Category Archives: i’ll show you my

I’ll Show You My… Hometown

“Home is where your heart is.” If this is true my home is all over the country! When we first decided to write about our hometown this month I knew what I’d be writing about, the place I grew up and spent most of my childhood and teenage years, even part of my young adult life. Then I thought on this quote and all the other places I’ve lived, including where I currently live. How am I to write about my “hometown” when I have more than one? I thought maybe a quick internet search would help me decide. NOPE! Even Google says a hometown is “the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one’s present fixed residence.”  Not helpful Google!

I narrowed it down to two (ok three) places I’d call my hometown. Let’s start at the beginning… where I began. Mission Viejo, California. I was born and raised in Southern California. Beaches, palm trees, delicious food, 6 lanes of freeway traffic, less than an hour from Disneyland. Yep this is my hometown and where some of my family still live. I love and miss them dearly. Let me show you…

Backyard in Mission Viejo
Nothing beats a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.
Going shooting with my Papa
Angels baseball games!
Watching my baby grow up here
Many hours spent at Disneyland
One of many delicious meal options.
Did I mention the beach?

Summer days and nights spent at the beach, I graduated high school and college living here. Would I ever move back? Probably not, the cost of living is ridiculously high now, ok it always has been. But part of me will always be a SoCal girl. Occasionally we visit and I am able to step foot on the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean and grab a double-double.

Part of my youth was also spent living in Utah. The place has grown and changed much since I’ve lived there. As I’ve said before, home is where the heart is and I have much family in Utah still. While I lived in American Fork, UT, most of the Utah Valley and parts of Salt Lake Valley are my “home”.

Mountains are unbeatable
My Utah family

 

So many siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews living in Utah. Going back to visit is easy, leaving is harder every time.My current hometown is Milford, PA. I went from city life to rural life. I’ve never seen so many trees before living here. Just like each of my previous hometowns, there is beauty and excitement to be found here as well. We’ve lived in our home for 5 years now and I’m still finding the places for my heart.

PA roads and skies
Family friendly hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls
Sharing outdoor living space with deer
Milford, my hometown
Colorful sunsets over the lake
White winter views
Kids enjoying the outdoors

All in all I consider myself lucky to be able to have more than one hometown. Milford is my home and I’m learning more each day about myself, my family and this area. I look forward to finding where my next hometown will be, many years from now. Where is your hometown?

Share your hometown and link up with us here.

 

I’ll Show You My Fellow Blogger!

This month we wanted to mix it up a bit and introduce you to some other bloggers out there.  There are a lot of blogs out there in the far reaches of the internet. How do you find someone you can relate with? How do you know if a blog is a good one to follow? How do you choose to start a blog, let alone what you write about? Hopefully our fellow bloggers will be able to give you a guide in the right direction. At the least you’ll find a new blog to follow and expand your own blogger friend universe. Without further ado let me introduce you to my fellow blogger, Ashley Meir from The Rad Mommy (head on over and give her a like or follow on these other social media platforms:

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest


Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?

My name is Ashley Meier and I am a blogger at The Rad Mommy as well as a wedding and portrait photographer. My blog is essentially a mommy blog that focused on empowering and inspiring entrepreneur and working moms.

Describe how did you first get into blogging.
I really like to write and was looking for a creative outlet. I love business and I love being a parent, so why not combine the two :0).

Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
I have experience with website design and maintenance, and also do a lot of blogging with my photography stuff so I think that helped. Also, just knowing how to find a following on social media has been huge, although I am still growing and finding my exact niche.

How would you describe your blogging style?
I am a conversational and informative blogger. I want my readers to get something out of what I am writing and delivering. I am also exploring podcasts and videos to help with that.

What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?
I think Facebook Groups are huge, and then just connecting with like-minded people who do what you do, and want what you have to offer.

What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
I think it depends. Whether that’s light reading, education, products or services; it really depends on what the blog is trying to achieve. There is a need for it all.

What would be your ideal working environment? On the beach in Costa Rica 🙂 . I just love working on a computer with a big monitor and a cup of coffee or glass of wine close by.

How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Scheduling posts and not biting off more than I can chew. I am still getting in my rhythm but those two things have helped tremendously. Also just staying focused!

What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Writing about viral topics has yielded the biggest results for me thus far. And then having other people become my cheerleaders and share my content.

How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I want to truly define my niche, whether that will be working on getting high amounts of traffic or developing resources like webinars and courses for readers.

What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
Not sure yet 🙂 . I think blogging can just get tedious and discouraging because it doesn’t happen overnight. But, I do see the reward in sticking with it, like anything in life.

Tell me about your proudest achievement.
When I had a post go viral! It was SO fun to see my numbers go up while looking at my “live” analytics.

Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Everyone and everything. Being a parent and being a business owner.

What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
I am a mom to two little girls and I run a super successful wedding and portrait business. I am on to my next dream of creating the life I want by working my way into the blogging worlds.

How do you think I rate your blog as an interviewer?
I think you will like it and hopefully find some good resources from it.

What do you do in your spare time?
I drink wine, travel, ride my bike to breweries, exercise and hang out with friends – all while mommin’ of course.

Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?
I would like to have bloggers blog for me, so I can sip cocktails on the beach and focus my efforts on the content, instead of the marketing aspect.

What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Just seeing how slow growth is, and working really hard on content that doesn’t always get high traffic.

Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
My favorite right now is Melyssa Griffin. That girl is on her game and I learn something from her every time I read her stuff. There is no fluff there.

What inspired you to start your blog?
I wanted an outlet and wanted to start designing even more freedom into my life.

How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I am still pretty new to the blogging life, but I think just focusing on consistency and then letting myself rest if I am not feeling it. Having expectations but not ones that make me feel like I am chained to it.

Can you tell me about few sources from where you get products for review on your site?
Just things I use. This is not really my blogging focus but might be at some point.

What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
The tedious work of formatting posts, designing graphics, scheduling social media posts, etc.

In the future where do you hope your blog will take you?
I really hope it can turn into my full-time job so I can officially step away from photography. I love photography, but long term I see more of myself in the inspiration realm of things.

Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?
Not yet :0). But I did run into David Spade one time at the Cheesecake Factory (but that was like 12 years ago, lol).

Do you have any specific goals for the rest of this year?
Create some content, define my niche and start making more money on the blogging side of things.

What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
I have a lot more to do!

Did you have any professional help or did you created the blog yourself?
I created everything myself. I am into this DIY thing.

How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
I have about two posts a week, and am constantly posting on social media several times a day usually. Most of it is scheduled though.

How much time do you spend blogging?
Yikes! Not sure yet. Probably about 10 hours a week right now.

What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
I think it depends on where you want to focus your time. Long term I am thinking Pinterest might be the way to go though, because Facebook and Instagram are limiting the audience reach.

Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
Absolutely! It is a great outlet. But know a direction you want to head before investing too much time, and don’t expect to be an overnight success.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
It is both my profession and my hobby. I am building a business here 🙂 .

A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
It is NOT easy, but it is doable. I think you just have to be focused on what you want to do, and head there. You will constantly be evolving though, so don’t expect to have all the answers right away.

 

Thanks so much Ashley for letting me interview you. It is a pleasure getting to know you behind the scenes of your blog.
I have learned a few things from this interview and hope all of you have as well. Do you have a fellow blogger you’d like to introduce us to? Link up with us below!

 

Monthly link up every third Wednesday!

I’ll Show You… What Makes Me Happy

Hey guys! Wow can you believe it’s the middle of April already? Last month we were talking about spring cleaning while there was still some frost on the ground. Before you know it summer will be upon us! Our topic for this month is what makes ME happy. I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on this topic. I had no clue what I’d write about that I haven’t already in our November posts. The truth of the matter for me is I suffer from depression. Not the having a bad day I need a good cry depression. The debilitating, psychiatrist prescribes meds kind of severe depression. It isn’t something I talk about, I simply cope and try to manage myself. Finding and talking about what makes me happy did not sound like a good idea, I must have been having a downward day.

As I write this post  I am reveling in all of the warm weather we have been having.  I hope you’ve been enjoying your spring thus far. The sunshine and warm weather always seem to perk me up. I find myself with more energy and enjoying life a bit more during spring time than the other seasons.

The warm weather and sunshine seem to shine a light on life a bit better. I find myself smiling more and in a better mood, for the most part.  So what makes ME happy? Not my kids, not my blessings, but what do I enjoy for myself?.


I absolutely miss my sunny SoCal beaches but the forest where I live is filled with wonder. There are trails, rivers, mountains (ok hills for the Rocky Mountain natives), forests and majestic waterfalls all around. Hiking to a spot like this, while sweaty and sometimes exhausting, fills my happy cup every time.  I look forward to more spring hikes before the tourists show up and crowd our lovely nature.

It took spending half the morning alone, outside of our house to realize I really am happy with him. It isn’t because he’s my husband and I am suppose to love him and always be happy (we are SO not always happy together). We were simply running some errands and spending time together, enjoying the beautiful weather and little town we live in.  Being silly with AJ totally falls on my personal happy list.

I found this image here and how appropriate and true it is! In my car, at home, in my head… I LOVE music. Dancing, singing (not always the written lyrics), and creating music make me happy. I have always been involved in music since I was about 10 years old. I can play a handful of instruments and have been in a few choirs. I am by no means a professional but I don’t have to be in order for music to be on my happy list!

This right here says it all! It must tie into my love of music because Zumba is a blast! I’m sure part of it is also the amazing support of my gym Tribe but man it’s great! I may walk out sore and sweaty but I will have a smile on my face (or Jen might give us extra burpees next class).

I know this isn’t about my family, but part of my happiness is my family. When I am down and feel alone, forgotten and wonder what is the point. I try to remember what I have learned and become as a daughter of God. Our family has been sealed together for time and all eternity. The peace I find inside this knowledge and inside the temple helps lift my mood every time.

These are a few of my happy moments and places. For mental health it is vital to not only be grateful but to mark those things which make us happy. Find time to do something you enjoy, something which makes YOU happy.  What are some things you do for yourself to find happiness in your day?

~Christina

 

Next month we are doing a blogger interview. Would you like to be interviewed and featured in my blog? Would you like to interview a fellow blogger (doesn’t have to be me) and join us? I have questions all ready for you too! Let me know!

I’ll Show You My… Spring Cleaning

You guys I’m so excited about this month’s collab post! Spring cleaning is something that happens about every season around my house! If you’ve been to my house in the winter it may look completely different in the spring. This year is no different.

Truth be told I hadn’t anticipated moving the furniture, I thought I was happy with my current arrangement. Everything changed when I brought out the carpet cleaner! We’ve been living without a carpet cleaner for longer than I care to admit. I finally found one at a decent price with great reviews. I moved all of the furniture out of my dirtiest living space, the front room, and went to work. 

These are photos of my carpet before cleaning but after moving the furniture out. Gross, I know. I won’t show you the gobs of hair and pet fur this beast grabbed out of the carpet. It isn’t brand new but dang this is a great looking room again!

It was while I was cleaning the carpet I decided I wanted a change. I wanted the furniture back in the living room with the piano and gas fireplace. The big picture window is nice for looking out but the room felt too separate from the rest of our living space. So AJ and Dawn helped me move the pool table into the front room. Voila!

Of course the pool table was fully cleaned off and I am loving the new arrangement. We rehung the tv on the wall in the living room and it feels more like home.

Admittedly this was my biggest spring cleaning project to date. It was nice and warm here for a little while but Mother Nature decided to knock us back after springing our clocks forward. So I’ve put a lot of my major spring cleaning on hold for now.

I have been cleaning out closets of games, toys, shoes and clothes no one uses anymore. Those items are being collected in the garage to be donated locally. Purging the house of items we no longer use has been on my to do list for awhile and what better time than spring cleaning to clear it all out?

I will be cleaning the carpets in each of the other rooms when the temperature rises again, no sense in having wet carpets with below freezing temps outside.

Some of my other spring cleaning chores will be done this month and others will need to wait for warmer weather. Here are some of my regular “spring cleaning” tasks:

  • Scrub inside of washing machine
  • Move washer and dryer to clean floors underneath
  • Hose down screens
  • Clean window wells
  • Pressure wash outside house
  • Turn over mattresses
  • Clean window sills, under glass
  • Clean curtains
  • Check sink traps
  • Clear outside AC unit
  • Wash windows in and out
  • Play outside with the kids

My lists are always adapting to our busy lives. I don’t have a list I use each year simply a task list of items as I notice they need to be addresssed.

What are some of your spring cleaning tasks? Have you started spring cleaning yet? Link up with us and share your spring cleaning ideas and tips. Also see below for our schedule for upcoming collab posts.

I’ll Show You My… Love Language

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day yesterday?  How did you celebrate? Did you do something special? Go out to eat? Have a nice evening at home together? Spend the night in each other’s arms? Did you get a gift? This month for our Mommy & Lifestyle blog collab we’re talking about love!

This month we are changing things up for our mommy and lifestyle blog collab. We are starting to use a LinkUp so you ALL can join us at any time and link to everyone’s post. For this month I’ll Show You My… Love Language!

