for poor performance, but rather resources are used to help teachers with their own skills to make them better teachers. In the US, 47% of teachers come from the bottom third of their college class. However in Finland, teachers come from the top 10% of college graduates.
The US has a 25% dropout rate, whereas the dropout rate in Finland in less than 2%.
Finnish students are at the top in Science and in Math. The US ranks 17 in Science and 24 in Math and continue to fall behind each year.
you can see the video here