Friday, October 30, 2015

DAY 1514... Peter and Tink

I love Halloween!
I will love it more as soon as my husband decides we can do entire family theme costumes though.

I would totally dress up with them this year,
but then I feel like that wouldn't make my husband look very good and it would definitely make him seem like kind of a jerk.

So until then...

I LOVE making my children's costumes!

It's not because I'm good at sewing... I am not.
It's not because I have the time... I definitely do not.
It's not because I can't buy their costumes... I love spending money.

I love making their costumes because it makes me feel accomplished and is a way for me to show love to them.
They, of course, don't understand the time and effort I put into it.
But I'm optimistic that someday they will.

This year was our first year of sibling costumes!!!

How did we decide on what theme to pick?
(because your kids totally have to match, right?)
We let Aniston throw around a couple of ideas of what she wanted to be
and then
we gently nudged her in the direction we liked best.
(We are already practicing this again for next year. I wish it was next year already because the costumes we have decided on are so AMAZING!!!!)

This year we nudged her towards Tinkerbell,
because how cute would Benson be as Peter Pan?

our nudging worked!

I present to you the cutest Peter Pan and Tinkerbell around!

This was my Tinkerbell inspiration.

This was my Peter Pan inspiration.

I am beyond obsessed with these costumes!

I have to be honest though...
When taking these pictures,
it was kind of a nightmare!

Aniston was in the worst mood...

Benson was eating anything he could get his hands on (his knife, leaves, rocks, etc) and blowing raspberries the entire time...

Benson was also beyond obsessed with Aniston's wings and as usual her earrings...

Ani was not not cool with that.

It didn't make taking pictures of them together very easy.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

DAY 1512... Death

We all know that I hate change.
Hate is probably not a strong enough word.

And let's be honest here...
Death is a HUGE
and most permanent change.

Death is rough for me to talk about.
I'm definitely the kind of person who laughs when things are awkward and uncomfortable.
I tend to make jokes because I have no freaking clue what to say.
Is there anything you can say to make someone feel better after they have just lost a parent?
I really don't think so.
But then again,
I've never lost a parent.

Last week I attended my Aunt's Father's funeral.
I didn't laugh.
In fact I cried way more than I even thought I would.
I have always been a crier, 
but motherhood has made me soft.

Can I just explain that when I cry during a commercial or a movie or a real life story,
I'm not crying because I think it's happy or sad.
I'm crying because I put myself in that person's shoes and I feel the emotions that I think that they would have felt and it manifests itself in tears.
Massive amounts of tears.
I cry all the time!

It doesn't help that we crazy Mormons insist on singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again"
as the closing hymn at funerals.
I love the song,
I love the meaning,
I love the intention.
But seriously,
I can't keep it together singing that song during sacrament meeting,
let alone at a funeral.
Thanks a lot Kolipoki.

Anyway, back to the funeral.

This was a man who I have known for 11 years
and has always treated me like family even though we were not blood related.
He saw me through numerous boyfriends,
and knew my own little family.

He was is an amazing man.

It was such a blessing to be able to attend his funeral.
It wasn't something that everyone could do.
My Mom and I packed up my kids and left Idaho at 6am to be able to get to Salt Lake City on time and we drove straight back home afterwards.
That is definitely not a trip I would make just for anyone.
I reserve that kind of craziness for the people who really matter.

He really mattered matters.
My Aunt really matters.
She is one of my best friends and one of the best people I know!
I would do ANYTHING for her.

It was a military funeral and that made it a thousand times more amazing!

I also experienced another unexpected blessing in this garbage dump of a situation.
I could quote Juno all day long!

I experienced the opportunity to teach Aniston about death and The Plan of Salvation.

I battled back and forth with myself on whether or not  I was going to attend the viewing, purely for Aniston's sake.
Did I really want her to see the body?
Would see understand?
Would she start screaming like my little brother did when he saw my Great Grandma at her viewing?
There were just so many questionable things.
We ended up going.

Aniston just kind of stared at the body, especially after I explained to her that he was not just sleeping.

I often take the same stance in parenting as I do in my everyday life.
I don't beat around the bush.
Honesty is the best policy,
and there's no point in hiding truth from anyone.
And that includes children.

Judge me if you want...

Aniston kept asking why.
Over and
Over and
Over and
Over again.

I explained to her that everyone dies, which is sad, hard and not fun.
I explained to her that we will miss people after they die, but that that's okay.
It's okay to miss somebody and to be sad that you no longer are able to see them.
But then I also explained to her about life after death.