AJ and I had read this book and taken the quiz years ago prior to being married.  Since then we have retaken it with new results. Imagine that, how we communicate changes over time!

Learning what makes you feel loved is vital for a healthy relationship. If you don’t know how your partner feels love how can you ever let them know they are loved? This works both ways.

There is no right or wrong answer for how you feel loved. No language is better than any of the others either. It is a simple matter of finding and knowing what works best for you and those you love.

Think about it, have you ever bought someone what you thought was the perfect gift only to have them react nonchalantly? He probably doesn’t speak love with gifts.  Receiving gifts is one of the five languages. The other four are physical touch, quality time, acts of service and words of affirmation.

As it has been a few years since I last assessed my love language I took the quiz here.  According to the site the maximum possible score for each category is 12 and it is common to have two high scores, meaning two languages are important. Although one does usually have a slightly higher advantage than the other.  Want to dissect my love language? Here are my results…

Acts of Service: Me-7  AJ-9
Being a mom is exhausting and while AJ and I have had the “my job is more difficult than yours” argument on a few occasions he has learned to appreciate the stay at home mom aspect of my life.  This is from the Love Languages site:  “Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.” Oh my goodness yes! This is me!
It was interesting to me that we were on the same page with this one. When we talk he seems to me more of a words of affirmation.

Quality Time: Me-7  AJ-6
It is rare for us to have alone time so when we do I cherish it, even if the time is only 5 minutes. Having little ones at home makes it difficult to find our time, let alone quality time. Maybe this will change as the kids grow up and move on, who knows. Again, from the quiz: “Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.”

Physical Touch: Me-6  AJ-5
Physical touch did come in a close 2nd place so I’m not a complete ice box haha. When he holds my hand in the car, puts his arm around my waist or we are simply snuggling on the couch I find comfort in his touch. Even when the jerk is tickling me so much I’m about to pee myself a little. “Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.” Notice it doesn’t say sex…

Words of Affirmation: Me-6  AJ-8
Words of affirmation came in a close 3rd… they are all so close to each other! Hearing I am appreciated and he notices what I do for him and our family is important to me. If I’m not appreciated I feel I’m not doing a good enough job and no one is happy.

Receiving Gifts: Me-4  AJ-2
 Receiving gifts is on the bottom.  I do appreciate the little gifts he brings home from his frequent trips. It’s nice that he thinks of me. He’s made it clear I’m not easy to surprise or shop for, especially since I handle the finances.

All in all AJ and I speak relatively the same love languages. Having knowledge is power right? Use your love language to help improve your relationships today.

Share your love language with us and linkup below. We will have this option every month for you from now on.

Here’s what’s coming up for our I’ll Show You My… monthly posts.  Please join us and link up when we post every third Wednesday!

I’ll Show You My… Resolutions!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we are doing a New Year Resolutions post! Follow along in our series as we show you bits and pieces of our lives and who we are in our Mommy & Lifestyle Blog Collab. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Jamie.

Each New Year seems to bring with it hope of revitalization and renewal of ourselves whether it be mentally, spiritually, physically or all of these aspects. Some of the more common “goals” seem to be to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, quit sugar, read more, spend more time with the family, etc. Usually by the end of January most people have quit their New Year’s resolutions.

I am no exception! For the last few years we have sat down as a family to write out our personal and family resolutions. Each year a few of our goals are met but for the most part we have forgotten or lacked in one way or another. This year I have chosen a different approach. First AJ and I sat down and discussed things we want to improve upon as a couple and as parents.

  • planning out Family Home Evening (FHE) for each quarter
  • consistently saying prayers and reading scriptures as a family each night
  • say yes more often
  • slower to anger
  • focus more on the whos than the whats

Some of my personal resolutions are linked to my 40 by 40 goals.

  • continue working out to get into better shape and a healthier weight (my ultimate goal is currently 175 lbs but I will see how my body shapes out as I get closer)
  • participate in and finish my first Spartan race
  • read scriptures daily in my personal study
  • find and make more “me” time
  • make memories instead of stressing about cleaning
  • including more whole foods with meals (yep means more meal planning)
  • get pregnant – yes I said it, now hopefully it will manifest!
  • read more! in addition to spiritual enlightenment I want to read one self-improvement and one novel per month… realistically it’ll probably be once a quarter…
  • be able to interpret for ASL

I really am looking forward to finishing a Spartan race this year. Most of the time I am elated and can hardly wait… other times the thought terrifies me. I look back over the last year and realize I have become stronger and may be able to handle it. This incoming year shows much promise and room for growth. Whatever 2017 might hold I am waiting with open arms to embrace my future!

Tell me some of your resolutions or goals for 2017. What are you focusing on this year? Do you make New Year’s goals?

 

I’ll Show You My… Holiday Décor!

Welcome to the festive holiday season! This month for our Mommy Blog collab we are opening our homes and showing you our Holiday Décor. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Danielle.


Our decorations are for Christmas and they go up every year on St. Nicholas Day. The kids also get a new ornament to hang on the tree and the family gets a new ornament to mark something special from the year. This year Dawn received a set of 3 ornaments to commemorate the first three years of the high school marching band. She has been participating since the inception when she was a freshman.
Little Red’s ornament is of kids on a school bus. She started public school this year and is thrilled with riding the bus, of course it was the best choice! Baby K is daddy’s little boy so his is baby snowman goofing around with daddy snowman. For our family ornament we purchased one in Williamsburg, VA of the Colonial district.

We have two trees, one for the family and special ornaments, the other is for the kids to decorate with their ornaments and whatever else they wish to use from my totes. In years past the girls have used all Disney ornaments and some balls. This year Dawn didn’t want any of those on the tree, she’s becoming an adult and too cool for all that nonsense. The kid tree is near the fireplace in the back of the house. We hang out stockings for Santa on the mantel with stocking holders.


Baby K has been grabbing ornaments off of the trees faster than I can pick them up. Instead of fighting him on keeping them on the tree I filled two Mason jars with the small ball ornaments from the kid tree. The big ones from the tree in the front room ended up in a glass bowl. It adds more décor and holiday festivities to the house. Besides I’m not going insane doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.


Here in the front room we have our tree where the presents are placed by Santa, ok and Mom and Dad.


A tradition on my side of the family is for everyone to have their own fancy Christmas stocking. My grandma started making these before I was born and everyone who has married into or been born in the Adams side of my family has one! When Dawn was born I began helping make them and have almost completely taken over. I enjoy watching them come together and knowing every year they are hung and enjoyed is an added pleasure. Being so far away from my family I can look at this wall and feel connected to them all during the holiday season.


We have three nativity sets, although two of them are missing a piece or two… The first was one AJ had purchased overseas, I love this little nativity scene we keep it out all year round.

The second is a set with a few missing pieces, they’ve been lost or broken and thrown away over the years.


Our third and newest nativity scene is this beautiful set with figures and all made from the wood of an Olive tree. It was a gift from my mom a few years ago.


We also have two advent calendars. This one I made when Dawn was a baby. The kids love pulling the little pieces out every year. I love it because I don’t have to remember to buy or put 24 little items in the advent.


A few years ago my sister Renee gave us this advent set. it is so fun and festive but I never end up putting anything in it, because I am forgetful to say the least!


I love all things about Christmas decorations. My home feels festive and homey this time of year. I enjoy the lights, shiny decorations, and all the little pieces of decoration that come together making a beautiful holiday season. I hope you have enjoyed this peak into our holiday home. What are some of your favorite holiday decorations around your home?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I’ll Show You My Blessings.

This month in honor of Thanksgiving we are taking our blog collab and making it grateful. This month I’ll Show You My… Blessings, 30 things I am thankful for. Normally the month of November social media is plastered with daily posts of gratitude. We decided to post in our blogs for you to read in one place. Katie, Tracy, and I are joined this month by Dara and new blogger Danielle.wp-1469151611004.png

1. Freedoms.
Recently the kids and I took a day trip to D.C.  Dawn studied early American history last year and is taking American government this year. Of course a visit to the National Archives was s must. The decades and centuries of fighting, debating, and molding our country are awe inspiring. I am beyond grateful for the men and women who sacrificed, fought and worked so dilligently for the many freedoms we are able to enjoy. Some, possibly most, I take for granted on a daily basis. God bless America! 

2. Extended family
HUGE blessing! From cousins to aunts and uncles to grandparents and in-laws, our lives are full of love and blessings from our extended family. We don’t live close to any of them but if we needed them they’d be here.

3. Stay at home mom
Growing up I knew I always wanted to to be a stay-at-home mom, eventually. I had a lot of wild ideas. Never did I imagine I would actually be able to be a stay at home mom. Some days I love my children more than I could imagine and other days I lose my sanity. All in all I get to be home with my kids as they grow.

