Category Archives: Brianna

Hanging by a thread

I don’t know, I feel like I’m losing all control. Some days are great but it seems like they’re fewer and farther apart these days. Maybe it’s the holidays. They always seem to get pretty crazy. I think today I had just had enough. I had to walk out of the house and down the street to the park to cool off. I’m just tired of doing every… little… thing… for my children who are perfectly capable of doing it themselves.  I was perfectly happy knowing I needed to do those things for them when they weren’t able to do it themselves.  I loved it in fact.  But as the kids have grown I’ve required more self-reliance from them.  I don’t make them do outrageously difficult things but I do require some help around the house. But their work seems to have gotten worse over the last few weeks. For example, I’ll clean up their rooms after they go to bed only to have them wake up and DESTROY it before they even get ready in the morning.  Then I have two hours before they get home to clean it back up and do all the other things I need to do to make it seem like I had a successful day only to have them come home and create havoc again.

So, now with all this frustration being written out while I’m sitting here at the park it doesn’t seem as dire and horrific as I was feeling it was just half an hour ago. Thinking about everything that has been frustrating me and with taking the time to write it out I can’t help but cool down. Maybe the fact that it’s 50° outside and I’m sitting on a cold bench has something to do with that 🙂 .  It could also have something to do with the beautiful, clear night and the fact that I can see the stars.  Living in the city (even when you’re 10 miles outside) doesn’t allow for the chance to see the stars.  The sheer magnitude of it, even this close to the city, is breathtaking! You can’t help but feel so small and insignificant but somehow, in a very weird way, feel so important and fundamental. There has to be something that I need to learn from having these frustrating moments with my children. I might not realize it yet but in time I will.If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years of doing things and redoing things is that there’s always a reason.  It’s just whether or not you’re willing to open your eyes to see it.  So that’s what I’ll have to keep reminding myself until this “phase” is over and keep reminding me that the children are learning too and as long as we keep reading our scriptures and saying our prayers as a family we’ll pull through.

I think I just found my “time-out” spot!!!  This was awesome!


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Filed under Brianna, Kids

Twilight Finale

I spent the morning trying to get tickets for a group of 25 people to see the new Breaking Dawn movie.  It’s the final Twilight movie and with it comes a great sense of finality.  This is something that me and a group of men and women in my ward have done religiously for the last 4 years.  The fun thing is that we’ll just transfer that energy into the new Hunger Games movies 🙂 .

It’s been super fun to do this with everyone, but this time will be even a little more special because Jared planned for me to go to the marathon that whole day!  I’m nervous and quite excited about it.  I’ll send the kids off to school and then Jared will take over at lunch time while I go and watch 5 movies in a row!  It’s going to be a little overwhelming and I don’t know if I can sit there for that long without getting a little antsy but I’m sure going to try to enjoy myself.  I’ll just have to make sure that I’ve planned for everything and anything and even if something comes up I’ll only be 10 minutes away.

So almost 30 minutes after walking up to the ticket counter at RAVE I walked away with a stack of 25 tickets and a whole lot of evil looks from people in line behind me.  Oh, well.  I know the group I’ll be with will enjoy themselves.

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Filed under Brianna, Friends

Halloween Brownies

I have had this urge to bake and bake and bake ever since conference. I think it’s this time of year and the cooler weather that gets me all fired up. I have a list, an actual list, of things that I want to make for my family, friends, and things to create with my kids. One of the first things was these brownies! I’ve seen them all over Pinterest and I am a sucker when it comes to all things chocolate and mint, especially when the two are combined! I just put a little spin on it and made them a little more whimsical and inviting to the kids although what kid is not going to want to eat any kind of brownie!?!

I had planned on making these for Joseph’s kindergarten Halloween party so I thought I’d do a dry run and make sure I could do it. After going through the entire process I’m sad to say that they are a little to time-consuming for such a small party like that but it was fun to do and even more fun to enjoy. It was the perfect FHE treat and I’m glad the kids got to enjoy them because so many times I make things and they don’t get to enjoy them because they are for others.

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
* 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
* 1 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)
* 3 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 32 miniature chocolate peppermint patties, like York
* melted white chocolate for decorating

 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter and 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter, sugar, and bittersweet chocolate over medium, stirring frequently, until smooth.  Add to flour mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in eggs and vanilla, then let cool to room temperature, 10 minutes.

2. Transfer batter to pan.  Press 16 peppermint patties evenly into batter and, with a small offset spatula, evenly spread batter to completely cover patties.

