Questions and challenges (subtitle: Stuff you should do for me)

1. I’m new around here, right?  So I thought I’d be proactive about meeting new people, and I invited several neighbors to a murder mystery dinner party (like 16).  Unfortunately only 2 people even called me back.  The rest of them I had to go track down like a dork asking if they wanted to come to my party.  Luckily, once Sunday rolled around, I was able to see many of them at church and got some positive response, so I don’t think I have to worry anymore about having the lamest party ever known to mankind.  If you are my neighbor and you happen to see this post, and you think a murder mystery party would be fun, send me an email and invite yourself.  Seriously.  The more the merrier.  Has anyone else found the term RSVP to be universally ignored?

Oh, p.s. on the party stuff.  That How to Train Your Dragon DVD release party was the easiest thing I’ve ever done to get mom points.  Ten boys watched a movie and ate snacks.  That’s it, and yet, they raved about how it was the funnest party they’d ever been to.  So just know that a $25 party budget goes a long way toward making your kids and their friends think you’re some kind of miracle mom.  ??  Whatever.  I’ll take it.

2. Apparently, in Utah, family photography is a big deal.  In fact, when I drive around sometimes, I see random families all gussied up setting up benches and stuff in the middle of sagebrush fields, or wandering in the canyon with matching outfits and a dutiful photographer.  I guess it’s kind of cool and all, but maybe a tad bit overdone.  I mean does every family photo really need to look like you’re making an album cover or auditioning for a reality show called “Our Enchanted Life”?  Anyway, I need to get some family photos done that we can use in our Christmas cards this year, plus we’re just overdue.  However, whenever I try to look up local photographers, they have sitting fees of like $750.00.  !!!!  I am NOT kidding.  All I want is someone who has a camera nicer than mine (read: cell phone camera) to take photos of my family and come up with at least one good shot of all of us that we can burn on a CD and print as we please.  That’s it.  I don’t want to have to sell my van to afford these pictures.  I’ve propositioned friends and strangers, but no one wants to it hasn’t really worked out, and I’m starting to get a complex about how photo-worthy my family is.  Does anyone have any suggestions for me?  Please remember I have to be able to feed my family.

3. A reminder to anyone who participated in the General Conference Meme:  You answered a question about what you would (hypothetically) speak about in General Conference.  Write up your “talk” in 500-1000 words and email it to me by October 31 and I’ll publish them as a guest post.  I think we’d all love to hear each other’s insights about the topics we picked.

4. In the past, I’ve done a poetry contest every season, but I thought I’d shake things up a little bit and do a photography contest.  Submit a photo that best represents to you this quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard :

“Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.”

Choose any aspect of the quote to represent in photo.  You can find one from your photo archives or take one for the purpose.  Send it to my email by October 31 and I’ll pick my favorites for voting.  It does not have to be all beautiful or artsy, just a great representation of the quote.  For example, I might enter something like this:

I’ll probably post about the contest again to highlight it, but start thinking about what you could enter.  (“Our Enchanted Life” portraits need not apply. 🙂 )

5. I’ve been to 5 different stores looking for a plain black robe so Grant can be Harry Potter for Halloween.  No luck.  Any suggestions?  I wish I had one of our old graduation robes.

6. And just because I like to give back, have you ever made cookies from a brownie mix?  Well it’s quite easy and a nice, quick chocolate fix.  Brownie Cookies:

All you need for these cookies is one package of brownie mix, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of water, and 1/3 cup of oil.  Now, preheat the oven for 375 degrees F.  Mix the four ingredients together. Feel free to add chopped nuts or chocolate chips. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake them for 8 minutes.   (recipe source here)

p.s.  I’m pleased to know that our FHE debaucle brought joy to so many people.  Now that I wrote it, I can see the funny in it.  And I will definitely hold it against my children when they are grown and have children of their own.