Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Finished Quilt Front

I've been dabbling in quilting for the last couple of years, but this is the first pieced quilt front I've finished so far. It was my Thanksgiving project.

It's not perfect, but I did it!

Now I just need to figure out how to put the rest of it together. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If you haven't seen...

If you haven't seen the new videos about the life of the Savior put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go watch them! Right now, they have several up about the birth of Jesus. I especially love the one where the shepherds learn of His birth.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I got a juicer for Christmas (I know, it's early). I've been making green juices (very yummy), but this morning I decided to experiment with an all fruit juice. I used a cup of organic cranberries, two organic oranges, and one organic apple. Yummiest juice ever. I'm all sorts of proud of myself. It's the little things. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Amazing Organ

I'm not usually the biggest organ fan. I'm a pianist and I prefer the piano. But check out this rendition of "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

My piano students have often complained about playing two hands at the same time, but two hands and two feet, all doing complex things! Wow!!

For this second one, I didn't know if it could compare to the first, but just you wait. ;)

Did you hear it at 2:22?!!!! "Good King Wenceslas" is a favorite in Morgan's family, which makes this video even cooler to me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Challenge

Both Jane Austen and Walt Disney were born in December. Read a book that is somehow related to either of them. (Spin-offs, about the park, biographies, relating to the movies, etc….)

I hope you had a wonderful month of reading in November. The challenge being for reading fun books, I read mostly fluff. :)

Challenge books:
North by Northanger - Carrie Bebris (should have saved this one for Jane Austen month!)
Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon - Melody Carlson
Prada & Prejudice (likewise should have waited for Dec. Forgot it would be Jane Austen month)
The Reluctant Heiress - Eva Ibbotson (not that great)
A Billion Reasons Why - Kristin Billerbeck
Kissing Adrien - Siri Mitchell (read at the same time as Siddhartha, which made them both more thought-provoking, believe it or not)
Cut to the Quick - Kate Ross (mystery from the 1820s, I think)
Sprinkle with Murder - Jenn McKinlay (wish I could try the cupcake recipes!)

This Time Together - Carol Burnett (very fun!!)
Fat Burning Furnace - Rob Poulos (recommended to me. Just reiterated all the things I have found to be true. Kind of disappointing, but a quick read, at least.)

Siddhartha - Hemann Hesse (been meaning to read this one for a long time. Finally got through it. Reading at the same time as the other book, I found it an interesting contrast that strengthened my belief in "all things in moderation.")

My favorites of the month were "This Time Together," "Cut to the Quick," and "Sprinkle with Murder." I guess I'm back in mystery mode. I also reread a few books, which was fun, but I didn't write those down so I can't report on them. :)

Happy reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011


"[My gram-gram] is the one that taught me it is better to be truthful and good... than to not.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Challenge

Here is the challenge for the month: November is the best month of the year. Read a fun book!

Report for October:
When I said a book concerning America, I really meant that as broadly as possible. In other words, I counted books set in America. :)

So my "American" books were:

Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania - Cerella Sechrist (which was okay)
Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas - Sandra D. Bricker (pretty fun)
Time and the Hour - Faith Baldwin (love her style for some reason I haven't pinpointed yet)
I Just Got a Letter from Allyson Pringle - Anya Bateman (cute)
The Makeover of James Orville Wickenbee - Anya Bateman (loved it)
Fat Cat - Robin Brande (okay)
Consider Lily - Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (okay)

My nonfiction books were:

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years - Julie Andrews Edwards (very good)
Through His Eyes - Virginia H. Pearce (excellent!)

My other books were:

Marshmallows for Breakfast - Dorothy Koomson (thought-provoking. Difficult in some parts. Glad I read it.)
Suspense and Sensibility - Carrie Bebris (part of a Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series. Fun.)
Amrita - Banana Yoshimoto (my first Japanese book in a long time. Interesting, but...)

All in all, it was a pretty interesting reading month. I read a lot of books that were out of my usual zone. It was broadening in a lot of ways, but also reminded me why I tend to read the way I do...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Current thoughts :)

I've been reading the Book of Mormon over and over this year, pretty fast. I figured change my method (normally slow and very detailed), change my perspective. It's been a fantastic way to study for a while. I've seen the past and present collide in ways I'd never thought of before.

