Wednesday, December 30, 2015

From Elder Monzingo

So this week has been interesting. For one our Brazilian roomates have moved on to the mission field which waws kinda eh i guess. Cause they were really cool and they helped with the Portuguese. Especially the one that actually knew pretty good english cause he taught us new words and whatever. But I think we have new ones I just dont really know. Another Brazilian that has gone on to the field that was a good friend of really everyone in the district was Elder M. Alves. That guy is awesome. Doesnt know english but he is the only member in his family and he earned all the money for his mission himself fighting. Which I think is pretty darn cool. 

Anywho we had Christmas here which was really rather cool. For one we got to wear our excercise clothes all the first half of the day which was rather nice. But that first half we did some volleyball, basketball, and these paper airplane contest thingamajigs. Then after we changed we went and watched the broadcast for the MTC Provo Christmas devontional with Elder Bednar, which was awesome. He, his wife, and one of his sons and his family spoke. One of their grandchildren sang these two primary songs, one spanish, and that was actually really kinda cute. Cause its this, sixish year old girl that is kinda being broadcasted around the world to every MTC. But Elder Bednar did a Q&A thing with all the MTCs. we didn't get to submit questions but that was still absolutely very cool. I would do that every year if I could. But then afterwards we went and played games in the main auditorium, ping pong, Uno, puzzles, these team games, other stuff, Legos. Elder Dixon and I built this tower out of them that we dubbed the tower of Babel, cause it was a lot of legos. There's a picture of him holding it. But then we got ties from President Swenson, MTC President, who actually leaves at around the same time as us. From what Ive heard at least, also in case I haven't said it his son is the missionary baptizing some one on the front of the missionary call packet that everyone receives. So that's kinda cool. Also it rains everyday.

Also one thing you don't expect to miss is not having to wear shoes in the shower. Cuase you need to wear shower sandals in the shower or risk foot fungi so you do. One handy thing is the window showers that have windows at about head level so you can store soap and shampoo and stuff there instead of shampoo on the floor or something. But what becomes useful can also make an interesting story, like say using a window shower and when putting your soap back in its case the case happens to shoot out of the window and fall about 5 stories. Thats pretty exciting. But yeah. Good times. 
I think that's about all I have for today. I love all of you guys. Oh! I almost forgot that we went proselyting yesterday. That was kinda interesting, each person got 4 BoMs and had to hand them out. So our companionship had 12, but its interesting. Cause it wasnt that hard because I know the language for at least that, it was more of where do we go and then actually talking to people. But then there are some people that ask questions which isnt too bad it justt depends on the questions. And if you understand what they are saying. Which doesnt neccessarily happen all the time. Or a lot. I don't know whatever. But yeah. I love you all. 

Elder Monzingo

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It Takes a Ward to Make a Missionary

Today was a missionary Sunday. Logan Robertson recently returned from his mission in Boise, Idaho. He gave a report on his time there. Before he spoke the missionary mommas got a chance to speak about their missionaries.

I actually had been warned the previous week. I should be ready to speak for a couple of minutes. It seemed perfect since we were going to speak to Daniel on Christmas. In theory I would get a chance to ask if he wanted to say anything to the ward. It would've been perfect if I hadn't completely and utterly forgot. My bad memory didn't prove to be much of an impediment. Before he got on that plane for Brazil, I had been thinking about how important our ward families have been for preparing him.

There have been many that helped shape this marvelous boy of ours. Primary teachers to youth leaders. Scout masters. Seminary teachers. Bishops. Many amazing people guided, loved, encouraged, listened to Daniel. I am so very grateful for every single person. I don't know if I can thank them enough. Not just for Daniel, but for our entire family.

We are greatly loved and greatly blessed.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Letter to Santa

As published in our local paper:

Dear Santa,

How's life? I bet it's good you know makeing toys, Christmas the reindeer. Question, are reindeer nice or mean? And how are the reindeer? Well Santa Pal, can yo do me a favor? Can you get me a camera? Because I don't have one. And I'd like to take videoes and pictures of people and I have nothing to do that with. or a tablet! Then I could do games, school and have a camera! Great Santa! But please, please, please get me ALL the wide awake princess books and dork diaries. I LOVE those books and bookd are good for you. Really thats it but, your Santa you can also problay butter up a dirt bike for me because I've never a bike, I have no concrete only rocks and dirt, so I need a dirt bike. Candy and hair bands for me as well to keep my hair out of my face and candy to eat. All in my stocking please. And maybe a little statue of the eiffle tower! And a suevaner from somewhere. And one peice of reindeer food every christmas so I can keep it for next Christmas!

