Check out my other blog HERE

Saturday, December 29

I'm buying a house!

I'm under contract to build a town home in Herriman, Utah.  I walked through one that hadn't sold yet and I fell in LOVE.  It's been a whirlwind of a month.  I met with a lender and then with a realtor, did a bunch of house hunting and then made an offer on a house.  Most recently I have picked out my upgrades.  Things are finally mellowing out on my end, it felt like a full time job there for awhile there was so much to do.  For the next few months all I have to do is wait for it to built (right now there's just a foundation) and get some homeowner's insurance.

The rooms are really great sizes and I love that my lot backs up to a "greenspace" and has trails behind it and such.  It should be finished so that I can close around the end of March.  Here's the web-site telling about the community (and my floorplan is called the McKinley).

Friday, November 30

The News Is Depressing Lately

As I was reading an update on a sad shooting where a student took his own life in front of his peers, I peeked in at some of the comment boards.  So, whoever you are Jennifer B your words ring true to me based on what I've observed in my students,

"Maybe one of the problems is that too many parents are bullying their children, so they in turn bully others. Could it be that there is the wrong kind of teaching going on in the home, do we belittle our children without realizing it. Are we creating bullies. I vote for kindness, giving others the benefit of the doubt, forgiving others, and just being kind and loving, even when we have been disappointed."

Sunday, November 11

Dating: What Girls Need Guys To Know--PART 3

If I could, I might re-name my title "Dating:  What This Girl Needs Everybody To Know" but I'm too lazy to go through the blog posts and change it.  Sorry 'bout that.  On with the list of topics...

...We know it's just a date, not a marriage proposal.

I promise we do.  This should help you to freaking calm down.  I hate to patronize you by quoting prophets or anything so I won't.  You know you should be dating.  You know you should be getting to know us ladies one-on-one and not by spending time with a large group of people.  So, when you're with a large group of people and you'd like get to know one of them a little less superficially you have to make plans with them to do something conducive to getting to know them a little less superficially.

Do you know what I think when I go out on a date with someone?  I think, "Cool, he thinks I'm interesting enough to take a few hours out of his life to get to know me a little better."  So chill out.  We know it's just a date.  We are happy to go on them with you.  Please don't think that we have extravagant expectations.  We just want to enjoy your company for an hour or two and learn a little bit about you.  Hopefully you feel the same.

Stop hanging out with us and being our best friends.

Please, please, PLEASE stop doing this.  For women everywhere, I beg of you.  I'm not talking about being friends who spend time together occasionally and usually with a group.  I'm not talking about being friends and catching up every now and then or helping someone out.  I'm talking about the kind of friends where you talk/text frequently, where you share a lot of personal and meaningful stuff, where you spend lots of time together (I say more than once a week) and where part or all of that time is just the two of you.

It's very frustrating for a girl to feel like she is such a priority in your life, that she means so much to you (and that you've come to mean so much to her) but the dating thing is never going to happen.  Guys, why you do this, I will never understand.  I never know what to say to my friends when they run in to this problem, and believe me, it happens ALL the time.  The message you are sending to the girl is this:  I like you but you are not good enough to date me.  Stop investing so much time and energy into relationships with girls that you don't feel will progress into a dating relationship.  Either consider dating her or set goals to get to know girls that you would consider dating.  I'm sure it's much easier to just keep doing what you're doing, to stick with these girls you are comfortable with and make you feel needed and oh-so-good about yourself, but please know you are damaging them and causing you both to miss out on other dating opportunities.

I am very thankful to good guy friends who have been there for me but knew where to draw the line.  They have taught me that I can have meaningful platonic (spell-checker says that's how it's written) friendships with the opposite sex.

How we want men to treat us:  It's really not that hard to make us fall in love with you.

Simply put, on a date we just need you to be men.  We appreciate any time that you consider our feelings or needs and put them before your own.  When you sacrifice for us it makes us feel important.  When you spend quality time with us we assume that we are one of your priorities and it makes us feel good.  When you honestly plan or put thought into a date, that's super impressive.  

