Friday, May 29, 2015

A Small Life Update

It's been a while since I've done a post about me. I know most of the posts I do have little stories about me in them, but it's been a while since I gave a little update on how life is. So today, for the coffee date link-up (I like to think of it more as my quiet time link up), I thought I'd share a little bit of an update.


Trevon and I are really bad at taking pictures of us doing things. But, we kind of had a big month. Trevon graduated with his bachelors degree in exercise science. That was the biggest thing that happened this month. We aren't exactly sure where the next step will be yet, but it's nice to have that part done and to have Trevon around in the evenings, as opposed to studying in our office.

This is what I got, picture wise, from Trevon's commencement. Mitt Romney spoke, and did a fantastic job. I told you we were bad at pictures. Most people post a picture of the person graduating. We totally forgot. Lame


Mother's day was wonderful. I got to spend Saturday with my mom and sisters picking out flowers for our yards. Then on Sunday, we got to have a little dinner.
J also got to go on her first Daddy-daughter date on Saturday. She had so much fun. Trevon took her to get an ice cream cone and to go bowling. She had been asking to go bowling for a really, really long time. She was so excited.


We got to go see the Payson Temple and do the walk through. Anyone is allowed to go, and it's always an amazing experience. It's a chance to go through and see what the temple looks like on the inside, before it's dedicated. The spirit is always strong at the temple.
J and M were very well behaved the whole time. That was a very proud Mommy moment. They held hands and walked in line the whole time. It really made us look like good parents, and it was really fun and cute to see. They are getting to be better friends every day.





On the 16th, we decided to run another race as a family. Trevon pushed the girls in the running stroller. It was such a cold day. Luckily, though, it didn't start raining until we were done and home. It was a lot of fun though. I know I could have done better if it wasn't so cold. Running in the cold really stirs up my asthma. But it was still fun and worth it. And I'm still pretty pleased with how I did.



We have gotten new neighbors one either side of us this month. We will really miss our old neighbors but, the new ones have kids that are the same age as the girls. That is really fun and exciting. Although a little weird for me to notice that J is old enough now to make new friends that aren't her cousins.


What is new with you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Finding the Perfect Photo Backdrop

It's getting to be picture time again. The weather is perfect, kids are almost out of school, seniors are about to graduate. Whether it's time for family pictures, senior pictures or maybe even wedding pictures, you want to have the perfect backdrop.



One of the first things you need to do when picking a photo backdrop is deciding on the style of picture you want. Urban or rustic, classy or casual, colorful or neutral? This also has a lot to do with your family's personality. You aren't going to like a picture with lots of graffiti in the back ground if you're more or a classy, elegant type of family.


Keep your eye out as you drive around your town. There are a lot of hidden gems. We have a lot of fun colored walls around our town and those are a lot of fun to work with. But we also have orchards, grassy fields, a lake, mountains, and a lot of pretty parks. Most people don't think twice about these places as a good place for pictures, but as a photographer, you sometimes see things a little differently. I see a tall grassy field and immediately try to think of a family I could take pictures of in it.



      Walls



Look in your own yards. This wall is my mother in law's shed. Maybe you have one like this, or maybe you have some really great brick. Maybe you just have a cool fence you can sit by.



These are all the side of businesses around town. If you watch around and notice buildings as you're driving by or even just as you're walking into the store, A lot of businesses have some kind of cool feature to them. I love the tiled wall. It's fun because it adds a lot of character. The off white wall is great for neutralizing the picture and tying all the colors together, the red wall is great for a pop of color. I especially love it with this white wedding dress. 


This graffitied wall is at an old steel mill that is no longer in use. You have to know where it is to use it, but it's always a fun place to take couples. For places like this, I wouldn't recommend small children, there are lots of places to fall down or get hurt. 


This barn door is at a park. Some parks are hard to photograph because there are lots of people and houses and sometimes they're not very pretty places to use, but this barn has been used a lot. 




       Orchards, Fields, Parks...



Orchards are always a good way to go. They have beautiful flowers in the spring, look healthy and green in the summer, have amazing color in the fall, and have a romantic look in the snow. I've seen countless orchard pictures, and they always look amazing.


