Sunday, April 27, 2014

10 ways to be a better spouse: My notes from the 2014 April LDS General Conference

Hi all! I have been meaning to make this blog post for a while, but I just haven't had the chance until now! General Conference (for the LDS church) was almost a month ago! Before listening to all 8 hours I wrote down a few questions that I wanted answers to. One of my questions was, "How can I be a better spouse?" Well! I was very inspired by so many of the talks given and I received some direct answers to this question and I just wanted to share the top 10 things that can be done to improve your marriage! This can be applied to any relationship that you have! So, if you aren't married... this still can very much be applied to your life.

10 ways to be a better spouse

  1. We can't change our spouses, but we can do all that is possible to change ourselves.
  2. Speak kindly towards each other and listen with love.
  3. Gratitude heals the heart and expands the mind.
  4. Forgive and forget.
  5. Happiness at home should be our main goal.
  6. Couples that pray together stay together.
  7. Some of our greatest opportunities to love and serve happen within our own homes. Take advantage of these opportunities given!
  8. Intimacy is important and sacred.
  9. Respect each other.
  10. If we build our foundation upon Christ-- we cannot fail.

I am sure that we have heard these things so many times, but that just confirms how important it is to do them! The reason why I had this question in mind while I was listening conference... is because I am not a perfect wife and there is always room for improvement! I have no doubt that God wants us to be happy in our family life and that is why he has given us to many different sources to look towards as we try to figure out how to achieve happiness and bliss. I'm grateful for my husband! I'm grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be a wife and a mother. It is so challenging at times and yet if those responsibilities were taken away from me I would be nothing! I would have no purpose and my joy would be gone. I believe that the hardest things in life are the most important. Therefor we need to cherish them and nurture them. :)


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Losing the baby weight and why it doesn't matter

I started blogging, because I thought it would be a fun way to document great family memories-- because I am horrible at keeping a journal. But then I also want to blog, because I have learned a few lessons that have proven to be more than a blessing in my life and it would be selfish of me to not share what I have learned-- just hoping that somewhere out there I can help someone. With this goal in mind, I am going to be as honest and open as I can be. When I was in high school I struggled with  my weight. There is a stereotype that all women worry about their weight and it's just a stupid thing that they need to get over. That couldn't be further from the truth. The truth is-- some women have a mental disorder that manifests itself through eating disorders. I remember the exact moment that I decided that I wanted to be skinny and that I was going to do everything I could to achieve that. I was on an airplane flying from Japan to Utah for summer break and I was flipping through a people magazine and I saw someone that, to me, looked flawless. I wanted that. I was so tired of not being happy with the way that I felt in my clothes that I decided then and there that I was going to do something about it. I sat down in my seat and when the food was brought to us I only ate the salad part and drank water. It felt good, but it wasn't enough. Days went by and I dropped calories, I took laxatives (So hard to admit this by the way), I exercised 2 times a day. Guess what... I started losing weight. It felt good, but then it became an obsession. It affected my friendships, I wasn't happy because I couldn't enjoy food or be normal in social situations. My mind started to play tricks on me and I refused to eat a whole orange one day... it didn't even phase me. Why am I telling you this? I wasn't happy. I might have "looked good" in my mind, but like I said it was an unhealthy lifestyle. It lasted about 2 years. One day my sweet father came into my room to check up on me. He was in tune enough to know that I needed help-- I needed to put my life back into perspective. If you know my Dad, you know that he is a very spiritual man. He always would correct me or teach me by using scriptures. I wasn't hesitant this time to listen to what he wanted to share with me, because I just wanted to be happy. After all, isn't this the purpose of life? To be happy? He opened up the Bible to 2nd Timothy 1:7 and proceeded to read me this, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." I was trying to have power by controlling my eating and in turn I lost power, I lost love, and I didn't have a sound mind. That moment changed me forever. That was the moment that I began to heal and allowed God to lead me through life. It took a lot of habit forming and mind changing, but I healed. This can be applied to any struggle, any addiction, any trial. I believe that we have been given trials to make us stronger and in turn they can even become our strength. Today I hardly think twice about what I am eating. Sure, I like to eat healthy. Mainly because I know that my body is no longer my own and what I eat will affect my daughter who depends on me for nourishment. But it was just as simple as me choosing in one moment to throw away my negative thoughts and bad habits and to love myself. It's ok to love yourself, because you are a son or daughter of God. You are precious and your life is meant to be enjoyed. Yes, we have trials and sometimes they seem like that are too hard to bear. I can promise you that whatever it is that is bringing you down... you can overcome it. I did. And I continue to do so as I have trials and face them with more confidence knowing that God is on our side. Don't forget that you are BEAUTIFUL. Some of the most beautiful people (to me) are those who are kind, willing to listen, humble, teachable, funny, forgiving, loyal, trustworthy. It doesn't have anything to do with outer appearance and yet they glow. So I want to say thank you. Thank you to the people out there who genuinely try to do good things, because you bring beauty in my life. Thank you to those who truly are confident in the way you look and the way you live, because you make me want to be more confident and know that I am worth it all. Thank you to my parents who have taught me to follow God and above all be true to my beliefs and my standards. Thank you. As for my goal, did I achieve it? Yes. Did I obsess over it? No. In fact I didn't work out or even worry about what I ate... funny enough the baby weight just came off because of nursing. Do I want to eat healthy and exercise to stay this way? Sure! We need to take care of our bodies and be healthy, but above all we just need to live a balanced life and if we choose to be happy then we genuinely WILL be HAPPY. I hope this post wasn't too deep or personal, but hey... I felt like I should share-- so I did. :) I love you all.

