"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Books
Tickle Fights
Homemade Bread
Music (esp. guitar, cello, folk, bagpipes)
The Atonement
Hot Chocolate
Who am I kidding? Chocolate. All kinds.
Flowers from the garden or meadow
Email
Farms
Candles
Long Talks
Family
Pillow fights - always fun until someone looses an eyeball
High Speed Internet
Blogs
Line dried sheets
Hymns
Journals
The Scriptures
A good movie that makes me laugh, cry and want to be a better person
Quilts/warm blankets
Wood Stoves
Homecooked goodness
Ice Cream
Baseball
White Water Rafting
Gardens
Paintings
Contented Sighs
Holding sleeping babies
Dreams & Goals & "Someday I Will"s
Long country drives
Hikes in the woods
Canoe trips
Waterfalls, forests, mountains, lakes
Random Acts of Kindness
Read Alouds
John Bytheway talks
Stars on a clear night (summer or winter)
Snow covered pine trees
Baby Goats
Rabbits
Kindred Spirits
Smell of fresh cut grass
Family road trips (with singing, stories, complaining & crumbs)
Rustic cabins
Sledding
Symbolism
Dancing (esp. clogging, line dancing & swing)
The Gospel
Chocolate (did I mention this? Oh well. It deserves special mention)
Memories
Sleeping under the stars on a warm night
Laughing
Campfires & Campfire stories / songs
Dad's stories: hunting, Patrick McMannis & other
Relaxation
Squeals from little kids when you chase them
Goodness
Fresh, raw green beans straight from the garden
The Collective
The Big Dipper, North Star & Orion's Belt
Status Checks
Smiling eyes & work worn hands
Orchards - esp. in blossom
Tucking in bed & best/worst parts of the day discussions
Toddler kisses
Why questions
My ancestors - farmers & ranchers and all the salt of the earth
Grandpa's Cider
Antiques with stories
Crystal Springs water
The Toboggan
Large Families
Reliable cars, preferably 1 color
My memories of unreliable cars
My Mom's grave site

Books That I Love (not a comprehensive list)

I love, love, love these books. Each has changed me, many I have read over and over. All of them live in my head where I pull them out, think and laugh and cry and imagine and visit awhile with them.

God’s Smuggler

The Hiding Place

Jesus The Christ

These is my Words

The Secret Garden

Jane Eyre

Pride and Prejudice

Sense and Sensibility

Little Britches

Across Five Aprils

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Magician’s Nephew

The Goose Girl

Where the Red Fern Grows

Summer of the Monkeys

Ella Enchanted

The Pickwick Papers

Anne of Green Gables

The Law

The Diary of Anne Frank

Torn Thread

Little House on the Prairie

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mr. G

A little over a week ago, I got a call from a friend whose kids go to Ryan's school. Mr. G, Ryan's math teacher & Boy's Athletics coach, had fallen from his 2nd story roof and suffered a massive skull fracture & brain injury. He made it through surgery, but was in critical condition. Prayer vigils were organized, Christmas funds set up and the community and school rallied around the family and each other. School was a somber occasion last week. On Thursday, Mr. G passed away, leaving behind a dear wife, 4 children (the youngest is in Ryan's class), and a legacy of love for these kids. Yesterday was the funeral and due to some miscommunication, Ryan did not get to attend. After school he walked to the church and said his good bye to the math teacher who told blonde jokes and sold candy to the kids. To the coach who encouraged him.

Ryan goes to a very special school. It is very, very small. The elementary, middle and high school are all on the same block. They share facilities - the cafeteria, auditorium, gym. They support each other in rallies, games, events. They are very close knit. They are family.

A few days ago, someone organized a Chick-fil-A night last night where 15% of all proceeds would go to the family. Someone else organized a T-shirt drive. For family night last night, we had dinner at Chick-Fil-A. Due to homework and the emotions of the day, we didn't get there until almost 7:30. The sight that I saw brought tears to my eyes. It was packed. The drive thru line went around the building. It had been like that most of the day. We had to hustle to get a spot to sit. The employees were so kind and courteous, especially after working such long & busy hours. Outside on the patio, moms were selling Mr. G t-shirts that have "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he had done." Philippians 4:6 printed on the front and "Team Grifiis...We Got Your Back!" on the back.

I am grateful for Ryan's school. For the strength and love and support. I am grateful they have provided a place for him to grieve and grow. I am grateful that we got to go to Chick-Fil-A last night and feel that sweet spirit. I am grateful to be the proud owner of a G t-shirt. I am grateful that our lives are filled with such good people.

This photo blog of fellow parent Jim, tells a bit more of Mr. G. Click on Details at the the top. Mr. G, Superman and the Final Fairway. I really appreciated this quote that Jim shared last week:

When you come to the edge of all the light you have known, and are about to step out into darkness, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen -- there will be something to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly. --from Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week in Review, a science project & recipes

Monday - Ry & I went with the sister Missionaries to teach a lesson to a family that will be baptized next weekend.

Tuesday - Our only night home all week long. Can we say homework?

Wednesday - Mutual (youth group) Ry learned about computer safety. I graded papers in the car.

Thurs. - We went to see the musical "Little House on the Prairie". It was ok. The script was good. The singing and dancing not so much. I will say I came away with a renewed appreciation for the talentof singing. Those who do Broadway all the time have amazing voices.

Friday - I was in charge of helping the 3rd graders (all 80 of them) make crystals. The kids LOVE them. They are pretty easy & make great science projects / Christmas ornaments.

Crystal Snowflakes:
First, make a snowflake out of a pipe cleaner (we took one, cut it into 3 pieces & then twisted it into a star. You can take thread or string and make it look like a spider's web for a more involved snowflake)

Second, take a clean jar and pour 1/2 - 1 c. of borax soap into it (laundry aisle - Walmart has it for about $3.50 a box.) Fill the jar with hot water (boiling is prefered, but very hot will work
too) Mix to dissolve the soap.

Third, hang the snowflake by string from a craft stick or spoon or pencil. Make sure that it is not touching the bottom of the jar & that you can easily remove it from the jar without it getting caught on the lip of the jar. Once the crystals have formed, it will not be flexible.

Fourth, leave it alone for a few days. You will start to see the crystals by the end of the day. The longer you leave it in the solution, the more that will grow. When you are ready, remove it from the jar and dry off. You have a beautiful, fun snowflake.

(We read a biography about Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley this week to go along with our project. He was a homeschooled boy who developed a way to photograph snowflakes. Our library has his book that was published 2 weeks before he died with thousands of his photos of snowflakes. Very cool!)

After school, we raced home to get Ry packed for his scout camp out to Red Rock. He had a blast hiking and rappelling. So much so that he came home, took a shower and crashed! He was so exhausted I could hardly get him in bed. He slept 13 hours.

After he left for camp, I raced around getting all the stuff for the Ward Thanksgiving dinner together. Left the kitchen in a disaster and went to the social. It went well. Good food, good people and good conversation.

Sat. was spent with produce co-op and then I worked for 5+ hours at the school. Lots of projects moved along. I was reading a few blogs this weekend that were talking about how they love lazy Saturdays. I am not sure that I know what that is. My parents mantra was "Saturday is a Work Day." The day usually started off early with my dad making pancakes followed by plenty of work. Sunday was the lazy day - although that one started early as well. Church always started at 9:00 and we lived 30 mins. away. 8 people & 1 bathroom. You do the math.

This morning - Ryan has been asking for pancakes for weeks, maybe even months. I have been persuading him to be satisfied with French Toast as I have been out of homemade pancake mix. After the millionth request, I finally made some this morning. Although he had to clean up his room first!

First, I had to find my kitchen. Easier said then done! Then I dug out the wheat grinder & ground wheat. Next, made some yummy pancakes. Here is the recipe - we LOVE these pancakes!

Jenni's Pancake Mix (I don't know who Jenni is but I will give her credit - I found these on a discussion board)
2c. Whole Wheat Flour
2c. Flour
1 Tblsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
Sift together and store in an air tight container

To make:
2c. pancake mix
4 eggs
2+ c. milk product (milk, yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream, pureed cottage cheese, etc. - I usually mix it up a bit)
Mix together & cook on a hot griddle. One batch = 16 lg. pancakes.



And you have to have this amazing syrup on your pancakes!

Yummy Homemade Syrup
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4c. Milk
1/2 c. butter (this is a Pioneer Woman wannabe recipe)
Bring to boil in a large sauce pan and then add:
1 tsp. Baking Soda (watch this - it will rise quickly. Remove from heat when you add.)
2 tsp. flavoring (I use maple but vanilla is also good)

You won't need any butter on your pancakes it is so thick and yummy!

Enjoy!



Sunday, November 15, 2009

This smile is real

I love this kid. I love his soft cheeks. I love his smile. I love how he shows me all of his detailed drawings of the cars he is going to have one day. I love how much he loves his new suit. I love our talks. I love how he makes me laugh. I love how he tells me things I need to work on. I love his angel kisses (freckles) and even more how he doesn't love them. I love that he would rather play outside than play video games. I love that he went hometeaching tonight for the first time. I love that he wants to go with me & the missionaries tomorrow night. I love that he is excited to go to the theatre with me this next week. I love to be his mom.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Review(s)

I discovered Orson Scott Card recently. I listen to Ender's Game on cd and really liked it. I am looking forward to reading the rest in the series. I also read his book Enchantment which is the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Lots of twists & magical elements. I have never read Sci Fi or Fantasy before so this was a branch out. I actually really liked them. Definitely not the genre for everyone, but he is a gifted writer and I look forward to reading more. He has a women of the old testament series that sounds good too....

Currently, Ry & I are listening to the Spiderwick Chronicles (he has read 2 or 3 of the books). I am reading "12 Again" which is really good so far, "The Single Life" by Kristin Oaks, and I am starting "Alas Babylon" soon. I have to be careful though. If the book is too good, life stops while I read. I don't clean, eat, sleep, return calls or run errands when I find a great book. I can't afford to be fired....

Ryan's Priesthood Ordination

On Sunday, Oct. 18, Ryan was ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. It was a big day that he had been looking forward to for some time. My dad flew out from Seattle to be a part of the day. Here my two favorite men in the world are getting ready for church discussing the sports cars picture above Ryan's bed.

The man of the hour in his new suit & missionary haircut.

He wanted his picture taken in front of our picture of Lehi's Dream.

This is my personal favorite picture. Grandpa & Grandson looking at each other in front of the Oklahoma City Temple.

It was a really good day. Ryan's dad, Tim and his wife Nancy came. Ryan was so intent on watching the deacons pass the sacrament and asked if we could sit on the second row. That is one of his new duties and he wanted to watch closely so that he would get it right the next week when it was his turn. I spoke with the sister missionaries and & Jane Caldwell on missionary work. Ryan decided that he wanted to be in the last primary program so my dad got to see part of the program in the practice they had during the Sunday School hour.

It was touching to me to see how many men Ryan had asked to be a part of his ordination. I am so grateful to these men who have circled around my son, loved him, accepted him, been an example to him, mentored him. I am grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who blesses us abundantly, especially in times of need. The ordination was simple, powerful, full of counsel and promise. Afterward, my dad gave Ryan a chart that shows the priesthood being handed down from Jesus Christ to Ryan Mills.

He also gave him a Book of Mormon that he had purchased and read cover to cover, marking scriptures with Ryan in mind. He is doing that for each grandchild when they turn 12. What a treasure.

One of my favorite memories of the day was just as we were leaving for church. Normally, Ryan takes some paper and pencils to draw with during the meeting. I asked him if he had his stuff and he said, "Nay, I think I am too grown up for that."

Where has the time gone?

Ryan's 12 Birthday

Ryan turned 12 on Oct. 17!!!! Where has the time gone? To celebrate, he invited friends to play sports at The Cube. They played football for the longest time and some basketball. I think everyone had a good time.