Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

nervous for weigh in

So I am a little nervous about my weigh in tomorrow allow me just to share a few reasons why.

1.   While I was subbing the foods class, I resisted the urge to eat the cookies and breadsticks they were making!  (Good!!)  But (bad), there was tons of extra dough and I brought it home and made Pizza.

2.  We went out to eat with all of my mom’s family because my aunt from Georgia was in town on a business trip.  I picked something off the “Fresh and Fit” menubut still.

3.  One day, since I wasn’t able to find a sub job, I went up and played with my mom and helped take my grandma grocery shopping.  We went to fast food and I ordered a salad.  It was great!  But holy cow was that a humungous salad!

4.  I ate out twice at my Stake Center (once for stake institutedate night!  and the other for Super Saturday)

5.  I made scones (like baked in the ovennot deep fried) for breakfast today.  I wanted to make my sweetheart a special Sunday breakfast.  I used whole wheat flour, splenda, and yogurt but they were SO deliciousI probably ate more than I needed too.

I guess there isn’t much I can do now too bad I can’t have a “Last Chance” workout today.  But the Sabbath is meant to be a day of rest and the program has my weigh in on Mondays.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cowboy Beans

Yesterday as I was scrolling through one of my dear friend’s facebook page… I saw she was wishing she had some super fast and easy recipes.  I have a ton of ideas—I think a lot of them are ideas I have heard about from others who I went to school with.  I also have a couple of cookbooks that are wonderful for the busy college student life.  I will try to post some of my favorites in the next little while because I am sure there are several who would love fast meal ideas!

I already posted a couple of ideas.  Ramen Egg Drop Soup is absolutely delicious and super easy/ cheap.  Honestly, it doesn’t take much more time than cooking regular Ramen!  Also the Cashew Chicken is fast when you get home and want to eat at night.  It takes some prep in the morning (I always do Crockpot prep the night before so I can just dump things in when it is bright and early!!!) but is super fast after school.  (P.S.  I just realized this link under the recipes category was broken—I fixed it!)

I thought I would start by sharing one of my childhood favorites! :)  This was something my dad grew up eating too.

Cowboy Beans

1 lb ground beef
1 t. salt
1 can (16 oz) pork ’n’ beans
¾ c. barbecue sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. minced onion
1 can refrigerator biscuits
1 c. grated cheese

Preheat oven to 375*.  Brown ground beef and drain fat.  Stir in salt, pork ’n’ beans, barbecue sauce, sugar and onion.   Heat until bubbly.  Pour into greased, 2 quart casserole dish (I used a square Pyrex pan).  Place biscuits on top.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.  Yields 4 servings.

Note:  Although this recipe calls for hamburger—I basically NEVER use it.  I don’t have the time to cook it when I want to make this.  I always substitute it for 2-3 hotdogs or 1 can of Vienna Sausages.

P.S.  Sorry there is no picture...  I haven't made these for a little while and thought it was better to just share the recipe then wait until I made it so I could take a picture.  Believe me—it looks, smells, and tastes AMAZING! :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

15 Tips for Student Teachers (or LIFE in general)

The Cougar FACS Club (the club created just for people in my major) asked that I write a Top 15 list of things I have learned while being a student teacher.  If you are preparing to be or currently are a student teacher then this is especially for you!  Even if you have no plans to become a teacher, this list is still for you!  Although it is written to the future student teachers--really practically everything applies to life itself!!  (Even #3--substitute TWS for some HUGE project you have to complete!)

