Thursday, January 21, 2010

Family Getaway!

One of our absolute favorite places to go is the ocean. We decided this last weekend that we needed some serious family-getaway-from-it-all time. So we packed up, drove out, and had a blast trying to fly a kite...

...digging in the dirt...

...fighting with mud...

...figuring out the wind velocity of an sparrow compared to that of the kite...

...wrapped up in blankets and hugs...

...creating amazing sand art...

...goofing off...

...hiking back up to the cottage, you can still see some of the amazing art!...

...board games back inside...

...soaking in the hot tub during the rain and wind storm...

I'm so glad we went! We all had a blast and came home very reluctantly.

Court of Honor

Saturday the boys were involved in a really great Court of Honor for the local Boy Scouts. It was all the troops, teams, and crews from the area we live in. Keegan was the youth in charge of organization (you can see him, the young man farthest from the podium), and Braxton was Master of Ceremonies, sitting closest to the podium. Jarik was involved in the flag ceremony.

In this photo Jarik was receiving his Life rank, Braxton was the one to hand out the awards.

It wasn't only the boys getting recognition! All the men and women in the area that had gone to Wood Badge training were recognized. Here is Kevin among them. It is awesome to see so many leaders getting this training.

This is my favorite pic of the night. In it are all the boys that have the possibility of becoming Eagle Scouts this year! Wow! You can see Jarik, Braxton, and Keegan are all in there! Keegan just has his paperwork to hand in, and the other two are just planning their projects now.

Here are the merit badges each of my boys received at the Court of Honor:
Keegan: Aviation
Braxton: Citizenship in the Community, Camping, Communication, Citizenship in the World, Auto Maintenance, American Labor, and Dentistry
Jarik: Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Communication, Camping, Citizenship in the World, Auto Maintenance, Dentistry, American Labor, Horsemanship, and Public Speaking

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Sarah studied Japanese, learning more words and reading Japanese hiragana, she trained for track season, did some copywork, and read individually, and worked on her blog.

Update (Jan. 21): Really the rest of us did things too. It was the beginning of a really busy spell though, so I never finished this post.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Undoing Perpetual Stress: The Missing Connection Between Depression, Anxiety and 21st Century Illness Undoing Perpetual Stress: The Missing Connection Between Depression, Anxiety and 21st Century Illness by Richard O'Connor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love this, in the chapter about repairing the Emotional Brain, page 144: "But in today's world, most of us have a vulnerable heart. The Perpetual Stress Response has us full of anxiety, which dissolves our self-esteem. The things we are told to value - material success, acquisitions - are easy to lose....And they don't repair the orbitofrontal cortex, the damage in the brain that represents our fragile psyches, in the way that meaningful relationships, living up to a set of standards, or having a rich spiritual life can do for us."
What? You mean science is telling us the way to repair our minds/psyches/brains is by 1. having meaningful relationships (family is central to the Creator's plan...) 2. living up to a set of standards (oh, like the 10 commandments,or For the Strength of Youth??), and 3. having a rich spiritual life (you mean worshiping my God and Savior may be...dare I say...healing??)
Sarcasm aside, I really am enjoying this book. It is alive with honest research and analysis. I'm getting into the part where he is discussing mindfulness, and it's spot on.
I definitely recommend this book.

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2 Nephi 2-3
Sharing what is mine Today it was really short, because I had 15 minutes between work and leaving the house to finish my visiting teaching and take Keegan and Braxton to the dentist. So we just read a little from Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens. Each also wrote a journal entry to summarize their favorite thing they learned today, so that I could discuss it with them later tonight. We are also each going to do some research this weekend on someone that changed the world through their love of a cause or people. Brax is doing Buddha, Jarik is doing Gandhi, Sarah is researching Christ, Quen is doing Joan of Arc, and I am working on Aung San Suu Kyi.

Jenni kept up on Haiti's relief effort, visiting teaching, scripture study, and read Undoing Perpetual Stress, blogged (figured out how to follow a blog!)

Kevin helped the boy's volleyball team, online law class, scripture study, and read Left Behind.

classes all day, is sending me the link on deviantART for the robot scorpion that he designed. I'll add it tomorrow if I can. Seminary of course, and volleyball tonight.

Braxton spent all morning setting up the new stereo system he has inherited. He learned quite a bit actually. He is playing in the volleyball semi-finals tonight, and practiced the ukulele alot.

