Monday, December 21, 2009

Walking the Streets of Vegas

Other than shopping and watching movies (which I have done a bit of thus far), the other thing I get to do plenty of is walking this guy...He sure is cute. Until he has to stop at every bush to check it out and every other bush gets this done to it:
But that isn't the only thing I get to see while out on our walks.

We see palm trees. I LOVE palm trees. One day I would like to live somewhere with a palm tree in my yard. Well I guess I did live in Vegas but only for 4 months so that doesn't count.

We see tons of garbage. Which makes me ill since at least half of it could be recycled.

And then there are the weird street names. How many of you can say you've stood on the corner of Tantalizing and Fascinating? The worst I have seen yet- Tender Tassels. Yep. That's a real street name. But it sounds more like a stripper name. or a disease. "My tender tassels have been acting up again." Yikes. If you are not looking up at the street names, you will see these on the sidewalk. Every couple feet. I don't know if this is a Vegas thing or a this neighborhood thing. Either way it is weird. And I don't like it. I prefer my sidewalks to be pure sidewalks.

And rows of empty, never lived in houses. That are apparently being sold for $50,000.

Anyone want to go in with me to purchase a vacation home? I am sure it will be worth at least triple that in a few years.

But the best thing is being able to go on a walk wearing these- capris AND flip-flops.

It is even more exciting since the place I escaped from looked like this when I left :

and it was a freezing -40. (not to be confused with a balmy -40).

The best thing about our walk this morning was finding a coupon on the ground for $10 off a $20 purchase at Kohl's. Hello. Gotta go.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Okay. Okay.

I have been scolded by my mother (who apparently has nothing to do in the Philippines but read my blog) and my daughter about needing to blog more.

So here I am.

28,000 feet in the air to be exact. I am currently flying to Vegas for Christmas. Why Vegas you ask? Because nothing says Christmas like watching people drink away their brain cells and gamble away their earnings.

But that is about all you are going to get from me today... since my battery is going to die. And we are beginning our decent.

I will be back. Soon. I promise.

Friday, November 13, 2009


My Mom and Dad's birthdays are exactly 2 weeks apart.
When I was at the post office mailing my Dad's birthday card, I thought I would be smart and buy a stamp for my Mom's card too.
A week and a half before my Mom's birthday (31 days ago) I dropped her card in a mail box. Two days later, I found the stamp I had bought for her card. Oops. So I waited for it to be returned. And waited. And waited.
I thought maybe one of the blessings of having your parents serve a mission was free postage- so I told my Mom to watch out for it.
This morning, I checked the mail and there is was.
Seriously? It took 31 days for them to realize there was no stamp and return it to me.
I think I could have walked it to the Philippines faster than that.
So Mom- now it is really on it's way. Hopefully it will get to you before your NEXT birthday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Human Pin Cushion

The other day I went to get a blood test. And this is what happened...
right arm: left arm:

yup. I got poked 4 times. 4 times!!
And only one of them worked. My veins have become hard to find lately. Apparently VERY hard to find.

The girl poked me once and it didn't work. So she went to get someone else.

Who tried. And holy schmolies did it hurt. Bad.
Then she tried again.

Apparently they are only supposed to try twice.
But as she told the first girl "rules are meant to be broken". Interesting.

She said I might have to come back another day. Which I really did not want to do.
She decided to try one more time. And luckily it worked.

Hopefully I won't have to get another blood test for a VERY long time.

I should post a picture of the 2 beautiful bruises that have appeared.

But I will spare you.

A Word to the Wise

Whatever you do- DO NOT go see the movie Couples Retreat.

It is NOT funny. (I might have laughed 3 times. maybe.)

It is VERY inappropriate. And dumb.

The only good thing about it was I didn't have to pay since I went as a mystery shopper.
More about that later.

Monday, October 5, 2009


It was an interesting week this past week. Monday morning my phone rings at 7:30. It was the substitute system calling with a job. It was for a kindergarten class at the school one of my nieces goes to... and she just happens to be in kindergarten. So I call my sister to see if it was for her teacher. It is. Crazy. I showered, got ready and drove there in time for 8:10. Yikes. I walk into the classroom and discover the teacher's aid is a girl from my ward. Crazy. It turned out that the teacher has a flu and as a precaution she is required to stay home for a week. So I spent a week in kindergarten and LOVED it. They sure are cute and fun.

