Saturday, December 26, 2009

Random Stuff

Just a quick post to blog about a few random items... I know it has been a crazy busy week and my blogging had to take a back seat. But I am alive and well!

- Christmas was good. On Christmas Eve I loved watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas presentation on PBS. It was really touching. Then we played a game (I finally won at 'Ticket to Ride') while kind of watching It's a Wonderful Life. As for Christmas Day we spent the entire day with extended family away from home. By the time we were home again I was completely exhausted.

- I am ready for the kids to go back to school. As a friend recently wrote on her blog, sometimes too much quality family time is not for the best!

- This morning I went for my weigh-in at WW. I was a bit nervous, but despite being somewhat naughty the past week I was still within my 2 lb. range. I need to work hard these next few weeks to get back on track. Funny how easy it is to pick up bad habits.

- Today the Deseret Book flier came today and I was so excited to see Family Home Evening Adventures (book-CD set) featured in it! I did a little happy dance and took the flier to show my SIL.

- I am in the mood for organizing and preparing for the New Year. Today I cleaned out part of my home office. I need to get some organizing drawers for some supplies now. It already looks much better, but I have a few more projects in mind. I still have to think about my resolutions, though.

How was your Christmas?

Are you able to find places for all the new presents you received?

Have you decided what your resolutions will be yet?

Scripture of the Day: 3 Nephi 28:10

Monday, December 21, 2009


Recently I was asked to be one of the blog team members for ANWA (American Night Writer's Association). I was grateful for the offer and excited to accept. Today is my first post on ANWA Founders & Friends, so jump on over and show me some love by leaving a comment :-).

Check me out!

I was featured on LDS Women's Book Review yesterday! Jump on over there to check it out. If you leave a comment you may win a prize--they are giving away lots of fun stuff as part of their Christmas Countdown.

Scripture of the Day: 3 Nephi 17:17-18

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas in the Book of Mormon

Traditionally in our ward primary the Sunbeams act out the nativity on the Sunday before Christmas. This is one of my favorite sharing times of the year! But this year there was a problem. We have only 2 sunbeams. And they are both boys.

After weighing the options I decided to combine the sunbeams with the CTR 5 class. There are 5 more kids in the CTR 5 class, so this would give us the numbers we needed. However, still there were no girls. Not even one! And all of these boys are very active. How do you do the nativity without Mary or an angel? It was not going to happen.

So I made the executive decision to put together a Christmas in the Book of Mormon sharing time for these boys to act out. The point was to have the boys dress up as some of the prophets who foretold of the Savior's birth. The parts the children played would not require speaking (and very limited acting), but would be narration interspersed with songs and scriptures. My friend Heather found a really cute starting point for me from the Friend magazine, but it had too few parts. After adding a part for King Benjamin and adding/changing a few songs it all came together.

And today it all happened. I wish I had taken a picture of the boys. One of my favorite points was when Samuel the Lamanite was standing up on his wall and one of the Nephites got up on top of the wall with him. They are best friends in real life, so they stood there as buddies when they were supposed to be playing enemies.

The boys did such a good job and there was a sweet spirit to be felt. It was a great way to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Scripture of the Day: Helaman 7:7-8

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons #10

Happy Saturday!
I hope your last minute holiday
preparations are going well.

Scripture of the Day: Jeremiah 31:13

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

5 Fun Christmas Activities Using Scriptures

1. Have your family act out the Nativity story while reading from Luke 2.

2. Make a Jesse Tree with scriptures prophesying of the Savior's birth.

3. Help your kids illustrate Samuel the Lamanite's prophecies of the Savior's birth.

4. Include Christmas scriptures in an advent calendar.

5. Make gift tags with Christmas scripture verses on them.

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 66:1

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


- Today I had to go for my pap smear.

- I found a dead fly inside my fridge. Not in the food, though.

- What the wipe looked like after cleaning the hot chocolate Sweetie Peach spilled on the kitchen floor this morning. Guess I should mop more often.

- My hands after having to close the garage door manually.

- Using needle nose pliers to turn on my space heater.

- Getting up at 5 am to get things done so I can get to work on time.

- Day-old remnants of chicken noodle soup in the dishes I did this afternoon.