4. AJ’s job
This is a double blessing for me. I have the ability to be a stay at home mom because AJ has a job. He works so hard to make sure our family has everything we need and sometimes things we want. We have been thru tight times financially but we’ve never been on hard times so much we couldn’t see a way out. His always having a job has been a huge blessing for our family.

5. Baking skills
Some people can cook a mean steak or prime rib or a great chicken pot pie. I am not one of them, I feed my family and they definitely don’t starve but my skills are in the baking. It may have some connection to my love of sugar and desserts. Fall is the big kick off of my baking season and I’m super excited!

6. Friends
After living out here for 7 years, being an adult for over 15 years I can say I have this “friend” thing down. What I mean is, I have friends, great friends, even some amazing friends; but I have learned I do not need a TON of friends. I have no desire to be the cool kid sitting at the popular table. I am who I am and so are my friends. I know when the crap hits the fan they will be there for me.

7. Religion
We posted on our religion last month so you can read more here. Having religion in my life has been a blessing in my hard and good times. No matter where I live the gospel and Church have always been there providing me a stable foundation.

8. Adoption
Adoption processes have been a part of my life, woven in and out like a tapestry. I have friends who were adopted, and other friends who have adopted. I can’t imagine my life without any of these people and I know I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for the ideas, processes, and ability of adoption.

9. My health
In all I do to my body and in my life I have been blessed with a healthy body. My blood pressure, despite my self induced stress, has been in normal limits. I have been working on getting my resting heart rate down with working out. I haven’t had any medical problems or difficulties so despite my own self-induced physical body abuse I have quite the healthy body. I have been blessed with great genetics.

10. Healthy kids
My kids have never had major illnesses, (knock on wood for eternity) and other than one broken leg over the last 16 years no broken bones or visits to the ER. No stitches either! We have truly been blessed in this department.

11. Beautiful seasons
Other than a few years in Utah, my seasonal changes have been nil. 90 degrees year round with a slight chance of rain were my seasons. Now I can sit in any room of my house and watch buds sprouting on trees, blossom into full green leaves, blow in the summer breeze, change colors and fall to the ground, then the tree gets covered in a beautiful white blanket. Such a beautiful blessing of colors and changes to watch each year.
one-street-four-seasons-newark-nj-afatihozay-instagram
*I found this image here

12. Owning my home
Ok technically, it is AJ’s house, but it is our home. We spent over a year looking for a house in NJ but could not find an affordable house with affordable taxes. After what seemed a small eternity, we finally landed in PA and have a lovely home. So many people are unable to find a place to call home and we have been blessed.

13. Being able to breastfeed
With the first two kids I was able to breastfeed short term. Afterwards they were on formula and on to organic whole milk. We have been so blessed to not have the added expenses of formula or special milk for baby boy K. He is still nursing, bonus! No formula this time around. Added blessing: special bonding moments with baby K.

14. Running water
Have you been anywhere without running water? I have… well water requires electricity and when we lose power we have no running water. One of the many modern day conveniences in America is running water… nope I don’t think I’d survive the zombie apocalypse.

15.Walks in nature
Living in north eastern PA has become a blessing in disguise for rediscovering nature. There are many walking and hiking trails in the local forest. Some trails lead to beautiful waterfalls, others to panoramic scenic views of the local area. Each one

16. Comfort food
My tastes have grown from instant pudding and mac’n cheese as a kid to dark chocolate and shrimp alfredo. ahh the good things in life.

17. My grandparents
These two amazing people have always been there for me. I can not imagine life without them. I really don’t want to. They will live forever right? Lie to me!

18. My husband
This man of mine… such a blessing. He is an answer to so many prayers, even the unasked prayers. Great to the kids, helps out around the house, and… he even loves me in all of my crazy quirkiness.
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19. My mom
Cheesy? maybe… but my mom has shown me I can overcome any challenge, to never accept failure as the end and to keep searching for my happiness. She is one of my best friends and I am so blessed to have an amazing relationship with her.

20. Relationship with siblings
Four girls and one boy… this is my core sibling list. My sisters and brother. Of course they’ve added on with spouses but my core siblings, the inner-inner circle if I may, are a crazy bunch, yes, and my crazy bunch. They call and text, check in, and fight as siblings do. They are MINE!

21. My Tribe
My tribe! Oh man I’ve been on a physical journey this last…. mmm not quite a year yet. They have been there to laugh, cry, fall, and push me when I need (and sometimes don’t want) it. I have held memberships to gyms before but have never felt like I was a part of a gym. I belong here. Best workout sessions ever! I mean have you ever laughed while doing an ab workout? I do!

