Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Deals And Steals

A few of my after Christmas deals
 I wasn't planning on going shopping the day after Christmas. The sales are never that great and the crowds are not worth it. However, my sister had a Sephora giftcard to use and we really wanted to check out Hobby Lobby's after Christmas sale. Well, we get to the Lobby first and as soon as we're in the parking lot my sister remembers that it is closed on Sunday! Bummer... but I am very happy with the Lobby for allowing its employees a day off for rest. Anyhoo, we then made our way to Shopko and found 70% off of all Christmas decor! I got a couple of advent calenders and a pack of 24 LED tea lights with 24 replacement batteries. Then we spent hours in Sephora where I scored some TexasLash Mascara! Everything's bigger in Texas! How could it not be awesome?! I ended my shopping at Walgreen's of all places and found 50% off of everything. I got mugs for .35 cents, plates and bowls for .75 cents, bows for .49 cents, a Disney princess snow globe for my niece for .99 cents, and light up Christmas Mickey and Minnie Mouse cups for my angels for $1.25! Need stocking stuffers for next year? Head to Walgreen's STAT! It's like everything is free! Did anyone else find any good after Christmas sales?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Story Of Our Tree

Our Christmas Tree 2010
Every year we scour the Tri-Cities for our perfect Christmas tree. In the end, we usually purchase it from Fred Meyer of all places! They always have the best prices and best looking trees. This year we skipped all the other tree stands and went right to Freddies. Only there was a small problem... many of the trees were still tied up, covered with snow, and frozen! Our early winter made it so that we could not tell what any of the trees looked like, even the ones that were untied since they were frozen stiff! We looked at the few that were untied and slightly defrosted, but in the words of Eddie Money, nothing said  "take me home tonight". That's when we decided to take a gamble! We would pick a tree that we had no idea what it looked like! We knew we needed to look for fullest tree we could find. We finally found a tall sturdy Noble Fir with branches begging to burst through the rope. We made our purchase and then took our tree home to wait for it to defrost. Lucky for us, the tree turned out to be beautiful. It did have it's "bad" side, which is facing the wall, and a slight gap towards the bottom branches, but I was nervous it would be worse! I am so glad we got our tree Thanksgiving weekend, even though they were all frozen, because about a week later almost all the trees were gone! While this will probably be the only time we do this, it turned out a-okay and made for a fun Christmas memory!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

So, I have been wanting to experiment with the Bokeh on my camera and finally found the perfect opportunity! My Christmas tree! I have seen how to create those cool little shapes out of lights before, and after brushing up with a how-to from tonight, I hunted down some paper and scissors and got down to business. It's super easy, and although I wish I had those shaped hole punchers to create more shapes, I made do with folded paper hearts learned in grade school and some crazy shape my husband created. If you want to try this go get your DSLR out and read this Please note, the model is a Sock Monkey Santa Claus. Classy, I know... should've used the gingerbread man pillow ;-)

Normal Bokeh on my camera.

Crazy shape created by the hubs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank YOU!

It's thankful season again! I have been wanting to do a post about things I am thankful for, but didn't want to do the traditional list of things in my life and also wanted to avoid this year's post looking like last year's. That's when I decided to make it personal. This post is dedicated to all my friends, family, and acquaintances who support me and uplift me in ways you may never know! So, Thank You Holly and Dee Dee for your never ending support and standing out in the freezing cold temperatures to help me at photo sessions. You'll never know how much I appreciate this! You put me at ease and the clients too! Thank you to Brandy, the Fidino/ Del Toro clan, Jen, Kyle, and Landon Holway, Bethany, Skye and family, the O'Neal girls and their hubbies, Alla, the Hendlers, the Parks, and the Mehlings for letting me practice my photography skills on you! Thanks for your nice compliments, even when I know some of the pictures turned out poorly. It really encourages me to keep working at it! Thank you Damon Hagel for keeping my hubby occupied when I am busy and for helping do things in our yard and around the house. You will make a great husband as well someday ;) Oh, and for your advice on my spider bite. To my old co-workers at Lourdes, although we no longer work together, I think about you all daily. About all the hard, heart breaking at times and rewarding at others, work you do! You are an important part of our community and I don't think most people know just what you guys do! I have never had a job so difficult and meaningful as being a counselor at Lourdes. It definitely takes an amazing and special person to do it! God bless you all! To All the stay at home or mostly stay at home mommies, Thank You for showing me the joy in life of raising your children and choosing to make sacrifices. For showing me there is more meaning to life than an education and a job that serves only me and my greed.  You'll never know how inspiring it is to watch mommies give up careers and the "finer" things in life to be mommies. That lets me know it's all worth it :) And your babies will know this too! Thanks for dedicating your lives to raising happy, healthy, productive members of our world! Last but not least, to my family... I love you all and do not have the time or space here to thank you for your love and support! You guys mean the world to me! Oh, and to that one guy I live with, I couldn't be more blessed to have a hubby who runs out to buy me Halloween socks, cuts a hole in a table for my costume ideas, rubs my head all the time, does all the gross house chores I don't like, will run out to get whatever I need at night, and never says a word about my Starbucks habit! Thank you Jesus for all of these things I don't deserve!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Bathroom faucet now not shutting off. Must have taken advice from the bathtub. So... New hardware bought and installed! PLUS, hubby decided to reseal and caulk the whole shower! Meanwhile, I spent 3.5 hours out in 40 degree weather, with the 2 best friends a girl could ask for, taking pictures of beautiful people on Saturday! I am feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I have taken on lately, behind, and on brain overload with all I have learned at work and with my photography endeavors. However, I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to do things I love, to take on new challenges, to have friends and family who support me, and to be able to afford a rather expensive hobby... hopefully the hobby will pay off one day. So, as I sit here blogging  instead of photo editing late into the night, I realize I am in a warm cozy house, curled up in a blanket, my best friend close by, eating left over Olive Garden, with not a care in the world compared to how some live. I have very little to be stressed about and life ain't that bad.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Impromptu Shower Remodel-ish

