Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Please Pray

My friend Kristi and her family are going through a really trying time. Her mother, who it only 47 years old, had a stroke just before Christmas and is in the process of recovery. Please pray not only for her, but for her entire family. They really need it.

And Kristi, I found this video on Youtube of Jill Bolte Taylor. It's long, but pretty interesting.

And again Kristi, if you need anything, don't be afraid to ask.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today...

Today my brother went to the temple for the first time!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Book of Mormon Mondays - Charity

Sorry this is a bit late... I really did think of this ahead of time, I just didn't get around to writing it today.

Yesterday, Derek and I read Alma 27.  It's the chapter when the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi moved to some of the land given them by the Nephites.

When I've read this chapter in the past, I didn't think about it much.  The Anti-Nephi-Lehies needed a place to stay.  They were in trouble and weren't safe in their homelands.  The Nephites were able to give them land and protection.

I never thought about how charitable that act was.  Obviously it was charitable.  It's never easy to make sacrifices.  Theirs was a huge one.  They gave up land and were willing to protect these people who were being targeted by the Lamanites.

Verses 22-23 say...

22 And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is on the east by the sea, which joins the land Bountiful, which is on the south of the land Bountiful; and this land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance.
23 And behold, we will set our armies between the land Jershon and the land Nephi, that we may protect our brethren in the land Jershon; and this we do for our brethren, on account of their fear to take up arms against their brethren lest they should commit sin; and this their great fear came because of their sore repentance which they had, on account of their many murders and their awful wickedness. 

They said that they would protect the Anti-Nephi-Lehies because they didn't want them to break their covenant.  Which was a covenant not to fight because if they fought they might kill someone, and if they killed someone, they might not be able to repent.

How thoughtful and loving were these Nephites!  They were willing to go WAY out of their way to protect a group of people who were holding to a belief that many of the Nephites probably empathized with, but may not have held themselves.

AND, I'm not sure how much time had passed from the time the Anti-Nephi-Lehies had been converted.  It had to have been less than a generation.  The Army of Helaman hadn't happened yet.  Before they were converted, they were Lamanites--enemies of the Nephites.  

Looking at the world today, groups of people who were at one point enemies take years, sometimes generations before there isn't resentment, distrust or animosity towards each other.

How the Nephites were able to put aside these types of feelings--which were very likely to me--and show such love is amazing to me!  They are true examples charity.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Carcassone, or the best game ever!

Daryl and Kim, my brother-in-law and his wife, gave us an awesome present this year--the board game Carcassone and an expansion pack!

Probably most of you (or everyone else on the planet but me) has played this game, or at least know about it. I didn't. I vaguely remember hearing the word before, but didn't know anything about the game play.

In short, I LOVE IT! Thanks Daryl and Kim! It's a winner! I think we played it 3 times Christmas night, and then at least twice or three times since then. And I already ordered another expansion pack. I thought about giving it to Derek for his birthday, but then I realized I was buying it more because I wanted it rather than he would and got him something else...

So here's a few pictures of us playing Carcassone...

 
Derek figuring out the rules of the game.
  
Derek wondering if we'd be able to remember all 
the scoring details (there really are a lot)!
  
 Us with Willow after our first couple of games. 
(Willow was clawing my stomach trying to get 
away, I'm surprised I'm still smiling!)
  
Playing teams with my parents.
 


Thanks again Daryl and Kim!  You guys are great!

PS:  We also loved the cruise picture calendar; Willow ornament, great likeness; and mini-kitty statue!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Christmas

Can you tell what I got for Christmas this year?



 


Along with my other amazingly awesome presents (who knew I'd get so excited over a wheat grinder, a bread maker, and food storage stuffs?!), I got a new camera and Photoshop Elements! My parents are awesome! Thank you so much!

Minor note, the Wii Derek is playing is actually my Dad's Christmas present.

It's so nice that we're all here; well almost all, PJ's Rachel isn't here, but they aren't married yet. It's fun to eat, spend time, and play together! I'm so blessed to have such a great family!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Way Back When Wednesday

My posts will probably be sporatic for the next couple of weeks.  We have Christmas, two birthdays and a wedding all by January 3rd. 

But today for Way Back Wednesday, I thought I'd write about some of my childhood Christmas traditions that are spilling over into my adult, married life.

Christmas Eve
1.  We always drove around looking at lights around town.  Fun stuff.  Especially the one "tacky house" that always over decorated.  We still go when we're in the states.

2.  Christmas Eve dinner was always Mexican food.  Usually tacos or enchiladas.  One year the green peppers in the enchiladas made me puke Christmas morning.  That was NOT a fun morning. 

3. We are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.  I remember it taking me years as a kid to figure out that it was ALWAYS pajamas.  Us kids still get pjs.  It's fun.  This year, I got to pick them out.  They are perfect!

4.  My Dad reads the Christmas story every year just before we go to bed.  We never acted it out, thank goodness. There weren't enough of us.  We would be doing double or triple duty!

5.  After we all learned how stockings really work, we would draw names and buy for each other at the dollar store.  My Dad would give us all $10 in cash and we would all try to be sneaky in the same store buying stuff for each other.   It's gotten more fun over the years as I've gotten married and then when Derek and I brought our friend Yi home for Christmas a couple of years.  That was six of us trying to be sneaky.  I think we might have decided to split up into two groups and two dollar stores.  It makes stockings more fun.  Sometimes, depending on who's buying for us, we get pretty interesting things!  This year we did it a little different because it's hard for my Mom to go into stores.  I went to Wal-Mart and picked out one $10 thing or 2 $5 things.  We'll see how it goes...


Christmas Day
1.  Nobody was allowed to get up before 7:30.  After 7:30 we were welcome to go into Mom and Dad's room, but NO ONE was allowed to go see the tree or stockings.  This "rule" morphed as we got older.  We started sleeping in later.  One year I remember we didn't get Christmas going until after 10am!

2.  We all line up youngest to go open our stockings as my Dad would video tape the stocking at tree scene before we got to them.  This is a tradition that started with my Mom's family and has kept going with us.  It was always fun for me and my brother because we were the youngest of all the McGrath family!  When we lived in North Carolina, we had to be careful not to look to the right as we went down the stairs.  That's where the tree was, and we weren't allowed to look at it!

3.  After stockings, we ate baked apples.  Every year.  It was torture for me as a kid because first, I wanted to open my presents and second, I hated baked apples!

4.  Finally we went to the living room to open presents one at a time.  It was fun, and it made Christmas morning last longer.  And oh yeah, my Dad ALWAYS organized and handed out the presents.  He did a pretty good job.  No one finished too early.

5.  The rest of Christmas Day is always spent playing with our new toys.  And we usually have a big dinner.  This year we're having crock pot turkey.  I've never made it, but I think it will be good.

Hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

 
I don't look so hot, but Derek sure does!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Creature Comforts

Have you seen Creature Comforts?  They're pretty funny.  Made by the same guy who does Wallace and Grommit.  Here's a clip.  It's for a British commertial, but it's still funny!



My favorite is the horse that falls over.  What's your favorite part?

Book of Mormon Mondays - Giving God Credit

Yesterday was the choir's Christmas program.  And from where I was sitting, it was a smashing success.  There were a few rough spots, but knowing how little practice time we had and how rough we sounded before, we did pretty darn good.  Their singing was amazing!

