Merry Christmas!

Hope you are with your family this week and Christmas finds you well!


Christmas Baking Made Simple

Every year, like so many others, I try and do some holiday crafting or baking  for co-workers, visiting teaching and home teaching people. Like last year, when I had too many dietary restrictions in the office, I crafted up these cute little succulents gifts (and made some zucchini bread for those who ate bread).

The year before I spent hours and hours making these mini apple pies in small mason jars. These were so adorable (but time taking)!

(You can certainly tell when I use my camera phone and when I use my real camera can't you? I really should bust out my real camera more often!)

This year, however, I was  really feeling the pressure because I didn't really have the time to spend on something that would require a lot of effort or time. This is when my Mom came to the rescue. Of course. Every year for Christmas she makes us Cereal Candy (basically one of those Chex mix recipes) to munch on during Christmas day. Everyone LOVES it, and it usually doesn't last the day it's eaten up so quickly. So, she gave me the recipe and let the secret out of the bag, this stuff is easy and quick to make. Even I could do it!

So, I rushed out to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients and some cute containers, rushed home,  put it together, made the packaging cute-ish, and was done with EVERYTHING in about an hour. And this stuff makes A LOT, so I was able to cross off tons of people in one fell swoop! Have to love that. Thank.You.Mom!

I bought a couple of classic red tins and the Dollar Tree and adorned them with some green ribbon and left over gift tags from a few years ago for the people I work with. For visiting teaching and home teaching people I bought a few of those 4 packs of tupperware from the Dollar Tree. Then I just used the circle label that came with them to cut out cute festive tops from scraps of last years wrapping paper, put the paper in place with a couple of glue dots, tied a ribbon and tag on, and it was done.

Sure, it's not the cutest or most creative idea out there, but this definitely worked for me this year when I was in a pinch. Besides, I would be totally stoked to get a nice red tin full of Cereal Candy goodness! Sometimes I think I get carried away and believe whatever I give out has to be ubber creative or painstakingly made with sweat and tears. It was very refreshing this year to have my Christmas crafting/baking completed so easily!

Here is the recipe from my mom with a few extra instructions from me if anyone else is in a pinch and wants to give it a go, or just wants to melt into a delicious holiday snack.
Cereal Candy

Mix in a large bowl: (I used 2 bowls and split the mix, so easier to cover with sweet stuff)

1 large box Golden Graham Cereal
1 large box Corn Chex Cereal
1 package Coconut (reg. size)
1 16oz. jar Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts (or any other kind of nuts you like)

Boil for 3 minutes:
(I pre-melted the butter a bit before I put it in the pot to make things go faster. Once everything comes to a boil set a clock and boil it for 3 minutes exactly.)

3 cubes real Butter
2 cups Sugar
2 cups (16oz. jar) Karo Syrup

Pour over cereal mix until fully coated. Put in container and cover.  Enjoy your free time.


Decorating by Memory- Part 3

I finally got around to making a mood board that I think combines my families style, more specifically my grandparents style, and modernizing it into something that I could bring into my own home. I started this adventure here. My idea was to decorate my home using my own family and experiences as inspiration instead of the typical inspiration sources.  I hoped it would help me make my home be really about me and my family and not copied from some book or website.

So let’s look back and see what mood boards I came up with. The first was inspired by my father’s side of the family . . .

They are kind of traditional and classic. Lots of gold/brass, mirrors, and wallpaper with hints of natural elements sprinkled in there.

The other moodboard was inspired by my mother’s side of the family  . . .

They are a bit more rustic. Lots of leather, classic farm pieces, wood, and femine touches from my grandmother.

I thought about these boards, my grandparents, my happy childhood memories, and then went to work trying to combine these pretty different styles into one that I would want to bring into my own home. This is what I came up with . . .
It surprised me how rustic it ended up turning out, but there are just so many great rustic pieces out there right now. Now, I don’t think I can actually afford many of these pieces (of course) but this is an inspiration board after all, so it is just something to aspire to.

