Book Review Series: The Cookie Companion, a Decorator’s Guide

cookie companion cover

I grew up learning that royal icing is something so impossible to deal with, that only the Martha Stewarts of the world should dare attempt it. I am decidedly not Martha Stewart. In fact, growing up as a Young Woman, I would always make my best friend, Kate, do my piece as well as her’s whenever there was a craft planned for the weeknight activity. It was just going to be cuter that way, and she could whip up two crafts in the time it took the rest of us mere mortals to make one.

So I approached The Cookie Companion with a bit of trepidation. The cookies featured in this book are “ADORABLE” as my five-year old exclaimed when she saw the book, and I’ll admit to dreams of grandeur where I make up my own cookie bouquet as a thank you gift (do you know how expensive cookie bouquets are?!).

Author, Georganne Bell, starts off with the sentence, “Cookies are kind of fantastic.” That easy-going and enthusiastic tone goes on throughout the book, which is good because when it came time for me to tackle the dreaded royal icing, I was able to stop and take a deep breath, channeling her wise words, “Getting the right consistency of icing before you start decorating will be the difference between things ending in tears and ice cream pity parties—and cookies that make you so proud you can’t help but throw open your door and show them to the world.”

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Teaching, No Greater Call: Using the Scriptures Effectively

hey-girl-a-feminist-hermeneutic-of-suspicion-uncovers-new-understandings-of-the-bible-and-me-thumb“I know this passage is really long, so I’m going to go around the room and have each people take two verses so we can get through it all.”

This is the kiss of death for my ensuing participation in Gospel Doctrine.

There are many beautiful passages in our scriptures. Some are long, most are short (I think that’s why they’re beautiful—articulate, succinct, with imagery that touches my heart in just a few phrases). There is never a reason to have people go around the room reading scriptures unless you’re trying to kill time.

Have you ever heard the adage, “Show me, don’t tell me?” I think this applies doubly when it comes to using the stories in the scriptures for teaching.

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Beginning Conversations with Children about Pornography

I didn’t think about pornography much as a teenager or young adult. It was difficult to find when I was growing up. Internet browsers weren’t around (really) when I living in my parents’ home, and I liked to keep rules…no way I was going to look at someone’s yucky magazines.

I was well into my 20’s at my first exposure to pornography. The more I talk to others, the more I realize how rare that is. An innocent search of the comic book characters, X-Men, can shock a poor 10-year-old, and the misspelling of “boobs,” may be all that protects a curious 7-year-old. (“We just couldn’t figure out why there were like 10 entries in the search engine for “big bob.” Who is Big Bob?!)

So, I’ve had hard time figuring out where and when I start to teach my children about avoiding pornography and what to do when they see it. But, more importantly, how do I help them not feel shame, thus making it more likely for them to hide it?

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Just Ask or the Most Important Thing I Learned During My Time as an Exponent II Editor

fmh coverI’ve learned much during the past 6 years working as an editor for Exponent II, but I wanted to share the skill that I felt has been most important for me.

I learned to just ask. Ask for help, ask for essays, ask for people to do permanent difficult positions for free, just ask because when they say, “no,” at least I knew I had done my best, and when they said “yes” wonderful things came about.

I believe that there is a part of Mormon culture, at least in the United States, that teaches women not to ask. Mormon women are taught to wait.

  • We wait for callings.
  • We wait for a man to call for a date…or to ask us to marry them.
  • We wait to see if we’ll need that career since stay-at-home motherhood is the ideal.

What happens if we’re not attracted to men? If we aren’t given the opportunity to serve in callings that help us grow and satisfy us? What if we want careers in addition to or instead of motherhood?

I don’t think that waiting is an explicit message we are being given at church. It’s insidious side effect of patriarchy in our institution, and it is something we need to push away.

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