Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I didn't get a family picture taken, send out Christmas cards, or make pretty cookies. I burned the caramels I was making this morning. My house is a mess, and I'm keeping my kids entertained in front of the tv. My Christmas tree is all dried out, and the popcorn garland is crumbling. Yet, despite it all, I'm feeling very merry! I have presents to give to the people I love (and they're even wrapped!). I am surrounded by good friends and family. I am warm and well fed. The snow is beautiful. Best of all, I get to celebrate the birth of a baby, who has made my life worth living. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

BYU-Idaho or Bust

Two weeks ago, I was very content, living my busy little life in the Bitterroot.  On the Wed. before Thanksgiving, we got a call from BYU-I, wanting to interview Tony for a job.  Since we were heading down that way to eat turkey, we thought... "why not?"  So, last Monday Tony was in interviews all day while the kids and I shopped and checked out the town.  Then, yesterday, the school called again and offered us the job!  Tony told them we'd think about it.  The last I heard this morning was that we were thinking about it, and probably shouldn't say anything to anyone till we made a choice.  ( I knew that we were going to do it.)  Then, Tony sent me an e-mail saying that the 22nd would be his last day working for the bank!  He proceded to send a note to the several thousand people in his mailbox, saying that we are moving!  

I have such mixed feelings!!!  I'm excited about this new opportunity for Tony, and the benefits it will provide to our family.  I'm really struggling with leaving the town I grew up in, and all the people I love here.  The hardest part will be moving away from my parents.  I'm worried about the challenges a move will make for my kids... especially Jacob.  I'm excited about the new possibilities that lie ahead for the kids. 

I apologize if anyone feels like we have been "sneaky" or anything... but we really didn't know anything until today.  Now we need to concentrate on sorting and packing and selling our house.  I also apologize for being emotional... I just can't help it!!!!  Everything makes me cry, even happy things!!!!!  I'm just a mess!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Time for the Tree

Our family has a fun tradition of going up in the woods on the day after Thanksgiving, and cutting down our Christmas tree.  Usually there are sleds and hot cocoa involved.  Due to a number of circumstances, we did not have this fun (?) experience this year.  Emily and I went down to Albertsons and shoved a tree into the back of the van and hauled it home.  A few days ago, we put the lights on it, but didn't have time for any decorations.  Finally, this afternoon we were all home, and we put the ornaments on.  This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas.  Every year, since we have been married, each family member gets a "special" ornament for the tree.  It usually represents something that they accomplished, learned, or experienced.  I love to get out these ornaments and remember the times that each one represents.  I'm having a hard time coming up with ornaments for this year, though.  It seems that we are so busy just getting from day to day, that we haven't been taking time for the "good stuff".  Or, maybe I just need to find more "good stuff" in the everyday experiences. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey treats

For our big family Thanksgiving dinner, I was given a fun assignment.  I am supposed to bring jam, and treats for the kids.  Nothing fancy about the jam, but I sure had fun making these turkey cookies and "corn on the cob"! 

Friday, November 21, 2008

This has been a busy week for me.  As the Compassionate Service person in our ward, I have had two funeral luncheons to put together.  Not only have I never done this before, one of the funerals will be a very large one, with most of the stake involved.  I loved both of the ladies that passed away, and want to do my best for them.  The first, and smaller funeral was yesterday.  Thanks to the wonderful help of friends and ward members, I think it went well.  The food was all cooked and delivered on time (mostly), we didn't run out of anything, and the family seemed to be very grateful.  WHEW!!!!!  Now that this first one is over, I feel like we can handle the second one.  I will spend today getting ready for tomorrows big one.  I need to deliver some hams to be baked, get tablecloths and dishes ready, set up the Primary room for overflow, fill salt and pepper shakers, and draw up some assignment lists for the people helping tomorrow.  I am so thankful to everyone who signed up to bring food and to help cook, serve, and clean up!!!!!  I am glad to help and serve, but I will be VERY glad tomorrow night, when I can relax!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Well, I just turned another year older.  I have mixed emotions about my birthdays.  I really like getting presents and having everyone treat me special.... but on the other hand, I feel like I have to be worthy of the special treatment, and I start to see all the areas I need to work on.
I got two gifts this year that I am really excited about.  One is a membership to the health club, and the other is a circular saw.  I really have a hard time getting out and exercising in the cold, dark winter, so the club should be nice.  Maybe by my next birthday I'll be a lean, mean, exercising machine!!!! (Don't hold your breath)  I am always borrowing my parents power tools to fix things and build things... so I'm thrilled to get my own circular saw (and Dad will be happy to get his back! :) )  I know most gals wouldn't be too excited about getting tools for their birthdays, but it really made me happy!!!  Thanks everyone for  the presents, cards and phone calls!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Forgotten Garnishes

