All I Want for Christmas

So many people have been asking for my Christmas list (okay, just Hannah), so I thought I would share a few items that I’m dreaming of this season.

  1. Mixer for the Kitchen. If it stands, even better. But I just need one, because my hand and a wooden spoon doesn’t always cut it.
  2. The game, Pit
  3. New boots (Pleassssssssssseeeeeee, T.J.?)
  4. New York Internship (And the means to afford it…)

That about covers it. I always love clothes, stuff for the kitchen, candles, DVDs (Modern Family?), and nail polish.

The real questions IS: What do YOU want for Christmas?

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A Time to Be Grateful

This Thanksgiving, I spent the break in Southern Utah. For the first few days we were in Enterprise, a little town in the hills between Cedar City and St. George. T.J.’s mom’s side of the family lives there so we were able to be with his Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.

The night before we were leaving, we had anticipated getting caught in the “Storm of the Century,” as they were calling it. But the storm completely passed over Provo and the snow just dusted the grass down in Southern Utah. That was quite a blessing because I was not looking forward to driving in a storm.

Once we arrived, we hung out at T.J.’s grandparents house, ate dinner, caught up, and looked at old pictures of T.J. and his cousins.

For some reason, all my exhaustion caught up with me so I napped so much the entire break. I couldn’t help it. I just would sit in a cozy chair next to the fireplace and five minutes later, I’d be asleep. But it was very relaxing and the naps were much needed.

I also used the time to read the first Hunger Games. I read the first 50 pages out loud to T.J. because our car’s sound system is kind of broken (I had to pop a couple dramamines though so I wouldn’t get car sick). But the book is incredible, I’m almost finished, and then I’ve got to start on the other two! It feels so good to read, I haven’t read for myself for a long time.

Let’s see what else happened….

We slept over at T.J.’s uncle and aunt’s house (Wade and Angel). They have four darling girls and a beautiful home. The next day was Thanksgiving, where we went back to the grandparents’ and ate there. There was so much food. I’m not used to big families. My extended family only gets together once every few years, and at those reunions it still is less than the Huntsmans’ gatherings. I love it though. Anyway, the dinner consisted of a turkey, a ham, lots of side dishes, and about 15 pies. 

After dinner, and another nap, we all got into trucks and drove into the mountains searching for the perfect tree. When my family goes to look for a perfect tree, our excursion stops at about wal-mart and maybe Target. So needless to say, this was the first time looking for a real Christmas tree. I wish I would have been better prepared with better boots and pants. But next year, I’ll be ready.

We finally found one. It looked kind of small to me, but that’s because I’m an amateur. It actually was huge in the living room.

After the kids decorated the tree, we headed back to Wade and Angel’s house for, what turned out to be, a night of intense games.

It was awesome and so much fun to get to know T.J.’s siblings and their spouses better. It’s so cool to me that all six of us are about the same age and really get along, plus we all live so close. What a blessing!

We played Rock Band for a while (which I pretend I’m a pro at, but I just like putting it on the hard setting because it’s more fun even if I fail). Then we played Spoons, which is one of my family’s favorite games. But Angel spiced it up a bit by hiding the spoons throughout the house. Dangerous? Yes. Hilarious and Awesome? Most definitely. Then we played the ol’ Gestures-Boys v. Girls. The girls won, clearly. But the boys did a great job. T.J. was trying to act out “Crazy.” To end the night, we played a few rounds of Pit, which is on my Christmas list, by the way.

On Black Friday, we decided to skip the stores and sleep in because we are low on funds and sleep. It was kind of sad passing up Black Friday, but we got to hang out with T.J.’s little cousins a little longer before we headed to St. George.

In St. George (which is one of my favorite cities because of the red rock), we saw the new movie “The Next Three Days,” with Russell Crowe. It was absolutely intense and a great thriller. We watched a bunch of football games for the rest of the weekend including the BYU v. Utah game. After BYU’s loss, we drove home and had to talk about the game for the majority of the five hours.

It was a great trip, and although I was a bit homesick, I made it through and am so grateful for my in-laws!

Said Gentleman Gray

Remember that seventh grader I used to mentor who keeps popping back into my life, I want to help her and her family of five by providing a Thanksgiving dinner for them. I just would need a couple of side dishes and hopefully enough to buy them a pre-cooked turkey so they don’t have to worry about cooking it. I will deliver everything the night before Thanksgiving, so let me know if you are interested in helping!


Veteran's Day


My dad created this video for Veteran’s Day in memory of my great-grandfather Roy Swainhart who served in WWI.

I also want to share my appreciation for those who have served and fought for our freedom. I am so grateful for the soldiers who have been willing to put their lives on the line for each one of us. Thank you veterans and soldiers, you’re in my thoughts today.


Too Early for Christmas?

In the past, I would question those who decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies was fine, but decorating was a no-go. But now, I am obsessed. I broke out my N’sync Christmas Album this week (which in my opinion, is the best Christmas CD ever made), and it let to a chain of events.

