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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Tasty Things to Do with Wheat

Got buckets and buckets of wheat in your food storage? Let's start a club!

Fortunately, wheat will keep for at least 20 years! Even so, I thought David and I should figure out what to do with it before the 20 years run out (although, we inherited these from my mother-in-law who had them for years, so we really have no clue how old they are).

I found both of these recipes recently; they are easy, and they are tasty! Baby Dhis loves both of them.


Do not give your young kids more than 2 of these muffins a day until you know how their bodies will handle them.

Let's just say: "REGULAR" and "GO" and "EXPLOSION!"

I will share the recipes as they were originally posted and make my personal notes in red.

Mini-Healthy Cupcakes
Got this recipe off this blog.

1½ cups shredded/grated carrots
½ cup ground nuts
½ cup olive oil
½ cup honey (or agave nectar)
2 beaten eggs
½ cup raisins
¼ cup flax seed (grind/blend before adding to batter or you will receive no nutritional value from them)
¼ cup dried cranberries
1¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
(I also add a ¼ cup of plain nonfat yogurt for moisture.)

Fill each mini cupcake in the tin to the fullest it can go. Cook at 350ºF for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Cool for a minute to make it easier to remove from pan.)

Top with icing. I make a cream cheese/maple syrup flavored icing to go on top. (I don't even bother with making icing. If your family will eat these without icing, why add the saturated fat and sugar?)

Blender Pancakes
Got this at a recent Provident Living Fair in my stake
By the Handy Family

Put the following ingredients into a blender and blend for 3 minutes on high speed:
1 cup wheat kernels
1 cup milk

Then, add the following ingredients and blend for another 2 minutes:
½ cup milk

Then, add the following ingredients and blend well:
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil (For thinner pancakes, substitute 1/4 cup with applesauce)
¼ tsp. salt

Then, add the following ingredient and blend well:
1 TB. baking powder

Ready for the grill! Pouring about ¼ cup of batter from the blender per pancake, yields about 24 pancakes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When I Was a Boy

Christmas parties in Venezuela always occurred at my paternal grandma's house. She liked hosting and having a billion people over. I remember one party in particular where slides were being shown on the wall. A photo of me as a toddler popped up.

"That's me when I was a boy!" I exclaimed.

(A Jewish boy, apparently.)

The room erupted in laughter.
They just didn't get it.
I was obviously a boy at one point.

As a kid, I was very boy and not very girl. One of the things I wanted to be able to do was... um... pee efficiently. I decided to give it a try.

One morning, at my maternal grandmother's home, we were enjoying arepas for breakfast when I suddenly had to "go." The bathroom door was right next to the kitchen table, and I slipped in. Once in the bathroom, I got the crazy idea that I was going to pee like a boy. Right then.

All I remembered was that boys faced the toilet not away from it. I commenced to undress from the waist down and sit on the toilet backwards. The bathroom door must not have properly latched because, not a second after I had situated myself, the door swung open exposing my experiment to a table-full of perplexed family members.

"What are you doing, Carolina??"

"I'm peeing like a boy."

The room erupted in laughter.
They just didn't get it.
I could do whatever a boy could do with enough practice.

Sigh... if only I could be a real boy...

I remember once waiting my turn at the plate during a kickball game in middle school. Game time was running out and one of the kids on the team decided he was not going to let the clock run down without him getting a turn. So, he jumped the line and went to the plate, skipping three other players. He was a black, muscly, cocky, sports dude. No one dared say anything. Except one brave (naive?) chick.

"Hey! It's not your turn!" I shouted.

"I don't care, I'm going."

"Get off the plate!" I yelled.

The next thing I knew, my face hurt. It was a nano-second before I realized he had punched me. It was half a nano-second before I lunged at him and wrestled him down. The school cop rushed over and pulled us apart.

The only other thing I remember about that incident was my dad talking to me at home about what the cop had told him. But Dad said it with a barely-hidden smile, and I knew he was proud that I wouldn't let anyone intimidate me. (Little did he know that would backfire on him when I hit my teenage years. But that's another story.)

Hmmm... which of these boys should I beat up next?

Fast-forward to marriage with David. The guy is at least a foot taller than me and about 100 pounds heavier (when I'm not pregnant anyway). But I soon learned that my playful spanks and shoves resulted in the largest teddy bear exclaiming, "Ouch!" and gingerly rubbing his new sore spot.

Kinda reminds me of this Friends episode:


I've since toned it down. Mostly.

So, yeah, don't mess with me. No one has ever said I hit like a girl.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jason Mraz Wears a Hat but not a CTR Ring

Am I the only one who thought Jason Mraz's song "I'm Yours" included the lyric "listen to the music of the Mormon people dance and sing"?

