Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I'm sorry.

I hate to toot my own horn, 

I know my way around a kitchen.

Monday, December 5, 2011


No, no.
Not that kind of lost.

from, taken by Alfonso Lima
This kind.
These are tricky little accessories.
Not when you use them - they're pretty simple to use.
They're tricky in the "keeping track of them" aspect.
Luckily, I usually only lose one or two at a time,
which isn't so bad,
since I also tend to find them one or two at a time:
while I'm vacuuming,
while Joel's vacuuming,
while picking up socks,
while otherwise scouring the carpet for tiny pieces of black metal.
Since they get lost all the time,
I have to buy new ones every so often.

Last time I bought a new package,
I lost the whole thing.

from, taken by Konrad Baranski
I know.
It's pretty sad.
I kept thinking it would turn up in its grocery bag somewhere,
but it's been over a month.
I don't think they're coming back.
I guess I'll buy more...

I mean,
they are only 88 cents.

Friday, December 2, 2011


School.  I've been thinking about it lately.

Being a teaching major, I've been talking and hearing a lot lately about motivation in school, and sometimes it's hard to imagine that there are students who really refuse to try because they don't see the importance, or because of another of a million reasons.

It's at those times that I realize that I now believe education can be fun and important.

All through school, I was a smart kid.  Not always the smart kid, but sometimes.  And when people would talk about how much they hated school, someone would always say, "Not Alison! She loves school!" which I would indignantly (and truthfully) refute.  Just because I made good grades, I would say, did not mean I liked it.  And I didn't.

My freshman year at college, I didn't know how to study.  I squandered too much time talking about not liking classes and wondering why I had to take some of them.  This repeated during my sophomore year, although I tried harder to try.  Finally, second semester of junior year, I wised up and took a class that taught me how to study.  As a result, college has easy-ed up immensely.  I was thinking today that I wished I hadn't slacked off the first little while, but if I hadn't, I wouldn't have ended up where I am today.

As I was walking down the hall last night after my Thursday night class, I was genuinely disappointed that I had just finished the last session of the semester.  And if someone said now, "Not Alison! She loves school!" they would be much less wrong than before.  I don't love all of school, but I'm getting closer to really loving the learning part of it.  Difficult classes can be fun because it's exciting when you "get it."  Reading means I'll understand class.  (That's a lesson you learn get until you actually try to get something from the reading before class.)  Schoolwork this semester has been very purposeful = less boring.

I'm not really sure what the point of this post is.  Perhaps just to get my thoughts out so I can think them clearly.  But if it needs a moral, let it be this: Let yourself like school.  Let yourself like learning.  You just might be surprised how much you like it if you let yourself try.

And to all of you who still think it's cool to say you hate school (or whose friends do): You will be ahead now and later if you stop saying that and start letting yourself believe learning is good.  I know I am.

Friday, November 25, 2011

a day for celebrating

Not only was yesterday a day for celebrating thankfulness
and tasty food,
but it was also a day to celebrate the birth of

Carrie O'Dell,
who happens to be my best friend,
and probably the best roommate in the world.
(I wouldn't know exactly because I haven't had everyone in the world as roommates.
However, I'd be willing to bet that there should be no "probably" in the sentence.)

In backwards order...
Reasons why she is the best roommate ever:
1. She is easy to get along with:
I can count on zero hands the number of times we got in arguments.
2. She is an excellent cook:
We were in a dinner group together. Tasty foods.
3. She is clean, but not the kind of clean that makes you feel guilty:
We tended to have messy days at the same time,
so we actually inspired each other to clean up.
4. She likes to do social things, but not always:
We did social things because they were fun, 
but we also knew how to stay home and eat brownies.
5. She has excellent taste in movies:
Harry Potter and all the High School Musicals. 
6. She has extensive knowledge of movies:
Ever laid awake or gone crazy trying to remember what other movies someone's been in?
This will never happen with Carrie as your roommate.
7. She has good habits:
Namely, my nighttime teeth-brushing
and daily showering + hair-doing
were at an all-time high while living with Carrie.
8. Etc.
Four years ago on Carrie's birthday when BYU beat the U.
Reasons why she is awesome
Reasons why she is my best friend:
1. Her mom made us be friends.
(Shout out to Sis O'Dell!)
2. She is hilarious.
3. She has an excellent sense of style.
4. She likes to do fun things.
5. She is one of the most excited people I know:
--> She makes everything more fun.
--> If you ever have something exciting to say and are expecting a good reaction,
she will never disappoint.
6. She is supportive.
This combined with #5 = 
I seriously would've gone crazy at some points during my sophomore year
if it weren't for Carrie.
7. She went on a date with Greg.
That was awesome, people.
8. She calls it a je'taime. 
And that is just cool.
9. She likes my husband.
That would've been ridiculously hard.
10. She doesn't do mean things,
like making people feel stupid,
or otherwise being negative.

I could say 1,000,000 more things, but I won't.
Dear Sister O'Dell,
Thank you for making me share a tent with Carrie, 
even though I didn't like you at the time for it.
She is the best best friend in the world.
 Dear Carrie,
We have been best friends for 10ish years.
I feel like we should be sisters or otherwise related,
and that we should be neighbors when we grow up.
You are excellent
and I'm so thankful for you!
Also, I don't hug much or say this very often,
but just so you know,
I love you!
You are awesome.
and I'm glad you had a good birthday!

