Friday, December 31, 2010

unknown...?

For my whole life, I have always known exactly what I would do after Christmas break.  I would go back to school as a student.  Some years I was excited for the break to be over (I really do enjoy school!) and other years I wasn't so thrilled but was still eager to see all of my friends again.  But I always knew what I was doing.  It was a way of life--when Christmas break ends, you go back to school and you have more homework.


I don't know what I am doing now.  I hope to be going back to school and working full time as a teacher.  We keep praying for one of my applications to be impressive.  But for the first time in my life, I don't know what I am doing or where the future will lead.  It is hard not being able to plan.  It makes me kind of nervous to grow up...  For my whole life, I wanted to get married and graduate from BYU.  Check and check--but now what?  I keep fighting back the tears--am I ready to have an "adult" job?  It is really beginning to hit me as I realize that today is the last day of 2010.  
What will I be doing next week??  Next month?  Forget trying to plan out next year--that is WAY to far out and we have to make it through January first.


So here is to 2011... 
the year where I have NO idea what I'm doing 
and NO clue what the future holds... :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a special day...


and you want to know what the best part is after being married for
"1 year, 1 month, 1 week, & 1 day" is... 
we still LOVE each other!!! 

Happy "1 year, 1 month, 1 week, & 1 day" anniversary sweetheart!

Monday, December 27, 2010

[2010]

[January]
1. Did you have a new year's resolution in 2010?  I am sure I did but as the phrase goes... a goal not written down is merely a wish.
2. Who kissed you at midnight?  My darling husband kissed me before we fell asleep... we didn't actually stay up till midnight.
3. How did you celebrate the beginning of 2010?  We moved into a new apartment and I started my last semester of classes at BYU.  It was eventful!!

[February]
1. Who was your valentine in 2010?  My handsome husband!  I am a super lucky girl! :D
2. What did your valentine get you?  He bought me a rose that was chemically treated and will last for many years.  It is so pretty to look at every day!
3. How did you celebrate Valentine's Day in 2010?  We went to our Stake Dance, made a romantic dinner of lasagna, and the next week, we went to a BYU Married Ball.

[March] 
1. What happened that was different this month in 2010?  I joined Phi Kappa Phi and also received a huge private scholarship.  Both of these had lovely banquet dinners.
2. Did you wear green on St. Patty's Day this year?  Absolutely!  Holidays are worth celebrating!
3. What did you do for St. Patty's Day in 2010?  I went to school and had on lots of different green clothing items.  That evening I made corned beef, potatoes and cabbage.  I also made an Irish Soda Bread.  I found the recipes online and I think they turned out pretty well!

[April]
1. What life changing events happened during April 2010?  I took my last finals--ever!  Casey left me love notes in the testing center for me to find when I finished.  He is so thoughtful and cute!
2. Did you play an April fool's joke on anyone in 2010?  I don't think so... Casey knows me to well to know that anything I told him would be false.
3. What was your favorite part about Easter this year?  I really liked being home with my sweetheart in the morning.  He made me an Easter Egg hunt and I loved watching General Conference.

[May]
1. How did you celebrate Mother's Day 2010?  We went to church with both of our Mothers and then ate lunch with Casey's family and dinner with my family.
2. What was the most memorable part of Memorial Day this year?  We went camping for the first time together.  It was unbelievably cold but still our first campout!
3. What exciting things happened during this month in 2010?  We celebrated our 6 month anniversary.  Casey planned a surprise date and it was so sweet.  We went to the Salt Lake Temple, ate dinner at The Garden and looked at the temple the whole time (or each other's eyes...), and then watched the BYU Young Ambassadors perform in the Conference Center Theater.

[June] 
1. What vacations did you go on in 2010?  Casey was going to school during the summer so it made going on vacations a bit interesting.  We went to the Manti Temple (and it is GORGEOUS!) and then watched the Manti Pageant.  It was Casey's first time every seeing it.
2. How did you celebrate Father's Day 2010?  We had a BBQ at my parents house.
3. If you could, would you change anything that happened during this month?  Nope... the past is what makes the future better.

