Thanksgiving morning our older kiddos went to grandma’s home to play with cousins. Meri stuck around to help me bake pies. She was such a sweet little helper.¬†She loved putting her hands right in the pie crust and said it was “boingy”. Like a little trampoline she bounced a few of those crusts a few times. ūüėČ Meri also loved rolling out her own little crusts and would pull small pieces off and say “Teeny!” It was so much fun to have her around making this delicious task even more yummy.

pie_helper-3 pie_helper-4

Started out by making lemon meringue. Jim Bob’s dad’s favorite. It also reminds me of Thanksgiving growing up when we traveled to Grandpa and Grandma Smith’s home. Aunt Lillian always made lemon meringue. Sometimes I would spend the afternoon playing with my cousin Emily at her place after the big meal was done. When I did – we always had leftover pie for dinner. That’s it – just lots of lemon pie. Good memories! The secret to the way Grandpa Pipes’ loved them is the graham cracker crust and putting in 1/2 cup of lemon juice instead of water in the first part of the pudding recipe. Gives it a tang that is irresistible.


The pumpkin recipe is the one straight out of the Better Homes & Garden cookbook. We made our own pumpkin puree though – from pumpkins grown in our garden this year. Yum! And because I always forget – 15 oz. of puree is 1 3/4 cups. ūüėČ This year I also tried the Carmel Pecan Pumpkin recipe the next page over. So glad we did – delicious!


And a few photos of the apple in the process. I was afraid the light would be completely gone by the time we finished those. Two regular and two dutch apple. Just a little side note. While finishing the dutch apple pies I realized I forgot the 2 T. flour per pie in the two that were already baking at Mom’s. I figured not a big deal – what difference would 2 T. of flour make? Just so you know – a big one. Those 2 pies tasted good – but were so soupy and made a mess when trying to dish up and eat. After they were drained it worked much better. Another reminder that little things make a big impact.



And the final product. So much goodness. The leftovers were divine too.


Grateful Everyday.

Do you know my favorite part of this photo?

Mother's Day Happy Mail

I’m thrilled my mom loved her Mother’s Day package enough to take a photo of it. Before even opening. Grateful lady.

What I love even more is that she has written “Thanks!!!” on the inside of their mailbox. ¬†My mom is amazing-grateful like that.

What mailperson wouldn’t smile every. single. time.?


Easter Tidings

Happy Easter from our family!


Drewby’s drawing: “There is light in the tomb.”

Truth or Dare Brownies… Happy Love Day all!


{Devoted Full Collection by Carta Bella, font: Traveling typewriter}

That’s right – a classic game made anew with the incentive of brownies.

Truth or Dare – what will it be?

Truths such as “You are an amazing individual with high quality muscles.” or “Laughing is good for you. So is water.” ?

Those are fun. But if you choose dare – those come with 2 brownies. ūüėČ And you HAVE to do the dare right away. Things like “Perform your best cheer – with a double high kick.” and “Act out your favorite scene from a movie. Don’t stop until someone guesses the show.”

So – what will it be? Either way you’re rewarded.



This was Jim Bob’s reward after Stake Conference today. ¬†He’s in charge of the online streaming to four church buildings. ¬†Everything went smoothly and he definitely deserved a large meal and a large nap.


And this was my reward for helping all the little ones get dressed and to the church by myself.  Next time I may remember to take a photo before digging in to the pie… may.  Raspberry and blueberry both…  yum.



Thankful for the journey and for the best partner ever on this ride we call life.


Exhibit A


Part of our Thanksgiving feast…

Evidence of a blessed life cards ready to be filled out – thanks to Nisa for the fun-loving designs that only took slight adapting.

I just left a basket of cards nearby (journaling cards on one side and notes/frames on the other). Any family that wanted to fill one out could write/draw pictures and then clip it on the ring.

Made a file folder cover with my little guy and evidence all over his sweet mug. ¬†And just like that‚Ķ this little album is ready to be loved and enjoyed often. One fun way to count those blessings. ūüôā

{credits:  Splendid Fiins:  Evidence-notes and frames, Evidence-journaling cards, also: file folder, tag, clip ring, walnut ink, font: Artistamp Medium and my handwriting}

This little book is from last Thanksgiving. ¬†I realized I never shared it here‚Ķ it was sure fun to take a peek at again this year. ¬†Handwriting and artistic skills have advanced a little, but it’s wonderful to see that many of our blessings counted are the exact same.


Gorgeous October day (the 29th) when we visited the Boise Idaho temple open house – the temple of my youth. ūüôā ¬†I remember saving pennies to help with the initial construction. ¬†Now it’s all renovated and simply beautiful. ¬†I’m so grateful we were able to take our family on the trek to see this wonder-filled building.

Thankful that we can be a forever family.

A little contemplative… Jacob said that he found the Angel Moroni on a gigantic pillar next to the temple quite interesting.  He also said the temple makes him feel happy and warm inside.

Joshua loved the big stained glass window of the Sacred Grove by the baptismal font.  He said with the sun shining through it looked very beautiful and made him feel peaceful.

