Monday, June 30, 2008

Reducing Screen Time

For the last several months there has been a push for the youth in our church to reduce their "screen time" ie: cell phones, text messaging, TV, video games, ipods, computers, etc. Yesterday in church a similar challenge was issued to the entire congregation. Beginning on July 6th, one week from today, we were asked to turn off TV and video games for four weeks. Instead we were counseled to spend more time together as families. It was suggested that we participate in community activities and service. But, the main suggestion was that we spend time reading good books as families and as individuals. A goal of a total of 500,000 pages be read during that month, to be spread among our congregation and several others who were also challenged to participate.

When we got home yesterday we discussed this challenge as a family. There was definitely some resistance but for the most part everyone is on board. I've asked each of the kids to make some book choices they would like to read as a family during this time. But, honestly, only SUNSHINE is likely to come up with some. She's my "reader", the others not so much.

I figure we'll read some scripture, maybe some CS Lewis, I've heard The City of Ember is a good one (and there's a movie about it coming out soon), The Twilight series has created great controversy between my girls and me, one of my favorites To Kill a Mocking Bird, but beyond that, I could use a bit of help.

So I need some suggestions. My kids are between the ages of 9 and 16 (that's 4th-10th grade). I defiantly need some things funny, some things engaging, maybe some classics, but mostly some books everyone would enjoy. It'd be great to have something that gets us all laughing (I think Hank the Cow Dog might be a bit too young).

What are your picks? Help a sister out.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yin and Yang

Earlier this week I was so proud and was bragging about how wonderful my son is and how wonderful his friends are. Well he/they have shown me the yin to their yang.

Curfew 11:00pm. At 11:03 I call SUPERSTAR. He says he's on his way home. He comes in the house, out of breath and sweating. Apparently he'd run all the way. I'm thinking 'cause he's trying to make curfew, right? Apparently not. 11:20ish I'm in bed, trying to get to sleep. SUPERSTAR comes in turns on the light and says, "Mom, I need you to be cool about this."

pause: now I ask you what am I supposed to think when faced with this? "be cool?" I'm not "cool."

"What's going on? What did you do?"

He explains to me that he and his friends had shot a nerf gun (the kind that send out those small, foam, suction tipped darts) at a passing car. Police were in the neighborhood chasing them. He tells me they only shot two darts.

So apparently his sprint home was the result of this episode. All the boys except one were home. This young man was hiding in some bushes at the end of our street, scared to death and out of breath. He'd just talked to SUPERSTAR on the phone and he was practically crying because he didn't know how he was going to get home. SUPERSTAR tells me that he thought about taking ("stealing") our car to go get him, but didn't. (thank goodness) Ya, now that would have got him bound and gagged and grounded for the rest of his life. No need to be scared of the police, mom would have been worse.

He told his friend to come to our back door and SUPERSTAR was asking me to drive him home.

So least you start to believe my wonderful son to be a saint-know that he won't be translated any time soon. (Or leaving the house)

So here's a the BIG question. What would you do?

I have had an opportunity to speak with some of the boys who were there that night. NONE have shared the experience with thier parents. I suggested to each of them that they "come clean" to mom and dad. They each thought I was out of my mind, there was no way they were going to tell their parents. Now, if it were my son another parent knew something like this about I would hope they would let me know.

So what do you think? What would you do? If this is familiar to you, what have you done? This whole parenting teens is "crazy".

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm on a diet. Sorta. I really want Chocolate Chip Cookies. Really. But, I'm not going to have any. 'Cause I'm on a diet. Sorta. So instead of making and eating them I'm going to fantasize and write about them. I have the most wonderful CCC recipe which I have perfected over time. Enjoy and think of me as you bask in their wonderfulness.

1c I Can't Believe it's Not Butter
(You may think that any kind of butter or margarine will work. You would be wrong.)
3/4c sugar
3/4c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1t baking soda
1/2t salt (shake the measuring spoon over the sink a bit to relieve it of some of its contents. Too much salt=bad / Too little salt=better)
2 3/4c flour*

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg. Mix. Add salt and soda. Mix. Add half the flour. Mix. Add the rest of the flour. Mix.
Here comes the "art of CCCs". *The dough MUST be the consistency of play dough. If the dough is sticky the cookies will go FLAT and be crunchy. We want plump, soft cookies. So, add more flour as needed to get play dough.
Stir in the MILK Chocolate chips.

