Monday, January 30, 2012


On Friday, our church had its annual "Beat the Blues" banquet and talent show. This year the theme was Disney, and I was asked to make a Disney-inspired dessert. I found the idea for these Mickey Mouse cupcakes on Pinterest. They were pretty easy. Just frost the cupcakes, dip them in Oreo crumbs, and then make Mickey's head and ears using half of a full Oreo and two mini Oreos. If you make them, be sure to place the Oreos on at the last minute. Nobody likes soggy Oreos!

Another girl made Minnie Mouse cupcakes. I wish I had gotten a picture of hers because they were awesome!! Definitely showed me up, but I'm ok with that. I'm the first to admit that my decorating skills are quite lacking. Anyway, it was a fun evening, and Darby won a door prize (the movie Julie and Julia...lucky me!).

On a side note, Darby's parents have an adorable home video of him singing the Mickey Mouse song when he's about 3. But, he sings "M-I-C-Cake-E-Y" over and over. Cutest thing ever, even if toddler Darby looks suspiciously unlike adult Darby. I'm still not sure he wasn't swapped at some point around 4th grade.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Last semester - or not

So, in December I made the decision to extend my degree for one more year so I'll finish at the same time as Darby. I figured it's safer to stay in school, keep my health insurance and stipend, and get one more year of teaching experience than to risk trying to find a job, in a relatively small city, for only one year. I feel really good about this decision. And I know I am so fortunate to get paid to go to school. But, I must admit, it was a little hard to start this semester and realize that, instead of only having 4 months until I'm done with school forever, I now have 16 months. Oh, well.

One plus side of staying an extra year is that I have time to take some "fun" classes. I'm in an oral Spanish class, and I LOVE it. It's basically just a time to practice speaking and listening in Spanish, which is exactly what I need.

I'm teaching the same class I taught last semester. I enjoyed last semester, but I kind of felt like I was just scraping by, trying to stay one step ahead of the students. Now, I know what I'm doing, and it's so much less stressful. I'm really excited about trying some new ideas. My first challenge is memorizing everyone's name, though. Hopefully I'll have that done by the end of the semester. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mi piace l'italiano

In preparation for our trip to Italy in May (yay!), Darby and I took a two-week intensive Italian class at the university. It was awesome! Even though it was a beginning class, it was taught exclusively in Italian. The teacher spoke very slowly and used a lot of gestures, so we were able to understand most of what she said. My Spanish background helped a lot too. I had forgotten how fun it is to begin learning a language. And while we're still far from proficient, I feel like we have enough to get by in Italy. We made sure to learn how to order in a restaurant. Priorities.

It was so fun to be able to take a class with Darby. We've committed to continuing to study on our own every Sunday. One funny story: During one of the first lessons, we learned that "tesoro" (treasure) is a term of endearment used in Italian. So, Darby started calling me that, except he could never remember the word. One time he leaned over to me and said "I love you, mi trattoria (small restaurant)". We couldn't stop laughing about that one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

30 before 30

So, on my birthday, I told you about my plan to do a list of "30 before 30" goals. Well, it's taken me about 6 months to decide on all the goals, but I finally have them all. I separated them into categories mainly for my own benefit. As I update, I'm going to bold the ones I've accomplished and italicize the ones I'm actively working toward.


1. Get my master's degree
2. Earn a graduate teacher certificate
3. Take at least two Spanish classes
4. Begin studying two other languages

5. Learn to sew
6. Create a card stockpile
7. Start a successful container garden
8. Take piano lessons

9. Save 10% down for a house
10. Increase retirement savings to 10% per month
11. Increase percent saved on groceries each month to 40%
12. Get life insurance for both Darby and me

13. Go to Italy
14. Visit 3 new states
15. Go camping

16. Learn how to cook steak
17. Take a cake decorating class
18. Completely replace 3 storebought staples with homemade versions (e.g., chicken broth, sandwich bread, croutons, etc.)
19. Whittle "to try" recipes to under 100

