Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Goodreads Reading Challenge

On my side bar, on the very bottom, you will notice a new thing.  It is the 2011 Goodreads Reading challenge.  When I entered it, it informed me I read 66 books last year.  

Did you know that means I read 5.5 books a month?!  

That is crazy because that means I read more than one book a week.  However, I must say that occasionally, I come across I book I have read in my past and I add it because I like to keep track of my reading history, even if it happened when I was in high school or college.  (Just a side question, I went to a university, not a college.  Am I supposed to say, "When I went to university?"  The whole educational system is different between a college and university, so why don't we distinguish between the two when we talk?

Anyway, thus far, I have read 22 books this year.  My goal is 70.  This really won't change my reading habits as my reading "problem" is pretty deep.  I always have a book in the car, at least one in each bathroom, I read when I am waiting in line at the bank, while waiting for my kids at school, at the park, waiting in-line at a fast food drive-thru, in the bathtub every night and sometimes I even plan my dinner based on being able to stand and stir a pot with a book in front of me (the Mac and Cheese recipe I have posted on this blog).  I also never consider length when I pick a book.  

So, anyway, we shall see how this challenge plays out.  And, I think knowing that I read 66 books last year explains without a question, why my house is always never completely clean.  It is never completely dirty (I'm not gross) but it never seems to completely be in order.  I have over 5000 square feet, four kids, work about 10 hours a week, and have a serious reading problem.  Now you know why, when you stop by, you might have to step over a few toys or ask for towel to wipe off one of my counters.

And, if you are curious, I am currently reading, The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Way I Am lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson

Feeling happy, loving thoughts about my husband tonight. I love this song.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Louis Zamperini of Unbroken

In a previous post, I talked about the book "Unbroken" which I think is a must read for everyone. If you don't read, you should at least watch this. This is number 1 of 4 and you must watch all four. (Just go to Youtube and type in Louis Zamperini.) Honestly, his story was life changing for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Carl Bloch

Today we took our kids to see the Carl Bloch exhibit down at BYU.  Rarely have I been so moved by art.  I have seen a lot of art and I love going to art galleries.  Besides the intense spiritually of his art, there was something about being there with my kids, explaining this religious art and why it was so important to me that touched me beyond the normal art experience.  If you can, go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring is coming

How do I know?

My kids are outside in winter boots and short sleeves.  

Photo taken from inside my house--thus the screen image.

My kids wake up, put on their rollerblades and go outside while still in their pajamas.  

The golf clubs are out and my husband and kids golf in winter coats.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We don't just do commercials around here.

About a month ago, my husband's cousin, a film student at BYU asked if they could use his office to film a scene for a movie she and her classmates were making.  He agreed.  Shortly afterwards, she called and asked if he could be in the movie, playing the part of a "bloody veterinarian."  He agreed.  I think he had two lines.  

We're moving up folks.  Dentist husband is now in a "film."  We don't just do commercials anymore. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Soapboxing: Great Americans?

You've been warned, so don't read if you don't like my conservative ideas.

This past week, my kids school had their 3rd Grade Wax Museum.  The theme was "Great Americans."  They were supposed to learn about and write a one page report on a great American.  The 3rd grade team, whom I think are all great teachers, sent home a list of suggested great Americans and then said, "If your child doesn't want to be one of these, they need to get approval from us before they write their report."  At the end of the week, they do a "Wax Museum" where the kids dress up as their great American, hold a pose and have a plague at their feet that explains this great American.  The parents and other kids in the school are invited to walk through and learn about these people.   The teachers let there be repeats, so any child can be their favorite great American.  (This year, there were about 10 Sacaguweas).

Well, this year, there was plenty of famous people and not as many "Great Americans."  They have them line up starting at the 1700s and then move to the present day.  As I was walking with my four year old, I was pointing out Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Betsy Ross and Sacaguwea.  As we moved farther along, we got to Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln and later, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Teddy Roosevelt, Laura Ingells Wilder, Annie Sullivan.  Then we hit more modern day, Walt Disney, Shirley Temple (a stretch but in her adult life she did become an ambassador, and became one of the first woman to become outspoken about breast cancer) and even Oprah (while she bugs me, it doesn't mean I can't acknowledge all of the good she has done).

But then, I started to lose it (not literally but in my mind).  We came to Evel Knievel (entertainer, dare devil,  convicted of battery, drug user and abuser), Shawn Johnson (nice enough girl but great American?), and lastly Taylor Swift.  Don't get me wrong, I like her music, check my current playlist, I have several of her songs on it but great American, really?

I see two major problems here.  First, this was an opportunity as parents to work with our kids and teach them about what makes a great American.  It was a time to teach them American history and show them all of the effort and work it took and takes to keep this nation what it is today.  If a child had dressed up as a modern American soldier (which one actually did--Patrick Tilman), I applaud it.  But to confuse popularity with greatness is a mistake.  Are these parents honestly the people raising our children today?  As parents, aren't we obligated to teach our children that true greatness comes from sacrifice, honor and work?

And secondly, while I hesitate to criticize my children's teachers, where was the backbone to the call the parents and say, "I appreciate your desire to spotlight this person but they don't really qualify as a 'Great American'.  The purpose of this exercise is to teach them about Americans who sacrificed and worked for the greater good of their country."  Again, popularity doesn't equal greatness.  In fact, popularity often negates greatness.  Let's look at Charlie Sheen.

