Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 31: Great Grandma

Today my extended family got together for a family reunion of sorts. The group included my grandpa's brothers and their families. These are people I know really well, which is kind of unusual. My grandpa's mother, my SWEET Grandma Alpha, used to have all of us over to her house on Sunday evenings. She passed away in 2000, and now we all get together only once in a while. My great-aunt did something really fun this time. She had all of us write down our thoughts and memories of my Grandma Alpha and send them to her. She put together a book of memories for all of us, including pictures.

Of course I cried when I started reading through it. Grandma Alpha has always been one of my FAVORITE people. She was a talented cook, artist, and she knew how to love people unconditionally. I really miss holding her hand and talking to her, but I know she is watching out for me still. I can't wait to read the entire book.

PS 18 days...

Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30: Game Day

No, this isn't a reference to the Super Bowl. 
(I don't even know who is playing on Sunday.)
My students got to have a game day today. They brought their favorite games to play with each other. The only rule was that they couldn't bring electronic games.
Can you believe they still had fun? In our world of PS2s, Wiis, and Nintendo DSs, who has time for board or card games anymore? Well, I do! I prefer a good game of Life or Monopoly to Rock Band or even Mario Kart.
I love to play games; strategic ones like Settlers of Catan, silly ones like Curses, fast-moving ones like California Speed, or slow-moving ones like Rummikub. I just bought a new game that I haven't played yet, it's called Set Cubed. Let me know if you are interested and we'll play!

PS 19 days...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

January 29: Homemade Rootbeer

We made homemade rootbeer in school today. It was part of the culminating activity for our science unit on matter. The rootbeer was an example of a physical change and the kids made a silly putty-like substance that was an example of a chemical reaction. We had a lot of fun! I don't remember the last time I had homemade rootbeer. It was really good, plus the dry ice is fun to play with!

PS 20 days...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 28: My Friend Em

Happy Birthday Em!

Emily is one of my very bestest friends in the whole wide world. We were put together as roommates during our freshman year of college. I was afraid to meet her because my room assignment showed she was from West Valley. I pictured a girl with three-inch-high bangs and gang stories to tell. 
I couldn't have been more wrong!
We stayed up almost the entire first night talking. It was one of those Anne of Green Gables moments; Emily is a "bosom friend." We were joined at the hip for most of the next three years before she went on her mission. We did lose track of each other for a little while after she got home and I had started teaching, but we found each other again almost six years ago, and it was like no time had passed.
Emily is such a wonderful person, I am so grateful to call her my friend. She and I can still talk forever, she is someone I trust with my secrets. I appreciate the fact that she lets me be a part of her family. I love her boys like my own nephew. I hope this birthday is the start of a wonderful year for her. She deserves it!

PS 21 days...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27: Dead Daisies

I love daisies. They are my favorite flower. I bought some to brighten my kitchen during the gloomy winter. Too bad I have a black thumb instead of a green one! Daisies are usually pretty durable flowers, but this picture was taken about a week after I had put the flowers on my table. I can't keep a plant alive to save my life. Sorry daisies!
PS 22 days...

Monday, January 26, 2009

January 26: I Cannot Live Without Books

The title of this post is a quote from Thomas Jefferson. I have the quote on a board that my friend Jodi once gave me along with a book journal.
It was the PERFECT gift because I have always been OBSESSED with reading. I would read instead of cleaning my room, I would read instead of doing my homework, I would read instead of being upset about being sent to my room.
The same thing even happens today. What you don't see in this picture is a bed that hasn't been made and laundry that needs to be put away.
These are some of the books I have on my TO READ LIST. A lot of them are children's books. I try to read all of the books I put out for my 5th graders to borrow. I'm a little behind with that right now, as you can see. The notebook on the top of the pile is my book journal. I write down the title and author of every book I read.
It's FUN to see how many books I read in a year, and it helps me make book recommendations to other people. So, if you need to know a good kid's book, mystery, historical fiction, or classic to read, I may be able to help you.

