Tuesday, August 19, 2014

vacations are the best.

Oh hey there! I spent the past week cruising Alaska with my mom and grandparents, and it was absolutely fabulous in every way possible. Plus, I love crossing off items on my bucket list. :)

1,500 pictures taken.
20 ice cream cones.
7 days on a cruise ship.
5 days spent enjoying the spa.
4 cities explored.
3 books read.
2 whale and dolphin sightings.
1 bald eagle sighting.

Can't wait to share some photos!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

the freezer meal world.

I know this is probably one of the more unappealing pictures of mine to grace this blog, but don't click away just yet! It's just beans. :)

Recently, I discovered the beauty and joy of throwing everything and anything in my freezer. Casseroles, enchiladas, pizza dough, cookies, refried beans, cut up fruit, herbs that I grew myself (!!), and even a dish towel made its way in there for a few days. I'm ecstatic to have meals mostly ready to go at the snap of my fingers, because heaven knows I'm never too thrilled about making dinner after I get home from work and/or school.

Trust me, you'll want in on these treasures.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Homemade Pizza Crust
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Black Bean and Cheese Flautas

*Thaw all of the above (minus the cookies) in the fridge for 6-8 hours before cooking. Set the cookies on your kitchen counter to thaw for 2 hours.

I'm new to this freezer meal world, so feel free to share your favorite recipe with me!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Need some fun and exciting date ideas?

Since it's Friday and you might be wondering what you should do for date night this weekend, here are a few of my favorite ideas that you might want to try out! Keep in mind that sometimes things don't go exactly according to plan, so go with the flow and find something that you and your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend would both enjoy. :) I came up with these lists with married couples in mind, but they're easily adaptable for whatever stage your relationship is in. Don't forget to let me know in the comments what some of your favorite free (or cheap!) date night ideas are.

P.S. Tonight we're heading to a free movie in the park put on by the city and will also be stopping by our favorite custard place. It'll be fun, something new, and under $3. Score!
  • Go to your local library or Barnes & Noble, find an interesting book to read, and plop down in a comfy chair.
  • See if your community puts on free outdoor movies or plays in the park, and hit up one of those!
  • Pick a movie to watch at home and make a themed dinner and/or dessert to go along with it. For example: Watch Napoleon Dynamite, serve tater tots and some "dang quesadillas," and have a dance party. Don't forget your chapstick!
  • Go for a hike.
  • Find a new bike trail and go for a ride.
  • Take your laptop to the park and watch a movie. 
  • Create a photo scavenger hunt list and find those items/people together. 
  • Decorate your home for the next upcoming holiday.
  • Go to "Italy." Eat a home-cooked Italian meal, find an Italian Pandora station, and paint like Michelangelo (tape paper to the underside of your kitchen table, but don't forget to wear shirts that you don't mind getting paint on!).
  • Go sledding. 
  • Play board games.
  • Build a fort. 
  • Put on a movie but mute it and speed up the time just a little. Together, you create the dialogue for what the characters are saying. You'll be rolling on the floor in tears in no time! 
  • Play dress-up at your local thrift store. Put together funny outfits for each other.
  • Create a little fire outside and make s'mores.
  • Ask each other these questions while stargazing.
  • Find a pond and feed the ducks.
  • Check out the local farmer's market and sample different foods.
  • Hit up a fair or festival going on in your area.
  • Volunteer together at a community event.
  • "Camp" in your backyard for a few hours. Pull out camp chairs, tell ghost stories, make s'mores, enjoy the stars, then pack it all up when you're done.
  • Download a stargazing app and see how many constellations you can find.
  • Find out if your community hosts any free 5k runs and do that together.
  • Have a YouTube night - take turns sharing your favorite funny clips with each other.
  • Look at the pictures on each others' phones and tell the stories behind the photos (or reminisce if you were both there).
  • Walk around a free art museum or gallery.
  • Go fishing.
  • Look up free tourist attractions in your city and tour one you've never been to before.
  • Do a puzzle, but don't forget some snacks!
  • Learn how to say phrases in another language.
  • If you have a GPS, go geocaching.
  • Go to the gym together or play on a playground.
  • Check out ancestry.com and read up on each others' extended family.
  • Stop at garage sales or estate sales, just to see what interesting things you can find. 
  • Read a book out loud together.
  • Split a meal (take-out) and watch a movie at home.
  • Go to a dollar movie and share some popcorn.
  • Grab a $5 footlong sandwich from Subway and go for a picnic in the park. Don't forget a baseball and mitts!
  • Buy a small bouquet of flowers from your local grocery store and pass out flowers to people on the street who need a pick-me-up.
  • Buy a strange ingredient from the store and come up with a recipe using that item.
  • Make cookies together and deliver them to friends. (Doorbell ditch them, obviously!)
  • Find some postcards of your city and send them to friends or family.
  • Walk along Main Street in your town and grab a small treat from a shop you've never been to before.
  • Have a little fondue party with just the two of you.
  • Go swimming at a community pool.
  • Go ice skating or classic skating.
  • Check out a local high school's play.
  • Mini golf.
  • Rent a paddleboat or a canoe and take it for a spin around a lake or pond.
  • Buy a small (cheap!) piece of furniture off of Craigslist and fix it up together. (For example: a rocking chair, a nightstand, a small table, a bench, etc.)
  • Find a local restaurant that has live music on certain nights and get a meal or treat to share.
  • Go to a planetarium (find out if they have discounted nights/hours).
  • Pick your own fruit at an orchard.
  • Buy a disposable camera and snap pictures of the two of you (yes, selfies) in random places. Get the pictures developed and put the photos up around your home.
  • Plant some flowers in your yard. If you're renting, plant them in planters for your porch or inside.
  • Go to the pet store and pick out a fish together. 

  • Go to a comedy club show.
  • Go bowling.
  • Check out the zoo if you have one nearby.
  • Try indoor rock climbing.
  • Have a progressive fast food dinner. Fries at one place, burgers at the second, a shake at the last (or whatever kind of fast food you want!). 
  • Take a community class together (cooking, art, dancing, etc.)
  • Go camping.
  • Go to the shooting range or take a class.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

things I'm dreaming of {july}:

these easy to make S'mores bars.
this WWII story.
a camera lense hood.
this sweatshirt for working out.
a skirt perfect for church and work.
this cute doormat.
a desperately needed hair product.
the coolest lounge t-shirt ever made.
this treat perfect for sharing with friends.

image via

Friday, July 25, 2014

catching the fever.

I've never been much of a football or basketball fan. However, soccer and baseball? That's a whole different field. (Get it? Field, haha.) And by "whole different field," I mean that I don't get as bored watching them as I do football and basketball.

St. Louis is a huge, huge baseball town. There are Cardinals flags and signs plastered around the city and surrounding areas, and it's impossible to go to any store without seeing Cardinals merchandise near the checkout. At work, people wear their Cardinals shirts/sweatshirts/socks/ties/hats/earrings/anything red on game days and I can guarantee that if you have a two minute conversation with a stranger in the elevator, the Cardinals will somehow pop up. It's impossible to avoid the fever. Already, Ben has become quite the Cardinals fanatic; he diligently watches all of the games, has attended quite a few already this season, and he even has a shirt. ;)

This week they had a "Mormon Night at the Cardinals" - meaning we got really cheap tickets and sat by 200 missionaries who were having the time of their lives. Ben and I split a cherry snowcone (red, of course), kicked up our feet, and enjoyed a night under the stars with friends watching some baseball.

Go Cards!