A Man Shower for Aaron

Abbey’s mom, Susan is introducing members of their side of the family: Zane and Lexy, Abbey, and Allison 

Tonight the Pinegar family was introduced to one of our many Lewis Family Traditions:  The Man Shower.  Years ago, as new brides in the family were showered with girl gifts and kitchen wares, the boy cousins said, “What About Us??”  So we introduced boy parties with boy gifts and we call them our Man Showers.  Tonight it was Aaron’s turn.

We typically serve some sort of manly food.  Tonight it was grilled burgers.

We also give very manly gifts like power tools and tool boxes full of useful man stuff.

Mostly, it’s an excuse to get together with cousins and aunts and uncles and celebrate the upcoming creation of a  new Lewis family.  We are so happy and excited for Aaron!

Adam is showing off pictures of the bike ramp he built for his kids with his manly tools.

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Doll Quilts for Josie and Margot

I had a few scraps leftover after making a princess pillowcase for Margot and a unicorn pillowcase for Josie.  I thought I’d throw together a couple of simple little doll quilts for them to match the pillowcases.  I cut some 4″ squares from the leftover fabric and then made 4-patches with other scraps.  It went together quickly.

I think these will be just the right size for the girls and their little dollies.

Here’s the last batch of pillowcases I’ve sewn.  I think I’ve done enough to last a while now.

Adam and Heidi picked out the ones they wanted for their kids (pile on the left).  The rest will be saved for whomever wants them next.

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Our First Monthly Neighborhood Cookie Walk

John and I serve as our ward Activities Committee leaders.   While we were in Africa, a whole new housing development with up to 60 new homes has been added to our ward.   We are now part of “the old timers” in this neighborhood.  We have been thinking of ways to mix everyone up a bit so we can all get better acquainted.

Here’s an idea we discovered that we started here this evening.  It’s called a Cookie Walk.  Below is a description and some instructions for the host families that John put together.


Stonewood 4th Ward


  • Get to know ward members better in a casual setting.
  • Foster interaction with everyone in the neighborhood, regardless of church affiliation.
  • Collect donations for community service initiatives.

Once each month, everyone in the neighborhood is invited to take a walk through the neighborhood on a designated evening and stop by the “Host Homes” who will have cookies to share.  People start when they want and move at their own pace, stopping to visit in the streets or at the Host Homes as they choose.  Host Homes will change each month.

NAME:  We need a name that clearly describes the activity.  Here are the names we have considered so far, with some additions:

  • Cookie Walk
  • Sweet Stroll
  • Sunday Treat Tour
  • Treat Tour
  • Treat on the Street
  • Parade of Cookies (playing off Parade of Homes)


  • Second Sunday of the month, 6-8pm, beginning 10 April (Palm Sunday, the week before Easter).
  • Ward Activities Committee will send email reminders each month, plus posts on ward website.
  • Four homes are chosen to be “Host Homes” each month. The Host invites their surrounding neighbors to bring 2-3 dozen cookies to their home before 6pm.  They could simply text their neighbors and see who is willing.  The Host sets up a table on their driveway and maybe a water dispenser with paper cups, if they would like.  Non-LDS neighbors may also want to participate by bringing cookies and are more inclined if involved by their immediate neighbors.  If a Host has insufficient response from neighbors or needs a table, they should contact the AC for help.  It would be nice to always have the Host Homes distributed throughout the ward.
  • The AC will come up with a sign to be planted in the front yard of the Host Homes so everyone recognizes it as part of the ward activity.
  • The AC will notify the Hosts if we are looking for donations for community service initiatives during a particular month (e.g., cans of food). There may not be a collection every month.  The AC will be responsible to collect the donations afterwards and deliver them to the appropriate organization (e.g., United Way).
  • This effort should be easy and pretty stress-free for the Hosts. We are mainly looking for social interactions and connections among those who stroll by and sample cookies.  No frills.

Here are the instructions John sent out to the host families:

THANK YOU so much for being our Cookie Host Homes this coming Sunday, April 10th.  You are the pioneers for this monthly ward activity and we are grateful for your help.

The idea is that everyone in the neighborhood is invited to take a walk through the neighborhood between 6pm and 8pm Sunday evening and stop by the “Host Homes” who will have cookies to share.  People start when they want and move at their own pace, stopping to visit in the streets or at the Host Homes as they choose.  We will plant a sign in front of your home on Sunday morning.

To prepare for the Cookie Walk, we hope you will invite your surrounding neighbors to bring 2-3 dozen cookies to your home before 6pm Sunday.  You might want to just text a few neighbors and see who is willing to help.  You’ll probably need 10-15 dozen cookies at your home.  If you end up with extras, share them with neighbors you noticed didn’t make it or just gobble them up yourselves!

