Friday, December 26, 2008

Breakdown of the Holiday Break

Cookies eaten: Too many
Pounds Gained: Only 1 so far
Movies watched: 7
School Work Done: None
Hours spend outside: Minimal
Hours spend in bed: Maximum

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Puzzling with my BFFs

Tom & I have been working on this puzzle for ages (okay weeks).
We finally finished - YES!!

BFFs - Alina, Tom, & Me

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Child's Prayer by Zackary

Dear Heavenly Father,
Please bless thunder and lightning.
Please bless the food, but not the soup. It's good, but I just don't like it.
I'm not allergic to anything.
I like all people. I like girls and boys.
In the name of Jesus Christ,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Local Music @ the Avalon

Last weekend I went to the Avalon Theater with Ali and Sandra to see some local bands play. I love live music, especially in an intimate setting like the Avalon. We had a great time watching skinny-jean wearing punk bands. Here's a few pics.

Setting Up

Three fun-lovin' girls - me, Ali, & Sandra

The best part about the Avalon - the bathroom

Seriously, this is as far as the bathroom door closes.
Oh well, I had to go.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ward Christmas Party

Me with gift number one - singing fish.

Gift number two - Chipmunk CD
(and Christmas bow courtesy of Alina)

Alina with her "Girls Rule" bike license plate.

The two of us - Alina had had a little too much to drink.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Education, Education, & More Education

I just finished a literacy program from BYU that I've been taking for the past 2 and a 1/2 years. Upon completion, I've been thinking a lot about all the higher education I've had over the past 12 years. Here's how it breaks down:

Bachelors Degree in Political Science: 120.5 credit hours

Masters in Education: 41 credit hours
Non-matriculating special ed program: 37 credit hours
Non-matriculating literacy program: 21 credit hours

That's a total of 219.5 credit hours. That's a lot!! SERIOUSLY, A LOT!! At some point in time, one has to say enough is enough. I think my time is now.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Last night Zack and I made the coolest train cake. I bought this train cake pan on Amazon last week and was so excited to use it. It worked perfectly. Check out how much fun we had.

Zack putting the train together. He put the engine on the tracks (black licorice) first then asked me, "Mandy, which one is the coal car 'cause the coal car goes next." That kid is train crazy.

Zack with the finished product.

Me and Zack with the finished product.

A closer look.

Mitch was also over with us. Isn't this photo great?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Home Decor

I recently put these up in my bedroom. I bought the fabric-covered memo board about a year ago, but didn't quite know how I wanted to hang it or what I wanted to hang with it. I finally decided to add ribbon to the top corners and hang it from a decorative hook. The entire project cost me 12 dollars: 8 dollars for the memo board, 1 dollar for the extra ribbon, and 3 dollars for the decorative hook. I decided to pair it with this wall hanging, which I made. Yep, that's right - I made it. It was super easy. It's just four coasters and some ribbon. I glued the coasters directly from the ribbon and tied a bow on top. This project cost a total of 10 dollars: 8 dollars for the coasters and 2 dollars for the ribbon. Not bad, huh?

At a distance

I also put this shelf up in my bathroom. I've had the shelf for three years. My fabulous hairdresser, Dean, gave it to me as a house-warming present. I knew I wanted to hang it in my bathroom, but I hadn't done it yet because I kept thinking I was going to paint my bathroom. I finally just decided to put it up. I had the ceramic shoe in my bedroom, but decided it would look better here. I recently bought these picture frames from Gardner Village. I think they look great on the shelf, but they'd look great anywhere. Aren't they fantastic?!

At a distance.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dinosaur Museum

I recently went to the Dinosaur Museum with Zack and Mitch. The museum has a huge terradactyl hanging from the ceiling. When Zack saw it, he pointed at it and it exclaimed, "Look! Look! A flyoctagon." That's right, a flyoctagon. The terradactyl has gone from a flapasaurus to a flyoctagon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

October Pictures

Here are a few Halloween/October pics:

Mitch & Me at the Dinosaur Museum.
I'm sad it turned out so blurry.

