Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

The current status of our economic market is on everyone's minds these days. My friend, Laura, sent me this video from FOX News. It goes through the past eight years of what has been done to try to establish regulations for giants like Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Be sure to watch to the end. The news reporter shows video of Senator John McCain addressing the Senate in 2006 about this issue. I wasn't surprised to learn that Senator Obama skipped out on weighing in on the issue or voting for more regulations.

I was surprised to learn that in the House of Reps, ALL Democrats voted against taking steps to insure that these large financial institutions were being run correctly and not posing a risk to our economic well-being.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Special Olympics Soccer Tournament and Reflections on Church Broadcast

This past Saturday was AWESOME!

The day started off with my hubby and I attending the Kansas State Special Olympics Soccer Tournament with our oldest son, Isaac. His team, the Olathe Trailblazers, played two games. The first was against Gardner. The confusing part of playing Gardner is that their team shirts are Gold & their coach shirts are black. Olathe's team shirts are gray and the coach shirts are gold. See how it can be confusing?

Let's start off with the team cheer . . . (Isaac is #10)

video

I was so impressed with how well everyone worked together as a team! They passed the ball to each other, took turns shooting goals, etc. It was really awesome. Below is a clip of their first game. Isaac intercepted the ball twice from the Gardner team, ending with a goal!

video

Here are some fun pictures of Isaac during the half-time break.







Isaac & Dad













Isaac with his friend & team-mate, James.

The Olathe Trailblazer's won their first game 12-05.

The next set of games, Olathe played Wichita for the gold.

I was really, really hoping we wouldn't have to play them this year. This is the one team I've encountered so far, that doesn't adhere to the Special Olympics standards. SO is supposed to be about giving individuals with disabilities opportunities to play sports, exercise, have social interaction, develop relationships, and develop good sportsmanship. Everyone is a winner. Heck, our parents cheer when the other team scores a goal. This is how Special Olympics is supposed to be.

Not Wichita though. The only thing they care about is winning. They yell at their kids to pick up the pace, they complain to the refs if anyone on our team accidentally touches another player or the ball with their hands (which in any other game is just over-looked as long as the players aren't hanging on another player's jersey to slow them down or aren't picking up the ball). Those same parents also over-look it every time their child or other team-mate shove, trip, or kick a member of the team they're playing against.

Last year was really difficult. It just happened that last year AND this year, the woman who is the most vocal (and who encourages her son to play however it takes to win) set up her chairs next to my chairs. It's really, really, really hard for me not to turn around and smack someone who's yelling rude things about my son. So what if he tripped and fell over the ball. Holy cow! Like that's never happened in any other soccer game setting. The reason he tripped was because her son pushed him!

On the other side, her son got really frustrated with two of our players (Isaac & James) because they excel at intercepting balls, then passing off to other players. My son got pushed a lot because he challenged other players for the ball.

I was actually really proud of Isaac though. He got really frustrated at one point and just walked off the field and told his coach, "I need a break." Then he sat down with me and my hubby and told us how hard the other team was and that he didn't like them pushing him. He took a five minute break, then went back into the game. I was so proud of him! He really did a great job.

I tried to find some video clips from the Wichita game, but lots of them had the other woman making remarks and I didn't want to post them. I do have to say, as much as Isaac got tripped and pushed around, I felt much worse for Rachel, who has tons of persistence and is totally brave, but not as physically as strong as the other kids. She literally got pushed, shoved, and run over a couple times every quarter. One quarter, the Wichita team goalie kicked the ball right into her face. But what would she do? She just got up, shook it off, and kept right on playing. Man, she's one tough chick and one of my role models.

Final score: 07-12 Even though Wichita won, I have to say I still feel like our team was the real winner.


The Olathe Trailblazers:
Back Row: Our totally awesome coaches!
Middle Row: Robbie, Chase, Evan, Rachel, and Isaac
Front Row: Larry and James

After the last game, we took Isaac out to celebrate at McDonald's. Then we went back home to tell Uncle Mike and all the kids about how awesome Isaac and his team played.

