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Showing posts from December, 2014

Post-Christmas Fun

One of my goals for this two weeks off was to make sure I got to the temple, and I'm happy to say I was able to make that happen. Friday morning I attended a session at the Jordan River Temple, and was grateful for the opportunity. Sometimes the day after Christmas can be quite a let down after all the festivities leading up to the Big Day. But being able to attend the temple the day after certainly helped to keep the good feelings going. Later I came home and binged on one of my favorite detective series on Netflix. Later I met up with Inge for another new movie, this time it was "Into The Woods", a sort of a fractured fairytale musical featuring The Baker and his Wife, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood, all in the same story. Since I'm a sucker for musicals, I totally enjoyed it. 

Christmas 2014

Christmas morning dawned and Northern Utahans awoke to whiteness. It was our first snow in the valley this year, and it continued to snow off and on throughout the day. I put on some Christmas music and opened my presents (Hooray for my new Ninja blender!), and had a bit of a lazy morning. After a quick phone call to wish my Gram and other Iowa relatives a Merry Christmas, I drove over to my brother's to see all the gifts and hang out for a few hours. We munched on fresh veggies and chips and dip, while my brother and I watched a movie, Awesome Sister-in-law #1 worked a new puzzle, the kids played with all their new toys and games, and the cat slept off the canned food and catnip Santa left for her. More phone calls to visit with one of my sisters and her girls, and a quick visit with the Madre, then I headed off to meet Inge at the Broadway Theater to catch a new movie. After the show, we went for a non-traditional Christmas dinner at The House of Dim Sum (to quote the

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas Eve is normally reserved for my Spiritual celebration, and as has become my annual, not-to-be-missed tradition, I went to the Christmas Eve Carol Service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Inge joined me, and we enjoyed the company of some nice people that we met and visited with while we waited for the service to start. The service was beautiful as always, with carols sung by the Cathedral Choir, and readings from the scriptures, and plenty of congregational singing. We left the Cathedral filled with the Spirit and glad tidings of great joy. From there, I drove over to spend the rest of the evening with my brother's family. Awesome Sister-in-law #1 made a fantastic Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and my niece and nephew wrote notes to Santa and put out some goodies for him and the reindeer. They were both pretty excited, and even their Calico Kittie got in on the excitement. To close out the evening, my brother and the kids told the Christmas Stor

Happy Hanukkah!

The Hanukkah celebration began this week. Since I'm fairly certain I have Jewish ancestry on my Great Grandmother Muzzy's side, I thought it might add a fun and spiritual dimension to my celebrations this year. So I went to the craft store, and in lieu of finding an actual Menorah, I bought some candles, and arranged them in a menorah-like arrangement. If you're not familiar with the story, it's starts with a revolt by the Jews, led by the Maccabees, against their Greek rulers. The Greeks had enacted laws that outlawed the practice of the Hebrew religion, and had also desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees eventually drove the Greeks out of Jerusalem, and cleansed the temple, rededicating it. Most of the holy anointed oil was gone, but they found one vial with enough oil left in it to light the temple lamps for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted for the entire 8 days of dedication. And in celebration of the miracle of the oil, the Festival of Hanukkah

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I've been trying to find a way to use the last of the canned pumpkin, and I found this recipe this morning for Pumpkin Coffee Cake, courtesy of Nestle. It takes a long time to bake, but it turned out really good (e.g. DELISH) and went down really well with some cuties and some homemade hot cocoa, especially on this cold and rainy morning. STREUSEL TOPPING: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts COFFEECAKE: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 cup Pumpkin Puree 1 teaspoon vanilla extract PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 9-inch round cake pan.  FOR STREUSEL TOPPING: COMBINE flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until

New 'Do

You may have noticed from the pictures in the previous posts, that Tracie has a new hairdo. My previous stylist decided to change salons, and since I wanted to stay with this salon, I went to a new stylist the other day. And now - I have BANGS! I haven't had a chance to do it myself yet, so we'll see what it looks like after I do that this morning. But so far I really like it. And I think I'm going to stick with this stylist for awhile. She was super nice, and I felt like we were on the same page.

MoTab, Muppets, and Santino Fontana

Last evening I was fortunate to attend this years Christmas Concert presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is a beloved annual tradition for me. Every year, I sign up for the ticket lottery, and every year I'm denied. But something always works out where a friend has an extra ticket and I'm able to go.  This year's special guests were the Sesame Street Muppets (featuring Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and Rosita), and Santino Fontana (singing voice of evil Prince Hans in the movie "Frozen"). It was a little kids dream performance, and even us grown-ups thought it was fabulous! Choir and organ pipes - before the show Tracie and Saucie (pay no attention to the lady photobombing us in the background) The big yellow dude in the middle is the one and only Big Bird!

True Womanhood

True confession time - I watch TV on Sundays. My Sunday morning begins every week with "CBS Sunday Morning", a normally classy show that reports on arts and culture. Those words should give you an idea of the demographic for the show - it's not generally for the tacky and classless. But lately, there's been a commercial being aired during the show, that frankly, is completely tacky, and classless at it's best, and mysoginistic and exploitative at it's worst. And it's all done in the name of selling hamburgers. It represents womanhood in the most foul and insulting way possible. And I've made a solemn vow that I will not patronize that business ever. I contrast this with some really terrific examples of young womanhood that I have recently been fortunate to witness. First, I was blessed to attend last evening's Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with two fine young returned sister missionaries. They were beautiful, modest, full of joy, and full of


Latter-day Saints are asked to fast once a month. The idea being that we go without food or drink for 24 hours, and the money we would have spent on that is to go to the poor via what's called a "fast offering". I'm a true believer and all, but in the spirit of true confessions, fasting is something I struggle with. The prophet Isaiah talked about the law of the fast, and how it would fill us with joy and with the Spirit, and this was later reiterated by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Even though I believe this, and have seen blessings as a result of it, still I struggle. I take medications that make it necessary for me to stay well-hydrated, so for several years, I kind of gave up on the Law of the Fast. But I slowly realized that I needed more of the Spirit in my life, and so over the last few years, I've tried to show a little more faith. And by doing so, I've found a way of keeping to the spirit of the law in a way that works for me when I

The Nutcracker 2014 - Girls Day Out

Several weeks ago, Awesome Sister-in-Law #1 got tickets for us girls to go see a matinee of The Nutcracker. So early yesterday afternoon, I got all dressed up in my Holiday finest and she and the niece picked me up and we headed downtown to the Capitol Theater for a girls day out. We arrived at the theater, and the house was packed with lots of Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Aunties and kids. My niece was a little on the shy side at first, but that soon wore off. We looked around at all the fancy furnishings, took a few photos, and got to our seats, and it was cute to see her taking it all in. And as soon as the show began, she was totally engaged in everything that was going on onstage. I was giddy just seeing how much fun she was having, and enjoyed the ballet more than I ever have before. It was great! After the show, we headed over to Gourmandise, my favorite bakery, for an after-the-show treat. It was tough to choose between so many awesome-looking goodies, but my niece f