I explained to her that we will see those people who die again.
I explained to her that we are able to be with our families and loved ones after we die.
I explained to her that we would be made perfect after we die.
She asked me if that meant she wouldn't have her scar. (read about that here).
Which makes me think that she understood what I was saying and definitely made me cry.
But can we really be sure that she understands?
I mean she is only 3.

It was definitely a wonderful opportunity to teach,
and for me to grow as a parent.
It was one of the first opportunities that I have had to address something as a parent that was slightly uncomfortable and put me at a loss of words.

But it's those things that make us most uncomfortable that help us grow the most.

Death is hard,
and when the day comes that I lose a parent or a sibling,
I will be a mess.
There's absolutely no question in my mind.

But I receive some comfort in knowing that I will be with my family for eternity and that death isn't the end.
Not really.

I recently read a quote from President Russell M. Nelson that really shed light on death for me.

Death is hard.
Death sucks.

But it's something that happens 

I'm so glad that I was able to attend this amazing man's funeral with my children.
It was a wonderful memory in despite of the circumstances.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Munchies... Frosted Sugar Cookies

Let's me start off by telling you that I'm the kind of girl who likes thick, cakey, soft sugar cookies. 
I'm so not into the hard and thin kind of cookie.
The more the better!

This is my Mom's recipe and I have been using it since high school.
I used to make cookies all the time in high school.
For everyone.
That seems a little weird now,
but sometimes the truth is weird.

I bake these babies for pretty much every holiday.
Aniston LOVES to decorate cookies.
That's the best excuse I have.

2/3 Cup of Butter
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup of Milk
3/4 Cup of Sugar
1 TSP. of Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups of Flour
2 1/2 TSP of Baking Powder
1/2 TSP of Salt (If wanted.... Fun Fact... I never use salt in my baking)

1lb of Powdered Sugar
1/2 TSP of vanilla
1 1/2 TBSP of Milk
2 TSP of Butter (melted)

1. Cream together butter (melted), eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt (if wanted).

3. Combine wet mixture with dry mixture.

4. Refrigerate 15 minutes to an hour.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

6. Flour everything.

7. Cut using cookie cutters or other shapes.

8. Bake for 9 minutes.

9. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

10. For frosting, combine vanilla, milk and melted butter.

11. Slowly add powdered sugar until frosting has reached desired consistency.

12. Frost and decorate cookies.


Friday, October 23, 2015

DAY 1510... Back to the Future Day

I have been waiting for this day for YEARS!

I grew up with Back to the Future,
I love Back to the Future,
I quote Back to the Future,
It is the BEST!

So you can bet when October 21, 2015 came around I was ready.
And we were excited!

I broke out the Marty McFly life preserver vests for the kids and they rocked it.

Of course we watched the movies,
introducing our children to them,
and reminisced about the awesome of movies from the 80's.

It was an epic day of

How did you celebrate BTTF Day?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

THE LOVE DARE PART 4... DAYS 1499-1509

Day 31 – Love and Marriage

Today’s dare was to take a “leaving” issue that you have issues with and confess it to your spouse then resolve to make it better.

I totally didn’t understand what a “leaving” issue was.

Genesis 2:24 inspired me to knowledge.
It states: “A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

Light bulb.

I do have “leaving” issues, for several reasons.

The first being that I was 25 when I got married.
I had kind of given up hope.
I was considered somewhat of an outcast in my religion and at church.
No one, without major issues gets married at 25 in my religion.
Most of my friends, who were my age, had already been married for years and had at least 2 kids, if not more.
I was embarrassed.
I felt totally judged.
Not cool.

But because I was older when I got married, my Dad was everything to me.
He was my example.
He was the guy in my life.

It’s hard to let go of 25 years of that.

It has been a subject that Spencer and I have often discussed.
It’s a subject that we have often argued about.

But it is also something that I have been constantly working on.
I know how important it is to Spencer to feel as though he is the man in my life.
Well… Besides my Benson.
I know how important it is to Spencer to feel as though I come to him first.

So I have rededicated myself to this commitment and it’s something that I want to continue working on and to perfect.

This dare was on point for me.

Day 32 – Love Meets Sexual Needs

Today’s dare was to try to initiate sex with your partner in a way that honors what your spouse has told you that they need sexually.

Not going to go into detail on this one.

But consider it accomplished.

Day 33 – Love Completes Each Other

Today’s dare is to recognize that your spouse is integral to your future success. Let your spouse know that you need their perspective and counsel.

