Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

Today I taught in Relief Society. Being a member of the presidency I get to pick my topic when I teach and since it is December and all I went with a Christmas theme.

There is so much to Christmas and so much that can be covered that at first I was overwhelmed. BUT as I read story after story I couldn't help but think that knowing WHAT the Christmas Spirit is and HOW we can have the Christmas spirit would make this Christmas so much better. :o)

So, two things. FIRST I want to share part of my lesson with you. There is a story that President Thomas S. Monson has shared on a few occasions that really struck home for me, it goes like this:



Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.
It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around the ticket counters conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated.  They too wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books. If there was a common bond among this diverse throng it was loneliness: pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness.




The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more passengers stayed behind than made it aboard.




Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.




Then there was a man in a finely-tailored gray flannel suit, who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork: figuring the year-end corporate profits perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby observing this busy man might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.




Suddenly the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.




The agent wearily told him that prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas, his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy, not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk casting anxious looks around the crowded room, as if seeking just one friendly face.




Finally the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. The travelers who had been waiting long hours heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: 20, 30, 100, until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.




Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”




As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.


No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.

This story so perfectly shows what I feel should be the focal point of the Christmas spirit - Christ-like love. It is so hard to develop this, but when we do have the opportunity to share that love and to develop it in our hearts we will be blessed.

And SECOND I want to share with you the printable that I'm printing out for my sisters to help remind them of Christmas this year. Enjoy! :o)

CLICK HERE to download a pdf of this printable - for personal use only.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratitude

I have so many things to be grateful for this year. I have an amazing husband, an adorable daughter, a supportive family, fabulous siblings, supportive friends, a good job, I'm healthy, I have a house to live in, and I have the gospel of Jesus Christ to light my way.

So many things to be grateful for this year. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. I hope all y'all will take a minute to think of what you are grateful for this year while you stuff your face with turkey.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My most favoritist stuffing

So, there are some things at the holidays that I just have to have to eat. My mom has an Apricot-Craisin Stuffing that makes my heart oh so happy. I have decided to share it with the world because the world needs this stuffing. It is THAT good.

So, here you go:

Mom's Apricot - Craisin Stuffing                                                              350 degrees - 30 min.
 
1 - 10 oz. pkj. Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing (make sure it is cube style)
1/3c. butter
1c. chopped onion
1c. chopped celery
1 - 14 oz. can chicken broth
1c. finely chopped dried apricots
1c. craisins
1c. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
 
Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add chicken broth heat until very warm.  (do not boil) In a large mixing bowl pour in stuffing, celery, apricots, craisins and nuts. Pour broth mixture over top.  Toss lightly, do not over stir. Pour into a 13 x 9" cake pan. Cover with foil or lid. Bake 20 minutes.  Take foil off and cook 10 minutes more.

Happy Thanksgiving EVE!!!

Happy Thanksgiving eve everybody!

This year Allan and I are hosting his Mom, Gary, his brother Peter, his brother Fred and his wife Judith. We're very excited to have family over and to get to play games and eat good food. :o)

I have been posting pictures of my prep and such on Instagram and thought I'd share them with you.

On Monday I made Cranberry-Pomegranate sauce. I love this recipe!
Here we have my FAVORITE Cranberry Jello Salad. It's not Thanksgiving for me without this salad. We also have the brine I'm using for our turkey that I got at a turkey farm here in Ogden.


This is LeRoy the turkey. Yes we named him. It makes everything so much more exciting. :o)

And here's LeRoy in his brine bath.
So there you go. The beginnings of Thanksgiving dinner. I'll be posting many more pics over the next few days - we have friends and family coming over Friday and Saturday and we're going to play and decorate and do all sorts of fun things. :o) I'm excited!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Life keeps on happening

I keep thinking I'll take time to update this little blog, and then I keep on doing other things. :)

Life has been busy lately for me and Allan. We work all day and play all night. Our "playing" consists of doing anything from working out and watching to TV, to going to a performance at Weber State and having ice cream afterwards. We're enjoying our many, many adventures! :o)

Since my last post we have enjoyed making new friends and hanging out with them, running in a color 5k to celebrate the inaugration of the new WSU president, going to the Imagine Dragons concert at WSU and celebrating Halloween with one trick-or-treater stopping by our house.

