Sunday, February 27, 2011

happy birthday in Mississippi

In 2005, My mom, Brandi, Hunter, and Halle came to visit for a few days for my birthday.
We went to a program at school for Summer and then headed off to see the Mississippi River.
Vicksburg, MS 2005
Mom and Brandi stayed home with the girls so Rick and I could go out.  
We got dinner and then walked around Barnes & Noble.
While we were gone, the gang made a cake, and decorated the front of the house with Happy Birthday Notes.

age 35 ( I guess we could only afford 3 candles)
Halle, BK, Kelli, & Hunter

Friday, February 25, 2011

Birthday 2003

 In Michigan...
Kelli's birthday in Michigan 2003. (the 2nd time we lived in MI)
It looks like I got some socks, clock from Target and a Cooking Light Cookbook.  Sierra is eating the chocolate cake that Rick made for me.  (apparently he didn't get the memo about angel food cake)

More random birthday flashback photos...

Russell, Melinda, Kelli, Mitchell, Brandi  
I think this would be 1977.
It looks like I am worried about Melinda dropping that baby.  
I think I should have been more worried about the cake sliding onto the floor.

maybe 1980. had to include some photos of the siblings.

maybe 1979.  check out our matching Dukes of Hazard t-shirts

 This one had a date, 1983.  maybe you can tell by the hair.
And there you can see a yummy angel food cake with frosting. yum.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthdays age 4 & 5

So, my mom called earlier today wondering when the next installment of "This is My Life:" would be published.  I had to try to explain to her that I had stuff to do, responsibilities and such.  She said that at the rate I am going with these birthday photos, I won't be celebrating my birthday until some time in March.  So, I told her that I would neglect my children and get right on it.  THEN, she tells me that my birthday present won't be ready for a month anyway.  So, people, it looks like we'll be celebrating my birthday for about another month or so.  Enjoy.
Age 4: 
February 27, 1974
This was my party.
You can see my 2 cousins, Lori in the red gingham, and Tera in the red pants.
Tera passed away in a car accident in 1989, the week of her high school graduation.

Age 5:
 The picture above isn't the greatest of me since there is a big scratch on the original photo right next to my face, but I had to include it simply for proof of how dang many of my birthdays were spent at Arctic Circle.  I did have to crop the picture down a bit so some of the background isn't visible for proof that it was actually AC.  But, if you doubt me, take a good look at that table and you will recognize it as the "Break Table".  Right?
(pictured L to R:  Jason, Kelli, Seth, Stephanie (in the red), Heath, Jamie.)
Why did I have so many "boy friends" when I was 5 and not when I was 20?
oh well, I survived.

Hard to tell, but this might be a homemade angel food cake covered in homemade strawberry frosting...still my favorite.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And then I turned 3

Kelli, 2/73 in Circleville
And it looks like I also grew some hair.

Kelli & Ethel in Circleville. 1974.
gotta love the brown polyester.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And then I turned 2

It's going to be a long week, isn't it?

The house where I was born...

well, technically I wasn't BORN in this house.  I was born in the hospital just down the road.  In Richfield, Utah.  But, this is the house where I lived until we moved to Provo when I was about 2.
 My parents rented part of this yellowish brick house from a couple named Harold and Ranon Hansen.  The house is located on Main Street at about 400 North, across from the park.  Every time I have ever gone to Richfield we always drive past the house, slowly to take a peak. I had to go to Richfield last week and I stopped to take a quick picture.  I didn't think about ME being in the picture until after I got home.  That was dumb.  I should have been in the photo.  But, I was a little intimidated by the large woman smoking on the porch.  I was afraid she was going to report me for stalking her or something.  So, I snapped a quick picture and headed on my way.

The pictures below were taken in front of this same house when I was age 1 to 2.  Well, you can barely see the house in most of the photos, but since I am in the pictures and this week it's all about me, I thought I would just post them anyway.
Kelli & Kent, Richfield, 2/71
Kelli, 2/71
Kelli, 2/71
A few more shots of me and the house.  These were taken when I was age 2.

Kelli and Kent, Richfield, 1972

I did get a few comments (on the blog and in person) about Lanny looking like my Dad.  A lot of people seem to think so.  I asked my mom and she said that she doesn't see it so much.  If anything, it's the nose.  I had a dream last night about my dad.  We were working at Arctic Circle.  I was doing dishes and cleaning the restrooms.  Weird.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kelli age 1

Kelli, age 1, Circleville, UT
(I told you there would be Kelli photo overload.)
Happy President's  Day

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birth Week to me

At church today, the Relief Society President came in YW and gave me a birthday happy.
I was certainly surprised since my birthday is in exactly one week.
I took it as a sign that I should be celebrating my birthday all week long.

