Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year!

December 31, 2010

I've had lots of thoughts as the new year is beginning. I've already started on some things I want to improve on and it feels good.

But here are some of my other thoughts:

I want to be more proactive. Often I expect things to come to me without any work on my part. I want others to take the initiative, if you will. I only have one life to live and once time is gone, it's gone. I'm not getting it back. This includes being kind to my body. I need to start taking better care of myself- I've been slacking off in that department. I've gained some weight, but it didn't really seem to matter. This needs to change.

Open up more. I tend to keep feelings to myself to avoid conflict, but it's not healthy. I want to be better at letting others know how I feel.

Be happy. One of the purposes of this life is to have joy. I want to live in the moment and be happy despite my surroundings. I have the power to be happy and act instead of reacting. Despite trials, life is good. I want to recognize that goodness.

Try new things. I want to take risks, try new things, and step out of my comfort zone. I want to work toward something and live.

If you feel like sharing, what are some of your New Year goals or thoughts?

See you all next year, ok?

I heard this on another blog and just had to post makes me smile and makes me sad at the same time.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Wrap-up

The presents have all been unwrapped, the wrapping paper put in the recycling bin, and all the cookies given away (or eaten). All the anticipation of it - and just like that, Christmas is over. It came and went in the blink of an eye.

I had some help opening my stocking
Sleepy puppy from the day's activities
Smiling and happy- they love Christmas.
Yet, here I am five days later, still lingering over Christmas- hesitant to move on just now. I'm back at work, but long to still be with my family. It can't be over, but it is, and tomorrow is already New Year's Eve.

Despite being so short, I had a great Christmas. I hope you did too.

A new year is upon us! Do you have goals that you are working on for the new year?

Do It Yourself NYE party supplies

Party in a box

Ring In 2011 Blog Hop

Just curious...

Did you want to have a blog giveaway for a free trip to NYC and then rig it so my mom, sister, and I would win?!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Memories

I remember going out the Saturday after Thanksgiving and cutting down our Christmas tree. I remember often stopping at Bob Evans to eat dinner afterward and sharing cups of hot chocolate with whipped cream with my sister. I remember ordering as many cups as we wanted- free refills!

I remember believing in Santa Claus and knowing that he must be real because my dad had a picture with him at the North Pole, surrounded by snow.

I remember, almost every year without fail, discussing about a family in need in our ward and deciding to help them. I remember gathering the supplies- food, toys, and a few items of clothing and putting it all in a basket. I remember driving past the house (so we wouldn't be seen), running up to the door, dropping the basket down, knocking on the door and then running back to the car. I remember waiting and watching to see if they opened the door. If they didn't open the door, I remember my dad calling them on the phone disguising his voice and telling them to look on their porch because there was something there for them. I remember smiling at the thought of their Christmas being a little bit brighter because we served.

I remember putting up our advent calendar on December 1st and every day opening the little window to see the scene behind it. I remember opening number 24 and seeing a picture of the nativity and remembering again the real reason for Christmas.

I remember my sister and I waking up early on Christmas morning, the smell of pine tree, cinnamon rolls, and oranges thick in my nostrils. I remember creeping down the stairs (so I wouldn't wake my parents) and making my way to the Christmas tree, turning on the lights and soaking in the beauty. I remember opening up my stocking and running back up-stairs to my sleeping parents and asking them to get up so we could open presents. I remember them asking for a few more minutes of sleep. I remember always wondering why they were so tired on Christmas morning.

I remember taking turns opening presents and being so happy. I remember the joy of giving to family members. I remember the big smiles on their faces.

I remember, despite not having a whole lot of money, always having presents for Christmas.

I remember snuggling on my parent's bed under the "cuddle quilt" and laughing with my mom and dad and sister until my sides hurt and then taking a nap.

I remember making snowmen in our front yard and sledding down the hill with my sister on a sled from my mother's childhood. I remember gathering with the neighborhood children and sledding down our some-what icy, hilly street. I remember going back inside with our wet, snowy clothes, standing just inside the closed door and taking off our snow gear. I remember standing over our heating vents and watching as my dress poofed up as I dried off and warmed up. I remember drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream and wrapping my hands around the cup to warm them.

I remember on Sundays after church, gathering together all our extra bread, apples, and carrots and going to the Ohio Village and feeding the geese, ducks, and horses. I remember sitting inside the town hall and listening to the carolers by the glow of candle light and looking at the huge Christmas tree and soaking in the feeling of it. I remember feeling that it should last forever.

I remember feeling loved and I remember loving Christmas.

And you know what? I still do!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Links to Love- December

I decided to post the links early this month since some of them are related to Christmas.



A book Christmas tree

Hanging chair pendant

Modern paper ornament for your Christmas tree

DIY Advent calendars

Printable owl gift wrap. Too cute!

