Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hump Day!!!!

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) The Internet.  I know, I know!  For the GOOD it can do.  I love the convenience of searching online for pretty much anything!  I can go to the Internet for something uplifting to read, a recipe I need, and for beautiful pictures to see and for those reasons I call this technological breakthrough a blessing!

2)  The rain!  I woke up this morning and stepped outside to see the sidewalks were all wet and damp.  It was clear it must have rained through the night.  I am loving the rain.  We live in the desert and we need all the rain we can get.  I love that it cools everything down too.  Lovin it!!!

From the Camera:

I love how the sun shines through the trees in the photo and the snow covering the trees.  So pretty!
From the Heart:

In keeping with our theme....random acts of kindness, here is another idea.
Use your vacation days....
Do your friends, co-workers, and family a favor and be sure to use all of your vacation days from work this year. Too often we think work is too important and we shorten a vacation or meet our family halfway through the week so we don't have to take a full week off.
Or worse yet, something comes up at the last minute and we decide to cancel the vacation all together. If you aren't using your vacation days it is only a matter of time until you burn out of your job and begin to feel unappreciated and like you work too hard (which you do!). The reality is, when you take a week or two off to unwind and relax, you come back to work a better employee, re-charged and ready to go.


Vacation will give you time away from the office to regain some perspective. Are there other changes you need to make in your life? Has it been too long since your last vacation? Should you have taken this one sooner? Or perhaps there is a big issue or project going on at work. Sometimes it is only when we step away for a moment that we are actually able to see the solution. Vacation will give you time to re-connect with your family and friends, which will fill you with more energy when you do get back to work.

From the Kitchen:

Peppermint Rock Candy
1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 4-5 drops neon blue food coloring
  1. Place sugar, corn syrup and salt in a heavy duty pan with a thick bottom.  
  2. Over low heat, slowly bring mixture to a boil, stirring often.  
  3. Let it boil until it reaches 300 degrees or hard crack stage.  
  4. Remove from heat and add peppermint extract and food coloring.  Stir.
  5. Poor in a parchment lined pan.
  6. Let cool completely.
  7. Use your hands or a knife to crack the candy into smaller pieces.
From the Spirit:
Look at your hands. Are they busy lifting the burdens of others? Are they used in happy greeting as you shake another’s hand? Marriage vows are taken while holding hands. Will the diploma you receive from this institution be received with a hand outstretched? Hands give blessings when placed on another’s head. It is with our hands that we write a term paper, paint a painting, play the piano, or wave to a friend in parting. What about the hands of your professors as they write upon a chalkboard or help you utilize a test tube, a computer, or a scientific measuring device more effectively?
Hands symbolize so much. Whom do your hands applaud? How do you use your hands? By wrapping a gift? By helping a friend with a complex mathematical problem? Each of you is learning to become more self-sustaining and more skilled in your life’s pursuits. Yet each of us needs a hand to lift us at one time or another in our lives. A couple falling in love as they hold each other’s hands are saying, “It’s you I love.” Those same hands could be saying, “I will protect you. I will strive to be a good servant of the Master. I will play with a child, help a colleague move—or help a merry Christmas to happen as we speak those holiday words.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley reported a pioneer Christmas he had learned about. He quoted a story he had read in which the author wrote:

I remember the Christmas of 1862. All of us children hung up our stockings. We jumped up early in the morning to see what Santa had brought, but there was not a thing in them. Mother wept bitterly. She went to her box and got a little apple and cut it in little tiny pieces and that was our Christmas, but I have never forgotten to this day how I loved her dear little hands as she was cutting that apple. [Hannah Daphne Smith Dalton, quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley, CR, April 1959, p. 119]

Incidentally, this year President Gordon B. Hinckley has been in 20 countries and has had 137 speaking assignments with 731,671 in attendance (information provided by the Office of the First Presidency, 6 December 1997). This does not include general conference nor so many other engagements he attends as he represents the Savior and each of us.

From the Schmidt's:

What a day!  It's cold out here in Arizona today. I love that!  We spend so much time dealing with the heat here, it's a nice change when it cools off outside.  This morning it rained!  Loving it!!!

