O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, 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

The kids

The kids

Monday, December 30, 2013

Handprint shirt- Make It Monday

A few years ago, I made a shirt with my children for Father’s Day. At the time there were three children and we put handprints and ages of each child on the shirt. B loved it and has worn it ever since. Over time, we added two more children and the older three had grown several years and it was time for a new shirt. So, for Christmas, we made B a new shirt. Since it has been such a loved shirt, I decided to make this week’s Make It Monday a how to make the shirt.  This will make a great birthday or Christmas or Father’s Day present for any dad or grandpa.

Thank you goes to Butterfly for taking the how-to pictures!


First, get a cotton t-shirt and wash it. Once dry, slide a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to protect the back side from getting paint on it. The craft stores have t-shirt boards that don’t fit terribly well for larger shirts, but they work fine, any smooth cardboard will do though. Then, spread some puffy paint on the hand and brush it to evenly distribute.


Make sure the person holds all the fingers spread open so the paint will evenly coat and the handprint will be crisp and clear. #GiftsForDad

To place the hand on the shirt, place straight down. Firmly press on each finger and the back of the hand to insure even coverage. #GiftsForDad

Lift the hand straight up to reveal the handprint. #GiftsForDadUse the puffy paints to write the child’s name and age on the shirt under their handprints. My children also chose to add little decorations. You can see hearts and flowers in the shirt where my girls decorated their names.

In general, it is hard to get a handprint from a baby under about 15 months old. Footprints are FAR easier. Little One got one good handprint, one smudged messy print, and 2 feet on the shirt. The girls all wanted multiple colors of prints, so this was a very colorful shirt.

    #GiftsForDad #GiftsForDad #GiftsForDadTaaaa Daaa!      #GiftsForDad

Monday, December 23, 2013

Make It Monday- Chili Baked Potatoes

I was having a super busy day and B was working from home. I realized at 10 that I had to feed everyone lunch and we were out of bread. I also realized that I didn’t have time to do much for lunch. So, I pulled out my trusty thermal cooker and I made chili and baked potatoes. YUM! Since I was in a hurry and didn’t have time to chop veggies, I used some Thrive veggies I had on hand. I learned that the thermal cooker is the best place to rehydrate freeze dried beans. I find that the freeze dried beans can be burntish tasting when boiled but thermal cooked, they taste fresh and delicious!December 2013 214

Step 1- scrub potatoes and place whole in the bottom of the thermal cooker. I chose to use Yukon gold potatoes but russets and reds work too.

 December 2013 206

Step 2- cover with water and bring to a boil for 2-4 minutes. (Make sure that the top part of the pot fits on top of the potatoes and water so air space is used up).

Step 3- Mix together some freeze dried onions, carrots, beans, and mushrooms (fresh could be used for sure, but I was in a huge hurry so I used some freeze dried food storage). Add the correct amount of water and some chili powder and bring to a boil.

Step 4- Place both pots into the thermal cooker and close. Come back in 2 or more hours. Season the chili with a little salt and maybe some left over tomato sauce. Adjust the chili seasoning if necessary.

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Step 5- Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Butterfly

10 years ago Butterfly surprised us by coming into the world asleep. Not only was she born sleeping, but she came into the world so quickly that the midwife was half an hour late for her birth. So petite, she was a little doll. 4 weeks!

3 WeeksShe has always been full of surprises. These days, she gracefully splits her time between Earth and her own world- lovingly dubbed Butterfly-land. Someday she hopes to create Butterfly-land as an amusement park larger than Disneyland to welcome all of us into her world. In the mean time…

Butterfly is an incredible big sister. She cares for her siblings with love and tenderness.  October 2013 149 Somehow she knows how to float between the worlds  of best big sister and best big sister in charge without overstepping into the realm of bossy. She really does have a magical skill there! She is very artistic and loves to dream. She loves Astronomy, especially dreaming of how big the universe really is. She is a self-described book worm and will read anything she finds lying around the house- especially if it gets her out of chores!

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Butterfly also dreams of having horses and being a famous artist. She also is desperately hoping and dreaming of a sewing machine for Christmas. Almost daily I hear about what she will do when she gets a sewing machine.

We love you Butterfly! We are so happy to have you in our family. Your imagination brings freshness to these logic minded parents of yours! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Make it Monday- Onion Honey Cough Syrup

I am going to try to create a “Make it Monday” post each week. Try being the operative word here! So, for the first Monday, here goes!

