Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've been reading a blog by Dr. Mark Perry, an economics professor in Detroit, and a few days ago he had an interesting post.  It showed this graph of the unemployment rates in Dec. by sector. Construction is in the most trouble, rising to 15.2%.  We joined those ranks this week when Adam was laid off.  Don't worry about us, I'm more than confident in Adam's abilities to provide and he has a great opportunity to start his own company.

A few weeks ago I read the following quote:
"As the forces around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient will not be enough.  And whatever growth in spiritual strength we once thought was possible, greater growth will be made available to us.  Both the need for spiritual strength and the opportunity to acquire it will increase at rates which we underestimate at our peril...I plead with you to do with determination the simple things that will move you forward spiritually....You have the right and the obligation to choose for yourselves.  You can search the scriptures or not.  You can choose to work hard enough, to ponder, and to obey His commandments so that the Holy Ghost can be your companion....Or you can choose to delay....If you will let your heart be drawn to the Savior and always remember Him, and if you will draw near to our Heavenly Father in prayer, you will have put on spiritual armor.  You will be protected."  Elder Henry B. Eyring
After I read that I decided to increase my efforts at nourishing myself spiritually.  When news arrived that Adam was laid off, I felt as though I had spiritual armor on.  I knew everything would be alright; that one door was closing and another would open to bigger and better things.  It was wonderful to be able to spend so much time talking with Adam this past week about our options.  I loved listening to him talk about his goals, helping him crunch numbers for the new business idea, and most of all being able to go to the Temple together and pray for further guidance.  It has been a great blessing.
Speaking of blessings, Sierra gave me this little note today.  Little things like this are such a  
perquisite (I just used a thesaurus) to motherhood.

On Friday we were able to meet up with my sister, Janelle, at the library.  Tristan ran up to these stuffed animals like they were his long, lost pals.  The library has a wonderful kids section.  I wish I was organized enough to get there every week.
On Wednesday night we drove with Gram and Pop to see my little brother Jay earn a scout award.
Afterwards, Grandpa Don took us all out for ice cream!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mormon Temple Revealed

Click below to see the interview between ABC and two LDS leaders:

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yesterday Gram picked up Sierra from school and took her to run some errands.  They picked up Gram's friend, Pauline, and took her to get her car from the repair shop.  In the car, Sierra proceeded to complain about how hungry she was.  Saying things like, "My mom didn't have time to feed me lunch today because she was too busy drying her hair."  Gram said "that doesn't sound like your mom" but Pauline believed every word and both gave her lots of food.  I couldn't believe it when Gram told me.  I didn't even get to take a shower yesterday, let alone leisurely dry my hair!  The true story is that we had a picnic lunch and Sierra refused to take me seriously when I said, "You better eat now or you'll be hungry at school today."  Instead she played tag with some friends.  Thanks for making me look like a crummy mom, Sierra (but at least if I was that mom I'd have stylish, blown dried hair--which I don't).    

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've been thinking about the power of communication lately. Probably because I spend a lot of time saying things like, "Do you ever get what you want when you whine like that?!" and "How do you ask for something?" There are a ton of books out there designed to improve communication skills (I just looked on under "effective communication" and there were 42,644 results) and I've always meant to read one or two, but haven't made the time.
More importantly there are many scriptures which teach the importance of communication, such as:

1 Corinthians 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."
Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Delbert L. Stapley said, "Salt symbolized to the Hebrews purity and fidelity, also an unbreakable league of friendship.") 
Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
2 Nephi 32:3 "...feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."

This quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley is one of my favorites: "You mothers, are you the kind to scream at your children, shout with shrill voices? Please don’t. Be quiet in your talk. Soft words. ‘A soft answer taketh away wrath’ (Prov. 15:1). It does. Bless your children with the love that you carry in your hearts. ‘All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children,’ said Isaiah (Isa. 54:13). How true it is. Be teachers to your children” (meeting, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, 5 Aug. 1998).
Elder David E. Sorensen said, "In much the same way that parents tutor their children in communication and courtesy, I believe that our Heavenly Father teaches us to pray because the very act of praying will improve us. We worship our Father in Heaven as all-knowing and all-powerful. Surely, as our Creator, He knows our cares, our worries, our joys, our struggles without our informing Him. The reason our Heavenly Father asks us to pray cannot be that we are able to tell Him something He does not already know. Rather, the reason He asks us to pray is that the process of learning to communicate effectively with Him will shape and change our lives as much as we are changed by learning to communicate as children".

So teaching a child to effectively communicate (or learning how to do so yourself) has endless spiritual, physical, and social implications.  Customer service is so much more successful when the associate has good communication skills.  A shy girl can open up a whole new vista of socializing if she can learn how to small talk.  A mother can be empowered by her Heavenly Father with the skills she needs to lovingly communicate to her children and teach them correct principals.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

O Saturday

For posterity's sake, I'll log today's events:
7:22 a.m.--Mindi wakes up (let herself "sleep in" b/c of fun, semi-late fondue party with Laws & Purcells the night before)
8:00 a.m.--Mindi wakes up Adam and the kids to help them get out the door to the gym so Adam can go to a "spin" class
10:00 a.m.--Young Women's basketball game begins. Mindi has been called as "assistant coach". Our team loses 30 to 6. Mindi makes mental note to start teaching basketball to her girls immediately so they'll know what the heck is going on by the time they join a Young Women's basketball game.
12:15 p.m.--Adam has already fed the kids "lunch" (a post-work-out protein shake) so Tristan goes down for a nap and Mindi locks herself in her room to listen to her hypnobirthing CD "Rainbow Relaxation" (a daily ritual during the last four months of pregnancy with all 4 pregnancies).

