Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tis the Season...for Birthdays.

The true cause of global warming?

Sherri, Cindy, Sara, Keira, Steve - Not to mention Steve's sister Becky and nephew Joe...there's a whole lotta birthdays going on.

Rather than do a birthday post for each and every birthday, well, here you go:

Happy birthday to SherriCindySaraKeiraSteveBeckyJoe,
Happy birthday to SherriCindySaraKeiraSteveBeckyJoe,
Happy birthday dear SherriCindySaraKeiraSteveBeckyJoe,
Happy birthday to you.

Of course, these aren't the only birthdays in November and December in our extended family...not by a long shot, and with the addition of Keira's new baby some time this week that number will grow.
Happy Birthday Everyone!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Errands a go-go.

I wish I had had Andrew's package ready to mail this morning - there was only one person ahead of us in line at the post office. We did get the customs form, 40 international stamps, 100 Christmas stamps and a friendly postal worker to give advice on sending a package to Japan.

Fred Meyer was also not so bad. Steve took back the 8 (EIGHT) pairs of pants that we bought him yesterday(because he couldn't try them on there...)and ended up with 3 pairs of pants. That fit. I also got 2 more new toothbrushes, because the one I got yesterday is too weird to continue using. It has some sort of tongue brush on the back of the regular bristles - so when I was brushing my back teeth it felt like I was sanding the inside of my cheek.

Next stop, Target. Got most of the stuff to put in a stocking for a five year old girl (for our ward's "giving tree"). Picked up a "Sleeping Beauty, 50th anniversary edition" for $11.88, which is about as much as I want to pay for it.

Finally, Costco. Hit the jackpot as far as samples today. Quite a plethora. Did a little shopping. Not much.

What did all these places have in common? Very short lines. Maximum of 1 person ahead of us in lines. This does not bode well for the retailers here.

What was the weirdest thing I saw today? A pair of newborn baby girl shoes/booties with "memory foam insoles". You have to ask yourself, "What are those insoles going to have to remember?"

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Shopping Trip.

Wise leaders have counseled us to "know where your children are"...I always imagined that they were referring to teenagers - you know, make sure that they are not out with an undesirable crowd doing something illegal or immoral. I learned a valuable lesson last night. It's always a good idea to know where your 3 year olds are.

With 12 people at my house last night (the missionaries had gone home) there was plenty going on. Steve had even brought up the Christmas tree and we were setting that up. In the bustle, Miriam slipped away into my bathroom. There she was found by her mother, and then me...buck naked and covered from forehead to below the knee in toothpaste.

It could have been worse. I guess. She not only had toothpaste all over herself, but she had liberally squeezed it all over the toilet and cabinet. And she had used several Q-tips to paint the toothpaste around. And she had stopped up the toilet with Q-tips and toilet paper.

I hadn't planned to brave the crowds to go shopping today, but last night my 3 year old granddaughter Miriam created a need. I need a new toothbrush.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pie Charts

5 people currently live in our home.

The missionaries called last night (after 9pm...)to inform us that yes, we were feeding them (3 missionaries). They also said that they had to do laundry, so would 3 or 4pm be okay? Grrr. Okay, 3pm.

As Nathan was leaving the house last night around 7:30 he enigmatically said "I told her 6pm". After a few minutes I figured out that "she" was his girlfriend, as she was coming over for dessert (I had told him that he was welcome to invite her).

Stephanie called and asked when her family should come over for dessert (they are having Thanksgiving dinner at her in-laws). We decided on 6pm. So, the McRae family (6) will be coming also.

Let's do the math:

5+3+1+6=15 people for pie. Not only that, but over half of them are teenage boys and/or men.

I made 2 pumpkin pies yesterday and a pecan pie. Stephanie is bringing cheesecake. All of a sudden at 9pm last night, the pie offerings were looking meager. (My philosophy about Thanksgiving food: it's all a warm-up for the pie). Steve offered to do a grocery store run and pick up some apples and caramels...I put a large dutch apple pie in the oven before 6am this morning, and now I'm trying to decide on one more pie...

