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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sacrament at Home

March 29, 2020

This past Sunday was our very first sacrament meeting at home.  We received the email from the church saying that as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 (Corona virus) worldwide pandemic, we are to hold sacrament meetings in our own homes. At the mention of it, I told Steve that I felt we should truly make it a worship service, dress up, sing hymns, and make it special.  Steve agreed and added that we should assign talks and have Sunday School following sacrament meeting.  We were both on the same page from the get go.  Our kids were excited to hear about sacrament meeting at home, but less enthused that it wouldn't be like watching general conference on TV where we watch in our pajamas. 

We planned to start at 10:30, but there were various hiccups and we ended up starting about an hour later, but when we began, and prepared for the sacrament, it truly was a sacred experience. 

Amara and I worked to make the house clean.  I wanted to prepare the place to invite the spirit.  We layed out a white sheet over our kitchen table and even attempted to press the wrinkles out of it. It made me realize just how much goes into preparing for this sacred ordinance. It made me so grateful for all those who prepare every Sunday to make this experience happen for me.  Everything from cleaning, pressing the white table cloth, assigning and preparing talks and lessons, arranging prelude and hymns to sing, gathering hymnals, moving furniture... there were a lot of things to prepare besides ourselves for sacrament meeting at home.  


I snapped a few pictures before we started just so that I could remember what these times were like.  The coronavirus pandemic won't last forever and eventually we will return to church services.  This little worship service in our own home is sacred.




Update: September 27, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't gone away.  I kinda thought things were going to die down after a couple months, but here we are half a year later and people are trying to resume some of their normal activities in a mask-modified way, but life is not normal.  We're still playing things pandemickly.  

My brother, Micah's family and my sister and my mom have all tested positive for COVID-19, and they've all recovered.  Recently, we attended the baptism of my nephew Rexton.  We gathered at my brother's house since there are not to be large gatherings or meetings at the churches, still.  We did the program at the house, complete with masks and social distancing.  The set up was amazing.  There was a laptop set up in the living room, another screen downstairs, and a camera and screen set up in the living room.  There were families all throughout their house.  Those presenting talks, prayers, leading music, etc., just stood in front of the camera and everyone could see them, including those joining in remotely on the zoom meeting stream.  (Which, by the way, Micah started at his boss's house so he could use his bandwidth.) It touched my heart to see so many family members "zoom" in, family that would otherwise not be able to participate at all because they live so far away.  


After the program there was a short intermission while Rexton and his immediate family (and 2 grandpas) went to the church, and prepared for the baptism. (P.S. It's cool that his brothers Jaxon and Maxwell were the witnesses to the baptism!)  The baptism was streamed on Zoom and all of us at the house were able to witness the ordinance.  It was beautiful.

Masked up me with Rex's baptism program

Rexton cracking open his new Book of Mormon

"I love being a child of God!" Those were Rex's exact words as he stood up to lead us all in singing I Am A Child of God.  His testimony was so powerful to me.  I have shared it with several family members and wrote it in my journal.  I love that proclamation of his and I could feel the truth behind it! I, too, love being a child of God and all that means.  God is my father.  As such, and in a most perfect way, He protects me, feeds me, cares for me, loves me, warns me, corrects me, carries me, and guides me on life's journey. I love being a child of God!

So...

Church at home has been a blessing.  I am so thankful we can continue to worship during this time of turmoil for so many.  There is a lot of hope that has come from church at home.  There's been a lot of change in our lives, both outwardly and inwardly.  I have been grateful for the deeper introspection that the sacrament at home has had on my life and those in my family.  It has become a meaningful covenant that I feel bad for neglecting the importance of during the old routine at church.  When you listen to your children give a spiritually led talk or sunday school lesson each week, it deepens your appreciation for their spiritual journey and your own as a parent.  When you prepare a lesson or talk with your family as the audience in mind, the stress is heaps less and your content more sincere and simple.  I'm learning a lot from church at home.

We've had some wonderful sunday school lessons.  There are visual reminders tacked up all over our house now that point to the scriptures and what we learned that week.  I always intend to take them down after the week is over, but honestly, I love the messages, so they stay up longer.  We have our own titles of liberty taped on the walls, favorite introspective verses from Alma 5 in various locations, pictures of Christ we've colored with chains made up of paper links that we have written upon things we can do to remember Christ, and even posters we made together advertising something we learned from the readings that week.

Poster made by me and mom advertising where we find real riches.

Poster made by Lily and Amara advertising putting the kingdom of God first.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Springtime 2020

Gettin' Our Garden In

It's always a big, big, BIG job to do a garden the size of ours! We started on April Fools' Day planting cold-tolerant seeds outside.  But the garden began way before that.  All winter I perused through seed catalogs, did research on varieties, had the girls choose things they wanted to plant, ordered everything, and had the seeds shipped in time to plant.  It took forevvvvvvver to plant. I'm so glad I had the girls help me out. 

