Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

This was a great re-read! Potok is such a good writer! I enjoyed the book all over again and learned new stuff about Jews and the history.
The novel takes place in Brooklyn. Too boys of different Jewish sects meet while playing baseball. World War II has just begun. The boys should have been enemies but they become BEST friends. They are almost opposite when it comes to home life. Their dads both love them but raise them so differently it is hard to imagine. They both love to read but one does it in secret and one does it without a second thought. The story takes you through the tough times in each of their lives and brings them together through their education and the study of the Torah. I highly recommend this book for a new perspective on Jewish life in America.

Whole Book

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My 2009 completed books!

My goal is to read 50 books each year. Here are all the books I read in 2009. I wanted to make sure I didn't just read children books but a few hefty classics and politics/history/biographies... Well, I got a few of those in but still read a lot of great children books! I also really enjoy the book groups I belong to. They help me to get some variety into my reading too.
Last years list.2008

This Years...
2009 Reading list

1.A Town Called Charity by Blaine and Brenton Yorgason
2.Forest Born by Shannon Hale
3.Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
4.Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien
5.Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
6.We The Living by Ayn Rand
7.Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by June Chang
8.The Quiet Little Woman: A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott
9.Lessons from the Varsity of Life by Robert Baden-Powell Pride and Prejudice by Austen An Assembly such as this by Aidan
12.Bullies in the Headlights by Mathew Buckley
13.Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley
14.The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley
15.HOST by Stephanie Meyer
16.Julie of The Wolves by Jean Craighead George
17.The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour
18.5,000 year leap by Skousen Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
20.Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
21.Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
22.The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
23.Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
24.I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better by Gary Lundberg and Joy Lundberg
25.The Law by Frederick Bastiat
26.A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel
27.The Case Against the Fed by Murray N. Rothbard
28.Empire by Orson Scott Card
29.History of Hyde Park in Utah's Cache Valley, 1860-1990 by Dale Z Kirby
30.These Three Remain: A novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
31.Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
32.Sarah by Orsen Scott Card
33.The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread DiCamillo, Kate
34.Daddy Long Legs Webster, Jean
35.The Hero and the Crown McKinley, Robin
36.For One More Day Albom, Mitch
37.Hush Woodson, Jacqueline
38.The Littlest Angel Tazewell, Charles
39.The Walking Drum L'Amour, Louis
40.Jonathan Livingston Seagull Bach, Richard
41.The Redheaded Princess: A Novel Rinaldi, Ann
42.Princess Academy Hale, Shannon
43.The Omnivore's Dilemma Pollan, Michael
44.The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
45.The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
46.Christmas Oranges retold by Linda Bethers
47.One Special Star by Anita Mcfadzean
48.The Littlest Christmas Elf by Nancy Buss
49.One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth
I am still reading the last book but should have it finished before the New Year!
50.The Chosen by Chaim Potok

A Town Called Charity by Blaine and Brenton Yorgason

This was an interesting book of short stories about making decisions. I found a few of them to be very profound and thought provoking. I picked up this book at the DI for my son but read it before I passed it to him.
The last story in the book was about a Town Called Charity. You would have thought a town with a name like that would be very charitable but when a "tramp" comes to town we learn what is really in everyone's hearts and minds. The town learns a lesson and in the end Charity is found again.
I like books with moral lessons and things that make you take a look at your own life. Even thought these were simple and very LDS they all were unique and interesting.

Whole Book

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forest Born by Shannon Hale

This is the fourth book in the Goose Girl Series. I liked it a lot! It wasn't as dark as the one before. It also had all the characters from the books before but this one was written from the perspective of a new character, Rinna. It was also pretty humorous in some parts. It was also very unpredictable.

Whole Book

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

I thought I already blogged this book but I guess I didn't. It was a good one for Christmas month. I liked the fact that Mitch wrote about his thoughts on being a Jew and his ideas about Christian faiths from the point of view different then mine. I also liked that he wrote about a man that changed his life around, completely around and became a priest helping others that were just like him before he changed. It was also interesting to find out more about the Jewish faith.

Whole book.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

Z for Zachariah (New Windmill) Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien

This one is a page turner! It was so scary! The end of the world and you don't get to pick who you are stuck with, or do you? I don't want to give anything else away. If you like reading about the end of the world -- well this one is a good. It is written from the prospective of a teenage girl. She is very innocent and naive.

I think there is a movie out too...anyone seen it?

Healing Book

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

This book had a lot of flaws when it came to planned home birth with a midwife in this century but it certainly had a page turner story to tell.

The events are laid out by Connnie, an OB/GYN Doctor and daughter of Sibyl Danforth, the midwife who is on trial. She is remembering what happened when seh was 13. The event was to be a normal home birth of Charlotte Bedford's second child. A few things in the birth process changed for the worst, and Sibyl, unable to get to the hospital due to a snow storm did an emergency cesarean section to save Charlotte's baby. Charlotte's husband, and Anne, the inexperienced assistant were present during the unfortunate incident but had different opinions to what happened. The jury must now decide if Sibyl Danforth performed the cesarean section while Charlotte was alive, thus killing her because of a massive hemorrhage or if she was already dead before she saved the babies life. Hero or manslaughter?

I think the author did a good job trying to tell what it was like to give birth and from a girls perspective too, but he failed to knock out some stereo types. Midwives and their clients are not all hippies wearing long dresses and hugging everyone. In fact most now days aren't at all like that. Not all teenagers smoke weed behind their parents backs and they don't all drink, smoke and think about sex all the time! I guess he just doesn't think very highly of that age group or women that don't follow the crowd to the hospital.

The trial was interesting because it kind of helped me get a sense of the different strategies lawyers use to stack the jury and time things just right for psychological dramatic effect in the courtroom. So many small details go into each trial. The lives of the people on trial are changed or destroyed by what seems like powerful people...the lawyers. They are either defending or prosecuting and if they make a mistake lives are changed forever. The lawyer in this book seemed really on top of things but so did his opponent. I really didn't know who would win until the very very end of the book. Suspenseful!

For fictional light reading I think the book was okay but to learn about midwives and home birth, I think I would stick to the real thing. The truth about birth goes much deeper then a murder trial or a teenagers perspective on the world. I have used midwives with three of my babies births and have found the whole experience to be enlightening, peaceful, and educational. I was very thankful for the wonderful midwives that have passed through my life and helped me find joy in the process of getting my little ones here. I wouldn't have done it any other way despite the pros and cons that can sometimes seem scary. I think the risks would have been greater for me to have my babies in a hospital. Thank goodness we live in a time where Medical professionals and midwives have so much technology at their fingertips. Birth is a natural thing!

Healing Book, Broken Book

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We The Living by Ayn Rand

Another communism book but one worth thinking about. I think the whole love triangle thing was a bit much but I found her political views to be very enlightening. She not only goes after the Communist but all dictatorships, socialist schemes and fascists in the world. It is a book about Man against the State. I am always so surprised how much was hidden from the rest of the world, especially Americans, when the communist parties came into power. They sure got away with a lot of evil things in the name of something supposedly grand and better. I think through books like these we can remember the past and be prepared not to fall into the same traps in the future.

Leonard Peikoff gives an excellent introduction to the book. Here are a few ideas that were interesting. The three forms of destruction that Ayn Rand gives to the characters in her book are: The higher and stronger individual is broken, but not conquered. The one with less resistance is broken and untouched. Those who believed in the ideal are broken by the realization of what that ideal really means.
One character gave his life to a lie and commits suicide. One lives for his values but in the end his life is so unendurable and he can't find the balance between mind and force. He ends up drowning in his mind and doesn't care or know what is being done to him. That is like a living death, a drawn out suicide. The third is to flee. This is what the main character eventually is able to do just as the author did in her own real life. (she imigrated to America from Russia in 1926.)

