Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bianca's Beach Band Shack, an entrepreneurial enterprise

For a month now, Bianca's been planning which business she's going to open for her school's mall. Everyone in the fourth grade had to come up with his or her own business plan, set up shop, and parents were invited today to come and shop!

Bianca used a bunch of mussel shells she collected two years ago on our vacation to Maine and created little musical instruments--Sea Shell String-a-lings (which she added little rubber bands to them so they you can pluck to make music) and Mussel Maracas (which she filled up with beads and superglued together). I thought it was brilliant.

She started off pretty optimistic with the prices she was asking. It didn't take long, though, for her to realize she'd have to lower her prices if Bianca's Beach Band Shack was going to be a successful enterprise (see scratched-out prices on photo below).

The parents were given free money, and I was able to shop and shop. I bought some instruments from Bianca but also bought some book marks, flower hair clips (which Bianca bought also, which is evident in the photo), rock animals, candy, a hand-crocheted scarf. Every time I turned around, teachers were giving me more money to spend. I wish shopping at Southtowne Mall were more like this.

What a fun way to teach children about starting a business!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Witches Brew

Portia's preschool did a Witches Brew etiquette luncheon instead of a typical Halloween party this year. They were supposed to wear their best dresses rather than a costume. They had a five-course meal and Portia was escorted to her seat by a gentleman.


They used fine china.


Portia tried a pickle and says she liked it, although she wouldn't eat one for me at home.


They drank out of goblets.


Portia loved the chocolate-covered strawberry and she will eat those for me at home.


Here's Portia's cute preschool class.



I love my Portia!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bianca's Trophy

On Friday, Bianca came home from her chess tournament with a trophy for first place of all the fourth graders. She was so happy.

Piano Challenge #3: Serenade by Franz Schubert

The next song in the piano book I'm trying to conquer is Serenade by Franz Schubert. I really like this song. About a year ago, when I went to see "Young Victoria," this is the song that was played throughout the movie because Schubert was Prince Albert's favorite composer. I loved the movie because it's a clean, sweet story of true love in marriage. I even bought the DVD for both my mom and my mother-in-law for Mother's Day last year. I enjoyed learning to play this song.

There is a part near the end where I pretty much botch a couple measures but I'm hoping if you watch that you'll lose interest by that time.

Another interesting note: A couple months ago, Bianca's piano teacher told her that she tends to lock her fingers when she's playing. I realized I have the same problem. It's pretty apparent in this video. I don't know how to undo this since I've been locking my fingers my entire life.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


When I was a kid returning home from a family summer vacation, I was always shocked as we rounded the curve of our street that our house was still standing there. A fire hadn't burned it down. I don't know why I felt it was miraculous that my room was still where it should be, and my things (although not put away) were where they should be.

This September, the day after we arrived in Florida for a Quigley family reunion vacation, Eric received this picture on his phone from his friend Tim who was taking care of our animals:

He asked if we wanted him to grab anything out of our house for us. We laughed. Then a couple minutes later, I started to panic. There really was a fire in Herriman and we were hundreds of miles away. We stayed up most of the night watching the progression of the fire as it made its way over the mountain near my house online and talking to our neighbors on Facebook. More neighborhoods and streets were evacuated each time. It was coming closer and closer. Most of the people on our street evacuated, although it wasn't a mandatory evacuation like most of the other streets nearby.

I began to think how relieved I was we weren't there (so we didn't have to try to find a place to stay or breathe in that smokey air), all the while feeling helpless that I couldn't save the things I most wanted to keep from burning. This put a lot of things in perspective for me. The things I most wanted safe were photos of Miranda that I could never, ever get back. And our musical instruments--especially Bianca's cheap viola from China that she's completely attached to and her much more expensive cello. Our pets of course. I told Eric to ask Tim if he wouldn't mind grabbing my books for me (all 500-700 hundred of them, I'm not even sure how many there are). Of course the books are replaceable. And I wouldn't even mind rebuilding our house. In fact, in a way, I thought that'd be kind of fun.

I couldn't sleep most of the night. Around 2 a.m., I saw an update on ksl.com that said fifteen houses in Herriman had already burned and the fire was still going strong. The next morning, the news said it was only three had burned. A miracle really.

And when I saw photos of the mountain all black and so, so close to houses, I agree that it was a miracle that more houses hadn't burned. I'm sure a lot of prayers had been issued forth that night. I know my own were mingled in amongst the others. The wind had turned and headed the other direction, which if you know Herriman, you know that's really rare.

The next morning, we got up and watched the news online some more, then got ready and headed to Disneyworld. It was strange to be hundreds of miles away in a place where we were supposed to be having fun, all the while thinking of my home by the minute and wondering if everything would be as it should when I returned. In some ways, I kind of wished I could have been out in the yard with the neighbors watching the fire creep over the mountain and be nearby to grab those things that were most important to me. But then again, I had what was most important to me within my grasp.

As we pulled up to our house a week later, there it was, as it should be. Upon entering, I was relieved to see everything in its place. The air smelled a little smokey; there was some ash in crevices on the front porch and the garage. But I was home and this time, it really was a miracle that it was still standing there.