Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Timely Wagon

This is the second vintage piece my mom received from her friend. (To see the first item, click here.) It is a small wagon of blocks that when put together right, a clock face is formed, much like a puzzle.

A Timely Wagon is written on either side of the base.

There are seven blocks surrounding the clock, each one depicting a day of the week.

If you look closely, you can see a picture and writing on each piece...Monday Washing, Tuesday Ironing, Wednesday Mending, Thursday Shopping and Friday Cleaning.

Saturday Baking and Sunday Church are written on the two blocks supporting the upper half of the clock.

I have searched the internet for information regarding this vintage toy, but have found nothing. The only thing I have to go on is the tiny logo near the wagon string that reads Universal Toy and Novelty Company.

If anyone has information to share about this unique item, please leave a comment. I would very much like to hear about it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mr. Christmas Vintage Holiday Carousel

While visiting my mom during Christmas break, she showed Don and I two of her new treasures, given to her by a neighborhood friend.

The first thing she shared with us was this Mr. Christmas Holiday Carousel

From what I could find out online, this vintage holiday carousel is patterned after an original made in 1876 and created by the Mr. Christmas Company, which began production in 1933 and is still offering Christmas decor today (see this link).

The carousel continuously plays 21 favorite Christmas songs: Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Deck the Halls, Joy to the World, Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, Away In a Manger, We Three Kings, The 12 Days of Christmas and more. It also has a volume control, which I think is a nice feature.

Don and I love vintage things. We only own a few items that belonged to our grandparents and I doubt we have anything of great material worth, but what we DO have, we cherish.

I will show you my mother's second treasure in a future post. You can check back in a day or two, or follow me via google+, Networked Blogs, or Bloglovin.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Joseph and the Christ Child

I can give or take most art work, but when I saw this painting by Simon Dewey called In the Arms of Joseph a few years ago, I knew I had to have it.

It's easy for me to imagine the relationship Joseph and Jesus must have had, especially since Don came into my life when Cody was only 6 months of age.

Now I watch a similar pattern as my son Chase is raising our oldest grandson, Walker. Everyone in the family fell madly in love with Walker the minute we met him. He was only 16 months old at the time.

Simon Dewey not only paints beautiful pictures depicting the life of Jesus Christ, he has been a series artist for Scholastic and Penguin book publishers, illustrated toy lines for Hasbro/Milton Bradley and he has done cover and poster work for RCA Columbia, Warner Home Video, and CBS Fox.

To learn more of Simon Dewey, click here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Healthy (and Easy) Christmas Gift Idea

Mrs. B gave me a couple of gifts for Christmas this year. One of them was this bag of Halos with a sweet little note attached. 

This idea is going to go on my Clever Gifting Pinterest board. 

Thank you Mrs. B. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We Have a Winner!

Voting was unanimous. Don WON the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest for his work party. 

I'm not a bit surprised that he won, but how is he EVER going to top this next year?!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kindergarten Bulletin Board for December

Each December, after reading Twas The Night Before Christmas to her students, Mrs. B. puts up this bulletin board...

The Children Were Nestled All Snug In Their Beds

Typical sleepover. Some are asleep, but most are not.

The kid in the middle looks like he's wired on a Red Bull and sugar. I don't think he
will be dreaming of sugarplums. In fact, I don't think he'll be dreaming at all.

Top to Bottom: Mrs. B., Mrs. A. (our afternoon aide) and me.
Notice that I'm peeking out from under the bed and not tucked inside it. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Wacky Wintry Weather

Here are a couple of pictures of what a cold front did to our neighborhood on Saturday. Snow is uncommon where my family lives and this much snow is exceptionally rare. 

Look! We have icicles hanging from our icicles!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Memories

As long as I remember, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I have the best memories of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as a kid. My parents always made sure my siblings and I had a magical time.

One particular Christmas, Teresa, my younger sister, and I got up in the middle of the night and started playing with our new Barbie’s and Barbie Motorhomes that Santa had given us. My mom and dad, obviously hearing commotion in the living room, came in and made us go back to bed. I’m sure they were disappointed they had missed seeing the look of joy and wonder on our faces when we first laid eyes on the carefully set up display of toys.

Sleeping was always hard for me on Christmas Eve and, because I shared a room with my younger sister, I made sure she didn’t sleep much either. J

Gifts from Santa were never wrapped at our house and we always had Christmas stockings filled with an orange and unshelled peanuts, Brach’s Pick-a-Mix candy and, when Teresa and I became teenagers, usually a piece of jewelry sitting at the top.

