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31 August 2008

"Community Organizer"

Community organizing defined.

Community organizing defended.

Palin For President?

Can we get rid of McCain and vote Palin for president instead?

Tender Mercies

This weekend has been incredibly busy! In addition to the bridal shower that was keeping me so busy I had a talk to give in church today: 10-15 minutes on Family Home Evening, including some practical ideas of what to do during FHE. It was my week to play the (broken) organ. And I have a Sunday School class that I needed to prepare for. There was plenty going on.

I woke up a little bit before my alarm on Saturday. Don't ask me how that happened, I don't know. But I did, and when Monkey stirred and had to be comforted back to sleep just as I was dropping back off to sleep myself I decided to just get up and work on my talk. So by the time that I left to go to Mom's & set things up for the shower the talk was about 3/4 of the way done. I was confident that the shower was going to go well. I'd decided to play the piano (the Bishop is fine with that from time to time), but I still hadn't done the first thing with my lesson. I planned to finish up the talk Saturday night and do the lesson this morning as we are on our last week of afternoon church.

After the party was over we got everything picked back up and headed over to Perkins for dinner because nobody had enough ambition to fix dinner. Just as we arrived Andy called me and said that a friend had offered to teach my class. I was so relieved I almost cried. I called them up and said something along the lines of "YES!! Thank you! I'd love it if you taught my class! Thank you! We're on lesson 32. Thank you!"

It meant that I went home and went to bed when I finally got there about midnight. It meant that I slept until I woke up this morning. (Monkey made sure it wasn't too late.) It meant that the parts that I did do were well prepared and I wasn't so distracted that I couldn't focus on the job at hand.

I'm sure that the Savior knew that I was at my limits, and I feel so blessed that my friend was paying enough attention to know that I needed some help. It never occurred to me to ask for help with that, but He knew that I needed it and sent me some.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5

Have you posted a Sunday Scripture? Sign Mr. Linky so others can see the verse(s) you chose!

29 August 2008

Bridal Shower Cookies

The Bride's Request

Chocolate covered strawberries are surprisingly easy to make & always a huge hit at parties. To make this batch, I used about 3 tubs of strawberries and 1 package of dark cocoa candy melts. I threw the candy melts in my little crockpot on low, and washed & dried the strawberries. You want to give the strawberries enough time to get dry so the chocolate will stick. Also, leave the tops on them. The time that I cut the tops off was very unappetizing: they started to rot and most of it went to waste. The longest part of dipping the strawberries was actually waiting for the chocolate to melt, which is not something to rush. The actual dipping went quickly and easily. Set them on wax paper to dry. It's probably better to make them the same day that you're going to eat them: I've never been able to keep them nice when I store them overnight.

Shower Prizes!

Do Your Kids Have a Favorite?

I'm speaking on Family Home Evening this Sunday, and I'm looking for some examples of FHEs that kids like. Do you guys mind asking your kids what's their favorite thing to do for FHE & leaving it for me in my comments? I'd really appreciate it!

Stuff That's Gotta Get Done

Prepare Sunday School lesson
Call about the broken organ
Prepare talk on Family Home Evening
Set up Sunday Scripture
Make bread Buy good bread
Pack jelly, cake stand, & server from punch bowl
Make frosting
Buy paint brush for spreading frosting
Decorate cookies
Make chocolate chip cookies
Pack cookies to send to Keeley
Pack paper cutter & punches
Pick ripe stuff in garden
Bathe Monkey
Pack Monkey gear for trip to Nana & Grandpa's
Finish baking daisy cookies
Assemble the shower prizes
Call John
Get 3rd shower game
Make sure a camera card is empty & get batteries recharged
Print engagement pictures Printer's not working
Wrap & pack Kate's gift
Take in & finish sewing my shirt
Register for the photography class Do it Monday
Make disk of Kate & John's pictures for Dad
Make chocolate dipped strawberries
Water gardens

This is a LOT to get done. Do you think that it would work to photocopy myself?? But Kate's so excited, I'm enjoying doing it and thinking about how much she's enjoying this.

28 August 2008

Listening the Democrats

I'm listening to the Democratic National Convention tonight. I've got some very serious problems with Mr. Obama. I will not be voting for him. But I must admit that he is a great speaker. However, as he was listing off some of his friends who helped him get to the point where he could accept the nomination, I found that nearly every name on the list - Mr. Clinton, Mr. Kennedy, ect, these are people who I am constantly wondering what (or if) they are thinking.

