Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mmmm, cupcakes!

I made my cupcakes for my physics kids. They loved them! And so did my coworkers who took the leftovers :o) My recipe:

Triple White Chocolate Cupcakes
White cake mix
Three egg whites
Instant white chocolate pudding
White chocolate chips

Powdered sugar
White chocolate chips (chopped)

When I make bigger cupcakes (muffins), I make liquid white chocolate and fill the cupcakes. Ohh so delicious!

I think I've decided I'm permanently giving up TV. On hulu, we can watch any cartoons we want if we get a hankering. We have tons of DVDs for our moving viewing pleasure. I think that having to work to find entertainment really prevents the mindless droning that usually takes place when I get home from work.

Tonight, for our second FHE, we ended up exploring our new town by going to the farmer's market and the library together. At the farmer's market, we bought some fresh squash. But the most interesting thing was the CSA opportunity. It has prompted me to research all the CSAs in the area. Since we don't have a whole lot of land, it would be a good idea to support our local farmers until we can start homesteading ourselves. We would learn to eat new foods, and we would can everything we possibly can. At the library, I picked up books on canning and the like. At the asian market, produce prices are ridiculously low, so I'm going to stock up on fruits and can them myself. It'll be my first attempt!

We also built our pantry last weekend. I love it so very much. I have already stocked it up!

I'll be putting flour and sugar in gamma buckets as soon as I can afford it. One thing I'm curious about is that I read BYU found pasta to have a shelf life of 30 years, but the box has a 1 year expiration date on it. Where does this discrepancy come from? Who's right?

*B* actually applied for school on his own! Now we wait and pray...

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Poor Kids...

I gave a test to my physics kids today. As a "professional learning team", the physics faculty decided that one teacher would make the test for each chapter, essentially rotating the duty. The theory is that all students should be able to complete the same chapter test, no matter who wrote the test. It's not my idea, I just carry out the orders from administration. So anyway, another teacher wrote this test, and I was the first one to give it. It took my poor kids more than 75 minutes to complete it. A lot of people still have to come in to finish it. I will bring cupcakes next class, because they were so good about that atrocity. On top of that, I'm going in super early to make the test better for my other two physics classes.

That being said, I am being won over by the homeschooling argument. The good (control over your child's education) seems to outweigh the bad (less socialization with peers). Is it such a bad thing that a child experiences socialization with a broad age range rather than a very limited one? I think not. I have a bachelors in physics with a minor in math, and I am an avid reader with a knack for writing. On top of that, I will be a certified teacher long before I have kids. I believe I am more than qualified to teach my (future) children. Now all I have to do is convince *B* that it's a good idea.

The only concern I still have is that my children would largely be influenced by my own bias. Not that I am biased any more or less than anyone else, but I would like them to get a full depth and breadth of knowledge. Hopefully, by exposing them to a number of outside stimuli (blogging polls like Mrs. Pear, internet, videos, field trips), they will experience a range of opinions and learning/teaching styles. But I've got a number of years before I have to worry about that one :o)

One thing I'm super excited about is the prospect of *B* going back to school! A local college has a great part-time masters program in his field! Even though it won't be bringing in any more income, it will definitely boost his chances of finding employment. Any prayers would be welcome!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So Productive

I have been so productive today. Things I've done:
  1. Got my car fixed
  2. Made a feast for lunch
  3. Went to the grocery store
  4. Baked white bread
  5. Baked pumpkin loaves
  6. Unpacked most of the kitchen
  7. Did at least four loads of dishes
My car has been shaking very badly at high speeds lately. I had gotten the tires balanced, but it didn't fix the problem. So I took it to Mr. Tire, and they told me they were the worst axles they've ever seen. I had to get both front axles replaced. They had a huge list of other things that needed to be fixed, but my brother has agreed to do them next weekend for much less (i.e. food).

Martin's still had a great sale on, so I went back and stocked up a little more for our pantry. I've been so inspired by the blog at I am stocking my pantry at high speed, because once our mortgage starts, I don't precisely know what our food budget will be. Make hay while the sun shines and remember the Ant and the Grasshopper, right?

Once I stocked up on flour, I just had to use the breadmaker again for the first time in a long time. I made white bread this time just because I've never made it before. Once I get wheat flour, I will make half and half and plain wheat bread.

