Monday, January 28, 2008

My favorite memories of Gordy B!

Don't think I'm disrespectful for the title, but you had to know my friends and I growing up! President Gordon B. Hinckley was prophet of the LDS church for 12 years, from the time I was 13 until this past Sunday night. He died at the age of 97, surrounded by his family in his Utah home. President Hinckley was deeply loved by the members of the church, but even more so I think by the youth of the church. We really felt that he cared for us and loved us and we all felt like he was our own grandpa! (How cool would it have been to have him for your grandpa!?!?!) When mom called me this morning and told me he had died I was shocked. I mean, of course I knew he was old, but he has always been so healthy! But I'm sure he was ready to go home, and I'm sure he's being greatly blessed at this time for his service on this earth!

So now on to those memories. The first actually occurred when we went as a family on vacation to Niagara Falls and Palmyra, NY one summer. He had not been the prophet very long, maybe a matter of months, a year at most. Palmyra, NY is the where the LDS began and is the site of a very large outdoor pageant in the summer. We were sitting on a blanket playing games and waiting for the pageant to begin when a murmur started through the crowd: "The prophet's here! The prophet's here!" We began looking around and sure enough, there he was a few rows behind us, wearing a red baseball cap! He walked around and spoke to people and he was just so cute and so chipper for a man that was 84 at the time!

(Scene from the Hill Cumorah pageant)

A few years later, actually it was more like 7 or 8 years later he came to Columbus, OH for a regional conference where he announced the building of the Columbus temple. Of course every one was very excited, but I just remember how calming it was to be in his presence! He was such a special man!

(Columbus, OH temple)

He gave the LDS church so much and I know I will never forget him!

And now to leave you with a rap, written by Matt Porter, Nate Nelson and Bill Tipton all these years ago, set to a Biggie song:
"Gordy, Gordy, Gordy can't you see
sometimes your word just sanctify me
and I just love your prophet ways
I guess that's why you're saved for these last days!"
(yeah, it was a little sacrilegious, but we were young and thought it was cool!!!! But that's how much we loved him, we wrote songs about him!!!!!)

Oh, just one more song! I wrote this verse when I was serving as the music leader in primary (which feels like a million years ago). It's an additional verse for the song "Follow the Prophet". It goes like so:
Gordon Bittner Hinckly prophet of our day,
gave us the 6 B's to help us find our way,
Be grateful, smart and humble,
Be clean and true and pray
we must be examples in our world today!
And that's what I will remember the most- his appeals to all to be the best we can be. Not too give in to the temptations of the world but to live a holier life! He will be dearly missed!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's Official!

Well, it's official! We signed the loan papers on our house Saturday. We now have 6 months (that's how long the interest rate will be guarenteed!) to build the house, sell the condo and get moved in. I am sooo excited! I can't believe that after 5 years of marriage we are going to have a gorgeous house and will be saying good bye to our condo. That part is kind of bittersweet. Like I said we've been here since we got married, we brought our babies home to this house. We are leaving behind a lot of memories here, but I know we will make new and possibly better memories in our new home!

As we are looking at putting the house on the market we started making a list of things we need to do in order to get top dollar for it. Of course the fact that it is a third floor with cathedral ceilings, a fireplace and a skylight in the kitchen help, but the furnace is about 18 years old, the carpet needs to be replaced, it needs to be painted and I have a ton of clutter do get rid of! We have our work cut out for us over the next few weeks in order to get it listed but I know we can do it! The hard part is going to be keeping it clean and clutter free every day once it is listed because you never know when a realtor is going to want to show it! So, anyone who wants to have a decluttering party feel free to stop in! :)

We started sprucing it up today by adding knobs and handles on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen. It's amazing how much better factory direct cabinets look once you get knobs on them! We already added them on to the cabinets in the master bath and we're going to put them in the guest bath also. The next project is to clear out the closets and move out extra furniture. And so it begins! But at least we know there is something exciting coming round the bend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Can't Believe He's Gone!