And because of my recent family history class experience, 
I have been going through all kinds of old papers, photos, and treasures.
Soooo, be prepared for Kelli overload.

This photo was taken in Circleville, Utah.
This is Kelli and Kent.
It was my blessing day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lunch Time Entertainment

Rick, Summer, Jessica on guitar & Sierra on fiddle.
Don't you love the look of determination/concentration on Rick's face?  I love it.
 Rick on percussion, Summer on the ukelele, Sierra on the fiddle, and Jessica on the mandolin.  
And the proud Grandparents.
My mom wanted to stay for Bingo, Wii, and quilting 101.

The girls got a lot of compliments and were even invited to come back in March for the big St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Jessica told how as a young fiddle student, she came to the Springville Senior Citizen Center to perform with her family.  Now, as a music teacher herself, she is bringing some of her students back to continue to entertain.
It's pretty fun to go to the Senior Citizen Center.  They ALWAYS want to request certain songs.  The #1 most requested song is Red River Valley.  When Jessica announced that song, she mentioned that she often forgets the words to the second verse and so she might need help getting through some of the words.  Grandma Nan was right there singing along.  We couldn't have done it without her!  Maybe next time she can just jump right up onto the stage and take her own mic right next to Jessica.
Thanks for coming.
(one of these days, I'll figure out how to get the blasted date off the photo and get the lighting just right.  for now--deal with it.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Traditions...

Valentine Heart Plates
Heart Shaped Breakfast Scones
Cole has been begging me to make scones for breakfast for weeks.  And I have conveniently said, "no" every single time.  He didn't even ask this morning.  I just surprised him.  I added a little bit of food coloring to make them look pink.  Once I had it rolled out and divided I cut a little triangle into the end of each one so it looked like a heart (the kids were so impressed).  Here is the recipe for sugar cookies for breakfast Coffee House Scones:

3 - 3 1/2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
11 T. butter
2/3 c. milk
2 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 425.  Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and brown sugar, until well incorporated.  Cut the butter into tiny pieces and mix into the flour.  Keep cutting in the butter until you incorporate the butter into the flour and it looks like cornmeal.  Add the milk and vanilla and mix to form a dough.
Cut dough in two and shape into 2 round, 1/2 inch think.  Sprinkle with sugar and then cut into 8 wedges.  Separate slightly to help cook.  Cook for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through in the middle.

The kids also got a little bag of "Happies".  Included were pink tissues, a book, gum, sucker, some flashcards for identifying Hawaiian fish while SCUBA diving for the girls & letter flashcards for Cole,  a shirt for girls & PJ bottoms for Cole.  And the girls got flowers from dad.
We went out this afternoon to deliver some chocolate covered pretzels to the families that I Visit Teach and we stopped to get one last sugar fix for the day.
I have had more sugar in the last 12 hours than I have had in the last 40 days.  My head is spinning (although that might also be from the head cold that Cole passed on to me this weekend.)

We are off to play "go fish" with the flashcards that Cole got for our FHE activity.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Valentine Card.  To My Mother.  From Kent, age 11, 1956

Inside of the card.

My mom called me yesterday and was asking about some old photos.  I looked through the envelope of photos that I had and I came across this Valentine.  It has a little note on the back side where my Grandma Faye has written "from Kent, age 11, 1956".  There is pencil writing inside the red, crayon heart on the front that says, "Mother".  And the faded line at the bottom says, "your son Kent"
The words are:
My Mother
Oh Mother Dear, I'm glad
to hear that I'm your Dear
You sew and sweep and work
all day and help the little ones
to pray.  Oh tell me when
Mothers play,
your son Kent

Friday, February 11, 2011

Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS) Rankin County students, teachers, colleagues mourn bus driver

