Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reaping What Was Sown

See these peaches? This morning they were still hanging on a tree, ripening in the sun. I've never picked peaches off the tree and then canned them. It's pretty cool. Thanks goes out to my neighbors that didn't want their fruit. There are more to do, but they're not quite ready yet. Maybe by Labor Day.

In other food news, fall must be somewhere near by as there are foods ready to harvest, eat, and store.

The season's first batch of peach pit syrup. It's made from peach pits some of my friends were canning last week. Hopefully there is a lot more to be had as I work on our peaches.

Here's some of the corn we ate for dinner. Lest I imply that all the corn cobs looked this good- the reason they got to be eaten for dinner was that they looked like real corn.

And here's most of the corn we froze. I didn't realize when I took this picture that I'd forgotten a batch that was still blanching on the stove. So, we ended up with 5 quart bags in all. It got to be cut up because these particular corn cobs were rather deformed looking and usually only partially filled with kernels. The earwigs got to quite a few of the strands of corn silk before everything could be fertilized. Darn bugs. At least I had the satisfaction of cutting down the corn stalks and creating lots of homeless bugs. Hope they move out of state.

One of our "watermelon" zucchini, but not the biggest we've had. I either forget to go out and check on it, or don't get the chance for a couple of days and then we end up with zucchini clubs.

Yep, that's all from one zucchini. It made 12 cups of puree that is now in the freezer waiting to be added to spaghetti sauce.

September is starting out crazy busy like August was, but there is something oddly satisfying about filling our shelves with jars of food. It's keeping me sane. Who'd have thought?!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I sometimes notice the strangest things. Like, have you ever noticed that the hours between 8:30 and 2:30 go by much more quickly from, oh, say mid August to the end of May? Then again, maybe it's just a phenomenon that occurs in our city or house. I always have this list of things to do and never quite seem to cross everything off. Weird.

Also, I think someone is coming in and stealing my hours from 3:00-5:30. I keep looking up at the clock and they are just gone. Another great mystery. If you happen to see my hours laying around would you call me or wrap them up and mail them back? I could really use them. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Couple of Give-Aways, if you're interested

My sister-in-law introduced me to the website $5 Dinners today. It's an interesting challenge to think about making dinner for 4 for less than $5 a day. They are running a couple of great give-aways this week in honor of their 1st "Blogiversary". This week you can still sign up to win a Sam's Club membership with $50 gas card and a $250 gift card to the grocery store of your choice. Just doing my part to get the word out (and enter to win!). Have a great day and good luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You're Invited!! (Or at least you should have been.)

It's August. At our house that means lots of things are going on. This year the list looks something like this so far: the end of youth conference, Shan's birthday, a little Nelson reunion, Greg's birthday, Steven's birthday, friends visiting for BYU Education Week, the start of school, the start of soccer, the start of school again, the start of soccer for a second time, and our anniversary. I always hope that September brings a little bit of calm, but I'm giving up on that this year. So, bring on the rest of the birthdays and holidays and I'm looking forward to a fabulous nap in January. I've included a few pictures, if I have them, so you can feel a part of our month and all the celebrations, even if I forgot to send an invitation in time.

Shan in Maple Canyon on her birthday and at the end of Youth Conference (It's a "two-fer-one" shot. Facebook has the rest of the Youth Conference pics or email and I'll send you an invitation. The other birthday pics are of me blowing out candles with wet hair. They will not be posted here or on Facebook. Not even if you send me an email.)

Most of the Nelsons in town for our little reunion.
We're on the observation deck at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake trying to not be blown off. Majorly windy day. Others joined us later in the week, but I don't have any pictures.

Happy Birthday to all the Nelsons who have a birthday in August!
(Shan, Terri, Julia, Greg, Steven, Mike, and David)

Happy Birthday, Greg!
(He's holding the wooden knives that Steven carved for him.)

Happy Birthday, Steven!
He's holding the wooden knife Greg carved for him. It was a carving week. He also wanted this picture left just the way it was because, and I quote, "We look AWESOME with red eyes."

It was also an electric week capped with the complete dismantling of an old boom box when Steven got a new one for his birthday (which was still in the box at this point!). And I quote, "This is even better than video games!" So, I guess they really are happier without real presents. It may not be boxes like when they were 1, but old radios seem to make great presents. That should save on money spent at Christmas. (hint! hint!)

I forgot to take any pictures of our the two sweet ladies who stayed with us during Education Week, but they would go right here in our time line if they existed. I would like to make it to Ed. Week at some ppint. Unfortunately, it falls on the first week of school and I kind of feel like a mom ought to be around that first week. Maybe I'm crazy, but Ed. Week will still be there even when I don't have to think about the magical First Day of School.