Cough syrup is nasty stuff. It tastes bad, has artificial colors and flavors, and usually is meant to suppress a cough. Given that coughs are the body’s way of expelling harmful elements in the lungs, I don’t believe suppression is the answer. I believe that soothing and healing as well as supporting the cough to be productive is a better way to handle a cough. So, I make onion honey cough syrup for my family. It is super easy and contains a minimum of two ingredients everyone has in their kitchen: Onion and Honey.

Chop 1 large onion. November 2013 172

Place in the top of a double boiler.   November 2013 173   

Cover the onion with honey. The onions just need to be covered by about 1/4 inch or so.November 2013 178

Place on the stove and simmer the water on low for 2-4 hours or until the onions are done. I like to use a lower heat and cook longer so mine takes closer to 4 hours. You will know the onions are done when they are translucent, papery, shrunken, and have little to no flavor.

After 1 hour:  November 2013 180

After 2 hours:

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3Hours- Still large chunks but they are getting a little more shrunken. November 2013 187

4 Hours: Notice the onion is now shriveled a bit and if you look at the pot behind, they are not as closely packed. November 2013 203November 2013 204 Strain and bottle. Store in the refrigerator or ad d 25% vegetable glycerin to extend the shelf life and store in the cupboard. 

Additional herbs can be added to this syrup when it is placed in the double boiler. Thyme is one I sometimes use. Generally speaking, I recommend only using herbs not roots or bark since honey doesn’t extract roots and bark very well.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Books- The Night Before Christmas

As much as I love books, I realized I was lacking a critical book- The Night Before Christmas! How could it be? I realized that despite all the stories we read together, I have not shared this classic poem with my children. I went on a hunt to find a beautifully illustrated edition of the poem to share this year for Christmas. On December 1, I let the children open their new book. The book I chose was one illustrated by Charles Santore. 

I like that the pictures have a classic feel. The only thing I don’t like about this book is the beautiful double page spread where the sleigh is about to come to the house because the pages fold out and are four pages wide. As a result, the book becomes hard to hold, but the picture is so beautiful!

We have other books we read every year like The Littlest Angel and A Christmas Carol as well as a binder of stories we read each night. Little One was trying to open the advent story binder a few nights ago. December 2013 148

What is your favorite Christmas book? Find out what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members read at Christmas by clicking the button below (link live on December 18). 

Christmas Books

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Tongue-Sticker Ornament

I love four year olds! They always have something funny to say or do. The other day Strawberry came and proclaimed she was the “Tongue-Sticker Ornament.”

photo The tongue-sticker ornament is a little wooden elf dressed in yellow and orange. He sat upon my Grammi’s tree as long as I can remember. Really he was a little German toy originally. When I was a little girl, Grammi would let me push the little button and make his tongue stick out. Other than this ornament, the tree was strictly off limits, filled with beautiful glass balls, hand made carved wooden ornaments, medallions, wooden snowflakes, and icicle shaped lights. Her tree was the most beautiful thing I could imagine growing up. Thinking about her tree reminds me of the feeling of Christmas. It was magic. No matter how many times I looked at the tree, I would find something I hadn’t seen before. Ornaments that rested nestled deep inside the branches as well as on the tips. The lights that sparkled made the tree glow golden at night against the blackened background of Pate’s desk and the hallway to their bedroom.
So, when Strawberry came to me and proclaimed she was the tongue-sticker ornament, I had to laugh.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tiger's Report

Ok, so this is a report of Tiger's fundraising project. Thank You to everybody who doanted or plans to, and think you to everybody who supported me in this project. Her is the report:

I made a total of $95! 50 came from a friend and my aunt donating in my name, 15 came from my mom donating the cost of her lunch on Friday(I have a Lunch Business at our Homeschool co-op, and i am giving her lunch at no profit to me this week.), and $30 came from my gift wrapping Business.
  a) My project didn’t go very well at first, because the gift wrapping never really caught on, and I only had one customer. But things got better when i asked for donations, and I almost doubled my personal goal, because I wanted to get $50, and raised 95. I think that in the end, it was really rewarding to have the experience to look at the website and see that we multiplied the school goal by 3.5 times than it originally was. I tell you, it was truly amazing to be looking at this monitor at 7 pm yesterday, and see REALLY big numbers on the screen. That was seriously a sight to look at.
         b) This experience changed me, because I never thought about things in this way before. It really made me Feel how horrible it would be to have to go get water, early in the morning, risk being late for school, and having to do it for your whole life, when Mrs. Maucotel told the story of what it would be like. And to think that we changed the lives of almost 50 families, when we are only a small private online school, is really cool to think about. That is why this experience changed me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teaching the Law of Consecration FHE

The scriptures teach of loving a neighbor and giving to the poor and needy. This is a great principle, but how much more important is it in a family? Elder Jeffery R. Holland, in a conference talk in April 2012 said,

“Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.”

