Monday, 30 June 2008

52 x 2 Blessings

I know this is supposed to be partially a photography challenge, but . . . not this week.
School's out for summer, need I say more?
And with the end of school there have been so many parties in the last couple of days that I have gratefully found carpools for. The silver lining of high gas prices is that more moms are looking to share the driving which is both a money saver and a time saver.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Anne would think of a romantic name for this spot.

When I was in Carmen's room the other day I thought I could hear her voice coming from the window. I looked down and saw her watering some plants.
Actually, the neighbor's plants.
I came down to take more pictures, but Carmen had finished watering and was feeling thoughtful.
Possibly a mood created by the incredibly fragrant lilacs just out of sight.
The space at the front between the houses is a dreamy place to play. You can see what is happening on the street, but you have a feeling of seclusion from it.
Chloe peeked out and saw us below.
She came down and even brought treats.
I tried to get some candid photos by hiding behind the gate.
But it seems I need to work on my spy skills.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Happy Birthday Brent

Love you!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Chloe's Soccer Birthday Party

Today was our last day of school - just a half day, done at noon. We decided to grab all of Chloe's friends before they take of for summer vacations, and hold Chloe's 7th Birthday Party this afternoon. Chloe's parties are so easy for me with the bigger kids helping out and the summer weather allowing us a backyard party.
Carmen set up a soccer obstacle course in our backyard. The wicket on the left is made from a wire clothes hanger - I'm pretty sure we got the soccer croquet idea from Family Fun.

Before the party Chloe told me what hard work it is to be the birthday girl because you have to welcome the guests and act very excited. The excitement didn't seem forced at all when the first guest arrived. Where did the 'hard work' disappear to?

Cousin rivalry reared it's amusing head when it was time to drop the ball at the beginning of the birthday party soccer game!

Chloe dismissed the idea of a soccer field cake to go with the soccer candles that Marie found. There was no way Chloe was going to eat a green cake - she thinks that artificial color in icing is disgusting. She told me she wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and everyone can pretend it is a muddy field if they want. Nice of her to try to humor us.

Not your grandma's piano recital

I teach my youngest three children piano myself. Everyone says not to teach your own children, and I'm not saying they're wrong, but it makes the piano lessons free, and you can't beat that. At least I can't. Plus we do enjoy the flexibility of keeping it in the family. On Monday we headed down to My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe for our year end piano recital. The kids stayed in their school clothes even though it had been primary sports day, we made no improvements on the hair-do's, and no extra practising.

At *My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe* a pianist can earn a free ice cream cone if the owner judges your performance to be worthy of the honor.

The kids performed from youngest to oldest. Chloe played 4 songs.


Carmen played two.


While Steven was playing, a mother took her son and placed him at Steven's elbow to watch. I'm sure in her head she was saying, "See, look. Look at that boy playing the piano."
Jaclyn entertained me with her Ray Charles look.
And we all topped off the afternoon with an ice cream cone.
(You can also just buy ice cream cones at My Favorite.)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Jr. High Awards Night

We don't pick up Jaclyn's report card till tomorrow morning, but we got a big clue as to what kind of grades she finished the year with at awards night tonight.
Jaclyn came home with awards including Top Student for 9th grade, the Sewell Cultural Arts Award, the Frose Band Award, Math Competition (top mark), Citizenship, as well as subject awards for Social Studies, Language Arts, French, Math, and Science.
My favorite moment not caught on camera was when Jaclyn and Ty gave eachother a high five as they met up in the aisle to walk up for an academic recognition. They were the only 9th grade students to achieve a GPA of 90% or better.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

SPT: Stripes Forever

The Bay Point Blanket is a cultural icon in Canada. The navy (cut off by this picture), green, red and yellow stripes would be recognizable to any Canadian.
Anyone up for a short Social Studies lesson?

Wool 'Point' Blankets were first brought to Canada from England to trade for beaver pelts in 1668, two years before The Hudon's Bay Company was formally incorporated.


