Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas: I Believe in Christ

This post is not about Santa, cute decorations, recipes, or funny stories. And this post is not even about the beloved story of Christ's birth (although all of those things are wonderful). This post is about my testimony of Jesus Christ.

Readers, I know that Jesus Christ was born in the most modest of circumstances and lived a very humble mortal life. I know the He is the Son of God. I know that He healed the sick, raised the dead, and caused the blind to see. I also know that He suffered every pain--physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental--imaginable. I know that He bore the weight of all my sins and yours too so that you and I can one day live with our Father in Heaven again with a clean conscience. I know that He died on the cross and that three days later He was resurrected. I know that He lives once again! I know that He loves me. I have felt His love and I can feel it now as I'm writing this. I know that if we repent, keep the commandments, and have faith in Christ, we can be healed and forgiven of our sins through Him.

Christmas is about Jesus. Not only the baby Jesus, but the one who performed miracles, atoned for our sins and pains, died and was resurrected, and who lives again and loves us all.

Here are the words to a song that should be a Christmas carol:

I Believe in Christ

I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I'll sing;
I'll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God's Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.

I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
As Mary's Son he came to reign
'Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: "Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be."

I believe in Christ--my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I'll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan's grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I'll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: "Ye shall obtain."
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I'll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

Text: Bruce R. McConkie, 1915-1985. (c) 1972 IRI
Music: John Longhurst, b. 1940. (c) 1985 IRI

Merry Christmas! If you want to learn more about Jesus, go to www.mormon.org. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Anxiety about Worms

Since I've decided to make writing about dumb stuff I've worried about a thing, I will go ahead and write this post.

I have an irrational fear of worms. Yes, worms. I suppose that worrying about tape worms and other parasitic worms is not so irrational, but I worry about blood worms (they eat sand, not blood), worms in trees, silk worms, and anything that looks like a worm. Okay, I suppose I have overcome my fear of earth worms through extensive study and handling of them.

Funny story: I just looked up worms in Bing images and now I'm even more terrified. I saw a picture of a guy getting a long white worm pulled out of his foot!!! HIS FOOT! I'm debating whether or not to show you. NO. No pictures.

So last night I had a dream that was completely terrifying. I was supposed to feed a worm. This worm was as big around as a softball, yellow and ridged. It also had purple spikes and it lived underground. It was probably about a foot and a half long. Anyway, my job was to feed it this sticky substance that wouldn't get off my hand. I ended up putting my hand in the hole with the worm, desperately trying to get the food off my hand. Before I was able to free myself of the sticky food, the worm was chomping on my hand with its pincers! At that point my husband woke me up because I was making scared, crying sounds. (Thank goodness for him).

When I was eight, my driveway was very long and my bus stop was at the end of the driveway. One day it rained a ton, so all of the earthworms were squirming around on the road, trying not to drown. I knew they couldn't hurt me, but I got the serious heebie jeebies walking down the driveway, seeing them and their trails in the mud.

I've changed my mind. I think that worms are not really such an irrational fear after all. Especially parasitic worms that come out of your foot. Also, blood worms bite really hard.

UPDATE: There were pictures here, but every time I would go back to this page, I got really freaked out. So I took them off. You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Peach Pie


Peach pie. What more can I say? This pie will be good any time of the year! Actually guys, I don't know. I haven't tried it yet. Tomorrow I will tell you if it's good or not! If it's terrible, I will delete this post. How about that? But I can tell you this much, it smells pretty dang good.

Peach Pie Filling:

5 cups sliced peeled peaches (or thawed from the frozen section) 
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Double-Crust Pie Dough:

2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2       tablespoon sugar
1       teaspoon salt
8       tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
12     tablespoons (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
6-10  tablespoons ice water

1. Preheat oven to 425-degrees F. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl using a whisk. Then put the shortening in the bowl and mix with a pastry blender quickly until it has the texture of coarse sand. Now scatter the butter pieces over the top and mix it in with the pastry blender until it looks kind of like coarse crumbs. Don't worry if you still have chunks of fat, that's what makes it flakey! 

