Monday, January 28, 2008

President Hinckley Passed Away

Our beloved prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley passed away last night at the age of 97. He will be greatly missed, but at the same time I'm happy for him. He has been without sister Hinckley almost 4 years, and that is long enough. Apparently his work was finally completed and he got to go home. I can almost imagine that grand reunion last night!

Things will work out, if you keep trying and praying and working.
Things will work out.
They always do.

For quite a few years we've had this picture of President Hinckley and quote from him on our refrigerator, surrounded by quotes from scriptures. It's been nice to come into the kitchen in the morning and "read" the refrigerator and be encouraged by President Hinckley. I have fond memories of him, his sincere dedication, his vibrant testimony and his endearing personality. He will be greatly missed, but I'm glad he is at long last with Sister Hinckley. Shortly before she passed away I remember him saying that her clock was winding down, and they couldn't find a way to wind it up again, so we knew it wouldn't be long for her. We wondered how much longer he would be with us. He has accomplished an amazing amount since then, and apparently his work here on the earth is at long last, finished.

Meridian Magazine had a nice article about President Hinckley's life. Go to

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rescuing a Badly Burned Pot

I cooked some carrots this morning and didn't pay enough attention to them until I became aware of an obnoxious smell wafting my way. (OK, I confess. I was too involved with the computer to notice before then.) As I dashed over to assess the damage, it became more and more obvious that those carrots had done more than just go dry. The burned smell got stronger and stronger the closer I got, especially when I took the lid off. Oh wow! The top part of the carrots were still orange, but the whole bottom of the pan had a thick, impenetrable-looking black, gunky coating.

Woe is me. That was my favorite pan! I use it almost every day. I wondered how long it would be before I could use it again, or if I ever would. Some time ago I learned that boiling water with cream of tartar in a burned pan would usually loosen the burned stuff. Alas I was out of cream of tartar. (Hadn't burned enough pans lately, I guess--or perhaps too many.) I asked myself what I might try instead. What came to me was BAKING SODA! I remember once seeing a whole book on the wonderful stuff that can be done with baking soda, do I decided to try it.

I poured some water in the pan, glopped in a generous amount of baking soda and brought it to a boil. After just 5 or 10 minutes I decided to scrape at it with a spoon to see if I could tell if anything was happening. Imagine my surprise when practically all the black stuff came off! Just like that! With the addition of a minimum of scouring with a scouring pad, the pan was as good as new. I was amazed. When I've used cream of tartar it always took me several sets of boiling and scraping, and adding new stuff before the pan came clean. Here it was clean and shiny in a matter of minutes. It was so easy. I was impressed. Yay for baking soda!--K

p.s. The burned carrot incident has taught me that the computer renders me brain dead to everything around me (just like Jim with the newspaper.) :-) Now that I'm more aware, I will pay more attention. I promise! :-) I hereby pledge that I will not allow the house to burn down around me while I am blogging…

Barbie sent me the following comment: "I set the timer when I'm doing laundry to remind myself to go change it. Maybe you should set the timer when you have something on the stove just so you don't forget!"

She thought it was "too funny," that I pledged to not let the house burn down around me while blogging. :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Helena's First Drawing of a Daddy, Plus Added Thoughts and a Photo

During a romp through an old scrapbook that I had forgotten even existed, I found this picture. When the kids were little I encouraged them to draw, and I made a habit of writing on the pictures what the kids said about them. This one was labeled "Helena's first drawing of a daddy," so I'm sure that's what she said about it. She did it all by herself. It shows a smiling face, and two arms and two legs, which is a typical style for a young child, but this is pretty remarkable for just barely two years of age. It's kinda cute.

It brings back memories of the spunky little two year old, with pony tails on top of her head, who was very excited about everything she did. She loved to tell me stories but couldn't stand still while she did it. She paced back and forth and jumped up and down while spinning tales about "Chickie," who was her favorite character from our big book by Richard Scarey. She really got into it, and her little pony tails jumped up and down as much as she did. It's an indelible memory etched upon my heart.

This picture was taken in November of 1973.
Helena was 2 years 9 months old,
Kirsten was 4 years 2 months. Jim and Kathey were both 31.

