Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pure yumminess

I don't even know if yumminess is a word. Well, according to my spell check it isn't. Which is really sad because it should be. We should use the word yumminess as often as possible. Especially when referring to a new treat I discovered and will soon be making. I present to you the Peppermint Oreo Ball. Just the name alone conveys an amazing treat. It brings to mind some of the best things in life: Oreos, peppermint and chocolate. Seriously, what more could you want? Nothing. I promise you. Nothing.

Yesterday a student brought me a bag with two chocolate covered balls. She was so excited to tell me about this treat she made the night before and wanted me to try them. I figured great another treat a parent made me for the holidays. That's fine with me because I love sugar (doesn't do much for my whole weight loss so I can have a baby but hey it tastes good and it's Christmas). Well, I bit into one during my first planning period and was amazed by the yumminess. All of these incredible flavors at once. It's a truffle but even better. The Oreos get soft from being crushed and mixed with cream cheese and crushed candy canes. And the chocolate coating adds to the wonderfulness. Here I go inventing words again. Oh well. I think I scared the girls who were working on poetry in my classroom because I got so excited. It was the best thing I ever tasted. Apart from a really good steak, the first time I tried chilaquiles etc. I quickly devoured the other one. And then shared with anyone at school who would listen how amazing they were. I apologize to those of you who had to listen to me yesterday but they were incredible.

The best part is that I asked the little girl for the recipe. She went home to ask her mom and brought back to more wonderful balls of yumminess today. She said I could share with my husband. What he doesn't know won't hurt him. I ate them at 10:30 this morning. And I now have the recipe. I cannot wait to make these yummy treats. I will have to share them because if I don't there's no way I'm going to lose the weight I need to! So spread the yumminess and look forward to when I make these Peppermint Oreo balls in the next few days!

I also finished the marshmallows yesterday and guess what? They look and taste like marshmallows. Except even better! As someone at school said "They taste so much creamier!" And I love the mint I put in them. Can't wait to give them out as Christmas gifts to all my wonderful friends and family! I have to make another batch next week. I made pretzels tonight so now I have my goody bags ready to go. I just need to take a picture so you can see the cute tins!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Peppermint Marshmallows

Well, I did it! I doubted myself a few times during the process but I made marshmallows. We'll see the final results tomorrow after I cut them but they look and taste pretty good! I was shocked at how easy they were to make and cheap for the most part. So now I have a cute Christmas gift for people and a hungry husband. Good thing he said it was ok.

I didn't mean to not make dinner but I came home from teaching Spanish class around 6 and went to work. Only halfway through did I realize that dinner might be a good idea. Oh well, that can happen another day right? Hardest part of this? Using the candy thermometer. I would suggest mixing in food coloring gel. I tried but didn't quite get the hang of it. After that I made some hot chocolate mix and put it in cute little tins. I realized I made a cute inexpensive gift for lots of people! I have to brag a little cause it's not every day I figure out how to do something this cool. Tomorrow I make the pretzels and then the gift giving begins. I'm going to have to find a way to make this up to my dear husband. He's being so patient with me while I do all of this work that he doesn't even get to enjoy. He did taste the marshmallow mix and was impressed.
Here's the marshmallows in the pan. They'll sit overnight and tomorrow I shall cut them! Pretty good for a girl who's mother was afraid her little girl would burn down the apartment in college. I have a few scares in the kitchen as a teenager and my mother thinks I'm ruined for life as a cook. I disagree. It made me work harder to see what I could do. I'll post the finished product tomorrow and then pretzels and everything all bundled up.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Piratas del Caribe and pretzels

Yep that's the title for this post. Because I'm learning to change some of my Christmas traditions and add new ones to the mix. Like new holiday movies my husband likes (I'm now addicted to The Family Stone), new foods (tamales anyone?) and celebrating on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day.

My wonderful husband had the day off yesterday and again today. Well, he was hoping to go fishing one of the two days and it just didn't work out for him. Instead, he spent the day yesterday putting up Christmas lights outside. We had already put them on the bushes but not the rest of the house. I had a very long day at work yesterday and then an appointment for my hair. Didn't get home until around 8 by which time he had called 4 or 5 times to make sure I hadn't died! Actually, he wanted his hamburger from Burger King so he was dying of hunger. As soon as I got near our street, I literally screamed in excitement because I saw the lights. It seems silly but no one else on our court puts up lights so they were like a beacon shining for me. And knowing that I got to sleep in a whole hour today due to a doctors appointment I was excited.

I bought the Smurf movie and the new Pirates movie last weekend for us to enjoy in the little free time we have. And we did enjoy Smurfs twice this weekend. Once in Spanish and once in English. Last night he decides to put in Pirates since we knew we could sleep in a little this morning. Yes I speak Spanish and yes I read it and write. However, it doesn't mean I always understand everything in movies. I got the Smurfs no problem. But the language in Pirates is a little more sophisticated. So I think I lost half the movie. I'm going to have to watch it again in English at some point so I can truly appreciate Johnny Depp's voice. Hearing it in Spanish just isn't the same. Old people that we are, we turned the movie off at 10 so we could go to bed. Finished it today after the incredibly long doctors visit. Which was also excellent. We feel much more on track and happier with what's going on in our lives after that appointment. I'll be explaining that more in future posts if all goes according to plan. Hubby has decided to make the Pirates movies a tradition at Christmas. ummmmmm Not sure if those are Christmas movies but hey whatever works right?

I decided to add to it by making chocolate covered pretzels. I couldn't go simple of course. I decided to make some cute plain dipped ones and then I upped the ante. Spread some peanut butter on those, sandwich them together and dunk it in chocolate! To die for!  I mean it! You need to try this. And they look cute so I have something else to add to the Christmas goody bags. Plus they go great while watching Pirates! The only downside of today was not finding cornstarch or unflavored gelatin. Seriously? I went to 3 stores and no one had them. Not only that but I was given weird looks by people who worked at all of the stores. I think I need to look at new stores. I am determined to make these marshmallows and cocoa mix but I need all the ingredients in order to do so. I shall be pondering this while I sleep tonight.

I promise to post pics once I start baking in full force. Maybe if I share this blog with the parents of my students they'll forgive me for not getting any grades recorded this month! They can enjoy the recipes instead.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I love December! Everyone is so much happier and people are friendlier. Plus my husband and I love listening to Christmas music. I think he started singing it in September. When I was driving to work the week before Thanksgiving, I heard them announce on the radio they were going to start playing Christmas music all day on Friday. I called my husband and he panicked because I never call on my way to work. Of course after I told him the news, he kept asking if it was Friday yet. So if you're in a car with us during this time of year, I really hope you like Christmas music. Cause when the commercials start on the radio, we switch to a cd.

This month always gets me thinking. It's the end of a year and time to look at ways to grow and improve. How can I become closer to Christ? How can I improve my friendships and relationships? What do I want to do in the upcoming year? I look at our Christmas tree. Yes It's a bit crooked. Well, more than a bit but it's beautiful. And underneath we have our Nativity scene. Christmas really is about Christ. I was in the MTC at the beginning of December in 2007, and read an article in the Ensign about reading a chapter from the book of Luke every day until Christmas Eve. That's something I've continued every year. It's a humbling experience to read about the death of Christ and His Resurrection the closer we get to Christmas. I think the miracle of Christ's birth was the fact that He chose to do this for us. He chose to be born and chose to die. At the same time, He had the power to be resurrected. And because of His birth, we are able to be resurrected. We are freed from sin by repentance. We can grow and learn. We have the opportunity to choose what we will become. So throughout this month, I'm going to be busy baking and busy thinking of Christ. I plan to find a way each day to become closer to Him.

If you live close to a temple and they have a visitors center, go! We're planning to go at least once this season to look at the lights, watch the Nativity and walk around. It brings a different spirit to the season.

I know I have a long way to go in improving but I plan to do it. I can't do it over night and I can't do it without help but I will do it. Through Christ all things are possible.

"Estos son dias de felicidad. Canta que viene ya la Navidad. Cuenta la historia de lo que paso cuando Jesus en el mundo nacio"

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's been awhile

The title says it all. Not to say I haven't been cooking or keeping up with life cause I most certainly have. Merely that life has gotten me a little too involved to be blogging. Keeping up with grades for my students is one thing. So is dealing with some personal issues like mental illness.