The singing part made sense (think MoTab), but the dancing? This incongruency was my first clue that I better google the lyrics. Maybe in other states, Mormons dance at wedding receptions. In Utah, receptions involve fake ivy, Christmas lights, and a long wait for a short interaction with the bride and groom. No dancing involved unless you're 3 years old and being oh-so-cute.

Am I the only one who thinks if Jason Mraz lost the stupid hat, no one would recognize him?

Heaven help him if he walks into the recording studio on a blustery day.

Front desk secretary: Who are you?
Jason: Jason Mraz.
Front desk: Yeah, right. Jason has a hat.
Jason: (laughs) Yeah. It blew away. It's windy outside.
Front desk: Nice try, Mr. Pretendo. SECURITY!

[Posted song: "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hush Money

Me thinks that when the dentist's office makes an appointment for my daughter at 8:30am, it should occur no later than 8:45am, and certainly not at 9:45am.

I was about to put on my coat, pick up my daughter, and storm out of the office when one of the techs came in and gave me a gift card for ColdStone.
Argh- the dilemma!

I mean, I was still angry about the wait, but I couldn't storm out anymore.

They gave me ice cream!

I wanted to go home.

But they gave me ice cream!

I can't leave when someone gives me ice cream.
For goodness' sake... ice cream!

That stuff is like kryptonite to my indignation.

The dentist sure knows how to keep a woman coming back.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I love: My Husband's Endless Support

( This is my last installment of posting briefly on things I love in celebration of Valentines' week. Tomorrow, you won't have to read my blog. Go, and do something special with people you love!)

I have always said David is God's love incarnate just for me. David is the perfect mortal to love me. He supports me in everything, I mean EVERYTHING, I have wanted to do.

He has supported me through 3 businesses, through a million brainstormed ideas, through a short college career, through countless service projects, through hobbies, through weird party themes, through heartaches, through hormonal certifiably-crazy moods, through hyper over-enthusiastic moods, through plans and through impulses, through home improvement projects, through let's-move-this-heavy-thing-from-here-to-there-and-then-maybe-back-again, through ideas and projects that cost nothing, through ideas and projects that cost thousands, and even through ideas that he disagrees with or ideas he doesn't understand.

He encourages me to do things I like and encourages me to try new things when I get in my own way. He is patient with me through my learning curves. He carries me spiritually, emotionally, and, at times, physically.

"I think you'd be wonderful at that."
"Yes, I'll help you with..."
"Of course, you can go _____, don't worry about a thing."
"How much does it cost?? OK, I trust you."
"Alriiiight, if you really want to."
"I support you, honey."
"You want me to dress up as what?? (sigh) Sure."
"I am so proud of you."
"You're amazing!"
"Look how far you've come!"
"You want to do what?? OK, honey."
"Sure, I'll move my schedule around for that."
"Look, what I did/brought for you!"

David let's me be gung-ho about things without guilt. He is my catapult, my platform, my diving board.

He's awesome. He's David.

[Posted song: "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler]
[Yes, as cheesy as that sounds, the lyrics are truly applicable to my best friend.]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I love: Teaching Personal Finance

(For Valentines' week, I'll post briefly on things I love.)

When I was 19, I received a "prompting" that part of my mission is to empower women. There are several aspects to this mission, but one of them is revealing to women their inherent power and mastery over circumstances and resources, such as money.

I thought for years to address this aspect by showing women how to make money. I have since realized that this is starting from the wrong side of the equation for it feeds the erroneous belief that problems go away with "more money." We all think we'd do better with more money "NOW", but I have learned from years of experience that our habits treat $20 just like they treat $200,000.

Empowerment begins in the appreciation and proper stewardship of the resources already present. It has been a big shift for me, but I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and have begun two things in the path to fulfilling my calling in a more peaceful order.

1) I approached the director of a nonprofit financial counseling center and wiggled my way in as an intern. (Boy, did I wiggle!)

2) I enrolled in a financial peace course with the intention of learning how to coordinate one myself. (I feel like a spy when I'm there, but that's part of the fun!)

Personal finance is not about money; it's about empowerment. I've seen so many people feel helpless and overwhelmed when it comes to their finances. Does a person who is worried about the lack of money sleep differently than a person who is master over money? You betcha! (I've done both!)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE stepping in and guiding people to steps that will alleviate their pain and doubts. I'm so excited about learning how to become a better listener and teacher! Perhaps, then what I know will be better received.

Hallelujah for heeding one's call!
What's your calling? Have you embraced it yet?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I love: My Daughter's Preference for Reading

(For Valentines' week, I'll post briefly on things I love.)

What an easy child. Truly, I was blessed to have such a daughter for my first child. Easy going, sleeps through the night, smiles even when she's not feeling well. Just awesome!

