Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to you and yours, we hope it was merry and bright!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Issue 82

Seasoned Scouter

Steve scored a couple more merit badges for his sash this week (Citizenship in the Community and Fishing) and now has 27 in all. Then they headed off to winter camp for some snow shoeing and messing around in the snow. BRRRR is all I can say, but Steve and his dad had a blast.

Merry Christmas!

Sleeping under the tree!

We enjoyed some of our favorite holiday traditions this week to get into the spirit of the Christmas season. Listening to "A Christmas Carol" (unabridged of course) with popcorn and hot chocolate, sleeping under the Christmas tree, decorating cookies, making homemade gifts, and watching "It's a Wonderful Life." What are your favorite traditions?

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Issue 81

Birthday and Christmas Rolled into One!

One of our favorite holiday traditions is Grandma B's birthday and family Christmas party. Grandma is 87 and although her health is slowing her down a little, she is still going strong. Grandma shared lovely stories and recipes with us and there was a surprise appearance from Santa Clause. I enjoyed watching Ellie's first ever interview with the Big Man himself!

Stosignaphobia by Steve L.


the fear that somehow, somewhere, a stop-sign is gonna get you


Fridays are for field trips. I think the world would be a better place if once a week, every child was allowed to venture out and explore, play, build, dream, create, and discover. Sometimes our field trips are new and blog worthy and sometimes we repeat favorites. This week was a repeat of one of our favorite destinations, Discovery Gateway. But, I couldn't resist a few pictures.

Ellie is my water baby. Probably has something to do with spending a year at beaches in New Zealand.
The boys making some impressive stop animation films.

The Forgotten Carols by Whitney

This week we went to see the play of The Forgotten Carols. It was amazing! There was excellent acting with an enteraining and meaningful plot line. The songs that it featured were amazing, and I wish that we had bought the DVD. My favorite song was "Homeless". I hope that I will be able to see it again next year. Thanks to Uncle Tyler who got us tickets!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Issue 80

NaNoWriMo by Whitney

I MADE IT! I finished NaNoWriMo! (National Novel Writing Month.) I wrote a 50,000 word novel in 30 days! This totals to 175 pages! My book isn't finished yet, but wow, talk about a sense of accomplishment!

I am still writing, and one of the prizes I got for winning is a free paperback copy of my book, professionally printed with the cover of my choice. Cool or what? I am totally converted to NaNo, and I will be doing it next year too. It was many sleepless nights and calories consumed, and my laptop does not appreciate the daily workout it received, but by Jove, I did it!

Typing the 50,000th word in front of us at family night. (Mom asked her to wait an hour and a half so we could see her and celebrate together, but I'm sure it almost killed her to do it!)

Here is a teaser for Whitney's novel:
Mitchell is thirteen and he hasn't seen his mother since he was five and his dad ran off with him. Since then, he has moved around the country dozens of times. His father is usually gone on "business trips" and pretty much leaves Mitch to fend for himself. When he is home he is mean and perhaps slightly insane. Now Mitch is living in an apartment complex in Minnesota and meets up with an old family friend, who seems to keep popping up throughout his childhood. Odd things start to occur and he discovers that he is part of something bigger than he thought. Both sides are fighting to have him and during his adventure he ultimately has to decide which side to take, because apparently he has the ability to tip the scales in either direction.

A Christmas Carol by Whitney

(Photo by Michael Chow/ The Arizona Republic)

This week my dad and I went to the Hale Centre Theatre to see their productions of "A Christmas Carol. It was amazing! The actors were very good and the special effects were astounding. They had real snow and the props rose unexpectedly out of the floor! They used a fog machine a lot, and they had lots of different lights. In short, this production will not disappoint you. It is an amazing and worthwhile presentation of Charles Dickens' beloved Christmas story.

Deck the Halls

Janey danced in her first clogging recital on Saturday to Donny Osmonds' Deck the Halls. Janey really enjoys clogging and says she wants to get good enough to compete. Her Grandma (from whom she gets her middle name) was a folk dancer at BYU, so maybe she'll follow in her footsteps!

Much Ado about... by Steve L.

We went to see the play much ado about nothing last Friday. A Shakespeare original, the Utah Vally University actors put an interesting twist on things by instead of placing the scene in Italy, like it's supposed to be, they put it in Mexico! It's an interesting tale of two people in love, a scheming rival, a hilarious guard and many surprising twists and turns. If you want to know the full story - read, listen to, or watch much ado about nothing. You can probably find it at your library. (I probably sound like a commercial).

And the Winner Is . . . .

All of the Statesmanship clubs from the state came together Saturday at the Salt Lake County Council Chambers to watch the top 20 speakers compete. All of the speeches were on John and/or Abigail Adams. Steve spoke on the conflict and friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. All his practice this year in his speech and debate class paid off, and he came in first place! Among other prizes he won a $100 Barns and Noble gift card.
His cousin Brooke came in second! Great speaking must run in the genes. Way to go Steve and Brooke! We are so proud of all your hard work!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Issue 79


So thankful this holiday for family, friends, the gospel, health, a good job, and yummy food. We love you!

Doesn't Aunt Emily set a gorgeous table?

Card games at Grandma's are better with hats!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Issue 78

Happy Birthday to Me

Thanks to everyone that helped make my birthday so special!

Steve took the day off and treated me like a queen. We started the morning off with the breakfast sandwiches Steve bought and then by painting an accent wall in the living room a lovely green. I'm redecorating the front room with a New Zealand theme. (I'll post pictures when I finish.) Then I got to go to lunch with my mom and sister while Steve took the kids birthday shopping. After lunch I got my hair done and met the family for dinner at Bajio. The next night Steve and I went to Market Street for dinner to celebrate some more. I guess you could say my main present was not having to cook!

My favorite part of the whole day was watching Steve (dad) and Janey practice her clogging routine to the tune of Deck the Halls by Donny Osmond while I finished painting. What an awesome dad!

The Gail Center

My sister Bree reminded us of a small local museum, The Gail Center. We decided to try it out for our field trip Friday. It's full of local history and turn of the century artifacts. The kids especially loved the farm house and general store.

It's run by 60 or 70ish year old grandma volunteers, who have lots of history to share. As we were the only patrons there, we got lots of their attention. The museum creators couldn't seem to decide if it was meant to be a children's museum or not. Mixed in all the hands on things are antiques with Do Not Touch signs. Unfortunately, the young ones they especially don't want touching are not old enough to read the signs. What's the point of having a General store with an awesome cash register full of fake money, if you can't touch it? Confusion aside, the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

The next room over held the highlight of the trip, the Gingerbread house display. We got to admire and vote for our favorite. It really got us in the holiday mood. Most of us voted for the clever windmill display.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Issue 77

Goldfish by Whitney

OK, so the week before last, some thing really stupid happened at my school. I was just getting out of the bathroom when one of the girls exclaimed, “There’s a goldfish in the toilet!” So a bunch of us clustered around the stall and sure enough there was a terrified fish cowering in the back of the bowl. Someone got a fish net wand from the earth sciences teacher and we were trying to scoop it up into a cup of clean water. Then another girl came into the bathroom saying that there were goldfish in all the bathrooms! Some idiot had gone to the Petco next to the school during lunch and bought a bunch of goldfish, then they put them all in toilets during fourth period. Some got flushed, and I know of some other kids who got them out and took one or two home. Some got put in the small pond behind our school. I got four to take home because I already have a goldfish tank set up, (for another goldfish named Spaz who I had rescued from being swallowed by a teacher earlier this year). But only three of them got home alive. Now all four goldfish are residing happily in a tank in my room. They are Loo, Pale Face, and Horsley (the name of the chiropractor that we stopped by on the way home from school). I cant believe the people that put them in there. “Hey guys, check it out. I’m going to be cool and put goldfish in all the toilets!” How stupid is that?

Space Camp

(Note by Mom: Steve was invited to a 3 hour space simulation with a group of homeschool friends. The following is his report.)

Last Tuesday, (funny I always start with that sentence) I went into deep space. No joke! Liftoff was at the Christa Mcaulliffe space center. It was a totally awesome space simulator. We got there, entered the briefing room and received our mission. A wormhole had opened on the other side of our galaxy and yesterday a strange ship had come out of it. The U.S.S. ranger, a nearby ship, reported that the ship was totally mutilated. Soon afterward all communications were cut off. It was our job to go investigate. (by the way this is in the future. Think Star Trek.) Among the crew were security officer Weston, damage control officer Brooklyn, first officer Preston and captain Alexander. After receiving our uniforms we were beamed to the bridge of the U.S.S. Voyager. (It looked exactly like the Enterprise.) It contained about 13 decks and 300 people. (Don’t get confused, there were only 12 people actually in the simulation, and the actual simulator was only 2 decks, each the size of a large room. We were in the bridge, which is pretty much command central. Everybody else was either not real or were just staff talking over the radio.) After reaching the wormhole, we came in contact with the ranger. They gave us more info, and left. Then we scanned the ship for life forms and found one still alive! We beamed it aboard and found it was an 11 year old girl. Just then another ship came out of the wormhole. We made contact and it turned out to be more aliens of the same race, claiming to be pretty much the police force of another galaxy. They claimed that the girl was really 43 years old and a thief, murderer and slaver with a record as long as your arm. They demanded we turn her over to them, before the wormhole closed, and they were trapped in our universe forever. Well, we didn’t like that idea, and when we refused, they nearly atomized us with an incredible super weapon! Well a crazy chase ensued including 2 decks being evacuated, 1 alien boarding, I accidentally phazed myself, another ship being obliterated (thank goodness they had escape pods), the captain and ambassador being kidnapped, nearly trying to send officer Brooklyn instead of the girl, various torpedoes being fired, and coming so close to blowing up that we could smell smoke! Eventually we beamed the girl to the other ship, and the simulation ended. We then found ourselves in the debriefing room were we discovered that she really was a criminal. In her own universe, she was tried and found guilty. We were then awarded for our bravery and an interplanetary holiday was made in our honor. Just kidding. It was LOADS of fun! I can’t wait for my next mission! I’m also going to be more careful where I point my phazer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Issue 76

Sweet Baby

Monday, Steve and I went to the hospital to welcome our newest nephew on his first day on earth. This is baby number 5 for Steve's sister Laura and her husband Dave, and what a sweet baby he is.

Haiku and Fish Sticks

While studying medieval Japan this week, we made Japanese fabric carp kites (dubbed fish sticks by my 3 year-old nephew.) We also read lots of Haiku poetry. Then we went on a Ginko, or Haiku nature walk and everyone tried their hand at writing some poetry. Although they are not all traditional Haiku, I think they are all beautiful.

Dog Behind Fence by Steve L.
Barking frantically,
The hysterical brown dog
Warns off intruders.

by Daniel
With 2 cousins we made fish kites,
all colorful and white.
We went to a field
scattered about with leaves.
We had lots of energy and ran here and there,
with our kites above and
just behind us they flowed.

by Janey
I am a daisy
born in the spring.
I pop up when
the birdies sing.

by Ellie
When the grass is dead
and the trees don't have leaves,
We go to the dinosaur museum.

Beautiful Flowers

Steve gave me the beautiful mixed bouquet the day before he left town on business. The next morning the long stemmed roses (all 96 of them) arrived by FedEx. They were a gift from Steve's bosses for supporting my husband in the great job he does for his company. He does hard work and I get roses, now that's a deal!

Cousins and Cows

Field Trip Friday found us at Farm Country at Thanksgiving point. An unseasonably warm day, it was perfect for outdoor fun. We invited our cousins along for an extra good time. If you haven't seen their new Soil to Market hands on exhibit, we highly recommend it. I finally had to drag the kids away after an hour at that exhibit alone.

Two Victories

Steve L. competed in two different speech competitions this week. The first was the preliminaries for The Focus on the Founders event held in his Statesmanship Club. He prepared a speech on John Adams and took first place in the event! He will go on to compete in December with all the other Statesmanship clubs in the state.

Saturday he also competed at Weber State University in a homeschool speech and debate tournament. He competed in Spar debate and Impromptu speaking. His dad and I arrived in time to see his last round in each event and see him receive his award for taking 3rd place in Impromptu! Way to go Steve!

Uncle Quinn

We don't get to see nearly enough of Uncle Quinn, so we decided to invite him to dinner and have him all to ourselves. The kids especially loved playing The Great Dalmuti card game and eating brownies and ice cream with him!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Issue 75

Corn Maze

For a birthday present Ellie wanted to go to the corn maze as a family. Thanks for sharing Ellie!


The highlight of Halloween is trick-or-treating at Great grandma's' assisted living home.

The Halloween spoils, before they got to pick out their favorites. No family needs that much candy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Issue 74

Happy Birthday Ellie

How did my baby get to be five years old? What a joy she is! Happy Birthday!