Friday, December 31, 2010

Rexburg or Bust!

We had a wonderful Christmas and I hope y'all did too. It went by too quickly. But with looking forward to Kristi's Birthday, Christmas, Kristi's phone call home, Jered's Birthday, and getting Cassi ready to move across the country it's been wild. It's the first year in a while I didn't put any Christmas cards out. :( I LOVE getting your cards and letters...I am always amazed at the growth of the young-uns, and the moves, and the changes that happen in one year. It's amazin'. I know, I will repent.

Christmas decorations and the tree came down Monday and Tuesday, Dec 27th & 28th. I have a 9' tree and wanted the help of my kids to un-decorate everything. With Cassi leaving and Jered back in school when I get home...I cracked the whip and said, "Now's the time folks!" I think the house looks lonesome when all the Christmas decorations are packed away again. Christmas things make everything look so warm, festive, and happy when they're up. Also, red's my favorite makes me happy.

Yes, I am flying out to Idaho with Cassi to get her all situated. I 'HAVE' to go. LOL! ;) It has been so difficult this time. I mean- My tears are right there beneath the surface. Just the mention of her leaving and I'm all blahhhhh! LOL! I love that she's going, she's ready, and I know she's going to do well...and have a blast...and blah blah blah I'm going to miss her terribly. I keep it to myself pretty well. Except-

I opened Cassi's Christmas present, which was a webcam for the gigantic monitor in my office, and she set it up for me and created a Skype account for me. Then she ran upstairs to her room and grabbed her laptop and called me. Well, as soon as I saw her face so clearly on my screen...I was a PUDDLE! We had not finished installing the software for the microphone yet and so she was like..."I can't hear you. Mom, are you crying? Mom, whats wrong? DAD! Somethings wrong, Moms CRYING!" so I see her face wobble wobble wobble as she runs down the stairs and into my office and all I could bawl-out to them all was,"!" Blaahhhhhh! So yeah, I am convinced Skype was invented just for me. So I can see my munchkin's beautiful face from time to time. (I promise NOT to call alot, she has to call me). That way I don't invade her collegiate space. LOL.

We leave at like 5:30am Sunday morning. Jerry wanted to make sure we flew into Idaho Falls during the day so we didn't have to try to drive to Rexburg during the night. We have a LOT of shopping to do. She has more clothes than should be legal for one person. So many things we have saved to buy when we get there like her pots and pans, and a printer, etc. I also have made an appointment for the Orthodontist for she is getting braces. They probably won't actually go on while I am there. So I am thankful for Skype so I can see her cute smile with braces in the coming weeks. :)

I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father allowed Skype technology for such a time as this. I'm grateful.

~Momma Dodge

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twas an Old Fashion Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas & out on the ranch
The pond was froze over & so was the branch.
The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,
And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.
Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark."
Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."
"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right.
"The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle & started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.
Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew
Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,
"Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.
They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.
Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on..
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,
"Said Grandpa - & no one suspected his trick.
Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch -
The old Son-of-a-Gun!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Music

If you cannot tell yet, I love Christmas music. I remember the day Jerry came in from running errands to tell me to tune my radio to 103.7. This immediatley told me they were playing their Christmas music 24/7. Yay!

You'd think I'd have a plethora of Christmas CD's etc. But I don't. I like the surprise of what's going to play next on the radio. It's like little Christmas packages I get to open about every 3 minutes.

No I don't like ALL Christmas music. I do enjoy the fun and funny ones as much as the next guy...until about the thousand'th time they play them. Then...I become momentary channel surfer-girl. Oddly enough one of my least favorites is '12 Days of Christmas' (I know, I posted one- but it was too cute to pass up on, and I've only watched it a half dozen times- I'm okay with that). I applaude really creative versions and something about the Title 'The 12 PAINS of Christmas' really spoke to me. LOL!

My second least favorite is swiftly becoming 'Baby, It's Cold Outside', a darling song that has been played to DEATH this year. It's actually a sweet piece of music that won an award in 1949. And there are a few versions of it that are fun to watch like, Ray Charles & Dionne Warwick (Youtube). There are timeless versions like Bing Crosby and Doris Day, and soulfull ones by Lou Rawls and Dianne Reeves, and there is actually one done by Nureyev & Miss Piggy that is purely for comedic value (Miss Piggy sings the guy roll) and it's funny but if you are listening for music quality...look elsewhere. The versions that make my ears bleed are the ones by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews, and the ALL-time WORST version is by the Glee folks. I just wanna shoot myself in the foot to put myself out of my mysery. There is one done by Nora Jones and Willie Nelson that just makes ya go...."Uummmm, EW!" Michael Buble did BICO with Anne Murray....really? Anne Murray....seriously? It is about as romatic as watching grass grow. If you put this on your play-list for your Christmas party this year...I'll be the one outside checking to make sure I locked my car.