Autumn loved the beauty of “the room where you be quiet” (celestial room). ¬†She also loved the sealing room where you can see the mirrors “go back and forth, on & on”. ¬†She has never seen mirrors placed like that before and loved it.

Andrew liked the baptism room too. ¬†He said you “go into a big circle of water and underneath there are ox. ¬†12 of them!” He said said he felt warm and happy – “just like Jacob”.

Miss Katey loved the Bride’s Room where the ladies get ready on their wedding day. ¬†She also loved the crystal chandeliers. ¬†While touring she said “it’s sparkling everyday. ¬†Sparkles forever!”

Caleb loved the “baptism water with cows” (one way to describe it‚Ķ). ¬†He says the temple made him feel good. “Yeah – feel good.”

Meri Рwell, she loved all the lights inside the temple.  She also loved the big, beautiful windows and tried to reach every sparkly chandelier.

Jim Bob loved that they took an already beautiful temple and made it even more beautiful. “Perfection even. There is nothing lacking in construction or design.” He also loved the awe of our children – He said his very favorite part was watching their “big bug eyes and wide gaping mouths taking it all in and not believing the beauty of the temple.”

Me – The temple was absolutely gorgeous – dark wood and beauty all around. I also loved the beauty of the people there the day we toured the temple. Everyone was full of smiles and willing to help. From the men directing traffic to the people putting on protective footwear to the ladies passing out candies on temple napkins to the piano players in the adjacent church – everyone was so friendly and genuinely happy to be there. I especially enjoyed the faith building stories of our tour guides.

“The evening before the rededication (last night), President Monson told a group of 9,200 young people,¬†gathered for the youth cultural celebration, that the temple “shines as a beacon of righteousness to all who will follow its light.”

“We treasure that light, and we thank our Heavenly Father for the blessings this temple and all temples bring into our lives,” he said.”

We rejoice in the blessings of the temple!

Olympic Gold

Meet my amazing, sweet, beautiful, giggly, new mama, fun-lovin’ sister Christina:

She’s on the right. ūüėČ

Recently we went on a road trip/family reunion together.  It was pure gold.  I loved having her riding shot gun and we talked and talked and talked for a few days.  Loved it.  On our last day together we visited our hometown and took some sister photos by the train station.  We might have been excited about the Olympics coming up and our photo shoot shifted.

Synchronized swimming anyone?  We need more people on our team.

Shot put is one of my favorites. ¬†Christina – well, she’s a good sport.

Did you see Reese Hoffa win the bronze last night? Ah-mazing!

I find it interesting to hear what people say/yell/grunt when throwing. ¬†What would you scream? ¬†For me it’s a toss up between plum and sprinkle. ūüėČ

If there was an event for dancing – we would so tie for gold and share that podium.

Perhaps in the future – doesn’t hurt to dream big. ¬†And these moves aren’t going anywhere.


A favorite phrase from the scriptures for me has always been:  Spark of Freedom.

It seems to me equivalent to a mustard seed of faith.  Just a bit Рa spark.  That is all that needs to be there to start with Рand so much can come from that.  A desire = a spark.

At this time in the Book of Mormon, Moroni (chief captain of the Nephite armies) writes a fairly scathing letter to Pahoran – the chief judge and governor of the land – and wants to know why the government is being neglectful of the men he is in charge of. ¬†He tells them what’s what and then makes this promise:

“I will come unto you, and if there be any among you that has a desire for freedom, yea, if there be even a¬†spark of freedom remaining, behold I will stir up insurrections among you, even until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct.”

Yea, behold I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God¬†whom I fear‚Ķ” (Alma 60:27-28)

What an example of no-fear leading.  Now, thankfully, Pahoran was still steadfast in liberty and explains to Moroni about the insurrection in the land Рthe rebellion of the king-men.  He explains his position:

“I, Pahoran, do not seek¬†for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.” (Alma 61:9)

Together they devise a plan to take back their land. ¬†Pahoran also asks Moroni to build up the other leaders in the army. ¬†“See that ye strengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand¬†fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free.” ¬†(Alma 61:22)

Pahoran ends his epistle by calling Moroni brother.

I love Pahoran’s care and concern for them all and that he doesn’t take offense at Moroni’s letter. ¬†Calmly and boldly explains and asks for what is needed. ¬†He bears his testimony in so many ways in that one epistle. ¬†What would our land be like with such leaders? ¬†Love Pahoran’s promise too – “Tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also ALL those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free.”

That’s us. ¬†Deliverance will come‚Ķ one way or another‚Ķ we need to stand fast in that liberty.

Now for one of the cutest things I have EVER heard.

Caleb adored the fireworks at the family reunion last year. ¬†Completely and fully loved. ¬†My sister Anna (she’s on the left)

captured his cuteness visually:


And Jim Bob caught the audio:

Caleb – Work!

May there be many “works” for you today. ¬†And as you’re watching the works – think about that spark of freedom within you.

Happy Independence Day all!

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