Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


This is easy and delicious

Pop 1/3 cup popcorn in a hot air popper.  You will need about 14 cups of popped corn. 

In a 2 quart saucepan mix together:

2/3 Cup white sugar
2/3 Cup honey
1/4 tsp. salt
Bring to a slow boil stirring constantly.  When it is bubbling good, start counting 3 minutes.  At 3 minutes add and stir until mixed well:
3/4 Cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour over the popcorn with 1 cup of dry roasted peanuts if desired.  Stir until evenly coated and pour onto a sheet of wax paper.  You can eat as is or drizzle with melted chocolate. (The peanut butter flavor is more prominent without the chocolate)

To melt the chocolate bring 2 inches of water to boil in a saucepan and find a glass bowl that will fit over.  I used 1 large package of milk chocolate chips (11 oz.) Turn off the heat to the pan and pour the chips into the bowl.  Stir until the chips are melted and drizzle over the popcorn and let cool until set. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


 I love Cracker Toffee but when we were in the Canaries I started making Pretzel Toffee for the missionaries and young adults.  They loved it.  It has been loved anywhere I have taken it or served it. It is very quick to make when you need a fast treat.  This makes a large batch (it could be easily halved to a smaller cookie sheet or you can use 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar and 5 cups of pretzels).  If any are left I usually keep them in the freezer.

1.  Line a large sided cookie sheet with foil lapping the ends and spray well with Pam.
2.  Measure 6 cups of pretzels and arrange in the bottom of the pan.
3.  In a medium sauce pan melt 1 1/4 Cup real butter
4.  Add 1 1/4 Cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
5.  Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla.  Stir well.
6.  Pour the cooked syrup carefully over the pretzels covering as even as possible.
7.  Put into a 350 degree oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.  It should be very bubbly on top and  starting to brown just a little.
8 Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a large package of milk chocolate chips or semisweet if you prefer.  If I want them extra good I will put another 1/2 package of chips but 1 will do. 
9.  Let sit until the chips melt and spread around to cover the top.
10.  I like to use some sliced or chopped toasted almonds on half since I have the nuts and no nuts in my family.

11.  When cool cut down the sides with foil and lift out of the pan and remove the foil.  I like to use a knife to cut it up to get more even pieces.  

This recipe can be cut in half if you don't want this much but they freeze well and are nice to have on hand.  

Pretzels with the cooked syrup
After 7-8 minutes in the oven
With the chocolate and nuts
Cut up

Saturday, December 13, 2014


The palm trees did sway but we weren’t dreaming of a white Christmas, not in our lovely desert island of Tenerife.  We were living in the North part of the island and the winters are jacket cool. There were masses of red poinsettias planted on the edge of the Ramblas, a walkway running through the middle of the main part of Santa Cruz.  Some parts of the island had wild blooming poinsettias growing taller than a man.  No we weren’t missing winter and snow.

Mike bought a potted Poinsettia at the African market that we used as a centerpiece for our Thanksgiving dinner with the missionaries.  It was my only Christmas decoration.  I enjoyed the simplicity of not decorating.  It was interesting to see the way the Christmas spirit manifest itself in our missionary group.  The elders seemed to be more sentimental than the sisters.  They took their precious stipend and bought decorations at the nearby “Chino” store for their apartments.  Some of them actually bought a tree with lights and decorations for it.  The sisters didn’t seem to care.  When two Elders moved to open a new area the President sent 2 new sisters to live in their apartment.  When we helped them move in a month or so after Christmas there was still a little tree on a table with some decorations taped to the wall, but they didn’t last long.

We made paper snowflakes with our young adult group and hung them in the JAS room.   One  activity night the JAS made a nativity with popsicle sticks, a little paint and glitter.  We made these again at our Sunday night Family Home Evening with the Santa Cruz ward.  There is nothing quite as enjoyable as constructing a third grade craft.   Another night we all took the tranvia to downtown Santa Cruz and sang Christmas Carols on the street.   Large glowing musical notes were suspended across the streets with other festive sparkles and lights in the shop windows.  It was a nice evening with some people on the walkway joining us for a song or two. 

I wanted to make a little gift for all the missionaries and decided upon an idea to paint each of them a zentangle rock with baby Jesus on it.  The inscription:  “Jesus, the best gift,” a gift these wonderful missionaries gave every day in their service.   We were looking forward to Christmas morning when all the missionaries from Los Cristianos and Santa Cruz would come to our piso for breakfast.  I would share our gift then.   

Mike and I drove to Orotava one Saturday evening to see the life size representation of life in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth.  I made a you-tube video with the pictures (you can find it there along with other videos of Tenerife and missionaries by searching my name).  It was fun to see this ambitious display, as it filled up the entire city plaza with the culture of the time.   We had dinner on the beach with the British tourists escaping the cold and fog in England.    We also enjoyed walking the streets of La laguna during the season enjoying the lights, shoppers and shop windows.  

On Christmas Eve the sisters and elders from Los Cristianos came to Santa Cruz for a Christmas Eve devotional together.  I made something for dinner but can't remember what.  Perhaps taco soup.  The missionaries asked Mike to give the key note address.  He worked very hard to be able to present it in Spanish without reading it and did a great job.  We sang and had a few testimonies.  That night the 4 sisters had a sleepover at our apartment and the Los Cristianos elders bunked somewhere with the Elders in our area.  It was always a delight for us to have all the sisters sleeping over in our piso, which happened a few times.  They chatted and laughed later than they should have and were a little crazy, especially if Sister Christian was there, but it was all uplifting for a group of homesick young women.    

On Christmas morning the missionaries arrived with Santa and elf hats for some fun photo ops.  I made my crusty bread into a cinnamon version, which I cut into strips to be dipped in thick European hot chocolate.  We also had orange segments and scrambled eggs.   I passed out my little gift, we took pictures (which was always important to them), some stayed to play cards for a while and some left for appointments.  I actually don’t remember what we did the rest of the day but this is for sure: Nothing is more exciting than being with a group of awesome, full of life missionaries.  We loved them dearly and were delighted and honored to spend this time with them and make their Christmas a little homier.   Christmas can be hard for these young people and it means a lot to them to have a sense of family and tradition. 

Because I had forgotten my camera on the night we sang carols in downtown Santa Cruz, Mike and I decided that we would have dinner in the city on New Year’s Eve and take photos of the lights.  We were shocked to find very few people on the streets and all of the restaurants closed.   It turns out that in the Spanish culture this evening is a night to stay home with friends and family, what a difference from America.  We managed to find our neighborhood Chinese restaurant open (the best capitalists in Spain) and had a quiet dinner.

Christmas memories often run together in one continuous whole, but not this one.  It will always stand out as a unique experience, in a wonderful place, with people that we will never forget and always cherish.