I also loved the way the plot was twisted, usually the virtuous girl sells herself to the villain in order to save the hero. Ayn Rand thought: Wouldn't it be interesting if the man to whom the girl sells herself is not a villain but a hero and the man for whom she makes her sacrifice is a villain in the end? hmmm, very unpredictable when reading along then wham that isn't how you think it will be. BUT I would like to add that Ayn Rand's standards are not the highest nor does she have a reputation for Christian morals or anything like them so what I find even more ironic is the fact that the virtuous girl isn't even virtuous but in Rand's world maybe she was. In my real world she is way below the virtuous mark and I wouldn't have put her in that category or even used that word to describe her. I certainly wouldn't want my girls to aspire to be like her. So my point...the book is a bit on the BENT & BROKEN side. Bad is good and good is bad.

Ayn Rand said that she wrote the book so that it "might do it's share in helping to prevent a socialist America".

Broken - Bent-- Healing

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by June Chang

I can not stop thinking about this book. It was very well written and it was organized in such a way that you can get a bigger, more complete picture of the History of China back three generations. There is this really powerful awful leader called Mao Zedong that is worse then Hitler! Why doesn't the world know this? He is responsible for over 70 million deaths during peacetime in China. He did some really horrendous things in China and was a master of brainwashing an entire Nation! I didn't know this until I read this book. What is even more surprising is that I was alive while this was happening in China or at least my parents were.

I never really understood Communism and how people could fall for such a bad plan but from the insight in this book, it helped me understand that there can be something worse then communism and that would make it seem better then whatever there was to choose from at the time. Communism was better then what they had! What a weird thought! Oh, and if you didn't know of anything better then communism then you could completely embrace it and feel no guilt. That is what her father and mother did but in the end it turned completely around and bit them on the tail, so to speak. This is awful! I can't comprehend so much evil and hope I never experience it in my lifetime.

I have never starved. I have never worn the same outfit because I didn't have anything else to wear. I have never lived in fear of all my neighbors. I have never been tortured or even had a gun pointed at me. I have never been denied medial attention. I have never been married to a stranger. I have never been hated by others or spit on because of the class my family is labeled in. I have never been afraid to speak my mind or write a story or even read any book I want. I have never had to walk really far and I have never planted rice. I have never seen someone tortured or killed. I have always had clean water and clean food. It was never rationed. I take so much for granted!

This book gives a very good and honest portrayal of China in the 20th Century. I thought it was worth reading. It is long but worth it to understand History a little bit more and the world around us.

Whole Book

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Quiet Little Woman: A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott

This was actually three short stories about Christmas by Louisa May Alcott! They were just right to get me thinking about snowed today even thought we haven't had Halloween yet.

I like her stories because they always treat children as real people. Children have hopes desires and sorrow too. In these three stories even thought he main character is always poor in a bad place they rise above what could have brought them down and make the best of things. They are honest and hard working. They demonstrate charity for others despite not being treated the same way. Anything can be overcome by following Jesus example and trusting in His love.

I thought the stories were sweet and educational. Makes me want to give something more for Christmas then a toy from Walmart...I hope our family can do something really nice for someone that really needs it this year...and everyone does need love.
Whole Book

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lessons from the Varsity fo Life by Robert Baden-Powell

This was a great book! I was surprised. The autobiography of Robert Baden-Powell the founder of the worldwide organization Boy Scouts. (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941) He is British and some of his words are unfamiliar but if you imagine Monty Python it kind of makes it come together for me. 316 pages of his sketches, a few photos and his take on his childhood through military service, to being an old man touring the world organizing Boy and Girl Scout clubs! Surprisingly only 90% of the book is about Boy Scouts and the rest is what he calls, "life number one", all about his time in the military or before that just growing up. Scouting was "life number two" and he was getting on in years by then yet he fit so much into this part of his life. (He also wrote a bunch of other books about the scouting part of his life so I think he didn't want to repeat all of them here.)

The book starts out with an apology. He didn't want to write about himself but someone convinced him saying, it might be helpful to young fellows (including girls) in aiming their lives. So he didn't make it a formal biography starting from baby to whatever but he rather wanted the book to be a "sort of hotch-potch or plum-pudding". Then he says something like good luck finding the plums but they are somewhere in the stodge! So right from the beginning you are put at ease and you start to chuckle. He has a good sense of humor and never really gets full of himself. He just tells stories about the things he remembers, the places he has been and how he got there.

His education was traditional only he didn't fit the traditional mold. He gives his mother a lot of credit. He said, "It was her influence that guided me through life more than any precepts or discipline that I may have learned at school." He didn't get very good marks from his teachers and he wasn't very good with mathematics. He hated learning Greek and Latin and still thinks it is a waste of time for young people. He has some pretty strong opinions about the public school system too. He said that his biggest education came from a variety of things, home, school, sports (like big game hunting)and traveling... He said, "The secret of sound education is to get each pupil to learn for himself, instead of instructing him by driving knowledge into him on a stereotyped system."

BP loved theatricals. A teacher encouraged the boys his age to do "play-acting". and they learned public speaking and self-expression. All this helped later in his career as a spy. Also he would sometimes hide from his teachers out in the woods and trap rabbits and climb trees. He would learn to be really quite and creep around to get close up to a bird or squirrel. All of this without knowing it was an invaluable education for later in life.

BP loves the sea. His brothers did too. They were always having some adventure cruising round the coast of Scotland and England at all seasons of the year. They were always getting in to trouble but this helped them gain useful experiences for life. He learned discipline, endurance of hardships and faced dangers while at sea.

BP was very talented. He performed in quite a few plays and he liked to draw. He even tried a bit of sculpture but said he just didn't have enough time to pursue this pleasure. He played the flugel horn and violin. He could also sing. He also like to make others laugh, or what he called, "giving amusement to others".

He liked to fish and shoot. He tells some really good stories about some of the adventures he goes through chasing after Pigs and killing them with a stick. Very dangerous! He always said this about Pig Sticking, "Don't knock it till you try it." I think I will pass. My favorite stories are the ones about the elephants and the Hippos. He has a great respect for Elephants and is always in awe at their abilities and intelligence. One time he was hunting a hippo in Africa. The Natives were very hungry, in fact near starvation. When hunting hippos you need to be very patient. They always come up in the same place for a breath of air. He was lying on his back to get a steadier aim and so the natives gave him the nickname "M'hlalapanzi", which means - the man who lies down to shoot. Anyway he got it right in the eye and the bullet went straight to the brain. The hippo sinks down to the bottom but eventually bobs to the surface dead. First the natives "cut a square hole in his side, just big enough to admit a man, and one man accordingly went in with a knife and fetched out all sorts of tit-bits in the way of chunks of liver, hear, etc., which he handed to his friend." He was covered with blood from head to foot. They then chopped out large chunks of raw meat and hundreds of natives came to get their piece. Many were to hungry to wait and cook it so they ate it raw. Blah!

Hunting isn't as popular now as it was back then, luckily later in life BP enjoyed Big Game Kodak-ing, for taking a picture of the animal was a very recognizable form of sport too. I like this also. Now the big game hunter can be a naturalist and can still learn invaluable lessons in the jungle. You need to be just as sneaky and quiet and patient to get the best shot on film.

BP was a scout (spy). While in the Army he would go out ahead of the main body and gain information about the enemy. To be a scout you need to be plucky, hardy, resourceful and rely on your own ability to make your way without help from others. You also need to be be courageous, energetic, cheery, hopeful, trusted and never really seeking applause for your work or service. It was very dangerous for BP to do this. Most of his scouting career was in Africa and India. He loved disguise, and learned about this in his short acting career.

One time the American press put out a story, "BADEN POWELL SHOT AS A SPY". 1916 - shot to death by English soldiers on his return to England as a German Spy. He got a big kick out of reading his epitaph. He had such a great sense of humor even about this!

