do you have all the missing pieces yet?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know that LOST returns to primetime TV next Thursday for a run of eight new episodes. You've seen the first three seasons. But, have you checked out all the "Missing Pieces" on the ABC website?

The missing pieces are short, two to three minute clips that have been newly filmed [well, at least before the writers' strike]. They are intended to give new info that happened in the past-no flash forwards here as of yet. You can usually tell about when they are happening since they will usually reference something that allows the viewer to place it in the LOST timeline. Right now there are eleven episodes, but I believe there are supposed to eventually be thirteen in all.

Anyway-watch them here!


poetry & prose

Libby grinning after the event!

Libby reciting the poem "Was It a Goblin?"

Each year the kids' school hosts a "Poetry and Prose" event for all the students. Students memorize and act out poems or other recitations, either individually or in groups, and perform their chosen work on the stage for the whole school. Libby was excited to participate in her first year at their new school and chose a quirky little poem titled "Was It a Goblin?" to perform.

After choosing and memorizing their selection, they first had to perform their piece in front of a group in the library to make the first cut. Libby [much like her mom] is somewhat anxious being in front of groups of people and was a little nervous about the whole thing at that point! But, she persevered and did just fine, making the cut for today's presentation in front of the school.

And she did a good job! Even though she was a little nervous [and a little too short for the microphone-check her out on her tiptoes in the above video!] she didn't forget anything she had prepared. Today they selected the winners to go on to the county competition, and even though she didn't get chosen for county, we are all so excited that she prepared well and got up there in front of the whole school to recite! That can be scary stuff!

Watching Libby up on stage reminded me of when I memorized and performed a poem I had written [I called it "Smiles"] for the equivalent of Poetry and Prose many years ago. I was probably in the 6th grade. I remember even performing in the county competition, and when I look back now, I don't even know how I did it. I would never do it now! I don't know-are we braver when we're younger?



I've been so stressed out lately with Primary and scout stuff that this morning I declared a "daycation" for Collin and I. Since we had already put in our workday on Tuesday at the school, we didn't have any commitments today and were therefore able to put the day to its true purpose: having fun!

After the kids left for school, we started off our morning by setting up Collin's train tracks again, as someone had disassembled the entire thing several days ago. After accomplishing that, we decided to give Thomas the day off and headed downstairs to play on the Wii!

We started off with tennis. I took a few minutes to warm up, since the first time I had played tennis on the Wii was briefly on Monday during family night. Then, Collin and I played each other, and boy, he was really kicking my patootie! It's not so much skill [although he does have this uncanny sense of coordination and timing] as it was his funny way of continually jumping up and down and waving his remote back and forth so rapidly that earned him so many points! Even though I won [thank goodness for my ego], he was really impressing me with his skills!

We also managed to slip in a quick game of Wii bowling before we headed off into the rain just in time to catch story hour at the library. We met up with some friends there, listened to lots of great stories, and sang some silly songs. After Miss Valerie handed out snacks, we ran back through the rain to our car to get home for lunch and naptime.

After naptime [and before we left to pick up kids at school] Collin surprised me yet again. Since I'm filling in for our pianist for the next month [only for the beginning part of sharing time], I was practicing some Primary songs on the piano. Collin hears the song I'm playing and comes downstairs to inform me that I'm playing the "Hello Song," which he's only heard maybe twice! I was surprised that he knew it, since as a Sunbeam he hasn't logged much actual time in the Primary. And last Sunday the chorister complimented him on his singing of "I Am a Child of God," since he was the only Sunbeam singing. What a funny little fellow.

So, even though I did have to sneak in some phone calls to take care of Primary and scout stuff this afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed my little "daycation" morning with Collin. We'll just have to make it a regular event!



During our fog day on Tuesday I took a moment to browse amazon.com to see if the new DS game I've been crazy for was back in stock yet. Since it was, of course I amazoned it and it arrived on Saturday. [Don't you just love amazon? I especially love how "amazon" has become a verb.]

