Thursday, September 11, 2014

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2014

Key Lime Pie is a Junior!
Kotten Kandy is a Freshman!
School is is full swing!  We've made our goals.  We've had our father's blessings.  And we have purchased our paper, pens and pencils.
The New Era had an INCREDIBLE article, "How to Learn for Real," that we are focusing on this year.  We truly believe that learning has less to do with natural ability and more to do with priorities, attitudes and skills.  Here's what the article recommends:
PRIORITIES
1.  Seek spiritual learning.  
     We make spiritual learning the number one priority in our home.  The girls are encouraged to read their scriptures individually daily.  They also attend seminary (in our basement) every morning.  (Early morning seminary in Shelbyville, KY is considered 7:00 a.m.  - pretty pathetic for EARLY morning but it does start the day off well... and the girls love their seminary teacher, Brother Turley.)  We also attend a stake religion class weekly.  We love learning about the gospel.
2.  Seek balance.
     Balance is difficult, but the girls and I are trying to remember that too much of anything can throw us off balance, and too little of important things can do the same thing.
3.  Get enough sleep.
     This is a hard one.  I suffer from insomnia.  I'm striving to do better with this.  And I know I need to set a better example for my daughters.
ATTITUDES
1.  You're responsible for your education (including your failures.)  
     Thomas Jefferson Education puts the responsibility for learning on the learners.  And both girls agree that it is their "job" and they are accountable for their own education!
2.  Grades do not equal learning.  And your self-worth should not be tied to external things such as awards, grades and degrees.
     As long as my daughters understand that their self-worth is tied to the fact that they are a child of our Heavenly Father, then they will be happy no matter what awards they receive.
3.  Working hard is more important than "being smart."
     Scott is a HUGE supporter of this attitude.  His work ethic is off the charts.  Working is it's own reward.  And my father always says that it takes 10000 hours of hard work to become an expert.  Work is amazing.
4.  Learning is its own reward.  Be curious.
     Kotten Kandy has really taken this one to heart.  She loves learning.  She continues to learn things that we don't require of her.  Learning really is fun!  We try to make learning a life long pursuit.
5.  Don't shy away from challenges just because there's a possibility of failure.
     I love the quote, "Try.  Fail.  Try better the next time."  Failure really is an opportunity to learn.
6.  You can do it.
     Key Lime Pie uses this as her motto... along with "You can do hard things!"
SKILLS
1.  Learn what you love; love what you learn.
     When I decided to be a music major, I did it because I love music.  I have since learned other things that I have loved just as much or more.  We love to learn!
2.  Read for fun.
     This skill is inherent in ALL of us in this family.  We LOVE to read!
3.  Pay attention to how you handle stress.
     I like to cross stitch and read to get rid of stress.  Scott enjoys putting together puzzles, listening to books on his i-pod and videography.  Key Lime Pie likes listening to music and crocheting.  Kotten Kandy likes to write in her journal and quilt.  It's good to know how to manage stress.
4.  Ask for help when you need it.
5.  Manage your time.
     We are working on this one.  I LOVE my To Do Lists.  One of my daughters isn't a fan and is trying to develop her own strategies.
So... Here's to a new school year!  Hope everyone has a great year of learning!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SUMMER READING REVIEWS

