Sunday, May 29, 2011

40 Years

Happy 40th Anniversary to my wonderful parents who show me every day what true love is! I hope Landon and I can be as much in love as you little lovebirds are 40 years, 9 kids, and 3 countries later still are! They are NEVER apart and are still so affectionate to each other. I am so grateful for their example of what marriage should be.


I love you and miss you both SO much! Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lesson Learned

I can't believe how impatient I am... after my day of self-pity and hopelessness I decided I needed a major attitude adjustment. I humbled myself and stopped feeling so bad for myself and instead tried to be grateful and happy! Because really, I was being pathetic. I have SO much to be grateful for and should not be wallowing in self-pity.

Well, immediately after my pity party ended I got a job! I feel like I do this to myself ALL the time. I get impatient, hopeless, and give up and then as soon as I decide to be happy, grateful, and turn to Christ the blessings follow immediately after. I can't even tell you how many times this cycle has happened to me lately. Heavenly Father definitely wants me to learn some patience, and so far I haven't been doing very good!

I am so unbelievably grateful I got a job, and a really amazing one at that! I will be a billing coordinator and it sounds like a really fast-paced and busy job which is exactly what I'm looking for. I actually temped for this company on Friday as a receptionist and they really liked me so they called the temp agency and told them they had a position for me :) I'm so happy!


P.S. The temp agency told me I would start this Tuesday, May 31st, the day before my birthday. I had absolutely NO idea my birthday was this week! For some reason I thought it was in 2 weeks! Ah, I am SO excited! I love birthdays :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am pretty picky with my chocolate chip cookies. They have to be small, chewy, and have a perfect ratio of chocolate chips. I really don't like to brag, but I make the best chocolate chip cookies. I've never tasted a better cookie in my life. But I can't even take the credit because I didn't come up with the recipe, so I don't even feel bad for bragging :)

This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Suzette! I've compared this recipe to other recipes out there and I know why this recipe is the best... more of the good stuff aka chocolate chips, butter, and sugar. Mmmm!

Here's the recipe folks:

Pre-heat oven to 350

Combine the following ingredients and mix 'em all together.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup butter (almost three sticks...that's why they taste like heaven!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
Then add:
  • 3 cups flower
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt

Honestly, I think I add a little more than 3 cups of flour. Probably more like 3 1/2 or even 4 cups. The texture has to be just right or else you will have flat, crispy cookies and nobody wants a crunchy cookie.

I don't really have an exact measurement for the chocolate chips, but it's probably around 2-3 cups.

Don't bake your cookies until you've eaten some cookie dough. In my opinion this is the best part! Fabulous!


Bake for 6-10 minutes...depending on your oven. I always do the same temperature and I've made these in 3 different ovens so far. My first oven it took like 11 min, second oven took 8, and now my current oven only takes 6. So just watch these babies while they're baking because like I mentioned earlier, nobody likes a crispy cookie. Don't even listen to people that tell you to wait until they're golden brown. Golden brown=crispy. Just make sure the bottoms have crisped a little bit, but the tops of the cookies shouldn't have color.

Who ever know that explaining a chocolate chip cookie recipe would be so WORDY. It should be simple, but really making a perfect chocolate chip cookie is an art form ;)


Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Comfort

Immediately after venting all of my frustrations of unemployment/lack of direction I knew what I had to do. I pulled out my scriptures and scripture journal. Personal revelation from our Heavenly Father is real.

I opened to a page dated 9/7/2008, almost 3 years ago to a fireside I attended. The speaker was Jefferey R. Holland. I remember being so touched by this fireside and felt like every word coming from Elder Holland's mouth was meant just for me and what I was going through at the time. Now, as I look back on this entry years later and read the notes I took, the words are meant just for me, just for my circumstance right now.

I want to share my notes with you because I know every person can apply these words from an apostle of Jesus Christ into their life. I am so happy I decided to take notes that night and now feel more motivated to write more regularly in my scripture journal.

