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.


  1. so exciting you are bringing these back! i love that you still do those book chats with your parents. what a cool idea. maybe i should start that with my mom. i miss you kate!

  2. Words can't express my joy at seeing that "happy now" is back! I LOVE reading your writing. And I MISS you. And I miss Brie, while I'm at it, because I just read her comment to you. I miss US. I am so grateful for your example. So, of course I was freaking out at your Broadway soundtrack mention, because I'm a freak of nature when it comes to those. So here are a few recommendations, if you aren't already in love with them like I am: Tarzan the musical, Aida, Sideshow, Jane Eyre the musical, Ghost (I only know one song but it's amazing), the CD "Unsuspecting Hearts" by Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley (original Sideshow actresses) and I'm sure I'll think of more.

  3. Oh yeah and Little Women, Secret Garden (but I think you already know those).

  4. Catching up on blogs... it's been a few months.... First, I agree about the Downton Abbey season finale- it was nice to not have anyone die. But Paul and I definitely looked at each other and said, "Are you sure that was the finale?" Haha. Second, cookies in high altitude... it took me a year to adjust all my recipes! For regular old chocolate chip cookies, I would reduce the butter by 2 T. and increase the flour by 1/4 cup, and add a little oatmeal, and they were perfect. For a 9x13 of brownies, same thing (except no oatmeal:)) But oh man, I never figured out cakes- some recipes would work and some were disasters. I think anything with shortening or oil cooks a lot better in high altitude than butter recipes. Third- hope your Social Studies teaching is going well! I'm excited to hear more about it.


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