Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Motherhood IV

There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

How to sew on a button

When I was an eager young 8-year-old (or there abouts) I took sewing 4-H from my friend's mother. I started with a pillow and pot holders and eventually made a skirt with gathers, stretch pants and a shirt with a collar and buttons. It was very impressive.

During these classes I learned how to sew on a button with flair (or something like that). It involves wrapping the thread between the button and the fabric. It is hard to explain, but I just happened on a great tutorial on The Purl Bee. You should check it out.

Kids make you rich

This morning at breakfast. . .

Scott: "Mom, do you want to be rich?"

"Oh, yeah, totally."

"What if I gave you all my money?"

"I don't think that would make me rich."

"No, if all your kids gave you all our money."

"That still wouldn't make me rich."

"What if you had 90 kids?"

"Oh, then I'd definitely be rich!"

"NO, a hundred, a thousand!"

Actually sweetie, just having you makes me rich beyond belief.

Brooke and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!

Last Sunday for us Utahans and this coming Sunday for everyone else (no snide comment inserted) I was/will be on Music and the Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Fortunately, I wasn't music-ing or spoken word-ing. I was just the model for the painting shown during the spoken word part. Fancy.

My friend Amy does many of the paintings for Music and the Spoken Word. You can see some of her work on Amy's Art.

Below I've included the good word that accompanied my sweet mug.

"In today’s world of mass production, handmade items are more meaningful than ever. Beyond being well-crafted, original workmanship, they can be manifestations of love, personal evidence of our care and concern.

"Think how heartwarming original drawings and less-than-perfect handwriting on a homemade card can be. Smell rolls fresh out of the oven, rather than in packages that preserve their shelf life; feel the warmth of a quilt that’s been pieced together one square at a time, hour after hour, day by day; touch the smooth finish on a handmade toy car, and you feel a connection with the person who made it. In every stitch, in every cut, in every shaping of such handiwork, is a little bit of its creator.

"A newly married woman found extra meaning in a handmade wedding gift, a blanket that had been crocheted by her elderly friend.

"Fingering the loops of yarn, the bride counted 108 blue and white squares and smiled at the thought of her friend resting the blanket across her feeble knees as she crocheted. The blanket was more than a warm covering to the young woman; it was a tangible reminder of her friend’s love.

"Whether a hand-sewn blanket or a handwritten note, such homemade items are filled with the human touch. Their mass-produced counterparts, though sometimes just as beautiful, don’t represent the same kind of time, effort, and care. Just as “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament [showeth] his handywork,” our creations can tell of our love for those most dear to us. Sometimes, generations later, a family member or friend might still enjoy the work of our hands and think of the person who cared enough to make it."

Well, what do you think? Can I pass for a newly married woman with my 5 child body? Probably not in real life, but in the wonderful world of artistic impression and really good imagination, maybe.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Beautiful, Soft-lit Living room

Isn't this beautiful? I think I need taller ceilings.
And more flowers.

Via Oliveaux

Make a list Monday (MaLM) - Fish Lottery

Make a List Monday -- Fish lottery

Did you ever read The Lottery? It's a short story about the cheery selection of a random towns person's doom. I read it in middle school just in time to form a rock-solid self worth!

Anyway, our fish are about to meet such a fate. We were told that our starter fish would die in the process of conditioning our tank. Except guess what, goldfish are the indestructible dwarf relatives of carp! So we have to "release" (I just reread The Giver) about 8 of the 12.

Just going by name, which would you choose to set free or keep?

1. Slip
2. Pedro
3. Sherbet
4. Sherbert
5. Gorbachev
6. Tiger
7. Dreamsicle
8. She-who-shall-not-be-named
9. Opal
10. Burn
11. I honestly can't remember the last two.
12. AHHHH I forgot maybe my favorite,
Rosita Chiquita Juanita Chihuahua

Which ones will live on?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Spot of Sun

The creative output of my kids is sometimes overwhelming but always delightful. Here is a sample of how my house looks today. Go here to hear my husband rhyme his way through the paper jungle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harry Potter and friends and the mysterious ticking

Thanks to Ana from Choose the Write for posting this awesome little ditty.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Front yard landscaping

I've been trying to plan a front yard landscape for a long time. I just can't decide what to do. Matt wants to be clear that if I make a bunch of big flower beds (against his better judgement) that I'll be weeding them. (Truthfully, he'll help if I ask I think, but I do most of that.)

I drove around and snapped some pictures to study. I decided to go to a more expensive neighborhood after driving around mine and seeing that there wasn't much creative, well, nice-looking creative going on. I figured maybe there were more professionally designed yards in the higher end market.

So here they are. If you wouldn't mind, leave a comment about which one you like best and why. I'm curious to see which ones you like. Thanks. Keep in mind that some of these are obviosly new lanscapes and will grow in some day (the main drawback of newer areas).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scott's impatience

"Wheeeeeeen are you going to be done?"

"In three minutes."

"But that's almost a whole HOUR!"

Motherhood III

You give up your self, and finally you don't even mind. I wouldn't have missed this for anything. It humbled my ego and stretched my soul. It gave me whatever crumbs of wisdom I possess today.

Erica Jong

The Tanner Gift of Music and Brian Stokes Mitchell

Saturday, Matt and I went to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony in the Tanner Gift of Music. This concert is a "gift" from the Tanners of the O C Tanner company. They have it every 2 or 3 years. This year Brian Stokes Mitchell and Denise Graves were guest soloists as well as the conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Erich Kunzel.

The concert was an "American Songbook" and featured so many great songs from American composers such as Some Enchanted Evening, Come, Come ye Saints, Call of the Champions, Ragtime, and many songs about America, including God Bless America.

It was so great. The songs were all so beautiful and I absolutely loved Mitchell! He had a beautiful and powerful voice and was so very personable.

Mitchell's singing of The Impossible Dream prompted my new week's goal of memorizing the words. I absolutely love this moving song, and you can see a more "actorly" singing of it by Mitchell, below. Enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Blower's Daughter

The other night I pulled up this video from a post last summer. I must have listened to it 10 times in a row. It is just so pretty and calming.

And sorry Chelse, but I like this one better than Damien Rice's.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Motherhood II

There are so many disciplines in being a parent besides the obvious ones like getting up in the night and putting up with the noise during the day. And almost the hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection and not a fountain, to show them we love them, not when we feel like it, but when they do.

--Nan Fairbrother

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My two cozy girls

Two scarfs, down the hatch! Two happy girls. One jealous boy (not shown).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The best chocolate chip cookie

I really think warm chocolate chip cookies are the best dessert out there. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I'd rather have a fresh strawberry pie or a smooth and rich cheesecake, but I am always up for a chocolate chip cookie. The New York Times has a great article about this classic cookie. Read it here.

I, like my family before me, have always been a follower of the classic Toll House recipe. But I think I'll give this one a try, especially the tips on how to make them.

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

MaLM - Meal planning

Make a list Monday -- My meal planning of joy and love and organization

This plan has been rattling around in my head for some time. I'm going to try it this week. The plan is to assign each day a food category so when Thursday comes around, I'll be able to pick a dinner without so much stress. I really am terrible at planning meals. I hope this helps.

Sunday-- I don't cook, we piece and pick to keep things low key
Monday-- crock pot meal or soup (so I can work, work, work all day and have dinner planned from the beginning)
Tuesday-- Matt's night (recently Matt and I have worked out Tuesdays so that he makes dinner and I get the whole night off to do what I will, in or out and about. Love it! This is by far the best meal category.
Wednesday-- Mexican
Thursday-- Italian (We do love pasta)
Friday-- kids meal (Matt and I try to eat out on a date each Friday)
Saturday-- free day, lets eat whatever (I may change this to the meat night, we'll see)

I am torn about this schedule. I toyed with the idea of a meat night or new recipe night. I'll try this for a while though. What categories would you use?

Life makes us sing

Does life make you sing? I hope so. My husband makes my life sing, and luckily, he sings to me, too. He's left another little love note at My Wife Rules. Go be inspired. Oh, and don't believe everything he says about me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 months of Charity

Oh, what a sweet girl we have! She has definitely lived up to her name and given us nothing but love and smiles and the occasional explosion of poop. Is that part of Charity? It seems it is, and I'll take it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nie Nie in the New York Times

I've been reading the Nie Nie Dialogues since she was a guest mom on Design Mom. Since her recent accident, her blog neighborhood has rallied around her and her husband to raise money and send prayers for their recovery.

The New York Times wrote a great article about the blessings that blogging can bring about. Imagine, good people uniting and loving and bring more light into the world. The light will shine on Stephanie and her family, but it shines on us too, and brightens all mankind. Because light and love don't differentiate, they just enrich and warm.

Take a minute to read it here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hawaii memories and the high five of love

Matt and I must have been on the same wavelength lately. I've been thinking about our dreamy trip to Hawaii a year ago, and apparently so has he. Remember our high five of love? He wrote about it on his blog, it may be a little more thoughtful, lovely and inspired than when I wrote about it, or it may not. See for yourself here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Celebrating the Olympics one last time

In case you want to relive a little Olympic gymnastics (1988 that is, and okay, maybe not strictly the Olympics, but some important competition no doubt).

He is honestly really good, it's amazing! Thanks to Luell for sending this one out.

Sarah Palin

Admittedly, I don't know much about Sarah Palin (like most people), but what I do know sounds pretty good.

1. She was born in Idaho
2. She has 5 kids, the last one born in April (even 2 boys, 3 girls)
3. She played sports in high school
4. Her mother taught elementary school.
5. She has a studly husband

Just those things make her sound pretty sweet. (Maybe she sounds like someone else you know, hint, hint.) Don't you think?

Back to School

We had back to school night last night. I visited all three classrooms and was excited about all of them. In Dawn's classroom I looked at the volunteer sheet and marked a few things (help at parties, help from home), then I walked out the door.

Then I walked back in and looked at the empty room mom box. Then I walked out again. Then I walked back in and signed myself up. What have I gotten myself into? I really don't know.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Bearded Roman

The Artist's Sister by Adolf von Menzel

I wanted to share a different and interesting blog that I occasionally visit for a bit of culture and art education.

It describes itself thus:
Bearded Roman is a blog about fine art in the classical tradition, with a special emphasis on nineteenth-century painting. It is maintained by art historian Micah Christensen, who currently lives in London.

Howies Rootbeer Reigns as Champ

This summer our very discerning family did a blind root beer study. We compared 5 brands of root beer and ranked them.

The contestants were:

Howeies, a locally made and distributed root beer.
IBC (from a bottle)

We were going to include homemade, but we ran out of pep and time amidst all the fun.

And the big winner was. . .


Howies had a great smooth vanilla flavor. A&W was a close second, followed by Shasta, IBC and Barqs in last place. No one really liked the Barqs; it was the most bitter. We were also surprised by the low placement of IBC which some favored before the test.

Of course any root beer is improved with a big scoop of ice cream in it, so have one for me today.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to Win Friends and Influence People - 2

Chapter 2: The Big Secret of Dealing with People

People want to feel important. Making people feel important through honest and sincere compliments is the way to influence people.

Dale Carnagie says "The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want." p. 37

This doesn't mean you should flatter people. Flattery is insincere praise. But truly see what others accomplish, what they do well, and tell them.

When we are not engaged in thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95 per cent of our time thinking about ourselves. Now, if we stop thinking about ourselves for awhile and begin to think of the other man's good points, we won't have to resort to flattery so cheap and false that it can be spotted almost before it is out of the mouth.

As Charles Schwab said, be "hearty in [your] approbation and lavish in [your] praise."