Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Temple

Last week it came out that a new temple will be built in Gilbert, Arizona, as well as another temple in the Gila Valley area in Arizona. Above is a rendering of what the Gilbert temple is supposed to look like. I am so excited! It is just beautiful! I can't wait to see it being built. What a great opportunity the open house will provide to show my children the interior of a temple. What would be even better would be to take them to the dedication services, although I am sure that will be by ticket only. In any case, whatever I can do to help my children look forward to going to the temple when they are older gets put on my essential To-Do list.

Note: I have just learned there is some debate as to whether this is really a rendering of the proposed Gilbert temple or not--since I do not know how to verify it, I will just leave it at that.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 127:5-10

Monday, April 28, 2008

Snowy Afternoon

Those of you still in cold weather may not want to try this, but for warm-weather folk this is a fun snowflake-making website. You can cut out virtual snowflakes and then save them as pictures or print them out. My kids had lots of fun doing this (so did I)! The one pictured above was my first try. Have a fun "snow" day :-).

Scripture of the Day: D&C 128:13

Ella Minnow Pea

I just finished reading Ella Minnow Pea (by Mark Dunn) for my book club meeting next month. It was very well done and I would recommend it for anyone looking for a good read. The main concept centers around the sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," as written by a man named Nollop. The island where Nollop was from has a statue of him with this sentence at the base. But when the letter 'z' falls from the statue the government leaders take it as a sign that it is no longer needed in the alphabet. They make it illegal to speak or write words using the 'z.' At first the impact is small, but as more letters continue to fall from the statue communication becomes strained and chaos ensues. The heroine of the book, Ella Minnow Pea, works to help save her community.

Scripture of the Day: (This is the last week of this theme and the scriptures answer the question, "What is baptism for the dead?") D&C 128:12

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bounce Houses, Baked Beans, and Baptism

Yesterday was Kitty's baptism and it was a very full day. At 8 am the bounce house arrived (a tradition given to grandkids from my mom on baptism days) and the kids were ecstatic! We invited lots of neighbor kids over to enjoy the fun. It got a bit too warm after lunch, but after the baptism they were back in it bouncing away.

I spent much of the day preparing for relatives to come for dinner after the baptism. Our stake does not allow use of the church after the baptism for family parties, etc. So they all had to come to my house, which is a bit on the small side for 25 people. Instead of doing it outside I set it all up on the back patio and prayed the impending heat would dissipate enough to make it nice outside for the meal. It worked okay, and since the meal requested by Kitty was a 6 foot long sub, the outside atmosphere fit with the picnic food. And the only side dish I had to make was baked beans.

At 4 pm the baptism started and was very nice. Kitty and Sweetie Peach sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" with two other girls in our ward. Steve baptized and confirmed her. And then the counselor in the bishopbric who was there asked me to share my testimony. Except for Steve's younger sister and my older brother, we had pretty much all of the family there. We are always so grateful for the support of extended family on these kinds of special occasions. All in all, it was a sweet day!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Cor. 15:29

Friday, April 25, 2008

Year of Miracles #1

A ward friend does a weekly blessings post on her blog, which I have thought was a great idea. So to kind of copy her brilliance I thought I would blog about a weekly small miracle I have seen occur. To be honest, the idea makes me a bit nervous--what if none occur? But then I thought of a small sign I once saw on my mission that read, "Coincidences are miracles where the Lord prefers to remain anonymous."

So here is my little miracle for Week #1:
Yesterday I decided to get the air conditioning fixed on our old van. There was a problem with the car overheating whenever the air was used. Similar symptoms had occurred a year ago and the cost for the repair was about $100. I was a bit hesitant to actually incur this cost because we have had a few too many unexpected expenses lately and I am trying to get us back on budget. But the weatherman's forecast convinced me: near 100 degrees this weekend!

