Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday Thought October

Blessed is the man who has a skin of the right thickness. He can work happily in spite of enemies and friends.
--Henry T. Bailey

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pieces of Paris featured in Rachelle's Book Club

G.G. Vandagriff is an accomplished author and her latest book attests to her ability. G.G. won the Whitney award  for best historical fiction for her 2009 novel, The Last Waltz. Her new book Pieces of Paris is a great read, interwoven with several different subplots that make for a riveting story.
Pieces of ParisHere's the book blurb:
Is it possible to forget who you once were?
Annalisse and Dennis seem to be living the American dream until Annalisse's secret past threatens to destroy their family.
This skillfully crafted novel from Whitney Award winner G. G. Vandagriff explores the long-term effects of personal tragedy in haunting flashbacks of Annalisse's former life--flashbacks that are interwoven with a passionate romance to reveal a person entirely different from the woman Dennis thought he had married.
But as Annalisse struggles with long-buried memories, Dennis's investigation of a toxic waste incident ignites the wrath of a former political ally and an industrial firm that will go to any lengths to cover up a shocking crime.
Can Annalisse reconcile her turbulent past with her present life  before it's too late? And can Dennis find a way to save his family and the town they've called home? 

 I enjoyed reading this book because it had a dash of mystery, romance, characters facing inner-conflict--all those story elements that kept me turning pages. G.G. has a talent for description and I loved reading about the music and scenery she described in the book.

I've played the piano since I was 6, so it was fun to identify with some of the feelings/passions Annalisse had for her music. I'm also a farm girl and would love to be again, so I could identify with both Annalisse's feelings and her husband Dennis' feelings for the life of a farmer.
G.G. has crafted a story that will reach out to just about anybody. Pick up Pieces of Paris and see what part of this story touches your heart.

Read more about G.G. and her writing on her blog.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Thought October

Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will have lost the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.

--David M. Burns

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Protecting Kids from Sexual Abuse

My second-grader told me that one of her classmates has a problem. In her words, “Her dad is in jail because he touched her privates.”

After swallowing back the bile this horrific thought created, I knew that I had to act on this opportunity to explain to my two daughters so that they could be safe. I looked at my husband and knew he was thinking the same thing. I asked my daughters if they understood what “privates” meant and we talked a little bit about how our bodies are special. I told them Heavenly Father does not want them to show other people these areas or allow others to touch them.

I could see their little minds working as I explained to them that it’s okay for them to take a bath and for Mom and Dad to help them, but it is never okay for a person to make them feel sad, scared, or uncomfortable by touching them. I know that many people say we should use the specific terms for their bodies, but I will refer to these areas as “privates” in this article because that is what I feel comfortable talking about with my young children. I figure it’s better to talk about the subject then avoid it completely because we’re afraid of what terminology we’re supposed to use.

There is a fine line when explaining these things and I could feel it pulling back and forth. I don’t want my girls to be so worried about these things that they are constantly on their mind. I want them to be educated and understand about emotions and how a sexual predator might play on those emotions. I want them to feel confident that they know how special their bodies are and the steps we should take to protect them.

When explaining, I used a lot of these “emotion” words to help them understand that even if it is a person they know well or one of their relatives, if they feel uncomfortable about anything they can come to Mom and Dad and tell us. I explained to my seven and five-year-old what it means to feel uncomfortable—like you are worried, sad, scared, have a funny feeling in your stomach, etc. I kept an open dialogue and let them fill in the blanks so that I was sure they understood what we were talking about.

There are hundreds of ways to approach this topic and I honestly don’t know what the best way is, but I do know it must be discussed. For us, having an open dialogue with the kids where they were able to take time to digest what I was telling them and then ask questions seemed to work. My husband and I had this discussion around the dinner table and we tried to let the girls fill in the blanks by asking them questions and then listening carefully to their responses and follow-up questions.

Walk the line carefully between not giving enough information vs. giving your child nightmares about what could happen. Don’t skirt the biggest issue in sexual abuse—that is that most children are sexually abused by someone they know. It’s horrible, but it is a fact. You must take the initiative and explain to your child that sometimes people we know may do bad things. Start by giving an example that is a little less threatening, but still something that occurs often. “If a friend or cousin wants to see your privates, do you let them?” and “What should you do in this situation?” and “What if they tell you that you have to or they will hurt you, take your toys, etc?”

