For some reason I decided to make Christmas shaped sugar cookies this week.  Seriously guys, if you did not get from my thanksgiving post, cooking is NOT my favorite thing to do.  Let alone baking.  Ask my friends.  I usually only make chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal crasin cookies. I have those two down pretty well so that is usually the only thing I make.  But I LOVED my grandma's sugar cookies growing up and so I have this need to have them around the holidays I guess. 

Whenever I get a recipe from my grandma, its usually like..... add some of this and about a half a cup of that and a pinch of this....You know, not an exact recipe. And even when I do get an exact recipe I usually write it down terribly short.  Here is the way I wrote down this sugar cookie recipe:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
3 t. baking powder 
1/4 t. salt
1 Tablespoon milk
2 t. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Directions: cream butter, sugar, eggs together. Add dry ingred. Alternate w/ milk & vanilla.  chill dough 15 min in freezer. Bake at 400 degrees 6-8min. (this made almost 50 cookies)

Now this is not that bad, but the whole time she is reading it to me she is telling me other things that I don't write down that would be helpful when making the cookies. Another reason why I don't like baking, especially cookies and rolls (or anything with dough) I never feel like I have added enough flour!! Whenever I am done, the dough is always WAY too sticky to work with, so I end up adding at least an extra cup of flour to the mix. Well, I decided to try rolling the dough out with the original "recipe" with this new technique I learned (which I will show you below) and it was a DISASTER.  I had to scrap the dough off the plastic wrap and put it back in the mixer, add about 2 or 3 more cups of flour and put it back in the freezer. So if you dare to try my  grandma's sugar cookie recipe make sure you add at least two cups of extra flour.

Okay, let me show you this cool trick to roll our your dough instead of making a mess with flour. Take a damp paper towel and wet the counter.  Then lay down plastic wrap (you will probably need two pieces next to each other).  Lay your dough on the plastic wrap like so: 

Then lay plastic wrap over the dough.  Again, you will probably need two pieces next to each other but make sure the seam is secure so that the dough does squirt up through as you are rolling it. 
Then roll the dough out with your rolling pin like you normally would.

Viola!   No flour mess.  Peel the wrap of carefully, but it should come off pretty easily.  I actually sprayed the plastic wrap with cooking spray for extra protection after my first run didn't go so well.  
The fun part.  I think this is the first time I have used these cookie cutters.... the first time I have made Christmas sugar cookies actually.
 Okay here is another thing about me and baking.  It is already stressful enough for me to do it on my own, let alone let my kids help me.  I always see commercials and movies with kids and moms making cookies together and its like, "O, ya that looks so fun."  And then I try it and they start sticking their fingers in it while I am getting the next ingredient or start putting something in there before I am ready for them to... I ...just... go a little crazy.. I know I could be better. I could get all the ingredients together ahead of time and have them ready and measured so all they would have to do is pour it in.  Maybe I will try that next time. Anyway's, here is the thing I don't mind letting Thing 1 and Thing 2 help me with, cleaning the bowl ;)

I actually did let them help me cut the cookies out, but even that was quite stressful for me. I know, I am kinda an anxiety freak about somethings. 

 8 minutes was perfect for these 
Okay so like the rolls I did for Thanksgiving, I did these in two days.  I made the cookies the one day and then the next evening (while Thing 1 and Thing 2 were sleeping) I made the frosting, and then frosted them, by myself. I should have at least kept a few out to let them frost them the next day but... boo I am a boring mom. Next time, next time.  I always learn something to do next time when I cook.
Just a few drops of food color.  Okay maybe like 20 or so.
Now I remember why I wanted to make these!  They look so cute (for me anyway) and they taste pretty yummy as well.
So I stored all of the cookies in one gallon size zip-lock bag and some broke when I went to get them out, so those were the ones I got to eat ;)
If you are a better cook than I am, PLEASE leave me your comments on your baking/cooking tips.  Or if you are a mom that LOVES cooking with your kids, give me your tips as well! Hope you enjoyed looking at these as much as I enjoyed eating them ;)



During this time of year we are often bombarded with the amount of giving we should be giving. I want to talk about those times when we literally have nothing to give.

