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Monthly Goodies: December 2016

5 Quick Ways To Get Yourself Organized!

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I’m pretty sure that I am a low-key hoarder. Don’t get the wrong idea here – I am not buried by disgusting stuff. BUT I do hold on to a lot of items that mean so much to me…. and I have no idea why! Am I the only one with this problem?? I can’t be, right!? After going home and visiting my organized and very clean Mother, I learned a lot about organization by following her example. Her kitchen is practically perfect! And the differences are so small, there were things that I knew I could change. I racked my brain on the 12 hour drive home and came up with this beauty of a list of how I could change my life! The past few days I have been implementing my ideas and it is so refreshing! So here it goes guys. 5 quick ways to get yourself organized! 5 quick ways to get yourself organized

1. Clear Out That Clutter

Start with one room – and focus on only that room – and pick up everything you own in that room. Do you really need it? Do you really use it? Have a box ready to put that stuff in and ready to take OUT of your house. Sometimes you won’t be in such a drastic situation and may just need to switch things up. Mostly for my sake, but I hope you benefit from it as well – let’s go through each room.

Kitchen

Cracked dishes? Yes, your husband could glue it together and you could keep it and look at the cute bowl that you used to use all of the time, or you could just get rid of it. In a week from now will you really remember it anyway? Stained tupperware? Gross. And yes I am guilty of this. I never use it, but I think I will one day so I hold on to it! Rubbish! Literally throw that thing in the rubbish. Old food storage? Clean that crap out and replace it. Make meal plans around your food storage that you need to get rid of. Stale and old snacks need to go. Pretty much the best advice that I have is to go through each cupboard, clean it out, and only replace what you will use and/or eat.

Laundry Room/Mud Room

I don’t have the luxury of having one of these. But I am hoping in a few months that I will!! Woot woot. For the sake of it, let’s talk about cleaning supplies in this room. Are there any cleaning supplies that you don’t use? Is your old Swiffer hanging out even though you haven’t used it in years? Trash. Is your mop disgusting and full of dirt? Clean it or throw it asap. When Zach and I were first married, we got a lot of cleaning supplies which were wonderful! But I will be honest, there are some that I have never used. Get rid of it! What about old boots, coats, rugs? Look around to see what you can give away, put in storage, or even just throw out.

Living Room

Raise of hands, who holds on to old magazines? Me too. If not – wow good job! I aspire to be like you one day. Throw out those old issues! They burn great and can be recycled. Do you still keep your DVD’s in their cases? HA! I was the worst. Zach offered to throw away all of the cases when we were first married and I wouldn’t let him. For some reason I had to hold on to them! Stupid haha.

I finally came around and put all of our DVD’s and CD’s in a large case and it was the best thing ever. I saved soooo much room by doing it. Now we have two large cases of DVD’s and CD’s in a small area. Genius. Same goes with video games if you play. Go through all of your cords and see if there are any unnecessary cords or devices that you can get rid of.

Bedrooms

Clothes, clothes, clothes and clothes. I am the WORST at hoarding clothes and shoes, the worst! Now, there’s a lot of things that you can do to downsize your clothes – even without getting rid of them. With this pregnancy and buying/gaining lots of new clothes, I have found ways to save space without having to rid of my precious clothing. First of all, get in there and get rid of the clothes that you don’t ever wear. I know there are lots of places that you can sell clothing online. It never worked for me, but I know others are into it. I prefer to just give mine away to family or thrift stores. When you are super attached to clothes and don’t want to get rid of them, put them in storage for awhile. It’s like Christmas when you open them up again!

The same goes with shoes. As a fat pregnant lady, I have saved so much room by putting my skinny clothes in storage until I can wear them again. Torn or stained sheets? Just throw them away. Too many pillow cases? Get rid of the ones that you never use. Get smart with all of the thousands of blankets. Use some of the older ones to store breakable items. I have great expectations with using my high school soccer and volleyball gear, but in all reality I never use them. That will depend on you if you want to get rid of them or put them in storage.

Office

I am a huge book worm and collect books like none other. There are some that I will never read again and will donate to thrift stores or book stores, but I mostly put the ones I don’t read into storage for later or for my future children. I use my other book lover friends for my advantage and put my name in it, record it, and lend them out. Not only do they love borrowing my books, but that saves room for me! Win, win. 😉 Filing paperwork. This is a hard one for me. Luckily, if I keep everything filed it saves a lot of room and looks much cleaner.

Bathroom

Ahhh the bathroom. Does anyone else hoard soaps and shampoos like I do!? I admit.. I am pretty high maintenance when it comes to make-up and hair products. But because they are so expensive, I have a hard time throwing them away when they don’t have much left or when I don’t like them as well. I also have an emergency storage of make-up (although I still think that is a great idea and leave that bag alone). Look for products that are past their best by date and get rid of them. Are you going to ever use that lotion? Gone. Get rid of anything old or that you know you won’t use in the next month. Get rid of old and torn towels – or at least demote them to garage or car use.

2. Fold Up Plastic Bags

You might laugh at this one! But I swear it saves soooo much room! My mother’s kitchen is a dream. For lots of reasons, but one of the biggest is that all of her grocery bags are nicely folded into a tissue box, ready to pulled out and used. It may take a lot of effort, but it’s amazing! Since Zach and I are moving in May – not to mention the new grocery bag law here in California – we have been hoarding plastic bags for safe traveling and saving money at the grocery store. We had hundreds! Hundreds! I’m not even exaggerating. My entire cupboard under the kitchen was dedicated to plastic bags.