Let it dough, let it dough. A sneak peek:

Beautiful (free!) downloadable gift tags. Too fun.

Dress boys.
I had never heard of these before, but a great idea.

The Whole Story

Singing his own songs,
at last: Bruno Mars

TV Worth Watching


2010 Darwin Awards

Pine cone fire starters

Santa sightings!

Let's go ride a bike

Basketball playing nuns

White ghosts (deer) of the forest (embeding is disabled)

Running away:

Smart (and very well trained) dog!

Light up the world

Hilarious animal voice-overs

No Christmas tree? Try this

Genius staircase


Mormon life:

The word that Elizabeth Smart wanted to hear.

Provo Tabernacle fire
but picture of Christ was saved.

I love technology:

Need help finding your lost/misplaced phone? Try this!

Interesting Google Street View images.

2010 in review:

Can you escape technology?

Neil Pasricha on TEDxToronto- The creator of 1000 Awesome Things: it or hate it? 100 people I hate on facebook

10 most watched youtube videos of 2010:

(Watch all 10 videos here)


The Day John Lennon Died

What made you happy today? A scrapbook of people and what makes them happy.

Best books of 2010

Saying Images


Peanut butter and jelly cookies

Mashed potato puffs.

Cookie + cupcake

Cranberry pie.
You'll be surprised, it's very tasty!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Toadstool

I guess this isn't very Christmas-y, but sort of in the fact that it has to do with toys...

Last week an email came into my inbox with this title: "Consumer Group Sues McDonald's Over Happy Meal Toys"

The title lured me in- which is what they pay people big bucks to do...

Anyway, it worked and I started reading.

Here's the low-down:

A consumer group is suing McDonald's to try and stop them from advertising toys with Happy Meals.

But, here's the interesting part...a 41 year old mother says, "Happy meals are among those things frequently requested, and the first thing they ask me to do is open the toy," Parham said in a press conference today. "I'm really concerned about the health of my children, and I don't think its OK to entice children to get Happy Meals with a toy,"

Well, Parham, if you're really concerned about the health of your children stop taking them to McDonald's!! You're the parent, so step up and be one. I'm pretty sure your kids are too young to drive which means they don't have a car, so if you don't want them to have the food, stop driving them to get it and stop giving them money to buy the food on their own.

The article goes on, "But the real concern for the group, and for parents, CSPI says, is that McDonald's advertising makes kids beg their parents to buy food that's high in calories, sugar, fat and salt, which contributes to obesity."

Stop buying the meals for them, parents, then they won't have access to the toys or the meals which are so high in calories, sugar, fat and salt! Nobody is holding a gun to your head forcing you to buy them for your kids.

I didn't get everything I "begged" for when I was a kid. And granted, I'm not a parent and it might be very hard for you to listen to your children whine about wanting a toy with their happy meal, but seriously?! If you don't want your kids to eat there then don't take them and turn off the TV so they don't see the ads for the toys. It's good for you to tell your kids "no" once in a while. They are not going to die if they don't get that toy, despite what they might say.

Here's an idea: fix meals for your children at home and eat together as a family. Make fast food a rare "treat" rather than an every day occurrence. Read to your children instead of plopping them in front of the TV all night. If children never go to McDonald's they won't know what they're missing. Ignorance is bliss.

And while you're at it, quit blaming McDonald's for something that you need to take responsibility for as a parent.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blog to Read

Have you heard of Teachinfourth? If not, then you should definitely check out his blog. It's awesome!

He's a fifth grade teacher, a blogger and a photographer.

There is a also certain boy in his class named Joey who has quite a sense of humor. Teachinfourth blogs about his adventures in "Moments with Joey".

Also, be sure to check out the wonderful photos he took during his most recent trip to NYC. I gotta say, I'm kind of jealous, but I'll definitely be keeping these tourist ideas in mind when I visit NYC!

P.S. If you hurry, he's sending out Christmas cards and you can pick a photo of his that you like for him to send to you...

Christmas Giving

At the beginning of December I set a goal to post every day this month and it hasn't quite worked out...

My internet connection at my apartment stopped connecting to my computer which explains the reason I haven't blogged in, oh, two days. There go the excuses again.

Did you miss me? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Anyway, Christmas is exactly one week away! Are you ready?!

In the spirit of giving for Christmas, the white elephant gift exchange went fabulously well! After the gift exchange part was over, it ended up turning into a balloon fight (pictures coming shortly). The balloons were left over from my engaged roommate's birthday (she turned 30 on Thursday!). I blew up 30 of them and put them all on her bed. For the WE party she decided to push them all out into the living room. And you know how guys are with balloons...lots of popping.


Here's a haiku poem I just wrote:

Snowflakes fall to earth
Christmas day is coming soon
Christ is the reason

Have a great weekend and enjoy some of these other wonderful Christmas videos on Youtube.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

$40 for a Christmas tree and they don't deliver?!