2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Form the dough into 2 4-inch disks, wrap tightly in plastic rap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it into 12-inch circles and fitting the first into a pie plate.

4. Put the filling into the pie plate lined with dough and then roll out place the other circle of dough on the top of the filling, using your rolling pin as a guide.








Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Obviously, I did a lattice crust on top. It's really not very difficult. Just slice the circle of flattened dough into 1-inch strips and weave them carefully on the pie. I also didn't do a crimped edge, but I think it looks fine just tucked under instead.

Blackberry Pie


One thing I enjoy about my family living on a farm in Pendleton, Oregon is that in the summertime the blackberries come on strong. Fresh picked, wild blackberries is a delicious treat from heaven! If I can control myself enough to not eat every berry I pick, I can manage to gather up enough berries to make into pie. Other members of my family make cobbler and jam out of the berries as well as pies.

However, this is not the traditional recipe from my family (although it is great). This recipe has a thicker sauce, more like a jam.

Blackberry Pie Filling

6    cups of blackberries
2    cups of sugar (more or less depending on tartness of berries)
4    tablespoons of lemon juice
6    tablespoons of corn starch
2    teaspoons of vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Pour the ingredients into a sauce pan and stir over medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes, or until thick (sticking to the spoon). Stir every so often. Tasting is really helpful to figure out if you need more cinnamon, lemon juice, or sugar.

Let the sauce cool before pouring it into your pie pan with crust.

Pie Double-Crust

2 1/2   cups all-purpose flour
2/3      cup shortening
6 to 10 tablspoon cold water
1/2      teaspoon salt

Stir together flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening till pieces are pea-size.
Sprinkle 1 T. Of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tblspn of the water at a time, till all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate.  Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry.
Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry.









Don't make your vents like I did. Please. For me. Don't make them look like a pig snout. Sloppy cuts that look like nostrils...

Cherubic Cheese Ball


Every Thanksgiving there is one special item I make for the feast. It's my thing. If it's not there and I am, something is wrong. So I am gracing you with this highly delectable recipe. The Cherubic Cheese Ball! May you bask in it's radiance.

I made this recipe up myself, so I'm pretty sure that makes me an awesome cook or something.

So. Let's get down to the nitty gritty...

Ingredients:

2 packages of cream cheese
1 T. minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 t. salt

Sliced almonds

Directions:

Let your cream cheese packages sit out for a little while so they can get soft. Then add all of your ingredients except the almonds into a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Use a cracker and see if the flavor blend is the way you like and add more seasoning ingredients if you'd like.

Once the flavor is to your liking, Scrape the contents of your bowl onto a serving plate of some sort. Using a rubber spatula or knife, shape the mixture into a ball.

After the ball has been shaped, clean your plate around the ball with a wet paper towel or cloth. Then cover the ball with slivered almonds. Using a spoon helps a lot, I've found.

Serve as an appetizer with crackers of your choice. I like to use Ritz!

Looking for a healthier option? Use neufchatel instead of cream cheese. I can't really taste a difference.

Pumpkin Pie!


Thanksgiving means pies! In my mind, pie has always been the holy grail of baking. I come from a family of great home cooks and bakers and all of the women can make great pies. My maternal grandma was once the best cook I knew! Unfortunately she doesn't cook or bake anymore because she has forgotten how. But the legacy was passed to my mom, aunts, sisters, and now to me.

One of my favorite pies is pumpkin. Crust is the trickiest part about pies, in my opinion. It's easy for them to be messed up by over-stirring and handling. So let's get rolling on the recipe.

Single-Crust Pie Dough
*For one 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1       tablespoon sugar
1/2    teaspoon salt
3       tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
4       tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
4-6    tablespoons ice water

1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl using a whisk. Then put the shortening in the bowl and mix with a pastry blender quickly until it has the texture of coarse sand. Now scatter the butter pieces over the top and mix it in with the pastry blender until it looks kind of like coarse crumbs. Don't worry if you still have chunks of fat, that's what makes it flakey! 