A few weeks ago, when I got out of the shower, I noticed the water would not shut off. I am not talking about a little drizzle, but a steady small stream of water coming out of the faucet. I gave the handle a little jiggle and then did what anyway modern day sulf sufficient woman would do. I ran into the bedroom, where Jeremiah was still sleeping peacefully, and calmly shouted that the water wouldn't shut off and I didn't know what to do. Jeremiah came and did some "man stuff " and quickly got it shut off. He told me it was probably time to replace the faucet and handle and that he would take it off and look at it that weekend. Well, that weekend Jeremiah did just that... and a little more. The more being that he broke something on the shower handle when he took it off and could no longer put it back on. He said it was already broken and wasn't sure how it had even stayed on that long. Well, we still needed to be able to shower, so Jeremiah improvised... and oh boy do I wish I had taken a picture. What now became our mechanism of turning the water on was a carefully hammered in screw driver. I cannot even explain how he did this, but it is very funny to look back on how long we had that screw driver there. We could not find a replacement that matched the shower and the current one we had was discontinued. So that meant we had to replace everything from the faucet, to the pipes, to some of the tiles. Well, we were having our Halloween party that weekeend and did not want our bathroom tore up so we decided to wait. Luckily, no one peaked in the shower and saw the ghetto-ness... well, that we know of. Anyhoo, last weekend we finally went and picked out our new shower accessories and this week Jeremiah installed it all and is now grouting the new tile. I am so glad we have 2 bathrooms so we were still able to still shower downstairs, but it will be nice to do it upstairs where my clothes are and I won't have to go running through the house in my towel dripping wet and freezing. Oh yeah, and I have a nice new pretty shower :)

p.s. A picture will follow

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rice Krispies Pops

It is officially baking season! One of my favorite things about this time of year. I love baking and creating festive treats to take to work and reward my hubby with after a long day at work. It is so nice to cozy up with a yummy treat after all the errands are done and dinner is cooked. The crisp air and dark nights make it perfect for staying in and baking! This recipe is one I created after seeing the popularity of "Cake Pops" everywhere and with my love of Rice Krispies Treats I couldn't wait to try it out. They don't look very pretty, but they taste  super yummy!

Rice Krispies Pops
My response to the "Cake Pop."

Rice Krispies recipe from

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows

- OR -

4 cups miniature marshmallows

6 cups Rice Krispies®

2 pkgs milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch or any other flavor chips you would like

wooden sticks

wax paper

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

Allow to cool until easy to handle. Roll treats into 1 inch balls and place 1 wooden stick into each treat. Next, melt chips for one min in microwave and stir. Continue to melt for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between until completely melted. Dip rice krispies balls into melted chocolate and tap off excess. Place onto wax paper to cool.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Best Of Tri-Cities Eats

So often I hear people complain that there are not enough places to eat in the Tri-Cities. In response, I would like to say, "Maybe you should venture out past Columbia Center Blvd or off  G-Way," but I don't and usually just politely nod or recommend a place they should try. No, we are not New York City here, but there are so many places to eat in the TC's that people don't even know about or think to give a try. Ever go off the beaten path and try a little local eatery? Not all food must come from a major chain. Most of the best stuff comes from small local restaurants. Even big city people know that! So, before you complain that there is no where to eat in the TC's, do some investigating and get the boring chain restaurants out of your head. You may notice something you never did before!

Below is a list of some of my favorite places to eat and some that I still need to try. So, go somewhere new, get brave with your taste buds,  and look around to see what the Tri-Cities really has to offer. It may surprise you!

Fat Olive's
O'Henry's Go Go
Ice Harbor Brewing Company
Sage Port Grill
Stone Soup
Some Bagels
Chico's Tacos
Chinese Gardens
Mandarin House
Atomic Ale
Subs N Jean Sushi
Wing Stop
Sandstone Cafe
Brick House Pizza
Burger Ranch

*For a complete list of restaurants and their locations check out:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best Of The Tri-Cities

Aerial View Of The  Columbia River

As promised weeks ago, I am now starting my, "Best Of The Tri-Cities" posts. I originally was going to call it, "Tri-Cities Top 10s," but found I could easily come up with more than 10 items for each category I planned to cover. So, to start it all off I am going to give a shout out to all that makes the Tri-Cities great, in my eyes, and hope you agree with some part of it. Then we're off to explore some more fun categories of to-do's, eats, places, and, TC pleasures! Hope you enjoy!

