Friday, February 25, 2011

Excellent Reads

I haven't done a book post for a while.  I belong on Good Reads and so I do all of my reviews there, but I have recently read several good books that I felt I should pass on.

Cutting for Stone:  This is honestly one of the most "tight" reads I have read in years.  I LOVED this book.  It is long--over 900 pages but it never felt long to me.  I didn't skip a word.

City of Tranquil Light: This is a story about a missionary couple in China in the 1920s.  This is a wonderful book full of faith, light and goodness.

Unbroken:  This is the amazing story of Louis Zamperini, from Olympic runner to WWII Pow survivor.  After years of knowing so much about the horrors of the Holocaust, this book for the first time, really showed me the horrors the Japanese did to the POWs during World War II.  That said, while parts of this book are hard to read, this book is full of hope and peace as well.  I was struck by this man's story and also the realization of the many stories we have lost because of the many men who died in World War II, who never got a chance to tell of their heroism.  Honestly, this book changed me forever.

Water for Elephants:  This was a great, easy read for me.  It kept me interested the whole time and it didn't end as I expected.  It the perfect read for me at time when I needed an "escape."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scout Record Keeping

This really should be my last scout update for a while.  I spent the better part of one day working on this latest project and I had several friends (whom I had told about this project) ask that I do a post explaining this.  

While normally, I adore computers, my trust in the scout system computers is low, so I felt a need to create my own hard copy back up system.  This way, if there is any question, I have it in my hands for the parents immediately.  (Also, because the Utah system, isn't  compatible with a Mac, I would have to go down to my husband's office to use his PCs every time a parent had a question.) 

Here is what my kitchen table looked like for most of one day.

The person before me actually had a very good system in place but she had a greater trust in the computer system than I do, so I refined it just a little bit.   

I have one thick notebook with every boy's info it.  I have them in the book based on when they entered the scouting program--the newest 11 year old scout at the front to the boys about to get their eagle at the back.

Every boy has a sheet protector with this paper in it.

As the boys earn their rank advancements, I can hand write the dates next to it.  Underneath the rank advancements, I have listed all of the required merit badges, where I can list the dates they earned those.  If a parent calls and wants to know what required merit badges their son needs, I have it all on one piece of paper.  

On the other side of the paper, I have table where I can hand write in their elective merit badges and what date they earned those.  I have it numbered, so again, they know how many they have earned.  (Boys have to earn a minimum of nine elective merit badges to get their Eagle.) 

Right behind the above sheets, I have baseball card holder pages, to hold the boy's blue cards.  (The blue cards are filled out when a boy earns a merit badge.)  So, if there is any question about their merit badge info, I have their blue cards all organized and together in one place.  

I've had several parent's ask me how to keep track of their son's info at their house.  This is what I created for my son.  

It requires a three ring notebook. 

In it, I have copies of his scout health form and any merit badge worksheets he has worked on or is currently working on.  

The first page has his rank advancement patches and cards.  They wear their current rank advancement patch on the left pocket of their scout shirt.  Behind that, I have his copy of the blue cards in baseball card holders.  

These next sheets, I got from my sister, who said their area in Colorado, requires the boys to have these sheets filled out and brought to their court of honors.  It is good to have this as part of their record.  

They are camping logs, service logs and leadership logs.  

As you can see, they very basic, but they are in the three ring binder as well.  I make my son write the info on it and sign it.  
Anyway, the project is now done and I am finally feeling very organized and feeling like I can really do my calling of "Scout advancement chair" well.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Monster Jam

Dentist husband hates sitting home on weekends.  If the weather is good, he is flying his airplane or golfing.  If it is not good, we as a family go bowling, go to a movie, or he even will get out the cookbook and try some new complicated recipe.  Honestly, just sitting around all day on a Saturday drives him crazy.  I, on the other hand, would be content staying in our PJ's and reading a book all day, but that is another story.  

So today, we ventured forth to a Monster Truck Jam.  It has been on our bucket list ever since Toothsome #1 was about two and it was high time to cross it off.  Here we are at the stadium.  We took the local Trax train downtown, which dropped us right off at the entrance.  (Oh and there were a lot more people there then this picture looks like.  We had a great group of tattooed people behind us.)  

 The arena.

 At one point, these snow mobile stunt drivers came out (modified snow mobiles that drive on dirt) and did some very amazing flips, jumps, etc.   It was one of the most exciting events of the afternoon, I might add.
Thankfully, during the "free-style" portion two trucks flipped--Bounty Hunter and Grave Digger.  Worth the $20 tickets just to see that.  Seriously, we paid $20 a piece to see this event.  I know, hard to believe. 

 We ended up at one of our favorite restaurants downtown--Thaifoon.  For you celiacs out there, it has the most comprehensive gluten free menu in SLC.  We love it there.
All and all, a fun way to kill a Saturday.  And, truth be known, it was nice to cross it off the bucket list.   