2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Form the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic rap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.



3. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it into a 12-inch circle and fitting it into a pie plate. Please enjoy the following photo-instructions:





Don't forget to freeze your crust at this point! Now, onto the filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients:

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into the frozen, unbaked pie crust. Bake in preheated 425-degrees F oven 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350-degrees F; bake 40 minutes longer. Cool completely before serving.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

I've Always Been Anxious

I have an anxiety disorder that started showing up when I was a child. Five years old, in fact, is the age that I can recall my first real worries.

Now don't misunderstand here. This is not supposed to be a post where I talk about my sad, sad childhood or something. Because I didn't have a bad childhood, all things considered. I had tons of fun, a family who loved me, and food to eat every day. Anxiety is just part of my life, and frankly, sometimes it's hilarious.

So now, back to my childhood. Five years old. Children are odd and I was certainly no exception. I wished that I was a baby and the reason was so that I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom on the toilet. I guess I thought it was too boring or tedious to take all the time away from playing and stuff. So any chance I got, I would wish to be a baby. 

Have you ever watched the old movie "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" with Don Knotts?


It's a classic. So in this movie, Don Knotts' character wishes he could be a fish because he's a dweeby misfit in real life and fish are his passion. So one day he's visiting the ocean and he's standing on a dock looking down at the fish, saying how much he wishes he could be a fish when PLOP! He falls into the water and starts doing this creepy evolution-wiggle into a fish!

Well, first Mr. Limpet is happy that he's a fish, but then he realizes that it's not actually as cool as he thought it would be and the ladies in the background music start singing, "Be careful what you wish, for wishes can come true. Be sure that every wish you make, is one that's right for you. So many people find there happiness in dreaming. Be careful what you wish for the wish that you make can come true!"

I watched this movie with my family after I had spent all of these wishes on becoming a baby. Once those ladies started singing that sad warning song, I got really worried that I was going to turn into a baby and I was going to regret it horribly.

I remember having this sick feeling of pure panic in my gut and it seemed to be on my mind for a long time afterward. Who knows how long it actually was, though.

Another vivid memory of one of my first bouts with anxiety is also from when I was five. There was a mouthwash commercial on T.V. and it said something about not swallowing the stuff. Well, I thought that it meant that I was never supposed to swallow my own saliva, so I was constantly spitting in the toilet, the trash and the sink, trying to make sure I didn't die from saliva poisoning or whatever I thought it was. Eventually my mom probably got sicked out about me spitting all the time and told me I didn't have to do that.

So here I am nearly 16 years later and I'm still anxious, but I've graduated to different useless things to be anxious about. Like all the moms shopping with their babies in Winco or an acquaintance who I can see walking down the hall at me at work.

A therapist once told me that if I lived in a time when I needed to flee or fight for my life, I would survive because I have an above-average flight response. In other words, if I were a bunny, I would probably never get eaten because I would run away all the time, even when I didn't need to. Then I would pass those super genes to my baby bunnies and all my posterity would be really speedy and never dinner. But since I'm not a bunny, I just live in my essentially safe world wasting all my excellent flight response capabilities on regular social interactions and other safe things.

Maybe I'll make this a thing and keep posting about dumb stuff I've worried about...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gender Equality in the Mormon Church


I am a Mormon, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am proud to be a woman in this church. 

Gender equality is a very sensitive topic that needs to be addressed respectfully, and I hope that I can do that in this post. I believe that the Mormon church embraces gender equality. I have no intention of attacking or offending anyone whose opinions are different than mine. With that in mind, I'd like to proceed by discussing gender equality specifically as it relates to the priesthood.

I believe that although women and men in the Church do not have the same roles, we have divine responsibilities that are unique yet equally important. This is one of our fundamental doctrines. No, women have not been given the responsibility of the priesthood, but that is not because of a belief that men are somehow superior to women. The late prophet Gordon B. Hinkley said this about gender equality and women holding the priesthood:

“Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world... They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world...