[July] 
1. What did you do on the 4th of July in 2010?  Since the 4th was a Sunday, we pretty much celebrated all weekend!  On Saturday, we went to a free breakfast at Macey's and then walked around Freedom Days.  In the evening, I worked as Gate Security at the Stadium of Fire.  I was lucky and was asked to go inside to a portal and was able to watch the whole show.  Sunday we went up to my parent's house and had Tortilla Pie (not really "American" food--we know... but it is a family favorite!), we took family pictures in matching flag shirts and went and visited my dad's mom.  Monday, we went to the parade (our chairs and blanket were on the road... never thought I would lay down in a street!) and then walked around Colonial Days.  It was a busy but super fun weekend!
2. How did you celebrate Pioneer Day 2010?  We ate monkey bread while watching the parade TV.  Then we went to my aunt's house for a family reunion of sorts.  To end the night, we went and watched fireworks at the same place we watched them the year before.
3. What did you learn this month that changed your life?  I heard some great advice from my institute teacher.  It meant a lot to me and will hopefully stay with me forever.  (Don't worry, I wrote it down--unlike my new year's resolutions! LoL!)

[August]
1. Did you do anything special to end your 2010 summer?  Casey and I were able to attend Education Week together.  I was sad to see summer end but grateful  have it close on such a spiritual high!
2. How was starting the new school year?  I could hardly believe that I was going to be teaching.  I wasn't really that scared because I have had a lot of experience with substituting but still slightly stressed because I had heard rumors of how much work it would be.  And writing your own lesson plans is by far different then just teaching someone else's.  All in all though, I have definitely enjoyed it!
3. Are there any special memories this month?  I graduated!!! :D  Ok... well technically, I just walked at graduation.  I will officially graduate in December upon completion of student teaching but still so super exciting! 

[September] 
1. What school did you attend in 2010?  I taught at Lakeridge Jr. High.  Casey was at UVU.  It was nice that we were so close together.  He brought me my forgotten phone or lunch a few times.
2. How did you celebrate the welcoming of fall?  We went and had a campfire up a canyon.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and enjoyed the warmth from the fire and the brightness from the Harvest moon.
3. What was the busiest part of this month?  Writing lesson plans.  Wow!  That sure is time consuming!!!

[October] 
1. How did you celebrate Halloween 2010?  On Saturday (the celebrated Halloween) we went to the temple and then shared a shake at Iceberg!  On Sunday (actual Halloween) we had a family party to celebrate Casey's birthday.  It was really nice having everyone together--well almost everyone--from both sides of our immediate family.  I made a pumpkin cake and decorated it with pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns.
2. How did you celebrate your birthday in 2010?  Casey brought me a dozen of my favorite roses to school.  It was SO cute and mean so much to me!!  After school, we watched "Letters to Juliet" and then went to a fiesta.  It was a wonderful first married birthday!
3. What did you do for General Conference?  We spent the weekend with Casey's mom.  It was rather interesting sharing a water bed.  In between sessions, we were helping to set up and decorate for my brother's wedding reception.  Then on Sunday, I was able to meet most of Casey's aunts and uncles and we all watched the morning session together.

[November] 
1. Where did you celebrate Thanksgiving in 2010?  We helped make Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparent's house.  Casey carved the turkey and did a beautiful job and I made the gravy because everyone else was terrified of it.  We at super fast and then went to Casey's mom's house for a second dinner.  There was so much yummy food and people we love.
2. What are you thankful for this month?  I am personally thankful for my sweetheart.  I love knowing that he will be by my side for eternity.  Life would be so lonely without him--I wouldn't have anyone to tell all of my secrets to!  I am also thankful for our cute apartment, a functioning furnace, modern medicine, my testimony, a living prophet, my education (and soon to be bachelor degree), smiling, cuddling, love notes, holding hands, my journal... ok this list is going to go on for forever...
3. How did you celebrate your first anniversary?  We went to a Marriott motel up by the Salt Lake airport.  We just loved being able to spend time together.  We enjoyed dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, walking around (and dreaming) William Sonoma, sealings in the Salt Lake temple (I got teary eyed), looked at Elder Scott's watercolor paintings, wandered around Gateway, went on a carriage ride... it was perfect because I was with the one I love the most!

