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.