September 8, 2015


Over Labor Day weekend, my family and I went to Conestoga Ranch in Garden City, Utah.  We had an absolutely fabulous time, and if you're into the idea of "Glamping" you'd enjoy it, too!  Plus, it's just a short drive to Bear Lake, other restaurants, raspberry stands, etc.

We stayed in deluxe tents.  Our tent had a queen size bed and two twin beds with plenty of room to spare.  Each tent has it's own picnic table, fire pit and chairs.  The employees will even make a fire for you!


All of our bedding and towels were provided.

This building housed a convenience type store and about a dozen or more bathrooms, some of which included showers.  Soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc., was all included.

We embraced the glamping lifestyle and did not bring any of our own food because there was a restaurant just a stones throw away from our tent.  The food was fabulous, and is actually open to the public even if you aren't spending the night at the ranch.  I loved how open it was.

The ranch also has a few other sleeping options.  One is the a grand tent.  We would've stayed in one of these had there been availability when we booked.  I heard these have electricity.

You can also stay in one of these wagons.  

We had a lovely time, and may have found a new Labor Day family tradition.

September 4, 2015

She'll only be LITTLE ONCE

I feel like I've been posting a lot about my house lately, but this is something I have been wanting to write about for awhile.

Pinterest is a really great tool for getting ideas for practically anything.  When my oldest daughter was growing out of her nursery and ready for a "big girl room" I went to Pinterest to get ideas on how I wanted her room to look.  I really wanted it to be light, bright and modern without an overload of characters - Disney Princesses, My Little Pony, etc.  I especially didn't want character bedding.

I pinned this picture and thought it was adorable.

But, my daughter had a different idea.  She wanted My Little Pony Bedding.  She wanted her My Little Pony coloring pages displayed on her wall, and she organized and taped them on to her wall ALL BY HERSELF.  In a nutshell, she wanted her room to be a reflection of who she is, not who I am.  That's what MY room is for.

As much as I hoped for a Pinterest-worthy room, that's not how things were meant to be.  And, I'm learning that that is okay.  I'll probably frame her pictures just so they're protected a bit more, but other than that, the room will stay as is.  

She'll only be little once.

September 3, 2015


There was a time not long ago that our house was sort of in disarray.  We were in the process of moving the girls into the same bedroom and transitioning the nursery into a play room.  Things didn't quite go according to plan (life, amiright?), so things got a little disorganized.

Okay, so it really wasn't that bad.  But, it did stress me out and give me a bit of anxiety.  Again, not anxiety like I know other people experience, but, in all honesty, it was sort of a depressing time for me.

I know that sounds weird, but it was sort of an eye-opening experience for me.  I learned that I really get bothered by clutter and am somewhat obsessive when it comes to everything having a place.  I don't think I'm unhealthy about it all.  But, if we don't use something I get rid of it and never look back!

Over the past few weeks, I've worked on certain areas of the house that have needed a little TLC.  That "one drawer" that everyone seems to have in their kitchen now has bamboo organization boxes.  I've never used drawer organizers like these before {shocking, I know!}, but they really help keep things in place and prevents items from being stored unnecessarily.  Our oil drawer was also in need of a face lift.  My daughter helped me label each bottle, making it much easier to find whatever oil I'm looking for.

The laundry room was in need of some serious help.  I have learned that I love things to be up off the floor, if at all possible.  It makes things so much easier to keep neat and organized.  I'm secretly in love with these hooks.

Another view of the laundry room.  We found these shelves at Walmart and the storage boxes at Ross.  They have revolutionized this room.  Dustin questioned whether we'd be able to keep things organized, and I can honestly say we have!  For me, the trick really is having a designated spot for everything and not holding on to things that aren't needed.

The laundry room may or may not be my favorite room in my entire house.

I still have a few projects, one drawer in particular, that aren't quite finished.  After that, I'll begin the painful job of decorating.  We've been in this house for over a year and our walls are still mostly bare.  I just can't seem to commit to any one idea.  Any suggestions are appreciated!

September 2, 2015


Sometimes I think the Internet is exploding with examples of how good we are at certain things.

So, I decided to change that by posting two examples of things I, in all sincerity, cannot do:  shuffle cards and draw.

