Sunday, October 31, 2010

No Parking

Check out this darling handout for Young Women:

Isn't that awesome?  So clever!  It was created by Lori Sume who is a very talented artist and an overall positive person.  I'm sure we'd be great friends if we'd ever actually met.  :)  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Star

Neil Berg's '100 Years of Broadway' came to our community tonight.  It was an amazing show, giving us a big dose of Broadway with many popular songs sung by actual Broadway stars.  Some of the shows represented were Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, Westside Story, Carousel, Cats, Rent and several others.  The performers we were privileged to hear were Carter Calvert, Ted Louis Levy (he was so funny!), Rita Harvey and Grant Norman.  Neil Berg was the pianist for all numbers and there was also a drummer and bass player.  The acoustics were awesome in our brand new concert hall and it was really enjoyable.

In the weeks leading up to the production, local singers were encouraged to submit videos via YouTube, facebook, or myspace. Then the stars selected one winner and a few runners-up to perform the finale with the stars.  Savannah had been asked by a couple of friends if she would be the accompanist for their audition videos.  At the last minute, she decided to submit an audition video as well.  A week later, she was excited to receive an e-mail notifying her that she'd been selected as a runner-up. 

Among the 7 who were selected, Savannah was by far the youngest.  All were at least in college while Savannah is still in Middle School.  If you were to ask her, she'd say it was the best day of her life so far.  She really had a great time and I'm so happy that she had the opportunity to be a part of it.

Rita Harvey, Savannah and Neil Berg
Ted Louis Levy.  This guy can tap dance!
He called Savannah "the baby" because she was so young.

Grant Norman (a.k.a. Gaston and The Phantom)
 Not pictured: Carter Calvert

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Funny

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence:  he’s allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. "Cold floors," he says. They nod and send him away.

Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, "Bad food." They nod and send him away

Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. "I quit," he says. "That’s not surprising," the elders say. "You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your destination you have reached

We love this clever ad for the TomTom GPS.  Our Garmin is working fine so we won't be switching anytime soon, but this is good for a laugh.  It should give you the option to watch the Darth Vader video when this one is through.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Before and After: The Storage Room

Before Jeff built our new garage 2 years ago, our old one wasn't ideal for storing all of Jeff's tools.  As a result, a lot of his stuff ended up in our basement food storage room.  Knowing we were going to remedy this situation, it got to the point where we stopped trying to find a place for stuff in the storage room in the months leading up to the completion of the garage.  As you can see, it got a bit out of hand:

Now that Jeff's tools have a place of their own, I love my storage room!  We've got plenty of space for the things we use.  Granted, sometimes one shelf or another is overflowing depending on what's on sale, but it's so nice to have my own little store downstairs when I run out of something.  I'm not a big shopper so this drastically reduces my trips to the store.  I love the convenience and the peace of mind.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Savannah spent most of the day Saturday with her friend, Devanne [Pronounced 'Devin.']  The girls decided to get all dolled up so that Devanne's sister could take them out to a rickety old bridge for an impromptu photo shoot.  These two sure make for some beautiful photos!  Here are a few of my favorites:



Monday, October 25, 2010

Youth In Harmony

Sam spent all day at the University with kids from 11 other schools.  The emphasis of their instruction was the art of barbershop harmony.  The day culminated in an evening concert where the girls sang 2 songs then the boys sang 2 songs, all barbershop style.  The girls did a good job, but I LOVE men's voices in harmony and I wasn't disappointed.  Sam enjoyed his participation and is happy his singing voice hasn't changed so he can still be a first tenor.  After the High School groups performed, the rest of the concert was filled with professional groups.  Other than Sam's numbers, my favorite was the last group, "After Hours".  They are 4 college guys, singing barbershop of course, who were very entertaining.  It was a great night. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fright Night

It's tonight!  Sam and Sterling have been working hard.  The two main numbers are listed on the poster, but they are also playing Star Wars which is Sterling's favorite.  The entire orchestra will be in costume as will any children in the audience.  It's great fun.  I can't wait! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Release

Sadie and her two little friends were watching our old VHS copy of Snow White.  During the previews, Sadie ran to me, with excitement in her 5-year-old voice, and said,
"Hey Mom, Pocahontas is coming to theaters in 1999!
Can we go?" 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Funny

A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.” The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the quarters and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!” Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?” The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Old Favorite

You know how sometimes, when looking through pictures, you come across an old photo that just makes your heart happy?  The one that makes you say to yourself, "That's my favorite!" every time you see it?  Okay, so maybe I say that about a lot of pictures, but this one is right up there at the top.  I love how Sam has his butterfly net over his shoulder...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How To

Sterling is determined to publish a book.  He gets a lot of practice writing them.  It's not uncommon to find him at the computer writing the latest installment in the adventures of one Bionicle or another.  The other day, he came up with a gem:  How To Draw Star Wars Lightsabers.  Might as well write about what you know!  Don't rush out to buy it just yet.  It's not on store shelves at the time of this posting, but here's a sneak peek...

