Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Tangled Halloween

Now that the Christmas Season is in full swing...time for a Halloween post! :)

About a year ago, after Halloween, my little man told me what he thought our family should be for Halloween the following year. This is what he said, "I can be Pascal. Daddy can be Flynn Rider, and you can be Rapunzel." When I asked him what his little sister should be, he answered "Mother Gothel". I about died laughing when he said that, and I knew that our family could definitely dress up as all of those characters and have a hilarious time doing it. So the plan was set.

And, well, our much anticipated Tangled Halloween has already come and gone, but we had a lot of fun! I loved putting the costumes together. It was fun working on those off and on leading up to Halloween and then seeing the finished product on Halloween.

Let me show you the crew. :)
Here we have my little Pascal. He is way too adorable in his costume! The little man  had a LOT of fun dressing up as Pascal! I can't get over how cute he is in this costume, and all the time. :) I followed two different tutorials to make his costume. Erin Bettis at Patricia's Daughter had the most AMAZING idea to use a pair of hooded footed pajamas for the body of the costume. Genius! I used her tutorial to cut out the fabric for the tail as well. Her post is here. I also followed Ashley's tutorial at Make It and Love It, and followed what she did for the little horn on top of Pascal's head, sewing on the tail, and the eyes! Her post is here. Aren't both Ashley's and Erin's costumes they created SO adorable? And I'm pretty happy with ours too! :)
Next we have Flynn Rider, displaying "the smolder" in all of its glory. :)
I always really enjoy putting Jared's costumes together. He already had this blue shirt and he honestly didn't wear it much, so I cut off the sleeves and hot glued them under a bit on the edges. I found the satchel at DI - I heart that place. I saw a tutorial on pinterest for making pirate boot toppers found here. The guy who made them, Wes, did a great job! The toppers I made (vinyl fabric) were definitely not perfect, but they look awesome in the pictures! He just wore them over his brown church shoes. The buckle buttons on the shirt (which I realize are not on Flynn Rider's costume but add a nice touch to the shirt) are just cardboard pieces that I cut out of one of our still lingering U-Haul boxes, spray painted gold. Jared grew out a bit of facial hair for Halloween and rocked the frying pan. He is one dang handsome Flynn Rider if you ask me! :)
Then we have Rapunzel with her dashing Eugene Fitzherbert/Flynn. :)
And the little lady who stole the show...the one and only Mother Gothel. Seriously, are you not dying laughing right now?!
She did so well keeping her wig on - I was surprised! 
The cuteness is almost overwhelming. I'm pretty sure this is the only "cute" Mother Gothel you'll ever see! I got this little lady's dress at DI, and put it over a red long-sleeved shirt. The cape she's wearing is her brother's Batman cape (a hand-me-down from a cousin! yay!) worn backwards. You can actually see a bit of the Batman insignia peeking out. I just can't get over how cute our little Mother Gothel is! :)
And a shot of the whole Tangled family. :)
 I love how menacing Mother Gothel looks, and Pascal showing off his chameleon tongue haha.
 We had a blast going trick-or-treating and eating dinner with Jared's family. It was an awesome Halloween! Now, what will we dress up as next year...? :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Camp Kesem - a FREE Summer Camp for Kids Whose Parents Have Cancer!

Since tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, I have to tell you all about an organization that holds a special place in my heart: Camp Kesem! "Kesem" is Hebrew for "Magic", so Camp Kesem is all about giving kids a magical week of summer camp! More specifically, Camp Kesem is for children whose parents have cancer or have had cancer, and it is FREE. The families who send their kids are not asked to pay any money. It's a week of FUN for the kids - not a therapy camp, just a place for them to be kids and escape the cancer that has turned their family's lives upside down. This organization is amazing.
The camp is organized and ran by college students all over the county. Camp Kesem started at Stanford University in 2000, by student Iris Rave. Since then it has expanded to over 50 college campuses in the United States!
When I was freshmen in college at Brigham Young University, a guy in my student ward (church congregation) told me about a summer camp he was trying to get started at BYU. That organization was Camp Kesem. It sounded absolutely amazing to me, so I was immediately on board! I signed on to be a counselor that summer. We actually struggled to find campers to come (now there's a waiting list!) but we had 13 INCREDIBLE kids come to our first year of camp at Camp Kesem BYU! Pebbles and Bam Bam (Michelle and Austin Hadley) headed up that year of camp, and it was a huge success!
The next year I got to help plan camp and this time we were lucky enough to have over 30 kids at camp! Jared and I got married and moved to Eugene, Oregon for a job only a few weeks before camp, so we traveled back to Utah so I could be at camp in late August. It was another magical week of Camp Kesem. (Here's a video that some of our amazing counselors and coordinators put together that year). Since we moved to Oregon this was my last year attending camp, and how I've missed it!

Here's me and Smiley, second year at camp at the ropes course. :) (Did I mention every camper and staff member at camp creates a special camp name for themselves?? So fun!)
This summer Jared and I got to go to dinner and a talent show on the last night of camp up at Camp Wapiti, and oh how good it felt to feel the magic of Camp Kesem again! I even got to catch up with a few of the kids who were at our very first year of camp so many years ago! One of the original campers was actually a counselor this past summer! Talk about coming full circle!! It was awesome. Here's me and Merida. Her original camp name was Nemo - she's rocked both names!
I also got to catch up with this sweet girl, Skippy! I don't think my smile could have been ANY bigger in this picture!
It was so amazing to see these kids (and a few others from those first two years!) and the GOOD that Camp Kesem has done in their lives!
Everyone I know is affected by cancer in some way. I don't know anyone, honestly, who isn't. My Grandpa, my mom's dad, passed away in 2009 from prostate cancer and I remember talking on the phone with my mom shortly after and hearing her say, "I wish there was a camp that I could go to!". Cancer is awful no matter how old you are or who you've lost, whether you have it yourself or someone you love has it, and luckily there are many resources out there for all age groups. The resource that I know and love the most is, of course, Camp Kesem.
It can be so frightening, and confusing, for a child to see a parent undergoing cancer treatments. Though cancer isn't contagious, sometimes children don't understand that, especially since they're often not allowed near their parents whose immune systems cannot handle exposure to sickness, or even for the affect that radioactive waves could have on them. My heart goes out to the millions of precious children around the world who watch their parents go through cancer, who lose their parents to cancer, or who can't watch their parents go through it and be by their sides because they aren't allowed to see them. It breaks my heart.
While Camp Kesem is certainly not labeled as a therapy camp, these amazing kids get to escape cancer for one week in the summer every year, to be silly and crazy and carefree, to be around kids who know what they're going through, and I truly believe it does end up being extremely therapeutic. There are no classes on how to deal with your parent's cancer, there are no pamphlets handed out about what to do when your mom gets cancer. It's just fun, and oh the difference it makes!
If you have it in your heart to donate to this amazing organization, please don't hesitate! Raising the funds for camp is a tremendous job, and it's never easy. Somehow every year the staff of CK-BYU (and all of the other CK's on college campuses around the country) pull it off, and it's because of people who are touched by the cause enough to donate a little something. It all adds up to making a completely magical week for some pretty special kids. Click HERE to go to Camp Kesem BYU's page to donate! Or, if you'd prefer to see if your alma mater has a Camp Kesem on their campus and you'd like to donate to them, go here to find a list of every college that holds Camp Kesem each year, click on them, and go ahead and donate! :) Cancer totally and completely stinks, but we can make a difference in the lives of those with cancer by giving their children a week of FUN!

Join the spirit of #GivingTuesday and GIVE BACK!

If you're a big pinterest fan, go ahead and pin this image to spread the word about this amazing cause! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

These Are My People

I just thought I should officially introduce you to the three people who I like the most. :)
My man. My rock. My love. He's both Texan and  Utahn, and has a special love for his hometown in East Texas. He loves sports. Playing them, watching them, everything. Especially BYU Football! He loves Skittles, Mountain Dew and NCAA Football. He works hard every day, and he loves his kids more than I've ever seen any other dad do. And he loves me. :) Most importantly he loves the Lord and he lives his life to follow Him. I love this Jared of mine. :)
My little man. This little dude makes me laugh every day. I love laughing with him and seeing his sweet smile light up the room! Being silly with him is the best. He loves the 50 states, Temples, busting a move, riding his bike, and playing football with Daddy. My first baby, who corrects me whenever I refer to him as such. :) I honestly cannot believe how fast he is growing. I love this little guy so much!
My little girl. She is the sweetest girl in the world, and also the sassiest. She can hold her own in any tussle with her big brother! She loves dinosaurs, babies, "Bear bears" (Carebears), babies, cheese, milk, babies and babies. I have to say, she is the cutest little thing around! Just look at that little face! She is my little love bug! I'm so glad this girl is in our family! I sure love her.
Those faces greet me every morning (however early it may sometimes be!) and I'm forever grateful for that daily blessing. I love this little family that God has given me. :) As I've said before, I'm not exactly sure what fills each and every one of our days, but the important things are there: playing and having fun together, reading our scriptures, prayer, and once again FUN! I love these three favorites of mine. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Mantel

