Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Birthday T-Pot!

Today is my littlest sister Tess's 12th birthday! In honor of you, Tess, we made this video after dinner tonight:


video

We hope that your day was stupendous!!! Love you!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food Shout-Out Day

Ok, so I realized that I have been taking pictures of a lot of food that I make, but failing to actually follow up and blog about it. And, as all good bloggers must talk about what they eat and take pictures of it, it makes sense that I am a terrible blogger. But I am trying ever so hard to repent and get back on track.

Maybe my thoughts have been turned to food today because lately Dave and I have gotten into watching the past season of The Biggest Loser. It was (obviously) my idea, but not surprisingly Dave is now always the one who suggests turning it on...and he gets way into the strategies that the people are employing. I just like watching Jillian yell at people.

Anyway, first off, my peanut butter cupcakes that I mentioned last week turned out wonderfully! I got them from Livin the Dream in Beantown USA's blog, and they were delish. All it contains is a doctored-up cake mix, but every time I have tried to make cupcakes completely from scratch, they turn out too dry. I didn't make the ganache, but just used a simple chocolate frosting recipe from I can't remember (it was your basic cocoa powder, milk, powdered sugar combo).

  • Peanut Butter Cupcakes
    • 18.25-oz. package yellow cake mix
    • cup peanut butter
    • cup vegetable oil
    • 1 ⅓ cups water
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Ganache
    • 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


Method

For cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. (Between 20-24.) In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, peanut butter, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on low speed 30 seconds. Scrape down side of bowl and beat 2 minutes more on medium. Spoon cake batter into prepared tins and bake in preheated oven 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes spring back lightly upon being touched.

Let cupcakes cool about 1 minute; then, using a spoon, make a small indentation in each cupcake. When ganache is spreadable, spoon a small amount into each indentation, and spread to edges. Garnish with chopped Reese's cups. Store in refrigerator.


I didn't take a picture because mine turned out really ugly...let's just say that someone always forgets to spray her muffin tins. 'Nuff said.

Tonight for dinner I tried a really easy recipe for tortilla soup that I found on Munch and Crunch's blog. It was soooo easy and quick, and way healthy! I of course ruined the health by garnishing with cheese, a little fat-free sour cream, and a few crumbled tortilla chips, but you CANT have tortilla soup without those things!



Let's all pretend we don't see the apple drips on my table, ok? I eat sans plate often.

It contained:

1 can of low-fat refried beans (the jalepeno flavored one is the best)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans of chicken broth
She did a can of corn but I did black beans instead. Both would be good.

Let those things come to a boil, and then add some shredded chicken. I did like four of those tenderloins, but I could have handled more chicken. I also added a little taco seasoning too.

SO easy, right? And all things that I had around anyway.

I also made one of my favorite healthy muffin recipes ever. I found them back in, what I lovingly call "the Weight Watchers days." I can still tell you the Points in anything, just challenge me.

These muffins have some weird ingredients, but don't worry, they don't taste diety at all. I usually hate weird diet foods but these are really good, even boys love them and they usually hate things containing Bran and Banana in place of oil.

Triple B Muffins

1 medium ripe banana -- mashed
2 cups All Bran Extra Fiber
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/4 cup eggbeaters
1 1/4 cups Reduced Fat Bisquick
1 teaspoon cinnamon -- or Apple Pie Spice
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup blueberries -- fresh or frozen


Instructions:

Pre heat oven to 400

In a medium bowl mash the banana and add the All Bran, the milk, the vanilla and the egg beaters.

In a small bowl mix the Bisquick, the spice and the brown sugar; add to the wet mixture, stir until just combined, do not over mix.

Fold in blueberries.

Spray muffin tin with Pam and fill muffin cups.

Makes 12 muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove cooked muffins from the pan and cool before eating.

The muffins are soft when they come out of the oven, but they firm up as they cool.

I will say that I did three things differently: I use an egg instead of Eggbeaters (because eggbeaters are sick and I am not going to buy them just for this), I had no Bisquick so I used Krusteaz pancake mix and it was exactly the same, and I used mixed berries instead of just blueberries because that was what I had. You just have to make exceptions when you are a poor student and can't be buying a million new things for every recipe.



They may not look like much, but they are fiber-licious, moist, and only 1.5 WW Points! (If you care)

I also need to give a shout-out to my wonderful mother-in-law for making us the most delicious Chex Mix of all time. I usually don't like Chex Mix (the classic savory kind. Muddy Buddies however...) but when we were down in St. George after our wedding one of Dave's nieces had some of this sweet kind in a little plastic cup. She was trying to feed it to me like a dog, and in the process I realized that it was the most delicious Chex Mix I had ever tasted. Dave got mad at me for manipulating her into giving me all of hers and then going and getting a refill. If being an aunt has no perks at all, I am backing out now.

