Sunday, September 11, 2016

Poisoned by my own sweet presh-

Today Charles offered me granola that had walnuts in it without thinking. And now I'm dead. Wait, no. I'm not dead, because here I am writing this blog. Whoa, that was a close one.

Well, today is another day like many others. We attended a sacrament meeting to hear a talk given by a girl named Sophia, that is going to Japan on a mission. She leaves Tuesday. It was a great talk. Before her talk, I noticed the two babies in front of us. And the other baby they announced that had been birthed this week by someone else. I might have started crying. That proves I should always bring tissues in my bag. I was without and sniffled for a bit. First world problems.

I never know what to say when people ask us how we're doing. We are doing well. Nothing terrible is happening with us, so life is great.

Yesterday I had a fun beach day with my friend Bre. She has a sweet wind tent we always set up on our beach days. It was a beautiful day. We remembered to apply sunscreen so nobody got Boom- Roasted. We stood on the water's edge as the kids ran around in the surf. The 1.5 yr old girl grabbed my face as she sometimes does, and squeezed the life out of it. I now have a crescent shaped scratch under my eye. She is sweet. We will not let her hold any puppies in the near future.

My hair doesn't currently have many split ends- hot topic. I have been going all natural. Some people call it laziness. Whatever. Anyway, the ends are still getting catchy. You know what I'm talking about ladies. A trim is in order.

I drew a dragon at church. We have started playing softball on Thursdays with Charles' work. We aren't doing so well, but it's still fun. Now, on to exercise plans- since we don't exercise much playing softball. Sorry Neal and Krissy, I don't think I have the marathon capacity in me. However, maybe some running should be incorporated into my life.

I think I have a fruit addiction. It's taking over our fridge and table. It is gradually subsiding, but last week we had the following fruit in our house of two occupants:

12 nectarines- they were gross and have been frozen for smoothie material
1 giant watermelon- half of which we left covered on our counter and 4 days later had maggots growing in it. We didn't even try cutting the bad part off...we just threw it all away.
12 kiwis- we are waiting for most of those to ripen
6 giant mangos- so good
1 papaya- Charles calls it poop fruit because it loosens your bowels and makes your outtakes smell like papaya
1 container blueberries- actually, we have fresh and frozen blueberries
6 bananas- frozen for banana bread
1 bag frozen berries- these we also buy for smoothies
rhubarb- is that a fruit? We bought that because it's hard to find here and we love strawberry rhubarb pies. In fact, who doesn't? It's frozen and waiting for perfection

Mmm, smoothies are so good.

I took my car to a car wash two weeks ago. The difference was incredible. It looks so good. Now I need to somehow take the PT cruiser to that car washing place. The professor is looking pretty cakes these days. I would wait for rain, but we haven't seen much rain here, so I'm not crossing my fingers.

Sorry our lives are so boring right now. Until next time on the Ward food index comes to town.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Experiences Recommended

Movies
Casino Royale (1967)- Terrible

Mini-Series
Sons of Liberty(2015)- I liked it

Food
Thai Chicken- I liked it
http://www.food.com/recipe/thai-chicken-breasts-108105


Activities
Making Mother's Day Cards- I liked it, but they didn't turn out very well

Ordering chick flicks on the public library website- Ideal. I love the Black Gold library system

Attending a Pink Party- Good times, despite the hardship that it accompanies. A pink party is a head shaving party for someone who has cancer. There was a lot of pink, a head shaving, and some sweet treats. Charles checked my head for hair when I returned. Thanks Banks!

Having my eggs harvested- Blah. Not my favorite.

A Poem for Mothers

Mother, you are great.
This phrase, can never my gratitude sate.
I can't believe you endured sickness to incubate us all.
That's more dedication than sewing a patchwork wall.

If I learned anything from milking goats,
it would have to be the "never having animals" vote.
Chore charts and pizza skills,
who, seeing all this, could possibly run for the hills?

We know some are aliens,
those kids that you cherish.
Raising weirdos is a melee science,
Never did our spirits perish.

From these risks and lovely thoughts,
we grew into great weirdos full of weird sauce.
And now our own children are filling the world,
you creative, guilt-free grandma of the squirrels.

Nicely done and never could be better,
that wondrous mother of school taught letters.
She's spooky wise and really funny,
And she she taught us well with her husband lover bunny.

Hooray for raising us to be so cool!
Hooray for helping us appreciate gruel.
Thanks for being tops Mom!
Thanks for meeting Pops, Mom!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Displeasure makes its rounds-Riot the anger glands

Remember that guy I really liked freshman year of college who threw a basketball at me from his balcony. After he promised to not throw it again, I threw it back to him. Do you know what he did? He threw it at me again. A basketball. Twice. That feeling is the same one I feel right now. Allegiant! How could you! I trusted you.

So in June, I visited Utah for my brother's wedding. I went with Charles and my sister Bonnie through Allegiant. We flew out to Utah with no problems. However, on the trip bad we had a terrible experience.