That brings us to the first First Day of School:

Joseph- 7th grade

Steven- 5th grade

Ryan- 3rd grade (Yes, I TRIED to tell him those shorts didn't really match and couldn't he PLEASE make a better First Day impression and change into jean shorts, but he was quite adamant that black goes with blue and this is what he wanted to wear on his first day. Oh well. Moms worry about that kind of thing too much, I guess.)

The first First Day of school was also the first soccer game for Ryan this season.
(Don't you just LOVE his shorts? He does.)

A small diversion. Greg was working on a video project for the Library this week. This is the Science section at the library on the first First Day of School for us. Notice that it is empty. They have not started school, yet, and for some reason the people at Education Week don't stop down there much. I kept trying to get my friends to go down there for a nap because it's quite and there are soft couches to lay on, but I don't think even they stopped in. Oh well, their loss!

We had two first days of school because the middle school and high school use the first First Day of School as an orientation for the incoming 7th and 9th graders respectively. So, Joseph, Steven, and Ryan went on the first First Day. Erica and Spencer went on the second First Day.

Erica- 11th grade
(Yes, she catches the bus at "Sun-rise O'clock"- at least for now. Later in the fall and winter she catches it pre-dawn.)

Spencer- 8th grade

If we had a kindergartner we would have a third First Day, but that's not until next week and thankfully it won't impact our lives. Whew! Our little friend, Lizzie, is very anxiously counting down the days, though.

The second First Day also happened to fall on our 17th anniversary. It did not even dawn on me to take any pictures. Greg took the following:

because the second First Day and our anniversary also happened to be Steven's first soccer game day. It was also soccer practice for Spencer and Joseph as well as the open house at the middle school. Greg went with Steven while I took Spencer and Joseph. So, in order to have a little celebration, Greg took the day off and we went to the temple and out to lunch at the Sky Room Restaurant at BYU. (There are many, many Ed. Week people that visit the Sky Room. Maybe that's why they're not in the library.)

Well, that's it for now. Greg, Spencer, and Joseph had a scout camp out last night (no pictures, aren't you glad!) and we had a Stake picnic tonight.

As my friend, Lisa, named her- Erica Shortcake

Our friend, Dallas.
And everyone thinks we are boring people. Just look how wild and crazy we can be.

I thought it was nice of the Stake to fix dinner for me to celebrate our second-day-after-our-anniversary. Do you celebrate that day? We usually don't either.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Of Currents and Stiffness (and current stiffness!)

I woke up today non-stiff and ache free for the first time in almost 2 weeks. I didn't even realize it until I was almost completed with an activity guaranteed to not allow that to happen twice in a row, at least this week. We had a little mini- Nelson family reunion last week here. For some reason, all the sitting and trying to sleep in the car while driving all over the state for various activities was not pleasant for my body. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with doing things like sliding on a slip and slide at Youth Conference two days before!) Tonight I got to go tubing with the Mia Maids (14-15 year old girls), Beehives (12-13 year old girls) and Teachers (14-15 year-old boys). The girls classes are combined right now, we weren't excluding the Deacons (12-13 year old boys).

The aching comes because I had naively assumed the activity would be like my most recent tubing adventures- the lazy rivers at various water parks. I was 16 the last time I actually tubed on a REAL river and it's not as lazy as the others. There were a lot more motions- like paddling and kicking- and slippery rocks in the real river than the lazy rivers I've encountered. I'm not saying it wasn't fun, I'm just saying that I'm stiffening as I speak. When, exactly, is it that all the exercise and push-ups correspond into non-stiffness during other activities? Isn't that supposed to be a benefit of regular exercise?!

Being the pre-novice that I was (am) to real river tubing, I was excited and a bit nervous. I was also suddenly very much more aware of the strength of a river current and the very noticeable lack of marked exits. The water was also F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G. I was told today it's about 52 degrees. All I know was it didn't take long for feet to be numb. I kept a little prayer running through my mind that went something like, "Please just keep me on this tube all the way to the end."

It wasn't to be. I did a pretty good job managing the "rough" (Hey, you don't get any water like this at Sunsplash, ok!) water. I was in a spot I thought was pretty mild when my tube suddenly flipped me into the water. It wasn't very deep- less than 18 inches- but the current was so fast and the rocks so slick that I couldn't get my feet under me. I was immensely grateful for the required life jacket I had on. I'm not sure I would have kept my head above water, otherwise. The whole experience was not long enough to be life threatening, but it was more than a little scary for those few seconds. I just held onto the tube and tried to get on it while scraping along the rocks for a bit.