Sarah Monzingo
Age 9
Mrs. Blake's Class

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Week

From Elder Monzingo:

"So there are trees everywhere. It may seem kinda random but this is the biggest city I've ever been in, its one the worlds biggest, and there are trees everywhere. Not Dallas style trees every couple feet or something. But Trees actual trees with green leaves and they are MASSIVE at times. Just super super super very tall. Can't look anywhere without seeing them and its amazing. I'm gonna try sending some pictures out to mom and she should distribute them. Now you know mom. No idea how it will work. But trees, all variety from palm to that's about all I actually know. In traffic going to the temple you see these people on motorcycles flying in between cars in the traffic. Which I honestly think makes so much sense I have never understood why it doesn't really happen in america. But it's crazy, kinda cool, and sounds fun. Don't worry I don't plan on doing it. Plus it,s probably not allowed. Also a birthday P-day is kinda nifty. Also, It's CTM pizza night on Quarta-feira so double bonus. Cept pizza doesn't have sauce, but it is really good.

    But I was sorta kinda a little maybe more than that sick this week. There was fevers and cough and a general feeling of unwellness. But Meu Companhiero and I took a trip to Elder Sharp, CTM doctor, got some meds and everything seems to be good for now. Also the daily excercise time we get weekly is a welcome break from sitting down all day. Its super great. We do lots of volleyball. and Elder Hoose brought this folder with his workout plan and so some of us do that and it is generally rather exhausting. But its ok.

   Also Portuguese is mean sometimes cause I don't understand it much at times. Generally I do and I get a lot more than I used to but still. Sitting in front of your investigators trying to find a word in your mind or dictionary is absolutely no fun. And they are all technically fake. Only because they are instructors but then they really aren't fake. 2 investigators right now.

  The entire english group I arrived with minus the one sister that was at Provo is now one district that has seen much difficulty. The first week I think Tuesday Elder Capistran left and went home, Then Elder Cassador and Sister Summers were transferred to a Brazilian district and now they are back which is great. Currently Elder Hiller , Elder Cassador, and me are a trio companionship. Elder Cassador is nice to have cause he actually speaks and understands Portuguese much better than we do.

  Anywho the Temple here in São Paulo has probably the coolest interior of all the temples that I've been in. It is really awesome and has some super cool stained glass stuff inside of it. Not really much outside but oh well. But other than that everything is going good except for this keyboards lack of punctuation.

   Also the address for the MTC  if you want to send me stuff is: Rua Padre Antônio D`Angelo, 121 - Casa Verde CEP 02516-040 - São Paulo - SP - Brasil

So there you go. Also the MTC won't accept packages so it would just be letters but it there if you want it. I love you guys.

Elder Monzingo

Also They have these flowers here that are absolutely amazing looking. I'm thinking of specifically in the MTC there's this tree with these awesome flowers. I´ll try to send a picture out. I love you guys again"

This is Mom. Google helped me find the letter address format for Brazil. His address is:

Elder Daniel Monzingo
Rua Padre Antonio D'Angelo, 121
Casa Verde CEP
Sao Paulo-SP

The Difference of One Person

The interesting thing about our oldest being gone is that we didn't miss him right away. That doesn't mean we didn't notice a difference or that we didn't like him. Senior year of high school was very busy and he wasn't home much. Also, he has been away from home for various camps.

The second week was different. The kids were a little crankier with each other than usual. One sibling starting looking for Daniel before she remembered that he was in Brazil. I would do the head count and feel that something was off. "One, two, three, four, five. There is supposed to be 5, why does it feel wrong?"

Joseph has moved up in the world. We treat him less like a little brother. I rely on him more to do most of the things I used to ask Daniel to do. Most. Not all. Joseph doesn't have the height or the long arms to reach the high places. However, he can provide muscle when needed. He also can be the one in charge when the parents are not home. We had to have a little discussion about what that meant. He had the notion that being in charge meant that he was the sibling overlord.