We have noticed that in our home, especially from some children, we are in need of more consecration of time and talents. So, B and I devised the following lesson to help the children see that no one will go without when we work together and put in our whole efforts.

First I gathered a couple of items that the children either need, love, or are passionate about. I also grabbed a few baby items and items that belonged to B so that he would need to provide for himself as well as for the baby.  December 2013 250 December 2013 254

Then I gave every person a list of 10 small chores to do to represent their day’s work. Each person had a list that was tailored to his or her abilities. While they were doing their chores, I set up the store. I used a pile of beads as money. On the white board I listed every item. I made sure that all the items to be purchased would cost 50 beads but that some people would not be able to purchase their goods with their wages. I also made sure that 1 had leftover beads and someone came out even.  December 2013 255

When everyone returned from work, they were each paid 10 beads. December 2013 257

Then I announced that I was the bishop so they could pay their tithing to the Lord. They all paid their tithing and were left with 9 beads.

Then I announced I was the shop keeper and they had to purchase ALL their own belongings. I showed them what was on the table as well as the list on the board. I did NOT point out that they would have to make decisions on what could be purchased. It was fun to watch what the kids picked first.

December 2013 263

As they purchased their items, Tiger came to me and asked to purchase his last item. I asked for payment and he was horrified that he couldn’t pay. He got a bit upset since he didn’t quite get the purpose of the lesson yet and was worried I would keep his items. I reassured him and continued to sell the items on the table. Butterfly purchased everything and came out even. Pumpkin Pie tried to buy her last item but was short beads so hers remained as well. Strawberry had a fist with extra beads clutched tight. B consciously did not purchase any toys for the baby, but he also was unable to buy his tools for work. oops.

We then talked about how some had left over beads, some weren’t able to “purchase” the things they needed, and some had just enough. We talked about how it felt to not have quite enough for the needs, and a little about budgeting. We also talked about how our experience mirrored real life. Then we asked what would happen if we worked together. December 2013 264

December 2013 266 As you can see, Tiger was not happy!

All the items were placed back on the table and we did a “rewind.” The children and B were again “paid” for their work, but this time, all were asked to contribute all they had to the bishop. Again, Tiger struggled with this one- after all, it might not be fair! He was worried that someone might get more than his share. Then, I switched hats and became the shopkeeper again. For the sake of time, we had the children purchase all their items at once. (I had already totaled up what their orders would cost so I charged that amount out of the total pile of beads contributed to the family fund.) After all the items were purchased, Pumpkin Pie asked if I had any extra- nope- the fund was used and, as seen below, the table was empty. Everyone had everything that he or she needed, was passionate about, and even some things that he or she wanted.

December 2013 272 Then we had a brief discussion about how they all felt to have their needs met. We talked about how in a family, the resources are shared and just because one receives, doesn’t mean someone else is going to miss out. As the stewards of the family, B and I work to do our best to distribute the resources according to needs rather than equal dollar amounts to each child or some other method.

After the lesson, I spoke a bit more to Tiger and Butterfly about socialism vs. the Law of Consecration and what the differences were. The biggest being God’s law and choice vs. man trying to legislate choice. Stewards acting for the good of all according to the Spirit of God vs. man trying to gain power and get re-elected. The heart of the receiver as desiring to contribute vs. feeling entitled. I also had a great discussion about heart and why Tiger felt the way he did during the lesson. I think all in all, this was one of the best family home evening lessons we have had. The children seemed to really understand why it is important for all to contribute their best to the family. They also understood that each one will contribute differently and to different degrees because of their ages, but if all contribute, we all benefit.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Playing Dominion

Just because a game says 10+ doesn’t mean it needs to be excluded from the family game culture. It might even be fun to play it with the younger children.

We love Dominion in our home. Pumpkin Pie has been playing since before she could read. I don’t know how she could play, but she was a fierce competitor even before she could read! Now she reads and is even worse. She is the fiercest Dominion competition I have met!
IMG_2460  IMG_2462 IMG_2465IMG_2463

Just look at her scheming and joyfully playing card after card and crushing her competition! :) BTW, she once TRASHED a Province (worth 6 points) and was able to gain TWO provinces by doing so!

Then there is the wild card- Strawberry. Usually she plays on a team, but since it was B, Pumpkin Pie, and myself, Strawberry got her own hand. B helped her read and play, but she made all the decisions. She did odd things here and there but brought laughter and pure joy to the game.
IMG_2461IMG_2464  IMG_2456 IMG_2457
“I am going to buy a Thief!”
On the next turn she says, “I have a thief! I am going to thief you!” and then she stole my copper and let me keep my silver. Thank you benevolent thief!

