Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

I remember when I was younger and complaining to my Dad that years took too long to pass. He informed me that as I grew older, years would pass much quicker.

Well, it is true. This year has just flown by. It did not go how I planned it to go at all. But, I am happy with where Chris and I are at right now.

Some of the years accomplishments:

1. Chris and I both have jobs that don't feel like jobs. Teaching is hard, getting up early is hard but when I am at work I don't feel like I am at work. I enjoy what I do and feel like I am doing something great. Plus we have benefits.

2. I read/listened to 47 books this year. Which was 11 more than my goal.

3. I didn't lose any weight, but I didn't gain any either. Which I am surprisingly okay with.

4. I did take at least 52 good pictures this year.

5. We went to the temple at least once a month.

6. Eventually 80% of my student passed the TAKS test. Not 85%, but still okay.

7. We ate out less, we aren't putting ourselves into any debt, and we are continuing to be awesome.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Gift Exchange

This was the first year us siblings did a gift exchange. We have always just bought everyone presents. But I really like how we did it this year. We drew names and didn't keep it secret. But we still got stuff for everyone's stocking. Because, honestly, I love buying presents for everyone else. So if was fun to still get a little something for everyone.

These are everyone's gifts that they got. Except Steven, I guess Jennifer got that picture. But he is still included.

This was the order of everyone. 



It was so successful, I am sure we will do it again next year. Well, I would love to do it again. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scratch Off Tickets

This was a Pinterest inspired project. I made them during the summer but I just started using them in my class a few weeks ago.

The kids absolutely love them. I limit how much I give out, so the demand stays high. And most of the prizes don't cost me anything. It took me a while to come up with some ideas for prizes. So, if anyone is interested, here is what I am using. 

Sit at Mrs. Stowe's desk for the day
You and a friend each lunch with Mrs. Stowe
The whole class gets 5 extra minutes of recess
Drop lowest daily grade
Add 5 points to a test
1 day assignment extension
A mint
A piece of gum
Use Markers for a day
Draw on the whiteboard at the end of the day
Choose a song for the class to listen to at the end of the day
Swap seats for a day

Here is the link for one tutorial. I combined a few with the supplies I had. This one says use contact paper, but I just used scotch tape. However, I have read others where no tape or contact paper is used so I'll want to try that next. It means less work for me. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This was a book I borrowed from the Library on my Kindle. Which I still think is amazing.

It started out slow. I am not sure why I continued reading it...but I am glad I did. That has been a theme around here lately with my books. Maybe I should never give up on any books that I read.

The book is set as one sister, Beatrice, writes a letter to her younger sister, Tess. Tess has gone missing and Beatrice immediately flies from the States to London to help find her.

Eventually Tess is found dead. (That is not a spoiler, the book synopsis tells you about it.) It is rules as a suicide, but Beatrice insists that Tess could never kill herself.

In this letter, Beatrice tells Tess her journey to finding the truth.

It is a book that tries to be suspenseful, but isn't too successful with it until the last quarter of the book. And it is also a book that is heavy on foreshadowing, which started to bother me. But now that I have finished it, I understand why. I think that is what I liked most about the book. How there were a couple of things that annoyed me, but once I understood everything, it made me actually like the book even more.

The author has a new book coming about next year. I will be reading it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pictures from the Phones

 This is a Chris picture from when I took Jesica's senior pictures back in May. She is such a pretty girl, even if she got rid of her awesome red hair. She was pretty easy to photograph.

The first time Chris was in his classroom. The day after his interview/he got the job. It is a pretty exciting thing to see your classroom for the first first time. (As opposed to seeing a new classroom the later in your career at a different school.)

And then a sort of creepy picture of me. 

This might be filler posts, but it keeps me going. At least I feel like I have something to post about. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

"The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things."

"There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ."

