Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March's UFOs Update

Here are the items I was finally able to cross off my "to-do" list in March:
Called the repairman to solve the pool leak problem which started last summer. It'll be nice not to keep adding water on a weekly basis!
Email the picture of the completed shed to the salesman at TuffShed.
. Complete the "exploding box" from last fall's Super Saturday.

Upload, order, pick up, and put the wedding pictures in the family photo album!

These were all things that have been "nagging" me for a while. And there's plenty more, so we'll see what happens next month!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Movie Night

Memorable Monday Moments
Church Videos

This afternoon Michelle said, "Look, Mom, there's a Mormon ad on the computer screen!" (I think she was on Yahoo.) Anyway, the advertising worked and I decided (and the Spirit confirmed) that it would be a great idea to watch "The Lamb of God" for family night tonight. Church videos make great lessons, especially when they're a rare treat.
This afternoon, I also discovered that there's a new feature on lds.org. Click here to see the list of videos available to view online. Isn't that cool? And if you want to be "old-fashioned" and order your own copy, here's the catalog link.
The first video we used as family night material was this one:
(Mainly because it included "Johnny Lingo" - but the importance of that is a story for another day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Rose Garden

Flashback Friday
Visiting the Rose Garden
Last week I shared some memories of Grandma White. This week I thought I'd share some memories of Grandmother Beckstrand. However, I got side-tracked (surprise!!!) trying to find a picture and decided to focus just on visiting the Rose Garden. I'm not sure how far away they lived from this park, but it couldn't have been more than one or two blocks, because it was an easy walk. (I found this picture of Emory Street on some realtor's page. Doesn't it look like a nice neighborhood?) And this is exactly how I remember the park: grassy walkways and curving rose beds!
With a fountain in the middle.

The park was big enough to enjoy exploring but small enough to not worry about getting lost. I don't know if it was 30 years ago, but now it's a regional park and has its own website.
I also discovered an article on its history and learned that it has its own designated neighborhood.
(As a side note, the above map also shows where I was born - O'Connor Hospital in San Jose. Because Grandmother and Grandfather were serving a mission in Australia at that time, my parents were living in their house - along with Uncle Thane and Aunt Carol and Nels. I'll have to see if I can find pictures of their actual house!)
Anyway, it was always a treat to visit Grandmother and Grandfather, but when the visit included a walk to the Rose Garden, that just made it extra special!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WFMW - Weekly Schedule

Works for Me Wednesday
Weekly Schedule

For years and years, Thursday has been my favorite day of the week. It all started when I read "The Side-tracked Home Executives" and put some of their ideas into practice. As a teenager and into our marriage I had a minute-by-minute schedule that I liked to follow. I liked being organized. When the baby wouldn't follow the schedule (what nerve he had to be hungry before it was "allowed!"), I decided it was more important to take care of him, so I threw the schedule out the window. After a few more years and a few more kids, that wasn't working either, so I researched different ideas trying to find a balance.

What finally worked for me was to designate a different priority or focus for each day of the week. I would do my best to make accomplish certain things on that day, and then not worry about them the other days. That allowed me the flexibility to meet my children's needs throughout the day, yet still feel productive and mostly organized. Here's the schedule I follow:

Sunday - family church day
Monday - main cleaning day (recover from the weekend)
Tuesday - errand day
Wednesday - paperwork day
Thursday - free day
Friday - project day (prepare for the weekend)
Saturday - family work and/or play day

Can you see why Thursday is my favorite day?? That's my reward for working hard on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and getting all the "have-to-do" things done. Whenever possible I don't do anything on Thursday that I don't like - things like ironing or cleaning bathrooms or calling the insurance company or figuring taxes are saved for another day of the week. And whether it's reading a book or working on a scrapbook or visiting with a friend or just taking a nap, on Thursday I try to do something just for me. Happy Mom = Happy Family.

So, that's what works for me! What works for you? Check out We are THAT Family for more ideas!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Double Duty Sharing Time

Memorable Monday Moments:
Prayer Language Sharing Time

In the April 1991 Friend, there was a Sharing Time suggestion for using proper prayer language. (I was reminded of this during the high council talk on meaningful prayer, which included a request from the stake president to be more careful in using "thee" and "thy" and "thou" in all of our prayers.) We've used the materials I made then over and over to help us remember the importance of this topic. In fact, I pulled them out just a few months ago for one of the rotating sessions of a Primary activity day. Isn't it always more fun to learn through games? After playing "concentration" (just match the shapes), we'd "fill-in-the-blanks" and then sing a few prayer songs. This has been a great repeat family night lesson. (We also added a review of Elder Oaks' classic talk as the kids got older.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Remembering Grandma

