Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Take My Feelings Seriously"

This statement was made by Katie Holmes in the movie "Mad Money", and it always made me laugh.

I work with a sometimes high-stress individual. She is a wonderful person, but occasionally, when she gets going, she pushes me right over the edge. I feed easily off the mood and energy of others. When she goes into this mode, my anxiety level goes right through the roof.

I walked in today and had less than 5 minutes in the office before she was at my desk, panicky eyes, hyper movements, and agitated voice saying she had a bad feeling about today and that I needed to avoid all confined spaces and if I did have to go into a space I was supposed to take someone with me. She essentially invoked the buddy system upon our entire plant today. And she is going desk by desk to tell everyone this.

After I received my admonition, I sat here taking deep breaths trying to get my anxiety level down and get back to normal and this clip from "Mad Money" popped in my head, and now I just can't stop laughing. I'm hoping that I get to write tomorrow or the next day and say that NOTHING of any consequence happened, but I think I'll still take some extra precautions. Better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Student

That's me...I am the student. Last night I received my acceptance letter back to BYU-Idaho...this time online. And if you've applied for online, you know it's not a rigorous as the on campus procedure, but the result is the same. I'm SO EXCITED!! Classes start in just over a month and I can't wait to get going.

You know the saying "good things come to those who wait". Well, that may be true, but I've been waiting for the "right" time to go back to school and every time I get close to starting, something changes, I end up moving, all sorts of things. Not this time. And while good things have come to me while I have been waiting for this chance, I'm going to go ahead and change this statement to read:

"Good things come to those who work hard!"

Monday, July 29, 2013

Need a Laugh??

Before I start this story there is something that you MUST understand. I have CRAZY hiccups. If you know me, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, they've been described as everything from a pterodactyl, frog, a bird, the get the idea. And they are ridiculous!!

At the Pioneer Day activity we attended on Saturday night at the church, I sat next to a very clever and funny 10 year old girl. They announced that funnel cakes would be ready in about 20 minutes and we were all chatting about our favorite fried foods. Fried Oreos came up (I try not to think about them often...that's cruel and unusual punishment to myself) and this girl didn't seem very impressed by the idea. We talked further and by the time I finished, she seemed in favor of trying them.

I told her that I had a gift, that I could make ANYTHING sound good. Without ANY hesitation (and I'm still not sure how it all happened) she quipped back, "yeah, except a hiccup". Oh. My. GOODNESS!! Everyone sitting there was rolling with laughter!! To date, that is the best thing I've heard ANYONE say about my hiccups!! Amazing!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fruity Pasta Salad

Another great recipe from Josi Kilpack's culinary mystery series. This one from the book "Key Lime Pie". Out of all of the recipes, this is one that made my mouth water from the very first day I read about it...YEARS ago...and I JUST got around to making it. I made a few "adjustments" to suit my current dietary needs which I'll notate below. Here you go!

2 cups mayonnaise (I used 2 cups vanilla greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup honey (I used 1/2 cup agave nectar)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-3 chicken breasts, diced *
1 (16-oz) package tri-colored pasta (Rotini, wacky mac, penne, etc.)
2 (15-oz) cans mandarin oranges, drained (Shawn likes fresh mangoes, for a more tropical taste) (I used fresh mango...HIGHLY recommended!!)
1/4 lb. sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup chopped green onions
Chow mein noodles (I skipped these entirely, but I imagine they would be fabulous)

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the mayonnaise, minced garlic, celery seed, honey, salt, and pepper together. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Cook the chicken in a pan, then dice and place in a large bowl. While the chicken is cooking, cook the pasta, then drain and add to chicken. Add the mandarin oranges, sugar snap peas, green onions, and mayonnaise sauce (greek yogurt sauce) to the bowl. Gently mix together until everything is covered with the sauce. Refrigerate for one hour before serving. Top with chow mein noodles.
Serves 12.
*Can use canned chicken in a pinch.

If you go ahead and use the greek yogurt in place of the mayo, don't refrigerate first. I did and it soaked in to the pasta and was dry, but it was sooo good at the very beginning. That, or make extra sauce to serve on the side after refrigeration. Either way, I think you'll like this one. I know I did and without trying to sound entirely selfish, that's what it is all about. :)

Another Beginning

I attended a beautiful funeral service yesterday for a dear lady in our ward (our local church congregation). I didn't know her very well, but she was a great example and role model, someone I looked up to. I'm a people watcher by nature, and I never realize how much someone has influenced me until they are gone. She was incredibly gifted in music, and that's most of what I personally knew of her. I learned a lot more about her yesterday at her funeral.

