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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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.)

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