PS 23 days...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25: Heat Costs

I dread the arrival of my electricity bill each month, now that it's winter. During the summer it was really low, but as soon as the cold set in it SKYROCKETED. The problem I had was that I didn't know how my apartment was being heated because I have no furnace or heating vents. I called my renting management company to find out how the heating system works and if they knew of any way to lower my bill. What I found out is that I have a radient heating system in the ceiling, and that each room can be controlled separately with the attractive temperature gauges found in each room.

Call me crazy, but does a heating system in the ceiling seem like a STUPID idea to anyone else? Hot air rises, so does that mean that I am heating the roof and the surrounding air when I turn up the heat? The management company told me to only turn the gauges in the rooms I use most often, and to keep the others turned off. Too bad that's what I already do! The only ones above zero are in the kitchen, the living room, and my bedroom. I guess this is just one more reason to wish for an early spring.

PS 24 days...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 24: Card Extravaganza

Today I had family and friends over for a card-making party. It was a lot of fun, and we got some great cards out of it (including yours, Lisa and Lauren)! Don't be surprised if you get one of these cards on your birthday. I never buy cards anymore, making them is more fun. I hate being the hostess for parties though. It stresses me out, especially when people are early. I had been up since 7 am getting things ready and I was just about to go make myself presentable when my sister and two friends showed up. Ahhh! Oh well, they just had to sit and wait for me for a few minutes. In the end it was a fun afternoon; I love spending time with my mom and sisters (including the in-law and surrogate variety). Thanks girls for a great day!

PS 25 days...

Friday, January 23, 2009

January 23: Love Story

The cd in my car right now is one of Taylor Swift's albums. I didn't think I would ever love a teenager's music. I never got on the NKOTB, Britney Spears, or N'Sync bandwagons. I will admit to loving Taylor Swift's music though. I admire her talent. She has written or co-written all of her songs, and I really like her voice. I enjoy the songs played on the radio, especially Love Story (I know I'm a hopeless romantic). However, some of my favorites are the songs NOT on the radio, especially Place in the World.

PS 26 days...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 22: Perfect Purse

I finally found a purse I love.

It has a place for my cell phone that makes it easy to find. It has room for me to put my camera, wallet, sunglasses, and a lot of other things inside. The other thing I love is the color. It is not a true brown or gray, so I can use it when I wear black or brown. I love not having to change my purse out because it doesn't match. Okay, I really haven't ever done that, but I love not feeling stupid because my purse doesn't match. The only downfall is that I can't ever find my keys in it. Oh well, that's a small price to pay.

PS 27 days...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21: I Love to See the Temple

My family and I got to go walk through the new Draper Temple tonight. It is a beautiful building! I love the sego lily theme they have all throughout the rooms, and the murals are just incredible. We got to sit in the biggest sealing room for a few minutes and feel the spirit there. I had no idea they carve the carpets after they have been laid; I am amazed with the talents people have! I know countless hours have gone into building and decorating this sacred place. I look forward to going there soon with my entire familay. What a blessing it is to be part of an eternal family!

PS 28 days...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20: I Solemnly Swear

It's not often you get to watch a world changing event take place. Today Barack Obama, our first African-American president, was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States.

Regardless of whether you voted for him or not, you have to agree this is a pretty incredible event. Fifty years ago, President Obama would not have been allowed to use certain restrooms or sit at the front of the bus. I am grateful for the progress we have made as a country, but I believe we still have a ways to go.

I work hard with my 5th graders to help them understand that a person should not be judged on their outward appearance: tall or short, fat or thin, black or white, glasses or not, blonde hair or black, it shouldn't matter. It is who we are on the inside that really matters, and even then we need to respect others. We don't always have to agree, but we do need to be respectful.

I was proud to be an American today. I was proud to stand in respect as President Obama repeated those 35 words and assumed the position I wouldn't want for all the money in the world. I will be praying for him and all those who work with him over the course of the next four years, they certainly will need help.
Let Freedom Ring!!

PS 29 days...

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19: What a Messy Desk Means

Last Friday was the end of our 2nd term at school. That means this school year is officially halfway over.
Tomorrow is a work day for teachers (no students allowed) and you can see I desperately need it. I hate it when my desk gets like this, but I will admit it is pretty typical for the end of a term. I will be so happy when I can see the desktop after tomorrow!

PS 30 days...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 18: Mommy Dearest

Happy Birthday to the BEST Mom!
It was really her birthday yesterday, but we celebrated today 
(once Mike got there with the potatoes).

I don't know a more talented woman. There isn't a craft out there that she hasn't mastered. She crochets, knits, and has been known to do a cross-stitch project or two. All of these are things she has tried to teach me, but I don't think I have finished one project yet. She also sews. My scrapbooks are filled with pictures of the dresses and Halloween costumes she made for me and my siblings when we were young. Another talent she has is scrapbooking. She was scrappin' before scrappin' was cool and, as my brother would say, she over-documented our lives in our scrapbooks. She never missed an important event. My mom is also an incredible quilter. She says it is her therapy. She has at least a half-dozen quilts to display in her home for each month of the year.

While her talents are wonderful, it is what she does with her talents that really amazes me. She's made dozens of quilts and other items to donate to the Festival of Trees. She makes quilts to give to her family all the time. Her cards and other scrapbooking projects are given out to friends. The time she spend creating these crafts just shows how much love she has for people. I appreciate all the wonderful things she has made for me, they are among my most prized possessions. I know everyone who benefits from her talents feels the same way.

I could go on and on about her craftiness, but it isn't my mom's best quality. The thing I love most about my mom is that she loves her family more than anything. She always puts us first. It's always been that way too. When I was young she helped me with school projects, listened to me practice the piano, chauffeured me around to all my extracurricular activities, and loved me when I was a tempermental teenager. Now she helps me with school projects, listens to me vent, invites me to dinner all the time, and loves me now that I'm a tempermental thirty-year-old . I know she would do anything for me and I appreciate all her love and support.
I am the person I am today because of her.
I love you, Mom!

PS 31 days...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17: Shannon and Jill

Today I spent time with my good friends Shannon and Jill. We haven't been about to hang out for a while and it was great to talk and laugh and play games together. I absolutely adore these girls! We met over the summer when they both joined the ward and we've done so many great things together since then:
Mama Mia, ice blocking, pedicures, Pride and Prejudice, Big Booty, Halloween Masquerade, Summer Magic, Yogurt Stop, Mad Gab, authentic pizza, Applebees, long talks, trip to Jill's cabin, Skip Bo, the list goes on and on.
Thanks girls for listening and understanding, for making me laugh my head off, for inspiring me, for liking the same chick flicks I do, for taking crazy pictures of me and putting them on the web, for being awesome friends! Luv ya!
PS 32 days...

Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16: Dancing Queen

Tonight I went out to dinner with Michelle and Avery. We went to El Matador. (Luckily we showed up before the wait was over an hour!) It was a good dinner, but the real fun started afterwards.

All throughout our trip we were listening to the soundtrack for the movie Mama Mia. Avery has a beautiful voice and she knows all the words. I was impressed! When we got home Avery wasn't ready to stop, so she hooked up Michelle's Ipod and we kept the ABBA going.

Then Dancing Queen came on and we danced 'til we dropped. We were swingin' and boppin' all around Michelle's front room. I was exhausted afterwards, but we had a lot of fun!

PS 33 days...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15: A Box for the Baubles

A year ago the one necklace and three pairs of earrings I owned simply sat on my dresser when not in use. Last year just before Christmas my new obsession was taking over the dresser, the nightstand, and the bathroom counter.
Luckily, my sister Michelle found the perfect Christmas present--a jewelry box. Now my dresser is nice and neat, until I give into my obsession again, that is. I literally have the jewelry box full right now. Where will I put the next necklace I can't live without? Hmmm...

PS 34 days...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14: Baubles and Beads

I have a new obsession: JEWELRY. Specifically big, chunky bracelets and necklaces. This is only part of the collection I have accumulated in the last six months. Aren't they fun?! I've never been a huge jewelry fanatic before. In fact, I used to only look for the smallest and simplest earrings and necklaces. That has all changed. The obsession began when I bought my Bumbles watch over the summer, and now I don't think I can stop.

