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Mmmm: Liquid gold

fall canning grape juice chile sauceWhen the grapes are ready, and they are practically falling off the vine for ripeness, we simply have to make time to make homemade grape juice.

We pull out the shiny steamer juicer, the old black enamel water bath canner, and carry up the half-gallon jars to wash in sudsy water. We spread clean rags on the counter, tip the rinsed jars onto them, and gather new lids and old, clean bands.  Then we pick great, big bowls full of yellow-green grapes of unmatched sweetness and rinse them. Then off the grapes come from the stems, and we pour them into the juicer. And wait an hour. Or so.

Suddenly one of us notices that juice is dripping onto the rag-covered stool below the juicer! It’s time!

We grab a jar and stick in on the kitchen stool below. Out pours the boiling hot juice at first, then the flow slows until it is just a drip. We grab our potato masher, lift the juicer lid, and press down on the now-steamed grapes, helping them burst and spill their precious juice into the pan. More juice flows out the rubber tube into the bottle. We press and watch, swiftly switching bottles as one fills and the juice continues to flow. Two huge bowls of grapes fills 3 half-gallon jars with juice, and we put heated lids on the jar tops, securing them with the bands. These grapes are so heavenly sweet we can hardly bear to save the juice for winter! So we sip a little from measuring spoons.

Into the hot water bath the bottles of liquid greenish-gold go. With the black lid back in place, we watch for the first signs of steam to escape.

Our first batch begun! And on goes the timer! 20 minutes to process (at our altitude), then back out onto the counter.

Come back an hour later, and you will see the magical transformation. White grape juice? It’s a misnomer! Behold the wondrous pink hue of our liquid gold.

The reward of one year of waiting while the grape vine sleeps, then sprouts, then grows, then bears, and finally shares her fruit.

NOW winter can come! We will have hot grape cider to sip when we walk in the door from school….

Happy Canning,

Liz :)

(We canned the juice last weekend when it was SO HOT outside! The girls–and an added friend–didn’t complain, knowing how worth it this hot stickiness is!)

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FF: Teen parties

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One of my daughters had a team party over here this weekend. I was impressed to see how responsible they were: they bought their own pizza, purchased and picked it up (each player pitched in on the cost) and brought it over, and made food assignments to everyone. It was obvious that there are many sophomores on the team, since the sophomores were assigned desserts. They had no salads, but they had at least 15 desserts to choose from! No one lacked for a treat last night.

Her teammates were so respectful: no one was overly loud or demanding attention, and they all joined in playing games outside and in. And they visited together. Such remarkably good teammates! I was impressed! We didn’t have to say, “All those who have homes should be going to them” at a late hour. They said thank you when they came and also before leaving (the ones that I saw leave). Very polite! I feel very grateful that our children get to associate with such nice friends.

It really is a pleasure to have such well-mannered teens around!

Happy Enjoying Your Children’s Friends,

Liz :)

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SOS: The adult

family-prayer-376625-tabletSometimes the hardest thing about being an adult is remembering to act like one.

During moments when I don’t want to be the adult or act like one, I’m grateful I can go to my room and talk to my Heavenly Father. I’m SO SO SO grateful that I am still His child, and that He won’t be angry with me when I am struggling to be the parent, the leader, the spouse, the friend, or whatever role I’m supposed to be.

I remember one Sunday when I was quite pregnant with (if I’m remembering correctly) our fifth (?) child. We finally got everyone ready and to church. Lane was in the bishopric and sitting in the stand (up in front of the church congregation), while I sat in the pews trying to corral our children (around ages 2, 4, 6, and 7). By the end of the hour, I was so frustrated and angry, that as soon as I got the children to their classes in Primary and nursery, I left for home. I was supposed to teach the third hour, but I knew that I did not have the Spirit with me then. I decided I had better go home and pray and have my cry and then come back and teach.

I did that, except that Lane saw that I was leaving and followed me home.

After I had prayed, he asked if I would like a blessing. I said I would.

In that blessing, I remember distinctly the consolatory phrase that said that sometimes when we are feeling lowest and we reach out in prayer to Heavenly Father, that those are our best times. I was surprised by that.

I also remember a phrase in which I was told that when I felt out of patience (which frankly, is frequently enough), I could “dip into” the Savior’s bottomless “well of patience.”

I like remembering those two parts of those priesthood blessings. I need the Lord’s help. Sometimes being an adult is hard. So I am grateful to still be able to a child in the Lord’s eyes and get help when I need it.