Let me give you a concrete example.  I went on a blind date a few weeks ago.  He was given my number from a friend on a Sunday.  He text me that Sunday night to say "hi" and see if I was  available for Saturday.  I was pleased that he hadn't waited until Thursday night to see if I could go out on Friday.  He told me he would contact me later in the week to figure out the details.  A few days later he called me to get to know me a little bit and find out what I liked to do.  During our conversation (15-20 minutes...not too long, not super short) I mentioned I liked cultural events and that maybe there was something going on in Salt Lake because Friday was Day of the Dead--a Mexican holiday.  The next day he researched all about the holiday and found several events we could go to.  He told me exactly what time I should expect him to pick me up, he said to dress warm/casual and listed off a bunch of restaurants in the area for me to choose from.  I appreciated that he had put forth the effort to plan something I would like and that he communicated what to expect.  What's more, when we went,  I could tell that he genuinely enjoyed it and that made me feel good.  By the way, the first event we went to wasn't actually happening until a few days later, I was glad that he had a plan "B".  About 20 minutes after he dropped me off for the night, I got a text from him thanking me for a fun night and saying that he hoped I had felt treated well and had fun.  

I was impressed.  If this is how he treats someone he barely knows, imagine how he must treat his friends and his family.  And so my friends, that's all it takes.  Be nice and be thoughtful.

How we show you we're interested.

If we want to see you again, we will say or do something to let you know.  We will go out of our way to see or talk to you again.  If you are constantly approaching us and never the other way around then we probably aren't interested.  Girls who are interested won't turn down a date, if they're busy they will suggest another time to go out because they don't want to miss an opportunity to spend time with you.  Girls who are interested will look you in the eyes and smile at you.  They will remember details about you. 

We probably spend way too much time thinking about how to let you know if we are interested without just coming out and saying it.  Why don't we just say what we're thinking?  I don't know.  I have found that just asking, "hey, are you interested?" isn't as hard as you would imagine.  It's better just to know.

Be honest (even painfully so) about your intentions and feelings the minute you realize we're not on the same page.

Let's talk about "leading people on" for a second.  This goes for all of us.  You've probably been on one or both sides of this unfortunate part of dating.  If you do not reciprocate feelings, just say it.  And the sooner, the better.  Don't beat around the bush, don't try to drop hints, don't try to soften the blow.  Remember, in dating, sometimes we only see what we want to see.  As obvious as you might feel you are being, unless it is super direct, there is room for interpretation or justification.  

Sometimes you might not even know what you feel for somebody.  Be honest about that too.  But the moment you know that you're not interested is the very best moment to say so.  The longer you wait to say something the more painful the rejection becomes.  We all know this is true.  Why do we wait so long then?  Why do we worry about being "nice" about it when either way the truth is gonna sting a little bit?  We wait because we are selfish.  Be more concerned with the other person's feelings than your own.  Rip off the band-aid.  Get it out there.

Remember, we get rejected too.  It's a two-way street.

You might hate what I have to say next.  If I had read this a year ago, I would probably hate it.  My perspective has changed somewhat since then.  Having said that, you have my permission to roll your eyes or just skip over the rest of this entirely, but I'm gonna say it anyway (in case you decide to keep reading)...

Embrace rejection.  Take as much time as you feel you must to be bummed out about it.  Fully accept that it sucks.  But then keep moving forward.  Disappointment is ok.  It's part of life.  It's normal.  It's usually out of your control.  Discouragement on the other hand, is under your control.  How you ultimately, not initially, react to rejection and failure says a lot about your character.  

Here are a few people who have said it better than I ever could:

If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.
-Thomas A. Edison 

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

- Steve Jobs 

Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.

-John Keats

Now, I know more of you are reading this than are letting on.  So leave a comment.  This is aimed towards dating in the LDS culture, so keep that in mind.  Are there any important points that I left off my list?  Guys, what would you want to include on your list?  Is there anything you disagree with?  Anyone have any words of wisdom?  