1.    Stay organized.  Kids will hand you late assignments or want to know what they missed or wonder where to find a paper after you have graded it.  The only way to face all of these problems and many more is to be organized.  Keep your binder clean with your stuff where it belongs.
2.    Grades change.  Keep up with your grades but don’t stress it!  They change daily and if for some reason you don’t have time to deal with it one day—it is fine to leave it to the next.
3.    Teacher Work Sample.  Just do it!  It is never going to get any easier or more manageable until it is done.  Work hard to get it done in the first block and then enjoy the freedom that comes with being done in the second one.  Also know, it does take time but it is manageable!!
4.    Some parent loves your student.  Yes, even the student that you want to strangle or duct tape his/ her mouth closed—his or her parent still loves them.  More importantly, Heavenly Father loves him/ her just as much as He loves you.  Try to remember this when you get frustrated or overwhelmed with a particular problem child.
5.    I’m waiting.  Some students really forget how to be quiet.  Set your expectation high and hold them to it.  Don’t waste your energy yelling for them to be quiet or shhhhing them.  Tell them once “I am waiting” and then stand there with a mean teacher look.  The kids will get their peers to be quiet probably faster than you could (and a lot less frustrating).
6.    Social Media.  Assume everything you post/ share will get back to your mentor teacher and the parent’s of your students.  Even if you have everything set to super personal and private—still assume that they will be reading it.  One of the girls in my ward is apparently best friends with my mentor teacher.  I had no idea.  But she was reading everything I wrote and then talking with her sometimes.  Fortunately, it wasn't a problem because I everything I shared, I was fine with the whole world knowing.
7.   Smile.  There are days you are going to want to cry out of irritation/ annoyance/ frustration because of something a student will say or do (or generally not do).  There are other days when something bad happened at home.  Keep smiling, even if you have to fake it.  Eventually the smile will turn from fake to real and until it does, this will make everyone’s life better.
8.   Alarm Clock.  This always goes off much earlier than you would like.  Have everything ready before you go to bed.  Make your lunch before, pick out your clothes, have your backpack (yes, I still drag that thing with me) all ready.  This will make your mornings more pleasant and start the day on a good note.
9.    Go the extra mile.  Spend the time necessary to make sure you do things well.  Teaching is not merely about trying to get “it” done but rather doing it well enough that the kids will want to understand.  This includes lessons, activities, staying late after school, the list goes on.
10.Be creative.  Kids rotate from class to class everyday and just take lots of notes.  They don’t want to hear long lectures or do boring worksheets.  Figure out a way to make your lessons exciting so they will want to be in your class.  Play games, do projects, teach them why the notes are important.
11. Class title.  The kids signed up for X class because they wanted to do X.  If they are in a sewing class, teach them the skills but let them sew.  If they are in a foods class, let them cook.  There are days where it is impossible to always accomplish the title of the class but try.  The kids will enjoy the class better and be better behaved.
12. Focus on others.  The life of a teacher is all about serving.  Forget yourself and go to work.  Listen to your students.  Serve them.  Love them.
13. You need a life.  Writing lesson plans, grading, TWS, etc all take forever.  But you have to make time to still have a life outside of school and doing your laundry doesn't really count.  Hang out with friends.  Talk to your family.  Participate in ward activities.  Do things you personally enjoy.  It takes planning but it is possible and everything will go smoother as you make time for you.
14. You are not alone.  Sometimes this is easy to forget when your students are not listening to you or you have to stay in for a night as all of your friends go out (I know this sounds like it contradicts the idea before but having a life doesn’t mean every night…) but always know that you are not alone.  The other girls that are student teaching with you are in the same boat and you could talk to them.  Your mom (although she may not understand all the teaching jargon) will still be a huge support.  Most importantly, Christ is right beside you every step of the way!!  Never forget Him!  Spend time in the temple and in the scriptures—even if you think you are too busy—it really is the only way to survive.
15. You can do everything with a time limit.  It is hard.  It is time consuming.  It is overwhelming.  But the end is in sight!  You really can do everything with a time limit.  You will be graduating!!  You are living a dream.  At times when you want to quit, just remember how far you have come and how close you are to the end.  You would never stop 100 yards from the finish line after running a marathon… and the same with your schooling.

    Junior High Mentor Teacher!! :)

















    High School
    L to R: Carpool Buddy, her mentor teacher, MY mentor teacher, me!
    P.S. Quality= not the greatest... this is a picture of a picture from Sadies.

    high school vs junior high

    This past week, I have had the opportunity to go back to both the 
    junior high and high school I student taught at.  
    The kids reactions to when they saw me between the two schools were so funny! :)

    High School
    "What are you doing HERE?"
    "Hey I thought you were done?"
    "Since you know me, will you please not mark me tardy?"
    ...slight wave...


    Junior High
    "MRS. _______(fill in my last name if you know it--High Pitched SQUEAL filled with excitement) !!!!"
    "I haven't seen you for SO long!  I have MISSED YOU!!!"
    "How long do you get to stay??"
    "Do you remember me?  I LOVED it when you were the teacher!!"
    ...running in the hall to come talk to me...


    Is there any wonder why so many people fall in love with 
    teaching junior high students???  

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    Week 3 Weigh-In

    May I have a drum roll please...

    my week three weigh in is...

    -5 pounds!!!

    BAM!
    I know it is supposed to be unhealthy to loose more than like 2 pounds a week... 
    but I know I am not loosing muscle! (the reason it is unhealthy...)
      
    I guess sweat camp and eating healthy really 
    are a great combination... LoL! :)

    Carl Bloch--quiet "book" idea

    After you finish your tour of Carl Bloch--the Master's Hand then you have to wander over to the gift shop.  Normally, I try to avoid these things because gift shops in general tend to be over priced.


    But... we were able to find a 10 pack of 5" x 7" (or is it 7" x 5"... I really don't know which measurement you write first but 5x7 sounds normal soooo...) "cards."  And these are going to make a great Sunday quiet "book"!!!  Plus reminder of the beautiful museum.


    I'm pretty sure they were called cards by the the gift store but really they are pictures.  They came in a clear-ish envelope with a gold Carl Bloch sticker across the back.  Ask someone for help if you can't find them.


    These gems were only $5 for the whole pack.  And they are great!!  On the front is one of the beautiful pictures Bloch painted.  8 of the 10 pictures are of Christ--hence one of the major reasons I love them for Sunday.  And these would be great to look at for young children.  I also love what is on the back.   There are scriptures, quotes and questions--making these cards fabulous for older children too because they can look up the scriptures and think about the questions.


    I had ours laminated because I wanted them to last for awhile.  I placed all of them just in a quart sized ziplock bag.  You could punch a hole in a corner and then put them all on a ring.  Or in a (larger--or maybe the better term would be cleaner then mine) scripture case.  I was also thinking about a mini binder and put a couple of hole punches on the side.  I decided for me that I liked them loose because then they could be spread out and be able to be viewed by many instead of just one.


    The 3 cards in the top left show the quotes/ scriptures...
    Do you like our winter table cloth? :)

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    ...the Master's Hand

    Do you need an FHE idea?
    Do you frequently go on boring dates?
    Do you want some quality roommate time?
    Do you encourage your children to be well rounded?
    Do you desire more than anything to come closer to the Savior?

    If you answered YES to any of these questions (or even if you answered no...) then I have the perfect idea for a family/ couple/ roommate/ preschool trip/ solo outing.

    If you live anywhere remotely close to BYU
     then you have absolutely no reason not to attend this
     once in a lifetime opportunity...

    The Museum of Art
    at Brigham Young University
    is currently displaying
    "Carl Bloch--the Master's Hand"

    So I know that name probably doesn't mean a lot to some of you... 
    to be honest, I didn't really recognize at first it either.  
    But maybe these pictures will help...


    The exhibition currently has five large altar pieces (large is quite the understatement), with 4 of these pieces being the first time they have left their native location of Denmark or Sweden.

    They are breath taking! 
     If you thought the reproductions of the pictures we have all seen are beautiful--
    wait till you see the real thing, in person.  
    BUT... don't wait too long!  The exhibit is only here until May!
    They are here on visit but unfortunately (I guess part of the loan agreement from the Cathedrals who own the pictures) no photography inside is allowed.

    You have to have a FREE ticket!  
    Click here for the Carl Bloch home page and then scroll to the 
    bottom right corner for the link for the free tickets.

    P.S.  Stay tuned for another blog post about a 
    quiet "book" idea I had from this exhibition.
    I already made ours... it is easy--you will love it! :)

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    is it worth it?

    Sometimes I wonder if...

