31 December 2008

29 December 2008

Teaching the Book of Mormon

Over the last 4 years that I've been homeschooling I've come to the conclusion that it's been a good day in our homeschool if we have devotional and scripture reading time. Anything above and beyond that is exceptional. I came to this decision after considering this quote by Joseph Smith, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

If the Book of Mormon is so important I figured that it is imperitive that we learn all we can about the Book of Mormon. We start out each new year using the scripture story books produced by the church, Old Testament Stories, New Testament Stories, Book of Mormon Stories, and Doctrine and Covenants Stories. These are easy to read, include pictures and give us an overview of the book. Then we strive to dig deeper and learn more. I have discovered several great resources for teaching the Book of Mormon and using it as a learning tool in our homeschool.

Discover the Scriptures - Rochelle Keogh
I highly recommend this website. Rochelle Keogh has created a wonderful series of workbooks for students as young as beginning readers to use to learn and understand the Book of Mormon, and other LDS scriptures. Her workbook for beginners covers the Book of Mormon Stories book mentioned above. The workbooks for older readers get right into the scriptures. We have been using her materials for several years in our homeschooling, and they are easy to use as a family or independently.

Book of Mormon Studies - by Heather Martinson
Heather has put together a great study guide that kids can use on their own or could be used as an outline for family devotional time. She incorporates primary songs and instructions on reading the Book of Mormon. She offers this study guide for free.

Plain Book of Mormon - by TimothyWilson
This is a simplified version of the Book of Mormon written at an 8th to 9th grade reading level and incorporates many pictures. It is available as a free PDF download or for online viewing.

Storied Scriptures by Penny Gardner
Penny has provided a wonderful service by breaking the standard works down into manageable reading segments. My family read the Old Testament following the Storied Scriptures daily readings and we learned so much and enjoyed reading the Old Testament with kids ages 8 to 3. WOW!

Scripture Scouts by Roger and Melanie Hoffman, Marvin Payne, and Steven Kapp Perry
My kids love the Scripture Scouts. We own all the CD's and they are listened to over and over. I remember one night when my daughter about age 7, came to me in tears, not sad tears, but tears indicating that she had felt the Spirit testify to hear that what she was listening to on the Scripture Scout CD about the Savior was true. What a testimony building experience for her and for me.

Each episode of Scripture Scouts is about 30 minutes long, and they cover many topics. Once you fall in love with Scripture Scouts check out the AllAbout Family.

We can learn so much from studying the Book of Mormon each day and usually I learn from my kids.

27 December 2008

Scrapbooking Programs

I'm often asked what programs I use for scrapbooking, so here's a quick overview.

For years, since about 1997 I have used Microsoft's Picture It. I still use it for simple and quick little projects. It is simple to use - my 9 and 10 year old daughters have been using it for at least a year. However, Microsoft is no longer making this product. I have found two alternative products that are similar.

Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Designer is a great product and I have found a great deal for you. DJ Inkers sells it for about $10. It is great for scrapbooking but you can also make cards, invitations, posters, and more. It comes with a lot of clip art, but allows you to also use clipart and more importantly scrapbooking elements from other sources.

Scrapbook Max is another great program that I have found. The wonderful thing about this program is you can download a trial version and use it for 1 month before buying it. The purchase price is fantastic, only $40 and it comes with a large selection of scrapbooking kits. You can purchase more kits from Scrapbook Max, or use kits found on any other scrapbooking website. They also have a wide range of products such as books, calendars, puzzles, etc that they can print and the prices look compatible with many other printing websites that I have found.

Adobe's Photoshop Elements is my program of choice (it has a higher learning curve) but you can do so much more. You have control over virtually every aspect of the page and although I have been using it on and off for years I understand only the most basic aspects of the program. This is a simplified version of Adobe's Photoshop that is a professional use program, but I couldn't tell you what the differences are. Adobe also offers a free trial version of Elements. Costco is currently selling it for $79.99 with a bonus Learn Digital Scrapbooking CD by Linda Sattgast. I've learned a lot from Linda's tutorials on her website The Scrapper's Guide.

There are many other programs that you can use effectively for digital scrapbooking. If you are interested in finding out if you already have one that you can use try Top Ten Reviews Website for a review of other scrapbooking programs.

Each program has it's strengths and weaknesses and you need to choose one that will work best with your scrapbooking style. Another important thing to remember is to save each page in two formats, the format that your program uses, and in a JPG for sharing.

Good Luck finding your scrapbooking style.

13 December 2008

On the first day of Christmas

My kids love to sing "The Twelve days of Christmas" and they especially love to anxiously await some mysterious stranger dropping gifts off on the doorstep for 12 days before Christmas. This miracle has happened at our house 2 0r 3 years. I can distinctly remember 2 years when life was going really rough and this lifted everyone's spirits so much.

This year Isaac is sharing the 12 days of Christmas with us - and I'm adding in a little bit of the history of the Christmas Symbols before the song. While looking up the meaning of the symbols I found out that it is another piece of history that can't be proven for absolute certainty, and some people want to "debunk" the religious symbols (is that surprising) of the song. (The Twelve Days of Christmas, Dennis Bratcher) The greatest part for me was this paragraph that seemed to sum up what I have been struggling to understand about symbols.

"However, on another level, this uncertainty should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point. Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular "nonsense song," they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?"

Symbols only have meaning if we give them meaning. The alphabet is just 26 scribbles unless we have been taught that they have meaning. A kiss is just a kiss, or a thimble, unless we attach love and affection in its delivery. I love the symbols of Christmas, and I teach them to my children, just as I teach them to eat, to read, to write, to love and serve one another.

11 December 2008

Mess or Bliss

I walked into this room and my instinctive thought was - "What a mess!"

Then I sat down in the rocking chair, nursed my baby, listened to The Forgotten Carols CD, and had my husband turn of all the bright lights. As I sat there an relaxed I paid more attention to what I was looking at.

Isn't that a beautiful Christmas Tree that the kids decorated?

And here are the scriptures that we just finished reading before they went off to bed. Not only are we reading the Book of Mormon, but for Christmas we are following the advent calendar in the December 2008 Friend (as suggested, organized, and orchestrated by Rebecca).

Here is evidence that we went to Deseret Book to do our Secret Santa Christmas Shopping tonight. The kids willing spent their own money that they have been saving for several months to buy presents for each other, they weren't stingy either.

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

10 December 2008

Reading and the Book of Mormon

I read this essay by Greg Hill on Grant Von Harrison's research behind writing his book Teaching Children to Read Using the Book of Mormon when I was just getting started homeschooling. (You can by the book at BYU or preview it at LDS Literacy.org). This really helped to form some of my most basic beliefs about learning to read and its importance. As we continued to read from the scriptures as a family we can see the impact that it has on our kids education. (See this post on Teaching the Book of Mormon).

Since that time I've been interested everytime I find other books about teaching kids to read by actually using the scriptures. Here are the 3 books that I have found.