And even I played decently.  I think I hit all my chords right (which is good because I really had to pound on those and if I was off, then boy, would I be off!) and the parts that I muffed I think I disguised well.  Derek was my knight in shining armor!  I couldn't have done it without him turning my pages, and he turned them all on time!  Perfect!

But the real credit goes to God.  I worked hard practicing.  I met a couple extra times with our director and also with the flutist who would also be accompanying the choir.  And every time I played the music I made mistakes.  Big ones.  And they were different each time.  It wasn't like I could practice them enough and work through the mistakes.  There was no way to prepare for it.

So I prayed... hard, and had faith that I and the choir would have some major help. 

And after it was all over, I felt a little like Ammon in Alma 26.  He is talking to his brothers, rejoicing for their success in the conversion of the Lamanites.  He says...

9 For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God.

His brother Aaron immediately comes back, chastising him for pride and boasting.  And Ammon responds with this...

11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

To me he's saying that even though it was him (or them) that did it, of course it wasn't all him.  Nothing is possible without God.

I felt the way Ammon did.  I knew I had practiced the songs over and over, and I knew I had put a lot of work into it.   I was proud of my performance, but I knew I couldn't take all the credit for it.  My Heavenly Father helped.  I could feel it as I was playing, and so I really couldn't deny or even ignore it.  So when people complimented me on how well I did, I tried to give Him proper credit.

PS:  Thanks friends for all your support!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's coming!

The ward choir program is quickly coming!  It's seemed like "something we'll be doing in a few weeks" for a long time.  And now it's here.  I hope I'm ready!  I'd better be, I'm the choir pianist! 

It will be so nice when the program is all over.  It's been hanging over my head for the last month or more!  I haven't been stressing out about it too much, but it has been just one more thing to do.  Wish me luck!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

And the winner is.......

Untypically Jia from Modern Molly Mormon!  Congratulations!  Just get me your mailing address and we'll get this ball rolling!

I think you have my e-mail right?  I'll send you one just in case...

And thank you everyone for participating!  Your feedback was wonderful!  It was great fun wasn't it?  I'll have to do it again.  Maybe next month?  If any of you know of anyone who is interested in partnering with me for my next give-away, just let me know!

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up

This is the last day to enter for the SV.Soaps give-away!  I announce the winner tomorrow!

Nephite Christmas, Modern Molly Mormon.  I love these kinds of stories where the author takes the traditional Christmas theme and then adds a new twist or viewpoint on it!  The story is written by S. Michael Wilcox.

CoffeeShop: Free PS/PSE Actions & Tutorials.  This is an excellent blog that I just found through another excellent blog, Digital Photography for Moms.  There's a ton of stuff for us amatures.

Return of the Living Dead, Reason Online.  I found this through one of my Asia blogs.  It's written about the similarities between the Japanese economic crash in the 90s, and the current American economic crash.  I'm not that into reading articles about the economy, but this one was pretty interesting and easy to read.

Holiday Gift Series: Hot Cocoa Mix, Safely Gathered In.  This cocoa mix sounds great!  I haven't been able to find the "perfect" homemade cocoa mix yet (but I have come close!).  Maybe this is it!

More Free Actions for Photoshop Elements, Blissfully Domestic.  I really had no idea that there were so many free things to download and add to PSE!  This is exciting and daunting at the same time!  I need to find a PSE book.

Make Holiday Memory Frames, Blissfully Domestic.  I love, love, LOVE this idea!  I can't believe it hadn't crossed my mind yet!!!  I think I'm definitely going to do this even though I don't have kids... yet.  What a wonderful way to have a holiday decoration AND have family memories!!!  And like she says, it's so easy to store!

Microwave Peanut Brittle

I'm not sure where I found this recipe.  I think I did a search online for "peanut brittle recipe" and this was the first one that popped up.  It is the best microwave peanut brittle recipe I've ever made!  Well, it's the first one I've made by myself....  But I have eaten a lot of peanut brittle in my life.  My Mom and Grandma always make this around Christmas time.  This year, I made it!

MICROWAVE PEANUT BRITTLE

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts (It's probably easier to buy shelled peanuts.  All I had available was peanuts in shells.  It took FOREVER to shell a cup!)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a glass bowl stir together sugar and corn syrup.

Microwave on high for 4 minutes then stir in peanuts (stir them in immediately, if you don't it hardens too much and it's difficult to stir)

Microwave again for 3-5 minutes, until golden.

Add butter and vanilla to syrup and mix well.  Microwave for 1-2 minutes more until peanuts will be lightly browned.  The syrup and bowl will be very hot!

Add the baking soda and gently stir until light and foamy.  Pour mixture onto greased cookie sheet.  Let cool until hard (1/2-1 hour).

Break it up and store it in an air tight container.

Eat and Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Feline Pine

Can I give a shout out to Feline Pine?  I love the stuff!  Derek and I have tried multiple kinds of kitty litter with our cats that we've had over the years and hadn't found one we loved or even liked.  Feline Pine is the best!  No stink!  Ever!  Unless you leave the litterbox unchanged for 2 weeks like I did last time...

And yes, this is another chance to enter the SV.Soap give-away!

I jumped on the bandwagon

Here's another post to enter my give-away with!

I saw this on a yet another friend's blog and decided to do it too!.

To participate, just copy and paste the list in your own blog, and color all of the things YOU have done - use any color you want. Things you haven't done will be in black. Have fun and if you have your own blog you might want to post your results there for the rest of us to see.

I HAVE...
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain(shower)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (sort of, it wasn't my fault)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Thankful Thursday - Charity

Before I start, don't forget about this week's give-away!!!

I am thankful for the charity of the women in my ward.  I found myself in a situation this week where I felt I was needed to do two very different tasks at the same time.  It was at an Enrichment Activity (a monthly activity or meeting where the women of my church get together to enrich our homes, families and ourselves).

I'm in charge of set up and clean up.  Which means that I need to be there early and stay after everybody has left.  And because I know all the plans for the meetings, I'm needed there during the meeting to make sure it goes well.

My mom decided that she wanted to go, which was great!  She usually doesn't have the energy in the evenings to get out to these kinds of things.  The only problem was, it's a ladies only thing, so my dad wouldn't be comfortable attending, and I was going to be busy throughout the night.

But then thankfully, the other ladies stepped up.  My mom called someone in the ward to help her out during the meeting and everyone was very accomodating and helpful to her.  They all saved her a space to pull in, helped her with her coat, and helped her get some dishes returned (So many families have brought dinner to my parents!  Thank you!!!).

As selfish as this sounds, it was so nice that I didn't have to worry about any of it!  The women in our ward are really wonderful!

And added to that, everywhere I turned, I saw women helping out other women or making plans to help other women.  It seemed like everyone had the Christmas spirit of love and kindness.  The best part is that I know that the love and kindness won't stop after Christmas.  These women are amazing!

So thank you everyone for helping out!  I am so grateful!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Way Back When Wednesday - Four Weeks Straight of Vacation

In the Summer of 2000, my family planned two big trips.  One to the mountains and one to the beach.  My grandparents would come, and we'd all have a grand time.

The only catch for me was they planned those vacations right after Girls Camp.  And when I say right after, I mean right after.  They came to pick me up from Girls Camp on the way to the mountain cabin, our first leg of the vacation.