My prayer changed. Now it was something like, "I can't stand up. This is hurting my shins. I don't want to do this anymore." Finally I remembered, "Help me." Then, I realized the rocks could do some pretty hefty damage if I stayed on them long enough. I still couldn't catch my footing and I just said, "Heavenly Father, I need to stand up now." And I did. And I eventually got back on the tube and made it to the end of the ride. And I really enjoyed it.

So, tomorrow I'll ache. And probably the day after and the day after before it fades away. But, I'll also know that when things were completely out of my hands and I had no where else to turn that the help I needed arrived when I needed it most. And hopefully that knowledge never fades away.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mohawk Walk

Trublu's question is what was the best team building activity. That's a tough question in a way. I think that, by nature, team building activities build on each other. So, it kind of makes sense that I think our best one was the last one. We'd had two days of doing things together and it all came together in the last one, called the Mohawk Walk.

The object of this one was to get everyone on your team completely along the rope without falling off. The rope itself was only about 6 inches off the ground, but was long enough to be a real challenge. You can almost see the whole thing in the picture. The beginning was along the left-hand side and the end was just past the boy in blue in the back of the picture. It took us awhile to figure out that you can't just scoot along on your own, or even just work in pairs. It took the entire team to get everyone across. We helped get team members out to each point to serve as anchors and then they helped everyone around. It took us a good 30 minutes for a team of 11.

As I said, though, this was the last in a line of several games we either spent time playing together or were specifically designed to increase our trust in each other. Our ward was even divided into two groups for most of the ropes course on the second day. And, while we did some of the same activities, we didn't do all of the same activities. I think the lessons learned and talked about carried over to the group as a whole, though.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Youth Conference

I'd thought about posting a detailed account of youth conference, but decided it was too much work. (Can you say L-A-Z-Y?!) Then, I was asked about some of the things we did, so here it is. Thanks to trublu for getting my brain in gear and my fingers moving.

Our youth conference was just for our ward, so I think things ran a bit differently than it would for a stake. Our speakers were all from our ward- the YM President (knowing who you are)., YM 1st Counselor (building positive self esteem), the Bishop (the Atonement and repentance), and myself (modesty). Myself and the YM President were the first evening. The 1st Counselor and Bishop were the second evening.

As for activities- the first day we had the Snow Follies (lots of water and team building games- crab soccer, duck, duck, goose with dripping sponges, concentration, tug-of-war, etc.) and a huge water fight. After dinner we had speakers from 6-7:30, played Ultimate Frisbee for an hour and then let the kids have free time on campus until 10:00. Usually for free time the kids went over to the Activity center and either swam or played __________ (basket ball, volley ball, raquet ball, wally ball, etc.) or gathered in one of the apartments and played Uno, Phase 10, or Risk.

The second day- we did the ropes course (some ropes in the trees, but mostly team and trust building activities) from 9-12. After lunch we cleaned fire trucks for an hour, and had free time until dinner. After dinner we had two more speakers, then went to the dance held for all the youth groups there from 8:00-11:00.

Saturday morning we drove part way home and stopped in Maple Canyon for our testimony meeting. We hiked for about 15 minutes and met in a little box canyon with a water fall. It sounded very cool when we sang "Oh How Lovely was the Morning" and everyone's voices echoed off the walls. Afterward, those who wanted to stay, went rock climbing for a couple of hours and then went home.

The kids were great about all the activities. Some were not so excited about the Ultimate Frisbee, but everyone participated pretty willingly in most everything. They were great about participating in the talks in the evenings and watching out for and having fun with each other. Other than being completely exhausted from very little sleep, I could have gone another day or two. I really couldn't have asked for a better weekend with them.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you'd like more/different details.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Never Say No

We always talk about the fact that Heavenly Father in in charge and gives us the things we need. Sometimes they are things we think are fun and sometimes things we dread. The big kicker is to really believe that whatever comes our way is for our growth and happiness- despite our initial thoughts or feelings.

It's been almost a year since I was called to be the YW President. Wow, has time flown. The last big "first" was this past weekend. Our ward held a youth conference at Snow College in Ephraim, UT. It was so much fun! We played water games, participated on a ropes course, played Ultimate Frisbee, cleaned fire trucks for the city, listened to some great talks, hiked in a cobblestone canyon, and had very little sleep. A perfect mix with some pretty amazing people.

I think back to a year ago and how nervous I was to work with a bunch of girls I didn't know. Some experiences have been painful, but most have been incredible. How grateful I am that I didn't rob myself of these great experiences memories by thinking I was smarter than my Father. He really does know what He's doing.