Sample Page

Back Cover

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Use the Force

The assignment:  Make a poster for "Red Ribbon Week," encouraging kids to stay away from drugs.  Sterling did not want to do it.  I convinced him to go with what he knows and Sterling knows Star Wars.  We put our heads together and this is the result.  I think a lot of little boys at school will love it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Playing School

I was cleaning out a notebook the other day when I came across several pages that looked like they had been made for a play school.  For example, one had a childish drawing of a cat with the words, "Circle the answer.  What mammal is this?  a)dog  b)cat  c)lion  d)tiger."  I had to laugh when I got to this one:

I didn't know my kids even knew what a brown recluse was!  I sure didn't at their age.  I don't know who made these pages (it was an old notebook), but if I had to guess, I'd say Sterling.  He's a crazy kid!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Love Lucy

Thinking my kids would enjoy them, I recently got the first two seasons of "I Love Lucy."  I started them off with one of my favorite episodes, "Lucy does a TV commercial," where she is promoting the health product, Vitameatavegamin.  Her lines start out with,

"Do you poop out at parties?  Are you unpopular?"

Each time she rehearses the commercial, Lucy has to take a spoonful of the foul-tasting liquid.  Because of the high alcohol content, she soon becomes a little tipsy and starts slurring or otherwise mixing up her lines.  During one run-through in her drunken state, her opening lines come out as,

"Do you pop out at parties?  Are you unpoopular?" 

The kids, especially Soren, laughed and laughed and they've been quoting it ever since.  A great show!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Funny

A husband came home to find his wife painting the living room, but she had her raincoat and her fur coat on.  He asked her why she had her coats on.

She replied, "I read the can and it said, 'For best results, put on two coats.'"
I've used all my favorite jokes.  This one is admittedly cheesy.
Please send me something better!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Those pesky fruit flies

What is it with the fruit flies this year?  Do you have more than usual, too?  Fortunately, we have far fewer now that we've implemented this trick I learned:  Simply place a glass with a little apple cider vinegar and a paper funnel in your windowsill or on the counter.  The fruit flies love it and then can't get out.  I usually carry the glass outside after a day or two and release the flies.  For a less humane way to dispose of the creatures, try adding a drop of dish soap.  It reduces the surface tension so they drown if they touch the vinegar.  Either way, it totally works.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Finally, as of about 8:30 tonight, 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped 1/2 mile underground for 70 days are safe.  I've been riveted to my computer screen, with the rest of the world, watching their rescue.  It has been inspiring, to say the least.  We don't have cable television so I've watched it all through a live feed on which was without any anchor commentary. As it turns out, one doesn't need a translator to understand joy. 

In all I've read, I've had the overwhelming feeling that all efforts have been calculated to bring about the best possible outcome for these men, in or out of the mine.  I was impressed by what I read in one article a couple of weeks ago where they discussed what the men could and could not have in the mine while they awaited their rescue:  Movies and television were okay, but no dramas.  That would be "mental cruelty."  No iPods.  That would encourage isolation and "what they need is to be together."  Nothing was decided on a whim.  The well being of the group was of utmost importance. There were a lot of great lessons I learned from watching this unfold.  It's been a great day!!
Rescue Shaft
Rescue Capsule being lifted into place
The capsule leaving the mine
Giving credit where credit is due
Six rescuers - the only people left in the mine after a successful mission


I wanted to share another positive impression that was made upon me during the past 24 hours.  Throughout the entire mine rescue, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera was on site encouraging, smiling, and hugging.  His optimism and hope were tangible.  He was among the first to greet each miner after they ascended from their 70-day prison.  I was so impressed with him and his wife - she was at his side throughout.  After the last miner was safe, President Pinera made a speech.  At the end of his speech, he switched from Spanish to English which, to me, was another sign of his desire for unity as he just brought me right in to share the joy of the moment.  I was so impressed by his words that I've transcribed them here.  If I've messed up the punctuation, please forgive:
Tonight we have experienced a night that we will never forget. Full of emotion. Full of joy. Each time I had the chance to hug the miners, they were so happy because they were experiencing a kind of rebirth. And I think that Chile today is more united and it's stronger than it was before this rescue effort and before the examples that have been given to the whole world by the miners, their families and also our engineers, the people that worked to rescue our miners. And I'm sure that Chile today is more respected. And I'm sure that people have known better about this small country very far away from the rest of the world; by the country that is able to fight against adversity in a united way with strength, with faith, with hope. And I'm very proud, not only of being Chilean, I'm very proud to have the privilege and the responsibility to be the president of Chile in this year that we have had to face so many adversities: The earthquake, which was a huge one, a devastating one. Now this rescue effort which has been an inspiring experience, I'm sure, not only for the Chileans, for the whole world. Thank you very much.
 It's been inspiring for me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My brother, Rob, inherited the Family History stuff when my Grandma died.  Included was a shoebox full of letters I sent to my Grandma over the years.  He sent it to me and it arrived today.  I grabbed a letter out at random from February 2005 and found some cute quotes from Spencer.  He would have been 5 at the time:

"I don't have any earwax anymore.  My ears are just plain, plain, plain."

"Mom, I have had my shoes on all day.  I think they bring me good luck.  So can I wear them to bed?"  (Spencer generally took his shoes off as soon as he walked in the door from school.)

"Are some markers pregnant?"  We looked at him kind of funny so he repeated himself.  "Are some markers pregnant?"  Another strange look.  "Wait, what does pregnant mean?"  We explained it means that you have a baby in  your tummy.  So he asked, "Does it also mean something that doesn't come off?"  The light went on and we said, "Oh, you mean 'permanent.'"  "Yeah.  Mrs. Fleming (his Kindergarten teacher) has some markers that are permanent..." 

Isn't that cute?  Time goes way too fast!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Our yard almost got toilet papered last night.  That was apparent by the 4 rolls of toilet paper that had been dropped in our back yard.  We have four motion sensor lights.  Jeff thinks the little vandals were scared off when the lights turned on.  But it looks like our neighbors a few doors down would do well to install some motion sensor lights of their own! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Four OH!

Well, it's here.  The big birthday.  I remember when my parents turned 40.  I thought they were SO old!  In fact, on his 40th birthday my dad's friends gave him these little plastic trucks -for his 2nd childhood- as well as a cane.  Somehow it doesn't seem quite so old anymore.  I don't feel 40.  I don't think I look 40.
The kids and Jeff all had the day off today so we went camping last night.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time, even if we did forget the camera and all the fixins for S'mores. Yes, I'm well aware that forgetfulness is a sign of old age...  Oh, and that's not me in the photo.  It's Savannah on her first birthday, but her face says it all!  So here's to a great year.  Happy Birthday to me!

Friday Funny

Her minister told an eighty-year-old woman that, at her age, she should be giving some thought to what he called "the hereafter."

She said to him, "I think about it many times a day."

"Oh, really?" said the minister. "That is very wise."

"It's not a matter of wisdom," she replied. "It's when I open a drawer or a closet, I ask myself, 'What am I here after?'"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The summer after my junior year of high school, I spent a week or so visiting my Aunt and Uncle and their girls in Arizona.  My Uncle Robert always had the latest gadgets and he called me into his office one day to show me this cool new thing called "Windows".  He demonstrated how you could open a window to run one program and then leave it open and run something else in another window and switch back and forth between them.  The whole time I was thinking that is the dumbest thing I've ever seen!  Why on earth would you need to have two things running at once?  Of course I laugh about that now and have completely repented of my initial reaction.  Right now I have 6 windows open.  How many do you have?

Photo credit:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Catching My Breath

I was looking around on this morning and when this picture came up, I had to catch my breath:

Salt Lake Temple
Isn't it beautiful?  This is where Jeff and I were married.  My parents and grandparents were also married here.  Years ago I worked next door to this amazing building and I loved seeing it everyday.  Knowing why we have temples is a breath of fresh air!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Fun Experiment

One of the kids came home from school a year or so ago and showed us this cool experiment.  Savannah remembered it last night and we loved seeing it again.  It's super easy. 

1.  Simply pour a little milk in a plate or pan. You don't need a lot; just enough to cover the bottom.  (If I remember correctly, the higher the fat content the better.  In other words, I'm not sure skim milk will work.)  

2.  Place a drop or two of food coloring in the milk.  (Last year we did it on a cookie sheet and I think we used one drop of each of the four colors.)  You don't need much and don't try to swirl it around.  

3.  Put a small amount of dish soap on one end of a cotton swab.

4.  Stick the cotton swab in the milk and watch the fireworks!  You can keep putting the cotton swab in different places - or have 2 or 3 cotton swabs going at once - and the fireworks will just keep going.  Have fun!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Favorite Weekend

I love General Conference.  As a Mormon, I look forward to hearing the words of our prophet and the apostles and other leaders of the church every April and October.  It is inspiring and motivating!  Armed with plenty of snacks, we managed to get the kids to listen to most of the general sessions.  This time around, my favorite announcement was the plan to build a temple in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This is good news for us as that means we'll be 30 minutes closer to a temple.  I'm not sure what temple district we'll be assigned to once it is complete, but unless it's built on the eastern outskirts of Indy, it will be the closest.  Right now we are in the St. Louis district and we travel 2.5 hours. 

It's always great to hear President Monson speak.  His talk at the Relief Society meeting last week was so good as were his talks this weekend.  President Uchtdorf is a personal favorite as is Elder Holland.  I'm sad it's all over, but I'm excited to listen to the talks again over the next few days.  A great weekend!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh, so cute!

I volunteer in Sadie's Kindergarten classroom on Thursdays. When I walked in this week, this is what I saw:

Is that the cutest?  Her big bright eyes framed by those huge headphones melted my heart.  I love that girl!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Funny

Two old men were sitting on the front porch rocking back and forth.  One of the men asked the other, "What did you do last night?"

"Last night?  Last night we went to...  No, that's not it.  We went...  Oh, that's not it either.  Wait, I know.  Last night we went to the show."

"Oh, really?  What show did you see?"

"It was the one about...  No, it was the one where...  No, that's not it.  Oh, I know.  What's the name of that plant by the side of the house.  You know, the one with the thorns and the pretty flower?"

"You mean a rose?"

"Yes, that's the one." Then calling to his wife he said, "Hey Rose, what show did we see last night?"