First, our flight was delayed for 3 hours. After loading onto the plane at 3:30 for a 3:45 departure, we sat on the plane for about an hour. Then we found out it wasn't going to be leaving, because the plane was too hot. So we sat in the airport until 6 pm. While everyone waited in the airport, which only has snack machines, all the babies and people milled around. When they finally announced that the flight was canceled, they also announced that we would receive flight wavers, hotel accommodations, taxi reimbursements, and food reimbursements-within reason.

Once the two taxes in front of the airport left, we waited for another hour before another set arrived. Worried that we might not get a room, we called my brother to pick us up from the airport. We got some food on the way and ate at his house.

The next day, we called a taxi service to pick us up. Although they had a flight full of people that needed rides, again, there were only three taxis sent. Besides being worried we'd missed our flight, we were also worried about all the other people waiting for rides to the airport. This might have been better accomplished with a bus. The taxi drivers were also making people pay more for the taxis that they usually would- since they assumed Allegiant was reimbursing us. So dishonest and inconvenient.

After waiting at the airport, with the same group of people, we loaded the plane. After another hour of waiting on the plane, they again announced we would not be leaving because of a missing placard. Since this placard was gone, our plane would be delayed. While we waited for another plane to arrive, three other flights went to their destinations without a hitch.

While we waited in the airport, water, soda and pizza was given out. However, the pizza ordered was for about half the people there. Those that got pizza, had about 2 slices, maybe- for an entire day waiting in the airport. We finally left that day at 3 PM and arrived at our destination a full 24 hours late.

Since Bonnie is glucose intolerant, we ordered Chinese at the airport. The attendants reassured this food would also be reimbursed.

After 24 hours of waiting in a crammed room with anxious people, calling our employers with apologies about not showing for work, inconveniencing them and our rides to and from the airport, we finally got home.

We spent an additional $150 on the trip that we hadn't bargained for in food and taxis along with 3 people who didn't work for an entire day due to this kerfuffle.

I just received an email from Allegiant. They will be reimbursing us for our taxi rides- $50. They "do not reimburse for food". Thanks for lying to me Allegiant and for making me angry. Somebody find me a basketball.


Chewie

The most hilarious item I've heard this week is my nephew Austin's current prime target. This old champ wants to sew, with the help of his mother, a five foot tall Chewbacca doll. I will try it, because Chewie, and because I already have some material in my possession for such a task. What better project could it go to? Yeah, I know, you can't think of anything.

As with all my other stellar ideas, I am sure to follow this to completion and also post pictures. Just like always. Oh, speaking of pictures, here's a picture of my finished jean quilt. I told you I'd post this when it was done.

As you see, this is more of a twin blanket than a queen-sized blanket. Also, I suppose I should have made my bed before taking that picture. However, we are washing the sheets today- so it does seem kind of pointless to do that, doesn't it? I should say so. Anyway, now you have an idea of how my finished quilt looks. The back is all red flannel, so it's a warm blanket.

It's no match for the blanket it is resting on, that's for sure, but it was a first attempt, so put that part on the bottom of my quilting card.

I'd also like to shout out to the people whose blogs I read...you people are doing great. I know I've been slacking. Here are all my excuses, listed here for your convenience:

1. I lost my job and had to find another one- albeit I found another one through the mercy of my Father in Heaven and am working just across the street from my last job. It's a place called Really Right Stuff. They sell high-end camera accessories. I do billing, parts assembly, and inventory. 

It has been quite challenging, but I really enjoy what I do. I also have been blessed to work with cool people at my new job. That makes going to work nice.

2. We moved. We did so across town, but we still had to pack all of our things into boxes and move them. The morning of the move, the Budget facility we had reserved the truck from...was not open. Thankfully, we had multiple friends come by our place with trailers and other vehicles that were indispensable in helping us move. Thanks for helping us move and clean our apartment, friends!

3. My brother, Canute, got married. We got to see a bunch of awesome friends and family while we were there for a couple of days and missed a couple of people we would've liked to see. It was a hot trip, we were delayed a day due to flight/Allegiant issues, and we were busy bees. Now I have another sister-in-law- welcome Jessica- so that's fun.

4. We went through another IVF cycle. This cycle finished this past week. We don't yet have the results- as most things do, this also takes time. We should find out the results in the next couple of weeks. As is customary with pregnancies, we will still probably wait a while to tell anyone if it's a positive pregnancy. Everyone gets excited for baby news, but it is terribly sad when you ask someone about their pregnancy and find out it ended in a miscarriage. So, in order to avoid all that, we'll just wait a little while to see how this cycle goes.

Our doctor and his office have gone out of their way to make us feel hopeful and have been extremely helpful. They are such kind people and I know their jobs are stressful. It's a tough job, but we're happy they have helped us get through the rough patches in this process. 

5.  Unpacking. You might think that's the same thing as moving. It's not. It's especially different when you move into a smaller place. We are now to a point where we do not stumble over boxes every day. It's a good place to be.

6. Visitors. We just had my parents come by for a visit last week. It was loads of fun, but didn't leave much time for blogging. 

Anyway, that's all we've been doing for the past two months. Oh, and I finished my list of books for the summer adult reading program at the library. I will let you know what my cool prize is for reading so well. I read Mistborn and Graceling. I enjoyed Graceling as it was a sort of women kick butt bit of fiction. 