**These are my own notes and may not be word-for-word what Elder Holland spoke**

"You can have sacred and revelatory experiences with the Lord in the most miserable and oppositional times. We all face our own "Liberty Jail." (Click here and here to read more about the Prophet Joseph Smith's experience in Liberty Jail). Every experience can become a redemptive experience if we stay bonded to God. He can change the unfair circumstances to "temples" instead of jails where we can receive peace and revelation. We must have faith and be humble. Hardships are necessary and help make us strong.

Lessons Learned at Liberty Jail

1. Everyone will face trying tames and may feel abandoned in the darkness. "Oh God, where art thou?" We must not succumb to the fear that God is not there. He is right there with us. He is always there. We have to endure and know that God hears our cries and knows our distress. We are not alone in our prisons.

2. Jesus had to suffer our pains, sorrows, and every burden of every person. Our burdens may seem heavy but it would be even harder without Christ. The Savior has been where we have been. We have been permanently engraven on His hands. He will never forsake or forget us.

3. We need to be gentle and meek and not lash out because of our trials to God or anyone else. We need to be patient and calm in our trials. We must live the gospel at ALL times--even when things are not going so smoothly. This is when we see what we are really made of and can see how strong we are. Even in distress and trials, our bowels must be full of charity. The spirit cannot get into a heart full of self-pity and hate. We must be long-suffering, kind, and charitable so the spirit may touch and help us. Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power--even in the rough and hard times.

Hold on thy way, God shall be with you forever and ever. Bad days come to an end and faith ALWAYS triumphs."

I know hard times can be our greatest times, if we turn to Christ and have faith, and I am so grateful for this humbling reminder.

And thanks everyone for all of your comments and support but I just wanted to say I really am okay and yesterday was just one of those days when I was feeling down. I'm feeling much better today and just trying to stay busy and positive.

Unemployed

I've always told Landon that I would love to be a s.a.h.w. aka stay-at-home-wife (I know, that doesn't really exist, but I liked the idea of it). I would keep busy by keeping the house perfectly clean, cooking awesome meals for the hubby, baking yummy treats, crafting, reading good books, etc. Well we've officially been in Oregon for 13 days and I'm SO ready to be out of the house. I'm totally not meant to be a s.a.h.w.

I am a go-getter and I hate being lazy. I have to be doing something or else I feel like a waste of a person. And honestly, I'm running out of things to do around here. The house is spotless, we always have baked goods to eat, I've been making nice dinners... but I really need a JOB.

And let me tell ya, not only are there no teaching jobs in Oregon... there are no regular jobs in Oregon. I have applied everywhere and just keep getting denied/ignored. Okay, that's a lie I have actually had 2 job offers but I just wasn't desperate enough to take either of them. One was a sales job based solely on commission (no thank you) and one was working at a daycare where I would be a "teacher" for a traumatized class of 1-2 year olds that just lost their teacher they had for a year, oh and I'd be making 10/hr (no thank you). I have interviewed with 2 different temp agencies that specialize in placing office-type jobs like receptionist, assistant, etc. but that isn't really where I dream of working either.

I just feel like I'm in a complete and utter rut right now. My whole life I KNEW I was meant to be a teacher, but that just isn't even a possibility right now so I am having to come up with a whole new game plan... Recently I've been considering possibly getting my real estate license but seriously I have never really been interested in that... It just sounds slightly more appealing than answering phones all day. What is a girl to do?!

Okay, I'm sorry. I'm done being a Debbie Downer. I've just been sitting at home all day with nothing to do and I needed to vent about how bored/hopeless I am right now.

And just for a reward for reading my rantings, you get a picture of me going a little bit stir crazy

I am so desperate at this point that I will work anywhere... (okay I lied, anywhere other than a sales job/daycare). Any ideas?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Idea of a Perfect Date

First we would eat at this place

It's recently become my favorite. Mainly for the bread and mainly because I'm a carb-aholic. At dinner, we'd probably talk about the first time we talked about marriage almost 2 years ago and how casually Landon brought it up on one of our nightly walks... :)

Next we'd go to The Washington Park and walk around an endless maze of trails through the forest.