Best of The Tri-Cities:

- 300+ days of sunshine a year
- 4 distinct seasons
- 4th largest city in the state (combining all 3); yet small enough to feel somewhat safe and keep traffic light
- It is flat and therefore, has less clouds and rain
- Our summer heat is dry, which helps keep it from feeling "Southern" hot
- We are on the map thanks to Hanford
- Close enough drive to the Pacific Ocean, Canada, and Idaho and Oregon (practically minutes away)
- The Columbia River provides for great boating and water sports
- Wine Country anyone?
- Beautiful green trees , brown hillsides, and blue waters surround us
- 2 people: K-Fed & Sara Palin... Okay, not so much to those last 2? Fine ;)

What do you love about the Tri-Cities? I know you can come up with something.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Surrender... Almost

I have been fighting the urge so hard, even though I drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes, sip warm vanilla milk, look at all the pumpkin and leaf decor, and slowly inch my way into longer sleeved clothing and socks, I try to resist giving into fall until the calender says I must. It's really not that hard when it is still 80 degrees in the afternoon. However, the signs are in the air: crisp breezes, cool mornings and evenings, unstable weather systems causing rain and thunderstroms, and soon the leaves will change and begin to fall softly and beautifully to the ground. Okay, okay... Fall is not that bad, it's just that I am never ready for it and do not appreciate being cold! Especially, since our Summer was so slow to warm up. I am thankful though, because it really has been somewhat of an "Indian Summer" for us. But alas, in 3 days it will officially be Fall. And while it may not totally feel that way, with the 81 degree weather predicted for the weekend, I recognize that those days are getting fewer and farther in between. I suppose it's time I get geared up and ready to put out my pumpkin candles and leaf candy dish (okay, that is already out), and welcome another beautiful season!

The scent of pumpkin, football games, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Halloween candy and costumes, baking Fall treats, carving pumpkins, cozy sweaters, the beautiful colors on the trees... what is your favorite part of Fall?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Summer Lovin' Had Me A Blast

As the end of summer draws near, and I desperately cling to every last ray of sunshine and heat until I am forced to give into Fall, I'd like to send Summer off in a glorious recap of all that God has blessed me with the last few months:
- Trip to Couer D'Alene for my mom's birthday
- Cool Desert Nights and classic car parades with my hubby
- 4th of July at my sister's and watching Fireworks just me, my sis, and nephew Eli
- My niece Harper's tea party themed first birthday and staying up late decorating with my sis, Dee Dee, and mom
- Watching Eli play his first soccer games
- Art In The Park
- Taking boat race pics with my hubby
- Jeremiah's birthday dinner with both of our families
- Portland trip to hike at Multnomah falls, shop, and visit a friend
- Hawaii for sister-in-laws wedding
- Earth, Wind, and Fire concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle with my mom and good friend Dee Dee
- Hubby going to Greenville (on our 2nd anniversary) and staying at my mom's for 2 weeks. Thanks mom!
- 2 year anniversary and being spoiled with a beautful gift from Tiffany
- Mariner's Game
- BBQ's, sunbathing, Frappucinos, free Limeades, biking to my mom's, taking my hubby on long evening walks to Safeway and John Dam Plaza, sitting pool side with my niece and nephew, and warm nights with the windows open and staying up too late :-)

Farewell beloved Summer, see you next year! I hate good byes...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Anyone ever get good advice that you agree with, but then goes sour when the person reminds you of this advice nearly every time you talk to them (as if you didn't understand it the first time)? Yeah, makes me want to rebel against every last bit of the advice, even though I agreed with it.

Well, lately the offending advice has revolved around my job, finances, and schooling. Yes, I am searching for a new job, yes I have student loans, yes I consider going back to school for a degree in something completely different than Psychology. But no, I do not want you calling me every time you see a job you think I should apply for, no I do not want a 2nd job to pay off my student loans faster, and no I do not want you pressuring me to go back to school for 2-3 more years and take out more student loans in hopes of making more money to then pay off all of these loans.

All of the above are personal decisions and advice can be useful , but it can quickly turn into nagging, especially when you do not have experience with the above, but want to tell me how to handle these things every time we talk. In all honesty, it hurts my feeling and makes me feel like I am not able to handle these decisions or that how I am currently handling these things is wrong. Right now I have a good job that I like, I am paying my student loans off (and have one paid off already) and as far as school goes, I will figure out if it's right for me. What's wrong with all that? Even if I didn't get a new job, didn't have any loans paid off or paid down, and never went back to school it would be okay. Not that I want that, but I am not doing so badly that I need to nagged. I have a husband, a home, family, hobbies, and a relationship with someone who will hold me in His hand every step I take. Those things are my priorities. I do not want a job, money, or school to come between any of that. Maybe people should take a look at their life priorities before they tell me mine. I have things pretty good... the opportunities I choose to take are just icing on the cake.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tri-Cities Top 10