Third LEAST favorite are any of the wonderful, beautiful, spirit filled Christmas Hymns and Carols that are butchered and over-sung by various celebrities. Remember the movie 'Superstar' with the Saturday Night Live gal in it? And she'd jump into the..."Super-Star" pose? Well...let's just make that the picture that comes into our heads when we hear celebs kill beautiful music. This would mean any Christmas Carol done by Christina Aguilera. I'm a fan of beautifully done grace notes, don't get me wrong.... But, I have never seen a person who tries to completely sing a song without hitting the original notes. I wonder sometimes if she's just hitting all the notes AROUND the note trying to HIT the note. LOL! Jk...Jk...Jk. I know what she is trying to do...I just feel the stress in my shoulders when she is finished with a song I love. Pass the Advil!

Music I DO love. I have posted a few of my top ten. I love when someone puts a beautiful version of a song with power point replete with beautiful artwork. That way- and see if you agree- you get to see, hear, and FEEL the breathtaking message in the song. Songs that are dripping with production tend to lose the meaning of the song altogether. Lately, I've seen some really poorly done ones including the Celtic Girls changing the lyrics of songs to suit their agenda...which is a little confused! Buyer beware, their voices are so beautifully harmonic and yet somewhere in their silky voices lies some seriously flawed doctrine. Recently I saw one song where they CUT out the eyes of ALL the pictures of Jesus... so there was little round eery circles where his eyes were supposed to be. Portraying what, exactly, that Christ is a spirit and not a man? Hmmm, really? A Christmas carol, celebrating the BIRTH of the Savior of the world into mortality, and His ministry, and atonement for mankind... and.. he is not really a man... WITH eyes? Hmmmm. Someone needs to do some reading. I can suggest a few books even. :)

Who needs a time machine when you have Christmas music? It can (and frequently does) transport me back to the early 1960's when all my parents could afford (while attending BYU with 2 little girls) was a little gray turn-table and a few LP records. Hey- we thought it was very cool because it could hold more than one record. See, there I am with Cindy and my folks listening to Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, and Silent Night in our little house off Center Street in Provo, in the old Pioneer Ward. We lived by the Jacobson's, Patterson's, Lerwil's, Gleave's, and Mrs. Norman.

Christmas music can take me from 73 degree Texas to a place 1500 miles away where it's snowing outside, I'm 5, and we've just come home from picking a tree that my folks had 'flocked' white with fake snow. Dad had them cut a couple of inches off the bottom of the tree and when we got it hauled home on top of the car, we got to watch as Mom tried to hold it straight while Dad laid on his stomach on the floor and tightened the screws that held the tree in the stand. Then we'd get the boxes of decorations out of the garage. They were the old C9 strings of lights with little hooks on the sides to be hooked to branch's. There were no pre-lit trees. LOL! Our lights were all red and would make clicking noises as the bulbs would hit each other as we'd sit and untangle the lights and lay them out on the floor like one long snake. Mom would painstakingly clip the lights on the tree just right. Then she'd sit on the couch and unpack and hand the ornaments to Cindy and me and we got to decorate the tree. Mostly the bottom half of the tree. But somehow the next morning when we woke up the tree miraculously evened out and looked simply spectacular.

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas puts me in the kitchen watching my mother baking cinnamon rolls, or cookies, or popcorn balls. That song always takes me to a place where I am with my wonderful family, watching Christmas specials on TV, playing games, and visiting with extended family, and friends. Or driving around with the radio playing carols and looking at all the multi colored Christmas lights and laughing, and watching Mom and Dad hold hands.

Christmas music helps me get a glimpse of how the world should operate ALL year...when one can turn on the radio and freely hear the name of Christ spoken, sung about, celebrated, and enjoyed. Everytime I hear 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful' and hear His name...I feel a pang in my heart strings of gratitude.

My very favorite #1 pick which has been and always will be my favorite is 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'. Isn't it funny that we spend so much time as adolecents trying to get OUT of the house, and the rest of our lives trying to get back home. :)

I LOVE Christmas music.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

"I'll Be Home for Christmas" - Rascal Flatts Official Music Video

Nuts N Bolts!

Contrary to popular belief this is NOT Chex Mix. Call it by it's true S. Alberta Canada nick-name which it has been called for the last 50 years I've been on this planet, Nuts N Bolts.