Lemon meringue anyone?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Salty Tale

Andrew got us started brining our turkeys a few years ago. He has pretty much always been in charge of the turkey, or rather, he has taken charge of the turkey for Thanksgiving for probably 4 or 5 years. I was missing him a lot today as I was having to take on the brining myself.

Usually the brining turkey sits overnight in a very crowded pre-Thanksgiving refrigerator, taking up valuable acreage...but not this year. I decided I was/am going to risk the cooler method.

But which cooler?

Our old standby blue one, or the new smaller model we picked up this summer? The smaller model won out, but let me tell you, the turkey is not so much bobbing along in it as it is wedged in tightly. (I had to weigh down the lid with a potted plant)

Disaster Narrowly Averted!

The Dangers of Multi-Tasking

I was trying to do a little too much at one time this morning. I made pie crusts, then started Danny on school while I was making the fillings. Unfortunately for me I missed a vital ingredient for the pumpkin pies...that which takes the pumpkin from a side dish to dessert. Yup, I forgot the sugar. As I shut the oven door I felt a prompting "you forgot the sugar". I pulled those pies out, dumped them in a bowl, mixed in the sugar, poured them back in the shells and put them back in the oven. I'm sure they will taste fine, the crusts just look a little funny.

I'm hoping our "possessed" oven decides to work okay tomorrow...while I have a turkey in it for hours. It locked and unlocked itself while the pies were cooking...let's hope it doesn't throw something new at us tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

gobble, gobble.

This one's for Keira - just an idea for your cub's all out of fun foam, googly eyes, and a magnet on the back. It's about 4 inches tall.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cookie Interlude.

In between morning classes and afternoon classes comes lunch, right?


During the hour or so that Cosette was gone for lunch I frosted a bunch of cookies for my seminary class...and FHE treat (always do double duty whenever you can, that's my motto). My back is killing me, but I got the cookies done - I just have to wrap them - after the frosting dries out a bit.

These cookies are to be used as an object lesson about giving thanks. I'll hand them out at the beginning of class and take mental note of how many students say thank you. Then I will compare them to the 10 lepers (see Luke 17). I'm curious to see what the percentage of thankful/unthankful are. Should be fun.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Count Your Many Blessings

With Thanksgiving day coming up this week I have been spending a little more time than usual thinking about all the wonderful things that God has given me. My list could go on and on, but then it would just seem like here's an abridged list of the blessings that I am grateful for:

  • Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer.

  • Steve, my patient, loving and practically blind(blind to my faults) husband.

  • All My Children, not the soap opera, but each and every one of my children and grandchildren.

  • The rest of my extended family. That's a lot to be grateful for...

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. A steady anchor for my tempest tossed life.

  • Modern Conveniences. Refrigerators, hot water heaters, stoves, washers, dryers, cellphones, automobiles, computers, the internet, ipods, etc...I don't mind "roughing it" occasionally, but only in small doses.

  • Teaching seminary. I really do enjoy it - I don't even mind getting up early.

Count your many blessings...what are you grateful for?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Household Detritus

*disclaimer: this is not MY bathtub. Really.

Another busy Saturday. I mopped my floors (but not in high heels), barbered two menfolk, scrubbed out the bathtub, bought the turkey for Thanksgiving (and the trimmings), picked up my Christmas cards, and did the laundry. I got most of Andrew's Christmas shopping done...we just need one or two more things in it, and it's ready to go.

All this and it isn't even 4pm.

Steve just got a call - he has to spend the evening working. I suspect he will have at least a bit of this over Thanksgiving. I'm so glad he can work from home.

I guess I'll call Alex in to make dinner...he chose "Zuppa Toscana" for dinner, now he gets to learn how to make it. All part of my evil plan.

I could actually sit back and relax this evening...and if I do it before 8pm, I might even stay awake.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Little Friday Night Fun

School is done for the week.