Here is the breakdown of what I was thinking-
Wallpaper: I like the idea of using wallpaper or a painting treatment to mimic wallpaper, since my grandmother uses wallpaper often throughout her house. But instead of mauve florals, I like the idea of using an earthier grass cloth. I have seriously always been in love with the stuff (it also reminds me of going to church, every LDS building in the west seems to have textured wallpaper). I am not sure if Jeff would ever allow it, or if we have the right space for it in this house, but one day I WILL get to use it!
Painting: I really want to collect paintings and art like mine and Jeff’s grandparents did. I feel like original art from an artist is maybe less available than it was for them, but thanks to Etsy and popular website like 20 x 200, great copies of art are more available than ever. I have always loved this print from 20 X 200. I could “imagine” the art piece without the typography in any of my family members’ homes, but the typography makes it more modern and suitable to our homes style. Jeff and I are already slowly starting our own art collection and I am excited to see it grow.

Light Fixture: I LOVE this light. It totally reminds me of the father’s mother! She loves glass and brass, it is all over her house, and the round globes kind of give the light a mid-century modern feeling to me, which also reminds me of her. I think if she were to redecorate a room right now she would totally want this light!
Mirror: This mirror was a good combination of both sides I thought. It’s a mirror, for my father’s side, but the rope and iron frame totally makes it work for my mother’s side. I would hang this up in my house in a second.

Chair: This chair was another great combination of my two worlds. The leather is totally up my cowboy lovin’ families alley, but the classically modern shape, kind of mid-century again, makes this chair reminiscent of the modern classic pieces the other side of my family uses. It’s a wonderful fit for my place, I love mid-century modern, have you seen my couch? Now only if I had a few grand to purchase two of them.
Side Table: This is me and my grandmother through and through. Every table in her house has a glass top and brass legs. It is just her. But again, the unique and modern shape would make it totally workable for a young family like mine.

Ottoman: There is just something I have always loved about ottomans. The idea of having one covered in a cowhide just blows my mind though. It is awesome sauce! (I know the thought of real animal hide at home may turn the stomach of many people out there, I get that, but having one or two hides around has just always been the way it was for me. However, having a stuffed and preserved deer head in my home would totally gross me out, so I get it. )
Sideboard: This sideboard from West Elm is amazing. It totally reminds me of the old barn wood that my grandparents used to panel their walls up at the cabin. I love how it is rustic, but with really clean and simple lines.

Rug: Since the cowhide is on the ottoman, I needed to do something else for the rug. And as much as I like the apple green shag carpet that my grandparents use to have, I decided to go with a more modern white shag rug. It would never survive in my house in real life, but it’s nice to dream!
Accessories: The drift wood, owl lamp, and geological rock book ends are a complete tribute to my father’s parents. The brass figurines, antler inspired candle holder, and vintage books are in tribute to my mother’s parents. They were all given a little bit of a fresh twist from how they display similar items in their homes but I think they work. I must say they all live quiet well together. My grandmother already gave me the brass giraffes who live in our guest room - I love them.

So that is that. I have enjoyed this experimental examination of my families style and how I could bring their touch into a more modern and family friendly space that I could create in my own home. Even if I can’t really afford many of these exact pieces, it gives me a great point of view to follow when I am shopping, rummaging in an old antique furniture store, or at my local thrift store. It defiantly feels homey and cozy to me.
(PS if you are worried that I’m not including my hubster in this style inspiration, I did try. I asked him about what he could remember from his grandparents’ places and what style of theirs he liked. I got a huge blank, yet confused, look from him. But I think his grandparent’s style was somewhat similar to my grandparents. One side was farmers/cowboys, another grandparent was also a math teacher, and in visits with his grandmother, I can see that they also appreciate original art. His great grandmother and great grandmother used to be quite the artist themselves.) Sorry if I forgot to link any image sources, I linked as many as I could remember.


Pinterest Pickings- Christmas

I don't know if I'll have time to make any holiday decorations this year for Christmas, but that hasn't stopped me from pinning away at things on Pinterest. Here are my favorite pins for Christmas this year.

Pinned Image

I am hoping to make one of these for myself along my with Young Women for a mutual night. They are all over Pinterest right now, but I really like this one and it's muted hues. You can find it here.

Pinned Image
I already kind of copied this guy, except instead of the berry's (which I love but do not have the time right now) I used my moss covered "B" that I made here. I cut a strip from some burlap fabric that I had on hand, tied a bow, stuck some holly in it, and presto - Christmas decor for the door. You can find the above pictured wreath here.
Pinned Image
This seems like a pretty easy DIY, glue and Epsom salt is all it takes for a snowy ornament. I think I would add some white glitter in the mix, but that is just because I am a glitter loving fool.  You can find it here.  (Blog is no longer active, sorry)
Pinned Image
This is a book that you can buy for $10, not a freebie, but it is chock full of inexpensive DIY gift ideas. I think this book could be dangerous! You can learn more about it here.
Lastly, of course there are a bunch of free printable gift tags and printables out there again this year, but I have limited myself to my favorite two that I've seen.
Pinned Image
Found here, &
Pinned Image 
found here.
I think I am going to use that last printable set for my Christmas Eve Eve party that I am hosting again this year (because what is Christmas without THREE straight days of hanging out with family?). That could be considered crafting or getting something festive for Christmas, right? Maybe I will count it this year. Happy pinning!


Fall Crafts (Halloween and Thanksgiving)

Another overdue post, figured I'd better get it up before Fall was over! This year I have been trying to make/create/buy at least one decorative item for each holiday. I crafted up some small decoration for Halloween and Thanksgiving this year but forgot to post them - you know to prove to myself that I actually am following through with my promise to myself.

First up, Halloween. I knew I wanted to do something similar to this post that I saw on Pinterest, but without the $10 craft pumpkin price (our dollar tree doesn't have cool pumpkins, so the $10 Michaels pumpkins was all I could find). So I came up with this idea …

1)      Hit up Targets dollar section for two ugly glittery pumpkins for a few bucks.

2)      Get a “scary” book from the thrift store for fifty cents.

3)      Cut out a few scary sounding pages and modge podge them to the pumpkins (not pictured, my hands were covered with glue). Use some already on hand hemp to coil around the pumpkins stump.

4)      Put some dollar store moss where the stem meets the pumpkin to hide any imperfections and let dry.

Easy peasy. Some cute pumpkins to spruce up my kitchen.
Next, Thanksgiving. When I was at Target purchasing my gaudy pumpkins I also purchased a wreath and pumpkin made from some wig-like material.
 So, I needed to decorate my wreath. I decided paper flowers and a festive banner would do the trick.

1)      Use the same thrift store book from above and make paper flowers.
2)      Draw swirl on page and cut out on the lines to start your flower.

3)      Starting at the outside edge, roll up the paper to make the flower and hot glue it in place (see Pinterest or any number of tutorials for how to make paper flowers.)

4)      Glue and pin paper flowers onto wreath. Make sure the pins do not poke through the wreath all the way. If they do, cut or bench the pokey ends that are coming all the way through with some wire cutters.

5)      Make banner with felt and sticker letters (purchased at Michaels). To make flags find a perfect square you may have around the house and trace it onto felt. Cut out felt squares. Fold over hemp string creating a triangle flag. Hot glue the inside of flag to one another so that it stays in place.

6)      Glue or place on sticker letters to create your desired phrase. Glue banner to wreath on the back side of the wreath with any desired swag.
Along with a few small purchases at my local thrift store (purchased on discount days) I was able to have a few seasonal decoration sprinkled throughout the house. I think in all I ended up spending $13 for everything I made or bought this year. Everything else I had on hand. It’s amazing how even small touches help bring in the holiday spirit.

So that is it. See Amber, I did it. Glad you posted it now that you're decorating for Christmas!

Hope you all had a marvelous Halloween and Thanksgiving!


Jeff's Mystery Science Theater 30K -30th Birthday Party

This post is very overdue. My Jeffery had his 30th birthday this past October. I can’t believe we are getting so old. I still feel like we're 24 and just got married, but alas, time has caught up to us and we turned 30 this year!