It took me about two hours to organize that cupboard since it was so bad, but I folded each bag and put it into a paper bag. It saved me enough room to move all of my cleaning supplies under the sink to save a whole cupboard for our sweet new baby in a few months. Now my cupboard is perfectly organized and I have so much room saved!

3. Get Bins and Label Everything

I hate wrapping paper. I love wrapping! But I hate storing all of the gift wrap and wrapping paper. Just for example… there are many things I need but I hate keeping around. The best thing to do is downsize and then buy some cheap bins and label that crap. Forgive me, but let’s be real… a lot of it is just crap. BUT! It’s so much easier to find when everything is labeled. Going back to my mom’s kitchen – she has replaced everything with bins and labeled it. Instead of always saying, “Mom, where is this?”, I can see it plain as day in front of my eyes. She has sugar, oats, flour, and even powdered sugar in nice bins and labeled. This can go with anything, not just in the kitchen. I put my material, dresses, halloween costumes, wrapping paper, gift bags, and yes kitchen items in bins.

Keeping everything in a bin and labeled allows you to throw things in storage or keeping them easily accessible both an easy option. I personally think that spending a few extra dollars on keeping my brain sane is worth it!

4. Use Your Car

This drives my husband nuts, I’m sure. He loves a spic and span car. But I wouldn’t be able to make it without using my car for some extra storage space. I keep a sleeping bag, lawn chairs, 72 hour kit, horse supplies, and all of my errand stuff in there. If I leave my grocery bags or thrift store bags in the house, I will never remember to take them and they will live by my front door forever. Putting them in my trunk get’s them out of my house and even though I still forget at least 3 times, I remember to get it done eventually! I also keep a sleeping bag and lawn chairs in there for emergencies or conveniences, but it also get’s them out of my way. It’s a small suggestion, but I honestly do use my trunk for storage space! Haha.

5. Rotate!

Finally! I have found that having every single thing that I own in one place is just a recipe for disaster. I get overwhelmed super easily and then we live in a pigsty because I can’t decide what to do with everything. Solution! I pick a theme or a pattern of some kind and try my best to follow it. Whatever decorations I choose to display with stay up for however long while I store the others… then rotate! I also do this with clothes and shoes to save space. Obviously not everyone has the space to store all of this stuff, so if not I guess the next step is to downsize and use what you can.

I still have so much to do as far as hoarding! I get way too attached to things… but I am working on it. In the past few days of being home and implementing these ideas, you wouldn’t believe the change that my husband has seen in our house. We are currently living in the state of boxes, boxes, and boxes. But, it is slowly being transformed into a clean and livable house! Since a baby girl is coming into our lives in two short months, and then we are moving two short months after that, I decided that now is the time to pack away things that we don’t need, downsizing and saving space, getting new storage bins, labeling literally everything, using my car for extra help, and getting in my last rotation.

After all of your hard work, remember – Cleanliness is next to Godliness! 🙂

No Excuses – Make Yourself

I can’t believe Christmas is already over! What a fun break!! I got to go home for the holidays and completely unplug and recharge my battery. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and some of you I’m sure are still holidaying! It was a great time for me to think about my life and to see if it was where I wanted it to be. Uhhh – yeah I need to make some changes! But changes are good so I’m ready to get started! So here goes my new motto – “No excuses – make yourself”.

 No Excuses

The past 6 months have been… tough. My poor husband lives off of fast food. The house is always a disaster. I can’t keep up with the tasks at hand. But why? Because I am pregnant. Now don’t get me wrong – pregnancy is hard! I never gave my sisters and friends enough credit!! I also want to step on a soapbox for a moment. Never judge a pregnant woman for anything that you wouldn’t do while being pregnant. I myself have done this and it came back to bite me in the butt big time! Don’t do it. Everyone’s pregnancy is different. Some have it easy, some have it hard, and some are on bed rest the. entire. time. We don’t know so therefore we just keep our mouths shut. Okay thanks, I am off of my soapbox.

This is my first pregnancy and so I didn’t know what to expect and I feel like it has been a hard one. I am sick a lot, I am swollen, and talk about growing pains. All I want to do is sit on the couch and watch TV! Alright, I am making my point I promise. My wonderful mother listened to my complaining and told me that she knows how hard it can be, but “sometimes you just have to make yourself”. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but dang it was what I needed to hear!

no excuses make yourself

Motivate Yourself

My new motto in the next 2 1/2 months is to stop making excuses and make myself. Do I feel good? No. Can I still get things done? Yes. Now, apply this to a personal situation that you have. What excuses are you making in your life? Please please please if you have a high risk pregnancy and are feeling guilty, do NOT “tough it out”. Take care of your baby and you first. Everything else will fall into place. Same goes with any other illness. But let’s be real – we are all making excuses that we really can overcome.

Find motivation! My motivation is that I am running out of time until this little baby gets here and I am not leaving my husband hanging. (We are also moving to Idaho in May and that is coming up way quicker than I thought). So… deadlines, loved ones, or a cleaner or better lifestyle, can all be motivation to get our rear in gear and step it up. Find that motivation and put it into action.