Sunday, November 4

Dating: What Girls Need Guys To Know--PART 2

Let's continue discussing some of these things girls want guys to know about dating.  Before we begin, will you please watch this quick little video?  It's right around a minute long.  We will come back to it in a little bit.

Be a focused dater--remember the purposes of dating.

I remember my mission president using an analogy once where he talked about "golpeando el aire"--punching the air.  He talked about how if a boxer can get in one really good disorienting punch to his opponent that's all it takes.  The dizzy boxer will keep taking swings to fight back but struggles to make contact.  With each wasted swing he loses more and more energy.  As hard as he is working to fight back, all he is really doing is attacking the air quite well.  That image of a disoriented boxer using all of his strength, swinging in the air, without making contact has always stayed with me.  There were times on the mission where I felt like I was just punching the air.  I was working SO hard but felt like I wasn't being very effective.  During those times I had to slow down for a minute, evaluate my work, remember my purpose and refocus and change some things.  I've heard this message another way, "work smarter, not harder".

How does that apply to dating?  Well I've known a guy or two who were so disillusioned with dating.  They had been dating like crazy, spending time and money on people and not feeling like they were getting the results they wanted.  Maybe their dating, frequent and frenzied, wasn't very effective.  Their dating wasn't helping them accomplish what they wanted to accomplish.  They needed to pause and reevaluate what they even wanted to get out of dating.  So, what do you want to get out of dating?  Knowing that will save you a lot of time, energy and money.

Dating won't be as scary/frustrating for you when you know what you want.

This point is very similar to the last piece of advice.  Just like you need to have a plan for what you hope to gain from dating experiences, you need to have an idea of what kind of person you are ultimately looking for.  If you haven't watched the video I linked at the top of this entry, go back and watch it or the rest of this section won't make sense to you.

Did you catch the tagline at the end of the commercial?  "It's easy to miss something you aren't looking for".  Everyone sees the moonwalking bear once they know to look for him.  In fact, you probably laughed at yourself for missing something so obvious BUT YOU WERE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE WRONG THINGS!  Guys, I hate to sound harsh, but sometimes you pay attention to the girls that are not what you are really looking for.  Stop counting passes and look for the moonwalking bear :)  Dating will be waaay more fulfilling for you.  This ties nicely into the next point... complain girls are all the same but keep dating the same kinds of girls.

Girls are just as guilty of this!  We say, "guys are jerks" even though we know that's not true.  Not ALL guys are jerks just because we keep going out with the insensitive or clueless ones.  So, guess what?  Not are girls are going to disappoint you or treat you badly.  Change it up.  Maybe you could even try to...

...consider girls that you haven't considered before--be open. 

This is a big one!  I have had several friends over the past year or so who have married guys that they were good friends with long before they ever started dating.  It took these guys a long time to sift through a bunch of distractions and realize they had something great right in front of them.  Don't discount anyone!  If you are worried about ruining a friendship, well, you're going to have to get over that because the two of you are not going to stay friends forever.  This is maybe just my personal opinion but I don't believe men and women can/should maintain meaningful long-term friendships successfully.  That doesn't mean I don't have male friends, it just means I don't really envision myself still being close friends with them ten years from now.  You are entitled to your own opinion about that :)

Well guys, there are a few points for you to consider.  What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with any of these ideas?  Comment below!

Next time I'll be writing about these points:

-We know it's just a date, not a marriage proposal.

-Stop hanging out with us and being our best friends.
-How we want men to treat us:  It's really not that hard to make us fall in love with you.
-How we show you we're interested.
-Be honest (even painfully so) about your intentions and feelings the minute you realize we're not on the same page.
-Remember, we get rejected too.  It's a two-way street.


Sunday, October 28

Dating: What Girls Need Guys To Know--PART 1

This post has been incubating in my brain for years.  And after a good conversation a few Sundays ago with the current EQP in our ward (who wants to encourage the elders in the ward to date more) this post is finally ready to be born.

