Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You Have to see this Miniature Bag End inspired by Tolkien

I just hopped over to Nephele Tempest's blog and today she had a list of incredible links. I had to share one with you--it is amazing!
Awesome photos of a miniature Bag End, in the Guardian article on Maddie Chambers, who is crafting it.

Click on the above link and you can view 9 pictures of a stunning recreation of Bilbo Baggins' home at Bag End. I would love to go there for a visit. Wouldn't it be cool if someone made a hotel like Bag End that we could go vacation and pretend to be a hobbit?

If you'd like to see a gazillion more pictures and details of how Maddie constructed Bag End, you can visit her blog here,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Building a Sandbox

We're thrilled about the weekend project my husband completed!

We have three kiddos who love to play in the sand and after hearing them fight over the small space in our tiny sand turtle, we decided it was time to build a big sand box.

We measured out a space of 8 feet by 8 feet. When I told my mom the size she said, "What? That's as big as a bedroom!" Yep, and it's perfect for our kids and a couple friends.

Steve dug out the sod and then created a frame for the sandbox. He attached landscaping mesh to the frame and then dumped in 25 bags of play sand that were 50 pounds each!!
After all that sand, we decided we still need about 10 more bags so it will be a bit deeper. Steve bought a big tarp and we cover up the sandbox when not in use to keep the cat out and all of the rainy weather we've had lately. The kids have had so much fun already! Thanks, honey for all your hard work.

Now all I need to do is write to the manufacturers of little boys clothing. Why in the heck does a 20 month old need five different pockets in his jeans? You should see the amount of sand that gets stuck in his clothes. We try to de-sand-itize before he comes back in the house. I'm willing to put up with some sand in clothes and hair because the kids are happy.
What summer projects are in the works for you?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Thought

"We women have a lot to
learn about simplifying our lives. We have to
decide what is important and then move along at
a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to
develop the maturity to stop trying to prove
something. We have to learn to be content with
what we are."
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I love this thought because I feel the pressure of the world around me always expecting more of me. Yes, I have unlimited potential but I don't have to do everything and conquer the world TODAY. I don't want to lose sight of what is most important and the most important things are often the simple things that get left by the wayside while we're encouraged to do more, more, MORE! I think we definitely need to decide what is most important and then develop the strength to stand up for that most important thing and not let it get pushed aside by other people's demands and expectations.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fairy Birthday Cake and Birthday Party

My daughter turned seven recently and wanted a fairy birthday party and cake. I tried to think of what I could do to make it fun and fancy.

I've made doll cakes before with the dome cake pan, but felt the cake never was fluffy enough. So at first, I told her I wouldn't be able to use that cake pan and we'd have to do something else. Then I thought of a great idea and I surprised her.

I made rice crispie treats and packed those into the dome cake pan and then inserted the Barbie doll.

I baked a horseshoe cake and decorated it like a fairy meadow and then decorated the Barbie doll to match.

I'm not a professional, but I can say that my daughter was absolutely thrilled and surprised and loved her cake. It was a wonderful birthday!

For the party we served pink chocolate dipped strawberries, key lime tarts (courtesy of my awesome mother-in-law), Fairy juice=pomegranate juice with cute flower shaped ice cubes, flower shaped cookies, and grapes. I made flowers with pixie sticks as stems and we had the girls wear fairy wings for a fairy treasure hunt with jewels, flower rings, and candies.
I wouldn't have been able to pull it all off without my husband's help and my mother-in-law, and lots of brainstorming from my mom who lives too far away to come. There were five little girls, plus Gracie's little sister, so seven girls had lots of fun at this fairy birthday party!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bird Watching


We enjoy watching the birds at our house.

They come to eat from the bird feeder hanging on our apple tree. This past weekend, we've noticed some colorful subjects that I noticed last year and I decided to do a little homework and find out what kind of birds they were.
I pulled out the trusty old book, Birds of North America and began hunting for the birds in our backyard.
First there was a beautiful blue-headed finch with blue tail-feathers that are almost turquoise in color.