Love the Process – Be Patient

Okay soooo this can be hard! For me, anyways. I watched a video this morning that talked about millennials and why they are so hard to work with. I was interested because as someone who wants to reach out and help others love who they are,  I have noticed that millennials can often be the ones who struggle with this the most. The video said that the millennial generation is the generation who has struggled the most with depression and having a low self-esteem. This was directly related to having excuses made for them, and making excuses themselves. There were things that I loved and things that I completely disagreed with, but it brought up a great point.

One way that we come to love who we are is by loving the process of getting there. We live in such an instant gratification world and it can be hard to be patient for things that take time. We can’t change overnight and so we make excuses of why we are the way we are. That can’t be healthy! And it isn’t! Realize that things can’t change overnight and start making goals of what you can do daily to reach your big and ultimate goal of where you want to be. Set a timeline and love the process.

If you want to watch the video that I am referring to you can watch it here.

Set Goals and Get To It!

The first thing that you need to do is figure out what is stopping you. What excuse is holding you back from being where you want to be? Once you figure out what it is, then you need to ask yourself how to get rid of it. “Make Yourself”. It’s going to be hard. You are probably going to mess up and have to start over a few times. You won’t get there tomorrow, but you CAN improve by tomorrow. Set goals that will help you improve each day. Love the process and love the small accomplishments. It is so important to love who you are – flaws and all – while telling yourself that you can and will be better tomorrow. Then actually believe it. Don’t judge another’s progress, as their 100% is different than your 100%. You Dew You, friends. Find yourself and don’t let go.

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What I Learned From Watching “Moana”

Hello friends. Again – Merry Christmas! Zach and I are in Cortez for the holidays and are having so much fun! (This is why I have been so slow lately, I am enjoying my family time). Tonight we went to the movies with my parents to see the new Disney movie, “Moana”. Alright so, we need to talk about this movie! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but more importantly it taught something that the world really needs to learn right now.

what I've learned from watching moana

Warning! There may be some spoilers in this article, so if you haven’t seen the movie and you want to I would save it for after you see the movie.

First, The Disney Short

There is a new Disney short before the movie and I think it prefaced the movie quite nicely. It is called “Inner Workings”, go look it up! This cute short is all about the battle between our heart and our brain. And let’s be real – the battle is constant! It cracked me up. It brings up a true point though; we need to listen to our hearts sometimes as much as our brains. Don’t get me wrong – logic is super important. But we need to remember that happiness is what we strive for. Don’t get caught up in the routine everyday, we need to remember to have fun and make our life a life that we want to live!

Sound Familiar? Me Too!

Funny story. Well, you may think it is funny but it is my life haha. I use this example all of the time and I am sure my husband is sick of it. But I learned so much about happiness from this experience so I am going to tell it again. Go me.

So I had this perfect idea of what I wanted my life to be like. I was going to marry a cowboy and live in the middle of nowhere with tons of kids and be very poor. Haha really though. Well God and my heart wanted different things, but logic tried to fight it out. I met my husband and as soon as he said he was from California my brain took my heart strings and tied them up so I wouldn’t be tempted! Then my brain realized that I really needed to find balance and let my heart be in charge too.

That’s when I realized that God knows me better than I know myself and He knew that I would be happier with Zach than I would with the idea of what I thought I wanted. He was right!! I can’t imagine my life any other way. Find the balance people!

It’s hard to find the balance that we need – but it is possible!

Okay — Moana!

First of all, everyone needs to see this movie! It is cute, funny, has good morals, and has the most adorable animals in it! Hello! Need I even continue!? The beginning of the movie was hard for me to get into as everything had to be set up, but as the movie went on it got better and better. I definitely recommend seeing it – great entertainment.

The Moral of the Story (for me) Is:

However, that’s not what I want to tell you. This movie is teaching us something that we all need to remember. As a society, we definitely don’t know who we are. “It’s not cool to be different”, “It’s not cool if you are mainstream”, “If you’re not different, you don’t like people who are”, “It’s embarrassing to be proud of your culture/heritage”, “We need objects to define who we really are”. LIES LIES LIES!! And if we look around, that is what we are going to find!

I know that I am guilty of thinking that way or trying to change who I really am to impress people. But, NEWS FLASH: If someone doesn’t like you for who you really are, they are the problem. Not you. If someone plays the “you don’t like me because I’m different” card, then well that is their loss.

Sorry I will get off of my soapbox, but I feel so strongly about that. Be who YOU want to be. Not what someone else wants you to be. Moana loved the water and she knew that she belonged there. She never gave up and she was able to save her people because of that talent that was given to her. She taught Maui something even more important. He doesn’t need his hook to be Maui. HE is who makes him who He is. Not an another object, not another person.

Relate-able? Um yes.

I just kept thinking about my little girl during the movie and want her to learn what Moana learned. I want my daughter to know who she is, be proud of who she is, and stand up for who she is and what she believes in.

I am SO grateful for my parents who taught me to remember who I am. My mom taught me that I have every reason to be confident and that being a Child of God was the most important reason to be confident in myself. My dad taught me to be self sufficient and that I can do anything that I put my mind to. I faced a lot of “but you’re a girl” bull crap throughout growing up and my dad always had my back and told me that it didn’t matter. When I left for college I didn’t realize how much I would need to hold on to the times that my dad fought so hard for me to learn that I was just as tough as anyone out there. It paid off and still is.

How Do We Get There?

I realize that not everyone is taught that and it’s a real struggle. I have great parents and I still doubt my self confidence sometimes. So what do we do in these situations? It’s time to dig deep people! Just like Moana, if we have to continue to repeat to ourselves who we are to believe it – then that’s what we’ve got to do! She knew she was a strong and powerful girl, descendants of voyagers, who could save her people. But she was not as confident in the beginning as she was in the end. It took some hard work for her to get there, just as it will take hard work for us. Think about who you are. Become proud of who you are. Decide on who you want to become and use your past to help you.

Doubting – Dang It, It Happens

Another thing that I LOVED about this movie is it showed Moana’s low points. She doubted herself, she doubted who she was, and she doubted her resources. Okay… okay… let’s think about this. Strength can be hard! Digging deep for that confidence in ourselves can sometimes feel impossible. But guess what!? THAT IS OKAY!! We are human and by golly we can’t be strong all of the time. Break down and cry it out. Take a break and stop thinking about it for awhile. But guess what again!? Strength will ALWAYS find it’s way back! Sometimes we have to fall down to get back up again. Just make sure that when you fall down, you fall on your knees.

The Testing Point

There is going to come a time where we are completely tested on how confident we are and if we have the strength to show what we’ve really got. Through hard work, Moana was able to restore Te Fiti back to her original beauty and save the lives of all her people, not to mention the beautiful islands.

Now, our purpose in life may not be as “glorified”, but let me tell you we have important jobs! Never doubt that you aren’t making a difference in this world. Everyone makes a difference. Knowing who we are helps us to know what our impact is and how we can impact others.I think that’s the ultimate test. Yes, Moana saved all of the people, but look what she did for Maui! In my mind, that was just as important.

As I watched this movie, I thought about how this is exactly what You Dew You is all about. It is important to love yourself, be confident in yourself, and remember who you are. The world would be such a better place if we all understood how much each of us are worth. Please don’t forget the importance you are in the world. Research your family history. Use your heritage to help you decide who you are and who you want to be. You dew your thing, my friend. You dew you.

Mr. Reindeer Jars – A Christmas Craft

Merry Christmas!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I love love love this time of year! For our families annual Christmas party, I was having the worst time figuring out what we wanted to give everybody. So as I was scrolling through Facebook and found all kinds of cute jars to fill with goodies. I decided to rack my brain and create a cute jar that I can fill with delicious goodness. Since my goodies are Rolo and Hug Turtles which happen to be brown, I decided to make Reindeer Jars.

Wala! Here it the finished product. (Minus the goodies because I’m not quite finished with the baking).reindeer jarsMaking Mr. Reindeer was so easy and I was able to make around 15 jars in a short amount of time. It was the perfect balance of wanting to make something homemade, but not having it stress me out or break the bank. Woot woot! Now, I’ve seen different variations and this is what I came up with for my likeness. Go ahead and make it yours! It’s super easy and soo much fun!

What You Will Need

reindeer jars

  • Glue gun and glue sticks.
  • Googly eyes.
  • Red pom poms for the nose. (Your choice in size)
  • Brown pom poms for the ears. (Your choice in size)
  • Brown pipe cleaner for the antlers.
  • Mason jars. (Your choice in size – just remember you have to fill them! I like small because small = less baking).
  • Cute Christmas ribbon.
  • Brown felt.

Assembling Mr. Reindeer

As you can already tell, this is a very self explanatory craft – which is why I like it so much. But, make sure to allow for an extra one so that you can change things to get it the way you want it. I did 3 jars before I figured out what I liked.

First, assemble Mr. Reindeer’s face. Glue on his eyes and rosy red nose. This is all I liked for the face. I tried to put a scarf on Mr. Reindeer, but I just couldn’t find a placement that I liked. Therefore his scarf turned out to be a headband, but I personally think it’s adorable.

reindeer jars

Next, get the lid ready to be transformed into his cute little head. I glue the canning jar lids together so that it won’t fall apart and mess up the whole craft. After they are glued together, I cut a piece of the felt in the exact shape of the lid and glue it to the top. After it is dry, I glue the ribbon around the sides of the lid to give Mr. Reindeer some cute decoration. I used several different patterns of ribbon, but the reindeer ribbon was my favorite! How adorable is a reindeer wearing reindeer!? Call me cheesy, but I’m in love!

reindeer jars

Finally, we get to add some antlers to this baby! The very first thing that you do is screw the lid on tight before you start gluing so that the antlers are facing the right way! I made that mistake… so embarrassing. After you make sure that is set, take one pipe cleaner and cut it in half. Then set aside one half and cut the other half into half again. *Whew*. So you will end up having 1/2 and 2/4 of one pipe cleaner. Fold the bigger piece into a desired antler shape and glue it to the top of the lid. It should look something like this:

Let the glue dry and wrap each of the small pipe cleaner pieces around the main antler piece and shape to your desired look. Then comes the final step! Glue two of the brown pom poms to the base of the antlers to give Mr. Reindeer some cute little ears. Then you are done and done! Here is a pic of just the lid.

reindeer jars

Enjoy!

