Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reading and Cooking with the Kitchen Club Kids!

*I was gifted copies of these books as compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Dave and I both love cooking and helping in the kitchen is one of the *few* chores that Ella is thus far interested in. She LOVES cooking with us (which, regardless of what we are making, mostly involves her self-assigned task of spooning teaspoons full of baking soda into a bowl or cup, or eating the ingredients as pictured above). So when one of the authors of the adorable Kitchen Club Kids series contacted me and asked if I would be interested in sharing their books with Ella, I jumped at the chance. And trust me, they have quickly become a staple in our house!

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Dry Skin Drama–Restored Body Butter to the Rescue!

Hi everyone! Ok, I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged. What can I say, fall, a new school schedule, the holiday season, and a few other changes in our routine totally got to me and I was swamped. But I’m back, and hoping I will get back in the blogging swing of things starting today πŸ™‚

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So it’s November, which is one of my favorite months. Like everyone else, according to my Instagram feed, I love fall and all of the holidays, beautiful foliage, and fun activities that come with it. BUT, we live in Utah. Utah is basically the driest place on the planet (ok, maybe not but I did verify that it’s the second-driest state after Nevada) and so when cold weather starts to hit, our skin suffers. Not just mine, but Ella’s and Dave’s as well. Growing up in Alaska, the long, cold winters were pretty hard on my skin. I think I permanently damaged my hands from blasting the heater in my little Honda on the way to school in the morning, and sticking my frozen little mitts right up on the heat. I would have chapped, cracked hands for months (super attractive when you’re an already-self-conscious teenager), but life in the dessert is its own beast, as I’ve learned, and if I’m not careful I’m an itchy mess by April. When it comes to winter, I NEED something that works and doesn’t have to be reapplied 50 times a day, because who has the patience for that?

Therefore, when Tiffany at Restored Natural Body Care offered to send me some of her body butter, I jumped at the chance to try it out! I’ve tried plenty of body butters before, but this one immediately stood out because of how natural it smelled and felt. Restored products are free of the 3P’s:Β preservatives, parabens, or phthalates. The majority of the products are organic and there isn’t a huge long laundry list of ingredients. The philosophy is that you don’t need a huge list of ingredients and preservatives for something to be effective! Just choose simple, natural ingredients that work, like shea butter and coconut oil.

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I tried the Lemon Fresca Body Butter which smells amazing! I love that this product is scented with essential oils. It smells fresh and invigorating. The butter is whipped, so it’s nice and light, but a little goes a long way! The texture is a little greasy, just because the product is oil-based to avoid the need for preservatives, but it soaks into skin very quickly. In fact, that is wayyyyyy less greasy than more mainstream brands that I’ve used for years, like Aquaphor.

Another aspect of this company is the fact that Tiffany owns and operates it on her own! Everything is mixed, packaged, and shipped by her and her alone. Her storyΒ about how she gained interest in skin care is really cool, too. And she donates 5% of all sales to local nonprofits. Pretty cool.

If you are interested in checking out any of Restored Natural Body Care’s products, you can use the code SLAPTHANKS for 20% off all orders until December 2nd. So if you’re in the market for some new winter skincare (she’s got a line of lip balms and scrubs as well), or you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, consider supporting a small business!

*I was compensated with product to review for this post. All opinions and thoughts are mine. Thanks!

8 Hilarious Twitter Accounts You Need to Follow

I am FAR from a Twitter aficionado. I have an account but I don’t get on a ton and I don’t really utilize it for communication, or keeping up with the news or, you know, worthwhile things. BUT, I do appreciate the plethora of hilarious people and accounts that are on there, and I thoroughly enjoy logging in and, if I’m in public, laughing silently while tears stream down my face. So I thought I would share in case you enjoy them as much as I do! Far be it from me to withhold from you more opportunities to waste time on the internet.

 I owe my sister Grace credit for introducing me to like 90% of these. She has awesome taste in humor. If I’m ever bored or feel like wasting way too much time, checking out her favorited tweets is my jam. Also, I feel compelled to mention that while most of these accounts don’t post a lot of bad language/crude humor, I can’t promise that everything they say in the future will be G-rated so please follow at your own risk! πŸ™‚ I don’t want to offend anyone.

 I am actually nervous that people will judge me for being so weird after reading these, but, who cares, so in no particular order, here are eight of my favorite peeps on Twitter:

1. Awkward Girl @AwkGrlPrblms

I said no particular order but she’s quite possibly my favorite person on Twitter. Lots of terrible puns, lots of self-deprecation, lots of 90s pop-culture references, lots of awkward.

 


 2. Bridger Wingar @bridger_w

I don’t really know how to describe this account. We can only assume i’ts a fake persona? I guess we’ll never know. Very very weird and intense.

3. Brendan O’Hare @brendohare

Very similar to Bridger Winegar. Dramatized persona (I can only assume…..), intense, socially inept and hilarious.

4. Very British Problems @SoVeryBritish

While I am not British, I still find most of these hilarious and relate-able. Some of these are Britain-specific but a lot of them are applicable if you’re just the people-pleasing type.

5. Jamie Woodham @jwoodham

Overall funny but I particularly like his Harry Potter and other literary references.

6. What Taylor Does  @WhatTaylorDoes

A must for any fan of the real T-Swift. Parodied, third person, over-dramatized and romanticized narration of her supposed life. Bonus is the funny references to her songs and actual relationships, you know, if you follow that sort of thing…..

7. Jordan Schlansky @jordanschlansky

 Associate producer for Conan O’Brien with extremely dry observations about life.

8. Anti Comedian @jokeisntfunny
If you roll your eyes at overdone jokes, you’ll enjoy this. Very dry and sarcastic calling out of cliche humor.

And there you have it! I hope somebody out there enjoyed this because I spent an embarrassing amount of time compiling these. Please comment with some of your favorite funny people!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Most of the time, the phrase, “pasta salad” does not conjure up the freshest or healthiest associations. I typically think of macaroni or rotini doused in a bland, mayonnaise-y dressing with bacon and cheddar chunks floating around. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….but sometimes you want a pasta side dish with a more updated and flavorful twist!

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Cash in Your Closet: 4 Ways to Make Some $$$ on Your Used Clothes!

 
I don’t remember exactly how it all got started, but last fall I fell in love with reselling my used clothes, shoes, and purses. Since then I have probably sold around 100-150 items (some of them being things my sisters were getting rid of and asked me to sell for them), and I have definitely learned a few tricks of the trade along the way. And the best surprise? There’s a market for brands that I actually have in my closet, like J.Crew, Loft, Ugg, Nike, Boden, Land’s End, etc, not just super high-end, designer brands, which is what I had kind of assumed before!
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Canker Sore from Hades

Hello blog friends. It’s been a while….and I fully blame the fact that we have been battling never-ending colds around here. Having a cold is the pits because, let’s be honest, it sounds a bit lame to say you can’t come to something because you have a cold.  The flu or strep throat or something, now that is a legitimate excuse. But I will admit that when other people are like, “well, I can’t make it, I have a cold,” I am kind of like, “Just admit you don’t want to come.” That is, until I get sick myself and feel that the world is coming to an end.

The cold itself was annoying, but somewhere along the way, after several days of sounding like a pack-a-day smoker, I also developed a canker sore. IN my throat. Which throbbed all day and night and I thought I was dying.

I felt like the most over-dramatic person on the planet as I debated going to the doctor. What was I going to say when I made the appointment….I have a canker sore? And it hurts real bad? So I put it off and kept saying I would go in the next day if it didn’t get better. In the meantime I was averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night because I would wake up in the night in pain and couldn’t fall back asleep. So obviously all I had left to do was troll the internet looking for solidarity on various message boards (which I found, in spades. Not that I was posting on message boards, just enjoying the helpful comments. The internet can be either a very understanding or very venomous place). I first accidentally googled, “cancer sore in throat,” and I was very concerned for about two minutes. Thankfully I righted the situation and found about 800 home remedies which I tried as I wandered the apartment trying from the hours of 4am-7am. For the record, holding an asprin on a canker sore….does nothing. And it’s really easy to drop it down the back of your throat and gag yourself.

