Monday, August 27, 2012

Not a Twelve Year Old Boy

I am going to throw a bit of a fit today.  It was prompted by two events: the most recent Project Runway and this report.  

First, the report.  It states that over half of Americans are overweight or obese.  I'm not making commentary on the report other than to note that more than half of us have a BMI of 25 or higher.  

Here is a chart from the CDC to help you understand what that looks like:

HeightWeight RangeBMIConsidered
5' 9"124 lbs or lessBelow 18.5Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs18.5 to 24.9Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 lbs25.0 to 29.9Overweight
203 lbs or more30 or higherObese


Project Runway had a "make-over" type theme.  A person recommended a friend for a make-over, including new hair, make-up and a new outfit--designed by an up-and-coming designer.  These women represented the report quite aptly.  Some were "healthy weight" and many were "overweight" or "obese."  One of the designers (who was not a tiny guy himself) was a HUGE jerk to his girl.  She was there for a fun day of pampering and feeling better about herself and instead she was made to feel fat and ugly.  The dress he designed for her was horrible.  Shudder.  

So, let's talk about this.  If over half of us look at least like this:

Then why does all of our media (including Pinterest!!) insist the ideal is this???

When did it become beautiful for a woman to look like a 12 year old boy . . . with a rack?  Or a death camp survivor?

When did glorious curves become a "problem area" to be solved?  
I have to say, I am in love with these vintage ads.

Anyway, I'm not saying we should be thrilled with being unhealthy and I'm not encouraging women to stop exercising or eating healthy.  I'm just saying that maybe we should have a more beautiful expectation for ourselves. Those crazy teenage boy abs are not as sexy on a woman as soft, shapely hips.  And I wish our media would catch on!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Huckleberry Tale

The southern part of my state is known for these:

But our part of the state is known for these bad boys:

That's right.  Huckleberries.  Justin and I grew up with the very special summer treat of huckleberry pancakes while camping and huckleberry ice cream or Huckleberry Buckle after we got home.  Now that we are back home, we wanted to get some.

For the past several weeks, my husband has been asking everyone who will sit still where to find a good huckleberry patch.  Turns out, this is a highly guarded secret.  People get crazy defensive about the location of their huckleberry patches and resort to covert actions to keep the secret.  The reason?  They are more valuable than gold.  Somewhat like a wild blueberry, this particular variety only grows in this region and, reportedly, cannot be transplanted or domesticated.  You'll never see a huckleberry bush at the local Lowe's
 . . . and if you do, you'll know it is an impostor.

Anyway, while we were up at the secret lake, Justin desperately searched the bushes nearby.  It was actually rather pitiful, the amount of work and determination he put into the two tablespoons of not-quite-ripe berries he did manage to find.

It was at about this point in the homeward trail that it happened. I smelled that unmistakable scent of ripe huckleberries.  
and I gestured to the loaded hillside.

Having not planned on picking that day, none of us had buckets or fully qualified bags, but we did have empty ziplock sandwich bags.  We hastily wiped the mayo that had been squashed out onto the insides of the baggies and began filling them.  

We spread out and canvassed the hillside for the precious fruit.

And even though not everyone was putting the fruit they picked into their baggies, we did bring home a couple of quarts of huckleberries.

My good husband was so happy.  After praising my sometimes overly sensitive olfactory system, he confided on the way home that he thought that the finding of the huckleberry patch was a tender mercy* from a loving parent. 


I thought so, too.

*  "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith . . ." 1 Nephi 1:20

Family Hike

With Justin working 10+ hour shifts, he works longer days, but has more days off.  We decided right away that one day would be dedicated to the Lord (Sabbath), one to work, and one to play.  This was similar to the strategy employed by my parents:  Saturday mornings were spent working so that Saturday afternoons could be spent on the lake or in the mountains.

Knowing the weather was going to be hot on our play day, we decided to head for the hills.  Justin did a bit of searching and found a hike he thought we could all do.  

Everyone had a backpack and carried their own lunch, water and swimming suit.

Knowing the ages of our hikers, we took a lot of breaks.  Especially after we discovered that we accidentally added over two miles to our hike.  Oops.

This little girl was the best.  Out of everyone in the family, she was the most amazing.  Justin and I ended up carrying the youngest for a good portion of the trek, but our six year old trudged along, uncomplaining.  She even carried her own pack.

The forest was beautiful, but we did run into this creepy section.  I'm pretty sure this is where Sleeping Beauty got lost--don't those trees look like they might attack?

Just when some of us were ready to give up, we spotted the lake.
"YES!  We made it!"

And, just like we had hoped, it was worth it!  What a breathtaking sight.

We each pulled up a rock and ate our squashed lunches.

But it didn't take long to start venturing into the cold water.

The cold, shimmering water was refreshing!  Not all of us brought swimming suits, but that wasn't going to keep us from playing in the water.