This one was a little out of town for me but, my sister in law's favorite color is purple, and it was also her wedding color. So where else but a lavender field? This is owned by a big business so we, of course, got permission and paid to do pictures there. And it was well worth the drive and the money. These pictures turned out amazing. They are probably still some of my favorite portrait pictures I have ever taken. The colors and the lighting is absolutely perfect for this beautiful, romantic vibe. 


This is one on my uncle's property. He has a nice big grassy field which can be perfect for something simple to add with a lot of fun bright colors. 




          Use Props



Bring a prop or find one around you. I brought this great old chair. Some people hate it, but I've always loved it. It makes a great prop for any kind of picture. It adds character and gives me a way to pose the person easier. 


This tree ended up making a great prop. It was really cool and bent in great ways. It gave me something to break the photo up. I can have people sit or stand on it, and have others stand behind or around it. 




         Change the angle





These are all great examples of using your surroundings. In public places, it can be hard to get great pictures because there are a lot of people around, cars, buildings etc. So sometimes you just need to look at it at a different angle. Turn your body a little, use the rule of thirds, zoom up. 



     Ask around


If you are still having a hard time looking for the perfect place to take your pictures, ask you photographer. They have probably taken pictures in so many different places. And, if they are like me, they are always looking for new places to take pictures at. They will definitely have some ideas for you. 


Ask a friend where they last had their pictures taken and then check out a few of their locations. Even if the location is the same, the picture will be different. 


Remember that any time you want to take pictures on someone else's property, to ask permission. Some times their may be a fee involved. You need to make sure you're doing your homework before you schedule a photo session at any particular place. 


What is your favorite kind of photo background?

Do you like black and white, or color photos best?

When is your favorite time of year to take pictures?





I own the rights to all of these photos, as I am the photographer. It is illegal to use someone else's content as your own. Please be respectful of me and my work. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ways to Add Exercise to a Busy Schedule

Today I'm excited to have a guest post by Leah who blogs over on Life, Love and Coffee Stains, and linking up with Open Spaces Blog for our blog swap.  
I think one of the biggest reasons people don't exercise daily, or even weekly, is because of time. So I'm excited that Leah is sharing some ways to fit exercise into your busy schedules. 



Whether you’re working a 9-5, chasing toddlers around at home, or somewhere in the middle, it can feel like there’s no time for exercise or fitness in your day. I personally went through a few months of this not too long ago, and have just recently gotten back on track with exercising regularly!


If you find yourself in a funk, I’ve got a couple of tips for you to add exercise to a busy schedule!


  1. Set the Alarm 30 Minutes Earlier! (Or Stop Hitting Snooze)
This one seems simple, but I’m the worst about hitting the snooze button, or bargaining for more sleep. Once that alarm goes off, you’re not actually getting more sleep, so you might as well get out of bed and get moving! Even if you don’t use that initial 30 minutes for exercise, you’ve added a chunk of time to your day that you didnt have before!

  1. Make a Fitness “To-Do List”
Looking to add some strength training to your routine, but don’t feel like you can spare
half an hour to lift weights? Create a strength to-do list, and work on checking things off throughtout the day! For example, I have push-ups, sit-ups, and some other core exercises in a list, and can do them at any time, as long as I get them done by the end of the day! This way, you’re doing 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there!  

  1. Incorporate Fitness Into Something Else
Taking the kids to the park? Work some cardio into your trip by participating in a game of tag, or kicking the soccer ball around! No kids to play with? Think about parking further from the door to add some walking time to your day, or turning your mall trip into a chance to walk a few miles!

  1. Get a FitBit.
(Or any other fitness tracker) Tracking your steps can help you know how much you’re currently moving, and you might be surprised by how many steps you take in a day! Fitness trackers can also spur motivation to beat certain goals, or move more than the day before. Just be sure you’re wearing it consistently, or you won’t see the benefits.


How else do you add fitness to your schedule? Let me know, and come hang out with me on instagram and twitter, where I share my blog posts, life updates, and my personal fitness goals!


Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifeloveandcoffeestains


I think Leah has some really good ideas for you, if this is something you struggle with.

What makes exercising hard for you?

What helps you get your work out in?

Monday, May 25, 2015

What Makes Me Smile

It's been a long week. The girls have been particularly hard. We have had a lot of power struggles, fits, messes, fighting, and nagging. That's just part of how life with little ones go sometimes. I decided that I needed to think of the fun things that have happened this week.

So today I'm going to share some things that made me smile this week.


Running. Running always makes me happy. It clears my brain, it calms my worries, and it lifts my spirits. Most bad days, a good run can turn my day completely around.

We had a lot of play dates this week. We got new neighbors who have a girl just J's age. So it's been fun to see her make new friends. They played so well together.


On Sunday, J got up with the primary and sang a song for Mothers day. It made me smile that she was brave enough to go up there. It made me smile to see how tiny she was standing up there. And it made me smile when I saw her walking back with her new little friend holding her hand. So cute.


Fixer Upper. You guys, have you seen this show? It's on HGTV. Thats a big favorite in our house. I watch HGTV all the time. But, Fixer Upper is my favorite HGTV show. Chip and Joanna Gains help people buy old, run down houses, and fix them up into these beautiful houses. I will be posting more on this show in the future, so I won't spoil it all right now. The point is, it makes me happy. (And pretty wishful).


Earlier this week, I noticed that J and M were actually playing together. So I took the time to read scriptures. I almost never get time to read a whole chapter, but that day, I did. And that made me smile.


New ideas. I really love it when I get a new idea that just pops into my head out of nowhere. Sometimes after thinking it over, I realize it's maybe not as good of an idea as I thought. But sometimes, it turns out really great. For me this happens a lot when I shower. I'm not sure if that's because I'm alone and have my thoughts to myself, or if it has something to do with the hot water. But I usually get good ideas when I'm in there.
This happened earlier this week, but I haven't said anything about it to anyone because I'm still trying to decide if it's a good idea. I don't want to jinx anything, you know? Or I just don't want to say something and then decide it was stupid and have to go back on my word.


There are a lot of things that make me smile. Sometimes it's hard to think of them when we are stuck in a rut, or frustrated at how life goes sometimes. But, when I stop to think about it, there really are several things that have gone right.

What made you smile this week?

Friday, May 22, 2015

From Plan to Post: How I Write My Blog

Blogging started out as something I knew very little about. For example, I didn't know that most bloggers write their posts before they actually post them. I didn't understand how someone could get paid to blog. I didn't really know why people even read some blogs.

When I started out, I felt like it was a lot more work than I was sure I wanted to take on. But as I got more into it, I learned ways to make things easier. And I'm still learning, but here is my blogging process. This is how I find time to blog.



First things first, decide on a schedule. I usually blog at least 3 times a week, but sometimes I try to blog Monday-Friday. You can count on a post for sure Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The other days are what I call bonus days.
(I'm working on another little project on the side of this blog. Which, hopefully, you'll be able to start seeing more about soon. Until then, you can enjoy what I have here.)


I got a calendar and started scheduling specific posts. I look at my calendar every day and, if I need, I do some switching around or adjusting posts. I schedule new post ideas and then I write notes at the bottom for things I need to do, check into, or anything else I need to remember for blogging.


I brainstorm things to write about. Sometimes this can be the hardest part for me. Since my blog is a pretty broad niche (things that I love an want to share) I have a lot of things that I can write about. One way that I found that helps to come up with these ideas is to look through magazines. A lot of them have articles like "10 ways to have the best yard" so when I see those it always helps me come up with my own "10 ways to..." posts.
But for most of the things I write on my blog, I come up with them during my day. There are a lot of things that I think of during the day and that I like enough that I want to share with all of you. When I think of something I want to post, I write it down on my list and then it gets scheduled.


Writing the post is the fun part, but sometimes I struggle with the way I want to write it. I usually write it all, then let it set until the next day, when I go back to it and revise it. Then I start adding pictures or graphics. I let it set another day and then go back to it again to make sure I'm still liking the flow. If not, I change it. If I am feeling good about it. I schedule it on Blogger to post on the day I want it to go live.


The day before it goes live, I check over it again. Make any last minute changes that I need. Fix spelling and grammar errors and then save it. It goes live the following morning.


That's not the whole process though. I still work on that post by advertising it.  The day it goes live, I share the link twice on Facebook and Twitter and sometimes on Pinterest and Instagram.  The more people who see those posts the better.  I think that's my least favorite thing about blogging though. I've never liked posting my own stuff on social media. I feel like I'm being pushy when I do.



Then through out the day, when I have a few minutes here and there, I will answer to comments, or emails from readers.