Teaching Children to Read Using the Book of Mormon - By Grant Von Harrison ( BYU or preview it at LDS Literacy.org)

Learning to Read using the Book of Mormon, by Camille Funk

Head Start with the Book of Mormon: Using the Scriptures to Teach Children Reading and Writing Skills by Vicki Lynn Rasmussen

I own all three of these books, I have used bits and pieces from each of them. If I could only buy one, I would go with the Head Start book, although I'd like to get the CD version of the 5 Volume Learning to Read Using the Book of Mormon so I could study it more.

I'm so glad that we have such a wide variety of wonderful books to read, but if the only book I could have was the Book of Mormon . . . what a treasure!

08 December 2008

Book of Mormon Stories

A few years ago I searched out some Book of Mormon story books for my kids. I wanted them each to have their own book, on a level appropriate for reading ability, to read and learn to understand and love the stories of the Book of Mormon. I was able to find a few books, but I didn't feel like their were a lot of choices. I've been on the look out for new books since I know have two new little kids. They can use the books of their siblings, but my kids are a little possessive, about "my book of Mormon story book." While sharing is an important concept, I think that these books in a small way represent the "oil in their lamp" the beginning of their testimonies.

Last year I noticed that a girl in my primary class had a Book of Mormon story book that I had not seen before. I finally took the time today at church, about the Book of Mormon stories book that their daughter had. It was one that I'd never run across before in my search of books for my kids. I came home and in my search on the Cedarfort website I found several books about the Book of Mormon that I never have seen before.

The young girl had this book, Jr. Book of Mormon. This one is for young children, ages 2 and up, it has a lot of illustrations, and short stories.

"Book of Mormon Stories for Little Children" is one that we already own, I bought it for Emily in my previous search. It only has a few pictures, and it appropriate for a beginning reader to read to themselves.

My First Book of Mormon Stories by Deanna Draper Buck is a board book for the youngest reader. We have really enjoyed ours, and other books in this series. Even though it is a board book it is quite large, and is wonderfully illustrated.

I found the Book of Mormon Reader Activity book by Joylnne Stapp several years ago when I began homeschooling my children. My daughter enjoyed reading it and doing the activities in the book. She has recently relocated her copy and is again reading the book and doing the activities in it again. I may have to buy a new copy for my other children so that they can do the activities as well.

Who's Your Hero? Vol. 1: Book of Mormon Stories Applied to Children by David Bowman is Isaac's favorite book for scripture reading time. This is different than scripture time. Scripture Time is in the evening with Dad, and we read from the Book of Mormon, Scripture Reading Time is part of our home school day, immediately following our devotional. The kids get about 15 minutes to read, something involving the scriptures. Isaac's book, volume 1 has stories about Nephi, Abinidi, and Ammon, and then it has a section where it shows the kids how they can be like these scripture hero's in their everyday life.

"And it Came to Pass" looks like a great book to read to understand the story line of the Book of Mormon, and to understand how if fits into the flow of history. I would love to be able to read this book. You can preview the first 22 pages of this book online, and what a great resource.

"The 2 Hour Book of Mormon" by Larry Anderson is supposed to be readable in 2 hours by a young reader and helps prepare them to read the Book of Mormon for the first time.

The LDS.org website now has the online Book of Mormon Stories online in several formats, mp3, pdf, html, and video. Even better, they also have the New Testament, Old Testament, and Doctrine and Covenants in the same formats. The LDS.org website also has the Scriptures available to read online, but even better, the computer can read them to you. My kids love to get online and listen to a chapter read outloud while they follow along as part of their scripture reading time.The church is continually providing us with wonderful resources in a variety of formats to teach our children.

This is the Book of Mormon that I bought for myself. It is a large and heavy book. We use it daily for our family scripture study, and ours has fallen apart. I took it down to a copy center and had the broken binding cut off and had it spiral bound in two sections. It is much easier for us to read it this way. They have done a wonderful job of adding definitions, footnotes, quotes, and pictures to the book. It makes it easy to answer questions and discuss what we are reading. Although I bought story books for my kids to read on their own I also feel that it is very important for them to hear and read the Book of Mormon in its original form daily.

01 December 2008

Hobbit - Hobbit - Hobbit

Kevin likes to say Hobbit, Hobbit, Hobbit, in the hopes that Daddy will read outloud to us again tonight. Unfortunately, tonight we had to tell him, not tonight, The Hobbit is over. We have really enjoyed our evenings lately as Brad has read outloud to the whole family. I really enjoyed have a few minutes (30 or more somenights) to sit quietly, to hold a baby, to work on a plastic canvas project, or to just close my eyes and listen.

We were trying to decide what book to read next. Brad is going to start reading "The Red Badge of Courage" so that he can attend a book group meeting with the Statesmen book group. While I was trying to find out if it would be an appropriate book to read aloud to the family I found this great article in the New York Times on the importance of reading out loud to you kids.

Hey Brad - another thing we've been doing right all along.

The books that are mentioned look like great ones to add to our collection.

Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children: Selections from Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, O.Henry, London, Longfellow, Irving Aesop, Homer, Cervantes, Hawthorne, and More by William F. Russell

Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud - by Jim Trelease


Published: November 13, 1984

'' READING to your children may be the single most powerful contribution that you, as a parent, can make toward their success in school,'' William F. Russell says.

The one common factor in all children who learned to read easily, he says, is not a high I.Q., not family income, not parents with college degrees. Rather, it is that those children had been read to regularly by their parents from whatever materials happened to be at hand - newspapers, road signs, even product labels.

Still, Dr. Russell, who holds a doctorate in education, prefers good literature, and he offers parents a choice in his new book, ''Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children'' (Crown Publishers, $13.95).

Reading aloud to children may be turning into a national movement. Two years ago, Jim Trelease, a newspaper reporter, artist and father, published ''The Read-Aloud Handbook'' (Penguin Books, $6.95). In an interview he said parents should begin by reading to their 6-month-old infants. By age 2, he added, being read to ought to be a daily activity, preferably before naptime and before going to sleep in the evening.

The prescriptions of Dr. Russell and Mr. Trelease overlap. Mr. Trelease urged that reading aloud be continued in school, from the first day, and at least through elementary school. Dr. Russell agrees but suggests extending the practice into early adolescence. He says it is a mistake for parents to stop reading aloud to their children as soon as they learn to read by themselves.

The complexity and vocabulary of a book that may scare an eighth- grader away may be readily understood when the child hears the work read aloud, Dr. Russell says. Children's first-grade primers, he points out, are written with a controlled vocabulary of only about 350 words, even though most first-graders actually have a ''listening vocabulary'' of almost 10,000 words. In other words, not reading real literature to them is an insult to their intelligence and dulls their appetite for books. Occasionally, Dr. Russell admits, he was tempted by difficult passages to simplify the original text, but as soon as he imagined the authors ''leering'' over his shoulder he left things intact.

Apart from intellectual benefits, much affection can be generated during family reading sessions, bringing children and parents together more effectively than merely watching television might.