With the added responsibility comes some benefits. He is now as he phrased it "in the circle of trust". That means he gets to be Santa's assistant after the younger ones go to bed Christmas Eve. He is very, very pleased. Kermit thinks that some of the added responsibility will mature him. It just might. I'm not sure that anything would completely tame him. I'm not even sure I want him completely tame.

Hannah seems to be the one who most misses having her older brother close. He has been a constant presence in her life. She tends to like having her loved ones accessible. I remember when she started 1st grade. She was nervous. I don't think she would have gone to school except that she knew her big brother was at there, too. They never saw each other, but just knowing he was in the building calmed her.

I don't know what will change as we adjust. One person definitely makes a difference in the family dynamic.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In The CTM

Letter from Elder Monzingo:

"So today being Wednesday is my first P-day (preparation day). Will be until I'm out of here. Then I have no idea when it will be. But there are currently 6 other elders and 4 sisters in my district. It's pretty fun. The language in kinda interesting at times. For the most part I seem to speak portoespangles. Some mix of the three languages. At least some of the high school spanish seems to have come back to me. I'm surprised by how much stuff I've leaved in simply the first week in the MTC. Well CTM. But we got to go to the temple today in Campinas which was actually pretty cool. It's fairly large. I enjoyed that. We've also been teaching these practice investigators. First lesson was super iffy but after that the next 2-3 were not half as bad. I have rather enjoyed the time that I have in here. Still got another 5ish weeks to go. It's kinda strange knowing that I've been a missionary for a week. Both me and my companion, Elder Hiller, think so. But yeah. Not quite sure what else to put in this for now so Ciao!

Also, as an added thought, these keyboards are really weird. They don't have all the punctuation that I want and the stuff they have is in the wrong places so I'm not using it cause it's more effort to figure out than I'd rather exert. So, yeah. I love you guys.

Also, one more thing, I'll try to send out pictures but not sure how and if I really can. So it might be next week until any are received by anyone."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Shiny, New Missionaries

Received an email from the MTC (Mission Training Center) president. 

"Dear Parents,

Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary."

The letter, mercifully for the mommas, included many reassurances that our missionaries would be just fine. This was my favorite part of the email:

Isn't that fantastic! Look, he has a name tag now. Seems more official.

Love my missionary.

All is Well, But He Doesn't Speak the Language

Just got an email from our missionary! He has arrived safely to the missionary training center in Brazil. Quite a relief for this momma. We had been tracking his flight. I knew the plane had landed where it was supposed to land and not in the ocean. Now we have confirmation that he and his luggage are all where they were supposed to land.

From his email:

"So I got here right around an hour ago. Things are not too bad. I understand just about nobody that is actually here. Most of the people that I've met in the MTC have been native spanish speakers or something along those lines. But in Atlanta I met about 13 other elders and sisters that were on my flight. But I love you guys. Have all my luggage. Had barely any sleep on the flight over. I think just about everything's is going well. I think. Mostly. Anywho, love you guys. Bye. Oh wait. First companion is Elder Hiller. He seems like a pretty cool guy. I don't remember where he's from right now. I think it's Washington or Idaho. Yeah. Not sure. Anyhow. Bye. I'll talk to you guys later."

I might have been a little excited to hear from him. Can't wait to share with his siblings when they get home from school.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Elder Monzingo is in the Air

Here he is, my missionary son as we left him in DFW airport. We had a brief moment of excitement when the TSA agent said that we might be able to go with him into the terminal. The ticket agent was less accommodating. We did not ever really expect to go with him, so it was only moderately disappointing.

I think letting him go was hardest on Hannah. She didn't seem to want to let her brother go. Even Elizabeth was a little emotional.

I have been feeling so many emotions, sometimes all at the same time! I am immensely happy for him and for our family. This is such a wonderful time for us. This is such a wonderful time for him. There is always such joy when the gospel is shared.

