Friday, May 31, 2013

finding faith and humility through real life experiences

 top/skirt: jcpenny's, shoes: nordstrom, bracelet: Tiffany's & Juicy Couture, Earrings: The Limited

This week Brand and I finally found a car. It has been one of the longest car buying processes that we have ever been through.  Mind you, this is the third car we've bought.  It took three months to the date of when the accident took place to purchase a new car.  And those three months felt like some of the toughest, awkward-est, annoying-est months in a long time.  Long because it was a long time to be without a car.  Awkward because we had to ask for rides and at one point we even borrowed a car for almost three weeks (I don't know about you, but I don't like asking people for help so this was a very humbling experience).  Annoying because we had to constantly change our schedules and adjust them to each other.  We both work and we were both going to school at that time so it was rather difficult. 

After going through this whole ordeal I think we've become stronger.  It's always true when they say that through each trial you learn something new and gain a new perspective or idea.  Brandon and I have learned quite a lot about ourselves, patience, and being humble, within these past three months.  We've also learned about His's timing and how it's not always up to us. These experiences grow us closer together and grow us closer to our Heavenly Father.

I am grateful for this experience because for all I know the lady we bought the car from just needed that little push to be converted in the church, or this car--this perfect for us car was just the thing that Heavenly Father wanted for us.  Either way I'm grateful for the experience. 

Happy Friday! 

last week's giveaway winner announced here

Also, this morning I woke up with an enlarged face, my eye and cheek were so swollen and I'm too 
embarrassed to post a picture of it.  Just imagine being stung on the cheek and a big swollen part obstructing my face. 

linking up: Look What I Got, Casual FridayThe Pleated PoppyRolled Up PrettyLowercase LettersWatch What I'm Wearing  Sunday StyleWeekend Shenanigans,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

awkward & awesome


Previously wore this top outfit with shorts here
top/pants: jcpenny's, cardi/bracelets: nordstrom, shoes: famous footwear, necklace: nana, earrings: the limited. 

- Dropping almost everything in my hands (glasses case, trash, and other randoms) while walking the kids out of McDonald's.  As the drop was taking place I swear everyone was staring at me and it was all slow motion like NOOOOOOOOOO
- Not wanting someone to find out a secret, but it's hard to keep the secret because they keep asking questions and you obviously don't want them to know about it but they just keep being nosey. 
- Trying to find a substitute for our Primary class the DAY BEFORE we need them. Obviously it would take forever to get someone to say they would do it. 
- Explaining my jokes and not understanding other people's jokes. Sometimes I like to make the excuse that I was dropped on my head as a child, then I get the sympathy card. (I wasn't really dropped though, or was I?)
- Meeting someone for the first time and totally being looked up and down.  I'm thinking Oh my heck, is my fly undone? And then afterwards, Oh my heck did she just do that?! 

- At the local play place when my little buddy yells to me "Sissy! I made friends!!" Followed by the biggest smile and a thumbs up! 
- Being told by a 5 year old that I need to have a baby in my tummy. 
- Buying ice cream in I don't know how long and it being REALLY good. Almost as good as I remember. 
- Missionary homecomings, especially when it's your BIL.
- Finally finding a car exactly three months to the date of when the one we replaced was smashed. 
- Summer breaks with NO SCHOOL!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


 shirt: walmart, vest: thrifted, jeans: f21, sandals: target, bracelets: nordstrom, sunnies: juicy

Watching: I Love Lucy.  It has become one of my go-to shows. I could watch one episides a hunderd times. My love for I Love Lucy is similar to my love for Anne of Green Gables, I just can't seem to get enough of either. 

Crocheting: I'm finally making my mom a blanket.  I've told her for the past year that I would make her one and I'm finally getting around to it.  It's going to be one of those big beautiful throws that you drape over your couch.  Don't worry dad, you'll be able to use it! 

Thinking about:  Dogs.  I love dogs and I really wish I could have one of my own.  When we went to AHS this past weekend Brand and I got to socialize the sweetest pair of dogs. They were oh so scared in their kennel's, but I got in there scooped them up and took them outside with me so they could get some fresh air and get away from all the noise.  It was a tender moment when the one pup, Georgia, wouldn't leave my sight, she wanted to be by me and wanted me to pet her.  This same thing happened with two other dogs this weekend.  Those precious little things just melt my heart.  You can bet that this week I'll be watching to make sure they go home! (: 

Grateful for: So many things.  And right now I can't tell you which blessing I'm most grateful for, I just feel so blessed with the things that are happening right now.  I'm starting to feel like things are falling into place, slowly but surly. 

