17th Century Swag

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I read about a study a few years ago that came to one, powerful conclusion:
Grateful people are happier people.

I love that!
And I know it's true.
That's why Thanksgiving is such a lovely holiday.
No gifts received, no talk of what you want and need,
just all out gratitude for what you have.

I learned something in primary on Sunday that I've tried a few times this week.
We learned about prayer, and were challenged to thank Heavenly Father for 10 things before we ask for anything.
It has most definitely changed my prayers!
By the time I even get to what I am asking for help with, I am filled with so much gratitude for what I have already been helped with.
Heavenly Father is looking out for us. All the time.

In this spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would comment on a few things I'm especially grateful for today.

My Husband Jason

I love this man with all of my heart! He is loving, joyful, fun, spontaneous, hardworking, patient and warm. He is the greatest thing to ever come into my life. To come downstairs twice in the last twelve hours to find him kneeling in prayer is so beautiful. To me, Jason personifies love. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

This is at the very core of everything I am. If people could know just one thing about me, I want it to be that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Gospel encourages us to live our lives in a way that will bring us back to our Heavenly Father, and that takes diligence and courage, and it is so, so worth it. The times in my life I have been the happiest are the times I am closest with God. He is real.

 My Family

^^Missing my sister in law Logan, sorry!! It was the only one I had!^^

I have a family here on earth, they are so good to me. For real. I don't know what I did to deserve this loving, supportive family but I am forever grateful! Every family is different, and every family has its strengths and its challenges, but I am grateful that I was given this family to go through life with. We strengthen each other and we help each other and we all become better people because of it. I also have wonderful in-laws who I adore, and are so incredibly supportive and loving. God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be.

Emotional Health

^^My parents watching our first dance. I love this photo.^^

I am grateful that emotionally I feel balanced and at peace. Choosing happiness is a natural choice for me, and that choice affects the way I see everything that happens in life. I think I inherited this one from my mom! For those of you who know her, you know she is the brightest, most joyful person, even through some very difficult things. She has taught me to find joy in every day. Thanks mom!

My Education

^^with my Young Ambassadors sisters in Capetown, South Africa!^^

We are so blessed to be able to receive such wonderful education around here. The opportunities we have in this realm are endless, and education doesn't have to end after you receive a diploma. I am so grateful that I attended a university that revolved around the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and where I received an education not only in journalism, but also in the scriptures, in prayer, and in relationships. Every day at BYU I felt like I was improving myself in so many areas. It was like a four-year deep cleanse of my soul. I developed great habits and got rid of some that hold me back. Living on my own taught me who I really am and what I really want out of life. The friendships I developed will be part of me forever. I am so, so grateful for my education.

Of course, I could continue but I've got to get packing because we're heading up to Snowflake for Thanksgiving! Wahoo!

Happy Thanksgiving to you.
I am thankful that you took time out of your day to read this.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jason's Birthday BBQ!

My favorite husband Jason had a birthday a couple weeks ago!
We thought about taking a spontaneous trip somewhere
(since his birthday is on Veteran's Day!)
or going to a fancy dinner,
but when I asked Jason what he really wanted to do, this is what he said:
"I'd like to have some friends over for a barbecue!"

So, barbecue we did!

 ^^ Jason's love for golf was definitely reflected with a couple of birdie ball stations ^^
(if you don't know what this is, just call Jason and he will teach you)

^^ and what's a fall evening in Arizona without a fake outdoor fireplace? ^^

^^ we kept it simple with burgers and homemade french fries ^^

^^ caprese salad skewers  ^^

^^ and italian sodas/dirty diet cokes! ^^
(the peach coconut italian soda was my favorite!)

Jason is the friendliest person I know and is so loved by those around him.
He was in awe of all the friends that showed up to support him!

^^ we finished off the evening with some birthday boy trivia ^^

F, T, T, F, T, F, F, T, T, T, F, T, F, F, T

^^ and an invisible birthday cake ^^

Happy birthday Jase!

You make life so, so wonderful.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Homemade fruit leather

Over the past few weeks I've developed a slight addiction to fruit leather!
So, in hopes of saving some money (fruit leather is not cheap!)
I decided to figure out how to make it myself.
Let's just say I'm suuuper glad I did!

Here's what I did....
(I took this recipe/process and tweaked it a bit!)

Raspberry + Blueberry + Coconut Fruit Leather
*you can use any fruit/extract combination you want, I just had a bunch of frozen blueberries and raspberries that were going to get freezer burned!

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 
2-3 TBSP sugar (depends on how sweet you like your leather! I like mine pretty tangy.)
1/2 tsp coconut extract (1 tsp if you're a coconut lover!)

yield: 1 pan, about 8 fruit roll ups
(You can double it and put two pans in the oven as well!)

You will also need:
a blender
good quality plastic wrap (I used Saran Premium)
a rimmed baking pan

Defrost fruit in microwave, then put into blender with sugar and coconut extract.
Blend until smooth.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees or lower if your oven allows (I did mine one about 170)
Place plastic wrap over your cookie sheet so it hangs off the edge a bit
(I know this is going against everything you've ever learned about ovens... just trust me!)
you may have to do two sheets and overlap them if it doesn't fit!
(Don't tape the extra plastic wrap down, it shrinks a bit in the oven!)

Pour berry mixture onto the center of the cookie sheet,
this way you can work your way out as you spread and make sure you don't run out of juice!

*This batch was a bit smaller because I made it with leftovers from yesterday, you should be able to spread the mixture to the edges of the pan!

Spread as evenly as you can! If it's thicker in some areas,
the other parts will get hard while that part still cooks. Bad news.
You want it to be about 1/8 inch thick.
You want to thinly cover the plastic wrap without any extremely thin or thick spots!

^^See that? Too thin in that little spot, and too thick on the edge!
Even that stuff out.

Once you've evenly spread the mixture, put it in the oven for about 7 hours, or until your finger comes up dry after pressing into it.

Right after you take it out of the oven, peel it off the plastic wrap!
It should come off in one piece or a few large pieces.
After I peeled the large pieces off, I separated them into 5x3 inch rectangles, put them on parchment paper, cut the paper to fit, then rolled them up and tied with string!

 And there you go! A fun, homemade snack.
The next flavor I'm going to figure out is pear + almond extract!
Also, I'm not sure how long they last, but I've heard you can freeze them if you don't think you'll eat them in a week or two!