My good friend asked me to help with a dinner last Saturday night. We had a good time planning the menu, oriental theme, decorations, etc... I spent several hours making these lovely garnishes out of green onions and mini-peppers. Unfortunately, I forgot them at home, in the fridge, until we started preparing the food! By then it was too late to drive back, so we served an "ungarnished" dinner, and my family had a beautiful meal on Sunday!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Little Organization

Lately my home has fallen apart. Everywhere I look there are piles of things to be finished, sorted, delivered, put away, or thrown away. Today I attacked a small corner and got my fabric sorted and folded. I got rid of 3 boxes of fabric that I know I will never use! Now I only have 99% more of the house to go through!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Last Week of October

Emily was a bride for Halloween. My boys decided that they were too big to dress up and go door to door. They did make the rounds at the ward trunk-or-treat though.

This has been a busy, strange, and somewhat disturbing week. I had a great many commitments and appointments. There were a lot of fun activities and Halloween celebrations. There were also more than the usual "not fun" things. My grandpa had a small heart attack. (He's home and doing well.) A friend passed away after a painful fight with cancer. I found that a wonderful cousin has been dealing with some abuse and marital problems. My friend's 2-year old had a fever-induced seizure that badly scared us.

All these experiences have made me think about my own life and what's important to me. I'm so grateful for the many, many blessings I enjoy each day!!! At the same time, I feel a "helplessness" about all the pain and suffering in the world. What can I do, as one small person, to make things better? I can only do so much, then I run out of time, energy, and/or money. I know that there's not one "answer" to all this, but it's just something that is on my mind!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Activity Days

Today the activity days girls came to my house to play in the leaves and do some service for me! It was a lot of fun! First they raked the leaves into a huge pile and each girl got to do their very best jump and get judged on it. Then they looked for small toys and candy that were hidden in the leaves. Next was a contest to see how fast each team could fill a bag with leaves. After that, they all worked hard, filling several bags each, before eating their treats. I was so grateful for the work they did! They filled around 20 bags, which would have taken me many hours! They had fun, and made a big dent in the amount of raking that I need to do!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Relief Society Blog

I got permission to go ahead with a blog for our Relief Society. For anyone who is interested, the site is www.blodgettladies.blogspot.com. If you would like to link it to your personal blog, please let me know. I have to have your permission before posting your blog. If you have any information you would like to have posted, let me know through my e-mail, and I will get it on there. It has to be pertinent to all the ladies in the ward, and I have to get permission from the people "higher up" than me. I'm excited about this, so please let me know any ideas or suggestions! My e-mail is tara@computx.net. Thanks!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photo Tag

OK, Miss Melodee... Here is my 4th photo from my 4th folder in my pictures.  It just happened to be a picture of me!  I think I was 9 years old, and I am modeling the very stylish dress that my mom made for me for Christmas.  I was a little jealous because my sister got a dress too, (in the same pattern) but hers was a shiny fabric, and mine wasn't!!    I have tons of unorganized photos!  One of my many winter projects is to put all the pictures in files according to date.  It will be a very big project!!! 

All the rest of you bloggers, I'd love to see your 4th photo in your 4th file!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Today I have been doing "stuff". For the first day this week, I haven't had a headache, and I feel like getting everything done that I have been putting off. My kids are home because of Fall Break, so I have been sticking close to home. Here are a few things that I've gotten done (finally!);
  • sweep and vacuum the floors
  • several loads of laundry
  • cleaned out my "in box"
  • paid some bills
  • sorted some church papers
  • mowed the lawn (hopefully for the last time this year)
  • cleaned out the dead flowers from my planters and beds
  • made chocolate chip cookies
  • went to the hardware store for light bulbs, and replaced a few burnt out ones
  • moved all our bikes onto the patio for the winter
  • took out trash
  • finished reading Brisingr
  • cleaned off my bulletin board
  • re-potted a plant
  • ironed all my wrinkly shirts
  • dusted Tony's computer desk

I still have a few hours to do more... I can't wait to see what other "stuff" I can get done!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good Idea!

My lovely friend, Tara S. had a great idea! She suggested that we post the Relief Society activities on a blog, so those in Primary and YW could be more aware of what is going on. I think I'll do it!! For now, I will post this month's stuff right here, then I will work on setting up a blog/RS site! So, for all you Blodgett Canyon ladies (and friends), here it is.....

