Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Gratitude Challenge 2011

As 2011 comes to an end, our family Read President Henry B. Eyring's message, "The Choice to Be Grateful" and took the Gratitude Challenge we found in the December 2011 Ensign magazine. These are the 100 things we are thankful for:

10 Physical Abilities

  1. Climbing

  2. Walking

  3. Hiking

  4. Sight

  5. Jumping

  6. Hearing

  7. Sleeping

  8. Use Our Hands to Help Others

  9. Running

  10. Swimming

10 Material Possessions

  1. LEGOS

  2. Home

  3. Working Vehicle

  4. Pingpong Set

  5. Toilet & Toilet Paper

  6. Computer

  7. Telephone

  8. Books

  9. Sammy, Our Dog

  10. Photographs

10 Living People

  1. Grandma Laurie

  2. Grandpa Dana

  3. Grandpa Tim

  4. Baby Allen

  5. Wendi

  6. Brian

  7. Grandpa Lewis

  8. Elena

  9. Lana

  10. Grandma Valdez

10 Deceased People

  1. Grandpa John Miller

  2. Paula Cazier

  3. Adelle Glenn

  4. Gordon B. Hinkley

  5. Abraham Lincoln

  6. Melitta Allen

  7. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  8. Michael Jackson

  9. Roald Dahl

  10. Jane Weston

10 Things About Nature

  1. Mountains

  2. Trees

  3. Sunsets, Sunshine, Sunrises

  4. Clean Air to Breathe

  5. Chickens & eggs

  6. Clean Water to Drink

  7. Trails to Hike On

  8. Birds & Nests

  9. Butterflies & Bees

  10. Flowers

10 Things About Today

  1. Being with Grandpa Tim

  2. Sadie

  3. Being Together as a Family

  4. Playing Wii with Daddy

  5. Great Food

  6. Playing LEGOS with Madeline

  7. Getting Presents from Aunt Wendi

  8. Classic Rock & The Beatles

  9. Mousetraps

  10. Taking Time to Reflect On the Past and Plan for the Future!

10 Places on Earth

  1. San Luis Obispo

  2. Thousand Oaks

  3. New Mexico

  4. Dry Creek Regional Park

  5. Niles

  6. Barcelona

  7. Norway

  8. Great Jumps Sports

  9. Grand Canyon

  10. Shell Beach

10 Modern Inventions

  1. Computer

  2. Cell Phone

  3. Walkie-Talkie

  4. iPad

  5. Cars

  6. Internet

  7. Antibiotics

  8. Forced Heat & Air Conditioning

  9. Solar Panels

  10. Electricity

10 Foods

  1. Spanakopita

  2. Mommy's homemade chocolate truffles & raw chocolate mousse

  3. Smoothies

  4. Frozen Yogurt

  5. Oranges, Red Bell Peppers, Carrots, Cucumbers

  6. Tom Kha Soup

  7. Pad See Ew

  8. Lamb Gyros

  9. Cheesecake

  10. Avocados

10 Things About the Gospel

  1. Holy Ghost

  2. Missionaries & Going On a Mission

  3. God

  4. Jesus Christ

  5. Church Callings

  6. Service & Charity

  7. Hymns

  8. The Scriptures

  9. Going to Church

  10. The Temple

Here's to wrapping up 2011 with all we are grateful for as we look forward to a wonderful 2012!