What are the chances that I got that phone call Monday morning- to be my niece's teacher and with the girl from my ward?? Coincidence? or destiny? ha ha.

Last weekend I was reminded of another crazy happening. 3 years ago my friend really wanted to go camping in Delaware for her birthday. So 4 girls headed out for the adventure Friday night. Saturday we hung out around Cape May before heading back to Virginia. It was the Relief Society broadcast that night so we found a stake center that was on our way home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. We got there right when it was starting and found seats on the front row. As soon as it ended, my friend and I went to the washroom. While I was washing my hands I hear "Shelley?" I turn around and there was a lady from my home stake. She was visiting her parents in New Jersey. CRAZY. What are the chances that we would stop at that stake center? And both be in the bathroom at the same time?

It really is a small world after all.

What's a post without a picture. So here are the 3 girls flying a kite on the beach at Cape May.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Let's talk movies.
Or shall I say- get comfortable. Because I am going to talk about movies. And then you can have your say when I am finished. ha.

Have you seen (or read) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? If not go get it. Today. I haven't read the book but I am going to. (as soon as I am finished my current one).
The movie wasn't very advertised. Why is that? Some movies have the snot advertised out of them. And others- you never hear of. I understand budgets and such. But why. I don't think I even heard about this movie until I saw it in RedBox. But seeing it this weekend changed me.
It is sad. And inspiring. And thought provoking. And sad.
Here is the trailer if you would like a little taste of the sadness-

Certainly a different perspective of the Holocaust. The book is for teens and the movie is clean- other than the fact that it is about the Holocaust.
Okay. now to my second thought about movies. Many moons ago they had Cheap Tuesdays. You could go to any theater on Tuesday and enjoy a movie for a "cheaper" price. Then for some reason they had to double movie prices. And eliminate Cheap Tuesdays. I don't get it.
Well the theater by my house stayed strong. They resisted the temptation to rip off their customers... at least on Tuesdays. And boy did they benefit. I think the whole city would come out. You couldn't find a place to park. You had to show up at least 30 minutes early to get a somewhat decent seat.
Until yesterday.
My friend and I went to see a movie. Because it was Cheap Tuesday. There were signs everywhere with the title "Advisory". There were LOTS of words on it. So I read the first paragraph. Something about some company (I will not mention) is sponsoring Tuesdays. You can buy a movie ticket, a medium popcorn and a medium drink for $11.45. That is a savings of 50%. Their words- not mine.
While I was standing in line, I read the other paragraph. Which explained that Cheap Tuesdays were gone and T****S Tuesday's are in. Starting today. I was mad. I only go to movies on Tuesdays. Because I am cheap. I bring my own snacks to movies. See. Cheap.
So the lovely guy at the ticket counter said it would be $11.90 for a ticket. Or I could get popcorn and pop for $11.45. So I took the deal. Who wouldn't.
Which got me thinking. Everywhere you look nowadays the focus is eating healthy and being active. So then this company is willing to put it's name on a weekly "event" that encourages you to do nothing but sit for at least 2 hours. And consume a large amount of popcorn and pop. I don't get it. And I don't like it.
So I probably won't go see a movie again unless it is at the cheap theater. Or I have a coupon.
I am done. (in more ways than one).

Monday, August 24, 2009


These are evil. And when I say evil, I mean totally tasty. So tasty and evil that once you start, you can't stop. mmmmmm.

A friend told me about them. I saw them. Bought them. And love them. I 've suffered through baked chips before and they aren't so tasty. But Old Dutch got it right. Lots of flavor. Lack of grease.

And guess what? You can eat 27 chips to equal a serving. Hello.
Sorry my American friends... I think these are only available in Canada. But maybe the USofA will get something right and start importing these. ha.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The fruits (and vegetables) of our labors.

My parents have a pretty amazing garden. And they were kind enough to plant potatos, peas, carrots and beans even though they would be out of the country to partake of the bountiful harvest.
Or help with the weeding or harvesting... hmmm.
how convenient. too convenient.

I spent an hour in the hot sun, battling bugs and thorns and weeds to get these beauties-

Pretty sure it is all going to be worth it when I have a yummy
baked potato and green beans for dinner.
And some raspberries and ice cream for dessert.