Zack, Mitch, & Me.
Mitch was not very happy.

Jackie & Me carving pumpkins.

Zack with all of our pumpkins.
Mine is the pumpkin on the bottom left.

Zack, Mitch, & Me on Halloween night.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

School Stuff

School is going great this year. The school year is already one-fourth over. I'm trying to shake things up and do new things this year. Tomorrow we are going to start reading the historical fiction novel Fever 1793. I've never taught this book, but I'm really excited to teach it. The historical time period for the novel is Philadelphia's Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. To prepare my students to read it, we spent last week studying the non-fiction book An American Plague. I had my students Jigsaw this book. A Jigsaw is when students read a part of a book and then share their part with the class. This way, students only need to read a short section, but they get all the info in the book. The Jigsaw went very well and my students seem excited to start the novel.

Another new thing I'm trying are on-line quizzes on my wikispaces. My students took one quiz in class last week and it went really well. I'm going to start assigning the upcoming quizzes as homework. We'll see if that goes as well. To see my wikispaces, click HERE. Their upcoming quiz is under the label, "An American Plague."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election 2008

I was thrilled with how the 2008 Presidential Election turned out. As an Obama supporter, I was obviously happy with his win, but I was also happy to see the old John McCain I knew and loved. The 2008 campaign was painful to watch as John McCain sold himself to the people who had a hand in taking him down 8 years ago (the right wing nuts of the Republican party). It has been incredibly sad for me to see how far John McCain has fallen since 2000. I had supported him in the 2000 primary, and if he had won, I had planned to vote for him over Al Gore in the general election (sorry, Nicholas). Unfortunately (for our entire nation), he did not win the primary and we've been stuck with 8 years of Bozo Bush.

It was a breath of fresh air to see his concession speech on election night. Why couldn't he have been more like that during the campaign? He appeared gracious, strong, and honorable once again. If you want to read his full speech, click HERE. If not, here are a few of my favorite sections:
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama.

I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Although McCain's speech was inspiring, it was nothing compared with Obama's speech (To read it, click HERE). I was so inspired by his call "a new spirit of service." Here are some of my favorite sections:
What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Loved it!! Loved that both McCain and Obama called for Americans to come together. It resonated with me so much. I'm really hopeful and excited for the change I think is coming.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Picture

I haven't posted a picture for a long time so I thought I'd post one of Alina and me in our Halloween costumes. We both chose characters from children's books. Alina chose Wilma (Waldo's girlfriend) and I chose Pippi Longstocking.

Wilma and Pippi (or Alina and me).

Val, Alicia, Alina, and Me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obscure Restaurant, Part III

Last night, Alina and I went to another obscure restaurant for dinner. We decided to try Mr. Cebollin. This restaurant is located in a strip mall at 9105 S. Redwood Rd. It's a fairly new restaurant that we had passed several times in the past few weeks. The drawing point for us was that it advertised on the sign, "Mr Cebollin - Fine Mexican food and Pupusas." Pupusas!! Sweet!! To get pupusas in the past, we'd had to drive to Provo our beg Jackie (my El Salvadorian semi-sister-in-law) to have her mom make us some. But now, we'd have a restaurant within 5 miles of our house - YES!! Alina and I both ordered cheese pupusas and a side of rice and beans. We also ordered fried yucca. The fried yucca did not live up to expectations, but everything else did. The pupusas were fantastic!!

The best part of the dining experience happened as we were getting ready to leave. I was gathering up my coat and bag when Alina said, "Hey, isn't that Jackie and Adam?" I turned around, looked out the window, and saw Jackie waving like a mad woman. Apparently they were both in the mood for pupusas as well. They came in and we talked for a few minutes. I didn't know Jackie and Adam had heard of Mr. Cebollin's and was excited to tell them about it, but apparently they already knew about it. When I told Jackie this, she said, "Yeah, we know about it. This is where my mom got her new job." I knew Jackie's mom had just started a new job, but didn't know where. Sure enough, we went to the back and there was Anna, cooking pupusas. No wonder they were so great.