Like I said, life has been busy! I post lots of fun things on Instagram, so you really should follow me there. ;)

ANYWHO. We're getting excited for Lindy to come visit us at Christmas time - hard to believe that Christmas is less than 6 weeks away at this point! I'm excited to see Christmas through a toddler's eyes and for the magic of the holidays to be extra present in our house.

In other news, Allan and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year with his Mom and Step-Dad, Brother and Sister-in-Law and other brother all coming to dinner. The total number of people at our house will be seven and it should be fun times! I'm going to brine a turkey and I'll try to be better at posting so I can tell you all the adventures that will surely bring. :o)

That's about it around these parts - I'll just throw some pictures below of our recent happenings and will try to be better at posting. :) Life is fun!!!!

us at the end of the color run 5k we participated in

what I did at Super Saturday - oh and it should be noted that I am now the RS First Counselor and Allan is a Gospel Doctrine teacher. :) We've been put to work!

Imagine Dragons concert! It was AWESOME!!!

We were Mario and Princess Peach for Halloween. :)

I may or may not have ruined Allan's hair when trying to use our new hair clippers. I may or may not have cried.

Funny faces time on FaceTime.

We have new friends! There are a 4 other newlywed couples besides us in the ward.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Adventures lately....



Well. We are living in our new house. :o) It only took a few days…but they finally got the water pipes fixed, the right size fridge and all appliances installed. Now there are just a few other things to be done, but those aren’t necessary to be able to live in the house. HUZZAH! 

We’ve been unpacking and cleaning and unpacking….and there’s still more unpacking to do, but I’m happy that we live closer to our works. It is fabulous. We’ve been to our ward once and we felt very welcomed and are very excited about putting down some roots and making friends. Hurray for adventures!

We’ve had a lot of time with Lindy the past few weeks, she left for Canada yesterday morning and we won’t see her again until Christmas. We tried to jam-pack our time with her with all the fun things we could think of and I think we succeeded in making some fun memories. We look forward to seeing her in just a few months (and all the skyping in-between no and then.)
There’s a Children’s Treehouse Museum in Ogden that is so much fun and has all sorts of things to do and so we decided to spend our last Saturday with Lindy going there and playing. Lindy had a blast. That place is seriously so awesome. We love it. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve probably seen all these photos, but if not here they are again. ;)

Lindy and Daddy building towers

Lindy the train conductor!

Cowgirl Lindy

Princess Lindy and Prince Daddy

Princess Lindy and all her funny, funny faces.

Firefighter Lindy

Lindy the bunny in the Participlay



We seriously had so much fun at the Treehouse Museum. After dinner, we went back for a special "Enchanted Forest" adventure. They had costumed characters all through the museum and the kids were led by a character to learn and help characters in need. It was adorable and so much fun. Lindy dressed up as a fairy:





Anyways, it was all fun times. To leave you, I will give you two videos of the adorableness of Lindy:

 
Lindy Skipping. Seriously impressive for a 3.5 year old


Lindy playing several musical instruments. So fun!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Moving Adventures

So, we moved this weekend. YAY!!!!!

However, we are not yet actually LIVING in our new place. :(

See, our new place (as awesome and lovely it is) went through some renovations right before we moved in (yay!). Due to these renovations, the water was turned off. It has not been turned back on yet. This is a problem in most daily needs.

Also, our lovely new fridge does not fit in the space that the old fridge fit in. There is a small (probably 8 inches or less) cupboard that seperated the fridge and stove...and it must go for the fridge to fit. The landlord is supposed to take care of all of this today. I hope.