For the most part, I tried to keep traditions that I grew up with alive for my own children. Don and I didn’t include peanuts in our kid’s stockings, but we did throw some Brach’s candy in along with other treats.

While living in Oregon, Don and I started our own Christmas traditions. One of my favorites was taking our little family to Friendly Street Church to their annual live nativity. We also picked out a Christmas tree from Madsen Tree Farm each year, drove around the city looking at lights and d├ęcor, attended church Christmas dinners and, on Christmas Eve, exchanged gifts with Don’s family.

Christmas Eve 1995 really stands out. Don’s dad flew to Oregon from South Carolina to spend Christmas with his kids and grandkids living in Eugene. (At that time, Don only had one sister that still lived in South Carolina.)  On Christmas Eve day, Don’s dad went to his youngest son Jeff’s house for a few hours, but when he returned, dad told Don and I not to eat the turkey that April (Jeff’s wife at the time) was cooking for our big Christmas Eve get-together. April was not the best housekeeper and I don’t remember exactly what dad told us she did to that turkey, but I'll never forget him insisting, over and over, "Whatever you do, DO NOT eat the turkey!" That night we loaded up and went to Diane’s (Don's sister) house and our little family did not dare even nibble the turkey for fear of getting sick or upsetting Don’s dad or both! The Donald Lancaster family ate a lot of ham that Christmas Eve. 

The time spent with my father-in-law that holiday was priceless. My kids came to know their grandpa Lancaster and it was the last time we saw him alive. I have great memories of him chewing my caramels. I had over-cooked them and they were hard that year, but he enjoyed eating them anyway, or at least he made me feel like he did. Dad Lancaster was very kind to me.

The movie Toy Story was released that Christmas, so Don and I took his dad and our kids to the theater. Dad had not been to a movie for quite some time and he told us he would buy our treats if we bought all of the tickets. Believe me…he ended up spending a whole lot more money on popcorn and drinks than Don and I did on admission. Watching Pixar’s first movie that year with our children and their grandpa was a real treat and a great memory.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ugly Christmas Attire

Don is sporting an ugly sweater for his work party.
I'll let you know if he wins anything. :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Momma Said There'll Be Days Like This/ Part 2

Every week day I send a lunch, as well as a snack, with Cody to his day program. Because mornings are rushed, I try to think ahead and get as much ready as possible the night before. I set out Cody's lunch box, place anything that is non-perishable (chips, etc) inside, clean and fill his water bottle, make sure his reusable Blue Ice block is in the freezer and then I get a small brown paper bag from the drawer to hold his snack.

With one seemingly small but nearly disastrous exception, the routine wasn't any different yesterday. While preparing dinner, I decided I'd grab a package of Chips Ahoy cookies from the pantry for Cody's morning snack. I carried the cookies to the kitchen counter, set them down, got a brown paper bag out of the drawer, found a Sharpie, wrote "Cody's Snack" on it, then put the brown bag inside his backpack.

Several hours later, I noticed there were some Chips Ahoy cookies sitting on the counter where I keep the pens and Sharpies. Puzzled, I went to Cody's backpack, looked inside the brown bag that I had labelled "Cody's Snack"and found my digital camera!

Apparently I'm "losing it", but had Cody found that camera in his snack bag today instead of something edible, HE would have "lost it" more than I.

See Momma Said There'll Be Days Like This (Part 1) 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Candied Yams - Out of the Archives

I shared the following recipe for my grandma's candied yams on my blog three years ago and with the holidays upon us, I think it's a good time to re-post it. Enjoy this simple yet scrumptious side dish with your Thanksgiving dinner.

Candied Yams

6-8 Large Yams
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Water
1/3 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Wash yams and boil until tender (test by pricking with a fork). Peel and cut cooked yams into large cubes or slices. Spray a 13"x 9" pan with cooking oil and add yams.

Mix sugars, water, corn syrup, and cornstarch in saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook down until mixture thickens. Stir in vanilla and pour over yams. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, periodically spooning the sauce over the yams.

You're welcome. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bird Nest MTV Cribs Style

According to Start Sampling's trivia question, the largest bird's nest was built by a pair of bald eagles near St. Petersburg, Florida, and measured 9 feet 6 inches wide and 20 feet deep. It was examined in 1963 and was estimated to weigh 4,409 pounds.

When I saw this, I was astonished and had to read it to Don. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Hell. Maybe it was left by a Pterodactyl and the eagles just took it over."

Crazy. I have a hard time believing the measurements to be true. I can't wrap my head around a nest that's 20 feet deep, not even if that nest is in Bedrock City . What do you think?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Getting It Twisted - A Little Marijuana Humor

Keep in mind that Cody enjoys listening in on other people's conversations as I share some casual dialogue between Don and I over breakfast this morning.