Friday, December 9, 2011

House Soup 2011

  • 90 long days of escrow
  • 100 cardboard boxes, loaded
  • 5 dozen mice, freshly fumigated
  • 3 weeks living with family & friends
  • 30 gallons paint, VOC-free
  • 8 hot pizzas, delivered
  • 4 citrus trees, juiced
  • 1 contractor, strong
  • 1 cement pond, excavated
  • 2 backhoes, broken
  • 1 chimney, demolished
  • 10 pounds, lost
  • 15 driveway potholes, assorted
  • 4 gates, arched
  • 3 wood chippers, defective
  • 2 electrical panels, replaced
  • 1 huge yard, full of weeds
  • 24 fall veggie starts, planted
  • 3 Silkie chickens, laying
  • 29 window screens, custom-made by Dad
  • 4 feral cats, hungry
  • 3 neighbors, friendly
  • 1 giant cactus, blooming
  • 300 generous volunteer hours, donated by family & friends

Bring a large pot of home-purchasing plans to a boil in January. Searching diligently, season generously with salt and add a charming 1948, bank-owned house on a hidden street in Niles.

Make offers until the bank is as soft as butter, 2 months. If certain elements of the offer are still tough while others are tender, pull out the tender ones, and allow the tougher ones to cook another 2 weeks. It's really important to cook the offer until it’s lusciously soft, or else it will be countered by cash.

Drain the offer, saving about 1 month for FHA-loan approval and repairs. Then, engaging many volunteers, toss the contents of rented house into boxes and load onto moving truck.

Puree until smooth while you wait another 20 days for escrow to close. Have realtor taste for seasoning, and depending on quantity of paperwork required to secure the loan, adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.

Close on a warm day in July. Drizzle heavily with 5 months of labor. Sprinkle with friends, family and love. Serve alongside a platter of fresh garden vegetables. Enjoy!

It’s been a busy 2011, but we’re finally settling into our new home--please come by for a visit in 2012!


Abe, Janine, Natalie, Max & Madeline Weston

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Scriptures Are the Word of God

Hi! My name is Natalie and I am 8 years old.

Today, I'm going to give a talk about how the scriptures are the word of God.

Some places you can find the word of God are:
· the Bible
· the Book of Mormon
· the Pearl of Great Price
· the Doctrine & Covenants
· General Conference talks
· and church lessons

When I read the scriptures, I feel that God is talking to me. One of my favorite stories from the Bible is about the Talents.

I like that story because it teaches us a lesson. The lesson is, that if we have talents and we never use them, they all get taken away. But if we use the talents we have been blessed with, we will gain more talents.

The lessons we get from the scriptures are the word of God. I love the scriptures. I read them every day and bring them to church.

And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Peace Village--more than just an afternoon on the farm!

I've been told that for the San Francisco Bay Area, Fremont is rather "rural" as cities go around here...rural? I try to avoid driving around Fremont in the evenings and on weekends because I can't stand the traffic on the streets and the crowds at the shopping centers! Rural it may be in comparison to San Jose, Oakland or San Francisco, but Fremont is still a bustling suburb of the East Bay! Although I would prefer to live far out in the country, where traffic is unheard of and cows dotting the rolling green hills is a commonality, I have found pockets of peace and calm in my neighborhood where my kids and I find refuge from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area.--Peace Village is one such place.

On a weekly basis, my three children attend "Afternoon On the Farm" at Peace Village where they are free to work and play on an urban farm. This backyard barnyard sports fresh air, an organic garden, greenhouse, classrooms inside a historic red barn, wild vegetation, rabbits, chickens and goats--Peace Village is a haven for children who have enough concrete and steel playgrounds in their lives.

As a homeschooling parent, what I appreciate most about Peace Village is that while my children are benefiting from extended hours of enrichment, I am able to have some time to myself--a precious commodity these days! While I am recharging my batteries, worry-free, my kids are able to engage in interactive-play with other children while immersed in the highly-sensory farm environment. They play games, clean animal pens, do crafts, pet the goats, create forts amidst the trees, cook from the garden, hold the rabbits, plant seeds, feed the chickens and enjoy the sunshine. The staff at Peace Village are kind, creative and sensitive to the needs of young children. They serve as positive role-models and mentors while facilitating self-discovery experiences for young visitors.

With sparkling eyes full of wonder, broad smiles for new friends and squeals of excitement, my children delight in Peace Village.

If you're interested in learning more about Peace-Village, please contact: