Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Santa isn't Invited to my Christmas Party

**DISCLAIMER: This post shares my own personal opinions and views.**

This year, I had an epiphany. I’ve had many epiphany’s really, but this one was..EPIC. A few years ago I began to celebrate Hanukkah (keep reading for an explanation of what Hanukkah is!) in addition to all of my normal Christmas festivities. It began with a simple gift exchange with my closest friends--me giving them typical “Christmas” gifts, and them giving me super awesome Hanukkah gifts. One of those gifts was this super cute homemade pillow one of them hand sewed! I still use it every night. It then progressed with me actually purchasing a little golden Menorah which I still have (somewhere in my room). Now, at that time, I wasn't celebrating Hanukkah for any specific reason. I was simply celebrating it because I loved the tradition of it! I went through a phase in my life when I was obsessed with Old Testament (Jewish) traditions. I wasn't seeking Judaism, I was simply embracing it. . Of course I believe that Jesus died for our sins, and fulfilled the law, but I also believe that He did not come to make the Old Testament or all the miracles that were performed by God before Him irrelevant. I LOVE some of the Jewish traditions. What can I say? I just love traditions!

via pinterest

Which leads me back to my epic epiphany: I will celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. The reasoning behind this are endless. I began thinking about this issue a few months ago, when friends and I were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year'.  When people are asked what their favorite part about Christmas is, you will hear a variety of answers. Some say it’s the Holidazzle parade, Christmas markets or maybe the fancy seasonal drinks from Starbucks (one of my personal favorites), or Black Friday sales.

via pinterest

However only about 3 times out of 10 will people mention the birth of the Saviour among their favorite part of the season.(that statistic is totally made up BTW but you get the point, right??), or the togetherness, warmth that comes from serving others. It's become so artificial!
via pinterest

Now, before you label me as a Christmas Grinch and tell me that I will be depriving my children of years of happiness, hear me out.  

Why would we celebrate Hanukkah? Why not just exchange gifts?

1. Christmas should be about the love of Christ. About spreading "good cheer" and serving others. About being surrounded by family and friends doing good for others. It should be more about giving than receiving. Hanukkah is all about family. The tradition behind it is one that is customized with every family that celebrates the holiday. I suppose you could say that we could still celebrate Hanukkah and be greedy. After all, gifts are still given to the children, but the story behind the gifts is far more fitting for Christmas in my opinion.

via pinterest

3. Another reason why we will celebrate Hanukkah: Santa Claus is a fictional character. He isn’t real. To say that he exists would be a lie. Why do people like to lie to their children???  Lying to them once (about Santa) would mean you have to lie to them about all of the other fictional creatures that we have made up over the years (the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, jack frost etc.). Is it really worth one day of happiness per year in exchange of years of lies? I don’t think so. As for me, while we were growing up Santa always brought us gifts. As I got older and realized that Santa wasn’t real I honestly can’t say it really mattered to me. I still got the gifts that I wanted, they were just from ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. Furthermore, to tell children that something that we can’t see is real when it really isn’t, is setting them up for unbelief in God. We can’t see Him, but He’s real. We can’t see Santa but he isn’t.

What is Hanukkah?

Chanukkah/Hanukkah means ‘dedication’ and it is an 8 day celebration that celebrates faith in God as well as the dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks. As described in A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays:

“When the Jews cleaned out the temple idols, they found only one small cruse of oil with only enough oil for one day to light their holy lamps.  They decided to light the menorah (the temple candelabra) even with the small amount of oil.  To everyone’s amazement, the menorah miraculously burned for eight days until new oil was available!”

via pinterest

How do I celebrate Hanukkah?