Making bread in the breadmaker inspired me to make a treat for *B* for breakfast. To provide for us, he gets up at 2:40 am to go to work by 4 am. He can't get a job in his field (he got two BS degrees in May), so he works the early morning shift at Costco to pay the bills. So for his breakfast, I made gorgeous pumpkin loaves with pumpkin seeds on top, just like you'd find at Starbucks. I'm so proud:

I've found that it is so much easier to live a relaxed, productive life without television. I listened to NPR while working this morning, and I've had movies on in the background this evening. We decided not to get cable, and we do not yet have any antenae for our TVs to pull public signals. I think I actually like it that way.

*B* and I decided our FHE will be on Wednesdays. I think that this Wednesday, we'll figure out our finances, and make dinner together. I'm still a little shaky on how FHEs work without kids, and before marriage, but I know that's mostly because we're not a "real family" yet. But we act like a family, so that's how I'm going to view us. Hopefully, some day soon I'll be able to say with all certainty that we are.

I'd really like to do something nice for *B*. He has put up with a lot of me freaking out about living situations, voluntarily taken on a 45 minute commute, and done a lot of work to get us moved into a house. I'm not quite sure what to do for him. His birthday and our anniversary are coming up in a little over a month. All of the gift ideas I have for him don't seem to convey the right message. He's only mentioned wanting things like CDs, computer games, and t-shirts. What does one get/do for a guy when you want him to feel appreciated?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It Was Glorious!

I made stuffed roast chicken today, with yams, green bean casserole, extra stuffing, and lingonberry sauce. I had never made my grandmother's recipe for stuffing before, but it turned out well. *B* popped a bottle of wine we received for housewarming, and we had a very lovely chicken dinner. I picked some flowers from the back garden for a centerpiece. The light is not as pretty as it appears through my window, but this is our table:
It is so good to be home!

After making lunch, I picked the rest of the chicken and got about 2 lbs of meat off of it. I will be making Mexican lasagna with the leftovers. I love it so much.

Grandmom's Stuffing
1 lb raw sausage
1 loaf of bread
2 eggs
Poultry Seasoning

Mix together, stuff the bird, and cook the rest in a casserole dish. When checking temperatures, don't forget to check stuffing temperature.

Mexican Lasagne
Cooked chicken (cooked any way)
Mexican cheese
Flour tortillas
Sour cream
Black beans (drained)
Diced chilis

Mix together all but the mexican cheese and flour tortillas. Cut the flour tortillas into 1 inch wide strips. Layer as you would with lasagna, tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese until none remains. Top with cheese and bake at 350 until hot and slightly brown on top.

Friday, September 25, 2009

First Disaster and New Arrivals

At about 5:45 yesterday morning, I was taking a shower, and *B* went downstairs to use the second bathroom. It turns out, our utility sink backed up, overflowed, and there was half an inch of water on the tile side! Okay, so at least it's on the tile side. Then, I walk over to the carpet side, and it's mushy :o( We've finally gotten everything cleaned up after using a shop vac, a rug doctor, a dehumidifier, and a number of fans. It turns out, the lady who used to live here dumped her grease down the drain instead of into a jar. My dad came over and snaked out the pipe. It was so awful, but at least it's fixed now.

As bad as yesterday was, today is good. My new stove came today! It's gorgeous. Check it out:

I can't wait to use it! Tomorrow, I'm making stuffed chicken, green bean casserole, yams, and lingonberry sauce. I finally made up a menu for the week. There's a much greater variety in our meals now, and they're nicely balanced.

A little fuzzy, but here is our menu:

Tonight was the last night *B*'s family was here, so we went out for dinner. But tomorrow, I'll be cooking up a storm! So excited!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


So last night I was full of all sorts of great ideas that I wanted to blog about. After three or four sentences, I apparently passed out right on my laptop! I guess I was tired...

Tonight, there was a huge sale at our local Martin's grocery store. I must say, I love Martin's. They have little scanners so that you can scan your food as you pick it up. That way, you can bag it yourself, and save time in line. I picked up 12 large cans each of corn kernels and green beans for half off. Total, we spent $120 on groceries worth $170. It should last us a good month, plus some for our food storage.