This year's autumn season has been every bit as lovely as I knew it would be, and we still have so much of it left to enjoy! Part of the loveliness of this fall has been decorating my mantel for the season. And staring at it's adorableness. I love it. A lot. :) it isn't really a mantel. It's a chalkboard ledge. But from here on out we're all just going to call it a mantel! :) 

This is the first year that I've had a mantel to decorate for fall, so as I brainstormed on what I'd want as the centerpiece, the picture below came to mind, and in my opinion is the perfect centerpiece. :)
Seriously, this has got to be my very favorite picture of my little man! This was his first time jumping in a pile of leaves, and as you can tell, it was pure joy for him! :) My heart is so happy when I see this picture.
 And last year, our sweet girl got her chance to romp in the leaves for the very first time. Precious baby. :) (My amazing sister-in-law Amy took this photo of our sweet girl). I found this beautiful "Fall" printable on pinterest, and it was created by Diana at Love Stitched. She is amazing - I can't get over how gorgeous this fall print is! Thank you to Diana, for sharing her beautiful work! Also, I love the darling little pumpkin sitting on top of the frame. 
 Last fall, my friend Cami and I got together and we both made a fall banner, or at least started one. Cami and her son are actually in the middle picture on the mantel, behind my little guy! We raked leaves on the lawn by her home that day and our boys had a lot of fun. :) Cami is so much fun to craft with! That's actually the reason we first hung out a few years ago, was to try a craft project together, and we have done a lot of crafts together since then! I was at her house one day when she suggested we make these banners. She already had most of the supplies, so we went for it! We cut out the burlap triangles and sewed the smaller ones onto the bigger ones, and then stamped the letters on with some stencils and ink she had. Finally, last month, I attached the triangels to this pretty ribbon. I LOVE it!
 This fall subway art comes from the wonderfully creative Ann over at Sutton Place. All of her fall artwork is beautiful. Thank you, thank you Ann! :)

I'm super happy with how it all came together. I'm really loving all of these white frames! :) All of them came from Wal-Mart, excluding the middle frame, which is from Hobby Lobby. And I adore the cute little orange felt ball. So many darling little accents on this mantel - it just makes me smile.
I love looking up and seeing the faces of my sweet babies on our mantel. :) I can hardly wait for them (and me!!) to jump in the leaves this year! Happy Fall my friends!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thanks For Choosing Me, Babe :)

We had a pretty awesome Stake Conference weekend. We got to hear from members of our stake congregation and our stake leaders, and today from our church-wide leaders. It was completely refreshing for me.
 On Saturday night, our Stake President said something that I absolutely loved! He spoke about all sorts of beneficial and uplifting topics, one of which was strengthening, and keeping strong, our marriages. President Pullan gave an amazing reminder:

"Think of how remarkable it is to have one person on this earth choose you."
I teared up. I used to be a perpetually teary-eyed person when finding myself in any kind of emotional setting, but lately my tears have been more few and far between. Something's really gotta touch me deeply to produce tears. I thought of how remarkable it really is that people all over the world are saying, "I choose you, babe, and I'm going to stick with you for forever. Promise." I LOVE that! It is just so right.

One of my friends, Carol, told me how that part of Pres. Pullan's talk struck her as well. She said how she often thinks about how she chose her husband, but forgets that he chose her as well. That's a pretty special feeling when you really think about it. :)
I can't even say how happy it makes me that my Jared chose me, over anyone else he knew, or anyone else he would ever meet, to be his forever. (I chose him a long time before he chose me...I'm glad he finally saw the light! ;)
That handsome guy up there chose me; I chose him. And we will forever choose each other. Pretty sweet. :) Love you, babe!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Halloween Costume Flashbacks

Ahh, fall is finally here! The four of us had such a fun Labor Day today filled with tons of fun family stuff. It was a great day. I always love it when Jared stays home from work! Those are the best days. :) We went to a parade with our friends, a carnival, another carnival, watched some Studio C, a Cosby episode, had tons of delicious food, and it was pretty much a perfect day. Tomorrow, out come the fall decorations! I'm so excited. And this has me especially pumped up for our Halloween costumes this year.

