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28 January 2009

Research Supports the Traditional Family

From an article titled, "Dan Quayle Was Right," printed in April 1993 in the Atlantic Online.

Taken together, the research presents a powerful challenge to the prevailing view of family change as social progress. Not a single one of the assumptions underlying that view can be sustained against the empirical evidence. Single-parent families are not able to do well economically on a mother's income. In fact, most teeter on the economic brink, and many fall into poverty and welfare dependency. Growing up in a disrupted family does not enrich a child's life or expand the number of adults committed to the child's well-being. In fact, disrupted families threaten the psychological well-being of children and diminish the investment of adult time and money in them. Family diversity in the form of increasing numbers of single-parent and stepparent families does not strengthen the social fabric. It dramatically weakens and undermines society, placing new burdens on schools, courts, prisons, and the welfare system. These new families are not an improvement on the nuclear family, nor are they even just as good, whether you look at outcomes for children or outcomes for society as a whole. In short, far from representing social progress, family change represents a stunning example of social regress.


I Can Purl

I learned as I made this:

27 January 2009

A Busy Day

Monkey discovered that Daddy was painting the walls in the basement this morning, and of course he wanted to help. So we found a brush for him and let him go at it. This was really thick paint, so there were nearly no drips or splatters, making it an ideal paint for a munchkin to try out.

The original plan had called for some nature study and outside time this morning, but it's pretty cold again, and Monkey's been complaining about his ears, so we opted for watching the feeder. This is new and interesting again because several months ago we had so many squirrels and chipmunks (greedy little things that they are) visiting our feeder & eating in 2 days what it would have taken the birds about 2 weeks to fill, so we stopped filling and have just recently started again. It's only been this week that the birds are back at the feeder. In addition, we also hung up a new feeder that should be less accessible to the squirrels and chipmunks, so hopefully we won't have to quit if they notice the food again. Since it's been so long since we had birds, Monkey was quite happy to sit and watch them a few minutes. We had a black capped chickadee that went back and forth several times from the feeder to the lilac bush to eat his seed, then back to the feeder for another.

After the chickadee left (and lunch was over) we went to the computer and listened to a recording of the chickadee's song, and then Monkey looked at the bird book before settling in for a nap while I read him a little more of the Swiss Family Robinson, which is our current read-aloud.

This afternoon we have a library run to make and some potatoes that I plan to can. It's a busy day!

23 January 2009

Cool Word: Edify

I'm studying the scriptures this afternoon, and I come upon this verse:

"... Knoweldge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." -1 Corinthians 8:1

And as I'm pondering what this is saying I realize that I have no idea what edify means. I'd thought it meant to learn, but that doesn't seem to work at all in this context. Plus, the footnote on edifieth reads: "builds up, strengthens, establishes, repairs." None of that sounds like what I thought it means.

So I head to dictionary.com:

*to build, construct, establish.
*to build or strengthen a person, uplift.
*to inform or enlighten intellectually or spiritually.
*to instruct or benefit.

I wasn't all wrong, but I was missing a whole bunch of layers of meaning that really add to my understanding of the scriptures. Edify. Like edifice. An edifice isn't just a building, it's a grand and beautiful place. Edify. It makes a difference in how I understand other verses too. For instance:

Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege. -Doctrine & Covenants 88:120.

I'd always sort of substituted the word "learn" for edify: understanding this to mean something along the lines of "all may learn from all." But edify, while it does mean learn, is more that that. So we're all supposed to be building each other and growing together, and our teaching and learning and comments in classes and such need to be mindful of that end.

21 January 2009

The Role of Government: Separation of Church and State

The Proper Role of Government, by Ezra Taft Benson
-- read the full text.
My commentary as I study his article:
Part I (Foundational Principles, Origin of Rights)
Part II (Separation of Church and State)
Part III (Source of Governmental Power)
Part IV (Powers of a Proper Government)
Part V (Government = Force)
Part VI (The US Constitution)
Part VII (Local Government)
Part VIII (Legalized Plunder)

I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But I am opposed to the doctrine of separation of church and state as currently interpreted to divorce government from any formal recognition of God. The current trend strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations – a throwback to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (P.P.N. S., p.519)

Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.