Granted, an adult has to look over Strawberry’s shoulder and read to her and explain options, but she is surprisingly capable of playing. She has so much fun being able to play with the big kids/ adults. Games are, after all, for building relationships.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tiger’s Charity Fundraising Project(Sorry I keep writing things in your blog mom, but this is for school and I’m giving people another thing to read.)

I have been doing Williamsburg intermediate this fall, which is a private online school(You may have already heard) and will continue it this winter. I love almost Everything about it(In fact, the things I dislike most is canceled classes) and it is a wonderful place to learn. I did a project for one of my classes called the 30 Days of Gratitude, and posted it earlier on this website. But for THIS project, I am doing something else.  I have been doing a Humanities class. Humanities is, well essentially History. We have been studying Latin America this term. For the entire 18 week term, we have studied the time period from mostly 1500s to the present. To look at what I have been learning, go Here and Here. We have not been just learning about history but the present. What is going on in Brazil, and Mexico, and Argentina right now? What is their economy like? We have been learning about those types of questions. We also learned that many people do not  have essentials, like running water, or gas, or shoes, or electricity. So, we took a further look. Kids and teenagers of the family’s must go to the village water supply(A pretty big group of people lives off of this water) and then must hike several miles back to there homes carrying heavy buckets of water, without being late for school! We recognized this and came up with an idea. We would raise money to build water cisterns in Mexico for these Familys. Then, we partnered with a charity called CHOICE Humanitarian. They have been around for quite a while(since 1992 I think) and are around a $2,000,000 Charity. Check out their website Here. Then, all the students were required to use there creativity and Fund raise a specified amount that was there own goal of what they wanted to raise. My personal goal was 50 dollars and  have so far raised 20(somebody donated, crediting my name) Here is the fundraising website. If you follow my mom on Facebook, you may have seen her post this website. Anyone is welcome to donate. Thanks!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Copyrights Matter- Don’t Steal My Stuff!

I am a rule follower. I want to color inside the lines and I tend to feel guilty for crossing the lines. For example, the grocery store clerk isn’t paying attention and rings up my order for organic oranges as conventional. I will point it out and get charged more money. Even if I get to the car and realize that I was undercharged, I will go back in and make it right. I don’t want to steal. I would feel absolutely horrible if I did. I am also very sensitive to digital rights issues. It is so easy to copy and paste something or to download and then share the download with a friend.

Recently something happened that reminded me of the other side’s position and made it all the more clear to me how important it is to respect copyrights and intellectual property. About a year ago a company stole my thesis and published it on their website as an endorsement for a product they were selling <insert eyes popping out of head emoticon!> This was a company I had NEVER heard of and while I love raspberry leaf, I don’t know the quality of their product. I wanted nothing to do with their website and I was really angry that they were using my thesis as their product description. I got my thesis removed from their website, but apparently, they also published my thesis in their newsletter without giving credit or asking permission. Fast forward to last week. I received a call from the school I attended asking if I wanted to give out a recipe for a lung formula that I mentioned in my thesis. This particular company had been receiving requests for the formula and they told the office at the school they really needed it right away. Since it is my formula the lady in the office called me. This particular formula is near to me. One day, my then three year old daughter was sick. She was coughing and wheezing and couldn’t seem to shake the congestion and breath well. I stood at my counter and prayed to know what to do for her. I held a pencil over paper and then the Spirit of the Lord blessed me with a formula. My hand wrote it out. I made it up and found it worked very well for her and many others.  I told the lady from the school office that while I often freely give out that recipe to those in need, I WILL NOT give it to someone who is using my work and the inspiration the Lord gave me to profit without any sort of compensation. Sorry. Not happening! As I later found out, this particular company has done this with others as well. I am not the first and I will not be the last.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Fun

December 2013 004Ok, so that picture has nothing to do with Christmas other than it was taken on December 1 and it is Christmas time!December 2013 093

This year, we are reading The Christmas Carol again out loud. It is such a wonderful story and even the youngest children enjoy it.  December 2013 049

Over the past couple of days, we have built our tree and strung the lights. Tonight it will be time to decorate it. December 2013 028

The nativities are getting put up around the house. To hear Strawberry tell the Nativity Story is so sweet. “Mary rode a donkey and then they went to Bet-le-hem. And there was no room so they had to go to the stable.”December 2013 064 December 2013 082December 2013 116

We are listening to lots of Christmas music. I found a great station on Pandora by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s O Holy Night as my song to inspire the station.    December 2013 069Tomorrow we might get to go to the beautiful Christmas lights display at the Botanical Gardens. Imagine a garden of light flowers. It really is a beautiful sight to behold.