Saturday, January 26, 2013

Greeting the Pearly Gates

Image from Google

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long perfectly manicured fingernails.

 I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and tears of a friend on my shoulder.

I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."

~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I share the sentiments of this remarkable woman. I want my life to contain more substance than things the world provides...

The world provides objects and things that are fleeting, things that end, things that are broken and lost. And those things are the ones that really don't matter.

The things that do matter are the ones that have eternal consequences--service, love, charity, motherhood, compassion, sacrifice, family. These things are not broken or lost. They never end.

And they are the things that I want to carry with me when I greet those pearly gates.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Symbolgram

For one of my classes, my first assignment was to create a "symbolgram."
What in the world is a symbolgram? I thought.
Basically my symbolgram was whatever I wanted it to be.
Just something to symbolize who I am.

Being one who loves a "traditional" approach to creativity,
I made a poster--one filled with pictures and words that make me who I am.
To accompany it, I wrote a brief, one-page paper about what
makes the pictures and words significant to me.

What a cutie! He held my poster up so I could take a picture of it. :) Thanks Joshua. You're the best!

  •  I am from Olathe, KS. No, I do not own red, glittery shoes or have a dog named Toto.
  •  I married my husband, Joshua, in August 2011 in the Mesa, AZ temple.
  •  Joshua and I have a 6-month baby girl named Kaiya. She is the sweetest, cutest baby in the world!
  •  I love babies! I love how innocent and pure they are and how curious they are about the world around them. They should be showered with kisses!
  • I love dancing and danced throughout high school and danced on BYU’s Folk Dance team (that’s where I met Joshua).
  • To continue my love of dance, I play Zumba Fitness on the Wii.
  •  I am an avid user of Pinterest, but I always make sure to set a time limit so I don’t spend hours on it! I love pinning recipes and craft ideas and then trying them myself.
  • I love fruit! All sorts of fruit—I’m not too picky. I often carry an apple in my backpack.
  •  Cooking and baking are hobbies that I have developed since being married. I never really cooked before then, but now I love it and love finding new, easy, yummy recipes.
  • Photography is another hobby of mine that I hope to really develop throughout my life. I enjoy the ability to capture precious moments and be able to look back on them over and over again.
  •  Brownies and ice cream (together) are a huge weakness of mine. Oh, so delicious!
  • Dark chocolate, especially Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate Mint Squares, are another weakness. They are SO good. Sometimes, when I’m lucky, my husband comes home with a bag of these for me.
  • I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. I know He is my Savior and I appreciate the Atonement and His love for me. This is one of my favorite pictures of Christ because I imagine each one of us as a lost sheep who He finds, holds, and comforts. He provides a safe haven in a scary world.
  • I also have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I am grateful for the spirit I feel when I read it.
All of these things represent a part of who I am. Working on this project was actually very rejuvenating.
It helped me kind of meditate on what makes me, me
 It helped me realize that I do have passions, dreams, goals, and talents that I am developing.
Throughout my life, my symbolgram will change. 
I'll never be the same person that I am now in years or even months from now. 
And that's the beauty of growing up and learning and becoming someone and something more refined.
Hopefully, becoming the kind of person God wants me to be. 

Well, there's a little piece of me! What would you put on your symbolgram?
Hope you had a wonderful day today. 
And for you Provo friends of mine, I hope you stayed safe from the deathly ice rinks today!


Monday, January 21, 2013

A day to serve

First of all, Happy Martin Luther King Day!
 Joshua and I celebrated the life of MLK by doing service for Community Outreach Day.
We headed up to BYU campus around 8:30 this morning excited and ready to do some service,
even though it was freeeezing outside!
We decided to help out the group making educational materials for children in India and Africa.
When we got to (what we thought was) the place for the project,
we realized we had gone to the wrong station!

So, instead of making educational materials for underprivileged youth in India and Africa,
we made journals for youth in juvenile detention centers!
Even though it wasn't the project we originally signed up for, we really enjoyed it.
And we loved bringing Kaiya along with us to expose her to service early on (even though she fell asleep by the end!).
I really hope that Joshua and I can teach our children to love service
and to love others as Christ would.

In other news...
I have been working on a Valentine's Day project for a few days now and finally finished it!
 Well, almost...
I just have one finishing touch to work on.
Here's my lovely project (Tutorial here)! Thanks Pinterest... :)

All the supplies for the project. 
Partway done...and surprisingly, it took a lot of work to get this far!

The finished product! I just need to spray paint the candlestick holder white!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Well, hello 3-day weekend!

I am so excited for this 3-day weekend! It almost feels like a 4-day weekend to me because I don't have class on Fridays, just work. So, this weekend is pretty amazing and relaxing.

Joshua and I have just had a blast today spending time together. We spent the morning having a yummy pancake and french toast breakfast with some of our single friends. Needless to say, Kaiya was a miniature-sized celebrity among all the single people there! They just loved her.
 And I mean, what's not to love? :)

I've also been working on a Valentine's project today that I will write about tomorrow!
I'm pretty excited about it. It's the first really crafty thing I think I've ever done!
And hopefully it turns out...we'll see!

Dinner tonight was super yummy so I'm going to share the recipe here! Joshua and I love the Cafe Rio chicken recipe. We made it earlier this week for burritos and used the leftovers for these quesadillas.

Cafe Rio Chicken Quesadillas


  • whole wheat tortillas
  • mozzarella cheese
  • Cafe Rio chicken (from this recipe)
  • black beans
  • cilantro (optional, for taste and garnish)


1. Heat medium-sized skillet on medium heat.
2. Place one whole wheat tortilla on skillet and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, shredded Cafe Rio chicken, and black beans.
3. Top with another tortilla.
4. Flip quesadilla over after the bottom has turned golden brown. Let the other side turn golden brown.
5. Remove from skillet. Top with cilantro if desired and serve with salsa, sour cream, Ranch dressing...whatever you like to eat with your quesadillas! Enjoy!

Try these! You won't regret it. ;) And have a great weekend!


Friday, January 18, 2013

A New Look!

Hello friends!

If you've read my blog before, you will notice that it looks much different now!
It seemed a little bland and boring before so I changed the background,
added some color, changed some fonts, and voila!

A new blog!

Let me know what you think? Anything I could change, add, etc. to make it more interesting?
Thanks for your input!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Heart Full of Gratitude

Sometimes life can be pretty challenging, y'know?
 Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed...

 being a mom
 a student
a wife

...and I feel I will never be able to get everything done that I need or want to get done.
There are just never enough minutes in the day.

Despite the challenges that life brings me, I know that someone is looking out for me.
I know that God is looking out for me.

He knows me.
He knows my name.
He knows my heartaches,
My stresses,
My desires.

I'm pretty sure He knows me better than I know myself.
I know this because He continues to place people into my life who help make my burdens lighter.
Right now, those people are my friends who sacrifice their time and energy to take care of Kaiya while Joshua and I work and go to school.
I cannot thank them enough for their willingness to help.
I truly feel blessed to have these people in my life.

Plus, who wouldn't want to play with this cutie patootie?!

And there are so many more people who make my life
sweeter and more meaningful than I could ever hope for.

Who are you especially grateful for in your life right now?


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where have you been?!...

This is probably what you have been wondering for the last month, right? Probably thought my family had disappeared mysteriously or that I had given up on way! We are alive and well.

We just happened to get super busy with finals in December and then traveling to AZ for Christmas and New Years. Speaking of Christmas, we had an amazing Christmas with Joshua's family. Seriously,  we have been so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I love my in-laws as if they were the family I was born and raised in, and they have been so loving and have treated me like their own daughter from day 1.

Christmas was very special this year. This year, all of Joshua's siblings were together for Christmas for the first time in several years (Joshua served a 2-year mission for our Church, and then his brother, Jake served a 2-year mission as well). It was also Kaiya's first Christmas! I can't believe I was pregnant with her last Christmas, just dreaming about what it would be like to have her in my life. Having her here this Christmas was so special--even though she had no idea what was going on or how spoiled she was (Grandma and Grandpa McG got her this exersaucer that she adores)! Christmas was really just a special day, and it was so fun to see the excitement everyone had with the "toys" they received.

Joshua got Legos for Christmas! Such a kid at heart.

Kaiya and mommy on Christmas Day 2012

For New Years we didn't do too much. On New Year's Eve, Joshua, Haley (Joshua's sister), and I had a dance party with Zumba and Just Dance 4 on the Wii (we danced for 2 hours...or at least I did!). Joshua and I then enjoyed a nice glass of Welch's sparkling grape juice as we watched the ball drop in New York and made a toast to a new and happy year. It was a very simple celebration, but it definitely gave Joshua and I something to look forward to: a new year full of unexpected twists, excitements, and goals to improve ourselves.

With a New Year comes New Year's Resolutions. Joshua and I have several resolutions in what we believe are important areas of life: financial, educational, physical, spiritual, social, and mental/emotional. We were so excited to sit down and write these together! Okay, so maybe I was a little bit more excited than Joshua...but we still had fun!

Here are some of our goals!
  • Financial: 
  1. 10% to tithing, 20% to savings, and 70% to budget (thanks to Shawni Pothier of 71 Toes for the idea!)
  2. check our budget on Sundays
  3. save and organize receipts
  4. budget for organization supplies (our apartment is slightly unorganized--and that might be an understatement)
  • Educational:
  1. Check grades weekly as a couple
  2. Write down homework assignments on a calendar at beginning of week so we keep track of what is due and when
  3. Look at grad school requirements for Joshua and start working to fulfill them
  • Physical
  1. Exercise daily
  2. Increase veggie intake (it's harder to do than I thought!)
  3. Sweets in moderation (also difficult...)
  4. Increase water intake
  5. I'm working for a 6-pack (should probably start working on that!)
  • Spiritual
  1. Attend temple every other Saturday
  2. Nightly family prayer
  3. Personal and couple scripture study and prayer
  •  Social
  1. Girls' night once a month
  2. Call parents more often
  • Mental
  1. Learni to sew (Mikaila)
  2. Learn guitar (Joshua)
  3. Stay positive--avoid complaining
  4. Write in journal/blog often
  5. Read The Hobbit as a couple
So far we've been pretty good at the financial, educational, and spiritual goals, but the other areas could use some work! 

What are some resolutions you made this year? 

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