As the service went on and we remembered her, it was nice to remember that this life isn't the end. When we leave this life it's not an end, rather another beginning. Our spirit continues living, we continue progressing. So, even though she has left us for the time, it's not "good bye", it's more of an "until we meet again". I'm so grateful for the knowledge that physical death is temporary and that through the Atonement and resurrection of Christ, we can live again. If you want to know more, click here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Looking Back

I know I’ve written about this talk before, but it’s come to mind again this week in two different scenarios, so I MUST share. The talk I’m thinking of was given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland entitled “Remember Lot’s Wife”. If you remember the story of Lot’s wife, Lot was commanded to leave Sodom and Gomorrah and take his family with him. They were told not to look back. But Lot’s wife did and she turned into a pillar of salt.

The last couple of weeks I’ve done a little “looking back”. I was given an opportunity to consider going back to a previous time in life. It would have meant leaving everything I have worked for here, the friends I’ve made, the plans I have in the works, and turning my back on what I’ve learned (so to speak). For so many months I prayed for a change, for a way out. I didn’t think I could be here anymore. I was ready to move on, to do something different. And then Heavenly Father sent me some INCREDIBLE friends!!They made my life worth living again. They helped me find joy again. They helped me move forward. I needed that so badly. And as it turned out, it was the lessons from these friends that helped me realize that even with this opportunity, going back isn’t the answer, moving forward is. So even though I thought I wanted to go back, it turns out that what I REALLY want is to stay right here.
The second thing that brought this talk to mind is one of these friends. Sister McCracken is one of the missionaries that has been serving in our ward for the last several months and has had a huge impact on my life. I had to say good bye last night as she is heading home. She shared a story called “The Flying Trapeze”, all about transitions and changes in life. The sentiments shared there, and directly from her, are feelings I had as I was preparing to move here. I had known for months that I had wanted to move here, I was blessed to bring a job with me when I came, but ultimately I had no idea what was in store for me when I arrived, or any time beyond that point. I had a dream before I moved about jumping off of one cliff to another one, and that was the best way I could describe what I was really feeling. It was scary to take that next step. It is scary to move into the unknown. But it must be done if we want to grow. I was lucky because I really wanted to be in Georgia (crazy!!), so looking back longingly to Utah wasn’t entirely the issue. Leaving Lori behind was TERRIBLY hard. I hated saying goodbye to friends that had become my family for two years. I didn’t know if I would ever have friends here in this place. People out West loved (and continue to love) to point out that my dating life would suffer in the long run, that professional opportunities wouldn’t exist, that overall  this was a bad idea for me. Everyone tried to make me believe that leaving would be the worst thing I could do for myself. And while they weren’t entirely wrong on that whole dating thing, this place is incredible.
One of the elders last night told Sister McCracken to just jump in when she gets home, not to sit still and take time to adjust, or wish to return. I wish someone would have told me that. It took me almost nine months to finally jump in to my real life and establish myself the way I wanted. When I moved here I was asked what I wanted next in my life. The answer was simple…to settle down. That typically implies a marriage and family, and ultimately that is the goal, but it isn’t what I wanted necessarily. What I wanted, and needed, was to plant myself firmly. No longing for a past that I couldn’t have, no looking back and wondering “what could have been”. I needed to settle in MY life.
I thought the answer to settling down lied in getting my own place, but that isn’t it either. The answer is to look forward, to believe, and to be content. If I spend my time looking back, I can’t see what is coming. And what is coming is HUGE, it is GRAND, it is INCREDIBLE. I have NO idea what that is for me, but He does, and that’s all I need.
So as we each make our transitions, some are found in going, some in coming, and some in staying right here, we need to ensure that our eyes are focused in the right direction.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Days of Summer

The best thing about living in the South in the summer is fresh from the vine watermelon! I mean, how can you go wrong with something so perfect?? And take a look at how big it is!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Broccoli, Ham, and Egg Bake

We had the missionaries over for dinner last night. We planned to do this a week in advance. And here it was, Saturday morning, and we STILL had no clue what we were going to fix!! Okay, that's not exactly true. We had so many options and we couldn't make a final decision! Sometime mid morning, we decided that we would have waffles for dinner (seriously, is there anything better??). I had seen a recipe for a breakfast casserole on Pinterest (here we go again...) and had been wanting to try it, but hadn't had the chance. Well, here it was and I was taking the opportunity!  Here is a link to the original recipe. I'm even being COMPLETELY lazy and using one of her pictures. Mostly because I didn't think to take one of my own, and because this is one dish that actually looked like the pictures!! Here it is:

Broccoli, Ham, and Mozzarella Baked with Eggs
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn)...(mine made 15 servings, but that was because it was a side to the waffles and not the main dish)

4-6 cups very small broccoli flowerets, blanched about 2 minutes, then drained well (when I make this again, I will likely not blanch the broccoli was just a bit too cooked by the time the eggs finished baking)
1-2 cups diced ham (1/2 -1 lb.) - I cheated and purchased pre-diced was cheaper yesterday than the alternative.
1 cup low-fat grated Mozzarella - I only used about 1/2 - 3/4 cups
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion (optional) - I also added an additional 1/3 cup onion - diced.
8-10 eggs, well beaten - I used 8
Spike Seasoning (or other all-purpose seasoning blend) to taste - I used straight S&P


Heat oven to 375F. Spray a 9"x12" casserole dish with non-stick spray. (The dish can be slightly smaller too, especially if you use the smaller amounts of ingredients.)

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and cook the broccoli just 2 minutes; then pour into a colander placed in the sink and let it drain well. Dice the ham while the broccoli drains.

Layer broccoli, ham, Mozzarella, and green onions (if using) in casserole dish. Season with Spike Seasoning and fresh-ground black pepper and pour beaten egg over. Use a fork to "stir" the mixture just until all the ingredients are coated with egg. (It might look like there is not enough egg, but carry on!)

Bake 35 - 45 minutes, or until all the mixture is set and the top is starting to lightly brown. (If you use the higher amount of eggs, it will take longer baking time, but start to check after about 30 minutes.) Serve hot, with low-fat sour cream if desired. This can be kept in the fridge for at least a week and reheated in the microwave.


For anyone keeping score at home, based on my 15 piece serving per recipe, this comes out to 2 PointsPlus!! Phenomenal!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Bars

Another slightly adventursome recipe! One of my coworkers found this one and knew that it would be something I would like to try (they know me too well).  This one is crazy easy, very dense and moist, and all around healthy!! Here's what you do...
3 mashed bananas
1/3 cup applesauce
2 cups oats
1/2 raisins
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into prepared pan (I sprayed mine with olive oil). Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes.

Everytime I make a recipe that starts with "banana" as it's first ingredient, I hear immediately that it needs an egg, or baking soda, or SOMETHING to make it a little less dense. At first bite, I thought the same thing too. But on day 2, after it had time to sit, the flavors blended together better and, even though it was dense, I decided that I would change a thing. I used a 5 x 8" pan (do they even make a pan with those dimensions?? It was smallish and rectangular...good luck) and it made 12 servings which came out to 3 PointsPlus per square...not bad at all, if I do say so myself. :)

And when I make these again, I feel like I want to spice it up a bit...and for some bizarre reason I'm thinking chipotle pepper powder is just what I'm looking for. We'll see...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Scream, You Scream...

Do you ever have those times where you miss someone so much that certain things they like, or places they enjoy, bring (or almost bring) a tear to your eye. The other day mom and I were at the grocery store. I turned around because she wasn't with me. She was staring at the Spumoni ice cream. She and Lori used to enjoy that together and it made her think of her. I insisted on a photo.
The good news here...LESS than 6 months and they can enjoy their ice cream again. :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

He's Just Not That Into You

I was looking for a new book to read over the last week or so. I was talking with some friends and in our conversation, one of them quoted a line from the movie, "He's Just Not That Into You". I haven't seen that movie, but I get the basic premise...and I love it! So, in my search for a book, I found this one. I was a little hesitant about reading movie watching and book reading standards have been raised a lot (self-induced) and I knew the movie wasn't something I would probably watch, but decided to take my chances with the book.

I will tell you here and now that there were a couple of chapters I skipped over entirely (if you know me, you'll know which ones), and some of the dating philosophies of the authors are much more casual and "worldly", I guess you can say, than those I hold. With that in mind (and substituting my own words in a few places) I LOVE this book. Mostly it made me sit and laugh at myself...and I needed that! It gave me this new phrase...girls are dumb about stupid boys (and again, I'm sure it goes both ways, but I only have this perspective...don't hate).  I KNOW there are great men who treat women well, who want healthy relationships, who don't play games. I get all of that! But in the search for these great men, women sort through a lot of sand in hopes of a piece of gold. And as they "sort" and date, they will come across men who do not value them, who are looking for a good time with no sort of committment. And the stupid thing is, and the point I felt this book was making, we (women) allow it. Not only do we allow it, we give in to it, we make excuses for it! How much better would the dating scene be if we stood up for ourselves, demanded respect and good behavior, and didn't settle for ANYTHING less??

Actually, one of the authors, Liz, says something right along this...and she says it much better than I can.

"But I do think he's right - a lot of the time- which is the most annoying part of it all. Greg is the older brother we all should have in our lives (and in our heads). He demands that men treat us better than even we think they should. We have been conditioned to expect so little, told not to be demanding, not to seem needy. But what would happen if all the women in the world listened to Greg-if we all started insisting that men keep true to their word, treat us with respect, shower us with the appropriate amount of love and affection? I think there would be an awful lot of better-behaved men in the world."

