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


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!


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.


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!


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. 🙂