Friday, November 30, 2012

Beth's Arrival

Here is the first installment of my "Catch-Up" blogging. While I am sure you would all like to see detailed posts on the progress of our house renovations, yard improvement, etc., I assume that the first thing you'll want to hear about is the New Baby.
This is a picture of me at 38 weeks. To preserve the memory, I want to note a few things.
1. I am normally 5' 7 3/4" tall. During pregnancy I tend to shrink an inch or two. It is pretty weird! The height loss returns by the time my baby is 3 months old.

2. All of the baby books, pregnancy websites, and doctors' offices recommend that a woman gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. With all six of my pregnancies, I have put on between 50 and 65 pounds. My final weight during this pregnancy was 208 lbs.
3. My hair was driving me nuts by the seventh month. The front parts kept getting in my eyes. When the back touched my neck, I got so hot and had problems breathing. I kept it in a ponytail most of the time, just so I could breathe properly. One day was particularly hard. I was ready to just get rid of it all! I was planning on a haircut like this...

The only reason that it didn't happen is that during pregnancy I get motion sick easily. And that bad day with my hair was also a bad day for me motion-wise. I was getting nauseous from walking. There was no way that I would survive a car ride. And so my long hair stayed.
And yes, I do see that my hair is down in the first picture of this post. And yes, having my hair down in that picture does look contradictory. What you need to know is that I took my hair out of its ponytail so that Hubby could take a picture to document my big, preggo belly and the length my hair had grown. As soon the picture was taken, I threw my hair back up into a ponytail so that I could breathe.
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Since I have a history of having big babies, my doctor suggested that I be induced a week early to keep this baby's size down a bit. I do not like inductions. I much prefer to go into labor on my own and told my OB as much. Hubby agreed with my assessment with one caveat. He asked that if I didn't have the baby by Week 39 that I be induced. The reason? He was going to be out of town on business for most of Week 39. He didn't want to miss the birth. I didn't want him to miss the birth either. Hubby has the important task of distracting me from the pain of contractions by telling me stories. Lots of stories.

So we set up a tentative induction appointment. 

After Weeks 37 and 38 passed with no baby the tentative appointment became a for-sure appointment.

It worked out fine. The appointment was on a Sunday afternoon. The same Sunday as our Ward's Primary Program. I was happy that to attend the program. I love watching the children sing and bear their sweet testimonies. This year Anne, Joe, and Cakes participated. They all did a great job!

My parents came out to see the Primary Program then watch the Grands while Hubby and I went for the induction. My Mom snapped this picture just before we left for Church.  It's the last picture of our family with five kids. The next family picture will have SIX Children!!!

Birth stories are quite personal, so I'm not going to share many details here. The details I am willing to share are:
1. Miss Beth was born in her amniotic sack. The nurse said it is very rare and considered lucky.
2. She was born at exactly 11:00 am.
3. She weighed 8 lbs, 12.1 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long. She has lots of dark brown hair and gray-blue eyes.
4. Hubby didn't cut her umbilical cord. He cut every other child's umbilical cord. The reason he didn't get to do it this time was that a nurse delivered our sweet baby girl and kind of freaked out. And the other nurses were kind of freaking out about how fast Miss Beth came and had to hurry to get stuff ready and in all their rushing about, they bypassed Hubby and me completely. They didn't even hold her up so I could see her! They just whisked her away!
I didn't even know if the babe was for sure a girl. I had to ask. My doctors and midwives in the past make a big deal about holding the baby up so the Momma can see the babe and announcing "You have a BOY!" or "You have a GIRL!" And nobody did that. They were to busy trying to get the medical trays ready.
All I can say to that is, I told you all that I go fast! I told you to get ready. I told you the baby was coming. You chose to ignore me. You implied I was being melodramatic.  You kept telling me that it didn't matter if this was my sixth child because every labor & delivery is different so I really didn't know what was going to happen and that you knew how labor really progresses since you'd been a nurse for so many years. Give me a break!!
There were many other problems, but I don't want to get into those. Enough ranting and complaining. Let's move on to happy things. :)
Hubby took this picture shortly after birth.

This picture was taken later that day. Miss Beth is BEAUTIFUL! She has dimples in both cheeks. We know this because she started smiling on her first day of life. :)

In the evening, Hubby brought the kids to see their new little Sister. Cakes and Joe got to hold her first. They were quite enamored with her. :)

Anne held her next.


Then Rose's turn.

Jim came in the room and headed straight for me. He looked at his new Sister, but didn't want to hold her. He just wanted to snuggle up next to me. That dear boy missed his Momma and was so happy to see me. :)
(I don't like pictures taken of me in the days after I give birth because I look so haggard and drawn. I don't usually let Hubby take any of me. But I had to have one of Jim all snuggled up next to me. I adore that sweet little boy.)

We are thrilled to have this newest addition to our family! Welcome, Welcome Miss Beth! We love you dearly!


One last note, Beth and I were discharged from the hospital the day after her birth. Hubby took us home, spent about an hour getting us settled in, then left for his business trip. He was gone for the next three days. Yowsers, that was tough. My parents stayed long enough to get all the kids tucked into bed, but then they had to leave too. Fortunately for me I have two fantastic daughters! Anne and Rose took turns staying home from school to help take care of Jim and Cakes while I recovered from labor & delivery. Those two girls are turning into lovely Young Women.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oh My...

It has been three months since I have posted any updates. Three Months!
While I am planning on doing a complete update covering those months, an update that will span several blog posts and include lots of photos, for now I only have time to type up a quick and brief update.
The events and activities of the last three months mostly fall under one of the following categories...
1. Four children in school, which means: three different school schedules to work around, three different bus schedules, 1 orchestra member, 2 band members, extracurricular activities, fundraisers, and more.
2. Fixing up our new house which is falling apart. This poor little house has not been cared for in several, several years. There are so many things wrong with it. We keep thinking we've got things fixed and done, then something else breaks. It has been quite overwhelming at times. The only thing that got us through was my parents. I am so fortunate to have a Dad who knows how to fix just about anything! My Mom is his trusty helper/planner. The two of them are a great home improvement team and they have graciously come to our little town several times over the past few months. FYI: the drive is 3 1/2 hours one way. They have been absolute life-savers for my sanity!
3. A new baby. Our sweet baby girl Beth arrived in mid-September. My life has since been filled with trying to figure out a new baby (each one is different and each one likes to be held certain ways or to sleep in certain positions, etc. It takes lots of trial and error to figure out the preferences of a new baby) and trying to get enough sleep to properly recover from labor and delivery.
I will be posting more detailed updates in the following weeks.
Until then,  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yard Progress, Part 1

First off, Hubby was able to fix our washing machine last week. Hooray! I really am grateful for the easy accessibility of having a working washing machine in my home. It makes life so much easier! Especially when children are sick and bed sheets need to be washed immediately, which is what happened just a couple days after Hubby fixed the machine. It was so nice to just throw the bedding in the washing machine and have the yucky smells and sicko germs be gone.

We have been working hard on our yard. The yard is the WHOLE reason we bought this property. We're not sure the exact size. The title company has it listed at 2.98 acres. The irrigation district has it listed at 3.09 acres. The exact size doesn't matter at this point. The point is...we have lots of land to play with!!

There was a lot of work to be done with this property. The acreage was covered with obnoxious weeds with deep roots, pitted earth, cow patties, and garbage. We took out so many loads of garbage! Two or three truck-fulls were loaded with just metal. METAL! Ei-yah! Those loads went straight to the recycling center. We also took several loads of garbage to the local refuse dump.

This picture is of the Northeast corner of the property. It's been cleared of trash. Only the weeds, cow patties, and pits remain.

This is a picture from the Southeast corner of the property. The East side of the property was not as bad as the West.

Jim loved helping dig.

In addition to clearing garbage, we had to get rid of all the trees on the property. I told one friend this and she was SHOCKED! She just couldn't believe that I would be getting rid of trees. Haha! I am a big tree-lover. However, I firmly believe that a tree should have a purpose...Fruit, Shade, Climbing, or Beauty. Only one tree on the property fulfilled one of those purposes: A Palo Verde in the Southwest corner of the property was beautiful. Unfortunately, it had to be removed. Palo Verdes do NOT like a lot of water. And it was sitting right next to the irrigation covert. As soon as we start irrigating, it will die from too much water. I checked into having it transplanted to the front of the property. I had two different tree companies come out to give an opinion and a bid. Neither would move it. They both told me that it wouldn't survive the transplant. So sad! It was a pretty Palo Verde too!

The other trees on the property were nasty, pokey Mesquites and useless palm trees. A friend with a tractor plucked out all the Mesquites. We cut them down and hauled them to the refuse dump. As for the palm trees...