After the third day I finally acquiesced and called the doctor. And I felt about as foolish as I had anticipated, probably with good reason. My doctor was very nice but I could tell she was like, “why are you here? You have a very common household ailment?” She prescribed a topical medication that would numb the area a bit and I left feeling like the world’s biggest wimp. I spent most of the rest of the week shining a flashlight down my throat and asking Dave if anything looked different than before. I also took a few pics of the situation (you know, for posterity). But I’ll spare you those.

Thankfully I am back to normal now. I am more thankful for the sake of those around me than my own. But I can promise you if anyone in my life ever has to back out of plans because they have a canker sore situation I won’t question their integrity. But if you have a cold you still have to come.

Sickie Day

We are having a sickie day around here today. Not to be confused with a sick day–those are more serious. Ella woke up in the middle of the night crying and had spiked a fever. She gets night terrors already, and when she gets a fever they get like five times as frequent, so we were up for a good part of the night trying to calm her down. There isn’t much you can do for night terrors except try to just soothe the poor kid with your voice and quiet them down but it’s hard as a parent to watch Ella moan and cry and not really be able to intervene (if anyone has experience with kids that have had these, let me know what helped!). Thankfully she is still in a crib so she can’t wander, and our doctor says she will probably grow out of them. But it still made for a rough night, and Ella was still a little feverish this morning and she slept in pretty late (we think it may just be teething) so we are laying low. 

Thank goodness for Arthur episodes on the DVR and jammies! 

Since we were home all morning I made the salsa that was supposed to go with our enchiladas last night. I wasn’t on the ball enough to make it last night so tonight we will have salsa and….pork chops. That goes well, right? Also I recognize that this looks more like a salad than salsa since, as per the name of this blog, I am much too impatient to dice things smaller than the size of a sugar cube. 


We did take a short little walk to get outside for a bit and checked the mail on the way back inside. I was so excited to get my first package from Kidizen! Kidizen has been all over the blogging world but for those of you who, like me, had never really looked into it, it’s an awesome app designed as a marketplace for parents to resell their kids’ gently used clothes. I should do a whole post on it sometime because I am totally hooked! I have already sold something and ordered a few things for Ella that were really good deals. I needed some more basic shorts for her for summer and these were only $7.50 for both including shipping. And they are in perfect condition! I can’t wait for my other stuff to get here (And no, this is not sponsored in any way, in my dreams haha. I just really like this app.).
Aaaand then it was time for Daddy to get home from school and Ella was clearly thrilled.

Just kidding! She loves seeing Daddy. And I think our little sickie is going to make a full and speedy recovery.


Hangin’ in Arches

When people ask Dave and I where we plan to “end up” after we are all done with schooling, we don’t really have an answer for them. Our families are spread out from Alabama to Alaska, so we don’t have a spot that would be close to all of our family–and although it would be so great if everyone lived close, I kind of like the feeling of freedom we have in deciding where we want to put down roots for our little family.

I used to say “Oh, I think I could be happy anywhere,” and I still believe that is a good attitude to have, but as time goes on I am realizing how much I am affected by the amount of physical beauty in the landscape of any given location. I have been so utterly and completely spoiled all of my life, I really take it for granted. I have only ever spent significant time in Alaska, the Wasatch Front, or St. George (southern Utah), and all three are the sort of place where you see world-famous views outside your window and can drive five minutes or less and hike/bike/canoe/raft/canyoneer/rock climb. etc. So I guess I can’t really say that I would like living just anywhere!

These pictures of me are both beyond painful but they give you an idea of the kind of beauty that was literally in my backyard growing up.

With the possibility of not living in such a picturesque location in the future, I AM trying to be more appreciative of the crazy beauty that surrounds us here in good ole’ Utah, though, and lately I’ve had the bug to visit some sights that we haven’t seen yet, seeing as this will probably be our last summer here. So we decided it was high time we saw Arches National Park in Moab. We haven’t done a little getaway with just our little family of three yet (besides traveling to visit extended family) so we threw together a little excursion.

On the way out of town we realized that we would be passing through Price, where Dave’s paternal grandparents are buried, so we decided to stop and visit. Ella hadn’t been there before so it was a nice opportunity to take some pics in a place that will be special to her in her life. Dave’s dad was adopted as a young child and brought to live in Carbon County, and it is here that he was introduced to the gospel. Though his parents didn’t join the church, they supported his commitment and his decision to serve a mission. They passed away very young so neither Dave or I have met them, but we are thankful for these loving people that have positively affected our lives and we want Ella to know about her great-grandparents on both sides as she grows older.

