Friday, April 30, 2010

Okay, I NEED more Sunshine!

Right Now in Provo 11:39 AM MDT
42 ° Mostly Cloudy - Feels Like 33°
It's the last day of April!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Real is Best

This has been my message, my soap box for years. The problems artificial colors, flavors & preservatives are doing to our bodies and our children's bodies!

Re-post of "What are they eating?"

Okay, let me set the scene for you. (this can be any place at any time) You have made it to church, even on time. Good Job! You laid out the clothes the night before, even the socks and shoes (that is always the killer) Why can you only find one shoe when you really need to get out the door?

You have packed the diaper bag with toys, books and snacks. You wait until they have passed the bread and water, always waiting until the boys have sat down :-), and now you hand out the snacks. Within about 10 - 15 mins. your child is crying, hitting, biting she/he has lost all control and coping skills. What just happened?

When picking out, buying food and snacks many watch for fat and sugar content but overlook a very important thing. Artificial Colors and Flavors!! Our children are becoming so sensitive to these things. They lurk everywhere, in yogurt, cereal, Kool Aid, drinks, juices, candy, fruit snacks, otter pops, soda, condiments, ice cream, chips, lunch meats, crackers, soups, jellies, jams etc. Unfortunately they are everywhere. I find that they tend to be in items that are less expensive or in generic brands. Real is best.

But what about "saving" money, at what cost in the long run? The health and well being of our children, we need to be aware, proactive, read the labels. You can find alternatives even small changes that will make huge differences.

Re-post of "Real Food"

If we lived in a perfect world we would grow and cook all of our own food and we would store everything in GLASS.

Every thing would be real, fresh, without pesticides, antibiotics or hormones

High Fructose Corn Syrup is another Bad Boy – That is another whole topic

Real Sugar is better than ANY artificial sweeter period!!

The word – "Natural" Flavor can be deceiving – Did you know that if a chemical tastes like a banana without changing it in anyway, can be called a "Natural" Flavor

We will pick our battles First – Colors
Just to give you an idea:
Oscar Mayer Deli Meats – Carmel Color
Kraft Mini (white) marshmallows – Blue #1
I put Yoplait yogurt cups on the okay list etc.
for Lime – Yellow #5 and Blue #1
Taco Bell Taco Shells – Yellow #5

You can great items at Good Earth Health Food Store, Whole Foods, Real Food Market, Harvest Fresh Market, Trader Joes,

Food Choices
Some good ideas:

Ice Cream – Breyers (still check your labels)
Popsicle does have a few okay choices – Natural Colors and Flavors with Fruit Juice – Orange, Cherry, Grape, Fudgsicles
Capri Sun – 100% Juice Boxes
Juicy Juice – 100% Juice Boxes
Brach's has put out a few good fruit snacks – Tree Top – All Natural Fruit Snacks (at Costco) and Motts - All Natural Fruit Snacks
Yoplait yogurt cups – (but it does have a lot of sugar!)

Snack Ideas:
Kix, Cheerios, Puffed Wheat & Rice,
Nuts, Seeds, Pretzels, Cracker Jacks, Raisins,
Air Popped Pop Corn, Cut Up Fruit, Dried Fruit
String Cheese, Baby Carrots

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Blessing of Stewardship

I love springtime for so many reasons, but one of my favorites is that somehow, the cool breeze and warm sunshine motivate me to thrust open the curtains and get cleaning.

I write about this in my e-book, Spring Cleaning for Normal People, and in it, I share a three-step process to use in ten areas of your home over the span of two weeks. The idea is to work just a little bit each day for a few weeks, so that you don’t burn out or get overwhelmed before finishing.

This process deals with the physical clutter.  It gives you practical ideas for dealing with the stuff.

spring cleaning
is merely a band-aid unless you frequently take some time to evaluate your inner life and heart. This is because holding on to clutter is merely a symptom of a deeper heart issue -- and this is the place where the root needs to be nurtured and fertilized.  And sometimes pruned.

As we manage the stuff in our homes that God has entrusted to us, the question for all of us is this -- 

"Where do I put my trust?"

Do I put my trust in the stuff around me?  Do I hold on to things because,  I'm able to find a use for them around my home or they add beauty to our environment?  Or do I hold on to things out of fear?

 • Am I scared to sell our plethora of unused children's clothes given by my mother-in-law because it might damage our relationship?

• Even though our unloved Christmas china would sell for a pretty sum, am I holding on to it because I feel like it defines who we are as a family?

• Do I hold on to my old high school notes, the souvenirs from my European trip in college, and the ticket stubs from our honeymoon because if I let them go, I'll forget that they were important?

