Friday, October 28, 2011


I love Halloween! Yes, I know, Halloween is pagan in its origins. I know that candy is bad for you... and expensive. I also know that the insides of pumpkins are slimy and disgusting.

I know all these things - but I like Halloween anyway. Halloween is fun. I like playing dress-up with my kiddos, and cute husband! I like having photos of our costume adventures from year to year! I like chocolate, a lot! I like admiring the little children's costumes as they eagerly ask "trick or treat?!" I like ward Halloween parties (especially when karaoke is involved and Scott and I D.J.!) I like seeing adults dress-up and not being spoil sports! (Yeah, to my good friends Amy B. and Trina F.!) I like watching kids sort their candy on the floor and "trading" like the New York stock exchange! And I like laughing at the creativity of some people!

Our Ward Halloween Party was tonight! I scared a few children with my witch costume... but when I sang "Scripture Power" and the kids realized I was the "Singing Lady" they weren't frightened anymore! It was super fun singing "My Guy" karaoke style with my daughters! And watching Carey S. and Scott sing "Summer Nights" together cracked me up!

My hope is that everyone can enjoy Halloween as much as I do....

My camera isn't working just this moment... so I don't have a family photo to post... but here are some pics that a friend of mine took of the evening:

Beautiful "witchy" girls! But I am a bit biased....

Trina and I doing the "Time Warp!"

A better view of my costume!

Trina ROCKS!

Carey and Scott singing "Summer Nights." HILARIOUS!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We're moving!

Here's our new home! Moving is stressful! But we are excited to be in a house....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


What is true love?
I believe true love is your husband painting a room, with an injured knee, yellow because he knows it will make you happy! Isn't he sooooooooo cute?! I love that man!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Music appreciation is extremely important to me. I want my children to grow up to love and experience all kinds of music (including the classics). Amy, my friend, feels the same way. So we decided that on Fridays, I would teach a small music appreciation class for our six kids.

One thing I love is the tremendous ability that music has to affect emotions. Emotional content of music is very subjective, but during this time of year there is some fabulous music that lends itself to spooky fun!

Hector Berlioz

This week, in honor of Halloween and "scary" music, I decided to introduce the kids to Hector Berlioz. Hector Berlioz is a 1800's French composer who was supposed to be a doctor like his father, but instead choose to study music. His symphony, Symphonie Fantastique, has five movements (instead of the normal four). And the last two movements are kinda eerie. I explained to the kids that it's fun to be a LITTLE creeped out, if we use our imagination. I told them that when he wrote the music he imagined someone going to the gallows and then a huge dance in a graveyard with all the witches, goblins, skeletons, etc. (The actual story is much darker... but some of Amy's kids are VERY young.)

By the time I finished telling them the story of the music, they were really excited to hear it. So I told them we would listen to it, while we made luminaries for our graveyard dance! We then painted jars to look like pumpkins and Frankensteins. The kids did a fantastic job! Even Apple Pie, Amy's 3 year old, painted with us.
When our crafts were drying, Apple Pie, Kotten Kandy, Nut, Marmalade and I decided to "act" out the music. We danced to movement number 5 like we were witches and goblins. Kotten Kandy also decided to be a zombie. It was tons of fun!
Everyone loved learning about Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. And we all loved our luminaries. (Amy and her husband especially liked that we used battery operated candles to light them!)
Music and art! Is there any better combination?!

From left to right: Kotten Kandy, Marmalade, Nut, Juice, Apple Pie and Key Lime Pie

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Being happy isn't a given in this life. It's a journey. And it is something that needs to be learned. So today, we discussed happiness in 'school'. We used Michael McLean's M2B:-) (Mission to be Happy) CD and handbook. Using music to help teach this subject to my daughters really is a good "fit" for our family!

The music really rocks, and brought smiles to all our faces. (Which is what it is designed to do.) It also taught us some great truths!

