Thursday, October 25, 2007

Music, Loves To Listen, Loves To Sing, Loves To Write

Okay I have another passion besides writing books and being a part of Story Time Felts. I love music! I really, really do. I took piano lessons for about 15 years and I have taken vocal lessons (and continue to take) for about the same amount of time.
Music has always been important to my family. Growing up, we all learned to play the piano and then focused on another musical talent as well. My older sister taught piano lessons, my brother played the trombone, my other sister played the violin and the cello. I focused on singing and loved it so much because I could accompany myself on the piano.
I think that music is so important and so inspiring. I also think that everyone who has a desire can learn how to sing.
So I wanted to announce here what I am doing next weekend. I have been working very hard with Sage Mountain Studios owner, Craig Hancock, for nearly a year now. We have recorded original music, wrote songs, and planned and planned for our upcoming Vocalize workshop.
I have taught vocal lessons for over 12 years and have often wished that I could fit more time in the day so I could teach more. It's tricky with toddlers :) I am excited to have the opportunity to teach so many students at once with our workshop. We hope to offer this workshop a few times a year and we have had a great response for our first workshop. Here are the details:

Professional vocal workshop presented by
Rachelle Christensen and Craig Hancock

November 2nd and 3rd *Workshop held at Sage Mountain Studios
Friday 4pm-6pm Santaquin
Saturday 9am-2pm with lunch break for 30 minutes
9am-11:30am instruction 12-2pm recording at Sage Mountain Studios

Ages 8-12 Junior Class
Ages 13-18 Senior Class
 4 hours of vocal lessons and group master classes- Value $150.00
 Vocal warm up CD- Fine Tune Your Voice - value $20.00
 Professional Studio recording session with CD – value $100.00 Record your solo and one group song learned during the workshop
 Record with Craig Hancock, music specialist with 3 Solo Albums
 Vocal instruction by Rachelle Christensen, teacher with 12 years experience
 Group vocal, theory, and composition classes, including performance presentation
 Vocalize Workshop Graduation Certificates

This music workshop is valued at over $275! You will receive top of the line vocal and performance training!
COST: $50.00 each or 2 students from the same family for $85.00

Bring one song you are familiar with for your solo recording. Bring an accompaniment or karaoke version of the song.

*Sage Mountain Studios Recording Special!
Music Camp Attendees can purchase a one hour session for only $35.00! This is a $15.00 savings and you can record an additional solo to be added to your CD.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ten Snoggable Literary Characters

I was tagged by Marsha over at the Ink Ladies to write up a list. This is no ordinary list. Note the description:
“Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This”

Now this was a little more difficult than it should have been because I have been devouring all kinds of children’s books lately and there’s just not any characters that fit the above description. I’ve also been reading plenty of non-fiction books and so I had to dig deep into the recesses of my mind to find these literary characters for you.
My husband overheard me talking about this list to my sister and he wanted to know why we were gushing over guys named Edward and Aragorn and what in the world we were talking about. We just laughed and said, “It’s just guys in books that we want to kiss.” He just raised his eyebrows and said, “Why in the world would you want to kiss someone in a book?” I guess there’s not many books written for the male perspective on this subject so he really doesn’t know why I would want to kiss Raoul de Valmy if I saw him walking down the street. Hope you enjoy the list!

1. Raoul de Valmy from Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

2. Edward the Vampire from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

3. Agent Mark Iverson from Hearts in Hiding by Betsy Brannon Green

4. Laurie from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

5. Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

6. Alex from Children of the Promise by Dean Hughes

7. Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien (Okay I was especially swayed after seeing the movie character on this one.)

8. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

9. Noah Calhoun from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

10. Jacob the Werewolf from Stephenie Meyer. I have to thank my sister Sarah for helping me with this entry, according to her it should be #1 but I haven’t met Jacob yet. I read Twilight and haven’t let myself start the other books. I have been trying to finish writing my book first and then allow myself to read New Moon and Eclipse as a reward. I’ve been a good little writer so I now have New Moon on hold at my library and I just bought Eclipse the other day. I know it’s a little backward but the store didn’t have New Moon that day! I promise to let you all know how I much enjoyed it when I finish reading it. I better hurry too because I've noticed lots of plot spoilers out there lately by devoted fans.

I am tagging Ali, Tristi, and Josi

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Love Autumn

I have always loved this time of year and I think that's partly because my mother loves it too. I remember going to the Minidoka Dam and riding bikes through the beautiful parks with the giant trees and their ever-falling leaves. We could rake for about 10 seconds and get a huge pile--at least it seemed that way to me. I remember one time when my dad actually used his tractor to gather up the most enormous pile of leaves I'd ever seen. My sister and I climbed down inside the leaves and hid deep in the crunchy pile until my mom came to take our picture. We thought we would just jump out and suprise her, but we were so deep inside the pile it was more like climbing a leaf mountain to get to the surface.
Fall never seems to last long enough, I guess because we're all in a hurry getting ready for the holidays.
I enjoy writing poetry and I used to write a lot more than I do now. I'd like to share a poem I wrote back in the year 2000. I was still living on Utah State University's campus at that time and it is a gorgeous campus. The mountains seem to encroach upon the buildings and they have the most vibrant red and orange and almost-purple colors bursting from the hillsides. It was during this time of year that I was walking through campus and noticing the leaves falling and how the wind was picking them up and scattering them along the sidewalks. I hope you enjoy this time of year as much as I do. It's a kind of slowing down from the frenzy of summer and yard work, vacations, etc. Have a Happy Fall!