Our three month supply is now up to 9 cans of yams, 12 cans of corn, and 12 cans of green beans. A modest start, to be sure, but it's a start nonetheless.

I need to figure out a cleaning schedule for the house. It's hard to start one because I can't find any of my supplies yet. This weekend, I'm hitting the boxes hard. I'm hopeful that I can come up with or find a cleaning schedule that I can implement ASAP.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Creating a Home

Now that the homebuying process is over, now it's time for my favorite part - the homemaking process. There is so much I want to do. Now, when reading posts for building food storage, I can actually implement what I learn. I can keep a cleaning schedule rather than dreaming about a clean place to live.

The biggest problem I've encountered with the move: we can't put together a fair amount of our furniture because the ziploc with all of the hardware in it is missing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We're Home!

All of our stuff is moved into our new home! I've spent the whole weekend cleaning, sorting, and cleaning some more. When we moved the boxes that had been in *B*'s parents' basement (with a dehumidifier), we found two whole boxes of moldy belongings! Some of them are clothes, and they will be washed first thing. The rest is kitchen pans/utensils. So to be on the safe side, I'm washing EVERYTHING before we eat off of it. We were very lucky, though, to have my whole family plus *B*'s best friend help us move. Everything went off without a hitch.

The biggest problem, so far, has been food. I have been sick to my stomach for two days now because we haven't eaten anything healthy since we've moved. On Friday, there was donuts and pizza. On Saturday, we had pizza for breakfast and my dad took us out to a greasy food joint. Today, I was served breakfast in bed (so sweet!) of donuts and juice (too sweet!), then we had fast food for lunch, and (ashamed to say it) kix krispy treats for dinner. Tomorrow night, I will be making chicken stir fry with tons of veggies for dinner.

One of the things I'm most excited about is our ability to FINALLY have a three month supply. As they were on sale at the grocery store Friday night, our three month supply started with.......canned yams! I consider them to be both very nutritious and a comfort food that we eat fairly often. I will be cruising those sales to build up our supply. We have an awesome cabinet that stores items on a swinging shelf system that has more shelves behind it. That will be our start. When we can afford it, we will be getting more shelving for the laundry area downstairs.

I get very nervous when I am the only person awake in an area (i.e. here at home). I start making up sounds and seeing things that aren't there. But I know it's all in my head. Right?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Moving Day!!

Today we close and move some of our stuff, then tomorrow everything else goes over! Our old bedroom is totally cleaned out.

And this is what resulted:

Tomorrow will be a looooooong day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Starting to Get Nervous

We have three days until we're supposed to close. The USDA has not yet sent us approval for our house. The mortgage officer ran it through the pre-approval system and it said we'll be fine. But with three days left and no word yet, I'm starting to get really anxious. I don't know what to do. We're still packing, planning, and getting the utilities and everything switched over. But I am much less chipper and much more freaked out than I was two days ago.

It didn't help that I forgot to take my anxiety medication for the first time in four months this morning. While I was really leery to take meds at first, now I can not imagine living without them. I used to lie in bed thinking I was going to have a heart attack, I was going to have a stroke, or I was dying of cancer. I used to stay up for hours not being able to sleep because I thought I would never wake up. I am so thankful that I'm now mostly under control. Twice tonight I've had heart palpitations when I couldn't remember the last time I had had it previously. I will never forget my meds again.

One of my diversions is watching wholesome reality shows. I don't watch any of the "Real World" or "Survivor" type shows. While watching 18 Kids and Counting, they announced the impending birth of #19. At what point does it become irresponsible to have another child? Obviously, one answer is when you cannot afford that child. But does the onslaught of offspring that will appear as grandchildren factor into parental responsibility? Our earth has a hard enough time supporting who we have already. They're obviously free to do as they wish, but I'm still forming my own opinions on how many children I'd like to have, and I'm fighting people who say more than 2 are wrong.

Monday, September 14, 2009

House, Hoarders, Ren Fest, and Other Thoughts

We've got 4 days until we move. I've got to call the electric company tomorrow morning to ensure we've got power our first day there. It's awesome to have off of work Friday, which means I only have three days of work left this week. We haven't heard officially that EVERYTHING is signed off, but we're pretty close.