I was so mad!  I wanted to shower and be presentable.  Girls Camp is a week long, live out doors, campfire every night, shower only if you have to place.  It's only girls and it's "roughing it," so no one really worried about hygene until they got home.

But I wasn't going home.  I was going directly into a car for a 3 hour drive to the mountains.  My parents suggested that I shower at a truck stop if I was really that desperate.  At a truck stop?!!!  I flatly  refused that one.  So I decided to make everyone as miserable as I could for that car ride and tried to make myself as stinky as I could.  I sprayed myself down with bug spray just before getting in the van.  I don't think it worked, or at least no body complained about my stink.

Another problem was I didn't have an extra bra.  I only had the one that I had been wearing all week at Girls Camp and I didn't really like the idea of going with out one while it was being washed (Let me remind you all that I was 16, and not very flexible on the way things could be done.).

So we stopped in a cheap variety store.  The kind that sells clothes, but has no dressing room.  And what did I do?  To my mother's horror, I tried one on over my clothes in the middle of the store.  I saw nothing wrong with it.  It was a strange thing to do, but nothing really immodest about it.  Superman wears his underware over his tights doesnt he?  She quickly bought me one and we left the store rather quickly.

After I got a new bra and was able to take a shower, I really enjoyed the week in the mountains.  Our cabin was HUGE!  The place was three stories high.  I had a floor entirely to myself with a kitchen, living room and bathroom.  There was also a large lake just down the hill from the cabin.  We rented a pontoon boat and had a great time boating, fishing and swimming.


We drove back to Cary to stay one night.  And then it was on to the beach.

The beach was nice, but not as nice as the mountains.  Mostly it had to do with our accomodations.  That cabin was so amazing that the little condo we stayed in at the beach didn't have a chance to impress us.  We were also a ways away from the beach.  I think we might have been "sound side" (a sound is the water in between the Outer Banks and the mainland in North Carolina.

After the beach, I went right to EFY with my friend, Rachel.  It was great!  The session that we attended was at Southern Virginia College.  The buildings were really historic, meaning that the buildings were beautiful and that there wasn't any AC.  But only in the girls dorms.  The boys had it, but we didn't.  Now that just doesn't seem fair!  Good thing the college was in the mountains and it cooled down in the evenings when we were in our rooms.

 It was a great summer!

And don't forget about SV.Soaps give-away!  I'm announcing the winner on Saturday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Newsworthy Tuesday - GIVE-AWAY!!!

This is a special edition of my Newsworthy Tuesdays.  Today is my 200th post!  And in honor of this occasion, I am doing my first give-away!  That's newsworthy, don't you think?

Now, for the prize.  It's a Sampler Gift Set from SV.Soaps on Etsy!

So here's how it goes.  Leave a comment telling me which day of the week is your favorite type of post (Book of Mormon Mondays, Newsworthy Tuesdays, Way Back When Wednesdays, Thankful Thursdays, or Friday Finds), and visit SV.Soap's Etsy shop and tell me which lip balm and 2 soap scents you would pick!

AND you'll get extra entries for any comments you leave throughout the rest of this week.  I'll announce the winner on Saturday, December 20th.

Isn't that exciting?!  If you're local, I'll try to deliver it personally.  If not, I'll keep my fingers crossed that it will get to you by Christmas.  I should have planned my 200th post better!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book of Mormon Mondays - Geography in the Book of Mormon

Okay, I'm going to stand on my soapbox here and tell America that your geographic knowledge is severly lacking.  Seriously, the statistics are pretty embarassing!

Done with that, now on to the rest of the post.  Yesterday, for our family scripture study, we read Alma 22.  It's the chapter where Aaron teaches Lamoni's father, who is the king over all the Lamanites about the Gospel.  Again, the King fell as if he were dead.  The queen at first didn't believe, but once she saw him revived and the King taught her what he learned, she was also converted and they converted many more people in the area around them.

Then for eight verses, Alma talks about the Geography of the area, where all the people who were converted lived... in detail.  Eight verses take up a lot of column space in the book!  By the time we finished the chapter, my husband said, "Wow, that was some digression!"  And even Alma writes in the last verse of the chapter, "And now I, after having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren." (Alma 22:35)  I take that as Book of Mormon speak for "excuse my digression."

So as I thought about why Alma would choose to record so much Geography and why Mormon would choose to keep so much of it.  After a while, I realized that I didn't know why they did it.  But I did know that because they did that it must be important.  Which made me happy. 

I am a Geographer at heart.  I majored in it at college.  I love it.  And sadly, it's often overlooked, or seen as unimportant.  In reality it's exactly the opposite.  Geography is at the heart of every issue.  I can't think of one branch of knowledge that doesn't use place at some point.  The idea of place is Geography.

Having verses of the Book of Mormon devoted to Geography reinforces to me the importance of Geography.  And this little "Ah-ha!" moment has reminded me that every verse in the Book of Mormon is important. 

I'll be paying a bit more attention as I read to find more Geography gems!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up

Whoa!  Links overload!  But seriously, you have to look at all of them.  They're all that great!

More Free Actions for Photoshop Elements, Digital Photography for Moms.  Cool stuff!  This blogger has tons of excellent tips and tutorials for Photoshop.  And she's doing a Photoshop giveaway this month!  Leave her comments until the 21st and you're entered!

Home Ec 101 Weekly Menu and Shopping List #8, Blissfully Domestic.  This is exactly what I need.  Someone else to do all the planning work, and I just take the finished plan, go shopping, then make the meals!  Excellent! I absolutely HATE making grocery lists!  I always forget something important.  And here's a link to more of Blissfully Domestic's menu plans.

Noticeable Japanese Noses?, Tokyo Times.  Any of us Westerners who have been to Asia have all probably experienced the "nose difference."  This is such a strange contraption!  I have no idea how it's supposed to work!

BYU Mint Brownies, Reeve Chronicles.  Jodi, you are right!  BYU mint brownies are the best!  We were never able to go to the Creamery without getting one or two!

Joy to Everyone This Christmas.  A great music video from Wizard and BYU.  Beautiful!

Mr. Peeps, Blissfully Domsetic.  Sounds creepy, but it's actually really cute!

Sorry, it's another crazy Japanese cat video.  Basically, someone has made a "Fat Cat" calendar.  What I want to know is how they got all those cats to sit still and wear their costumes!





Prepared for the Everyday, TJHirst.com.  A wonderful and amazing post.  This woman is so wise!  I love reading her blog!

How to Make a Blog Banner in Photoshop Elements, Overstuffed.   Thank you Lara for posting this!  I need all the help I can get with PSE!  Readers and friends, this woman has been so kind to me!  Please go check out her blog.  She is an awesome photographer with adorable kids.  She writes so honestly about life that I feel like I know her personally!

Paper Candy Canes, Skip to My Lou.  I like the look of candy canes, but they always end up sticky and disgusting looking to me, even when I don't open them!  Plus, I just want to eat them.  So they don't work for me as decorations.  These paper ones on the other hand might just be perfect!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Good friends, Good Movies

This morning I am especially thankful for good friends who encourage me to watch good movies.  Derek and I have some friends who have a very conservative taste in movies.  And while their taste is different from ours, I understand and respect their decision to set conservative boundaries on what kinds of things they bring into their home.  In fact, I think it's awesome. 