Later that day, I had the opportunity to attend my Church's Relief Society broadcast. Before the broadcast, all the ladies gathered for a delicious dinner. Many sisters brought soups, salads, or desserts to share. It was yummy-licious! The best part, was that the men all came to take down the tables AND do the dishes! Yeah!

After dinner, the ladies all went into the chapel to watch the broadcast from Salt Lake City. The General Relief Society presidency all spoke. My two very favorite talks were by Sister Barbara Thompson (2nd Counselor of the General Relief Society) and President Deiter F. Uchtdorf. I've shared a bit about each person's message below.

Sister Julie B. Beck spoke about our roles as sisters in Relief Society and the great work we do. I absolutely loved it when she said, "The real power of our world-wide sisterhood lies within each sister." Sister Beck talked about how the Relief Society was a formal part of the restoration, and was charged to organize, teach, and inspire Heavenly Father's daughters, to prepare them for the blessings of eternal life. As sisters today, we need to:

1. Increase faith & personal righteousness
2. Strengthen families & homes. Our homes should be a refuge from the evils of the world.
3. Serve the Lord & His children.

Sister Sylvia H. Allred talked about temple worship. I loved her stories about church members faith in Honduras and other far-away countries, and the sacrifices they made so they could travel to the Mesa, AZ temple to be sealed forever as a family. Today, many of those faithful members now have temples in their own countries. What an amazing blessing!

Sister Barbara Thompson was another really fun speaker. I loved it when she said, "Relief Society is not just a class on Sunday. It's not just somewhere to go if we aren't teaching in Young Women's or Primary."

She also said,

"We need not rush around finding things to do or causes to take up.Remember, most often, the help needed is in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities. A kind word of encouragement, a note of thanks, a phone call, a loving smile, a helpful deed, and a reminder that God loves us is often what is needed most.

We need women to step up and be strong.
We need women to declare the truth with strength, faith, and boldness.
We need women to set an example of righteousness.
We need women to be anxiously engaged in a good cause
We need to live that our lives bear witness that we love our Heavenly Father and our savior, Jesus Christ, and that we will do what they have asked us to do.

We can be a righteous army of women, armed with love, compassion, kindness, service, and faith. We can be a mighty force for good in this world."


President Deiter F. Uchtdorf was the speaker who made me cry. Several times during his talk, it felt like he was speaking right to me. Like he was looking into the camera, past all the other women, and was speaking just to me. He didn't just make me cry though. His story about the differences between his wife's cooking and his own make me laugh! I loved it when President Uchtdorf said that sometimes we sisters focus on what we are lacking and don't look at what we do really well. And his story about his wife always apologizing for what she thought was "less than perfect" hit home, and reminded me that it's okay to not be on top of everything 100% of the time.

President Uchtdorf also shared two principles to help us find peace and joy. They are Creating & Compassion. For those of you who don't think you have talents of significance, Presidnent Uchtdorf said,

"Think again and remember that you are a spirit daughter of God. You may think that you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extends far beyond the limits of a canvas, or a sheet of paper; and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before. Colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn't have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burnt. Don't let fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you, whether that voice comes from the outside or from the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create. Write a letter of appreciation. Learn a new skill. Identify a space, and beautify it.

The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life, and your destiny in the life to come.

Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit as you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness. You improve not only the world around you, but also the world within you."


The whole broadcast was incredible. If you missed it, I highly recommend going to the Church website, and watching the broadcast. The Church now has a new movie player called LDS Move Player. Nope I didn't spell that wrong. That's the name, odd enough as it is. Odd name aside, it's a great tool. You can download the conference and watch different speakers - with no pauses or buffering. It's great! If you don't have time to watch it over the internet, the transcripts of each talk was just posted as I finished this blog. You can print them out to read.