Michael McLean has struggled with clinical depression and diabetes for a long time. I could definitely relate. Depression has plagued me for many years also. I especially appreciated how he addressed getting help from doctors, therapists and counselors. It "opened up a discussion" with my daughters about how chemical imbalances run in our family, and that depression can be helped with therapy and pills. McLean's song, Pills, explains how he is dependent on pills, insulin and doctors, but he is mostly dependent on Heavenly Father. That is exactly how I feel and have felt.

Michael also reminds us that we don't know how long depression or sadness will last. He admonishes us to look for unexpected joys all around us. He sings about how he found an "unexpected joy" when he was listening to the Beatles and began singing "oooooh" With Paul and John.

Other suggestions at finding happiness include having faith in our Savior and finding YOUR own happiness (not someone else's). He also recommends finding good friends (including family) and letting go of negative friends and influences.

Michael McLean's book is a great handbook. And we loved the music. My daughters both want their own copies of the CD so they can listen to it in their own bedrooms.... I think this was school time well spent!

Monday, October 17, 2011


I was blessed to get to attend Time Out for Women this weekend with a few women from my ward. It was an incredible experience. I definitely feel like a better mother after the two day event.

Time Out for Women began Friday night:

Michael McLean entertained us in his lively AND spiritual way. I laughed and cried throughout all of his performances. I especially liked the song about being happy while singing with the Beatles! :-)

Jason Wright, author of Christmas Jars and The Wednesday Letters, talked to us about blessing others and looking for opportunities to serve everyday. He told stories about his own hero, his father, to illustrate his points. It made me reflect on how totally awesome my own dad is!

Mariama Kallon discussed prayers, service, forgiveness and enduring to the end. There wasn't a dry eye in the audience as she discussed her life in war-torn Sierra Leone before she joined the church. She is a living testimony of the divine purposes of humanitarian work.

On Saturday:

Mercy River performed throughout the day. Mercy River is made up of three women who love tight harmonies and sharing the gospel through beautiful songs.

Dean Hughes was the first speaker on Saturday. Dean Hughes wrote two series of historical novels about the World War II era an the 1960s called Children of the Promise and Hearts of the Children. He talked about "self talk." He helped us to learn new skills to help us stay focused on our beliefs. My favorite phrase he shared was "Life is not a contest!"

Deanne Flynn discussed how mothering is an attitude, a mindset - and in mothering, sometimes we don't have to "think big" to have the impact we want to have in our homes. It is true that "by small and simple things" great things can happen. I loved it when she said that we shouldn't concentrate on undone tasks. We all have "offerings" to make and offerings can be simple like: time, talent, example, etc.

Brad Wilcox, one of my favorite motivational speakers in the Church, gave his discourse about the miracle of redemption. He said, "We often think of 'Savior' and 'Redeemer' as synonymous, but they actually describe two separate aspects of Christ's mission. We know what Jesus saved us from, but do we think about what He saved us for? The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed, but that we can be changed."

Wend Ulrich was my favorite speaker this weekend. She is actually a private practice psychologist. Her message of learning to become happy really spoke to me. She gave us seven proven happiness enhancers: 1. Stop worrying about your weaknesses. Instead build on your strengths and spiritual gifts! 2. Don't try to get motivated to exercise. Instead just do it. Motivation FOLLOWS action. 3. Stop trying to find friends. Instead develop the skills of friendship. 4. Don't try to feel happy. Instead try to feel grateful. 5. Celebrate failure. Instead of saying "I told you so" say, "What have you learned?" 6. Don't get help with your problems. Instead helps someone else - serve. and 7. Don't endure to the end. President Hinckley said, "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." She told us to delight in tiny and simple pleasures.

The conference ended with Emily Freeman. She talked about "Writing the Name of the Lord in our Hearts." When we do take the Savior's name upon us, we recognize that He has "engraven us on the palms of His hands."

It was truly an amazing weekend. I feel rejuvenated. I feel like a better mom. I received inspiration throughout the conference, and I am anxious to put it into practice as a mother, wife, church volunteer, and home school educator.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


In my daughter's Inkheart post, I explained that when my daughters finish a book, they are required to complete a book activity. (I think book activities are a LOT more fun than a book report...) Here is the list of 30 book activities that I put together for my daughters:

  • Make a soundtrack for the book by choosing at least 10 popular songs. For each song, explain in at least one sentence why you chose the song and how it relates to the events or characters in the book. (You can use quotes if you want to.) You may also burn a CD soundtrack if all the songs are available.

  • If you could change places with one character, who would it be and why? Your explanation should be at least one page. Remember to describe the character and their situation well because your audience may not have read the book. Give us EVIDENCE - examples of things the character has done or said that supports your decision.

  • Which character is most like you. Why? Your explanation should be at least one page. Remember to describe the character... etc. same as #2.

  • Change the time and place of the novel. Explain how this would change the story. First tell us where and when the novel takes place. Then tell us where and when you would change it to. Focus on how the characters would be different and how the plot might change.

  • Become one of the characters in the book and describe your experience during a certain event. Your description should be at least one page. Write in the FIRST PERSON and remember to use as many senses as possible in your description.

  • Choose one character, tell how they behaved/what they were like in the beginning, how they behaved/what they were like at the end, and how they changed. Your description should be at least one page.

  • Make a cartoon of the book or a chapter (at least 8 panels in full color with text).

  • Draw a scene from the book. Your drawing must include a LOT of detail.

  • Describe an experience you've had that was like something that happened in the book. Your description should be at least one page. First describe the event in the book, then describe the event that happened to you.

  • Write a song (to an already made up melody) for one of the characters in the book. Include a one paragraph explanation after the song of why this song is appropriate for the character.

  • Make a collage of a major theme from the book. Use clippings from magazines, newspapers, etc. The collage must include at least 10 different clips. On the back of the collage, explain in one paragraph what theme you are representing and what it has to do with your novel.

  • Imagine your book is being turned into a movie - who would play each character? Name at least 8 characters and who would play them (explain in at least one sentence why and include a quote from each character that makes your point).

  • Write an obituary for a character (at least one page).

  • Write a letter to a character. Then, have that character write a letter answering back in the voice of the character. Each letter should be at least 1/2 a page.

  • Pretend you are a newspaper reporter and write out an interview with one of the characters (at least 15 questions and answers).

  • Write an ORIGINAL song about the book. Include a paragraph explanation of how the song relates to the book.

  • Become a character and write a diary with at least 5 entries. Include events from the novel and how you feel about them. Write in the voice of the character.

  • Make an illustrated time-line of events in the book, make sure your time-line includes at least 10 events with a two sentence description and small picture or clipping describing each event.

  • What could happen after the story is over? Write a brief summary (one page) of a sequel to the book (describe the main characters, tell what the plot would be).

  • Write an imaginary interview with the author (at least 15 questions and answers).

  • Draw a map (in color) of one place in the book, labeling landmarks and points of interest.

  • Write letters from one character to another, with the second character responding. Each letter should be 1/2 a page at least.

  • Redesign the front and back cover of the book, complete with a blurb and quotes on the back (these should be made up)!

  • Write a "Dear Abby" column with questions from at least two characters asking for advice and your answers as Dear Abby. Each should be at least 1/2 a page.

  • Make a mobile of a character from the book. On the front of each piece have a picture that represents a character, on the back have a description of the character and your favorite quote that the character said.

  • Write and perform a TV commercial for your book.

  • Pick two characters from DIFFERENT books. Describe a meeting between the two of them (where and when and how it would take place) and write twenty lines of dialogue between them.

  • Rewrite a section of the book from a different character's point of view then is in the original book. This should be at least one page.

  • Write and illustrate a full children's book telling the story of your book - with a cover.

  • Choose a project that has to do with the book. OK it with mom or dad!
  • Sunday, October 9, 2011


    Key Lime Pie's 13th Shopping Birthday Party was Saturday. We had such a fun time! Each kid got a $2 bill and was told to purchase whatever they liked at either Walmart or Target. There were prizes for their shopping investments: The Swindled Award, The Most Disgusting Award, The Most Unusual Award and The Best Value Award. There were some creative purchases, including a rotten sweet potatoe, a pocket knife, fake blood, and fishing bait. The kids enjoyed shopping and afterwards were also given money to purchase dinner at Krogers.

    It was a fun afternoon. And Key Lime Pie was truly spoiled rotten.

    To go along with the shopping theme, Scott made a dollar bill cake, complete with the birthday girl's picture on the front! :-)

    Note: Our daughter's only get birthday parties with all their friends every 4 years. (It's supposed to be ages 4, 8, 12, and 16... but Key Lime Pie didn't get one at 12 so she celebrated this year!) I think the entire party was a huge success... and she felt very loved!


    Scott and I officially have a teenager today. Key Lime Pie turned 13 today! Isn't she beautiful?! She's not only pretty on the outside, but she's also GORGEOUS on the inside too!

    We had the most extraordinary experience today: Key Lime Pie got her patriarchal blessing. It was truly wonderful. The Spirit let us know that Key Lime Pie is definitely an impressive daughter of our Heavenly Father. I am honored to be her earthly mother. And I am eagerly watching for the marvelous things she will accomplish and do. I am fortunate to be on this journey with her.


    Thursday, October 6, 2011


    Today we went on another field trip. This time we got to go for a "cruise" on the Belle of Louisville. We had so much fun! The girls especially liked hanging out with their good friend, Applesauce! (She's the tall brunette in the pictures!)

    The Belle is a historic steamboat that was built in 1914.

    Her original name was Idlewild, but in 1947, she was renamed Avalon. Finally, in 1962, she was named the Belle of Louisville.

    Today she is recognized as the oldest operating Mississippi River-style, shallow hull steamboat in the country.

    She will turn 100 years old in 2014.

    What a fun day! We are so glad that Scott got to go with us too! Field trips ROCK!

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011


    I am learning a lot about blogs. I guess if you write a blog and save it... it puts the blog in the order it was written. I wanted it to be put in order of when published.... Well, check below General Conference for a new blog post that I think is worth your attention! :-)

    Monday, October 3, 2011


    How come after the final session of Conference on Sunday afternoon, you feel as though you are saying goodbye to a dear friend for six months? I almost feel sad that we can't listen to all the general authorities again. Of course, there is always the Internet where we can listen to them again and again. :-)

    This year was my favorite! (Of course, I declare that after every conference session I have ever watched in my 39 years of life!) Both of my daughters "feasted" upon the words of our leaders. (Which Scott and I were so excited about.) They took notes and were extremely attentive. And last night, during our weekly family council, both girls had a hard time choosing just ONE talk as their "favorite" to share with the family.

    Here was the break down:

    My favorite talk was the first talk of the entire conference, Elder Ricard G. Scott's talk, on the scriptures. It made me want to read my scriptures day and night without pause! :-) I especially liked how he compared the scriptures to good friends. I know that I have felt that way as I've memorized different scripture, etc. And I'm excited to share that love with my daughters this year as we home school.

    Both of my girls LOVED President Monson's talk. They loved his stories about the $5 bill in the laundry and his spiritual prompting for the temple dedication speaker. They both commented that not only was the prophet amazing and spiritual, he made them smile with his quirky facial expressions and fabulous story telling. But both girls decided to choose their second favorite speakers to share at family council because they thought EVERYONE would choose the prophet.

    Key Lime Pie finally decided on Elder David A. Bednar's talk. (I think she chose him because his son baptized her at the temple baptisms on Thursday! :-) She has decided that because of Elder Bednar she wants to do family history work. She took down the web page address and has decided to learn. (Incidentally, she asked me to help her and explained that I had NO idea how to do it... and that she would have to teach me!)

    Kotten Kandy finally decided to discuss Brother Yamashita's talk. She loved the three things he said you should take on a mission: 1. A desire to preach the gospel. 2. A testimony. and 3. Love of others.

    Scott was excited about the Priesthood Session of conference. He loved Elder Holland's talk. He said that Holland began by how Satan is eternally opposed to the love of God and the atonement of Christ and the declaration of peace. Satan knows he will loose in the end, but he wants to take as many with him as he can. (Can you say: Misery loves company?!) Elder Holland admonished the men to: "stay in the game" and to "get active and get clean."

    We LOVED conference! We are looking forward to April now!