Thomas S. Monson

Friday, December 23, 2011

Charleah and Steven

Look at the happy couple! They are finally engaged! It wasn't something that took too long, I was just getting a bit impatient. Steven had been planning it for a couple of weeks and kind of through Charleah off a bit. She was mostly surprised that we all knew about it and that we were able to keep it a secret. 

Besides Steven, Sammie had to do the most work. She knew about the ring, and helped Steven planned it a bit. She almost let it slip to Charleah once when she accidently texted Charleah instead of Steven, but she caught that in time. 

Charleah does not approve of these pictures. But she doesn't read this anyways, so she will never know.

I am most definitely excited that I can use my Pinterest Wedding board to plan a wedding. Which I was supposed to do before I turned 25, but I guess I will settle for before 27.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kindle Fire

This was my birthday/Christmas present. And I love it. In 1 1/2 weeks, I have finished 3 books. And I have found several books for it already and not paid anything (except for Chris's book.)

There are so many free books on Amazon that I have snatched up and my library lets you borrow books. It is not so easy to find a gem and some of the books are really "easy" reads, but so far I have managed to find several from my "to-read" list. 

Along with my Kindle Fire, I got this awesome cover. It is one of my favorite things in the world. 

I have been debating for several months to on whether I should get a Kindle. I read a lot, so I could justify having it that way. But I do most/all of my reading through the library, which is free. I didn't want to have to pay for any books. But then, Amazon announced that Kindle users would be able to borrow books from the library. I waited and waited and waited until I saw that it wold actually happen at my library. 

And then I had to decide which Kindle to get. I had finally decided that if I got one, it would be a Kindle Touch. But then Chris suggested the Fire. After some more debating, the Fire we got. 

So...about 6 months worth of debating, and I finally got one. I am glad I waited because now I have the Fire. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Birthday Cake

Dad has been making us all special birthday cakes this year. Sammie's was molten lemon and Charleah's was Tres Leches. But we save the best for last with an ice cream cake.

[ignore the number on that cake]
It had 5 layers and everything was homemade. The ice cream, the frosting and then the cake. To be honest, I was expecting that. But it was delicious. 

We did not put 26 candles on the cake. That would have looked like the "burnin' of Atlanta." 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chris's Project

In the middle of Thanksgiving break, Chris realized there was money to make out there. Using Amazon and the Power of the Kindle.

He asked both Sam and I if we read The Scarlet Letter in high school. Our response, "I was supposed to but I never did."

So, he has created a study guide/cliff's notes/shorter version of the Study Guide.

The Scarlet Letter in 15 Minutes

He has been working on it in his "free" time the last month. He read the whole book several times and has chapter by chapter analysis. And since Chris is so smart, its gonna be good.

If you want to support him to help him out on the rankings, it is only $.99. And then if you actually use it, review it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Sometimes PostSecret just hits you. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthday: Part I

Birthdays as a teacher are the best. You get nice notes saying how awesome you are. Which is cool. And I got my first apple. I guess I am an official teacher now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Down to One Week

There is just one week left until the favorite child returns. It seems like just a week ago there were two weeks left.

Here are some snippets from some of the letters that he has written. I only edited a few of them to make them more understandable.

thanks for explaining the whole school thing to me but to be honest i was not really paying attention as i was reading it

that would be way fun.( winky face but not in a creepy cerial killer kind of way you dig)

Alright my comp is going to poo his pants, so I got to go.

Remember last week I said my comp was about to poo his pants? Well he did. Yep, it was the most sick thing i ever saw.( nasty disgusted face). 

[signed] elder x mcclellan (dont even want to know what the x stands for) ( shocked face) 

oh need to know about a song. something about rolling and getting McDonald's, shorty. dame some lyrics por favor.

so you asked me a whole bunch of questions that im not going to answer.

boy drama is actually becoming my new favorite topic. haha. i personally think that she should just move on to the next stud muffin. Why not the baker made more then a couple dozen. haha ( like that reference to God creating man? I thought it up myself. Feel free to share it if you like)

and im not going to lie i hate that show glee people are obsessed here with it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Woodcutter-Reginald Hill

This was a weird book. I almost didn't get past the first couple of pages. It starts very cryptically without any names. At the beginning there are several short chapters about mystery characters who we know nothing about. I usually don't push through books that keep me in the dark from the very first chapter. Also, it was really long and not an easy read. But, it is one of those books where you know nothing is going to come together until the end.  I do like that. 

