"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Defying Gravity

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week I'm teasing a book from a fellow blogger, Cherie Reich. In a futuristic setting, Linia from the green planet of Persea and reptilian Alexandros from dusty and dying Medusa belong to separate civilizations on the brink of war when they are forced to work together for survival on Earth. Love wasn't even Logical so why is that what they are fighting for now?

Here's the Teaser:
"The crash tossed her forward. Metal crunched, the sound echoing in her ears. The belts constricted around her chest. She couldn't breathe. Her vision clouded over, growing fuzzy at first and then going gray. She was going to die here."
-pg. 19, Defying Gravity by Cherie Reich

What are you reading?

Monday, February 27, 2012

FHE: Lehi's Dream

It's been ages since I shared a family home evening. One we held recently is definitely blogworthy.

Opening Song: Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam (yup, we've got another Sunbeam in the house!)

Opening Prayer: The Boy.

Lesson: Boo.

Since her class had discussed Lehi's dream on Sunday, Boo shared their lesson with us. If you are not familiar with the story, here is a simplified version.

First, she summarize the first portion of the dream (1 Nephi 8:2-11) where Lehi dreams about a dreary waste where he wanders in darkness before calling upon the Lord for guidance and then sees a field with a beautiful tree. The white fruit of the tree makes him feel happy

Then Boo read the scriptures that contained the reactions of his family. (1 Nephi 8:12-18)

12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great ajoy; wherefore, I began to be bdesirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was cdesirable above all other fruit.
 13 And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a ariver of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.
 14 And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and aNephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
 15 And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.
 16 And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.
 17 And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them.
 18 And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would anot come unto me and partake of the fruit.
After reading, she went back to summarizing, telling us about the other things Lehi saw in his dream: the iron rod, the path, all the other people, darkness, and a large building with it's residents. 

When the lesson was finished, Boo had an activity for us, a sort of play to act out the different reactions of the people. We moved our ficus tree out from it's corner, tied a rope to the base, stretching it out and then tying the other end to a chair. Boo wedged a flashlight into the base of the tree, shining up through the leaves, and I placed our treat for the evening at the base (large Toberlone wedges). Now we had our Tree of Life with it's "fruit" (hey, I thought it was very desirable!) and our rope rod. She turned off the lights to simulate the dark and dreary waste. Playing the part of Lehi, the Man went to the tree first, had some chocolate, considered eating it all himself but gave in to his daughter's demands, and called the rest of us to join him. As Nephi and Sam, Baby and Boo went next, following the rod until they reached their goal. I was Sariah and made my way to the Tree. But the Snowman and the Boy were Laman and Lemuel, and decided to horse around instead of  holding to the rod. They ended up in another part of the room, pointing their fingers and making faces at us, which would have been hilarious if the room hadn't been so dark and we couldn't see their faces. 

Closing Song: Book of Mormon Stories.

Closing Prayer: The Man.

Treats: The Man was recently returned from a trip to London and brought back lots of chocolate for me. I was nice enough to share it. But only a little, and then it went right back into my chocolate hiding place.

Friday, February 24, 2012

About That Giveaway

Hey, I bet you're wondering if you won the MyMemories giveaway!
Well, you're only wondering if you actually entered…
I used Random.org to find the winner. The winning comment is #10.
Blogger Cheryl said...
Way too many cute ones! I would have to say Dotty Girl. I haven't done much of anything for my poor girls! Sure are lots to choose from!
February 15, 2012 1:34 PM
Congratulations, Cheryl!
And thanks to everyone who entered! If you decide to purchase the software for yourself, remember you can still get 10% off by using the coupon code from the giveaway post.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Faery Tales & Nightmares

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I've entered countless giveaways on Goodreads for all different kinds of books. Faery Tales & Nightmares is a the first one that I actually won so I'm pretty excited to read it, also because it's a collection of short stories of paranormal attractions, which I also adore! But the cool thing about these is that in a lot of the tales, the attraction isn't exactly mutual or even wanted. The book they sent is an uncorrected proof. It doesn't have a dedication yet (and there are errors and awkward sequences that will probably be fixed). Still, I love a good telling about the paranormal, mixed with some steamy romance. (And it's the best kind of romance: hot without being explicit.) 

Also? I really like the cover. You think the girl is staring at you, almost in a haunted way, but peer closer and you notice she's not looking at you at all. Very creepy/cool.

I couldn't help myself and had to include two Teasers this week, just to show the different tones. Hey, it's my blog and I make the rules.

Teaser #1:
"Eliana pulled him down for a kiss--and almost wished she didn't need to kill him. 
-pg. 61, "Transition" from Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr.

