What We Read: {The Maze Runner}

I read. And I love it. But to make it even better, I read out loud to Mike. I love the bonding time that it gives us. It can be difficult at times because I can't just pick up our book and read any time I want, I have to wait for both of us to be available. But its something that we really enjoy doing together.

So, have you guys read this yet? We just finished The Maze Runner a couple of days ago. Oh.heavens. It is so good. I'm not gonna lie, it took me a while to get into it. The way the characters in the book speak is a little different, and because I read out loud, it was very difficult for me get the flow. But the flow came. And so did our love for this book. And the best part? It's a series. So we have already started book two. Then on to book three. And guess what? The author just announced the prequel to The Maze Runner coming out in 2012. I love book series.

Oh. And. A now very common term of endearment in my marriage is calling one another a shank. Reminds us of the little thing we share.

For those interested, I pulled the synopsis from the author's website, so you could all get a little taste of this awesomeness.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade--a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up--the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


What We Ate: {Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting}

For Thanksgiving, Mike and I headed to Houston to spend time with some family. We are lucky to have family close enough to be able to spend Thanksgiving with them. It's bittersweet to know that it was probably our last Thanksgiving we will be spending in Houston. But that just means moving on to bigger and better things, right? {Yeah, keep telling yourself that}

This was my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner. Dessert. The best part of the meal. This year I went with a Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting.

The Stuff: {Cake}

1 box devils food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
15 ounce can pumpkin
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

The Doing: {Cake}

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. {I have also done this cake in two 9 inch rounds}
2. Put all ingredients in bowl and mix until well combined.
3. Pour batter into pan{s}.
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. {Please note that time will vary depending on what pans you decide to use}
5. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

The Stuff: {Frosting}

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

The Doing: {Frosting}

1. Mix the butter and cream cheese together, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl
2. Slowly add powdered sugar to butter and cream cheese mixture
3. Mix until light and fluffy
4. Mix in vanilla
5. Place the frosting in the refrigerator until it stiffens up {or don't, it just kinda depends on how big of a hurry I am in}
6. Frost cooled cake.

{Side note: The pumpkin is not very prominent in this recipe. Good for those pumpkin-haters. {Yes they do exist, Mike is one of them} Either way, it makes the cake very moist and super yummy.



Well things are changing up in these here parts. This blog has always been an outlet for things going on in my life, and up until a week or so ago, it was private. But now, I'm changing things up. I will continue to post things about my life, but incorporated will be my creative side. {Recipes, crafts....ya know, the typical}, along with any other random inspirations that I may have. This is definitely a work in progress {that for some strange reason I have decided to embark upon during the crazy holiday season} so please bear with me as we go through some changes.



My list:

My lover, my best friend, Michael
My family, my inlaws
My happiness
My job
My friends

My life
I really do love my life.



Well, 'tis turkey day soon. Headed down to Houston to spend some much needed time away and with family. This whole midwest Thanksgiving thing....strange. Some people out here eat brisket instead of turkey. Don't get me wrong, I love a good, moist brisket, but this is turkey day. {Unless you don't like turkey, then its ham}. And to be completely honest, in my 23 years of life in Utah, I had never heard of deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey. Or having a "turkey fry". Do they do this in Utah? Who knows? But is it really necessary to add 4235818731 extra grams of fat to an already extremely large meal? Well for one of the fattest states in the nation, I would venture to say that it is necessary. But to be honest, our first year here, the Elders Quorum did a turkey fry. And yes, I tried some. And yes, it was yummy.

Nevertheless, I hope that everyone enjoys their respective meat, prepared in any which way that you enjoy it most, this Thursday.

We will be eating lots of food, playing with the kiddos, scouring the ads, watching the parade{football}, and preparing our Black Friday routes.



The proof is in the picture...
The tree is up!