He's whipping the crowd into a frenzy. And it sounds good. I have to keep reminding myself there's more to a man than his ability to speak. He's a very talented speaker. One of the best political speakers I've heard. But when you actually look at him, at the things he's done, the things he says, it's disturbing. Things like abortion, I have some very serious issues with his stand on abortion. The Headmistress expressed it beautifully. She also quotes Peggy Noonan's entertaining comments.

Mr. Obama talks about ending the partisan nastiness that happens in politics. I wonder if that means that he's going to refrain from any negative adds and just focus on what he's going to do right, rather than dwelling on what Mr. McCain does wrong?

The other day I was listening to public radio talk about what Mr. Obama's race means to and about the state of "race relations" in America. There seems to be a lot of talk about his race. I think that if there is something about him that's important it would much more be that he comes from a working class, single parent home. That education and ambition have propelled him from obscurity into the national stage. The question of race, in my mind, is irrelevant and I wish the media would spend less time talking about that and more actually looking at issues.

25 August 2008

Swiped a Meme

My cousin had a fun meme on her blog, so I swiped it. Here it is:

Answer the following with only one word

1. Where is your cell phone?....Dunno
2. Your significant other?....Amazing!
3. Your hair?....Unruly
4. Your mother?....Mom
5. Your father?....Daddy
6. Your favorite thing?....Errr...
7. Your dream last night?....Strange
8. Your favorite drink....Water
9. Your dream/goal?....Eternal
10. The room you're in?....Computer
11. Your children?....MONKEY!!
12. Your fear?....Lonely
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years....Family
14. Where were you last night?....Friends
15. What you're not?....Passive
16. Muffins....Homemade
17. One of your wish list items?....Telescope
18. Where you grew up?....Wisconsin
19. What you read last....Ensign
20. What are you wearing?....Smile
21. Your TV?....Seldom
22. Your pets?....Cat
23. Your computer?....Yep
24. Your life?....Wonderful
25. Your mood?....Entertained
26. Missing someone?....Nope
27. Your car?....Reliable?
28. Something you're not wearing?....Shoes
29. Favorite Store?....Hancock
30. Your summer?....Fading
31. Like someone?....Lots
32. Your favorite color?....Blue
33. Last time you laughed....Tickling
34. Last time you cried?....Friday

So, if you swipe it from me, leave me a comment, eh?

24 August 2008

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus answered unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

-Matthew 22:36-40

Have you posted a Sunday Scripture? Sign Mr. Linky so others can see the verse(s) you chose!

I Did Not Know That

So I've been pondering Doctrine & Covenants 42:40 recently:

And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;

And it looked to me like that verse says that we ought to be making our own clothes. But I'd never heard such a thing before. So I looked into it a bit more on scriptures.byu.edu, which is one of my favorite scripture sites. And I found this from Joseph F. Smith's Journal of Discourses:

Every Latter-day Saint should be proud to wear homemade clothes, from head to foot, and when we begin to study our best interests, and the interest of Zion we will do so though it costs us more now than to wear the stuffed, starched, glossed and glittering shoddy of the world, or even the best the world affords. Money spent in home manufactures, is money saved to the community, it is money laid up for future use and benefit at home, while money sent abroad builds up New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Lowell, and the world generally all of whom are opposed to the people and the work of God and will only return evil to us for the patronage we bestow upon them.
We should be prepared, not only to manufacture our own wearing apparel, but also to make all our mechanical and agricultural implements, our household furniture, our building materials, our wagons, carriages and equipment, with all that is necessary for the righteous and legitimate use of man, that when Babylon shall fall we may be prepared for it, and not be found among those who shall wail and lament because “no man buyeth her merchandise any more.”
I see some of the sisters wearing fine hats trimmed with silk ribbon, also silk shawls, dresses, neckties, etc., which are of their own production and make. This is as it should be—“the beauty of the work of their own hands.”

Here's another from President Woodruff's Journal of Discourses:

I have no objection to the ladies—our wives daughters and mothers—in Zion adorning themselves as much as they please, if they only make what they wear. Set out your mulberry trees and make your own silk; get straw and make your own bonnets; make your artificial flowers to adorn yourselves with, and let all be the workmanship of your own hands, and do not import these things at the expense of the means we have in the Territory. I have not any fault to find with your adorning yourselves, if you only make that which you require yourselves.