All of these questions point to heart issues; a conflict of interest between our material things on Earth and the author and perfecter of our faith.  It's good to wrestle with this conflict regularly, so that our hope remains in heaven and nowhere else.

This isn't to say having stuff is bad.  It's not.  Many, many times the material things in our life truly are blessings, and in light of these things, we must be thankful.  God blesses us richly.  Heck, nine times out of ten, He blesses us beyond all we ask or imagine, with things we don't even need.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
But while on Earth, we constantly need to be mindful of our status here as stewards, not as owners.  And stewardship means to manage well.

 Let's manage the stuff that truly is a blessing with honor and integrity, to the glory of Him who gave it in the first place.  And the things that are no longer a blessing for us -- let's bless someone else by giving it away or selling it.

Because with
spring cleaning, that's all decluttering
really is -- thanking God by fully enjoying His blessings in our life, and passing on everything else so that it can bless someone else.

How will you bless someone else with your "stuff" this week?

By Tsh Oxenreider

** Since I shared this post 

Organized Simplicity

This book spends the first half sharing compelling evidence that our modern-day homes are too big, that they too often don’t represent our values, and that once we revamp our budgets, calendars, and purpose, we can our house a place that just makes sense.

The second half maps out a ten-day approach to jump starting a new lifestyle in your home—clutter-free, filled with only the beautiful and useful, and as a haven that just works for your family. It’s more than a how-to book; it challenges you to think differently about that place you call home. Does bigger really mean better? What purpose does each room serve?
Order your copy here:

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Love Spring!!

Daily Suffering - Excema

**I am going to share some pictures that might be hard to look at.

Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed lesions. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring. The severity of the disease can vary. In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, whilst in more severe forms the skin can become broken, raw and bleeding. Although it can sometimes look unpleasant, Excema is not contagious. With treatment the inflammation of Excema can be reduced, though the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.

Excema cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. It is especially distressing in children, but a large proportion do grow out of it. (I can only hope so for this child)

National Eczema Association

Eczema Report

There are a number of effective eczema treatments available, both medical and natural. Some eczema remedies are well proven, but some only work in a minority of cases.

Medical Treatments

There is a large variety of medical treatments available to eczema sufferers. Normally, the first line of eczema treatment is to use a moisturizer or eczema cream to reduce or prevent inflamation in the skin. The course of action varies depending on the type of eczema and the severity of the occurrence.

• Moisturizers are a great way to remoisturize dry skin. However, not all moisturizers work on eczema affected skin, infact some moisturizers can do more damage than good. Be sure to use a moisturizer that does not contain perfumes or dyes. Consult your doctor to find out the best moisturizers for people with eczema.

• Eczema creams (also known as anti-inflammatory creams) contain topical steroids, called corticosteroids, that work by reducing and preventing inflamation in the skin. Some anti-inflammatory creams are available over the counter, but some require a prescription.

• Oral antihistamines work by combating the bodies natural output of a substance called histamine, which causes inflamation in the skin. Histamines can cause rashes and alergic reactions, so using antihistamines can be a good choice for some. Some oral antihistamines are available over the counter, whereas some require a prescription and a medical consult.

• Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to light, particularly ultraviolet light and infared radiation. This is usually done in small doses, in a controlled environment. Over-exposure to ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, so always go to an experienced professional for this type of treatment. Done properly, phototherapy can be completely safe.

Natural Treatments

Natural eczema treatments use natural ingredients such as vitamins and herbs in order to take a more natural approach to the treatment of eczema.

• Improving you diet by avoiding food which you are sensitive to (most likely some wheat and dairy products and sugar) is an easy and natural way to treat an outbreak of eczema.

• Vitamin B12 supplements may work to treat eczema since it is believed by some medical experts that eczema can occur in people that are deficient in vitamin B12.

• Herbs such as St. John's Wort and chamomile can be applied in ointment form directly to the skin.

• Evening primrose oil can promote healing in the skin.

• Zinc supplements, in small doses of less than 30mg a day, can be effective against eczema since it promotes healthy skin.

It is important to learn as much as you can about the natural remedies and treatments that you may want to try since they may not work or, if not taken correctly, may cause more harm than good.

This child has suffered since the age of one, and is not my only child that suffers from this. We have tried many things to ease the pain and heal the skin.



elbows and wrists

Back of the leg
These are just one day, sometimes it's better and sometimes it's worse!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stawberries, Tithing, and the Love of God

From The Mormon Mommy Blogs

When Meredith and I were first married, we were very poor. Meredith was pregnant almost from the first, and since the baby was coming, we decided she’d focus on getting as much school as possible rather than working.

