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3T: Add some soap

dish soap and oilI was reading in Utah Valley Magazine the other day some advice from a long-time plumber (May/June 2014 issue, p.90) that I thought I’d try to remember and put into practice.

Funny thing about last night: after I had made some scones with leftover frozen roll dough (that had been thawed like 5 days ago), I went to pour the used oil down the drain when I told Lane that I had read this advice from a plumber, to add dish soap when pouring oil down a drain.

As I was telling him, I realized I had seen Lane do that very thing at least a 100 times before.

So this morning, I was thinking about that. Did the plumber say that about the soap? Or did I just get that from Lane? As I considered, I remembered something about pouring cold water down the drain, and it dawned on me what I had read was to add cold water when pouring boiling water down the drain.  I went back to the magazine to verify, and saw that I had mixed it up and attributed to the plumber what I had learned from Lane.

Good thing my husband just laughs along with me.

Well, both pieces of advice are good. Thanks, Plumbers Lane and Kelly Barney!

Happy Avoiding Plumbing Problems,

Liz :)

P.S. “…You’d better find them handy!”


Elder Livi's mission president transfer board

This past week, in the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) newsroom (click on the link to see the whole article), there was an article with a lot of photos in it, all about missionaries and members in Peru. We didn’t spy our son there, but we did see this photo of his mission president and wife by the transfer board. This is where each missionary’s picture is, and the mission president prayerfully reviews this when it’s time to move missionaries around to different areas. Transfers are typically about every 6 weeks, I think.

There will be three temples in Peru in the near future. The one in Lima has been there some time:


And the one in Trujillo is “nearing completion:”

Peru-Trujillo Temple-rendering

Three or four weeks ago, Elder Livingston was moved to a new area in the middle of a transfer. Of course, he was sad to leave Huancavelica:


But a new area welcomes new opportunities, like learning from a new companion and getting to know all of the wonderful members and investigators there.

Huanuco first photo

And now he has ANOTHER new companion! This time someone who is not from Latin America, so he will get to speak English for a while. He is getting lots of bug bites! (I think I spy bugs on the wall in this photo?) He won this loaf of bread at the grocery store! Somebody looks excited…


He’s such a goof. He took this photo at someone’s home. They said they killed the animal in THEIR YARD in the jungle! I wonder if I need to send him bug repellant and wild animal repellant?!?

skin on wall

I live for news from him! It is so great to hear from him again!



Mmmm: Yee haw! Our western dinner

Western dinner

Last week Eliza, our resident chef, shifted suddenly from her tea party plans with Anna to making a western dinner for all of us. She got a fried chicken recipe from Paula Deen and our favorite baking powder biscuit recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. I am not kidding: it may have been the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten!


We had dinner on pie tin plates, drank out of pint jars, had our mismatched silverware wrapped up in flour-sack dish towels. (“This fork is what we ate with when I was a child;” “That spoon is from our Roseville days;” then Rebecca asked, “Where is this fork from?” I answered, “D.I.” ) The table cloth? Our collection of bandanas spread over the card table.

But the most fun part was yet to come: We did line dancing for about 10 minutes before Rebecca and Eliza taught me and one of Julia’s friends a dance they learned at a BYU dance camp this summer, to the tune “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray.”

Man, that song is fast. I bet if we had videoed our performance, the video might go viral.

Or not.

Happy Boot-Scootin’ Boogie and Fried Chicken Eatin,’

Liz :)

P.S. In our cookbook, the recipe calls for 1/4 cup shortening. Online it says 1/2 cup. Just FYI.


SOS: To the temple

MiamiLane and I traveled together recently on a business trip, which was fun, but when we went to the temple last weekend, which is not far from our home, we felt closer to each other than we even had when we went on our trip.

wedding photo

I have found that going to the temple together is one of the best things we can do for our marriage. It gives us perspective. We learn ways we can change to make family life better. It helps us have the Spirit more. It renews us. It’s where we began our eternal marriage, and it’s what helps keep our marriage strong.