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Worthy to be heard

My friend has been telling me about The Sing-Off for a long time, but I never watched it until last week. (I'm not a TV watcher.) The group that got kicked off were quite good and had an amazing lead singer. This guy deserves to be heard. Check it out.

Okay. I wasn't going to do this, but I'm going to go ahead and highlight my other favorite parts. You don't have to listen to the rest of these, but I gotta tell you, you won't be sorry if you do.

This next one is a jazz group and WOW, I love their style. [If you don't want to watch back story, start at 1:13. And I don't know if you're watching the comments, but Shawn's reaction is awesome. Watch out. A tiny bit of language.]

Here's an adorable performance. It's got some sweet percussion, etc... Loved it.

And can't forget one of my favorite a capella groups. (If you're getting sick of listening, don't stop now!) Love all the styles they go through in this one song.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quilting Giveaway

I LOVE fabric. Therefore, quilting really calls to me. I've been following a lot of quilting blogs lately, including Stray Stitches, which is one of my favorites. Anyway, there's a giveaway today of some beautiful fat quarters.

Aren't they gorgeous?!

Anyway, the giveaway ends next Monday, so if this appeals, check it out. (The link is in the name of her blog up top.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Challenge

The Challenge for October - Columbus discovered America in October. Read a book concerning America. (I realize that is pretty wide open. I wanted some options by this time.)

I read a couple of doozies during September. First of all, I read the graphic novel of "Jane Eyre" by Amy Corzine and determined once and for all that I can't stand reading graphic novels. Blech. I had to read Charlotte Bronte's full "Jane Eyre" so I could get all the depth of the story again. I haven't read it since college, so it's been a while. The graphic novel version hit a lot of the "highlights" of the book but managed to not get any of the heart and soul of the book. I thought that was fairly impressive. :) I really did enjoy rereading the full novel. I read with pen in hand and marked my book to death. I forgot how good that book is! If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend "Jane Eyre." It is truly exceptional.

I read David McCullough's "The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris," which was fascinating. McCullough is always interesting and this book was a treat. Another high recommendation from me.

I really enjoyed "Daughters in My Kingdom," put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I found it very inspiring.

Other than that, I read a few light and fluffy books - "Powder and Patch" by Georgette Heyer, which put me in the mood for (and therefore subsequently read) "The Scarlet Pimpernel" by Baroness Orczy. "I Now Pronounce You Someone Else" by Erin McCahan. I had some real bones to pick with that one. "Love Finds You in Miracle, Kentucky" by Andrea Boeshaar. That was actually quite fun. I wouldn't rush out to recommend it, but for a light, quick read, I enjoyed it.

Happy reading this month!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Little rant here

WHO's idea was it that using lots of adjectives and no passive voice is a good way to write? Let me say it right here. THEY WERE WRONG.

"A smile curved her pink lips."

Give me a break. The girl was eight. Of course she had pink lips. For an adjective describing the color of her lips to be appropriate, they would need to be a color OTHER THAN pink. And really. The smile curved her lips? (Pink ones, don't forget.) She smiled, okay?

To continue just a little further in my rant... When an author avoids any form of the word "say," it gets really irritating. It pulls you out of the story, for one. Secondly, when an adjective or other verb would be necessary, it weakens the strength of the exception. Let me explain. If a person declares, states, answers, announces, asserts, etc... all the time, it really detracts from those same words when they are used sparingly.

Okay. I'm being really vague here, but I'm trying not to pick on particular authors. I could give you all sorts of concrete examples from real books, but I will restrain myself. All I'm saying is I remember being taught in English class that I should NEVER use passive voice (Have you ever read a book that didn't use passive voice very often? It's a horrible experience.), avoid boring verbs like "say," and put in adjectives wherever I could. Maybe those teachers were just trying to get us to expand our vocabulary, but unfortunately, the lesson often sticks too hard.

It all comes down to balance. That's all I'm saying. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Arden's Vale

Morgan has spent some of his downtime over the last couple of years making a computer adventure game a la old school adventure games. He put it out so people could play it about a month ago. Last night, he looked it up on Google and found all sorts of fun things!

You can find some reviews here.

He even found websites from Germany and France that gave reviews. :)

But best of all, it's on YouTube!

