During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tomato Plants

My next door neighbor is famous for his home grown tomatoes.  He always plants plenty to give away to family, friends and neighbors, and in the fall is always advertising his free tomatoes.  His homemade tomato cages are famous too.  Made from metal wire fencing material and strong plastic ties covered in plastic, they stand about 5 feet tall and support his vigorous and healthy tomato plants all season long.

 Perhaps I haven't been a very cooperative neighbor, because I plant my own tomatoes, and they usually do very well, so I don't think I've ever taken him up on his offer of free home grown tomatoes.  Last Saturday my neighbor was outside preparing his tomato cages for the planting of his tomatoes, and mentioned that he had extra tomato plants and cages, and asked if I would like to use some.  I mentioned that I was already planning to buy my tomato plants this week, but he insisted that he really did have extras, and asked me if I would like them.  So of course I couldn't turn him down. 

Monday, of course was Memorial Day, and he was busy with his traditional family gathering, and Tuesday and Wednesday were rainy around these parts, but tonight as I came home from work Mr. Neighbor was out tending to his tomatoes, and again offered me his two remaining tomato plants of the Moscow variety.  He says that they are ugly, but huge and very tasty.  His favorite variety.   He showed me how to set up his last two tomato cages, and so I went out and planted his last two Moscow tomato plants in my garden, along with the two Celebrity plants, two Big Boy plants, and two cherry tomato plants that I had bought on Monday afternoon.  I still need to stake and cage the other tomatoes, but I think we're set for our coming tomato season.  Feel free to stop by for some tomatoes come August.  If we don't have any in our yard, Mr. Next Door Neighbor is sure to have some great ones!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Honey Butter

Honey Butter on fresh bread or toast . .. . Yummy!  DH was so kind to buy us honey and gormet raspberry honey butter on our little trip last Saturday, along with a nice assortment of cheeses.  The Honey butter is almost gone, but the rest of the goodies should last us a while.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cub Scouts

As part of my responsibilities at church with the Primary, our church's children's organization, I have the privilege of attending the local Cub Scout committee meetings and pack meetings.  As a member of the pack committee, my main responsibility is making sure that receipts for activities and other expenses are correctly submitted for reimbursement and keeping a record of the budget and what was spent.  I also help out a bit with keeping track of leaders and boys and their contact information, but mostly that job is taken care of by other committee members. Tonight was our Pack Pinewood Derby, and of course I was there to cheer on my young friends. 

I have been a Den Leader for both Wolves and Bears in the Cub Scout program several times, both when my own sons were cub scout age and then later on with the neighborhood boys who were the same age as DD3.  Being a Cub Scout Den leader is a very time consuming and sometimes exhausting responsibility, but I enjoyed it every time I was involved.  I must admit, however, that I also am enjoying helping out with Cub Scouts on this level too.  I get to see the boys have some fun each month at pack meeting, and also see how proud they are to be honored for their achievements and awards.  And, I don't have the weekly responsibility of planning, coordinating, and carrying out the den meetings and other activities.  Yes, Cub Scouts is a lot of fun!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

♫♪♫ Happy Birthday to My Daddy ♪♫♪

My Dad. 
Hardworking, Faithful, and Kind.
Thoughtful of others.

Throughout eight decades and more, he has dedicated his life to
Serving others
Seeking truth
Teaching children
Providing for his family
Visiting the lonely
Following God
Serving his country and his community

My Dad.
My example.
I love and appreciate him!

♫♪♫  Happy Birthday Daddy ♪♫♪

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Holiday

Memorial Day has always been a special holiday for me, not necessarily filled with BBQ's and fun activities, but a good day nonetheless.  After all, it is the first official holiday of the summer!

When I was growing up we started out the day by going door to door selling red paper poppies  to raise funds for the American Legion.   The poppies were constructed by disabled veterans from the World Wars as a way for them to earn some money, and represented the  brave little red poppies that grew Flander's Field in France, site of the graves of many brave soldiers who fought in World Ward I.  Selling paper flowers door to door was  a difficult thing for me to do as a child, as I was quite shy and hated talking to people, especially people I did not know.  Thanks goodness for older siblings who accompanied me and parents who encouraged me to overcome my fears to do service for someone in need!

Once this task was completed, my parents would pack up the car with a picnic lunch and drive us all north for about two hours to the small town where both of my maternal grandparents grew up.  We would meet with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for a picnic lunch in the little town park, and then gather with more relatives from my Grandfather's extended family for a family reunion and genealogy meeting.  Sometimes the children were allowed to skip the meeting and play outside in the park, but I remember attending most of the meetings where I heard stories about my pioneer ancestors and the sacrifices they made in order to provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. 