This is a wonderful time of year! There are so many things to celebrate and be grateful for. Yep I ended a sentence with a preposition even though I would never let my students do that! But this is my writing and it's not being graded so I can do what I want right? Just don't tell them that!

I spent a few weeks being obsessed with dump cakes. My husband turns out, doesn't like them. Meaning: I get to eat all the leftovers!!!! I forgot how wonderful pie filling, cake mix and two sticks of butter tastes when you bake it. That's all there is to it. Anyone can make a dump cake.

Another thing on my mind has been presents. I've decided to make sweets for people this year. I figure it can't be too hard, just time consuming is all. With my husband working Saturdays lately, that gives me plenty of time to bake and catch up on the shows I record during the week. My plan this year is to make homemade marshmallows. If you're a recipient of these, please humor me and tell me how good they are. Even if they aren't. I'm hoping they will be, and in the next few weeks I'll be documenting my attempts at making them. I'm also making hot chocolate mix. I figure that's a perfect combo and it's cheap to make. I do need to invest in a candy thermometer however. Thankfully, we got a Kitchen Aid from my grandmother for the wedding so that is a huge timesaver! That isn't the extent of the creations however. I plan to make several types of fudge, cookies and dipped pretzels. Possibly saltine candy if I can swing it. So if you live nearby, be prepared for us to drop by with some goodies. And if you don't: send me your address!

Onto the other chaos in my life. Mental illness. This is a touchy subject, but I started this blog to get out my feelings. You all happen to be the recipients. Choose to read at your own risk. People don't like to talk about it but you need to. The last few weeks, I have seen someone I love dearly face their own demons. In turn, I had to face mine. It wasn't easy, and it's not over by any means. However, I'm grateful he was able to recognize he needs more help and will be getting that help. We take it day by day and so far things are improving. I decided in this process that I have some pretty scary demons myself. Which is probably why I cook so much. It covers them up! Who wants to face their demons and weaknesses? Certainly not me. But I do know when enough is enough. And when you have to learn not to back down. I still don't consider myself a strong person. There are so many other people in this world stronger than I, but I'm learning how to express my opinions and make them count. Even when the other person may not want to hear it. Life is all about give and take. I've been on a roller coaster which is the main reason why I haven't blogged. I couldn't think straight, and I was afraid of what I would type. Didn't need you all reading and thinking I'm crazy. But I decided I don't care. If you think I'm crazy so what? I think it takes a bigger person to admit they need help and to be able to tell people around them they have mental illness and are struggling. The people who put you down and question why you would stay with someone like that? You don't need those people. I mean if there's abuse that's one thing but if the only thing wrong is mental illness, then you do what you need to. It isn't easy but I do know that on the other side of this, there will be something beautiful. As long as we both do our part!

Be ready for tomorrow to see pictures of the Christmas tree! And picture of all the materials needed for me to start baking!!!! Christmas baking frenzy here I come! If you live nearby and want to help just let me know! Always room in my kitchen for someone who wants to cook!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chile Rellenos and Halloween

I realize I haven't posted in awhile but I've been a little stressed! Too many personal things going on and lots of ups and downs in our lives. After a lot of pondering and a lot of baking on Friday, I decided to make chile rellenos tonight. Have I made them in the past? Nope never but I love them. So I found a recipe, talked to my sister-in-law and gave it a shot. The biggest surprise? They worked! The only pic I have of them is on my phone so you have to go to Facebook to see them but they taste amazing. However, be sure to get all the seeds out if possible and the membrane. It's super spicy and the salsa only added to that fact.

The longest part of the whole thing is getting the chiles charred and peeled. I do recommend using toothpicks to hold them shut as well. But they tasted great! I also learned that egg whites whip up really fast in a KitchenAid mixer. Like insanely fast and it's a good thing. Once I peeled the chiles, the tricky part was getting the seeds out. I'm trying to think of a better way to do this like maybe take out the seeds first and then char them but I don't know if that will work. I'll have to ask my husband when he gets home.

It's almost Halloween, and we have our Halloween party at school on Friday. The thing about my school is we not only have a party, we have a costume parade. And it's a big deal. I've never been at a school like this before so my first year at the school it was a shock to me. Well, this year we've decided us teachers need to dress up. I'm still trying to piece my costume together so I'll be sure to post pics of the teachers since I can't post the kids. I am excited though cause I get to wear several costumes. I've always enjoyed Halloween. I mean who doesn't love free candy? Can't wait til we have kids so I have an excuse to get the candy. In the meantime, we use my husband's niece and nephews. Which is great! We get to hang out with them and enjoy free candy. Because kids shouldn't have too much candy right? We get to go out to Trunk or Treat Friday night with a dinosaur, a devil and Darth Vadar. My mom should be happy to see us.

Compromise is a wonderful thing I'm learning. Slowly but surely things are coming together for us. And I'm learning more about myself each day. Stay tuned until Friday when you get to see pics of Halloween! I'm off to write a syllabus now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chipotle Sour Cream

I'm not sure who I can really blame for my new addiction. I guess it could be my dad since he's the one who called me and told me I needed to buy this sour cream for chili. But then again, I use chipotles in tinga and I love the smell and flavor.

I made chili last week with chipotle sour cream and it was amazing. So today I made taco soup. Whatever you think of as taco soup, it may not be my recipe. My taco soup is more or less me throwing in whatever looks good to make a soup with taco seasoning. I think it's pretty tasty however the verdict is still out on what my husband thinks. He's busy doing an emergency paint job for a dear friend who texted me while I was teaching her son at school today. So yay hubby for helping out a friend. I will let you know what he thinks of the soup however.

Here's my recipe and the final product. Feel free to substitute whatever you would like to add or cut down on the spiciness.

1 lb of ground beef (you can use shredded chicken as well)
1 can of corn or small bag of frozen corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of pinto beans (put in any kind of beans, as much as you want. They are great!)
2 to 3 cans of Rotel tomatoes with chilis (I like regular or spicy)
1 package of taco seasoning
chopped jalapeños
Chipotle sour cream and cheese for garnish

Brown the ground beef. Drain and rinse well. Put into a pot along with all ingredients except sour cream and cheese. Add extra water if needed to thin out the soup as much as you like. If you want to add a lot of water, you may need to add more taco seasoning. Heat through. Add sour cream and cheese to garnish. Add lots of sour cream for lots of spice! It's amazing. really and truly amazing! I'm on my second bowl but don't tell my husband!

See how amazing it looks? I would have added the cheese but that would require having cheese in my house. Which I don't. I will tomorrow but today we're going cheeseless.

Now excuse me while I look for other ways to use this wonderful sour cream! If you have any ideas let me know! This is what I'm doing as I postpone preparing for parent teacher conferences and my observation tomorrow at school

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wonderful Day

So I made chili last night. My husband told the guys he works with that he was bringing them lunch today and it would be chili. He didn't tell me this until he got home from work. Luckily, I still haven't learned how to cook for only 2 people. I still make food like I'm living with my parents and siblings. Funny because when I lived alone, I had no problem cooking for one person and having leftovers the next and that's it. Which means we had a lot of chili. I wish I had pictures of the chili because it was amazing. He called to tell me the 3 of them ate almost all of it! We're talking a pretty big pot of chili. And then tells me he loves me and thinks I'm wonderful. What a good man I have!

I find it interesting how hard it is for some men to say I love you. For me it's easy. I tell everyone I love you I guess. But my husband isn't that vocal. However, I do know he loves me. He mows the lawn. He even does dishes! So for that, I make him as he calls it, "la galleta grande." Or in other words, a pizookie. And I will make them everytime he asks. Because he can't eat it by himself. So I need to help!
The yummy pizookie before it's baked. I use an 8 inch cake pan for mine since I don't have a pizookie pan (hint for Christmas my friends!). Doesn't it look good?
After about 7 minutes in the oven it comes out. I guess I could have let it cook a little bit less. Then we have my favorite picture of all:
The final product. It took us about 10 minutes to eat the whole thing. It was amazing! And I plan to make plenty more of them. Everyone should enjoy a pizookie. It makes life so much more bearable!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More on Pizookie

It's been quite the chaotic last few days. Really and truly. But things are winding down and all shall be well again. Conference weekend really helped me out cause I was able to focus on the most important things.

