Friday, January 16, 2015

Good Fire and Bad Fire

Our Preparedness skills for the week were two-fold.

1.  How to use a fire extinguisher (which also turned into a reminder about Stop, Drop, and Roll as well as a few other fire extinguishing guidelines).

2. How to ignite a lighter.
Everyone had to negotiate the lighter well enough and long enough to light a candle.
There was some pretty serious discussion about the right times and the wrong times to use fire.

Our Family Home Evening lesson was about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fire for refusing to worship anyone (or thing) other than God.
That fire was so hot that the guys who tossed the three into the fire died!
But the three were unscathed, walking around in the fire with Jehovah.
In fact, they didn't even smell of fire.

That is some serious faith.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

American Girl Store

Meet my eleven year old daughter.  She loves her some American Girl!
For her 11th birthday in November, her grandparents gave her Isabella.
Isabella and Becca Rose, the doll she received when she was about 6, are her most beloved playthings.
When we knew she would be coming with us to Seattle, visiting the American Girl Store was her #1 priority.

After dropping Isaac off at his morning workshop, we were on our way!

We knew the general location, but had to wander around and around the GIANT mall complex before we spotted it, in the back corner of a courtyard.
She started running!

Come on, Mom!!

We arrived an hour too early.  No matter, there were tons of windows so she studied each display thoroughly, while the baby wandered around the courtyard.
We have 15 inches of snow at our house and Seattle has daffodils!

After wasting as much time window shopping as was possible and stepping into the Starbucks for a cocoa and banana bread breakfast, finally, finally, it was time for the store to open.  
There was a line of little girls to get in!

This child was in heaven.  She has studied the catalogs and magazines to the point that she knew each and every item available at the store, but she hadn't seen most of them in person.  She was surprised at the detail and care of everything.  Of course, most things in the store were way beyond our price range, but there were a few things that were more affordable.  She picked out a curly pony tail hair attachment and some other hair fixing doo-dads.

She was one happy girl!

Right away, we had to jump back in the car to retrieve Isaac from his workshop.
One goal he made from the first day of this ballet adventure is that whenever possible, we would go to church.  That means sometimes missing classes, arranging flights and driving early mornings or late nights. 

It was a very good meeting and the closes church building happened to be right next to the temple.

Hug! Hug!

The grounds of the temple are so pretty, even on a dreary January day.

After visiting the temple, we had about three hours.  We decided to run downtown and wander around some of the iconic Seattle places that the children hadn't seen.  

At first, cities woo me, what with their pretty architecture, amazing shopping variety, and cultural feasts, but all of that is forgotten when one drives around for three hours with nary a stop because one is stuck in traffic or can't find parking to enjoy what the city offers.

I'll keep my rural living, even without any architectural delights or cultural feasts.  
At least I have Target and Costco.

After an evening audition, we were back on the road.
We pulled into the driveway right about midnight after a wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Year of Preparedness Skills

I was in a class recently where the question was asked:  
Do your children know how to use a lighter?

Uh, no.  They know how to use the long lighters with a trigger and they know how to swipe a match on a rock, but they don't know that tricky function of igniting a lighter.
The thing is, I'm sure they could all do it with no problem, but they've never been given the opportunity.
I decided that I would make sure and show them how to do that.

That got me thinking about all the preparedness skills that aren't necessarily difficult, but that a parent should teach a child.
Skills such as finding dry wood when it's raining, how to treat shock, how to use and sharpen an ax, how to sew on a patch or a button, what to do in a stranded car, how and where to shut off the water and gas, and how to use a fire extinguisher.  
Then I made a goal.

My 2015 New Year's Resolution is to teach my children one new preparedness skill each week--or most weeks.  
(I know how life goes and I don't want to beat myself up for missing a week because of sickness or vacation or Mom's Grumpy.)

We started last week.  I'd found these instructions on Pinterest on how to make 50 hour candles on the cheap.
I'd never made candles before, but we lose electricity frequently out here in the woods so I thought it would be a good idea.