Wait, wait. I forgot, someone did have a new baby this summer. Here it is: 

You may be wondering what that is. That, my friends, is a 3D printer. Charles has been thirsting after one of these babies since his friend Sammy got one last year. Yes, and probably before that. Anyway, my parents brought it with them on their visit and Charles is ECSTATIC! I don't think he could've been any more pleased. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Anticipation; The rise and fall of hope 101

If you've been wondering how our baby growing endeavor is going, we have started another cycle of IVF. As you might have guessed, it was not successful in December. If you would like to fast for us, as a couple of people have offered to do, a good day for that would be May 1st.

We are doing another fresh cycle, and will hopefully harvest a boatload of healthy and viable eggs from my ovaries. We also hope there is not an overcrowding of the boat, as it is possible to have an overstimulation of your ovaries. In fact, the first thing I remember saying after waking up from my egg harvest in October, was that I must have produced inferior numbers. The lady next to me had about 10 more eggs than I had and Charles remonstrated me with the hazards of overstimulation and inferior egg quality.

Since my ovaries are going to be stimulated to grapefruit size in the next couple of weeks, much as a prized hen before a county fair, I now know what to expect. As a hint, it is rather a strange sensation. Rather like a rummage sale, wherein many treasures lie, but must first be discovered by frantic buyers. This might also be due to an inordinate amount of gas, for I was quite uncomfortable in the two weeks preceding my extraction.

I assume that unsettled and strange feeling of items being flung around inside of you lasts the entirety of an actual pregnancy.

Please pardon me if I present indelicate jokes regarding childlessness in your presence. I have already begun throwing out terrible jokes with wild abandon. Sorry Deane. It seems to be one of the many ways I cope with emotional instability. I will try and limit myself to hopeful jokes about future sleepless nights and children opening and spreading Costco-sized containers of peanut butter onto our, currently, white couch.

Thank goodness I get to choose a See's candy after my current three shots a day. Aman, I'm not sure how you did shots daily for 7 months, but you rock! Also, Penny is adorable, so I can see that it was worth it.

I see this also is a good incentive for me not to over-indulge in sweets so often. All Charles needs to do is remind me about diabetes treatments when I'm going crazy making cookie pizzas and Boston cream pies.

For anyone wondering about the intricacies of doing IVF, it's not nearly as terrifying as you imagine in the planning months. Once you start the process, feelings calm and you notice the process is quite bearable. The worst part is anticipation; the rise and fall of hope.

I have let a loss of hope get the better of me multiple times in this series of injections and rejection of embryos. However, as I remember the love of my Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ, I am also reminded of the instigator of pain and despair- Satan. He does not hold back from total brutality when wounding our spirits.

Jacob 7:5
And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.
I hope that in your times of trial and weakness, though completely different from mine, that you let this scripture fortify you with the knowledge of our Father and his Son's love for you.

You can do hard things, even if: you're single, you don't feel confident, you stink at softball, you're sick of eating burritos, the top of your fridge is dusty, your children are aliens, you can't eat ice cream anymore. Sorry about all of those things, but you are awesome!

Zimbo nimbo

I haven't washed my hair in three days. We are in a drought right now. Since this has become a great excuse, I've found showering is an afterthought more than a given these days. I don't always take short showers, but when I do, I never shave my legs or wash my hair. Which also works well as a "Most Interesting Man in the World" meme.

Bonnie & Sarah, I have decided to stop plucking my grey hairs. You're welcome. The greatest part about these upstarts, is they are in the middle of the top of my head. I do not want a bald spot on my crown, but I also don't want a fluffy tuft of short grey feathers displayed in the forefront of my locks for the next 30 years.

Therefore, these interlopers will be occupying a premium spot in my otherwise velveteen doe locks until I begin to dye them. I'm not there yet. Anyway, if I'm going to start dying my hair, it's going to be a more interesting transition than brown. Perhaps kool-aid blue feathers will lend me some distinction. I dare say, this is a most interesting notion.

Yesterday was the best cub scout activity of all time. After creating a scale out of art supplies to weigh coins, we ate kettle corn and played Go Fish 10. This is Go Fish with face cards. You only use numbers except Aces equal 1 and the primary goal is matching two cards to equal 10. It's pretty fun.

It was not stressful and we had loads of good times. I tied with a scout for the first game with 8 matches and Charles won the second game. You cannot imagine the distraction potential of a bag of kettle corn.

We have been gifted 3 boxes of popcorn- due to a friend's move, and we brought a bag to share two weeks ago. That was the hour's only focal point for 4 boys at 7 pm. This week we learned our lesson and waited until the end to share the corn.

As a side note, this popcorn was not Popcornoplis, nor Emily popcorn. Therefore, I abstained. However, I have a dear friend who loves popcorn and now whenever I see it, I think of her. So now I've got all these Emily memory bags in my back closet. How's that for creepy?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Saturday and the advent of volunteerism-

Saturday was a good day for volunteering. Charles and I had the opportunity, not to hide eggs by Pismo Beach, but to assist in the gaming aspect. Easter is a special day and I think volunteering was a good way to emulate the life of Jesus Christ.

There were multiple free games, bounce houses, egg hunts, and good times. The most notable game for us, by far, was the frog/toad hammer hitter game. I don't know its official name, but it was quite violent.

It involved me sitting next to two levers. At one end was a hammer hitting spot and at the other end, a  rubber toad was placed. When the spot was hit, usually with great force, the toad would leap backward into a bulls eye pit. Actually, this actually only happened about 40% of the time. Most often, the toads would choose haphazardly when and where they would leap.

I tried to keep my hands back- due to a few enthusiastic children taking too naturally to striking the levers- with or without frogs placed. The greatest part about this game, was since I sat right next to the levers, a lot of rubber toads bounced off of me.

Luckily, I had taken upon my head a black top hat, with featured Easter bunny ears. This hat not only protected me from the toads, but also from the unrelenting sun. Instead of roasting my head/neck, arms, and legs, the sun was only successful in frying my right arm.

Charles, my sweet peach, walked around and gathered rogue frogs from around the target area and deposited them within my easy reach. My mantra was "2 kids, 5 tries". We also got a couple free hot dogs, breakfast burritos, donuts, chips, and drinks. Charles had some cookies and donuts, but I did not- no munchy March. We also got some free shirts. Woot.

We spent a lesser time at the peanut toss- where you toss foam peanuts into an elephant's trunk. Then, I was called away to (wo)man the bean bag toss. I did that for like 20 minutes perhaps. We stayed for about 5 hours and then took naps at home. I think. My mind is a little foggy lately, since I contracted the maniacal mucus magic of legends.

It is the worst. I assume it has come to lay siege to my body due to some societal faux pas incurred in my recent past. Perhaps this will teach me to watch how I interact with others.

I played work team softball yesterday and it was awesome. It turns out I do not like exercise, unless it is disguised as some type of organized sport. This is a turn of events since recess kickball- as I was never any good at kickball myself, and often felt sad about my inability to kick the ball well.

However, with softball, I do not feel completely inferior to everyone, and therefore enjoyed myself immensely.

The highlights

1. When Dugan the dog chewed through his leash and walked onto the field.
2. My hitting the ball a couple times- since strike outs are intensely demoralizing.
3. My sore throwing arm- which shows that I actually did something worthwhile yesterday after work.

In full disclosure of no munchy March, I did eat candied yams on Easter. I didn't want to hurt my feelings- because I know how hard I worked on them. They were delicious. So were the ham, deviled eggs, potatoes, fruit salad, bread, peas, and pop consumed. I never said I was a saint. However, I did pass on the carrot cake- even though it's a vegetable.

Here is a list of the treats I've passed up this month. Go me!
1. Blueberry cheesecake- my own fault. There is still a piece waiting for me in the freezer- thanks Charles!
2. Marshmallo matey crispy treats- from work on St. Patrick's Day
3. Cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, candy, and lemon love notes- from work- see what I have to deal with every day!
4. Robins eggs- they're hiding under my phone at work- waiting to hatch
5. Easter Carrot cake
6. Ice cream and oreos after the women's conference

Luckily I didn't have to forego brownies this month. My friends at work don't know about my chocolate brownie and caramel weak spot. I mean, yeah, I could do it, but those are a little harder to resist.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Preparation Days

I got a flu shot today. I don't usually get the flu shot, however my friend Kimberly had a close friend and multiple acquaintances hospitalized and pass away last week due to the H1N1 swine flu in a town roughly 2 hours south of where I live. This saddens me and we are praying for her and those families. We are also getting our flu shots, to cover our bases.

I hope I don't get a bad case of the flu from the vaccine, as we have plans for Easter. However, it is better than the alternative.

Preparation is often harder than I would guess. Perhaps I encourage flakes of pride to mar my patient exterior. I do not always see a need for such strangely timely preparation. Often, this preparation is pushed upon me. Eventually, I do see the need for these experience- usually long afterward. Figures.

1. Mission- There were a couple of months before I received my mission call, that I was chomping at the bit. Before that period of restlessness, I was secure in my decision. However, when I got to the point of actually leaving for my mission, I felt like I'd taken a running start. That momentum of emotion propelled me through the hardest times of my mission and helped the time go faster in the interminable early months.

2. Marriage- I was really on the fence about Charles for a couple of months in our dating period. Once I made the decision to marry him, I didn't feel nearly as panicked about the outcome. The calming effect of making a choice and the resulting faith in that choice was a salve to my youthful distrust of my own long-term decision-making skills. I felt prepared for the fallout. Charles still called me the morning of our wedding to make sure I was going to show up.

3. IVF- One of the most difficult parts of not having a child, is wondering if it will every happen for you. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite fairy tale. Fairy tale stories about wanting a child and trading any manner of valuable things for one didn't hit my truth center until our first unsuccessful attempt. I love money, and if I'm willing to trade it for a baby, you know babies must be important.

4. Running- When I lived in Germany with my cousin Danielle, she invited me to run with her running group. They had just begun training for a half marathon when I arrived. However, I left Germany about a week before the race. Since I had trained for running long distances, I was then able to participate in two half marathons that summer in Juneau and Skagway Alaska.