Kevin and Lexi were both up pretty early in the middle of the night last night.  Lexi kept waking up with this stomach flu we have passed around the family.  She has been home from school with it for about a week now.  Not good!  Especially since this is the last day of the quarter/semester.  She really cannot afford to miss at all.  I got her some Emetrol last night, because we were out of it, in the hopes that it would calm down her stomach so she could get back to school.  It didn't work.  The only thing you can do is rest with this stuff.  Not fun.  Poor little Lexi.  It's no fun being sick.  Daniele had this and said it lasted a week for her.

Today at work we are having our white elephant gift exchange.  This should be fun.  We haven't done anything as a team around Christmas for a few years now.  Everyone is looking forward to this.   It's the little things that put a smile on my face.  What can I say?

Something interesting happened last night.  First of all, I got pretty much ALL of my Christmas shopping done in a matter of an hour or two by shopping online with Amazon and a couple other great websites.  (I can't share those at this time.  If I do the gift receivers will know what they are getting.)  Kevin and I brainstormed and got it all pretty much done.  We still have a couple little things to get, but I am feeling much better now that the bulk of our shopping is complete.  I am one happy Momma. We aren't going too crazy this year on the presents and no one seems to have grand ideas of things that they want either.  Our kids are pretty level headed when it comes to stuff like this, which is appreciated.  Sure, I would love to be able to spoil them, but that isn't an option.  

The other thing that happened was there was a surprise gift addressed to me on our doorstep last night.  Kyle came home from school last night and found it on our doorstep.  It was this cute mailbox full of all kinds of things.  The card hand a hand written note that read, "to Sondra:  because I like you!  Merry Christmas."  No signature from the person giving the gift.  My kids got a big kick out of this and gave me all kinds of grief about having a secret admirer.  I just laughed.  I told them it's probably from my  visiting teachers or maybe from my doctor.  They then asked why my doctor would give me something.  I said the hand writing is really similar.  They then wanted to know if my doctor was male or female.  I assured them that my doctor was female and they stopped questioning me.  Silly kids.  But, it was a complete surprise and it did put a smile on my face and everyone else in my home.  LOL!

Something not so nice happened to our bank account today.  Kevin sent me a text today telling me that our bank called to verify some purchases on the account.  So, before I called them I reviewed the account.  Come to find out all of the money in our account had been taken and we only have $31.00 left.  Now as you know as of yesterday I have not done any Christmas shopping and do not get paid again until the end of December.  After talking to the bank twice, and visiting the bank once, we were told that SAM'S Club and Walmart were hacked and customers were effected.  Apparently this issue is still in the preliminary stages of being reviewed.  That means it will take at least 10 business days for our money to get money back into our account.  That means AFTER Christmas.  PLUS.....I cannot dispute the transaction until after tomorrow possibly as late as Saturday.  That totally messes up everything.  I am SOOO not happy.  Thank heavens we have older kids that can actually understand this.  Lexi is the one I am a little concerned about.  Kevin is the other one.  Kevin has been a little down and I just wanted things to be good this Christmas to help lift his spirits.  Sure, we are not rich by any means, and we were not expecting to go crazy at all.  This whole thing just makes me mad, and this wasn't even out fault.  So frustrating!  Anyway, we will deal with this.  Chin up!

The kids from the ward came by on their annual hay ride singing Christmas carols.  That was fun to see.  Tonight instead of Christmas carols they chanted, "Where's Curtis, Where's Curtis"  to which I chanted back, "At his Grandma's, At his Grandma's"  and then the kids said, "Go get him, Go get him."  I then told them, "She lives on Toltec, She lives on Toltec."  They got the idea....Curtis was far, and then they asked more questions....I told them, he was feeding her dogs, feeding her dogs.  Then right after the kids left on their hayride, here comes Curtis and Kyle pulling into our driveway.  They just missed the kids singing.  Bummer!  Now Curtis is off to track down his buddy Jose, so they can hang out and play some video games together.  Jose is getting ready for his mission too.  Curtis hangs out with Jose just about every other night.  They spend a lot of time together and Curtis really enjoys Jose's company.  It's going to be interesting after both of they boys leave on their missions.  

Tonight when I got home Curtis had his physical paperwork back.  One more step closer!  Woo Hoo!  That is exciting.  The sparkle in our son's eye is back again, and that makes me a happy Mama.  That boy needs to serve a mission.  He gets excited about the gospel, going on splits with the missionaries, teaching others, and serving others too.  That is what creates the sparkle in our son's eye.  That is what we always want to see in each of our children's eyes.  I love to see their eyes sparkle, especially when they are doing something as important as missionary work.  It is an awesome sight.  So, even though things have been a little discombobulated financially for us, that sparkle makes those rough times disappear and we only remember what matters most.  