I have had times in my life when I have had very little if anything to give to anyone. They were some of the hardest times in my life that I have ever had to go through, especially when it happened to be a time when giving is spoken of so much.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
                                                                                                                                -Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time when we have more accommodations to give, but there is also a time when we need to be able to receive gifts with the same enthusiasm. I'm not talking about receiving gifts in general, I'm talking about the times when we need to humble ourselves and be willing to accept help and receive those who are willing to give it. 

As I have mentioned in other posts, I am filled with pride. I am more than willing to help anyone in need, if I am able, but receiving and asking for help has never been one of my strongest attributes. I once received a card with no return address, and with $50 inside. Getting this money was not only an enormous blessing but a very humbling experience. 

As someone who doesn't like to ask for help, I usually only get it from family because they are the only ones who I will let help me, (which is also usually only in dire situations), receiving this money was very difficult for me. I was very appreciative of it but the small fact of me not knowing who to thank, was very difficult for me, and the fact that if I would have known who gave it to me I probably would have given it back because I am so prideful I don't want people to think that I need help. 

Thankfully after receiving the money I remembered the verses in Ecclesiastes that mentions there is a time for every purpose,

"A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
                                                                                                                              -Ecclesiastes 3:2-9 

In order for me to get through the hard times I have to believe that there is a time for everything. There will be a time for me to have everything, but there will also be times for me to have very little; a time for giving and a time for receiving. This season lets not only remember to give but also remember to be grateful for the things that we have received. This is the season to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who has given us the most amazing gift, that isn't accepted by all. Even among the very little that I do have, it has been very important for me to remember my Savior, Jesus Christ, for he promised that if we follow him, he will give us all that he has.   

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
                     -John 14:2



Oh how I love the week of finals. This finals week has been a little more stressful than others. To be completely honest I try to get rid of every memory of a final week from my brain to not be traumatized later. So when most people ask about finals week, I usually think..."Oh, finals?...They're not THAT bad."

But when it's finals week, I feel like I'm preparing for battle, after suffering the whole semester of trying not to drown under all the homework, surprise quizzes, and tests. And after regretting every Saturday I got done with work and had a brilliant idea of watching every Harry Potter, Batman, Transformers movies I could. Or stalking all my friends on Facebook for hours and going on pinning sprees on Pinterest.

So here is a little bit of my finals week. I hope some can relate, bask in my pain, or get some cheap entertainment. 

  • Having an absolute, zero desire to cook...not even because you don't want to eat but because the time wasted for cooking is precious time to study! So you result to buying pizza and chocolate.
Oh domino's understands.

  • After being stuck at a desk for hours and hours for days that feel like weeks, all you want to do is go run and be free.

  • You make countless lists in the hopes that you can finally cross off a whole class ALL TOGETHER! And cry about the ones where you have just one more thing to get done!
almost done!

  • Oh and what about sleep? Ah, who needs it. I mean either stay up late cramming everything in or wake up at 4 in the morning to study. Pick your poison. I just sleep with one eye open just to make sure I don't wake up late!
Poor thing, passed out after a long day.

  • You plan out everything you need to study so many times that you end up spending more time planning what you want and need to study, then what you actually need to study for.

  • You make a study playlist with all your best, about to conquer the world songs.
Gotta Love Spotify.

  • Not wanting to spend any more money because Christmas is a week away and you just spent all your money on Pizza and chocolate. 

  • Listening to other people's conversation and all you hear is "Are you surviving?"....."Yea, I've only got 48 more hours."

  • Being so stressed with studying for finals you forget to pack a lunch and result to eating cough drops and water.....
Seriously, so depressing.

  • You then go to weigh yourself only to find out you lost 4 lbs but you weren't even meaning to...It's just there's too much madness going on to finish EVERYTHING! 

  • When you go to send an email to your professor to try to get a little more extra credit in their class and you realize, "Wow... I haven't emailed this teacher at all this semester." So it's got to work in your favor. 
Totally Worked! Thank you my loving, giving Professor!