Henry WiltcherOn cold winter mornings, Mr. Henry would come to work early and crank all the vehicles so they would be warm inside when the other bus drivers arrived. And when he battled cancer and underwent chemotherapy, Mr. Henry continued to ride the bus with "his children" on the days he felt well enough, even when another driver was behind the wheel.
Henry Wiltcher, a man who told others his mission was to be of service to the world, did it by driving a bus.
He died Thursday after spending more than a decade as a Rankin County School District driver, and he is being mourned by teachers, students and colleagues.
Neighbor Brenda Perry has shared Brandon's Avalon subdivision the past four years with Mr. Henry, who drove the bus for her children Ryan, 11, and Abby, 6.
"Every year, he would send out birthday cards and put a $5 bill in them," she said.
"At Christmas time, his wife made little ornaments and gave out refrigerator magnets with "hugs" written across them and sweet little things like that.
"And a couple of years ago when they split the bus route, many children cried because they didn't get his route. I cried when I heard he died."
Many were overcome with sadness at Highland Bluff Elementary, a K-5 school with about 700 students where Mr. Henry last worked.
Bookkeeper Cindy Freeman said he always remembered her daughter's summer birthday.
"He would call her up and say, 'It's our girl's birthday,'" she said through tears Thursday morning.
Cher Switzer, a kindergarten assistant teacher, said her son, Taylor, rode Mr. Henry's bus about eight years.
"My father passed away two years ago with cancer, and Mr. Henry had been diagnosed before," she said. "He had so many encouraging words for me and my son. He took him aside and told him how wonderful heaven would be.
"We had a little bit of heaven on this earth while he was here."
The school sent a letter home to parents to let them tell their children about Wiltcher's death, but some had already heard, said Diana Momberg, school counselor.
"We will have some counselors available (today) to handle the kids," she said.
Wiltcher, 75, attended Hollandale High School. He farmed for a while, sold tools for a while, and later became manager and part owner of Leland Tire Service, where he pumped gas, checked oil and fixed flats for country farmers. When he retired from the service station, he moved to Brandon and became a bus driver.
Wiltcher married his second wife, Louise, in 1977, and their blended family included seven children.
After battling several rounds of throat and neck cancer, including a recent recurrence, he died from complications due to pneumonia.
"He touched everyone he was in contact with, even the nurses at the hospital," said his daughter, Lynn Broussard.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I know I have written about Mr. Henry before, but this was on FACEBOOK this morning, written by a friend of mine, Jo, who has 2 daughters the same ages as Summer and Sierra and a son just a bit older than Cole:

"This morning the world lost a wonderful man as the Lord welcomed home Mr. Henry Wiltcher, my children's bus driver.  I can hardly believe it as I write it.  He was no ordinary bus driver.  He made an eternal impact on the lives of my children and so many others.  I wish the world could stop to honor him.  We will miss him so much."

I was in the car this morning when I read this and I couldn't stop crying.  It took me about an hour before I could call Summer and tell her.  She was cried also.  A little retail therapy helped occupy her mind for a while.

Mr. Henry knew the children's names, the parents, names, birthdays, phone numbers--everything about each child that rode his bus.  I remember the first morning he picked Summer up for First Grade.  We had neighbors that looked out for us and told us to call Mr. Henry so he would stop at our house and pick up Summer--at 6:20 am.  I thought that was weird until I realized that Mr. Henry stopped at the house of each family that had children riding the bus.  When he stopped that morning, he got out a form to give to us so that we could write down birthdays and such.  He made sure to pick the completed form later that day when he brought the children home from school.
Sierra would run out to the driveway every day at 3:15 and Mr. Henry would wave and holler "Hello, Miss Sierra!" or "Hi there sweetheart!" every time.
I spend a lot of time at the school volunteering, especially when Summer was in First Grade.  If I was there in the afternoons, Summer would still choose to ride the bus home with Mr. Henry.  Mr. Henry would always go into the school and check on his kids before school dismissed to make sure the ones that rode the bus to school in the morning would be riding home in the afternoon.  One day, we were there and he invited Sierra to ride the bus home with him.  It was probably against some rule somewhere for "non school age children" to ride the bus, but, oh well.  I'm sure Sierra will never forget her one bus ride with Mr. Henry.
Mr. Henry sent a birthday card to each child with $5 in it.  He even remembered Sierra, even though she never attended school in Mississippi.
Mr. Henry called each family on his bus route that Sunday evening before Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  He wanted to make sure each one of his children was aware of the impending storm and that school had been cancelled.  He didn't want any of his children to be waiting for him if he wasn't going to be coming.
School ended up being cancelled for about 3 weeks in our immediate are because people were living in the school as a shelter for a while.  Mr. Henry called to notify each of us when school and bus service was able to resume.
We have kept in touch with Mr. Henry since we left Mississippi.
I wonder how many other hearts he touched like he touched ours.  What a good, good person.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I used to be crafty

I was talking to my mom a few weeks ago and she mentioned something about making one of those coffee filter wreaths that are all over the internet.  I figured, "If Nanners can make a wreath, so can I. "