The First Nations People used the blankets as they were, or made them into coats. The beaver pelts were sent to England for the manufacturing of top hats. Isn't that bizarre? Don't tell me you knew that!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Mama needs a new dress

A few weeks ago at church one of my former young women, now all grown up, had on the cutest dress her mom had sewn for her. Her reply to my compliment was, "You should borrow the pattern from my mom!"

Honestly, that was so sweet and generous. Lena didn't care at all if I sewed myself the same dress. She said: "Hey, it'll be a different fabric, they won't be the same." When I talked to her mom, my friend, and I found out it was a Burda pattern I was hesitant to try it. I grew up in an anti Burda home, but my friend assured me that Burda has long since started including seam allowances in their patterns and there was nothing to fear. In fact, she told me, because Burda is European the styles are much more fashionable than the domestic patterns.


I had this fabric in my 'stash' so all I needed was a $1.67 for a zipper and voila - my new dress. I even had this shell necklace which I didn't realize would 'go' when I first started sewing.

(Ignore the scrunched up neckline from the self-portrait arm, really the neck is perfectly round. The only thing I would change about this pattern is do the neckline not quite so wide. It works, but I'd bring it in a little if I were to sew it again. Oh, and how do you like the soccer sunburn? And do you know how hard it is to take a picture of your chest without taking a picture of your chest?)

I love, love the pleat detail around the neck. As a bonus the facing is just bias tape cut from the same fabric - I don't ever want to do a full facing ever again.
(Reading Anne of Green Gables aloud to Carmen and Chloe - it is the 100th anniversary of this book - get out there and read it!)

Sorry, no standing picture, but seriously! Go make yourself this dress!

Friday, 20 June 2008


Last night while we were watching the Germany-Portugal game, Chloe asked who were the teams? Steven answered, "Germany and Portugal". Chloe wasn't satisfied. "But what are the team names?" she asked. Steven told her again. Chloe started to get frustrated and repeated, "NO! WHAT ARE THE TEAM NAMES?" Finally, I clued in to what she was asking and explained that the teams represent countries, and they are just called by their country name - they don't have names like *The Blue Rockstars*.

For the second year in a row Chloe is on the "Blue" team for soccer. Last year they called themselves the "Blue Rockets" and this spring they started out with the same name, but over the season the name evolved to the "Blue Rockstars."

(Her idea)

Chloe demonstrated relentless persistence all season, winning over one teammate at a time, until the entire team now cheers, "Go Blue Rockstars!"

Nothing puts a smile on Chloe's face quite like winning.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

SPT: Home Sweet Home

This week's theme got me thinking about how settled I am. I have made only two houses home in the past 16 years - 8 years each. And my current home is only 5 minutes away from my old house - so it was not a big move. I really enjoy the security, traditions, and stability born from staying put. I like the little things that I can count on repeating year after year.
One event I've watched for this spring is the return of the goose family along the side of the road on my drive to school.
It seems like such a perilous place for a nest, but they make this spot their home every year.
Sweet, yes?