Blogging can take a lot of work. It's definitely a big hobby and It is definitely something that, when possible, you should be paid for.  But it's more than that for me. I've really loved being able to put my thoughts down someplace and share my favorite things with my readers. I've also loved getting to know other bloggers who comment on my blog or that I read from regularly.


Do you have a creative routine?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Neutrogena Facial Cleanser Review

During my teen years, I always struggled with acne. And when my face wasn't breaking out, it was super dry. I tried several different kinds of facial cleanser and different creams. And my favorite brand of facial cleanser I've ever tried is Neutrogena.

Even though I liked Neutrogena best, it still sometimes dried out my face. So I had to have a whole face washing routine that became tedious and frustrating. After getting married, I stopped washing my face with any special soap. It was expensive and annoying.

It wasn't until recently that I decided it was probably best for me to start up the routine again. So I did. Using the same Neutrogena that I had been using before. I liked it. It did the job, it was convenient and easy to use. But I still had to put some kind of cream or lotion on after to keep my skin from drying out.



Then I got this great facial cleanser from Crowdtap to use and give an honest review on. Here's the deal, I love it!



It's called Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters facial cleanser. It is infused with  white tea and vitamin E to help boost signs of healthy looking skin (softness, radiance and evenness).  The best thing about it, is that it does what it says it will do, and it won't dry out your skin. Since using this soap, I haven't had to put lotion or cream on my face at all.

If for no other reason, I love it because it smells good. Some facial cleaners just flat out stink. I don't want to put that on my face. This one smells good. I think every time I use it I either think about how good it smells or I say out loud how good it smells.

If you're looking for a good, new facial cleanser. Or if you know someone who is, I would highly recommend this one!


This review was made possible by Crowdtap. I received this free trial for an honest review of the product. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Make it a Better Monday

Do you hate Mondays? Sometimes when the weekend is over, I feel like I need another day to catch up. We have a great weekend, full of great, fun things. And then when Sunday night gets here, I always wonder where the weekend went.
But, for the most part I've always been able to find something I like about Mondays. It started in elementary school. We said the Pledge of Allegiance on Mondays, and I always look forward to that. Then in middle school (oh how I hated middle school) the best things about Mondays was that it was my mom's turn to carpool. So I knew I would be on time getting to school and I knew she would be on time picking me up. In high school it was just knowing I would see my friends again. That and it was back to track and field. And we all know that I love running.

Mondays aren't all that bad. Here are a few reasons I love Mondays now, and why you should love them too.




Routine. I don't know about you, but the weekend can be really tough on kids. You're out and about, lunch time is a little off, naps sometimes are nonexistent, and their regular routine is thrown out the window. And while thats great sometimes, it makes kids really cranky. When Monday comes, it's almost like a breath of fresh air because everyone calms down a notch and our routine is back together.


Accomplishment. Monday is my day to get chores done. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house. These are things that I always need to do on Monday. It makes me feel like I'm checking things off on my to-do list. I get back into the focus of being a better homemaker. I feel more comfortable once all those things are done.


Clean Slate. One more day to say that you're starting over this week. You're going to do better at your goals. Everyone needs to start over at some point. Mondays are a great day to do that.


Making plans. On Mondays I like to try to come up with some fun things for me and my girls to do. I plan some blogging posts. I plan play dates. Sometimes I plan a day trip to my grandparents cabin, the girls love it there! Picnics, park days, walks...we plan fun things to do so the rest of the week isn't so hard and boring.


Don't let Mondays get you down. What do you love most about Mondays? Think about it for a minute. Make a list if you need to. But don't let the fact that it's Monday be the reason it's so hard for you to be productive today. 
There are more good things about Mondays than bad. You just need to look for them. Even if it's just one thing for you to look forward to, find that one thing. Because when you do, it will make your Mondays go so much better.


Can't think of one reason? Make a reason. Here are a few things you can do to make it easier for you.


Make a lunch date. Find a friend at work or a fellow mom that is struggling with Mondays and make it your special day to go get lunch. Or even just a small treat.


Let yourself indulge a little. What is one thing you love but don't have much time to do? Set aside a little extra time on Monday to do it. Read a book, watch a movie, have a snack. 


Exercise in the morning. It helps you be more productive during the day and it also boosts your mood. Wether you go to a gym class or run on your own, get out of bed a little early and get your body moving


I hope you find a reason to love Mondays!


What is your favorite day of the week and why?