Placing wicks.
Melting the wax flakes.  I put a #10 can in a pot of water since
I don't want to buy a fancy candle making set-up.
I bent a spout with pliers.
It worked well.

Almost melted.  Don't stir or you'll have bubbles--at least that's what other people told me.
While we were waiting for the wax to melt (we did several batches because I bought 10 pounds of soy flakes), we had our Family Home Evening lesson:

After the wax, we used tinfoil lids to hold the wicks in the middle of the candle.

The wax begins to solidify.
After a couple of hours, we had 24 candles!  
We didn't add scent because if we are living by candle light, I'm sure the heavy scent of a room full of candles will get a bit heavy.
After the candles were cooled completely, we trimmed the wicks, replaced the lids and have them stored in the kitchen where we can access them easily without light.

This was the easiest thing ever and we all learned a new skill!  

Monday, January 12, 2015

YAGP Seattle

Last weekend was Youth America Grand Prix in Seattle, Washington.
We were able to drive this time which saved us so much money, especially since gas prices are low!  The hours in the theater are long, so I brought my 11 and 13 year old daughters to tend the 1 year old.  They were good sports and it made my weekend much better.
Stretching and getting into the zone in the hotel room.

It was Isaac's first year in the Senior Division (ages 15-19) so we really didn't know what to expect.
I don't have any photos of him in costume or on stage.

You'll have to use your imagination:
imagine a powerful, yet gentle dancer
doing his thing.

He was awesome. 
Not awesome as in the slang for hip, cool, neato, fierce, sick, or hot.
Awesome as in causing or inducing awe.

I'm his mom and, though I do try to be objective, it is hard to not think your own kid is the best thing in the universe.

Sisters waiting for the awards ceremony to begin.
They were not as bored as this picture seems to declare!

This time the judges, and seemingly everyone in the audience, agreed with me.
He won!

First Place in Senior Contemporary
Third Place in Senior Classical

Congratulations, Isaac!!
Big weekend for you, kid.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Digging . . . But Wrong

I sent the text to my husband, 
"I can't even tell you how happy the sound of heavy equipment in my yard makes me."

Last week, the gas company came and dug a long trench, put in a gas line and meter and the phone and cable line.  They left the trench open so the electric company could come and lay their lines.
It was the next step toward heating the house which needs to be done before mud and tape can happen.

Turns out, the electric company won't use the same trench so somebody needs to come and fill in the trench.
Also, they dug the mess in the wrong place and cost us $3000 because of their flub.
Good grief.  Every step of this process has been a struggle.

Deep breaths, deep breaths.
Faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust.

It will all workout in the end.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Big Snow

We got about 14 inches one night, a week after a 10 inch snowfall.

He lost his gloves, but wasn't bothered by it.
He was only bothered by the fact that he couldn't walk!

Big sister to the rescue!

I LOVE where we live!
After playing in the snow, they came in and cuddled with Bobo Bear.
She was showing him Mr. Rogers on my phone, but he kept dropping it or accidentally touching the screen (which closed the video).

So she crawled in right next to him . . .
and they both fell asleep.
She is sound asleep, but is still holding onto the phone.
Skills, man.

Isaac and Dad both agree that Bobo is so comfy, that if you cuddle up, you're going to fall asleep!

Thanks for the nap, bud.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Time with My Girl

Last year, as in 2013, we gave Eliza the Gift of Time for Christmas.  
Each month of 2014, we went on a date.  
It was usually she and I, but sometimes Dad took her, sometimes we both went with her 
and one time her younger sister and Grandma came along.

Last week, we went on our last date of the year.

We were supposed to get a steamed milk while we browsed at the bookstore, but we were both starving, so we went out for Mexican food before hitting the bookstore.

This small, but fierce girl is such an absolute treasure to me.  She does heaps for our family and it was nice to take her out, one on one, each month.  To spotlight just her.  To listen to her alone.
Oh, my goodness.  I love her massively.

She got a laptop for Christmas this year.  
She is an author, but always has to share the family computer.  It was hard for her to find time to write.

As happy as she was to get the computer, she was a little sad that she didn't get more dates.
I was, too.

I am going to miss our dates!