I'm watching the show "Hoarders" right now. It's amazing to me. In one section, the hoarder is getting really upset about the process of getting rid ofher stuff. She has had a number of break downs about random stuff. Someone cleaned the trash off her bathroom floor, and she freaked out. The other section, the hoarder is very good about wanting to get rid of stuff, but her mom is complaining about how slow she's going. She's at least trying, and what she's doing is behavior modification that will prevent her from hoarding again. I feel so bad for them, it must be so hard.

I've got Ren Fest pics! We took *B*'s sister and nephew and my brother with us on Saturday and had a good time. Just to clarify - we know his nephew looks like a girl. The boy's shirt and kilt were a tad too big on him. Below: nephew, *B* and me!, *B*'s sister. Not pictured: my brother who was a party pooper and didn't dress up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm So Excited!

Nine days until we move! We're preparing for *B*'s sister, brother-in-law, and nephew to come in from Germany tomorrow. The only bad thing - I have to stay at school until around 8 pm for the second round of back-to-school night. And I don't even know if parents will show up! All I can hope for is someone being there so that I don't waste my time by staying.

I'm having a tough time deciding what to do. I dated someone for seven years before I dated *B*. I ran into his cousin, and I heard that his dad wasn't well. So I emailed his mom to send my condolences. I'd really like to talk to him again, but he hasn't made any move to talk to me. It would absolutely be platonic - I have no residual feelings. But it's been almost two years since I've seen him, and I'd like to catch up with him. The question is: do I sever all ties and try to put my old life out of my mind, or do I reconnect to see how he's doing? In the end, I'd like to be friends, but I don't know if that could ever happen. Our mutual friends say he's not well, what with his dad and a bunch of other issues going on. Both options have pros and cons, and I really don't know what to do. This decision has a deadline - his birthday is in less than a week, and I decided that if I try to talk to him again, I would email him happy birthday (which I did last year as well).

I'd really like to learn to pray better. Recently (and before my agnostic stint), my prayer has been either pre-scripted (e.g. faculty prayer meetings, Our Father) or stilted. Usually, I stumble through thanking Him for family, friends, shelter, jobs, and reliable cars. Occasionally, I'll ask Him for something (getting this house!) or thank Him for something I've needed and received (getting a mortgage approval!). While I know there's no absolutely right way to pray, how should it be done? How does one pray effectively? When does it become natural?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Renaissance Festival Pics

While it's just a boys day out today, I figured I'd post pictures of *B* in his finery. Look at this handsome renaissance man! He's not wearing most of his gear (i.e. his drinking horn, wine skin, etc). I'll post pictures of me when we go next - maybe tomorrow or next weekend.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. One of the things that I've discovered for preparedness is paracord. Real paracord is what parachute cords are made of. It holds 550 lbs of weight. It is about the thickness of a shoelace, and is really useful when laced in place of shoelaces. One can also braid it (a la hemp necklaces) so that a very long cord is easily worn as a fashionable bracelet. I've seen quite a few sources that say paracord ranks just up there with duct tape in the usefulness category. I'm considering it a project to find paracord and make fun, fashionable jewelry with it. I will definitely post pictures once I've finished! To find uses for paracord, visit

Another useful tip: has an absolutely wonderful family emergency planning section. In ten minutes, I created three awesome documents - a family emergency plan, and an emergency card for *B* and I each. The only thing I don't like is that you can't save a copy, you can only print it. But it is a great tool regardless. I highly suggest reading the entire site, as it gives great tips on all potential emergency situations.

I also made up plans for what will happen if there is an emergency using the PACE principle. PACE stands for Primary, Alternative, Contingency, and Emergency. I have planned using PACE for how we get places, where we go, and how we get there. I also have planned a communication protocol. We will:
  1. Text “911,” alert level (ASAP, urgent, soon), current location, meeting place, estimated time of arrival, and other instructions/information.
  2. Get gas ASAP.
  3. Go to meeting place
    1. Home
    2. *B*’s parents’ house
    3. My dad’s house
    4. My mom’s house
    5. Family friends' house
    6. Other
  4. Text upon arrival

This plan allows us to make decisions quickly without panic setting in too badly. A lot of times texting will succeed when sustained phone conversations are not possible. It also allows each person to look back at the message at a glance. We will discuss these plans at length and agree on situations in which they will be used.