There are so many things to love about her, but my favorite thing right now: she loves to read! I will often be working in the office and realize that my daughter is suddenly "too quiet." Turning around, I will find she has pulled out a copy of her Friend magazine and is quietly reading.

She spends a lot more time reading one book than she does playing a couple toys.

Thank goodness. Books and magazines are easier to carry around town when toting the chickamuffin.

Notice in this next photo that she has one hand on her Gloworm's music button. As soon as the short melody ends, she presses the button to get ambient music playing again. Books and tunes, man, books and tunes!

I love my little bookworm!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I love: Sensé Serum Intensive

(For Valentines' week, I'll post briefly on things I love.)

I'm typically a very frugal person. But there are some things for which I'll pull out the shiny penny.
There are a bazillion skin care products out there that say they do "this" and/or "that". You know how dozens of them end up in your bathroom but most don't really do what you hoped they would?

Ok, this thing really and VISIBLY WORKS!

[Cue angels singing...]

Marketed as: Wrinkle reducer
What it SHOULD be marketed as: miracle pimple preventer!

Disclosure: I represented the manufacturer about 7 years ago. I don't get paid for promoting their products anymore, but I recommend this serum! I would seriously buy a lifetime supply of this stuff if there was ever word of the company going out of business!

You know how sometimes you can feel a lump under your skin and know a pimple is coming? Dab this on twice a day every day, and the pimple never comes! Seriously, that's what I use this for. If you have a pimple already, this shortens its lifespan significantly. When my daughter hits puberty, she will absolutely LOVE ME just because of this product. I still can't believe the company doesn't advertise this awesome aspect! Crazy!

Frequency: I typically dab on a spot where a pimple is threatening to erupt. During pregnancy, I tend to use it all over my face every few days to avoid a blemish sneaking by.

Pros: It WORKS! Prevents pimples. Makes already present pimples die quickly. Tube makes it easy to use sparingly.
Cons:Upon regular use, I get cocky and think I have naturally clear skin, so then I stop using it. And then I'm scurrying for my bottle of serum when I'm reminded I'm a natural pizza face.
Price: $44.34 retail (I typically pay less. When I know I'm running low on mine, I keep my eyes open for a dealer willing to sell me a tube for less.)

This serum WORKS and you actually get IMMEDIATE RESULTS instead of a hope that in 5 years your routine will pay off.

Sensé Serum Intensive works Every. Freaking. Time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I love: This Winter

(For Valentines' week, I'll post briefly on things I love.)

I love this winter!

In December, I thought I would just die inside when I came back to this after Hawaii.

But we haven't had much of the gray and white.
Lots of sun, little snow-- I could live in Utah forever if the winters were always like this.
Today, neighbors were going for walks outside. Kids were riding their bikes. Some of my upstairs rooms were actually too hot!

Which reminds me, global warming.

Which reminds me, a quote I read once about Al Gore:
"Global warming ain't done nothing to that fat boy's ice cream cone!"

Which reminds me, there's ice cream in the freezer.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Financial Goals 2010

(I wrote this December 31, 2009. There must have been a latent Y2K bug because this did not publish. Darn Y2K+10!)

Here are more of my goals, published online for accountability. Check up on me when you see me at church, the store, in your house! I get distracted like most everyone else and don't mind being reminded to stick with things.

My financial goals for this year are:

1) Set aside $2,000 by April for this upcoming baby.
  • WHY? We have great insurance and a FLEX account, but we don't really know how much it will actually cost to birth this baby. Plus, much of the stuff I used with Baby Dhis was lent to me and has since been returned, so we will need to buy some baby clothes and gear.
  • HOW? Sell excess belongings. Collect money due from past work. Re-route leftover groceries money. Reroute money being saved in home maintenance fund. Send leftover reimbursements from business trip to baby fund.

2) Contribute additional $3600 into retirement account.
  • WHY? That’s how much we are currently short annually to be contributing 15% of income into retirement. The sooner we meet this goal, the closer it puts us to aggressively paying off our mortgage, and I want that sucker gone! I can think of one or 5 other things I rather be doing with that $1400 each month.
  • HOW? Reroute sources from #1 once “baby fund” hits $2K. If there is a tax refund, put it into retirement accounts. Apply any bonuses or raises.

3) Earn an extra $20,000.
  • WHY? To set the kids’ college funds and be done with it =$5,000; To snowball our mortgage, cutting off 6 years from our 15-year mortgage. = $10,000; To make charitable family trips and increase offerings.= $5,000
  • HOW? No clue yet! There are endless options, but I must also take into account that this year, I will be giving birth to a baby and recovering from such event. Start a new business? Do contract work? Investments? EBay? Part-time job? Writing projects? Technical help?

The toughest thing for me is to just make a decision and go with it. I would like to choose a route this month.

Focus, Adhis! Focus!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dance a Little

...the whole song through.

Are you dancing? What are you waiting for?