My husband asked me tonight "When are you going to make that giant cookie again? The one you made on Sunday?" That's his way of saying he likes it. And a pretty high compliment from him. When he asks me make something again it gives me permission to make it over and over again. And my life becomes easier! So now I'm on a mission to make more pizookies. I need a smaller pan however in order to make them more often. If they're smaller that means I can eat more right? So I'll be making pizookies tomorrow night and taking pictures. Then you can all experience the joy of a pizookie. Well, at least through pictures. And then you'll have a recipe.

I may not be the most amazing cook but I can at least make my husband happy. He wants chili tomorrow night so if it turns out ok I'll post pictures. However I promise to post on Friday night or Saturday morning so you can all join me in the adventure of making taquitos!

I have to say I have some pretty amazing friends. Every day I'm learning more and more about what a true friend is. Yep I may be getting close to 30 but it's taken me a long time to learn about friends. There are some people you only spend time with because you work with them. You say hi and talk about surface things but that's where it ends. There are others that you spend time with because you've known them a long time. You get pretty deep and they know a lot about you but still something is missing. And then there are friends who you might know for a long time or only a short time but they truly understand you. The kind of friends you can tell anything to. And you might not get to talk to them every day, but you know they're thinking about you and vice versa. People that you can bare your very soul to and not feel ashamed. They tell you like it is and you aren't afraid of their response. You respect it and listen. Those are the friends who lift you up and make you happy. These are the friends I'm grateful for right now. People who stand with me even when I feel like I'm going crazy and the world is crashing down around me. They may not understand everything going on in my life but they listen and let me cry.

I've had to let some friends go recently. It's made me really sad because I thought they were truly people I could depend on but it turns out they fell through. Or rather they were only superficial friends when I thought they weren't. But I love my real friends. Each one of you is amazing and thank you so much for all of your help right now!!! Especially my DD girls. You are more amazing than you'll ever know.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pizookies, Soup and rolls

Another cold, rainy day here. I never ever thought I would be blogging about food but it seems I spend a lot of time doing that. Cooking is more of a hobby for me. I'm not amazing by any means but I enjoy doing it. So since the dear husband had to work again today and I was home watching conference, I decided to make a huge meal. I wish I had pictures but I'll do the soup pictures for you tomorrow I promise.

Conference was amazing as it always is. I find it interesting that there's always always something I need to hear. Newly married life is wonderful but there are some down moments. Especially when we're going through some challenging times. And both of us can be quite stubborn and think we know best. I guess I've always felt like I should always have the right answer. Well, news flash: I don't! I know shocking right? In this case, I do have the answer but from listening to conference, I can't force my will upon another person. Not only that, but I also have to keep that eternal perspective in mind. I know my husband will come to that knowledge eventually but right now it's frustrating. In the meantime, I continue loving him like always and know that mental illness is just that, illness. Right now I'm looking for support groups around here for myself.

So now that you all know more than you probably wanted, let's talk about my dinner plans! Hubby mentioned last night that I haven't made dessert in quite awhile. He's right cause we're both trying to lose weight but when I pointed that out he just looked at me like I was crazy. So I needed a dessert for today. But first dinner. It's cold here although it's supposed to be warmer later this week and I'm hoping that's true! I decided to go with that fabulous potato soup recipe I posted a little while ago. This time though I used four cheese instant potatoes and it made the soup even more amazing! Creamy and extra cheesy! But I also wanted bread and seeing as it's Sunday I knew I would need to make bread. Since I had potato flakes I decided to use a recipe a companion taught me on the mission. Rolls using potato flakes. You don't really have to wait for them to rise too much so it's perfect. They turned out amazing and soft! Then a pizookie! My poor husband got home exhausted from work and decided he only wanted dessert. Luckily this amazing pizza cookie mixes up really fast and cooks even faster! There are no pictures of that because as soon as I took it out of the oven and put the ice cream on top, my husband devoured almost all of it. Now he's asleep poor guy. I'll be joining him in a few moments as soon as the Amazing Race finishes.

Tomorrow you get to see pictures of the rolls and soup. Maybe I'll even mix up another pizookie just so I can take a picture.

Again, be patient with everyone and everything. Heavenly Father loves each of us and knows what we need and when we need it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chilaquiles and Conference

Lately my husband has been working late which leaves me home a lot by myself. And it means I decide to try cooking new things. He told me Thursday that he would have to work all weekend, and at first I didn't believe him. Then he said "no estoy bromeando amor" and I realized yep I would be alone Conference Weekend. Which is fine cause I can watch Conference in English instead of Spanish. But I did ask him to leave last night open for the two of us. Instead of going bowling like we had planned, we had an impromptu trip to get ice cream from Bruesters and then he said he didn't feel like bowling. Ummm Ok so what should we do? He told me just to drive so I did  and we decided to take a little drive to the DC temple. It was nice being down there at the Visitors Center pretty much alone except for the sister missionaries. And he was shocked that there wasn't a single one there yesterday who spoke Spanish. We were both shocked actually. But we walked around, watched some movies and came home to relax. That was when he asked what I was making for dinner tonight. I gave him two choices: chilaquiles or chili. He of course chose chilaquiles. So I had a task for today while watching conference. And I even have pictures!

What are chilaquiles for my non-Mexican friends reading this blog? Only the best Mexican comfort food ever. I guess it's usually a breakfast food, but I've never actually had it for breakfast. Everytime I've had it, it was always for dinner. And since hubby likes it at dinner with bistec just like I do, it worked perfectly. Basically it's homeade tortilla chips cooked in a salsa verde with bistec on the side, and topped with sour cream and cheese. Sounds weird and looks weird but I promise you it's amazing! And there are lots of variations. You can make it with hardboiled eggs, top it with onions, serve it with French bread (which is a lot of carbs in my opinion). Here's our recipe.

First you need to cut the tortillas into large pieces or triangles (you can also buy tortilla chips but you need to get really thick heavy ones and I can't find them here). You can also use tortillas that are kind of stale and old.
See how nice they look? Next you need to fry them in oil until they're crispy and lightly brown. Or dark brown as I usually end up doing. Once you take them out of the oil, put a little salt on them while they're still hot and put them in a bowl lined with a paper towel. You'll be frying them in batches unless you have a huge skillet or fryer.
Once you get nice crispy chips, you get to make the salsa. Now, I'm not putting any measurements here because well, I only cook with measurements when I'm baking. So you need to wash some tomatillos and jalapenos. Put them in a pot and cover them with water. It depends on how spicy you want to make your salsa and you also want enough to make a lot of liquid. Since it's only two of us I didn't use very many.
I should have added 2 or 3 more jalapenos to make it spicy for us. It wasn't spicy at all actually once it got soaked up by the tortillas. Put these on to boil until everything is nice and soft and isn't bright green anymore.
After they get to this point, let them cool a little bit and then put them into a blender without any of the water. You also need to add a clove or two of garlic and salt to your liking.
Once it's all in the blender turn it on and let it get all liquidy! See, no water needed. But really, this should have been fuller. So make another batch if you need to. Once you have that wonderful salsa verde ready to go, take a large skillet and heat a little bit of oil. Add the salsa to the skillet let it "fry" for a few minutes. Once it starts to boil some, turn the heat down and start adding the chips.
It'll be nice and bubbly.
Here are the chips being added to make it yummy and delicious. Make sure you turn the heat down and let it cook and soak up the salsa. You can add some more water if needed but it's also a good idea to make more salsa if you need to.
This is what it looks like once everything gets soaked up and tasty. Next you need some really thin steaks. I use beef milanesa. Put a little seasoning on them and cook them in a pan.
They only take a few minutes to cook so watch closely. Once you do that, put the chilaquiles on a plate, add a piece or two of steak (I tear mine into pieces), top it with cheese and sour cream. Now, normally you use queso fresco but my husband isn't a huge fan of it so I use regular shredded cheese.
And then just mix it all up and it's amazing! This is the best dish ever seriously. And since my husband ate all that was left, I figure it was pretty good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fiasco at Breakfast

I attempted a new recipe today. One I thought would be really easy for breakfast. Some lovely Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. The recipe looked really easy. It sounded really easy. Well let me tell you it's not! I mean, I did make pancakes but they didn't have that pretty swirl or stay nice and round. I put the batter in the pan and then added the swirl on top just like the recipe said. What it doesn't tell you is how hard it is to flip that pancake after the swirl is added. Batter kinda just goes everywhere in the pan and the swirl doesn't stay nice and neat. It spreads out in the pan and makes a burnt caramel. I managed to make two really good looking ones that went to the hubby. The bad ones I kept for myself. So, if anyone else attempts to make these and has better luck, pass your hints on to me please! Just go to google and type in cinnamon roll pancakes. At least my husband ate them and liked them!

The Relief Society broadcast was last night and it was so good! I have to say, President Uchtdorf is amazing. So is Sister Allred. If you didn't get to watch it, make sure you do cause it's really good. My favorite was the forget me nots. It's interesting that so often we're patient with other people but not with ourselves. We become so hard on ourselves that it seems like we just can't measure up to anything. Heavenly Father really is pleased with our efforts and is proud of what we do. We just have to be proud of ourselves as well. Also, be happy with what you have. I know sometimes I get caught up in this one. I think "Oh if I just get to this point in my life, everything will be great." But that's not the way it works. If we get caught up in this, we don't pay attention to what we have right now. And that's when we become miserable. Really and truly. The things we want in life will come along but we can't be thinking constantly about them. Food for thought today!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The story of a masters degree...

Or in other words: How I became forced to get a masters even though I probably don't have the money to pay for it. So yep. I have to get my masters by 2015 according to my school district. Plus side: I get a "pay raise" that I haven't seen since before my mission. Down side: I have to spend money we don't have. But after talking to a representative last night I learned there's a scholarship available for my district. I'm praying I get it but if I don't then somehow something else will open up. Gratefully I get reimbursed for tuition but as I explained to the lady on the phone that does me no good if I can't pay for the first class. We think we can manage to swing it but it'll mean scrimping for a little bit. In the meantime I continue praying.

Did I mention that the application for the scholarship needs to be postmarked by tomorrow? Nope? Well, it does, and I found out last night. That poses a problem. Since I need my transcripts and those happen to be in Utah. I did what any responsible former BYU student would, go online and try to get into my Route Y account. Guess what doesn't work? My Route Y account. This was being done at school during my planning periods while trying to plan a lesson on Multiple Intelligences for tomorrow, grade papers and run around like crazy. The nice lady on the phone showed me how to reset my password and it still didn't work. Finally we got it so I could have my transcripts emailed to me.

That should have been easy right? This is me we're talking about here. If you've been following my blog at all you realize nothing is ever as it seems. I like to leave work at 4 or as close as possible since I get there at 7:10 most mornings. That means leave school not leave work because that always comes home with me in my big bag! Well, by the time I got the transcript ordered, the kids were coming back into the room. Did I mention they earned an extra long recess for have 20 days of either 100%  attendance or no card flips? Which meant no break time for me. And we have bus duty this week. So I get back to my room at 4 and since I don't have a printer at home, I ended up staying at school. I thought printing it out would be easy. Nope they sent me the file and I had to open up another website to download it. Then I had to request a special code to be emailed me to open up the next website that would open up the transcript so I could print it. And my email at school doesn't always like to work too fast. Well, I got the code, put it in the box and Adobe Acrobat shuts down so the transcript won't open. All this time I'm thinking, is it really worth the hassle to apply for this scholarship? Then I realize the pay increase will be nice, not to mention the fact that I can take classes again. So it finally opens up and I get everything printed. My husband just read over the essay I wrote and it's good to mail off tomorrow. Granted having someone who speaks Spanish as their first language read over an essay written in English may not be the best idea but it's all I had at the time, and I trust his judgement.

So now we wait and see where this road will take me. My already crazy schedule is about to get even crazier but it'll be worth it right? Did I mention that we're also trying to get pregnant right now? So that could throw even more fun into the mix. I think I'd better get in all the reading I want to do between now and December 7th cause I won't have much time for it after then. But I always did like reading textbooks. Except for Stats 221. One textbook I truly don't think I ever read. And you can tell from looking at my transcript. I realize my GPA for classes in Elementary Education is so much higher than all the Gen Ed classes I had to take. Those weren't fun. Although I know I made roommates jealous by some of my finals (passing out hot chocolate at the Testing Center for a final, writing a story, putting all the papers from the semester into a binder and turning it in), I don't see them teaching kids about the Revolutionary War or the Mexican Revolution.

I promise I'm going to put in more pictures. Just as soon as my sister teaches me how. I think next time I'm writing about the joys of the fair. And I'm making tinga on Saturday so I'll include pics. Come to my house for the RS broadcast on Saturday so you can have some yummy Mexican tinga!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I learned something new today about my husband and his family. Something I totally have taken for granted all these years. Think for a minute how old you were when you learned about S'mores. How often have you enjoyed them? Was it at a summer camp? Girls Camp? Boy Scouts? Camping trips with your family? Or somewhere else. I think I've known about S'mores since I was little. Like maybe 5 or 6 (my mom will correct me I'm sure if I'm wrong). The sweet yummy goodness of graham crackers with chocolate and marshmallow has been in my life for a long time.

Tonight I discovered my husband and his family had no idea what they were! I had the pleasure of teaching them about S'mores and watching their faces light up as they experienced that goodness! It was pure accident by the way. His brother invited us over for carne asada this afternoon so we were busying enjoying the delicious meat! About 7, my husband looked at me and told me we should get some marshmallows to roast over the grill. So I said oh you mean with chocolate and graham crackers. He says yep take Bella and go get marshmallows. Well, apparently my Spanish isn't as good as I thought or it was a big misunderstanding but he didn't hear the part about chocolate. My sister-in-law and I end up at the store, and she gives me a funny look as I grab chocolate and graham crackers. I was like ummmm didn't he ask me to get all of this. She says "No tengo idea de lo que quieres hacer" That was when I realized she didn't know what S'mores were. I explained them and she looked at me like I was crazy but said she wanted to try them.

Back at the house, I pull out the bag of goodies all excited and my husband just looks....confused. He had no idea either. I looked at everyone and asked them if they knew about S'mores. Nope not a single one had ever seen or heard of them! Bless his heart, my husband told me to tell him what to do to make them. So we start assembling the S'mores. And can I just say watching his brother eat one was exciting for me! His eyes lit up and he was excited. All of them were actually. Yep hubby thought I was crazy at first but one bite and he was hooked. So now I have a new job at their house as the S'more maker!

It made me realize there are simple things I enjoy and take for granted but other people have no clue about them. What a thrill to share S'mores tonight. You might think I'm silly for posting about this but it was a big deal for me tonight. I mean I love desserts and S'more are amazing. How sad there are people out there who don't know about them. It's now my mission to teach the world about S'mores!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

There's no "R" button

I realized at the end of the day at school that I've been a day ahead somehow. And that was really depressing to me. I thought tomorrow was Friday. What a disappointment to find out that nope I still have two more days left. I think the real disappointment is the fact that my allergies have kicked into overdrive and quite possibly have given me a cold or something on top of it. My poor husband has to deal with a congested, cranky wife. I do apologize to him for that. But he's been so patient about it! I even got a back rub last night when I headed up to bed earlier than normal. He followed me, read a chapter from The Book of Mormon out loud and then rubbed my back. What a sweet guy I have. I felt bad waking up early today because it woke him up.

Being busy with school and grading papers has caused me to get creative with meals. Not only that but it's made me wonder what we can do to speed up dinners around here. I like cooking but I like taking a long time. I have quick meals but we both like those meals that take a little more work to do. They taste good! But we make it work. He actually made dinner the other night when he didn't have work. That was a shock! And he makes good food!

Back to the "r" button. Someone today got upset because they were trying to solve a problem with a calculator and couldn't find the right button to get the answer. He got louder and louder and finally threw down the calculator saying "Why can't I find the "r" button?" Here's the problem: 21/r = 7. He couldn't find the "r" to do the division. Rather than ask for help, he just shouted out his frustrations and gave up. How often does that happen to us in life? We want the answer right away, and we have all the tools but don't know how to use them. We get so close but then that "r" button stops us from getting to a solution. If we just take the time to step back and calm down, the answer will be there. Maybe we need to use different tools than the ones we think. Heavenly Father never leaves us alone but we might have to work a little harder than we want or expect in order to find the right answer. So the next time you get frustrated or annoyed because you can't find the "r" button, take a step back, ask for help and look at everything you have!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


My little brother got married yesterday. I feel so old. Granted, I got married two months ago so it isn't saying much. But still he's my little brother. I think as much as I cried yesterday, I'll cry even more when the baby gets married. She claims it'll never happen but I say otherwise. It was a beautiful wedding and reception. They made 300 jars of jam as favors and I have to say that no matter what my husband says, the peach is my favorite. We actually had toast when we got home last night just so we could enjoy the jam. Although, we were also the only people at the reception to open our jam and eat some while we were there. We were hungry and it was good! Hey it gave my dad a good laugh and that's all the matters right?

Ok we just got lovely thunderstorm that is interrupting my recording of Cupcake Wars. It had better stop before the Great Food Truck Race or we might have some problems.

Thinking about the wedding had me remembering all the crazy things my brother used to do. Well, he still does crazy things but he's grown up thank goodness. It also brought me back to ten years ago. None of us will ever forget where we were that day or what we did. I can still tell you everything I did that day and everywhere I went. Or rather didn't go. My husband is the same way. It's sad to think about still but if we don't think about it and don't remember, then it could happen again. Teaching Social Studies and History, I tell my students that if they don't learn about the past, then they won't be able to stop bad things from repeating themselves. We have to accept and recognize the past, move on but never ever forget. Don't forget what happened that day or where you were. Not only that but remember how you reached out to others and helped. That spirit of service will help us to stay close to each other. When we're serving, it's a lot harder to dislike people.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Recipe

Melinda, this blog entry is just for you! I sit here watching Chopped Champions while trying to recover from a migraine thanks to the crazy rain this week, and somehow I feel like this recipe should be so much more. But you know what? It tastes amazing so I really don't care!

My Mom's Potato Soup (with my little changes):
2 to 8 potatoes cut into chunks (no bigger than 1 inch although I like some a little bigger) It depends on how much soup you want as to how many potatoes you need. Hubby and I used 3 potatoes but they were really big potatoes from my grandparent's garden and it made enough for 2 meals.
1/2 to 1 whole onion finely chopped
Instant mashed potato flakes (I like using flavors in mine. Roasted Garlic or Cheese)
Cheddar Cheese
Salt Pepper
1 Stick of butter (yep one stick)

Put your potatoes in a pot and just cover them with water. Add your stick of butter (if you're making a smaller pot like me, you can use 1/2 a stick) and salt and pepper.
Put the pot on medium-high heat and let it boil (you can make dessert at this point!).
Once the potatoes are cooked (don't let them over cook), turn the heat down to low and add milk to again just cover the potatoes (so half to the same about of water). Be sure to stir this constantly so the milk doesn't burn.
Once the mixture is pretty hot again, add the potato flakes. Add a little at a time until the soup is the consistency you like. We like ours pretty thick but go slow with those flakes. Let them mix in. If you don't have enough flakes (like me) put some of the liquid and potatoes into the blender (my mom just told me you can also use a potato masher in the pot).
Once you get it where you want, taste it for more salt/pepper and then stir in the cheese. As much as you want yum!
Top it with bacon or you can mix the bacon right in!

The rain has finally stopped and my brother gets married tomorrow. Life it crazy. I also have a million papers to grade yikes!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Potato Soup

I decided while driving home from work today that I need to be a full time housewife. Anyone want to tell my husband that? It would work great if we had kids because then I would have an excuse. Actually my excuse for it is that I want to cook real meals. I love cooking but it's so hard to do when I get home from work and I'm tired. My husband loves my cooking but the only problem is I have so little time to actually do it. I think I can pull it off if I tell him the real reason behind me staying at home is so I can cook and clean for him. That's something to think about.

I've been craving potato soup for awhile now but it's been too hot to make it. Finally it's cooled off. Not to mention the rain and clouds make for perfect soup weather. So after I got a hold of my mom to get her potato soup recipe which is amazing, I decided to tweak it a little. Just a little Mom. I promise. I looked up other recipes online but none of them look even close to my mom's. After talking to her and then analyzing the recipes again, I discovered why. She uses a stick of butter. That's a whole lotta butter. But she also has a hugantic (yep I made that word up!) pot to cook it in. There's only two of us so I don't need a pot that big. Well, until the kids come along. My mom also uses instant mashed potatoes to thicken the soup. None of this cream or whatever else you use. When you have the mashed potato flakes, the whole soup tastes like a big bowl of chunky mashed potatoes and it's yummy goodness! My change was using roasted garlic mashed potatoes. So it was amazing. Topped with some bacon and cheddar cheese it was fabulous! Even my husband loved it. Actually he knew I was making it since I told him the morning. He walked in the door, came straight to the kitchen and asked when it would be ready. For once I didn't have to ask if he wanted dinner. He was ready and waiting just from the smell! And my mom would be proud: no limes or chiles! Just yummy soup goodness and French bread. I can't wait to enjoy it for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Squirrels and other fun animals

I wasn't actually going to make a full on dinner tonight cause it's cold and rainy and I don't feel like doing much of anything to tell the truth. But I got a text from a friend asking if I had a quick recipe for tortillas. And it made me feel guilty. She's pregnant and has a little one so I thought if she can make tortillas then I can make something for us. So I did. I thought hey let's just do some tilapia from the freezer and broccoli. Well, then I decided I should make salsa and cucumbers with sour cream. It dawned on me that my mom is right. I now use lime in everything. Well, not everything, but it seems that way. The tilapia had lime and chipotle on it. Then I put lime with the cucumbers and the broccoli. Only the salsa didn't have any but I did but it on top of the broccoli and the fish. So I'm a lime addict. Blame my husband. He's the one who taught me!

What my husband doesn't know is tomorrow we're having potato soup. If it's going to be cold and rainy, I might as well enjoy it by making soup. We also have potatoes from my grandparents garden we can use!

Speaking of grandparents. My husband got to meet part of my dad's side of the family this weekend. What a brave man my husband is. We made the long drive to West Virginia, and he kept asking me who was going to be there and wanting to know about the food. I forgot to bring chiles for him to eat along with the food so nothing was spicy. However he did get to try squirrel for the first time. So did my brother's fiancee. What an experience that was. We all had a good laugh getting them to eat it. I remember growing up, I just thought it was chicken and no one ever told me until I was 12 or 13 that it was actually squirrel. That was a big surprise for me! My husband thought it was funny and a little strange that we eat squirrel. I just reminded him that he eats lengua and menudo. To him the squirrel is worse.

The rain had better stop this week or I'm going to have to get very creative in my classroom to keep the kids occupied. Indoor recess is never a good thing and when it might happen for a week or more it's even worse! So give me your best ideas for getting out energy in the classroom!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Almost one week down...

I've been with my class now for 3 days. And I'm realizing that my writing style at school has now evolved into my blog writing style. I guess it's not all bad since my class tells me that my writing is really funny. That's a good thing right? Twenty-nine 10-year olds in a classroom leads to an interesting dynamic. With that many students, you don't have just one leader. Several students try to jump in and be the leader. And while it can lead to conflict, it gives me a chance to teach compromise and to show them that you don't always have to have a leader. Or that everyone can be a leader at certain times.

We're also discussing unity. As a teacher or a person, I can't have twenty-nine students who can't or don't know how to get along. The more unified they are, the easier my job becomes. Unless of course they all decided to mutiny or something along those lines! Children need to learn how to get along with everyone they're going to meet. It's a lesson I had to learn on my mission. We may not like everyone in this life, but we don't always get to choose who we work with or who's in our class. And to me, merely tolerating a person isn't enough. To tolerate them means you're saying "well, I just have to deal with this person for a short amount of time and then I'll never see them again." While that works well sometimes, it doesn't work in my classroom. It leads to resentment and hurt feelings. It's all about looking for the positive in other people. Is that an easy thing? No it's really not. Sometimes it's hard for us as people to look for the good in others. Especially when we don't want to like them. But having charity means loving people the way Christ loved people. And seeing others the way He did. I can't teach that in my classroom (although at times I wish I could) but I can help them to learn why it's important to look for the good in others. When we look for the good, a funny thing happens. Most of the time, all those bad things that bothered us start to disappear. They might still be there but we don't notice them as much. It really does work.

