Saturday, January 28, 2012

Yep, I'm blogging at 5:00 am

I don't sleep well in the early morning. I just say to heck with it and get up. Course, I pay for it at night when I fall asleep at 7 pm. I missed out on Moneyball last night. I need to rewatch it.

But in my early-early mornings I do get stuff done.
Like today, I'm going to blog.
And make muffins. Delicious ones.
And hopefully a load of laundry before me and Bret head out to Mesa for the weekend. The only underwear I have left are the ones that don't fit very good.

And I guess I owe all of you a preggy picture.

14 weeks.
It's cute until you see my face, which is un-make-up-ed (hello, people, it's just after 5 am!) and chubbied.

Heard a good, strong heartbeat yesterday. Always a good feeling.
Everything's ok so far, aside from my problems with asthma and migraines.
We won't know if the baby is 100% okay until after the next ultrasound and a fetal EKG.
NOT looking forward to that one but ready to know for sure.

Excited to find out if our baby is going to be Beetle or Butterfly though. :) (No, those aren't the real names we've got picked out.)

To be honest, I'm still terrified. I'm so, so grateful for this new little one who has already helped to heal my broken heart. It's just... hard.

***And I had to come back and add this: (not in my original post) After finishing my blog post, I went cruising Pinterest and I felt a tiny pop in my belly that I KNOW wasn't gas. Not the first time I've felt the baby move, but still, I had to share it.***

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reading Machine

In the last month, I've read four books. What's more... none of them were from the genre I typically read.
Which is YA fantasy fiction.
Because I like to write YA fantasy fiction.
So it's like homework.
The fun kind.

But this last month I've taken a break from my norm. sudden allusion to the television show cheers. Norm!
Anyway, I've been reading my brains out and have discovered complete GEMS!

The first

I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie. My sister advised me on that. The movie was a fantastic adaptation but I'm SO glad that I read the book first.
In my limited experience with racial issues and civil rights (I love and have respect for all hard-working people, whatever shade of lovely they wear on the outside, but I'm not much of an activist.) I have to say this book was eye-opening, heart-breaking, and beautifully written. I loved it and I'm so glad it was gifted to me so that I can have it always. It's such a great book to have on my shelf.

The second:

A friend let me borrow this book. A little bit of mystery and yumminess mixed in! I love the Josi Kilpack books. They're suspenseful and fun this one especially was a page-turner. I find myself wishing I was the main character, Sadie Hoffmiller's friend or neighbor. She's got spunk. This particular book is the fourth in the Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mysteries. They just keep getting better and better!

The next, naturally:

My friend let me borrow this one too. She wasn't finished reading the latest book, Pumpkin Roll, but that one is definitely on my list and hopefully she'll lend that one to me too! (Thanks, Barb!!!)
This next installment in Sadie Hoffmiller's adventures was just as delicious as the previous. A lot of heart, a lot of questions that kept me wondering WHO-DUNNIT, and recipes I am dying to try as soon as I get over this pregnancy-induced nausea over anything that smells too much.
I just love that adorable Sadie!!

And the one I just finished today: (also borrowed from Barb)

Oh. My. Goodness!!
At first I had a hard time getting into it. The book is made up completely of correspondence letters between writer Juliet Ashton and the various people in her life. At first I wondered who the main character was, if Sidney was a guy or a girl (he's a guy, Juliet's editor), who Susan and Sophie were, and was this book ever going to go to normal format? Then with an onset of migraine headaches, I was afraid to read for a couple of days. 
But then I got into the rhythm of the letters, got to know who was who and where they were from, and came to love the characters as though I was a member of their society. I was hooked and it became a quick read.

There's a lot of history in this book even though the characters are fictional. I found myself rooting for the good guys, feeling sorrow at their losses, and cheering with them at every triumph. Like the Help, this book gives a new perspective, sometimes a raw and sad one. But it was a beautiful book. Another I would one day like to have on my shelf. 

Want to see what's next on my list??
Of course you do.
I'm way too stinkin excited for these next ones to arrive in the mail to not share it with you.

This one is written by a friend of mine and she has promised to autograph it for me as soon as I can get it to her. Yay!!

Aaaaaaand, *squeeeeee!*

Sequel to my favorite book of all time, Austenland! Ohhhh I can't WAIT!!!
I ordered these on Amazon a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, they won't send Risen without also sending Midnight in Austenland and the latter won't be released until early February. Ugh. I hate to wait.

In the mean time, I'm also working on reading Book one of the Belgariad Series by David Eddings. (Thanks, Darci!)

Whew!! Hope all this reading reawakens the WRITING bug in me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BLR soundbites

In all this political storm, sometimes it's serious. But sometimes I think it's taken too seriously. It's nice to laugh once in a while.

These are my three favorite Bad Lip Reading soundbites.

laughing. out. loud.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

As requested...

The cinnamon roll recipe.

I got it from via pinterest. I've made a few changes because the original recipe tells you how to make it using a breadmaker. If you have a breadmaker, definitely do the version. (Just so you know, I'm not a brilliant baker. The instructions sans breadmaker were on the all recipes website in the comments.)

