Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Making Tamales

I'm trying to post this as a video but I'm not sure if it will work straight from Picassa. If it's just a picture, come back tomorrow and I'll have it fixed
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 29, 2008

Having fun with my playlist

We found our old 40's music on a computer file that we forgot. I've been looking up songs for my playlist. It's a big adventure cause usually they're not there since it's fairly modern. But, every once in a while I find a great one.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Only the british can do this



Have you seen this? It's a really funny blog. This particular link takes you to only G rated posts.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cake Wrecks

Copied from "Cake Wrecks" I read it all the time but some strike me as more funny than others...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

But Where are the Blue Birds?

So Dawn W. was throwing a Wizard of Oz cast party, and she knew better than to order anything as complicated as a Yellow Brick Road cake. So instead, she simply asked for a cake with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on it.

Now, if you've read this blog for any time at all, then you're probably expecting the same thing I was - an inscription that looks like this:

"Some Wear"
The Rainbow

I'm pleased to report that's NOT what happened. No, Dawn received something far more...colorful.

At first I thought the decorator was just being clever, but then I noticed the "Somewheres". Yeah. Well, there went that theory.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm finally done with Ana's book

I don't know if you all can understand this so I may seem strange but hey, I usually do sound strange so no worries here.
I didn't want to make a photo book of Ana until the adoption was finalized. I just couldn't bear it if we had it all done and she had to leave.
So, I finally started on it and I finished today. It's a book of her story of how she came to our family. I really wanted a picture of her birthmom but we had only seen her twice and we weren't able to get one either time. Maybe she'll show up eventually so we can have a picture.
I did the best I could to fill in her story in an age appropriate manner.
If anyone wants to see it just let me know your email address and I'll send you a pdf.
It feels like another huge part of this is complete now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What a day...

Ahhh, what a day...I'll be happy when everyone gets up here to distract us a bit. I love Christmas and we don't stress out over it cause we don't buy many presents. But, we're going a little stir crazy here. Maybe tomorrow we'll go sledding and make use out of some of this snow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

9 words women say...

(1)Fine:*This is the word women use to end an argument, when they are right and you need to shut up.
(2)Five Minutes: **If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
3)Nothing:*This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.
(4)Go Ahead: **This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It !
(5)Loud Sigh: **This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)
(6)That's Okay: **This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
(7) Thanks: **A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - then it is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' ... that will bring on a 'whatever').
(8)Whatever: **Is a women's way of saying S.C.R.E.W.YOU!
(9)Don't worry about it, I got it: *Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Christmas decorating

Our holiday decorating. None of my pictures of the boys turned out...they moved too fast...did you notice our tinsel monster tree? It's their goal every year to see how much tinsel they can possibly get on the tree...as well as themselves.
Little Ana loved the jingle bells and kept trying to put them down her shirt. I think she got 10 in at once.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008


And so as not to have Andrew outdo the others, here's a pic of Alyssa and Adam at the concert. They rocked! Well, actually I guess they clasicalled.

The concert

So much for cameras...I got a recording of Andrew's class but the SD card was full before I got the other kids. So, here's Andrew. He's playing the cello.

An inspiration

Wednesday, December 10, 2008



Oh how often we either say it or hear it … “Too much to do, not enough time!”? I hear it and say it quite often. How do you manage all the tasks you have to complete in just 24hours? There are a lot of different methods on how to get chores and organizing done. Some have a strict schedule others just kinda wing it.


This week I would you to share how chores are done in your home. How you order your day with school and getting housework done. How do you decide which chores should be done by which child, of which age? I’m looking forward to hearing them!

All right HOMESCHOOL BLOGGER...here's my thing...I am terrible at organizing chores.

We tried managers of their homes and I love the thoughts but every day is so different from the next that I can't figure out how to get the schedule in with it.

I did love the nametags that were worn with the MOC system. The kids just took the cards out and lost them so they did no good!

Our system now consists of me waking up and thinking of all the things that get done, then telling the kids to do them. Great system huh?

OK, at least I can give you an idea of what they do most days...

just turned 8 boy...

Feed and water the dog, put away silverware in the dishwasher, swiffer sweep (when the floor is mostly clean and just needs dog hair up), vaccum (lightly), watch the baby in her childproofed room while I'm in the shower, wipe the table and counters, light clean the bathroom.

soon to be 10 boy...

all of the above plus feed and water the chickens, raise the baby chicks, help with the goats, put away the lower rack of the dishwasher and help load it too, light clean the T.V./sewing room, watch baby in her childproofed room while he reads while I'm helping the younger son with school.

12 1/2 year old girl...

all of the above plus watch baby and other kids when needed, all goat chores including milking, processing, and making cheese, baking and cooking (a batch or two of cookies, bread, and muffins each week), empty top dishwasher and load the rest, do the remaining dishes.

That's the basics and then we do other stuff here and there.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My stuff for sale

I'm posting this here in case anyone from the lists wants to look...

Babylock Protoge serger, I can't figure it out, my mom gave it to me...$150

Men's diaper bag/Messenger bag. Huge, too big for me. Sold normally for $115. This is a totally new bag. I got it and don't need it.

Saxophone, pro Sax. Just ask me about it if you have an interest

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Camera

The Camera is a canon A590. It was only $109 on Amazon. I have bad camera history...I started with a new one on sale for $50 about 5 years ago. It was terrible. Then I bought another for $150 and was so excited to get it...a poleroid...and it took 10 pictures to get 1 non-fuzzy picture. Then I finally bought a $200 camera, a pentax, and thought my troubles would be solved...nope. It still took a couple of pictures to come up with a non-fuzzy one and the colors always seemed off.
I borrowed my brother's Canon for our cruise and LOVED it. It was so easy and the pictures always came out right. Well, the pentax bit the bullet after only 2 months and it was too late to return it so, I decided I'd just get one like my brother's and it had to be good.
There are more expensive, newer Canons but I wanted one with the handhold part, not flat, and a good optical zoom as well as digital. I also wanted normal batteries instead of rechargables cause I hate it when your rechargables are out and then what do you do?
It works great.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Because I think she's cute

I just got a new camera so I had to try it out a bit...isn't she cute?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A great day

Well, a week has passed since the adoption. I'm trying to complete baby's life book. We have pictures of so many places that baby has been in her short life. We are putting them in a book that she can read any time along with captions that explain her story, the love her birth mother has for her, and the love that we have also.
It tells about her hospital friends and milk donors as well as the whole adoption process.
It's my hope that she will be able to understand the process a little bit better if she can see her whole story.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's official!