Last night, Derek and I were hanging out at their house keeping the husband company while his wife and children were at his brother's house babysitting (She is one of the most charitable people I know, she was taking care of 7 children all by herself!). 

He is also a charitable person.  He was willing at the drop of a hat to fix a special present my brother had gotten used for his fiance.  I won't write what it is per chance she happens to read this.  But suffice it to say that it was fixed magnificently.  My brother and I were both surprised with how well the gift worked; it looked pretty beat up and worn. 

Anyways, after fixing the gift, showcasing our talents on the piano, and conversating for a while, he suggested we watch a movie, The Errand of Angels (which by the way, we watched on byutv.org.  You can watch past programming on their website.  I think the movie's still available if you'd like to see it).  My first, inner reaction was, "ugh... not another churchy movie." 

I haven't had too much luck with LDS themed movies.  The ones made by the Church are excellent, but some of the others haven't impressed me so much...  So I suggested another movie option that wasn't an LDS film.  But eventually we agreed to watch The Errand of Angels.

It was a great choice!  At first I wasn't too impressed with it.  The acting was a little overdone on the emotional parts, and some of it just seemed a little unrealistic.  But the more I think about the movie, the more I realized that I enjoyed it and want to watch it again!

The other option that I suggested was a foreign movie.  I think the reason why I enjoyed the movie so much was because it was almost foreign.  The main character in the movie was a sister missionary going to Austria.  I think that most of the actors were actually native speakers of German, and a lot of the movie was in German with English subtitles.  And it was good German!

So, a big thank you to my friend.  I would have missed out on a good movie without his suggestion!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Now Official!

I'm a Modern Molly Mormon!  Have you read the blog?  If not you should, especially now that I'm posting there as well! :)  There are quite a few talented "Mollys" posting there with all kinds of stuff for LDS women. 

Come check us out!  I'm Multi-task Molly.

Way Back When Wednesday - A Public Mudhole

This is a funny memory from my great aunt Afton:

Our dad, Vernon, was the first one in Franklin to get a brand new pickup. Everyone was so excited. One man in town was especially pleased and wanted to take a ride. Dad took him for a ride and they were going along when Dad hit a mud puddle in the road. All the mud splashed up on the truck. The man yelled at him about getting his new truck dirty. Dad said, "Look, Brother. This is my pickup and it is a public mud hole. So, if I want to drive my pickup through a public mudhole it is nobody's business except mine."

Working on my family history storybook project has had a bittersweet effect on me.  Part of me feels really connected to my ancestors and relatives.  The other part of me feels really sad that I never got to know many of these people.  Some of whom were known and loved dearly by my relatives who are still living.  I am so jealous!  It puts the great plan of happiness on a whole new level for me!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Newsworthy Tuesday - DTV Woes

I found this article in the Christian Science Monitor.  It's a column titled,  Thanks to DTV, My Television Has 'Fallen Off a Cliff.'

It's a pretty interesting and informative read.  I've been feeling the last few months like I've been missing important information about the switch to digital television.  All the announcements have been really vague about what to do, who it will affect, etc.  At least it has been to me.

I've been told by those who know, that my TV is going to be ok.  We bought it  new this summer and we get channels like 7.1 and 7.2.  So that means we're ok. 

But evidently the guy writing this article isn't.  His house gets stinky digital reception, and as he says in the column, "it's all or nothing."  If you have the reception, it's great, amazing and wonderful quality.  He says that there's a cut off for an acceptable signal strength.  If you're getting lower than that level, you don't get that channel.  Frustrating!

Alternative to bows and gift tags

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I have always been against those sticky bows and gift tags on Christmas gifts.  Or any other kind of gift.  They make them hard to stack.  And since bows are technically reusable (they don't get ruined easily with one wrapping like wrapping paper), you feel obligated to save them so you can use them again.  But the next time you go to get one out, they're always a little mussed up!

So, my solution that I've come up with the last couple of years is to use a permanent marker to write the "too" and "from" directly on the wrapping paper.  I've found it doesn't look half bad!  And if you can do block lettering or something, it even adds to the wrapping paper!

Monday, December 8, 2008

This is Where We Live

Found this cool video on Blurb's blog.  I think I want to live there!

Book of Mormon Mondays - Taking a Risk

Derek and I read Alma 19 last night.  It's the chapter where King Lamoni and his household are converted.  This time around, the part that impressed me the most wasn't the miraculous act of raising the King from a coma-like state.  Or the King's amazing turn around.  It was Abish.

There are few women in the scriptures.  I'm not completely clear on why, and I'm not completely comfortable with it.  But I've accepted the fact that when you have limited amounts of writing materials and time, and the extreme difficulty in actually writing, somethings need to be left out.  So to me, that means that the women are in the scriptures must be really important and we should sit up a little straighter and pay attention to them.

I always knew Abish was special.  She had secretly been a believer since she was a child.  On the surface, that might seem cowardly... the secret part.  But really she had to be!  She was a Lamanite, a people who REALLY weren't believers in Christ and his gospel and if she had been more public with her beliefs, she could have been persecuted or even killed!

Abish was the one who spread the news.  This is what it says...
17 Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it aknown, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had bfallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay cprostrate upon the earth, she knew that it was the power of God; and supposing that this opportunity, by making known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would dcause them to believe in the power of God, therefore she ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people.

She took a big risk to share the gospel, if you will.  She felt the Holy Ghost telling her that what happened was by the power of God.  And she wasted no time.  It says "she ran forth from house to house."  She didn't just run outside and then call out to anyone who could or would hear.  She went door to door running.

Abish knew the truth of the situation so clearly, that she didn't even think for one moment that others would misunderstand and think there was an "evil spirit" (verse 18), or that their enemy had killed their King and Queen.

But as happens to all good things, opposition came and the people who heard Abish's story didn't believe that it was the "Great Spirit's" or God's doing.

  18 And they began to assemble themselves together unto the house of the king. And there came a multitude, and to their astonishment, they beheld the king, and the queen, and their servants prostrate upon the earth, and they all lay there as though they were dead; and they also saw Ammon, and behold, he was a Nephite.

  19 And now the people began to murmur among themselves; some saying that it was a great evil that had come upon them, or upon the king and his house, because he had suffered that the Nephite should aremain in the land.

  20 But others rebuked them, saying: The king hath brought this evil upon his house, because he slew his servants who had had their flocks scattered at the awaters of Sebus.

  21 And they were also rebuked by those men who had stood at the waters of Sebus and ascattered the flocks which belonged to the king, for they were angry with Ammon because of the number which he had slain of their brethren at the waters of Sebus, while defending the flocks of the king.
  22 Now, one of them, whose brother had been aslain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him...

But good always comes from sharing the gospel.  Ammon was protected by God. The offended man who raised his sword to kill Ammon was struck dead.  And by this and other miraculous happenings (read chapter 19), many were converted and some weren't.  That's just the way it goes sometimes.  Everyone has their free agency.

So I guess what I got out of this story this time was go ahead and take a risk sharing the gospel.  It might seem bad at first and the people you share with might not immediately become believers, but it's always a good idea to share.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanks for the Comments!

