Wednesday, October 15, 2014

General Conference In Person

I mentioned in my last post that the girls and I attended General Conference on Saturday, October 4. I'm so glad we went! We loved being there.

Below is a view of the Salt Lake Temple peeking through the trees as seen from our walk to the Conference Center.

Here is Savannah outside the Conference Center. I think she's super cute and already looks the part of a Sister Missionary!
I'm kicking myself for not getting pictures of Sadie or the rest of our group. We went with my brother, Rob and his adorable girlfriend, Jenny. We met up with one of my missionary companions, Karen Betten (a.k.a. Larsen) and another sister from my mission, Delisa. We laughed a lot and had a great time catching up! Savannah also met up with a friend. Our plan was to get pictures outside after the session ended, but somehow those plans fizzled and died. Rats.

Here's our view from inside the Conference Center as we waited for the General Authorities to take their seats and for the meeting to start.

As I've listened to the other sessions of this Conference, I've been so impressed by the timeliness of the messages. One of my favorites, Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence, by Elder Jörg Klebingat, is below. (To read it, click here.)

Elder Klebingat's message reminded me of a meeting I attended as a missionary in Scotland. Elder Kenneth Johnson, who was a member of the Seventy at the time, spoke to us. He said that number one on his list of virtues was to be able to stand with confidence in the presence of God. At any given moment, we should be able to ask ourselves, "Right now, could I stand with confidence in the presence of God?" If the answer is no, we need to repent and make the necessary changes.  I feel that Elder Klebingat went a step further and really narrowed down what keeps us from feeling that confidence and what we can do to feel it again. Good stuff!

Friday, October 10, 2014

General Conference: Missionary Medley

I've been trying to catch up on General Conference this week. The girls and I attended the first session on Saturday morning and it was awesome! We loved being in the Conference Center and hearing our prophet and other leaders speak. There were some amazing talks that really touched me and inspired me to be better. (One of my favorites from that session is found here.)

Today I listened to some of the Priesthood Session from Saturday evening. Again, some really great words of counsel. Each talk was specifically addressing the Priesthood holders in the church, but most of it can easily be applied to all members of the church. I know it gave me much food for thought.

One of my favorite parts of the Priesthood Session was a medley of missionary songs sung by a missionary choir. I love the arrangement, and I love seeing all those missionaries!

Wasn't that awesome? I love it! I can't wait to listen to the rest of Conference. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Counting My Blessings

The girls and I had a great weekend! We traveled to Utah and loved every minute of it. (Well, except for the disappointing BYU game...but it was fun to just be there!) I'll post more about our trip later, but for now I just want to say how grateful I am that we made it home okay because we almost didn't...

On our way to the airport Sunday afternoon, we were in a car accident. We were going through an intersection on a green light and we plowed right into a truck that ran the red light.

It was terrifying! The scariest part for me was the thought I had after I realized I was going to be okay. 

My girls are in the backseat.

I turned around afraid to see what I would find. But in an instant, we were all asking each other, "Are you okay? I'm okay. Are you okay?" Then we all opened our doors (a miracle in itself that our doors could open on their own) and got out of the car. 

We're sore. We have some pretty impressive bruises. It hurts to breathe deeply, laugh, sneeze, or, heaven forbid, cough. (Ouch!!) We missed our flight. My brother's car is totaled. And somehow none of that stuff seems to matter much.

Since the accident, I've been a little nicer, less concerned with stuff, more grateful for the people in my life, and just overall aware of my many blessings. It may take a little while to work out all the aches and pains, but I'm okay. My brother is okay. My girls are okay. 

We're counting our blessings!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Before and After: The Boys' Room

I finished up the boys' room redecorating project at least 2 weeks ago, and I'm finally sitting down to show you. I love how it turned out - super simple, bright and calm. That was my goal from the start: Calm. I wanted a room they could walk into and feel at ease; one where they could relax and feel at peace at the end of the day.

Now when I show you the before pictures, don't judge. It was particularly messy on the day I took these before pictures because I knew I was going to be tearing the room apart so I hadn't been on the boys to keep it clean. Don't get me wrong, it was usually busy and dark and cramped which is why we wanted to give it a makeover, but it wasn't usually this messy. I mean, I usually require that their beds are made! :)


Spencer's corner.

Sterling and Soren's bunkbeds.

Sam's loft bed over the dresser (we'd already removed the mattress).


We got rid of all the beds, but kept the mattresses. We bought new beds with drawers. I love the look of the beds and I love that the boys have a place to put their stuff instead of on the floor. We painted the dark blue walls a soothing gray. I made them new comforters, adding a splash of color to each to personalize them a bit. We hung a mirror, clock, and pictures on the walls. The room is much simpler and yes, it is calm! I love it. The boys love it. Success!! :)

These are the two doorways that lead into the boys room and this dresser was beneath the loft bed.

One view of Spencer's corner.

Looking toward Spencer's corner from the head of Sterling's bed. One of the boxes at the end of Spencer's bed will hopefully be sorted through and gone soon.

Sterling's bed sits where the bunkbeds were originally. The magnetic strips under the windows might be used so I left them up.

Soren's bed is where the loft bed used to be. Ignore the upside down random family in the frames...
That's better. The final touch was to put the boys' pictures up.

Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet the Mormons

I'm really looking forward to this movie! Meet the Mormons hits select theaters on October 10th. While it may not come to my little corner of the world, I'll get to see it eventually and I can't wait!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Recipe: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Sorry, I have no picture. Whenever I make these, they are gone before I ever think of taking a picture. Honestly, they look just like regular Rice Krispie treats which is quite deceiving because these are oh, so much better! Not that there was anything wrong with regular Rice Krispie treats. But if you're anything like me, once you make these, you'll never go back. 

I have my sister-in-law to blame thank for introducing me to this deliciousness. With double the butter, browned and sprinkled with sea salt, these have a sort of salted caramel or toffee flavor to them. Kristin gave me the recipe and it's also available from this website.  The recipe says to use an 8" square pan, but a 9x13 works, too. They just won't be as tall. Of course, I double the recipe and spread it in a big jelly roll pan, just to make sure there's enough to go around... :) 

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats 
Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

1 stick (4-ounces) butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don't take your eyes off the pot as the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off, sprinkle salt over the butter, and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth. Be careful not to cook the marshmallows.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cereal. Quickly spread into prepared pan. Use a piece of waxed or parchment paper sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners. A silicon spatula works almost as well. Let cool and cut into squares.

(*Missy's note: My marshmallows come in a 10.5-ounce bag so I just use the whole thing! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mayonnaise Can Be Tricky

Sadie has a pretest every Monday on the spelling words for that week, sight unseen. Here is our conversation after school yesterday as Sadie wondered about one of the words on her list.

Sadie: Mom, how do you spell mayonnaise?

Me: M-A-Y-O-N-N-A-I-S-E

Sadie: Oh yeah, I definitely spelled that wrong!

Me: How did you spell it?

Sadie: M-A-N-A-Y-S

Mom: Good try, darlin'!

(Mayonnaise can be tricky!)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Goes Around Comes Around

Somewhere around 9 years ago, I decided I'd had enough of this little corner of the world. I was obviously in a funk and I couldn't seem to snap out of it. All I could see were the things that bothered me about living here and I wanted to move. This went on for quite a while as little and big things continued to fuel my dissatisfaction. 

One day, as I was driving on a back road to do some shopping in the next town, I remember feeling really overwhelmed and down when I saw something on the road. I slowed down enough to see that it was a turtle. A turtle was crossing the road. This may seem unremarkable to everyone but me, but that little turtle was my turning point. Seeing that turtle made me realize how much I love living here. Suddenly, I loved that quiet little country back road I was driving on with no traffic and no stop signs or traffic lights for 10 miles. I realized how much I love this small town we call home and all the little quirky things that go along with living here. I just couldn't fathom where else I could possibly live where I'd see a turtle crossing the road and that, for whatever reason, made me so happy! I guess you could say I was saved by a turtle. 

Fast forward to this morning.

The kids and I were in the van on our way to church. We left a few minutes early so Savannah would have plenty of time to play prelude music before church services started. (Savannah is the organist at church.) We were on the same quiet back road heading for the next town. So what did we see on the road? 

Yes, it was a turtle! A turtle was crossing the road! We drove on for a few seconds until I started to worry. The turtle hadn't gotten very far and wasn't moving very fast. It was, after all, a turtle. There isn't a ton of traffic on this particular road, but there is enough and I wanted Mr. Turtle to make it safely to the other side. So we turned around. Sterling got out and picked up Mr. Turtle (or maybe Mrs. Turtle...) and moved him safely to the grass on the other side of the road.

It was the least we could do.

Friday, September 19, 2014


I bought school pictures for everyone but Savannah this year. In fact, she asked me not to buy hers. She'll be getting senior pictures taken so her school picture won't show up in the yearbook. The only thing it will be on is her student ID and she never uses that so why not shake things up a little?

Wow. That is, um...well...I'm speechless. Thanks, Savannah, for the warning. We'll just keep last year's picture on the wall for now, if it's all the same to you! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The MTC, by Soren

In honor of Sam's two month mark as a missionary, I'm sharing this sweet paper Soren wrote about dropping him off at the Missionary Training Center. Soren was given a school assignment to share a summer experience. His teacher marked him down a bit because she felt he could have tied things together with a little more information. I can see how someone who wasn't there might be kind of confused, but I was there and I think he got it just right! I'm pretty sure it will make you smile. And maybe it will leave you feeling just a little bit melancholy, too. {We've been missing Sam a lot lately!!}

The MTC, by Soren Stowell
   We drove up, Sam got out, a guy said, "Thanks for your child!" And we left. Yep. Go in, no hugs, go out. End of story. Good bye for 2 years. Headed to Mesa, Arizona.
   Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly how it happened. We gave hugs before we left from Denny's. Once we got to the MTC, Sam got out, with all the kids staring out windows crying, sat down, buckled up, and left.
   Sometimes we get an extra spoon because we forget he's gone. It's not the same not having an older brother to go nuts around. With Sam gone, it isn't the same.
   Sam's doing great on his mission. We e-mail him every Monday. We hear great things from him. We all feel better when we know he's OK.

{In case you're wondering, the "extra spoon" story happened right after we dropped Sam off. We headed to BYU campus and got ice cream at the Creamery. I grabbed eight spoons before realizing that there were only seven of us... It made me cry.}

Great job, Soren. :) And you're right. We really do feel better when we know Sam's OK.