If you don't have a breadmaker, you can use this recipe:
Makes 12 cinnamon rolls

1 cup warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (can use rapid rise if you want)
2 eggs room temperature
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour

Cinnamon filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla (I accidentally put in a whole teaspoon but it was fine)
1/8 tsp salt

-Dissolve yeast in warm milk
-Mix in eggs, butter, salt, and sugar
-Add flour slowly and mix well
-Put in a bowl and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. (I preheated my oven to 200 degrees, then turned it off and let my dough rise in the oven.)

-Just before you roll out the dough, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter filling. One thing I wish I would have done was cook it on the stove until the sugar and butter had all melted together. I'm not sure how to do this, I would probably just wing it. But I'd say maybe cook it in a small pot on medium, stirring constantly until smooth? *shrug* You can do it either way. Sprinkling it all onto the rolled out dough, mixing it together and spreading it that way, or cooking it first.

-Okay, now roll out the dough to about a 16x21 inch rectangle or until the dough is about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
-Spread your cinnamon and brown sugar mixture over the dough.
-Carefully roll it up.
-Here's a cool trick my friend taught me to cut the cinnamon rolls: Use a 12 inch piece of dental floss. Place it under the roll of dough, bring the ends together, and pull around the roll, tightening the loop until the floss cuts the roll. VERY handy and your rolls come out lovely and round.
-Place in a greased pan side by side and let rise another 1/2 hour to an hour.

-Bake rolls in preheated oven (400 degrees) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

-Meanwhile, mix up your frosting, beating all ingredients together until smooth.
-Spread frosting on hot cinnamon rolls so it gets all melty and delicious.

-Enjoy! They're best while still hot and the brown sugar is still gooey.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A rare foodie post featuring the compona.

This morning, Bret was making his lunch for school. He does it a little differently. Instead of making an actual sandwich, he puts everything he needs into separate containers (like lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, bread, lunch meat, etc.) so he can "make" his sandwich right before he's ready to eat it.
Keeps it from getting soggy, see?
He's kind of a picky eater that way.
So as he's putting it together, I asked him if he was making a ham sandwich.
Conversation. You know.
And he said "Just making the components."
I thought he said "Just making the compona."
As though it was the official name for a ham sandwich or something.
After finding out what he really said and having a small laugh about it, I think we may have to call ham sandwiches componas from now on.

I had to tell that story after first googling compona to make sure it didn't mean something vulgar. Like butt crack in Italian or something.

I made cinnamon rolls today. For the first time in my life (on my own). I used a recipe I found on pinterest, which is supposedly similar to Cinnabon.
I just tasted one....

and I am in transports of taste-bud delight. It DOES taste like Cinnabon!!! I think I've just invited a little bit of savings and a few extra pounds to my future.

Aren't they pretty??

Monday, January 9, 2012

A few things I've learned...

1. Never blog in anger
2. If you ask for an argument, you're going to get one.

For these two things, I apologize. I should have had more compassion and a lot less pride.
As an appendage to my last post, I've decided to explain something:

Why the gospel of Jesus Christ makes me happy:
1. Obedience to the commandments keeps me safe and free.
~"bogged down" or "fenced in" is one way to think of it. But the truth is, I'll never be "bogged down" or "fenced in" by an addiction to drugs or alcohol, I've never had to worry about an unplanned pregnancy or unwanted disease, and I don't have to fear the police or the law. Except when I speed. oh come on, nobody's perfect.
2. I have knowledge of the afterlife.
~Please don't argue with me on this one. The death of my child a year ago is something that still hurts and will haunt me the rest of my life. But I know where she is, I know she's always my daughter, and I know that a merciful God in Heaven and His Almighty Son Jesus Christ have made it possible for us to be a family even beyond death.
3. I have opportunities to serve others.
~Christ has commanded us to love and serve one another (in my haste to defend my faith, I missed the mark and had lots of contempt in my last post). I am allowed to say "no" when I'm unable to help out when someone is in need, but whenever I do take the opportunity to serve someone, it brings a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and peace. Those who serve and those who have done the serving are both lifted, brightened, and strengthened.
4. I am able to gain further knowledge.
~The Lord has encouraged me to gain as much education as I can. Though I know I am nowhere near my potential, or where He wants me to be, it has become a goal of mine and I hope that I can abide by that guidance. I know that if I follow the direction given to me by the very God of Heaven, He will help me obtain it.
5. There is camaraderie and sisterhood.
~I have some dear, darling friends I have made because of the church. I do have friends who are not of my faith too. There's always someone to laugh with, cry with, shop with, eat brownies with...
Even women I don't know. When I'm in the temple, I try to look on every person there as my brother or sister. Everyone equal, everyone loved. This should extend to women on the internet as well.