Two palms were about seven foot tall with a diameter of two feet. We referred to the palms as the "Small Palm Trees". Hubby decided to remove those himself. Please note the tall weeds in the forefront of the picture. The back of the property was covered in those. They have deep, deep roots and nasty stickers on them that not only poke your skin, but then set it to itching.

Hubby used his good old Chevy Pick-up and a big chain to remove the two small palms. He looped the chain around the trunk, hooked it to his truck back, and started pulling back and forth.

Being a big pregnant gal, my job was to sit several yards away and tell Hubby which way to pull. It was pretty fun watching the trucks tires spin and the tree teter. The job was harder than Hubby had anticipated. Even though palm roots don't spread out too far, they DO cling to the dirt around them. The first palm took about an hour to remove. Here's Hubby and Joe after they got the first palm out. They hauled it to the front of the property by the trash bin.

Waving "Hello" as they drive by me.

The second palm was more stubborn. It did NOT want to come out. Part of the problem is that it had grown in to the fence. That palm tree took about two hours to pull. During the process, Hubby tweaked his back again. Poor guy! He took it easy over the next few days, and, fortunately, his back healed up fine.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Washing Machine Woes

My washing machine hates our new house.

It is a fancy Samsung with all sorts of sensors built in to ensure the perfect wash. Hubby picked it out special just because of those special sensors. He has been so happy with his choice. It worked fine at our old house. But the thing does not work well here.

The problem?

Well water!

Our washing machine, with all its fancy sensors, despises the well water.

We've tried all sorts of different remedies. None have fully worked. Our last resort was to unplug the hot & cold water hoses and manually add water to the machine after it ran its initial scans. Then during the rinsed cycle, we would manually add water again.

It worked for a whole two days. And then it stopped. I don't know what happened, but the sensors are not loving our little trick and so have gone on strike.

Hubby says that he will get it fixed this weekend. I told him that, at this point, I'd rather he just buy me an old-fashioned washboard.

I've wasted three hours this morning trying to get ONE load of laundry washed in that finicky machine. If I had a washboard, I could have had ALL my laundry washed in an hour.

Oh well, Hubby is going to give it one more shot this weekend. In the meantime, there is always the laundrymat. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fixing It Up

We've spent the last few months in limbo trying to purchase a run-down house in the county. On June 18, everything finally went through! The loan funded, the title recorded, and the keys were officially turned over to us.

We had done many renovations on the house during that time, trying to get it fixed up enough for a lender to agree it was worth the risk. We got the well running, installed a new water heater, put on a new roof, put in new carpet, fixed a faucet, fixed a door, fixed some walls, put on baseboards, removed three abandoned vehicles from the property, removed several truckloads of garbage from property, added a ground wire for the electrical, fixed a few jerry-rigged electrical problems, installed a couple light fixtures to replace the naked & exposed wiring that had been left behind, and crossed our fingers that those things would be enough.

Thank heavens it was!

But now that the place is ours, the renovations have kicked into high gear. 

Here's what we've been working on the past few weeks:

Taking more garbage to the dump.

Ripping out the bathroom. Please note the dirt. 
A gopher had been living under this tub...

Finding honeycomb & a dead beehive in the bathroom walls.

Taking another load to the dump.

Taking time out to nurture the garden at our current house.
Those are giant pumpkin vines around my kids.

Ripping out the kitchen cabinets. Please note my rounding belly.

Getting a 2-Yard bin for trash. That's right people...I have a BIN!!

Turning into a ghost painting the ceilings & walls at the county house.

Painted living room.

Installing new bathroom pipes & fixtures.

Framing in a unnecessary, heat-increasing window in the kitchen.

Cleaning up blood after the windowpane shattered, injuring my dear neighbor.

Still framing in the window.

Installing new cabinets in the kitchen.

Installing counter tops too.

Having a yard sale. Necessary when moving to a house 700 sq. ft. smaller.

Moving a HEAVY tool shed to the new house.
Please note the Dad in the blue shirt. He is instructing his sons to 
hold on tight and not die. They are sitting on the front of the ATV 
to add weight so the thing won't pop up.
I am happy to report that no one died...yet.

Hubby and I have been very blessed with loads of help from family and neighbors. We appreciate the time and efforts they've spent on our behalf.

Unfortunately, the work is only halfway done...

Wish us luck. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Quick Update

It seems like all I have for lately is Quick Updates. Sorry about that. Life has just been crazy and anytime I do have some down time...I take a nap. :)

Obviously I can't catch you up on three months worth of happenings quickly. So I will just make note of the few big things that are happening in my life.

1. Student Teaching is DONE! Hooray!

2. I have officially graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters of Elementary Education. I earned a 4.0 GPA and completed all requirements in only 17 months. 

3. I have decided that I hate school and never want to step in another one as long as I live. Haha! I'm sure I just need a break, a BIG break. I might go back when I'm 50.

4. I'm pregnant. 

I am 23 weeks along and having a little girl in September. And yes, that means I was in the beginning stages of pregnancy while student teaching. It was not fun being prego sick, student teaching, and pretending all the while to be happy and healthy, but let me tell you...I rocked it. No one at that school had any idea I was pregnant until I was 16 weeks along. (side note: my cooperating teacher insists, after the fact, that she knew I was pregnant before the 16 weeks. my unspoken comment: yeah right.)

5. I attended Wood Badge. I have wanted to go to Wood Badge for the past ten years! It was different than what I was expecting. And they gave me homework!! No one said anything about homework before I went. It's probably good that they didn't, because I was sick of school by then and wouldn't have gone.

Anyhoo, it was quite the adventure.

6. We're moving.

We're not moving to a different city. Just a different house about two miles away. It is in the county. It is lots smaller than our current house. It only has three bedrooms. It is in poor condition. So why are we doing it??

That darling, crumbling little house is sitting on THREE acres of IRRIGATED land. It is very exciting. 

Adios, Amigos!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Residents

Last year, I don't remember when, Hubby built us a huge compost bin. My dear brother made his wife a composter that has a turner built in. Ours is not so fancy. It is made of cheap wood. It is rectangular with a hinged lid and you must turn the compost yourself. I drew up the design and Hubby built it. It is perfect for our family and I am quite enamored with it!

In late January, I was in the backyard watering the compost. In Arizona, watering your compost helps it to break down better. As the water began to soak in, I started seeing movement. Now, this is a typical phenomenon when I water. You see, crickets and beetles love to live in my compost pile. And lizards love to hang out on the edges to catch the crickets and beetles as their dinner. So usually when I start watering, the bugs and the lizards start hightailing it out of the bin.

This time the creatures moving around were field mice. I quickly dropped the hose, ran into the house, and started yelling directions. Hubby and the kids started grabbing tupperware and ran outside. We turned the hose back on and started flushing out the mice. I watered the kids corralled and Hubby caught the mice. We ended up catching SEVEN field mice!

Flushing out the mice while Hubby catches them.

The girls had friends over. After this experience, their friends
declared our house the funnest place they had ever been. Haha!

We emptied the mice into the big container. There are six mice in the big container!
I dumped the seventh one in after snapping this picture.

Well, I thought seven mice, that is quite the family. I turned off the hose and commended the kids on their hard work and non-squeamishness. (I truly appreciate when people don't freak out about bugs, mice, or other creatures.) However, Hubby was not done. He went to the garage and came back with the pitchfork. We use the pitchfork to turn the compost. Hubby or I will do this once or twice a month, depending on how much we've added to the pile.

Hubby thought that there might be more mice hiding on the bottom. He was correct! As he started turning the compost over, more mice started darting out. We ended up catching SIX more field mice! It was kind of funny because those mice at the bottom were pretty smart. They tried to hide on the outer sides of the compost bin, covered by the hibiscus flowers. I hosed and hosed them to get them to come out then Hubby caught them. It was fantastic!

The kids thought we should keep all thirteen of the mice. They and their friends started talking about how wonderful it would be to have the mice as pets and how they could have babies so then we would have even more field mice. 

Dear children, YEAH RIGHT!!!

Of course, being a Mom who is trying to teach her children respectful speech, I respectfully explained the reasons we could not keep the field mice. 

Hubby had some ideas for disposing of the mice... The kids were a bit upset about to hear his ideas. Miss S practically flipped out. It was kind of funny hearing this fifteen year old girl, who was only a few minutes earlier saying how gross the mice were, now acting as though we would be terrible murderers if we disposed of the mice. Goofy kid!

Anyhoo, I told the kids that I would take them to a pet store so that people who wanted field mice as pets (*wink, wink*) could buy them. Out of earshot of all the kids, I called around until I found a pet shop that was willing to take them as "pets". 

Rose wanted to come with me. Here we are about to get in the car. We left the last six mice in the tupperwares because the field mice in the large container were jumping like crazy to get out. And let me tell you, Field Mice Jump High!