Flashback Friday
Memories of Grandma White
Grandma was Irish. She was born on March 25, 1918. In honor of St. Patrick's Day and her birthday, today I thought I'd record some of my memories of Grandma White. (Unlike Lachelle, I remember a very active and busy grandma!)
My first memories are of helping my mom help Grandma clean her house! How's that for a memory? But it was fun. I remember emptying and reorganizing kitchen cupboards. I remember pulling weeds in "no-man's land" in the side yard where they kept their boat. I particularly remember Aunt Cheri's "built-in" closet, with drawers along the bottom. When cleaning that out (she must have gone to college or something), my sister and I found a paper/plastic theater toy. I remember playing "Showboat" and "Oklahoma!" I'm guessing it was something like this:

When the chores were done we could have fun! Some days we'd gather all the grass clippings and organize an "outline house" and play house in the front yard. Other days we'd go swimming. (It was fun watching the progress as the pool was installed.) Sometimes we'd ride Grandma's fancy bike to the store. Since I remember both of us going, we must have taken turns sitting in the basket.

They lived for years in San Jose, California where Grandma worked as a school nurse. After retirement they moved to San Andreas - in California Gold Country. One summer Louise and I spent a month with them. Although we drove ourselves there, what I remember was walking, walking, walking. We had a great time exploring the small town. But it was HOT and we loved going back to Grandma's cool house.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I went with Grandma and Grandpa and Misti to participate in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. That was a great experience!
There are more memories - boating at the lake, holiday celebrations, my first can of wheat, introducing baby Weston to her, writing letters when she served a mission with Grandpa, even her funeral - but this is already too long so it's time to stop for now. I love my Grandma, and I know she loved me. It will be wonderful to visit and work (and maybe even play!) with her once again someday. Until then I'll just keep remembering.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Brad!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Brad!! You're REALLY an adult now!
But he didn't start that way, although he was a big newborn (9 pounds, 2 ounces). Wasn't he a precious baby?The "cake" pictures weren't necessarily the best from each year, but I thought it was interesting to see how both Brad and the choice of cakes changed (meaning each year - or at least every 3 years - they got easier to make!).3 years old - a Bunny cake and Micky Mouse sundaes6 years old - a school bus cake (idea from a magazine) 9 years old - chocolate and sprinkles with a candle "explosion"
12 years old - Boston Cream Pie for a Sunday birthday
15 years old - an ice cream cake - perfect for Florida18 years old - Brad's the Star - on another Sunday birthday!
Brad will have to make his own cake this year. However, we just wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday and let him know how grateful we are for the man he's become.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WFMW - What's for Dinner?

Works for Me Wednesday
Menu Planning
Because I love trying new recipes, I've aIways had a problem with menu plans that repeat week after week. However, because there are so many wonderful choices, I had a hard time narrowing things down and actually choosing what to eat for dinner. I finally developed something that "works for me!" Each day has a different category, and then I find a recipe to fit. Here's the outline I've used for years:

Sunday - meat and potatoes
Monday - soup and/or salad
Tuesday - pasta/Italian
Wedneday - eggs/leftovers
Thursday - rice/Oriental
Friday - other/Mexican
Saturday - sandwiches

Actually, when I first developed this, it was a monthly plan (which you can find here) where I further divided the daily categories. For example, "Mexican" was burritoes, tamales, fajitas, and tacos. And I still try to not have spaghetti every Tuesday, but I can if I want! The weekly plan is just easier to remember.

As an interesting note, the summer of 2005 I posted this plan in the kitchen, and expanded it to include breakfast and lunch. The first Wednesday of the school year came, and I was getting ready to fix pancakes or scrambled eggs, when all the kids said, "But we're supposed to have cold cereal on Wednesdays!" That's how traditions start!!
Remember to go over to "We are THAT Family" to find more ideas being shared.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Learning Something New

Part of being good parents is introducing your children to new experiences. Isn't it? So, we were really good parents on Saturday - because we tried two new things!

First, after making sure the car was washed and the lawn mowed, we visited a new park. Since it had a tennis court, we took along our tennis rackets and played. This was the first time Steven held a racket and hit a tennis ball! Because we were all equally good (or bad), we had a great time, and decided that we want to do it again sometime.(Next time I'll have to remember the camera to get some pictures of us actually hitting the ball!)

Then Wayne and Michelle decided it would be fun to make sushi, so they did.

For more pictures and the instructions, check our recipe blog. (The mustard was for Steven's hot dog, not the sushi!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time for Creativity

Memorable Monday Moments
Puppet Shows I came across this old picture (1970!) and decided it would make a great FHE idea. I'm not sure what story we were telling, but my sister and I had a great time making puppets and then using them at family night. (As I recall, our "stage" was the folding board my mom used when she cut out clothes to sew.)

Our children also liked depicting scripture stories through puppetry. (Our stage was usually just behind the couch or end table.) There are so many different types of puppets available - lunch sacks, paper plates, popsicle stick, felt, socks, finger puppets, etc. Making them is part of the fun!

Friday, March 13, 2009

What's for Breakfast?

