Friday, July 30, 2010

Swiss Bread

I decided I had better start baking bread again. I detest store bought bread and since I had baked so much over the winter, I never had to buy any. But we finally got down to our last loaf. So yesterday I made a traditional Swiss Bread. Since I live in a Swiss community, this is a bread that I learned how to bake earlier this year. It's a beautiful, braided soft bread with just a hint of sweetness. It makes great sandwiches, Toast and French toast as well as pretty much any thing else traditional white bread does.
So here's the recipe:
Swiss Bread
3 C. scalded milk or 1 C. powdered milk to 3 C. water
3/4 C. sugar
6 eggs
3/4 C. oil
4 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp yeast in 3/4 C. warm water
11-12 C. flour **You can add several cups of whole wheat flour also

Combine yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs, sugar, oil, and salt. Add flour a little at a time until dough reaches consistency of stiff roll dough. Dough may be a little sticky. Knead for 8 minutes. Turn dough out onto an oiled surface and let it rest for 10 minutes. Braid dough then put in greased bread pan and let raise for 60-90 minutes or until it reaches near the top of the pan. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 4 loaves.

I started by raising my yeast...I put it in a bowl and cover it with a small dish...this works like a charm!

The resting dough is a bit sticky...
Roll each piece into long strips for braiding...

Criss-cross the 2 pieces
Take the top right piece and start braiding by weaving it under and over each piece in order.
repeat with each top right piece...and then tuck the end to finish the loaf.

Let it rise for 60-90 minutes or until it reaches near the top of the pan...then bake!
You can actually shape into traditional loaves, but what fun is that?? Braiding is easy peasy! Brush with melted butter while it's still hot! Can you smell it??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adenoids & Tonsils No More!

I drove up to Idaho this past Monday to spend some time with my daughter, Brittany and her 2 *Littles* who were scheduled to have their tonsils and adenoids removed early Tuesday morning. I took Erica, my 16 year old cousin up with me and we met Britt, Evan and the kids at "Leo's Place", a favorite pizza joint. The kids had so much fun playing and running cute. Since we got to Idaho quite late in the evening, we stayed up talking and I didn't get to sleep until about 3 AM...YIKES, I'm just too old for that...

I met Britt and her hubs, Evan at the hospital  the next morning just before Brooklyn was about to go into surgery. She had just had her "cocktail" and was VERY adorable!

Anthony was in good spirits and cracking me up as he tried to explain what was about to happen. He also had learned a new joke and told it to me only about 50 times! "What did the Banana say to the Doctor?...I'm not PEELING so well"...then he would laugh...he got such a kick out of himself, it was hilarious!

Finally it was his time to go back. We followed him as they wheeled him through the ominous halls of the hospital. He was in great spirits and just chattered away. He received his cocktail and that's when the fun really began! He was HYSTERICAL! I had told him Alakina's favorite joke the night before and he remembered it..."Knock, Knock"..."Who's There?"..."Boo"..."Boo Who"..."Whatcha cryin' about BABY?"
He latched on to the punch line and said it over and over, getting groggier and groggier as he said it. This VERY animated little boy was making us laugh so hard that tears were streaming down our faces.
Since Brooklyn was the first out of surgery, we were summoned up to her room first...She and Anthony would have rooms right next to each other which actually worked out perfectly. The poor little thing was crying and thrashing about almost uncontrollably as a reaction to the anesthesia. Evan and Brittany took turns trying to calm her down, but just basically had to wait it was so sad. She was finally able to get her morphine and she slept for about 2 hours.

Then we heard Anthony crying. Evan stayed with Brooklyn, Britt and I went into Anthony's room. He was so upset, crying, thrashing and insisting that he wanted to "go home". Brittany held him and tried to comfort him as she did Brooklyn, but his reaction was more intense. He slapped, bit, clawed and slugged her. We both started crying as we watched this precious boy "freak out" from the effects of the anesthesia. Each time he became aggressive, I had her lay him down on the bed...he'd hold out his arms to her and scream for her...she had to walk away for a moment so that he could somehow realize that he couldn't keep hurting her.

Anthony needed oxygen (he's an asthmatic) and finally, the nurse was able to give him morphine and he fell asleep...

Britt ended up with a swollen jaw! I asked the nurse if this kind of aggression was a normal reaction and she said that they see this all the time. It broke my heart! Anthony is such a sweet little guy and to see the fear in his eyes as he lashed out at his mother was almost too much to endure...but we did endure and when he (and Brooklyn) awoke after their morphine induced naps, they were BACK! Two sweet little angels were back and it was reassuring to see them smiling and happy once again. was a rough day...all of us were operating on little sleep and  two precious *Littles* were confused, sore and scared. The doctor told us that both kids had large adenoids but that Brooklyn's were abnormally large and were already growing into her sinuses. Now that they are removed, she has a much better shot at a healthier childhood.