Overall, this was a great dining experience. The restaurant is in a good location, clean and colorfully decorated, with a friendly staff. If you're looking for great, authentic El Salvadorian food (and I'm sure their Mexican is good, as well), check it out. We wouldn't want to see this fine obscure restaurant go out of business to be replaced by another McDonald's.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Adolescent Literature Authors

Today I went to the Utah Council of Teachers of English (UCTE) Fall Conference. I was super excited for this conference because two of my favorite adolescent literature authors, Richard Peck and Paul Fleischman, were scheduled to speak. Not just one great adolescent lit author, but two!! UCTE really went above and beyond this year, and I was not disappointed.

Richard Peck spoke as the morning keynote speaker. He was very dynamic. He read us his short story, "Three-Century Woman." Loved it!! Following his keynote address, he signed books. Not only that, Pearson Publishers gave every conference participate a copy of his novel, On the Wings of Heroes. Sweet!! I felt bad that I forgot my copy of A Long Way from Chicago (my favorite Richard Peck novel), but since had a free book for him to sign, I wasn't too upset. The following Richard Peck quote is one of my favorites:
I read because one life isn't enough, and in the page of a book I can be anybody;
I read because the words that build the story become mine, to build my life;
I read not for happy endings but for new beginnings; I'm just beginning myself, and I wouldn't mind a map;
I read because I have friends who don't, and young though they are, they're beginning to run out of material;
I read because every journey begins at the library, and it's time for me to start packing;
I read because one of these days I'm going to get out of this town, and I'm going to go everywhere and meet everybody, and I want to be ready.
The afternoon keynote speaker was Paul Fleischman. He wrote one of my top 10 favorite books, Whirligig. He talked about how important it is to make connections with others people. He mentioned that literature allows people to make these connections through shared experiences. After his keynote address, he also signed books. I had him sign my copy of Whirligig and a copy of Seedfolks.

Overall, it was a fabulous conference. If UCTE brings in great authors next year, I will definitely go again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheese, Cheese

Yesterday Zack was crying and carrying on. My dad started to mock him by saying, "Oh, Zack, do you want a little cheese with that whine." Zack immediately stopped crying, perked up, and said, "Cheese? Yes, yes, I want some cheese."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wisdom from a Four Year Old

Tonight Zack reminded me of an important lesson. We were sitting at dinner and I was talking to my family about a night class I'm taking. I was complaining about it and at one point I said, "I hate my class. It's so stupid." Zack looked at me and said, "You just said a bad word." (In our house, we have told Zack stupid is a bad word). I replied, "Oh, I know. I'm sorry." He looked at me and in all seriousness stated, "It's okay, Mandy. We all make mistakes."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Random Thoughts:

  • I'm still super busy - it sucks!!
  • I have to stop being a smart ass if I want to pass my class. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and conform, even if you despise doing it.
  • I need a day off to watch TV. My DVR is full of hours of TV that have yet to be watched.
  • My foot hurts. I have no idea what I did, but it has been hurting badly for over a week. It's the foot that I broke years ago so it might be weather related, but what if it's not? What if something is seriously wrong? I don't have time (or money, for that matter) for it to be something serious.
  • This Sunday I get to teach the first new member lesson to a new convert. I am excited.
  • This Saturday I get to go to another baptism. The full-time missionaries and ward missionaries (including me) in my ward are awesome. This is our third baptism in the past 2 months.
  • The weather is crazy. Last week we had temps into the 80s and this Saturday it's suppose to snow. What happened to the fall temps in the high 60s? That's my favorite and we haven't even experienced it this year.
  • On Monday one of my absolutely favorite people in the universe, Ruth, is coming to stay with me. I am so excited for all our fun times!!
  • My students introduced me to this week. I love it!! I am now addicted.
  • I started taking tia che classes. I always thought I had pretty good balanced, but I totally do not. I am, however, flexible which helps.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My Porch