That's my challenge to you this week. If you're struggling with someone right now, look for the good in them. Don't dwell on the annoying things they do or the bad things. Only look at the good things. Write them down if you have to. And say something to them about it. Well, compliment them rather. And see what happens. I've seen students change because of that one little thing.

While you're at it, pray for my husband's hometown and the people who died today. We're having a sad evening in our house tonight.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

That Time Again

I've been asking my husband all day if I have to go back to school tomorrow. He keeps looking at me like I'm crazy. So I had to explain. I love teaching but having the summer off is just so relaxing, and I get in the habit of reading and taking naps. Not to mention I now have to break my tv addiction that I get every summer! All the more reason to get pregnant soon :) But really and truly, when school starts, it's just another sign that summer is ending. Which means cold weather is coming and the year is winding down. Talk about depressing thoughts! Now that I've cheered everyone up....

Everything just gets crazy at this time of year. And it really doesn't slow down until January. So I appreciate the summer and enjoy the hot weather. Mainly because I can't stand the cold or the snow! I like snow days but I don't like snow, go figure. My husband is the complete opposite. He loves the cold weather, loves snow, loves rain. Me, I like "perfect" days. Good thing we live in a state where we can get a little bit of both.

I was just outside enjoying the weather and imagining we have another week of summer left. Which we don't. But it doesn't hurt to imagine. I have to say that having a Sunday before Monday is wonderful idea! Church was amazing today. One thing that stood out was the theme of obedience. So many people in this world complain about rules but at the same time they want to be happy. Well, we can't be happy without rules. That's the way it works. Obeying rules because we choose to, is what brings us true happiness. I wish my students would obey the classroom rules simply because they had respect and they wanted to. Not because they're afraid of punishment. Heavenly Father wants us to obey His rules because He knows we can find happiness there. We can't say we want happiness and then do the opposite of what God asks. Life doesn't work that way. We might have temporary happiness but it will never bring us the true happiness we desire. I know that for a fact.

So, follow the rules and be happy. And someone please tell me I don't have to go to school tomorrow! I'm thinking I shouldn't wish that however. Every time I wish for something along those lines, something goes wrong. We've already had an earthquake and a hurricane in the last week. I think I'm done with natural disasters for awhile. Let's hold off for a month at least.

Enjoy your last bit of summer. Spend time with your children and help them get excited about school tomorrow! I want happy kids in my class!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fitting In

The joyful Open House was tonight. I never would have considered myself popular by any means in high school however I did have plenty of friends. After tonight's Open House, I'm learning more about me. I talked to people  in every group almost in school. Tonight, I made a connection with every parent in my classroom. And these parents are all quite different. I guess I'm more of a drifter than a person who stays with one group. You know what though, that's a really good thing. It lets me talk to lots of different people and get along with all of them. Not a bad skill to have.

However, it does wear me out quite a bit. I think I'm socially drained after tonight. I need to be isolated with just my husband for a day or two. Not that I try to please every parent or say what they want but I noticed that I did what I used to do in high school. Instead of changing myself for other people, I share with each person or group the part of me they need to see. Sad thing, not all people get to see all sides of me. Good thing, I can have things in common with tons of people. Thankfully, my husband gets to see all sides of me. Not very many people do I'm noticing. I guess I'm pretty picky about who I share all of me with. But it's a good thing I share all of me with my amazing husband. It is draining only sharing part of you with certain people. Sometimes I feel like I have to be on guard all the time to make sure I won't act in a way to upset someone.

But the parents were wonderful and I'm looking forward to another great year!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shaking up the school year

Well, this is me. I can never ever have a normal school year or a normal anything for that matter! I think odd and strange events seem to follow me. Losing the flight crew right before the flight, brakes going out on the plane, llamas escaping the BYU-Ag center, car wreck and subsequent fire on TRAX, crazy snow storms, fires in L.A., unexpected earthquake the week I'm preparing my classroom. Maybe I'm some kind of magnet for bad events or something like that. Or it could be I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But someone should seriously warn people when they're with me that these kinds of things happen.

It was supposed to be a nice normal day full of me getting my classroom ready for the Open House on Thursday. Instead it was me running around like crazy making sure I had everything I needed. One small blessing, got the notebooks I needed for free! Then came the meeting about math (I don't teach math by the way, but I still had to be there) and the meeting about science (I also don't teach science). Thankfully they were short and painless.

Finally have my Welcome board designed. Since I'm on a tight tight budget this school year, I had to be creative and not buy any of it. So everything is done by hand. We all know I'm not an artist by any means, I just pretend to be! I'm good at faking although it was a lot easier when I taught second grade because the kids told me I was an amazing artist. Now the kids laugh along with me and making guesses as to what I'm drawing. Usually wrong guesses of course. Anyways, we will be "Catch a Wave into 5th Grade!" The two things I was worried about making, palm trees and surfboards managed to be fairly easy. Art teacher had two palm trees and I found a surfboard template online that I spent time tracing today. Now I have to get names on the surfboards and staple them to the board.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be busy planning for next week. I also realized today that I don't have space for 29 students in my room. Well, I have space for the students but I had to rearrange quite bit. This is going to be an interesting year. Very interesting year.

Got wonderful news about my class from last year as far as state testing goes. So I'm feeling pretty good. And in the middle of being told this wonderful news, the fake walls of my classroom started shaking slightly and everything felt like a huge gust of wind blew through the school. Of course it couldn't be something normal like a gust of wind. Earthquake. That's always loads of fun let me tell you. It's funny though cause I do get excited about earthquakes for some reason. Probably because I've never had anything bad happen. I'd better go knock on wood right about now because next time I'm in an earthquake, something worse will happen. I apologize to everyone around me in advance.

And now it's time to review the Language Arts curriculum and get my Social Studies ready to go for the school year. Be safe out there. Getting ready for school is dangerous business. Tomorrow I shall have a picture of the amazing bulletin board. You can decide for yourselves if I'm an artist!


Monday, August 22, 2011


Today was the first day back without the kids. Let me tell you how my day went: I'm eating Chocolate Seduction ice cream. Does that tell you anything? I can also barely keep my eyes open.

I sat in meetings all day long which is typical the first day back but I forgot how long and tiring it is. I have laundry I have to get done today as well but I don't know if I'll stay awake to finish it.

On the plus side, I walked into my room today expecting to move around filing cabinets, desks, chairs etc. But nope. The custodians did all of that! I just need to rearrange the desks! It's wonderful actually. Downside: every year I promise myself I'm going to get organized. And every year, I end up throwing everything in cupboards at the end of the year. So I was running around like crazy today searching for everything I needed. I need to write myself notes or something at the end of the year so I remember where everything is when school starts again! That would be a good idea. Still trying to figure out what I want to put on my bulletin board to welcome back students. If you have any thoughts, feel free to let me know.

We got curriculum updates today which means planning is a little different than normal. Not to mention the fact that I still don't have my class list. Very sad actually about that one. It's a little hard to plan when I don't know how many students will be in my class. Apparently we're looking at around 30 in our homerooms. Which means I'll have 26 in my Language Arts class. It's a lot but somehow I'll make it work out. I just want names so I can make name tags and set up my grade book.

So much to do and so little time before next week. I pray I can get everything finished in time. I'm thinking about reworking some things this year for my classroom. Hopefully it'll make everything run smoother in class. I hope anyway.

Time for some sleep so I can get ready to do it all again tomorrow. Hopefully the county decides to give me an id badge. Life is very difficult without it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let the lower lights be burning

I know school is going to start when the nightmares and dreams start up again and yesterday was quite the dream. Well, thinking about it, I'm not sure if it's a dream or a nightmare. I'll let you decide! So, I dream that it's the first day of school, and all is going quite nicely. Until the end of the day. I'm reading a book to my class and realize that the clock is broken. Look at my watch. it's 3:40 and they haven't started dismissal! We get a phone call to our classrooms telling us the buses have all broken down and there's a problem outside the school. I'm stuck at the school until everyone is home. The buses don't even come until after 7pm. Yeah, now that I think about it, I had a nightmare. Not a good way to start the day before I go back to school.

But the rest of the day was exceptional. Church truly was amazing today. And hubby and I had a nice drive around town before coming home for a snuggle. Well, for me it's a snuggle. He calls it snoogies and doesn't understand why I like it so much! One day he'll catch on. It's almost time for his soccer game to start so that's how I'll be wrapping up the day. Watching America play and hopefully win!