The guy is British and has all sorts of fun comments. We enjoyed watching it. You don't have to watch the whole thing, but check it out. [Watch out. There is a very tiny bit of language.] If you only want to watch a little bit, start at about 7:08 to 7:38. Fun-ny. (By the way, check out his tags. They're hilarious! Very clever guy.)

I'm proud of him for this game. It's really great! He and his sister came up with the story. He did all the coding, animation, music, puzzles, etc... There are all sorts of references to the old adventure games like King's Quest and Quest for Glory. Yay for Morgan!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What do you get...?

What do you get when you put Joseph von Eichendorff, Robert Schumann, and Barbara Bonney together? Something beautiful, of course!

Joseph von Eichendorff wrote a beautiful poem in 1837 (I think) called "Mondnacht" (Night of the Moon). I learned this in a German class a long time ago. I won't even attempt to translate it, but it sure is beautiful in German.

Es war, als hätt' der Himmel,
Die Erde still geküßt,
Daß sie im Blütenschimmer
Von ihm nur träumen müßt.

Die Luft ging durch die Felder,
Die Ähren wogten sacht,
Es rauschten leis die Wälder,
So sternklar war die Nacht.

Und meine Seele spannte
Weit ihre Flügel aus,
Flog durch die stillen Lande,
Als flöge sie nach Haus.

Or if you want a different interpretation of Schumann's song.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm so proud of myself

Okay, really this is easy, but I figured this out yesterday:

The first picture is better, but the second picture is more what the colors actually look like. (Our camera stinks inside!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This and that

My favorite word:


For an example, listen particularly to 1:21 - 1:27

Doesn't it just roll off the tongue? :)

Also, I found a quote of which I feel all sorts of fond right now:

"Personally, I am always ready to learn - although, I do not always like being taught." -Winston Churchill

I am working on my attitude about being taught. In theory, I am grateful for it. Now I am working on "in practice." :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beauty and the, uh ...Beast

Once upon a time, there was a mink farmer* who had three beautiful daughters. The oldest daughter was really great at making the pelts shiny, so she was known as 'Beauty.' The second daughter was especially good at scraping the guts off the pelts, so she was known as 'Stinky.' And the third daughter was particularly good at catching the minks, so she was known as 'Sneaky.'"

One day, the mink farmer noticed he was running out of mink, so he got ready to go into the woods to set traps. The traps he set were special because the minks' feet need to stay in tact for their fur to be valuable. Women who wear fur coats (or who did when it was socially acceptable to do so) think it's extra special to have all four feet still attached. In order to bait these special traps, the farmer used elderberries because everyone knows no mink can resist an elderberry. He went out into the woods to search out elderberries and ALL the elderberries had already been eaten by the mink out in the forest! So the man kept searching and searching.

He came to a castle in the middle of the forest and walked around it. On the far side of the castle, the mink farmer came to a bush full of gorgeously ripe elderberries! He started picking the berries off the bush and putting them in his pouch. After he had picked all the berries he could find, he turned around to leave and what did he see but a beast that had a mink's head! The man was, of course, frightened, especially when the mink beast began to speak.

"Why have you picked all my elderberries? I have waited and waited for those berries to be perfectly ripe and I was going to pick them tomorrow night at the height of the full moon, when they are the best," the mink beast said in a great and scary voice.

"Um... I was picking them to catch mink for my fur trade," the man answered, trembling.

"You are one who catches my mink children for fur? Go home and bring me back of your children so that I may have her pelt. If you do not, I will eat you right here."

The man hightailed it away from the castle and ran all the way home to his daughters. "Daughters, one of you needs to sacrifice herself for the family." He explained about the mink beast and said, "I have to take care of the other two daughters, so one of you needs to go." He really was a very selfish man.

The oldest daughter, Beauty, volunteered to go back to the mink beast thinking that she could appeal to his mercy. Well, she couldn't. The mink beast ate her. The End.

*No animals were hurt in the telling of this story.

