Friday, June 29, 2012

Random Photo Friday EXTRAVAGANZA!!!

Okay, that title is just my way of camouflaging the fact that this post is just a whole bunch of pictures that I couldn't bear to delete from my photobucket account when I was organizing it last week.  Enjoy or skip, whichever suits your fancy.

(You KNOW I'll be enjoying it!)








Our Easter Cake.  We had Donna & Steve over.










And there you have it.  The End.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

little spots of sunshine

About a week ago, I decided (yet again) that I was spending too much time online.  So, I went through my Google Reader and unsubscribed myself from everyone with whom I wasn't personally acquainted.  Then I went to Facebook and unsubscribed (though didn't unfriend) myself from everyone that I wouldn't either pick up the phone and call or e-mail.  The process took about 20 minutes, and I estimate that it has saved me four to six hours over the course of the week since I did it.  Add that to the fact that I'm no longer addicted to pinterest, and I'm feeling pretty good about the amount of time I spend online these days.

Since this is the second time I'd done this in semi-recent memory, I'm under no illusions that this will be the last time for me, that from here on out I'll be super vigilant and never let a single thing interfere with me spending my time on what matters most to me.  Chances are, six months to a year from now, I'll probably be doing a little internet site housekeeping again.  But, I'm okay with that.  My physical house needs a good cleaning out from time to time, so why shouldn't other aspects of my life?

* * *

I mentioned going to my nieces sealing over Father's Day weekend.  Did I mention one of the surprise highlights of said sealing?  Oh, who am I kidding?  I know I didn't mention it.  If I had mentioned it, I would remember mentioning it, now wouldn't I?  Yes.  So, here's one of the surprise highlights of said sealing:

Unbeknownst to me, my friend from many years back, Kristi Bell was getting married in the Salt Lake Temple around the same time that my niece was getting sealed to her parents.  (To be clear, I knew that Kristi would be getting married that afternoon in that temple, but the actual time of the sealing wasn't known to me.)  Well, as it turned out, as we were headed up the stairs to witness Elia's sealing, I recognized members of Kristi's family heading down the stairs, presumably after her sealing.

Pretty cool huh?  But wait, it gets better.  After the sealing, I went to the children's waiting room to pick up Heather, who proceeded to start playing on the automatic doors in a very un-temple-appropriate manner while we waited for the rest of the family to gather.  So, I took her out onto temple square to distract her with the fountains and statues and flowers there, and to let her run around and let off a little steam.  Well, imagine my surprise (and glee) to find that the Kristi/Mason contingent was still outside taking wedding pictures!  Hooray!  Heather and I strolled by the happy couple and their entourage (Jacob & Heidi--you should know that we weren't even trying to be sly this time), I got a good look at Kristi's dress, and especially both of their happy happy faces, and gave them both a big happy wave.  Then we were on our way.  What a nice little unexpected treat, huh?  

Yeah, I totally took this photo off of Kristi's Facebook page.  What a happy couple!

* * *

And finally, I cleaned my drip pans on my range over the weekend.  It was a snap.  No, I'm not kidding.  I read somewhere (probably pinterest) that if you put the pans in a garbage bag with 1/2 to 1 cup of ammonia overnight, the fumes would break down all the grime and you'd be able to essentially wipe it off in the morning.  (You have to put the pans outside though or you'll get gassed out by the fumes yourself.  Not pleasant for sure.)

So, I tried it.  I ended up leaving the pans in the bag for a day and a half, just because I started on a Thursday, and Friday ended up being a range-less day, and by the time I remembered about it all, it was around 7 p.m. Friday night.  I'm happy to say that it worked really really well.  I did have to use the steel wool for just a bit, but there was not even enough scrubbing to make my noodle arms ache, which, with four drip pans, to me constitutes an unqualified success.  Awesome.

And that's what I've got for today. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

17 Miracles

A little over a year ago, a new movie made its way through the theatres around here.  I gave it a pass.

That's partly because Eric and I don't go to movies all that often anymore, unless it's a super-hero movie (Surprised?  I thought not).  It's also partly because I feel like I've been burned in the past by what I call "Mormon Cinema", but really I should call "Movies made by Mormons which may or may not have approval of the Church, and are marketed primarily to a Mormon audience, which often means that the quality is lacking, since the producers, directors, and others feel like since they have a ready-made audience for the film, they can skimp on budget, time, talent, you name it and expect us all to plunk down our money in the name of being good and supportive church members."  There have been times when I've attended "Mormon Cinema", and have left the theatre feeling manipulated, frustrated, taken for granted, or just plain duped into wasting my precious money and even more precious time on something that was worth neither.

Sorry--kind of went off a little there.

