Monday, December 26, 2011

Nothing Like It

There is nothing like settling down at the end of the day in front of a fire with some tea.

IMG_7050

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Carol of the Bells

Hark! how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, "Throw cares away."
Christmas is here bringing good cheer to young and old, meek and the bold.
Ding, dong, ding, dong--That is their song with joyful ring, all caroling.
One seems to hear words of good cheer from ev'rywhere filling the air.
Oh how they pound, raising the sound, o'er hill and dale, telling their tale,
Gaily they ring while people sing songs of good cheer Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas
On, on they send, on without end, their joyful tone to ev'ry home
Ding, dong, ding, dong.

 

Merry Christmas!! We have enjoyed this Christmas season with bringing joy to Kaelyn’s face with trees, gifts, family, and Grinch. Jared and I had many great Christmas-y discussions. I mostly enjoyed Kaelyn recognizing Jesus wherever she is and in whatever form he is in. That continues to be an experience that builds my testimony.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We had a Christmas Eve celebration with my family on the day before Christmas Eve because that worked out best for everyone. The evening was later than usual so we didn’t get everything done that we usually like to. However, it was great just spending time with each other.

And opening presents.

I was “official photographer”. I wish I had remembered to try diffusing the flash. Instead, I shot without flash, indoors, in bad lighting. In Manual mode. I’m proud of myself but I’m afraid many of my pictures aren’t very good. I haven’t really looked yet.

Pictures to come. Sometime. When I have time...

Friday, December 23, 2011

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

Did you know that you can make your own pumpkin pie spice and not spend extra money at the grocery store for something you probably already have on hand? I’ve seen a few different versions but as long as you use cinnamon as the main spice, you are probably okay. I’ll let you know my version which I thought was pretty tasty. Also, I only made enough for the recipe I was making but this would make a great gift if you made it in a larger quantity and packaged it in cute jars. Or keep it for yourself.

IMG_6775

INGREDIENTS NEEDED:

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger (we rarely use powdered ginger anymore—luckily I had just enough for my spice blend)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves (usually people put in less cloves than other ingredients but I like the taste and in this case I may or may not have accidentally grabbed the wrong measuring spoon)

 

IMG_6776

DIRECTIONS:

Mix together.

IMG_6777

And that is how you make pumpkin pie spice. Super easy. It took me longer to find the right spice jars and take the pictures than it did to actually make.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Questions

I thought about showing off my Christmas decorations and my thoughts about them this year. Then it got to be 10:30pm and I’m just sitting down for a breath. I’ve done enough stuff today that I feel like I can end my day. And I don’t want to take pictures of decorations. Maybe I’ll do them tomorrow. Maybe.

Instead, a friend posted this a while back. It makes for a nice easy post. (Have you noticed that I haven’t done the 30 Days of Me for a while? I got to the one where it said “a picture of you 10 years ago”. Still finding where those pictures are.)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. I thought of trying egg nog in a recipe this year but I’m not a fan of drinking it. And neither did I try a recipe with egg nog in it. Maybe next year.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa fills stockings. Presents under the tree are from people. And they are wrapped. Or in brown boxes or other mailing packages because we’re not certain if they are wrapped or not and we don’t want to ruin the surprise for ourselves.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  White all the way! I used to really like colored lights. My mom did lots of color growing up and I loved it. Now though I really like the simplicity of white lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. Although I want to in future years.

5. When do you put your decorations up? After Thanksgiving sometime. Growing up it was as soon after December 8th as possible. Everything came down by January 8th. Birthdays, you know. For me, even though Kaelyn’s birthday is Dec 12th, I think we can still make her birthday special and separate from Christmas even while decorations are up.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? The ones with food on them. Or drinks in them. Hehehe. I love wassail. And bbq little smokies.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Putting together Christmas puzzles, having a bajillion people over to sing the Messiah while eat food (and do puzzles)(and run around cuz we’re kids after all)(and yes, people ate AND sang the Messiah), and singing Fa Ho Foray around the Christmas tree before my dad cut it down. I can name three favorite holiday memories, right?

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Good question.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes. Christmas pjs! That was tradition growing up and we continue that now.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With decorations. I’m really not sure what kind of a question is this. Very vague. I posted pictures of our tree. There is a ribbon garland. Then ornaments. None of them are expensive. Most of them I got at the dollar store or Christmas clearance. A few were gifts. Our tree topper is my Christmas moose. Maybe one year we will put something else up there but probably not. I love him up there! I add some ornaments to the tree each year. This year I cheated. I added ornaments that I used last year but they were in a vase.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? LOVE!! Even if it means that I have to drive all the time.

12. Can you ice skate? Not well. I don’t think I’ve been ice skating since my very first date when I was 16. The back of my ankles were rubbed raw from the skates afterwards. (Maybe I have been once or twice since then.)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No. I don’t remember hating gifts though. If I looked back at pictures, I could probably remember the gifts. But as my trainer hears every week “what DID I do over the weekend?” when it is only Tuesday. I used to have such a good memory too.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Feeling like it is Christmas. There are a million things that make that happen. My mom was wonderful at it. It will take me many years to reach that level.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Another good question that I don’t have an answer for.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Making Christmas cookies. Every year we all got to pick a cookie recipe that we could make. That is 9 different kinds of cookies. We would put together packages and then carol to the people my parents home and visit taught as well as those who were in the Stake Presidency.

17. What tops your tree? Oh, I already gave this one away. A moose tops my tree! Jared likes it too so we probably won’t change it.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I like both. Equally. Is that bad?

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?  I like the look of candy canes. And I don’t hate the taste, I just can’t handle too much sweetness and I’d rather have cookies than candy.

20. Favorite Christmas show? Miracle on 34th Street, Muppet’s Christmas Carol, White Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (Ha, I don’t care that it only asked for one. I can answer how I want to!)

21. Saddest Christmas Song? Christmas Shoes kinda makes me sad.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Growing up it was O Little Town of Bethlehem. Then it changed to O Come O Come Immanuel when I learned a fun version by Mannheim Steamroller (and Josh made me play it over and over again—good thing I liked it).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Happy Fitness Moment

During my personal training session today, my trainer had me do shoulder lifts. That is not the correct name and a horrible description of them because you don’t actually lift your shoulders at all. But you are working your shoulders...

WHAT YOU DO: Take a resistance band, stand with both feet on the middle of it, and hold a handle in each hand. Usually he gives me the green band. Today he gave me the red band which is harder than the green band. Then with a slight bend in the elbow, you raise your arms not quite straight out to the side. Kind of in front but mostly to the side. Yeah, horrible description. You raise your arms only as far as you can WITHOUT your shoulders lifting. Repeat. I did sets of 12 except on the fourth time through the circuit (circuits are a set of exercises you do a set of each before repeating from the beginning) when he had me do 10.

The exercise right after this one with the red band was almost exactly the same but with three differences. 1) He gave me the green band. 2) I couldn’t stop and had to move quicker. 3) I had to do 20. All four times through the circuit.

Usually I’m just facing wherever but today I happened to be facing a mirror. Instead of thinking my usual “gee, Suki, you can only lift that far—you’re pathetic”, I immediately thought “HEY LOOK—DEFINITION!!!!”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good Customer Service

Since I wrote about bad customer service last month, I thought I could write about a good customer service experience today.