There is a bit of anxiety. I hope the plane doesn't crash. (We've been tracking the flight.) I hope he doesn't get eaten by vicious Amazonian fish. I hope he doesn't get lost. I hope he is healthy and well fed and loved. I hope that all of us can recognize the blessings that come from his service. I hope that we can spread the joy.

One emotion that has surprised me is the love that I've started to feel for the Brazilian people. I don't even know them. Daniel isn't even there yet. Already my heart yearns for their happiness. No one told me that I would feel that.

The plane has been in the air for about and hour and half. When Daniel lands in Sao Paolo in the morning it will be raining. The temps will be between 69 and 85 degrees fahrenheit. According to, the next ten days will be the same. I don't know what else is going to happen. I have faith that all will work to the good.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Open House

This Sabbath day was full. Full, full, full. We started the day driving to Corsicana. Our nephew was blessing his baby boy. Baby blessings are always wonderful. Also, I think it is good for the kids to visit different wards. It is good to see that even in a different town, a different building, a different congregation the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the same. We only stayed long enough to take the sacrament and see the baby blessed. Since this is Daniel's last Sunday before he leaves, we thought it would be good for him to be in his home ward one more time.

Today's Relief Society was over the atonement, specifically this beautiful talk by Dallin H. Oaks.

The atonement is so much more than repentance for our mistakes. It also covers those wrongs afflicted on us. Our illnesses and pains and sorrows and challenges can all be covered by the atonement. It heals us. What a comforting thought. When we understand the atonement, it is easy to see why Christmas is such a time of joy.

After our meetings we dashed home to prepare for Daniel's open house. I had no idea how many people would be here. Really I should have been better prepared. More cleaning yesterday. More getting food ready. Then maybe I could've enjoyed my brother more when he showed up right after we got home. It was a most excellent surprise to see him. He had some new photography toys that he was willing to use. He snapped a rather nice pic of Daniel. Another nice surprise was our niece Kriston. She was without the rest of her family. Her oldest son was not feeling well. Actually, I could say how fantastic it was to see everyone. We had a rather nice turnout. Our house was full to bursting. I think I even mentioned to Kermit that we might need a bigger house. I was only half joking.

Daniel leaves on Tuesday. He will be in Brazil for two years. I'm not sure how I feel yet. More accurately, I feel so many things that I don't know how to settle on one. This is an exciting time. I am proud of this young man. I am happy for him. I am excited, but I am also anxious. I don't know how the dynamics of our home will change. I want him to be safe. I can't help him if something goes wrong. I think of missionary parents of the past. All four of King Mosiah's sons left at the same time. They did not know if they would ever see each other again. They did not have a return date. There was no telephones or even mail service.  I know that my son will serve for two years and then come home. I will be able to write to him. Twice a year we will be able to talk. It seems a small sacrifice.

We put our missionary son on a plane on Tuesday. Maybe by then I will know how I feel.

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Never Enough Time, But I Really Like My Own Bed

Home again. It was a wonderful weekend visit to Oklahoma. I really love my family. I even got to see a couple of friends. I am grateful for the time we could spend together, but I still wish it could've been just a little bit longer.

On Saturday, my brother and I drove into Tulsa to the Wild at Art art show. My high school friend was a featured artist. Actually, I won a drawing for one of her paintings. That thrilled me to no end. I love her style. Bold color, expressionistic Oklahoma landscapes. She does farm animals, too. The landscapes are my favorite. Now I have a 5x7 of a tall grass prairie. As an added bonus we got to visit for a bit. She is just as fun as I remember.

Miles drove us a bit around downtown Tulsa before we headed back to Claremore. We went by way of Catoosa. We had to see the big blue whale. If you did not grow up in this area you may not understand the awesomeness of the Big Blue Whale. Here. I found a picture.

See? Isn't that fantastic. I remember swimming here. Not this trip. November is not a good time to swim. Just to reminisce.

We stopped to eat at Eggbert's. That is the place I got my first job. My old boss was there. He has a remarkable memory and we had a lovely talk. He did mention how terrible I was when I first started. He was right. I was so very shy. I have no idea why I thought waiting tables would be a good idea for someone afraid to talk to people. Now I tell people that waiting tables is the quickest cure for shyness.

The rest of the evening was spent quietly at Dad's house. The next day we were at Grandpa John's. Mom made a trip over from Arkansas to spend some time with us and to get some family pics before Daniel leaves.