When I worked in Emeryville, CA my company also participated in two  relay races that we prepared for as a team. We would run in the afternoons and increase our distances until the races happened. It was a great team building activity in both cases and was lots of fun.

However, I noticed the more preparation I put into running long distances, the better off my knees were at the end of each race. My knees hurt to varying degrees when I finished, but I know the worst cases of stiffness were when I wasn't running long enough distances during my training. The last relay race I did, I could barely walk myself to the finish line.

5. Food- There was a time when I would come home from school and eat ramen or a burrito every day around 3 PM. It seems I have grown past ramen and burritos and have moved on to vegetables and other grown up foods. The longer preparation times yields great results and I usually have plenty of time to prepare these things into food more satisfying than ramen. I still love burritos, but they are not so plentiful in my life these days.

6. Art- I have an affinity for tiny things. I love shadow boxes and the intricate miniatures they house. I have realized, as I go in and out of artistic phases, that the longer a person takes on a certain piece of artwork, the more valuable it becomes. In high school, I worked on a drawing of different body parts, which also displayed the different types of shading.

A girl saw it in the art room and asked the art teacher if I'd sell it. He directed her to my next class. When the girl asked me how much I'd like for it, I said, "I don't know...$20?" She was pleased as punch at my asking price. Later, when I told my teacher how much I'd sold it for, he said I could have asked for more since I'd spent so much time on it. Since I had no illusions of grandeur about my artistic talent, I hadn't expected anyone to pay more than $20 for my work.

Artistic development gives you the benefit of spending time expressing what you see in a particular medium. If you do not prepare this medium with adequate work, your finished product will be basic, uninteresting, and harder for yourself and others to appreciate. The most rewarding artistic creations I've worked on have taken serious time investments and have improved with the time invested in them. That said, there is also a point where you need to stop working on a project, so you don't get bogged down in an impossible quest for perfection with that piece.

7. Tests and other hard things- I've never been very good at taking tests. I feel panic-stricken and second guess every answer I write down. I do not have great confidence in the answers I will chose, and I shoot myself in the foot as I go along by checking and rechecking my test when I have finished.

The more preparation and studying involved, the more confident I feel. It's the same with injecting myself with needles and moving houses. These things are hard, but if you think about the end result of taking tests or finishing difficult projects, your perspective changes. This change of perspective can also enlarge your hope and faith in good things to follow.

I know as we prepare for different challenges, we can feel the boon of hope provided to us by our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. If we pray, read our scriptures, and climb from our shells...or apartments every so often, we will have enriched lives despite ourselves.

As we serve others and stock up on food storage, we are preparing for future challenges. This preparation also makes us aware of the past and present blessings we receive and so often gloss over.

I am currently preparing to work some clay. It's been a while. I'm currently preparing to invite people over. It's been a while. I'm currently driving our stick shift car, Professor Plum. It's been a while. I am currently preparing to run and clear away some of my body rust, as I have been starting to crust over.

These changes can be spur of the moment and often turn into good habits. I see now that I should prepare to change.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Easter, the real Christmas

As Easter sneaks upon us once again, I realize another year has passed and my life is the same and yet has changed quite radically for the better.

1. Boy Crazy- When I was a little girl, I was boy crazy. As I got older , this malady got worse and worse. I dated a lot, continuing on this path of reckless abandon of feelings until I got hitched. Yesterday, Charles told me twice that I was acting creepy- once while I stood watching him eat peanut butter fudge cups and the other time, as I stood outside the shower curtain. I suppose he has a point there. 

If he was staring at me for 5 minutes with unblinking eyes while I ate Mounds candy bars, I would also be creeped out. However, it would probably be more confusion than the willies, as he doesn't like Mounds candy bars due to their coconut content.

It's nice to know he still likes me even when I get weird. That's not the weirdest I get, but we'll leave that for later lists. I will add that singing the MILK song before cub scouts has helped me demonstrate the coolness of being weird. My favorite part about camp was always the singing portion- it nurtures such camaraderie.

Therefore, I am still boy crazy- but I focus this craziness onto one lucky man. You're welcome Charles. I'm only getting weirder.

2. Baking- My mother's suggestions for school lunches were the greatest. They usually included the following list of items: apples, carrots, dried fruit, sandwiches, and bananas. These items, although interesting choices, did not conglomerate to make a child's ideal lunch.

After eating a selection of the above items at school for my lunch, I would then come home and make something worthwhile. The go to group included homemade pizza, ramen, brownies, or baked goodies. 

Now, I have realized the importance of variety in my diet. I get bored with foods more easily these days, and enjoy trying new recipes. The easiest way is googling recipes that include key ingredients from my fridge or pantry. Charles and I then live off the leftovers for three days and then the cycle starts again.

Luckily, I married someone who also enjoys cooking. The best food days are those when he doesn't have school, so he makes something delicious to surprise me. Mmmmanicotti. So now you know, I still eat. Thankfully, the internet has widened my nutrition net as well as a recent discovery of the deliciousness of tiny asparagus, green beans, and squash.