I have had the opportunity to read a lot this summer!  I LOVE reading.  And I love sharing what I have read with all of my faithful readers (ie. my mom and my sister!)  So here are my book reflections.
I recently re-read "Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen because my daughters are reading it.  I love this story.  At it's heart, "Sense and Sensibility" is about two girls with completely opposite personalities, and the struggle to find love when you're either too romantic or too reserved for your own good.  What I really like is that Marianne and Elinor still love and cherish each other, even though their polar opposite personalities frequently clash.  (Sound familiar, sister?)  What's more, they each have to become more like the other before they can find happiness.  It is definitely one of my personal "classics."
I really loved reading "Making More than Music" by Gary McCallister out-loud to my husband as we drove to Ohio.  After each chapter, we would discuss the concepts that were illustrated and how we can apply them to our own lives.  This book is filled with "gems" of wisdom.  And the quotes at the beginning of each chapter are perfectly chosen.  I found myself wanting to immortalize them for my own piano and voice students.  Relating life to music makes sense.
While we were in Utah, we saw a preview for the movie, "Gone Girl."  It looked intriguing to me (but it also looked as though it would probably be rated R.)  So when I saw the book by Gillian Flynn, I thought I would read it.  Warning:  There is WAY too much foul language.  AND the ending STINKS!  (I can't stress how much I hated the ending.)  My advice:  Don't read it.  If you want to know the story, I'll tell it to you.
I also decided to read the novel "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs.  The idea of this book is kinda intriguing.  Riggs collects old photos and wanted to use them to tell a story.  The pictures were cool.  They added a whole new dimension to the story and didn't detract from a great story line.  The plot was actually compelling.  My problem with the book was the language.  Teen novels should not be filled with so many swear words (especially the Lord's name in vain.)  So once again, I can not, in good conscience, recommend this book either.
Let me end on a positive note:  If you want to laugh and be truly entertained by a GREAT novel, read "The Code of the Woosters" by P.G. Wodehouse.  Wooster's is a different world.  Bertie Wooster is over-educated but under-intelligent; he is useless to society but wealthy beyond any thing; he is completely numbed by the simple pleasures of an aristocratic life, but always there for his family and friends in a pinch.  Amusing enough, very few of the people that Bertie is enlisted in helping actually deserve anyone's aid.  He is usually blackmailed into putting himself into the most problematic positions.  What makes Bertie's antics more amusing is that he things he is a man of wit and decisiveness.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Jeeves, his gentleman's gentleman, is the man who usually saves the day.  Without giving anything away, just know that I laughed out loud constantly.  Kotten Kandy even did a spit-take at one point.  This book is filled with situational comedy and wonderful dry wit.
So, if you have read all of my reviews, I recommend that you go read a good book today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BYU EDUCATION WEEK

There's nothing like BYU Education Week for renewing, refreshing and recharging your life!  And this year was no exception.  I am sooooooooooo glad I got to share it with these AWESOME ladies!  (All of them are my bestest girl friends ever!)
Me - Kotten Kandy - GJ - Key Lime Pie - Amy
Mil
But every "story" has a scary/tense part.  Right?  Right.  So our trip started off uneventful.  Amy, Key Lime Pie, Kotten Kandy and I left Saturday morning.  While we were on the road, Scott called and told us his father (Grandpa DeGooyer) had a massive heart attack.  We prayed for him the entire way.  (He's doing alright now.  He had a 5 by-pass surgery on Sunday and is now home.)
Then Sunday:  As we were driving through Wyoming we got a flat tire.
We took action.  Although eventually a nice trucker came by and helped us loosen the lug nuts which were extremely tight and we were struggling to remove them.  We then drove 12 miles to Rawlins, WY on a "donut" tire.  When we got there, everything was closed and we couldn't get our tire fixed or buy a new one until the morning.  So we did what any self-sufficient ladies would do: we decided to patch it ourselves.  A really nice, older couple helped us.  But unfortunately that is not the end of this exciting tale.  Another man (and his traveling companion) also tried to come to our rescue.  They were SCARY and Amy and I felt uneasy around them.  (I was sure they were serial killers - but that is because my favorite tv show is Criminal Minds.)
Anyways, these bad guys followed us to our following stop.  Luckily, Mark and Gay (the older couple) also made sure we were OK.  The tire did not hold air.  And we had to put the "donut" back on.  The creepy guy took charge and would not leave until we were "OK."  Mark and Gay also stuck around because they felt the evil from this man too.  (Mark and Gay were our angels from heaven.)  FINALLY the scary guy (he never told us his name) and his "friend" left.  We back-tracked.  We called the local bishop and found a place that would repair our tire in the early morning.  We got a hotel and felt relatively safe... until Amy decided to do a search for the scary guys on sex offender websites.  Sure enough, we found both of them.  It's frightening to think of what MIGHT have happened.  And we know Heavenly Father was watching out for us and sent us Mark and Gay!
We finally made it to Utah on Monday.  We got to see one class and then we went out for dinner and a movie with my mom and sister (to celebrate G.J. and my birthdays - We are 11 months and 2 weeks apart in age.)  Dinner was yummy!  (Thanks, mom and dad!)  And we saw the movie America: Imagine a World Without Her" by Dinesh D'Souza.  It's a powerful film that will keep your interest, provoke thoughtful dialogue and bring you to tears.  The film addresses profound moral and historical questions and is extremely well done.  D'Souza is an immigrant from India and a proud American patriot.  He sets out to defend America's founding principles and her historical record of living up to them.  It was an amazing film.  And made me extremely proud to be an American.
Tuesday through Friday was full of classes and performances.  First the performances:
Tuesday night we went to see William Joseph in concert.  He is a captivating pianist and composer and is known for his passion and virtuosity.  And his personality really was cute (although both my sister and I thought he needed to comb his hair.)  He was brilliant and all of us LOVED his music and style.  We all thought his concert would be our least favorite of the 3 performances we were able to see.  He ended up being all of our favorite!!!!!
William Joseph with my daughters!
Key Lime Pie was very impressed with the violinist that performed with William Joseph....
Wednesday night we went to the Variety Show.  It was good.  There were five different performers.  But we definitely had our favorites:  Sam Payne and Peter Breinholt.  The girls were also excited to meet one of the "Liken the Scripture" performers:  Daniel Beck.  But Sam and Peter were definitely the better "performers."
Peter Breinholt with K2
Sam Payne with K2
Daniel Beck with K2
Thursday the girls went to the youth dance and had a great time.
Friday we saw "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."  "Goin' Courtin'" has never been as much fun as in this stage version.  We loved it!  And left singing "I'm a Lonesome Polecat!"  It was a WONDERFUL way to end the week.
I was able to take a lot of classes.  And I LOVED them all.  I'll try to write up reviews about them this week (or next).  But our favorite presenter was definitely Hank Smith!!!!  He taught a class about being happy.  We all attended together.  And the girls got a picture:
The girls also enjoyed getting to meet John Bytheway.  His class was fun too!
Here are the rest of the pics from the week:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

