Monday, January 26, 2015

My Potted Plant Confessional

I need potted plants in January.  After taking down my Christmas decorations, my house seems so dull and lifeless—I just need something green and living. 

I’m not great with plants. 

In fact, I’m a potted plant serial killer.

But I’ve been trying to be better and have had some success with a few {non-plastic} varieties.

20150122_113050[1]Now, I don’t know the names of all of these plants, so if anyone out there has a greener thumb than me wants to chime in, that’d be great.  I try to steer away from plants that like a lot of attention.  Things like water and dusting must be optional to my plants.

20150122_113116[1]I found this next one after a trip to Puerto Rico.  I know it’s a tropical plant, but folks, it was growing out of the sidewalk.  That’s a tough plant.  When I came across it at the store when I got home, I decided to give it a try.  It has survived a long time {for me} with little to no attention and *ahem* infrequent waterings. 

20150122_113149[1]It also has spread quite a bit.  In fact, about six months ago I gave a piece of it to one of my friends, and it survived the separation.  Win.  This is what it is called:

20150122_113440[1]Here’s another pretty tough plant.

20150122_113506[1]I had one of these just after I was married and neglected it for a good 6 months to a year before it died.  If you take care of this variety, it spreads and gets long vines.  My sister-in-law had one once that spread the distance of an entire wall in her family room.

20150122_113624[1]This is a newer one to my collection, but seems to be fairly hearty.  It went for a long time in a too-small pot, but managed to grow and has recently had it’s six-month birthday.  Quite an accomplishment at my house.

20150122_113650[1]My husband has an orange tree.  Citrus is a little fussier, so I’m not responsible for this one.  But it’s pretty nonetheless.

20150122_113710[1]The grand champion at our house, though is this little aloe vera plant.  It has survived about 15 years and I don’t think it has been watered more than 20 times.  For a while, it was in the bathroom, so maybe the steam was enough for it.  It’s a little scraggley, but alive.

What are your houseplant secrets?  Now that my plants are living long enough to get dusty, I could use some tips on how to clean them…pfft….who am I kidding?!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January Visiting Teaching Message—The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Obedient Son

This month’s lesson is centered on obedience.  It reads:

“Following Jesus Christ’s example of obedience increases our faith in Him.

Our Spiritual growth takes place as we draw close to God through obedience and invite the power of the Savior’s Atonement into our lives.”

20150122_102537[1] I also love the thought by Elder D. Todd Christofferson that says

“As we walk in obedience to the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we enjoy a continual flow of blessings promised by God in His covenant with us.  Those blessings provide the resources we need to act rather than simply be acted upon as we go through life…Obedience gives us greater control over our lives, greater capacity to come and go, to work and create.”

The idea that obeying gives us more freedom seems like a paradox, but the reality is that our Heavenly Father knows us.  He knows our needs, and our personalities.  He has a plan for us that’s better than anything we can do on our own, and if we will just obey Him and draw close to Him, we can become more like Him and do great things.

20150122_102428[1]For the Visiting Teaching message this month, I printed the message on some cute cardstock {there are two per page} and made a little envelope for it by folding some paper and stapling it.  I printed the little tag, and taped it to the front of the envelope and then glued a stick to the envelope and stuck it into a little potted plant.

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Happy Visiting Teaching!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Front Porch Project

Ever since we moved into this house two years ago, I’ve wanted to do something with the posts on our front porch.  They were a really rough cedar and they were faded and didn’t seem to really go with the house.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to stain them darker or paint them white with some molding on the top and the bottom. 

IMG_1820[1] IMG_2279[1]IMG_1825[1]In the end, we decided that we wanted to paint them.  My awesome husband cut some trim and my kids helped out by sanding, and sanding, and sanding.  There were some cracks that needed to be filled, so we used a caulk-type filler for the larger cracks, and then added the trim and painted.

IMG_2274[1]IMG_2272[1]IMG_2376[1]It was not a quick weekend project—in fact, it took much longer to complete than I thought it would—but I love the way it turned out.  

IMG_2406[1]IMG_2403[1] IMG_2408[1] IMG_2378[1] And one more time, because it is so fun--

Before:IMG_2279[1]

and After:

IMG_2403[1]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November Visiting Teaching Message {Conference Preserves}

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What an amazing General Conference last month!  I feel so blessed to have been able to watch and learn and feel the Spirit during the messages that were given, and am so excited to preserve and share some of my favorite quotes with you and your Visiting Teaching sisters.