[December]  
1. What was your favorite thing that happened in this month in 2010?  I GRADUATED!!!  I'm 100% done with being a student!  It was SO nice to finish student teaching!!!  (Honestly, this semester went by so fast it is like I forgot to blink.)
2. What is your favorite Christmas tradition (either new or old)?  I have lots of favorite traditions.  I guess I will talk about a couple of new traditions this year.  I love both!  One is our advent calendar which uses nativity pieces and has scriptures/ activities on the back of each that focus on the Spirit of Christ.  I look forward to reading/ doing this with our children for countless years to come.  The other is our "reindeer notes."  I love the kindness and thoughtfulness the actions of writing notes has brought to both of us.  I hope to do this every year too!
3. How did you celebrate Christmas 2010?  We were blessed to be able to celebrate with all of our families.  Christmas Eve we partied with my dad's family.  We then spent the night with my parents and woke up to open presents with them!  We then headed off to be with Casey's family to share Christmas breakfast.  The next stop was lunch with my mom's family.  By the time we came home, we were tired but greatly enjoyed ourselves.  We spent the evening together reading all of our "Reindeer Notes."  This is seriously my *favorite* thing ever!  My favorite part of all of the celebrating = being with Casey all day!  :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Real Reason...


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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to ALL!!!


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tres Leches Cake

So I know this is not the typical "Christmas food" but the other night we had dinner with some friends.  Since it was Mexican themed, I decided to try out this cake.  It is SO easy but so extremely delicious! :D


1 yellow cake mix box
Everything listed on the back of the cake mix box
1 can sweet and condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 - 1/2 c. cream (or milk)
1 (8 oz) cool whip
cinnamon


Make the cake according to the back of the box instructions.  Allow the cake to completely cool.  Using the handle of a small wooden spoon, punch holes all over the cake.  There should be a substantial amount of holes but not so many that there is no cake left...


Mix the sweet and condensed, evaporated and cream in a bowl then pour over the cake.  Try to fill the holes.  Allow the cake to sit for a couple of hours.  (All of the milk will absorb into the cake.)  Frost with cool whip--goal: to cover up all of the holes! :)  I didn't use the whole thing of cool whip but most of it.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon to garnish.


Keep in the refrigerator.


If you substitute the yellow cake for devil's food and cinnamon for toffee pieces and then drizzle with caramel, it becomes bts cake.
I think it would also be good with other flavors of cake (like strawberry)... Someday I will have to experiment! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 5 Christmas Lights of Happy Valley

We have really enjoyed being able to spend time together in the evening driving all over "happy valley" and looking for the best Christmas light displays.  Our nights have been filled with flipping U-Turns, getting lost (ok so I was the only one lost... my husband always knows where he is and how to get home!  So glad I married someone with a great sense of direction!!!), taking pictures, and sliding on the road.  (This part was NOT so fun... we slid out last night.  This is the first time I ever remember sliding out.  I covered my eyes and screamed... Thank goodness I wasn't driving!)  We did our best to figure out addresses so you can go visit the magical Christmas houses too! :)


HONORABLE MENTION--PROVO TEMPLE
This was SO beautiful with the snow falling!!!
It was hard to get it focused...
#5  BOUNTEOUS BLOW-UPS
This is a cute "family" house.
1787 N. 2050 W., Provo (it is like practically on the border of Orem but we are pretty sure it is in Provo)


#4 MARVELOUS MANSION
So when this goes on for THREE blocks... it is kind of hard to capture all of the magic in one picture...
~250 W. 1800 S., Orem (We are not kidding about mansion... the property is 3 blocks long.  250 W. is a street that creates a T with the "house".)


#3 ANIMATED ABODE
This would be better represented with a video!  Nearly everything changes/ has animation.
I loved the old fashioned characters! :)
3923 N. Riverwood Provo (This is off of 3700 N--a fairly major/ big street)


#2 NATIVITY NEIGHBORHOOD
This nativity is HUGE!  It is so amazing to just stare at!
The title for #2 is accurate...it is a neighborhood deal!  This is across the street and SO COOL!
The trees are covered and have huge ornaments on them.  I LOVE it!
Please note: this is where we slid out.  We have seen this house before but forgot to take a picture.  So we went back last night... as amazing as it is--not really recommended in the snow
~310 N. Foothill Circle, Provo (310 is an address of a house on the same street.  Keep driving north until you reach the end of the circle.  This is a "No Outlet" street.  It is off of Iroquois Dr., which is the same road that is directly East of the temple.  When you come to that 4 way stop behind the temple, go straight--North--and then keep going.  The street will curve right and then go up and down many hills.  The name of the street, Foothill, is accurate...)