Spy's need to notice the small things and reading a meaning from them: Observation and Deduction. He had a lot of fun as a soldier working as a spy. He proved to be so good at this that it helped in his career in the Army. He learned valuable lessons that he later was able to teach to others and also to young boys in the Boy Scouts program. Observation and deduction can come into use in all sorts of times in ones life.

BP records in this book all kinds of great stories about the natives and fighting or working with the people in Africa and India. He talks about the wonderful leaders he served under and how he learned something important from each one of them. He is considered a national Hero for his actions during the Siege of Mafeking in Britain. He later becomes a Inspector General of Calvary. This was a great honor and only those that work really hard and are well rounded get this position. He was in a position to make changes and help soldiers have better skills and even living conditions. He made a huge difference in many lives. After his retirement he starts the Boy Scouts and with the blessing of the King Edward VII, who thinks he can accomplish a lot more serving the young people of the world when staying in the military, he makes an even bigger impact on the world.

So in his Life Number Two the Boy Scouts are organized. There was a need, like there is today, for the youth in our nation to have Character Training. He said, "He had young men and women that could read and write and were well-behaved and smart looking in a parade but without individuality or strength of character, utterly without resourcefulness, initiative or the guts for adventure." These typed of youth would not be ready to really be good citizens of any nation. Too wimpy. "Civilization is driving Nature farther and farther out of reach of the majority, until realization of its beauties and wonders and our own affinity with God's creations, is becoming lost in the materialistic life of the crowd, with is depressing conditi9ons of work and hectic search for pleasure among man-make squalid surroundings of bricks and mortar...our sons will grow brains instead of brawn." This realization inspired BP to write the book, Aids to Scouting and then Scouting for Boys.

The Aim of the Boys Scouts is: to improve the standard of our future citizen hood, especially in Character and Health. The Attraction: Plan it around principles of being an educational Game. An education in which the boy would be insensibly led to educate himself. The Code: The Scout Law- Honor, trusted, loyal, useful, friend to all, courteous, friend to animals, obey orders, smiles and whistles under all difficulties, thrifty, and clean in thought, word and deed. The Promise:Do his duty to God and King, Do a good turn daily, Obey the Scout Law. Organization: Troops the Patrols and Packs for Cubs. I find all of this very inspiring and hopeful for our boys today too! He talks about the uniform and the Garters and the scout Badges. The Motto "Be Prepared" and the significance of the fleur-de-lys, all very facinating.

The Scouting movement just took off and Scout Troops were forming on their own all over the world by 1920's. Also BP got married and his wife was a great help in the Scouting movement. I learned that an organization was also started for girls called Girl Guides, which later becomes what we know today as the Girl Scouts.

Baden-Powell said and I paraphrase it here...that he was so lucky to live in the most interesting evolutionary epoch in the world's history, with its rapid development of motor-cars, aeroplanes, wireless, Tutenhamen, the Great War and the World convulsion and so on...and he has met with a remarkable amount of kindness everywhere, not only from friend but strangers as well. Also to have the luck to live two distinct lives, one as a soldier and bachelor and the second as a pacifist and a paterfamilias both having the common attribute of Scouting, and both intensely happy. That doesn't mean that he didn't have difficulties and trials to face, but those have been like the sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake.

Overall I have found this book surprisingly fascinating. I haven't thought about the era he lived in and the wars he fought in. I didn't realize there was so much done by British Soldiers in Africa and India so far away with such different cultures and traditions. Baden-Powell had such a rich life because he was happy. He made the best out of every situation and found the humor in situations that others would just be overcome with. He had a vision to help the young people in the world and he was in a position to make a difference so he did, despite being very old, slightly crippled and retired. He could have just sat down and drank tea but he got up and went!

This book also helped me realize that even though this is 2009 we also have a need for Scouting in our Nation. Boys are surrounded by technology and things that make life easy. They can read and write but what do they do when something is hard or challenging? Are they prepared to lead and make a difference? Are they brave and creative enough to use skills to figure hard things out in times of emergency? Scouting helps them with the things they aren't learning in a public School, it gets them out in nature and it provides opportunities to stretch a little through camping, leading their patrol or organizing service projects and carrying them out they are learning what it will take to be be a good citizen and the leaders of tomorrow. They are our future and Scouting helps them prepare!

Whole Book and I recommend it to everyone that is raising children especially if you have boy that will be a Cub Scout soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Two re-reads: Pride and Prejudice by Austen and An Assembly such as this by Aidan

Oh I had fun re-reading these two books together at the same time. First I would read An Assembly such as This, it was from Darcy's perspective then I would read up to the same point in Pride and Prejudice mostly from Elizabeth's perspective. Back and forth. It was so fun! It was only the first book in the three part series by Aidan so after I finished that one I just read Austen's book to the end.
I even made a vocabulary list for Aidan's book. Do you know all the definitions for these words?
in vogue

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lulled Into False Security

I was reading an article: Meridian Magazine It talks about how economists have said we are out of the recession. Which makes me laugh and the article continues telling us how stupid a statement like that is. The Nation is so far into debt and businesses are having a hard time, employment is bad and mortgages are on homes worth less than the amount of their loans. . .
It is quite a depressing sad realistic overview of where we really are despite the Pres. and the media telling us all is well in Zion.

At the end of the article it says this:
The Only Solution

The only real solution to this seemingly never-ending and suicidal disaster is for an honest and rigorous national recognition that we simply cannot afford an ever bigger and more costly government at every level. Until that happens, which won't be anytime soon, plan on higher taxes for your future. Plan on a shrinking economy. As the CBO points out, deficits penalize income, investments, and savings — so plan on that too.

In seeming desperation, our national government is selling record amounts of debt with a plan to borrow our way out of this economic crisis. Long term it can't work; it won't work. Prophets have warned us.

Several times in scripture is recorded the Lord's divine injunction to "Establish a house of order." While federal and state governments are unlikely to put their houses in order any time soon, we can put our own personal houses in order. We can protect our families from the intensifying economic storm clouds roiling all about us.

We can, we must, make our homes safe from the storms while we still have time. (End of Article)

WOW! How many times do we need to hear it and none the less from a Prophet! NOW is the time for us to get ready, even yesterday was a good time. We need to stop wasting time, money and resources and put it all in order.

What am I doing today? Well, just the usual. What could I be doing instead?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bullies in the Headlights by Mathew Buckley

This is the sequel to the Chickens in the Headlights book! I think they should be together in the same book but then what would be the point of the "sequel"...and I guess the first book would be too long. The book pretty much starts off right when the last book ended.
This book was just as funny as the first one! I loved it! Little boys are always getting into so much mischief. This book was full of adventures, schemes and friendships. The character seems a little more mature then the last book...he is about a year older but he still is naive and curious like little boys are.
The egg drop is pretty funny! Who would have known what corn starch would do if it is was dropped out of an airplane, unless you tried it!!!
I love the teachable moments with the old guy Sunday School teacher. It was sad to find out that his friends family's home environment was so different from his own loving home.
I loved the Christmas Doorbell Ditching section. (one financially hard year our ward got us for the 12 days of Christmas too.)
I loved the bully's in spite of them being so mean in the beginning. I'm glad that everything came together in the end. (I'm a sucker for happy endings).

I highly recommend this book and the book before it by Mathew Buckley! My son read it 4 times and I lost track of how many times he read the first book but he still quotes from both of them when we do funny things in our family that remind him of the stuff the boys did in the book in their crazy family.

Whole Book

Monday, August 03, 2009

Where are the Seagulls?

The corn is being attacked by GRASSHOPPERS!!!!
They might look small but they are as big as my finger and there are millions of them.

As you can see they are hungry.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Caramel-corn ?

My brother in law makes the best caramel corn in the whole wide world. I thought I had the same recipe and I thought I could make it just like he does. I WAS WRONG! He must have a secret ingredient or a step that I am missing. My husband says his secret is not getting even one unpopped kernel in there but I think it goes beyond that. Don't you think?
I burned half the batch! Believe me it does not taste good burnt. In fact it tastes like medicine. Our popcorn popper, I got at a second hand store a few years back, died on us. Luckily I know how to make popcorn on the stove in a frying pan. (Just another useful thing I picked up while serving abroad.)
Well, maybe I will have to not multitask next time I am attempting to make Caramel Corn. I cleaned the kitchen gave one kid a bath, fed the baby and made dinner while having two or three kids help me. Maybe this is why none of my recipes have been turning out lately. Maybe this is the secret...make it alone in an empty kitchen and clean up afterward! Naaa that couldn't be it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley

I haven't read a book where I laughed out loud in a long time! This one had me uncontrollably laughing so hard the baby, which was usually quietly eating next to me, would look at me like I had gone crazy. I really needed a good childrens book to start out summer. This book is written by one our our home school family's dad, he uses a pen name. They live here in Cache Valley. We got to meet him a few times and he is pretty quiet around strangers so I was surprised his book was so good and funny.

It is about a family of boys, they are LDS, they have a wild summer full of adventures and the one little boy telling the story learns a profound lesson for life. Yes there are actual chickens in the story. If you have ever seen the movie The Sandlot, this book has that kind of humor and uses that kind of voice...a little boy's perspective on life. I loved it and recommend it to anyone that wants to laugh while remembering their childhood lazy summers packed with Family vacations, chores, picnics, siblings and good old fashioned memories.

There is a sequel too...Bullies in the Headlights. I can't wait to read that one!

Whole BOOK

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley

This book was recommended for RS book group when we had to bump a rotten book off our list. I am glad we added it! I loved it! Lots of adventure and descriptions plus a new world not quite like ours. It is a Fantasy/fiction book but didn't have any aliens or dragons (only mentioned one, but that really doesn't count).
The main heroine is a girl! She starts out just being an orphan and was shipped to an uncles house in the desert. She was kind of restless and bored for a while. THEN she was kidnapped but wasn't afraid...just kind of went with it because the life she was leaving behind was boring and she wanted to see what would happen next. (that was the weird part). Well, there is magic and a war...there is also a lot about these special hunting cats and some pretty amazing large war horses. It was a good read and I especially like a book that doesn't end when you think it is the end but tells a little bit more just to cover all the bases, loose ends and stuff like that. Example: you get to the end of the chapter and think it is the end of the book and all those emotions and maybe a sigh happen but then you turn the page and hooray another chapter!
I think there is a sequel...but I haven't found it yet. Anyone know?

Whole Book, healing book

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dollars and Sense By Daryl Hoole

Meridian Magazine I couldn't let this article pass by without sharing it! Great ideas on how to be thrifty and practical with managing money on a tight budget!

Dollars and Sense

By Daryl Hoole

A clever magazine article was captioned, “How to Help Your Daughter Marry Money.” The answer: “Teach her how to manage money wisely.”

Financial security is more about how you spend than how much money you earn.
– Blaine Harris

Being a good steward in general has been addressed in this column a number of times, but this article is specifically about being a good steward over our financial resources. Regardless of our income, it is prudent to conserve our family's possessions through good financial management. That is the way to get ahead and also be able to share with those less fortunate. Following are a few reminders.

Be a smart consumer . Here are some ways to get the most from your money.

* Shop sales—and remind yourself: It is only a bargain if you need it.
* Shop quality. Quality usually pays off in the long term.
* Shop quantity. It is usually a savings to purchase items in bulk.
* Shop from a list and stick to the list to avoid impulse buying.
* Use coupons.
* Purchase only things you need and have room for.
* Charge no more on a credit card than you can pay off each month. A credit card should be used for convenience, not for credit.

Economize in the kitchen. An old saying asserts, “Some women can throw more out the back door with a teaspoon than their husbands can bring through the front door in a wheelbarrow.” An exaggeration, still the expression may contain a kernel of truth. Here are some thrifty ideas:

* Avoid waste
* Cover leftovers before storing in the refrigerator and use them within three days.
* Serve small portions to children (they can always have a second helping).
* Avoid feeding the garbage disposal.
* Do not tell your children things that are not true such as threatening them that if they do not eat, children in Africa will starve. Your children are smart enough to realize that what they do or do not eat has no direct effect on what children in Africa do or do not eat. However, it is true that there are hungry children in the world. Your children should learn to show thankfulness for their food and respect for those who earned it by not wasting it.
* Bake your own bread. Loaves of bread from your oven cost only about 35 cents each, and are generally enjoyed far more by those who eat them than purchased bread. Once you know how to bake bread and get the process down to a system, it doesn't take much time. (See “Leaning on the Staff of Life” for bread baking tips and recipes.)
* Serve cooked cereal as opposed to packaged cereals. A serving of oatmeal costs only 10 cents, plus the milk and brown sugar. Often the preparation is as easy as adding hot water.
* Can or freeze garden-fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop from produce stands along the road or farmers' markets in your community.

Be good stewards—take care of what you have .

* Keep possessions clean and maintained. If they are broken repair or dispose of them. Neglect can cause accidents. For example, house fires can be caused by accumulated dryer lint.
* After use, return possessions to their rightful places. Most things are broken, crushed, stepped on, run over, or lost because they are not where they belong.
* Avoid sun, rain, and wind damage to possessions by keeping them properly stored.

The old maxim remains true: A stitch in time saves nine.

Learn to do it yourself, depending on whether you want to save money or time. For example:

* Do minor household repairs.
* Maintain a vegetable garden.
* Make your own cleaning solutions.
* Cut family members' hair.
* Restore or refinish furniture.
* Make slipcovers, window treatments, etc.
* Specialize in handcrafted gifts.
* Create your own greeting cards.
* Make eating out a special occasion, not a default dinner.
* Learn to paint and wallpaper and even lay tile.
* Look for clothing that does not need to be dry-cleaned. You might want to consider washing and ironing shirts and blouses rather than sending them to a commercial laundry.
* Exchange services with others, such as baby sitting, in return for hair or nail care.

Many resourceful moms have discovered they can stay home and save more than they can go out and earn. There are no childcare or transportation expenses. There are fewer temptations for “lunching out” and shopping, and your taxes don't go up. Studies have shown that families who have two working parents eat dinner out more often. Both spouses are too tired to cook after a day at work.

Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Beware of the power of advertising. There is a reason why advertisers are willing to pay large amounts of money for a brief spot on television, a small feature in a magazine, or an eye-catching display in a store—these ads are cleverly designed to whet consumers' appetites and result in a sale. It requires a strong resolve regarding needs and wants to resist being tempted to buy more than you need or can afford.

The practice of thrift is not outdated. We must discipline ourselves to live within our incomes even if it means going without or making do. The wise person can distinguish. . . between basic needs and extravagant wants. Some find budgeting extremely painful, but I promise you, it is never fatal.”
–Elder Marvin J. Ashton

Learn to be content with what you have. While it is good to be ambitious and industrious and try to improve our lot in life, it is certainly not good to be envious of others and thereby become discontented with what we have. The Tenth Commandment admonishes us, “Thou shalt not covet.” Closely related to coveting is being discontented, desiring more than we can have.

It can bring contentment in life to realize that we do not have to have “everything” to be happy. It can bring even greater contentment to accept the fact that we do not have to give our children everything--not even everything we had as a child. We can instead help them to have happy times through whatever resources are available to us.

Three women—a mother, her married daughter, and the daughter's friend—were chatting. The daughter was lamenting the fact that she wasn't able to provide a swimming pool for her children. Her life as a child had revolved around the family's pool. She loved to swim, and she felt her children were missing out on so much. Her mother said, “Do you know, all the time you were swimming I was feeling bad that you didn't have an orchard and a hollow to play in like I had as a child. My happiest hours were spent climbing trees and hiding in the hollow.” At this point the friend added, “What I enjoyed most as a child was riding my bike up and down the quiet street we lived on. But I've felt disappointed for several years; I can't allow my children to do that because the street running past our house is so busy. But just now I've come to realize how fortunate my children are. We have a wonderful backyard with an orchard and a hollow.”