Soon I will be starting a weekly post, starring your favorite city and mine, the Tri-Cities! I plan to spotlight the best places to eat, seasonal to-do's, and some of my favorite things about the good ol' TC's! I hear so many people complain about the Tri-Cities and sometimes wonder if they have ever even tried anything new here or are just boring or negative people. To me, you will never be happy with where you live if you are not happy inside. So, check back to see if any of your favorites are listed or if your business is featured!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Miracle 2010

Back in March the hubs and I took a trip to Disneyworld and then I accompanied him on to South Carolina, for a few days, where he was set up for a business trip. Of course, I took my favorite J Crew flip flops with me! Now, these flip flops have a thicker sole and are a little bulkier than most, so upon leaving said trip, I had to leave a couple items behind for the hubs to bring back with him (since somehow I was returning home with more than I originally brought on the trip). Now, I was sure I would not have left the J Crews behind for the hubby to bring back... too risky. But once we were both home, and the nice spring weather beckoned flip flops, I went to break those babies out and they were no where to be found. I scoured my house, had my mom and sister scour their homes, and double checked all my luggage. Nada. I was really beginning to worry I left them behind, but since it was now a month later (our spring was a late starter) I didn't want to call the hotel and sound stupid for not noticing earlier. Anyway, I was certain if I did leave them behind someone surely would have taken such cute flip flops and there was probably a house keeper somewhere walking tall sporting my shoes! So, I gave up and bought a new pair from Victoria's Secret, but inside I continued to mourn the loss of my beloved J Crews. Skipping ahead to July 29, 2010.... I am upstairs packing for our trip to Hawaii when I pull open the front zipper pocket on my suitcase, and lo and behold, a little navy blue sole peeks out me! My heart was over joyed, my eyes could not believe what they saw! I know I checked and re-checked that suitcase! But I was not going to question this miracle... I was just happy to have them back! So, I called my hubby, followed by everyone else I know, and recounted this wonderful tale! Ah... off to Hawaii with my old friends in tow! Aloha!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hiking Multnomah Falls

I took these pictures at Multnomah Falls this past weekend and wanted to share them. I am learning more and more about photography, and my camera, and decided to try some stuff out. I do not have a tri-pod, therefore it is really tricky to hold the camera steady or find something solid to set it on to get these kinds of shots with minimal blur. (I know, I better get a tri-pod stat!) Anyway, these were the best 2 shots I got and I am pleased with them... for now. As for the hike up to the falls, it was tougher than I thought, but so worth it! Hope you enjoy my photos of nature's beauty!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dream Job?

I really want to work for a school district. However, I do not want to be a teacher stuck in a classroom all day for little pay. If I am going to make a meager living, I want to have an enjoyable or at least easy job. There are some positions I qualify for, that pay decent, that I think I would like and I am not against some of those secretary positions I see either. I know they don't pay as well, but holidays and summers off are benefits no other job can offer! Even the other benefits a school district offers aren't bad and would make up for the lack of pay. And if I wanted a little extra cash, I could always get a part time summer job or work harder on my photography or cake decorating dreams.Sounds too ideal, huh? But I can try!

I do have to say I feel very lucky because I had the chance to work with children, counsel people, and use my degree. However, I quickly realized this was not for me. I have a big heart for people, but am not comfortable with counseling. I love psychology and am always interested in the brain/body/behavior connection and would enjoy doing something like neuro-psychology, but going to back to school doesn't seem like an option. First off, there are no degrees I want where I live, it would be expensive to go anywhere else, and would require a lot more schooling. Not sure about all these things... but you never know.

In my current job, I do look for better opportunities, but I just can't see myself enjoying this type of work and not using my degree forever. I figure, if you're not content with your job, why waste your time? We spend a majority of our day at work, so why not have fun or get some sort of benefit from it? There are other/better opportunities out there... it may take some time to find one, but I would rather do something I am passionate about doing or at least something that fits my lifesyle. Working for a school district would allow me to have more time to pursue my passions, seems kinda fun (kids around, but not my main responsibility), I could use some of my skills in psychology and administration (depending on the position), get great benefits, and may be a good schedule for having a family one day. I am sure there are many down sides, like any job, but it seems the pros may outweigh the cons. I hope so and I hope God has someting like this open up for me!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Things I've been told the last couple weeks: 

- I'm too white and need a tan - multiple times... and p.s. I am as tan as I can get for now
- I'm too opinionated
- I'm too rich, I'm too poor
- I don't know what I'm talking about in regards to children
- I have too much sympathy for people who don't deserve it
- Don't have enough sympathy for others
- Need a better job
- Need to have kids
- Am getting too old
- That I was forgot about or an after thought - oops, sorry
- That my house is too small
- That my house is too hot
- That I need to stay living in said house til I pay it off, however
- That I don't know how to keep my home
- That petty things bother me
- How could I not know someone was joking
- Why do I look so angry - Really? I was typing a happy email to my mom
- That I don't know how to cook or eat properly

Most of these things, in isolation, don't bother me, but it seems I am getting them all at once lately. Now I can handle constructive criticism just about as good as the next guy, but man am I feeling just criticized lately. Whether or not people are joking or mean well, it hurts my feelings. Maybe you think I'm being overly sensitive, but I can't help my initial feelings about these things. I know we all get this from people from time to time, but doesn't it suck?! What do you all do about the "haters"...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge Rice Krispy Treats

I made these PB Fudge Rice Krispy Treats tonight from a great blog I follow called Baked Perfection. It is the greatest baking site if you ask me, mainly because the writer and I share similar tastes in sweets. We both love S'mores and anything Peanut Butter! So, this recipe was right up my alley! I recommend letting the PB fudge completely set up before spreading the chocolate fudge on, if not the two fudges mix together and you don't get as nice of a layered look :) So go... bake on! My hubby loved this recipe and you will too!