Happy Going to the Temple,

Liz :)



FF: Slip-n-slide pics

_MGL1063The slip-n-slide was a BLAST! All the children (and a couple of adults who finally gave into going down after they saw how fun it was) climbed up and slid down, over and over, wearing expressions mostly of fear as they sped down the hill and onto the grass. We laughed a lot and took lots of photos. Julia slip n slide Boys like to push the envelope sometimes, don’t they? This leap over the head was ended by Uncle Lane about as fast as it started. But I was glad I captured it on film first! slip n slide leap over head Hayden Pete Lane was the last one to get into the action, going down in his clothes. I was happy when the grass stains came out. (Maybe it was all of that dish soap that helped make the riders slipperier. (Is that even a word?!?) Lane slip n slide

And of course, there has to be a little hose action to rinse someone off… water hose slip n slide

Happy Having Fun, Liz :)


Psst! Sharing your pool

neighbor's pool The past few summers, we have had a neighbor not far from us as well as a neighbor of my mom’s who have both been so generous in letting us come and swim at their pools. We don’t go often, but we feel SO grateful when we can.

photo 4

I appreciate their example of sharing such a wonderful part of their home. On a hot Utah day, it sure is nice to take a dip. We try to tidy up when we leave.

I thought it was a great idea that one family attached some laminated instructions on their poolside table. They have a constant flow of neighborhood guests that come to use their pool. Considering how costly pools and related equipment are, I think it’s only fair. I especially liked the line, “Oy vey.”



Happy Sharing,

Liz :)



Girl of the Limberlost

When I was maybe 12, my dad gave me a gift for my birthday. It was an original copy of A Girl of the Limberlost. I had read the book because my best friend had recommended it, and it became my new favorite book. My dad’s office was above a bookstore that sold antique books as well as new ones, and when my birthday was approaching and I said I’d like a copy of that book, he obtained one through that source. I was thrilled!

After all those years, I was so excited to share the book with my daughters when they were old enough to read it. When the first one did, I felt so happy when she loved it, too! I reread it not too many years ago when one of my daughters was reading it for the first time and enjoyed it all over again.

Recently, Eliza read it for the first time and when she was finishing reading it, I finished reading it as well. I asked her and Rebecca to write a paragraph review for you. Here are their thoughts:

Rebecca: This book can be easily described as tender, classic and wonderful. The plot gives us an inside look on how life would be in the main character’s situation. I’ve noticed that books are just different views on different parts of life. And this book describes her part of life wonderfully. You can’t help but get sucked into its pages as you read. You can’t help but root for Elnora as she goes through her struggles. You can feel what she feels, and you want to do something about it. But you can’t obviously because its a book. I absolutely loved it, read it several times, recommend it to anyone.

Eliza: It is hard to describe the emotion I felt while reading this book. It is so beautifully written. The author pulls you in, and you can’t stop reading! You feel what the characters are feeling. I love every single character. I especially love Elnora. This is now officially one of my absolute favorite books!

Happy Reading,

Liz :)

P.S. Other books by Gene Stratton Porter that I loved include Her Father’s Daughter and The Harvester.


RWM: A boy like my own

To_the_Rescue.FSo I’ve started reading our family book of the month, and it is delightful!

Yesterday I was reading the chapters about his childhood and pleased as could be to learn about the boyhood antics of this incredible world leader. He was playful, active, and sometimes mischievous while still being good. I loved hearing the story again of how he set the field on fire, not considering that it wouldn’t extinguish itself. I loved this story:

“Like most little brothers, Tommy enjoyed playing pranks on his older sister. One day when his sister Marge, one of her girlfriends, and two boys were sunning themselves on the sand at the side of the river, he and his coconspirator Danny devised a clever plan. They determined to slip below the swimming hole, shape two large mud balls with a live frog embedded in each, and then drop a mud ball on the stomach of each of the sleeping girls. They quietly moved to the sunbathers and let go of their globs and of mud, which landed on target. Splattered, the two girls sat up ‘straight as a string,’ and the frogs jumped into their faces. Tommy and Danny were doubled over with glee when the two husky boys picked them up and threw them into the river, hollering, ‘Sink or swim!’ They swam.” (p. 59)

Sometimes being a mother to boys can feel a little harrowing. “What were you thinking?!?” is a question I have asked more than once. So it brings me comfort to be reminded that harmless pranks (and innocent mistakes while in the process of creating childhood adventures) are simply normal and OK.  They can still turn out to be wonderful husbands, fathers, servants, and leaders.


