honey crunch.

I just made this divine-looking mix for our trip. I grew up on this stuff. My Grandma Hassell would make this whenever we visited, or when she visited. It's equally delicious raw or toasted. Here's the recipe in her own words. Currently, my grandparents are serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Russia, so this reminds me of them and the love they have for their family.

5 cups quick oatmeal
1 cup of everything else: 
honeyolive oil (are essential)
sunflower seeds,
 sesame seeds,
mixed nuts, 
or one kind of nuts,
raisins and/or other dried fruit,
cold cereal of wheat flakes,
  sweetened is better.
You can add whatever you want.
Stir all together. If the honey is hard you can warm it in the microwave - honey warms up fast. Kyle Hassell (my dad) likes to eat it raw. Cook it by spreading 1/2" thick on a cookie sheet and putting in 300 degree oven until slightly brown, stirring and turning it now and then. Takes about 20 minutes. 
When I make this I 3x the recipe.
Ask me if you have questions.

I'm just like my dad, in that I like this raw as a snack. I would definitely cook it to use it as cold cereal, though. I did not use sesame seeds, and I used Raisin Bran as my "wheat flakes cereal." I also did about 3/4 of everything since I was making it for two. And yes my grandmother does 3x the recipe. And yes it usually is gone in just a couple of days. I love this recipe, and I especially love making family recipes. It makes me feel like I'm taking part in something bigger than myself. What are your favorite family recipes?

the force.

TJ and I have just completed our viewing of the entire Star Wars Saga.
Confession: This was my first time watching Star Wars.
Plea: Guilty. 
Don't scream obscenities at the computer screen. I saw your jaw drop.
Ruling: So. incredible. I choose to use the word epic sparingly, but let us face the facts, these are truly an epic (as in: they are the true definition of the word). [are we sure there are only six?]

I loved that the plot was so strong, that even in the cases of slightly worse-than-average acting, the movies still held my attention and made me crave more. I loved the cheesy little moments even as I laughed at them. (Que Luke screaming "NOOOOOOOO!!" with an intense look of dread/disgust/anguish on his face.) I often found myself shouting at the TV screen, "Use the Force, Luke!"
 I loved both old and new. I enjoyed the love stories, the characters and their interactions. I am thoroughly enamored of the Jedi. I loved the symbolism and the classic good vs. evil conflict. We loved watching them together....so much that we didn't want the fun to end and may or may not have purchased Lego Star Wars for the Xbox. In fact, at the end of Episode VI, TJ said, "Are they really over? I almost want to cry."

Let us just say, that if I had an infant right now, I would most definitely include this little number in his/her wardrobe:
Found here.

Now, may the Force be with you.

ohhh indy.

Around the same time that I got my wisdom teeth out, TJ and I watched the original Indiana Jones movies. I love good movies. Especially older ones. I just wanted to do a quick homage to the amazingness that is Indiana Jones. Classic.
I loved them. Oh, hi Harrison Ford! I mean, seriously?! Attractive and heroic? Yes please. I think he even pulls off the nerdy-glasses-to-rugged look very well. Better than Clark Kent. Before TJ starts to get jealous, I think that he makes a good Indy himself! In fact, I decided to let TJ be Indiana Jones for Halloween. I think there's already a resemblance there:

Guess we'll have to go back to Prescott and get that hat, huh babe?


We took a walk around campus on Sunday. 
The weather was beautiful and I was able to take some pictures for my photography class.
The last two I took today. I was craving that popsicle all day.
I love summertime.

red shoes.

my life is like this pair of red shoes right now.
they make me feel confident,
and ready for a challenge.

they represent change.
because I've never had shoes quite like these before.
they represent growing up (silly as that may sound).

they represent me taking chances.
they represent taking risks.
they represent me taking control of my life.
deciding what I want and who I want to be.
these little red shoes represent me
becoming a better me.

in my opinion, everyone needs a pair of "red shoes."


Today I am thankful for the Lord's tender mercies,
From the big problems that somehow work out better than planned,
To the little comforts that remind me I am being watched over,
I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.

Pee or not to Pee


 I have a job. I work; they pay me.

 I pay my taxes & the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.
 In order to get that paycheck, in my case, I am required to pass a random urine test (with which I have no problem).
 What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

 So, here is my question:
      Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check? Because, I have to pass one to earn it for them!
Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with handing money to someone sitting on their  butt - doing drugs while I work.
Can you imagine how much money each state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

      I guess we could call the program:

      "URINE  OR YOU'RE  OUT!"

Something has to change in this country, in the right direction,  AND  SOON!

TJ (my first posting)       

      P.S.  Just a  thought, but all politicians should have to pass a urine test  too!!!


no matter what.

I've decided that no matter how much you love someone, you cannot make them love themselves.
No matter how much faith you have in someone, you cannot give them faith in themselves.
No matter what you see when you look at them, you cannot give them your eyes.

I've decided that no matter what, you just have to keep on loving them.
Keep having faith in them.
Keep seeing who them for who they are, and who they can be.

And keep praying that they will someday see, as you see.

the world will know.

This is not for anyone but him.
This is so that he knows, that I know without a doubt,
That he is my soulmate.

Yet, this is also for the world to hear
My proclamation
That I am in love with one man
And one man alone.

This is so he knows that I will never leave him
Never desert him
Never cut him down or lie to him
Never forsake him.

This is for the world to know
That true love is real.
That miracles happen everyday
Inside the human heart.

This is so he knows that I will always love him
Always be willing to work
Always hold onto hope
Always grow with him.

This is for you, TJ.
I love you.
(And I thought the world should know, too.)

life lately.

It's been a while since I blogged about what's actually been going on in our lives! So this here is to catch up on all of that. 

At the beginning of April, TJ and I went to my best friend's Junior Voice Recital. Aubree did a beautiful job and I was so glad we got to be there for her.

Then, in mid-April, Sheldon took Hannah to the Prom put on by our church. It was her first date, and Sheldon is such a gentleman so I think they had lots of fun! I had fun doing her hair and taking pictures for them.

On Easter Sunday, we had Stake Conference. Not only did we have the wonderful opportunity to hear from Elder Nelson,  but TJ's dad was set apart as a member of the Stake High Council.

TJ's dad also turned 50 at the end of April. As a special gift, I had all of TJ's siblings and his mom write letters to Dad. Then I took a picture of everyone and put them together into a simple scrapbook/binder. I got the idea from a cute blog that I read. He loved it so much that his "allergies" started acting up as he read the sweet letters from his kids.

SIL Aubrey and Aunt Maralise also put together a surprise party for him, full of family and friends.

My dad and brother even rode the motorcycles up to be there.

TJ and I love going on dates. As I've said before, one of our favorite places to go is Lake Mary. We took a simple dinner of bagel sandwiches out to the lake, walked around a bit, and then took a drive. It was beautiful.

School ended! As did my time with my cohort (which I've been with for three semesters). We had a farewell brunch, and invited our cohort teachers as well. It was a lot of fun, and I'll miss these wonderful people I've learned so much from. I'm done with school now! I will be student teaching this fall in a 4th/5th grade classroom.

Of course, we celebrated our anniversary. The next day, I drove down to Sedona for an amazing opportunity to assist Joseph Blech, our own wedding photographer, at a wedding he was shooting there. I learned so much and it was a great experience for me.

TJ's good friend Kyle came home from his mission. 

And Sheldon graduated! He completed high school through an online charter school, called Pinnacle. He actually finished his classes back in December, but he got to attend the ceremony this May. I'm so proud of my little brother!

 The same weekend as Sheldon's graduation, my Dad decided to buy two jet skis. So the whole family went out to Saguaro Lake. We had so much fun! We even convinced Mom to go on a short ride with Dad. I don't have any pictures because I didn't want to take my camera out there, but if I get some from Mom, I'll be sure to post them.

Last Saturday while still in Mesa, we had the special opportunity to be with the Corbiere family as they went through the temple and were sealed. TJ has known Aaron since middle school, so this was so special to him. It was a truly beautiful day and I'm so grateful we were able to be there with them. I love the temple and the blessings it brings.


I have so many other things I need to post about, but I think the death of a family member takes priority.
This is my family's dog, Whisper. She's a Miniature American Eskimo. We've had her since her mommy, Mishi, gave birth to her over 15 years ago. I named her. 

She was the runt, so she was tiny and we thought the name suited her. Then she grew up and rarely stopped barking. My cousins all complained that we mis-named her. Unlike her mom, Whisper only had one litter of 5 puppies, three of which survived. Two boys, one itty-bitty girl. We kept her baby girl and named her Liberty (because she was born shortly after September 11, 2001). 

Like her mom before her (who we had since before I was born), Whisper was always there for me. I loved to just go outside and pet her and talk to her. Dogs seem to know intuitively when something is wrong. I remember crying with Whisper's head and paws in my lap numerous times. I used to get grossed out a little when she'd lick my arm up and down while I petted her. And now I'll miss those precious little moments together.

When I was too lazy, or had things in my hands, I'd usually slip off my flip-flop and rub her belly with my foot. But she loved it so much that eventually I'd bend down to give her some real love.

Within the last few months, Whisper's age really started to show. She developed cataracts and it was getting hard for her to hear and she was stiffening up in her joints. Despite that, Mom said that tonight when she fed Whisper and Libby dinner, Whisper was jumping up and down like she used to, and was excited. 

I'm glad that I took a little bit of time to be with her when we were in Mesa this last weekend, to pet her and rub her belly and tell her for the thousandth time what a good girl she was. For some reason, this is harder for me than when Mishi ran away in a storm and never came home. I know that she's no longer in any pain, and I'm glad that she didn't suffer for too long. Gosh, I'm such a dog person.

I love you, Whisper. I'll see you later, girl.