Monday, December 12, 2016

Focus on Tradition

I have loved joining Justine for her #SimplifyingTheSeason campaign. Today,  I am guest posting on her blog about focusing on traditions. Head on over to Little Dove Blog to see my thoughts.

And if you will be joining me for The 12 Days of Christ, I will be starting tomorrow. You can print your study guide HERE. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

The 12 Days of Christ Guided Study

This post is the reason that things have been a little more quiet around this dear blog of mine. All of my blogging time in the last few weeks has been spent on this little project. I'm not even sure if it was meant for anyone else or if it was meant just for me, but either way, I am so grateful for it!

I felt like I needed to create a guided study for the 12 Days of Christmas this year that focuses on the titles/roles of Jesus Christ. Every day focuses on one of His titles/roles and includes scriptures, quotes, thoughts, and invitations. My hope is that in the 12 days leading up to Christmas that we will be able to really come to know our Savior as we prepare to celebrate His birth.

Each day will likely take around 30 minutes to complete. Of course, you can spend more or less time as you see fit. As you all know, I am working to simplify the Christmas season this year, but this is one area of my life that I don't skimp on. No matter what, I make sure to get my daily devotional/scripture study in.

Here is a sample of one of the days:
For some reason the JPEG looks blurry, but it prints just fine. 

The idea is to begin on December 13th and finish on December 24th. I know that there are different ideas of when the 12 Days of Christmas begin and end, but I like the idea of studying the Savior leading up to Christmas Day.

If you will be joining me in the study, I will be posting links to articles/videos that go along with each day's topic over on my Facebook page. You can follow along HERE. There is plenty of information in the booklet itself that you can google the articles and videos yourself and find them pretty easily. But if you are looking for direct links, just make sure you are following us on Facebook.

Now, if you want this to come out in booklet version, you will need to make sure that you follow these steps exactly. I designed this to be a little booklet, so this will be the best option for you. If you don't want to deal with that, skip down a little and you can just download the individual pages.

Directions to make your booklet (see images below):

1. Download the free PDF Document
2. Print 2 SIDED making sure to select FLIP ON THE SHORT SIDE (the correct pages won't line up if you don't select this).
3. Fold the stack of pages in half... If you don't fold them, the pages don't line up correctly.

If you follow those directions exactly, you will get a booklet that is matched up with the correct pages! (I promise, it's not hard)

Download the Booklet PDF HERE.

Now, if you can't get the Booklet idea, you can just download the pages in order HERE.

Let me know if you will be joining me! I would love to hear how everything is going for you as you study!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

25 Christmas Date Ideas

December is such a wonderful month! It is also such a busy month! In my efforts to simplify the season, there have been a number of things that I've had to let go. And it has been liberating. That being said, there are a few things that I will never let go of. One of those is Date Night. You all know by now that I am obsessed with date night. So if you're trying to find some good Christmasy Dates, look no further... I have you covered!

Christmas Date Ideas

1. Snuggle up by the fire and watch a good Christmas movie

2. Go Ice Skating

3. Wrap Christmas Presents... not for each other, of course.

4. Bake and Decorate Sugar Cookies

5. Make a Gingerbread House

6. Build a Snowman

7. Drink Hot Chocolate by the Fire

8. Sing Christmas Carols Together... Go Caroling if You're Up For It

9. Take a Sleigh Ride

10. Write Christmas Cards Together

11. Bake a Favorite Christmas Treat

12. Roast Marshmallows

13. Read a Christmas Classic

14. Decorate the Christmas Tree

15. Make a Christmas Craft

16. Go for a Drive or Walk to Look At Christmas Lights

17. Put up Christmas Decorations

18. Serve in a Soup Kitchen

19. Write Letters To Santa and then talk about your hopes and dreams for the year ahead

20. Attend or Host a Christmas Party for a group date

21. Make or Decorate Stockings for Each Other

22. Do An Advent Calendar Together

23. Listen to Christmas Music

24. Read Luke 2 Together

25. Take Christmas Goodies to your Neighbors

I just love this time of year so much! I hope that even when things are busy and hectic that we can take time to nurture our marriages.

