Thursday, June 27, 2013

my week in pictures






1. Last weekend I got a little festive and created some 4th of July decor, what do you think about my red, white, and blue star bunting? I also made an American Flag wreath that I'm sure will make its appearance on instagram sometime this week. 

2.  I took this picture because the whole thing seemed a bit artsy to me.  I was thinking everyone was going to like the picture on instagram, but I was wrong.  Really though, doesn't it seem like one of those pictures you'd see on a persons instagram who has like 13k..... just me?  The second awesome fact about this picture is that AHS has a new thrift store in Arizona, and it's seriously huge, this is a picture from the dressing room.  They have some really awesome stuff, I purchased a Gap and J.Crew shirt and it all cost less than $5. Scooooore.

3. I really love this picture of brand.  Something about the fun memory and the fact that it was somewhat candid... I think he was in the middle of saying something, this weekend we might need to recreate this. 

4.  Maggie, I cannot get over how much I love this pup.  And seriously though, I can't get over how much I love all animals, there is some innate about it.  It's just how I'm made I guess. 

5.  I also tried my hand at my first instagram video, you can watch that here. It's rather crazy to see how blue my eyes are in the video! 

what was blogged this week: 
wednesday: tips and tricks to help build your relationship with your significant other
tuesday: in the summer, saturday mornings are meant for hikes and healthy foods
monday: that moment you wait for, for two whole years

linking up with: high five for friday

HAPPY FRIDAY!!! 

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tips and Tricks to Help Build Your Relationship with Your Significant Other

Hi wonderful Impractical Composition readers!  I'm so excited that Alyssa is having me to guest post for her today.  My name is Susannah and I blog at Simple Moments Stick about everything from reality TV to my faith and from outfits to food.  Of course, my favorite thing to blog about is my handsome hubby!  I love making blogging friends so stop by my blog and start up a conversation!

I love reading about Alyssa and her hubby.  It's great to read about another couple "doing marriage" while being in school.  It can be really difficult sometimes to make time for each other when things like studying gets in the way.  My husband, Nate, and I have been married for almost two years.  It's been two wonderful years of growing and learning more about each other daily.  I see so many marriages fall apart - even after just a year or two - so I wanted to share with you all some of the ways we've found keeps our marriage strong, healthy, and loving!

PS.  All these tips are great for dating couples, family relationships, and friendships too...  Maybe ignore #5 though.  ;-)



1.  Make Time to Communicate:  I can't stress this one nearly enough!  In a world where we're all so busy and have all sorts of distractions it's so easy to not have deep meaningful conversations where you're able to voice your opinion.  Right now we have such limited time together - Nate's in grad school, we're both working full time jobs, we're super involved in our church, I blog, and of course there's also whatever else life throws at us.  This doesn't leave us much time together and DEFINITELY not a lot of deep conversation time.  Because of this, Nate and I make sure we go on walks together at least four times a week.  During these walks, we don't have distractions keeping us from talking.  Sure, I might be crying as we're passing our neighbor's house because of something that's on my heart that I'm sharing with Nate but it's totally worth it.  (Plus, I cry a lot so I'm starting to get used to people seeing it)  Nate and I also have started going out on Sunday nights to sit down somewhere outside our home, away from distractions.  Happy hours are great for this because we can sit for an hour or two, have some drinks, and walk away only $10-15 poorer.


2.  Be Each Other's Biggest Cheerleaders:  You need to have each other's backs no matter what, even in the small things.  (Nope, I'm not talking about big deal, "you can't abide by that" stuff like abuse, neglect, etc)  It's easy for me to have Nate's back when it comes to schoolwork or preparing a sermon for church.  You know, the big, career driven things.  Recently, though, Nate wanted to start homebrewing.  I know it's a little thing but I'm not a huge fan of beer.  I think it's kinda gross and smells yucky.  I could easily just decide to not encourage him in it and ignore the fact that it's something he loves.  Instead, I jumped on board!  I talk to him about it, learn alongside him, and even taste the beer he makes.  (Yes, I do tell him it's disgusting as soon as I try it)  Nate supports me too.  He'll spend hours talking to me about blogging and really desires to understand why I am so passionate about it.  He is starting to know my blogging friends by name and understands that they're real friends to me.  He knows my passions and dreams and is helping me pursue them.

3.  Take Time to Yourself:  No matter how much you enjoy your spouse, you're still your own person.  Nate and I both need our alone time.  Firstly, we're both introverts (me a little more than him) so we get revived by being alone.  The time I spend reading or blogging or crafting rejuvenates me and makes me a better wife.  Even extroverts shouldn't be spending all their time with their spouse.  Go out with friends, get involved in a sport, join a hobby WITHOUT your spouse.  It will make your time together so much more special!  Secondly, if Nate and I were together all the time we'd probably bite each other's heads off.  Seriously.  I can get vicious, especially when I'm tired.  It's something I'm working on.

