Budget Friendly Kitchen Finds - Ten under $10

Color? Check! Cheery? Check! Budget friendly? You bet! I’m a huge fan of reading home/décor magazine, but I can never afford, or bring myself to buy, anything on their “budget friendly” lists. $50 for a platter? Ha, dream on! Here’s my take on affordable finds - 10 kitchen accessories for under $10 each. (Your wallet will be thrilled!)Budget Friendly Kitchen Accessories Under Ten Dollars


1: BIRD CERAMIC BUTTER DISH from World Market. – $5.99

2: ANIMAL GEO MELAMINE PLATES from West Elm – $2.99 – $3.99

3: SPRING COLORS MELAMINE MEASURING CUPS from World Market, set of four – $4.99 (we have this set and the matching measuring spoons and LOVE them!)

4: COLORFUL KITCHEN TOWELS from Linen Chest – $3.95

5: FLORAL MEASURING SPOONS from World Market, set of four – $3.99

6: PATTERNED SERVING TRAY from Ikea – $9.99

7: IVORY SCALLOPED CAKE PLATE from World Market, 8” – $9.99

8: COLOR DIPPED WOODEN SALAD SERVERS from Peach Macarons Shop on Etsy – $9.49

9: YELLOW AND WHITE SERVING BOWL from Ikea – $6.99 (I use this bowl all the time!)




the Lord is in the details of our life

Remember that time we went to New York City, I posted a bazillion photos, the end? Well, it’s not quite the end of the story. I forgot to mention the drive home. . .

Let’s back up. Brian’s parents live four hours away from NYC and the quickest route is through Pennsylvania. The drive there was uneventful, except when we drove through a few streets like crazy so Logan could stop for a quick potty break. Ha. Anyway, we left the city on Tuesday afternoon with plenty of time to drive back. Ellie and Logan were watching Megamind and 101 Dalmatians, while the rest of us chatted or snoozed a bit.

After a quick dinner stop and ice cream cones for the road, we continued on our route. We weren’t driving for very long when the rain started. And when it rains in Pennsylvania, it pours. (Or at least it did this time!)  I saw the clouds approaching well before, but didn’t expect such a heavy rainfall.

Thankfully, I wasn’t driving or sitting in the front seat watching the road, so I tried not to worry about it. Until I started getting alerts on my phone. Heavy storms my phone buzzed. Tornado warning was next. I dismissed it and turned off my phone. Wait, WHAT?!  I immediately pulled it up again. Tornado warning until 7:14 pm. It was only 6:00pm. I had an hour and fourteen minutes of worrying ahead of me.

The looming clouds were growing darker and we all searched the skies for funnel clouds. I was biting my lip and trying not to show how UTTERLY FREAKED OUT I WAS. I googled what to do in a tornado. Inside of a vehicle is the most unsafe place you can be. Lovely.

It wasn’t until my phone started having alarms and sirens go off, TAKE COVER! TORNADO ALERT!  that I finally came to my senses. Still terribly frightened, I said a silent prayer.

By following a prompting earlier that week, I received an answer to my prayer in the backseat of that minivan. My missionary brother had sent along a passage of scripture and encouraged us to read it. Sometimes I wait until I have a quiet moment to read, but this time I felt impressed to read the passage right away.

After saying my silent, heartfelt, frightened prayer, my answer came. The verses of scripture I had read earlier came to my mind:

“And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions” 

Mosiah 24…More here.

Instantly, that fear was replaced with peace. My mind thought But wait! Shouldn’t I be worried? There’s a tornado, a tornado for heavens sake! but my heart was calm. It wasn’t until recently that I checked the news for possible tornadoes in Pennsylvania and New York. Perhaps I was worried about nothing after all? Turns out, all that worrying was justified. Take a look at this news report. Some may say it was just a stroke of luck that we drove right through that storm with no troubles at all. But I know that the Lord heard my simple prayer and visits His people “in their afflictions.”

“Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our life.”
Thomas S. Monson



P.S. That scripture above? It’s from my favorite book. I’d love to send one to you, anywhere in the world.
Did I mention it’s free?
Check it out here.


5 Photography Tips for Bloggers + Canon Rebel Giveaway

I originally shared this post on Jana’s blog, but I thought I’d share it here too. Don’t have a DSLR? No problem. You can enter to win a Canon Rebel t3i at the bottom of the post! (Yes, seriously!) Enjoy!


DIY Wooden Toy Camera

Based on the amount of photos in each of my posts, it’s evident that I love photography. I am a very visual person, so having photos in each post is a must for me! Now that I have a few years of blogging under my belt, I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way. In fact, sometimes I look back at the first few photos and I posted and cringe. What was I thinking? Since then, I’ve learned that there’s a lot that goes into planning and taking good photos for my blog. Here’s my top five photography tips for bloggers.

Watermelon Juice Recipe

1: SHOOT IN GOOD LIGHT. It doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone or a fancy DSLR, your photos will always turn out better if you shoot in good, natural daylight. This means avoiding a few things like taking photo with at night or directly in the bright sunshine. Instead, try to stand next to a window indoors during the day or if you’re outside on a bright day, try standing in the shade. Whenever I take photos of food, I always shoot next to the window in my kitchen. It lets in a good amount of light, without being too bright or too dark.

Before and After Kitchen Remodel

2: TURN OFF YOUR FLASH. Let me say it again, turn off your flash! Most cameras (cell phones and fancy cameras alike) come with a flash, but unless you buy an external off the camera flash, your photos aren’t going to turn out great. Instead, turn off your flash and aim for good lighting conditions instead. I try to avoid taking photos at night for this very reason.

Ellie’s First Beach Trip

3: LOOK FOR THE LITTLE THINGS. See the mail piling up on your counter and the strewn toys in the corner? Or even the pole right behind you? Those are all distractions in your photos. Crop them out, change angles, move them out of the way, or else they’ll draw your eye to the wrong part of your photo. This also applies to the details. Does your toddler have paint all over her hands? Get a close up! Love your sandals perched on the sand? Photograph it. My favorite posts are when I have a mix of close up detailed shots mixed with other angles.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

4: USE DIFFERENT ANGLES. Speaking of angles, when taking photos for your blog, move around. Try taking a photo while looking down at it, looking up, then from either side. In this post, I mentioned how important it is to use different angles when photographing your baby. When photographing babies or toddlers, I prefer to be down at their level. However, different angles will add character and make your photos unique!

Ellie goes Camping

5: KEEP PRACTICING. Practice makes perfect! Challenge yourself. Set a goal to take out your camera more. Learn to use the settings on your camera. Take a class. Whatever you do, don’t stop learning! Always keep practicing and you’ll improve. XO, Lex



If you don't have a DSLR, don't worry about it. These 22 bloggers and I want to give you a chance to win one! How would you like to get your hands on a brand spankin' new Canon Rebel T3i? Yeah, we thought you might. Just use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Win a brand new Canon Rebel T3i!

Life Could Be a Dream // Dearest Love // Simply Clarke // Rachel Rewritten  
Casual Claire // My New Lines // Happily Ever After // The Wetherills Say I Do  // Wearable. // Two Places at Once
Believe in the Sparks // Just a Trace // He and I // Chez•Nemmar // Oh Simple Thoughts 
Elizabeth Loves
Rad Maverix // A Faithful Passion // Health, Love & Fire // The Ashley Maria Blog
Lot48 // Homegrown State of Mind // So Fill Your Heart

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on July 24th until 11:59 pm EST on July 30th. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only–sorry international friends! Please be honest with your entries. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




WATCHING: Ellie and Zac play in the kiddie pool. The best of buds, I tell ya.

ENJOYING: popsicles, poolside. Costco (and gramma’s) for the win!

PLAYING: for hours at the Thanksgiving Point Children's Curiosity Museum. Hours!

EATING: mom’s homemade cooking. Come stay with us anytime, Mom!

WEARING: swimsuits or sundresses, all day. 

HOPING: for some Café Rio, soon please.

WANTING: a little garden (and a green thumb!)

MARVELING: that we’re more than halfway through July. Where has the summer gone?

WISHING: for a tan before the summer ends ;)

FEELING: so very content and so very happy.


Favorite Photo Locations in Utah County

Flash back a few years ago. I was young and hoping to branch out in terms of photography. I didn’t have a baby whom I could photograph all day long and my husband. . . well he was sick of being in front of the camera so much. It seemed like the perfect time to start practicing. I had supportive family and friends ready and willing to model for me. But there was always the location problem.

FAvorite photo locations

Finding the perfect location is essential, mandatory, LIFE OR DEATH. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but location plays a key part in photo sessions. I hadn’t live in Northern Utah for even a year, so I knew of maybe one or two locations. I scoured the internet, and asked photographer friend hoping to find something perfect. While I found a few websites out there with suggestions, they didn’t actually show me what the location looked like, other than a small image thumbnail. I wanted more! Over the years, I’ve found quite a few spots that are tried and true. So here’s just a few of my favorites!


Provo Center Street
colorful walls and doors make for a variety of backdrops

Utah Photo LocationsUtah Photo LocationsUtah Photo LocationsUtah Photo Locations



Utah Lake – Provo
4400 W Center St, Provo, UT
The dock and water make for a gorgeous summery backdrop

Utah Lake Photo Location  Utah Lake Photo LocationUtah Lake Photo Location


Provo Orchard
1022-1144 E Center St, Provo, UT 84606
so many trees (and deer too, if you’re lucky!)

provo photo locationsprovo photo locationsprovo photo locations


Provo City Library
550 N University Ave, Provo, UT
Great indoor location for chilly days

Provo Photo LocationProvo Photo LocationProvo Photo Location


The Riverwoods in Provo
4801 N University Ave #480, Provo, UT
Behind the shops there is a great little bridge, stream, and lots of trees

Provo Photography LocationsProvo Photography Locations


Art Dye Park in American Fork
N 550 E St, American Fork, UT
The trail/frisbee golf park makes for a great photo location

american fork photo locationamerican fork photography location


BONUS! Here are a few of my favorite spots in Salt Lake County as well.

International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake
1060 S 900 W, Salt Lake City, UT
A variety of backdrop, trees, and foliage for green, gorgeous photos

salt lake city photo locationsalt lake city photography locationsalt lake city photography location


Liberty Park in Salt Lake
600 W 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT
Huge park with plenty of photo locations

salt lake city photography locationsalt lake photo location


Life lately

uncle zac

^^ Uncle Zac has been in town and Ellie couldn’t be happier having her best bud here. ^^

chicken salad

^^ Grilled chicken salads on hot summer days. Totally hits the spot! ^^

family time

^^ Park days with Gramma and Zac. Or as Ellie likes to say “Me-ma and Zaaaaaac” ^^

sunday baking

^^ Sunday baking started out looking like this and ended up with Ellie (and my kitchen!) covered head to toe in flour. It was worth it, this girl was entertained for HOURS! ^^

blog friendsellie and ryan

^^ Karina and Ryan, our blog-turned-real-life-friends came to town again, so we had to get together and let those kiddos play. They had a blast running around the playroom and splash pad, while their mama’s chatted away. ^^

brian zurcher

^^ With family/free babysitters in town, I’ve had a lot more dates with my favorite guy. The best! ^^


^^ Could this summer get any better? And I wish this girl would stop looking so grown up! ^^