Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #15

Have a fabulous weekend!

Scripture of the Day: JS-M 1:11

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thanks Steve!

Guess what my DH gave me yesterday?

(These pictures show a few hints.)
Looks like I will need to go buy some tissues with lotion soon.

Scripture of the Day: Romans 12:21

Thursday, January 28, 2010

French Puffs

these are my kids' favorite muffins. The recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook; i stumbled on it about 10 years ago and gave it a try. They are definitely yummy!


1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C. melted butter
1/2 C. milk

Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients with a whisk, then add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fill 12 muffin cups 2/3 full and then bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle the tops of the baked muffins with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar immediately after removing from the oven (the cookbook also says to brush with melted butter, but I don't). Best served warm.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 82:10

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweetie Peach

Today is Sweetie Peach's 7th birthday! Here are 7 fun things she has done for her special day:

1. Had both donuts AND muffins for breakfast (mom added scrambled eggs and banana, too).

2. Was allowed to eat a Sugar Daddy before school.

3. Opened presents before school--got a new outfit to wear!

4. Had a penguin birthday party after school with eight of her closest friends :-) and pink cupcakes to eat!

5. Played five different penguin games at her party.

6. Got seven different bottles of fingernail polish as part of gifts from her friends! We painted toenails right after dinner.

7. Had Barrows pizza for dinner (including the yummy garlic bread).

Happy Birthday! I love you!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 36:3

PS: this is my 600th post! Yahoo!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Family Home Evening Night

Last night was the night. Time again for FHE. This is about how it usually goes. Hopefully I am not disillusioning anyone, but I thought it would be a good idea to preserve for my family how a dull FHE generally goes around here. Enjoy!

It was my night to teach a lesson from conference talks given last October. I did not feel much like teaching, but since Steve is somewhat under the weather delegation was not an option.

We all gathere together in the family room. Sweetie Peach cries because there seems to be no place for her to sit. I move my briefcase off of a chair to make room for her. This seems to appease her.

Steve assigns Patch to conduct the meeting. Patch chooses "Give Said the Little Stream" as the opening song, which we sing out without accompaniment and out of tune.

Patch asks me to give the prayer and I wonder why since I am teaching the lesson (hearing too much from me in one night?), but I say it anyway.

Announcements made by Patch (note all are about him):

1. Patch has YM this Wednesday night.

2. Patch has a camp out this Friday night.

Sweetie Peach chimes in and notes Wednesday is her birthday. (She has been reminding us of this fact for a few weeks now.) Steve notes he is taking Wednesday off to help with birthday party arrangements Wednesday afternoon. This is a surprise to me. Kitty reports she has tumbling lessons on Wednesday too.

Patch turns the time over to me for the lesson. I am teaching from Elder Christofferson's talk on moral obligation. I tell the story about President Faust and his army days and then we talk about teaching morals in the home.

Sweetie Peach starts to cry again and I ask her what's wrong. She reports that Patch is picking his nose and waving it at her in a teasing manner. I ask Patch how this behavior relates to moral agency and duty. He gives me an answer that shows he was only half listening to the lesson. I challenge him to make good moral decisions for the rest of FHE. He agrees.

I read a few more quotes from the lesson and then end with the candy bar stealing story from Elder Christofferson's youth. I admit being too lazy to add a game or even a visual aid to the lesson and think I will need to repent of my laziness later.

Steve asks Patch to pick the closing song, but Patch hesitates too long. Kitty then gets assigned to pick the song. She chooses "How Firm a Foundation" and (again) we sing it terribly.

Sweetie Peach says the closing prayer.

Scripture of the Day: Mormon 2:23

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't Forget!

Tonight is the first episode of the newly made PBS Masterpiece Theater version of Jane Austen's Emma. Read more about it here. I can't wait!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 127:4

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #14

Have a Happy Saturday!

Scripture of the Day: Mal. 3:10

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shopping Spree

I have been spending money like crazy the past few weeks and I feel bad about it. I am just not used to having money to spend in the first place (at least not much). But a lot of the spending has been taking care of items needed. And the new consistency of my job has made the funds available. Here are a few examples of my purchases:

1. I had to buy a new laptop... I have been postponing this purchase for eight months but finally took care of it.

2. Remember these new chairs? Well, our time babysitting them came to an end today and I had to order some new ones to match the table. I went with some on clearance through JCPenney, but they were still kinda pricey.