Drop rounded spoonfuls on to an UNgreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes or until no indent occurs when touched with your fingertip.
Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and try not to eat them all yourself.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Braggin On My Boy

My SUPERSTAR is such a great young man. I have watched him turn from a crazy boy into a shocking young man. Sometimes it seems to me that this happened overnight and I know this process will continue to awe me over and over. I have seen some things that really make me proud of him. Let me just share two.

1) When my sister and her cute girls visited he was sweet and fun. Here are some pictures of him playing with them. My sis and I were down stairs and we heard the girls running and laughing, "hee, hee, ahh, ohhh, ha." The laughing was so musical, as little girls' laughs are, that we came upstairs to see what was going on. Each of my daughters have beads hanging from their doorways. He was pointing and calling out a color. The girls would run through the beads laughing and trying to get through each door way as soon as he would point and call out a color. As I think about it, I think many adolescent boys would think it silly to play with two little girls. But, he was. And, they were all having a great time.

2) SUPERSTAR has some wonderful friends. With him being the only boy in our family and ALL boy at that, his sisters didn't always appreciate it when he'd want to wrestle, tease, run crazy, etc. So, he has always found guy friends to hang out with and be the boy that the estrogen at home could not squash from him. Over the weekend SUPERSTAR, with 8 of his friends came to hang out at the house. They began taking turns playing Rock Band. After a while I went in to check things out and this is what I found.

Notice SUGAR (my 9 year old) acting as lead singer in the band. My son and his wonderful friends let her take a turn right along with everyone else. They could have said, "No SUGAR, this time it's just the boys." or "SUGAR get out and leave us alone." or something much less kind. But they didn't mind at all having her hang out with them. I said something to them all later, something to the effect of, "thanks for letting SUGAR play Rock Band with you." They, every one of them, acted like it was no big deal, surprised that anyone would not have done the same thing.

To me this is a great indicator of the character of my boy and the character of the friends he hangs out with.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Youth Camp

Yesterday I returned from a visit to the girls youth camp that two of my daughters have been to this week. Up until just a couple of hours before I left I was waffling about whether to go or not. However, it was a great privilege to be there.

I have been involved in the planning and presentation of this annual youth retreat for girls off and on for many years. It was nice this year to come up as a visitor. I know what happens at camp. I can almost predict daily attitudes, the effectiveness of spiritual activities based on the involvement of the youth leadership, which girl's are most likely to have their testimony strengthened and which are mearly tolerating the experience. I love camp. It is one of the greatest catalysts to life-long spiritual commitments that I know of.

I have thought of attending camp similar to a mini-life. There is so many parallels and lessons to be learned in the experiences of camp. I love it!

This year was the first year I was able to attend a camp when SWEETHEART and SUNSHINE were there. It was such a joy to see them together. They simply glowed with the experience. They were having fun, learning and open to the spiritual experiences that camp presents. SWEETHEART and SUNSHINE have very different personalities. At home they are kind to each other but don't usually choose the others company. At camp it was great to see them with their arms around each other, including each other in their activities and groups and looking completely "at home" and comfortable in each others presence.

The coolest thing for me was hearing each of them bear testimony. I am so pleased with the strength of testimony that they each have. I am proud of them and the way that they interact with others as a result. In the presentation right before testimonies were shared the speaker asked the girls to close their eyes and imagine themselves in the place that this scripture takes them. She then read a scripture that describes the reward prepared for those who keep the commandments. In her testimony SUNSHINE shared that when she closed her eyes she saw a beautiful mansion and that not only was the Savior there but her family was there also. She expressed gratitude for her family and the expectation that we will be together. SWEETHEART, in her testimony, shared that when she closed her eyes she saw the same thing that her sister saw, her family.

How cool is that!!?!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SUPERSTAR Crackin Himself Up

Last night we were all home just hangin out. SUPERSTAR was a little too comfortable, he was shirtless. Now I know there are some who don't mind this at all. But, it is something that bothers me and I put shirtless boys into the "less than modest" category. So, in an effort to enforce my modesty value I asked him to put on a shirt. He was in a very goofy mood and played "mocho man" showing off his "guns" and "six pac" getting everyone to laugh and poke fun. Finally, I laid it out and insisted that he put on a shirt.

A couple of minutes go by and he comes "prancing" into the room, stifeling a crazy contageous laugh. He has returned with a shirt on. My 15 year old, almost 16 year old, son was wearing his 9 year old sister's shirt, stretched tight, belly exposed. We all looked up. I rolled my eyes and shook my head, everyone else "busted a gut". He could not contain his laugh a second longer and he burst out laughing, totally cracking himself up, rolling on the floor with gut busting howls.