Brigham Young was saying the same thing:

I do not care how beautifully you are adorned, ladies, if you will only raise the silk and adorn yourselves with your own hands. That is the requirement of heaven. It was so almost forty years ago. The word of the Lord to his Saints then was, “Let the beauty of your apparel be the beauty of the work of your own hands.” If you will observe this, adorn yourselves as much as you please. Make your hats and bonnets, and also make hats for your brothers and sons. It is your duty to do it. Preserve that that the Lord has given you, and waste nothing.

George Albert Smith also talked about it:

The revelation given to the Church years ago to let the beauty of our garments be the workmanship of our own hands, although it has not remained a dead letter, has never been fully complied with; and it is time that we, as a people, should be thinking of some new industry by which the kinds of clothing we desire may be produced, and also have a production or staple of some kind that we can send abroad that will bring us wealth in return, instead of sending away all our money, and bringing nothing back.

There was a lot of talk of raising mulberry trees and silk worms at the time. It looks like the idea was to do the whole process of making your family's clothing (and tools & furniture & things) in house, or at least, in the faith, among the Saints. It's fascinating to read. And it's interesting to think about: if we were doing this, then we wouldn't be dependent on the fashions that are dished up in Paris or wherever else they come from. No need to dress like the latest Pop-Tart Icon. If we had these skills things like prom dresses would be ever so much more pleasant to arrange for. And the difficulties we had finding Kate's dress would have been largely done away with. We shopped for that wedding dress all day, and never found one that was didn't require some sort of modification for modesty.

Of course, the living of this particular counsel is going to be a bit more tricky. I think I'm going to have to learn some more before I can actually do anything that comes close to the homemade, head to toe, that the brethren were talking about.

23 August 2008

My Bridesmaid Dress

Kate's getting married, and I get to stand up with her. This is cool. I'm really looking forward to it. Less so the part where I "get" to do that pesky toast, but we'll get through it! Being far from a "Bridezilla," Kate has given us a lot of leeway in what we wear. Sort of different, but similar theme going on. Short sleeves, black, A-line dresses. Tea length. I headed to the fabric store, rather than to a department store because the idea of shopping for something like that gave me a stomach ache. But I can sew, so I don't have to shop. Yay!

This is the pattern I selected. It's obviously got to be shortened some. My dress will look a lot like the black one, though I'll likely be following the red dress's pattern more closely. I like this dress well enough that when the wedding is over I'll probably use this pattern again (with still more alterations) to make a new temple dress.

Nothing is ever easy, and this dress is no exception to that rule: I am still larger than the sizes give in the package. Burda Style to the rescue! They have instructions for increasing the size of a pattern. I'll be having a practice run at it with some clearance fabric that I bought. And if I decide that I need it, Sew Mama Sew has full bust adjustment instructions. I think that, while challenging, this will be a do-able project!

And the Winner Is...

Martin & Jessica! Congratulations!

22 August 2008

Cookies for Kate

Monkey got up from his nap just in time to lick the beaters from the cookies for Kate's wedding shower. It's not until next week, but I'll freeze the cookies a couple of days and then frost them at the end of next week.

Kate's flwers are going to be gerber daisies and I found these adorable cookie cutters a week or two ago, so she gets daisy cookies.

Monkey liked it that I made "towers" as the cookies were cool enough. I liked that I then had enough space on my cooling rack. I think we're off to a good start.

And we had some good conversation while we were cooking. I had hoped to catch him talking about licking the beater because it's so darn cute, but alas, I was forced to "settle" for other cuteness.

Fun Toys

We're no where near ready for this sort of thing yet, but this zaner-bloser site has some pretty cool gadgets for practicing handwriting. Monkey's still way too young for this sort of activity, but I'm such a dork that I went and played with it anyway... and enjoyed it!

Low-cal Quiche

Cocoa posted a quiche recipe not too long ago, and I made it for dinner. Only I didn't have any of the breakfast meats that she suggests and I did have a whole lot of squash that needed to be used up. It was yummy.
We decided to do the hashbrown crust, but my old cheese grater had died. Andy was kind enough to get me a new one, and it's great!

The new grater shredded our baked potatoes most beautifully, and since it's got a little gizmo to keep your fingers out of the way Monkey was able to shred some of the potatoes.

