Thursday, May 25, 2017

Relief Society Birthday Dinner

When we got moved into the Happy Valley Ward in February, I quickly was called to be the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society presidency. My first task was to plan the birthday celebration. Technically it was supposed to be in March because March 17th marked 175 years since the organization of the Relief Society. We pushed it back to April 18th since the ward's March calendar was already pretty full and I couldn't have put it together that quickly anyway. I didn't have a functioning committee, so it was basically all me. The rest of the presidency helped a lot.

I decided to do a favorite things theme and did a lot with "brown paper packages tied up with strings". I designed the invitation in Photoshop. (I basically copied this one.) I bought this pack of digital baker's twine from Etsy which was the best thing I did because I ended up using it so much!

I had the invitations printed at FedEx Office on paper that was a little better quality than regular printer paper. I used the paper cutter there and had major paper-cutter envy by the time I was done!

Then I taped the invitation to a brown bag for everyone to bring their favorite thing wrapped in.

I included some string in the bag to tie the package up with.

I bought some small items (all $1 or less) for anyone who didn't bring a favorite thing to exchange and had a table set up as they were walking in where they could pick one of the items and wrap it up if needed.

We're going to be forming some small groups for monthly activities (and only having a large activity quarterly) and we wanted to see which small groups would be popular, so I made a survey for everyone to fill out. Many had already filled out the survey, but we had them there for anyone who hadn't already filled one out. After the favorite things gift exchange, we had a drawing for the leftover items I had purchased.

I made a little display table to highlight some of our favorite things about Relief Society - sisterhood, friendship, visiting teaching, Relief Society lessons, service, learning new skills, and diversity.

We had everyone sit at the table of their birth month to mix things up a bit.

I kept the decorations pretty simple. We just tied a rock to a balloon and put it inside a gift bag with some tissue paper.

We had a salad bar with many different topping and salad dressing choices. If you are ever in charge of buying salad for a large activity, don't trust the serving size on the Costco container of lettuce. 5 servings is seriously misleading. I bought 8 containers (after texting both the president and 1st counselor for advice) and I ended up returning 4. (The Costco employee was not happy about it and said they would have to just throw them away, but she took them back. I told her they should fix the label, so people aren't misled and end up buying way too much!)

We also had croissant sandwiches (turkey and Swiss, ham and cheddar, and chicken salad). Costco had croissants for $1 off which saved us some money. I bought 8 dozen and we only used 6, but we just divided up the extra 2. (And no one was too sad that I bought too many of those!)

We had Italian Sodas which was fun. They were a huge hit! This printable from Our Best Bites is perfect for explaining how to make them. I had raspberry, peach, and blue raspberry syrups already and I bought blackberry, strawberry, and mango. Sadly I didn't think the blackberry was very good, but the rest are 👌.

I had people sign up to bring their favorite cupcakes and I made one of my favorites, orange cupcakes.

I took these picture before all the other cupcakes arrived which worked out well since mine were the only ones that matched the color scheme I had going. 

The cupcake I finally painted for my birthday coincidentally matching perfectly. (Apparently I'm really into these 4 colors together right now because I didn't plan that.)

After we ate, exchanged our favorite things, and did the survey drawing, the Relief Society president and the bishop said a few words and then we ended the night with these words from President Utchdorf (from his talk Living the Gospel Joyful given at the October 2014 General Women's Session of Conference):

"My dear sisters in the gospel, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know:

You are loved.

You are dear to your heavenly parents.

The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.

Yes, God loves you this very day and always.

He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.

And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.

He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!

Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?

He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.

More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.

I testify that the way to accomplish this is to place selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service. Sisters, trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments. In other words—live the gospel joyful.

It is my prayer that you will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the beautiful love of God in your lives; that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.

I promise that as you do so, you will discover your best self—your real self. You will discover what it truly means to be a daughter of the everlasting God, the Lord of all righteousness. Of this I testify and leave you my blessing as an Apostle of the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

We really wanted the sisters to know how much Heavenly Father loves them and President Uchtdorf's words couldn't have been more perfect.

I was worried no one would show up, but they did. 😅 Other than forgetting to put out the salad dressing at first 😂, everything went off without a hitch and everyone seemed to have a good time. I was glad to have my first activity out of the way. It really wasn't that bad pulling it off without a committee, but I'm still hoping by next year I'll have a little more help!

Saturday, May 20, 2017


The week before Easter we had the missionaries over for dinner. Peyton and I made Krispy Easter Eggs for them. (We left out the chocolate egg in the middle.)

We missed our new ward's Easter Egg Hunt because they had it while we were in Utah, so we went to our old ward's hunt the day before Easter. They painted cute bunny faces on the kids before the hunt. 

Corbyn found a special egg with a golden ticket inside it, so he got to pick out a stuffed animal. They obviously bought them after Valentine's Day on clearance and that works for me because I'm thinking this monkey will make an excellent Valentine's Day decoration. 

After the hunt, I went on an 11 mile run. It was a gorgeous day for a run!

I came home to find the kids and Rog hard at work washing the cars.

That afternoon Rog went to Tammy Harris' baptism. He had been her husband's home teacher in the Sunnyside Ward (our old ward) and she had started taking the lessons from the missionaries about the time we were moved into the Happy Valley Ward (our new ward).

We had planned to go to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival that night, but didn't realize they closed at 6:00. We got in our car at 5:00 to make the 50 minute drive to the festival. Luckily Rog's phone informed us the festival closed at 6:00 before we started driving there or we would have been pretty upset when we got there just in time for it to close!

Instead we went to Burgerville for dinner. I had been noticing them all around town and was curious. We didn't think the burgers were amazing, but they were good. After dinner we all jumped on the tramp before bedtime.

Two days after Easter I was in charge of our big Relief Society Birthday Celebration, so I asked Rog to invite ourselves to Ron and Linda's for Easter dinner. They were doing Easter lunch instead and with church from 9-12, I knew I had to make my food assignments the night before. I was in charge of rolls and carrot cake. I also prepped monkey bread for breakfast, put together our Easter baskets, filled eggs for an Easter egg hunt at Ron and Linda's, and wrote a talk for PJ. 

It was a late night and then the morning was pretty chaotic. I asked Rog to finish up and cook the monkey bread while I took a shower. When we took them out, about half were cooked and the other half were not. We were puzzled until we realized he cooked them at the wrong temperature. We just ate the half that were cooked and laughed about it because it could have been a lot worse!

Rog got Curious Gorge (a guidebook about hiking the Columbia River Gorge) and Olaf for Disney Infinity. I got a Disney girl keychain from CharmedRoseDesigns, a Sheldon the Seahorse Tsum Tsum, and Tinkerbell for Disney Infinity. Corbyn got an R2D2 bath towel, Should I Share My Ice Cream, Hulk for Disney Infinity, and a bulldog dentist game. Peyton got a princess bath towel, Moana Little Golden Book, a stamp set, and a Twilight Sparkle My Little Pony toy. Logan got a Mickey bath towel, Disney Baby Look at Me!, a daisy stuffed animal, Mickey bowls, a Little People Donald car, and Goofy and Donald Roadster Racer cars (yes, he was spoiled).

Rog spoke in Sacrament Meeting and did an excellent job. Logan was actually really good for the meeting (although at one point he tried to race his cars down the aisle). For a lot of the meeting he put Mickey stickers on a piece of paper and then sat there and admired his work. 

We thought Peyton was supposed to be giving a talk, but there was a mix up, so another girl was giving a talk. They had Peyton give hers as well (and then she also gave one the next week 😬).

Rog was staying after church for Tammy Harris' confirmation. We took pictures in our Easter Sunday best before I left with the kids. 

Corbyn was in serious need of a haircut and Peyton's hair didn't get curled like I was planning that morning, but Logan was actually being cooperative for these pictures, so it was a win in my book.

I picked out the kids' outfits specifically so Logan could wear the Easter outfit Corbyn wore when he was almost 2 and I'm so glad I did because the side-by-side comparison is perfect.

 We went straight to Ron and Linda's after quickly changing. The kids got to hunt for some eggs before lunch. 

We had pulled pork sandwiches and some sides and it was a nice enough day to eat out on their back porch. I had been so busy with my upcoming activity, I didn't really care what we had. I was just glad I didn't have to feel like I needed to make a full Easter dinner for just our family! The only thing I really have to have for it to be Easter is my carrot cake and I made that, so I was good. 

When we came home I crashed while Logan took a nap. (That's when you know I'm tired because I do not take naps!) We threw together a very random dinner with various leftovers and then Peyton and I drove all over Happy Valley delivering invitations for her upcoming birthday party and miscellaneous things for my upcoming Relief Society activity. 

We dyed Easter eggs for FHE the day after Easter even though I was running around like a crazy person doing a million things that day.


Since college I've always just done the vinegar and food coloring method and this year was no exception.

 Easter fell at a busy busy time this year and I didn't feel like I had a lot of time to focus on the Resurrection of our Savior, but I am grateful for the moments I was able to pause and remember the glorious reason we celebrate Easter.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Weekend in Utah

We took a quick trip to Utah for my cousin's wedding on April 7th.