(Gee Charlotte, why don't you tell us how you really feel????)

All that notwithstanding, about six months ago I put the DVD of 17 Miracles on hold at the library (which I guess signaled that I was willing to risk my time, but not my money yet).  I had heard several people whose opinions I trust praise the film, effusively actually; and I determined that it was probably something that I should see and decide for myself.

It was finally my turn this week.  I picked up the DVD on Friday and watched Sunday night and tonight.


I've never felt gratitude for the Willie Martin Handcart Company members the way I feel it now.  I've heard the stories all my life, paid homage to those and other pioneers every 24th of July from the time I was a very little girl, and have always been impressed by and thankful for their sacrifice, their legacy, their courage.  But now, it's different.  I almost can't believe they did it.  I almost can't believe the miraculous blessings they received along the way, and simultaneously the unbearable hardships that they were forced to endure.  I don't think I will ever look at a handcart the same way again.  

I want to be better than I am.  

(And, I want to buy the DVD and show it to Heather in 4 years, and everyone else that I care about in the meantime.)

p.s.  A few other examples of "Mormon Cinema" that I've enjoyed are:  

-The Other Side of Heaven
-Saints and Soldiers
-Forever Strong- (the acting on this isn't exactly Academy Award material, but it has other qualities that compensate for that, in my opinion.)
-The Best Two Years

Sunday, June 24, 2012

ten minutes of fun

Maybe I say this too much, but that Eric?  He's a great great guy.

(And that Heather?  Freaking adorable.)

Here is a video I took a week or two ago.  It's the documentation of an event that's become a regular occurrence in the Cantwell home, a little game that Heather and Eric (but mainly Heather) have devised called "Save the Princess".  Using their trusty map (Candyland Game Board), their wits, and whatever magic friends they are able to commandeer (this time it was the magic dogs), the fair Heather and trusty sidekick Eric roam the land taking out giants, avoiding goo, disguising themselves as giraffes and dogs, all in their unending quest to save that princess from those mean hunters!

I love it!  

If you don't have 10 minutes to spare right now, the moments that are my personal favorites can be found at:

--the beginning
--2.09 (disguise change)
--4.10 (Heather forgets the Magic Dogs (!!!), and Eric and I have a little exchange that cracks me up) 
--6.58 (We have to get some more brownies!  My favorite here comes around 7.17 or so)
--8.40 (I think we got 'em!)
--9.19 (Heather turns on the camera-woman)

(Special Apologetic Note--I realize our home is not spotless, that there is laundry piled in the corner of the bedroom, that you can all see the "take to the attic" pile at the top of the stairs, and that I should be embarrassed to show that all of this to the world.  I'm not.  Well, maybe I am a little.  But, probably not as much as I should be.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Random Photo Friday--not exactly what I was expecting edition

Speaking of swimming lessons . . .

About half-way through Heather's lessons, we received a little progress report from her teacher.  I wasn't expecting this, but when I read the report, I just had to laugh.  Here it is:

Notice:  It doesn't say, "Heather is so smart!"  or "Heather is so brave!"  or "Heather is just great!"  Nope, not any of those things.  What does it say?  Heather is hilarious.  

That's my girl.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June, June, June,

I honestly have no idea what my favorite month or season is.  But June is pretty close.  Winter is long gone, opera craziness has started (boo!) but has not yet reached fever pitch (yay!), the weather is warm but not sweltering, and the parade of reunions and family gatherings (which as you must know I adore, but also regret the energy, time, and planning that they require) is still a few weeks away.

June, June, June.  How I love thee!
heather 6-12

My goodness she looks pretty here.


Swimming lessons were for Heather, an unqualified success.  She loved them.  I loved her teacher, Mally.  All in all, we give the whole experience an A + + +.  This will probably be treated in greater detail over on the Heather blog.

In case you've forgotten (and really, how could you?), Eric's mom is master gardener.  So, lately Heather's been coming home with lovely bouquets of flowers, picked from grandma's garden, all for my enjoyment.  I'm so very delighted with this new development I can hardly stand it.

And finally . . .

Last weekend we took a little jaunt to Salt Lake City for some friend time (at a wedding reception), some grown up cousin time (for me), some train riding time, some (window) shopping time, some family time, and some really great spiritual time.

Last Thursday Heather's cousin Elia was legally adopted into the family (though she's been adopted into all of our hearts for quite some time now), and then she was sealed to her parents and brothers and sister in the Salt Lake Temple on Saturday.

Here's Heather explaining the ins and outs of a sealing, in 3-year old-ese:

I took no pictures before or after the sealing (or obviously during the sealing), but it was definitely the highlight of my June so far.

