Feb 2, 2016

Liam's 1st Cake Smash

This little happy-boy is 1-year old! I can hardly believe it that this year has passed so quickly. So grateful for this wonderful, happy little soul.

Back in September, when Fiona had her 2nd birthday, Camille & Kevin's oven was on the fritz so I offered to make her cake. So I asked, ever so nicely, even though their oven is fixed, if I could make Liam's cake too.

I used little 3" cake pans to make this tiny layer cake for the birthday boy. Camille and I had talked extensively about color options (has to be chocolate frosting to show up well in the photos) so when I found this Fun-Fetti chocolate frosting I knew it would be the pip!!

I wanted that big-#1 candle to show up so how do I deep the frosting off the center of the cake? Erm... I looked around the kitchen and found that the lid to my big BeauMonte seasoning jar would just do the trick. I put it in the middle, put on the sprinkles, then removed the lid. Voile!

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Daddy lit the candle, with help from Miss Bitty, and we sang that cake right into the front room to the birthday boy!

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He was anxious to get at his cake.

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His first taste was very tentative and timid.

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But it didn't take long for him to get right into it. "This tastes pretty good!"

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He made good use of the disposable drop-cloth Mama had the foresight to provide by doing some interpretive finger painting...

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But not for long... this was way too yummy!

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He got two fists-full of cake but would only eat off his right hand.

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He even ended up with on his darling little toesies!

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By the time Grammie took him away for his wash-off bath (with much protestations) this was all that was left of Grammie's masterpiece. And I couldn't be more pleased!

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Lots of family came to witness this happy right of passage including Miss Emmy June (caught mid circus trick)

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And Aunt Jessie, who loves all things baby! (I love this wonderful woman!)

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I think Kevin summed it up best in this Facebook post-
My amazing son Liam turns one today and I'm feeling so incredibly honoured to be his dad! He makes me smile daily and I can't remember a world without him it because he makes life so much better!! Love you son!!

Jan 27, 2016

Ack! Gak!

I'm probably the biggest kid you know! I love to make things! I love big machines! I want to know how things work!! So perhaps that is part of why I enjoy my grandkids so much... I get to be a kid with them.

On Monday, Grammie-day, Fiona and I tried our hand at making Gak. I'd read about it on Pinterest and it sounded pretty straight-forward and easy. The ingredients were easy to get at my neighborhood Ream's on my way to pick up the kiddies.

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But the reality of our first experiment...  should be classed as a Pinterest-Fail. The recipe I found made it sound like all you had to do was add all the stuff together and you got great gobs of gooey gak. Not so! We got something much firmer and more flubber-like! The only way I could get it to slime and stretch was by heating it in the microwave. But, not to worry, Miss Bitty and I (plus Auntie Ann who had stopped by for a quick visit) managed to have some fun with it anyway. We could roll it out and cut it. But it would break apart and wouldn't squish back together again.

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So today, after some more research online about WHY borax and white glue make gak/slime, I determined that I would give it another try. I'd also pinned a recipe for bouncy balls made in a similar way.

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Erm... it was fun for about NO MINUTES! It congealed too quickly to be a cohesive ball when I rolled it in my hands. AND when I tried my microwave trick it really killed it! All I got for my efforts was a photo-bombing dog and pink hands. Bah!

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Now here is the funny part... all of this was inspired because my niece posted on Facebook that she's made play-doh. So when I had my second fail I pulled out a box of Jell-O because I just knew that's what she'd said her recipe was. Fortunately, after some sleuthing, I found that her recipe was made with Kool-Aid (well, it's kind of the same!) But I didn't have Kool-Aid on hand so I needed to make a trip to the store.

While I was browsing the glue aisle at Walmart I saw the Elmer's clear glue... HA! I'd give that gak one last (well, maybe not... maybe I'll keep doing it!) try using the knowledge I'd gathered in my research. I found some odd dude who talked about adding the borax solution A LITTLE AT A TIME until you reach the level of sliminess you want.

I'm still not totally happy with the results. I think I got impatient and added a little too much borax solution so this is a bit firmer than I'd like. But, BUT I did play with a ball of it for, erm, a long time!

