Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Concert Week

Concert week is hard, especially with an added recording session. I am so looking forward to Spring Break next week and spending time with these little cuties. They will get to come to the concert tonight. I wonder what they'll think of it? At least they'll get to come see what their mom is up to.

Two more nights.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cupcakes & The Host

1. New post coming soon with New Moon DVD party pics

2. It's dress rehearsal/concert/recording week. Sadly, no room on the schedule for cupcake baking.

3. The Host is being released in paper back on April 13, 2010. Check out this fun give-away on Eve's Fan Garden.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Moon DVD Party

Saturday night with the girls + vampires and werewolves + yummy food = FUN!

Michelle brought this yummy cookie.

My hub made his yummy salsa that went nicely with the great food everyone brought.

Last minute decor...I couldn't help myself.

Darrell won the prize for the best get-up. We all laughed when the clock tower square came up in the movie with all the red hooded citizens.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Check This Out!

One of my new favorite blogs is Bloom, and they recently had a photo contest titled, "Everyday Spring". I submitted an entry just for the fun of it and made it into the top 12. Can I brag? All the pictures are fabulous and you can vote in the sidebar if you like. You don't have to vote for mine, but it is fun to see it there among all those fabulous pictures! Click here to see.

Ode to Chocolate

Oh, sweet chocolate, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1. See's
2. Reese's
3. Dove
4. Hershey
5. Mousse
6. Cheesecake
7. Fondue
8. Rocky Road
9. Chips
10. Cookies
11. Lindt
12. Cadbury
13. Milk
14. Shake
15. Frosty
16. Frosting
17. Cake
18. Cupcakes
19. Kisses
20. Covered Cherries

Mmmmmm. I could go on, and on. There must be chocolate in heaven. There just has to be.

And for the girl who has everything, you could add chocolate shoes...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can You Replace Friendship?

NO. Please read on...

As I dropped what I was doing and drove over to a friend's house today, I could not figure out what was wrong with me. I have been so sad. I believe melancholy is the term that describes it. I don't know what the reasons are. I counted my blessings while driving and knew I would sound spoiled if I talked about my no-name sadness. Something was pulling me to this friend's house. When I got to the driveway, I was almost teary. I wondered what was up? I instantly figured it out.

I MISS MY FRIENDS. I am a deep thinking, mull it over, sisterly connection kinda gal, and I have been deprived of my friend time. For various reasons, some of my confidants have become extremely busy with life. I am kinda busy myself, and since we're all kinda tied up, there is a void.

Can I replace these friendships with other activities? I didn't realize I had been trying, but I have. My little audio books have been helping me breeze through my chores, and I've turned to those instead of phone calls because I know what my friends are up to and figure a chatty call isn't what they would necessarily need. As of today, the answer to the replacement question is no. Friends cannot be replaced. My Jane Austen novels could care less what I'm thinking and feeling.

What is to be done? I can't believe how sad I am. Girls, we need a plan. Soon.

Love you.

p.s. For my family and friends who live in my computer, I love you all very much too! xoxo

Monday, March 22, 2010


Last week, I received my first issue of More. In the arrogance of my youth, I scoffed at such a publication. A magazine for women 40 and over? Pshaw. Who would want to see or read anything about women over 40? I will never be 40. Gross!

Suffice it to say that I am not dealing well with aging. I look at the amazing women who are my age and can see that 40 isn't all that gross. I wish I could embrace being older. Gray hair makes me depressed. Shadows under my eyes and flabby arms make me want to crawl into a hole. Although the plane of youth departed the runway a few years ago, I retain my arrogance. Was anyone else as arrogant in their twenties as I was? Where the heck is my tan and what the fritter happened to my muscle tone??

I'm still not okay with this aging thing, but I subscribed to this magazine knowing that it would be full of things that might be helpful. For a person of my age. Gah.

I'm trying to embrace my age and repel the waves of discouragement that threaten to overcome me. I may need professional help. I'll let you know.

Candy Bar Cupcakes

After two weeks of bombs, we have another winner. These cupcakes are delightful with lots of sugar, chocolate, peanutes, caramel...mmmm. Jenna was my helper and insisted on doing all the measuring herself, which her control-freak mamma let her do (score one for me!).

All those bumps are the chocolate chips and chopped peanuts.

The loading process was quite messy, but I had to keep all the goodies mixed in and re-spooned from the bottom of the bowl each time instead of using a ladle.

Here they are ready to go. The topping is drizzled carmel ice cream topping and chopped peanuts. They will be making their way around town this afternoon. Yum!