3. Gratitude- Remember that time my mom got me a yellow nightgown and Sarah and Bonnie got pink gowns? I pouted all day. Or that one time Canute got me a harmonica on a necklace and Sarah had to tell me not to be ungrateful for his heartfelt gift? Yeah, I've tried being a little more gracious about gifts than I used to be. 

Expressions of gratitude toward my family, friends, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father have come more easily to me lately. I know this is partly due to certain trials that have come my way in recent years.

College was an amazing time for me. I got to refine myself and took classes I hadn't ever thought about taking before. Aman, Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts was way harder than my sister let on, as you well know. I met some amazing friends, that I don't ever see, but still adore. I stalk all of you regularly on Facebook and I just love you.

In Russia, I was grateful for the jar of peanut butter we brought with us- thanks Tryna- and the opportunity to learn firsthand about a vastly different culture than my own. I also enjoyed making paper dolls for my friend Jonah, Ali's friend, who was serving a mission in Russia at the same time. When I saw him at BYU, we recognized each other from across the CougarEat, even though we'd never met in real life.

Living in Alaska for multiple summers made me realize how grateful I am for sunshine. It also clarified how much I enjoy attending church every Sunday. During those summers, I was not so lucky and I could see the difference it made in my life. SD and Jen, I miss you.

When I visited Germany and decided to serve a mission, multiple people told me I would probably serve a foreign mission since I had already lived outside of the United States. I got to travel a lot, met new people, saw lots of cool architecture and artifacts and did some dangerous things- like bungee jumping in Italy. Jas- it was Italy right?

On my mission, I was grateful for so much available fresh fruit since I got tired of eating cereal, beans, and scrambled eggs all the time. I was grateful when people talked courteously to us about the gospel of Jesus Christ even if they weren't interested in our particular message. I looked for and saw a multitude of small blessings over the course of this difficult span of 18 months. I still dream about the people of Guatemala. !Les extra├▒o! That says- I miss you guys! in Spanish.

After my mission, I moved to California instead of Texas. I arrived back the day before one of my greatest childhood friends got married. Thanks for waiting for my Kristi! I also left right before another great childhood friend got married and was able to help Heather fix the mullet madness some lady had done as her reception hairdo. What a blessing to see both of them during that special time!

After fighting the rightness of marrying Charles, I prayed diligently and finally realized how much my agency is worth. It truly was my choice to marry him and I'm grateful that he's just as weird as me. Thanks for being nice Charles! And for not giving up. And for your sweetness.

And now I am grateful to not have children. It is sometimes hard to be thankful for this, but I am trying to be grateful for being where I am instead of where I want to be. Besides, with more mouths, you have to hide the treats. Right now, those treats just chill in the open.

I am also grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who died that we might all live. He is a wonderful brother and one I wish to emulate. Thank you for your example!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ode to Deane-

Deane, you're sweet with your very man's name.
Our house was blessed from the day you came.
The favorite sister to cut my hair.
Neal's favorite sister beyond compare.
You'd listen to Brittney Eleanor Rigby and laugh.
Early morning MTC breakfast staff.
We make up songs (that sometimes rhyme).
You have 6 pairs of thongs (the sandal kind).
3 kids you have, that are super cute.
Nice job dieting with your favorite fruit.
We're bakers and craft makers.
You adore those songs that are booty shakers.
Your husband is a silly mister.
Happy Birthday to a freaking awesome sister!


That poem is dedicated to my sister Sarah. Her birthday is tomorrow. She is great. I love her. Sometimes we talk for a long time. Sometimes it's a long time between our talks. She has good taste in movies, books, clothing, and treats. It is very similar to mine.  As Christian would say, "Sarah, you're a good person".

Happy Birthday to you!!!

PS- I totally used that ready-made Shutterfly book with that free code you sent out! Nicely done!
This is Sarah making sure her children don't eat too much candy at Halloween- especially the kind that is much too good for children.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A sneak peek

Here's what my actual quilt looks like. It's obviously not finished and looks quite drab as pictured. However, my friend Holly donated a red flannel sheet for the back, so it's now a very patriotic quilt. More updates to come for those sitting on the edge of their seats.

I did not plan it as well as you would have, but I tried to give it some sort of design. The design is jean fabric. Glad I could help you out there. 

As a side note, I now have 5 pairs of jean shorts. Sadly, I also went to put on one of my good pairs yesterday, and found a hole in the not knee. I will see if I can patch it at the dividing of the legs. I imagine that is a difficult place to secure a patch and maintain minimal chafing.


 This is an adorable picture of us taken in space. That's me sitting on Chewie's lap, with Yoda in my pocket, and Charles has obviously found the disembodied head of Darth Vader. Good times at the 2015 Blue and Gold Banquet.

This week I was able to help at the annual youth etiquette dinner. The theme was the Hunger Games. The teens rode around in a horse trailer outfitted with couches to simulate riding the train to the Capitol. We had a couple dressed as Effie and Caesar. They MC'd the event. Every table had 2 hosts that decorated the middle of the table as the different districts- we had district 12. Obviously. We populated it with poor people items and some metal items- we have a lot of those at home. 