P.S. I like your watch.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Something else I've been thinking about lately.

Folks, running is not the only kind of exercise.
And if you don't like it, that doesn't mean you're fat.

The world doesn't like us to know those things.  Oh yeah.  One more thing.

I like doughnuts.

I enjoy spending time on Pinterest sometimes.  I see pretty things and get good ideas, plus it can be a really great place to look if you're trying to find a new healthy recipe or some new ways to make cards.  It's a trendy place that way.  But I've noticed something lately.  A lot of women are on Pinterest, pinning away at "motivating" posters telling them to go exercise.  And they always write captions on the bottom like, "So true!" and "I need to put this by the fridge!" and even "I'll think of this every time I eat a cookie!"  The thing is, I don't find those posters very motivating.

Here's an example:

Let's go through this, shall we?
Myth #1: You will regret eating that cookie.
Truth: I often don't regret eating cookies.  The only time I do regret eating cookies is when I'm feeling guilty or fat.  Guess who wants us to feel guilty and fat, guys.  Not people who love us.  People who love us are encouraging and kind.  They don't tell you to stop being so fat and put down that cookie because, even though it's delicious, you've already had a carrot today and that has enough sugar in it for your whole week!  (I also sometimes regret eating a cookie if I've already eaten 12.)

Myth #2: You will not regret running that mile.
Truth: I sometimes do regret running that mile.  You know why? Because I hate running.  There.  I said it. 
I hate running! and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
 Do you know what I do enjoy?  Biking, yoga, pilates, swimming, hiking, walking... lots of things.  I don't always do them, but I enjoy them.  When I get home after going running, I am not filled with energy and happiness, as many people are.  I am, in fact, more prone to crash on the couch and watch TV all night long than if I hadn't gone running. 

By the way, did you check out the tumblr account name of the person who made that poster? That's right.  makemeextrasmall
Let's try again:
Myth #3: Not exercising = being fat.
Truth: Not exercising = not being as healthy as you could be.  The purpose of this post is not to say that exercising isn't good for us.  That's not true.  Exercising is great when done right!  We've been told to take care of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20, among many) and I definitely believe exercising is one part of doing so.  But there is so much more involved in being healthy than just exercising.  If I'm eating perfectly and doing everything else except exercising, I'm going to wager a guess that I won't be fat.  Now that might not be true - but I don't eat perfectly now and I'm not fat, so I'm guessing it's not too far from the truth.  To conclude: No, if you don't exercise, you may not be as healthy as you could be, but that does NOT mean you are fat.  Even logically, it doesn't follow.

and, while we're at it, Myth #4: Exercising = being skinny or causing skinniness.
I'll let you all in on a little secret.  Not all bodies are made to be skinny.  So, like it or not, you might exercise until the cows come home and never be as thin as the girl in that picture up there.  And guess what.  That's okay!  Because your body is special and specific to you - Your body knows when it's at a healthy weight!  And that healthy weight might not be 100 or 125 or whatever you think sounds healthy.  Your healthy might be 150.  It might be 175.  But the take-home lesson from Myth #4 is that, while exercising is good for you, not everyone who exercises is going to end up skinny and that's okay.
And let's just finish this out with two last remarks.
1. Exercising builds muscle.  Muscle weighs more than fat.  So if you start exercising to lose weight and notice that that's not happening, maybe you're gaining muscle.  Conclusion: When it comes to tracking your weight loss/gain, try using a tape measure instead of a scale.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


I've been thinking about something a lot lately.
That something is named normalcy.

Some days, I come home from school and look at my house.  "This is not my beautiful house," I think.  "Where is my beautiful furniture, house big enough to build a new themed nursery every time I think about a baby, money to live in a perfectly decorated home, and gigantic walk-in closet?  Where are all of my shoes?"

Other days I think, "Where are all of the gifts I have made?  All of the clothing and blankets I've sewn?  The perfectly formed cupcakes and diaper cakes and rainbow cakes and all other kinds of cakes?  Where is the collection of ugly antiques that I bought at DI and craftily turned into fashionable antiques?"  And, "Oh no! My entire handmade wardrobe is gone!"

Then I remember something.
Which is named, not everyone lives like that.  In fact, most people do not.  It's the minority, folks, who are putting those pictures on blogs and pinterest and who knows where else.

And that's okay.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

not as awkward as it could've been - and it had great potential.

Someone whom I have never before met just hovered over me while I was sitting on the ground 
and squeezed my shoulder.
We supposedly know each other.
I looked up and said,

I don't know you."

His face said the same thing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

alisonism #14: 11-11-11


There is a tradition of making a wish at 11:11.
Yesterday was 11-11-11.
You may have heard - 
There was a lot of hubbub about making a wish
at 11:11 on 11-11-11.  

Time for the alisonism.

I've never really been one for making wishes.
Weird, right?
but I haven't.
I remember even when I was little,
people telling me to make a wish on my birthday candles.
I always thought it was weird.
I usually just close my eyes for a second and then say,
"Got it,"
so I don't have to explain that I don't really make wishes.
Don't get me wrong - I don't think there's anything wrong with making wishes.
You can make wishes all you want and I definitely will not think any less of you.
I just don't make them.
I don't even think it's weird when other people do it - just when I do. 

I hope for things
(I hope we have macaroni for dinner!)
and I wish some things were
(I wish it weren't so cold today)
but I don't make wishes for things I want.

