Thursday, September 30, 2010

General Conference Treats

General Conference is still relatively new to me.  I started at first, just reading messages from the Ensign.  Then I would listen or watch messages occasionally online.  But I have absolutely fallen in love with watching them live via the introduction of satellite (now cable, but that's a different story) in our home.  I love listening to our Prophet and General Authorities will all my heart, and it's a very exciting experience for me.  This year, I really want to help share that excitement with my children.  We have been talking about and praying for the Prophet and General Authorities for the past couple of weeks.  We have given them descriptions of General Conference, and what it will be like, and what it will mean.  The kids have watched it with us the last two times, but it's hard to get kids excited about four two-hour stints of sitting and watching and listening reverently.  Sometimes one hour in Sacrament Meeting almost seems like two much.  So, I've resorted to bribery.  Hubby and I have talked with quite a few people recently, or have been reading online about families having special treats reserved only for General Conference.  These go the gamut from chili, to ice cream on top of waffles, to cinnamon rolls, to special cakes.  Now I don't know about you, but I'm definitely a breakfast food kind of person, and hubby is too thankfully.  But since I'm still missing my waffle machine (left in Colorado), and I'd be horribly heartbroken to only have waffles two weekends a year anywho, we've decided to go a different route. 

Right now we're in a debate.  Should it be crepes (hubby's idea), special sweet rolls, or a fruity coffee cake (yes, I can appreciate the irony of a non-coffee-flavored coffee cake during General Conference).  But we'd have to come up with a different name for the cake, because I can see that leading to some very strange conversations with the kiddos later: "No daughter, it's not coffee, it just has the name in it."  Eeesh.  I think I'll avoid that one as much as possible thank you. 

I'm a big fan of tradition.  And since marrying hubby, a lot of my old traditions have gotten quashed.  I'm thinking that now is the time to start creating some of our own.  But since "favorite casserole" (a baked combination of hot dogs, cheddar cheese, and spaghetti) is *not* one of my favorites, I'm a little lost on where to start.  I love traditions, but the general idea here is I want to create a tradition that my children will actually look forward to, not dread for weeks to come beforehand.  I guess the real difficulty is in trying to find something that you really, really like, but that you don't like so much that you're guaranteed to want to make it more than twice a year.  Hmmmm.  That'll be a toughy.  I'll post some recipes later today as I keep working on this one.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting Ready for Conference, or How to Keep Wee Ones Busy

The rain makes the days absolutely drag out here.  It's a little more complicated keeping preschoolers busy when you can't just send them outside to play in the dirt, and when all of the local parks are perpetually covered in "eucky water."  Yesterday we had a really fun experiment, my daughter and I, learning how to make, and play with, Oobleck

I couldn't believe how ridiculously fun it was to play with this stuff.  Add two parts corn starch to one part water, and you have instant, ooey, gooey, quicksand-like goop.  Daughter called it her "goobey," and was hugely disappointed when it spilled off the table.  Thank goodness, her "goobey" was as easy to clean up as it was to make.  A quick sweep of the vacuum cleaner, and all was well in the kingdom.

We're all super excited over here about General Conference coming up this weekend, and I've been on the hunt for kid-friendly "conference activities."  There's a Nursery and Junior Primary packet at, and the church has a couple of different print-outs available here, but I think they're a little beyond my wee ones at home.  I was desperately seeking out a puzzle of the First Presidency, or of President Monson alone, but no luck.  Deseret did have a couple of beautiful puzzles of the Savior available, but they were all 500+ pieces, or "tray puzzles," whatever that means.  The packets from Sugardoodle at least have some coloring pages, but I don't really know what to do aside from that.  They're too young to take notes, and I don't want it to be a mad-cap game of "let's see who can still reverently the longest."  Last year the kiddos got to take breaks to go run outside on their swing-set.  I'm not sure what on earth we'll do this year.  John fixed the kid's trampoline for them last week, but Daughter broke the elastic cord while showing me what a big strong girl she is and doing "super giant jumps."  Aside from that, the kiddos get next to no physical activity, and I'm not about to run them to the play place at the mall to go run around for an hour when they get antsy during conference. Hmmmmm. I think this definitely counts as an exercise for my problem-solving skills.  What are your favorites for keeping young ones busy during conference?  I read a great post last night about a family that gave a Family Home Evening lesson about King Benjamin, and how all the families that came to listen to his speech turned their tents toward him so that they could listen to him better.  After their Family Home Evening, they set up their camping tent in their living room with the door open towards the television to watch our modern-day prophets give their own speeches to the people.  I thought that was such a cute, and memorable idea.  What kid isn't going to remember the time that they got to watch General Conference inside their tent?

Anywho, I'll keep up the watch for great ideas, and try to repost all the good ones that I find here.  Have a fun week until then.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

General Relief Society Broadcast

I have to admit: I'm a dork.  I'm sure that you all had come to that conclusion previously, but now it's official; now I'm admitting it to myself.  I had actually been looking forward to last night's broadcast for over a month.  There is just something so wonderfully comforting in knowing that the Lord's true, appointed leaders for our present-day circumstances are here, and are willing to give you words of inspiration to lead us onward in our own personal spiritual journeys while here in this earthly sojourn.  I am so incredibly grateful for our General Authorities and for the First Presidency of our church.  I am grateful to know that we have a true and living prophet on this earth.  And I am touched beyond measure to feel and to know that President Thomas S. Monson, a man whom I have never met, and most likely will never meet, loves me as an individual, and supports me in my efforts to raise my family in righteousness.