I love my family. I love spending time with them. There never seems to be quite enough time. If I could have my wish we would all live close to each other. Just not in Oklahoma. I like that I grew up there, but I don't really want to go back except to visit. It seems that I prefer nostalgia over the real experience. If circumstances were such that we needed to move to Oklahoma, I'm sure I would be fine. I would be able to find all the things to love about being there. For now, Texas is the place to be. Maybe someday I'll want to go back.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Where the Wind Keeps Sweeping Down the Plain

Quick trip to Oklahoma this weekend. One thing Daniel wanted to do before leaving for his mission is to visit family. I wish it could be a longer visit, but we will be grateful for the time we have.

The drive was not too bad. I was a little concerned about leaving as late as we did. I thought the kids had early release for the Thanksgiving holiday, but that was not accurate. We didn't actually leave Kaufman until just after 4:00. The kids and I crammed into the rental with our bags and went to meet up with Kermit in Dallas. I was stressed at the time, but on reflection it was a bit comical. Kermit didn't think our Suburban would be a good choice for a road trip and rented a smaller SUV for our journey. At first the kids thought the newer vehicle was the pinnacle of coolness, until they all had to squeeze into the little bitty thing with all their bags and accessories. I wonder if this is how clowns feel driving their cars. I bet clowns have more fun. Squished kids are not happy kids. They get testy.

After reaching the office and finally getting everyone distributed among the two vehicles going, we were on the road. The slow road. It was rush hour in Dallas. Actually, it wasn't the most horrible rush hour I've experienced. We got through it in a reasonable amount of time. There were a bit of "are we there yet" and "I'm STARVING".

Our usual first stop in in Van Alstyne. There is a convenience store/Burger King/Subway. It is a great place to refuel cars and people. Joseph discovered a variety of exotic jerkeys. He convince his father that these were necessary for the rest of the trip. We spent more on travel snacks than we did on our supper. The latest report is that kangaroo jerkey is no bueno. Undaunted by the less agreeable flavor, the boy's first words to me this morning regarded the need to find the keys to Dad's truck so he could get meat.

Daniel was DJ in the rental. I appreciate him figuring out the new-fangled controls. I also appreciate his taste in music. I like a cappella. Three cd's of BYU Vocal Point is, however, my quota. We might need to find something else on the trip back.

My favorite part of the trip so far: Jacob telling me, "This is the best day ever. Except for the part when I was starving."

I love my family.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This Week

This poor little neglected blog. I always intend to faithfully chronicle the family adventures. I do think it is important to report on the good, the bad and the ugly. That is actually a recent attitude. Originally I only thought to share the amusing. In the past few years we've seen our share of the less than pleasant. I didn't write. I now think that was a mistake. How can we truly appreciate the blessings without experiencing the opposite?

This week was full of blessings. It felt very busy, but very wonderful.,

Thursday nights are always full. That is 8th grade football night. Joseph played a bit more than he has in previous games. I don't know if he actually hit anything, but he did run fast. He plays on the "B" team. As soon as their game was finished he had to change quickly and grab a bass drum and join the band. That was a lot of fun. He really and truly enjoyed himself. On the way home, he mentioned that he might not play football next year. Band was going to be his thing. Not going to lie, I like that idea. This is not from any antipathy towards football.  I have seen how very excited Joseph is about band. That is not to say that he is not excited about football, but he seems happier with drumsticks in his hands.

On Wednesday, Daniel went through the temple for the first time. It is a wonderful thing to go to the temple for yourself. It is a special privilege to attend when your child goes through the first time. I wish that I had adequate words to describe how I felt. It is a very happy moment. More than happy. It is joyful. I was overwhelmed enough that I didn't even think to get a picture.

Here is our next bit of happiness. Kermit and Daniel had the opportunity to go to Salt Lake for General Conference this weekend. They attended the Priesthood Session. Daniel was able to spend some time with his very good friend Chelsea Higgins. Aren't they adorable? You can't tell from this picture, but Chelsea has no shoes. She owns shoes. She just isn't wearing them. My little Sarah is like that. Sarah only wears shoes because it is required in certain places. I was like that. I never wanted to wear shoes. Anyway, her lack of footwear isn't important here. The important thing is meeting friends after a long absence. These two very good friends have not seen each other in two years. This may be their last chance to meet until after Daniel returns from his mission.