In his selected classics, Dr. Russell begins his Level 1, ages 5 to 8, with Hans Christian Andersen's ''The Ugly Duckling'' and concludes with ''The Golden Touch,'' adapted from ''The Wonder Book'' by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Level 2, ages 8 to 11, begins with a selection from Mark Twain and includes an O. Henry story and parts of Romeo and Juliet. Level 3 starts with an excerpt from Stephen Crane's ''The Red Badge of Courage'' and moves to a selection of poems. Finally, he includes ''holiday favorites'' from Easter and Passover to ''A Christmas Carol.'' But in an interview Dr. Russell stressed that the book intends to show parents how to select their own candidates for reading aloud.

Mr. Trelease's book included a guide to more than 300 read-aloud suggestions. The search for materials may lead others to the Seedling Series, paperbacks published quarterly for children by Short Story International. It contains the unabridged works of contemporary writers from all over the world and is available by subscription (P.O. Box 405, Great Neck, N.Y. 11022; four issues for $12.) The series, which is in its fourth year and is aimed at ages 9 to 12, features stories by American and foreign writers.

''We have discovered,'' said Sam Tankel, the publisher, ''that children are fascinated by stories about children, particularly from other countries.''

Since children usually want their favorite stories read over and over again, Dr. Russell urges parents to pick readings that interest them as well. When the adult reader appears uninspired, the message, he warns, is that reading is boring.

Fathers should be as much involved as mothers, Dr. Russell says. Single parents should recruit adult readers of the opposite sex - grandparents, neighbors, friends. The male role, Dr. Russell stresses, is important because children often see reading as a feminine activity: most elementary schoolteachers are women. The male-female issue is especially important for poetry, which is often mistakenly viewed as not a ''manly'' pursuit.

Dr. Russell prefaces each selection with the approximate reading time. He considers it vital that reading sessions not be cut off in midstream because time has run out.

Reading aloud to children is making converts. In Chicago, Mayor Harold Washington plans to begin a media campaign early next year and to distribute information to public schools, libraries, churches and youth organizations and parents.

In Delaware, State Representative Kevin W. Free organized a statewide project in pediatric clinics. As part of the project, trained volunteers talk to parents in waiting rooms about the need to read to their children. The program also trains teen-agers to read aloud to their younger brothers and sisters.

In New York, the United Federation of Teachers supports Parents as Reading Partners, a program that encourages parents and children to read together at least 15 minutes a day.

In an afterword, Dr. Russell cautions: ''Don't think that a book must be either one to read aloud or one of your children's own silent reading. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having your children bring home a Dickens novel, let's say, from which you read aloud one chapter while they read another on their own.''

Reading aloud costs nothing except time. Its only flaw is that it favors children from homes where books are no strangers. That should underscore the importance of building daily reading into early childhood education and child-care programs for poor children.

Finally, reading aloud is not some new-fangled idea. Such readings, for adults as well as children, were part of the American household in the early days of the Republic.

21 November 2008

My Blog - My Newspaper - My Book

I started my blog after a friend mentioned to me that she was going to turn her blog into a book, that there were companies that would take your blog and print it in a book. WOW! I had now idea! That was part of the reason that I wasn't blogging yet, I new about the concept, I even know how to do web design. I had a vanity site back in the mid 90's, and in the late 90's I got paid to design a pretty extensive website.

Fastforward 10 years and 5 kids later and I knew I didn't have time to tinker around with a website, and I was only so - so about keeping my journal up to date. I had switched to a computerized journal in 2000 - alpha journal is a great little journaling program that allows you to add pictures, etc like a word processor, but it also timestamps and keeps all of my entries organized by date, and is searchable. I can even have several different journals under my username and password, so I occasionally write things down about the kids, in their own special section of my journal. I also let each of the kids use the program. They love having their own login and password, and love to type their journal, play around with the fonts, etc. It is a lot easier for me to read also, and I don't have to worry about losing their papers all over the house.

Whenever I think about this, which is rare, I worry about all the history that is lost because of the prevalance of computers, email, and the internet. I started college right about the time email address became popular, so I have very few letters from my parents, but lots of lost emails. Then there is the vanity site that I created while I was in college, what about it? Once you leave the university they erase at, so what about all that history, will archeologist be able to dig through our old hard drives and blogs to figure us out, well while researching blog books, I discovered that someone had thought of that years ago and was actually doing something about it.
I found this in a comment on Lifehackers post about blog books.
8:01 AM on Thu Mar 2 2006

Being a dinosaur from the age of paper myself (I was/am a magazine editor and book author), I might be inticed to print a nice softcover copy of my blog from time to time, just for ego-boosting browsing in my dotage. But as long as the Internet Arcive ( http://www.archive.org/ ) is active, it's really unnecessary. And like you say, the links won't work on paper. Maybe e-paper?

and guess what - check out these links. 1996 - M1997 - V1997 - B1996. Ok, so they were a little cheesy back then, we've come a long way - blogs can be so simple or complex, and so beautiful in just a few easy step. As for my website, I did create a much better one a few years later, and I do have it backed up on my personal computer.

Oh yea, I was going to tell you about turning your blog into a book. There are several companies that can download your blog, let you do a minimal amount of organization and then ship you a bound book complete with text, photos, and comments of your blog! Wow, anyone can be an author these days. There may not be book signings, and huge press runs, but just think, a book you actually wrote. I am seeing inspire, not require working here for encouraging my kids to write! Gone are the days, at least in my house, where construction paper books run supreme. Maybe it's because we are all perfectionist, or just computer junkies.



Here's a great blog post on Turning your blog into a book.

Another neat discovery onlong these lines is FEEDJOURNAL. Finally I can have a daily newspaper that isn't full of lies, misquotes, distorted truths, and depressing stories. I can actually create a newspaper that is personalized to me, and contains writing by people that I know (ok, some only virtually) on topics that are of personal interest to me. Honestly, I probably won't use this very much - but I can easily print things off for Grandma this way.

Eating with Harry Potter

My Dad started a new tradition last Fast Sunday, Ok, maybe he just modified that tradition. We have been gathering for dinner with everyone that could make it for dinner for years. Last month Dad suggested that we come up with a monthly theme for the dinner, so last month it was Chinese. The best part was, I didn't have to cook, the boys really got into it and my brother made orange chicken, and Brad made the fried rice. Dad said we was bringing the chopsticks, and he did, along with Pork and Seeds and fortune cookies. Malinda brought some sort of a dessert, called ? Another interesting think about this meal was the the kids weren't the only ones that had to try something new, and everyone actually liked most of the food. Ok, the mustard was hot, or not, depending on your tastes and the dessert was, edible, soggy biscuits cooked in coconut milk. Ok, so nobody really liked the dessert, except maybe Malinda, but we ate it and didn't complain and got to understand how it is to be a kid again.

The theme idea was a hit and we decided on England (the home of Harry Potter) for next month, and the Scandinavia Countries for the first of the year so that we can have rosettes.

I claimed the privilege of making butterbeer, because I had just heard of a couple of good butterbeer recipes on the Mormon Mom Cast which is one of my favorite podcasts. I don't know that we will be repeating treacle fudge however.

11 November 2008

Socialist Cows

With all the talk about socialism, communism and other isms during this election season I've been thinking about this quote that my Grandmother used to have on her fridge. It was the first thing that explained the difference between socialism and capitalism to me, and it was about cows.