- Wrapping paper paper cuts.

I am ready for some yummy now.

Scripture of the Day: Neh. 8:10

Monday, December 14, 2009

DIY #6

A few weeks ago my DH took down part of my kitchen cabinets to open up the kitchen to the dining and family rooms. We still have a bit of trim to take care of, but it is 98% the way done and I am loving it. It is much better, although I have lost my built-in display area. But not to worry, I am working on that problem next.


As you can see, we actually put half the cabinet back up against the wall with the window. The other half was put to use in the tool shed.

Total project cost: $10
Total project time: 2 hours (there was an issue with where the studs were in the wall)

Scripture of the Day: Alma 17:2

Friday, December 11, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons #9

My DH thinks this should be our Christmas card every year. I'm not so sure...

Enjoy your weekend!

Scripture of the Day: Zeph. 3:17

Blog Tour Stop 7

One of my favorite blogs to read is Joy in the Journey, and today I was surprised to find there a great review of Family Home Evening Adventures and...

...a giveaway!

Hop on over there for another opportunity to win my book--but be sure to take time to read some of the posts there. Your day will be brightened as a result! I promise.

Previous blog tour stops:

Brenda Anderson
Anne Bradshaw
Diapers and Divinity
Pulsipher Predelections
The Little Things From Our House
Heather Justesen

Christmas Questions

I am borrowing this post from Homespun at Heart. Thanks Jenny!

. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Definitely hot chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just set them under the tree? Both--some are set out, a few are wrapped and under the tree.

3. Colored or white lights on the tree/house? Right now we have white, but I can tell colored is back in style on my block.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Never had any, I don't think to buy it.

5. When do you put up your decorations? The Monday after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Any of the brunch items my mom makes for Christmas.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Trying to take family photos each year--someone was always in a bad mood, it seemed. They are hilarious to look back on now. The year my brother had a perm is a classic one.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My older brother told me when I was about four.

9. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve? Nope.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? With decorations my father painted when I was an infant, as well as some new ones we have collected.

11. Snow! Love or Dread it? If it snows in Mesa it is definitely loved!

12. Can you ice skate? A bit.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Pearls on Christmas after my 16th b-day.

14. What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you? To focus on the birth of the Savior. I love to read the story in Jesus the Christ each year.

15. Favorite holiday dessert? Plates of cookies delivered by the neighbors.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Shopping for the kids' gifts.

17. What tops your tree? Star

18. Which do you prefer- giving or receiving? I love giving and receiving!

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night.

20. Candy Canes? Belong on the tree, not in your mouth.

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: Luke 2:10

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Update on Harrison

My brother sent this to me today, so I thought I would bring everyone up to date on Harrison.

Friends and Family,

Since last August, many of you have come to me inquiring about the status of my son Harrison. It means a great deal to me personally that you all are concerned for the health of my child – even now, months after the fact. This year has been a tremendous challenge for us as a family, so having your support has meant a great deal along the way.

Last year, Harrison’s request of Santa was to have the stem cell treatment done. He prayed regularly for a successful outcome, and his prayers were answered. So this Christmas has a bit more meaning to our family.

Attached is an essay Harrison wrote on his computer last month for a school assignment. That in itself is significant – he used both hands to get it written with minimal assistance, something he was not able to do before. Somehow reading his words brings greater focus on the significance of what has happened.

Thank you all,

Jeff (Harrison's Dad)

My Favorite Thing

by: Harrison

What do you know about stem cell therapy? I know a lot about stem cell research because I had a procedure don in Dusseldorf, Germany in July.

The first thing the doctors did was extract my bone marrow out of my hip with a big needle. They harvested the stem cells by putting the bone marrow in a special tube and putting the tube in a special box. It too two days for them to separate the stem cells from the bone marrow. I had one million two hundred thousand stem cells.

After two days I went back to the hospital, the nurse put an IV in my arm and I went to lala land. Next, the doctors put the stem cells in a tube called a syringe with a ginormous needle. They put that needle in my spine and put the stem cells back in me. Ow!!!!! I had a really bad headache for eight days because of that.

Then I woke up, I pulled the IV out right away. Hahahaha. What the heck! I didn't need that thing anyway.

