"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Lord of the Dance

A few weeks ago, my friend Cheri called me up & asked what I was doing on the 24th. "Uh, I have no idea. That is weeks away. Probably nothing." I replied.

"Great. As a late birthday/Christmas gift, we want to take you on a Girl's Night Out to see the Lord of the Dance."

I almost dropped the phone. No way! I love Irish Dancing. One of my secret dreams (well, not secret anymore) is to learn Irish Dancing &/or Clogging. I love the beat, the speed, how my heart thumps to the beat & I feel so alive. Did I say I love it?!

I realized a few days before said recital that I did have a commitment. Parent Teacher Conferences. Aaaaagggghhh. I was sweating bullets, but all my parents showed up on time & I was able to leave on time. I felt like a teenager running out to their car waiting in the parking lot full of girls headed out for a night on the town.

It was seriously SO MUCH FUN. The show was amazing. They performed 3 encores because we just kept clapping. My hands were stinging by the end of the evening. It is amazing how fast they can tap and yet their upper body doesn't move. Michael Flatley is in the Guinness Book of World Records for tapping 35 taps per SECOND. My brain can't even comprehend that.

Anyway, it was so much fun. Thank you so much Cheri. I had a great time and appreciate you so much. I would highly recommend anyone see the show. Amazing.

Come What May and Love It



I was a bit teary eyed watching this. Enjoy~

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hi, My Name is Julie and...

I obviously can't spell. In my arrrggghh post below, I sat in a massage chair not a message chair! Good grief. And the sad thing is I was so tired and I kept looking at the word message and I finally decided it must be a homonym because I couldn't think how else to spell it. Aren't you glad that I don't teach your 3rd grader? Where's my roll eyes icon...

Sunday


Our ward (congregation) had to move to another building while ours is being remodeled. We now have church from 2-5 and have to drive 20+ mins. each way. I didn't think I would like this time slot but I was excited to see the temple every Sunday as our chapel is next to the temple. Much to my surprise, I really like the afternoon schedule! Today, I was able to sleep in, spend a few hours on my lesson & the scriptures, enjoy some church cds, answer email & talk to my dad & my brother. Ryan & I took this picture this morning on the front step before we left. A lot of people participated in my lesson which was wonderful. I came home with a few questions from other's lessons so I feel like I have something to study. After a great dinner of chicken & salad, Ryan & I played a game of Church Bingo that he created. I am going to bed in a few minutes. And, best of all, I didn't touch my school bag. My alarm is set for 3:30 to get up & finish everything, but I have loved my day. My cup feels full.
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Meghan's Carmel Sauce

1 stick melted butter
1 c. sour cream
1 c. brown sugar

Oh. My. Goodness. Anything dipped in this tastes heavenly.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Teacher Tales

So I was working with a small group of kids yesterday and we were learning the ou sound. I asked the kids to think of words with ou sound and one of my kiddos said - "What about the word summons?" Obviously we haven't master the ou sound yet, but it just struck me so sad that one of my 3rd graders, an 8 yr. old, not only knows the word summons, he knew what it meant.

And, on a lighter note- one of the major 3rd grade skills to be mastered is the ability to sort things. It doesn't matter what or how, just that the student identifies some kind of characteristics and can sort the objects according to their "rule." A few weeks ago, another teacher & I were brainstorming different manipulative sorts that we could come up with and I suggested a sock sort. A few days later the Mrs. Z came in with a huge basket of socks to be sorted & gave her students piles of socks to sort how ever they wanted. Suddenly, a group of girls all were whispering & turning their backs to their pile. Suspicious, Mrs. Z went to find out what was going on and discovered that one of her son's whitey - tighties were on top of the sock pile! You can imagine her relief that they weren't hers! She nonchalantly waded them into a ball & shoved them in her bag & made the neighbor girl in her class promise to not mention it to her son. We third grade teachers seem to have undies issues this year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Aaaarrgghh to Aaaahhhh

Each month for the next couple of months I have a "big" purchase to make. This month it is a new vacuum. My current one is the cheapest Walmart sells and literally has camo duct tape holding parts of it together. It also has to be propped against a wall as the handle thingymabob is broken. I can handle these minor defects but since it has ceased to do its job and instead pushes the dirt around & we now crunch when we walk on the carpet, I decided that a new one was in my future. Last night, money in hand, I headed to Walmart to find a vacuum worthy of the name. I gazed longingly at the Dyson but since we would have to starve for 6 months to afford it, I continued down the aisle to the more reasonable priced models, picked one out & headed home with my purchase with visions of walking bare foot on soft, clean carpet before the evening was out. Ryan put it together (he informed me that it wasn't that I couldn't put it together, but there were tools involved and it was a great "guy project".) When I went to wrap the cord up, we discovered that part of it was completely broken. Aaaarrrgghh.

So, I packed up the box & miles of misc. packing material & the now assembled vacuum (I was not about to tear it apart & puzzle-piece it back in the box) & I headed to WallyWorld to exchange it. They choose to refund my money so I wouldn't have to stand in line again and I went to find my vacuum. They are sold out. Of course they are. There were 3 last night. Aaaarrrgghh.

Not pleased with my options, I headed to Sam's Club to check out what they have to offer. They too try to tempt me with an even better Dyson. I evaluate my 3 remaining options. All look good. I see a chair at the end of the aisle and decide to sit for a moment and consider the vacuums before me. I haven't sat down in over 12 hours. As I sit down I realize it is a massage chair demo. How can I resist? I hit the demo button. Oh. my. heavens. Aaaahhhhh. I haven't had real massages that good. I sat there for over 20 mins. hitting the demo button over and over. Finally, I got up & checked out the price. It was the same as the vacuum. Oh, the dilema. I sat back down in the chair to think. Aaaaagggghhh.

The voices of reason finally won and I left Sam's Club without a massage chair or the vacuum. I must tell you that had the massage gone all the way up my neck I would not be writing this but instead sitting very relaxed not caring if I very walked on carpet again. Instead, I was 15 mins. late picking up Ryan from scouts. It was worth it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Love


Ryan & I had a Valentine's Breakfast this morning of yummy French toast.


Here is a pic of my Valentine Decor. Not much yet but it will be. Tracy sent me the flowers. And yes, the picture frames are not filled yet. But they will be. And I need plates for the plate stand. Isn't my vinyl tile soooo cute? Talk to Kim & you can get one too.
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Single Awareness Day

I told you yesterday that I had plans that I would share with you. First of all, in the Single Awareness Day cards that I sent out, I included $10.00 and a challenge to spend the money on someone else- make their day brighter, lighten their load, share love & smiles. I asked that they either email me or post on the blog what they did with the money because I thought it would be so fun to see how far the money could go. Kind of like ripples in a pond.

Yesterday, Ry & I bought two small plants & delivered them to two widows in our ward. With the left over money, I paid for the car behind me in the Wendy's drive thru. So much fun! Seriously, it felt silly and fun and happy.

Last Sunday I found out that the Single Adults were having a 5-stake social (dinner, entertainment, and line dancing) on Valentine's day. I told my Bishop & others I would make the attempt after the first of the year and things just haven't worked out. I felt like I could emotionally handle this one and kind-of at the last minute things worked out for me to go. My girlfriends who were going to go, couldn't at the last minute but I went anyway. Emotionally, I was very ok with everything until Tim found out where I was going (he was taking Ry to his basketball game & needed to pass him off to a friend after.) I just told him I had plans but he guessed. All of a sudden, I was very emotional. I left and called my dear sister Cindy who has been through all of this. We talked & cried a bit and she read me the lyrics to the Garth Brooks song "This Learning to Live Again is Killing Me" which does describe a bit of how I feel.

I went. The people were very kind and you can tell they all love each other & care very much about each other. The theme was Hawaiian and we had Hawaiian Haystacks which I love and haven't had since I was single living in Utah eons ago. 87 people were there. About 12 were men and a couple of those were married (I think I counted 3 married couples there - chaperones maybe?) They had amazing table decorations and went all out- palm trees, volcanos with dry ice, a hut to one side. During the entertainment, one sister played the Jessica's Theme from the Man From Snowy River which is one of my favorites. It is the only sheet music I have ever purchased and tried to teach myself how to play. Conversation flowed with few akward pauses at my table.

I did feel akward but not because of the people. I just felt like a mis-fit. When people would ask me questions, I would always answer "we did blah, blah, blah" I don't know how to speak in the singular, especially about things from the past. But using the plural brings up more questions and suddenly I find myself trying to figure out a way to answer perfectly reasonable questions without sharing information I am not prepared to share. Also, in some ways the evening felt very deja-vu because Tim & I's last date together was last year's ward Valentine's Day party. So many emotions. I left before the dance so I can't report on that.

All in all- it has been an emotional week. I have a new appreciation for Valentine's day as a wonderful day to share love, feel close to the Spirit and appreciate family & friends. I love that I didn't just let the day happen or allow myself to be depressed and focus on what I don't have. I am so glad that I made a plan and made it a good day. I am glad that I choose to do hard things, even by myself.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Single Awareness Day!

So I decided that I needed to embrace this holiday which would make it a different holiday than the past where we mostly did the typical card, dinner, etc. thing.

First, I have spent some time looking for cute LOVE decorations. I haven't purchased many, but I am making plans to make my home more loving. It has been tons of funs looking & planning.

Second, I sent out Single Awareness Day cards to my single family & friends. Those included a challenge that I will let you know about in some follow-up posts.

Third, I studied tons of scriptures about Love this week. While I am single and should be depressed today, I have been really excited. Today isn't about married love - it is about LOVE.

I have so many wonderfully loving people in my life. My sister sent me a gorgeous vase of flowers yesterday that smell amazing. My former mother in law sent Ryan & me a Valentine's day card & letter. I spent hours last night eating my passion food of chocolate covered strawberries & discovered that I also have a passion for Meghan's carmel sauce. I thought that maybe if I ate enough of my passion foods I would make myself sick and they wouldn't be my passion foods anymore. It didn't work. I loved them just as much at 11:00 as I did at 6:00. I looked around the table at the 5 wonderful ladies there and felt so much love. We even called Meghan because we had been thinking about her & missed her. We laughed and laughed. We created a wonderful memory that I will giggle about for years. Thank you all & especially Alisa for inviting us all over.

I have some definate plans for today but I will post about them later because life requires flexibility.

Lastly- this is part of a message that I posted on a board I visit:

I have always been taught that wickedness never was happiness. I told my bishop a couple of months ago I was having a hard time with that because it sure was looking happy for someone who wasn't living the gospel at all. A week or so later these scriptures were pointed out in GD.

"Ye have said, It is vain to serve God and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son (daughter) that serveth him.
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that
serveth God and him that serveth him not."
Malachi 3:14-18

I don't know why it isn't fair. I don't know why people who trample the commandments under their feet appeared to be so blessed. But for me, since I read these verses (and I reread them often) it hasn't mattered so much. I feel such a calm strength to think that maybe He is writing these things in the book of remembrance and that hopefully, he can say to me, "You are mine."

I am going to make a Valentine's decoration that says "And they shall Be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts"

So- Have a Happy Valentine's Day, a Wonderful Single Awareness Day, and an Incredible LOVE day!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Teacher Tales

I shared this story with my friend Alisa and she had me tell it at a scrapbook crop tonight which reminded me that I needed to record it for future giggles. Mrs. B is our 3rd grade team lead teacher and she has been teaching for 30+ years. Last month she came into the lunch room and calmly shared this embarrassing moment that had just happened.

Mrs. B's class was putting on a reader's theatre. During the "dress rehearsal" she noticed that one of the costumes, a white apron, had a spot on it. She decided to take it home and wash it. The next day she grabbed it from the dryer, shoved it in her purse and headed to school. When it was time for the play, the girl needing the costume came up to her asking for it. Mrs. B took it out of her purse and shook it out for the girl to tie it on. As she shook it out, one of her "granny" underwear shook out into the air and landed on the floor between them. They both just looked down in shock, for a full minute or more, neither sure what to do. Finally, in slow motion it seemed, Mrs. B reached down, wadded the offending article of clothing into a ball and shoved it into her purse. The little girl, permanantly traumatized, looked at Mrs. B and said, "Mrs. B, I am so sorry that I had to see that", turned and walked away.

I love it! I have so many things in my life that now have a punch line - "I am so sorry I had to see that!"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Prudent Homemaker (multiple posts today)

I have to share this site with you. Brandy is an e-friend of mine who has almost completely lived off her food storage for two years now. I knew her before they fell on financial problems and she is an amazing example of rising to a challenge. Her garden & pantry are my dream. You would never believe that they live in Las Vegas. Her French Bread recipe gets rave reviews. I haven't tried it yet but everyone loves it. Anyway, just enjoy what is possible with prayer and hardwork.
Julie

Bread

My sister called me yesterday and asked for a good bread recipe. I thought I would take a few posts and share some great recipes. This is my all-time favorite whole wheat bread recipe from my good friend Judi. (She sent me another one but I haven't had time to try it yet.) What I love about this recipe: It is mostly whole wheat & yet is tastes so light and yummy. It is made with honey for the sweetener - very healthy & food storage friendly. And you mix everything in the same bowl - there is no second bowl for the yeast, etc.

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
6 c. Whole Wheat Flour (additional flour below)
1 c. Wheat Bran
1/2 c. Canola Oil
1/2 c. Honey (see tip below)
6 tsp. Yeast
2 Tbsp. Salt
4 1/2 c. Warm Water

Beat together with mixer. Add 1 more cup Whole Wheat Flour & 1-2 c. White Flour. Knead 5 mins. or until elastic. Rise in a warm oven. Separate into 4 loaf pans and rise again. Bake at 375 until done (maybe an hour?)

Tip: measure your honey into the same cup that you measured your oil and your honey will just slip out of the measuring cup. No sticky mess.

Enjoy!