I attribute my poor shuffling skills to having small hands.  For reals, my hands haven't grown since 5th grade.  Maybe everyone's hands stop growing at that age.  I'm not really sure.  All I know is that I have small hands; therefore, I cannot shuffle cards.

Another thing I cannot do is draw.  Exhibit A is my best attempt at drawing a cat.  Clearly, I have no talent in this area.  Like, absolutely no talent at all.

In some ways, I find it fascinating to think about how we're all really good at certain things, and horrible at others.  I'm sure, with some time and effort, I could learn to shuffle cards appropriately and draw a cat that actually looks like a cat.  But, I really don't want to.  So far, I've survived life without talent in those areas, and maybe it's best to just leave it to other people and focus on the things I can do.

What are some things that you can't do?

August 24, 2015

MUSIC mondays: {White Night}

Here's a new band I discovered a few days ago.  The POSTELLES.

I really like their sound because it's upbeat and fun and overall I just get a good positive vibe when I listen to this song.

If I were to ever host a party at my house, this is the type of music we'd all be dancing to.

August 22, 2015

a change in PRIORITIES: {FAMILY dinner}

Shortly after LL was born, I found a new job.  I was so happy to go back to work after a brief hiatus.  The only downside was there was a three-hour gap between when I had to be at work and when Dustin got home.  So, we hired a baby-sitter.  It was a really good arrangement and was still cost effective for me to work despite having to pay a sitter.

A year later, I had the opportunity to change my hours and completely eliminate the need for a sitter.  Basically, I would leave for work the minute Dustin got home.  It also meant I would be gone during dinner time and not get home until after the girls were in bed.  It was a lot to think about, but ultimately, Dustin and I decided to give the new schedule a go.

A few months ago, it was obvious the schedule wasn't working for our family anymore.  The lack of quality time spent together was proving to be too much, and I knew something needed to change. 

Months prior, I had read a quote by Elder L. Tom Perry.  It read:

"Never let a day go by without holding family prayer and family scripture study.  Put this, the Lord's program to the test; and see if it does not bless your home with greater peace, hope, love, and faith."

This simple piece of advice kept entering my mind, and I knew incorporating family prayer and scripture study into our daily routine would be the key to positive change within our home.

So, even though it meant less income, I rearranged my schedule so that our family could eat dinner together every single night.  I also decided that dinnertime would be the perfect time to read the scriptures together.  It was also the perfect time to have our family prayer.

Our dinner begins at 4:30.  We all sit at the table, say our prayer, and while we eat, Dustin or I read the scriptures.  After dinner, we clean the kitchen together, spend what available time is left talking together, and then exactly one hour from when Dustin got home, I'm heading out the door.  The change was literally that basic.

Now, a few weeks later, I am in awe of the changes I have seen and felt in our home.  It is undeniable.  Truly, I have witnessed greater peace, hope, love, and faith - just as Elder Perry described.

Now, full disclosure, when I say "read the scriptures together" I really mean "read a scripture together."  And, LL is usually only involved in the process long enough to look at her dinner, decide it looks revolting and immediately retreat to her room to play.  Please don't mistake our hour of quality time as perfect.  Because it's not, and it never will be.

But, the point is, we're trying.

How thankful I am for the small and simple things of life.  They really do make all the difference.

August 20, 2015

the's NO PLACE like HOME

For my daughter's sixth birthday, Dustin and I took her to Disneyland for the first time.  It was the perfect time to go because we could escape the cold Utah weather and she wouldn't miss a day of school.

The part I was dreading the most, the long drive from SLC to Anaheim ended up being the best part of the entire trip.

My daughter greatly disliked Disneyland with the exception of meeting the princesses and fairies.

In all fairness, the park was extremely busy.  And, with all the many things to see and do, after an hour into our second day, she had reached  her limit.  As we made our way back to the hotel, I thought about all the time and money we invested into this trip, hoping it would be a wonderful birthday weekend, only to be disappointed with her lack of enthusiasm. 

Every year, I take my girls' pictures at the exact moment they were born.  Back in the hotel room, I compared the picture of from this year to the one from the year before.  Exhaustion and stress at Disneyland.  Complete joy at our house.