Maybe I don't know how.
Every time I try making a wish, it comes out feeling more like a prayer,
which then makes me feel weird for praying a wish.

Needless to say,
I didn't make a wish at the AM or PM, 
and it didn't really bother me.


My husband is so much braver than me! Look what he ate today!  (Look up khash, although if you have a weak stomach, you may be sorry you did.  Subtract the vodka from the meal and add in "lemonade with some herb in it" and you have Joel's breakfast!)

taken from Joel's own camera: "I ate one bite of this and choked it down."
"I ate this until I was full."  That green stuff is the "lemonade with some herb in it."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Skyhawk Gorge Night

from Salem Hills High School website,

Tonight I went to the Salem Hills Skyhawk Gorge Night and it was so fun!  Salem Hills is a new high school in the area and, because it's a new school, they've really worked hard to create a sense of team and unity there.  They do this through clubs - anyone can have a club who wants one, so they've ended up with some really cool ones, like the Pizza Factory Lovers, Fly Fishing, Music Lovers, and Harry Potter, and over 50 more - and working on school-wide goals.  One of their yearly goals is to sponsor someone through the Make A Wish program.  Last year it was someone from their own student body; this year the student is from an elementary school that leads to the high school.  His name is Quinton and he goes by Q.  How do they raise this money, you might ask?  With Skyhawk Gorge Night.

On Gorge Night, all the clubs get booths set up throughout the school and offer samples that somehow represent their club.  Book Club might have gummy worms; Japanese Club had fortune cookies that Panda Express donated; Bioscience Club had worms and dirt (chocolate pudding, crushed oreos, and a gummy worm); and Walmart donated hot dogs for everyone.  It's such a cool community event!  It only costs $5/person or $20/family and all the money goes to granting Quinton's wish.  How cool is that?!  They've already raised over $4000.  They're also selling t-shirts with big Q's on them - they're actually pretty cool.

I found out about this from my classroom management teacher, who happens to be one of the assistant principals at Salem Hills.  I only know her from my class, but I imagine she is probably one of the world's greatest assistant principals because she really knows how to create an environment where people feel important and valued.  I think that's really important for a high school.  Anyway, she told us about it and I thought it'd be cool to go.  Luckily, a girl in my ward goes to the same class and she and her husband also wanted to go! So we headed over tonight and it was TOTALLY worth it.  It was like a glorified Sam's Club trip.  Fun + tasty + cheap + the added benefit of knowing you're helping someone out :)

And I'll probably steal that idea to use at whatever school I teach at someday.  What a fun community partnership/involvement/activity!

Gorge Night, I will most definitely see you next year. :)  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Greenwich Village

not my hand

After spending forever trying to get a two-week-old coat off my nails, I must say, to their credit (or perhaps to the discredit of my polish remover?), that OPI nail polish is not only awesome for their colors and color names, but for the fact that their nail polish lasts forever.  And also that I got a free bottle of top coat when I got my two new fun colors the other week with an ULTA coupon.

"leavin' on a jet plane"

from, taken by Pablo Barrios

Well, it wasn't quite so early that I would call it early morn,
and there was no taxi driver blowing his horn,
but it's still a new adventure!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

why I love Christmas music

from, taken by Milan Vasic

I have been listening to Christmas music a little bit lately,
and watching a couple Christmas movies.
This has been met with dismay by several people, seeing as it just barely was Halloween.

Allow me to explain my logic.

At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Because of that, it's no wonder that during December, people are so cheery and willing to serve each other.  I believe the Spirit is so strong during Christmas because people are more open to receive it.
It's also no wonder, to me, that because they are celebrating Someone so wonderful,
Christmas songs bring the Spirit and comfort and peace into my home.
Why should I discontinue my celebration of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ - 
just because it isn't the right month?

I especially like to listen to Christmas music when I'm stressed or need some extra concentration,
like right now, while working on homework.
I need peace to be able to concentrate, and listening to Christmas music gives me that peace.
I don't want to deny myself that gift.

I also listen to non-religious Christmas music.
It reminds me of the Christmas season, when everyone is so happy.
So I guess mostly the reason that I'm listening to it as well as spiritual Christmas music
is because it's fun + thinking about Christmas makes me happy. :)

Don't worry.
In my early/year-round celebration of Christmas,
I also am ecstatic for Thanksgiving and gave a huge shout-out to Halloween.
Just because Christmas is so awesome doesn't mean I'm skipping the others! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Happy Halloween!

I was a Canadian pop star named Robin Sparkles.
Joel was a giraffe's neck.  
We ate lots of candy and it was tasty and fun :)

We also ate at Applebee's with some of our friends, 
and I learned that Fiesta Lime Chicken is delicious!

We tried to go to Milagros, since it's one of the best restaurants we've ever been to,
but for some reason, since it was Halloween, they closed at 3:00.
We were a little sad about that

Overall, it was a great day :)
I'll put up a picture of Joel's costume when I get one from his phone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

evidence that I have the best husband ever

When I came home from class last night,
this was waiting for me in the living room.

Rest of the story to come later,
 after I've gotten more accomplished today :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It turned out yummy!

Here's the post on "my" cooking blog, in case you're interested.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tiny onion, quartered
2 gala apples, cut into slices
a couple dashes cinnamon
a couple tiny dashes all-spice
a couple splashes lemon juice

Serve on rice with some lime juice.