#1 MUSICAL MOMENT
We watched in the car for probably 10 minutes. :)
The lights will dance in rhythm to their radio station.
This shows the lights changing...
DEFINITELY deserving of our #1 place to visit!!
 351 W. Center Street, Provo (This the city of Provo office building.  You just park on Center St.)
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  
Happy Lights Sighting!
Staying warm inside our car! :)
P.S.  If anyone knows of any other SWEET displays--we would *love* an address! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Chapter

I feel like I am beginning a new chapter of life....  There are a couple of large contributing factors.


The first (and obvious) is I am finished with my bachelor's degree.  It is really weird in some ways.  I almost don't know what to think.  I am not registering for classes or buying books.  This also proves interesting because as of right now, I don't even know what I am doing after the Christmas break.  I haven't heard back from any one yet on my applications.  We continue to keep praying and hoping.  I am fairly certain though if I am not teaching full time then I will be working as a sub.  Yeah! :)  Graduating is WONDERFUL but brings with it lots of unknowns....


To add to my new chapter feeling, I was asked to serve as the 1st Counselor in the Stake Primary Presidency.  I was sustained and set apart yesterday.  It was intriguing because I felt the weight of the calling while I was being sustained during sacrament meeting but then the peace and love for the children while I was being set apart.  Thankfully the Lord really is here to help the program succeed!  And it is a good thing we can turn to Him.  We (meaning myself and the President... there is no 2nd counselor or secretary at this time) have no idea what we are doing--no big deal, most people don't when they are called to something new.  Unfortunately, we have no reference--the Stake President has no idea what we are doing, there is no outgoing presidency.  We were given a manual of some sort--hopefully it has the answers because I really do want to fulfill my calling!  I am sure this will prove to be a great learning experience for me... :)  
I do know the Primary theme for next year is "I know the scriptures are true!"  I really love this theme!  I hope I can help the kids gain a testimony of the scriptures!  I know that we have a very SMALL primary (~125 kids) for our 8 ward stake.  This isn't a shocker though considering we are attending a married student stake and many people attending are without children of their own (like us).  I know some wards don't even have a primary.  I know there is a LARGE nursery.  I know a couple of wards are having ward conference next month and we were asked to come with.  I don't know what we do but we will go.  I know the Lord won't give me anything I can't handle....


Between both of these, it is enough to make me live day by day and give up on planning the future for the time being.  I am sure it will be an exciting, challenging, and rewarding journey and I am just grateful to have my best friend by my side as we experience these changes together.  I am also thankful for prayer because I know He will help guide me down the path that is best for us (doubt that means easiest but for sure the best)!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

To Our Doorbell Ditchers

We will never know who our Christmas Angel is... 
but we are deeply filled with gratitude!!

Thanks 
for your 
love
friendship
kindness,
generosity, 
and 
sweet doorbell ditched gift!!


(P.S. This song is dedicated to you, doorbell ditcher... and we will just hope that you see it!  There truly are "angels among us"--thanks for being ours!)

Tabernacle Teaches Thinking

I learned a great lesson from the news that the Provo Tabernacle burned yesterday (December 17, 2010) morning...  Allow me to share my insight.

For the past block (1/2 of semester) I drove by the Provo Tabernacle EVERY day while driving to student teaching--twice a day.  It seemed like it would always be there.  It is a beautiful building but many a times on my early morning drive I was so tired, the building was often overlooked.  I thought it would never change... it wasn't something to pay attention to but rather just something to look beyond.

As I learned about the terrible news of it burning (thanks to a former BYU teacher on facebook), I couldn't believe it.  How could this amazing building be gone?  I really thought it would be something that would be there forever... not something that would be there one day and gone the next.

