Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Goal

Well, I made it 31 days in a row with my "year of posts" challenge. It has been fun to come up with things to put on here; some thoughts I want recorded for future use, and other things "just because". I've realized just how much I love to write! If I have the right audience and/or the right topic, there's just no stopping me. However, I have realized just how much time I spend blogging these days. Granted, I'm recording things that I do want to remember later, so it's not really a bad thing, but I'm going to shift my focus just a bit. I've decided to edit my goal (because, well, it is my goal) and commit to blogging at least once a week. Of course, if I have something to say, I'll post more frequently.
And before I go...can we all take a moment to watch January slip away...where did it go?!?! I'm shocked that we're already heading into February.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

On Sunday I got the baking bug...I just had a need to bake bread so I made a batch of cinnamon rolls. The pan wasn't big enough to fit all of them in, so I used the left over cinnamon roll log and made a loaf.




Sunday, January 29, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip

We had a dip night on Thursday with our ward. I searched high and low for a really great recipe...you know the kind that is really easy, tastes incredible, and leaves the bowl completely empty. Well, I found it! Enjoy!


Frank's RedHot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce (I used the buffalo wind sauce)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 oz each) Swanson White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in water, drained

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
Mix in salad dressing, Frank's RedHot Sauce and cheese. Sitr in chicken.
Bake 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

*Notes*
1. Mix the cream cheese, salad dressing and hot sauce in a bowl, then add remaining ingredients and the pour entire mixture into baking dish. One extra bowl equals a LOT less mess...trust me on this one!
2. You will maintain the title of "Dip Hero" as long as you bring this dip! You may not want to let it slip just how easy it is. Wait a minute...what did I just do???

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Popcorn

The other day I decided to treat myself to a bag of popcorn as an afternoon snack at work. I put my bag in the microwave and when I opened the door, this is what I found. 



Thankfully the popcorn that stayed in the bag tasted pretty good!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Decisions


Another quote find on Pinterest! This is amazing advice and I think this is going to become my personal mantra. There are times when I have big decisions to make that I know what I want to do and become, and like clockwork, once the decision is made, there is always at least one person that has to come out and say "no, you don't want to do that", or they want to question you as to why you came to that decision. There have been times where I've listened to that other person instead of to what I wanted. However, there have also been times where I heard the reasoning behind what the person was saying, and then was able to evaluate my decision and it further solidified in my mind the reasons I came to that decision. Regardless of the situation, I can look back over my life and I have no regrets as to how things have turned out. Granted, things haven't turned out at all like I had planned, but they have turned out like they should have. I know that amid all of my thoughts and decisions, Heavenly Father, through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, has guided and directed me as needed, though I have felt at times that He has let me go on my own, knowing that I was on the right path. That gives me confidence to continue making decisions; small decisions and BIG decisions.
Also, we went and saw the movie "We Bought a Zoo" the other night and it contains my new favorite quote: "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it." So, here's to courage. The courage to make decisions. The courage to follow your heart. The courage to move forward!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Road trip

I talk to my parents almost every single day. I talk to my dad on the way to work and I talk to my mom on the way home. It gives us a chance to fill each other in on the happenings of our lives and keeps us close, even though we are across the country. Randomly as we're talking I'll think of a memory and this is one that I had last week.
I was talking with my dad and I remembered the first time Lori was leaving for college. We were living in PA and had to make the hour long drive to the airport to drop her and mom off. On the way back home, dad and I were talking and he said that he wished we could go and see Uncle Tom in West Virginia. I said that it sounded like fun and didn't think much of it. That was the beginning. He was completely serious about his suggestion and so we called a friend to watch the dog for the weekend, we went home and packed on overnight bag, and we were on the road within the hour. We had such a fun trip. I think it was a 7 hour drive each way, but it was such a great trip. As an adult, I value that time I had with him and realize now what a treasured experience it really was.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bucket List - Part II

I have this amazing mother who supports me and all of my ideas, however, she is also my voice of reason when I've gone too far. One of the items on my bucket list was to ride horseback on a beach. I was talking with her yesterday and she said she liked everything on my list except for that one and then followed with the voice of reason. She reminded me that after my back surgery, the doctor told me to NEVER do two things: 1 - gymnastics and 2 - horseback riding. So, for medical reasons (and if I'm being completely honest, fear - but mostly medical reasons) I have removed this from my list and have replaced it with the following: Make all recipes from Josi Kilpack's Culinary Mystery series. That should keep me busy for quite a while!

Also, I have added my bucket list to my side bar so I can easily track my progress (or guilt myself, whichever comes first).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Wishes


On Friday afternoon I found out through a coworker that we were expecting snow over the weekend. I really should watch the news/weather more...right now it’s like every day is a surprise.  Saturday morning we woke up to rain, and a lot of it. As we were driving down University Ave. in Provo and we noticed the streets getting really full. I commented to Lori that it would be funny if the temperatures dropped enough that all of the water would freeze and then we wouldn’t have to go anywhere. Well, I got half of my wish…it got really cold and started snowing and it was an icy mess. Luckily the roads themselves had been treated well and they weren’t bad, but our parking lot was covered in at least ½ inch of ice (more in some place)! We were fortunate because we were out on Saturday night and before we went in for the night, I wiped down my car knowing that if I didn’t, it would be frozen solid in the morning. We woke up Sunday morning before church and I was so glad that I cleaned off my car…we had friends who spent up to an hour scraping off their cars! Yikes! Happy winter! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friends


The older I get, the more I realize just how lucky I am to have good friends. Growing up we moved several times. Each of those times I said good-bye to my friends and made promises to keep in touch. That lasted for about 3 days and then I decided that I wasn’t good at staying in contact with people. I don’t know what it is…I love all of the friends I’ve had and maintained over my life, I’m just not good at staying connected. Now, though, looking to the future of watching friends graduating, getting married, or just moving away, I understand what it is to have good friends. So, to all of the great people and many friends I’ve met over the period of my life, thank you for being there for me. Your warm smiles, the good laughs, accepting me for who I am and all of my quirkiness, for knowing when I needed a hug, for suggesting random outings and shopping excursions, for your great examples, for being willing to just sit and talk, for introducing me to new and wonderful activities, for suggesting that I was better than I imagined myself to be, for seeing the potential I had. I am who I am today because of your influence on me. Words will never fully explain how I feel or how grateful I am for you, but know that no matter where life takes us, I will always be grateful for the time I had with you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow

It's the middle of January and I think we finally got the first "real" snow of the season. Very disappointing that it took so long to get here, but it is beautiful! The battery in my camera died, so you don't even get a picture, you just get to take my word for it. However, I have included the following video from the storm. It wasn't quite this bad down here in Provo, but you get the idea.


Carpe Diem

First of all, have you discovered Pinterest? I L.O.V.E. this website! I am collecting a lot of great ideas and finding fun things! Tonight I discovered this statement and it jogged a memory.


It was one of my last summers at Girls Camp. Our stake president came and talked to us about the future but cautioned us not to wish away our days. He said that when we're teenagers we can't wait until we're officially adults. When we're in high school, we wish we were in college. When we're single we wish we were married. When we're married without children, we'll wish we were married with children. He said that if you do that, you will wake up one day with a lot of empty days and wishes. Instead, he suggested that we each enjoy the moments of each day and live each day to the fullest. One day, all of our greatest dreams will come true, but we shouldn't miss the many miracles each day contains.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bucket List

For Relief Society we were to create Bucket Lists of things we want to do before I die. Some people came up with a hundred things they wanted to do. Me, well, I could only think of 20. Some may say I'm not that ambitious, but I'd like to think that I just haven't found all of the things I'd like to try. So, just in case you were wondering what I want to do before I die, here you go:

1. Learn to make French croissants
2. Ride in a hot air balloon
3. Visit NYC
4. Ride horseback on the beach
5. Visit Mackinac Island, MI
6. Read the standard works cover to cover
7. Visit Pike Place Market in Washington state
8. Learn to play the guitar
9. Graduate from college with a Bachelor's Degree
10. Go deep sea fishing
11. Walk 500 miles in one year
12. Participate in a humanitarian service project
13. See the Northern Lights
14. Adopt a child(ren)
15. Attend General Conference in person
16. Drive in all 50 states
17. Take a pottery class
18. Learn how to can/preserve food
19. Get something published
20. Learn to play chess

Thursday, January 19, 2012

National Popcorn Day

I didn't even know there was such a thing, but there is and we totally celebrated at work (even though I missed it!). So, here's your notice...grab some popcorn and celebrate!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Music


It’s Wednesday morning. I currently have the office to myself and for some reason, it seems pretty quiet. I have the movie August Rush playing in the background while I answer emails and handle other matters. As I’m sure it does for most people who watch it, this movie moves me so much. I am such a believer in the power of music. Music has the power to heal, the power to confirm truth, the power to bring peace and comfort, the power to direct. Today I’m thinking of the many instances that music has been influential in my life, both in recent events and in my past. My heart is full and the music flows freely.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We're Learning Now What We Need to Know Later


Last week I was called as the ward prayer co-chair and so I prepared my first little lesson for it. Here it is...

All week I’ve been thinking about an experience I had my first semester in college. My second Sunday there, the Bishop called me in and asked me to be the instructor for the teacher development class. I said yes, but I had never felt so out of my element. I was still very much in my shy phase and I had never really taught anything. I was scared out of my mind. To ease the pain, the bishop called a co-teacher so I wouldn’t have to teach every Sunday which was wonderful. I still remember one Sunday shortly after I was called, I was meeting with the second counselor of the bishopric for something else and we started talking about my calling and about my co-teacher. His name was Riland and he was from Armenia. Brother Muir told me that Riland was a relatively new member of the Church and felt overwhelmed about his calling – which I totally understood. As we continued talking, he shared some other insights, but there was one thing he said, and it’s something that I will never forget. He said that Riland was learning from this calling how to teach the gospel so that he would be able to teach and lead and serve in his branch back home.
I’ve thought a lot about that statement since then. What I didn’t understand at the time was that even though our situations were different, I was also learning how to teach the gospel and that the things I learned while teaching that course would help me in future.  I can look back over the last several years since that time and the callings I’ve held and I realize how that calling had a hand in preparing me for my each of those times, and each of those callings and experiences since then have had a hand in molding me into the person that I am today, and who I will be tomorrow.
I would challenge each of you to take a look at the past few years to see how the experiences and callings of your past have helped you get to the point that you are currently at. Additionally, I would challenge you to look at your life right now. Perhaps you have a calling that you feel ill-equipped for. Maybe you’re going through a challenging time.  I hope that as you compare your past to your present that you realize that you can move forward and that each experience is a building block to the person you are becoming. The Lord is preparing you to move His work forward and that the knowledge and experience you gain at this time will be used in the future, wherever you find yourself.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winning Mr. Wrong

I recently read this book. I typically read murder mysteries but have started branching out a little bit and picked this up from the romance section - totally not my norm. There were several times throughout the course of the book that I would burst out laughing while reading...trust me, I got a lot of weird looks. If you're looking for a quick read (I read it on my lunch break in about 3-4 days) and need a good chuckle, I recommend this.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Matters Most

Friday night Lori and I had a quiet night in and watched a movie on Netflix called The Lamp. If you have a chance, watch it!! It has such a GREAT message and it really puts into perspective what matters most in life. I won't spoil it for you because I really want you to discover this one for yourself. However, I will tell you what I learned (or I guess remembered). I learned that no matter what, there is nothing more important than love and family. I learned the power of believing. I learned that anything work having is worth working toward and fight for.
I learned that there is nothing more important to me than my family. I learned that no matter what happens in life, we can control our reactions. I learned that we have the power to love and to affect people's lives. I learned that we should never underestimate ourselves and our abilities, even when we feel like we're struggling. I learned that when we are wishing for things, we are not the only one wishing and in fact, we may, by our actions, be the answer to someone else's wish.
Just Believe!! (Seriously, watch this movie. And, if you don't have Netflix, come over. I'll provide the movie, you provide the tissues!)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Because He Loves Us

We had an FHE lesson on Monday night with our ward and the lesson was on the love our Heavenly Father has for us. The girl giving the lesson asked how we know that he loves us. We cited scriptures and we talked about the evidences of his love for us. For our opening song we sang the primary song My Heavenly Father Loves Me. The words go like this:
Whenever I hear the song of a bird,
Or look at the blue, blue sky
Whenever I feel the rain on my face,
Or the wind as it rushes by
Whenever I touch a velvet rose,
Or walk by a lilac tree
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see the color of butterfly wings
He gave me my ears that I might hear the magical sound of things
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart I thank him reverently
For all His creations of which I'm apart.
Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.

I couldn't have said it any better. This week I've tried to notice all of the little things that I take for granted. I noticed the snow capped mountains. I noticed the beautiful sunsets as I drive home from work. I appreciated more the people around me. I felt pure joy at the blessing of being able to spend time serving in the temple.

These are things that have always been in my life, but I really noticed and appreciated them and I realized that these are things that He doesn't have to give me, but He does. And why does He give me these things? Just because He loves us!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Man's Best Friend

My parents recently adopted a new dog (I suppose it was more dog-commandeering from my brother...), an adorable Jack Russell/Lab mix puppy named Boomer. Dad and Boomer have become very good buddies. For the most part, wherever dad goes, Boomer goes too. He like to run, and run, and run, and bite, and play, and run (do you sense the pattern). He also likes to ride in the golf cart.
For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy this lovely video.

video

Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Small and Simple Things

I was reading in The Book of Mormon the other night. I was in Alma 37, verse 6 which says, “Now you may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” The thought occurred to me that life is made up of small and simple moments and decisions that bring about a great future or result.
Sometimes I find myself making goals or plans that are HUGE and, let’s face it, completely unattainable as it is. But if I break it down into smaller segments, I can accomplish that huge item. Likewise, I have mega goals for my life, but they are attainable all at once, nor are they complete in one instance, rather, the goals I have for my life are the culmination of every single day. Some days I succeed, while other days, not so much. However, I know that when I look back over my life I will see that those little moments and experiences, both the successes and the “failures”, will have molded me into the person I will be…the woman I am dreaming of today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas Crafts

Before it gets any later in the year, I figured I needed to post the two crafts that I made for Christmas before I forget. The first was a tree skirt. Lori and I went to DI and purchased some old t-shirts and a fleece robe.

The second was a button ornament. They are so cute and fun to make! I'm planning on stocking up on buttons throughout the year so I can make a lot of them for next year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quilts

I've recently decided that it is time to release my inner crafter. I have known she's existed for a long time, but was a little afraid of what she would do. All kidding aside, I have been having a TON of fun! I recently made two baby blankets. They are by no means perfect and I'm okay with that because I'm learning.Here they are...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Spanish Fork Canyon

Back in September, Lori and I went up Spanish Fork Canyon to go fossil hunting. Lori was hoping to find fossils to take into her classroom. While she was hiking and digging, I stayed on the ground and took pictures. This was seriously the most beautiful day! The sun was shining, the sky was so blue and the clouds were just gorgeous! Enjoy!












Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cheese Puffs

I love making cream puffs but decided for New Year's Eve that I wanted to make cheese puffs. They are so easy and turned out great!
Here'e the recipe:
1 stick butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cheese (I used Swiss, Jack, and Brie - about 3/4 cup total)

In a saucepan, combine butter and water until boiling. Add flour and stir until dough pulls away from sides and forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time, stirring completely before each new addition. Add cheese and stir until combined. Using either a scoop or piping bag, place portions of cheese puff dough on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until puffs are done. The centers may seem a little doughy because of the cheese but if it has been baked enough, it will dry out as it cools.
Note - you can use any combination of cheeses. You may want to use more or less, depending on your desired taste. I also served mine with blackberry jam. It paired exceptionally well with the flavor of the brie.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Three Things I Should Remember About My Job

Working in Human Resources is a lot of fun. Granted, there are days when it really isn’t enjoyable at all. Like the times you have to tell someone they no longer have a job, or that they stink and they need to take better care of themselves. But there are times when it is really fun. Like when I get to offer someone a new job or a promotion, or when I get to do nice things for the employees, just because. There are three things, though, that I would do well to remember.
1.     1.  People take me at my word. Something about the title of HR makes people want to believe everything you say. In my personal life, I have a way of making up answers to questions I don’t know (in a joking manner…once I have someone believing my made up answer I always let them know I don’t have a clueJ). In my professional life, I also find myself making up answers, but no one really appreciates the confession at the end when I say I don’t know.
2.     2.  Don’t send cryptic messages. I sent an email to a gentleman late in the workday and asked if he was in the office. Thanks to his out of office message I learned that he wasn’t and I didn’t think anything else of it. When I came in the next morning, I had an email from him. He was so panicked that HR needed to meet with him. I assured him that everything was fine and asked him to come and meet with me. In the meantime, his supervisor forwarded me a note from this gentleman asking if he knew what the meeting was about. He stated that he was concerned and then, my favorite part of all, “I don’t think I’ve said anything to offend anyone”.
3.     3.  People just want to have fun! I don’t care how old you are, deep down (and for some people it is DEEEEEEP down) everyone likes to have fun. I have some quirky ideas for work activities that I’m just sure people aren’t going to enjoy just because all I ever see is the “work” side of people, but I still proceed with them and I’m surprised at the turnout we get. Have fun, people!  Life is way too short to be taken so seriously.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Living the Abundant Life

There is a GREAT message in this month’s issue of the Ensign magazine by President Thomas S. Monson. I read this just after I wrote my post on becoming and I feel like I’m on the right track! President Monson says: “At the advent of a new year, I challenge Latter-day Saints everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life – a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings.” This advice is applicable to everyone! He gives us some helpful hints to help us reach this level of the abundant life, which he calls the ABC’s .
1 – Have a positive Attitude
2 – Believe in yourself
3 –Face challenges with Courage
If you want to read the full article (I highly recommend it!), click here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Communication