    • the intense exercise is worth it?
    • tired ankles and sore heals (I have feet problems!) are producing any results?
    • giving up Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies is the right choice?
    • sweating so much that even the best of deodorants are ineffective?
    • quitting is an option?

    And then other times I question what it is like to...

    • see your toes?
    • shop in the regular sized clothes?
    • be spun around the room by my hubby?
    • run a race?
    • train for a marathon?
    • not feel like a yo-yo?
    • have a seat belt fit comfortably?
    • chase a little kid (this is NOT an announcement!) around the house all day, every day?
    • go up several flights of stairs and not be out of breath?
    • feel like I have self-control?

    But the desire to... 

    • explore the unknown
    • reach my goals
    • live a healthy life

    ...makes me keep pushing and fighting though the wondering.

    So to answer the title of this post... YES IT IS!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    How to Save $$

    So I know the title of this post kind of sounds... obnoxious/ know-it-all...  That is definitely NOT the intent!!!!!


    I just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of some great tips (things I use all the time) to help save money.  With both of us in school and unemployed ok so I forgot for a moment... we are not both still in school--I am D.O.N.E.!!!  AND super exciting news *squeal* I was able to sub for the first time today!!! :D  We just constantly pray that I will be able to find a subbing job every day!


    Anyway... I know there are a lot of Wal-Mart haters out there but you are just going to have to get over it or at least ignore the feeling for my suggestions to work!

    I collect all of the grocery (and other) ads for the week.  And then I sit down and go through them... yes this takes some time.  To start off, I only look at the things on the front page of each stores ad.  These are the best bargain and "steal" if you will.  While I am looking at it and seeing what is cheap (like a week or two ago one store had a whole chicken for $0.59/ pound!!!! --those things are normally at least $1.20-$2.00/ pound.) then I look through my cookbooks (meaning I found a recipe that would use a whole chicken--rotisserie style chicken in the crockpot!) and plan meals around that.


    Now this is why you have to get over your Wal-Mart anxiety... they price MATCH!  So I plan meals around what are the steal of the deals at all of the local stores.  Here is the trick--you have to plan a head!  Make a list of everything you need to buy for the meals you planned out and then hunt through all of the ads to see if anywhere has that thing on sale.  Stick to the list.  (I learned this the hard way.  One time I was shopping and decided to add bananas and they were $0.93/ pound!  OUCH!!  I didn't know of anywhere that had them on sale when I checked out and paid for my pricey splurge.  I later found out a store had them on sale for $0.33/ pound that week... make your list and stick to it!)  You can also use Grocery Smarts (passport for Utah: g84csg) and it will tell you what things are on sale too.  This website does help but... I think the passport is sometimes more for SLC county and not entirely accurate down here.


    The next tip, is to take coupons.  Yes they are slow and annoying and if you are behind "coupon lady" it is so irritating because it takes forever.  But be that coupon lady!!  I try to price match and use coupons on the same item (one week I got two boxes of Special K cereal for about $0.75 a box--and we are talking large, family size boxes!).



    The other tip is to stalk freebie websites.  In the past, I was able to get some coupons which would give the regular sized product to me for FREE as like a "sample" type deal. Even if it is only the trial size they often still have coupons for other savings in the future.


    I have posted a link to all of these Frugal Living ideas on the "Links" section in our blog.  (Can't find the "Links" section?  Look up... right under our Values billboard.  Click the tab.)


    Happy Bargain Hunting! 

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    loving my student spouse

    When this semester began, I wanted desperately to do something extra special for Casey to remind him of my love.


    I picked one of the books he was required to have for this semester and filled it with handwritten sticky notes.  I picked a computer programming book because he was the most excited about it and I thought he would actually read it.  I know nothing about programming or understanding the language of that book (I swear it was not English!).  I flipped through the book until I could find something I could easily adapt into a loving phrase.  I would use the key concepts/ chapter reviews and then make my own list of bullet points of things to know (your handsome, I love you, thanks for helping take out the trash, etc).  I also loved using graphs/ charts and pictures.   I had no idea what any of the original things meant but the ones now (I put my drawing/ chart directly on top of the one in the book) are filled with love and kisses.  Just get creative with whatever book you happen to choose.  (This could easily be adapted for anyone really--not just students... pick something they go to often--scriptures, instructions for a game, planner, etc and fill it with sticky notes in random places and random pages.)