4.  Have Fun:  Why be married to someone you can't have fun with?  Sometimes I think if anyone else saw the shenanigans that went on in our house they'd think we're nuts!  We have more inside jokes than I can even remember.  We love to laugh with one another.  Whatever you have fun doing, make sure your spouse knows so you can do it together.  I love to dance so Nate signed us up for swing dance lessons.  We both love to go on trips so we try to take as many as we can together.  Joy is so important in a marriage.

5.  Be Physical:  This one is pretty self explanatory - Hold hands.  Give each other back rubs.  Cuddle while you're watching movies.  Hug a lot.  Kiss even more.  And, of course, enjoy "bedroom time".  Seriously, you guys, if you're not being physical there's something wrong - get counseling   (And I don't mean that in a negative way.  I'm a huge advocate for counseling.)

Love is such a special thing!  I sincerely hope that each and every one of you truly commits to loving, respecting, and honoring your spouse!  It's the best thing ever!
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

in the summer saturday mornings are meant for hikes and healthy foods


In the summer time it's hot. --I think that's an obvious statement.

Saturday mornings in Arizona are sometimes to die for.  I mean, they can be simply beautiful.  Take this past Saturday for example.  Brand and I took an impromptu hike-picnic because the weather was the bee's knees.  The wind was blowing ever so perfectly and there was the best amount of cloud coverage.  Brand and I are always ready to change our plans at the drop of a hat, I guess we are just spontaneous like that.. sometimes.  We've also been on this rabbit diet so what better way to get the extra healthy feel?  Hiking and eating our fruits at the tip top of the mountain. So lovely.

We saw houses and mountains for days. Rediscovered the different roof top patterns each subdivision has.  Sent  a picture text to our families creepily telling them we were watching them, and in reality we could see their houses.  Took a good half hour to consume watermelon, strawberries (with stevia of course), grapes, and cantaloupe.  Watched shirtless grandpas get their tan on, one of which I was thiiiiiiiis close to taking a picture of. And listening to the wind blow and the crickets chirp, --thankfully there were no snakes or scorpions spotted on this excursion, that would have creeped me out.  I'm grateful for these kinds of summer mornings, they make my heart smile.





I love this Arizona of mine.  It especially surprises me every time I go for a hike, can a desert be more beautiful?  Also, if you look reeeeeeally close you can see downtown Phoenix. 
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Monday, June 24, 2013

that moment you wait for, for two whole years.

If you are Mormon and have experienced having a missionary out in the field you will know what I'm talking about when I say I've waited for this moment for the past two years.  In my religion young men and women serve church missions. They each serve at different ages, young men starting at 18 and young women starting at 19.  They serve for a period of 18-24 months in the country they are assigned to, they don't get to choose where they serve.  Throughout the time they serve they invite others to come unto Christ and teach them of the gospel.  During their service the missionaries get to speak with their families two times a year, on Mother's Day and Christmas and they get to write home once a week.  It's an amazing sacrifice for these young men and women to leave their families and their lives at home to go and serve our Heavenly Father.

By brother served a two year mission in the Dominican Republic and returned home just last Tuesday.

Here we are patiently waiting his arrival. 

Some of his little "fans" peaking around the corner to see if they can see him yet. 


Oldest -----> Youngest. Shortest ------- > Tallest. 
But, I've accepted it. 
Throughout these past two years I've been blessed by my brother's testimony through the stories he tells, and the way he speaks.  My testimony has been strengthened so much.  I can't talk about missionary work without getting at least a little bit teary eyed. 

Last week on instagram, twitter and vine you would have seen me spamming the feed with this wonderful news. It's one of those moments I've been waiting for, for two years.  The moment he walked down the sidewalk into the Provo MTC (missionary training center) I was waiting for him to come home.  My siblings and me are pretty close. There are only three of us after all. During high school I had friends, but they weren't people that I would hang out with on the weekends.  I hung out with my family so it was hard to have my brother gone. 

I'm so grateful to have him back! It's great to have him out serving our Heavenly Father, but it's even greater to have him home.  This whole experience made me think of what it will be like to see those who went before us. It makes me all happy inside! 

Happy Monday! 

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five Awesome Ways to Use Avocados

Hi Impractical Composition readers! MacKensie from One to Nothin' here. Alyssa and I share a love of eating, so when delicious food meets healthy bods, count us in.