Make a "plate" for the chicken by laying one apple's worth of slices on the bottom of the crockpot.  Put chicken on top, followed by a "lid" of the second apple.  Dump in the can of cranberry sauce, followed by  a quarter of the onion in each corner of the crockpot.  Dash on the cinnamon, all-spice, and lemon juice.  I didn't even stir it!  Wait in anticipation to see if it turned out well...




Trying something new tonight... hope it works out!
I'll put up the recipe if it does!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My new camera came today!!

And this is a picture of my mom telling me to
stop playing with it and do my homework.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


A new camera is coming in the mail soon! I'm so excited!

And, I'd like to give a shout-out to my parents who are great at finding good and long-lasting products and kindly taught me how to do it :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning Score


Whoever invented this deserves a prize.

I think creating lesson plans is intimidating. I hardly even know how to start filling templates out, half the time.  Well, my methods teacher told us about a new computer program today called Learning Score.  Essentially, it looks like what you see when you create a song in GarageBand or a similar program, only it lets you plug in parts of your lesson into a 45-minute block. Sorry, that's a confusing explanation. I don't really know how to describe it. But it lets you create your lesson plan visually and re-arrangeably, which is a lot easier for me than a "fill this out" lesson plan template.  Plus it's cool because, since it's a visual drag-and-drop, you can see exactly where each minute is going to go.

And.  It's free!

I downloaded it as soon as I got home from school.
If you're a teacher or would use this for anything else, download it! 
I don't know how much longer it will be free, but if you download it now and you don't like it, delete it.  And if you do like it, hey! free program!
And also, tell all your other teacher friends if you like it so that the whole world can benefit from this sweet lesson planning program!

It really does, in my opinion, make lesson planning a LOT easier.  

Here's a really quick one I made today so you can see generally how it works/what it looks like:

And you might be wondering what the "Play" button means.
If you click it, it plays through a slideshow-type thing (I think you click through it - it's not automatic like some slideshows) of your presentation using the little images on each box, giving you, as a teacher, visual clues as to what you planned to come next in your lesson plan. I think you can also set it up to show you a couple of notes with the image, too, if you want.

What did I tell you? AWESOME!

Monday, September 26, 2011

"What could you accomplish if no one told you it was impossible?"

Friday, September 23, 2011


For those of you interested in Photoshop but not in the price tag, I found something really cool for you!  I happened across it while using StumbleUpon today.  I only played around on it for a few minutes - long enough to do one picture - but here's the basic rundown...

It's called Aviary.
It includes four different image editors, two audio editors, and one screen capture program.

  • Advanced Image Editor - This looks almost exactly like Photoshop, only watered down a little.
  • Vector Editor - I don't really know how to use vectors in editing pictures, so this didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
  • Effects Editor - Lets you put different effects/textures/etc. on your photos, as far as I can tell. 
  • Image Markup - This seems to be mostly for cropping, resizing, and marking up images or screenshots, like if you want to put a big red circle around something in a picture or something like that.
  • Music Creator - Didn't use it, but it says it's for using instruments to make your own beats, etc.
  • Audio Editor - Didn't use it, but seems to be pretty similar to GarageBand.
  • Screen Capture - Use it if you want to "take a picture" of what your screen currently looks like. 

It's all on the Internet, so you don't have to use up a bunch of memory on your computer.
You can easily download your edited stuff once you finish - I tried it.
It's freeeeeeee!
You only have to create an account if you want to save online - otherwise, you just do your editing, download the end result to your computer, and you're done!

CONCLUSION: I only used it a little, but this is really awesome. Seriously. You should try it if you want Photoshop or GarageBand and don't have them or the cash to buy them.  I would use it, honestly, if I didn't have Photoshop already.  And I might use it anyway sometimes if I'm not on my own computer and still want to do something cool to a picture.

"Not all Scotch is an acquired taste."

Dear Scotch Naturals nail polish,
How am I ever supposed to be happy with cheap, off-brand nail polish now that I've seen you?!

P.S. If anyone decides to buy this for me, you should get the Cocktail Trio (with Leprochaun Lynch, Loch Ness Mystery, and Stone Fence) because then, you also get their deluxe top coat and a FREE nail buffer! (which equals, all in all, 20% off.)

P.P.S. For those of you were wondering, no, I do not drink scotch.  This post's title is Scotch Naturals's slogan.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

a post!

Not having a working camera (which, by the way, is the reason for my non-posting lately - you don't even know how many posts are rumbling around in my head, but who wants to read a bunch of words without a fun picture to break it up?) is driving me crazy.  And then I found this picture, which I hope you all love as much as I do. This is real, people!  You can buy it if you want!  Awesome.  I looove that show!

Friday, September 16, 2011

You're the assistant! Figure it out!

an excellent day off

Thursday, August 4, 2011

voice lessons

If any of you lovely readers are in my area and looking to start voice lessons, check out Karen Milne!  She's looking to up her student count for the fall, and you couldn't get a better teacher!