It tells the story of Wolf, a woodcutter's son who marries a princess (in the modern day.) He lives a fairy tale for 15 years before he is arrested and accused of horrible crimes. You are unsure if he is really every innocent or guilty of those crimes. Years later when he is finally released from jail, he wants some type of revenge. The chapters move between Wolf and his psychologist nicknamed "Elf." She is worried he will relapse but the more she finds about his case, the more sympathetic to him she becomes. 

Towards the end, I couldn't stop reading it. Although it took a lot to get there. I am really surprised I made it all the way through, but I am glad I did. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Books To Read

One thing that I missed about the computer was my list of books that I wanted to read. I keep it on my desktop in some digital post-it notes. The more books I read, the more books I want to read. So... I need to get going. So I am going to read now. Feel free to copy some.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Last Saturday, Chris and I went to a Scholastic Warehouse Sale. If you remember the Book Fairs that you had in Elementary School, they are usually run by Scholastic. They also print almost every children's book in the United States.
This is what I walked away. There was a build-a-box where you stuff a box full for $24.95. Plus every book was on sale for 25%-50% off. So I ended up getting 33 books for about $26.

If there hadn't been the build-a-box thing, it might not have been worth it. But outside of that section, the books where just 50% off. Which is still good, but it adds up fast. Chris didn't find a whole lot for his grade level in that section, but I did. He ended up getting Diary of a Wimpy kids books, which are very popular in school. 

The sale happens about twice a year and I think after a few more boxes, I will have a nice sized classroom library. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Pictures from Chris's Phone

Chris has never missed an election day. And I have only missed one, the very first primary after I turned 18. We almost missed the last one because there was nothing really important being voted on and we weren't sure if we would make the polling place before it closed. But we did. Whether or not the issues are important to you, we should still take an active role in our communities.

Yes. Another pictures with Chris with something on his head. 

And no phone album is complete without an adorable picture of Miss Kali. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Weeks

There are two weeks until we get to see this boy:

I am so stinking excited.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Night Circus

I think this book will be in my top 5 of the year. Sometimes I think it is weird to say a book is beautiful, but this book was beautiful. From beginning to end. This is what got me:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. 
It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 
Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements.
It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

It seems like it is just about a circus, but is is so much more than that. Behind the circus there is a competition of illusion/magic going on between two people who are fated to battle until the competition is over. They just don't realize what it means for the competition to be over when they fall in love.

Not everyone will like this book. It isn't a fast read because I think the author does such a great job of describing things and I wanted to make sure that I caught every work. Usually I skim over descriptions, but not here.

With this book I got to the climax at 11pm on a Tuesday night. It killed me to have to put it down and wait until after work the next day to read it. I was craving it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It Works!

This is my desktop. And it is the first time I have seen my desktop in 3 months. My mac started acting up on me and would freeze after being on it for more than 5 minutes. And then it just wouldn't turn on past a gray screen. So I put it aside hoping to get all my data off of it before I took it to get fixed.

Well, finally I realized I was never going to be able to get anything off it and finally took it to the Mac store on Saturday. 3 months after it stopped working. Can you say "procrastinator?"I just used my work computer which I hated lugging back and forth everyday for work stuff and Chris's computer for other stuff. But I didn't have my pictures or my silhouette software or photoshop elements or my book list or anything fun!

Finally Chris asked me to do something and I realized I was going to need some of that stuff for Christmas coming up so I just got it fixed.

