Friday, October 3, 2008

Issue 19

Deacon by Stephen L.

On Sunday I was ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. The responsibilities of a Deacon are 1) Pass the Sacrament, 2) Collect Fast Offerings and few other things. Most of my relatives were there for the ordaining and I thought it was nice that they could be there. I was glad my Dad did the ordaining. Thanks to all those who came (and to those that didn't, you missed out!) After the ordaining everyone came to our house for a nice lunch and birthday party.
PS I got a spiffy new suit for my birthday!

The great examples of Priesthood holders who helped ordain Steve.

A parting shot!


Our adopted New Zealand grandparents, Auntie Hoki and Uncle Owen (not pictured) are in town for General Conference. We had the honor and pleasure to spend two evenings with them this week, and it was just as if no time had passed at all (except all the kids are taller!)

They had a meeting at the Church Office Building and were able to meet our church's Prophet, Pres. Monson and his councilors and present the Prophet with a copy of the book that we helped put together of the testimonies of the Labour Missionaries. What an experience!

They also asked if Steve would help put together the next volume, due in 2010. Steve couldn't resist. I'm not sure when he'll find the time, but he has never been so happy as the time when he worked on the first one. It will be another wonderful experience I'm sure.

We love and miss you Auntie and Uncle!

Chem C500 by Noreen

When I was 10 or 11 I fancied myself a junior scientist, and for Christmas that year I requested a real microscope and awesome chemistry set. I’m not sure what prompted this tangent, but maybe I had arrived at an age too old for Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Dolls, yet too young to care much for clothes. Thrilled with my acquisition, I set up shop in our large, windowless, cold storage room. I can’t remember if my mom requested this set up, incase any experiments went awry, or if I decided it was the only appropriate place to set up a secret lab. Regardless, I spent hours experimenting at card table, under a bare light bulb, surrounded by food storage, Christmas ornaments and outgrown clothes. No cure for cancer was discovered in my chilly secret lab, but my love of learning and curiosity grew along with my rock crystals.

Last week Daniel begged me to order him a Chemistry set (the Chem C500 to be exact) from one of the many homeschool catalogs that circulate our home. It didn’t take many puppy dog looks before I placed the order. The anticipation and arrival of said Chem C500 was worthy of Christmas itself. After finishing his chores on Monday, in record time, he ripped into the box and extracted his prize. Daniel donned the cheep plastic goggles we spent the whole morning experimenting. The next morning brought the same, except this time he used swimming goggles after the cheep ones snapped.

He is very serious when experimenting, sure that the wrong move will blow up the house, which I think is the part he likes best - the possibility of danger. He can be heard saying,

“Janey, put your goggles on!” or

“Watch out Janey, this might be a real acid I’ve created.”

After turning a blue liquid red he said sincerely, “That’s interesting, I may have created a new chemical.”

To which Janey, his faith lab assistant said, “He’s actually a REAL scientist!”

Daniel's Top Secret Mixture

Our neighbor across the street is a chemist and therefore Daniel’s new hero. Kevin has been giving him ideas for chemistry projects using household ingredients. Anything that fizzes, overflows or changes color is especially exciting. Daniel spent an hour the other day trying different combinations of ingredients and came up with the best “lava flow” I’ve ever seen. Next project – paper mache volcano!

The Recipe

1/8 C Hair Gel
1 T Baking Soda
1/2 T Baking Powder
1 pkg. Kool-aid mix (red or orange for lava)

Mix together and watch it bubble in the sink. To make it overflow add:

1/4 C Water
1 t Salt

Roasting Marshmellows by Ellie age 3

Karamel Sutra

This was a good one! It was like opening that chemistry set you received for Christmas, the one where you could mix the chemicals yourself to create your own concoction. Add a little of this, a lot of that and BOOM! you have your result. The packaging of this frozen goodie was much the same, a caramel cylinder in the middle, vanilla ice cream on one side, and chocolate with chocolate flakes on the other. Your ingredients. Then it was up to you. Start on the vanilla, add a dab of caramel and eat. Take some chocolate and scoop a little vanilla to taste and eat. Mix the caramel and chocolate and take a little vanilla to taste and eat. You get the picture. After about three minutes of that I realized that it all tasted good and I simply mixed everything together in one big gooey mass. Very nice, I would recommend this chemistry set to anyone. Not my most favorite by any means, but if you need an ice cream fix, this will do ya.

Caravan Life by Noreen

When I announced this New Zealand Memoirs series, my cousin said she was especially looking forward to the parts about how we all lived together in an 18 foot trailer for three months without strangling each other. I decided to take a break in narrating between the South and North Islands, and talk a little about caravan life. So, Mrs. O – this one’s for you.

The challenge in picking a Caravan, as they are called in NZ, was finding one big enough for 7 people, light enough for our van to pull, and in our price range. The one we found was technically for 4 or 5 people, but we made it work. At bedtime we literally used every inch of available space and after experimenting with several different configurations, we finally hit upon the one with the fewest complaints.

The trick to getting everyone to sleep in such a tight place was simple – bribery. We held a contest every night after prayers. Whoever was asleep first (or appeared to be) would win 50 cents, and (here’s the brilliant part) if we couldn’t tell who was asleep first because they were all so quiet (he, he) they would all tie and each win a prize. It was rare if everyone didn’t get paid out. It may not sound like much, but every 4 days or so they had enough for an ice cream novelty and everyone was happy. I think Whitney had the hardest adjustment, being 12 and having always had her own room. Now she was 24/7 with all her younger siblings and no real personal space. Sharing a bed with Janey was probably the hardest thing she had to do on the trip, and without the afore mentioned bribe, I don’t know if it would have worked out. Steve and I would sit outside the carvan and watch the stars or the wild hedgehogs and talk or play a board game while the kids tried to convince us they were sound asleep.

People have wondered how we could live in such a small space, but really the caravan was our bedroom by night, our sitting room by day and we lived in the great outdoors. I’ve never had a bigger home. Each holiday camp we stayed at had full kitchens and nice restrooms with showers and generally a playground for the kids. They were all nice (except one) and some were down right enchanting.

We had a small table inside that we used occasionally, but we generally set up our dining area outside our caravan under our awning. In inclement weather we ate inside the camp kitchens. We always cooked a big breakfast and dinner and generally packed a lunch for the day’s activities. Our favorite thing to do was put a crock-pot on when we left for the days activities and come home to something warm and ready. We ate out rarely, but would occasionally treat ourselves to the world’s best fish and chips. We washed all our dishes by hand, having the kids rotate responsibilities weekly. Some days it felt like we were never going to get beyond the cooking and cleaning to get onto the days adventures, but we generally did.

Twice I remember heading out for an activity only to turn around and head back to camp to do more chores. The bickering in the car had reached such a level on those occasions, that we simply couldn’t reward it with an adventure. Luckily, the kids believed us in the future and the threat of turning around was all that was needed to return peace, or at the very least quiet, to the car. We always read out load from the book of the day while on the road which is one of my favorite memories.

Regardless of the daily squabbles or tantrums, getting out in nature was always the cure. My mom sent me this quote from a book she was reading and asked me if it was true.

"Go to the mountains or the ocean and notice the automatic shift in
your attitude. Watch your children as they play in the mountains or
by the water, and compare it to how they play at home. Make a journal
and pay attention to it. You will find that children play harder, laugh more,
and will tend to get tired at sunset- as nature intended."

The answer was unequivocally YES, this is true. We decided our family is at its’ best when we are out discovering nature together, so although it may sound crazy for 7 people to spend 3 months in an 18 foot trailer, it was one of the best times of our lives.