22. Military Moments
This sounds a bit vague but it’s a broad topic covering many facets of the military life. Recently I attended a dedication ceremony on a gazebo for families of local fallen military. It was touching to see families and soldiers being honered and remembered years after their passing. The military community is another piece of the puzzle making me. I have been blessed to meet and volunteer with incredible men and women in the military community.
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*photo courtesy of Linda Kerr/Tobyhanna ACS

23. Technology
How did we survive without cell phones, instant internet access and google? Seriously? Does anyone remember. I do, but it’s all a blur like a different lifetime ago. No technology is definitely a 1st world problem. I take it for granted but know what a blessing it is being able to utilize technology every day to reach family and friends across the globe.

24. My education
Walkingor driving to school was no big deal. High school was… well I’m not telling how long ago. After high school I went to community college for the majority of my general education classes then continued onto a university for my undergraduate degree in business management, yep I have a BS in BM haha. Not everyone has these opportunities and I recognize the blessing school has been for me.

25. Music
In high school I actually wanted a doctorate in music and my big plan was to teach… ya I know big dreams. Music has always been a part of me and my life. I sing, dance, play instruments, everthing. When I’m home alone during the day music is playing. I’m not a technical music gal but I dabble a bit. Music brings joy in ways I can not describe. Aside from signing and dancing, music is a talent of mine. I have played an instrument since I was in 4th grade. I picked up a flute and haven’t quit since.

26. Talents
I believe recognizing and knowing our talents is important so we can expand on them. I’ve talked about music and baking. I am a Jane of all trades, master of none, as the saying goes. I dabble in much. Sewing, writing, sketching to name a few. The blessing of talents is the ability and opportunity to bless other lives with those talents.

27. Two car family
This may seem silly but if we only had one car (which many people don’t even have one car) I would never leave the house during the week. No tribe, no errands, no shopping. What would I do?! We do not have public transportation here. Life. Would. Be. Terrible.

28. My exes
Yes, my exes are blessings. The broken hearts, bad boys, terrible mistakes, ones that didn’t last… all of them helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today. They also helped prepare me and my life for the wonderful man I have today.

29. Creature comforts
This includes more of those little blessings I take for granted most days. Heat, a warm bed, comfy blankets, a fireplace, fans during the hot months, thick wool socks. The little things in life really make it great don’t they?

30. All of you
I am blessed to have followers and readers such as you.  Each of you brings new light and perspective to my blog and online life.

What are some things you find yourself thankful for this month? Posting your blessings and gratitude on your blog this month? Post your link in the comments.

I’ll Show You My…

Welcome to the October edition of our Mommy Blog Collab. This month Katie, and I are joined by Tracy and Dara. Pop on over to their blogs and get to know them as well. I hope you all are enjoying getting to know us better as each month we delve into a new topic opening our lives up a little more. This month we are on a different topic. I’ll Show You My Religion.

We have had a few diverse posts showing you in our collab how different we are. A few months ago we posted about our tattoos. Katie and Tracy showed us their tattoos with enthusiasm and excitement, even talking about more they hope to get in the future. Then there was my post…. I don’t have tattoos, members of my family do, I don’t.  We remain friends and I like to think our differences make us better friends as we can explore more aspects of life by talking openly and casually with each other. We aren’t always sprinkles, lollipops and rainbows but we are real. We listen.

What is a religion? Many words are synonymous with religion such as faith, belief, worship and church. Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, according to the Oxford online dictionary.  Sounds simple enough… let’s dig a bit deeper into that definition on a personal level.

I am a Mormon.

Mormon is the nickname given for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. LDS, LDS Church, Mormon Church; these are all synonymous with the Church. Where did the Mormon nickname come from? I’m glad you asked! The long in the short of it, we believe the Holy Bible to be the word of God, in the proper and correct translation given from God. There has also been a second record located and translated in these latter-days. The records follow families from Jerusalem as they escaped under the direction of God in the early years of the reign of King Zedekiah. The bible traces the history of the Jews, while these new records follow the families who left Jerusalem and eventually came to the Americas. Much as the bible follows and recounts the history of many people over a long period of time, this other record does the same. Think of it as prophets keeping a journal of the church and people. These records were compiled by the last righteous man of the people, a man named Mormon. He abridged the records together creating one book. This book is called The Book of Mormon. As this book is unique to our religion we are given the nickname Mormon. This is the average, as opposed to the short,  in the long of it so to speak. You may obtain your own free copy of this book here.

