Monday, December 22, 2008

Days that are merry and bright...

I love kids. Not really a surprising statement, I know. I guess, better said, I love moments that remind me how much I love kids. Oh sure, I have those days, especially when I'm teaching, that I'd be the first to trade my credential for a part time job at Williams Sonoma. But, really, between work and my church assignment in Primary (and our nieces being in town this week!), I am so lucky to be surrounded by these little treasures, especially since we don't have any darlings of our own yet.
Aren't kids just the best reminders of having fun, laughing at yourself and being sweet? They understand so much more than we give them credit for and are capable of so much creativity and thoughtfulness when we give them the opportunity.
Today I had my Primary class over for a little end of the year celebration. We decorated sugar cookies and ate pizza. I can't tell you how much fun it was, not only to have kids in our house, but to just sit around the table and laugh with them. They are so silly, but, oh so sweet. And they're talented cookie decorators!










Just last week, on the last day of school before Winter Break, one of my students walked up to me with this:

She made me promise not to read it, because, after all, it wasn't for me. She just thought Mr. Boyce might feel left out since a few kids had written me cards.

Today one of my sweet Primary kids arrived for cookie decorating and presented me with her own special creation:











I hope your week is quickly filling with Christmas cheer and simple reminders of how blessed our lives are. For me, it's the sweet relationship I have with these kids that this time have been that reminder.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wishing you joy...

I'm a sucker for cute kids and the holidays. Thanks to the BYU's College of Fine Arts and Communications for putting this little piece together and my thoughtful sister for sharing it with me. Like you, we're a little more mindful at this time of year of the many blessing we have: good health, financial security and an eternal perspective and awareness that can get us through anything. We hope your holidays are filling up with faith, fun, family and, well, FOOD!

video
You can also go to http://www.joytoeveryone.com/ to view or share it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

kids these days...

This is an interesting school year for me. The first trimester just finished, and in a lot of ways I still feel like it's the first week of school: totally behind with stacks of work multiplying far too fast than I can keep up with. Actually, that's fairly typical some of the time for us teachers, but this year it just seems magnified -- by a lot. The good news is that, despite all of the endless paperwork, new programs to pilot and silly meetings that are keeping me from making headway on those stacks of to-dos, I really have a great group of kids.
It takes a daily effort of compliments and correction, but they're proving to be a pretty good bunch. Just today I was completing the attendance section on their report cards and realized I have had zero suspensions so far this year. Zero. I've never had that, not even when I taught kindergarten!
So today I was thinking back on this week and, despite the extra stress, found myself smiling and grateful for the kiddos I've got.

This week I received a little of the good...
I do get my fair share of love notes. This one is cuter than most, but it's even better because she tried to break up her words into syllables, something I've been teaching the kids to do. Not perfect, but a good try!

the bad...
It's not so bad, but a few weeks ago I asked a student in one of our autistic classes to go and line up after recess. He reluctantly complied. But every time he sees me, he still mutters, "Stupid teacher, stupid teacher." I guess I've really burned a bridge with this little darling and need to make amends. He'll get over it eventually, right?

And, well,

I'll call it...unexplainable.

I arrived to school on Wednesday and this 'treasure' was on my desk. Best I can tell is that a naked Chia pet was adorned with some decor and stuffed with fresh flowers. How the glittered mask fits in I'm not quite sure. If it's any indicator of what holiday gifts will be coming in from my students, it's going to be an interesting year.

I'm happy to report that Thanksgiving break has officially begun! The kids are a good time, but I love when I get the chance to exercise my 'stay at home wife' skills!

Monday, November 17, 2008

730 days

That's right...two years. Happy times, trying times, great memories and adventures -- that's just what life is full of. Having Nate as my husband to experience it all with...well, that's priceless. I'm so glad we're together forever.

Isn't he handsome?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Standing Together

I always appreciate reminders about how we're all much more alike than we are different. This is a great piece put together by CatholicVote.com, and it seems appropriate to share with less than a week before this very important election. Take a few minutes and watch:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monterey...Love it!