Honestly, this was one of the hardest days but we made it through and I am so excited for these precious kidlets to start feeling better. I hate living so far away from them, but 3 1/2 hours is do-able.

It's no secret how much I ADORE these children. After so much sorrow with little Jake, Britt and I were constantly reminded that, although this was a difficult experience, we were SO blessed to be able to take home two perfectly healthy, normal children and reminded to cherish each and every moment no matter how trying it may be at times. They will be fine and they will be challenging...but that's the way it's supposed to be...right??

Friday, July 23, 2010

What's Your Passion?

I've been thinking a lot about Passion lately...not the roll-around-with-the-hunky-beefcake-in-the-sand-with-waves-breaking kind of passion...I mean the kind of passion that people have about something they love...something that they HAVE to do! My mother and brother are two of the most passionate people I have ever known. My mother is THE MOST passionate musician I have ever known. She eats, breathes, lives her music and shares her talents with anyone and everyone. She has known all of her life that music would fill her world.

My older brother is a pilot. My entire life I knew that he would be a pilot. I knew that he loved to fly and he worked harder than anyone I know to make his dreams come true. He washed airplanes at a small municipal airport when he was a kid just to be around them and to learn more about them. Then on his 16th birthday, he took his first solo flight and received his pilots license BEFORE his drivers license! I guess I've grown up a bit envious of people who have such passion and have always thought that I was lacking it.

As I read all of these amazing blogs, I see women who are visibly passionate about somthing. Photography comes to mind. Their photos absolutely turn me green with envy. Or their homes are beautifully decorated. They have talents and abilities that I can only dream about. Then I got to thinking about my different loves and talents and was actually surprised to realize that I do possess passion in one form or another.

So here is what I'm passionate about (in no particular order):

  1. My *Littles*. I have 5 grandchildren and I ADORE them all. They make my heart sing and without them I would be empty.
  2. Music.  Coming from a home where my mother is a professional musician and my dad was an executive for a record company, I was constantly surrounded by music...all kinds of music and I realize that there isn't a day that goes by where I don't listen to some type of music. I have realized that I don't have to be in a Symphony to have passion. I can't imagine a day without it.
  3. Cooking. People who knew me even 10 years ago would laugh! As I was raising my children, I loathed having to cook. But these past 5 years or so, I have become a "Food Network" addict and have found some amazing blogs (this one and this one for example) that fire this passion up inside me! When I cook I feel joy. It's a trip to create something that smells good, looks good and tastes good.
  4. The Gospel. I was raised with a great spiritual foundation and have always believed in God and loved Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer. But in the last 5 or 6 years my love for the Lord and the scriptures has grown immensely and has become even more important to me and I can't imagine life without it. 
  5. My Marriage. Brad and I are about to celebrate 6 years. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I have never been so fulfilled and happy with someone as I am with my sweet husband. He is a man of great character and integrity who shows his adoration for me everyday. He works hard and is generous in every way. He loves my children and grandchildren and has erased the "bloodlines"...they are HIS children as far as he is concerned. He has given me a precious daughter and I adore her as my very own. We are blessed beyond compare and I love him with all of my heart. I adore being married. He's my best friend and it's a BLAST!
I guess I do have passions. Maybe we all do. Some people are just blessed to be able to make a career out of theirs, like my mother and my brother...some passions are more visible than others.

So what are your passions? I would love to hear about them...Come on, you know you have them!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

Have you seen the commercial that says "Life comes at you fast"? That's how my life has felt lately. Time is flying by and I can't seem to catch up to it!

So much has happened. I want to first give a BIG "Thank You" to all of you wonderful ladies who left comments on the Davis Family blog with regard to their sweet Jake. During a time of such heartache, Ragnhild has commented to several people that it meant so much to hear of all the love and are all amazing and I really truly love you all! Little Jake's funeral is this morning. As tragic as this whole event has been, it has yielded so many incredible blessings. Bonds have been reinforced, faith has been strengthened. And this sweet family will heal and we, as a community, will continue to love and support them. They are amazing.

My adorable niece and nephew flew out to Utah from Maryland with their two boys for a family reunion and I was able to scoot down to SLC with Aja and the kids to see them the other night. I took my Beatles RockBand and we had so much fun jamming to some of the best music ever! Even the Littles got involved and made some "beautiful music"...and an added bonus was the announcement that my niece, Lee, is expecting her third child...please keep her in your prayers as she has had a few complications in the past and we need this pregnancy to be a good and healthy one for her! It was awesome seeing them and her two beautiful boys melted my heart...such sweet boys.
Lee and Aja...

Dandy Andy!...

Look at that face!! MUAH xoxo

Kevin with his Uncle Steve...Kevin is such a lover!!

Kevin and Stella playing with the iPod...they became good buddies...