Looks like my MIL will be at my BIL's home until after the New Year after all.  She seems pretty happy there.  It would be bad if she knew what my BIL and SIL were saying about her when she was in the hospital and at her home when we went over to clean it.  Kevin has been sparing her the details, but eventually it will come out.  I will say this, I have seen their true colors over the past few months, but even better...Kevin has seen their true colors too.  Sure, he saw things before, but not to this extent.  Remember Kevin and I called them several times to try to get them to go see my MIL in the hospital and after she was put in the Extended Care Facility.  When we told them things were getting worse for my MIL, their first inclination was to place her in a Nursing Home.  They didn't even want to discuss it.  They just said, "we will find a nice place for her in another Nursing Home".  Then when my SIL was in my MIL's home she kept saying this place isn't fit for children.  She would say, "Children would be taken away from this home, if they lived here."  Yet, she wanted us to move in with my MIL.  Because of their intentions and because Kevin does not want to make his mother feel worse that she all ready does, he has decided to NOT tell here all of this.  They (BIL and SIL) still intend to try and get her placed in a Nursing Home or some kind of Assisted Living Place, but they act like they are the best thing since sliced bread to my MIL.  Kevin is not happy with his brother or his sister-in-law at all!  

The thing I am not happy with is that they are perfectly A-Okay with putting us out even though Kevin is not in a good place at all.  They were here in our home and saw the situation.  Kevin does not get up from bed pretty much 95% of the time.  Yet they still to this day do not care and do not even ask about Kevin and his situation.  All they care about is how they look to my MIL.  They need to know that they are "golden" in her eyes.  So, as long as they are "snowing" her that is just fine with them.  I tell you, you learn a lot about people during life changing events such as this for my MIL and this for my husband.  AND get this, my SIL is a nurse and has been one for over the past 30 years.  No one would know it by her attitude and determination to come out smelling like a rose in the eyes of my MIL.  It is so interesting.  Sure, I am far from perfect and I know this, and others know this, even my MIL knows this.  Shoot, my MIL and I have not always seen eye to eye several times.  BUT push come to shove, we will be there for her.  Can you tell these things are on my mind?  The one thing that keeps me going is knowing that our Heavenly Father knows the truth.  

A Few Questions to Ponder:

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen? 
I totally agree.  It takes courage to do what the Ebola Fighters have done.  To be honest, I'm not sure I could have the same courage those individuals have displayed.  Hats off to those courageous individuals for the work they have done.  No doubt it was probably the hardest thing they have ever done.  Just think of the lives they helped and the countless people they comforted as they slipped away and died.  That is a noble thing, no matter what the circumstances.  
I'm not sure who should be 2nd.  

2. What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  My favorite something old...The old mixing bowls my mother-in-law gave me.  I love them.
My favorite something new...I would say my "new to me" living room furniture. 
My favorite something borrowed....I would say the Christmas Village Scene we set up this year is my favorite!
My favorite something blue....My door I just painted a pale blue in my living room that still needs chalkboard paint to complete it.  :)  Someday I will get to it again.

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without? 
 I like just a little fudge.  I can only eat it in small doses.  Sometimes with and sometimes without nuts.  I haven't made my own fudge for several years now.  

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 
I made my very first flight when I was still in my mother's tummy.  My dad took her up in one of the planes on the base we were stationed at.  My next flight was when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.  I flew from Arizona to California alone to visit my Grandparents.  I have no problem flying at all!  I have NEVER been to North Carolina.  The longest flight I have ever been on was from Arizona to Michigan on business for the company I work for.  Then of course, the return flight too.  I have flown to California, to Utah, to El Paso, Texas, to Arizona, and of course Michigan....and that is about it.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?
No, I would not say the people in my family follow any particular career path.  We have a variety of career options in our family.  Military, Police, Sales, Service, Education, Marketing, Engineering, Art. 

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?
Some Christmas shopping!  Thankfully I finished A LOT yesterday.  Thank goodness for online shopping.  Love that!

7. This Christmas I hope ___________________________________.
We all have a good time and everyone enjoys the gifts they receive and our time together.

A Favorite Quote:
 photo ae61ba47-7d78-4151-a87a-fbdf53851081_zps246d8efb.png
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