Bridal Veil Falls | An Easy "Hike" for the Kids

I was going to jump right in and say, "Happy Hump Day," but then I realized that it is, in fact, Thursday, and not Wednesday, and I didn't know if I should feel happy that the week is closer to being over, or sad that I didn't get to use my planned greeting.

Anyway. Let's just move on. Like I mentioned last week, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to get out and enjoy the great outdoors here in Utah. I've made it a goal to find as many easy hikes as possible so that I can wear the kids out early in the day so that they are ready for naps by about 2:00. I blogged about the Grotto Falls Trail last week, and thought I'd blog about another super easy hike this week. In fact, it's so easy I don't think you could even call it a hike - more like a stroll.

Bridal Veil Falls is located in Provo Canyon. The trail that I'll be discussing is the lower falls trail, and it is super easy for anyone and everyone - it is great for strollers, wheelchairs, crutches, runners, walkers, longboarders, skateboarders, roller bladers... you get the idea. It is a paved path that is about a half mile to the falls and back. We went up there Friday morning with a group of friends, and all the kids had so much fun throwing rocks, chasing each other, and looking at the ducks and fish.

If you're looking for a a beautiful view or just an easy way to kill an hour or so with your kids,  I highly recommend this walk!

Home Tour Part Three | Elsie's Bedroom

Happy FRIDAY!!!

Oh, man. Words can't even describe how glad I am that this week is over. Anyway, time for the weekly home tour! I'll show you our office someday, but right now it is a room full of crap. That's not even an exaggeration. It's bad. So skipping the office, we will go to Elsie's room! I've made it a goal to keep her room pretty simple. A bedroom (in my opinion) is not for toys or playing - it is for sleeping and relaxation. Besides, I enjoy the fact that she can pretty much clean her own room because there's just not a bunch of crap everywhere.

At some point I would like to have an accent wall in here, but haven't found any vinyl decals that I'm in love with (sooo much easier and less permanent than paint). For now, it is a simple and clean space, and I am happy with it.

Hiking with the Littles | Grotto Falls Trail

Hi there!

One of the things I was most excited about when I found out we were moving to Utah was the hiking! I was so pumped to be able to spend more time in the great outdoors without being eaten alive by mosquitoes or dripping sweat the second I walk out the door. Well, we moved here, then it was cold, then I was huge, then I had a baby, then it was hot, and... you get the idea. The last thing I wanted to do was go walk a couple miles in the mountains while carrying the baby and keeping Elsie in line.

This week, though, it finally cooled off a bit and I felt up to the challenge (plus my friend Jessica is staying with us, so I had help). I went to a Facebook group to figure out what hikes in the area would be easy with little kids and someone mentioned the Grotto Falls Trail in the Nebo Loop near Payson. It sounded easy enough, so I made everyone pile in the car and we headed to the canyon.
The Verdict: At a total distance of 0.6 mile, the Grotto Falls trail is great for little ones, old ones, and everyone in between! It's an easy hike without any challenging terrain. If you have a bad sense of balance, you might want to wear shoes that can get wet and walk through the creek instead of over the "bridges," but other than that, anyone and everyone can enjoy this hike!

Chocolate Chip Cookies to DIE FOR!

You guys. I don't know if you know this (actually I don't know why you would  know this), but Mike makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole world. That's saying a LOT, since I'm not even a big cookie person (except Oreos, obviously).

The other night, we all spent some time together as a family making these delicious cookies. And by that, I mean Mike made the cookies while Elsie terrorized him, helping occasionally, and I documented the whole thing.
I convinced him that he needed to share his recipe with the world, so here it is.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World
1 stick butter (softened but not melted)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup of flour (anywhere from 1-1.5 cups is ideal)
1 teaspoon + pinch of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Chocolate chips, m&ms, and/or walnuts to taste

These cookies are baked at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

We like chewy cookies, so we usually pull them out a little bit under-cooked and let them finish cooking on the baking sheet on the counter. If you like crunchy cookies, don't do that. HA!

Anyway, be sure to mix the dry ingredients separately or at least distribute the salt and baking soda evenly throughout the dough. If you don't do that, you will end up with a bunch of puffy cookies and a bunch of flat, miserable cookies.

Don't soften the butter too much, or you will end up with dough that is too liquidy, and you'll want to use flour to compensate... BUT DO NOT DO THAT! If you accidentally soften your butter too much, refrigerate (or even freeze) the dough for a couple of hours to harden it a bit.

This recipe yields about 2 dozen delicious, chewy, amazing cookies. Try not to eat them all at once.

You're welcome. 