That morning I got up and did a 10 mile run before we had to leave for the airport. We were having crazy 30 mph winds that made it a particularly challenging and memorable run. I saw fences, trees, and even a trampoline that had been blown over.

We grabbed some pizza before getting on the plane.

It was Logan's first flight in his own seat and he did great despite a very bumpy takeoff due to the crazy wind. He polished off his own mini pizza and watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on my phone (without sound because he wouldn't wear headphones).

He also did a pretty good job entertaining himself while I took a nap. (Rog was in the row right in front of us.)

When we got to Utah we got our suitcases and then walked over to the next terminal to see the Pughs who were flying back to Tennessee after being in Utah for a few weeks. It was sad our trips only overlapped by a couple hours, but fun to see them for a few minutes.

We went to Pizza Pie Cafe for dinner. (We didn't think about how we had planned to go there for dinner when we got pizza for lunch.) Their peach and apple dessert pizzas are my favorite and the main reason I like to go there, so you can imagine my disappointment when they didn't have either of those out that night. (We're going to have to call ahead and confirm that in the future!)

Then we got changed at my Grandma Ririe's house and headed over to Taylor's reception. Taylor and his brothers feel more like brothers to me than cousins, so even though he didn't have room for us in the sealing, I didn't want to miss his reception. He was so very grateful that we had come and made us feel like our trip was totally worth it. 

Saturday morning we had breakfast at Kneaders. Corbyn ate 3 pieces of French Toast (same as me and Rog)!

I had scheduled pictures with bunnies at Cheapshots since we were going to be there right before Easter. We've been doing them there every year since Peyton's first Easter! Logan couldn't have been more uncooperative...

They had me get in the picture with him to see if we could get him used to it and then have me sneak away. (Fortunately I had gotten ready for the day and wasn't totally clashing with their outfits).

That didn't work at all, so we finally gave up on Logan and just got some cute ones of the older two. 

We were still pretty full from breakfast, so we skipped lunch and met up with the Woods for ice cream at the BYU Creamery.

Graham Canyon Crunch! 😍😋😍

Then we walked around the Bean Museum with them. Logan wouldn't be in this picture either. 

The kids all loved the kid area and would have spent the whole time there if we had let them.

We left in time to make it to the Wood Connection before they closed. I had taken orders from some of my friends in Oregon, so I had a lot to buy. 

After the Wood Connection we went to a random park while we figured out what we were doing for dinner. We eventually ended up at Texas Roadhouse with my parents and some of Cailey's family who had come to Utah for Madison's baby blessing the next day.

Rog's parents were also in town helping with McKae's sprinklers, so we had dessert with them at Taylor's house. (Taylor Phillips, not Taylor Ririe whose wedding we had come for!)

I had planned to meet up with Stacey, my BFF from college, at Sonic in Draper that night. I drove there in a crazy blizzard and we decided randomly to meet at Subway instead of Sonic because drinks at a carhop didn't sound too appealing in a blizzard! We ended up at Harmon's of all places because the Subway was going to close soon. They had a little lounge area that Stacey knew about and we just enjoyed catching up for a couple hours. Thankfully the crazy blizzard had calmed down a lot, so my drive back wasn't nearly as crazy as the drive there!

Sunday morning we went to Madison's baby blessing. Keeping with tradition, she wore Peyton's blessing dress. (All of the Ririe cousins have worn the blessing outfits I first bought for Corbyn and Peyton.) 

I had fun looking back at the pictures of Peyton when she wore that dress. It's hard to believe she was ever that small!

They had a luncheon at Jared and Cailey's house after. The snow from the night before had completely melted (spring in Utah!) and we enjoyed eating on their back porch. The cake Rog and Logan are eating in this picture was amazing! (Just a white sheet cake from Smith's.)

We had planned to meet up with the Goodrich family at Temple Square before our flight home, but they had to cancel because they had a stomach bug making its way through their family. We were disappointed that we didn't get to see them, but we didn't want to bring home a stomach bug with us! 

So we just hung out at Jared and Cailey's house a little longer. Grandma Lori hid some Easter eggs for us and Jared helped me with my new computer. Then it was time to go back to Oregon. The kids passed out on the way to the airport. I think we wore them out - it was a busy weekend!

I had brought an empty carry-on bag to take home my Wood Connection purchases. Without thinking about it I put some paint and texture cream that I had bought in there and got stopped when I tried to take it through security. (I didn't think about how those would be considered liquids.) Luckily Alaska Airlines checked the bag for free for me when I went back up to the counter. (Good thing we weren't flying with Frontier - I know they wouldn't have done that!) Other than that little hiccup, it was an uneventful trip home. 

It was fun to see our family and friends and eat at some of our favorite restaurants that aren't in Oregon. Hooray for Taylor and Mariah!