After the procedure some of the things I can do better are sit by myself, move my chair, and move my hands better. I could not do any of these things before yeah me!

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 96: 4, 6, 8

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recipe Scripture Study

This is a darling idea for scripture cookies you can turn into a family scripture study session. Your kids will love this. To find each ingredient, look up scripture reference and fill in blank.

3/4 cup _________
“The words of his mouth were smoother than ____” (Ps. 55:21)

1/3 cup _________
“Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy ____ and honey” (2 Ne. 26:25)

1 1/2 cups _________
“To what purpose cometh there to me … the ____ ____ from a far country?” (Jer. 6:20)

2 _________
“As one gathereth ____ that are left, have I gathered all the earth” (Isa. 10:14)

2 cups _________
“And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine ____” (1 Kgs. 4:22)

1 teaspoon _________
“Take thou also unto thee principal spices … and of sweet ____ half so much” (Ex. 30:23)

1 teaspoon _________
“Ye are the ____ of the earth” (Matt. 5:13)

1/2 teaspoon _________
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto ____ (Matt. 13:33)

3 cups _________
“Nevertheless … ____ for the horse” (D&C 89:17)

1 cup _________
“And they gave him … two clusters of ____” (1 Sam. 30:12)

Beat first four ingredients together. Mix in remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 15 minutes.

(Scripture Cookie Answers: 3/4 c butter, 1/3 c milk, 1 1/2 c sugar, 2 eggs, 2 c flour, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t salt, 1/2 t baking soda, 3 c oats, 1 c raisins)

Recipe origin unknown; I found the idea here. There is also a recipe for a cake there.

Scripture of the Day: Isaiah 66:5

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Abish

I am home from work finally and have been enjoying this rainy day. It would be a perfect day to curl up under a blanket with a good book, a fire, and some hot cocoa. But alas, I recently finished Abish: Faith Among the Lamanites (by Brenda Anderson) and have yet to pick up a new book to read. Too bad, because in the final chapters of Abish there is an exciting chase seen during a rainstorm; it would have been more effectual to read it during an actual storm.

So what is Abish about? Abish is the name of a person in the Book of Mormon; in fact she is one of only three women named therein. Only a few scant details are given about her, but what we do know is interesting. Author Brenda Anderson has taken these details and crafted a story (with some very interesting sub plots) around Abish, her father (also mentioned), Ammon and others. Here is what the back of the book says:

Abish, a young Lamanite, wants to believe her father when he proclaims he had a vision from God. Raised in traditions of hatred toward their enemies, the Nephites, she has a hard time swallowing his claims that the Nephite religion is the true gospel. Unable to deny the witness that bears the truthfulness of his words, Abish joins her father in his conversion.

But when their secret is discovered and they are threatened with treason, Abish must flee the city in order to protect herself and the precious knowledge she possesses. She journeys to the king s palace in the hopes of becoming a servant to the queen.

When Ammon, a Nephite missionary, is captured and brought to the palace, the Lamanites are shaken by the miraculous powers he possesses. When Ammon s preaching of the gospel causes extraordinary effects on the palace, Abish suddenly realizes why the Lord has brought her there, and what she has to do.

I really enjoyed reading Abish. Anderson's plot idea is realistic, logical, and accurate to what is found in the Book of Mormon. In the book, Abish is well developed and has both character strengths and flaws. I also enjoyed Abish's father and Zeram (her love interest) as characters. Anderson's writing was vivid and easy to follow--and as I noted above, there was plenty of action and excitement.

To give you additional insight into Abish, I fielded three questions to Brenda Anderson:

What inspired you to write about Abish, such a little-known character in the Book of Mormon?

Brenda: I was reading about Abish one day for my personal scripture study and I kept wondering what kind of vision her father had and how that vision may have affected their life. Pondering those questions led to "Abish."

Abish has some interesting and complicated plot/sub-plot lines. How did map it all out and how long did it take?

Brenda: I started writing "Abish" in the summer of 1998 and at that point it was a simple story about her life. I got sidetracked by a move and having more kids, so when I got back to the story, I felt it needed more; that's when I added the love story and the disgruntled cousin. After a few submissions and reading some great recommendations from editors--and a lot of prayer--, I came up with most of the other sub-plots. From start to finish, writing "Abish" took ten years.