As you can see, my Saturday was filled with fun and inspiration - a great combination!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Book Review: Eyes of a Stranger by Rachel Ann Nunes

"On the first day of her new life, Tawnia McKnight finds herself in Oregon, her fifth state in ten years. Another new job, new friends, a heartache left far behind. Maybe in Portland she can at last find what she is looking for. Maybe she can even forget Bret Winn. But when a tragic bridge collapse rocks the city, Tawnia is thrust back into the life of the man she thought she'd never see again. Then Bret introduces her to the eccentric Autumn Rain — a stranger with inexplicably familiar eyes — and Tawnia finds herself drawn into a web of confusion and deceit. Autumn's suffering over her missing father seems to be real, but there is much that cannot be explained. Will Tawnia find what she is looking for, or will everything she is beginning to care about slip once again from her grasp?"


Rachel Ann Nunes is a hugely popular LDS romance/suspense author. I've been reading her books for ten years now. I remember going to the library and coming home with a huge stack of books, which I'd devour in a week . . . then head back for more. She has over thirty books published in the LDS market, and I believe there are only three of them I haven't had a chance to read yet.

A few years ago, Rachel branched out into the national market. This is her third national market book. When I read the blurb on the back, I was instantly intrigued. In fact, I received an email from Rachel on Tuesday that Eyes of a Stranger was officially on the bookshelves . . . then Saturday (while in Utah) I purchased it before heading to the airport.

I really enjoyed the story of Tawnia and Autumn - twins separated at birth, who find each other by accident after a tragic disaster. I enjoyed the characters and got caught up in the romantic struggles between Tawnia and Bret. The only downfall of the book was that I had figured out which individuals were responsible for the bridge collapse a little over half-way through the book. There was a slight twist at the end, but no big surprises. Still, I couldn't put the book down and kept reading until I finished it quite late last Tuesday night.

Eyes of a Stranger is available for purchase here.

QOTC Rating: Four Stars

Hint, Hint . . . If you go to Rachel's website, you'll see that if you register, you can get access to some pretty darn cool stuff. Rachel sends out a newsletter about once a month with an update on writing and life. There's no spam. If you do decide to register, please use my name (Danyelle Ferguson) as a referral. Rachel keeps track and you (and I) can earn free books and other prizes. Free is always nice. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Budget Update & Wrap Sandwiches

It's officially been one pay period, and I'm here to give you an update on my progress.

Since my last budgeting blog, I went to the bank to get cash for my two-week budget. I separated the cash into different envelopes, which I labeled with categories (groceries, diapers, date night, babysitting, play money, etc). Then, the tracking began.

We had an unexpected birthday party invitation, which any other time would have messed up my budget. This time, I pulled some cash out of the Play Money envelope and took my four-year-old shopping for a gift. I told him how much he could spend, and he did a great job staying within those boundaries. There were a couple of times I worried, as he found neat presents that were too much. But when I'd tell him how much the item was, then I'd ask him if that was more or less than the amount he could spend. I was really impressed as he figured that out on his own and kept moving on to see other toys. He kept track of which items were okay to buy, then after finding several he chose which one he wanted to purchase for the birthday girl. Can I just say how very impressed I am with my four-year-old? He did a MUCH better job than me. I would have seen a neat toy and thought, "Well, it's not that much more . . . " I'm so proud of my little guy!

Before I left for Utah, I pulled out what we had left of our cash and made sure John knew where it was, just in case he needed something. Our new two-week budget started while I was out of town. When I got home, one of the first things I asked John was if he had used the money I left for him or if he had used the debit card. He still had the cash, and he hadn't used the card.

Score! We stayed in budget and still had $10 left over!!!

So, Monday after preschool, I took the $10 and a bit of the Play Money and made a McSonic run. Rob & Anna had McD's Happy Meals & I had a treat from Sonic. After-all, we all need little rewards, right?