I am sorry for the shoddy pictures. My friend Holly came as Charles' sub as he had a review session starting at the exact same time. I also braided her hair, but cannot figure out how to access the picture/video that she sent with those pictures attached. We got a lot of compliments on our fancy Capitol hair.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Recommendation City-

These recommendations are due to my sister Bonnie asking what movies I've seen and enjoyed lately. I watch a lot of movies and would rather have skipped those movies that were a total bust. A. Kraft, ignore this list. I cannot fathom how our movie preferences are so distinctly different with no apparent pattern.

Movie Recommendations

1. The New World (2005): A more believable telling of the Pocahontas and John Smith story

2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010): An epic of Persian proportions with a time twist

3. The Paradise (2012-2013): Or as Charles calls it, the Irish version of Downton Abbey

4. Big Eyes (2014): About a woman artist whose husband pretended to paint her paintings

5. Love and Mercy (2014): About the Beach Boys, specifically Brian Wilson

6. Far From the Madding Crowd (2015): A sort of Pride and Prejudice vibe but also quite strange in other aspects. I think I liked it.

7. Kronk's New Groove (2005): A lovely sequel to a golden first movie. Very good on its own merits and charming in similar ways to the first- also has the same voices.

8. Little Boy (2015): Told from the perspective of a young boy during WWII in America.

 Movie Un-Recommendations

1. Tomorrowland (2015): Futuristic and underwhelming

2. Jurassic World (2015): So dumb

3. Mr Holmes (2015): Uninteresting in the ways you would expect a Sherlock Holmes movie to be

4. The Conversation (1974): Terrible, just terrible.

I have also been participating, with a small group of friends, in No Munchie March. We decided to only exclude sugar treats from our diets for a month. Thus far it hasn't been too bad. Lots of people from my work bring treats in, but they're usually store bought. My main temptation test will be today, since I decided to make a blueberry cheesecake with our extra cream cheese. I had to, the cream cheese was going moldy. Good luck with that Charles.

Since I cannot currently eat treats, I would like to invite you to try these treats when you have some time.

Treat Recommendations

1. Tiny fruit pizzas- sugar cookies, topped with cream cheese/powdered sugar/milk whipped, topped with fruit of various orders(mandarin oranges, pineapple, berries, kiwi, bananas), topped with glaze. Then you can eat one or two and still feel healthy- because fruit.

2. Chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches- Look on your Nestle bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, follow the recipe exactly, and make some cookies. Then put tillimook mudslide ice cream in between two cookies right after they're out of the oven. Mmmm.

3. Peanut Butter balls- Apparently there are many types of peanut butter ball recipes. My mom has one that's equal parts honey, powdered milk powder, and peanut butter. We have lots of powdered milk that just hit its expiration date, so we are using it for these. If it's too runny, add more powdered milk. If you're out of honey, use sweetened and condensed milk. If you feel dippy, dip them in chocolate, cookie crumbs, coconut, sprinkles, or powdered sugar.

These work well for making treats when you have baking ingredients and a random assortment of other items. We make a batch of cookie dough treats and freeze the dough for extras so we don't have to plow through a whole recipe's worth of treats by ourselves. The peanut butter balls thaw quickly and Charles can snack on them when he's doing homework and wants a little snack.

4. Hummus and veggies- We've been a big hummus kick lately because we haven't eaten many vegetables in the past and we wanted to be better. So we've been making hummus or buying it and separating it into tiny Tupperware to easily take to work and school. A giant bag of carrots is $3, so we're going big on carrot sticks.

We like to eat treats and watch movies. You can also exercise while watching movies. I also recommend crafting while watching movies. I had a couple of pairs of old jeans that have since made it to jean short status. Their counterparts have been made into a jean quilt. I'll post pictures when this is completed. So far, it is a mishmash of color and asymmetrical. Good thing I'm just going to show you guys and anyone who sleeps at our house. That shortens the list considerably of people who will see it.

Quilt Recommendations

Plan(read pin) first, sew second

I did not cut my pieces nearly this small. My pieces are nice and huge.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Toiletiquette

Have you ever been in a single-use public bathroom? Be it a restaurant, gas station, or medical office, people can get pretty insistent when the door's locked. At my workplace, there are two single-use bathrooms next to each other. It is uncanny (get it?) how often people try to bang down the door while it is in use.

Here are some ideas for what you can say when a person is trying to beat down the door while you are indisposed:

1. Hellooo. It's me- Please say this in Adele-esque way or the desired effect will be lost

2. Come on in, the water's fine- That way they will know someone is in the room they wish to use. With this phrase, they will also know the person using that room is not selfish.

3. Wait your turn!- I put the exclamation point on there, because you should probably yell this for best effect

4. Can I help you?- This shows the person on the other side of that door how compassionate you are. Not only will they be comforted by this knowledge, you can check helpfulness off your list for the day.

5. Don't come in here! The zombies have invaded through the roof!- Yelling useful tips to the person outside will also help them gather valuable information during their long wait outside.

6. I need another 10 minutes to make my hair look perfect!- Everyone understands what bathrooms are used for. Some people just need a quick reminder.

7. Who is it?- If they respond, at least you'll know who the impatient person on the other side is. This could be helpful for the next time the bathroom is locked.