Yep, He's a GOOF BALL!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Tag

I have a cousin who likes to play these "tag games". I must admit that they are sorta fun. So, here's another one.

The rules are you're not supposed to clean up beforehand. So I didn't...

1. Favorite Place

I took all of these pictures around my house...So instead of showing you my favorite place in the whole world (which happens to be a specific room in Las Vegas [not a hotel room}]) I'll show you my favorite place in my home (which happens to be just outside my home).
This is the back deck of my house. The view is amazing. Mornings and Evenings are the very best time to sit here. Mornings the sunrise is beautiful and this time of year the brisk coolness of the morning is rejuvenating. Evenings -with lots of mosquito repellent - are great to relax, read or simply meditate.

2. Self Portrait

Ugh! Those bags under my eyes are ridiculous...Oh well, there I am.

3. What are your kids doing right now?

SUNSHINE and SUGAR are just finishing a Settlers of Catan game. Amazing that they still like each other after a round of killer Settlers. I refuse to play that game any more. Every time I've played it I or someone else came away hating the rest of the world.

SWEETHEART is in her room doing sit-ups...she did NOT want her picture taken...can you blame her?

SUPERSTAR is not home...surprise, surprise...Our town has an annual festival/community carnival. It's Friday night, he's hanging with his "peeps", watching a band, scoping the '"scene" and flirting with the "ladies" down at the festival. YIKES!

4. Favorite Shoes

These are my favorite just because I got them today at a second hand store..$5. I figured everyone needs a pair of red shoes and I didn't have any. SWEETHEART hates 'em...too bad for her...I'm not gonna let her wear them.

5. What does your fridge look like?

I don't usually keep it open like this, though.

6. Favorite room in your house

This is my favorite room TODAY because I just decorated it today. Cool Hu? I had an epiphany a couple of days ago and drew a sketch of how I'd like to decorate my tub area. It's been plain for too long. I'm not a decorator, it's not my thing...but I was able to take my sketch and go shopping. I was amazed at how easily I found just about everything I wanted. I left this morning around 10am to shop, went to about four stores, made the drapes, hung the hardware (From the ceiling, no less, by myself, even more impressive) and put it together before the day ended. AND I spent less than $100. WOW.. I am amazing aren't I?

7. What does your sink look like?

Well, I have been busy with other things, namely my bathroom. But the duck is new. I got it today, too. I love it!

8. What does your second bathroom look like?

At least the seat is down. However, I'm glad this didn't say "what does the bathroom your children use look like?" That would NOT be pretty.

9. What Does your Closet Look Like?

The rules did say, don't clean before. What you see is pretty much what's there every day. Oh well...

10. Show us your laundry room

I like my laundry room...It's big and does not have another door that leads out side. I've lived in homes with pretty lousy laundry rooms. In one house the water heater was so close and in front of the dryer that it was difficult to both open the dryer and be there to remove clothes from it. In another house the laundry room was in the garage (crazy that anyone would think that a dirty place like that would be a good place to make clothes clean). In another house the laundry room was also the entrance to the garage, more of a hallway. I generally knew that everything in there was dirty 'cause as soon clothes were clean they were moved into the living room to be hung/folded/put away. So my living room became an extension of my laundry room. Yuck! But now I have a great laundry room with a folding counter, cupboard space and a looooong clothing rod to hang things up. Whoopie! but, it is a mess. Oh well, I've been busy with other things today...

I tag YOU. Just remember NO CLEANING beforehand just grab your camera and take the shots right now!! Once you've accepted this challenge, let me know. I'm anxiously waitng to see what you will share.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Gentle Reminder

I was watching a program on TV a few days ago. I had switched to the program in the middle and was mesmerized by the message of learning and service that was being presented. I took note and followed up with some research to try to find a transcript of the entire program. As a result I have committed to be a little better, a little more prepared and a little kinder. The quote that follows are some of the words that caught my attention when I first switched on the program.