While searching online, I found a wonderful website and I discovered that it is a Lazuli Bunting Finch and here's a great link that shows a picture and also gives the birdsong, so go take a look and listen.

The Black-Headed Grosbeak was trickier to identify.

At first I wondered if it was an Oriole, (Yes, we have Orioles in the northwest) but the beaks didn't match up.

I noticed that my book listed the Orioles, Tanagers, and Grosbeaks together and so I looked at all the illustrations until I found one that was a perfect match.
Today we had as many as six male black-headed Grosbeaks on our tree or lawn and three or four of the Lazuli Buntings both male and female. This is in addition to the bright yellow goldfinches, robins, black capped chickadees, and the neighbor's pigeons that sneak over.
Take a look outside. What kind of birds do you see? We love to hear the sweet music these birds make and to watch them fluttering around our bird feeder.
The next thing I need to do is get the hummingbird feeder out--I saw two of them today looking for a tasty treat.
These are all birds indicative of the northwest. What are your favorite flying creatures?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Thought

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.
--Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review of The Canticle Kingdom by Michael Young

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this new fantasy novel from Michael Young. Michael is a talented individual. This is his first novel, he sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and plays the handbells. Here's a little bit about this novel.
 The Canticle Kingdom
The Canticle Kingdom
It seemed like ages since Kate's father went off to war, and she is eager to
thank him for the beautiful German music box he sent for her birthday. But
when it starts playing a strange, new melody and Kate vanishes into thin air,
Captain Edison is willing to do anything to rescue his little girl.

When the Canticle Kingdom is attacked and the queen falls deathly ill, Joann,
a young blacksmith's apprentice, learns a terrible secret - the kingdom is contained
entirely within a music box in another world.. With the help pf his friends, Johann
races to bring aid from that other world in an effort to stop the dark power that
threatens to destroy them all.

Enter a beautiful world full of magic, danger, loyalty, and bravery in
The Canticle Kingdom, and discover that even the most ordinary objects
and people might be hiding something truly wonderful inside.
The settings in this book intrigued me and I enjoyed going back in time to World War II in Germany and then back to the United States. I could tell that Michael definitely knows the German language and is familiar with the country and culture. I like how he weaved his knowledge into the story.
If you like fantasy, this novel is suitable for both kids and adults.

You can visit Michael's website here and learn more about him and his writing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mormon Mishaps Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Mormon Mishaps and Mischief  Giveaway and Blog Tour!

In celebration of Mothers, and all they do for us, Mormon Mishaps authors C.L. Beck and D.N. Giles have put together a giveaway in conjunction with a week-long blog tour. If you aren’t interested in winning a fantastic advertising package valued at $150, you can stop reading now.

Wait, you’re still reading. That must mean you want to hear about our prize package, correct? Well. Okay then.

Let me first tell you a little about our sponsors, and is an online shopping mall which features innovative products and LDS-based services, and great ideas for your home, all without the worries of questionable content. Shopping categories include Clothing, Music, Preparedness, Family Entertainment, Scrapbooking, Books and Art, Health and Food, Travel and Recreation, Weddings and more! Visit today.

Your LDS Neighborhood Newsletter is a free online newsletter that comes three times a week right to your email inbox. It provides topical stories and insights that set the tone for your day. The newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources, and interviews from around the world, all with an LDS focus. Sign up today by clicking here! commits to bringing you the best in LDS Music – all day, every day and it is totally FREE to listen! Make them your web-surfing companion. It's free and easy to use and makes for the perfect online companion. Listen for yourself at!

Okay, and now for the prize!

Your LDS Neighborhood has offered a YEAR LONG advertising package which includes space on the Neighborhood website as well as tiles in the newsletter. Were you to purchase advertising with them, this package would cost $150.

Here’s the best part. You don’t have to be LDS to advertise with the Neighborhood. As long as the business, blog, or product you’re promoting is family friendly, this advertising package will benefit you. Neighborhood ads are viewed daily around the globe, and by thousands of people.