Most parents cringe when they hear a report about a child suffering from sexual abuse. That’s an appropriate response, just don’t miss the opportunity to talk to your kids and educate them so that they will be protected from sexual predators.

Having a dedicated Family Home Evening on this topic with a lesson about how we were created in God’s image and how special our bodies are is a good start. First, help children realize the sacredness of their bodies. Then, teach them about how sometimes people do bad things and how it might affect them. Finally, create a plan of what your child could do in a harmful situation. Role-play, ask detailed questions, tell a story, anything to get the information across so that your child will know how to react if they are ever approached by a sexual predator.

We teach our kids from a very young age what to do before they cross the street and what to do if a stranger offers them candy. If you ask most kids these questions, they will blurt out an answer with a confident smile. Our kids should offer the same confident responses when asked what to do if a person tries to sexually abuse them. Knowledge is power and it cannot be gained by one exposure to information. Think about how many times you have talked to your kids about strangers or crossing the street. The topic of sexual abuse needs to be approached just as often so that a solution to the problem becomes ingrained in their mind just like they know to run if a stranger ever tries to offer them a ride in their car.

Each child is different. Be aware of the barometer of your child’s emotions and the fine line you need to walk in approaching this subject so that your child will recognize the danger of sexual abuse but still feel confident that they know how to protect themselves.
And NEVER put your child in a situation with someone you do not trust, no matter if this is a family member or your oldest friend. Listen to the Spirit, protect your child by always taking the first step and not placing them in a compromising situation.

The conversations that can spiral off this topic are very useful. In teaching your kids that it is ALWAYS okay for them to tell you anything, you are paving the way for them to talk to you about other difficult things.

My daughter is only seven and I am learning every day how dangerous this world can be. I don’t want her to have that huge worry about all the evil in the world—I want her to see the beauty of the world. The best way to make this happen is to equip her with tools to protect herself and pray for inspiration that we can continue to teach her and keep her safe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grand Prize Winner of The Paper Tower

Today I'm excited to announce the Grand Prize Winner of The Paper Tower from The Original Scrapbox.

There were 10 total blogs that participated in this giveaway and we each chose a preliminary winner for an entry into this grand prize drawing.
The preliminary winners are

1. Kathy G.
2. Megan H.
3. Kathi H.
4. Dana V.
5. Charlotte D.
6. Catherine H.
7. Suzy N.
8. Kathy G. (again!)
9. Sandy L.
10. Tabitha N.

One of these lucky ladies is the winner of one Paper Tower in her choice of color.

Drumroll please.....Our winner of this fabulous new product from The Original Scrapbox is... #4

Dana V. from RaShelle Workman's Blog

 Dana, email me at RachellethewriterAT and tell me what color of Paper Tower you would like. :)

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this fun giveaway. Stay tuned to The Original Scrapbox and their FB fan page for more upcoming new products and fabulous giveaways.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Winner, winner of Kodak prize package

It's time to announce the winner of the Kodak prize pack and an entry into the grand prize drawing for the Paper Tower from The Original!

WOW! There were tons of entries! Thanks to everyone who participated in our fun giveaway. The lucky winner is

Sorry, the winner didn't contact me within 24 hours so I had to draw a new winner.
The new winner is...

Sandy Lewis

Sandy--I need you to contact me at RachellethewriterAT by tomorrow, Sunday October 17th at 5pm (MST) or I will draw a new winner. I need your full name, address, and phone number.

Congrats! You just won the $50.00 prize pack and one entry into the grand prize drawing which will take place on Monday, October 18, 2010.

Check back Monday to see who the lucky winner of the brand new Paper Tower is!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Thought October

Man's rise or fall, success or failure, happiness or unhappiness depends on his attitude...a man's attitude will create the situation he imagines.

--James Lane Allen

Friday, October 8, 2010

Back To School Paper Tower Giveaway

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!
We're celebrating Back to School with an awesome new product-- The Paper Tower! This is the perfect storage solution for paper lovers and scrapbookers everywhere and The Original Scrapbox is giving one away!

The Paper Tower was designed as a companion to the Workbox and Craftbox line of brilliant storage solutions from The Original Scrapbox.