Teaser #2:
"No one warned him that the mere touch of her hand would evoke such a feeling: he'd fight until his last breath to keep her near him, to keep her safe, to make her happy. It was akin to the sea, this feeling that pulled at him. He'd drown under the weight of it, the enormity of it, and he'd not object as he did so."
-pg. 89, "Love Struck" from Faery Tales & Nightmares by Melissa Marr.

What are you reading?

Also? Last chance to enter my MyMemories digital scrapbooking software!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mothering Moments: The "Talk" Doesn't Need to Include Details


Boo is at that age where having "the Talk" is necessary. It's never an easy task. In fact, I don't even have my own experience to draw upon because my parents never gave sat me down to explain the birds and the bees. Years later, I asked my mom about this. She said that it's a horribly embarrassing thing to talk about and she knew I'd get the information from my older siblings, friends, and the class they give you at school. True enough. Most of my enlightening happened one afternoon while talking with my friends on the way to the library in the third grade.  And my mom was totally right about the embarrassing part. Although as a teenager, my mom and I had a great relationship and I could easily talk to her about anything so I wasn't naive or ignorant.

But back to the Boo. At her age, she asks a LOT of questions. I'm more of a bare basics kind of mom. If she wants more information later on, we can go over that but right now the emphasis is on our bodies being sacred creations given to us by God and our responsibility to care for and protect them. Other people must respect our bodies. And if they don't, tell a teacher or parent immediately. So we're got that covered.

Then there are the kids at school that tell her other things, things we haven't discussed and frankly don't really want to at this point. But because she not old enough to be embarrassed by asking about these little details, she just shoots away.

Boo: Hey, Mom?
Me: Yes? (I'm not quite tearing my eyes away from the book I'm reading).
Boo: Do you and Daddy touch tongues?
Me: Uh… (Eyes bugging out for a moment there as my book falls out of my hands.)
Boo: Do you?
Me: That sounds pretty gross, don't you think?
Boo: Yeah. (Nodding seriously) It totally does.

Crisis averted! No need elaborate on the different styles of kissing because she's convinced that the idea is utterly unappealing. We'll cross that bridge when having a boyfriend means something other than the kid who saves a seat for you on the bus.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordful Wednesday: Heart Dinner

Hey, I'm not exactly known for my ability to keep things short or to the point.

For the annual Love Day celebration, I concocted yet another red heart meal. I think this one might just be my best so far!

The main course was stromboli (which I explained to my kids was just like a rolled up pizza). For the pickier eaters, I had a smaller cheese-only stromboli. And the very pickiest eater got a peanut butter and honey sandwich - heart-shaped also, thanks to a sandwich cutter.

For drinks, we had the usual: goblets of Sprite with frozen juice heart cubes. This year, I used two different ice cube trays that were slightly different. In one, I poured pink grapefruit juice (making a nice soft pink heart) and the other was filled with pomegranate juice. The pomegranate cubes didn't look red but instead a lightish brown color, which actually looked pretty cool with the pinker one. And it was tasty, too.

Instead of the usual molded jello hearts, I made mosaic jello. I love this stuff and may or may not have had some for breakfast this morning. The different flavors/colors of jello were watermelon (soft pink), strawberry (dark pink), and black cherry (dark red). This is sweet enough to be a dessert but since jello is a traditional Valentine side dish, I couldn't save it for last. Besides…I had big plans for dessert…

But before I reveal the dessert, I need to clean my plate. Green salad with heart-shaped strawberries, more strawberries for those who preferred them untainted by green stuff, hearted pears soaked in pear juice and grenadine, and a bowl of conversation hearts just to keep our blood sugar levels peaked.

Then came dessert.

Whilst ignoring the heaping pile of dishes diligently cleaning my house, my laptop magically opened and started searching the web for new and spectacular desserts. Completely by itself, the browser landed on a show-stopper of a dessert featured on Hungry Happenings.

These are actually mini cheesecakes although they totally look like chunks of luscious frosting. And since it goes against my nature to bake anything without adding almond flavoring, these are vanilla almond cheesecakes. Beth from Hungry Happenings gives excellent tips on getting these perfect without losing your mind in the process. Mine look funny different because I decided to use what I thought was an easier method to add the wording. It wasn't.

Hope you had a loving Valentine's Day!

And if you haven't already, go enter my giveaway for the MyMemories digital scrapbooking software!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let The Memory Live Again

I am not a scrapbooker. For years, I tried to be. I went to all the parties, bought the paper, stamps, and whatnot, spending money on supplies that I sometimes never opened. However, I have created probably four pages. And? I paid a professional scrapbooker to make pages for my first child. (They were worth every penny.) Here, I am, living in the land of preserving your family heritage, with nothing to mark the passing years, out-growing of shoes, and copping of attitudes. What was wrong with me?