Seminary is done for the week - and better yet, I only have one lesson to prepare for next week.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I need to catch up with my housework - especially mopping - since the grandkids were all here for hours on Wednesday. But that's for tomorrow.

To steal a phrase from Keira, "and now we dance." (watch the piano player dance!)

If it's Friday, this must be "Art".

Daniel's art assignment this week was nice. Fast and easy. That's rather refreshing. What is it? It is a monotype print of an African Fang Mask inspired design with Japanese inspired background. Our reference picture was of a sculpture by Amedeo Modigliani (it is called "Head of a Woman"). He in turn was supposedly inspired by the Fang masks.

The background inspiration was a picture by Suzuki Harunobu "The Evening Bell of the Clock". Notice the strong diagonal lines.

Whatever. It was a fun little project and a bit of a relief to have a simple project with fast results.
I even made a sample (see below) - mostly I wanted to see if wax paper would work for the monotype print. It worked fine, and might be fun to try again....maybe with a nicer looking subject?

Just When You Thought it was Over

I'll bet you thought the elections were over. Done with. Finito.

I wish.

My husband is going to be helping out tomorrow afternoon for a few hours getting affidavits (or as Rogue Riderhood, a character in Dicken's Our Mutual Friend, puts it "Alfred David"). There is one race here that is not done. Mike Hope (R) is 100 votes ahead of Liz Loomis (D), but only 100 votes. Both sides will be out in force getting affidavits from voters whose ballots were a little unclear.

Go Mike Hope.

I really do hope that Mike wins, and frankly, if I have to give up a precious Saturday with my husband, he'd better. Between seminary, homeschool, airplanes, and Elder's quorum our schedules have been more than a little out of sync.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


For some reason, Cosette wasn't able to blow any good size bubbles - but she could sure make her slime "talk" (and by talk I mean make rude noises)

1/4 cup white glue plus 1/4 cup water. stir. Add a drop or two of food coloring, if desired. In another cup mix 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon borax until the borax is dissolved. Add borax solution to glue mixture. Stir for a couple of minutes then carefully extracted the slime from the water. Knead it for a little bit, then play. Danny likes to blow bubbles with it. He seems to have quite an affinity for slime.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'm a little bummed out by science. Don't get me wrong, I love science - especially experiments that go "boom", but today's experiment just left me cold. After all the effort I went to to finally locate copper sulfate, and with an experiment called "dissolving metals" - well, let's just say my hopes were high. If not a boom, at least some cool face melting potential.


A little sediment was formed, the copper sulphate solution got a little paler than it started out. That was it. In all fairness our copper sulphate may or may not have been quite the right stuff...but it was all I could find. So here I am feeling a bit betrayed by science.

I guess I'll have to check our DVR and see if we have an episode of Mythbusters. They do my kind of science.

Taking My Life in my Hands

Copper Sulphate crystals....If I had a microscope ours might look like this.

Monday I finally found some copper sulphate. It's not quite the same thing as the lesson called for...but it's as close as we're going to come. We weren't able to do our experiment yesterday, so today is the day.

If you hear a loud "boom" coming from the state of Washington - that'll be us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


If anyone gets a chance, pop on over to Stephanie's blog...she posted a letter to the editor that she sent to a local paper. It was published today.

Way to go Steph!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Warning, Lack of Content Ahead

What a day, what a day...

I wish I had some brilliant insights into the state of the economy, a pithy remark about politics, or maybe a little known fact gleaned from my deep reservoir of scientific knowledge.

It's 5:20pm and I've got nothing.


It's been a long hard day in the trenches. Started off early with seminary, school with just Danny from 7:30 around 9ish...Cosette and her mom came over for more school....Danny and I left to go to the stake center at about 11:15 to help serve a luncheon (for a missionary zone conference). After the luncheon we swung by Albertson's for lunch, the Co-op for copper sulfate (yes, I finally found it), then back home for more school....Cosette and her mom left about 15 minutes ago. I'm wiped out, and it's not even dinner time. Oh, and I still need to finish preparing for tomorrow's seminary lesson.