I also have a fond memory of a time when my parents came to visit. We went to Long John Silver's. (I don't think we've been there since). After we placed our order and sat down, Helena walked over to be sociable with the people at the next table. She took one look at their food and exclaimed "OH HOW WONDERFUL!" The ladies grinned at each other and said something like "Aren't you the precocious one!" When they asked her how old she was, she replied matter-of-factly "Two! I talk a lot!" as she bounced back to our table.

Wouldn't it be fun if just once in awhile our long-ago little tots could come back for a visit?--K

P.S. When I showed Helena's drawing to Betsey she said, "Are you sure you didn't help her? It looks just like daddy! (Gotta love it!)

Kathey and the Rabbit

I am very pleased about:
  • Finding this picture
  • Remembering how to scan it in
  • Remembering how to include it as an attachment (to send to Helena) and
  • Actually being able to make a list using html. (Thanks Karen!)
    The picture above is old and very faded, so I'm hoping that Helena can adjust the color. I'll post it here anyway, even though it hasn't been adjusted yet. :-) It was taken during the summer of 1957 just after I graduated from 8th grade. I was 14 at the time.
    Here is the picture after Helena worked on it. The contrast is better, but she doesn't know what to do about the color.
    This is Laura Duffin Larsen's contribution. It's much closer to the real color. Thanks Laura!

    The rabbit was probably one from a succession of litters of baby rabbits we had at our house. Over the years my grandfather literally ran across several litters while mowing his lawn. Not wanting them to get hurt, (not wanting to litter his lawn with their limbs) he gave them to us. My mother was very patient with me during these times, and let my friends and me take care of them until they were big enough to release into the wild. We bottle fed them for awhile, and then made grand excursions picking dandelion greens to feed them. I remember that it was great fun and quite an adventure.

    Talk about my mother being patient--over the years we had a succession not only of rabbits, but snakes and one time a baby bat. The most memorable time occurred when a snake escaped in my bedroom. Well it was only a baby garter snake, so it wasn't too horrible. My grandfather, however, (bless his heart) felt it was his duty to tell me a story about some men who were out camping under the stars. Grandpa said one man slept with his mouth open and a snake crawled in and went down into his stomach. (gulp!) I think my mother could have shot him for telling me a thing like that. :-)

    I was so scared that I had to sleep with my light on, for a whole week, until that scary serpent was found! My very brave, but no longer patient, mother went searching for it and found it coiled up in my closet. She wasn't about to pick it up, so she prodded it with a broom and got it to crawl into a jar. Thanks Mom!
  • Sunday, January 20, 2008

    Before and After

    Karen wasn't very comfortable here.

    This is SO much nicer!

    For more pictures of Elizabeth, see below.

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    More Pictures of Elizabeth

    Karen sent us an album of pictures of Elizabeth. Click here to see them.

    An Insight From an Error in Perception

    …Whoso would hearken unto the word of God; and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the firey darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. (1 Nephi 15:34)

    When I first read that this morning I saw "firey doubts of the adversary…" and I thought "Wow! that sure is true." The doubts that come from the adversary are like fire and can pierce us to the very core just like darts. That's a good reason to stay close to the scriptures. It's so easy to be led astray by doubts, and so comforting to be led back by the word of God.

    …They who have sought me early shall
    find rest to their souls. (D&C 54:10)

    If we can seek the Lord early in a problem then it's less likely to get the best of us. If we remember to seek him early in the morning, our day will always go better. If we can learn to seek him early, we will be guided by the spirit to avoid many of the firey darts and doubts and pitfalls that would normally come our way.--K

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    AND Here's Elizabeth!

    Elizabeth Anne Ahlstrom made her appearance on January 14 at 12:47 California time. She weighed in at 8 pounds 10.4 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. Her excited papa called to tell us the news when she was about 15 minutes old. When I asked how Karen was, her response was "Good, now." :-)

    We're so glad Elizabeth is here and that everyone is well.

    My blogging skills aren't very well developed yet. I've been trying to figure out how to post several pictures in the same post and add text. So far I haven't figured it out, so I decided just to post in pieces. It worked well enough, I think. See pictures below…

    Elizabeth herself. Look at all that red hair!

    Karen and Elizabeth Getting Acquainted

    It's such a blessing to have her here--finally!

