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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

To The Mother I Thought I'd Be

motherhood challenges and reality

To The Mom I Thought I Would Be,

 You might be feeling like a little bit of a failure right now. Things aren't exactly as you had planned on. In fact, some things are far from where you had imagined. But I want you to know that from all the planning and imagining you did, you could never ever have dreamed up just how amazing your life would be right now. It might not be going "according to plan," but that doesn't make you a failure. It makes you real, raw, and blessed.

You had planned on having a beautifully organized home. A place for everything and everything in it's place. You imagined toys organized by type and size. You envisioned clean floors, shiny windows, and empty countertops. Instead, you have toys strewn about on the floor as you build an elaborate, imaginative play area. The windows have little fingerprints from playing with window clings with your little one. Those countertops are only cleared off about once a week when you finally get around to it. But you were busy. You were having a tea party and playing dress up. You were reading books and coloring masterpieces. You had better things to do. The house isn't a total disaster. Well... At least it's not a total disaster all that often. But it isn't perfectly ordered. It's lived in. Played in. Laughed in. And it's amazing.

You had planned on having a child who would be perfectly behaved in church. One who would sit quietly and listen to the sermons. One who would quietly admire pictures of The Savior and fold her arms for the prayers. Instead, you have a wiggly toddler. One who gets through the first prayer and song okay but gets antsy after. One who you walk the halls with to keep her happy.  And just when you're on the brink of tears because you don't know what to do and haven't heard a sermon in a few weeks because you've been wrestling the little one and you fear you haven't taught her anything at all, she will excitedly point to a painting on the wall. "Jesus! Jesus!" She will say. She'll blow Him kisses. And you'll know. You'll know that you've taught her something. She knows, recognizes, and loves Jesus. You helped with that. So she doesn't sit for an hour nicely... She knows God, even if it wasn't in the way you had imagined.

You had planned on organizing activities that your little one would be engrossed in for hours. But you have a beautiful, opinionated little one who sometimes rejects the activity that you spent so much time preparing. But if you aren't careful, you'll miss the thing she does want to do. In your frustration, don't miss the book she's pushing towards you. You have probably already read it 5 times that day. Read it again. Embrace her love for learning and her desire to make her own choices. She wants to go to the park? Go. It's just around the corner and it will bring her so much joy. It's okay that life isn't as scheduled and planned as you imagined. It's raw and real. And that's a beautiful thing.

You thought you wouldn't let your little one watch any television until she was three years old. You stayed pretty strong until she was about 14 months. Every now and again it just makes life a little easier. She sometimes needs a break from the constant activities and play. And sometimes you do too. And that's okay. Snuggle up together and watch your 15 minute show. It's alright. Even if other people tell you it's not, you need to do what works for you. Even if the show sort of drives you crazy, she loves it. Enjoy that she's snuggling in to you and snuggle right back.

You thought you would always know what to do. You thought you would always make the right decision. But you don't and you won't. And it's okay. Allow yourself to be real. It's okay to admit when you don't know what you're doing. But give yourself a little credit. This is new to you. You've never been a mom before. As much as people will tell you about a mom sense, it doesn't work all the time. "You'll just know," is something I heard all the time. But you won't always know. You'll need help. You'll need advice. You'll need to take things to your Heavenly Father in prayer and pour your soul out. Tell Him when it's good. Tell Him when it's hard. Find the answers you're seeking and then just dive in and give it your best. You'll mess up a time or two, but you'll learn from it. Life won't be perfect, but it will be oh so good.

You are so very blessed. Don't plan and prepare your life away. Enjoy every moment. Drink in the disorganized beauty. Accept things as they are while working to be the best you can. Don't get caught up in what isn't going according to plan. Don't worry when things don't look absolutely perfect. They won't, and they probably shouldn't. That's the only what you'll learn. It will help you to grow.

So, to the mother I thought I would be... It's okay. You aren't. But you're doing an alright job. And when your little girl comes running to you, smile wide, and throws her arms around your neck, you'll realize that she thinks so to.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Free Printables-- October 2016 General Conference

I absolutely adored General Conference. I felt uplifted and like I received a greater determination to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I felt like there were messages directly for me. I loved learning the things that our leaders prepared for us through the Spirit and I really felt like the messages came from God. I have been enjoying reviewing the messages and am touched by the things I've learned. I hope you're enjoying them too. I've been making some printables to help me remember some of the lessons I've learned and I wanted to share them with you. For last year's printables, go HERE. For General Conference Preparation Printables go HERE.

Get Printable Version HERE
 Get Printable Version HERE.

 Get Printable Version HERE.
Get Printable Version HERE.

These really inspire me to put my faith in Christ and know that through Him, all things are possible. I can do anything He asks of me. I can expand my vision beyond what I thought possible. I can be a true disciple. 

What was your favorite message from conference? I have a few more printables in the works that I will be sharing soon. Anything you'd like to see?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

DIY Fall Pumpkin

I have the easiest, quickest DIY for you all today. Seriously, I don't think it could get any easier. I wanted a simple Fall pumpkin and I didn't want to buy anything to make it, so I came up with something that used only things that I had on hand. So for me, this DIY was totally free. But even if you didn't have any of the supplies, it wouldn't cost you much at all.

fast and simple DIY craft

All you need is:
1 Plastic Pumpkin
Spray Paint (I chose Ivory)
Fall Leaves, Flowers, etc.

Now for the steps. Seriously, you guys. So easy.

Spray paint your pumpkin. Let dry. Paint another coat and let dry.
With the face to the back (though painted over, the shapes are still visible), arrange foliage.
And you're done!

DIY Fall Pumpkin Craft

Including dry time, I was done with this "project" in 20 min! Now if only my rental didn't have such stark white walls... But nonetheless, I am pretty happy with how this little pumpkin turned out!

What is your favorite fall decoration?

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