Most people start out their nights with the traditional Hanukkah prayer, and light the first candle. They then play games and sing songs, and pass out gifts. Traditionally, chocolate coins are given to kids on hanukkah, but now most people give their children gifts, like most kids get on Christmas. Some parents go big, some don’t. Just like Christmas. It really all depends. There's also yummy food like doughnuts, and Latkes and bread and such! And who doesn't like food...YUM.

via pinterest

So there you have it! This is why I will be celebrating Hanukkah instead of Santa. What about you? What are your opinions on whether not we should celebrate Hanukkah? Would you celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas? What do you think about Christians and Hanukkah?

I look forward to hearing some responses! So P

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall is here but it doesn't feel like it!

Right about now I would be going to apple orchards with friends, carving pumpkins and drinking caramel apple spice's from Starbucks. Here in AZ though, it's just another day but just a little cooler. I was able however to carve some pumpkins at FHE which was neat:

Mine is an owl! I like owls.. ;)

Moving out here has proven to be difficult, and it wasn't at all what I expected it to be, which happens sometimes. The upside is things are looking up! :) I attended some costume parties (and will probably attend even more this week) and the first one I went to I dressed up as a Hershey bar with my group of friends who were also dressed up as a marshmallow and a graham cracker. You guessed it! We were s'mores. :)

That's us roasting marshmallows as s'mores. Ironic right?? :) 

On a vintage sidenote, Sunday at church I was matching with my Bishop's wife, so naturally I had to take a picture! 

Happy Halloween!! :)


Happy Halloween!! Parties and Happy News and Missionary work :)

First of all, I'm going to start out by saying I am so happy!! Two of my new friends here in Arizona are getting baptized in the coming weeks. I am so happy for them and the decision that they have made. Last week, a woman in my singles ward got baptized and it was so amazing.

Alright so besides the fact that it's been a while since I have made a blog post, a lot has been happening. I haven't been able to find work here which STINKS, so I am going to be needing to make some decisions. On a happier note, our stake is participating in Invite-Out October, which is almost over, yes. But our ward and our stake has been doing great with missionary work and inviting others to participate in fun activities even if it isn't actually going to church. I hung out with a mutual friend who just moved here from MN, and Arianne introduced us. Since he didn't know anyone out here we went hiking and it was great. He had just been baptized a few years ago so I think it's good for him (like all new converts) to be surrounded by other members. So I invited him to softball last week and he loved it he said, and will probably come tomorrow as well.

It was hard for me to do. I normally don't like inviting people to church because I feel as if they will judge me or my beliefs. I tend to just not bother. But this was a little different because he was already a member. Even still, I don't know him and that's something I just don't do. 

Friday night though, I went to hastening the work seminar at the Institute where Elder Perkins of The Seventy was presiding and it was all about Missionary Work. We were talking about agency and one of the speakers there shared an amazing quote that I will remember forever "Don't be the person to take away someone's agency to make the choice to come to accept an invitation from you to go to a church sponsored activity."

That quote was a huge slap in the face for me. I know that that's something I need to be working on--humbling myself enough to stop being prideful and invite others to activities. It's so simple yet we make it so difficult. That was my humbling experience for the week! 

On an even happier note all of the many Halloween parties I went to this weekend. Here's pics from the first party I went to with some friends, sponsored by our stake. We went as s'mores: 

Ignore my face.. I'm just ridiculous.

The second party was a blast and I actually danced which I don't normally do. I went as a grease girl and Elizabeth went as a nurse: 

The second one wasn't church sponsored but these were the first dances I've been to since High School and it was super fun. Maybe because I totally let loose and went crazy with my friends (which I never do haha).

I will say this much about life in AZ: there's always something going on.. It's always a party!

Tonight for FHE we are pumpkin carving and I'm super excited for that, I'm ready to get my craft on! More pics to come. 

Also!!! I believe I have found a new blogger! This one is looking promising people. :) 



Saturday, October 12, 2013

{Places}: Thrive Acaí Bowls! Weird but tasty..

So today in Tempe, I had a relaxing day that included having some Acaí bowls with Xazmin one of my AZ/MN friends. The day started out preeeeeety late. Why you may ask? Because Elizabeth and I had a solo karaoke night (as in just us...) during which we sang various 90's songs and danced like maniacs until about 1:45 AM. 