  • And by the time you actually get to the testing center, you're so mad at the whole week and all the studying you did/ didn't do that you're just over it and realize when you get a 71% on a test it's not as bad as it could've been. It's actually almost more relieving knowing its done, than even receiving a 71%.

The only glimpse of hope is the fact that in one week you will be at home sleeping at your parents house, eating food you didn't have to buy, sleeping in a bed you don't have to wash the covers for, and relaxing spending every waking minute doing something you actually want to do and not something you have to do for school.




Christmas is in 8 days!... Can you believe it? I can't but I am so excited! So, my husband and I actually do not give each other gifts for Christmas. We don't have kids and haven't quite hit the gold mine yet so instead of purchasing gifts for each other we spend our money on something we can do together {which usually turns out to be skiing... can't wait to hit the slopes, maybe ill even get to the blue level this year haha!}

Anyway, for those of you who aren't sure yet what you want or aren't sure what to give your wife, sister, mother, or any other woman in your life may I suggest a couple of gift ideas. These are some products I am really in love with right now!

Sold: LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Price: You purchase it by the lb. I always get $5 worth of it which lasts me 2-3 months.

This is a facial cleanser that I have been using for probably about 9 months. I have really loved it. Since I've gotten older I am pickier with the type of cleanser I use. I really love this because it is natural and very gentle on my skin. I have fairly sensitive skin so I really need something that doesn't contain a ton of chemicals that's going to make me break out. Not only is it a cleanser but it is also exfoliates your skin too!
 ^^^This is about the amount I break off to wash my face^^^
 ^^^ All you do is add a touch of water and spread it around^^^
^^^ Cover it all over your face, rub it around, then wash it off!^^^ 

Sold: Macey's at the Clinique counter
Price: I got mine for FREE!This is a lipstick that I just got on Thursday. One of my really good friends works at the Clinique counter. She offered me a free makeover annnd this lipstick for free! I am not sure if this is only a promotion at the Macey's at City Creek or all over but I would seriously try to take advantage of this deal! I love this color so much! it is a nice complementary red color and is also super moisturizing! It also stays on for a very long time. It is my new favorite lipstick (coming from someone who does not own MAC lipstick).

Good luck on your Christmas shopping!
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SIMPLE DECORATION INSPIRATION {for the average person}


Hi all! It's me, Kaylee, again. Yes, I did address this post to the average person as I am probably the most average person you will ever meet. I don't have any specialized skills nor am I truly amazing at anything. If you are a top-of-the-line designer just turn your head away... like right now. I know these ideas are not the most spectacular so no need to judge but for those who are like me, an average person, this post is all for you! 

I enjoy decorating and trying to make things cute while on a {very}limited budget. I love beauty in the world and am all about seeing beauty in things and helping create beautiful moments out of events but definitely do not have the money to make things exactly as I imagine them to look. Needless to say I have finally figured out how to beautify my world without spending too much dough. Here are a few of my tips/ideas I've done to decorate for the holidays or big parties.  

I think Lindsay may have mentioned that we threw an anniversary party for my grandparents over Thanksgiving break. I took the liberty to be in charge of all of the decorations for the big event because, as I previously stated, I wanted it to be beautiful.

The event was in my grandparents LDS church building in Park City, UT. A really nice thing about our church is you can reserve the building to host events at it for little to no charge at all. Plus it has tables, chairs, a kitchen and usually audio/visual equipment. Lucky for us, our grandparents ward had bought brand new white tablecloths that they let us borrow for the event! 
This is what I did for all the tables. I used about 12 yards of butcher paper that I bought from a local craft store for $8 total for the place mats. Then I cut out each table mat and wrote "What I love about the Olsens:". I made about 90 which took a lot of time as you could probably guess. The greenery on the plasticware is juniper branches that I had just trimmed off from a juniper bush in our neighborhood {those babies are sooo full, you couldn't even tell we had trimmed anything off}. I added cinnamon sticks to it too. The cinnamon sticks can be kind of pricey but Clark found some in the candy container section at our grocery store where you fill a bag and pay by the lb which is so much cheaper than buying pre-packaged bags! I tied it with jute-looking yarn that Clark actually already had. The lanterns really tied it all together which my lovely sweet mother-in-law of dreams {She will get this if she reads this, right Michele?}so graciously let us borrow. My sister-in-law printed off old pictures of my grandparents and my aunt bought some frames for us to put on the table along with the lanterns. 