    Excited Papa and New Little Daughter

    Perplexing Printer Problem

    When we bought our present computer several years ago it had a new-fangled printer with it that had bells & whistles that our old one didn't have--namely a copier and a scanner. My first reaction was that this was a bit over the top, but since then I've come to appreciate the convenience of having these things in my home. The new printer also introduced me to something else our old printer didn't have--permanent ink. We could accidentally set a printed page down in an escaped puddle and not have the ink suddenly expand into its own creative style of splooshes and splotches. I was in printer heaven.

    Sigh. All that has changed--hopefully temporarily. Our beloved printer served us well, but several weeks ago the magenta ink became plugged. We cleaned and cleaned the printer heads. We shook the ink cartridge. We put in a NEW cartridge. I even tried EFT on it! No matter what we did, it refused to budge. The ink stayed happily snuggled in its own little cartridge and probably smirked at our efforts. Peter recommended that we call our family computer expert, Karen, who gently broke the news to us that we most likely needed a new printer. In reality, it would probably cost more to fix it than it would to buy a new one. Sadness! Grief! Misery! Woe! (That's got to be a quote from something because I've heard my kids say that more than once.)

    My Dear Hubby, after much deliberation and comparison, came home with a new HP Photosmart C6280 All-in-One Printer•Scanner•Copier (The resemblance between it and a one-eyed, wide-mouth frog is quite amazing and actually rather startling, but perhaps that's only if you have an imagination for that sort of thing, and also enjoy the occasional run-on sentence, which I do.) This thing has so many bells & whistles that it even turns the paper over and prints on the other side if you ask it to. Ohmigosh! I told Jim that this thing is smarter than I am.

    SO, last night I printed off an EFT article that I wanted to use and also add to my files. I set down my lovely, newly printed copy, and OH NO! Splooshes and Splotches! I didn't realize there were some random water spots lurking in that exact same spot on the table. Why would anyone invent a super-duper Photosmart C6280 All-in-One Printer•Scanner•Copier with water-soluble ink?

    It makes no sense. Jim said that perhaps permanent ink clogs easier, but that's the only drawback I can see. We can make a good case for permanent ink. For instance we have a permanent shopping list on our computer. We have several copies on a clipboard hanging by the kitchen sink and from week to week we just check off those things we need to get and take the list along. Now with all the stores spraying their produce with gentle rain every few minutes, hands get wet when picking up produce. Wet hands on the printed page would yield ink on the hands as well as splooches and splotches on the paper. Yuck! Don’t like it. Don’t want it!

    Jim said that none of the printers he looked at said anything about whether or not the ink was permanent. He’s going to do some investigating to see if there is permanent ink available for this printer, and if not he will see if Epson currently has a new one that does have permanent ink. Any suggestions?

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Elizabeth Anne Has Arrived

    Peter called to let me know that Elizabeth Anne arrived at 12:47 California time! She was 8 pounds 10.4 ounces, so it's no wonder that Karen was so uncomfortable! She was 19 1/2 inches long, and had an Apgar score of 9.9.

    She not only has hair, but it's actually RED! Her eye lashes are extremely light. The nurses said that's a good indication that she will have red hair. We will post pictures when we get some.

    Barbie pointed out that Peter and Karen are the only ones in our family who have birthdays on even-numbered days, and now Elizabeth has an even-numbered day also. How fun!

    Actually my Mother not only had an even-numbered day, but it was also the 14th. She was born November 14, 1906.

    No Baby Yet--A Child of God

    It's 10:10 a.m. Ohio time and no baby news yet. I didn't really expect any yet but we're hopeful. Peter called last night and said that Karen was to be at the hospital at 8:00 p.m. (California time) for a procedure preliminary to starting pitocin this morning. In the meantime they had also worked the acupressure points some. I encouraged him to keep doing that.

    Well Peter is excited to become a dad and hopes that he will be a good one. I told him it would come on him gradually. I also told him about the sweet bonding experience his dad had with him when he was probably less than an hour old. Back then they took babies away and cleaned them up and made sure the temperature was stabilized before anyone could hold them. We also didn't have rooming in, so the little ones were whisked away to the nursery. (I'm sure glad that has changed!)

    As soon as he could, Jim went and got Peter, sat in a rocking chair with him, and sang "I am a child of God," all three verses. Then he went home and went to bed!

