Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas 'Furry' Quilts - A Personal Memory

Years ago, when I was a young teenager, my parents hired the neighbors who ran a local toy company (making stuffed animals), to make all of us eight children Christmas blankets (furry quilts) for our beds. None of us had ever had matching bedspreads, and we all shared a room with a sibling or two.

Unbeknownst to each of us, Mom and Dad had selected colors they thought we'd each like and...on Christmas morning surprised us with new furry bedspreads.

For some reason, this memory stands out to me as one of the most precious, Dad was on a teacher's salary, and with eight children to raise and ten mouths to feed and clothe, money was often very tight.
Similar to ours - but ours were large checkered and furry  :)

None of us expected this for Christmas - so it was 'extra special' and meaningful to me.

My sister Melody and I shared a room.  After opening our gift - we rushed to our bedroom to place our new red and white checkered 'quilts' on top of our beds and to 'redecorate' our room.

I was telling my precious new husband the other day that when I was growing up - and couldn't afford new items, I'd rearrange furniture - for 'fresh starts'.  It was often fun to see how cleaning and organizing and rearranging could make us feel like we had a new clean slate.

Christmas can have a variety of memories for most of us; some good, some sad, some lonely, some joyful and pleasant.

I think that the reason our furry Christmas Quilts stands out for me as a wonderful one was that I knew of the sacrifices my parents must have made in all our behalf.  And....the sacrifices the neighbors, who ran a busy company, also must have made as they had a large family as well, and a busy toy company.

I pray that some of the memories my children had in childhood, are pleasant ones.  I raised them alone for most of their lives, we lived on very little and Christmases were often frugal and small.  I tried to find or make things that would help them feel loved and cherished.  And, we were sometimes the recipients of others' kindnesses - which, to this day, touches me deeply.

I'm grateful for this time of year where we can celebrate the love we feel for one another, and the greatest love of all; the Christ child Himself; our Savior, Redeemer and Friend.  May we always reflect on Him; the real meaning of the season, and find ways to share His love and kindness with those around us.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Dollar Store Christmas Centerpieces; Beautiful Flowers

Here's an inexpensive idea for Beautiful Christmas Table Centerpieces using items from the Dollar Store.

You'll need:
1 donut shaped green foam floral piece
7-10 strands floral stems
1 spool of ribbon for bow
1 tall floral vase
1 container floral gel beads
1 battery operated candle (and batteries)
(wire cutter)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"O Holy Night" from Garth Smith, pianist

Today we receive the first youtube video from accomplished pianist, Garth Smith wherein he shares his testimony by way of music with meaning.  His desire for all of us is this:

"I hope that as you watch the video, you feel a renewed appreciation for that wonderful night when our Savior was born."  -Garth Smith

We thank Garth for his willingness to freely give of his time and talents at this special time of year wherein we remember and ponder on the birth, and life, of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ.  For it is in Him alone, that we are 'saved'.  

"O Holy Night"

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Beautiful Christmas Message

Here's a beautiful Christmas Message featuring children, youth and adults from all around the world. Christ is the meaning of the season. He is WHY we celebrate and What we celebrate. His life gives the rest of ours meaning and purpose. He is the Way back home!

We invite all to watch and to 'celebrate' with us; this beautiful time of year. 


Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving or Fall Floral Arrangements - Wedding Centerpieces

We made these beautiful Fall floral centerpieces for a wedding - but used them also for Thanksgiving Dinner. They're easy to make and inexpensive. Everything we purchased was from the dollar store.

Items needed per centerpiece: 1 donut-shaped green floral foam, 7-10 floral stems and leaves, 1 roll ribbon, 1 glass vase, 1 battery-operated candle (2 per package), 1/2-1 jar moist beads, (wire cutters)
Approx. $11-15.00 each.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Teach the Children; An Agency Approach to Education

As some of you may know - I was asked to present at the Agency-Based Education Conference this past weekend in Provo, Utah.  I was thrilled to meet Neil J. Flinders, author extraordinaire of "Teach the Children; an Agency Approach to Education" as well as Joyce Kinmont, homeschooler extraordinaire and founder of

Our little family 16 years ago
 Also in the audience were Gayle Ruzicka- leader extraordinaire and President of Utah Eagle Forum.

All three of these people have been instrumental in my life without them ever knowing.  But, they know it now.

I pray that the rising generation will continue with the torches these people have lit and carried, and continue to carry, and that we will rise to the occasions required of us for our time and day.

There are many 'noble and great ones' (Abr. 3:22-23) among us who lead and show us the way.

I was grateful to be numbered among some excellent speakers at the Conference, spearheaded by Oak Norton, visionary and leader extraordinaire.

These are not just regular people. They are regular people who have been 'called of God' (in my opinion and estimation) and heeded that call to do what they are doing. Their willingness to do so has and is changing lives.  I credit them for being willing to answer the call of duty and to strengthen the feeble knees (excellent article from Elder Marvin J. Ashton).

Let us do the same as we seek to strengthen our homes, families, communities, neighborhoods and countries.

Here is the PowerPoint Presentation I shared - which includes many of the prophetic statements and strong quotes that helped me set a foundation for my family I sought to help teach them correct principles and become as 'educated' as they could.

"Un-Schooling"  PowerPoint Presentation: