little letters.

Dear Little Bird,

Thank you for flying into our classroom today and providing the perfect excuse for absolute silence for the last 1.75 hours of class today. It was bliss. I hope you got out safely when we left you alone. You were very cute.

Love,
Miss Pond


Dear Kaylee,

Thank you for the wonderful job you did on my hair! I know it's nothing big, but I just love getting my hair trimmed and gabbing in the salon with you. I think it's one of my favorite ways to relax after a long day. So thanks!

Love,
Kylie (the one with the sexy hair)


Dear Sunset,

You were especially breathtaking tonight! Thank you for the simple reminder that God is there and that He loves me enough to show me beauty in the little things. In fact, your timing was perfect. It reminded me of the song whose lyrics go like this: "It's a great day to be alive; I know the sun's still shining when I close my eyes." I love that feeling. My only regret is not getting a picture. But you'll be framed in my memory, don't worry.

Love,
Kylie


Dear Readers,

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I know I will! However, I will be away from the computer, but will have grand adventures to blog about come Monday. I'll be watching this (and attending a session) and spending lots of time with friends and family in Utah. I'm ready to be inspired and spiritually fed. Have a good weekend!

Love always,
Kylie


a little girl.




This song speaks to me. In so many ways.
It reminds me of simpler times.
Of playing pretend, of dreaming about growing up.
I was always dreaming. Always coming up with these amazing adventures in my head.
I loved to play pretend. I loved to get lost in new worlds through books.

I still love to dream. My dreams are a little bit different, but not much.
I still dream of flying, but in metaphorical ways. I still "play house,"
but now it's real.

Now my dreams consist of raising a little family. Of fulfilling my God-given role.
Of going on more adventures than I could've dreamed of as a little girl.
Except now, I'm striving to live those dreams each day.

I'm still that little girl.

recent snapshots.









1. Filibertos in Mesa. Taquitos, get in mah bellay.
2. My new favorite hairpiece.
3. Just before a fun but hot motorcycle ride in the valley.
4. Hittin' the woods for our Labor Day cookout.
4. Shotgun shell.
5. Rolled up pant legs for the late summer storms.
6. The sky on the drive up from Mesa.
7. A favorite necklace.
8. Flagstaff summer storm rolling in.

guess what?


His kisses still take my breath away.
And I love him more with each day.
With every trial we face,
I know he's right by my side.
I know that we'll make it.
Together.

great grandma burgess' peanut butter cookies.

I have a family recipe for the most delicious and moist peanut butter cookies ever.
So, when our friends invited us over for Sunday night dinner, I had an idea to twist the recipe a little. They were delicious! I decided to be nice and share. They are super easy to make, since there's hardly any measuring and they have only a few ingredients.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 german chocolate cake mix
1 egg
1/3 cup oil or melted butter
2-4 T water
1 cup peanut butter
2 handfuls (about 1 cup) chocolate chips

Mix it all together. Add more or less water depending on how dry the dough is. Bake at 350* for 7-8 min.

Enjoy!

shufflin'.



I know this song is probably old news by now, but TJ and I are currently loving this music video. It's just catchy. And the dancing is pretty much rad. Just ignore the skanky girl towards the end. She forgot to put all of her clothes on! Embarrassing.

Funny story time: Elaine, my co-student-teacher, told me that one of the boys in the class was singing this song.
"Everyday I'm shufflin'," he sang.
"Shufflin' shufflin'," Elaine responded.
"You know that song?!" he asked, shocked.

Haha! Gotta love the kiddos.

golden.








A couple of days ago, I looked out our bedroom window around evening time, and the light I saw was simply magical. Autumn gold. So, I took my camera on a little date. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm crazy, but I could care less....because I did not do a single thing to these photos. They are straight out of camera. The light was golden, I tell ya. Golden.

on my mind.


I have a lot of things on my mind today, and I just want to put them somewhere. I just need to see them and sort them for myself.

I was a week late this month, and for one nerve-wracking and hopeful week, I thought I might be pregnant. I told myself not to get my hopes up, and I didn't for the most part. This sense of relief and disappointment is interesting. Not that it matters, we weren't trying to get pregnant. It's just one of those things that I would be happy if it had happened, but I'm okay it didn't.

I had an evaluation by my university supervisor today. It went really well and she had a lot of good things to say. When she asked if there was anything I was struggling with, I got emotional as I described that feeling of helplessness a teacher has, knowing how much some of her students are going through at home, and knowing that it's outside of your control. Her response was wise, "That's why it's good that they can come here. They can come to school and be safe in your classroom, where you can love them and be good to them. Some of them will be so touched by you, that they'll become teachers. Others will just be okay for now. Others may not be okay for a while, but later in life they will be. There are good people everywhere."

