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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Egg Coloring with the Stronks

We were thrilled that Cheryl & Parker decided to join us this weekend for Easter...and to celebrate Cheryl's & my birthday. To celebrate, we ate dinner at Black Angus, which is my favorite restaurant in town. At the end of the meal, both Cheryl and I got a free very huge chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream. It was delicious.

After dinner, we went to our house and decorated Easter eggs. I saw a new method on Facebook I wanted to try. You put shaving cream in a pan, smooth it out, then add drops of food coloring and run a toothpick through it to make a pretty design. You then roll the egg in the mixture...

then put them in an egg carton for 20 minutes to allow them to dry.

Unfortunately, I forgot that we were supposed to wear gloves. Oops! Our fingers were died green, red, yellow, and blue. It was messy, but a lot of fun. 

After 20 minutes, you take the egg and wipe the shaving cream off with paper towels. 

This was our final result. It worked pretty well, but I think I should have put in more dye, combined more colors, and put less shaving cream in the pan. Oh well, next time we do this, we can make those adjustments. 

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Shower Cleaner

The shower is arguably the hardest place in the house to keep clean. Mold is a universal problem in showers, and ours is no exception.  Unfortunately, we have tile that has many nooks and crannies for the mold to thrive so it is extremely hard to maintain. The holes are supposed to be filled with grout, but the grout eventually eroded away, making it almost impossible to keep the area mold free.

Since I have such a bad back, Alan has become my shower cleaner. He is such a good man! He goes the extra mile in cleaning it, and our shower is huge!  First, he scrubs it with "Soft Scrub with Clorox" until it looks sparkling clean, but he's not done!

 He then coats the whole shower with a baking soda mixture and scrubs it with a scrubbing brush. He lets it sit and work it's magic for about an hour. He's still not done! 

After rinsing off the baking soda mixture, he then sprays it with hydrogen peroxide and lets that sit for a while before rinsing it off. He's still not done!

Using a nut pick, he scrapes each hole individually to remove any mold that has miraculously survived all of the previous steps.  He's still not done!

He re-grouts the tiles to fill in the holes.
He's still not done!

After re-grouting, he has to scrub away all of the excess grout. This is grueling and requires a lot of elbow grease. He's still not done.

Getting closer to the finish line, he re-calks where the walls meet the floor, but he's still not done.  

Last, he puts 3 coats of sealer on the tile.

Finally, he's done!

I can guarantee that this is the cleanest shower in town!Image result for ivy graphic

I married an amazing man. I don't think most men would even tackle something like this. They would quit after the first step, but not my man...and it was all his idea!

My master bathroom is unusable during this time and it looks like a bomb went off in it, but at least I have a perfectly clean shower to look forward to next weekend. It takes so long because everything needs to dry between steps...and Alan still has a full-time job that keeps him busy during the week.

To help maintain this sparkling clean shower, we are going to spray the walls with vinegar each time we shower...or at least a few times per week. This is supposed to prevent new mold from growing.  Phew! I need a break just from explaining this long process. 

Thank you, my love! 
You are worth your weight in gold!
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To top all of this off, for my birthday yesterday he gave me these:

Looks like I will be shopping for some new clothes!

Kyle, Emily, Milo, and Clara gave me these beautiful roses. Alan was planning to get me some flowers, but when he saw these, he decided against it, which is fine with me. I'm a simple bouquet enough!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Stake Temple Day

Two days ago, April 7th, was an exceptionally good day for me. We had a Lancaster Stake Day in the temple. I love Stake Temple Days because I get to see so many members of my Stake that I love and admire, which makes being in my "happy place", or the temple, even that much more exciting. For months I had looked forward to going so I could serve as a patron instead of a worker, especially after the very hectic day I had experienced as a shift coordinator just two days prior to this. What a relief it would be to not have to worry about the workings of a shift, but rather be able to focus on serving those on the other side of the veil.

