5th Anniversary

Dear Justin,

Can you believe it? We have been married for five whole years. Five! That’s a little less than 1/5 of our lives! The first few months of our marriage seem so distant and far away and long ago. Yet, I can remember them with clarity.

We have been through so much in these short five years: trials, obstacles, financial woes, adventures, health issues, fights, cuddles, vacations, children, moving, losing jobs, finding jobs. We still have a lot of things we work on and a lot of things we fail when it comes to marriage. But, we are perfect for each other. We are poor when it comes to keeping goals but we make them together. We have so much fun together, but some nights are the boring lull of parenthood. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your presence is all I need. I love just being around you even if we are doing separate things. Watching TV with you is one of my favorite things to do–especially when we start analyzing and debating what we’re watching. For instance, we “play” the cooking games we watch on Food Network, talking about what we’d cook with those ingredients. We make lists of all the songs in Disney movies: what is the villain song, the best friend song, the love song, the hero song, etc. We debate fandoms: who would win, Wolverine or Darth Vader? We can spend hours doing it. One of my favorite memories of our geekiness is when you worked with a lot of other geeks doing an IT/coding job. You all were debating something similar and you texted me for my input. You relayed my argument to your coworkers who nodded their heads. I was proud to be your geeky wife.

My heart melts every time I see you interact with our kids. They idolize you so much. Every day when you come home, both of their faces light up. Evelyn just smiles and Rhys runs up to you. The way Rhys becomes more like you every day just makes me twitterpated.

Speaking of–your smile still makes my heart skip a beat…and now that you are close to 30, the “crows feet” around your eyes that appear when you smile make you even sexier. Yes, I said that online.

I know I’m not the perfect wife. I know I’m anal and stubborn and hormonal. I know sometimes I lounge about the house all day and spend too much money on Pepsi and things we don’t need. I know I complain a lot and probably sleep more than I should. I know some days I’m not super attentive to you. I know you deserve better. I’m trying. I really am. Because I love you. I don’t know what I would do without you.

This year, I want to make the most of us. I want to go on more dates, I want to go to the temple more, I want to put you first more often, I want to surprise you with small acts of love, I want to keep the house cleaner and cook more for you, I want to complain less. I want to make you proud and fall in love with me all over again.

I love you so much Justin. I am so happy we are sealed together for all eternity. Happy fifth anniversary, Justin.

Love,

Your Wife

Fun DIY Projects with All-New Tai Pei Single Serving Frozen Dinners

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

**This post was sponsored by Tai Pei and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.**

For as much as Justin and I love to cook, there are many days that it just doesn’t happen. I have a down day physically and mentally, Justin gets home from work, kids are ornery, we have plans to go out quickly, the house is a mess and there aren’t any clean cookware or dishes, we are out of groceries, or we just plain don’t feel like cooking. One those days, we typically have frozen pizzas, waffles, or cereal…or….we spend money on take-out. BLECH. It gets real old real fast. But, we don’t like a lot of frozen dinners. We think they are gross and way overpriced. Enter…Tai Pei single serving Asian-inspired frozen dinners!

I grew up with Tai Pei frozen single serving dinners. My dad loves them and takes them to work with him all the time. In college, I’d get them all the time. I remember my first year married to Justin, they were always on sell for $2 or less. So, we’d grab them for work lunches too. It was so nice to have Chinese rather than a boring sandwich or hummus and veggies. They were also in iconic Chinese take-out boxes. But, now they’ve done some major upgrades.

Wow! @TaiPeiAsianFood has all-new pure, flavor infused single serving dinner bowls! #ad Click To Tweet

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Tai Pei’s All-New Flavors and Packaging

Tai Pei has totally revamped their entire product line. Instead of being in the Chinese take-out cartons, the frozen single serving dinners are now in durable, sturdy bowls. These are much easier to mircowave and eat out of. They don’t get as messy or goopy. Tai Pei has upgraded their recipes: they use all-natural, pure, real ingredients in each flavor. The best part is their new flavor-infused rice! Rather than have the goopy sauce melt onto the dish like the old style, the flavor and sauce is infused in the rice–I could eat just the rice by itself! The flavors really pop in your mouth now rather than tasting like day-old Chinese takeout.

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

It is cheaper for us to buy an individual bowl for Rhys, Justin, and I then it is to get us take-out. Plus, Rhys can’t finish a whole bowl, so Justin gets seconds! There are a wide variety of flavors: my two favorites are Broccoli and Beef and Orange Chicken. The Pork Fried Rice and Chicken Fried Rice are perfect options for little kids.

Rhys ate a large portion of his bowl and wanted bites of Justin’s and mine. Justine says, “It is a lot better than their previous ones.  It’s crisper and has fresher tasting meat and veggies. I’m excited to try others.  Tayler wouldn’t share hers with me.”

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

And since the dinners are now in bowls, they are very easy to clean. Just take a Clorox wipe and clean off the inside. Now you are able to reuse the bowls for DIY projects.