Are you working on a new book? Is it another scripture-based concept?

Brenda: I am working on a new book--it may turn out to be a series, I don't know yet. This book will bring back many of the characters from "Abish," but the main characters will be young men. I believe it was very likely that Abish had a son or sons that later became stripling warriors, so I've come up with a story along those lines.

Thanks Brenda! I really enjoyed Abish and would love to read more from you in the future. Keep writing!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 128: 19, 23

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blog Tour Stop 6

Time for another stop on Family Home Evening Adventures blog tour! Author Brenda Anderson wrote this nice review and posted it on her blog and Goodreads today. Thanks Brenda!

Brenda is the author of Abish: Faith Among the Lamanites (which I will be reviewing myself as I just finished reading... so stay tuned!). I recently met Brenda; she was sweet enough to drive all the way from Buckeye, AZ to attend my book signing. In fact, we are hoping to do a few more signings together in the next few months. Us Arizona authors are sticking together.

Previous blog tour stops:

Anne Bradshaw
Diapers and Divinity
Pulsipher Predelections
The Little Things From Our House
Heather Justesen

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons #8

Happy Saturday everyone! Have a good day!

Scripture of the Day: John 16:20-22

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mesa Arizona Temple Baptismal Font

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Baptisimal Font
The baptismal font in the Mesa Temple is mounted upon twelve oxen. A similar design is used in other LDS Temples. There are multiple levels of symbolism in this design. The oxen represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Also, Jesus Christ had twelve apostles. Furthermore, the oxen represents the tribe of Ephraim, which plays a key role in the restoration of the gospel in the latter-days. (Each of the twelve tribes had a symbol. The ox was the symbol of Ephraim.)
But one ox in the Mesa Temple is unique in that its left horn points backwards and its right horn points forward. Both horns of each of the other eleven oxen point forward. The accepted explanation is that the unique ox has no particular significance and that its design was only a matter of the sculptor's whimsy. Perhaps, this is so. Or perhaps the unique ox represents the tribe of Judah, with one horn pointed backward to covenant of the Old Testament and the other pointed forward to the covenant of the New Testament. The tribe of Judah gave to us our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ commands us in 2 Nephi 29 to express gratitude to the Jews for their sacrifices in giving us the Holy Bible. [by: Tom Irvine (my BIL)]
I took Patch to do baptisms at the temple last week; it was his first time in the temple and he was able to see this ox. It got me wondering if other temples also have this horn/oxen symbol. Any readers out there know if their temple has this too?

Scripture of the Day: Alma 7:4-5

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

10 Things I Am Grateful For Today

1. Hairspray - my hair would look terribly messy without it.

2. Space heaters that keep my feet toasty while stuck typing at the computer.

3. Visiting teachers who are really are more accurately described as friends.

4. Non-stick frying pans and/or non-stick cooking spray (I feel sorry for moms who cooked in days prior to Teflon technology/Pam).

5. Yoga. It keeps me sane some days.

6. Gift bags--remember when we had to wrap everything?

7. Digital cameras that let me pick and choose which pics to save and which ones to delete.

8. Microwaves that can heat up lunch in a jiffy.

9. Cookbooks with lots of pictures of the foods I can learn to make.

10. Hugs and kisses from my cute kids! (Although they are getting pretty sparse from Patch lately... I guess that's the way it goes with tween boys.)

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: Alma 27:16-19

New Month, New Theme

Christmas time is here and it is time for a new theme for family scripture study. In my home we are going to be reading scriptures about joy. The scriptures are on the back of colored paper ornaments, which will go on a poster board with a Christmas tree. As the month goes on we will be decorating the tree. On Christmas day a star will be placed on top. Feel free to copy this idea, it is easy to create at home!

Scripture of the Day: 2 Ne. 2:25

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to work I go.

Today the company I have worked part time for called and asked me to up my hours to 30 per week, doing some in the office during my kids' school hours and then telecommuting the rest. This has been a lean year financially for our family, so I have agreed to take the job. Hopefully it will not interfere with my blogging or writing (I am worried that it will). I already know there are a number of other good things I have to give up. But I am trying to be thankful for this blessing. Really it is an answer to prayer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all the girls went for pedicures. Sweetie Peach and Kitty got penguins painted on their toenails. Thanks Mimi for treating us! Afterwards the kids got to each pick out a new Christmas tree ornament and then we went out to dinner (thanks Papa!).