I really wanted to go on vacation for his birthday and do something BIG for him, but the recent purchase of a new car squashed any travel plans (RIP my beloved Tacoma, hello new Ford truck). Instead of vacationing, I planned a party - of course! This kid gets parties like every year I swear. We had a Mystery Science Theater 30K party theme going on this year. I tried my best not to make it childish, but was only somewhat succeeded.

We started the night by opening his presents. Thanks to my amazing sister, I actually have good birthday pictures of him this year.

 The decorations were kind of science-themed. At the party we set up a handful of dinner tables in my mother-in laws back yard and with his new birthday present - a movie/tv/gaming projector- we watched Mystery Science Theater episodes while we ate and chatted. Jeff’s brother made his famously delicious hamburgers and the rest of us pot lucked goodies for everyone to enjoy.

I made sure there was a bunch of festive streamers, mysterious glowing orbs in the pool (balloons with glow sticks in them), and movie-theater-themed treats for table center pieces. Mine, and I also the party guests, favorite part was the drink table though. I put science-like labels on two liter soda bottles and had a bunch of crazy wierd straws and cups to drink with. As the guests parting gift they got to take their cup home with them (Jeff’s idea). It seemed like a big hit. All the cups were different and in some weird way - hilarious. (I scoured local thrift stores for them and washed them up before the party.)

 We all had a bunch of fun, except for poor Scout. She isn’t a fan of parties and she was getting mauled by my sisters all night- ha ha. She still is the custest dog in the whole wide world though!

 I think it helped Jeff realize he is 30? Maybe not though, his wife does still throw him child-like themed parties, but parties are just so much more fun that way! I promised him I would NOT throw him another party next year. It will be a hard promise to keep. Maybe I’ll take him out for dinner at a nice restaurant or something. He is so awesome and deserves the best! Can't wait to spend time with him and the rest of the family tomorrow at Thanksgiving. Hope you and yours also have a wonderful turkey day!


Decorating by Memory- Part 2

A couple of months ago or so I started thinking about trying to decorate my home just based on the people and places that I love, instead of trying to find my homes style inspiration in more traditional places (ie: magazines, Pinterest, blogs). I discussed the whole idea here and even made up a mood board that reminded me of my grandparents (on my father’s side) style.

I told you it would take me forever and a day to get my act together and do one for my other grandparents (my mom’s side), and it did, but I am finally done with the mood board. You can see my mom’s side is a bit more rustic. My Grandpa is the truest cowboy I know, growing up on a farm, becoming a rancher and a teacher, makes things from leather, rides horses all over timbuktu, quotes cowboy poems at random, and always wears his cowboy boots and hat (even on Sundays). He is amazing. As is his lovely wife, my Grandmother. She is one of the best cooks I know, always smiling, and talented in whatever she tries her hand at. I’ve said it before; I have the coolest grandparents ever!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
(Sorry, I forgot to get image sources for 1 and 12)
  When I envision my grandparents style I envision:

·         Old barn or fence post wood covering walls. Antlers strewn about the cabin or mounted on the walls. My grandparents also have a great collection of wonderful art that they have collected from friends and purchased throughout the years hung all over their places. (A lot of it looks similar to painting #3.)

·         They also have brass and porcelain figurines that my grandmother has collected. These brass giraffes pictured in #4 are the same small figurines that she has already gifted to me. She has had them ever since I can remember. She also has glass grapes from the 70’s. Got to love it!

·         My grandparents are always wearing turquoise – rings, necklaces, belts, plain stones, what have you - and they always have some strung up on hooks in their bedrooms or bathrooms. Turquoise always reminds me of them.

·         I think of classic Windsor styled chairs, rustic leather and cowhides with them as well. They have similar furniture pieces at their place. Some of it that my Grandfather made himself, was inherited, or a rug made from a cow that they use to have on the ranch.