I've been in something of a funk lately. The kind of funk where I don't like myself very much. Nothing extreme, I'm just dissatisfied with a lot of things about me. The frustrating and helpful part is, I know what I can do to get out of it. So I've made up my mind to just do things to make me happy. And when I'm happy, then I can be my best self. Then, I can be the best help to my husband. It's truly the little things that matter the most.

Tell me this isn't just the hormones talking.

date night in.

As part of an effort to be more frugal (not that we weren't before) TJ and I are trying to eat out less. So, this last Friday, I declared it date night in. TJ had decided to work some overtime (he normally doesn't work on Fridays), so it was perfect for me to be able to get groceries, pick up the apartment, and cook a wonderful meal.

When he got home, I was almost ready. Pretty much all I had to do was set the table, finish the green beans, and....oh yeah....look cute. While the green beans were cooking, I quickly changed my shirt, curled a few pieces of hair, spritzed on some perfume, and tossed on a necklace. It's amazing what a few simple changes can do to boost a girl's confidence.

Then, I gave TJ a huge hug and said, "Hey, you wanna go on a date with me?"
This was his face after saying yes: He's hot.

TJ poured our fancy beverage: ice water. Made more fancy in a cute pitcher.

For our meal, I wanted to do something yummy that seemed sorta fancy. So, I found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided it was perfect. See my version at the end of this post.

Served up with a side of olive-oil-sauteed green beans, and it was delicious!

After finishing our dinner, we snuggled up to some Bluebell: Dessert Trio and popped in Pete's Dragon. Would you believe me if I said it was my first time seeing this movie? It was. Too cute. Especially the fact that it was TJ's favorite as a kid, so he knew all the lines and got so excited over everything.

Sorry my face is so creepy. But not really.


All in all, it was one of my favorite date nights in a while. Don't get me wrong, I always have fun whatever we do, but it was nice to really be ourselves and spend the whole night at home in the mindset of it being "date night." I think date night in will just keep getting better.


Spinach, Chicken, and Pasta Bake (my version)
1 box of whole wheat rotini
1 roma tomato
a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 large-ish chicken breast
1/2 of a small-medium yellow onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 oz. neufchatel cheese (like cream cheese with less fat)
about 1 cup shredded mozarella cheese

1. Boil pasta per package instructions (I didn't use quite the whole box, but almost). Cook chicken breast (I do this by browning it in a skillet, then covering the skillet for about 5 minutes to steam and cook through). Also, take neufchatel cheese out of fridge to come to room temp. Oh, and preheat oven to 375*.
2. Sautee onion in olive oil, add spinach and cook down.
3. Dice roma tomato. [I used a fresh tomato because I'm not a fan of tomatoes in general, but even less of a fan of canned tomatoes. I wanted that flavor, and a bit of freshness, so I added it.]
4. Once everything is all cooked, combine everything in a bowl with a bit of s&p and a dash of garlic powder. Be sure to mix well to incorporate neufchatel cheese.
5. Spread into an 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Top with shredded mozarella cheese.
6. Bake covered with tin foil at 375* for about 20 min. Uncover and bake for another 10 min. My cheese never got browned, but the edges were getting crispy.
7. Serve! It's wonderful hot, but I had it cold for lunch the next day and it was equally delicious.

Note: I don't measure a whole lot when I cook, so pardon the approximate measurements.

[PS, the giveaway's right here if you haven't entered yet!]

maybe you didn't know.

My darling friend and old roommie Emma nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! She also wrote the sweetest little sentiment about me in the nomination. I am seriously so touched. Thanks Ems!

Here are the rules I get to follow: 
1. I must thank the award-giver and link back to them in my post.
2. I must tell you wonderful readers seven things about myself. 
3. I must give this award to up to 15 recently discovered bloggers. 
4. I must contact those bloggers and tell them the exciting news!


Alright, here goes #2.


1. I recently tried Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew for the first time. In the same weekend. Let's just say it's a good thing I don't drink soda. Now you know my guilty secret!
2. I have double-jointed shoulders. Some think it's cool, some think it's gross. Maybe I'll share sometime.
3. I am graduating in December. Heck yes! (Unless by some tragic happenstance I fail student teaching.)
4. My current favorite recent chick flik is My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. It is seriously so cute. Netflix it. Now.
5. My current favorite brand of ice cream is Bluebell. Latest flavor tried: Dessert Trio. Yum.
6. I am an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. It's something to help supplement our income, but I honestly love the philosophy of the company and their products. Let me know if you have any beauty needs!
7. I really like doing my hair when I have the time. I love trying new styles, I love getting it trimmed or cut so it's healthy, and I love how simply throwing in a few curls can make me feel pretty. Sometimes I get frustrated with it, but I've been told I have great hair. And here's a not-so-secret secret: it's virgin. That's right, I've never colored it or done any kind of treatment to it. A fact which may change in the not so distant future. 