Jared and I have always loved dressing up for Halloween! It all started back when we were dating, and has continued every year. We already know what we're going to dress up as this year and I've got Little Man's costume already in the works...I'm so excited! :) How about a walk down costume memory lane?
Dating. I went as a hippie and Jared went as Steve Urkel. Pretty hot right? :) It was fun.
Newlyweds. This time Jared was the hippie, and I was a witch. These costumes came from my amazing friend Linda, who let us borrow them. Loved them!
 A Very Pregnant Halloween. :) We couldn't think of what to be until the last minute, but finally Jared decided to be a domino and I saw the cute idea to be bubblegum on the bottom of a shoe, from one of my favorite blogs Crystal B.. Her daughter Claire whipped up that costume is no time flat. I loved the idea!
Baby's First Halloween! We went with a family theme - so fun! Little Man was the football, Jared was the football player and I was the referee. I think this might be my favorite of all our Halloween costumes, so I had to add a bunch from that year. :)
 I  made a pretty ridiculous ref, but it was fun!
This next year we kept the family themed costumes rolling on! Little Man was Mickey Mouse, Jared was Goofy, and I was Minnie. (At the last minute I couldn't find ears for my costume! But I know I have a pic somewhere of me wearing the little man's mouse ears...)
I love how Jared's Goofy costume turned out!
 Cutest little Mickey Mouse I have EVER seen! :)
And last year, I could not think of an awesome family theme for us where Little Sister's costume would make her clearly look like the cute baby girl she was. I didn't want anyone wondering if she was a boy or a girl. So we each did our own thing costume wise. Baby was a strawberry, Little Man was Rex the Dinosaur, I was a witch once again and Jared was a super creepy dude. Seriously, no one at our ward's trunk-or-treat recognized him and I think some of them were keeping a close eye on the creepy dude at the party. :)
I am seriously so excited for Halloween this year!! I've got a lot of work to do to get our costumes together, but it's fun to do DIY costumes and dress up together as a family. Little Man decided on what our costumes would be months ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. Can't wait! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baking Away the Last Days of Summer

I looked at the calendar last weekend and realized we still had an entire week of August left. Sigh... I like summer, that's for sure, but fall is my ultimate favorite season. I know that many people are grasping at these last days of summer, hoping to make them last longer, but with school starting already and the rainy, cooler weather we've been having, I am so ready to deck my house out with my favorite fall decorations and officially begin the autumn season.  And for me, it isn't official until September 1st. So I shall wait.

And as I wait, ever so patiently, for fall to begin, I've been pinning fall dessert recipes like mad. Pumpkin bars, pumpkin rolls, oatmeal cream pies (they just look like a wear a sweater on a brisk yet sunshiney fall day kind of dessert to me), pumpkin whoopee pies, apple spice cupcakes...I am dying. Just check out my fall baking pinterest board...all I can say when I see that gallery of amazing desserts is "Are you KIDDING me?!" I want to make them all today. But there is one recipe in particular that has been especially tempting my taste buds. Pecan Praline Cookies with Brown Sugar Icing, from My Own Sweet Thyme.

 Let me just show you a picture of the batch I finally made yesterday afternoon.
Aaannd one more.
Okay, now that you're hooked...:) 
I first came across a picture of these beauties and the recipe on pinterest, of course ;), which lead me to a blog that had totally RIPPED the recipe (and the picture) from the original source. I was trying to find the blogger's name so I could give her complete credit on this post, when I found another blog with the same recipe and picture, this one much more credible. Can you believe people? So, the real credit goes to Lisa from My Own Sweet Thyme. Hop on over to her blog for the recipe.

I had drooled over Lisa's picture of her cookies for weeks, and yesterday I excitedly set to making a batch. These cookies turned out good, but oh, the frosting. It was heavenly. That is the only appropriate word I can think of to describe it. I whipped up the frosting and dipped a spoon in it to test it out, worried that I had burned it. Inexpressible joy when I tasted it. Quickly I slathered it on a cookie and took a bite, only to realize that the flavor of the cookie didn't let the frosting shine like I was hoping it would. So, my mind immediately started racing, trying to think of alternative ways to use this frosting! You know, it actually tastes almost exactly like the frosting my grandmother would make and drizzle over angel food cake. That stuff was also heavenly. I'll have to try this frosting on angel food cake!