We literally sat on the couch singing/dancing from 11:00 till 1:45 am. It was EPIC. Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, NSYNC, the backstreet boys and MANY MORE made appearances last night.... Ahh... It was hilarious. That's what happens when Marilyn is in Utah for the week. :) just kidding. We so do that every night!

Anyways. I went to be laaaaate so I got up lateeeee. Plus it was Saturday. So I got up all excited to see Xazmin. We made plans to meet at Thrive! Acaí bowls and smoothies. I had never heard of an Acaí bowl.

 It's weird because the people here for the most part are super overweight and obese. But then you get around ASU and there's a whole bunch of healthy stuff and people EVERYWHERE. I mean, I actually had a SALAD for dinner and liked it. And if you know me you know that's like... Not even.. Just no. People here are weird though indeed. 

It was pretty good. What it is is Acaí sorbet blended with protein powder, nut butters, chocolate and/or fruit (so it's a little soupy) and then piled high with a WHOLE LOT of granola and the freshest fruit ever. Like guys I haven't eaten a banana in almost 15 years and I LOVED IT. The banana was so fresh it was white.

I got the chocolate walnut (blended with chocolate and pecan butter) Except I made them turn it into chocolate pecan because I'm difficult and I despise walnuts with a passion. Xazmin got the regular Acaí bowl, which had Acaí sorbet blended with fruit topped with granola and more fruit. She liked mine better and I liked hers better... Mine was too grainy and not fruity enough. 

They are definitely healthier than going and getting frozen yogurt. Even with fruit toppings. They are packed with protein and antioxidants and are super filling!

They run pretty cheap considering how much you get. I got a small and the bowl was HUGE. So big I couldn't finish it. The smalls run about $4.50-$5.25 but I mean they are huge so I would say that's cheap. I could have easily shared it. **CHEAP DATE ALERT!** ;)

Note: they also sell smoothies, I just haven't tried them. Based on how fresh the fruit was though, I would definitely order one up. Here's a menu, hopefully it's big enough that you can read it! If not, it's on their website.


NW Corner of Southern and McClintock
1726 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85228

Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm


Sunday: CLOSED

NW Corner of Southern and McClintock
1726 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85228

(480) 730-3557


Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed Sundays


NW Corner of Southern and McClintock
1726 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85228

(480) 730-3557


Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed Sundays

Price: $
Website with menu:
(just copy/paste the URL)

I will definitely be making another appearance there. It was quite tasty!

Have a good Sunday everyone!!


Look who I found!! AND good news!!

Well today was interesting!! We woke up to the door bell ringing at 10:30 AM. It was the neighbors letting us know that the puppy had gotten out of the yard and dug under the wooden fence. :0

So they had her and brought her back over. We felt so bad.. It isn't even ours! So we hung out for a little and I tried I contain my excitement because I knew that my dear, dear friend Xazmin was coming up from Tuscon to visit! 

We had fun, ate some acai bowls (?), and we caught up on life and all of it's many issues and joys. That's how I spent my Saturday and it was great :) I also just got a call from another family looking to hire me as a nanny. That makes three jobs now. :) I know that Heavenly Father knows what we need when we need it. I was worried but I knew that he would see me through! So that's my good news for the day :)

I've got a lot to testify of tomorrow during Fast and Testimony meeting :)



PS! I will post more details about the Acaí bowls on my other blog: 


Yeah, just go ahead and copy/paste that URL because you can't create links from blogger mobile sorry! :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

21 by 21

I came up with this post courtesy of baby making machine, and I thought it was excellent. It is a list that is comprised of the things that I want to accomplish by the time I am 21. Considering the fact that I am 19 right now, I have 2 years to git er' done. What is on your list? I'd say 2 years is a pretty good amount of time to accomplish a goal! Make your own and link up in the comments below! :)

-Go skinny dipping
-Hit 2,000 blog views (on both blogs)
-Travel to Temple Square, Nauvoo and other church history locations
-Go to a Temple Dedication (I think the Gilbert Temple is going to be dedicated soon!)
-Find a good gluten free bread recipe that actually works
-Get my drivers' license and buy a moped or a...car... :0
-Find the perfect vintage dress
-Get my LMT degree!
-Share my testimony with a stranger*
-Watch a live BYU Vocal Point Preformance
-Become fluent in Spanish and ASL. (and french, and German, and Portuguese and like every other language)
-Reach my goal size.
-Go Canyoneering :0
-Hike a Mountain in Arizona and Utah (not in the same day of course)
-Get a puppy
-See General Conference in the conference center in Salt Lake
-Run a 5k
-Become more like Christ
-Strengthen my relationship with my family
-Get out of the "friend zone" with guys. Not so cool at my age.
-Go backpacking for a week (or longer) and "rough it."

*Something that I do on a pretty regular basis but It's something I want to continue.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The little things

A lot has happened this past week. Job interviews, getting a bike and settling into my new city, school meetings etc. let me tell ya: life ain't easy when you move to a new city alone. Don't get me wrong I regret nothing. But it's starting to get a smidge stressful. I did however find one small comfort from home: my Kombucha.

It was something me and my "sisters" were fanatic about. For what reason I don't know why. But I did the unthinkable. I went on Craigslist and found a Scoby for sale ($5). Now before you all go Dr. Phil on me, please know that I use Craigslist a lot. I mean A LOT A LOT. A lot as in I just bought a used bike on Craigslist the other day for $25 and it runs better than mine did at home. TADA! Meet Maxine II.

 Maxine the first went to bike heaven (a used bike store) back in MN. The only sucky think is that there are like NO bike trails in close proximity to me here in the valley, the drivers around here have no respect for bikers and the streets are NOT bike friendly (unless you're on campus). 

Anyways back to my Kombucha Scoby. I missed the stuff. So I found one online and met the kind lady in the parking lot of a convenient store. She was really nice and the Scoby's were healthy! I'm brewing a batch now. We shall see how it turns out.
 My cousin was jealous when I told her I knew how to make it.. I know she was. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to be nice and give her my Scoby when I'm done or not.. Probably not. Anyways, that's what's been up.

Hopefully I will have some exciting news soon...

Until later!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Paper or Plastic?? new town and new faces!

PHEW. What can I possibly say to begin my wonderful explanation of what's been going on here in sunny Arizona. Tempe is BEAUTIFUL. The people are so friendly, and the church is AMAZING. My first night I got here I went straight home and chatted with my cousin before going to bed. I woke up early the next morning (5:00 AM to be precise) with nothing to do besides wait for church. So I cleaned! There was a lot to do.. My cousin isn't used to having roommates. Then I got all spiffed up for my very first Sunday here in Arizona. I was so nervous, I can't tell a lie. Luckily for me I came at the right time. The weather is cooling down (for them at least) and at 108* I honestly was welcoming the heat. Anything beats the humidity in Minnesota. I have absolutely NO complaints about the weather here so far! It's simply wonderful.

They have these neat little buses here in Tempe that are absolutely FREE.

I take it to the Institute building for church, which happens to be only 3 miles from my house. Folks It's HUGE. I'm talking 3 level Parking Garage, 3 level building HUGE. And that's just the ASU Campus Institute. The one in Mesa is a little smaller, but it's still pretty big too! I waltzed in with confidence, knowing that's the only way to go anywhere. It's church, how bad can it be?? I know that the church is the place to be so I was feeling better with each step I took. I saw two young women in their early twenties near a little table, and they had me fill out a new member sheet. CHECK.