Allan is easy going that all of this just rolls off of him and he's handling it really well. I'm a planner and this whole situation throws me into a tailspin.  sigh.  Lucky me to have a husband who can deal with this because I'm going crazy.

All of this will be worth it in the end...I'm just hoping the end is sooner rather than later......

Hopefully the next time I post, we'll be sleeping in our new place. :o)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Just keep packing, just keep packing, just keep packing.....

You might remember back in July when I posted about leaving my current job and getting a new one. 

Allan and I knew that as soon as I got a new job we would start to look for a place to live that was within a reasonable distance of our works. With both Allan and I working in the Ogden, UT area we started looking in Weber county for somewhere to live. When life slowed down a little bit (ha! like it ever slows down...) we finally made it out and about to look at a couple of places.

The second place we looked at we fell in love with it immediately. The guy renting it out is wanting to retire and hasn't really dealt with it for almost a year. He was in the middle of renovating the whole place. New carpet, new paint, new appliances, etc. It's a 2-bedroom, 2-bath place that is perfect for our little family. We talked about it, slept on it, and the next day got him our contract and part of the deposit. The great thing is this guy really wants to get out of renting and is willing to sell us the place - so we're looking at purchasing it. :o)

So now....we're packing. All day, all night - all I can think about is all the stuff we have to move. :P The good news is that I don't think we'll have to move for a long time yet after this move. At least, I hope that's the case - because 3 moves in one year is 3 moves too many in my opinion. ;)

Saturday can't come and go soon enough! :-)

How we got a whole household full of furniture for next to nothing...

So, this post is a long time coming, I know. Life is busy around these parts! What with moving...(yup. Moving. A post will be coming shortly [i think] about that.) and playing and all sorts of other things, I just haven't had time.

ANYWAYS. Back in June, Allan's Aunt Beth texted him some pictures of some really nice furniture....and asked us if we wanted their entire dining room set (which included a table with leaf extenders, 6 chairs, a china cabinet and a buffet table). Then she asked if we wanted their couch and loveseat. THEN she asked if we wanted the bedroom set (including the bed + mattress, man dresser and woman dresser + vanity.) The only catch was that we would need to get down to the Palm Springs area of California and rent a moving truck and drive back all that furniture. We thought it out - and decided that we'd never get a deal like this again (plus we could sell all of our old furniture) and finally said yes!

After switching dates a couple of times, we drove off one Friday afternoon in a cute red Ford Focus we rented from the car rental. We got to Palm Springs just fine and the next morning got our rental truck and returned the car. Aunt Beth had not only all that furniture for us, but other odds and ends for us to take as well. Our 16' moving truck was very full! The great things is that Aunt Beth gave us some money to help make the trip and also hired movers to pack up the moving truck for us.  We then drove home Sunday and with some fun adventures on the way (like getting pulled over for "not paying for our gas" [we did pay for it]) we got home and got everything unloaded.

We now have a very full house of furniture - since we knew we'd be moving so soon we didn't unpack a lot of the stuff - and the china cabinet is in two pieces in Lindy's bedroom. :o) BUT it makes me very excited to get all moved and organized in our new place. :o)

the "buffet" table

the china cabinet and one of the chairs from the table set


*I'll try to post more pictures when we move into our new place - maybe you'll even get a tour! (don't hold your breath waiting for that.....)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Nightstand: a DIY project

So, once upon a time, I made a goal to refinish my nightstand.

I had weeks to get it done, so of course I procrastinated until 4 days before my husband got home. :o)

The only before pic I have are from a long time ago... (I am really bad at taking before pics, I need to be better...)

BEFORE:





So the wood was this honey oak color. The nightstand is long and kind of awkward. OH! and it has a drawer.

After much deliberation, I decided some spray paint, a stencil, and new hardware for the drawer would fix my dislike of this nightstand.

So....here are some in process pics (which I'm also bad at taking. lol.)

DURING:


I wasn'tsure how much of the stencil I wanted to put on there...but here are the results of my DIY-ness...