Me- "What are your plans today?"

Don- "I need to burn that pile of weeds in the backyard, but I don't really want to smell like smoke."

At this point, I headed into the bedroom to finish getting ready for work when I heard Cody ask Don...

"How come you're smoking weed in the backyard dad?"

Friday, November 1, 2013

Autumn in Zion National Park

These colorful pictures were taken by Brent Johnson at Zion National Park. Enjoy them, then head on over to Brent Johnson Photography to view more of his work.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blessings of Cody

The following was written by my daughter, Katelyn Lancaster Boulton, for one of her college writing courses:


Raising a child with disabilities is not only a challenge but also a blessing.

The Lancaster family, from St. George, Utah, explained the joys of living with a disabled son, grandson, brother and friend. Each member of the family has been changed because of the awareness of disabilities they have been exposed to.

Cody Lancaster was born with CHARGE Syndrome. According to the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation, the condition refers to individuals which have multiple birth defects, including coloboma (an eye abnormality), choanal atresia (blockage of the nasal passage), unusual ears or other problems. While many cases of CHARGE have been linked to a mutation of the CHD7 gene, the syndrome is primarily a diagnosis based on physical features.

Brother Chase Lancaster explained the syndrome in simpler terms. “I don’t tell people he has CHARGE Syndrome,” he said. “I tell people he’s blind and autistic because people don’t know what CHARGE Syndrome is.”

 Cody does not have heart problems, nor is he deaf, but he was born with no eyes and because he has choanal atresia, doctors didn’t expect him to live for more than two days. He is now 31 years old.

Cody went to special education classes in public schools until he was 7.  “It was then that his dad and I had him evaluated at the Oregon School for the Blind in Salem, one hour north of Eugene,” mother DeeAnn Lancaster said. “After an extensive three week evaluation, we were so impressed with the school that we made the decision to have Cody schooled there. We would drive Cody approximately 60 miles to school on Mondays, then pick him up and bring him home on Fridays. He spent four nights a week at the dorms on campus and three nights a week at home.”

There were several dorms on campus, staffed with a number of employees. Each dorm had a leader, often referred to as a dorm mother. The school campus also had an infirmary staffed with nurses, a cafeteria, bowling alley, roller rink, track, playground and swimming pool. Cody loved his time spent at Oregon School for the Blind and has fond memories of his friends and the time he spent there.

Cody needed several surgeries as a baby. He has a shunt because he was born with hydrocephalus, which is water on the brain. A shunt provides a passage and allows fluid to move off the brain. Cody’s shunt moves fluid from his brain to his chest cavity, where it’s absorbed. He had a cleft lip when he was born that was repaired by a plastic surgeon. He had surgery three times to unblock his nasal passage. “Each time failed, so his dad and I decided against trying it again,” DeeAnn said. “Cody has lived his life not breathing through his nose. We think it is for this reason that Cody has never sneezed.”

When Cody was around 8 years old, he had his first seizure. “That was a scary time for us because he wouldn’t come out of it,” DeeAnn said. “We had to take him to the emergency room so they could inject a drug to make the seizing stop.”

Doctors decided Cody needed to be on a seizure medication, so they gave him Dilantin, a drug that remains in the body anywhere from weeks to months after it’s initially introduced. After about three weeks, Cody broke out in a rash and became really sick.  “It turned out he was allergic to the Dilantin, but he had three weeks’ worth of the drug in his system, so he was hospitalized until it wore off,” DeeAnn said. “We did not think he would live through the illness. He was that sick.”

DeeAnn said the shunt the neurologist placed in Cody’s skull miraculously lasted until he was around 14 years old. It was then that Cody became extremely ill and had to have a new shunt. He spent over three weeks in the hospital. Once again, doctors didn’t expect him to live. Because of staff infections and other problems, Cody had to have his shunt replaced two more times, for a total of three surgeries in a six month period.

Father Don Lancaster said watching Cody go through multiple surgeries is what influenced him to become an EMT. “You never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “You have to always be prepared.”

DeeAnn echoed her husband’s words, describing the moment when she knew Cody had to be assessed for autism. “After watching an episode about autism on ‘The Sally Jessy Raphael Show’…I decided Cody needed to be evaluated for autism,” DeeAnn said. “He had several of the characteristics that were discussed on the television program. He was able to be evaluated while at OSB and was diagnosed with moderate autism.”