Thanks Mom and Dad! I love you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Super Delicious Yummy Ham

I got this recipe from Rose- a lady on my mission. So I call it Rose's Ham. But you can call it whatever you want. It is super delicious and yummy. So feel free to call it that.
I tried to take pictures throughout but of course didn't get pictures at the beginning or the end...

First step is to bake ham frozen, with skin on at a low heat (about 150 to 200 degrees) "all day". My ham wasn't frozen so I was a little worried about cooking it all day. Plus my oven would only go as low as 170 degrees. So I put it in the oven before leaving for church and it was "done" when I got home- 3 hours later.

Take out of oven- remove skin and fat.

Now comes the delicious part.

Mix together:
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
3 or 4 shakes of soy sauce
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup or less ketchup

(my ham was pretty small so I halved the glaze recipe)

It will be pretty thick- paste the glaze onto the ham. Cover the ham as best you can and just pour in the rest of the glaze.

Return to the oven- but this time at 400 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes- basting it with the glaze a few times.
I tried to baste it about every 5 minutes. The glaze becomes very liquidy and easy to spoon over the ham.

I made this to take to my sisters for dinner. So I just put it in a container, poured over the glaze- it travelled perfectly.

Just before eating we sliced it, poured some glaze over the slices and dug in. Pretty sure my brother-in-law ate half of it.

My sister also made a plain ham (that was HUGE) so there were lots leftover. I took a few pieces, put them in my container with some glaze and enjoyed it the next day.

Try it. You will love it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dorm Food.

Living in a dorm for 3 weeks is an interesting experience. Especially when you only have a mini fridge and microwave (and have to share a bathroom and showers with 9 other ladies). My friend/roomie Rachel and I decided to do a lot of experimenting with her sandwich maker. or Snack Master as she likes to call it.

Here is what we made-

Pizza Sandwiches. Pretty tasty. Put sauce, cheese and desired toppings (we enjoyed ham and pineapple) on a piece of bread. Top with another piece of bread... and enjoy.

Have you seen that infomercial for the GT Express 101? She makes something called Stuffed Soup so we decided to give it a try too. You mix stuffing, chicken and cream of chicken soup. It was pretty messy as you can see... But it was tasty.

We were pretty good at making breakfast... We made eggs which were probably my favorite. I don't know that I will make eggs in a frying pan ever again.

This is when we made eggs the first time. The next few times we added cheese and ham. Mmmmm.

We also made pancakes. Rachel loves sausages so we added them to her side.

Here is the final product... So yummy. Not sure if I will ever make pancakes in a frying pan ever again either.

Here is Rachel enjoying the goods.

We made cupcakes. I saw this mix a couple months ago and knew it would be perfect for our dorm living. And it was. While they don't look like cupcakes they sure tasted like them. Especially with yummy cream cheese frosting.

My battery died so I didn't have a chance to take pictures of everything we made. Other breakfast foods included muffins. And other desserts like brownies and cookies.
We made breakfast for our class one morning. It was so fun feeding 10 people a meal of muffins, pancakes, sausages, and eggs all made in a sandwich maker.
Now I need to go purchase one for myself.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Remember me?

Holy Schmolies it has been a long time since I lost blogged.

It has been a CRAZY month.

-I finished my 5 week teaching assignment and found out that a GYM teacher was getting the position. I don't want to talk about it.

-My parents left on their mission. And should now be in the Philippines although the last time I heard from them they were in the Taipei airport. Really hope they aren't wandering aimlessly.

-Celebrated Canada Day with some of the family. Yummy breakfast. Delicious BBQ. Too bad I was just recovering from the 24 hour flu so I didn't get to enjoy as much as I would have liked to.

-Started 2 online classes. Statistics and Research Methods. There are about as fun as they sound. Luckily there are only 2 weeks left of them.

-Unluckily they happen the same time as my 3 on campus classes. Yup. I am living it up in the dorms again. I am enjoying the delightfully fresh produce available in Washington. I am not, however, enjoying the fierce wind that comes with being in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Wind is my least favorite element. I would take snow, rain and of course sun over wind any day.

