Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unseen DVD Blog-a-Thon

I saw a note somewhere about this Unseen DVD Blog-a-thon and had the perfect movie already watched. Last week Jamie heard about Batman Begins from a friend, so when we were looking at what would be coming from Netflix he told me to put that to the top. I mocked him. I mean, BATMAN? But I did it.

The night we sat down to watch I brought in 3 baskets of laundry figuring he could get his testosterone blast and I could 'watch' and be useful at the same time. About an hour into the movie I realized I hadn't folded a thing. It was REALLY GOOD. Probably another half hour or so later I got up to check the rating and was surprised at the PG-13. Yes it was intense, but the violence is mainly ninjaish fighting, very little blood if at all, and since Batman is so stealthy, many times he gives them a quick beating and they are done. The scarecrow mask thing is scary, and it's definitely upsetting when Bruce's parents are killed. We talked about it and decided to watch it again with the boys the next night. Before starting it we talked to them about the scary parts and that it's just a movie, then we warned them again when they were coming. They both loved it too. And the fact that Jamie and I both sat through the whole 2 hours and 20 minutes two nights in a row says a lot.

After seeing it I was totally surprised no one had told me about it, but maybe everyone else had the same mindset that I did. I'm still trying to finish up that laundry!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sweet vs. Bitter

I grew up eating apricot pits. My brothers, cousins, and I would hold big rocks at grandma's house and crack them by the dozens and dozens.

Probably the first time I had any inkling that that's not always possible was years later, eating them at my parents' house. My sister-in-law said, "Apricot seeds have cyanide in them, I'm not eating any." I thought, whatever, we've been eating them for years.

Later I heard grandma mention to someone that she had planted a new apricot tree and that it had edible pits, but that another somewhere else on the farm didn't.

It wasn't until after ours were bought and planted that I wondered if our trees had edible pits. We've had one for five or six years, and we planted two more last year. The older tree is loaded with apricots this year and I've been drying and freezing apricots. With all those pits hanging around, I hated the thought of throwing them away if they are edible.

I went searching for apricot pit information and learned that the bitter pits are supposedly cancer fighting, but they also contain cyanide. Eating 10 can kill a child, eating 40 can kill an adult. But if the seeds are sweet, or rather have an almond flavor to them, they are safe to eat.

So I did some checking. We only got a few apricots off the two little trees, some of which fell before I could even get to them. I went and grabbed a couple seeds from under the tree and tried one. Bitter. So those two are anti-carcinogenic according to ancient and alternate medicine, but also cyanidogenic (if that's not a word yet, I get credit for making it up).

I was going to wait till the older tree seeds dried before I tried one, but got impatient. Grabbed the hammer, cracked it - ALMONDY!

So yee haw, looks like I've got one edible, two non-edible.

From the table at the bottom of the bitter pits article, it says 'wild apricot pits' are superior sources of the good stuff, and that 'apricot pits' are excellent sources. I wonder if the non-wild ones are the sweet pits?

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Want People to Stagger Back in Admiration

Last week I wanted to post more and more about my decluttering, but didn't in case Jamie got into blackberry range and could read about it all. I wanted the big reveal when he got here!

So, the garage that he hasn't been able to park in for 6 months and can? "The garage looks nice." The basement that is two big DI trips and one big drop to grandma's for Saturday's shop-for-free emptier, not to mention two FULL garbage cans and all the remaining box combining and organizing? "I guess I should go away more often." No woooooowwwww. No, Marni, you're the rockinest, coolest, most wonderful wife ever, I am the luckiest man on earth that you would work your bootie off while I was up playing and swatting mosquitoes. It brings this episode of Keeping Up Appearances to mind (a great British comedy). The part I'm referring to starts at 2:17 to 5:06, a hilarious little clip. For the record, I'm not that hard to please. But in the future, I could use a little stagger. :)

My sisters both came over at different times yesterday for a tour. They didn't have much to say, but in their defence, it's not like I used to take people down to the basement just to show off how well our junk was piled around and spilling onto the floor.

Karen, when you make it over, remember you're Elizabeth.

Exciting and New

I've come across some really interesting blog posts lately, and a couple new blogs I've started to read.

From Mormanity, here's some interesting information on the whole Ammon story and why it plays out the way it does. And to think I always thought Lamoni just had a clever roundabout way to get to kill Ammon even though he was so annoyingly nice. "I don't want to marry your daughter, I just want to be your servant for a time, perhaps until the day I die!" (Okay, so that's not a direct quote.)

This one isn't a blog, but I learned about it on a blog, and it really... really... really... bugs me. Especially since Utah just passed a law that kids have to be in car seats until they are EIGHT! At least I did my part e-mailing the governor telling him not to sign it, but he did it anyway. If you haven't checked out, DO. I, like Lara, would love to watch every TED video. So many videos, so many kids to play with, so many dishes to wash, so many books to read, so little time. Thus the messy house, ha! Priorities, priorities.

Another interesting blog I learned about from... somewhere... is Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Not one I read every word of, but it's fun to read what authors have to say, and learn about books we might not have.

Speaking of kids' nonfiction, we found a great series of books at Barnes and Noble. Adam wanted me to buy the Predators one, but at $17 (their price) I told him we would check the library. They didn't have any of them, but I e-mailed them about the books and now they have most of them! And lots of copies! We're totally impressed with every one we've seen so far. I don't know how to search for the whole series at once (different names, different authors), but if you look at one it has the others under the "Customers Who Bought This Item" section.