In Real Life | Real Product Reviews | LulaRoe Clothing

Happy Monday!!!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I'm back with my real product reviews, and this week I'm talking about clothing company LulaRoe. 
***UPDATE**** It's December 2016, and I feel like I have quite a bit to add to this post. Since this post, I have added 7 pairs of leggings, 4 madisons, 2 Carly dresses, a Julia dress, and a Cassie skirt to my LuLaRoe "stash." I have, for the time being, taken a "time-out" from purchasing leggings because I feel that they are having some issues with quality control. I have had three pairs of leggings get holes in them, and while the consultants were fabulous and replaced the product at no cost, I feel that $25 is far too much to spend for clothing that rips in a matter of hours. I will say, though, that I continue to love my skirts and dresses, as I have not seen any issues with them as far as quality, and they have all been worn multiple times. If you choose to invest in LuLaRoe, I cannot, at this time, in good conscience, recommend that you purchase their leggings. ********

I have three pairs of their leggings, one of their "Cassie" skirts, four "Irma" shirts, and one "Randy" tee, so I think I'm in a pretty good position to give an honest review!! I even got some input from my friend Ali, who owns everything I own plus some different skirts/dresses.

Anyway, here's a photo of some of the items I own.
Let me say one thing - I am a cheapskate. Especially when it comes to leggings. I mean, who wants to spend $25 on a pair of leggings? Not me. At least... not the pre-LulaRoe me. These things are AMAZING. They are the freaking softest, most comfortable leggings that I have ever worn in my entire life, and I'm not kidding. If I could live in these pants and never take them off, I would be so happy! They are amazing and I LOVE them.

As far as shirts to go with my leggings... I adore the Irma. It is a long, tunic length tee that has total butt coverage, so I have no problem being a clothing sinner and wearing my leggings as pants. I can even bend over to touch my toes without my butt showing when wearing one of these, so... I chalk that up as a win.

The Randy. It's a comfortable tee, but I feel that it is overpriced for what it is. I will not be buying another. I can get the same thing for about $10 less at a local boutique in town, so I'll stick to that.
I felt the same way about the Cassie skirt as I do about the Randy tee. It's nice, but overpriced (in my opinion). I can get virtually the same thing for about half the price, so unless it's super discounted, I'm not going to buy another. I will say, though, that I love the girl's Cassie. I think it is sooo cute, and it's really hard to find a cute little pencil skirt anywhere else that will fit Elsie. So... there's that. I do think that it is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on clothing for a 2-year-old, though, so... yeah. 
Anyway, here is what Ali has to say about LulaRoe if you don't want to take my word for it.

"I LOVE LulaRoe! I was introduced to them in November last year and was super skeptical but after getting my first shirt from them (a Randy tee) I fell in love with the softness and comfort of the shirts. My friend ended up selling LulaRoe for a few months and I bought so much from her after a couple successful online parties and I adore it all! I have 5 pairs of leggings (I totally prefer the new yoga band FYI), 3 skirts (a Madison and Lola and Cassie) 3 Randy tees, 4 Irmas, 1 Amelia dress and 1 Nicole dress. Plus I LOVED the cute little girls clothes so I HAD to get my little Aurora a little girls Cassie skirt and she looks so cute! I love that they are American made and some of the softest clothes I’ve ever owned in my life. So versatile and lots of fun patterns to choose from! While they are a touch expensive I’ve always believed spoiling yourself a little to have a few quality clothes is worth it to spend a little more."

Have you tried LulaRoe's clothing? What did you think? 

Home Tour Part Two | The Kitchen

Hey there! I know this post is a couple of days overdue, but we were traveling on Wednesday and yesterday was one of those days where I just lounged around and did absolutely nothing all day long (you know, besides chasing my kids around and keeping them alive... I've forgotten what it's like to do nothing).

Anyway, here is part two of my home tour! I like our kitchen a lot - I do wish there was just a bit more cupboard space, but at least this way we can't hoard stuff! HA!

I am looking for a way to decorate the wall above the table and just haven't found anything that I love. I would love to hear any and all suggestions that you may have for that space. Right now it is just empty and sad. I was thinking of some floating shelves with cute dishes on them, but am not sure. What do you think?

In Real Life | Real Product Reviews | doTERRA Essential Oils

Well, hello! This week marks the start of my In Real Life | Real Product Reviews series on this here blog. I'm going to kick this series off with a real review of doTERRA Essential Oils. There's really no reason this product is coming first besides the fact that it was the easiest accessible one when I wanted to take pictures. 

I'm going to be reviewing the oils I use most often, and then give you a review of the product and brand as a whole (all from a consumer point of view - I have no intentions of pouring hours and hours of research into each product to give you some scientific review that you could go look up yourself). 

