Temple Square

This year my mothers family decided to take a Christmas trip together. "The parents" decided on visiting Temple Square in SLC. The trip started off great, Heather and I were able to stop on the way up to SLC and see a couple of old friends, Emily and Natalie. It was so great to catch up with them for a little while and see Natalie's ADORABLE 2 month old baby Walker. (My baby hunger was at it's peak, let me tell you.)

That night "the parents" dragged us all to a Michael McClain concert, The Forgotten Carols. I like musicals, I like the theater, but this just was not my thing. I was totally jealous of my hubby and Lora's fiance Mat for going to the Utah Jazz game. MUCH rather have been there!

The next day ended up turning around again though. As we were inevitably waiting on the rest of the family to get where they said they would be an hour ago, Jeff and I got to explore Thanksgiving Point (I didn't mind getting to hang out with just the two of us). They had these reindeer on display for the kiddos and I think that they were a little stressed out.

This picture just needs a caption under it saying something like "You want me to pull this slay with the jolly ol' 200 lb elf in the back?"

We walked the grounds and saw how pretty it can be when you don't live in Vegas. I actually was considering moving to Utah!

An hour later the rest of my family finally met up with us at Thanksgiving Point and we toured the Dinosaur museum they have there. I love that going to a dinosaur museum is what my family does on vacation. We are all such dorks.

That night we went and toured the grounds at Temple Square. This was by far my highlight of the weekend. Since a BYU game just got out at the Energy Solutions Center (Jeff ditched us all again and went the game), the grounds were super crowded and everyone was so joyful. It was wonderful to be around so many Saints. Not to mention, the Temple Grounds were gorgeous!

Such a cute newly engage couple!

The whole gang

Jeffs new best friend this trip, our little cousin.

The next morning we went and saw a taping of The Spoken Word. That was just the cherry on top to the end of our little vacation. The Tabernacle Choir was amazing live. I couldn't believe that I had been in the SLC area on so many Sunday's before and not taken advantage of this. I will definitely be doing this again next time I'm in town.

Since the Spoken word is a live taping, they asked everyone before to be as quiet as possible to get a good recording. I have never before heard that many Mormon families with a bunch of little kids be so silent. If only we could all do that in Sacrament I'm sure we would get more out of the talks.

All and all it was a pretty fun, quick, and painless weekend. I'm not sure if I would want to do it again with that many people, but I could see Jeff and I taking the kids up one year (once again I am making plans for our imaginary children). Definitely a good way to enjoy in the all the Christmas cheer!



Last year I was a total Grinch. I did not want to participate in any reindeer games! This year, I cannot get enough CHRISTMAS CHEER! Why am I loving Christmas so much this year? Maybe it is because we are so blessed. Maybe it's because my Christmas shopping in 95% done and I will be spending less than a few hundred buckaroos on all our gifts this year. Maybe I am just making up for last year, but I am totally lovin' this Christmas season.

Every year I help my youngest sister make her own gifts for everyone. This year one of our gifts was an advent calender for our parents. We took a plastic bead holder, Christmas scrapbook paper, and markers and turned it into a DIY advent calender.

Jade did every last thing herself. All I had to do was show her how it would work and she took care of the rest. She even thought of all the different activities to put into each jar with a little treat.

She did such a good job that a couple days later I made one for myself. I wanted something a little more simple. I loved the advent calenders I saw on Ohdeedoh, especially the coin envelop Christmas tree one. But, I refused to pay $17 for a box of coin envelops that I would never use again. It ended up coming together when I scored these white paper gift bags from Michael's for $2. They even came in a pack of 25, how much more perfect can you get?

All I used was the little gift bags, leftover scrapbook paper, ribbon, string, stamps, clips (from Jeff's birthday) and a little glitter (for #25). After an hour or so I had my very own, first ever, advent calender.

I even went out and bought my first ever wreath on Black Friday. Usually I don't go for this kind of stuff, you know. It's only used once a year, it is usually too expensive, cheaply made, and just a bunch of clutter "stuff" I don't need in my garage, but this year I didn't care. I want to decorate for Christmas and I don't care who knows it!

I am even trying to talk Jeff into going shopping with me the Monday after Christmas to get more decorations on sale. I am thinking that a full sized Christmas tree, lights, ornaments, and all the trimmings are in order (we still use my small tree from college). I don't think he is buying into my senseless, consumerism love of Christmas this year, but maybe he will come around. Hopefully next year I will still have enough Christmas spirit to actually put up all the new decorations :) Can't wait!


Amber's 30 X 30

I've created my list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30. I'm giving myself plenty of time, but I'm sure I will still struggle with completing everything on this list. Time moves so quickly, I'm not sure how to get a handle on it. At least with this, I'll have goals.

