Thursday, January 31, 2013

National Heart Health Month: The Oatmeal Project

Hello February, also known as National Heart Health month. I was inspired by this post and thought I would take this timely opportunity to brush up on my oatmeal eating habits. I'm not as organized as they are, but I will eat oatmeal for at least one meal each day of the month. Did you know that oatmeal...

  • Contains a special strand of fiber called beta-glucan that helps to reduce cholesterol by up to 23% and the risk of heart disease by 50% if you eat a small bowl every day!
  • This fiber strand also helps to pump up our immune system.
  • Special antioxidants in oatmeal, avenanthramides, protects our bodies good cholesterol which lowers our chances for cardiovascular disease.
  • Prevents mid-afternoon crashes by helping to stabilize our blood sugar throughout the day.
  • Contains high amounts of magnesium which helps our body properly use glucose and secrete insulin. This can drastically decrease your chances of developing type 2 diabetes!
  • The fiber from the whole grains in oatmeal can protect women from breast cancer by up to 41%.
  • Oatmeal is gluten friendly! Although it contains small amounts, in studies it has been tolerated by those with celiacs.

Why not eat a bowl? It's so good for you and your heart! Joe and I will just be starting off with plain oatmeal and oatmeal with brown sugar sprinkled on the top, but does anyone else have any great oatmeal recipes or tricks? We are open to trying anything!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Date #3: Leaving Notes At Barnes & Noble

For our 3rd planned date of January, Joe and I headed downtown to Barnes & Noble. We had a fun time searching out books to slip hand written notes into. We wrote notes of encouragement, discouragement, humor, etc. Here's a few peeks at what we wrote for future readers:
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: "He was their friend and he betrayed them!"
  • In Gone with the Wind: "Don't worry... the day after tomorrow counts too."
  • In some dieting books: "You can do it! You are beautiful!"
  • In an LSAT prep book: "This book made me cry."
  • In The Hobbit: "Can you believe Gandalf dies?!"
After our B&N outing we ran into some friends who told us about a pet store upstairs. It was a Reptile Store with 18-foot pythons, iguanas, chameleons, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, the Argentine mara (they are like deer rabbits, but the store specifically said not to call them that), 150-lb. tortoises, etc. This store was awesome albeit a bit scary with some of the spiders and giant snakes! When we walked in there was an Argentine Black and White Tegu (see first two pictures below) just walking around the store! The woman who worked there told us that they love attention, being pet, and just being apart of the family. However, they also can eat whole chickens... She just picked it up and let us pet it. It was fantastic! 

*I do not own this picture.

*I do not own this picture.

Then she let us hold one of the hedgehogs and play with them a bit while she told us about them. I loved it. They are adorable, no? We had a fun time on this date, which was doubly great because it was all free! I know I would think it was hilarious if I found a note in one of my new books and hope that the recipients of our notes enjoy them as much as we did.

*I do not own this picture.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I need to get out more...

So, am I the only one who didn't know ducks hung out in the snow? Either way, this made my day. Lots and lots of cute duckies swimming in the water and tromping through the snow.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Date #2: Watercolor Painting

For our second planned date we channeled our inner artist and painted like we've never painted before. Good thing Joe got me that watercolor set for my birthday! Here's a look at our masterpieces:

Well, turns out my painting ability hasn't improved since I was 8, but Joe's turned out nicely! All-in-all we had a great time, but it's not like we are going to start selling our work anytime soon... unless you're interested! $1,000 starting price. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"What is the point of me being almost twenty-two when there is still so much for me to learn?"

My birthday brought wonderful surprises amid the cold Spokane winter. I was awakened by a phone call from Mom and Dad Meservy singing me happy birthday - they sounded great! And then later Elise called and sang me happy birthday as well! Aren't they cute? My Mom and Dad, of course, called too and I had a fun time texting back in forth pictures and comments about pea coats with my mom throughout the morning.

After waking up Joe led me straight to our front window where I saw this:

What a sweetheart. It was freezing out there!

I was wondering why he kept saying, "Snow way it's your birthday!" Joe was so cute - we opened presents right after that. I had told him earlier that I needed more hobbies so he got me a balloon animal kit, a watercolor kit, and a journal. So naturally after I opened them we made these: 

To continue on the "snow" theme we went to The Scoop to get some ice cream. They are known for having a few unusual flavors, but we played it safe with Mexican Chocolate (chocolate cinnamon pecan ice cream) and Celebration (frosted circus animal cookies in cake batter ice cream).

And while it's never to cold for ice cream our plans for ice skating were dashed as soon as we stepped outside and realized we didn't want to freeze our bottoms off. Instead we headed to the mall (Happy Birthday to ME!) and did some shopping at Banana Republic. What a glorious store... I wanted to buy everything there, but I settled for only two items. And by settled I mean rejoiced in my first ever purchases from that store.

We finished up the evening with some delicious P.F. Changs and the movie Parental Guidance. It was a fun night and Joe thoroughly spoiled me.

A giant balloon monster displayed 
in the mall - they showed us up.

The Good Fight

See my review on The Good Fight by Harry Reid here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Date #1 - Carr's One of a Kind in the World Museum

As mentioned in the last post, for Christmas I planned 36 dates for the year 2013. I decided that after each date I would take the time to blog about each one, just for memory sake and to help with date ideas in the future. For our first date we went to Carr's One of a Kind in the World Museum on a double date with our friends Justin and Kelly.

Here is a quick view of some of what we saw as we entered the main museum area.