So I supported us on part-time wages. They didn’t go very far. Happily, one of Mere’s showers was a food storage theme, so our pantry was stocked. We ran through it pretty fast, though, and before long, we were down to a large bag of pancake mix.

We ate pancakes. A lot. Eventually, we ran out of mix. No problem. We used flour and water and lots of syrup. Then we ran out of syrup. We still had the pancakes, at least. But the flour started to run out, too.

We were too proud to ask anyone for help, and our flour kept dwindling. I worked and we prayed. And we paid our tithing.

We were pretty hungry. But with the hunger came discouragement. It’s depressing to not have food in your house. There is an emotional hunger as keen as physical hunger and we were pretty glum.

One Sunday afternoon, since we had nothing to eat, we went on a walk.

When we got home, there was a bag on our door. It was full of food: grapes, strawberries, cookies, and even a high-quality frozen pizza. And, there was a note. 17 years later, I still remember what it said and can even picture the handwriting. It said, “Meredith and Braden, God loves you.”

We were overwhelmed by this gesture. We had, and still have, no idea who was behind it. No one, and I mean NO one, knew about our situation.

We saw it as a huge validation of the principle of tithing. We gave thanks for our angels, whoever they were, and had our first real meal in at least a week.

The next day, I was so excited, that I told the story to a friend of mine at work. We worked at the MTC, so trading spiritual experiences was normal. He was a young single guy and really thought it was cool.

That night, our landlady came down to tell us she had something for us and asked if we could come up. We did and found about ten bags of food—someone had dropped them off and asked her to get them to us. It looked like a bunch of young single guys with a few bucks had gone to a store and gone wild. Those bags were full of every staple and luxury item you can imagine.

I’ve pondered this experience many times since then. There’s a lesson not only in the fact that God answered our prayers by sending food. It’s about tithing, for sure, but it’s about God’s love. It’s not only that he sent food, but what he sent: strawberries, grapes, and pizza. At that time, our souls needed the strawberries as badly as our bodies needed the food.

One of my favorite scriptures says that
"all things which come of the earth...are made for the benefit of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food, and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul."

D&C 59:18

Braden and Meredith are now the parents of five children. They still see miracles from paying their tithing.
Braden blogs at,where you can read about his forthcoming novel, The Road Show.

"More Holiness Give Me"

This is one of the songs we sang today. I needed to hear this and I need to sing it and read it often!

More Holiness Give Me #131

More holiness give me,
More strivings within,
More patience in suff'ring,
More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of his care,
More joy in his service,
More purpose in prayer.

More gratitude give me,
More trust in the Lord,
More pride in his glory,
More hope in his word,
More tears for his sorrows,
More pain at his grief,
More meekness in trial,
More praise for relief.

More purity give me,
More strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earthstains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy-
More, Savior, like thee.

“More Holiness Give Me” Author, Philip Bliss Led a Life of Music
Philip Paul Bliss was born on July 9, 1838, in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. He developed an early love of music and singing from hearing his father singing hymns. He did not have much formal education but was taught from the Bible by his mother and eventually became a schoolmaster and later a traveling music teacher.
In the Mormon Channel’s History of Hymns series, “More Holiness Give Me” is chronicled, including the details of when Bliss first heard a piano.
When he was 10 years old, while selling vegetables to help support the family, Philip first heard a piano and was unable to resist the temptation that lured him through an open door and into the parlor. Barefoot and ragged, he stood spellbound until the music ceased. Philip, in ecstasy, cried out, “O lady, play some more.” The unthinking young lady, surprised at the unexpected intrusion by the ragged stranger, rudely ordered him out of the house, but he left with sweet memories of the music.
From his early 20s on, Bliss had the good fortune to devote his life’s work to music. From 1864 to 1875, he wrote many of the hymns and songs that have made him a well-known name.
Philip P. Bliss was filled with gratitude for his life in music, as this quote shows: "Thus the overruling Providence has led me by unmistakable evidences to see and recognize His dealing with me all through life's journey. Truly we have much to be thankful for. My dear wife, my greatest earthly treasure, joins in the opinion that we are and ever have been highly favored of Heaven; that we find our greatest enjoyment in each other's society, when striving to make each other happy, and our highest aim is to be useful to ourselves and others, and to 'glorify God that we may enjoy Him forever.'"

Bliss and his wife, Lucy, met a tragic end when they lost their lives in a railway crash in Ohio on December 29, 1876, when a bridge gave out. Bliss was last seen alive trying to rescue Lucy from the burning wreckage.
Written in 1873, “More Holiness Give Me” was published in one of his four-song collections called Sunshine for Sunday Schools. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir recorded the hymn for the album Rock of Ages: 30 Great Hymns.

For my Missionaries Serving the Lord!