I love this picture with “Mizukawa” over Ella, who’s just innocently playing with the flowers. It’s sort of symbolic to me of a legacy living on.

We are thankful to know that families are forever so we can meet them someday!

We pressed eastward through some very ugly landscape. Neither Dave or I had ever been to Moab (Arches is like 10 minutes outside of town), so we didn’t really know what to expect. Well, once you get past the barren stretch on I-70 you come into some gorgeous red rock and a really fun little town! It’s definitely a tourist destination so the little downtown strip had a lot of cute little shops and there were a ton of places to eat! I would love to go back and spend some more time there. If you do go we can recommend Quesadilla Mobilla and Milt’s. We got a hotel for the two nights we were there just because we didn’t relish the thought of camping with a toddler, but there were TONS of options of hotels, motels, campgrounds, cabins, even teepees!

Ok enough writing, here are some pics! Seriously this doesn’t do Arches justice. I can’t say enough good about this park. It was so expansive, it felt like another world. When we first drove in both Dave and I both just kept exclaiming, “wow, this is so cool! This is incredible! I can’t believe this is just sitting out here!” Makes me wish I was a better photographer to capture it all.

Ella loved Sand Dune Arch. She felt like she was at her own private beach. 

We were actually impressed with how accessible a lot of the landmarks were. We didn’t really plan on that but Ella could walk to a lot of things herself which she loved. Especially if another tourist happened to have a doggy. 

This world is sure an amazing place, and as we listened to all of the languages we heard as we were walking around we realized how lucky we are to live in a state that people travel from all over to visit!

My Ectopic Pregnancy Story: Part One

So for the past month I have been going through a miscarriage, which we later found out was an ectopic pregnancy (Resulting in a salpingectomy. Yes, I am using the medical term because it sounds awesome.). I wouldn’t say I am the most private person in the world, but I have hesitated to write about or publicize this experience for a couple of reasons. I think the main one being I don’t want to seem like I am sharing this for pats on the back or sympathy. That is mostly my pride talking, but sometimes in this day and age it seems like nothing is private anymore. 

I also don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their healthy pregnancy or like they can’t share happy baby news with me, because that is NOT true at all. So for the last few weeks, I have kept relatively mum about what has been going on, just because I didn’t know how to go about sharing in an appropriate way.

However, I really feel impressed to be honest and open about it, and while I am not sure exactly why, maybe someone reading this will find something they can relate to here. When I found out what was going on with my pregnancy, I immediately wanted to reach out to those I knew who had been through similar circumstances, and I was so thankful for their perspective and thoughts about it. I hope that maybe this could be helpful to someone out there if you do go through this, or any kind of loss, because at the end of the day that’s what this was. This post will mostly be about the physical aspect, just because I want to record it, and I hope to do another post with some more spiritual thoughts about miscarriage, or facing trials in general. So here we go:

On March 10th I found out I was pregnant. While I wanted to feel excited like I did with Ella, something just felt “off.” I think the Lord was preparing me for what lay ahead, honestly, and I am thankful for that. We calculated that I was probably about 4-5 week pregnant. Within two days I started having all of the textbook symptoms of a miscarriage. I called my doctor and they said that it probably was going to be a lost pregnancy, but to come and get bloodwork done just in case. What they do in these situations is measure the HCG (pregnancy hormone) in your blood over the course of 48 hours. Early on in a healthy pregnancy, it should double in two days. Well, mine was going down, which meant that this probably wasn’t a viable pregnancy. 

While it was hard to hear, I wasn’t really surprised by the results, and I just buckled down and tried to get through it. Miscarriage is weird. I guess any personal tragedy is. You usually haven’t told many people you are pregnant, so you have to just try to carry on with business as usual. Inside, you are so so sad. So that totally stunk. But I’ll write more about the emotional side later πŸ™‚ Moral of the story, though, it’s not just emotional–physically, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into and it was not fun at all. I was thankful that it seemed to wrap up within about a week, though.