I walked into the sanctuary where I was greeted by the Second Counselor's wife, Sister Shumway. She was SO sweet. I sat next to her during sacrament, and then made my first official new friend in the Ward, Elizabeth, after Sacrament Meeting in the bathroom. Wonderful place that is! :)
She sat next to me in Gospel Essentials, and then in Relief Society after that. I was surprised at how many of the people in the ward were so young! I don't think I met anyone over 25. They seemed like they were all students! My new RS President is Amazing. I'm going to miss Talise terribly. But Megan is pretty darn cool. We had a potluck afterwards where I met even MORE people: Another Elizabeth, Oliver, , and Breaunna. They were all great. I even took the Mars bus back to my house with Elizabeth who rode halfway with me before getting off at her stop! It was great.

Then Monday came: FHE. Now, since I knew some people I was super excited. I arrived at the Institue, where I found Sister Morris, Bishop Morris' wife. Along with them was Breaunna, Elizabeth, and two boys I hadn't met before. They were both pretty nice, from Utah (shocker!) and Maine.
We had a wonderful fit of laughter trying to convince Sister Morris to allow us to use plastic sacrament cups! When we brought it up to Bishop, he pointed to Sister Morris and said: "That's all her!". I think I spilled 3/4 of my water out of the sacrament cup when I was taking it. I thought I was alone in this embarrassment when others began to chime in from the back seat and next to me! I wasn't alone after all!! We all began a discussion of the pros and cons of using plastic sacrament cups (it was a hoot) and we finally convinced Sister Morris to let us go "back" to using plastic! Bishop got a kick out of that one. He is so great. The entire Bishopric is so amazing in this ward.

 When we all got to the building in Gilbert (After going to the wrong but same address on the East side of town instead of West which was still an LDS church building surprisingly!) that we were meeting for FHE, we found a huge group of people. It was our ward (McClintock) mixed with the other ward (Pioneer). The theme of the night was: "Dinner and a Shrink." We had a fanciful Salad bar, thanks to Bethany, as well as some "dirt and worms" for desert. The Shrink part was about... that's right. MARRIAGE. We had two LDS marriage and family therapy counselors come in and give us the ins and the outs of dating today. In all honesty it was some really good advice that we were given. How to be ready for marriage, realizing that waiting means hindering yourself from blessings and so much more. It was great. I felt bad for the Missionaries who were sitting at our table awkwardly. I was so surprised to see them there! I didn't know that they were even allowed to go to FHE! I don't think they were in Dinkytown.. I will talk more about them in a later post.

My interview with my previous employer (in MN) went well, and I'm just waiting to hear back from them. We pretty much dominated in Softball on Tuesday night, team McClintock won like every game. Just saying.

 First Temple trip in Mesa was AMAZING.

It was a tri-stake YSA temple trip, and there were so many of us there that it took us about 30 mins to even get in to begin the baptisms. The lines to get into the temple were out the door. After we got done, and others got out of their sessions we had a great get together. Us girls slaved away over prepared some great food, and we had some great laughs. I keep seeing people I know in people I have only just met. Today I found "Xazmin."

I found a great Chinese restaurant to aid my Chinese food addiction: Pong pong. What a cute name right??
we even have a Chinese gospel doctrine class during Sunday school! There's a lot of Asians here, just like in MN. I love it. Over all, I'm loving it here. Stay tuned for more fun!

Coming up: My trip to DI (Deseret Industries, i.e. the thrift store that puts others to shame.)

have a good one, everyone.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

goodbyes are never easy

Yesterday is my last full day in Minnesota. It's a bittersweet time for me, but I know that good things are just around the corner. I have spent the majority of the week at the Van Heel house, with my friends. I consider them family, and I am going to miss them the most out of everyone here. I love them because they are the perfect example of the Gospel. I can use the word perfect without second guessing anything because the Gospel is about change. To use the argument that no one is perfect is partly true and partly false.. Aren't we already because we are trying to be like Heavenly Father?

They are, which is why I say that with confidence. I am going to miss everyone here so much..
The friends that I've met in my YSA Ward especially. I have made some lifelong friends there (you know who you are!!) and there's no way I could ever forget them. I had fro-yo one last time with Brittany, and she gave me some wonderful advice as well as this quote "Change happens outside of your comfort zone."