I have been trying very hard to be a better communicator. I know that is one area that I have always struggled with. When I’m happy I generally communicate pretty well. When I receive positive feedback, whether received by verbal or physical cues, I continue to communicate well. But if I’m in a bad mood, or if I’m not receiving any sort of positive feedback, I begin to clam up and quickly become very defensive, even if the situation does not appear to require any sort of defense.
I have been reading a book lately that had a chapter on effective communication and I made some mental notes of how in my next conflict specifically I was going to handle it better. Well, the conflict came. Lori and I were both upset with each other but neither of us was talking. She finally broke the ice and asked me what was wrong. I had been thinking about that very matter and was trying to pinpoint exactly when it was that I began to be upset because let’s face it, the minute you get upset with someone, everything else they do will bug you (please tell me I’m not alone!!). I didn’t want to bring up anything that wasn’t the problem so I was self diagnosing, only she asked me too quickly and I hadn’t quite made it back to the source of my frustration so she got the answer that I had at that moment arrived at. In my head I knew what I wanted to say and how I was going to say it. I was going to use “I” statements, I was going to keep my voice calm and level, I was not going to be accusatory. In my head, this was going to work, but the second I opened my mouth, things just started coming out and you could kiss my nice little plan good bye. I was listening to myself and was mentally telling myself to stop and get control, but it just kept coming. And then so did the tears. I wasn’t crying because I was so emotional about what the issue was. I was crying because I had failed. I knew how I wanted to react, and I didn’t. I had the correct plan in my head but I didn’t/couldn’t stick to it (still trying to determine if I chose not to or was unable to).
 I guess I shouldn’t call it a total fail, I mean, I learned some obvious lessons and have a better idea how to redirect myself. And after I had my "meltdown" I was able to explain in a calm and rational manner what it was that was frustrating to me. I’m hoping that next time, after having had this experience, I will remember what it is that I hope to accomplish and that I will start winning! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Becoming

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about becoming the woman I want to be. In Young Women’s they taught us to make lists of what we wanted in life and who we wanted to be, what traits we wanted to possess. I always did that but then would conveniently lose the list, or I wouldn’t be committed to it. Obviously if I had a list I had the desire to make changes to become something better, but it hadn’t made it to the action phase. Recently, I’ve decided that the time for action is now. I’m great at saying “When such and such happens, then I’ll do/be…” It usually relates to becoming a wife and mother. For example, I have said “when I’m a mom, I’m going to be great at sewing”. Well, I’ve recently taken up sewing and it is not something you just pick up and do on day one. I’ve done a couple of projects and I’m learning, but I wouldn’t consider myself good, yet. I’ve learned and have decided that I want to do and be now what I want to do and be later, regardless of where I find myself in this life.  This spans all attributes from creativity, to communication, to….well, you get the idea. So, the gist of this year’s resolution list is to BECOME and may the becoming never end!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Who I Am

A few weeks ago I was struggling with defining myself and who I viewed myself as. I had this vision in my head of who I wanted to be but looking at myself at that time, all I was coming up with was that I was an HR Rep. I knew there was more, but that was how I viewed myself. I had a moment of thought where I realized that who and what I am today does not have to be who and what I am tomorrow.  So, that day I thought of myself “just” as an HR Rep. Today, I realize that I am so much more. I work as an HR Rep. I AM a daughter of a Heavenly Father, as well as the daughter of my wonderful parents here on earth. I AM a sister. I AM an aunt. I AM a granddaughter. I AM a niece. I AM a visiting teacher. I AM compassionate. I AM creative. I AM trying to be better. I AM a friend. I AM…  
I have potential. The things that I don’t like about myself I can change. The traits that I want to posses I can work on. I have the ability to BECOME all of these things and more. The only person truly standing in the way of my becoming is me. I am the one setting limits for myself. I am the only one who can break them.
And, for your listening pleasure, a lovely song entitled “Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Year of Posts

Happy New Year! 2011 went way too quickly for me and 2012 doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon. As is customary, I have created my list of resolutions, one of which is going to be to have 365 posts by December 31. Yes, I created my own loop hole just in case something happens and I don't post every single day. I want to have a record in 2012 of the wonderful, new and exciting things that are sure to happen as they do each year. So, here's day 1...only 364 to go.

I wish you a wonderful New Year. May this year be everything you hope and dream it will be! Now, let's get to work to make those dreams come true!