Today I am thinking about the missionaries that are serving from my Life. My Mom and Dad are faithfully serving a mission in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am so proud of what they are doing and although I miss them terribly, they are where and doing what they are supposed to be doing. It is not easy to leave your family and home to answer that call, but they have and I am so proud of them!

When they were set apart they were both given amazing blessings and the blessings were not just for them, but for me too and our whole family that we would all be blessed for their service. I hang on to those promises. I love you both so much!

 Let the residue continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth.
                                           D&C 118:3

With their Mission President, President Simpson


Looks COLD!!

Pizza with the Assistants to the President

A recent baptism, Mom gave the talk on baptism.

Elder & Sis Tanner

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Kristen!!

This has been the year of the un birthday. Our lives have been so crazy (and full of illness), that birthdays have come and gone. Today Kristen spoiled herself and Me too. First she got her hair trimmed, bought a couple new shirts and then took herself and me to get a pedicure. Happy Birthday Sweetheart! I love you, and I am so proud of the person you are becoming! (and thanks for the pedicure, I loved it!)

Kristen's first time

Kristen & Christi getting pedicures for Kristen's Birthday

I got Hot Pink!

I have learned so much from my Mom in every aspect of my life.

Christi Williams 04.22.10 at 8:07 am

I have learned so much from my Mom in every aspect of my life. She is a woman who serves and she does everything she does with flair. She taught me that little things do matter and do make a difference. I have inherited her love of table clothes, glassware, kitchen gadgets, aprons; Pyrex bowls, really anything to do with the kitchen. Our eyes glaze over when we see glass. It is so fun to go the yard sales or thrift stores with each other, we do “the happy dance” when we find treasures, that to others would be no big deal.

I hope that I have passed on in even it’s smallest measure to my girls (7 of them) whatever you do, do it well.

I need a little Sunshine today

Thursday, April 22, 2010

61 Amazing (and Easy!) Birthday Cakes - from

See all the Animals / Fairy Tale / Food / Fun & Games / Insects / Movers / Sports
These super-easy birthday cake designs are made with candy and cakes you can buy from the supermarket. Decorating ideas, cutting diagrams, and step-by-step instructions for how to make all of these cakes from
60+ Amazing (and Easy!) Birthday Cakes

Koala Birthday Cake Design
Butterfly Birthday Cake Design

Baseball Birthday Cake Design

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Home is … Wearing Aprons in the Kitchen & Baked Beans

This weeks theme is about aprons in the kitchen,

Okay, I love this theme, because I LOVE vintage aprons. I remember my grandmothers always in an apron; they were always in the kitchen. Family gatherings always revolved around great food! I remember my Nana’s amazing baked beans at every holiday and picnic. I would ask her, Nana is there a recipe for your baked beans? She would always say, “oh I throw a little of this in and a little of that in there” Over the years I have worked very hard to make those baked beans. And I have done it!! I can make them just as I remember them, and it is a little bit of this and a little bit of that until there are just right!

Growing up we always had aprons hanging in the kitchen ready for any cooking we would do. My Mom still has a lot of them and some have been past down, I come a long line of amazing cooks. I love that there seems to be a longing look back at life and that there is a new love for cooking, entertaining, and all things vintage. There was a simplicity of life back then, not necessarily easy but simple. Aprons make me happy!! Here are just a few of my yummys!!

Love this one


Sheers - just for fun

Lindsay wanted to model one

Full coverage for the real work

10 Things That Make Me Happy--Blog Award

10 Things That Make Me Happy--Blog Award

As part of accepting this lovely award
I must list 10 things that make me happy!

Being a Mom
The Sun on my Face
Feeling the Spirit
Long Naps
Forever Families
Having Babies
Star Filled Skies
A Clean House

Monday, April 19, 2010

Heavenly Chicken Salad

There is something so yummy about a light refreshing meal on a warm day. One our favorites is Chicken Salad, with it's mix of favors and crunch.

Boil your chicken breast and cool

Gather the other ingredients
(you have to use real mayonnaise)

Dice the celery

Cube chicken breast

For my family, I make 4 batches
so this is 8 cups of chicken

We like are almonds crunchy, so I toast them
in the oven for about 10 mins at 225 

Add lemon juice, you can use a real lemon

Cut your red seedless grapes in 1/2
They add great color

Fold everything together
and chill well
What a nice looking plate!

Chicken Salad

2 cups of cold cubed chicken breast
1-cup celery – diced
1 Tbs lemon juice (bottle)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix in –

½ cup of mayonnaise (Best Foods)
1 cup of red seedless grapes – cut in ½
½ cup of sliced salted almonds – (roasted)

Chill Well

Can eat plain or can be served on lettuce or on a crescent roll