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Inducing Labor

    Karen's baby is being induced tonight. Baby Elizabeth is doing fine, she’s just having too good a time staying put, so the doctor says it’s time to kick her out.

    Some time ago I sent Karen some diagrams from the book Woman Heal Thyself about inducing labor. We used these points on Helena three years ago. She also was overdue.

    I don’t remember a lot of detail but it seems to me that we massaged Helena’s ankle and leg points off and on Sunday evening. We also used a small roller on the acupressure points on her lower back. (The little roller, called a rollo, was ordered from Mildred Carter who deals in all things reflexology.) Barb also remembered that Helena massaged the points in the web of the hands between the thumb and index finger quite a bit. I think the last time we did any of that was about 9 p.m. Helena said that the roller on her back felt especially good.

    She went into labor around 3:30 a.m., and called us about 5:00 a.m.. When we all arrived at the hospital and Helena was checked for the first time about 8:00 a.m., she was already dilated 8 cm. Kate was born at about 10:57 Monday morning. Not bad for a first baby!

    Labor slowed down some after she was in the birthing room, or Kate probably would have been born sooner. Recently I looked up some acupressure points about keeping labor going, and I also remembered about having mom lie on the left side to help speed things along. That was done with me once when my labor seemed to stop progressing. The nurse said it was her special technique.

    These things really seem to work. Do you know of other things that also help with labor? Please let me know.

    If anyone wants the diagrams, please e-mail me, or leave a comment here including your e-mail address and I will send the information to you. --K

    Saturday, January 12, 2008


    Snoring can be a very aggravating problem. It can be very hard on one's health and on a marriage. A young woman wrote in to Mamasource that she was having a really hard time with her husband's snoring. I wrote a response, because I know how very hard that situation can be. What I shared with her was similar to this:

    Apparently different things work for different people.

    1. Certain foods might aggravate snoring more. My husband snores more when he eats potatoes, or dairy products.

    2. Lavender oil sprinkled on my husband's pillow sometimes helps quiet him down, but it's not a permanent thing.

    3. What really seems to help him, however, is going through a "script" in the book Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, by Karol Truman. (About page 92) It's a script for clearing out things in general, but in the back of the book there is a list of common conditions or ailments that could be helped by plugging them into the script. I looked up snoring in the book and put in statements that seemed to be relevant for him. Now when he starts snoring again, he merely reads through the script once before going to bed. If he does that for a night or two, the snoring will stop. It's amazing how well it works. He used to wake me up several times a night, and it was awful. As I said, snoring can be very hard on a marriage.

    4. AND here's a quote from the Essential Oils Desk Reference: "SNORING: Rub 4-6 drops thyme oil diluted 50-50 [with a vegetable oil] on the soles of both feet at bedtime." (The oils that we use are from Young Living Essential Oils. Others may work if they are very pure, therapeutic grade oils.)

    5. Last but not least--people have had excellent results by using EFT (a quick, painless technique that involves tapping on a few acupressure points on the body). Sometimes those results have lasted for months or even years. I suggest going to click here
    Once at the emofree website do a search for snoring, and you will come up with several interesting articles.

    Hopefully some of these things will help. It's no fun to live with a snorer.

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    The Littlest Sunbeam

    Our granddaughter, Kate, started Sunbeams on Sunday. (How did she get to be three years old? We must have had a really long blink!)

    Here is what Helena wrote about her: "Because of when Kate's birthday falls, she gets to go into Primary when she's just barely turned three. The way they do it at church is that kids are in the nursery from eighteen months to three years old, but they move up at the beginning of the new year. So if a child is born in January, they stay in nursery till they're almost four. We've been wondering how Kate would handle being in with the bigger kids.

    "The 3-4 year old class in Primary is called Sunbeams (after the 'Jesus wants me for a sunbeam' song). Here's our little Sunbeam on her first day. I hear she had a good time. She likes singing, and stories, and she has some good teachers. (The 'staying in your seat' concept will take a bit longer, I think.) When I asked her later if she liked Primary, she said, 'Yes!'"

    Sunday, January 6, 2008

    The Newest Family Member--Almost

    Our daughter-in-law posted some new pictures today. Baby Elizabeth is due on the 10th. Here is a very pregnant Karen.