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Happy Father's Day

Marie and I both had Father's Day dinner with my parents today. (52 Blessings: living a Sunday-dinner do-able distance from my parents.) As we sat around after dinner we made up a list of phrases our dad uses repeatedly, and Marie tells me I should be the one to do the post because she has another post to write tonight. Boys: join in, leave me a comment, and feel free to add to the list.
  1. You can put the word "only" in front of just about anything. His response to "It was only $20" or "I'm only 10 minutes past curfew."
  2. WHO'S THE BIGGEST? WHO'S THE STRONGEST? His response to bellyaching that something might be "too hard" to do.
  3. Come here so I can hit you. Translation: Come here. (no actual hitting involved)
  4. These strawberries speak Spanish. A language they learned from the field workers.
  5. My uncle has a canoe. Translation: That last thing the other person said was out of the blue and has nothing to do with what we were talking about.
  6. In this family we can't afford our noses to grow. Don't' lie, it will make your nose grow, and in our family we already have freakishly large noses.
  7. We'd better put a brick on your head so you 'll stop growing. I don't like how quickly you are growing up.
  8. I . . . love . . . you! The grandchildren all know what's coming as soon as he whispers the word 'I' into their ears.
  9. Do you want me to be good or do you want me to have fun? This is something he only says to my mom.
  10. Don't be sorry, just don't do it. Many applications, but I particularly remember this phrase when I made mistakes as I was learning to drive. That may have been when he coined the phrase.
  11. If you were a horse we'd shoot ya. Please quit moaning and reevaluate your injuries, I don't think they're that bad. (I'm not exactly sure how the reference to putting injured horses down evolved into this sentiment.)
  12. A thin horse going into winter. Someone getting very old, nearing the end of their life.
  13. I don't buy green bananas anymore. My dad says this when he is feeling old himself. He might not live long enough to wait for a banana to ripen - he'd better buy them already ripe.
  14. The most important part about making icecream is the spoon. My parents make homemade icecream, but dad makes sure the grandkids know that their eating it is the whole reason Grandma and Grandpa make it.
  15. Save 'hate' for liver. Hate is a strong word.
  16. You don't save money by going shopping. He occasionally rains on our parade when we return from shopping and display all our 'deals'.
  17. I'd rather cut my finger. He'd rather cut his finger than do a lot of things.
  18. When I was in the army . . . He doesn't have a military record, but he credits the army with teaching him how to shell peas or rake a lawn or various other skills.
  19. I was 6 once. That was a great year. The number always corresponds with the age of the person he is speaking to.
  20. You'd better get a stick to beat the boys away. You are getting too grown up and pretty.
  21. We're not building a piano here. Just get the job done! What you are doing doen't require the time and care you are giving it.
  22. Talk like a white man. Speak properly. Drop the baby talk. Drop the slang.
  23. Sometimes we count the votes and sometimes we weigh the votes. (Or: This isn't a democracy.)
  24. Thousands might believe you. But I don't.
  25. Hello, Larry Hollywood. Occasionally he answers the phone this way, but mostly it means "I am lookin' good." (or you are looking good)

    26. Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.
    27. I'm pretty sure 2am is the same time everywhere. (Ask Jaclyn about this one)

Friday, 13 June 2008

I don't know why I seem unable to blog about the minutia in my life. I want to record it, considering minutia composes the majority of my waking hours, and maybe that should be reflected in my blog sometime. But emptying the dishwasher, making appointments, running errands, attending meetings, cleaning out closets, grocery shopping, and so on does not inspire me to write. Today I hover just above the minutia.
Jaclyn had a 9th grade potluck lunch at school today. 'Main course' was slow to fill up on the sign-up list, and Jaclyn seemed unsure of what exactly people were looking for in a 'main course' so I sent her to school yesterday with the instructions to ask the organizing teacher if I did a ham and mustard sauce if that would take care of it. I see now that it was a silly question. Of course the teacher said "Great!" So I baked a ham last night and sent it sliced in a crockpot today. Then instead of a hot breakfast for my kids I made mustard sauce this morning. This is a brilliant recipe from Ken's side of the family, and it got rave reviews from the teachers at the potluck:
Mustard Sauce
2 eggs
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1/4 c dry mustard
1/2 c vinegar
Mix mustard & sugar, add slightly beaten eggs and vinegar. Cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly. When warm add:
1/4 c butter
Continue to stir over heat till thick.
(mine is never as thick as it should be, and I always have to strain it for cooked egg)
The mustard sauce may be served warm or cold, just like ham.
This afternoon I whipped up a skirt for Chloe. I hauled out my fabric and pattern stash and did some mixing and matching. I certainly didn't think kilt when I originally bought the fabric, but I like how it came together.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

SPT: Twilight

Are you kidding me? I could scarcely stay up late enough last night for twilight's last gleaming! We are coming up on the longest day of the year, after all. I snapped this picture at 10:20 pm and look at that sky, still blue. Actually bluer than the sky has been most days for the last month.
I have to admit that the first thing I thought of when I considered today's SPT Challenge was this. Probably because the weather we've been having makes me feel like I'm living in Forks.
Which brings me to my 52 Blessings-blessing for this week: It is a blessing that my children are still in school and not going stir crazy indoors at home during this rainy May and June. [Last day of school is June 26th.]

Friday, 6 June 2008

Grad 2008 *A Night Among the Stars*

Jaclyn's Jr. High grad banquet and dance were held tonight. It was an Oscar's theme with movie posters, candles, mini lights, and lots of stars. The students and teachers giving speeches were introduced as the winning nominee complete with the tearing of the envelope to reveal the winning name.

The two boys who M.C.'d the evening had very sweet things to say about Jaclyn not only for her involvement in school activities and academics, but also for her kindness and friendship.
Jaclyn gave a clever speech. Our school started out as a one room school house many years ago. Eventually a newer school was built, renovated and added on, then replaced by the new campus the students attend now. Jaclyn took this evolution of the physical changes of our school and made them into a metaphor for her classmates as they have grown, beginning from kindergarten (the one room school house).
Jaclyn's beautiful hair as she listens to her Math teacher's tribute to the class of 2008.

My parents were able to attend, and I hope they had a good time. I thought the grad committee and teachers and students put on a stellar event. Ken's parents would have enjoyed the evening also, but they have a standing commitment to serve in the temple on Friday nights.


It is killing me not to post photos of Jaclyn with her friends - they all looked so beautiful and happy. I did catch this photo of Jaclyn and the boy we shared a table with at the dessert buffet. His mom chastised him for losing his jacket and un-tucking his shirt, but I felt no reproach for the young man that went to the punch table and brought back a glass for Jaclyn.

I wasn't the only mom who thought that the grad & parent dance was the sweetest moment of the evening. Ken and I didn't linger long once he had his dance - the rest of the night was for the kids to celebrate.

Driving home Ken and I reflected on what a blessing it has been for Jaclyn to attend this school. The tradition of excellence (I put that in just for you, honey) and the positive culture have made Jaclyn's past 10 years the best they could have been.

I've boldly gone where others have gone before.

Neighbor Jane Payne published her 200th newsletter today. For those who want to celebrate with her she has published a *200 Things* life list that can be highlighted in bold for any experiences we've had ourselves:
1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars (on the trampoline with my cousins)
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby's diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said "I love you" and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game (NHL, MLB)
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun (copying my cousins from Southern Utah)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach (in the Cayman Islands)
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow (I've milked a goat)
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don't
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy (if books count)
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person (Member of Parliament, and Memeber of the Legislative Assembly)
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle (behind a boy who lived across the back alley from me, no helmets)
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (for an award when I was 14)
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name (last name)
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people (?)
108. Brought out the worst in people (?)
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway (or equivalent to your country) play (coming up August 14th)
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train (with my uncle who worked for CP Rail)
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a campfire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Responded to a NJP newsletter

Happy 200 to the most neighborly woman I hope to meet!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

SPT: Emblem of the land I love

/I considered sitting out of SPT this month, the theme is just so American. I decided to leave it to a coin toss: Heads, I'm out. Maple leaves, I'm in.

[I'm in]

I am Canadian

Monday, 2 June 2008

There's nothing like a good handout

I love teaching to our combined age groups of young women in church once a month, but on Saturday night I was feeling stuck on the Temple Marriage lesson I was preparing. I've taught this, or similar lessons, several times and I was having a hard time looking at the topic with fresh eyes and an open spirit.
I took a little break from my real lesson preparation and made the handout suggested in the lesson of a diagram to show how Celestial Marriage is a covenant between a husband and wife and God.

Elder Bednar used a similar diagram when he spoke at a world wide leadership training meeting last year. He pointed out that as a husband and wife move closer to God they also move closer to each other - a powerful concept that I shared with the young women when I taught the lesson.
Once I printed out the triangle diagram on cardstock I embellished the back of each flat card using an idea I got from an Etsy shop:
{I can't find the said Etsy shop again for the life of me}

The Etsy version of the doily dresses look like they are made from large doilies, using only the borders, and cut into little girl shapes.

I tried to make myself a more womanly figure so that my doily dresses would resemble wedding dresses.

I didn't stick precisely with my template. I let the pattern of my small doilies influence the cut of the dresses on the lower borders, sleeves and necklines.

Somehow all the crafting was refreshing, and then I was able to return to the lesson itself.