Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blessings Everywhere

This is a long post with few pictures. If you get through all of it then it will be worth your time though. I've tried my best to be coherent, but there are a few spots it gets a little jumbled, but like I said, if you know us in any way then it will be worth your time.  

In all honesty, getting out of the Coast Guard has not been easy for us. It was stressful being in it on both of us but especially on Husband. Crazy schedules sometimes with 100 hour work weeks, in crazy conditions in more ways than one, working with people that are constantly sweating and crude. The Coast Guard does great things, but it wasn't a great environment to work in for Husband. But getting out and becoming civilians again has been a whole new stress for us that we've had to adjust to. Mostly on our bank account. But thankfully, we have each other to get through the hard stuff with. That's one of the reasons I love being married to Husband. Life is always hard, but since we're grownups and married and all that, we get to get through the worst and the best of it together.

Not only do we have each other, but we've also been blessed with truly amazing friends. Christmas was an extremely tight time for us so we decided to not celebrate it with presents and decorating. We were just going to take part in the singing, Christmas lights viewing and the remembering of the birth of Christ, and of course do our traditional movie viewings of While You Were Sleeping and Better Off Dead. But a few weeks before Christmas, 12 days before it really, we had a ding-dong-ditch of our 1st day of Christmas gifts from some secret friends. I was SO excited to have such awesome friends pick us for something so fun! Obviously I took a picture and posted it on Facebook. 

And then day 2 showed up the next day.

TWO full sets of ingredients for Chicken dinners; 2 boxes of stuffing, onions, potatoes, carrots, broth, marinade, and 2 frozen chickens. I was completely overwhelmed. I cried my eyes out. I couldn't believe someone would go to so much trouble for us. And then I was torn; it was so special, and such a blessing to us that we desperately needed, I didn't want to take any of that specialness away from it by broadcasting it to everyone. Also I couldn't decide if I should be posting pictures of our amazing gifts on Facebook because our secret friends were so amazing and I didn't want to take the opportunity away for them to be amazing for someone else next Christmas. Husband said I should though because they would want us to enjoy it, so I did. Afterwards I thought about it some more though, and when day 3 came around I decided I wasn't going to share it anymore, that it would be just for us. But, that evening I got a text from a mystery number our mystery friends were using to make sure we had received our 3rd days gifts. They said they hadn't seen us post pictures on Facebook. So Husband was right. The rest of the 12 days of Christmas gifts were so wonderful and thoughtful. Our secret friends made our Christmas amazing, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives, not because we were so poor, but because we were so beyond blessed.

At the beginning of this month we had a fast to receive rain/moisture with members across the state from our church, as well as different religions. Within the week I was watching it rain outside the window. It's been an extremely dry winter for us to the point that we were already on water restrictions in January. It rained continuously for several day, and we should be receiving more within this next week. A week of rain is obviously not going to solve all of our drought problems, but it most definitely helps and is answer to our prayer and fasting. Seeing what happens with faith, and prayer, and fasting is just another example of proof that the Lord truly loves us. He answers prayers. He gives us what we need. I have never felt the need to ask for proof of anything from the Lord, but I pay attention when I see it. We need to put our faith in Him always, and sometimes I think we need to be reminded that we need to ask for our needs more instead of just expecting them to come to us, so we can remember were and from whom we are truly given it from. My personal prayers are consistently full of thanks and gratitude, but every now and then I think I am guilty of being stagnant and maybe repetitive. This last month I've learned a lot spiritually though, especially with it having been a particularly difficult and humbling month for us. As much as I hate the experience of being humbled, I always know I'm going to learn from it, and that there are blessings waiting around the corner.

And there are.
There are blessing waiting for us around the corner. We can see them. Our problems are not solved yet, we're still having some of the worst financial problem we've ever had, but Husband has learned some great skills from his job that he took after the CG, and now it finally looks like he's going to be able to get a new and better job to replace it. We've been looking for a better job for him for several months, but we reached our breaking point, and it's been beyond crazy job hunting going on at our house. Thankfully this past Monday within a 24 hour period he was contacted about 3 different better positions with three different companies. He's passed the different company's screening tests and has had a great phone interview with one of the companies that has led to him being scheduled for an in-person interview with them next week, and he's keeping his options open so he can find the best job for himself to enjoy that will better meet our needs. We are looking forward to see what happens, and we're grateful for the possibilities that will come from the craziness.

But wait, there's more!

We've going to be foster parents!!!

I've done my best to make this long story short, but you need to know the whole back story.
On Halloween day, exactly 3 weeks after we had gotten our home-study completed and our names were put on the list as a family available, we were contacted by the state about 2 little boys ages 2 & 5. Both us and our social worker were amazed at how fast we had been contacted. We went to the disclosure meeting where the state told us all of the history they had on them and we were shown their pictures, and then we were told to go home and think on it. Which we did. We thought and prayed. There were tears, and we were torn. We both wanted them. Husband was thrilled to be getting boys. But for some reason I didn't feel right about it. Our personal prayers were giving us different answers than the other one. Husband is amazing though, and he told me he would be ok with any decision I made because he wanted me to be comfortable. I couldn't believe he wouldn't resent me if I said no to them. I know I would if it were me being denied what I wanted so much. But this is just more proof of how perfect he is for me. And then I was saying my prayers and I realized, there was no right answer. There was no wrong answer. It really was going to be ok no matter which decision we chose. That was the right answer. So we told the state our decision, that we were going to pass on the boys. And I cried some more. We were sad, but we accepted it because we knew it really would work out.

We were invited to go to a "Family Fair" that was being held that week at our foster agency though, and we decided to go. Basically it was a big room with 10 or 12 different tables around the perimeter with agencies sitting at them from our area and the state that had children in their care needing homes, and all of us perspective foster parents looking to be placed with children came in and went to the different tables. The agencies could put real faces to their lists of perspective families and see if they could find good matches there for the children with the families that showed interest. 

Husband and I stopped at all the different tables to introduce ourselves and let them know what we were approved for and looking for for our family. There were at least 40 other perspective parents there, and there was supposed to be 2 more groups coming in after our group that day. But to our amazement we caught the attention of one of the nearby county social workers. All we did was introducing ourselves to her, and while we were doing that she just got a "look" in her eye and asked how we felt about TWINS. 
I wanted to throw myself at her feet and beg. 
It was like she was the embodiment of my personal dreams that had walked straight out of my brain to make those dreams come true. I have literally been dreaming about twins my entire life, but most especially last summer. I dreamed about twins several times and I told Husband about it every time. Particularly the one where I dreamed we would adopt twins and then find out we were having triplets. I kept teasing him that we were going to get twins from foster care though. And there it was, silver platter and all, and we were the only ones she was telling about them because they weren't ready to be placed in a permanent home and she wasn't supposed to be talking about them yet at the fair. 
I tried to play it cool while I was dancing in my head/trying not to scream from excitement, and she told us what she could disclose about them.
Two girls.
About 10 months old.
We handed her our home-study and then stepped away so we wouldn't smothering her with our excitement while we could get away still playing it cool, and separated ourselves from the main body of the group so we could freak out together. We did end up getting to the rest of the tables, we even stopped to talk with the social worker we had just told no to about the 2 boys (who was amazingly sweet and cried with me for a moment because she knew how sincere we were and told us she was keeping our home-study for when another sibling group became available), but the twins were the only ones that had any glimmer of promise for us as we left.
And then we waited. And we heard nothing. We waited about 2 months. Lots of waiting. And finally just before Christmas our social worker emailed us to let us know that the twins social worker still had us in mind for the twins. 
So we waited some more.
After January started we received an email from the girls social worker with a bunch of questions. Some of the questions made sense -- what kind of training we've had, and what kind of schedule Husband keeps with school. But there were several hard ones -- our plans for birth control, questions that would pertain to the girls, and some other personal things. Uncomfortable questions that some people would probably be offended to be asked if it were a different situation. I why she was asking though, and did my best to answer everything honestly though while making sure we sounded competent. And then I sent it back. Thankfully our social worker thought our answers were very thoughtful, but I was nervous. What if  the girls social worker didn't like the way we answered? Husband does have a crazy work and school schedule. No, we are not nor do we plan on taking birth control any time soon, our family is our family no matter when and how it happens, but it hasn't happened for us before now so we're leaving it to the Lord for His timing....
But then n-o-t-h-i-n-g happened. We didn't here back at all. January went by and I had resolved to let it go and move on and accept that we weren't the ones for them. I let all my hopes go....
Until we got the call to set up a disclosure meeting!! We hadn't heard back because there were some court issues being resolved.

Our disclosure meeting was this past Monday. We got up super early to make the long drive and we sat down with the social workers all morning and went over the court and medical backgrounds. Their social worker told us everything she had information on. After that she stepped out to give us some time to discuss and make a decision weather or not we wanted to proceed after getting all the information. But by this time, after months of praying that the twins would be placed where they needed to be placed, but if it was the right thing for everyone that they could be with us then we would be beyond excited and grateful, we already knew our answer. So she said the girls were on standby for us to go meet them after we had some lunch :)

We got to meet them! 

We spent the rest of the afternoon with the girls and their foster mom {who was absolutely wonderful}, as well as both sets of social workers. They're beautiful girls as far as we're concerned. They're super shy, but so smart and fun perfectly adorable once they open up. After 20 minutes they finally started warming up to me playing on the floor and bribing them with food. Husband came in to join all of us then. He had to take his phone interview and we were trying to not overwhelm them, so it worked out. It took 5 minutes and they were climbing in his lap making themselves at home.
It was beautiful.
Totally not fair, but also not unexpected either. Kids love Husband. They love me too, but they don't even have second thoughts about loving him the moment they meet him, it's just automatic. Like it is for me and animals at least. Their foster mother told us that her husband has red hair too though, so that made me feel slightly better.
And then it was time to go, our time was up.
We've set up several visits with them next week so they can get used to us and we can get to know their routines, as well as spend some time with them and their foster family and find out more about them. As of right now we don't know the exact date they will be coming home with us to live, but it looks like it will be either the end of this month or the beginning of March.

I know I haven't shared a lot of details about the girls, but like I said when we announce that we were pursuing this foster/adopt route, the childrens pasts need to be kept their own and private. All that matters is that they're going to have a home and family with us, and hopefully its perfect for them. And until they have been adopted, sadly we won't be sharing their pictures or descriptions either. Not on here or on facebook, and maybe not even in our Christmas card depending on if they've been adopted by then or not. It's for their protection and privacy.
And as far as names go, they have cute ones, but we don't know if we plan to change them or not because we do have that option and we are considering it. But it's also another one of those things we're not making public for their protection. Once we get to know them better we'll give them nicknames though.
We do have more going on in our lives, but these are the highlights. Some of our favorite ones anyway. It's been hard and it's been amazing. We've had major trials as of late, but we see the blessings that have gotten us here and the ones that are just up ahead for us, and we are so excited and full of gratitude to get there. Thank you all for your love and support!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

End of the Summer Update

This was supposed to be posted last month, but I guess for some reason that didn’t happen. Oh well though. Life just keeps moving for us. Husband is working full time and going to school. He enjoying his new job in marketing, and really, that's all that matters. He picks up things so easily sometimes it’s almost amazing. I don’t know how he does it. No matter what he ends up doing in the future, he has learned and gained so much experience from this job that actually applies to what he wants to do with his life. So now, instead of cleaning planes, working the radio on the planes, cleaning planes, changing circuits in planes, cleaning planes, hanging out of the back of planes for search and rescue missions, and cleaning he's marketing products doing road shows at Sam's Clubs and other stores. He loves doing the shows, the ones where he gets the big crowds and does live infomercials. And he's picked it up like he was born to do it. Which, still, is so odd to me because he's one of the softest spoken guys you will ever meet. 
We've stayed busy this summer. I can't say exactly what one thing it has been that's kept us so busy though. Just one of those summers. Friends and family and life. We made a quick trip to New Mexico to see Husbands baby sister graduate from High School. We hadn't planned to make the trip because we were trying to plan our finances so we could survive a few months if Husband didn't find a job before we completely parted ways from the CG. But then we got the call that he was hired. While we were trying to figure out how to celebrate, we looked at each other and realized if we left right away then we could make it in time for her graduation. We rented a small car, packed, and were on the road within 2 hours. We drove all night, and most of the day, and made it there in just enough time to change our clothes and find seats. It was a short trip because Husband had to get back for school on Monday, but it was absolutely worth it. Especially since we were the only ones missing out on the family reunion beach trip to Outer Banks NC this year. Which was sad.

As for me, I am keeping house, working on small projects, babysitting Buddy as well as another little girl once a week, my church calling with the Activity Day Girls, and just basically keeping busy
. I started watching Buddy a year ago. He was still only crawling then, but now he's running like he’s been doing it for a year and talking up a storm. It's amazing what comes out of his mouth. He is so funny too. And a bottomless pit when it comes to food. He eats at home before he comes over, and then when he gets here he runs straight to the booster seat to try to trick me into giving him my breakfast. The same with lunch, he eats and says he's full, and then stands by my chair while I finish eating in the hopes of getting to eat half of my lunch as well. Here he is with Husband trying his trickery on him, but Husband seems to be the winner, this time -- 

I seem to have been doing a lot of baking lately .  Luckily I've been able to pawn off share all my baked goods with friends, otherwise I would be stuck eating all of it myself. Husband only ever eats one or two of what I make, and I think he only does it out of husbandly duty so I don't get hurt feelings. Red Velvet cupcakes, which he claims is his favorite treat in the whole world -- he has only 2. Faux Peanut Butter w/ Chocolate bars that he said were delicious -- he ate one. The most amazing Vanilla cupcakes with Vanilla Bean frosting - he had 3. But then the Rice Crispy Treats -- I was the one that only got 2. He ate the whole pan. I don't understand it. So thank you friends, for taking all the treats I bring you/hand to you as you walk out the door. I love to be in the kitchen, I most definitely have a sweet tooth, but I can't keep all of it. My stomach wouldn't forgive me.

