Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Deep Thoughts ... by Starbuck

You know that week between Christmas and New Year's? I submit to you that most businesses that are not retail and food should just close their doors... but then that really is not fair to the retail and food industries. I am just saying I would like a legitimate week off but still like to be able to go out to eat and shop if I want to! I have it... the retail and food industries should close the week between Arbor Day and what ever comes a week after Arbor Day... The rest of us just know we cannot buy food or anything really that week. It would take some planning, but then I think it would be fair. Oh wait, now we need to plan a week when all emergency personnel can take off and no one gets sick, injured, and there is no crime.

Come to think of it, I guess it is alright I have to work this week.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Understanding the Stock Market

Sadly I do not have a firm understanding of the stock market. In fact, I less than fully understand the stock market. Which is why I have asked our Relief Society to have a week day meeting class on this topic. The class is January 12, 2010 at 7:00 at my ward house if you are female (sorry men), local and interested in coming. My ward address is 7825 S Olympus Street in Midvale (Olympus Street is about 200 West) Or click the address for a link to a Mapquest map. This class is going to be an hour long, and should prove as a good introduction to the stock market. It will be taught by my good friend Ben Watson (Papa Who from Seussical this summer) who teaches about the stock market as part of his job. I am rather excited for it and would gladly invite anyone women who are interested in learning more about this subject. Please let me know if you have an interest in coming and I can give you more details!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and your family from mine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Julie

Hey Jules, you are such a good friend for recommending The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to me. I loved it.

I found the book lovely and interesting. However, that being said... how dare you introduce me to such a book? I loved it loved it loved it and it is all your fault. Why is this bad, you might ask? I loved it so much that I was sad to see it end. I loved it so much that now I wonder what I am going to do; I do not have a book to read. I was thinking, I could read some other book that I have in my library... well guess what? I do not think I have a book that can top this one. This book made me want to join a book club just to talk about this book about a book club! I never thought I would find the German Occupation a treat.

Here is what I loved about this book: I found the characters charming and the story engaging. Juliet was funny, Sidney was charming, Dawsey was my little knight in shining armor, Isola and Kit I wanted as part of my family, and dear dear Elizabeth… where do I start on Elizabeth? I was in the dentist chair reading this book when I found out about Elizabeth and actually dropped the book. I was so in love with this book I actually mourn it being done… and now I blame you because it is done and I do not feel you fully prepared me for just how great it actually was... just kidding Jules. Thank you so much for the recommendation of this book. I want to read it again, right now. It was a great way to spend a Christmas Eve afternoon!

So to be fair to those I might have given this book to for Christmas, I warn you just how wonderful this book is. You might laugh, you might cry, you might not want it to be done. You might hate it, I doubt you will, but you might. I might be overselling how much I loved this book, but I doubt it. Out of 5 stars, I give this one a 10! I loved this book!!

Heart Y-TOM Jules, Heart Y-TOM!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Favorite Things...

I have to admit I love to work the week leading up to and the week after Christmas. It is pretty slow in my office and I get completely caught up on work. These two weeks are one of the few times I am not totally stressed and somewhat overwhelmed at work. Take today for example, I am sitting at work with all of my boxes empty of work... reading a book and getting paid to do so. Sometimes I color, other times I watch episodes of my favorite TV shows online... you get the picture. Do I feel guilty doing so? Actually a little, but not really. My boss just walked in saw me reading a book and asked "You caught up?" I said yes, and he then asked "Good book?" Yup. He walked out laughing. Next week he does not even show up to work because there is nothing for him to do. This is one of my favorite things.

When I get home nightly lately my house smells of yummy scents because my brother is over trying out new recipes, etc. Barry has a dream of opening a bakery/deli and is trying to see if it is a reality. This is one of my new favorite things. He is pretty amazing!

Do you ever have one gift that you are so excited to give someone at Christmas that you are afraid you are too excited about and they are going to hate? I have 2 of those gifts this year. Mom and Besty... just heads up... love it or you might crush me! This is one of my favorite feelings!

Santa leaves fruit in our stockings every year along with a tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, and from time to time chocolate. This is one of my favorite things!

I dislike shopping so much as a rule that during the holiday season I dislike it even more. But free shipping from Amazon? It is worth paying $70 or so to be a member of Amazon Prime so I can do all of my Christmas shopping online... this is one of my favorite things.