Although Cody talks and doesn’t mind being touched—like most autistic people do—he hates having his routine changed, much like the movie ‘Rain Man,’ whose main character suffers from autism and has to do certain things at certain times and places. 

Cody too has a routine he follows. He goes bowling on Mondays, eats a Twinkie for lunch on Tuesdays, watches ‘Survivor’ and ‘Criminal Minds’ on Wednesdays, walks the track on Thursdays, watches a movie on Fridays, watches cartoons on Saturdays, and attends church on Sundays. Although autism has its disadvantages, it also makes Cody who he is. He can be quite a character.

Chase said if anyone is watching television or listening to the radio with Cody, they can’t change the channel or the music because it breaks Cody’s routine. Chase laughed as he talked about the number of times he has watched a show he didn’t want to or listened to unpleasant music in order to keep Cody happy.

DeeAnn said in the case that his routine must be changed, Cody has to know well in advance. “Heaven forbid Obama ever has to speak,” DeeAnn said with laughter, explaining that during breaking news events, such as presidential speeches, Cody throws a fit, not able to understand there are some things that just can’t be controlled.

Brother Casey Lancaster said having a disabled brother has been beneficial because you “learn to raise a kid basically.” Casey explained that Cody won’t use the bathroom without being told, and the family has learned to read Cody’s signals and needs from the non-verbal cues he gives. These cues could be anything from something simple, like Cody fidgeting in his seat, or something more complex, like Cody becoming sad or angry.

Sister-in-law Talitha Lancaster married into the family July 2012 and has adopted Cody as her brother. “I have learned in the period of time of getting to know Cody that he has his routine in things just like anyone else,” she said. “Now that I know Cody, I can’t even picture him not being around. I’m glad to have met him, and he’s a part of my family now.”

Cody has developed a close relationship with his father, and the two of them often joke with each other. Cody imitates his dad in every way, mostly by repeating things his dad says or the way he says them. His father, from South Carolina, has a strong accent, and Cody finds entertainment by pretending he’s also from the South.

Cody learned braille and mobility (how to walk with a cane) while at the school for the blind.

When the Lancaster family moved to Utah, Cody was once again placed in the public school special education program and involved in inclusion. Although he missed being with his friends and teachers at Oregon School for the Blind, he thrived being around “normal” peers. Some of his best friends were made through the peer tutor program at Pine View High School.  

Upon leaving the public education system, Cody started attending TURN Community Services, a program providing services for people with disabilities. Much like school or a job, Cody is at TURN weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program provides an entertaining and educational environment for disabled individuals.

DeeAnn said the employees at the program have been exceptional. DeeAnn kept a note from a previous employee, Katie Johnson, who is no longer with TURN. Katie wrote: “It’s my last day today, and I wanted to do something special for Cody because he’s my absolute favorite client. There were a lot of days when Cody was my reason for coming to work, and I’m going to miss him a lot, so I made this mix CD for him to keep of songs that remind me of him or that he really likes.”

Cody loves listening to 95.9 The Hawk, 1980s music, watching home videos, eating Kit Kat candy bars and macaroni and cheese, watching the movie ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry’, and playing Atari video games at his grandma’s house. Cody does not like ice cream, popsicles, lollipops, gum or cold fruit.

DeeAnn said Cody used to eat cold foods when he was young but after his first dental surgery, his teeth became sensitive.

Cody has not only influenced his family, but he also has influenced everyone who has ever known him.

Cody is a miracle before anyone’s eyes. He has used his disability as a way to make others aware of the importance of life—and the greater meaning therein.

Brother Casey Lancaster said: “It wouldn’t be a life without Cody in it. He’s always been there. I wouldn’t know what it’s like without him.”

Grandmother Marilyn Crawford-Bauer also explained. “He makes us think about what’s important in life and what’s special,” she said. “Things could be so much worse.”

Left to Right- Chase, Talitha, Asher, Casey, Matthew, Katelyn, DeeAnn, Walker, Don ,Cody
Photograph by M. Felt Photography

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter

Don went to one of the elementary schools last week to teach the 3rd graders about his job. Yesterday, he came home with a thank you book from one of the classes and told me I could share some of my favorite pictures. It shouldn't take long for you to figure out which parts of the presentation the students liked best. 

"Supper Hearo" or Super Hero? I'd say he's both. :)

I'm not sure what water and beer have to do with fire fighting. But I wasn't there and with kids, anything goes. :)

With the exception of the student's letters, all photographs were taken by Andrea Watkins Photography.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin French Toast

School is out for fall break, so I kept Cody home from his day program. I figured he and I could chill...and by chill I mean attempt to sleep in, watch the Price Is Right and eat macaroni and cheese for lunch. 