The potatoes pressed into the pie plate nicely.

We made the scrambled egg stuff.

And used an onion we grew ourselves: one of the first of the season!

I added black olives to my onion & its greens for the first cup of veggies.

I added some cooked summer squash for the second cup of veggies (instead of meat). Then I forgot the cheese and had to pull the quiche out of the oven quick to add the cheese. It worked out though.

I thought it was yummy! And as an added bonus, it was about 200 calories for 1/8 of the quiche. Not too bad at all!

21 August 2008


Sci-Fi just announced that they're canceling Stargate Atlantis! Boooooo! Whoever made this decision ought to be fired. That's basically the only show I watch in a week (because I can't seem to remember that I'd like to watch Eureka, as it's on Tuesday and Friday has been our "Stargate Date" for years now. They talk about how the "Stargate franchise is as strong as it has ever been," but it's not going to stay that way if they keep making stupid cancellation decisions! Stargate is the whole reason that we have cable. I guess that will be some money back in our budget after January. Bummer.

20 August 2008

A Give Away!

UPDATE: I the winner is announced here!

Up for grabs is a felt pizza! I recently made a tutorial for these, but for those who don't want to make one, I'm giving one away.

1. Leave ONE comment telling me what is your favorite picture book is.

2.I will have Monkey draw a name.

3. Comments must be left by Friday 22 August at 10:00 PM central time.

4. I will announce the winner Saturday

19 August 2008


Monkey wants to look at Daddy's cell phone.

Daddy says no.

Monkey asks Mom for the house phone.

"Daddy. Phone!"

So Mom gives him the phone to take to Daddy.

"Ask! Trade!" Offers Dad the other phone and grins.

Thinking of Sewing

I found this fun site called Burda Style. It's full of free patterns and fun sewing ideas; they add a new one every Monday. Plus the users will often post how-tos. Here are a few that looked interesting to me.

Cute Recycle Thrift Headband
This one's an old tie made into a pretty headband. She found the tie at a thrift shop.

Vintage Swimsuit
This one is a swimsuit with an unusual amount of coverage on the leg, which I love. I'm not sure that I'm adventurous enough to try a swimsuit, but I'm thinking about it!

17 August 2008

Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of he dead, being the first that should rise.

Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

2 Nephi 2 6-9

Have you posted a Sunday Scripture?
Sign Mr. Linky so others can see the verse(s) you chose!

16 August 2008

Fruits of Our Labors

We're starting to get some yummy things out of our garden! The summer squash is happily producing 1-2 a week so far, although there are lots of blossoms down in there that make me worry that we won't be able to keep up with it. This is our second tomato, and the first big bowl of beans. Those beans are cool beans: they're an heirloom variety from the Seed Saver's catalog called Sultan's Golden Crescent. They look yummy & we'll soon find out! If we like them I'll keep the seeds from a couple of beans and plant them next year. How cool is that? We also grew some dry beans. Those are extra cool. You let the pods dry before you pick them, shell them, and you have kidney beans and pinto beans! (I know I recently mentioned that I'm a city kid. It's showing again, I think.)

15 August 2008

Tutorial: Felt Pizza

To make a felt pizza you need:
*1 piece dark brown felt: bottom crust
*1 piece light brown felt: top crust
*1 piece red felt: pizza sauce
*1 piece yellow/orange felt: cheese
*small piece of Warm & Natural batting
*needle and thread
*sewing machine (not pictured)
*circle template; I used a trivet. It should be somewhat smaller than your felt is across.

I get my felt at Hobby Lobby. It's about the same size as a piece of notebook paper and it's $.20 a sheet. Warm & Natural is more expensive, but you don't need a lot, just the width of the felt sheet. It will be long enough to make several pizzas.

Center your circle template on the light brown felt. This will be the top crust in your pizza.

Cut around the template. Don't worry if the edges are a bit jagged, they will be hidden. Just keep it circular.

Cut and set aside.

Place the template on the red felt, but let the edges hang over just a little on the sides and the bottom. Cut a square, which will be just a bit smaller than the light brown circle.

Check to make sure the square is just a bit smaller than the circle.

Round the edges, making a circle. Mostly. This will be your pizza sauce, and pizza sauce on real pizzas is never quite perfect, so don't sweat any irregularities.

