Thursday, April 30, 2009

Solar Cookers - Solar Ovens

As I was studying the different plans that people have about ways to cook food without electricity I came upon a really neat idea. This Summer our little family will be filling our time with all kinds of unusual summer projects. Building a Solar Oven may just be on the To-Do list. I will let you know. Either way, this is a great resource for anyone who is looking for alternative cooking methods for during emergencies and power outages.

There is a whole organization devoted to educating the public about Solar Cookers. Here is their website: Solar Cooking. You will find all of the information that you need on this website. There is also a woman who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that shares her experience and expertise in cooking with a Solar Oven. You can find her information on The Idea Door Website.

Home Essentials List

Home Essentials for our Family of two adults and 2 or 3 children. The scenario planned for is that we are at home with no water (in pipes), and no electricity in sight for more then two days.

Portable Toilet
Heavy Duty plastic garbage bags or a Bucket
Privacy Tarps or tent
Toilet Paper
Sanitary Hand Wipes
Portable Solar Shower
Shampoo and Conditioner
Body Soap

Paper and Plastic: Plates, bowls, cups, utensils
Wash Basin
Dish Soap
Generator –OR-
Lantern and Mantles
Oil Lamps and Oil
Solar Lamps
Solar Oven
Tin Foil
Lighter fluid
Dutch Oven

Laundry Room
Wash Basin
Laundry Soap
Clothes Line
Clothes Pins

Under The Sink (cleaning supplies)
All Purpose Cleaner
Baking Soda

Baby Supplies
Rash ointment
Baby Powder
Baby Food
Gripe Water

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pandemic Precautions: N95 Respirator Mask

According to "The World Health Organization on Wednesday raised its pandemic alert to 5, its second-highest level, warning of widespread human infection from the swine flu outbreak that originated in Mexico.Dr. Margaret Chan, the U.N. agency's director-general, said the decision to raise the alert on the 6-point scale indicated that all countries should "immediately" activate pandemic preparedness plans.

"This change to a higher phase of alert is a signal to governments, to ministries of health and other ministries, to the pharm industry and the business community that certain actions now should be taken with increased urgency and at an accelerated pace," Chan said."

With this alert, it isn't too surprising that today we ordered our N95 Respirator Masks to add to our Ark. We live in a small town so we went to for a better selection. I wanted the masks with the exhale vent so my glasses won't fog up. It calms me to know that they are on their way.

Even though the Swine Flu isn't as horrible as other things that could become a world wide problem like a Pandemic, we feel it a good idea to be prepared regardless of what is in the air today. We never know what tomorrow will bring. This eases any fear just a little bit more.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Day Of Blogging

I have been able to blog A Lot today. So have fun scrolling through a bit to catch all of my ramblings and updates!

Two Jobs - A Family - And School! How Does He Do It?

I was asked to give the details of how Leif has been so successful in school while still working two jobs and being a great family man. So I'll take a minute and try to give some insight into how he does it.

The first thing I want to clarify is that Leif still has a many more years left of schooling ahead. This graduation was his Associates. He is working towards a Masters Degree as a Nurse Anesthetist.

Anyway, I was thinking about what I would say to answer this question and I think I figured out one of Leif's great tools. When he was a Massage Therapy student he made a firm decision. He made the decision that he would never do homework on Sunday. He has followed through with this commitment and I believe that he has reaped the rewards so far.

All of Leif's classes are online. This is another way that he has been able to fit so much into his schedule. With so much going on (and the commitment to not study on Sunday) it takes planning ahead and organizing in order to get everything accomplished. I try to find out what he's up against with school so I can keep it in mind as I give him "honey-do's." I also try to make time for him to do his school work and encourage him when I can. So we work together to help him be successful. However, it is not me who forces him to study. He does that!

Leif is also a smart man. He is able to retain knowledge well and he is very good at taking tests. This makes it possible for him to skim through his text and pass the test. However, now that he is starting in on his more intense classes, we have made arrangements so Leif will only be working part time. This will make it possible for him to READ his text and retain more of what he is being taught.

Really, I feel blessed to have a husband who is seriously dedicated to earning his degree(s) with honors. This gives me strength and courage to continue when things get overwhelming. I am very grateful for Leif's example to our family and his dedication. I am very proud of him!

"The Truth" Painting of President Obama

Does anyone else find this INCREDIBLY Disturbing???!!!!! Any leader who truly loved and honored his Savior would speak publicly about this and denounce the many photos and depictions that have been created that depict him as Jesus Christ. President or Not President. It is Blasphemy and It Is WRONG!

Jakob's Dance Recital

This weekend Jakob finally had his dance recital. I realized something while the days wound closer to the recital date. I am a perfectionist in certain ways. I could not just relax and enjoy the fact that Jakob was enjoying his dance practices. I really wanted him to KNOW the dance! Especially since he is the ONLY boy in the whole studio and I knew he would be the center of attention. In reality, all of this was pride, plain and simple.
Well, the day finally came and I just sat through the concert praying that I would just be able to enjoy his performance and that he would enjoy it as well. Prayer Answered! Jakob stole the show:) He remembered the most important parts and it was great! I know I would have been proud of him even if he didn't remember the dance -Really, I Promise! I'm not that prideful! But I was sure pleased with how well he did!

Here are some cute pictures. I am still working on getting a DVD of the dance. I'll post it if it's possible to get it. Thank you Larissa for bringing your sweet kids and grandpa for taking us all out to dinner. It was a great night!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seven Pounds Movie Review - Our Savior Is The Answer

SIDE NOTE- On Friday night Leif decided to spoil me. He took Jakob (first gift) with him to town. He rented a chick flick for me (second gift.) Then he went and got ice cream and cookies (third gift.) It was a very sweet evening even though we weren't able to get to the movie until last night. Now that we've watched it, I have to write about my thoughts.-

We watched the movie Seven Pounds with Will Smith as the main actor. If you really want to watch the movie, don't read much further. However, I don't recommend watching the movie. So if you want to take my suggestion, read more to find out why.

The movie begins with the main character, Ben, calling for an ambulance prior to his committing suicide. With such an opening it makes you hope and wonder if he is really going to kill himself and of course, you ask yourself why!

Well, as the show progresses you start to catch glimpses here and there of a horrible car accident that was caused by Ben. He had just proposed to his girlfriend and they were on their way somewhere fancy to celebrate. Ben was a workaholic and he was text messaging while driving and hit a vehicle head on that cause a chain reaction of accidents. In the end, seven people were killed including his fiance.

Knowing the extreme grief and heartache that would be caused by such a mistake makes it a little bit more understandable why someone would be considering suicide. However, it isn't the suicide that the show revolves around. It is what leads up to Ben's death that they focus on.

Before Ben kills himself he makes a plan. This plan is a series of gifts that in some way saves another person from heartache and even death. Ben sets up ways for him to donate his organs to different people. He also donates bone marrow, part of his liver, and part of his lungs while he is still living. In total, he will "save" 7 people. In his mind this is a form of giving back a small portion of what he accidentally caused to be taken away. Mixed in with all of this is an impossible love story (the woman can't survive without the heart that Ben is going to give her.)
The point that I want to make about this movie is this. I do not in any way discredit the valuable gifts that Ben gave to these people. My grandmother lived over ten extra years because of an organ doner. It is his grief that I want to focus on. This poor man was in such horrible grief-stricken pain. This sadness and despair seemed to have no other option but to take away his life. This is my point, this was not necessary! Someone already paid the price for this mans mistake by giving his own life. Ben did not have to gradually give his own life away. The one component that was missing from this sorrow-filled show was our Savior, Jesus Christ and his saving grace. Through His atonement our burdens can be made bearable. Our heartaches can be eased. And our life can be made livable.

This is the pure miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we let Him heal our souls, He will. He has literally felt such individual heart wrenching pain as what this man was feeling because of a small yet, life altering mistake.

I left this moving feeling a tiny portion of the sorrow that our Heavenly Father must feel as he watches one of his children suffer such despair needlessly. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He has the power to heal all heart ache. I know this through my personal experience.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Day All For Leif

Yesterday we had a fun day. It was a day that really revolved around Leif and he definitely deserved it!

In the morning Leif was thrilled to get the phone call from the post office telling him that our chicks arrived. He went right over and picked them up. We ordered all of our chicks as well as Leif's brothers 20 chicks all in the same order. So when he walked in with the box you definitely knew that there were a lot of chicks. We knew that there was a possibility that some of the chicks wouldn't make the trip. We hoped that we would be lucky and all of them would survive. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. There were 4 chick that had been smothered by the others. It was really upsetting for me. We buried them... But at least we had 17 of ours and 20+ of Erik's that survived!

They are a lot of work. You wouldn't think so. But Leif has made raising chickens his newest hobby. So he wants to follow through with all that he has learned and is giving these chicks the best life possible. They are VERY Lucky Birds! This is a picture of Bessy Lou our sweet girl who loves to peak out and visit with us.

Once we got the chicks all settled in we headed to SG. Leif was invited by Dixie College to attend an awards ceremony. He graduated Summa Cum Laude (highest honors.) I am really proud of him!! He worked two jobs, took care of us, and went to school full time. He deserved the special attention. We went to the opening reception and were thrilled to find that they gave out the awards before the long ceremony. So we ate the yummies and then left and went out to Red Robin for dinner. It was a great evening! Leif deserved every good minute of the day!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Self Reliance = The Key

Today we enjoyed a yummy chili dinner with a good family in our ward. After dinner we all sat around the table to chat. The subjects of discussion first started with the events of the day and how church went. As time went on the discussion led into the subjects that have become more and more common in our life. I am wondering if it is the same for you?

We started talking about food storage and emergency preparedness. Which led to the analyzing of why we are feeling so compelled to "be prepared" and what we are "preparing" for. Are these subjects coming up in your daily conversations? They are in ours.

The culmination of our conversation revolved around one subject. The following quote by President Gerald Ford states it perfectly: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

This subject is a touchy subject. But it is one that I ponder often. I feel that there is real reason for us to take the counsel of the prophets to prepare for a day of hardship and destruction seriously. Just as the saints during the great depression found strength in their preparations. Just as the saints during WWII found aid from their preparations. I feel that soon will be the day when we will find great comfort and life saving grace from our preparations.

There is know way of knowing exactly what we are each preparing for. I believe that it is different for everyone. But I do feel that it is not eccentric to say that great hardships are in our near future. We could go from one extreme to the other at this point and it could be true. We could say that there will be a great pandemic of Bird Flu throughout the world. Or we could just focus on the possibility of not being able to financially support our family. Either one of these scenarios could very well be the case within the next five to ten years.

We should not feel as though we are preparing for some great new calamity. Rather, we should just know that a look back in the cycles of history prove to us that a day of humbling is near.

Leif and I are going to try to do all that we can this summer to prepare for the time when self reliance will be the key.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Good Old Fashion Busy! -Cook Out With Uncle Jared-

I was working on the dishes this afternoon thinking about all that I have wanted to blog about and the research I have wanted to do. But it occurred to me that I have just simply been good ol' busy! Taking care of the kids. Playing taxi driver. Cleaning the house. Taking care of baby chicks. Going to meetings. Just being a mom and a wife. Now days, those things could be considered "Old Fashion." Cool huh! I like living that kind of life.:)

Our car is starting to complain these days. When we drive long distances it struggles to switch gears. This is unexpected. We're hoping that things will go smoothly and we'll be able to trade in our car and get a van for the same monthly payment price. Wish us luck! We're going car shopping tomorrow.

My brother Jared came into town tonight. He brought his girlfriend Rachel and her cute little girl Hailey. It was so nice to spend a little time with them this evening. We made tin foil dinners (our warm weather specialty) and had yummy smores for dessert. MMM! It was fun to show Jared and Rachel our little cottage. I always smile when we show it off because to others it seems so small and makeshift. To us, we know where we've come from and we're thrilled to be where we are.:) I only got ONE picture the whole night! DUH!!! There were some good times too... Jakob and Hailey hit it off right away. It's too bad we live so far away. I always love seeing Jakob play with a friend that he has a lot in common with. I wish we had more kids for him to play with. I have a high standard too. So that says something of Rachel and Hailey. Thanks for coming all of you! We had a great time!! Please come again!!

My Jakob is growing up! We went to his Kindergarten Registration this week. He met with his future teacher and she did a few little "tests" to see where he is scholastically and developmentally. He was average or above average compared to his future classmates. This of course made us happy seeing that Jakob will be the youngest in his class.

Jakob had his dance photo shoot today. He was the star of the afternoon. His charming little self got all of the ladies cooing over him. I was tickled by the fact that he was my little prince.

So, this explains a little bit of why my writing has slowed a bit. We just have a lot going on. It's not slowing down either. I just signed up for two classes at the Community College for this summer. English 102 and Creative Writing. I will be writing in my sleep! But it will be good for me to learn more of the technicalities of writing.
Life is good.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend Rundown

Leif's school and work made Easter Weekend their Spring Break. So that made our weekend extra long. We've tried to enjoy the time together as we also focused on the Easter celebration.

Our little family has the tradition of doing the "silly" part of Easter on Saturday so we can focus on the true meaning of Easter on Sunday.

Friday started out the fun this year. We woke up bright and early and went to our local plant nursery to choose our first three baby chicks (named: Bessy Boo, Sally, and Sue.) Our main batch of chicks won't arrive for another couple of weeks. But we were excited and had to take the opportunity to get a few from the local nursery while they still had them. They are really cute and a lot of fun. It will be interesting to see how it is to have a whole lot more then three... It will be fun! Friday night we went out for pizza with Leif's parents. We were all going to meet up afterwards to color Easter eggs. But right before heading up to our house Leif's dad was cutting a branch off of a willow tree and cut his finger. He had to go get stitches:( So we painted eggs with just our little family. We decided to paint eggs this year instead of the traditional coloring.

Saturday morning we woke up to silly fun-filled Easter baskets. They had real lettuce in them instead of the traditional plastic grass. Jakob was thrilled to find a bag of Army Men to play with, Silly song music CD's, and a huge Hidden Pictures coloring book. The fun part was the fact that Papa's bed time story the previous night had all come true! Just like in the movie "Bed Time Stories."

We were worried that it would rain Saturday morning during the town Easter egg hunt. But luckily the storm blew over in the middle of the night and we didn't have rain to contend with. Jakob had a good time running around gathering as many eggs as his little hands could pick up. It was a short hunt. But not a disappointing one (as usual!)

Caleb woke up with another ear infection Saturday morning. I was SOOO Bummed! It drained me of my cheerful energy. I feel bad about that! I was no fun at all Saturday. Luckily I have a forgiving family! We were going to get together with Leif's sister and her kids Saturday. But she was sick too. It really put a damper on the whole day. But we're over that day now and there's a more cheerful outlook in the home.

Sunday morning was like every other Sunday morning when your meeting starts at 9:00AM. Rush to get ready and get to church on time! It took me until the middle of Sacrament meeting to get over my grumbling spirit and allow the beauty of the day to penetrate my "Moody Mama" heart. Once that happened I was able to feel of the healing touch of the Lord. Leif sang in the choir with his parents. They sang one of my favorite songs: Beautiful Savior. I LOVE that Song! It paints such a beautiful picture as it is sung.

Sunday afternoon we got together with Leif's mom and hid the final Easter eggs that she had for Jakob. They were Dinosaur eggs. So Jakob was in heaven. He started hiding the eggs himself while we were playing with the chicks on the grass. He got distracted and came over to tell us something. Just as he came we had noticed a bee flying around us. We were getting up to move when Jakob came to me in a bit of a daze and said "the bee was behind me." I didn't think too much of it until he held up his thumb and again said, "The bee was behind me." Then I registered what had happened. The bee had stung his little thumb. It hadn't really hurt initially. But by the time I registered what had happened it was HURTING him. Poor little Jakob! I have written about his true low pain thresh hold. Well, that came into play full throttle! I took him into grandma to see what they had in the cupboard for bee stings. Just as we got some litocaine on his finger he informed me that he was sick. We rushed to the bathroom where he lost his lunch. The very scary part was the color of his face, or the lack thereof. He was so whitish-green! I have never seen anything like it. Leif held him up so he didn't fall in the toilet face first. From there we laid him on the couch and gave him some benedryl and a Popsicle. He was so sick from it all! I felt really bad for him. I have cared for many, many children in my life so far. But I have Never seen a child react to pain in such a way as Jakob. His reaction is far from "in his head." It is a literal genetic issue that he inherited. But grandma Baron said that even Leif didn't react as extreme as Jakob. I am always amazed when he has an episode... Luckily he was fine after a short while and we went out and finished our hunt. As you can see, it was fun!

Leif's mother made a wonderful feast for us that afternoon. We were able to enjoy it with grandpa and grandma Dixon. MMM!

That evening we had a little bit of silly fun. I have really missed a bath tub for a long time. My good friend Harmony used a pool while she was pregnant to relax in. Her hubby rigged up a hose that can be connected to the shower. Well, we borrowed it. We set it up in the kitchen last night. It was actually fast and easy to set up and drain out. Jakob had a great time playing in "the tub." We've concluded that it will be a worthy investment. That night Leif and I watched a great show called Amazing Grace. We highly recommend it!!

Spiritually speaking this weekend was deep. I was overcome with deep thoughts that would not relent. Through prayer and a long talk with Leif I am feeling much better. But wow!...
We took the time each night before bed this weekend to read about the Easter story. One night we read it out of a story book. Another night we read it out of our big family Bible. It was neat to take the time to reflect on the true meaning of Easter.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Message From The General Authorities

I hope you will all watch this and feel the motivation and Love that stems from it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Merciful Resurrection

A couple of days ago Leif and I babysat our good friend's children. While we were caring for the children I caught a glimpse of why the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means so much to me.

I was standing at the kitchen sink and before I knew what was happening, I heard "Drink Mom!" This little plea came from my friend's two year old daughter. She has beautiful blond curly hair and a bright flashing smile. I was instantly struck by the thought that I had two little ones who would be her age. She was born right around when my girls were due to be born.

It's moments like those that send a mother who has lost a child straight to her source of faith. During those times I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the plan of our Heavenly Father. I can not fathom the hopelessness that would envelope me without the sure knowledge that because of Jesus Christ we will all live again. This knowledge heals my soul on a daily basis. I know the pain that comes from the loss of a loved one. I also know the merciful relief that comes through the Atonement of our Savior.

I know that my Redeemer lives. What Comfort this sweet sentence gives.... He Lives!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Spring Cook Out!

On a more cheerful note:

Last night we invited some friends over for a yummy spring cook out. Leif was my hero once again. He came home from work and went straight to work digging the fire pit, setting up the chairs, and starting the fire. Thanks Love!

We made some delicious Tin Foil Dinners and had a great visit! Thanks for coming Heaton Family!! We'll look forward to the Dutch Oven Potato's next time and I'll remember the Smores!

Missing My Grandma

I think I miss my grandma. My grandma was one of my best friends. She still is. It's just that I can't talk to her every day like I used to...

Over a period of a few years I got in the habit of calling my grandma on almost a daily basis. We would talk about life and it's happenings and then go about our day. I found great strength from these talks. As time grew closer to my grandma's last days here on earth I started paying attention more to what she was saying always wondering if the last thing she said would be the last thing I heard from her. Grandma passed away on the eve of Mothers Day. How very appropriate...

I am very much like my grandma in so many ways. I just wish I could talk to her now and she could help me understand myself better. If she couldn't do that, she would at least validate my crazy life.... Holistic Health, Writing, Mother Hen Mothering, etc...

Yes! I miss you grandma...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Caleb's Birthday Party

The first Monday of each month those of us in the family that live close to eachother get together for a Family Home Evening. It has been a wonderful experience. This month we celebrated Caleb's First Birthday. Leif's mom made us a delicious dinner. I made a cute cake. Thanks Erik and Stacey for the cute gifts. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Dixon for the sweet card. Thanks you everyone for celebrating with us! We had a great time! Here are the photos from his party.

I think I love this boy!

Caleb Loves Cars and Books!

The cake represents "Mama's Bright Eyes" My Caleb!

Jakob gave Caleb a little help.

Mama gave Caleb a WHOLE piece of cake!

Now that is cute!!
Grandpa was copying Caleb's latest sound "ooo"
Ohhh Yeah!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Answer To My Greatest Fear

I have hesitated to mention what my absolute deepest fear is. I haven't always been plagued with this fear. It stemmed from the loss of my daughters and my grandmother. I don't talk about it much because I feel like if I mention it, it will be challenged and come to pass. My fear is that Leif will die young and I will be left without him. I can not put my feelings into words about what this thought does to me. I am actually preoccupied by this fear at times. So this is the question that I posed to the Lord during General Conference today: How can I replace this fear that I have with faith, hope, and trust?

When I feel the emotions of this fear start to creep into my thoughts I usually read Leif's patriarchal blessing. This calms my heart and reminds me that he has much to accomplish in this life and I have no logical reason to fear. But in reality, what I need is the faith that even if I did lose Leif early, I would survive and I would prove faithful. At times I honestly don't think that I would.

I received an answer to my question today. It came from the mouth of our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. He told us the heart wrenching and shocking story of a wife and mother who triumphed over the deepest of tragedy and sorrows. She lost her husband to war. She was then forced to leave her native land and walk to Germany with all of her young children in the middle of winter. One by one, her children died. The last being her baby, who died in her arms. This mother was all consumed by her grief. So intense was the pain of her loss that she was tempted to take her own life. Just as she was to her lowest point, she heard the whisperings of the spirit telling her to get down on her knees and pray. From that prayer, she allowed the Lord to swallow up her burden and replace it with light and hope. President Monson went on to tell about how this precious sister later bore testimony of the power of the atonement and the Savior's love.

As President Monson told this story I understood what he was trying to tell us. I caught his meaning, because I have experienced it. In a very minute way in comparison to this sister, I have felt heart ache and loss and have had it swallowed up in the arms of my Savior. Though I can not fathom this woman's loss, and I pray daily that I will never have to. I do understand and I know that it is possible to survive such grief as long as we allow the Lord to take our burden. So this was my answer from the Lord to the question that I posed to him this morning.

With God, All Things Are Possible. If this wife and mother could survive such loss, so can I if required.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

We Must Inspire Some Hope!

If you read the headlines in the news tonight this is what you read:

Police: 5 children, father die in murder-suicide (AP)
Europe praises Obama, pledges few Afghan troops (AP)
Gunman 'lying in wait' kills 3 Pittsburgh officers (AP)
As gunman's life fell apart, he took others' (AP)
Freed American UN aid worker leaves Pakistan (AP)

It doesn't take much to see that there is an overabundance of despair in the world. There have been more then three mass slayings just this week (that I know of) just in America. Most of these slayings have involved family members killing other family members.

Leif and I talked about this tonight as we ate dinner. It got me thinking. My ideas might seem small and not very profound. But I think every little bit can help. I believe that we need to go the extra mile to bring more opportunity for people to feel some hope and sense of accomplishment in their lives. So many people have lost their jobs and are becoming stagnant. This is leading to despair. We need to give people opportunities to get outside of themselves. Here are my ideas of how to do this. Mind you, I know these are not new ideas. I just think it would be good to involve more people in these activities:

Provident Living: FREE workshops on gardening, green houses, canning, bottling, food storage, raising animals, etc.
Creativity: FREE workshops about things from crafts to auto mechanics where people can share their individual skills and teach others. Also Free workshops and "camps" for children and teenagers where they can come and learn something new as well as have their "cup" filled by the attention they receive.
Pure Fun: FREE community events. Concerts and movies in the parks, community sports, barbeque's and picnics, theme parades, anything to bring cheer and smiles to as many people as possible.

There is no way to help everyone. And yes, it is true that not everyone wants help. But there are ways to help some people. I will try to do my part. The first step is to find ways that I can reach out. The second is to inspire others to reach out.

Saturday Is A Special Day: General Conference

Today was a wonderful day! We all slept in a bit because it was cloudy outside. When we woke up we had a yummy breakfast of Sunshine Toast (eggs fried in the middle of bread.) Leif and Jakob set up the conference tent while I made breakfast.

All of our conference helps were just that, a great help! We were all able to pay attention a lot better. All of the chocolate and junk wiped me out. But MMM they were yummy! BINGO was the biggest hit. Jakob payed attention well and earned plenty of candy from that. I of course was just happy to have him with us and basking in the spirit and listening for special words and phrases here and there. However, I am often amazed by how much he actually takes in during things like this.

Leif and I feel like we were able to really get what we needed out of the talks so far. He went to the Priesthood Session and came home with that glow from the upliftment that the spirit brings. We felt the strong guidance of the spirit reminding us to be careful as we accept financial aid for school. Leif also feels that he was directed to talk with certain people while at the priesthood session. He feels that there are good things in the works for possible massage therapy employment in the future as we need it. That might help us be more self reliant. A great blessing. I am the "deep Thinker" out of Leif and I (at least when it comes to expressing my thoughts) So I was touched by the talks that focused on our temple covenants and eternal families. Words can't really express my gratitude for the sealing power of eternal marriage which makes eternal families....
This picture captured how I felt today with my family.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Let The Fun Begin!

Well, we had a great day today! I am so thrilled about all that I/we were able to accomplish. Leif worked, got his homework done, planted some tomato's, got rid of some old car parts that were taking up space, and managed to help me around the house and play King Benjamin. I was able to get the house clean and organized, vacuum, dust, get papers filed, plant peppermint-spearmint-rosemary-lavender plants in planters and hung in the house. It feels Great!
After dinner tonight we were able to have our Family Home Evening. It was funny and cute. Though filled with laughter, it still got the point across. In fact, Jakob was so excited for conference that he was ready for bed an hour early (he didn't know it was early, and we didn't tell him;) We sang Follow the Prophet and We Thank Thee Oh God For a Prophet and then we introduced King Benjamin. It was raining outside. So he used a stool. Leif told the story of King Benjamin teaching on the tower at the temple. It was Very Cute! Just as we expected, Jakob is THRILLED with the idea of having a Conference Tent. We put up the ropes tonight and we'll hang the blankets tomorrow. We let Jakob mix up the trail mix for tomorrow and that got him excited about conference even more. We have a lot to look forward too...
Earlier today I found Jakob combing Caleb's hair. When I came over to see, Jakob informed me that he was fixing Caleb's hair for conference. Mohawks aren't my first choice for a conference hair-do, but what can ya say? I still think he's pretty cute!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

What We're Doing To Help Our Four Year Old Find General Conference Exciting!

Thank you everyone who sent me your ideas of how we can help Jakob enjoy General Conference (which will help ALL of us enjoy conference.) Last year we weren't able to really pay attention to conference. Jakob was young and I was Very Pregnant. I vowed that the following year would be better. That we would actually be able to recall what was taught. So here is our plan.

  • I will make sure the house gets clean (especially around the computer, which is where we will watch conference.)

  • We will have a special Family Home Evening centered on King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon and the General Conference that they had (told about in Mosiah Chapter 2). I think we will have Leif play King Benjamin and he will teach us from the tower (our front porch) and we will sit below and learn about their conference when they sat in tents and listened to conference. Jakob will love the next part;) We're going to build our own "Conference Tent" with the door open towards the computer screen so we can watch conference. I thought I came up with this fun idea. But the seed must have been planted in my mind a long time ago. Because if you go to you'll find it sprinkled throughout their ideas. Either way, Leif and I are Really Excited! We're going to put blankets up with string and clothes pins. This will go along with our FHE. But it will also make boundaries for Jakob while we watch conference. I will bring in all of the treats, activities, and picnic food. And we will stay in the tent during conference. I hope it turns out fun!


  • We will watch conference in our tent. I printed off an activity packet for each of us from Jakob's is all coloring pictures. I printed one that is for older kid's for Leif and I. Who said parents don't need help paying attention during conference!? Ours has a page for each speaker. We get to draw his face and doodle. But it also has a place for us to take notes. It also has a special page for the new apostle who will be called. It should turn out cute and be helpful.

  • We'll play the game where we get a little treat for certain words that are said during conference (like service, preparedness, etc.) we bought WAY too much chocolate for this whole weekend. I'm a sucker for Easter Candy. We bought things for trail mix too and veggies and dip (that helps me feel better;)

  • Conference BINGO of course. I remember playing this as a little girl with my family. Sugardoodle has BINGO cards if you don't want to make your own.

  • I'm going to pull out the centerfold pictures of the General Authorities out of the Ensign. Each time someone new gets up to speak, we will give Jakob a treat if he can find the speakers photo.

  • Jakob loves to play with clay and doe so I am going to make some play doe for him.

With all of these activities we should have a great experience with some great memories. I have always enjoyed conference. As a youth I would go with my friends to the Tabernacle and listen to conference outside on the lawn. I remember one time we had Elder L. Tom Perry come out and shake our hands. That was a very special time. I vaguely remember going with my family too. Either way conference was always a part of my life. I am grateful for that! Having a prophet on the earth today is a very special gift. We will become more and more grateful for his presence, guidance, and authority as the years progress.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I Need Watching Conference With Kids Suggestions!

This weekend is General Conference. I would like Jakob to sit with us and watch as much as possible this year. I have some ideas of how to make this possible. But I'm up for any suggestions!! Let me know you're ideas and I'll post my plan later.

One Year Ago

I think pregnancy things are on my mind because Caleb is turning one year old. Yesterday I realized that I have a really great picture that depicts how I felt and looked one year ago today.:)

This photo was taken one week before Caleb was born. I was obviously EXTREMELY pregnant and I was desperate to be done with the pregnancy. So, we went hiking:) The next day we went one a very very bumpy off road trip in a truck. Each day after that I walked a good mile every day. This desperation lasted for five or so days. Then I finally just accepted the fact that this was just out of my hands. So I relaxed. Up to that point my body refused to progress towards labor. Once I relaxed and let nature take it's course, it did. Ahhh, the joys of the journey!
BTW: Tiffany, that's what I mean by "Hippo Pregnancy Syndrome!" ;)

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