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So here are some pointers for anyone who'd like to learn from my experiments.

  • Use Steve Spangler's instructions but use clear glue if you want a transparent Gak. Although you can get a bottle of white glue for 44 cents at Walmart if you don't mind opaque!
  • Unless you want a whole boat load of slime/gak only make half a recipe. A 4 oz bottle of clear Elmer's made over a cup of Gak.
  • Add the borax solution s-l-o-w-l-y, a little at a time- don't use more than half to begin with.
  • Manipulate the slime with your hands for several minutes before deciding if you want your slime to turn into flubber! I added a little more and it got too stiff REAL FAST. T t still breaks instead of stretching if I try to stretch it too fast, but it will squish back together right away.
  • Next time I will also use less food coloring. Yikes... at least I stayed in the same color family with the pink and purple.

Jan 12, 2016

Makin' Bread

First off, I just want to say how grateful I am that Camille and Kevin let me have these Grammie-days! Usually I have Miss Bitty and Chunka-Monka every other Monday... We both look forward to these days.

Keeping my Mama, the original Grammy, in mind I try to think of the wonderful things we used to do when I was a little! My Mama was 39 when I was born; I was her 3rd family: after raising first, her brothers and then my sisters 8-10 when I was born. I truly was her little shadow and if we were going to cook something? Well, she couldn't possible do it without me!

After Chunka-Monka, the King-of-Snuggles, was down for his afternoon nap Miss Bitty and I had a job to do! Grammie's been NEEDING some cinnamon swirl bread!

I remembered that recently I'd discovered that my 3-step step-stool made a perfect perch for Bitty-helpers (It also doubles as a highchair!) so I brought it up from the furnace room.

After Miss Bitty was safely on her perch with her apron on, tied in front (Grammie, too), I got out the Bosch and recipe box. I found the recipe and handed it to her while absentmindedly saying, "First we need to read the recipe!" What a smart little girl!

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Of course she had to accompany me on a trip to the dungeon to get the canned milk and pour it into the measuring cup to heat up. When it came time for the flour measuring we had a couple of spills, which is to be expected. Then she would pick up a little flour off the counter and then dust her hands onto the floor and just chortle! What a magical sound!

And every successful baker HAS to have a rolling pin! When Spencer's family was here at Christmas I devised these 1" PVC pipe rolling pins for all of the squishy play (read- Play-Doh).

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After we'd mixed the cinnamon, sugar and butter for the swirly part I asked Miss Bitty if she'd like to taste it. Ahhh, a taste-explosion in her little-girl mouth! AND another implement for dough manipulation!

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Then she needed to spread on the yumminess! Notice that this is not the first trip from bowl to dough!

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I asked her if she wanted to eat her dough. She quickly assented and popped the whole gaggy-blob in her mouth. Needless to say, it didn't stay there very long before she realized it was not going to go down. We took it out (read- Grammie caught it!) and cut it into smaller pieces just right for tasting.

Have you ever seen such a darling little taster??

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When it was time for her and brother to return home we took one of our unbaked-loaves (on the heated seat!) to bake at her very-own house.

I'm so grateful that I have such a wonderful role-model as my dear Mama! I absolutely love this life of mine!

Jan 3, 2016

A Very Blessed Christmas

My Christmas was wonderfully happy and chocked full of family... which is what made it so happy. In a week's time I got to see most of my children and their families: it just doesn't get any better than that.

Bekah, Curtis, Caden and Brock came to Utah for Curt's grandma's funeral and we got to visit with them on the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas. It was heaven! First thing I had to get a pix with my *little* boys! I guess I'm just their little Grammie!

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We had such a lovely time.

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Bekah said it best in her weekly letter to Tadhg-
We were able to visit with Camille and Stuart and all their little ones at Grammie's house for dinner on Monday and Tuesday! That was the best part, being able to visit and get my baby fix. I was able to hold and rock baby Emmy for a long time and got some baby squeezes in on chunky Liam! Stu put Emmy and Fiona through the paces of his kiddy circus act.
Boxing day, or as it is known at my house- Dia del Boxeo, was a wonderful success. Spencer, Deborah, Riley and Annabelle arrived early that morning for a week-long stay.

