November 30, 2015


Thanksgiving this year was different, but it was really good. My parents had planned to go out of town for the holiday, so we decided to have "Sibling Thanksgiving." A few of my siblings didn't like the idea and convinced Mom stay long enough to prepare a feast before heading off to the airport.

We had a great time playing games, thrift shopping, playing with a puppy and a baby, and stuffing our faces! It was a great weekend for bonding!

My thrift store find for the weekend was a Buff. I was so excited when I found it I squealed. $0.50 for another one of my favorite sweatbands, I'll take it!

Me & laser puppy!

Me & Mia.

We found a kitty sleeping in the sink.

Sadie, Megan, & Me.

A frosty path we walked on.

We also celebrated my brother Jake's Birthday a few days early. His girlfriend made some really good food from Guam and this awesome cake!

Jake's fish cake.

Jake & his cake. 

So happy!

I don't remember the last time we were able to celebrate my brother's birthday with him. So, it was special for us.

We were also able to see my best friend Betsy and her husband Will. They were in town from Nebraska. We don't get to see them very often. We enjoyed catching up! Lots of laughs were shared!

The posse.

Will, Betsy, Megan, Mr. D, Andy, & Me.

Friends for life!
Overall, I think everyone had a wonderful weekend!

November 26, 2015

Thoughts of Thanksgiving

My life is far from perfect, but I feel so incredibly loved and blessed. With it being Thanksgiving today, I feel it is only appropriate it share what I am grateful for.
  • My loving husband.
  • My knowledge and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • My family.
  • The scriptures.
  • Friends.
  •  My job and my husband's job.
  • A place to live.
  • Two cars that run.
  • Medical insurance.
  • My body.
  • Good health.
  • The ability to read.
  • Healthy food to eat.
  • Water to drink.
  • The opportunity to live in Oregon.
  • Rain.
  • Sunshine.
  • Temples.
  • Sleep.
  • Soldiers.
  • Religious freedom.
  • Agency.
  • My education. 
  • Mountains to climb.
  • Trees.
  • Trials.
  • Music.
And the list goes on and on...."Count your many blessings. Name them one by one."

November 23, 2015

Weekend In Review

We have been so busy lately! The days seems like they are starting to blur together-- that's probably not a good thing. Anyone have some spare time they would like to donate to me and Andy? There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, no matter how fast and hard we run.


Saturday was a pretty uneventful day. The day started with me getting some blood drawn. Getting blood drawn is one of my least favorite things. I'm fine with needles, but the thought of my own blood being drawn out of my body freaks me out.

After getting my blood drawn we headed to the eye doctor, another one of those things that I don't enjoy. The doctor dilated my eyes and then let me loose to pick out some new frames. Picking out new glasses is really hard when your eyes are dilated. I am little nervous to see what my new frames look like when they come in.

We hit us a few thrift stores on our way home, but didn't find anything awesome. That doesn't happen very often.

I took a nap in hopes that when I woke up my eyes wouldn't be dilated anymore. The nap didn't help. When I woke up I looked like Quasimodo! One eye was dilated and the other one wasn't.

Then we headed out to run some errands and decided to do a little Christmas shopping along the way. As you could probably guess by now, we ended up in another thrift store and boy did we score. Or should I say my sister scored. She had been wanting a Vitamix Blender for quite some time but couldn't justify spending $500.00 on one. *Note* She is a foodie. As I was walking through the store I spied a Vitamix sitting on the counter near a cash register.


I called my sister to see if she wanted the Vitamix and she said, "Yes! Grab it!" So we came how with a professional grade Vitamix. The machine retails for $700.00 and looked to be almost brand new. What was the cost of this lovely machine? $249.99 and because we are in Oregon there was no sales tax- added bonus! 

We also picked up a few shirts for Andy. He was just tickled about them!


We went to church and it was awesome! We talked a lot about goals, how to set them, why we set them, how to achieve them, and what to do when you have set backs. I'm feeling motivated now!

After church we took our usual Sunday nap and made some healthy cookies for the upcoming week.

November 19, 2015

Thursday Thought

There has been a lot of laughter taking place in our home lately and I love it! Something about laughter just makes all my cares and worries disappear. I love laughing, I love watching my husband laugh, and I love laughing with him. At times we are total dorks, I'm sure strangers would think we are crazy. Laughter is a really powerful thing.When you laugh with each other, instead of at each other, you create positive memories (this has been our experience). It seems like once a week, we laugh so hard we cry and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Laughter really is the best medicine. Now it's time to go laugh!

Carpe Diem!