Friday, May 15, 2015

5 More Ways to Give Back

There is a lot of ugliness in the world today. Selfish people, that's what a lot of the problems come down to. Stealing, lying, cheating, killing, abusing, all of those things are done out of selfish actions. Sometimes it's very discouraging and sad. How am I supposed to raise my children to be good people when there is so much evil around?

By example! I try to be the best example to them. Here are a 5 more ways you can teach your children kindness by giving back, even when you feel like don't have a lot money to donate:




Budget it in
One of the first things we do when we get our paycheck is take 10% of that paycheck and give it to our church. Some may not think of this as donating money, but it is. Our church uses the money from our tithing and fast offerings to help build and maintain our temples and meeting houses, support activities and operations of local church congregations and to support the programs of the church, like family history. The fast offerings go to the poor and the needy. They can go talk to their bishop who will guide them to that help as needed. 




Donate Goods
Another way you can give back is by donating unwanted, gently used clothes, books, toys and other goods to Good Will or Deseret Industries.  That might not seem like much of a donation, but it helps those who can't afford to get brand new clothes (or other items) get what they need for a much lower price. We do this at least every six months. I go through our closets and basement to see if there is anything we can get rid of and we donate it to DI. It helps me de-clutter my house, and it helps someone else who needs something we don't use anymore.





Random Acts of Kindness
I've never really been able to do this yet. But, what a fun way to teach your kids about giving! I saw a picture on Facebook recently of a Redbox movie with four 1 dollar bills in it and a note that said "snacks are on us tonight". I would love to get that in my redbox movie! And I would love to be able to make someone's day by sticking the money in there. It doesn't have to be much. Even just sticking a couple of quarters in a bag and taping it to the vending machine for the next person who uses it. 
That gives back by paying it forward. Doing something nice for someone else.





Run a 5K
Or any other kind of race. Most races are non-profit races. That means that a portion of the proceeds (your entry fee) goes to a cause or a charity of some kind. There are tons and tons of races you can choose from too. Everything from breast cancer awareness to building awareness for abuse, you can really easily find a race to fund something you love or that you're passionate about. So get into shape, get your running shoes on and run for a cause.





Volunteering
A little while ago Trev volunteered to help find a missing person in the community. You don't have to wait for that kind of opportunity though. Go to your local soup kitchen and volunteer to help out for an hour. It might even make a fun date night. Help clean a local park, that is something you don't even have to sign up for. Just go do it. 





Like I mentioned earlier, I haven't been able to do all of these things yet, but I do try to do my part in giving back and serving others. What is your favorite way to give back?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Can Be Brave and Strong

When I was expecting my first baby, I was given a book called I am a Child of God. Actually, I think I was given the book quite some time before that but hadn't actually looked at it until I was having a baby. After having J, I would read to her all the time. From the time she was a few weeks old. This was one of the books we would read.

As J got a little older, she started having a hard time sleeping. I was never a very good sleeper either. She would either wake up screaming bloody murder or she would end up sleeping on our floor because she was scared. I started to try to think of ways to help her feel braver and safer. 
One day, we were reading this book. There is a page in it that says "I can be brave and strong, for as a child of God, I am never alone."  That stuck out to me. 
I remember growing up, I hated when I'd wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream or just from whatever. I always felt scared no matter what the reason. I remember any time I was alone at home, I felt that same way. I just felt scared. I just knew someone was coming to get me. So when I read that page, I felt the peace from it. Even as an adult. So I decided to make a print out of it, and frame it for the girl's room. 


I told J what it said, and what it meant. It sits on her dresser so that she can see it if she needs it. (If you want to print one out you can go HERE).

Even as an adult, I feel scared and alone sometimes, but every time I start to feel that way, I think of that quote and it immediately helps me remember that, even if I feel alone in something, I'm not. God is always with us, especially when  we need Him most. We only need to pray to Him and ask for His comfort and guidance. 

What helped you be brave as a child?

You might also like: Tomorrow is a New DayI Can Do Hard Things

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Best Parenting Advice: Do What Works for Your Family

 I've read a lot of articles, and heard a lot of opinions lately when it comes to parenting. Some I agree with, others, not so much. I don't usually like to get into these kinds of topics because I feel like most of them are personal choices. But I feel like I need to, in this case, state my opinion.