Rice KrispyTreats

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal (or any puffed rice cereal)
In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. (You may want to line your pan with parchment paper or waxed paper large enough to have flaps hanging over the sides. This will make it easy to pull the giant block of goodness out of the pan when it’s done. If you do this, be sure to also butter the paper so the treats will not stick) Cool. Make Peanut Butter Fudge.

Peanut Butter Fudge
1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Pour over the Rice Krispy treats in the pan and spread evenly. Let cool in the fridge while you make the Chocolate Fudge.

Easy Chocolate Fudge
2 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Combine butter, milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate, and vanilla,. Beat for about 1 minute, or until marshmallows melt and mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour over peanut butter fudge, spread evenly and place in the fridge to harden and cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces or smaller and serve.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Long Overdue photoshoot post!

This is a photoshoot I did back in Spring with my niece and nephew! I should have posted this long ago, but after posting to Facebook I forgot to do the blog! So, here it is! These are some of my favs from the shoot! These beauties make it hard to choose just a few!

Independence Day 2010

4th of July with the best sister and nephew a girl could ask for!

After a BBQ with the fam, we headed down to watch the fireworks at the Gesa Stadium in Pasco, and although the show was more than a little disappointing compared to previous years, I could care less having been with these two! Here are a few pics I snapped before the show was suddenly over. Some I played around with on Photoshop :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Needle to the Nose?

Lately, I have been considering getting my nose pierced. I always joke about getting another tattoo, but seriously I am done with permanent pictures on my body. So, that leaves piercings. I already have several holes in my ears, had my belly button and tongue pierced, and always thought about the nose, but never went for it. I always liked how it looked on others, but hated my nose so I never wanted to draw attention to it with a sparkly jewel. Well, I guess I am over that because lately I want it pierced. This isn't some sort teenage fad and wanting to be cool or fit in because, obviously I am not a teenager, and I don't really see too many nose piercings around. Especially not among people my age. Maybe everyone just took them out because they used to be popular among my age group. Anyway, maybe this is a quarter-life crisis or I am just bored. I don't want to make a rash decision or look like a fool, so I am thinking about it and heading advice. So, if you have any advice or opinions on a 25+ year old getting a nose ring give me your two cents!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Out Of My Element

Tonight I went to watch my cousin's band, Run From Cover, play at Jacksons in RichlandJacksons is a sports bar/restaurant, for those of you who may not know, and they frequently have bands play outside on the weekends during summer. I typically don't go, but since it was "Cool Desert Nights" and my cousin was playing, Jeremiah and I went.

We first ate inside the restaurant with my younger cousins, until they got kicked out after 9, and then went outside for the show. We had a great time and my cousin did awesome as always, but something never feels right at these kinds of places anymore. I used to want to be out having fun and wherever the crowd was. I assumed that's where all the exciting and fun things happened. Well, years of going to clubs/bars proved very quickly that not many "exciting" nor "fun" things happen at these places. It's the same old game at each place, every time. Drunk people doing what drunk people do and acting in ways that no one wishes their child would act when they grow up. Don't get me wrong... I laughed out loud at the older drunk cowboy dancing with his lady and the drunk girl attempting to do a sexy dance for a boy who then fell, but inside I felt really sad for them and guilty for laughing. I guess that's why I feel so awkward and out of place now.

Looking back on my times spent at party-like environments, I realize all of us are looking for meaning, value, and fulfillment in our lives. Especially, high school and college age kids. One can only get so much out of alcohol and partying before they either become tired of it and long for more or get absorbed into the lifestyle and end up as many of the older drunk people I saw tonight... worn out, used up, and desperate. It seems for those who never find more meaning or fulfillment to their lives, that numbing themselves with alcohol, cigarettes, partying, and whatever else is the best option... and it sounds awful, but I agree! No one wants to go through life searching for meaning, value, and fulfillment to turn up empty handed and feeling worse than before. How depressing and hopeless. Booze and wild times can temporarily fill that void. But watch out! Because when it wears off, you will only feel worse and need more and more of whatever was filling the void.

I know many people see partying and the things I am talking about as innocent fun and I used to too. I was just shocked to see what I thought was fun and assumed would still be fun, to be more eye opening and sad to watch from the outside. I find so much more value and fulfillment sitting at home with Slurpees and candy, as I am right now, and hanging with the hubs, or playing in a sprinkler with my niece and nephew, or in Sunday lunch with my in-laws. Part of it is due to growing up and part of it is what I have found in God. What you're searching for is out there friends, you just gotta start looking in new places. But no matter what you find, I hope you find fulfillment in things of peace and goodness and things you will remember... things that will build you up and not leave you feeling unsatisfied, lonely, or ashamed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Heat Is On!