November 16, 2015

Weekend In Review

I had planned to go to Time Out For Women up in Portland with some lovely ladies and  put in a time off request at work for part of Friday. As the date for Time Out For Women approached, I was informed that the others women I was planning on attending with wouldn't be able to make it for one reason or another. I was a little disappointed, but I know I will have other opportunities to attend TOFW in the future.

Since, I was already approved to take part of Friday off, I figured I might as well take it off. It's not very often that I get a day off from work. Think of all the stuff I could accomplish with a free afternoon. What did I do when I got home? I took a nice long nap and then I went to the gym with Andy. That pretty much sums Friday up.


We tried a new pancake recipe and it was a failure. The recipe was for pancakes made with coconut flour, they didn't have a lot of flavor and they were gritty. At least the scrambled eggs I made tasted great!

After breakfast we headed over to the Family History Center. I have been working on my family history lately and ran into some hurdles. The lady that helped us was awesome and we learned some really neat stuff. Neat as in, my great grandpa went to jail. Yes, jail. We don't know why he was in jail but it looks like he was about 15 years old at the time and spent five years there. Thank you cenus record!

We will likely be going back to the Family History Center in the near future to work through some more stuff. Did I mention that I really love family history? For me, it's like solving a family mystery and I find it enjoyable.

Then we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to the Cascade Raptor Center. We have been wanting to visit the raptor center for some time now and are glad we were finally able to do so. The raptor center helps rehabilitate birds that have been injured and then they release them back into the wild. If for some reason a bird is unable to be released, they house the birds.

We found Hedwig!

Andy & I.

The Face.

Me & Andy.

Hoot hoot!

What a goof!
The birds we saw were the ones that weren't suitable to be released. Some were missing an eye, blind, or unable to fly. Each bird had it's story posted outside of its pen, some of the stories were really sad. I'm so glad that the raptor center is there to help take care of these beautiful and majestic birds.

The owls were probably my favorite.

Check out those feathers!

I told Andy that I wanted to cuddle this guy, he looked so fluffy and soft. His feathers reminded me of spider webs. Did I mention that I really like birds? I do.

Our next stop was the thrift store. On our way to the thrift store we saw a guy trying to steal a car, that was a first.

The thrift store was lacking in awesome finds this weekend. I did manage to find myself a badly needed exercise shirt. I picked up what looked like a brand new Adidas top for $3.99, you can't beat that price.

Then we headed home, it was about 5:30 pm and I was whipped. I could have fallen asleep right then, but I know I would have woken up in the middle of the night. I forced myself to stay awake until my normal bed time.

Andy suggested that we watch a movie called God's Not Dead. My co-worker had talked to me about this movie recently and it sounded really good so I obliged. The movie was really good. Definitely worth watching at least once.


We went to church and all of the meetings were really good as usual. I think the most poignant thought for the day had to do with puzzles and testimonies. When you build a puzzle and you can't figure out what to do with a particular piece, what do you do with that piece? Do you throw it away? No, you set it aside and come back and work on it later. The same is true with the gospel. We don't know all the answers and sometimes the answers don't come when we want them to. Instead of saying God won't answer my prayers or I can't find the answer to this question, we should set that "puzzle piece" aside and come back to it later. Just because you don't have a testimony of a specific principle or teaching doesn't mean that you don't have a testimony, it just means you don't have a testimony of that one principle yet. Testimonies don't happen over night, they take time, just like building a puzzle takes time.

After church, we took the rest of the day easy. Part of what I love about Sundays is being able to rest and relax.

November 12, 2015

Thursday Thought

As I was sitting at my desk today thinking about what I might share on the blog, not a lot came to mind. Strange, right? I'm always thinking about something, I mean, I'm almost always thinking about something. I thought about not posting a Thursday Thought at all, but quickly changed my mind as I reflected on this past week.

I am the type of person who prays ALL THE TIME. I pray when I wake up in the morning. I pray on my way to work. I pray at work, church, in the car, etc. I pray before I eat. I pray before I sleep. I pray for other people. I pray to give thanks. I pray to ask for help and guidance in my life. I feel like I pray pretty much all the time. I hope Heavenly Father doesn't get tired of hearing from me.

This past week I prayed for some very simple things that wouldn't really mean much to anyone else. I don't feel comfortable sharing what those things are on the blog. But my prayers were answered. I feel such a love for my Heavenly Father. I know that He is aware of me.

I know that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father. I know that He loves each and everyone of us and that He wants us to succeed in this life and return to live with Him again some day. I believe in the power of prayer. I know that God has heard and continues to answers my prayers and that He will answer your prayers too. Reach out to Him. He is always there. He cares about you more than you could possibly know.

November 9, 2015

Weekend In Review

This past weekend went by way too fast! It seems like that's how weekends tend to go around here. The song lyrics, "Everybody's working for the weekend" ring true in our household.


