Monday, August 30, 2010

1 Year Anniversary

I have the immense privilege of serving with 3 amazing women in my calling right now.  I am grateful to Natalie, Michelle, and Tepoe for their dedicated service and for teaching me so much.  It's hard to believe that we were sustained on August 30, 2009...and that it's been a whole year already.  Thanks ladies!  I love you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Review: Have a little faith: a true story by Mitch Albom

My Rating: Very well thought-out and inspiring to read
Appropriate for: Adults, Young adults
From the book jacket: Have a Little Faith is a book about life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all.  It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story.  From the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom brings us yet another opportunity to look inside ourselves and feel the desire to be a little better and do a little more.  I enjoyed this book for just that reason.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pregnancy update - 34 weeks

I will post a photo soon.  Well, today I went for my 34 week check-up.  Good news: blood sugar is good, blood pressure is also good.  Bad news: Dilated to 1.  Dr. says I need to take it very easy and behave myself the next 2 weeks and he will take the cerclage out at 36 weeks.

On a different note, Baby Boy is beating me up from the inside out!  I do not remember feeling this much movement with Luz.  We are in for a wild ride with him, I am certain.  Also, I have decided on a name for him.  Juan is not quite on board yet, but I am still working on him. :)

Dinner tonight

FINALLY a healthy meal!  Cafe Rio style salad (tortilla on the bottom, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, beans fresh out of the pot) and Green smoothies!!!  Yeah!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: Women of the Book of Mormon by Heather B. Moore (LDS Non fiction)

My Rating: Very good, insightful, would recommend it.
Appropriate for: Adults, Young adults
Heather Moore describes in detail the history and culture surrounding many of the Book of Mormon scenes featuring women.  She also expresses appreciation and empathy for their difficult lives.  I enjoyed learning more and gaining additional insight while reading this book.  I absolutely loved the artwork!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wedding reception adventure!

Carolyn and I, along with 3 little girls, took a drive up to Ogden for a high school friend's wedding reception.  Well, it turned into a much bigger adventure than we had bargained for.  While exiting the freeway, my car decided not to work anymore.  Here's me parked on the side of the road.  After figuring out that the car could drive in reverse but not forward, I was finally able to get to the side. 

We had to have it towed. (sad) But met so many wonderful people in Ogden. (happy) We did make it to the reception, just as it was ending. (sad)  But had a chance to visit with the family in a less crowded environment. (happy) It was so fun to see the Young family after so many years - the last time being at my wedding 5 1/2 years ago!!!  Congrats Eric and Trish!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: Divinely Designed by Rachael Renee Anderson (LDS Fiction)

My Rating: I LOVED this book!  I loved the characters!  I couldn't put it down!
Appropriate for: Adults, Young adults
From the back cover: This delightful tale by Rachael Renee Anderson combines wit and romance with the reality that change is difficult, but it can bring about some of life's greatest adventures.  Divinely Designed is a sure antidote for gloom and a light-hearted reminder that even the darkest forks in the road can lead somewhere brilliant.  I enjoyed this book because it was so well-written and I felt like I was part of the story.  I seriously couldn't put it down and didn't get much sleep last night finishing it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dinner - Wednesday

Mexican Soup...some people call it taco soup.  Other members of my family make it with ground beef, and chips.  I have it down to only 3 ingredients, which is perfect for me!  I ladle some of those Crockpot beans into a pot, along with some of the juice/liquid (whatever variety I have cooked - sometimes pinto, black, or red), along with a can or two of corn and a can or two of diced tomatoes Mexican style.  That's it.  Plenty of flavor and those beans add the carbs and protein your body needs.  Heat through and serve in big bowls with a sprinkle of grated cheese on top.  No chips.  I sometimes add zucchini also. :)

Book Review: Turning Hearts by Deanne Blackhurst (LDS Fiction)

My Rating: Uplifting, intriguing, true to life story
Appropriate for: Adults, Young adults
From the back cover: Amanda knows there's a certain family out there that needs the gospel--and she also knows she's the one who's supposed to bring it to them.  I enjoyed this book because of Amanda's struggles and what she learns in the process.  We're all in different stages of the process.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Recipe: Stuffed Mini Peppers

Monday dinner: Pinto beans cooked in the Crockpot, corn tortillas heated, a little bit of grated cheese and sour cream, lettuce, carrots, and stuffed mini peppers.

The beans and tortillas along with a salad is a pretty standard meal for us.  My brother Samuel has recently come to live with us and he eats a lot.  I decided the meal was missing something.  I looked in my empty fridge and saw the rest of the bag of mini peppers that I bought last week to go in the stir-fry.  I then had used them in a great salad, and still quite a few left.  There was a recipe on the bag that went something like this, but I modified it with what I had.

1 package cream cheese, softened
Herbs (I used a little bit of thyme, a little bit of basil, and a little bit of dill)
I cut open the tops of the peppers most of the way, leaving the tops attached, took out the seeds and stuffed the mixture inside.  I sprayed a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and put them all on it.  I think I baked them on 400 for about 15 minutes.
My Rating:  Yummy, pretty easy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (Fiction)

My Rating: I read someone else's review and thought this book might be a good fit for me, but sadly, I was very disappointed.  I did not think it was very well-written, very entertaining, and it was somewhat vulgar.
Appropriate for: Adults
From the back cover: When their father's part in a plot against a cruel dictator forces them to flee the Dominican Republic, the Garcia sisters--Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia--come to America.  In America, the Garcia girls try to assimilate into the mainstream.  Through it all, they remain caught between the old world and the new.  Julia Alvarez is also an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, so I wondered if some of this was biographical.  She says that it is fiction.  What I did enjoy about this book was that it started in the present and went backward.  I thought that was an interesting way to write and gave more understanding as time went back.