When Grandma moved in with us her fridge was bare - and so I haven't read the quote for the past year, although I knew it was in a bag in her store room with everything else that was taken off her fridge and never put back on, I just didn't have time to go find it. Yesterday, however, Grandma asked me if I had seen her quotes that were on her fridge - we were both thinking about the same quote. Well, I finally found that bag again, and the quote on cows was missing. BUMMER! Grandma was quite disappointed, and although I was able to quickly pull up several websites that contained her quote and much more she spent the day searching for her copy - and finally found it so that she could email it to Glenn Beck.

Here's Grandma's quote

Definitions of Government
Communism: You have two cows. The goverment takes both of them adn give you part of the milk.
SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both cows and sells you the milk.
NAZISM: You have two cows. The government takes both you cows and then shoots you.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. The government takes both of them, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one of them and buy a bull.
DEMOCRACY: Everyone has two cows. A vote is taken and whatever the majority decides to do you do, and that's no bull.

Here are links to several pages with expanded versions.

World Economic Systems - Political Cows around the World

08 November 2008

Simple Scrapbook Tutorials

Hurrah! I finally found some basic scrapbooking tutorials. I was beginning to think I was going to have to write them myself, but Stacy Carlson of Gotta Pixel is now writing digital scrapbooking tutorials on Ann The Gran in her new blog titled, Digital Scrapbooking - No Glue Required.

Although Stacy is writing tutorials for Photoshop Elements, her tutorials will help you to understand other scrapbooking programs as well.

Here are links to her first 5 blogs with some great beginner tutorials.
Jump Right in, the water is warm
Patiences and Desire, The Basics of Digital Scrapbooking
How to use a Digital Scrapbook Brag Book Template
How to use a Digital Scrapbook Quick Page
How to Create a Basic Digital Scrapbook Layout

To check out the newest post to Stacy's blog click here

Thanks Stacy for your guidance and encouragement in the Digi Scrapping World.

06 November 2008

Digital Photo Organization

I learned something new about photo organization since I gave my class on Digital Scrapbooking. I am now in the process of re-doing my organization to make it even better. I was trying to help out a friend and teach her how to organize her photos and her camera automatically names the directories when it downloads photos like this "2008-11-06" This file name is read like this, "year-month-date" or 6th of November 2008. I am going one step further and labeling my directories like this "2008-11-06 Homeschool Choir". By labeling the file folders this way I can see at a glance what they contain and quickly look through the list to find Kevin's birthday party, or valentines day, but even better they are automatically put in chronological order.

This is improved over my previous organization method in that I don't have to open so many file folders (nesting file folders can get annoying) and each file folder contains the complete date information.

Another great thing is that Picasa 3 beta is out. I have been using this new and improved version and it is so much better. They've added a few more bells and whistles that I probably won't use, but they now support PNG's which are so vital to scrap bookers. Hurrah!

01 November 2008


A google search of TJED will turn up 33,000 links, these are a few that I feel are particularly useful to me.

Lets start the list with A Thomas Jefferson Education Overview.

We should also mention the books.

A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille
A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion by Oliver & Rachel DeMille and Diann Jeppson
Leadership Education, The Phases of Learning by Oliver & Rachel DeMille

Here are some websites -

George Wyeth College this would probably be the official site, the college founded by the author of the TJED movement.

TJEDOnline is a brand new site by Rachel and Oliver DeMille - I haven't explored it yet, but it is on my list to explore when I have some quiet time.

Tjed.org is another extensive website that again I haven't explored in awhile.

Local Groups -

There are several TJED groups in the treasure valley - this one has a group blog for their reading group, Mother's Who Know. They are also trying to get a mens reading groups going as well - their website is Statemen.

I know there is another couple of local groups - but I don't have website for them. There is a group for teenagers, and a few other reading groups, contact me if you want more info and I can try and track them down more.

The Mentoring Our Own Yahoo group is no longer an active discussion group, but there are some great resources in their files. I particularly like the 4 Phases, 7 Principles poster in the Core Phase Folder because it lays out a map for our life.

30 October 2008

Photo Programs

I've been doing some more studying on labeling photos and have found some neat programs.

I was concerned because I read an article that said Picasa didn't support IPTC, but it was an old article, this article explains the Picasa upgrade. It also led me in search of some other programs.

Foto Tagger is a neat little program that allows you to identify individual elements in your photos. Take a look.

These programs are not for the feint of heart - I'm mostly including them here for future reference.

Photo Freeware.net

29 October 2008

Mom, Don't put down that Crochet Hook yet!

No, this is not an announcement, well, it is, but not that I'm pregnant. It's another sort of a afghan milestone that we have reached. Yep, that's right, Kevin is now, or nearly, potty trained! I read this post by my friend a few months ago -The Potty Training Diaries - and was reminded that eventually I should potty train Kevin. He is now closer to 3 than 2, but my girls didn't train until much closer to 3, however, Isaac trained himself a week after he turned 2. It happened so fast I didn't do anything other than go shopping for boy underwear.

For some reason last week I decided it was time. We put Kevin in underwear and set the clock. He did great - if we did.Today however, we hit a big milestone, he tells us and we go with him!!!! He's not all the way there yet - but - it will soon be time to choose colors for Kevin's big boy afghan!

Note: My Mom makes each of my kids an afghan when they are born, and a bigger one when they are finally potty trained.

Labeling Photos with Picasa

I was so excited when I finally found this website All About Digital Photos and found out that I could label my photos digitally. YEA! Just like labeling the back of snapshots, your photos can now be captioned for posterity's sake.

Picasa is a FREE program that you can download from picasa.google.com and is most useful for adding captions to your photos and and for its ability to search. It is important to know that when you add the captions in Picasa they are saved as an IPTC standard caption, and are now part of the file.

Installing Picasa
· Double Click Picasa Icon
· Click Run
· Click I Agree
· Click Finish
o This step may take awhile – Choose Only scan My Documents, My Pictures, and the Desktop the first time so you can learn to use the program. Later, you can set it up to scan more files. This may take awhile.

Click this button to set to Folder Tree Structure.
By clicking the arrows next to the folder names you can see what is inside of the folders.

Adding Captions
Double click on a picture.
Underneath the large view of the picture it says, “Make a Caption.” Click there and type your caption.
Remember, these captions will now stay with your picture, they are saved as part of the picture file.

If you can't see where is says, "Make a Caption" you may need to click on the icon that the arrow is pointing at.

Searching for more pictures.
Click on Tools – Then Folder Manager.
Using the tree structure choose which folders on your computer you would like to have Picasa scan. If you choose "scan always" Picasa will update when you save new pictures or projects to your computer.
Beware, you don’t want it to scan all of your computer, just where you save your photos, and your projects. This may take a really long time – depending on how many pictures you have, mine took at least an hour.

Picasa is indexing your pictures and making it so that you can search through your pictures ( well, eventually.)

Picasa searches file names, directory names, and captions. You may need to spend some time organizing your photos and adding captions before it is very helpful in searching.

Laughter, Joy and Sorrow

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

I've been reading this book outloud to my to my kids for the last month for part of our study on Native Americans. It is the story of a young girls adventures over the course of a year. She is a member of the Ojibwa trip that lives on an island in Lake Superior. Smallpox came to their village and many people died, including the baby Neewo, and then there was the recovery and the extremely hard winter. They were finally saved from grief and depression when Pinch ( young boy) stood to close to the fire and then sat in the water bucket.

The great deer had saved their bodies, and Pinche's asurd jump had saved
their souls, for Nokomis said shortly after that her own grandmother had
believed that the soul of the Anishinabeg is made of laughter. If there is
no laughter, the soul dies. Pinch brought laughter back to life. He brought
their souls back into their bodies. The harder they laughed the more they
knew, now, they would survive.

I can relate to this experience, only a few days after our baby died we had a day that brought joy back into our life and lifted the grief and sadness. We had an entire dinner full of deseret. I had been decorating cakes, we had leftover brownies, ice cream, pudding, M & M's, and I don't remember what else. I just remember taking being silly and laughing again. Although this wasn't the type of meal I typically set before my family, it was exactly what was needed that day.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:45-46 says

"Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.

And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for
it shall be sweet unto them; "

We had felt sorrow and grief, and peace because we have a hope in the resurrection, but we needed to again feel JOY. Isaac's favorite scripture, maybe not at the time, but shortly thereafter and for a long time was, "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." Kyle will always be remembered in our family with JOY, for he brought joy to all who saw him, with sorrow, for we wish that he could have stayed to be part of our earthly family longer, and as our strength, for our testimonies of joy, of love, of the resurrection, and as an eternal family were strengthen through his short existence her on earth.

16 October 2008

Digital Scrapbooking: Preserving History in the Digital Age

I taught a class this week on Digi Scrapping to a couple of women from church. I had a lot of fun putting together the presentation and I also learned a lot of new things. One of the very first questions that I was asked was, "How did you learn all this." Honestly, I don't remember not knowing how to use a computer. We got our first computer, a 8088 in 1988 I think, I was about 12 years old. My Dad and I spend a lot of time working together on that computer, learning how it worked, and ever since I've become more and more dependent, and independent on a computer.

I think that digital scrapbooking is one of the amazing reasons that computers have been invented. You can read my other posts about Digi Scrapping here and here. Preserving our heritage is so important and I'm so glad that I've been able to use the computer to tie these two loves of mine together. I want many more people to be able to learn to save their history, on the computer, and from the computer, so I'm offering to teach anyone that wants to learn more about the computer, and how to save their family history for future generations.

You can request the handouts by posting a comment.

11 October 2008

House Numbers and Water Barrels

We finally have house numbers on the front of our house. I lived here for about a 18 months before I even realized that we didn't have house numbers, and since then we have had at least 2 ambulances, 2 fire trucks, and a wide variety of other people coming to our house. It's not like we've never been to a hardware store, Lowe's was almost my second home last fall when we where in a state of major remodeling on our house. The numbers just never got bought, until last night. It only took Brad 10 minutes, and now our house is no longer "unplottable."

Another project that has been in the wings just off stage for the last year was filling our water barrels. I got a great deal about a year ago on 2 large blue 55 gallon drums for water storage, and during the construction and organizing phases they just sort of floated around, waiting for the perfect home. (Once filled they are very very heavy). After my trip to Lowe's last night we finally had the missing part, the coupler that connects house water to the hose to fill the drums, and after only a slightly damp catastrophe we know have 110 gallons of drinking water ( not counting what water is in the 2 water heaters.) The next step is learning how to turn off the water to the water heaters to protect our water in case of an emergency.

We had a very busy and very productive day, we also restocked our 72 hour kits, (I have a shopping list), rehung the curtain rod over the sliding glass door, fixed Brad's recliner, filled the dumpster, loaded Brad's truck with cardboard, and made room in the garage to park a vehicle. It's that time of year, we had snow already this weekend.

08 October 2008

LDS General Conference October 2008

I stumbled upon a couple of great websites with some fantastic ideas for getting more out of General Conference with Kids.

Mormon Mamma - Making Conference Memorable has some great ideas on ways to prepare kids for conference, and then to wrap up afterwards.

Linking from that page I found this great matching game of current LDS apostles, I did it in 1:00.3, that's one minute and a tiny tiny bit, with no mistakes, on my first try! Can you beat me? Match the Apostles - This comes from the LDS Greats website and it looks like they have a lot of great stuff.

04 October 2008

Apple Butter

The other day I was reading some blog - somewhere - about applebutter. I thought, oh yea, I need to remember to do that with my apples, then I almost forgot.

The whole family pitched in this afternoon to make applesauce from the jonathan apples we picked last week. We would have gotten about another 16 quarts, but all of the sudden this evening I remembered, apple butter. I did a quick search, found a few recipes, and then let Brad choose his favorite. He chose . . . Crock Pot Apple Butter from Southern Plate. Of course, even though I've never made this recipe before I am adapting it to fit the ingredients I have on hand.

General Conference with our Kids

We had a wonderful day watching to general conference today. I had planned on making applesauce this morning while listening to conference, but we weren't ready, the kitchen was still a big mess from breakfast. The kids all quietly gathered in the tv room with the notepads, coloring pages, and began watching conference. Even Kevin played quietly throughout the session. Rebecca took notes, lots of notes, and the spirit was in our home. I just couldn't bring myself to interuppt such a peaceful setting, so the applesauce had to wait until between sessions.

I really enjoyed Elder L. Tom Perry's talk about preparedness. Although I was able to listen, I wasn't able to take notes, so I look forward to being able to read the talk, and listen to it on my mp3 player. It is so wonderful that the church has the talks on the website within days to read and listen to again. I'm looking forward to using this talk to organize our family preparedness. It will be a great one to use for famiy home evening next week.

30 September 2008

This is a Mother's Room!

I walked into this Mother's Room and exclaimed, "This is a Mother's Room" All told, there are twelve rocking chairs, 1 changing table, and three large diaper pails, plus a handwashing sink. WOW! Where did I find such a mother's room, in a new chapel on the BYU Idaho Campus. We were attending church in Rexburg to witness the blessing of my nephew Carson Freeman. I have never seen such a large mother's room, and this one was never even half full while I was there, but according to my sister-in-law they have a lot of babies being born in Rexburg, and this mother's room was located in a building with 2 chapels - so it could very well be full someday. That is a sight I would love to see.

We recently got a new mother's room in our chapel, but it still only has 2 rocking chairs. We have pulled in a couple of folding chairs, and it is very often full, and we take turns using the chairs.
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27 September 2008

Carson and MaryAnn

The wonderful thing about digi scraping is that if you have a digital camera and a laptop, you can scrapbook anywhere. We are in the middle of our weekend roadtrip to Rexburg Idaho. Everyone else was playing Wii so I took the opportunity to take pictures of the babies and here is the result!

25 September 2008

Stand Up Mouse

I went to the doctor today and he said I needed to get a "standing up mouse." I've never heard of a standing up mouse, but I guess when you have a problem like mine a mouse that stands up is the best kind solution.

Ok, so he also said that I have a repetitive stress injury in my right wrist, and I already knew that it came from using the computer. If I avoid the computer it gets better, but digi scrapping and blogging are so much fun, besides all of the other work that I have to do on the computer it is hard to avoid the computer.