Jarik played the piano, studied Italian with Rosetta Stone, read Pirateology, and three You Wouldn't Want to Be... books - one on criminals, one on samurai, and one on the Hindenburg. He too is off playing volleyball now.

Sarah is, that's right, playing volleyball. Today she read You Wouldn't Want to Be on the Hindenberg, studied Japanese with Rosetta Stone, and made a tutu. She also went to a Presidency Meeting for her Beehive class.

Quen played the piano, read You Wouldn't Want to Be on the Hindenberg, worked on his Star Wars battle drawing (fifth day now...), and wrote about Captain Cook.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Pres. Uchtdorf's talk: Two Principles for Any Economy
Sharing what is mine Today we discussed what makes someone a great mentor. We have been watching movies based on relationships of mentors with their students, such as Karate Kid (now the kids can't wait to see the new one with Jayden Smith and Jackie Chan!), Forever Strong, Stand and Deliver, and Dead Poet's Society. We have also been watching episodes of the BBC production of The World's Strictest Parents (so much I can say there, but I'll leave it for another day). It was interesting to see how much the kids really thought about it, and what they learned from it. We discussed who their mentors were. Quen was really into it, listing the prophet, his gramma, Webelos leader, etc. I then read aloud from Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens the section on mentors, and started into the section on falling in love with learning.

We also watched videos and news reports from Haiti. We discussed the earthquake, what life is like in Haiti, and what has happened so far. We discussed the humanitarian efforts. Braxton had a hard time with the poverty and lack of food. When he saw that people resort to eating dirt, it was too much for him. I'd really like to follow up on this with some service to benefit those in need.

Kevin discussed with the kids at brekkie the Somalia fishing industry and pirates. It was really interesting, and Sarah had great comments that showed she was really analyzing the information given her, like telling Kevin the pirates sounded more like privateers. It lead to more discussion, obviously. Two thumbs up for independent thinkers!

Jenni I went visiting teaching and read copious amounts on the Haitian earthquake and people. With work lasting 5 1/2 hours today, and kidschool, it was a full day.

Kevin Work and then scouts tonight. The boys are working on getting things ready for the Court of Honor this weekend.

Keegan worked at the campus library, went toEngineering class, Electricity class, and his Engineering and Design class. He was also facebooking, asking for ways to know what his grade status is in a class. He is currently 6th out of 53 in Engineering. Not at all competitive...Keegan is the youth leader in charge of the stake court of honor, so he worked on that, plus set up his scoutmaster conference to finish his Eagle.

Braxtonfound more music for the ukulele - he is really getting good! Read The DiVinci Code, and read about the Hindenberg, which has been a topic of interest for the boys lately. Brax also had his Board of Review to receive his Life rank, and he helped cook tacos for lunch that were utterly delish.

Jarik spent hours practicing the keyboard. He found the theme music to The Pink Panther, and started learning it today. He also studied Chemistry, read Call of the Wild, and then decided he didn't need to do more when I left for visiting teaching...

Sarah created a skirt with a 'tattered' edge. It has layers of fabric, and looks like something a fairy would wear. It is very cute! She started and finished Maximum Ride, absolutely loving it, and narrated the whole thing to me. I think I'll have to read it too! She also worked on her blog.

Quen was absorbed by his You Wouldn't Want to Be... books that he checked out of the library. He also worked hard to earn some extra cash to buy computer time and legos.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mom's Red Juice

Here is another smoothie recipe. This one is great for cleansing.

1 beet, peeled
1 orange, peeled
1 apple, cored
1 lemon, peeled
1 handful spinach or kale
1 tsp fresh ginger

Take the beet and run it through the juicer. Then add the spinach with the ginger in the juicer. After that put the apple, orange and lemon through.

Drink within 15 minutes for maximum enjoyment!

Workboxes After Six Months

Well, workboxes were great for about 2 months. But then it really started to stick in my craw. I felt I was setting up the contents for all of my children's studies, and it was taking me hours to do so. I've gravitated back to the TJed principle of 'structuring time not content'.
The kids had started doing the minimum work possible, and I had started getting frustrated at them, because I couldn't be on them all day to finish their work, set up their work, grade their work, and still do my own work! The love for learning was really starting to fade.
So over the holiday season, I let it all go. I just started back on structuring their time. I've already seen a difference. It is harder to stay organized and clean, but I think that we will get that down with a little more time.
For now, no more workboxes. If the kids want to set up their own, all the power to them! I'll even help them do so in a weekly mentor meeting. But for now, workboxes are going the way of the do-do.