I'm Andrea, and this is my personal blog. Thanks for being here! I usually post on Fridays and Sundays, when I share something that makes me happy or a spiritual thought for the week. Sometimes I manage to squeeze in another post or two.

Feel free to leave a comment--I'd love to hear what you have to say! You can also reach me at teachmetowalk [at] hotmail [dot] com.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Isaiah 9:6

[Art by Simon Dewey]

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . .and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

-Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Cookies

Shortbread cookies with icing and crushed candy cane on top. They melt in your mouth. This is the third year in a row that I've made them--I think that qualifies as a tradition, don't you?

It's not my recipe, though. Here's the link (scroll down to "Peppermint Shortbread"):

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

Healthy? No, but they're better for you than the cookies at the grocery store. Mmm.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our First Gift at Christmas

{image by Royce Bair}

"It is easy to give to our own, those whom we love. Their gladness becomes our joy. We are not quite so ready to give to others, even if they are in need, for their happiness does not seem so necessary to our happiness. It appears yet more difficult to give to the Lord, for we are prone to believe that he must give and ask nothing in return.

"We have foolishly reversed the proper order. Our first gift at Christmas should be to the Lord; next to the friend or stranger by our gate; then, surcharged with the effulgence from such giving, we would enhance the value of our gifts to our very own."

-John A. Widtsoe

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas-ing It Up

Christmas is in full swing at our little house. We've been:





and putting the presents under the tree. Literally. [We love that little tree.]

What's going on at your house?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gee, Do They Still Make Wooden Christmas Trees?

Linus: Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?

Charlie Brown: This little green one here seems to need a home.

Linus: I don't know, Charlie Brown. Remember what Lucy said? This doesn't seem to fit the modern spirit.

Charlie Brown: I don't care. We'll decorate it and it'll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today I'm Happy About...

{photo by Etolane}

...people who turn their Christmas lights on early (or maybe left them on all night?). Little Boy and I went on a walk around our neighborhood late this afternoon, and he loved seeing the lights that were already on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Difference Between Presents and Gifts

[photo by amandacphoto]
"We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves--giving of the riches of the heart and mind--and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store."
-James E. Faust

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How Little Boy's Slippers Make Me Happy

Since I've been trying to change the focus of this blog to the good things I find in my life, and the good things I want to remember, I am not going to tell you a story about how I tried to make applesauce ornaments yesterday and totally failed.

Instead, I'm going to show you these:

They don't make me particularly happy, at least not in and of themselves. But Little Boy received them as an early Christmas gift from his grandparents earlier this week, and he has worn them all day, everyday since. They make him very happy. And that makes me happy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Glorious Time of the Year

photo by Chris_J
Another belated Sunday post:

"This is a glorious time of the year, simple in origin, deep in meaning, beautiful in tradition and custom, rich in memories, and charitable in spirit. It has an attraction to which our hearts are readily drawn. This joyful season brings to each of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree in which we have turned our mind, feelings, and actions to the spirit of Christmas."

-Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Think the Couch Is Getting Jealous

Seriously, who needs a lousy ol' couch when you have so many other options?

[That's the backside of Bobo, if you couldn't tell.]

[[Also, I'm thinking of re-titling this blog, "Photos of My Son Watching Television." Because I know you're all fascinated by this sort of thing. Not.]]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blue-Skinned Pilgrims

(I might have helped a little with the coloring.)
I'm thinking about just posting homeschooling stuff on this blog, since I hardly ever post on the actual homeschool blog. Yay/nay?

I have a handful of photos from Thanksgiving, but most of them are of... food. And I am not a food photographer. So those are flat-out boring, and I won't make you look at them.

I did manage to take one non-food photo, though. Ta-da! Puppet patterns from here. Toilet paper rolls from my house. Puppet arm positioning by Isaac.

We also made a little turkey to go with them, but he didn't make it into the photo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Than the Symbol of a Holiday

{Photo by jeffweese}

I missed posting this yesterday. Oops!

"He whose birth we commemorate this season is more than the symbol of a holiday. He is the Son of God, the Creator of the earth, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the Redeemer of mankind, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. . . .

" 'And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!'"

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Little Obsessed With Mater...

Me: "Little Boy, did you talk to Grandma on the phone just now?"
Little Boy: "Dad-gum right!"

[Photo by PopCulture Geek]

Monday, November 21, 2011


We don't spend a lot of money around here. Like, any. We just can't spend money on anything that isn't essential--you know, like electricity. Can't browse Pinterest if I don't pay the electric bill.

Anyway, about a month ago I spotted a booster car seat on super-duper sale that I knew Little Boy would need soon. So we bought it. And he loves it.

The thing is, he doesn't quite need it yet. He's a little on the small side for his age, so he still fits into the good ol' convertible seat that we bought...I dunno, three years ago? That one has a five-point harness, so I'd like to keep him in it for as long as possible.

Soooo....hmm. Comfy high-back booster seat, just sitting around the house. What are we gonna do with it until we need it?

Oh, I know.

He can use it as a super-comfy high-back TV watching seat! You know, like normal families do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Horizon of Our Present Circumstances

{Photo by Trey Ratcliff}
 "[Hope] is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear."

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Re-post: Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I don't actually have a glass-top stove. This was taken at my Mom's house.
[This is mostly a re-post from last Thanksgiving.]

I have to admit, I kinda like canned cranberry sauce. That's probably because of the high-fructose corn syrup that's in it. Gross.

But did you know that making cranberry sauce [y'know, with real cranberries] is simple? In fact, I first found this recipe in Real Simple magazine. See what I did there? Haha.

Anyway, I made this cranberry sauce last year for Thanksgiving, and I'm probably going to make it every Thanksgiving for the rest of my life. It tastes that much better. (Unless you really don't like cranberries at all. In that case, I can't help ya.) You can check out the original cranberry sauce recipe if you want. I've changed it just a little bit, so here's the really simple cranberry sauce I'm making this year:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
(heavily based on a recipe from Real Simple
1 package cranberries (I think the standard-size package is 12 oz or so.) 
1 cup apple juice 
up to 1/2 cup sweetener of your choice (honey, brown sugar, whatever; optional)
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer, stirring frequently, until almost all of the cranberries have burst, and the sauce has thickened. (I usually make the sauce quite a bit thicker than what's pictured with the original recipe.) 

Taste and add sweetener if needed--some cranberries are kickier than others, but the apple juice on its own is sometimes sweet enough. Also, keep an eye on how vigorously those berries are simmering--if it gets to a full-out boil, you'll be wiping up cranberry splatters.

Really and truly--all you have to do is measure, dump, and stir. That's it. Oh, and eat. And then do a little happy dance because you've freed your family from canned cranberry sauce forever. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Post at The Storybook Shelf!

I've been pretty good about posting lately here, on my personal blog, but I haven't posted on my other two blogs in...um...too long.

So today I finally posted again on my children's book blog, The Storybook Shelf. I'm going to try to get some Thanksgiving books from the library and post about those, too--we've always had trouble finding good Thanksgiving books. We'll see how this year goes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recipe Link: Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

I'm in lo-o-o-ove with this pumpkin pasta sauce recipe. I've made it twice in the last three weeks, which is a big deal for me. It's from Cooking During Stolen Moments, and I highly recommend that you click through and visit her--she has a lot of excellent recipes.

I tweaked the recipe in a few places. Here's the original recipe, with my "tweaks" in bold. If you just want the original, without my chicken scratches all over it, click through the link above.

  • 1/4 c. butter

  • 1 medium-sized shallot, minced (I used about 1/2 teaspoon onion powder instead--I don't like actual onions, so I don't keep them on hand.)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (The first time, I used 3/4 garlic powder instead. Use the fresh garlic if you like a stronger garlic flavor.)

  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

  • 1/2 c. chicken stock

  • 3/4 c. milk (I use whole milk--here are three articles on why: 123. I didn't have any milk on hand tonight, so I used extra chicken stock, and it turned out fine.)

  • 1 1/4 t. salt, more or less to taste (If you used extra chicken stock instead of milk, use less salt! You can always add more.)

  • 1/2 t. black pepper, more or less to taste

  • 1/8 t. nutmeg (DO NOT LEAVE THIS OUT. Just trust me on this one.)

  • 1/4 c. diced parsley (I used about 1 - 2 teaspoons dried parsley.)

    1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic; cook for 2-3 minutes, until shallots are tender. (If you use onion powder and garlic powder, sprinkle them into the melted butter and let it cook for just under a minute. Don't let the powders burn.)
    2. Reduce heat to low and stir in the pumpkin puree. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, milk (or more stock), salt, pepper and nutmeg (Don't forget the nutmeg!). Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes (I wanted the sauce to be a little more runny, so I added a little extra chicken stock at this point.). Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in the parsley. Serve over pasta. (Cheese ravioli is awesome. I used rainbow rotini the second time, and it was still pretty good.)

  • Monday, November 14, 2011

    I Am NOT Afraid of Germs

    Isaac, my dear and loving husband, insists that I'm a germaphobe. Which I'm not. I just paid attention in my Food Safety class. And...maybe I was a microbiologist in a past life. But I'm not afraid of germs. Sheesh.