**Disclaimer: She's never actually been my teacher, so I don't know if you could get a better one... BUT she is an amazing singer who's super passionate about teaching. :)

But seriously, though.  If you're looking to start lessons, you should totally check her out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

by Julia Gazdag

Monday, July 18, 2011

the wisdom of Hans Christian Andersen

I am lucky enough to be the proud owner of this book:

and have often noticed the little gems of wisdom scattered throughout it. I have always meant to record them somehow, but never have. I didn't want to underline things in the book, in case I found something else cool the next time I read it. So I decided today that I would record them here every once in a while so I can save them and also so that other people can appreciate it them. Enjoy! :)

[Others'] suspicions are nothing when a man is really true, and every one should persevere in acting honestly, for all will be made right in time. 
The Silver Shilling

[on knowing family history stories]: 
Preserve carefully the seed that has been entrusted to thee, that it may grow and thrive. Guard it well. Through thee, my child, shall the obliterated inscription on the old, weather-beaten grave-stone go forth to future generations in clear, golden characters.  The old pair shall again wander through the streets arm-in-arm, or sit with their fresh, healthy cheeks on the bench under the lime-tree, and smile and nod at the rich and poor... The beautiful and the good are never forgotten, they live always in story or in song.
The Old Grave-stone

[on how gossip changes the real story]:
...and there is no doubt about it, one little feather may easily grow into five hens.
"There Is No Doubt About It"

Where honesty leads the way, prosperity is sure to follow.
Everything in the Right Place

"But must we not all here on earth give up our best parts to others, and offer as much as lies in our power?"
The Snail and the Rose-Tree

"A cock can lay an egg! And do you know what's in that egg? A basilisk."
The Farm-yard Cock and the Weather-Cock
**I mostly just included this one because there's a basilisk in Harry Potter and I thought it was cool that there's also one in this HCA fairy tale.**

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oh my ganache!

Yesterday was Joel's dad's birthday and we're celebrating today.  Since his dad has been in love with Sister Sanders's Oh My Ganache cake since our wedding, we're making that as our birthday present for him.  So after church, while Joel was taking a nap, I made the cake and put it in the oven, setting the timer for a little less than the prescribed amount of time, and then went to take a nap in a nearby room until it went off.  After a little while I started being kind of restless, wanting to make sure I was awakeish when the cake finished.  I kept thinking about checking it, but I couldn't even smell it yet and decided to just wait a while until the timer went off.  As I in a more asleep part of was drifting in and out of sleep, I suddenly realized I had never started the timer.  Popped out of sleep and off the couch, ran to the oven, swiped the cake out of there and tested it with a toothpick..... perfect. Not burned even a little - I taste-tested a tiny piece of the edge just to make sure.

I have no idea how long it was in there.

But somehow, I got it out at the absolute perfect time anyway.

Proof that Heavenly Father cares about things that aren't really important. <3

By the way, that cake is going to be soooooooooo delicious! Thanks for the recipe, Sis Sanders! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter 7!!!!!

Can I just say,

I don't know if I have ever been more excited for a movie in my life,
and I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What is a pachanguita?

I just realized today that the word "pachanguita" has been in two of my recent Mexico posts and there's a huge possibility that none of you know what that means, so here you go.  :)

A pachanga is a huge party.
"-ita" is a suffix you can add onto many Spanish words that means "little".
So a pachanguita is a little huge party!

My roommate and I liked to talk about having pachangas because it's more exciting and fun to say than "fiesta."  The majority of the time, we didn't use the word in the correct context - our Mexican friends teased us about it :)  So for the Sunday game parties we had, we wanted to call them pachangas, but they weren't big enough to actually be pachangas, so we just slapped an -ita on the end and made them pachanguitas.

You learn something new everyday! 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sunday: Otra pachanguita!

Today at church, Nate played a piano song during sacrament meeting.  He did a good job :) 

After church, Jill wasn't feeling good so she went right home, but I went to Emma and Cassyi'e house to make lime bars! They live pretty far away - they live further than anyone else from the group - so their mom, Malena, picks them up from church.  That was kind of nice :) Also, it's funny, they said yesterday when we decided to make lime bars today, "Just so you know, we'll probably go to Costco for lunch, because we usually do on Sundays."  I guess Malena doesn't like to cook on Sundays or something.  But we did end up going to Costco to get pizza, which was weird but also tasty :)  Also, Malena is super nice. And rich! They live in this super pretty house in a gated community! With a doorman guy at the fence and he only opens the gate for you if he recognizes you! It's pretty cool :D 

When we got there, we ate lunch and then set about making the lime bars, using this recipe for lemon bars:  We just figured that, since limes are abundant here, we should take advantage of them... and we were right!  Oh man.  They turned out soooooooo delicious!  That recipe is definitely a keeper.  I only got to try them super hot (they were sooooo delicious and got me excited for later, when they were cooled down!), and then I decided that since the girls who live close were having a pachanguita tonight that Cassyie was going to go to, the lime bars could cool in their fridge and I would go home and take a nap and Cassyie could bring me a couple at the pachanguita.  Perfect :)  Cassyie and Emma are a lot of fun; I like hanging out with them.  I can definitely see myself being friends with them when we get back, for sure. Oh yeah, it was interesting - I've thought a few times that it would've been fun to have sisters our age in the house, but Cassyie and Emma have two sisters our age and I decided at their house that I'm really thankful for the family I have.  I feel more self-conscious with the older siblings, and not only about language.  I feel like I have to dress right or look cute or be funny or something.  I'm so thankful for Ariana, Carmita, Sergio, and Mariela.  They're the perfect siblings.  :)

Well, when we got the lime bars in the fridge, Cassyie and Emma walked me out to the bus stop and I went home.  Tony was there, but I decided to call people instead.  I had told Carrie that I would call her on skype, and I also wanted to call Mom/Dad/Kelli/Rachel, so I did that.  I talked to Carrie for an hour, Mom/Dad/Kelli/Rachel for an hour, and then rested for a while.  Then, Jill wasn't ready yet, so I decided to head out to the pachanguita at the girls' house!  I wanted to be close to on time just in case it didn't last long, since last week's was so much fun :)

The pachanguita was so fun! They totally have the perfect house for parties! When we got there, they had ice cream and a few toppings and pop, so that was fun.  I've been nervous to try bananas here since I don't like them ripe, but I had some on my ice cream with some oreos and they were the best bananas I've ever had!  They weren't even perfectly yellow with green at the top - they were spotty brown, but the texture and taste were so perfect!  mmmmm.  I couldn't believe how yummy they were.