As we turned on the news, I was really struck with not taking things for granted.  Last springtime, our stake had stake conference in there.  I think I have been in the building before but this time is really the only time I remember.  Casey and I took the opportunity to wander around the WHOLE building and read EVERY caption below EVERY picture.  (Unfortunately, I don't think we have any pictures...)  We arrived very early for conference and decided to enjoy the deep heritage of the building.  There were fascinating stories to be told.  The pictures portrayed the legacy.  The craftsmanship was detailed.  The benches were hard.  The organ was impressive.  The windows were stunning.  The structure was castle-like.  The spirit present was touching.  I truly am grateful for these beautiful memories that I will cherish and look back on with fondness.

But as I was pondering about not taking things for granted... if I would have known that Thursday was the last night, I would have taken more time to walk around and enjoy the moment.  I would have taken pictures to last a lifetime.  I would have looked at the building instead of looking past as I rush on with life.  It was a simple reminder to live each day to the fullest, spend a little more time with the ones you love, capture the beauty of the moment, make memories happen....

Thankfully the building is not something I will have eternal relationships with but the lessons it taught me will be applied to those whom I deeply love and treasure as family and friends.


(Photos courtesy of my dear friend, "Pepper" and her hubby--and their blog.  They were taken on Dec 12, 2010.  I used hers because we don't have any pictures...)
P.S. Warning for my mom... Pepper's blog has pictures of the burning building too... I personally don't suggest you (Mom or anyone that has nightmares of burning buildings) click on it.  But everyone else, PLEASE do!  She is the reason I have a nickname of "Salt."

"And in the end, it is not the years in your life that count.  It is the life in your years."  --Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nativity Advent Calendar

Our "Spirit of Christ" Nativity Advent Calendar is finished!  (Click on the nativity advent calendar to go to the website where I got the pieces from... I made some changes to the days and order and scriptures... but it is the general idea!)  I hot glued the magnets on this morning while Casey was sleeping.  Then for our morning devotional we played "catch-up" and read all of the scriptures up to today--the 16th.  I love looking at our fridge!  I think it is ADORABLE and so festive but at the same time helps me remember the real reason for the season.
The pieces that already made it to Bethlehem...
(located on the top part of the fridge)
The pieces still waiting to come...
Se the numbers on them--sheep are easy to read
(located on the very bottom of the fridge)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

a new Christmas tradition

(Background Information)  My companion prepared a lesson about Christmas and the true meaning of it.  We each came up with ideas for something we could do to help us not become so caught up in the frill and fluff and things of Christmas but instead to focus on the purpose.  My companion decided she wanted to start a tradition with her husband with this being her first year together and do something service oriented.  She wanted to begin it now so someday when she has kids, doing service during this season will just be a way of life.  I liked her idea!  We really do have to establish righteous habits before the kiddos arrive.

I thought my idea was cheesy but everyone loved it.  The first sister we visited has lots of gifts all wrapped with different colorful papers and beautiful bows.  As I shared my idea at her house, I kind of choked up a little because it means so much to us and I was afraid I would be made fun of.  The reason this started was because neither of us have jobs (though I have sent in my application to teach--seriously please keep praying, thinking positive and crossing your fingers that I will be hired!!!) and money is kind of tight.  I knew we would not be able to afford lots of "things" this year.  So as I am sharing our new Christmas tradition, I am looking under her tree and wondering if I should be sharing....  I began to feel so vulnerable--even though I have deeply grown to LOVE my companion and the sister we were with.  As we went to the next house and the next (we have a trio this month) my companion eagerly wanted me to share it again and again.  She was the one that suggested I "start a blog" or something to share it.  So instead of starting a whole new blog, it is going on here!

The idea is simple (and cost affordable) but has a deep meaning.  I happened to already own a cute reindeer with really long legs (the legs wrap around something like towels or jars of candy) so I wrapped it around an old Alfredo sauce jar.  This I guess would be the "frill" part--I wanted it to look cute.  I then took 5 pieces of printer paper (varying in different shades of Christmas colors) and folded them into 16 pieces.  Then I ripped them apart on the lines (real sophisticated here... I know! LoL!) 