Anyway, Dave's mom came up to Provo just for the day yesterday, so we met her for dinner. I had mentioned before how much I love her coconut Chex Mix, and she even gave me the recipe, but probably knowing I hadn't gotten around to making it (again, obscure ingredients=I never make it) she brought us some! Luckily for me Dave had a stomach ache after dinner so I ate a ton by myself (I am a terrible wife, I know. I did buy him some Tums for times like this, however). Someday I will post the recipe, but I want to try it myself first so I can tell you if I made any modifications.



Here is just one of the little baggies she brought us. It has this yummy sticky coconut syrup, pecans, and Golden Grahams. Snack heaven.

Ok, sorry this post is a million years long, but just one more recipe. So Dave and I have learned that if you want to eat well, you have to figure out what meals you like that will also last you a while. Casseroles and soups are good for this. Dave even dubbed me "The Soup Mistress", later shortened to "The Soupstress" because I make them so much...what can I say, they are easy, cheap, and easily imbued with flavor. Anyway, this was a recipe for baked ziti from allrecipes.com (Dave's favorite website :))that we tried a couple of weeks ago and totally loved! It probably could be wayyy healthier because it has sour cream and cheese in it...whoops...but we had salad with it? Does that make it ok? I also cut down the cheese an sour cream by at least a third (the sour cream by half, and use fat-free!). It was nice to have a little creamy kick but that way it wasn't like gross and laden with cheese. We also only used one and like a fourth jars of sauce and it was totally fine.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

That was after one night...so yeah, we definitely got our money's worth on that dish!


Whew! Ok, that's all for tonight...I think I am going to try Twix cookies this weekend. It's General Conference, so you have to have yummy treats, right? We are trying to think of good Conference traditions...do you guys have any that you always do? We were thinking cinnamon rolls but everyone does that...




Monday, March 28, 2011

Registration, You Devil, You

I still remember the first time I registered for classes at BYU: I had just graduated from high school, so I didn't look that different from how I do now, but in my mind I am four years younger and so I am practically wearing Osh Kosh Bigosh overalls and have a bowl cut. Ok maybe that's a little extreme but I feel like I look younger in my memory.

I had misread the registration date and thought that it started at noon instead of midnight, so when I logged on at like 9 am to prepare, spots were already filling up in the classes that I had spent HOURS planning. I freaked out, yelled to my mom, she came running, and we tried to tell each other that everything would be ok. Ha. It seemed so dire at the time, little did I know that I was wayyyy too far down on the totem pole to get any good classes or sections even if I had been on time. And I didn't have cool older sisters to hold spots for me (you're welcome Grace and Anne :)).

Well, that was the high point in my registration, I would come to find out. As my academic career progressed, so did my lackadaisical-ness about how imperative it was that I register correctly and promptly for my classes. There was the semester that the sorry Glenwood internet couldn't handle everyone online and crashed (as it always did at imperative moments), the time I fell asleep a 11:50 wrapped around my computer in my bed only to wake up at 4 am in a panic and sadly see all of my classes full, or the time I just plain forgot. There were many nights that my roommates and I would all be up late together registering, and I would secretly curse Jennifer who was done in two seconds due to good planning, or fend of snarls of jealousy from Lauren who for some reason was always a day later than everyone else. Last semester the registration date was a month till my wedding (aka Hades status) and I remembered about 1/2 hour before I had to register. I quickly threw together a schedule and miraculously it has been a pretty great one! Good things do happen to good people after all, it seems.

Well people, not this year. Ole' Claire is gettin' hers this time around. See, this is my LAST fall semester registering for classes! Fall of 2012 I will be student teaching, and so really this is the last time I have to pick what I am going to take. I figured it was time to be on top of my game for once...and I so desperately want to take ZUMBA! (Because let's be honest, any other class I need I am sure I can just muscle my way into). And, now that I work I have to make it fit into reasonable blocks that make sense. Gone are the days of killing mindless hours in the MOA and the Bookstore, my hours on campus are now all carefully allotted.

So here I sit at 11:27, way past my bedtime, bleary eyed from scrolling through the class schedule so many times, just waiting to log onto MyMap when the clock strikes midnight. It's kind of sad in a way...I feel like this is one of those tiny indications that my college years are coming to an end. I desperately don't want it to be over...these years have been the funnest so far, and I think they have kind of defined who I see myself as now. But the angry emails telling me to graduate haven't started yet, so I think I am safe for a little while longer, at least.

I have a notes sheet but for one class I just wrote 'TTH 3-4:15." I have no recollection of what class it refers to. Does anyone have a class from 3-4:15 on TTH that they want to recommend?

Giveaway Addict

I am a little bit obsessed with giveaways on blogs. Someday, I hope to be a cool enough blogger that companies send me cool stuff to promote and give away on my blog, but I think the only companies that would want to sponsor me are probably Skittles and Little Caesars. Whoops.