While I was eating my ice cream (btw - we were all super thankful for the ice cream because it was HOT tonight in their house), I was sitting with Cassyie and we met two girls named Jeannety and Yara and they are hilarious and so much fun!  I just want to hang out with them all the time!  They were so funny!  It took me FOREVER to remember Jeannety's name - like, literally all night.  And I practiced over and over again all night.  They kept teasing me about it, but it's a hard name! :)  Yara's name definitely took way less time to remember :D  I also met...

*a boy named Daniel from the ward (he looks a little older, but I don't know exactly how old he is; he's the one from church who always plays the hymns in church; I found out he's actually a concert pianist, too, which is cool.  Also, Michelle actually met him before we came! I guess he has a friend in Salt Lake or something that he went to visit, and that friend happens to live in her ward, so she met him)

*Uri - He came with Daniel and is 27, so I assume they're close in age.  He's a kindergarten teacher.  He also told me something interesting - When I asked his age, he wouldn't tell me.  Finally I asked him why he didn't want me to know his age, and he said that when people know your age, they automatically form opinions of how you should be and who you should be and what you should be doing, and he doesn't want people to develop those pre-conceived ideas about him.  Interesting, huh?  Because it's true - people do do that, I'd never noticed before.)

*Jonatan - I don't really know anything about him, to be honest.  I know he's getting ready to go on a mission, I'm friends with him on facebook because everyone talks about him so I figured I'd meet him sooner or later, and he ALWAYS says "Pórtate bien!"  It's weird but also really funny :) Well, it was weird and then I teased him about it tonight and he laughed like it was all a big joke, so now it's funny :)

And I had a lot of fun with Markz, Beto, Tony (all Mexicans I knew before today), and Mari (girl from the group) and the girls who hosted it (Adrienne, Michelle, Jen, and Cat) before people all started getting there.  The group and the Mexicans together are so much fun!  I love them!

The pachanguita was so fun!  We ate our tasty treats, sat around and talked, played Jenga blind like last week :) Then a bunch of people wanted to play Mafia, which none of the Mexicans knew how to play, so we taught them how and played a couple of times.  It was super funny - the first game, when we were accusing people, I accused Beto just because he was sitting across the circle from me and was the first person I saw, but then the entire group turned on him and voted him out on the first round, just because I'd randomly picked his name and he'd gotten so defensive!  It was super funny. :)

Tony took us home at the end of the night, and like always, I should've gone to bed already, but everything was just so fun! I hope they have a party like this at their house for the rest of the Sundays.  Their house is so perfect.  Our house was great for how many people came last week, but probably twice the people came this week.  They would NOT have fit in our house.

Oh yeah, I forgot - Tonight I tried to do indexing, but it stopped working again.  For some reason, every time I want to do indexing, I have to un-install and re-install the program to get it to work.  It's annoying.  Maybe Grandma knows why or can help me.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy birthday! is not well-sung with a gun.

BACKGROUND STORY: Last week, Joel and I came home from a refreshing night bike ride only to find a bunch of balloons very similar to these ones tied to our porch. It not being either of our birthdays, we assumed they were from our friends who sometimes like to leave treasures in our hammock. They had just made dinner for his parents to celebrate their birthdays, after all.

Me: But why would they have bought a Cars balloon for his parents?
Joel: Why would anyone but the Ammons have left Happy Birthday balloons on our porch?
Me: Yeah, that's true.

A couple days later, one of the Ammons came to our house, saw the balloons, and questioned our having them. Turns out, they weren't from them.

Today I have been cleaning the house and found the mystery balloons by the back door. They'd lost a lot of helium, so I decided to pop them and throw them away. The last one was one of those metallic ones, so it didn't immediately pop when I poked a hole in it. I didn't want to press all the air out of that tiny hole, though, so I put more holes in it.  As I was semi-consciously putting holes in the balloon to the beat of the song I was listening to, I remembered this story...

THE ACTUAL STORY I MEANT TO BLOG ABOUT: Once when I was working at a telephone survey place, we had a party. Our boss was leaving for a bigger and better job, so we were celebrating his last day with him. Sadly, however, it was still business as usual - there were just food and balloons involved. That place had a pretty pokey ceiling, and while some people were on the phone conducting surveys, several of the balloons floated to the top of the ceiling and popped, causing many people in the office to scream and many survey-takers on the phone to freak out, believing that we were being part of a drive-by shooting.

Thankfully, we weren't.

After assuring them that we were fine, (as I recall, I was just leaving a message, but I told the answering machine anyway), we hurried to tie the rest of the balloons to our cubicles so they couldn't float too high. It was a pretty eventful going away party. Popping those Happy Birthday balloons reminded me of that.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

We made these Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos (from to eat while watching the third Narnia movie tonight. All I have to say is, De-lici-ous.