“The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”

We have our own organization! And I have to tell you, it's amazing. I would elaborate more on what Gordon B. Hinkley said, but he said it very well so I'll leave it at that.

I'd also like to talk about how women are involved in the priesthood. This is a quote from lds.org:

"Elder M. Russell Ballard taught: 'In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife' (“This Is My Work and My Glory,” Apr. 2013 general conference)."

To me, that is amazing. Men and women need each other to fulfill our divine roles. We can't do it without each other. Our roles are "different but equally valued."

So what are our divine roles? We've already touched on the priesthood portion of them. The Family: A Proclamation to the World outlines our roles perfectly. First we are designed to be parents and have a family. Then it says this:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

I know that God made us different for a great purpose. We are different! But neither gender is superior; we are equally important as the Church has stated over and over again.

I am blessed to be a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If you have more questions regarding this topic -- please, visit the Church's websites. They have answers to almost any question you might have about Mormonism. lds.org mormon.org

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Witch Nose

Oh, hey guys! Happy Halloween! You know, I actually woke up this morning and completely forgot it was Halloween. Times are different now. There was a time long ago when I thought a lot about Halloween and what my costume would be.

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a witch for Halloween. Just like all the previous years I could remember. We had this costume box that had various items of clothing from Halloweens past and plays that my siblings had been in. Naturally, my costume came from that box.

The two best parts of the costume were the witch hat (obviously) and the witch's nose. This nose was rubber and green with a string that went around my head to hold it on. It was hollow and smelled really funny.

I had a great time traipsing around in my costume that kindergarten Halloween. The only problem was that I probably had a cold because my nose kept running. All throughout the day, I kept dumping the snot out of my witch nose and rubbing my real nose on my witch sleeve. I was a total sugar-high mess. Later I found out that I wasn't the only one who had snotted in the nasty family heirloom.

Year after year the cold air would make my nose run and year after year I wore the witch nose without washing it. (Well who knows, maybe my mom did.) However, despite the nastiness of the nose, I always had a great time wearing it. I'm sure I thought I was really terrifying. In a way I probably was, what with the snot dripping out of the witch nostrils.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DIY: Rainbow Candle



When I was a small child, probably three or four years old, my oldest sister Jane still lived at home. She had a nice big vanilla candle and one day she melted some crayon wax onto it. About a year ago, I did the same thing, but Jane didn't remember that it was her original idea! That's probably because she has a crafty heart or something and since she has so many ideas and crafts that she's done over the years, she couldn't possibly remember them all.

Guys, I'm not very crafty. Sometimes I'll get the notion to whip something out, but it's not something I do regularly. So consider yourself blessed to have witnessed this miracle.

You will need the following:
  • crayons (use your old crayons if you have them)
  • wax paper
  • lighter or matches
  • candle (mine is white and unscented)
  • tea lights

Gather up your crayons and peel the paper off. Put your crayons and candles on a piece of wax paper to keep from getting wax on your work surface.

Then light one of your tea lights. I ended up using several tea lights. This way if one keeps burning out, you can just start a new one. 

Now take one of your candles and melt the tip in the flame of the tealight until it's about to drip and let it drip onto your candle. Try not to let the candle drip into the melted wax in your tealight because this will eventually make the flame go out. To help get the candle to drip where I wanted it to, I held the tealight close to the desired area. 

All you need to do now is keep dripping candle wax on your candle until it's covered as much as you want it to be. I think it looks best with lots of colors and lots of surface area covered.

Friday, October 25, 2013

To all the Coldplay skeptics


Anyone who knows my music taste knows that Coldplay is my favorite band of all time. There are some bands whose full magic is definitely not portrayed adequately on the radio. I feel that Coldplay is one of those bands. So you've heard "Viva la Vida" and "Clocks." But have you heard "I Ran Away" or "Careful Where You Stand" or "For You?"

Some people have said that Coldplay has a case of "same-songitis," but I'm here to say that if you've only heard what the radio plays of Coldplay, it's time to take a look at what else they've got. I and many other Coldplay fans will tell you that they have a lot to offer musically, lyrically and artistically. In my opinion, Coldplay most certainly is not a one trick pony.


This song never made it to an album for reasons unkown to me. Haunting and slow, "For You" really has an ethereal feeling. 


"Strawberry Swing" lets go of the more mellow sound Coldplay has in their first three albums and breaks into a cheery, cute love song. Also, this music video is wonderful. My favorite part is when the song changes moods at 2:35.


"X & Y." I love the chorus of this song. It plays for the first time at 1:28. "You and me are floating on a tidal wave, together. You and me are drifting into outer space." That imagery definitely fits the sound of the song.


"Up With the Birds" is a really optimistic song. At 1:50 it really changes the feel of the song and goes into a really cheery chorus. "I know one thing, good things are coming my way."


"I Ran Away" is a really sad song, but it may be their most beautiful song of all time. It also didn't make it onto an album. Coldplay's B-sides tracks are their best kept secrets, in my opinion. I love the way Chris Martin sings at 2:15. 


"Moses." This is a LIVE RECORDING. No big deal. They just rock everyone's socks. This is a big part of why I love Coldplay. They sound amazing live. Just so you know, this song was written for Gwyneth Paltrow (Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, is married to her).


"Shiver" is a beautiful love song with an awesome chorus. I also love that this is them recording the song that is on the album. Again, they are just that good!



"God Put a Smile upon Your Face." This one isn't my favorite, but it's still good. I included it mostly to show you some more variety.


"Careful Where You Stand." The guitar in this song practically gives me chills every time I listen to it. I love the lyrics. "I feel safe, when I am with you. And I feel warm when you want me to. I am cured when you are around. I'm alright...It's true, we're always looking out for one another."

So there you have a nice sample of what they can do. I didn't add their main hits (which are great) because you have probably heard them already. I wanted you to get a taste for what else Coldplay has to offer.

What do you think of these songs? Are there some in here that you haven't heard before? Do you have a favorite?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Love Autumn

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

Since the leaves started turning colors, I've been trying to find a good time to take pictures of the beautiful autumn foliage.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

Traditionally, I'm a summertime person. But you know, I am realizing now that I love autumn! I have loved it all along, I just didn't know that.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

I love all of the different colors.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

I love the temperature and the smells.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn
  I have depression which is heightened by the days getting shorter and colder, so my goal this autumn and winter is to find things that I find beautiful about these seasons.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

One of my very favorite things is seeing sunlight shine through leaves and make them glow.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

Autumn here in Meridian is gorgeous! There are lots of red trees around!

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

I think I focused my lense on the grass instead of the leaf I'm holding...don't worry about it.

The Keyhole: I Love Autumn

I love this yellow! It's so pretty! So there you go, guys. If I get around to taking more picture of the leaves, I may make another post with more photos. If you pin any of these photos, please mention that they're from The Keyhole since I didn't have the patience to watermark them all. Thanks!

Also, I just wanted to say that one thing that improves my mood and outlook on life is finding things that are beautiful and expressing gratitude for them. They don't have to be extraordinary, either. But I find that when I find joy in the everyday things, they become extraordinary to me--like the fall leaves.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beauty Disasters

Lest anyone should ever think that I know a lot about beauty (not that I think anyone actually thinks that), I think I should tell you that historically and currently, I do not.

I've always admired those girls and women who seem to radiate with natural perfection every day. They show up to all these early-morning events (school, work) with their perfectly styled hair, their flawless skin, bagless eyes, and perfectly trimmed/waxed eyebrows.

How do they do it?! This is a history of me trying to figure out this whole make-up and hair thing:

Baby to toddler: Cute little self with precious, soft hair.



Kindergarten: Started "painting" nails (really this was just me globbing a bunch of fingernail polish onto my fingertips and nails). This is also the time when my bangs started way at the top of my head and were cut in a blunt line at my eyebrows. Sometimes this look is cute on girls and women, but it looked really awkward and strange on me.