3. I went on the trip to Denver and spent several hundred just on gasoline to get there and back.

4. And of course Christmas. Need I say more?

Additionally, we are still shopping for a new car. I wish this process was over because it is not very fun. But then with all the other things I have spent money on lately I don't mind putting off the car purchase for a month or so more.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 48:4

Thursday, January 21, 2010

That Kind of Day

It looks like this outside today:

(Image credit)

So I am wearing these:
And started this:

And will be making this for dinner:

(recipe and image credit)

After which I will curl up with one of these:

It's just that kind of day.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 4:15

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Review: The Best of Times

On the drive up to Colorado I listened to The Best of Times, a novel by Anita Stansfield (DB 2009). I had actually purchased the book on CD for my mom for her birthday in December, but she brought it on the trip and we listened to it together. It helped to make the long drive North go by much quicker.

From the back of the CD case:

“'I want to be with you, but I have to make sure I’m in a position to give you what you deserve, and I’m not sure I’m the man to do that.” Chas put a hand over her mouth to hold back her emotion, glad that he couldn’t see the tears rolling down her face. . . . “I need time Chas, because if I’m going to commit my life to you, I don’t want it to ever go bad. I would rather have you love me in memory than come to hate me because I couldn’t give you what you deserve.'

A sprawling Montana setting; a charming bed-and-breakfast inn brimming with Dickensian decor; a beautiful and deeply spiritual innkeeper with secret sorrows from her past; a “Granny” who is as delightful as she is wise; and a handsome guest whose lifestyle and past are both troubled and troubling — these are the elements of a captivating novel of romance and intrigue.

With characters that are vital and vulnerable, and a plot that is wholly unpredictable, this story is a journey of choices and amazing opportunities.

Once again, Anita Stansfield proves her versatility as a storyteller extraordinaire in this novel that is an ingenious blend of romance, mystery, and Dickensian charm. The Best of Times will prove to be a favorite in the best Stansfield tradition."

I loved the tie-in to Charles Dickens in The Best of Times; Stansfield does a great job of honoring Dickens without losing track of her plot. She is able to bring up several of Dickens' greatest works and even has some plot parallels. I also enjoyed the FBI part of the plot that added mystery and suspense to what would have otherwise been a somewhat flat romance novel.

The only thing I did not like about The Best of Times was some of the repetition of the main characters' thoughts and feelings. Maybe it was more pronounced because of it being the CD version, but it seemed like the author over emphasized how Chas and Jackson's past experiences made it more difficult for them to fall in love and commit to each other. Maybe it would not have been so obvious in the written format.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm Back

Yep, after a very long drive home from Denver I am back. The roads and weather were not fabulous, but we made it home with only one minor fender bender in the snow that was not our fault (no injuries and only a 20 minute delay). I don't think I will attempt to drive anywhere for a number of months, though.

Good news: I mailed my latest manuscript to the publisher. I wrapped it up right before we left for Denver. And since I did not have enough postage for it I brought it along until I could find a post office. In Albuquerque I was able to get postage at the airport post office, so off it went. I am hoping and praying it is well received. Is it lucky to have mailed it from Albuquerque? I hope so.

As for the trip, we stayed in a condo up in Keystone, Colorado. It was beautiful and conveniently located to the slopes. Not that we ski (being the Arizonans that we are), but we went tubing and had a blast. I did want to take the kids to the bunny slope, but there was just not enough time what with the hot tub in the condo ;-).

I promise I will addend this post later with pics of the trip, but I have to get back to work for now.

BTW, yesterday I posted on the ANWA blog. If you want a quick chuckle click here to read it (I promise it is funny).

Scripture of the Day: 1 Nephi 5:14-16

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #13

Have a silly Saturday!

Scripture of the Day: Ether 12:27

Friday, January 15, 2010


Today you can read an interview with my on Sarah Eden's blog. Every week she interviews a new person (some real, some not) on her "I Need Friends Friday" series. Be sure to check it out--it covers all sorts of topics (from shoe shopping to insomnia). And you will be sure to get a laugh! And I am proud to be called a friend of Sarah Eden.

Sarah M. Eden is the author of these (and other) great regency romance novels:

Seeking Persephone

The Ramshackle Knight

Through All Hopes

The Price Paid

And the soon to be released...

Courting Miss Lancaster

Scripture of the Day: Alma 34:33

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finished Nephite Temple

I finally finished my Nephite Temple drawing. I think it looks tons better with the palm trees. I also added a bit more building on the left hand side to balance it out. If you want to see the before pic from my earlier post, click here.

BTW, I am off to Denver today. I hope to have lots of fun in the snow with my kids!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 82:18

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences

Today I went to parent teacher conferences for these two cuties and came home pleased with how well they are doing in school. Although the each have areas they can improve in a bit, both of their teachers said how much they love having them in their class! And they got the highest marks possible for behavior. Way to go Sweetie Peach and Kitty!

In other news, we are looking at buying a new vehicle (lightly used, actually). Any thoughts on Highlanders or Siennas? I know I already asked this on facebook, but I wanted to make sure I got as much feedback as possible since it is a large purchase.