Happy Reading,

Liz :)



Woman's mindDid my husband write this? He could have. LOL. I love it.

On Sunday we gathered for family council, and my husband asked us what priorities we should establish to help us make decisions between activities that are good, better, and best. One of our children’s friends, who happened to be visiting us that evening, shared how in their family, they use the categories “Essential,” “Necessary,” and “Nice to Do” (as suggested by Sister Julie B. Beck) to make choices. We agreed that this also would work for our family.

Planning is essential, because as women, we have so many demands for our attention and time. It is SO easy to get distracted and spend time on things that matter less than the family member right in front of our nose. After sending two children off into the world as young adults, I now value my time with those who are still in our home even more. I want to use my time on things that matter most!

Since I am such a planner, I have tried perhaps a hundred or more ways to plan. This is one that seems to work for me: I get up in the morning, make a list, and then put the list aside. I pray to do what God needs me to do that day, to serve whoever needs my help. I sometimes refer back to the list, and sometimes I don’t. And things rarely go as planned, but overall, it seems that I am often able to accomplish the things I felt were needful. I don’t use my time perfectly, but I continue to learn the value and fruit of time well-spent.

Since our family council, I updated my planning pages to include our priorities. I listed the ones that are the same every day, and then left only a little space to include other items, because there isn’t a lot of time left after the essential and necessary tasks. And that’s good. Focusing on work that has eternal value helps shorten the list of where we need to spend our resources. For me, shortening the list reduces my anxiety and helps me not to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of things I could do for my family, others, and myself. The surprise is how much happier I am about what I can accomplish in a day or a week when I have the Spirit and am focused on doing God’s work.


I made four planning pages because I like variety and change. I put them in a plastic page protector or laminate them, stick them on a clip board, and write on them with a water-erase marker. At the end of the day, I rinse off the page and wipe it clean. It helps me remember that each new day is a fresh start. I am including the pages here (and am hoping that I am not violating any copyright of Minerva Teichert or Harry Anderson’s work, as their work is downloadable from the church website, and I am not selling anything. The liahona image I used comes from here. What an amazingly cool piece of art! The oxen yolk image comes from here. My childhood best friend’s family had a yolk similar to this hanging on their wall. I thought it was awesome.)

Mom’s Priorities Daily Plan 1

Mom’s Priorities Daily Plan 2

Mom’s Priorities Daily Plan 3

Mom’s Priorities Daily Plan 4

Happy Planning,

Liz :)


Mmmm: Chazam!

"Chazam"When we went to the Pizza Factory recently, I ordered a dish I like that I called “Chaz.” (The name stands for chicken, artichokes, and zucchini, and it reminds me of “Shazam,” which cracks me up and reminds me of an old TV show I watched sometimes as a child in which the superhero could change into his superhero self by calling out, “Shazam!” Lightning strike later, he was transformed.)

When I wanted to recreate this entrée at home, I named it “Chazam.” Although it didn’t come together as fast as lightning, it was a quick meal to make. And I LOVE quick meals!

I put this together when I had leftover grilled chicken breasts, zucchini from the garden, a few grape tomatoes leftover, and an opened jar of artichoke hearts. I grabbed another jar, the sun-dried tomatoes, and went to work. The Olive Garden salad dressing that Costco had recently added a nice flavor. Some shaved Parmesan cheese would have been a nice touch if I had used a fresh vinaigrette.

The great part of making Chazam was that my whole family loved it!

Happy Summer Cooking,

Liz :)

P.S. Mushrooms are not in my recipe, but they would be good, too. It is also yummy served as a cold pasta salad, which helps if there are leftovers!


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