It was a perfect 80 degrees today as we drove home from church. So guess what we did? We rolled down our windows and enjoyed it {which we rarely do}. I stuck my arm out the window, put my face toward the breeze, closed my eyes and took it all in. The sunshine, the smell of Fall, the clarity that comes from a little fresh air. It was such a small thing but it totally changed my day. We don't get much outdoor time between work and school and gym time. And the weather is always at it's best during those times. We need more "stop to smell the roses" moments. Today was a definite reminder of that. Hope you take a moment this Sunday to enjoy a minute or two of fresh air.



Well kids, its time.

No, not THAT time.

It's the time when I can't take it any longer. I know I should wait. Just a little bit longer.

But the thrill is getting to me.

It all started on Monday.

Thats when I started listening to Christmas music.
And it all stemmed from there.

Looks like the Christmas decor is coming out a little earlier.
This weekend to be exact.

Don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving.
I love the food.
I love the family time.
I love the parade!
I love the gratefulness.
I love the Black Friday ads. {I love that we lay around on the floor for hours looking at every little thing each ad has to offer, only to pick them up a few hours later to go over each detail again}

But lets be frank here, Christmas decorations are way WAY more fun than anything Thanksgiving has ever offered.

So yep, this is happening.

Jealous? Don't be, I give everyone permission to put up Christmas decorations this weekend too!
Disturbed? Um...I'm sorry? It's my house, mmkay?

P.S. After pretty much forcing Mike to look at some things on my Pinterest last night, he told me that I remind him of Zooey Deschanel. I am so cool.



This past weekend, Mike was in Dallas for a competition {they did awesome, btw}. I spent two days and two nights by my lonesome. I had full plans going into the weekend that I was going to get all kinds of stuff done without him home. I was going to super clean our house. Work on my scrapbook. You know, stuff that I have been putting off. Did I do any of that? Honestly? No. But for some reason I felt rather busy. There was a whole lot of chick flick watching going on. Oh and some baking {post on the delicious cake I made to come}. But the most exciting news of the weekend? It had to be our Saturday night earthquake. There I am, laying in bed, watching another chick flick, and I start to hear something. It was like someone was tapping silverware against a glass. It went on for probably 5 seconds and then the house began to shake. And let me tell you, IT.WAS.AWESOME. Of course, I don't really recall thinking that at the time. Being home alone, and all. Actually, for some reason in my fuzzy, 11 o'clock at night head, I thought to myself, if I move, or breath, this house is gonna come down around me. And then my second thought was, I sure hope the painting above our bed doesn't fall off the wall and kill me. So just to let you know, all those earthquake drills that you learn in elementary? Yeah, they didn't work. Get under a door frame? Are you kidding? I couldn't even breath, and you expect me to get up and move? There I lay, in the middle of my bed, vulnerable to anything that felt like it wanted to crash down on me. After maybe 40 seconds of shaking, it stopped. And then I could hear the silverware against the glass noise again...for maybe 10 seconds. And then it was all over. And I was home alone. And somehow expected to fall asleep. Hah. Well actually, my heart did finally get back to its normal pace, and I did eventually fall asleep. And there were no damages {in my house at least}. A wall of crooked pictures. Thats about it. The earthquake registered at a 5.6, the largest Oklahoma has ever seen. Oh the natural disaster experiences that I get to have here in this state. Mike was so disappointed that he missed it.



Yahoo{.com} insight for the day...

10 Things Not To Say to Your Childfree Friends

Parenting can have a huge impact on friendships. But you can maintain your bond -- with some insight into the childfree point of view.

By Jillian Mackenzie

My boyfriend and I don't know yet if we're going to have children -- but over the last few years, the majority of our friends have taken the plunge. During that time, I've learned a few things about how to keep friendships strong when you don't have parenthood in common. Here are 10 things not to say to your friends who don't have children.

1. "When will you finally have kids?"

Once you have offspring, you want your friends to share the experience. But please don't loudly ask this question across the table at Thanksgiving dinner or at a baby shower. Although many people are happy to be childfree or waiting, the situation may be more complicated. A friend could be facing infertility, in the agonizing position of having a spouse who doesn't want children, or otherwise in a complex struggle over the issue. Bring it up privately with close friends, or wait for them to share with you.