Anyway... the reason and purpose for all of this... Throughout the whole month until December, (there are 10 days left till Christmas--anyone reading this could start this now and then join in if they wanted) Casey and I have been writing love notes to the other and then folding them up and placing them in the jar.  Ideas for love notes include: "I love you because..." "Thanks for helping me with..." "I appreciate you because..." etc.  It has made me really look deep to find good things to write about because I didn't want to write the same thing over and over.  We are both looking forward to Christmas morning to share our notes.  We are just going to randomly draw one out and then read it aloud (it doesn't matter who wrote it) and switch back and forth.  I am planning on keeping all of the notes and putting them in a frame in some sort of cute pattern or a scrapbook page or something else of the like.  Since this is something with just the two of us--we are going to read the notes with just the two of us.  As we add kids to party then they will be involved in writing notes (labeled with the receiver's name) and then we will read them as a family--my dream is after we open the presents and share Christmas breakfast but before we travel to extended family member's homes we will all sit down and read the notes.  I guess we will figure out the logistics when we get there... 

Happy Secret Love Note Writing!!
(sorry about the glow...)
P.S. as a follow up to my last post about eggnog... it really is DELICIOUS!  I *love* it and am already going to have to be making some more (I don't know if I will ever just settle for Meadow Gold again)--I just wish eggs were SO expensive right now! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the perfect Eggnog recipe

When I say perfect in the recipe, I am not kidding folks.  I have read through hundreds (probably literally) of eggnog recipes.  Well, attempt number one (a month or two ago) failed miserably.  It is flat out awful.  I read through recipe after recipe because I had to find one that cooked the eggs and didn't use alcohol.  Not an easy feat.  Countless recipes don't cook the eggs and that is obviously a no go.  And then the rest of them all had rum or something of the sort in it.  So as I began searching for a wonderful eggnog recipe again, I decided to look at recipes that had alcohol in it and then I would just leave it out.  I read through a lot of reviews and finally found one that hundreds of people liked and several had left out the rum and it still tasted great.  I decided it was worth a try.  This morning I was so excited to make eggnog that while Casey was sleeping, I was in the kitchen making it.  And I love it!  Seriously--love!


A few notes, this stuff is really thick/ strong.  I just completely left out the rum but I wonder if it would be better to substitute it for additional milk.  And let's be honest... I LOVE eggnog as thick and rich as it can get!!  But this is even a little to overwhelming for me.  I have poured in extra milk and that seems to help mellow it.  I also could not find "light" cream like the recipe calls for and bought heavy instead.  This may be part of the problem with the richness??  I think when I make this again, I will buy a half gallon of half'n'half cream and use that in place of the milk and cream.  I also used a double boiler after I tempered the eggs.  (I don't really own a double boiler...  I just happen to have two "dutch oven" size pans.  I filled one with an inch or two of boiling water and then placed the other pan on top.  It worked just as good as a "real" double boiler!)  Double boilers definitely help to not end up with scrambled egg drink!!  (If you don't have a "double boiler" stir CONSTANTLY on a SUPER low heat... it will take awhile but will be well worth the wait!)  You for sure want to use a large pan!!  It makes about 1/2 gallon (actually more because I keep adding extra milk).

4 cups milk

5 whole cloves
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 c. light cream
(2 1/2 c. milk/ sprite/ etc???)
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. nutmeg

Directions

  1. Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a large saucepan, and heat over medium low for until it is completely boiling while stirring.  About 15 minutes.  Make sure you stir constantly to avoid scorching the milk.
  2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Temper the hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into the large saucepan. Place that saucepan on top of the double boiler.  Cook over high (if using the double boiler) or medium- low (no double boiler) until thick.  About 10 minutes.  Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
  3. Stir in cream, (extra milk/ sprite/ etc to dilute the drink) and 2 teaspoon vanilla. Serve chilled.  Sprinkle with nutmeg to garnish.

Seriously everyone should try it!  I know that it uses A LOT of eggs... but so tasty!  And with the egg whites--you can make divinity!  A perfect combination! :)

Love our festive Christmas glasses! :)

bell ringers

At Christmas time, it is common to see the Salvation Army bell ringers outside of every store.  It seems that in the hustle and bustle of shopping the bell ringers are often over looked as people rush in and out of the store.  Not to mention, hearing the ringing bell seems to get old fast.