Luckily, I had a friend in the area that had an annual pass to Disneyland, so while Dustin and Isabelle spent the day in the hotel I went back to the park with her.  It definitely was not how I planned the trip to go, but ultimately that's how things worked out.

Dustin sent me pictures of them hanging at the hotel, and Isabelle was the happiest she'd been all weekend.  I'd always known her to be a home body, but I didn't think she'd pick home over the so-called Happiest Place on Earth.

I suppose you could argue I have an ungrateful child, and to a certain extent you may be right.  However, I took away so much more from this trip than I ever expected.  I learned that my daughter does not need much to be happy.  In fact, less really is more in her eyes.  I also learned that there's no other place Isabelle would rather be than at home.

And, I guess, that's not really bad thing.

In the meantime, we'll save our pennies and keep birthdays here low-key and in the comfort of our own home.


August 19, 2015


Dustin's favorite musician is Melissa Etheridge.  He's seen her five times in the last four years.  Whenever she tours in SLC or a neighboring state, we get tickets.  She is an amazing performer, and if you're into concerts, you'd love seeing her live.  She puts on a great show.

Anyway, the last time we saw her was earlier this month - just two days after we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  Obviously, the perfect present I could get Dustin was for Melissa to wish him a Happy Anniversary during her concert.

So, I went to Twitter because if you want something done, you tweet about it!

I sent maybe three or four tweets within a two day span.  Nothing major.  I wasn't really expecting anything to become of it, but at the same time I didn't feel like my efforts were all in vain.

So, the day of the concert, I sent one final tweet.  Once at the venue, we found our seats and had a KILLER view.  We were five rows back and the microphone was directly in front of us.  When Melissa came out onto the stage, she was so close I could see her fingernails.  It was perfect.

Then, during the show, someone yelled "It's my birthday, Melissa."  So, she, of course, said happy birthday.  And then she said, "I'm supposed to wish Dustin a Happy 10 year anniversary."

We were dying.  I couldn't believe she (or one of her "people") saw my tweets and actually followed through with my request. 

We immediately stood  on our feet and screamed, and since we were so close, she totally saw us.   She threw one of her guitar picks in our direction, but it fell short and the person in front of us caught it.

It was the coolest night ever.  I was so happy my crazy idea actually worked.  I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to give Dustin a better gift, so I'm calling it good for the duration of our marriage.


August 18, 2015


I've been known to say a lot of stupid things.  I don't have "Foot-In-Mouth" disease {#gottalovejoe}, but on more than one occasion I have said things that make absolutely no sense and defy logic.

And, honestly, I can't think of a single reason why I shouldn't publicly share a few of the idiotic things I've said over the years with all of you!


While watching a TV show with my friends, during a commercial break and nearing the end of one of the commercials I said: 
"Next will either be the show or another commercial."

During our "Just Friends" stage, when Dustin asked if I had any tape {meaning packing tape}
my response was:
"Well, I have....tape {meaning, scotch tape}.
He knew exactly what I meant.
When mentioning the last time I ate, I said:
"I haven't eaten"

When telling a story about my two roommates I said:
"Karen and What's-Her-Face were both there."
{Both of my roommates were named Karen}

And, in 2006, I resurrected the term "I don't give a care."
Thankfully, that only lasted a day.


I'm hoping my randomness eventually makes it way to one of my kids.  I'm guessing it'll strike Isabelle, but, who knows, LL could throw me a curve ball.

Either way, you'll be laughing!

August 17, 2015

MUSIC mondays: JAMMIN' in the CAR

I really, really hope my daughters learn to love music as much as I do.  Music is something that I feel very passionate about, and so I try to make sure the three of us always listen to music at least one time throughout the day.  Usually, we do this while driving in the car.  And, I like to listen to my music loud, and, thankfully, my girls do too.  Here are a few of our favorites!

Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

I'm not gonna lie:  I hate loving this song, but it's a good song.  It just is.  In fact, the girls and I love a lot of songs from this album.

This song was one of my Pretty Little Liar finds.  Luckily, I began watching that show otherwise I never would have found this song.  LL loves to clap along to this song, and I'm confident that one day she'll be on beat.

Skipping Stones by Claire De Lune

Another Pretty Little Liar find.  The best part about this song is around 1:52.  Isabelle just starts to belt out the lyrics.  It's awesome.