I love our prophet.  And my heart sorrows for him at the weight that I know that he must carry on his shoulders; the burdens of a world gone astray, and the iniquities of those both within and without the church. I am grateful for the General Relief Society Presidency, and I know that Sister Julie B. Beck is a truly inspired representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that she and her counselors are striving to do the Lord's work and to lead our worldwide sisterhood of women to embrace our essential roles as women and to fulfill the responsibilities that come with those roles.

That being said, I think that both Sister Beck and President Monson had quite a few interesting things to say last night, and just in case you missed it then, you can catch it now here.  I pray that we all can prepare ourselves for that which is yet to come, and that when the time comes, that we will be prepared to meet our Savior walking uprightly before him, with dignity.  I don't know that it's appropriate for me to discuss what I personally got out of last night's broadcast last night in this medium except to say that I think that our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and Sister Julie B. Beck had some very strict words for us sisters.  And I am sorry to say, that I don't think that they believe that we are living up to our true potential as representatives of Christ in these latter-days.  I think that our General Authorities are disappointed in us sisters, and that saddens me greatly.  I know that I certainly have fallen short of the mark in a number of the areas that they touched upon last night.  I especially loved President Monson's use of the quotation from Mother Teresa: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

I hope that we can all keep that in our hearts over the next year as we continue striving to do and fulfill the Lord's will for us as individual, worthwhile, beautiful spiritual daughters of our beloved Heavenly Father.  I know that I will be keeping my own eyes and ears peeled during General Conference this next weekend, and I hope that you will all join me in listening to the words of our Lord direct from His appointed speakers for this day and age.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ummm... sorry about the Pillowcases

So, ummm, I was looking some things over and realized that I had missed the 2nd half of my last post.  And, much to my utter dismay, it's disappeared entirely.    But, since I apparently didn't save any of it in a word file, and I can't find the original link to save my hairy horses, I'm afraid that I'll just have to describe it to you.  I know, I know.  Sad, but very true.  We're all missing out.  But really, what upsets me the most, is that I think some really great kids are going to be missing out. 

The link I had found, from goodness only knows where now (that's what I get for trying to blog while simultaneously attempting to entertain my children), was to make pillowcases for children with long-term illnesses who are stuck in the hospital.  I did find the picture at least:

Cutie-pie aren't they?  And I'm just willing to bet that if *you* or someone that you dearly and desperately love were stuck in a hospital bed for longer than a week, especially a small child-type person, then you would really, really want them to have one of these happy-looking pillows.  Here is the direct link for the project.

I know that this seems kind of random, but I absolutely love projects like these.  As a child, I was in and out of a wheelchair for years, with several recurrent hospitalizations, most of which lasting for weeks, and I will be one of the first to tell you that a hospital, even a shiny happy children's hospital, is *not* a very happy place to be. --Not at all.

Most hospitals do not have the facilities or space for parents to spend the night, or even have rules against it.  Children are left alone for hours, or days.  Very often without anyone to talk to, anything to play with, or anything to do other than watch whatever trash T.V. is on during the day (Maury anyone?) or whatever Disney movies haven't been stolen by the previous occupants (which yes, surprisingly is a real issue in many hospitals).  Hospitals are lonely, sad, cold, ucky places, and I don't think that there's anything worse than a child that should be happily running around instead fighting for its life in someplace barren, and absolutely devoid of the spirit.  I know that the deadline for this project is over, but ladies, gents, anyone and everyone with sewing / crafting talent, would you mind maybe making a few of these and sending them on to some kiddos who need them? 

I know that we all have a *lot* to do, and seemingly never enough time to do whatever our *lot* is, but this is one of those things that I promise will be absolutely worthwhile. I can't think of a single child that I met in any of my hospital stays that wouldn't have been over-the-moon ecstatic for a splash of color in an otherwise winter-white sanitized world.  Thanks in advance.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Life... Again... and Pillowcases!!!

Wow. So I am an exceptionally bad blogger I've decided. That, or life just has it's grimy little clutches in me a little deeper than I thought. I promise, I really, really, really don't mean to neglect you all. You are fantastic! You are amazing! You send me really great feedback and are so, so, so completely forgiving of all those super depressing horrid posts I had way back at the beginning. But... you've stuck with me through it all(again, you guys are amazing), and I'm coming back in for a little update on the world.

Here are some of the things that we have been up to lately:

Fall has officially descended upon the greater Seattle area, and we've had rain for four or five days straight now. Today, I finally got the kiddos to go play "puddle ducks" outside.

The water runs off our front porch in kind of a funny way, so we always have this sinkhole where it drains.  Ande and Kyle love to play in it though.  Ande is splashing, and Kyle is sticking his naked bare feet into the water and then shouting "Ew! Ew! Ew!" which made me laugh hysterically.

We picked blackberries.
We picked blueberries.

We had Kyle's big boy second birthday (which is still a little scary for his mama).

My parents came out to visit us (for the big man's b-day).

We've gone to the zoo a couple of times.

We've gone to the aquarium a couple of times.

We visited Pike Street Market, about which --eesh-- all I can say is that I have absolutely no desire to ever go back again.

We attempted to go to the ocean, only to get rained out.

We visited Cle Elum, which has a very nice little bakery by the way.

We've shared colds (thank you local school district).

And watched more than our fair share of Disney movies.

We've also played lots of kick-a-ball and blown at least a couple million bubbles at the local parks.

So, while I am sadly remiss as a parent in my photo-taking, it appears that our Summer wasn't *entirely* wasted.  

It's still incredibly sad to me though that we've been ready to pick pumpkins for a month due to the chilly weather, and that the sun has apparently gone into hibernation until next July 5th.  

I'm beginning to think that Arizona could be a wonderful place to live....