Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10 Favorite Fall and Holiday Activities

So today's prompt for the November Blogathon was supposed to be to write about a favorite fall or holiday tradition. I am the kind of girl that just really likes to do sentimental, meaningful things. Because of this, I have listed 10 of my favorites. Some are traditions, most are just favorite activities that happen to be tied to a season.

Seeing the Leaves-the only view as beautiful as when all the leaves turn is when all the leaves are at their peak of green.

Shooting/Hunting-fall means hunting seasons in my family. Not so much for me since I now don't have residency in the state I live, but I make up for it by shooting every year. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

Watching Sports-the weeks leading up to the start of the NBA season are a joyful time in the Lee household. And this year I was invited into the exclusive Lee fantasy sports league, so lets see how much I still don't know.

Thanksgiving Games-one year my mom realized that after eating Thanksgiving dinner nobody wants to move. We would all spread throughout the house, reading a book, taking a nap, watching a movie, or whatever else we felt like and just hang out. So now, we all help put everything away as fast as we can and sit around the table to play games. Still sitting, most of the time still snacking, but we love the time we get to spend together.

Breathing the Cold Air-call me crazy, but it is a big deal to me when I step out of my house and feel the freezing air for the first time. I love it. It brings back so many emotions and memories. Talk to me in a month and I probably won't love it as much.

November/December Movies-the movies that want to win an award start coming out soon. I love it. Don't get me wrong, I love a good blockbuster as much as anyone, but a good smart, critically acclaimed movie brings me joy. I like to end a movie feeling how I do after a good book, like I have been told an amazing story that I can get invested in. And yes, we already have our tickets to an advanced showing of Interstellar at the IMAX. Thursday cannot come fast enough.

Reading-Thanksgiving and Christmas break from school mean I set a goal to see how many books I can read. Last year I reread the final few Harry Potter books. The year before I cried over The Book Thief. We will see what happens this year.

Running Indoors-eventually it gets too cold and icy to run outside anymore so we head to the gym to use the treadmills. Those first few days are amazing, I feel like I can run forever! Then spring comes and we transition back to outdoor running and I remember that treadmills make it so much easier. But man, that first week is motivating.

Getting Together with Friends: shifting to indoor activities means people start to socialize more intimately. I love having people over for dinner, going to an event, going to dinner, all those things that happen around the holidays when people feel sentimental.

Celebrating with Brett-both our birthdays and our anniversary fall between September and December. I like that all these events are spread pretty evenly over the time, especially when you throw in holidays, but I also like that it breeds four whole months of gratitude for each other.

So there it is, my list of 10 reasons why I love fall and the holidays. What are some of the things you would put on your list? Let me know, I am always open to adding great traditions and activities to my lists.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Favorite Fall Recipe

I have to admit, it was hard for me to come up with a favorite fall recipe for today's November Blogathon post. I thought about going with something warm and hearty, like soup or a roast, but instead decided to go for a more transitional season dish.

image and recipe via
Zucchini, Black Bean, Rice Bake

I love this dish because I can still use some of the summer produce left over and that I don't want to let go of, but mixing it with the rice and black beans makes it warm and filling. I do make two changes away from this original recipe. First, I really like using fresh tomatoes. I think the tomatoes taste better, and they also don't take over the taste of the other ingredients. Since I don't use the juice from the can I usually have to throw in 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra water as well as put in some Italian seasoning (and whatever other spices I feel like that day).  The second change I make is adding chicken to make it a main dish. I still use the same large pan, but before putting in the zucchini and bell pepper I cook up some chicken pieces with some simple lemon pepper. Then just add everything in like the instructions say.

Check out the recipe here!

Monday, November 3, 2014

30 Facts About Me

  1.  I’m a twenty-something college student
  2. I’m also married, and have been for the last three years
  3. I’m a Mormon
  4. After this semester, I just have my student teaching left before I graduate
  5. I love reading
  6. Historical Fiction novels are my favorite
  7. I am soooo done with dystopian novels right now
  8. I love the outdoors-that means anything
  9. I come from a hunting family, and yes, we start young
  10. I grew up in a small town and loved it
  11. Each time I have moved, the town has gotten larger, and I still love it
  12. Sometime in the next 6 months or so we will move to a city at least the size of Seattle, so that’s a big shift from where I started
  13. I like being tall, and even though I am already taller than most girls at 5’8”, my husband is 6’4” so I still get to wear tall heels, which is great
  14. I like laughing and have a different laugh for each situation
  15. I am a huge nerd, about multiple things
  16. I like cooking for fun, I find it relaxing, but not the dishes afterward
  17. I am fiercely loyal and sometimes turn into a mamma bear when I feel like I need to come to the defense of someone I care about
  18. If given the opportunity, I can eat my weight’s worth of a few things, like chips & salsa, mashed potatoes, kettle popcorn, and my mother-in-law’s peanut butter rice Krispy treats.
  19. I am actually home sick right now, so that isn’t fun.
  20. Brett and I love watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Each time we go to a new city we try to go to a DDD restaurant
  21. History fascinates me. I love learning the larger story and seeing how events lead to each other. I love it.
  22. Genetics has given me a ridiculously high cholesterol level, so now I get to exercise a ton, and eat like a rabbit
  23. I really like getting to exercise a ton, and I have gotten to the point where I have started to enjoy eating like a rabbit
  24. During the past 3 years I have learned a seemingly infinite number of NBA facts, and now get (almost) as emotionally invested in a game as Brett does.
  25. I crochet like an old lady. But I like it. So do my younger sisters.
  26. In fact, I learned how to knit, crochet, and sew from a young age from my grandmas and mother. Knitting is the only one I don’t do anymore
  27. My birthday is Christmas Day, so that is pretty awkward.
  28. I have never died my hair. The older I get, the darker it gets, and every year I think I am going to try something, but I don’t.
  29. I am the oldest child, married to the 5th of 6 kids, so I get to see how much fun it is when all the children in a family are adults. I am so excited for that to happen with my own siblings.
  30. I love fall and winter. Sweater weather is better weather!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cute Group Craft

With the exception of a random crochet project, like this one here and a plethora of scarves and ear warmers, I typically don't do a lot of other crafty things. There are a couple reasons for this. First, I tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist so when something doesn't turn out how I picture it in my head I never display it. The second is that I don't have a large reserve of craft supplies, so each project I want to do requires me to go purchase everything. That can get a little spendy, so I usually work with the cheaper medium of yarn.
Its hard to see here, but the bottom row of this shelf makes me extremely happy. All the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Chronicles of Narnia Books in one place. Too bad it was too heavy for the top shelf!
Every once in a while I get to do something crafty when the monthly Relief Society activity organizes it for me. Last week was the perfect simple activity. I loved sitting around a table with amazing women and great conversation as we painted these little blocks. It was fun to see the different patterns that people choose, ranging from all the monsters like my blocks, to all different pumpkins, and Halloween or fall inspired words.

I saved some of the extra blocks to use at a future date, so if you have any ideas about what I can do with them, I would love to hear them. Right now I am leaning towards something winter-y, but not necessarily Christmas-y, that way it can be displayed longer. Maybe snowflakes? Let me know what you think!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Getting My Craft on for a Cute Niece

First of all, how cute is my niece? She just had her fourth birthday, and seeing as she, and her sister, are still in love with Frozen, as are all the little girls in America, I figured I would make her this cute little hat. Just because I get nervous about making up patterns for things, I found an nice and simple tutorial here. Since it mostly uses double crochet stitches it was an easy evening project. However, as excited as she was to open her present, I am pretty sure that all the moms in the room were even more excited. The picture below comes with the directions and can be found here. She also includes similar directions for the Elsa version.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Autumn Sunday Drive

Sundays are the best! I love getting the chance to enjoy a day when I actually get to relax and rejuvenate myself for the next week. We really believe in Sabbath Day Observance, and other than attending church, we spend the time together or with family. This means that most Sunday's we come home around noon and then don't really leave the house again. Most of the time we will read a book, play a game, take a nap, and eat food. Sunday dinner is great, both to eat, and to have fun making. But there are other times when late Sunday afternoon rolls around and we are a little stir crazy. For a few days I had been looking up at the beautiful Wasatch Range and admiring the autumn beauty they offer. I have always enjoyed living near mountains and taking advantage of all that offers, so I wanted to go see the leaves. Driving up Provo Canyon and then up to the top of Squaw Peak was the perfect little Sunday drive to get us out of the house. Once we got up to the top and jumped out to take a few pictures, we realized how cold it actually was and how inadequately dressed we were and quickly drove back to the warmth of home. 

^I love Mt. Nebo down on the south end of the valley. They canyons coming off Nebo are some more of my favorites. 

I sure love this guy. Sometimes it is hard to believe how far we have come since July 2011 when we got engaged on this same ridge. This view and all the things that have happened in the valley below will forever be in our memories. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Warm Weekends are Numbered

I love the seasons. All of them. I love that, for the most part, I have lived in places where I got to experience all four seasons each year. My favorites are probably fall and spring when there is no extreme hot or cold, but I even love those times too.

Saturday we tried to take advantage of the warm weather that is really starting to leave us quickly. I love waking up with the brisk air, but pretty soon it will be too cold to enjoy any prolonged time outside. We called my sister and took off to a canyon south of Provo to get in some shooting. I love going with these two people, even though I am pretty sure my sister is better than me. In fact, I can promise you that with a shotgun she is better. I got really out of practice when I moved to Utah.
^I love that these two get along so well. It makes it easy to do spur-of-the-moment things like this.
However, Brett is definitely the best with the handguns. Personally, they aren't my favorite. I grew up hunting and using shotguns and rifles, so handguns are still new to me.  I am improving though, which is good.
Hopefully we can get out for another week or two and enjoy a bit more outdoor fun before the snow starts coming down. There has already been snow on the top of the Wasatch Range a few times, so soon it will be here for good.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Full of Inspiration

Hopefully the announcement in that picture did not come as a shock to anyone. I have talked about my belief and religion several times, and this time of the year makes it so much easier to talk about with the events of the last week. Last weekend I was able to view General Conference, and this weekend the movie Meet the Mormons is being released in theaters nationwide. I just have a few things to say about these things.

First, General Conference is a wonderful opportunity that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have to listen to instruction from leaders of the church. The best part is that all the sessions and talks are completely available to anyone, members and not, who want to feel inspired or learn what we believe. After this weekend I am fully rejuvenated with feelings of peace, happiness, love, dedication, and faith. Everything from the two days of spiritually uplifting messages can be found again, to watch, listen to, or read, at, the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All the images are also taken from the site.

Second, the Meet the Mormons movie is an actual movie, in actual theaters. The movie documents the lives of 6 devout members of the church, seeing how their faith and religion impacts their actions and how they view the world. Brett and I plan on seeing it sometime this weekend, and I am pretty excited. So I invite anyone and everyone to go watch it as well and see that us Mormons are just normal people, with differing circumstances but united with our faith and devotion to become the best we can with the love and help of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

To find a theater near you, or to request it in your area if it isn't there yet, go to this site and check it out.

Friday, October 3, 2014

General Conference Invitation

I talked about this a little at the beginning of the week and I wanted to make sure to address it again. I look forward to the first weekend of October (and April) each time they come and I love the opportunity that I have to relax with family and friends, and listen to the words of the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The weekend becomes such a spiritually uplifting experience when you know that every couple hours for two days in a row you are going to hear the teachings and gospel of God and Jesus Christ.

If you want to know about The Mormons, what we believe, proof that we are Christian, feel inspired, or anything else, just watch this and see how many questions you can get answered in your life.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5K Recap

I know that the picture quality is terrible, but this is the only picture we were able to get of our 5K last weekend before my phone did this weird reset thing that it does. Oh well, at least it is one right?

We ran a 5K organized by the Orem Public Library, and if there is anything I belief in giving money to, its libraries. I was also happy that this race was pretty affordable. After doing a free race a few weeks ago, but not actually running it I wanted to do another one quickly where I actually got to test what I was capable of at this point. And I am proud of what I am now capable of. My goal was honestly just to run 3.1 miles 30 minuets or less. Well I think you could say that 26 minutes is less than 30! It averages out to just under 8.5 minutes/mile. It was so good to feel the satisfaction that comes from not only meeting your goal, but exceeding it as well.

About two years ago Brett convinced me to run with him for about a month. During that month we ran a 5K with some friends because if I had an attainable goal I would be more motivated. Well we ran it, not very fast, and right before it started to snow, so running dropped from my priority list almost immediately. Honestly it didn't become a priority again until my doctor told me that I had to, and then I stuck with it long enough to see progress. This time, running the race and getting a relatively good time is a motivation for me to keep going again, not an excuse to quit like it was two years ago.

Now its just time to decide what the next goal is. Do I try to improve my time or distance?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Part of a Great Sisterhood

One of my favorite things is when a group of united people get together. It gets even better when the group is united by faith and a divine purpose.

Twice a year (in April and October) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a General Conference for all members and anyone who wants to know what we believe from the leaders of the church itself. Each time, the first session is the General Women's Meeting where leaders of the church, particularly those over the organizations of women and children, speak about what they feel is most important for all women of the church, and women of the world to hear. I watched the broadcast with my sister that also goes to BYU and nothing breeds the feeling of greater sisterhood, than participating with your own actual sister.

This October session did not disappoint. Here are just a few of the snippets from the meeting on Saturday. I highly recommend that you watch the rest of it here. I can promise you that if you go into it with an open mind and truly listen you will feel inspired.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Three Years

This happened three years ago today. Up until that time, this was the happiest moment of my life. Since then, all the happy moments have centered on the events of this day. We have had some ups, some downs, some adventures, but mostly smiles. 