The Littles jamming...well, sort of...

We had our ward party Tuesday night. It was I.N.S.A.N.E.!! I am the "Activities Committee"...well, Brad is on the committee with me (yes, just us 2) but was unable to attend. I planned the entire thing out and then delegated out some assignments to my ward members. We had at least 200 people show up and the weather was beautiful and held out for us. We barbequed hamburgers and hotdogs, the ladies brought potato salads, baked beans, watermelon, chips and various condiments. I baked about 350 cookies using this recipe. I did modify it a bit by using milk chocolate and adding pretzels for added crunch...soooo yummy! Anyway, the party seemed to be a success...we had several childrens games which all of the little ones loved and the adults (with a few kidlets sprinkled in) played "Human FoosBall"...the "rules" kind of went out the window, but it was hilarious to watch and everyone seemed to have a great time. The party ended with a HUGE water fight...I don't think I have EVER heard so many little girls scream and laugh all at the same time...
Our Goalies..Rules? What rules??

We were supposed to have hay surrounding the players, but that just didn't work out... 

I was cast in a commercial for "America First Credit Union" and we have been shooting that over the course of 3 weeks. I first had to go in for some still shots that will be used in it and then we actually shot the commercial last friday night. Yesterday I had to go back to the studio for some final voice over and on monday my little pooch, "Layla" has to go in to do a photo shoot with the "Visa Guy". Yes, my dog was used in the commercial too and she really became the star...she's such a diva. Hopefully we will be wrapped on this project after monday and it should start airing sometime in August...just locally here in Utah.

( that's Layla and me on the "Visa" card)
yes, me again on another "Visa"costume...

I'm heading up to Idaho on Monday to see my other two Littles, Anthony and Brooklyn. They both have to have their tonsils out and are scheduled for that proceedure on Tuesday morning...It will be a quick trip, but at least I will get to be there with them when they go into the hospital and smooch on them when they come out...I hate to see them have to go through this, but they haev both had so much strep that the doc feels that this will really help them...Please keep them in your prayers (I'll put pics up when I get there!)

And finally, a friend of mine, Michael Flynn (a FABULOUS actor), is directing a movie that will be shot [mostly] here in our quiant little town called, "Midway to Heaven" based on the Dean Hughes novel of the same name. I met with Michael and his partner, Shelley, and am working on this project with them...I personally love working behind the camera better than in front of the camera so this should be a fun project. Filming starts the beginning of September..

Well, that's about it...I'll try to be better about keeping up with my blog...and even more importantly, with keeping up with LIFE!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Just moments after I wrote the previous post, I checked my email and received word that sweet little Jake Davis had returned to his Heavenly Father last night just a little after 6:00 PM. He was with his loving parents who had vigilantly stayed by his side since the moment this whole thing happened.

I can't even begin to understand the dynamics of their situation...but I do know that God is in charge. I know that their selfless act of letting their baby go "home" is blessed and right. Now our prayers are prayers of compassion, strength and comfort for this sweet family who is aching as they have expressed their goodbyes to their beloved son. Prayers asking for the tender mercies of the Lord. We will rally around them and support them in any way possible. We will love them and help them in any way we can. Together we will get through this and we will all be better for it.

Just like these kids who trekked this weekend were SO glad to go home, so too is baby Jake glad to be "home" in the loving arms of our Savior...and, although we mourn this great loss, we are glad for him too...


For The Strength Of Youth

At the beginning of this month, I wrote about a precious little boy named Jake who had a pool accident on the 3rd of July at a family function. He was revived and has been in the hospital ever since. If you haven't seen his mother's blog, please take a look. She has candidly and openly expressed her feelings and kept us updated on the condition of this adorable little man.

What I really want to write about today are the precious lessons learned during these past 2 weeks. Let me start by saying that my ward is the BEST ward I have ever lived in and the faith of the young men and young women (ages 12-18) is undeniable. These are valiant young souls who stand as examples of righteousness and strength to all of us. They are our future leaders and our world will be a better place because of them. They just completed their "Trek" on Saturday and yesterday they came to church wearing their pioneer garb. In fact, our Bishop and everyone who participated in trek wore theirs as well and it set the tone for a very spiritually charged meeting...I felt like I stepped back into the 1800's.

For those who are not of my faith, Trek is where the young people ages 14-18 dress in pioneer clothing, push handcarts and walk in the beating sun for 3 days as they recreate a small portion of the trek of the early Mormon Pioneers who came west to Utah. There are many heart-wrenching stories of these early pioneers...many buried children, wives, parents etc along the way. They froze and they starved. But ultimately they endured and arrived in our beautiful state. These kids also suffered along their trek this past weekend. They pushed and pulled handcarts up rocky hills, through flowing river beds, carried all of their provisions in heavy buckets, got filthy dirty, some were a bit dehydrated, they have blisters, minor sunburns and were exhausted...but every one of them is glad they went and shared how hard it was but also their testimonies of faith and love for their Heavenly Father who watched over them as well as the original pioneers...Every one of them was glad they went!