·         My grandparents use to live by an orchard and they still have wood orchard baskets that they re purpose and use to gather up other items now. Some of my favorite memories as child are riding through the orchard on horseback and being the perfect height to grab all the fresh peaches and plums that I could stomach!

·         #9 is a saddle stool. Obviously for their saddles, but we also use them to catch a seat if needed. They even have stools made from old milk jugs. I didn't quite understand why they'd want to sit on something so uncomfortable growing up, but now I like them for their rustic charm and 'use whatcha got' spirit.

·         Lastly, BOOKS! My grandfather was a teacher so it is no surprise that he has a lot of books, but his books are amazing, hard covered, worn, and smell like travel. His books follow them wherever they go, and they go a lot. Having books around me – good books – reminds me of him.
Next up in this little experimental series is my combo mood board. I am going to take inspiration from BOTH sides of my family and see what I can come up with for inspiration in my own place. How will I get them to meld together? Will I ever actually get it DONE? Who knows. Time will tell J


How To Prepare For a Job Interview

I recently got a new job (yeah me!). It's at the same place as my old job, but I get to do new and interesting things. It is always good to keep learning right?

When I have had the opportunity to be the interviewer instead of the interviewee, what always amazes me is that some people don't prepare for interviews. Seriously? They may know how amazing they are, but the employer does not. Proper preparation can mean getting the job or not getting the job. I am most certain that this was the case with me and my new position.

So, how to prepare? Of course there are hundreds, if not thousands, of sites online dedicated to this, but I thought I'd take a second and write down what works for ME, and may work for others. (I've gotten every job I've ever interviewed for except one, and honestly, when I got there I knew I didn't want it, so I wasn't trying- just watching the exit door!)

1.       Spend time on the application and your resume so you can qualify for the interview!
I have missed out on some great jobs because I wasn't paying enough attention to this step. Sure, the HR personnel that is reviewing your application probably won’t even spend ten minutes on your application during their first pass through, but that doesn't mean you get to put it together just as quickly. You should update your resume and application for EVERY job you apply for. Yep, not one of them should be the same. SPEND THE TIME- got that part of it? So, what are you spending the time to update?
· Use the same vocabulary and trigger words that are used in the job announcement in your resume and application.
· Ask the HR department if you can have a copy of the official job description (not just the announcement). This not only helps you get a better feel for the job, and if you're the right fit, but it gives you more specific things to mention on your resume and application.
· Make sure you clearly delineate your qualifications - even if you don't have all of the required qualification on the job announcement, it doesn't mean you don't qualify, but make sure you explain why you do qualify.
· Have a friend, co-worker, or someone in the same line of work read over your resume. If you know someone in HR make them your best friend, they can show you the secrets to making a stand out resume.

Read over it again and again. And again. If you have any grammar or spelling mistakes then you've just made yourself an easy target to be booted in the first run through the applicants.

*Something I do is keep a list of my past employment with a detailed description of my job duties and successes (usually written while I had the job), along with salary and all contact information. This way I have it all in front of me and I can concentrate on using the right wording, spelling, and grammar, rather than spinning my wheels trying to remember every success I've ever had at work or who that new manager was right before I left. Keeping this list updated and extremely detailed is key for me when I update my resume.

2.        Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions

Prepare a list of commonly asked interview questions and then answer them. There are loads of examples of interview questions on the Internet (like here, and here), or you can also use questions that you remember being commonly asked in your line of work. I have even worked at places where their interview questions are listed right on their website or internal web pages. In my experience, I have been lucky to only be asked extremely common questions, but every once in a while I get a crazy odd ball question. The thing to remember with odd ball questions is that the interviewer is looking for HOW you answer the question, not exactly what your answer is. They are trying to throw you off your game, but if you keep in control, then you just won the match.

Once you have your list of common questions, write out a few bullet points of how you would like to answer them. Don’t write answers out verbatim, you want to prepare, but you also don’t want to go into an interview and answer questions like a pre-programed robot. Plus, thinking on your feet is often required during an interview, so if all you do is memorize your answers, then when a question comes up that wasn’t on your list, you’ll be totally taken off guard. I write out a few main ideas and then verbally practice my answers out loud. This especially helps me, because I know what I want to say, but sometimes when I actually go to say it I fumble and can’t get my words out. Actually verbally answering questions from your list will help you be better prepared for the real world interview.

