Two words: lime sherbet.

First of all...am I the only person who pronounces it "sherbeRt?" I actually thought it was spelled with an R until one of my first roommates at BYU so kindly pointed out how incorrect I was. ...I still say sherbert. Old habits die hard. And what the heck is the difference between sherbet and sorbet??? I once heard one is dairy based and one isn't....who really knows...or cares, because lime sherbet is ROCKING MY WORLD right now. At the beginning of the whole pregnancy thing, I wanted french fries with bbq sauce. Now it's all about the sherbet (and popsicles, but sherbet is like my own personal crack). Those are really the only things I've craved consistently...with a LOT more aversions to things. Sad day. It's REALLY sad when things like chocolate sound so repulsive that I'm not even slightly upset that I can't eat it. Will I ever feel normal again?! Blegh. But yes, I am going to go get some as soon as I'm done with this.


Moving on. So I'm watching Toddlers and Tiaras right now (daytime TV sucks. It's a miracle I can find entertainment.) But you know those things that pre-parents say they will never do to their kids- like spank them- and all the parents just laugh because they know that will last all of maybe a year? Toddlers and Tiaras is NOT one of those things. I can honestly say that my kids will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever be in pageant for kids. I think they're horribly cheesy filled with parents trying to live vicariously through their 2 year-olds that get royally pissed when their kid can't smile and shake their hips on command. HELLO. THEY'RE TWO. Aye aye aye. Am I going to keep watching it? Yes. Haha.


Murry Chrimus and all that jazz

CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So. It is a little strange to wake up Christmas morning and it's just the two of you, and you're like "hey...HEY (thinking...gosh your breath stinks..) let's go upstairs. It's Christmas!" And you hear, "mmmghebagjahgjjn." It's like you have to work harder at being excited to wake up early to open presents when there are no small children involved. Haha, but it was still awesome. Our THIRD Christmas together! Crazy!

Ohhhh oh oh oh, back up. Christmas EVE. Definitely my favorite part of Christmas this year. So we didn't really have any plans (probably just would've stayed home, watched a movie, ate cookies or something), but Kimber's family (Ryan's inlaws) invited us over to there house for dinner so we headed up there. Kimber's Dad was actually hospitalized 5 years ago over Christmas for a pretty serious respiratory (I think?) disease. So they decided to take some goodies/gifts to the hospital and go caroling to the different rooms. It was the coolest thing ever. The patients were so sweet and were so glad that we came- a few of them got teary eyed because they said this was the highlight of their Christmas. One particularly hilarious old guy (who told us all about his UTI) even sang to us! He was the best. I want to be like that when I'm old....hilarious and not embarrassed by anything. It really made me remember the true meaning of Christmas and how important it is to give, especially this time of year.

Milly had to make sure she brought her purse.
So then back at the Craig's house we had dinner and had a white elephant gift exchange (where Milly just wanted to open or pass out everyone's presents, so we let her, because she's adorable).


Okay back to Christmas morning. We put on some Christmas tunes and opened our loot...

(do excuse the nasty "I just woke up" look). And I'm definitely sporting my
new snuggie (best thing EVER!)

James excited face and constipated face look strangely similar.... ;-)

Then we had an awesome (southern) Christmas breakfast of biscuits and gravy, hash browns, eggs, and fruit...

Then the rest of the day turned into the movie Four Christmases. We went to Ry's house to see the girls and their presents. Then to James' dad's house for presents there, then to his grandparent's house for dinner and presents there. All in all it was fun, but exhausting.
Oh, and here's a few things that I got from his family....


The Houlin family is officially +1!

And THAT is probably the best Christmas present of all. I'll be 11 weeks on Tuesday. How have I been feeling? Like horse crap, thanks. Your body does REALLY WEIRD things when you're prego. It's SLOWLY been getting better (the nausea and what not). Weeks 6-8 were the worst...the whole pregnancy thing is NOT for the wimpy. Yesterday was by far the worst though. I could hardly move and barfed 4 times...I'm sure you wanted to know that..right? It's just AMAZING that something so SMALL can make you feel so crappy. I sure hope this kid is cute...Stay tuned.. July 20, 2011 is D-day.