Sew all the way around, just inside the red circle. Tickle the assistant.

It should now look like this. I've used light colored thread here because this isn't going to show much, and the thread will be just about right when sewing on the cheese. I don't much like to change my thread color. But if you don't mind changing colors go right ahead and use red thread for this. Set this aside.

Cut a bunch of strips from the side of your cheese color.

Then cut your strips into smaller pieces. I cut from the narrow end of the felt and got 4-5 pieces from each strip. Make a good size pile of these.

Take a piece of cheese and place it on the edge of your pizza top, but don't let the cheese go clear to the edge of the crust because it will make it more difficult to attach the bottom crust later.

Sew about halfway down the piece of cheese.

Tuck one corner of the second piece of cheese under the first to make it easier to move from one to the next without stopping sewing. This will be faster and stronger than sewing each individual piece on. Set them at random angles one to the next.

Continue adding cheese, starting new rows as needed. (If you want to add pepperoni you'll need to add little circles of pepperoni-colored felt during this step. They can go either under or over the cheese, depending on your preference. I couldn't find any felt in the right color so I skipped it & went with plain cheese pizza.)

Overlap the cheese, keep things random looking.

Stop when you are happy with how it looks. I like to leave a little more red peeking out than what I like on real pizzas because I like the way it looks.

Place your pizza top on the Warm & Natural batting. It's shown here on the brown bottom crust because the Warm & Natural is nearly the same color as my counter top. But this step is dealing only with the Warm & Natural. Do not cut your bottom crust yet.

Cut around the pizza top, making a Warm & Natural circle that is slightly larger than the top.

Now, cut the bottom crust to a circle slightly larger than the Warm & Natural, the same way you did the Warm & Natural. Again, these edges will be tucked inside, so it doesn't need to be perfect, just circular and slightly larger than the other layers. You should now have a "sandwich" of pizza parts: dark bottom crust, Warm & Natural stuffing, and the completely assembled pizza top.

To "cut" the pizza and attach the layers to each other, sew down the center line of the pizza sandwich. Go from one edge of the bottom crust clear out to the opposite edge, sewing through all the layers.

This will divide the pizza in half.

Rotate the pizza one third, and sew down the middle, dividing the pizza in half again.

The pizza should look like this; two small pieces, two large pieces.

Rotate the pizza one third again, and sew down the middle to cut the large pieces in half.

Your pizza should be "cut" into six roughly equal pieces. Thread your needle. I happened to already have button thread that was almost the same as the top crust so I used that. If you are good at doing the hand stitching part the thread wouldn't have to match too well and any brown you have on hand should work. If you struggle with hiding your hand stitching, get thread that matches your bottom crust. All-purpose thread would work just as well as button thread, although you might want to double up the strands, which I didn't need to do with the tougher button thread.

Tie a knot at the end of your thread, then come up through the top crust to hide the knot on the inside of the pizza.

Roll your bottom crust once,

...and again, being sure to fully conceal the Warm & Natural. I like to start by the stitching that divides the slices. Be sure to line that stitching up when you come to it so your crust will line up nicely with the rest of the slices.

Take your first stitch. I always end up doing this one top to bottom. Make sure to catch both the top and the bottom crust with each stitch.

As you sew, catch the pieces of felt on the top of the pizza, but do not put the needle all the way through to the bottom of the pizza. This is what your bottom will look like when the pizza is complete.

After the first stitch is in, switch to going from bottom to top. The stitches are easier to hide this way. Your stitches don't have to be really close together, but don't let them get too far apart either.

As you work roll the bottom crust under, hiding the raw edge and creating a fluffy pizza crust on the outside of the pizza.

After making your stitches, pull them tight. This will hide them as it makes a puckery-looking crust.

Continue working your way around the pizza, rolling the crust, lining up seam lines, and pulling your stitches tight as you go.

When you get back to the beginning of your stitches continue 1 or 2 stitches into the area that is already sewn. To tie off the thread, begin by tying a knot. Make a stitch, then take the needle through the loop of the stitch before you tighten it down. Do this twice.

Slide your needle between the layers of the pizza, starting as close to the last stitch as you can. Come back up a little way away from where you were sewing.

Clip your thread. If there is a nub of thread showing bend the pizza a little to gt the nub to pull back in to the interior of the pizza.

Inspect for quality and workmanship, and you're done!


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