Mouth-watering Memoir

My paternal grandmother, Lucena Ravelo Lacho used to say, "Candy, I'm happy. You know, I just live the simple life..." It's true, if we are happy with what we have, we see the beauty in its simplicity. I miss her so much... I love her so much more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LDS Temples... I hope to see them all!

Oakland, California temple where I Charlie and I were wed...

Here's some of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temples I've seen or have visited. I wish to have the resources to see them all someday...


Mesa, Arizona

Sacramento, California

South Jordan, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

All beautiful, all sacred, for all eternity...


Sacramento, California temple, April 2008, with my eternal family

Well, I discovered that I needed to make three more blogs. Those that would reflect my whole family on all three sides: My marriage family, my mom's family and my dad's family. In my excitement to create a blog that would show all of our current adventures and for my thoughts to be written down, I realized just how multifaceted I am. I'm not just Carolyn, the wife and mother, I'm also Carolyn, the daughter of two beloved people who has ties to more people that I haven't yet met or wish to strengthen my own ties with. What a gift from a loving Heavenly Father! To show you just how important you are not just to your immediate family but to those that connected you by blood and love, now that's a gift for all ages.

I write this with overwhelming flood of gratitude to my family, all over the world, past, present and future...

Finding out who started my line on both sides and where my children will take our future, my ultimate "secret candy".

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Look at what I did!

I will never claim to be creative, but I do amaze myself from time to time when I put my mind into doing and finishing something. Back in Utah, in my sis-in-law's home, she had similar plaques that she did with her Relief Society group, so it reminded me of the ones I have yet to do. Thanks Kate!
The plaques, I bought from a Relief Society craft evening project sometime ago, but never liked the notion of having pressed time to do it so it sat in the sidelines. They even endured our move here to north Texas. Also, I'm not a country girl; I'm Filipino so I had to give them an Asian flair. The "Mathews" plaque, I stained it instead of painting or just shellacking the surface. The wood it came with was neither wide nor long enough, so I asked Charlie to help me find a suitable replacement. After he cut and prepped it, I used a deep burgundy stain and used a roller to give it a lacquered look. The result with beige and white vinyl letters on it looks so elegant that it can be used it on any decor. Even for those die hard fans of leather furnishings, it would look great with it.
For the "Family Home Evening", I strolled down memory lane for my inspiration. I grew up looking out onto a construction site of a 5-story home and clothing factory. Outside, at the end of each day, I would find wood with splatters and brushings of paint. It looked messy but beautiful to me. Charlie and I found 2 "oops" paints for $1 each at Home Depot, mixed it to a pinkish beige tone then I used the chocolate shade to splatter with a toothbrush and hit the sides with the bristles using long and short strokes to simulate degrading wood. I was jumping up and down at how good it looked when I laid down the burgundy lettering. To finish it, I'll be placing hooks and star shaped balsa wood with the same paint technique to complete the plaque and use it to organize our weekly family time. I can't wait!

I made the memo & chore board for my children who can never remember their appointments or chores, rather too conveniently... I used canvas boards and my children and I voted on the fabrics to reflect our dream decor. I covered the buttons with the same or coordinating fabrics to the ribbon I used. The memo board is in blue because Lisa's room used to be white and blue, but now, Ian and Jasmine are using it as the neutral color as they share a room. As for the chore board, I used a thick fabric reminiscent of Spanish tapestry as Spain is part of my heritage. The chore board is not quite complete yet; I'm still missing its other component to function as a chore board. For both of these, I only saw what's being sold and decided that I can do it, so I tried it!

Finishing a project and even starting one on your own, very cool "secret candy".

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Feeling at Home

It would seem that it took Independence Day for us to grab new suitcases, take some time off and visit family in Utah again (last time was February 2007). Since moving here to Texas, our lives just seems so upside down! Most of it in a good way, but upside down nevertheless. Being with family on both sides made us realize just how isolated we are to those that mean much to us. What am I talking about?

Well, in San Jose, CA, my mom lives with my brother and my aunt, while my only sister Wena, her two kids, and our oldest brother Ronie live a few minutes away in opposite directions. Though one of my other brother, Alan and his family live in Canada, my brother Noel is in Elk Grove, CA with his lovely family and are neighbors across the street with my mom's sister and her daughter and their little family. The weekend we spent there back in April, the most memorable was not only Mama turning 70 but how much the cousins treasured each other's company. They played Wii, pretend games, chased each other, sang, watched TV and even made sure they all ate and slept at the same time. It was amazing to see that distance does not kill solid ties between families.
Now in Utah, it was the same scenario; Charlie's parents live in South Jordan while his sister Kate, live in West Jordan. For all of you who know this region, you know how close they most likely are to each other. We flew over there to see the newest member of Charlie's small family, Carter Boyd Gurney, Kate and Gary's baby boy. He's cute, full of life and so aware of how much he is loved. Again, one of the most memorable is how Lisa, Jasmine and Ian found ways to have fun with their cousin Taryn in all five days we were there. Our 11-people reunion revolved around food, making memories, common culture, family outings and of course, fireworks- big, little, noisy, whistling and popping, we had them and used them. We had a blast! We were amazed that Ian and Carter managed to sleep through a lot of them while Lisa, Taryn and Jasmine couldn't stop handing them to Charlie and Grandpa so we can keep the fun going. For me, I managed to try different varieties to calm my nerves about fireworks and the menace they seem destined to come with.