Feel free to make this craft your own! I had so much fun playing and changing things. After all, that’s the fun part of crafting isn’t it? This is a great homemade craft that anyone would love to receive as a gift. In a few years when my daughter is old enough, I am excited to make things like this with her.

Merry Christmas everyone! Remember that this is a time of giving and of developing your talents to enrich the lives of those around you. God Bless. And Merry Christmas from You Dew You.

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The Expectations of Perfection Are Too Dang High!

Today I had planned talking about the cute little reindeer crafts that I created. (I am so proud of them since I don’t consider myself to be crafty). But life changed. Plans changed. And today I really feel like I need to talk about our expectations of perfection. So I will show you my cute reindeer tomorrow! The first thing I have to say about others degrading your self-worth… pish posh! I am really into that word lately haha. But seriously! It took me years to figure out that I don’t need anyone else’s opinion of myself besides mine! And sometimes my own opinion is pish posh! So let me rephrase that. The only opinion that matters is God’s.

As amazing as Christmas is (believe me it is my favorite holiday), I feel like there is a feeling of perfection that we apply to ourselves around this time of year. Don’t get me wrong – serving others and thinking about others is important!! We need to be serving and thinking of others all of the time. BUT this feeling of perfection is a disease that is spread through comparing ourselves to others. Stop doing it! (Me included- I am the worst).

What Others Think

Sometimes I think that we create these feelings on our own. But let’s be real. Sometimes people are rude and they can make you feel itty bitty. This week I have run into two situations where another person has made me feel like I wasn’t worth much, and that I wasn’t doing what I need to be doing. I’m pretty sure this happens a lot! We all have some kind of relationship where the person makes us feel like we aren’t of value, we aren’t doing our job, we are slacking, etc. etc. the list goes on. Now this is what you do… take all of the negativity… and throw it out the window! That’s where it belongs.

And again, don’t get me wrong. Always do your best! If you’re not doing your best then you need to reevaluate and start all over. BUT if you are doing your best, then that is all you can do and that is all that matters.

What You Think

The old saying, “you are your own worst critic”, is probably the most accurate saying out there! I don’t know if this is just my personality type, but I expect my life to be together 24/7, 365 days a year. And yeah that’s not ever going to happen and so instead of just trying my best, I tend to get frustrated and think that I am a failure. Wrongo! Don’t get lost in those “I’m a failure” thoughts. All of the great ones have failed not just once, but many times. We all will fail. But who cares! That is life! The mind is such a powerful thing. If we believe that we are failures, then we will believe it and treat ourselves that way. If we believe that we are successful and that we have worth, then we may fail, but we will always overcome it!

Think Positive

All we have to do is our best. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for what your best is. Remember that everyone’s 100% is different. Get to know what your 100% is. Do your best to reach it. Keep trying. Love the journey and appreciate the days that you feel like you do have everything together. On the days that you feel overwhelmed – it is okay to step back and take a break!! We aren’t machines! We are humans! Take a deep breath, take a nap, watch your favorite TV-Show, read your favorite book. Whatever your out is, take a little bit to do it instead of killing yourself. You may not get as much done, but if your sanity is still there – success!

What God Thinks

This is the most important step of coming to love who you are – flaws and all. God’s opinion is the MOST IMPORTANT opinion of who you are. He created you and He loves you… please remember that. Sometimes that is hard for me to remember because I am so far off of loving myself. Don’t get caught up in what other people think you should be doing. It is none of their business. But it is God’s business. Pray for help. Ask Him what your priorities should be. Ask Him to see yourself the way that He sees you. Wow! That changes everything. Then remember that feeling. It is the one that TRULY matters. 🙂 Life is short. Our earthly opinions will seem silly to us very soon.

You dew you, my friends. Be yourself, love yourself, and do your best!

 

Foodies Unite! – It’s All About That Sausage

Alright, so who on earth doesn’t like sausage!? I can’t imagine not liking sausage! You can make sausage with anything – pork, beef, lamb, elk, venison, bison, alligator, freak.. even vegetables if you’re not into the meat thing. My point is, I’m pretty sure sausage can be for anybody. To each their own!  Backing up… For my husbands birthday in November, I surprised him with taking a hunters education course. We both love hunting and the great outdoors and so I thought it would be a fun thing to do together. But, I didn’t think it would turn out as awesome as it actually did! Our instructor was amazing! We learned so much from him and he kept us entertained. So naturally, when he said that he offered a sausage making class, we were gonna be there!

sausage making

Note: This is not an affiliated marketing article! It is honestly a recommendation of a great place with good people.

Anyways. Back to my story. We went to this class last Saturday and learned all about sausage making, food safety, and obviously ate delicious sausage. I thought to myself – the world needs to know about this! So here I am, telling you how amazing this was. It was held at P2K Shooting Range here in El Cajon, California and our instructor was the great, Steve Shaw. There are so many great classes, seminars, and camps that you can take at this shooting range! If you are a Southern Californian please check them out! I myself have taken a handgun course, hunters safety, and this sausage making class and have been pleased with all of them.

Now, to be fair to Steve and his family, I’m not going to share any of his family recipes because they are golden (yes, you are missing out), but they are not mine to share. Although there are a list of websites that I’ve been playing around with that I will share with you.