1 p.m. till 4 p.m.--Kaia helps Mindi work on Gram's belated Christmas gift (don't look too close Gram, we still aren't quite done), Adam prepares a weeks worth of salads for himself and a crockpot dinner for the family!

4 p.m. to 4:30p.m.--Family bike ride to the park. Short and sweet b/c we promised kids that we would go swimming at the gym after dinner.  That is our gutter hanging down in the background of this picture.  It fell down while we were in WA, but we don't own the house so we don't have to care about the gutters.
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.--A quick trip to Costco and Wal-Mart to make some returns and purchase food/socks.
6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.--Family eats crockpot dinner (some vegi soup Mindi made last week that Adam was able to make much better with a few more ingredients, just call him Remmi).
7 p.m.--Arrive at pool only to discover the sign says, "POOL CLOSED". Apparently a kid had an "accident" earlier in the day. I'm so glad it wasn't my kid.
7:10 p.m.--Pull crying kids away from gym and promise to give them ice cream sandwiches when we get home.
7:15 p.m. to 7:53 p.m.--Run Adam's truck through two different car washes four different times! The first place would stop mid-cycle so we got our money back (after taking another try) and went to the second place which required two more tries in order to produce Adam's approval. Below are the children's reaction to 4 car washes in a row:

8:00 p.m. to 9:50 p.m.--Ice cream sandwiches, bath time, bed time, kids get to stay up a little later because Mindi just has to get this post posted.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

5 Things I'm Grateful for Right Now 

1. The Stock Show

Every year we wrangle the family together and attend the National Western Stock Show.
Usually we get tickets to the rodeo, but this year we tried to scale back on expenses and just went for general admission.  We talked another family in our ward, the Olsens, into joining us for Family Home Evening at the Stock Show on Monday night.  I didn't really warn them (they are greenies and have never been) that they needed to dress warm and prepare themselves to smell all manner of unpleasant smells.  In spite of all that, I think we all had fun.  Lots of petting zoos and agricultural displays.  It is hard to get a good picture taken in a petting zoo.  These baby goats were the favorite.  At one point Tristan walked too close to a calf with a serious drooling problem and ended up getting slimed.  I'm gagging as I'm trying to clean out his hair with a wet wipe, but also laughing because it was dang funny.  Farm humor I guess.

2. Showers All By Myself:
I don't get to shower alone very often.  Usually there are three hot-water-demandin'-soap-in-the-eyes-whining-gimme-that-toy-that-I-didn't-want-till-you-had-it kids in there with me. But this morning I snuck away from the argument between the girls of whose bed Tristan got to be in while they read books and shut myself into a warm bathroom.  For Christmas Gram bought me some Goat Milk Soap.  It is heaven and it strongly reinforces my desire to be a goat farmer and spend my free time making goat cheese and goat milk soap.  I also had the chance to remove some old toe nail polish and trim my toe nails (while I can still reach them)!  You may not see the joy in all this, but believe you me I had a great morning with my mother-of-three version of a spa treatment.

3. Creativity Time
I recently learned that I need time each day to be creative.  Lately that has amounted to making homemade gifts, joining a card making club, baking, decorating, ect.  President Uchtdorf said,   "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.  Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty....Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty..If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them....As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."

4. "Eat To Live" by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.  
On our drive home from WA Adam and I had some nice long talks.  He told me he outline some New Years Resolutions around the topics of Mental, Spiritual, and Physical.  Under the Physical he plans to train to ride the Leadville 100 this summer, a 100 mile mountain bike race at 10,000 feet and up.  This involves losing a bit of weight and he's following Dr. Fuhrman's plan.  It involves lots of fruits and vegetables and yummy bean concoctions (like homemade hummus).  Needless to say, we have lots of delicious, healthful food around and I'm so happy about it.