Oct. 14, 6:00pm - Canning soup mix at the church (potatoes, onions, carrots, celery) All you need to bring is yourself!

Oct. 16, 10:00am - Book Club at Marcia Tolman's house. This month's book is "The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

Oct. 21, 6:00pm - Canning apple pie filling at the church.

Oct. 25, 10am-2pm - Super Saturday - We will be making Advent Calendars, Fleece Blankets, Biscotti, and a Candy Demonstration. Please bring your own lunch! Also bring your rotary cutters and cutting boards if you have them.

Oct. 26, 6:00pm - Canning meat at the church.

Hope to see you all there!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Apples and Such

I've been busy painting this week, so nothing else is getting done.  In a few weeks I am going to help with a little class where we are teaching some ladies how to can apple pie filling.  Here is my mom's recipe.  I just printed it up, so I thought I might as well post it for the rest of you who are trying to preserve apples.  For anyone who wants to come to the class, it will be on the 21'st, at 6:30pm, at the LDS church.  Enjoy!

Canned Apple Pie Filling   - Karren McLean
  1. Fill 7 quart jars with peeled, sliced apples. (To prevent browning, I place apples in a large bowl with cold water and lemon juice, as I peel.)
  2. In a large kettle, bring 9 cups of water and 3-1/2 cups sugar to a boil
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the following:
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 c. cornstarch
    • ½ tsp. nutmeg
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp. cloves
    • 1 tsp. almond extract
    • 1 c. cold water
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  1. Stir sugar mixture(#3) into hot liquid(#2).
  2. Cook until it turns clear.
  3. Pour hot liquid over the apples in the jars.  Leave about ½ in. at the top.
  4. Wipe jar rims clean.
  5. Place lids and rings on jars.
  6. Place jars in a boiling water bath.
  7. Process for 25 minutes. 
 One jar of pie filling can be poured into an UNBAKED pie shell.  Then I either put another crust on top, or use a crumb topping.  Bake uncovered at 350* until the crust turns a nice brown color. (about 25 min.)
You can pour one jar of pie filling into a greased, 9in. square pan, and top with your favorite apple crisp topping.  Then bake at 350 for about 15-20 min.
We also like this topping heated in a pan on the stove, and poured over hot pancakes or waffles.  It also makes a yummy ice cream topping. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh My Stars!!

I finally got this quilt top finished!! It was all dusty from sitting for so long!  I will call it "Oh My Stars".  I like how it turned out, but I don't know how I will quilt it.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jacob's birthday

This is what I was doing 15 years ago!!!  Jacob and I almost didn't make it through his birth... it was not pleasant, but he made up for it!!  Jacob weighed 9lb. 7oz, and he looked like a little papoose.  I was in love! 

Jacob is now a wonderful teenager!  He is so smart and funny.  He has autism, but that is not who HE is.  Jacob teaches me new things all the time and he has a kind and tender soul.  I am so grateful for him and am grateful he is my boy.  Happy Birthday, Big J!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A New Calling

I have been a Primary teacher for a few years.  Today I got a new calling that I am both excited about, and terrified of!  As a Primary teacher, it was fairly predictable... I knew who I would be dealing with each week, how rowdy each child could get, and had sort of figured out how to calm each one down.  I loved the hugs and crayon pictures and "I love you, teacher"s.  I will miss it terribly. 

Now I am the Compassionate Service Leader.  I don't even really know what is expected in this calling, except I will be helping with funerals and new babies!  I will be able to serve with lives leaving this world, coming into this world, and those somewhere in between.  I am really excited to have this chance to be more involved in service, and know it will help me to be a better person.  I'm really scared that I will not know what to do and say.  Hopefully people will be forgiving with me as I try to do this.  Our former Compassionate Service lady was so kind and wonderful... I know that I can't fill her shoes, but I hope mine can at least follow in her footsteps! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summer's Final Fruits

With autumn sneaking in the door, I had to take a few pictures of my summer friends. I have to admit that the yard work is getting tedious, and I am looking forward to putting away the lawnmower. But I know that in a few months I'll be sick of cold and snow, so I try to keep my plants from freezing, as long as possible.

I love this Dahlia... the pinks and yellows blend in such a beautiful way. This plant was a splurge last spring, and I have to say it was well worth it!

My pumpkin plants did especially well this year, and I have 5 large pumpkins turning orange! One for each of us to carve for Halloween. They choked out my cucumbers and zuchini, but they are fine looking pumpkins!!