In the past 10 years I have had A LOT of roommates (like, over 50 actual house mates) and an even greater number of honorary roommates.  Living with a lot of girls can be drama.  It seems like someone is always having relationship drama.  Girls talk a lot.  We talk a lot about our guy problems.  We get angry together and eat Ben and Jerry's and talk about how guys are such jerks.  I didn't think much about it until recent years when I realized that this is every unmarried girl's go-to response.  Guys. Are. Jerks.  I felt really comfortable using those words to console a heartbroken friend until I heard what guys say to respond to their unsuccessful relationships, "man, she was crazy".

So what is it?  Are guys jerks or are girls crazy?  Or both?  Guys CAN be jerks.  Girls CAN be crazy.  Usually though, we label the opposite gender with these terms because they don't think with the same logic that we do.  Guys become jerks when they don't clearly communicate their intentions.  Girls will interpret a guy's behavior however they want and see only what they want to see because the guy is not clearly explaining what is going on.  Honestly though, a lot of guys have no clue what they're doing or what they want and don't realize that their actions are often saying to a girl, "I'm interested" even when they're not.  Girls become crazy when their feelings get hurt and rather than communicating that with words sometimes she communicates it with irrational behavior assuming that they guy will pick up on these clues and rectify the situation.  When the guys don't realize what is going on the girl gets even more upset and acts even more irrationally.  In her mind, she has been led on and she feels like a fool for trying to make sense of a guy's actions since he wouldn't explain what it all meant (or didn't mean) in the first place.

But the name calling has to stop.  By the time you're in your mid-to-late 20's you should have learned how to communicate expectations and frustrations with the opposite sex, and with anyone for that matter.  We've got to stop being jerks and crazies.  The problem is that we don't date enough to actually gain the proper communication skills and empathy.  And, when we do date (or are even just in the friend zone), we are not taking risks and actually addressing expectations and frustrations.

So here are some of the categories (pieces of advice from girls to guys) I will be addressing in subsequent posts:

-Be a focused dater--remember the purposes of dating.
-Dating won't be as scary for you when you know what you want.
-You complain girls are all the same but keep dating the same kind of girls.
-Consider girls that you haven't considered open.
-We know it's just a date, not a marriage proprosal.
-Stop hanging out with us and being our best friends.
-How we want men to treat us:  It's really not that hard to make us fall in love with you.
-How we show you we're interested.
-Be honest (even painfully so) about your intentions and feelings the minute you realize we're not on the same page.
-Remember, we get rejected too.  It's a two-way street.

Stay tuned for more...


Thursday, October 11

I'm Grateful

I am so grateful today for revelation.  I feel like God has been blessing me so much with tiny little promptings to do simple little things AND I've noticed that as I do them (instead of wussing out or ignoring them) that I keep getting more and more little promptings to do things that bless my and other people's lives.

I am so grateful that I work with two awesome Spanish teachers.  Our planning sessions are super tough and the truth is we are all probably in over our heads with some of this IB stuff.  Today we started our planning meeting with a prayer and the revelation and inspiration just kept flowing.

I am so grateful for all that I am learning from the book Infinite Atonement.  This book has been awesome.

I'm grateful for libraries so I can check books out for free.

I'm so grateful for my 5th period class.  Today as they were playing "centers" games in groups that they had actually created the day before I was amazed at how well their games actually taught and review important concepts for the test.  I was amazed at how the groups took the time to talk and teach each other.  I was amazed at how engaged and on task they were.  I love those guys!

Sunday, August 19

Summer... delightful. And sadly, it officially ends on Wednesday when the kiddos come back to school.

I've had a really great summer and I'd like to highlight some of the things that made it into my gratitude journal.

-bike rides around the lake (my bike was probably the best purchase I've made in 2012 so far)

-going to Oregon to be with my family. They are so funny, I sure love them. We got to go to the beach, I went on a bike ride with my dad, I got to see the framily, went to Macey's b-ball games, saw my grandparents, and went house hunting with my parents. It was cool to see all of the work they've done on the house.