First off, some thank you's: Thank you KC for being an amazing musician. Ultimately, you're the reason we all packed our bags, headed to Monterey and had a truly fabulous weekend.
Another HUGE thanks to Nate's parents for taking such good care of us, all the time really, but especially while while we were there. I absolutely love our families, and I just can't say enough about how thankful I am to have been added to such a great one. Thanks again, Nate for passing the CPA exam. Our first official CPA-free weekend was a blast. Oh, and one more, thanks Tyler and Brittany for riding home with us. If you ever need directions anywhere Brittany can get on the phone and get you there. :-) I'll stop there, lest this start to sound more like an Academy Award speech instead of a simple blog entry. But I really am so grateful.
I'm telling you, Monterey is just the perfect blend of fun, relaxing and good eats. Last weekend, Nate and I decided to get down there a little early, which gave us time to visit the Aquarium.
I just love that place. Did you know the glass is seven inches thick in the big tanks? There's always something to learn. My favorite exhibit, by far, was the jelly fish. They're just kind of magical and a little bit alien at the same time.
Nate took some amazing pictures, and hopefully he'll have more on his site soon.
The only thing we had planned for Saturday was a delicious breakfast as Katy's in Carmel. So, SO good. And after that, we just walked the streets of Carmel, hung out at the beach, went to the mall and ended the day with dinner on the wharf back in Monterey.
I don't have many unstructured, unplanned days (who does?) and I just didn't want it to end.
Sunday we finally got what we came for as we watched the Folsom High Jazz Choir (#1 in the nation, by the way) sing at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Most of these young talents graduated last year, but came back by invitation because of the competition they won last spring. They performed all of my favorites (I can't get enough of Imogene Heap) and as excited as I am for KC to be at BYU now, I'm bummed that we won't be hearing his performances. Tickets to the Jazz Choir concerts were a little easier to come by than those Men's Chorus ones that's for sure!

Monday, September 15, 2008

at LAST!!!

First a disclaimer: I actually wrote and posted this entry a couple of weeks ago. But Nate, fearing I was being too presumptuous, encouraged me to make some changes. Instead, I took the 'it's my way or no way' approach (the five year-old in me coming out, I guess!) and deleted the post. Truthfully, I saved it, knowing that I'd be able to share it on our blog...eventually. And, now I can!
Nate just found out this morning that he did pass the fourth and final section of the CPA exam. It's official and such a big deal for us. I can't tell you what a happy, proud, and relieved wife I am. This is the best Monday I've had in a while, that's for sure!

So, here's what I wanted to share three weeks ago in its original form:

Oh, there's reason to celebrate! Today was a major milestone for us. Nate took his LAST CPA exam and passed! O.k., so it will be a few weeks until we find out his score, but if serious, diligent studying counts for anything at all, he aced it. I always wondered what it would have been like to be married college students, and I feel like the last month, especially, I got a taste of it. I have to say, not a lot of fun, quite frankly, for either of us.
Tonight we celebrated by going to our favorite Sacramento Mexican restaurant, Centro Cocina Mexicana, in midtown. Simple, but SO delicious. If you ever find yourself craving carnitas or ceviche or just want some good regional Mexican food, that's the place to go. It was a great celebration spot for us.
We were just so happy to not be watching the clock and feeling guilty that we should be getting home so Nate could study. Those days are over! Great job Nate. You've worked hard and I truly admire your diligence. We have our life back!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

hello school year, goodbye...peanuts?

Week two of the school year is just a sunrise away. I have to say, aside from the usual beginning of the year exhaustion it's been a decent start. I'm still trying to figure out how in the world this is my NINTH year of teaching. Nine years! I have to say that if the first week is any kind of indication of what's ahead for the year, I think it's going to be pretty pleasant. Thank goodness!
There's just one thing: for the first time I have a kid with a severe peanut allergy. Along with having these signs posted everywhere in and around my classroom, you wouldn't believe (well, maybe you would) how much it affects day to day school stuff like what kids can bring for lunch, what treats cannot be brought for a party, and every food item has to be checked for the "may contain nuts or have been processed in a plant where nuts have been in the past ten years" warning. It says something like that, right? I got a lesson on using an epi pen, which is just a needle with epinephrine in it, and my student wears it at all times. I'm ready to stab it into his leg at any moment. Maybe I should have gone to nursing school after all. That aside as an extra concern, my kids are fun...at least so far. We can make it through a year without m&m's, granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches, right?
Here's a great story from last week. I hope there are many more like this throughout the year: One of my darlings came in from lunch, raised his hand and said, "Hey Mrs. Boyce, do you know about the Andy Griffith show?" I said yes with a curious smile to which he followed up with, "That Opie, he just cracks me up." I ask you, what kid these days watches the Andy Griffith show and is interested in black and white television?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Loving it!