So I took the van in to Gunnell's and a few hours later the guy called and said it actually had a different problem than last time--just a gallon and a half low on coolant. They ran a number of other tests and couldn't find anything else wrong, and letting it idle for a while showed there were no more overheating problems. And when I went to pick it up the guy at the counter said, "No charge." I was so shocked!! It was a little miracle and a huge blessing for us. Many thanks to Gunnell's and to a knowing Heavenly Father.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 107:20

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Two Women on a Mission

My mom had been looking for a motorized scooter for Kitty's 8th birthday for more than a week, with no success to show. Sunday night she told Kitty she would pick her up after work and they would go out searching until they found one--they would be "two women on a mission." Kitty thought this was great! Sure enough, they found one. Here is Kitty riding her new red scooter, and Patch on his blue one. This is in the morning before I drove their carpool to school--which shows you how excited she was to get on it.

Many thanks to Mimi (my mom) for providing great experiences and opportunities!! Aren't grandmothers wonderful?

Scripture of the Day: D&C 13:1

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Super Cookie

Here's a recipe I want to try, but was unable to buy calcium carbonate at my local Sprouts market. Maybe I will bake them without it, since it says it is optional... but maybe that defeats the purpose?!? The recipe was put together by a BYU professor striving to increase the calcium intake of deficient children in Bolivia and Peru. I guess milk is not traditionally a common drink there. And since I am not a big milk fan myself, I am always on the lookout for high calcium content foods. I will report back on how they taste and if kids actually like them.

Quinoa Cookies
1 C. Quinoa flour
1 C. Wheat flour
1/2 C. Sugar
2 t. Vanilla
1 T. Baking powder
1/2 C. Vegetable oil
3 Eggs
3 T. Calcium carbonate (optional)

In a large bowl, mix all wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients using a mixer. Drop rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. {Taken from BYU Magazine, Spring 2008}

Scripture of the Day: D&C 20:72-73

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fitches and Cummin

A few days ago I was listening to a podcast of a BYU devotional given by the dean of the religion department, Terry B. Ball. Dean Ball has a background in botany, but also spent many years with CES before his current position as dean. I was greatly interested in part of his talk and some symbolism he points out in Isaiah 28:24-29. Anyway, I enjoyed it so much I thought I would share. Following is an excerpt from an article summarizing Ball's points:

Using his training as a botanist, Ball helped the students see the principles of the gospel contained in the passage about a farmer plowing a field and sowing seeds. The seeds are sown according to their needs and individual characteristics in straight rows or tightly clumped together. Some of the seeds are planted in the center of the field where the soil is the finest, and some on the outside to form a barrier around the field.

"Obviously Isaiah is trying to do something more here than teach us about Old Testament agriculture," Ball said. "I believe Isaiah wants us to liken the farmer to our Heavenly Father, and the seeds to our selves. Have you ever wondered why you were born where and when you were born? …We believe that when it came time for us to experience mortality a loving Heavenly Father who knows each of us well, sent us to earth at the time and place and circumstances that would best help us reach our divine potential, and help him maximize his harvest of redeemed souls."

Some people can be seen as fitches and cummin, planted in tight-knit communities. Others can be paralleled to wheat, who like the staff of life, have been placed in promising places. Still others have been placed in some difficult circumstances, perhaps having to face handicaps and hardships.

Of course, there are likely other deeper meanings for this passage of scripture. But I found this to be insightful and very uplifting.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 20:42-43

Monday, April 21, 2008

Charming Charms

Check out these cute charms I ordered through my good friend Michelle (who is also my visiting teacher :-). I saw one of Big Ben on this website and thought it would be so cute to have for my Paris/London trip. So I asked if her if they also had one of the Eiffel Tower--sure enough they did. On the reverse side they say London and Paris. I am love, love, loving them already!

Scripture of the Day: New question this week is, "Who can perform a baptism?" Mosiah 18:13

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Funeral

*Need a scripture for a funeral? Click here.

Yesterday was the funeral for Steve's dad. It was a long day, but the family did a great job of planning services John would have liked. John was always the one taking pictures at family gatherings, so I threw my camera in my purse in case no one else came prepared. Steve's sister is a professional photographer, but with a toddler and a six month old son, I knew she would have her hands full. Here are a few of the shots I caught.Most of the grandkids sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" for the funeral. This shot was while they were practicing before the services started.
The pallbearers at the gravesite.