Anyway, Skinny Runner (one of my favorites to stalk....hi-larious) is having a SWEET giveaway on her blog. Check it out if you're into running!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Festival of Colors is Where My Inner Grandma Comes Out


So for those of you who do not have Facebook friends that live in Provo and have not seen the 10 million Facebook pics about this lovely event, you may not know that this past weekend was the Holi celebration at the Hara Krishna temple in Spanish Fork. Why is there a Hara Krishna temple in Mormonville, you might ask? I am not sure...but it does throw a huge event once a year in which tons of people flock to their temple and pay $2 for a bag of colored cornstarch substance to throw on other people. It has religious significance to them, but I think most of us there just wanted to have the crazy experience.

I had been once before, two years ago. Back then, I swear it was all BYU kids, and the sunshine and live music made the festival have a really cool vibe. It was popular, but not crazy crowded. Now, however, it has kind of grown to epic proportions. They expanded it to two days and like 6 "throwings" (times where they count down and you toss the powder). The field where the throwings were was so crowded you could barely move, and forget even trying to tour the temple itself, because it was insanely packed (and I think that it half the fun of going there). Plus, they didn't burn no effigy of the witch like they used to, and I know that Dave and I wanted to see a stinkin effigy. It was like over-run with junior high kids and people with babies, and a lot of stoner old people too. It had snowed the day before so the ground was a muddy, puddle-filled war zone. People were like falling and sliding in the mud...gross.

This is when Grandma Claire started to come out:

1. I started thinking about all of the laundry I was going to have to do and the shower I was going to have to scrub after getting washed off.

2. Muddy shoes stress me out.

3. I was really worried about the irresponsible parents who decided that it was a good idea to bring little kids. Why would you want your little toddler to breath in like 1,000 pounds of sick colored dust?!?!?! I wanted to offer to go take them back to the car with me and let them breath fresh air.

4. There was very little security (like, two guys at the front) and I saw no first aid station. This presented a problem when a lady next to us started having a seizure and they couldn't get the ambulance through. Then, I started to panic a little in my head.

When did I turn into such a part pooper? Seriously. However, in the end it was really fun, and I am glad we went! We had good company (Garrett and Racheal, and Evan and Lizzy) and once I put aside my uptight issues and got all dirty and enjoyed the rendition of "taking care of business" that the Hara Krishna leader played on his electric guitar, it was all good!






mayhem


before things even got toooo crazy...

And, I made a really good connection to Lehi's dream and the chaos being like the mists of darkness. Dave tried to make me go bear my testimony about it today, but I refused. Everyone in our ward knew I went anyway because I still have pink hair.

Speaking of church, we had our first go as Nursery teachers today! It was pretty calm seeing as we only have three little kids in there, and they are so super cute. We did learn that spending loads of time preparing the lesson was kind of fruitless though...although we did learn a great rendition of "Once There Was a Snowman" that has the words changed to "Once I Was a Baby". Two of the three kids loved it. They also loved the pictures that we colored about making healthy choices. It was fun and I learned that Dave is really good at fitting his body on a plastic slide made for toddlers. I need to invest in some more dresses that can be sat in cross-legged on the floor, though.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am having a great day today

I am praying that someday I have a happy Asian-ly inclined baby that is as cute as this one

I am having such a good day! Can I be excited about it for a little minute? (as opposed to a big minute, which is longer)

Here is why:

1. I got a really good grade on an assignment.

2. I ran eight miles today, and for part of that time I read a US Weekly that I got from work. I guess the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences has no use for such a prestigious publication.

3. My Shakespeare class was cancelled. See my Class Cancelled post for why this is so great. And it is cancelled Friday too for the forum when Mark Zuckerburg comes to BYU! I am so pumped, I hope I get a chance to tell him how great his movie was, and how they should have gotten Michael Cera to play him because everyone loves Michael Cera, and how much I love his website called Facebook.

4. It is sunny and lovely out and it snowed yesterday so I really appreciate it.

5. We had a meeting at work today and my boss brought Cadbury mini eggs. Six ladies in a room for an hour...we finished the whole bag.

6. I get to pick whatever work shedule (see 30 Rock) I want for this fall! Yahoo Zumba class here I come! ( my last time registering for Fall semester classes since I will be student teaching in 2012...weird!)

7. There was an orange that I forgot I packed this morning in my bag, and I discovered it accidentally in a moment of hunger. This never happens to me, but I still comb my backpack daily hoping that I forgot about a magical food item that I packed.

8. I have no homework due tomorrow so I am actually getting ahead today. Wha???

9. Hubsie hubs is making soup and muffins tonight so there will be dinner when I get home from my horrible boring night class!

10. Speaking of my horrible boring night class I for once was not trying to do the homework 2 minutes before class like usual, so I am using this time for important blogging.

11. The BYU game is tomorrow and we are making fake Cafe Rio salads while we watch.

12. We are going to Festival of Colors this weekend. For those of you not in Provo, it is an event that the Hare Krishna temple in Spanish Fork (like 10 miles South) does for their Holi celebration every year. Basically it is an excuse for BYU kids to throw colored powder at each other and feel like they are taking part in something cool and hip and foreign. Lots of V-neck T's and gladiator sandals. It's way fun though and Dave has never been.

13. I think I will make these cupcakes this weekend that I found on a new blog that I like to stalk. A big part of my week is thinking about which treat to make over the weekend. I am visiting teaching this Sunday and my treat last month stunk so I need to make up for it.

Yep...I am really happy with this day so far. What have been your day's highs and lows? Do you plot treats in your mind all day long?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Reflections


Today is Dave's birthday! He is a whole 23 years old. My, how the years have flown. I think I have never been so excited for someone else to open up their presents than I am today. That, and we are using a gift card from our wedding to go out to Olive Garden. Eating out on a Monday? Best day ever!

I just want to take some time to think about how much I love Dave. He really is the best person I have ever met and my best friend and I can't think of how marrying anyone else would have possibly worked out. He does so much for me, and he is such a good example. I have learned that complaining about other people is no fun around Dave, because he always thinks of something nice to say to turn it around, and he never complains about anything. He always forgives me for the petty dumb things I get mad or upset about. He does the dishes and makes our bed every day. He teaches the lesson for FHE every week (I do treats), gently helps me be on time to church by setting secret alarms for me when he goes early for priesthood meeting, AND he is willing to do the human elliptical with me so I can keep my awesome toned legs (this, for those of you who don't do it, is a very intricate exercise where both people lay on their back and put their feet together and pedal like an elliptical. It is good for entertainment between the hours of midnight and 2 am.)


This is my second birthday with Dave, and so naturally I was drawn to reflect upon the first. Last year's was significant because it was also the day of our first kiss! Seems cute, and it was...especially seeing as it took him a good two months to do it. And he can't claim that I didn't give him a chance because I spent many a night standing in the freezing Utah winter air in the classy Glenwood parking lot, staring up at him beguilingly, but he just wouldn't make a move! I had the following suggestions from friends on how to remedy the situation:

Katrina Lewis: make a playlist, all with songs about kissing, and pop it ever-so-nonchalantly into the CD player in his car.

Jennifer Watson: Lay off, because I was being too obvious

Laura Runyan: Kiss him first, and then she tried to refuse to be my friend or talk to me until I did it so the urgency of the situation was even worse.


Since I refused to act on any of these, we just went on with meaningful hugs goodnight and awkward, pregnant pauses for a long time.

The day before his birthday last year was the day that I was to arrive home from a trip to Indiana with my dance team. He of course came and picked me up and I was SOOO excited to see him, because we had been apart for a whole 56 hours. He was even wearing a new shirt for the occasion. It was like 11 when I got home so I was naturally pretty tired, and needed to kind of get started on the cake and dinner I was making for his birthday the next day, so I sort of expected a quick goodnight. However, Dave stood in the parking lot by his car and sort of refused to budge. Like, for two and a half hours. I was wearing a dress and had no coat on, so I really would have liked to budge, but I was so in love that I stayed out in the March wind :) And he gave me his jacket, which made me happy.

We kept talking and I finally said that I should probably go in, so Dave goes "um, I need to do something...but I can't. I have been trying to do it for a while..." Clear communication right there sweetie! So I was like "oh, what? Like you need to tell me something?" And he was just kind of started laughing and mumbling random stuff and then I started laughing and we were both giggling and trying to ward off the parking enforcement that wanted to boot his car for being there too late. He goes "ok, count to three for me and I will tell you on three" so I did, and nothing happened, and then he said "do it again, but this time count down from three and then say 'do it' " so I obliged, then "third time's a charm" so I did it again, and by this time we were both laughing. He finally did it this time, and then we both burst out laughing afterward about how goofy we were and just the sillyness of us stalling for so long when it was FREEZING and late. By that time it was his birthday since it was Sunday morning, so technically,our first kiss happened on his birthday. Happy birthday to you is all I can say :)

And in the end, I am really glad that Dave took his time with everything. I always tease him about being so shy and a slow mover but actually, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you so much sweetie! You're the cutest, sweetest, funniest 23-year-old in the world! Even more wonderful than the following celebrities who are your same age, who I took the liberty of looking up for you:

Rihanna
Zac Efron
Alexis Vega (Spy Kids)
Haley Joel Osment
Michael Cera

I wish you more joy than all of the number one hits and dead people movies in the world could bring! Bring on the unlimited breadsticks and leftover cake tonight!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Notes to People at the Gym

Dear Pushy Girl,

I'm sorry to call you out on this, but you can't keep bullying other girls off of the machines that you want to use. Yes, I have been creepily watching you with help from the mirrors on the walls, and no, you can't play innocent. I know that the other girl was signed up for that machine, and you just pretended not to understand her because your music was too loud. You can turn ipods off, I have one too. And also I am pretty sure you can read the sign up sheet because you go to BYU. You annoy me.

Love,
Claire


Dear Faculty Member,

I am sorry to break it to you but you can't come over to the machine next to mine and just move the fan off of me. I was kind of using it. That's why it was pointing at me and I was enjoying its refreshing drafts cooling my body as I work out. I would be happy to share it with you though! All you had to do was ask....just saying.

