Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #37

This is what I have started saying to my 7-yr-old.!

Happy Saturday to all!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 105:19

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: Chocolate Roses

A few months ago a I read a review of Joan Soward's book Chocolate Roses. When I learned it was a parody of Jane Eyre, but with an LDS theme, I decided I had to give it a try. Well, I finally ordered it and it arrived early this week. And I am so delighted to tell you that it was definitely not a disappointment! It was a sweet romance, clean in every way, and even centered on the temple (the Mesa one at that!).

Sowards does an excellent job of using the bare bones structure of Jane Eyre (a single woman falls in love with a wealthy, melancholy man with a daughter--and a wife who is mentally ill). My most favorite elements of the tone and plot of Jane Eyre are used; and yet, Sowards definitely does not plaigerize. A solid majority of her characters are all her own (and well developed, I might add), and much of the plot is original.

Description from the back of the book:

"Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship."

This will definitely be a book a I hold onto and reread every so often. A nice addition to my chick-lit collection.

Scripture of the Day: Alma 38:5

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sweetie Peach

At dinner this evening...

Sweetie Peach: "[Kitty] loves to drink honey dew."

Me: "What?"

Sweetie Peach: "You know, that soda Kitty got at Arby's."

Me: "Do you mean Mountain Dew?"

Sweetie Peach: "Yeah! You should buy soda more often, Mom. I need to learn the names better."

Scripture of the Day: Alma 1:25

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today I attended my very first one of these:

And now I am walking like one of these:


Scripture of the day: Ezekiel 22:14

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #36

Have a great weekend!
Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 11:27

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Today's Schedule

- I am typing away over here on a report for a consulting client. It is not due until tomorrow, but it is a long enough report that I know better than to procrastinate! I have already worked four hours today and will put in two more tonight.

- Promised the girls we would go to the store. They want to buy snacks! And since I need to buy some fruits and veggies I said they could tag along. Do the fruits and veggies I buy cancel out the junk food they will buy?

- Pancakes with fruit salsa for dinner. I will be trying a new recipe for a strawberry and nectarine salsa I saw in Family Fun magazine (actually the real recipe calls for mango, but I prefer nectarine).

- Zumba is tonight! After my extra work hours I will head down to the church for Kathya's Zumba class. It is a great workout and so much fun! Plus, Kathya is a good friend to hang out with.

- And somewhere in the middle of all that I need to do some cleaning! Dishes, a load of laundry to fold, and a general picking up is much needed around here.

I hope your day is going well and that you are getting your to-do list done!

Scripture of the Day: 3 Nephi 15:9

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Girl With a Pearl Earring

Nearly a month ago OneHM loaned me a copy of her book Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. If you are not familiar with this 1999 fictional retelling of how the famous painting (by the same name) by Dutch artist Vermeer came about, you may be familiar with the movie made of it in 2003 (watch it on YouTube here: part 1-- please note that it is rated PG-13). With my love for art I found this book to be very interesting; the artist does a fantastic job telling a believable story of how the painting came about. Chevalier's use of Dutch culture, religion, paint, and food as symbols is thought provoking. Of course, I loved the book more than I liked the movie (isn't that always the case?).

Summary of the book (from the above linked author's website):

Girl With a Pearl Earring tells the story of Griet, a 16-year- old Dutch girl who becomes a maid in the house of the painter Johannes Vermeer. Her calm and perceptive manner not only helps her in her household duties, but also attracts the painter's attention. Though different in upbringing, education and social standing, they have a similar way of looking at things. Vermeer slowly draws her into the world of his paintings -- the still, lumionous images of solitary women in domestic settings.

In contrast to her work in her master's studio, Griet must carve a place for herself in a chaotic Catholic household run by Vermeer's volatile wife Catharina, his shrewd mother-in-law Maria Thins, and their fiercly loyal maid Tanneke. Six children (and counting), fill out the household, dominated by six-year-old Cornelia, a mischevious girl who sees more than she should.

On the verge of womanhood, Griet also contends with growing attentions both from a local butcher and from Vermeer's patron, the wealthy van Ruijven. And she has to find her way through this new and strange life outside the loving Protestant family she grew up in, now fragmented by accident and death.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 24:8

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Visiting Teaching Question

What's the nicest thing a Visiting Teacher has ever done for you?

Scripture of the Day: Omni 1:26

Saturday Morning Cartoons #35

Hope you are having a great weekend!

It is cloudy here today and I am praying for some monsoon action.
We need rain.

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 6:15

The Future of Literature, part 3

The current issue of Smithsonian magazine is themed on 40 things to know about the next 40 years. One of the 40 things they cover is the future of literature, based on the opinions of Rita Dove, 1993 poet laureate of the United States. I found her thoughts to be quite interesting and decided to share. Part 3 of 3. Here are the links to read Part 1 and Part 2.

