About Me

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I'm a Great Northwesterner that is now loving life in the Midwest. I am a world class napper. I'm very bossy. I clearly love a good glass of Scotch. I wear aprons every chance I get.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Christmas "Stop-by"

It seems that the Christmas "Stop-by's" have begun a little early this year. We are more used to them being on Christmas Eve - but we are not one's to pretend we're not home just because we're not wearing any pants. Just like a designated driver, we have one person assigned to be able to receive guests at the door while the rest of the crew...uh...completes their ensemble.

But more to the point - tonight we had three "stop-by's." One with delicious chocolate covered popcorn, another with the worlds greatest caramels, and the last - and really the most spectacular was a cake. In our ward, the Laurels get together each Sunday evening to bake and decorate cakes for folks in the ward. I'm not sure how it started or the reasoning - but I'm not one to turn down a cake. So, here it is:
Trixie with the cake
A cake! For us! With blue frosting!
We loved the details - the nose is an M&M on its edge - in relief!!
We are so amazed at the generosity of our friends and family!

An entree for the New Year...

This year - I will be making this sangwich on New Year's Day. I'm pretty excited about it...doesn't this sound good?!

3-4 slices of bacon
2 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
2 slices of toasted rustic country loaf (pain de campagne)
1 tbsp of mayo
4 tomato slices
2 leaves of butter lettuce
1 teaspoon butter
1 egg

1. Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels
2. Place slices of cheese on one side of toasted bread. Place in toaster oven or under broiler to melt.
3. Spread mayo on other slice of bread top with bacon, sliced tomato, and lettuce
4. On non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Fry egg, turning over briefly when the bottom is set (keep yolk runny)
5. Slide finished egg on top of lettuce, top with other slice of bread (cheese-side down genius)
6. Place sandwich on plate and slice in half, letting yolk run down sandwich


I will make one of these sangwiches for the first person who can tell me where this sangwich was featured.



***UPDATE: the sangwich contest has been won, by my dear friend Tinkles.***

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thanks for the concern...

I understand that folks have been worried about my lack of posting. I am sorry for the absence - but I've been busy - below you can read what I've been up to!

Reveling...


This has been a really wonderful Christmas season. I have been to many parties - including one where my very own father got to be one of Santa's "helpers." Such a fun time. And a little mind blowing.

I've also been shopping and was in our Enrichment program - as the reader (and good news, I was perfect - because I know how to read!). It's been such a nice season to spend time with friends and not feel guilty that I should be doing something else...sitting and visiting is part of my Spirit of Christmas...and I don't care who knows it.

Mostly we've been getting ready to talk to our Elder on Christmas Day. We've sent him packages and gifts and things and cookies - but the best will be talking to him on Tuesday. Time has played tricks this year - it's been SO long since we talked to him in May, but it's so hard to believe that TEN months have passed since we said good-bye at the MTC. Weird. If you have any questions for the Elder - either interesting questions or stuff you actually want to know, please send them to me!

So - I hope that you're enjoying what you're doing and smiling and saying "thank you" and being awesome. That's my Christmas wish...

Working!

I've been working for the last week as a classified substitute for a local school district. And I LOVE IT. It's so many good things and I will list them.

First: it's an adrenalin rush each day. I never know where I'll be working, what I'll be doing - and it's a new challenge each day! The calls come in the 5:00 a.m. hour, which IS early - but then I get cracking and on my way. Now I know what Don Berg's days are like..sort of. Really, just the part of being up before heaven's angels. Any who - I get a lot done and get to enjoy hours of the day I didn't really know existed...

Second: as a "classified" sub, I'm working in inclusion programs, resource rooms, regular classrooms, and best of all - on the playground. I am not tied to one classroom - so even if I don't like the style of a teacher or classroom - I'm not there long enough for it to become a problem. This really helps in my "no complaining" project.
Third - so far I've had several childhood dreams come true - and I've only subbed for five days!! These [nerdy] dreams have included: going to the bus barn and helping kids with disabilities get on/ride the bus; being a CROSSING GUARD; being the "duty" teacher during a whole day's worth of recess. As the crossing guard, I got to say good morning and greet the kids and stop the "you know what" right out of traffic. I did it - and with a big, dopey grin on my face. As the "duty" teacher - I got to give bathroom passes, use a whistle, and make kids "sit on the wall" if they couldn't make good choices. I've also been able to work with reading groups and even [gasp] helped a girl with her math homework...and the math help was while I was working at the middle school! Eat your heart out, BYU!
So basically - I love the life of a sub. Each day is exciting and rewarding and usually over by 3:00 p.m. This has been such a good fit for so many of my talents and strengths. The most utilized strength, so far, has been my ability to make and enforce arbitrary rules...especially on the playground. It's awesome and I love it.