We felt especially grateful to have a garden this year as the coronavirus pandemic began affecting everything in the grocery stores and availability of foods.  When I would grocery shop the shelves were very bare, certain items were being limited, there were no sales anymore. The garden afforded me peace of mind.  We prayed and God blessed our land.  We had plenty for us, and enough to share with neighbors and friends.  Fresh food, homegrown, not only tastes great, but testifies of God's care for you.

The following pictures are from April and May, you can see how the garden developed into such beauty.  









Coolest eyes ever!  Try zooming in if you can.

I loved the shape of this little guy.  He was so soft and fat.  


Note the stripe and the glands behind the eyes.  This little toad is poisonous.  We found several of them basking around our garden.  I welcome them because they eat the bugs that eat my plants!


bowl of spinach, a tomato start (candyland red), bowl of 5 types of lettuce, purple chive flowers, handful of parsley, and oregano.

Amara and I put together some cute fairy gardens using things we got from the dollar tree.



 A nice memory from this time includes the sister missionaries that came to do a service project of helping me harvest lettuce and spinach, as well as mow my lawn. (No pics, sorry.)  None of them had ever mowed a lawn or harvested lettuce before. It was fun to teach them how to do it.  Since my lawn is tiny and all 5 of them hadn't ever done it, they took turns running the mower. One sister would pull the rope to start the mower, run a strip of lawn down, then release the lever turning the mower off, so the next sister could have a turn starting the mower.  It was funny to hear the mower keep starting and stopping every minute or so until the lawn was mowed.  The missionaries were all on the lookout for outdoor service projects because they were not allowed to enter homes because of the pandemic, and after being holed-up for awhile, they were finally approved to do service projects outside.  They called me since I was Stake Relief Society President and asked me to help them find some projects.  They were so helpful in washing windows and planting plants for single sisters I reached out to. 


Dino-Trax Trail Hike

It was a cold, early morning.  We got in the car before sunrise and just as we were approaching our trail, the sun had risen.  We had the place to ourselves!  The hike was beautiful and peaceful.  There were so many cool geologic features.
The hike is family-friendly and it ends at the infamous dinosaur tracks!
Amara's foot next to a dinosaur track



Can you see the dinosaur footprints leading to Pippin? I think they can smell him.  


We skipped some flat rocks  before we found out that it's prohibited.  We were basically throwing dinosaur history into the water. EEK! and OOPS!  I still feel bad about that.  We didn't read the sign until we were on our way out.
The rock skips were pretty fun, though.
This hike was great!  I can't wait to go back!


Pretty flowers that were SUPER tiny.  They were growing on a rock we passed.

Easter

The Easter Bunny is funny.  He hid Amara's basket in the compartment under the seat in the car!
Every Easter, my dad makes his traditional fudge eggs.  This year, we weren't able to go down to visit family, so I made fudge eggs at home.  It wasn't dad's recipe, but it was a very simple recipe I was able to do in a short amount of time, and it was still yummy. :)  No piped on names, but I did have some sprinkles ;) 

Lily's basket was hidden in the oven drawer that neither of the girls knew even existed.

Amara creatively crafted her cotton candy into a bunny. 

Our Easter Dinner was a delicious feast thanks to many helpers!  Grandma and Amara decorated the table.  I made the ham and pineapple and green bean casserole.  Lily made the rice and lemon crumb bars (so good!), My mom made the krab potato salad the day before. 

Marco Polo Cooking Contest!

My dad issued a cooking challenge to our family via Marco Polo and it turned into a fabulous weekly event that really pulled our family together even though we were states apart!  It was such a fun experience.  It started the week after Easter and continued all throughout the summer.

First Challenge, issued by dad:
Make dinner using-
1. Leftovers
2. Food Storage item
3. Pantry item
4. Freezer item

We made veggie-and-cheese stuffed mushrooms, baked mac-n-cheese with ham and tomatoes, and almond scones with Devonshire cream and berries!




For another challenge- we made cherry pie ala mode shakes! The challenge was issued by Micah and Mandy and the rules were you had to cook outside and one of your ingredients has to begin with "M."  We made Mushroom & Munster cheese stuffed burgers with cherry pie Milk shakes 

Spencer and April issued the COVID COOKOFF CHALLENGE: You could not go out and buy new ingredients.  You had to use what was already in your house.
Our bento boxes turned out really cute!  We ended up winning this challenge.
Amara's bento was inspired by a unicorn bento she saw online.

Steve's bento was about simplicity and eating soon.  He made a kalua pig musubi and a spam musubi with side salad.

I like how Lily's plate showcases the single flower atop her musubi.

This little bear is in bed resting because he has COVID.  Amara and I worked on this one together.

The food was all really cute and pretty, but honestly, mine took so long to make that everything was cold when I sat down to eat it.
Do you like the mask I made for the little animal?  It was a leftover dice of cooked onion.