Who are Mormons? What do we believe? Basic and simplistically put members of the Church are Christians. There is a lot of information available if you want the facts and statistics. Here and here are a few. We do not practice polygamy. Most likely the information you have from watching TV shows, movies or plays is an inaccurate depiction of modern day Mormons. The exception to this is Meet The Mormons, real people, real life, not a reality show.

Where do I fit into all of this?

Well I was born into the Church, meaning my family were active members of the Church, attending and practicing their faith. As a baby I received a baby blessing in front of the congregation during Sunday worship, Sacrament meeting. Eight years later on a Saturday in December I was baptized a member of the Church, of my own free will.

This is similar to a confirmation in the Catholic Church as we are now accountable for our own actions and decisions, as far as our knowledge has allowed. I have been thru a rebellious stage in my life where I did not live up to my own moral standards and beliefs. By the time I met AJ I was a practicing, full-time, active member of the Church again. We married in a civil union then a year after he joined the Church, and was baptized, we were able to enter the Salt Lake Temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity as husband and wife as well as to our children. 

Our lives are normal, we are regular people living in a normal house in the middle of nowhere PA (also known as the Poconos). Each Sunday we attend services as a family. Sacrament meeting is comparable to mass, or communion. We partake of the Sacrament, think last supper, and are taught Gospel Doctrine by other members of the congregation. Sunday School is less formal. The adults have separate classes from the kids for the remainder of services. The third hour adults attend a second class but are taught in groups of men and women. The women attend Relief Society and the men are in a Priesthood class. The children are in Primary for Sunday school and auxiliary classes. Teenagers have a Sunday school class followed by Young Women and Young Men/Priesthood classes. There are also other activities during the week and get togethers throughout the year. All classes, meetings and organization are lead by members of the Church in a volunteer capacity. Our Scout groups, the youth leaders, even our ward leaders are volunteers. These volunteers are asked to serve in these capacities as a calling from God.

Every Sunday we have service. Every six months there is also a Church wide broadcast to the world. This broadcast is from the Church leaders in SLC,UT providing guidance, admonition and direction for members and the world. While there are guidelines and direction given all religion is individual.

Like other aspects of life, there are ups and downs, high points and challenging moments.  I do not know everything but I will continue to strive to learn and improve myself. I am a work in progress. I do know and believe my religion is a part of who I am. While I do sustain and follow the guidance of our Church leaders, I seek God as an individual. My relationship with Him and His son, Jesus Christ are very personal. I believe He speaks directly to me giving guidance and council as I ask and listen. The Holy Spirit guides and prompts when I am worthy.

One of my favorite quotes is framed with a picture of Jesus, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

I welcome any and all questions and comments about my post and religion. Please do so  respectfully.

If you wish to join us in this month’s blog collab post, tag back to this post or comment below. Interested in future topics of I’ll Show You My? Reach out to myself or Katie.

I’ll Show You My…

Has it been a month already? It has!! Time for September’s edition of mommy and lifestyle blog collab I’ll Show You My… with Katie. This month we are talking back to school haul!

Our kids are back in public school this year. We made sure to have enough of everything and then some for the entire school year, not only the start of the year, but all year long. With one child in 1st grade and another in 11th so they have different needs.  Not knowing exactly what the girls would need this year in school we stocked up on about everything they could need.

Fortunately, we receive back-to-school supplies thru Operation Homefront. They run a school supply donation drive each year and several military units are able to receive these donations. We are able to get a lot of supplies as AJ’s unit is small and there are enough for everyone. Half of these supplies are actually left over from the small supplies we received last year!

When school started we received notice from #2’s teacher she did not need any school supplies as she provides everything so it can all be the same. We will send in other supplies she needs such as disinfectant wipes and tissue. High school is a bit different and they are expected to be more responsible for themselves. #1 has supplies as she has seen fit to use, mostly composition notebooks, pens and pencils. Luckily we have enough of those and she seems to be doing well with them.

Did you get enough of your own school supplies? What does your stash look like? Post yours and link it back here!

I’m including a giveaway this month! I want to pass our blessings on to one of you! One person will win a flat rate box filled with school supplies! To enter simply make sure you are following my blog as well as Katie’s blog, then comment below! Entry deadline is Friday 16 September at 11:59pm ET.