Anyway, I went into the doctor the next week and it seemed like everything had passed and my body should be on the way to recovering and being back to normal, but they had me take a pregnancy test and it was still positive. The doctor said he wasn’t really worried, though, and that I should come in again in two weeks and meet with a nurse and just do another test to make sure the HCG had left my body. If it hadn’t, that was a sign that there had been some sort of complication, and if it was gone, I could carry on with my life. 

So I wasn’t really very worried, and went on my merry way. I was determined to distract myself and try to fill my time with positive stuff that kept my mind off of the fact that I had lost a pregnancy, so we made some fun family plans for weekend trips and whatnot. While trying to stay busy with fun stuff and not think about things may not have been the absolute best way to deal with the loss, I was coping and I think we were doing pretty well. 

Two weeks rolled around and I went back in–and the pregnancy test was still positive. Now I started to just feel annoyed that I was still dealing with this, but not really overly worried. The nurse had me do another blood test and said they would call me tomorrow with a game plan, but there was probably some retained tissue that I hadn’t passed. 

Sure enough, they called me the next day and my HCG levels had gone up to way higher than they were originally. That’s when I started to worry! The nurse was calm but really adamant that I go to the hospital and get an ultrasound ASAP. I scrambled to find a babysitter for Ella and a way to the hospital since Dave was at work with the car, and I am so thankful for my friends and my sisters who totally dropped everything to make it happen! Thinking about it makes me all teary.
I got the ultrasound in the outpatient center and within a few minutes it was clear to me that something was wrong. To save time I won’t go into detail but I could tell by the ultrasound tech’s body language and just what I was seeing on the screen. They called in the radiologist, who wasn’t really giving me a straight answer, but once he threw out words like, “mass by your left ovary,” I pushed him harder and he said it looked like an ectopic pregnancy, and that my doctor was on his way over. He then sent me over to the main part of the hospital because I was having surgery NOW.

 My completely non-certified definition of an ectopic pregnancy, if you’ve never heard of it (totally understandable, I didn’t know much about it before either), is when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, usually (and in my case) one of the Fallopian tubes. If it goes unnoticed it can rupture and not only cause insane amounts of pain, but massive internal bleeding, which can be deadly if not treated. I am so so so lucky that mine didn’t rupture, and I didn’t have to go through the pain and blood loss. In fact, they offered me a wheelchair to get over to surgery, and I laughed because I felt totally fine (should’ve taken them up on it though, since once I got into the main part of the hospital I realized I had no idea where same-day surgery actually was and had to wander around like a little lost child for a while until I found it).

Anyway, I was, at this point, frantically trying to get ahold of Dave at work to tell him to ditch the pizza truck and come be with his terrified wife, my friend who was watching Ella to tell her what was going on (I had told her I would be back in less than an hour, so I was way off), my sisters to see if they could come take Ella off of my friend’s hands and drop everything in their day to take care of her, and my parents to tell them what was happening, etc. Miraculously, it all worked out, and Dave was able to get there, Grace and Anne were champions and took care of Ella like pros, my friends helped with dinners, etc. Everyone was so great and so helpful, and I am forever thankful.

What was originally so rush, rush, rush of course slowed down once I got admitted and in the hospital bed with the IV and the lovely papery surgical gown. Since I didn’t have acute symptoms (aka awful pain) I wasn’t at the top of the list for the OR. Dave and I waited around for like four hours watching stupid TV (it was oddly fun, though, having him all to myself with nothing to do but watch and make fun of silly shows) and the doctor finally came and explained things in more detail. 

Luckily in the meantime we also had time for lots of dorky cell phone pics:

And Dave was kind enough to put my hair in this lovely side ponytail for me when I couldn’t move my arm with the IV (well I could but…..I am way too squeamish and I can’t stand the feeling of that needle moving around in there so I just stay as still as humanly possible). I wish I could claim I was high on some kind of medication at this point but the IV was just saline and I am just a nerd.