Well, what a week! The adoption, baby blessing, and sealing are finished. What a wonderful, crazy, beautiful week. I feel so blessed to know that our family can be together forever, that our Father in Heaven has blessed our lives with another child, even though my body didn't work well enough anymore, and that we have such great family and friends to support us. We'll take a little time off to be together and remember the birth of our Savior. I'm looking forward to Christmas this year as a real family. Last Christmas we had just gotten Ana and we had a feeling that she would be with us forever but we weren't able to acknowledge it.
I used to wonder how a mom and dad could love an adopted child as much as their own. After Ana had been with us for a month there was no difference whatsoever. She is absolutely one of our own. And yes, we love her as such.

Slinky Cat

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Please welcome Ana Sophia to our family

Well, we're back! We have officially adopted Ana Sophia. What a great feeling. Now if our camera would only work I would post a picture!

Look what I got at DI

Woo hoo! I got this rocking horse, desk, high chair, at D.I. yesterday for $15!
I knew it looked sturdy and good quality and I thought it was really cool but I didn't know it sold for $225.
That made my day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

sorry so slow

I haven't been posting here a lot because we're getting ready for the adoption for Ana and we also have Andrew's baptism.
I've also started a new blog http://gotpetroleum.blogspot.com/ that has easy recipes that are Feingold safe. Mostly I've been working on that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wife Tag

Make your husband fill this out and send it to more people...

Q. Where did you meet? I was working at Mervyn's (before Dayton Hudson sucked them dry and pawned off the carcass) when Danika walked in. There was something about her that was special. Maybe it was the way she chased me, but I was hooked and reeled in. Sometimes you don't know what you were missing until it finds you.

Q. How long did you date before you got married? 9 months.

Q. How long have you been married? 14 years, but it seems like forever. I don't seem to remember much of my life before we were married. Probably because I didn't have much of a life before we were married.

Q. What does she do to surprise you? Hide behind doors or yank the covers off when I am sleeping.

Q. What is your favorite feature of hers? Her happy face.

Q. What is your favorite quality? Her ability to adapt, improvise and overcome. Present her with a problem and she will find the right solution.

Q. Does she have a nickname for you? Several.

Q. What is her favorite food? Marzipan or Chineese food with ice cream.

Q. What is her favorite sport? Running after the kids.

Q. When and where did you first kiss? On the lips, at night. But not too late. It was when I dropped her off at her house. She was in the door, and I was on the steps outside.

Q. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? I like talking with Danika. She would prefer that I take her out more often to do it.

Q. Do you have children? Three, soon to be four.

Q. Does she have any hidden talents? Many, but they don't stay hidden for long. Someone has a problem or she finds a challenge, and a new talent comes out.

Q. How old is she? 27.

Q. Who said "I love you" first? ME, although she might deny it.

Q. What is her favorite music? Right now I think fiddling, although she loves all good music.

Q. What do you admire most about her? Her foresight. She sees what we need to do ahead of time and gets us started in the right direction.

Q. What is her favorite color? Light tan.

My frustration

I also want to tell a frustration...one phone died, the other was probably thrown away by my daughter who has conveniently learned that EVERYTHING belongs in the garbage can. So, I ordered 2 phones on ebay. One for $29 that did not have a working camera for Alyssa to take here and there and be a 2nd phone, one that had everything working. Well, I got the everything working one and THE CAMERA DOESN'T WORK. So, I still don't have a camera. I feel like I'm missing out on Ana's life and I can't afford another camera right now. argh

Way too busy!

Wow, with all the adoption stuff I'm going a little nuts, add braces, dental cleanings, and G.I. appointments to that and I'm really nuts!
Andrew had his first OT appointment and it went well. He's definitely dealing with Sensory Integration Disorder and we're still getting our diagnosis finished to see if other things are included.
We are learning a lot of Sensory Integration techniques to help him deal with his input that he needs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

some funnies from Alyssa

I was reading my journal and I came across some funny things from when Alyssa was 6...she had quite the vocabulary.

"Alyssa had just found out that Adam painted with her paints and something else terrible so she said, 'all sorts of destruction has come into my life!'"

"One day Alyssa said something very smart so Papa told her that some day she would be a genius. She said, when? Papa said, oh maybe when you're 8. Alyssa said, no that will just be the power of the Holy Ghost!"


Thank you Lisa for forever burning this image into my mind. Now I will pass it on so all of you can have nightmares.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

homeschool blogger, my momhelp

The assignment this week for homeschoolblogger is to tell about your mom help, as in what gets you through the day...
I laughed at this cause Russ was just commenting on how I blog way too much. That's because it's my sanity. I know I can "talk" to you all here. The kids are usually in here with me (the school room) and we're all doing a project. If I go out of the room I'll hear fighting in 2 minutes so it's much easier to lose myself in the world of blogging.
That being said...I have no scripture that goes along with blogging...LOL...but here's one that will fit if I'm frustrated and I've had it.

Take heed that ye despise not one of these alittle ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 18:10

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I just yearbooked myself


I just yearbooked myself...

The funniest one is the picture on the upper left because that really looks like my 9th grade photo. If I could find it and scan it you'd laugh.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Angels in blue

Thank you to the police force who watched over the temple.

Friday, November 7, 2008

life, liberty, and keeping people happy

I'm just wondering if anyone in the US reads the Constitution or Declaration of Independence...I found this on KSL today and I've seen so many similar statements.

"The LDS Church has its right to speak its opinion the same as any other organization. However, to keep people from being happy is against the constitution. The LDS Church has overstepped its bounds on this one."

Cause the constitution says "life, liberty and to keep people happy" right?

ok, #1 the phrase this person is speaking of comes from the Declaration of Independence, not the constitution.
#2, the words are "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This means that people have the right to PURSUE happiness. Not that the government can keep people from being happy. My goodness, if we have a generation of people who believe it's the government's job to keep them happy we're in deep doo doo.


From a friend of a friend of Julia's who lives in CA...

Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.
Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated little or no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.
The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.
Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.
The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.
African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.
The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).
The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.
Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.
The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church as always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.
Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do – we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Husband Tag

I've been tagged by Erica...my SIL

Q. Where did you meet?
A. At Mervyns, I made sure I was the only one who got to return stuff to the men's dept. so I could see him.