Have I said thank you for the comments you guys leave?  Probably not enough.  They really do mean a lot to me!  Especially from regular commentors like Hannah, Heather, and Kristi.  And my new blogging friends Lara and Teresa!  And all the rest of you guys who have commented even just once.  It means you're really out there and you're really reading!

A Day for Memes

Another friend of mine, Jodi, put a fun meme on her blog and tagged everyone, so here I am doing another one! :)

SCATTERGORIES...it's harder than it looks! Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They have to be real places, names, things. Nothing made up! You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

WHAT IS YOUR NAME: Rachel

BOY NAME : Richard

GIRL NAME: Rhonda

OCCUPATION: Rock Star

COLOR: Red

SOMETHING YOU WEAR: Robe

BEVERAGE: Root Beer

FOOD: Ranch Dressing

SOMETHING FOUND IN A BATHROOM: Roll of Toilet Paper

A PLACE: Russia

REASON FOR BEING LATE: Ran Out of Time

SOMETHING YOU SHOUT: Ralph!

I Tag: Hannah, Tanya, Emily, and Kristi

The Freshmen

1. Put your music on shuffle.
2. You must write that song name down no matter how silly it sounds.
4. Tag friends who might enjoy doing the meme as well.

If someone says "is this okay," you say?
A Spoonful of Sugar

What would best describe your personality?
Conquest Paradise

What do you like in a guy/girl?
Like to Jam

How do you feel today?
I'm Rushing

What is your motto?
Easier Said Than Done

What do your friends think of you?
Light Up My Room

What do you think about very often?
As the Rush Comes

What do you think of your best friend?
Living the Dream

What do you think of the person you like?
Your Kisses are Wasted on Me

What is your life story?
The Book of Love

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lithium

What do you think when you see the person you like?
O Tannenbaum

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Six Progressive Sonatinas, Op. 36: No. 5 in G Major: II Air Suisse: Allegro Moderato

What will they play at your funeral?
Little Bunny Foo Foo

What is your hobby/interest?
Knock-Down, Drag-Out

What is your biggest secret?
Dare to be Stupid

What do you think of your friends?
My Own Prison

What's the worst thing that could happen?
Save Room

What is the one thing you regret?
Just For

What makes you laugh?
Slinky Wizart Slinky Wizard

What makes you cry?
Dark Dreams

Will you ever get married?
Mian-han Ma-eum

What scares you the most?
Track 10

Does anyone like you?
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree

If you could go back in time, what would you change?
Flesh (Paul Oakenfold Edit)

What hurts right now?
Tell Me 'Bout It

What will you post this as?
The Freshmen

I cheated a couple of times for various reasons.

Thanks Kim, this was fun!

I tag everyone.

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up: Recipe Edition

Turkey Leftovers, Kalyn's Kitchen.  These look yummy and delicious!

Slow Simmering BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Scribbit.  I'm not usually a fan of beef, but the ingredients sound so unusual and delicious!  I'm making this!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Scanners

Today I am thankful for scanners.  I've been working on a family photo project for quite a while now, scanning in all of my parents' pictures.  I think I started in October or maybe even September.  And I finally finished earlier this week.  Now I'm working on putting them into a book (hopefully Inkubook, if it works for me) so I can have copies.

I couldn't have done it without a scanner.  My brother and I have to plead with my Mom if we want to use a picture for a project.  She doesn't want to give them up, even temporarily.  And I understand.  I would probably be the same way. 

But with a scanner, I came make as many copies as I want.  AND I can make them as big as I want (within reason) because I scanned the pictures in at 600 ppi.  Now I don't know if this is a huge measurement or not, but I know I can make a full bleed picture page in an 8.5"x11" book with it.  Yay!  Thank you scanner!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Simple Snow Effect

Blogger Buster has a link to a great snow effect for blogs!  And it's so easy to add.  Just click on the link, then click on "add to blog," and you're done!!!

Way Back When Wednesday

Here's one of those travel horror stories that includes land, sea and air travel.  Now, how often does that happen?

For 추석 (Chuseok) 2006, the Korean holiday closest to the American Thanksgiving, Derek and I decided we'd go to Japan.  Derek was just itching to go back there.  We had originally planned on teaching in Japan, but Korea had better perks and benefits.  We comforted ourselves by promising ourselves at least a trip or two to Japan while we were there.

Throughout the month of September, I was looking for good deals on transportation to and hotels in Japan.  I happened to find a great one--or at least I thought--through a company that I don't remember the name for.  It included tickets for the "Beetle," a high-speed, hydrofoil ferry and a hotel. I talked to my boss, Mr. Kim and he was very impressed that I found such a great deal!

We purchased night bus tickets from Sokcho to Busan (the port city we would depart from).  Mr. Kim suggested the night bus because the road trip would take 7 hours.  There weren't any other good options for this leg of the trip.  Seven hours is a long time no matter what time you take it.  And the trip went smoothly.  The only problem we had was the bus arrived in Busan earlier than anything opened.  So we wandered around the bus station and the port for a few hours before we could pick up our tickets.  A lot of people have told us how nice Busan is, but we weren't able to see much while we were there.

We got on our ferry just fine, and our trip across the Korea Strait went uneventful and very short; just three hours!  If we had taken a regular ferry, it would have taken twelve!  Derek slept the whole way, but I watched their Korean dubbed, Japanese anime movie.

Japan was great!  We had a lot of fun and got some good souveniers.  But our time in Japan isn't the point of this story.  The real point is how we got home.

The evening before we were to leave, another member of our group, a very kind Korean man who spoke great English, told us that he had received word that the ferry wouldn't be coming to pick us up because of bad weather.  We were a little surprised because the weather looked fine in Fukuoka, Japan, but evidently the weather wasn't so fine in Busan and hydrofoils are sensitive.

The Korean man told us that as soon as he found out more, he would let us know.  Eventually, we were told that we would need to take an airplane from Fukuoka to Busan.  We would pay for the tickets up front and then the travel agency would reimburse the portion that was covered by our ferry tickets. 

Normally this wouldn't have made us blink.  Not that we were loaded or anything, but we did have a cushion that we could fall back on, but we were in a foreign (foreign from Korea) country without a visa/debit type card from our Korean bank.  Luckily, we had brought a ton of extra cash--or what seemed like a ton at the time--400,000 won.  That's abut $400.  It took almost exactly that much money to buy our two tickets.  We literally only had pocket change, no paper bills.  But we had no other choice.  We had to get back to work in the amount of time it would take to get back.

So we flew to Busan, and then we were stuck.  It just so happened that our bank was doing maintenance on all their ATM machines during the holiday weekend, so every one of our banks ATMs were out of order.  We had no money to buy a bus ticket back to Sokcho, no money for a hotel, not even any money to get a taxi to get anywhere!  AND we were in an airport that we had never been to before in an unfamiliar city in Korea.  We didn't know what to do!

Our first thought, which turned out to be not our best, was to call Mr. Kim (Which was kind of a miracle.  We didn't have Korean cell phones yet, and I just happened to have a calling card with a few minutes left on it.) He could solve any problem.  But even he wasn't able to come up with anything great for getting us seven hours from Busan to Sokcho without any money.  He was too far way to come get us and we still had the problem with the bank so he couldn't send us money either.  And that wasn't the problem anyways.  He said to wait for a while so he could come up with a solution, and then we were to call him back.