Nut crackin'

Okay now I'm starting to feel all "Christmasy." James and I went to see The Nutcracker ballet in Salt Lake last night-- sooo good! I forgot how much I loved it! James fell asleep during the first act until I elbowed him in the side..soo...he loved it too. :-)

Everybody needs a giant nutcracker in their life..right?

Okay Christmas...bring it on. *Cue Christmas music.



December. Already? (Do you like how I say 'already' and it's December 11th?...It's been one of those kind of months. Sort of like last month. Seeing a pattern? I think I actually forgot I had a blog there for a while. And a social life, because I haven't done ANYTHING to even blog about recently. Meh.) The Christmas tree did finally get put up, thanks to an hour long episode of The Office and the fact that I was sick of having a naked tree in the living room. Not much looks good naked in the living room. ....Oh except the star, for some reason the star is still on the floor. That might have to wait until next Thursday when some other TV show is on and I can muster up the energy to put it up there.

6 1/2 days of school left until Christmas break! That's fabulous. In my opinion, it should be 5...because next Monday and Tuesday will we be doing anything remotely academic? Doubtful. I think I would actually go to school two days longer at the end of the year than the two days before Christmas break. Mmmmm yup. No questions about it, definitely would rather do that.

Also unrelated, (I'm feeling pretty ADD right now) I'm really in the mood to travel somewhere warm and tropical. Not necessarily for Christmas, but sometime soon. Maybe Disneyland? I dunno. Won't compare to the real one (Disney World, duh) but at least it'll be warm. I really just want to get in a pool. Outside. An outside pool. Now that I think of it, 2 years seems like a good time to take a second honeymoon. People do those right? I'm thinking it's a good idea before any kids come our way and we can feel less guilty picking up and taking off and spending money on really good food instead of diapers. Speaking of diapers, I was talking to the girl who does my hair the other day and her husband's mom used cloth diapers for ALL 8 of her kids. Cloth diapers. Those things didn't have elastic sides....have you ever thought of the logistics there?? *shudders. "Blow-out" had a whole other meaning back then.

Aaaaanyway. Just felt the need to speak on completely random and pointless subjects to prove I'm still alive. Hopefully they'll be more interesting/exciting things to write about soon. :-)

Oh and GUESS WHAT!!! They changed the McDonald's billboard! Clearly I wasn't the only one annoyed.


Fastest Thanksgiving break EVER

Whoa. Where did those two weeks go? I'm trying really hard not to let this be a repeat of my journaling experience in high school..."Oh, wow! 6 months went by, here's what happened: insert latest boy drama." "Holy cow! I can't believe it's been a whole year! Not much happened."

Haha. Like I said, I'm trying. The past two weeks have just been INSANE and this was like the absolute LAST thing on my mind. The first week of the previously mentioned two weeks was allllll about SEP's (parent teacher conferences...so why is the acronym SEP? I think it's student educational plan...maybe...) so getting ready for those takes a LOT of work. Making sure you have everyone's student work file organized and updated, grades, standards reports, etc. Oh and running through possible conversation scenarios with the "problem" children- maybe only I do that- but it helps. So those lasted from 1:30-8:00 on Thursday and Friday night (30 min. with each kid). Talk about exhausting.

Then my family came in on Saturday morning, so cue the next week of nearly no sleep. We had a good time though. Thanksgiving was at my house! Woo for having enough space to do that!! We had my family, James' mom and grandparents and his brother Andrew, and Shanti. It was good times. Especially when James' grandparents found out Shanti is a wicked good singer and made her sing a church hymn to everyone. Loved that. Thank you. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling so hot, so I managed to eat a roll, two bites of turkey, a few vegetables and some potato casserole. Not how I pictured the day going in my head. At least my Ghirardelli white chocolate raspberry cheesecake was a success! (A delicious success at that).

I didn't realize that I didn't take ANY pictures until the night they were leaving and we went up to Salt Lake to see the Christmas lights around Temple Square (I'm out of whack lately...no blogging...no pictures...what is this?!). Soo those were jipped from Michaela's facebook.


No estas sonando?!