Tip 1: If you can borrow items from people you know, you will save a lot of $$!
Tip 2: You can save a lot of money also by finding things you have around your house/neighborhood  

I also made a banner to place above the food table. My sweetie mother-in-law also let me borrow the muslin material to make the banner and even cut out the rectangles and sewed the edges for me! The muslin was actually very cheap. She had previously used it for my sis-in-laws wedding and had bought it for $1 a roll at Walmart! Can we say what a steal!? I made the font by printing off each letter on a 8x11 piece of paper from Word using the "Stencil" font. Then I just cut out each letter and used it as a stencil. I had some white paint at home so I didn't need to purchase that either. I made the puff balls from a 20 sheet tissue paper package from Michaels. My sister-in-law helped me make these and I think they turned out so cute! Let me know if you want to learn how to make them, they are actually very easy!

Tip 3: Don't be afraid to ask for help. Being an average person, I do not know how to do some things so I went to my very experienced in-laws that were so sweet to offer their time and talents to help me out with this! 

These two pictures are extra little details that Lindsay and our sister-in-law Christina created the day we were setting everything up for the party. Lindsay saw this chalk board, used her magic and created the super cute/trendy/hipster chalk art! I loved it so much! She and Christina used Christina's extra pictures and the jute-yarn to string the pictures over a display table. They looked so cute I loved their sweet touches they contributed to the decorations!

Tip 4: Have people help you with the set-up. Having other people there not only helped everything go by faster but also allowed the event to have a touch of other peoples ideas and creativity to made things more beautiful than I could have imagined!

 ^^^ Some of my sweet set-up crew for the big event^^^

I don't want to give too many details about this just what I did and how easy it was.
 I bought the Skull and Skeleton from the dollar store and used silver spray paint that my in-laws had laying around to make them look nicer. I also spray painted a pumpkin with a shiny black paint and the leaves with the silver. I already had the glass jar that I received as a wedding gift and filled it with microwave popcorn. I bought the cobwebs from the dollar store too.

Tip 5: Check out the dollar store before you go to any other store to purchase decor. If you can be creative there is usually something you can find and make more beautiful plus it is soo much cheaper!
 ^^^ The lovely back drop I made from a white table cloth from the $store and red paint that I already had. Let me tell you, this was the most fun part of making the decorations! I did make the banner too just from black poster paper from the dollar store, the red paint, and ribbon I had at home.^^^
^^^ Spooky book shelf with a few Halloween touches^^^

Tip 6: Add decorations to what you already have in your apt. 

^^^ I made the chalk board from an old frame I wasn't using and chalk board spray paint. EAT DRINK AND BE SCARY^^^

These really are not anything super special, I just wanted to show off my gorgeous Christmas tree!
^^^Because we have super tall ceilings we HAD to get a huge tree this year! We got ours at Smith's Market Place (local grocery store) for $50! It is over 8 feet tall and is the fullest real Christmas tree I've ever seen. I am so proud of it and love it so much. Smiths actually had better prices on their real trees than a local tree farm^^^
 ^^^ Because our tree was so full, we had to trim off some branches to fit it in the tree holder. I decided to make a wreath out of the extra branches and think it turned out quite beautiful if I say so myself. We use the jute/yarn to tie it together, and as you can see I put a big gold bow in the top. So easy and came along with the tree... can't get much better than that!^^^
 ^^^ Remnants of our very first Christmas tree and cinnamon sticks^^^

Oh, so my sisters told me I needed to put this on the blog. Here is my gingerbread house that got first place at work! Let me know if you have any questions and ill tell ya how I built it but I did not buy any extra materials at all to put it together. I just used what I had at home (cut up a box to support it, the extra butcher paper place mats from the anniversary party, the cobwebs from Halloween, Easter eggs, tissues and paper... that's pretty much it!)