So, I went to the store and bought some coffee filters (I didn't realize that they came in different sizes.  I evaluated and decided that small would work).  I dipped them in red and pink and purple food coloring (I knew that neon food coloring would come in handy eventually).  I spread them out on cookies sheets (4) and stuck them in the oven that was still warm from whatever tasty casserole I had made for dinner.  The next morning they were all pink and wrinkly and cute.  And they sat on the table for a couple of weeks.
Then, one afternoon I was cleaning up the kitchen and almost threw out my pink coffee filters.  But, as i was walking to the door to put them in the recycle bin (because you know i would never JUST THROW OUT something that was made of paper, right?) I noticed a piece of white cardboard.  I grabbed the white cardboard in one hand and with my pink coffee filters in the other hand, I ran downstairs to find the glue gun.  The internet crafty people told me that I would need about 50 to 60 coffee filters to make this heart thing.  But, they must have used the extra large coffee filters.  My heart looked a little bit bare.  But, lucky for me, coffee filters come in packages of 200.  So, I thought that I would just color some more coffee filters and finish the heart another day.  But, I'm not really known for my patience, and so I just started sticking the white coffee filters in the bare spots.  I think it works.
I had to adjust the ribbon a bit so that it didn't hang like it was a broken heart (it's a little lop sided).

That's about the extend of the Valentine crafts these days.


A little project I finished last night.  This will be a gift, but I think I need one of my own.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

never enough time

Here is a sample of some of the goodness I acquired a few weeks ago, plus a little more that I picked up today that didn't even make it into the photo.  I've already got a project in the works.  I'll show you soon because the person it is going to celebrated a birthday YESTERDAY, so I must hurry!!
And, if that's not enough...
I am dying to make this:
Closer view

A baby afghan.  Why?  I don't know.  But, I have always wanted to try this basketweave pattern.  I found a free pattern with great instructions.  And, like I always do...I tried it out first with some leftover yarn I had in the stash by making one of those cotton crochet dishcloths.  I loved it.  So, when yarn was on sale last week I bought 9 skeins of aqua blue and one skein of brown for the trim.  It will match the living room which is currently being overrun with musical instruments and really should be called the music room.  But, that is all for another day.
So, I will put off the laundry and the dusting once again.  I have projects to do.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oops, correction.

OK, so on the last post I totally lied.  Summer caught me on it, and Now I must make it right.

The baked bean soup was NOT the best crock pot recipe from the new cookbook.  Summer reminded me that the best meal so far has been the Cheesy Sausage Breakfast Bake on page 207.  This would obviously be better if I were to put it in the crock at night and then it would be ready for breakfast.  But, I put it in early on Sunday morning and it was ready to eat when I came home from Church during Sunday School we walked in the door after church.

Here is the recipe:

1 30 oz. package frozen hash browns (mine were one big frozen cube)
1 lb. breakfast sausage (I used lean ground beef)
1 onion, diced
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten, (I used egg beaters)
4 slices cheese (I shredded what was left in the back of the fridge)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Place the hashbrowns in the bottom.  Mix everything else together.  Pour over the hashbrowns.
Some time during Sunday School, stir to combine the hashbrowns.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
If you cook it over night, leave on warm at the end and when you awake your house will smell like heaven and breakfast will be ready.

I had some cilantro to sprinkle on top and the kids covered it will ketchup and salsa.

The kids loved this.  The only thing I would do differently next time is make twice as much.  The leftovers were just as good as the real thing--at least that is what the kids said since I am currently not eating most of these foods.
image courtesy of Southern Living Magazine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baked Bean Soup Recipe

I had to post those for all those of you who give a dang about football, football parties, or football game commercials.  I am not really participating in the football hoopla.  But, here you go...

Baked Bean Soup in the crockpot.   Perfect for game day.  In the crock.  
Make It Fast, Cook It Slow
the recipe came from one of these 2 cookbooks above (the green one).  I've mentioned them before.  You can find out more here.  The second recipe book (the green one) came out a few weeks ago.  I have tried about half a dozen recipes so far, including sauerkraut soup.  (so yummy).  But this one is the best so far.  You can read about it here on the crockpot 365 blog.  or you can trust me.  Here it is:

1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans, or pinto beans (if you are going to use dry, pre-soak 2/3 cup overnight, and then cook until beans are soft)--no need to drain canned beans
1 cup finely diced onion 
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (and juice!)
2 cups water
salt to taste before serving

The Directions.

Use a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Put beans into pot, and top with onion and carrot. Add all seasonings and spices. Pour in the entire can of tomatoes, and add water. Stir.
Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5. If your beans were dry, you might need to go as long as 10 hours, depending on altitude and humidity.
Before serving, pulse a bit with a hand-held stick blender to blend some of the beans. This will thicken your broth and provide a richer flavor. If you don't have a stick blender, scoop out about 1 cup of liquid and pulse CAREFULLY! in a traditional blender, and stir back into the crock.

I wish someone would have a pot luck soup party because I would bring this.

The only thing I would do differently is double this recipe.