Speaking of that, I am SO excited to share that I started a new Facebook Group focused on Marriage and sharing ideas to make marriage a priority. It's called My Wife Tribe and I am loving the community that is growing in the group! It is so refreshing to have a group of women who are commited to their spouses and can share ideas, ask honest questions, and help each other out with NO husband bashing! I hope you'll come check it out. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Simplifying the Season

Okay everyone, who else is beyond excited that Christmas is officially in sight? I have been looking forward to this Christmas for a long time. I am so excited that baby girl is old enough to understand more fully everything that is going on around her and get all caught up in the magic and spirit of it all. Last year was pretty amazing, and she was only 9 months old!

Now, some of you might be groaning while reading this. There is still so much to do. Plans to be made. Traditions to uphold. Food to make. Parties for hosting. Marshmallows for toasting. Caroling out in the snow. Day-to-day life to manage on top of it all. Whoo! I can get tired just thinking of everything that can get slightly out of hand at this time of year. 

That's why I'm really excited to tell you all about an amazing series that my blogger friend Justine is putting together: #SimplifyingTheSeason


When Justine contacted me about joining her series all about simplifying the  the Christmas season, I was quick to jump on board! I love all of the great ideas that Justine has planned to share with you, and I'm really excited about some of my own ideas that I will be sharing soon.

For today, to kick off #SimplifyingTheSeason I want to share with you the threshold I have for deciding if a certain activity, event, etc will fit into my Christmas season. I will ask myself 3 questions, and if I can't say a super firm "yes!" to at least two of them, it will have no place in my Christmas this year.

1. Does it bring me closer to Jesus?
2. Does it bring me closer to my family?
3. Does it bring me joy?

Get Printable Version HERE
I know that asking myself these three questions will really help me focus, as Justine is advocating, on my Savior, my family, and traditions. The series will run from today (November 21st) through December 26th so please join us as we share ideas on how to simplify the season. I really do believe that it is through simplifying the season that the season will feel most full. 

Head on over to Justine's blog to read more about this great series and to follow along with everything she has planned! You might even catch a guest post from yours truly! 

this season I will focus on what matters most. Simplify Christmas.

What are you doing this year to Simplify the Season?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Halloween 2016

I am really late to the game posting about our Halloween, but I just had to document how truly wonderful it was.

Baby girl had two costumes; one to go with our Monster's Inc family costume and one for trick-or-treating on Halloween night. She was really into the whole thing and walked around saying "trick-or-treat" for days. It was basically the most adorable thing you've ever seen.

Snow White Toddler Costume

Boo Monsters Inc Costume

We had so much fun dressing up with Kymri and enjoying the festivities.
What did you do for Halloween?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Drawing a Blank Review and GIVEAWAY!

(I received product in return for this review. All opinions are my own).

I absolutely love having talented friends! In the artsy department, my skills are less than stellar, so I always appreciate being able to turn to amazing friends for those needs. Is anyone else just absolutely in awe of lettering? I tried to letter one time and it was a pretty epic fail. But I love the look of really well done lettering, so when my friend Kelcie opened her digital print shop, I knew I just had to have one of her custom prints!

Isn't that just gorgeous? I love the simple wreath border that allows the name to really pop. I love the lettering. And I really love the clean, white look. Kelcie took my ideas and made them into a stunning piece of art. She really captured exactly what I was hoping for.

I was so happy to finally have something to go in my square frame! Brad bought me the frame ages ago and I just never found the right print for it. I absolutely love this one in the square frame. I think it makes it look crisp. I love the simple, beautiful design.

Can we also talk about the fact that we've been married for more than 3 years? Where has the time gone? In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday and in others it feels like we've been together forever (and really... we have). I love that this print reminds me of our special day. I will definitely share pictures when I get it hung in our bedroom.