Here it goes in no particular order:

1) Have my hair professionally dyed a dark auburn.
2) Go on a 'real' date with Jeff once a month, no family members invited.
3) Blog once a month.
4) Update my wardrobe with at least 5 fun and totally non-essential items.
5) Lose 20 lbs, feel more fit.
6) Take a road trip.
7) Organize the garage and all our tools.
8) Re-vamp the office. It needs an overhaul.
9) "Grow up" our decorating style a little.
10) Paint the hallway and stairwell.
11) Frame the dried flowers from our wedding.
12) Print the disposable camera pictures from our wedding.
13) Make a window treatment for the kitchen window.
14) Complete 5 crafts from the Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts.
15) Find at least 5 go-to recipes from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cook Book."
16) Take better pictures with my Nikon.
17) Write, record, memorialize my grandparents history.
18) Sew something.
19) Decide if I'm going back to school and for what.
20) Stop drinking caffeinated soda.
21) Tithes.
22) Pray more.
23) Go to the temple once a quarter (4 times a year)
24) Read the Book of Mormon again.
25) Get preggo.
26) If preggo, decorate the cutest nursery ever!
27) Read 6 books.
28) Reduce our monthly expenses by 10%
29) Learn how to play my favorite piano song from the Sense and Sensibility movie.
30) Take a trip with just Jeff and I for our 30th birthdays.

Now, the explanations. This is more for my record keeping of course, so in the future when I am wondering "why am I doing all these pointless things?", I can read this and remember. I wish I could do the whole bloggy "after the jump" thing, but as I am technologically impaired, I'm writing this in plain sight for the world to see (or one of the 3 people that may glance at this blog once a year). The writing below is boring, I beg you, turn away now.

1) Have my hair professionally dyed a dark auburn: I've always wished I had curly red hair. Bottled hair dye just doesn't seem to work for reds. I'm going for realistic here.

2) Go on a 'real' date with Jeff once a month, no family members invited: Every movie or dinner I get the question, 'Can so or so family member come?' Now I love family too, but just the two of us would nice every once in while.

3) Blog once a month: Just write more, practice makes perfect.

4) Update my wardrobe with at least 5 fun and totally non-essential items: I tend to only buy things that have purpose and can be used over and over (and are priced under $30). This leads to a very basic and dull wardrobe. I need to spice things up!

5) Lose 20 lbs: I am not ready to say good bye to my looks just because I am getting older, I should try and get them back while I am still young-ish.

6) Take a road trip: Even if we are too poor and the only trip we make is camping in Zions, I'm good.

7) Organize the garage and all our tools: This is more for Jeff (and my sanity).

8) Re-vamp the office. It needs an overhaul: Seriously, it's gross and it is taking me way too long to get it all put together. I've had it decorated in my head for at least a year.

9) "Grow up" our decorating style a little: Things are looking a little one dementional at the Bame house. We need to take our style up a notch and get a little more . . . MORE.

10) Paint the hallway and stairwell: It again, has been a year with paint testing strips on the wall. Decide and conquer!

11) Frame the dried flowers from our wedding.

12) Print the disposable camera pictures from our wedding: I have to be the laziest person in the world, or the cheapest. I can't decide which.

13) Make a window treatment for the kitchen window: As much as I enjoy people driving by on the street seeing what I'm watching on the TV I think I may just cover up the kitchen window.

14) Complete 5 crafts from the Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts: I really should give quilling a try.

15) Find at least 5 go-to recipes from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cook Book": Let's face it, cooking something, anything, will be an improvement. How I made it to 28 without being a good cook, a good homemaker, and childless is beyond me. I need to get at least 5 easy recipes memorized, so I can pull them out in times of need in the future.

16) Take better pictures with my Nikon.

17) Write, record, memorialize my grandparents history: I've been thinking about this for years and just need to do it while I still have the ability to.

18) Sew something.

19) Decide if I'm going back to school and for what: I have been knocking around going back to college ever since I graduated. I can't decide if I want to get my teaching certificate, a masters in public administration, or just get a certificate in something totally different - like a synographer or something.

20) Stop drinking caffeinated soda: I hate being an addict.

21) Tithes.

22) Pray more.

23) Go to the temple once a quarter (4 times a year)

24) Read the Book of Mormon again: venturing into the Old Testament wouldn't be a bad idea either.

25) Get preggo: Sometimes I worry I've already missed my shot at motherhood, other days I don't know how mothers can survive, I just know I've been ready to experience the craziness of motherhood for some time.

26) If preggo, decorate the cutest nursery ever! Let me be honest. I already have the majority of the items to decorate a nursery for either a boy or girl picked out. Color schemes? chosen. Crib? picked out. Yep, I'm 'that' girl, talking, thinking and planning for babies that have yet to be conceived.

27) Read 6 books.