I think if my cookies had ended up a little less pudgy, and more flat like Lisa's, the frosting/cookie ratio would have been perfect. What I did differently was use baking powder instead of baking soda (we were out) and I didn't put nuts inside the cookies. Not sure if that's why mine were so different. The last pan I made, which had only two cookies, had thawed a bit so I pressed them down in flatter circles, and those came out looking much more like Lisa's.

So the moral of the story is, these cookies are good! But I will not judge you if you decide to just mix up a pan of this frosting and straight up eat it for dessert. And most importantly, for me, daydreaming about, then making and eating these cookies has helped me get through one more summer day (oh the torture ;) as I await the start of my favorite season. :)

Fall officially begins the day after tomorrow! Bring it on! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gray Fabric Headboard

First of all, my mom is amazing. She can do anything. Like, for real. If there is a project she wants to do, a piece of furniture she wants to paint, fix, build or sell, she does it. And she does it well. And those are only the beginning of her all-around major skills. Well, my pretty awesome mom came to visit a few times after I gave birth to our second baby (she lives out of state), as I've mentioned before. She flew to my rescue and was literally a lifesaver for me. LITERALLY. She was there when I needed her, and I can't thank her enough. But besides being there and caring for our family, she also got her craft on while at our house both times she visited. The first time making those gorgeous yellow pillows, and the second time making this beautiful gray headboard.

For months previous I'd been telling her all about the kind of headboard I envisioned for our bedroom. It started off in my mind looking kind of like this, but morphed over the months. As we chatted over the phone many times before she came for her visit, I pitched the idea to her that the next time she came to visit we could to try and tackle this project together, because there is absolutely no way on earth I would ever attempt a project of such magnitude on my own.

Mom came for her visit and we ventured out to find all of the supplies at Home Depot and JoAnn's (I know it's not technically "JoAnn's", but I can't bring myself to simply say "JoAnn" sounds so weird), and we got to work! But really, it was 99% my creative mom. I was there to help and learn from her, and I'm amazed at her ability to build such a thing!

And here it is.

Ahhh, I just love it!
 Oh, do I love this headboard. It is so gorgeous!! I absolutely love the fabric we chose. At first we wanted to put brass tacks all the way around the border, because we both loved that look. But we didn't find what we were looking for and decided to save that for a later date. I've decided that I like the simple, clean look of the gray fabric without the tacks, so at least for now, I won't be adding any. But adding tacks would be an easy way to totally switch up the look of this headboard if I'm feeling it later on.

So as far as a tutorial...this will not be in depth. At all. It really isn't a tutorial. But you can look here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here for some really helpful headboard tutorials! That's a lot of tutorials, but you can never have enough inspiration, right?!

 First step when making a headboard:

Put the babies down for a nap. This step is pretty important. :) 
 I'm not going to number the rest of the steps. But here's what we did next. We ironed the gorgeous gray fabric that we bought from JoAnn Fabrics.
 We sprayed adhesive to our plywood board and placed the foam egg carton mattress over it.
 Mom did some trimming...
 Then we flipped over the board and stapled the egg foam to the back.
Next we placed our layer of batting over the foam and stapled that down as well.
 Then for the fabric. The most important and nit-picky part!!
 Jared is the handy man who attached the legs to the headboard, having to do it several times until we got just the right height. Thanks, babe!

And now, over a year and one move later, I have decorated my room enough to where I think it deserves a few pictures! So here is the pretty headboard that my mom made for us, along with the stunning pillows. :) (Larger pillows and pillow cases ordered off of Amazon here and here).
And we actually  just moved, again, last month! So these pictures are now outdated...awesome. The master bedroom in our new place has grayish-blue walls that the headboard and Sunburst Mirror clash with. So I've got my work cut out for me to figure out what to do...probably just a quick paint job! That will make a world of difference. But until then, I'll just stare back at this beautiful room and sigh! I really wanted our bedroom to become a place of relaxation where I could steal away to read a book, or two or three. :) I hope to create that again in our new home!
I also have to add how in love I am with this Sunburst Mirror!! I think it looks so pretty above our bed. I followed Linda's tutorial (here) over at Craftaholic's Anonymous - one of my very favorite blogs! :)

About a million thanks go to my amazing Mom for this beautiful gift of a headboard! You are the best, Mom, and for an incredible amount of reasons. Love you, Mama!