As a kid I thought avocados were gross. Like, guacamole-looks-like-boogers-please-get-it-off-my-plate kind of gross. I don't think it was until sophomore year of college when I tried my sister's guacamole recipe that I realized avocados might not be all bad. Of course my domestically challenged self attempted to recreate this miracle guac recipe and promptly bought severely underipe avocados and continued to cut, mash and feel perplexed as I waited for this rock-hard green stuff to transform into the creamy goodness it should've been. Clearly that batch was a failure for the books (luckily I didn't blog back then..), but I've come a long way since.

Now avocados are hands-down one of my favorite foods, and I don't even need to tell you how great they are for you, so I'll just get to the point. Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate avocados into my life.


First preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then spray a muffin tin with olive oil and layer thinly sliced turkey, a spoonful of salsa, avocado slices and top with a raw egg. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the egg is cooked to your liking. Top with a little salt, pepper and sliced green onions and enjoy!



Mash up half an avocado, dissolve one teaspoon of honey (or agave nectar to make it vegan) in 2 tablespoons of warm water, combine and apply to face. Leave for 10 minutes and wash off for smooth, moisturized skin.



Whenever I want to add some green to my plate and don't feel like doing a lot of cutting and prepping, I simply cut open an avocado, squeeze some lemon juice over and add a little bit of salt and cayenne pepper. It's the perfect combination of creamy, sour and spicy. A perfect side.



The creamy texture of avocados makes them perfect for dessert too. Combine half an avocado, 5 strawberries (washed and cut), 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or more to taste) and about a tablespoon of milk of choice (I used Lactaid milk, but almond, soy or coconut would be perfect) in a blender. Once smooth, refrigerate for a few hours or overnight depending on how thick you'd like it to be and chow down.



I found this recipe here. Combine one avocado, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender for a perfect creamy and dairy-free salad dressing.


Be sure to stop by One to Nothin' and say Hello! 

Cheers,

MacKensie


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fun Foods: Creamy Italian Chicken Crockpot


picture 6/17/13

Italian Chicken 

4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 ounce dried Italian salad dressing mix. (I used the other half of the package from the last recipe)
Just less than a cup of water. 
8 ounces of cream cheese (make sure it's soft)
1 can cream of chicken soup undiluted
1 can mushroom

and your choice of rice or pasta

1. Lightly spray Pam in the crock pot so the food doesn't stick once once it is done cooking.  Turn the crock pot on LOW. 
2. Place 4-5 boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot. 
3. Pour the Italian dressing mix and water to the crock pot, cover and cook for 3 hours. 
4.  Mix together the cream cheese and cream of chicken soup until smooth and then add the mushrooms. Mix in mushroom pieces. 
5. Pour above mixture into crock pot, over chicken.  Cook for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through. 

When you have about 20-30 minutes left you will want to start making your rice or pasta. 

Place and Serve. 

Happy Eating! 

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Monday, June 17, 2013

hello monday


 
top: tjmaxx, cardi: f21, jeans: nordstrom, flats: target, earrings: the limited

Hello Monday, thanks for stopping by; for some reason this week I don't have a problem with you. Can it be because I've gotten over your evil scheme to ruin the first day back from the weekend? Can it be because I've got something to look forward to tomorrow, like a brother coming home from his mission per-say? It most definitely is the latter. 

Hello lovely weekend where we got to sleep in, which is a rare occurrence at this house. 

Hello hot-hot sun beating down my my skin and making me stinky.  I really can't wait till October. 

Hello crochet projects that I'm finishing up, I'm oh-so-excited to give you to your new owners and I'm also excited for the 4th of July so I can hang one of you up! 

Hello Brand, thanks for being awesome today, you are really the sweetest.  Oh, and one day you will make the best daddy, I can see it in your eyes! 

Hello thrift stores for being 50% off your already low prices, I'm glad I've found your glory. 

Hello to my face on tv, is is wrong of me to gloat about this? 

Hello poster board that turns into a beautiful sign when decorated and adorned by sweet little hands. 

Hello friends, I hope you had a good weekend, and I hope you have a great week! 

TO MONDAY! 

linking up: Look What I GotCasual FridayThe Pleated PoppyRolled Up PrettyLowercase LettersWatch What I'm Wearing  Sunday StyleWeekend Shenanigans, Lisa Leonard


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

awkward and awesome



top/jeans: tjmaxx, sandals: target, earrings: the limited
Awkward
- Took the 3 kiddos to the mall on Monday, got some dirty looks and people were obviously thinking I was the one who started the so they started calling me mom. 
- When you are following the car in front of you because they are going in the same direction you are going.  It gets so awkward and looks like I'm following them that I start to slow down and they start to speed up. 
- So I love my purse that I can sling across my body and not have to carry it on just one shoulder.  But this weekend I was at the mall and I looked in the mirror and noticed a rather awkward satchel boob.  You know, the kind where you purse strap goes in between that part, and it was just plain awkward. Now when I wear the purse I hold the strap so it doesn't interfere with my business. 
- Sunburns, and you would think that I learned my lesson already. 

Awesome
- Stevia and strawberries, the only problem is not knowing how much stevia you can put on the strawberries till it's no longer healthy. 
- The feel of a brand new, never opened book. The pages turn so easily and the smell puts a spell on me. 
- Learning that my great great grandpa was a Chippewa Indian, that makes me 1/16th Chippewa. Although you would never know it when you look at me, well except for my hair. 
- After sunburn tans, usually only happens on my arms, and in these pictures my arms look super tan for this white girl. 
- Wedged tennis shoes. Seriously, a 1 and a half inch wedge on those babies. 

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Link up your awesome and awkward post here: 


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Club {The Message, Book Review}


Over the past week and a half I've been reading a book called "The Message" by Lance Richardson. 

"The Message" is about a man, Lance, who has struggled with health disparities throughout his life, and goes into a coma on Christmas Day.  While in the coma Lance visits the Spirit World and gives his account of the things that he sees, the whiteness, the happy people, the friendly faces.  He writes of the old friends that visit with him, his grandpa and a few other people that he knew before he came to earth.  Lance describes the feelings that he feels in the Spirit World and compares them to that of earthly life.  Lance experiences things he never could have dreamed of, he learns of the important of service and of being with family.  He learns that his purpose in life has not yet been accomplished and so he must return to earth and accomplish the things that have been set forth for him.  

This story is a very touching story and there are definitely moments where I could feel the way Lance was feeling.  
"The Message" was a good book, I would give it 3.5 out of 5. A few of the reasons why I don't give it a four is because it wasn't insanely griping, there were parts that I glanced over becuase I didn't feel that they were necessary.  And lastly there were a few smelling errors and word mistakes, completely understandable though and not that big of a deal. 


Since my copy of Carry on, Warrior has not come in yet, I will be reading "The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares.  
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I love how




'Life isn't as good without pets.' -AHS
jeans: f21, shoes: target, watch: fossil

I love how weekends around here start at 4:40 pm on Friday on the dot and not a minute later. 
I love how weekends around her consist of dogs and more dogs, have I told you I love volunteering?
I love how this weekend I was "protected" by my very sweet friend Frankie, he didn't want anyone to "hurt" me, not even Brand. 
I love how so many people showed up this weekend to show love and support for homeless animals. 

I love how sweet and innocent the animals at the shelter are, 

I love how a week from today my brother comes home from his mission. 
I love how I finally get to see him for the first time in 2 years. 
I love how he gets to see his puppy, I mean have you seen those videos of dogs and their humans coming home? HaHa, thier humans...

I love how I've had Mac & Cheese at least four times in the past two weeks. 
I love how trips to the local library have become second nature.  
I love how the kiddos are burning thorugh their books, by that I mean they are such fast readers. 
I love how they love reading.

I love how summer seems to be the best season, please let it never end. 


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Monday, June 10, 2013

friends and their amazing testimonies.


  

 t-shirt: target, jeans: nordstrom, shoes: nordstrom, watch: fossil, necklace: gifted
Have you ever wondered how some people are just so positive?
How they go throughout their lives always thinking good of other people. 
Always thinking positively of their current situation even thought they might have just experienced the worst day of their life?
They are always grateful for everything; they see everything as an amazing gift from Heavenly Father. 

I have a dear friend who is such a great example to me. I met her at my very first j-o-b and she was one of the nicest girls 
(nice girls were hard to come by at the age of 18).  
We started talking, you know about things 18 year olds talk about, and then we found out that we were in the same ward at church.  
From there the rest is history.  
We took a class together in college, we got married around the same time, and we went to ASU together.  

It always seemed that whenever I was having a bad day she had the most positive up lifting facebook status. 
Mind you, she didn't post every day on facebook, my guess it was just when she felt like she needed to.  
And I am grateful for that because it strengthened me and made me think of the bigger picture.  
It made me remember all the good things that I do have and that the trials that I've gone through are only for a moment and they are to strengthen me.  

To this day I think about my dear friend who continues to post these amazing uplifting statuses. 
I think about her life and I think about how close to our Heavenly Father she is, I think about all the positive things that she has brought to other people just through facebook alone. 

And then I think about how much I want to be like her. 
To be able to hear and feel that burning in my heart to know what to say and when to say it.

I bet she doesn't know it, well maybe she does, but she has touched my life so many times I can't count them. 
I'm so grateful to her, for her testimony and the love that she shows for those around her. 


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

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