Love,
Claire


Dear Girl Who Started Moving the Mat While I Was Stretching,

Stretch time is very important. Please don't start dragging a mat that I am actually laying on. kthanks.

Love,
Claire

I promise I am not a scrooge...there are just some basic etiquette rules that I would like people to observe. I don't ask much...just common courtesy.

That rant being over, happy Friday everyone! I am going to spend the afternoon watching Thursday night's sitcoms and then going to Persuasion. And then I am going to get my Bountiful Basket in the morning and then get my free breakfast at IHOP. So pretty much it's gonna be a great weekend. Here's to my not being as grouchy as last Saturday :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Language and Lymph Nodes

Happy St. Patrick's Day from your favorite Irish couple! Please ignore my slight armpit issue...it had been a long day.


Do you ever have moments where you suddenly understand an old adage that has not made sense to you since childhood? It is strange that I have that happen to me so often, seeing as I pride myself on my knowledge and use of obscure sayings, but every so often I finally understand a saying and I feel oh so silly for never having gotten it. I remember my first year at girl's camp, there was a "glass half full" award, which went to the most optimistic and upbeat camper. I didn't understand that phrase, and for a long time afterward I felt dumb when people would use it because somehow I just didn't get it. Then one day...BAM. I got it, and every time I hear that term I visualize the hand-painted award with a glass of bright blue water, painted on a canvas sheet in the great outdoors.

Anyway, I was at the doctor's today and my doctor was explaining how I could call in and get some test results. She said "well, you know that no news is good news", meaning, as I understand now, that if you don't hear anything back that it is good and you should just enjoy the status quo, which in this case meant health. However, I had always understood that to mean that any kind of news you ever could get is bad (which made no sense to me since I whole-heartedly believe in the possibility of good news) so this confused me in this context.

Being the question-asker that I am, I asked her to clarify what she meant (which would probably embarrass my mom. She believes that there is in fact such a thing as a dumb question, the nerve) and finally, that term clicked for me. I couldn't stop thinking about it all day. I thought I was too old for such linguistic epiphanies, but apparently not. What other common adages have I misunderstood all these years?! Kills two birds with one stone? A stitch in time saves nine? (Ben Franklin nerd alert).

In other news, is anyone else a hypochondriac? I am. Big time. I am pretty much convinced that my lymph nodes are going to explode because the doctor felt my throat like they always do and said one was a little swollen. I obviously made Dave conduct a thorough investigation of the right side of my throat afterwards (since he is an M.D., naturally), and spent basically the whole afternoon checking back every five minutes on Web MD to see if the list of possible diseases that have that symptom had changed. My mom tried to make me stop internet self-diagnosis since the time I thought that I had had a stroke when I was 17, but she's not here to stop me anymore and I can symptom search to my heart's (or lymph node's) content.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I believe in dance

I bet many of you have seen this video already, but if you haven't, it is seriously one of the most touching things I have ever seen. I have seen it like 5 times and I still cry every time.



I can't believe that there are enough members of the church in Eastern Europe that there is a temple there now! And they are so grateful for something that we have like 2 miles from our house. They have to sacrifice so much to go to the temple...on the one hand I am so excited for them, but I am so humbled that I have what they want so desperately right across campus.

On to the dance aspect: this is why I love dance so much. I am in a dance and culture class this semester (for my ever-so-useful and marketable world dance minor :) ) and we watched and talked about this video today. There wasn't a dry eye in the room, but that is because we are all dance lovers. But one thing that my teacher brought up is that art is something that The Adversary has tried to slowly turn evil and contaminate, but at its core, dance and other art forms can be beautiful expressions to the Lord. The soul is comprised of the spirit AND the body, and so one cannot exist truly without the other. I think that we can use our bodies for good: for celebration, for praise, to express joy and love and I think that it is very possible to feel the spirit when we dance. Look how happy and united these youth were when they were dancing! I had the opportunity to dance in one of these temple celebrations for the opening of the Anchorage, Alaska temple when I was 15...it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I don't really know how to put it into words, but all I know is that when I dance I am happy and when I am happy I often do a "happy dance". The two are interconnected.



D&C 136: 28
-"If thou art amerry, bpraise the Lord with singing, with music, with cdancing, and with a dprayer of praise and ethanksgiving."

In other physical activity news, I have completed over 1/4 of my running goal this year (1,000 miles), 233 since January 1st, to be exact. I isn't as cool as it sounds when I add all of them together. If you could see how slow and how profusely sweaty I am it wouldn't really be impressive.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Miracle Dress

Ok. I am sure that anyone in college, just out of college, or just married can commiserate with me when it comes to shopping. I try to convince myself that it is fun to be broke and that "just browsing" is fun but it seems like lately, walking into a clothing store is nothing but pure torture to me. I have plenty of clothes, but the second I walk into Gap I am convinced that I desperately need white skinny jeans and flowery scarves and gladiator sandals. They are Spring ESSENTIALS! I NEED that stuff, obviously.