Wanting to spend much of the day in the temple, we left our home at 11:00 a.m., made good time for L. A. traffic, and arrived at about 12:30 p.m. We took two single sisters down with us (Carol Whitaker & Angela Simmons). Alan and I planned to go on the 2:15 session, so having arrived so early, we, fortunately, had plenty of time for Alan to do baptisms and confirmations for some family names I had found and prepared before the session was to begin. I had one female name ready for initiatories, so I decided to spend time doing those ordinances until it would be time to go on the endowment session. I quickly found out that many other sisters had the same idea. It was pretty crowded. I was allowed to do the one name, though. 

It turns out that the day shift was very short-handed on ordinance workers, so I volunteered myself to help out for about an hour. This went against my desire to be there serving as a patron only, but I knew they needed help so I couldn't just look the other way. I'm so glad that I got that opportunity to serve because as the coordinator on my shift, I don't get the opportunity to perform any of the ordinances. I just oversee everyone else doing the work. This day, I got to perform several ordinances and it was a reminder to me of how much I love doing it and how much I miss doing them. It had been over a year since I had done any! Oh, what a joy it was to resume that work once again.

Directly after the endowment session, we had the privilege of going to a sealing room to witness my friend Carol Whitaker get sealed to her deceased husband. He has been dead for 6 years. There was a very special, sweet spirit in the room. I'm so glad I was able to be there. I love temple sealings! The sealing rooms are some of the most sacred rooms in the temple. After all, in those rooms, families are sealed together not just for this life, but for all eternity. Think about that. Eternity is forever. I am so grateful that I am sealed to my husband and my children. Family is everything to me. Through the temple sealing, we are bound together not only by love, but by the holy spirit of promise. There is no greater blessings for any family than this.

My eternal family

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Desiring Do-Overs!

Ever have one of those days that you'd just like to turn back the clock and have a do-over? I have had two of those this week.

On Wednesday, the day I leave early to go to the temple, the day started off bad and then got worse. I received a phone call at 4 AM from a sister on my shift who said she couldn't make it. [Her friend was injured in a car accident at about 2:30 that morning after dropping her husband off at LAX where he works so her friend needed her to come get the 4-year-old who was also in the car during the accident.] Hearing that she would not be able to work our shift was a difficult pill to swallow because I already had 5 sisters absent and was barely squeaking by as it was. I didn't know what I was going to do, but in those situations, I always trust in the Lord. It is His work we are doing and I have always found out that things work out because God is in control.

Soon after that phone call, I was driving to the temple with 3 others from my carpool. Not far from my home, while going down Ave. M towards the freeway, a car suddenly passed me at a very high speed. Something flew up and I heard something hit my car and then there was a cloud of dust around the car. I couldn't imagine what had happened. I didn't like the sound of the object hitting my brand new car (we've had it 6 months) so I pulled over to see if I could see any damage. It is dark at 4:15 A.M. so I used a phone flashlight and noticed some scratch marks on the sliding door. Ouch! Our car got its first injury.

Thank goodness it wasn't serious damage, but I still don't like to see my brand new car scuffed up like that.  I'd like to have a do-over that morning and leave a few minutes earlier or a few minutes later to avoid this from happening.

I'd also like a do-over for this morning. I was asked to make the dessert for a dinner tonight that the Stake Presidency, Stake Clerks, and their wives are having with our visiting General Authority, Elder Ghent, for our Stake Conference this weekend. I decided to make one of my favorites...actually two of my favorites - a cherry cheesecake and a chocolate cake with a cherry cheesecake topping. I want to have a couple of desserts to choose from in case someone doesn't like chocolate. I had problems making both desserts. Unfortunately, my cake fell after I took it out of the oven and then I forgot to set the timer on my graham cracker crust and way overcooked it. I had to remake both. I guess that was my do-over.
My second cake fell too, even though I cooked it longer and the toothpick came out clean. I used it anyway. I wasn't going to make a 3rd cake!

