Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting the Cat out of the Tree!

Can't believe Christmas day has passed already and its time for the Christmas tree to comedown, but the darn cat won't let us! We got her over five years ago and the one thing she loved doing when she was a baby kitty was climb the Christmas tree. She hasn't grown out of that habit yet. Only one ornament has smashed, absolutely one of my favorites but never mind. I'll find another favorite at an estate sale sometime sooner or later!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Its Beginning to Look alot like Christmas!

Some of the outside lights!

O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum!

I need to get a pickle to place in the tree. Our one that we had for years smashed when the cat decided she wanted to play in the tree last Christmas. This year we want to start an old German tradition and have the boys find the pickle and who ever finds it gets to open a gift first. Mana doesn't think that's a good idea. Bubba loves it so Mana said he's got to look for it with his glasses off. That makes it fair, so he thinks. Kids...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving now Christmas is Coming!

The Burkes at our ward Christmas Party with the Claus's

Christmas is just around the corner and shopping is pretty much done. Just a few more items. Jordan's package was sent out yesterday so he should be getting it before Christmas. He seems busy with his mission and not missing us at all. What more could a mother ask for?

Mana said I can write about him just saying that he asks too many questions.... I guess he's inquisitive. He and Alexander wanted money for their "Kids Korner" store at the school so they could get some cute little things for each other. No problem! When they came home...Uhhh I couldn't believe how silly some of the items were that they were describing.

Its getting real cold outside so its nice bundling up in the winter boots and scarves, listening to the rain come down (which is very scarce) and sometimes watching the snow fall!

The Turkey Bowl - Team Snap!

The boys and two girls all had a great game at the annual Burkes Turkey bowl Thanksgiving morning. We had enough for three teams. I tried to call them team Jacob, Edward and Bella, for some reason they would have nothing to do with it. So it was pretty much teams 1,2 and 3. How boring. The games went on for 3 hours which gave me plenty of time to finish the fixings on the Thanksgiving lunch. It was yummy!

Myself, Father Jc and Maryella at the Interfaith Evening

The Interfaith Evening

Its hard to believe that another year is just about to end! Where did it go? November was a fun filled month. We had the wonderful annual Interfaith evening at the St John Vianney Catholic Church in Sedona. So many different religions were represented from Buddist, Church of Science, Jewish, LDS, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and many more to the Navajo Spiritual leader and Bahai Faith. It was wonderful! All the leaders had basically 3-5 minutes to give their words of "thanks" and many were through song. Paul asked me to sing for his few minutes so I asked Dr. Mark Larsen to sing a duet and "Thomas" Travis Moore accompanied us on the piano. We sang "Come thou Fount." My twin was sitting toward the back of the church and when it was over everyone was hugging her and blessing her for singing so beautifully... we both had a good laugh because she was telling me she totally took all the credit. The part I enjoyed the most was the soul singing by the Bahai minister. All in all it was a wonderful evening.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jordan's (Elder Burke) & Guadalajara

Elder Jordan Burke and Hyke Hernandez
Looks like he needs some longer pants!

Elder Martinez and Elder Jordan Burke with their first Goul!

The four missionaries and Hyke Garcias Hernandez with his family

Well Jordan had a wonderful Halloween. He had his first baptism. Hyke Garcias Hernandez. It was one of the "coolest experiences" in his mission so far...hahaha, his words. He said Hyke felt like Michael Phelps when he was in the water. He was so happy he gave Jordan his best Luchador mask. Then he said something to the affect of "this computer sucks I have to fix it!" then he signed off with his love to everyone.... oh well. As parents we just love any email we get from our missionaries, even if its things like..."this computer sucks!"

I'm happy for now and its time to do the mundane things like clean, the laundry and go to the market... how boring!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hocus Pocus Its's Halloween!