Q. How long did you date before you got married?
A. We met in November, were engaged in December, and married in March

Q. How long have you been married?
A. 14 years

Q. What does he do to surprise you?
A. Nothing whatsoever, he's not a surprising kind of guy.

Q. What is your favorite feature of his?
A. I guess we're talking about physical features here, since he started his job he changed tremendously and he walks taller and bigger. I like it when he feels good about himself. I like him all.

Q. What is your favorite quality?
A. His spirit and truth

Q. Does he have a nickname for you?
A. wif (said with a short i sound) or mujer

Q. What is his favorite food?
A. Shrimp

Q. What is his favorite sport?
A. None

Q. When and where did you first kiss?
A. I don't remember when but it was on my back porch.

Q. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple?
A. We have to do things as a couple? Nobody told him that I think.

Q. Do you have children?
A. yes, 3 and an almost

Q. Does he have any hidden talents?
A. He's an incredible artist. (copying this from yours Erica, I never knew Kent was an artist, where's all this hidden talent in the family coming from?)

Q. How old is he?
A. old

Q. Who said "I love you" first?
A. me

Q. What is his favorite music?
A. Celtic or Scottish

Q. What do you admire most about him?
A. That he's still with me.

Q. What is his favorite color?
A. Dark Green

Q. Will he read this?
A. yes

I tag my anonymous followers...I know you're there gals, come out of the woodwork and make yourselves known!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proposition 8 recognition

How nice that this group is recognizing and appreciating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After that sickening ad from "courage coalition" it warms my heart for someone to give good recognition...
I struggled with the issue because initially it seemed to take away rights but later realized there were so many other things at stake.
I want the right to adopt from lds family services. In some states religious adoption agencies have been forced to place with gay couples and therefore shut down.
I want the right to have sealings in the temple. If there are discrimination lawsuits over gay marriage I would imagine our church would not perform sealing any more.
I won't elaborate cause you can find it all other places but here follows the article.


Ruth Youth Proclaim International Mormon Appreciation Day

Contact: Jamie Gruber, 760-295-9278

MEDIA ADVISORY, Nov. 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- In response to the truly despicable, bigoted advertisement, Home Invasion, produced to defeat California's Proposition 8, the members of the Ruth Youth proclaim November 5, 2008 to be International Mormon Appreciation Day.

Whereas: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are exercising their legal first amendment free speech rights by participating in the political process, rights that are dear to all Americans of all religions.

Whereas, the advertisement was generated by an "independent" group calling itself Courage Campaign Issues Committee.

Whereas: the ad has been condemned by representatives of Catholic and Protestant Churches,

Whereas: the Protect Marriage, Yes on Proposition 8 campaign has called upon the No on 8 campaign to repudiate the ad.

Whereas: the No on Proposition 8 has been completely silent in the face of this outrageous display of anti-religious bigotry.

Whereas: the No on 8 Campaign has shown very clearly that they want the exclusive right to define what counts as discrimination and hate.

Whereas: the campaign to protect natural marriage by passing California’s Proposition 8 has been called the largest grassroots political campaign in history.

Whereas: attacks on the religious freedom of one group threaten the religious freedom of all religions.

Whereas: the Ruth Youth is an international, interfaith coalition of youthful souls of all ages who support natural marriage, in law, culture, media and academia.

Whereas: we are grateful to the members of the LDS Church for their participation in the campaign to protect marriage from being radically redefined by unelected judges.

Whereas: We are proud to have been part of said campaign, and we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the members of the LDS Church.

Therefore, be it proclaimed:

We, the members of the Ruth Youth, hereby declare and proclaim November 5, 2008, to be International Mormon Appreciation Day. We hereby express our gratitude toward and solidarity with our LDS brothers and sisters.

No matter how the election for Proposition 8 turns out, we are grateful to the courageous, dedicated, and always cheerful members of the LDS Church.

Ruth Youth can be found on FACEBOOK or at www.ruthinstitute.org.

to my homebirthing friends


I got this from Cakewrecks and it's dedicated to all my homebirthing friends

Oh, Mama!

Who's ready for some life-sized, potentially-nightmare-inducing, definitely traumatizing, yet fortuitously-censored CAKE? Hmm?

Settle down, now, all of you; there's enough here for everyone:

(Heh, you guys thought the FIRST censored Cake Wreck was bad...)

What's that? What do you mean, you all only want a piece of the little birthday cake? You can't ALL have that: who's going to eat the legs? The belly? The.. er...tracts of land? C'mon, you'll love it: mama's made of red velvet!*


Here's an even "better" angle:

John would like me to point out that this cake has teeth. And there are so many things wrong with that statement, I don't even know where to begin.

Here's some good news, though: this wasn't for a baby shower! Yay! Nope, it was served at a birthing center event. As to why the "mom" has a cake in the tub with her, though - and in that particular spot - well, you got me. I'm just glad they didn't make it into an edible baby.
Also, I've heard of cakes sweating before, but this brings it to a while 'nother level. A really shiny, gross level.

I actually had this submitted twice, by both Gina & Jeanette E. Hey girls, I'm dying to know: did "mama" have any hair? I can't quite tell from the photos. (I mean on her HEAD, you sick people, you.)

* Ok, you got me: I don't actually know what kind of cake this was.

UPDATE: I too thought that they just left the "s" off "surprise" at first, but then it would have been "urprise", not "uprise". Unless they spelled it wrong, and THEN left the "s" off - hah, double wreck! Or, I suppose it could be the name of the center.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Or how about this one?

Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys

This cake is so disturbing, I'm almost glad the picture doesn't include the whole thing. The plastic clone babies wearing naught but mohawks are bad enough, but then they're also riding carrots. What do you do with that? It looks like some kind of perverted vegetable rodeo, or maybe a bizarre clone military exercise, what with their little plastic fists raised high in identical salutes.

And what kind of occasion calls for a "naked babies riding carrots" decor, anyway? No, wait, maybe I don't want to know...

a funny cake

Russ says that now I'm on a poop list with his family (gee, never been there before) and I should post something funny instead and forget those who seek offense in everything so here's a cake that's much worse than any cute funny cream cheese cake...

Confessions of a Cake Wrecker

Cake decorators are an interesting lot.

For example, some of them find this site absolutely hilarious...until they see their cake on it.* Others find the very concept of Cake Wrecks repugnant. Still others - and these are the ones I love - realize that Wrecks are a part of life and therefore nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, some of this rare, wonderful breed even submit their own cakes. Huzzah! That's the spirit! Why get cranky over a Wrecky creation when you can share it with us, generate some laughs, and be a proud Wrecker for the day?