In conclusion, please consider the following lines:

C B A's of Dollars and Sense

You may think that I have it backwards,
going from C to A,
But let me explain my reasoning
for managing money this way.

CONSECRATE one tenth to the Lord
And a portion to save and invest.
If you make these your priorities—
You'll be blessed to manage the rest.

Draw up a BUDGET and stick to you plan.
Be thrifty, be prudent, and share.
Don't confuse your wants and your needs.
Be grateful, be honest and fair.

AVOID DEBT as you would a plague.
Make interest your friend, not your foe.
Except for a home, education, or car,
Paying cash is the smart way to go.

Consecrate, Budget, and Avoid debt,
C B A—by way of review—
And when you take care of your money,
Your money takes care of you.

By Phyllis White

Daryl will be participating at BYU Education Week, August 18-21. For the time and place, please consult next month's column or the Education Week Program.

Monday, June 01, 2009

HOST by Stephanie Meyer

YIKES! This was a different book from her vampire series! Aliens, science fiction, suspense, romance and moral questions about life and death. It was a little broken but also healing type of book. I liked it and that is weird for me because usually I don't like books that are so twisted and sappy. Maybe I am getting a bit desensitized! So I have to be truthful, would I let my daughter read it? Well not yet, but maybe later and then talk with her about the tough questions raised in the book.
I thought this book was very imaginative and well thought out. It all comes around in the end and tiny pieces from the beginning are brought back up and resolved. Recommend it to late teens and adults by me the over sensitive mother of 5 ! Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Zoo, Renaissance Fair and weekend fun!

We had an adventure the other day going down to Salt Lake City. First we needed a we planned everything and crammed it into one day!
First we woke up earlier then early because we wanted to beat the crowds at the Hogle Zoo. (funny everyone and their stroller was there!) My sister-in-law had passes and needed to be used before the end of the month and luckily shared them with us! We saw giraffes, elephants, snakes and the red panda, plus the backside of a zebra. He wouldn't turn around.

I like the Giraffes the best.

My two year old was the happiest to be at the zoo but she was the one that had the hardest time seeing the animals.

My camera ran out of batteries before we finished half the morning! I might have to add other pictures I never blogged about yet as I tell this story. Here is one that has nothing to do with our adventure. The double rainbow from last week, posted for the Birthday girl!
From the zoo we had to rush off to my sister's house for lunch and a birthday party. My parents met up with us and my other sister in law plus my other sister! That was a lot of people to feed and party with. I wish we could have stayed longer and helped clean up after. Sorry to my best sister in the world!

THEN we rushed off to the Renaissance Fair in Ogden. My magic uncle Ralph's magic show comes down every year from Seattle for this one! I glad I finally got to see him perform after like 10 yrs. We didn't get to see the famous saw the person in half magic trick but the ones we did see were awesome!

We also saw a bit of jousting. Or at least a few horses warming up for the joust. The girls liked playing with the goats more then anything. They were babies and very tame. We saw lots of cool things to buy but luckily I didn't have any cash so we didn't buy all those cool things. It was hot and we then had to rush back up to Logan so we could pick up the lambs and get them to the fairgrounds. They had to be registered and tagged in person for the County Fair in Aug. 2009's 4-H events. That was a circus... the lambs just don't follow yet so we had to pull and push them and everyone else did too. Imagine 30-40 lambs all going the wrong way with a small child attached to their halter ropes. It was really hard not to just sit there and laugh but I was pushing a sheep instead. Here is another random picture. Yep big sister is reading to little brother. ahhh so cute.

Then Saturday Mike took off for something in SLC and I decided to try mowing the lawn. So every time the baby fell asleep I would eventually get the mower started and push it as hard as I could. Thanks for letting us borrow it, you are the best sister in the world! It is so loud that you have to wear ear thingers and eye protection (all kinds of things are being swooped up from the ground, rocks sticks and pine cones). The lawn is so overgrown that it gets all caught up and the mower tries to stop but doesn't if you lift it a bit and stop, very temperamental but better to mow now then is a jungle out there! I am glad we are getting the yard under control. We also worked on the dandelion invasion and we started a mulch pile. FUN! Achhoooo! Allergy season is here and I have a sinus infection. I lost my voice and it just barely came back on Sunday. I feel like Kim (another best sister in the world!)

Sunday finally came and I love the day of rest at the end of busy weeks. Anyway I missed most of church because of the tiny innocent baby. He was so squirmy and noisy!
Then off to choir and Cub Committee meeting after church. I missed most of choir because of tiny fussy baby and the squawking parrot that scared him silly.(Parrot was at choir directors house and is really loud while we practice.) The Cub Comm meeting was good but I had to hold fussy baby and conduct. We are going to have a fun Pack meeting next week outside at a very cool park! I need to get all kinds of things ready for that this week, luckily I am learning to delegate!

When I got home the kids were scattered throughout the great outdoors so after rounding them up and feeding them something from the freezer, it was time for bed. Whew. Nothing like a good long day of rest!

I really can't wait for another week to start! We are going to have beautiful weather for a few days! I want to get the garden area rotor-tilled. We got tools on craigslist Saturday night! Now we can all work work work together. Oh and has anyone seen the movie The Tale of Despereaux? Very funny. I heard the book was better and can't wait to read it with the kids.

AND finally getting around to posting this...I will add...
Today was so hot we actually played in the sprinklers and washed the mini van. The long winter is OVER! Right, it is over? Yippee!!! I love winter but Spring should not be intermixed with other Seasons!
He loves this action shot!

If you got through this long post you deserve a prize! Get up and go to the kitchen. Get down a large cup and fill it with cold water from the faucet! Drink! Congratulations!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Julie of The Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Yep she is the same person that wrote My Side of the Mountain. I really liked that book but this one...well it was well written just a bit...I don't know. The best part was all the Eskimo lore. The worst was the broken home story.
Julie was a very brave girl and she learned a lot from her dad about the wilderness. When she decided to run away from home and join a wolf pack...that is where it got interesting. She survived in the coldest place all on her own by keeping her wits and using her instincts, brains and heart. I didn't know wolves would be kind to humans. I thought they were like the Jack London's White Fang wolves. These are actually nice, when you figure out how to talk wolf.

Healing book

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour

I really thought this would be a western. I was very surprised to find it far from the western cowboy books he usually writes. Where did the Pirates, the Arabian horses and princesses all come from?

Historical Fiction always seems so choppy to me. This book was choppy. Mainly because he had to keep telling us all the history and dates, places and people instead of just getting on with the story. But the story wasn't what he was trying to tell it was the history so it came out choppy.

His Lonesome Gods book will always be my favorite. This book doesn't really come close to that one. I might still be in shock though that The Walking Drum wasn't a western? Who would have guessed? I just assumed the drum was American Indian or something. NOPE it is something like gypsy but was a merchant group walking together and the drum kept them in step. It wasn't mentioned till you get way past the middle of the book. The drum was actually only referred to maybe three times...I would have had a different more relevant title for this un-western book. OR developed the walking drum idea a bit more in the book.

The main charactor is a boy and his family gets massacred so he escapes and jumps on a ship...he has to be a slave on the ship even though he knows more about being a sailor then everyone on the ship because he went to sea with his dad before. He escapes and set out on a quest to find out if his father is dead or needs saving. He is always seeking knowledge and eventually goes to all these places and reads a bunch of books, has experiences and seeks revenge. He also isn't such an innocent guy...he is always running into some maiden in distress but never marries her after his grand rescue. He also makes allies and enemies in every stage of the stories course. He is also very lucky.He is a scholar but also a soldier. His knowledge also gets him out of a few scrapes and his quick talking and riding.

Overall I didn't really like the book but I might just have to give it another chance. It is a classic like no other classic I have read. The time period is post Caesar, after viking area and takes place in old Europe and middle east.

