Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas With Our Family. . . and Small Miracles

Our Christmas this year started out with our Ward Christmas party.  Lots of fun, food, love, and talents were shared with one another.

Tanner (who is the only one young enough to still sit on Santa's lap, telling Santa what he wanted for Christmas. . .

...Tanner, still giving Santa an earful....

Finally, after Noelle hollering at him repeatedly to smile for the camera....

...and now he is finishing giving Santa his 'list'.

We also got to go to Bonner's Ferry to the Carey family Christmas Eve-afternoon party.   They did their traditional Pinata, with all of the kids 10 years old and under taking a turn smacking it.  I wish I had some photos of everyone and all of the food that was there. 

And special Christmas memories were shared with one another, and Rachel sang "Silent Night" for all of us. 

                CHRISTMAS MORNING

The traditional "top of the stairs" pose.

Isaac, checking out his new backpack.  (I have a little story about that at the end of this post, after most of  the photos!)
Noelle, with the bag that Rachel got her

Tanner, unwrapping his new blanket.  We LOVE blankets around here...

Thanking his mom...

I don't remember what or why THIS happened...guess we were just having a really good time!

Me, with the gift basket that Rachel and Noelle got for me.  They won this ginourmous gift basket FULL of brownie mixes, cake mixes, frostings, sprinkles, cookie cutters, etc etc that they won at the high school's Christmas Concert raffle.  They were SO excited to give it to me, cuz they know how I love the Brownies!

Rachel, with the new Michael Jackson CD

...and the quilt I made for her...

This year has been especially hard for us, financially, as it has for a lot of you as well. 
So several months before Christmas, I let the kids know that there wouldn't be a lot under the tree for them.  They are good kids, and took it in stride.

So, here is a funny little crazy story -

My husband and I went to a friend's Christmas party, one that they traditionally have every year.   And one of the traditions at this party is to have a white elephant gift exchange.  You all know how it works:  each person brings something crazy or fun or super cool or random, wrapped up as a gift.  Everyone gets a number and chooses a gift in order.  Or, the next person can "steal" a gift from someone who has already unwrapped a gift.  And the third person to snag that gift gets to keep it.  

So when a genuine Air Force backpack (complete with flight suit. jacket, sleeping pad and bag, and long johns) was unwrapped, my husband figured out a way so HE could be that third person to get that gift.  Once he got it, he presented it to our host friend (who happens to be involved with the Explorer Scouts).  He laughed and said, just keep it, we already have more than enough donated backpacks for the Scouts.

So, after discussing together whether it was tacky or not to give a white elephant gift to our son, as a real present, we decided that Isaac would think it was such a cool gift that it wouldn't matter. 

Here was our dilemma - Isaac was getting this "big" gift, when we didn't really have the funds this year to do the same for the rest of the kids.

I took the girls aside (Tanner is still young enough not to care or notice) and let them know how and when we got this gift for Isaac.  And that things might seem a big lopsided in the gift department.

They completely understood.  Or so I hoped.

They understood more than I realized....

There is something I need to explain here so that you will realize why this is such a touching moment for me.
Over the years, I manage to do EVERYthing for the Christmas holiday - bake, shop, wrap gifts, send out the cards, everything, (Christmas Tree Nazi kinda covers it all) and not including the rest of the family like I should have been. 
I realize that now.

But what warms my heart about this Christmas is how the kids all took time, thought and care about getting  gifts for EACH OTHER.  Santa's pockets were pretty empty by the time his sleigh landed on our roof, but the kids came through for each other and for their dad and I.   
They truly saw what Christmas was all about, the Giving and not the GETTING.

And you know what?  I think that they had the best Christmas ever! 
( A couple of them may have told me that, so I know it's true!)

So, along with that Christmas Miracle, re-purposed items, and misc gift cards & store credits that I discovered in my wallet that I'd forgotten about,
(and a big splurge on my husband's behalf -for me- that he had planned for months)
we weren't lacking for anything at all this Christmas!

P.S.  The only reason there isn't a photo of my husband in this post is because he took just about all of all the photos and I didn't realize it until now!  Whoops! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

There is Going to Be A New Member of our Family . . .

....and no, I am not pregnant.  Why is that what everyone always thinks of first when this type of announcement is made?

The Newest Member of our family will be Elena, the girl Chad brought home for Thanksgiving.

Were any of us surprised?

Uh, no, not at all.

She is a great girl who will bring lots of fun and joy to Chad's life.

The wedding will be next spring, sometime in April.  And they are getting married in the Mesa temple, as is the tradition for most of her siblings (she has 7).   Woo hoo!  I love that girl!  (And I love Arizona in the springtime!)