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To make your own Conference Preserves, you will need a jar {I used pint-sized} Page 1 of the quotes, and Page 2 of the quotes, the label, and a small treat.  Cut along the lines, fold, assemble and share!

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ft. Lauderdale

On our way to Peru last April, we had almost a 12 hour layover in Ft. Lauderdale.  We decided to get a car and explore the area. 

As our flight landed at 6:00 in the morning, the first order of business was breakfast.  We love trying local restaurants and dives, and we were frantically hungry when we saw this Waffle House.  We don’t have the Waffle House chain in Utah, so we decided to try it.  Apparently, there are quite a few of these on the east coast because as we walked inside, there was a sticker on the door that said “location 971”.   They cheerfully greeted us and showed us to a table.  The Waffle House was not super clean, and the food was far from healthy, but it filled our stomachs.

20140404_073734At breakfast we decided that we were going to take a drive out to the Everglades.  The Everglades are about a 45 minute drive from Ft. Lauderdale, and there are alligators there.  We don’t have alligators in Utah either, so we loaded into the car.

The Fort Lauderdale area is pretty easy to navigate and pretty and green {in the springtime, anyway}.  On the way to the Everglades, we drove past the new Ft. Lauderdale LDS Temple, which was cool. 

20140404_083008The Everglades are huge and have a large variety of plant and animal life.  Since we were limited in our time, we decided to visit Holiday Park.  Holiday Park is the location of the TV show Gator Boys.  I haven’t ever seen an episode, but apparently that’s the place.

fllholidayparkWhen we got there, we signed up for an airboat tour and chatted up some retirees who were fishing off the dock.

20140404_084703The airboat tour was really cool, and if you go to Holiday Park, it’s worth the money to do.  Not only did we see alligators, but we saw all kinds of cool birds and vegetation. 

20140404_095725 20140404_100136 20140404_100928 20140404_100929 20140404_100935 20140404_100941 20140404_101349 20140404_101414And we got to ride in the airboat.

After our tour, we got suckered into purchasing our touristy Airboat Tours picture {mostly because I thought my hair looked pretty good in it}

IMG_2057[1]and then we went to see a short show with the girl from Gator Boys.  She did some dangerous/dumb/cool tricks with some of the rescued gators, and then we paid more money to get our picture taken holding a gator.

So yes, in the end it was an expensive little place, but very cool.

20140404_12330620140404_12433020140404_124449After the Everglades, we went back to Ft. Lauderdale and drove around for a little bit.  We {of course} made a stop at the beach, where I learned that seashells in Ft. Lauderdale are thicker than seashells in Southern California.  Also cool.

After the beach, we found a Cuban restaurant, where the food was just so-so, and then went back to the airport to catch our flight. 

Despite the food, Ft. Lauderdale was nice.  Next trip will include more beach time, a trip to the temple, and more exploring.

Monday, October 6, 2014

October Visiting Teaching Message {The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Bread of Life}

Our physical bodies need food to survive.  We eat breads, fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy, and sometimes treats.  When I go for too long without food, I get grumpy and tired, and my body and mind don’t seem to work as well.

Our spirits also need food to survive.  We read and ponder the scriptures, pray sincerely and attend our meetings.  We try to help others and we partake of the sacrament.  When I go for too long without spiritual food, I get impatient and apathetic, and my spirit feels far away from home.

Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life.  We should look to God each day for help, both physically and spiritually.  He knows us.  He loves us.  He wants to help us.  He wants us to know Him.

IMG_1975[1]I once had a wonderful visiting teacher named Margaret.  She visited every month without fail and would always come with a thoughtful message.  Though we were very different in our day-to-day circumstances, we shared many interests and I loved having her visit and share spiritual bread.

Margaret was also an excellent baker, and shared with me her recipe for Rosemary French Bread, which I made for my sisters this month.

If you are in a pinch for time this month and can’t take the time to make bread, feel free to purchase a loaf of your favorite bread instead to share with your sisters. 

Share physical bread and spiritual bread.

IMG_1977[1]I packaged my bread in paper bag, cut in half and tied with twine.  I made a little paper pocket to put Margaret’s recipe with the message.

If you would like to make your own little pocket, just cut a 12x12 inch sheet of cute paper that is printed on both sides in half, so you have two pieces measuring 6x12 inches.  Fold one side up and secure with staples.  Print the message and the recipe and tuck inside.

Happy Visiting Teaching!

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