Okay, so at the risk of sounding cliche.. I cannot believe that Heath Ledger is dead! I kid you not when I walked into my mom's living room Tuesday night and saw his face on the TV screen and the caption reading "Heath Ledger dead at 28" I was so shocked! I started to cry! I couldn't believe it, and I still can't believe it! I fell in love with Heath Ledger as an actor in "10 Things I Hate About You" which he starred in with another favorite actor of mine, Julia Stiles. Maybe it was the incredibly sexy Australian accent, or those gorgeous eyes, or that amazing smile...but I was done for! I love him in "The Patriot" where he played Mel Gibson's son but my favorite Heath Ledger movie of all time is "A Knight's Tale". I watch it every time it's on TV (which is quite often) and I never get tired of it! The only movie he was in that I never saw, and don't really care to see is "Brokeback Mountain" (so yes, I'm admitting here that I've seen "Monster's Ball", which I will never see again, and didn't even really see all of because we had to turn it off!!!!) but I thought he was so gifted and amazing, and I feel like we've been cheated because we will never know what he could have achieved had he been given more time. My heart breaks for Michelle Williams and their little girl Matilda! I just hope that the press and the country will leave them alone and let them heal as they will need to following this shocking accident! So friends, that's all for today. And if you see "10 Things I Hate About You" or "A Knight's Tale" playing on TV stop and watch it for a while, and think of the amazing talent that is no longer with us! Rest in peace, Heath!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

So it's time once again for another Menu Plan Monday hosted by orgjunkie. This week there are over 200 menus posted so if you need to find something to eat, take a stroll over there and see what other people are having. I get great ideas there all the time:)
This week's plan is not very well thought out because I've been super busy this weekend, but since the cold weather is going to be sticking around here this week I think I'll be doing a lot of soups and stews. Here is the rough plan:

Monday: we ate with Steven's aunt and her family tonight!
Tuesday: dinner at mom's after I pick up the kids (I have class til 6:05)
Wednesday: turkey chili, corn bread or rolls
Thursday: herbed chicken, potatoes, green beans (didn't get to do this last week)
Friday: beef stew, corn bread or rolls (whichever we don't eat on Wed)
Saturday: Date night!
Sunday: probably leftovers- or whatever doesn't get cooked during the week!
Oh, just to let anyone out there know- we got three meals out of the Hawaiian Pork Roast that was on last week's menu! After dinner with the roast we had an entire half leftover which I shredded and used for BBQ sandwiches one night, and the sauce was like a sweet and sour sauce so we saved that and used it with frozen prepared meatballs one night to make swedish meatballs! It was the greatest recipe- I will definantly use it again! Here is the recipe if you want it:
1 boneless whole pork loin roast (about 3 lbs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 C unsweetened pineapple juice (I use sweetened and it tasted great!)
1 can (8oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C sliced celery
1/2 C cider vinegar
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C corn starch
1/3 C cold water
  • Cut pork roast in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown roast in oil on all sides; drain. Place in a 5 qt slow cooker.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pineapple juice, pineapple, brown sugar, celery, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over the roast. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.
  • Remove roast and keep warm. Let stand for 10 min before slicing. Meanwhile, strain cooking juices; transfer to a large saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 mins or until thickened. Serve with the pork.

Like I said, this was soooo good and by the end I got three nights (more with leftovers) of meals out of this recipe (and we had 3 adults, a toddler and a one year old eating it!). So if you like pork give this recipe a try! Have a great week everybody and happy eating!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pictures of our home site

So I said I'd post some pictures from the home site when I found my camera. It was sitting on the front seat of my car, which probably wasn't great for it since it got down to 4* last night, but we'll see!

These are a couple of pictures that we took yesterday after we signed the contract for the house. The first is of Bri pointing on the map where our new house will be built. The second is of Steven, Jonah, Brianna, Mom and I standing in front of the sold sign on the lot! :) If we look like we are freezing we were- it was 15* out!!!!!!! But we were also sooo excited that we had to get a few pictures for the scrapbook! :) (and the blog!)

And just for one more picture to make you laugh- Mr. Man in his high chair enjoying a banana! Oh that boy loves his food!!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Good news.... NO GREAT NEWS!!!!!

Today is such an exciting day for our family! This afternoon we went and signed the contract to build our home!!!!! We are sooo thrilled and excited right now I can't even tell you! We will be building about 15 minutes from where we are now with Ryan Homes, a builder who has been building in this area for over 50 years. We bought a large corner lot to make sure that we will have plenty of yard, and a neighbor on only one side of us. We will break ground soon and the delivery date on the house is around the 15th of June. I can't believe it will be done that quickly!!! We will have a back yard for the summer!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!