This summer I planned on staining my back porch, but I never got around to it. I also wanted to do some minor repairs on it (although the porch is securely attached to my house and my patio, the posts had sunk and pulled off the porch). I've never done any such repairs or staining before, but I thought I could handle it. I still think I could have handled it, but with my busy schedule, I decided I'd just hire someone to do it.

Luckily, I new just the right person for the job - my friend Kathleen's son, Joshua. I've seen some of Joshua's work before (he made Kathleen a beautiful wooden porch swing for Mother's Day) so I knew he'd do a good job. He said he was interested so he came over to take a look at it. After looking at it, he said it would be no problem and he'd even start on it that night. After deciding on his wage, we took off for Lowes to get supplies. When we got there, he walked in there like he owned the place. He knew exactly what we needed and where to find it. That night he sanded and put the first stain on it. He said he'd come back the next day to fix the posts and put another coat of stain on it. When I came home from work the next day it was finished!! I was so excited and I'm really pleased with his work. Here are a few before and after pictures (okay, the before pictures are actually of my neighbor's porch, but my porch looked the same). What do you think?

The pulled away post.

The unfinished porch.

My repaired post.

My finished porch.

Another angle of my finished porch.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


The title says it all - I have been too busy for my liking as of late. So I want to publicly say I'm sorry for being a crappy daughter, sister, general family member, friend, roommate, teacher, student, comedian, writer, inspirational leader, etc. etc. etc. I'd like to say things will get better . . . but it's unlikely.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ms. George . . . Can You Help Us?

Yesterday between 3rd and 4th period I was sitting at my desk when a student came into my classroom. "Ms. George, can you help us?" she asked. "Yes, what do you need help with?" I replied. "Well," she began, "Jasmin is stuck in her locker and we can't get her out."


So I walk out into the hall and she's right. Jasmin had steped into her own locker, and shut the door. Unfortunately, it didn't shut properly (I wonder why) and now the door was stuck. After a few minutes, I was able to open it and get her out. Upon doing so I asked, "Jasmin, why would you do that?" She replied, "I wanted to see if I could fit." Then her friend (Angie) replies, "I know I could totally fit." Yea - guess what happened between 4th and 5th period: "Ms. George, can you help us? Now Angie's stuck in her locker."

Why?! WHY!?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Taste of the Caribbean

I had a fantastic time on my Caribbean Cruise. I went with 15 members of my family and was gone for 9 days. We visited several different islands - Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John, and Puerto Rico. It was loads of fun. Here are a few of my favorite things said on the cruise:
  • Dougie: "I'm an idiot - I forgot my swimsuit."
  • Adam: "I think it's time for a cerveza, or three."
  • Tour guide: "Welcome to Antigua." Kyle responds, "Do you eat mongoose on this island?"
And here are a few pics:

Megan & Mom in the Puerto Rican Rain Forest

Me eating the local food in Puerto Rico.

Louie & Me on top of El Morro Fort in San Juan.

More of El Morro Fort.

Me in the St. Lucia Rain Forest.
I was on a tram in the top of the rain forest's canopy.

Church in Antigua - the church was 360 years old.

Me at a local fruit stand in Antigua.
This mango was the best thing I ate on the whole trip!!

Kyle, Megan, Adam, & Me in Antigua.

Ronnie, Louie, & Adam at Jolly Beach in Antigua.

Adam with his rum punch on the catamaran (St. Martin)

Louie & Me sailing on the catamaran.

Kyle & Meg at the Get Wet Beach Bar in St. Martin.

Me overlooking the bay on St. John's island.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to School

So, I'm back at school and loving every second of it. This year is my first year teaching regular ed students. Now, don't get me wrong - these kids still have some problems, but they are so much better than the students I have taught over the past 8 years. This year I'm teaching 7th grade reading. It's the only thing I teach all day which means I only have to plan for 45 minutes a day, then teach the same lesson 6 different times. It's a little monotonous, but it makes my life so much easier!! Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I love teaching kids to become better readers - can you imagine a better job? I can't!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fall Season

Oh, how I love the Fall Season. What's not to love? The weather begins to cool. The leaves change to beautiful oranges, reds, and yellows. Students go back to school. People break out their sweaters and jackets. And most important, a new season of television occurs. Finally, we rid ourselves of re-runs and get something new and exhilarating to occupy our evenings. Let the TV watching begin!!

Mondays: I'm really upset, because my DVR can only record two shows at a time, but three of my favs are on at the same time. What am I going to do!?! What should I give up - Gossip Girls, Terminator, or Heroes? Help!!
  • Gossip Girls
  • Prison Break
  • Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Heroes
Tuesdays: We will see how long 90210 stays on the schedule.
  • 90210 (Yes, they're remaking it!!)
  • NCIS
  • Private Practice
  • CSI:NY
Thursdays: LOST comes back in January and will probably return to its normal Thursday slot, but ABC has not yet released that info.
  • Ugly Betty
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • The Office
Fridays: Aside from 90210, Crusoe is the only new show I am adding to the TV watching schedule. I've been pretty intrigued by what I've seen advertised so far.
  • Life
  • Crusoe
  • Amazing Race

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Giddy About Gossip Girls

I know it's super trashy - it's like Lord of the Flies set in Manhattan, but I can't help it!! Last year I feel in love with the show Gossip Girls and my love has only grown. When I saw this preview, I became a giddy, giggling little girl.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's a Flapasaurus

Tonight at dinner Zack was eating chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs (or as I like to call them dinosaur nuggets - made from real dinosaurs). Anyway, he picked up one (that was half eaten) and asked, "Mandy, do you know what kind of dinosaur this is?" I replied, "A half eaten one." In all seriousness, he answers, "No, it's a flapasaurus 'cause it flaps its wings to fly." What a kid!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Favorite Song of the Summer

I vote "Troublemaker" by Weezer as the best song of the summer. Give it a listen (you'll have to pause my playlist on the bottom of the page).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Traveling Pants, Anyone?

Yesterday a group of girls from my ward went to see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I loved it. Now, I usually don't talk during movies, but I couldn't help myself. It was such a fun movie to see with a bunch of girlfriends - we had to comment on all the best parts. "What parts," you may be asking. Well . . . nude sketching, riding (and falling off of) mules in Greece, and miracle pants dancing just to name a few. Here's a picture of us, wearing our favorite pants:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy 23rd Birthday(s)

Last week Louis and Jackie both turned 23. Louis's birthday was on August 3rd and Jackie's was on August 7th. We celebrated both birthdays on the 3rd with two birthday cakes - an ice cream cake and a tres leche cake. Now, who do you think chose the ice cream cake and who chose the tres leche cake. Your options: Louis - 100% white boy from British decent or Jackie - 100% Hispanic from El Salvador. Well, obvio Jackie wanted an ice cream cake and Louis wanted the tres leche cake. Here are a few pics:

Jackie with her Ice Cream cake

Louis's funny cake - Happy Birday Lovis:
obviously something was lost in translation.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mitch's 1st Birthday

Today is Mitch's 1st Birthday. (It's also Jackie's birthday & Louis's birthday was Sunday - their celebration pictures will follow later). Anyway, yesterday we celebrated Mitch's birthday with pizza, cake, ice cream, and presents. Here are a few pics:

Opening presents

With his favorite present - The Glo Worm.

Jackie and Adam provided the Elmo cake.

He wasn't quite sure about the cake in the beginning.

But by the end, he loved it.