28) Reduce our monthly expenses by 10%: We need to bring down our monthly bills. Our power bill is insane, we are paying for internet on our phones and for our computer. We really just need to get smarter and make our money go further.

29) Learn how to play my favorite piano song from the Sense and Sensibility movie.

30) Take a trip with just Jeff and I for our 30th birthdays: Even if it's just to Mesquite, although I'd love to take Jeff on a cruise, jet to New York, or go see the Grand Canyon. How has this boy not experienced these things yet?


Jeff turns 28!

Last month I threw a birthday party for my hubby Jeffery's 28th Birthday. I was so excited for it, I started planning it in July after my birthday.

I already posted about prepping the back yard for his birthday. I had to really spruce up the backyard because with so many of us just in our immediate families, it'd be the only place big enough to hold all of us for dinner. It was still pretty snug, using both inside and outside.

It started with the Bame’s doing what they do best, watching whatever game was on TV that day. They even did this at our wedding reception...

The Jones' were outside in the middle of some conversation of course. My dad was the cook that night, cooking the shish kabobs on the grill that I gave Jeff for his birthday (my present was a whole backyard kind of a theme, I love theme presents).

The shish kabobs were getting done right around the time the game ended. Perfect timing. We had a pretty good spread if I do say so myself.

Somehow Lora still ended up sitting at the kids table- LOL!

On each of our tables I had a candle in a pickle jar, a bottle of lemonade (both decorated by Jade and I for the occasion, and some pens and paper.

The Pens and Paper were for a fun little project I had going that night. I love the "30 before 30" lists I see on the web everywhere and I really wanted Jeff and I to create our own. I know you are suppose to create this on your 29th birthday but I figure that Jeff and I are such procrastinators that we needed to give ourselves two years. (As it is I don't think we'll even have our lists put together before Thanksgiving and we started this on Oct 8.) On each table and inside I had the jist of the project explained on signs I created.

Underneath I had a couple of yarn braded lines with mini clothes pins where everyone could clip their papers from the tables with their ideas of what Jeff should do before he turns 30.

I like this because it kept the conversation on Jeff during dinner and made it feel like this really was all for him on his special day.

After dinner we went back inside where I had a couple games planned. We played 3 different Minute to Win It games: Chocolate Unicorn, Back Flip, and some balloon game for the kids. These seem a little silly at first, but they are actually really fun to play, and I tried to pick games where people could play and still keep their dignity in tack.

If you are really prepared and tech savvy you can even hook your laptop to your tv and watch the instructional videos that minute to win it has on their website. (I couldn't find the right cables that day.) We weren't tech savvy but I did make little prizes that correlated with Jeff and each game.

After the games and while we waited for the cupcakes to finish being frosted I read out the cards everyone had written about what Jeff should include on his 30 x 30 list. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Graduate college (mine)
2. Die your hair purple with yellow strips (Jade)
3. Make a baby; potty train them; read a book on how to raise a child (Sage)
4.Give your wife 30 gifts (Nanette)
5. Write your own comic book instead of reading so many (Jade)
6. Go 30 days without playing video games (Nanette)
7. Vote Republican (Nanette)

Finally, it was just time for some jello cupcakes and conversation.

Later, I tried to clean up really quick, most the kids met up to go to a movie that night. I had a really good time, and even though I think I could have made some changes to make everything run smoother, it turned out really well. Most importantly I think Jeff enjoyed himself. For our 30th birthday's we want to take a big trip to together, so a nice big bash for 28 was supper fun to put on.

(I'm an aweful wife, with all my running around, this is the best shot I got of him all night.)

***I got some of my b-day decorating ideas from posts on perfect party blog***


Planting the Garden

One of the first things I was aching to do when we moved into our first official house (or condhouse as I call it) was landscaping. With our house being a mixture of a 'real' house and a condo, we are not left with an ample amount of land to garden to my hearts content, but there was just enough space that I could do a little somethin' something.

I kept waiting for Jeff to get on board, but then one day it struck me, why do I need to wait around for Jeff to start landscaping the backyard? It's only 200-300 square feet, how hard can it be? So I hatched a plan. I would landscape the backyard myself and make it part of Jeff's birthday present. This will both take it off his 'honey do' list (which is pretty long), and help justify the expense. I got him his very own present as well, but this was a bonus for both of us.

I have to admit, I had no idea where to start so I just started to research on the Internet at lunch. Most of our backyard is a concrete patio which just left one 17" wide by 10' long and one 26" wide by 27' length area to be planted.

I woke up early and spent pretty much all day one Saturday trying to tackle the backyard. Even after a week of prepping the space after work, I still had to make a handful of trips to the store, and ended my day with dirt and sweat all over, with a big smile on my face.

This is what I learned:

1. When making a foundation flower bed you need at least 18" to work with. I also learned that I would need to slant the bottom of my flower bed, the highest point next to the foundation, so that the water would drain away from the foundation minimizing any water damage to the foundation.