Primary...

This year the Murrayhill Primary will be giving each family the gift of a CD with all the music for the 2008 Sacrament meeting program. I've put together some great versions of the songs - so that it's an interesting CD in addition to helping the kids learn the music...

I also designed the cover (pictured above) and rest of the packaging. There is even a booklet to help with the themes for each month. I'm pretty proud of the finished product and really am excited to see these CDs go home and be used...I hope they are!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas cheer...

If you find yourself lagging in the "cheer" department - visit the collection of snow themed Calvin and Hobbes cartoons here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Horn tooting...

So - today was the December meeting of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP). We had a fun gift exchange, and you have not lived until you've played "Dirty Santa" with most of the players being ladies in their seventies and eighties. Below is a picture of the gifts we came home with:
Mom got the cute Santa to add to her collection - and I got these place mats and napkins. They are really pretty.


Also, in other news...you may have noticed those cute costumes we were wearing in our musical number - and yes - we made them. I designed and created the pattern for the reindeer - but had Mom do the ACTUAL cutting, since I'm terrible at cutting. What you can't see is the texture in the antlers - they have paisley patterns in the felt - a really nice detail, if I do say so. Also - the skirts have glitter in the fabric - they aren't dirty or linty.


Finally - as promised, here is our tree. If you want a chance to see it in person - all you have to do is stop by...and bring $14.00. Just kidding....please, don't stop by.
And yes, I know the lights aren't on - but they make the pictures funky. If you want to picture them - they are white lights. And the angle doesn't show off the majesty of the tree...but I have to keep something for myself.

You know who you are...

I saw this and thought of you - and you know who you are...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is a heart attack?

Folks, we need to keep Alex Trebek in our thoughts as he had a mild heart attack and was hospitalized on Tuesday. Just in case you wanted to know. And don't watch Entertainment Tonight to get your news.

Do yourself a favor...

Tonight Mom and I went to a choir concert at a local elementary school. The second graders were amazing - and yes, I cried through all their numbers. Some were sweet and some were funny...but it was such a sweet experience. And we didn't even have anyone in the choir!! But - if you haven't done so - find a holiday concert at an elementary school and GO. You'll be glad you did.

What are you making for dinner? Reservations.

This is such a fun and useful gift without being "useful" like socks...you know what I mean? It would be a great gift for Christmas OR a great baby shower gift...seriously. Sometimes it is just so much easier to order out or pick something up. Having a drawer full of menus is messy and confusing - but this takeout menu organizer is both lovely and good report...I seek after these things...

Holiday Home Evening 2007

This year the Taylor family performed Gene Autry's holiday classic, "32 Feet and 8 Little Tails." We sure had a lot of fun and hope you enjoy our performance.

video

Friday, December 7, 2007

I pity the fool who doesn't have a Merry Christmas!

Final countdown...

Oh my - it's almost here - the fifth Harry Potter DVD!! Yee-Haw! I just cannot wait!

I'm dreaming...

It's been so fun to wander around the Spoon Sisters and get ideas for gifts or wishes or pretty things. Some of my faves are:
This lovely ribbon watch could be the perfect accessory for...ANYONE...seriously - don't you think?!
A simple gift for the reader in your life is the Thumb Thing...and it's just a simple device that will keep your book open while you're reading but not wear out your hand. Could also be great for the folks in your book club. Yes, please.
And this golf journal I saw and will eventually get for Geoffrey when it can actually be useful to him...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bah, HUMBUG!

So - SPOILER ALERT...if'n you haven't watched the Top Chef Christmas special - and don't want to know who won - stop reading.

But seriously - Tre should have won! Tiffany was so grouchy about the fourth course - and boo. Ah well...there is always next time!

A festive tasty treat!

It was so delightful to visit with Marfa (our TiVo) and discover that there was a new Top Chef Christmas special. 90 minutes of crazy chefs running around and competition drama with holiday cheer! I'm halfway though - and in 45 minutes there will be a winner! This episode is definitely feeding into my need of instant gratification...bring it on Tre and C.J.!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WOW

Jones Soda is very creative...but this holiday pack is bordering on bizarre...Christmas Ham soda? WOW.