First & second grade: Still had the power bangs which my mom sometimes curled for church. I occasionally tried growing out my bangs which resulted in lots of pictures with my overgrown bangs covering my eyes.

Third grade: Decided to stick with the bangs, rather than growing them out.

Fourth grade: Grew out the bangs, but kept them that way. I liked to part my hair right down the middle. I'm guessing that people with really pointy, oval faces like mine shouldn't part their hair right down the middle. This wasn't a good look for me.

Fifth grade: I learned how to put my hair in a ponytail. So I did. Every day. First it started out parted right down the middle and drawn in a tight ponytail with a scrunchy at the base of my head. Then about halfway through fifth grade, I started pulling my hair into a slicked straight back ponytail or half ponytail. The tighter the better!

Sixth grade: I started noticing that my legs were really hairy and my eyebrows were really bushy. This was a source of self-consciousness for me so one day I asked my mom if I could shave my legs. She said, "sure," so I marched right into the bathroom to take a shower. I had no idea what to do, but I figured that it was simple enough: just take the razor and slide it up your leg! I grabbed the old, plastic, two-bladed, semi-rusty, man-razor from off the shower shelf. I placed it firmly in the middle of my shin and with great force, pulled the razor upward. Shocked, I saw a stream of blood oozing from the inch-long wound I had just inflicted. Luckily I realized after that that I needed to go a lot softer on my legs. When people asked what happened to my leg I would say, "the razor fell on my leg while I was taking a shower."

Then, apparrently not learning from my shaving mishap, and wanted to not have "caterpillars" above my eyes, I asked my mom if I could pluck my eyebrows. Again, she said, "sure," so I marched into the bathroom once again and grabbed the (also rusty) tweezers. Carefully I plucked out hair after hair in a pain-filled haze. Eventually I was satisfied and stopped. I suppose I liked the way my brows were shaped because I kept doing them like that. They were bad. They were so bad. My idea of a good brow job was to pull half of my eyebrows out from the unibrow inward. I looked real weird. And even with half of my eyebrows yanked out, I wasn't very good about keeping them plucked (I'm still not...).

I still loved the ponytail in sixth grade. I had learned that I should take a shower every day, so I did. My hair would go right from sopping wet, to ponytail every single day. Eventually some of the girls in my class informed me (in what was probably an intervention of sorts) that I would grow mold on my head if I kept doing that every day. That terrified me, so I started leaving it down to dry before putting it into a ponytail.

Seventh-eighth grade: I got better at shaving for the most part and I even started applying mascara. Occassionally I would toy around with my mom's blush and pressed powder. I really didn't learn how to apply makeup properly until rather recently...oh well! No one ever said it looked bad, so maybe it wasn't. As far as hair goes during this time, I had two styles, air-dryed left down, and up in a ponytail. I never did my nails. I just kept them short so that I could play the violin.

Freshman year: Not much changed. My eyebrows somehow got worse, though. Bigger and badder. But I don't remember doing anything different, they just morphed that way.


Also, I thought I was making a super cute face. Hahahaha!

Sophomore year: This was a pretty good year beauty-wise! I used eyeliner respectfully and mascara. I didn't do much else, but it was okay because my skin was pretty good. My hair fell exactly how I wanted it to without doing much to it!

Junior year: Something possessed me to tweeze the heck out of my eyebrows until they were super skinny lines. I learned how to use real liquid foundation and eye shadow! I got some really bad, thick bangs. They were nasty. My face shape does not allow blunt bangs to look good on me. As much as I envisioned myself looking like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, I looked more like the "perfect human" from the more recent Miike Snow music videos.




Senior year: One time during the winter I grew my eyebrows out super thick. That was kind of gross. Otherwise, it wasn't too bad.


Freshman year of college: Most of the time my hair and makeup was okay. I painted my nails quite a bit. But I did go through a phase where I thought I might look good if I parted my hair right down the middle and styled it stick straight, but with curls at the end. Maybe I forgot that this didn't work for me before. My face comes to a point right at my nose so having the part down the middle makes me really pointy!