Sausage Making

Okay first of all, there were some delicious looking recipes that I found on the Sausage Mania website. So if you are looking for somewhere to start, there are some recipes there, but you could also start on pinterest or just google recipes. Find a recipe that looks delicious to you and take the leap of faith! Now, take everything that I say with a grain of salt, as I am learning as well! There will be many follow up posts about my journey in sausage making because… well… I have a lot to learn! And I am excited to play!

Everything that I say on here is what I learned from Steve Shaw in my amazing sausage class. I am giving you a summary of what you can learn in classes like these! Believe me – I do not know enough to teach you about this and it cannot replace a class, but I do want to motivate you to learn how to do it yourself! Find a class! Do your research! It’s amazing!

Preparation

I learned several things in preparation. First of all, if you just want to find a good butcher and skip all of this – good on ya! I was told (by my mighty instructor) that if you are looking for a good butcher, you will know how good they are by the sausage that he/she makes. Boom! Go find that yummy sausage and all you need to do is deliver the meat. I won’t lie.. I will probably do that more often than not. BUT I am so into this and am excited to keep learning.

Tools

First, don’t cheap out on tools. Use tools that were built for the intended purposes of what you will use them for! Kitchenaids are all well and good… but they weren’t made specifically for that purpose and won’t be as good as a meat grinder that was intended to do just that – grind meat. A kitchenaid would be good if you were only working with 1-2 lbs. You might need a food scale, it would be helpful to be able to weigh your meat. If you are working with mass amounts of meat, you will definitely need a large amount of spices. Costco those babies! Or Amazon Prime.. I love Amazon Prime. Proper tools can be bought on the Sausage Maker website or I know my dad has Cabela’s brand and it works great. Moral of the story – don’t cheap out. You get what you pay for.

Grinding the Meat

I learned that you grind the fat first (frozen), followed by grinding the meat. You don’t want the meat to be frozen, but you want it to be firm and ice crusty. Grind, then add the spices, then grind again. Be careful because if you grind too much, or emulsify when you mix in the spices… then you got yourself a hot dog. You really need to go to professionals for help on the grinder, how it works, the pounds of meat per pounds of fat, spice ratio, and more helpful tidbits that I learned. Again – I am not qualified to tell you how to do it, but I am trying to convince you that it’s worth the time to learn!

Be Safe

Now, I am going to start out by saying that my journey in the sausage making world will not make it past the fresh sausage. My husband may be brave and venture into the curing process because he loves salami (I do too, but I don’t want to accidentally kill my family). Learning and knowing about curing is suuuuuuper important! I ain’t about that life. I want to make my meat and eat it in the same day sooo that’s all the help I’m going to be. But if you are about that life, be safe and learn the differences in curing. I do know that the different types of curing are not interchangeable. Confused? Me too. Sorry, I won’t be help with curing but I know that classes will help you and prepare you to get out there and make the best salami out there. You dew you, my friend.

Other safety topics! Cooking temperatures.  That’s another tool you will need – meat thermometer. Make sure that the temp of the inside of the meat is at least at 165 degrees. My wise instructor liked the meat to be at least at 170 degrees and I full heartedly agreed with that. Be safe, my friends.

Stuffing that Sausage

There is so much that goes into this and so I apologize already that this is going to be slim pickins. So again… find that class and do your research! (Again, Southern California, you have great resources under your noses).

Anywho. You will need sausage casing, which again can be bought on the Sausage Maker website. It is common for our society to freak out about fat. Understandable… but pish posh! Good sausage needs good fat content in my opinion. You need that flavor and that moisture filled sausage. My instructor advised us to use pork fat with whatever meat we are using to make the sausage. If you are into wild game, the fat might be too much of a gamy taste for you. *Mmm gamy* (quote that movie! If you didn’t get it.. it’s the wiener dog from Open Season, you uncultured swine).

Casings come at 2-2.5 ft per 1 lb of meat. Make sure to soak the casings overnight before you use it in fresh water.

If you want “chunkies” (i.e. onions, cheese) then you add it to the meat after grinding and before stuffing. If you grind it with the meat… that defeats the purpose of “chunkies”.

Oh! Also important! Before you commit to stuffing your sausage, make yourself a patty, fry it up, and test it out. If it is delicious – get stuffin! If it needs work – go back to the drawing boards and improve the spicing. I’m not going to go into actually stuffing the sausage because there is a lot that you need to know about it and let’s just say this is the cliff hanger that you need to go investigate. 😉

Get Cookin’ sausage-making

I hope that this has motivated you to learn more about sausage making. I think it is so fun!! If it’s not your thing – that’s ok! You dew you, right. This is me doing me and I wanted to share it with you! Also, a shout out to Steve Shaw and the other great instructors at the P2K Shooting Range. My husband and I are active supporters of this shooting range. We haven’t been to the range in quite awhile since I am pregnant and the noise is a little too loud for Squirt’s little ears, but we will definitely be going back. Eat your heart out my friends! Life is too short to waste on nasty food.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

The best movie of all time is Sweet Home Alabama. I love it! I can always relate no matter how much I watch it. (Now, if you don’t like it, you must repent and go give it another shot. If you’ve never seen it *gasp* you must go watch it!). Buuuut I realized that I relate to it maybe a little bit too much. I am Melanie Carmichael! I am that jerk that thought she was too good for her hometown! Not cool. I need to be Melanie Smooter, not Melanie Carmichael.