To all my teacher friends out there, if you've already started teaching, I hope it's going well. If you're just getting ready, good luck tomorrow! Or whenever you happen to start. Enjoy the time you have left.

Interesting hymn in church today. One of my favorites but we don't sing it very often. "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." Hubby leaned over to me and says, what's this song called in Spanish? So I tell him the name and he wants to know why we don't sing it very often. I agree with him. The third verse really struck me today:
 "Trim your feeble lamp my brother;
 Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.
 Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling sea man, you may rescue, you may save."

How true is that? Christ and Heavenly Father leave it to us to help those in need. It's through us prayers are answered many times. If we aren't prepared and listening to the promptings of the Spirit, someone may lose out. I know Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. No doubt about that. And we need to be ready at all times. We never know how He may use us any given day. We may rescue someone and not even realize it. I've experienced the joy of bringing others to Christ. But it wasn't me that did it. Christ was the one who did it all. I was the instrument in His hands. And we can all be instruments if we're willing.

Enjoy the rest of this glorious Sunday! I know I certainly will. This week I'm sure my posts will be about school. And how to balance that with being a wife! I'm supposed to make pescados dorados tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Yep the title is in Spanish this time. It's kind of like a guessing game for all of you. And it amuses me! Cause my brain works in both languages, at the same time. It means sometimes really strange words come out of my mouth. And people in my dreams who only speak English in real life (like my parents), speak Spanish. I'll admit it sometimes makes my head hurt and I forgot what language I'm speaking but it's worth it because of the people I've gotten to know.

It's been a crazy few days. Crazy more in the mind sense rather than in actually doing things. School starts soon and that means all those things that I put in the back of my mind to ponder during the summer have to come to the front. Like what my classroom is going to look like this year. I've gone through 5 or 6 plans this summer and think I've finally found one I like. I need to figure out the projects for the beginning of the year. I need some new things but I'm keeping some of the old ones as well. And which novel to start with at the end of September. I may have to run to the supply closet and grab Esperanza Rising simply because it's a wonderful book. And even though the main character is a girl, the boys seem to enjoy the story just as much! Plus I can bring Spanish into the classroom which is even better. There are so many other things I've done this summer to get ready for the year that I wonder if it can even count as a summer! I read all the Black Eyed Susan nominee books for elementary school thanks to the librarian at school. And I wrote a summary for each one. That's gotta count for something right? It's like I even did homework over the summer!

So I'm wrapping up the summer tomorrow and I'm sad. Really and truly sad. But I'm also excited for a new school year and a new class of students. Hopefully my students haven't heard any bad rumors about me. And if they have, like I give too much homework, that's fine. They'll be pleasantly surprised when they see what it's all about in my classroom. I tried explaining to my husband how exhausting the first two weeks of school are. That's when I realized I'm dealing with a painter. He looked at me as though I was speaking Greek. Then says "Well, I work outside and inside and deal with crazy people all day long. Plus I never know what my schedule is going to be each day. How is being a teacher harder than that?" Clearly I will be getting no sympathy from him this school year. Maybe when he sees the mountain of work I bring home to grade and the projects I plan (those were kept from his eyes when we were dating because they were at my house, not anywhere near him) then he might come to understand. I'm hoping to talk him into grading papers on his days off! Still not sure how that will work however. It can be good spelling practice for him to grade the spelling tests. He can learn new vocabulary too!

Well, tomorrow is going to be a great Sunday! I'm coming back home as a wonderful friend put it the other day. It's going to be exciting to be in the Monocacy Ward again. I don't know how long we'll be there, but I'm excited for the new adventure. And so is my husband even if he is a bit nervous and worried about the whole English thing. Tomorrow is also the Great Food Truck Race!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

More cooking adventures

Well, my time before school starts is winding down faster than I thought possible. I want another week. Please? Someone, anyone? Guess that won't be happening. Instead of going out today and doing possible errands, I decided to be extra lazy. I stayed home and slept in a little. Gave me some time to plan food for today. I love lazy days like this because I can sit and ponder about the world.

I had the urge to cook today. I know, again. I enjoy cooking but I don't always find the time to do it. Hopefully my husband realizes that me cooking isn't going to be a habit once school starts. Otherwise he will be sadly disappointed. In my quest to find something to cook, I ended up reading a bunch of craft blogs. I think I'm officially hooked on these things. So if you know of any good ones, feel free to pass them along!

Lunch time came and yet again I cooked up a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. It's quickly becoming my standard dish. Good thing hubby isn't home to see me make it. He might go crazy! I'm fine eating the same thing every day. He however is not. Since we have all these great tomatoes in the crisper, I need to use them. I'm grateful we have them because I've been craving tomatoes lately. Lots and lots of delicious tomatoes. The best way to make them in my opinion is to cut them into big chunks, put on a little salt, a drizzle of Italian dressing and some mozzarella cheese! Perfect and fresh. If I had basil in the house I would add that. I make a huge bowl of that!

My husband came home early today yay! He was busy digging through the kitchen looking for food. I don't always buy snacks because if I buy them, I eat them. Bad plan! Hence, I start looking for recipes. He comes out to the kitchen as I'm busy hacking into the block of brown sugar. Yep. It turned into a block so I was chopping it with a knife so I could microwave it and use it. At the same time, I'm melting butter in a pot and putting powdered sugar in a bowl. Poor guy looks around and says "Que vas a cocinar?" Apparently, he didn't take note of the dessert ingredients and assumed I was going to make dinner or something. Well, any dinner that has sugar sounds good to me. Nope. I made peanut butter fudge! My family I know can picture this all too well. I decided I was going to be good and set out all the ingredients ahead of time. In the process, I figure I can start melting the butter because it will take a little while. That was the mistake. Butter melts a whole lot faster when you try to do other things. Good thing he left the kitchen at that point. Because that's when I start running around like a mad woman! Grabbing the brown sugar and dumping it in the pot with the milk. Then it starts to boil faster than I think. Another bad plan because at that point, I can't leave it alone or it'll burn. So I'm stirring the pot with one hand and putting peanut butter into a measure cup with the other. Miraculously, I don't get burned, and I get everything mixed together perfectly! The fudge now sits cooling in the fridge! And the kitchen is cleaned! I've got to work on this whole timing thing when I cook or there might be some big accidents soon!

I was going to go off on a parenting rant, but I'll save that for another day. Right now I'm busy singing hymns. "Conmigo quedate Senor, la noche viene ya" One of my favorites. Enjoy these last few days before school everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adventures in Cooking

I'm thinking this blog may be split between me learning how to cook and keep house with a Mexican husband and adventures in teaching elementary school! Either way it's going to be exciting for you all I'm sure! Any Spanish phrases are here because we do speak Spanish in our house. Makes life more fun that way.

My husband came to me yesterday after seeing black beans in the pantry and asks "Porque nunca haces frijoles" For my non-Spanish speakers on here that means why don't you ever make beans? Well, honey, I haven't been able to figure out what I want to do with them is all. He says (and I'll keep this in English for you) well you should make them tomorrow with hierba buena (mint). All I can think is "you want me to make black beans and put mint in them? Are you insane?" So after some internet searching, pondering and frantic questioning to my friends on I2US, I realize this is an ok thing to do if not something liked by everyone. So I rinse my beans and cook them with mint I picked from the backyard. Surprisingly, it was amazing. They tasted really good! And for those of you worried about the after effects of beans, put the mint in them! It really works!

Well, I decided to be ambitious and not only make beans (because who wants to eat just black beans) but to reheat the tinga from the night before, make rice the Mexican way and fresh salsa. All of this, after I taught Spanish class until almost 5. Who's a good wife? Yep that's right me!

Salsa did not quite turn out quite the way I planned. I like spicy foods really I do. I mean my husband is Mexican after all and loves eating spicy foods. He bought some serrano chiles the other day when we bought a huge box of Roma tomatoes. I had to ask him about using them salsa since we usually use jalapeños. He says just to use the same amount I normally use. Now, he's been making a raw salsa the last few days with the serranos, tomatoes and lime just cut up and I've tried it. Yep it's spicy! I figure I'll be fine to make the salsa. Put 3 tomatoes and 5 yes 5 serranos in the pot and cover them with water. They boil and get soft. I put them in the blender with the salt and garlic. As I lift the top off the blender once it's mixed, I take a whiff and I think I almost burned my face off. I start choking and coughing. Yep that's pretty spicy. The hubby loves it of course. I enjoy it on top of the beans and rice. A few small spoonfuls on top. While he eats it straight with tortilla chips. On the plus side, I read recently that capsaicin does increase your metabolism. I figure I'm good to go for a few days.