One of our cats has fleas. Molly, my mom’s kitten, brought them to us (yes, way back in October). I first noticed them mid-November. Actually, I noticed flea dirt but didn’t have time to look closely. A few weeks later (beginning of December), I remembered I needed to look but then didn’t see fleas. But definitely saw flea dirt. Then December was so busy and I didn’t do anything about my poor kitty.

Today Jared said that he thought maybe Kara had a food allergy because she has also been throwing up frequently. (We are certain it is her rather than Jaeden.) And then it happened. I found a flea on me. Twice. Probably the same flea since they were within 5 minutes of each other.

I did just a little bit of reading to make sure my knowledge of how to handle fleas was, in fact, accurate. It was. But I also learned of another pet store in the area that I hadn’t heard about but sounded like a place I’d like (for pets). I headed to the nearest store for a flea comb. They didn’t have it. So I went to this other store. Since this is a good customer service story, I will reveal the name of the store. Good publicity is always welcome, right?

Pet People had awesome service. I didn’t want to spend time looking for a flea comb so I just asked someone. He showed me and then we spent probably 15 minutes talking about fleas and food allergies. He answered my questions and was really knowledgeable about it all. A lot of the information I knew already but he had some good suggestions for me to try.

I will be switching over all my business relating to cats over to them. Hopefully they carry the litter my cats like. If not, we’ll be trying another brand. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Numbered List

1) Tomorrow is THE LAST choir performance of the Christmas season. Don’t get me wrong. I love singing Christmas music and I love bringing smiles to those who are in nursing homes and may not get to see a lot of people. However, we had nine performances this season and everyone (at least the young moms who carpooled together and hence talked a lot) wanted to be done at seven.

2) I started running again! (How many times have I taken breaks from running whether because I had to or because I was lazy?) I decided the best course of action was to start at the very beginning of the C25K program. It is really hard to feel like I went backwards but hopefully it will only go upwards from here. Today I ran W1D2: 8 1-minute runs with 1 1/2 minute walks in between.

3) Kaelyn chose to watch Grinch over Elmo. She also started walking around with her hands behind her back. I was perplexed where she got that from until my dad suggested the Grinch (at that time, she had only watched it once or twice).

4) Straight No Chaser’s version of the Grinch song has a really, really, really, really low bass singing melody. It makes me positively giddy!

5) I AM TIRED.

6) I have kept up with the dishes. Mostly. And I have a ton of clean laundry to put away.

7) We think one of our cats is having a food allergy.

8) We are shopping for a couch and already have a favorite picked out although we will still take one more day to bum test them out. (And seriously, I felt like I was in a recliner half the time because a lot of those couches are super deep. My tush only went halfway back on the cushion!)

9) We’ll be moving Kaelyn to a toddler bed ASAP. But only if ASAP means sometime in January and maybe even February because that’s just the way we roll.

10) My cousin, Emma, who has been in the hospital for over a month, is getting stronger every day! She has a long recovery ahead of her and progress is measured in terms of months.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1 Nephi 15:23-24

And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?

And I said into them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

IMG_6752

SNOW!!

Most of the day included whispy flurry snow that didn’t stick. But it was snow! My life is complete. Christmas may now happen.

Then we got to our church building for a Christmas dinner. The snow stuck over here! Yay!

IMG_6753

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kaelyn’s 2 Yr Dr Appt

Weight: 25lb 7oz (25%)

Height: 32 1/4in (20%)

TB test results: don’t have ‘em yet, not worried

Finger prick results: hemoglobin and iron levels good

Three shots: Uhhhhh, yeah, don’t remember which ones, but she did really well

She wanted the finger bandaid off but I asked her to wait a little longer. She looked sad but then went back to playing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Found the Culprit

One of the reasons I gave up on my garden this year was because plants were starting to disappear. Not completely but they’d be chomped down. Clean off. My little watermelon included that I was so looking forward to! And not only my garden but so many of my little green plants out front were chomped down too.

We were so confused! Who was doing this? Definitely not rabbits. We took care of that problem long ago. Maybe the ninja squirrels? Although a watermelon seems pretty large for a squirrel... and what would a squirrel want with my green plants? THAT could have been the bunny though... they were working together? My mom suggested a deer but we’ve never seen any in our neighborhood.

That has been remedied.

Jared: Suki! You gotta look out the window. There’s a deer in our yard!

IMG_6645

And not just ONE but TWO stinkin deer. Mystery solved. My garden is doomed.

IMG_6648

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wahoo!!

Totally exciting news! We have been looking forward to this day. (Actually, it was four days ago.)

Our car is paid off! We own it! It is completely ours now! (Our black car, not the van.)

 

HOORAY!!!!

 

And this is our second debt paid off for the year. Check mark completed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. How lovely are thy branches! How not so lovely are the pictures. But it was a fun experimentation for me. Bonus points for me! I took pictures in MANUAL mode on my point and shoot camera! I still don’t understand what in the world I did but that’s okay. Right?

12 - December1

These aren’t even all the pictures I took. I deleted at least twice this amount.

12 - December2

Camera settings. Um. 1/30 (shutter speed?). f2.8 (aperture?). iso 1600. I think?

IMG_6736

I was fairly pleased with what I came up with. We already know I am not a photographer. And then I took one last picture. And played with a few settings on the computer.

IMG_6738

I adore how this picture is warmer than the rest of them! So cozy. And of course, my precious little daughter. Now the rest of them seem lacking.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Kaelyn

My sweet girl. :)

Her doctor’s appointment isn’t until Wednesday. Can’t wait to see how much she has grown! In numbers...

We had lunch at McDonald’s today because she has been asking for fries. She let me put her hair in pigtails. She slept during a quick trip to the grocery store which took longer than necessary because I was carrying her. She had so much fun with her cousins and aunts and uncles and Grandma and great grandparents who came to her birthday “party” and then to my choir concert. We had chili for dinner and chocolate cake for dessert. Uh, no, I didn’t get a picture of the cake. It just wasn’t picture worthy. But it sure was tasty.

Kaelyn has 11 teeth and another one sitting right underneath the gum. She has tons of facial features and talks with her hands. She prays on her own and usually has all the important elements: Heavenly Father, bless the food to make us strong, bless {insert several names which usually vary and can be anyone from Church or family or anyone else she may know}, Jesus Christ, Amen. She loves puzzles. She can sing her ABC’s. She can count to 10. Sometimes she can go to 20. She loves to read. She loves to run in circles. She loves her daddy. She points out buses and trucks and cars. She loves to sign—she works really hard at getting the more complicated ones like airplane. She is very polite for a child. When someone sneezes, she says “bless you, {insert name of person who sneezed}”. When she bumps into someone (or they bump into her), she says “sorry” and moves out of the way. She frequently says thank you and you’re welome. She says please voluntarily but when we prompt her to say please, she signs it. She loves taking showers and baths. She asks to go to the gym. She loves Sesame Street—especially Elmo. She is super good about not getting into the Christmas tree or the presents. She still doesn’t sleep through the night but 95% of the time is in her own bed. She loves wearing necklaces. Her most said phrase is “be right back, stay here.”

And now for the picture portion.

IMG_6657IMG_6658IMG_6659IMG_6663IMG_6675IMG_6680IMG_6685IMG_6692IMG_6695

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Omni 1:26

And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Movies

I have a few movies I love to watch every Christmas season.

The Muppets Christmas Carol---My youngest brother, Josh, would watch this movie frequently growing up. Often it was really late at night. Each of my siblings and I can quote and sing this movie like the back of my hand.