PS 35 days...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13: All Men are Created Equal...

Today I began discussing the Declaration of Independence with my students. This is one of my favorite things about being a 5th grade teacher; I love the opportunity I have to talk about this great country we live in. It is an amazing blessing to be a citizen of the United States, and this document was one of the catalysts for the change that allowed our country to grow.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
What inspired words! I am so grateful for the brave leaders, then and now, who are willing to give up their time, their resources, and even their lives in support of these ideals.

PS 36 days...

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12: The Happiest Place on Earth

My friend Tracy and I just booked tickets for a trip to Disneyland in February. I am so EXCITED! I can hardly wait. Disneyland is one of my FAVORITE places to visit, and I haven't been since 2006. I know that doesn't seem like a really long time, but if you know me you know I've been dying to go for awhile.

This is going to be a GREAT trip. Of course ALL Disneyland trips are; however, this will be Tracy's first visit. I CAN'T WAIT to show her how much fun Disneyland can be. We will be hangin' out with MICKEY MOUSE and friends in 37 days...but who's counting?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11: Baby Steps

Zac is walking!

He can take about 4-5 steps on his own now, especially when you dangle a cell phone in front of him. The entire family was mesmerized as Zac performed this great new talent. I don't think we had anything fun to do before Zac came around. It is incredible to watch him grow, even if it is happening too fast.

Luv you Bubba!

PS Thanks, Michelle, for letting me stay until I got the perfect picture!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10: Dumbledore's Wisdom

A FAVORITE QUOTE:This is a quote I have sitting by my desk at school. It is a quote from the WISE Professor Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame. I love it because it really puts things into PERSPECTIVE for me. The person I truly am does not depend on my ability to play the piano, my scrapbooking talent, or my inability to play the drums on Rock Band (thank goodness!).
What really matters is how I choose to use my time and talents.
Do I look for opportunities to SERVE, to STUDY the scriptures, to LISTEN to a friend? These are all things I'm trying to do better, so the person I'm becoming is the person I truly want to be.

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9: Home Sweet Home

This is my APARTMENT. I moved out on my own last June to this two-bedroom duplex apartment. This is the first time I have ever lived by myself.

I have lived with my family (18 years), various college roommates (4 years), fellow camp counselors (1 summer during college), and my sister Michelle and our friend Jodi (8 years).

After 30 years of living with other people and trying to keep the peace with them; sometimes successfully, other times not so much, I decided it was time to break out on my own.

Can I tell you how much I LOVE it?! I think everyone should live by themselves at some point in their lives, at least for a little while. You have the TIME and the SETTING that allows you to really GET TO KNOW YOURSELF. It's really eye-opening!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 8: Back to School

I really love being a teacher during the holidays!
WINTER BREAK is something I thoroughly enjoy. I know most people only get a couple of days off of work, so I am also really grateful for the TIME OFF. The hard part of having two weeks off is having to go back. I do enjoy being back with my students, but this week has been never-ending! I go home and have no energy to do anything. Hopefully I can recouperate this weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 7: Rascal Flatts

They are my favorite country band, and I listen to them all the time. In fact, their CDs are among the few that I can sing along with every song. Thanks to my friend Tracy who joined me belting out "Me and My Gang" in her car tonight! She is also going to go with me to the concert in February. I am so excited!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6: Chairs, Finally!

I moved into my apartment over six months ago. For those six months I lived without CHAIRS at my kitchen table. Anyone who came over to eat with me had to find a place on the couch or the floor. I think it goes without saying that I haven't invited many dinner guests over since I moved in. Well, I finally can have dinner guests now!
I used Christmas money to go to IKEA.

These CHAIRS weren't my first choice, but I got them for two reasons. First, they were less expensive and more sturdy than the wooden CHAIRS. Second, I don't plan on using them as my dining room furniture forever; and because these CHAIRS are stackable and sturdy, I can use them for other events in the future. So, invite yourself over to my place for dinner sometime. I now have a place for you to sit!