Lately I've been so good at making excuses for myself. In fact, I have so many I'm giving them away for Christmas wrapped in beautiful paper and topped with a big red bow.

Do you want a few?

I need to get rid of them all because they aren't cutting it for me anymore.

Send me your address and I'll get them to you right away.

I need to do better.

Ok, I'm glad that's off my chest.


My engaged roommate has set a date for her wedding: March 25th.

After Christmas I'm going dress shopping with her. I'm excited because I've never been wedding dress shopping with anyone before.

Her wedding is on a Friday and she is having the reception that very night, which makes sense to me because the next day is Saturday which means they can sleep in and cuddle if they want, which is a very good thing for newly-married people to do, in my opinion- both the sleeping and the cuddling. (Sorry for the very bad run on sentence).


One of my friends started a Christmas blog with crafts and other nice present ideas including food. Have a look-see!


Another one of my friends is moving back to this town from Manhattan, NY this very day. We met in July and he's been going through a pretty rough time in his life, so he wants a fresh start. I'm looking forward to him not being so far away.


Last Christmas my sister and I got a coupon for a week of free tanning at a tanning salon. We went almost every day and even though I know tanning is so bad (microwaving our insides and all that) the heat felt so good when it was time to go back out in the frigid air of winter.


I'm really super excited to go home for Christmas!! Really excited!


Now for some counting:

10 days until Christmas
7 days till I go home for Christmas
3 days till my sister comes home from BYU-I for Christmas (that is unless she moved her flight up and is coming home today...)


We are having a white elephant gift exchange at our apartment on Friday night! What is the best white elephant gift you've ever received? Let's discuss this...


By the way, Christmas is for families. I'm so excited to see mine, but I've already discussed that. Just wanted to make sure you knew.


P.S. 10 bonus points if you can name the movie where this post title comes from...

P.P.S. At least you didn't pay $40 for this blog post, otherwise you'd be dissapointed I didn't deliver for you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Well worth your 5 minutes and 36 seconds.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Good Luck Charm

Want to get married? Read on...

I think it must be me.

Since moving into my current apartment 6 months ago, one of my roommates has gotten married and another one (just happened Friday!) is engaged.

Just call me the good luck charm.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Needed to Hear This Today.

Maybe you do too?

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
-Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Welcome Christmas

For as long as I can remember, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day we venture out to get our Christmas tree.

Some people might like fake trees and that's okay, but I love real Christmas trees. They just smell so good and are different every year which adds to their loveliness.

The beautiful sunny sky was deceiving. It was pretty cold that day.

The saw holding can only be done by those who are experienced for sure.

Greens being collected for the mantle

I think the tree we want might be over here...

"This one looks good. What do you think?"

What about this cute Charlie Brown-ish tree?

The sun was bright that day!

Ohh, that's a little better...

The Christmas Bush!

Lovely seed pods, aren't they?

After more looking...and going back to one we found earlier
we decided on it...and gave it one last look over before cutting.


Our tree! It's a little bare in spots, but it's ours!
Just like people, some of the trees were immature, some were short, some tall, some bare in spots, but they were all lovely in their own way. And all taken care of by the owner, just as we are.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

True Story

I was at the library yesterday just browsing around, when I overheard two female library employees talking. I pretended to look at books as I gradually moved closer to where they were.

I tried not to make it too obvious that I was listening to them, but it was kind of hard not to hear them since one of the ladies was talking pretty loud.

This is what I heard:

Lady 1: "So yeah, when she got married she had the name "Tommy" tattooed on her ring finger instead of wearing a wedding band. She thought it would be a good idea."

My head: "Why in the world would she think that was a good idea? That's never a good idea. What the heck happens if they get divorced...? Will she get the tattoo removed?"

Lady 2: "Wow. I don't think I would do that."

Lady 1: "I know, right? But then her and Tommy broke up and so she went back to the same guy who gave her the tattoo in the first place and had him cover it up and tattoo the word "Mommy" in its place. The kids were from her first marriage."

Lady 2: "Wow."

Lady 1: "But then her and Tommy got back together and so she went back again and had him re-write "Tommy" on her finger.

Lady 2: "It would have been easier if she had just gotten a wedding ring."

My head: "No kidding!"

I didn't hear the outcome of whether the lady and "Tommy" were officially on or off, but for her sake I sure hope they were on so she didn't have to go and get the tattoo changed back to "Mommy" again. I can just imagine the conversation with the tattoo artist...

Some people's children!

I said some pretty good things this year...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wedding Dance

"Marry You" by Bruno Mars sung by Glee

Most people that I know don't dance and sing down the aisle at their wedding, but for those who do -mostly depicted in TV, I think it is really fun. I hope you enjoy these two clips! Awesomeness!