Each year our family tradition is to have breakfast foods for Christmas Eve dinner. Years ago Mom and Dad made waffles on their first Christmas Eve for dinner because they bought a nice new waffle iron for their gift that year. Each year since we have done this tradition adding to it a little here and there. We now do the big thick waffles, eggs, bacon, facon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, juice, and milk. Little known fact by You, the Reader, might be that I am allergic to pork (which is why we add facon... turkey bacon or fake bacon as some of my family calls it) so I cannot help cook or clean up as I break out in rashes around pork products. This is one of my favorite things... getting out of helping legitimately... I would help make and clean up a pork free dinner if we ever were to have it. (hint)

The first snow of the season I step out of my house with no shoes on and leave my foot print in the snow. I do not know why I do this, I just do. It is one of my favorite things.

Those are just a few of my favorite things around the holidays. What are yours?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hanukkah Day 8

So as a Mormon why do I celebrate Hanukkah? I love this holiday because of the time I spent in Chicago. I was a nanny for a family where the father was raised Christian and the mother Jewish, not uncommon there. They celebrated both the Jewish and Christian holidays. As a Christian I had not a lot of knowledge of the Jewish Holy Days, and was very happy when the Richter's would invite me to celebrate with them. I lived with them for 4 years and learned something new each holiday. Hanukkah was my favorite because I love celebrating light and all it symbolizes. The kids did not get a present every night of Hanukkah, in fact most of the presents were given at Christmas. But the lessons that are taught during Hanukkah were amazing.
When I moved home to Salt Lake I decided that I was going to keep up the tradition of celebrating Hanukkah with my family and friends. I bought a pretty cheap menorah the first year, and two years later I invested in a nice one. Then my brother married a woman whose heritage is Jewish as well. It was nice to be able to incorporate some of her culture into our lives as well. Every year when I call the local synagogue to get candles the Rabbi asks me if I am Jewish and every year I tell him no but we celenrate it anyway. He usually pauses and then asks "May I ask why you celebrate Hanukkah when you are not Jewish?" It is like my own little Hanukkah tradition
In the last 8 days I have only scratched the surface of what Hanukkah is. And it means something different to everyone I know that celebrates it.
Happy Hanukkah everyone. May we all find light in our lives to celebrate.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hanukkah Day 7

Let's talk the difference in Hanukkah and Chanukah. Have you seen it spelled both ways? Me too. Which is right? Does it matter? All good questions. Traditionally Chanukah is right. However, both are widely accepted and not one is more appropriate than the other in modern society. Chanukah is more used in England and other parts of Europe. In North America Hanukkah is used more often.

A New Hanukkah Recipe?!

I was looking for new Hanukkah recipes, and some old favorites too, and I came across this one for Cheese Latke and Homemade Applesauce. Once upon a time I want to go to there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hanukkah Day 6

What would Hanukkah be today without Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hanukkah Day 5

Games, oh bring on the games!! Jewish children will traditionally play Dreidel and recieve Hanukkah gelt. The link above it kind of fun, because it takes you through how to play dreidel if you keep clikcing Next.
I used to call chocolate gelt "pirate chocolate coins" because I did not know what they were. Children will often receive real gelt (or coin money) in addition to the chocolate kind.
Come on now, sing with me!!
I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin.
When it gets all tired, it drops and then I win!
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, with leg so short and thin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it drops and then I win!

My dreidel's always playful. It loves to dance and spin.
A happy game of dreidel, come play now let's begin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it loves to dance and spin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel. Come play now let's begin.

I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and ready, dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play

Monday, December 14, 2009


We had some fun at the boutique that was at my house this past weekend. My super talented sister in law Kate took some photos of my niece Sissy and I in fairy princess outfits that my other super talented friend Stephanie Maag had put together for us. Frankly I am converted insomuch that I have put an order for my girly purse from my super crafty talented sister Colleen Molen... you heard me... purse.

And if I do say so myself, I am rocking this pink!
Sissy loves kisses... usually... she did just turn 2 so that might all change. She gives the best cheek kisses!
Hello my name is Stephanie, and I am a fairy princess!

Hanukkah Day 4

During Hanukkah it is tradition to eat fried foods, usually in olive oil, in honor on the miracle of the oil. Potato latke and jelly donuts seem to be really big!! I also am a huge fan of beef brisket, which was introduced to me in Chicago by the Richters. Laurie's mom, Grandma Sylvia made the best brisket and potato dish.
I always find it fun to Google the phrase Hanukkah Foods and see if there are new recipes. My favorite, though, are latkes. There is something about dipping them in applesauce or sour cream.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hanukkah Day 3

During Hanukkah Jews will say a blessing when they light the menorah. The candles of the menorah are not for the purpose of illumination, which is another reason for the shamash, it will give light where the other candles are to show devotion and celebration only.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hanukkah Day 2

The menorah (as picutred above) is lit every night starting on day 1. Every night a new candle is added to symbolize another night where the Maccabees experienced the oil miracle. The middle candle is always lit first, this is called the shamash. The shamash is then used to light the other candles. The candles are lit left to right and are lit at sundown. The menorah has 8 branches, and a shamash branch. The shamash is also known as the helper candle.

Happy Birthday Sissy!

I can hardly believe that my sweet niece Sissy is 2 already. What a joy this little one has been in our lives. Happy birthday my little diva!!
One thing I love about this little one is that she already knows all of the words to Mamma Mia and Seussical! I already have visions of me being thanked in her Tony Award speach!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hanukkah Day 1

I love Hanukkah, so here is a lesson of this beautiful holiday... that will last the next 8 days.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. It when the Maccabees regained control of the temple from the Syranians and were able to rededicate it. This happened in 165 BCE when Judah Maccabee and his brothers took back control of the temple. In order to rededicate it, they needed to clean it and holy oil needed to burn nightly. They had enough oil for one night but the miracle is that the candle burned for 8.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to Many!

Today is my mom's birthday, so a very Happy Birthday Mom! It is an honor to be your daughter, you make me laugh often and even sometimes let me cry in your shoulder. (I say sometimes because I do not cry often...) You are an amazing example of strength and courage, love and charity, joy and determination. One day when I grow up I hope to be just like you... well maybe almost just like you but without the cancer! I do not think I am as strong as you are; don't know if I could handle it with the same grace as you have. You amaze me daily. Some of my favorite photos from the past few years are below. You deserve a wonderful day!

Happy Birthday!
Above photo by Ruth Densley
Above photo by Kate Johnson
Above photo by Kate Johnson

This is a photo from the cruise we took a few years ago to Hawaii, good times. Remember how all the boys got a sunburn? I think this was the last photo taken of all of us before my siblings went off and got married.

I also have two dear friends that share a birthday with Mom, so I need to wish them a Happy Birthday too!
Happy Birthday Christy! I can't believe I acutally found a photo of us together. Christy and I met in Chicago when I lived there years ago. She is also a great example to me. She once called me the crazy glue that held our Relief Society Presidency together. I think it was a compliment! Favorite memory: getting Olive Garden Ghirardeli Cheesecake!
Happy Birthday Carrie. I do not know who took this photo, but it is one of my favs of you and Jen... you know just hanging out with the band! Carrie and I are visiting teaching companions and she just happens to be my neighbor too. She is my favorite walking buddy, I miss our walks lately, my fault! Carrie knows more about popular music than anyone I know. She has introduced me to some of my new favorite bands or artists: Mika, My Chemical Romance, Adele. Carrie is a dear friend and I am honored that we get to serve others together.
It also is my Grandpa Parker's birthday and I shouted a Happy Birthday as I passed the cemetary this morning.
Did I miss anyone?! If so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas

Let's get it right out in the open: I LOVE CHRISTMAS! My family does not always think I do because I do not like to decorate a tree and Santa decorations are not my thing. But I love the lights, the feel, the smells, the cheer, the music, the smells, the joy, the snow (sometimes), and did I mention the smells?

Mom and Brother have been cooking and baking all week to get ready for the boutique at our house this weekend, you should come! I walk in the door every night and get a big hug from Sissy and get to smell something new. Last night was chocolate chip cookies, the night before was caramels and almond/macadamia nut roca. I understand soon there will be what my family calls Nuts & Bolts (chex mix basically.) I love it! It smells like Christmas at my house all the time now. We put up the Christmas tree last night for Mom. She loves the tree and could not have one last year because of her bone marrow transplant (less is more right after transplant!) Also coming this week are caramel apples and fudge. Bring it on, I say!

To add to the smells last Saturday I spent the day with Besty and Mama B making mint patty chocolates for her to sell at the boutique too! I know how to make mints! And they taste so good!

Then can we talk about Hanukkah? My family celebrates Hanukkah every year, so bring on the menorah and fried foods! I love to sit and watch the candles of the menorah burn down every night. Eight nights of celebrating light. What a wonderful Holy Day. I admit though, usually the menorah is not far from one of my many nativity sets (I get a new nativity set each year) but I think celebrating Jewish and Christian heritage at the same time is pretty cool! (My other favorite Jewish holiday is Passover; I sometimes miss living with my Jewish Chicago family.)

So yes, Christmas season is here. People seems nicer, Christmas music is everywhere, lights are shining brightly, and the smells are homey! What makes this Christmas even better is that it is our year for all of my siblings and their children to be with us! I love spending Christmas Eve with our family and the Aunts eating waffles, taking my yearly small bite of bacon, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, and opening one present. I am also excited to have nieces and a nephew who are getting older so they can be excited for it all. Sissy and LoMo will be very much into it, maybe not so much LB or Mac, but next year they will be... oh wait, next year is an off year... never mind.

An early Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all. Get your shopping done early and enjoy the spirit of the season! (inhales!!)