With all of that said, today's Wreck comes from Alison, owner of Alison's Cakery in NC. Like most Wreck creators, she usually makes gorgeous cakes. She writes:

"I was asked to make a baby shower cake for a very non-traditional mother, [but] she had her baby 3 months premature. In a moment of brilliance (or insanity, or sleeplessness) I decided to make a 'surprise baby' just exited the mommy early, kind of like a new year's baby coming out of the cake. After a bit of time modeling I was pretty satisfied with my finished product."

And here it is:

[nodding] Very nice, very... er...hey...wait a second....can we zoom in?


I've heard of losing your head over a pregnancy before, but your arms and legs, too?

Fortunately, Alison has more to say:
"I showed the cake to one of my associates, who said it looked like an alien bursting out of a decapitated mother's funereal body. Needless to say, this topper did not stay."

No, really, it's not that bad...

[checking photo again] Er, ok, yes it is.

Not to say that the alien-bursting-forth concept wasn't a good one, though. I mean, at least the mother's decapitated and dismembered torso has clothes on.

Alison, you just keep wrecking on with your bad self, girl. And bakers, I hope you've all learned a valuable lesson here today: submitting your own cakes to Cake Wrecks could get you free advertising. Oh, and always have an associate double-check your work. ;)

I'm so glad the chat box is working

I'm so glad that the chat box is working so anonymous posters can call me rude. That's just what I put it on there for, so offended people of all sorts can call me rude.
And, my apologies about my dear, sweet MIL's dear cute traditional cake. How terrible it was of me to dare say anything about it. I'll never post another joke again even if thousands of people on the cakewrecks blog came up with it first.
I really meant no offense to MIL, if I did I would come up with something much better than a silly cake, wouldn't I?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm an addict

OK, I have been looking at this blog for 2 hours! It's time to get on with my life...but first I have to share this post...


Warning: there are a couple of questionable posts but even I am not offended at them because they look nothing like the real thing...

Here's one post from the blog that particularly caught my eye because it's a picture of the scary Christmas sandwich cake that we get to see every year at my MIL's house. It's made every single year and 2 people eat a slice of it, then the leftovers sit for a month or so till those same 2 people finish it up.
It has some sort of seafood filling, ham filling, and something else as well as some cheese in a bottle and cream cheese for the icing.
No offense meant to those dear, sweet family members who like this...gag, blech, yuck!

Edited to say...Here's where I'm copying and pasting a post from cake wrecks...in case anonymous thought that I had written this piece, I didn't...here follows cakewreck's words...not mine...

"Cake" Cruelty

Ladies and gentlemen of the cake community, I come to you today with a matter of grave concern to us all.

Allow me to present exhibit A:

These seemingly innocent "cakes" are instead a threat to all the sugary goodness we hold dear. Observe:

Once sliced, you will note that these "cakes" are not cakes at all. Instead, they are layers of various meat and mayo-based salads, bread, and then - here's the worst part - "iced" with cream cheese. Note how the creators of these twisted impostors then push the deception even further by decorating the "cakes" with little roses, vines, and piped borders.

I ask you, fellow carb-lovers, are we to allow such cake defamation to stand? Will we sit idly by while our children and grandchildren are subjected to cakes that are not cakes? And if so, what next? Liverwurst doughnuts? Tuna-filled eclairs? Meat pies? (Oh, wait...)

Nay, I say, nay! We shall rise up, and as one declare that our butter cream icing must remain unsullied, our baked goods pure in sugar. Join me, and together we can make our world a place of fat, sugar, and dairy-based products for all!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

mmmmmmmmmmm new recipe

Now here's a recipe from the old wartime that looks just delicious! I think I'll try it out tomorrow morning for breakfast.


1 lb. codfish

cup pimento

1 cup cornmeal

2 cups tomatoes, juice and pulp

2 teaspoons salt

teaspoon cayenne

3 cups boiling water

Mix cornmeal with one-half cup of cold water. Add to the boiling water. Boil five minutes. In greased baking dish place fish which has been soaked over night. Place pimento on fish. Place cornmeal on pimento. To tomatoes add seasonings and pour over all. Bake slowly 45 minutes.

LOL! Is there such thing as November fools?

please watch this


Please watch this one if at all possible, it is totally non-partisan and very educational.



Wow, all I can say is wow! The problem here is when something for Kindergartners says they will intervene when someone is using anti-homosexual ideas. So, in church if the teacher is talking about the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman, the child is supposed to stop this anti-homosexual talk?
Why does the Kindergartner even need to know the word sexual much less sign a take home pledge card with it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs

This is our homeschool picture for homeschool memoirs. The kids like to write to Nana and Papa, then I scan their letter and email it instead of sending it snail mail and paying for a stamp.

Click on the picture to see it more clearly.

An old cookbook


An old cookbook from the war effort...good stuff

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Explorer Song

This was from Juliana on LDFR

The Explorer Song
by Andrea Stewart
Bethany Elementary
(to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic")

Prince Henry trained the Portuguese and sent them out in ships.
Dias went to Africa but half way round he quit.
Da Gama ventured all the way and India he found.
Magellan's crew did too by going all the way around.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
That is what explorers do, yeah.
They want to cross the continent and trade with the other side.
And this is what they tried.

Columbus traveled west and landed on San Salvador.
Told Isabella it was Asia then went three times more.
Cabot went to Newfoundland and said he found Cathay.
Amerigo said, "No, you aren't far enough away."


The Spanish sent conquistadors to win them fame and gold.
Disease and war killed Indians before the could grow old.
Cortes wiped out the Aztecs, de Leon found Florida's shore.
The south had haciendas but the missions did much more.


Balboa tried to find a place where ships could travel through.
Hiked across in Panama and found Pacific Blue.
Champlain looked for the Northwest Passage after Cartier
France said you must start a fur trade if you want to stay.

Vegetarian Chicken Fried Steak

I got this recipe from http://theprudenthomemaker.com

and I wanted to try it. Sounds yummy possibly.

Chicken Fried Steak

(minus the hen)

2 2/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup dried onions
1 1/2 - 2 cups water
2 eggs

2 tsp sage
2 tsp Lawry's chicken and poultry seasoning, or 2 tsp McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning, or 2 tsp of another steak or chicken seasoning mix
3 Tbsp oil for frying

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
3 cups reconstituted powdered milk

Heat oil in a large skillet with a lid. Mix first six ingredients. It should be wet and stick together well. If it does not, add enough water until it does. Form into six patties, and fry both sides until browned. Lower heat to simmer. Pour gravy on patties and flip them over to coat both sides. Cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure that patties don’t stick or burn. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles. Serves 6.