Summary: Separation of church and state means that the government doesn't tell us what to believe; NOT that the government is Godless. Allowing our government to become Godless brings us to the brink of tyranny.

Commentary: I blogged about this already, actually, after reading an interesting article on Townhall.com. It's not that the Founders intended to banish God from public life - if that was the case then why would it be self-evident that we are "endowed by [our] Creator" with certain rights? To completely banish God from public life, as some are trying to do, would likely horrify our Founding Fathers! Not only is this not our tradition, it's a very unsteady foundation for "unalienable" rights. The phrase "separation of church and state" is not even in the Constitution, and though the First Amendment does forbid the government to establish a religion this is balanced by requiring the government to uphold the free exercise of the people's religion. The meaning of the phrase "separation of church and state" can be traced to events much more recent in origin: a 1947 Supreme Court decision that actually drew on a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, rather than the Constitution, to begin placing unconstitutional limits on the free expression of American faith.

There is lots more to come on this: President Benson had a lot to say on the matter. But I can only digest it in small chunks, so I'll post part two and another day, and likely continue with more parts after that! The full text of his paper is available here.


Andy has been putting the cabinents in our bathroom last night & this morning, and Monkey likes nothing better than to help his daddy when he's fixing. I'm pretty excited by all this fixing too: our bathroom should be all done except a few cosmetic things by the end of the day! Yay Daddy! Yay Monkey! (Plus, this gives Monkey some great hands-on experience with tools and fixing and some great Daddy time.)

18 January 2009

Funny Kid

Uncle Himbeere: Do you want gold?

Monkey: No.

Uncle Himbeere: Do you want silver?

Monkey: No.

Uncle Himbeere: Do you want money?

Monkey: No. Pay Taxes!

15 January 2009

Happy Religious Freedom Day

“Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all freedoms we have,” said TVC [Traditional Values Coalition] Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon. “This nation was founded upon a belief that God is the creator of our rights – not the government – and that religious freedom is closely linked to political freedom and limited government. TVC wholeheartedly supports Religious Freedom Day and urges every Christian to learn more about this important celebration of religious liberty.”

Read more - including the official proclamation of the holiday.

Suggestions Please

I have this sweater I bought a while back, which is soft and cuddly and warm. Thing is, it shrank when I washed it. I followed the directions but it still shrank dramatically. It's shorter in the waist and the sleeves than I feel comfortable wearing. It'll cover me... but only as long as I hold perfectly still. I've pondered chopping it up to make into something else, but I haven't been able to do it because I really love the sweater. So all this re-fashioning I've been looking at over at Wardrobe Refashion made me want to see if I could do something with it. Someone else lengthened a short shirt with a bit of fabric and this became my inspiration. I decided to crochet a border on the bottom.

So, here is my new yarn - my first merino yarn - and the sweater. I'm all ready to go. Except that I don't know what kind of edging I want to crochet. I'm all ears, folks. What do you think would be good? I'll probably put a few rows of plain single-crochet on as a start so that it's pretty dense at the top of the edging & thus will do a better job of keeping the belly button covered. But after that I'd like to put something on that's pretty, yet not too fussy. Though if I fell in love with a fussy pattern that swatched well in the yarn I'd try it. That's the lovely thing about these stringy crafts: you can try it out, nothing is permanent.

Any suggestions?

Also, a big thanks to Cocoa for the brush tutorial: it makes it easy to "copyright" my pictures if I want to!

14 January 2009

Musing on Modesty

Ever since reading about the fruits of the Spirit and pondering what kind of dirt I have, I've been thinking about several of those virtues - gentleness, temperance, and also modesty (although it's not listed in the verse).

As I was studying I was looking up some definitions because I wasn't sure what temperance is, and while I was at it I looked up the definition of Modesty. I'd always thought of it as not showing too much skin. Don't let things get too tight. As a result, I had been well and truly puzzled by the Prophet's comments on modest earrings.

May I mention earrings and rings placed in other parts of the body. These are not manly. They are not attractive. You young men look better without them, and I believe you will feel better without them. As for the young women, you do not need to drape rings up and down your ears. One modest pair of earrings is sufficient.

It all made more sense when I looked at the definition (courtesy of dictionary.com):


1. having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.

2. free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.

3. having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.

4. limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.: a modest increase in salary.