This is one of 8 giant sunflowers that the kids and I planted. They are about 10-12 feet tall, and the heads are between 12-20 inches across! We are excited to try drying and eating some of the seeds. I think we'll leave most of them out for the birds and squirrels to eat during the winter. It's just so much easier to go to the store and buy a nice, packaged bag of sunflower seeds... but... we do have to try doing it ourselves... just for the fun of it!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bloggers Block

I haven't been able to think of anything to post all week!  So.... I thought this was kinda funny.  Maybe I'll have a more exciting week ahead!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Love To See The Temple

I had a lovely time riding to Spokane and going to the temple yesterday. Every year a bunch of ladies in our ward take a Saturday, leave the kids and husbands at home, and drive 4 hours to Spokane. It is really fun to have a "girls day". We talk and laugh, shop and eat. The best part is going to the temple together. I am so grateful for the friendships I have in these women. Each year I think of dozens of excuses why I'm too busy to go, but each time I have a great experience and am glad that I went!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm Becoming a Geek

That's right... Geek.  First I started a blog... now I've created an account on FaceBook!  I'm not even sure why...I just wanted to see what all the excitement was about, and before I knew it... I had set up my profile and started searching for "friends"!  As I spent my time looking for everyone I've ever known, I realized that a lot of people go in and out of our lives.  Some of them I want to keep in touch with - but our lives take so many twists and turns that we just can't keep in touch with everyone.  It is kind of sad that there are also people that I really don't want to spend the time and effort to contact.  Is this their fault because they are big jerks, or is it my fault because I'm a big jerk?  This is something I will have to ponder. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Journey of a Different Kind

This morning I took another journey... down memory lane. A few weeks ago, I got a box of papers from CDC (Child Development Center), containing 8 years of paperwork on Jacob. They were cleaning out their files, and getting rid of old papers.

I started browsing through the pile, and quickly noticed that the newest papers were on top, with the oldest on the bottom. I turned the pile (about 8 in. tall) over, and started at the beginning. They began when Jacob was 2 years and 8 months old. The records showed our first phone call and visit to the CDC, because we were worried about our son. Then came all the tests: physical, emotional, developmental, psychological, and on and on. Next was the confirmation that our Jacob had "PDD-NOD" (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Diagnosed). What the heck is that?!?! - we thought. Next was more stuff telling us that this was just a "nice" way of saying HE HAS AUTISM!!!!!

A few years later, our son, Erik, was also diagnosed with very mild autism.

As I read through this stuff, it brought back a lot of old memories... not all of them pleasant. But, I was happy to find that a lot of the pain and fear is not inside me any more. This "journey" through autism has been a real challenge for our family and for myself personally. It still is at times, but, thanks to my knowledge of the gospel, I have peace. I know it will be OK.

As I continued to read, there were hundreds of pages of various notes from therapists, aides, teachers, doctors, etc... Every visit was documented, and I was reminded of so many struggles our boys have had, and how they have been strong and overcome so much. I am so thankful to everyone who has provided help and support!

Austism will always be a part of our lives... it will continue to be a journey... I still have a lot of hopes and fears that only time can show me. I have my husband, my family, my friends, and most importantly, my Heavenly Father, who will travel along with me... I'm looking forward to the trip!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It'll cost how much?!?!

The kids have started school, and since our district has such lousy funding, everything costs. I just wrote out a check for $100 for Jacob's "fees" to attend school, and both of the other kids informed me that their lunch accounts need a boost. Lunches cost $2.50 each... X three kids = $7.50/day = $150/month... just for lunch! Erik told me that he has to pay a "locker fee" and "planner/ID card fee" by tomorrow. Both the boys have to have extra shoes for gym, that must stay at the school, and in Emily's class, they are having the parents each "donate" a month's worth of snacks. I thought our taxes were supposed to cover this!! We also have a vacation's worth of credit card charges to pay off, and Jacob broke a tooth eating dinner tonite!! I try very hard to plan a budget and stick to it... but, all the "unplanned" expenses keep throwing me off. I need to plan more for the unplanned!!! Why can't the world revolve around my plans and expectations?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More Trip Pics

A beautiful sunset on the beach.

Fun at the Oregon State Fair.

There were lots of decorated onions around the town of Walla Walla.

The Jelly Belly factory tour was a big hit! We especially enjoyed the free samples and the bean-shaped hamburgers and pizza.

We liked watching the sea lions try to knock eack other off the docks in San Fransisco.

Here, we are inside a giant redwood tree in California.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good to be Home

Well, we had a great trip down the Oregon Coast. Here are a few photos.

It was so-o-o-o cold and windy when we finally reached the ocean! We had to wear our jackets. Erik said "This isn't fun in the sun, it's pain in the rain!"