Last year to now: I apply makeup about half of the time. I rarely do my hair. I'm still rocking the air-dryed look simply because I just don't like to spend all the time it takes to really do something with my hair. Most of the time I get my makeup right!

So that's the history of my beauty disasters and occassional triumphs (if you want to see pictures of examples of me with bad eyebrows and hair, I'll put them up. But only if you want me to. They're bad). Now I have to tell you a particularly unfortunate story that just happened to me last week.

I bought dry shampoo! I've never had dry shampoo, so naturally I didn't know how to use it. So the first morning I tried it, I didn't really put enough on, so my hair was still greasy-nasty. The next morning I wouldn't be fooled. I sprayed that stuff on like a Pinterest crafter gone crazy with gold spray paint. Finally feeling that I had sprayed enough on to tame the grease, I brushed out my hair like the can told me. I looked in the mirror expectantly and found that I looked like an old lady! My hair was white! Frantically, I tried to brush it out and coax it into my tresses, but it wouldn't be contained. I had to go to a dentist appointment and unfortunately I still looked pretty old. But now I know, guys. Now I know.

Dear girls and women everywhere who know how to do these things correctly,

Were you just born with this knowledge? Did you have a bunch of sisters? Or maybe your mom knew a lot about it and imparted the knowledge of cosmetics and hair to you? Maybe I spent so much time trying to fit in with my brothers that I guess I just never noticed that much about beauty and therefore was blissfully unaware that I was breaking so many beauty no-no's (nos? nose?). Perhaps your skin is just nice and your hair is just beautiful and you didn't really do anything. Maybe one day I'll learn your trade. But honestly, probably not because even though I can see that I need some help, I just really don't care quite enough to do anything about it. Besides, my husband thinks I'm pretty, so there! :P Eat it, you beauties!

Sincerely,
Still clueless

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mormon General Conference!

In case you didn't know already, I am a Mormon, or member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tomorrow and Sunday we have the wonderful chance to hear from a living prophet of God and his apostles! We call this meeting General Conference. It takes place every six months in Salt Lake City, Utah, but it is broadcast live worldwide on television, radio, and internet. After it is broadcast, it becomes available in print and is always available for viewing online.

At 10:00 A.M. MDT, the first session begins and lasts for two hours. There are five total sessions.

I love General Conference. I look forward to hearing the inspired talks given. The people who speak spend a very long time preparing for General Conference. A lot of thought and prayer goes into it.

When I listen to General Conference, I can feel the Holy Ghost touch my heart, telling me that what I'm hearing is true. I invite each of you to join me in watching this wonderful broadcast so that you can feel what I feel.



You can watch General Conference by clicking here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Indian Tacos Recipe


Indian tacos (also known as Navajo tacos or Native American tacos) are a must if you ever visit the Pendleton Round-Up. Of course fry bread (the base of Indian tacos) with some honey or jam is delicious, too. The people who set up stands at Roy Raley park next to the Round-Up grounds have been making fry bread for a long time and their recipes are tried and true.

Naturally, I love fry bread, so I wanted to find a recipe that I liked as much as the fry bread from my home town. There are so many variations of the recipe, and they're all very similar, but sometimes a little tweak here or there can make all the difference in the texture. Isn't baking cool? I found one that's almost as, if not as good as the Round-Up staple.

So first, let's start off with the recipe for the fry bread. I got the recipe from this website and tweaked the amount of salt: 

Ingredients:

  • Oil for frying (around two cups)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (the recipe called for 2 TABLESPOONS!!!)
  • 2 1/2 cups warm milk (more or less)
First mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. If you have a sifter, sift them. If not, use an egg beater. Warm up your milk (I used a microwave) to a bit hotter than body temperature and stir it into the dry ingredients bit by bit until your dough comes together. If it gets too sticky, add a little flour. Then cover your bowl with a towel and let it rise for about 15 minutes.