    This one is my favorite...  The book/ class is C# (C sharp).
    And the note says.... "I know Casey is # (Sharp)"
    I know it is cheesy... but Casey loved it!  And that is all that matters...  
    Good luck on coming up with matching love notes for your spouse!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Condoleezza Rice speaks at BYU

    Photo by Luke Hansen. BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson speaks with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
    Photo taken by Luke Hansen and published in the Daily Universe.


    So I still have no idea why the forum at BYU was not broadcasted.  There obviously must be some important reason....  Something else that was interesting was that BYU devotionals/ forums are always on Tuesday.  I can remember NO exceptions--it has ALWAYS been Tuesday.  Everything completely closes on Tuesdays during devotional time.  No classes, no stores are open, no cafeterias, no meetings.  Well, this week, Condoleezza Rice came on Thursday and (apparently--I wouldn't know from experience!) the class schedules were switched to accommodate her.

    I arrived at the Marriott Center around 10:35ish.  Thinking I would have *plenty* of time to get a great seat because I would be getting there before the class change time.  Wrong-o!  The place was packed by the time I arrived.  Since I was by myself, I was able to find a fairly decent seat.  They normally try to keep people sitting in "front" but as the class change time occurred, even the nose bleed seats were filled.  The only other time I remember seeing people sitting behind the speaker was when Pres. Monson came a couple of years ago.

    As Condoleezza Rice came in, I wasn't sure what to do.  I was thinking about how if it was a church leader we would all silently stand.  I was thinking about various other guest speakers at forums and normally there wasn't a response when they came in.  I don't think I was the only one thinking this because it was kind of awkward as she started walking on to the floor.  A few people started clapping and then a few others started standing.  That seemed like as good of a welcome as any.  Soon everyone was standing and clapping--another interesting point to this forum.  I don't remember that ever happening before.

    The dignitaries on the stand were: Pres. Cecil O. Samuelson (obviously being President of BYU...  but his wife was not with him.), Sister Julie B. Beck, Elder Garret W. Gong, and Jeanette Herbert (first lady of Utah).

    Anyway... now that all of that background information is out of the way...  (Please keep in mind that this post is all coming from notes I frantically took while she was speaking.  I tried my best to capture the important quotes and ideas but this is all written from my perspective.  Obviously someone else there might have thought other parts were more important.  If it was an actual quote she said, it will appear in quote marks.  If it was the general idea then it is without the quotes.)

    Rice generally spoke about 3 things:  (1) the importance of advocating democracy, (2) gaining an education, and (3) finding your passion.  She started out by saying that she was a classic pianist which she learned from her mother and an avid football (though all sports) fan which she learned from her father.  Her parents would often tell her, "You are prepared for whatever is ahead of you.  You are God's child and you are in His care." (I loved this quote.  It totally applies to me and I was grateful to hear such a sweet reminder--even from someone not of our faith.)

    While she was serving as the 66th Secretary of State (January 2005-2009), she kept the pictures of Thomas Jefferson and 3 other former secretary of state pictures near her.  For each person she listed, there was a reason why.  Some of them she didn't agree with what they did but they were still an inspiration.  Others she really admired and tried to be like.  When the press would ask for information from her, she would often respond with, "Today's headlines and history's judgement are rarely the same."  And then speaking to the audience she added, "You will not be judged by what you do today, but by how it looks over time."

    The Importance of Advocating Democracy
    We have to defend our country.  Everyday after September 11th it was always September 12th.  (She was not serving as the Secretary of State when this happened but she was still in Washington D.C. as the National Security Advisor.)  "The terrorists have to be right once--we have to be right 100% of the time."  Our chances are not fair but that doesn't mean we quit.  She firmly believes that we have to complete the job we started in Afghanistan.  We need to have a vision for them and to help heal the broken states.  "Stand for the proposition that every  man, woman and child deserves to live in freedom."

