Low-Stress Holiday Hosting with Georgia-Pacific (And a Favorite Recipe for Feeding a Crowd!).

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I WISH entertaining was something that came super naturally to me! I seriously admire people who have a knack for creating gatherings, inviting people over for dinner at a moment’s notice, or throwing parties–what better way is there to foster relationships and make people feel loved and included than to invite them into your home? For the first few years that Dave and I were married, having people over was something I always ended up enjoying a lot in the end, but the preparations were always stressful and I needed like a week of advance notice. I felt like my house had to be perfectly clean and the food super impressive. Plus, our little duplex that was built in the 1940’s works great for our starving student budget, but I always felt insecure about inviting people over because the lack of a dining area is not super conducive to entertaining! Noticing a theme? Lots of excuses 😉

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20 Little-Kid-Friendly Stocking Stuffers Under $10

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Stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning! I don’t know if it’s the challenge of finding items that will fit into a giant sock, or the excuse to splurge on the little impulse-purchase type things we resist throughout the rest of the year (those EOS lip balms in the check out line, am I right???), but both stuffing and opening stockings is something I always look forward to. Now that I have two little ones it’s twice the fun!

As much as I would love to go hog-wild on little treasures for my girls, we are on a tight Christmas budget this year (haha, I say that every year….I don’t see it changing in the near future ;)) and stocking stuffers can add up really fast. However, I also hate clutter and don’t want to just buy junk. Even if it was cheap to begin with, who wants to spend any money at all on things that will just be broken or forgotten in 20 minutes? My strategy is to set a budget for each stocking, fill it with a lot of snacks (little bags of crackers and cookies, juice boxes, fruit snacks, applesauce pouches, basically the prepackaged foods that kid dreams are made of), a few useful things that are fun but will get used up and we’d end up buying eventually anyway — play dough, bubble bath, character band-aids that Ella will quickly plaster all over her limbs, cute socks (the Target Dollar Spot is the best for stuff like this!)– and get a one or two nicer toys or games that will hold their appeal past 10 a.m. on Christmas morning!

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Our 3 Favorite FREE Family Programs at BYU

For the first five years of me and Dave’s marriage, and the first two years of Ella’s life, we lived right by BYU (Brigham Young University) in Provo, Utah. Even though I had gone to school and worked on campus throughout that time, I still hadn’t heard of most of these fun and FREE family-friendly programs until recently … after we had ironically moved about half an hour north! We love all of these fun outings so much, though, that we still head down for them quite often. It’s a good excuse to drop by the dozens of food places we love in Provo, anyway 🙂 This programming is really high-quality and I can’t believe a lot of it is free and open to the public! 

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My 72-Hour Kit on a Budget (With Printable Shopping List!)

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I’m probably not alone in my heartache for all of those that have been affected recently by hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes (and other crises) around the world. These events are always sobering, but for some reason social media made them seem so much more REAL to me this time! I think when we watch the news it’s easier to think “how horrible,” but detach ourselves from the situation. When we see an individual person’s take on the events, it makes it so much more personal.

Watching (via Instagram) a few moms like me deal with these situations really drove home the need for a little bit of emergency prep on my part. I’m embarrassed to admit that we had NOTHING in the way of disaster supplies. If we had to quickly leave our house, I would be a wreck (think how long it takes to get ready to go anywhere overnight when you have little kids!). And even if we didn’t have to leave our house, but were just stuck at home for a few days without power or heat or a way to get to the store to buy clean water, I’d hate to look at my cold, thirsty kids and try to explain why I hadn’t taken the time to work on this beforehand.

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Fresh Peach Pie with Soda Cracker Crust

I have a complicated relationship with fruity desserts. I love the idea of them (like, what’s classier than a pear tart?), but if I’m being honest with myself I’d usually rather just have a brownie. Or a chocolate chip cookie. Or a cupcake. Basically something with chocolate, let’s just cut to the chase.

Same thing goes for pie. I’m just not the biggest fan. I look forward to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, and then I don’t crave it for another 364 days. Granted, I will make exceptions for a french silk pie or one of those ice-cream or cream-cheese-and-peanut-butter things in an oreo crust, just masquerading as legitimate pie, but if we’re talking apple or cherry I’m usually just “meh.”

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Berry Citrus Scones

#berries #scones #breakfast #baking

Guys. THESE SCONES. I tried to come up with an appropriate title to convey how much I love them. “Best Scones Ever” seems hyperbolic.  “Crumbly hunks of butter and berries” doesn’t sound appetizing. “What I Make for Breakfast Anytime I Have Overnight Guests” wouldn’t look cute on a pinable image. So “Berry Citrus Scones” it is.

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5 Tips for Smoother Summer Outings with Kids!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishInNoTime #SnackWithPurpose #CollectiveBias
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We’ve been waiting for you, summertime! Even though my kids are little and we don’t have to adhere to a school-year schedule yet, there’s something magical about this time of year. We love to play hard and take advantage of everything that our beautiful corner of the world has to offer, but this is my first “real” year doing summer fun with two kids (last year P was a newborn and so we were sort of in hibernation for a good part of June and July) and getting the hang of getting out of the house is still tricky. Not to mention keeping everyone happy and safe for more than fifteen minutes wherever we choose to actually go. It’s not an easy feat! No wonder sticking in our backyard and running through the sprinkler looks pretty alluring.

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Nursing-Friendly Dress Roundup!

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Utah in the summertime is HOT for this Alaskan transplant! As much as I love a good pair of mom shorts, dresses are probably my favorite option for looking cute while still staying cool. However, as I discovered last summer, dresses are not always compatible with breastfeeding! Ella was born at the beginning of October, and we didn’t make it too terribly long with nursing, so my wardrobe options weren’t really limited as we approached the next summer. P, however, was born May 31st and, being the world’s biggest mama’s girl is every way possible, is still going strong with nursing a year later. Which, I mean, I’m grateful for, but I’ve been wearing the same three outfits to church for the past year as a result!

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Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know if I’m cursed, or what, but this past week has just been a flop as far as cooking is concerned. Things got off on the wrong foot when the massaman curry paste I ordered from Amazon failed to show up (it eventually did, like four days late, with a crack in the bottom of the jar. Thanks a lot Prime!) and I had to scramble to figure out a meal to replace that one I had planned. Then I tried a new copycat recipe for Cafe Rio pork that just ended up tasting like enchilada sauce with a bunch of brown sugar mixed into it.

I made cinnamon rolls on Saturday but didn’t realize that the ones in the middle were totally under-cooked until AFTER I frosted them and they couldn’t be popped back into the oven. Rookie mistake! I know these are major first-world problems, but I’m a girl who lives for food! Nothing is more disappointing than wasting time and ingredients on a recipe that doesn’t turn out.

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