And now for my nominations: 
1. Ariana: I found Ariana's blog after she commented on my blog. She is so sweet and blogs about her life with her husband in the south.  
2. Chelsea: Chelsea is another fellow blog-stalker. She is hilarious and has a cute and quirky style. I love her random internet finds.
3. Megan: Megan found me again (I think) and I fell in love with her love story. It's really cute and reminded me of the butterfly feeling of dating again. 


Enjoy! [PS, here's the giveaway if you haven't entered yet.]

What Kylie Loves: dating your spouse.

TJ and I decided before we got married that we would not stop dating each other.
What we meant by that was, we believe it is important to be constantly getting to know one another.
By "dating," we are sure to set aside one time each week to focus on each other and do things we love to do together.

We don't always go out to eat, and dating doesn't have to cost any money.
Sometimes it's just taking a drive together,
Or playing games together.

Sometimes, it's keeping that feeling you had when dating alive. We often like to leave each other little notes. Just a post-it on the fridge or someplace unexpected can brighten your spouse's day. I like to write him encouraging notes on the mirror. He likes to leave me little notes on the grocery list.

For us, going on dates is a chance to experience new things together, a chance to recreate old memories, and a chance to create new memories as well. To us, dating each other is a mindset. I guess it's just our outlook on marriage. This has all been extremely important to our relationship, since we've had pretty much opposite schedules since we got married, and now it's worse than ever. We hardly see each other during the week, so it's important to do so when we can.

TJ is so good at planning dates and has surprised me on numerous occasions with the thought and effort he puts into dating me. We definitely plan on continuing to date each other when we have kids. I know things may change, but I think we'll value it even more as our lives continue to change.

So as we're living and learning and loving, we'll be dating and strengthening our marriage along the way.



[Stuck in a dating rut? This website has awesome ideas about dating your spouse.]
[Want some more ideas? Click here to see some of our dates.]

on blogging.

Some don't understand what it is that draws bloggers to blogging.

I guess it's not just one thing. There's just something intriguing about getting to know someone, even though you've never met in person. It's about finding that commonality that we all yearn for. To know that someone, somewhere, knows exactly how you feel. That feeling that you're not alone in this crazy planet.

Blogging let's you have a secret glimpse into the lives of others....but in a non-creepy way. It lets you talk to them; relate to them. Blogging is about sharing your story.

That's why I blog. I blog because I can record my thoughts, and my life. I blog because I can feel like I'm part of something bigger. I blog and I read blogs because I like feeling that sense of community that sometimes is lacking in real life. It's like having a neighbor you can say hello to and chat with for a few minutes.

Of course, there must be balance. I value my real-life relationships so so much. But I'm grateful for the online friendships that I've made, and hope to make even more. And maybe, for those I don't already know, I can someday meet face to face.

the t-shirt.

I have this t-shirt.
It's kind of my favorite in the world.
And I thought I'd lost it forever.
I couldn't find it anywhere for like over a month.
That, and my lacy maroon undershirt.

One day, I mentioned it to TJ.
He said, "Oh! It's in a bag, in the trunk of the car."
Whaaa?

Turns out, we left a bag of dirty clothes in there before hopping on the plane to Sac.
In JULY.
Funny thing is, it took another week to get the bag out of the trunk.

And now, we are reunited.
And all is right in the world.

[If you're thinking, "Really?? A post about a t-shirt??" Lay off. I'm sentimental and attach emotional value to things. Plus also, it's my favorite because it reminds me of our first concert.]

simple saturday night dinner.

On Saturday night, I wasn't feeling so great. I had intended to make pizza....homemade dough and everything. Instead, I decided to go back to one of my childhood favorites. Mom would make these when she and dad had date night. She sometimes used mini pitas, which was so fun for us kids. TJ loves them, and says our kids are going to be spoiled. 

I love making these with various toppings. Once I did Italian sausage and peppers and onions. These ones I went traditional and topped it with pepperoni and onions.

First, start off with pita bread. For some reason, I can only find it in halves. Oh well, still tastes the same. Put 'em on a cookie sheet.

Next, slice up some onions. Also (not pictured) open a can of regular tomato sauce and add some seasonings to it. I like salt & pepper and Italian seasoning.

Shred some mozarella cheese.

Layer everything on the pita. Sauce, cheese, onion, and pepperoni.

Bake in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes. You're basically just melting the cheese and toasting the bread.

For a healthy side, I sliced up the last of the summer squash that Emma gave me, and steamed it.

Pull the pizzas out when they're done and serve right away!

Yum. Get in mah bellay!

Let me know if you try it! It's so easy it can't even be considered cooking.
[PS, sorry for the weird coloring. It was nighttime and my kitchen has horrible lighting.]

"you can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream...."

"....and that's kind of the same thing."