Being a parent is hard and teaching correct values and principles is even harder in this current world.   Come on folks, please step up and teach your children what makes America great.  And, it is not popularity alone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm quoted.

My friend Marilyn wrote this article for husband's web-site.  She quoted me twice.  (I'm Janice J).  I'm no food storage expert but I am Mormon and have attended many meetings where people discuss what works and what doesn't with food storage.  

Getting the Jump on a Possible Food Shortage

(Expanding on a commentary aired here earlier in the week, my wife Marilyn has written below about her own experience in preparing for possible food shortages. The essay contains links for do-it-yourselfers as well as for those who don’t have time to gather the necessary resources themselves.  RA)
A recent commentary here regarding the possibility of food shortages in the U.S. elicited quite a response, especially from those who are hunkering down in anticipation of a full-blown cataclysm. There is certainly evidence that even if  a total disaster doesn’t strike, there will be food shortages, and what food does make it to the store shelves will be more expensive – possibly much more expensive. Rather than honing my gun skills and digging a bunker in the back yard, I’ve decided to take my summer gardening from a few pots on the deck to a full-fledged vegetable garden; to exhume my grandmother’s “putting up” recipes; and to learn the basics for storing food in our home. I know how to grow vegetables, and I’m a moderately-confident canner, but when it comes to food storage, I knew nothing. But I knew who did. Chances are, you know someone too, if you have a Mormon friend.

Many people have basement pantries and shelves of peaches, pickles, jellies and dilly beans, but I needed the information from the people who know how to survive off their food storage – for three months, six months or even a year. The go-to group for this are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). I have two LDS friends and they have directed me to the clearest easy-to-follow instructions for starting out as a food-storer.
Eating from Storage
You need a room with a consistent climate (garages aren’t great; cool, dry basements are better), some sturdy racks, an extra refrigerator/freezer or deep-freeze, and large containers (five-gallon drums – often given away free by candy factories and chocolate shops). I heard more than once in my research tales of families who were faced with having to eat from their storage, and wishing they’d had less wheat, rice and dried beans, and more canned meat, vegetables and fruits. For a list of items, and the numbers of each, that you would need for these three-, six-, and twelve-month supplies, the best resource by far can be found by clicking here.
This site, run by Tammy Hulce, not only gives you step-by-step instructions for figuring out how much you or your family will need of any given food item, but also great tips for using the proper preparation of your stored food. She explains the difference between water bath- and pressure canning, and the benefits of vacuum sealing, freezing and dehydrating certain foods for maximum shelf life. She also gives templates for calculating your family food requirements, shelf inventory and rotation guides. This last one is key because the money you spend to stock your storage is wasted if the food spoils or goes out of date. Tiffany M. Hess, education director for Utah Homemakers of America, says the best tip she ever got was from her dad. “Even if the food is weeks to expiration but you know you can’t use it and someone around you can’t use it, your local food bank CAN. Put that food in their hands and help someone else.”
The #1 Question
What question is asked most often of food-storage wizards? Answer: What about water?  While having adequate food is crucial, having plenty of clean, drinkable water has been the challenge for people the world over in times of catastrophe.  Janice J, who knows people who have faced such emergencies, sometimes with little or no warning, stresses how important water is and what you can do to insure you have enough. Janice J suggests you “add a second water heater to your house to give you more water that is ‘stored’ and refreshed regularly, rather than using huge storage containers that you have to empty and refill.”
And, what about the huge, pre-packaged food “kits” advertised on urban survival sites? None of the storage experts I consulted suggest going that route — unless, of course, you simply have no other options. One site that offers such kits – in addition to a multitude of truly valuable resources (books, articles, recipes and water storage devices) is Emergency Essentials, which can be found byclicking here.
So, with spring just around the corner (unless you live where we do, then it’s around several corners) get your seeds now. As was pointed out in Monday’s commentary, a big rise in oil prices would raise the price of everything, including the plants from which the seeds are taken. Don’t wait for prices to go up. Get your garden in and get ready to can when harvest is upon you. And, “never buy canning jars at full price,” says Janice. “You can probably pick them up at your local Goodwill for next to nothing.” Plan on spending time in the kitchen this summer so that when winter comes and prices have gone up dramatically, or the items simply aren’t there to buy, you’ll know that your family will eat, and eat well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Great Family Home Evening Lesson

For Activity Days, my daughter came home with this game.  The paper says it is from, "Primary Days Super Activity Days and Socials" by Mary H Ross.

We did this for Family Home Evening and it was a HUGE success.  One of our best in recent months.  

BEARS stands for "Be Enthusiastic about Reading Scriptures."

She had this spinner.  

We all had our scriptures in front of us (me helping my four year old) and turned to the beginning of the Topical Guide.   My daughter would spin the spinner which gave us which standard work to look in and then holler out a subject. (Tithing, Jerusalem, Kindness, Faith, etc.)   We would frantically find the subject in the Topical Guide and then look for a scripture from the standard work that had been chosen.  

Then, it was a race to find that scripture.  The first person to find it won the round and then they would read the scripture out loud.  

This help page (below) was useful for my kids who often didn't know if a scripture listed in the Topical Guide was in the New Testament, Old Testament, Doctrine and Covenants or the Book of Mormon.   

Not only did this have us actually using our scriptures and learning where to find specific "books" (Genesis, Mark, 1st Nephi etc.) but it also lead to great gospel conversations about what those scriptures meant.  

Great game.  So grateful for good Activity Day leaders.