As I went in to Wal-Mart, there were bell ringers but these were not your ordinary bell ringers.  And I don't recall even hearing a bell ringing.  And you want to know what, their tactic worked.  People were digging through their purses and pockets to donate change because these bell ringers looked so awesome.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Graduation Celebration

Yesterday morning, I worked hard to finish scanning in a few worksheets/ handouts.  I had to have an electronic copy of everything I used while student teaching so I could burn it all to a CD.  Once that was done, relief was written all over my face and my smile began to glow.  I was so excited to wear my brand new t-shirt.  It said "BYU Alumni 2010--Go forth to Serve".  I have been waiting to wear this!  I was so excited to take it out of the package! :D 


Casey and I went to campus together and shared a picnic.  This was such a wonderful "last day" experience!  He made tuna fish sandwiches--he really is amazing!  Then the celebrating began.  We went to the bookstore and bought the new ornament for our tree this year in celebration of my graduation.  It is a beautiful (really the color is very pretty!) blue ball with the BYU logo and cougar stamped on it.  That was not exactly what I wanted (I dreamed of a graduation cap ornament with BYU and the year on it--but that obviously does not exist) but will fulfill its purpose in the years to come.


Casey headed off to the library and I went to the final Seminar.  I turned in everything and that was a *WONDERFUL* feeling.  I am seriously done! :)  It is kind of funny how many acronyms the education department has.  I still don't even know what most of them stand for but we uploaded all of the information online.  Several of the forms to complete were like long "facebook" surveys.  Well, finally everything was done and my Teacher Work Sample handed in.  It is still hard to believe that everything is done.


Fortunately, seminar went quickly (they did it on purpose for me!).  Casey came to pick me up and we drove north.  We met my parents at Wendy's.  Sidenote--I just have to say their grilled chicken wraps are DELICIOUS!!!  Anyway, Wendy's was not the destination--just a pit stop to fill our hungry tummies.  


We went and watched "The Forgotten Carols."  I love that play/ musical!  This was the perfect graduation celebration for me!  On my left, I was sitting by my number one best friend (Casey) and on my right my second best friend (my mom).  My dad, sister-in-law and brother were there too.  My whole family-minus my little sister because she is up in Logan finishing up her finals.  It was Casey's first time seeing it.  I love watching him laugh so much.  He cracks up over the silliest little jokes and it is so cute!  That play is so touching.  I definitely recommend it to everyone!  And the music is amazing!  I own the sheet music and CD and I think it is time to bring them out of storage! :)  While we were there, some people saw my shirt and congratulated me for it.  I love being Alumni!!!  I have worked so hard for this and now it is really here!
See my totally *awesome* shirt! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

dream to graduate--meet reality

I think reality is finally beginning to sink in... 


As of today, I am finished with my student teaching and the ONLY thing I have left to do is to copy all of my lesson plans to a CD.  Easy!  Then after that, I have to turn everything in and I am completely DONE!  I can't believe it but the reality hit today as I watched my mentor teacher teach and I dealt one on one with student grades/ problems.  Reality has also began to become real knowing I don't have to work on lesson plans... I will NEVER, ever again have to write a UBD plan!!! :D  Reality of finishing is also apparent as I fill out job applications to apply for a BACHELOR degree required job.  Everyone please pray for me to get a job.  I am serious about asking for your prayers!  The market is SLIM and we REALLY need it!


My lifelong dream of becoming a BYU graduate is really happening.  As of tomorrow, after I turn everything in, I am completely done then I just have to wait for grades to be posted.  (And don't worry, my grades for student teaching are either Pass or Fail and I know I will earn the P!)  I can't wait for my diploma to come in the mail...  It is so exciting to have worked so hard and to finally see the end.  I am GRADUATING with my B.S.!!!