We are building the Venice model which is 4 bedrooms 2 1/2 bathrooms. We are adding a morning room off of the kitchen to add some living space on the first floor. Mom is going to be building an aprtment in the basement with a bedroom, an office, a full bathroom, a kitchen and a sitting area. I think by the time we get done with it it will be around 3000+ square feet of finished living space. Now you can see why I am so excited. We're moving from a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom 1200 square foot condo with no back yard to this! YEAH!!!!!!!!

We took some pictures of us at the homesite but of course I can't find my camera now so I'll post them when I find it. And believe me there will be more pictures as we go through the process. But for those who would like to check it out you can find the picture of the Venice floorplan by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol Fever

The new season of American Idol began last night, and anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE American Idol. I have been a huge fan since season 1 and watch it religiously every season! I even auditioned myself for season 5, and although I did not make it through I hold no ill will towards the show (unlike several people who auditioned last night!!!!!)

Last night the show kicked off the auditions in Philadelphia and as the first few weeks always are, it was incredibly entertaining! It never ceases to amaze me all of the people that audition who really, really think they can sing and they are completely tone deaf or stay on one straight note through the whole song. But they really believe that they should be the next American Idol! No wonder Simon is soooo grumpy! Although I don't understand how he can be so straight faced all the time because some of these people are sooooo horrible that they are hillarious!!!!! I mean loosen up Simon and at least recoginize it for the entertainment that it is! :)

Philadelphia did hold some pretty amazing talent though and I am totally excited to see what Dallas (home of season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson) has in store! So, if you don't already know American Idol continues tonight on Fox beginning at 8:00 pm eastern time (7:00 pm central) and if you've never watched it you've got to at least check it out once! I guarentee you will not be bored! (unlike most of the other shows on right now that are showing repeats due to the writers strike!!!! Watch something new! Don't suffer through repeats!!!!!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And so it begins....

Classes started back for me yesterday and so begins another semester of craziness! BUT, I keep telling myself that this is my last semester before student teaching so that makes it a little more bearable! (Okay, well alot more bearable!!!!) The only thing I have to make sure of is that senoritis doesn't kick in, because that would be really bad! So I just have to make sure I keep up with writing things in my planner (I use one of those big teacher planners and that allows me to keep everything per week viewable at once!) and just keep due dates from slipping by.

I am taking 5 classes- math methods (where we learn how to teach math), classroom management, reading and writing across the curriculum (where we learn how to use reading strategies in every content area), geometry for middle school teacher (UGH!! I hate geometry!!!) and my practicum. This semester I will be at Newport Middle school in a 7th grade math class. I've never been at Newport, which is a more urban school than I've ever been in so this will be a very new experience for me. I'll keep you posted! Overall I'm pretty excited about this semester, not just because it's the last one but because all of my classes will be pretty interesting, and all of my teachers are awesome! That helps a lot- having good professors.

That also means the kids started back to the babysitters today. Bri was sooo excited! She loves going to Ms. Kelly's house. I have already been bombarded by requests to stay late one afternoon so she can go pick up Julia (Kelly's youngest) from school. She loves Julia and loves to go pick her up after school with Kelly. I love taking them to Kelly's because I know they will be well taken care of in my absence. That always makes my day go better. And those of you have kids in day care or with a sitter know what I mean!

Well, that's all for today. Gotta go read through my syllabi that I've gotten so far and get things written in on the calender! Start organized, stay organized!!! :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday- time for another menu plan Monday hosted by Orgjunkie.
Last week's menu went pretty well, although I did have to rearrange some days due to crazy schedules, but for those who wonder the Santa Fe chicken was fantastic (although next time I think I'll serve it over rice or noodles), the potato soup was sooo good (even though I did have a melt down because I thought it tasted too much like flour at first- you have to make a rouge (???) and I had never done that before- but hubby gave it an A+!!!) and the Hawaiian pork roast is going to be done today instead!
Classes resume for me today at NKU so this week's menu isn't incredibly amazing or even 100% set in stone, but by looking at the pantry this is what it looks like we'll be eating this week!
Monday 1/14: Hawaiian pork roast, festive rice, stemmed broccoli
Tuesday 1/15: chili, corn bread
Wednesday 1/16: breakfast casserole, fruit salad
Thursday 1/17: herbed chicken (recipe on the back of the Lipton savory herb soup mix box!), potatoes, green beans
Friday 1/18: chicken and tomatoe rice soup
(This recipe is sooo easy and sooo good! You take 5 cans of chicken and rice soup- don't add the water, 2 cans of chopped tomatoes- 1 with jalapeno if you want a little kick, 1 0r 2 cans chunk chicken. Mix it all together and heat 20 minutes @ a simmer. Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips and shredded cheese!!! YUMMO!!!)
Saturday 1/19: Date night! Kids with Grandparents!
Sunday 1/20: No idea! Probably whatever we didn't eat during the week or leftovers!
So there it is! Here's to a week of good eating! For more great menu ideas check out Orgjunkie's website!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