This was by far the strangest and creepiest date I've ever been on, however, I still had a good time. The owner, Marvin Carr, is around 85 years old and has devoted the later part of his life to collecting the unusual/creepy, magnificent, and beautiful and filling an unfinished warehouse in Spokane with them. While some of the items may not be the only of their kind in the world, I believe this is the only place you would find them all together.  From a 16' tall giraffe to living death masks of old Hollywood stars to beautiful vases from the Beijing palace to Jackie Gleason's limo. He personally toured us around the museum spouting facts about random items - there were far too many things in there to possibly talk about them all. 

Throughout the museum were stuffed squirrels riding on motorcycles, fire engines, etc. Hilarious.

Joe wearing a really old leather-bound top hat. 

The oldest typewriter in the world.

More stuffed friends. I had to take a picture of it because it reminded me so much of Pocahontas.

Joe knighting a knight.

A lock from Alcatraz.

Joe and I sitting in Elvis Presley's car.

Joe punching a lion - one of the largest lions ever shot and stuffed in the world.

 I'm dead meat.

At the end of the day this museum is filled with lots of random things Carr likes and wants to share with the people of Spokane. I don't like all of them - some of them were downright weird and creepy and I had to avert my eyes - but it was unique. So, would we ever come back? No, but this isn't a date we will soon forget. There were lots of laughs shared and memories made. We had a very good time and hope to continue to find peculiar things to do and see wherever we may live in the future.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I finished my finals the first couple weeks of December.  Allegedly, this is the hardest semester in law school.  It was a stimulating fast paced semester and I am hopeful that my ability to retain the information kept pace.

*Civil Procedure
*Criminal Law
*Legal Research & Writing I
*Legal Professionalism & Transactional Skills Lab

We drove eight hours to meet up with the Sears Family in Rexburg, ID immediately following my last final.  J & E Sears both were graduating from BYU-I in Business Management and Home & Family Living - Sewing Emphasis.  As an added bonus my mission president is a Vice President at BYU-I and he was also present at the very impressive graduation event.  The graduates glowed with their years of hard earned accomplishment.

We all spent time test running some new gifts from JM Sears and giving Christmas gifts.  We ate at Gator Jacks.  I was pleased with the food.  And, we got to spend time with Tally who also made it to ID.

The Sears clan at Gator Jacks in Rexburg.

On the ten hour drive back to the airport we opened gifts from Mom and Dad Sears, one each half hour.  We also listened to lots of Christmas music including my newest mix "A Christmas Spirit".

The flight was breezy and Vegas was balmy.  The beginning of our time in Vegas felt exceptionally fine, peaceful, and pleasant.  And Julia even discovered that she had earned a 99% in both of her classes last semester.

We finally saw The Hobbit.  We ate like pre-revolution French royalty and I gained 7-8 lbs by the time I came home.  There was always BLT's on Sundays and assorted cheeses and chocolates the rest of the time.

Mostly, we slept and sort of followed everyone else around as they busily bustled about shopping for gifts.  We did organize parts of the house, cook a Japanese meal for 16, and repaint part of the outdoor carport.

The Sunday before Christmas all of the extended family gathered so that the great grandkids of Marco and Robert Callister could perform a version of A Christmas Carol marvelously with assistance from son Matthew Callister.  The play was a delight and it was even adapted by a Callister grandson working in the film industry.  Following it there were musical performances of O Holy Night, Mele-Kalikimaka (performed and danced to by the Meservy clan), and more.  There were also a couple dances for good measure.  Dinner was an assortment of very well planned finger foods.

On Christmas eve the advent calendar that Julia made for me culminated in a scavenger hunt across Las Vegas.  I had to shoot baskets, visit a Buddhist quasi-temple, race to a grocery store, sing a song to a neighbor in front of her entire office, and even tell my niece a story.  The gift was the experience and the love from my wife.  Each day of the calendar was a compliment, Christmas activity, or service to me from Julia. And of course there was something sweet involved too.

The advent calendar - we lost Day #24 and we want it back!

Some clips from hunting the scavenge.

In the evening was a large dinner featuring Japanese and Indian food and several French cheeses and French bread.  Then we went caroling to neighbors and friends (and brought two as well) and had hot chocolate.

Mom wearing a funny hat borrowed during caroling.

Christmas morning was filled with gifts.  It was also rather sweet.  The family assembled with the Reynolds and Callisters again in the morning at Uncle Matt's for a large and delightful breakfast.  It was delicious.  Gifts were given and the poems and Luke 2 which are tradition were read.

Without a doubt our best moments of the trip were the planned events.  Too often we went without some good plans but when we had them they were very splendid.

Among the most fun moments of the year-end were ice skating at the Venetian (where we started to try and show off on the tiny floor and met some actors dressed up as Italian gods or masqueraders), visiting the Smith Center for the Performing Arts (to peek inside), roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on the new fire pit, and taking moustache photos with sister E at the Bellagio gardens.

The exception to our planning rule was New Years Eve.  We planned nearly nothing.  We watched TV, made frozen hot chocolate, did handstands, played a sole long game of scrabble, played darts, and watched the fireworks from the Strip out of the windows.  We toasted with home-squeezed pomegranate juice and ginger ale.  This was certainly fun.

We flew back the next day after a visit to Godiva Chocolatier for milkshakes with the family.

Julia became better acquainted with the cats throughout it all.  And, she gave me the most planned gift of them all--a year's worth (36) of dates planned (since I am busy in school).  This reminds me for some reason of the excitement found in the poem "when what to my wondering eyes would appear."

(I, Julia, would like to interject here and state that Joe gave me a gym membership plus a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants for Christmas - I was thrilled and it was just what I wanted!! He's a sweetheart and such a good listener.)

I received several requested gifts and a number of good looking books.  I am already reading the biography of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.  In light of that I will leave this with a quote from George Washington found in the book..."Treat [others] with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain..."
It's a partial quote and rather than excuse it I will just try and use it.