Saturday, February 7, 2015

No Ambulance Saturday

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) Good friends.  I have to say, sometimes you just never know how you can help one another out.  I am so glad for the friends we have.

2) Sunshine!  It is so nice to see the bright shinny day that today is turning out to be, even if the sun is blinding my eyes.  ~smile~

From the Camera:

This girlie is growing up so fast!  Love her.

From the Heart:

In keeping with out theme, acts of kindness, here is another idea....

Create a peaceful and approachable space in your office. Be that person that others can come to to talk about a problem, or share ideas and receive inspiration.
We are often far more productive if we are able to speak openly and honestly with a colleague or boss. So make your office comfortable and inviting. Hang calming pictures of beaches or mountains and sunsets. Add some furniture, pillows or decorations and choose colors that are easy on the eye. Add pictures of your family and friends.

Benefits:

You will be able to offer a place of refuge in a busy office, and just your presence will be enough to encourage others. If you create a place where people can brainstorm and vent and share ideas, you will find that your co-workers and employees will be much more productive.

Step it Up:

Have an open-door policy. Always be willing to take the time to listen to someone or help solve a problem. Be pro-active and set "office hours" the way a professor or educator does. Let all your co-workers or employees know that at a certain time each day or week your office is open and you are available. Or invite individuals to stop by if you notice they are struggling. Perhaps there is a new co-worker you haven't had the time to get to know; invite them to stop by, too!

Keep It Simple:

If you are someone who needs complete silence to get work done and works best without interruptions, then create the time for your colleagues at lunch or after work when you know you won't be working anyways. You don't have to make your office a place of refuge, but be willing to take a walk or a short break to get coffee with a co-worker who needs some help solving a problem.

From the Kitchen:


Homemade Girl Scout Cookies (Samoa Cookies)

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes About 48
Make your favorite Girl Scout cookies at home.
Ingredients
  • [b] Shortbread Cookies:[/b]
  • 3/4 Cup (1 1/2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 3/4 Cup All -Purpose Flour
  • Pinch Salt
  • [b] Coconut-Caramel Topping:[/b]
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 ½-3 Cups Shredded Coconut
  • 8 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for about three minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla, mix, and then scrape down the sides.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture into the bowl. Mix until dough comes together. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough together and form into a flat disc. Wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Lightly flour a work surface, remove dough from wrap, and then roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Cut out 2 – 2 ½ inch circles in the dough and make a smaller circle in the center, like a little flat doughnut. Add the shapes to a parchment lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for another fifteen minutes while the oven heats up.
  7. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes until the edges barely brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Continue to bake cookies in batches until all are baked.
  8. To make the coconut caramel topping, add the sugar, cream, butter, and salt to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat while stirring for about six to seven minutes until sauce cooks down and forms a smooth caramel sauce. Fold in coconut until fully incorporated. Remove from heat.
  9. Melt half of the chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip the bottoms of the cookies into the chocolate and then add to a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow chocolate to set up and harden for fifteen minutes.
  10. After the chocolate on the bottom is hard, add a spoonful of the caramel coconut sauce to the top. Spread out in a thin layer on top of each cookie. Place cookies back on parchment for about fifteen minutes.
  11. Lastly melt the rest of the chocolate chips. Add the melted chocolate to a small plastic sandwich bag. Carefully snip off the corner of the bag. Use the bag to drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Let sit up for thirty minutes.
  12. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to five days.
From the Spirit:

Moving Lessons

At the top of this list is service.  About twice a year we get dozens and dozens of moves within weeks of each other.  Many of the students live close to each other in married student housing so they form a strong community that helps and lifts each other.  We too, used to live in that small village when I was a graduate student and often would look out our window and see someone moving in or out.  I would grab my oldest son, who was 4-5 at the time and go outside to see how we could help.  It didn’t matter if they were members of the church, if I knew them from school, or if they were complete strangers.  It was always an amazing opportunity to serve.
We have since moved out of the small knit community and at times we miss the companionship that existed there, but as often as time allows I still throw my dollies in the truck, grab the kids, and go and help during the annual moving season.
This past week we had one of what is sure to be many upcoming opportunities.  I took my two oldest along and was amazed as we worked to watch them.  In years past I took them, not because they were very helpful, but because they wanted to go.  We gave them token jobs, but nothing too much.  But now, at almost 8 and 6 years old, they were actually working hard!
As we finished and were driving home I asked the kids what they thought of the night.  They both expressed how tired they were (a good sign of their efforts!), but I also noticed that they were both beaming.  They were so proud of the work they had done, and I was as well.  It was clear to me that they were also feeling the Spirit.  You know the way kids act when they feel the Spirit.  It is the innocent and loving “Yes, Daddy” and “Sure, Dad” and unprovoked “I love you Dad”.. the moments we all live for. :)  They were experiencing the real and tangible blessings that come into our lives from hard labor and service.  As I pondered I realized that I had also learned the value of service from countless moves with my father as a child and now I had the opportunity to pass on that to my children.
How grateful I am for a father and mother that taught me the value of service in every day life.  We all have countless opportunities to serve those around us.  As we take those opportunities, we are serving the Lord and he blesses us with his Spirit!  Take a look around you today and find someone that needs your unprovoked help and see what blessings the Lord has in store for you!
From the Schmidt's:

Wow!  Can I just tell you we have some pretty amazing leaders in our ward and stake.  I had the opportunity to visit with both my Bishop and our Stake President briefly last night.....and when I say briefly, it was super quick.  BUT, oh how they have made a difference in our lives in just that short span of time.  I have to say, I know why these men are in the callings they are in.  I know it without a doubt.  They are here to touch lives.  I am so very grateful for both of these men and I am even more grateful for their wives and children who allow them to serve the way they do.  What a blessing!!!