They put one of these up on State Street in Orem recently. WHAT THE HECK. Has anyone else seen these McDonald's billboards around? EN ESPANOL?! For some reason, that pisses me off. I mean, it's not like it's Taco Bell and EVERYBODY knows what "yo quiero taco bell" means (not to mention, a cute little chihuahua says it and they're like TACOS), but this is McDonalds for one, and two, nobody who is only functional (or doesn't know it at all) in Spanish knows what sonando means. So, I know, McDonald's clearly isn't trying to come up with a new catch phrase or slogan, they're targeting Spanish speakers. Spanish speakers only. Why does that erk me so? Well, first of all. I don't care what language you speak, you can recognize those golden arches next to a picture of a big mac. Who cares what it says, the underlying message is always FOOD. I MIGHT NOT BE GOOD FOR YOU BUT I LOOK DELICIOUS SO EAT ME.
I just get ticked off when everybody tries to adapt to the huge influx of Spanish only speakers. Learn some English if you're plannin' on stickin' around! It'll open up a HUGE new world of billboard advertisements and that's just the start. Don't go wasting prime billboard advertisement space with words I don't even understand.

Racist? No.



I've neglected you. I'm sorry.

Wow. I haven't even blogged Halloween yet! That's what happens when your Mom comes to visit, you move, you get sick, and work actually feels like work. It's been a busy two weeks, needless to say. In reverse chronological order:


Loved it. My kids came in the CUTEST costumes. My favorite? A homemade porcupine made out of a big brown sweatshirt and brown golf tees. Excellent. What was I? Well. This stressed me out to end in. I wanted to come up with something homemade/crafty/creative, but the procrastinative (I think I just made that word up) side of me begged to differ. So at 8pm my wonderful husband (who hates Halloween by the way) drove me to the costume store with all of the OTHER procrastinators were anxiously browsing the leftover hot-dog or scantily clad pirate costumes.

I was a pig. Yes, a giant, pink pig. I've never spent so much money on a costume- but I was desperate! I decided to get the best use out of it, I'm going to have to do some variation on it each year. Next year I'm thinking as dressing up in the same costume but wearing a "before" sign, and James will be bacon and wear an "after" sign. Hilarious right?

Mom brought Milly for the last hour of the day dressed in her cute as can be Dorothy costume. She kept laughing and saying "Whitney, pig, silly!" I agree Milly....

My friend Maren on the other hand- super crafty. And cute. And didn't look severely obese (something I didn't think about when buying a full body PIG costume).

Halloween night we ended up doing nothing really. We went out to Zupas for dinner with my mom. Very non-Halloweeny. James didn't mind ;-)

Later-ish (maybe the next day? I can't remember) we carved pumpkins with Ry and Kimber and Milly. Ryan decided to get all high-tech architect on the pumpkin and turn it into a piece of modern art. James assisted. The final product:

Intense right?

Moving on.


We've moved! For no real or legitimate reason really, other than wanting to. We moved into a town house like 10 blocks from our old place (made moving a bit easier). I didn't realize 1)how much JUNK we had collected over the past two years and 2) how much ENERGY it takes to move. Most of the boxes are emptied by now. We still have to do all the little things like hang pictures, clean up the mess from moving in, etc. I think that'll happen a little bit slower though. Blegh. But I'm happy to have a new house. It's big enough that we can host Thanksgiving! I'm pretty stoked about that actually.

I think that catches us up to the present. Whew. That burden has been lifted. Oh, I am about to start Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. So if I don't ever blog again, it's because it killed me. I've heard intense things about it, but I'm excited to start. I better go eat a cookie or something to sustain me through the next 20 minutes...haha...(KIDDING).


This makes me want to shop more.


Design/Fashion blog. Love her cute vintage style! Every time I see somebody who can be this cute all the time I always think...crap...I need to go shopping...I still haven't made it through all of the sections. One of my favs so far are all of the felt/button flower bouquets she makes. Ah! Love it!

Also makes me wish I was crafty enough to come up/make my own Halloween costume. But because I can't sew on a button, I will be joining the hundreds of other last minute costume shoppers tomorrow night. *sigh.


Big O

Wow. This picture needs no words.

But I'll go ahead and give the background. It was one of my student's birthdays today and her mom thought I deserved an extra large donut. Extra large as in, Oh, here's a donut as big as your head. Thanks. My hips hate you.


-ies. Babies and Weepies.

This weekend involved the suffix -ies. Very good things end in -ies if you think about it...brownies...accessories...daisies...floozies...(jk). You get the point. But this weekend was all about BABIES and the WEEPIES. On Thursday my niece was born at 11:37 am, weighing 8 lbs. 15 oz. and 20" long. Today is Monday and I've yet to see her open her eyes. They say birth is one of the most traumatic things your body experiences, so maybe she's taking a full advantage of the recovery period. But eyes closed, she's still adorable.

My Mom has totally been eating up playing the part of Nana since she got here on Thursday also. (And I'm also eating up all the delicious food she insists on making while she's here).

Milly is also very concerned about her. Anytime Eliza starts crying, she says "Eliza cry sad okay?" Haha! Love it. Love HER!

Speaking of love, love The Weepies. Awesome couple that does like indie/acoustic amazingness.

A few of their songs have been on Grey's Anatomy. Which by the way, they should sell compilations of the music just on that show because whoever is in charge of that whole part of the editing process is seriously doing a good job. Anyway, I went with the bestie (Shanti) to The State Room in downtown Salt Lake to see it.

Highlight of the month (excluding the birth of my niece or my Mom flying out, those things can't be in the same category). I LOVE their new album too- Be My Thrill. Title track for your enjoyment:


Maze of maize

I'm only going to have a niece for one more day. She's not dying or anything (hopefully), but she will no longer be the only one! As of Friday, I'll have TWO nieces. Crazy. I can't even imagine how I'm going to equally divide my attention ;-) But for now, while Milly is the only one present and accounted for, I can dote on her all I want. Aaannnddd I think I will.

We went to a maze of maize (I'm hilarious) over the weekend. Not only was it her first time, but also mine and James. The corn maze wasn't scary until we decided to split up to see who could finish first. THEN it was a little freaky. It was James and I vs. Ryan, Kimber, Milly, and Kortnee. We finished first. Seriously though, a corn maze is the PERFECT setting for a horror movie featuring a demented serial killer. I think we might have finished first because we were walking a little bit faster after we talked about that....Did you know that there is an actual strategy to finishing a corn maze? You either turn right the whole time or left the whole time, but if you turn both directions that's when you get lost....and shanked by a serial killer. It was fun though. Especially at the end when Ryan yelled at a teenager for jumping out and scaring us because Milly was there. Gotta love that paternal instinct.

Moral of the story? 1. Corn maze's are a tad freaky. 2. I'm going to meet my new niece on Friday! 3. The one I already have is dangerously adorable. See:

Told you.


I wanna be a billionaire so..I CAN EAT THAT AGAIN.

We went to Park City to celebrate our anniversary (2 years WHAT!). It was awesome! We sort of decided to really treat ourselves, so we did. We stayed at the Waldorf in a room that had a fireplace! That was my favorite part. And any hotel that has a guy that comes in to turn down your bed in the evening and leaves a chocolate on your pillow is my kinda place. Not to mention it was GORGEOUS.

The thing that really won us over though was the restaurant, Spruce. I've never been to a restaurant where the waitress sort of just appears and actually waits until you acknowledge her before she talks to you. Or where people come out bringingf different samples of things while saying, "compliments from the chef." With some of those things they brought, compliments definitely go back to the chef. High quality service, for reals. What did we order? Fabulous-ness. James got roasted duck and I got some fancy named steak with a creamy truffle sauce. OH MY GOSH. Best thing I've EVER eaten (and I usually am not a steak eater either). For dessert we got a banana split that had caramelized bananas, three different flavors of ice cream, and on the side had what I described as "little cauldrons" of chocolate sauce, candied almonds, chantilly cream, and peanut butter somethings. Uh-may-zing. AMAZING. Literally we sat there for almost two hours to finish our meal because I don't think we wanted it to be over. Haha.

During the day we walked around Main Street and checked out some of the art galleries. It was here I realized I forgot my memory card in my camera, so I have no pictures of this. Lame I know. But it totally reminded me of two things: New England (even though I've never been but in my head that's what it would look like) and Mickey Mouse's neighborhood in the Magic Kingdom. Some of the little houses looked like that.

The weather was no less than perfect. Sunny with a breeze! I love the fall. Even though it means winter is coming (uuuggghhh), it's pretty for now!

Not bad for a moving in car through the window photo, eh?

Today we went to the outlets and did a little shopping...okay I did a little shopping. Seriously going to go back there without having dropped heinous amounts of money on hotel and food so I can do more SHOPPING! I think Banana Republic was my favorite store. I now understand why people shoplift. Because sometimes, you just HAVE TO HAVE THAT. I know, I completely get it. I'm just not brave enough to ever try. Instead I try to make puppy eyes at my husband while reminding him how much more frugal I am these days than in my single days. Works to an extent ;-)

Being married has been amazing though. I wouldn't change anything we've been through together. I'm glad I wake up every morning realizing I'm next to the man of my dreams!!! Can't put a price on that. /cheesy.

In other news, WE'RE MOVING! For no substantial reason other than we want a change of indoor scenery and we think I need a healthy distraction, haha. I'm excited about our new place. My new favorite part will be the full size DISHWASHER! WOO!

Fall break? You were everything I needed.


Why I'm going to be an unfit parent.

Things die when I'm solely in charge of taking care of them. I think this is why I don't own a house plant. I got a plant to put in my class this year and it's already half dead. I have bamboo stem in my house (that you think would be pretty easy to take care of, right? Just water?) and they're starting to dry out...and the pinnacle of all pinnacles, the class pet died today. Yes, died. That sucker was deader than dead and to make it better, it was Monday- so who knows at what point during the weekend it actually died. So here's how I find this out today: while one of my students is sharpening their pencils I hear, "Why does the frog have his mouth open under water?" Oh crap. Thought 1: move the child away from the area drawing the least amount of attention to yourself. Check. Thought 2: move the frog away from a high traffic area and distract students with something else. Check. Thought 3: get the frog the freak outta the classroom. Check. Thought 4: don't tell them what happened. Thought 5: Crap...where am I supposed to find an identical frog?!

So towards the end of the day one of them actually asked what happened to the frog. I told him it went on a field trip to another class. What am I going to say tomorrow, because I didn't have time to swing by the pet store today? Haven't quite figured that one out. So if you happen to be reading this and have any connection to my class- DON'T tell them the frog died!! AH! Some of them might seriously cry and call me the devil. Which, I can deal with on two separate occasions, but not simultaneously.

ANYWAY, on to happier and livelier things- today is our 2 YEAR anniversary! Go us! I can't believe it's been two years already....at this time two years ago we were at our reception where it happened to be SNOWING outside (yes, snow in October). And the next day we flew out to St. Thomas for our honeymoon where little did we know a hurricane would be joining us :-) Good memories. I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world!!! Since fall break is this week we're going to go up to park city for the long weekend to celebrate. It should be really pretty (unless we get a freak snow storm again) and the leaves should be beautiful!


See that soap box? I'm 'bout to get on it.

Teacher performance based pay.

Touchy subject right now. Recently a friend posted on her blog about this idea and how she disagreed with the idea, and for good reason. After reading an "anonymous" comment someone posted, I decided it required a response. They said, and I quote:

"If teachers aren't performing better without incentives, then they need something to push them into gear. If it's pay raises and the likes- then I'm all for it, if you can't do your job someone else will. The U.S may be #1 in confidence, but when we don't have the knowledge to back it up, we just look like ignorant backwood hicks."

Retort number one. Here's the problem with pushing teachers into gear: tenure. Most teachers develop a "tenure" status after teaching for 3 years, after their initial 'probationary' state, where they then enter a 'professional' state. What does this mean? At least in Utah, it means it is significantly more difficult to get fired (aka you can be a crappy crap crap teacher and you can't be fired only on that basis- for not performing). Aren't most jobs like that? If you don't perform then you're out? That's right anonymous, if you aren't willing to do your job, somebody else will. So let's start with the idea that after this three year period, you don't just magically become "untouchable", I think evaluations should be a LOT more common, even for teachers teaching 10-15-20 years. Why? Because some people get to stuck in their ways and are very resistant to change- which isn't always the best way. So what happens if you don't perform? You get "x" amount of time to improve, and if you don't, see-ya. Some people think that idea is too harsh. Who probably thinks that? People who probably are scared to death of an evaluation because they don't think they would do so hot. If I need to improve, I wanna know about it. Because EVERY teacher I know wants to be better just to be better.