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My family is always so good helping me remember that I want to get a family photo before people start leaving. I almost like this one better than the first!

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Annabelle came prepared to play in the snow. Her daddy chose just the right Christmas gift accessories for this beautiful little girl.

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Riley and Chief spent a lot of time romping in the snow too.

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The sibs got together frequently for fun activities. This day Deb, Spencer and Stuart had a trek up Hobble Creek canyon.

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The next day the three couples went to the Payson Temple together while I had Grammie duties! When I saw these three precious faces sitting at my counter it took me instantly back to when their parents were lined up just so.

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The next day they all went to the Zoo without Grammie... too cold for Grammie!

Teeny-belle, as her Daddy calls her, got to know her Grammie again. It usually takes a few days for her to warm up to her long-distance Grammie.

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Fortunately, Riley knows his Grammie loves him and has no worries about crawling into bed with me in the middle of the night after a bad dream. Sweet Harley did his doggy-therapy-duties several nights for Riley snuggled up with him in bed for the whole night. Harley's good that way... he always know who needs his love. (Although Harley would never let me catch him in a photo op!)

This wonderful Christmas season started with taquitos for the Flynns and then again on Boxing day and ended with our traditional waffles with strawberries and whipped cream at midnight on New Year's Eve (even though we started early as soon as the waffles started coming off the irons at 11:45!)

It is the best Christmas I've had in decades! And I am very, very grateful for that rich and wonderful blessing!

Dec 16, 2015

Provo Temple- The End of My Era

So many feelings swirling in my head this day... I don't even know where to start this post. Perhaps at the end. Today was the last shift I served as an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple. I've served for 10 years 7 months.

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I was set apart on Amanda's birthday, May 19, 2005. I didn't realize then that I was embarking on a wonderful, healing journey.

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I don't think I realized how much grieving I had just stuffed in a hole because life had to go on. I know that most of that healing is due to my service in the Temple. I've come to an understanding and peace on so many things that needed to be dealt with, but life was always too busy, until now! I've recorded many beautiful, sacred experiences in my journal that all happened in the Temple. Oh, I am so eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for this great blessing.

As I've pondered on this post I remembered the first time I attended the Provo Temple.

It was the summer of 1975, my Mom and sisters, all avid genealogists, were going to attend a genealogy workshop in Provo Utah. I was so desperate to be with everyone else that I offered to come and be the resident day-care provider for all of the little cousins since I was not a genealogist! Mom flew me, Bekah and Tony from Priest River, Idaho (actually Spokane, WA to Salt Lake City via Denver with these two littles! Bekah, 22 months and Tony, 3) I came a few days early and stayed with Ann and Wayne in Elsinore.

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27 JULY 1975

We all met up in Provo and stayed in Helaman Halls. I was the Auntie day-care for 8 little Caraway cousins! It was lovely (if you don't count that we all got salmonella!!) but, truly, it was wonderful to be together as the Caraway girls again.

On one of the afternoons I was able to go to the  Provo Temple. I've always hungered to serve in the Temple.  My sweet Mama, always the photographer, recorded that event for me. She stood up on the balcony to get a picture of me as I left to walked up to the Temple.

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And an wave for the camera.

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So, after all of the photos I've posted of the Provo Temple over the last 10+ years, this is the last day I am officially an ordinance worker.

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But you know what? I will be going back frequently even after I begin as an ordinance worker at the new Provo City Center Temple in March.

Nov 17, 2015

Tomato-y Goodness

My Daddy told stories with the best of Texans! He was born in 1897! No, that is not a typo... he was 55 when I was born.

When Baby-Jake was just toddling about some kind neighbor brought by a bushel basket of tomatoes and left them on the porch. Back then, in the rural pan-handle of Texas, folks believed raw tomatoes would poison you. (I never could work that one out!) Baby-Jake was a sickly little guy but he managed to get over to that bushel basket of ripe tomatoes and ATE THEM (dun! dun! dun!) Almost immediately he stopped being so sickly. He always credited his improvement in health to those tomatoes.

CIRCA 1898

Thankfully, we know that tomatoes, particularly garden grown, are marvelous! And my little grandchildren totally agree with their great-Grampy!

Lasterday was our early Thanksgiving (I'd rather have ALL of our [local] children on any day than only part of them or stressed-out kids on THE day!) After dinner Fiona came up from the dungeon with a tomato and it reminded me that I have several boxes of ripening tomatoes ferreted away weeks ago when I put the garden to bed for the winter.

I had Kaia and Elise bring them up to the dining room table in hopes that I might be able to *pedal* some of them to the family. (It always amazes me at how hard it is to give away garden produce this time of year. We are all *so done with that* and just want them gone!)

Camille and I were sitting at the table visiting. I was holding my sleeping baby-boy, but when he woke up he wanted his Mama!! She was trying to send an email to a co-worker and not paying attention to Mr Chunka-Monka- who I was watching as he and his big sister, Miss Bitty, were sampling Grammie's tomatoes (THEY are not *so done with that*!)

That's one of the wonderful things about being the Grammie... most things amuse me rather than aggravate me! Chunka, with only his two little teeth, was making a good job of demolishing eating tomatoes!  (Those CHEEKS! I DIE!)

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When Camille noticed she wanted me to get photos of his tomato-y goodness... all down the front of him...

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And all down the front of Mama! (She texted me later and told me he needed a bath because he smelled like tomatoes! Imagine that?)

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He thoroughly enjoyed his Thanksgiving feast of first yams and then tomatoes for dessert! (Grammie had some of Suzi's wonderful salad for dessert!)

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As Camille and I talked about how precious he was with his tomato-eating we remembered that last year, almost to the day, Miss Bitty did the same thing at Grammie's house.

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She has her tomato in one hand and her [banned and illegal] Kinder toy in the other. (Stuart and Stephanie smuggled brought it back to me last fall when they returned from Europe.)

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I can hardly believe that the little girl who speaks paragraphs to us today was this tiny girl just one year ago.

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I was quite certain I'd blogged about this day, when Miss Bitty was alternately gnawing on the tomato AND the fingernail file! But I could find no trace of it. I even had to dig... dig DEEP, to find these photos. That's what I get for taking photos with my iPad instead of my iPhone. Fortunately I hadn't deleted them!

Nov 15, 2015

Lord, Be Thou My Helper

Today as I was pondering on the scriptures Psalms 30:10-11 jumped off the page at me and I knew that it would need to be this week's #ponderizing scripture!

My mind has been on the trials of this world that we all must face and how taxing that can be. My prayers go out to them in their grief and struggling.

Fortunately, my trials are very small; for which I am very grateful.

This year I have spent much time in prayer pleading for relief from the years of grief. And as always happens, Heavenly Father was just waiting for me to ASK to have this burden lifted and has been quick to grant my plea.

As I pondered this completed graphic formed in my mind. I may not be able to do much... but I stand as witness that our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ never leave us to *go it alone*!! They will reach out to comfort, strengthen, uplift and guide us.

They want us to be successful in our journey back to them!!

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I share here, as well, last week's ponderizing scripture.

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Oct 25, 2015

October Pondering

The first Sunday in October I introduced my first of many ponderizing scriptures. Even before we learned this new word I've been someone who loves to ponder, and memorize, scriptures. They feed my soul, lift my spirits and strengthen my faith. And in recent years, since I started making graphics, I've created other photo/scripture combos.

So, without further ado, I will share the remainder of this month's images.

This has always been one of my favorite scriptures. I love that Christ is the center of the plan of salvation and the prophets have taught of Him since the beginning.


This is a new scripture to me. Sister Ashton shared this hidden gem in our Temple prayer meeting. I immediately saw this photo and scripture coming together just as you see it here. Oh, how I love the word of God!


This is another of my favorite scriptures. I'm so grateful that the Lord's has made my weakness strong in Him: because of my dyslexia I've learned to memorize... usually memorized words and numbers will stay straight. But even more I am so grateful that HIS grace makes the difference. HIS grace lifts and strengthens me even, and maybe most especially, when I am weak HE will lift me in a very real and tangible way.

 21 OCTOBER 2015

** This is the first scripture image I created from June 2010