Saturday, November 21

And the Verdict Is...

We have decided to move to Wisconsin!

Dalin is accepting the job at Northwest Passage. It seems like a wonderful workplace and a great opportunity for our family to have a new experience in an outdoorsy area (lots of trees, lakes, rivers, and ponds which is a yay for me!) and also save a lot of money with fewer expenses and better pay!

Tuesday, November 17

Decisions, decisions

We got the job. In northwest Wisconsin, right by Minnesota.

We're thrilled, and the pay is good.

We just need to decide if it's the right move for us because, as enticing as it is, we need to make the best choice for our little family. We've been praying about it so much these days. There are pros and cons to staying and going, but we will determine what is right and it will all work out:)

Please pray for us! I'm feeling scared to move! I've been nothing but excited but now it's real...

Sunday, November 15

Questions to Ask My 24-Year Old Self

(First off) Things I think the little Gunnell family is doing right: 
  1. We are firm in our faith, our marriage, and our family. 
  2. We have plans, future goals, savings, Bachelor's degrees, and no debt! 
  3. We travel a few times a year and live comfortably in our little apartment. 

Things we could improve on (so we're in good shape when we're forty or fifty): 

  1. Are we feeding our bodies properly? We have mostly healthy eating habits, but we could probably stand to cut down on the sugary snacks and drinks. My reasons for wanting to do so are simple: in our twenties, we've been blessed with pretty amazing metabolisms so far, but when we're forty, I don't want to be feeling all those Cocoa Bean Cupcakes and sugary drinks (like my Tropical smoothies-->insert crying face emoji) that we splurge on weekly in all my flabby areas. At least we only drink soda about once every month or two which I think is reasonable. But yeah, snacks are still an that's hard to avoid when you keep snacks around for your little kids. 
  2. Are we taking care of our bodies in other ways? We could definitely exercise more. Or in my all. It's just soooo hardddd to care! Sadly wearing cute exercise clothes isn't much of a motivator for me. I used to wear athletic leggings all the time and if anything, I'm more lethargic than before. Somehow, I've got to back on track with my old exercising routine in high school. Why I cared so much then? I don't know. I guess I was playing sports at the time. But I wish that I had saved all that youthful teenage energy for now because I've never been more tired than since becaming a mom (and mostly since I became a mom of two). 
  3. Are we preparing well for the future? We could save more. We have a good emergency savings but it'd be nice to start saving for stuff like specific trips we want to take (read: Ireland/Scotland), a downpayment for a home, and for far into the future (like college and mission funds for the kiddos and retirement for us).
  4. Are we removing clutter and unnecessary stuff from our life? We could simplify more. I have way more clothes than I actually wear. And I have collected so many decorations (mostly packed in boxes) that we'd need a mansion to fit them all. So it'd be good to purge more (which I hate thinking about but love to do) especially with a move coming up!
  5. Are we worrying too much? (Like I've told myself a bazillion times) Stress less/worry less! I'm sure when I'm forty or fifty I'll still be reminiscing about that one Sunday when I didn't do any dishes and completely let the apartment go...or not. Bottom line, things that seem to matter now will not matter in twenty years and stressing or being uptight doesn't make those things better. Just relax and embrace the mess--or at least embrace the ones making it;-)
  6. Have we made spiritual things a priority? We need to make Family Home Evening (FHE) a priority each week. We read our scriptures and have family prayer but I'd like to start doing more lessons for our little Tenley now that she can actually understand us. 

Anything else to add? I am especially looking at any older, wiser, and consequently more beautiful readers that I may have;-)

P.S. Best pics of us ever, I know...I just thought they were applicable because they show we love our kids a whole lot. 

Saturday, November 14

Our Family Favorite Snack

This is an accurate depiction of what happens every time I open a Chobani Flip...Tenley invites herself over.
A while ago, I was asked by someone from Chobani to review their product. I declined because at the time, I was not a huge fan of yogurt in general (I just have never liked it very much!) and at the time I had only tried Chobani once and found it kind of sour and weird.

Well, last week, my husband brought home Chobani "flip" in Almond Coco Loco and my thoughts on yogurt were forever changed.

The first bite I had was like "eh..." 
It was still kind of sour like I'd remembered Chobani being in the past. 
But as time went by, I started thinking about how I wanted more. 

Finally I opened one up for myself. I mixed in the almonds and chocolate chips (as shown in the first picture)...

And I was in love. It was like eating a delicious dessert for a healthy-ish snack. I don't count calories or anything so I don't really care that it has 230 calories--(that's less than 1 cup of chocolate ice cream though!) I just care that it's yogurt (healthy) and tastes good (dessert). If you are a yogurt fan, I bet you'll love Chobani's "flips"! My favorite part of this one is the soft crunch of the almonds and chocolate chips in my teeth mixed with that subtle coconut flavor. Mmmm! I need to go eat one right now.