Being modest essentially means not drawing attention to ourselves. So, earrings may indeed be modest or immodest. Interesting. Makes me look at my clothing with a whole new eye. It's interesting as well: this would mean that what is modest here, where I live, may not be modest where you live. Or it may be over the top and extreme, though the Lord has certainly laid out some minimum standards that apply to everyone. But a great deal of it has been left to individual discretion and would be very culturally influenced. That being said, I rather suspect that in this (as in all other things) there is a Celestial Law that is the Final Right Answer that governs the actions of those that live with the Lord.

There are also some really great blog posts out there on modesty. This blog is hosting a whole 10 Days to Modesty event - they're having a fashion show tomorrow. I think that I'm a little late to participate in that, but it's a cool idea. They've also got a giveaway from a modest fashion designer, which is cool. I haven't checked out her store yet, but I'm thinking that I'll go check it out at some point.

10 January 2009

Why Would They Do That?

I thought the media was all about exposing governmental problems. That they saw it as their duty. That's how the stories usually go. But apparently we're not supposed to question Mr. Obama's sketchy citizenship. A World Net Daily columnist and her orginization tried to purchase air time for an add about Mr. Obama's Constitution/citizenship woes, and not one of the major networks would sell her the time. Not CNBC, not MSNBC, not Headline News, not CNN, not Fox. So here's the ad, which has now been posted on YouTube. It's chilling, if you believe the assertions. Given the effort that Mr. Obama has gone to in order to avoid explaining his birthplace, I say it's pretty credible. You can read the World Net Daily article here. If you'd like to send a letter to the Supreme Court asking them to take the question of Mr. Obama's citizenship and presidential eligibility seriously, click here.

Watch the ad. Then ask yourself: why won't he just show folks his birth certificate? Why not just end the controversy?

Ponder: What would it mean to America to have a foreign national inaugurated as President? This question is worthy of our serious consideration.

Is the Constitution, in fact, our highest law? Or has something else replaced it while We, The People weren't looking?

09 January 2009

Summer In My Kitchen

It's cold. We're supposed to get snow this weekend. But it's summer in my kitchen.

We got some apples from folks selling fruit to support a choir. I think it was a choir. In any case, there were several more than what we could eat before they went bad, so at Andy's suggestion I canned them into apple pie filling. And a very tasty apple pie filling it is! Monkey helped by peeling the apples for me. I have this fabulous apple peeler-slicer gizmo, and with the right type of apples he can actually peel them faster than I can cut them into quarters. The apples we had were a little softer (lots of red and yellow delicious), so he had to have more help this time. I plan to eat some of the leftover pie filling on my vanilla ice cream one of these days. We've also discussed the possibility of doing crepes. Next I need to do something with the box of oranges that we bought. Andy wants juice; I want to try the honeyed orange slices. We'll probably end up with a little of both.

Some Hilarious Nursing Stories

I'm really not sure what the contest was for, but Motherwear's Breastfeeding Blog has some hilarious breast feeding stories up!
Slowly, slowly, I am trying to unravel a sweater. You'd think it'd be quick work, but it's giving me trouble. You can see how pretty the emerging string is though.

08 January 2009

On Teaching

Here is a wonderful talk by M. Russell Ballard on the purpose and method of gospel teaching. It's not quite 12 minutes long.

Feeling Better

You know they're feeling at least some better when they have energy for messes!

07 January 2009

More Backhoes

Monkey's been sick, so we've been watching more videos. Here are a few from today.

New Beginnings

I've been pondering this year's resolutions for a while now, and while I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to make my goals, I am closing in on the mark.

Relief Society this week is studying the parables in Matthew 13. I find my mind drawn back to the parable of the sower again and again as I study this afternoon. The good earth brings forth good fruit (Matt 13:23). By their fruits shall ye know them (Matt 7:16-20). The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23).

So, my question became, "What are my fruits?" Do I see these things in myself? In my life? (Do I even know what all of these things are?)

How do I get more of these things?

When I can answer that question I think I will be ready to write my goals.

More New Beginnings at Wordfull Wednesday.

06 January 2009

Tinfoil Hats

I finally got a turn with the library's copy of First Art: art experiences for toddlers and twos by MaryAnn Kohl. It's a fun book. Sadly, someone has put a hold on it so I can't renew it; it has to go back in a couple of days. If Monkey hadn't been sick this past week we'd have done more. I just bought some bigger paper to do some painting on, but he's had a nasty cold/stomach flu thing.