Flashback Friday
Breakfast with Grandma/Grandmother

Isn't it interesting the things we remember about our childhood? For some reason, this week I've been thinking about my grandparents, so I thought I should do a little "series" on some of those memories. For most of my growing up years we lived within a half hour of both sets and occasionally we would have cousin sleepovers. One of the things that made these so great was the breakfast we were served in the morning. At Grandma White's house it was Lucky Charms. And at Grandmother Beckstrand's house it was Cream of Wheat.
Neither of these were served for breakfast at home, so they were a special treat, and I loved both cereals (still do!). At home we alternated between pancakes and oatmeal and eggs, with cold cereal as our Sunday morning tradition, but even then, Mom didn't buy "sugary" cold cereal - our choice was between Cheerios, Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies.
I think this is one of my favorite memories because it epitomizes the differences between my grandmothers. They were definitely not the same in outlook or personality or temperament, yet I knew each of them loved me (and all of their family) with all of their hearts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WFMW - Reverence Chair

Works for Me Wednesday
Reverence Chair

Last week I accompanied Michelle's high school chorus at their MPA concert. That stands for Musical Performance Assessment and it's an opportunity for all the choirs in the county to get together and sing for each other and some judges. Let's just say it's a big deal and they spend months preparing for it. Part of the adjudication score they receive comes from their deportment as they move from room to room (auditorium, warm-up room, stage, sight-singing room, back to auditorium). They're told to be absolutely silent. Imagine 50 15-year-olds trying to be quiet. Even though it was only for 5-10 minute stretches at a time, they couldn't do it. I was amazed. So, next year I may suggest to the choir director that they "practice" being silent. It worked for us.

Easter Sunday 1997
We go to church as a family every week, and expect the kids to be quiet and reverent during the meetings. We learned very early that telling them at church wasn't enough. So, we instituted the family practice of "reverence chairs."

Here's how it worked (I think - fortunately it's been a while since we've done this, although resurrecting the practice has been mentioned once or twice in the past few months): If you couldn't sit reverently in church - no talking, no poking, no making faces, etc. - then it was evident you needed practice at home. So, immediately after church the "offending" parties would have to sit next to each other on a kitchen chair with the timer going. There could be absolutely no talking or noise until the timer buzzed. If there was, the time started over. Ignoring your brothers was in your best interests. As I recall, each "warning" at church equaled five minutes at home (age and ability were taken into account). Another minute was added for each time the timer had to be restarted. For the first month or so, this "practice" took place daily, because obviously once-a-week reminders weren't working. In addition, we started calling family scripture study a "church meeting." That seemed to help our young children see the correlation between sitting still and listening at home with being reverent at church, and gave them "extra practice."
Check out We Are THAT Family if you want more "works-for-me" tips and ideas to help your family.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Wonders of Technology

Flashback Friday:
The Ultrasound Visit

This memory was triggered by reading my friend's post on the results of their sonogram. Just like them, we had two boys and were expecting our third baby. By that time (unlike with the first two), it was standard procedure to have an ultrasound done, and if the baby cooperated, the technician could tell you whether it was a boy or girl. Wayne and I discussed whether we wanted to know or not, and he was very adamant that he liked the element of surprise and didn't want to know. I, on the other hand, figured I lived in the 20th century (which it was then) for a reason, and thought I would like the extra time to gather pink or blue instead of yellow, so I was ambivalent.

I was still ambivalent when I walked into the doctor's office. Once things were set up, the conversation with the technician went something like this:
Tech: "So, do you want to know if it's a boy or girl?"
Me: "Well, my husband doesn't want to know and I --"
Tech: "It's a boy."
Me: "haven't decided yet."
I guess Brad wanted me to be prepared.

It was actually kind of fun to have that little secret. Wayne was positive we were having a girl and that provided a lot of private humorous moments for me. The experience was so neat that I asked to know for the next three babies as well. (Michelle didn't cooperate so she was a surprise.) And I kept that secret for years, but now you all know.

It's not a baby (or even pre-baby) picture, but this is one of my favorite pictures of Brad - "helping" wash the car at about 18 months. He's definitely all boy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It Came!

Jeff in Utah with Weston, Megan and David - Mom in Florida with 2 sleeping teenagers - Dad in a hotel in New York - best friend Kyle at school in Virginia - but thanks to cell phones we all got to at least listen to Jeff open his mission call. And he reports to the Argentina MTC on June 11th to serve in the
Uruguay Montevideo Mission.
We're so excited for him! Poor Brad will have to wait until email time next week, but he'll be thrilled too.

Michelle decided that since Brad reported to the MTC on her birthday, it's only fitting that Jeff reports on Steven's birthday. Although they won't be able to see each other, it's kind of neat that Brad and Jeff will be in the same country for a while. (It's not marked on this map but the MTC in Buenos Aires is across the river from Colonia.)

And I will predict that Jeff will be greatly interested in perusing his grandfather's missionary journal, because he served in Uruguay 50 years ago! Maybe some of the following cities will become familiar (although half of them are probably in the Montevideo West Mission): Rocha, Treinta y Tres, Colonia, Salto, Minas, Rivera, and, of course, Montevideo.