Welcome to my personal blog!

Just as I share some of my personal thoughts and views, I invite you to share yours. All I ask is that you keep your comments appropriate. I won’t feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t be honest—I want honest feedback—but I like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means that if you have to say something negative, say it nicely!

More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a nice visit!



Friday Date Night

Sterling and I had a tender date night experience last night. We had heard about Friday’s Kids, a nonprofit organization in Utah County that provides respite for parents of children with disabilities. We have been looking for opportunities to become involved in service, and this group seemed like it might offer the perfect chance; we were especially interested in something that we could be involved in with our grandchildren.

So we went last night for the first time. . . we went alone this time because we wanted to check out ourselves before bringing the grandchildren.

What an amazing experience. Like I said, the group offers a place for parents of children with disabilities to bring their children while they have an evening free to go and do whatever they need or want to do. They drop their children off at 6 and then pick them up by 9:30. You could see as some of these parents dropped of their children how much this evening meant to them. For some of them, I imagine it’s the only break they have from the heavy responsibilities they shoulder as they care for these special children.

The children are watched by volunteers, and trained medical staff and personnel are also onsite. Last night, Sterling and I got to play with a little boy. I’m not sure exactly what his disabilities are, and we didn’t exactly play. He spent pretty much the entire time in a ball pit, just throwing balls to Sterling, who caught the balls and threw them back.

We enjoyed the experience and will definitely return, likely with a couple of grandchildren accompanying us. They allow teenagers to volunteer, if they come with an adult, so we think this is the perfect chance to help our grandkids get involved in service, while also spending some invaluable time with us.




Creative Challenge—It’s About Time!

As I was thinking today about what I might post, I realized that it had been a LONG time since I’d done a creative challenge. It’s definitely the perfect time to change that! Two catalogs have come out in the past few months, and I know we’ve all got lots of great ideas floating around in our heads.

So. . . . Creative Challenge 2014—create any project using any of the new products from the annual or holiday/autumn catalog. I’ll give you until September 15. Winning entries will receive a free stamp set of your choice. . . there are so many to choose from!

Happy stampin’!


Our Grown-Up Gardner Getaway

We’ve kind of created a fun little tradition the past few years: All the Gardner grown-ups have escaped the first week of August for a week (or so) of doing whatever we want to do. We’ve gone to Cabo the past couple of years, but we switched things up a little this year—we decided to stay here and spend the week at the cabin instead.

I look forward to this week not just because it’s a time to take it easy, but mainly because I’m spending time with some of the people I love the most! Our lives are hectic and busy, and I feel so blessed to be able to carve out these few days, with no kids (although I do LOVE our grandchildren!), limited distractions, and minimal work.

It was a wonderful week, made even more special because Shanna and Jared were able to join us! Woo hoo! That was definitely a treat! Because the cabin is close to home, several of the kids came and went at different times; in fact, we were only all together once, for dinner one night. (That’s when we shot our traditional photos—front shot of the girls and backside of the guys.)

Other than that, we all went our different ways, with lots of activities to choose from, including horse riding, swimming, laying out, reading, working out. . . just relaxing and taking it easy. Most of us spent most of the week in jammies or swimsuits, so we didn’t take any pictures except for the two at dinner.

The weather was cooler than normal in Utah this week. (I checked, and it was rainy in Cabo too, so I didn’t feel too badly.) Most mornings were sunny, but by late afternoon, the clouds rolled in and we spent quite a bit of time enjoying Mother Nature’s own lightning and thunder show.

We haven’t checked with the kids yet, so I’m not sure how they feel about the cabin replacing Cabo, but I know that Sterling and I both loved it. We saved travel time and money, house and van rental fees, and just felt like it was more relaxing any way you looked at it. Hope the kids felt the same, because I’m hoping to make the cabin the new Gardner Grownup Getaway destination!




A Woo Hoo Birthday 

Here's the newest birthday card for Stampin' Up! employees. I usually have new birthday cards for each month, and I try to share each new batch. It doesn't seem like a whole month has passed since the last one though . . . I can't believe how quickly time flies by! 



Family Dinner--with the Bridegans!

We had a family dinner on Sunday—the first we’ve had in a couple of months. We try to have them every month, but as we all know, routine goes out the window during the summer! So it’s been awhile. . .

This dinner was especially fun because we had Shanna and Jared with us for the first time in nine months! Jared is here for business, and Shanna joined him; his family is watching the twins. We missed the babies way too much, but it was wonderful to have Jared and Shanna with us . . . we were all excited to see them after so long!

Dinner was yummy; we had BBQ and everyone brought at least one salad or dessert. Except for Shanna, of course. (smile) She’s our family chef, and she brought three tasty dishes. Shalae teased her about being an overachiever, but we all enjoyed her contributions. . . and we especially enjoyed being together!