I'm a little embarrassed about my recent lacking in blogging. I started so strong, and since being home for Christmas Break, it's been hard! We've just been having too much fun to stop and write about it. I promise… In like one week I will start up again. Full speed. Until then, bear with me! 

Christmas is just as exciting as ever and I woke up wide-eyed at 7am - SO beyond excited. Not because I wanted to see what Santa brought me, but because I knew it was almost time to give Tyler his Christmas present. My whole life growing up, my dad has been obsessed with biking. Road biking, mountain biking, the works. Because I only have sisters, my poor dad hasn't ever had the whole daddy-son bonding thing. Long story short, my dad has gotten Tyler into mountain biking and they are both obsessed with it now. Over the past few months, Tyler has been riding on my dad's old Trek which is really old. He's been dying for a new mountain bike but they're really expensive and I didn't see the point of the investment. Well, after our trip to St. George over Thanksgiving, and after about 5 mountain biking rides down there, Tyler's mind has been preoccupied with getting a bike. At least twice a day since Thanksgiving, I'll look over at Tyler's laptop, where he's supposed to be studying, to find him looking at mountain bikes! 

I finally realized that this hobby of his is never something I will fully understand. I think everyone has something that they love. A hobby, sport, activity. Something that "fills their well" as my mom says. I decided to support him in this new found hobby and have been plotting with my dad for the perfect plan. As soon as we got to Utah last week, my dad took Tyler to a number of bike shops. Tyler was oblivious and thought it was just for fun. He came home on Friday and said, "Babe! I found the most perfect bike. It's on a great sale for only $2,200 and it's amazing!" ("ONLY?!" ..my thinking..) I told him that our focus right now is not on mountain bikes, and that maybe once he's a doctor we could buy toys like that. (Totally a lie!) My dad and I went down to the store and thanks to the generosity and help from my in-laws, we bought the bike! 

I couldn't contain myself! For Christmas, Santa brought Tyler a new helmet, new biking gloves, biking socks, jerseys, shorts, and every accessory you would need. At the end, we asked him to go grab something in the mudroom which is where the bike was hidden. The look on his face was PRICELESS and I'm not exaggerating when I say he has been playing with, adjusting, reading about, and riding his bike since 9am this morning. It's so cute and he was SO blown away with it! 

Christmas is all about giving! It's about making sacrifices for those you love and not even thinking for a second about yourself. It's a time to reflect on the life of Christ and I am grateful to be a member of the gospel!

I hope your Christmas was merry & bright!!



Well the contest is over and the winners are picked! If you're wondering how I did this.. well I used a random number generator. There were 28 entries so I set the maximum at 28. Then it generated 3 numbers for me so I was able to count down and find which comment won. Easy peasy!

The winners are…




Thank you to everyone who participated! I loved doing this.. and am considering doing more in the future! I hope you love your new swag!



Okay, I need to apologize. I've been MIA due to finals.. but the end is near. I promise. Life lately has consisted of lots of papers, studying, trips to the testing center, quick meals, and studying in bed which always ends up in a nap. 

I was contacted about a month or so ago by the lovely Kimberly! She is a blogger too and just so adorable. She asked if I would mind being featured on her blog for "Mormon Monday"! So exciting! I love any chance I have to share my faith with others. You can read the feature here!

Good luck with last minute holiday shopping and finals if you are in school! I promise to be back soon!



I came across an adorable mom named Rachel who started a business here in Rexburg. It's called Make My Maxi and she makes maxi skirts as well as my most favorite headbands! We got in contact, and had an idea that I've been excited about. You ready!?

My blog is a lifestyle blog - and I can promise that I won't do giveaways very often. (But when I do - they'll be good) It's not because i'm not fun (I think? haha) but more because the focus of my blog is not typically to promote businesses or even my blog for that matter, but it's simply an outlet where I can tell about the life I live! But this opportunity was just too good to pass up and I knew I had to do it. 

These three adorable headband selections are up for grabs! For who? For YOU! Here's the details..

+ You must like "Make My Maxi" on Facebook. You can find the link HERE.
+ You must be a "Mr. & Mrs. Vance" follower on Blogger. (If you mainly use Bloglovin' that's fine too)
+ Comment on this post with your email & your first choice of headband. Once you've done the two above, and you are entered.

 And that's all. For reals! That's all. 

Three winners will be randomly picked on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - and announced later that day. I will email the winners and find out the address they would like their gift to be shipped to! This is such a perfect Christmas idea and I'm so excited to see who wins!

Best of luck!



Today has been filled with lots of snuggling in bed, hot cocoa, running in the untouched powder and spending time with Tyler! 

The Christmas music is on non-stop, and my tolerance for school is at an all-time low. Christmas, hurry up!



St. George was beautiful and I've been craving that warm sunshine since the moment we left! I was even more sad upon returning to Idaho where it was seriously beyond freezing with 6 inches of snow! So now the Christmas countdown begins.. (can't wait to spend Christmas in Utah this year!)