We also have lists of what we will get and who will get them given an amount of time to evacuate. For example, during a large, enveloping fire, we will not take anything but ourselves. If we have five minutes, we pick up our 72-hour kits, cat, fire box, and guns. If we have ten minutes, that plus our computers. At half an hour, that and our turtles and extra clothing.

Friday, September 4, 2009


We got approved for a mortgage! If the USDA signs off, we'll be moved in two weeks from today. I'm so happy, I think my heart will burst. I'm very, very grateful for everything *B*'s parents have done for us, but WE'RE OUTTA HERE!

Tonight, I had a hair appointment with my mom. It's becoming a tradition it seems. *B* went with us, and we had dinner at Olive Garden beforehand. I mentioned that I saw a stove on sale at Sears, and that the appliances at our new home are about 25 years old. Wouldn't you know, we went to look at them, and they had 12 months no interest, no payments. I am tutoring a student this year, and I earn $600 for it. A brand new stove was about $569 on sale, and it is a gorgeous piece of equipment. So we bought it! My mom put it on her Sears card and I will pay her off before it even starts accruing interest. We decided that it was better to buy the stove now, on sale and before the other one breaks, rather than wait until we have no method of cooking and buying something in a bind. This is the model we bought:It's a ceramic top, with a covered element in the bottom so that food doesn't drip on it. It has a sabbath timer, which means I can put food in the oven when I go to work and it will turn on and off when I want it to! I'm so very excited, can you tell?!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


We had our house inspection today - all was well! All we have to do now is get approved finally and then we can close. I just wish I knew it would all work out. If all goes as planned, we move in 15 days. I'll be praying for it!

I'm afraid that I'm burning myself out on preparedness. While I'm excited about building up my three month supply, I'm losing momentum right at the end of my 72-hour kit building project! I think I feel like I'm kind of crazy for planning this much. It's mostly because I live in an area where we don't have hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, earthquakes, or blizzards that last more than a day. In my lifetime, we've never lost power for more than a day, we've never been evacuated, we've never had any real "problems."

Tomorrow, we have a half day to talk about summer reading books, then I get out early - 12:15! And because of Labor Day, I've got off Monday, too. So in effect, I have a 3.5 day weekend. Woo hoo! It is a packed weekend, though, because I've got a haircut tomorrow, renn fest Saturday, and a trip to my mom's new house on Sunday or Monday. Somewhere within all of this I need to rest and relax.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thoughts for Preparedness Present Ideas

This year *B* and I decided to make wish lists for present ideas this year. We have his birthday, our anniversary, my birthday, and Christmas in about a month and a half of each other, and we often run out of ideas for each other. As expected, our lists are full of preparedness ideas and household items.

The question I have: which vacuum sealer should I ask for? It would definitely be on the inexpensive side. I've been trying to research vacuum sealers, but it seems that the only sites on which I can find reviews are the actual companies' sites. I tried America's Test Kitchen site, but they require a paid subscription. I remember my mom had a FoodSaver (or a seal-a-meal, I'm not sure which), but it didn't work all that well and it was so loud! I'm afraid that whatever I ask for will be useless.

School has been going very, very well overall. Today in physics, we learned to calculate error by shooting dart guns with marker on the tips at the whiteboard. The kids really seemed to like it, because it is really unconventional compared to what they do in other classes. I'm still trying to figure out how to make math more fun and interesting for my juniors.

We had a club fair today, and the group I moderate, Students Against Violating the Environment (SAVE), did a great job by enlisting many new freshmen into the club. I'm so proud of them! We have our first meeting a week from tomorrow. It's going to be tough to let them come up with all the ideas (or at least make them think they do :p).

I don't know what to do about my juniors. We had a "quest" (large quiz or small test) on work they did this summer. My highest grade so far was 34/50, or 68%. I'm still grading a set and a half of papers. I don't know what happened. I've decided I will have them take it as many times as necessary to get their grades up simply because the material is SO important, that by doing the test over and over, at least they will learn something. But I wish I didn't have to keep going back over things so much. Why did it all go so badly so soon? Is this a glimpse of the future year?