AFTER:

I LOVE how the drawer turned out. Makes me so happy. I debated trying to stencil the bottom shelf...but decided it would be too hard. eh. oh well.

Now I have the problem that this nightstand is unnecessary due to the fact that we got a whole house full of furniture...but that's a story for another post. :o)

ANYWHO...I've decided I love spray paint. It makes me happy. the end.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Smithfield Shenanigans

This weekend Allan, Lindy, and I all went up toSmithfield to spend some time with Allan's side of the family. We had lots of fun adventures including seeing Monsters University at the dollar theater, having a picnic/BBQ in the park, and going to see Grandpa Gary's corn. 

Gary is a farmer here in Smithfield and I am always impressed by the hard work at he puts into his livelihood. Allan and I took a little drive out to parts of the farm to see how his corn was growing, and it looks amazing!!


The corn is super tall and is looking great! 

In love going up to Smithfield because it is always so nice, quiet and relaxing. Sure the winters are crazy cold, but it's a beautiful place. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New job + my husband is home!!!!!

So on August first I has my first day of work at my new job!!

I wore cute clothes:

And had a blast!! I am now a week into it, and I can say honestly that this was a great move for me. The people are nice, a little crazy, but that's normal for college professors. :) I have fun perks that make Allan and I really excited to move up to Weber County. 

At the end of my second day of work, I got to see my hubby!!!!!!

We had a wedding reception for a really good dancing friend of ours, but after that Allan took me home to quite the romantic evening. :)


A trail of roses from the front door, down the stairs, and into the room where the bed was also covered in rose petals. It was the most romantic thing (besides proposing) that Allan has ever done for me. So sweet. He also got me flowers that have been on my desk this last week. 


We spent the rest of our weekend real ing as much as possible. :) I am not going to lie, it is absolutely amazing to have him home. :)



31 for 31: Day Thirty-One

Today was my last day before starting my new job. I spent the day out with my sister shopping and then playing games with her and her husband.  So fun!!


Top: teal downeast with pink lace top
Bottom: black short slacks
Shoes: teal sandals
I loved pairing the teal with pink lace!!! I wish I had done it earlier. Oh we'll. I have also realized that this shirt had met it's end. It's showing a lot of wear and tear and it is time to move on.  


This marked the end of my challenge.  It was so fun!!! But I don't think that I will do it again anytime soon. 

31 for 31: Day Thirty

So....I kind of cheated this day. I didn't wear an outfit from my clothes. I spent the whole day in yoga pants and a t-shirt spray painting my nightstand.  (Post to come on that) 

After that I spent the rest of the night in dance clothes. So....no real outfit today. Oh well. 

31 for 31: Day Twenty-Nine


Top: gray empire top with orange downeast
Bottom: blue chambray slacks
Shoes: gray keds

This was....ok. Didn't love this top with these shoes. Oh well. :)

31 for 31: Day Twenty-Eight

So....I got a little side tracked what with starting a new job and my hubby coming home... But! I did finish this challenge.  So let me show you the rest of the outfits!


Top: gray striped button up 
Bottom: brown pencil skirt
Shoes: white heeled sandals


 Loved this outfit.  It was cute and comfy. :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

31 for 31: Day Twenty-seven


Top: gray t-shirt
Bottom: teal damask maxi skirt
Shoes: teal sandals

 I loved this together. So comfy and yet cute at the same time!! 

31 for 31: Day Twenty-five


Top: coral button-up
Bottom: teal damask maxi skirt
Shoes: coral sandals

This was my last day of work outfit. :) I bought these items to be worn together and I love them. 

31 for 31: Day Twenty-six


Top: black downeast and pink lace top
Bottom: black suit shorts
Shoes: teal sandals

I don't think I've ever worn this short over anything nut white or pink. I think I like it over black. I think I might need for try it over my teal downeast. :)

31 for 31: Day Twenty-four


Top: white downeast and floral lace top
Bottom: jean shorts
Shoes: coral sandals

This worked better than I though it would. I tend to want to wear this top with leggings, but I thought it worked pretty well with the shorts. 