And for something old, I went looking for this the other day. I remember my dad bringing home a video of this he had borrowed from someone, and being amazed by it all. Still so cool! Too bad nowadays they just band together to gripe.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

If You Don't Use It, LOSE IT!

This podcast from the Savvy Organizer was just what I needed before sending Jamie and Adam off to scout camp this week. It's only Tuesday, and I took my first DI load this morning. Woo Hoo!!! I am so fired up to get things gone, there will be a healthy level of progress this week for sure.

If you haven't heard of the Savvy Organizer before, Maja is definitely worth listening to. The podcasts are short, to the point, and always have a lot of great ideas. I first learned about her through the Boutique Cafe podcast. Daria features Maja on podcasts 2, 37, and 40.

Talk About Tuesday

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wood Badge June 2008

It's been a few weeks since I got back from Wood Badge. I've wanted to write about it, but needed some time to get back into the swing of things before I could write about it.

First, the basics about Wood Badge. Wood Badge is different than any other scout or leadership training you will receive. Not only do you learn the leadership skills, the nature of the course allows those new skills to be put into practice immediately as you work with your patrol and the entire troop. There are some instructions here and there specifically on the scouting program (after all, it is put on by BSA), but the intent of the training is to teach leadership skills to the leaders so they can in turn teach those skills to the boys.

Something else unique to Wood Badge is that you leave with a ticket to work on. As a participant you visualize how you can improve scouting in your unit or area of influence and write five specific goals towards that, called the ticket. I won't go into why it's called that, but it goes back to Baden-Powell. So not only do you get the training there, you continue your training and bring your vision to life by working your ticket when you get home. When that is completed within 18 months after the training, participants receive their Wood Badge neckerchief, woggle, and beads.

Wood Badge isn't just sitting and learning, though we do some of that. We play games. We have ceremonies. We eat great food. We laugh, we cry. Part of the crying probably leads back to the fact that scouting is a values-based program, and during the course we want to get those values deep in the hearts of the participants. In the end, there is a real desire and commitment to move forward with your personal vision and mission. It's amazing every time to watch this rag tag bunch of individuals show up to go through the course, and come out working as a real team with a pack of leadership tools, new life-long friendships, and best of all, the deep desire to make a difference.

My favorite part has got to be the people. Amazingly committed, wonderfully inspiring people. People you wish could all be your neighbors. People you get so close to they feel like members of your family. People that just thinking about them lifts your spirits. Each of the four Wood Badge staffs I've been privileged to know as a participant and on staff has been like that. And as you get to know the participants, you find there are many in the same category.

I was an 'outsider' (so to speak) on staff this year. I was the only person on the whole staff and course that wasn't from within the council or even the same state. Every Wood Badge I've been involved with has been through the Snake River Council out of Twin Falls, Idaho, and they are always so welcoming. As a matter of fact, the day we were taking course pictures they were taking staff pictures of the people in each of the scouting districts. Someone said, "What about Marni?", knowing I wasn't in any of them. They decided to adopt me into all their districts, and this is the resulting picture.

I've been looking and looking at other pictures I could post, and I know they won't have nearly the feeling behind them as they do for those that were there. But I still can't help it.

Participants with their Troop Guides, ready to bridge from Cubs to Boy Scouts.

Walking to church in the snow


Ready to launch

We made atlatls as a quick scout activity

The day we celebrated Flag Day we also heard about the tornado that ripped through the Little Sioux Scout Ranch and killed four boys. After finishing an instructional activity we brought everyone to Gilwell Field, shared the news, and lowered the flag.

Flag Day Ceremony

Since I was the scribe there aren't many pictures of me since I took 98% of the pictures of there. But here's a final one with me in it as one of the hosts of the Wood Badge Game Show. Isn't this the most awesome dress ever? Go eBay!

Vanna Moonflower and Orville Eugene

This was my fourth time at Wood Badge, one as a participant and three on staff. It was a really hard decision to go this time, and several times I came very close to telling them that I couldn't go, but I am so glad I did. I am supremely grateful to my husband, my parents, and in-laws for watching the kids while I went.

If you haven't been to Wood Badge and get the opportunity, GO. It is a life-changing experience you won't regret.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In Action!

Tuesday we blew up the swimming pool and the kids went crazy for a while in the water. When things were slowing down and Adam and his best friend were about the only ones still playing in the water, they came up with this game they call "In Action." They have four tennis balls. One pitches, one hits. After all four balls have been pitched and either hit or missed, the boys start yelling "In action! In action!" Tuesday the point of the yelling was to have one or the other of them throw a ball up in the air for the other to make an elegant in-the-air catch and fall into the pool.

Sammy and the friend's little brother thought it was such an awesome game they had to join in.

Yesterday it was partially that, but even more. They decided that if the tennis balls are out of the water too long they'll die, so while they are still "In action!"-ing, the deeper intent has become to get the balls back to the water. This is such a concern, they even have a new rule that if you're the pitcher, you get water in your mouth before you start pitching so you can spit on the last two balls so they aren't out of the water too long.

Kids definitely need more leisure time. Let those imaginations fly!