This dare included my asking Spencer for forgiveness because I haven’t always done this.

For so long I made decisions on my own and for myself.
I didn’t need to ask for permission for anything,
And sometimes I still forget that.

I know that Spencer is my future and is so incredibly important to making our future the best that it can be.

I know that I am a strong stubborn woman,
But I also know that if I think that I can do things without my husband,
That this will lead to a failed marriage.

I need to make sure that I am reaching out to him and including him in my daily life.

It’s not an easy thing for me to do, but I know that it’s something that I can do
And more importantly, it’s something that I should do.

Day 34 – Love Celebrates Godliness

Today’s dare was to commend my spouse for a time when they demonstrated Christian character in a noticeable way.

Spencer does this often.
More often than I think he even realizes.

I choose to recognize his willingness to help others.

There is a guy in one of his groups in one of his classes who lives, with his wife and their 7 year old, in a 500 square foot, 1 bedroom house.
Besides going to school full time he also works two jobs to sustain his family.
This guy never complains and is willing to help others as much as he can.

Spencer decided that he wanted us to invite them to a nice dinner and to pay for everything.
How could I say no?
Not that I wanted to.
But it was such a kind gesture.
I really appreciate that I am married to such a selfless guy.
I try to tell him that as often as possible,
But I’m not perfect.

I’m such a lucky wife!

Day 35 – Love is Accountable

Today’s dare was to find a marriage mentor.

I already had one, so this was cake for me.

A mentor to me isn’t someone who is perfect.
To me, I want my mentors to be someone who has struggled and who has worked hard to overcome their struggles and is making the most of every single day.

My mentor is one of my best friends,
And I’m just lucky enough to have her as an aunt.

She is so honest and loving that I know I can say anything to her and that she will respond with complete honesty and she will put me in my place if needs be.

The best part is that Spencer also looks up to her and considers her an amazing strength.

Once again… I’m so stinking lucky!

Day 36 – Love is God’s Word

Today’s dare was to commit reading scripture every day.

This is something that I have always done, but have struggled at doing lately.

Luckily, I also have the option of listening to scriptures thanks to certain apps.
But I still find that I gain more from actually reading.

For me this dare was to really make this, scripture reading, a priority in my daily life.

It’s something that I would love to do together with Spencer, or even as a family, but I have to take it one step at a time.

Day 37 – Love Agrees in Prayer

Today’s dare is to ask your spouse if you can pray together.

This is something that Spencer and I have done off and on since we were married.

It gets tough when we are on different schedules and I can only imagine that it will be even harder when he moves to Vegas in January.

So I chose to ask about having a family prayer before he goes to class every morning.

I’m hoping that this will involve to evening prayer as well,
But baby steps you know.

This is not only something that can strengthen Spencer and I and our marriage, but I feel as though I can truly use this as a teaching moment for our children.

Ani understands prayer, but we haven’t been super consistent with her and prayer and there is seriously no better time than right now.

This dare is perfect because it’s something that I have wanted to do and now I have a good reason to do it.

I’ve been dared.

Day 38 – Love Fulfills Dreams

Today’s dare was to start planning how to meet my spouse’s desires.

There are so many places to start!

I know that Spencer wants to be successful and happy and to be able to give me and our children the life we want.

Right now in our lives, the best thing that I can do is to be patient with him and allow him to attend his classes and to allow him to do his homework even if that means I don’t see him during the day and that I feel super alone and like I am a single parent.

This too will end.

I really have to put aside my selfish desires and my laziness to make sure that Spencer has everything that he needs in order to succeed in school.

This will really allow him to do well in school and to be able to provide for the needs and wants of our family in the way that he wants to and that will meet his desires.

This dare sucks, because it is definitely not what I want to do.
But I know that it’s what needs to be done.

But it’s not really unfortunate, because I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who wants and desires then same things that I do.

So by working together and struggling for a little bit,
We can reach our goals and dreams together.

Day 39 – Love Endures

Today’s dare was to spend time praying and then to write a letter of commitment and resolve to my spouse.

So for Spencer, letters don’t do anything.

He likes to verbally here things as opposed to reading them.
He probably wouldn’t even save the letter.
We are different in this regard.
I save everything.

Anyway, so I picked a moment to tell him directly how I feel and what I want and how I will accomplish that.

I told him that I waited 25 years for the right person. During that time I suffered 2 failed engagements and so much heart break and self-destruction. But I did it hoping and praying that someday I would find someone, the perfect someone for me.