Genealogical research is causing more people to embrace a multiracial heritage. How will this affect literature?

It cuts down on stereotyping and the fear of the other, becuase we are all the other or the other is us. The assumptions of the mainstream change. A mainstream novel of the early '70s or so would contain the dilemmas of, say, a household in Connecticut. Everything that had to do with country clubs or the tensions at a cocktail party was assumed to be the mainstream. That left a burden of explanation for any writer who was not of the mainstream. So a Jewish-American writer had to go into great details to explain Seder, or an African-American writer had to explain--somehow in the context of their story--how they did their hair. Now that we are more and more identifying ourselves as multiracial, these elements of other cultures are becoming better known. That will change the nature of the mainstream, and that is quite a tidal wave.

You once asked, "Why can't we find the universal in our differences?" Is literature getting there?

Absolutely. That's one of the great shining lights of the future. I think as we become more multicultural and able to look at each corner of the world, the more at ease we are with our differences. And we are going to be more comfortable reading something about experiences which are, on the surface, very different from ours. Yet we'll still feel confident that we can access the common humanity.

Scripture of the Day: James 5:11

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finding Your Vision

Wise mothers have some vision of what they want their families to become. Teach your children about your vision for the family. When we were apartment dwellers, we would occasionally take Sunday drives through lovely neighborhoods with fine, large homes. I remember wondering, 'If we could see the spiritual stature of that home out on the front lawn, would it tower over the house or barely fill one little corner of the lot?' And then, the time came when, with five growing children, we took on the project of building a new home. As the work progressed the home began to look larger than we had imagined and had the potential of seeming too wonderful. I worried about where we were placing our values as more and more time and resources were being consumed by this project. Finally, one day we gathered our growing flock around us and said, "It would be sad if people drove by our house and said, 'Oh, look at that beautiful home.' What I would hope is that people would drive by and say, 'Oh, the nicest family of outstanding children live in that home.' This home is where I want our children to come for love and security--a house wherein they learn the lessons of life and practice living the gospel."
(Margaret D. Nadauld, A Mother's Influence, p. 14-15)

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 19:9

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweetie Peach's Haute Couture

Last Saturday my mother took the girls "power shopping." Kitty and Sweetie Peach love these outings. Really all it is is a trip to a discount store, where they are each allowed to pick out a toy or something they want, followed by an ice cream run. Previous power shopping trips have resulted in their favorite stuffed animals and other fun toys I would never get for them. This past Saturday was no exception: Sweetie Peach came home with a toy sewing machine.

I knew right away when I saw it that this was going to be one of those toys you secretly celebrate when they break. And I nearly lucked out--Sweetie peach cut the cord trying to get it out of the box. (Un)Fortunately my DH is good at fixing those sorts of problems.

Saturday evening was spent putting batteries in, trying to figure out how to thread the machine (and then teach Sweetie Peach so she could do it on her own), and then finding enough fabric scraps for her to use.

Sunday morning I rose to fine her sewing mess all over the kitchen and family room. It was still there Monday morning (after trying Sunday night to sew fabric wristbands a la bracelet style). And this morning it was worse after Barbie was getting a new wardrobe sewn after FHE. Today she made what she calls a swimsuit cover-up mini skirt. All I can say is look out Christian Siriano... your days are numbered.

And at the rate the mess in the family room is going, maybe the sewing machine's days will be, too. (A mom can only hope!)

Scripture of the Day: D&C 121:8

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball

Another of books I have read lately (I am on a serious roll over here) is Jessica Day George's book Princess of the Midnight Ball. This story is a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses and is completely charming. In the back of the book the author answers a few questions and tells that one of the reasons she wanted to write the story was to right some questions and concerns she had with the original fairy tale (such as, why would princesses want to dance all night, night after night, when it certainly must have made them tired?). Personally, I like the storyline George proffers--the plot changes are an improvement to the tale overall. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I am currently half way through reading it to my kids.

Description from the back of the book:

Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.

Other books by Jessica Day George include Princess of Glass, Dragon Glass, and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 31:16

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #34

What every parent out there is really thinking all summer long?!?

Scripture of the Day: 2 Timothy 4:3 and 5

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Funstuff

Today's post is just a mishmash of whatever...

First, thanks so much to Kathi for the blogger award! It is so nice to hear that somewhere out there in the deep abyss people actually read and appreciate what I write.

Second, yesterday I was able to mail off a revised FHE manuscript to the publisher. Say a little prayer for me that it will be accepted!