I wish I could have transcribed the way Morgan told it. I tried to get the various details, but some of his wording was so exquisite. So here's my attempt to stay true to the feel, at least. Isn't he a born storyteller? :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Music and a teaser

A friend passed this piece of music on this evening. For your enjoyment:

As for the teaser, my husband told me his version of Beauty and the Beast tonight. It was a little different than the usual. I'm too tired to write it fully right now, but it started "Once upon a time, there was a mink trapper who had three beautiful daughters. The oldest daughter was really great at making the pelts shiny, so she was known as 'Beauty.' The second daughter was especially good at scraping the guts off the pelts, so she was known as 'Stinky.' And the third daughter was particularly good at catching the minks, so she was known as 'Sneaky.'"

Are you intrigued?


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September Challenge

The challenge for September - The first comic strip published in an American newspaper was on September 11, 1975. (According to several sources none of which I'm sure are accurate. What does it mean by comic strip, for one...?) However, we'll just take that date to spur this month's challenge which is to read a comic book, graphic novel, or a manga book. (I'm not sure if I'm using "magna" correctly, but forgive my ignorance. I've never actually read one before! Anyway, you know what I mean!)

As for reporting August, I have little to report. I was traveling and, uncharacteristically, I read almost nothing on my trip. Although I didn't quite finish all the books for the challenge, I'm taking points anyway since how many kids never finish their summer reading? :) Not that I know about that. I always finished my summer reading. (No, really. I did. I'm a reader and a bit of a nerd.) ;)

So for my non-fictions:

"Covenant Hearts" by Bruce C. Hafen - I really did finish this one. And it was excellent. I highly recommend it.
"Promptings or Me? Recognizing the Spirit's Voice" by Kevin Hinckley - Another excellent book. I will finish this one soon, but seeing as I read over 200 pages of nonfiction books (in addition to "Covenant Hearts") I'm going to go ahead and count this one as it is "most finished." I know, I know. Cheating here.

School book:

"Don Quixote" by Cervantes - Again, didn't actually finish this book, but got quite a ways through it. Probably could pass a teacher's "did you read this summer?" exam on the book. :)


"Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynn Jones
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

I love J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter series. I know some disagree with me, but I think that series is one of the best ever written. I love, love, love her characters and writing style and plot and symbolism and brilliantness in tying everything together and... Well, there's not much I don't love about the books. But more than anything, her characters. As one who tends to read books for characters and their relationships, the Harry Potter series is pure joy. I could write an essay and maybe I will. For myself. Hm... There's an idea.

Anyway, here's a sweet cloud picture.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bwa ha ha!

It's the hat that really gets me. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quilting Give-away

Quilting looks very fun to me, probably because I love fabric so much. My sister-in-law is a great quilter and has been encouraging me to learn how. I just learned about a give-away on the site 1 Choice 4 Quilting. I thought I'd pass it on if any of you would be interested.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Challenge

The challenge for August it is back to school time. Read a book from either a summer reading list (high school, of course,) or this link.

As far as my report for this past month, it kind of stinks. But for good reasons generally.

The book I read for a place I wanted to visit was set in Lyme. It was "Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier. It was a very interesting book about two women in the 1800s who were fossil hunters. And I have to say that I want to go to Lyme even more now...

For my nonfiction books, I read The Book of Mormon (start to finish) and 150 Power Foods by the editors of the Martha Stewart Magazine.

Read a few more books, but mostly was busy with other things this month.

Happy reading in August!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Overheard Conversations

I have always loved to write down the random bits of conversation that I hear. I thought I'd share today's.

Young man: You've NEVER heard of iambic pentameter?!

Old man: No.

Young man: Never?!!!

Old man: Nope.

Young man: It's a form of Japanese poetry.

I was laughing to myself about the first part of the conversation, but when the young man said that last bit, I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud! The funniest part was he was so condescending about the older man not being as knowledgeable as he was.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kira, you'll be so proud

This is what I did yesterday.

I used a pattern. Kind of. But they turned out okay, yes? I was very proud of myself. First time sewing a pattern by myself. Ever. (Almost my first time sewing by a pattern for that matter.) Did I mention I was proud of myself? Okay, okay. I know it's probably not that big a deal to most of you reading this, but for me...

And my husband is a natural model. Lucky me! :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

July Challenge

Here we are into July and I have totally forgotten that means posting the challenge for this month. (Happy 4th of July, by the way! Hope yours is patriotic and full of family.)