Amara was excited to make cheese balls for another one of the challenges! It was issued by Jake and Spencer and the rules were the kids gotta cook it and must use cheese!  Our kids planned the cheesy menu, and it did not disappoint!

They made homemade pretzels and cheese sauce!


The Menu: Crackers and cheeseball, Caesar salad with parmesan cheese, homemade pretzels with homemade cheddar sauce, steamed broccoli and cauliflower (with more cheese sauce).

Technology has been a huge blessing during this pandemic!  We've been able to connect digitally and make family memories.  I have loved it!

Grandma Bobbie's Birthday!

Amara really helped make Grandma's birthday special by making her a lei, decorating the house before she woke up, and surprising her with confetti as she came out of her room.  It was the best!
We packed a picnic and went golfing, just us girls.  We had SO MUCH FUN!  The girls both liked learning and did a good job.  I just drove the cart because I had a tweaked back.
P.S. The views were beautiful on the back 9!

Mom had some awesome drives down the fairway!  Lily hit pretty straight almost every time.  Amara had a knack for keeping her arm straight and getting down the technique!
For dinner, we grilled in the wind.  We had Kalbi marinated pork, grilled veggie kabobs, artichokes, Korean bean sprout salad, and rice.  Not pictured (why not?) is the German Chocolate Cake with ice cream for dessert!
Happy Birthday Mom!

LIFE ADAPTED DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

I made a goal to go on a date each week, alternating different family members.  Amara and I went rock hounding looking specifically for white or egg shaped rocks. That was fun.  We ended up at a field near the Myton Cemetery where we got more than we needed.  Our date ended with shakes and sliders at Arbys.
Wearing masks in public became a thing. We also wore gloves to avoid the spread of COVID germs.

Mom and I did something ridiculous for our date.  We had Pho, picnic style.  I brought bigger bowls because it's hard to eat it properly from a takeout cup. Mom really struggled. She really likes to have a table, and I can't blame her.  This was hard and messy to do in the car.  We did have a nice view out our window of Montes Creek.


This next picture was just too sweet although has nothing to do with dating or covid!  Dad and Amara doing the dishes...
Lily has beautiful hair.  That also has nothing to do with Covid.
One of Amara's favorite places to shop is Allreds Yard and Garden.  They have a huge gorrilla there who also wore a mask for COVID!

Movie watching became more prevalent during COVID.

One of Steve's students was so sweet and came by our home with a dozen delicious cupcakes and a poster of encouragement!  That has NEVER happened before.  This was a crazy time for schools as they had to go to online teaching practically overnight.
Amara likes to plan things, so as you can see, here's her schedule she made...
Amara and Sarah had to wear masks if they wanted to play together, but then we decided to allow them to play outside without masks. They built a hideout of sorts out of dead branches. It was pretty cool!



Amara also learned how to walk on air!

Covid may have made us a little crazier than usual.
On another date, Amara decided to bring a sign.  She rolled the window down and showed it to passerbys.  How thoughtful!  The sign said: YOU ARE AMAZING

Steve and I had a photography gig shooting a huge property where we got to ride 4 wheelers!  It was very fun!


Mother's Day 2020

I made this Mother's day bouquet from things found in my garden, and a yellow wildflower growing nearby.




Our family planned a fun afternoon olympics with croquet and horseshoes.  We gave my mom a ticket in her Mother's Day card.  Funny thing was that we had discussed earlier that everyone was to be sure that grandma won the games so we could give her the prize "golden" trophy.
Steve had to work hard to lose without looking like he was doing it on purpose!  It was funny to watch!  Our grass was also super difficult to play croquet because it's super patchy and lumpy, sending what would otherwise be a straight shot bouncing of in unknown roads.

So, GUESS WHO WON?

Yup! Grandma won the GOLD PRIZE! Her favorite, Ferrero Rocher!
It was a marvelous day for me, too.  Amara made me breakfast in bed!  A delicious egg-turkey sandwich with ice water to drink.  After I ate, I got up and made my mom a ham-egg sandwich with an avocado shake.

I got some gifts as well: a non-stick pan, an instant pot cookbook, a box of merci chocolates (My FAVE!), some hand towels from my mom and a japanese card game.

Sacrament meeting was wonderful.  Amara chose Mother's Day songs, Steve and my mom gave talks on motherhood.  I liked my mom's insight that whether or not you bore a child, you are responsible for working with God to nurture and care for all His children.  So true!  Steve had some funny quotes at the beginning of his talk, my favorite being: "I don't want to sleep like a baby, I want to sleep like my husband!"  Haha! I think I've totally said that before!

We had make your own picnic lunches and eat outside.  For dinner we had a crockpot of roast, potatoes, carrots, onions, and green beans.

In the evening we built a fire and made smores with an extra good variation- nutella spread on one side of a chocolate chip cookie topped with the toasted marshmallow and sandwiched with another chocolate chip cookie!

yummy!