Your service may not be in what the world would recognize as a lofty calling. When the real value of service becomes clear in the judgment of God, some people who worked in quiet anonymity will be the real heroes. Many of them, perhaps most of them, will be the underpaid and under-recognized people who nurtured others. I never visit an elementary school and watch the teachers without thinking about that future day when the rewards will be eternal. I never visit a hospital and watch those who nurse and those who clean without thinking of that. And I never visit a workplace where someone serves me and others well, earning wages barely enough to provide the necessities for a family, without thinking of the future. And I never see a mother juggling three little children who are crying while she is smiling, as she shepherds them gently, without seeing in my mind’s eye that day of honor in the presence of the only Judge whose praise will finally matter.
Henry B Erying
May 2001
Moscow, ID

I think too often I look for recognition, be it in the form of financial compensation, praise or prestige. However, I am reminded that the only form of recognition worth while is the praise of a Loving God who knows all and His rewards are eternal.
2 Thessalonians 3:13

Monday, June 9, 2008

SUNSHINE'S Championship Game

I told you I would update you on SUNSHINE's championship game tonight. I asked her if she wanted to write the blog for her game. She responded that the only thing she would say was, "BLAAAAAAUGH!" (I hope I spelled it right)

SUNSHINE played a fantastic game. She caught behind the plate, got on base two of her three at-bats, scored a run and played awesome. Alas, the other team took home the first place trophy. Final score 14-13. It was a fun and exciting game to watch. Second place is nothing to sneeze at.

I took her to Cold Stone Creamery afterward to drown our sorrows. Ice Cream can make just about anything better.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Winner. Winner. Winner. Winner.


Last night SWEETHEART'S team played "guess which team" for the Junior/Senior Championship.

As you can see in the pictures, her team WON! She played second base. The score was tied 1-1 for the first 3 innings. Then in the fourth inning SWEETHEART had a BIG HIT landing her on second base and scoring 2 RBIs. That was the rallying point that began a winning game.

Final score 8-2.

The softball league chairman is making arrangments for her team to ride a float in a Parade next week.


SHINESHINE'S team played tonight and beat the team that until the last time they played her team had been undefeated and were seeded higher.

SUNSHINE scored the first run of the game. Final score 4-3. They will play again on Monday for the Major Division Championship. She is so fantastic. I'll keep you posted on that final game.
We are expecting great things!

SUGAR- Winner

SUGAR'S team played the #1 ranked team last night.

All through out the game the score flip flopped. First they would be up, then we would be up and back and forth. As you can see in one picture, it was a real "nail bitter". SUGAR played second base, right field and short stop and had a couple of really great HARD hits. They held thier own in the final inning coming out one run ahead at the end of a crazy fun game.

Final score 14-13


SUPERSTAR played in the Fun Days golf tournament today.

In the six-man scramble his team came out on top. He won that very cool plaque, a 3 person tent, a shirt and $50 gift certificates to Texas Roadhouse. He tells me that he's going to use the gift certificates for his dates (he'll be 16 next month).

It's so exciting to be the mom of such amazing kids. I am SO LUCKY!

Ring Around the Sum

Yesterday DARLING HUSBAND sent me a text: "go look at the sun". I thought, what an odd request. Why would I want to LOOK at the sun? I walked outside and looked up. There I witnessed the most amazing display of color and light. Encircling the sun were two beautiful rainbows. I've never seen anything like it before. I ran back in the house and yelled to the kids, "Come outside. Hurry!" Together we marveled at the phenomenon. SWEETHEART took some pictures, two of them you can make out the first circle of color and the other two give a glimpse of the second circle toward the outer edge of the photo. However, I must tell you that these pictures hardly do the beauty of the event justice.

See the edge of the second ring?


What an amazing and beautiful world is our to enjoy!

Posted by Picasa
I googled this amazing sight and learned that it is not all that uncommon. It is caused by ice crystals or water droplets that refract the sun's light (similar to a rainbow) in cirrus clouds. They are usually the first clouds to come into an area before a storm. I thought about this for awhile. If this beautiful sight is not uncommon and this is the first time I have witnessed it then I've been missing out.

Sometimes the joy is there for us to experience all we have to do is "look up". He, the Creator and Lord of the universe, has much to show us.

Monday, June 2, 2008


SUPERSTAR started driver's ed. tonight.

The parents sat in on the first half hour. As I'm sitting there watching the teacher's presentation I began to get that familiar lump in my throat and the sting of emotion in my eyes. I'm not sure if it's like the excitement of his first day of school, or the emotion of his participation in that first sacred ordinace, or the dread of his first broken bone, or or the shock of his first fight at school, or the pride of an A in algebra (I wouldn't know about the A in algebra). I don't know exactly what the lump and sting are all about but even as I write this I feel it.