Summer and Alexander at their Jr High Zombie Dance

The spread at the Witches Party
Lady Katherine and Catrina (me) Day of the Dead

The ol Nanny Krones after the Trunk or Treat

Its two days from Halloween and we've got two more events to go too! Halloween has just graduated to the most busiest holiday of the year. Its one of my favorite times of the year too with the weather getting notably cooler, the leaves changing, we even had some snow flurries yesterday. Time to pull out the hot cocoa and marshmallows!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fun Mag Covers

Mana, Jordan & Bubba

My nephews - Tai & Tama

I found this great website that you can upload any of your photo's on to a fake magazine cover. Mana just loves it but thinks it should just be Alexander and Jordan on the cover since they both play sports. I also did one with my family and a gag one for my friend of me fitting back into my wedding gown after 20 years of marriage, that cover was called "Bride" but I won't post it on this blog. Go to and have fun!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Melbourne Mission Reunion - SLC, Utah

Rick, Adam, Paul and Dave

Melbourne Australia Mission 85-8

Okay... so Paul and I drove with the boys to see Elder Burke off at the SLC airport only to come back again the following Friday for our mission reunion. We haven't seen some of these ex-missionaries for 22 or more years! It was fantastic. President and Sister Henderson looked the same! I don't think that's fare at all. In a couple days they will be celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary, (I think that's what he said that night) what a huge accomplishment.

Shane Newport and his wife Rebbecca came all the way from New Zealand, Adam and Gunda Matty's came from Saudi Arabia and many others from the surrounding states. Mike Arave and Paul were zone leaders together. They were a fantastic team. I happened to be the only sister missionary there but that's probably because I'm married to Paul. One of my old zone leaders Elder Brad Peterson was there and it was such a wonderful surprise to see him walking through the door.

Thanks to Elder Finch for putting such a wonderful evening together. We had a large array of food, brown rice, baked chicken with cream sauce and swiss cheese, dark green salad (I say dark because its not ice burg!) other fruits and veges but the highlight was the gateau, three layers of moist dark chocolate cake, with vanilla cream, and chocolate creams between each layer and covered with a yummy chocolate ganache or butter cream frosting. I totally want another piece! Maybe we can do this again but sooner than 22 years from now!

The next day I had dinner with a dear friend and one of my favorite missionary companions Gaye Strathearn from Brisbane Australia. She is now a Professor at BYU in Religious Studies, Ancient Scripture and her expertise is in New Testament and Christian Origins. It was so nice to catch up with her and I've already booked a room at her home for women's conference. Thanks Gaye!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Salt Lake City and Elder Burke

Some of the missionaries leaving with Elder Burke
Our last squeeze for at least 22 months!
Jordan, Dad and Aunt Sheila
Off to Guadalajara Mexico
Our last wave good-bye!
Love this photo!

So the family just happened to be dropping by the Salt Lake City airport at the same moment Elder Jordan Burke was checking in his luggage to fly down to Guadalajara Mexico. What a huge coincidence! Hahahahaha.... Paul heard a loud "Dad" and then Mana and I were running to him! I didn't realize how much I miss him but it I know this experience will be a growing one for him. Heck... if Paul and I can do it (serve full time missions) any one can!

We also met our niece and nephew for the first time. They are the cutest kids! Sheila - Pauls sister and his mom were there also. It was so short yet wonderful to visit with them all. Jordan bore his testimony to us in Spanish and it moved me completely. His Spanish is excellent (from what my Maori ears can tell!) and his whole zone voted him as the one to speak the best Spanish also. We will miss him but as I said earlier, it will not only benefit others but him too.

We also spent the rest of the day acting like tourists and visited the LDS Conference Center. That place is enormous and beautiful. We went to see the movie at the Joseph Smith Building. That is another beautiful building also. Ornate gold leaf ceilings, enormous chandeliers dangling everywhere. We loved it! Our hosts were Dave and Chris Peterson and they were amazing. We love them so much! Thanks you guys!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tlaquepaque - Sedona Flood, Sept 2009

Thursday afternoon we received a siren warning from our two golf courses so we knew to grab all our things outside that we didn't want to fly away or get drenched. Within seconds the whole place was surrounded by lightning, thunder, hail and high winds. Monsoon season is a very interesting time here in the heart of Arizona. We love any kind of moisture but when the earth is as dry as it is here, there's no where for it to go but downward. If your home is downward, look out! We have a huge arroyo behind us and it doesn't fill up but it gushes.