There are so many possibilities with the Paper Tower. It can be used for any type of crafting storage from quilting to beading to stamping. Store your material, paper, stamps, accessories, anything your heart desires. The see-through totes make organizing a snap and I love the handy velcro storage bags on the inside of the door!

Enter to win a prize package worth $50.00 and one entry into the grand prize drawing for a Paper Tower of your choice of color. You can win:

 Kodak fashion neckstraps/bracelets for cameras or cell phones

 Deluxe Kodak canvas camera case, lined, with accessory pockets

If you are selected as a preliminary winner of the prize package, you will be entered into the grand prize drawing held on RachelleWrites on October 18, 2010. On that date, Rachelle will select a winner from all of the finalists to receive one Paper Tower (value up to $545.00) in the winner's choice of color/style of wood*.

*The contest is open to addresses in the 48 contiguous United States only. Announcement of winners may be delayed due to health circumstances out of Rachelle's control.

Giveaway open from October 8, 2010 to October 14, 2010 at 11:59pm MST.

Giveaway Rules:
*You can only enter under one name
* It is possible to win more than one preliminary prize, which means it’s possible to be entered into the grand prize drawing more than once.
*All winner’s addresses must be stateside US addresses
*You must complete the required entry to be eligible to win

Here's how to enter:Please leave details in ONE comment of how you entered with required links. I'll put all entries into a spreadsheet and use to select the winner. Make sure your email address is visible or leave your email address in your comment. If I can't find your email address, I will pick a different winner.

*Required entry: You must visit The Original Scrapbox website and then come back here and leave a comment on my blog telling me your favorite item and what you would use it for.

Extra Entries:

  • Tweet the contest with linkback in your comment (copy and paste right into the text box) and use the hashtag #scrapbox in your tweet.
  • Facebook the contest with linkback in your comment
  • Add the contest button(pictured above) to your sidebar with a link to this contest
  • Subscribe to my blog/add me to your blogroll
  • Subscribe to my newsletter- email Rachellethewriter AT with subscribe in subject line
To receive 15 extra entries, you must do the following 2 things together on your blog post and please leave a link back to your blog post with your comment (only one comment required, but you must leave a link so I can check your post.) *Link back to this contest, so that people know where to enter.
  1. Blog about the contest WITH a picture of The Paper Tower in your post and link back to this post, so people will know where to enter.
  2. In your blog post link the phrase "The Paper Tower " to

You can enter the preliminary giveaways with a chance to win an entry into the grand prize drawing at the following blogs:

Pink Cricut
Rashelle Workman
My EyeQ Sue Neal
Elizabeth Mueller
Marvelously Messy
Nap Time Crafting
Priscilla Styles
Brown Paper Packages
Mod Podge Rocks
Rachelle Writes--You're here!

*Disclosure: I received free product from The Original Scrapbox to host this giveaway. All rules must be followed and correct contiguous U.S. address given for prize to be awarded.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Author of Eat, Pray, Love Speaks on Nurturing Creativity

My friend Kristie sent me the link to this video and can I just say how much I loved it?! Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love,  is talking on nurturing creativity and how we can give ourselves permission to be creative without the pressure.
If you can take the time to watch it, I am sure you will be thankful for her inspiration.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halloween: Celebrating the Fun in this Fall Holiday

 Halloween is just around the corner and while many enjoy celebrating, there is a lot of controversy surrounding this holiday.

Are you one of those who is on the fence about Halloween? Let me share with you a few reasons why this holiday isn’t all about scaring and spooking.
When I think of Halloween, the first images that come to my mind are not goblins, witches, and spooks—rather I think of hayrides, frosted pumpkin cookies, and beautiful fall leaves. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed Halloween. It’s not a scary holiday, it’s a holiday full of fun family traditions and opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the season.

I love carving pumpkins and over the years we’ve become a little more sophisticated with our carving. Now you can easily pick up a pumpkin carving kit, complete with a mini-jigsaw and complex patterns to make the coolest looking pumpkins. You can also look up pumpkin carving patterns on the internet. There are all kinds of cartoon characters and other fun designs you can carve into your own jack-o-lantern.