One "Wicked" Night

two tickets in the first balcony 4th row: $100

dinner for two: $45

one CD: $28


Getting to see the most amazing Broadway show ever: PRICELESS!!!!!!

Last night I got to see the show that I have been wanting to see ever since it debuted on Broadway 5 years ago- "Wicked". For those of you who don't know anything about "Wicked" it is the winner of over 50 awards- including Tony's (the Oscar of Broadway) and Grammy's, and tells the story of how the wicked witch of the west from "The Wizard of Oz" came to be. Basically, it's the story that you didn't see when Judy Garland went to Oz! And it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen! We have seen A LOT of shows, but this now probably ranks #1 in my book (and close behind follow The Lion King, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera). I have been listening to the soundtrack for months now, and absolutely fell in love with the music, even though I wasn't 100% sure how everything fit together! But, nonetheless I loved it! So we were so disappointed when tickets for its 5 week run in Cincinnati sold out in less than 4 hours! We thought for sure we weren't going to be able to go.

Yesterday afternoon a lady we teach Sunday School with called to say that her husband was sick and wasn't going to be able to use his ticket. She asked if I wanted to go and I immediately jumped on the chance. She called back a few hours later to say that the other person that was supposed to be attending with them also had to back out and did Steven want the other ticket!?!?! Well yeah!!!!

So 7:30pm we arrived at the Aranoff center and found out seats, in the center balcony, 4th row. We were dead center! The seats were fantastic, even though we couldn't see faces perfectly- we had a full view of everything that happened on stage! Throughout the show I had to keep reminding myself to breathe! It was so exciting!!! It was also so hard not to sing out loud! I love the music so much that I had to sit there and lip sing with them because I just couldn't help myself! I loved "Popular" and "Defying Gravity". (The links go to performances of these songs- "Popular" from their performance on the Today show, and "Defying Gravity" from the Tony performance.)

It was an amazing 2 1/2 hours, and I LOVED every bit of it! This is one of those shows that you will never forget- and really REALLY makes me want to be on stage again! If only they could all be this good! So, if "Wicked" rolls into your hometown, and you can get your hands on some tickets (because they will go fast!!!) you need to go! Believe me, you will not be disappointed and you will have an amazing night of great talent, wonderful music, and lots of laughs (even a few tears!) It was one "wicked" night!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

So last night was one of those nights where Bri just will not go to bed! I think we tried for like an hour and a half before we just gave up and let her come back out into the living room with us. We were watching ER (so it was around 10pm) and she was being goofy and just normal Bri! At one point she climbs off the couch and is standing next to it with her head propped up on some throw pillows, watching TV. The next thing I know I'm hearing this deep breathing and I look over and see this: She fell asleep standing up!!!! I mean, deep sleep, snoring here!!!!! It was the funniest thing I've ever seen! And of course, since Mommy is a scrapbooker we couldn't put her in bed until I snapped a few pictures to document the story! Otherwise, no one would believe me! Plus, it'll make such a cute page for her scrapbook!!!!!
So there she is- our very own sleeping beauty! Oh, how she makes me laugh!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

So, it's the second week of January. Time for my 2nd meal plan of the year! When we were down in Bowling Green this week I came home with my Granny Lynda's copies of Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazines for 2006-2007. I love the recipes so we're trying a couple this week!
Monday 1/7: Three cheese pizza, salad
Tuesday 1/8: Santa Fe chicken, salad, cornbread
2 lbs chicken tenders
2 cans corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups salsa
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir to incorporate spices. Place tenders in the crockpot. Top with salsa mixture. Cook on low 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours. (recipe from mommy cooks)
Wednesday 1/9: Hawaiian Pork Roast, Festive Rice Medley, steamed broccoli
Thursday 1/10: baked potato soup, rolls
(The recipe for the baked potato soup is kind of involved, but if anyone really wants it let me know and I'll post it!!!)
Friday 1/11: spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
Saturday 1/12: date night!! (using Longhorn gift card from Christmas!!!!)
Sunday 1/13: whatever meal we don't get to end up doing due to going to family, etc.
Well, that's it for this week! I'm looking foward to some good eating! Hope you are too!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Eternal Question