Teachers don't teach for the money, because trust me, it isn't there. They teach because they want to help young mind develop, learn, and grow to help students reach their full potential (in a nut shell). Now, should teachers be paid more? Absolutely. My husband is currently an assistant manager at a credit union and actually makes more money than I do, and even though he has a degree, only a high school diploma is required for the position. And I have a degree in my field, and not only that but I have to keep a current license, and continue to earn professional development credits. So underpaid? Yes. Some people have a problem with "good" teachers and "bad" teachers earning the same paycheck. Well, see the above paragraph to deal with that problem.

Retort number 2. Performance based pay would increase competition between teachers instead of fostering a collaborative learning environment. When it comes to your child, you want the most minds involved and the best resources/tools/technologies available to help them- would you not? This is the way most schools currently are- at least mine is. We work together and discuss lessons, how we want to teach certain things, what's working and what isn't, and even switching classes because sometimes it just clicks with some students to hear things presented a different way. However, if teachers were paid based on performance (aka test scores), I would want to look the very best I could and I'd want to stand out to my principle and other people over me--not to mention that bonus check. So would I be more willing to share an awesome lesson plan I have, or be as concerned with making sure EVERY student I teach in 2nd grade understands something, and not just the ones in my own class? Not really. Because when it comes down to it, if they're not in my class and won't show up on my test scores- why would I be concerned with how they do? I might try to a certain extent and go out of my way a little, but I definitely wouldn't bend over backward like I would for a student in my own class......now what kind of teaching attitude is that? It creates an "I'm out for myself" attitude, which in teaching, is anything BUT good.

Retort number 3. School boundaries. If I'm a teacher getting performance based pay, I want to look for the best schools in the district and try to become part of those schools. Why? Because the parent support will be higher, income of families is higher, families are more stable, parents are more literate, and all of those things are proven to contribute to a students overall performance in school. So teachers should only shop for the good schools? Or richer school districts? Anyone else see that can of worms?

Thing number 4 but not necessarily a retort to anonymous: I was reading the other day about this and one of the "pros" of performance based pay, which said that it would recruit and retain the brightest minds of America. "It's the odd teacher who hasn't considered leaving the classroom and entering the corporate workplace for the twin benefits of less hassle and more money potential." Really? Some of the smartest and brightest teachers I know teach for that very reason, because of their intelligence. To toot my own horn for a minute, I graduated as Valedictorian from my high school and as magna cum laude (top 5% of my class) from a private university- let's not talk level of intelligence. Am I odd for not WANTING to work in the corporate world? I have no desire, whatsoever. Is everything really THAT much about money? Because although hundreds of thousands of dollars a year is very appealing, I'd give it away if I wanted to kill myself everyday at a corporate job I hated.

So instead, I'll take the 35,000 or however much it is that I'm actually making, to teach. Because it matters. What I do matters.

And last, thing 5. How would we measure "performance" from the students to merit the pay anyway? Test scores? Right now it is up to the states to determine the score that is "passing" on the end of year tests. So this means that scores would have to be nationalized, giving more control over to the national government--and when has THAT ever turned out to be successful? (Welfare? Social security?...yeah THAT'S doing great...). Which means that if it were nationalized, budgets would have to be nationalized to make it fair as well. It would then just turn into a whole huge political mess. And right now, do we really need more of that?

Are their plenty of teachers who could use some improvement? Absolutely. Am I for improving teachers and quality of education? Absolutely- a thousand times over. Do some teachers need a kick in the pants? Definitely. But there is a BETTER way to do it than performance based pay.

Whew. The end.


Sugar free is the way to be...when you're diabetic.

So James signed us up for a 5k Saturday morning to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. His old manager has diabetes and so does his daughter, so he thought it would be a good thing to support. We did get a pretty sweet t-shirt, which you can't even see the front of here (lame-o photo shoot Whitney)....that's why I do most things in life though...for the t-shirt...


Confessions of a 2nd grade life coach

Tried this recipe today, discovered by my Mom from Southern Living magazine (so you KNOW it's going to be good-and it was). It's like a personal apple pie. Need I say more? We ate it with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzled over. PERFECTO!