Scripture of the Day: 3 John 1:2

Monday, January 11, 2010

Temple Attendance

“Let us truly be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. We should hasten to the temple as frequently, yet prudently, as our personal circumstances allow. We should go not only for our kindred dead but also for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety that are within those hallowed and consecrated walls. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience." (Howard W. Hunter)

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 2:6

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #12

So glad it's the weekend!
Make it a good one!

Scripture of the Day: Genesis 2:9

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review: Her Good Name

I was naughty last night. Yesterday I received Josi S. Kilpack's novel Her Good Name in the mail (I had won it on the LDS Women's Book Review Blog) and started reading it. I should have gone to bed at 9 pm to get enough sleep and get up early to get my things done before work. But this book was too good to put down. I read it until 11:15 pm (when I finished). And tonight I will likely be rereading it, although I am extra tired this evening.

Here is the description of the book:

"Chrissy is having an identity crisis. As a single woman and convert to the Church, she has always managed to find her place in life — at least until someone else begins using her credit cards, her bank account, and, most important, her name. Now the real Chrissy must prove her innocence against a growing pile of collection notices and unpaid bills. But with no job, no money, a warrant for her arrest, and a closet full of high-heeled shoes, a girl can only get so far.

"When Chrissy meets Micah Heet, the other half of a blind date gone bad, the two discover they are facing the same battle and join forces to find the perpetrators. Little do they know that the small semblance of life they have left will be put on the line in the process."

Here's the list of a few of the things I liked about Her Good Name (since I am too tired and lazy to expound much tonight):

1. The main character has a real body type (not the standard tall, slim, can-eat-like-a-horse-and-never-gain-weight character that seems so common lately). Chrissy is 5'1" and has curves where a woman should have curves. Being a short, curvy woman myself, I thank you, Josi, for this.

2. The ending was happy and well resolved, but not overdone. I don't want to give any spoilers here, but trust me on this--the end is strong and unique.

3. The story reads very true to life. In the acknowledgments Josi says she had assistance from a law enforcement professional to make sure the identity theft plot line was accurate. Not only was it accurate, but it was exciting to read (yep, gun shots are involved!).

4. I learned from this book that I am making some mistakes that might cause problems if my identity was ever stolen. Time to make some changes around my home.

After reading Her Good Name I look forward to delving into more of Kilpack's novels.

Scripture of the Day: Proverbs 16:23

Thursday, January 7, 2010

La Posada

Yesterday was long. The drive to Winslow was not too bad, but the whole day was basically a 12 hour work day. The interesting thing to see was La Posada, the hotel where the focus groups took place. Here is a picture of the front of it.

Modern day front entrance

It is an historical landmark of sorts. I learned this about it: "Fred Harvey built La Posada in 1929 as the headquarters of the Harveycar Indian Detours, auto tours to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, the Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, and the Hopi Pueblo. The Indian Detours were very successful in New Mexico and Harvey held out the same hopes for the Arizona tours" (source).

Original front of the hotel, which is now the back

And this: "La Posada closed in 1957; for the next 40 years, its future remained tenuous. Enter Allan Affeldt and his wife Tina Mion. Affeldt heard about the hotel and purchased it in 1997 after much negotiation, bringing with him a strong vision and commitment for returning La Posada to Colter’s original concept. Restoration started immediately and continues today" (source). (The architect for La Posada was Elizabeth Jane Colter.)

The restaurant in the hotel where I had lunch

La Posada sits right on the train tracks. In days gone by that is how the guests mainly arrived--by train. Now the guests come by car. Hence the change of the front of the hotel to being the back (and vice versa).

Part of the lobby leading to the rooms

La Posada looks like an interesting place to stay if you are traveling along Route 66. The renovations are coming along nicely and they had waitresses in the restaurant dressed like Harvey Girls. The only thing I was not hot on was all the modern art hanging in the lobby (lots of it). The art did not seem to fit the period decor I felt should belong there. But otherwise it is worth a look see.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 89:18

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Tomorrow I am going here:

With this nice guy:

And this talented lady:

To moderate one of these:

And then come all the way home. (By then it will look like this):

Please forgive my lack of comments lately. Life is really hectic right now.

Scripture of the Day: Alma 32:28-29

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Making Resolutions

This was on the back of today's sacrament meeting program and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you do too.

"To a degree, we all understand the gospel and know what we should be doing in our lives. Very likely, we know more than we apply. It may be a little like the young county farm agent who wanted to put his college training to use and said to the farmer, “Sam, you know that now we use something called contour plowing.” He went on to also expound on the benefits of hybrid strains of grain and crop rotation. About the time he got to the benefits of milking the cows three times a day rather than two, the old farmer said, “Hey, sonny, just a minute. I’m not farming half as well as I know how already.”