Come What May


Here's a great family movie. I understand that it's free until October 31st but the website doesn't say anything about it as far as I can see. I'd watch it as soon as you can just in case.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm here to rescue you!

Click for more detail on the picture...Govt man says, "I'm here to rescue you, Up up and away"

Learn the 10 Commandments

This is a great way to learn the 10 commandments. Very cheesy in parts but we really did learn them in 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Freedom to Fascism

Meet the Fed

cerrect your spulling rrors

I don't usually pick on people's poor spelling (although I do cringe when I read it) but this one was just too funny...I do not claim perfection in the grammar and spelling area but my goodness...

This was sent on a homeschooling list telling mothers where to look for curriculum guidance.

"Often, People ask where do I start? Here is list that can help you asses just were your kids are at and what you feel they are lacking.
It is just another one of my checklists."

I would suggest starting with the correct spelling of "assess" and "where" and the correct use of the preposition "at".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

lesson learned

Magnets do not work on aluminum frames....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

ooh ooh ooh=-a magnet

Ok, in looking at how to attach I just saw one that uses a magnet sewn in the corners to attach to a metal frame.

and another

I just read on someone's blog that she uses small metal hooks (I think like cuphooks) and screws them into the frame of her windows, then the quilt simply gets loops sewn on. When it's time to put them up she just hangs the quilt on the loops. I think you could also roll and tuck that way.

Here's some more

Lower Your Heat Bills with a Heat Catcher
One of the easiest ways to augment heat is to use southerly facing windows as passive SOLAR HEAT CATCHERS. This uses a plan similar to the outdoor hot box collectors seen at such sites as listed near the end of the article --but is done indoors and in an existing window. No carpentry needed! My super inventor husband thought this one up.

While outdoor mounted heat boxes do work, a much easier heat collector can be constructed with aluminum foil, tape and flat black paint using your south facing windows. We adapted the concept to fit a cheap budget. Just tape the collector over the window! If you want to leave the bottom of your windows exposed for light, just make your collector on the top of the window or vice versa!

With this method we have cut our winter heating costs (we have all electric heat!!!) by over one half. It is very simple to do and very inexpensive for the benefits reaped. And it uses free solar power! We have heat catchers in all our east, south and south-west windows placed in back of existing drapes and blinds.

a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil
duct tape or packing tape, tacks, string or other means of securing foil to the window frame
card board strips cut as wide as window frame (optional)
flat black paint
South facing windows (east and west windows are less effective in their solar gain but OK)

Take the roll of foil and tear to fit the window leaving a space of two inches at the top and two inches at the bottom open. If your windows are wider than the foil tear several pieces and lap fold together. Paint the more dull side of the foil flat black paint, and let it dry. Fold over a card board strip for ease of handling. Tie wire or string to the top section if desired.

Once the foil is dry, you tape it to the interior window frame -- Black side facing outdoors. Leave a space of an inch at the top and bottom open for the air to circulate. Or you can tie it on to the drapery rod to secure.

Your basic collector is done! You will feel that end of the room heating as the sun shines on the black foil. It will warm this end of the room as long as the sun shines. Cover the window to prevent radiant heat loss at night through the glass with a window quilt or solar shutters to make the system even more effective.

How it Works:
The collector works by creating sort of a thermosiphon. The cold from the room passes into the bottom of the collector and is heated by exposure to the sunward facing black foil. Remember -- black color attracts heat. Then since hot air rises --- passes out the gap at the top into the room heating it. My husband jokes that the way it helps with heating bills is to heat that top of the room so your paid heat doesn't have to do it. In any case, a circle of moving air is created pulling air if front of the black painted foil and heating it. It rises to the top of the window frame and goes out the gap warming the room.

You can save time by simply cutting a black plastic garbage bag or put a black piece of cloth over the window leaving the gaps at the top or bottom for air flow. This will produce some solar gain and heat in emergency situations, but is not as efficient as metal like black painted aluminum foil. Cover the window to prevent radiant heat loss at night through the glass.

If you want to build an OUTDOOR HEAT BOX check out these sites below:
Self Sufficiency:

Cleardome Solar.com
Which sells solar heat boxes, but has lots of great photos.

If you look at these sites, you should be able to build an outdoor solar hot box with minimal building skills.

To Add to your ability to Keep Heat IN Your Home please see the articles below:

Winter Heating Success

Cheap Heating


Make A Window Quilt to Save on Heating


Window Quilts

Here's my new project
Our house is soooooooooooo cold in the wintertime. It just doesn't get above 65 and that's with the furnace running all day. Our windows are terrible. I think these would be perfect. My plan is to get huge quilts at the D.I. for $5 and cut them to fit and sandwich them between cute fabric. It won't be perfect but it should help us be warmer. I wonder if you can sew mylar emergency blankets inside the window quilt.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The evolution of wedding dance

This is so great...the evolution of wedding dance.
The first 30 seconds is boring so ffwd that part.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

from Ezra Taft Benson

And another about our current state of affairs...

From the Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson we read:

"The pending economic crisis that now faces American is painfully obvious. If even a fraction of potential foreign claims against our gold supply were presented to the Treasury, we would have to renege on our promise. We would be forced to repudiate our own currency on the world market. Foreign investors, who would be left holding the bag with American dollars, would dump them at tremendous discounts in return for more stable currencies, or for gold itself. The American dollar both abroad and at home would suffer the loss of public confidence. If the government can renege on its international monetary promises, what is to prevent it from doing the same on its domestic promises? How really secure would be government guarantees behind Federal Housing Administration loans, Savings and Loan Insurance, government bonds, or even social security?

"Even though American citizens would still be forced by law to honor the same pieces of paper as though they were real money, instinctively they would rush and convert their paper currency into tangible material goods which could be used as barter. As in Germany and other nations that have previously traveled this road, the rush to get rid of dollars and acquire tangibles would rapidly accelerate the visible effects of inflation to where it might cost one hundred dollars or more for a single loaf of bread. Hoarded silver coins would begin to reappear as a separate monetary system which, since they have intrinsic value would remain firm, while printed paper money finally would become worth exactly it's proper value--the paper it is printed on! Everyone's savings would be wiped out totally. No one could escape.

