Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

We took our annual fall family picture for Christmas cards this last week. Most years, I’m kind of an over-preparer and have them ready to send, snail mail, by December 1st. Some of these tips on how to look your best in pictures would have been helpful🙂

Loving burgundy outfits and accents for the fall.

The Walking Dead (TV show) season 7 premiers this Sunday – just in time for Halloween ha, ha! It’s a zombie apocalypse show that I didn’t think I would like but here we are 7 seasons later😉


Crock pot Chili

I’ve used my Crock-Pot more this year than ever because we have church from 2:30-5:30 PM! PM! It’s the latest we’ve ever had church and a little crazy because Tessa usually naps from 2-5 pm. By the time we get home a little before 6, everyone is starving and having dinner ready to be served at 6 has been key. Most all my recipes come from Pinterest and this chili recipe I found from a google search a few years ago and have adapted it. It’s requires little prep and little cook time! We usually serve it topped with sour cream and cheese and cornbread muffins (I use Jiffy ) on the side.

crock-pot-chili-1 easy fall dinner recipe

easy crock pot chili recipe


Teaching your kids to be bilingual

Ever since having the opportunity to learn Spanish on my mission, I knew I wanted to teach my future children Spanish. I love the language and cultures of the many Spanish speaking countries around the world.

There’s been lots of back and forth research as to exactly what the benefits may be, but one that is known is that it’s easier for a child to learn a second language early on than later in life. Our hope for raising bilingual kids was that they would be able to understand and converse in both English and Spanish and eventually would be able to attend a bilingual (dual immersion) school. We would love in years down the road to be able to take out kids back to Paraguay and Guatemala and have them be able to understand and language and be exposed to cultures we loved on our missions.

The main concern we’ve heard is that they will be confused with two languages or won’t know English. Language development is different with every child and most little kids will often get English words confused or conjugate verbs incorrectly. Some people have thought our kids don’t speak English (because they know we speak Spanish). That isn’t the case however. There have been times our kids are shy or don’t want to talk but it has nothing to do with the fact that they are learning two languages.

We’ve made a decent effort to speak to both Brent and Tessa. Brent speaks more English in general, for example if we ask him something in Spanish, he will usually reply in English or sometimes Spanglish. He goes to an all English preschool, church and doesn’t have any kid friends who speak Spanish. Both kids understand Spanish and Spanish kid TV programs. When they talk to each other, they usually speak in English with some Spanish words. Neither has mastered Spanish verbs, which is more advanced in most languages than nouns.

The two most important factors for us are starting early and consistency. Since English is our native language it took a little getting used to speaking to a brand new baby in Spanish. Once we got in the habit, it’s been pretty easy to keep it up. When children are young like our kids (4 and 2), they love learning new words, reading books and learning about the world in general. We try and speak Spanish to them as much as possible at home and in public. We don’t teach both words but rather just the Spanish word. They pick up English words just as monolingual kids do since they are exposed to both languages (verbal, written, TV, other people, etc).  While we haven’t been 100% consistent, I feel like we’ve seen the benefits of our efforts.

It has been really fun and interesting to see them learn and develop in both languages. I love listening to their Spanish words and hope to be consistent enough that it will stick with them.

raising bilingual children

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

Where are the most underrated travel destinations?  The top country on my travel wish list in included on this list! As are a few other places I’d love to see (Morocco, Peru, etc).

It’s getting a little cooler in Texas, but some of these popsicle combinations sound delicious, especially the mango one!


This recipe for pumpkin cookies sounds so good! I’ve never used pumpkin spice baking chips and sounds like it could be a game changer.

Jen’s favorite things

There are a few products that I love so much and wish this could be like Oprah’s favorite things where she actually gives out the product, guess this recommendation list is the next best thing😉


Charcoal face mask – Clinique claims this product will refine your pores and it actually does! You use it only 1-2 times a week (to prevent over-drying) and I love how fresh and clean my face feels afterwards.

Hydro Flask water bottle – keeps water cold all day without leaking condensation. I love the flip lid on this bottle with a wide-mouth opening that clips shut and doesn’t leak. I seriously take this bottle everywhere, it’s definitely helping  me with my health goal to drink more water.

Baker’s Twine – I bought a bulk pack with 6 different colors a few years ago from a daily deals site and love the twine for wrapping presents, treat bags, crafts, etc.

Steam Pocket Mop– we got this floor steamer when we moved to Draper and had new, beautiful laminate flooring. It’s super easy to use and maintain. I love the smell and feeling of freshly steamed floors.

Brow pencil – by Anastasia – I’ve posted about this before but after using a few other brow fillers (crayons, powder, etc) this one is by far my favorite. It’s easy to apply and get a natural look.

Running shorts – these fit great with a semi-high waistband that doesn’t ride up or slip. The 4-way stretch allows for maximum flexibility and it has a small zip pocket in the back. They are so comfortable to run and exercise in!

Yo yo yoga

Before my mission, one of my friends at BYU introduced me to yoga and I’ve loved it ever since. I haven’t been consistently practicing since then but the time periods where I’m actively practicing yoga I definitely feel the benefits.

Why I love yoga: it combines strength, stretching, flexibility, balance, breathing and relaxation.  I feel stronger after practicing and also more relaxed and

My favorite myth about yoga: you have to be flexible to do it. Not true! On most days I can’t even touch my toes, there are always options to poses and modifications. Yoga is very personal and everyone can go at their own pace and modify the poses without judgement.

My favorite pose: Tree (Vriksasana) I love feeling rooted while working on balance, full body strength and being centered. The image of a tree is very solid, strong, firmness and represents life.tree pose

tree pose

Products I like: gaiam yoga mat, water bottle, Lululemon capris (similar)

best-way to start the week yoga

Homesick candles: Places we’ve lived and loved

I recently discovered this awesome soy candle brand that makes ‘homesick candles‘ whose unique scents transport you back to states you’ve loved.  After reading the scent descriptions, I feel they’re pretty accurate! Here are the signature scents of the sttates we’ve lived and loved (minus DC which they don’t have):

Southern California: cactus, orange and ocean

Utah : desert air, mountain spruce and ski lodge

Virginia: honeysuckle and forest floor

Texas: leather, cotton and sage



Their story is our story

There are approximately 65 million refugees worldwide (UNHCR) and approximately 500,000 homeless people in the US. I love this quote: “This moment does not define them, but our response will help define us.”  Thank you for your support for ‘Buy 1, give 1‘! I’ve been knitting like crazy and so appreciative of the people who have helped me with this project. It’s given me even more time to reflect on the blessed state in which we live and that the story of refugees and homeless in our country is also our story.

their-story refugees

chunky hand knit scarf maroon charity