Friday night we had the missionaries over for dinner. We have three sets of missionaries in our ward right now and hadn't had a chance to meet these elders yet. We enjoyed visiting with them and stuffing our faces. We ate "Sweet Chicken" Cafe Rio style and some yummy cookies that I had made earlier in the week.

 The one elder was super funny. He poured himself a glass of water and said, "You make good water." Andy and I just laughed. We put cranberries, lemon, and mint in the water and apparently it tasted really good.

We had fun with the elders and hope to have them over again soon!


We went with the youth to the temple to do baptisms. There were more than enough adults so Andy and I went and did initiatories and sealings instead. I always feel the Spirit so strongly when I am in the temple.

For us going to the temple requires a whole day because of the long drive. But doing work in the Lord's house is so worth it!


Unfortunately, Andy had to work. We don't like when he has to work on Sunday, but there isn't much we can do about it at this point. I manned our Sunday School class and taught the girls in Young Women's. It made for a long day.

It was so nice to come home and be with my husband. We took our typically Sunday afternoon nap, it was badly needed.

Then we finished the evening off at our friend's house with dinner and games.

Overall it was a good weekend, it just went by too quickly.

November 5, 2015

Thursday Thought

A few weeks ago an old Helen Keller quote came to my mind and it has been on my mind ever since. I figure since it won't go away, maybe it's time that I share it.

"Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves. "

It seems like we as a people are always looking for happiness. Who doesn't want to be happy, right? I know I want to be happy. But all too often we are told that happiness comes from your "status". Your car, house, weight, clothing, job title, how much money you make, plastic surgery, etc. While these things may bring some happiness, they don't bring the lasting joy that so many people are seeking.

Joy is found through serving other people. When we serve other people, we forget about ourselves and we focus on the needs of another. It is in these moments that we experience lasting joy and happiness.

With the holidays fast approaching, there are opportunities all around for us to serve. My challenge to you is this, go serve someone else. Volunteer at your local food bank, feed the homeless, visit with the seniors at a retirement home, go caroling, leave someone a plate of cookies, etc. I promise you that you will feel happiness as you serve. Now get after it!

Carpe Diem!

November 4, 2015

A Confession of Sorts

I have a confession to make and I think this confession is the first confession I have ever made on the blog. Are you ready for this? I think I am.

 *clenches teeth together*

I am addicted to pickles. There I said it and it feels so good to say it. I am addicted to pickles. I am addicted to pickles. I am addicted to pickles. Okay, I think I'm done saying it.

But seriously, I love pickles. I canned pickles back in August and they are seriously the best! I have been eating pickles for breakfast, yes breakfast alongside my pancakes. I have been eating pickles for lunch, dinner, snacks, and if my stomach doesn't feel good, well, I eat pickles then too. For the record, I am not pregnant, I just really love pickles. My pickle addiction is becoming a problem though, because I only have about 15 jars left and at the rate I'm going they aren't going to last very long.

Would you like the recipe for these very addictive pickles? You know you do. Well maybe you don't or you will find yourself eating pickles next to your pancakes. Just in case though, I will share it with you. This is Andy's grandmother's recipe.


Don't you just want to eat them?

Home Canned Dill Pickles

Makes approximately 6 quarts

White onion
Dried red peppers
Apple cider vinegar
Canning salt
Armenian cucumbers


Sterilize your jars in boiling water. Warm canning lids in a small pot of water. Pour 1 quart of apple cider vinegar, 2 quarts of water, and 1 cup of canning salt into a pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, you will want to wash your cucumbers off and cut to the size desired. Then you will the following ingredients to each jar: 1 onion slice, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1 little red dried pepper (these are sold in bags and usually found in the Hispanic section of the store), and 1 head of dill. Next, you are going to stuff the jar with cucumbers, make sure you leave 1/2" of headspace. Now it is time to ladle the vinegar, water, and salt mixture over the cucumbers, make sure you leave that 1/2" of head space at the top of each jar. Wipe the top of each jar off with a rag and add lid and ring. Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.

You will want to let the pickles cure for about 5-6 weeks.

Enjoy your new found addiction!

*Note* Each jar will vary in heat.

November 2, 2015

Weeked In Review: Halloween

We did something different for Halloween this year, we skipped it. Skipped it? Yes, we skipped it. Why would anyone do such a thing and skip Halloween? I'll tell you.

I think it was about nine years ago, we had a family reunion at South Beach State Park in Oregon. I had a blast at the reunion, we played on the beach, went to the aquarium, went inside a light house, and got stuck in the worst traffic on the way home. Even with the traffic the car ride was a blast, except for the part where I almost peed my pants because we were stuck in traffic for sooo lonnnggg.

