Saturday, November 28, 2009

Darn Cat.

We have declared war on our neighbor's cat- and are currently losing. For quite some time, we have noticed a gross smell around our front shrubs as you approach our front door. We are about 90% sure this smell is a result of our neighbor's cat using our front shrubs as a litter box. This smell is intensified on particularly sunny or wet days, and as my brother observed, it is the first and last impression our guests get when visiting- which is exactly how we want folks remembering their time with us.
We've tried "shake away" (a powder form of coyote urine) to deter the cat, but it doesn't seem to be working. My husband refuses to mark the territory himself, but IS keen on the idea of putting spikes and land mines around our shrubs. I've researched other methods- citrus rinds, laying chicken wire on the ground, ammonia, super soakers, cayenne powder- and was wondering if any of you have experience in this area and if any of these actually work. Please help me!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Pilgrims Came

The Pilgrims came across the sea,
And never thought of you and me;

And yet it's very strange the way

We think of them Thanksgiving Day.

We tell their story old and true

Of how they sailed across the blue,

And found a new land to be free

And built their homes quite near the sea.

Every child knows well the tale
of how they bravely turned the sail,
and journeyed many a day and night,
To worship God as they thought right.

The people think that they were sad,

And grave; I'm sure that they were glad -

They made Thanksgiving Day - that's fun -

We thank the Pilgrims every one!

- Annette Wynne

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Has Gone Too Far.

Someone please put a stop to this!

(I love how the box is marketing directly to the dog:
"Keeps You Warm and Your Paws Free!")

This dog's looking for someone's jugular...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Design Friday: Plan Toys

Lately, I have been perusing the internet for Christmas toys. I rediscovered a long lost website whose toys I absolutely love to look at: Plan Toys. All of these toys have a real simple, "designerly", Scandinavian quality to them, and are all made from wood. Unfortunately, as with all good design, a lot of these toys are pricey, and I'm pretty sure if I did buy one, my son would not appreciate them as I would hope (most of the ones I love are kind of young for him anyway). So for now, they are eye candy. And don't underestimate the importance of good toys. Frank Lloyd Wright attributes his architectural success to a set of Froebel blocks his mother bought for him when he was nine. He feels they helped him to master geometry through play.
Here are a few of my favorites:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

They Came. They Ate. They Died.


Tomorrow, when you get home from preschool, I have a craft for us to do. Do you know what these are?” [show my son a craft pack of felt pieces that create a pilgrim.]

My Son:



Yeah… they're are called ‘Pilgrims’. They were the first people to come over to America, and had the first Thanksgiving.

My Son:

And then they died?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Power of a Mother's Love

I know there may be some who have a difficult time imagining what [the Lord's] love feels like. Think of a mother with her newborn baby. The warmth, safety, cherishing, and peace of a mother’s embrace can help us understand what it feels like to be encircled in the arms of His love. A young adult Relief Society sister wrote, 'Only in the love of my mother do I come close to understanding the magnitude and power of the love of the Savior.'”

-Bonnie D. Parkin, "
Eternally Encircled in His Love", Ensign, November 2006

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

20/20 Report on Health Care

Here is a 20/20 story that Jon Stossel did on the health care system found in Canada and Great Britain... and what we can expect from government run health care. At the time he worked for ABC. He recently switched over to FOX because he felt that at ABC, "Too many stories I thought were important . . . were not aired."

**I included another group's coverage of health care in Canada in a previous post.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Farewell to Garbage

As a mother, I find that I often have to make hard decisions and stick to them... sometimes with only seconds to think through said decision.
Last week, I had two confrontations with my son that have made me second guess my parenting standards: 1.) I did not allow him to retrieve an elastic string leftover from a candy bracelet from the depths of the kitchen garbage can, and 2.) While helping clean his room, I made him throw away a leftover stick from a sucker. In both cases, my son grieved great sorrow, wept great tears, and in the former case exclaimed in despair, "I can't stop thinking about the string!"

I didn't think I was being unreasonable at the time, but now I'm wondering... could I be a a heartless mom for making my son throw away garbage?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Effect of Procrastination on Housework

Why do I have to do housework?

If I ignore housework, it will go away.

Ignore laundry for a week.

Laundry increased in numbers until members of the household had nothing to wear, resulting in alternating between two outfits or wearing items that were outgrown. When laundry was finally cleaned, it created a huge task.

Ignoring housework does not make it go away.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Design Friday: Arco Floor Lamp

I've highlighted famous buildings, chairs, and paintings. How about a lamp this week. The Arco Floor Lamp, to be specific.

This lamp was designed by Italian brothers, Achille Castiglioni and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1962, for Flos (an Italian lighting manufacturer). Their motto "design demands observation" caused them to see everyday objects in new ways. This particular lamp was inspired by the design of a streelight, and is designed to give overhead lighting without being suspended from the ceiling. It is balanced by a heavy marble base, which allows the lamp to extend 8 feet away- far enough to be centered over a dining table.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

"God's Hand in the Founding of America"

I came across a copy of this article, "God's Hand in the Founding of America" amongst my old college papers. It is an address delivered to BYU by Elder L. Tom Perry in February of 1976, celebrating America's bicentennial, that was later printed in the July 1976 New Era. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"Why is it so important to know and understand America's past? We know that history provides important lessons and warnings for today- lessons about God and his interest in the affairs of men; and warnings in the form of destructions that come to early American civilizations when they lost their reverence for family, morality, or God."

"We know a land of liberty and religious freedom was a necessary ingredient in the plan of God. Thus, Columbus and others, particularly those seeking religious freedom, were led to the shores of America."