Pinhole Exposure Camera

Last week, I was invited to an event in Dallas with other influencers that was hosted by Tai Pei. We tried some of their flavors: poststickers, egg rolls, General Tso’s chicken (not super spicy–was able to handle it!), Broccoli and Beef, and Chicken Chow Mein. The special guest at the event was the super creative and artistic Rachel Rushing. This amazing girl taught us about old-fashioned (and modern DIY) pinhole exposure cameras. And, we were able to make our own!

Did you know you could make a pinhole camera with @TaiPeiAsianFood 's new single serving frozen… Click To Tweet

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects! Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Materials:

  • Tai Pei Single Serving Frozen Dinner Bowl
  • Black GAFF tape
  • soda can
  • resin photo paper
  • dark room exposure equipment

Directions:

  • Eat and enjoy your Tai Pei and soda
  • Clean out your Tai Pei bowl
  • Cover the entire outside (including lid separately) with black GAFF tape.
  • Cut a 1×1 inch hole in the front
  • Cut a small strip of the can and tape it on the inside of the hole
  • Poke a tiny hole in the middle–but don’t push it all the way through
  • Cut a 3×5 inch piece of resin photo paper in the dark
  • Place it in the bowl, close the lid, and cover up the hole
  • Set up the picture you want to take and place your “camera” in front of it
  • Unblock the hole and leave for 3-7 minutes depending on the size of the hole
  • Cover the hole back up and let it sit for about 5 minutes
  • Go into the dark room, and develop it. (This site has more specific directions)

I was super excited to try this project. As a historian, I love looking at old photographs, so I was thrilled I could do one myself! But, as soon as I got outside…my lid popped off and completely ruined my picture by over over exposing it to light!!!! =( =( =( But, it was still a fun experience to see the variations of everyone else’s.

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Kindling Box

If you are camping this summer, bring a kindling starter box with you. Gather dry twigs from around your yard (or store small ranches from your old Christmas tree) and place in a Tai Pei bowl. But some dryer lint in it. Start a fire in the box and close the lid. Place the box in the fire pit or fire place. The whole box will eventually catch on fire with hot and strong flames.

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Pinata Lights

Take strips of tissue paper and cut fringes into it. Tape it around the bowl with the fringes facing the opening. Poke a hole in the bottom of the bowl and string lights through them to create your own party pinata lights.

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Plant Potters

Place a piece of a PCV pipe in the bowl and pour cement mix around it. After about 12-24 hours, take out the pipe. Let the cement harden for 3 days. Tear off the paper. Now, you have a plant potter. You can even paint and decorate it if you want.

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Toy Holders

I don’t do many DIY projects with my son. I’m not creative with very young kids–there’s a reason I’m not an elementary school teacher. I have done one or two with him, but they weren’t big or very clean/sophisticated.

Rhys loves to use our wipe boxes in his imaginary play. He loves to put his toys in it and act as if they are trapped. Or, he’ll put random toys and random items from around the house in the wipe boxes and hide them. A lot of times, he keeps them open and the wipes dry out. We’ve told him many times they aren’t his. We’ve also tried designated one empty wipe box for him. But, it doesn’t work.

So, after we had Tai Pei for dinner and were left with four empty bowls, I knew exactly what to do with them. I gave them to Rhys. But, to make them more fun for him, we let him decorate them.

#TaiPei dinner bowls are perfect for play for little kids! Click To Tweet

Materials:

  • Tai Pei bowls
  • Markers
  • Paints
  • Disposable table cloth

Directions:

  • Clean out the Tai Pei Bowls
  • Set up the disposable table cloth and undress your young child
  • Set out all the decorative materials
  • Let your kid go wild
  • Let the Tai Pei bowls dry
  • Give them over to your child and let them have fun

It was actually Rhys’s first time ever using paints. He had a lot of fun using them, although he didn’t go as crazy with actual painting as I thought he would. He did want me to help decorate though.

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects! Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

I love this new packaging and delicious new flavors from Tai Pei. And, I want you to enjoy it too! So, here is a coupon for one their single serving dinner bowls! Since many stores are getting rid of the old inventory (the Chinese take-out boxes), make sure you use this store locator to find were the new bowls and flavors are near you!

Tai Pei's all new infused flavors and new packaging not only make dinner a delicious snap, but also is perfect for DIY projects!

Tai Pei on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaiPeiAsianFood/

Tai Pei on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaiPeiAsianFood

Tai Pei on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taipeiasianfood/

Reading Roundup | July 2017

Holy cow I read a lot this month. I don’t know if you noticed, but I didn’t post a Reading Roundup last month–I didn’t read a single book during the month of June…well, no. I read one book but didn’t finish it in time. But this month, I read quite a bit. Granted, I read a lot of very easy 5th-grade level YA books. But, that’s because I’m desperately trying to finish reading all my classroom books before we move in a few weeks so I can pack them all up!