Although we may fight sometimes, and although we may be two of the most stubborn people on the planet, we love each other. And because we love each other we can make it through anything.

I thanked him for being patient with my craziness and my mood swings.
I thanked him for choosing me.

I promised him that I would fight for our marriage and our relationship and our family.

I promised him that I will make myself available for change and improvement as he desires and feels is necessary.

I promised to make myself available for him to meet his needs and desires and to help him in any way that I possibly can.

It was emotional and raw.
But it was also pretty darn amazing.

Best dare ever!

Day 40 – Love is a Covenant

Today’s dare is the last dare.

Today’s dare was to write out a renewal of my vows and to place them in my home.

That is weird.

We didn’t have vows at our wedding during our ceremony.

So I tweaked this dare a little bit to fit my needs and my desires.

I chose a word that I feel sums up how I feel and what I want out of our life together.

That word:


That’s all I want.
I know that it seems simple,
But true happiness isn’t easy to find and it’s something that I desire.

I have been happy for fleeting moments in my life,
But I desire a happiness that will last despite crappy moments and hard times.

I believe that I can have that with Spencer.

I know that it is possible now more than ever!

So that's it.
I have successfully completed The Love Dare.
And I can tell you something...

I feel more blessed than ever to have Spencer as my husband.
But here's the catch.
We still have arguments, 
life isn't all butterflies and rainbows.
But since I have begun and completed this dare 
I forgive more easily and I love deeper,
and all of these dares has made my marriage so much stronger.
and they have also made me more willing to work at my marriage.

I know that this dare isn't for everyone,
especially for those who may not be as religious. 
I will admit that even the religious parts were weird and awkward at times, 
but it did help!
Although there were times where I didn't understand what the dare had to do with my marriage,
it helped!

I feel accomplished.
More accomplished then I have felt in the past when I have completed a task.
I think that the difference is because I completed a task that will greatly benefit something that is so incredibly important to me.
I strengthened my marriage and I made it better.
I did that.

I still haven't told Spencer that I did this.
And honestly, I don't know if I will.

I know that he can see a difference.
He told me yesterday that he felt as though our marriage is good and that we are in such a good place.
I appreciate that.
And for the first time in my life I'm not seeking recognition for the change. 

The Love Dare has changed my marriage,
and only for the better!

I'm so thankful that I made a determined effort to follow through and to change my marriage.

I am so happy!

On the day we were married we took this picture:

It was intended for our Thank You cards
(don't worry if you never got one, we didn't forget you, I just never mailed them... fail)
But I kind of feel as though it was meant for me,
right now,
in this moment.
I am thanking myself for remembering why marriage is so important and valuable.
I am thanking myself for working hard to keep my marriage good.
I am thanking myself for reviving my marriage.
I am thanking myself for remembering the covenants I made with my husband 4 years ago.
I am thanking myself for taking the time to make my marriage matter.

I attended a funeral yesterday and the main speaker,
who I've known for about 11 years
and who is insanely AMAZING,
(check him out here.
You won't regret it!)
talked about how marriage and love is what this life is all about.
It's what really matters.

I can't imagine my life without Spencer!
Without him, I wouldn't have anything.
At least I wouldn't have the things that matter most to me in my life.

40 days seems like a long time top commit to seomthing,
but when it comes to something this important,
this amazing,
my marriage,
every awkward second was worth it!

My marriage was worth it!
My marriage IS worth it!

If you want to learn more about The Love Dare, check it out here.
And trust me....
You want to learn more!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Munchies... Pork Tacos

I find that pork goes on sale more than any other meat.
At least that's what I have observed.
I have lots of friends that don't actually like pork, but I don't have a problem with it.

Continuing on with our love of Mexican food, I'm sharing today our super easy and simple and delicious pork taco recipe.
Really this could be made with any type of meat, but we use pork.

8 Corn Tortillas
1lb Pork Tenderloin
1/2 White Onion
2 Limes

1. Cut Pork into small pieces and cook on the stove top. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.

2. Warm up tortillas in microwave. About 30 seconds.

3. Chop up onion and cilantro and combine together.

4. Divide pork into tortillas evenly.

5. Top with onion and cilantro mixture.

6. Squeeze lime juice onto taco.

7. Top with extra chopped cilantro if desired. (I desire as much cilantro as possible)


Seriously, this is one of my favorites to make and it's just so easy to whip up.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 Fall Fotos

I took the kids over to the nature park in town to take some pictures the other night.