Please understand, I'm not trying to come across as "holier-than-thou" or self-righteous. I can't stand people like that. I'm explaining my reasons why. These are only a few of them. And I do not ever mean to diminish the pain of others or magnify the pain that is my own. No one escapes the hardships that come with this life. And for some people, prayers and faith and fasting just aren't enough. My only hope is that all of us can realize that, like I said in my last post, all wrongs will one day be right. Endurance will one day be worth it.
Because of Christ.

I have been humbled and taught, but also lifted by your comments. All of us are in this together, whether you're a Mormon or a Catholic or an Athiest or a Jew.
And I love that.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Found this link to Mormon Mommy blogs from my friend Heather. The wonderful Sister Julie B. Beck, President of the Relief Society women's organization for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or Mormon Church) is going to have a question-answer meeting in which ANY questions will be answered.

You can read them yourself here, if you so desire.

I was astonished at what some of these questions were. Women with issues about only men holding the priesthood, women asking about certain talks given by Sister Beck and if she would change them if she could, and other issues that surprised me. Some things didn't surprise me at all and were completely legitimate, as well as heartfelt and heartbreaking questions.

But some of them made me angry and I just have to vent for a moment.

Heaven forbid you have trials.
Heaven forbid you have hardships with your children and marriage.
Heaven forbid your life as a mother is so boring, routine, limiting, stifling....
Heaven forbid your Family Home Evening/scripture/family prayer efforts are not perfect.
Heaven forbid you are not called to certain leadership positions (all the while complaining that you have "too much on your plate and don't know how to handle it all.")
Heaven forbid the general authorities and auxillary leaders say something you don't like.

I wanted to reply to some of them and say, "My gosh, people, get a grip! Sometimes life sucks! Sometimes there are hurts that run so deep it feels as though your entire life has been good for nothing. Guess what?
Chances are someone else out in this crappy world we live in is hurting more than you."
I'm not talking about myself here, guys. I'm including myself in this. I'm not the only one with trials. I'm not the only one with doubts. I'm not the only one who has had to face suffering and pain.
But you know what?
I'm trying. I'm learning. Sometimes I screw up, but then I try again. And learn some more.
In the eternal scheme of things, all that matters is obedience. One day, all hurts will be healed. All unfairness will be made fair. All the answers will be given and all that was wrong will be made right.
Just not in this life.

And so help me, I will be forever faithful to my God in heaven and His Son. In the end, Christ is the head of my church and my life. People aren't perfect and they never will be. Not the prophet, not the Relief Society president, not my loved ones, and not me.
But Christ is.
I put my trust in Him. Always.
And no amount of devils advocates, pot stirrers, or rabble 'rousers is going to change that. Period.

*quick breath*
That may have been a little harsh.
I just had to get it out.

Oh, and one more thing, even though most of my readers believe as I do. Here's something my dad taught me if I'm ever faced with someone who likes to try to make me question my faith. This is his response, as well as mine:
"The gospel makes me happy."
Argue with that. I dare you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gotta post mine.

First, I have to say Happy Birthday to one of my best friends, my sister Jessica!!!! 26 years old. Love you, sis!!! Go get a pedicure. I hear foot massages stimulate labor. :) She's very ready to have her widdle girl. Any day now!

So it's a brand new year. I say farewell to the old one like I say goodbye to a hard class at school.
"Thanks. Learned a lot. I'll always remember. And I don't care to ever come back."

Everyone's posting their Resolutions. Most of the time in cute, subway-style art or in adorable pictures they painstakingly snapped, uploaded, and arranged.
Maybe one of my Resolutions should be to quit being such a blog-slacker.

So here are mine:
~Eat more healthy.
Isn't that on everyone's Resolution list? Bret's on board too. That'll make it easier. Even though we've broken that one already. Baby steps, right?
~Set aside time every day (but Sunday) to write!
I have two manuscripts I want to finish by July. This is because once the baby is born, I'll have NO time to write. I want to at least get the rough draft written on these things. Basic outline is mostly there.
~Re-read the Book of Mormon
I got a really great idea on how to approach this from my cousin, Patrice. She said that every time she reads the Book of Mormon, she reads it from a different perspective. Like on parenting, or marriage, or faith. With that different perspective in mind, you get different insights as you read.
~Have Family Home Evening every week.
I know we won't be perfect on this one. But we did better last year than the year before and that is my goal for this year too. Plus, I got a really neat-o calendar from my Mum for Christmas that I intend to use as for Family Home Evening purposes. Jot notes on what we're up to, discuss the week's schedule, make it a journaling type thing.
~Be a better person.
Give more service. Fill my heart and soul with charity. Stay away from things that aren't uplifting like certain movies and music. And cut back on addicting Facebook games that take up time and are worth zero. Love my family. Work on being a better wife and becoming a good mother.
~Get back up to 5 mile runs and more. 
And though this goal won't come into play until after this summer, I want to hit the pavement again. My fabulous older sister Jen just hit the 10 mile mark and I'm like... hello awesome! Plus there's Ethan's Run 2013 that I am determined to run the 10k. This year's run I'll only be able to do the mile walk. :) Or I might be painting faces. Hopefully!!

This is going to be a good year. Full of changes and healing and happy times and learning.