Reading Roundup Book Reviews on Adulthood is Hard, Blink, Esio Trot, the Magic Finger, White Fang, Little Women, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Continue Reading

Evelyn | Seven Months

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Dear Evelyn,

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Wow! This month just passed us by. I looked at the calendar yesterday and was surprised to learn it was your 7 month birthday! You are growing up just way too fast. You are closer to one years old than you are being a newborn!

You have grown so much. You seem taller, smarter, fuller, happier. Except at night. You have terrible separation anxiety–and not just at night. You are definitely a Momma’s girl. When I leave your sight, then you start to cry. It takes forever to put you down for the night because of this anxiety. But we are working on it.

We also took another trip to Utah this month to visit Grandma. She absolutely loved cuddling you and taking naps with you. You got so much attention from Grandpa, Aunt Paige, and Aunt Madison as well. We also a day down in Nephi with Daddy’s family. Grams was so stoked to see you and hold you, as were Aunt Jana and Aunt Rachel. Your cousins spent most of their time playing with Rhys, but they were excited to meet you for the first time.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Weight: 15. 5 pounds (22nd percentile)

Height: 26.5 inches (51st percentile)

Eat | You love your food. You have about 5-6 bottles of 4-6 ounces in a 24 hour period. Sometimes you won’t finish your bottle and sometimes it takes you an hour to snack on it. You have three meals a day–a mix of baby food and table food. You really love your solids, especially fruit, carrots, and peas. You love feeding yourself and will hyperventilate if we aren’t feeding you fast enough.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Sleep | Daytime: You wake up anywhere between 6-7 am. But, if you wake up before 6 to eat, you have a really hard time falling back asleep. You take 2-3 naps a day. You are transitioning your nap times. Typically you’ll take a 45-90 minute nap around 9 am, then anywhere from an hour to three-hour nap between 1-2pm. You are also going to bed anytime between 7-8pm depending on how tired you are and your separation anxiety.

Nighttime: We try to put you down at 7, but most nights it takes until around 9:30 for you to fully settle down. Sometimes you are up that entire time, sometimes you’ll sleep for about 20 minutes, then wake up. It really frustrates us. About 60% of the time, you’ll wake up once anywhere between 1-6 am to feed. Sometimes, you’ll sleep through the night. We are working on Ferberizing and crying it out to help you go back to sleep on your own. Your pediatrician thinks you may also have gas issues and your teething (still no teeth yet) may be really bugging you.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Milestones | Movement: You are officially a crawler. You crawl all over hous and have even mastered crawling over things. You easily go from crawling to sitting to turning to crawling. You can even pull yourself up. You can’t glide yet, but you can easily pull up to stand still on your legs. In your exer-saucer, you love to bounce. Being thrown up in the air is one of your favorite things, but you hate being upside down.

Communication: Still no words. But, you are trying to clap. It’s more of a flailing arms together movement, but it’s intentional! You love to receive and give kisses. You also love to smile and coo at people. You love to hear yourself make noises, especially an inhaling gasp type of noise.

Playing: You love playing with dirty laundry (socks, burp clothes, etc). I don’t get it. You love to fling them and put them in your mouth. Whenever a sock and a toy is placed in front of you, you’ll go after the sock first. You like toys that make noise–you love swinging them all over the place to make the noise. We also have to be careful with what you play with and where you play because everything and anything will end up in your mouth–toys, pieces of wipes, trash, old food on the floor. We have to be more vigilant with keeping our floors clean now.

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Personality | You still are such a content baby and a happy baby. However, you do have baaaaaad separation anxiety. If you are uncomfortable, frustrated, tired, or nervous, you’ll fuss. But, you love being social and you love giving your biggest smiles to anyone and everyone.

Likes:

  • toys
  • random things on the floor
  • Rhys, Momma, Daddy
  • water (even if it is cold splash pad water)
  • solids

Dislikes:

  • not being able to see Momma
  • going to bed
  • having a sore bum from diaper rash

Evelyn is now 7 months old! She is crawling and pulling up!

Evelyn, I love you so much, as do your Daddy and Rhys. We can’t imagine life without you. It seems like you’ve been part of our family forever and yet, it was just a week ago we brought you home from the hospital. Every day is a struggle for me–I want to cuddle you the entire time you are asleep, but I need to give Rhys attention as well. You are the cutest thing on the planet. Never grow up.

Love,

Momma and Daddy

Things I Never Thought I’d Do as a Mother

Before I had Rhys, I had all my parenting philosophies figured out. I did my research. I read the books. I researched the articles. I believed I would learn from my parents’ mistakes and do better. I had friends who were parents already and I had things I liked and didn’t like. There were things I swore I’d never do as a mother.

For the first few month’s of Rhys’s life, I was very stringent–I let my Type A, anxiety-ridden, first-mom-self take control. It was hard. I absolutely loved every moment I spent with Rhys, but it was hard to change my philosophies. It kept happening and happening throughout Rhys’s life and now even during Evelyn’s short 6 months!

Has your parenting philosophy changed? Are there things you swore you'd never do as a mother, but ended up letting happen? Same here! Continue Reading