Right before the feast Uncle Jeff treated us to his famous version of "Choppin' Broccoli" (a la Saturday Night Live). Here you can see Kitty thought it was hilariously funny (which it is).

Patch before heading to the buffet table.

Sweetie Peach enjoying her first bite of mashed potatoes.

Kitty and her fare.

After the Spiers' feast, we headed over to the Irvine extended family celebration where Steve and his brother Tom shot off a rocket. The parachute malfunctioned and the rocket plummeted into someone's back yard. We hope they considered it a gift from the Thanksgiving Turkey up above.

Also over the weekend was my first book signing. Here I am with the kids by my table. Please note the egg shell blue sweater chosen to match the cover of my new book (yes, I am totally cheesy enough to do that!). Thanks to all of you who came and supported me--as well as to Seagull Book and Tape in Mesa for hosting the event.

I hope you all had a marvelous Thanksgiving as well!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 59:15-19

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons #7

The Christmas Season is finally here!
Put up your lights and tree and have a great weekend!

Scripture of the Day: Jonah 2:9

Friday, November 27, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Shortly after the Thanksgiving Proclamation was written, it was lost for 130 years. The original document was written in long hand by William Jackson, secretary to the President, and was then signed by George Washington. It was probably misplaced or mixed in with some private papers when the US capitol moved from New York to Washington, D.C.

The original manuscript was not placed in the National Archives until 1921 when Dr. J. C. Fitzpatrick, assistant chief of the manuscripts division of the Library of Congress found the proclamation at an auction sale being held at an art gallery in New York. Dr Fitzpatrick purchased the document for $300.00 for the Library of Congress, in which it now resides.

It was the first official presidential proclamation issued in the United States.


Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 98:1

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Signing Off

Before I sign off for the Thanksgiving holiday I wanted to make sure everyone was invited to my Author Signing this Saturday from 10 am to noon. There will be a $20 gift card drawing at 11:45 a.m., so be sure to get there in time for that!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope your day is full of family, feasting, and fun.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 8:3

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Butternut Bean Casserole

This recipe is sure to make your house smell yummy while it is baking. And the end result is delicious! The recipe is an adaptation of one I saw in Cooking Light magazine last weekend while shopping. I have beefed up the veggies and downplayed the beans. Also, the original recipe called for a bread crumb-Parmesan topping, but I was a little lazy and just put the cheese on top (as you can tell from the picture, which is the original recipe version).

Butternut Bean Casserole


Garlic, 3 tsp minced

Chopped Bacon or ham (precooked), about 1/4 cup

Onions, raw, 2 cup, chopped

Olive Oil, 1 tbsp

Butternut Squash, 4 cup, cubes

Chicken Broth, 1/2 cup

Carrots, raw, 1 cup, chopped

Green Peppers (bell peppers), 3/4 cup, chopped

Celery, raw, 1 cup, diced

Zucchini, 1/2 med. grated

Cider Vinegar, 1 tbsp

Thyme, ground, 1 tsp

Beans, great northern, 3 cans (about 15 oz. size each)

Bay Leaf

Parmesan Cheese, grated, 2 tbsp

Cook all the bacon, garlic, and diced veggies in the oil until wilted. Add vinegar, broth, beans, and seasonings. Pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake covered at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Makes 8 servings (a generous 1.25 cups each) at 4 WW points per serving.

Scripture of the Day: Mormon 9:31

Monday, November 23, 2009

Family Scripture Study Journal

I have been reading the general conference talks the past week or two and have noted how many of the talks mention writing down our thoughts and impressions that come from the spirit. Many times my thoughts and impressions come from reading the scriptures, so I have wondered about having a notebook to use as a family scripture study journal. In the past I have had the kids write down lists of things to be grateful for, ways to provide service to others, and even how to keep specific commandments. But I have never saved any of these. Now I think I will start a journal in which we can write such things down, and also try to write down specific impressions we have in applying the scriptures to our daily life. I will let you know how it goes...

