do what makes you happy. be with who makes you smile. laugh as much as you breathe. love as long as you live.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sacrifice in Service

My visiting teaching message this week was all about Elder Robert D. Hale's talk about sacrifice in service. Then turns out today that the talk was also the message shared in Relief Society! It was a wonderful lesson, where we talked about a few of the amazing examples of sacrifice we've seen (Christ, Abinadi, etc.) and also the small but important daily sacrifices we make and we see others make around us. It was great especially because of the experience Ray and I had this weekend:

It was our turn again to help clean the church on Saturday morning. I had neglected a lot of schoolwork this week and was far behind, and was also anxious to find some garage sales early Saturday morning to look for dining chairs. Because of these, I was not looking forward to serving the Lord and my fellow members of my ward by cleaning away my Saturday morning. I knew I was needed though, so I reluctantly drag myself out of bed at 7:15AM to go help clean. The work was light, and it went by quickly, I need not have grumbled about it.

After cleaning, we left and began searching for yard sale signs. While many people were out selling, no one had what we wanted. Ultimately we came to a garage full of furniture, but lacked any people around it. We saw four chairs, that we knew would perfectly match our table and had an 'X' style back like we had wanted. Ray got out of the car and went to look at them. They had '$20' stickers on them, so we approached the door of the home and timidly asked if they were going to be selling the items on the driveway. To our surprise, the man told us he was giving it away and anything we wanted was ours. We were so excited! We took the chairs gratefully, and also ended up renting a UHaul to bring home a gorgeous solid wood entertainment center. It was amazing.

As I thought about the events of yesterday during Relief Society today, I realized the Lord had provided for us what we needed, even though it was just a small, silly thing like the kitchen chairs we like. I'm so grateful my Heavenly Father always comes through for me and blesses me with the things I stand in need of, and occasionally with the things He knows I only desire and not require. It was a testament to me that when I put the Lord first, and agree to serve and sacrifice of my time, the Lord will not hesitate to pour out blessings upon my head. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Newly-Awesome-Stenciled-DIY Kitchen Table

So, Utah was great! Other than the allergies I had to battle the whole time (stupid Cottonwood trees) it was fantastic :D I didn't get to hit up all the foodie places I wanted to... lucky for me we're going back to Utah in only two short weeks for a wedding! Woot woot! Par-tay!

I had fun with friends and a super great time hanging out with my mom and unpacking her house and all our family memories. We had our big garage sale and sold everything she or I couldn't take. It was hard to let go of some of it, but I'm so excited for her and the adventures she will have in Germany!

Speaking of all the cool things I got to take. I got my old yearbooks, a rocking chair my mom got when she had me, and an old kitchen table that has been in our family for who knows how long. My earliest memory of this table, is sitting on it and carving pumpkins when I'm about five I think. I was so excited to get the table because I had just seen this blog: click here!

I knew what I had to do.

I looked and deliberated over stencils for a whole week and finally found one on Etsy that Ray and I both loved, and it was only $20 compared to most other stencils at around $50! So I scooped it up. Then I asked my father in law to come over and help me sand the table down with his cool power sanding tools. Plus he has endless knowledge on woodwork, I was so glad he was here to help! Here are some pictures of the transformation.

I almost missed the "before" picture, but I quickly stopped my sanding and hunted down my camera successfully!

Once it was finally sanded and smoothed to perfection, we were able to start stenciling! I'm lucky my FIL was there, I was a little overzealous on painting the stencil- he had to keep telling me to stop so I didn't push the paint through and make the pattern bleed around the edges.

Here it is post-stencil and pre-stain...

And here is the finished product! I love it :) I'm super pleased with how it turned out. Now all we need to do is find some chairs to go with the table so we can stop sitting in our newly acquired campfire chairs. They're so low when I sit at the table my chin nearly hits the table top each time I chew. Let the garage sale hunting commence!