Discovering Autumn

The weather is changing all around us
Autumn is in the air.
I can smell the crisp aroma of
summer fading and Autumn beginning.
Can you smell Autumn?
I can see it.

The trees transform;
brilliant shades with
leaves of every color.
Can you see it?
I can hear it.

I can hear the music of
kid-crunched leaves,
dancing across the sidewalks.
Can you hear it?
I can taste it.

One perfect slice of pumpkin pie,
from gardens ripe with Autumn air,
delights my tastebuds.
Can you taste it?
I can feel it!

Autumn’s chameleon features
awaken shivers of excitement
as the brisk air breathes on me.
Can you feel Autumn?
It’s here!

Written by Rachelle J. Christensen

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Great American Novel?

Wow, I can’t believe another week has already passed by. Does anyone else feel like they are in a time warp where the time goes quicker every day? I feel like I must be in hyperdrive. Okay enough Star Trek talk. . .

I told you all that I would reveal my vote for the little poll that I held during September.
Do you think The Great Gatsby deserves the title "The Great American Novel"?
Out of the 15 people that actually took the poll, 80% had never even read the book. The 20% that did read the book, did not think it was "The Great American novel." So I’m glad I’m not the only one that was sorely disappointed when I read “The Great American Novel” and found that it was most definitely not even close to a great novel, let alone, “The Great American Novel.”
For all of you poor students out there who have to read this book, I send my condolences.
To think I chose to read it shows what a bookworm I really am. Hey, they can’t all be great.
This goes to show that even though a book sells millions and millions of copies doesn’t mean that it’s the greatest book ever written. It just means that it has sold a lot and some smooth-talker convinced all the teachers across the U.S. that they should read and study this certain book in the classroom, hence thousands of classrooms across the country have a full classroom set of The Great Gatsby.
I don’t recommend reading The Great Gatsby, instead Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is a much more interesting read. Seriously though, there are some “classics” that truly are classics. As I said before, I discovered several classic novels within the last two years. I really enjoyed, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Good Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, Cold Sassy Tree, and so many more. I would love to hear what some of your favorite “Classic” books are.
I am including a list I found of the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written according to Easton Press. Many of the best books I’ve read (including those I just listed) are not on this list, but I was surprised at how many I had read. Several of these I read during high school and during my study abroad in London. I have read 25 from this list and I put a * next to each one that I read. I didn't read them all of my own free will and choice, but most of them were pretty good, some I can't even remember.
How many of these books have you read? Which books do you think should be on the list?

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne
* The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift
* Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
* The Odyssey by Homer
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Tales From The Arabian Nights by Richard Burton
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Candide by Voltaire
Oedipus The King by Sophocles
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame [Notre-Dame De Paris] by Victor Hugo
The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand
* The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Collected Poems by Robert Browning
The Essays Of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Collected Poems by John Keats
On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
* Collected Poems by Robert Frost
* The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving
* Animal Farm by George Orwell
* Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
She Stoops To Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
* Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
* Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
* The Iliad by Homer
Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
* Aesop's Fables by Aesop
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Politics And The Poetics by Aristotle
The Aeneid by Virgil
Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
* Hamlet by William Shakespeare
* Pygmalion And Candida by George Bernard Shaw
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
* Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Cherry Orchard And The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Analects of Confucius by Confucius
* A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Collected Poems by William Butler Yeats
The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
* Beowulf
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
* The Necklace And Other Tales by Guy de Maupassant
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Fathers And Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The History of Early Rome by Livy
* Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott
Tess Of The D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
* Alice's Adventure In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Rubáiyát Of Omar Khayyám by Omar Khayyám
The Red And The Black by Stendhal
A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickins
The Republic by Plato
* Collected Poems by Emily Dickinson
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
* The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
Silas Marner by George Eliot
* The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Billy Budd by Herman Melville
The Confessions by St. Augustine
Tales of Mystery And Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner
Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
* Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob Ludwig and Wilhelm Grimm
* Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge

One of my favorite sayings is “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Guess who said that? Einstein!
Now, really think about that statement and you will realize our world would be completely different if not for imagination. Think of all the inventions, medical technology, the internet; all these things were first the imaginings of someone’s mind.
I want to let you in on the best kept secret for enhancing your children’s imagination and creativity. Story Time Felts. Yes, this is the company that I represent, so I am a little biased. I do home parties and events to show our wonderful felt products. At nearly every party, I hear someone exclaim, “I have been looking all over for something like this! Where have you been hiding?”
I sell quiet books, toggle books (which are my favorite kind of quiet book), felt dress-up dolls, nursery rhymes, fairy tale stories, scripture stories, Music CDs and more. Every time I get my felt out and play with my girls I have a great experience. You can go to my website to learn more about the products I love

I recently held a contest with consultants on my team and had them write about their favorite experiences with Story Time Felts and their children:
Here is our winning entry by Deana Edmondson

"I had to laugh at Sierra the other day. She had the Farm/Zoo adventure toggle and was playing with it. I counted all the animals and stuff to make sure all the pieces were there. I could only find 11 zoo animals and not the 12 that are supposed to be there. Later I found the bear crumpled up in the corner of the couch. She said she put him there because he was trying to eat the baby duck! I thought it was SO funny!"

I have been a Story Time Felts consultant for 5 ½ years and I am now an Executive National Director. I love being a part of a company that puts family first. Their motto is “Story Time is Together Time.” I am looking for people who are interested in touching children’s lives through storytelling and felt. In our busy world today, it’s often difficult to provide activities that foster our children’s imagination and creativity. Please check out our wonderful products and let me know how you would like to bring the power of imagination into your home.


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