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: Alma 48:12

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons #6

Off to do my grocery shopping today
and this one seemed appropriate!
Hope you have a great weekend.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Ne. 9:52

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Blog Tour Stop - #5

Check me out today on Anne Bradshaw's blog. In addition to introducing Family Home Evening Adventures, Anne let me share a funny personal Family Home Evening experience our family had once. (Be sure to click over and read it--it is pretty funny and uses words like "lighter fluid" and "pyrotechnics." )

I am honored to be able to share an FHE experience on Anne's blog because she is the author of the bestseller Famous Family Nights, which is a compilation of family home evening experiences from 91 famous LDS members (like Alan Osmond, David Glen Hatch, Josi Kilpack, Susan Easton Black, and others). Click here to read more about Famous Family Nights, including reviews and pricing. By the way, it makes a great gift item because it is such a fun read!

Previous blog tour stops:

Diapers and Divinity (giveaway still underway)
Pulsipher Predelections (giveaway still underway)
The Little Things From Our House
Heather Justesen

Scripture of the Day: Alma 45:1

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life is Busy

Life has gotten so busy that I have started to have to make lists of things that need to be done each day. And then I generally am not able to get everything done on the list, so the next day's list becomes longer as a result. Here are a few of the things I have been up to the past week or so.

  • Writing a report on seniors and Medicare for my job. Boring, but great since work has been meager lately (like all year long).
  • Doing a ton of book marketing stuff. I am trying to learn how to use Photoshop Elements to make some of the marketing materials. I made an invitation and next up is to make a little logo/slogan thing that says, "Truth well taught."
  • In Primary we have been preparing for our Sacrament Program this Sunday. I am praying it goes well, but am nervous about it.
  • Yesterday I got my hair colored (thanks Becky!) and now I need to get it cut. I am so running behind on getting a photo taken for Christmas cards. I need to have Ashley find a time to fit us in...
  • I bought some logs for our fireplace. So glad it is getting cool enough for fires. I love the ones that last three to four hours and don't make too much smoke. I lit the first one Monday night, but am trying not to go too overboard with the fires. I am waiting until Sunday to light fire #2.
  • And finally, I finished the Angel Moroni section on my manuscript. I went a bit overboard and drew 5 of them (I included one above; what do you think?). Somehow I found this part extra interesting, so I couldn't help myself. I can always edit some out if I need to do so.

I hope life is keep you busy, but not so busy you can't keep up. What has been keeping you busy lately?

Scripture of the Day: D&C 89:11-12

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blog Tour: Stop 4

Today our fourth blog tour stop takes us to Diapers & Divinity, where blogger Stephanie (very insightful mom of three) reviews Family Home Evening Adventures and offers a new giveaway! Be sure to check it out.

Previous blog tour stops:

Pulsipher Predelections (giveaway still underway)
The Little Things From Our House
Heather Justesen

Scripture of the Day: Jacob 4:3

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nurturing Gratitude

A friend recently passed this quote on to me and I have been thinking about it.

“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.” - Sarah Ban Breathnach

I have been asking myself, "How can I more fully focus on the abundance in my life?"

Three answers have come to mind:

1. In the past one little trick has helped me. When I have wanted to buy something new, like a piece of furniture or an item of clothing, I envision what will take place after I get it. If it is a new piece of furniture, then I would bring it into my house, put it in place, and then likely have to go make dinner, clean up a mess, or take care of some other family-related matter. If a new clothing item, I would wear it, then have to launder and iron it. I try to remember that eventually it will get stained and worn out like all my other clothes.

No matter what it is, life will go on the same with or without those items I want.
Of course it is not always as easy as it sounds. I haven't been able to use this trick when it has come to my broken down van. I admit in the past I have looked at what other people own and have felt frustrated by my own lack. But ultimately it is a matter of actively controlling my thoughts and purposefully switching gears when I start to dwell on what I don't have.

2. Counting my blessings by making lists of things I love and appreciate in my life always makes me feel more gratitude. I have lots of lists like this in my journals. They are interesting to look back on to see how my life has grown and changed.