-trip to Vegas for Collette's shower. It was fun to be with the Wixom family. And as an added bonus I got to see my old college pal Lindsay.

-I've gotten to know a lot of really cool people in the ward. Too many to list. But I will say that some of my favorites have been people that I got to know better/spend time with at both the stake and ward camp outs.

-spending time with my friend Bailey who I love to pieces. She is a good listener and makes feel better (like the night I freaked out that I was turning 29 and was entering my last year in my 20's)

-going on some fun and interesting dates. Some were more on the fun side and some were more on the interesting side but I got to know some great people.

-trip to Denver. It started with hanging out with the Baers. We checked out arches national park (where Joel threw a cactus at me lol). I got some quality time with my grandma, aunts and cousins. We hit up some garage sales and spent way too much time watching the news about the shooting.

-the fun of the summer Olympics.

-attending and being super involved with Lauren and Preston's wedding.

-a nice long phone call with my oldest dear friend tammydoodle.

-a really fun filled birthday with people that I love.

Thursday, May 17

My desk drawer.

What do the contents of my desk drawer say about me? Btw most of the junk is from teacher appreciation week.

Monday, May 14

I'm feeling burned out...

HELP! I'm feeling burned out and need to recharge my batteries (figuratively). It's an antsy time of year at work and these teenagers are making me want to rip out my hair, then last week I got super sick and all of these great goals I had been working on fell by the wayside because all of my energy was going to just staying on top of my work responsibilities. Got any ideas for how to feel rejuvenated without taking a vacation? Talk to me blogger world!

Monday, April 30

Sunday Study

I think these are two of my most favorite talks from conference.  It was nice to reflect about where I was a month ago as I heard them as compared to now.  Check 'em out.  HERE and HERE.

What were YOUR favorite talks from this April's GC?

Sunday, April 29

Taco flavored kisses

My roommate said last night that she'd never heard of a Saturday night adult session of conference before. Don't they do that everywhere? Well after last night's session we went to Lone Star Taquería* and got some delicious food!

*as featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

Tuesday, April 24

My desk is a mess!

The good news is...I got a lot done after the kids went home today. It was very productive and I feel so good about it. The bad news desk is still a mess! Oh well.

Monday, April 23

Casey's Staples

Last week Casey was Playing football at lunch when he dove for a pass. His head hit a rock instead. He split open his head and got 2 staples which he proudly showed me today.

Thursday, April 19

Sweet Little T

Also, I wrote a bit in my other blog tonight.  Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, March 14

No Picture (you'll thank me when you read the post)

Yesterday Cam asked me, "Ms. Spravzoff can I go call my mom?  I don't feel good."  I told him, "Tell you what, do this activity with us for the next 5 minutes and if you're still not feeling good you can go call your mom.  If you need to run out of the room or anything like that just go."  Two minutes later, the kids are all writing their answers to some questions and Ethan walks up to me, "Ms. Spravzoff, can I go get some paper towels to clean up my desk?"  After some questioning it comes out that Cam had gotten up to leave the room and only made it to the front of the row before throwing up.  He got puke on Ethan's desk, his worksheet, his arm and the floor in front of the desk (which happens to be right in front of the door...ya know, so a pretty high-traffic area).  I felt SOOO bad.  It's funny because I was freaking out about everything and trying to get ahold of the secretary to send down the custodian and such and NONE of the other kids even noticed anything was going on for another 4 minutes or so.  And of course, as soon as they realized there was throw up on ground, they all had to be walking around that corner of the room.  "Get away from there," I'd shriek.  "How come you don't call the janitor to clean it up," they asked.  "Umm, hello, I already did!"