Here is two the last three years, the next year, and all the many years to come. I can't say what will happen, but I can say that at the end the smiles will still be here. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our Favorite Seattle Places

We did so much amazing stuff this summer, and with the first day of fall quickly approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to spend some time remembering summer before I get too excited about fall. Not being in school and living in a new part of the country sure helped increase the number of our fun activities, and I for one was surprised to see it all listed out. So here it is, our favorite places we found in he Seattle area this summer.

Carkeek Park
Definitely our go-to park. We came here for our first walk on the beach, for a Saturday picnic, to show family, and once to try to run the trails. Turned out to have lots of stairs so that didn't last long.

Safeco Field
Hello baseball! The combination of baseball and family made the day a hit (pun intended). It also got me sentimental about going to a Mariners game on our honeymoon.

Kerry Park and Queen Anne
The greatest view of the city. I'm sure it is always beautiful, but being there at sunset when the sky was clear was amazing. The colors were so vibrant that I am so glad someone with a nice camera was there to catch it.

Llandover Park
Another one of our go-to locations. Most of the time wanted to mix up our runs with some hills and some shade. Once we went just on a Sunday walk. What remained consistent is that we could never remember what it was called. I always thought it was Lavender, Brett thought maybe Labrador. I had to look it up just to write this post.

13 Coins
Diner food in a fancy leather booth? Yes please. Delicious, if a little overpriced for diner food.

The Root Beer Store
What more can I say, it is a Root Beer Store. Every first Saturday of the month you can go in for a free tasting and then take your pick from the walls of bottled root beer. I highly recommend Frosty's vanilla flavored root beer. It seriously tastes like a root beer float.

Green Lake
We ran around this lake so many times. A flat 3 mile circumference made it the perfect location. It was also great to see so many kinds of people there enjoying the sun.

Bastyr University
Natural Medicine school located by Lake Washington and Saint Edwards State Park. The school is pretty small, but the architecture and the location are amazing. The chapel was closed off the day we went, but even looking at the pictures you can tell how beautiful it is.

Saint Edwards State Park
This park is on the edge of Lake Washington and includes shoreline, wooded trails, a community pool, large fields, a baseball and cricket field, and an old seminary building. Similar to Bastyr, the architecture was amazing to see.

Downtown Waterfront
This is somewhere we have been lots of times at this point. My favorite part about the waterfront in Seattle is how quickly you actually get there. You are getting off the freeway, then all of a sudden, bam! You are driving down a hill and you realize you are right there, with the piers and the skyscrapers all at once. I love it there.

LDS Temple
The grounds and the interior of an LDS temple are the post peaceful places I have ever been. Aside from the peace and clarity that makes any visit enjoyable, I love seeing the way the architecture and the grounds are adapted to the location. The Seattle temple has such amazing greenery on the grounds, and the motifs are in organic patterns. And the stained glass window? Blue and green. Its fabulous.

Richmond Beach
We loved Richmond Beach. Its larger than the beach found at Carkeek, allowing for a fun walk along the water. We got up first thing in the morning on a Saturday, packed up some muffins and fruit, grabbed the baseball gloves, and spent a few hours relaxing on the sand. I highly recommend a morning on the beach.

Lake Washington
I'm a girl from North Idaho, one of my favorite landscapes is a big lake, and boy does Lake Washington deliver. This lake is huge! There is an island in the middle of it so large that there is an entire city on it, and ya, it costs a ton to live there.

University of Washington Campus
Going to BYU means that I am used to a college campus being its own little world. A single student has almost no reason to leave campus. UW on the other hand is so integrated into the city. The first time I went I din't realize how quickly campus would sneak up on me. I loved seeing all the apartments above the little shops and resturaunts. And the fact that campus goes right down to the water adds another level of beauty. My favorite part however, is the Suzzullo Library.

So there you have it. All of our favorite places to see in the Seattle area. Hopefully we have a chance to make it back to a few, and add even more to the list.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Payson 5k

Last Saturday I spent the morning hanging out with Brett's sister and her cute family. They were participating in a free family 5k and were nice enough to let us know about it too. Since Brett ended up needing to work that day, it was just me, but hey, Brett didn't have a Wonder Woman T-shirt anyway.

Jason actually ran the race and did great pulling in at just over 26 minutes, while Laurel and I pretty much walked and talked, coming in at a time significantly longer than 26 minutes. :) And how could you not love walking through this kind of view first thing in the morning?

Even though I didn't run, which is something I have been doing for months now, it was a really enjoyable time. I like all of Brett's sisters and the fact that I could have some free time with any of them and we can fill in all the time with conversation and fun. Not to mention that Laurel's kids (like all my nieces and nephews) are adorable.

Ten days from today Brett and I will be actually running a 5k in Orem, and I can't wait to see what kind of time I can get when I put my legs into it.