I read an interesting article in my last Prevention magazine. I can't remember the article's name, or the author - and since my hubby did some cleaning while I was gone, I'm not sure where the magazine disappeared to.

The article talked about adding more whole grains into your diet, and also cutting your calories as you work to lose weight. One suggestion was to switch from using white bread to whole wheat or corn tortillas. Each of these as enough grains to count as two servings towards your daily grains. I know I don't ever come close to meeting my healthy whole grain servings, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I purchased Li'l Guy Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas (10 count) and Li'l Guy Thick Style Corn Tortillas (36 count) - each for about $2.50. I also purchased romaine lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, fat-free refried beans, Miracle Whip Light, and light cream cheese.

My first attempt at a wrap sandwich started with a wheat tortilla. I spread a little bit of the Miracle Whip Light on it. Next came the Romaine lettuce, some thinly sliced tomatoes, and about half of a ripe avocado. I rolled it all up . . . and it was soo yummy! Since enjoying that wrap, I've looked up a few other healthy recipes. Enjoy!

Li'l Guy Sauteed Chicken Wrap
4 Li'l Guy Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 lb. Diced Chicken Breasts or tenders
3 c. chopped iceberg lettuce
1 c. shredded cheese
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 c. diced tomato
1 Tbs. olive or vegetable oil
salt & pepper

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add chicken and diced onion. Saute until chicken is browned and cooked all the way through. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Seperate into four even portions and set aside to cool for five minutes.

Heat tortillas in microwave or in skillet. Place chicken mixture on tortillas and garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Top with salsa, ranch dressing, or light mayo. Roll up each wrap and serve.



Tuna (or Chicken), Avocado, & Bacon Wrap

4 slices bacon
1 (6 ounce) can solid white tuna (or chicken) packed in water
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
black pepper to taste
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced
1 tomato, sliced
2 slices provolone cheese
2 lettuce leaves
2-4 Wheat or Corn Tortillas

Cook bacon in the microwave on a paper towel-lined microwave safe plate until crispy, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together tuna, Dijon mustard, horseradish, relish, and red onion. Season with paprika and pepper. Divide this mixture between the tortillas. On each tortilla, place 1/2 an avocado, 1/2 a tomato, 1 slice provolone cheese, 1 lettuce leaf, and 2 slices bacon. (If making four smaller corn tortillas, adjust measurements appropriately).



Turkey Vegetable Wrap


2/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/4 cup NAKANO® Seasoned Rice Vinegar - Red Pepper or Roasted Garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
6 lettuce leaves, curly or red leaf
1/2 pound deli sliced turkey, plain or smoked
1 1/4 cups julienned jicama
3/4 cup julienned carrot
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Alfalfa sprouts, chopped green onions or cilantro (optional)

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, rice vinegar, cumin and salt; mix well. Spread one tablespoon dressing over each tortilla; top with a lettuce leaf. Divide turkey, jicama, carrots, cheese and sprouts evenly among tortillas. Drizzle additional dressing over ingredients on each tortilla. Fold bottom of tortilla over filling; roll up burrito style.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Toys R Us Sale

With the Christmas Season starting, I thought I'd pass along this sale happening at ToysRUs. It's online as well as at the store. The only drawback is that you can't mix and match items. For example, it has to be three Lego items rather than one Lego, one Barbie, and one Thomas train. But if you have a kid who's totally into, say Pokemon, and you want to get several characters - this would be a good sale to take advantage of.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are You Ready for This?

I'm back from my jaunt to Utah. I had a fantastic time. I have lots of photos and memories to share. Get ready for another super long post! :)

First stop . . . I arrived in Salt Lake City on Wednesday evening. Since Devon's wedding was Thursday morning at the Salt Lake Temple, I made arrangements to stay with my fabulous friend, Robin, and her family.

Thursday, the day of the wedding, also happened to be her son Austin's birthday. Austin was born exactly one month after my son, Isaac. I still remember pushing Isaac in a stroller up to the NICU to see Austin the day he was born. Happy Birthday, Austin!