And now it works. So far. I am still a little nervous about it though.. Because the genius lab said they might have to replace the hard drive or hard drive bracket but they just ended up doing some software thing and it was fixed. And they didn't charge me the $60-$180 I was expecting. So score there.

Here's hoping it stays fixed. And I am going to back it all up for the future. Nothing like the threat of losing all my pictures to scare me into doing it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The House at Riverton-Kate Morton

I don't remember how I found this book. When I am out of books to read, I usually browse amazon through lists that people made that have books on it that I have read and liked. I figure that if they liked a book I liked, then we might have something in common.

This book was a bit of a slow read. It goes back in forth in two different areas in Grace's life. Grace used to be a maid at the house at Riverton and as she is about to die, she is telling her story to her grandson.

She kept a secret her whole life and at the end of it, she is finally read to tell that secret.

I liked the story. I don't like how the author set up to tell the story with Grace telling it right before she was about to die. There were a lot of parts that I skimmed through because there were too many details. But there were some twists that I did not see coming which is why I liked it so much. It was a really good story and I love finding books like this. It isn't mainstream but it is still worth the read.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pictures from Chris's Phone- Part Deux

One night we went to Best Buy and saw this. Two guys wearing spandex body suits. Kind of weird, right? Surprisingly, this was not the last time we saw something like this. A few weeks ago we saw two boys skateboarding wearing body suits like this. If you can't tell, their heads are completely covered. It doesn't exactly scream "comfortable!"
Last February we went to the BYU v TCU basketball game in Ft. Worth. We totally beat them and we waited outside with lots of other people for a glimpse of the team. Especially Jimmer. This is the blurry picture that we snapped of him.

The crowd as we awaited the basketball team to come out to their bus. It took them forever. Because technically the meet and greet was inside the gym and we missed that memo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Death of a ... M.C. Beaton

I love it when I can find an author who has written dozens of books who I can turn to when I need something to read. M.C. Beaton is one author that I have found lately. She has two mystery series. I have been reading/listening to the Hamish Macbeth Mystery series. There is a reoccurring story line through all of them, but it isn't necessary to have read the books in order to know what is going on. I am sure it would be better to read them in order, but I just grabbed on off the shelf for my first one.

It follows a local "bobby" (a British police officers) as he solves cases in his small town of Lochdubh in Scotland. I love listening to the books because it is read with a British accent. I have decided I can listen to almost any book if it is in a British accent.

Reading this is like sitting down a watching an episode or two of Psych or Monk. Just a quirky mystery with fun characters.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Another book I finished. This was a collection of essays my Mindy. She plays Kelly on The Office, my favorite show.

It was similar to BossyPants (by Tina Fey) in the format. It was cleaner than Tina Fey and didn't make me laugh out loud as much.

However, I want to be friends with her. She seems like my type of person. It is hard to separate characters from the actors sometimes. But she is not very much like Kelly on The Office, who I could probably never be friends with. But Mindy and I have some of the same philosophies in life.

She is also a pretty big writer on they show. And she has written some of my favorite episodes.

Basically, if you enjoyed BossyPants, you should read this book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pictures on my Phone: Part 2

Part two of my segment "Picture on my Phone." I should note that my phone is not a smart phone and does not have a good camera at all. It is probably like 0.5 megapixels.

Obviously from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This was one stressful trip. But the day Chris and I went here was very relaxing and then we drove along the coast for a bit.

I make Sammie take pictures of weird stuff. This day in Hobby Lobby, it was pictures of large dishes.

Blue Crabs! That we never got to eat because they died before we could get them home. I want to try again next summer though. It was fun getting them and I miss the taste of fresh crab so much. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sediment Videos

Last week in my science class, we made a stop animation video showing how two pieces of sediment (small piece of rock or sand) travel from a glacier to either a sand dune or a river delta. The kids made all the pieces and as I took pictures we talked about how everything traveled. I then came home and put it all together.