White Christmas---More singing and dancing. And snow, snow, snow, snow, snow!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas---When we would pick our Christmas tree, we stood in a circle and held hands while singing "fa who foray, da who doray, welcome Christmas, come this way" or whatever variation of lyrics as came to us. We were popular among the shoppers. Or maybe just weird.

Miracle on 34th Street---I like them both but the girl in the 1994 version is really cute. I have always enjoyed this movie. We just watched it tonight. Loved it as usual.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Short and Inconsequential

Yesterday, today, and part of tomorrow has been spent on the farm. My sister asked for organizational help and I can provide that. It is proving to be quite the experience. And I’ll for sure need to come back to finish up.

Hope your December is going well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Questions with Answers

Answers from Josh, Kimmi, Lindey, and Suki

Q: Which shoe do you put on first? Whichever shoe I pick up first. Yeah. Whichever shoe I pick up first but probably predominantly left. Umm...

Q: If you had to choose between not washing your bed sheets or not washing your bath towel ever again, which would you choose? Bed sheets. Bed sheets. Wait what? Bed sheets. Bed sheets.

Q: How do you eat your cookies? With my hands and my mouth. With milk. Soft and gooey. I bite into them. I just eat them. With my mouth.

Q: Do you scrunch or fold your toilet paper? Fold. Actually I wrap. I wrap too. I do both of those things. And sometimes I wrap. Wrap. Kaelyn scrunches.

Q: Have you ever stuck a foreign object up your nose? A pencil. A penny. I don’t know—just stuff. Tissue.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If she's gonna be whiny...

Lately when something is done that annoys Kaelyn, she just says "please!!" and holds out her hand for stop.

At least she is polite about it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Music

The first Christmas song that Kaelyn learned was You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

My community choir is singing that song this year. But we are also singing 6 other songs and I probably sang them all equally. Yet it wasn’t Rudolph she cared about. It was Grinch. She asks for Grinch. A lot. It’s actually pretty funny that it’s her favorite song.

She also doesn’t care about watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Unless it is that song.

Jared and I started singing tons of other Christmas songs to try to encourage her to know more. She picked a second favorite: Jingle Bells.

Otherwise, she could care less.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yeah...

I had a picture and a post all ready in my head to blog tonight. And then my computer doesn’t want to connect to my external hard drive where my pictures are.

Lame.

So instead I will... hmmm, I got nothing tonight.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scripture Study

In testimony meeting today, somebody said (like many people say) “I would like to bear my testimony.” And I thought to myself “I would not like to bear my testimony, but the spirit would like me to.” Now I feel very bad that I could not find the courage to get up—not just once, but twice. I have been thinking a lot about how you can miss some of the most important revelation if you do not respond to and write down the first smaller impressions. How, then, could I not take the opportunity to respond to the prompting to bear my testimony and miss anything that might come from that? This is so far from comfortable for me so even if I am hiding behind my computer screen instead of standing in front of my ward, at least I am still responding to the prompting. And I can be a little bit more verbose.

I have never been good at studying my scriptures. Except for when I was at BYU-Idaho and I was so surrounded by wonderful people and teachers and activities that kept me centered on the gospel. I have always felt like I could never attain true studying of the scriptures. Well, if I at least read them, that was good enough, right? Better than not at all. But I would always feel a twinge of guilt when I heard “study” or “learn” or “feast” or anything like unto it.

Sometimes in my studies, I would come across a phrase that would repeat itself to me throughout the day. Was that studying? Sometimes I would focus on applying just one thing to me. Was that studying? Sometimes I would mark my scriptures. Sometimes I would keep a scripture journal. I always felt like I was lacking. I found myself praying—almost to the point where it felt like begging. “Please, please, please, plleeeeeeeease help me learn something today.” This would lead to a cycle of something breaking my reading streak and then me taking a while to get back to reading daily. I did not like this and something had to fill the missing piece.

A few weeks ago, I came across a resource that just amazed me. She was who I wanted to be like in terms of studying the scriptures. And she showed me the way. One thing she wrote was “You probably think that you can’t do this—but you’re wrong. You can. It takes time and it takes practice. You can do it.” Everything that I felt was a struggle for me was answered in her.

Since that time, I have been putting her and her tips to work in my personal scripture study. Could this really be the missing piece for me? Would this teach me how to fish so I could feed myself for eternity?

I was up reading one morning when my mom called. I realized what time it was and that I had been studying for 45 minutes. That was such an amazing feeling. That was when I knew that I could do it for myself. My testimony of scripture study really grew that day and continues to grow as I recognize the changes in my daily life just from going from reading to studying the scriptures. I thought I would rely on studying examples of how to study the scriptures for a long time, but I’m not.

I always knew that reading the scriptures helps us strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Now I know that studying the scriptures deepens our knowledge and understanding of how to live our life and how to reach our goal of living with God again. It gives me a daily peace that if I am doing the things that take care of my family’s spiritual needs, then it is more okay that I didn’t get to all of our physical wants. (Is a clean house a want or a need?)

If any of you want, I would love to hear how you structure your scripture study. What do you find works best for you? What are the struggles you face with young children? What are the struggles you face just ... because?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Shopping

Who is smart and does their Christmas shopping year round? Not me, that's for sure. I had started a few months ago.... Not sure why I didn't continue. We got some shopping done today. I think Kaelyn is set for both her birthday and Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mariella’s Tag Blanket

Valerie, my oldest sister, asked me to make her youngest daughter, Mariella, a tag blanket. Mariella loves to stick stuff—especially fabric—in her mouth. I was happy to oblige. This was my first tag blanket. Easy peasy!

12 - December

It is less than a square foot. And as you can tell, it’s not exactly even the whole way around. But Mariella sure loves it!

IMG_6520

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December!

Now that it is December, I can blog about Christmas stuff! It just didn't seem right to post about it in November. But we'll start those another day.

What does December bring for you this year?

My community choir had its first performance of the season today. Could have been better. We've done worse. So a success? Note to self: don't forget the black hose again. Nylon socks, actually.

Other events in December: Kaeyn's birthday, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Messiah sing along, uhhh... Okay, so not much.

Oh! I get to put together a prize pack for one of my sister-in-law's contests. I'm super excited.

Maybe I'll get pregnant.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Torte

Yum. Double yum. I actually could only manage a small piece, but the missionaries each had a second serving. Kaelyn of course devoured it.

I found this recipe via Pinterest. The recipe and better pictures can be found here. I should have let the ganache get all the way smooth and then cool down further but... we were impatient. It still tasted yummy.

11 - November

Monday, November 28, 2011

Write Away

Do people associate good editing and critiquing with good writing?

What I mean is, do people expect someone who has can edit and critique better than the average person to be good at writing?

I have mentioned before that my sister-in-law is a published author. Her three published titles have all made the New York Times Bestseller’s list. I run her contests for pay and I monitor her Facebook page for free. I have been a part of Colleen’s journey from the very beginning including being a part of her early readers group which involves editing and critiquing. I am interested to know what editors of publishing houses are thinking when they are editing. Sometimes the ideas I hear from Colleen that they present to her is very ridiculous. Sometimes they are good ideas.

There are a lot of people who post about how Colleen inspired them to start writing especially when they hear her story and about how she was not a writer. Somebody recently posted that their first chapter and asked for pointers. I asked for what kind of pointers she wanted and went from there. Somebody else saw my comment and asked if I would do the same for her.

