Friday, January 28, 2011

Poetry Recital

Memorizing a poem can be fun but challenging. I entered the kids in a yearly homeschool poetry festival. This years theme was Humorousity. It was so much fun!

This little girl's poem was, Mary had a little Pet by J. N. McLaughlin

They each picked a funny, silly or super outrageously laughable poem. They memorized it and practiced it over and over each week. Usually on family night. Then they were ready. The big brother did a peom too but I didn't get a picture. His was long and funny, called The Thanksgiving Turkey by Jack Prelusky.

This is Snowball by Shel Silverstien.

This little girl got up right at the end and recited Hickory Dickory Dock. She didn't want to be left out of all the fun.

We won prizes and got free pizza and sundaes. The kids thought that made it all worth it. Can't wait till next year!

Musical for the 10 Virgins

I am having so much fun in this musical. We had our dress rehearsal last night. It was nerve racking and I didn't think I would remember my part. I tried my best and it worked out. Saturday is the performance.

I play the 7th virgin. I am a foolish virgin. I am "A Women Of Prayer". I always forget to pray. I am too busy or too tired. I know that I should pray. I know that my prayers are answered yet I still can't quite keep it a daily habit. It is really sad when I run out of oil because I am just too busy to buy some ealier and miss the wedding. I don't want this to happen in my real life. I have been trying to do better. I know that God loves me and is always there for me especially in those desperate times of need but He is also there for me with the mundane daily tasks. I need to remember to talk to Him everyday.

Some of the other Virgins have such compelling stories too. The story is based on the fictional shopkeeper that makes each women a special lamp just for them. Then each virgins story is told by how she uses her lamp for good or not. One spends all her money on a new dress for the wedding instead of extra oil. One just thinks her lamp is so pretty and she never takes it out or lights it, just sits and admires it. Kind of like not using your talents or not reading your scriptures because you don't want to wrinkle the pages of your new bible. Another sister is always compares her lamp to everyone else and wonders if their lamp is more beautiful and better then hers. Some of the wise virgins are thoughtful and helpful. They light the way for others, they are always busy and serving others but they remember to bring extra oil and are humble and prepared. One sister's lamp accidentally gets broken. She is so sad and when you think she will not make it back to the shop through a storm the shopkeeper is there to lift her up and help her. He repairs her lamp, which is like a tender heart. He forgives and loves everyone.

It has been a wonderful spiritual journey for me to reflect on my life and how I can be better. I have had so much help with my solo and my speaking parts. I have had to step out of my comfort zone and really put in an effort. I hope all goes well on Saturday. It has been fun. I can't believe I am wearing PINK! Oh well, the least of my troubles. :)

Update: Saturday morning's performance went great! Only a few misplaced words in one of my lines but I no one seemed to notice. I nailed the timing on the song and it only got really teary right at the end but everyone was crying so you couldn't blame me. I am so happy it is all over! WHEW!!!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater

The kids are reading this for a book group. It is a great read out-loud Newbery Honor Book. This classic is from 1938. Mr. Popper is a quite house painter. He is always dreaming about exploring the arctics. He reads about the poles and follows all the famous explorers of those regions. One explorer, Admiral Drake, responds to one of his letters with a gift. A penguin! Pretty soon this quite house painter and his family are having an adventure of their own.
The book made me laugh and Captain Cook, the penguin, is always making a mess or doing something funny, as all penguins do you know. To add to the tale, but without giving too much away there isn't just one penguin but 12 penguins after Greta is added to the mix and lays eggs! It is a wonderful story and I recommend it for all ages because I was laughing harder then the kids.

Whole Book

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Golden Spike!

I forgot to blog this exciting trip to the Golden Spike Museum. It started out as an ordinary day, going on a field trip. We started a bit later then planned, I printed the directions from Google and then...we got lost. It was just one minivan and the barren snowy desserts of Utah with field after field of nothing, well a few cows.

