Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Smile!

Two things I am Grateful for:
1) My mother!  My mother is pretty amazing!  She does so much for everyone and never asks for anything in return.  Now that I have been a mother myself for 26 years I can say I know a little bit about the kinds of sacrifices my mother has made for me.  Now, of course each mother's circumstances vary and can be somewhat different.  My mother does all that she does with style, grace, and prefers not to be in any one's lime light.  I love her and I appreciate the example she has been for me. 

2)  Good friends!  We have some awesome friends who always do what they can to help us in anyway they can.  Whether it be just by making us laugh or just being a good listener.  We really appreciate all they do for us.  You are awesome!!!
From the Camera:
I cannot take credit for this photo.  But, I love it!  
I found this on a Facebook site called He is THE Gift - A Tribute to Christ.  How cool is that.  Check it out and if you like what you see like the page.  

From the Heart:
Here is another random act of kindness idea.....
Smile at others!  A sincere smile is a very kind and meaningful way to make a positive difference in someones day.  Without using words, a smile says to a person, "Hi, I hope you have a nice day."  People appreciate being noticed and acknowledged, especially with a friendly smile.  Smiling at a stranger is a positive human interaction that seems to be infrequent as people get caught up in their daily tasks.  So next time you are at a store, walking down the street, or going to work or school, acknowledge someone with a smile.  
I personally know first hand how much a simple smile can brighten someones say.  I remember several years ago when we left our friends and family and moved to El Paso, Texas.  The people of that city are very nice and friendly.  I remember one time in particular when I was standing in a line at a grocery store and another customer must have sensed that I was having a little trouble with understanding store policies and such.  This customer smiled and came to my "rescue" and walked me through how the store policy worked.  That customer put me at ease and I will never forget that, but it all started simply because of her sincere smile.  This kind of thing happened time and time again while we lived there.  While 
El Paso was not our favorite place to live, I will never forget the people there because they are extremely friendly and that we will always remember.  
From the Kitchen:
I totally forgot I had this recipe until my co-worker shared a piece of candy with me today.  How funny is that??  So, as a way of saying thank you to my co-worker....here is that recipe.  :)
Crock pot Chocolate Peanut Clusters
(doesn't that just sound wonderful!!!)
Chocolate peanut clusters - Jason Lam/Flickr
INGREDIENTS
2 pounds (2-16 ounce jars) dry roasted peanuts, salted
48 ounces almond bark white chocolate
4 ounces sweet German chocolate
10-12 ounces dark chocolate

*Please note:  This recipe works the best in a standard crock pot that has three settings - on, low, and high.
Prep Time:  60 minutes  Cook Time: 180 minutes  Total time: 240 minutes

PREPARATION
Place all ingredients in crock pot.  Cook on low for 3 hours.  DO NOT TOUCH.  Turn the crock pot off and let sit for 20 minutes.  Cover a large surface (about 3 square feet) with waxed or parchment paper.  Stir mixture completely.  Drop by teaspoons full (I use iced tea teaspoons.  This is my one chance to use these since I do not drink iced tea)  onto paper.  Let harden and store in airtight containers.  

Helpful Hints about this recipe.
This recipe originally called for 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted dry roasted nuts.  I much prefer using all salted nuts.  Using almond bark tends to make the chocolate nuts very sweet.  To tone down the sweetness and increase the chocolate flavor, I used dark chocolate.  On the first time making this, you may wish to look at your mixture at 2 hours.  I've made this recipe many, many times in two different types of crock pots and never had a problem.  Unfortunately, I did have a friend whose crock pot may have cooked hotter than the low setting.  Her chocolate dried out.  So when you peek, if possible try not to lift the lid, the chocolate should look slightly melted and not dry.  If it looks okay, continue cooking until 3 hours is reached. 
From the Spirit:
Christmas is not a day or a season, but a condition of heart and mind.  If we love our neighbors as ourselves; if in our riches we are poor in spirit and in our poverty we are rich in grace; if our charity vaunteth not itself; but suffereth long and is kind; if when our brother asks for a loaf, we give ourselves instead; if each day dawns in opportunity and sets in achievement, however small; then every day is Christ's day and Christmas is always near. 
- Howard W. Hunter

From the Schmidt's:
Well, it looks like all of the dental appointments today went off without a hitch.  Curtis has one more later next month and that should do it.  Friday he goes to review his lab results with our doctor and then he is good to go to submit his mission paperwork.  Woo Hoo!!! I cannot tell you how elated I am just to get to this point!!!  For a while there Kevin and I thought that our circumstances would prevent Curtis from serving.  You have no idea how much that has weighed heavily on our minds.  Sure, he has worked and saved, but the dental was our biggest concern.  You know how it is.  No dental plan ever covers all dental procedures at 100%.  Curtis has 3 wisdom teeth that need to be removed, and a couple other issues.  When we saw our HMO dentist I think he looked at the name of my employer and saw dollar signs.  He wanted to do all kinds of things to to tune of over $2000.00 and that's before any oral surgery quote from a specialist.  Thank goodness we have a Bishop that knew that was completely out of line with what was needed to complete mission paperwork, and he directed us to his family dentist.  I have to say, that dentist must be the most honest man alive!!!  We are so grateful for the referral and the honesty of this dentist too.  What a blessing!!!  