    So the other day, I walked past the bathroom and saw Isaac wiping off the counter. He saw that I was giving him a funny look, so he said:

    "You have to wipe up the germs, or they'll start effervescing and comulgating, you know."

    Isaac made up scientific words, and now we will eat him! Bahaha!

    And that is how "comulgate" became our official Silly Family Word. The end.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Focus the Best That You Can

    {image by More Good Foundation}
    ‎"Remember, you can be exalted without a college degree. You can be exalted without being slender and beautiful. You can be exalted without having a successful career. You can be exalted if you are not rich and famous. So focus the best that you can on those things in life that will lead you back to the presence of God - keeping all things in their proper balance."
    - Elder M. Russell Ballard

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    The Herbs Who Lived

    I took this photo in September. That's two stalks of mint, and one of basil. I clipped them off the plants on my back deck. They're pretty.

    Here's the thing: the plants that I clipped those from have long since died. But these little weirdos are still alive on my kitchen table. They grew roots, right there in their soda bottle.

    (And yes, we do own vases. But I like glass soda bottles. We're classy like that.)

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Wal-Mart Pajamas

    [The look on his face cracks me up.]
    Wal-Mart sells kid's pajamas that I call "pajamas in a box." They're only $5, but they come in a cardboard box, so I can never tell if they're actually going to fit Little Boy.

    I buy them anyway.

    A couple weeks ago, I picked up a SpongeBob "pajamas in a box." I don't like to buy licensed characters, but I couldn't get over how excited I thought Little Boy would be to wear them. (He loves Spongebob.)

    Turns out, he wasn't excited to wear them.

    Isaac kindly took the pajamas (in a box) back to Wal-Mart and exchanged them. He called us from the pj aisle so Little Boy could pick one that sounded good to him. He almost picked a rhino playing football. But when Isaac said, "Oh, and there's one over here with a fox and an owl on it," Little Boy said, "YEAH!"

    Oooookay then. Whatever you say, Little Boy.

    And you know what? He loves them. He kept saying, "Mommy, I like these jams. I REALLY like them!" These are the first pajamas he pulls out of the dryer after I've done the laundry. He'd wear them every night if I'd let him.

    (Which I don't. Gross.)

    These are probably the pajamas I would've picked in the first place, if I'd been going off of the cuteness of the pj shirt. D'oh.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    We're All Mad Here*

    I live with a mad scientist.

    This...well...I don't know what this is. It started out as a spaghetti sauce jar. But now it's full of some kind of chemicals that turned bright green when they were mixed together. And that gray thing on the right is a pump from a fish tank. A tube from the pump is stuck in the green stuff (yes, that's a technical term), and it's blowing little bubbles. The little bubbles make little mad-science-lab bubbly sounds. I try to find excuses to leave the house when stuff like this is going on.

    I think this might be the stuff that Isaac warned me would eat through almost anything but glass. I'm not kidding.

    That might've been a different experiment, though.

    Either way, I'm pretty sure I know what Isaac's Halloween costume should be next year.

    *That's a quote from the Cheshire Cat. Also, I just realized that this post kinda makes it sound like Isaac is cooking drugs in our kitchen. OUR HOUSE IS NOT A DRUG LAB. Truthfully, I think Isaac had this set up to do some kind of etching to make a little board for his electronics.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    The Seeds That You Plant

    {photo by Tico}

    "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you sow."
    -Robert Louis Stevenson

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    What Do We Do? We Swim, Swim, Swim...

    I try to keep my personal problems off of this blog, but lately...life is HARD.
    So what to do? Just keep swimming, I guess.
    Oh, and praying. But I was doing that already anyway.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    What Are You Thankful For?

    I love Thanksgiving, and not just because I like eating turkey and pie. I love having the opportunity to think about gratitude before Christmas comes around.
    (In all fairness, though, I pretty much love every holiday.)
    Check out this video--I watched it on a friend's blog, and it put me in the Thanksgiving spirit. What are you grateful for? What do you take for granted?

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Trick or Treat...?