High point of my day? Meeting a missionary today that's from Osaka, Japan. English is definitely his second language, but it was fun to try and talk.

Me: Where are you from?
Him: Japan
Me: Where in Japan?
Him: Japan.
Me: Where in Japan are you from?
Him: Osaka.

Did I mention that Osaka is in Andrew's mission?

Happy Happy

A shout out to Connor - who turns 12 years old today! Happy Birthday!

And in related news, here's a Happy Anniversary to Sherri and Jim. Let's see, Connor turns 12 today, so that it makes it your 13th anniversary. Way to go. Too bad Jim's in China this week...he's got a lot of celebrating to catch up on.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Preparedness du Jour

I spent today preparing seminary lessons for next week.

Steve and Alex spent the day at the dry pack cannery, adding to our food storage(how would you like your beans?)

Our neighbor across the street spent his day putting up his Christmas lights.

It seems like everyone has something to do today that has to do with being prepared...Nathan went to the temple this morning (think spiritual preparedness) and Danny went with the scouts to help out at the food bank (community preparedness).

Speaking of preparedness, I need to run over to Home Depot and see if they have the copper sulfate pentahydrate for Danny's science experiment...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Doughnuts, the Sequel

In keeping with my tradition of hard hitting journalism, I would like to follow up my in depth analysis of doughnut availability in Marysville with the question.....

What's your favorite doughnut?

I'm partial to a really good bismark, fresh maple bars and even fresher crullers. I also really like those little mini "donettes" that come in a little package - the kind that have a coconut/crumb coating.

Cheaper by the Dozen

I wonder where the phrase "I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts" came from?

I am gradually working my way through the stores in Marysville that are open at 5:30am in my quest to find a good selection of doughnuts. It will probably take me a couple more months - because I don't go regularly - maybe once every three weeks or so...anyway, I am somewhat saddened by the lack of variety that is available at 5:30 in the morning.

Here's what I've found so far.

Haggen: they have pretty darn good doughnuts, usually, so I was disappointed to find that the only doughnuts at 5:30 that were done were "cake" donuts. No raised doughnuts at all. No maple bars, jelly filled, bismarks, pershings or even apple fritters. Never fear, my seminary students ate the cake donuts anyway.

Safeway: more selection - plain and glazed regular doughnuts, apple fritters and chocolate bars with an obscene amount of orange and green sprinkles. They weren't in the case yet - still on the rolling rack - some other early morning doughnut seeker had asked the bakery workers to put the rack out - so we were able to get our dozen. I had students from other classes coming by and looking at me with big puppy dog eyes...I'm happy to get rid of all the doughnuts (I make them leave one for Alex - I try and reward his willingness to spend an extra half an hour at church helping me set up and clean up)

Conclusion...Safeway is a better bet than Haggen, but it is about a mile or so farther away - I still have 2 Albertson's to check out, Winco (do they have doughnuts? I don't really shop there), and Henry's Doughnuts (although I heard they weren't open yet...I'll have to check that out). I refuse to even go to Walmart - even if they do have doughnuts...(I've seen some of their bakery stuff and "garish" is a nice way to describe the lurid frosting colors that they seem to favor).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Trouble with Indiginous Americans

This is NOT a picture of my relatives, darn it.

Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd

b. December 8, 1830 d. December 25, 1909

Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd was my great-great grandfather. He freighted supplies from California to Beaver, Utah and had many experiences with Indians which roamed through Arizona and Nevada in those days. This story was related by his daughter Valie:

"On one trip he came upon the remains of another freighter who was traveling ahead of him. His wagon had been burned and the man left dead. His horses had been taken off by the Indians. My father was quite undecided whether he should turn back or go on. But he decided that the settlers needed the supplies, so he went on.