Hopefully, you have a portable table you can set up on your driveway to lay out the cookies.  If you feel like it, you could also have a thermos of cold water and some paper cups available.  But please don’t feel like you need to do anything fancy.  These should be no-frills cookie stations that we want everyone to feel capable of hosting.  Also, we want everyone to continue walking and mingling, so don’t feel any need to invite Cookie Walkers into your home.  Feel free to close up shop at 8pm.  We’ll come by and pick up the signs.

If you have insufficient response to the cookie requests or if you need a table, please let Ann or me know and we’ll help you out.

That’s about it!  If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to mingling and snacking Sunday evening.  The weather looks like it will be great Sunday evening!

The ward activities committee

Our first Cookie Walk was a Huge success!  Our neighborhood streets were full of neighbors and friends walking and talking together between the host families.  The kids especially enjoyed it, almost as much as Halloween!

Best of all, we got to meet and make many new friends.

Everyone is already looking forward to our next Cookie Walk!

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A Lewis Family Shower for Abbey and Aaron

This morning we had a really fun Lewis family bridal shower for Abbey at Aunt Diana’s home in Alpine.  Di is the queen of event planning and parties in our family.  She was a perfect hostess today.

Claire, Natalie, Katie, cousins

We all chipped in to help with the food.  We had delicious soups and salads and homemade rolls.

This is the favorite salad I brought:

Magic Pan Salad
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 cup salad oil
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

1 cup sliced almonds
3-4 Tbsp. sugar

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 head each: Romaine, red leaf and iceberg lettuce

PREPARE DRESSING: Mix ingredients and shake well. Prepare ahead and refrigerate.
PREPARE CANDIED ALMONDS: Brown nuts in the oven on 375˚ for 5-10 minutes; watch carefully to avoid burning. Melt sugar in nonstick pan over low heat. Once sugar has melted, sprinkle almonds and stir to coat. Cool on parchment paper; break apart into small pieces.

PREPARE SALAD: Tear lettuce into small pieces; toss with drained mandarin oranges, sliced onions and candied almonds. Just before serving, toss with dressing.

I also made a vegan, gluten free Italian soup.  Here’s what I put in it: vegetable sausage, onion, vegetable bullion, stewed tomatoes, chopped celery, yellow squash, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, and red and yellow peppers. The sausage was spicy. I added Italian seasoning, a can of white beans and some GF pasta made from yellow peas.  To thin the soup, I added some V-8 juice and more broth.  It was delicious!

Cousin Cami, Aaron, Aunt Kathleen, Aunt Barb

Katie, Sadye, Aunt Di and a friend

Abbey’s mom and sister, Anna, Abbey

Ann with Aunt Leslie Laemmlen

Everyone was kind and generous, welcoming Abbey into the family.

Di presented Abbey with the famous Lewis Family Cookbook!

We are all so excited for Abbey to get to know our side of the family.  It feels like we are bringing two amazing families together.  This is going to be fun!

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Celebrating 35 Years in our Book Club!

This year my book club is celebrating 35 years of good reading.  We met together this evening in our yearly dinner party where we each bring suggestions for next year’s reading.  I have really missed these friends.  It’s good to be back with them.  I learned this week that it’s my turn this year to be our president.  This is a group of well-read capable women.  We’ve been together through thick and thin.

After our dinner at the Riverside Country Club, we went to work, with our book suggestions.  Each person can recommend up to 5 books to be considered by the selection committee (the previous year’s officers).  You are allowed 5 minutes total to present your suggestions.  Not everyone comes with 5.  I always come with 5, and usually a couple extra just in case one of mine has been suggested by someone else.

As I thought about my suggestions for our coming year, I looked back in my Goodreads account and searched through the 110 books I read while we were in Africa to pick the ones I thought would be best for our group to discuss.  These are the 5 star favorites I brought:

Someone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill
The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion
The Trees by Conrad Richter (first in a trilogy)
Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin (first in a set of 5 Old Testament historical fiction novels)
The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Next month we’ll get our reading list for the next year.  Oh, the possibilities!!

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Container to Mali FINALLY Departs!

Oh my, it’s finally going!  We thought we said goodbye to this container weeks ago, but with the sanctions and political problems in the world, the red tape just got thicker and thicker.  We finally got clearance, and this morning we sent the container off on its way.  Thanks to Dick Loomis from the Ouelessebougou Board and to the great guys from the Mosquito Abatement District who came to celebrate with us.

This container is filled with mosquito abatement supplies and loads of Days for Girls supplies for our sewing enterprise in Mali.  It’s like Christmas in a box!

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160 Women, 160 Sewing Machines, 1 Room

This week I and 160 other women showed up at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah for Amy McClellan’s Under the Garden Moon Retreat 2022.  I’ve been looking forward to this for a long long time!

I didn’t miss quilting while I was in Africa, but when I returned I realized how good it felt to be back in my quilting world, with quilting friends I’ve known for years.  This year 160 women came.  It was a huge room full of energy, excitement and creative juices flowing!  It was a delight to be there.