After a while, Dad and I lay on the hot rocks to dry, but the kids decided it was time for a project.

They were going to build a raft.  

They worked at it and worked at it, even using the long grasses to lash together the old fallen logs.
Incidentally, can you believe this water?  It was outrageously clear.  Even while we were playing in it, it shone like glass.

After a lot of hard work, and a few injuries, the one-man-raft was launched.

Looks so comfy!

Oh, my gosh!  That emerald water!  The water was deep enough that the boy couldn't reach out there, too.
Some of the other kids took a ride.  They were thrilled with their accomplishment.

I couldn't get over this water.  We've never been much for fishing, but this kind of serene location could have tempted me into it.  We could see the fish!

Not to be left out, our water dog Patches, swam out to meet the crew.
"Wait for me!"

The kids played in the water for a couple of hours, then spread out on the rocks to dry before heading back down the hill.

What is it about going down?  We ran much of the way--it was too irresistible!

Except when Mom demanded they stop so she could snap a picture.

The view on the way down.  I love the pointy high alpine trees.

The older kids and our puppy lead the way through a rock slide.  

It was a great day.  All of the kids, save the youngest, hiked the nearly six mile hike without assistance or complaint.  Patches had the time of his life, running and chasing the random scents left by the mountain wildlife.  We were all exhausted by the time we crawled into our beds that night and I'm not too proud to admit that my body was a little sore!  

Next time, we're bringing sleeping bags.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

School Supplies

 I have most of our school supplies in one cabinet.  Other than books and the computer, everything we need to have a successful school day is available here.  It has been a disaster for many months . . . which means school has been a disaster for those same many months.

Since the beginning of July, I have been hitting the school supply deals.  Each week, I watch the paper and only buy the stuff that is an amazing deal (pack of pens for a penny, ream of paper for a nickel, notebooks for a dime, scissors for a quarter, etc.).  Although the deals are not quite over, my already too small closet was bursting with school supplies.

This might seem like a lot of stuff to you, but I promise we will still run out of a few things; crayons, paints, tape--still looking for more deals on those.  On the other hand, I may never need to buy paper clips again (no one needs 400 paper clips)!

It took a long time, but the school cabinet now looks like this:

Ahh!  So much better!  So many unwrinkled sheets of paper.  So many unbroken crayons.  So many not-dried-out glue sticks.

Just having this space cleaned out and organized has started my brain gears a'grinding.  There are so many things to learn!!  I think we are going to learn about space--with a large side of sci-fi.  Planets, constellations,  and actual space travel with interplanetary communications, worm holes and some freaky space creatures mixed in.  Doesn't that sound fun?  You are welcome to drop by and join us at any time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I want you to know that I'm working on posting, but have run into an unexpected bump.  With nearly 800 posts and thousands of pictures on those posts, I have used up my 1 GB of free Google storage.  I'm working on an upgrade, but it takes a little while for it all to register.

The MotherShip shall return!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Shed Remodel

Remember the grody, mouse infested shed I told you about last week?

Well, it's almost done.  This post is admittedly mostly for my dad who is far, far away on vacation right now. Thank you for Saturday mornings and for making me learn the names of tools and for making me help you with projects--even if it was handing you screws and nails.  I never would have been able to do most of the things I now love if it weren't for you.

Okay, first, here is the workbench.

And the workbench in place . . .

If you recall, lighting was a serious issue in the shed.  We've added a couple of simple strip lights (set at different angles to avoid the most shadows) and will be adding a cheap-o ceiling fan.  The room needs air movement!

Also, some of you may be wondering about the floor.  After we discovered the nasty mouse nests, I called Dad in a bit of a panic. "What kind of floor can we put in that will forever banish mice?"  Unfortunately, his answer was concrete.  $500 for flooring was not in our budget so we brainstormed some other options.  Turns out the only affordable and effective other option was gravel.  It isn't a perfect fix because it is hard to level and it can't be swept.  But, that gravel, averaging 5 inches deep, will be a big mouse deterrent   

Plus, I'm adding a lot of poison in the corners and behind bins.

When we can add concrete, the gravel bed is already in place!

These shelves are eight feet long and two feet deep.  It is a delightful amount of storage, though it was almost an effective set of bunk beds.

We still have work to do, for instance, we have to fix that crazy fiberglass that you see peeking out at the top of the picture.  

Before and After
Before and After
Before and After
I've put away my tools, garden equipment, auto stuff and several other things and I haven't even started filling the big shelves.  EXCITING!  
Plus, no one has to brave the scary shed to dig through dark boxes looking for a screw driver--we can just grab it off the wall!

And it now smells like fresh pine instead of, well, you can guess how it smelled before.  

I'm exhausted and stinky from sweating all the live long day.  Why we chose to take on this project in the hottest season of the year, I'll never know.
(I did the same thing last year when I built the rock fireplace. ???)  

Now, we're going to have to gut the lean-to so we can fully eradicate the vermin.