Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nauvoo Women's Retreat

This past weekend my mom treated Emily and I to the Nauvoo Women's Retreat. It was really wonderful and uplifting. We did not sign up for the first day's sessions since we travelled in that morning, hitting a couple of thrift stores on different towns on the way up. When we finally arrived, we met up with my sister Monie and my aunt Ramona. They were both involved in the Re-enactment of the first meeting of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. I took the pictures she put on her blog post, so I'll steal them and add them here with a little more information.

This first picture is of Monie and the actors who portrayed Joseph and Emma Smith. They are married in real life, and were very nice. His name is Stewart Peterson. Does he look at all familiar? He didn't to me, either. But I have see him in movies before and didn't realize it. He was in Where the Red Fern Grows and Seven Alone , along with some others films, when he was young.

This is upstairs in the Red Brick Store, where the original meeting was held 167 years ago. Monie portrayed one of our ancestors, Nancy Naomi Alexander Tracy, and had a small speaking part. They all look funny because they were in the middle of singing a song! Monie is in the middle, and Ramona is on the far right without the bonnet. She took hers off to give to a baby behind her to play with.

I'm going to have to blog about the retreat with several posts, since the presenters were so amazing! For a tiny little conference (about 150 women were there) I was so amazed at the wonderful speakers and talent who participated.

Go visit some others at Talk About Tuesday!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New(ish) books for the youngsters

The kids will be having a week’s worth of testing starting the 30th, and the school is suggesting that each family live TV-free for that week. I think that’s a great idea, but it will take a lot of selling. We don’t watch a lot of TV since we only have an antenna but the kids like to come home from school and do their best couch potato impersonation for a little while. I’m on the lookout for some ideas for activities, especially since summer break is coming up so fast. I want the kids to be reading, working, etc. this summer, not spend those weeks tuned out of life and tuned into the television.

I spent last weekend at a conference for Early Childhood Educators, and a couple of the sessions I attended were on books and literacy. So, when we have the TV turned off, hopefully we’ll be doing a lot of reading.

Here is a list of some new(ish) books that I’ve discovered:

1. Wave by Suzy Lee
This is a wordless book that has beautiful illustrations covering the two-page spread. It’s lovely as a picture book, or the reader can make up a story to go with the pictures.

2. Potato Joe by Keith Baker
A take-off of the rhyme “one potato, two potato”, with simple but cute graphics.

3. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
Don’t babies just love to look at other babies? Even though these babies aren’t photos, they’re illustrated, they are so cute you can’t resist! Mem Fox has a style all her own, and it shows up in this sweet book about those ten little fingers and ten little toes that babies all over the world have in common.

4. Puff, The Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton
Yes, it’s the Peter, Paul and Mary song as a children’s book. (Will this finally dispel the rumor that it’s about smoking weed?) I’ve always loved this song since my Grandpa Hall would play it on the guitar and the rest of us harmonized our way through it. Again, the illustrations are awesome in this book, too!

5. On The Farm by David Elliot
Of course, I can’t resist a farm book! This one consists of short poems about farm life. The woodcut and watercolor double-page illustrations are, not to be redundant, awesome.

6. Playtime Rhymes for Little People compiled by Mary Finch
This book includes classic rhymes, and again, the illustrations are amazing. The artwork was prepared in antique fabric and felt collage, and have to be seen to be appreciated. Have I mentioned that I love fabric?

7. Here’s A Little Poem collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters
Over 60 poems are included in this huge volume. And, of course, great illustrations, too!

8. The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share by Mike Reiss
Edward is stingy with his sister Claire. He hoards toys in a heap so mountainous that he gets stuck under it. Good book for siblings who don’t share. Maybe they’ll get it without having to nag? Would be great to read while eating a plate of fudge. Come to think of it, wouldn’t every book be better with fudge? Funny illustrations done by the same artist who did the great illustrations for I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More.

9. Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf
When a truck gets stuck under a low-hanging bridge, quite a scene develops as the traffic backs up. This is a rhyming book, and is perfect for truck lovers.

10. The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
Other leaves turn red and flutter around the little yellow leaf and down to the ground, but he’s not ready to let go of his branch. Love the collage art illustrations!

11. To Be Like the Sun by Susan Marie Swanson
This is a great “Spring” book, and includes a packet of seeds if you buy the book, and not check it out of the library like I usually do.

13. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Ramon loves to draw: "Anytime. Anything. Anywhere." When his older brother laughs at one of his pictures and points out that it does not look like a real vase of flowers, a dejected Ramon crumples up all of his efforts. However, he soon learns that his younger sister has hung the discarded papers on her bedroom walls. When he declares that the picture of the vase doesn't look like the real thing, she says that it looks "vase-ISH." The child then begins to produce paintings that look "tree-ish," "afternoon-ish," and "silly-ish." His "ish art" inspires him to look at all creative endeavors differently. I love this book! My kids have always had a hard time accepting that they can't make the "perfect" art, or drawing, or whatever, on the frist try.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party is going on at 5 Minutes For Mom! Go check it out. There are great Mom Blogs to explore and tons of prizes up for grabs! What prizes would I love to win?

1. Decorative Pillow, Country Primitive Style, Says “Family”Provided by: Beautiful2God (#85) It's so adorable! If I don't win it, Monie, could you embroider me one?

2. Blog Makeover BLOGGER platform only Provided by: Busy Mama Blog Design (INTL#23)

3. The Jillian 30 Day Shred DVD and The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook from Pudget: Losing Weight on a Budget (#49)

4. $30.00 gift card to Amazon.com. (INTL#61) I could spend this and then some!

5. $40 gift certificate to Carrabba’s Italian Grill Provided by: The Divine Miss Mommy. (#88) Maybe Andy and I could go on a date?

Those are only a tiny taste of the awesome prizes at 5 Minutes for Mom. I'll see you there!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monkey Moments

Monkey has really been saying some funny things! He's been known to do that here and there.

Here are some recent conversations:

Natalia: Monkey, are you going to sleep in my room tonight?

Monkey: Hmm, my mind says no, but my heart says yes.

Natalia: (Trying not to crack up) Which one are you going to pick?

Monkey: I'm going to have to go with my brain.


Joe: (After putting his tie on for church) Dad, do I look like a missionary?

Dad: Yeah, Joe, you do!

Monkey: (Hearing their conversation) Dad, do I look like a prophet?

Dad: Like a mini-prophet!

---Later on, while getting out of the car at church and Joe was pushing Monkey out ahead of him...

Monkey: Joe, you can't shove a prophet!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What The

I don't like it when my kids say "What the..." since it sounds like it will be followed by an expletive, but that's what I thought when I saw the FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) shown here.

What the...

I know I've been posting a lot of videos lately, but, wow, this scares me. Thanks, Dad, for sending it on to me!

I love all of the references to Al Gore. At least that makes me laugh.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A couple of books about reading books.

A book about reading books. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, as far as entertainment value or useful information, but I saw it on the library shelf and thought I’d give it a turn.

Sara Nelson, author of So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading, is a publishing correspondent; her work is books. But she also loves to read. As she says, “Books get to me personally. When things go right, I read. When things go wrong, I read more.” Sara decided to read a book a week for one year. That doesn’t sound very hard, does it? She chronicles her ups and downs, including the list of books she read, as well as the books she intended to read.

Some of the books I haven’t and probably won’t ever read, but I was entertained with her journey.

Now, another book about reading books. This one is Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days. How could I resist that title? Author Jane Mallison categorizes 120 books into the 12 months of the year, each with its own theme, and 10 books in each month. January is “Because They Are There: Towering Works to Read in Translation” and includes such old standards as Don Quixote, Dante’s Inferno, Homer’s The Odyssey, etc.

Other months include: “Growing Up: The Pains and the Pleasures” which includes some of my favorites; Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, and one that I’m reading right now, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. “Jury Duty: Crimes of Various Sorts” with Crime and Punishment, The Scarlet Letter, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Though Jane Mollison neglects to include anything by Jane Austen and George Eliot on April’s Top Girls: Strong Women, Admirably So and Otherwise list, she redeems herself by adding in the chapter preface that she regards them as she regards Shakespeare and the Bible, the importance of reading them is too obvious to list.

Now, there is no way that I could read 120 books in a year unless the majority of them were powder puff reads, but I really enjoyed reading the back stories or blurbs that Jane Mollison writes about each book included on her list. I’ve added a few more from “Book Smart” to my to-read list.

If I had to choose between these two books, I would definitely read Book Smart. It's more about the books themselves, and So Many Books… about the author’s own experience.

Monday, March 9, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Menu

We love having a meal based on a holiday. Oh, who am I kidding. We love a meal anytime! Here's a quick and easy St. Paddy's Day menu. The bread is not quite Irish soda bread, but a cheap imitation. I also realize that it is called a New England Boiled Dinner and not an Irish boiled dinner, but it's yummy all the same. And I'm not sure if the Irish traditionally eat pistachios, but anything green is game for St. Patrick's Day, isn't it?