He had driven on for several miles when he heard a groaning sound coming from the bushes by the side of the trail. He stopped and found an Indian, weak and dying from thirst. He gave him water and decided to put him into his wagon and not leave him there to die. When the Indian was able to sit up, he rode on the wagon seat. They had traveled several hours when a band of Indians raised up from the bushes, ready to kill again. It was then the Indian raised up from his seat in the wagon and gave a signal to the band of Indians that this man was a friend. He told them how he had been given water and placed in the wagon to rest. The Indian stayed with him until they had passed through the stretch of dangerous Indian country, and were out of danger of an attack.

Father said that the same Indian met him when he came through on the next trip. He found it a very good thing to have a loyal Indian friend."


No, this hasn't suddenly turned into a family history blog...not that that would be a bad thing. I'm just posting some stories for Sherri to use in school next week. She told me she would be reading family history stories to Connor's class on Monday. You've got to admit murder and possible scalping are pretty interesting (Wait Hopkins), and if no one but me sees a resemblance to Dad in Samuel Shepherd (Lydia's dad), well...they just don't know Dad.

Lydia Shepherd

Lydia was a daughter of my great-great-great-grandfather, Samuel Shepherd

An excerpt from the Shepherd family history:

*Journal History Entry September 10, 1847: Captain George Wallace's company reached the Green River ford.

Lydia Shepherd recalled crossing the Green River: "My brother got his feet mashed...(with five brothers along, we wish she had named the injured one and told how it happened)...I had to drive the wagon the last three hundred miles. When we got to the Green River, I told my father that I couldn't drive across. He told me to stay on that side then!"

Journal History also states:...the crossing was difficult because of the gravel, the wind, and the swiftness of the water....

Lydia proved herself to be a plucky little lady at age 12 ... Think of driving a wagon across under such circumstances....No wonder she remembered it and included it in her life story many years later.
*the "Journal History" is taken from the daily references from the records of the whole group as recorded in Church History Emigration Records, Vol. I, 1831-1848

Major Wait Hopkins

(this story is out of the Shepherd family history - Major Hopkins was my 5th great-grandfather)
Major Weight (Wait) Hopkins
b. October 9, 1738 D. July 15, 1779

Weight Hopkins was a farmer, and moved from Nine Partners, New York to Bennington, Vermont in about 1766, locating in the eastern part of the town; on the 4th of July, 1775, he was elected sixth captain of a battalion of seven companies, of which Ethan Allen and Seth Warner were field officers; twenty-three days later, when Allen was dropped by the Vermont Convention at Dorset, Warner was placed in command and Hopkins promoted to be first captain. He was in the expedition against Quebec, under General Montgomery; at Ticonderoga during the retreat of St. Clair; took part in the battles of Hubbardton, July 7, and Bennington, Vt., Aug. 16, 1777. In Stone's Life of Brant, vol. 2, p. 64, a thrilling account is given of his being cruelly killed by a dastardly Tory named Barney Cane, in a midnight surprise on Fourteen Mile Island in Lake George, N.Y. July 15, 1779, the following being an extract:

A party, on pleasure, had been visiting the island on a little sailing excursion, and having lingered longer upon that beautiful spot than they were conscious of, as night drew on, concluded to encamp for the night, it being too late to return to the fort.

"From the shore where we laid hid, " said Cane, "it was easy to watch their motions, and perceiving their defenseless situation, as soon as it was dark we set off for the island, where we found them asleep by their fire, and discharged our guns among them; several were killed, among whom was one woman, who had a sucking child, which was not hurt. This we put to the breast of its dead mother, and so we left it. But Major Hopkins was only wounded, his thigh bone being broken; he started from his sleep to a rising posture, when I struck him." said Barney Cane, "with the butt of my gun, on the side of the head; he fell over, but caught on one hand; I then knocked him the other way, when he caught with the other hand; a third blow and I laid him dead; they were all scalped but the infant. In the morning a party from the fort went and took away the dead, together with one they found alive, though he was scalped, and the babe which was hanging and sobbing at the bosom of its lifeless mother."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Participles, infinitives, radii, pi, coeffients, the conservation of mass in a chemical reaction, The Hobbit. What do these things have in common? Today's subjects in school. Except for "The Hobbit"(which, while fun is not a tough subject), we sound very smart...

My brain hurts. I'm in the mood for pie now.

Our Man in Japan

I'm pretty sure Andrew wasn't transferred to this amusement park. Pretty sure.

Dear People who are reading this,

How are things going? This week I am being transferred to Hanayashiki and getting a new companion. Hanayashiki is bigger than Okamachi, but still a relatively small area. My new companion will be Elder Ashdown (Spelling?), he`s half Japanese and has only been in the field since July. He left the MTC the week before I arrived. I think it`s somewhat interesting that I`ve had a half-Japanese, Japanese, and now half-Japanese companion. There really aren`t a lot of Japanese missionaries in the Kobe Mission.

My new address will be:
Hyogo-ken Kawanishi-shi
Marunouchi-Cho 12-1-701

That address will be my area probably until at least December 25. I have been receiving letters from time to time so you have the correct address for the mission home. I received a package. It was sent October 20 and arrived November 5. They also open the packages at customs.

You`ve been asking me for a list of things I want and there really aren`t many things I can think of yet. 1 set of plastic measuring cups, and cocoa powder. You could also buy stuff from the Japanese and have them ship it to my address. Shipping is fairly inexpensive for that I think, maybe like $6. Or might be another way.Anyways, enough about that.

Some people have asked questions which I shall now answer quickly.The time difference is...maybe 17 hours later.

As far as height go, Japanese people aren`t really that short. There`s more short Japanese people than Americans but I`m probably only a little above average.

Have I tried the sushi? Yes I have. I like most of it I think.

Mugi-cha is made from barley. It`s interesting because I think in D&C 89 it mentions specifically that barley is fine for drinks.

Do I wish I had slip-off shoes? Well, I actually thought of that one ahead of time. So I`m glad I do have slip-off shoes

The weather right as I got here was hot and humid. Now it`s starting to becoming more cloudy and cold.

The scariest thing I had to eat? To be honest I`ve mentioned the octopus and stuff before. But as far as dislikes go, I don`t love curry. Which is unfortunate because it`s fairly common. And it`s rude not to eat all of it so I`ve struggled with curry.

My favorite part of my mission? That`s a tough question. I enjoy teaching people the gospel. Contacting people is really hard, but I really enjoy it when I get someone who is willing to talk. I know enough Japanese to express myself, I just struggle with understanding them.Last Sunday I gave a 4 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting. It went alright and people said it was easy to understand, which was good, but I think it was harder to understand than they said.

Have I learned anything that has changed my life? Well I`ve learned a whole lot of things. But the number one thing I`ve learned/improved on is patience and understanding other people. Everyone has faults, missionaries too. And when you`re living in an apartment with 3 other people for at a minimum 6 weeks than you really need to look past peoples` faults or you`ll be miserable. Fortunately I have not been tempted beyond my ability concerning those things yet.

Continue writing, and asking questions please.

Elder West.

Monday, November 10, 2008

We've Got Chemistry?

Alka -Seltzer. Check. (today's experiment - "Double Your Bubbles")

Assorted Gum Drops. Check. (tomorrow's science project - building molecules)

Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate. No dice. They were fresh out at Fred Meyer. I'll have to go further afield tomorrow. Maybe Home Depot.

Frankly with a name like "copper sulphate pentahydrate" I'm a little nervous. I'm hoping Homeland Security doesn't decide to check us out. That said, I haven't read ahead to see what that experiment is all about - but considering we had a wee explosion last week - and that was just with a little muriatic acid and a galvanized nail , well, enough said.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Primarily Grandkids

We visited Stephanie and Cory's ward this morning. Stephanie called me last week and invited us to come and listen to Kaith give a talk during the annual Primary program. He was the youngest speaker out of the 5 talks given - by probably 3 years. I think all the other kids were around 8 or older.

