March 22, 2012

DINNER. sponsored by PINTEREST

I've been trying really hard not to put my hard earned time on Pinterest to waste by actually making the recipes I have pinned for breakfast, dinner and dessert!  Here's a few that I have made and have really enjoyed.

I made this delightfully fresh orange smoothie this morning.  I did make a few changes to the recipe by adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice.  All in all, I really enjoyed it and the ingredients are all something I have on hand.

This Cilanto Lime Chicken recipe made me wonder why in the heck I don't use my slow cooker more often.  I absolutely ADORED this meal, but I did have to make a few changes because I decided to make it somewhat at the last minute.  Namely, I cooked it on high for three hours instead of on low for six.  I also served it over rice and added a dollop of sour cream to each serving.  Delish.

I've actually made these Creamy Chicken Enchiladas twice now, and my family and I love them.  They are so flavorful with a little bit of a kick.  Definitely try them!

Pinterest has taught me that I love mexican dishes, but I also can't get enough of pasta.  So, when I saw this Mexican Stuffed Shells recipe it was like two of my favorite worlds collided and I just had to try it. This recipe was so simple to make and so, so good!

And last, I hosted a birthday part for my brother and decided to make this Peach Crisp instead of a cake.  Of course, I got the ok from him and he was all on board.   This delicious dessert lasted, maybe, 15 minutes before it was ALL gone.  It is such a simple recipe and a real crowd pleaser!

March 19, 2012


I love it when I stumble across a good cover.  Most of the time it's a different musician covering the song, but sometimes the original artist will do an acoustic version of an already great song that blows me away.  Here are a few of my favorites:

BLUE MONDAY - Covered by Flunk

Originally by New Order, this cover is so great.  I love the lead singer's voice, which is very unique, and I think those vocal chords alone is really what makes this cover totally unforgettable.

SAY IT AIN'T SO - Covered by MoZella

MoZella puts an awesome twist on this already awesome song by Weezer.  It starts out slow but is kicked into high gear in the chorus.  I love the almost mysteriousness of the song and the piano is a great touch.

Should Tori Amos have put her own twist on what is easily considered one of the greatest songs of my generation?  If you're a Tori fan, I think you'll like it.  If you're a die-hard Nirvana fan {which I'm not} you may despise this piano/vocal rendition because it's anything but grungy.

ONLY YOU - Covered by Joshua Radin

When it comes to music, anything that Joshua Radin touches is golden to me.  I Love, love, LOVE his cover of Yaz's Only You.  And, if you already like the song or like Joshua Radin's other hits, I can't imagine you wouldn't totally dig this cover.  Oh, can we say, what a perfect wedding song?

PERSONAL JESUS - Acoustic Remix by Depeche Mode

I'm pretty sure my whole world changed after I heard this song.  Okay, ya, a bit of an exaggeration, but I was 20 at the time, so give me some credit.  But, seriously, if you like acoustic versions of already awesome songs and you're a DM fan, you will LOVE this remix.  I would love to see this song performed live.  It would be A.MA.ZING!

Don't leave me hanging.  If you know a good cover, do share!

March 16, 2012

something I AM....LITERALLY

Did you know the definition of the word literally was changed because so many people were using it incorrectly?  For example, people often say, "It was literally driving me up the wall."  Instead of, "It was figuratively driving me up the wall."  Sure, it makes for a stronger statement when you use the word literally, but that doesn't change the fact that the word is being used incorrectly.

If you pay attention, you can pick up on how often the word figuratively gets the shaft.

Anyway, I thought I would write about something that I literally am.  And that is a stay-at-home-mom.  I suffer from what I believe to be a mild case of epilepsy.  At the time I was diagnosed, I was only 12 years old and was told I would eventually out grow having daily seizures.  Well, here I am, a thirty-something wife and mother and my condition is still the same, if not a little worse.  

While my seizures are, for the most part, controlled with medication, I have been known to have a few unexpectedly.  And when I say "have a few" I'm referring to petit mal seizures which are very short, barely visible {unless you know me well}, but still dangerous nevertheless. I black out and it usually takes me a minute or two to remember what I had just been doing before it happened.  And I have no warning signs.  I don't know I've had one until it's come and gone.

As a result, I have never had a driver's license.  I've never even taken driver's ed.  I'm probably more clueless about driving than anyone else I know.  It's pretty sad, and maybe a little pathetic, but driving just isn't apart of my life.  And, for the most part, I'm okay with it.  Is it inconvenient?  Completely.  Is it better to be safe than sorry?  No doubt about it.

Because I am unable to drive, my days are usually spent at home.  If I absolutely have to be some place, I arrange for a ride.  But, in terms of hopping in the car because my daughter and I need to get out of the house, that's just not an option.  Unless we have pre-arranged plans, we're at home, or we're out walking, weather permitting of course.

When my husband gets home from work, we'll often go out, if only for a drive, so I can get out of the house at least once during the day.  In the meantime, I throw myself into my home and try to make it a good place to be because it is where I spend most of my time.