Kitty, Sweetie Peach, and cousin Alix after the grave was dedicated.

Just before the grave dedication.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 13:1

Friday, April 18, 2008

Summer Reading

Although I am somewhat loathe to admit it, summer is almost here and the kids will be out of school soon. One thing I look forward to doing in the summer is a bit more reading. So I have begun to put together a list of books I want to try and read. Here are three of them:

1. Before the Dawn (Dean Hughes)
A novel about a Relief Society president serving during the great depression era. This looks good -- I am interested in learning more about the time period and an article I read about it discussed how well the author researched it by using the now defunct Relief Society Magazine (among other resources).

2. Founding Mothers (Cokie Roberts)
Just because I like to read about American history and there isn't much out there about the women who were there.

3. Blink (Malcom Gladwell)
I loved his book The Tipping Point, so I want to try this one to see if it is as good.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 20:74

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Did that hurt?

For Kitty's 8th birthday this past Tuesday I took her to get her ears pierced. She has been so excited for it over the past month! I got her out of school during lunch time and we went to the mall where a much-pierced (tongue, lip, nose, etc.) clerk did the job. Kitty chose some 3 mm light blue simulated stone posts for her ears. They are very pretty. Here is a during and after shot I took:Disinfecting the ear... Kitty looks a bit scared, but determined.

After it was over--the look of relief!
So cute she is!
Afterwards I took her back to school, but not until I gave her a little bit of aspirin.
Scripture of the Day: Article of Faith #4

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In Loving Memory

John Thomas Irvine, my husband's father, passed away suddenly last Monday evening. He was a much loved husband, father, and grandfather. He will be greatly missed.

"And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy." (D&C 130:2)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Tax Day

Just a quick note to remind everyone to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s" (Mark 12:17). Have a great day!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gorgeous Green Onions

Last night Steve ran over to his parents' house with Sweetie Peach and Kitty. When they came back they brought these gorgeous green onions from my father-in-law's garden. They are at least three times the diameter of a normal green onion--some four times. And the length is about the same as my forearm. I love the deep purple color on the bulb parts. In fact, I did not know green onions would turn purple like this.

Anyway, I left the onions on the counter last night and when we got up this morning the smell of onion in the air was quite pungent. So I set in to getting them chopped up and in the freezer right away. I started by cutting them up with a knife, but the fumes were too powerful for my eyes. Talk about stinging and tears! So then I pulled out my trusty food processor to do the trick. The fumes were still strong, but at least I did not have to suffer as long. Here is the gallon ziplock bag results after the chopping. Does this qualify for a year's supply?
Scripture of the Day: 3 Ne. 11:26

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Cansolidator

On Friday afternoon my order of Cansolidators arrived and I was quite excited. "What is a Cansolidator," you ask? A Cansolidator is a shelf system that helps one to ensure their canned goods are rotated properly. You load it through the top and it rolls back and then forward again. Originally I saw an ad for this when browsing through the BYU website. However, it seemed a bit pricey. But a week or so ago I saw it was on ebay too. The price was still a bit high there, but cheap enough I thought I would try it. And I have been needing something to help me rotate my canned goods--I have my three to four month's supply in my pantry. And this past week there has been a great sale on canned turkey chili at the grocery store, so I stocked up even more. Here is what the Cansolidators looks like in my pantry:I need to adjust the top one so the left slot is a bit narrower. It is the perfect size for diced chili cans, but I do not need to keep that many on hand. I would rather put tuna or some other can in that area. Anyway, it is still too new to rate it overall, but I must admit is seems sturdy and fits well into the area. It was also fairly simple to assemble.

Scripture of the Day: (To answer the question, "How should we be baptized?") John 3:23

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Top 10 Scriptures for Moms

My grandmother, Helen Darton Spiers (Kunkel), in England

Got to thinking about scriptures most meaningful to me as a mom and thought I would share my top 10. With great respect to David Letterman, here's the count down:

10. 2 Nephi 25:26 -Some of the best advice out there for making a Christ-centered home.