    New Year's Happenings and Memories

    OK, I admit that I’m rather slow, but I’d still like to write a little about New Year’s. I’ve enjoyed reading what others in my family have said about it, so I’ll take my turn too.

    New Year’s Eve afternoon Jim went to the Korean store and bought some dduk (small wafer-like things made out of compressed rice flour. They look sort of like soft potato slices.) Betsey went to the video store and rented two movies. We saw Ratatouille while Kirsten was still awake. Kirsten turns into a pumpkin around 9:00, so after she went to bed we watched The Pursuit of Happyness. (Yes, “Happyness” is spelled correctly.) We liked both movies. They were very different, but worth watching.

    For supper that night Betsey made Dduk Guk (which is a Korean dish traditional for new year’s) and made enough so we could have it the next day also. It’s a new tradition in our family to have Dduk Guk for New Year's. (Helena learned about it when she was in Korea on her mission. I don’t know if it’s spelled correctly or not. Helena…?) For munchies that night we had popcorn and sun chips.

    We heard that this year was the 100th anniversary of the ball dropping in Times Square, so we definitely wanted to watch it. Actually it’s been a tradition of ours forever. Dick Clark looked pretty good this year. He seems to have recovered quite well from the stroke he had last year.

    When Helena was 8 years old we lived at Edwards AFB California. At 9:00 California time it was 12:00 midnight in Times Square, so the kids got to watch the ball drop before they went to bed. We also had a great time banging pans and making lots of noise. That worked out well. Just to add atmosphere we set our clock to show midnight also. It was fun.

    When I was growing up we had a few traditions for New Year’s. We always ate pickled herring with saltine crackers. (I'm sure that beat getting pickled in other ways.) My mom’s parents came from Sweden and my dad’s parents were from Norway and Denmark, so I figured that the pickled herring was something Scandinavian. Oh yeah, speaking of pickled, my dad also LOVED pickled pigs feet (blech!), but not necessarily for New Year’s Eve. And traditionally we always got out the New Year’s noise makers and party hats. In later years I embarrassed my kids by going out on the porch and banging pans to make noise. I restrained myself this year. Besides, Kirsten was asleep.

    Kirsten really likes parades so on New Year’s Day we traditionally watch the Rose Parade. Jim also takes the Christmas tree down then. He has it down to a science and gets it all taken care of while the parade is running. The last few years we’ve made a point of watching the parade on the Home & Garden Channel so Paul James could tell us all about the various varieties of flowers. We like his commentary.

    When we were in college at the University of Illinois, the U of I played in the Rose Bowl. A group from the school chartered a plane and Jim went with them. He stayed with his brother Fred and family while there. The game was played in January 1964. He doesn’t remember who they played or if they won, but he does remember that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the grand marshal, and was also at the game. This was before Jim and I met, but I thought it was a neat bit of New Year’s history. The U of I played in the Rose Bowl this year. They didn’t do so well, but those kids got to be in California for 5 days, so I suspect it was a fun experience for them.

    Wishing you lots of good things in 2008.

    Wednesday, January 2, 2008

    Full House Lyrics

    Perhaps most people are not even interested in this, but as Peter may remember, I've been "bugged" for years by not being able to understand the lyrics to the opening song on Full House. Since Kirsten watches it at every opportunity, I continued to be slightly annoyed by it. I suddenly realized I could google "Everywhere You Look" and see what came up, so I did. Lo and behold it was the first thing that came up. So if anyone else has been waiting with baited (Helena is that the right one?) breath--here it is!
    Everywhere You Look
    by Jesse Frederick - Full House Lyrics

    What ever happened to predictability?
    The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV.

    Everywhere you look ,
    Everywhere you go (there's a heart).
    There's a heart
    A hand to hold onto.

    Everywhere you look ,
    Everywhere you go.
    There's a face
    Of somebody who needs you.

    Everywhere you look,
    When you're lost out there and you're all alone,
    A light is waiting to carry you home,
    Everywhere you look.
    Everywhere you look.
    It was that "evening TV" that I never quite got when I would try to listen to it. I still don't--really. To me it still sounds like "Enan tea lee" which makes no sense. At least now I know what it's supposed to be. :-)

    Actually it felt pretty good to clear up a long-standing thing like that, even if it is so minor. A rather nice way to start the new year I think. --K