3.       Prepare a list of experiences

Most of the time, no matter the research you put into your list of questions, there is always going to be something that comes up during the interview that you didn’t prepare for. An exercise I recently started, in addition to my list of questions, is to create a list of job traits and experiences. I created a table with 3 columns, where I listed where I was working, what work trait I exhibited, and the experience I had.  See my example below:

Bank XYZ
Great Achievement
Learn Quickly
Detail Oriented
SME- Just a few months after being hired, I was designated as a Subject Matter Expert and fielded calls from several districts. I researched, troubleshot, and answered employee and managers questions in addition to my regular duties.
Study Abroad- Organized my research on ABC with museums and the national archives from across the ocean to best utilize my  limited time to complete my research while in London.

Doing this helps me think of the different accomplishments and experiences that I have to discuss during an interview. So many interview questions start with “Tell me about a time you faced a major challenge and how did you  . . .” and so on. It can be hard to come up with all these experiences on the spot, making a list like the table above means that I already have thought about them before I ever even sat down for the interview.  I also take this list with me to my interview in addition to my list of questions, so if I really get stuck for something, I ask for a moment and look my lists over. Even if my table doesn't hold the answer, at least it gives me another 20 seconds to formulate an answer.

4.       Research of the company/organization in depth

Part of your preparation for an interview must be to research the company or organization you are meeting with. I think this step is the one I see people forget to do most often. I mean think about it, you just gave this place a whole bunch of information about yourself, do you really want to go into the interview and not know at least a little bit about the other side? I usually start with the organizations official web page. A lot of the good stuff is hidden here on their website. Do they have annual reports? Do they have any statistics? Do they have an organization chart with departments and their respective managers? All this information is golden.

After I search the website and see how the company presents itself, I move to a general Google search on the company and see if any additional information comes up that I didn’t catch on their web page. I also look to see how the employer is perceived by others, what recent news articles have been written about them, etc.  If HR will give you the names of those that will be interviewing you then give them a quick Google search as well. This may sound kind of creepy, but again, don’t you want to know who will be sitting on the other side of that table? I am not suggesting to go to their personal Facebook pages and stalk them, but sometimes you will come across a news article, a LinkedIn page, or brief work history synopsis that has been written on them. It helps to know going into the interview if you are meeting with Harvard graduate or a self-made entrepreneur. Getting to know more about the other side helps me feel more in control of the situation and better prepared.

Quick Tips for the Interview:

·         Don’t Rush-Take your time to answer the questions. This isn’t a race, you can take 5 seconds to best frame your answer. Take a breath, then answer.

·         “Can you repeat that?” This is a great question to ask if you need a few more seconds to think up something, or if you didn’t understand- ask for clarification, no shame in that.

·         Be Nice- Your last boss was crazy (whose isn’t?), an interview for a new job is NOT the place to bring this up.

·         Be Inquisitive- Not only do you need to think about your answers for the interviewer, think about what you want to know from them and come up with a handful of questions for the end of the interview. I always struggle with this, but that’s when I employ Google Search!

·         Dress Well – This should go without saying, but society has become increasingly casual recently. At my first job after college I was paying particular attention to how they chose to hire a new employee. I swear the deciding factor between two candidates was that one girl wore a suit and the other top candidate did not. The suite was the one hired (and she was an excellent employee). I also hear from my HR friends to wear a white or blue shirt, for what it’s worth.

·         Don’t fidget- This one is very hard for me. I’m a fidgeter. Just resist the temptation and calmly place your hands where everyone can see them.

·         Be Genuine- People can usually tell when you’re faking it. Of course you have to put your best foot forward during an interview, but don’t lie about your qualifications, or play to the crowd so much that you just end up playing a part and not being yourself.

·         Smile- Smile when appropriate. Yes, an interview is serious business, but you can still be happy. Plus even if you are a bucket of nerves, smiling will actually calm you and make it more enjoyable.

Well, there it is, how I prepare for an interview and some quick tips for the interview.  Again, there is lots of information about interviewing out there, and what works for me may be different than what works for someone else- but the thing that stays the same is that YOU MUST PREPARE. It really is key. Would you take a test without studying? No, then why would you interview without preparing properly? In this day in age, in this economy, you need to be on your game.  I hope this helps someone else out there out, and the next time I interview I’m sure I’ll revisit this post.

Picture Sources: 1,2


Decorating By Memory Part 1- (places you love)

I haven't wanted to blog lately. Which is a problem, because I blog to keep myself motivated and accountable. I blog so that I WANT to do crafts, make things, decorate, and be part of that community. Sadly, however, real life seems to be taking a hold of me lately. I am so busy that I can't keep my head on straight, let alone try to think of creating something pretty. I guess that is how summer always is though. So I thought up a plan to get myself motivated again. After all, fall is just around the corner, time for baking, making, and getting my act together!

Something I have always struggled with is "defining" my home decorating style. I never know if I'm classic, rustic, country, modern, or what. I take style quizzes and read up on the styles but nothing ever seems to fit me. That is when I it hit me, I am not one of those styles that can be pulled from a box. I am ME! And I am happiest when I am surrounded by those that I love and things that remind me of the amazing people in my life. I was a history major, so I have always been a sucker for history, but what I finally decided is that I want my home to remind me of MY history, my family, and all those memories that I treasure up in my mind. Not just with the pictures on the wall, but with my decorating style as well.
(This is a poorly taken photo of little me)
But how do I do that? Of course I have to have a plan. What is life without a plan? This is when I thought up my idea. Why not create mood boards and lists filled with things that remind me of the people and places that I love? If I fill my home with those things, then I will always feel comforted and loved at home.

First up, I decided to create a mood board after my Grandparents on my fathers side. Not necessarily things that they have in their house exactly, but things that remind me of them and hanging out with them, listening to their stories. Those are some of my most favorite and treasured memories!

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, 9, 10
This is how I envision my grandparents style. When I think of them and their homes I think of:
  • Brass: Lots of gold and brass. I use to be a silver girl, but now I always find myself going for gold and brass over silver. I get it, my grandmother is a smart lady for liking these metals.
  • Luxury: My grandmother is a very stylish and classic woman. One of my favorite stories is that she bought her mother a fur coat with her first real paycheck, when what they really could have used was something much more practical. So when I think of them I think of fur, velvet, soft shag carpet (like the green shag in their old house), beautiful floral wallpaper, crystals and sparkly things.
  • Mirrors & Glass: My grandparents always have lots of mirrors around too. My parents inherited this extremely large mirror with a golden frame that goes above their fireplace. It use to be in my dads house growing up. Currently, my grandparents have two walls completely covered with mirrors in their house.
  • Owls & Figurines: I also think of owls for some odd reason. My grandfather always reminds me of a wise old owl. No more reason behind it then that I guess. Plus, they have tons of figurines and chachkies from all of their worldly travels
  • Rocks: My grandpa is always collecting cool rocks that he finds on his hikes and walks. He brings them home, places them in the garden or on a shelf. I try to do the same, but I don't find as cool of rocks as he does.
  • Petrified Wood: Grandpa is also always bringing home drift wood or petrified wood. He sets it on a table and admires its shape and beauty. I love this about him. He finds beauty everywhere.
  • Family Picture Galleries: My grandma has a row of family portraits that lines her hallway. They are all in non-matching gold frames. She keeps pictures of her loved ones always near her.
  • Roses and Cyprus: Lastly, I also think of rose bushes and cypress trees. They have had them all over their yard in both of their houses. A good garden definitely reminds me of my grandfather.

Next up is my grandparent on my mothers side of the family. I have lots and lots of things to choose from there. Can't wait to put it together! (. . . but I will most likely get distracted and it'll take me a month- haha).