It's our family's new favorite snack. We buy 5 at a time and I have to fight Tenley and Dalin for them (Tenley will get one from the fridge at 5am and bring it to me in bed and say, "Open this" over and over until I say, "No, go put that back right now!" because I don't want her eating my snack and especially not at 5am. She loves them). I have found I prefer to eat them when the babes have gone to bed, otherwise I have two little beggars baring down on me the entire time and I have to share my spoon with them.

Anyway, I haven't tried the other flavors (because I'm a believer in "if it's not broke, don't fix it";) but once I get sick of this one (IF that happens) I will totally try the others because I am sold on Chobani.

And I don't know about Chobani's commercials, but Yoplait's irritate me so that's another win in my book.

Let me know if you've tried these before and tell me your favorite!

P.S. If you hadn't noticed, I changed my comments thing below in hopes it would make it a bit easier for you to participate. Just sign in through Facebook or if you have a Disqus account, that's great! (And if you want one, it's a quick thing to sign up for). I love reading your thoughts and opinions! 

Thursday, November 12

My Greatest Flaw & A Whole Lot of Honesty

This post is not written to gain pity or to be self-critical, but it is to share a bit about what I'm learning about myself recently.

I'm not going to draw out the part where I tell you what I believe my biggest flaw is--it's pride. I feel pretty confident that in the next life that's going to be the biggest topic of discussion.

I am so prideful and boy am I grateful for repentance and an Elder Brother who teaches humility by example. I have to work hard at overcoming this flaw daily. I can't blame anyone for it (I wish) but I think that growing up in the northeast didn't help make me the humble servant I should be. And you all should know how rarely I discredit my youth in New England because I really, really love it there.

But I was raised to have pride in myself. That includes my background, my beliefs, my family--really I was taught to be proud of where I come from. And I was, and still am.

I have always taken pride in growing up with all brothers in a small town with an excellent school. I take pride that I grew up in such a beautiful place with four distinct seasons, the most beautiful autumns, lakes and ponds everywhere, access to the ocean, and freedom to explore the woods. I felt safe there.

It wasn't just that though--I took pride in my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had some false sense of superiority over my classmates because I had high moral standards and they, to my immature perception, did not. I liked being different and I liked that people knew my positions on various subjects. I stood firm for what I believed in, whether it was truly accurate or not.

Wednesday, November 11

Two Updated Posts

Well, I feel like I'm cheating by not writing about something new like I normally do, but today I decided to edit and add to my two most popular posts (which are only popular thanks to Pinterest...but thank you, Pinterest--I owe you;). But I think they are both quite a bit better and hopefully the new information is useful to some of you.

So here they are:

Tips on flying with a one-year old (I wanted to make it two-year old and under, but I thought changing the title might mess the link up)

Dear Pregnant Ladies: 15 Things You Ought to Know

See? I kind of cheated. I really wanted to write today but had no ideas. That's me being frank with you.

Is there anything you'd like to read about in particular? I have a post about yogurt coming up, but that nearly puts me to sleep just typing it.

Tuesday, November 10


I just put in our notice at Wymount Terrace for December 19th. I truthfully didn't think I'd feel as sad as I do. I'm not devastatingly is getting colder here and I don't care for the laundry arrangement...but the community here is wonderful and the grounds are clean, safe, and perfect for children. Apart from the ward and the outdoor area though, I am looking forward to something new (main things are having a bigger kitchen with a dishwasher I hope and a slightly bigger bathroom)!

It has been four+ years that we've lived at Wymount. Almost three years in this specific apartment. Both Tenley and Declan joined our family here. There are a lot of memories contained in these whitewashed cinderblock walls.

Equally pressing is the necessity of finding an affordable place to move our family to since we need to be out of here in about a month! Dalin's been applying to jobs all over the country (really, all over) and has been hired at several...the trouble is the pay hasn't been high enough to tempt us (mostly because it's been less than our current income and if anything, we need more to afford housing elsewhere).

Another matter is our lease on our car is ending at the end of this month, which I've mentioned before, and we have no idea what vehicle we'll be replacing it with. We were initially looking at mini-vans, but now we're thinking a smaller car and a shorter lease might work just fine for a little while longer (since it seems unlikely that I would have two babies in the next two years).

So, we are waiting and praying. We've also been searching for affordable housing in Utah County because we may be looking to stay here a few more years so Dalin can move up in his job. Basically, we have no idea what our plans are but it's okay because we have faith it will work out:)

Hope your holiday season is less confusing than ours at the moment!

Monday, November 9

Easy Taco Soup

I like easy recipes. And this is pretty stinking easy. It's a lot of canned ingredients, but as long as you have a functioning can opener, it's a piece of cake.