I've been having lots of fun brushing up on my French skills with My French Coach. I took French in high school and in college, so I remember a lot of the basics, but this program is amazing, because it lets you record your pronunciation and compare it with a native's recording. Unbelievably helpful! Plus, it has a lot of nice features that make it a bonus to travel with, such as a glossary and lists of helpful phrases in case you're in a pinch. [In France. Or maybe just in French Canada.] Anway, it has lots of fun training games and it's been fun to see just how much French I remember-and how much I've forgotten since BYU! Bailey started a file as well, so he's enjoying his French lessons with the DS.

And I'm still having fun with the original, My Word Coach. Bailey, Libby and I all have our files on Word Coach and I've been having them do some every day [give or take] so they can work on their vocabulary skills. I love how they're learning while they play!



Tonight Libby and I made treats for dessert, and they're so yummy and easy that we wanted to share the recipe with you! We made these at Christmastime for our friends and family and they were a big hit. It's a great one to make with kids because it's simple and fast.

Chunky Mallow Candy

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 12 oz pkg chocolate chips [we prefer the milk chocolate but you can use semi-sweet]
4 cups [or more to taste] mini marshmallows

Melt together peanut butter and chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one. Give one final stir when all is melted and combined and allow to cool slightly, so as not to melt marshmallows. Stir in marshmallows until completely coated. Pour into buttered pan and chill. Cut into squares and watch them disappear! [You may want to double the batch!]


science fair 2007

I've only had this video done for about two months now, so I finally decided to get my act together and post it for everyone to see!

In case you've forgotten, back at the beginning of school, all three kids had science projects due. Julia's class was only submitting collections [since they're so young], but Libby and Bailey each had to create a full-blown project to submit to the science fair. Here are some photos of their projects, of them working on their projects, and how they fared in the final judgement!


star scout

Here's a picture of Bailey receiving his advancement to Star Scout from his Scoutmaster during last week's Court of Honor. Next goal-Life Scout! Congratulations, Bailey! He also earned about 5 merit badges that night, so I was busy sewing on merit badges and new scout patches to Bailey's uniform over the weekend. Our ward is hosting a Merit Badge Fair at the end of the month and I wanted to make sure I got these sewn on before he earned a whole bunch of new ones!

I'm just hoping to get through the Merit Badge Fair. I'm still the BSA Troop Committee Chair for our ward, so there's a lot to do to get everything ready. Fortunately our Scoutmaster and his wife are really organized!


fog day

Some areas of the United States have snow days in the winter, where school and other events are cancelled due to an excess of snow that creates dangerous driving conditions. Here in California's Central Valley we have fog days. On fog days you may not even be able to see your neighbor's house across the street, even if you don't live in the country. Fog hovers over the ground in thick, unrelenting blankets, reflecting an eerie white cast on everything. On fog days you don't want to get in your car unless you really have to.

Yesterday we had a fog day. We awoke to a world bathed in white when we got the first call at 6:30 am to tell us that school was delayed for 2 hours. At 8:00 am another call came informing us that classes were now delayed 3 hours. And then again at 10:00 am came the final call to cancel school for the day.

Needless to say, the kids were thrilled! By ten o'clock they had already done their piano and instrument practice, finished their morning chores, and done the homework that they already knew was expected of them for that day, so they enjoyed plenty of free time. The kids read books, played games, did educational [and not] games on the Wii and DS, and in general had a nice, easygoing day. Fortunately for me, all of my kids have good imaginations and know how to use them, so it never seems difficult for them to find something to do. Which in turn helps me enjoy the day as well!

As for me, after I finished reading with Julia, I spent the day working on my knitting, piano, and getting busy in the kitchen. I made lemon bars using the first crop of lemons from our backyard tree [yes!] and whipped up some more of my gluten-free mixes that I use regularly to have them conveniently on hand when I'm in a hurry [which is nearly always]. All in all, a productive yet relaxing day for everyone. Of course, we have to make up the fog day at the end of the year when the weather is oh-so-pleasant, but I'm not going to think about that right now.

a word to the not-so-wise

Apparently someone is worried about me spending too much time on my blog. Click on this link to get the whole story.

Know someone who could use some advice as well? Make sure you take advantage of the offer at the end of the video! I will say no more-now you have to watch.


LOST Season 4 - Sneak Peek - We're Going Home

LOST is almost back! Get your sneak peek here.


what we did during vacation

A few of the fun things we did during vacation, in addition to reading [we always do lots of that], playing outside, and mastering the video games!