So our dinner was a success! And I'm slowly realizing I can't stay up until 1am since school does start on Monday. I haven't stayed up with late all summer and now the week before school starts I can't sleep. I go to bed with my husband around 10:30 and I wait and wait and wait for awhile. He falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. I end up downstairs on the computer, reading or watching tv until I'm finally ready to drift off.

Join me tomorrow as I discuss Outrageous Kid Parties and my favorite books. Unless of course something else comes up in my life. In which case, you'll end up reading something else equally exciting! Please feel free to leave comments!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I had a wonderful plan to make tinga today for the two of us. As always, when my husband doesn't have work, my best laid plans never seem to happen. He prefers to not make plans and see what happens. I like planning out everything. You think I would learn quickly to not make plans at least when he's not working. Nope not me. I figure oh maybe once I talk him into doing something else. But usually his spur of the moment plans are always enjoyable.

I put the chicken on to cook so I could shred it, and my husband says "let's go fishing!" Now as you all know I'm not a huge huge fishing fan. But it was a beautiful day so I said yes. And we had a really good time like always. Well, we get home and my husband cleans the fish while I shred the chicken. Tinga is a fabulous dish by the way. So I'm including it here for you to enjoy. As a note, this is only one way to make tinga, go search the web. There are tons of ways!

1 small chicken cooked and shredded or 2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can of chipotle chiles
1 onion sliced into thin rings
3 roma tomotoes sliced
corn tortillas or tostadas
queso fresco or mozzarella
sour cream or crema
lettuce thinly sliced/chopped
salsa verde or other salsa

1. Boil the chicken with a piece of onion until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Shred chicken into small pieces.
3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan and add onions. Saute until soft.
4. Add the tomatoes and the chipotle chiles. DO NOT add the whole can if you don't like it really spicy. Try starting with 2 or 3. I usually add 5 or 6 but we like it spicy! Add some of the liquid from the boiled chicken or water.
5. "Mash" the chiles so the seeds begin to come out.
6. Once the tomatoes start to get soft, add the chicken and some more liquid if needed. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.
7. Serve in tortillas or on tostadas with other toppings.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I'm in denial right now about the fact that summer is almost over. I hate that feeling when everything starts to wind down. One more week left for me until I go back to school to set up my classroom and get things ready for the new school year. Normally, I've gone in at least once by now. This year due to some things at the end of the last school year, I've held off on going back as long as possible. In fact, I'm pondering waiting until Monday morning. Yep, my room will be utter chaos compared to the other teachers but I want to enjoy my week. If I can possibly talk my husband into going with me tomorrow to move all the heavy stuff, then I will but that's it. No thinking about school until Monday morning. I feel the need to cram so much into this week. I need to get my fun before it's back to grading papers and planning lessons. I love that by the way, don't get me wrong! But there's something about summer that just lets you be free for a little while. Part of me is saying hey hold up! Just relax this week. Which is what I did today.

My husband and I had our niece and nephew over for a sleepover last night. They crashed around midnight and I was up and up and up and up. Til like 4am. The whole time telling myself, go to bed, you only have a week left, you want to sleep in. Maybe that was part of the problem. I only have a week left so I wanted to stay up. I don't think I've stayed up that late since college, and I probably wasn't doing anything fun then either! But I watched my husband, niece and nephew sleeping. It was amazing. This morning, we woke up and didn't do anything. I made waffles and we ate in the middle of the blankets and pillows on the living room floor. Then we ended up going to Adventure Playground. Came home and fell asleep again. It doesn't sound like a very exciting day but snuggled up together falling asleep is wonderful. My husband says he's feeling lazy today. I don't mind at all. We're watching Bugs Bunny right now, and I'm content. Estoy feliz y tranquila! I need to learn how to enjoy relaxing and being lazy. I feel guilty for doing it but really and truly it's a good thing once in awhile. We need to build back up for the week to come. In my case, the school year to come.

Now it's off to the kitchen in a few to make huevos y jamon. I think I might throw in some tomatoes just cause I can!

Hasta mañana,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fishing and Marriage

Yep this is going to be about fishing. Actually about fishing and marriage. Yes I've only been married a month, but I'm learning a lot. I know most of that is thanks to the mission. Living with a person for 18 months will do that to you. I mean, when you can only be apart to go to the bathroom, you gotta learn how to compromise. Otherwise, you're miserable until your next companion. Like seriously miserable. And you're with that person day in and day out. Like a marriage but more intense.

Anyway, back to the analogy here. My husband loves fishing. We're talking beyond love, it's almost an obsession but it brings home some extra food! And it makes him happy. He comes back so relaxed and calm. So I say "more fishing!" I however am not a huge fishing fan. Not sure why. I think it's the fact that you put a worm on a hook and that worm lures a poor fish (which I have no problem eating) into a trap. Then you pull the poor fish out of the water and gut him. Pretty violent! It kind of scares me to put the worm on the hook actually. But whenever my husband decides to go fishing, guess who gets roped into going? Yep yours truly. I'm learning to enjoy fishing but I have to say it's not number one on my list. Why do I go then? Because I love him. This is something that makes him happy and after painting houses all day and coming home exhausted, I can grant him this one request. I don't always go but 9 times out of 10 I'm there with him. Maybe I'm not actively fishing but I'm enjoying the look on his face as he catches fish after fish. Or as he just sits patiently.

Well, a few weeks ago I actually caught 2 fish! Quite the exciting time. However, catching a fish makes you think it's always going to be easy to catch them. Not so. That's where they get you! And where I get bored. We went fishing today since he worked so hard all week. Actually it was a gorgeous day. Not too hot at all. Cloudy and perfect. I brought my book along like always. Halfway to the river he looks at me and asks if I really want to be with him and the nephew fishing. Ummm yep honey I do. Today I really do. And I did. I meant it. I fished for a little bit and caught one yay! But then I climbed on a rock to enjoy my book. Well, the rain moved in, luckily for me a drizzle, and I stuff the book in my shirt. My dear husband looks over at me and goes "well, I guess you think we should leave now." I told him I was fine to stay and wait it out. I was fine. I finally saw the river and fishing the way he sees it. Beautiful. Nope we might not always catch fish. And it might rain. But it's amazing to observe nature and just relax. I don't think we do that enough in this world. I sat there singing hymns and reading. And just enjoying the beauty of nature. I have to say it was the best fishing trip ever. Really and truly. Now I know to just wait for those wonderful moments. My husband is right. You have to be patient.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thoughts etc

So this is all thanks to my little sister that I've started this blog. We shall see where it goes. Mainly this is my ramblings on life, school, and love. Hmmm doesn't sound very exciting but I'll do my best!

I'm not normally a controversial person, but the last several years have caused me to face things that I never thought I would face. I've changed my mind about certain people and my political outlook. I have learned that people are people no matter what. It reminds me of Horton Hears a Who, you know, "a person's a person no matter how small." I know not everyone agrees withe me, and that's fine. The only thing I know is we're all children of God. If we keep that in mind, everything else will follow.

I finished teaching a summer Spanish class today. It's a two week class, and I only had 4 students this time. It amazes me how quickly ten-year olds will change their minds when given the facts. They came to me fairly open minded and as they discovered new foods, new cultures and new people, they grew as well. No, they didn't become fluent Spanish speakers in two weeks, but they grasped new vocabulary and a desire to learn more. That's the most important thing to me. They have a new appreciation for their country, and they want to change it. To me that's a small miracle! They tried jicama, salsa verde, pico de gallo, handmade tortillas, agua de sandia, agua de tamarindo and pastel de tres leches. Not once did I hear "ewwww that's gross" "I won't try that" They tried everything and if they didn't like it, all I heard was a quiet "wow that's not what I'm used to" And they were pleasantly surprised by the food. A girl who hates tomatoes has become a lover of pico de gallo.

So this blog is just a compilation of my thoughts. If you like it, great. If not, I'm sure there's something else out there!