Third, I have been reading a ton the past week and have really enjoyed some great books. I am excited to share some more reviews with you all in the weeks to come.

Finally, here is the next portion of the Future of Literature article I first posted last week. To read the first portion, click here.

What is shaping literature and its future?

I flash back to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, which came out in 1969. It seemed to be a plot that had exploded, which you then had to piece together. It seemed to acknowledge the fact that you couldn't put all the pieces together right away. At the end of the novel, it still felt like it was going on. The acknowledgment that things are going to be playing out beyond the provenance of the work of fiction had some of its seeds right there. I think you see more of a willingness in literature to acknowledge the fact that this is not a perfectly shaped whole, that things are going to be messy.

Things like the iPad and Kindle will allow us to carry around massive amounts of literature. Because of that literature is going to be looking for different ways to distinguish itself from mass media, and its going to feel freer to experiment. Because of movies which satisfy so many people's need for visual effect and aural effect combined, theater is going to go increasingly toward things that only theater can do. In the new poetry, I see a fascinating confidence in switching viewpoints very quickly, in mid-sentence practically. So there's a speeding up of changing viewpoints and expressions that comes from technology speeding us up and the fact that you can keep several screens open at a time and divide your attention. The narratives are getting faster and are having more interruptions because we can tolerate interruption.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 9:18

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review: My Fair Godmother

My Fair Godmother (by Janette Rallison) is definitely one of the cutest books I have read lately. It is imaginative, exciting, and humorous--and definitely worthy of being read out loud to my munchkins. Rallison did an excellent job of turning character flaws into endearing traits. The main character (Savannah), for example, is somewhat of an airhead--but despite her dimwitted mistakes I found Savannah to be charming and lovable.

Here is a good description of the plot:

After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

Other books by Janette Rallison include (among others) My Double Life, It's a Mall World After All, and All's Fair in Love, War, and High School.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Timothy 2:10

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hoppin' John

I tried a new recipe over the weekend. I had never heard of Hoppin' John before; apparently it is a traditional New Year's Eve dish from the South. If you eat it on New Year's you are supposed to have luck all year. I'm only six months early (or late, whichever you prefer)--but I could use a little luck around here. I found the recipe in a Cook's Country magazine, but healthied (I guess that is not a real word) it up some.


Turkey Bacon, 3 pre-cooked slices, crumbled

Ham steak, extra lean, about three slices (enough to equal 1 C. chopped later in the recipe)

Onion, 1 medium, chopped

Celery, 1 cup diced

Garlic, 3 cloves

Green Peppers (bell peppers), 1 cup, chopped

Zucchini, 1 cup, diced

Thyme, ground, .5 tsp

Chicken broth, 2 cups

Black-eyed peas, 12 oz. bag of frozen

Bay leaf, 2 large or 1 T. crumbled

Brown rice, 1 cup

Scallions, .5 cup chopped


Brown the ham steak for about 3 minutes and then remove from the pan. Set aside.

Add onion, zucchini, green pepper, and celery to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook for half a minute before adding the broth, peas, bay leaves, and ham. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove ham and set aside again.

While vegetables are simmering precook the rice in its own pan for about 20 minutes with a few cups of water. Drain rice well and then add to the simmering vegetable mixture. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork. Stir in chopped scallions, ham, and bacon. Serve.

Serves 6 (1 cup serving each) at 3.5 WW points each.

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 89:29, 36

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #33

Happy Independence Day!

Scripture of the Day: Esther 8:3-6

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Future of Literature

The current issue of Smithsonian magazine is themed on 40 things to know about the next 40 years. One of the 40 things they cover is the future of literature, based on the opinions of Rita Dove, 1993 poet laureate of the United States. I found her thoughts to be quite interesting and decided to share. Part 1 of 3.

What is the future of literature?

With the advent of technology and cyberspace and iPads and Kindle, I feel change happening even at the level of composition. In the past, a reader had to rely upon the author to supply all the details of what it was like to hike in Nepal, let's say. Thanks to search engines, now you can quickly look it up, and that is going to change the way literature is written.

How will blogs, YouTube and other technology affect authors?

The intimacy that literature affords--that feeling that you are really in the head of characters portrayed--used to be almost the private privilege of plays, novels and poetry. Now there's another place that has it--be it blogs, Facebook or Twitter--and it gives you second-by-second accounts. That does not diminish the power of literature, because literature is shaped intimacy. For the writer, it raises the bar, as it should. The very fact that we can be found at any moment, through a cell phone or whatever, changes the way plot will work. How many plots were dependent upon the fact that a note had to be passed here or there or that someone didn't answer the phone.

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 12:7

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I love to laugh...

Today I need to laugh. And these silly animals are helping me. Enjoy!