9. 2 Nephi 2:25 -Somedays as a mom I need the reminder that it is all about "joy."

8. John 19:27 -One of the Savior's last acts was to make sure his mother was cared for.

7. Luke 1:46 -I want serve as a magnifying glass to the Gospel and Savior for my children, too.

6. Genesis 3:20 -Not because she was the first woman on earth, or Adam's wife, but because she would be a mother.

5. Mosiah 4:14-15 -What I aspire to be able to do on a daily basis.

4. Moses 1:39 -What I aspire to help Heavenly Father accomplish in the long run.

3. 2 Timothy 1:5 -This gives me hope that the testimony I have will be passed on to my kids.

2. Mosiah 3:8 -It gives me a thrill just to read it!

1. Alma 56:47-48 -Even teenage boys will rely on the words taught by their moms.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wishin' I were in Denver

Yesterday I was reading this article about Rembrandt (and other artists') works being displayed by the LDS Church in various parts of Denver. They had a Bible from the 1500s and a number of other art works that center around the life of the Savior. Apparently it is a collection an LDS church member has amassed and is now being shown to the public in 4 ward buildings in the Denver-metro area. I would love to see this! I loved art history in college and now teach Art Masterpiece to two second grade classes. To all friends and family in Denver: Did any of you go to this? What did you think?

Scripture of the Day: Hopefully this one was in the 1500s Bible! John 3:5

Proof Reading

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Horizon/cedar Fort (my book publisher) with the first proof of my book to edit. I was so excited to see it--it had an ISBN number and everything!!! The fonts the typesetter has chosen are cute and it looks so professional. {Of course} I was flooded with work projects yesterday and {of course} the publisher wanted my edits asap. I put out a quick e-mail to a few great friends for their help in proof reading (thanks Heather and Becky!). In the end I was able to get the list of edits back to the publisher this morning. There was nothing terribly serious that needed fixing, so my baby appears to be developing fine. Here is a picture I drew for the President Hinckley's Be's chapter:
Scripture of the Day: 2 Ne. 31:17

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jane Austen Completed

This spring has been a season of watching the Masterpiece Theater's Complete Jane Austen series. I have looked forward to Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. to sit back and enjoy the romance and rusticism of Jane Austen's works. I particularly liked the new versions of Sense and Sensibility (Marianne pictured above) and of Northanger Abbey. These adaptations were beautifully done! But alas, the season is done and and the Complete Jane Austen is complete. I am sad that my Sunday evenings will hold less to look forward to, but my husband will be glad to regain control of the remote.

Speaking of Steve, just a quick note to announce he bought a car last week--a low-mileage used Sebring from a co-worker. Many of you know we have been in much need of a newer vehicle for some time, so this change has been very nice for us.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 18:22

Monday, April 7, 2008

New Recipe: Russian Chicken

This recipe is one my cute sister-in-law Alicia gave me and is quickly becoming a family favorite. So I thought I would pass it along.

Mix 1/2 jar apricot jam, 1/2 jar Catalina salad dressing, and 1/2 package of dry onion soup mix. Pour over 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 1 whole chicken cut up). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve over rice.

Several times when I have made this recipe I did not have the apricot jam on hand so I threw some canned peaches (drained) in a blender with some Splenda, the Catalina dressing, and the onion soup mix. The results were the same and healthier! Enjoy!

Scripture of the Day: This week's scriptures answer the question, "Why should we be baptized?" This one is a classic--2 Ne. 31:5

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Shoe Shopping Anyone?