This is what my two classes created.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pictures from Chris's Phone

These photos are from Chris's phone. Theme: Chris wears crazy things. He is always willing to wear the thing that is most out there. And you can't not have a picture of it!

 I think this wig is what Chris wore on Halloween at school. Or that was his plan.
 His school did a 50s day to celebrate the 50th day of school for the year. He dressed up as a nerd. Isn't he such a cute nerd?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pictures on my Phone

Here is a new segment called "Pictures on my Phone"

The following two pictures are of our first tiny apartment in Provo. Neither Chris or I are very organized people. We don't put things away as soon as we finished them. So, this was proof to Charleah that at some point our room was clean. And Chris's closet was clean.

This was in our second apartment in Provo. Mom was visiting us and she snapped this picture on night to send to Dad. We all have pretty cheesy smiles here. 

Finally for the end of this segment, Chris wearing a Cosmo hat in the BYU Bookstore. I actually have a lot of pictures of Chris with weird things on his head. This is actually my phone background. I love seeing his silly face every time I look at my phone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ferris Wheel Spontaneity

Chris and I were in a spontaneous mood last Friday night. We decided to just go on this Ferris Wheel. The whole ordeal turned out not to be a quick decision after everything. We got there and realized they only took cash. So we had to find an ATM to get some cash which involved driving a few miles. Then we finally made it back and the ride was going to cost $5 each. A bit ridiculous for a Ferris Wheel. But, we decided to do it anyways.

I haven't been on a Ferris Wheel in forever. I don't think Chris has been either. It is a bit freaky now that I am grown up, especially since this was a traveling carnival and I have heard tons of freaky stuff/dangerous stuff about places like that.

But at least I got some pictures. In the end, we went around about 3 times and then we were off. We were the only ones on the ride, which meant we didn't even get to stop and sit while other people boarded.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Tuesday

1. Root Canal re-treatment part 1 is done. I have to go back in a month to finalize it and then I have to get a crown redone, since my horrible crowns where the reasons I am having these problems. I wasn't actually sedated for this. I took my pills, but I already know that sleeping pills don't really have an effect on me. It really wasn't that bad and it didn't take too long. I remember it a lot more than I remember the other ones I had done.

2. There are only 3 more weeks left to write Adison and then he will be home. I am super excited about that.

3. Now that my root canal is over for a bit, I can focus on more important things. Like Thanksgiving dinner. I've got to find a new pie to try this year in addition to my apply pie.

4. I have 5 books that I want to read this week. And I want to scrapbook. And clean. And sleep. And plan some lessons and grade papers. And cook. And go shopping. And eat. And see a movie or two. One week off for Thanksgiving is almost not enough. But I will make it work!

5. But I am on Thanksgiving break and I am so happy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Root Canal

Yes, I am getting another root canal. Actually, a root canal re-treatment. Today. And it sucks. The last dentist I had the originally done at was in Provo.

My new dentist and endodontist (root canal specialist) have been very polite, but not so polite about the the original root canal saying "To be fair, it is a hard tooth to do and it should have been refered to an endodontist the first time." But then I looked up my old dentist online to see reviews and lots of people have had trouble with them.

The problem with my root canals (actually both of them) is the crown is not on the way it should be which is allowing stuff to get under my tooth and the filling of the tooth isn't in completely. It is kind of floating which just allows for more space for things like bacteria to get in.

But basically I am just really mad that maybe I didn't even need the root canal in the first place (because this place in Provo is infamous for telling people they need things that they don't actually need).

So, don't go to Provo Dental Care in Provo. They have a nice office and flat screen tvs to watch, but seem to not be so good at their jobs. I'd go to someone who doesn't have any bad reviews.

And I will be orally sedated again. However it is a little different than last time so I am afraid that I will wake up. I'll report back soonish.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Science Poster

I saw a poster like this on Pinterest a while ago and wanted it. So I called upon my favorite artist, Charleah, to make it for me.

It turned out awesome. I had it laminated and now I can use to forever!