Happy Praying for Help,

Liz :)

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Psst! My heroes

meme-eyring-difference-1240633-tabletI just finished listening to a talk from last general conference while cleaning the kitchen. 

I loved President Eyring’s story about heroes and Joe DiMaggio’s swing.

President Eyring and all the members of the First Presidency are some of my greatest heroes.

I love how President Eyring has such a tender heart that, despite his professional and educational background that might make him otherwise eruditely stuffy, he is humble and easily moved to tears as he constantly considers those around him. I love the way he has always talked about the lessons his dad taught him. I almost feel like I know his dad from the stories he has shared over the years.

(One of my favorites is when his dad was working on the church farm and had to pull himself along on the ground. President Eyring relates:

Now you have to know a little bit about my father. His name was Henry Eyring, like mine. He had done some of the things students of this university are preparing to be able to do. His work in chemistry was substantial enough to bring the honors some of you will someday have, but he was still a member of a ward of the Church with his duty to do. To appreciate this story, you have to realize that it occurred when he was nearly eighty and had bone cancer. He had bone cancer so badly in his hips that he could hardly move. The pain was great.

Dad was the senior high councilor in his stake with the responsibility for the welfare farm. An assignment was given to weed a field of onions, so Dad assigned himself to go work on the farm.

Dad never told me how hard it was, but I have met several people who were with him that day. I talked to one of them on the phone the other night to check the story. The one I talked to said that he was weeding in the row next to Dad through much of the day. He told me the same thing that others who were there that day have told me. He said that the pain was so great that Dad was pulling himself along on his stomach with his elbows. He couldn’t kneel. The pain was too great for him to kneel. Everyone who has talked to me has remarked how Dad smiled, and laughed, and talked happily with them as they worked in that field of onions.

Now, this is the joke Dad told me on himself, afterward. He said he was there at the end of the day. After all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone asked him, “Henry, good heavens! You didn’t pull those weeds, did you? Those weeds were sprayed two days ago, and they were going to die anyway.”

Dad just roared. He thought that was the funniest thing. He thought it was a great joke on himself. He had worked through the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway.

When Dad told me this story, I knew how tough it was. So I said to him, “Dad, how could you make a joke out of that? How could you take it so pleasantly?”

He said something to me that I will never forget, and I hope you won’t. He said, “Hal, I wasn’t there for the weeds.” ["Waiting Upon the Lord," BYU Fireside, 30 September 1990])

It isn’t hard to see why President Eyring is who he is.

President Eyring reminds me of Lane.

Lane is also one of my heroes.

Our home teacher is also one of our family’s heroes. He comes faithfully and always helps us feel the Spirit. He (and his wife!) always are quick to share a treat, a game, medical expertise, or a book. He respectfully invites his junior companions to share and teach us as well, which we love. I always feel grateful for this kind of role modeling that my children get to see on a monthly basis.

I’m grateful for priesthood men who are trying their best to serve my family and friends, neighbors and the rest of the world! They work very hard trying to juggle all of the responsibilities that are theirs, while avoiding traps that are ever-present and constantly beckoning.

Thank you to the worthy, hard-working priesthood men who are our heroes! We are praying for you!

Happy Serving,

Liz :)

 

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RWM: A bit of butter with my bread

(This young girl with her own dear accent and delightful style does an impressive recitation of “The King’s Breakfast” by A.A. Milne.)

At dinner tonight, we were eating some delicious French bread a friend gave us, slathering it with soft butter, when a poem from my childhood came to mind.

Of course, I had to share it with my children using my best British accent “The King’s Breakfast

(I loved finding this video someone made of this little girl reciting the poem. Perhaps she is reading it, or perhaps, like my children did sometimes, her mother read it so many times and this little Hannah loved it so well that she memorized it. Bravo to both of them! SO cute.)

Happy Poetry Sharing,

Liz :)

P.S. I love the good parts of the internet! I loved finding this poem written and recited by Julie Andrews about sharing poetry with a child at night. She called it “Bedtime Blessing.”

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hip hip hooray annie mcrae

A dear friend recently asked me for some suggestions of what to read aloud to her daughter’s first grade class. When I read in the classroom, I enjoy choosing books that are related to nature/the seasons,  history, holidays, the children’s stage and age, “musical” books, character-building books, art-related books, and books that are simply fun!