We had our 5 year anniversary at the beginning of August. We weren't able to do much to celebrate, but that didn't take away from the day. We're in love, we're happy together, we have our best friend in each other, and that feels like a blessing to me. It's amazing how fast these years have gone by
. I'm sure we still sound like newlyweds to some of you, but it's a milestone for us. I just know we're lucky to have found each other.  

My younger brother Marshal got married in August to his new wife Ashley. I couldn't be happier for them. He did a good thing when he found her, she really is a wonderful person, and I'm so excited that I can call her family. They already are doing a great job together as parents to her son. They are all going to do great things together as a family.

I had to make the trip for the wedding in northern Idaho all by myself. August was an extremely tight month for us, so Husband needed to stay home to work. All I can say is that I do not recommend anyone make a 15 hour drive all by themselves; always bring a friend. More than anything, the worst of it was the drive home. I thought I was going to die. The wedding was beautiful though, absolutely worth it, and Ashley's family was amazing. It turns out I went to High School with her older sister even, we just didn't hang out in the same circles. I had fun seeing my friends that I haven't seen in years though, Christy especially, and Nathan, and their sweet family. 

We've finished everything we've needed to do for our foster
license the other week. Paperwork, vet visits for the cats, Doctor and TB tests for us. And then the book...... I had to make a family book all about us, something that we give to the social workers to show them how fun and awesome we are, and how great we'll be for kids. I don't know why, but I had a hard time finding the focus to get it done. All I had to do was make a digital scrapbook which just takes being a little crafty and really should have been one of the first things I got done because I love that kind of thing, but I couldn't get my head into it for the longest time. It's done though. Now it's just a matter of time for us to be placed. We’re really excited to see what happens. It could be a month, or even up to a year before we are placed though. But we have options if it gets to taking that long thankfully. We could switch programs and go to the county that would focus more on fostering over foster to adopt. I don’t know that we want to do that, but it’s an option.

Other than that, there really isn’t that much to be excited about around here. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Goodbye Coast Guard

Husband is officially out of the Coast Guard as of yesterday! What?? I have to be honest, I have mixed feelings about this. If it wasn't for the Coast Guard I don't think we would be married. After him being abroad at sea for 6 months on a ship, he was desperate to get away from said ship and I happened to be his closest friend that was single and cute. We had Thanksgiving together and then we were engaged 2 months later. And after another one of his 6 month deployments abroad we were married. If he hadn't joined the Coast Guard then that Thanksgiving would not have happened for us, our only date would have been 1 semi date we had while I was visiting in Utah while we were in college. He says it was a date, I thought I was just meeting up with a friend as I was passing through. Plus, I've never started a date by meeting up with a guy at another girls apartment and waiting for them to finish watching a movie together....he actually just informed me that they possibly may have been holding hands. So, yeah, that proves my point that after a stellar semi first date like that, I doubt we would have gotten together without the Coast Guard.

By leaving the Coast Guard we're losing the job security in this economy and that guaranteed pay check. The basically useless health care. The camaraderie from living the military life with others that are living it too.
But without the Coast Guard we wouldn't have met the great friends that we have, or moved the places we did. We wouldn't be here in CA, owning the adorable home that we do, have the awesome cats that we love so much, and who's to say we would be in the middle of this process of trying to become foster parents. Our lives would have been different. But Husband is my absolute best friend, and I am grateful that we are where we are and for the things that have gotten us here. And I am happy for him that he is so happy to be out of the Coast Guard now. Life will go on, and stay good I hope. He also finished his first semester of school Tuesday. All good grades, 3 A's and a B. He's been working his new marketing job that he really enjoys for over a month now, and he's doing great, and loving every day of it.

So, good job Husband. And congratulations. You're amazing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Nice Change

So here’s a little update in our life as Husband & Wife. It’s kind of big news for us.

We're in the process of becoming Foster Parents so that we can foster to adopt.