(I would like to clarify that I married my Jake Perry though – so I’ve got that going for me). I grew up thinking how dumb my town was and how much better I was for getting out of there. Hahaha. Humbled! Turns out – I was surrounded by an amazing community and never realized it. I may never live there again, but I will admit that I wish I was more grateful for it when I lived there.

bloom where you are planted

My mom told me for years – bloom where you are planted. Sadly, I never really listened. I always wanted to be somewhere else. Don’t get me wrong, making goals and wanting to end up in a specific place is not a bad thing. Zach and I are moving to Idaho in 5 months and we are so excited! However, enjoy where you are! Enjoy the now. How much better would life be if we were just happy with where we are? So much better! And it can happen!

Prepare the Ground

Start with looking at your community. Then get involved, join organizations, make new friends, or dive into your local church. When you feel like you are apart of where you live, it is easier to feel at home. This also goes for where we are in our life. Continue to make goals. Communicate with God. Keep moving forward. It can be hard to make that effort, but it is always worth it. Even if the ground is hard or dry – you can still bloom. All it takes is a little work.

Plant Your Flower

Having a good attitude is the best thing that you can do! When people ask you if you like where you live – you say yes! If they ask you if you like your job – you say yes! Focus on the positives. The more you speak positively, the more you will actually believe it. Sure, I miss the Colorado mountain air and all of the space. BUT, I can see the beautiful ocean whenever I want and have a romantic night on the beach. There is positive everywhere!

Bloom

Two simple words – be happy! Prepare the soil, plant yourself, and become the happy person that you can be. It took me way too long to figure out that I needed to make the change that Melanie Smooter did. So, I need to drop the snobby attitude, love my roots, and appreciate every part of me. Where I am now is a huge part of me and I am going to love it! Let the struggle work in your favor.

Bloom and shine. 🙂

Sausage and Egg Skillet Breakfast Burritos

In this life of craziness, we need all the help we can get. After a long day we were pretty desperate and came up with this delicious masterpiece. I’ve gotta share these easy Sausage and Egg Skillet Breakfast Burritos with you – they were mmm mmm good. Cooking is my favorite hobby and I’ve made up a few recipes (more to be shared later) but this one was especially a life saver. So easy! But, I have to give the credit to my husband, Zach. He wanted breakfast for dinner and we just put ingredients in together. (By the way that’s a great date night idea – especially for foodies like us!).

sausage and egg skillet breakfast burritos

To start, all you need is sausage, eggs, potatoes, cheese, yummy spices, and bam! A quick, delicious meal. First, dice the potato and brown it with the sausage.

Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a separate bowl and spice with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and santa maria.

Once the sausage is brown and the potatoes are soft, add the eggs to the skillet. Melt cheddar cheese into the mixture and make sure all is heated through.

sausage and egg skillet breakfast burritos

Once the mixture is heated through, warm up the tortillas and roll yourself up some delicious burritos. We love to add our favorite Cholula hot sauce or regular Pace Salsa. Mmm enjoy! 🙂

sausage and egg skillet breakfast burritos

Life is too busy to be worrying about elaborate meals every night. I mean, I love elaborate meals. But, not every night! Ain’t no one got time for that! After a stressful day of running around, this was the perfect meal that didn’t add to the stress. As a pregnant woman, easy is the only way to survive anymore. I do have to say – all in all the key ingredient is a helpful and supportive husband! 😉

What you will need:

  • 1 potato
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lb. pork sausage
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp santa maria
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dice the potato. (We like dirty potatoes, but you can peel it if you prefer). Start browning the sausage. Add the potato to the sausage and continue browning on medium heat. Season with seasoning salt, and salt and pepper to taste if desired.
  2. Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a separate bowl and spice with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and santa maria.
  3. Once the potatoes are soft and the sausage is brown, add the egg mixture. Then, here comes the best part. Add the cheddar cheese and melt through the heated mixture.
  4. Finally, warm the tortillas and add the skillet mixture to make a delicious burrito.
  5. The best part of this meal – it can be a burrito or you can just eat the delicious skillet.
  6. Enjoy!

Feel Stupid? It’s All Good… We’ve All Been There.

Today was quite the day. Okay no, the last two days have been quite the days. It was the slap back into reality from having a really awesome vacation kind of days. Bleh. And man, have you ever had a conversation where you walk away feeling like a complete idiot? Come on people I know I’m not the only one. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve been waiting my whole life to talk about this because… well… it happens to me a lot. handle feeling stupid

But guess what? It doesn’t matter. We may think it’s the worst day ever. But this too shall pass. Yet… what do we do?  How do we handle it? We could be offended… OR we could….

  • LAUGH

In my mind, if I don’t laugh, I will cry (and literally we will talk about this in a minute). Laugh it off! Today I was called fat. Sure, I am pregnant and my doctor had all of the best intentions to tell me that I was gaining too much weight. I wasn’t offended by what she said, but I just felt stupid! Darn you, Thanksgiving! You betrayed me! All during this, my husband just laughed. So I laughed. And we laughed. And you know what? It was hilarious! So no need to feel stupid when you can find the humor in life.