Here are some that I might read in September:

It’s the First Day of School!  by Charles M. Schulz

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble

Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae! by Brad Wilcox

Look What I Did with a Leaf!  by Morteza E. Sohi

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World  by Marjorie Priceman

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Strawberries by Maj Lindman

Go In and Out the Window: An Illustrated Songbook for Children from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (ed. by Fox and commentary by Marks)

The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

Spuds by Karen Hesse

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

And you know, if you are going to read a book to a child, you’d better make it worth their while! I learned from my parents that using voice inflection, some added drama (such as different voicing for different people), and even laughing or snoring on cue makes it so much more fun. (My dad was the best at making children laugh whenever he read The Laughin’ Place, and he had the best voice for Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear. I think I learned voicing from him. He is the champion children’s book reader!)

The great thing about reading to children is they don’t care if you make mistakes or if you do the accent wrong. If you are having fun, they will have fun with you. Which means it’s fun for everyone!

Then you can ask them questions and let them contribute, too, so they don’t just have to sit there the whole time being perfectly quiet, which is what they have to do so much of their school day. I do demand respect, but I try to ask a question here and there to keep things interesting and let them share the experience a little more.

You are one lucky adult who gets to read to a group of children!

Happy Reading,

Liz :)

P.S. And heavens! This list is surely by no means exclusive. There are so many great books to read to children! These are just some of the ones we have loved in our home.

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FH: Morley coat of arms

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Today I learned from Wikipedia that there is a Morley coat of arms. Awesome! This family history stuff is getting more and more interesting by the day!

Someday I’m going to go to England to learn more firsthand. Until then, the internet is definitely taking me places to learn about my family history.

Happy Connecting,

Liz :)

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Mmmm: Cinnamon stick straw (FALL!)

cinnamon stick strawFall is here! Officially! And with the rainy day yesterday and cool morning today, what did the children get out of storage? Apple juice and cinnamon sticks. It is hot apple cider season at our home!

Happy Sipping Cider through a Straw,

Liz :)

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FF: The Giver (movie)

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Sarah and one of my children’s teachers recommended this movie to me, so for a date night recently, I asked Lane if he wanted to go see it. (I don’t often ask to go to a movie in the theaters, so I think he was a little surprised.) He asked me if I had seen the trailer. I hadn’t, so I got online and watched.

Ugh. After watching the trailer, I wasn’t super excited to go.

But I kept thinking about those recommendations, and I went with my gut feel.

We loved it. (Phew!)

There are so many timely messages from this movie. One: Do we consider how important agency is in our everyday lives and in the way our communities and country are run? What are we doing to protect free exercise of moral agency, life and liberty?

Two: How important is history? How are we doing at passing on the lessons learned from the past?

This week I re-read The Giver, and I really enjoyed it. The movie is surprisingly close to the book. I recommend the book for teen readers and older. There are a few places with topics that are good points for discussion with parents, and I’m looking forward to having that discussion with my children who read the book at our family book club soon! I also wouldn’t recommend the movie for anyone younger than teens. 

Watching and re-reading The Giver reminded me that there is so MUCH I take for granted every day! Color, for example! Can you imagine not being able to have color in our lives?

I appreciate Lois Lowry and Jeff Bridges getting this book into film. Definitely worth seeing, in my opinion.

Happy Watching (and Reading),

Liz :)

P.S. Here’s a quote from the book that I wanted to remember: “[Jonas] lay on the bed, aching. ‘Why do you and I have to hold these memories?’

” ‘It gives us wisdom,’ The Giver replied.” (p.111)

“Jonas did not want to go back. He didn’t want the memories, didn’t want the honor, didn’t want the wisdom, didn’t want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games. He sat in his dwelling alone, watching through the window, seeing children at play, citizens bicycling home from uneventful days at work, ordinary lives free of anguish because he had been selected, as others before him had, to bear their burden.

“But the choice was not his. He returned each day to the Annex room.

“The Giver was gentle with him for many days following the terrible shared memory of war.

” ‘There are so many good memories,’ The Giver reminded Jonas. And it was true. By now Jonas had experienced countless bits of happiness, things he had never known before.

“He had seen a birthday party, with one child singled out and celebrated on his day, so that now he understood the joy of being an individual, special and unique and proud.

” He had visited museums and seen paintings filled with all the colors he could now recognize and name.

“In one ecstatic memory he had ridden a gleaming brown horse across a field…

“He had walked through woods, and sat at night beside a campfire. Although he had through the memories learned about the pain of loss and loneliness, now he gained, too, an understanding of solitude and its joy.” (pp.121-122)

” ‘But he lied to me!’ Jonas wept….’What about you? Do you lie to me, too?’ Jonas almost spat the question at The Giver.

” ‘I am empowered to lie. But I have never lied to you.’ ” (p.153)

 

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Psst! You never know

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