"One can only imagine what such conditions would do to the stock market and to industry. Uncertainty over the future would cause the consumer to halt all spending except for the barest necessities. Market for such items as television sets, automobiles, furniture, new homes, and entertainment would dry up almost overnight. With no one buying, firms would have to close down and lay off their employees. Unemployment would further aggravate the buying freeze, and the nation would plunge into a depression that would make the 1930s look like prosperity. At least the dollar was sound in those days. In fact, since it was a firm currency, its value actually went up as related to the amount of goods, which declined through reduced production. Next time around, however, the problems of unemployment and low production will be compounded by a monetary system that will be utterly worthless. All the government controls and so-called guarantees in the world will not be able to prevent it, because every one of them is based on the assumption that the people will continue to honor printing press money. But once the government itself openly refuses to honor it--as it must if foreign demands for gold continue--it is likely that the American people will soon follow suit. This in a nutshell is the so-called 'gold problem.' (An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 218.)" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson p 639-640.)

Ezra Taft Benson, speaking of the upcoming economic crisis quotes Hamilton, but then also gives us hope to move forward and rebuild a monetary system and healthy economy which shall be a model once again for all the world. Benson states:

". . .it is even possible that some of the government manipulators who have brought us into this economic crisis are hoping that, in panic, we, the American people, literally will plead with them to take our liberties in exchange for the false promise of 'security.' As Alexander Hamilton warned about two hundred years ago: 'Nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions by letting into the government principles and precedents which afterward prove fatal to themselves' (Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation, p. 21.) Let us heed this warning. Let us prepare ourselves for the trying time ahead and resolve that, with the grace of God and through our own self-reliance, we shall rebuild a monetary system and a healthy economy which, once again, will become the model for all the world. (An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 220-21.)" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson p 640.)

Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson met with USSR's Nikkita Khrushchev and related:

Ezra Taft Benson“I have talked face to face with the godless communist leaders. It may surprise you to learn that I was host to Mr. Khrushchev for a half day when he visited the United States, not that I’m proud of it. I opposed his coming then, and I still feel it was a mistake to welcome this atheistic murderer as a state visitor. But, according to President Eisenhower, Khrushchev had expressed a desire to learn something of American Agriculture — and after seeing Russian agriculture I can understand why. As we talked face to face, he indicated that my grandchildren would live under communism. After assuring him that I expected to do all in my power to assure that his and all other grandchildren will live under freedom he arrogantly declaired in substance:

“ ‘You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands.’

“And they’re ahead of schedule in their devilish scheme.” (Ezra Taft Benson “Our Immediate Responsibility.” Devotional Address at Brigham Young University. circa 1968.”) [access the audio file on this page.]

An interesting quote

I just saw this quote and thought it was interesting in the light of recent happenings with the economy, the NAIS (National animal identification system) act, threats on homeschooling, etc.

“Their press and other
propaganda media are
therefore constantly selling
the principles of centralized
or federal control of farms,
railroads, electric power,
schools, steel, maritime
shipping, and many other
aspects of the economy—
but always in the name of
public welfare.”
General Conference—October 1961
Ezra Taft Benson

Sunday, October 19, 2008

If you give a mom a muffin

This is from my friend from LDFR...

If You Give a (Mormon Homeschooling) Mom a Muffin…

She will want some orange juice to go with it.
She will pour some orange juice into a glass, and go to put the pitcher in the fridge.
When she turns around, the 7 year-old will be drinking the orange juice.
She will say “Hey!”, startling the 7 year old who will spill the remaining orange juice on the table, chairs and floor.
She will get two dishrags and teach the 7 year old how to properly clean up a spill.
While she is wiping up the floor, the phone will ring.
She will jump up to get the phone, knocking the back of her head on the table.
The 4 year old will beat her to the phone (of course!)
(The four year old does NOT take messages.) (of course.)
While she is trying to get the phone from the 4 year old, the baby will begin screaming and the 6 year old will run and hide.
She will pick up the baby as the 4 year old hangs up the phone. (of course.)
She will begin searching for the 6 year old…in the linen closet….
She will find the stack of bills she has been looking for all week. (Huh? In the linen closet??)
She will remember that the utility bill is due tomorrow and go looking for her checkbook.
She will find that the 4 year old has dumped the entire contents of the purse onto the floor and is applying lip gloss to her eyebrows.
She will go to the laundry room to fetch a diaper wipe, and will slip on the remaining orange juice.
She will crash onto her rear and start the baby screaming again.
The 6 year old will giggle from in hiding. (the pantry?)
She will stand up, console the baby and head toward the laundry room for that diaper wipe.
She will find the dryer door open (with her shin) and full of wet clothes.
She will call the 10 year old to finish her chore.
The 7 year old will show up asking for help with a math problem.
The math problem is about hamburgers.
She will remember that she is supposed to take dinner to the new mother down the street.
She will get a pound of hamburger out of the freezer and look for her cookbook “101 Things to do with a pound of Hamburger”.
She will step over the contents of her purse (where is the 4 year old now??), carefully side-step the orange juice, and start going through the recipe books.
The phone will ring. Again. (of course…)
The 4 year old will beat her to the phone (of course!)
The 4 year old does not take messages (remember?)
The baby will ”explode” in his diaper.
The 6 year old will giggle again (the pantry?)
She will side-step the orange juice, step over the contents of her purse, and head back to the laundry room to change the baby.
Digging through the laundry basket for clean baby clothes will remind her that she is still wearing pajamas.
She will strip to the skin and find clean clothes for Mom too…
The doorbell will ring … (of course!)
The 4 year old will beat her to the door (of course!)
It is the neighbor girl selling girl scout cookies.
She will send the 10-year old to sort through the contents of her purse for money to buy some Samoas.
The 10 year old, the 7 year old, and the 4 year old all surface, asking to have some.
She says “Yes” so she can get dressed in peace.
The baby starts crying.
She steps over the contents of her purse, side-steps the orange juice, walks around the cookie crumbs and collapses in the rocker to nurse.
The phone rings. AGAIN! (of course!)
The 4 year old beats her to the phone (of course!!)
The 10 year old snatches the phone from the 4 year old and reports that it is Daddy.
Daddy wants to know A) why the 4 year old has been answering the phone all morning and B) if she can scan and e-mail the important document he left on his desk.
She will carry the nursing baby upstairs to find the document.
The 4 year old has drawn a purple family on the important document.
She will look for the white out.
Looking for the white out will take her to her desk where there is a post-it screaming – “BOOK CLUB!! DON’T FORGET TREATS!!” (Why did she let the kids eat those Samoas, anyway??!!)
She will head downstairs and gather all the children together and begin a lesson in “real life” math (aka doubling recipes). The 6 year old has finally appeared and is crying because he got no Samoas.
She will go to the pantry for the sugar and flour.
She will find the 4 year old eating sugar straight out of a #10 can and spilling most of it on the floor.
She will lay the now-sleeping baby down and fetch the broom.
She will sweep up the sugar!!! (YEAH!)
She will get the purse contents off of the floor and head back to her desk to write a check to the utility company… (DOUBLE YEAH!!) (where were those bills again??)
She will white out the purple family and scan and e-mail the document. (THREE JOBS DONE!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??)
The baby will wake up. (Does 17 minutes even count as a nap??)
She will taste the cookie dough that the 10 year old has taken charge of. Since it is only slightly too salty, she will put the first batch in the oven.
She will look around at the flour, sugar, and chocolate chips all over the floor and decide it can stay there with the orange juice until after lunch.
She will decide to start some read-aloud.
The phone will ring (of course!)
The 4 year old will beat her to the phone (of course!)
(The 4 year old does not take messages, remember??)
She will take the phone off the hook.
The cell phone will ring. (It’s Dad’s ring)
Dad wants to know A) why the house phone is busy and B) if she ever sent that e-mail.
She will head back upstairs to try again.
The doorbell will ring. (of course)
It’s the neighbor. (She will remember she offered to watch the neighbor’s toddler for an hour)
The neighbor asks if something is burning and will look skeptical about leaving her toddler.
She will feed the first batch of cookies to the dog.
She will put in a second batch and gather all the kids around for a good book.
The baby will start screaming.
She will ask the 10-year old to turn pages while she nurses and reads.
The phone will ring. (HUH? – she thought it was off the hook)
The four year old will beat her to the phone. Again. Of course.
The 7 year old will wrestle the phone from the 4 year old.
Did she try sending that e-mail again?
(She will say a very mild swear word, but only in her head)
She will head upstairs to e-mail the document.
The neighbor’s toddler will scream. The 6 year old will run and hide.
She will feed the second batch of cookies to the dog. (She will set the timer for the third batch.)
She will head upstairs to email that stinking document.
She will hear the cookie timer and race downstairs. She will see that it is already 2 O’closk. She will feed the kids cookies, dried apples and yogurt for lunch. And she will pour them some orange juice to go with it. While she is at it, she will pour herself a glass of orange juice and go look for that muffin….maybe it is in the linen closet…..

