Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ahhh...Crazy Utah Weather

One week ago it was snowing. Yesterday my neighbor was mowing his lawn. (I'm not kidding. He gets pretty excited about yard work and must have done something to his grass because it's already pretty green while mine is still mostly brown.) At least I can see my grass! I love looking out at my yard each evening to see what hidden plants the snow has revealed. I love that I could take the second comforter off my bed and turn the electric mattress pad down to low. I love that I came out of the grocery store this morning to find sunshine warm enough to not need my heavy jacket. Speaking of jackets, I'm pretty excited to try my friend's recommendations for keeping yellow jackets and wasps away. Deterrent starts now. If I can kill the early rising queens, I can greatly reduce the colonies that would otherwise grow this summer. If you want to know her trick, let me know and I'll forward her email to you. Happy almost-spring! (This picture was taken today, February 24--Note the snow in the background!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My House Needs Me

Some nasty illnesses have been passing around our ward and school lately, and I finally caught one. I had a fever and woke with a sore throat on Saturday, and today I have the little white bumps of strep throat. At least I know what it is and how to fight it now.

I spent yesterday laying around feeling exhausted but not sleepy. I barely moved from my bed or the couch. So it was a rather disappointing surprise when I put kids to bed last night to discover how quickly my cleaning efforts all week could be undone. The dishes were piled up, the floor I mopped Thursday was covered with smashed Cheerios and streaks of chocolate, the laundry I started Friday was piled high, the kids' rooms that I had organized in the process of finding dirty clothes on Friday were redecorated with various pieces of furniture and blankets and clothes and food, etc. etc. I was a little sad at the state of the house, but being sick always helps me feel more compassion towards people. I am grateful that most of my children did some vacuuming yesterday. #2 and her friend made dinner for the family, which was a great help. And they've all entertained each other and played together well all weekend. So I guess the house can recuperate after I do.

One thing I like about being sick is the chance to catch up on reading. Our Relief Society book club is reading "Jane Eyre" this month. I haven't read it in years, and I have to say it's so good to read a well-written book. I love the language in which Charlotte Bronte wrote it. Technically it's written in English, with a little bit of French. But her English is so rich, and her plot turns are so well thought out. I love to enjoy the story on both levels.

Well, I'm feeling a bit loopy--maybe I should eat something--so I'll stop now before my post meanders too much.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Going Gothic

 Kent and I went to our ward Valentine's Dance last night, where Kent was able to play DJ. With his digital collection of music, which takes more than 40 days to hear if you listen 24 hours per day, the hard part was whittling it down to four hours of dance tunes. We had a great time, a good turnout, and a photographer from our ward who took couples' pictures in front of a green screen. By this morning he had turned us into a piece of art (you may see the resemblance to the piece titled "American Gothic", though Kent does have a lot more hair than the original - we won't even mention the double chin of Mary). If you click on the image you will see the detail and how it actually looks quite a bit like a painting. We think he did a great job!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe

I've been thinking about Abraham Lincoln today, it being the 200th anniversary of his birth. I wanted to come up with a great post, but a friend of mine has saved me some time. He sent me an email this afternoon that I now quote from because I agree with these principles. Note: I did not vote for Obama, but I appreciate his statement at the end of this quote. Thank you, Spencer, for putting these thoughts together.

"Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday, born in the year 1809. As 16th President of the United States, he led the country through the Civil War, preserving the nation and ending slavery.... His most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, was given at the dedication of the Soldier's National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where four and half months earlier the Union forces had defeated the Confederacy in that critical battle. In the speech, Lincoln declared that the site was not hallowed as consequence of the ceremony, but the blood of those who there died had consecrated it beyond our power to so designate it. He then called upon the citizens to dedicate themselves to the cause for which those men died, saying, 'It is...for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.'

It is fitting to recognize our current President, Barack Obama of Kenyan descent, as a product of Lincoln's legacy. The 44th President has often referred to Lincoln as one of his heroes. Speaking at the newly reopened Ford's Theater earlier today, President Obama said, 'Despite all that divided us-—North and South, black and white —-he had an unyielding belief that we were, at heart, one nation, and one people. And because of Abraham Lincoln, and all who've carried on his work in the generations since, that is what we remain today.'...Perhaps, years from now, we can say to our children that we remember when Lincoln's dream of equal rights was fulfilled in the Highest Office in the Land."

P.S. Happy 200th to Charles too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Good For The Children"

I (Kent this time) found these old advertisements at a Mormon History blog called KeepAPitchinIn and I thought they were awesome. These advertisements were included in LDS Church magazines during World War I. My Aunt Jan contends that we should store lots of sugar since everyone is addicted to it and it will trade better than money when hard times come. Maybe it contains some nutritional value too? Take a look. (I love that we are doing this "for the children"!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh, To Have the Cares of A Five-Year-Old

#4, my youngest daughter, spent over half an hour this morning whimpering about the arrangement of her stuffed animals on her pillows. She wasn't happy with the size of one teddy bear, the poses of her cats, or the sheer number (four) of animals to work with. She put one bear in her brother's bed, fretted over and re-positioned the other three animals for ten more minutes, and finally threw them all over her bed declaring that she didn't want ANY toys on her bed today! (Important note: She originally had no toys in her room and fetched all four stuffed animals from the play room for the purpose of making her bed look cute.) So I moved the animals to the bench under her window and she was satisfied.

It's a good thing she can't wrap her head around the economy, war, a shopping list, etc. Maybe I should stop trying to do that and instead just focus my consternation on throw pillows.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Snacky Snack Snack

A Reader's Digest "articlet" says that cheese is a great food (in small portions) because it lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL. Now I don't feel so guilty about my snacking habits. Well, at least not so guilty about all of them. I know we are advised to snack on carrots and raw vegetables, but one of my secret stashes is in the deli drawer of my fridge. I love to nibble on bits of gorgonzola cheese when I'm in the kitchen.
Other favorite snacks include...
Dark chocolate. I prefer 70% cocoa (cacao if you're snobby) to 85%. My favorite is Lindt's Intense Pear dark chocolate. A bar of good-quality chocolate will last me about a month.
One of the women I visit teach introduced me to the idea of dipping potato chips in cottage cheese. Love it!
Hummus. My favorite is roasted red pepper. That snack doesn't usually last too long because I can spend all afternoon dipping pretzels as I go about my chores.
Smoked almonds. Once I start, I can't stop. Roasted pumpkin seeds are
also a good staple in the fall.
My new addition to the hidden snack stashes is the Ginger Cats Cookies
("for people") from Trader Joe's. My sister picked up a tub for me on their vacation this past week. Those of you who have a Trader Joe's within a reasonable (< two hours) driving distance, please don't take it for granted.
I would LOVE to shop there each week!

I typically save my snacks as a reward for myself when I've been good and finished my morning chores, which means they last a while. What favorite snacks do all of you have that I could consider adding to my hiding spots?