However, there's something about not being home that has always made me feel productive.  Whether I was at school or at work, I always seemed to be doing the most, being the most outside of my house.  I attribute this, perhaps misguided view, to why I have constantly struggled with being a stay-at-home-mom.  It's because I am literally a stay-at-home-mom.  I'm not a mom outside of my house {be it running errands, taking my kids to a fun museum, or going to play dates} very often.

Are there pros to my situation?  Definitely.  My daughter loves to be at home.  When we are out, she is constantly asking to go home.  I want our home to be her haven, and I truly think it is.  She is happiest when she is home.

I am very fortunate to be married to a man that is so sensitive to my condition and is not only supportive of when I need to get out of the house, but suggests me getting out and having some alone time or being with my friends.

Of course, being the weird person that I am, the type of "getting out" that I like to do is to work. Silly, maybe, but I enjoy earning a paycheck.  Which is why I'm happy to report that I did get that job I was previously mentioned.  My first day {orientation} is in a few days.  I am nervous, but excited all at the same time.

I'm excited about this new adventure.  I know it's the best thing for my family at this time, otherwise I don't think I would've gotten the job in the first place.

Am I being selfish by working?  I don't believe so.  Like I said before, this job opportunity really came out of nowhere for me, and I don't think that is a coincidence.  I have very specific plans for my paychecks, all of which will go to benefit my family.  So, I whole-heartedly think I'm doing the right thing.

Plus, it'll be nice to have a few non-literally stay-at-home-mom days.

Wish me luck!

March 12, 2012

MUSIC mondays: hey JULIE

Last week, my fellow blogger buddy Karen asked for suggestions on happy music.  Being the music freak that I am, I quickly put together a list of a dozen or songs that she absolutely HAD to add to her music library: 

All Summer Long - Phoebe Kreutz
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - JET
Be My Escape - Relient k
Bohemian Like You - The Dandy Warhols
Brand New Day - Joshua Radin
Closer to Free - BoDeans
Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
Dream Big - Ryan Shupe
I Run For Life - Melissa Etheridge
Kiss At the End of the Rainbow - Mighty Wind Soundtrack
New Shoes - Paolo Nutini
One Voice - The Wailin' Jennys
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Take a Chance on Me - ABBA (Erasure cover is good too)
Today was a Fairytale - Taylor Swift
When I'm With You - JJ Heller

Today, I realized I missed one very important song.  The reason why it's so important is because it was my daughter's first very favorite song.  Even before we celebrated  her first birthday, she absolutely adored listening to 

It's not an earth-shattering song by any means.  It's a cute love song about a girl named Julie.  I think my daughter was drawn to this song because of it's upbeat melody and it's simplicity overall.

Check out HEY JULIE.  According to my daughter, it'll brighten your day!

March 9, 2012


I graduated from college in 2004, earning a Bachelor's degree in Family Studies.  I also minored in Psychology.  The plan was to go on to graduate school, but life had other plans for me.

I have never professionally used my degree.  Upon graduation, I started working full-time for a large oil company in which I dealt with things that couldn't be further from what I studied day in and day out for four years.  However, my degree has never gone to waste, and I carry the things I have learned with me everyday.

The first class I took within my program was Marriage and Family Relations.  It was a lower division course, but we talked so much about many useful things, things that have helped me in my relationships {specifically my marriage}, ever since.

For example, we talked about the importance of a person's family of origin.  I remember my textbook specifically stating:  "If you want to understand someone, you must first understand his/her family of origin."  In other words, the family they were born and raised in.

I cannot even begin to explain how useful this information has been for me.  As newlyweds, my husband and I struggled at times with how to work through problems, how to communicate with each other and overall just how to live together.

A lot of our issues boiled down to how we were raised and even where we were raised.  I grew up in the city {not that Salt Lake is a huge city, but a city it is} and he grew up in a small town in Wyoming.  Our life experiences were very different.  Our parents did different things for a living and handled situations differently.  My parents hired everything out.  His family was all about the DIY.  I grew up going to the mall and seeing movies on the weekends.  The closest mall to him was 2 hours away and the first movie theater wasn't built in town until he was in high school.  In short, we had very different perspectives on life.

Despite all of our differences, though, we still get along swimmingly.  But, we're not without our disagreements.

I'll always be grateful for the knowledge I learned about the importance of one's family of origin.  It has helped me understand my husband and has helped me understand his point of view when we haven't seen eye to eye.

{Oh, and in case you're wondering, I LOVE my husband's family of origin.}

March 8, 2012

my DAY so FAR...

It's only 3:00p right now, but I already feel like today has been very successful.  

It all started when I visited with three other girls in my neighborhood.  We all got together and chatted while drinking hot chocolate while the kids played.  We discussed everything from politics to movies, and I had such a good time.  I don't know these girls very well, but I got the impression today that they could become good friends of mine.

