Sunday Brunch with Friends

Claudia, Lisa, Karen and MIMOSSA's!

Claudia, Lisa, Karen and MIMOSAS!

On Sunday, January 11th, Ron & I, Karen & Jim Murphy, and Claudia & Dirk Smith went to my folks’ house for brunch, and it turned into a full day of FUN!  First we met about 9:30am and made breakfast (eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, biscuits, and OJ with champagne).  It was such a nice day, we were even able to eat out on the patio!  Gotta love that!

Following breakfast, the girls began a fun game of FARKLE at the patio table while the boys gathered in the den to watch football.  Have any of you ever played FARKLE?  It’s actually pretty fun!  FARKLE (sometimes spelled FARKEL) is a dice game where each player rolls the dice and accumulates points for various combinations.  You can also LOSE points depending on what you roll.  Very fun, but VERY competitive too!


Later, the girls played SCRUPLES (a fantastic game of ethical and moral questions…you tend to learn a lot about one another with that game!) while sitting around the fire pit.  Occasionally, the boys would join us during the commercial breaks.  When the football game(s) finally ended, it was time to eat again.  It was getting a bit chilly by this point, and my mom had prepared a great spread of sandwiches and salads. so we all went inside to eat and to begin making our lists for the “burning.”

burning-2burning-3What’s a “burning” you ask?  Okay, well, first of all it’s not as weird as it sounds. We decided to do a “burning” to help bring in the new year on a positive note.  All it means is that we wrote down on little pieces of paper anything negative that we felt like we were carrying around (specific fears, anger, crap that happened in 2008, etc.) and then we gathered outside by the fire pit and burned the pieces of paper in order to “get rid” of it all.  You know, a kind of a symbolic way to start 2009 with a completely fresh slate.  Corny, I know…but it felt good nonetheless.

jacuzziWe completed the evening with a dip in the Jacuzzi and then back around the fire pit for big mugs of Hot Chocolate with whipped cream on top. What a wonderful day…thanks mom and dad for hosting such a terrific monthly get-together (Uh, oh…I just realized next month it’s supposed to be at OUR house…not sure how we’re ever gonna compete with this one!). :) Love you guys!

“Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life!”


Let’s Toast to a GREAT 2009!!!!

Karen Murphy, Claudia Smith, Lisa Smith, Janet Rogers

Karen Murphy, Claudia Smith, Lisa Smith, Janet Rogers

On New Year’s Day, we gathered at our friend Karen Murphy’s house to celebrate the beginning of 2009! Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE living in Las Vegas???  Here were are outside, by the pool, on the first day of January…no jackets at all!  Love that!

Anyway, after eating way too much food and enjoying several glasses of wine (well, mom drank soda while the rest of us had wine) the boys retired to the living room to watch football while the girls gathered around the kitchen table to play a fun game of RACKO (never heard of it? neither had I…but it turned out to be quite fun…even if we did kinda make up the rules as we went along :) ).

Wayne Rogers, Dirk Smith, Ron Smith, Jim Murphy

CHECK OUT THESE MANLY MEN! Wayne Rogers, Dirk Smith, Ron Smith, Jim Murphy

What a great afternoon…friends, food, AND fun!  What more could you ask for???  I can already tell…2009 is going to be awesome!!!

“An Evening Of Pops” – North Las Vegas Stake Center Choir and Orchestra

Went to a great concert on Saturday night! The North Las Vegas Stake Center Choir (under the direction of Bruce Green) and Orchestra (under the direction of Ray Brown) combined together this past weekend for “An Evening of Pops.”

North Las Vegas Stake Center Choir Pops Concert

North Las Vegas Stake Center Choir and Orchestra

I arrived at 6:30pm (for a 7pm show time) to an already packed house…not only was the chapel already filled to capacity, but so was the overflow area AND the cultural hall! There was so much excitement in the room, I could tell I was in for a great evening.

Honestly there were far too many wonderful moments in the program to name just a few.  Beautiful pieces sung by the choir like “Hushabye Mountain” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (featuring talented soloist Terazza Van Orden) and a surprisingly moving rendition of “Home on the Range” arranged by Mark Hayes (truly stunning!), and several really fun songs like “The Sow Took The Measles” and the clever “One Minute Madigal” by Donald Moore.  The orchestra also had some particularly great moments, like their salute to the music of “Pirates of the Caribbean” (an obvious favorite of all the kids in the audience) and several beautiful selections from Carmen.  Not to be forgotten was also the wonderful performance of “The Typewriter” by the orchestra and Marianne Brown, written by Leroy Anderson (famous for many other brilliant and novel compositions like “The Syncopated Clock,” “Sandpaper Ballet,” and the popular “Sleigh Ride”)!

In addition, there were several great soloists throughout the evening worth mentioning…some truly high caliber performances! Ashley Green and her husband Sam Green thrilled the audience with Francesco Santori’s “Time To Say Goodbye” (made famous by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman) and Sandra Huntsman (whom you may know from her many performances and costume designs with Signature Productions at the Summerlin Library Theatre) did a terrific job singing Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz’s “Happy Working Song” from the film Enchanted.  And since no evening would be complete without the appearance of a children’s choir, there was also a very nice arrangement of “When You Believe” (with soloists Heidi Gebs and Steve Matthews) featuring several of the children from the Stake.

The choir and orchestra finished the evening with their tribute to the Jazz Standards by doing a great Anita Kerr arrangement of “String of Pearls” and closing with a rousing rendition of “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” by the always AMAZING composer/arranger John Rutter.  What a FUN, FABULOUS evening!

By the way, I’d also like to mention that one other reason the evening was so FABULOUS, was the amazing job Dave Gunnell did as the sound engineer.  It is extremely difficult to properly mic a choir, particularly when there are so many soloists as well, but add to that the fact that this performance was taking place inside a chapel building, not a concert hall, and Mr. Gunnell is to be sincerely commended for his abilities!  Great job!

Janet Rogers

Janet Rogers (also known as "mom")

My Daddy; Wayne Rogers

Wayne Rogers (also known as "daddy")

Oh, and I almost forgot the BEST part!  The true stars of the evening were of course my mom and dad who are part of this great choir! They have both sung with several other choirs throughout the years, including two other choirs here in Las Vegas, and I happen to know that this choir is their favorite to sing with…not just because the choir is so good, but also because of their incredible director, Mr. Bruce Green.  Not just a talented choir director…a truly NICE and CARING man.  That kind of thing goes a long, long way…

The next combined performance of the North Las Vegas Stake Choir & Orchestra, that is open to the public, will be their Holiday Concert, December 13 & 14.  It will be a FREE concert and will be held at the North Las Vegas Stake Center, located on Azure & Goldfield.  You can email Janet Rogers at for specific concert times and other information.

Visit the Official Website of Leroy Anderson to read more about him and listen to some of his great compositions.

Click Here to read more about Sandra Hunstman, and her performing and costuming business.