After the meeting there was usually time to visit the old town cemetery and see the gravesites of many of these brave ancestors.  We would bring a few spring flowers to decorate the graves, and learn a bit more about our family history and background.  Sometimes we would even stop on the way home at a local fruit stand or ice cream parlor for a treat to eat or take home.

The family reunion is no longer held every year on Memorial Day, but is now held every other year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  I was able to attend two years ago with my sister and parents and two of my daughters, and then this past Saturday my DH was able to come with us too.  It is a good thing to visit the old rock home that my great-great grandfather built and where he raised his family.  It is good to hear the stories once again retold, and to have my daughters hear them too.  We were even able to find some ice cream before heading home!

It is good to take the time for a Sunday dinner with my DH's family, and then travel together as a family to visit my father-in-law's grave, to feel the love that we have for one another, and to have the knowledge that we can someday all be together again as a forever family in the world to come. 

Today is quiet.  DH and DD1 are working, and the other children are scattered.  We aren't together today, but I have a pleasant quiet day to putter around the house and the garden, to write some thoughts and some memories, and to reflect on the blessings that have been left to me and my loved ones; gifts from those who have worked, and fought and sacrificed; gifts from those who have gone before.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

World Congress of Families

I am the first to admit that I haven't been paying a whole lot of attention to national and world news the past little while, but I do manage to catch bits and pieces of what's hitting the TV and Radio and Online news reports.  A lot of the news is not happy nor pretty, which is one reason why I often tend to avoid it.  Some days it is just way too much for me to handle.  There is an important World Event that took place last week that I have only seen addressed here in the blogosphere:  This was The World Congress of Families which just held their 2013 Congress in Sydney Australia.  There are so many good people around the world who are dedicated to defending  and protecting the institution of families.  Many different politicians, religious leaders, community organizers, trained professionals and others were gathered in Australia giving presentations, conducting panel discussions and break out sessions, and workshops, and even interviews to those in attendance.

 I am a strong believer in the importance of the family.  I believe that the family unit is central to God's plan for his children.  I believe that children are entitled to be reared by both father and a mother who honor their marital vows.  I believe that parents have the responsiblity to nurture each of their children and to provide love, protection, and the necessities of life for their children.   I have been very blessed with wonderful parents who have provided these things for me throughout my life, and I am very blessed to have been able to help provide these same things for my own wonderful children.

I have been reading some of the reports of the Congress that have been posted on various different blogs that I follow, and thought that some of you may be interested to read about some of what has been happening in this World Congress of Families.   Hopefully we can all do something, however small it may be, to help provide the blessing of a strong and loving family to more of children of our world.

Here are some of the blogs where you can read more:  (some of the blogs have several different posts about the Congress and may have links to even more blogs.  Feel free to explore!)

Chocolate on My Cranium
We Talk of Christ; We Rejoice in Christ
A Well Behaved Mormon Woman

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

♫♪♫ Happy Birthday to DS2 ♪♫♪

Tonight I was able to spend a few minutes talking to DS2 and his wife and to wish him a Happy Birthday!  It's always difficult to properly celebrate your children's birthdays when they are several states or more away, but then I suppose that is just part of letting them grow up and be on their own.  I am grateful to have such a wonderful, kind, and talented son . . . and cute too!

♪♫♥  Happy Birthday DS2  ♥♪♫

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

♫♪♫ Happy Birthday Mums! ♫♪♫

When I was small, I called this beautiful lady Mommy.  She has  spent many long hours through the years in the loving, watchful, caring service of her family, and of others.  She cooked and baked and canned and cleaned, read to us, sang to us, taught us our ABC's and the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  She taught us to be honest and kind and to always to our best.  This picture shows her outside at Easter time I believe, a time when there is often still snow in the mountain valley where I grew up.  I am amazed that she is standing out there without a coat, with such a beautiful smile on her face . . . this is the kind lady who was always getting after me to put on a sweater, zip up my coat, and to put on a hat or a scarf!  :)

At some point in my life I no longer wanted to call her Mommy, but for some reason I didn't want to call her Mom either.  It just seemed . . . too ordinary for my one of a kind Mother.  At the time I spent much of my spare time reading British novels and literature, and somehow calling her Mums, like the Queen Mother was called, seemed just perfect to me.  A large portion of our anestry is British, after all.  So, Mums she has been, at least to me, ever since. 

I love this beautiful lady with all of my heart.  She is my example and my inspiration, and I owe her more that I will ever be able to repay.  So, Mums,  I hope that you are having a most wonderful birthday and that you realize just how special you always have been and always will be to me.