We have told a few people, I’m pretty sure most of our family knows, but this is our formal announcement.

This was a big decision for us to start this process, which obviously should be for anyone. One friend mentioned they were taking classes to be certified to take in assisted living adults, but that there were classes to do foster care. It set off a little spark in my head and we thought about it for a week, prayed about it for a day, and then we were watching LDS General Conference and suddenly we had our answer! And then our problem was working up the guts to do it. So it took a lot to get us to this point. When we first got married, Husband and I had a few conversations that I distinctly remember having still, about our plans as a family. We wanted to have a few children of our own, and then add to our family by adopting. Things have not worked out for us that way, which in all honesty has been discouraging, but Husband and I still have each other and we feel like this is the next best option for our family. We haven’t given up on having children of our own in the traditional way, that’s an experience I hope we don’t have to miss out on, but it doesn’t matter how we have children join our family because I know we will love any child we are given the opportunity to raise no matter what. Husband and I are meant to be parents.

As far as the process that goes into becoming certified Foster Parents; we took our classes last fall, we’ve done our paperwork and Live Scans, and now we’re getting into the home study portion. We’re moving through the process a little slowly, but that’s how it’s working out for us. Husband is coming to an end in his career in the Coast Guard, has already started college full time, and has just started his new job last week, so our home life is transitioning and we needed things to go this way.

Once the home study is complete, we will be looking for kids. Husband and I have decided we would like to take in siblings under the age of 5. We feel that keeping siblings together is more important than our own comforts over being thrown into the role of new “parents”.  With hope we’ll be prepared {as much as we can be}, so our goal is to give a safe and loving home to children that need it. If we keep siblings together, that’s one less scary part for them to deal with. They won’t be alone, or separated from everyone that they know. 

Part of the process of making home life with us easier for the children is by us not airing their dirty laundry. We will not be sharing the “stories” of the children and how they in particular came to be with us. It’s bad enough that any child needs to be in foster care, away from their families that couldn’t for whatever reasons take care of them safely, so we will be leaving it at that. It will always be up to them if, when, and with whom their story will be shared. They need to have control over something, and that is one thing we can do for them. Even though it is natural to be curious and wonder and gossip even, we will do our absolute best to give them this peace of mind. 

Another way that we will be trying to take the pressure and/or any potential  embarrassment of the situation is by how we introducing the children to other people. Instead of saying “These are our foster children”, we will take the focus onto ourselves by saying “We are their foster parents”. 

Ideally we hope to be able to adopt whatever children are placed in our care, that’s why we are going through an agency over going through the county
{because if a child has been placed into the agency’s care it’s because the children need long term care}, but that may not be the case. While we are trying to adopt the children, their parents will possibly be trying to take the steps to right their life to be suitable to take their children home. That can happen, but it doesn’t always. Either way, we will ALWAYS hope for what’s best for the children. If children can be with their families safely, then they should be without a doubt. I know I personally would have a heart breaking time with this if that does happen just because I love children with all my heart, so I would only imagine having the ones I’ve given my heart to to take care of and then to have them leave meit wouldnt kill me, but I’m sure it would feel like it. But even then, we would go to every effort so that we could still be part of the children and their families’ lives after they have left our home. We’re ready to give our hearts to them no matter what the outcome.

This is going to be a memorable experience no matter the outcome, and we hope to make it a positive one for everyone involved. We know we have wonderful families and friends that will always be supportive and loving, and for that we are grateful. We're really looking forward to this next step in our life. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Sold My Soul Because I'm a Sucker for Flattery

*Ding Dong* *Knock*Knock*Knock*

Door opens – ''HI''

“Hi. My name is Nina. We’re in the neighborhood with Kirby Vacuums. Oh my GOODNESS, your home is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Did you make that??”

“Yeah I did! Come in, I made this rug over here too!”

Those weren't the exact words used in the conversation, but it went pretty much just like that. And it didn't end there. She walked through my house and was in love with everything.

 And that’s all it took. One woman stroking me ego, telling me how pretty my home is and suddenly my home is hosting the Kirby door-to-door sales people.

 I want to be humble. I know for a fact that there are more amazing people then I am. Smarter. More cute. Much funnier. Better at organizing, and decorating, and making things and cooking…and any amount of other things. In all honesty, I basically have no self-esteem, there is an entire world of people that are better than I am at anything you could think of…. but if someone tells me my house is cute, that’s the end of me. All modesty is out the window. You are my new best friend and I will believe anything you say, buy anything you are selling. 

Which I did. 

 My plan was to let the guy do the whole thing and then say the "thanks, but no thanks" and pawn off what was left of the Girl Scout cookies we had inherited from Husbands work. Husband sat through the whole demo with me though --- The white pads that show you all the dirt that gets pulled up after one running swipe, the cleaner attachments, the shampoo feature, the mattress cleaning, and the whole spiel. It’s all very impressive, as I knew it would be. And, it’s all very expensive….

 I knew I wanted it, and if we got it then we would be making payments on it, and since I still am the only one in my family that doesn’t have her own KitchenAid (though it’s the one thing I feel would basically complete my life and home….), I couldn’t imagine Husband saying yes to the most expensive vacuum you’ll ever see. And I was already OK with that because I know I can’t have everything I want no matter how wonderful it would be at making my life easier. 

 But he didn’t say no.

 He said yes.



 You could slap me in the face right now and I wouldn't be as surprised as I was when he said it. I love my Husband, but the man hates to spend money on anything he doesn't see as a necessity. He hates spending money on something he himself wouldn't be using, which explains why I still don’t have my ultimate dream machine KitchenAid. The only time I have seen him spend money like it was nothing was when his beloved Xbox flashed him the Red Ring of Death. As soon as it happened he started putting his shoes on to go to the store for a new one without a second thought.

 But, for some reason, he said yes. I personally think it was the fact that it pulls up all the pet dander from the carpets that he liked it so much. I almost didn't get my cat(s) because a few members of his family {that live in different states} are allergic, but with my new vacuum they can visit with a problem anymore.

Now I have a Kirby, along with the payments, and it’s all because someone told me my house is cute. I will say, if you have never seen a sales demo, do it. It’s amazing. You will feel like you’ve been living in filth your entire life. But don’t buy it. You can just call me and use mine. Just do me the favor and don’t tell me that my house is cute. Keep that to yourself so I don’t get a big head about it. 

*and P.S., I've put my magical vacuum to good use. The spilled punch after a baby shower i threw came out with no problem at all. It cleans everything. And I love it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lemon Glazed Coffee Cake in a Mug

We're getting into the holidays and some of you may be looking for gift ideas. Or you may be looking for a tasty treat. Either way, i think you may enjoy this one. Last year I made this recipe for a gift for my sister-in-law Sarah for a Christmas gift. We were doing a homemade gift exchange in Husbands family, and for some reason this was the only thing I could come up with. But i think the whole thing was really cute in the end. She loves the Boston Red Sox and knee high socks so I got her Red Sox socks and a Red Sox mug paired up together with a few different mixes for cakes in a mug to go with it. She didn't get her gift until a bit after Christmas...we had just bought our new home and were in the middle of the whole moving process...but she did get it eventually, and she said she loved it.

I put together a few mixes for myself to try them out before i sent them to her, and my favorite was this Lemon Glazed Coffee Cake in a Mug. The link gives you all the instructions, but i made one change to it when i made it for myself so i'll give you all the instructions here. This mix instructions makes about 8 servings, so that's why its so great for gifts. Or if you just want to make up a whole batch and then have them on hand, there's nothing wrong with that.


  • 1 (18.5 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2-2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered lemonade mix


Each coffee mug should hold 1-1/2 cups water.
Place dry cake mix and dry pudding mix into a large bowl and blend well with a whisk. This will be about 4 to 4 1/2 cups of dry mix and will make 8 coffee cup cake mixes. Divide mix into 8 small plastic bags (about 1/2 cup each). Place mix into a corner of each bag and tie it there with a twist tie.
Make glaze mix: in a medium bowl, combine confectioners sugar with powdered flavoring mix. Divide into 8 small plastic bags and close bag with a twist tie. Attach each glaze mix to the cake mix bags with a twist tie. Place one of each bag into each cup.
Attach the following instructions to each cup:
Generously spray inside of cup with cooking spray. Empty contents of cake mix packet in cup. In small bowl mix together 1 egg with itself. Add 1 Tbsp of egg mixture, 1 tablespoon of oil, and 1 tablespoon water to dry mix. Mix 15 seconds, carefully mixing in all dry mix. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes. While cake is cooking, place ingredients from Glaze mix into a very small container and add 1 1/2 teaspoon water. Mix well. When cake is done, pour glaze over cake in cup. Enjoy while warm.

The change I made was concerning the egg. The original recipe says to use 1 egg, but i think it tastes too eggy (yes i know, that's not a real word), and that was the best alternative for me. You could try it with the whole egg if you want and decide for yourself though.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Husband Says...

i don't even remember the last Husband Says i posted, but this one cracked me up so i had to share.