Polar Star Studies

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A great talk

Elder Boyd K. Packer
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

There is a recurring theme in the revelations having to do with learning. And, from the beginning, Church leaders have counseled us to get all of the education we can as a preparation for and as an improvement of our careers. For example:

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118; italics added. See also D&C 90:15; D&C 109:7.)

Learning is to be accompanied by faith, and as the Book of Mormon teaches us, learning “is good if [we] hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Ne. 9:29.)

There is one thought that must come at the very beginning of a discussion on occupations and careers in order to establish it as preeminent, and it is this:

Do not ever belittle anyone, including yourself, nor count them, or you, a failure, if your livelihood has been modest. Do not ever look down on those who labor in occupations of lower income. There is great dignity and worth in any honest occupation. Do not use the word menial for any labor that improves the world or the people who live in it.

There is no shame in any honorable work, and the principle of faith, which the Lord connected with learning, is precious above the technologies of man.

There will be many who struggle through life with small ownership and low income who discover, because they have been decent, the meaning of the scripture, “He that is greatest among you,” let him be “the least and the servant of all.” (Matt. 23:11; D&C 50:26.)

While schooling and education generally go together, there are kinds of wisdom which are not usually taught in school classrooms.

To illustrate, I begin with the Old Testament record of Naaman who, as the commander of the armies of Syria, had “given deliverance” to his country. He became a leper and the king of Syria feared he would die.

An Israelite slave girl who served Naaman’s wife spoke of prophets in Israel who had the power to heal.

The king of Syria sent a message to the king of Israel saying, “I have … sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.” The king of Israel suspected a plot and complained, “He seeketh a quarrel against me. … Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?”

Elisha, the prophet, heard of the king’s distress. And “he sent to the king, saying, … let him come now to me.” Elisha would heal Naaman, and he told why: that “he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

When Naaman was near, Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, … and thou shalt be clean.” Naaman was angry. There were rivers aplenty in Syria, as good, he thought, as the Jordan. He had expected Elisha to perform some impressive ceremony like clapping his hands upon him. And he “turned … away in a rage.”

But one of his servants (it seems there is always a servant) courageously chastised the general and said, “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?”

Humbled by his servant, Naaman “went … down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: … and he was clean.” (2 Kgs. 5:1–14; italics added.)

Human nature hasn’t changed over the years. Even today some of us expect to be bidden to do some “great things” in order to receive the blessings of the Lord. When we receive ordinary counsel on ordinary things, there is disappointment, and, like Naaman, we turn away.

Let me give you a modern-day example. President Kimball has been President of the Church for eight years. In virtually every conference sermon he has included at least a sentence telling us to clean up, paint up, and fix up our property. Many of us have paid little attention to the counsel.

Question: Why would a prophet tell us to do that? Has he no great prophecies to utter?

But, is that not a form of prophecy? For has he not said to us over and over again, “Take good care of your material possessions, for the day will come when they will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.”

Already there is a fulfillment. Families who might have afforded a home when first he spoke now despair of getting one.

For some reason, we expect to hear, particularly in welfare sessions, some ominous great predictions of calamities to come. Instead, we hear quiet counsel on ordinary things which, if followed, will protect us in times of great calamity.

It was Alma the prophet who said, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6.)

Now, all of this was to prepare you for the fact that the counsel I will give may seem ordinary, even trivial to some of you. But it will be consistent with the doctrines and principles announced by the First Presidency when the welfare program was first introduced:

“Our primary purpose [is] to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.)

That emphasis, on self-reliance, suggests something about education. We cannot expect the Church to assume responsibility for the schooling of all of us.

One of the questions most often asked of General Authorities as we travel usually begins in this way: “Why doesn’t the Church … ?” And then there follows a description of some worthy project that would, if it should succeed, bring credit to the Church and benefit many people.

For example, why doesn’t the Church establish schools to prepare members for financial security?

Some years ago I was near our front gate splitting rails for a fence. A young man came to make a delivery. He had recently returned from overseas combat duty. He had falsified his age and left school to join the Marines. When I asked about his future plans, he didn’t know. Jobs were scarce; he had no skills to offer.