Anyway, I was birthday shopping for dearie dear today (almost 23! My baby's growing up!) and it was the first time in a while that I had been in a store all by myself...usually we do everything together other than go to class and work. It was kind of weird, but I took advantage of this opportunity to do what I do best: take 23 hours in a store. I wandered around Old Navy, barely able to lift my feet in depression over all of the cute stuff that I would never be able to afford. Striped cardis. Peasant blouses. Eyelet skirts. I gave the stink eye to all of the happy shoppers with their armfuls of brightly colored T's and discount denim. And then, a miracle:

See, it had been kind of a lousy day up until this point. Usually Saturdays are impossible to de-rail, but this one got off to a bummer start and I just couldn't snap out of my foul temper. I blame the fact that I felt like spending $7 on two boxes of Girl Scout cookies was stupid yet I wanted them oh so bad (Seasonal items stress me out: I always buy oodles of pumpkin products come October because I feel like I will miss it if I don't take advantage when I can.), and there was a 10k that I really really wanted to run this morning but we decided that we could think of better things to spend $20 bucks on. So basically, I was having a really big pity party that day. I know, obviously my "Reversals" don't work all of the time. Hey, I'm only human.

Anyway, I turned the corner at Old Navy and half-heartedly poked through the clearance rack. Seeing as there is hardly ever anything in my size on sale racks that is any good, I didn't expect much. Then, I saw it: a pink, short-sleeved, knee-length dress. Size small. Somehow, still just hanging there, waiting for me. I thought that for sure it was a mistake, things in small don't just hang there forever, they are snatched up immediately by one of the many small women in Provo (has anyone else noticed that? I feel like AK had so much more of a bell-curve when it came to sizing. Utah is skewed heavily toward the small end). Hands trembling, I looked at the tag: $12.50. Are you kidding?!?!? Now that, I can afford. I had $20 bucks from my parents for Valentine's day, and I would have change to spare for that essential flowered scarf that Gap told me I needed.

I rushed to the dressing room and tried it on. It was exactly what I needed for Summertime: comfy yet dressy enough to wear to work. I was giddy with sale brain. I even snapped a dressing room pic which I kind of thought only 14 year olds did. But since I have a Hello Kitty phone cover like a 14 year old that's ok:



As I took the dress off and hung it back up, I noticed the reason why it was untouched on the rack: it was maternity. Cool. But you know what? I didn't care. It had a tie, and I will just tie it extra tight...when you are shopping on a budget, you can't afford to always buy in your proper gestational section of the store.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One more thing I am thankful for

Reversal

For my teaching composition class, we have been writing what is called a reversal paper. To put it really simply, you take a topic, explore the common viewpoint on that subject, and then switch it around and show that the common view is a little skewampus (is that how you spell that word? Admittedly I have never tried before). Mine, for example, is on home-schooling: how everyone thinks that home-schooled kids are awkward and dysfunctional, but in fact they are super cool, wicked smart, wear the hottest clothes, and sooooo POPULAR! I was one once...can't you tell? :)

Anyways, the word reversal was running through my head all day and it made me think about an idea that was introduced to me by a John Bytheway CD. Go ahead and roll your eyes a little if you must. Santa brought Dave and I some marriage-building materials in our stockings (four days after we got married...apparently Santa thought that we were already struggling?) and one of the items was a CD about 5 simple things you can do to improve your relationship. We listened to it on the car on the way to New Year's at Dave's house, and this was one point he made: reverse your buts. It sounds goofy, but basically he said that, instead of saying "I love you, but you annoy me", you should reverse it to "you annoy me, but I love you". Thus, you focus on the bigger picture, the fact that you have a spouse that you love, instead of your little complaint. I thought it was heartfelt and sweet, Dave made fun of it...typical.

However cheesy and cliche that mode of thinking may be, I sort of like it. Call me lame. I think that all too often, we focus on little tiny things that are bugging us and forget that these annoyances really stem from blessings. So today, in honor of the reversal paper, I have tried to focus on some switcheroos of my own:

instead of groaning at having to spend a beautiful afternoon inside at work, I am thankful that I have a job that I like so much, and that fits so well with my classes.

instead of wishing I had my brownie tonight all to myself, I am thankful that I have someone on the couch next to me that wants a bite too :)

instead of wishing that I didn't have to hurry and finish my homework tonight, I am thankful that I go to one of the best schools in the nation which requires some actual effort because it means I am learning!

instead of wishing that my feet didn't hurt so much I am thankful that I have a healthy body that let me run seven miles and walk all the heck around campus today.

instead of wishing that I didn't have emails to reply to, I am thankful that I have family members that actually want to stay in touch with such a sporadic communicator.

I know posts like these are oh-so-cheesy...but it was on my mind today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I am creepy


Ok, I have a weird confession. You know how when you were a little kid and you found something that someone else had lost, how it was sooo fascinating? I don't know why, but random Happy Meal toys, necklaces, pens, whatever were just so exciting to find on the playground or in a parking lot or wherever. I always wanted to take random refuse from the streets home with me. I don't know, maybe that was just me who did that?