Addicted to Sharpies...

The kind and generous folks who create Sharpies now allow you to personalize your Sharpies - pick the color and what you want your Sharpie to say. Go and make your own selection of Personalized Sharpies!

They are watching you!

Even though our family has never been into "stocking stuffers" these stickers would be such a great stocking stuffer. You just add the eyes and smiles to inanimate objects and spice up your desk or kitchen. Or you could creep someone out by not telling them about the stickers and watch them discover the staring stapler on the desk...

RSVP

As your holiday invitations start to arrive or float through the air, perhaps this awesome tool will come in handy... The Holiday Excuse Generator is both a fun website and handy. All you have to do is describe the event and how you feel about the host, etc., and it generates an excuse for you to use. Plus - the host is pretty cute.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Just bring some to the picnic, baby

Head on over to Weebl - and check out this Ode to Pork. It's funny. And true.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Noble Tradtion

We, as a family, have NEVER had our Christmas tree before December 1...EVER. But this year Mom found a beautiful tree at a lot near her office. She called Dad and me to come out and inspect it, and if approved, take that bad boy home! Lucky for us it is a grand 8.5 foot noble fir - and here is what it looked like getting it home and into the house...

I must say that it is a little weird having our tree so early - mostly because we used to comment on how zealous those folks were who would have their tree before December even started!! Crazy. And now - we're one of them...
Mark unfastens the tree from the roof of the Jeep
Happily shaking out all the dead needles...and bugs.
Mr. Tree is prepped for the cutting of the trunk and stand fitting
Mark makes quick work of that trunk - and pictures of the tree in the house - all decorated will posted AFTER December 1.

Make it your own...

Don't you think it's fun to create something special? Who wouldn't love a mug with a horse on it? You can buy these fun and silly decals to put on any mug or plate - you could get all fancy making a matching set of mugs or just have one unique piece in your collection. Or a way to keep people from using your mug. People think twice before they steal the pony mug...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm not a sheeple

But - I'm now in love with The Weepies - an indy pop-folk band. Their song "All That I Want" is featured in a great JC Penny commercial this holiday season. And you can listen to their heart grabbing music at their MySpace page...
This CD would be a great gift for anyone this year - but especially me. I think Nader would like it, too.

Getting festive!

Yesterday my Dad and I (most work done by my Dad) put the lights up on the house. No we weren't out the day after Thanksgiving like so many folks in our neighborhood. But we did get some pretty lights up and here is the process of an outdoor illumination expert, our personal MacGyver.
Testing and sorting...you have to check each bulb!
Up on the roof - it's much more steep than it looks.
Making the best use of that Little Giant ladder system - at this point I took the picture and the flash made Dad think he had shocked himself...whoops
Round One: Icicle lights. Round Two: multi-color lights
Near the end - a costume change and 60 feet of lights later...it's cold and starting to sleet. Good thing we're almost done!
Dad plugs it all in to see if his plan worked - and it did! Pictures of outdoor lights with a basic digital camera are much more difficult than you'd think.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This would have been awesome!

The Daring Book for Girls is such a great resource for young ladies looking for things to DO. There is a companion piece, The Dangerous Book for Boys. The authors are not the same, but the spirit of the books really match. Each book is designed to get young ladies and gentlemen up and out - away from the television and X-box and text messaging and actually do something. But beware - mischief may come from this up and outness.
In fact - I learned how to short-sheet a bed from their website...I'm just sayin'

Rub that stuff!

These socks socks are awesome! Now they just need to arrive with someone to rub them for you! Socks that map the reflexology of the feet - very smart!

For any office...

Goodness, it is cold outside today! But here are some items that could make any desk cooler...
I had a professor who used these super cool paperclips - and she handed them out freely!! I thought she was classy/crazy for just giving them away...but I wouldn't say no to a tin of my own.

And it's always nice to increase the honesty in the office - so why not use these great (and honest) file folders? Anne Black LOVES!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Would you rather...?

One of my most favorite things in the whole wide world is a good meal with great conversation. Often, starting a worthwhile conversation is difficult and can often be one sided if there is just one person asking all the questions. But sometimes thinking of good questions is very difficult. Plus - how many times can you be asked about your favorite canned good? (Italian Stewed Tomatoes, fyi).