It's amazing how all the muscles and nerves in your hands can be taken for granted. Cooking, opening doors, changing diapers, signing checks, etc, etc, all are difficult when your wrist twinges if you twist i the wrong way. I've been icing my wrist, and giving it breaks for a few weeks now, but when I woke up in pain this morning I finally decided I'd better take care of me so I could keep taking care of others. I enjoy a break every once in a while, but doctor visits aren't exactly my idea of "alone time". I've been to the doctor twice this week(Isaac got stung by a bee, and his foot swelled up), and I have 3 appointments next week for MaryAnn, and now I I also have to go see a hand therapist, to get some therapy and strengthen my wrist.

So tonight, my husband ordered me a new mouse, I wonder if I can teach it to roll over, play dead, or any other tricks besides standing up!

21 September 2008

I scrapped yesterday's pictures already!

20 September 2008

We Did It!

I was joined by all three of my girls, Rebecca, Emily, and yes, even MaryAnn (only 5.5 months old), and my sister Malinda, and my sister-in-law Emily. We would have liked to start the race sooner, standing around in the rain isn't as much fun as splashing through the puddles. It was fun to join with 13,000 other women in having a "bad hair day" and yet we were celebrating being women!

MaryAnn joined me for the Special Achiever's Course of the 2008 St. Luke's Women's Walk. She was tucked into her sling, covered in a blanket, and buttoned inside my coat. While she was dry(I'm not talking diaper's) and happy we had a great time. It not only was an overcast day, it poured, it thundered, we saw lightening, and it poured, and it poured some more. By the time the walk started we were soaked, yet our spirits were still high.

I did feel a little let down that I didn't complete the whole course, since I committed to this walk I've been walking almost daily to prepare. However, I knew that I could have completed - so I instead took care of MaryAnn, you never know when a baby is going to say, "Ok Mom, I'm tired of being wet(soaked to the skin) and hungry" After having to stop at the Jackson's convenience store about a quarter of a mile into the walk to feed her, and found out that she wasn't as protected as we thought we knew that her needs had to come first.

I'm already looking forward to next year, my girls are quite so sure!

09 September 2008

Date Night - all by Myself?

Last Friday night I took myself on a date, by myself, no husband, no baby, just me. I even spoiled myself, I bought 2 new pairs of shoes, one pair for church, and one pair because I desparetly needed them. I've been wearing old moccasin for a long time, and all my lace up shoes were lousy. Since I'm doing the women's walk in 2 weeks I figured I'd better get a decent pair of shoes and get them broke in before September 20th.

Ok, so usually a date does consist of 2 people, but my husband had been sickish all week and wasn't feeling up to going out (shopping) with me, and our live in babysitter, was visiting her Aunt and Uncle for the weekend, so I had no other choice, but to go by myself while my husband watched a movie with the boys and the baby slept peacefully.
The best part of the evening was browsing peacefully through Deseret Book. I had time to explore, and look at books, to get ideas for Christmas presents (I do my present buying almost exclusivly at DeseretBook), without the pressure of making decisions.

Here's a few of my great finds - that I may purchase in the near future.
(I only bought the 2 items I had on my list!)
This reminded me of the American Girls book "The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls " that I mentioned in Spa Night with the Girls. My sister has a great beauty quote on her bathroom wall, that I love, maybe she'll post it in the comments for us - it talks about inner beauty. This book looked like it incorporated inner and outer beauty.
It looked like a great book, and it will probably appear in my home in the near future as a Spa Night read.

I have been trying to read the Book of Mormon and figure out who's who and what the geneology is, and some of the different war scenarios, so this book really caught my eye. It would be a fun book to study and learn a lot more about the Book of Mormon. I find that the better that I understand the storyline, the easier it is to understand the messages.

I love John Bytheway, we listened to his tapes over and over as teenagers. I still have some of his tapes and the time is soon coming that I will be sharing them with my kids. What a great collection, and take a look, he was done so many different projects - there are 46 different products.

So many books, so little time!

08 September 2008

Earaches - My plan of attack

Isaac began complaining of an earache yesterday. He didn't seem to understand that while we were in the car driving to Grandpa's house there just wasn't anything that I could do about it. When we got there I had him lay down and put a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide in his ear. It is a weird feeling, and the kids wait until I tell them they can roll over and drain it out, but they ask for it again when their ears hurt again.

After the hydrogen peroxide I usually use Wally's Ear Oil, just a drop or two of that in your ear is very soothing. Sometimes I'm extra nice and warm it up in a jar of hot water, but usually I just use it room temperature. Since we were at my Dad's I started asking what he might have, he suggested Olive Oil. Olive oil it was, it has medicinal and pain relieving properties as well. Isaac requested more drops throughout the evening.

This morning first thing I loaded up all the kids and took them to my friendly neighborhood chiropractor. (Most of the kids were fighting runny noses.) They all got a good tune up. The chiropractor said Isaac's "c-1 was lateral", I think? Ok, so I'm not sure how chiropractic works exactly, but I know that it does. Ever since Rebecca escaped having tubes in her ear after a few appointments with the chiropractor he is my doctor of choice for most ills.

We've also done ear candling as well. I had forgotten about that, but Isaac hadn't, he requested it today, and since we had an ear candle left over from few years ago, we did it. His ear was still hurting off and on today, so we will head back to the chiropractor tomorrow. It is a much simpler solution than 10 days of forcing a healthy child to take an antibiotic.

Treacle Fudge - Not a Hit!

I promised to make Treacle Fudge in my Read the Book - Go Deeper Post.

Treacle was was not a hit at our house. Rebecca and I made it for Family Home Evening treat tonight. It was pretty funny, I had the recipe and invited her to come help me. We had it almost all the way made before she figured out that it was from Harry Potter. Finally, she says, 'it's from Harry Potter, I know who Rosmerta. I thought I recognized the word Treacle."

Here's the recipe in case it ever disappears from the mugglenet website
Rosmerta's Treacle Fudge

Treacle Fudge is a sweet treat from Mrs. Weasley or a tooth-breaker from Hagrid. Be sure yours doesn't get too hard! (Many thanks to Aurora for this recipe)

½ cup light cream or evaporated milk
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup molasses Directions:Step 1: In a large bowl, mix cream, brown sugar and salt together.Step 2: In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove from heat and add molasses.Step 3: Add the chocolate mixtures and cream mixtures together. Pour mixture into a pan and let cool.Step 4: Cut into squares after cooled and serve. Enjoy!

I learned the treacle is a byproduct of making sugar, similar to molasses, can be used as a remedy against poison, or as a table syrup. (www.treacle.net)

However, the fudge is very rich, our was very runny, more like a syrup. I like molasses, so I thought it was good, and Kevin really enjoyed it! No one else liked it, Brad made quite the face. I think that it would make a nice syrup over vanilla ice cream.


Another side note - I mentioned that I also learned that in latin "accio" means, "I summon". Just a few minutes ago Rebecca came and asked if she could look up what some of the other curses or spells meant, because she doesn't know what they all are for. YES! This "inspire, not require", and "go deeper" concept actually works. I spent time today reading mugglenet.com and it was quite interesting, I'm sure she can learn quite a bit, maybe latin could be in our future?