A gal at the pet store carefully dropped each mouse into a glass container. She ended up losing one of them. The mouse was getting pretty aggressive and tried to bite her. It was one of the larger mice. She told me that she has been bitten by the white pet mice plenty of times, but she knows where those mice are from and that they have no disease. She didn't want to take a chance and get bit by a field mouse that was carrying who knows what.

I don't blame her.

She told me not to worry because they leave out poison so the mouse wouldn't last long on the run.

Rose didn't hear that part. I had sent her off to look at the kittens and snakes.

Twelve mice in their temporary home.

A close-up of the field mice. See the mouse whose coat is darker? It's darker because it is WET! That was one of the mice that we had to drench in order to catch.

I'm not sure how many of the field mice are still in the pet shop. I know for sure that the owner took three home that evening. She had a pet snake that was looking for some new playmates...  

Ssssshhhh! Don't tell me kids. ;)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quick Report

I have set my timer for five minutes. I am going to type as fast as I can to give you a quick report of our family's lives. Here we go:

1) I have been student teaching for three weeks. It is not at all what I expected it to be. I don't want to bore anyone with the details. I think one word sums it up nicely: Politics! 

I have not dealt with politics in a long time. I kind of forgot they existed. I kind of assumed that everyone was nice and wanted everyone else to succeed. And I'm kind of finding out that my sunny outlook on life is not realistic. Bummer!

2) Dropping my children off at a daycare has been one of the most emotionally challenging things I have ever done. Hearing my baby Jim crying for me and knowing that I have to walk away and go to work was SO hard! By the time I got out the door I was crying too. 

After three weeks he is not crying as I leave him. But he does start crying tears of relief every time I pick him up, which is almost as bad as him crying when I left. I mean, crying tears of relief kind of leads me to believe that he wasn't sure I would BE returning to pick him up. And that is a heart-wrenching thing to think.

3) Hubby started a new job three weeks ago. He says that he is alright, it's just a major learning curve. He also said that maybe I could start using our real names and tell you what his real job is, since he needs clients and all...

Except my timer just went off!!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bravo, Mr. President. Bravo!

As I was reading the news of the day, I came across this article:

President Obama and Vice President Biden are helping our country to take a step forward in the fight against violent crimes! The Associated Press reports:

"The Obama administration says it is expanding the FBI's more than eight-decade-old definition of rape to reflect a better understanding of the crime and to broaden protections."

I have seen the devastating impact that rape can have on an individual. I've worked with women who have been raped, been friends with women who were sexually abused as children. The way that a girl or woman starts to define themselves by that horrific event in their life. And the bitterness and self-loathing that can occur when the responsibility for the crime is pushed back on them or when the crime is not taken seriously.

Throughout history, the punishment for rape has varied greatly.  Some rapists have been viewed simply as playboys, whose charms women just can't refuse. The thought-process here is that the woman wanted it.

Other times, rape is viewed as a proposal. Remember that terrible book I read...Tess of the D'Ubervilles?? Tess was supposed to marry her rapist. What a frightening prospect!!

In many Greek stories, the woman raped was faulted. Think of the story of Zeus and Europa. Their relationship started with a rape. But it's okay because he is a god?? And she went on to have his children??  Because being raped by a god and getting pregnant makes rape a perfectly fine activity??
In another Greek story, a god, Poseidon, comes upon a beautiful mortal woman worshiping in the temple of Athena. The woman is so beautiful that he cannot help himself and immediately ravishes her...In the Temple! Athena, the Virgin Goddess, is furious that her temple has been desecrated with sex. But does she go after her uncle? Does she blame him? Nope. She blames the girl, punishing her by turning her beautiful long hair into writhing snakes. Yep. Poor Medusa was raped and instead of being comforted, her hair was turned into snakes and any guy who looked at her was turned to stone. Serves her right for being so beautiful...GAG!

Dinah's story in the Old Testament follows Tess's pattern of proposal. Dinah's, daughter of Leah and Jacob, sister to the Twelve Tribes of Israel, rapist thought to marry her. Her story is found in Genesis chapters 33 and 34. While her father seemed willing to go along with the marriage idea, her brothers had different plans. You can read the story yourself. The main point here is that the rapist is actually punished in this story...And quite extremely at that! 

(By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed this scripture study's insight into that story. Much food for thought.)