  • CRY

Haha okay so I’m kind of kidding and kind of serious when I bring up this option. Mainly because this is an embarrassing option to admit. But hey! It has it’s perks. First of all… let’s all remember that there is no shame in sitting down and having a good cry. Was it because someone made you feel stupid? Was it because you didn’t get the dishes done? Maybe it’s just because you’re hungry. (Probably my case). Secondly… sometimes a good cry helps us clear our minds and move on with our day. Never feel guilty for a good cry! Embrace that weak moment and get it out of your system. Getting it out is definitely a better option than holding on to it for a long time.

  • SMILE

Being called fat was a super bad example because really… it was stupid (haha oh the irony!). Buuut let’s go back to that. My mind was screaming, “She actually just called you fat!”. But my face was smiling. Why? Because one weak moment of wanting to crawl under a table isn’t worth an entire relationship. Smile it out.. just get through the awkward moment. My husband tells me that I am known to have an “RBF” or a “Resting Beotch Face” where I look really grouchy when my face is relaxing. He will seriously elbow me and tell me to be nice when I am just thinking about the what movies are showing at the local theater. Hahaha but he is right and I have to constantly remind myself to smile so people don’t think that I am a judgmental jerk. Just smile it out. 🙂

So I am sure some of you are thinking that this is a super random subject to be talking about haha but realistically this is apart of everyday life. Feeling stupid, choosing to become offended, shaking off awkward encounters – yeah this happens all the time. I’m not perfect! No one is perfect! Awkward and uncomfortable moments are bound to happen in a world of imperfect people. Sure we can spend our days offended and avoiding people because they said that mean thing and made me feel stupid but psht, what would be the fun in that? Life is too short. Shake it off and enjoy life as you!

How I Use Christ to Help Me Accomplish My Goals

Happy December everybody! The best month of the year is finally here! In honor of the first day of December, I wanted to share my feelings about our Savior, Jesus Christ. This blog is all about being who God created you to be, finding happiness, and loving yourself. This all starts with one person – Jesus Christ. I am going to tell you how I use Christ to help me accomplish my goals.how I use Christ to help me accomplish my goals

I could go on and on and on about how thankful I am for a Savior. He is my best friend, my older brother, and my advocate. I love Him. Right now, I am taking a New Testament class at Brigham Young University – Idaho. I am loving the class because it has helped me strengthen my relationship with Christ. Anyways! I want to share what I am learning in this class, and how it affects our journey in loving who we are.


how I use Christ to help me accomplish my goals
This is Squirt! (New name to come at birth, I promise). Isn’t she so cute!? Poor thing, she already has my big nose. But nonetheless her little face and little hands are so adorable. We are so excited for March!

So first of all, let’s get some back story here. Right now I am working on a project to help me learn knew things. I want to become smarter haha. As many of you know, I am pregnant with a little girl. She is due in March (Oh my, that is coming up!). My husband is a super smart and talented guy. He knows the bible in and out, he is book smart, common sense smart, get’s good grades without trying very hard, and can pick up any new hobby and look like he has done it for years. It is both impressive and annoying. So my goal is that when our little girl comes up to me and asks me a question, I can answer it and not say, “let’s go ask dad” every time.


Alright. Moving on, now that you have a back story on one of my goals before the baby gets here, I want to share with you what I am learning about Christ and how He is the one who can help us accomplish our goals.

  • First – Read the Scriptures

My New Testament class has helped me get into a wonderful pattern of reading my scriptures everyday. This week I read 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and  3 John. I notice a huge difference in my day when I don’t read the scriptures, compared to when I do read. I am happier, I get more done, and honestly – I am a nicer person all around. (My husband could probably testify of this hahaha).

  • Second – Read with a Purpose

My professor has us look for principles when we read. Ok, this helps! I look for If… Then scenario’s so that I can apply it to my own life. For example, this week I read 3 John 1:11 “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God”. I learned that IF I am doing evil… THEN it is not of God. I cannot do both good and evil and claim that I follow God. There are lot’s of ways to apply the scriptures to you, but this has become a new favorite.

  • Third – Re-evaluate

Is your reading helping you come closer to Jesus Christ? If not, slow down and look for things that can help you in your life. There are lot’s of help in those pages! Keep reading! Don’t give up! Write down impressions and questions. Keep the end in mind as you grow closer to your goal. Is it still where you want to end up? Would you make any changes? Can you push yourself any further? Always revert back to your goal! 🙂

  • Fourth – Ask for Help

Accomplishing our goals – whether they be physical goals or spiritual goals – requires humility (shucks). Communicate with God and ask Him for help to be humble and learn what you need to learn in order to accomplish your goal. This will take strength! But luckily He is always there to help us out. Asking family members or friends for support is another great idea.

  • Fifth – Keep On Keepin’ On

So let’s be real. We will never be perfect. The trick is to learn to love the process, because we will be doing it for the rest of our lives. Never give up. Always rely on God. Keep reading those scriptures and saying those prayers.

It doesn’t matter if we are making New Year’s resolutions, trying to stay healthy, wanting to know God, trying to see if we can do the impossible, or just wanting to fit into our pants after the holidays – Jesus Christ is there to help us accomplish those goals. I love my Savior! And you know what? He wants me to love me as much as He loves me. We are important and we have a purpose! Shine bright! Love who you are! Get to know your Savior! And love every minute! Two of my favorite websites to help me feel better about myself and my purpose here on earth, are lds.org and mormon.org. Feel free to look them up! 🙂

As always… you dew you, girl. You dew you.