It was a huge relief to finally talk to the doctor (just for record’s sake, it was a different doctor than the one I had originally seen, the practice I go to has like ten doctors), even though he wasn’t exactly the bearer of good news, since the radiologist had kind of been dodging my questions (understandably, but I was still ticked in the heat of the moment). He said that the pregnancy had grown to the point that my left Fallopian tube would have to be removed completely (aka, a salpingectomy). This was hard to hear, even though I kind of suspected it already. The reality is, my fertility was being damaged in the prime of my life, when we were still at the beginning of the large family we hoped (and still hope!) to have. However, the doctor was really reassuring that I should still be able to have babies naturally. And Dave was able to give me a priesthood blessing which calmed my fears a lot. 

I finally got wheeled up to pre-op and met the nurses and the anesthesiologist, who were all really nice. As they wheeled me into the OR it was SO sad saying goodbye to Dave. I don’t know why, but thinking about it still makes me cry and in that moment I was fighting back tears like nobody’s business. I just was so thankful for his support and I knew he was worried about me but trying to be his normal, un-shakeable self so I wouldn’t be scared. It’s moments like that when you really realize how lucky you are to be with such a loyal guy. Haha I make it sound like I was having brain surgery or something. In the moment I was feeling a bit dramatic and nostalgic πŸ™‚

The OR was as cold and sterile as I had imagined. Thankfully I got hooked up to the loopy meds ASAP so I didn’t really have time to freak out. The greatest part of surgery is that you are asleep for it πŸ™‚ I woke up an hour and a half later, and I felt some pain but I was just relieved that it was over. Dave told me that Dr. Drewes had come out and told him that everything went great and even showed him some pictures (???? I would not want to see that but Dave loved it of course) which I appreciated.

I got wheeled up to my room for the night, and Dave met me and got me settled in my room. He went home to be with Ella and relieve my sisters, and I had a not-so-great night of sleep at the hospital. Honestly, though, I am thankful that they admitted me, even though I was originally hoping to go home after the surgery. I wouldn’t have slept well at home either, and it was really helpful to have someone at my beck and call all night. AND you can’t beat the constant drink refills! I was just determined to get my money’s worth (hey, I had already been to the hospital for one pregnancy, albeit a different situation, and I knew how it worked) so I ordered the biggest breakfast you’ve seen in your life and enjoyed all four hours of the Today Show in peace the next morning before I was discharged.

My recovery wasn’t actually too bad at all. I really gained a lot of respect for my friends that have had C-sections though, because my incisions were tiny compared to theirs, and it was bad enough for me! I wasn’t supposed to lift anything heavier than a jug of milk for a week, though, which was complicated with Ella. I came home on a Thursday, and we had a lot of help from my sisters and friends until the weekend, when Dave was able to be home and help out, and I was basically fine by Monday.

While this was a hard experience physically as well as emotionally, I really have a lot to be grateful for when I look back on it. And I am thankful for anyone who made it through this colossal and probably extremely boring story. I’ll most some more of my thoughts in another post, but I just want to say that if anyone has lost a pregnancy and ever wants someone to talk to about it, I would be happy to listen! And thanks for listening to me! πŸ™‚

Ella and Calvin

Last weekend we finally made it down to St. George to meet our new nephew Calvin! Dave’s brother Matt and his wife Julie had their fifth baby in February and it had taken us way too long to meet the newest Mizukawa. It was also Dave’s birthday on Saturday, so we had a little party for him too. I shared some pics from the weekend on Facebook already, but I just came across these on our camera and they kill me they’re so dang cute. 

It was Julie’s idea to get some shots of these two next to each other before church on Sunday and I am so glad we did. They have one cousin, Elise, in between them age-wise, but she lives in Nashville, so these are the two littlest Mizu’s west of the Mississip (that statement might not be geographically accurate).

It’s funny how little Ella seems to me, but how big she seems next to a newborn

This is Ella’s, “seriously guys?’ face.

Notice my hands holding her feet so she doesn’t escape.

Cal looks so sweet, and we actually found out that this was the little outfit that Dave was blessed in (Julie found it in our in-laws’ house and thought maybe it was Matt’s but we talked to Dave’s parents after church and they said it was actually Dave’s. BUT, she found Matt’s later so Calvin can wear that for his actual blessing day! I am definitely stealing this little romper if we have a boy later on, though!)

And, she’s done. I was actually shocked she was so cooperative! These are the sort of pictures that I know the kids will get a kick out of when they are grown up! We had a great weekend and we are so happy that Calvin is in our family!