Libby stirs the fudge up to soft ball stage. Yes, it does take forever! Julia, Libby, and Aisha all took turns stirring. But the end result was so worth it!

Julia has fun with her paper doll set. Julia and Libby have since spent HOURS with these adorable paper dolls and their accessories. Good call, Grammie!

Bailey experiments with origami and makes a star box to show off. He's also made several different birds and a funky color wheel. Again, props to Grammie!

Knit one. . .purl what? Libby poring over this great Klutz knitting set I found on closeout for about $6 at a local educational toy shop. And since Libby has been asking for ages to learn how to knit, so I thought it would be a wise investment.

Collin bent over his coloring book. He takes his art very seriously!

Some things I have been working on:

  • mastering My Word Coach for Nintendo DS. Insanely addictive, I love it. Because I love words.
  • a couple of days before Christmas I got an early Christmas present from our ward primary-a change from nursery leader to primary secretary! I've spent much time over the last couple of weeks updating and organizing records, gathering information, and in general acclimating myself to the job. I think I can get used to not being in the nursery!
  • new piano music! I used a gift card Owen and the kids gave me for my birthday to purchase some music from several of the Jane Austen films. Because I love to feed my Jane Austen addiction.


go now!

Per my post on Monday, 7 January: if you haven't checked out http://www.marklivesinikea.com/ go there right now! It's hilarious! You have to watch the videos-use the sidebar on the right of the videoplayer to scroll down to get all the videos. What are you waiting for-get out of here!!!!!!!

little trackmaster

Collin enjoys his new train set

Here's a fun video of Collin playing with his new train set! Thanks to generous Christmas cash from Papa & Amoo and Grammie & Papa, Collin was able to add other pieces to the basic train set we gave him for Christmas to create a great setup. He had lots of fun making his choices at Target!

We set up the train tracks in the spare room, so 1] there's plenty of room for Thomas and James to meander along the train tracks and 2] we don't have to worry about taking it down since it's not in the way. Collin is quite the conductor-he handles the remotes for both of the trains, flips switches to change routes, and in general keeps things running smoothly. The other kids have a fun time playing with him as well, and Bailey has helped him set up his track a few times in a variety of ways.


american idol revamped

Webkinz American Idol [by Libby and Julia]

A couple of days ago Libby asked to borrow the camera to shoot a movie. I just downloaded them today [there were about fifteen!] and I promised her that I would post one for your viewing pleasure.

Some background: In case you don't have kids that use the internet yet, Webkinz are wildly popular stuffed animals that come with a web account when you buy them. You enter a code online and it brings your Webkin to life in a virtual world, where they eat, play games, buy stuff, etc. Libby decided it would be fun to film a video in which her Webkinz are, in fact, the hosts of American Idol [which, by the way, she has never seen]. She got the idea when she stayed the night at a friend's house and they watched some on YouTube.

Anyway, this is the kind of stuff we're up to on this our final week of Christmas vacation! Although it I must confess that I look forward to resuming a normal schedule, I am savoring our last days of relaxation and sleeping in. Because let me warn you now: when your kids start school, your life is no longer your own!


have you heard about the guy who. . .

. . . moved into his local IKEA store for a week while his NYC apartment is being fumigated? Yes, it's true! Read all about it at http://www.marklivesinikea.com/. He just moved in on the 7th [today] and is supposed to be posting a new video every day this week.

Whenever I mention IKEA to Owen, he gets this distant, irritated look on his face, put there no doubt by his harrowing first experience there about six years ago. It was my first visit as well, and since my mom was with us, together we explored the many wonders of the store for over three hours. With Owen and kids in tow.

He hated every minute.

Owen is not a shopper at heart anyway [unless we're talking power tools], so the fact that he made it through a three-hour-tour of IKEA is in itself no small feat. My mom and I still love to tease him about it, and he still adamantly refuses to spend time there. Although I was able to talk him into a brief stopover when we were passing through the Bay Area two summers ago.

Thinking about IKEA also reminds me that I bought some great prints there [during the aforementioned last visit] that I still need to get framed. Yikes. Talk about procrastinating. I should add "stop putting off house decorating projects that really should have been done years ago" to my New Year's resolutions this year. Hmmm. It's gonna be a long list this year.