Part of the reason my post was so short yesterday was because I was busy making all kinds of phone calls during my breaks and lunches to help get Kevin and our missionary taken care of.  Kevin is in extreme pain these past couple of days.  We were trying to get Kevin in to see his doctor but couldn't schedule the appointment until next Thursday.  Hence the reason for one of my phone calls.
When I couldn't get through to the doctor I had to have Kevin call.  Imagine how fun that was while shaking in pain and being short of breath.  I really thought I would come home from work and have to call an ambulance.  Thankfully that didn't have to happen.  

I ended up changing my appointment to another day and as it turns out, some of our difficulties with "things" were able to be solved in one little conversation.  What a blessing!

After changing plans I rushed around trying to get ready to take Kevin to the Emergency Room when even those plans were altered.  After a few phone calls and a trip with Danielle to the other side of the valley, we have some medicine for Kevin.  Not everything he takes, but enough to take the edge off his pain and allow Kevin to sleep a little.  This means the shaking and the shortness of breath will calm down.  Thank goodness. Kevin's doctor told us the shaking, spasms, and the shortness of breath were because of the intense pain.  Now all we have to do is get Kevin into his doctor at the beginning of month to pick up the other medication.  

Today Kevin was suppose to have an eye appointment with Curtis but we switched that out with Lexi's.  So I had Kyle stay home and keep an eye on his father while I took Lexi and Curtis to the eye doctor.  Apparently our vision plan has changed....for the better!  That was a nice surprise.  Curtis and Lexi have new glasses ordered and it only cost us $20.00 each.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.  Love that!  Next week Kevin and I have appointments too.  Hopefully we can talk Kyle into going in too.

Speaking of benefits...Danielle has a new job with full benefits, a 401k, stock options, and all kinds of nice perks.  I am so excited for her!  It will be good.  She needs this.  I'm excited for her.

Well, we have lots to do around the house.  Lawns need to be mowed, dishes need to be washed, and lots of laundry is calling my name.  Oh the laundry.  Not fun.  BUT it all needs to be done.  

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.  Church and appointments and meetings in the afternoon.  It will be good.  I think we will have Curtis in to the temple next week if all goes well.  Exciting!  I love this. Just the two girls to go.  I know eventually we will see Danielle go, and Lexi is a little young to start thinking about that, but that will happen too.  One thing that comes to mind that I just found out about last Sunday.  I guess our friend that past away had just spent Saturday at the Temple with her youngest son getting him through the Temple before he left on his mission this month.  He mentioned when he shared his testimony that his mother had fulfilled the work she came to this earth to do when he went through the Temple for himself.  Little did I know he was just there the day before she had her heart attack.  How special it was that he was able to get through the temple after his mother passed away and his entire family attended the Temple together.  Sometimes the timing of things can be so amazing.  I think the reason this is on my mind is that I don't know exactly what all I have been asked to do in this life.  Sure, I know I need to raise my family and making sacred covenants with their Heavenly Father is a big part of that responsibility.  I guess I want to savor every moment now just in case.  Seeing this friend, mother, and wife get called home so suddenly has be really thinking about some of these things now.  I guess if I am worried that just means I have work to do.  I guess if I am worried I need to make sure I do everything I can to make sure my children are ready.  AND make sure my husband is ready.  It's funny, we want our children to become self-reliant, have their own testimonies, and thrive in life without having to ride on their parents coattails.  But at the same time, as a parent, it is nice to be needed.  I guess the thing that we all need to remember is that we need to enjoy each stage of life and do all that we can to prepare our families for when the time comes when we will be gone.  I know it's not fun to think in these terms, but let's face it....life is precious and we really never know how long we have.  Right?

I have to say, I even think about this now whenever there is a disagreement in our family.  I don't want to leave things out of sorts anymore.  I actually just want to grab everyone and hang on tight to each of them and never let them leave my side now.  I guess that just means I love my family.  ~smile~smile~

Mission preparation started last week when Curtis had his interview with our Bishop for his temple recommend.  Then Sunday with the Stake President for the final interview.  He is all set to get to the temple.  He wants to go to the Mesa Temple, which is closed right now.  So, we have to wait until after Monday to call and schedule his first temple visit.  Then we will be off to Beehive Clothing to pick up a few things.  Not to mention suit fittings next week.  White shirts to buy, shoes to find, and OH YEAH....an iPad to purchase too.  I guess missionaries are required to have an iPad now and the missionary has to purchase one.  That means he gets to keep it when he comes home.  That means anything he records while he is on his mission he gets to bring home too.  I love that!  

Lots to do!  Lots!  I promise.  So, why am I not running around like a crazy lady?  Oh, I don't know.  I guess because I know it will all get done.  Curtis has a big brother that will be able to assist with the planning and shopping.  That is a good thing.

Well, I better get going.  Take care and we will talk soon.

Quote of the Day:


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