Irish Bread Machine Bread

1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water (70º to 80ºF)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut up
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Fleischmann's® Bread Machine Yeast

1. Measure all ingredients into bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer.

2. Process on basic/white bread cycle; use medium/normal crust color setting. Do not use delayed-bake feature. Remove bread from pan; cool on wire rack.

New England Boiled Dinner

3 pounds corned beef brisket
6 carrots
2 turnips, optional
6 onions
6 potatoes
1 cabbage head

1. Cut meat into serving-sized pieces, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for approximately 3-1/2 hours. Remove meat and keep warm.

2. Scrub the vegetables and cut into quarters or cubes. Cut the cabbage into 6 wedges.

3. Bring the broth to a boil; add carrots, turnips, onions and potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes. Add cabbage and cook for 15-20 minutes longer.

4. Arrange meat on serving platter and place vegetables around the meat in an attractive pattern. Sprinkle all with fresh ground black pepper.

Green Pistachio Cake

1 package White cake mix
1 3.4 ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 cup oil
1 cup water or lemon-lime soda
3 eggs
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

2 envelopes whipped topping mix
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 3.4 ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water or soda, eggs and chopped pistachios. Beat for 4 minutes. Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan, and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost and garnish with nuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Frosting: Combine whipped topping mixes and milk. Beat until soft peaks form. Add pudding mix and beat until fluffy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring is Around the Corner

The kids and I planted some starter seeds for the garden. Grandma and Grandpa are in California, and because of Grandma's health they will be staying there longer than they thought. That means if we want a garden it's up to us! ( We need positive thinking on this one!)

We planted the herbs last week, and are getting tiny little shoots showing.

This week it was tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and peppers. The basics.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Altered Magnet

This magnet is actually one of those business card magnets that people give out. I didn't need this one anymore, and as a challenge on the YMDB board, I altered it with my scrapbooking materials. All but the paper are vintage scraps: the buttons, ribbon and lace. The words are clipped out of an old book. Isn't she cute? My little reminder to myself.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Casseroles as a sign of an economic downturn?

I just heard on the radio that with the economy the way it is, more and more people are cooking casseroles. Because of that, cooking magazines are now featuring more recipes for casseroles. Hmm. Is it because a casserole is considered comfort food, or because they tend to be budget-friendly?

I like casseroles as well as the next person, but you can’t mention the word to Andy without him reminiscing about his mom putting a 1970’s crushed chip covered concoction on the table, and his dad then getting up to get the Cheerios out. Mention the word “casserole” to Andy’s brother John, and he’ll tease me about “Tater Tot Hot Dish”, which was a cheap and easy dinner my mom made for the family when I was growing up.

I like casseroles for a couple of reasons. 1. You can usually make it ahead of time. 2. Many recipes are actually a one-pot (or pan) meal; veggies, meat, and maybe a starch all in one.

This calls for a casserole recipe. I found this recipe in a Hoard’s Dairyman magazine waaay back when I was in high school. And I used the Hoard’s Dairyman to study for my Dairy Cattle judging team in FFA. But I digress. Here’s a yummy recession-proof chicken divan casserole recipe. I’ve tweaked it a little bit more to make it even easier.

Easy Chicken Divan

2 - 10 oz. Packages frozen broccoli
2 cups diced, cooked chicken (about three breasts)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Lemon juice
½ tsp. Curry powder
½ cup shredded sharp cheese
½ cup breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs
1 T. butter

Cook broccoli in microwave or on the stovetop. Drain and place in a 9x13 pan along with the chicken. Just jumble them all up in there. Combine all other ingredients except the crumbs and butter. Spread over chicken and broccoli in the pan. Sprinkle buttered crumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Work is a four letter word. Sleep is not.

Winter has finally come to Missouri. Saturday brought us at least six inches of snow, which is still on the ground. The kids have been outside rolling around in it. They come in with chapped, red cheeks and track snow all over the floor, dropping hats and mittens as they go, like wannabe Hansels and Gretel. Too bad they don't retrace their path and actually pick them back up.

Yesterday Monkey and I braved the snow to clean the control rooms in the barns. We hopped on the four-wheeler, loaded it up with supplies, and started on our work day in the 30 degree weather. It took about 20 minutes or so to wipe everything down, sweep the floor, take out the trash and replace the water filter. My little helper went right along with me until the fourth barn. He decided to stay on the four-wheeler for a few minutes. I left the door open, and the next time I went out there he was still sitting there, leaning over the handles, sound asleep. I guess he was cozied up in his little Carhart coveralls, hat, gloves and workboots. He was so cute. And he stayed right there asleep while I finished the next two barns. I just climbed up behind him and held on to him while we drove to the next barn. Did I mention how cute it was?
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