24 December 2011

My New Favorite- Christmas 2011

Introducing my NEW favorite Christmas item on the menu:

The one above is to take to my mom & dad's tomorrow, on Christmas Day. The one below is to take to the in-law's this afternoon/evening for dinner.

I love trying new recipes, and this one is certainly an eye-catcher! It was a LOT of fun to make, and it is DE-LISH, too! Want the recipe? I guess I can share it:


Pine-cone-shaped Cheese ball

(not creative, I know!!!)

1 pkg Cream Cheese (I used Red. fat Neufschel Cheese--however it's spelled)

1/2 Cup Mayo (NOT Miracle Whip, folks!!)

5 bacon strips, cooked & crumbled

1 Tbsp chopped green onion (i actually doubled it)

1/2 tsp dill weed

1/8 tsp pepper

1 1/4 cup almonds (recipe calls for them toasted, but I didn't do it)

Assorted crackers or raw veggies

Fresh Rosemary sprigs for decoration afterwards.


Mix all ingredients (minus almonds) in large bowl. Let chill for 1-2 hours to allow mixture to become firm. Place mixture on platter/decorative plate and shape into a cone/pear shape. Place almonds around it in rows, starting with the bottom and working your way up. Place several short stems of rosemary at the top for decoration.


What would I change, if I had to do it all over again?

1- I think instead of poking the almonds "outward" I'll lay them down a bit more. It shows too much of the filling. It looks like too spiky! But still cute!!!!

2- I almost went w/o the Rosemary addition...so expensive at the store! So, either grow your own for next year (ya right!), go to the farmer's marker (ya right!), or just grin & bear it. It adds a GREAT aroma to the dish!

06 December 2011


A few weeks ago, I got in the mood to make individual Christmas gifts for family members.
I started looking for ideas ALL around me.
Steven & I recently bought new bed sheets, and they came in a very plain drawstring baggy thinggy. So I thought, "HEY! This would be sooo much cuter if ...., and if ...., and if ....." AND, these could be so useful if ....., and if ....., and if ......"
So, I commenced my project.
I was so excited at the idea of my new project. I thought of all the wonderful things I could use for my baggy: makeup bag, travel bag, pencil bag, catch-all bag....the possibilities were endless, really! For girls, anyway. I didn't quite know what the boys would do with them, but for Steven, he collects chess sets....so he could use a baggy to put his tiny "men" in. So I thought, "whatever. They will use them for whatever, but I can't just make something for the girls. It has to be for EVERYONE."
So, I started the crafty journey, knowing full & well that's it been 2 years since I've even taken the dust cover off my sewing machine. Ahem. No, I haven't lost my "touch", but I knew I'd be a bit rusty, that's all.

Day 1:
I went to JoAnn's fabrics and purchased the cutest fabric I could find. Seriously, ya'll...there are so many cute ideas. I couldn't settle for one. I came home with 15 types of fabric. Take a look...there is something for everyone...men, women, kids...c'mon...you KNOW you love the colors/patterns. And if you don't, whatevuh.....it's my project. I get to decide what to give you. Be lucky it's not a lump of coal for your bad attitude. So there.
Day 2:
I ironed my fabric. I figured it'd been a while, but I had my pattern and process in my head. I hooked up the sewing machine and cut up some of the bed sheets that I'd replaced due to a hole in it. MAN...I love those sheets. So soft. So wonderful. Anyway, I started cutting. And then I sewed. At first, the bag was a bit lopsided, but I could handle that. I was just sewing for size, really, and to see if my "idea" in my head for a pattern would work. It really didn't turn out all THAT bad, but it did need some alterations.
So, all was going dandy. UNTIL I got to the lettering on the front. Ya see...I wanted to do everyone's initial on the front. It would be so cute in a different, contrasting color. And to make a cute lil drawsting at the top in the same contrasting fabric.
I could see it in my head. My vision was clear.
I started sewing. I messed up 4 times and had to take everything out. It was horrible. In the end, it was crooked, it had crinkles, it had bumps, and it was just plain ugly. I did start with the worst letter possible...S. So many curves. So much movement. Steven said, "well, just do block letters"...but they aren't as cute.
So I gave up. Steven has a ratty ol personalized bag made of old bedsheets. The S is horrible, and I didn't even do the contrasting color yet. I just wanted to make a sample. The sample is horrible, but here it is in all it's glory.
Yes, I gave up. I have purchased all this cute fabric, and I have no idea what to do with all of it. One day, I'll sew again. One day I'll be creative again. Just not with letters that are curvy that move around on me. I'm not THAT good yet, folks.
So all you family members out there...look at that sample above. You have two choices: either BALL your eyes out b/c you're not gonna get a cute lil catch-all bag for whatever your heart desires, craftily make by yours truly. Or two, you can cry tears of joy b/c you wouldn't know what to do with it anyway, and it probably would've never been used anyway.
Whatever you decide to do, fine. Just know that I love you enough and I'm sane enough to quit when it's the right thing to do.

04 September 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 16

Day 16: Someone or Something you could definitely live without.