Maybe I should only have used her quote and none of my babble, but I just LOVE this!! I feel like I must make it sound like I have these awful dating and relationship experiences, but that isn't true. It is what it is. However, I see so much of this conditioning that Liz talks about in myself and I laugh at, and simultaneously kick, myself for being this way. I have a lot to learn. Look out world...this woman is on a mission. I will settle for nothing less than the best! The person I used to be took a lot of flack from people...from men. The woman I am today will not! They've tried, and I've shot them down. From here on out, it's only the best for me...and maybe you should do the same!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monthly Recap - June

Well, it's mid-July and I JUST realized that I never did a recap for June!! Slacker! But that is sort of how the month went.

Read the Standard Works cover to cover: I got behind (again) and started losing steam. I needed to be to Mark 10 by the end of June to stay on track. I made it to Mark 7 (I think it was). By the end of the month I was ready to modify my goal and say that I woudl finish this goal, but that it may not happen in this calenda year. And then I got angry with myself. So, I'm not quite back on schedule, but I'm not backing down!! I have a LOT of catch up to do because July has already been shaky, but I'll make it!

Walk 500 miles: This goal was impacted negatively because of the little incident where I jumped on that nail. To be honest, it STILL hurts to walk on my foot, and it has been over a MONTH (insert voices of wise people who tell me I need to go to the doctor)! I took it easy the last part of the month (read: I didn't walk at ALL), but I decided that under the circumstances I would accept another tracking measure. I took up bicycling (sort of) for a few days to keep the pace and activity level. I only made it to 40 miles (not 42 as planned). I walked for the first time last night since the accident and I won't foot is killing me today. But I am now 5 miles into July and have about two weeks to make it the other 37 miles (minimum). Time to suck it up, soldier!!

Grow my hair long and donate it: This one is starting to get on my nerves. It was getting so long and stringy that I finally had to get a trim (thanks, Mom!!) and it's given me just enough of a change to be satisfied. One of my good frineds, Sister McCracken, got her hair completely chopped off in a pixie is ADORABLE and I'm going CRAZY!! I miss my short hair, although I can already feel being sad the day I do cut my hair and miss being able to pull it back...I'll never be satisfied. :)

Okay, I have a LOT of work to do in the next two weeks. Wish me luck!!

One Pizza At A Time

I arrived at work today, feeling incredibly sharp and ready to go. A few of my coworkers and I were talking about the night before and what we had done. One mentioned she had eaten a frozen pizza, but because cooked frozen pizza, reheated later, is no good, she felt she had to eat way more than she was actually hungry for. The other one nodded in agreement and both were stuck at the pizza-for-one conundrum. It was then that I knew I had the answer to at least one of the world's problems.

I opened my mouth and simply suggested that they each cut the pizza prior to baking it, and putting the remainder BACK into the freezer to save for another meal. Both stood there in amazement at my intelligence...HAHA!! All kidding aside, it was one of those things where you stand there and wonder "why didn't I think of that?" It was the perfectly obvious answer...I just happened to think of it this morning. Not to worry. I'm sure that such brilliancy is reserved for once every other year or so. Now it's up to someone else!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A New Realization

I have a confession…I’m a little “baby hungry”, and I guess that’s no surprise to anyone. For anyone who knows me personally, they know I love kids, and for people who don’t know me well, they assume that I must be “baby hungry” because I’m in my 20’s. Whatever the case, it’s true. But I get to share something I discovered this week.

A coworker of mine, with his wife, is preparing to welcome their first child. Another coworker went and bought some gifts for a baby shower she will be attending in their honor. Today she brought out the baby clothes and was showing them to me, and my boss stepped out to see what we were all ooh-ing and aah-ing over. He got this cute face and said that looking at all the cute little clothes made him wish he and his wife had another one…he just loves babies! And inside I died a little out of pure joy and happiness.
And that wasn’t the only moment of happiness and joy. Another male coworker confided in a female coworker who is pretty much the “mom” of our office that all he wants in life is to find a nice girl, settle down, and have a family. This took me by a bit of a surprise because he’s such a rough and tumble kind of guy and just a bit older (not old by any stretch of the imagination, but men I’ve known near his age are typically trying to get their kids grown, not start from the beginning). And it’s just so sweet!

I guess I’ve had a skewed perception of men when it came to children and families, and I can’t really pin point where it began. I mean, I have a wonderful father who puts family first, wonderful leaders and other men who have been positive example. But this perception exists in my mind, but I’m so happy to see this other side. It gives me hope in humanity!! And quite frankly, if they can do it, so can I. :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


This was featured on my Facebook wall last night, and it very well may be my new favorite pick me up!! This is awesome!!