I don’t know if either of these two know of my connection or not. If they do, I wonder if they think “she helps Colleen, she must be awesome”. If they don’t, well, I don’t know what they’re thinking. Either way, they asked for very detailed critiques like what Colleen gets from me. I hope they remember that they asked for it.

I do not consider myself a writer. At all. Perhaps it is because I know very good writers and don’t consider myself on par with them. I certainly don’t consider myself a novelist. I cannot think through story lines and create the challenges and happiness and resolutions that a plot needs.

I can, however, tell you if that probably isn’t a good idea. Or if your comma goes there or not. Or if your idea is good but your writing just is terrible. I have discovered that while I do not know everything about punctuation, I guess I know more than others. (Having a degree and working in office management might have something to do with that.)

Where am I going with this...

I guess the bottom line is that I’m grateful that I know people who know where commas go. And who can write well. And type well.

I know some talented people! My sister-in-law isn’t the only person out there. My mom recently wrote a story of a boy who is visiting his grandfather who has Alzheimers. “No matter how slowly my feet go, the sun climbs high into the sky.” A friend (um, acquaintance? We have conversed very seldom) self-published her book earlier this year and I just finished reading it. Well done, Juliann. My sister writes reviews that never fail to make me smile.

Of Jamie’s review on Jane Eyre:

There is also the dis-jointed structure of the book, which can't seem to make up it's mind about what it is exactly and loses track of it's horror elements here and it's romantic ones there. The first third of the book can be skipped without loss, and the final resolution is delayed while the plot skips off into the heather for a while.

These are just a few of those talented people. If I didn’t name you... well, too bad for you. ;-)

(Wow, in going back and reading this... I swear, I didn’t mean to sound conceited.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Alma 37:36-37

Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be direted unto the Lord; yea, let the affections o thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Another Favorite Book Genre

I neglected to mention one of my favorite book genres when I listed several of my favorite books.

Cookbooks.

When I was pregnant, Jared would say that it was obvious that I was pregnant when I went to bed with a cookbook (in my defense, it was approaching Christmas and I had gotten this little cookie book). He has frequently said that he’s never met anyone before who read cookbooks like novels. Now he’s met two: me and my sister, Jamie.

Nana gave me a Taste of Home magazine today. It is their 2011 Best Holiday Recipes so it is thicker than their regular magazines. And like any good cookbook, there are plenty of pictures.

I have already started reading it and one of the first recipes is for homemade cranberry juice. I immediately thought of Jamie. She’ll be getting one of these too (and you too, Valerie) and I think Jamie will quite like to try this recipe.

The first recipe I opened up to was pear mushroom strudels. Looks so good with phyllo dough, cheese, almonds... (and mushrooms and pears).

I really need to not have so many cookbooks. I don’t use them all. But I sure love looking at them! Pinterest doesn’t help at all either. My food board has 411 pins right now. At least I can say that I HAVE tried at least 2 of those pins. That’s a big 0.005%!! At least until I add some more pins...

Friday, November 25, 2011

2011 Turkey Trot

My long-time readers might remember that my family ran in a Turkey Trot last year while on Thanksgiving vacation to Branson, Missouri. It was our first ever and was 5k. You can read about it here if you don’t have anything better to do if you want.

I’m pretty certain I have mentioned that a few short months ago I got the brilliant idea to make it a family tradition and run a 5K again. Mom said yes. I looked and found the Columbus (Ohio) Turkey Trot. Mom was the one who caught that it was not a 5K. Good thing we knew that before the race.

I saw this status on Facebook. Mom: We need to decide soon. It’s only two months from now. Kimmi: Wait, two months? Mom: Today’s the 24th and Thanksgiving is the 24th. Kimmi: Don’t we have two weeks to think about preparing?

So Mom and I trained for a 5 miler. Dad and Kimmi thought about it. Josh never did. Jared and Lindey agreed to the walk & talk 2 miler. I hurt my leg and had to take it easy for a few weeks so my longest run prior to the Turkey Trot was only 2.88 miles and that was only the Saturday before.

Thanksgiving came and we arrived at the Turkey Trot. Next year: get there just a little bit earlier. Registration was a pill. They had four different lines but were expecting more than 5000 participants. Numbers 1-1000 went to same day registrants. 1001-2999 had two lines. 3000+ had one line. It was one very long line. People were in the registration line still when the race was supposed to start. Including me (and my family). The race started. And we were still in line. And THEN my number didn’t exist or was given to someone else. So they had to get me another number. And they ran out of shirts but gave out vouchers so we can still get them.

Someone said “hurry up, you probably won’t be timed anymore but soon they’ll start the 2 mile walk”. We started running. We let the walkers ... walk.

Mom was ahead of us. Dad was behind us. Josh, Kimmi, and I stayed together the majority of the time. We ran. We walked. We sprinted. We didn’t die. We might have almost died. But we didn’t. We talked. We had fun. We talked with other people. Dad passed us. Dad passed Mom. Dad went out of sight. We caught up to Mom. Passed Mom. Mom passed us. Repeat. And then Mom was just ahead of us.

When we were between miles 1 and 2, we saw people already on their last mile. Disgusting people.

When we reached mile 4, Josh ran ahead. Josh passed Mom. Josh went out of sight.

Kimmi and I finished. That’s about all we can say about that. Mom finished far enough ahead of us that she was ready to take a picture of us finishing. Yeah. It helps that we weren’t thinking of this in terms of “run the whole thing” but rather “don’t fail”.

The only report I got from Jared and Lindey was “It was fun.” And “Kaelyn was distraught once we got in the van.”

I just now decided to look up if we got timed after all. Check it out. The “place” is according to time, not when you actually crossed the finish line.

Dad finished 3680th – total time 59:05 – pace 11:49

Joshua finished 3870th – total time 1:03:16 – pace 12:40

I finished 3983th – total time 1:07:47 – pace 13:34

Kimmi finished 3984th – total time 1:07:50 – pace 13:34

Mom finished 3997th – total time 1:08:27 – pace 13:42

Jared finished 680th – total time 41:11 – walking

Lindey finished 681th – total time 41:12 – walking

We hope to do more races throughout the year instead of just on Thanksgiving. We’ll definitely be “racing” next Thanksgiving though!

And I still hope to beat my dad. I think it is totally do able.

IMG_6429IMG_6430

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has had a wonderful day filled with great memories to look back upon. My day included a Turkey Trot, hosting a brunch, and then traveling to my grandparents house. Oh! And working on a puzzle.

Ten things I am thankful for (not necessarily my top ten):

1. Family. Jared and Kaelyn make my world!

2. Books. I’m happy that I live near a good library system.

3. Scriptures. They bring me such comfort and strength when I need it most.

4. Music. It is a integral part of my life.

5. Creativity. I love being able to do... stuff!

6. Technology. I’m sure I could live without out it, but why?

7. Wellness. Going to the gym, eating healthy, and having fun!

8. Sleep. Especially when it’s a stretch of 6+ hours.

9. Freedom. It is so easy to take for granted and think that we don’t have any.

10. Vacations. Even if I’m still a mom on vacation, at least it’s a change of scenery.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Memorizing Music

Last year I was invited to join a community choir called “The Entertainers”. The promise of Christmas music made sure I was there.

The Entertainers is a group that has been around for 50ish years and has gone through various name changes. Currently we are all women but they have had males in the group occasionally. They have two “seasons”. Christmas and Spring. We take the summer off.