These are the oils I'll be reviewing: 

Peppermint: I LOVE this oil when my kids have a fever. I was so skeptical that putting a stupid drop of oil on my baby's foot could really bring down a fever, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I first put some coconut oil on my hand so that it melts, then a tiny drop of peppermint, then I rub the mixture onto baby's feet. Granted, I generally combine this measure with some medicine, but this has worked when we haven't had any medicine and I didn't feel like driving to Walgreen's at 1:00 in the morning.

Lavender: This is my go-to oil. Teething baby? Use lavender. Baby has a rash? Use lavender. Baby won't sleep? Use lavender. Have a burn? Use lavender. Have a mosquito bite? Use lavender. SERIOUSLY, people! This stuff works! Look up all the ways you can use lavender and you are sure to be surprised. I could probably write a blog post on this oil alone! It is what I'd call a miracle oil.

Melaleuca (aka tea tree oil): Canker sores. They suck. You also get them a lot if your baby enjoys head-butting you in the mouth. Melaleuca gets rid of those puppies, and it gets rid of them within a couple days. It tastes like crap, but it works, and that's the important thing. 

Serenity: This is actually an oil blend. I personally LOVE it. It is really great for calming Callum down and helping him sleep. I've only used it on him, but from what I've seen, it works for him. Will it work for everyone? I have no clue. I've used it on myself, too, but, as a sleep-deprived person who falls asleep within 10 seconds of laying down, I really don't know if I could give a fair assessment of it when used on me. HA!

Breathe: This is another oil blend, and it is a necessity in our house, especially during the cold winter months. I diffuse this oil when one of us is stuffy, and I also apply it topically to the chest before bedtime. It is AMAZING. I cannot say enough about how effective this oil is! Its purpose is pretty self-explanatory (uh... just look at the name of the blend). Whenever one of us is congested, it is a miracle-worker. 
I've told you about the oils I use regularly, but let me tell you really quickly about a few in my stash that do not work for us and that I would not recommend. 

TerraShield: This stuff is supposed to be a bug repellent. Ummm. It's not. It's more like a, "COME FEAST ON ME!" oil. I swear it made me a bug magnet the few times I've used it.

Slim and Sassy: I didn't really notice this oil doing anything for my waistline. Granted, it tastes like poopy diapers, so I only used it a few times. Maybe if you can stomach it, it will work, but it just didn't for me.

PastTense: As someone who suffers frequent migraines & tension headaches, I was so excited to try this oil blend that is supposed to give relief. Suffice it to say, I was totally disappointed. This oil does nothing for me - if anything, it makes things worse because the smell is strong and I'm pissed that it's not working, so I'm even more tense and stressed than I was before I used it.

ANYWAY. That's my review of doTERRA essential oils! I think it's all about finding the products here that work for you. Not every oil is going to work for every person, so I think it's a good idea to find a rep in your area and get samples before you buy anything.

Have you used doTERRA Essential Oils? What oils do you and your family use? What oils have you tried? Did they work for you? Share your thoughts - I'd love to feature them!! 

Road Trippin' It

If you watched my vlog yesterday, you know that my photography business was doing pretty well right before we moved. Well, I'd booked quite a few weddings in Nebraska before we got the news that we were going to have to move. I had no intentions of leaving my brides high and dry without a photographer, so I've been making lots of trips back and forth to Nebraska from Utah, and I've loved it!

I've got a wedding tomorrow, so I decided to road trip 14 hours to Kansas with the kids and the dog to visit my parents for the few days surrounding the wedding (oh my gosh... reading that out loud just makes me sound like a crazy person) .

Anyway, here are some things that are a necessity when traveling with a newly potty trained 2-year-old, a 4-month-old who has recently developed separation anxiety, and a neurotic dog.

1. Snacks. Snacks of all shapes, sizes, and varieties are a must-have. Grapes? Check. Fruit Snacks? Check. Goldfish crackers? Check. Cheese sticks? Check. Have them within arm's reach at all times, because your toddler does not know what patience is or understand that you have to keep your eyes on the road.

2. A Potty Chair. When your kid is not 100% potty trained, it's so tempting to just toss it all out the window and strap on a diaper for the road trip. It's tempting, but it's probably not the best idea in the whole world. And you KNOW that kids will inevitably wait until you've passed the last rest stop for 40 miles when they suddenly decide that "OH MY GOSH, MOMMY I NEED TO PEEEEEE!!!!!!" Bring a potty chair with you, plop that thing on the side of the highway, and save yourself the time and effort involved in cleaning pee out of a car seat. Besides, dumping pee out on the side of the road is WAY better than smelling it for 14 hours.