One of our family traditions is to make delicious sugar cookies in delightful Halloween shapes like pumpkins, witches, cats, etc. I have always loved decorating a pumpkin-shaped cookie using candy corns and M&M's for the eyes, nose, and mouth.
My mom has a delectable sugar cookie recipe which makes a huge batch. In fact, growing up we often gave out sugar cookies to trick-or-treaters! Yummy! Now that’s a treat!

Here’s the recipe: Makes about 45 cookies
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup butter (one cube)
1 cup sour cream
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp baking soda dissolved in sour cream
1 tsp. baking powder
5 cups flour

Cream sugar, eggs, butter, sour cream, vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out and cut cookies.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
* The best tip is to not allow the cookies to even get brown. Barely done makes a tender, soft, and delicious cookie!

Another Halloween activity we enjoy is visiting a pumpkin patch. We go on a wagon ride to huge fields of pumpkins and walk around looking for the perfect jack-o-lantern to be. The kids love being able to pick out their own pumpkin and are thrilled every year as we ride into the pumpkin patch.

What are some of your favorite Halloween activities?
Here's a link to a hilarious Halloween cake we made last year.

I hope that you can make this Halloween special for your kids. You don’t have to concentrate on legends, scary spooks, and witches—instead concentrate on having FUN!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Remaking a Turtleneck Shirt

Okay, time to share some frugal fare! I love a great deal and I'm a yard sale junkie. I picked up two darling turtleneck shirts for my seven-year-old for only 25 cents a piece a couple weeks ago. daughter doesn't like turtlenecks. So, I decided to fix that--I don't really like turtlenecks either!

I googled how to remake turtlenecks and found this great bloggy site.
I love Maya's idea of using a lettuce edging and so I decided to try it myself.
Here goes.... my pictures aren't the greatest but you'll get the idea. :)

First I cut off the turtleneck

Then I stretched and sewed a tight zigzag for the lettuce edging effect
I did this around the neck, the sleeves, and the bottom of the shirt.
I even saved the trimming from the sleeves and will use it as a decorative hair band for her ponytail.
For the next shirt, my daughter said she wanted short sleeves, so I decided to change it up even more.
I love that lettuce edging! Thanks Maya!
 Isn't it fun what we can do with scissors and a bit of thread? What projects have you completed lately? Share some of your great ideas and blog sites with me and my readers in the comments section. Thanks!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Review of The Fourth Nephite

I recently enjoyed reading an advanced reader's copy of The Fourth NephiteThe Fourth Nephiteby Jeffrey S. Savage.

Here's the backliner:
Busted. Football star Kaleo Steele is caught under the high school bleachers with the wrong group of friends. Even worse, he's caught by his seminary teacher, Brother Mortensen. If Kaleo gets turned in, he'll be in jeopardy of missing the regional championship game.
It doesn't help that Kaleo has been cutting seminary class. But what's the point? Mumbo jumbo stories about angels and gold plates and Joseph Smith? Brother Mortensen decides Kaleo is ready for an extraordinary "field trip" - one that could alter the course of his life and his heart.
Reluctantly, Kaleo meets with Ladan - a mysterious old blind man - and unknowingly begins a quest through time, landing in Palmyra, New York, in the fall of 1827.
Soon, Kaleo and a nineteenth-century girl named Jennie are caught up in a battle between treasure seekers - led by Alistair Blackburn, a necromancer hired to steal the gold plates - and the young Joseph Smith, who has sworn to keep them safe.
In his quest to find a key that will send him back to his own time, Kaleo will have to decide for himself what to believe and who to trust. Before it's too late.

When I read the back cover, I wondered how much the book might interest me but I can tell you that Jeff did a wonderful job. I'd like to recommend this book to kids and adults who enjoy a bit of mystery and adventure sprinkled with humor and awesome LDS church history facts.

The main character, Kaleo, is remarkably well-written with believable character attributes that keep the story spinning and those pages turning--I was excited to see what role Kaleo would play in helping to protect the gold plates.
I loved how Jeff included so many answers to "popular" questions about the LDS or Mormon faith--questions that many teenage members of the church might wonder about. Kaleo struggles with his beliefs and faces these questions head-on and the results are terrific.

The Fourth Nephite is an entertaining and engaging read. You'll walk away from this book enlightened, but while reading the story you'll be so engrossed that you won't realize that you're being taught. Check out this new book by Jeffrey S. Savage--you'll be glad you did. To see more of Jeff's books, you can visit his blog here.


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