Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Sentament

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.  – Robert Orben

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nutrition Camp

A recap of another fun week of Stay at Home Summer Camp is up over at Arizona Mama.  See how we made the food pyramid fun with Nutrition Camp!  If nothing else, it was tasty...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Used To Think Squirrels Were Cute...

So, squirrels - let's talk about them.  They're cute they way they climb trees and scamper about (as long as you don't think too much about the diseases they carry and all).  They are furry and remind me of Chip and Dale.  It's all good.

...until our trip to the lake.  My mom brought the cookies - not just any cookies; Double Stuff Oreo Cookies.  She put them and a couple of bags of chips on a nearby picnic table, for when we were ready to take a break from playing on the Jet Ski.  We are talking fresh from the grocery store, unopened bags here, folks.  

I noticed people walking by the table and looking over, but I didn't think much about it until one guy said "The squirrel is in the bag of cookies!"  Sure enough, the now-not-so-cute squirrel had chewed through the grocery bag; through the corner of the package; and had helped himself to about 10 cookies!

We moved the food closer to us.  After a little bit, we went to the cars to get the rest of the food while my dad secured the jet ski.  When I came back to the beach the squirrel was 15 feet away from him trying to eat our cookies again!  I hollered at him, but he wasn't afraid of me until I got within 3 or 4 feet. He even had the nerve to encroach on our picnic table - while we were sitting at it!

I let him know how mad I was by stomping my foot every time I saw his furry little face.  My kiddos thought it was pretty funny when I told him he wasn't my friend anymore.  

I figured I should at try to get a few pictures of this uber-bold squirrel.  So we left a half of a cookie in the bag (and a rock to keep the bag from blowing away) and left it on the picnic table.  Within a couple of minutes of us clearing away from the table, fur face was in the bag, and pulled out the treat we left for him.

He watched me click off pictures as he ate it, and let me get just across the table from him.  After he devoured all the chocolaty goodness, he stood up and posed for me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cub Scout Celebrate Freedom Pack Meeting

We finished off this month's theme, Celebrate Freedom, with a fun activity where kids 6 - 18 could earn the United States Heritage Award (not just the boys).  Actually there's two awards, one for children 6-10 and another for the older kids.  We spent the most time remembering the original 13 colonies!   Fortunately our Cubmaster had done her homework ahead of time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's in a Name?

Here's a fun website!  I typed in my name and here's what I learned:

  1. My name is well envoweled because 43% of the letters are vowels.  Only 19.5% of the population has more vowels in their name.
  2. My name backwards is Naejear Strebor.  I think it sounds very exotic!
  3. According to the US Census Bureau, less than .001 of the US population has my name.  After Googling my name, I think there are at least a couple of us out there.
  4. For some strange reason, I have a "power animal" and it's an Arctic Lemming.  Who Knew?
How about you?  Is your name well envoweled?  How many other people share your name?

Raejean Roberts, your Power Animal is the Arctic Lemming.  Discover more at www.IsThisYour.Name

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cub Scout Star Wars Party

We had our Cub Scout Star Wars theme party.  We used some of the same activities from this Star Wars party.  We started off with a Jedi training obstacle coarse.  

Then we came inside for the Detonator game, where everyone sat in a circle while we passed around a small container filled with candy while music played.  Whoever was holding the container when the music stopped took a piece of candy and was out of the circle.  The last person in the circle got two pieces of candy.

We went back outside and crossed a lava lake, and we used water balloons to destroy the chalk Death Star.

To finish off the fun, the boys used M&M's to decorate their cupcakes like the buttons on a lightsaber.

A couple of the boys even brought party favors; Star Wars fruit snacks and flour balloons.  The flour balloons are just balloons filled with flour and tied off.  The are fun to squish around.

While they enjoyed their cupcakes, we discussed what they liked about the party and what they would do different next time.  This completed Elective 9a.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Family Home Evening: The Plan of Salvation

The 6th Faith experience in the Personal Progress book discusses the Plan of Salvation.  My favorite resource for teaching the Plan of Salvation is the lesson from Preach My Gospel.  I like the detailed overview, and the short, medium and long lesson plans.  Not only is this a great tool for missionaries, but it's a great tool for parents as well.  We can choose a lesson plan based on age and maturity level. 

There is a small diagram in the Preach My Gospel manual, but we pulled out this one from our FHE drawer.  I let the kids hold up the part I was talking about to keep them involved and interested.  Sometimes, I bypass lessons like this because I think my children already have a firm grasp on the plan.  I'm grateful for the counsel of our leaders to continue to repeat the basic principles. I understood the wisdom as my family discussed this basic principle.  I saw my children's understanding enlarge, and I felt the need to refocus my life on Heavenly Father's plan.  It is so easy to get distracted by all the good things in the world and neglect the best things.

Our activity was a game of Clue.  