Over a period of three weeks, we perform 8 or 9 times. Mostly in nursing homes during the day but we always do a family concert on one evening. (So, if you have nothing better to do on Dec 12 at 7pm, let me know. You should also probably be in Ohio. Sorry, out-of-staters.)

We memorize the music. Usually we have 8 or 9 songs. This time we only have 7 but one of them is something like 25 pages long.

Although I’ve been listening to Christmas music on and off since Halloween (I mean, more steadily since I tend to listen to Christmas music year round if the mood strikes), Kaelyn has picked her first favorite Christmas song. This is now what I hear when we get in the car and the practice CD comes on (and I just got this CD on Monday, mind you)...

“Mommy, I want Grinch.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bad Customer Service

We all have those experiences when you swear that customer service really should be renamed customer avoidance. It’s especially annoying when service is usually pretty good. Or at least as far as you can tell.

I went to a clothing store today which I shall not name because I see no point and I don’t really want to slander them. I found one item I wanted. I found another item I wanted but not in the right size. I asked a sales associate if he could check if they had the right size in the back. He said “yes”, took the item, went to the register computer, and then proceeded to ring up a customer’s purchase who was standing in line. I proceeded to stand there and watch him help four more people. Not wanting to deal with Kaelyn who was getting antsy, I grabbed my choice #2 ad got in line. Thankfully I didn’t get him but I was hoping that I would get one of those random “hey, here’s a survey link” printouts.

Nope. I didn’t.

But you can bet that the manager of the store will receive a phone call or email from me.

Anyone else have customer avoidance stories to tell?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grocery Shopping with Daddy

Jared took Kaelyn to the grocery store today. I gave him an extremely short list and said “fill in where you’d like” knowing full well that I could expect that anything goes. He did a good job.

Jared related this story to me upon their return.

I handed Kaelyn the grocery list and asked if she would hold it for me. She opened it {he motions here that she put her finger to her cheek} and said “Chocolate milk. 5 chocolate milk!” A lady nearby said “Oh, that’s so cute!”

At least he only bought a small carton instead of a full gallon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Putting Puzzles Together

Something you may not know about me is that I love puzzles. In my family, anything less than 1000 is... well, boring and easy.

My mom invited me down to help with a puzzle. She is participating in a service project that involves a shelter and toys and games. My family has a ton of puzzles but we don't want to give them any puzzles with missing pieces.

As we are working on a puzzle, Kaelyn eventually came over and wanted to help. "Puzzle! Want a puzzle!"

And she placed pieces and pushed them against the edge so they "fit".

She got my genes. :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Family at the house!

My dad flew in from his week at work today so my family drove up and we all had dinner together. Crock pot beef stew. Yummy. Then my parents left while my siblings stayed here. We played games. And talked. And laughed.

We are hilarious.

I won’t ruin it by trying to recount how. Just know that we couldn’t breathe.

Does anyone else sometimes have to cough when they are laughing so hard they can’t breathe? And when they do cough, they have mucous bombs going off in their throat?

My hair is all crimped today. It’s an extreme rarity for me. As in... this is probably the first time I’ve done it. Jared came home and said it was pretty. That means a yay for me! Kaelyn also told me my hair was pretty and that she loved it. It’s so cute to hear her say things like that!

Little Miss Kitten is visiting tonight as well. My cats still can’t stand her, she’s still super cute, she’s roaming my computer desk....... she is better at jumping into laps, and she has a name! Mom just named her today. Molly. My siblings say “We suggested so many names! Some of them were actually good too.”

Remember. We are hilarious.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 9 of 30 Days of Me

Day 9: Something that makes your life easier

There are so many things that make my life easier. My power drill, my planner, my phone, my husband’s two jobs, people who take time to share their amazing talents...

I’m really happy for the power drill because I just put together nine storage cubes, three of which had three drawers each. It would have taken me probably an hour to put just one of those cubes together if I were using a manual screwdriver. But with my power drill, they were done in 15 minutes! (The scraper also made my life easier during this process, but my hand is sore now.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's mid-November, everyone!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week? My choir only has two practices left (and almost no one has started memorizing)? The Christmas season is almost upon us? Kaelyn turns two next month? And then it's a whole new year?

What does everyone think about Christmas cards/newsletters/pictures nowadays?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Happy Things of Recent Note

I found some lovely storage for my studio today! I started putting it together while dinner was cooking. Can’t wait to get more of it done tomorrow. This is much needed storage as my crafting/sewing area is a total disaster. And pretty ugly looking. I can’t say it will be all pretty with this storage up but it will be less ugly.

There are some personal training sessions that I am really thankful that I only meet with him for a half hour once a week. Today was one of those days. 3 sets of 5 exercises (some of which varied). I struggled through it all. The first exercises was walking lunges while holding a weighted ball in front of you (arms outstretched). On the down lunge, I had to turn towards the “open” side. So when I step forward on the right leg, I move the ball and twist my torso to the right. The ball was only a six pound ball... I never claimed to not be a weakling! On the last set, I had to hold the ball over my head—arms straight was the goal. That so didn’t happen. I didn’t have to twist though which meant the lunges went faster. I finished... but the last three steps were a killer. Oh, and sometime during the half hour, he says to me “You’re not as talkative as you usually are”. And I’m preparing for another exercising trying to catch my breath that was being so very elusive today. He was quite pleased. A couple weeks back, he accidentally set the weight to be heavier than he intended. I thought it felt heavy but hey, he’s the trainer and maybe I was just feeling tired. When he realized what he’d done, he said “Well, that’s a good discovery”. Since then he’s increased the difficulty of the sessions. Near the end of today, he said “If it’s any consolation, this is significantly more difficult than a couple weeks ago. You’re doing really well. Much better than many other people would have done.” It wasn’t much of a consolation in the moment, but it does make me very happy. By pure luck I had decided to double the amount of protein shake to take to the gym today. I’ll still be super sore tomorrow but I’m really growing to love these sessions.

For a few days we thought Kaelyn was asking for an animal show when we would sit down to watch some television in the evening. Then I connected “eemols” show with her “eemols” book. Elmo. Not animals. I promptly set Sesame Street to record once a day, every day. While we tried hard not to push her towards Elmo or anything else for that matter, one of her youtube videos has ducks and Elmo. And she has always loved her lift-the-flaps Elmo book. Now she can watch Sesame Street after her nap while I’m making dinner. It is SO NICE. Except I miss what Sesame Street was when I was a kid. It is definitely not the same.

Last night we let Kaelyn decide what we’d have for dinner. Her choices were pizza, bbq, or sandwiches. She loves pizza but she was really cute when she said barbeque so we got that. Jared went to get it (City Barbeque—he loves it) and Kaelyn went with him. By her choice! Usually she wants to stay with me (or go with me) but we love these moments when her love for Daddy really shines through. (And I get a bit of a break!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Yes. It is Skyrim.

The last Elder Scrolls game (Oblivion) was one of the games that Jared had me try that I really liked. Right. Read “practially the only game that Jared had me try that I really liked”. World of Warcraft is the other one.

What really got me into Oblivion was that you could do SO MUCH. It wasn’t all questing. I liked that you could pretty much do whatever you wanted. I was totally one of those people who picked up EVERYTHING to sell. I whimpered if I had to drop something because I was over my carry limit. I did all the sides quest lines (Thieves, the Brotherhood) before really doing the main line. And then I didn’t even finish the game. I was pretty close when Jared finished and had me watch the ending scene. For some reason... I just didn’t want to finish after that.