His talk was great, and being Kaith it was all memorized (the only one of the 5 talks that was). He definitely has a future as a public speaker. He spoke clearly and made use of dramatic pauses.

The following are some excerpts from his talk:
"...firemen are rescue heroes. They save us from fire."
"..policemen are rescue heroes. They save us from villains." (yes, villains)
"..Jesus Christ is a rescue hero too. He saves us from death and from Satan..."

He then went on to talk about the atonement and the resurrection. Awesome talk.

Funky Town

I opened my bedroom door this morning and entered "funky town". As in, my house smells pretty funky this morning.

Since I still sleep with my window open, my bedroom just had a faint whiff of fall leaves, rain, and Dove shampoo (Steve was in the shower)...outside my room it's another world. I'm thinking Danny will be taking the garbage out before church this morning. It's not overly full, but it is definitely overly ripe.

Danny dodged the bullet...Steve just took out the garbage...

Now I think a few open windows might be in order.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beans, beans the musical fruit....

Last night we went to the Elder's Quorum Food Storage Potluck. A good time was had by all.

You can tell the difference between a church social planned by women and one planned by men.

Women: Tablecloths, centerpieces, menu, a program.
Men: tables, food.

Having been involved in more Relief Society socials than I like to remember, I have to say that there is a certain charm to the "less is more" manly style. Especially when it comes time to clean up.

The centerpieces last night consisted of 1 #10 can of food (from our food storage) and Costco water bottles. Oh, and lanterns that people brought with them. The dim lighting really helped the ambiance. Beans just taste a little better in the dark.

The "program" consisted of whatever songs were on my i-pod that Danny chose. And about 20 kids having a ball running around the gym. Some people brought games. I think Alex had the biggest group around him - he's a bit of a Pied Piper when it comes to playing with little kids. He may not be great socially with his peers, but he is an awesome uncle - anyone that is young enough to be a niece or nephew seems to recognize that. He started with 2 kids playing "River Roads and Rails" with him and ended up with about 8.

Prizes were awarded for the best tasting food. Since I had wrapped up 6 prizes, that's how many we gave out. I disqualified myself from getting a prize (but since I knew that the prizes were either a can of Spam OR Vienna Sausages it wasn't much of a sacrifice), after taking into account the family that brought a Costco pie (delicious, but not remotely from food storage), and our family, almost everyone else got a prize.

What food was brought? Let's see...there were homemade refried beans, homemade chili (with beans), black beans and rice (that's what I made), taco soup (with beans). Not everything was bean-based. One family brought cookies and another family brought yakisoba. I also made 2 pans of cornbread - I cooked it at church so that it was hot out of the oven, and someone else brought rolls and freezer jam.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Donating my Body to Science

Slowly add the muriatic acid to the 50 ml of water. Add one galvanized nail. Put lid on loosely, wait 20 seconds or so, then put a burning toothpick next to the should hear a popping noise like a little explosion. We didn't. We added 2 more nails - hoping to increase the chemical reaction going on. Nothing. Then I came up with the brilliant idea of replacing the lids with the gloves. We watched the gloves slowly fill with gas....this time the flaming toothpick DID cause an explosion. I think our explosion was a wee bit bigger than it was supposed to be, but it made us all happy. And now we know what happened to the Hindenburg.
Lucky for us we didn't have nearly the amount of hydrogen gas as the Hindenburg. As it was I slightly singed one finger. Totally worth it.

I didn't get a picture of our other experiment. Add one teaspoon of yeast to 50ml hydrogen peroxide. Loosely cover with a lid. Take a glowing toothpick (one that you've just blown out) and hold it next to the lid - lift lid and watch it burst back into flame. Cool.

With science done for the day we spent most of the rest of the morning on art. Mixing colors is not as easy as it looks when you are partially color-blind. Just ask my boys. All of them.