Simple: I was intimidated. Cutting paper was just so…final. And then I would horde those adorable stickers or ribbons for "something special," only to end up never using them. I lost count of how many pictures I ruined because I trimmed too much or it was crooked, and once the picture was wrong, the whole page would be, too. Hence, never finishing.

But all that has changed. I downloaded MyMemories Suite.

See that? I made that! Didn't even need to cut out a single thing! Woot! (And no glue sticking my fingers together, but that's another story.) And while I think it's already better than anything I put together previously, it's still kinda boring. So back I go to a spiffy digital scrapbooking software to turn up the awesomeness.

Okay. I added a few embellishments, captions, and a title. All of this is customized to fit what I want. Even the color and angle of the text. Now, I'm thinking I might have too much on here. But no worries. Just click and change it. Hey, if I can do this, you know you can.

And it's not just scrapbook pages. I can use layouts for calendars, post cards, or pretty much anything. Next year, I'll have no excuse not to get those Christmas cards out in the mail on time. There's a pretty good walkthrough on YouTube here.

And since tomorrow is Valentine's Day...

Just 'cuz he's my Valentine. And can't stop me from posting this.

Whether you're a scrapbooker with the magical ability to turn one photo, a sheet of paper, and whatever you can dig out of the bottom of your purse into a flawless layout or if you have problems not gluing yourself to the paper, this software is incredible. Would you like to get your own download completely for free? To celebrate all the great memories I've acquired since beginning this blog, I'm giving away MyMemories Suite to celebrate my blog's fifth anniversary! You lucky readers, you.

And? Just to show you how fabulous my readers are, if you decide to purchase the MyMemories Suite, they'll give you 10% off your purchase if you enter the code STMMMS46520  at checkout.
  • To enter, visit MyMemories.com and tell me what scrapbook kit gives you all kinds of inspiration. (See how many free kits there are? So great!)

For additional entries, leave a separate comment for to claim each of the following:
  • Become a DuckDuckCow follower (and if you already are, please let me know)
  • "Like" MyMemories on Facebook. (Tell 'em I sent you!)
  • Follow MyMemories on Twitter.
  • Post about this giveaway on Facebook and link back here.
  • Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.
  • Post about the contest on your own blog and link back here.

This contest will close Monday, February 20th, at midnight.
Good luck!

* I received MyMemories Suite free of charge for evaluation and review purposes but all opinions, grammar errors, and overloaded pages are entirely mine.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Pre-Game Planning

I love Valentine's Day! Sure, it's a Hallmark-created holiday that obligates everyone to show their love/affection/tolerance of others in a materialistic and frequently gaudy manner…

Around here, we make it about the family, not just the married ones. The kids are completely involved and feeling downright smothered in love by the end of it. But the best part? Dinner.

Dinner on Valentine's Day takes days of planning, searching, and prepping. See, I get a little obsessive about having everything heart-shaped and in the appropriate color range. I try things a little differently each year because I be crazy just for fun but some items stay on the table, like my soaked pear halves and goblets with heart-shaped ice cubes. Also, if there isn't jell-o in some form, the kids tend to mutiny. However, I've given up on attempting to make carrot slices look like hearts instead of an orange Pac-Man and eating chicken hearts is a bit too literal for me.

For six years, we've done this. The first year, I made a heart-shaped meatloaf (and I didn't have a blog then, so no pictures). While it was easy and tasty, it didn't look so great. Ever since then, we've gotten into a pizza rut, which I managed to change last year, but might pay homage to this year with a Stromboli. I'll have the pears, jell-o, and ice cubes, maybe even the salad with heart strawberries. But where I'm really stuck is dessert. I wanted to make a cake with a heart in the center but the pan is backordered and I don't think I can manage to do it myself. My second choice is to bring out the chocolate fountain again, but alas…it has gone missing. (And I'm offering amnesty for it's safe returned! Really, I'm not mad. I just want it back.)

Any suggestions for dessert?

Also? Valentine's Day was when I first started this blog! And since my blog will be turning five years old, I thought a giveaway was in order. So be sure to check back on Monday, Feb 13th. I'll post a review of a pretty snazzy piece of software along with the chance to win it for yourself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: The Graveyard Book

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Seems like I am on a Neil Gaiman kick, since I've featured Good Omens, Stardust, and now The Graveyard Book. I've had this book on my wish list for ages so I'm ecstatic about finally getting a chance to tear into it's pages. Nobody Owens - Bod to his friends - was raised by the residents of the non-living graveyard, a place he stumbled into as a tragically orphaned toddler, and offer him sanctuary from the dangers that follow him.

Here's the Teaser:
"The night-gaunt crouched beside him, its leathery wings folded on its back. Bod had grown up in a graveyard and was used to images of winged people, but the angels on the headstones looked nothing like this."
-pg. 93, The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

What are you reading?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Only the Good Die Young and I'm Kinda In the Middle

I've been thinking a lot about death - funerals and burial, in particular. And let me just say this now:

I am not dying, nor do I expect to be dying for another fifty years or so.
Got it?
Okay, so no one freak out on me.

So…funerals. I kinda have mine already planned. Well, not so much that I'm going to be handing out outlines to those I want to speak at my funeral or anything. But there are some distinct requests. For instance, for years I've wanted a bagpiper to play "Amazing Grace." Now, I still want the bagpipes but the tune is changing. Sometimes I want "Nearer My God To Thee" and other times I want "I Am A Child of God." I'm not sure I'd want it to take place in a chapel. I want there to be lots of laughing (but so help me, if someone turns my funeral into a roast like that they turned my bridal shower into one, I will totally go all poltergeist on them) and talking. Maybe zumba, too, because that might very well be what kills me. And afterward, everyone should go out for pancakes. No re-heated ham and funeral potatoes! Break out the IBC Root Beer! And there had better be chocolate.

Then there's the problem of where I'd be buried. While I love Utah, I haven't lived here all that long and if the Man ever moved away, I wouldn't want to be left behind (and I may have threatened haunting or something if he does that). Then there's Texas…well, if you've been to Texas than you understand my hesitation. The idea of cremation still gives me the heebee-geebies, but then the Man could just take my jar with him wherever he goes. If he wore jewelry, I'd have my ashes made into a big ol' diamond. Maybe I should stipulate in my will that he has to get his ear pieced and wear me as a diamond stud.

And it's not just the where, it's the how. Cemeteries these days make all the headstones lay flat. I'm sure this is great for maintenance and mowing but for those that get buried underneath that dead grass? Not so great. I don't mind mausoleums. They're above ground and usually very pretty. Of course, having my own cement or stone tomb, complete with black wrought iron fencing and lichen-covered angel statues, would be pretty sweet. I could totally see myself haunting that, you know…if heaven gets boring.

And if you show up to my funeral and there are no bagpipes, then I expect you to go find you some and puff away on 'em. And tell the Man that his new earring looks good, would ya?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

When The Bees Sting...


You know how I'm addicted to these things! Besides this one is all about *my* favorite stuff. And I like anything that is about me, right?

So I've got my favorite gum, pen, magazine, chocolate-covered something, jewelry…probably some nail polish. But I'm looking for some new ideas. I'd include Baby ('cuz she's my favorite…don't tell the other two) but I think there are laws against that sort of thing. Also, I've started including a CD with my current favorite songs, which is fun, unless someone doesn't like the same kind of music. Maybe a favorite book? I read lots of different things so that might be doable, depending on how dork-tolerant my partner is…Any suggestions?

What are some of your favorite things?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Matched

Hey! Did you notice that yesterday was Tuesday? Yeah, I didn't, which explains a LOT about my day, actually.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I have an extensive To Be Read pile. It's completely taken over an entire shelf. And I just keep adding to it! It's like I've turned into a book hoarder. Maybe someone should stage an intervention. "Please, Jessica G. Let those books go. Other people would love to read them just as much as you would." "Think of the children." "Love they neighbor means sharing your books, too, ya know." "Think of the children!" "As much as you might wish, hope, and pray for it, those books just don't have your name on them." "You can't write a book if all you do is read those written by other people." "Please! Won't someone think of the children??"

Have I mentioned that I haven't had much adult conversation lately? Maybe I should get out more often.

My teaser for this week is from Matched, one of those books that's already made the rounds with other fans of YA dystopian readers and has been collecting dust on my beloved shelf. After the miserable weekend I had, I was in need of something happy. Not that this book is happy; it's kinda sad since her grandfather died. And that's totally not a spoiler. She talks about it pretty early in the book. Cassia is a teenager in a utopian Society, where all things are equal and citizens are cared for in every way. Citizens are matched at 17, married at 21, and die exactly on their 80th birthdays. Everything is perfect, until Cassia does the unthinkable: she starts to wonder.

Here's the Teaser:

"I say nothing. I ask no questions. I turn away. This is who I am. But not who Grandfather thought you could be."
- pg. 91, Matched Ally Condie

What are you reading?
And if you've already read this book, go ahead and link to your Teaser or Review!

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