When Jared first told me about Skyrim earlier in the year, I said “we’re getting that”. Wow, it’s expensive. I could do a lot with 60 buckaroos.

I won’t go into the story line because you really don’t care. In fact, you probably don’t care about this entire post (so why are you still reading?) but I’m writing it anyway.

Jared has played it just a little bit and our playing styles are definitely different. Jared picks the occasional flower he sees. If I see it, I pick it. I pick them all. And you can even catch fireflies and moths and butterflies! (Yes, that deserves an exclamation mark. Geek much?) Jared is cleaner when he fights. I’m like “hey wait, where’d you go?” and “who’s hitting me now?”

Hey look. It’s my character! I’m a wood elf and my name is Aryn. A bow is my choice of weapon and that should be no surprise to those who know how I play.

IMG_0342

I can tell you right now that my house will be so much cleaner on a daily basis because of this game. It will be far too easy for me to just play the game and wait, where’s Kaelyn? Okay, really, that is so not truth. I am not an ignorant gamer parent. But my plan is that the game is my reward. I have a list of several things I want to be a daily habit. After I do those several things, I can play the game.

I will be playing this game for a loooooong time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Game

Jared bought me a game today. The end.

Friday, November 11, 2011

ChiRunning

As I sit here tonight thinking of what to write, I just draw a blank. It seems like these moments are happening more frequently than they used to. Kaelyn didn’t want to take a nap and threw a wrench in my usual routine.

On the up and up though, I started running again today. The only exercise I did for a week was foot circles, foot flexes, other stretches... and meeting with my personal trainer. Now my leg pain is completely gone and I purchased new running shoes. I also read ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer. I am going to give it a try. Well, I already started to give it a try today. And I have to say... if you try ChiRunning, make sure you do your prep work before you try to run. I worked on stuff at home before going in and I think that helped.

The basis of ChiRunning is that running doesn’t have to hurt. Humans are built to walk and to run and it shouldn’t hurt us. Also, you run with the same cadence no matter what speed you go. Speed comes as you lean forward and take longer strides.

So today I focused on two things: maintaining good posture with my feet landing in the right place in relation to my hips and shoulders and running at the same cadence. Danny says every cadence should be in the 85-90 range (meaning your right or left leg should land on the ground 85-90 times a minute). It’s easier for me to run with one beat per leg so that ups it to 170-180 range (plus, then I can listen to upbeat music). That is the goal. I chose to start at 160. Each week I’ll increase the speed by one click so that I’m not straining my body.

After a 5 minute warm up, I ran until my body said “you probably should stop now” and then had a 3 minute cool down. The running period ended up being 10 minutes. I was shocked that it was that long because it didn’t really seem like it was. The other reason I was shocked was because 10 minutes just a few weeks ago was really tough because of my leg pain. Amazing what you can do without pain.

I still found myself doing some of the at-home exercises throughout the rest of the day. I’m really getting the feel for what it should feel like whenever my feet touch the ground. I also practice picking up my heels. And relaxing my foot while going in a circle (like pedaling a bike except with no bike and just on one leg and not going anywhere). Working on these things while not also running will help it come more naturally when I do run.

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve done a very tiny bit of painting. It’s not done yet but here is what my sister’s table currently looks like. I was going to start working on the top but my printer’s color ink cartridge decided to stop having one color. Please ignore the horrible quality of the picture.

IMG_6384

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 To Do List RECAP

It is November 10th and I was thinking about the items that I wanted to get done this year. I have more done than I have said that I’ve done so I wanted to quickly list what I have done and what I haven’t. My comments in italics.

HAVE DONE

1. Blog more. <—I have most definitely done this.
3. Start a garden. <—Yup.
4. Figure out a schedule that works for us and we will maintain with minimal convincing and hair pulling.<—I’m not actually sure what I meant by this but I really like our current schedule so I guess I’ve completed this
5. Get Kaelyn to sleep in her own bed again. <—She is a pro at sleeping in her own bed! And not only that but she is putting herself to sleep now! This is such a big relief. Only very occasionally is she in our bed at all and its usually the times when she gets really scared or doesn’t like something that I have no control over.
6. Get Kaelyn to sleep the whole night without waking up. Update. <—This happens very rarely... but it has happened and I’m just glad that she doesn’t wake up nearly as often or require my attention as much. We’re still moving towards this goal though. She doesn’t get any drink when going to sleep for a nap. The next move for me is to eliminate at night and when I can do that, I’m sure that she will stay asleep.
9. Make huck toweling towels (aka, cloth paper towels). <—Done.
10. Make and hang curtains for Jared's office. <—They helped over the summer too. Jared took them down for the winter (lame) but hey, I made them.
17. Prune our cherry tree. <—Granted I didn’t actually do it but someone did and that’s good enough for me.
21. Fully refund our emergency fund. <—Done.
22. Finish Mom's regency coat. <—And so lovely too!
23. Learn how to make cha siu bow dough. <—And they were so delicious too. Next I need to get a better steamer and they will turn out awesome, I’m sure.
25. Continue running. <—I did continue running. And now my goal is to continue running. My leg is better though so that should be soon.
26. Get rid of the big pile of sticks in my backyard. <—Another “I didn’t do it but someone did”.
30. Build a night stand for our bedroom. <—Okay, I confess. While the goal was to build the nightstand, I bought one instead. It was cheaper than building and although it’s not perfect (aka, still not painted), it is functional.
32. Organize my fabric. <—It’s not ideal storage or organization but it is still done.
33. Make cloth napkins. <—Um. I didn’t realize this was on here twice but we use the huck toweling (#9) as cloth napkins. When we use napkins.
41. Get my tail bone checked out. <—There are times when I miss my chiropractor...
42. Be brave enough to make a fish dish.  <—Not only once but TWICE. And I ate it both times.

18 out of 42. Um. 43% done. And 85% of the year is over.

 

HAVE NOT DONE

2. Start a compost pile. <—This one will still get done this year. We made a garbage can change that forces us to get this done.
7. Get pregnant. <—The year’s not over yet...
8. Make cloth sandwich/snack bags. <—I probably won’t do this one. Maybe in another few years.
11. Make and hang curtains for guest bedroom. <—I have everything I need. I just haven’t done it.
12. Build my desk. <—I got a desk for free but I haven’t painted it yet.
13. Build bed frame for my bed. <—This one won’t get done. Tear.
14. Build bed frame for the guest bed. <—This one won’t get done either but I’m not as sad about it.
15. Reattach the leg to the piano. <—I need to buy a clamp...
16. Finish Kaelyn's felt animal set. <—I‘ve been working on the nativity instead... why didn’t I put that on my yearly list?
18. Obtain shelving for food storage. <—We are severely lacking in this department overall.
19. Move our washer and dryer to nicer location. <—Laundry will be nicer when this gets done.
20. Pay off two debts. <—We’re so close!
24. Organize my recipes better. <—Um. I’m closer.
27. Find a handle for our sliding glass door. <—Notta one.
28. Build a coffee table. <—Not yet.
29. Build a night stand for Kaelyn's room. <—I have a nightstand. It matches the one in the master room. However it is being utilized downstairs. And is unpainted.
31. Build a night stand for guest room. <—I used to have a nightstand for this. I used it for a little table for Kaelyn though.
34. Do a complete rehaul of our 72 hour kit. <—This one should be easy! But we haven’t done it.
35. Frame and hang the big mirror for the living room. <—It’s in the master bedroom right now. I need a full length mirror I can hang on the wall. Then I can hang this mirror in the living room.
36. Hang the big clock in the living room. <—I haven’t done it yet because I haven’t decided whether or not to paint it. Why that stops me from hanging it, I don’t know.
37. Build a mantle for the fireplace. <—I haven’t decided what type of mantle yet.
38. Build a bookcase for my music. <—Nope.
39. Learn about basements and how to care for it. <—I have learned a little bit about basements. Just a little bit though.
40. Acquire more comfortable seating. <—This should read “different” instead of “more”. And no, it’s not done either way.