I counseled him to go back to high school and get his diploma. He thought he couldn’t do that; he was too old now. “If you do it,” I told him, “you probably will not exactly fit in. And the students will call you the ‘old man’ or ‘grandpa.’ But you faced an enemy in combat; surely you’ve got the courage to face that.’

The lesson is this. I only spent ten minutes with him, sitting on a log by our front gate. I did not build a school nor ask the Church to build one. I did not pay his tuition or prepare his lessons. What he needed was some direction, some counsel, some encouragement, and some vision. In this case he took the counsel and returned to school. Now he has a family and an occupation.

I only gave him vision and encouragement. It does not take additional Church budget to do that. That is the responsible role of every priesthood leader in counseling members on careers. We must help people to help themselves.

Several years ago a certain country was emerging from a long period of political and economic distress, and there was a need for skilled workers of many kinds. Some of our local leaders, sensing the need, conceived the idea of establishing vocational schools in our chapels to train the brethren in their skills. They could then upgrade themselves in their employment. It was a very appealing idea.

They pointed out that the money expended would be justified on the basis that these brethren would return in tithes more than the cost of the program. They were greatly disappointed when the Brethren did not approve their idea.

There were several things they’d not considered. The most important was that vocational training was already available to those who really looked for it. Classes to train new employees, and to upgrade the experienced ones, were offered by business and industry, and by their government.

What our brethren needed most was counsel and encouragement to take advantage of opportunities that were already available.

We ourselves are responsible to seek out and take advantage of every opportunity to improve ourselves.

Now, there are some things that the Church must do, for we are commanded to do them. We must preach the gospel. We must build temples. We must perfect the Saints. These things others cannot do. The many other good things (which are not central to the mission of the Church) must take second place. For we do not have the resources to do all that is worth doing, however worthy it may be.

While we cannot build schools for everyone, there is a most important contribution the Church can make to our careers, one that is central to the mission of the Church. And that is to teach moral and spiritual values.

There are ordinary virtues which influence our careers even more than technical training; among them are these:

  • Integrity.

  • Dependability.

  • Courtesy.

  • Respect for others.

  • Respect for property.

Let me illustrate one or two of these.

It is likely that our children, and yours, for the first part of their married life at least, will live in rented apartments.

I had a conversation with a stake president who owns a large number of apartments which he rents to middle-income families. As he showed them to me, he described the abuse of his property, not just the normal wear and tear, but outright abuse bordering on vandalism.

Such conduct is unworthy of a Latter-day Saint! We should know better than that. We should be willing to drive a nail or set a screw in a hinge, if it’s needed.

Our people should regard an apartment as their home and keep it inviting and clean and in good repair. Has not the prophet told us to do it? When they leave an apartment, it should be clean and essentially ready for the next tenant.

Now, what has this got to do with a career? Surely you can see the transfer of learning from our homes to our work.

Years ago my father, as a young married man with several children, went nervously into the bank in Brigham City to ask for a loan to start in business. He was asked about collateral. He had none beyond his willingness to work and some mechanical aptitude.

The banker, in turning down his request, happened to ask father where he lived. “In the old box house on First West,” was the answer. The banker passed that corner on the way to work. He’d watched the transformation in the yard. He’d wondered who lived there, and admired what they were doing.

Father got the loan to start in business on the strength of the flowers that mother had planted in the yard of a very modest adobe house they were renting.

We have raised a large family on a very modest income, and it’s likely that our children are going to have the same privilege. In order to prepare them, we’ve trained them to do ordinary, necessary things as preparation for their careers.

For instance, we have maintained an area (sometimes it’s the corner of a basement room) where there is a work bench, where projects could be left. There can be some paint or a little sawdust on the floor, without a problem. In spite of continuous cleanup, this area is perpetually untidy, but with a purpose.

We have followed another practice. Each Christmas, at least one of the presents for the boys has been a hand tool. When they were old enough, a good metal toolbox was included. When each has left home, he has had his own set of tools and some knowledge of how to use them. He can tune up a car, or drive a nail, or turn a screw, or replace a plug or a faucet washer.

The girls, in turn, have learned to cook and to sew, and each has left home with a sewing machine. This training is doubly important—first, in frugal living at home, and then in their value as an employee. They would, we hoped, be not only good, but good for something.

Now, I have an idea that some soul will be very upset with us for not providing our boys with a sewing machine and our girls a box of tools as well.

So I hasten to explain that our boys can cook enough to survive a mission and they can sew on a button. The girls in turn can change a faucet washer and drive a nail, and both of them can type and even change a tire on a car.

While many, many occupations suit a man or a woman equally well, I, for one, have grave concern over the growing trend for both men and women to choose careers which in some respects are against their very natures.

We have tried to prepare our boys for manly work and our girls for work that would suit the opportunities that womanhood will bring them. In defense of our doing that, I can only observe that in this Church we are not exempt from using common sense.

There are so few nowadays who are really willing to work. We must train our children and ourselves to give, in work, the equivalent of the pay we receive and perhaps just a little extra.

There are so few who will come a bit early to get organized for the day, or stay a minute after to tidy up the work bench or the desk for tomorrow’s work.

The attitude that demands compensation and benefits in excess of the value of labor has come near destroying the economy of the world. Now, however, many workers quite willingly accept reductions in pay just to keep their jobs. That spirit of doing a little extra would have prevented the crisis had it been evident earlier.

Family responsibilities and tight budgets sometimes prevent us from obtaining all the schooling we desire.

We can, however, improve ourselves. The only tuition required is the time it takes, the work required, and the desire to build into our lives the ordinary virtues so much in demand and so short in supply.

I hope you have not been too disappointed that I have not presented some “great thing” for you to do, some elaborate formula for career planning, rather than such ordinary things so obvious, so close to us, that they are often overlooked.

There is a formula. The Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church.” (D&C 75:28; italics added.)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the formula for success. Every principle of the gospel, when lived, has a positive influence over your choice of an occupation and on what you will achieve. The counsel to labor in the Church has great value. Living the gospel will give you a perspective and an inspiration that will see you successful however ordinary your work may be or however ordinary your life may seem to others.

God bless the members of this Church, that you can be happy with who you are and where you are, that you can improve yourselves. We pray that God will bless those who are struggling now with unemployment, with the loss of their employment, with the fear of that loss. May he bless us that we can build into our lives those principles of reliance and integrity that have been part of the gospel from the very beginning, for the gospel is true. Of this I bear witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.