We had homemade caramels for a treat!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Sentament

This nation was built by men who took risks - pioneers who were not afraid of the wilderness, business men who were not afraid of failure, scientists who were not afraid of the truth, thinkers who were not afraid of progress, dreamers who were not afraid of action.  ~ Brooks Atkinson

Happy Pioneer Day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

LDS Temple Week

My review of our LDS Temple Week as part of our Stay at Home Summer Camp is up over at Arizona Mama.  We got a little creative with this one since it didn't fit our traditional Summer Camp style with crafts and cooking.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


One of my favorite things about school vacations is that the kids have time to really get into a game they are playing.  Earlier in the summer, they played a game of Monopoly that lasted about a week.  I'm not sure what their latest "game" is called, but it has taken over the playroom floor.  It makes it a little hard to vacuum, but they will have great memories from their playtime together.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bread

Our awesome neighbor invited us over to dinner last week. She spoiled us as usual.  She made burros with homemade re-fried beans, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs in BBQ sauce, deviled eggs and pizza cooked in a frying pan - Many of the foods she knows we like, plus a couple of new things for us to try.  

She had out a fancy tic-tac-toe game and prizes for the winners. Some of the kids played outside before we watched a movie.  Then there was dessert; ice cream with strawberries.  It was a relaxing night with great company.

I wanted to bring something to show our appreciation, so I pulled out a couple of mini loaves of my favorite bread.  I got the recipe from a Wilton pamphlet years ago.  The chocolate adds just the right amount of sweetness, while the peanut butter balances it out.  This was one of the few things I could eat when I had morning sickness.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bread
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter 
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream peanut butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add egg, milk and vanilla; mix well.  Mix in flour, baking powder and salt just until blended.  Stir in mini chips.  Fill mini-loaf pans (1/4 size a normal loaf pan) about half full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Makes 4 mini loaves.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Therese Borchard wrote an interesting post at Today's Mama about distraction.  She shares Boston Globe columnist, Maggie Jackson's quote “The way we live is eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention–the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress. Moreover, this disintegration may come at great cost to ourselves and to society….The erosion of attention is the key to understanding why we are on the cusp of a time of widespread cultural and social losses.”

I've had discussions with several people about my concerns that many teenagers (and younger kids too) are lacking communication skills because they prefer to text instead of talk.  This lack of communication skills is starting to creep into more professional aspects of life.  Sometimes, it bothered me on a deeper level that I couldn't quite put my finger on - Maggie Jackson hit it on the head.  It's not just a corrosion of communication, it's a breakdown of our culture.

I love my tech gadgets and don't want to go back to not have email or a cell phone, but I think it's important to keep them in their place.  It's also vital to teach children to finish what they start, to build meaningful relationships with family and friends and to be compassionate.  We all need to balance the time we read and talk about life, and the time we spend actually living it.  

Finding that balance seems like my lifelong quest.  Some days I feel like I'm getting a grasp on it, only to watch it slip away the next minute.  Hoe do you find balance and stay focused on the most important things in life?  How do you teach your children those same values?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Home Evening: Comforting Others

This week's lesson is from the Personal Progress book; Good Works experience 3.  First we read Mosiah 18:7-10.  Then we listed ways we comfort others and help them bear their burdens.  It's interesting that so often comforting others is in the little things, like listening.  I if we consistently did the small things, would we remove the need for many of the big things.  We were challenged to record three ways in our journal and do them.  To complete the requirement, we need to share our experience with a family member or Young Woman leader, and talk about how our attitudes and understanding changed.

Our activity was a partial game of Phase 10

Our treat was cherry Jell-o with strawberries and Cool Whip.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Sentament

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.  - Russell Baker

( 85 degrees is one of the coolest nights we've had lately.  We've been breaking records by staying around 90 at night.  All it took to cool us off is 50 -60 % humidity!  Hopefully we'll get some rain out of it.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Celebrate Freedom and Plan a Party

We continued with Cub Scout's Celebrate Freedom theme.  We reviewed how to show respect to the flag (Requirement 2c) and reviewed the history of the Arizona flag (Requirement 2d).  I thought it was interesting that the flag was used for several years before Arizona even became a state.

We spent the rest of our meeting time letting the boys plan an end of the summer party for next week (Elective 9a).  (Some Arizona schools start as early as next week.)  They boys chose a Star Wars theme, which made it easier to plan since I did one a few months ago.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

History Camp, Part 2

My follow up piece of our History Camp was posted quick over at Arizona Mama!  (It's amazing how that happens when I actually write and submit articles quickly.)    We brought out the big guns and finished the week with a bang - literally. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Painting: One Wall Down...

Last Saturday morning, Hubby and I  had the house to ourselves.  We decided to knock out some painting.  We started to try to paint the wall that had a 5 foot square of a different color we decided we didn't really like.  The painting went surprisingly fast and we finished the whole wall.  We even had time to put the furniture and everything back where it started before we the kiddos came home.

I asked if he thought they would even notice that we painted the wall, then we guessed who would guess first.  Apparently our expectations were too high.  We're on day four and none of them have noticed!

Monday, July 12, 2010

History Camp

One of my children wanted to learn about World War I this summer as part of this year’s Summer Camp.  Fighting, bloodshed and carnage isn’t exactly my idea of a fun filled week, but...

To see what cookies have to do with History Week click on over to Arizona Mama!