DeGOOYER DAY 2014

We LOVE DeGooyer Day!  And this year was no different.
DeGooyer Day has been a tradition for 10 years now.  There are only two rules for celebrating DeGooyer Day:  1.  The day is entirely about being a DeGooyer and being part of our family. and 2.  We wear matching shirts.  The rest of the day is entirely up to our imaginations.  Over the years, some of the things we have enjoyed together on our holiday have been: sight seeing, hiking, going to the movies, bowling, miniature golfing, etc.
Since money was tight this year, we decided to do something different...  We had a Lord of the Rings movie-a-thon.  We watched all three extended versions, complete with lots of snacks and treats.
Scott designed our shirts, as usual.
This is the back of the shirt.
This is the front corner of the shirt.
Key Lime Pie made lembus bread (which is the bread of the elves.)  It was really yummy!  And we made it with honey from our own hive!
Kotten Kandy made orc brownies.  Don't let the name fool you.  Orcs are evil, but these are DELICIOUS and extremely rich.
We felt like the hobbits as we had breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevensies, lunch, tea, etc. etc. etc.
The J.R.R. Tolkein story is truly a classic.  We all loved it and loved finding parallels between it and the gospel.  Everyone also enjoyed making fun of their mother/wife as she sobbed during most of the movie.  She cried when it was sad.  She cried when it was happy.  She cried when someone was heroic.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