2. The flower bed needs to be at the very least 8" deep.

3. Black construction tarp can be used on the bottom of the flower bed as an extra water barrier. (I really wanted to protect my neighbors house foundation)

4. Water irrigation systems are surprisingly easy to install. Especially when your brother-in-law stops by for a couple hours to set up the timer just right.

5. A 12" flower bed takes a lot longer to dig than you would think and uses way more soil than you'd naturally plan for.

6.Planting flowers is just as fun as I thought it'd be. I woke up at 5 am on "landscaping day" without an alarm. I was so excited you'd think I was going to Disney Land.

7. Finally, when I'm nervous and think I bit off more than I could chew, I just need to relax because I can do it! (And if I can't there is no shame in asking for help)

It was hard work. This is what my hands looked like after the digging, moving rocks, setting up the irrigation system and planting.

But I was so happy with my final result. This is what I was left with at the end of the day

I decided on my flowers based on our partial sun, dry climate, color story (staying with only yellows and purples- which goes well with our brown house), Internet sites recommendations, and multiple trips to Moon Valley Nursery. Oh, I also picked them based on how pretty they were. My favorite has ended up being the Mexican Sage (tall purple plant). It seems to also be holding up the best as well. The Hibiscus and Annuals I think wish they had a bit more sun than what our backyard provides, but so far they are hanging in there.

I did some touch ups and my final project was ready for Jeff's birthday party (more to come on Jeff's 28th birthday party later).


Busy Bees

These past few months have kept us really busy.

First in July we went on vacation to Cali for a quick weekend trip. It was so nice to get away from work and just relax on the beach. We were originally suppose to go to Lake Tahoe with Jeff's family but my license renewal fell perfectly enough to mess up our flight plans. I guess Vegas is now mailing you an updated license, which takes 10+ days, but in the mean time they punch a hole in your current license, making it invalid. I wasn't taking my chances with an invalid ID trying to get on plane- no way!

Instead we . . .

Slept on Venice Beach, Went to a Dodger Game,

Went La Brie Museum, even hit up a concert and saw the New Pornographers

It was lovely. I didn't want to come back to reality. This is one of the few trips Jeff and I have actually been on without family members. I believe it is the third trip to be exact. I like having just husband and wife time.

Then in early Sept. we headed out with my family to celebrate my Grandpa Jones' 90th birthday. That is right I said 90th! I was so glad to be up there celebrating with him. He is one of my most favorite people in all the world.

When Heather and I were little we spent ample amounts of time over at my Grandma and Grandpa Jones'. We read lots and lots of books together, played on the swing set in the backyard, and went for walks. It was like play land. When we moved away from Utah we were still sure to come back for Holidays and visits but I missed seeing them everyday. Then, when I went to college I was close enough to come down and visit often. Sometimes we would stay up until one or two in the morning just talking and listening to their stories. Those are my favorite memories of college. It's amazing when you finally get to know your grandparents as the amazing people they are, as friends, and not just the people you visit on Christmas.

On one of me and Heathers recent visits to the Jones' house we went out for dinner. Grandpa Jones said at dinner that he felt like we were more like his children then his grandchildren, we had spent so much time together and gotten to know one another so well. I held back my tears and thanked him for the compliment. I am so glad that these two people are in my life. I don't know what I would do with out them. It was great to celebrate such a momentous day with family and meet my Grandpa's current and past friends. It was a wonderful day.

A few weeks later we took off of work and made the 9 hour trek up to Blanding Utah to see my cousin Tyler Bailey get married in the Monticello Temple. We even met a new friend on the way pictured below.

Tyler's new wife was the cutest, chilliest girl. The ceremony was beautiful, the weather was perfect, the cabin venue was relaxed, and the food was SO GOOD. It was an idyllic day and way to get married.

After the ceremony at the temple we all headed back to the cabin. They had a great spread waiting for us with the hugest dutch oven I have ever seen.

We all just ate and hung out with family. Some people went out horse back riding and other went out on the four wheelers. I was, unfortunately, sicker than a dog. I don't remember a time when I have ever been in more pain due to such awful congestion, so I opted for naps and reading instead of horses and four wheelers. I left feeling so much better though, after all the resting and my Grandma Bailey's cooking. It was just what the doctor called for.

The next week was Jeff and I's 3rd year anniversary. It was pretty chill as well. We exchanged embarrassingly stupid and silly gifts, that topped out at $10 a piece, then we went out for dinner at a 'real' restaurant - PF Chang's. A couple nights before we went to see Band of Horses as a gift to one another.

It was a good anniversary. I am so glad I married this man.

In between all this hubub I even started to take on a few projects that I will share later when I have another moment to blog but here is a sneak peak.