When I became a mom, I was excited and scared to death all at the same time. I didn't know what I was doing. I had a lot of stress on my plate with out having a baby. So by the time my oldest arrived in the world, I felt a huge overload of emotions. Not to mention the postpartum that came with the baby.
When some little issue came up (and with my first there was a lot of little issues) I would panic and go looking for whatever help I could find. A lot of the time that ended up being the internet. I would read blog after blog about what is best to do for a colic-y baby. Or for helping a baby sleep better, or how to find time for me, or teething issues...you name it. And a lot of blogs have a lot of really good advice. But the thing about blogs is that it's almost always opinion based. And what works for one person doesn't always work for another.

When my first was a year old, we were living with my parents. While we were so grateful for the help while we tried looking for a place of our own, it was extremely hard to be a parent while living with my parents. She wouldn't sleep at nights. I looked up every single thing I could possibly find on sleeping through the nights. I talked my parents into letting me move her into her own room, thinking maybe she was waking up from hearing us at night. She still didn't sleep. I tried feeding her more during the day, she didn't sleep. I finally decided to try letting her cry it out, but it woke my parents up. I was so grateful to have a place of my own a few months later (and so were they)! We tried crying it out again and this time, it worked.

I remember with both of my babies, feeling a ton of pressure to breastfeed them. Breast milk has antibodies that formula doesn't. Formula can also constipate your baby. But formula isn't bad for them! It's not bad to give your baby a bottle. It doesn't make you a bad mom to want to bottle feed instead of nurse. I nursed both of my girls, but with my second, I only nursed for about four months. It wasn't that I didn't want my baby to have my breast-milk. It was getting unhealthy for me. No matter what I ate, I was still losing way too much weight, way too fast. I couldn't keep up. I got down to 87 pounds! I knew it was time to give baby a bottle instead.

This may be one of the best parenting videos I've ever seen.

It's taken me almost four years of being a mom, and a lot of blog reading, to finally realize that it does not matter what other people say is best. At all. You're the mom. You know your child. You know what works for them. And while it's great to ask for advice and help, you are the one who chooses how you handle certain things.
You might choose to bottle feed from the beginning. You might choose to let your three year old eat candy or cookies once in a while. You might want to be a working mom or maybe you'll get to stay home with the baby. What ever you choose is 100% OK. Do what you know is best for your family. And when someone with a different opinion feels they need to give it to you, just know that you're doing your best. And you're doing what works for you.
No one has the right answer. While some might have really great advice, you don't have to always take it. If you're uncomfortable about something that seems to be "the best way" don't do it. You have to live with yourself at the end of the day. So do things for your family that YOU feel is right. And when you do ask for advice, remember, you don't always have to take that advice.

And to those who think they have life figured out. Whether you have had twenty kids or you don't have any, remember that you're not always right. Remember to be sensitive. You may have read up the whole parenting section of the library. Maybe you graduated in child development. Maybe you're a doctor. Maybe you're just a know it all. What ever the case, lay off. While some young moms need and ask for advice, not everyone who has a different opinion than you is wrong. If we don't agree or take your advice, it's not because you're wrong either. It's because we don't feel like that's what works best for our family and our situation. And you wouldn't know because you're not them.
There is a time and a place for your opinion, when it's going to tear someone else down or make them feel less of a person, it's not the time or the place. They just do things different from you. And that is also 100% OK.

What is the worst/best parenting advice you've ever heard?

You might also like: Tips for Running with a BabyFavorite Children's Books,  Positive Dicipline: Book ReviewMy Favorite Baby ItemsA Day in the Life of a Stay At Home Mommy Blogger5 Dos of Date Night

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Go Ahead and Like It: Book Review

This little book was a good idea. It wasn't much in the area of story telling or anything, but the idea of making lists of things that you like is a good idea.


Jacqueline Suskin started making lists of things that she liked when a new friend handed her a list of things that he liked. She noticed that by doing that, he allowed her to get to know him in a quick and intimate way. She immediately knew things that she probably wouldn't know about him for years otherwise. So she took to writing lists.


She writes lists of things she likes when she's in the car, in her garden, sitting at home, or any other time. She talks about how when you're in a low state of life, making lists of things will not magically make everything better, but it will help you see the good in situations. (I really liked that idea).
She also explains that she uses list making as a memory exercise. Just as people do crossword puzzles to keep their minds sharp, she makes lists of things she likes from her past. She writes them all down and keeps them so that later on she can spread them out on the table and remember all the things that she likes. Sometimes it helps her come up with new things to write about. (Another idea that I really liked).