The July reading challenge is that July is vacation month. Read a book about a place that you want to visit, but have not yet visited.I think it's funny that I actually traveled last month and will be traveling next month, but not this month. But there you are. Not to mention this is particularly a challenge for me since I have visited most of the places I want to visit. Hm... Well, this is why we call it a challenge, right?

Okay, so June report.

Some old:
Daddy-Long-Legs - Jean Webster
Danger in the Shadows - Dee Henderson (Not a favorite, favorite, but a fun reread)

Something new:
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Darcy and Anne - Judith Brocklehurst

Something borrowed:
Please Pass the Guilt - Rex Stout
Becoming Queen - Kate Williams

Something blue:
Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball - Donita K. Paul
The Final Deduction - Rex Stout
Too Many Cooks - Rex Stout

Shakespeare: The World as a Stage - Bill Bryson
The Duggars: 20 and counting - Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

Besides my old favorites, I particularly liked "Becoming Queen," "The Final Deduction," "Shakespeare," and "The Duggars." "Darcy and Anne," "Too Many Cooks," and "Two Tickets..." were all right.

Happy reading this month!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg - Governor's Palace

More pictures to bore - I mean, entertain you. :) These are of the backside of the Governor's Palace. I don't know why I never have pictures of the front of a building. Or maybe this is the front...

Lichen on the brick wall.

A pretty bench.

An entrance. Front? Back? I should have paid more attention on the tour.


Pretty gate.

You could walk through that tunnel in the back.

More of the gardens. I didn't get very far with this camera. The battery died. Again. I don't think it lasts very long. Although, thank your lucky stars, I am not putting up every picture I took.

I liked the gates, okay?

And the blue sky.

And the plants.

Did I mention the flowers?

And the palace itself?

The cupola?

And the gates.

I caught a cute couple kissing on the bench.

I love greenery against brick.

The end. For now. Possibly for good concerning this subject.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mount Vernon

So I'm a little behind on blogging. This post goes back to weeks, but was definitely a highlight of our trip, so I wanted to post about it. We went to Mount Vernon. I'll skip the long story of how we got there. But we made it and I'm so glad we did!

Here's Bug and Mike with the house in the background.

Here's the group in front of us as we walked towards the house for the tour.

A very cool tree trunk.

There were lots of signs around with information. Here is the sign that told about how the wood used to build the house was made to look like stone. They were actually in the process of "rusticating" part of the house. We didn't get a picture of that.

The view from the back lawn.

Down the hill a bit in the same place.

To the side. Gorgeous view of the river.

The side of the back of the house. I put this one in so you could see how tall that tree was. Look at the itty-bitty people under it.

A full view of the back of the house.

Back to looking down the hill in the back yard.

A view of the back of the house from half-way down the hill. It was quite a steep hill.

A better shot of the tree.

I like trees. And hills, so long as I don't have to walk on them very much. Much nicer to just look at them. :)

Are you getting sick of this house yet? Sorry. There are people sitting in chairs on the back porch. Must have been a nice way to spend an evening, looking at the river with a cool breeze.

The covered walk-way from the house to the kitchen.

Another information sign.

And there is the riding chair itself.

Ivy looks pretty on brick.

A path leading down to the tomb where Washington was originally buried. He then was moved to another tomb by direction in his will. It just had to be built first.

More of the path. It was really beautiful.

There is the old vault.
And the reason I don't have a picture up of where he is actually buried now is because our camera ran out of battery. Sad day. But I imagine you are probably feeling grateful. After we saw his tomb, we also saw the gardens, which were really nice. The actually sell seeds and plants from their farms, which was tempting. There were two really neat museums that we walked through on our way back to the parking lot. All in all, a really interesting day!

Monday, June 13, 2011


The game started with a thunderstorm. Or should I say, did not start.

There was a tarp that covered the field. It took a rather large crew to clean it up.

They dragged it first off the field. Then, they folded it.

Here's more folding.

Still dragging.

Wide shot.

Players finally on the field only an hour late!

Cute pitch. :)

Batter up.


Bases loaded.
Grand slam. No joke. My first professional baseball game and I get to see a grand slam. Too bad it was for the team we were NOT rooting for. :)

There we are, watching the game.

Stat board. Took me only seven innings to figure out.

Stadium at night.