This is Austin digging into the present I got for him.


And here it is! It's a Pokemon stuffed animal. Austin has started collecting them - he's a HUGE Pokemon fan. This one looks like a Duck-billed Platypus to me - but Austin loved it!


The boys getting ready to leave for school - Austin, me, & Jake.


I had to pull Robin away from slaving in the kitchen for this one. :) Robin, me, & the boys.

Randy (Robin's cool hubby) took the boys to school. Very soon after, Evan finally decided to wake up. Yeah! Evan is awesome and he just cracks me up. I also just love his hugs. He ranks up with my son Rob for best hugs ever.


Isn't Evan just a cutie pie? And see all those gorgeous curls? He has the thickest hair with just gorgeous curled waves. But just wait - there's a story about those curls . . .

So, after I finished breakfast, I jumped into the shower to get ready for Devon's wedding. As I'm getting out of the shower, I can hear Evan screaming and Robin saying, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." So, I wrapped up in a nice big towel and headed into her room to see what was up.

Apparently, Robin decided to trim Evan's hair. Evan must not have been too happy about that, cause he wasn't co-operating. In Robin's fluster-ment, she forgot to put the shield on the clippers . . . and you can guess what happened next. Yep. One very, very bald strip, right up the back of Evan's head.

Robin turned to me and said, "I don't know what to do. Help!"

I checked out Evan's head a bit, then turned to Robin and said, "You have two options. You can leave his hair like this and he can look like a dork or we can buzz it all off."

Every mother out there can just imagine the look of shock on Robin's face. She decided to go for the buzz job, but couldn't stand the thought of cutting off all those curls. So, I took charge of the clippers. I popped on a #2 shield, then Operation Off with the Curls began. Robin held Evan during the whole process.

The results:


Evan, finally calmed down & playing a game at the computer.


The proof that it wasn't my fault. I'm still waiting for angry emails from Robin's mom. :)

Next stop, the Salt Lake Temple.



It was a scramble to find parking downtown. I didn't realize they tore down ZCMI and the other mall that was across the street from it. The other parking lot I used to use when I was going to LDSBC was gone too - a new building was sitting in its place. Hmm . . . after getting directions from some sister missionaries, I finally found a parking spot and entered the temple.

Now, some of you may be wondering who Devon is. Devon is the daughter of some of our very good friends, Kevin & Pam Banta. We met Kevin & Pam about a month after John & I got married. My friend, Kim Nelson, introduced us. We've been good friends ever since. When I first met Devon, she was 11 years old. As a teenager, she babysat for us for almost four years - every Thursday! When she turned 16 and got a "real" job, her sister Chantell took over babysitting for our weekly date nights.

Not only was I friends with Kevin & Pam, but I became really close to Chan & Dev. We would get together for Girls Nights Out - we even had a sleep-over at my house once. We munched and stayed up super late watching chick flicks. We'd get together for family BBQ's, turn up the radio, & dance. Wow - so many fun memories.

So, when Devon emailed to ask me to attend her wedding, I was all for it! She married a wonderful, quiet guy named Sean Mylinski. I really enjoyed watching them together. Their sealing was beautiful and the spirit in attendance was sweet. I used up plenty of tissues, too.

After the wedding, waiting for the bride to come out for pictures . . .


Kevin Banta, his daughter Nattely, and her daughter Alayna.


Sisters Forever - Becca & Chantell.


Ooh Yuck! Chantell giving her "little" brother, Jared, a great big smooch!


Ashlyn Banta. I met Ashlyn when she was about 1 year old!!!


Rachel with her sister Nattely and cousin Alayna.


Mr. Stud - Zack Banta.


Where's my skateboard? I just know that's what he was thinking! Mike Banta


Mr. & Mrs. Sean Mylinski!


Becca stood in awe of her beautiful sister and handsome husband.


Devon & Sean, walking together on temple grounds.