I was a little bugged when I started reading this book and realized it was a bunch of stuff that the author liked and why she liked making lists. But, as I read it, I agreed with her reasoning and the whole idea of this kind of list making in general.
I felt it could help me in my life. Help me with writing this blog (after all this is a blog about all the things I like most.), help me with being more positive in my life, help me help others be more positive, and help me get to know people better.


If you're looking for a way to brighten your day a little more, be more appreciative of the small things around you, celebrate the every day things, then this is a good book (and idea) for you.

Because this is all about lists of things we like, here are a few I can think of right now:

  • I like sunshine
  • I like my back yard
  • I like getting packages and mail
  • I like buying people gifts
I like finding little surprises in the dollar section at Target.


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.


What do you like to makes lists of?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day Mom

I was a hard child growing up. I know that I was. I was, by nature, hard in the first place. I was (and still am) very stubborn, very strong willed. Then I went through some stuff that made me angry, and hurt, and scared, sad, and confused. And that made me even harder. I hated that I was that way. I've always known I was hard. But that's just the way I was.
My mom was a very good mom. The best mom. She was patent and loved me through all the fighting I put her through. She still taught me, she still wanted to be with me, she still loved me. And even on the bad days, I knew it.


My favorite thing to do when with my mom when I was little was run errands. I felt so special and grown up. It was how we "played". I always wanted to be busy, I still do and so does my J girl. I felt the structure in our day when I felt like we had something we needed to go do.

My favorite thing to do with my mom when I was a little older was go to the grocery store. No one else wanted to go, so it was my time alone with her. She teased me as I got even older and still wanted to go to the store, and still had the habit of hanging on to the cart. But it made me feel safe and kind of in-charge. Like I said before, strong willed.

My favorite thing to do with my mom as a teenager was to dance with her in our living room. She never did that any other time. Only when I started it. (That and pillow fights I guess). It let me see that it's ok, and even good to goof off. She didn't always have to be serious, even though she was a mom, she could still be a little goofy. It was a bonding time.

My favorite thing to do with my mom after high school was watch movies. Every Sunday, or on nights that I was alone (Trev was on his mission), we would watch movies. Sometimes, the same movie over and over. And other times, we would do movie marathons. Sometimes my dad would come watch it too. That helped me feel like I wasn't alone. I was the last child, all of my siblings were married. My best friend, and boyfriend was on his mission (as were most of my other friends at that time). So when I was home, it got really easy to feel alone. But when ever I wanted to watch a movie, I could count on my mom to watch it with me. And then I wasn't alone.

My favorite thing to do with my mom as a new parent, was to go on walks. We lived in their house, so every night, and most mornings, we would take J on walks. It was a good time for us to be able to talk. It helped me feel that I was doing good as a mom. I was trying my best. I was teaching my baby. Even though we didn't have a place of our own, and I didn't feel like I was doing much to raise my little one, going on walks with my mom, where we could talk about those things, helped me feel like I was doing more than I thought.

My favorite thing to do with my mom now, is just spend time with her. It doesn't matter what we are doing. Shopping, exercising, or even just sitting at her house and letting the kids play. It's a time for me to have a conversation with someone older than three. It's a time that I can vent and she will listen. I can ask for advise and she knows what to do. She's always there for me when I need her.


I might have fought a lot with my mom a lot growing up, but she was always one of my best friends. She was always coming and cheering me on at my races. She was always there to talk when I would finally feel like it. She was there to protect me all the way.
Happy Mother's Day Mom. Love you!


Friday, May 8, 2015

What My Grandmas Taught Me

I was lucky enough to grow up with in walking distance of both of my grandma's. One lived three houses down, the other just a couple of blocks away. So they both had a huge part in raising me because I spent most of my time around them when I wasn't in school.
They both taught me more than I could ever share. Everything from sewing and cleaning to how to relax and have fun. Some of the most important things in life.