By the way, if your visiting this area, you'll see dips in the roads everywhere with an accompanying sign saying "Do not cross when flooded" please don't cross. Too many tourists think, what the heck! its only five feet wide, but little do they know the roads probably disappeared from beneath it.

Well Thursday, it rained for only 35-40 minutes and it caused quite a disturbance near Tlaquepaque and parts of west Sedona.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gluten Free Carrot Cake (Totally Melt in Your Mouth!)

So I made the gluten free carrot cake and it turned out so scrumptious I can't stop eating it so I had to run to the computer to get away from the aroma from the kitchen and the view of the moist, soft, delicious, mouth watering carrot cake! The recipe can be found on the blog and she has so many more recipes I can't wait to try!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Going Gluten Free

After all the head aches, allergies, sinus infections..... you name it! The past year was a bad year when it came to taking ibuprofen and antibiotics. I absolutely hated it! My wonderful neighbor behind me popped over one lazy Sunday afternoon said to me after I whined for 10 minutes about my allergies...."just try it! Go gluten free!" I thought, what the heck... why not! So ever since May of 2009 I have been free of wheat, barley, rye and I even excluded oats. Its now August and to this day I have not had one head ache, no allergies, lost 3 dress sizes and feel a whole lot happier, healthier and energized. I haven't officially gone in to the doctors and had a test done to see if I have celiac disease but if I'm feeling this much better within three months of cutting gluten from my diet I think I'm on the right track. Its just me, the lone ranger in the house that's trying it but I prepare meals for the family that don't have regular pasta anymore, less cookies and cakes but more whole foods and produce.

Brownies and cheese cake are two of my favorite treats I make for my family. They actually love it! Instead of using graham crackers for the base on the cheese cake I mix gluten free flour, butter, pinch of salt and crushed macadamia nuts. To make my brownie mix more gooey and chocolaty I add pure dark semi sweet chocolate chips. I also sweeten baked goods with agave syrup or splenda, which is low on the glycemic index and very good for baking! However there are days when I just want to chow into a nice big piece of warm home made bread my sweet neighbor Ginny brings for the boys and Paul but I know I better not!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Football Season all Over Again!

Its 80 degrees out, all the 12-14 year old boys from Sedona are suited up and ready for their first scrimmage against Cottonwood. We drop Alexander and Luis off at their practice.. then Mana and I continue on stopping at our local discount store trying to find some good deals to send off to Elder Burke. We found a brag album (50 page photo album) some of his favorite candy and a couple more ties (he requested pink? go figure!) Then met up with Paul for dinner at this local restaurant called Kurt's Main St Grille. I ordered the salmon and Paul the rib eye. Its looks perfect! but unfortunately mine is over salted. Why do some chefs love to over salt their food. However, Mana's grilled cheese and fries were perfection... so he says! We jump into the car and take off for the scrimmage and the kids look awesome, pumped up and ready to play. Alexander does a great job, blocking, tackling and running. Not bad for his first game. Mana just had a great time running around the field, up and down the stadium bleachers and trying to do his hand stands. All in all a great day, hopefully its a good sign for the team. Let's go Scorpions!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Day of School! 2009-2010

Can you believe schools already in? Alexander and Mana are in a state of shock! A nice healthy breakfast....bags already packed and ready to go, new classes assigned, a whole new look at their school, extra curriculum all ready started, sounds like a busy year to me! The top photo shows you how they really feel about their first day of school.

Elder Jordan Burke

Dave and Paul before Jordan's Mission BBQ

Mum and missionary son

Cameron, Nick, Jordan, Sonny, Booge (Eric)

Alexander, Elder Burke and Mana

Elder Jordan Mahina Burke

Our very first post to our family blog is about our eldest son who is currently a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is in Provo Utah at the Mission Training Center getting some intense Spanish language studying down. It was awesome receiving our first letter from him. So far he loves being with his peers, getting to know other missionaries and really loves the cafeteria!

Apparently his district is having some kind of competition on who can get the most mail, so if you would like to write to him, his address is:

Elder Jordan Burke
Mexico Guadalajara South Mission
BOX 296-0928
Provo Mission Training Center
Provo UT 84604