Monday, January 5, 2009

January 5: Blackberry Bliss

My old cell phone broke back in October. When I went to get a NEW one, I decided I needed one with e-mail capabilities. (I have no internet hook-up in my apartment.) So it wasn't too difficult for the salesman to convince me I needed a BLACKBERRY, and a red one at that. And now, after 2 1/2 months, I LOVE it more than ever. I can almost qualify as a true texter now that I have a full keyboard to work with. Plus, I can check my email and even do internet searches whenever I want!
Imagine how LOST I felt when I accidently left my purse at school today! Luckily, my house keys were in my coat pocket; but, sadly, my CUTE RED PHONE was locked away in my classroom. Needless to say, it was a quiet night with no one to talk to tonight. This causes me to wonder how I ever survived in the ancient days when I didn't own a cell phone.

Oh wait, that was only a few years ago!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 4: The Fridge is Bare

Today was Fast Sunday, which I will admit is sometimes a day that I endure, not enjoy. I know there are so many blessings I get when I fast with purpose, but sometimes the stomach grumblings that go along with it are just too embarrassing! Well, today was a day I had no choice but to fast.

Exhibit A: my refrigerator.

Notice how much food is NOT in it.
I don't remember the last time I did real grocery shopping. It may have been at the beginning of November. Since then it's been quick little trips to get just one or two things at a time. Michelle and Jodi will confirm how much I hate grocery shopping. I do as little as possible. However, I am now down to bare bones. I broke my fast with a can of peaches, a bowl of rice, and a cup of hot chocolate. Thank goodness we had a family activity at my Aunt Cindy's house! Her goodies saved me from starving. I think Dick's Market can expect a visitor this week!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3: Rearranging

I sometimes want to cry when I take my Christmas tree down, but not just because it is the end of the holiday season. Also because it is so much WORK. I started on Saturday afternoon thinking I could get all the Christmas decor down and the winter decor up in just a couple of hours...

Yeah right!

I worked all afternoon, all night, and into the wee hours of the morning!

I decided that just changing decor was not enough, I had to REARRANGE my entire living and dining room areas. I even made my sister Michelle come over at 10:00 pm to give me her input on the new arrangement. All the work was worth it, I think.I am really HAPPY with the new set-up.

Notice the awesome new clock I got for Christmas. Thanks Kim, Jon, and Zac!

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2: Filling Up

This picture may seem a little strange, but lately I have been so EXCITED about the price of gas. Last summer I was paying about $4/gallon, which meant I was spending OVER $40 to fill up my car. Back then I NEVER thought I would see prices back down in the $1/gallon range. Today I paid ONLY $14 to fill up. What a difference! I can only DREAM that it will last.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1: New Year's Celebration

Happy New Year!

I celebrated the New Year with friends from my ward: Ann, Tracy, Krissy, and Amanda.
We played games and ate junk food all night long.

I am looking forward to a great year in 2009!
There are many things I hope to accomplish this year.


1. Giving the Lord more of my TIME
2. Keeping this blog UPDATED
3. FINISHING the quilting on the wallhanging my mom helped me make over a year ago
4. Strengthening my RELATIONSHIPS with my family and friends
5. Prioritizing the things I need to accomplish and doing the FIRST THINGS FIRST


Okay, this is quite the experiment for me. In the past, I never thought I had anything to say that would be blog-worthy. My life is not all that exciting or interesting, it's just my life. A few days ago I saw an idea that I thought I would like to try. The idea is called "Project 365" and it is this: to take one picture every day of the year and write a little bit about its significance. The result should be a detailed look into one's daily life at the end of the year. Now this is an experiment for me because I have made journaling a goal for myself many times in in the last 30 years, but it doesn't ever last very long. I really want to be successful with this project, so hopefully I can follow through this time! Now I can't promise that I will post the pictures every day-my goal is to update at least once a week. Stay tuned for a look into Kristen's life, one picture at a time...