Tonight Lexi will be off to mutual and the rest of us will be home.  I'm hoping Kyle and Curtis will get going on the Christmas lights outside of our home while I finish up decorating the tree and everywhere else.  Fun fun!!!  I am anxious to get that done and get the boxes out of my living room.  I'm crossing my fingers and all of my toes hoping this will all get done tonight.  If you feel like it, please cross your fingers and toes too in support of my cause.  Ha Ha Ha!!!!

I spent the evening running errands so the tree and other decorations are still in totes all around my living room.  Arg!  I guess I need to just come to the realization that I won't be able to get to them until Friday night or Saturday morning.  AND, I really cannot expect my boys to put up the lights until them either.  Oh well.  Does that really matter?  Of course not!  
We did get a surprise from UPS today.  There was a big basket of Mrs. Fields cookies delivered to our home today.  I'm telling you the basket was huge and full of cookies!  It was a gift from Kevin's Aunts on his mother's side.  How cool is that?  The kids had about half the basket devoured by the time I got home.  I will admit white chocolate macadamia nut cookies are really good!  Love that!!!  But, I really should stay away from the sweets.  I do not need them.
  
A few fun Questions to contemplate:
1) What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently say in the last year or two?
I loved the Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt we went on as a family last year.  Last year we did it on Christmas Eve and each team had to get photo evidence of each item on the list.  (thank heavens for cell phones!)  But, since we are planning to have my family over for Christmas Eve we could do this as a Family Home Evening activity some Monday Night, and we could skip getting out of the car to save Kevin from all of that.  Of course, he may not be up to a road trip of any kind, but maybe.  We will see. The game was a lot of fun and you can find the list of items to look for on one of my previous posts from 2013.  Take a look.  Maybe this could start a new tradition for your family too.

2) It's the second week of December.  Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scriptures related to the birth of Christ?
Eggnog - I haven't touched the stuff, and I probably won't this holiday season.
Wrapped a gift - NOT YET!  Still need to do some shopping.  I know, time is getting away from me.  
Opened a Gift - If cookies can be considered a gift, then YES, we have opened one.
Kissed under to mistletoe - NO, we really don't hang mistletoe around our place and we certainly have not been any place that has mistletoe hanging up either.
Lit a candle - If lighting a candle on our Thanksgiving table counts, then YES.
Eaten a Christmas Cookie - YES!  My boss gave us each a cookie last week.  It was such a cute snowman!  I hated to bite into him.  I took a piece and Lexi ate the rest.
Watched a Christmas movie or special - NO! It has to be a musical special for me to even be interested.  I don't want to watch Christmas cartoons.  Not my thing.  
Read scriptures related to the birth of Christ - I read scriptures every day related to the LIFE of Christ, but only a few related to the BIRTH of Christ this December, so far.

3) Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmas? Explain.
Oh, there is nothing like being an adult and watching everyone open their presents on Christmas day!  I can hardly wait for Christmas morning!  I love giving gifts.  It's the best!  BUT, being a child and anticipating everything about Christmas.  That was awesome!

4) It's often said, "Good things come to those who wait".....agree or disagree?  Why?
I agree.  Sure, I sometimes may not be as patient as I should be, but all things in the Lord's timing is always the way to go.  It is learning that His timing is not always aligned with my time frame that is my challenge every time. ~wink~wink~

5) What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?
Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving and we ate them here at home.  I want to do a little holiday baking and Lexi has asked that I bake a cake or cupcakes with her so she can decorate it or them, but other than that I really don't have much planned in the way of baking this year.

6) I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse.  Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or and other place where you might have to wait together?  Why or why not?
I do talk to people in elevators, but it's rarely an in depth conversation.  Usually it's common courtesy questions I ask like, what floor would you like? OR if I am holding a conversation, it's usually with some of the people I work with either going to or leaving work, but rarely do we hold a big conversation.  Usually we are either talking about the morning or something like that.  Nothing too crazy.  

7) Are you on the naughty or nice list this year?  What put you there?
I would say I am on the nice list for sure.  I don't think I have ever been on the naughty list in my life!  I would say I have been a wonderful wife and a great mother too.  AND, a great daughter-in-law too.  I would say it has been because I have dealt with a lot of crazy things this year and I have handled things pretty well, so that is what put me there.  ~smile~smile~

One Great Quote:
I've posted this poem before.  It's one of my favorites.  Enjoy!

"A Smile"

It costs nothing, but creates much
It enriches those who receive,
Without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it
And none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home,
Fosters good will in a business,
And is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged,
Sunshine to the sad, and nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen,
For it is something that is no earthly good to anybody
Till it is given away.
If someone is too tired to give you a smile,
Leave one of yours.
For, nobody needs a smile so much
As those who have none to give.
 Author: Anonymous
 photo ae61ba47-7d78-4151-a87a-fbdf53851081_zps246d8efb.png
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