So, a few days ago I was kind of in a funk and got to looking at some of my shoes. A lot of them looked awful! I mean YUCK, how- could- I- possibly- be- wearing- these- in- public- TERRIBLE. So I purged and threw about half of them away. Now before you start to think, "Wow, that was a rash move!" you should know that I only owned about a dozen pair of shoes in total. Now you're probably thinking, "How does she get by with only a dozen?" The truth is that I am picky when it comes to my shoes. Here are my criteria:

1. No between the toes straps (I can't bear the thought of getting a blister between my toes any more!)

2. Nothing higher than 2 inches (my ankles are too weak and I am apt to hurt myself)

3. Comfort is essential (I am getting too old for aching feet)

4. Cheap (I prefer the shoes wear out as fast as I get tired of them or they go out of fashion)

With all this pickiness you will be relieved to know I have already bought 3 pairs of new shoes as replacements. I found 2 pair at Target (actually two colors of the same style of shoe) and 1 at Wal-Mart. With these on hand I am in no rush to buy more, but will take my time looking and enjoying the shopping excursions. Anyone up for a trip to Last Chance?

Scripture of the Day: 2 Ne. 9:23

Friday, April 4, 2008

Down and Derby

Last night was our ward's pine wood derby. Patch is a Webelos this year, so this is his last year to race. As he was preparing his car he decided to try and go for the Flat Tire Award--a cake given to the slowest car in the race. I was not too sure about this because I wanted him to try to do his best. But he persisted in the idea and worked with his dad on how to make the car slow. When they took the car to weigh-in the wheels were only taped on with clear packaging tape. The Cubmaster told them the Flat Tire Award only went to the car that was slowest but could still cross the finish line. So then Steve hollowed out the body of the car (to make it light) and attached the wheels.

At the race Patch's car was able to cross the finish line. And he was SO excited when he lost his first three races. It looked like the cake was all his. But then in one race another car lost to his! They had to have a run-off to see whose was actually the slowest. In the end, Patch prevailed and won the beloved Flat Tire Award. When I asked him if he was sorry he did not try harder to actually win the race he said, "No. Getting to actually make the car with dad was way better winning the race would have been." {sniffles and tears}

(Thanks to Amazing Becky for suggesting this idea as a post!)

Scripture of the Day: D&C 20:37

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Time for General Conference

I am so looking forward to this weekend and General Conference. I love to hear the counsel that is provided for by our wonderful leaders! During the Saturday sessions I plan to listen while I get rid of that mending pile that has been building on the wash room counter for the past few months--and then do any ironing that needs to be done. Sunday I will sit back and relax and enjoy the sessions. I like to make an extra special breakfast on Conference Sundays and try to encourage the kids to listen (key word here: try).

This year our primary presidency sent home some cute packets for the kids to work on during conference (aren't Primary Presidencies generally just wonderful?!?). If your Primary presidency didn't send anything home, try this site of Friend coloring pages all organized. I find it to be very handy. Another helpful tip is to assign kids 8 and older to choose one talk or story to report on/tell for FHE the next night. The key thing is to plan a strategy ahead of time and have any materials you need prepared and ready to go.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 33:11

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Book Info!

Just a short, but sweet, post today. I am so excited! Yesterday I learned that the publisher of my scripture study book has decided to make my book available in 3 different ways: as a book alone, as a CD alone, and as a book/CD combo. I love this idea because it will make using it all the more convenient for all those busy moms and dads out there. Yeah for technology!

Scripture of the Day: 3 Ne. 27:20

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Filling the Font to Prepare for Baptism

Well, a new month has arrived and it is time for me to introduce a new theme. Before I do so, I thought I would show you how our Heavenly Treasure ended up looking. The kids had fun with this one--note the Celestial Cent on top of the bird's head (Patch's silliness). We hit about 24 days of the month, which is on the low end for us. Still, not terrible.The new theme for April is another one that is not in my forthcoming book (Adventures with the Word of God). It is one I developed for Kitty because she is turning 8 this month. Of course, it is about baptism and is designed to help her prepare this big event. There are 30 scriptures chosen to answer 5 questions about baptism. The scriptures are on the back of water "splashes" and once they are read they are placed in the font so as to gradually fill up the font. Here is the picture I drew/put together on the computer for it:The splashes will have to overlap to fit them all on, but I think this will work well to ensure Kitty is well prepared for her baptism at the end of this month.

Here is the first Scripture of the Day, which goes toward answering the question, "Is it necessary for everyone to be baptized?" Acts 2:38