    I know it's November 2nd, but I left my camera at my mom's house and just got it back. So pretend it's still Halloween, m'kay?
    Little Boy gave Halloween two thumbs up at the end of the night. Wanna see what we did?
    We made Halloween sugar cookies a few days before. The mini M&Ms were supposed to be for making faces, but when it got down to it, Little Boy decided they made better polka dots.
    Little Boy was so looking forward to carving a pumpkin with Isaac. Until...
    ...we made him touch the pumpkin guts. He sobbed and insisted on washing his hand right away. Yes, we are excellent parents.
    This is what happens when you leave the pumpkin carving to the boys--you get a picture of a monster truck crushing a car. Rendered in pumpkin.
    We ate mummy dogs for dinner. Thanks for the idea, Pinterest!
    Looks gross, huh. Blood and guts potatoes are a Halloween tradition 'round here.
    And now, the photo you've all been waiting for:
    This is the best shot I have of Little Boy's costume. The cuteness comes through, though, right?
    This is the top of Little Boy's hat. My favorite part of the costume, if you wanna know.
    We didn't do this on purpose, but we ended up trick-or-treating on a street that got hardly any trick-or-treaters at all. Little Boy got the pick of whatever (handfuls of) candy he wanted.
    Which explains the two thumbs up.
    Bonus photo! My sister works at a thrift store, and Halloween is the store's busy season. The employees were encouraged to dress up, and they had a different costume theme every day. Can you guess the theme for the costume she's wearing?
    (Hint: You can't tell in the photo, but she's wearing a fancy dress that's a little...um...out of style.)

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Mormons and Christianity

    "Any criticism that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints does not hold the contemporary Christian view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost is not a comment about our commitment to Christ but rather a recognition (accurate, I might add) that our view of the Godhead breaks with post-New Testament Christian history and returns to the doctrine taught by Jesus Himself."
    -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    They're Creepy and They're Kooky

    Cutest thing I've seen today:
    Little Boy and Isaac, snuggled up together on the couch, watching The Addams Family. [The TV show, not the movie.]
    Little Boy thinks it's hilarious.
    And I'm pretty proud of myself for checking The Addams Family out from the library before the Halloween rush.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    We only come out at night.

    We have a little family secret....
    We're undead.
    [Photos edited using Picnik's zombie and vampire effects.]

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Ya Gotta Do What Ya Gotta Do

    It's getting chilly here.
    Yes, he has plenty of long-sleeved shirts. But a couple weeks ago, when this was taken, he was still insisting that he'd be fine in short sleeves.
    And apparently draping a blanket over himself is way better than changing his clothes.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    The Remarkable Women of God

    "It is precisely because the daughters of Zion are so uncommon that the adversary will not leave them alone." -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    It's better to look up.

    I haven't been very grateful lately.
    I've always been basically happy with my life. Even when we've been unemployed, when we've been seriously ill, and when we've had to go without. Even then, deep down, I've been able to say that I'm happy. Because I've always tried to appreciate what we have.
    I've struggled a lot since Isaac quit his job last summer. When he decided to go back to school, I knew (and still know) that it was the right thing to do. I hoped I'd feel better. We'd been students before, and we'd been fine then, right?
    I don't know if I was living in a bubble when we were students before, or whether this time is truly different. Maybe a little of both.
    And don't get me wrong--we've had some beautiful, wonderful days since then. But lately...beautiful and wonderful have eluded me. All I've been thinking about is how much I would change my life if I could. About how much we don't have. And about how much I can't do.
    But then, last night, I looked around myself and realized that I have more now than I've ever had before. My life isn't what I expected it to be right now, and it's different from everyone else's my age that I can think of. But everyone else's lives don't matter. I have what I need for now.
    Like President Monson was quoted as saying in this last General Conference, it's better to look up.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Mean Is Mean

    {image source}

    I'm not trying to be mean, here. I'm not. But I do want to talk about something that's been on my mind.
    For the purposes of our discussion, I'm going to define the word "mean" as "something that would probably hurt someone's feelings if you said it in front of them."
    And I also want to say, before I get started, that I am mean sometimes, too. We all are.
    Sooo...with all of that said, here's the thing. Lately I've heard a lot of mean things said about groups of people--stereotyping, in other words. I don't know if it's really happening more often, or if I'm just more sensitive to it lately for some reason.
    Like, "Oh my heck. [Group of people] are so [negative quality]." Or, "[Group of people] are always [doing whatever annoys this person]."
    I get it. I do it, too. But, people? It's not nice. It's mean. Even if it's true, even if it's funny. Even if saying it makes you feel better for a moment. Even if they never know that you said it--because somewhere, deep inside, it's hurting you. It is not making you a better person.
    So think about how often you say something like that. Who do you complain about? Canadians? Gay people? Mormons? Democrats? Your in-laws? Twilight fans?
    Odds are, not all of the people in that group do the thing that you're complaining about. And even if they do, it's not your job to point it out. It's your job to forgive them and move on.
    So let's try a little harder to keep our mouths shut more often. I'm going to try. Are you?

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Just To You

    {image source}

    "If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you."
    -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, speaking about General Conference

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