Tasting cheese at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We all shared a 5-scoop bowl of ice cream.

Playing in the water at the A.C. Gilbert children's museum in Salem, Oregon. This was a really fun place!

Playing at the Oregon State Fair, in Salem.

Petting star fish at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, in Newport.

Flying a kite during a very windy, sandy picnic on the beach. I can still feel the grit in my teeth! Tony had to throw away his sushi because it was so sandy!! At least it was sunny and kind of warm!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We're Off!!!

We are heading to the coast for one last fling before school starts. Our kids have been in 42 states, but that doesn't include Oregon!!! It is practically next door. We plan on cruising down Highway 101, possibly all the way down to San Fransisco. We are taking our tent and sleeping bags so if the weather is nice we can camp on the beach!! This will be a slow, relaxing trip, and I am really looking forward to it!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Family Fun

Yesterday we went to Missoula after lunch, for some fun. Here are a few things we did.

Tony and Jacob playing in the "Water Works" at the Children's museum.

Em and I painting each others faces at the Children's museum.

Erik riding the carousel.

Collecting "stuff" and getting autographs at the Osprey baseball game.

Emily the Osprey fan.

Tony and his friend Coltin provided a little between-inning entertainment in their Sumo suits.

We all had a fun day!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I REALLY Hate Spiders

What's with the spiders lately? I killed two really big ones today. For some reason, hobo spiders really love the stairs down to my basement. I go up and down the stairs dozens of times a day, and it would probably be hilarious for anyone watching me. I keep my broom near the top of the stairs, and my can of "Raid" at the bottom. First I open the door and do a swift glance around. If I see nothing, I peer over the rail to scan the lower portion. If I see anything, I grab for whatever killing agent is nearest and apply it with enthusiasm! If the coast looks clear, I quickly scamper down, being careful to keep my feet on the front edges of the step, because sometime the little buggers hide on the vertical parts that I can't see. At the bottom, I swiftly turn around and check the front of the steps. If I see any creepy-crawlies, they are promptly hosed down with spray, or smashed into atoms with my broom. Then I have to leap over the remains, not touching the step, to get back upstairs. It's a carefully calculated process, that only a true arachnaphobic would understand. To the rest of the world... I'm sure you have your goofy routines also!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Magic Beans

These are magic beans... the "magic thing about them is that my kids like them!!! They like the purple ones best of all, because they turn green as they cook. Pretty fun, huh? I don't really grow enough beans to can them, but I do freeze a few quarts every year to enjoy during the winter. Fresh beans in January is pretty "magical" too!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Done Got Edgicatted

I had a great weekend at BYU-Idaho. Tony, Jacob, and I spent 3 days at Education Week. I love being in Rexburg... it brings back a lot of fun memories from my college days. This was Jacob's first year, and I don't think he was really impressed. He did love Marvin Goldstein's (pianist) classes. I love the chance to learn and be spiritually fed!!!

Tony and I are also BYU-Idaho Alumni Ambassadors for our area. In conjunction with Ed. Week, we had an Amassador Conference, which was very informative! We enjoyed one luncheon where we sat with and visited Henry J. Eyring. Now I know more about what my role as an ambassador should be, and I'm excited about it!!

We also swung down to Tony's hometown for "That Famous Preston Night Rodeo". It was fun, but the seating was too crowded. I highly recommend seeing the rodeo! We picked up Em and Erik from their Aunt Shara Kay. She has been wonderful and taken care of them for the past several years while we go to Education Week. I am so grateful for my husbands family and for all they do for us! Where would we be without our families!?!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More about Huckleberries

This morning I went up Lost Horse Canyon with my parents and kids. We were on a mission to pick more huckleberries. The thing is, you can only pick them in a few areas, and for a few weeks out of the year. If you miss them, you don't get another chance! I think a lot of things in life are like that... If you don't take your opportunities, they will be gone. It's so important to find the good things that are happening right now... the quiet moments, kind words, smiles, flowers, a puppy, and on and on. We miss so much if we spend all of our time looking for "huckleberries" in the middle of January, instead of enjoying the snowflakes!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Berry Delicious

This is the time of year for picking raspberries. I think they are so beautiful! There's nothing like going out first thing in the morning, before it gets hot, and listening to the world wake up while picking raspberries. For me, this is a very soul-soothing experience. I also love to to munch the cool, sweet berries before my breakfast!!

Yesterday I went "huckleberrying" with my mom and Emily. We didn't find a lot... but here they are. They will be just enough to throw into a batch of pancakes or muffins. I don't know what it is about Montanans and their huckleberries, but I don't feel like the summer is complete without their tart, wild taste.