On Friday, after our ward Chili Cookoff, TJ promised we could go to our new favorite place: YogurtU. It's the first self-serve froyo place in Flag, so it's kindofabigdeal. We love our Yogurberry (which is in another city), but this is yummier and cheaper.

Last weekend was our first time trying the stuff. We're hooked. We each got our own. THAT'S A BIG DEAL. We rarely get our own. We almost always share, to be frugal and to cut down on calories. But tonight we decided to splurge a little and treat ourselves.
[Hers (left): Dulce de Leche, Cake Batter, & Vanilla w/ Almonds, Strawberries, Heath, and two chunks of Snickers. His (right): Chocolate & Peanut Butter w/ Butterfinger, Reese's Cups, Snickers, and Cookie Dough.]

[When I asked him what color of spoon he wanted (pink, green, or blue), he said, "Green. Because the Packers won last night." He's such a football nerd. I love him.] 

[Whyyy does he never smile??]

[Just being us. Right after I took this picture, one of TJ's old academic advisors walked up to say hi. Classy guys, classy. We definitely live in a small town.]

Can I just say that I love having an iPod touch with a camera for things like this? I love that I can still take pictures, but not feel awkward whipping out my Canon in crowded restaurants.

Plus also, I love date night.
Plus also, I love froyo.
Oh yeah, and TJ.
Love him too.

What Kylie Loves: inspiration.

I absolutely love google reader. It helps me to follow sites and categorize them. These are some of my favorite blogs to stalk in the various categories I have, and why I love them.

Beauty & Fashion
[I absolutely love her "Beautyfull Tuesday" series]
[A recent find. I love her adorable clothes and easy tutorials! I can't wait to try them.]
[Another one with lots of tutorials and cute, handmade clothes and more!]

Health & Food
The Little Red House
[Healthy, and delicious-looking food. Tips on healthy eating. Adorable kids.]
Our Best Bites
[Super-good recipes with tons of variety. I made their Asian BBQ chicken. It's pretty much amazing.]
Just Cook Already
[A collective blog, with lots of good recipes. They don't post as often as some, but their recipes are usually pretty simple.]

Photography
[Her blog and her photography are just so....real. And raw. She just moved from Hawaii to Arizona.]
[Even though it's more of a lifestyle blog, Lauren's photography skills are awesome. I love the way she captures life.]
The Little Red House
Beautiful photography. It's almost dream-like the way she conveys mood through her work.
Lang Photographers
I just adore their style. So fresh and beautiful.

Lifestyle
C. Jane, Enjoy It
[She's an amazing writer. She makes me laugh. She makes me think.]
The Daybook
[Recent find. Hilarious. Beautiful photos. Amazing style.]
Story of My Life
[She's gorgeous. She's real. She's Texan. And, she's a great writer. I've learned a lot from her series of blogging tips.]

So yeah. These are just a few.  I hope you find some inspiration from these like I do. What are your favorite blogs to stalk?


(PS. Approximately 4 posts from now, I will be doing a giveaway. It's a pretty sweet one too. At least, I think so.)

Despicable Me.

We love "kids'" movies. This may just be one of our all-time favorites.
I mean, c'mon. I have the "unicorn" sequence as my ringtone.


Why we love it: It's super cute, super funny, and clean. We strive to watch movies that are clean, and this one is great. It's just a cute story about a hardened villain who has a change of heart.

Favorite Quotes (Let's be honest. The whole movie is quotable):
Agnes: "Oh no, my caterpillar never turned into a butterfly."
Edith: "That's a cheeto."
Agnes: "Oh!" *eats stale cheeto*

Edith: "Can I eat this?"
Dr. Nefario: "Do you want to explode??"
Edith: *Kicks shin*

Edith: "It was your cousin's idea."
Minion Dave: "Whaaaaat?"

Edith: "Are these beds made out of bombs?"
Dru: "Yes, but they are very old and highly unlikely to explode. But don't toss and turn."
Edith: "Cool!"

Agnes: "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"

Gru: "Light-bulb."

*** * ***
Not to mention, this song is really catchy.

[Or like the first 27 seconds of it. That's all you hear in the movie.]

If you haven't seen this, please, let me know and I will let you borrow it :) I gots it for Christmas!

the weekend of Labor.
















I don't feel like saying much, so here's the short & sweet version of our Labor Day weekend.
Saturday:
*I worked.
*We drove to Mesa.
*We hung out with our family.

Sunday:
*We played Wii. Hilarious videos from "Just Dance."
(Not sharing. Too embarassing.)
*Dad wore headband Mom bought.

Monday:
*Came back to Flag in dang heat.
*Went shooting with friends.
*Oh yeah, we got a new car.
(Why we went to Mesa.)
*Had cookout with friends.
*It rained.

Conclusion:
Good weekend :)