    She discussed the practical reason for democracy--if people can't resolve the problems peacefully, then they will do it violently.  Every dictator or authoritarian is fearful of the moment when their people no longer fear them.  (Yesterday in my Sunday School class, we were talking about the birth of Jesus Christ and discussing how Herod was involved.  Someone in the class made the comment of how Herod was a perfect example of this part of the forum discussion.  It really is the perfect example!  Herod was scared to loose his power and that the people would no longer fear him.  Because of this, he had every baby under the age of 2 killed.  This was an action done likely to put the fear back into the people and also because he was afraid of being overthrown by this "supposed king".)  We are lucky/ blessed to live in a country where the power is given to the people to decide who will govern us.  This is a "safety valve" because if we no longer like the people leading then we can decide to kick them out.

    While Rice was serving as the secretary of state, she had the opportunity to travel around the world and see what other people/ countries like and don't like about the U.S.A.  Some people are overwhelmed by our military, economic strength and culture.  But generally the people are still grateful for our support.  Others appreciate our ability to help in relief efforts and our compassion for them.  One thing that everyone always admires about America is our national myth--"it doesn't matter where you came from, it matters where you are going."  This is what leads people to immigrate here because they are willing to work hard.  They are willing to scrub floors so they can hope for a better life for their children.  She declared that we want people who are energetic and ambitious, that we need people to come to us to help better the next generation.

    Gaining an Education
    The "national myth" has to be true not only for others but for us as Americans too.  Rice deeply admires the LDS people--our beliefs and the strong culture of family.  "Family is the core of who I am."  She then proceeded to share a story about her grandfather, John Wesley Rice Sr.  He wanted to attend college and so he found a very small college that would accept black people.  He saved enough cotton to be able to pay for his first year of college.  He then ran out of money and thought he was out of luck.  He wondered how some of the other students were able to pay for their college and found out that scholarships were given to those who were studying to be Presbyterian ministers.  He declared right then that becoming a minster was exactly what he wanted to do.  Rice's family has been Presbyterian and educated ever since.  "My grandfather understood the power of education."

    "With all of the other challenges that Americans face, our greatest national security threat will be the disastrous state of our K-12 educational system."  Rice talked about how how we will have a generation of people that will be unemployable because there is not enough people willing to make a difference in the K-12 system.  We must reaffirm excellence.  (Having just graduated in education--any guesses why I loved this part of the talk so much!!??)  Our idea is that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.  "We are not held together by a religion or blood... but rather by that idea.  That is why it is so important for every child to succeed."  "Self-esteem comes from doing something well.  We do not hold our children to a high enough level."  Sidenote:  after the forum ended, she took a few question and answers--one question asked how to improve our K-12 system.  It fit so well that I am going to include it here.  "Reinforce the need for excellence."  There were 3 ideas she had.  (1) have higher standards for the children, (2) we need better teachers--"If you are not meant to be a teacher, either improve or get our of the profession.  Our children deserve better.", and (3) education needs to be broad--  "Arts are not extra curricular--it is part of becoming a well rounded person and it is a different type of learning."

    As educated people, you have been given a gift and have special responsibilities.  You are responsible to be optimistic.  You are fortunate that BYU believes that faith and reason go together.  "It is necessary to integrate your knowledge of what is with your faith of what can be."  You must take advantage of this place where faith and reason are so greatly connected.  (I was impressed she knew so much about BYU at this point.  Or maybe everyone knows that because it is a religious school and you could make the assumptions about the University of Notre Dame or any of the St. _______ College.  Either way, I thought it was neat that we were being encouraged to keep religious and secular studies together!)

    Finding Your Passion
    I want to encourage you to find your passion while you are here at BYU.  "What will make you get up everyday for the rest of your life and make you think, I want to do that."  As a freshman entering college, she thought she would always graduate in piano performing.  She had grown up with it and her mom was a classic pianist.  By the end of her sophomore year, she decided that the piano wasn't her passion.  She told her parents and went back to school as a junior with an undeclared major.  Her parents urged her to pick something because although it was her life, they were the ones paying for her now unsure of the path of life.  She changed her major 3 times and finally stumbled upon International Relations.  She had found her passion and wanted to become a soviet specialist.  Her parents completely supported her and told her to go for her dreams.

    "Worlds open up to you that never thought possible when you find your passion!"  Find it!  "If you love to write, take more math.  If you love math, write more.  I was more fulfilled by mastering something that was hard for me rather than something that was easy."  When you overcome something that is hard, you know you have achieved.

    Take advantage of study abroad programs and learn other languages.  Not only is it good to get to know what others lives are like but it is a humbling moment when you try to communicate with someone in their native language.  Rice took 3 years of Russian in graduate school and then headed of to Moscow as part of a study abroad program.  Her dorm had cockroaches and she was nominated to go tell the landlady.  As she stumbled through her Russian, she told the lady she had lice.  "But on that day when they finally understand you, there is nothing like it."

    Closing Remarks
    Keep your optimism.  "As educated people, you have a responsibility to be optimistic about where we are going."  "I am optimistic because of you, because I am American and because I am optimistic by nature."  Whenever I was lacking in optimism, I would read the biographies of the founding fathers.  Think of your own history--whoever would have thought that a tiny church founded on the East coast by a young boy would be the church or size that it is today.  Think of me--whoever would have thought that a black girl would support the president.  And I did it!  "Whatever you are lacking in optimism, remember that hard things have been overcome in the past.  Remember that!"
    So I know this picture isn't the greatest...
    I forgot our real camera and this is cell phone quality.
    You can see her at the podium but better on the jumbo-tron. :)

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Married to a Spiritual GIANT!

    On Sunday, my handsome hubby
    was presented with his
    INSTITUTE DIPLOMA!!!
    This picture was totally not planned but I *love* how the Savior is between my mom and me! :)
    This time it was planned because we realized it was behind us!
    Thanks for being such a wonderful example!
    And for working so hard!!
    I LOVE YOU CASEY 
    and will forever be grateful that you are a spiritual giant! :)


    What is Institute you ask?  Watch this (semi-funny but accurate) video made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Week 2 Weigh-In

    My week 2 weigh-in is...

    (beep)

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    -3 pounds!!!

    And I have lost a total of 3 inches on my waist and 3 inches on my hips.  I guess my favorite number for this week is 3! :)

    I was hoping to loose more weight this week but considering that we went out for frozen yogurt for FHE treats last week AND on Friday we ate out (thank you institute for the free dinner) and I ate WAY too much... I guess I will be grateful for the progress I am making!! :D

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Motivation...

    It has been hard to keep consistently exercising!!  But I push through and figure out how to make it a priority.  Casey said that he could already tell a difference--especially in my arms.  I thought he was just saying that to be nice....


    Last night though, I decided to dress up a little bit for our date and put on one of my favorite shirts.  I don't know why I *LOVE* the color yellow for shirts but I do! :)  Anyway, the shirt has a button on the sleeve with a placket (you all know what a placket is... I am just guessing there are some that don't know what the name is.  Click here to see pictures--and instructions for how to sew it--of what it is.) and I have always had to wear the button undone using the extra room from the placket so the shirt would fit comfortably.


    But...
    (please ignore my squinty/ puffy eyes!  I was TIRED!)
    ...as you can (sort of see) from the picture.  Both sleeves are buttoned and there is wiggle room to spare!! :D  (This is more noticeable on my left sleeve.)


    I was SO excited and became re-motivated to keep at this healthy-living stuff... :)

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Day by Day

    The CES fireside last Sunday was absolutely perfect for me.  We watched it together at home.  I was interested to watch it at first because I don't know Elder D. Todd Christofferson as well.  He was called to serve as a general authority just under 3 years ago.  You can watch the talk here or read a summary of it here.  I would HIGHLY recommend watching the whole thing (it is only about 35 minutes) for anyone who is struggling with what to do with their lives or how to keep your goals.