-What am I talking about? I have been enjoying the produce of Washington before I even left Alberta. I seriously think I have personally consumed at least 6 pounds of cherries in the last 2 weeks. Mmmmm.

-I had the opportunity and blessing of staying with some Virginia friends who are now living it up in Spokane. I was hoping to get pictures with all of the friends I was reuniting with this summer but forgot to take a picture. But I did get a picture of the cute little welcome gift Megan left on my bed. So fun. (and my battery just died as I was loading the pictures on to my computer so it looks like I won't be getting any other photos either since I forgot my charger at home).

-Amidst all the studying and paper writing I have had a few opportunities for fun. Like shopping at Target and Grocery Outlet (I seriously LOVE that store), going to the Seattle Temple (which p.s. is the MOST confusing temple I have EVER been to. And no workers to direct you), eating at Sonic and Chipotle. Mmmm. We were told about this amazing thrift store on Mercer Island in the Seattle area. Apparently the island is quite hoitey toitey and everything they donate is too. It was pretty impressive. But I was surprised how many clothes were stained/dirty. Apparently their maids didn't wash the clothes before donating them. And apparently no one on the island is larger than size 12.

-And my friend Anna (who I knew from home but married a guy from around here) had me and my friend/roomie Rachel over for dinner last Sunday. It was so nice to get out of the dorms, have real (and mighty delicious) food, play fun games and do lots of catching up.

-Today starts the last week of my on campus classes. I am more than overjoyed. We have a new professor each week and our professor for this last week is goooood looking. Pretty sure our class of 18 ladies isn't going to have any problems staying awake.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mmmmmm.... Pie.

Over 3 years ago I said that I would share a recipe for the greatest pie EVER and never did! I am not a big pie fan but this one is delicious. It tastes like cookie dough/chocolate chip cookie. Mmmm. The first time I had it, I was in LOVE. I asked my friend for the recipe and he was kind enough to share it. I have made it 3 times since then (3 times in 3 years... there is something serwiously wrong with that) but for some reason it doesn't taste AS amazing as it did the first time. Maybe he is like the lady on my mission that would leave out an ingredient whenever she shared a recipe with someone so that theirs would never work out and hers would always be the best. Funny. But mean.

So anyways- it is really yummy. And I will just have to keep making it until it is as delightful as the original.

*Note: okay... so I did some research looking up other pictures and recipes online and it is indeed supposed to be gooey in the middle (like I remember). I am not sure why mine always turns out more like a cookie. I will do some experimenting and get back to you. But in the meantime- give this a try. It is still mighty tasty.

Kentucky Derby Pie

1 pie shell
2 eggs- beaten
1/2 cup butter- melted & cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans- chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix eggs & cooled butter.
Add sugar & flour, then vanilla , nuts and chocolate chips.

Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes.
(watch the crust & cover with foil if getting too dark)

I made little tart size for our family's monthly birthday celebration. What says Happy Birthday more than a sparkler in a tart?
Not much.
Not much.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Adventures in Organizing

Here is a glimpse into some of the organizing I have been doing the past 2 weeks. There is a great pantry in the Foods Lab... but it is FULL of stuff. Every shelf was completely packed. And dusty. Oh my. So here are some before and after pictures. Sorry they are not the exact same shot but hopefully it all makes sense. And it is a small room so hard to get a lot in one shot.
The top left side- before:
Top left side- after: Bottom left side- before:
Bottom left side- after:
Top middle- before:
Top middle- after:
Bottom middle- before:
Bottom middle- after:
Right side- before:
Top right side- after:
Bottom right side- after:

It is SOO much better. Pretty sure there was stuff in there that hasn't moved since I was in high school. I love just walking in there and looking around. It makes me smile. Shout out to my sister for helping me out with the final touches!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I love Jell-O. I don't know if it is necessarily the taste of it. Or more of what you can do with it. (especially with the fabulous molds/jell-o cutters out there).

It is almost always a side dish for our Sunday family dinners. Some like it with fruit. Some like it without. So we have to have 2 different kinds to please everyone. The kids tend to eat more jell-0 than the "normal" food. But who can blame them?
Not me.

For our today's Sunday dinner I made everyone's name in Jell-O.
It was a special Sunday for 2 reasons.

1) It is Father's Day. (Hi Dad! I love you!!)

