Friday, April 30, 2010

Safety pins...

Safety pins and little shrug sweaters are a Mormon girl's best friend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Be grateful

Last Sunday, my trusty green manual informed me that I'd be teaching my class of 10 year olds about the 12 tribes of Israel. More specifically, about how they beat up youngest brother Joseph, took his coat of many colors and sold him into Egypt.

The lesson was going really well - my kids are crazy smart and ask some brilliant questions. Green Manual told me that the point of the lesson should be about how Joseph responded with a good attitude instead of anger and negativity. It actually suggested I do a "make lemonade out of lemons" type activity.

As we drew to the end of the hour, I asked the kids how they would feel if they were Joseph. Caleb, who is smart as a whip and has a sarcastic wit nearly as biting, responded simply: "I'd want revenge." We went on to talk about how Joseph didn't seek revenge, he tried to improve his situation by serving the Pharaoh and eventually saving his whole family. It's all about your attitude and trying to see the positive in the situation.

Umm... is this lesson for the kids? Or for me? I'm not very good at seeing the positive in a situation.

I felt prompted to challenge these children to offer one prayer this week where they don't ask for anything; they don't do anything but offer thanks for the good things they have in their lives. It's a challenge that's been issued to me many times, and one I've done several times. It never hurts to have a reminder - it's a good challenge.

As Hans and I were coming home from the temple on Tuesday night, I was thinking about the kids and wondering how they were doing with their gratitude prayers. Things in my personal life have been a bit up and down lately. Some of the not-so-good things seem to be more prevalent than the good things. So I challenged myself, as well as the kids, to offer more prayers of pure gratitude this week.

It's helped. A lot. Sometimes I'm just offering thanks for little things that make me happy - a good lunch with good friends, a sweet little puppy kiss when I'm feeling down, a compliment on work well done. But thinking of one good thing, leads to thinking about another... and another... and another. And then I feel a little embarrassed that I ever felt like I needed something. I'm ridiculously blessed. And the Lord has been very good to me. Sure, there are trials. But they do not outweigh the blessings that surround me.

Being a primary teacher is a wonderful thing. I hope my kids are getting as much out of it as I am. It's amazing that this is a lesson I thought I'd learned before and yet it feels so fresh and new. How quick we are to forget. And I'm sure I'll have to be reminded again. Be grateful, for all that you have.

Oreos + cupcakes + cream cheese

A couple months ago, I got an amazing cupcake book that I haven't had much time to experiment with. That's what days off work are for, right? Monday, Hans and I tried a recipe for oreo cupcakes. It was pretty easy and should have been quick, but alas my hand mixer died. Turns out really stiff pizza dough will literally kill even the best hand mixers (RIP, my dear friend).

We then used the recipe for cream cheese frosting because that's always sure to bring a smile to Hans' face. Also very easy. Pretty much butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Again, a hand mixer would have been nice... (hint, hint Hans...)

They turned out pretty great! We'll definitely make this recipe a lot. They were kind of dense, I think because we weren't able to beat the ingredients the way we should have. But they're very tasty and feel decadent. There's still six or seven left if you want to come try one....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You smile, you lose

This photo from "Sleeping Beauties: Newborns in Dreamland" made my day. Enjoy.

But do they work?

I keep seeing these ads for Sketchers Shape-Ups and Reebok's Easytone. I love the idea that shoes with "balance all technology" could help tone my thighs and butt. Hans says I'm forbidden to have the Sketcher's ones because they're so ugly, but he might not mind the Reebok ones.

The bigger question is.... do they work? Like most things, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Anyone have any experience with these?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

We're wieners

Ah, one of our favorite days of the year - The Annual Buda Wiener Dog Races! Every year, the Lion's Club in Buda puts on this event and it's so. much. fun. People literally come from all over the country to race their dogs and their are little doxies every where! This is our third year going, and it didn't disappoint. It's hilarious to watch the races, the vendor booths are awesome, the food is wonderful (what can I say? We love festival food) and there's tons of fun stuff from the kiddos. The girls from my primary class were telling me the particularly loved the bungee trampoline. I enjoyed watching
 Hudson try to figure out what the heck was in the petting zoo (a goat). Can't wait for next year!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yay for free stuff

Here's another shout out to the great 'My Litter of Six' blog. She has some amazing stuff. The other day she had a post about an Origins Giveaway. On April 22, bring in your old facewash, the ad says, and we'll give you a full-size Checks and Balances or Perfect World wash.

Sadly my day was jammed with work and a million and one other things, so I didn't make it to the mall. Thankfully, I have the world's best hubby. He grabbed my pink, grapefruit Neutrogena scrub and headed to the mall. He said it was really easy - he gave them the scrub, they gave him the Checks and Balances. And a sample of Perfect World. And told him to send me back for a free facial.

Ah, I love Origins. Especially when it's free!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Third times a charm

Wow. The past few days have been so crazy that I'm *just now* getting around to posting another one of my cooking experiments from last Thursday.

For my third attempt at using Jessica Seinfeld's deceptively delicious, I picked the oddly named "Tortilla Cigars."  For those of you looking for the bottom line: This one's a keeper. Try it. Your kids will eat it. Your picky husband will eat it. And they will LIKE it. Mine did! (husband... I'm not hiding any secret children...)

It was pretty easy to make. Once again, I went the lazy route and used baby food instead of puree-ing my own vegetables. Basically, you mix cheddar cheese, cream cheese, pureed chicken, a bunch of spices, pureed carrots and pureed squash altogether. You line one edge of a tortilla with the mixture and then roll them up. Then bake in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until the tortilla gets a little crispy. And done!

It was really tasty and great for taking to work. Couldn't taste the peas or squash. It was a little bland. I'd recommend adding maybe some jalepenos or serving with your favorite salsa. I'd also recommend buying one of those pre-cooked rotisserie chickens at HEB (or Safeway or what have you). It would have really cut down the prep time if I didn't have to defrost and cook the chicken.

All in all, after three attempts with this cookbook, I'd say it's a great one to pick up and try. Doooooo it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Six months

This weekend, I am celebrating six wonderful months of marriage to my best friend.

Thank you for always making me laugh. I love you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I said what?!

Apparently, I had some pretty vivid dreams last night. I only vaguely remember telling Hans about it this morning. In my dream, Hans and I definitely had a child, a little boy. His name was Jacob, but we called him Jake. He was old enough to talk, but not to say much. Then he started mumbling something that sounded like baby... ooo... ooo... baby.. and I said "Is my baby singing Glee songs?"

And that's all I remember. My dream babies sing Push It from Glee. Awesome.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wise and foolish men

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." 
~ Matthew 7:24-27
It is interesting to notice that the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew against both houses! Living the gospel does not mean that we will everlastingly escape adversity. Rather, it means that we will be prepared to face and endure adversity more confidently.

~ Elder Rafael E. Pino, "Faith in Adversity," April 2009 conference

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Epic fail

Yup, that's me. Epic fail. I suck at blogging lately. Life has taken some unexpected turns. Very busy, very stressful. Hopefully it'll start to smooth out soon.

So to make up for my fail-ness of late, I leave you with this. Josh sent it to me yesterday and I laughed until I cried. It was much needed. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tofu and peas?!

Today was my second experiment with Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious" cook book - Tofu Nuggets.

They're supposed to pass off as a mozarella-stick type snack. We'll see.

It was pretty easy to make, though took twice as long as the 25 minutes the book promised. Liars. You mix together bread crumbs, flaxseed meal, and paprika in one bowl. In another you put pureed peas (or spinach) and egg. You chop up some extra firm tofu, coat it in the pea/egg mix, and then the bread crumb mixture. Then you cook it on the stove.

I took someone's advice and instead of pureeing my own vegetables, I stocked up on baby food. That definitely cut down the prep time and seems to work just as well. The hardest part about this recipe was evenly cooking all the sides. It wasn't too hard to get the four main faces of the sticks, but pretty hard to brown the ends. Oh, and the batter didn't always stick to the tofu well. It would peel off some sides entirely.

I really wasn't in the mood for these for dinner (my stomach had been upset all day), but was pleasantly surprised. Dipped in marinara sauce, they're actually a decent imitation of mozarella sticks. A couple co-workers tried some too and we all three agree - you can not taste the peas. I was only able to eat a few of them, though, before my tummy started feeling weird and they started not tasting as good. I think they work well as a healthy kids snack or maybe an appetizer, but not a whole meal.

Still waiting on Hans' verdict....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Then sings my soul

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!