(Please forgive the typo in the first paragraph.  I quadruple checked it and I still missed an obvious mistake!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FHE: Prayer

Today's lesson comes from the Faith in God booklet, under the "Learning and Living the Gospel" section. We discussed the purpose of prayer and how it protects us and helps us stay close to our Heavenly Father.  

I love when my children teach the lesson for a couple of reasons.  One, it helps me to know if they truly understand gospel principles. Two, their lessons can be so simple and still very effective.  Sometimes their lessons are more complex than I expect and I'm floored by the connections they make from one principle to another.  But overall, their lessons are so pure, and the spirit is very strong.

Our activity was another one stolen, I mean borrowed, from a previous Sunday School lesson that showed how much easier life is when we know the pattern to follow.  We can find the pattern in the scriptures. Life will still have obstacles, but they will be easier to overcome if we know the pattern.

It's not Family Home Evening, without a treat.  A yellow cake with chocolate frosting hit the spot!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Sentament

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  – James Dent

Friday, July 9, 2010

Organ Stop Pizza

My mom took us to a cool new place, (well, new to us anyway) the Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa.  Now before you start thinking of something like Chuckie Cheese, think again.  This is the home of the Mighty Wurlitzer!  It's like half the restaurant is part of this massive organ.  We listened to renditions of the Star Wars Theme to Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid.  I don't recommend the Organ Stop for an intimate dinner, it was a little hard to carry on a conversation - but the entertainment was great.  The organist even takes requests!

The pizza was good too!  It's a little more expensive than we usually pay, but that's to be expected for dinner and a show. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrate Freedom

This month's Cub Scout theme is Celebrate Freedom.  The entire Achievement 2 section in the Wolf Handbook is about the flag. We discussed what the Pledge of Allegiance really means.  Then we reviewed how to respect the flag.  I must admit that I didn't know very much flag etiquette before I became a Scout leader.  My goal is to help the Cub Scouts be more informed than I was.  

We learned how to raise a flag properly and practiced one formation during our flag ceremony.  Then we took the flag down and the boys leaned how to fold the flag.  For most of the boys, this was review and they did great.  The repetition helps them to remember until it becomes second nature.  

For the last few minutes of our meeting, I divided the boys into two teams, each with some red and white strips, a blue rectangle and 50 stars.  They worked together as  team to assemble their flags.  The results were too close to call.  Everyone worked together and had fun, so we all enjoyed some banana bread.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ritz Cookies

I don't know if these have a different name (leave a comment if you know the real name), but my kiddos made these yummy puppies last week.  They smeared peanut butter on a Ritz cracker, topped it with another cracker and dipped the whole thing in chocolate.  It was a good thing they went fast, and I only got three.  I don't think my waistline appreciated them as much as my taste buds! 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Art Camp: the Finale

We had so much fun with Art Week, it took three articles to fit it all in!  Over the coarse of the week, we studied five artists and did five art projects and more.  To see a recap of all the excitement click on over to Art Camp, Part Two, and the Final Chapter at Arizona Mama.

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Etsy Store

One of my creative daughters just opened an Etsy shop.  I love this cute sign for a western decor! She has one in her guest room.  It's exciting to see what's she's added every time I go visit her.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Sentament

Off with your hat, as the flag goes by!
And let the heart have its say;
you're man enough for a tear in your eye
that you will not wipe away.
~Henry Cuyler Bunner

Friday, July 2, 2010

Decisions, Decisions: Teaching Children to Live Within a Budget

I heard this cute little poem many years ago that I use for buying my children gifts:

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

Lately I've let the kiddos choose the "wear" gift themselves within a certain budget.  I recently took one of my kiddos shopping for their wear gift and the child wanted over three times the budgeted amount.  She decided to spend almost the same amount of her own money, but still couldn't afford all the items she loved.  Being one of the younger kids, she gets mostly hand-me-downs - so I can understand the desire for new things.  And her love for clothes and shoes continues to grow.  I could have a real clothes horse on my hands ;)  

It was so tempting to spend a little more, but she(and many people nowadays) needs to learn to live within their budgets.  She needs to learn to choose what's most important.  If she doesn't have to learn it at this level, when will the lesson be learned?  At one point, she was getting disappointed with the shopping trip because she was focusing on the things she couldn't buy, instead of the cool things she was adding to her wardrobe. It's important as mothers that we teach our children to be grateful for what they have and what they can afford.  The lesson comes easier for some children than others, but it needs to be taught consistently regardless.  

By the time she got home, she was excited to show her treasures to the rest of the family. Hopefully she's one step closer to understanding!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Numbered

My friend Raimi wraps up the month "by the number".  The idea is so fun, I'm playing along.

One lost tooth - finally.  This puppy's been loose for about a year; the adult tooth already grew in!
Two books read; the second and third in the Percy Jackson Series.
Three den meetings.
Four trips to the library.
Five movie tickets at the $2 theater to see "How to Train Your Dragon".  It was super cute.
Six days at Girls Camp.
Eight articles written.  Check out the Homemaking Cottage and Arizona Mama!
Twelve days of stay at home summer camp.
Twenty five blog posts.


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