Sunday, February 13, 2011

He is the Root and the Offspring of David

This has been on my mind all day. My voice is one of the many in this recording.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heart Shaped Box of Chocolates

(My fireplace mantel right now)

In my house growing up, See's Candy was the preferred chocolate brand and it was not uncommon to receive a box of See's candy as a gift on a holiday or even for no specific reason.  We received them from our parents, as children we would sometimes go and buy a box for our parents or siblings and my aunts would send them to my mom.  I can't think of a box of chocolates without thinking of Sees Candy.

Last year, on a whim, I sent my mom a heart-shaped box of chocolates from Sees.  A few days later, I got a call from her.  She was thrilled with them and I learned something I did not know.  Ever since she was a little girl, she had wanted a heart-shaped box of chocolates.  She thought they were so fancy and fun.  She never really expressed this to anyone, including my father.  Over the years, my father acknowledged my mother on Valentine's Day with flowers, cards, gifts and sometimes, even with a rectangular box of See's Candy but never with a heart-shaped box.  

So, last year, at the age of 72, my mom received her first heart-shaped box of chocolates from me her 37 year old daughter.

This year, my mom returned the favor and the above pictured heart-shaped box of chocolates arrived addressed to me from my mother.  I have a feeling a new tradition is starting between my mother and me.  Happy Valentines Day. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Club at my house

I hosted my neighborhood book club at my house last night.  I have had a really busy week and yesterday was the worst day.  It started with me getting up and running three miles, then frantically getting into the car to take my four year old to dance.  From dance, I went and worked at my husband's office for several hours, went and picked up dessert from a local pastry place, came home, "picked up" for about 30 minutes, and then ran up to the school to pick up my kids and take toothsome #3 to get a cavity filled (yes, even though my husband is a dentist, I dropped the ball and toothsome #3 had a cavity),  ran and picked up take-out for dinner, brought dinner to a family whose mom has cancer (that I fortunately had made the Cooks Illustrated recipe of Mac and Cheese for them yesterday and all I had left to do was make a green salad) , and then came home and finished picking up/vacuuming for book club.  My main floor was spotless.  (See below)

With, the exception of my office/guest room.  

You guessed it.  "Picking-up" meant grabbing everything that was sitting around all of the other rooms and frantically putting them in here.  

Looks like today, I will be cleaning the office.  :) 

And yes, I do know there are lots of "wheeled" toys in my house and not out in the garage.  When we got the Miata, my storage space (aka 3rd car slot) for my kids scooters, bikes, etc was taken up by that car.  In the summer, I have a great system for storing them but this winter , because of a lot of snow blocking the storage space I have for them in my yard, they have ended up inside.  And, I let them ride their scooters in my kitchen area on cold days.  

On a side note, my neighbor often gets flowers and she is often not home, so I get them until she comes and gets them.  I thought these were particularly lovely.  I had them for almost two days before she came and got them.   

(For some reason, even when I flip photos, they don't flip when I want to put them on blogger.  Just turn your head to the left.)  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another print in my house

This print hangs above my piano.  The frame was made by my dad.

It is a scene depicting two brothers, one sitting on a swing, the other standing next to him.  The one on the swing is my great grandfather.  Toothsome #3 is named after him.  

This is a scene painted from where my relatives settled--Pelican Point and as my father always says, "on the other side of Utah Lake."  That is their house in the background and their well in the foreground.  
This picture was painted by the artist Dan Weggeland.

This is what wikipedia says about him:

Weggeland was born in the city of Christiansand (now Kristiansand), Norway. At age sixteen he began studying with a portrait painter in Christiana and at age 20 he went toCopenhagen where he eventually studied at the Danish Royal Academy of Art.[3]
After two years in Copenhagen, Weggeland returned to Christiana, where he worked as a portrait painter and did some work for theatres.[3]
In 1854, he was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and one of his main teachers was a missionary who had also attended the Royal Academy of Art, C. C. A. Christensen. After being baptized a member of the LDS Church, Weggeland moved to England. He served as a church missionary in England from 1857 to 1861. He then went to New York City where he studied with Daniel Huntington and George P. A. Healey.[3]
In 1862, Weggeland went on to Florence, Nebraska, from which he left in August for Utah Territory.[3] Weggeland journeyed to Utah in the Henry W. Miller Company.[5]Weggeland made sketches on his journey to Utah.[6]
During his early days in Utah Weggeland would occasionally trade a painting for a pair of well-knit socks.[7]
Weggeland's first major artistic work in Utah was his joint commission with C. C. A. Christensen to do a series of paintings from the Bible and Book of Mormon. This commission came from Dimick B. Huntington.[7]
Weggeland made many paintings involving Mormon pioneers.[8]
Weggeland did murals for the St. GeorgeMantiLogan and Salt Lake Temples of the LDS Church.[9][10] He had also served as an art instructor to most of the church's art missionaries before they went to France.[11]
Weggeland died in Salt Lake City, Utah.[3]

At some point, my family established a relationship with Dan Weggeland and he often stayed with them painting scenes around their house.  My family owns this and several other of his paintings.  I love how in a small way, we are connected to this man's work and that my family is immortalized by him, living their simple life, fishing, farming and sheep sheering around Utah Lake. 

I adore this print and I consider it one of the prized pieces of art at my house.