Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Day at the Zoo....

We had a great time visiting the New Orleans Zoo on Thursday, February 24th.  I'm not one to drive to New Orleans but this was a chance of a life time.  With a group rate of $3.00 a person through our Home school group, we drove the 2 1/2 hours starting at 8am, and spent the whole day.
The New Orleans Zoo is organized by continent with different hands on activities in between. It was very impressive. We got to pet a baby alligator, an elephant, a gecko and at the petting zoo area there were goats and sheep.  Peter had a great time.  So did everyone else.
 I think South America was my favorite.  There were replications of some of the Mayan ruins, which I love.  The anteater was a strange looking creature and the spider monkeys could hang by just their tails.  Very interesting.  There were thousands of ducks towards the back of the zoo and also a authentic replication of the Louisiana swamp with an old house and general store from the 1920s.

There were lots of birds every where (besides the ducks) and there were sea lions in a big pool area that we watched for a while. You could go down stairs to see them through the glass, underwater and one of them was teasing us as he kept swimming through the passage upside.  It was really fun.

The giraffes were awe inspiring as they are sooooo tall.  It is amazing and the theme of Jurassic Park ran through my head as I watched them walk from one end of their enclosure to the other. So graceful with their long necks.  There was one orangutan that saw us eating crackers and cheese and stuck his hand out wanting us to share with him.  Too funny.
After our safari through, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia, we took a ride on the trolley down St. Charles Street, to see the sights there.  Talk about a safari in the city.  It was crazy.  It didn't help that it was the day before Mardi Gras was to start and everyone was getting ready for the two week parade stint that happens every year.  We ended up staying on the trolley until the end of the line at Canal Street then getting off the trolley and getting right back on for the return trip to our car.  It was really fun.  A whole tour of the city in an hour and a half. We made it home at 8pm.  A twelve hour trip.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Light in the River

Pamela K. Wiggins has never written fiction before.  I have read and enjoyed Life in the Family Lane and Breastfeeding: A Mother's Gift, as she is a well respected nurse and lactation specialist.  It was a pleasant surprise to found that Pamela had written a fictional story based on the history of where she lives in Virginia.

Light In The River is a wonderful story of two people living during the time of old plantations and slaves.  One, John Parker a wealthy plantation owner who treats his slaves uncommonly well and the other, Samuel, one of  the young slaves who had endeared himself to John Parker. 

This story spans the life of John Parker and gives great light to the times and culture of that era of both the plantation owner and his family and neighbors and the slaves serving the plantation and their families.  It was fascinating to read the story woven around this area of Virginia taking place before the “War between the States” as well as a few other surprises included in the story. I couldn’t stop reading this very interesting book and I found her narrations of the story very fascinating.

You won’t go wrong reading this delightful story. Here is where you can find her book : 

A Valentine's Day weekend

There are two anniversaries I was celebrating over the weekend. The first one is a great milestone!!!!  Thirty years ago I had been married to Robert Arthur Steimle for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple.  I couldn't believe it had been that long.  I realized it when January brought 2011 and that meant from 1981 it have been thirty years.  Quite a long time.

The other anniversary was of my present husband.  We met three years ago on valentine's weekend, when Mobile Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sponsored a Single Adult Conference for the whole area.  One hundred and thirty five people showed up Friday night and it was incredible.  What a great time we all had and that is where I met Jim.  Life truly takes you on many twists and turns.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Upside of Down

Rebecca Talley has a large family of her own and writes books.  As a mother of a large family myself and a writer of books, I can really relate to this new and up coming novel published by Bonneville Books-a subsidiary of Cedar Fort Books.
Think With Six You Get Egg Rolls or Cheaper by the Dozen only with a twist. The last baby she has is born with Down's Syndrome and you learn what it is like to raise a child with this challenge.  A very interesting story which is heart warming and inspiring.

A blurb from the back cover:

“Hmmm,” the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, “What does that mean?”
“You do know you’re pregnant, right?”
Her breath caught in her throat. “Excuse me?”
“You’re pregnant.”
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. “I’m what?”