So how does this relate to Jake? Each person on this trek was to walk for an ancestor of theirs who's name they wore on a lanyard around their neck. They also wore a sticker on the lanyard that read "Jake + Lucy = Miracles"...Lucy is another precious 2 year old child in our ward who is struggling with health issues. Anyway, these kids have fasted and prayed over the past weeks for Jake and his family. They found out in their Saturday morning devotional that Jake's parents had made the decision to take him off life support and leave his future in the hands of the Lord. At first, they were devastated! Tears were shed and hearts were broken. They wanted and expected the obvious miracle of a return to a "normal" life for this sweet little soul.

Yesterday in sacrament meeting, our Bishop decided to cancel the scheduled speakers and he randomly, through the Spirit, called people up to share their experiences on Trek. Adults and Youth were called up. I have NEVER shed so many tears in a meeting as I did today! Tears of sadness, tears of joy. Most of the kids mentioned their feelings about little Jake and talked about the miracles that they DID see through this. They all talked of their immense love for their Heavenly Father and their testimonies of prayer. They KNOW that their prayers have been answered and that the miracle THEY wanted, wasn't the miracle they received...and that's O.K.with them! They trust in God and His plan. I LOVE these kids!

So yesterday, I was taught by teenagers and inspired to be a better person. I learned from their ability to remain humble and submissive to the will of the Lord. I will always be grateful for the strength of the youth.


Friday, July 16, 2010

In A Blink

I have been so busy lately and in the rush of getting everything "done", I have realized that so many of us have spent the majority of our lives in *busy work* and maybe not enough in the really important things in life that have an eternal importance. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we often get caught up in "errands" and neglect the things that really have relevance in our least I do.

I was talking to my BFF yesterday and we were talking about how she had everything she owned in a storage unit while she was in between homes. One day she received a phone call and was told that EVERYTHING SHE OWNED had been stolen...GONE...her storage units were completely emptied out and there was nothing left but dust...Since this happened several months ago, she has had some time to process it all. She has received nothing back and it's gone forever...all of it...but it still stings her.

She asked me if I thought she was a "loser" because she doesn't own a home and has nothing any more. Are you kidding me? I couldn't believe she was thinking this way. She is the most amazing person I know and I strive to be more like her because she posesses pretty much every quality that I desire to posess myself. We talked for awhile and this is what I decided:
  1. I just don't think that God is going to ask us how much *stuff* we accumulated while we were sojourning on the earth or how big our house was or what kind of car we drove.
  2. And I really don't think He will care if I got my laundry done or my floor mopped.
  3. When all is said and done, I don't think I will be lying on my death bed worrying whether or not my house is clean or if my make-up is perfect.
  4. What we read, watch on T.V. listen to and surround ourselves with become fibers in the quilt of our I creating strong fibers or weak ones that will yield unsightly holes?
  5. Do I surround myself with meaningful, uplifting, inspiring words, music, images and people?
  6. Do my grandkids really care if my house is clean or would they rather have me sit on the floor and read them their favorite story...what are they really going to remember?
Well, you get the point.

So we talked and as we aknowledged that we have both lived more than half our lives, (YIKES) we decided that it's really time to concern ourselves with the things that do matter. This is what I have seen lately in my own life:

  • A sweet mother suffer with the heartache of watching her precious little boy fight for his life with not many guarantees.
  • A loving wife remaining faithful, loyal, strong and vigilant in the fight to free her husband whom she believes has been wrongly accused of a heinous crime.
  • A young mother raising her 5 young children alone and fighting for her marriage while her husband resides in a psyche ward receiving treatment for a mental illness. 
  • A loyal wife of 60 years care for a dying husband without any complaining.
  • A young mother going through divorce and struggling to raise her 3 young children with very minimal financial help from her husband.
  • A young mother striving to understand why her beautiful baby daughter will never crawl, walk, speak or function normally and has an uncertain life span.
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." ~John Lennon

Their focus is right where it should be. Their focus is on the things in life that have real meaning and purpose. They are exemplary women of unwavering faith and endurance. I love them and honor them as valiant daughters of God. They are fighting the painful battles of life. They are my heros and I look up to them with respect and reverence.

So in answer to my BFF's question, a resounding " are not a loser." She is a mother, sister, daughter, grandmother and friend who has had some bad things happen to her and is struggling to get through this life right now. In a blink it will all be over and her legacy of compassion, care, concern, unconditional love, charity, service and more will live on. Her children and grandchildren know who she is and they don't care about her posessions, they care about her.

So the real question is, "Am I placing importance and time on the things that really matter?" In a blink it will be over for all of us. And that's O.K...