After we'd go on a motorcycle ride through the forest looking at the amazing Portland houses that are so unique along a windy road that takes you right into the city. We'd probably ride around the city for a bit before riding back home into the sunset


Quite literally actually, Hillsboro is directly west of Portland.

Yep, tonight was the most perfect date.

And after a year and a half of marriage it amazes me how I fall in love with Landon more and more every day. Life is so good.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Slightly Embarrassing Video Tour

Okay, I just have to say that I am kind of embarrassed posting this video. I hate listening to my voice. Maybe I should have just recorded our apartment minus the lame commentary. Oh well, I'm not doing it over again :)

So here is the official video tour of our apartment! We're all set up (other than Landon's office, which is a complete and utter disaster). I can't even say it enough, but we just love it here!

It's so nice just working and not going to school. We see each other SO much more than we ever have before. (Skip this whole paragraph if you don't want to hear the mundane details of our life, but I want to remember this moment forever). Landon leaves for work around 8:30, but we always get up at 7 so we have about an hour and a half just to hang out (we usually eat cinnamon toast crunch and watch Bones, our latest obsession). Then he leaves for work and I have been spending my time setting up the apartment, running errands, and mostly job hunting/interviewing...which I'll save that story for a whole different post. I need to vent. Anyway, then I pick Landon up at 12 and take him home to eat lunch and watch some more Bones. I take him back to work at 1 and then keep busy with errands until he comes home at 5. Then I make him dinner, we watch more Bones, go for a walk, and then it's time for bed. Life couldn't be better. It's simple but perfect.

Anyway, enough with the talking here's the tour :)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Falling in Love

Top 10 Reasons Why We're Falling in Love with Oregon
(in no particular order)
  1. Our backyard is literally a forest.
  2. We are an hour from the ocean. Coolest beach ever-with caves, waterfalls, tide pools, and it literally goes from water to sand to forest. Gorgeous.
  3. There are a million waterfalls, mountains, forests, etc. to hike all within 20 min from our house.
  4. Everything is green, green like I've never seen. Moss grows on everything, so even tree trunks are green. It's unreal.
  5. Every person I have come into contact with here is nice. Super friendly, welcoming, and will actually strike up a conversation with me instead of glaring at me for trying to start small talk.
  6. We are still only less than an hour away from mountains and Mt. Hood has year round snowboarding.
  7. Portland is the coolest city ever. Right on the river with tons of things to do and see. Every Saturday they have a market down by the river with tons of street vendors selling random things. Perfect for people watching :)
  8. Our apartment is simply perfect. I can't get over how much I love it. It's huge with tons of natural light and it's all mine. (I'm almost all done decorating too by the way, which means a video tour done by yours truly is coming soon. Stay tuned!)
  9. There are pretty much parks on every corner, each with a walking trail through the forests and creeks. And you know us, we love our nightly walks. Every night it feels like we're going on an adventure-finding new trails, seeing wildlife, admiring our surroundings... It's absolutely perfect.
  10. No sales tax. Enough said.
I am literally obsessed with this place if you can't tell. And I don't ever want to leave, which means friends and family need to move up here pretty please. It's perfect and you'll love it. I promise :)

Here are some pictures just to entice you if you aren't already convinced.





We heart Oregon. We most definitely made the right decision. We're home.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow & Homemade Reese's

Well, the vacation is over and the real world starts now. We are all settled in to our cute apartment and Landon is heading to his first day of his CAREER in the morning, no big deal. I feel like I'm way more nervous than he is. He actually isn't nervous at all, just kinda bummed that he actually has to grow up. Understandable for sure.

I also have an interview tomorrow, another one on Tuesday, and then another one the next week. Don't get too excited for me though, none of these are for teaching jobs. I really really really don't want to work unless it's doing something I love... But I don't really have much of a choice. Landon wants me to get my real estate license and that's starting to look more and more appealing after applying for all of these lame-o, boring, dumb jobs. Plus if I had my license we could probably get into a house sooner because I would know all the ins and outs. So we'll see...

Today I made homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and thought I'd share the recipe because it's super easy and super delicious. The only thing that is a pain is they literally take ALL day... it's quite the process. It's not hard, just a lot of waiting around... Perfect for a lazy Sunday treat.
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (skippy, preferably)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or if you're like me you'll want 3/4)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Process:
1. Place mini-cupcake papers inside mini-muffin tin. Or you can spray the pan with pam, but I think the paper lining makes it easier to remove.
2. Pour chocolate chips in bowl and melt them in the microwave on 50% power. Start with 2 minutes and take them out about every 30 seconds to stir. After 2 minutes is up, just do 30 second or less intervals and stir every time until the chocolate is smooth. You don't want to over-do it or the chocolate will burn and not be smooth at all.

3. Using a teaspoon, spoon the chocolate into the middle of the muffin cup. Using the back of the spoon, draw the chocolate up around the edges so the entire paper cup has a coat of chocolate.


4. Put the whole muffin tin in the fridge for about an hour or until the chocolate hardens.

5. While the chocolate is hardening, mix the salt, powdered sugar and peanut butter in a bowl. When the chocolate is all hardened, pop the peanut butter mixture in the microwave for about a minute to soften.

6. Spoon softened peanut butter into chocolate-coated cups, leaving enough room for chocolate layer on the top.


7. Put the whole muffin tin back in the fridge to harden for an hour or so (I told ya... quite the process!)

8. When the peanut butter filling has hardened, put the chocolate chips back in the microwave to soften (again 50% power, 30 second or less intervals stirring every time).

9. Use a teaspoon to spread a layer of chocolate on the top. Put it all back in the fridge to let it harden (I usually don't eat em for a few hours after this step).


Delicious! Enjoy and happy Sunday! :)


Monday, May 9, 2011

California Day 4: Disneyland

Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. Hands down.

Landon hadn't been since he was really little so he couldn't remember exactly how amazing it is, plus he hadn't been on a few awesome rides like Indiana Jones or anything at California Adventure. We were both in heaven the whole day.

Daren and Tanner came with us and it was so nice having them with us all day! We loved getting to spend all week with them!

That Mickey Ferris Wheel in the background is FREAKY by the way. Scariest ride I've ever been on.

We didn't waste any time--we ran from ride to ride, collected fast passes every hour, and rode every ride (at least the good ones) multiple times.

Some of the highlights of the day included riding California Screaming on the first row. I recorded it, and didn't even drop my camera!



Another highlight was World of Color, California Adventure's nighttime show. It's a water/color/laser show, but there are simply no words to describe how amazing it was! I was in awe the whole time! So magical!!!


Other favorite moments of the day: The Aladdin Show, riding tower of terror, and of course riding all the classic rides (Peter Pan, Matterhorn, Thunder Mountain, Pirates).




But my all time favorite ride is definitely Space Mountain. Always has been, always will be! We decided to ride it first thing because we love it so much, and it actually closed down while we were riding it! It was so crazy seeing the ride with all the lights on...

Most people can't say they have a picture on Space Mountain

We were pretty bummed because we were sitting there for 20 minutes and wasting valuable time, but they actually gave us VIP passes for any ride (which meant absolutely no waiting in line). We used it to get first row seats at Aladdin :)

I've always taken pictures in front of the Disney castle, but it was SO fun getting to take a picture in front of it with my husband. It is now my all time favorite picture.


Disneyland was perfect. Thanks for the Christmas present Landon Dean! :)

P.S. We are in Baker City, OR right now and actually have internet at our hotel so I decided to use this free time to blog of course! We drove through a snowy blizzard and also 60 mph winds pretty much the whole way to our hotel today. It was absolutely CRAZY weather. We have the worst luck when it comes to road trips (for example, our tire completely blew out on our way home from California on Saturday 76 miles outside of Vegas....) We're hoping for some better weather tomorrow. Only 300 miles until Portland! We should be there tomorrow before lunch! We're so excited!!!!

We're Here!

I don't even know where to begin! But we're here and we love it so much already. I don't know how to explain it, but Oregon just feels like home. I'm in love. It's SO pretty! The day we moved in was sunny with blue skies, and we are so blessed because it's been raining every day since... good thing I like the rain!


