family travel

Family travel is very important to us. It’s a thing that our kids remember from year to year. It’s a time we get to spend together doing fun activities, bonding and decompressing. Where we’re planning to go is a big topic of conversation for us. Until we figure out where we’re going to go. And then we spend the time planning the places to eat at and things to do.

family travel

Last summer, we went to Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada. This has become one of our very favorite cities and we’re actually going back this summer. It was what our kids voted to do. We also spent a few days in Vancouver, Canada and a few days in Seattle, Washington. Of the three, Victoria was by far our very favorite.

family travel

We’re very excited to go back to Victoria this summer. We’ll also spend a couple of days in Seattle and then a few days in Oregon. We’ll be on the coast as well as in Portland. This will be really fun, because we’ve been there before. We went when our 12 year old was 4 and she really doesn’t remember much about it. Going here was a specific request from her.

Do you have a bucket list of places you’d like to travel? One of our family’s goals is to visit every state in the US, but we’d also like to travel internationally. We’ve been to Canada and to Mexico once. But that’s the extent of our foreign travel. Mexico seemed very foreign, but Canada is very similar to the US. 

family travel

I don’t know how many of you knew that I write a small feature on a family travel blog once a month. My article for this month posted just the other day and it’s about our time last summer in Victoria at Beacon Hill Park. I’d love it if you’d take a minute to click over and check it out

 

Proper Romance Soiree

A few weeks ago I was able to go to Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance Soiree. I went with a group of good friends and we had an amazing time! When the Proper Romance Soiree was announced, I knew I wanted to go. I was amazed by just how fast the tickets went.

Proper Romance Soiree

The Proper Romance Soiree was held at Gardner Village in The Gathering Place. Gardner Village is such a fun place to have an event. I loved that we took a few minutes to wander through the quaint shops before The Proper Romance Soiree started. Right now Gardner Village is having a fairy festival. There are fairies hiding everywhere you look. There’s even a fairy parade for kids. It’s just a fun place for an outing!

As we were getting checked in at the Proper Romance Soiree, we entered a magical place, a place full of my favorite things…books! I loved that Deseret Book had set up a bunch of books to sell by the authors of their Proper Romance line. And that the authors were willing to take the time to sign them.

 

I’m not sure what you all know about Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line. I’d like to take just a minute to explain. The whole premise behind the Proper Romance line is to have books that are great reads, full of romance, yet be clean enough that everyone will enjoy them. I have handed my books to my daughter, she’s currently 17. She’s read and loved so many of these the last few years. I could hand them to my own grandma and not be at all embarrassed by what she would find in them. These books are simply my favorite. I love that there are more and more authors writing for the Proper Romance line. So there are more and more books being added to this line all the time. 

Proper Romance Soiree

First on the agenda at the Proper Romance Soiree was lunch. Very important! We had salad, bread, beef in gravy and the most amazing chicken ever! I need to figure out what the chicken was and learn how to make it myself. We also had dessert, there was a chocolate option as well as a lemon or vanilla option (not quite sure, I had chocolate!). One thing that was really fun was that the authors of the Proper Romance books sat throughout the dining area. We happened to have Becca Wilhite at our table. She was the nicest. I loved getting to talk with her and learn a little about her. Everyone loved her so much!

Proper Romance Soiree

The question and answer session with the Proper Romance authors was fantastic! I was sad that Julianne Donaldson wasn’t able to attend. But she sent a video greeting to us. We got to hear from Josi Kilpack, Becca Wilhite, Julie Wright, Nancy Campbell Allen and Sarah M Eden. I’ve read and loved books from each of these authors. They are all fabulous! I’ll add links to some of their books at the end of my post so you can check them out!

Proper Romance Soiree

And then it was time for the authors to sign books. I had at least one book for every author to sign. I made sure to talk to each of them individually. And I loved the clever way Becca Wilhite signed her latest book, Check Me Out. It’s probably my favorite thing ever! We waited in line the longest to talk with Sarah Eden. She stayed a very long time signing everyone’s books. I’m grateful she took the time to do that, even though I know she wasn’t feeling the best. 