Life is not trouble free. It is not meant to be. We become our best when we have trials to work through. The dark times help us to appreciate the bright and wonderful times. Beauty comes in something as simple as the weather finally becoming more autumn-like to watching your child becoming a wonderful young adult.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Missionary Mom

Daniel opened his mission call last Tuesday. I was at work when it arrived. I don't usually have my phone with me, but I did this morning. Kermit called and asked if I wanted to know where my son was going. I jumped up and down. I probably looked like a crazy lady. It was very hard waiting until 6:30. We technically didn't have to wait but we wanted to share the moment with a few friends and family.

The magic moment finally arrived. Brazil Belem Mission. In that moment that he read the name, it all became really real. Up until now, the fact that my baby was leaving was theoretical. An unknown date in the distant future. Now it is a fact. We have a hard deadline. He is to report to the Brazil MTC on December 9th. A very short 120 days from the time he opened the packet. Daniel, of course, feels like this is all the time in the world. No, I say. It is not.

My boy is leaving. I am so proud of him. He will be fantastic. But I also worry. I don't know much about Brazil. I don't know what I can do to prepare him for this. I have found out that Belem means Bethlehem. It is the gateway to the Amazon River. All I know about this portion of the world I learned watching River Monsters. I don't recommend that particular show if you are sending a child there. My baby is going to the place where live fish that eat you from the inside out.

Reaction from his siblings is mixed. Hannah surprised us a while back when she said she didn't want him to go. There might have even been a plan to hide the mission call. Jacob told Daniel that he didn't want him to go. "If you try to go I'm going to lock you in the bathroom."

Sarah also expressed her wish for her brother to stay. Apparently, she won't have anyone to torture if he leaves. I'm of the opinion that she will easily find a new victim.

Elizabeth is quiet on the subject. Joseph loudly declares to any who will listen to him that he wants Daniel's stuff.

This is one of those times when the Gospel rubber meets the road. Did we really mean it when we taught the importance of preaching the gospel? Do I have enough faith to let me boy go for two years? I'm going to miss him. He will face challenges and I can only hope that we have adequately prepared him. Mostly I feel peace. I think on the mothers of the Stripling Warriors. They sent their sons to war. They had faith that all would be well. That faith was instilled in their sons. Daniel will be fantastic.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Two lessons today on service.

Sunday School lesson was "As I Have Loved You" (Luke 22 and John 13-15). Discussed Christ washing the apostles feet. Teaching them to follow his example. Teaching us that leaders should be servants.

This was followed up in Relief Society by a lesson on service. For part of it we discussed what does service look like. Most of our discussion was on how service made us feel. Both giving and receiving. The consensus seemed to be that it was sometimes more difficult to receive.

I understand that. Our society greatly values independence. It is one of our founding principles. Self-reliance is good. What we tend to miss is that we actually are not alone. Heavenly Father gave us each other. We serve and are served by our fellow beings.

The past few years have been not fun for our family. The financial strains have been immense. That certainly has not been our only struggle, but maybe the most significant. We have been the recipients of so much love and support from family, friends, church. We really and truly could not have made it to this point on our own.

Maybe that is the great lesson. Learning to lean on the Savior. Learning to accept service, especially the greatest of all. The atonement. Christ did for us what we could not possibly could do for ourselves. We can't do it on our own. The Monzingo family could not have made it without help. That seems to be what I have needed to learn. We didn't pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Beyond anything that we have ever deserved we have been the recipients of abundant blessings.

How grateful I am to a Heavenly Father that loves me. He loves me in my imperfections. He blesses me. Not because of anything that I have earned. He blesses me just because He loves me.

How absolutely wonderful is that?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Everything Is Broken..I mean Awesome!

Everything breaks. Eventually. And it seems that everything breaks at the same time. Precisely when you really don't need it to break. In the same day the starter on the Suburban went out and the dryer wouldn't start. Just another couple of items to add to the increasing list of things that do not work at our house. That included me. I was grumpy, bad attitude mommy that day.