5.  LifeTime Fitness
Our Christmas gift this year was a family pass to LifeTime Fitness.  It is a Wal-Mart size gym they just built close-by and I can't stop raving about it's awesomeness.  The kid area is huge and really fun and the kids actually look forward to going there (and they can stay in there for up to two hours!).  There is every piece of equipment imaginable, plenty to keep from getting bored in the same-old-work-out-routine.  The pool (indoor and out) is super duper.  Etc. etc.  I'm planning on going tonight while Adam is at Young Men's so that the kids can play and I can climb the crazy-fun stair machine.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bread of the Month

I had big goals to make Dutch Oven Crusty Bread for this month's Bread of the Month. But thinking that might not happen, and being in the mood for fresh & easy bread, I made my old stand-by recipe. I made one vital mistake, though, and the bread came out of the oven looking like a deflated mushroom. But it still tastes good, especially when used to sop up Vegetable Soup (like I'm doing right now). Here is the recipe:

Mindi's Sandwich Bread
2 1/4 cups water
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
3 Tbsp. dry milk
3 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter
4 tsp. yeast

I toss all ingredients in order into a bread machine on the "dough" setting, then shape into 2 bread loaves. You could also do it all by hand (if you are feeling hippieish like that you have to read "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book". It tells you everything you need to know about kneading and shaping bread). The mistake I made with these loaves took place during the final rise. I used to spray one side of a sheet of plastic wrap with "Pam" then put the oil side down on top of my rising bread. Then cover the whole of it with a towel and place in a warm oven for 30 minutes or so. But then I stopped using "Pam" because I'm a wacko and just put some vegetable oil on a paper towel and smeared it on the plastic wrap (and the bread pans before putting the dough in). Well, I had put Sierra in charge of this process and there wasn't enough oil on the plastic wrap so that stuck to my dough, deflating it when I pulled the plastic off before putting dough in oven. Sigh. But I just decided to cut the "upper crust" off and pretend I was 17th century royalty (ever read "The Girl With The Pearl Earring" ?)

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm a little girl!

I'm laughing out loud as I put this post together.  I can't get the ultrasound picture any bigger, so there you go.  If you could see the print on the picture you'd see "I'M A LITTLE GIRL!"

We are so excited.  Now to find the perfect name...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Home Again

It irks me that I haven't posted in a whole week.  We got home from our month long trip to WA on Sunday night.  I thought the girls would be so happy to sleep in their own beds (they'd been on a cot on the floor, sleeping feet to feet) but this is how I found them on Monday morning.  It was exciting to get back into our routine.  I've started craft projects, volunteered to have card club at my house, set up a double date to the Temple, read the book club book (I've also committed take over book club because the last leader decided her time was up), and the list goes on (I'm awfully proud of my long to-do-lists).  But all this means is that I've put a whole lot of stuff ahead of blogging, thus long-time-no-blog.  So my solution is to include some of the notes I've taken for book club in this post (and perhaps future posts), sorta killing two birds with one stone--except I'm not into killing birds.

The book is "Simplify: A Guide to Caring for the Soul" by Carolyn J. Rasmus.  At first I thought that the last thing I need as I try to simplify life is another book to read about simplifying. But it turns out I like it a lot.  For example, living with integrity is a great way to simplify.  Here's why:

Webster's 1828 definition of integrity: "wholeness; the entire, unimpaired state of anything, particularly of the mind; moral soundness, purity; honesty".

William Bennett "Why should I be a person of integrity?" responds, "Because it is healthier.  Integrity--having one's psychological parts integrated, 'having it all together'... is the sort of condition in which any really rational human being would choose to be...a person in shape".

A number of years ago, the US Department of Health and Human Services reported that "the U.S. has indeed become a nation of believers in the virtue of exercise. But," the study continued, "most citizens confine their practice to nothing more strenuous than pushing a shopping cart around a supermarket on Saturday morning or shoveling down a pint of ice cream while doing laps between the kitchen and the TV set."  In other words, most people (80 to 90 %) recognized the importance of exercise, but their actions were not consistent with their beliefs.  They were not living with integrity." (p.30)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

Last Saturday Kaia had a great time watching Aunt Brooke dip chocolates (and sneaking a lick whenever possible).  After chocolates we met up with the Stinchfield clan (Brooke's in-laws) and had a party at the Stake Center.  We played games, ate lots of hore'dourves, and tried our best to wear the kids out.  Here is Adam the drill sargent:

We spent the day in Portland on Tuesday.  We had a caravan of three cars which contained 10 children and 4 adults.  We got lost looking for an Asian grocery store where Ellery needed to buy supplies for his New Year's Korean dinner.  Here is a picture of Uncle Adam getting kids lined up for "follow the leader" through the store.  We were quite a site.   
A New Year's Eve tradition for the Bennetts is to rent a hotel room and pile the family into the pool.  Don't worry, we didn't all sleep in this room.  We swam and swam then ate then watched tv till midnight.  We even got to see fireworks from the window.  It was a lot of fun.

Today Ellery made us Korean food which included Kimchi, yummy beef and chicken (I'm too lazy to figure out the real name) and pot sticker type things (which also have a Korean name I can't remember).  While we were at the Asian grocery store, Adam let all the kids pick out a drink to try.  It was the most entertaining part of our Korean New Year's dinner.  Soursop and White Gourd was my favorite.  I wasn't brave enough to try Grass Jelly Drink, Basil Seed, Mangosteen or Coconut with chunks.  

By coincidence I spent New Year's Eve reading an inspiring financial book which was a catalist for some resolutions. The book is called The Richest Man In Babylon by George S. Clason. It is a collection of pamphlets on thrift and financial success using parables set in ancient Babylon. Here is an example:
The Five Laws of Gold
1. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.
2. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
3. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
4. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes whith which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earning or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.