Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kids say....

We discovered today that Benji doesn't say, "Give me five." He says, "Bring me five."

And this evening, Nathanael solemnly informed me, "Mom, when the fish jump out of the water, they swim in the grass."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Did I just read that?

One of my friends linked to an article on Facebook, and the text "blip" came out: 
"You can’t use logic against belief. |
You may use these HTML tags and attributes:"

So HTML works against beliefs where logic fails. Good to know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did I just read that?

"8 Horses Killed in Arson Fire Officials Say Was Possible Hate Crime"
Read more:"

Because it's a crime to hate horses.

Did I just read that?

"Council endorses new plans for mental health, substance abuse"

The first line of the article is great, too: "SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council has endorsed new authority plans for its mental health and substance abuse responsibilities."

They are responsible to abuse substances! And they have plans to do it.


Somethin' More


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Genetically modified food plants

People are always scared of 'Frankenfoods'--foods produced from genetically modified plants.

This is the greater danger of genetically modified plants: most are clones.

That means what infects one, infects them all, wiping out entire farms in one season:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Did I just read that?

From today: "Calvary Baptist Church celebrates Christ, longtime pastor"

So THAT'S where He's been all this time! I wonder if the Pope knows.....

Tim's new song

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just noticed: infant pain medicine....

In one of the nastier switch-ups I've seen in the last 10 years:

Equate (WalMart) brand infant acetaminophen used to come in a 1-oz bottle that cost half what Tylenol brand did. I've always used that kind.

Baby just got his shots, so I pulled out the new bottle and discovered they had re-done everything--new label, prettier colors, bottle just a hair wider than the old one. And, if I remember right, I paid the same amount I always have for it.

But I discovered today that the new, fancy, BIGGER bottle (just a little bigger, so it mostly looks the same) has HALF the amount of liquid in it! It's a .5 oz bottle, when it used to be a 1 oz bottle. For the same price.

Now that's rotten.

How to Make Your Own Chocolate Bunnies

First, draw an appropriately-sized bunny on a sheet of white paper, or print one off the internet. A half or a quarter of a regular 8x11 sheet of paper is just right.

If you want to find a drawing and print one, try one of these links. DO NOT do a google image search for "easter bunny" with your kids watching. Even with safe search turned on. I've never reported so many offensive images in one sitting ever before. Even the not-as-offensive ones were potentially scary or distressing to children (vampire bunnies about to bite kids' heads off? check. Dead bunnies? Check.).

Easter Bunny Pattern

Running Bunny Pattern

Detailed Classic Bunny Pattern

Put 1 c chocolate chips (your favorite kind-- milk, dark, semi-sweet, white) in a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp-1 tsp shortening (not butter or margarine!), more for a softer finished product (in fact, if the bunny is for a preschooler, you might want to leave out the shortening all together). Melt the chips 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir, and then cook at 30 second intervals, stirring after, until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted.

Spoon the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag.

Place a sheet of wax paper over your pattern. Snip off a corner (VERY small) of the plastic bag and squeeze the chocolate out, "drawing" around your pattern onto the wax paper. When the bunny is completely outlined, set it aside to harden (the freezer can speed this process).

When the chocolate is set, fill the bunny in with the remaining chocolate (which you might have to reheat in the microwave). You can squirt it out of your bag or spoon it into the outline. If you want, you can stir in raisins, nuts, or other "filling" before you fill the outline. You can also put down a thin later, add a "filling" like peanut butter creme or nougat, and then top that with chocolate to make a filled bunny. Cooler chocolate "mounds" better and makes a thicker bunny than hotter chocolate. Before the bunny sets up, decorate it with mini ribbons, bits of marshmallow, nuts, small candies, coconut, melted white chocolate, etc.

When the bunny looks perfect, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to harden, and then peel it from the wax paper and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Creme:
1/4 c margarine
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2-1 c powdered sugar.
Stir together the margarine and peanut butter. Then stir and knead in the powdered sugar until you have a nice playdough consistency.

Nougat filling is just divinity, believe it or not. The recipe is here:

Easter Party Day!

We didn't plan Easter on the right weekend this year. I was sick all week (better now, but it wiped out a lot of my prep time). Friday, Elijah got shots. He woke up this morning with the cold I just got over. And, with a strange combination of circumstances, Tim is trying to do a month's worth of filming and recording in 4 days, Friday to Monday.

Still, the kids have been counting down to their Easter Party Day for two weeks, so I couldn't just bump it to a different day.

But I was smart enough to spread it out.

So we colored boiled eggs on Friday this year. Rescheduling our easter candy party with friends to another day (waiting to see how the filming goes in order to pick a day).

And today, in one of Tim's breaks, we did the egg hunt.

After making sure each child had a dozen, color-coded plastic eggs, I opened a bunch of bags of candy and had the kids fill their own eggs. The rule is they can fill it as full as they want, but the egg has to close and stay closed by itself--no tape or rubber bands or anything. They filled their eggs happily with their favorite things.

Then they took turns hiding each other's eggs. Benji helped EVERYONE hide eggs, including his own, and then still had trouble finding his!

And then the hunt began!

Nathanael had no idea what was going on. He found one egg, opened it, and sat on the steps eating candy. The other kids raced around the yard finding eggs. Good thing we waited for afternoon--there was a lot of snow early this morning, but the afternoon was clear and dry enough for an egg hunt. They ended up helping each other find their eggs, and we found the last one when Tim and I were wandering the yard talking and he kicked a log out of the way, revealing that final stubborn green plastic egg.

Then we drifted inside to eat candy. While the kids were opening the eggs they'd just filled (you'd think it's less exciting because they know what's in the eggs, but no--they're just as delighted knowing as not knowing), Tim sat down to watch and found a pair of bongos by his feet (yes, this kind of thing happens around our house--there are bongos just lying around). So he drummed and improvised songs while the kids ate candy and danced and drummed and sang with him. It was really really delightfully fun.

We don't do Easter dresses/suits (which are just for showing off as far as I can tell--great way to celebrate the resurrection?). We don't do ANY presents or toys. We don't do the mystical egg-laying rabbit part (I never got that anyway--it's really dumb and lots of work for moms and dads that is unnecessary). We don't do easter baskets (this year, most of the kids used the same ice cream buckets they used for Halloween--they hang around the house being used for all kinds of things all year). We don't do that awful plastic grass that you can  never get rid of completely.

Then the kids settled down to eat candy and watch Kirby (their current favorite cartoon) online, Tim went back to filmmaking, and I made deviled eggs and am now rocking my napping, sickly baby.

Even with all we don't do, the kids are happily content. It's the candy they love.

Later, we'll make chocolate bunnies. (This is one I think everyone should try. It's SOOO much more fun to make your own chocolate bunnies and decorate them than it is to buy one in a box. And it's really really easy and cheap--and they taste better, with  more chocolate of the flavor you prefer and zero wax).

But for now? We rest.

And tomorrow, we celebrate the REAL Easter with the real reason for Easter--Jesus--not mixed with anything unhealthy, wild, worldly, competitive, or mystical. Phew. I like that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Did I just read that?

"When the public was allowed inside, Stephanie Sloop -- who shed a smile--was escorted in..."

Shed Not a tear? Does that mean she got rid of her mouth? Sloughed it off like a snake sheds its skin?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Did I just read that?

Love this quote regarding pipe bombers:

"Whether they're doing it because they're purely evil or in addition to being evil, they just want attention, I don't know."

Read more:

Evil? Or evil? You decide....

Also, from the same article: "When crews tried to explode the pipe bomb using a remote-controlled robot, it appeared to fall apart and detonation became unnecessary."

Did I just read that?

""We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain," President Obama said Thursday at a town hall meeting in Nevada.",0,2589099.story

HOWEVER, if it's for long-term gain, it's perfectly acceptable. You know, the way politicians do.

South American Metropolis, ca 100 AD

I have no idea if this is Book of Mormon peoples or not. But it was at the same time as the Book of Mormon peoples lived, and supports the idea (long disputed, but in keeping with what's described in the Book of Mormon) that ancient inhabitants of this land had organized governments, large cities, culture and traditions and economic systems beyond the "small peaceful tribes and clans" model that was pushed for decades (and still is taught in schools, I've discovered). But this is a city of 200,000 (get that? As big as Provo and Orem combined), thriving sometime between 1000 BC and 200 AD. (One of the cities in the area flourished from about 1000 to about 400 BC--just exactly the timeline the Jaredites were in their prime and then killed each other off--you remember they crossed with the Mulekites, who arrived sometime after 600 BC, but not too long after).

Anyway, cool research done by fellow Mormons.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Benji is often charming, funny, cute.

He's also a handful.

Tonight he:

Stood buck naked on a chair on the back porch and helped Nathanael throw toys into the neighbor's yard. While the neighbors were watching.

Chased Daniel through the yard screaming, hitting him with a sawn-off broom.

Threw my spray bottle out the bathroom window.

Let Nathanael out the front door (this doesn't sound terrible unless you've seen the street we live on--5 lanes, one of two major routes through town, speed limit 45).

Stole Daniel's lego boat, accidentally broke it, reassembled it but lost one piece.

Stuck a lego man up his nose. Luckily, I caught him in the act before it was too bad (at which point Caleb said, "Once I got a key stuck up my nose!" I said, "How did you get it out?" He replied, "I don't know....").

Went into a bedroom with Nathanael, closed the door, and pushed the bed in front of the door. And then couldn't figure out how to push it back.

Climbed half way up the face of the new fridge (at which point Anda pulled him off).

Stood on a chair and peed into a sink full of dirty dishes. (YUCK!)

(It wasn't ALL bad--he did help Anda sweep the back porch and back stairs.)

And yesterday he used a chair to climb up on the window sill of my bathroom window, which was wide open, has no screen, and is on the second story. I found out because Anda came screaming into the house.

He also ran around the kitchen holding two butcher knives while I was nursing....(He wanted me to cut the watermelon.)

Good thing he wasn't a first child or he would have been an only child!

Did I just read that?

"Getting Rid of Baby Car Seat - (Boulder) pic"

Pretty sure I'm not interested in a car seat from a company called "Getting Rid of Baby".

Now that's just distressing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Benji says,

"Ugh. Dis tastes gusting."

I had to sit for a minute at that one. Dis tastes gusting?

Then it dawned on me.  Benji says, "Dis" to mean "this."

So he probably hears, when we taste something really yucky, "Ewwww. This gusting!"

I guess he was correcting our grammar?

My Job

I have such an important job that if I fail, they throw me in jail. Or someone's life is ruined forever. Or both.

You'd think that, with such an important job that the future of the nation depends on me (and the others who have my job), that we would get a certain amount of respect, but no. Instead, we get criticized, shamed, called stupid, and generally dismissed as foolish, uninspired, unmotivated, dumber than average, unwilling to contribute to society, lazy.

The job is a hard one, too. It includes hours and hours and days and days and years and years of mundane, repetitive tasks that I can't outsource. There are no sick days. Days off are allowed, but seriously frowned upon and are generally few and far between (say, five in every ten years, if that), and never allowed on holidays.  The contract is for life. I can't get out of it.

And the tasks require millions of skills that I was never trained for and knowledge that they consider unimportant to teach in schools (so I have to just figure it out somehow a lot of the time). It's a job that nobody's ever done before, even though millions of people have the same job. I was trained for the job, of course, but it was while I was kid, so some of the details of the lessons didn't really sink in, and some I remember wrong.

But it's a job I'd never give up for anything, never trade, and don't regret taking.

I'm SO GLAD I decided to be a mom!

 Even on sick days.

Perhaps this is why morning sickness responds to carbs in most people?

"Professor Peter Gluckman, from Auckland University's Liggins Institute, said the rate of epigenetic change [that causes children to be obese] was possibly linked to a low carbohydrate diet in the first three months of pregnancy, but it was too early to draw a definitive conclusion and further studies were needed."
Read more:"

My 9 yo's Web Comic

This is what he does when I'm not looking.....

Benji says,

When Tim asked Benji, "What flavor is your candy?" 
Benji answered, "Sugar."

Tonight, I suddenly came down with a cold. Benji heard me talking in a rather husky voice and, patting my cheek, said, "Oh, mom, your nose is sickness. Mine is, too."

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Tim did in Boston

Solo on Tainted Love by Peter Driscoll

Killer bass on My Hat by Richard Steighner

And this is Tim's jazz parody (not a parody of a song, but of the whole genre), and then his quirky song "Love":

Tim talking about his equipment

Read this. Then read the comments.

Honestly, I laughed until I cried!

And yes, bless these parents. We need it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Self Esteem

I've been thinking a lot about Self Esteem since I read the article I linked to last week.

To Esteem something is to hold it in high regard.  So if you have self esteem, you hold yourself in high regard.

And for decades, we've been pushing esteeming oneself as the ultimate emotional goal for children.

We are told that we ought to hold ourselves in high regard, that this is important.

But to hold yourself in high regard, you have to think about yourself a lot. And, more importantly, you have to compare yourself to other people constantly. Holding something in high regard is a comparative concept. "High" can't exist separate from "-er than ____". In reality, in order to hold yourself in high regard, you must hold something else in lower regard than yourself. Otherwise, what is your estimation of yourself based on?

I don't think this is healthy. I don't think it's right to feel your value is based on how you measure up to some standard you set based on looking at other people, or some other way you just made up. For one thing, there's ALWAYS going to be someone better than you on every measure you can think of. That's just the nature of life. There is (or has been) someone smarter, prettier, more accomplished, etc. than every other person. While logically we conclude there must be a supreme end-point, in reality, that's just not a part of human existence.

Self-esteem is a waste of time. You spend your whole life thinking only about yourself and how you measure up, and since you can never truly be better than everyone else (or even anyone else, if we look at it realistically), it's a futile activity that cannot possibly lead to happiness.

Further, holding yourself in high regard is damaging to relationships because the very nature of esteeming oneself highly is competitive. In order to maintain your chimeric idea of your own value, you have to constantly prove to yourself that anything anyone else does, you can do, too, and better. They draw? You draw--just to prove you can. They cook? You cook. They write? You write. And inevitably, you feel lousy because you "can't do as well as they can" or you make them feel lousy by stepping on their toes to prove you can do it, too, and better. It is a selfish, narcissistic way of looking at the world that prevents you from really seeing anything except yourself--even when you look at other people, it is through that lens of how you compare to them, instead of seeing their value.

Constantly seeking high self esteem would prevent you from connecting with other people deeply, from rejoicing with them, from forgiving when they make mistakes (or even do something downright mean). Getting constant positive feedback would be paramount, and being able to change course, accept that you're fallible, make a mistake, or (gasp) repent would potentially bring the whole house of cards down on your head. Self-esteem is not stable--one little mistake, one slight, one offense, one error (even by accident) could destroy your whole identity, making it impossible to actually allow yourself to be human.

Self esteem is caught up in the concept of "because"--"I consider myself highly because I am good at art." Or "I am important, and hold myself in high regard because I am prettier than most people."

This is so fragile. What happens if you suddenly aren't prettier? What happens if suddenly you lose your abilities? What happens if you're paralyzed in an accident or are otherwise completely humiliated by something?

Self esteem is a pretty mask for pride, which is destructive.

The article I linked to earlier suggested that self-compassion is better than self esteem. I agree with that, but I think the idea can (and should) go further.

Rather than regarding yourself highly (having high self-esteem), I think the healthy thing to have is a solid sense of self-worth, ideally based on an understanding of who and what you are in God's eyes.

That would foster a confidence and strength and stability independent of how you compare to others. You don't have to be better than someone else, or compare to them at all because you have worth regardless of what others do, look like, accomplish, or seem to be--even, amazingly, regardless of what YOU do, look like, accomplish, or seem to be. Mistakes, instead of devastating, become something we learn from.

You see it around sometimes. People in happy marriages have a calm confidence, an ability to reach out to other people and to love them, an ability to brush it off when other people are mean or selfish instead of taking it to heart and being deeply damaged by slight or insult. Why? Because they know they are worth a great deal  to their spouse, and so they don't need to esteem themselves highly. Where they fit in the world's continuum doesn't end up mattering because they have worth and value--even if they get old or fat or lose their arm in an accident. They don't have to be valuable "because"--they are valuable.

I have occasionally seen it in new moms, too. Suddenly, instead of having value because of what they do at work, or how they look, or what they have, or how they compare to others, the women discover that they are worth a great deal to their baby, to their husband. And suddenly they can let go of all the competition, all the spending time on self, and embrace their own worth and then move forward, confident and happy.

Self-worth is not best gained by examining yourself and comparing until you find something you're best at. Self-worth is fostered by forgetting yourself and getting to work helping other people, loving other people. It is fostered by sharing your talents (regardless of how they compare to others), by giving what you can give (even if it's not as much, or as good, or as impressive as someone else can give).  Self worth is partners with humility (true humility, not the false humility that is actually pride in disguise and expresses itself as self-abasement) and charity. They work together, feeding and strengthening one another. Self worth breeds confidence--not self-confidence, which is false, but confidence separate from self, that doesn't require you to focus on yourself. Self worth is not competitive. It's not greedy. Unlike self-esteem, it doesn't need to be constantly fed, and it doesn't shrivel and die when the compliments and praise go away, or, worse, when things go downhill and suddenly everyone is angry at you (which happens to all of us at one point or another).

"Self-worth" and "self-esteem" might seem like synonyms, but they are drastically different. Take, for example, a tiny baby. Do we have any reason to hold them in high regard, to esteem them highly or over all men? No. They can't DO anything, and. in fact, cause their caretakers a great deal of trouble and pain.

But do they have worth?


And you'll find that a baby that knows that brings great joy to everyone around them.


I had a craving for cheesecake a few weeks ago. I knew my Mom used to make it all the time for wedding receptions, and she swears she won't make anything that isn't easy. Cream cheese was on sale, so I invested in some and dug out my mom's recipe.

Turns out, she's right. Cheesecake is easy--and comes out WAY better than the storebought kind. Anda and I checked a few days ago, and what you can make for around $4 costs $12 to buy--and the bought one is inferior.

I discovered very quickly that a cheesecake is a nice gift--people like them, they look fancy, and they freeze well (and therefore transport well).

So I'm posting the recipe here, since I keep promising to give it to friends.


3 packages cream cheese (8 oz each), softened
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
4 large or 5 medium eggs
1/3 lb graham crackers (1 pkg from a 1 lb box) crushed to about 1 1/4 c fine crumbs
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter or margarine

Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each on  medium or low speed, and scraping the bowl frequently. Mix graham crackers and 1/4 c sugar. Add melted butter and mix well. Press into 9" springform pan or 9" round cake pan lined with foil. You can just press it into the bottom, or part-way up the sides, too.  Pour in filling. Tap it gently on the counter or run a knife through it to pop the bubbles, if there are any. Bake at 300-315 F for one hour. Then turn off the oven but leave the door closed for an hour. Then prop the oven door open with a butter knife for another hour. Chill overnight or freeze (this is an important step--it "fixes" the texture).  Use the foil to life the cheesecake from the cake pan after it's chilled or frozen.

You can actually freeze this overnight, remove the pan, and slide the whole cheesecake into a gallon-sized ziploc bag to serve later.

I discovered that you can cook two at a time, but not three--three pushes them too close to the oven walls and they don't cook evenly.

Also, I discovered that cream cheese has a "use by" date that is six months down the road. So you can buy a bunch when it's on sale and then have cheesecake whenever you want.

Finally, we tried seriously whipping the mixture (usually a "no-no" with cheesecake) and it came out so incredibly fantastic--but it had cracks all over the surface, so it wasn't pretty when it was done. Worth trying, though!

Three notes from my mom, the cheesecake master:
1. Cream cheese should be room temp so it doesn't lump.
2. Beat as much as you want until you add the eggs.  After the eggs, almost no
3. Cream cheese is good for months after the expiration date.

Friday, April 15, 2011


A little over a year ago, my siblings got together and bought me a laptop. It has been heavenly.

Except for one thing: the kids use it for school, since it's one of two computers that really function well in the house.

So today I went out and bought two more computers from an artist whose business had upgraded. He was great--he even thanked me for homeschooling my kids!

Anyway, we now have 11 computers that work on one level or another, plus two more that have dead motors but data on them the kids want (so we keep the cpu's hanging around, waiting for me to get around to switching out the power sources).   11 working computers for a family of 8, only seven of whom are old enough to use a computer (we count kids "old enough" at 18 months....). Of those, we now have one for me (thanks to my fantastic siblings), one for Tim (which is dying, but might be saved with new RAM), and 4 more that can be hooked up to the internet (we take them off the  net when their OS gets too old for virus programs to protect, or when they are too slow to run the virus protection and the internet at the same time) that are fast enough to run the school programs I have the kids on, plus two for games and projects offline, and two for toddlers to use for and

That means that I can FINALLY put everyone on school at the same time, and I won't any longer have to share my laptop with 5-6 hours worth of school a day, as the kids take turns one at a time. Phew.

My living room is looking an awful lot like a school computer lab, though! And I'm having a hard time figuring out where to put the two new machines.....

Candy Yogurt

I keep calling the kids' favorite yogurt "candy yogurt" because it's so sweet and yummy. Today I happened to glance at the nutrition facts. One cup of strawberry "candy yogurt" has 33 grams of sugar in it! And that's the recommended serving size.

For comparison, 1 cup of my favorite mango-passionfruit ice cream has only 26 grams of sugar.

And a regular teaspoon holds 4 grams of sugar (approximately).

So that candy yogurt really is like candy. It has over 8 teaspoons of sugar in it! Pour that out on a plate sometime (it's 1/6 of a cup) and see if you really want to hand that to your kids with a spoon.

For further comparison: to get as much sugar as that one cup of yogurt holds, you would have to eat 2 1/2 Blow Pops (you know, the lollipops with gum in them?) or 3 DumDums lollipops or 9 Jolly Ranchers. (I like Jolly Ranchers, but I'm not sure I could eat NINE of them !).

No wonder that stuff tastes like a dessert. It IS one. Next time, I'm having ice cream for breakfast!

And for that yogurt craving? I started making my own yogurt again this week. 1 cup of homemade yogurt has as little sugar as I care to add--usually a teaspoon is sufficient (or two, for my sugar addicts, but I won't feel guilty about putting that second one in anymore!). And I make it out of whole milk, which means there is enough fat and protein to balance out the sugar better and help it digest more slowly, which helps it have less impact on your body.

My next experiment: making yogurt from half-and-half or cream. Sounds yum.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Horse

My kids love to drive Tim to the airport because of the horse.

Right at the entrance to the Denver Airport is an enormous horse sculpture. The horse appears to be rearing up in terror.

The best part?

Its eyes glow red.

Oh, and the horse is painted bright blue.

It is the downright scariest sculpture I have EVER seen. The original nightMare.

My kids say, "It's a thestral! Tell us when we're driving past the thestral statue."

As we drove past today, Tim said in a low, growly, horror-film voice, "Welcome to Denver. You will never leave!"

Honestly, that's what it looks like. We're going to welcome people to our lovely city by trampling them with the giant blue nightMare of terror with its glowing red eyes that watch you drive past.....

There's a picture here, if you want to see:

Apparently the horse killed its sculptor before it was finished. How's that for creepy? I guess the thing is cursed. I'm sure that makes you so happy to be flying out of DIA, right?

Did I just read that?

From the package of Kraft brand string cheese:

"Natural cheese."

Good to know. I wouldn't want to feed my kids "unnatural" cheese. Or artificial cheese.

Did I just read that?

From the Cool Whip container I bought today:


Not an inch away, on a yellow banner, "Now richer and creamier."

So that makes it...not the original recipe, right?

I guess they didn't want the label to say, "Not original," though. Since they aren't like everyone else?

Touring. Without me.

They say you get used to it, but I still cry every time Tim leaves.

This time, he managed to get a full week's worth of work in Colorado overlayed with 4 days in Boston, which got crammed onto 2 days in Utah. Everyone's shifting schedules added up to a long a difficult trip for him. And for us left at home.

Unfortunately, this is the week the Governor's Energy Office decided we needed a new furnace. And they only work mornings (8:30 am--which is about 1:30 am in Wonderland). Normally, when people need to work with us in the middle of the night, Tim gets up and lets me sleep through it. But he's gone, so I get to. Tomorrow, when they measure for the furnace (again! I tried to tell them they already did that, but the guy thought I was nuts and had no idea what I was talking about--so now I feel sorry for the homeowners who get the furnace that was measured for our house), it won't be so bad. I'll get up and get dressed, watch them measure for about half an hour, then get back into my jammies and go back to bed. It's the next day or day after, when they come to work all day installing the new furnace, that I dread. I should be awake for that . Not happy about it, partially because I then have to be a functioning single parent afterward.

Come to think of it, I should request they install next week, when Tim is home. I just can't see that working.

Meanwhile, Tim is hanging out in Boston, one of my all-time favorite spots to visit. He's hosting the Harmony Sweepstakes with Plumbers of Rome there this weekend. He's doing a show at a college. He's going to attend the ICCA finals, which he's always wanted to do just for the experience. Then he flies to Utah to perform two school shows (I think as a solo act). Comes home Wednesday morning next week.

Normally, Tim works really really hard to limit his tours to four days at a time for the sake of our family. The rule, originally, before we had six kids, was if he was going to be gone for more than 4 days, the whole family came with him. It worked when we had 2 kids and his tours were all in the region. Little trickier when he has to hit Colorado, Boston, and Utah in 7 days time.  He's in a little bit of an awkward space. If he were on tour MORE, we could just go live in a motor home and travel with him. If he were on tour LESS, we'd see him plenty and it wouldn't matter. As it is, we deal the best we can.

Lots of talk lately about where his career needs to go next, and we're excited about the possibilities.

Just hoping this week goes smoothly.

Single mom of 4 occasionally wasn't too hard. Single mom of 5 was do-able. Single mom of 6 so far hasn't been very easy. We might finally be reaching the point where it is actually harder to be home alone with the kids than it is to be with Tim on the road with them. We'll see.  It's a rock and hard place, for sure.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Caleb's Math Tricks

When I was a kid, I just learned math the way they taught it in school. I didn't spend time figuring out tricks very much. I didn't think in math.

Caleb claims to not love math, but he thinks of tricks all the time.

For example, the other day I was teaching Anda the Saxon Math 54 lesson on "these multiplication facts are the memory group; there are no useful tricks to help you remember them" and Caleb piped up, "Well, there's one for some of those."

"What is it?" I asked.

"When you are multiplying two single-digit numbers that happen to be two apart, like 5 and 7, or 6 and 8, the answer is the number between them squared minus one," he said.

I, of course, had to try a few. It works every time. 6 times 8 does, in fact, equal 7 times 7 minus one.

"How did you figure that out?" I asked.

"Well, I was messing around trying to figure out if I could apply my addition trick to multiplication," he said.

"What's your addition trick?" I asked.

"When two numbers are two apart, and you have to add them, the answer is the number between them doubled," he said.

So I had to try that one, too. It works, of course. I immediately could grasp the logistics of that one--you have two groups of objects, two digits apart, and if you take one from the larger group and stick it in the smaller group, they have equal amounts. You've averaged them and landed at the number between.

That he could apply it to multiplication was cool.

Of course, Anda immediately pointed out that the trick is useless if you haven't yet memorized your square numbers.....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interesting points here

In trying to make a very small minority not feel uncomfortable in their own skins and with their own disabilities, we are cutting out own throats? This guys arguments make a LOT of sense.

Are we essentially putting everyone in a wheelchair so that people with wheelchairs no longer feel disabled, but "normal"? Are we plugging everyone's ears so that deafness is no longer a disability, but a way of life that is normal for everyone?

As a mother of sons, I find it increasingly distressing that our culture wants them to grow up to be girls, instead of men. Fathers. How can we have fathers if we throw all the boys away? If we destroy them because they aren't feminine? How can we have mothers if we teach women that being lustful, aggressive, selfish, and business-minded is right and good, but being sensitive, charitable, nurturing, feminine is evil?

And how on earth did we get to this point that men are worthless unless they act like women, and women are worthless unless they act like men? That seems ludicrous. If we value femininity so much in men, why can't we see its value in women? If we value masculinity so much in women, why can't we value it in men?

Looking at our world as it is now, I am grateful that my boys have a chance to grow up and have the priesthood--and that women don't.  Our world has become so confusing, my boys need something that gives them focus, direction, and value in society. They need something that teaches them hard work, commitment, sacrifice, love, and that men have a vital, important role that nobody else can properly fill. They aren't going to learn that from our society. All they learn from our society is that white men are evil, male-ness is evil, family is stupid, and being a father means donate sperm and walk away.

What a sad, scary world it is.

Joseph Smith says.....(Quotes from Minutes from Early RS Meetings)

it is natural for females to have feelings of charity—  you are now plac’d in a situation where you can act according  to those sympathies which God has planted in your bosoms.  If you live up to these principles how great and glorious!—  if you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrain’d  from being your associates— females, if they are pure and innocent  can come into the presence of God; for what is more pleasing to God than innocence; you must be innocent or you cannot come  up before God. If we would come before God let us be pure  ourselves. The devil has great power— he will so transform  things as to make one gape at those who are doing the will  of God— You need not be tearing men for their deeds,  but let the weight of innocence be felt; which is more mighty than a millstone hung about the neck. Not war,  not jangle, not contradiction, but meekness, love, purity, these  are the things that should magnify us.— ... If you will be pure, nothing can hinder.
After this instruction, you will be responsible for  your own sins. It is an honor to save yourselves— all are  responsible to save themselves."

"...Let this Society teach how to act towards husbands  to treat them with mildness and affection. When a man is  borne down with trouble— when he is perplex’d, if he can meet  a smile, an argument— if he can meet with mildness, it will  calm down his soul and soothe his feelings. When the mind  is going to despair, it needs a solace."

"...When you go home never give a cross  word, but let kindness, charity and love, crown your works  henceforward. Don’t envy sinners— have mercy on them.  God will destroy them.— Let your labors be confin’d most ly to those around you in your own circle; as far as knowledge  is concerned, it may extend to all the world, but your  administrations, should be confin’d to the circle of your  immediate acquaintance, and more especially to the  members of the Society."

"One request to the Prest. and Society,  that you search yourselves— the tongue is an unruly  member— hold your tongues about things of no moment, — a little tale will set the world on fire. At this time  the truth on the guilty should not be told openly— Strange  as this may seem, yet this is policy. "

"To the iniquitous show yourselves  merciful. I am advis’d by some of the heads of the  church to tell the Relief Society to be virtuous— but  to save the church from desolation and the sword  beware, be still, be prudent. Repent, reform but do  it in a way to not destroy all around you. I do not  want to cloak iniquity— all things contrary to the will [p. 52] of God, should be cast from us, but dont do more hurt  than good with your tongues— be pure in heart— Jesus  designs to save the people out of their sins. Said Jesus  ye shall do the work which ye see me do. These are the grand key words for the Society to act upon.
If I were not in your midst to aid and council  you, the devil would overcome you. I want the innocent  to go free— rather spare ten iniquitous among you than  than condemn one innocent one. “Fret not thyself because  of evil doers.” God will see to it."

"Supposing that Jesus Christ and angels should object  to us on frivolous things, what would become of us? We  must be merciful and overlook small things."

"Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to  forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them  with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindn ess and love to me, O what pow’r it has over my mind,  while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all  the harsh feelings and depress the human mind."

" if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another."

"We must walk  uprightly all day long— How glorious are the principles  of righteousness! We are full of selfishness—  the devil flatters us that we are very righteous, while we  are feeding on the faults of others— We can only live by  worshipping our God— all must do it for themselves—  none can do it for another. How mild the Savior  dealt with Peter, saying “when thou art converted, stren gthen thy brethren”— at an other time he said to him  “lovest thou me? ‘Feed my sheep.”— If the sisters  love the Lord let them feed the sheep and not destroy  them. "

"The way to keep all the saints  together and keep the work rolling, is to wait with  all long suff’ring till God shall bring such characters  to justice. There should be no license for sin, but  mercy should go hand in hand with reproof.
Sisters of this Society, shall there be strife among  you? I will not have it— you must repent and get  the love of God. Away with selfrighteousness. The  best measure or principle to bring the poor to repentance  is to administer to their wants— the Society is not only  to relieve the poor, but to save souls."

"Altho’ I do wrong, I do  not the wrongs that I am charg’d with doing— the wrong  that I do is thro’ the frailty of human nature like  other men. No man lives without fault. Do you  think that even Jesus, if he were here would be with out fault in your eyes? They said all manner of [p. 80] evil against him— they all watch’d for iniquity."

" The servants  of the Lord are required to guard against those things  that are calculated to do the most evil— the little foxes  spoil the vines— little evils do the most injury to the  church. If you have evil feelings and speak of them  to one another, it has a tendency to do mischief— these  things result in those evils which are calculated to  cut the throats of the heads of the church.
When I do the best I can— when I am accompl ishing the greatest good, then the most evils are got up  against me. I would to God that you would be wise.
I now counsel you, if you know anything, hold your  tongues, and the least harm will be done."