Here are some pictures of me and my family at my uncles Super Food Café called "Cafe upgrade"-- Love it! We love to be healthy and it brings happiness all around. Also some pics from my brother, Robert's birthday yesterday.

Celebrating my sweet Uncle Nathan's Birthday at my Uncle Matt's Superfood Cafe

Nate, Robert, & Matt (Nathan loves to take pictures!)

Goji Berry & chia seed Lemonade! Was pretty intense

All organic lunch

Brooklyn's Great Grandma

Brooklyn's Great Grandpa

Shopping at City Creek for Rob's bday

Robert picked out some sweet new shoes! Love the kid

My Mom LOVES being a Grandma

Brooklyn is making the cutest faces lately

Yummy Cold Stone cake

Happy 22nd baby bro. LOVE YOU

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My 30 day challenge results

Today marks the end of my 1 month social media fast. Wow! This past month really flew by.  First of all, I just want to throw it out there and recommend to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by Facebook and Instagram to just step back and take a small break. It was a great learning experience for me and I was able to really enjoy every moment with my family and friends without being distracted by checking my phone all of the time. Second of all, I learned that being on Facebook and Instagram isn't a bad thing at all! I have come to love "following" friends and family on their accounts just simply admiring everyone's beautiful and unique lives. I genuinely feel like I have made some new and long lasting friends just from these social media outlets and I'm so grateful for those relationships. Thirdly, I was able to accomplish most of the goals that I had set for this time period. I tweaked one of the goals and one of them I don't think I completely accomplished, but I will elaborate on that later! My first goal was to paint something for Brooklyn's room! This was the funnest goal to work on and I did it the very first day that I started the challenge! I have to admit something here... I'm lucky, because my sweet Mother is an art teacher at home and so I had access to a canvas, paint, and some crafty things which made this goal a lot easier to accomplish and a lot cheaper. For fun I'm going to post one of her paintings here so you can see how good she is!!! Hope she doesn't mind. :)
Amazing right? She has this one hanging in one of her hallways. (Thanks for sharing the love, mama). My painting doesn't even come close to hers haha. I haven't formally taken any art classes beyond college drawing, but I had fun doing this and It adds some fun colors to Brooklyn's nursery!

Final Product!

The second goal that I made was to learn how to use coupons to save a lot of $$$ on groceries! This is the goal that I tweaked a little bit. I'm still in the process of learning how to use the coupons, but in the mean time I started to meal plan and I can say that I save at least $100 a month on groceries now. On our starving student budget... that is HUGE for us! I'm hoping that what I share can help other people to save money and at the same time, make new meals for the family. :) So, I'm a visual learner and I explain things the best by using pictures! (I'll share them in a second). I do my meal planning and weekly grocery shopping on Saturday's. Some people might prefer to do their shopping on a different day, but this has worked out the best for me. It usually takes about an hour! I don't mind though, because it has become "my thing," and once you get the hang of it... it's pretty fun! I combined this goal with my "Learn 5 new yummy meals goal," and it turned out to be a success. I make a list of a few new meals that I want to learn that week and I get the recipes just from online or Pinterest. I take a piece of paper and write down the days of the week and the I fill in the meal that I plan to make for each day.  I try to plan meals so that I can use a certain ingredient more than once during the week. For example... One day I plan on making a pot roast and then use the remaining meat (leftovers) and use different spices to make beef tacos or something like that. I also try to use recipes that use the same fresh herbs and spices. Cilantro is one of my favorites to finish off during a week. I then write down my grocery list for the week according to the meals that I am going to make and also according to the food that I already have in my pantry. There are obviously some staples that I get every week no matter what... my fruits, eggs, bread...etc. Here is what it might look like:

Sunday: Pot roast with potatoes & carrots
Monday: Beef Tacos w/fruit salad (use left over beef for tacos)
Tuesday: Lemon chicken pasta w/artichokes & feta (use left over feta for salads)
Wednesday: Southwestern eggrolls & avocado salad (use extra cilantro for quesadillas)
Thursday: Chicken & veggie Spaghetti w/side salad
Friday: Homemade pizza (use leftover tomato sauce for pizza sauce)
Saturday: Quesadillas

Grocery list:
.... groceries will vary according to what you already have at home to use in your meals for that week and what you need beyond just your main meals like your staples. Another way that I save a lot of money is shopping sales and also not buying brand name foods and supplies. There are a few brands that I prefer and I will budget for a little extra in costs, but seriously... generic brands usually taste the same or have the same quality as name brand items.

Ok, so this might  be crazy to some people, but my weekly budget for food is $60 (including diapers when I need them or household items). It doesn't seem like a lot, but I come home with all of the food that I need that week and then some and I usually never go over my budget. I understand that some of you are feeding more than 2-3 people, so you can just make your budget out to match the needs of your family! I hope that this isn't confusing. Here are some pictures of my meal plans that I make and actually take to the grocery store with me.

Although I am still in the process of learning how to use coupons... I do know that you will find coupons in the Sunday newspapers (you can buy them at grocery stores, gas stations, or get a weekly subscription) as well as online ( etc. Once You learn how to use coupons on top of meal planning on top of sales.... you can save a ton of money and put that extra money into savings. Sounds good to me! Hope all of this makes sense. If this just helps only one person out there then I will be happy. Money is hard to come by these days and you might as well save where you can!

As for my other goals and more ... I will be sharing those separately on different posts here soon! I love you all and I'm so grateful for all of the love and support that I get from you. Here's to a great week ahead of us!

Some recent photos of the family:


                                                          Hasta muy pronto

Friday, February 14, 2014

something awesome.

Ok, this is my very FIRST blog post on my very FIRST blog. I'm flippin excited. I never wanted to be a "blogger," but ever since I became a Wifey and a Mommy I have been really wanting to find a way to document our awesome life! Because let's be honest... that's what life is all about. We need to cherish EVERY second, because it is the most amazingly precious gift... WOW. we are so blessed. 
 (BTW can you tell that I'm a super casual writer? Sorry to my English major friends!)

Tomorrow I'm starting a 30 day challenge! ((Anyone is welcome to join the challenge if up for it.)) I am going to go 30 days without using social media (Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest). Why? Let me tell you! My baby is almost 2 months old and I thought that I lucked out and didn't get the "baby blues," but it turns out that it's knocking on my door and I don't want to let it in! I feel like I haven't accomplished anything... which isn't true since my body just made a CHILD for 9 months, gave birth to her, and now I have been taking care of her almost 24/7! I KNOW that that is a miracle and an accomplishment, but I want to do more! I am always the most successful when I challenge myself or have others hold my accountable so I am going to post 5 things that I want to accomplish in the next month and when the challenge is over I will post my experience and my accomplishments with pictures and everything. :) I'm pretty excited!
My goals:
1. Paint something for Brooklyn's Nursery! We'll see what I come up with!
2. Learn how to use coupons and SAVE BIG $$$ on groceries.
3. Learn how to make 5 new yummy meals.
4. Lose the rest of my pregnancy weight. (3.5 lb left to lose)
5. Read a new book!
Yay. I am really excited about this! So grateful to my husband, new baby, family, and of course all of you! Life just wouldn't be as enjoyable without them and you guys. Here's to making the most out of life!!!!
OH, and here are some great pictures of Brooklyn! (Thanks to Ashley Morgan Photography)

Happy Valentine's Day!