After a few minutes, I noticed that there was a "365World ATM," and a light went off in my head.  365World, I thought.  That means I could get money from my account in America.  But we had another problem.  I only had about $30 in that account, and that wasn't enough to get us back to Sokcho.


It was sometime in the early afternoon in Busan so it must have been in the wee hours of the morning in North Carolina, but it was an emergency so I called my mom to see if she would transfer some money to my account.  This was my breaking point.  Until then, I was able to keep it together... mostly.  But after calling my mom and telling her about our predicament, I started bawling.  She readily agreed to transfer some money for us, and miraculously, it was there within minutes or even seconds! 


For a small fee, I was able to withdraw enough money to get us a taxi from the airport to the bus station and from the bus station to Sokcho.  We called Mr. Kim again and told him everything was okay and that we got some money from America, and we were on our way!

The mistake we made in calling Mr. Kim was that we didn't realize that he would tell ALL of our coworkers within hours of hearing the news.  Our reception the first day back was quite mixed.  Some were genuinely concerned for us, others looked at us like we were silly little foreigners who didn't know anything, and one of our coworkers (one who was annoying on regular days) berated us for not having enough extra money with us for these, shall we say, unforeseen circumstances. 

We couldn't believe it!  What was he talking about? We had brough $400 extra!  How much were we supposed to take with us?!  Our entire life savings?!  Oh well, we just brushed him off and went on our way.  It was a great vacation with an exciting return trip!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hannah is the coolest person I know!

My friend and blogging buddy, Hannah is officially the coolest person I know!  She commented on my Book of Mormon Mondays post this week on courage with this link to Real Hero Posters.  I want to buy everyone of these and hang them, well... I don't know where, but somewhere! Check them out!!!

 The big, bold, black lettering all over the picture isn't really on the poster like I thought it was.  LOL at me!  
Those are just labels labeling the cool features on the poster!

Anna Karenina

This month's book for TJHirst's blogging bookgroup was A-MA-ZING!  Anna Karenina!  I loved it when I read it years back and I loved it again and even more when I read it this month.  I have a small confession to make, I haven't quite finished it yet.  I've been out of town for a week and a half this month and between that and life, my reading time has been unfortunately cut short!

I decided for my post, I would put some of my favorite quotes and life lessons from the book.  Tolstoy is an incredible author!  He's able to put real life into fiction which is rarely found these days (Did anyone notice the lack of plausability in Twilight and it's sequels?  Pure escapeism, if I can quote my sister-in-law). 

I'm a firm believer in learning from other's mistakes.  That way I don't have to make them myself! :)  I know that just reading about a character's bad choices doesn't guarantee that I won't make the same mistake, but when the consequences and emotions are written out so well (as in Anna Karenina), it makes it easier for me to learn.

Friends
One of the first life lessons that I noticed in this book was how much an effect your choice of friends has on your life.  They always say that in church, and I shrugged it off.  I figured that I could be friends with anybody, no matter their morals, and I could be unaffected by their choices.

In Anna Karenina, through Anna's choices, it is shown that friends do have an effect.  You can't blame all of a person's bad or good choices on their friends.  Everyone has free agency, but it is easier to choose things your friends do or are comfortable with than not.  Peer pressure?  Just before Anna and Vronsky seriously began their relationship, Anna switched from spending time with the older, more respectable crowd (who frankly, seemed a bit boring), to the younger more live-your-life-freely crowd (who seemed a bit too loose, wasn't there an "inbetween crowd"?).  It's my opinion that it would have been much more difficult for Anna to make the choice to commit adultry if she continued to hang with the older crowd, but she went the easy route with the group that would accept her bad choices.

The Religious Education of Children
"'You are about to enter into matrimony and God may reward your union with children, is that not so?  Well then,  What sort of education can you give your little ones if you do not conquer in yourself the temptation of the devil who is leading you into unbelief?' he said with gentle reproach 'If you love your children, then you, as a god father, will desire not only riches, luxury, and honors for them, but you will also desire their salvation, their spiritual advancement in the light of truth." pg. 445
-the Priest talking to Levin before his marriage

Real Love
"Left alone and thinking over the remarks of those bachelors, Levin asked himself again whether there was in his heart any of that feeling of regret for his freedom they had been talking about.  He smiled at the question.  'Freedom?  Who wants freedom?  Happiness consists only in loving and desiring, in wishing her wishes, thinking her thoughts, which means having no freedom whatever--that is happiness!'" pg. 448
-Levin thinking about his marriage to Kitty

Wickedness Never Was Happiness
"Vronsky, meanwhile, although what he had so long desired had come to pass, was not altogether happy.  He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected.  This fulfillment showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that their happiness depends on the realizeation of their desires." pg. 468
-Vronsky thinking after consumating his adulterous relationship with Anna.

How Marriage Really Is
" Levin had been married three months.  He was happy, but not in the way he had expected.  At every step he found that he was disappointed in his former dreams and discovered new and unexpected enchantments.  Levin was happy, but having embarked on married life, he saw at every step that it was not at all what he had imagined.  At every step he experienced what a man experiences when, after admiring the smooth, happy motion of a boat on a lake, he finds himself sitting in it himself.  He found that it was not enough to sit quietly without rocking the boat, that he had constantly to consider what to do next, that not for a moment must he forget what course to steer or that there was water under his feet, that he had to row, much as it hurt his unaccustomed hands, that it was pleasant enough to look at it from the shore, but very hard, though very delightful, so sail it." pg. 482
-Levin climatizing to his marriage. (My personal favorite quote.  What a great metaphor!)

Why Premarital Relations Aren't so Hot in the Long Run
"The poise of her head on her beautiful, broad shoulders and the restrained excitement and radiance of her eyes and her whole face reminded him of what she had looked like when he ahd seen her at the ball in Moscow.  But now he was affected by this beauty in quite a different way.  There was nothing mysterious now in his feeling for her, and for the reason her beauty, though it attracted him more powerfully than ever, also offended him." pg. 548
-How Vronsky's feelings for Anna have changed

Thank you TJHirst for this great book choice!  I LOVED IT!!!

Awesome Giveaway!

There is an awesome giveaway going on at The Secret is in the Sauce.  There's like a giveaway every hour.  AND there's a Target gift card prize too!!!  Check it out!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Book of Mormon Mondays - Courage

Alma 17:19-25
19 And Ammon went to the land of aIshmael, the land being called after the sons of bIshmael, who also became Lamanites.

  20 And as Ammon entered the land of Ishmael, the Lamanites took him and abound him, as was their custom to bind all the Nephites who fell into their hands, and carry them before the king; and thus it was left to the pleasure of the king to slay them, or to retain them in captivity, or to cast them into prison, or to cast them out of his land, according to his will and pleasure.

  21 And thus Ammon was carried before the king who was over the land of Ishmael; and his name was Lamoni; and he was a descendant of Ishmael.

  22 And the king inquired of Ammon if it were his desire to dwell in the land among the Lamanites, or among his people.

  23 And Ammon said unto him: Yea, I desire to adwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.

  24 And it came to pass that king Lamoni was much pleased with Ammon, and caused that his bands should be loosed; and he would that Ammon should take one of his daughters to wife.

  25 But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a aservant to king Lamoni. And it came to pass that he was set among other servants to watch the flocks of Lamoni, according to the custom of the Lamanites.