3. Remembering that everything comes from and belongs to Heavenly Father. If I can get in this train of thought and then take a look around me to see what the Lord has placed in my care, then my gratitude seems to grow.

How do you nurture gratitude in your life? Does it come easily, or are there times it seems more difficult?

Scripture of the Day: D&C 136:28

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pulsipher Predilection Giveaway

If you don't read Kristina's blog (Pulsipher Predilections) you are in for a treat! She is so funny! And this week she has a giveaway going for a book/CD set of Family Home Evening Adventures. Click on over, get a big laugh about fanny packs, and leave a comment to enter yourself into the giveaway.

Book Review: Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Tomorrow night is book club and I am hosting it at my home. We are discussing Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow's book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I had been wanting to read this book for some time, but my "want to read" stack has been kind of tall lately. However, I am so glad I finally read Guernsey; to sum it up in one word: Excellent! (No wonder it was a NY Times Bestseller for so long.)

The book takes place in Britain in the post WWII era. (From the back of the book:) January 1946: Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

In fact, nearly the whole book is a series of letters between Juliet Ashton, members of the society, her publisher, and others. I was particularly interested in how well the authors were able to develop characters strictly through these letters. Even more, one of the main characters never even writes one of the letters, yet through the eyes of others she is so well described.

Has anyone out there read this yet? What did you think? What should I bring up in book club tomorrow night?

Scripture of the Day: Alma 37:37

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons #5

Yay for the weekend!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 15:57

Friday, November 13, 2009

Banana Oat Bars

Recently my cousin posted a link to a promising recipe on facebook. I read the recipe and a number of the comments on it, then tried it for myself. Here it is, along with a few personal adjustments I made as a result of reading the comments.

1 1/3 C. quick cooking oats
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 C. maple syrup (I used sugar free)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. dried cranberries (I chopped mine up a bit)
1/2 C. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 C. mashed banana
1/4 C. non-fat yogurt
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl, and all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing thoroughly. Pour batter into a non-stick sprayed 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool. Cut into bars.

Makes 18 bars (1 WW point each)

Scripture of the Day: Luke 10:21

Thursday, November 12, 2009

360 Degrees of Separation

This is a cool website that provides links to 360 degree pictures of various places and buildings on temple square. It starts out like the picture above (this pic does not have the link, so you have to click over to do it) and then you can use your mouse to turn any direction around, up or down. Be sure to check it out--it is fun and educational. Just like taking a tour of temple square without actually having to be there. There are also additional panoramas of other locations if you click on a link in the sidebar of the panorama website.

Have fun!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Thes. 5:18

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And their eyes were my eyes

Last Sunday I heard this quote and enjoyed it -- having the same eyes as my mother it touched a chord with me. I hope it touches you as well.

"I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come, I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all of our fathers, and in front to see my son and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.

"And their eyes were my eyes.

"As I felt, so they had felt and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father's hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line that stretched from Time that was to Time that is, and Is Not Yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, made in the image, fashioned in the womb by the will of God, the Eternal Father."

By: Richard Llewellyn, "How Green was My Valley"

Scripture of the Day: Eph. 1:15-16

Monday, November 9, 2009

Best Mail Day Ever

Okay, what would you say are the best things you could get in the mail? Yesterday I received three things in the mail that were just wonderful! Here's the low down on what I received:

1. Birthday card from a friend (yes, today is my birthday)

Not only was it a card, but she took the time to write a letter in the card, which made it all the more better. I had not heard from my friend for about a year, so it was so nice to sit down and take a few minutes to catch up with her. Thanks, Raylene!

2. A new dress

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know my DH does not have a great track record for birthday gift giving. (In fact, it is kind of funny to see how bad he actually does--I will post about this year's gifts later.) Knowing this, I ordered myself a new dress. I chose this Shabby Apple design--my first ever purchase from them. I tried it on right away and it fits great. I love how the website gives good descriptions of how their designs fit on the body. They made it easy to select the right size.

3. My book

Yep, Family Home Evening Adventures finally arrived! I was so excited to see it in hard copy and hold it in my hands. Such a thrill! I immediately took a copy over to my manuscript editor -- I just had to share it with someone.

Another great part about yesterday's mail: no bills came!

Scripture of the day: D&C 59:15-21