8. Animal noises- You can have lots of fun with this one. However, just be ready to walk past that person when you leave the restroom.

9. One moment please- This is probably the most polite response. Sometimes they still rattle the handle after you speak to them; connotations imply an emergency.

10. Sorry! You can't come in! The door's locked.- This is the common knowledge answer.  Now you're both on the same page. If you are at a gas station, you can also add "The key's in here with me!"

11. - Silence. This will leave them wondering. Be prepared for additional handle rattling and perhaps a surprise entrance from the janitor with the handle shaker peering over that sweet janitor's shoulder.

I'm sure you have some great ideas yourself now. Don't get too crazy, you never know who will be on the other side of that door.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Talk about SLOW


You're probably going to want to add this to your breakfast menu tomorrow. Thanks for making me these delicious green eggs and ham! Looks like a Sesame Street monster. Or a fried alien.
 These are my two purses- past and present. I used to have this lovely brown item on the left. When the straps broke, I used lanyards. At the craft fair, I found this lovely flowered carpetbag piece. It's probably about 3 pounds lighter to carry around and is quite roomy without three compartments getting in the way. Thanks for Christmas gifting it to me Holly!


This is the elf on a shelf I made for my sister. His name is Hebert. She decided doing an elf on the shelf would be too much of a hassle. So out of a laziness similar to my own, she denied this sweet elf his vocation.

After he got fired, Hebert just lounged around my house without his hat and boots. Look how sweet he is. Anyhow, he is packed into our Christmas box to make his comeback next year.

Perhaps he will end up in various places around our house next Christmas. We shall see what he gets into. If he eats all the chocolate, we're going to brawl.

My 2016 To-Do List

1. Passports- now that Christmas is over and we don't plan to fly in the next couple months, passports are going to be a new required ID to fly from California to other states. It seems so ridiculous, and yet since it costs $110 to order a passport, also an easy way for the government to make some extra cash. Thanks for that.

So if you want us to visit you in the next couple of months, give us 6 weeks notice- as that seems to be the estimated turn around time for passports these days. California did ask for an extension and there is a 3 month grace period for people to get passports, so April. Yes, April.

2. Materialize- I have been blessed with artistic gifts and about 5 boxes of creative materials. People have found out and these materials have been multiplying. I must keep up and manufacture crafts. I must.

3. Car- Our new Honda has some paint fading issues (we bought it new last year). It's covered by warranty, but we need to take it in. Also, our PT cruiser Professor Plum has been leaking a bit of oil. Instead of refilling it constantly, we have given him a rest and started carpooling.

4. Taxes- January is coming to a close and that means taxes are due. Taxes, taxes- beautiful, lovely taxes.

5. Loving Exercise- When it comes to exercise, I'm a consistent whiner. However, I am looking to be better. Anyone who has ever exercised with me can attest to that.

6. Simplify- This is Charles' worst nightmare, but I am trying to keep our tiny cottage of love from looking too cluttered. The clutter stops here!

7. Babies- We're going to try our mightiest with IVF this year. If it doesn't work, we will do something else and accept that it didn't work.

8. Sugar down- I love making treats. I love eating treats. If I can become more creative with healthy foods, then I will not make so many treats. Hey, it's a goal people- No Munchie March. Let me know if you want to do it too and we can cheer each other on! I've already recruited two people!

9. Study- I love reading fiction. I need to work on reading my scriptures more lovingly- since they're more important and lasting than fiction. Or maybe just work on a little balance.

10. Variety- Branch out with how I spend my time. Maybe schedule my life better.

How about you? Any goals?



Friday, January 15, 2016

Reading Maniacs Unite

Recently, my friend Krissy asked me about books. She asked if I knew of any she could read with her kindergartener- because she herself doesn't enjoy reading and she wants to break the cycle. As an avid reader, I couldn't agree more. Here's a list I wrote up for her. I know there are millions and billions of great books out there. You can check out my Goodreads for other suggestions.

Here is a short list of some young reader fodder you might enjoy if you're just getting started:

Easy Readers
Curduroy By Don Freeman (sad)
Amelia Bedelia Books byPeggy Parish (so silly)
Katy No-Pocket By Emmy Payne (feel good)
Curious George Books by Margret and H.A. Rey (silly)
If you give a mouse a cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (silly)
Blueberries for Sal By Robert McCloskey (Caldecott Honor)
The Velveteen Rabbit (so sad)
Clifford Books (silly)

Young Readers
Matilda By Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach By Roald Dahl
The Westing Game By Allen Raskin (Newberry Award)


Young Reader Series
The Indian in the Cupboard
Boxcar Children
Junie B Jones
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Pippi Longstocking
  
Books I've enjoyed recently- all fiction
The Blue Castle By L.M. Montgomery
Name of the Wind By Patrick Rothfuss 
The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern
Treason By Orson Scott Card
The Forgotten Garden By Kate Morton

Tips to cultivating a reading frenzy
Reading Programs at the library
Paying your kids to read award-winning books- my mom gave $1 for newberry award books and $.50 for newberry honor books
Book it Pizzas- school program
Take kids to the library and let them choose 5 or 10 books each to read at home.
Have books easily accessible around the house (just don't get too crazy)