So, the 'loving where we live' list just continues to grow. I think one of Folsom's best kept secrets is wild blackberries growing everywhere this time of year. I've found my own secret berry picking spot that I like to go to (no it's not near the Parkway trails, although that's a good one) and the other day had quite a harvest.
Last year Nate's mom made an amazing blackberry pie after she picked some that are near their house. I decided to keep things cool in this hot weather and made some truly scrumptious blackberry sherbet.
Delicious. Oh, the fun I get to have when work isn't taking up too much of my time and sapping my energy. It was worth every pesky thorn that managed to leave me a bit scratched and wounded. I love summer!

You could pretty much make this recipe with any kind of fruit: peaches, berries, maybe even pineapple. If you've got an ice cream maker, I say put it to work! It was made for this time of year!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How does YOUR garden grow?

I love, love summer vegetables: corn, tomatoes, even endless amounts of zucchini. Unfortunately, in the blessed chaos of moving, a garden just didn't get put in for this year. I think I've got a coveting issue to resolve when it comes to friends' gardens.
We were pleasantly surprised, however, to see grape vines in the backyard the first time we looked at our house. And we were even more surprised when we returned just a few weeks later to see that they had grown like crazy from woody stubs to full, out of control vines. So, even though we're lacking in some of my favorites, I can report that we 'harvested' our first bunch of grapes yesterday. Don't they look delicious?

Our yard just continues to amaze us. Oh sure, we've got crab grass and weeds. In fact, the whole place was suffering a bit when we first moved in. But after some adjustments with the sprinklers and drip system, I think we got most things back among the living. Since then it's been so fun to watch what blooms...in the middle of a hot, smoky, California summer.

A few days ago I just couldn't help but take the camera and capture just a few shots of what's growing. If this is what it's like in the middle of summer, I can't wait to see what blooms in the spring!


p.s. To any of our 'local' friends who are looking for a good home for some of your garden produce, I'm willing to swap cookies, brownies, even a cake for some home grown goodies!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Kirkwood Fun

We just got back from a long weekend in Kirkwood. All I can say is GOOD times. Well, that's not exactly all...fun, relaxing, adventurous and delicious will work too. Thirty of us Pebleys (that would be Nate's mom's side of the family) spent the Fourth of July in Kirkwood eating, hiking and just hanging out. Thanks to Uncle Neil we had a little adventure with the 'Ranger,' a six-person ATV that he really can and does take anywhere. We were in Hope Valley when his fast run through a stream gave us our own log ride-like experience (totally drenched), and I couldn't believe the steep rock face he took us up on. Think roller coaster but much, MUCH better, especially considering the scenery.We spent part of another day taking the ski lifts up to the top of Kirkwood where we walked along the top ridge and then hiked down the mountain. The wildflowers were amazing and EVERYwhere. We also hiked along Caples Lake, visited the Tragedy Springs memorial, and had a great family competition of charades. I loved being with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins that I'm now apart of. The Pebley sisters all have such a great laugh, especially when that ATV takes off. :-) And their husbands, the uncles, each have a strength and individually unique love about them that I truly admire. The cousins, well, they're just fun to be around, and I wish we saw each other more often. I think one of my favorite things was hearing all of the little ones each morning as they woke up, giggled a lot and started playing. There's just a lot of love and a lot of Pebleys. It's so great!
So even though it was only a few days, I feel like my need for a summer vacation has been fulfilled. It was the perfect break from my current summer school-filled days. Arriving home to a smoke filled valley (where is the nearest fire anyway?) wasn't the best greeting, but it's good to be back in our cute house and relax a little before the work week begins. Maybe I need a vacation from our vacation!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

time to celebrate...

It’s my big sister’s birthday today. And, since I never tell my one and only sibling often enough how wonderful and great she is I’m doing it now – for her and all of cyberspace. Kristina is really remarkable. She is brilliant (I certainly wasn’t the one to graduate from college in two and a half years), beautiful and so hard working.
My mom has told me that as a three and four year-old Kristina’s prayers always included asking for a brother or sister. She probably learned a thing or two about being more specific in what you pray for, because I’ve been a bit more than she bargained for or probably wanted on a number of occasions. Growing up I always wanted to be like her. She has a little Mary Poppins touch to her in being ‘practically perfect in every way.’ Kristina endured years of me bugging her to “play with me, PLAY WITH ME!” and taking me with her wherever she went: the mall, high school football games, you name it.

Even in her college years she let me tag along with her to class and hang out with her college crew. (Being 5 years younger I, of course, felt so cool.) She’s always let me be a part of her life. And Tina’s life isn’t an easy one. Now that she’s all grown up she works long, lawyer-ly hours, has three church callings and, more often than not, doesn’t feel too great. I think she has more inner strength and drive than a heavyweight boxer does on the outside.
So, my sweet sister, here’s to you. Thanks for being my favorite sister, (I know, you’re my only sister!) for paving the way as the first child so I didn’t get into quite as much trouble as you did, and for just being YOU!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Headed for 95630!

I approach home ownership with excitement and a bit of trepidation. There’s no landlord or management to call when the lock on our door breaks and we’re locked IN our house (true story, by the way). But, living in a one story house, I guess we’ll have plenty of windows to sneak out of, should a similar situation arise, not to mention multiple exits. But it really will be ours. Ours to repair and maintain and create memories in. I worry about the silliest things: what if the grape vines in the backyard get so out of control that our neighbors hate us? How do I take care of the hardwood floors? Will all of my shoes fit in our closet space?
Of course, I’ve also been thinking about the perks of having our house. There are the big things like not getting soaked again by the IRS this year and never again hearing our neighbor's alarm clock at 3 a.m. But have you homeowners ever considered how lucky you are to have a garage? That’s the number one thing I’m excited about – a garage. No more unloading groceries in the rain or scorching heat, getting soaked by the rain walking to my car, or walking the equivalent of 4 blocks just to get to my car. The groceries brings me to the second great reason to have our house: no more STAIRS. No more schlepping 7 or 8 bags of groceries at a time up those miserable stairs because I’m too stubborn to take a second trip. No stairs and a garage. And, if that isn't enough, I can’t wait to have double sinks in our bathroom, the toilet in it’s own ‘room,’ and a laundry room that doesn't double as the pantry. In this house we have both! Maybe you've got other house ‘favorites.’ I'd love to know what they are. I’m sure along with the work and maintenance we’ll discover even more things we love.
Anyway, I guess all of this rambling is just meant to express that I’m excited and feeling SO blessed to be making this move. It’s got everything in it we need and more…including a good little vacation spot for us this summer! With gas prices and a new mortgage to get used to who says vacationing in your backyard is a bad thing?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Just a little happy Mother's Day to all of our friends, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmas and especially, moms. Did I leave anyone out? It's impossible to fully express the love and gratitude that we have for our moms. They are both such examples of faithfulness, strength and giving everything they have to raise righteous families. I love Nate's mom because she is so positive and optimistic. She is such a source of encouragement for both of us. Oh, and she's got a great taste in decorating. I can't wait to have her weigh in on ideas for our house! My mom is so generous with her time, energy and love. She carries a lot of responsibility, especially with my dad's health, but she's never too busy to share what time and resources she has. Of course, it's also a perk for us that she's got more than just a green thumb. I think her whole hand is green. I'm excited for her help in starting a little garden in our backyard not to mention just keeping all of the cute plants in it from dying.
I think Mother's Day could appropriately be renamed the Second Thanksgiving. Moms just don't get thanked enough for the daily tasks of cleaning and cooking, for the sacrifices they make and for the thousands of prayers they offer up that truly do bless our lives. To our moms, we love you. So much of who we are is because of what YOU have taught us.
On a side note, we took our moms to Toast yesterday in Granite Bay for breakfast. Four stars, two thumbs up...delicious! Definitely go there SOON!

Monday, April 28, 2008

making the move...


Signs like this are pretty common these days, but this one is for OUR house! That’s right, the Boyces are going to be homeowners! We’ve had our eye on this house for weeks now, but the price was ridiculous. Well, at least we thought it was. All of a sudden late last week the price dropped, we were putting in an offer, competing with two other buyers and having our offer accepted – below asking price! It was a little hectic trying to fax back the agreement, calm ourselves down and get Nate packed for a week long business trip, but it all worked out. All we can say is it’s just meant to be. It’s happened really fast, but we are super excited. It’s in the exact neighborhood we wanted in Folsom, and the house is just perfect for us, not to mention already painted in our style.

People kept telling me that when you walk into the right home you’ll ‘know.’ I walked into a lot of homes, and I knew they weren’t the one that’s for sure. This one I loved immediately, but I certainly didn’t love the price. Everything has just worked out. Now we’re just in that waiting process with our 45-day escrow. We’re excited to close on the house at the beginning of June -- ironically, my last day of school.
So, sorry for the lack of updates lately. Thanks Kris for reminding us how long it’s been, which is also a hint at how boring we are as of late. The busy season for Nate has been...busy and at times exhausting for him. We haven’t had much of anything to report. Hopefully this makes up for it. There probably won’t be many posts for a while about fun trips or jaunting off to Africa, but we’re definitely looking forward to the adventures home ownership will bring. Look out Lowe’s and Home Depot!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What a Catch!

Yes, it's an impressive fish, but I'm talking about the guy who caught it!
Today is Nate's 30th birthday!
He's a little hesitant to enter his 30's with too much excitement, but I think these coming years are going to be the best yet. I'm not going to be too cheezy and list my top 30 favorite reasons Nate IS a great catch, but here are just few (feel free to add your own in the comments section!):

* He still loves Kraft mac and cheese.
* He sings an impressive version of "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid.
* He gets annoyed at the person who gave me a parking ticket instead of being upset with me.
* He's been known to blow bubbles in his drink when he's got a straw.
* He loves the Cosby Show as much as I do.

Happy birthday Nate!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nate = Love


Can’t let a day focused on L-O-V-E go by without giving a shout out to my truly fabulous husband. It just keeps getting better and better!

I hope everybody has a love-filled day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pancakes! Get your pancakes!

So there's a lesser known holiday this week that you may be unaware of and definitely deserves attention, at least if you're a bit of a foodie like I pretend to be.
Did you know that Tuesday is National Pancake Day? It's relatively new news to me, but I can't say it's going to go unnoticed. Actually, to be totally honest, it was really last Tuesday on the 5th to coincide with Shrove Tuesday (according to legend, families would try to use all of their dairy products before the Lenten fast, and I guess making pancakes was a good way to do it), but apparently it got crowded out by Super Tuesday's elections and pushed back a week. Leave it to politics to crowd out a worthwhile celebration.
Both Nate and I are breakfast lovers. In fact, this book Pancakes for Supper is one of my favorites, and I'm definitely pulling it off the shelf for Tuesday.
What's that? You don't feel like making pancakes? Well, you're in luck! The genius in the States behind National Pancake Day is IHOP and to celebrate they're giving every visitor FREE pancakes on Tuesday. That's right. All you have to to is walk in and a short stack of three pancakes is yours at no charge. If you decide that you just can't take something for absolutely nothing, you're invited to make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. And that's not a bad idea either! Last year, IHOP gave away almost 1.1 million pancakes which, according to the experts at IHOP, would be an 8.5 mile high stack. All those pancakes helped raise quite a bit of cash for charities as well.
I'm pretty sure I'll be ordering pancakes for one (although I'm making them myself!) since it's that time of the year when accountants don't eat dinner at home much. Whether you don't know what to fix for dinner or you just don't want to fix dinner, I've got a suggestion: PANCAKES...and be generous with the maple syrup. (I love to pour it on my bacon too!)
In honor of the occasion, here are links to a few of my favorite pancake recipes:
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Favorite Oatmeal Pancakes
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Sunday, January 13, 2008

a Wii bit interested...

I’m not a big fan of video games. Despite what Nate might tell you, I don’t hate them, I just hate the idea of us having them. I think I’d like video games more if they were handled how a lot of us used board games growing up. We got them out on an occasional Friday night or for Family Home Evening. But it wasn’t every day after school, for three hours on a Saturday or something we chose instead of going to bed.

When this new Wii craze hit I didn’t care. What’s the big deal, right? But when Nate’s work gave one as the grand prize at his Christmas party, Nate’s family got one, and our friends, one right after another, seemed to have this new system, I started taking note. Not becoming a part of the madness, just taking note. I was content as an observer for a long time, but it was only a matter of time before I got roped into a four player game of bowling on Wii Sports. And you know what? It was pretty fun. I scored better on the Wii version than I usually do at a real alley. Maybe that bowling class at BYU really was worth it.

So, just the other day I came across Cooking Mama Cook Off, a Wii game where the remote becomes the ultimate cooking utensil allowing you to chop, grate, slice, stir and roll. There’s a cooking challenge mode where two players can engage in a cook off and the one with the fewest mistakes wins. You mean I could be competitive and cook at the same time and not have any mess to clean up when I’m finished? This is my kind of game! With 55 dishes from 10 different countries to choose from it’s like virtual culinary school. O.k., that’s probably a stretch. Now all we need is Nintendo to develop a way to produce the real meal after these virtual ones have been created! Annie? Becky? Are you up for a culinary challenge? You can see a short video demonstration of the game here.

I’d definitely like to try this game out. Notice, not buy, not have, but TRY. Kind of like borrowing your friend’s board game. You’ll play it a few times and return it. And you aren’t going to play it until the sun comes up tomorrow. By the way, don’t ask me in ten years if we have a game system. I’m afraid what the answer might be.