After hearing that it kind of made all my hesitations disappear. I know that me moving is what I need to do for my own well being as well as my spiritual well being. Over dinner with Talise, I was pouting about stupid reasons why I shouldn't leave, when really everything is working out for my good so very well. She told me sort of the same thing, and gave me some excellent advice for my future. It was some really good advice, folks. I'm telling you, that lady is a bucket of knowledge, yours for the taking if you're wise enough to do so. We went to Psycho Suzi's for dinner and I stuffed my face ate some reallllllly good food (I'll leave my recommendations/info at the bottom for you Northern Belles).

As I was packing up my spotless room (THANK YOU Rachel!) I felt even better about my choice. I'm expecting great things to happen while I'm away. I hope to grow and change into a better person, just like the Gospel is already doing right now in my life. Now just pray that I don't kill someone during my 6 hour layover in Denver. I'm not thrilled about that. If they don't have wifi to satisfy my Netflix subscription, I just might be a smidge upset.

Now for my Psycho Suzi's Review: 

It's a Tiki Themed Restaurant, The food was AMAZING, and the atmosphere was chill. If you can, get on the patio because if you do you can get a great view of the Mississippi River. You can't go wrong with any of the appetizers and the pizza is great! 

Price: $$$ out of $$$$$ 


1900 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN
You might want to call for reservations!

My next blog post will be posted from Arizona. I'm going to enjoy the 48° weather here while I can. :)


WWII Bomber Ball!

This past Saturday was one of the best nights of summer! It was the 2013 commemorative air force bomber ball, held here in St. Paul, MN. It was truly spectacular! 

The dance was held in an actual airplane hangar, and was filled with planes and cars that were actually used during the war. The best part of it though? The dresses! <3

There were so many people there who were dressed according to the era me included of course. I loved the music as well! All 40s style music, mainly the Andrews Sisters, who of course were born and raised here in MN! 

I saw some delightful dancers and loads of older couples who could really cut a rug! I mean we're talking full on Lindy Swing! 

(Wow sorry about the image quality...)

Overall it was a grand night. The best way to end my last weekend here in MN.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

{Recipe}: Breaded Zuccini

The chef Louisa is back with another recipe. What you will need is:

-Zucchini, quartered
-Seasoned bread crumbs (or Keebler crackers crushed) 
-Egg (whisked) 
-Wok pan with oil

Add your seasoning to your bread crumbs:

Chop up your Zucchini:
(Look how BIG this zucchini is!)

Coat with egg first, then your bread crumbs. 

Heat your oil and add your zucchini-

Flip occasionally:

And there you have it! Because we used salt free seasoning, we added salt to taste. It turned out really good! 



Psssst! Keep your eyes peeled for a VERY SPECIAL recipe! I can't wait for you to see it! It's very interesting! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homeschool Awareness Week!! September 2-6 2013

So remember last weeks Sunday post about homeschooling? Well Angel Selden and her homeschooling friends did something that I think is pretty cool. They implemented this week to be homeschool awareness week. It;s perfect because most kiddos are starting school this week as well. 

I found this post on Facebook about it:

"Some friends and I are declaring this homeschool awareness week, and celebrating by wearing something (bright) yellow all week, and then taking pictures of our families and posting them here with a note as to where they were taken.

The idea is for us to see how many of us there are--and for others to see the same. To see us out and about in public. To see that we are "normal" and well-adjusted. And we might even make new friends in the process.

If you don't have any yellow (um...me...), use your educator's discount at Michael's, where bandanas are $1 and t-shirts are 2 for $6 (not sure how long that deal lasts).

So wear bright yellow and post a picture of places you visit! And please, pass along the word!"

Although I don't and have never been homeschool(ed) I think that this is great! So let's paint the town yellow!!

unofficial hashtags: