Friday, November 28, 2008

Safe Social Networking with Facebook

Facebook has been recommended to me by many people as a social networking tool. Most people said they really liked it because it was a safer way to network on the internet. I decided I would go ahead and test this out and let you know the results.

So today I signed up on Facebook.com. It only took me about five minutes to sign up. Then you can spend another half-hour inviting all the friends you have on your email list to join if you’d like. Facebook.com has an initial setup which is very similar to MySpace. It is expert enough to look at your address book in your email account and tell you who is already a member of Facebook. You can select who you’d like to invite to view your Facebook account from this list and then add more.

First things first. After you set up your account, go in and upload a picture for your profile and then update your profile. You can put all kinds of info here—your hometown, high school, University, etc. Then MySpace will actually pull up a network from the info you entered and you can choose more friends from there. For example, when I entered my high school, Facebook brought up several of my classmates’ accounts.

For the safest way to network through Facebook, choose “Only my Friends” when you start to upload photos. * This is important! If you have teens using Facebook, be sure that they have this option selected “Only Friends.” The other two options are “Everyone” and “Only Friends of Friends” but they are essentially the same thing because a friend of a friend could be just about anyone. Check up on the profile settings and make sure you choose the safest route.

I’m thinking this is going to be very cool because you can upload entire albums of pictures for your family to see. This is very handy if you use the Facebook photo uploader. Set up an album, then go to add more pictures and it should prompt you to use Facebook photo uploader. Then this feature will bring up a smaller window with all your documents and you can select pictures and different albums and then click on Select All or just check each picture from an album that you’d like to upload and it does it very quickly. Then you can add information to go with the pictures. In essence, an online scrapbook you can share with your family and friends.

I will update you soon with more information about Facebook and tell you how I’m liking it. Hopefully this will give you a start on this popular form of social networking.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: Review on Elantris by Brandon Sanderson


Elantris is a 5-star book and was the debut book by now famous author, Brandon Sanderson. I was privileged enough to purchase this book at the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s BYU Writer’s Conference and to have it signed by Brandon.

The story of Elantris is incredible with layer upon layer of the most delicious detailed plot I’ve seen for a while. I think I could easily compare it to the delectable layers of a rich German chocolate cake, (at least the way I’ve learned to make it from my mother-in-law) that my husband devours because that’s what I did from the first few pages of this book. I devoured it and enjoyed every bite!
I tried to think of a way to share what this book was about without giving away any details, but this is all I could come up with because the mystery of Elantris is so finely woven into all the details of this book.

Elantris is a fantasy novel about Prince Raoden and the mysterious “fallen” Elantrians. Elantris used to be the city of the Gods filled with all kinds of magical power, but ten years ago the city fell. Lady Sarene is engaged to marry Prince Raoden and arrives in Arelon to disappointing and confusing news. Is her Prince really dead? And is the zealot missionary really out to cause problems?

Brandon Sanderson is a genius and I hope that many of you will have the opportunity to read this book. In the epic fantasy novel Elantris, Sanderson creates a world so real that you will feel you have actually visited it. He even has different religions and languages so masterfully woven into the story that after reading the book, I kept wanting to say “Kolo?” when I was talking to my husband. The best way to describe “Kolo” is to compare it to how the Canadians say, “Eh or Hey,” to end many of their sentences or how American’s say, “ya know.” It’s funny, ya know, but I loved the character, Galladon, who always said “Kolo?”

Which brings me to another point about the quality of Elantris—Sanderson created several characters whom readers are able to know intimately. They aren’t just the stand-up cardboard, fill-in the blank kinds you’ll find in many novels or the lame sidekick. They were real, living breathing people—at least they seemed to call to me from the pages when I should’ve been sleeping. But since I was up taking care of my newborn and couldn’t be sleeping, why not read, right?
Here’s the first line from the book, just try to tell me you wouldn’t keep reading!

“PRINCE Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.”

Click here to see reviews on Elantris

My only complaint and this would be for pretty much any fantasy writer is that I wish they would include a pronunciation guide for all of the names and words they choose to invent for their books. I know I’m weird but I like to know that I’m “saying” the name right when I’m reading the book.

Let me know if you’ve read this book and check out Sanderson’s new series for children too! Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians was a great read with some great humor too!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Turkey Day!

I love Turkey Day! Thanksgiving has always been one of those peaceful kinds of holidays for me. That peaceful feeling is most likely due to the fact that I have never had to host a Turkey Day dinner at my own home.  We get together at our parents homes, alternating every other year.

I wanted to share a few memories of why I enjoy Thanksgiving in hopes that it will remind you that despite the turbulent times which surround us, Thanksgiving is a holiday full of comfort. Comfort food, a comfortable home filled with family togetherness and thankful hearts.

I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving. It seems like it’s always been an easy holiday for people to sit around and talk and just enjoy one another’s company. The Christmas rush hasn’t started yet--but it’s only hours away! My extended family loves to play board games, make cards and scrapbook, do some target shooting, play a little football, and lengthen each hour with relaxing conversation.

I have many fond memories of the Thanksgivings I spent in Idaho. The weather was usually mild and even if there was a little snow, it was usually nice enough to go out and play in just your jacket. Mounds and mounds of mashed Idaho potatoes adorned each plate—I always remember one of my cousins was anti-gravy. He just loved to pile up the heap of white goodness with melted butter dribbling down the sides and then start shoveling. I remember one of my uncles loved the dark meat of the turkey, another uncle would never smile for a picture, and yet another who liked to play his guitar after dinner.
In my teenage years, I was kind of in limbo because I was a girl amidst a bunch of boy cousins. I didn’t like to watch football and I didn’t want to play dolls with my younger cousins, so for a few years I remember settling into my grandma’s sitting room with my journal or a good book.

Over the past ten years or so, the ladies in my family have become experts at making cards and scrapbooking. This has been very enjoyable for me. After the big dinner, we clear off the table and cover it with myriad colors of cardstock, stickers, and all kinds of stamps and inkpads. We make Christmas cards and laugh together and work until it’s time to eat some more pie.

That’s one special thing about Thanksgiving—it doesn’t matter what the economy is doing right now. It’s not going to affect our Thanksgiving celebrations, because unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving is a simple holiday with time-honored traditions which do not bow to fashion whims or economic trends.

Thanksgiving is a time to remember what we’re thankful for. We’re not worried about whether we can afford the latest new electronic gadget. Instead we’re thinking about frosty football games and pumpkin pie, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Hugs from Grandmas and Grandpas and a treasured conversation about the good ol’ days shared with Great Grandpa. And although it’s nearly time to prepare for the season of celebration for the birth of our Savior, don’t forget to invite Him to your Thanksgiving table and thank Him for the gift of family, friends, and the simple comforts of life.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Enjoying Enrichment Night

Last Tuesday I attended an Enrichment Night for my ward and had a wonderful time. We had all taken the Color Code test to find out our personality colors(stay tuned for another post with more details about this test.) We met together for a beautiful evening with a guest speaker and a delicious meal served by our own young women.

I’m in the Relief Society presidency and have been part of planning many Enrichment activities over the past two years. I’ve heard from many people who have enjoyed Enrichment. I’ve also heard from others who don’t attend because they feel Enrichment doesn’t have anything to offer them or they just don’t like it.
I would like to encourage all women of our LDS faith to attend their Enrichment activities with an attitude of “What can I offer others?” If in the past you have not attended Enrichment because you don’t enjoy it, I hope that you will change your perspective and go to Enrichment thinking about what you have to offer those you’ll associate with.

My ward’s Enrichment Night was a beautiful illustration of how different, yet wonderful we all are. There are many different colors of personality and no matter how different we might be we can find something to unite us together. Heavenly Father has created each of us to be unique, so we all have something special to offer those we associate with. It all depends on our attitude.

Our speaker talked about charity and the pure love of Christ. If we all have charity in our hearts then we can see the beauty of each individual and realize that even if we are different, we can still love one another.