The Banta Family - Yes, they're all brothers and sisters - except for Sean (the groom), Nattely's hubby (Ben) & Nattely's baby girl.


The Banta's & They Mylinski's: Kevin, Pam, Devon, & Sean.

During part of the wedding pictures, I went with Kevin & all the kids to JB's for ice cream. It was a great way to keep us all occupied while the photographer finished up all the wedding pictures. On the way to JB's, what did I see? The brand new Deseret Book Company Building!!!



I stopped everyone and said, "That's where my manuscript is! Wait! I have to take pictures!!!" Of course, I jokingly said that we should all pray for my manuscript while we were there, too. ;-)

When we finished our ice cream, I took Rachel, Becca, Ashlyn, and Chantell back to Cedar Hills. Chan went to help Devon get ready for the reception, while I went back to the Banta's house to help the younger girls do their hair for the reception pictures.

At the reception:


Pam, Devon, & Becca.


My good friend Kim holding Alayna. I met Kim about a year after I joined the LDS Church. I met her at the Penn State University - Nittany Singles Branch. We've been good friends for 14 years now! She's also the person who introduced John & I to the Banta's.


Caleb & Becca

We discovered the icing on the eclairs turned our tongues pink . . .


Ashlyn


Rachel


Becca


Me & the guys: Mike, Jared, & Caleb.

I left the reception around 7:30 pm, so I could drive down to Orem and attend my monthly Friends of GIANT Steps board meeting. Since moving to Kansas, I've attended the meetings over the phone. I love it when my trips to Utah co-incide with a meeting. I have to say, I am so impressed with our board members. This past year, they have done some incredible things - putting together our first annual auction which was a HUGE success. Right now, they're planning a winter benefit concert. I'm looking forward to working with our new president and board members this year, too.

Let's fast forward a bit: Friday

Friday morning, I discovered I still had Rachel & Becca's car seats in my car. Silly me! I dropped those off to Pam, then went to the Mt. Timpanogas Temple.



This is where John and I were married. I love coming back and performing temple work here. It was really fun Friday morning seeing all the brides in and out of the temple.

After my morning at the temple, I was invited to have lunch at Tristi's house with Tristi Pinkston (of course) and my fabulous friend, Heather Justesen. I was so excited to see them, I was all teary eyed when Tristi opened the door. She thought something had happened and I was sad. But I wasn't. I was just so very happy to be in the company of good friends, who I sincerely miss between my visits to Utah.


The Writin' Chicks: Danyelle, Heather, & Tristi (along with Tristi's son).

I felt doubly blessed that the members of Tristi & Heather's critique group took time out of their schedules, away from work and family, to come to an early meeting so we could spend some time visiting, too. Keith, Kim, & Nichole - you guys rock! Thank you!


Keith and His Bodacious Babes:
L to R: Tristi, Heather, Danyelle, Keith, Kim, & Nichole.


Wahoo - Check out that smackeroo! Poor Keith, I really embarrassed him. He asked me to tell my hubby the kiss didn't mean anything. :)

My old college roomie, Miss Amy Marble, met me at Tristi's house. Amy came with me to the last Storymaker's Conference, so she knew several of the people at Tristi's house, too. About 4:30 pm, Amy and I took off for dinner, then spent the evening watching Bride & Prejudice and sewing. We made this totally cute purse and wallet.


The purse pattern was by Lazy Girl Designs.

Amy - a sewing and design queen - helped me follow the directions and simplify the project, as I'm sewing-challenged. But I did actually sew all of the parts together for both the purse and wallet. Aren't they totally cute?


The finished purse & wallet.

I actually spent both Thursday and Friday nights at Amy's house. Saturday morning, I was treated to homemade, whole wheat waffles and real maple syrup. Yummy, yummy, yum. After breakfast, I got packed up for my flight later that day. Amy and I had a great time visiting. Spending time with Amy, relaxing, chatting, and sewing, was the perfect way to end my trip.