While your dough is resting, heat up your oil. You'll know your oil is ready if you splash a little bit of water into it and it sizzles. But don't go too hot or you'll burn your fry bread! If you're not sure, test a small amount of dough. It should brown fairly quickly (about a minute, maybe two). Then adjust the heat as necessary. 

When your dough is finished rising, tear off a small chunk and roll it into a ball and then flatten it out with your hands. It should look something like this:


The size of each piece of dough will depend on how big you want your fry bread to be. When I make Indian tacos, I make them a bit bigger than when I make fry bread just for eating with honey or jam. 
Place your dough pieces gently into your oil. You don't want it to splash back at you! Don't crowd your pan. Put two if they will fit, more if they are small, but try not to overlap each piece. 
With tongs, flip each piece so that both sides are a nice golden brown. When this color is achieved, place the hot fry bread onto a plate or bowl with a paper towel covering the bottom to catch the grease.

If you are making Indian tacos, prepare your taco meat. I used hamburger and those nice cop-out taco seasoning packages you find at the grocery store. I also had these toppings: 

  • diced tomatoes 
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped onions
  • sour cream
  • taco sauce (we also had salsa) 
  • canned black beans (drained) 
  • shredded cheese 
Once everything is ready to go, top your fry bread with any or all of the taco toppings and enjoy!

The Indian tacos I've had at the Round-Up have some kind of chili instead of seasoned ground beef, but I personally find the seasoned ground beef to be just as good.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Honeymoon Part B

Once upon a time on our honeymoon part A, I got sick and we ran out of money so we had to go home early. So we decided to do a honeymoon Part B almost 8 months after the fact. Here are some pictures about it.

Columbia River Gorge

Here's us on the way to the Oregon coast! We drove in our little 91 Geo Metro all the way there. FYI, it has no air conditioning. So we were sweating like banshees the whole time.

Columbia River Gorge waterfalls

This is me at some pretty waterfall by Multnomah Falls. Maybe it's Horseshoe Falls?

Foliage

Have you ever noticed how beautiful leaves look when the sun is shining through them? It's one of my favorite things. (Along with raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...)

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls! This was Matt's first time seeing it! There are no pictures of us once we got to the coast because we were so tired from sweating all day. Once we got to the hotel, we basically just went to sleep.

Sea Lions

But don't worry! The next day we saw some cool things! Like these cute Sea Lions at the Newport bay. My favorite part is when they push each other off the docks and yell at each other.

Beach smooch

Oh look! My face is being squished by a kiss! Also, meet my favorite sweater. I found it at D.I. and I wear it all. the. time.

The Keyhole

This is Matt's cutest face! Awwww...

The Keyhole

We had a fun time at the beach. It was really foggy the whole time we were there.

Devil's Punch Bowl--Oregon Coast

We got up really early one morning to look at some tide pools! This is Devil's Punch Bowl!

Devil's Punch Bowl

So I always like to touch the creatures in the tide pools, right? You know, like feeling the anemone tentacles stick to your finger and stuff like that. Matt would NOT touch anything. He kept saying, "No! It's full of pus!"

Tide Pools

I believe this is a Heron! It's probably just getting some breakfast or something. Also, I think those orange spots on the rocks are sea stars.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Then we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. My favorite part is going in the tunnels with the fish and the sharks! Matt's not so sure about it...


You know you can't go to the aquarium without getting one of these pictures...we obviously couldn't resist.

Siletz Bay harbor seals

We went to Siletz Bay on the edge of Lincoln City. This is a pile of harbor seals. Just loungin'.

Foggy Beach Oregon coast

Foggy, but beautiful day. I took a bunch more pictures, but not all of them looked good. So this is all you get to see. We also got to see my brother, his daughter, and her mom! My niece is one and she's as cute as can be! I was glad to see her and her mom one last time before they moved to the east coast. I also got to see my brother and his kids from Utah! And of course the fam that lives in Pendleton/Athena.