Antelope Island, Utah

I still have a hard time comprehending what it means to live in the West! Born and raised and East Coast girl, I still feel like I’m in an alien world when I see the vegetation and landscapes common in Utah.

Saturday began the week-and-a-half family “staycation” with my mom, dad, sister + her hubby + nephew.

We went to Antelope Island. Yes, there is an island in Salt Lake. It’s giant, and there are free-roaming buffalo and antelope. Also is a ranch on the island, with historic stuff from the original family that lived there. I took a ton of photos, and here are the best ones:

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Family means Christmas


As the Christmas season nears, I’ve realized a few things: most of them being that family is really awesome. Also, that I really like to look as pale in photos for some reason.

Anyway, here’s the story of my sprained ankle: It was terrible and one of the most painful things ever and I thought it was broken and they’d have to amputate. I knew I was being a bit dramatic (who, ME?) and I especially felt bad because I’m the only female in my immediate family that doesn’t just look at some stairs wrong and end up with broken/torn things.

At first, my sister pointed and laughed (like any good sister), then came and helped me do the one-foot-hop into the house. I had managed to hold it together until then, when I just started crying. She apologized for teasing and brought me a couple mini-snickers.

As I mentioned before, I’m not used to needing help, so my pride was definitely tried (RHYME) as I had to ask for a glass of water, some ibuprofen, a pair of sweatpants instead of my snow-soaked leggings, and a pair of slippers. I don’t know what I thought they would do, but I was so surprised when they responded with “of course” and “don’t worry, we’ll take care of it” and eagerly helped. Not only that, but since all the women in my family have back, knee, ankle, neck, etc. problems but me (and my dad was at work), my brother-in-law was chosen to help me back down our porch stairs to the car. He came and picked me right up, without hesitation, and carried me to the car. He also took me out for pancakes on Monday. He also teases me a lot. He’s the brother I never had!

On the way to the Urgent Care, the pain subsided, but my mom told me that sometimes sprains hurt worse than breaks. I said I thought it was fine, although now I couldn’t go running for a week or so.

A week? She laughed. If it’s broken or the ligaments are torn, try SIX weeks! I about fainted! The semester starts in only 3 weeks! I laid my chair back and was silent until we arrived.

The nurse said “sometimes sprains hurt worse than breaks,” then made me WALK by mySELF to the X-Ray. Then the other nurse was helping me move my foot on that little X-Ray table and I commented how glad I was that I shaved my legs, but I wish I’d have painted my toenails. But, I said, you probably don’t care about whether my legs are shaved. She laughed and said, “there are much worse things than unshaven legs. There was a time I didn’t think that.” She then burst into a fit of giggles. I was giggling too, but I don’t think about the same thing.

To ruin all the dramatic buildup, the doctor said my ankle’s just a bad sprain (he went “oooh” when he saw how much it had swelled. So did the nurse! Way to make me feel self-conscious!) and said, according to my x-rays, I have “excellent joint space” in my feet and I should be fine after a few days (it took like 3 months).

I felt kind of silly for making it a big deal, but the last time I hurt myself, I was like 4 years old. 15 years ago. I couldn’t comprehend for a while the feeling of something hurting and the hurt not going away after a couple minutes. I didn’t realize how lucky I am to be blessed with such a healthy, strong body. I also didn’t realize how lucky I am to be around people that are totally willing to help with my problems. Maybe I should utilize that more.

Obviously, this would’ve been much harder without the overwhelmingly loving help my family gave me and I am SO excited to be with everyone for Christmas this year!

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A Little Family


Driving on my way to Texas Road House to meet my parents, sister and nephew for lunch!


He’s so adorable!


My parents are the greatest!


Me and my lovely sister! She and her baby are taking up the whole bench…

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Monday With Maria DIY: Wedding!

I know I missed my weekly DIY post last week, but it was because my big sister was got married! The wedding was in North Carolina and everything was absolutely wonderful.

Weddings can be so extremely expensive. However, with my DIY state of mind, my family and I managed to do a lot of projects ourselves. This way, my sister could have exactly what she wanted and we saved some big bucks!

Here are some pictures of the items that were DIY:

Here is the card basket. The colors for the wedding were shades of navy and royal blue. We had this basket sitting in our attic, so I just wrapped some ribbon around it and made a pretty bow for the side.

The next challenge was the Matron of Honor’s bouquet. It sounds complicated to do, but it was very simple. We used mostly silk flowers for the wedding because real flowers do cost a lot of money.

All you have to do is arrange the flowers in the order you think is best, secure with floral tape, and wrap some pretty ribbon around it.

This turned out to be so pretty!

My next project was a boutonniere. Just like the bouquet, arrange the flowers in whatever order you like, add some greenery and babies breathe, and secure with floral tape. Then just make sure you have a pin to secure.

The programs were done by my father. He designed them and printed them off.This saved the cost of just sending it to a printing company to decide the layout, ect. This way we knew exactly how it looked before the big day and we knew that nothing would be spelled wrong.

The last thing that I did was the bridesmaid’s jewelry. My sister wanted us all to look uniform and instead of trying  to go out and find something that every girl liked, I just decided to make them!

We did a bracelet and earrings. You could make necklaces, or anything you want but because our dresses had ruffles around the neck, we figured a bracelet and earrings would look best.

Even though the DIY projects I did were small, we did do a lot of other things that were DIY. I, however, didn’t get to take many pictures because we were so busy.

To help bring down the cost of food, my mother bought a lot of the food herself. This way she knew it wasn’t gross (lol) and that we didn’t get overcharged by the caterer. We also had all the decorations for the centerpieces at home.

All these things could add up in a wedding, if you just have to pay for it all. DIY weddings are so great because you know what you’re getting and you’re not surprised if something comes back wrong or just not the way you wanted it.

Congratulation Mr. and Mrs. Michael Sullivan!

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