"Isn’t that the way life is? We seldom perform to the level of our knowledge. This brings me to the subject of resolutions—resolutions to conform our lives more closely to what we already know about the gospel. While many of us take seriously our New Year’s resolutions, some of us may not have made any because of our prior problems in keeping them. We must not overlook the power that making good resolutions can have in helping make our lives happier and more successful—regardless of our past performance.

"In an informal survey that I requested be taken among 150 young adults, they were asked to list three resolutions they felt would help them become happier and more successful during the new year. Almost everyone in the survey (98 percent) included resolutions to increase their spirituality. Two out of three (68 percent) indicated they would like to improve their social skills. Half (49 percent) indicated a desire to improve their physical fitness, and half (48 percent) wanted to grow intellectually. Everyone indicated a desire to improve. After all, self-improvement by coming unto Christ is at the heart of why we are here in mortality.

"In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior is recorded as saying, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). In the Joseph Smith Translation, the first part of that sentence is rendered, “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect” (JST, Matt. 5:50). The translation of the Greek word for perfect means “complete, finished, fully developed.” Some biblical analysts indicate that the suggestion to become perfect is exaggerated idealism or scriptural hyperbole. We as Latter-day Saints believe that the Savior meant what he said and that becoming like our Father in Heaven and the Savior is a commandment, not just a suggestion. We should strive continually to be more like them. After his resurrection, the Savior asked his disciples, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” and then answered, “Even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27).

"Only one verse of scripture in the entire King James Version of the New Testament suggests what the Savior did to develop himself from age twelve until he began his formal ministry at age thirty: “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52; see JST, Matt. 3:24–26). In other words, the Savior developed in the same areas indicated on the poll: intellectually (in wisdom and knowledge), physically (in stature), socially (in favor with man), and spiritually (in favor with God).

"I am convinced that if we make and keep resolutions in those four areas, we will have a happier and more successful new year this coming year and every year for the rest of our lives. Let’s consider the nature of such resolutions and the benefits that can be ours if our resolve to improve ourselves is firm." (Joe J. Christensen, “Resolutions,” Ensign, Dec 1994, 62–67)

Scripture of the Day: Luke 2:52 (see above for link)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #11

Hope you are having a great weekend! Be sure to get all that Christmas stuff put away today :-).

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 4:27

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Month, New Theme

This month's theme for the scripture of day is goal setting. Verses selected will highlight areas in which we might try to improve ourselves by setting a goal this year. Enjoy!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 88:119

Resolutions for Spiritual Growth

Everyone wants to grow spiritually in the upcoming year, but resolving exactly how to accomplish that is somewhat elusive. Here are five ideas to help set goals that will result in spiritual growth.

1. Plan out your reading schedule for personal and/or family scripture study.

Is there a book of scripture you have not read for some time? Is there a companion study guide that has looked interesting to you? Have you been meaning to read the general conference talks? Put together a simple plan to follow for your study, but don't be afraid to switch it up every few months. If you get bored you are less likely to stick with your schedule.

2. Revamp your personal prayer space.

Being comfortable during prayers has a big impact on how focused you are during this important exercise. Do your knees hurt during prayers? Does your nose need a tissue while you pray (like mine :-)? Personally, my bed is too tall to kneel next to, so I have taken to kneeling by a couch or padded bench. And I have learned to grab a Kleenex in the morning before I pray. Try putting together a personal prayer space that allows you to truly focus on communicating with Heavenly Father.

3. Plan for meaningful FHE lessons.

In previous years, as well as in my book Family Home Evening Adventures, I have explained how I plan a year of FHE lessons in advance (read more here). In addition to planning topics and sources to use, make your lessons more meaningful by having a lesson planning sheet to use for the person teaching the lesson. Plan to hand out the lesson planning sheet a week ahead of time so the teacher can look up scriptures, hymns, stories, and other aides to enhance their lesson.

4. Schedule regular temple attendance for the year.

Nothing helps to build personal spirituality like going to the temple, but finding time to go can often be a big challenge. Take time now to schedule a regular time to attend the temple. And if you have kids that need tending while you are gone, make arrangements with a sitter now (a monthly trade with another couple works well, or ask a relative to come the first Thursday of every month). Put you plan on the calendar and work hard not to let life get in the way.

5. Stretch yourself through memorization.

Try a goal to commit a scripture, an unfamiliar hymn, or even The Family Proclamation to memory. Memorizing such things forces us to ponder and think about spiritual matters. Additionally, having these in our minds better enables us to keep our minds on virtuous thoughts.

Good luck for a spiritually uplifting year!