P.S. In case you noticed, or didn't for that matter: Yes, I did sand this table in my apartment. Probably not my brightest idea as I will be vacuuming and wiping dust off of everything in my apartment for who knows how long. But- there was no outlet outside our apartment, I don't own an extension cord, and we were too excited to get started to go buy one. At the end of the day based on the results, I regret nothing :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ballerina Birthday

Yes, it is true. I just celebrated my tutu (22) birthday! And what a fabulous day it was. It started out with me heading to the pool at 6:45 in the AM to coach. One of my lane-mates saw me and started razzin' me for not being in the water that morning. I just told him it was my birthday, I was allowed to sleep in. He proceeded to tell the entire team as I was relating the workout. Everyone broke into the Happy Birthday song for me! It was so fun, just like my team growing up.

After that I headed to work where my fabulous coworker got me an equally fabulous chocolate-chocolate cake. It was divine! Even better, the people coming in after me read the schedule wrong and came in an hour early, allowing me to head home early. When I got home, I began working on my spectacular birthday dinner...

Usually for my birthday I head to Winger's with friends or family, but as I've stated previously, such a place (sadly) does not exist out here! So I found myself some copycat recipes and set to work making myself cheddar/bacon potato skins, sticky fingers, and some asphalt pie. Everything turned out fabulous and Ray and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

We headed over to some family to share some asphalt pie with them, and I'm so glad we did! I had so much fun and laughed so hard! As soon as we stuck the candles into the cake and brought the lighter out, my nephew was right there again. He kept putting the lighter up to the candles and couldn't figure out why they weren't lighting (pushing the button while holding it to the candle is a skill he has yet to acquire, probably to the gratefulness of his parents). When I went to light the first candle, my nephew blew out the lighter before the flame even touched the wick! After two or three times of that and us all laughing, Ray tried to cover our nephew's mouth and prevent his breath from hitting the flame. Poor little guy was not happy about that, but we finally got the candles lit, the song sung, and then he got to help me blow out the candles. Again, my favorite birthday picture includes him:

I look like a crazy person laughing at a poor child crying, but I swear, you wouldn't have been able to keep a straight face if you had been there too.

After that, my other nephew gave me the gift of WiiDance. What. A. Party. We danced and danced until I thought I would die! Here we see my brother-in-law and Ray showing off their fancy pants moves:

I also got a beautiful hang-quilt from my sister-in-law that she made for me. I have yet to find the perfect place for it in my home, so pictures of that when I've found its rightful spot. To end the evening, Ray took me to Target where I got to pick out my birthday presents: a new wallet (which I absolutely adore! lots of card spaces, checkbook holder, lots of pockets for receipts and change, and even a calculator), and a few new Disney dishes that Target happened to be selling. Pictures of those soon too :)

In other news, I finally sent out my covert robin gift! I hope she gets it soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


So remember how my vacuum cleaners' belt exploded? Turns out, the belt for my vacuum is impossible to find! The ones they sell at Target don't fit my model, and even the one I purchased at the Vac & Sew shop didn't fit. In all fairness, the man working there only understood that I had a Eureka vacuum and didn't listen to me tell him all the other fancy things about it. I should have known the generic belt wouldn't fit! Anyway, nearly $20 later... I have two belts coming my way from that should arrive within 7-10 business days. Meanwhile, my floor continues to gross me out since it has now been 1 1/2 weeks without vacuuming it. Barf. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, but not enough to take it down. :)

In other news: We purchased our tickets to UT for my graduation! Woot woot! It's going to be such a fun trip- graduation, cousin's bridal shower, Russia Friends Get-Together, and... UTAH FOOD! The list keeps piling up: DP Cheesesteaks, Cafe Rio, JCW's, Wingers' (oh my beloved Wingers), The Pie Pizzaria and Hires Big H. I can not wait. I just may gain 20 pound in the 2 weeks I'm there. But I'll probably work it off lifting boxes as I help my mom pack for her big international move. Right?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recent Happenings...

I have just small little stories that I want to write about, so here we go. First off, let's start with exciting food adventures-

A while ago I was craving peanut butter cookies, but I wanted them to have the chewy, gooey consistency of chocolate chip cookies, plus they had to have the chocolate chips as well. For some odd reason I didn't think to just search a recipe like that, instead- I headed to my kitchen and just went for it. May not sound huge, but these cookies turned out to be the freakin' bomb, and I didn't follow a single recipe :) Small steps my friends, today cookies... tomorrow: pancakes. Yes you heard me, I'm now on the hunt for the perfect pancake recipe, it's harder than you think.