2. "We always wanted to have a family."

If you use the expression "have a family" to mean "have children," you inadvertently send a message that people without kids are... family-less. Family comes in many forms: significant others, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors -- happily, the list goes on!

3. "I only invited other parents."

Having children is the norm, and people who are childfree can sometimes feel isolated or excluded. So invite us to birthday parties! Sure, there are some people who just don't like kids and have no desire to spend an afternoon surrounded by them. They can decline the invitation, and the rest of us will cheer when the birthday boy takes his first bite of cupcake.

4. "Are you hung-over?"

If you had kids when you were on the younger side, you may have transitioned abruptly from staying out bar-hopping to night feedings and Yo Gabba Gabba -- and years later, you may assume that we're still acting like our crazy twentysomething selves. But just because we don't have kids doesn't mean we aren't growing up.

5. "You're so lucky you get to sleep in/shop/travel."

We understand that you give up a lot to be the amazing parent you are -- and we do appreciate our extra cash and free time, and god, yes, the sleep. But too many offhand comments like this make us feel like you assume the reason we don't have children is that we're lazy, selfish, or shallow. The decision is never that simple.

6. "This must be birth control for you."

Parents often make this joke when their kid is being loud or persistent, and we understand it's because you're worried the situation is bugging the hell out of everyone around you. Don't stress -- a good friend understands that your kid is going to have a meltdown once in a while. We can take it. And, of course, a crying toddler is not actually a tipping point in our decision to have kids. We're not that shortsighted.

7. "Your dog/cat/parakeet is your baby."

Pets are a huge part of many people's lives, whether or not those people have children. But it feels like a consolation prize when you put it like this. That said, ask about my cat; I'm happy to pull up my latest photo of her adorableness.

8. "I can't die; I'm a mom."

During a recent brief terrorism scare in New York City, a friend said to me, "I have to get out -- I can't die; I'm a mom." We know you have someone depending on you in an unprecedented way, but there are people who love and depend on us, too.

9. "I'm sorry it's taken forever for me to call/email/text you back."

Don't start every correspondence with an apology. Your life is insane and letting us know you want to make time for us is appreciated. But don't stress so much: My life is busy too, and more often than not, I didn't even notice a lag.

10. "You wouldn't understand."

We know there are many things about parenting you will turn to your mom friends to talk about. And, honestly, with anyone other than a close friend, that's probably best -- I lose interest fast when someone I don't know well talks too much about their kids. But when we're real friends, don't let our relationship fade because you're afraid of boring us with parenting stuff. Just like we used to listen to you talk about your ex, we want to hear about what's important in your life now. And we hope you'll do the same for us.



Okay, I will admit it. I love showtunes. So much. And you lucky people in Utah have a radio station {106.5} that has "Showtunes Saturday Night". Do you understand how lucky you are? This weekly event changed my marriage....

I have been in love with showtunes since pretty much forever. I remember watching musicals when I was younger. Oliver and Annie stick out particularly in my mind. Then as I got older, my taste continued to grow, thanks to my high school choir experiences {gotta love that Into the Woods medley}. Then I got married. And my sweet husband wasn't much into the musical thing, but he knew that I loved them. One night we started a game. More like I started a game. Because I would only start games that I know that I can win. This game was only played on Saturday nights. The game goes like this: listen to "Showtunes Saturday Night". When a song comes on, you have to be the first person to name the musical that the song is from. The person with the most musicals at the end wins. Thats pretty much it. And let me tell you. I was pretty good at this game. Not perfect, but better than Mike and thats what mattered.

So do you know what this sneaky kid decided to do? He started listening to showtunes at work. NON.STOP. Yep. He became quite the contender at my game! Which actually made it way more fun.

Then we moved. No "Showtunes Saturday Night" in Oklahoma. Lame. Slowly but surely, we got out of our showtune listening.

So yesterday was a bad day. I was telling Mike all about my poor, pitiful day through Google Chat. And do you know what he says to me? This boy tells me to turn on some showtunes. Because showtunes make everything better. Hah.

I have created a monster.