Friday, April 29, 2016

April updates and thoughts

A quarter of the year is gone!  Rather shocking. 
Here are some of our activities:
Women's Conference and supper with two of my girls!  We watched conference with Grandma at her house.  I loved it.  It was so much more relaxing and fun...though we may visit more without the 'public' to restrain us.  The girls chose a fancy restaurant in Gilbert...or Chandler...anyway it was busy but we enjoyed the wait because we got to visit a lot more.  We tasted unusual and fun crostini, sandwiches and salad.  The company was the best part!

Nephew Jesse came to visit.  Such a treat....although I forgot to go pick him up at the airport and he had to wait for me....argh.  I hate that my memory is so bad.  (I hear echoes of my Dad when I say that because he complained of the same thing, but I think my memory problem has been a lot longer term than his was) We enjoyed catching up with this great kid...and were all surprised it had been over 4 years since we had seen him.


  Rod and I stripped the citrus off our trees early in the month and I hauled it down to Sara and Todd's yard sale which was to benefit a little friend  diagnosed with leukemia...I got there a bit late to help much with the sale, but I did help clean their house afterward which was fun.
 We are in AZ's spring and I just had to do my canning.  Cucumbers were on sale so the bread and butter pickles and relish are done.  (people might still want my potato salad this next year and other relishes just aren't the same and the last bottle is open in the fridge!)  I also made some grapefruit marmalade.  I love that stuff.

For Christmas, Geneva gave us an "experience".  We finally got it on the schedule and went to our glass blowing class with them...
so much fun!  They almost have to do things assembly style with a crowd of beginners and only an hour or two, so the teachers did most of the work but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here is my flower in my house plant.
This is Rod's so you can see how it looks.

We also ate at a little place that sells fried chicken and donuts!  The food was very tasty!

My garden is growing beautifully!  I got some great heads of broccoli, but it is now too warm for it so I pulled half of the plants...that accounts for the bare spot.  I planted cantaloupe in the space...I even planned that ahead of time!
I have also harvested a large bag of spinach, some lettuce, a few green beans, and some basil too.  Also growing are tomatoes, carrots, parsley, swiss chard, zucchini, rosemary  cucumbers, and whatever else I scooped seeds out of for dinner.  (that is how I grow melon, squash and various beans)

There are flowers too...this canna lily is especially lovely!

 Rod and I have been blessed with opportunities to serve ward members a lot lately...and I'm serious when I say blessed.  It seems quite a number of people just aren't able or motivated to keep their homes clean and orderly. I really do enjoy making a big difference cleaning a space and I feel it makes them healthier and safer!   I have been truly blessed that I was raised by a Mom (and Dad) who taught me how to do this and created the expectation that it would be done.  Thanks Mom!!! I have felt glad to be able and willing to help, and Rod has done the same for a brother.   We mustn't take this for granted and, even though it is more work getting mundane tasks done with the 'help' of little kids, their involvement is very important.  Some people are just so overwhelmed with their own mess that they don't know where to start...others don't even see the mess.
These observations connected with something I heard on NPR the other day....a study to see if spending more money on failing schools increased student achievement....It Didn't!!!  Almost twice as much money was spent trying to educate kids in a 'failing' school and it made almost no difference in the drop out rate and other measures of achievement.  What did correlate was the poverty level.  As I thought about that, I felt that "Poverty" is less about how much people earn, and more about the behaviors that decrease ability to earn....Gross generalization of course... but things like a lack of work ethic, parental devaluing of education/learning to read, expectation that somebody 'owes' one their living rather than that one ought to have to work for what one gets, and of course alcohol, drugs and other addictions exacerbate the problems.  There is, of course a large percentage of people that have just suffered from hard life circumstances....but when I think of my husband's childhood...he had every excuse to end up in poverty.  What seems to have made the most difference is his commitment to living the truly improves the lives of it's people.  Just keep sharing!  (It is clear from our interesting election this year that we can't expect government to solve many of our problems) We are sooooo Blessed!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Joys of Grandmothering

You will hear many people complain of the trials of aging...and they are real!  Health problems increase, though I really can't complain in that department! (Thanks Mom and Dad for the amazing genetics !) There are many more aches and pains, less energy and focus, aging parents... and lots of things to worry about but little one can really do.  On the other hand, at least in my case, the blessings far outweigh the difficulties.
I am able to indulge my love of ceramics.  I am gaining some skill and am liking a larger percent of the things I make.  I make the gravy/syrup pitchers to give as wedding gifts to our missionaries along with a waffle iron.   Those that know of our family tradition of waffle nights will understand.  Each one is very different, so if you don't like the one you received, let me know and I'll try again.  The tea cups are to finish out the Christmas gifts I gave the grand kids last year.  One mom was worried that they'd break...but you see that is the beauty of it.  A broken dish means I get to try and make another...hopefully  So Moms, use those dishes!  Let me know if anyone has any requests.  (the white cacti are in process Geeves)
 I have been working to make tall objects and had little success, so I was excited that this one turned out.  In order to make a taller piece, I threw two shorter tubes and attached them.  I was especially excited that the glaze turned out so cool.  It was Bubbles!  Soap in thinned glaze, and a straw produced the bubbles which I scooped out onto the vase.  I love it!
My cute daughter gave me a riding lesson for Christmas!  It was such fun!!! I am not sure I want to put the time and effort into getting back into it as a regular activity, but I loved my lesson!  I was given two certificates in the theory that we would go together, but that didn't work, so I gave the second to my 9 year old granddaughter, because I remember very clearly how I felt about horses at her age and she seems to share that.  I couldn't photograph myself but I got quite a few of her lesson. 

Leading her horse 'Spirit" to be saddled.

Learning about grooming and saddling her mount! It's really dirty and they were shedding!

Ready to go!

That's an English saddle, a different thing than the western she had ridden before.

Starting off!

She is paying close attention to the teacher!  Her seat and reins are just right!

She has already learned to post....the lift that English riders use at a trot.

The teacher helping her improve her balance!

Playing round the world...turning all the way around in the saddle
 It was such fun.  We may have to see about a summer lesson or two.

We met up at the Mesa Arts Center for the Spark festival.  I wasn't quite as impressed this year but we still had a great time!
Sand on a light table...the flash kind of ruined the light part!
The best part for the little ones is still the water, so while the big kids did some of the crafts, we watched the waders.
 I didn't get it in a photo but the best exchange of the day was when M found a rock and threw it.  He had picked up a second one and Poppop said not to throw he tossed it a little way.  He picked up a third rock and got the he gave it a small toss and said "It Fell"!  So funny!


 The temp doesn't slow anyone down.
 These guys were happy in the water for quite a long time and we were delighted to watch.

Mom watched too...holding the treasures.

Then he requested a snow cone.  We joined in too!

We are sooooo very blessed to live close to our sweet kids.  We are thankful they love and get along with each other so well and are willing to share their lives with us!