My packing list this year included my machine, plexiglass table top for my machine, small table, cutting mats, rulers, ironing pad, small iron, pre-wound bobbins, and all my notions and tools (scissors, pins, rulers, measuring tape, extra machine needles, oil, canned air to blow dust out of my machine, rotary cutter and extra blades, note pad, etc.)

I took 7 different projects to choose from to work on: small half square triangles to make pinwheels, half square triangles left over from my Mountain Top quilt to make a scrappy half triangle quilt, a snowball quilt that’s been in the making for a dozen or more years, Wensleydale, and enough strips to sew 2 Story Time quilt in brights. I also threw in fabric for a Happy Dresden quilt.  I had enough sewing to last me a month or more!

The first night the ladies teaching classes showed the projects their students would be working on.

Here are the half square triangles I worked on the first day.  These are all cut from scraps I had on hand.  I got a little carried away.

These are the finished pinwheels I took home to press–almost 600 of them!

These are the 80 blocks I worked on the 2nd day–for my Story Time quilt in these cheery bright fabrics.

And on the 3rd day, I worked on my Wensleydale quilt.

Here’s how the blocks came together after the retreat:

The second evening we had a wonderful trunk show by these 3 delightful ladies from American Fork.  They represented their quilt group, showing dozens of quilts they’ve worked on in the last 6 or 7 years.   These are a few of my favorites:

It was fun to see the same quilt made by different women with different fabrics.

Quilt backs can also be interesting!

 One of my favorite things about a quilt retreat (besides the hours of uninterrupted sewing) is wandering around the room to see what everyone else is working on.  It’s heavenly to be surrounded by good people who are creating beautiful things.  Here are some of the pics I took in my wanderings:

We could stay up as late as we wanted each night.  I like the quiet late hours too.  It’s calm and the time feels like a bonus.

This is Amy McClellan’s family.  They’ve been helping her host a retreat for years now.  We loving being part of this quilting family.  We are already talking about next year!

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Our Ward International Pot Luck Feast

John and I serve as the Co-Chairs of the Activity Committee in our Stonewood 4th Ward.  That means we get to plan all the ward parties and activities.  Because of COVID restrictions, we’ve had to plan carefully and limit our neighborhood gatherings.  Now that the restrictions are lifting a bit, we can start getting back together again.

Our bishopric asked us to add an activity to the calendar this month.  We didn’t have much time at all to plan or prepare, but we were thrilled with the results tonight!  We called it an International Pot Luck Dinner.

A week before the event, we sent around sign-up sheets at church for international dishes–main, dessert or other. We also had people sign up to bring an international centerpiece or any decorations from places they’d traveled.  We decorated the room with globes of the earth, travel posters and things people brought. We played a youtube travel video on the big screen so it looked like we were in the dining room of a cruise ship!

At each table we had questions with a table captain appointed who stayed there to keep everyone on track. After about 5 minutes of visiting and hearing everyone’s answers to the questions, we rotated 2 more times, then we had dinner. After dinner we had a special performance by a professional ballroom dance couple in our ward. They were fantastic.

The rest of the evening was spent eating and visiting. The food was fantastic and there was plenty. The food tables were arranged by continent/area (North and South America, Asia and Pacific, Europe, Africa) with a poster by each with statistics about each area from the church website (number of members, # of temples, countries in the area, etc.)

Everyone LOVED this activity and want to repeat it every year. We had an excellent turn out for such a quickly-put-together event. We asked that it be adults only, and provided a nursery for those who needed babysitting help.

· Name a place you would love to visit and tell why.
· Name three places where you have lived (international or US), other than your current home.
· Name a country that your ancestors came from.
· If you served a mission, where did you serve?
· Do you speak a language other than English?  Which language have you dreamed of learning?

Our neighbors and friends:

The punch we served was one of our favorites–you mix one can of white grape juice concentrate with a liter of Fresca and serve it with pebble ice.  YUM.

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Bridal Shower for Abbey Pinegar

Today we celebrated Aaron & Abbey’s upcoming marriage with a family bridal shower with members of Abbey’s family.  This was the first time I met most of them–her aunts and cousins–and they were delightful.  What an interestingly epic thing it is to bring two families together to create a new one!  As I learned more about Abbey and her family and heard more stories about how Aaron and Abbey’s lives intersected, over and over again, I was reminded that there is more at stake here than meets the eye.  Heaven’s Hand is in our comings and goings.

I remember in April, 1997, John and I were on a travel study trip that included visiting the BYU Jerusalem Center.  We attended church there on Shabbat, and after the meeting, as John and I sat in the beautiful Concert Hall looking out over the Old City of Jerusalem, I had a powerful impression flood through my body.  The message I received was this:  “Do Everything in your power to get your children here.”  The impression was so strong, I started crying.  It was unexpected and I remember sitting there, trying to compose myself.  It was not just a thought or hope or idea.  It felt like a command from heaven.