Anyway... other news in our life (like anything can be as exciting as GRADUATING!) we set up our Christmas tree!  It took several days to finish.  Pathetic, I know--especially considering the small size of our tree.  Neither of us had time.  Casey has been insanely busy with finishing projects and papers that are due at the end of the term.  I was working on finishing my TWS and portfolio.  After, I completed those things, I came down with a cold.  I have been fighting it and was able to survive through school.  I would come home from school and just lay on our couch--sometimes watching a movie, sometimes just thinking and sometimes sleeping.  I am looking forward to finally having the time to be lazy, and get feeling better!  Back to the Christmas tree... I *LOVED* putting our "First Christmas 2010" ornament on the tree.  Why, you might ask?  Because, this is now our SECOND Christmas!  I love that we have been married over a year! :)


I am currently working on making an advent calendar that helps us remember the reason for the season.  It is a CUTE nativity which I have to cut out.  I printed it off.  Each day, we get to add a piece to the nativity set (next year, we will actually get to use it the whole month of December!).  I am planning on making it magnets so then it can stick to the fridge (or maybe a cookie sheet).  The reason this helps us remember the reason for the season though is because on the back of each of the various pieces, I am going to write a scripture, thought and activity.  Instead of having the scriptures focus on "Christmas" they are teaching us the "Spirit of Christ."  I am excited for us to be able to use it, but will love it even more when we have young children.  I think (hope) it will be a great testimony builder as well as a countdown to Christmas.  (I will take pictures when I finish!)


Casey took me on a date on Tuesday!  It was so sweet!  Neither of us felt like cooking...  (I was sick and he was busy!)  We went out to Arctic Circle and enjoyed 60 cent hamburgers, corndogs and fries.  It was a fun date and also the price was amazing.  While we were there, I ran into one of my junior high students.  I was so excited I remembered her name! :)


Well, there is so much more to write about--now that I finally have the time!  But I am still sick and am excited to go lay down without having to stress about not having time to take a break.  Stay tuned... I will hopefully be posting more soon!


Our cute Christmas tree, stockings, wood block nativity, decorative quilt and reindeer.
The reindeer is holding a jar which we are filling up with love/ thankful/ you're amazing notes...



Thursday, December 2, 2010

...it will give you experience...

Within the past week or so, I have had a lot of teacher learning moments.  I guess it is good because it will give me experience so I can handle all of these delicate situations with ease when I am on my own but honestly I would be alright if my experiences were done!

During class, I had two students start fighting.  I saw it fairly quickly and went over to them and it ended quickly. I sent one student out in the hall so I could talk to him and hope he would calm down.  He ended up leaving class altogether.  At that point, I honestly didn't really care because I had the two of them separated.  I learned how to stop a fight and not get punched in the process and then I learned how to report it to the administration.  Lovely.

In another class, I learned how to fill out an accident report.  I warned all of my students that the brand new knives were extremely sharp.  Well, one of the students learned just how sharp it was.  He sliced his finger and took off a small chunk of his thumb tip.  Neither of the wounds were very bad.  I put on gloves and bandaged him up and then learned about all of the legal paperwork.

Let's see... I have also learned about how to write a sub plan.  Ugh.  I think it is more work to get everything ready for the sub then it is to just do it myself.  I probably left a way to detailed lesson plan that likely won't be read anyway.  I wanted to be prepared!  At least I left the lesson plan in a normal bullet outline instead of UBD stuff.

I also learned how crucial it is to really know what you are talking about when you are teaching.  I spent many countless hours making a Jeopardy game to use as a test review.  Unfortunately at least 90% (if not 95%) of the test was something my mentor teacher taught long before I came.  I did the best I could with it but was still struggling.  The students started arguing with me about something on it and I didn't know how to answer their questions.  Why did I not know how to answer their questions?  Because it wasn't my test and the material on it wasn't even something I had taught.  I learned to make sure you are always prepared so you can come up with an answer to all of their unpredictable questions.

I learned how to print off grade reports (granted this changes from district to district).  I sent them home with the students with a required signature line.  I also mailed home reports to all of the students who were failing.  I really do hope these will help the kids students be more successful and motivated to hand in all of their missing assignments.

I have learned to endure to the end, even when I have a cold and a huge cold sore.  It hasn't always been fun but will be so worth it once I graduate!!!  Not that I am counting or anything but I am only teaching for 3 more days, going on a field trip for 1 and observing for 1.  Yipee!!