20. Switch to antibiotic-free animal products
21. Maintain my goal weight (except, see 23 below)
22. Take four different fitness classes

23. Have a baby (I know this is really weird to put at as a "goal," but it is one major thing I hope to do before I turn 30, so it's in.)
24. Go on a trip with my sister

25. Create two new units for the Cradle Roll class
26. Teach an older children/adult Bible class
27. Read 18 spiritual books

28. Plan/attend three Fat Tuesday reunions
29. Plan/attend at least two reunions with my high school friends
30. Start/join a book club

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Happy New Year!

So, I'm a little late on this, but I'm finally getting around to writing my New Year's post.

We celebrated New Year's at my friend Jessica's parent's house with several other friends from the youth group and their husbands. The party is basically an annual tradition, but Darby and I haven't been able to go for the past several years. It was so fun to spend time with everyone, and we're already planning a Labor Day reunion.

Whitney, Stephy, me, Jessica, Adriel. Love these girls .

At the end of 2010, I wrote about some prompts from a project called Reverb. One of those was to summarize the year in one word and choose one word that you hope will capture the next year. I chose contentment for 2011. All in all, I think I did a good job living up to that. I tried to focus on the positive, even though I had my moments of negativity. And I think I definitely did a better job at living in the moment and not worrying so much about the future.

I think my word for 2012 will be discipline. I love being in school for many reasons, but I especially love the flexibility I have in my schedule. I often have mornings or afternoons at home by myself. But, I don't feel like I always use that time very wisely. There are a lot of home projects I would like to complete. But even my "relaxation" time could be put to better use by reading or playing piano instead of watching TV and surfing the Internet. I'm going to try this year to use my time more wisely. Part fo that is setting goals for myself. In my next post, I'll share my "30 before 30" goals. It took me six months, but I think I've finally finished the list.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Christmas - Hewitts

We got to Darby's parents' house Sunday night and opened gifts with them. They got me a new Kitchen-Aid blender, which I am so excited to use! My old blender only has one speed, but this is a really nice one. I can't wait to enjoy some smoothies.

We had a great week with John and Debby. We put together a super-hard Christmas puzzle, hit the after-Christmas sales, saw We Bought a Zoo (very cute!) and War Horse (pretty good; I think I would have liked it better if I were an animal person), and ate TONS of great food. Debby always makes the best breakfasts for us. I love it.

Darby's brother Jeremy and sister-in-law Janice came up on Wednesday night, bearing lovely gifts from their recent trip to Spain. It was great to catch up with them a little, and the girls dominated in Mexican train.

I never remember to take pictures at Darby's house because no one else is there with a camera to remind me. :) But I did manage to get one shot of Darby with his parents.

It was a wonderful trip, and every year, I am reminded how blessed we are to have two wonderful, supportive, generous families.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Christmas - Andersons and Thompsons

We got to Waco Tuesday evening and spent the rest of the week with my family. Both Hannah and Matt were able to be there the whole time, so we had a great time playing games, watching YouTube videos, eating Mom's delicious candy popcorn and toffee, and talking.

Darby brought his guitar, and we had a little Christmas carol sing-along. It was really fun, and we rocked "Feliz Navidad."

My parents got me a Kindle for Christmas. I LOVE it!! It's so convenient, and there are lots of great free or cheap books available on Amazon. I bought all three "Hunger Games" books with a gift card, and I'm hooked. I finished the first two and can't wait to start the third.

On Saturday, we drove up to my grandma's house in Garland to see my mom's side of the family. We had a new addition to our family this year. My cousin Amy had a little boy, Samuel, in June. He is such a cutie. I loved playing with him.

Traditional girl "frousin" picture. Hannah, me, Amy.

It was great to spend time with all of the frousins, and, as always, my Grandma made tons of yummy food. After church and lunch on Sunday, it was back to Waco for our 4th Christmas with Darby's family. Coming next time... :)