I'm not much of a morning person, so I don't know which was more of a surprise, asking Cody if he'd like me to make Pumpkin French Toast for breakfast or his enthusiastic reply, "Yes!"

Weeks ago, I pinned this recipe from Erin Chase at $5 Dinners and got inspired. I did not follow her recipe, but I never would have put pumpkin in my french toast batter if I hadn't seen her blog, so here's a shout out to Erin.

Pumpkin French Toast

3 eggs, beaten
milk, scant
cinnamon, to taste (I probably used a tablespoon because I really love cinnamon!)
1 HEAPING tablespoon canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
6 pieces of bread
powdered sugar

Using a whisk or fork, beat the first four ingredients in a shallow dish. (I like using a pie plate.)

Yes, that's a pizza cutter on the far left. It is my favorite kitchen tool (see this post).

Coat both sides of bread and place on a 350 degree griddle. Cook both sides until done. 

Cut into perfectly square bites using a pizza cutter. Serve with warm syrup and powdered sugar.

Serves 2-3 persons

I really couldn't taste the pumpkin's flavor, to be honest, due to all the cinnamon (yum). However, I really like the idea of the pumpkin's added nutritional value and will definitely be making this again. 

If you are worried about opening a can of pumpkin and only using a little bit for French Toast, click here . It will link you to a scrumptious Pumpkin Bread recipe, a great way to use up your remaining pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Candy Filled Paper Cones for Halloween

I have a great amount of paper in my scrapbook collection, so when I was browsing through my Clever Gifting board on Pinterest and I came across this paper craft I had pinned from PaperVine, I decided it would be a great way to use some of the cute double-sided Halloween paper I've accumulated. Following Lowri McNabb's tutorial, this is what I ended up with...

They look like sour cream containers...only cuter!

These little cone-like treats would be cute placed in a Halloween bowl for trick-or-treaters or displayed in an apothecary jar. I'm even considering making them with Christmas paper and adding numbers for a December advent. Oh, the possibilities! What ideas can you come up with? 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kanab and Surrounding Area

I grew up in Kanab, a small town that sits near the Utah-Arizona boarder. Some of my fondest memories come from this tight-knit community. Back in those days, everybody knew everybody, teachers made a difference and the world (as we knew it) revolved around high school sports and tourism. 

Kanab sits in the heart of several parks...Grand Canyon, Zion, Lake Powell and Bryce to name a few. 

The following pictures are from Brent Johnson Photography. Brent was kind enough to allow me to share some of his work on my blog. Enjoy!

Three Lakes

The Wave

Left- The old Kanab High School
Right- The old library and city office building

Parry Lodge and K Hill

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

For the month of October, Brent Johnson Photography is running a $50.00 special for families in southern Utah. All photos will be edited and uploaded to a CD. If you live more than 100 miles away and are still interested, contact Brent for a great deal. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hakuna Matata

Cody broke into song after learning about a certain medical examination Don will be having next month. To the tune of Hakuna Matata, Cody sang for his dad, "It's a problem free...colonoscopy.". 

So about the procedure........."No Worries" Don. :)

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Michael J. Fox Show Educates through Comedy

Pleased is a fitting word to describe my feelings about the new Michael J. Fox television show. It does my heart good to see that Michael is willing to share with the world his experience having Parkinson's Disease and to do so in a sitcom. 

I use to enjoy watching the television program Life Goes On about a boy with Downs Syndrome and his family. It aired from 1989 to 1993, a time when schools were beginning to see the benefits of mainstreaming children with special needs. While television dramas can be very moving, I look forward to watching and learning about Parkinson's through comedy. Knowing how and when to laugh when dealing with any disability is important. Our family certainly realizes this (see these posts).

I came across the following link through LeAnn Leach, a friend of mine from high school. LeAnn was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease seven years ago and is in the video. Please click and watch.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seasons of Change

Autumn was never my favorite season. To me it meant that summer was over and school would start, bringing with it cooler temperatures, shorter days and stomach viruses. But somehow this year, like the seasons, my mind is changing. Although I am extremely fond of summer, I have taken a new liking to fall. I won't go so far as to say autumn is my new favorite season, but I am seriously contemplating it. Here are a few of my reasons...

Autumn Colors
Gorgeous Fall Foliage

Caramel apple
Caramel Apples


Roadside Pumpkins
Pumpkin Farms

Winter Squash...Yum!

Blue Jeans 
Coca-Cola tag bonus : )

Images from Flickr. Click on photos for original source.
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