Wearing: Nothing... KIDDING!!! Today we went swimming so I've got my top knot, neon shirt and skinnies on.  Of course I have a pretty painful sunburn on my shoulders, so I am wearing that too. (: 

Reading: Catching Fire, have you seen the book club that we've started over here?! You should read along.  I'm loving Catching Fire.  It's one of the funnest reads, and I'm not sure if it's because the movie is coming out in November or what, but this book has quite the hold on me. 

Preparing for: the missionaries to come over for dinner. I love having the missionaries over, it some how makes me feel closer to my brother and that makes me happy. 
Looking forward to: summer vacation, hopeful to have something fun happen this summer.  Brand and I have a pretty tough school year ahead of us! I am also looking forward to my brother coming home!! 20 days people!!! 
What are you currently doing?!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

high school graduation and other eventful activities

My dad always knows there is a time and place for taking pictures, and this was the proper time and place to stalk Tyler as he was walking to where all the Seniors were because he is our graduate.  Or was it the proper time and place because my dad knew it would embarrass him?  Either way I'm pretty sure I egged-on the situation when I started yelling things like "Yeah! You got it!" and "That's our boy!!" It made for a fun moment in time that I'm sure he will remember. Also, my brother is 6'2" why didn't I get that height?!

SIL (Brandon's Sister) and Tyler

For the record, yes I have a mother but I didn't put her picture up for sake of her saying "Alyssa, get my picture off your blog I look horrible." When in fact she looks great, but that's what moms just say. (: 
So Friday Tyler (Ty, baby T, T-bone, Tidy, and other such names --I'm sure he will be thrilled I shared these) and Ashley graduated from high school!! I really can't believe it and it really hasn't sunk in yet. 
To read my post about how I feel about them graduating go here
I won't continue talking about graduating because I already talked about it and I'll just leave it at that. 



Yesterday was Memorial Day and as a Dawson family tradition we head out to the cemetery and clean our family's headstones. 
It's a great tradition. 
We get to spend time together and show respect to our loved ones who have passed on.

Can I also get a high five for a three day weekend? Brand and I got to spend the whole thing together. It was one of those weekends were at the beginning you feel like it's never going to end and it's so blissful.  But then Monday night comes and the storm clouds roll in.  We still thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Spent most of our Saturday at AHS, where we tired ourselves our visiting with homeless animals and finding good homes for them. Our Saturday was completely complete. 

Sunday came around and we enjoyed our family time.  I can't get over how much I love being around family.  All this having friends business is overrated. HA-HA!  Brandon's brother gave a homecoming talk at church, it's so good to have him home, I can't get over it. 

How was your weekend?
I hope you had an eventful one too! 

Also, have you heard this song?

Dog Days Are Over by Florence and The Machine on Grooveshark

I started singing it this weekend and Brand thought I was the weirdest kid on the block. I really love it though. 

Happy Tuesday!!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spiritual Sunday: "Lord, I Believe"


In the April 2013 General Conference Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a great talk on believing
I can tell you that I felt the spirit ever so strong when he gave this talk, and then again when I re-listened to it the other day.
If anything, listen to his testimony, he testifies of our loving Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ. 

"The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue--it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know."
- Jeffrey R. Holland

I hope you remember that you are ever so important to our Heavenly Father. 
I hope you remember that believing is what we need as the first step to know. 

Happy Sunday Friends. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fun Foods: Cream Cheese Chicken Crock Pot

This crock pot replaces all the others and finds its way atop of the winner stand. 
It was so delicious!

The only thing I would change for next time is to add rice. 

Cream Cheese Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2/3 ounce package Italian salad dressing mix
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided, this is just a total)
1 small onion, chopped ( I used half of the other half from last week's crock pot) 
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 can condensed cream of chicken coup
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. Lightly spray Pam in the crock pot so the food doesn't stick once it is done cooking.  Then add a teaspoon sized scoop of butter to the crock pot. 
2. Turn the crock pot on LOW heat. 
3. Place the chicken in the crock pot, (make sure the chicken is not frozen, if it is frozen you will need to cook it for a longer period of time.)
4.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken along with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 
5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. ( I cooked on high for 1 hour, and then low for 2 hours I didn't have 7 hours to make this.)
6. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and saute the onion and garlic.  
7. Add the condensed cream of chicken soup, cream cheese, and chicken broth to the sauce pan. Stir mixture until smooth. 
8. Add mixture to crock pot and cook on low for another hour. 

Plate and serve. 

Again, next time I make this crock pot I would make it with rice. 

Happy Eating! 

For more crock pot recipes: 
Creamy Chicken
Cheesy Chicken


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pink On The Cheek Q&A

Have you met Lauren from Pink on the Cheek?! 
Well, if you haven't I think it's important that you do. 
Name: Lauren
Blog: Pink on the Cheek

Q: Why did you start blogging? 
A: I started blogging after reading Little Miss Momma's blog, I fell in love with watching her little boy grow up! Plus her tutorials for makeup and DIY were fabulous!


Q: How would you describe your blog?
A: I would describe my blog as a reflection of me. I love posting tutorials and blog tips because I love sharing information with others. It's great when I can help someone!


Q: What do you find your self doing on the weekends? 
A: I LOVE sleeping in. I look forward to the weekends. Then I will go out to eat with my fiance to grab brunch!


Q: What does a typical Monday look like for you?
A: UGH. I get up at 6:30 each day so I can walk the dog and have time to get ready all before I work at 8. I am usually in a grumpy mood!


Q: What state do you live in and why do you love it?
A: I live in California and I love it! There is so much to do and the weather is perfect!


Q: What is your favorite thing about blogging?
A: I love connecting with bloggers. Conferences are my favorite since we get to hang out in real life!


Q: If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?
A: I would pay off all my fiance's and mine student loans. We kinda have a lot so that would be a great weight of our shoulders!


Have you been over to check out the May Sponsor giveaway?!
There are loads of prizes and Lauren is specificially offering ad space and a target gift card!
Visit the link on the sidebar or click HERE.
Good luck!!

>>> Blog >>> Bloglovin >>> Twitter >>> Instagram >>> Facebook >>>  Pinterest >>>


Monday, May 20, 2013

what I wore: feeling nostalgic about high school

shirt/sandals: target, jeans: f21, hat: gifted, purse: gifted, bracelets: nordstrom 

I know the picture quality of these pictures is pretty bad and I really shouldn't have taken these pictures at this time of day. 
Why is it always that the pictures you try and take of the sunset don't ever turn out?

Anyways, this weekend was filled with wonderful things. 
Yesterday my brother and SIL had their seminary graduation and this week they are graduating from high school. 
I can't believe how fast the time has flown by! 
I remember it like yesterday when they had their first day of high school. 
I was nervous for them, because I remember what it was like to be a Freshman, but I knew they would be alright. 

Through these past four years they have accomplished so much and have really been great examples to me. 
I can only imagine great things coming from them. 
 This whole thing has made me a little nostalgic, because I remember my last day of high school. 
It felt so unreal and nerve-wracking. 

I remember wanting to leave high school because I really did not like it at all. 
But I also remember thinking that my life was just about to start. 
I had so much ahead of me. 
So many options at grasp. 

Being done with high school is such a wonderful feeling. 
I think this time next year I will have similar feelings. 
Oh the wonderful things life brings. 

Change can really be a good thing!  

Congrats to all you graduates! 


Friday, May 17, 2013

a Friday Giveaway

I love giveaways!
What can be more fun then winning free things?!
I'm not sure either...

This month we have some lovely sponsors joining us and giving away some REALLY great prizes.
To enter use the Rafflecoptor widget below!

Good luck to all! 

One winner will be picked for this giveaway and it is open to US residents only. 



my week in pictures

Happy Friday Friends! 
(it you are here for the giveaway keep scrolling down! (:  ) 

This week pretty much flew by, as do all the other weeks that we've gone through. 
And I feel pretty brain dead right now just because of all the fun things we got to do this week. 
(does that even make sense?!) 
Brandon's brother came home from his church mission where he served in Brazil and we had a few preparations that we wanted to make before he came home. 
The few days before he came home were so much fun, and we were pretty anxious for him to be home. 
It's so much fun to have all Brandon's siblings together again, we are excited for all the fun things coming up in the next few weeks! 

