Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Animal Finger Puppets

A Memorable Monday Moment

This picture is taken from the March 1989 Friend but I'm posting it here so I can find it again.  Sometime after March 1989 we spent a family home evening making these little puppets, and then the next week we delivered them to someone.  I'm sure I've mentioned before that our "practical service" family nights are the ones I remember most easily.  I loved seeing the faces of our little boys as they tried to cheer up their friend who wasn't feeling well.  It was an awesome visit, and well worth the effort it took to prepare the simple gift.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

President's Day at the Beach

A holiday from work means time to do something fun.  Since the next hike on the list is under construction, and therefore closed to hikers, we decided to go to the beach. 

The weather report was such that swimming would not be an enjoyable activity, so we went for the sunrise instead.  The sunrise was kind of hidden behind the clouds, but we still had a pleasant time.

And after a little while, the sun did peek through the clouds.
Don't we live in a beautiful world?

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Valentine's Day Surprises

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day with your loved ones!  Anyway, as mentioned yesterday, I decided to surprise my Valentine my adding some little touches to our bathroom.  We purchased the house a couple of years ago, and got a couple of inexpensive bath mats right away.  Then before we moved in we repainted, but that was about it.  When we installed the towel rods later that year, Wayne picked up a matching toothbrush holder and soap dish, but those can be kind of expensive, and I was fine with just using our old ones.  (In our last house the two sinks were on the same counter so it was easy to share.)  Anyway, I finally decided that I was tired of mis-matched things, and that there was actually some money in the budget to do something about it, so I did.  And since it was a very last minute decision, I was able to keep it a total surprise!

So, here are the before pictures:

How long ago was peach the "in" color?  And I decided that even though I love my wooden jewelry box (a gift from my parents when I was 16), it just really didn't match the decor of this room.  Until I find something else, there's plenty of room on the closet shelf for it.  I also moved the black clock from Wayne's counter into the closet.  He loves the fact that he can just press a button and see what time it is anywhere in the world, but it's old and ugly, and we're going for matching and coordinating here.  That also means the beautiful orchid had to find a new home as well.
This was my Mother's Day gift in 2011.  This is the third time it's bloomed, and I'm actually amazed I haven't killed it.  Once these blooms fall off, we'll replant it in a pretty pot and finally get rid of the grocery store paper!
Today the gift was a dozen roses.  I expect these to die, so won't feel guilty when I throw them away.
And here are the after pictures:


It took a lot of work to find the accessories; maybe that's why it's taken so long.  Some decisions I can make quickly, but finding the balance between what I like, what I think Wayne would like, and how much I want to spend is hard work!  Anyway, you'll notice the peach wastebasket is gone (still need to find clear garbage liners) and Wayne has a pretty silver clock that reminds me of the alarm clock he brought into our marriage.  I found a pretty colored plate to hold my perfume (even though I remember hating having to clean my mother's perfume tray when it was my turn to clean her bathroom, which is why I've never gotten one for myself before).  I guess if I chose perfume based on the color of the bottle it wouldn't be so hard to make it coordinate, but we'll continue basing our decision on how it smells, not how it looks.
By far our favorite thing in the room now are the prints I had enlarged and framed.  You'd think finding matching frames would be easy, but it's not.  Maybe next time I should find the frames first and then decide on the sizes.  However, we've been to some beautiful places (St. John's Island and Miami Beach), and it's nice to be remembered of that.
After all the agonizing and deliberating over the new rug choices, we decided we're not happy with the blue ones, so back they go.  The original plan was to buy one a month for a few months, but these were so inexpensive I decided to give them a try.  We'll go back to the original plan!  Wayne wants to buy a long, narrow painting of some beach scene to hang above the windows, which I think is an excellent idea, and he thought shells in the bowl would look nicer than stones.  I'm still trying to decide; which would you prefer?


Anyway, that's our pretty "new" bathroom.  Now I need to decide which project to finish next!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Things Work, Some Things Don't

Happy Valentine's Day!
It's a holiday, which means there's been an excuse to try some different ideas that I've seen floating around.  Here are some of the results.  
We had a home teaching visit scheduled, and the last time we visited this particular family they mentioned that we didn't need to bring a treat every time, so I wasn't going to this month.  However, as he was walking out the door in the morning, Wayne mentioned it would be nice to take a Valentine's Day treat to the kids.  As usual, I tried to fit too much into one day and there wasn't going to be any time to do something fancy.  Fortunately, there were already-baked sugar cookies in the freezer and some leftover frosting in the fridge, and although there were only six cookies, there were only five kids, and I decided if I packaged them individually it would be just perfect.  I just had to come up with a quick and easy way to "beautify" them enough to be a holiday treat.  As you can see, placing the heart-shaped cookie cutter on the frosted cookie before sprinkling on the sugar did the trick.  And the expression on the youngest boy's face as we gave his to him was priceless.  (One bonus of having them wrapped individually was their mom/grandma could say, "Don't eat that now; save it for tomorrow!" and they weren't quite as tempted to be disobedient.)