I am so obsessed with fall and the colors and the change.
Kind of funny considering that I hate change,
but it works in the fall.
I wish I could take pictures of my kids every day all day long,
but ain't no one got time for that.
At least no one got time for editing...

Aniston was obsessed with hugging all the trees.
Hopefully this is just a phase.

This little dude! 
He has a fantastic smile when he feels like sharing it,
but he is still ridiculously cute even when he's not smiling.

Gosh they're cute!

It's really hard to have two kids when it comes to taking pictures.
One will smile, while the other isn't even looking at the camera.
One gives the perfect smile while the other gives something sub-par.
But I have really come to learn, that taking pictures isn't about perfection, 
it's about the memories.
Nothing is sub-par when it comes to my kids.

But let's be honest...
There are always outtakes.
Someone gets grumpy.
Someone tried to eat sticks or leaves or anything within reach.

But then they get over it and start taking super cute again!
Even the one above may not be perfect, it's still insanely cute.
Personality is everything!

Seriously, the two of them together...
Something I will never get tired of seeing.

I know that I post a TON of pictures of my kids,
but they are my world and I am OBSESSED with them!

I really am trying to improve my photography skills and my kids are the perfect subjects!

Friday, October 16, 2015

DIY... Kid's Room Makeover

The kid's room needed a makeover badly.
But there were two problems.
1. We have a pretty tight budget.
Never fun when it comes to decorating.
2. Decorating a shared bedroom for a brother and a sister is quite possibly the most difficult thing ever!

Coming up with a theme for Aniston and Benson's bedroom was crazy hard!
Of course once I figured out what I wanted to do, it was perfect!

Their room was this awful yellow color.
I hated it.
I couldn't stand to be in there.
And it just needed to change.
So badly!

Here's the before pictures.


The theme I finally settled on is:
Where the Wild Things Are

Totally appropriate for boy or girl and since they share a room, it was perfect!

First things first...
I painted the room green to give it that foresty feel.
Plus green is my favorite color ever and I find it very relaxing and soothing.
The paint cost me $13.88.

I quickly learned that room decor pertaining to this specific theme was crazy expensive!
Like $48 for a pillow and $32 for a single wall decor.
Not going to fly.

So I had to get crafty.

I got on my computer and designed prints on publisher and then had them printed off at a local print shop.
The total cost for this was $3.07.
Then I went to our favorite park and picked up sticks and 478 glue sticks and 3 old picture frames later, these were created...

This cost me $0 because I already had everything I needed!
Recycling at it's finest!

Thanks to some sharpies and old fabric (both which I had in my hands), I was able to whip up a few pillows for the room.

We had just replaced our bedroom pillows in our house so I took the stuffing out of those and used it to stuff these pillows.
 Another $0 project.

Their room is such a small space that we were able to use bunk beds and get creative.
Luckily my parents had some bunk beds that they desperately needed to get rid of.
We had already been using the bottom bunk as Aniston's current bed so we got the second bed frame
paint it black, 
built a ladder,
and slipped the crib under the top bunk to save space.
Of course we made sure it was all secure and that Aniston could absolutely not fall on top of Benson first.
We paid around $7 for the wood for the ladder and we already had the paint!

The cute "A" and "B" felt very wild thing to me since they were made out of fake antlers.
You can also find the words "redneck" and "man cave" available at your local hobby lobby in this same fake antler decor.

The cost for the letters were around $9, luckily for me they were 50% off so the total cost there was $4.50.

Aniston picked out a zebra patterned comforter, and I went with it because it is 117% pointless to argue with a 3 year old, and it works!
There goes $12.88.
Thank you Walmart.

I took an old green sheet and shredded it so that it looked like grass/jungle foliage and used it to hide everything under the crib.
Kind of obsessed with the way it turned out.
Huge win since it also cost $0.

I also whipped up a Tee Pee from materials from the local Ace Hardware ($25.97), and glued hundreds of sticks onto a free lamp to fit in with the decor.

The room feels 100% bigger and so much cleaner and I just love to be in there!
So do the kids!
Often when I can't find Aniston, she is sitting in her Tee Pee reading books.

And this is how you redo a room for $67.30.
I am so cheap!
I think it really had nothing to do with the budget issue, more the fact that I refuse to pay obscene amounts of money for stuff in a room that my children only use.
Not sure they appreciate it 100%,
but Aniston does call it her wild thing room.

I would have loved to spent hundreds of dollars to make it beyond amazing and totally Maxified (as in Max from the book)
but this works!

I'm happy, my kids are happy and most importantly my husband is happy!