The automobile was obviously the first priority. A new starter couldn't happen right away. Fortunately, we have awesome friends. We were able to get the family to church and activities and work. We really are blessed in our friendships. I only hope that someday I'll be able to be able to help others as we have been helped.

The dryer issue could be solved with a clothes line. There are some benefits to line dried clothes. They smell great. Wind and sunshine are free. Most of the clothes dry a little faster. I've always liked the idea of a clothes line and have used the one I've rigged up on occasion.

Here is what is not so very cool about having to use a clothesline. A lot of laundry is done in this house. There are six kids and two new puppies. A LOT of laundry has to be done. Hanging clothes can get to be very time consuming. Every individual piece has to be pinned. Every piece has to be taken down. Carrying the baskets of wet clothes is not always fun.

Next. If it is raining the clothes can't get dry. This month just happened to be the dramatic end of a long drought. Rain. More rain. And more rain. Which equals mud. Which means more laundry that can't be dried because it is raining outside.

Clothes smell great, but towels are crunchy. I don't know how to combat that. I even bought fabric softener. It helps a tiny bit.

As much as I complain the clothes line is really not too bad. But I will be very happy when my dryer is fixed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Toothpick and A Hanky

After Gramma Ellene passed, Grandpa John gave me some of her things. A hair dryer. Baskets. Books. Sea shells. Small pink quartz rocks. A blue suede jacket. That jacket has been hanging in my closet for some time. I never wore it. It is an attractive and very nice jacket. Just not my style and not really my size.

Today I was purging my closet and decided I should let go of the blue suede jacket. It seemed appropriate to at least try it on before sending it out of the house. In the right pocket I discovered a toothpick and a hankerchief that still smelled a little like her.

Gramma always had a hanky with her. Sometimes two. When she didn't use it for herself, a hanky was just the cure for any grandchild's or great grandchild's runny nose. She liked slightly fancy ones. She found a treasure load of hankies at a garage sale. As I recall, she paid about .10 each for them. Some might have even been a nickel. She was excited by this find and decided to share. I still have a few that she gave me.

Just as she always had a hanky she almost always had a toothpick. Both are so practical. When I found them in that pocket my first thought was, "Of course. What else would be in her pocket?"

And then I sniffed the handy.

Which didn't seem at all weird at the time. I just wanted to know if there was anything of her left. Maybe it was my imagination but it did seem to smell ever so faintly of her. I didn't cry. I was so happy that something was there.

I know that I will see her again someday, but I still miss her terribly. I will finish a project and want to show her. The kids will say or do something that I think would make her laugh. Mostly, I would like to hear her laugh and call me Brandi-girl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Indian Princess Dress

This post is specifically for the 4th year campers at Dallas East Stake Young Women's Camp. By now you should have your fabric and the very basic instructions. The dress itself is fairly simple to make. There are a couple of ways to do it. This is the way I did it.

Start with the fabric provided to you. Do not dye or alter the base color of the fabric. Fold the fabric in half. This is to find the center.

Now that you have the center cut a slit just along the crease. This needs to be just big enough to slip over the head. You can cut a smaller slit in the center of the first one. That helps to give a little more room.

Drape fabric over girl. Mark the side seams and under arm seams. (Dresses may not be sleeveless.)
I used pins to mark where the seams would go.

Slip the dress off with pins still in place. Use a ruler or a straight edge to true up the seams. Use a straight stitch along marking lines.

The excess can be used to make fringe. Just cut slits at about every 1". Trim away what you don't want.

If you are not going to use fringe, trim away the excess and then turn.

Slip the dress back on. Check the hem line. Hem can be straight or come to a point.  Dresses should be knee length when the young woman's arms are raised straight over her head. This is also a good time to mark the neckline. Necklines can be scoop, V-neck, square or whatever you want. Nothing low cut.

Here are some examples:

Now that your dress is stitched together it is time to decorate. Dresses can be decorated with ribbons, beads, paints, feathers, sharpie, embroidered, etc.

Alternate method: Use a t-shirt as a guide. Fold fabric in half. Lay t-shirt on top. Use that as a guide to mark your seams.

Need some inspiration? Follow this link to see pics of dresses: