Friday, July 25, 2008

It’s Time for S’mores

I have always enjoyed going camping. Of course, now that I’m older I realize that it does take a bit of effort to get everything packed up to make the camping experience just right. I appreciate my parents for taking four of us hoodlums camping in a little pickup camper. I’m sure they were probably exhausted afterwards but we sure had fun.

Camping back then was slightly different than today. The biggest difference is that I don’t think my family ever reserved a spot anywhere—we just drove around the mountains until my dad found “the place” to camp. Most areas in the national forests have specific camping areas now and you can’t just pull off the side of the road somewhere. But that’s okay, I’m one of those that likes to know where I’m going, so I’m fine with change. Even though we have to pay for most campgrounds now, camping is still an inexpensive and yet priceless family sport.

My mom is a great Dutch-oven chef and we had many delicious, slow-cooked meals while in the forests of Idaho. I remember lots of times sitting at the tiny table inside our camper, helping to chop up something to throw in the Dutch oven. And we can’t forget the S’mores. .
Bulging marshmallows, toasted to golden perfection sandwiched between crisp graham crackers and melting chocolate—makes your mouth water. And if you want your S’more done right you have to place your half of graham cracker with the chocolate on a rock nearby the fire so the chocolate starts to melt before you even get the marshmallow on it. Then you take a bite and the gooey mess oozes out onto your fingertips and chin, but it’s all part of the camping experience

My dad is a tireless hiker, with little fear and we followed him on many a steep and treacherous route of hiking wonder. We often found old mine shafts and caves with ancient debris hanging around which made us kids glow with adventurous delight. Of course, now we’d probably recognize that most of those “artifacts” were junk, but hey—it was exciting at the time. We loved to find wildflowers and wildlife and hear the quaking aspens whispering to us in the breeze above the burbling of the creek.

The thing I love best about camping, is that you’re away from it all. My family recently went up the canyon for just an overnight stay and we were gone for less than 24 hours. But everything slows down when you’re camping, so it felt a lot longer. I love the cool mountain air and knowing that nothing can interrupt this peaceful time with my family. My mother-in-law says that’s why kids love camping so much—they have their parent’s undivided attention.

I hope that many of you get a chance to go camping this summer and even if it’s not in a campground, perhaps even roasting mallows around a fire pit in your backyard or at the park. There are so many great places to enjoy and so many memories to make.

Return to the neighborhood

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fishing with Family

This is a fun blog written by my husband which would normally be posted to his blog, but since his internet manager (yes, that's me) is having technical difficulties, I'm posting it here. This is another article for your LDS neighborhood which I highly recommend you visit. Click here to get their free newsletter.

Written by Steve Christensen
Fishing is a sport that many men and women enjoy. Not many things in life are as exciting as feeling a big fish on your fishing pole and reeling it in with it fighting the whole way. Who doesn’t enjoy being outdoors enjoying the quiet lakes and forests that surround them? I have many fond memories of fishing with my dad and my family.

My dad is a serious fisherman. He loved to go every year to the Payson Lakes up Payson Canyon, Schofield reservoir, up Spanish Fork Canyon, and many other lakes and places to fish. He always had a pole for each of us kids. There were 5 kids in my family and my dad has us holding a pole by the time we were each 5 years old. His tackle box was full of hooks, flies, jigs, fishing line, sinkers, bobbers, bubbles, pliers, rags, fish eggs, power bait, and always an old reader’s digest. My dad would pile us all in our old car every week during the summer and take us to the lake. Then he would have to listen to us fight with each other, ask “are we there yet”, and the crying and yelling that comes with typical family excursions; and this is before we even got out of the driveway. When we opened the trunk to get the poles they would be so intertwined and in knots with each other that it would take my dad 20 minutes just to get them undone.

Growing up my dad seemed like he had no patience, but if you have ever taken 1 or more young children fishing more than once, then you must have the patience of Job. If you thought getting there was difficult and trying your patience, wait until you actually start fishing on the lake. Just walking down to the lake was an experience; us kids were tripping on rocks, falling and getting scraped up, fading off the path, falling in the lake,
still fighting with each other, having our poles getting knotted up again, etc…
My dad was still bound and determined to go fishing despite the “circus” that was going on behind him.

Finally, we would arrive at the lake (a few of the kids might be missing along the way), but we would all make it eventually. My dad would toss his fishing line first and then work on getting ours ready to throw out. As a child I always wondered why he did this. It might have been because it took him 45 minutes to help the kids put the worms on their hooks, help them cast out 50 times to get out more than 5 feet from shore, catch them from falling in the lake, etc…

When we were all situated and having a good time, my dad thought he had a bite. Something was pretty heavy on the end of the line. He was reeling in hard and the kids were all excited. When he pulled the end of the line to shore, there was a really big piece of wood, and moss. My dad still laughs about those experiences as he realized long ago that the fun part of these trips was being with the family and kids.

Of course now my mom and dad go fishing by themselves and a lot has changed; no more kids fighting, yelling, only 2 poles to untangle, they can get their fishing poles in quickly.
Only one thing hasn’t changed, my dad still catches pieces of wood and moss.

Return to the neighborhood

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Farworld: Water Keep Blog Tour with J. Scott Savage

Welcome to the next stop of the blog tour for J. Scott Savage's amazing book Farworld: Water Keep!
We're on location--floating in the middle of the great Snake River in Idaho. Stay tuned to see how you can win a FREE copy of this book!

I figured this location would be great for the Farworld:Water Keep book interview!
The current of the Snake River is swift and strong and there are many unpredictable areas of the river. You can enjoy white water rafting, cliff jumping, swimming along the shore, boating and more. Farworld:Water Keep is like a river with great action, swift and strong twists and turns, trips through the rapids of plot excitement and mysteries all along the way. You’ll feel like you’ve just completed an exciting river run when you finish this book, but you’ll be thirsting for more.
I’m happy to invite author J. Scott Savage along on my river run!

What do you think of this interview location—where’s your lifejacket?
J:I’m good with the river part. I love swimming. But this whole snake thing frankly makes me a little nervous. Please tell me it’s because of the twisting nature of the river and not, you know, the snakes.

R:Hey, aren’t you the same person who created the Thrathkin S’Bae? Don’t worry about snakes—although there are lots of different kinds around—the Snake River is named as such because it twists through the land like a snake.

We're going to mix this interview up with some other fun questions. Since I'm a stay at home with two little kids, this will give you a feel of how it is to read a book in my house. I was dying to find out what would happen to Marcus, Kyja, and Riph-Raph but I often had to put the book down when there was only one page left of a chapter and rescue someone or something!

J:Understand, only too well.

R: How did you formulate the idea of this story?

J: A half a cup of plot. Two teaspoons of character. And lots of chocolate chips.

You know this story actually grew over the course of several years from an idea about a boy in a wheelchair, to a wizard and a warrior, then a girl who couldn’t do magic. But until I started writing it, the ideas just weren’t that strong. Then everything just started falling into place.

R: What is your favorite childhood game or toy?

J:I had this robot toy I really loved when I was about three or four. Then one day it tried to go down the stairs, It wasn’t pretty.

R: How did you come up with all of the interesting names and creatures in this book?

J:That may have been the best part of writing fantasy. I just tried to imagine really cool creatures I’d never seen before. It was so much fun. Some of the names came easily. Others took awhile. My wife actually named Kyja for me.

R: What is your favorite kind of ice cream/popsicle?

J: You know those ones that are orange popsicle on the outside and vanilla ice-cream inside? Not those. Kidding. They are my favorite. When I was a kid they used to be called 50/50 bars.

R:Popsicle is actually a forbidden word in our house because as soon as someone says it my 2 ½ year old starts freaking out because she thinks she needs one!

J:She’s not around now is she? (Eating quickly. I hate to make kids cry)

R:How many books will be in the Farworld series?

J: 27 . . . or 5.

R: What is the best tip you can give for potty training a child?

J: Guilt. Every time your child has an accident, tell them a bunny died. Unless you think that’s . . . you know . . . mean or something.