3. Bake until cake is puffed and just set, about 35 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack, 25 minutes, then top with 16 peppermint patties.  Let cool 25 minutes more, then decorate peppermint patties with candy eyes and chocolate chip ears.  Refrigerate until chocolate is set, 5 minutes.  Using parchment, lift cake from pan and cut into 16 squares.  Decorate with icing pens.

I made just a few changes to the above recipe by making it larger but it’s key to make sure you wait for it to cool during the aloted time.  If you don’t wait long enough the brownies will be too hot and will melt the patty all over.  You’re just waiting long enough for the patty to slightly melt (you can see how shiny they are in the pictures above, showing the chocolate is melted but still retaining it’s shape).

I decided to add some fangs to the other half of the brownies and then they looked more like bats the kids said. So I guess either way you do it and depending if you want to spend an extra two minutes on this treat you can have yummy cats or yummy bats!!!

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Filed under Brianna, Cakes, Holidays, recipes

Change of Picture Plans

Brandon, Kyrina, and Brayden have been in town for a few days and I had convinced Kyrina to let me take some maternity pictures before they leave.  We were going to try to squeeze it into my day this afternoon but their plans got changed and so we cancelled the session.  While running loads of laundry up and down the stairs, prepping dinner, cleaning and setting up for the shoot, Emma had convinced me to paint her nails like I had painted my toes the other night at Young Womens.  It was super easy just a little time-consuming, as is everything.  With her nails done and wearing this super cute headband I knew I needed to take some pictures of her.

I love my daughter!  She’s such a beautiful and talented little girl.  I’m so excited to watch and help her grow in to an even more spectacular young woman!

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Filed under Brandon, Brianna, Emma, Photography, pregnancy


Tonight my parents took Jared and I to see Wicked!!!  I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to see this show and I finally got to see it, but in style!

My parents got tickets at the new Smith Center downtown and it was a pleasure to be there.  It had a very old Hollywood feel to it and with it being so new everything was immaculate!

It was funny that my parents took us to the theater because the last time we to the theater to see a live production was when we were living in London and, again, my parents took us to see Les Miserables!  That was equally exciting and thrilling, but I had heard such great things about Wicked I could hardly wait.

It didn’t disappoint!  I loved every minute of it!  I was familiar with the music but hearing it in context brought a whole new level to it.  I loved the fact that the writers could shed some more light on the classic characters.  I love things like that!  Even though it’s not my favorite, the new star wars movies did the same thing for me – bringing a new dimension to the originals.

The fact that I was able to enjoy the musical was second only to the fact that I was with my husband who was equally engrossed by the tale.  I love that we can share things like this together!

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Filed under Brianna, Dates, Jared, Nana and Papa

Return to Book Club

Tonight was the Book Club meeting where we all bring suggestions of books that we read over the summer or just books that we’d like to suggest to read during the next year.  I love book club but this is always my favorite meeting because you get so many ideas of things to read.  This was the list of suggestions of which 12 we picked for the next 12 months (*).

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
The World of Downton by Jessica Fellowes
*Tres Leches by Josi Kilpack
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
*And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
*Seeking Persephone by Sarah Eden
Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah Eden
Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah Eden
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
*The Is My Words by Nancy Turner
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
*The Uses of Adversity by Carlfred Broderick
*Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Sold by Patricia McCormick
*The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly
The Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
*A Heart So Broken by Christene Houston
Delivering Happiness Tony Hsieh
Black Heel and Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans
The Letter by Richard Paul Evans
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
Seven Miracles that Saved America by Chris Stewart
Return to Virtue by Elaine Dalton
*Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
*Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
After Hello by Lisa Mangum
*The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

I’m so excited to read these books!  It will be super fun to read my friend Christene Houston’s new book for November.  I don’t think I know anyone that has written a book and so this will be a fun experience.  I was also asked to take pictures at her book launch so that will be a fun adventure as well 🙂 .

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Filed under Brianna, Brianna's Reading List, Friends

Secret Wedding Pictures #2

Wow! Tonight’s wedding was light years away from what last weeks was.  There were so many more people and there seemed to be a whole different vibe about the whole thing.

The bride was beautiful and it was such a pleasure to take pictures of her and her family.  Her husband had a little boy who was simply adorable and seemed to be bright-eyed the entire time.  One of my favorite moments was watching her watch her husband drive into view.  It was so precious to watch her peek through her veil and tear up!

At the end of the ceremony they released some doves which I had never seen done before except in movies 🙂 .

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Filed under Brianna, Photography, Work