Our 16 footer fit two motorcycles plus everything we own, easily.

Our apartment is seriously the cutest thing I have ever seen. It is perfect! Open, spacious, clean, brand new EVERYTHING (carpet, washer/dryer, stove, fridge, microwave, dishwasher, toilets, you name it...) It is so clean and bright compared to our little love nest aka nasty teeny tiny basement apartment we lived in down in Provo. We are so happy with our choice! Plus, the management here is amazing. It's a small complex so they know everyone by name and they are just so nice and friendly. We told them that one of our blinds wouldn't close and they were over in less than 5 minutes to fix it. I really think we're going to love it here!



That's our apartment, up the stairs and to the left :)

We are pretty much all done unpacking, but not quite done setting up. When it's all ready and cute, I'm going to do a little video tour of our place. But for now, here's a sneak peak with just a few pictures.


Sorry the picture is so dark, but this is our huge living room from the view of our kitchen. It has vaulted ceilings, a wood burning fireplace, and a balcony to the left. Pictures don't do it justice.


Our apartment is two bed/two bath. This is the guest bathroom.


Mountain of boxes. I feel accomplished when I see the pile of all the boxes I unpacked :)
That's our kitchen behind the boxes


Our kitchen is HUGE with tons of cupboard space. It's my favorite part. I'm in heaven.

Today we are taking my little brother and his friend Tyler (they came to help us move, and we couldn't have done it without them!) to the beach. More pictures to come :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

And So Our Adventure Begins...

I am writing this post from the comfort of an air mattress in my empty bedroom. It's so weird seeing how empty our three rooms are. It's real. The moving day is finally here.

Tonight my family came over for Mother's Day and to say bye to us. I hate goodbyes more than anything and I completely lost it. I was doing fine all night until I hugged this little girl goodbye.

It was all downhill from there. I really am going to miss my family SO much and my heart is just broken.

But, I at the same time I am SO excited for the adventure that is about to begin for Landon and me in Oregon. A whole new fresh start. A new chapter. Real, grown-up life. We are pretty stoked.

So many emotions! I will definitely update the blog the minute we get our internet set up. Wish us luck!

P.S. Disneyland was unbelievable. I will blog about that soon too, don't you worry!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

California Day 3: Beach Day

Today was so relaxing. We slept in and had a late start, then spent the day at two different beaches (Manhattan and Hermosa), ate lunch at Red Lobster, and walked the famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills looking at all of the fancy stores. Now we're just getting ready for the happiest place on earth in the morning! I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep tonight! AHHHH!!!!!

The highlights of the beach were: seeing a seal, watching two dolphins playing, collecting seashells, laying out and finally getting some sun, and walking along the beach with my love. The beach is seriously my favorite place.


Well, stay tuned to hear about Disneyland and our big move MONDAY! I'm so excited/nervous/scared/happy/sad/anxious/ecstatic ETC! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

California Day 2: Hollywood and Santa Monica

I didn't think anything could be more perfect than day 1, but day 2 was just as amazing! We are having a BLAST.

Tanner took us on a tour of Hollywood. We hiked up to the sign and walked down Hollywood Blvd. By the way, did you know Hollywood isn't glamorous like you think it would be? Weird huh? But still way fun to see!


Landon is being such a good sport and letting me take lots of pictures :)




View from behind the sign


I love Shirley Temple! It was so fun seeing her cute little hands!


The famous Chinese Theater


It was fun to see all the stars

Tanner also took us on a little drive to downtown L.A. and through some really fancy neighborhoods. I love looking at all of the huge mansions.

After that we went home and took a two hour nap. Amazing. Then we headed out to Santa Monica. We walked down the 3rd Street Promenade, which is a way fun outdoor mall, had dinner, and walked down the pier. This is by far our favorite part of California. I love Santa Monica! It is gorgeous!


Awesome outdoor mall. I love all the palm trees!!


Walking the pier and Landon teasing me. Like always ;)


Loved the ferris wheel.

We are thinking we might have to make a yearly trip to California a new Richins tradition! We are just having so much fun! 2 days until Disneyland!! Ahhh!!!

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