Ingredients needed: tortillas, butter, cinnamon sugar, strawberries (or another kind of fruit that would be good with chocolate), chocolate

P.S. The Narnia movie was very good, too. I really like those movies a lot. Very well-made, besides having a good story.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Feel My Savior's Love


I like this picture. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dear Russia,

Добро пожаловать
(I hope that's how you say "Welcome!! :)")

Love, alisonmj

Some of my favorite pictures of Russian things:



taken from my cousin Rachael's facebook

Mérida, como te quiero!

People always say that when they served their missions or had a certain calling, that they loved the people they were serving even when they didn't know all of them.

Although I started to understand that as a Primary teacher, I don't think I ever fully have.  I grew to love my kids in Primary as I got to know them - it didn't just come naturally.

Now I do understand.

I love every Mexican here with all my heart. Except for the creepy ones - but yknow what? I don't even feel a weird hatred or nastiness towards them like I probably would at home. I love my family. I love love love my little sister. I love the people on the bus, my teachers, the bus drivers, the people who drive around in those trucks and honk while we're waiting at the bus stop.  I'll be honest - as excited as I am to be with my wonderful husband, drink American milk, eat Cocoa Pebbles, and have my clothes back, thinking about leaving these wonderful people and this beautiful place is breaking my heart. LITERALLY.**

**For those who wondered, my heart is not literally broken.  Thank you for your concern.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Todo Cambió", Camila

This song is on the radio all the time here and I've been trying to figure out for weeks what it's called!  Last night someone had a guitar at the JAS activity and played this song, so finally I know and have purchased it :)  Enjoy!

Todo cambió cuando te vi
De blanco y negro al color me convertí
Y fue tan fácil quererte tanto
Algo que no imaginaba
Fue entregarte mi amor con una mirada

Todo tembló dentro de mí
El universo escribió que fueras para mí
Y fue tan fácil quererte tanto
Algo que no imaginaba
Fue perderme en tu amor
Simplemente pasó y todo tuyo ya soy

Antes que pase más tiempo contigo amor
Tengo que decir que eres el amor de mi vida
Antes que te ame más, escucha por favor
Déjame decir que todo te di
Y no hay cómo explicar pero menos dudar
Simplemente así lo sentí 
Cuando te vi

Me sorprendió todo de ti
De blanco y negro al color me convertí
Sé que no es fácil decir te amo
Yo tampoco lo esperaba
Pero así es el amor
Simplemente pasó y todo tuyo ya soy

Antes que pase más tiempo contigo amor
Tengo que decir que eres el amor de mi vida
Antes que te ame más, escucha por favor
Déjame decir que todo te di
Y no hay cómo explicar pero menos si tú no estás
Simplemente así lo sentí 
Cuando te vi
Todo cambió
Cuando te vi

Friday: Discoteca!!


We went to the beach today!  The girls came to pick us up to meet at Nate's house, but Tony was already planning to pick us up to go to Nate's... The girls didn't know how to get to Nate's house, though, so I went with them so I could tell them how to get there.  Then Jen, Nate, Jill and I got to ride up to the beach with Tony! = no bus fare, no walking, no bus :)  It was nice.

When we first got there, I was mostly in the mood to just relax in the beach setting, so Jen and I put ourselves in charge of guarding the stuff.  Eventually I decided it might be fun to swim... but then all of a sudden we were hoarded with people who'd been stung or bitten by something!  Jill came running up in pain because she'd been stung twice. Tony hurried her over to the bathroom and gave her his water so she could rinse herself off.  Then James came over and said he'd been stung once, right by his armpit.  Next came Bryce, who'd also been stung twice.  I really didn't want to get in the water!  Yikes!  Bryce kept telling me how good it felt, though, so I finally decided I'd just try it for a minute.  I went out... but then everyone around me started saying they were getting bitten/stung! so I ran back in, dried off, and didn't regret for a minute that I didn't really swim today :)

After "swimming", I sat out and dried for a while.  Then Brianne wanted to walk down the beach - she met this woman who was looking for a certain kind of shells b/c she was going to make a curtain or something out of them, and she wanted to take a bunch of shells she'd found to her - but she wanted someone to go with her, so I went.  (I found out later that she wanted a partner just in case everyone left while we were gone b/c she didn't know how to get home:)  While we were walking down to where the woman was, we met a group of college kids who were in Mérida/Progreso for the weekend.  They were friendly, so we talked to them for a while. They also were drunk, though, so we didn't stay too long!  :)  Then we got to the older lady and her husband and talked to them for a while. At this point I was starting to get nervous about people leaving b/c the sun was starting to go a little, so I tried to cut off the conversation after not too long so we could leave.  (I also have no idea how to get back by myself!)  While we were walking back, we ran into the drunk kids again although we tried not to (they told us earlier to walk by them on our way back so we could take a picture together), and took some pictures with them.  People here like Americans a lot. :)  Actually, one of them told us she wished she could be as white as me - I told her I wished I could be as dark as she was!  They have such pretty skin here. They also tried to get us to get tattoos and stuff. Interesting :)  The older couple was really nice. They told me I speak well, which I only sometimes believe but it's nice to hear anyway!  They were very nice.