Grandma Lindsay taught me how to sew, how to weed the yard, how to work hard. She taught me what to do for a bee sting and how a butterfly makes a cocoon. But the thing I think of most when I think of Grandma Lindsay, is how selfless and kind she was. She was always taking people meals, cards, or gifts. She never complained about one thing, even though she had her own health struggles.
We would go play at her house but she would never let us leave with out a treat. She always had something for us. Somedays, when I was being a particularly hard child (because I was) she would offer to take me out with her to do what ever she needed to do. Go to the bank, grocery store, or sometimes just to go get  an ice cream. And while we were out, she never failed to teach me something.
She also never missed an event in my life. All my dance performances, choir concerts, piano recitals, school graduations, bridal showers, weddings. Everything in my life that she could make it to, she did until the day she died.


Grandma Francis, the fun, spunky, happy Grandma Francis. She was the best at "girls days" and having a party. She was always up for an adventure (and she still is). She taught us to be clean, and organized. "Don't forget to wipe that bar up when you're done. And rinse the rag out, that's why it gets smelling sour." She taught me how to quilt. She taught me that I can do things even if I get frustrated and want to give up on them. She taught me to pray when I'm sad or feel alone. "In time this too shall pass". She taught me that God is always on my side. She taught me not to give up. Ever.
She always had fun ideas. Things that my family still talks about today. Things that I tell my kids about. Like when we would be up at the cabin and she would spontaneously go up the stairs and throw M&M's down over the loft and yell "It's raining candy!" So we would all run and gather up as much as we could.
She's the queen at Phase 10 and she taught me to play. Introduced me to Anne of Green Gables, and will eat french fries or mexican food with me anytime I want them. She's never been scared to speak her mind or to teach someone the proper way of doing something.
She is who I would run away to when things got bad. When the depression was deep, when I'd just had a fight with my parents or my brother, when something at school was going bad, when my dog died, she is who I went to. Sometimes even just to sit and listen to the quiet together. She's always there for a hug.
She taught me to get along with my family because they really do become your best friends. She taught me that family matters.


My grandma's taught me how to love life. How to be self reliant, how to work hard in every single thing that I do. They taught me never to give up. They taught me that I'm worth something, I'm special. They taught me that God hears me and cares about me.
My grandma's taught me to be polite and kind to others. To have fun and to try my best to be happy. They showed me how to do those things through their examples.
They taught me that anything worth doing, is worth doing right, and cleaning is definitely worth doing.
They taught me to be true to myself. To not worry about what someone else was doing. To brush myself off when someone knocked me down.
They taught me to be serve others when ever possible. To make time for those things because they matter.
They taught me to live a happy life. In ways that I will never forget. Even when they moved to the other side, I will never forget the feeling of their hugs, the smell of their clothes, the sounds of the voices telling me whats right. They will forever be the who I think of when I'm in a tough spot "what would grandma do right now?"

Happy Mother's Day Grandma!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Love Story: Wedding


Love Story

Wedding

The day before our wedding, I started coming down with a cold. Worst timing ever.  I went home early from work, took a nap and tried to get the rest of our little things done. By dinner time, I knew that it was bad. I asked Trevon and my dad to give me a priesthood blessing. Then, once we finished the finale details for the reception, I went to bed.

The next morning I woke up feeling a little better. I didn't have a stuffy nose anymore, but my throat was sore and I had a headache. I started getting ready to go to the temple. I wasn't nervous at all. I never really understood why people were so nervous to get married. If you agreed to marry them, wouldn't you have been pretty sure you wanted to be with them forever?


Trevon picked me up at 8:00 A.M. and we headed to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. It was crazy windy at the temple and super cold. But it was a dry day so there were lots of beautiful pictures. The best part is that during the ceremony I felt completely healthy. I was able to focus on what was being said. I wasn't feeling sick at all.



After the ceremony, we came out of the temple and we were greeted by a ton of family. We took pictures with family and then some of just us. Then it was time to go to our luncheon. I honestly don't even remember what we ate. By then my headache had come back and all I wanted to do was take some Advil and go to sleep. Which is exactly what I did as soon as the luncheon was over. And I slept until it was time to go to our reception.


We had our reception at Sleep Ridge Golf course. We were one of their first weddings they had. It was beautiful! We started the receiving line (which was the one thing my dad wanted me to have at the wedding) and about half way through we broke the line and did cake and mingling. We loved seeing and visiting with our friends and family. And before we knew it, it was time to go.




Thankfully, I wasn't feeling too sick. We were so pleased with how the whole thing turned out. And we were so excited to start our lives together. To learn and grow together.