Finally, it feels how Summer should feel! What a strange season we have had. I know technically the 21st was the first day of Summer, but here in the Tri-Cities the Summer weather starts long before that. We should have had 80 degree temps back in May, but no I was wearing long sleeves and a light jacket up until last week! We did have an occasional 80 degree day here and there, but then a 60 degree day followed. That is not normal! We have been 10 to even 20 degrees below our normal average temperature around here the past couple months and I am so glad to see nothing but 80+ degree temps predicted from here on out! I still feel shaky about trusting the warmth and am disappointed in this cities treatment of its biggest defender (when everyone else complains about the heat and "boring" Tri-cities, I set those self-indulgent fools straight), but I think we are safe now (knock on wood)!

Happy Summer! Don't forget the sunscreen :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I am having great time celebrating Father's Day with my father-in-law and family this year, but the one thing missing is my own dad. He moved away about 6 years ago for work and I have seen him twice in that time. Once for my sister's wedding and then for mine. It's weird not seeing someone who raised you and had a good relationship with you more often. That being said, you might be wondering why we don't see each other more often? Usually, it's money related. My dad cannot afford to come visit often and I have not had a good chance to go visit him. He has moved from Arizona to Oklahoma over the last few years and usually has a roommate that makes staying with him not an option. Now that I am married and more grown up financially, life is so busy and lining up a trip to go see him is tough. I guess the longer he is gone, the more used to not seeing him I am, and him me, that neither one of us has sacrificed time or money to visit.

This makes me sad. My dad has met my nephew once and never met my niece. I could go on and on about why no one makes more of an effort to see one another, but in the end I take my fair share of the responsibility. I do have to say that it hurts my feelings that my dad has not made more of an effort to see me and that he chose to move away for a job he is no longer with. Honestly, sometimes I feel like it should be him to make the trip up here. It has been his decision to stay down there and he knows the extra effort and money it would take, especially my sister and her family, to visit him. I guess my heart is just sad to see a relationship that was good between my dad and I become what it has. And even more so that he doesn't know me, my sister, or our families better.

There is so much more to all of this than I can write here, so you may assume I am a bad daughter for not just going down there... and I am okay with that. I wrote what I was comfortable sharing and know people may not understand how this has happened. But to those of you who do have your fathers with you to celebrate this day... enjoy and cherish your time! A father has big role in one's life that I believe continues on even after you're all grown up! So, whether you're a father and/or celebrating with yours, be good to one another and don't take your time together or relationship for granted.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The "D" Word

Lately, every time I turn around it seems like someone is getting divorced. From high school sweethearts and couples who have been together 40 years, to friends as newly married as I am. Didn't we learn anything from our parents?! Now some of these couples rushed into marriage and some are not Christians with the emphasis of God in the middle of it all, but the most shocking (although I now realize they shouldn't be) are Christians who dated at least a year and sought God in their decision to marry. How scary!

I know marriage is hard work and I was just as shocked as the next person when I moved in with my husband and saw all the things there still were to learn about each other... but to me that's kind of fun! On the same token, I also know every marriage has it's ups and downs and sometimes the downs seem really low, but when I said "I do" and "for better or for worse" I meant it. Too many people take their marriage vows lightly and are far more loyal to themselves than their spouse or even God! I am aware of situations in which a marriage is unhealthy and divorce is almost the only option left, but when you haven't even been married but a few years and are divorcing, I find it hard to believe that you have sincerely and selflessly tried to save your marriage. Especially, taking into account how long some couples were together before they got married. What marriage changed is beyond me.

I know I don't see into everyones' marriage and homes, but I believe marriage is worth fighting for and if you are a Christian you are even more accountable to that belief. This divorce epidemic, especially among young newly marrieds, breaks my heart. I cannot believe that at the rate people my age are divorcing, that all of these couples truly had grounds for divorce. This is really disturbing to me! When we went into premarital counseling we agreed the "D" word would not enter our vocabulary, just as an extra safe guard from this pervasive occurrence. No one is immune from the "D" word and I pray no matter how rough it gets, I will always seek God and do whatever it takes to save my marriage. I know it's worth it! So, please friends! Seek help, seek God, seek humility and forgiveness, and above all: Don't think anyone is immune from the "D" word.

I loved this quote by Max Lucado and think it's worth thinking about:
"You signed on for better or for worse; if you can love the worst, things will get better."

Monday, June 7, 2010

First Mini Vacay of the Summer!

This past weekend sure was fun! We celebrated my mom's, let's say 25th birthday, with a party on Friday and a trip to Coeur D'Alene. We have been to CDA many times in the past and this year we had a blast going with our hubby's and my niece and nephew to celebrate my mom's birthday!

On Friday night we hosted a small birthday gathering with pizza, cake, ice cream, and more to start the celebration off right! Then Saturday morning we headed up to stay the night in CDA. The weather turned out great Saturday, which was perfect for the boat ride, and my face definitely got some sun! Upon arriving, we ate some lunch downtown and then went on our cruise. My niece and nephew loved it and my nephew went up and down  the stairs to get all the best views. The lake cruise consists of a scenic 90 minute tour of the lake's northern bays where you learn about the lake, see some wildlife, beautiful secluded lake homes, and the world's only floating golf green. I definitely recommend it! Only Warning: When looking over the side of the boat and you smell something funky, it is poop. They dump the pottys right there into the beautiful lake! Saw it with my own eyes, folks.

After our cruise, we let the kiddos play in the fountain and stream that connects to the lake and walked around the beach and park. I had hoped to ride what I call the "Barbie Bikes" (water bicycles with large floating wheels that you peddle around on the lake), but the rental shop was cloesd on Saturday and on Sunday it rained. Next year, rain or shine I am on those bikes! We also walked around all the shops downtown and had lots of fun in the toy shop. Jeremiah even found a hand pump rocket that we shot off in the park later. Gotta love big kids :)

That night we ate at my fav, Chili's, got dessert to go and headed back to the hotel to chill, play, and get some rest before our next day of fun! The next morning after a breakfast called the "Tremendous Twelve," we headed off to Cabela's to reward our hubby's for all the girliness they endured. I was pleasently surprsed by Cabela's. It had a country store, a mountain complete with wildlife scenery, a large aqaurium, and a shooting range similar to Disney World's! Our hubby's even found some things they needed. Success!

Next up was River Front Park and some shopping. The first shopping destination: Macy's secret sixth floor clearance sale that only Jeremiah knew about. How I did not know about it is a mystery to me too people. After shopping we were hungry and ended up at good ol' Cyrus O'Leary's. Eli loved the leprachaun doing tricks on the trapeze, while the rest of us were a little creepd out by it, and sure gave us some good laughs ordering his own drinks and asking the waiters for flags and balloons. Somehow I refrained from ordering my most favorite Kahlua Pie and am now craving it. Jeremiah knew better than to let me walk out of there without it ;) We ended our River Front Park excursion with a ride on the old carouse and Jeremiah didn't even have to be coaxed to go on it! He even made it into the circle on the horse with the rings you grab and toss setting off all the bells and whistles. Take that kids!

The most important part of the trip, however, was that my mom had fun and got to relax and play with her grandbabies and spend quality time with us all. We had so much fun and can't wait to go back next year! Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Fav Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

So, I found this recipe not long ago on and while searching for a yummy chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe. I went ahead made them and they were delicious! They taste similar to a Mrs. Fields cookie, with a caramel like flavor. So good! I continued to try other chocolate chip cookie recipes, just to find a favorite, and after a few different recipes I came back to this one last night and decided it really is the best! The melted butter and brown sugar make all the difference! Sunset also has a good recipe, but I prefer this one! You should try it too!
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use milk chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Angels

Grabbed my camera and took some shots of my niece and nephew in my mom's yard. Nothing fancy, just beautiful subjects and good weather made for one of my best shoots to date! Just wanted to share a few of my favorite pics. I have got a long way to go, but one day I would like to turn this into a part time profession :) Thanks for looking!

Friday, April 23, 2010

First Animal Photoshoot

For a while Jeremiah has been wanting to take pictures of his mom's dog, Mitzi, and create a photo book for her. Mitzi is 14 years old and going strong, but has some tumors and health issues in her old age that cause some worry. Well, about 2 weeks ago my mother-in-law called to tell us Mitzi had not been eating or drinking lately and is not doing so well.  After hearing this, we grabbed my camera and headed out for a photo shoot with Mitzi. She did great with all of our posing and placing her, despite not feeling well. Here are a few of her best shots:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Travel Bug

Lately, all I want to do is travel! I love planning trips and seeing the world. I like to think about all the places I want to go and research the weather, travel arrangements, things to do, etc. I caught the travel bug bad after going to Florida and South Carolina in March. I had never been to that side of the US and really only to the Western states and Hawaii. We didn't travel much when I was little and when we did it was to Cali to see family or to the Oregon Coast. Don't get me wrong, I always had a great time, but I hadn't seen much and had never even been on an airplane. Finally, at 22 years of age I went on an airplane to LA with Jeremiah and it was crazy! I am like a child now when I see an airplane fly over head and think it is amazing God allowed us the knowledge to create this thing that gets us to places in half the time and to see so much more of the world than was ever possible. It is so humbling to travel and see how many people there really are in this big 'ol world and how diverse, yet the same we are - even in our own country! There are so many places I want to go I have a hard time deciding where to go first. Some of the places I hope to go see are:

- The Caribbean- including Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, St. John, Belize, Aruba, Jamaica, and I'll include the Bahamas (though technically not the Caribbean) I am thinking a cruise would be good first, then to go back to an island for a vacay one day
-  New York - I want to see Niagra Falls so bad!
- Cancun and Cozumel - this could happen with the cruise
- China
- Italy
- Canada - I know! It's right there!
- Texas
- Places I want to go back: Southern Cali (Magic Mountain, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Disneyland), San Fran (Alcatraz), Las Vegas, Snoqualmie and Multnomah Falls, Couer D'Alene, Florida (Miami and Key West)

And so many more! The world is so beautiful and exciting! What a God :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Getting Sprung On Spring

Spring has sprung and although this spring weather is less than warm enough in my eyes, I am excited that summer is just around the corner. In the meantime, I have some fun activities lined up to help keep me occupied during these windy rainy months. In May, I am going to the Taste Of Home cooking school with my mom and sister. This is something we have been wanting to do for years, but the tickets always sold out fast. This year we bought them the first day and are ready to go. Next up, I plan on taking a cake decorating class, finally! This is also something I have wanted to do for over a year now, but have not had time and too many of the classes have been during the day when I work. This week I am going to sign up and hope to fit one of the classes into my schedule. I can't wait! The last thing I want to do this spring is start volunteering somewhere. I am thinking possibly at the Pregnancy Center, but we'll see. I have a passion for babies and parenting and although I am not a parent, I think 4 years of Psychology (including child developement and infant classes), working at 2 seperate child care centers, and working at a psychiatric hospital for children and then working with adults in that same hospital (many whom were parents) has given me a good idea of the affects of certain behaviors and actions on children. I have a strong desire to help educate people, especially young parents, on how to be the best parent they can be for this new life they created. A baby is born with all the potential in the world and it breaks my heart when this is destroyed by someones selfishness or lack of resources to better their life. Being a parent is the most important job in the world and I want others to see it that way too. Who wouldn't want a better life for their child than they had? Being the best parent you can be is where that starts. So, we'll see if that's what I end up doing. For now, I pray I can be a positive influence in someway somewhere. Send some prayers my way if you think about :) As for me and Jeremiah, we plan to go hiking at Multnomah Falls sometime soon (I know hiking?), to get on some more home improvements, and our first rodeo (Jeremiah runs the sound for his dad who is the announcer - no bull riding for us thank you very much) is in May as well. Did I mention we have 2 babies due in our family within the next month? Exciting! Well, that's it for now. Next up: Summertime Fun! My FAVORITE!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bye Bye Winter... Hello Fun In The Sun!

The beginning of March has been a blast for the Atkins! What a way to end winter! Disney World, Greenville, SC and Atlanta! Since Jeremiah travels frequently to Greenville, and this was interfering with our plans for a winter vacation, we decided to go to Florida and take advantage of all the South has to offer! This also meant I (Angie) would actually get to see good old Greenville for a few days before heading home and letting my Jeremiah get to work. We are so thankful to God for this opportunity! It has allowed us a vacation and to be apart for less time. God is AMAZING ! Some of the highlights of our trip included:
- Getting a beautiful pearl from an oyster in Japan at the Showcase of The Worlds, EPCOT and buying candy from many of the countries as well. However, Turkish Delight = Not so delightful.
- Riding Test Track, Angie's favorite roller coaster!
- Seeing Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show and giant moving globe on the lake at EPCOT!
- Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios! I thought it would never stop shooting us up and down! Intense for sure!
- The integration of video games and rides at the Magic Kingdom on the Toy Story and Buzz Light Year rides! Jeremiah's fave!
- Angie hitting the 200,000 bonus point target on the Buzz Light Year ride! High score suckas!
- Riding Splash Mountain and Thunder Moutain at night and posing silly for the ride pictures.
- Jeremiah getting a crazy picture of Angie on Space Mountain with his iPhone!
- SpectroMagic! The COOLEST lighted parade I ever saw at the Magic Kingdom followed by an amazing fireworks display complete with a lighted up glowing Tinker Bell flying over the crowd from a zipline at the top of Cinderella's Castle! I knew something cool was to happen with that barely visible line I saw coming from the top!
- Extra magic hours at all parks means getting to parks early and staying til midnight at some! Best part of staying at a Disney Resort!
- Seeing the piano Uncle Jesse played at for Aunt Becky at the Grand Floridian! Too bad the Coral reef where they ate at was booked up solid and I didn't get to eat there... Guess I'll just have to come back!
- 60 and 70 degree sunny weather!
- Going on a safari at the Animal Kingdom and surviving the backwards Yeti coaster, Expedition Everest!
- Giant smoked Turkey legs! YUM!
- Seeing the world's largest aqaurium with the 2nd largest viewing window at the Georgia Aquarium!
- Petting a Sting Ray and Shark!
- Shopping at the best outlet mall outside Atlanta!
- Realizing how small Seattle really is after seeing Atlanta.
- Reedy River Falls in Greenville, SC. So pretty!
- Eating at Zaxby's (delicious wings), Longhorn, and Cracker Barrel. Not too mention all the delicious fried food I tried like hushpuppies and cajun fries!
- God's protection and safety for us as it was my first time flying alone and Jeremiah left for the trip with a tooth infection. What would we do without the Big Man upstairs?!
- Getting to spend a few days exploring Greenville with my hubby before I headed home and he stayed to work for 12 more days! Can't wait for March 26th!
The Tree Of Life at The Animal Kingdom
Germany at EPCOT

Tower Of Terror at Hollywood Studios
Cinderella's Castle at The Magic Kingdom

The monkeys at Animal Kingdom
Legoland Downtown Disney
Petting a sting ray and shark at the world's largest aquarium in Atlanta, GA
Reedy River and Falls in Greenville, SC