There wasn't time to bake fresh cookies, because I was busy making fresh doughnuts, following this recipe here, to take to seminary the next morning.  I thought it would be fun to try making heart-shaped ones.
It was a good idea, but they didn't hold their shape during the rising process.  Oops!
Yes, observant folks, there are more in this picture because this tray was made with a smaller cookie cutter.
I couldn't decide whether to top them with glaze and sprinkles or butter and cinnamon-sugar, so I did some of each.
The "sprinkled" ones looked much prettier as soon as they were made.
However, there did not do well at all keeping overnight.  So, I learned that in the future if I'm serving them right away, I'll glaze them; if they have to wait a bit, we'll use the cinnamon-sugar.  Now you don't have to learn that the hard way.  This particular dough was fine, but some day I'm going to try them using our favorite cinnamon roll recipe.

I also had the excuse to try making some little "monster" finger puppets - idea found here -
and a little monster, or jelly fish, toy - idea found here - using pieces of Glad Oven Bags to make the crackly noise.  However, soon afterwards we finished off a box of cereal; I washed out that plastic bag to use the next time because I liked the sound it makes much better.
Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete without chocolate, so here's a yummy recipe for you.  I was going to link to our favorite Four Layer Dessert, but I have never added it to our recipe blog!  Here's the recipe from food.com.  On Pinterest I saw the idea to make the crust out of chocolate chip cookie dough instead of nuts, flour and butter, and that made me wonder if using our favorite brownie recipe as the bottom layer would work.  It does!  I used half the recipe and baked it in a 9x13" pan.  There's not the crunchiness factor that that's provided by the nuts, but it's still quite delicious!
Finally, last year I stuck my version of this simple Valentine on Wayne's mirror.  Since he never removed it, I didn't have the heart to, and it's been up for an entire year.  However, I figure we've gotten good use out of it, and this year's Valentine surprise is to actually "finish" our master bath, so down it comes.  I think he'll remember I love him without a card on the mirror, don't you?
We'd all love to hear what you did to make Valentine's Day special.  It's always nice to have new ideas to try in the future.  Have a wonderfully, Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finishers Wanted - Yet Again!

Michelle was scrolling through old blog posts and wanted to know the status of the "To-Do List" that I posted over a year ago.  Here's that link.  I guess if I had some sort of accountability factor, I'd do better, wouldn't I?  Anyway, here's the old list, showing what actually got completed.
Make this list - DONE
Clear off the kitchen desk - DONE, and then done again and again and again
Fix tab on Michelle's valance - I'll have to go check on this one.
Complete baby afghan - DONE
Hang the pedigree chart - DONE (you can see it here)
Hang pictures in kids' bathroom - still not done
Hang "Finishers Wanted" plaque - DONE (see above)
Replace the broken brick - DONE
Use up the rest of the "reject" toffee - DONE
Attach gate transponder to car window - DONE
Attach gate transponder to van window - DONE
Find "Sirius" list and put in car - DONE
Get my hair cut - DONE, and then done again at least once more!
Complete 50th anniversary book - DONE
Frame completed cross-stitch projects (lots and lots) - framed a couple of them, still many more to do.
Finish Personal Progress - all done except for one project, which I could change, but I really want my office to look pretty, and someday it will be - and since my young woman has graduated and I'm not serving in Young Women, this is on hold for now
Compile list of unfinished craft projects (then work on them) - still not done
Clean up email folders - not completely finished, although I've made progress
Clean up "My Pictures" folder - not completely finished, although I've made progress
Test/check sprinkler system - DONE
Send care packages to boys - DONE
Get rid of duplicate hex drivers - DONE
Get a new can of rice out of the food storage pile - DONE
Buy replacement strike plates for the doors (count them first) - DONE
Replace sliding mechanism on double door - DONE
Repair sink drain plug - DONE
Re-grout master shower - DONE
Find unusual hinges for front door replacement - DONE
Purchase and hang ceiling fan for master bedroom - DONE
Do something with all the boys' trophies - mostly done, only Steven's left, and they are displayed nicely on a bookshelf for now
Update the emergency binder - DONE
Clean the blinds - DONE
Plan Christmas - DONE
Find a piano tuner - DONE, and it's even been tuned!
Find a trustworthy auto mechanic - DONE
Find a new dentist - DONE
Follow through on ordering key for laundry room cabinet - DONE
Follow through on new high school receiving Michelle's official transcript (before she needs them for her college application) - DONE
Trip to Goodwill - DONE, and then done again multiple times
Figure out what to do with "extra" workbench shelves - DONE
Empty two boxes of music (means re-organizing the music cupboard) - DONE
Etc. (not even going to think about the boxes in the boys' rooms yet, or new living room furniture, or replacing the vertical blinds, or planting a garden, or . . . .)

The "etc." things are still on the list, although we have replaced two out of three of the vertical blinds, and the third set is next on the list for when the budget allows.  And, of course, there are more things to be added, but I was actually surprised at the number of things I was able to cross off.  I'll just have to remember to look at my sign every time I walk through the door, which will help me remember to continue making progress, even if it seems slow at times.