On January 2nd, my mom and I climbed in the car with Michael (my brother), Bri and Jonah and drove 3 hours to Bowling Green, KY to visit Granny and Grandpa Adkins. That is always a great time! We were only able to stay Wednesday and Thursday night but we had a wonderful visit. We played cards, Harry Potter Scene It, talked family history, politics (especially since the Iowa Caucus was Thursday night!!!!) and ate some really good food!!!
Uncle Cory, his new wife Tonya (they married in May and Bri calls her Tona!) and Lauren came over Wednesday night.That was really fun! It was great to see them! Thursday we went over to see their house and Michael went to Lauren's school for lunch! He had so much fun but says he doesn't know how school lunch ever filled him up! (well, you were a lot smaller then! Or maybe not!?!?! LOL!!!)

Jonah with Aunt Tona!

The eternal question that I hinted to in the title of this post though is this: Why is it, when kids have a host of toys to choose from to play with, that they choose the tuperware cabinet?!?!? That's what happened at Granny and Grandpa's! Granny showed Jonah where "his cabinet" (the tuperware cabinet) was when she was trying to cook dinner Wednesday night to keep him out of the way! Then Thursday night I get these pics of Bri and Jonah, tuperware all over the floor, inside of the cabinet playing! Meanwhile, the loft upstairs full of toys was left lonely! So the old adage is still true today, give a kid a toy, they will have more fun with the cardboard box it came in! From here on out, I go to Kroger and get the boxes and save myself some money!!!!! Here's to childhood!

OH, You caught me!!!!!

Tuperware anyone?!?!?!

It's so fun to be a kid!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I can't believe that it is 2008! Where, oh where did 2007 go?!?! This past year absolutely flew by. I swear the older I get, the faster the time passes! Does it feel that way to anyone else? 2007 was another great year for our family and I know that 2008 will be also! I am looking forward to all the milestones that will be reached this year, and all of the awesome things that will happen. Here's what we are looking forward to happening this year:

1) Move into a house-the 2 bdrm condo is getting too small with two small kids! So we're upgrading. We're house hunting now, so stay tuned for updates!
2) Bri will start preschool in the fall. I can't believe she'll be old enough but she will be so off to school she'll go!
3) I will FINALLY graduate with my degree in middle grades education in December, so I'll begin '09 job hunting. In the meantime, I'll keep you laughing with stories from practicum and student teaching!!!!
4) Jonah will start to walk and talk (hopefully, if not we're in trouble- if he does, we're still in trouble!!!)
Like I said we are looking forward to another great year with lots of milestones.

Everyone always wants to know on New Years' Day what your New Years' Resolutions are. For several years I didn't make any because I could never keep them so I always felt like a failure! But now I'm a little older, a little wiser, and a lot more disciplined so I've decided to make a few resolutions. Here they are in no particular order:

1) do a weekly meal plan for our family to help with the budget and to make them healthier. I'll be taking part in Menu Plan Mondays hosted by OrgJunkie (see yesterdays post) to help keep me accountable!
2) have a weekly family night. We've always had a family time, but it was always whenever we had time and never had a theme or real purpose to it. So this year we will commit to having a weekly family night (on Fridays) with a lesson, an activity, a treat, and lots of fun! I'll try to post our favorites, in case anyone wants to do them with their own family!
3) read the scriptures daily. I usually read several times a week, but that's not good enough for me! I need to commit to reading daily so now it's in writing. Hopefully that will help me stay on track.
4) last, but not least: get in shape! Everyone thinks because I'm thin I must be in great shape! But that couldn't be farther from the truth! So Steven and I are committing to work out together. That will keep both of us accountable. What could be better than getting healthy with your best friend?!?!

So there you have it, what we're looking forward to this year and my resolutions! Keep checking in throughout the year to see how things are going for us! Happy New Year, and may God bless you all!