"The success of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War came about through men who were raised up by God for this special purpose. You must read the Declaration of Independence to feel its inspiration. You merely need to study history to recognize that a group of fledgling colonies defeating the world's most powerful nation stemmed from a force greater than man."

"Today we are fortunate to live in a choice and promised land. It will remain free and blessed as long as its people remember the God who gave them life and this free land. We must remember that the family is the basic unit of a strong society. We are all a part of God's family; and as our Father, he expects us to build strong family units. It is in the family that the basic morality and righteousness should be taught that will keep America free. Each member of every family plays an important role in America. For several thousand years throughout this land the great fathers and mothers, noble sons, the patriot sons, the choice daughters have forged America into what we have today.
It is America's conscience that has preserved her. America is beautiful only when she is good, when children are laughing in her streets, and love abounds in her families. Without this conscience, civilization crumbles, as it has before on this continent. We are all part of America's future. Our job is to remember the lessons of the past, to patch up the mistakes and the sins of everything that has gone before. The place to start is within our own families..."

"The adversary knows all too well that a weak America will literally stop this building process and thwart the work of God."

"This is the time for you to be bold enough to stand up for what you believe, to let the world know that God still blesses this great land of America- if we will live righteously, according to that which he has commanded."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cleaning Product

If you are having trouble removing mildew from your bathroom, let me recommend a product to you, that was recommended to me by my Grandma.

It really does work wonders. The only problem is finding it. I searched high and low for this product in the last city I lived in (where I REALLY needed it), with no success. If you find it, it's definitely worth buying.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

There's Still Hope

While the House (Congress) recently passed their health care bill on Saturday, it doesn't mean anything is written in stone yet. Now, it's up to the Senate to pass the bill, which apparently looks like it will be a harder job to accomplish. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. explained, "Anyone can offer any amendment on any subject in the Senate whereas in the House, amendments are limited greatly, so therefore if you thought it was hard in the House its going to be harder in the Senate." Adding to this difficulty is the fact that there are several Democrats and an Independent (Lieberman) who are opposed to the bill. Obama has his work cut out for him.

If you are opposed to the health care bill, now more than ever, is the time to contact your Senators and let them know how you feel... and keep reminding them.

You can find your Senator at

Monday, November 9, 2009

Style Tip I Learned From America's Next Top Model

I must clarify, that I am not a regular viewer of America's Next Top Model. I must admit though, that I have watched pieces of a few episodes while channel surfing. Ever searching for ways to improve my wardrobe, here is some style advice I learned during an elimination scene (these scenes seem to be a prime opportunity for Tyra and her fellow judges to critique the clothes the contestants are wearing).

I learned that wearing a belt over a sweater dress is NOT good fashion. It's all about vertical lines, girl! If you dare commit this fashion faux pas, Tyra will demand that you remove the belt from your being immediately.

Wearing a hairnet and ridiculously puffy sleeves, on the other hand, IS good fashion (see the judge on far left).

You can thank me for enlightening you on this matter later.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Design Friday: Maynard Dixon

Today I decided to highlight an artist whose work I find inspiring: Maynard Dixon.
Maynard Dixon was born on a ranch near Fresno, CA in 1875. Early in his painting career, his mentor encouraged him to leave California and "travel East to see the real West". Dixon took this advice and spent time in Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona studying the landscape and people of these areas. There is a Maynard Dixon Museum in Tucson, containing some of his rarest works, though Brigham Young University's Museum of Art has the largest collection of his works.
In college, I took a painting class in which the instructor forced us to explain why we like or dislike works of art. We couldn't just say we liked something, we had to explain what it was in the work that created those reactions. It is so hard to do that, if you are not in the habit of pinpointing the things that move you. It's a good practice to undertake. Here's my attempt to explain why I like his works. I like his his ability to capture the feeling of the West before it was settled- there is a true romance to his works in this way. Perhaps this is because of his subject matter, but also I think he achieves this through his use of bold, pure colors. I also like the simplification of the lines and subjects in his work, without extreme abstraction. I think this simplification lends itself well to the raw, untouched beauty of the west. That's all I've got.

The Plains

Lazy Autumn


Flathead Tepees

Remembrance of Tusayan


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Best Laid Plans of Moms and Men Often Go Awry

Two weeks ago, I decided to make pizza for dinner (Boboli pizza crusts were buy one get one at the local market). I realize a Boboli crust hardly qualifies as "making" pizza, but I did make my own pizza sauce. My sauce recipe made enough for two pizzas, so rather than halve the recipe, I decided to be my own friend and freeze half of the sauce with the extra Boboli crust. They would come in handy on a busy day.
Last week, I was grateful for my foresight. Wednesday proved to be a busy day, and my frozen pizza and sauce served me well. The only thing, is that while I had defrosted the sauce, it didn't completely warm up while baking, so it wasn't as hot a pizza as we prefer. No biggie. I put it back in the oven to keep it warm so second helpings would be just right. I patted myself on the back for looking out for myself and making my life a little bit easier (which I rarely do).
Monday, as I was making dinner you can imagine my surprise when I opened the oven door to insert my dish, and found my pan of pizza sitting on the rack all heated up and ready to go! It seems I had completely forgotten our pizza "warming" in the oven
, and there it had sat for 5 days. After pondering over exactly how sick it would make me if I ate it, I reluctantly threw the four slices of pizza away.
I was bummed that the results of my rare foresight were thrown in the garbage, but I still think I get an "A" for effort.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Know You Are an Adult When...

... while at the church Halloween party, a group of youth at an activity center are using harsh language in front of your child (who is intently listening), and you hear yourself sternly saying, "You guys need to remember where you are," which is followed by a hard stare for each offending child.

Who am I? I am transforming before my very eyes!