Side note: Little miss do-it-all had to do the dishes too. I'm glad we have pictures to serve as evidence that they once wanted to do the chores.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Hard Is What Makes It Great

In Emily Watt's book, I Hate It When Exercise Is The Answer, she asks some very good questions that have been excellent reminders to me. She reminds us in one chapter about the movie, A League of Their Own, and quotes what Tom Hanks' character says to Geena Davis when she wants to quit:

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

Emily then asks:

"What if the hard is what makes us great? What if it's the hard that makes us grow and sends us in search of resources we didn't know we had and drives us to the arms of our Savior for answers we wouldn't have been smart enough to see ourselves?"

She goes on two chapters later discussing perspective:

"What if we understood that the very things that drive us to our knees are putting us in the exact position to find our Heavenly Father and our Savior? What if, in turning us to heaven because we have nowhere else to go, our difficulties actually point the path to the salvation and exaltation we came to earth seeking in the first place?"

It was good for me to be reminded that things are hard sometimes for a purpose. I have been in that place before where there is nowhere else to go. Those moments have been some of the most sacred and profound spiritual experiences of my life. Once we have had these moments, we have a deeper testimony and understanding of how vital the Savior is to our lives. My challenge is to remember to keep Him in a prominent place in my life and remember that He can help me. Why do we try to do so much on our own?

I am feeling overwhelming gratitude today for the opportunities for change I've had in my life, and for how patient the Lord is. It takes me a really long time to come around, and I'm so happy He is allowing me the time to change.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Messiah In America

I am so excited.

This concert is going to be unlike any other.

The bulk of the evening will be devoted to premiering the first LDS major work, Messiah In America written by our director, Brett Stewart. Performing the work will be a 200 voice choir, Youth and Children's choirs, a symphony orchestra, and four world-renowned soloists. We perform at Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts center on Wednesday, March 31 at both 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. If you are interested in reading more about the concert or purchasing tickets, go to or the concert hall website We're on the home page under "Coming Soon".

Many of you do not leave in Southern California, but are interested in what I'm up to. Either of those websites will tell you. The hub and daughters have been home making sure Thursday nights run smoothly while I'm gone to rehearsal. I can't thank them enough for supporting me participating in this wonderful organization. All three (girls too!) will be coming to see the concert, and I can't wait.

It is going to be spectacular. I think about the major works we've sung--Braham's German Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Lenoard Berstein's Chichester Psalms--major works rooted in the Catholic and Jewish religions that are phenomenal. This will one day be known as Brett Stewart's Messiah In America.

I just can't wait.

Did I mention that we're recording it the day after the concert. Squee.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day

We did the green pancakes for breakfast and dressed in green clothing, but other than that, the morning was kinda ordinary. Heather reminded me that the Leprechauns usually bring a treat for them. I whipped out a couple of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but wasn't prepared for anything else. This was very unlike me.

After the girls left for school I was reading blogs and came across a couple of ideas for Saint Patrick's Day activities on Bloom. I loved the idea of a scavenger hunt and decided that the day was still young. After the potato bar lunch in Jenna's classroom, I zipped over to See's Candy for some gold coins and returned home to whip up some rhyming clues for a scavenger hunt.

The clues were a little lame, but they rhymed and did the trick! Jenna's scoffed at them being written in my hand, but I told her that the Leprechauns had left me instructions on what to do since a grandpa was sleeping in the living room and they couldn't do it themselves without being caught. Clever, no? I don't think she bought it, but it was fun, and she got SEE'S CANDY for crying out loud!

A hiding spot.

What the girls found on the front porch upon arriving home from school.

Taking turns reading the clues.

Finding treasure.

Happy girls! Notice my cute banner from MakeNTake in the back ground. Put it up just last night. I seem to be last minute Nelly. Oh well!

The girls had Activity Days in the afternoon. Heather got to work with fondant. How fun!

The Clues:

The Leprechauns have been inside
And they came with treasure to hide.
Follow the clues one by one
And in the end you'll have some fun!

#1 Look out, look out! Don't fall in!
You could swim with the fish if you had a fin!

#2 Inside this box the letters hide.
Go look and see, a clue resides.

#3 Splish splash, splish splash,
Do you need a bath??

#4 Sometimes they stink and sometimes not
Look around their home, see what they've got.

#5 Sometimes magical, sometimes frightening,
Travel to any land fast as lightening!

#6 Ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring,
Hello? Hello? What news does it bring?

#7 Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, but have a peep;
Find some treasure where your head doth sleep.