Our next food adventure happened today, when I decided our long Sunday afternoon would be perfect to make pizza! So delicious- I found a great recipe for the dough, and it actually turned out well to my surprise. (I bought some yeast at the European market and it's just a little different than what I'm used to {packets} so my first few attempts with it didn't work). Our toppings included: pesto, mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato, pineapple slices, and ham slices. I didn't get a picture of it coming out of the oven because I was too excited to eat it, but here it is beforehand. Along with the stuff I used to make it and my laptop playing some lovely Sabbath day music.

Now on to my home/style adventures!

I've slowly been working on making our bedroom a lovely place. Ray doesn't understand the idea of decorating your room, so I've free reign in there to just do whatever I want... Bwahahahaha! I decided upon some beautiful dark purple sheets from IKEA, and then later, over President's Day weekend, I braved the crowds and bolted through IKEA to find the duvet set they were selling for $9.99 ANY size. SA-WING! What a deal :) It took some covert eavesdropping to discover where they were hiding those duvet covers too... Anyhoot, now I'm just working on some pillow cases to go with the bedspread. I decided to attempt to crochet one case, it turned out alright for now, we'll see how I feel about it in a month or so after I figure out what I want to do for the other pillows. I think a nice bright yellow for one would be pretty. On to JoAnn's!

Every Saturday morning is our "clean the whole freaking apartment" time. I love it :) I get the rest of my weekend in a clean house, and it can get slightly messy through the week without me spazzing out because I know we'll just clean it again on Saturday. Huzzah for routines, am I right? Right. Well this past Saturday, everything was hunky dory, I had cleaned our living room and bedroom, Ray was doing dishes, I was just about done vacuuming the living room, when... my vacuum started making the most terrifying sound in the world! I quickly turned it off and tried to see if something had gotten stuck in the brushroll. Ray was able to unearth a piece of a paperclip, which is bizarre, because we don't even own paperclips and neither of us use them at work or anything. I tried turning on the vacuum after that was out, but still the noise. So now we took off the whole bottom of the vacuum, only to discover: The belt on my vacuum had been completely and entirely OBLITERATED. Not even joking. This was all the remains we spent 20 minutes digging out of the belt holster (if in fact you should call it a holster, what would be the proper wordage here?)

Finally, to wrap up this post, we just celebrated Ray's birthday! It was a great day, and fun night with family and friends. Ray requested pasta with shrimp (oh yeah! I learned the art of shelling and deveining shrimp, truth be told- Ray rocks and shelling, and I rock at deveining, what a team we make :P ), and banana cream pies instead of birthday cake. I had never made the pies before, but it turns out homemade pudding is super easy, and those graham cracker pie crusts are life savers. Here is my favorite picture from the day. Our two year old nephew absolutely loves blowing out candles on birthday cakes, and there's been a birthday every month since December so he's getting really good at getting to the candles before the birthday person does :)

Good grief I love this picture and both the boys in it! Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, I love him so much!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Covert Robin!

So my sister-in-law has convinced me to join the larger blogging community via a "Covert Robin" exchange. So today- we set about beginning our crafts for our assigned partners. The whole event is like secret sister from girls camp eons ago. Anyway! Here are my awesome hands, forging the project that some lucky person will be receiving later this month! 10 Brownie Points if you can guess what this amazing finished product will be.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Le Cold

It's all I can think about right now... I'm cold. I'm frozen. I think my nose has frost bite! Okay, it's not that bad, but for crying out loud! I thought I had tough skin from growing up in Utah winters. Turns out, one California summer is all it takes to turn you into a pansy that wants to drink hot cocoa and wear wool socks in 65 degree weather. I feel pathetic. In my defense though: we don't turn on our heater because our apartment doesn't hold the heat in, so in one month with the heater on, our utilities bill doubled. No thanks! So now we're living off a little heat dish that follows us around the apartment.

Any suggestions on how else to keep your home warm in the winter without driving your utility bill through the roof?! I've got my homemade bean bag that you can microwave (my absolute life saver for cold toes in bed), and I've heard of plastic wrap over windows to keep the cold out... anyone else heard of this? I may also try to make those door blockers that go across the bottom of your front door, I don't think our weather stripping really exists anymore.

Stay warm, wherever you may be!