...AND people who complain ALL. THE. TIME. (get over it)

...AND liver (the food...the smell)

...AND bills (never-ending)

...AND cleaning floors (ewwwww.....gross)

...AND one of my co-workers who I'm pretty sure doesn't even LIKE kids. Pretty sure she doesn't need to be a teacher.

03 September 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 15

Day 15: Something or Someone you can't live without, because you've tried living without it.

Two answers come to mind quickly: Steven & caffeine.

STEVEN tried getting rid of me once. I didn't give up, and I held on and kept praying. I just didn't *want* to live without him. What can I say...I guess I'm in ♥ love ♥

CAFFEINE I've gotten rid of once, and that was when I was in the MTC for 9 weeks. It was not by choice that I gave it up...it was b/c there was not any to consume. I knew that was the case, and when I got my mission call to serve in Chile, I tried giving up cold turkey. Every time I'd try I wouldn't last 3 days until I had a migraine SO. BAD. that I couldn't take it any long...just once sip of Dew & it was G.O.N.E. I was seriously addicted!!! Then, when I got to Chile I drank Coca Cola every now and then...definitely not daily, but enough to quench my thirst. What can I say...I just enjoy an ice cold beverage once in a while. It's not that I HAVE TO have the caffeine. I like Sunquist. I like Sprite on occasion...but that's about it for the non-caffeine beverages. Of the ones w/ caffeine, I really like a variety...Dr. Pepper (especially at Sonic), Mountain Dew (Taco Bell), Coke (at McDonald's), Pepsi, Diet Coke (at Sonic), Cherry Coke (another Sonic favorite...just b/c they put real cherry juice in it!!!), etc. I think I probably AM addicted, but more than that...I really ENJOY the taste. It makes my day when things just haven't gone so good. Ahhhhh....so refreshing!!!!

02 September 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 14

Day 14: A hero who has let me down (write a letter)

Dear hero-

You don't even exist. I don't even *have* a hero, really. Never really has. And even if you DID exist, I guess you didn't really let me down since I can't even remember you. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for everything. And thanks for giving me something dumb to blog about.



(hey- at least I didn't SKIP IT like some have....)

29 August 2011

I'm Famous!!!!!

Check out this video from the latest edition of RURAL MISSOURI.

A few weeks ago, we went to our FAVORITE BBQ place in the WORLD (and yes...I've lived in TN, MO, and tried some good TX BBQ...but this is hands. down. the. BEST. EVER). Anyway, we went b/c some of Steven's family was in town. Lo and behold....there was a camera man there, and he wanted to get us on tape.

And now...we're famous!!! So...if you're ever in Harrisburg, MO (or...if you come visit me.....), you can try it out for yourself!!!

28 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 13

Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days. (write a letter)

Dear members of Little Big Town,

You may not know it, but you have brought me to tears many times with "Bring it on Home to Me." It was my wedding song. I've cried myself to sleep many nights to your lyrics.

"Take your worries and just drop them at the door. Baby...leave it all behind. When your long day is over, and you can barely drag your feet. The weight of the world is on your shoulders....I know what you need. Bring it on home to me."

This song was on repeat so many days.....& it got me through some tough times before I was married. Your song gave me hope, and it gave me something to look forward to--being able to love someone like you've never loved...trust them in ways you've never trusted...and genuinely want to be a better person for them.

Thanks for uplifting me when I need it the most,


ps- Steven, I know you'll read this soon. I love you, and always will. I'm so glad we chose this song as OUR song. And when you need me, I'll always be here for you.

♥"You got someone here who wants to make it all right. Someone who loves you more than life....right here." ♥

27 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 12

Day 11: Something you never get compliments on

Well...I can't say "never", but they are few & far between: going the "extra mile" at work. I guess it's one of things that parents also wish us teachers would do more....send home NICE compliments about our kids, instead of only issues with your child. I mean, I don't do extra things so that someone would give me a prize. Most of the time, I do it just for me...so I can feel organized, so I can be sane. So I am not stressed. So I can have fun with my students on occasion.

Here's what I am talking about:

- getting to work 1 hour early (instead of 15 min)

- staying later at work (instead of 15 min)

- showing up for after school bus duty (some show up...some "forget"...some just don't think they have to do anything b/c of budget cuts....whatever...we all have to do our part)

- offering tutoring (let's face it...if a kid needs help, I am willing to stay after ANYTIME when I can...and the only reason I wouldn't is if I had a dr. appointment, if I was sick, or something like that)

- not taking ALL of my personal days (most of the time I only take 1...maybe!!!) I hate missing work...it's like triple duty when you get back. Sub didn't do THIS. Students behaved like THAT. Homework wasn't done CORRECTLY. He said...She said. Whatever...you might as well let the kids "hang out" all hour in your room...b/c you can for-GET anything actually getting accomplished when a teacher is absent...kids are WILD!

- wearing teacher clothing- sounds funny, but there are teachers these days wearing Old Navy flip-flops, shorts, low-cut halters, high heels w/ SHORT SHORT skirts, LOTS of make-up, too much perfume....you think it couldn't be worn, & I've probably SEEN it worn. Like this one math teacher (not at my school...but a few years ago, I taught w/ her) she had more than 20 piercings....nose rings (yes...plural), rings all up and down her ear lobes, both brows, lip, tongue, belly button (and yes...you could see it thru the shirt on occasion), and cheeks. G-R-O-S-S. Definitely not a "good" role model in my opinion for 13-14 year olds. But that is my opinion.

Anyway...these are just a few that pop into my head. When I look at others who take "mental" or "emotional" sick days, I wish I could do that. I look at others with crazy clothes/styles and think...that's professional? I come to school, leave from school, go in, go out, no real complaints from parents about my performance (or lack of), not many office referrals written, I don't ask too much, I don't complain often....I mean, I wish someone would just notice once in a while.

Is that too much to ask?

a thank you?

a "well done"?

a pat on the back?

...if only.

26 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 11

Day 11: Some thing people compliment you the most on

My "cute-ness" when I'm actually trying to look cute!

Does that even make sense? Well...to ME it does...so THERE!

Ya see, most days I feel myself looking a bit "drab" or "frumpy" as my family likes to call it. And I admit....it takes me a while to get ready (about 45 minutes from the time I turn my alarm off to the time I am eating breakfast, and getting my bag ready to place in the car to head to school). However, if I really broke down the time, here it is:

- 5 min moping about the room, getting used to the lights

- 5 min. starting in the mirror plucking eyebrows or other wild hairs I notice, observing any newly developed psoriasis spots, popping zits/blackheads, starting at my toenails that need to be repainted, & going to the fridge to get me some water (okay...some mornings like today actually take 10 min here...ugh!)

- 5 min to sit on the toilet and think about my night and take a gander down at my legs (TMI????....NOPE!!!!) and wonder when the next opportunity I'll get to shave, now that school has started.

- The next 10 in actually in the shower wishing I hadn't done the afore-mentioned items, and actually gotten something accomplished, and telling myself my legs would already been shaved if I had jumped right in the shower.

-5 min listening to morning news on radio and doing make-up. Yep...that's right. A touch of base, light blush brushing, & some mascara...that's it, BABY!

- 5 min staring in the mirror again...I really don't do much more than pluck a few more hairs or wonder why in the world I bought I treadmill when I've only used it a few times since purchasing it in March, and wondering why I can't motivate myself to do something about my sagginess that seems to be happening lately (and I don't even have kids yet!!!!!)

- 3 min blowdrying my hair

- 10 min to do hairstyle: straighten in layers, put some "umph" to pump it up a bit, hairspray, and done!

- 5 min to get my clothes on

AND....if you add it up, it adds up to more than 45 min...ugh! But somehow it all adds up....a minute here, a minute there...and viola! Misson. Accomplished.

Anyway...back to the post at hand...."cute-ness". Ya see...there are some days where I put on a bit more makeup....eyeliner, eyeshadow, powder, QUALITY mascara, lipgloss/stick, etc. Those days I just wake up feeling "cute", I dunno. Anyway, so I pick out a cute outfit (stylish skirt if the legs are shaved, sandals, belt, etc) and put on some cute accessories to match (usually from my small collection of things I've bought in other countries), put on a dash of perfume...and I guess I just feel different those days. I'm usually nicer (so they say), the students compliment me, the staff at school usually notices, Steven says something extra nice when I get home. So I guess something must be working.

Am I really THAT frumpy on those "oh-so-ordinary" days? Or is it that you can actually TELL when I spend more time on doodling myself up, instead of plucking, pulling, tweezing, picking, pulling, tugging, and wishful thinking?

I dunno. You be the judge (but not too harshly.....)

25 August 2011

Ahhhhh....CRAZY week!!!

So...what happened to the 30 days of Truth, you wanna know?

Well....here's the truth & nuttin' but the truth:

1 - Steven & I finally celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary. As usual, we went up to Nauvoo and had a lovely time! We always stay in Keokuk, IA (about 20 min away) and the drive along the river, on the way to Nauvoo is simply GORGEOUS....tons of lily pads, flowers, trees, river....nice! So we spent 3 days there, and it was so needed!

2- While in Keokuk.....We always take a stroll downtown, and we went to our favorite place to eat dinner, Angelini's Pizza and found that they've taken AWAY the pizza buffet (so cute & small, yet soooo tasty), and now they have a pasta bar. Go here to check out their FB page & pics!!! (sorry...it's Keokuk...what did you think...they had their own webpage????....NOPE!!!)

3- We decided to try out the local movie theater (VERY small, too) and saw Planet of the Apes. It was pretty good. Not so "realistic"...and you know how I am with those kinds of movies....blah!!! But still....it was pretty good. *until the monkey TALKED*..... - VERY strange - Anyway, the best part of the movie-going-experience:

$6 entrance = FREE beverage (w/ $1 refills), FREE small popcorn WITH butter, not-so-crowded movie theater, NICE smelling restrooms (although paint-chipped-to-pieces) with cute benches and floral arrangements, &....wait for it.....a peppermint upon exiting and a sweet "Thank you...please come again" before walking out the door.


4- Upon coming home, we soon noticed that our home computer was not booting up. Much to my dismay, we ended up trying to re-install EVERYTHING & save what was left. DIDN'T happen, folks. We tried forever to get it fixed. I even stayed up 'til midnight staring at "just a few more seconds" & it did it again.....crashed!!!! So, Tuesday I spend my precious "planning time" at school shopping. Researching, price comparing, researching, reviewing, researching....you know the drill. So, off we went....to look at 4 computers when I got off work. Sam's Club & Best Buy...that's where we ended up. After much contemplating, we ended up with a pretty nice dang computer, I have to say. I'm sad to spend that kinda money so unexpectedly...but what can you do? I had to do it!

5- Classes started. That's right...only 2 left to finish my Master's. They started Monday, and by Wed. evening my first paper was due. Don't forget....my computer wasn't working MONDAY or TUESDAY.....argh!!!! Anyway, so yesterday you know what I was doing....type, type, typing away and submitting it. I mean, I have YET to start the Bachelor Pad (and that is VERY sad for me....LOVE those crazy dramatic shows with catfights!!!), haven't seen Talent & this week was the first REAL week (ugh!), & missed the finale of Expedition Impossible. My tv life is OFFICIALLY over with. I guess it had to come some time....but I'm still upset about it!

So there you have it, folks. That's what I've been doing for the past week. So...leave me alone, I've been more-than-busy!!!! I like technology when it works. I hate it when it doesn't.

And there you have it...the REST of the story.

17 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 10

Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know

Wow. Now this one is very personal. And truth be told...I honestly believe that EVERY person we come into contact with, is for a reason.

Except for the person that sits down in the stall next to us in the bathroom when you have an upset stomach. Especially when you two are the ONLY ONES in there.

Or, the person who sits next to in a huge movie theater, when there are over 100 other seats they could choose. REALLY?

Or, the person who sneezes all over you, getting you sick.

Or, the crazy person who cut you off this morning and almost caused a car accident.

Or, the angry woman at school who yells the F word a bizillion times, b/c the printer isn't working right. Slams the door. Then leaves screaming more F words. Ya, she was cool.

Okay, I guess EVERY person having a reason for being in my life is a bit over-exaggerated. But only a little bit.

There is one person, but I am not going to mention their name...for fear that they might read this. This person requires a lot of patience, and a lot of energy. I feel like it's all GIVE, GIVE, GIVE and nothing gets better. I feel like I spend a LOT of time worrying, thinking, and even crying over this person. But I can't say NO. I can't seem to get past them. And I KNOW there is no way to get rid of them, and even if there was...I wouldn't really want that.

I guess I just need a vacation from my problems....a vacation from this person. Kinda like Bob Wylie did on "What About Bob".

Is that even possible?

I mean...Everyone deserves to have friends.

16 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 9

Day 9: Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted.

I almost changed this to something, but I just thought of someone.....my good ol college pal Jessica.

Jessica is from South Carolina. We both ventured out to college in the great potato capital of the USA...that's right IDAHO! Neither one of us knew anyone else at the school, but had family that we could drive to visit on occasion (but no, we never owned a car out there...so getting to see them was an issue on several occasions). Jessica had family that lived about 30 min. away in Idaho. I had an Aunt & Uncle in Utah about 3.5 hours away.

Jess & I did EVERYTHING together our first year of college. We went to the $1 theater together. We skipped church together. We broke curfew together. We both hid a boy under our beds when roomies unexpectedly came home early (yes...boys were NOT ALLOWED in the bedrooms....strict honor code policy). We both felt like rebels when we wore mens boxers around the courtyard of our dorms on Sundays (first of all, shorts were not allowed b/c of rules. second of all, it was a Sunday...so it pissed people like Brynn...remember her??....off a LOT...he he). We walked to Wal-Mart and carried back laundry detergent and 12 packs of Dr. Peppers in our two laundry baskets UPHILL to the dorms (yes...it was VERY heavy).

We had a LOT of fun together. We did. So what happened? I dunno. We kinda drifted apart I guess, not really meaning to. We both went home after 2 years, graduating with our Associates Degree. She went back out when they changed the college to a 4-year University. By then, my younger sisters were attending school there, too, and they became besties with her. I served a mission in Chile in the meantime. When I came back, she had graduated and I was just starting to pick back up my studies.

We had grown apart somewhat I guess you could say--taken different paths in life. Nowadays she talks to my sisters more than she does me. That used to make me angry, out of jealousy...she was my friend first....right??!! But now, I hear about her from time to time. And I guess that is better than nothing. I emailed her just the other day to ask what Brynn's last name was....and we've chatted back and forth since. It's been nice. Will it continue? Hopefully. She's a sweet southern belle, and it's been nice finding out what she's been up to all this time.

15 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 8

Day 8: Someone who made my life hell, or treated me like dirt

Weeeelllll...I had PLENTY of people who treated me not-so-nicely while I was in Chile. But, none of them are really "sticking out" right at the moment. But, one girl from college rings a bell LOUD. AND. CLEAR. right now. Her name was Brynn.

I have no idea what her last name was. All I know is that she ALWAYS got up in my business, and loved calling me out on whatever she could. Here are a few scenarios I remember specifically:

1- Sunday afternoon. My friends & I playing cards in the living room floor. TuPac turned up kinda loud on the stereo. We were chillin REAL good. She walks in (dressed in an ugly dress from church choir). Turns off stereo. Gives me a death stare. Asks me what's up. I got up turned back on the CD. Sat down in the floor and acted like she wasn't even there. That PISSED her off. She stormed out, slamming the door. I laughed.

2- Practically any day of the week. Pick one, any one! She's eavesdrop on my conversations. ALL of them. On occasion, I'd use a "not-so-nice" word. After hanging up the phone, she'd wanna know WHY I spoke like that around her. I was in my ROOM. Bedroom door was shut & locked. Living room door was shut & locked. Stop eavesdropping!!!!!

3- One night at a roommate meeting. Yes...we met weekly (only lasted for a month or so...lol) to discuss our issues in a "calm" fashion. Weeks after a specific incident (mentioned in #2, above), she called me out on using a certain word that is used ALL. THE. TIME. in the south (her being from Utah, she was totally NAIVE). I asked her to please not bring up past issues. She insisted that I needed to talk quieter. YA...like that can even HAPPEN when your mama gave you a good set of lungs (and...sometimes I'd even talk louder just to piss her off, oops!!!). Anyway, she started pointing fingers. Before I knew it, my fist was clenched and I was moving at a high speed toward her chair. Didn't hit her, but almost did. Roomies had to separate us into different rooms. She called her mommy to come pick her up. Unfortunately, she didn't move out. We were enemies the rest of the year.

So there....she was never nice to me! She didn't like me from the start.

Just cuz I was fun.

Just cuz I wasn't from Utah.

Just cuz I was different (and proud of it).

Just cuz I pushed her buttons (and enjoyed it).

Just cuz I didn't wear a dress ALL. DAY. ON. SUNDAYS. (& go to choir practice like a good girl would)

So...take THAT...Brynn.

14 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 7

Day 7: Someone who has made my life worth living for

Well....today you get three answers.

1- Gospel Answer: Heavenly Father

I want to make him proud--get a big bear hug and hear the words "well done"

2- Cheesy (but honest) Answer: my husband, Steven

Of course, right? But really...I wanna live with him forever. He knows me inside & out. To think that after 4 years together he can just instinctively "know" what I need...I am blessed! That doesn't mean that he can always read my mind, or that we never have arguments. We do, just like any couple does. But they really are few and far between. I am so glad he chose me...and I'm lucky enough to have found him!!!

3- Unexpected answer- my relatives I've never met

Ya know, I've never been much on doing my family history. I don't know if I'll ever feel the URGE to do it...but I do wonder what they're like. I knew 3 of my grandparents and they are each so unique, and I really wonder what it will be like to sit down with my grandfather I have never met in this life. So...I want to succeed here on Earth so I can get "up there" and chat with him and all the others from my past who contribute to who I am today (psoriasis and all!!!)

13 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 6

Day 6: Something I hope I never have to do

...bury my husband

Steven & I have talked about this issue before. Both of us hopes to die before the other one does. It's a toss up as to who it will be. Sometimes, I wish it could be like in the movie "The Notebook", where two people die holding hands, together. Wouldn't that be nice?

Ya, it would for me. I've only had to be away from him for several days at a time, and it is a bit lonely. We both admit that it is fun for the first day or two...getting to do what we want and all, without worrying that the other person is coming home/getting up soon. But, after the 2nd day, it gets lonely.

I can't imagine waiting to die...just so you can return to live with your spouse. My mom & I were just talking about this the other day over lunch. She thinks her mother just "gave up". She was ready to reunite with her husband who'd passed away a few years before. So she just quit eating. Sad. It's strange what loneliness will do to you.

12 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 5

Day 5: Something I hope to do in my life

Be a mother.

...and not just to any child. I want to go through the process of being pregnant & giving birth to a child that is half ME, and half STEVEN.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that after 4 years of marriage, I am still childless. I love my life, I love that I can travel the world, I love my job, and I love my husband. I love that we've been able to purchase a house. I love that I can spoil my nieces & nephews when I visit them. I love that my hubbs & I both have fairly decent jobs, so we can go out to eat, go to the movies and do what we want (to some extent, anyway).

Still...I am not a mother. My house is always clean, & I LOVE that. But, sometimes I want a child to come mess it up for a while. I LOVE that I can watch all the tv shows I want. But, sometimes I wish I didn't have time b/c we were too busy watching Dora the Explorer. I LOVE that I can stay up as long as I want during the summer (and weekends, mostly), just to sleep in the next morning. But, I would like to hear the patter of lil feet before daylight, and the begging for you to get up.

I think it will happen for me. But when...that is the question. With lots of family & friends seeming like "fertile Mertile", it is hard sometimes. Who knows what the future holds. I am trying to be patient. Some days it's easy, some days it's not.

11 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 4

Day 4: Something I need to forgive someone for

Well...this one is easy for me. LOOOONG story, and I know I said yesterday that I would not give you details...but I guess I kinda did. This one will be short. Why?--every time I think about what happened, or think of this individual I get angry. It brings back real feelings of hatred...and I honestly have never felt this is ANYONE the way I have with this person. And I know I need to forgive. I'm working on it.

It has to do with a guy (typical). He's from a certain country--Chile.

This guy promised me the moon. Okay, really, he didn't. But he promised a LOT. So much so, that I told my family at one point I was going to quit school (not finish my degree) and move to Chile to see if things were going to work out in the long run. I was seriously head-over-heels (so I thought....) for this guy. I had looked into buying tickets, quit working on my "plan" for graduation...the whole bit. I had even had the Lord CONFIRM to my heart that this is what I was supposed to do. I had even spoken to his FATHER on the phone and told him how much I adored his son.

Long story short...I got lots of emails shortly thereafter. LOTS of people saying they'd seen him out with another girl, and they were getting serious. Ya...they are now married with kids. He was lying the entire time. He lead me to believe that I was special and that it was in my best interest to drop EVERYTHING and leave my home, my family, my schooling, my COUNTRY for H-I-M...yet he was doing whatever the heck he wanted with whoever the heck he wanted.


Am I still upset? Yep. Am I still bitter? Yep. He's written me several times since then telling me he needs my forgiveness so he can move on with his life. I read them all, and would sit and cry. I tried ignoring them, but couldn't. Then, I started writing back for him to leave me alone. I've told him countless times that God knows what he did, and that he'd pay for it. :) Nice of me, huh? Real southern belle of me, huh? Well...my hate has somewhat lessened over the years. Do we "talk"? No. Are we friends? I'd say no....he'd probably say yes. But, like I said yesterday....things happen for a reason. It would've never worked out. I'm glad I found out what kind of a guy he REALLY is before I ever did anything drastic (like quitting school or buying plane tickets). I'm actually glad it didn't work out.

10 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 3

Day 3: Something I need to forgive myself for

Well...I'm sure there are several things. But there is one thing that came to mind fairly quickly, and some of you know the story. Some of you actually KNOW the story, some of you THINK you know the story, and some of you just know what SEEMED to happen. You see....about 10 years ago, I made a promise to a certain guy that I didn't end up keeping. I SWORE I would hold up on my end of the bargain. I SWORE I would. I mean, I knew 200% sure, that I would not falter. And I did. Do I regret the decision? No. Do I still feel bad b/c of the way things turned out? Back then, yes. But now, no....God always has a way of making things happen that are in our best interest, although we not recognize it until later.

So...what in the WORLD am I talking about? I'm not going to go into much detail, but here are the basics. Most of you probably know that I served a mission for the LDS church from 2002-2003. Before leaving, I was dating a great guy. It just so happens that this guy and I had been dating off-and-on for quite some time. Actually, I didn't turn my mission papers in for several months b/c the last time we got together, I was pretty sure that we'd end up married instead.

Well...that didn't work out (we all know that...I'm not married to him now!!!). About 5 months after we'd starting dating (again....) I woke up with a distinct impression to turn my papers in. I hesitated a little, but knew that it was something I HAD to do. So, I got the doctor's signatures, dotted my I's and crossed my T's, and dreaded the thought of telling this man that I was going to be leaving him for 18 months, and only get to write him during that time mostly. Those are the rules...no phone calls (okay, I did for Christmas once!!!).

I remember the night before I left. And to this day...I have to idea why...but we both stood outside in tears. We each promised each other not to write "dear John's" (which are letters of heartbreak)...no matter WHAT! We made the promise several times, and it was clear that neither of us would EVER break it off in a letter. Face to face was how it needed to be done, and we were 200% positive we were going to get married when I returned in Washington DC.

Things were going great...until one particular night I woke up SCREAMING and BALLING my eyes out. I had a terrible nightmare, and all I can say is that it was the most real thing I'd ever experienced. And after a lot of prayer, I knew I needed to write to this guy and tell him to not wait for my return. I had to WRITE him, break my bizillion of promises, and tell him that we could no longer be "boyfriend-girlfriend". OH. MY. GOSH.

Lemme tell ya...that letter was the HARDEST thing I had ever done, I had to rewrite it several times, and wipe off so many tears that were shed while writing it. But I did it. It was like God was telling me it wasn't right. I still can't believe I had the guts to lick the envelope and put it in the mail. I couldn't believe I would do something so "heartless", something I SWORE I'd never do.

Do I regret doing it? NO. Things have actually turned out great for both of us. He's married now, and living a good life. As for me, I couldn't married a better man. I mean, if we'd have stayed together...my life would be different now. I would not have ended up teaching, I would never have gone back out west to go to school, never ended up in Missouri. You know...the chain of events just keeps on going.

So what is it that I need to forgive myself for, then? For making the promise in the 1st place. I never should've lead someone on like that. This guy put his life on hold for me, changed himself for the better for me. And in the end...he was torn apart by my actions. I also need to forgive myself for taking the easy way out when I got home. I saw his family at church for a LONG time after that. I said HI but that was it. I didn't really try to tell them WHY I did what I did. I just let it be. We're great friends now...but I feel like we could've been even better friends if they really understood WHY, and HOW I came to my decision.

Oh well...the past is the past. It makes us who we are. We learn from our mistakes, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

09 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 2

Day 2: Something I love about myself.

I LOVE that I am a penny-pencher!!!

I don't know how I do it (okay, really I do.....), but I find the BEST of the BEST deals!!! From free samples, to free food, to free merchandise....I find things most people can only DREAM about finding. And thanks to my sister, Marlena...I now have another resource and I'm even better than ever these days!!!!

Some of my recent purchases that I'm proud of:

- FREE colgate toothpaste (5)

-FREE oral B toothbrushes (2)

-FREE lotion (2)--got that this week, and even made $1 on each one!!!

- 25 cent General Mills cereal (Family Size, 10)

- FREE Ivory soap (bar & liquid, 4)

Past purchases I'm proud of (that I can remember):

- 50 cent linen skirts

- $1 Steve Madden sandals

- FREE copy paper

- FREE photobooks

I mean...I am really getting lots of free stuff lately, and I'm really proud of that! I've gotten so many lately that I've donated to others (my mom & dad, my in-laws), and I've even started a collection of "give-aways" when someone needs them. If it's free...even if I don't have use for it...someone else can, and I am feeling the need to be charitable these days.

Wanna know how you can save $$? Here's a few things I can share with you:

- Newspaper coupons: clip them ALL, even if you think you won't use it. You never know when it goes on sale!! My sister even has a Spanish newspaper she can get for FREE in Arizona, so they get 4-5 papers and she gets TONS of great items for cheap that way!!!

- Find out which grocery store doubles coupons. All those 25-50 cent off coupons could easily be 50 cents or $1 off!!! And when things go on sale for 10/$10....take out those 50 cent coupons and rake in the savings!!!!! ($1 - 50 cent off, at a place that doubles it = FREE!!)

- have a coupon buddy, even if it's a website or two. My sister finds good deals, and we share info. There are a few internet sites I like, too: http://www.pennypinchinmom.com/ & http://www.couponmom.com/. Both are GREAT for different reasons. If you want freebies (movie rentals, samples in the mail, books, or deal-match-ups near you...she is from Kansas City, though) Penny Pinchin Mom is for you!!! However, if you want a website who lists by grocery store/State...and shows you what coupons to put with it....Coupon Mom is for you.

There you go...WHEW!!! Saving money makes me HAPPY!!!!!!

08 August 2011

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

DAY 1: Something I hate about myself

I HATE that I have psoriasis.

I have my father and his side of the family tree to thank for that. Growing up, my Uncle David had it pretty bad. It covered his elbows...this pink skin with white scales on the outside. I had no idea it ran in the family, and until about 8 months ago, I was in the clear. My sister has it pretty bad. What makes it worse is that she doesn't really take care of it like she should...so you can see it on her scalp, elbows, legs, arms....just about everywhere. Recently my dad told me he's had a few spots pop up but has been lucky enough that Eurcerin lotion is all it took to clear it up.

Around November of last year, I noticed my scalp was itchy. I use salon shampoo, so it was pretty odd that I would have such a thing. I didn't realize it bothered me so bad, until I was sitting in class one day, in front of my Jr. high schoolers, and I was itching my head. I wasn't really noticing what I was doing...we were in the middle of a reading activity. Then, in a fairly loud voice...a girl sitting close to me said, "Ewwww...you have blood on your finger"...and that was when it all began. I had been picking at several places on my scalp for quite some time, evidently. When I saw it, I knew what it was. And upon further investigation of my body, I found that I had several spots....on my legs, & upper arms. The dermatologist confirmed it...I had psoriasis, and there is NO cure for it.

So...what is it exactly? Well...I told you what it looks like. It's not life-threatening, but it looks horrible. It's embarrassing to look at, and embarrassing when I get my hair done (good thing my hair stylist understands it). It's not contagious....but is a genetic disorder. UV rays help to diminish the horrible look of it...my doc even recommended being in the sun when I can, and even visiting the tanning bed regularly when I can't (winter, etc).

Wanna know the WORST part? It is common to have it under your fingernails. Every time I've gone in (both to the derm. and my regular doc), they look closely at my fingernails (don't have much to look at...I bite them!!!). But about a month ago, I noticed these hole-like marks on one nail. There were a few, then they quickly spread. Then I noticed I bit at it more, and it was bothering me. Then, the white tip on the end started taking "dips".....and instead of it being an "outline" in a cresent-like shape, it is a thin outline with potholes that go back pretty far. It looks disgusting!!! So...I went in to see about it, and I got an injection...and YIKES, did it ever hurt!!! She said it would go away, but it would take 6-8 weeks to notice a difference b/c a new nail has to grow in. I HATE needles!!!!! Try having someone stick a needle in your finger about 1.5 inches!!!!! It is not pleasant, lemme tell ya. I said some words I shouldn't have said. Now my nail bed is a blackish-blue color. yuck!