Back to the story, while we were at the state park I noticed these strange tent like buildings. I quickly learned that they were called yurts and I thought they were super cool. I have pretty much wanted to stay in a yurt since I learned about them nine years ago. I can't believe that was nine years ago. It's crazy how fast time passes.

We have looked into staying in a yurt several times but they have always been completely booked out. The Oregon coast is a popular place to visit in the summer. Well they weren't booked out Halloween weekend so we snagged one up and invited my siblings to come and join us for the weekend. Megan and Mr. D were the only ones who were able to make it.

Friday night we played some games, Megan was tired and couldn't stay awake, but the rest of us stayed up talking until the wee hours of the morning.

I was a little bit nervous about sleeping in the yurt. Would it have electricity? Would it be warm? How clean would it be? Would it keep us dry? What were the beds like?

The yurt had electricity, it was great! We didn't need to bring lanterns. The only thing we needed were headlamps for bathroom runs. The yurt had a small heater and it seemed to put out a fair amount of heat. We also brought a portable heater and plugged it in, we were plenty warm. The yurt was surprisingly clean. The germaphobe in me had to disinfect the beds and table. Thank you Sol-U-Guard. The yurt kept us very dry, it was a stormy weekend so that's saying something. The beds in my opinion were hard, I didn't sleep well at all. If you're going to stay in a yurt I recommend bringing an extra sleeping pad.

The inside of the yurt.

Andy & I.

Mr D & Megan.

Saturday we played on the beach for as long as we could stand it. It was cold and windy. It was so windy that you could lean over into the wind and not fall over, it was pretty awesome!

Megan leaning into the wind.

Megan & Mr. D.

Her facial expression is the best!

Love how happy he makes her.

Me & Megan jumping.

Megan & Mr D.

Me & Andy.

Andy hit my hand while we were jumping and the knuckles popped, it was loud and painful.

We ate brunch at Pig 'N Pancake, watched the sea lions, went in the shops on the bay front, toured a lighthouse, and hit up a thrift store before parting ways.

Windblown hair.

Megan & Mr. D.

Andy & I - note wind and layers make us look plumper than we really are.

I picked up a flour sifter for a couple bucks. I have never used a flour sifter before, I'm excited to try it out.

On our way back we had a feeling that we needed to stop at a thrift store. We were both tired and not really in the mood to go but felt like it was where we needed to be. It was kind of a weird feeling. So to the thrift store we went. This thrift store didn't have anything awesome and there was a very whiny child that could be heard throughout the entire store, it didn't make for a very fun thrifting adventure.

Eventually we decided it was time to hit the road. We turned on the GPS and began the journey home. There was a point on our trip where the GPS wanted us to get off the freeway and get back on, we both thought this was strange. As we came around a turn we could see a wall of red emergency lights up ahead. We quickly got off the freeway and took the detour that the GPS told us to take. We got back on the freeway once we had passed all of the emergency vehicles. The rest of the trip home was eerie. The freeway was empty, the only other cars on the road were the ones who got off where we did and bypassed the accident.

We later learned that the freeway was shutdown and didn't reopen until the next day. We were informed that it was shutdown because of an officer involved shooting. We don't know the details of what happened but we are grateful that we listened to the prompting we had to go to the thrift store. If we didn't listen to the still small voice we heard, we likely would have been caught in the crossfire. We know the Lord was looking out for us.

November 1, 2015

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yeah, it's kind of a long name for a cookie recipe, but I'm telling you these cookies are pretty darn good! Not only are these cookies healthier than most, they taste great too! The pictures don't do the cookies justice. Someday, maybe I will be able to afford a nice camera. For now though, the camera phone will have to suffice.

Waiting to go in the oven.

The final product. Mmmm...cookies...

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. coconut oil-solid form
1 c. coconut sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree (I use homemade pumpkin puree)
2 Tbsp. molasses
1  chia egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 bag of dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, and salt) together and set aside.
3. In another bowl add coconut oil and sugar and beat for about a minute. Add in pumpkin puree, chia egg, vanilla, and molasses. Beat until combined.
4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in dark chocolate chips.
5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and using a small cookie scoop place balls of cookie dough on cookie sheet.
6. Bake cookies for 12 minutes.
7. Once the cookies are done, place them immediately on a cooking rack.
8. Eat to your hearts content! Enjoy!

* A chia egg is made by mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Then you want to let it sit in a cold place for about 5 minutes, it will turn to a gel like substance. I like to put my chia egg mixture in the freezer. If you don't like chia seeds, you can always use a real egg.

Makes: Approximately 30 cookies