Finally we stopped to ask directions and got back on track. Everyone was hungry and we just couldn't believe anyone would put a museum or a railroad track out in the middle of no where! Really what were they thinking? Not a town for MILES not a person for years...just air, oh and a cow.
Of course we took another wrong turn and ended up looking at these cool rockets. That perked everyone up a bit.
This is the Golden Spike monument. OHHH AHHHH! It had been conveniently moved right outside the museum. Thank goodness, or we would have had to drive even more in the middle of no where to see it.

This is the invisible Chinese workers monument. The monument isn't invisable but the Chinese workers were. They are never in any of the pictures or mentioned in the articles during the time the railroad was being built, yet many sacrificed so much to build it, even their lives.

This is the last railroad tie to be placed and the golden spike was driven in! I touched it, and this little guy stood on it!

This is the track that goes from the East coast to the west coast. I am sure glad people didn't have to walk that far anymore.

And finally...the moment we were all waiting for....drum of the Golden Spikes!!!! Yes it is golden and it is a spike. Funny thing is, when they were driving the spike in, the first two important people missed the spike entirely. Ha Ha. The other funny thing is the date on the spike is wrong, the celebration was delayed a few days so it actually happened on the 10th of May not the 6th or 8th as originally planned. AND there isn't just one spike but actually 4! Only this one is on display here.

It is cool that we got to see one of the original golden spikes but still it was a bit of a let down. But what do you expect? It happened a long time ago and spikes can only get so exciting.

THE really really cool part of the trip was getting a private tour of the engine house, it looks like a large shed. There are two working locomotives housed there not too far from the museum. The Central Pacific Jupiter-60 and Union Pacific 119.

There were tools all over and all kinds of interesting facts to be learned. LIKE...these are exact replicas of the original engines that met from East and from the West for the Golden Spike Ceremony in 1869. They were actually this colorful. It took a while to get the colors right because they had to go from journals and newspaper accounts, all the pictures from back then are black and white.

Both trains are steam powered, one is run with coal the other with wood. The braking systems are so cool. Also when there is too much ice or the brakes don't work then there is a cool contraption that puts salt on the tracks to get traction and melt the ice.

Since it was the Victorian age the trains were painted bright colors and very festive. They of course had to be cleaned all the time because of the dirty steam. On the back of the 119 Walt Disney was asked to paint the murals. They look really cool close up.

We heard all kinds of stories about the trains from the Ranger. We learned why the Jupiter was picked instead of the Antelope locomotive. We also learned that the #119 wasn't the original train picked for the ceremony either. In the end both trains were later turned to scrap for about $1000 each! That is why they had to reconstruct them.

It was a fun trip. We went home a different way, through Brigham City and we didn't get lost. The sunset was very pretty. My photographer thought it was funny to take a picture of it in the mirror instead of turning around for the shot.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


One of our chickens got bored this winter and laid an ostrich egg.

None of the ladies out in the barn are fessing up and claiming it. The little girls think it belongs to the rooster. I think an ostrich wandered into the yard and hung out with Molly, Rocky and Eagle had a nice game of cards and some ICED tea. Or those hens are just so bored of the same old boring hen house surround by snow they thought they would pass a fast one on us and leave this whopper egg!

The one on the right it an average sized egg. The one on the left is unusually large for an average sized chicken.

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer

I loved this book. It wasn't at all what I expected, longer too. It takes place in Africa in 1981. A girl grows up in a tribe in a remote part of the country near Zimbabwe, well actually in Mozambique. They don't have anything modern there and rely on a lot of outdated traditions and superstitions in their lives.

Her name is Nhamo which translates as; Disaster. She is the heroine of the story and is very misnamed. She is so brave and really smart. Her grandmother is the only one that loves her and sees her potential. Her mother died when she was a baby and she doesn't know where her dad is at the beginning of the story. She is about 13 years old. She is going to be married off to an awful old man with lots of wives so she runs away to find her father.