Either way, I was always promptly told to put whatever I had found back, as:

1. "you don't know who had that last"
2. "Whoever lost it might come back for it and be sad that you took it."

I remember one time in Hawaii, when I was about six or seven, I found a little coin purse with a 10 dollar bill in it. It was one of my biggest moral battles to turn in into the counter at the store instead of keeping it, (not so much for the money but for the novelty of the little leather purse) but my conscience prevailed. Ever since that phase of my life, I have been a big believer in turning things into the lost and found, however hard it may be.


Anyway, I did something really odd today that made me doubt my convictions altogether. I was walking to class, quickly because I had left work a little later than I meant to, as usual, and something shiny caught my eye on the ground by a recycling bin. It was a large, rather hideous hoop earring that said "Love" on it in fake diamonds. Not the sort of thing that I would ever consider wearing, even if I decided to go pirate and wear just one hoop earring. (Melissa Smith, maybe it could go with your "pirate" shirt? Let me know if you are interested.)

Anyways, for some strange reason, after passing it I turned back, bent down and picked it up, hurriedly shoving it in my backpack's side pocket. Why? I don't know. For one thing, I don't know who had it last, what if they come back for it and they (hopefully "she") is sad that I took it, and why the heck would I want one tacky earring???? All I can think of was that it was my little childhood klepto resurfacing, in the oddest way (and also an animal-like love of shinny things could have factored into it). Guard your earrings girls, Claire's on the loose.

I told Dave about it and he agreed that it was kind of really weird that I did that. To make it less weird, we made it into a car decoration/possible functioning dream-catcher, and it currently is residing happily in our XTerra:




So, if anyone out there is missing this earring, please forgive me for, first, stealing it because of repressed childhood feelings, and second, for calling it tacky. Then, let me know and I will give it back to you.

P.S. the even weirder part is that RIGHT after I saw the earring I saw a deserted ipod on the ground and I would never even think about taking that. Because that would be wrong, but this was ok?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bad Days Happen, It's True.

I usually am really happy! Most people have told me that I am a pretty cheerful and even-keeled person, but sometimes, bad days happen. I used to felt really guilty in the past when bad days happened to me (notice the passive voice...none of the blame was my own, haha), because I thought that I was failing at looking for the silver lining. I thought that you had to somehow wrench a good mood out of a bad situation. Like you couldn't admit that sometimes, we just have really crappy days and bad things happen and you just want to feel sorry for yourself. And yes, I am a terrible person because I say the word crap.

But then I think about how the scriptures tell us that there is a time and a place for everything, including mourning. Even Jesus wept, right? So while I don't think we should by any means take sadness or wallowing to an extreme, it is ok to be bummed or sad sometimes. As my mom always says "let people feel their feelings". And then, tomorrow is always better, I have noticed. So let yourself have a bad day every now and then. It makes you appreciate the good times, which I am anticipating a lot of tomorrow.

So world, today was a bad day. It's ok to admit it! I felt sorry for myself, and now I am done mourning and have moved on. Letting myself do this every so often has made my life so much easier... :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thoughts on a Rainy Day

1. I am really thankful that Dave looked at the weather today and told me to wear rain-appropriate shoes. I had cold, damp feet all day for like three days last week and it felt really good to have dry toesies today.

2. I love leftover days. We usually cook one day, eat leftovers the next, and I love nothing more than coming home and having din-din all ready to go. Today was a leftover day, and re-heated meatloaf tasted delish.

3. Though I started to semi-judge the guy I saw wearing yellow crocs with his dress pants today, I rethought it because he has more confidence than I do.

4. Can I wear my same boots tomorrow? I want dry feet again.

5. I love to put chips on my sandwiches but it makes me feel like a fat kid in an elementary school cafeteria. I hope that no one notices me do it or hears that tell-tale crunch.

6. Mondays have none of my favorite sitcoms. Boo.

7. Monday does have FHE though and that's cool!

8. I am already well on my way to song-killing "Turn It Up" by Ciara featuring Usher. I would include a link to it, but I am embarrassed that I am not cool enough to not like music like this any more. I had to make myself only listen to it once a mile when I was running today.

9. Today was the first time in my college life that I have had so much to say in a class that I had to stop myself from talking too much. I felt really, really good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flashmobery



For my Shakespeare class we have a requirement where we have to participate in a Shakespeare performance of some kind. Naturally, I had absolutely no idea how I was supposed to pull that off. Suddenly break into the Orem/Provo improv scene? Take The Scera by storm? Bring down the DeJong with my Ophelia? I was kind of not sure how I was going to find an opportunity to get involved with theater all of a sudden. Then, a girl in my class suggested that we put on a flashmob of some kind of Shakespeare soliloquy. It was one of those things that sounds really fun at the time and then when the time comes it sounds really awkward and scary and you want to run away. Kind of like the time I decided to do a clogging routine in front of my ward (my mom's idea, not mine), and go to college (my idea but still awkward and scary when the time came).

Anyway, I showed up to the Provo Towne Center with my line memorized ("She speaks yet she says nothing, what of that?") and a knot in my stomach. Willful public humiliation is not that new to me, so I don't know why I was dreading it. We practiced outside, and I even got Dave to join in because someone didn't show up, so I begged and pleaded mostly because he had a camera and I didn't want him free to use it :)

It ended up being really fun though! Apparently you couldn't hear my line (I get nervous quiet voice), but we got some laughs and a smattering of applause and the requirement is over! And, the girl in our class who set it up is in Divine Comedy so she recruited some of her friends to come. BYU royalty makes everything more exciting!



*Relieved Face*

The next Kenneth Branagh


Friday, March 4, 2011

Lib-ary

(Please pardon this awful picture. I have made it a personal goal to only put frump pictures on the internet. And yes, Dave got the kids card. It had a frog, and matched his shirt that day.)



I heart the library. I mean, what decent English major doesn't? What can I say, it combines my two favorite things: freeness and books. And, seeing as we live just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Provo library, Dave and I decided that we needed to get cards there and broaden our horizens from just the good ole' BYU library...not that we don't love it there. It is truly, in my eyes, where our love blossomed. Many, many nights spent there together do something to a couple.

One of our first dates was to the Provo library. Well, it really was kind of an amendment to the date, we got bored after we left a birthday party and I suggested that we go there. He still laughs about how we accidentally went into a secured-off section in the front and I freaked out and tried to run away and hide like the po-po was going to haul us off for being there or something.


Anyway, we decided to make library night our FHE activity last week. I knew I would be kind of busy that night and as the day wore on I was having second thoughts about whether or not it would fit in and I considered replacing it with the always-popular Bananagrams FHE , but at like 2 pm I got a text from Dave that said "I can't wait for library night!" so how could I let him down? It was so dang cute. So after dinner, off to the library we marched.

I was kind of nervous because I knew that Dave would want book recommendations, and I realized when I thought about it that I HAD NO GOOD BOY BOOKS. I could not think of a single one. I mean, there are always the classics to turn to, but he knows about those. All I could think of were ones that I know my dad likes, and as much as I love my dad, he and Dave are not the same person. So needless to say, he didn't really like my suggestions for Patrick O'Brien and P.G. Wodehouse. I guess not everyone likes quirky British humor as much as my parents do....but he found a suitable "fun" book and I found a couple too. I found out, though, that Dave and I have way different library philosophies. I love to load up when I go to the library. I have had way too many experiences in my life where you borrow a book, read twenty pages, hate it, and then move onto the next one that you checked out. I am of the same grain as the author of "Book Lust" who lives by the strategy that you subtract your age from 50, and that is how many pages you have to read before you can bag a book that you don't like. Life is too short to waste on books that you don't like. I follow this mantra and therefore, I like to have a couple options when I come home from the library so I'm not stuck with a snoozer.

Dave, on the other hand, is always practical and didn't see the need to check out more than one at a time. Read it, bring it back, get another. Just like the kids in books (have you ever noticed that? It seems like in movies and books they only let you take out one at a time, and that's just not reality people). I was shocked by this. I guess it's one of those things you learn about each other when you get married. Don't worry, I think it is a difference that we can work through if we try really, really hard :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Geriatric Alert!

I might be 70 years old. I don't know, the jury is still out due to my obsession with sweaters, my love of clogs, and my recent hobby: powerwalking.

I wrote powerwalking as one word even though my spell-check is telling me not to, but I really think it deserves to be recognized after experiencing it and loving it. You may remember how I mentioned that Dave and I picked up a sweet pair of ankle weights when we went down to St. George over President's Day weekend. Insisting that his parents never use them, we decided to give them a new home. I sort of assumed that they would be a joke item that we played around with, but on Tuesday morning I was just super bored with everything that I usually do to workout, and I decided to try strapping on the ankle weights to give my run that day a little extra somethin-somethin. Don't worry, I wore flared workout pants so that hopefully they would fly under the radar.

Well, I set out with a purposeful jog, but soon realized that my legs were the weight of two large safes and a grand piano combined (I am hoping that everyone gets that reference to stereotypical heavy things in cartoons. If you don't, go watch Road Runner real quick). Seriously, I could jog like a block and then I had to stop. I felt like such a wimp, and I started wishing that everyone could see through my deceptive pant legs and my lameness would be justified. However, I wouldn't give up on my workout, and decided that if running with what felt like the combined weight of two Chuck-O-Ramas strapped to my ankles, I would do all I could manage: walk at a very brisk pace. All around the South of campus. While everyone was walking to school. Consequently, I saw everyone I know as I rolled those hips and pumped those arms. Yep, I looked pretty cool.



Please appreciate my hot cankles! P.S. I was sore the next day, and my legs were pretty dang tired all day Tuesday so...yeah, I think I need to invest in a couple of color coordinated sweatsuits and headbands. Forget running! Anyone want to start a ladies walking club with me?