Blueberry Cupcakes...NOT

The first clue should have been the three cups of shortening. I knew it sounded bad, but I read the recipe four times to make sure. Then Kelly read it. He told me it would never work, and he told me several times during the mixing process. I told him this was about trying out the recipes. Well...This one stunk! And not like in smelly. They smelled good. Even the parts that cooked tasted like they had potential. But this has to be the worst recipe ever. Another testament to why the book is not in print? Some of the recipes are great, so we'll just have to see as we go along. Here's the long of the short of it...

Batter that was the consistency of frosting...

it never settled no matter how long it sat.

They came out looking okay, until they SUNK.

Grease in the bottom of the muffin pan, and a cupcake that had no form whatsoever. Just a greasy mess. The flour tried to help, but it was overpowered.

Kelly, who had been squirming the entire time, and who has the gift of being able to just figure things out, tried to salvage the batter. We figured this was about a $15-20 batter.

He added more of everything except shortening to try to balance the levels. The new batch looked better, but were very dense and reminded me of pie crust.

What a waste! All this went in the garbage.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


The second image better illustrates how my brain has processing choices for a good while. My good friend, Kathy B., gave a superb lesson today on the freedom to choose. She asked questions that we all know the answers to, but need to be reminded of. I liked this one, "Why is agency important?" It's important, we know, because choice is growth-promoting which is why we are here on Earth in the first place. One of the ladies is convinced she was a fence sitter in the pre-existence. She can fully see herself thinking Jesus' plan was good, but that Satan's plan where everyone is guaranteed to make it back was very appealing. We all giggled, but in reality, that plan that includes a guarantee that we'd return does sound pretty good, right? I would have liked plan C where we got to make choices and were guaranteed a return trip ticket. Hee, hee.

I do really, really well with some choices. Robbing a bank is a no brainer. Same with alcohol consumption or dishonesty. But I'm not so good with priorities, which in a sense are things that need to be ordered by importance. I would then be required to choose which is most important and go from there. Just because I can parrot back answers as to what should come first (personal prayer, scripture study, a sparkly home, etc.) doesn't mean I actually do those things.

Sherry L. Dew once wrote that Satan delights in our busy schedules. He knows that the busier we are, the more harried we'll be and likely to forget what's most important in the eternal perspective. I've known this for years, but am just now getting around to assimilating the information.

I recently turned down the opportunity to do some choreography for friends of mine who will be directing a musical. I was so flattered to have been asked, and excited at the prospect of doing something so creative. But after a few days of thinking about it, I realized that what my spirit has been trying to communicate to me for months now is that I need to turn my heart toward and focus on what is eternal. That is not to say that all of the other great things are bad. It is just that I have spent a great deal of time dabbling in the eternal while I commit my time elsewhere. I don't want to miss my kids growing up. I want to have the energy to go on dates with my husband instead of craving quiet Friday and Saturday nights at home. I want to read my scriptures and learn what the Lord has in store for me. I want to have time to maintain the organization that I am capable of maintaining in my home. I need to be physically healthy, and spiritually healthy too. When I am too busy and overwhelmed, I am tired and don't function well. Freeing up my time is the ticket to having the energy to accomplish the things I need to do.

This making choices thing is a personal adventure. No one person's choices match another's. It's about what is best for you and your situation. And I'm hoping that the time it takes to figure things out doesn't count against us. If it does, I may be in a heap of trouble. But I believe that the process and the journey are what it's all about, so I'm hoping that moving forward no matter how fast or slow is what we'll get credit for.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sorta Cinderella

Saturday was such a crazy, hectic day for us with OCMCO rehearsal, Stake Activity Days, a birthday party and projects needing to be done. But in the evening, Heather and I had the pleasure of going to see our friend, Daisy, play the Fairy Godmother in a play titled, Sorta Cinderella. It was really darling, and Daisy did a fantastic job playing the somewhat bubble-headed fairy godmother who works with Lightning Man to save the day. Lightning Man was just one of the surprise twists to the story. The traditional story was infused with songs such as "Always Look on The Bright Side of Life" and "Blue Suede Shoes". The kids did a great job. Way to go Daisy!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Disneyland--The Happy Meeting Place

My friend Kathy from Saint George (and from TwilightMoms, Healthy Living Challenges and blogging) came to Disneyland with her family on Friday. Kelly and the girls and I drove up to meet them. It was so fun to hang out and get to meet their family. This isn't the best photo of us, but we had to have a photo!