3. An iPad. I try not to break out the iPad till things get bad, but holy cow, it is a lifesaver. I know, I know - screen time is soooo bad for your kids (<-- sarcasm. total sarcasm). But you know what's even worse for your kids? A mom having a break down. That's right. My sanity is more important than the fact that I'm going to have a zombified, tv addict for a child.

4. Headphones. When your kid is in the backseat screaming, singing "Let it Go" for the 50th time, or whining about who-knows-what, you will realize why headphones are a god-send.

5. Caffeine. Whether it's in the form of Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Green Tea, or a million cups of coffee, you need caffeine. Don't question it.

Have you ever been crazy enough to road trip with kids? What about when you road trip alone? What are your must-haves? 

Where Have I Been?? | A Vlog

Hey people!

I thought it would be a fun vlog to tell you in a nutshell where I've been for the past year and what I've been up to. What about YOU? What did I miss in your life over the past year? 

Home Tour Part One | The Living Room

So I know I've been MIA for basically the past year. I've popped in occasionally, here and there, but for the most part, I've been a craptastic blogger. Sorry about that.

Anyway. Over the past year, we've had lots of changes. One of those was a pretty big move. We left our home in Lincoln, NE and moved to the good old blogging headquarters of the world - Happy Valley (AKA Utah County), UT.

We lived in an apartment in Orem for about half a year while we looked for a place to call home. We ended up buying a home in southern Utah County. It has been quite the move, but I'll talk about all the crazy culture shock and adjusting and all that good stuff another time. Until then, I've decided to introduce you to a different room in our house each week. I, for one, really enjoy getting a peek into other bloggers' homes - it makes me feel like we are real life friends. :)

Week One: Our living room

Really, the thing I'm most proud of are my bookcases. I'm still looking for something to do with the 2nd to last shelf on each one, but I'll figure it out eventually.


I actually really love this room. When we first moved into the house, the walls and ceiling were brown and the doors and trim were a greenish tan. It looked so, so dark and I hated it. We ended up having the home painted about a week after we moved in. Totally worth it.

Someday we would like to put some wood floors in, but that might not happen for a couple of years, as there are other things we'd like to do first.

Have you done a home tour on your blog? I'd love to see it!! 

Camping with Monsters

 I always said I'd never become boring after I had kids. I wouldn't stay at home all the time, we'd still go on fun trips, and we'd stay out past their bedtime if it meant having a good time with friends.

Let's just say that I stay at home a lot. Because a lot of times, it's easier to hang out around my house than it is to load two kids and all of their junk into the car to go to a storytime or park for an hour. I'm not kidding- it takes exponentially longer to get two kids out of the house than it does to get one kid out.

ANNYWAY. We do stay out past the kids' bedtime occasionally (but we always pay for it later). And sometimes, just sometimes, we even go on fun trips. Like camping - camping is fun.
Let me tell you a little bit about what it's like to go camping with a toddler and a baby. It's crazy. It's a hassle. It's stressful. But it's also worth it. 

When your 2-year-old watches you set up the tent and gets so freakin' excited about it... that's worth it.
When your baby boy is full of smiles and laughter because he gets to roll around outside... that's worth it. 
When your husband gets so excited about shooting guns and chopping wood... that's worth it.

When you sit around the campfire with your little family, look at the stars while eating foil dinners, and take time to enjoy a day and night without any technology.... that's worth it.

In Real Life | Real Product Reviews


I said I'd be getting back to this blogging thing and I wasn't kidding! About a week ago, I asked what sorts of blog posts people would be interested in seeing. I got a lot of great suggestions, and I am so excited to work all of them in. My sister-in-law came up with one that I want to make a regular feature, though. I'm going to call these posts "In Real Life | Real Product Reviews."
MLMs are everywhere. Chances are, you have either been part of an MLM or you know someone who has. I, for one, have had a TON of contact with a TON of different MLMs and products. It's always really iffy if these products actually work or if they are just really hyped up. I've compiled a list of companies/products I've tried and want to review.

Products I've used and will be reviewing:

There's also a list below of products that I haven't tried but would be willing to. If you're involved with one of the products I haven't tried and would like me to do a REAL review (I will not sugarcoat anything, folks), just shoot me an email! I would be happy to put your product to the test.

Products I have not tried: 

I'm sure there are a multitude of other products I haven't tried, but those two were really the only two I could think of. I am VERY skeptical of both of the products that I haven't tried, so it would be interesting to try them. We'll see. ANYWAY, let me know what you guys would like to know about the products I HAVE tried, and I'll answer any and all questions in my reviews! :)