What do you eat?

People ask me, "If you don't eat as much meat, what, exactly, do you eat?"  I have decided to post what we eat for dinner for a week or two for my own benefit.  We eat more meat than is ideal, in my opinion, but we generally use it as a condiment.  We are not a "raw" family.  That means that my husband is a little resistant to things going too far, so I do what I can.  One more disclaimer is that I'm pregnant and don't have much energy.  So, we'll see how my posts go...

Sunday dinner:  A casserole with almost all of the veggies in my fridge.  Potatoes (scrubbed with skin on), carrots, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, green onions.  I diced the potatoes and boiled them with the carrots until they were tender crisp.  Then I cut everything else up and mixed it together with a can of cream of mushroom soup (completely unhealthy) and a can of cream of celery soup (also bad for you).  Sprayed a casserole dish with non-stick spray, put the mixture in the pan and sprinkled cheese on top.  I cooked it on 400 for about 25 minutes and we enjoyed a tasty dinner.  Pretty good for no dinner plan. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

It's my mom's birthday today!  She is an amazing woman!  I love her dearly.  And I think this song describes her very well.  She continues to watch over me.

Green Smoothies

As a follow-up to my previous post regarding a healthier lifestyle, I wanted to post a cute picture of Luz and her smoothie face.   Juan got me a Blend-tec for Christmas and I have tried to put it to very good use.  My normal recipe is 2 bananas for sweetness and creaminess, a lot of spinach (stuff the blender full of spinach, blend it up, stuff it full again), 1 cup water, 3 handfuls of frozen fruit.  I find that when we are all drinking our green smoothies regularly we are healthy and happy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

More Meatless Meals

About a year ago I embarked on a journey of a healthier lifestyle.  It all started when I began running every evening as part of my Personal Progress project.  Exercising has always had a certain effect on me...that is, when I am working hard to get fit, I naturally tend to watch what I am putting into my body very closely.  About the same time, I read several books on nutrition and decided to start phasing out the meat.  I had to start slowly and gradually I have achieved about a twice per week meal plan that includes meat.  The other days we simply have plant strong meals.  Luckily we love beans around here, so that covers it most nights.  Since Matthew and Stephanie have been living with us, they each take a turn to cook and their nights pretty much cover us meat-wise.  Tonight I made an amazing stir fry in my new-to-me wok.  (Thanks Grandma!)  It was very exciting!  I told Luz it was my new toy, and she gave me a funny look. :)  One thing I love about this meal are the colors!  Green onions, green beans, broccoli, celery, red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers, carrots, mushrooms.  Another thing I love is that everything was fresh.  I served it over brown rice.

Some may laugh at my endeavors, but I lost 30 pounds beyond the pregnancy with Luz weight-gain.  So far I do not have gestational diabetes this time around.  And although I am large and pregnant and unable to exercise right now, I am not on complete bedrest yet.  All of those things make it very "worth it" to me to have a healthier lifestyle.  Not to mention any future benefits for my family.

Book Review: Take Four by Karen Kingsbury (Christian Fiction) - Part 4 of 4

My Rating: Amazing!  Karen is one of my very favorite authors and has never disappointed me yet!
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
Wrapping up the "Above the Line" series, Take Four is another fabulous novel about how everyone has an opportunity to change their life.  I enjoyed this book because of the amazing people in the story.  I feel like they are part of my family because I have come to know them so well.  If you have never read a book by Karen Kingsbury, I highly recommend doing so!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


One of Luz' favorite things do to is attend baptisms.  She talks about them for weeks!  She loves looking at pictures of Jesus being baptized and talks about the future when she can be baptized too.  Seriously.  It's cute.  I happen to be in charge of monthly baptisms for the Primary children, but she only gets to go with me when Papa is working.  Today we all got to go to a friend's baptism, Dylan.  It was a great day!  Thanks for inviting us!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jenny Phillips Concert

Thanks to a reminder phone call from my lovely sis about 6:00 tonight, Juan, Luz and I were able to make it to a free concert featuring Jenny Phillips.  She was great!  Her music really reaches out to all.  I am very impressed with her as a person.  She just had her fourth baby earlier this year and it doesn't seem to have slowed her down.  But I think I know why.  Toward the end of her performance tonight, she shared an experience she had that changed her life.  She was driving on the freeway and a railroad tie was about to be flung into her windshield.  She just knew that she was going to die and quickly reflected on whether she had done all she should while on the Earth.  She didn't feel quite ready and prayed for more time.  Talk about making the most of each and every day!  Am I doing what Heavenly Father expects of me each and every day of my lives?  What more can I do to make the most of my unknown time on Earth?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book Review: Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon (LDS Fiction) - Part 3 of 4

My Rating: A little slower than House on the Hill and At the Journey's End...or maybe I was just way more tired.  Also, this book did not have the same characters as the previous two...I was expecting more connections.  All in all, still a very good book.
Appropriate for: Young adults, Adults
From the back cover: When Ben and his two brothers come home after more than two years of serving a mission to the Eastern states, Bethany's feelings of heartache and anger also return--fiercer than ever.  And so do Ben's feelings for her.  What follows is a charming historical romance complete with wonderful characters and witty dialogue that explores the redemption and power of finding--and rediscovering--true love.  I enjoyed this book because it had a more complex plot and I felt like I came to know the characters.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Panty Update

Luz woke up today and said she wanted a diaper on instead of panties.  Ok fine.  Then about 11:30 she brought me the panties and said she was ready.  Not sure what to think of this.  Maybe all the activities this weekend have her tired and wanting less stress in her life?