Kelly and Jenna looked so cute in their rocket that I had to snap a photo of them too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Thursday was Moiola's annual Jog-A-Thon fundraiser. Heather, the sick girl, wanted to give it a try. She had no fever, so against my better judgment, I took her to school. She was so excited to run, and I thought this would be her last year (found out later that upper core runs too). She did 19 laps. The winner had done 21. Heather wasn't upset, but I pointed out to her that had she not sat out the two laps she wasn't feeling so well, she would have tied. If she'd been healthy, she would have smoked them all. Not bad for a sickie.

Jenna had fun too. Unfortunately, I didn't know she wanted to win, so there was no strategic planning before hand. She walked with her friends a bit and ran some too. The winner was over 8 laps a head of her and had run consistently during the 15 minute period. Jenna doesn't know what a fierce competitor her mother is. I have subdued the inner tiger in myself so as not to give any hint that I would personally care about winning if it were me. If I'd known she wanted to win, I would gladly have assisted her. Oh well, next year. Watch out for mamma's little tiger cub. Hee, hee.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sick Again

Yes, again. Heather had a headache and low fever this morning. It was field trip day. Tomorrow is her favorite event of the year, the jog-a-thon. Poor girl.

Farewell Climbing Tree

Here is the best climbing tree ever! We had enjoyed many tree climbing adventures in this tree when the Holbrooks were living down the street from us. Imagine our surprise when...

We pulled out of our driveway on Wednesday to find that the climbing tree was coming down. Farewell climbing tree! We loved you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vitamin L

In fairness to my little Jenna, I must post about Vitamin L. There was a story in The Friend magazine this month that was pointed out to me one morning by my oldest. It was on one of those particularly yucky mornings when Jenna was in full uglies and lashing out at Heather. Heather cannot take very much and gets deeply hurt by even a grunt aimed in her direction. She came to me and said, "Read the story in The Friend. I left it for you on the couch."

After the girls were at school, I read the story. It was about two sisters, the younger of the two who was often very mean to her older sister. The picture was of a little girl yelling at an older girl who was reaching for a bottle of Vitamin L. The look on her face is just the look I sometimes see on Heather's face when Jenna is "at it again". I love the dad looking around the corner to watch what his oldest will do. The story goes that as the older daughter complains, the dad explains how the younger sibling will eventually learn to be kinder, but that for now it's important to be a good example and do what Jesus would do. Dad suggests taking extra does of Vitamin L (love) to withstand the anger and remember Jesus in hopes that if the older sister sets the example the younger will follow. It's very hard, but the older sister does as instructed, and pretty soon the younger sister reaches out with love.

It's so hard to be the oldest. I totally know. Everyone expects you to "know better" and be the example. All that says to an older sibling when they're young is that the younger ones have carte blanche to get away with murder and you can't do anything back to them or you'll get in trouble. I decided this story was perfect for family night that night. So that's what we did. We read the story and talked about choosing to do what Jesus would do etc. I don't even remember specifically what we said during the lesson. I only remember what's happened since.

Jenna has been calmer and happier. She has smiled more and been more loving. She told us the next day that she'd taken 5 Vitamin L's that day and that's why she was so happy. It's been 9 days since that lesson, and we are living with a different girl. There are some little blips on the radar now and then (we can't, after all, expect perfection), but for the most part we don't have the day-to-day pummeling that we normally get.

Of course this happened just days after my battle armor post. But I'm glad that both of these posts will show in our journaling. The growth that we've seen in Jenna in just a week has been amazing. I think she saw herself in the little girl in the story and saw how hard it was for the older sister to deal. Whatever it was that made the difference, it is working.

We'll be keeping a hearty supply of Vitamin L in our family from now on.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Root Beer Cupcakes - A bust!

Well, not a total bust, but very disappointing. We envisioned yummy, root beer flavored cupcakes. What we got was sweet bread. Muffins that reminded us of eating light, fluffy cornbread with honey butter. The frosting was supposed to be root beer frosting, but had poor directions. The instructions were to use a "vanilla frosting mix" with a cup of root beer. What the french toast is vanilla frosting mix? The frosting was a complete nightmare--a total waste of powdered sugar. We tried powdered sugar and the root beer, but the proportions were so off. So, no cupcake deliveries. We've enjoyed a few of them for the sweet flavor. No repeat on this recipe. *GONG*

Our story in pictures...
Sous Chef Jenna

Bubbly froth...I think the yeast was what was gleaned from the root beer, not the flavor.

Smooth batter very much like bread dough.

Into the oven...

...and out.

Pretty and sweet, but not worthy of delivery. Too bad.