When we got back there was still a large-ish group left, which was a relief.  I continued to dry off while I sat on the beach and played in the sand.  It was kind of cool - at one point Jill went somewhere but Tony stayed, and it was the first time I've had to actually talk to him.  He seems like a very nice and genuine person.  

Jajajaa, so after a while, this group of college-age boys came to the beach.  We first noticed because Michelle decided she was going to walk to the other side of them to pretend to take a picture of the sunset, but actually take a picture of them. Apparently they were attractive. I couldn't believe she was so brave!  She got over there and didn't even have to pretend, because all of a sudden they were all wanting her to take their pictures and stuff. As she was doing so, Cat went over to join the fun.  Adrienne, Jill, Tony and I were all laughing about it by our stuff, but when they came back and showed us the pictures, it was ridiculous - those boys looked like Photoshopped models!  I have never seen someone look like that!  They didn't have attractive faces, though.  Sad. :)  When she saw the pictures, though, Jill went over to have her turn while the rest of us stayed back and tried to decide if they were gay.  (We later decided by their actions - including, but not limited to, drawing hearts in the sand and how they posed with them and each other - that they were.) :)

When we left, Tony took us home and we hurried and got ready...

It was so awesome! Christina from church told us about a good discoteca and invited us all to go at the same time as each other (she said they're more safe that way), and that time was tonight!  Oh man.  Jill was kind of so-so about going, but I was pumped!  First of all, I've been in the mood for a dance and I wanted to dance like a crazy person!  Second of all, I have always thought it sounded so fun to go to a discoteca :)  Third, I thought it sounded really fun to go to a discoteca with our group.  Tony picked us up and then we went to get Michelle and went to the disco!  When we got there, we realized we'd forgotten our ID's... but Tony acted like he knew the bouncer or something because, although he was less than enthusiastic, he was willing to let us in without ID.  Michelle decided she was too weirded out by the environment and wanted to go home, though, so we took her home and got our ID's.  She was really embarrassed, but everyone was really nice about it and respectful and telling her that if she should never apologize for not doing something she feels uncomfortable doing.  Anyway. :)

When we got back and walked up to the door, it was funny - we felt soooooo Mormon!  There we were in a Mexican discoteca with all these girls dressed in tiny dresses and we were there with our sleeves and non-disco-style clothes :)  It was hilarious.  So we got in and it ended up costing a little more than we were expecting (it was like, $8), but oh well. It included drinks! (non-alcoholic, of course:) I was so thankful Tony was there - with the loud music and everything, I had no idea what was going on at the desk where you pay for your ticket.  We gave him our money and he paid for us.  ...and then we showed our tickets and went in! 

So, it was a lot different than I expected. First of all, no one was dancing. Second, no one was creepy or weird. (Actually, the whole night, no one even really danced with us or did anything creepy. For which I was thankful.)  Third, when we walked in, they led us to a table like at a restaurant and we ordered Squirt :) ....and then sat down and drank it. I was like, what is going on? We're at a discoteca in Mexico! We should be dancing!  but Jill was embarrassed because no one was dancing, and Tony actually knows the culture so he knows that people don't start dancing until later in the night.  But I really wanted to, so I went!  There was an open spot and I went over and just went crazy! It would've been 10000% more fun if Carrie had been there, but I just made the best of it :D  After a second Jill started dancing a little, but she was still embarrassed.  There was a giant raised dance floor - pretty much there wasn't any other dancing room - and after like, one minute, I decided it'd be super fun to dance on it. We didn't have any room where we were! But I didn't want to go by myself and Jill still was unsure, so we stayed on the normal floor.  We took turns having Tony as a partner, since we were an awkward 3 :)  

Finally everyone was ready and we ran up to the actual dance floor and had a party!  It was so fun!  It's been a long time since I exerted myself so hard, though, so after a little while I had to take a break because I was totally out of breath. Also, in discotecas, Mexico's lack of air conditioning is painfully obvious.  :)  I sat down to catch my breath and watched Tony and Jill for a minute (we were still the only ones!) .... and then realized how weirdly awkward I had looked.  So, yknow Latin dances.  Yeah. It suddenly was obvious to me that we were an awkward 3.  So instead of dancing, I just drank another Squirt.   (Actually, at one point I did get up again, but at that point it wasn't quite as fun.)

As I waited, I sat and watched. I went to the bathroom. I drank more Squirt. And then it was time to leave. Which was good, because the Squirt combined with the smoke was starting to make me nauseous.  I went outside a little before them felt like throwing up all over the place because of all the smoke in the disco. The fresh night air was delicious! :)

When we got home, I immediately got ready to take a shower (ocean + nasty disco smell and sweat = yuck!) and literally fought back tears upon finding there was no water in the shower.  Is that silly? The shower ran out of water after Jill's shower last night, so I haven't showered in two days. I ran back into the room and chatted Joel for a minute to get back to normal, which was so helpful. He is so great at helping me not be overwhelmed about silly things. He and the gospel have been great ties to reality while I've been here.

OVERALL OPINION OF THE DISCO: As it was, it was decent. But with more people next time, whenever that is, it'll be awesome!

Oh yeah, hahaha, while we were at the disco and I went to the bathroom, it was funny b/c I walked in and there was this person sitting in there that I would've sworn was a man! I walked into my stall super fast and then stood there and prayed that I would be safe. Went super fast. Got out and walked to wash my hands... and saw that it was a woman. Yay!  It was just an employee whose job it was to hand out paper towels. What a relief!  :)