So later that night I start feeling queasy and have a headache.  I decide to have some mellow soup and go to bed.  After a few hours of not feeling any better and not being able to sleep I finally was able to go relieve my nausea around 1 am.  It's funny because this morning I was praying and thinking about what I was thankful for.  The only thing I could come up with was that I'm grateful I was able to throw up.  It kinda made me giggle that that's what I was thankful for this morning.  But hey, gratitude for strange things is better than gratitude for nothing.

And p.s. I feel way less sick today but I'm not taking any chances, I haven't eaten anything yet.  I've just told my students to keep their distance.

Thursday, March 8

My first bite into an apple

For a year and a half I have been unable to eat whole apples. No longer my friend.

Saturday, March 3

Our Roomie With The Silverware Moved Out

So I'm using this plastic reindeer fork for the time being.

Monday, February 27

Just leaving work

Long Monday...7-5:30! Listening to THIS song on my drive home.

Thursday, February 23

Wednesday, February 22

I'm Daydreaming of Cleaning

Cleaning Tips
 The best way to dust blinds: Close them, then wipe up and down with an old dryer sheet. It'll create an antistatic barrier that helps prevent dust from building up again.
 The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is your friend. It will cut your cleaning time in half for bathtubs, sinks, countertops, and dirty walls.
 To clean glass and mirrors, use coffee filters, not paper towels. They leave no streaks or lint — and they're cheap.
 Vinegar and water is a great deodorizer for a musty bathroom. Spray your shower down as you're getting out. It really absorbs the odors, and the smell of vinegar goes away in an hour.
 A wet pumice stone will clean a dirty oven faster than any spray-on product.
 Vacuuming bathroom mats is a nightmare. Toss them in the wash every week or two instead.
 To damp-mop wood floors, use plain water or a water-based floor cleaner like Bona. Don't use vinegar. The acid in it will pit your polyurethane finish, can void your warranty, and may reduce shine over time.
 Seventh Generation dish liquid diluted with water is a great nontoxic all-purpose cleanser. Just put two squirts in a spray bottle and fill it with water.
 Our biggest secret weapon? A powdered product called Bar Keepers Friend ( We use it on everything. Its active ingredient is rhubarb powder, which really cuts through grit and grime. It cleans glass-top stoves, counters, toilets, porcelain and more. Your sink will never be shinier.
 To clean your microwave oven, microwave a cup of water with some baking soda in it until it's boiling. That eliminates odors and makes it super easy to wipe away all that stuck-on stuff.
 Clean cobwebs with a yardstick covered by a tube sock. That also works for cleaning under stoves and refrigerators.
 Shine your bathroom tiles with lemon oil. It also helps prevent mold and mildew.
 To eliminate that ring in your toilet, drop in a bubbling denture tablet, and leave it for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The stain will come off with just a few swishes of the brush.

Wednesday, February 15

What did you eat this V Day?

I ate this...

With these guys...(Annelisa was taking the picture)

Sitting at this gorgeous table...

Honestly, it was a complete surprise.  I wasn't expecting anything so amazing when I got a text from Bailey saying, "come have dinner at my house this Tuesday."  It was EXACTLY what I needed.  I guess it's true what they say that the best things happen when you are least expecting them and when you most need them.  

Tuesday, February 14

I confiscated this today...

...from a 6th grade boy...I gave it back to him. I wonder if makayla met him at lunch?

Friday, February 10

The next time you have 3 hours free...

...and you're okay with crying your eyes out, read this blog:  (I've started you at the beginning of October if you want to read things chronologically)

It makes me so grateful for eternal families and for the strength that God provides us with even in the most trying of times.

This entry is particularly poignant but doesn't completely make sense until you first read about their son Noah in the link above.

Wednesday, February 8

I found this in a pile of papers on my desk

Made my day!

"Thanks Amanda for everything. We love you a lot. Agus and Euge. 3 feb 12."

I had so much fun with those girls last Thursday and Friday. I wish I had taken pictures of teaching them how to drive or at my school talking with the other students or at the argentine bakery in Orem. I was so lucky to have spent some time with them. I love them right back.