Sometimes, I can't seem to get enough of just how much we, adults, can learn from children. There's nothing pretentious to their interactions, they either choose to have fun or not. Choose to be friendly or be the center of attention. Reflecting on our trip to Utah, I can't help but recall my sis-in-law's comment about making "snap judgments from snippets of time" that we allow ourselves to see each other. It's almost a cruel game we put ourselves through when we know that we should be more like children and just decide that having fun and making the most of short reunions is our main agenda. At church today, we were reminded of how obedience to our faith leads us to act in order to make a difference in other people's lives. Though we are responsible for our own choices and actions, our ultimate judgment is based on just how much we helped Heavenly Father gather the rest of His flock back to him. Children seems to be the experts on that and it's up to us to cultivate and nurture that in them so that when it's their turn to be adults, they will still use their "friendshipping" power to find that other lost sheep.

Now I understand more why even God invites us to be like little children if we are to inherit the heavens in His presence. It is because only then that we would be able to appreciate each other completely and without pretentions. Only then can we truly feel at home.

Children; the sweetest "secret-candy" and my best teachers...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Unique" is our middle name...

As my children drift off to dreamland, I couldn't help but be filled with gratitude for them and our little family. We consider ourselves unique because I personally make sure that we live "in" the world, but not "of" the world. To clarify things, let me list down what's special about my family. Of course, exceptions happen though they are few in between.

1. Sodas are only sipped on Friday nights. Under 4, NO sodas, under 13, only rootbeer for dark sodas.
2. 5:30 PM is the curfew, 6:30 during summer vacation
3. Reading is a daily activity. No exceptions.
4. Mommy & Daddy approves all visual and audio materials. NO exceptions.
5. We don't do Spring cleaning, we do Summer cleaning.
6. Library trips are considered summer treat.
7. Bedrooms have to be clean if going anywhere, even birthday parties.
8. Clearance is the only way to shop, except for necessities. Clothes, only clearance.
9. We don't go by brand names, we go by style and modest appearance.
10. Modesty is a must in all aspects of our lives, including how much we eat.
11. A pound of any meat is enough for 2-3 meals. Veggies we splurge on.
12. Ask first. No answer, ask again.
13. We are strict, but fair.
14. Guests are only guests the first time they come, other times, they are family.
15. You have to be honest about the food.
16. No gross topics at the dinner table or you don't join us.
17. No cussing of any kind. Substitutions that mean the same thing is a no-no!
18. Gossiping stops at our front door. You're not allowed to bad mouth anyone.
19. Hugs and kisses are our main currency.
20. Everyone's on a budget, no matter what the expense.

My darling family, my ultimate "secret candy"!!!

Dessert Treat

I don't know about other households, but in mine, dessert after dinner is a rare treat indeed. The exception are few, either we had company or I give permission on any particular night. Such a night was tonight when I gave my family a round of blackberry & vanilla frozen yogurt milkshakes. I made it special by creating this simple recipe: (Enough for 5 people)

2 cups frozen or refrigerated blackberries
3/4 tub of vanilla frozen yogurt
1-2 tbsp. sugar
2 cups of milk

I blended the sugar, 1 cup of milk and the berries until well pureed. Then I strained out the seeds from the juice. After rinsing out the blender to get rid of the leftover seeds, I scooped all the frozen yogurt into the blender, add remaining milk then poured in the blackberry base. I used the "ice crush" button to puree it all and smooth out the consistency.

It was so delicious that even Jasmine, who normally prefers Sonic shakes, did not get up until her glass was empty. Yum!!!

You can substitute raspberries or strawberries and creamier ice cream for thicker consistency. For soft sorbets, use berry sorbet as your chilled base and enjoy all that Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Enjoy your summer! Be healthy and eat well.

Your finicky children loving what you made, a definite "secret candy"!

Summer is here...

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the temperature has risen the past few weeks approaching Summer. It seemed as though the hot weather has always been just around the corner after the first sign of complaints about winter or spring. Vacations, swimming, outdoor meals and the smell of propane or coal definitely rings its arrival while the fiery symbol of our freedom in this country further welcomes Summer in July. For me and family, it's almost the saddest time of the year; our Lisa travels on her own while brief visits to family and places render us both renewed and exhausted. Planning outdoor activities take so long that it's almost not worth the thought in the first place. Jasmine and Ian want to go, go, go while Charlie and I, beg for more sleep and rest. Though the days are longer, it never seems enough as lists of "to do's" keep getting longer and longer. Laundry seems to pile up, electric and water bills seem to shout, while boredom seems bent on ruining a beautiful sunny day for lack of "cool" things to do.

Summer, summer, summer... it's definitely for those that love the outdoors while the sun itself is trying to bake in its rays.

Summer, not quite my "secret candy", but we love it just fine.