R:Okay, I'll keep that in mind. I can see why you write fantasy and not self-help books! :)I love the cover. Give us a teaser of some of the other artwork and maps in this book

R: What do you do when your kids are teasing each other mercilessly?

J:Well with my older son and daughter, I’d just say. “Go ahead. Make each other cry. Bloody each other’s noses. I don’t care.” Then they’d look at me and say, “No.” and they’d be nice to each other. That doesn’t work so well with my two boys.

R: Maybe I could turn into a Thrathkin S'Bae and that would get mine to behave.
What plans do you have to continue promotion of Farworld? School visits, book signings, etc.?

J: Tons and tons. In fact I have a plan for book two that I think will just blow people away.

R: Do you think you'll be doing any other interviews along the Snake River?

J: Well, we haven’t seen any snakes. So I’m open to it.

R:Thanks so much for the interview!
Will you please give me a list of the other books you've published and where they're available?

Cutting Edge
Into the Fire
House of Secrets
Dead on Arrival

The first two are out of print. So you have to use or something like that. The last two are available at most LDS and Utah bookstores. In fact has them on sale for like $2. So they may end up out of print soon too.

How would you like to win a free, Advance Readers's Copy of Farworld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage? You can't buy this book in stores until it's release in September, but I get to give away a free ARC as part of this blog tour.
You must be reside in the United States or Canada to be eligible to win.
All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and you will be entered in the drawing.
If you'd like an extra entry, then you can do a quick write-up on your blog and link back to this one.
All comments and links must be made by August 5th.

On August 6th, I will have one of my kids draw a name from all entries. If you are the winner, you must email me at with your address and J. Scott Savage will make sure you get your free copy of Farworld: Water Keep.

Farworld: Water Keep teasers from J. Scott Savage's blog:

Come join Marcus and Kyja as they try to save both Farworld and Earth. Each time they jump between worlds, they learn more and more about magic . . . and the mystery of who they really are.

Some fun teasers: Read the first Two Chapters here and another teaser from the book here.

Remember if you'd like to learn more about Farworld, enter my contest to win a free ARC!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer is the Time for Celebration Days

I’ve noticed something about Utah’s cities. Nearly every one has some kind of “Celebration Days” during the summertime. I live in Utah County and there are tons of cities around. The celebrations usually start in May, for example “Salem Days” and extend clear into September when you can hit “Payson Onion Days” on Labor Day.

I grew up in a rural community in Idaho and didn’t remember going to a lot of different celebrations. But then I figured maybe that was because everything was too far away.
So I started researching cities and found several within 50 miles of where I grew up who do hold annual celebrations for all kinds of things like, “Pioneer Days,” “River Festival,” “Scandivanian Festival,” and more.

I found that there are little towns all over the United States who hold special Celebration Days every summer. For fun, check out a few of the links I found and the activities these cities sponsor.
The Farmington, Minnesota annual City celebration
The Boulder County Fair

The point of this article is to remind you that there are plenty of opportunities for recreation wherever you go. If you’re feeling like summer is flying by and you’re not able to do as many fun things as you like—or perhaps the wallet is a little empty—just jump online and check out the events for cities near you or where you may be traveling. You might be surprised how many fun, free, or affordable activities are available during the celebration days of a particular city.

Just because the 4th of July celebrations have passed doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on all the excitement. There’s plenty more community events in store.
Here is a list of just some of the events that will be taking place at different cities all over the United States this summer:

5K fun runs, 10K runs, Triathlons, etc.
Booths around the park with vendors from all sorts of places
City Parades
Traveling carnivals for the kids
Kiss the Pig contest
Antique Car Shows
Baby contests
Pie eating contests
Fireworks Displays
Talent Shows
Breakfast or Supper Fundraisers
Bagpipe Celebrations
Art Shows
Movie in the Park
Dances and Battle of the Bands
Home Run Derby
Scavenger Hunts
Service Projects
Art Festivals
Boat Regattas
Flower Shows

Return to the Neighborhood


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