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 (15-ounce) packages refrigerated piecrusts
  • 8 medium Braeburn apples, peeled and cored*
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut up
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)


Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 cup butter. Set syrup aside.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Cut piecrusts in half, and roll into 8-inch circles. Place 1 apple in center of each circle. Sprinkle each evenly with sugar mixture; dot evenly with 3 tablespoons butter.

Fold dough over apples, pinching to seal. Place in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with syrup.

Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

"Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired." ...If desired? ...IF DESIRED?! Like I said, we had it with vanilla ice cream.

It was inspired by the weekly poem in second grade: Thanksgiving's coming! I jokingly told them if they bring me a pie tomorrow I'll give them 25 tickets (what they use to buy prizes)...I think I seriously might get some pie tomorrow. In that case, you're welcome James :-)

Second grade was particularly exhausting today. Gross story? This little boy who is particularly outgoing coughs today, then proceeds to exclaim while rising from his seat, "Mrs. Houlin! Come LOOK at this! It just came out of my MOUTH!" ......now what would you be thinking in this very moment? Besides maybe preparing to run to the nearest trashcan to vomit. There on his desk, right next to his math paper is a whitish-yellow clump of throat booger. And the worst part? He was so proud/perplexed about the whole thing. I just asked him to quickly get a tissue to clean it up and proceeded to Lysol his whole table group. *shudder.

Another day, another dollar. It is for this reason, I don't consider myself a teacher...from now on my official today is: Mrs. Houlin, 2nd grade life coach. I teach a LOT more than addition, punctuation, and how to walk in a straight line. The list goes on, but it starts with manners: don't fart in a large crowd (my class hasn't quite learned this yet), don't pick your nose and DON'T eat what comes out of your nose, say please and thank you, etc. Then there are things life self-respect, trying to help them understand that the stupid adults in their life can act more like children than they do and that they shouldn't repeat the "bad" words they sometimes hear their parents say, that somebody DOES care about them and that they CAN do anything they want to do. Okay, okay I'll stop. But it's true. I am part teacher, part mother, part psychologist, part doctor, and because of all this-I'm also partly crazy. :-)

Another day, another dollar.


You thought you knew a good smore....

Okay so the weekend actually didn't turn out too bad. It was actually pretty good. I DID get to eat some pizza (from Pizza 712- ohmygoshgood-highly recommended. James says it's actually the closest he's had to pizza from Italy so far). I also finished Mockingjay...ah!!! Sooo good. My favorite part was the last line- "There are always worse games to play." What a perfect ending! I hear some people didn't like it. Mmm. False. If you haven't heard of them, totally invest. Especially if you're into political fiction with a twist of romance. It's the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. I've also heard that the books Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras are good if you liked The Hunger Games, so those are already on reserve at the library ((score!)). I used to hate reading...I used to never meet my AR reading goal in school...that bit comes in handy when I have kids who say they hate reading, because I can relate. I hate ready sucky books is more accurate now. Or textbooks. But aren't those the same thing? Sucky..textbooks...yeah I think they're actually synonyms.

We also went with the crew up to American Fork canyon and cooked out/made smores/was paranoid about a potential bear attack. ...the last part was totally just me. It was pitch FREAKING black all around us except for our little fire, up in the mountains...yeah...definitely a potential scary movie waiting to happen.

THANK YOU SARAH for introducing me to the best smore ever- ditch the Hershey bar and grab a Reese cup! HOLY CRAP amazing!

Looking at that nearly horrific picture of myself reminds me...I REALLY hate breaking out. My chin is my problem area. Then, going on birth control when I got married was the BEST thing that ever happened to my face. Like one pimple every 4 months- maybe. But now that I've been off for a year, (I'm fairly sure that's common knowledge among everyone, don't act surprised) it's like pimple city all over again. Juuuuust on the chin. So I guess it really could be worse, but darn it all, it makes me want to take birth control again solely for that reason!

Well, since it's Monday, it reminds me of two things- 1) I ate a LOT of crap over the weekend, thus I need to go get ready for Zumba and 2) tomorrow is an early out day at school---holla!!!



I survived this week. How did that happen??? I'm still trying to figure it out. You know it's going to be a rough week when you swear that Tuesday is Thursday, and half of the week you wake up with a headache and other feminine pains. All in all, thank GOODNESS it's over. I'm not sure I could handle another day.