Monday, May 20, 2013


Today on my break from work I just felt like having a little snack, so though I don't very often, I ventured downstairs to the little store that sells drinks and candy and other snacks.  I knew that probably the only item that I could find for less than $1 would be a candy bar, but guess what:  I found that small packages of nuts were available for 50 cents each!  So I treated myself to a small bag of honey roasted peanuts and was energized for the remainder of my shift.  Peanuts are possibly one of the last inexpensive, somewhat healthy, easily portable and storable treats. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nice Neighborhood

I took a rather long walk in my neighborhood this evening, and ended up reminiscing a bit about the 17 or so years that we have lived here.  It has been a good place to raise our family.  We live on a cul-de-sac street where I felt comfortable letting my kids out to play. We have had a variety of good neighbors. There haven't been a huge number of kids growing up here with our children as the neighborhood was already getting older when we moved in, but there have been enough for our children to be able to walk to friends homes to play, and have friends over here.  The elementary school is several blocks away, and the Junior High School even closer.  Even the High School is within walking distance, as are several grocery stores and convenience stores and churches.  This is the neighborhood where DH grew up.  His parents live several blocks over from us, so we have been close to the grandparents.  We have a nice sized yard with plenty of room to garden and a few fruit trees and berry bushes and a basketball court.  The house is older, but we've been able to make it comfortable and our own.  There have been some questionable inhabitants in some of the nearby houses, but overall it has been a great place to live.  We have a nice neighborhood. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day Chocolate

It is traditional in our church congregation for a small gift to be handed out to all of the women in attendance on Mother's Day.  In the past years I have received various flowers, booklets, and chocolate bars.  This past Sunday we all received wonderful Haagen Daz Ice Cream Bars, passed out in our Relief Society (Women's Organization) class 15 minutes before the end of church.  They were delicious, and no one had to feel guilty for not sharing with hungry children or spouses! 

Later that Day I was given wonderful gifts from my own family:

Now, can anyone else top that for a Mother's Day box of chocolate?  Imagine my surprise when I opened a box meant to hold a case of printer paper and saw it filled to the brim with chocolate goodies:  Dove, Lindt Truffles, Hershey's Kisses, Ghiradelli squares, Reese’s pieces, M&M's Oreos, etc.  I have received much wonderful chocolate from my Dear Husband and children over the years, but this gift topped them all!  It was overwhelming to say the least!  Once I started digging a bit I found that it wasn't truly all chocolate:

There buried beneath all of the chocolate goodness was an iron that I have been needing since my old iron died last month right in the middle of my quilting and blogging from A to Z attempts.  There was also a gift certificate for some repair work that we have also been needing . . . . And my DH and DD1 felt that giving such practical, useful, "working" gifts were not appropriate for kind Mother's Day gifting, so the gift had to be camouflaged.  What a sweet and thoughtful family I have!  I do appreciate all of the gifts that I received this past Mother's Day, and of course I am very  grateful for all of the wonderful chocolate . . . .which hopefully will last me for a long, long time to come!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Well, we may have had our perfect spring day last week, but summer is rapidly approaching.   Now the temperatures here are in the 80's, possibly the 90's.  I haven't checked for sure.  At work this week the temperatures have consistently been in the mid to high 80's in our office, with the facilities people trying desperately to get the air conditioning working right.  They thought everything was fixed, but today we were once again sweltering as we typed and answered phones, trying to keep our brains functioning normally.  I have a small Chinese fan at work that a dear co-worker brought me from a trip she took to San Francisco China Town some years ago, and believe me, was I ever grateful for it today.  Someone finally took pity on our little section and aimed a fan full blast from their area towards ours, which helped considerably.  I think that the problem has finally been fixed as things were starting to cool down about the time that I left this afternoon.  I guess that I'll find out tomorrow.

At home we haven't turned on the air conditioning yet.  We keep the windows open and the ceiling fans going at night and in the early morning then shut them up tight before leaving for work.  So far we are surviving and hopefully the temperatures won't rise any higher for another few weeks.  Maybe we can even get some additional cooler weather and rain?  At any rate, today I am very grateful for fans.

Monday, May 13, 2013


I love lilac season!  Especially the years when the lilacs are in perfect form for Mother's Day.  I was able to present both my Mother and my Mother-In-Law with small bouqets of lilacs yesterday, and still put a spring on my kitchen table.  It is a bit sad that our lilac bush is in a hidden corner of the back yard behind the house, but we can still cut and bring them inside for a bit of spring lovliness.  Now if I would just do a bit better job of pruning them, maybe we'd have more lilacs next year!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Beautiful Mother

I am very grateful for my beautiful Mother who cared for and nurtured me for many years, fed me, washed me and my dishes and clothes, taught me, read to me, sang to me, dried my tears, comforted me when I was sick, played with me and prayed with me, among many other things.  Not only that, but she cared for my five siblings and my dear Father too!  She is my example and my inspiration. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lawn Mowers

Have I mentioned that I don't really mind mowing the lawn?  Especially this time of year, it's a nice hour or so of fresh air and exercise.  We've had a lawn service mow and fertilize our lawn for a year or so before (starting one year when I was pregnant and we didn't have a decent lawn mower) but generally the kids and I have taken care of the lawn on our own.  (DH suffers from allergies, and I learned from experience long ago to not let him mow the lawn or he would not be in very good shape the following day.) 