Proper Romance Soiree

It was really fun that people were willing to dress up to attend the Proper Romance Soiree. Aren’t these costumes so much fun? It wasn’t surprising when I learned that they are the owners of a historical dance group.

Proper Romance Soiree

I loved that Shadow Mountain threw the Proper Romance Soiree for all of us who love the Proper Romance line. It was so fun to get to talk with all of the authors, some of which I’ve known for awhile and some of which were brand new to me. And it was fun to get to talk with others who read almost as many romances as I do! 

Proper Romance Soiree

As promised, here are some links to books by these authors. These are all part of the Proper Romance line as well.

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click my link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from your purchase.  

 

Mint Chocolate BrowniesHey all, it’s Friday! I haven’t done a recipe post for a while, so I thought I’d throw one up for today. These are my very favorite brownies to make. They are fabulous, I love the way the mint and chocolate flavor combines in your mouth, so yummy! I’ve heard that this is the recipe they use for the BYU Mint Brownies, but I really don’t know for sure. 

I made these brownies for a wedding shower a couple of months ago and they didn’t last very long. Everyone loved them! One note though, don’t make these in a pan that you can’t use a metal knife on. I made these in my USA Cake Pan, and while I completely love the way it’s non-stick, you really have to use a metal knife to cut through the ganache layer on the top of these brownies. That’s why you see broken chocolate on the top of my pictures! Next time I’ll be making these in my glass cake pan! One other note, these take several hours to make because of all of the cooling and setting up they need to do in the fridge, so plan accordingly.

Mint Chocolate Brownies

Brownie

1 cup melted butter

2/3 cup cocoa powder (works with Dutch Process or Natural

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

Mix butter, cocoa and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add eggs until completely mixed. Mix in the flour. Spread in a greased 9X13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Mint Frosting

1/2 cup softened butter

1 pound powdered sugar

1 to 3 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoons mint extract

green food coloring

Place butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together. Add milk, but just enough to make a smooth, thick consistency. Add the mint extract and enough food coloring for a light green color. Spread over cooled brownie layer. Refrigerate until firm.

Chocolate topping

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

Melt chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and put back in for 30 second increments, stirring each time until melted and combined. Pour over the frosted brownies, I like to spread it to the edges, you want to cover all the mint frosting. Refrigerate until the topping is set and hardened. Allow the brownies to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting.

This post contains an affiliate link, which simply means that if you click on my link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from your purchase.

Hey everyone…it’s Favorite Friday Day! My favorite day!

Last summer I told you all about my favorite new make up by Maskcara.

I still love it and I use it every day, in fact, if you see the pictures that I post of myself on my Instagram page, I’m wearing it in every one. I can’t believe how many people compliment me on how young I look and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the make up. Even I love the way my face looks. I actually like how I look now. That is kind of a huge thing! I love that something so simple can give me an extra boost of confidence.

I’ve actually started using even more things than I talked about in my post. I have a couple of eye colors that are fabulous. And I even have the eye brush. Oh. My. Gosh! Best brush ever! I may eventually get the other brushes as well. 

Anyway…I’m excited to let you know that I’m working with my friend  and Maskcara Makeup Artist, Jaime Chidester, to get a bunch of you matched and trying out their makeup. And what’s super fun is that someone who buys make up from her or gets matched is going to win a Black Cherry lip/cheek color! I love the way the lip/cheek color works for both lips and cheeks. It’s just fun and it makes things so simple. And Black Cherry is the color that everyone is talking about this year. I don’t have it, but I wouldn’t mind having it!

Getting matched sounds a lot harder than it is! All you have to do is take a picture of your makeup free face in natural light and send it to my friend Jaime, either on Instagram or Facebook. She’ll let you know what colors would compliment your face best, then you order them here and try them out. I also love that there’s a 30 day money back guarantee, that way if something happens to not work just right for you, it’s fixable. 

This might be the perfect gift to either buy yourself or ask for for yourself for Mother’s Day next month!