Monday, June 18, 2012

it's the return of the annual gardeners market post

My mom was up for a few days earlier this week, and one day as we were chatting, I remarked that Cache Valley really does summer well.  (She agreed.)

I don't know if it's because we're so sick of the winter that we've just got to celebrate like there's no tomorrow or what, but the fact is, summer in Cache Valley is an exceptionally nice time to be in Cache Valley.

One of my new favorite things is the weekly gardeners market.


So, here once again, are a few shots (with hopefully only a few words) of our first visit of the summer.

So excited to get there we just had to run.

We shared a plate of Swedish Crepes.  Yumma Yumma!

Then we took turns sampling the lime.  

Not so yumma yumma.

I introduced Heather to Horchata.  She was not impressed.  All the more for me.  



Finally, here's a short video taken by Heather.  It would have been much longer, but (unbeknownst to me) she kept turning the camera on and off throughout the whole thing.  So, it's short and disjointed.  I still love it though.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Random Photo Friday, Mother's Day Edition

Yes, I realize that it's Father's Day weekend, and I'm posting a Mother's Day photo.  Those are the breaks my friends, those are the breaks.

For Mother's Day this year, Heather gave me a big pink sparkly Minnie Mouse watch.

"I love it" doesn't even come close.  I find myself scouring my closet for pink shirts and dresses almost daily just so I can wear it clash-free.  Any of you who know me well enough to know my color preferences (hint:  pink is probably my least favorite color of them all) know what a miracle that is.

Eric gave me a reversible griddle, one so I can cook six or eight pancakes or four or six pieces of naan or a whole bunch of home-made tortilla chips all at the same time.

(The other side is flat.)

I love this one as well.  

All in all, it was a pretty awesome Mother's Day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

African Drums, and other happy accidents

Once upon a time, probably six or seven years ago (so, back in my single days), I found myself in a position where I had a fair amount of time to fill.  In an effort to keep my mind occupied and engaged, I started looking over community calendars for events that piqued my interest.

It was at this time that, looking at the Utah State University activities calendar, I found an event at the Anthropology Museum that looked interesting.  (Little did I know that this same museum would prove to be a place for hours of entertainment for me and my posterity in the future, but that's another story.)  It was an exhibit on African Drums, with an associated performance.  Intrigued, I invited/coerced a few friends to accompany me to this event, and at the appointed time, we found ourselves wandering the halls of the old Main Building, straining our ears for the sound of African Drums.

But, alas, the halls were completely silent.  No drums to be heard for miles, or at least yards and meters.  We eventually made it to the Anthropology Museum, a smallish room (for a museum at least) tucked away in the corner of the building, and once there, asked the attendant (grad student) where the African Drum exhibit was.  He didn't have a clue.  He'd never even heard of such a thing.  I showed him the calendar that I had printed out that stated that the exhibit was that evening.  He called over another student over, presumably one with a little more seniority, and asked him about it all.  After some conversation, it came out that there had indeed been an exhibit and performance on African Drums, and it had been a great evening, but that it had taken place exactly one year prior to our coming to the museum.  

Turns out, I had been looking at the USU Calendar of events for the previous year.  


So, my friends and I drove to Angie's for hot chocolate and chatting, and made our way home.

* * *

I told you that story so I could tell you this one:

Probably about a year ago, I (somehow) found out about the Cache Valley Nature Club, a loose association headed up by some people at Utah State University, with the primary focus of bringing families out of their homes and into nature.  I signed up to be on the e-mail list, and for the next several months, I would get e-mails with news of their monthly meetings, to be held in one scenic spot or another.  As it turned out, it was never a good time for me to attend, and so we never did.  Until last month.

Last month, I found to my joy that the nature club outing was scheduled for a Saturday that was totally free for our family!  I started talking it up to Heather, e-mailed a few friends and invited them to join us, and on the appointed day, showed up at the Denzil Stewart Nature Park for some learning and fun.  Only, the rest of the club didn't come.  There was one other family there (and they were also looking for the club), but other than that, the place was deserted.  We looked all over, but couldn't find them.  Weird.

So, hiked around for a while,


 and eventually we held our own little "club" meeting.

The boys in our group found a pretty cool treehouse,


while the younger girls played in the dirt,



And the older girls (me and Candace) solved the worlds problems, or at least made a dent in our own.

When we were all played out and talked out we left the park and went for sandwiches.

I never found out what happened with the nature club, and I double checked the e-mail (paying specific attention to the year) a few times.  So, who knows what the deal was there.  All the same, it was a great morning activity, one that was fully enjoyed by all.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love where I live?  Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

Old Main photo courtesy of Cami Gee
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