The ring.... congrats, Chad and Elena!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The START Treaty

One of the reasons that I haven't been posting much lately is because a lot of what has been on my mind has been about politics.    And since the mid-term elections, I had decided to not be so political here on my blog. 

Well, I am a fail on that decision, since this one IS about politics.  But it is also about more than that.  It is about our national security.  And no matter what your political leanings may be, I think that we all can agree on one thing:  We want America to be a strong country.  

That is why I am so concerned about the START treaty.  It is too important of a subject matter to be pushed through during this lame-duck session.   So many other bills and concerns have been the topic that it has been neglected from public notice, and now it looks like it will be ratified by the Senate today or tomorrow. 

I have mentioned before that I am glad that I live in Idaho, a state that so represents the values and concerns of my husband and I.    And and in an area that a visiting General Authority told us would be "a gathering place, and a safe haven".   

Last week, I wrote my Senator and told him of my concerns.   Here is his response:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Carey:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev in April. I appreciate hearing from you.

After the treaty was signed, President Obama sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have spent months reviewing the details of the treaty and have deep concerns with it.

It is unfortunate this treaty embraces an outdated 20th century Cold War style of arms control, while ignoring the flexibility needed for the threats America must confront now and in the future. Under this treaty, President Obama accepted limits on missile defense as well as conventional capabilities, while accepting weakened verification measures. Whereas Russia already is below the warhead and delivery vehicle limits set forth in this treaty, the U.S. is not and will need to make many difficult choices about our military in order to comply with the treaty's provisions. Despite repeated inquires, it is still unclear what concessions were made by Russia.

I am also deeply concerned by the fact that the minority was denied its requests to hear from witnesses it requested, access to documents was delayed and questions were rarely answered in a timely matter for thoughtful deliberation. A recent meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee to amend the treaty greatly improved the resolution of ratification and I was glad the committee accepted one of my amendments; however, several other key amendments were rejected. Even with my amendment, the treaty did not do enough to protect the United States and I subsequently voted against it in committee.

I really value your effort to get in touch with me to share your thoughts, as many Idahoans do. Pease do not hesitate to contact me in the future on this or other issues.

Very Truly Yours

James E. Risch
United States Senator

I really hope that something will happen in the Senate today that will stall this vote until after the new year, until Representatives who are going to be there for more than another few days can review it and negiotiate the necessary changes to it.  Since there isn't sufficient time to do that, I hope and pray that the vote will wait.  However, it looks like it could be voted on and passed today or tomorrow.  

Do you think that all any of our sitting Representatives have our best interests and the interests of our country at heart?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Hero!

See this young man?  He is amazing, in general, but the other day he did what no one else had been able to do:
He found my camera!

Stand by for a lot more posts than I have been doing lately, Complete With Photos!  Yay!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Epic Road Trip! (Via Airplane, Even Better!)

In 2003, when my oldest daughter, Kayla, was sixteen or seventeen, 
we went on a road trip to the Edmonton Mall.  
We had so much fun that I decided that I was going to do the same with my other two daughters.

Fast forward to 2010.
Finances were looking like there was no way! that Rachel and I could even think of doing a road trip together.

(Me and Rachel)

Then in early October, my mom and dad offered to fly us (courtesy of frequent flyer miles) down to Nashville TN, where they are currently serving a mission.   

Of course, we jumped at the chance! 

(me & my super mom)

(my adorable dad!)

While we were there, they treated us to some incredible adventures.
(we won't mention the not-so-great meal we had at the Cracker Barrel, a restaurant that we all had been wanting to try.   Don't need to try it again....)

Here are some photos from some of the places we went:

These are photos Rachel took of the glass sculptures at Cheekwood gardens. 
Amazing place.
Blown glass that mimics bamboo - incredible!

Went and had dinner at the famous Bluebird Cafe - super fun, with a live show. 

We went again a couple nights later for the open-mic night.  Here is Rachel and my mom and dad waiting in line....we all had a good time chatting with everyone.  People are super friendly and genuinely nice there!
Rachel was hoping to perform - we even brought her guitar with us on the plane - but luck was not on our side.  We had a great time, anyway.  Some of the performances were side-splittingly funny - some funny in a good way, and a couple of others, not so much....

This is the Carnton Plantation.  It was used as a hospital during the Civil War, after 40,000 troops on both sides fought just 1/2 mile from this plantation, and 10,000 of them lost their lives. 

Here is the place in Franklin where the battle took happened.  The homeowners hid in their basement while the bullets flew above them. 