31 for 31: Day Twenty-three


Top: blue button top
Bottom: jean shorts
Shoes: coral sandals

I really love my coral sandals. They are my favorite shoes. :)

31 for 31: Day Twenty-two


Top: white downeast with cream lace top
Bottom: green eyelet skirt
Shoes: coral sandals

This worked. I think. :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

End of an Era

We interrupt my little 31 for 31 challenge posts with a post about life.

Today is the end of an era around these parts. See....I'm leaving my current employment - a place where I have been for four and a half years to move on to other things.

See, back at the end of May Allan was basically handed a new job that was what he was doing when we were dating just as a civilian contractor instead of being on military orders. Even though it's way up North - it was a 30% increase in income and would help further his career. Allan took the job and started June 1st.

I had looked around and interviewed a little bit here and there for new opportunities, but nothing ever seemed to work out. Shortly after Allan took his new job we had a conversation about what we want for our future and what not. Commuting is not something either of us enjoy, so soon after Allan started working, I started applying for jobs in the same area as Allan's employment. I had 1 phone interview (which didn't work out because the job paid a lot less than I was willing to accept), 1 in person interview (which is slightly comical and I knew I didn't get the job before I even left the office) and THEN I had this amazing interview at for a job and I felt SO GOOD about it. They offered me the job 2.5 weeks ago and I start August 1st!

I'm so excited for my new job opportunity and the wonderful things that will come from this job. I'll get the chance to learn and grow some more and use the skills I already have to help out my new employer. It's going to be good and it feels so right.

Today is my last day at my current job. I've been here for so long and it's been my second home that it feels weird to be leaving it. Kind of like leaving behind school and my single life in a lot of ways. Even though I got married while at this job - it still feels like it's tied to my single life/post college days in so many ways. I'm excited to start a new adventure and get to create my identity as a married woman - my maiden name won't really ever come up. :o) (not that I don't love being connected to my maiden name - it's an identity thing though...)

ANYWAYS.

Changes abound in our household and it's fun and exciting. I keep trying to imagine life five-ten years down the road and it's just so weird to think about. I'm so excited to spend the rest of my life figuring things out with my best friend. :o)

Ciao y'all!

P.S. Only 8 more sleeps without my husband. :o) He'll get home on my 2nd day of work of my new job. woo hoo!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

31 for 31: Day Twenty-One


Top: teal patterned empire top
Bottom: black strapless dress
Shoes: teal sandals

I was really excited about this outfit. It so totally worked and made me happy. 

Also, Alan has now been gone longer than the days until he gets back. 12 more days. One more weekend. I am so thrilled to have my husband back. :)

31 for 31: DayTwenty


Top: white downeast and striped button up
Bottom: brown cargo capris
Shoes: gray keds

I almost cheated today. I spent most of the day cleaning and I really didn't want to put on real clothes. This sort of worked. Maybe. I also kind of felt like I was 12. :) oh well. At least I didn't cheat :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

31 for 31: Day Nineteen


Top: gray empire with pink tank and teal belt
Bottom: black dress shorts
Shoes: gray keds 

Okay. Definitely over this style of shirt. Comfy? Yes. Flattering? Not these days....also, those shorts? Too big. Sigh. Pretty much I'm getting to the point where this challenge is harder and I am realizing how not flattering a lot of my clothes are now that I've lost weight and things. :P first world problems right?? Oh we'll c'est la vie. 

In other news Allan will be home in 2 weeks and I am oh so excited!!!!!


31 for 31: Day Eighteen


Top: orange downeast with orange lace shirt
Bottom: jean shorts with teal belt
Shoes: gray keds

I think I have decided that I am over this style of shirt. I don't think it flatters me anymore. Also, I don't love the orange under orange lace. Eh. Oh we'll.