Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Recycle those Christmas cards

Hey, want to do something nice while you clean up after Christmas? St. Jude's Ranch for Children accepts used Christmas cards, from which the children make recycled cards by removing the front and attaching a new back. (The fronts can't have any writing on them, obviously.) They then sell the cards to help support the ranch. You can send cards to this address until February 28:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

Also, you can order cards from them for next year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year's Resolutions Poll!

I used to make new year's resolutions faithfully every year. As a teen-ager, I would take a pad of paper and a pencil and sit on my bed, contemplating that blank slate that was the upcoming 12 months and ponder how to improve myself and my life. On my mission, we had to make goals every week, so I kind of got in the habit even more. When I returned to college, I would make goals in various areas of my life: physical (exercise daily), spiritual (read my scriptures, pray daily), social (invite X number of people over), educational (get an A in Victorian Lit.), etc.

But life got more hectic, and my main resolution has turned into: sustain life and endure to the end. ha! I'm thinking about making some resolutions again this year, though (exercise daily, read my scriptures, pray daily.....).

Will you be making any new year's resolutions this year? Please participate in my poll to the right there. You could even share them in a comment, if you wished.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dr. Seuss vs. Charles Schultz

I love watching the Christmas cartoons every year. They take me back to my childhood when I first saw them. Two of my favorites are "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." But this year, I've realized that they show two different views about what makes Christmas special.

The Grinch did learn a valuable lesson: Christmas comes without ribbons, tags, packages, boxes, or bags. It doesn't come from a store. "As long as we have hands to clasp," runs the song in the video version. It implies that the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of family and community.

So is that what we are celebrating when we celebrate Christmas? Family? Friends? Communities? Peace? Love? Giving and generosity? All those are wonderful things. But, what if I had no family? or friends? What if my community were torn by strife and hatred? What if I had nothing to give? Where do these good things come from?

I think Charlie Brown learns a deeper message. Linus recites:

And there were in the same country shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shown round about them, and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."

(Luke 2:8-14)

Charles Schultz got it right. The Savior and His divine mission is what gives meaning to the holiday season. He is the "true vine," the source of all those good things we enjoy at Christmas. We celebrate Him and His divine mission.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes, We Have No Minced Garlic

Now, I have used dried minced garlic in my cooking for years. I am no Martha Stewart--I don't buy fresh garlic and mince my own. I don't care for the bottled fresh minced garlic. I like the convenience of the dried stuff. Easy to store. Lasts nearly forever. Way good.

BUT, within the last two months, suddenly, I can't find dried minced garlic at WinCo! It's not in the spice section. It's not in the bulk spice section. I can find garlic powder, garlic salt, dried sliced garlic, granulated garlic, minced onions--but not my beloved minced garlic. Why have the powers that be abandoned it?

Today I went to Fred Meyer and found the last two bottles of dried minced garlic on the shelf for an outrageous price. I bought them both.

So, if you can enlighten me on the sudden disappearance of dried minced garlic, I would greatly appreciate it!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Guest Post--Nelson's review of Twilight

First--I am going to get so much flack about this from the guys at church...

I liked it. It was romantic and suspenseful. I like to read things that my students find popular. I have several, including a few boys, who now are reading the series and a couple who went to the opening night theater show.

The author did a good job developing likable characters and a realistic plot--aside from the vampire thing. I was surprised that there were several vampire characters that were noble and enjoyable to read about. She ended it well too: I wasn't sure quite what was going to happen. It left unanswered questions, but still provided a satisfying resolution. I do wonder, however, if girls really think and dream as much about relationships as the book suggests...

I would recommend this book to my students and women I know, though not necessarily to some of my friends with season tickets to ball games.

(Many thanks to our guest poster, Nelson, for his insightful review and willingness to share on this blog.) :-D

Friday, December 19, 2008

Card Towers

In addition to Heather's other talents, she has learned to build towers of cards. Here she is with one she made the other night.

Then she decided to build on a larger scale:

Wanting to find out how much weight the tower would hold, she put a dish on top and began adding marbles, eventually getting to 125. So far, so good:

The 126th marble, though, proved to be just one too many:

If I were brilliant, I would come up with how this is an analogy with life or something. But I'm not. So I won't. It was just a fun project.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What was that question?

The other night at our house:

Nelson [looking thoughtfully at Heather]:

"I had a question for you, and now I can't remember what it was."

Heather [helpfully giving hints to jog his memory]:

"Was it, How much money do you want?"
"How many pieces of chocolate would you
"Do you want a car, or a pony?"


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Does this strike you as...different?

So the other night, Nelson and I were reading side-by-side (parallel play, he would call it). Here's the part that made me laugh:

Nelson was reading Twilight. I was reading The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We have had an enormous Douglas fir tree in our back yard. And while I love trees, this one was soooo very big. It shaded our yard and made gardening very difficult. It kept rain from getting to our landscape plants. It was a bit scary in a big wind. So last Saturday, we had a HUGE tree-cutting party in our back yard. We hired a friend to cut the tree and the priesthood brethren used it as a service opportunity to cut up firewood for folks in need of wood in our ward. It took most of the day. All the guys just worked and worked, with a small break for hot chocolate, pizza, and pop. Tracy was in the tree for a good five hours straight!

Meanwhile, moms and kids hung out and talked and played at our house. Here is a slide show of some of the highlights of the day:

For even MORE pictures and some video, see our good friend Rune's blog. He got some GREAT shots. (You may be some kind of tree-removal nut if you look at all of these.)

Thank you to everyone for all your help. And we gals had a great time!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Someday ...

... I'm going to miss all this.