Before he got sick we did a tinfoil art thing. First Art is cool because it's all open-ended art projects (as opposed to crafts that have a right and wrong way to do them). And a sheet of tinfoil isn't even messy! He crunched it and put it on his head, then lost interest. So I got a sheet and played with it too.

I'm glad I did. Tinfoil is interesting to play with. Scrunching and smoothing and wrinkling and banging. We had a very good time. This is a book that is definitely going on my homeschooling wish list! (Though in the mean time I can put a hold on it and get a turn from time to time.)

"Do Backhoes?"

04 January 2009

What We Do For Preschool

Monkey just past 2, so we're extremely informal about our "preschool." Still, in my mind it is preschool, and will gradually become more formal as he gets older. We're setting up for a Classical Education, so the things we do are done with that in the back of my mind. This is a selection of some of our favorite things we've done over the past year or more. I also complied a list of skills that preschool children might learn to do.


I'm taking the 1000 Good Books list and I'm turning it into a Google Document to track how many of them we have read. We're just starting to work our way through the picture books recommended. We're slowly working our way through A Swiss Family Robinson for our read-aloud. We use Happy Phonics for our "formal" phonics instruction, but it's really not very formal.

Bebop Express is a recent favorite book from the library.
He also loves Starfall.com, which I let him do in small bursts.
Monkey has started looking for letters in books.
We read lots of picture books.
Sometimes Monkey reads more independently.


We put up the date daily and we look for various countries on the world map.
This is also a good time to review letter sounds and play with rhyming and blending.


Most recently, we played with tinfoil as suggested in First Art.

Right now he loves to cut paper, which works well with my desire to scrapbook: he's doing it like Mama.
Monkey loves to paint.
We did some squishy toe-painting. (I should've stripped him to his diaper.)
He also likes crayons.


Our most recent nature study: playing in snow and following rabbit tracks.

We did some color bombs.
We've done some moon & star gazing.
We met some chickens and horses.
We tried the Great Backyard Bird Count, visited a wetlands preserve.
We made cornstarch glop.


We got together with friends and built a castle.
I made a felt-board & some felts.
Monkey loves digging and helped plant the seeds,
We've tried a couple of children's museums.
Monkey is also regularly my great kitchen helper. I borrow from the ideas used in Montessori schools and let Monkey use real stuff and do for himself whenever possible.


I work on applying Miss Mason's ideas about getting outside.
We are using this for scripture memorization.
Check out our Nature Study.


Monkey loves music and is interested in playing the piano, which I encourage.
He also participates in the "listening music" I do with my piano students.

02 January 2009

My First Refashion

I made a bag. Read all about it here.

Never-Ending Quilt Squares

Last January, feeling inspired by the new year, I signed up for a quilt exchange with the LDS Mom's Educational group. I was really looking forward to it. We picked purple as our main color. I chose a paper piecing pattern that looked awesome. I was excited. These were going to be some nice quilt squares.

By June, I was pretty sure I was in trouble. I wasn't anywhere near ready for the deadline. But I was pretty sure that I could get the 9 squares made between our trips and send them out by the end of July. Boy was I glad when the deadline was extended. The paper piecing was a disaster. The square was beautiful, but it was fragile. And it took my Mom and I 3 hours to assemble a single square. Not good.

So I sent in my excuses to the ladies in the group who were amazing. "Don't cry," they said. "Go on vacation and figure it out when you get back." So I went on vacation. And when I got back Mom & I went shopping & I picked up materials for Mom's favorite kind of quilting: strip quilting. But I was so frustrated that I could hardly stand to look at my new quilting toys. So I didn't do a thing with it until the deadline passed. I (re)started my squares the day after the new deadline. (Sorry girls.) And to my intense surprise and pleasure, it was easy and fun! I was nearly done with the whole project when I was swamped by the combination of my sister's wedding and then the holidays. However, the squares are finally done. And I'm happy with them. I'd even do it again. I'm glad that I stuck it out. And many thanks are due to the ladies of the LDS Mom's Ed group for being so patient with me! I'm packaging them up to mail tonight!


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