(I have no idea why my parents are walking in different directions...?)
You can still see the bullet holes....
Another outbuilding.  These two buildings are small, and so some of the bullets when in and all the way out the other side....
We also visited the Grand Ole Opry, but didn't get to see a show.  Last May the Nashville area experienced torrential rain storms, and this area was under about 20 feet of water. The whole building had to be redone.

The ginormous guitar . . .

We also took a trip south of Nashville, to Amish country.  But of course, we have no photos ;-)

Thanks, mom and dad, for a wonderful trip!  We love you and had a great time spending time with you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Have Not Disappeared!

. . . I just don't have a camera to take photos with right now.  And how boring is a blog post  without photos!  (Like this one, right?!) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

? ? ?

What do this:

And this:

have in common?

I will tell you in my next post.

Right now, I just need to go to sleep.

(Maybe I will sleep just a little bit better tomight.  I'm sure you know why . . . )

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Won't Forget . . .

... and I hope you won't either.  Go here to see what I'm talkin' about -

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Excellent Home Remedies

A sealed envelope - Put in the freezer for a few hours, then slide a knife under the flap. The envelope can then be resealed. (hmmmmmm..) ==========
Use Empty toilet paper roll to store appliance cords It keeps them neat and you can write on the roll what appliance it belongs to. I've done this for years, and years, and years!!
For icy door steps in freezing temperatures: get warm water and put Dawn dish washing liquid in it. Pour it all over the steps. They won't refreeze. (wish I had known this for the last 40 years!)
To remove old wax from a glass candle holder, put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then take the candle holder out and turn it upside down. The wax will fall out.
Crayon marks on walls? This worked wonderfully! A damp rag, dipped in baking soda. Comes off with little effort (elbow grease that is!)..
Permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (like store receipt BLUE!) rubbing alcohol on paper towel.
Whenever I purchase a box of S.O.S Pads, I immediately take a pair of scissors and cut each pad into halves. After years of having to throw away rusted and unused and smelly pads, I finally decided that this would be much more economical. Now a box of S.O.S pads last me indefinitely! In fact, I have noticed that the scissors get 'sharpened'' this way!
Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little hydrogen peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time! (Now, where to put the body?) LOL
Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows.... This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don't wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.
Spray a bit of perfume on the (COOL) light bulb in any room to create a lovely light scent in each room when the light is turned on.
Place fabric softener sheets in dresser drawers and your clothes will smell freshly washed for weeks to come. You can also do this with towels and linen.
Candles will last a lot longer if placed in the freezer for at least 3 hours prior to burning.
To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the flowers. Shake vigorously as the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt and leave your artificial flowers looking like new! Works like a charm!
To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove top. (They say a dryer sheet works for this too)
Spray your TUPPERWARE with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and there won't be any stains.
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks. This works with cheese too, I do that one!
When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness!
Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half, and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
To get rid of itch from mosquito bites, try applying soap on the area and you will experience instant relief.
Ants, ants, ants everywhere ... Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line.. So, get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march. See for yourself.
Use air-freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.
When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, and then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.
Now look what you can do with Alka Seltzer...... Clean a toilet. Drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous China

Clean a vase. To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka Seltzer tablets.

Polish jewelry. Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.

Clean a thermos bottle. Fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).

Unclog a drain. Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar.. Wait a few minutes, and then run the hot water.

Do your friends a favor. Pass this timely (and some not-so-timely) information on to a friend! I just did. Makes you wonder about ingesting Alka Seltzer, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Since MID-TERM election season is upon us, I thought that this email that a friend sent along to me would be of interest to some, and hopefully many, of you. 

I can't think of a single reason to disagree with any of  it.   I am posting this in hopes that as many people as possible will see it -  Conservatives, Liberals, and everybody in between.    Even though we may disagree on a number of issues,  I count all of you as friends.   Post this on your own blog as well, if you'd like.

My friend wants to promote a "Congressional Reform Act of 2010."           It would contain eight provisions, all of which would probably be strongly endorsed by those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I know many of you will say "this is impossible."   Let me remind you, right now, Congress has the lowest approval rating of any entity in government.   Now is the time when Americans will join together to reform Congress - the entity that represents us.
We need to get a Senator to introduce this bill in the US Senate and a Representative to introduce a similar bill in the US House.   These people will become American heroes!


Congressional Reform Act of 2010
1. Term Limits:  12 years only, one of the possible options below.

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.   A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.   All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.The American people did not make the current contracts with Congressmen.  Congressmen made all those contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.   The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who would serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.