Two Chicks of a Kind: Danyelle & Amy

On my way to Salt Lake, I stopped at the Distribution Center and Deseret Book to stock up on some books and other things we needed. While the flights to Utah were all smooth, the flights back to Kansas were super bumpy and made me a bit sick. The one good thing about flying though, is I got to watch a few movies (Sense & Sensibility and Return to Me) and I finished A Future for Tomorrow by Haley Hatch Freeman, which I'll be reviewing during her blog tour.

I had lots and lots and lots of friends I didn't get to see on this trip. I wish I would have had more time. I'll be out again for the Storymakers conference in April. I hope to get to see more of you then! I just want to say a huge thank you to Devon for inviting me to her wedding. I absolutely enjoyed it. Another huge thanks to my awesome hubby, who so willingly stayed behind to have fun with the kids. And thank you, thank you to all my friends I did get a chance to see.

And to everyone reading this - I hope you have a wonderful, fabulous day!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


"Whenever I feel down and out, I shut myself in a room and sit quietly and meditate. I think of all I have to be grateful for. Sometimes I think about something charming or funny my kids have said recently so that I smile, and sometimes I just close my eyes, breathe deeply, and let myself be."

- Abha Iyengar

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lose Your Head Lately?



"Having a to-do list is like having a head on your shoulders when you can't actually have a head on your shoulders."

- Syd Glasser

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MJ for President & Mr. Cranky Comes for a Visit

MJ for President!

Last night, I received an email from MJ's teacher, Miss Sharp. She asked me if MJ told me about her role in their class government. I'm glad she emailed, because MJ hadn't said anything about it. So I asked her this morning.

"MJ, Miss Sharp emailed me last night and said you did a government activity yesterday in your class-"

I didn't even get to finish before MJ interrupted me, totally excited . . .

"Yeah! I was elected as president! Cole was my Vice-President!"

"Wow," I said. "That's really cool! What did you do?"

"I got to make laws and lead the class and work with the legislature." I was super impressed my second grader knew a big word like legislature. Then she surprised me again.

"Yeah, but we only had seven people in our judibal branch cause there were only eleven of us in class yesterday."

"Um, you mean Judicial?" I asked.

She rolled her eyes, "Yep, that's what I meant."

"That's cool that you know about the legislature and judicial branches. Did you know there's third branch?"

"Yeah, Mom. The executive branch. That was me and Cole. I already said that!" And then she huffed off to go brush her teeth before going to school.

So, my second grader knows really big words that I didn't learn until 8th grade in Government class. How totally cool is that? Maybe now MJ will add president to her list of things she wants to be when she grows up. She already wants to be a dance teacher and a computer programmer. And hey, if a hocky mom can be a VP hopeful, why not a dance teacher for President? She'd definitely have my vote!

BTW - MJ was chosen to be one of two kids to represent her class on her school Student Council. Yeah, MJ!


Mr. Cranky Comes for a Visit

I thought I'd share another funny story. Yesterday afternoon, Mr.Cranky had taken over Rob. So I sent him to his room for a nap at 4 pm. Of course, he stomped and pouted and whined all the way to bed. Then he climbed in, pulled the covers up to his chin, and was out within five minutes.

Normally when he takes an afternoon nap, he wakes up between 6 or 6:30. But last night, he slept through dinner.

I figured he'd be awake by 8 pm. Nope, slept through that too.

Then I started to wonder . . . is he going to wake up at midnight, then want to play all night? Nope, he slept through that, too.

He finally came into my room and climbed into bed with me at 6:30 this morning. Yep, you read that right. 6:30 am. He must have been one very, very tired little boy. But it looks like Mr. Cranky has finished his visit, and returned back to Crankyville, leaving the Ferguson home in peace . . . for the time being!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cookin' Up a Storm, Consignment Sales, & Missouri Drivers

Cooking, cooking, cooking . . . we're doing lots of cooking!

Why?

Well, let's rewind to Friday night. Around five in the evening, the tornado sirens went off. So, off to the basement we all went. Since the weather wasn't bad where we were, we didn't expect an actual tornado to come through. So we pulled out our pillows and stash of books and read away for about an hour when the sirens stopped.

Now, let's fast-forward to Sunday morning. Our oldest daughter went to the basement to get something out of the freezer. The pillows were still on the floor. In typical seven-year-old fashion, our daughter grabbed what she needed, then turned and let the door close behind her . . . not checking that it actually closed. Do you see where this is going?

Several hours later, my hubby went down to pull out some stuff for dinner. Instead, he discovered the freezer door stuck on one of the pillows, with a huge puddle of water surrounding it. Upon closer inspection, he also discovered all of our meat (which we just stocked up on) was well on its way in the defrosting stage.

We spent most of Sunday night cutting and cooking seven pounds of chicken. We made two BBQ Chicken Sandwiches meals, then bagged them and refroze. We also cut up a bunch to make Teriyaki Chicken. It marinated over night. Today, I'm frying up the Teriyaki - two dinners worth. Also, hamburger for tacos and spaghetti sauce. I'm going to cube up some steak for beef stew. I also need to figure out what to do with the rest of the chicken and pork chops. And I need to get it all figured out by the end of tonight - or at least that's what my butcher recommended. And I totally trust him. So tonight is the deadline for having everything cooked, packaged, and back into the freezer.

Consignment Sale

I did get a little break from the stove this morning. I took a bunch of stuff over to the Kids Closet Consignment Sale. For anyone living near Olathe, the sale is Sept. 16-19th in Lenexa at the Cedar Ridge Christian Church (8835 Lackman Rd.). For more info, click here. I'm also going to participate in the Kids Closet Gardner sale in October.

Missouri Drivers

On the way home from dropping stuff off, my friend Michelle and I were talking in the van. Picture this - I'm on the corner of Lackman Dr & 87th St, stopped at a red light. There are two cars in front of me. One turned right onto 87th (we were on Lackman), which left one car in front of me. This car wanted to go straight through the intersection. I needed to turn right. There's no turning lane, so I'm sitting behind this car, talking to my friend, waiting for the light. Got it?

Finally the light turned green and traffic moves on. I turned right onto 87th and the next light we approached turned red. Well, this van pulls up next to me and stops. The driver (an older man with gray hair & beard) still has room to move forward, but is motioning to me to put the window down. I'm thinking, Did something get stuck in the trunk and is hanging out? So, I put my window down a little, and he says . . .

"Are you from out of state?"

I look at my friend, like What? Then turn to the man and say, "Excuse me?"

"You must be from out of state, because you were too stupid to know you can turn right when the light is red."

Co-incidentally, the light turned green and he drove on. I, on the other hand, sat there with my mouth hanging open. And what do I see on the back of his van?



Hmm . . . Let's see. We were in Kansas. I have a Kansas license plate. He has a Missouri license plate. Who's from out of state? Apparently, he must have failed geography since he couldn't tell the difference between Kansas and Missouri. Also, his eyesight must be going because anyone with good vision would be able to see that you can't drive through another car.

After ranting to Michelle for a few minutes, I started to wonder . . . What kind of a person goes through life with such anger built up that something so in-consequential as waiting to turn at a red light, makes him actually take the time to stop, get another driver's attention, just to say something so completely stupid. A normal person would just shrug his shoulders and move on.

And then, I pitied the poor guy. I'd hate to live with so much negative emotion. This is a guy who seriously needs to learn the value of prayer and forgiveness and get rid of all that heavy weight that must be sitting on his shoulders.

Conclusion

Well, that's a bit of what's happening here. I hope your Mondays are wonderful. I know I'm personally looking forward to Family Home Evening tonight. I have some fun stuff planned for our family . . . hee hee hee! Happy Monday, everyone!
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.