So how do you win?

Entries will be accepted between May 4th and midnight, MST, May 16th. On May 17th, (or as close there about as possible) the winners will be chosen and announced on the LDS Humor blog. Although it's not required for entry, please take a minute to read the Mormon Mishaps and Mischief interview I've posted. Then, you must do the following four things to enter (but don't worry, they aren't hard):

1. Follow my blog.
2. Leave a comment at this blog on this post.
3. Follow the LDS Humor blog.
4. Follow the Your LDS Neighborhood Newsletter blog.

Extra entries:

1. Blog about this contest, then come back and leave either a url address or a link in a comment.
2. Follow me on Twitter. (Bloggers, you can hyperlink this to your twitter page if you’d like, or include your twitter username.) And then tweet the contest. (Make sure to mention this in a comment.)
3. Facebook the contest. If your Facebook page is private, and I’m not your friend, I can’t see that you’ve done this, so you’ll need to friend me.(Same goes here.) Be sure to leave the link to where you've FB'd the contest in a comment.

All of these options can be mentioned in a single comment, and you can enter at all the participating blogs, as long as you follow and leave a comment for those bloggers so they know you love them.

You may enter this contest here, as well as on any of the tour posts at the following blogs:

May 4th Rachelle Christensen
May 4th Shirley Bahlmann
May 5th Karlene Browning
May 5th Heather Gardener, Fire and Ice Book Reviews
May 6th Kellie Buckner
May 6th Rachel Rager
May 7th Shauna Chambers
May 7th Heather Justesen
May 10th LDS Humor Blog
May 10th Keith Fisher
May 11th Tristi Pinkston
May 11th Rebecca Talley
May 12th Taffy Lovell
May 12th Kimberly Job
May 13th Connie Hall
May 13th Ali Cross

To purchase Mormon Mishaps and Mischief click here.
 And here's my interview with these 2 funny and talented ladies!

Q. What prompted you to write Mormon Mishaps and Mischief?

Cindy: The moon was full, Aquarius was on the cusp, and the chickens were molting, all of which combined to make this the right time for a book of humorous anecdotes. Well, that and the pantry was empty, so a book that might actually sell a few copies seemed like a good idea.

Nichole: What Cindy says might be true. Or it could be that one sunny spring morning, one of us woke up and said, “I think I’ll write a book of humorous anecdotes today.” Then there was email involved. Lots of email. And brainstorming and collecting and chocolate eating. And maybe some Twinkies. Thus, the proposal for a book of humorous anecdotes was born.

Q. If you could choose to be any animal, what would it be?

Cindy: I’d choose to be pixie dust. Oh wait, dust isn’t an animal. Okay, I’d choose to be the pixie. In fact, I think I probably was one in a previous life. At least I had a haircut that made me look like a pixie when I was a kid.

Nichole: If Cindy gets to be a pixie, I want to be a mermaid. Then I could swim around from island to island and eat all the snow crab and mango I wanted. Plus, I think mermaid fins are beauteous.

Q. Where do the stories come from?

Cindy: From the demented … er … I mean, the creative genius of our minds. And from the funny events that we, and our contributors, saw happening at church, home and everywhere in between. Rest assured, however, that all contributors to the book signed a statement that the stories were true, and so even though real names were seldom used in the anecdotes, the situations actually happened. Which means if you think you recognize your bishop in there, well … we’ll never tell.

Nichole: None of them came from my current ward. They all came from other people’s wards, which I visited while wearing my invisibility cloak. So if you happen to be in my ward and recognize a story or five or twenty, well I didn’t see those things or write them down in my handy-dandy notebook. Er. Um. I mean…I plea the fifth?

Cindy and Nichole: It was our pleasure! Readers can visit us at our website,, or laugh with us at our humor blog at In addition, there are our personal blogs—follow Nichole at or Cindy at

We really like having followers. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, we like to post funny stuff and make you laugh.


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