Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy Now--Feb. 23

Here are the Happy Now for this week:

1.  "Mona Lisa"--Since February is the month of love, I thought I'd start off sharing a love song that has provided many a happy moment for me this week (and all month, really)-- Brad Paisley's "Mona Lisa."  I think the whole premise of the song is just so darn cute, and the mix of sweetness and humor in the lyrics is so characteristic of Brad Paisley's songs.  My favorite lines come toward the end when he says, "I could take your hand, we could walk in the Louvre/ I could show 'em real beauty, let 'em get a load of you."  Très gentil, n'est-ce pas? If you haven't heard it yet, enjoy!

2.  Ballet West II--On Wednesday night, the Pinedale Fine Arts Council hosted a Ballet West II performance.  Darren, unfortunately, had to work late that night, so I went solo.  I ended up running into a woman from my ward, however, and got to sit with her.  It was so fun to dress up a little and spend the evening "at the ballet."  I loved seeing so many mothers and daughters in the audience.  It reminded me of dressing up and attending ballets with my mom when I was young.  I love the PFAC for bringing some great cultural events to our little town.  The dancers did a wonderful job.  It was a beautiful night!

3.  Program Shout-Out--It was fun to see our names mentioned in the Ballet West program as "friends" of the PFAC.  I have had the chance to work for the PFAC a little since moving here and look forward to future opportunities.  So glad we're friends. ;)

4.  Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes--My food board on Pinterest is filled with delicious-looking recipes that I have never tried.  This week was a slow subbing week, so I decided to try my hand at a couple of them.  One of Darren's Home Teachees had a birthday this week, so I told him I would make cupcakes.  I chose these cookie 'n cream cupcakes from my Pinterest board and got together with Kristal to make them.  We ended up not making the filling for the cupcakes since the frosting recipe made a TON of (very sweet) frosting, and we didn't want to over do it.  It was my first time making frosting from scratch, though, which was pretty exciting.  They were very yummy!

This picture is from Pinterest since I forgot to take a picture of ours.  Recipe here
5.  No Bake Energy Bites--My second recipe for the week were these No Bake Energy Bites.  I did these on my own, so I was happy to have a few more songs to add to my Broadway playlist thanks to some great suggestions from Katie last week.  Thank you!  These were actually really easy.  I definitely recommend them!  P.S.  I love how two of the cookbooks you can see in this picture demonstrate a certain theme in my kitchen: one for "new cooks" and the other entitled "Meals Made Easy."  
Recipe here
6.  Quilting Motivation--I have had to miss several quilting classes lately due to subbing, which has put me three or four squares behind the rest of the class.  When I attended class this week a couple of the women had completely finished their quilts and came to show them.  They looked great!  Seeing the finished products definitely motivated me to keep working away on my little squares.  I can't wait to finish mine and see how it turns out!

7.  Spring Decor--Darren and I have both decided that winter here has been lovely, but we're ready for spring.  I'm afraid we still have a few months to wait for warmer weather, but that hasn't stopped me from bringing out some spring-y items for the bathroom.  Seashells, sand, and bird-themed soaps and jars make even chilly days feel a little warmer. :)

8.  Cadbury Creme Eggs--With approaching spring comes the arrival of one of my all-time favorite candies: Cadbury Creme Eggs.  Darren doesn't seem to appreciate them the way that I do, which is fine by me.  He snuck some into our grocery cart earlier this week for me and it has been a real exercise is self-control to portion them out!

9.  Activity Days--Last week I mentioned how fun it was for me to have a little guy in my primary class become more active and animated.  This week I was grateful for the opposite with my sweet girls in Activity Days.  Activity Days is scheduled for right after school on two Wednesdays each month.  Usually these 8 and 9 year old girls come bounding off the bus full of giggles and stories from their day.  They all seem like good friends and are wonderful girls, but maintaining order during activities in a non-classroom setting after a long day of school is sometimes a challenge.  This week I asked the bishop of my ward to come talk to the girls about some things related to tithing.  They sat and listened to his presentation so respectfully, I was touched (and grateful).  Love them!

10.  Backyard Moose--One of my favorite things about living in Pinedale has been the frequent sightings of wildlife.  I should say, "the frequent sightings of wildlife during daylight hours" since hitting something while I'm driving in the dark fills me with trepidation every time I'm out at night.  For some reason, the animal I get the most excited about seeing is the moose.  I had never seen one before moving here, and I think they're awesome!  They're HUGE! The amount of snow we have been getting lately has started pushing more animals down out of the hills and into town.  After church today, Darren glanced out of our window and noticed two moose lying down, cooling their heels in the snow in our backyard.  I loved it!  I have no idea why I didn't take a picture.  I will next time!

Hope you had a great week!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Now--Feb. 16

I know that we are more than half way through February, and it is pretty late to be making New Year's Resolutions, but I have made a new one.  Looking back through old blog posts this week, I realized how much I enjoyed doing my weekly Happy Now posts (click here for the history on how these posts got started) and how good they were for me.  The posts encouraged me to look for the simple joys in my life each week and made me better appreciate the blessings that otherwise would have gone unnoticed (or at least undocumented).  After a brief attempt at a revival in 2012, the posts slowly petered out.  This time I am committed!  This Happy Now post will cover the past two weeks in February, but then I plan on making weekly posts.

1.  Sugar Cookies--After a rather disastrous first attempt at making sugar cookies in high altitude earlier this month, I called a good friend, Kristal, to get her advice on sugar cookie recipes.  She was kind enough to invite me over and share her secret family recipe for sugar cookies that turn out soft and fluffy, even in Pinedale!  The cookies we made together turned out perfectly.  I returned home with recipe-in-hand and a resolve to make a successful batch on my own.  Success!  Darren and I were quite pleased.