07 September 2008

Valiant 10 Girls

I had a wonderful experience today teaching the Valiant Girls class. I love being their teacher, and some weeks we have great lessons, and other weeks I feel like it flopped. Of course, I'm not as prepared the weeks that it flops, so it goes to show that the problem is all mine.

I was prepared this week, and it was such an amazing lesson. The chapters were 3rd Nephi 8-11. This is when Jesus is crucified in Jerusalem, and the earth shakes and their is darkness for 3 days. Then, Christ speaks.

I downloaded chapter 9 onto my MP3 player. I set the stage by have the girls sit in a semicircle, with everything under their chairs. Usually we sit at a table with our Book of Mormon's open. I wanted them to concentrate on the spirit today, not on the written word. I read to them some of the verses and told them my story about being in the tent at Bruneau when I thought the tent was going to fall down. I turned out the lights and explained that it was total and complete darkness. I tried to turn on my flashlight, but it did not work. However, I explained that even in the midst of chaos and darkness, it is possible to feel peace.

I then turned on the MP3 player and we listened the Chapter 9, when is almost entirely a direct quotation from the Savior. Having it read in a male voice, while we sat in near darkness was a neat experience. As the Savior lists the names of the cities that were destroyed, I paused the reading, and encouraged them to think how they would feel if he was saying that Boise, Meridian, Kuna, Eagle, Salt Lake City, had been destroyed. It was so powerful.

I turned on the lights and explained that the people were then able to rebuild their lifes. To find family members, to build new houses, to gather to the temple in Bountiful. I read to them how Heavenly Father introduced Jesus to them, and how he descended into the midst of the people.I asked them who had been in the conference center. We tried to guess at how many people the center could seat. We guess in the thousands, I just looked it up and it is 21,000. I suggested that the "multitudes" that were at Bountiful could easily have been the same size, yet Jesus invited each one to come and feel the prints in his hand and in his feet. We compared that to how long it took for the thousands of people to say "goodbye" to President Hinckley. The best info I could find quickly said 100,000 people in 2 days. I know that we don't know the numbers or the time to visit Jesus, but it doesn't really matter, the point was made that it was a truly unique experience and one that those people cherished.

I read a few more verses, quotes from the Savior, allowed the girls to ask questions or share feelings, and then it was time to go. Our class time always passes so quickly, I wish that I had more time with these girls.

I had a rare treat of sitting with them during Sharing Time, usually I have to care for MaryAnn, and as they were leaving several of them told me how much they enjoyed the lesson today. That meant so much to me, the spirit was so strong, and I so wanted them to feel the spirit and to feel Heavenly Father and Jesus's love for them. I was able to give most of them a hug as they expressed they appreciation for the wonderful lesson.

I know that every lesson can't be as powerful, but I hope and pray that these girls are having spiritual experiences in our class that will help them in their lives.

04 September 2008

Read the Book - Go Deeper

At my book group last week I shared a Harry Potter story and got some great advice along the way. First, the flashback, Brad is listening to the Harry Potter series on his pocket pc while he does yard work, and in the truck on his commute. Grandma Glasgow read book 7, then book 6, then book 7 again. Most of the family has watched the movies this summer (I've caught bits and pieces), Rebecca read the entire series this summer, with only little breaks. Emily is on book 4(she skipped 2 because it was lost). Uncle James has the entire series memorized ( well, maybe not quite but almost).

When Rebecca finished the series Brad and I agreed that she needed to read something else for awhile, some classics. She however, wanted to start the entire series again. After about 2 days she came crying to me, and explained how hard it was for her to see everyone else reading Harry Potter and for her to be "forbidden" to read it. We agree that she would read a "classic" between every Harry Potter book, but then , what was a classic? I helped her pick out some books that "might be" classics, but at least she was expanding her horizons.

I finally got around to finishing my reading of "A Thomas Jefferson Education". Reading the chapter on classics led me to a great dinner time conversation with my family. I asked them to help me decide if Harry Potter was a classic.

I got this far and realized I had already written about this topic is this blog post Classics - Chapter 5.

However, the point I wanted to make tonight was that when I told this story in my book group I was given this advice -
"Read the Books." I've read the books, I was the first one in my family to read the books, years ago. I enjoy them, but I've been telling myself that I don't have time to read them again, that I need to read other classics, to further my education. The next piece of advice struck me however, "Go Deeper".

"Go Deeper" what does that mean. Well, find something in the book that inspires you to learn more, and then learn more. Some suggestion that I recieved were find out what all the names of the characters mean, learn more about England, study dragons, etc. Ok, I get that - so I came home and started reading the books.

I asked the girls yesterday, How did Hermione get to Diagon Alley. She was muggle born, the paperwork the Harry got didn't tell him where to buy his school supplies, so how did Hermione find out. Someone suggested the she read in a book, but what book, she didn't know she was a witch.

I finished the second book today, and just looked up treacle fudge - google found "Results 1 - 10 of about 53,300 for treacle fudge. (0.27 seconds)" So, next week we make treacle fudge, I hope it turns out like Mrs Weasley's and not Hagrid's.

The other thing that I realized as I have been rereading the series is that I'm understanding the stories better, and picking up on new and different information. I'm still learning, and seeing the stories in a new light. I read these books as an adult, I can see how as a child she can really gain from rereading the book.

Again, I stand corrected.

I'm Committed

I wrote about the book Running with Angels a few weeks ago - so here's the update, I'm committed to running in the St. Luke's Women's Walk. I decided to commit when I went to girl scout camp with Emily. The lady that I drove up with has walked several years in a row and she has a muscle wasting disease. I decided that if she could do it that I could. I came home and started walking nearly every day. It's about a half mile walk around the loop that I live on and I'm up to for loops (apx 2 miles) in half an hour.

It feels so wonderful to be out walking - I've always really enjoyed walking and being outdoors. Some days I get to go alone, some times I take the kids, or random subgroups of kids, and sometimes the whole family goes together. Now that I've started taking Kevin in the stroller it is more of a workout. When Kevin was walking we had to go slow, his legs are short. I listen to my mp3 player when I go alone or just with the babies. I'm able to exercise both physically and spiritually and it is a great blessing in my life.

Pamela Hansen listed 10 techniques in her book - I'm just going to list them here, so that I can come back to them and expand on them as I have time.

1. Seeking and expressing gratitude for divine and earthly help.
2. Rejuvenating myself physically and mentally
3. Having a plan and holding myself accountable.
4. Rearranging my priorities.
5. Replacing bad habits with good ones.
6. Recording measurements and feelings.
7. Staying motivated by trying on clothes in a smaller size.
8. Listening to inspiring music.
9. Making a dream/nightmare photo book.
10. Learning from life's lessons.

Ideas and the Classics

I found this quote written down in my quote collection the other day and it has stuck with me as I've been reading and thinking about classics.

Brilliant People talk about ideas,
Average people talk about things,
small people talk about other people.