The best tool for starting conversations with anyone (family, new friends, old friends, strangers) is the great Table Topics. The questions come in a cube, so they take up very little space on the table. While you enjoy dinner, you can easily find out more about your dining companions and yourself! I'm not sure what flavor I would want, because they all seem great!

I'd love to try one out...


So the Yogipoof and their family of products was recently brought to my attention - and I have to say I'd like to have a test run. I'm not sure how the Yogipoof compares with the Love Sack which I know I....love. But it certainly looks like the Yogipoof is a great product - I think I would want one of these bolster deals - such a pretty cover. Hopefully it doesn't work just as a speed bump for babies...
My wireless mouse broke...and I'm thinking that I need to get a replacement...or maybe I'm just dreamin'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just in case you missed it...

Below is the text from the Woot.com description for the Leakfrog 2 pack. You could print it off and and take the parts (1 male, 1 female) and then read it as part of your family's Thanksgiving program.


Frog Beside A Leaky Tin Roof

Dramatis Personae
Rock
Margie

“Rock, don’t ya find me pretty no more? Don’t I make you happy?”

“Happy? Only thing makes a man happy in this place is a Leakfrog 2 Pack.”

“Oh, Rock, come to bed. Look, I bought this pretty thing just for you. Don’t you wanna see me in it?”

“All I wanna see is a new bottle on this heah table. Them Leakfrogs is scratch resistant. You scratch resistant, Margie? You got a plastic housing?”

“Lord knows I tried, Rock. I tried so many times for you.”

“But you didn’t, did ya? You ain’t a success. Not like the Leakfrog 2 Pack. You know how many units we sell in a year? And each one runs on three AAA batteries. Sets off an alarm, too. Any water comes up, any water from any source at all, even just 1/32 of an inch, and it lets a man know. You can trust a Leakfrog 2 Pack, Margie. It keeps promises.”

“1/32 of an inch is pretty shallow, Rock. Almost as shallow as those ragamuffins you used to play football with. You know, I bet half of them didn’t do nothin’ with their lives.”

“You shut yuh mouth, Margie! You don’t know a blessed thing about football! We were gladiators, Margie! You could trust a man like you can trust an activated Leakfrog to emit an alarm for up to 48 hours or until turned off by the user!”

“Rock… I didn’t mean no harm, I was just…”

“You was just runninyuh mouth, Margie! You want some statistics? How about this, how about 40% of all property damage is done by water!”

“No, Rock!”

“How about… how about 70% of toxic mold is caused by leaks or plumbing failures?”

“No, Rock! I’ll scream, I swear it, I’ll scream!”

“How about this, Margie, how about this one? One in every three insurance claims are for water damage, something the Leakfrog 2 Pack can warn a homeowner about!”

“Rock, oh Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock. What’s become of us, Rock?”

“What’s become of you, Margie? I’m the same person I always was. Maybe I just figured out what’s important.”

“What’s that, Rock? Just a bottle? I’m second best to a bottle? Rock… can’t you love me like you used to love me?”

“Just get out, Margie. Just get out and leave the Leakfrog 2 Pack. That’s all that matters now.”

So cool!


This is such a cool mp3 player and cd player in one! Wow. This would be so great for pretty much anyone!

The experiment...

I've finished reading "A Complaint Free World" by Will Bowen - and I am excited to begin the 21 Day Challenge. If you're not familiar with the Complaint Free World movement, you can learn more about it here or find a copy of the book at your local library. The challenge is this: to go 21 consecutive days without complaining, gossiping, or criticizing. Bowen even sends out purple bracelets as a reminder/honor system with the challenge.

"Here's how to use the bracelet:
1. Begin to wear the bracelet on either wrist.
2. When you catch yourself complaining, gossiping or criticizing, move the bracelet to the other wrist and begin again.
3. If you hear someone else who is wearing a purple bracelet complain, it's okay to point out their need to switch the bracelet to the other arm; BUT if you're going to do this, you must move your bracelet first! Because you're complaining about their complaining.
4. Stay with it. It may take many months to reach 21 consecutive days. The average is 4-8 months."

In November 2001 my friend Josh and I tried to stop complaining for the month - leading up to Thanksgiving. It was a very interesting experiment, not a lot of structure - but I remember that time of very consciencely listening to the words coming out of my mouth. We also cheated...a lot.

I'm excited to get started...I've ordered an official bracelet - but will be using another bracelet until it arrives. Awesome!