N’Sync Christmas to Pandora Christmas Station. Pandora Christmas Station to Eggnog flavored lipgloss and scented candles. Eggnog flavored lipgloss and scented candles to watching Elf. Watching Elf to buying Christmas decorations. Buying Christmas decorations to setting up Christmas decorations. Setting up Christmas decorations to setting up my little fiberoptic and tacky (yet mesmerizing) Christmas tree. Setting up my little fiberoptic and tacky Christmas tree to pulling out the full size Christmas tree.

Fortunately I stopped there. I didn’t want to put the tree up without T.J. since it’s our first married Christmas. But I still had to stop the madness. If anyone visits my house they are going to think I am psychotic! But I couldn’t help myself. One thing led to another, and now our place is a winter wonderland.



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Christmas Cookie Exchange

I am thinking about throwing a Christmas Cookie Exchange with a friend of mine and I am trying to figure out the details. I don’t want to make tons of beautiful cookies and have them be exchanged and replaced by some Oreos or something. Oreos are great, but they’re not quite cookie exchange material. But how to I tell people that? How do I ensure that I invite people who understand this!? I wanted to invite my whole relief society because it would be a fun get-together and nice way to meet more people.

Any suggestions? Should I make invitations instead of an open event? I guess it has to be open now that I blogged about it, but let’s be honest… the majority of the hits I get on this site are from my Mom and Hannah. So, Mom and Hannah (which clearly you’d still be invited even though you’re not in my RS, don’t worry) and anyone else out there, what should I do?

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Hello, Cincinnati!

Last weekend T.J. and I were going to buy our tickets to Cincinnati for Christmas break. T.J. has to leave before New Years so he can get back to work and we decided I would stay until the 3rd of January since I don’t get to go home very often. Well, T.J.’s ticket was rounding out to be about $500. That is ridiculous. No student has that type of money to spend. That’s like 2 car payments, or ten phone payments, or 3 months of groceries. Way too much.

We didn’t want to have to buy the ticket right then but we also knew it was quite a risk not to buy T.J.’s ticket because the price could keep increasing or we might not be able to be on the same flights for Christmas (which isn’t a huge deal, but it would be nice). So anyway, we felt really strongly that we should just wait to buy his ticket and pray that by our next paycheck we could afford to buy his ticket and that the price wouldn’t increase too much.

One day later after buying my ticket, we got a message from T.J.’s parents saying that they would like to get T.J.’s ticket with his dad’s sky miles (he racks up a lot each week because of his work). I was amazed. First of all, I am so grateful for in-laws who are willing to do that for us, especially when the tickets mean we won’t be spending the holidays with them. Also, we didn’t have to stress out about the situation at all because our answer to our prayers came SO fast. And three, what a blessing it is that we listened to the prompting to wait to buy T.J.’s ticket.

T.J.’s dad got the ticket for us last night, completely free.


Thanks so much, Kelly and Mark! You have no idea how grateful we are for you all!


My Top 10 Scary Movies (not in order)


  1. The Orphanage. I saw it on campus at the International Cinema so they edited out the bad stuff. But this thriller really gets your heart pumping with a well-written plot and twist ending. Just wait until the woman plays the “knock 1 2 3” game. Oh man. (P.S. it’s on Netflix Instant Play).
  2. The Ring. I will never see this one again. Too satanic. Too scary.
  3. The Ring 2. I watched this with a bunch of girls a few years ago really late at night. I don’t remember much because I kept falling asleep. But I do remember a bunch of deer attacking them. Horrifying.
  4. Lady in White. Old movie. You wouldn’t think it would be this scary, but I couldn’t have the blinds open for weeks. There are like three stories throughout the movie, but the ending is by far the scariest part.


  1. The Others. I love this movie. Nicole Kidman does a great job and I’ll never forget my friend Mikey Tensmeyer quoting the children at the end. When the door slams and the piano starts to play, I always lose it!
  2. Skeleton Key. I think you know already how I feel about this one.
  3. The Birds. It didn’t scare me during the movie. It scared me the next time I saw a bunch of birds. And every time since.
  4. The Invasion. This is more of a thriller. Once again, Nicole Kidman is incredible.
  5. 1408. When this first came out, Blair and I saw it 3 times in the theater.
  6. What Lies Beneath. When the neighbor see them through the window all of a sudden, you might have a heart attack.
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We threw a Halloween party last Saturday night and it was a complete success. Throughout the night, we had about 20 or 25 people come through dressed as Mimes, Devils, Victorians, Princesses, Marios, Luigis, Care Bears, Russian Ice Skaters, Zoo Keepers, Nerds, Lumberjacks, and Leopards. We carved pumpkins, dipped apples in caramel, ate lots of food, strolled down a runway for a costume contest, and watched Halloweentown and Harry Potter.

I’ve got a lot more pictures on their way, but for now, here are photos of T.J.’s and my Jack-o-lanterns!

Moving on to Christmas

Apparently we have skipped Halloween and just moved on to the rest of the Holiday season because there was snow on the ground this morning. Also, I park near the bell tower on campus and when I was walking to work, the bells were chiming (which I actually find rather annoying, except when they play Harry Potter or when it’s Christmas), and so today it just added to the ambiance of it all. AND I made a coffee cake this morning to bring to work, and so with the smell of cinnamon in the air, snow on the ground, and bells in the background… it really is making me believe Christmas break is right around the corner!