What do I want to do this weekend? Shop at Charlotte Russe (haven't been there in WAY too long), eat pizza, get a pedicure, finish Mockingjay (I think it's good so far? So I'm not sure where all the complaints are coming from...), watch some football, get a double chocolate chip frapp from Starbucks, and pray my house will clean itself.

What will I probably end up doing this weekend? Cleaning, watching more football than I probably want to, and folding an ENORMOUS pile of clothes on my floor. How did that pile get so high? I can't figure it out...probably somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday...that three day black hole of a stretch.

If my mood this week were portrayed by a sound, it would sound like this: bblleeeggghhhhkkkkaaaffccffhhk eeeefffffff.

Okay but I DO have some things to look forward to. I think. Like that movie coming out, Life as We Know It? Looks good. Also that movie about Facebook, whatever that's called. Although I read half of it is made up. Either way it seems entertaining. BBQ in the canyon on Saturday with the crew, meh...Optimism is annoying right now...

I also bought a pair of super cute CK jeans like a month ago, then I didn't work out for like two weeks and gained 7 lbs, remember that story? So yeah, I haven't been able to wear the new super cute jeans yet. That's depressing.

AND I just ran out of my favorite cereal. I don't feel like grocery shopping this weekend either.

Wow. I might go look for some cheese with all my WHINE. TGIF people, TGIF.


23 years of life

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my best friend Shanti!!!! Is there a better way to celebrate than with a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake? Mmmmm...nope.

(Thanks to my Aunt Tammy for the recipe by the way...I almost just wrote btw...aye...she is the goddess of all cheesecake baking skills. However I was sworn to secrecy with her super awesome tips, so don't ask me how. haha.)


barf barf vomit barf.

Nothing like finding this in your cup after two refills to wash down an entire Cafe Rio salad and coconut caramel flan.

Last I checked my hair was neither that short or black.

Like I said- Barf. Barf. Vomit. Barf.


Why I married him...

FOR THE FOOD! Anytime you marry into a Latino/Italian family...there's bound to be some good cookin' goin' on! (Okay just kidding that's not really WHY I married James, it just happens to be a perk!)

We went to the Latino American festival yesterday in Provo. Needless to say I felt a little out of place. I wasn't the only pasty person there though. There were maybe...five other white people. Good times nonetheless. Although I really wanted to get my face painted, but James wouldn't let me. The highlight? THE FOOD. Okay, so that's really the reason we went. I've had some DANG GOOD Mexican, Cuban, Argentine, and Spanish food in my life, but these are my absolute favorites!

Empanadas (especially the ones made by my mother-in-law)

Tamales (especially the ones made by my school custodian)
Almost anything with Dulce de Leche

If you've never had any of those....get yourself to some sort of hispanic/latino restaurant STAT!

One of James' favorites is a sandwich de milanesa, which he is tackling here with such...finesse... :-p

James' family also thinks it's hilarious when I learn new words in Spanish, because then James tells them, and then I have to recite it in front of them. And then they laugh and say, "she's so cute!" When what they really mean is, "I can't believe how bad she just butchered that word!" Then they get someone else and say, "listen to Whitney say this word! Say it again!" And this has been going on for two years....They keep me humble (and thoroughly embarrassed!). Love 'em though!


My basket is bountiful.

Sooo this is pretty much one of the most amazing things about Utah...well, I guess in Utah, AZ, ID, CO, NV, OR, TX, WA, and WY. Anyway, it's called bountiful baskets. You go to this website: bountifulbaskets.org on a Monday, and you place your order of what you want (baskets of fruits/veggies- local or organic, tortillas, bread, granola, beans, corn, etc. and you pick it up on a Saturday morning at the location that you choose on the site. AND IT'S 15 BUCKS!!!! (For the basket anyway, the other stuff is additional).

This was what I got this week. Yumsicles.

I've also heard that what's in the basket changes every week, so you never know what you're going to get, it just depends on what is in season at the time. It's like CHRISTMAS!

Other things I'm happy about this weekend:
- 3 day weekend! Score! I'm not even sure what Labor day really celebrates....but I'm glad it's celebrated. Seems very American.
- Gator football starts again today. Bring it on. Love the new uniforms.
- One other thing I cannot yet mention! Woo!