August 14, 2015

THINGS that made me SMILE this week

Most mornings, I wake up looking like this

Not only looking, but feeling beautiful and ready to conquer the world

However, completely out of the blue and totally random, one day this week, I awoke from my peaceful slumber looking a bit more like this

So, naturally, I ate a piece of cake for breakfast.

As I was enjoying my healthy breakfast, my two-year old daughter, LL, approached me with a smile.  She gently caressed my hair with her small hand, looked directly into my eyes and said, "You look so pretty, Mama!"

Is there really anything more to life than that?

Another day, my oldest daughter, Isabelle, found her set of toy instruments.  She began walking around the house playing the Triangle.  You know, the Triangle.  There's usually only one Triangle instrument per orchestra because there's no need for more than one.  One is plenty loud. 

Eventually, she made her way into the office where I was taking care of a few things on the computer.

Literally inches from my ear, she asked excitedly, "Can you hear me?!"

I immediately stopped what I was doing and reassured her that, yes, I could hear her playing just fine all while trying so hard not to laugh out loud.


And these, my friends, {#johnmccain} are just two examples of things that made me smile this week.

August 13, 2015

{TEN things} you NEVER KNEW you ALWAYS wanted to KNOW about ME

I love macaroni and cheese.  Be it homemade or from a box, it's all winning.

I loathe small talk.  Seriously, it's the worst.  Let's just jump right into all my personal problems, hopes, dreams and fears.

I'm a total hipster snob when it comes to music.

I love to make people laugh.

My love language is Words of Affirmation.

I really don't understand the point of celery.

The term "clean eating" makes my skin crawl.

I once wrote a book with my friend.  We were both in the 2nd or 3rd grade at the time.  It was about a magical land with a chocolate river.  I'm pretty sure one of the characters was a popsicle.

I wouldn't consider the fact that I have the song "Careless Whisper" stuck in my head at this very moment a weird and/or bad thing.

I dream of having a legit vinyl collection.  One day.


I hope whatever you do with this useless information makes your day better!

July 7, 2015

JULY memories {day 6: NEW YORK}

In October 2007, Dustin and I visited New York.  Hands down, my favorite trip on which we've been.

We did mostly touristy stuff (Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square), so next time I find myself in that neck of the country, I hope to explore lesser known areas.

I will live in NYC one day.  I don't know when or why or how, but I will.

July 6, 2015

JULY memories {day 5: TEMPLE tour}

Back in October 2011, Isabelle was especially interested in the LDS temples.  At the time, she could see the Bountiful temple just outside our front door.

Dustin and I had the idea to drive to Provo and take a picture of every temple we saw on our way back.  We did this in conjunction with one of the sessions of General Conference, and it was a great way to spend our time while listening to the talks.  Here are the temples we saw on our trip:

Provo City Center Temple.  Still under construction.

Provo Temple

Mount Timpanogos Temple

Draper Temple

Oqurrih Mountain Temple

Jordan River Temple

Salt Lake City Temple.  {I took this from the freeway, and I still think it's a decent picture.}

Last, the Bountiful Temple.

Even though this day was a few years ago, I still remember thinking how lovely of a time it was.  I definitely want to do this again!

July 5, 2015

JULY memories {day 4: DISNEYLAND}

We celebrated our first and second anniversaries in Disneyland.  We had a blast both times.

I wish I realized in the moment how precious these days really were.  Our lives are so different nowadays.  We rarely see each other during the week due to varying work schedules, kids, etc., so these memories are especially fond. 

If I were to give a newlywed couple any advice, one of the things I would suggest would be to get into the habit of spending quality time together.  Plan ahead for it, as it most likely won't magically appear.  It is so important.

July 4, 2015

JULY memories {day 3: the DAY we made our DOGS be PATRIOTIC}

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

This is July 4, 2007.  Dustin and I had lived in our house in Idaho Falls for a little over six months.  We didn't have any kids at the time; however, we did have a lot of time on our hands.

Which is why we {really, it was just me} took patriotic photos of our dogs.

I mean, seriously.  How in the world we got Tod to sit like that long enough for me to snap his picture is a mystery even to this day.

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