Chris Brown's "Forever" from The Office

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Making or Pumpkin of Your Eye*

Over Thanksgiving my mom and I wanted to have an adventure.

So, we decided to...MAKE A PUMPKIN PIE FROM SCRATCH USING A PUMPKIN WE COOKED OURSELVES!! (I'm not shouting, just excited!) Yes we did!

Well, things started out wonderfully.

They really did.

How can they not with a beautiful pumpkin like this?

The pumpkin just knows it's about to become something very can feel it in its bones, er, mushy insides.

First, we cut out a little square shaped piece from the top, like thus:

Then the pumpkin was cut in half and I took a picture of the gross looking insides. But, have no fear, things will get least for a little bit.

It was so fun, even the dogs wanted in on the action!

In order to make the pumpkin useful those gross looking insides depicted two pictures up have to be, um, taken care of...ahem... like so...

(Btw, if you try this at home try to get as many of the strings "taken care of" as you can, otherwise you might have a little trouble down the road...learn from our mistake). But, definitely scrape all the seeds out.

Once all the seeds and strings were out, we put the pumpkin in the oven at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or until fork tender (it might take longer, just check on it).

While the pumpkin was cooking, I took pictures of myself to pass the time:

After the pumpkin was cooked the useful part of the pumpkin was scraped out. Be sure to get every last piece that you can...your eyes need it. They really do! Doesn't that look like pumpkin ice cream? So beautiful!

If you're not planning on using the cooked pumpkin right away, be sure to put it in a festive snowman container and store it in the fridge for later.

The above steps were easy enough, they sure were. Right?

Are you still with me?

This is where the fun part began...

See, Black Friday is a wonderful thing. Here is why...

To turn the scraped pumpkin into something that is useful for pie or cooking, the pumpkin needs to be pureed. Well, we tried using a blender (it turned the pumpkin all black), we tried using a potato masher (it didn't get the pumpkin soft enough) and well, we didn't have a food processor.

Here is where the lovely thing thing known as *crazypeoplewhogetupat4amtogetgooddeals comes in (*more commonly known as Black Friday).

At Wal-Mart (Nast) there was a super crazy deal (or so we thought) of a little 1.5 cup mini chopper for $1.97. Well the problem is I am not on of those crazypeoplewhogetupat4am on the Friday after Thanksgiving and neither is my mom.

So, we didn't get the super crazy deal on the little 1.5 cup mini chopper because when we went they were all sold out.

But, all was not lost. We found another little food processor that could hold three cups and was a little more than $1.97, but we thought it would work so we bought it!

And then we took it home and tried to use didn't work! (Partly because it didn't have instructions and partly I think because it was defective).

Yay! So, we went back to Wal-Mart and exchanged it for another one exactly like it (instructions included), only hoping that it would work this time...

It worked alright, but not to puree pumpkin.

We had to mash the pumpkin with a fork before we put it in the food processor...what is the purpose of that?

Isn't a food processor supposed to eliminate that step?

Anyway, it was mashed with a fork and then put in the processor. But since it was not very expensive there were two buttons: "HI" and "LOW" and we had to stand there and push them down while the food was being processed. We couldn't go and do something else...

Which, when I say processed, really means not very processed. We had to add a bunch of water and after about 20 minutes we got not quite 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin.

I just thought it would be faster than that is all I'm saying. And more processed.

(I hid the brand name so as to not cause any panic, but it ends in an r).

Two hours later we had finally finished processing all the pumpkin. Whew!

That part definitely made for good memories. My mom and I started laughing about half way through!

On to the baking part...

The Crust:

Instead of making regular pie crust, we used phyllo dough, you know, to cut calories and all. It turned out pretty well, if we do say so ourselves.

(Word to the wise...if you've never worked with phyllo before, be sure to read all the instructions on the box before beginning. Phyllo is pretty temperamental).

The Filling:

See the little chunks in there? Those are from the food processor that doesn't really work to make pumpkin puree.

The two were combined: The Crust + The Filling = Homemade Pumpkin Pie!

We made two pies. See the different milk designs? They both kind of resemble horses...or maybe a galloping horse and a unicorn (if you turn your head to the side)? What do you see?

With the pies in the oven we waited with anticipation...


How did it taste, you ask?

Well, despite two trips to Wal-Mart, one defective food processor, two hours of processing pumpkin, and the broken phyllo...they turned out pretty darn well!

Thanks for asking.

And that, my friends, is our adventure in home made pumpkin pie making!

And just to avoid any confusion, we have made home made pumpkin pie before but this was the first time making it using our own pumpkin and phyllo dough- usually it's just the canned pumpkin and regular crust.

*Why is it always apple of your eye? Why don't people ever say pumpkin of your eye?
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