Aside from custom prints, Kelcie also offers a number of other prints in her Etsy Shop. I'm a personal fan of her Abide With Me print and her Arizona Water Color Sunset print. Both are stunning and beautifully designed. I love that her designs are so versatile and could be styled in a number of ways.

Make sure to follow Kelcie and watch as she keeps cranking out amazing designs!

Now that I've gotten you all super excited about Kelcie's designs, I have some great news! She and I have teamed up to offer one of our Instagram followers a FREE Custom Print! Head on over to my Instagram to enter the Giveaway! Hurry, because the giveaway is only open 11/2/16 to 11/9/16!

Monday, October 31, 2016

McKee Ranch: Fall In The Desert

I have been wanting to visit a pumpkin patch and take a hay ride for a looooong time. When we were in Utah, we had so many options for amazing fall activities. Plus, fall was all around us. The leaves changing colors, the crisp breeze, the beautiful mountains, the corn mazes. It was all pretty perfect. Now fast forward to fall in Las Vegas..... We had a few 90 degree days last week and I haven't seen a true fall leaf since last fall in Utah. It's a bit of a bummer, but I know that I'll be doing a heel click when it's time for winter and snow in Utah and I'm wearing my cardigan in the sunshine.


I still wanted to have some semblance of fall in my life. So we did some research and found a cute little ranch not too far from our house. McKee Ranch had a small hay ride, animals, a pumpkin patch, and a miniature corn maze. And it was just what the doctor ordered. Baby Girl was in heaven! She was running from thing to thing and wouldn't slow down for anything. She especially loved all of the animals. The chickens and goats were roaming free. They also had horses that you could ride or feed if you wanted. In all, it was a very fun day.

It was also the perfect location for my October 10. You see, I'm in this great Facebook group that was started by one of my High School friends (who I haven't actually seen in person in waaaay too long... let's play soon, Kylie), and it is the perfect place for pretend photographers like me to get ideas and advice from legit awesome lifestyle photographers. I love the group because it's totally mellow and totally encouraging. Members range from cell phone photographers to full blown professionals, but everyone is so kind! Every month, Kylie gives us a challenge to take and edit 10 pictures that go along with a certain theme. This month's theme was fall. So you can see that the ranch was the perfect location. I hope you'll enjoy my October 10 and that you'll come on over to check out Kylie's Facebook Group. 

This first set was at the entrance to the corn maze. Brad was playing with Kymri to get her to stand still for 2 seconds, and I love that you can totally see the love in her eyes for her daddy! I also love that you can see that she is trying to "get him."

 Climbing the hay pyramid with daddy:

Fall in the desert:
McKee Ranch Las Vegas

"Mom, seriously! Just let me go play..."

McKee Ranch Las Vegas

If you can't tell from the joy on her face, Baby Girl had an amazing time! I am so glad that we found McKee ranch so that we could have a pretend fall! And I'm loving all that Kylie is teaching me about photography... applying it is totally tricky, but it's fun to learn. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Caesars Palace

We've been trying to move through our Vegas Bucket List since our time here is really flying by. We have a number of things that we'd like to do before we leave. One of them is to see all of the free fish tanks/aquariums. So, a couple of weeks ago, we decided to take Baby Girl to see the fish tank and free show at Caesars Palace.

We arrived a little too late for one show, so we had a bit less than an hour to kill before the next show began. We are so glad that we did. Caesars Palace is absolutely beautiful and we had so much fun just walking through the gardens and around their pools. I'm not sure if they always let people walk around like that, but since it's not pool season, no on seemed to mind that we were roaming the grounds. And let me tell you, it was gorgeous!

Garden of the gods Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Garden of the gods Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

We also enjoyed seeing the Colosseum from the outside as well as the hotel towers and fountains. It was all very impressive.
Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Colosseum Caesars Palace

Fountain Caesars Palace

Then we finally made it to the Fall of Atlantis show. To be totally honest, it wasn't stellar. It was incredibly difficult to understand what the characters were saying. But the fire and lights kept baby girl totally entertained, so that's really all we can ask for. From what we gather, the show is about two siblings fighting for the thrown. The decision is put to the people who are divided. It's here that we aren't really sure what happens... it was just too hard to understand. I believe the gods intervened? Has anyone seen the show that can enlighten us?

Caesars Palace Fall of Atlantis Show

Caesars Palace Fall of Atlantis Show

Caesars Palace Fall of Atlantis Show

The fountain and fish tank were both big hits with Baby Girl and she loved pointing out all the "fishies."

Caesars Palace Fall of Atlantis Show

In all, we had a great time. It was not busy, which was great! We could take our time looking at the beautiful gardens and fountains. And as far as free, baby friendly shows go, this one wasn't terrible.

Have you been to Caesars Palace? What did you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

4 Ways to Celebrate Your Spouse: Jord Watch Review and GIVEAWAY!

This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches. All opinions are my own. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we found out on Friday that Brad passed the Arizona Bar! We are beyond excited and I am so proud of Brad.

Something I love about our relationship is that we are always very aware of each other's goals and accomplishments and we love to celebrate each other. I think that finding reasons to celebrate your spouse is so important! You can celebrate good news, accomplishing a goal, or just plain being in love. Celebrate getting a new job, finishing a big project, or even something as simple as the fact that it's fall!

We love to celebrate in lots of different ways. Today, I wanted to share 4 of our favorites with you.

1. Go to dinner, just the two of you.
You guys. We actually hired a babysitter on Saturday night! We went out just the two of us to a fancy dinner and it was absolutely perfect. For three full hours we talked about things other than diaper changes and nap schedules! We reconnected and celebrated that life is oh so good.

2. Write each other little notes for the simple things.
Brad is especially good at this one. I am always so touched by the way he leaves me little notes letting me know that he is thinking of me. He is aware of my goals and he knows when I meet them. He tells me how great I am. He tells me that he is proud to be my husband. He celebrates all of the little things.

3. Do something extra special.
Take time to do something extra special that you wouldn't do every day. I went and got a special kind of ice cream that I wouldn't usually buy to celebrate Brad's accomplishment. I made his favorite meal. I got some punny Bar related gifts. Basically, just make a big deal out of little things.

4. Find the perfect gift.
I knew that passing the bar would be a So I wanted to make sure to get Brad the absolute perfect gift. When Jord Watches contacted me, I knew that I had found what I was looking for. Brad has wanted a wood watch for a long time now and these watches are seriously the best I have seen. I had so much fun picking out Brad's watch and waiting for it to arrive. For some reason, it was even more fun to select a men's watch than I though it would be!

Men's wooden watch.

I especially loved that Jord sends the watch ready to wear. We sent Brad's measurements in, and they fit the watch perfectly to him. If you're gifting this like I was, it's a little tricky to get a measurement without giving away what you're doing... just go with a "trust me. I just need your wrist size." haha. I promise that even if they hubby knows that a watch is on the way, he will still be blown away with just how amazing the watch actually is. We're talking beyond gorgeous.

Jord Wood Watch

The wood is all natural and hand finished which I loved. All of the men's watches are gorgeous, so I had a hard time choosing, but we eventually went with the Zebra Wood and White Carbon watch. It's really a cool watch! The wood is absolutely beautiful and classy. I thought it was a perfect gift for my new attorney!

Jord Wood Watch

Jord doesn't skip out on any details either. The packaging is gorgeous and it makes the gift feel even more special.

Wood watch packaging

For you men looking for something special for your lady this fall, Jord also offers an amazing line of women's watches here.

In all, I love that Brad has such a unique watch and that I was able to give him something truly special for such an amazing accomplishment.

Jord Wood Watch

I also have some great news for you all! Jord is offering readers a chance to win a $75 gift card to their store! And, just for entering, you automatically receive a $20 off code! You can enter here:
Giveaway ends 11/20/16, so enter soon! Codes expire 2/28/17.

A major thank you to Jord Watches for helping me pick the perfect gift for my attorney husband!

Wooden Wristwatch

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