Sugar cookies ready to go in the oven
2.  Baking with Broadway--Let's start with a semi-well known fact about Kate: cooking isn't a strength of which I can boast.  Another lesser-known fact: out of necessity, cooking and baking have become much more frequent occurrences in the Myler household since moving to Pinedale.  New information: broadway playlists make the above mentioned fact much more enjoyable and less stressful for this girl.  It all started several months ago when I decided to put on a genius playlist of broadway songs while preparing dinner.  I started singing along and, before I knew it, dinner was about done.  Though still strictly recipe-bound, I hadn't panicked once about how the meal was turning out.  I even started a load of dishes just to stay in the kitchen and keep the playlist going.  This was a real breakthrough.  Since then, I play broadway soundtracks almost any time I find myself alone in the kitchen.  One of the most recent experiences was when making the sugar cookies mentioned in #1 above.  I can honestly say I look forward to baking now.  Cooking is slowly growing on me, too.  ;)

3.  Favorite Cookie Cutter--One more about sugar cookies and then I'll stop.  I just need to give a shoutout to whoever invented this cookie cutter.  True genius, am I right?

4.  Long-Term Sub Possibility--Since moving to Pinedale and receiving my Wyoming subbing license, I have enjoyed the opportunity to have new teaching experiences in elementary, jr. high, and high school classes.  Earlier this month, I received a call from the high school principal wondering if I could be a long-term sub for a social studies teacher going on maternity leave for the last month of school.  Darren and I have talked about my teaching full-time as a secondary teacher at some point if I ever wanted to try something other than elementary school.  And loving history as I do, I thought being a high school social studies teacher would be right up my alley.  So, to receive this call and the opportunity to try my hand at something I was considering doing full-time was really exciting for me.  Last week, I had the chance to sub for this teacher and really enjoyed the subjects and the students (mostly juniors and seniors).  I'm excited!

5.  Cross Country Skiing--Darren and I took advantage of the fresh snow two Saturdays ago and decided to go cross country skiing.  It had been several years since I had been, and it was Darren's first time.  He was a natural!  We had a great time.

6.  Persephone's Bakery--Back in September while my parents were visiting, we took a trip to Jackson and discovered Persephone's Bakery.  Not only are the sandwiches great and the cookies amazing, but the whole atmosphere of the little bakery is so charming.  Darren had last Tuesday off so we decided to go to Jackson and celebrate our Valentine's a little early.  We decided to have lunch at Persephone's and, once again, it didn't disappoint.  I wanted to capture the feel of the bakery in a picture, but found I was a little embarrassed to be taking pictures, so I just snapped a quick one of our table.  If you're ever in the area, though, I recommend grabbing lunch, or just a cookie and hot chocolate, at Persephone's.

7.  Valentine from Darren--One thing that has always impressed me about Darren is how thoughtful he is when it comes to giving gifts.  I tend to be the type to ask people what they want and then get them exactly that.  No surprises.  Darren, however, is sneaky, and that is part of what makes his gifts so great.  He remembers things I mention once that I would like and then buys them without me knowing.  Or he comes up with creative gift ideas on his own that are perfectly suited for the recipient (like the creative writing course he gave me two Christmases ago).  For Valentine's Day this year he surprised me with a beautiful soap dish and bird-shaped soaps for our bathroom that I had previously seen in a store in Jackson and loved.  It was perfect.  Love him.

8.  CTR4 Class--A few weeks ago I received a calling to teach two little girls and two little boys in my ward's CTR4 class on Sundays.  These kids are so cute.  Today in church, one usually pretty serious little guy was all giggles.  He was so full of hugs and smiles it made my heart melt.  The lesson today was on the birth of Christ.  As the lesson suggested, I turned off the lights in the classroom, had the kids close their eyes, and asked them to imagine that they were shepherds in the field the night Christ was born.  I asked them to imagine the stars in the sky, the grass beneath them, and the sheep around them.  Just as I was reaching the story's climax when the angel appears to announce the Savior's birth, this little guy jumped up (with his eyes still closed) and started walking around the other students acting something out.  I couldn't tell what he was doing, so I asked.  He told me that he was worried about his sheep and was putting up a fence to keep them safe.  The cuteness about killed me.  Since his eyes were closed through the entire episode, I decided it was best for all involved if I directed him back to his seat, but it sure made my day.

9.  Book Talk with Dad--Several posts ago I mentioned that I have weekly "book talks" with each of my parents.  I have loved our conversations.  My Dad and I have moved onto the book Literary Genius by Joseph Epstein.  The book gives a brief biography of 25 men and women who have created significant works of literature in English and an attempt to capture each person's genius.  Yesterday, Dad and I discussed the chapter on William Wordsworth.  It was one of my favorite conversations we've had since starting these book talks.  It may have been because we both love Wordsworth's poetry, or the insights my Dad shared, or the memories it brought back from a study abroad trip to the Lake District, but something about our discussion left me feeling so light-hearted and happy.  It was the highlight of my day.

10.  Gratitude Jar--Along with deciding to start up Happy Now posts again this week, I finally got around to putting together a little Gratitude Jar for me and Darren.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and am excited to read through the little tender mercies we have written about over the year on December 31, 2014.  The fact that "Count Your Blessings" was the opening hymn in Sacrament meeting today doesn't seem like a coincidence.  I am getting the message loud and clear that I need to start making gratitude more of a focus in my life.  I'm excited to get started!

Not very fancy, but this 2014 Gratitude Jar should do the job.

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