OHIO WITH JOYCE

My daughters are being spoiled rotten this summer.  They got to spend the past week with Joyce in Ohio.  They had a total blast!  They couldn't stop talking about all that they got to do and all that they learned.   They LOVE Joyce and her mother (they call her grandma).  They went shopping at quilt stores and yarn stores.  They went to Amish Country.  They got to steer a steam ship.  They learned new crochet stitches.  They learned new quilting techniques.  They made scarves and pillows.  They watched the Food Network and loved the show "Cutthroat Kitchen."  (Key Lime Pie has decided she wants to "do" Cutthroat Kitchen for her 16th Birthday party.)
Joyce took these two pictures of my daughters...
On our way to visit the Glazes, Scott and I saw what we and the girls call a "Cloud Factory"!
Aren't these manufactured clouds beautiful?!  :-)
Scott and I joined the Glazes and girls on Friday night.  The girls were so silly and giggled until LATE.  They were excited to tell us about all their adventures and how much they love Joyce and "grandma."  Saturday we went back to a quilt store so Kotten Kandy could purchase a quilting hoop.  Then we came home and had a really yummy, easy lasagna that grandma made.  Then Joyce, Scott, Key Lime Pie, Kotten Kandy and I took off for the Blues Festival.  It was 9 hours of music fun!  We LOVED it!  The groups were ALL great (except for Simo).  We even got to see Devon Almond.  He rocked!
Kotten Kandy, Joyce and Key Lime Pie at the Blues Festival...
Selfie time...  (I don't usually take selfies - so this is a treat!)
Sophie was a singer who performed and she's from KY...  The girls really liked her singing!
And Kotten Kandy even purchased one of her CDs for her sister.  Sophie signed it and everything!  :-)
The concert was rained out for about 45 minutes.  But we just enjoyed being cooled off...
This isn't a selfie.... Key Lime Pie took a picture of us!
This performer made me laugh so hard!
His expressions as he ROCKED his guitar made me laugh.
He constantly held his mouth WIDE open.  This picture is tame.
When the heavy metal rock group, Simo, performed, Kotten Kandy fell asleep.
She was exhausted.  But I don't know how she slept through that noise.  They were LOUD!
Scott really loved the show....  Isn't my husband cute!?
Sunday morning we went to Church with Joyce.  Their LITTLE branch was soooooooooo cute!  I loved the small building.  And the people seemed great.  After church, we ate left over lasagna and got on the road.  We miraculously made it back in time (4 hours later) for the girls to go to a great fireside for our ward.  We are all worn out... and tomorrow is a crazy day....
Joyce, Kotten Kandy, Key Lime Pie, Grandma and Sweetie (the dog)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

This week is practice for what is coming up in my life: I'm an empty-nester.  It's a strange thing when your children grow up and leave the nest.  I don't think I was completely prepared.  I miss their smiling faces.  I miss their crazy, loud music.  I miss them exercising with me, cleaning with me and learning with me.  It's quiet... too quiet.
But, I know they are doing good things.  I know they are strong in their faith.  I know that they are sweet, and capable and motivated.  I'm truly proud of the beautiful young women they have become.
This growing up thing is hard.  But my girls make it easy.
Last week Kotten Kandy spent an entire week in Bowling Green at EFY (Especially For Youth).  After fasting and praying whether she should she attend, she decided to pay for it herself ($400+).  According to her:  "It was one of the best experiences of my life!"  She came home extremely motivated, happy and spiritually fed.
Her roommate, Eclair, is now a "life-time friend!"  She truly loved her.  They prayed together, ate together, attended classes together, laughed together and stayed up WAY too late talking and laughing together.  She wishes they were in the same ward.  She also strengthened her friendship with Almond.  She feels that both girls are "kindred spirits!"
She also made lots of guy friends... (Glad she only thinks of them as friends right now! - Although I think the boys definitely had crushes on my sweet daughter.)
She participated in the choir during her free time.  And loved learning about the gospel in all of her classes.  She was also super excited about attending TWO dances during the week.  She really likes a couple of line dances that she has taught our entire family to do!
I am super glad for her experience.  She is truly an amazing person.  And I really like who she is becoming.
(Unfortunately, Kotten Kandy doesn't take as many pictures as mom would like... but I managed to get one picture of her company!  Kotten Kandy and Eclair are right in the middle.)
Key Lime Pie also had an eventful week last week.  We deep cleaned her room!  It looks AWESOME!  And I think she's truly happy with it.
Then on Saturday, she participated in the 2nd Annual A Capella Festival!  She loved it!  And she had a great time with her good friend, Lemon Drop.  The growth in my daughter between last year's festival and this year's festival is incredible!  Last year she was serious and worried about the music.  This year she just had fun!  And it showed!  Her personality really came out on stage.  She sang, smiled and it translated to the audience.  Speaking as a music theater person (and not as her mom) she was the most fun person to watch on stage because of her smiles and overall stage presence.  The leaders in the group also told her she had "perfect pitch" and is really musical.  (Which I already knew.)
Oh... one more picture:
Look how happy my girls are when they were reunited!  Key Lime Pie squealed and ran to the front of the stage to give her sister a hug.  All Kotten Kandy could do when she got home was say she missed her sister.  I'm glad they are best friends.
I am really a proud mother.  (And a lonely mother this week since they are in Ohio learning to crochet and quilt with Joyce this week.)  I'm keeping busy though....