Living in a foreign country myself, I was particularly struck by verse 23.  Lamoni asked what his intentions were and Ammon answered, "I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die."

What courage!!  The Nephites and Lamanites were brothers, but I think their cultures had diverged enough that there would have been a significant culture shock for Ammon.  And he was willing to stay there for the rest of his life?  Now that's commitment to the gospel.

Photo courtsey of lds.org

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Finds - A Link Round-up

Sorted Books Project, Blurberati Blog.  This is another one of those cool projects that I wished I thought of first (remember the pictures with the record sleeves?)!  So cool.

And sorry my Friday Finds are a bit late.  But this link is still a Friday Find.  I found it at 10:30 pm Friday night! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for holidays that bring families together.  And I'm thankful for families who get together.  And I'm thankful for family.  Especially cool family, which is all of my family.  Hopefully, I'll have photos to share later.  I'm a lazy photographer...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Way Back When Wednesday

Another ancestor story.  This story is written by my great grandma on my mother's side.  She is remembering her father who happened to be really, really short...

Our parents really tried to teach us right from wrong and they not only tried to teach us, they set the right kind of example for us to follow.  On day Brose and I were helping Dad haul hay out in the field by staying up on the wagon and as he would pitch the hay up on the wagon with a pitch fork, we would tromp it down so it would pack and not fall off the wagon.

We were near the fence line, an Dad had gotten up onto the wagon to shift the hay around a little bit so the wagon would hold more.  One of our neighbors was just over the fence, irrigating.  For some reason he had become angry at Dad because of the water or something and called Dad a bad name.  I remember Dad jumping off that wagon load of hay in one big jump and was over that fence and had grabbed that man and tole him if he didn't want the beating of his life, he had better take that back.

The funny part of it was that Dad was a very short nman and this guy was a prettygood sized fellow but Dad was not afraid of the devil himself if he became insulted or angry.  They guy apologized and cooled off immediately.  So far as I can remember my Dad never was afraid of anything even though he was small.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Willow in a bag

Willow got stuck in a bag this evening and she wouldn't take a picture, so I had to take a video.   Sorry it's so dark.  When you're in our living room it really doesn't look that dark.  I guess it's just not photogenic.

On to the Willow video...

 

And please ignore my obnoxious, talking-to-Willow voice.  I swear!  I don't sound like that in real life!!!

Holy Pie!

My legs and feet are killing me!  I've been standing in the kitchen all day.  Here's what I made

1 pumpkin roll
2 apple pies
1 key lime pie
1 batch of raspberry-chocolate cobbler cupcakes
1 raspberry-chocolate cobbler cake.

And yesterday I made two strawberry whips, a pumpkin pie, and a dud key lime pie (hence another one today)

I think I'm ready for Thanksgiving

Newsworthy Tuesday

Say wha? 

Russian Scholar Predicts Economic Crisis Will Rip America Apart, Fox News.


I couldn't believe someone would actually write up this article!  I don't think it will ever happen.

Premature Rant

So I prematurely ranted yesterday.  Right after I posted my disappointment, I talked to my Dad about APIs.  He knows all about them because he's a software developer and he said that this happens all the time and it does take time to fix code.  And that more than likely blurb will fix it eventually.  The beginning of next year isn't that far out in these sorts of situations.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Somebody needs to get their act together!

Because I'm mad!  For some reason having to do with APIs, Blurb's Booksmart can no longer slurp Blogger blogs.  GRRRRR!!!  I would assume that Blurb should be the one to try to fix the problem, and maybe they are.  They're losing a lot of business by not supporting Blogger or Word Press.  They fixed Typepad and still support LiveJournal and another one, but some of those cost to blog!  Grr!

Just thought I'd put my two cents in about the situation.  Everyone else seems to be doing so also.

PS:  Thanks Lara for letting me know about this!  I thought that it was me or maybe my internet that was giving me trouble... Silly me!

I went on vacation and....

got all out of whack on blogging.  Sorry guys.  Today is supposed to be Book of Mormon Monday.  I've been thinking all day and haven't gotten any great ideas to post.  So the Book of Mormon is great.  Everybody read it.  And if any of you have any thoughts or insights from what you've been reading lately, please leave it here.  If anything, it will help me!  I'm always wanting to hear what others think as they're reading.

In other news... I've got all the stories that have been posted so far imported into a book!!!  I thought it would take ages, but it only took a few hours.  Well, ok, maybe like 6 hours over a 2 day span.  Now I'm just waiting for the last minute posts and then I'll put pictures in it.  And then I'll put it in the blurb.com bookstore!  Hooray!!!

Also, I've been a busy photo organizing girl.  I got all my cruise photos into an inkubook. Now I'll I need is for my husband to proof read the text I entered.  GO ME!!!  And I've finished up through 1999 of my parent's family photos!  Whew! *wiping sweat off my brow* Only eight more years to go, and the year 2000's the year we sort of slowed taking 35mm photos!  Hooray!  Maybe I'll be finished early next week!

And now, to embarrass my little brother, here's a great little brother photo...

 
Isn't he cute?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cruise Day 4

Nov 13th - Belize City

The day of our big excursion!  Since it was an all day thing we had to get up early and eat the buffet breakfast in the Windjammer so that we could meet our group by 7:45 am.

Oh, and before I forget, we had somewhat of a scare about this day.  On Wednesday night, during dinner, Becca told us that when they had checked on their excursion (theirs was cancelled on Wednesday and they were told to visit the excursion desk to get a refund and 50% off the next day's), the were told that our original excursion--to the Mayan ruins with a lunch--was cancelled.  We were all a little upset until Becca found another ruins excursion for about the same price and it had a river boat trip!  We just had to wait until after dinner to get it all set up. 

The most outrageous thing was that the ship didn't have a public announcement about it.  They were just going to call each room that evening to inform all those who were signed up for the ruins w/lunch.  The only problem with that was the exursion desk (where everyone would reschedule) closed at 8:30 and a lot of people wouldn't be getting back to their rooms until after dinner and the shows which would be around 10:00 or 11:00!  Meaning they would all have to reschedule early, EARLY in the morning!  But we were fortunate that Daryn and Becca were there earlier in the evening and found out about it!

Back to the story.  So we ate breakfast quickly and headed to the theater where we were told to meet.  There were a TON of people there!  I thought that they were all going to be in our group, but it turned out that there were multiple excursion groups meeting there.  They had us all meet there so we could be tendered (the water was too shallow for the cruise ship to dock, so they had speedy boats taking us back and forth from the boat to the dock) seperately from the rest of the passengers who didn't have planned excursions.

Once we got ashore, we waited with our group until our tour guide came to take us to the bus.  I was worrying a bit because we didn't have any bottled water.  It was $1.95 to get it on the boat so we didn't want to buy it there.  We found a cafe place that sold it for $1 a bottle so we bought two there hoping the tour guide would give us some as well.  It was a HOT and sunny day!!

The bus ride was great believe it or not!  It wasn't the best bus, but I was really happy to be able to see the actual country, not just the shops around the port.  That was one thing I had to get past going on a cruise.  I felt like I was cheating by visiting countries on a cruise.  It's so touristy!  So it was nice to take the bus and see things.  Plus, I got to take a nap.