Considering all the other things I have done that are not on this list, I still feel like I’ve done a good fair bit. And that I know better what to put on my list for next year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our New Callings

A few weeks ago, Jared and I received new callings in our ward. Previously I was 1st Counselor in Young Womens and Jared was 2nd Counselor in Elders Quorum.

On the off chance that there is someone reading this that has no idea what I’m talking about, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve in different capacities. The Bishop (the local leader of your congregation) extends callings to different people and you may find yourself a Primary (sunday school for children) teacher one day and Sacrament organist the next. Sometimes you’re in a calling for a long time and sometimes not so long.

Jared hasn’t officially been released from Elders Quorum yet but they said they would. Maybe they were just kidding.

Our new callings are 11 year old scout leaders. Kaelyn gets to come with us because I am so not paying for a weekly babysitter when Jared and I are not going on a date.

We attended our first scout meeting tonight. It was the last one to be combined with the Gahanna 11 yo scouts so we got to be eased into it a little bit. That was really helpful because they pretty much said “will you serve as...” and when we said “yes”, they said “Good! Take this training and fill out this application.” One person didn’t know what to tell us and the other would have given us far too much help if we had asked.

I purchased the handbooks we needed a few days ago and read through a lot of them. I read more today and am feeling like I have a grasp on what needs to happen. I expressed my concern about how I thought this calling might go with me doing the bulk of the work. Jared suggested we plan on Sundays because that is generally a good day (ie he rarely has to work on that day). Yay. :)

We only have one scout! He’s an awesome kid. Can’t wait to get to know him better. He turns 12 in April and the next boy to turn 11 isn’t until next October. Maybe some people will move in the ward!!!

I’ll miss my young women for sure. Scouting is an area of the Church that I have not yet been privileged to serve in. Bring it on! (Oh, and if you have ANY advice, please leave it!!!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8 of 30 Days of Me

Day 8 – Something you hate

Raw onions! I hate them. I hate the smell of them. I hate the taste of them. I cannot eat them at all.

Dill pickles! I hate them. I hate the taste of them. I hate the taste they leave even when you pick them off. I cannot eat them at all.

If I had to choose between raw onions and dill pickles... I’d starve. I’m pretty sure of it. Or I’d dehydrate because I’d throw up everything plus some. I may dislike fish, but at least I will eat that (and have—TWICE this year).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pinterest 11.06.2011

We could all use a laugh and a smile every once in a while. I have a board on Pinterest for when such a moment is needed. Here are some recent images that make me smile.

cars

Who is not going to do this when it snows?! It is sure to bring some happy smiles to many people.

cat

This is so my cats!!

fbi network

I’ve seen some pretty sweet network names. This one is up there.

xmen

Who doesn’t love Patrick Stewart?

whale

This is my sister. It would entertain her endlessly.

If you click the pictures, you will be taken to the source.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ugh

My computer is giving me the fits and isn't wanting to work with pictures AT ALL. Instead of getting super annoyed, I'm going to bed.

On a happy note: Jared did some stuff in the kitchen and then looked towards me and then looked beyond me. "Those blinds really do look good." Happy face!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I hung some blinds!

I’m closer to less naked windows in the house! I told you about my quandry here and then showed you my “plan” for hanging the blinds high here.

Today I can tell you that two of the five blinds are hung! Jared was able to hold the blinds up high for me to mark where the brackets should be hung. I definitely eyeballed it when it came to centering it and I did pretty good. I pseudo measured how far from the ceiling they were so all the blinds could be hung at about the same height.

Complaint: The directions are crap. Complete crap. I put it all together according to the instructions and that part was bad enough but then there were eight pieces + six large screws + 4 small screws left over. Having non level ceilings and studs in different places everywhere didn’t make it easier. But seriously... write better instructions, mkay?

I figured out where six pieces went. I expected to have extra large screws because you use different amounts of screws depending on what type of mount you are doing. The little screws belong to the remaining two pieces and I sort of know where they go and their function but we decided to not do anything with them.

Jared says the blinds look a little crooked from the ceiling but level from the floor. Then again, my top stripe in my family room also looks crooked from the ceiling but I promise you, it is not. Unless my leveler is lying and I don’t think it is.

IMG_6372

These blinds are HEAVY. I mean. I can lift them just fine. In fact, I did ALL of the installation of these blinds except for when Jared held them up for me to mark. But when you go to open or close them, they are quite heavy. But they are faux wood blinds and are 72” long. We will probably shorten them but for now, we’ll leave them as is. By we, I mean me.

IMG_6377

Look at those windows. Brown on the inside, white on the outside... Drives me nuts! And from the outside, it’s all white. Anyway, you can see that we hung the blinds higher than the windows. And you can also see that I haven’t cleaned up all any of the drywall dust. (Isn’t the wall color so pretty?!)

IMG_6379

This picture didn’t want to turn out so nice. It really does shut out a lot of light! And since we only have a few indoor lights (one lamp for the family room and the one overhead light in the diningcraftsmorgasboard room) it’s really important that we have enough light in the evening. Which we didn’t feel like we were getting. Until tonight! Even with just two blinds installed and shut, we felt like the light was so much brighter indoors.

Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before we hang the remaining three blinds. Maybe I can convince Jared to help me do one per night. (He’s just holding the darned thing. His part is like five minutes.) I love the change that it brings! It helps make the rooms feel more done despite the craptastic mess everywhere.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kaelyn Sings

When we picked up our daughter from Amy's, who was watching her, her dad asked "does Kaelyn know I Am A Child Of God?"

Big cheers to Kaelyn!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Green Smoothies: Recipes

Perhaps I should title this “guidelines” instead. I don’t profess to know everything about green smoothies but the little bit that I know, I’ll pass along to you.

1. Go to the store. The Farmers Market or something like that would be even better but sometimes the store is just more convenient. And I say that it’s better to have any fruits and veggies than none so let’s go with it.

2. Buy some fruit and greens that you like. Do not buy starchy vegetables. Starch + fruit = unpleasant feelings. Examples of greens are spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, carrot tops, celery. Fruit examples are bananas, pears, apples, pineapple, honey dew melon. If you choose things that you already like, chances are that you’ll like it when you blend them together.

3. If you’re still not sure about it or if you haven’t had very much fruits and greens in your regular diet, start off slowly. Your body needs time to adjust. Try maybe 3 parts fruit to 1 part greens. My very first smoothie was 3 bananas, 1/2 head of romaine lettuce (red leaf), and 2 cups of water. I think I did that two days in a row. It makes 4 cups (1 quart) and took me about an hour to drink it. While I was washing dishes, making K’s breakfast, etc. Then I started branching out. And did you know that the water you add to your smoothies can count towards your daily water?