 If you want to know how many people you can fit on an airport sided elevator let me tell you.... 12 adults and 7 kids. (: 
 This week they put Moroni on top of the Phoenix Temple and me and my brother got to watch it! Pretty exciting stuff!
 Brand & Mia from our Saturday volunteering at AHS, isn't she the sweetest?!
Brandon got me flowers on Mother's Day even though I'm not a mom! What a sweet man! (: 

If you missed any of the posts this week you can check them out here: 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fun Foods: Creamy Chicken Crock Pot

the picture doesn't do it justice. 

It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for the crock pot meal of the week. 
There were other crock pot meals that I would have preferred to make over this one, but because I had work I chose this on because it was the most simple. 

Creamy Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
(or 6 chicken thighs)
2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (14.5 ounces) of chicken broth
1 can (4 ounces) of sliced, drained mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, diced
Salt and pepper
Pasts of your choice

1. Lightly spray Pam in the crock pot so the food doesn't stick once it is done cooking.  Then add a teaspoon sized scoop of butter to the crock pot. 
2. Turn the crock pot on LOW heat. 
3. Place the chicken in the crock pot, (make sure the chicken is not frozen, if it is frozen you will need to cook it for a longer period of time.)
4. Place all ingredients except salt and pepper into the crock pot.  
5. Stir ingredients around so they are somewhat mixed.
6. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. 
7. If needed, season with salt and pepper once finished. 

The pasta I used was shell pasta, it worked well, but next time I might use a thinner pasta so that the sauce covers it better. 
Cook your pasta the way it directs on the packaging. 

Serve pasta and chicken together.

Happy Eating! 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

my feelings on mother's day

via me 5-11-13

It's a fact, I know a marvelous amount of mothers. 
They each bring light to their children's faces and are great examples. 
I am so grateful for their examples and testimonies. 
They make motherhood look great. 

I don't like to dwell in self pity very much, although there are certain triggers that get me down. 
Thankfully I know what they are and avoid them at any cost. 
For me mother's day can be a small trigger because it reminds me that I am not a mother. 
(I can here Brand now, "Not yet!")
Either way, I currently do not have children. 
This is not me saying that we are not able to have children, this is just me saying that we just don't have any right now. 

But oh how I love the smell of a new baby, or the sweet sounds they make when they are asleep. 
Or how about those little smirks they give because they are dreaming or because they are gassy... I like to think the former, HA-HA! 
What about when they start to crawl and walk? 
Or talk and can say your name?
When they grow up and become such smart little people. 
Children are so wonderful!

I know there are a lot of women like me out there who do not have children, but dream of the day when they do.  
It is important for us to remember that children don't have to physically come from us in order for you to impact their lives and teach them
Our students can be our children, because we teach them what they need to know to grow and become smart.
Our primary class children can be our children because we help them continue to learn about the teachings of the church. 
The children we watch/babysit can be our children because we help them learn wrong from right and teach them the value of family. 

Do you feel you need blood relation in order to do such things? 
Or is an open conversation good enough?
It's important to know that just by being there, by being an example to them, you are teaching them.

It is also important to remember that just because we are teachers or nannies that we are not trying to take the place of their parents. 
That is not our job. 

So, until the time comes when you are blessed with one of the greatest gifts we can receive on this earth, don't get down or feel less than just because you don't have children. 
Remember the ways that you can impact their lives without being their parent. 

I hope this makes sense! 

Happy Tuesday! 


Monday, May 13, 2013

a relaxed friday night


shirt: tjmaxx, jeans: f21, sandals: target

This weekend was one of those weekends that I've been waiting for ever since spring break ended. 
Saturday we went to AHS, and  then celebrated my dad's birthday later in the evening.  
And on Sunday we celebrated mother's day and got to talk to our brothers! 

All last week I didn't have a car, and I didn't have work so I was stuck inside all day every day.
Unless I wanted to walk somewhere, which wasn't going to happen.
So when Friday came along I was more than ready to get out of the house. 

We didn't really have a plan for date night, but we recently fell in love with the Wisconsin Cauliflower soup at Cafe Zoupas so that became our destination. 

Later we found ourselves at a local bookstore just sitting down and reading. 
We've become quite the bookworms. 
We got lost in our books for about an hour. 
I was reading the thrilling tale of Catching Fire
(we are reading it for our blog book club, you should join!) 
I just can't seem to put the book down, it's so good! 

It was nice to just sit and read a good book and it kind of made me feel like a hipster. 
All I needed were some glasses, a scarf and a gold watch to seal the deal! 

While we were sitting there reading I couldn't help but think how wonderful and relaxing it was just to be able to sit and read a book. 
To not have to worry about work, or school, or life in general,  it was a feeling that I've been waiting for, for a long time. 

I love those kinds of Friday nights. 

Happy Monday! 

Linking up:


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fun Foods: Cheesy Chicken Crock Pot

picture via me 5/7/13

Yesterday I made a pretty delicious dinner. 
It was a crock pot though, so does that really count?
Brand and I can count on one hand the number of times we've made a crock pot for dinner. 
I think including this one it's only been three times.  
Every time we are deliciously surprised at how good they turn out and some how we always say 
"Wow, we should use the crock pot more often." 

I don't know why we don't, it might just be the easiest way to make dinner. 
So, I am vowing to make a crock pot dinner once a week and share with you the recipe. 
How do you like those beans?!

Lets get down to this week's recipe. 

Cheesy Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts 
2 cans of condensed cream of chicken 
1 can of condensed cream of cheddar cheese 
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1. Lightly spray Pam in the crock pot so the food doesn't stick once it is done cooking.  Then add a teaspoon sized scoop of butter to the crock pot. 
2. Turn the crock pot on LOW heat. 
3. Place the chicken in the crock pot, (make sure the chicken is not frozen, if it is frozen you will need to cook it for a longer period of time. Also, I only used 3 chickens but everything else was the same.) 
3. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on each side of the chicken. 
5. Mix the condensed cream of chicken and condensed cream of cheddar cheese in a separate mixing bowl and then add it to the crock pot where you already have the chicken. When you place it in the crock pot make sure it covers the chicken so that it doesn't get dry. 
6. Cover the crock pot with your lid and set the timer for 6 hours or until the chicken is tender. 

Throughout the 6 hours I drizzled the condensed cream of chicken and condensed cream of cheddar cheese over the chicken.  I wanted to make sure that the chicken wasn't dry. 

Now for the rice. 
I made this about 20 minutes before I was ready to serve dinner.  If you find that your chicken is too hot you can always set it on the "warm" temperature. 

1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon butter

1. Put 2 cups water into a saucepan, add some salt and bring water to a boil. 
2. Add 1 cup of rice to the boiling water and also add the teaspoon. 
3. Mix everything together until the rice is soft and fluffy, or until it has absorbed all the water. 

Serve rice and chicken together.  

Happy Eating! 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Book Club {Catching Fire}

Now that school is over I will have some free time on my hands, so I thought it would be a brilliant idea to start the book club back up again. 

In thinking about which book to read I thought I would pick the first one and then give everyone a chance to put their two cents in when picking the next ones. 
So, this month we will be reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. 

Two reasons, 
One: this week I purchased a copy of the trilogy set, not by choice... kind of a long story so I want to actually read the books. 
Two: the movie is coming out in November and everyone always says the books are better so I want to read it now before school starts in August because I know I wont have time. 

So, for this book we are going to take about a month to read, because I know we all still have busy lives. 
We start today May 7th and the review post/linky will show up on June 5th. 
How does that sound? 
(If it turns out to be a pretty fast read then we can always change the review date, I'll keep you posted on twitter.) 

You can purchase the book at Barnes & Noble Bookstore or rent it from your local library. 

Also, if you have any good ideas for next month's book reads let me know. 
I'd love to gather a good possible book list for the month of June. 

Below are some of the discussion questions that might be fun to answer and reflect on when we do the linky party. I will be answering a few of them for myself! 

1. How quickly did you read Catching Fire? 
2. Why do you think the courage of a teenager can/cannot make an impact on society?
3. Did your perception of Peeta change over the course of the book?
4. Why do you think fire is an appropriate symbol for Katniss?
5. Do you think the glamorization of the Games and treatment of its stars before they are sent off to die is a reflection of anything in our modern society?
6. What was the most tension-filled moment for you to read in the book?
7. Rate Catching Fire 1 to 5, with 5 being an amazing read.  

Hope you join along!! 

Also, if you would like to co-host the linky with me and the book club as well send me an email to alyssadawsonblog [at] gmail [dot] com. 



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