Healing book

Friday, May 01, 2009

5,000 year leap by Skousen

This was an incredible book for getting back to the basics of the Constitution. What did the founders really mean and want when they went to all the trouble to write this inspired part of Americans living history? This book had some great insight. I loved it and recommend it for everyone that values your freedom in this great country!

Whole Book

Friday, April 03, 2009

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

We just read this book for the North Logan 5 pillar Book group. It was just as good the second time around as the first time I read it. There is nothing like a good end of the world book, complete with nuclear explosions.

What I really liked most is the detail of what you need and what you thought you would need but ended up being completely useless to you. I have had dreams about running out of salt. In my dream I had to walk all the way to the Salt Lake to get some but it was contaminated because of all the factories that are around it. Salt is really cheap right now and it is the next thing that is going into our food storage in a larger quantity then we currently have.

I also have to remember my sister's advice, not to put too much in the large freezer because when the electricity is out all will be spoiled in a few days.

Food, candles, fuel, shelter, arms and food are all on the top of the list too. Did you ever think that books would be important again. I take it for granted the info accessible and in seconds, right at the tips of my fingers? Google will no longer be there because no electricity no computers. Bye bye cell phones...and you better be in shape because you will be walking everywhere.

I liked this book because the hero was a guy named Randy. He was a bum and had no goals in life despite serving at one time in the army and running for mayor but when met with the challenge he rose to the occasion and took charge. He was a natural leader. The second favorite person was Alice the librarian. She tried so hard to get people to read but they watched TV and went to movies but after the disaster everyone came to learn things from the library.

Slightly broken book, healing book

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

This book was hard to get into but after about 3-4 chapters it was making more sense. It is actually a very funny book underlined with seriousness and reality of life as a mortal on Earth trying to get back to Heaven.

It is a series of letters written from a senior demon (devil) to his nephew who is working on tempting a normal person which they call "the patient". They try to get him to break all the commandments and go to hell or be damned. They try to break the patients faith and get him to sin. All this is really a good look at human nature and the christian faith. The two main devils in the story are morally reversed. It takes a while to get it straight which person the demons are referring to when they say, "the Enemy" and "the Father". The enemy is God and the father is the devil, it is opposite to what people think.

The funny part is that C. S. Lewis is so right on about peoples failings and temptations while making fun of it all in a serious way, I guess this is called satire. I even saw myself in a few of his examples. This book really made me think about how I pray, how I think about others and what my relationship really is to God. Am I just going through the motions or do I really live a Christian life? Do I give in easy to temptations or do I stand strong? Is every thought in my head my own or did the devil put it there? Is there a flaxen cord leading me down to Hell and I don't even know it? I sure hope there are angels near to help me out!

The book dives into subjects like pride, gluttony, war, and sex, to name a few. The devils are trying to confuse and trick us into doing what is wrong. If they can't get at us then they work on the people around us or the media and they are always working on family members and spouses. Interesting...very twisted and insightful.

I would call it a Broken Book and would highly recommend this classic despite how broken it is...

Movies recently watched...

We really like Redbox, super cheap and convenient ...I wanted to just recommend a few recently viewed movies.

Australia starring Nicole Kidman as Sarah Ashley and Hugh Jackman as "Drover"! This movie takes place right around the pearl harbor attack by Japan. They also attacked Australia in an air raid. The story talks about the Aborigine people and the children that were half white and half Aborigine, which were sadly as mistreated as the African Americans in the USA during the time of slavery. Sarah Ashley has to get 2,000 head of cattle to the boats to sell before the bad guys sign the contract with the military or something but the bad guys are trying very hard to make sure she fails. She also falls in love on the way and she also bonds with a little boy and wants to adopt him. It is a movie full of adventure, drama, and of course romance. (lots of kissing near the end and my kids always gross out.) I recommend it for those of you that can fast forward through the one sex scene!

The next movie I recommend is All Roads Lead Home starring Peter Boyle, Vivien Cardone , Jason Landon, Evan Parke and Vanessa Branch. The story is about a little girl and how she works through loosing her mother, well not only she is working this through but her father and grandfather too. She really likes horses and dogs. She spends time with her grumpy grandpa and learns about life and death and how we have to take responsibility for our pets and our lives.

There are a lot of funny lines in the movie but I think some of them were suppossed to be serious. The character Poovey was really funny. He died of cancer shortly after this movie was filmed.
Poovey:" Some say cats have nine lives. Ol' Linus here has used up about 12. Ran over him twice myself. Something in that maybe. Like never counting yourself out. "

I highly recommend this one for the whole family to see at least once...don't think I could take it a second time around. There isn't much kissing and not even one sex scene. There is a lot of serious talk about killing animals and even pulling the plug on a humans. I am not sure what the movie was trying to take a stand on...for or against. And there is some very cute puppies in this movie. (for all you dog lovers out there!)

Fireproof. Starring Kirk Cameron, Catherine Holt and Ken Bevel (I think he was the best actor or at least had the best lines.) I liked this movie despite it being one of those Christian low budget type movies. It was the same people that did Facing the Giants and they are getting better at movie making. It is about a heroic fireman in a failing marriage (he is viewing porn online, is really being selfish and prideful) and he takes up his father's challenge to be part of a 40-day experiment designed to teach both husband and wife the real meaning of commitment, the Love Dare. The most exciting part of the movie was the car on the railroad track and the firemen try to save the people stuck in the car while the train is coming. I also liked the analogies that were given about marriage (salt and pepper shaker)and the real life struggle from both the husband and wives perspectives when it came to communication and gaining back trust. The best part was how it all came back to God's love for us and the Savior understanding all our weaknesses but loving us still so much that he would die for us. Movies usually don't talk about that important part of life. It was an okay movie, not a whole lot of kissing and absolutely no sex scenes or swearing. Kids would find it boring...okay my husband found it boring too. I liked it, once probably wouldn't see it again.

I also finally saw Twilight. Starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart It was pretty bad and way too much staring going on. I think they were trying to portray in love or mind reading. Way too much makeup on the Vampire. Not enough action, the ending moved right along and I wish the whole movie was like the ending. BUT I do like movies that stay true to the book. This one didn't add anything and followed the original story pretty well. Don't recommend it unless every other movie you wanted to rent is already checked out and you have a dollar to waste along with a few hours.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon is coming out Nov. 2009. Yeah for us!

Okay that is it for now. I also don't really recommend Bolt, well maybe just once. It did have a few funny lines and a lot of slobber but I don't think I could see it again. Great for the whole family and the best part was laughing at Mike laughing so hard at the funny lines.

Don't forget the Kettle Corn Popcorn!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Big Love? Big Deal

March 13, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

Yes, Mormons are targets, but let’s not get too excited about it.

By Orson Scott Card

In the aftermath of Proposition 8, it’s open season on Mormons, and the producers of HBO’s series Big Love are in the best position to give the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) a big slap.

The series focuses on members of one of several splinter groups that have left the Mormon Church over the issue of polygamy. To understand what this means to Mormons, it’s worth indulging in a little history.

When the Mormon prophet Wilford Woodruff declared in 1890 that it was God’s will that Latter-day Saints no longer take multiple wives, some Mormons clung to the “Principle of Plural Marriage” and rejected the authority of the president of the church.

This is akin to what happened when Protestants declared that they would no longer follow the pope, and polygamist sects are about as Mormon now as Baptists are Catholic.

The fastest way to get yourself excommunicated from the Mormon Church is to advocate plural marriage.

But the polygamist sects still do most of their recruiting among Mormons, and there is a constant struggle between the church and the polygamists.

Many of these polygamists still believe that it is in Mormon temples that their marriages must be solemnized. The temple is a focal point in their religion — but if they admit they’re polygamists, they can’t get in.

So it actually makes artistic sense for episodes of Big Love to center on their effort to get into the temple. It reflects the real concerns of some polygamists, and it is accurate to show the official church as doing its best to keep them out.