1 package hamburger
1 can whole kernal corn, rinsed (with)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can red beans, rinsed
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
(basically, any type of beans will work so you can use black or white or chili beans if you have or prefer those and you can just rinse them all together in a collander)
1 can sliced green chilis
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes with green chilis (or just diced tomatoes with chilis)
1 can "Mexican style" stewed sliced tomatoes (the ones we got were okay but sliced bit bigger than we'd expected)
1 can chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
1 tsp+ cumin
1 tsp+ chili powder
dash of salt

Optional ingredients:
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
1 can sliced black olives

sour cream
Frito's or corn chips
shredded cheese (garnish)
sliced green onions (garnish)
cilantro (garnish)

1. Cook the hamburger in a pan with the onion and bell pepper if used.
2. Once the hamburger is cooked through, scoop into large pot and add all other ingredients (besides garnish items) and a little water if needed.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Bring to a boil on the stove, then simmer anywhere from half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally.
5. Eat with a glob of sour cream (my husband likes to stir his into it to cool it down and make it more creamy), corn chips, cheese, and other garnish items as desired.

Serves approximately 8 (we each had two+ bowls and had plenty of leftovers).

That's all I have for you, for now. But it's a delicious and very basic recipe we will be making again. (And it heats up well in the microwave the next couple days in case you're wondering!)

Enjoy! Comment with questions or substitute suggestions for me below. I always want to make a recipe even better if I can:)

Wednesday, November 4

12 Non-Classic Christmas Movies

I know it's only November, but I am really excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and one of my favorite traditions around the holidays is to watch cheesy Christmas movies. Most of them are produced by the Hallmark channel. I can't help it, I love them and the cute little romances that always seem to happen! They aren't all about the true meaning of Christmas, which is Christ, but they do have nice messages to take away. I probably wouldn't rate them higher than 4 stars compared to other movies, but they just make me so happy that I watch some of them every year.

I still love the Christmas classics, but here are twelve clean Christmas movies that are just fun to watch (the synopses included below are my own):

A Christmas Kiss. A wannabe interior designer learns that her spontaneous kiss in an elevator was with her snobby boss's boyfriend. She secretly falls more and more in love with him as her boss unwittingly forces them to spend time together planning a Christmas party. (It's really cute and one of my favorites).

A Holiday Engagement. A newspaper writer's fiancĂ© breaks up with her right before Thanksgiving causing her to hire an actor to take his place to temporarily satisfy her crazy mother. 

A Princess for Christmas. A story about a sweet woman who is guardian to her orphaned niece and nephew. When her royal brother-in-law's family invites them to come stay at Castlebury Hall for Christmas, a romance is sparked between she and the son. Katie McGrath is stunning in both appearance and disposition in the lead role. 

All I Want For Christmas. A boy writes a letter hoping to find a husband for his mom and a toy company grants his wish by setting her up with eligible bachelors. In the end, they find what they've been looking for in an unexpected way.

Christmas Lodge. A romance blossoms when paths cross in the woods around Christmastime. (I loved the cabin in this one, even if the romance wasn't quite what I imagined).

Christmas with a Capital C. This is not a romance, but if you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, this one is wonderful and modern. When a high-profile lawyer returns to the town where his high school rival is mayor, he tries to stir things up by petitioning to remove the town's nativity display. The movie has a great message and isn't too cheesy until the credits. I would definitely recommend this to other Christians. 

Dear Santa. A wealthy young woman about to be cut off financially from her parents must make a change in her life when fate drops a letter to Santa asking for a new mom in her path. The woman finds she is a great match for the girl's father but she must compete with a nasty girlfriend. As she falls in love, she ultimately becomes a better and more caring person. 

Holiday in Handcuffs. A desperate waitress kidnaps a customer to bring to her family's cabin as her boyfriend for Christmas. Though he does not want to go along with the charade, he ends up falling for his crazy kidnapper. 

Love at the Christmas Table. Two friends, Sam and Kat, have sat at the kids' table every year together at Christmas. They only see each other one night a year, but their friendship develops into something more as the years go on. (This is absolutely adorable and I thought it was funny, too. I would definitely watch this one!)

The Christmas Card. A soldier returns home and seeks out the woman who had written him a letter that had lifted his spirits in Iraq. She tries not to fall in love with the soldier (despite her family's encouragement) and out of love with her fiancĂ©, but finds true love in the end. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. A stranger with a delayed flight ends up in the home of a nearly engaged single mother and her uncle and brightens up everyone's Christmas. (I love this one! It's one of my favorites).  

12 Dates of Christmas. A selfish woman must repeat her day until she gets it right and learns to let go of lost love and fall in love with the right person. She learns valuable lessons and ultimately becomes a kinder person. 

Have you guys seen any of these? Any that you like, too? Maybe not, if you aren't a fan of cheesy romances, but they have sweet endings and they're fun to watch this time of year to help get you in the Christmas mood.

I also have these on my list to see:
A Royal Christmas
A Very Merry Mix-Up
Angels and Ornaments
Back to You and Me
Let it Snow
One Starry Christmas
Snow Bride
Surprised by Love

The Christmas Ornament

Are there any other Hallmark Christmas movies I ought to watch?