We were in the car on our way home, singing along to the radio. Seriously, i can't figure out why we were in such a good mood when we were on our way home to do some much needed house cleaning, but we were. But Selena Gomez - I Love You Like A Love Song came on, and Husband started singing alone, no holding back. He just belted it out. And then i realized what he thought the words were. He was all ---
"♫ I, I love you like I love SOME baby! ♫  Ok, I understand why "I" would love a baby, but why on earth would Selena Gomez be singing about loving a baby? She's not old enough to have kids."
What? Really? That's what you think she's singing about? Oh Husband. Where do you get this idea? How long has this song been on the radio?

I love that man.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where the Heck Have I Been?

A long long long time overdue. And what really stinks is that i typed up this whole thing a few months ago, and some how it got lost in blogger land between me saving it and me coming back to attach pictures the next morning. But that's how it goes, and now i'm back. I may as well just do a quick recap and then photo bomb of everything and just keep it simple though, because there really is TOO much to catch up on.

SO......Life as Husband and Wife has continued, obviously. Around the time of my last post i was doing a bit of girly crafty stuff as well as getting ready to attended Youth Conference with the kids from our stake. I took pictures while doing some of my crafts, so i still plan to post about them. Soon. I hope. As far as Youth Conference went, it was perfect. It's really great when you realize how truly amazing the youth in your area are. We camped out for a night on the lawn of a spectacular home and property of a member that lends it out to the church for these types of things up in the mountains here. The speakers were absolutely inspiring. The leaders were inspired about the whole thing, and i was blessed to be able to attend.

At the end of September through the middle of October, Husband and i went on vacation. For 4 weeks. F-O-U-R. I know, a month of vacation is ridiculous, but the way Husband accumulates vacation days at work, they were all built up and if we didn't use them they would be lost. Use them or lose them. My little brother was turning 8, my dad wanted us to go elk hunting with him, and we wanted to see Husbands family as well as some of our friends in Utah. Since you can't fit that all into a week, we decided on 4 instead.
The first week was spent in New Mexico visiting Husbands family. We went to the rodeo, went to a marching band competition, and did as much visiting as we could. On our way out of New Mexico we stopped to see his brother Jacob and his wife Natalie. It turned out to be perfect timing because we were there for the International Balloon Fiesta. Since i've been fascinated with hot air balloons for as long as i can remember, like most little girls are, it was almost like heaven for me. We were all up at some ridiculous hour in the cold dark morning completely excited to be there.

The whole thing was amazing, such an experience, one of those things everyone should have on their bucket list, and i really hope we go back again one day. On the out of New Mexico Husband let me take a little detour to the Four Corners. I had never been, so i guess that's another thing i can check off my bucket list.

After that, we went to Idaho to see my family. You may remember, a little over a year ago my dad hit his head when he fell and had amnesia. Well, he's doing amazing now. He has about 90% of his memory back i think. We really forget that this has happened to him now until on a rare occasion he gives us a funny look when we say something he doesn't remember. He has trouble being in large crowds now though, and remembering some of his neighbors and friends where he lives has taken the longest time to get back, but amazingly he's regained some of his hearing, so i guess in this situation you just take what you can get and move on. Which he has :]

While we were there we did a little birthday party for Jared since we weren't there for the actual big day. Here are some absolutely ugly pictures of Husband and i with my brother...

And the big reason we made the trip -- Jared all fresh and spotless after his baptism

After his baptism, we went to visit Utah for a few days.
We obviously couldn't go to Utah without stopping to see Temple Square.

We tried to visit as many of our friends and family as we could while we were there, including Husbands sister Hanna and her husband Chris.

We also saw our amazing long time friends, the Vallens. Sorry, no pictures for them this time, i just thought they deserved a shout out.
Then it was back to Idaho for the Elk hunt.

Out at our camp site while camping. 
We didn't see any Elk on the hunt at all, at least not the ones that were legal to shoot at the time, so the hunting turned out to be a bust. But while we were doing some shooting back at the house, Husband decided he wanted to copy me and get a scar between the eyes from the scope of his gun. I got mine when i was 13, so most of you won't notice it now, but next time you see Husband make sure you check out his handy work ;)