You’re not supposed to enter the temples, once they’re dedicated, unless you’re a member of the church who is keeping the major commandments — which polygamists most flagrantly are not.

Big Love is not doing anything new. Anti-Mormon groups have been describing, depicting, or showing ersatz versions of the temple ceremonies for many years. Anyone who wants to know what goes on in the temples can find out with very little effort. So why are we Mormons upset about Big Love’s foray into anti-Mormon “exposé”?

It’s offensive when believers in one religion hold up the sacred rites of another religion to public ridicule. So we’re hurt — but we’re not surprised.

Mormons have always been the exception to America’s policy of religious tolerance. Throughout our history in America, Mormons have been oppressed by government, killed or driven out by mobs, slandered, and libeled — always by fellow Americans who professed to believe in religious tolerance.

So while we don’t like what Big Love is doing, we’re not doing much about it. We’ve learned by observation that protests and boycotts merely increase the publicity, and therefore the viewership, of such hostile productions as the Big Love temple episode.

So the church’s official advice to its members is: Ignore it. (See this, for more.)

My favorite response came from Terrance D. Olson, a Brigham Young University professor who does research in family studies. His essay in Meridian Magazine is a lovely explanation of how tolerance works and why it elevates everyone. Those who refuse to respect other people’s sacred things, he says, hurt themselves most of all.

My own essay at, published by the church-owned Deseret News, strongly urges my fellow Mormons not to write angry letters, because anger never persuades anybody, and expressing it isn’t particularly Christ-like.

Most Mormons are seeing the Big Love temple episode in the context of the recent outpouring of hatred and bile from those who most vehemently opposed Proposition 8. Mormons have been targeted for business boycotts; some have lost their jobs because they contributed to the campaign to defend marriage.

The result is that few of us have any desire to act as the worst of our opponents have acted. After someone has boycotted a friend’s business, it makes it a bit harder for you to want to call for a boycott.

By and large, while we’d prefer that everybody handle differences of opinion peacefully, we’d rather be persecuted than be the persecutors. The few times in our history when we have departed from that principle, the results have shamed us for generations. Tolerance works better.

What Mormons keep foremost in mind is this: We’re a worldwide church. We might be going through a rough patch in America right now, as we butt heads with the oppressive New Puritans of the American Left, but that has nothing to do with how the Mormon Church is growing in Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, or Taiwan.

Big Love is just an entertainment; nothing they do will diminish the sacredness of what goes on inside our temples.

Our primary work is helping people in and out of the church to live a more Christ-like life. Now and then, when a deep moral issue is involved, we get involved in political action. But when we do, we expect that others won’t like it, and we take our lumps.

The more they attack us, the more people they bring to us as allies and, occasionally, as converts to our faith. So rave on, brothers and sisters!

— Orson Scott Card is a novelist and critic. For his take on Proposition 8, as a Mormon and prior to its passage, go here:

There you have it! I think it is too bad that people have to be mean but it is their choice and we don't have to be mean back. -The Bec-ster

Friday, March 13, 2009

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Awesome Fantasy book! New world with creative history's, traditions and interesting characters. Also mystery, magic, romance, political wrangling, religious conflict, fights for equality...I loved it!

This book from from the viewpoint of three different characters. At first it is hard to keep track of it all but I eventually got it mostly figured out. Aerlon is a city built next to Elantris the city of Gods but the Gods have all died or are dead (in a way) They are actually just not complete...and that is what needs to be figured the Gods fell. Luckily there are some pretty awesome characters that come together (fate?) and help a whole nation pull through a hard time.

Princess Sarene is my favorite. She is brave and smart and knows politics! She takes on the forces of evil and out wits a few men along the way. She also finds what she really wants all be accepted and loved.

It was a huge book but it was worth the time to read...almost better then a Anne McCafferey book...only no dragons...sorry.

Whole and Healing Book

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Kids on the street...but not your typical city kids like in New York or LA. These kids are in Italy! That right there puts an interesting twist on the story. There are a lot of Italian words, places and customs that make the story so different in a way you can't put the book down. The city is full of tourists, sculptures, museums, old churches, bridges and boats. (There are no cars in Venice it is built on a series of Islands on the Adriatic Sea.)

The kids are homeless but a boy called the Thief Lord helps them find an old theater to live in and also helps them get food and clothing. He steals stuff and they sell it to an antiques dealer. The antiques guy always cheats them but a little money is better then nothing. The Thief Lord is mysterious. They all think he is brave and fearless. The little kids look up to him and want to be just like him. But stealing is bad, right?

Well they have quite an adventure staying out of the way of the cops, hiding from a mean Aunt and playing tricks on a detective. The books ending takes a very unique twist and the kids find themselves in a bad predicament. They have to make some hard choices about their future which they really don't have many options when you are without parents, money and a home.

The kids are brave and they stick together even when it gets hard. With a little imagination the ending is actually pretty enchanted Merry go round is all it takes to change your life! Want to ride it? Read the book and then decide what you would do.

Slightly Broken, Healing book

Baby sleeps most of the day!

He sleeps and I try to do school with the kids...then he wakes up and I feed him and change his diaper a couple of times then he goes back to sleep. THEN I have to try to round up the kids again to do more school. He still kind of ignores everyone and sleeps through wind rain and snowstorms...also kids singing, yelling, laughing and talking really loud right next to him. He is such a good little boy!

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

This was a book about a little boy, a dragon and a Brownie. (what a Brownie is I still don't know... something furry and eats mushrooms). They go on an adventure to find the Rim of Heaven where dragons are safe to live. They are chased by the Golden Dragon...not really a dragon and they meet some nice people on the way and some not so nice things. They also pick up a spy and a raven or crow is following them, he is a bad red eyed crow.
Okay without giving away the story...they have a pretty interesting adventure and it was a very well written book. The book was actually written in German and then translated into English. I enjoyed it and recommmend it to anyone that likes books about dragons.

Whole Book, Healing Book

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better by Gary Lundberg and Joy Lundberg

Awesome Book. Very insightful and great examples to apply immediately to my personal life. At first I read it in denial and thought of all the people it applied to...but after I picked the book up half way through, 6 months later, I realize that EVERYTHING in the book applies directly to ME. I am the one that needs to change and I am the one that has been going about the whole world with a critical let me fix it for you attitude. I never listen! I haven't listened probably my whole life...I always jump in with a solution to fix things and impart my great wisdom on everyone and anyone. I thought I was helping! I thought I was being nice. BUT it usually isn't what people want...I don't...why would they?

I realize I can't change myself overnight but I can try a little everyday to apply the things in this book and hopefully my relationship with my dear husband and my children and then my siblings and in laws and parents will change. Someday s I will do great and sometimes...I will slip into the old fix it attitude I feel comfortable with. I will apologize ahead of time for all the past fix its and the future fix its that slip.

Whole Book

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Law by Frederick Bastiat

This book was written in the 19th century but it is still applicable today, in fact more today then ever! It is full of truths, very insightful and inspired! He was an old French guy but such a good writer. He defends liberty on every front and I bet there aren't many that can argue with his facts on the flaws in socialism and other isms.

I like the way he says this about isms, "Please understand that I do not dispute their right to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate them and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk. But I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law --by force --and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes....they need only give up the idea of forcing us to acquiesce to their groups and series..."

It is deep yet it is simple enough I could grasps most of it and apply it to my life today. I think I take a lot of our freedoms and laws for granted. I also think many of our laws have way too much government influence and control. This takes away our liberty and our pursuit of happiness.

So even though this book it so good and I highly recommend it to EVERYONE...Some of you might know that it took me over a year to read it! Yep I admit it. There is a lot to absorb but that really isn't the excuse I was just such a dry fact there isn't any adventure or romance or imagination! I kept getting distracted reading other things. AND to top all that off the book is only 85 pages long. That is embarrassing it took me so long. I think I might even read it again and why not again? Really it is good and I learned so much, I am only lazy lazy lazy.

Bastiat quotes Louis Blanc, "Society receives its momentum from power" This is the idea politicians accept. Then Bastiat says, "This will remain the case so long as human beings with feelings continue to remain passive; so long as they consider themselves incapable of bettering their prosperity and happiness by their own intelligence and their own energy; so long as they expect everything from the law; in short, so long as they imagine that their relationship to the state is the same as that of the sheep to the shepherd."

What does this quote say to you?

Whole Book

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reading habits?

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a 'L'to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (p) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen--Lx
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien-- Lx
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte-- X L
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling-X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - P
6 The Bible-X L
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte-- XL
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell—P
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman x L
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens—P
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott-- XL
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy--
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller--
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare-- P
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier-
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien--XL
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger-- X
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot-- x
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell x
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald--X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens--P
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams—XL
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh-
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky--P
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck- x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll-X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame--P
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy- x
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens--p
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis-- XL
34 Emma - Jane Austen- Lx
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen-Lx
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe -- XL
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini --x
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden- X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne-- X
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell—
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown-- x
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery --XL
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy--
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood--
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding--P
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan-
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel--X
52 Dune - Frank Herbert--X
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons-
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen- x L
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon-
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens--P
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley--
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon--
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck-- P
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov-
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold--
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac-
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding-
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens --
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker-
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett-- XL
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce--
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath--
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray--
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens--X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell--
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker--
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert--
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White--X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom x
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton--
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad--
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery-X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams--x
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas-P
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare-X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl--X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo- xL

My total is 36. I was surprised at how many I didn't recognize. I wonder where they came up with this motley list.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel

Hmm, it was a fast read and I don't know what all the excitement is about. I found it kind of boring. I wouldn't want to read it in my book group.

It is about a small time town in Indiana. It is told from a child's point of view from birth to about 10 years old. It starts our a bit charming but then gets a bit weird when she talks about the animals that are killed by her neighbors and the lack of compassion she has for life in general or the people around her. She seems precocious but is really a very obnoxious kid. I think her take on religion kind of straggled away from the plot of the story.

This memoir is nice but could really use some editing. Her sister was right...why would anyone want to read about her life as a little girl in a town of 300 and a broken family? It just wasn't what I was expecting. It never got better just blah.

broken book

The Case Against the Fed by Murray N. Rothbard

Hmmm, this was an interesting book...for all of the %10 I understood. Economics has never been my strong point. But it wasn't a total waste of time. In fact now I understand Atlas Shrugged a little better! Ha Ha.

What I got from the book is this...counterfeiting is bad and the Federal Reserve is essentially doing this very well and no one cares enough to put a stop to it. FOR YEARS!!! No one checks up on the Feds and most rich and powerful people in the history of the US (plus Presidents of the US) are all in on the scandal right under our noses. The American people are really quite ignorant of the whole thing...including me last week because we are too lazy to learn anything about banking and economics.

The solution...well it took two of the last pages to cover this one...go back to gold coins and don't print any more green paper money in the USA. I'm not sure this would work but at least it would be something since the nation is so totally in debt and the Feds got us there in the first place! They are very good liars and try to make themselves the heroes. Not!

Check out this blog for a better explanation of the Feds today and our economic crisis.

Whole Book

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Empire by Orson Scott Card

Yikes, what a scary and exciting book! Written in 2006 it is amazing what some of the parallels to our society today are! It is of course fictional but makes many points about the political system and all the corruptness that is happening today.
Card makes up an American Civil War in the near future. There is all kinds of military things happening and espionage and of course terrorists. This was a fast read because I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened next. I think he plans on making it a tv series or movie or something because it is written in tiny bursts of adventure and adrenaline scenes, one after the other....there really isn't a lot of time for getting into each characters head and developing deep dialogs or plots like Ender's Game.

What is really creepy is all the killing that happened and how important it is to defend ones family and have a plan. You have to be prepared and watch your back. You don't know who is your enemy. The police, the army the special ops, the CIA the President of the US or even the people you work with could be on the other side or just following orders from someone corrupt further up the line.

It is kind of a mystery book that unravels as it goes along. It was very good and worth reading.

Healing Book

Thursday, February 05, 2009

History of Hyde Park in Utah's Cache Valley, 1860-1990 by Dale Z Kirby

This is the tour of the new town we moved to in the last 3 months. It has such a rich pioneer heritage. I just finished reading History of Hyde Park in Utah's Cache Valley, 1860-1990 by Dale Z. Kirby. The author is a direct decedent of one of the first settlers in this town and had some very interesting journal entries from his ancestors.

My favorite part of the book was finding out that quite a few of the people that live in our ward are related to the early pioneers in Hyde Park! And it is really cool that our house was built by a guy in our ward's dad, who is related to the early settlers in this valley. And the water we get from the tap is from the natural Spring that attracted people to settle here in the first place!

This is a picture of the view from the up the hill just past the church. It shows the mountains west of Hyde Park over in Logan and beyond.

The church we attend is just around the corner from our house. It is a newer stake center build in the late 1990's but one of the first things they did when the pioneers got here was build a church. They had to keep rebuilding it bigger and bigger as more settlers came into the valley. They added a gymnasium where most of the fun dances and community events were held for a long time. Basketball and Baseball were very very popular to keep the youth from getting too bored and out of mischief.

The first bishop called by Brigham Young was William Hyde. He also served with Joseph Smith in the Mormon Battalion. He was a hard worker and a fair and honest man. He organized and lead the people in Hyde Park to build a community that cared for the people, their God, the land and the freedoms we have in this country.

Many people in Hyde Park also helped in the quarries to bring the rock down for the building of the Logan Temple.

This is a picture to the East. North Logan's mountains. We look at these mountains our our kitchen window! I love them covered with snow!

Hyde Park is actually only 3.2 Square miles. There are only just under
2,000 people living here. All of the shopping and businesses are in Logan. There isn't anything here but neighborhoods and farmland. We do have our own city building, community center and post office and a few parks but the schools are all in Logan and Smithfield. But the early settlers took education very seriously. There was always schools built in Hyde Park but they are all burned down or fallen down but one, it is still used today but is part of the North Logan School district. Many many people from Hyde Park were teachers and administrators in other schools nearby. Plus the university is USU is just 4 miles away over in Logan. 4-H was very popular and still is today.

It is a really cool place to live. The early settlers used to have dairy farms, mink farms, the RS sisters got into raising silk worms so they didn't just have to wear wool all the time. There were lots of sugar beets grown here and hay. They had a train station just down the road so they could get mail and goods from other towns. There used to be a co-op grocery store and a few other stores. But in the middle 1900's the town voted to limit businesses and growth in the town because it was getting to crowded and expensive to get water to the new homes. There are also a lot of canals running all through Hyde Park. Everyone had a barn and gardens on their property. There are a lot of people today that still have horses and small gardens. There were even polygamists in the 1800's that lived here in town...until they made it against the law and the rules of the church and they had to work our other options for living and caring for their multiple families. The police and fire stations are today combined with North Logan's and even the Library. It is just a mile down the road from us but in N. Logan. So we do all of our shopping and errands in Logan where they have grocery stores and the DI and Kohl's, a tiny mall, Walmart, Home Depot, Borders and restraunts plus lots of other stores because it is a "big" university town.

Our house has a big backyard and a few fruit trees. It also has a little barn and the water is on an irrigation water share system. There are Llamas behind our property owned by one of our neighbors and most of the neighbors near us all have goats,chickens, dogs and cats.

Our cool house!

Look at the awesome icicles hanging from our roof !

We love it here! We miss CALIF. but this is where we live now. It will be a great place for the kids to just run around and have fun all summer! We can't wait to jump into the fun of Hyde Park!