Our tour guide was great, but had one flaw.  No, not her English.  English is actually the official language of Belize (it was a British colony); her English was accented, but great.  She was TOO WORDY!  It was nice to hear about the country on the bus, but once we got to the ruins, we wanted a short explanation, and then time to explore!

But our guide was very into educating everyone about her country.  I guess that's admirable.  The only problem we had was that we were standing in the middle of an open, grassy area between Mayan buildings under the HOT sun!  And to top it off, she had suggested that we don't put sunscreen on unless we were "highly allergic to the sun."  I thought that meant that we wouldn't be in the sun for most of the time.  But we were.  Needless to say, I got burned, but not too bad, and I actually tanned... minimally.  So now I really have a farmers tan.

After she finished telling us all about Altun Ha (that's the name of the place we went) we climbed to the top of one of the buildings and took some pictures.  At this point I had to pee so bad (I had downed two bottles of water thinking I would be dehydrated if I didn't), I couldn't enjoy it much, but I got some good pics.  I scooted down the steps as quickly as my fear of heights would let me--the stairs didn't have much by way of a railing and they were really steep stairs!

I ran to the bathrooms and then looked for my Belizian (sp?) souvenier.  I know, cheesey right? I found a cool wooden carving that the seller's husband made.  It's pretty solid, so I didn't feel ripped off.  It reminded me of some of the faces and stone carvings on the buildings.

We went to eat lunch after the ruins.  I thought we were going to a restaurant, but we ended up at someone's house and we ate in their courtyard.  Maybe that is a restaurant in rural Belize, I don't know.  The food was good.  And we had some shocking entertainment.  There was a guy who sat at a table behind me who's plastic chair's legs broke out from beneath him!  They were those cheap patio chairs, but still!  Plastic went flying out from both sides of him!  Thankfully, he wasn't hurt.

After lunch we got on a small-ish boat to take down the river and back to the port.  Here's where our tour guide lied again!  She said we didn't need bug spray because there weren't any mosquitos.  Well, there might not have been any mosquitos, but there were sure some other kind of blood-sucking, itch causing insects!  I got bit at least 10-15 times, and they're still itching!  When we got back to Idaho and told our friends about the dumb bugs, their response was maybe those same bugs bit the Nephites! :D

The boat ride was nice and relaxing--other than the bug bites, but they didn't itch then and the fact that we were crammed in there like sardines, good time to make friends :)--and we saw a bunch of cool animals!

The entire excursion took about 7  hours, so when we got back on the boat, we had just enough time to get ready for dinner.  Yummy, yummy dinner and great company!

We should have realized that each show wasn't as good as we hoped.  I kept thinking maybe this show will be better, but sadly, no.  Thursday night's performance was Broadway show tunes, which could have been great, but they chose weird songs from risque shows.  :(  By the end of it, we were closing our eyes and trying to sleep so we didn't have to watch it!

I think it was this evening that all of us went on deck to play shuffleboard?  I know we all went one night, I just don't remember which one.  We had a lot of fun and we took a crazy picture of the guys posing with their shuffleboard pucks.  As soon as I get it, I'll post it!

Tomorrow: At sea, the last day on the boat.

Friday Finds: A Link Round-up

Jesse Tree, Rocks in My Dryer.  I thought this was another excellent way to make the Christmas season more Christ centered.  You can find the daily devotionals here, and you can find patterns for the ornaments within the RIMD Jesse Tree post.  Exciting!!!

Sour Cream Apple Pie, Blissfully Domestic.  I'm not a big fan of apple pie, but I know that anytime you put sour cream in something it makes ANYTHING to die for.  Especially french toast (We put sour cream and jam on french toast, not in them. De-licious!).  I think I'll be making this for Thanksgiving.

Pies Baked in Tiny Jars, Not Martha.  These have to be the cutest thing ever made!  I'm making them!

Saving Money with Powdered Milk, Hillbilly Housewife.  Don't remember if I've already posted this site.  If I have, I found it again and with all the Thanksgiving treats I'm planning on making, these tips will really help and save me some money!

New Fabric? Ooh-La-La!, Blissfully Domestic.  Cute fabrics with links to buy them!  Hooray!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buttons, buttons, who's got a button?

Thanks to Lara from Overstuffed for gifting the great blogging buttons to EVERYONE!!! I've always wanted a blog button!!

Cruise Day 3

Nov. 12th Cozumel, Mexico

We docked in Cozumel early in the morning, but we woke up with barely enough time to get breakfast!  We had planned to meet the brothers in the Windjammer (a buffet), but we must have passed them coming down as we went up.  They all had excursions so they were off early.

Since we hadn't planned anything for the day, we took it easy lounging around on the boat and took a few pictures of Cozumel from the boat.


 



Then we wandered down around the dock to the shops.  Most of the more serious shopping was to be found a few minutes away, but we would have had to spend a little extra on a taxi and we figured they'd have about the same touristy stuff near the docks so we stuck around there.

We found some cool stuff!  Derek started a collection of masks.  We got our first one in Korea.  At first, I thought it was ugly, but the more I think about it, the less ugly it gets.  At one of the kiosks, a seller was selling a variety of colorful Mayan masks.  She told us that they retailed for $60 but she would give us a deal for $45.  After bargaining a bit, we still thought it was too expensive so we started to walk off.  She called out after us telling us to come back and that she would sell one to us for $30.  A much better deal.

We also got a Mayan and Aztec circley thing.  I think it's a calendar?  I'm not sure, but it looks cool.  And we got a cute little Nativity scene.  Good stuff!!

 
 


While I was waiting for Derek looking at something, a guy came up to me with a beautiful parrot!  He transferred the parrot to my arm, SO COOL!  Then he took the parrot off my arm and then laid it in my hand like a baby then walked a little ways off.  I was just standing there holding the bird in my hand.  After a bit the bird starting air cycling, so I gave it back to the man.  We tried to take a picture of me holding the bird, but the guy told us that it was $5 to take a picture!!!  Way too expensive, so we didn't take one.

 
 

Enjoying a cool lemonade while we waited for the others to get back
We met up with Daryn and Becca, and Doug and Melanie and went swimming on the ship.  I wasn't too excited about getting in the pool.  It was a little cold and I still had my make-up on, but it was nice to cool off after getting all sweaty shopping.

Once Becca heard that we got a Nativity scene for a good price, she wanted one too so we all went back ashore to look for more and t-shirts.  It was fun going shopping again with them!

 
 
Derek with a cool mariachi band.  Did I spell that right?

We got back on board just in time put away our treasures and get ready for dinner.  Derek had fun posing with his new mask.  He was so excited to get it!!!

 
Dinner was great as always.  The food is amazing and I am starting to understand how much fun it would have been to grow up in the large Cheney family.  And only 4 of the brothers were there!  There's 6 of them!!!  Our big, round table was perfect for conversation.
After dinner was another show.  This time it was better.  The Platters, with an original member Herb Reed, came to perform.  They were great!  We were all shocked with how OLD Herb Reed was!  I mean, he had to have been because the Platters' first hit was back in the 50s and he has been a member from the get go.  They sang a lot of their old hits along with some from the temptations.  Great performance.
Again, my memory is a little fuzzy on what we did after the show.  Probably played some games like Backgammon or shuffleboard.  Does anyone remember specifically?
Tomorrow: Belize City