My dear Mother made hers in one of these old enamel canning pots. Me and all my sisters have followed suite. Either with the canning pot or roaster. These make NnB taste better, I'm convinced. Microwave- Pish Posh.


Moms pans, she used for MANY things besides
canning, or baking her scrumptious turkeys, like,
Nuts N Bolts, popcorn balls, carmel corn, and ham.

NnB Ingredients (what I remember Mom putting in when we were small) :

3 C Corn Chex
3 C Rice Chex
3 C Wheat Chex
1 C peanuts (fancy, no skins)
2 C pretzels (sticks or twists)
1 C Cheerios
1 C fancy mixed nuts
6 T butter (real)
2 T Worcestshire sauce
1/2-1 t salt
3/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder

Heat oven to 250 f. Put all dry ingredients in roaster. In sm sauce pan on medium heat melt butter and add seasonings, just till butter is melted and seasonings are mixed together well. Pour this mixture over dry ingredients and stir well to coat dry mix well. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. My mom would shake hers (carefully).

Then allow to cool. Store in airtight containers, or tins.

Any tin will do.

Mom never threw away a good tin. She had tins from those Danish shortbread cookies, and all sorts of other things. She'd clean them well and put them away for when she'd make our traditional Christmas batch of Nuts N Bolts. Those tins were sent to my brother serving in California on his Mission (many years ago), and me (I have lived outside the state of UT longer than in it), and I'm sure to so many others. It was awesome to open her Christmas boxes and find a tin or two of Nuts N Bolts. In fact, there have been a few Christmas' that opening a tin of Nuts N Bolts in front of the glowing Christmas tree on Christmas morning, and smelling that first rush that comes from home-made Nuts N Bolts has transported me hundreds of miles back home to Moms kitchen and the sight of her standing there, and the tears would come. Mom always had things like this to offer our friends, neighbors, extended family, or any guests that would come over. Our Mother was a gracious hostess, and I think she was a party animal at heart. :)

Here is a delicious variation:

Nuts N Bolts- Christmas Clusters

4-5 C Rice Chex
2 C pretzel sticks (coarsely broken)
1 C cashews (coursely chopped)
1/2 pkg (16 oz size) white choc chips (or almond bark)
1 C semi-sweet choc chips

Spray lg enamel Roaster pan lightly w Pam. Dump in dry ingredients. In 2 lg Pyrex measuring cups (what I use- but you can use any microwavable dish) place chips. Microwave for about 2 minutes, stopping microwave every 30 seconds to stir (important) only microwave choc until it is creamy and melted. You are just melting the choc, not cooking it. I like the looks of the Clusters when I pour the melted choc on seperately. But you can melt them together if you want to. Drizzle over mixture. Let stand until chocolate has set. Break into clusters. Store in air-tight containers. Or tins. :)

Nuts N Bolts- Christmas Clusters.

Me and Shannon made Nuts N Bolts for Mom in her kitchen as she watched us from the adjacent family room, the Christmas before she passed. Christmas shows were playing for the Grand-smoochies on the television. The Chrismas tree was all lit up. It was way fun times. Again, I miss you Mom.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Popcorn Balls (Easy)

This recipe is kid friendly- so don't do it without those little Punkins.

Pop 10-12 Cups of Popcorn

Some like air-popped but we did ours the old fashion way...
 A little oil in an old silver pot, a few T. of Popcorn on high heat.
Shake often (carefully).

1 C light Karo syrup
1/2 C sugar
1 sm pack Jello (any flavor)

Over low-med heat, bring 1 C light Karo syrup and 1/2 C sugar
to boil for about 1 minute.

Then add 1 sm pkg Jello, mix.

Pour over popped popcorn. Mix well.
(Mom would put a little butter on her wooden spoon.)
Butter hands lightly to form balls.

We would wrap our popcorn balls in Saran wrap and tie with curly ribbon. But there are many cute ideas that I've tried. If you have extra popsicle sticks from an old art project, push one in before the Popcorn Balls harden then add some cute ribbon.

Wouldn't these be cute for a Christmas party?

Darling, inexpensive ornaments for a tree.

With a little creativity- voile!

My Mom had a HUGE Santa Claus boot made out of pressed cardboard-type material that they painted in a Relief Society Homemaking Meeting one year when I was small (about 2 and 1/2' tall & about 8" wide, and another 2' from heel to toe). She'd fill that boot up with delicious Popcorn Balls and when we'd have visitors come by, or Christmas Carolers (way more prevalent back then), or Home/Visiting Teachers we always had a treat to give them from Santa's Boot. It is another tradition and memory that I cherish from my youth. Thanks Mom.