2) It is the second last time my family will be all together for 18 months. (my parents leave in 8 days for the Philippines -via the MTC of course!)

9 batches (or 18 boxes) of Jell-O later we were blessed with this:

plus one more table that I didn't get a photo of.

And me. I was actually short an S so I had to steal one from my sister Kristi for this photo.

Until I ate the evidence I was known as Helley.

(Please ignore the nasty hair and makeup. I was in a rush this morning- hence the waves and I bought new powder that apparently makes me look like more of a freak!)

To make jell-o Jigglers you need:

4 boxes of jell-o (the normal 4 serving size)

2 1/2 cups boiling water.

Mix and pour into 9x13 pan.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes (the longer you refrigerate, the more solid it gets)

In my adventures of making 9 batches of jell-0 I learned a few things.

*halve the batch when making lots of different colors (so 2 boxes & 1 1/4 cups boiling water in a square pan)

*mixing the power and water in a separate bowl (or liquid measuring cup) and then pouring in your pan creates better jell-o. Not too sure why- but it does.

*the recipe says to place the bottom of pan in warm water for 15 seconds to aid in getting the goods out. I found the greasing the pan with a little cooking spray works much bigger wonders.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Okay. Okay. I will keep blogging. The problem wasn't lack of comments. It was that my life us dull and I assume people don't want to hear about it. But you spoke. And I listened.

So here is my dull life.

My teaching job has been an adventure. NOTHING like what I thought it would be.

I was so excited to do the film study with the drama classes... but quickly realized they were not ready to handle anything like that (or anything really!)

I have met some of the rudest teenagers ever. But thankfully have met some amazing ones too. My fellow teachers are fabulous and have been super welcoming. I am asked daily if I will be coming back next year. And because everything in the world of education is so last minute, I still don't know. Hopefully I will know soon. Some days I want to teach there forever (okay, maybe not forever but at least another year) and other days I don't even want to finish up the day. For some reason Tuesdays are the roughest days. I cried the last 2. Thankfully last Tuesday I was able to hold the tears in until I was alone in my room at lunch time.

There are only 7 school days left. And 5 of those are exam or activity days. I am in the process of cleaning the kitchens and sewing lab. Everything is a huge mess. The teacher I replaced pretty much just walked out (not sure why. There are rumors of her being fired and her Dad being sick. Not sure what to believe). There is stuff everywhere. After I clean something I think "I should have taken a before picture." So I will try to be better from now on and show you the mess I am dealing with.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The time has come.

I have finally realized what you have known all along...
My life isn't worth blogging about.
It's been fun. I appreciate you joining me in my "adventures".

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

There is a first time for everything...

Was an interesting day.
And it is only 3:30. But I am ready for it to be over.
Today I cried in front of students for the first time. And hopefully the last.
Luckily it was the last class of the day.
But unluckily there was still 30 minutes left in the period.

Let's just say I forgot how rude teenagers can be.
Now I need to go make some IFHRTCB Bars and eat half the pan before I go to bed tonight!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I saw this recipe on the cooking blog- Sweet Sista' and knew right away that I HAD to make them.
She called them Pink Slip Bars because she made them for co-workers after finding out they were all being laid off.
I made these 2 months ago. But if I made them today I could name them:
I Just Got a REAL Job Bars.
Or I Forgot How Rude Teenagers Can Be Bars.
Or I Filled Up With Gas Before the Price Went Up Bars.
I the last one hasn't happened yet but hopefully it will tomorrow and then I may just have to celebrate with these bars.
They are perfect for any "celebration" in your life!
1 cup butter- softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla & mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (I used a 10x 15, but maybe 13 x 18 would be better).
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.
1/2 cup butter- softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
food coloring (if desired)
Frosting: Combine butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined. Then add milk and food coloring mix until smooth and spreading consistency. I like to beat frosting for at least 5 minutes so it's light and fluffy.
I was told by a friend that this is the most amazing frosting she has ever had. She couldn't eat the bars but asked for a container of frosting instead!!
They are so delicious.
This is what the pan looked like the next morning. Pretty sure the rest were devoured shortly after this picture was taken.
I apologize for the large clump of words. I have tried several times to put spaces throughout but they disappear when I post. Can anybody help me?