My favorite part of the talk given was when the speaker told us about how she had a son who was a “Tigger” and she was more of a “Rabbit” or an “Eeyore.” At first it was hard to deal with “Tigger” bouncing around, always hyper and full of happy energy when “Rabbit” wanted to tell him to just quit bouncing and “Eeyore” wanted to be left alone. But then she realized how grateful she was to have Tigger in her home.
She reminded us of the Winnie the Pooh story where Tigger bounces so high, he gets stuck in a tree and Rabbit wants to leave him there. But then everyone feels sad without Tigger and Rabbit realizes he misses Tigger as well. So they let him down out of the tree on the condition that he can’t bounce. Poor Tigger just doesn’t feel like a Tigger without his bounciness and turns into an “Eeyore” for a while. Rabbit sees that he can’t make Tigger be something he’s not, it’s much better to let Tigger be his bouncy self. Rabbit decides to rescind the no-bouncing requirement and Tigger is overjoyed.

Winnie-the-Pooh is a children’s story full of wisdom for us all. We are not all cut out of the exact same mold. We have intricate details woven into our personalities, our spirits, which make us children of God with individual worth. If we embrace our individual worth no matter how different we all are, then we can truly come unto Christ.
I learned all of this from my Enrichment Night. During our progressive dinner, which took place in the gym, as we rotated from different color tables for each course of the meal I also saw the many different colors of the sisters in my ward and gained a small insight into their personality which I think will help me be a better friend to them.

Each Enrichment Night planned in our ward is done with prayerful consideration and many hours of work and devotion on behalf of those involved. By attending Enrichment Night with the right attitude we are actually enjoying a little piece of heaven—an opportunity to lift someone who is feeling down, to make a new friendship, to strengthen an old friendship, and come closer to Christ.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Book Clubs, Goodreads, and Rachelle’s Book Club

For my social networking focus today I’d like to talk about two similar, yet different arenas for socializing. Book clubs are a face to face grouping to discuss books. Goodreads is an internet book forum where you still talk about your favorite books—just not face to face, although you can post your picture by your name so people can feel like they’re talking face to face.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, I think you’ve probably deduced by now that I love reading. I am a ravenous reader, devouring books as quickly as I can get my hands on any great books(and the time to read them)! Do you have a similar passion?

Forming a book club or a book group is a wonderful way to get to know people better. After all, what better way do you have to learn about someone’s inner thoughts and feelings than by how they respond to certain books? I think it’s so interesting what two people can take away from the same book. There are book clubs all over the world. Some are as small as a little neighborhood grouping, others as large as Oprah’s book club. No matter the size, you can find enjoyment, companionship, and new ideas from a book club.

Goodreads is an online book club which I recently joined and have already benefited from my membership. I have a group of friends whom I trust and I browsed the selections of books they have read and reviewed. As a result of Josi Kilpack’s review and seeing this book listed on other Goodreads pages, I am currently reading Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and thoroughly enjoying it. I’m laughing, pondering, and being educated on a variety of interesting things.
I like Goodreads because it’s an easy way to keep track of all the books I’ve read and when I read them. I can browse through hundreds of books recommended by friends instead of just picking on up at random at the library and getting surprised. I figure if 3 or more of my friends are all saying a book is good—then safe to say I’ll enjoy it too.
I encourage you to join Goodreads not because it gives me any perks (it doesn’t) but just because I think it’s set up so nicely and I think you’ll enjoy it. You can edit your own profile, add a picture, you can set your account to receive updates from your friends and see what they’re reading or if you’d rather not get the email you can just go to the website and peruse at your leisure.

I would also like to invite you to join Rachelle’s Book Club. This is pretty simple—just check out my sidebar and you’ll see titles of books I have read and reviewed on this blog. I read from pretty much every genre except horror and so you should see a pretty well-rounded amount of books to choose from. To join my club, all you need to do is comment on some of these reviews because I’d love to know what you think as well. I figure that makes you a member in my club.

Stay tuned for more reviews on methods of social networking as well as great books from Rachelle’s Book Club.

Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Excellent Book Review and Contest for Free Book by H.B. Moore

One of my favorite blogspots is holding a contest for a free book and I wanted to enter so you get to hear the good news too!
Not Entirely British is a great blog to stop by and visit. If you'd like to see specifics about the contest, click here.
H.B. Moore has written an intriguing new book about the Book of Mormon prophet, Abinadi, and I think you'll enjoy reading about it. Go check it out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You're Invited to Rachelle's Holiday Boutique


Tuesday November 18th*
7:00-8:30pm Enter to win FREE gifts
We're giving away over $250.00 worth of prizes!*
Great gifts for under $10, discounted merchandise* Bring a Friend/Get a gift!!
RSVP to superfelt@gmail.com or by posting a comment here to have your name entered into a drawing for a fabulous Keratonics hair care bag filled with over $200 of salon quality hair care products!
Also enter for our door prize of fantastic Story Time Felts products including a brand new holiday story!
We're going to have so much fun with 3 different vendors--there's something for everyone!
Are you too far away to make it? Keep reading to find out how you can participate.

STORY TIME FELTS
Come see our New story board sets
Special Savings basket-board sets $5 * Lots of gifts for under $20
Scripture stories
New holiday felt stories
Tons of Quiet Books
Contact Rachelle with questions or visit the website to view the full catalog www.storytimefelts.com

SCENTSY
Great scents without burning a
candle—no pollutants. Dozens of scents to choose from for only $5.00 * Come see the new small plug in
warmers!
Preview products at www.scentsy.com/jennv
We'll have the newest scents/products to try. Enter to win a FREE Gift!*

SHABBY CHIC BOUTIQUE
Flower clips for hair, headbands, hats, beanies for girls of all ages-bring your teens
Diaper bags/nursing covers/wipe cases
Preview these one of a kind gifts at www.shabbychicboutique.blogspot.com

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH 7:00PM-8:30PM
Rachelle Christensen's home
contact me for address-- superfelt@gmail.com
Tuesday November 18th
7:00-8:30pm
RSVP for an extra ticket in our drawing--you may do this by posting a comment on this blog post.
Bring a friend for 2 extra tickets in the drawing for each friend!

Can't make it? RSVP to enter the drawing and ask Rachelle how you can get 20% off your Story Time Felts order. Look online for Scentsy and Shabby Chic and let Rachelle know what you'd like. Have a happy holiday! You must place your order by November 18, 2008 to take advantage of special offers.

*Contests sponsored by Rachelle Christensen and not open to dispute. Free gifts will be given to winner of a ticket drawn out of a bowl of all entries and Rachelle must have their contact info in order for them to redeem their prize.

Monday, November 10, 2008

MySpace Part 2

As my part in the Social Networking block at www.yourldsneighborhood.com I signed up for MySpace to learn all about this popular nook of social networking.
So I decided MySpace is just not MyThing. It is very easy to use and start up your own account and you can click here to see my past post on how to do this.

I guess it depends how you plan on using MySpace. It can be another form of advertising and this seems to be what I found most represented.
During the short period when I had my profile public, people were contacting me about their MLM business, no-name music bands were contacting me to listen to their music, etc.
Based on my experiences, here are a few recommendations.

Don’t list your profile as public unless you can adjust your profile so there isn’t any personal information on there. Why, you ask? Okay, you asked right? Because within 24 hours of starting my own MySpace account I got over 30 invites to be friends with people whom I had no idea how they even found me. Even though my profile listed that I was married with children, I still had a few people making comments which made me feel uncomfortable. So I changed my profile and the random “friend” invites stopped. Of course, now my husband is going to tease me about a certain guy hitting on me through MySpace forever—so learn from my experience here!
Do not post photos for the public, make them private. This is a no-brainer here and in case you don’t agree click here for a post about blogging safely.

Before you set up a MySpace account, decide what purpose you will use that for.
I think it really should be a place for friends to network, but many, many people are using it for other reasons.
If you have lots of friends on MySpace and are interacting with them—I can see the usefulness. I still think the whole music side of MySpace along with a personal selection of songs you can attach to your account is pretty cool.
Based on my experience, I would keep a close eye on teens using MySpace. I’ve heard Facebook is safer and that is my next experiment in the study of social networking.
I’m still partial to blogger and probably always will be.
And I’m happily married to a tall, dark, and handsome man and he’s the only person I want to flirt with on the net or in person! Maybe if I had used this picture as my profile pic, I wouldn't have got so many "friendly" invites! Hee, hee!