    I learned from the talk that often it is enough to just live day by day and trust in the Lord.  The Israelites lived like this for 40 years in the wilderness when they would rely on the Lord for manna each day.  Sometimes you don't have to know what will happen in 1 year or 1 month or even 1 week (although you still need to be making goals and plans and working to them!) but it is simply enough to know that the Lord will take care of you for that day.


    Wow!  Talk about an answer to a desperate, constant prayer of mine.  It is hard not knowing what I will be doing this year.  2011 is still proving to be the year where I don't know what I am doing.  I have no idea how the year will turn out or what I will be doing next month or next school year.  We don't know for certain where we will live--we don't plan on moving but it is a possibility if I find a job that is far away.  But it doesn't matter.  I know what I am doing today!  I am cleaning our home and making it beautiful.  I am exercising.  I am reading my scriptures.  I am applying for jobs.  I am making dinner.  I am relying on the Lord.


    My favorite quote from Elder Christofferson's talk was either when he relates a story told by his mother (You will have to watch the video to learn what I am talking about with this quote.) or when he quotes N. Eldon Tanner.  Pres. Tanner said, 
    "As we reflect on the value of resolving to do better, let us determine to discipline ourselves to carefully select the resolution we make, to consider the purpose for making them, and finally to make commitments for keeping them and not letting any obstacle stop us.  Let us remind ourselves at the beginning of each day that we can keep a resolution just for that day. As we do this it gets easier and easier until it becomes a habit."
    This meant SO much to me because--I don't have to exercise and eat healthy and read my scriptures every day for the REST of my life.  No... I only have to do it TODAY!

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Week 1 Weigh-In

    And the results are in...
    My week 1 weigh in was...

    -5 pounds!

    I was pretty excited about it!!! :D
    Too bad it isn't the 41 or 16 lbs people lost on the show in the first week.  But considering that I am still living a normal life and not exercising ALL day, I will totally take it!  I am well on my way!! :)

    And I am building muscle too! :)
    After working out for a few days, I could hardly move.  My legs would hurt so bad all the time, especially when I tried to move.  Getting up in the morning was the worst!  I would limp out and Casey would laugh as he encouraged me to keep going, promising that it would get easier.  I realized this morning when I woke up, I walked like a normal person and my legs didn't hurt at all.  
    This is FOR SURE an improvement.

    I am walking proof of the famous quote by Heber J. Grant in 1901.
    "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; 
    not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, 
    but that our power to do is increased."

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    3rd Generation BYU Alumni

    I received an e-mail from BYU today informing me that
    all the paperwork has processed and...
    my diploma is on its way!!! :D
    Current Student Status: ALUMNI
    YEAH!!!!!  
    I'm a real teacher and I am REALLY done!  

    Which means...

    I am officially a 3rd GENERATION 
    BYU GRADUATE!!!
    My dad and grandpa have both undergrad and grad degrees from BYU.
    My mom, grandma, grandpa and myself all have degrees in education.


    For a moment, I was beginning miss being in school but nah!  I love not having homework or studying for tests!! :)  It would be nice to be the one assigning it though... hee,hee,hee...

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    I Love to See the Temple!

    I am still a HUGE fan of Scripture Stories.  It is a program designed for children and maybe that is part of the reason I love it so much.  Because we are all children!!  And it is still my favorite thing to listen to while I am washing dishes!! (Remember my blog post from last May??)


    Today, I listened Episode 5 from the New Testament stories.  (You can listen to it by clicking here.)  It talked about the TEMPLE!!!  


    The temple is seriously my favorite place to be--especially when I am with my sweetheart!  I love the peaceful feeling and the small answers I find.  My greatest blessing is the covenant I have entered into with Casey and Heavenly Father which seals us together not only for time but for all eternity.  I know heaven would be a very sad place if I was no longer married to my best friend!!!
    I am just so thankful that I KNOW that Families really are FOREVER!  I know I will be with my sweetheart, my best friend, my husband for eternity.  And more than just him, I will get to be with our (unborn) children and my parents and all the generations of grandparents and grandchildren.  It is times like these that reminds me how blessed I am to be sealed to my family that has gone on before me and will come after me.  I truly am thankful for the blessing of temples and the real Priesthood authority--both have eternally changed my life!