Top cake - my first attempt. I cut out the middle to see how under-cooked it was since I knew I wasn't going to be using it. 

At least the final result of both look delicious. I hope they taste good tonight.

One of two cheesecakes I will be taking.

When it comes to do-overs, God is very gracious with allowing them. Whenever we do something wrong and want a do-over, we simply need to sincerely repent and it is like it never happened in the first place. What a great blessing that is to all of us!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Living Proof

Lest anyone doubt that I married the analytical type here is my proof:

This is how Alan studies the stock market - charts upon charts upon charts. I'm not the analytical type so this would bore me to death or drive me crazy, whichever came first.

I guess it's a good thing we are different because we can complement each other - he can contribute in areas I lack and visa versa. I guess God knew what he was doing when he created men and women differently!

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Taking the Tour

Alan and I had the opportunity to have a Friday get-away last weekend. After dropping a friend off at the Burbank Airport, we decided to go on the Warner Bros. Studio tour which is located not too far from the airport. This is something I had wanted to do for a while, but we had just never done it. We, obviously, knew the tour wouldn't be as good as Universal Studios, but felt like it could be a great way to spend a Friday.

 The Warner Bros. Icon Water Tower

The entrance to where the tour begins

Our Tour Tram

Admittedly, I don't watch many of the shows that Warner Bros. airs right now, but some of the oldies struck a note with me as we took the tour, such as Friends, ER, Full House, Bat Man, Casablanca, Bugs Bunny, F-Troop, Welcome Back Kotter, The Drew Carey Show, plus a few others. Of course Harry Potter is very familiar to me.

The first place we stopped was at a warehouse where they keep their props. It was huge, so we saw only a small portion of it.

 The entrance to the warehouse

Some of the props

More of the props

We were allowed to go into a building that was full of Bat Man vehicles

There is a movie playing at the theater right now, a musical, that we haven't seen yet that was nominated for some Academy Awards called "La La Land". This is the little Cafe that was featured in the movie. When we see the movie, I will definitely look for this Cafe.

One of the best highlights for me was to visit the Harry Potter Building. I have read all of the books and have seen all of the movies, so I think I enjoyed it a little more than Alan did. He has seen the movies, but hasn't read the books.

The Fireplace at the Dursley Residence where Harry Potter lived
 with his Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin

 One of the Houses at Hogwarts

The monster spider in one of the movies

I had the sorting hat choose which house I would belong to. I got Slytherin - the last one I would choose!

The Room from "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" 
(Spin-off from Harry Potter)

One of the last things we did on the tour was visit "Central Perk" from the show "Friends". This is one of the gathering places for the friends during the show. My kids used to LOVE that show!

This is the actual guitar that Phoebe used in the show

All in all, this was a fun tour. It lasted about 3 hours. I love going on dates like this with my husband. Can't wait until he retires so we can do more things together.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Strikingly Similar

Ryan called me the other night and said he had to share a funny story with me. He works for Tesla/SolarCity during the off season when he's not selling Christmas trees. As part of his job, they have him go to Home Depot twice a week to man a booth.  While there, he was talking with an older woman (around 60?) who was working a booth next to him. After they told each other their names, she said to him "I'll remember your name because my son's name is Ryan." He said "I'll remember your name because my Mom's name is Joan. She asked him if he had any siblings. He said that he has a brother named Eric. She said, "no way, my other son's name is Eric." They discovered that both Ryan's were 6'3" and both Eric's were 6'2". Ryan said "don't tell me you have a twin." She said "I do! I have an identical twin sister" and she proceeded to pull out a picture of the two of them. Curious if her twin's name was the same as my twin, he asked for the name. She said "it is Jean". Close, but no cigar. Jean and Jane use the same letters though.

I thought this story was hilarious. So many coincidental similarities that it is crazy. I wonder if her parents are named Paul & Lois. I don't think Ryan asked her that question.

Smile, life is Good!

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