We have had quite a few different mowers over the years, and some interesting experiences with them, one of which involved the lawn mower ending up in the canal.  But we won't name any names or go into the details here, especially as the details always were a bit sketchy.  Anyway, I'm grateful to have had power lawn mowers all of these years. 

All of our lawns have been fairly large, and I can't imagine having to mow them with a human powered mower, or with a scythe or machete or some such tool.  I suppose we could always go the really old fashioned route of having the horses or cows or sheep mow the lawn for us, but then we aren't exactly zoned for that in our neighborhood.  And I don't think I'd appreciate the hoof prints and the unevenly distributed natural fertilizer that would come with that method of lawn mowing. 

So yes, I do like the lawn mower.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Perfect Weather

This year's "perfect date" is today, May 9, 2013. It's not too hot and not too cold.  It is currently 65 degrees outside.  The sky is blue with just a few fluffy white clouds and a bit of a breeze.   The grass is green and the trees are all leafing out.  The lilacs are blooming and there are still a few tulips around town.  This morning I spent a wonderful hour outside weeding the garden, and this evening I plan to mow lawns and weed until dark.   Yes.  A perfect weather day today.  Can it please stay this way for a while???

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


My Mother-in-law with our family 24 years ago.

I have just about the best Mother-in-law that anyone could ever ask for.  She has always been so loving, kind, and accepting of me, is the perfect mother for her children, and a wonderful grandmother to our children.  She is always willing to do and to give whatever she can to make the lives of everyone around her more comfortable and enjoyable.  Her strong faith and courage as she faces life's challenges with a smile will always be an example that I try to live up to.   

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Walking Home From Work

I am very blessed to have a job where I can walk to or from my work in about ten minutes.  Since my car is in the shop this week, that's just what I have been doing for the past few days.  I don't really mind walking; in fact I rather enjoy it as long as the weather cooperates.  I get some exercise that I wouldn't normally get since I haven't been taking the time to exercise like I should lately.  Setting aside time just for exercise sometimes seems like a bit of a waste and a bother, but if I'm doing something I need to do anyway such as yard work and gardening or walking to work, I really rather enjoy it.

This afternoon I decided to add an extra couple of blocks onto my walk so I could stop by the local grocery store and pick up a few things for dinner.  There were a few dark clouds as I left work, but I didn't worry too much as the sky to the west seemed brighter and clearer, but just as I left the store with my meat and fresh veggies, it started to rain, not too bad, just a light rain.  About three blocks from home, the rain was getting harder and another blessing occurred:  my dear next door neighbors pulled over and offered me a ride the rest of the way home.  Thanks neighbors!  Double and triple blessings today!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Daughter In Law

In addition to my 2 Dear Sons and 4 Dear Daughters, I have a wonderful Dear Daughter In Law.  DS2 and DDIL live out of state, but this past week DDIL was able to fly in for a Women's Conference and spend some time with her mother and sister.  DS2 unfortunately had to work and was unable to come,  but we plan to spend some time with them both when they come to visit in July.  I also had to work and was unable to attend the conference, but on Saturday evening we were able to drive down to take DDIL out to dinner with the DD1, DD3, and DD4 who live here in the area.  We had a nice meal and a good time chatting, then stopped at DD3's apartment where she provided us with fresh brownies and ice cream for dessert.  It was a very nice evening. 

DDIL was scheduled to fly back home on Sunday afternoon, but when we got home from church, we found a text saying that her flight had been delayed for about four hours  So we rushed out to the airport and brought her home for another nice visit and distraction from the lonely wait at the airport.  Twice blessed for a lovely visit with a beautiful lady who is the perfect companion and compliment for DS2.  Aren't we blessed?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Patience of Spouse

My DH is a wonderfully patient guy who rarely says anything even remotely negative.  I am blessed to have a spouse who is so calm and patient with my mistakes, my ineptitude and sometimes lack of common sense. 

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

--Moroni 7: 45-47
The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Thursday, May 2, 2013


My Father's Parents
I have many ancestors who have lived great lives and made good choices and decisions that have had an affect on my life and who I am.   I have grandparents and aunts who have collected stories about my ancestors and have made them available to me and my family.  I have gone with my own mother to libraries to search out and find information about my ancestors.  It is amazing to see the information that is available, and sometimes overwhelming to realize the work that it takes to verify and organize the information that we do have.  It is something that I know I need to work on, to carry on the work that others have begun.

My Mother's Mother

My Mother's Father