While we were on vacation we did a lot of  talking. We had been in the house we were renting for 2 years, but had been contemplating buying a house since we found out we were being stationed here. When we got here every time we found a house to put on offer on we would find out 10 other people were putting offers on it too so things never worked out. In the end we decided to rent a house and just accept it. After talking about it, we decided that since our lease agreement was coming up for renewal, that it wouldn't hurt to take another look into finding a house to buy. A week after we got home from vacation we talked to our agent and were actively looking. It took about a month, but one Saturday night the beginning of November, i was in bed because i had hurt my neck from sleeping on my stomach and couldn't hold my head up, i found some listing online with one that really stood out to me, still in our ward amazingly, so i email our agent to take us to see them Monday. I was hoping my neck would be better by then, but it wasn't. I didn't care though. I REALLY wanted to see the one particular listing. We looked at 5 different listings that morning, all with me and my stiff neck, trying to make sure my head didn't fall off. There were some nice listings, people had done their upgrades, wood floors and granite counters and new carpet and paint and all that. But i really was in love with the one listing. I couldn't get it out of my head. So we talked to our agent and had her put an offer together while i went to the chiropractor to get my neck fixed. It was the only offer we ever got put completely put together and sent over during our whole home search process over the last few years, and it was accepted the next day. On my birthday in fact. It was the best birthday gift a girl could ask for. My very first home of my own. Not rented. Owned.

We moved in over the week before Christmas, which was also a great gift. We didn't have time to put up decorations, and didn't even exchange gifts....but now that i think about it, i'm pretty sure i got Husband some video games. Maybe. I'll have to ask him. I did get him something though. I was just excited to have my new house. He also let me pick out a new couch and chair for my new front room. Yea. And since we weren't renting anymore, i was allowed to have my very own cat :] So yeah, i guess we did do the gift thing. Either way, we ended last year on a happy note.

I've been busy this year as well. Husband went on a deployment to Panama in January.We also added another kitten the other month on top of the one I got for Christmas. So it's the 4 of us now. We painted my front room {yellow!}, which is something i've never been able to do since i've always live in a rented home. And basically we've just been enjoying life together in our new home. I'll be painting some more around the house this summer. I plan to refinish a coffee table too. I've already made a new rug for my front room, and done some stenciling too. We're making new friends all the time. I'm once again getting ready for Girls Camp this summer. Husband will have another deployment next month. My parents will be coming to visit from Idaho in July. And, we're going to Disneyland this month {Husbands first time ever!}.

So there you go. An update :) LONG overdue, but there it is. I'm crossing my fingers that i'll keep this up because there really are SO many things i've been making and doing and plan on doing, and i like to pretend that you all really actually care :) Plus, i think i've missed you all <3

p.s. i still plan to move the blog, but that'll take a little time so you don't need to think about it too much yet

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

I've been in the kitchen recently. I found this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars a little while ago when Husband and i were on a diet. I wanted to cry when i saw it because i knew there was no loophole in our diet for me to be able to make this. Husband got upset at me for even looking at it let alone the fact that i showed it to him. But i'm in the process of trying to diagnose some health problems i have, doing blood work and doctor visits and all that not fun stuff, so we decided to have me on this specific diet right now with the medication involved wasn't the right choice. Since I wasn't going to be on the diet, Husband had no desire to diet either. We're still watching how we eat -- we're not eating out any more at all, and our weakness of ice cream is not allowed in the house. Earlier this year we cut out a lot of sugars and starches from our diets already (replacing starches like potatoes and pastas with vegetables), so we're sticking with that.....
Except for this splurge. I couldn't help it! I kept thinking about it and i just couldn't stop myself. I don't even remember the last time i was in the kitchen baking -- though there is no baking involved in this recipe. But we've been really good about everything, and i was about to die without chocolate -- a little TMI but it was my girl week so you may be able to understand -- so I made an exception. It was delicious. SO worth it. If you like chocolate and peanut butter and oatmeal, you'll love it too. I hope you will anyway.

Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 dish.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended.

Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the crust, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to drizzle over the top.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter, pressing gently to form a crust. Drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars.

Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.

It really was as good as it looks.

{click to print}
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
adapted from

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Press half of mixture in to the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 dish.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and blended. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the crust, reserving a couple of spoonfuls to drizzle over the top.
3. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and peanut butter, pressing gently to form a crust. Drizzle the remaining chocolate and peanut butter over the top of the bars.
4. Refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.

And last off, i want to let you all know that i'm planning a move for our blog. I think. I feel like being a little more anonymous when it comes to things i'm making and sharing -- like this delicious post -- and i get enough traffic from my projects that i feel like making a move would be the best thing for us. I have no intention of being a professional blogger -- i'm not cool enough for that -- i just want to separate the friends and family stuff from the public stuff. I'll probably keep this one for the family and friends and go private but I haven't got the new one all set up and moved over yet, so i'll let you know when i'm all done.