Check out the awesome neighborhood at www.yourldneighborhood.com
Return to the Neighborhood and while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog Safely


I love blogging, but I try to be smart about it. There is a purpose to my blog—several in fact. I am working on creating a strong web presence for my name because I am an author with my first book being published soon.
There are so many uses for blogging and what I want to talk about today is picking the right one for you.
Blogging can be fun, blogging can be a way of keeping an online journal, blogging can help you keep in contact with friends and family.
You can also use blogging to advertise, to instruct, to promote.
The way you set up your blog should adhere to the purpose of the blog.

If you are doing a blog mainly as a journal and as a way to share information with family/friends it is a good and wise idea to make your blog private. I use blogger and this is extremely easy to do—all you need to do is click a button and your blog becomes private and then you can send out invites to your family/friends. This is a great security option because only those people you invite can view your blog and comment.
So, you might be thinking—what does it really matter? Why would I want to make it private?

There has already been many cases of internet stalking. My local news just did a story on this and you can click here to read the article Blogging Safety

PICTURES—This is probably the main item we need to be careful about in blogging. I love the ability we have to share pictures with each other to stay up to date with family and friends, but what I don’t love is that other people, strange people, including pedophiles can view those photos if your blog is public.

The most important reason you would want to make your blog private is because you need to be especially careful about your children. If you have a blog open to the general public, then that means ANYONE can see your pictures and information!
I know that there is still someone reading this who thinks I’m just being paranoid. So for you, I have statcounter.com. This is a free tool with many different uses which you can attach to your website or blog and it keeps track of who comes to your website and what they're searching for. It will even go so far as to show you what keywords led that person to your blog. Even this is not all-encompassing to show what kind of person is behind the “visitor” so I would still advise being careful.
Don’t give out personal details about where you live. Don’t give out birthdates and personal info about your family members.

At a recent writer’s conference we were instructed on many ways to self-promote using internet marketing. We were warned that there are dangers if you put private information out on the web. A case brought to police attention was a man who had posted detailed info, pictures, addresses, ages, etc about his entire family and his family was subsequently stalked because of it.

I'm really not trying to scare off would-be bloggers because I love blogging. I just hope that people reading this will realize there is no need to be at risk if they use the private option or limit what they post on their blog or website.
If you are still a skeptic, think about your precious children. Do you want a pedophile looking at your children?
I’m sure that we are all at a certain level of risk because it’s pretty easy nowadays to get information. But if you don’t make yourself an easy target, I think you can feel more comfortable about surfing the web.

Let’s all enjoy social networking by blogging safely.
Here is an excellent article with tips on safety called Social networking and user interactive sites: Top tips for parents and carers


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Monday, November 3, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane


Today I'm giving a book review on a children's book. If you haven't read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo--today's the day to read it.
And because it is a children's book, it will only take you one day to read it--in fact just a few hours will be enough to read this story and linger on each page thinking about Edward's journey.

I love children’s books of this caliber—those that are wonderful for children to read, but adults can enjoy them just as well. The plot is simple, yet complex. There are tiny vignettes of humor or wit that a small child may not understand, but they can still grasp the story’s plot nonetheless.
Here’s a little excerpt from www.EdwardTulane.com

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.

And then, one day, he was lost.

Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline take us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

*This book is illustrated with beautiful, full-page color pictures with fine detail. As you read the story of this little china rabbit your heart will twinge with happiness and sadness, a happy tear, a sad tear might fall from your eyes—but you will keep reading. It is delightful because it covers all the emotions. I laughed out loud and then bit my lip to keep from crying.

Edward Tulane is a wonderful read-aloud story as well. The rhythmic language indicative of Kate DiCamillo fills these pages. She finds a way to weave a charming yet meaningful story. I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of her books and found them all different, with a distinct and meaningful story. I absolutely loved Because of Winn-Dixie and Edward Tulane ranks right up with that book.

I checked this book out at my local library but it is on my wish list of books to own. Please, go and read this story and then let me know what you think.

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