So, I start school in one week....try teaching junior high kiddos (who tell you exactly what they are thinking...no holding back), with an ugly fingernail that looks like I've slammed it in a door, been gobbled up mostly by a wretched rodent, and for what's left...someone took ball point pens and poked them into my nail leaving marks all over it.

GRRRRRREAT start to the year.

(side note: my case of the ugly syndrome isn't NEAR as bad as any of the above pics. Except for the fingernail....thank goodness I only have one that's like that...but mine is pretty close to the pic above!! gross, I know.)

30 days of truth

After seeing this on my friend Beverly's blog....I first thought she was a bit crazy. First of all, to commit yourself to blogging about all 30 topics is something huge. Then, when I looked at the list of things it asked you to talk about....well, let's just say I knew it would be a challenge for her. I love reading her posts and getting to know who she is...inside & out. I respect her a LOT, even more now that she has the courage to talk about these things in public. So...if she can do it...so can I!!! Here are the topics.....anyone care to join me (if you dare)?


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like dirt.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

21 July 2011

My European Vacay - 2011

By now, you're probably wondering what happened to me, since I gave you a "glimpse" of our vacay...and nothing else. Well...these last few weeks have been spent working long & hard on our annual PHOTO book. It takes FOREVER & then another few days to pick out the color scheme, the layout of the page, cropping the pics to fit "just right", and writing the blurb about everywhere we went (well, that was Steven's job, really).

PHEW!!! Am I glad that is done!!!

So, here is the grand masterpiece ~

dun - Dun - DuN - DUN

(in chronological order, for the most part):

Click here to view this photo book larger

26 June 2011

Glimpse of Vacay 2011

Now that everyone knows we've been on VACATION....here are a few pics so you can see that we actually survived 17 days in Germany, France, & Spain with a group of 34 travelers.

Yes, we survived it. After eating lots of gelatto, potatoes, and more french bread than you could ever IMAGINE...we're home now...sleeping in our OWN beds, and smelling freshly smelled laundry once again. Ahhhhh...isn't home NICE?!!

Oh...and thank you MISSOURI, for trashing the nasty cicadas while we were gone! :)

1. DACHAU- we went through the SAME ENTRANCE as many people that entered this concentration camp. Very humbing, VERY dark, and something I'll never forget. Ever.

2. Neuschwanstein Castle- the one that influenced Cinderella's castle. What a cute town at the bottom of this castle. We toured the inside, walked around it, and it was one of my favorite things we did while in Germany.

3. BMW plant- Munich, Germany. I would LOVE to tour this place, if I ever go back.

4. Various street vendors--so cute! I love getting great bargains, and it is one of my favorite things to do on vacation!!

5. Versailles- these are only PART of the majestic royal gardens that surround this magnificent palace. WOW! The tour was grand, but the gardens were never-ending and it was so much fun to eat lunch w/ Steven in the garden!!

6. Biggest Beer Barrel in the World- that's right. Well, this one was the one beside of it. Steven got a pic beside the LARGEST one...but we could actually fit both of us and this barrel in the pic, so I will show you this one. You can't even IMAGINE how big the biggest one actually is....

7. Notre Dame de Reims- this one is almost twice as big as the one in Paris!!! We were walking in downtown Reims...and this literally popped out of nowhere!!! Really an amazing thing to see!!

Just so you can see just how big the entrance is to this thing...here I am standing just outside the entrance:

8. Eiffel Tower- of course I went to the tippy-top of it! Steven made it half-way, and I took a small group of gutsy kids who wanted to visit the top. We were so lucky this day, because every other day we went...the top was closed for visitors. Too many people and I guess they were scared it would fall!!! ha!

This is a pic of me...only half-way up, though. Can you imagine the view from the TOP?!?!!

9. Notre Dame de Paris- go ahead...go back to the one in Reims and see if this isn't smaller! But still...it was cool to see this remarkable place and go inside!!

10. Pont du Gard- the best preserved aqueduct of the Romans. Steven climbed up the side...but it is now closed off to pedestrians to walk on the top of it. What an amazing view from here. It was nice and warm, but breezy that day. Many were kayaking and canoing down the river. Wish I could've...

11. Madrid, Spain- beside the famous statue of Don Quijote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. What a neat city to visit and be able to see such amazing history!!

You'll have to wait for the "rest of the story"...for now, I'll leave you with one of my favorite pics of the trip. Just a small glimpse that captures the amazing ambiance of Europe. Freshly painted apartments. Fresh flowers and plants of every balcony. Many bikes and pedestrians along every road.


as much as I miss it, and yearn for more of it....

I'm glad to be home.