4. Get a little bit more adventurous. I had some leftover celery (by some, I mean nearly the whole bag because I buy it for a meal or two and then have all the rest of it that sometimes goes bad because I don’t like it plain). Day 5 (I think) smoothie had carrots in it. Bad idea. I do not like carrots in my smoothie despite liking them plain. I drank as much as I could of it but ultimately did not finish it. Day 8 smoothie was 3 stalks of celery, 4 kiwis, 1 banana, and 2 cups of water. I learned that 3 stalks of celery was a little too much for me but still drinkable. The next day I tried celery with other things (probably bananas and lettuce)(or kale) but this time I only used 2 stalks. Perfect.

I just got a water bottle thing that was $2-3 and held 1 quart. Now I make my smoothie, pour it all in there and just drink when I’m ready. I might get another one to store for later in the day. My midafternoon snack seems to be begging for a change. Just make it easy for you drink.

Set yourself up for success and you’re more likely to see success.

Another benefit shout out: I can’t contribute this just to green smoothies because working with my trainer and exercising certainly had its part as well. A little over a week ago, Jared mentioned to me that my stretch marks were going away!! I hadn’t noticed but we’re always more critical of our own bodies. I was really glad he told me and that there was any change to notice!!! Now when I go to the gym, I take a look at myself in the full length mirrors and think “I don’t look so bad after all”.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Green Smoothies: Benefits

I’ve been reading Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko and next on my list is Green Smoothie Revolution by the same person (but more recent and way more recipes). Robyn Openshaw is next on my list.

A little side note: reading reviews sometimes really make me laugh. Apparently, one cannot crave greens without being a weirdo. Granted she specifically said “wild weeds” in her book but there are a lot of wild weeds that are good for you. And free. Hey, look at that. Free food. A lot of people eat lambsquarter. Free wild weed. And really good for you. Another common complaint was that she was really enthusiastic about it. Well... yes. Hence the book. If you’re looking for a scientific detailed nutrition book, don’t read Victoria Boutenko. But if you just want a quick read about green smoothies, go for it.

Moving on.

For those people who care about the US government’s food plate, green smoothies definitely help you get your recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies. And if you don’t care, green smoothies still help you get your veggies and fruits.

It’s a great way to start your day. It helps wake me up.

It gives me energy. Kaelyn still wakes up at night and even if I’m in bed for a really good amount of time, waking up is still draining. Green smoothies helps bridge that energy gap I was lacking.

Breakfast is yours all yours. At least it is for me. No one is begging to eat my food (although occasionally a family member has asked for a taste).

It helps your bowel movements be healthy.

It can decrease unhealthy cravings. Since I thought I was wanting a certain food (and we had it) only to realize that that is not what my body was asking for at all. Once I ate some honey dew, the heaviness and sick feeling that was settling in my stomach went away.

If you’re horrible at remembering side dishes or veggies at dinner, that will probably change. More and more lately, I have found myself thinking of fresh foods and wanting to include more of them in my family’s diet.

You snack less.

They’re super easy to make. If you have the right foods in your kitchen and a blender that doesn’t suck.

There are two benefits that I was not at all expecting. I used to drink a workout drink before a cardio workout. It is called Access by Melaleuca and it is designed to help you fuel your workout with your own body fat. It also helps keep your energy level up by blocks adenosine and it takes longer for you to feel fatigued. Once I realized that my energy had increased, I did a little self test and didn’t drink any Access for a few weeks of workout. And then I tried drinking it again to see the difference. I didn’t notice a difference in fatigue or energy levels. I did notice that my stomach didn’t love the Access. I’ll still use it if I ever workout in the afternoon but on a regular basis, I don’t need it.

And the last benefit to talk about is that for a few months now, there has been this rash thing on my leg. Just one leg and just in one spot. It would itch. I would scratch. It would bleed. It would start to heal. And then itch again. Even if I didn’t scratch, it wasn’t going away. I was about to see a doctor about it when I realized that it was going away and hadn’t bothered me since starting the green smoothies. Now you can still see where it was but it’s more like a scar than actually being there.

If you have tried green smoothies and have seen other benefits, let me know!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Green Smoothie: First Tastes

My first smoothie was basic. 1/2 head of romaine lettuce, 3 bananas, 2 cups water. Blend. Drink.

IMG_6117

First thought: Ooooh, my blender works sooo fast and is sooo pretty!

Second thought: Oh. Em. Gee. This is a lot of smoothie.

Third thought: It’s kinda warm... and I feel like I have to chew still.

IMG_6118

I’m used to making smoothies that fit in one cup. Or two cups so you can share. Or one really big cup. Green smoothies are meant to be 4 cups. This I did not know. Now I do.

I’m not sure why I expected it to be cold... I didn’t put any ice or anything in it. Probably because my regular smoothies contains frozen fruit and yogurt.

Kaelyn tried some. This was the only time she wanted to try it. Now she’s never awake when I make them but I don’t think she was too fond of feeling like she needed to chew her liquid lettuce. Oh wait, that was me.

IMG_6120IMG_6122

Monday, October 31, 2011

Green Smoothies: Why

A few weeks ago, I replaced my blender. My old blender was given to me by my sister, Jamie. It was 400 watts and drove me nuts whenever I used it for smoothies. Which was just about the only time I ever used it. That is a rate of 98% annoyance. I’m allowing for the slight off chance that I actually used the blender for something else.

I bought a pretty little ninja. Out of the options in my price range with the minimum wattage I needed wanted, this one looked and felt the best. Vitamix was a little bit out of my price range. The ninja boasts of six blades and 1000 watts. And it works like a dream. Assuming that you have nice dreams that go smoothly.

My old blender went back to Jamie whose blender had just died.

IMG_6114

Pretty, right? All parts (except the base) is dishwasher safe but I prefer to hand wash it still.The handle is hollow and water and other food bits can get into it from the bottom so I’d rather just keep it out of the dishwasher.

I got this blender because I was going to start having smoothies for breakfast. Every day. Green smoothies, actually. I didn’t want to fight every day with a blender for a task that should take 30 seconds but was instead taking 5 minutes.

There are a few reasons I decided to start drinking green smoothies. 1) I needed to increase my veggies & fruit intake. I was close but close isn’t there. 2) Because of my increase in exercise, I was always hungry and struggling to feel satiated. My trainer thought it might help me. 3) The increase in exercise but not an increase of sleep (as in sleeping through the night instead of being woken several times) was an energy drain. My trainer thought it might help me. 4) A friend had started a few months ago and couldn’t stop raving about it. 5) It was an excuse for a new blender.

I’ve heard many benefits of moving towards a raw foods diet. I’m not sure that we’ll ever be there but it certainly never hurts to take a step in that direction. I’m a fan of foods as close to their original state as possible. That doesn’t still mean that I don’t like eating anything else. Because you’ll still see me with Little Caesars pizza and Olive Garden breadsticks and thoroughly enjoying them to. However, what I eat on a more regular basis is what I’ve been focusing on. Breakfasts and lunches are the two meals that I will make something different for me than for anyone else. Mostly because Kaelyn rarely eats breakfast when I do anyway and Jared takes care of himself. Dinners are a family affair and we’ll all eat the same thing. Having a smoothie for a first meal made the most sense. It’s harder for me to forget about it and if it’s supposed to help with energy than that’s when I need to drink it.

It’s been two weeks since I started and I’ve developed an opinion about them which I will graciously share with you over the next few days. Tune in tomorrow to find out what my very first green smoothie experience was like!