Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Review: Chocolate Roses

Chocolate Roses: a Jane Eyre parody by Joan Sowards
I have always felt that one of the tells of a classic story is that it can transcend all time. A Classic tale is the same basic story but in any time place,or in any place. Shakespeare is the most common example of how this can be done, although I'm not saying it has to be done exactly word for word like Shakespeare is often done, but that the story can be taken and placed into a modern situation and still be the same delightful beautiful story.
Chocolate Roses is an example of this. It takes the Classic tale of a girl who has had a hard life, falls in love with a man who she can't marry or be with and watch the story unfold. The ways that Joan Sowards takes the basics of the original story and places it into a modern world with all of our problems and joys. She does a brilliant job of paralleling the two stories and making it completely believable. Her characters are LDS, which is not over barring and would be just as cute, but maybe not as sweet, if the main characters weren't so rooted in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Joan Sowards not only wrote a great story, but she created lovable normal characters. Her main female Rose (the Jane Eyre character) is so normal and innocent that you can't help but love her. 
If you are a fan of Jane Eyre or just a fan of a good clean sweet romance story- this is a book for you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Arizona Monsoons

Monsoon season in Arizona is in full swing. For those of you who aren't familiar with what this is I will explain. Monsoons Season in Arizona is when there is humidity goes up and the clouds roll in in a very short amount of time. Once the humidity gets so high the clouds let loose and pour.
It lasts anywhere from 5 minutes of pouring to an hour or two. Its amazing to watch- hard to get a good picture of though. This will happen almost everyday, about once a day, most of the time in the evening hours or late afternoon. I love listening to the rain and watching. As a child my favorite part would be when the electricity would go out. We'd use candles and flashlights until the power would go back on. Now that is exactly what I don't want. Then my dishwasher or washing machine might stop in the middle of a load. We also have our own well and the pump runs on electricity and  when there is no power there is no showers, no working toilet, no water.
I love clouds. They are gorgeous. I wish I could paint so I could catch them in a moment. I will have to settle for taking pictures. Monsoon clouds are the best. They are fluffy but have a denseness that looks like they are look squishy like a sponge.
I love monsoon season. After the monsoons are done, summer is over and its time for Autumn. Such wonderful seasons we have in Arizona.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

24th July: Pioneer Day

For Pioneer Day we are going to build a wagon. Its all out of paper. I'm sorry I don't have a picture and that this is too late for most of you to use the idea. Maybe next year. Each piece is a song from our program that we need to work on. 
Happy Pioneer Day ya'll.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Preparing for 8 Song Race (Primary Program)

Our Primary Program is Sept. 19. That was 10 weeks from this last Sunday. We've leaved all 8 of the songs that the entire Primary will be singing. There is a special musical number that will be two children doing a duet. The 9-10 year old boys are singing Hymn 320, "The Priesthood of Our Lord" and the 9-10 year old girls are singing "Beautiful Savior" from the Primary songbook. I am helping with those songs, but they are mostly the project of the first counselor.
Back to the whole Primary,  we have learned:

  • I Know That My Savior Loves Me
  • He Sent His Son
  • Follow the Prophet (ASL on chorus)
  • The Holy Ghost
  • I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ
  • Come Follow Me (ASL)
  • I Feel My Savior's Love (ASL)
  • I Am a Child of God (sung once in English, German, and Spanish)
On Sunday I brought a chart to Primary. There is actually two charts, one for SR and one for JR. There are 8 spaces going left to right- for the 8 songs. And going up and down there are 10 spaces (for the ten weeks we have left till the program).
Last year I used the cooking analogy to teach preparedness for the program. This year is the analogy that we are preparing to run a race. When preparing to run a race you can't just get up one day and go to the race and run 10 miles just like that. You're body wouldn't be able to handle it. Instead you have to build up to running 10 miles. You start one day running 1 mile, then when you've mastered one mile you run that first mile and then run a second mile. When you've mastered those two miles you add a third mile. This process is continued until you can run all 10 miles. We are preparing for an 8 song race. We can't expect to stand up one Sunday, with no other prep, and expect to sing all 8 songs as though we have them mastered. Instead we need to build up to doing all 8 songs at once. This is where the chart comes in. Each week we meet we will sing all the songs we have already "passed off", and then "pass off" a new song. In order to "pass off" a song or in other words, show that they have mastered it, they must sing as though it is for the program, Stand together, sit together, sing loud, nice, and clearly, smile, hold still, stand up straight, do their ASL properly, and watch me. If they "pass off" a song the chart gets a sticker for that song that week. For example, this last Sunday we started. They "passed off" 'I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ'. Next week they will have to show that they still know 'I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ' and then "pass off" a new song. The following week they will have to do 'I Belong...', the new song, and then a newer song. Just like with preparing to run 10 miles, you always have to re-run those first miles again to get to your goal. You don't get up 10 days in a row, run 1 mile each day, and then on day 11 run 10 miles for the race. And each week they get a new sticker on their chart for showing that they still have those other songs mastered.
I am hoping that this gives the children a fun activity way to look forward to how fast the program is coming upon us. Since our program will be so early this year, when it is all over we will have many Sunday's to just do fun activities. But till then we need to focus and work hard. I hope this visual and analogy is enough to inspire the type of hard work that is needed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Baby Teeth

Baby Al started showing sign of teething. We have been suffering through this off and on ever since. This eternal teething has felt for nothing until his first tooth finally broke through 2 days before he turned one. The other bottom tooth broke through not long after the first one. Now at 14 mons his 3rd and 4th teeth (the two front teeth) came up this last week. 
I am so tired to teething. I'm very glad that he finally is getting his teeth. Most of the babies/toddlers his age have so many more teeth than Al. I hope that his other teeth come in soon and quickly. I just want teething to be over. We have tried everything. I have even been trying pure Clove oil. I don't know if anything is actually helping. 

Tried the CORE plan

We tried the CORE plan. There were things I liked and things I would not be able to sustain as a long term lifestyle. 
Things I liked:

  1. I never had to deny myself something to eat. If I felt snacky I didn't need to try divert my mind from the fact that I wanted to eat. Instead I could go get something, as long as it was allowed by the plan. I ate lots of fruit. 
  2. I had huge meals. For dinner I would do a large pasta or rice dish. I made Korean Bulgogi one night. I didn't have to watch my portion. Instead I just got to eat until I was too full. On the normal plan I'm to 22 points. It is so easy to eat all those points in no time at all, and that's not even eating junk. I could be eating fruit and a salad and before I know it I only have 5 points left and have to force myself to stop eating so I have points for dinner. It is really hard sometimes. I love snacking on fruits, but fruits still have points. So to feel full and be able to satisfy munchie cravings, was so nice.
  3. Didn't have to calculated everything out ALL the time. I enjoyed not having to even figure what our dinner points were. It made life easier.
  4. I loved the dairy. I have cut a lot of dairy from my diet because I'd rather use my points on other things. But on the CORE plan, as long as the dairy is fat-free it was okay to eat whatever I felt like. I had skim milk with my breakfast and dinner. I'd use the fat-free feta in my omelettes and salads. I have finally got use to the taste of fat-free yogurt, I started having one as an afternoon snack. I'd use the sugar-free jello mixes make them with the skim milk and that was how I satisfied my sweet tooth.
  5. It changed life up. It was nice to have the change

Things that I didn't like:

  1. I missed breads and cereals. On WW I've learned to eat low- point sandwiches. I've come to look forward to them for lunch. On the CORE plan- no breads. I'm a cereal girl for breakfast. I did try to make the best of it and had some cooked grains for breakfast. I like them, just not every morning. I missed a big bowl of cereal.
  2. I didn't loose anymore than any other week, and I fluctuated a lot more throughout the week.
  3. My husband hated it. He has enjoyed WW, the way we've been doing it, because he can still eat anything he wants- he just has to pay for it with his points. So if he runs out of snacks that he has brought, then he can try to make a good choice from what is avb to him at work.  He hated having to plan his whole whole day ahead of time.  He eventually gave up on doing the CORE plan and instead of going back to points he just gave up until the week was over. I thought he would like the large as he can eat portions, but I don't know if he just didn't want to eat those foods, if he didn't want to eat that way, or what the reason was.  
My husband has expressed that he NEVER wants to do the CORE plan ever again. I understand that and I can respect that. I might do it again. Just to mix things up. But it won't be as easy or feel as much like a break considering I will still be counting points for my husband. It is a nice change and I will try most likely try it again sometime just to mix things up. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Independence Day Weekend Fun

We had volunteered to host the extended family, Family Home Evening for July. My Grandmother had been pressuring me to sign up for one of the months because there were still so many months open. I told her that I didn't think anyone would make the 3 hour drive just for a Family Home Evening. She said that we didn't have to do it on Monday, we could host it any day of the week and that we should just host it and see what happens. So we talked about it and decided to host July, because of the 4 day weekend for many people, and see what happens.
I made a Facebook event for it, and a digital invite that we emailed to all the family making it official. 
Here is how it went.
Thursday before the holiday, I drove to Tucson, baby in tote, to pick up my cousin Brad's girlfriend Amber from the Tucson airport (tiny place). Brad is stations at the post near our home and this was the first time they were actually meeting each other. They met on the internet through mutual friends, and had been corresponding that way for over a year. That amazes me. At knowing my husband for a year of our lives, we were already married and expecting our child.  She isn't a member of the church but she is such a sweetheart. I enjoyed hosting her for the weekend. 
So back to the events. We had Brad and Amber over all weekend.Saturday morning was our ward's Independence Day Annual Pancake Breakfast. The primary children sang "My Country Tis of Thee" and "My Flag, My Flag". They were cute, but we had only practiced with the SR primary and planned on just having JR primary hold the flags (learning German I didn't feel would spare the time for learning the patriotic songs), this was bad because almost all the children who showed up were JR primary. Everyone in our ward was super welcoming to Brad and Amber. It really made an impression on Amber.
The only other family that came down was my sister and her husband with their 2 children. Baby Al was in heaven with cousins to play with all the time. And my dad came down. That in itself is eventful because my dad never leaves town over a holiday weekend. He avoids it at all cost. In addition to that, my mom was going to be at Girl's Camp, and I didn't think he'd want to come without her.  Side note, we've always joked that if our mother passed away before him, that he would eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and if he couldn't buy it at Costco, he'd never eat it, good thing for us you can buy just about anything at Costco these days.
We had our FHE, it was simple. Not tailored to children though so by the end of it, the only non-baby child was really restless. But he was doing great considering. We fed everyone well all weekend. My favorite thing we made was homemade ice cream. That is a huge tradition for me, it the yummies tradition. My husband and I had continued with this tradition. This year we made two flavors: Blueberry with Fresh blueberries, and Mint Cookies-n-Cream.  Both made as low fat as we knew how and as low-sugar as possible. The only sugar in the Blueberry was the natural sugar from the berries, and the Oreos were reduced fat. It was all made with Spenda and non-fat half & half. Awesome. After calculating the points it was about 2 points for a 1/2 cup. Thats the same as the Fat Free ice cream- but tasted way better.
Church on Sunday was normal. It was odd taking up so much of the row, and to have so many more children (our one, plus my sister's 2) to keep from running away. But Sunday night we drove into town to see the city's firework show. AWESOME show. Living near a military base does have perks. I'm glad my family got to see the show so they can confirm our bragging to be true. It makes me always want to stay in Sierra Vista for the 4th of July.
Monday morning my family needed to head home. Before completely leaving town we made a trip over to Tombstone for lunch. We went to the Longhorn. I absolutely love the Apple Cobbler and their Death by Chocolate. I have no idea what the points were but I didn't care. So good.
Amber went home on Tues. I took her back to Tucson and she went home.
I loved having my family over. We love having visitors! We live in such an awesome place and I love showing it off to friends and family. Not to mention it just nice to have family. But when the weekend it over. It does feel nice to have my house all to myself again and our lives on some sort of a normal schedule. 
Have a great summer everyone.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

'Come Follow Me' Simple ASL

I have gotten requests to put together ASL for "Come Follow Me" Hymn 116.
Sorry it took me so long. It was out of my plans and I've been having a lot of computer problems. I think our laptop might be dying soon :(

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day Singing Time

Since so many children are going to be out of town I didn't want to start teaching "Come Follow Me". With family coming into town and being in town and our ward's annual pancake breakfast (primary children preforming at it), Sunday sneaked up on me. 
I hurried and put this together this morning. Sorry if the idea come to last for most of you.
Sing for the Stars
Flag with no stars. 
Stars with songs written on them (I'm not doing the patriotic songs. Instead I am using this as a review opportunity.)
So simple, child picks a star. We practice working on that song. When song to satisfaction we get to put the star onto our flag. It makes the flag happy. It all took me about 20 mins. to put together.
Have a Happy Independence Day weekend!!!