I remember leaving a playgroup years ago feeling disgusted and frustrated with the conversation amoung the mothers, it was so gossipy. I had wanted to talk about something more, worthwhile, and felt put down and left out of the circle of women.

Another time I was was two women and although I enjoyed myself I again felt left out of the conversation because it was about "Things" - the latest movie, the next big sale, etc. None of which interested me.

I felt at home the day I walked into a homeschooling mother's weekend. There really were other women who were striving to learn, to better themselves, to become better mothers, wives, and teachers to their children.

I am still woefully ignorant about many ideas, but I find myself having more ideas to discuss at the dinner table as I read the classics to myself, and especially with my family. It is wonderful to be able to discuss ideas, instead of just how many times I had to change the babies diaper.

03 September 2008

Digi Scrapping Part 2

It's been almost 4 months since I wrote my first blog article about digi scrapping - you can find it here.

Since that time I've been scrapping like crazy, except of course for the last week. I have been so busy trying to regain control of my house and getting prepared for the coming homeschool year. I'm guess I'm going through a withdrawal, and even now when I could scrap for a little while I'm having a creativity block. It been a whole week, and it's like I've lost my momentum, and I don't know where to start. I knew the time would come that the pace that I had set at almost a page a day for 3 months couldn't last forever. Besides, MaryAnn is to big to nurse while using the computer.

I did get to share my excitement this weekend with my cousin, I thought that since I knew she was good with Photoshop she would have already been into digi scrapping, but it turns out she was a paper scrapper. She is probably hooked now though. I've also addicted my sister to digi scrapping and I've been able to teach her how over the telephone and lots of emails. The digi scrapping thing is spreading, and it is so wonderful.

My Dad sent me an email today - and I thought this quote fit perfectly with the scrapbooking craze.

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born
A Death Certificate shows that we died
Pictures show that we lived!

It just so true, a picture can really make the story come to life. I've been working on my Grandma's life history for years, but since I discovered her photos in June I've really been "on fire" and my love for her and my retention of her stories has increased. Take this picture of her cheerleaders group. Grandma and her friends formed a cheerleader group, just because. Don't they look like they are having so much fun! You tend to forget that your parents and grandparents were young once.

I promised to get back to you on scanning. The best way to scan newer pictures is with a commercial scanner. I looked up lots of places online to mail my pictures off to to have them scanned, and the prices were high, and they wanted to send my precious photos across the ocean to be scanned in India or some other country. However, I was lucky enough to find out that my local Heritage Makers' consultant had access to a comercial scanner. I got about 800 pictures scanned in a weekend, for apx 25 cents a picture. It was wonderful, now I have so many more pictures of my kids in the pre-digital era to scrapbook.

However, when I discovered Grandma and Grandpa's boxes of photos I new that a the speedy commercial scanner wasn't going to work (it works with a sheet feeder). I found this program, VueScan . It has an automatic scan feature that allows you to scan a lot of pictures in a fairly short amount of time, and it automatically saves them to a file. I was putting about 5 -8 pictures on the scanbed at a time and scanning about every 10 seconds and it worked great. I was able to scan the picture in and keep them from deteriorating even further much faster than I will ever be able to process them, identify them, and scrapbook them. I found that it is easier to scan them in and the print them out to take to my Grandparents to identify them. That way they can write on the front of the picture, and I can read off the front of the picture when I process them on the computer. It is easy to get confused, so come up with a system before you get to overwhelmed with photos. If you want more info on my system, just email me throught the contact form.

Once I started getting captions for the photos I had to figure out how to save the caption with the picture, no matter where the picture was or who I emailed it to. I found several great programs, and although Picasa doesn't have all the features, it had a great price, FREE, from Google. Picasa will allow you to edit your photos, to add captions, and to search photos based on the captions, the directory names, and the file name. WOW! Important Note: Add captions, not keywords. If you add captions then email the photo to you family the captions will go with the photo, it is saved as part of the file name. If You use keywords it is only saved in the database on your computer. You can get Picasa here from Google for free.

Picasa has many neat features, it allows you to add photos to your blogger blog, you can create web albums to share with friends and family, you can easily send photos as email, and many more features.

Here's another great page by Nancy!
Till next time - remember, Pictures show that we lived!

14 August 2008


Do I want my kids to be olympians? At one time I thought that I did. Brad and I were married in 1997, so it was probably during the 1998 or 2000 Olympics that I thought how great it were if our kids found something to excel in and could compete in the Olympics. I wanted them to have a chance to "Be all they could be" and at the time since I was in the middle of my college career I was under the impression that to be the best you could be you needed to be athletic or have a great career.

Since that time I have struggled with that concept. I've had my kids enrolled in gymnastics, ballet, gymnastics, clogging and gymnastics again. They seem to like gymnastics the best, yet that doesn't mean they are on the road to gold. After listening to an interview with an Olympics gymnast where they talked about the discovery of her gymnastics ability at age 6 and the dedication to her sport since then my kids are far from the path that leads to the Olympics. I was scrapbooking this page of my girls in ballet and the girls couldi't even remember being in ballet. Yes, that was six years ago, and they were only 5 and 3. When I realized how little they remembered from their younger years my first thought was, "Why did I spend all that money on ballet classes and costumes." Well, no use beating myself up about it, however I could have used the money in more productive ways, but at the time I was still under the mistaken belief that I wanted my girls to become "olympians" or at least "great and famous" in whatever they did.

Personally my struggles have been learning to find fulfilment in my role as a wife and mother. I never really new why I was going to college, other than because after graduating as valedictorian from high school you were supposed to go to college. As a college student your goals are centered around preparing to get a great job, and take your place in society. I was lucky that when I got married I realized that even if I only left the work force to raise 1 child to age 6 I would practically have to start all over again in my career since I was a Computer Science Major. I was blessed to find a degree in General Studies and and wonderful Mentor and Counselor in Dr. Bitterwolf. He encouraged me in taking the kind of classes that I wanted to take, ones that would prepare me for the the role I knew that I really wanted, that of a wife and mother. However, although I was in classes like Child Development, Education, and Communications I still struggled with the thoughts of I should be preparing for a paying "Career". I got a great college degree, and learned a lot about life, but at what expense, $400 a month for the next 10+ years of my life. College is a tough lesson, even now.

When I started researching homeschooling I found this wonderful article by Diane Hopkins called "A College Degree for Girls? I don't think so. An Education? Why, of Course!" (More I Love Homeschooling Volume 2 by Diane Hopkins) She explains in this article how I felt while I was in college and gives some great ideas for alternative ways to get a great education and be prepared to take our rightful place in society as wives and mothers.

Now that the Olympics has rolled around once more I have taken the chance to reflect on the change in my attitudes over the past 10 years. I do want my children to succeed, to be happy, but most of all I want them to be prepared for the Celestial Kingdom and as President Hinckley said, "Women, for the most part, see their greatest fulfillment, their greatest happiness in home and family." (Teaching of Gordon B. Hinckley p387) I don't want my children to be famous, I don't want them to be dedicated athletes, I want them to be christians who are dedicated to serving the Lord, and prepared to raise a family, and fulfil whatever mission in life the the Lord calls them to serve.