The Fam. Reunion

In July my husbands family had a family reunion. I was a little hesitant when I heard the location, Hurricane Utah, but it honestly turned out to be so much fun. I can't wait to do it all over again.

The only bad part about the trip was that I couldn't take this sweet girl with us. When I was packing up the car I went in the house to get another load and came back out to this. She had jumped in the trunk of the car and she WAS NOT getting out. She wanted to come! She went and played at her BFF's house Zoe, so she had her own fun, but I can't wait until we go on a trip when we can take Scout with us.

We stayed at this great house on the Sand Hallow golf course (that didn't allow dogs). The place was miraculously large enough to hold all 30 some odd of us . . .

. . . and our shoes. This pile grew at least 3x this size by the end of the trip.

One of the main reasons we headed up to southern Utah was for the Shakespearean Festival up at Southern Utah University. Some people saw a number of shows but Jeff and I just saw Le Miserables. They put on an awesome show with a lot of talented actors and singers. Very glad we saw it.

The house was near Sand Hallow Reservoir (no one was unlucky enough to get Swimmers Itch, even though there was a high risk at the time). Most the "kids" headed to the Sand Hallow every day to play, and play we DID!

Here is my sis-in-law Amanda with the wake board. (I wont embarrass anyone by posting pictures of them while they were wake boarding. Don't get me wrong, we have some pretty talented wake boarders in the family, but there is always that look of concentration or fear of falling on wake boarders faces that isn't the most flattering.)

We also did our fair share of para-sailing. Yep, Uncle Kim also has a para-sailing kite in his bag of tricks. I've done this several times on vacations elsewhere so I didn't go up this trip, but lots of family enjoyed the ride.

I think this is my sis-in law Natalie going in for a dip, whether she wanted to or not- haha.

This was more my speed this vacation, I stole some time away from the "kids" and went tubing. I hadn't done this for ages and it was pretty awesome. I snuck a ride in right before the boat ran out of gas. We had to get towed in, which was kind of fun in its own right. Pictured are two of Jeff's cousins. Spending time with family like them is what really made the whole week great!

Sorry for the Instagram Pic

Besides my quick tubing trip this is what I spent most of my time doing at Sand Hallow, cliff jumping! Honestly, it wasn't as fun as I remember, I think I am getting old or something. But it was still a bunch of fun. Some of the cousins got to show off their swimming and diving skills making up all kinds of dives off the rocks.

We even snuck in some hiking. Here the family is up at one of my favorite places, Zion National Park, earlier in the week before I drove up.

This is our cousin Nathan jumping into a small pool up at the Red Cliffs hike I took them on later on in the week. Nathan just got back from his LDS mission. It was so great to see him again. He is pretty much awesome sauce, as you can clearly see from this picture.

Jeff, of course, took his normal role in the family and was a bit of a dork. Seriously, why did he put mud on his face? Not really sure, but he is super cute anyway. Spending time with him and his family this week was so relaxing and joyous. It made me think about what the next life must be like, where we get to spend more time with our family, then say, with strangers at work that we've never met before we got the job. We were both just in the best mood the whole time because we were having fun and surrounded by people that we love and who love us. I don't know if there can be a better feeling then that.

This is a pretty good picture of the whole crew. Not sure if we ever got more people then this all together for one event. This is at the Red Cliffs hike trail head.

On our last full day of the reunion we went to the St. George temple. I did a session with some of the other adults, while Jeff went and did baptisms for the dead with the younger cousins. There were a number of family names that we did the work for in the temple that day, so I'm sure we had even more family in attendance at the reunion that are not pictured ;)

Lastly, we took over a local burger joint for lunch. After that different families started to head out at different times. Jeff and I left the next day, did some killer shopping in St. George and visited with my grandparents (who took us out for an awesome lunch and we had a great visit).

 It was an awesome family get together. I loved getting to spend time with all of them. I hope that my family can get it together and have a reunion sometime soon too. It makes me just want to go hang out with our family all the time. Jeff and I are so blessed to have amazing family so close on all sides!