My daughter, who is usually glued to my side, did a good job of playing with the other kids.  She still wanted me within her reach, but it was so nice to watch her socialize and be around other kids.  I've noticed that she gets along better with boys than girls, which I find interesting.

On our way home, we saw another neighbor of ours, an older woman, getting into her car.  I said hello to her, and my daughter made sure to introduce herself to her.  It was pretty cute.

When we got home, we ran a few errands and then continued enjoying the spring-ish weather by playing at the playground by our house.  We live in an HOA community, so the playground is literally steps from our front door.  As my daughter played, I read my book and loved the feeling of the warm sun on my arms and face.

For some reason, today was just a day that I needed.  A day a little bit out of the norm.  A day that was spent being social.  A day that was spent in the sunshine.

How did you spend your day today?

March 7, 2012


It was my mom's birthday on Saturday.

My daughter was in charge of the decorations.

March 6, 2012

something UNEXPECTED

It wasn't that long ago that I was working part-time at a reception center and, for the most part, enjoyed my job and the people I worked with.  The venue did all sorts of events, but for the most part we hosted happy couples on their wedding day.  It was so much fun to watch the bride and groom, to decide if I liked the wedding dress, colors and overall theme of the ocassion.  And, believe it or not, the carnival theme reception was a huge hit with guests.

Like all things, though, there were some major cons to this job.  I made next to nothing, often worked events that were severely understaffed and overall didn't get to work enough.  And, probably the most annoying part of all is that I never knew when my shift would be over which made coordinating with baby-sitters a little tricky.

In the meantime, I spent many hours scheduling and planning for baby-sitters and arranging my life so I could work my butt off only to receive a teeny tiny paycheck that wasn't available to set up on direct deposit and that I couldn't pick up until after 5:00p on payday {which was on a Friday}.  But, at least I was bringing in some money.

Then, things changed for my husband at his job.  His duties and hours changed which almost certainly guaranteed I would have to find a baby-sitter each and every time I worked.  Up until this point, he was home sometimes while I was gone and was able to watch our daughter.

We weighed our options and finally decided that, yes, what little money I did make was helpful, in the long run it was more of a hassle for me to be employed.  So, I quit.  And, let me tell you, I felt such a sense of relief when I did, but it was difficult not to have the extra cash flow, and I often found myself questioning my decision.

Well, a few weeks ago I was reading the book Building Wealth for Building the Kingdom:  A Financial Planning Guide for Latter-day Saint Families by Devin D. Thorpe, and after reading the part about dual incomes I immediately knew I had made the right decision.  In his book, Thorpe explored all the added expenses that can potentially come up when both spouses work, and pointed out that it's important to really understand if a secondary income is actually a benefit.  He touched base on a lot of things that Dustin and I discussed {baby-sitters, spending more money in gas, etc.) before we decided my job, in the long run, wasn't benefiting us to make all extra planning and effort worth the while.

So, after getting a totally unbiased, third-party stance on the matter, I, again felt like I had made the right decision.

Imagine my surprise when I very suddenly and randomly had the thought to look at a major retailer's website to see if they were hiring.  And, after looking at this website many times before {and being completely sure they would not be hiring}, imagine my surprise when I learned they were hiring.  And imagine my surprise when less than 12 hours after completing the online application, I had an interview.

It is times like this, when it's as though the stars all align and things magically fall into place, that I know I'm going in the right direction.  I don't always know why I'm given impressions to do certain things {like suddenly apply for a new job}, but I've had enough experiences like this to know it's not a coincidence.

To be continued.....

P.S. If anyone would like to read Thorpe's book, let me know.  He's giving away free copies to any of my readers that would like to be financially enlightened!  {FYI, it's an e-book for a Kindle.  I don't have a Kindle and was able to read it on my iPad}.

March 5, 2012


As far as I'm concerned, the radios here in good ol' Salt Lake City are pretty horrible.  Unless, of course, you're a Lady Gaga fan and don't mind listening to her songs over and over and over again.  If you're not a fan of the singer whose outfits get more ridiculous by the minute, listening to the radio is usually not the right place for you to find good music.  {This is why I have the music from One Tree Hill bookmarked.  Seriously, a great source for finding new music.}

Obviously, there are exceptions to all things, and there have been a few songs that have stolen my heart that I first heard on the radio.  And, while each of them have been over played every single day since their release, they still manage to make me happy, and, more importantly, a place in one of my iTunes playlists.

Here are a few examples:

by Train

I love music that is positive and happy.  This song is definitely happy music.  The lyrics are adorable, and even though the song is about love it's not depressing.  If you haven't heard this song before, I'd like to personally welcome you to Earth.

I'm not a huge fan of country music, but this song is one that makes me feel good.  And, when music makes me feel good why deny it, right?  Sure, it doesn't hurt that I completely admire Swift and her amazing talent and the way she totally changed the way we {or at least I} think of country music.

Because this song was first released shortly after I graduated from high school, I'm going to blame my youth on why I love and adore this song.  Plain and simple.

So, there you have it:  songs I hate to love.  What about you?  Have any songs like this?
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