The adventure and education she has from getting away from her people is unbelievable. She thought it would take a two day boat trip but s gets lost and it takes a year. She meets many animals on her journey and even lives with a bunch of Baboons. She comes close to starving a few times but is very industrious and smart in surviving on the native plants. She also hunts and captures birds and things to eat. She also has a spiritual journey all along the way.

This is a very dangerous action filled book. It reminded me of Julie and the Wolves but completely different when it comes to the place and culture. It is a 1997 Newbery Honor book. I loved it !

Whole Book

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Well, this was an unexpected love story and violent book. The author also wrote, A Walk To Remember and The Notebook. He is a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

The author tells this story through 3 different characters perspectives. Sometimes they overlap and sometimes one is the narrator of the events and the next picks it up where they left off. The ending really was drug out so long I ha to skim. It was ridicules. I guess that is why this one wasn't a bestseller.

The story is very mysterious and slowly reveals the story of a women's past as she tries to deal with it in the present. It has some disturbing details of her tragic past and abuse. She tries to put things in order and move on but it is hard.
It is definitely a page turner.

Healing book

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Enchantment by Orsen Scott Card

All I have to say is....I was very disappointed in this book. What were you thinking Orsen?


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Wow, this was a short yet intense book to read. What a way to start out the new year! This is the longest poem I ever read and it was worth it.

The whole first part of the book in in plural tense. We, us, ours...the world doesn't even know what one is, everything is everyone together.
I don't know what to say about this book. I keep thinking about it. I keep thinking about the author and how smart she was to put these thoughts into a comprehensible form to teach us and warn us about our future if we ever let Socialist take over our lives.

I like the title Anthem, originally it might have been Ego but that is too Freud. I think a song of celebration fits much better with the whole story/poem. I love happy ending too!

Whole Book

The Watcher by James Howe

This book is not what you would expect from the author of the Bunnicula series. It is a serious novel about a very lonely girl that watches other families every day on the beach but never participates. She is abused and neglected. The book is written from four perspectives. It is a great plunge into human behavior from so many perspectives. The four points of view are from totally different people that don't know each other but are all connected. The author brings them all together in the end.

It was a slightly haunting yet tear-jerker type book. I think it was well written despite all the colorful words and the mature themes. The watcher becomes the watched and in this world if you aren't watching out for others that are silently crying out for help, you might pass them by or judge them wrongly. I asked myself, "What would Jesus do?" He would help those in need and listen to others.

Broken, Healing Book

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

70 Books Read in 2010!

Every year for the last 5 or so years I have tried to read 50 books in 365 days, Jan 1st to Dec. 31st. I don't count children's picture books and most of the books have chapters but a few aren't exactly above 8th grade level. I try to get some adult books and some political books in there, as well as classics and self help. Overall I think I had a good year of reading. My favorites are the YA fiction books and Science Fiction, they are just easy and entertaining which means Fun! The most memorable are the Classics, I will probably read a few of those again again.

So this year I read a total of 70 books. I blame it on the long cold winters of Utah. I think I evened out with the heavy-educational-worth-your-time books and the take-it-easy-and-enjoy-wasting-your-time books. No regrets this year.

Books finished in the year 2010.

1. Chicken soup for the Soul Christmas cheer: 101 stories about love, inspiration, and joy of Christmas by Newmark, Hansen and ?
2. The Christmas Box by Evans, Richard Paul*
3. The Bears On Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgiesh*
4. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
5. Christmas on Mill Street by Joseph Walker*
6. A Stranger For Christmas: A Novel by Carol Lynn Pearson*
7. Ay Antonia by Willa Cather*
8. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater*
9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater*
10. Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack
11.Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink*
12. Machine of Death: A collection of Stories about People who know who they will die by Ryan North
13. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley*
14. Left to Tell:Discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza*
15. Lord of the Flies by William Golding*
16. Fire in the Bones: William Tyndale-Martyr, Father of the English Bible by Michael Wilcox*
17. Blue Shoes and Happiness #7 by Alexander McCall Smith
18. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith
19. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins*
20. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins*
21. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*
22. Belles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth JR.*
23. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
24. The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
25. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
26. The Kalahari Typing School For Men by Alexander mcCall Smith
27. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
28. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
29. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
30. Tom Clancy's Net Force Explorers: The Ultimate Escape by Tom Clancy - Books #1,#2,#3 (so technically this is three books)
31. Leaning Into the Curves by Nancy Anderson*
32. Funeral Home Evenings by Patricia Wiles*
33. Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
34. The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter*
35. Homestead by Rosina Lippi
36. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
37. Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston*
38. Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
39. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
40. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer*
41. Amazing Grace:William Wilberforce Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas*
42. Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story by Mark L. Shurtleff
43. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis*
44. The Help by Kathryn Stockett*
45. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis*
46. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt*
47. Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale
48. Mary Emma And Company by Ralph Moody*
49. The Actor And the Housewife by Shannon Hale*
50. The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
51. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson*
52. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson*
53. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson*
54. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne*
55. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak*
56. A lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich*
57. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card*
58. The Promise by Chaim Potok*
59. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
60. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card*
61. The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket
62. The Face on the Milk Caron by Caroline B. Cooney*
63. Letters from Rifka by Karne Hesse
64. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton*
65. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee*
66. The View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts*
67. The Shortstop by Zane Grey*
68. Tarzan the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs*
69. Agent in Lace by Tristi Pinkston
70. The Dred Scott Decision by Bonnie L. Lukes*

*Highly Recommend

Monday, January 03, 2011


Can you believe it? Not a white Christmas but a cold one even without the snow. The kids had their last chance to jump on the trampoline before the big snow fell and stayed till...spring.

But we kept busy making cookies and treats for our neighbors.

What were we thinking? And we haven't even made the honey almond rocca yet!

We decorated each cookie with love. Luckily my sister joined us and cranked out a dozen factory decorated all the same basic cookie. Details can really slow an assembly line down. It took three days to drop them all off. Some of the houses the kids doorbell ditched. One house they were caught but the lady was the aunt and she thought the kids were the grand-kids staying at the house. She apologized for scaring my kids on Sunday at church. I said it was the most exciting house they went too. (all the plates had our names on them so it wasn't like they were getting away with anything.)

We acted out the nativity. This year we also made a manger for baby Jesus. Each time you did some act of service or something nice you could put some straw in the manger.

Can you tell she is a Shepard? I think we might have to fire the costume director of this years production. At least everyone participated! It was fun until the littlest angel started throwing the baby out of the manger.

Santa came and it smells like waffles in our house all night. We had a wonderful Christmas with so many thoughtful gifts and generous givers.

Grandma gave this little boy tools.

He likes the backpack.

Can you tell time?

I can build anything!

Anything with a motor makes him happy. He would have been happy to just play with this all morning and forget opening the rest of the presents.

She loves learning games!

Later Uncle Darron and Melissa hung out with us and played with the kids. Every kid needs a ramp for his motorcycle and trucks.

What else do you do with balloons from the dentist? Going to the dentist was an after Christmas special. 2 out of 6 of us need dental work. That is a record for no cavities for most of the kids!

Kim graced us with her presence!

We hung out at Kami's and ate yummy food. All the cousins played and played.

It was a great Christmas! Can't wait till next year and hopefully we will see more family in CA.
We spent all of New Year's with grandparents in Utah. We ate pizza and chips and frozen soda. (the kids thought that was the best, just put the rootbeer out in the snow and it turns slushy.) We played bored games and then at 10pm we rang in the new year with noise makers that didn't make any noise! (my dad picked them out and I think they should be a tradition every year.) Everyone was in bed and asleep by 10:30pm. Happy New Year!!!