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise—she’s going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn’t what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

Beloved author Rebecca Talley carefully creates this touching and heartfelt story that is sure to inspire you. With true-to-life characters and situations, The Upside of Down will reignite your faith and remind you of the importance of family.

I had the opportunity to ask Rebecca a few questions:

Steimle: Tell us a little about yourself.

Talley:  I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. I attended, and graduated from, BYU where I met my husband. He was the FHE “dad” and I was the FHE “mom.” We have been happily married for over 25 years and are the parents of 10 wonderfully creative and multi-talented children. We live in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, cats, a spoiled horse, and a herd of goats. It took me a bit to adjust to the rural lifestyle after growing up in southern CA, but I love living in the country.

Steimle: When did you start writing?

Talley: I started making books when I was a kid and I loved to write in high school, but I put writing aside when I got married and started having babies. I decided to get serious about it again in the mid-90s when the internet suddenly opened up a whole new world for me. I met other writers, took classes online, and read all I could about writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

Steimle: What do you like to do besides writing?

Talley: Eat chocolate, ice cream, peanut M&Ms. I love to go to the beach and swim in the ocean, but I only get to do that once a year or so. I also love to dance to disco music. I’ve recently started doing Zumba, a kind of Latin dancing/exercise program—lots of hip shaking. I love to go on dates with my husband and I love to play with my kids. I’ve also started making jewelry and flower barrettes with my kids.

Steimle: You newest novel, The Upside of Down, was released in January. What was the inspiration for this novel?

Talley: While I was watching the new version of Cheaper by the Dozen, I thought it would be fun to write a similar story set in an LDS household. Since I have a large family, I drew from many of my own experiences to create my characters and establish the storyline. I had lots of fun writing it, especially as I relived some of the funny things that have happened in our family.

Steimle: What do you hope people take away from The Upside of Down?

Talley: I hope people realize that no matter who we are, none of us is spiritually invincible. We all need to rely on the Lord, in good times and in bad. No matter how desperate a situation may seem, the Lord can lighten our load if we’ll turn to Him. The atonement is for all of us. And, even in the midst of trials, we can have peace.
 I also hope people will learn something from my book about Down syndrome and realize that underneath it all, we’re all children of God and we all deserve love and respect, no matter our chromosome count.

Steimle: Where can we purchase The Upside of Down?

Talley: Amazon carries it and it should arrive in LDS Bookstores soon.

Steimle: Thank you so much for the interview. Good luck with the success of this book.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog's Day

The children think it's a holiday from doing any school!!! Ha Ha.... They will be doing school just like yesterday was school. Although with all the snow over a large portion of the country...most schools are probably closed today. All that snow.
The ground hog did not see his shadow today....that means Spring should come in six weeks as the story goes. We shall see.....

Our friends Willard Mitchem and Pat Miller are getting married today. Their reception was last night... a little unusual but fun none the less. There was a bad storm with tornado warnings and the lightening caused the lights to go out in part of the building. That was interesting....then we discovered that the wedding cake had a ground hog bride and groom as a cake top. Pretty funny!!! Good luck to them both!!!!

Our newest member of the family is doing well. Sadie Marie Morris was born on January 27th and weighed in at 7 pounds 1 ounce. I'll post pictures soon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hometown Girl---Review

Written By Michele Ashman Bell

The second book of the Butterfly Box Series, Hometown Girl focuses on Jocelyn Rogers' life. Jocelyn inherits her grandmother's house in Milford Falls, Washington which is many miles away from where she lives in St. George, Utah.

The house must be taken care of or sold. Her butterfly friends encourage her to move there and start a new life. How will she survive? Who will she meet? With no employment or friends, Jocelyn must take a leap of faith to go. The time she spent there when her grandmother was alive was troubling and her family life was not happy. What will happen to her? A wonderful LDS romance story of taking chances, finding friends and forgiving yourself.