Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown Review

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown was very similar to his other Robert Langdon books (Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code). A race against time, a psychotic pursuer, hidden codes, architectural symbolism... these three books all have a very similar "formula". Which made this book a little predictable. There were still plenty of "Aha!" and "Ooooh, that's what that means" and "hmmmmm, very interesting" moments, but I do wish the story line was a little more surprising.

I've been sick the last few days and this book was the perfect companion as I laid on the couch wrapped up in a blanket. I read it pretty quickly - in just 2 days - it was hard to put down :o) I definitely recommend it.

The book was plenty exciting and I enjoyed all of the discussion of symbolism found in our capitol (I'm sure there is already a "Lost Symbol" tour of Washington D.C in the works). The discussion of the Masonic culture was interesting - especially their belief that we have the ability to become like God and that the Bible is a treasure trove of knowledge (both of things spiritual and things temporal). It's discussion of Noetic Science has sparked my curiosity and I'm definitely going to look into it more (does thoughts really have mass, does the human spirit really have mass, can you really visualize healing power...)- SO interesting! It's always fun to read his books, because he usually does hit on some gospel truths (which is always nice to see in pop culture). There are definitely things that are not compatible with the gospel, which, thanks to the gift of the Holy Ghost, are very easy to discern.

Dan Brown's method of taking facts and extrapolating from them is always polarizing and it will be interesting to see what people to have say about his latest work. I haven't searched out anything yet, but I'm sure that there are already people debunking some of the claims that he makes in The Lost Symbol. But, putting that aside, it was still a great fiction book.

My Grade: A-

Fun and Easy Fall Craft

I am pretty much obsessed with Fall leaves - I absolutely love them! Last year, Hunter and I collected a bunch, only to see their colors fade and watch them dry out and fall apart. This year I had a plan...

Over the last couple weeks, Hunter and I have been collecting leaves as we've been out 'n about. Once we got them home, I heated some paraffin wax in my double boiler and we dipped the leaves in the wax. We set them on a sheet of wax paper to cool (which took all of a minute). Hunter loved helping with this - we did it every day for a couple weeks and it was all he could talk about.

The wax prevents the leaves from dying out and preserves their color. The colors do darken some - they don't stay quite as vibrant, but it still works pretty well. Here's a shot of some of our leaves:
Pretty fun huh? It is a wonderfully inexpensive fall decoration. We've got our preserved leaves spread across our mantle, and I have to say, I'm very fond of it:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fred's 28th Birthday

WOW! Am I a lame blogger or what?! I'm just really finding it hard to find time to blog. We've been up to a lot in the last month, but you certainly can't tell by looking at this blog. Rather than doing a tiresome catch up post, I'm just gonna jump back into the present and hopefully keep a better track record from here on out.

Fred's Birthday was last Friday. Hunter made a cute birthday banner for him - I helped him write out all the letters (I put down dotted lines and he traced over them with his crayons). The writing turned out a little light, so it would be hard to see in a photo, so I'm not going to post one. But, Hunter was SO proud of himself - it was very cute. In fact, even after spelling out "Happy Birthday Daddy!" he wanted to keep tracing letters, so we pulled out one of his Hooked on Phonics workbooks and did some more in there.

Friday night I surprised Fred with a night out. I arranged fro Ryan and Alexis to come over and babysit so we could go out on our own (it's been MONTHS since we've done that). I even managed to keep it a secret so it really was a surprise - which is amazing for me, I usually have a spacey moment and blow it. We went to dinner at Red Robin (he had a free burger coupon and he LOVE the bottomless fries).

Then we headed over to JCPenny. I had 2 $10 off coupons, so we split up and bought something for each other. We put a cap at $15 (only $5 after the coupon). It was a fun challenge. Although Fred was upset at me because I wouldn't allow him to use some of his birthday money to buy me a $30 skirt. He did get me a nice button up shirt - it was originally $30. And I got him a purple, black, gray and silver striped tie - it was originally $30 too. We each spent $5.33 (with tax) out of pocket - what great deals, huh?!

After our "shopping spree" (which it kind of was for us), we headed over to Payless shoe store. This was during the 50% off Oprah coupon event and Hunter needed new church shoes, so we decided to get some. We waited in line for 45 minutes! There were so many people there. We had a great time talking to everyone in line that it wasn't that bad at all. We were probably the only ones buying 1 pair of shoes - I would've loved to get more, but we just don't have the money right now.
Here's what we were able to get for less than $20 - Originally these items would've totaled over $80 wtih tax (Sorry the picture's so dark):

While it was a really simple date night, just the fact that we had a date night was SO wonderful.

On Sunday, we had a big birthday dinner as well. We invited over Jillian, Ryan and Alexis (and Maija), Mike and Alicia (and Katie & Ethan), and our neighbors Jade and David Griffith (and Ezra & Eli). Ezra was sick, so he and David didn't come, which was sad because Hunter loves Ezra. But, he had so much fun with Katie anyways. We had a big dinner with Allison's Brisket, blue cheese mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus and broccoli, salad, rolls, wassail and other drinks too. For dessert we had brownie sundaes. Fred REALLY wanted to play games with everyone, but it never happened. The kids were so crazy and with daylight savings, the kids were tired "earlier" so people had to head home before we could get out the games. We still had a great time talking and hanging out. We'll have to have a game night some other time just for Fred.
Unfortunately I didn't think about taking pictures. I did snap this one of the kids trying to grab the DVD logo on the TV as it bounced around the screen. At first it was just Maija and Ethan mesmerized by it and trying to grab it, then Katie got in on the action too.

Overall, I think Fred had a pretty good birthday. It was fun to turn the spotlight on him - he's so great a taking care of all of us that it was nice to give a special couple of days. Love ya babe! xoxo