Early America viewed rape similar to Levi and Simeon. It was a crime that ought to be punished. I could honestly go on and on as the examples and variety of consequences are plentiful throughout history. But the topic is quite painful for many people, and I don't want to draw out this terrible thing.

What I want is to state emphatically that rape is not something the victim wanted. It is not, and never should be seen as, a proposal to marriage. And it is not the fault of the victim.

The article gives details of how the definition is being revised and expanded:

"The revised definition covers any gender of victim or attacker and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. Physical resistance is not required."

This revision by the FBI is HUGE!!!

Many states have taken great strides in the past decades to broaden their definitions of rape. They have expanded their protection of the girls, women, boys, and men who fall victim to this heinous crime. They have made the punishments more severe for the perpetrators. Their efforts have led to a decrease the incidence of rape.

I am so pleased that President Obama and his administration are updating their definition. It has been a long time coming and is a positive step forward in the fight against this atrocious crime. Bravo, Mr. President! Bravo!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

4-H Fun

We signed up to participate in 4-H again this year.  

Rose and Anne signed up for Cooking, Sewing, Photography, Shooting Sports, Arts & Crafts, and Rabbits. Miss S signed up for Shooting Sports and Rabbits. I informed all three girls that Rabbits were out of the question this year. I will be student teaching in the spring and cannot be their chauffeur to all the rabbit events.

Joe and Prof. X signed up for Cloverbuds. This is the group for 4-H kids who are too young to compete. They have a new leader this year and she is turning out to be FANTASTIC! She wants the Cloverbuds to have a thorough 4-H experience so she has arranged for them to participate in a ton of different events. It is wonderful!

Here's what they've all done so far:

Joe & Prof. X toured a seed sprouting facility. We saw acres upon acres of baby plants: lettuce, cabbage, artichokes, celery, broccoli, and more! The place was a dream. The month before the boys (& Rose) painted pottery at a local studio. This was a combined activity with the Arts & Crafts group. The Cloverbud leader is also the Arts & Crafts leader! She has planned for the two groups to do an activity together once every other month. Very fun!

The most recent Cloverbud activity was a tour of a local bakery. I was informed halfway through the activity that is was also an Arts & Crafts activity, so Anne & Rose were invited. Tough luck for them. Fortunately, they were at other activities that Saturday so didn't feel bad about missing the bakery tour.

The boys in their baking aprons

Reading the recipe

Rolling out their dough. Prof. X chose that small pin. Goofy kid!

Joe decorating his cookie

Prof. X showing his decorated cookie.
Can you tell he's been taking bites of the frosting?

Shooting Sports
Miss S., Rose & Anne are working on perfecting their aim every other Saturday using air rifles and bows & arrows. No pictures.

Arts & Crafts
The arts & crafts leader is also the Cloverbud leader. She is lovely. On the Arts & Crafts side, she has arranged for 4-H members to paint pottery at a local studio which was then fired. Anne was sick for this activity. Rose painted a Halloween monster mug.

The other activity they had was to decorate t-shirts. They used iron-on pictures, puff paints, jewels, and more, to jazz up the plain white tees. The end results were crazy! 

Rose & Anne have experimented with pancakes. Their leader had them try different kinds of flours and rising agents. They also made some sweet potato pancakes and vegan pancakes. Then they tasted all the varieties to see the differences. 

For their meeting just before Christmas, they baked all sorts of cookies. Their leader told them to pick out any recipe, but no chocolate chips allowed! She wanted them to try new things. Anne made sugar cookies and Rose made toffee bars. Rose's toffee bars were Excellent! She used the recipe that I used growing up and the bars turned out delicious.  Poor Anne's cookies were not so good. In all the excitement of baking, she forgot to add the baking soda, and the baking powder. It is amazing the difference that a teaspoon of each can make!

Rose & Anne have done nothing. The youth sewing instructor they had last year did not return. The main sewing instructor, who took all the advanced sewers last year, flat out refused to take any new students. So the girls were left with no instructor. Except, I know a little about sewing and my leader status finally went through...  So I volunteered to be the sewing instructor for my girls and any other potential sewers/quilters. We haven't done anything yet. We will have our first meeting in January.

Rose & Anne have been meeting once or twice a month with the photography leader. She is helping them become familiar with the cameras, teaching them how to set up shots, and other photography related things. One of the things she has stressed is the need to Practice, Practice, Practice! 

Here is evidence of the girls' practicing:

Photos of Desert Flora at local park 

Photos at Wal-m's Garden Center

 I think they are off to a good start. :)