On another note, the power went out today! I got up and walked into the bathroom. I turned on the light (half asleep, at that) and it didn't work. Tried again. Again. Nothing. I realized what had happened and I ran into our bedroom and jumped on the bed! "The power's out!!" Tyler, fully asleep, wasn't as thrilled as I was. He eventually woke up and we laid in bed for 3 hours - yes 3 hours - and just enjoyed being together. Love these special days. 



I've been enjoying amazing company (both my family & my in laws), eating well, laughing lots & having the time of my life soaking up the sun in St. George. Three more days of heaven and I will continue to fill up on endless trips to Kneaders, Swig & lots of family lovin.

Loving the balcony with the most amazing view.. 

Black Friday madness. We didn't even buy anything but the people watching was prime.

My lovely sister-in-law.

Me & my babe before he heads off to tackle some mountains. Loving the do rag, I'm sure you are too.

Shopping sistas!

The boys.. 
My dad, Scott (Tyler's sister is on a mission - he's her boyfriend), Tyler & his dad.

I hope your Thanksgiving break has been wonderful!



I took this picture while packing last night because Tyler had the smallest little duffle bag that he didn't even fill up & I, on the other hand, filled my massive bag to the max. You could say there is an apparent difference between boys and girls. Wouldn't you say?

The day is here… it is finally time for Thanksgiving break! I'm not kidding when I say that I have been counting down for this trip for as long as we've known about it (which is about a month).

Tyler's family is flying down from Canada, and we are all going to St. George together! (Yes, his family and my family. Together. One house.) So much excitement right now. So I know what you're thinking, though. "Both of your families?" As bizarre as it sounds, our families are best friends! We really did grow up identically and our family situations are spot on. I'm so very excited. 

I'm praying for sunshine!



Today was seriously so beautiful! I celebrated by wearing a very spring-like outfit. 

As Tyler and I were headed out the door this morning for church, I received the best text from my good friend Tori:

Tori and I have been the closest of friends since she moved into my ward back in 6th grade. We have so many memories together from us signing up for track together, to going to the Twilight premieres together, to some pretty crazy stuff that no one probably cares to hear about ;) Tyler and I headed off to church and I was all smiles.. couldn't wait for after church!

Reunited & never felt so good! 

It's so fun to visit with old friends. We spent the entire night reminiscing about our childhood and all of the crazy fun memories we've had together. Being with this girl was like we hadn't skipped a beat! I loved today because of her and it was fun to get to know her boyfriend Jantz too!



I don't know why, but for the longest time Tyler has called dates "Dateskis" - it's pretty funny and a little cute so I don't correct him. Tonight Tyler had hours of studying left but we decided to take a little "dateski" to my favorite restaurant in Rexburg. (& yes it's one of the only.) 

Life in Rexburg is really simple sometimes. I surely don't do as much shopping (which is a good thing I think) and I tend to focus more on what really matters in life. I like that.

It's these sweet moments that make my world go round. I'm grateful for this life I live.

Speaking of gratitude.. I don't think I've mentioned but I pass this temple every day on my way to school. This evening it looked extra beautiful. So many memories at this temple.. When Tyler and I were dating we would often go to the temple each Sunday night and just talk. It was our favorite place to escape our roommates and those talks are some of our most special moments. It's also where he proposed and also where I went through the temple for the first time. 

Ooookay, side tracked! Back to Chinese food. We love any excuse for some good chinese food. Today, we dubbed it cultural appreciation day. It works, right?

The orange chicken is my favorite. I got it once and haven't gone back. I need to venture out and try something new one of these days… Recommendations anyone?

I hate fortune cookies but I always love to read the fortunes. Is it weird that I like following them too? Definitely going to write a letter this week, for reals. (Hey, you never know.) 

& P.S. I have something ridiculously cute coming your way. I found this girl here in Rexburg who MAKES the most adorable head wraps. I'm obsessed. We started talking and are going to do a giveaway. Don't worry - it's not going to be complex or anything at all. Just simple and you will LOVE what she is offering. I'll announce a little more in a couple weeks!



I love soup, and maybe it's just a girl thing. Kinda like Zupas or Kneaders if you're from Utah. My husband isn't a huge fan, he says it's not that he doesn't like soup or anything, but because it's not filling enough nor is it manly enough. (??) Yeah, not sure I agree on that one so I decided to make soup for dinner tonight!

I found this recipe via one of my favorite food blogs. I have literally loved every single recipe I have tried. You can find this recipe here. I tweaked it a little, like added corn and didn't add the sliced tomatoes because I forgot to grab them at the store but it was so easy and it's healthy too!

I loved how many vegetables were in this soup and the flavor was so good. Especially on a cold night you cannot go wrong with soup. As I was eating this, it occurred to me that this may have been the cheapest meal I have ever made. Depending on what you already have, which in our case we had quite a few of these veggies already, I calculated that it cost us around $3.50 for a whole pot of soup! Anyways. That made me kind of (really) happy. Savin' the world one meal at a time peeps..

Up next?
(Rugs make the best backdrops, shhh)



I got that wintertime, wintertime sadness… wi-wi-wi-wintertime..

Okay, I'm done. Winter isn't all that bad! So I realized that I always do these "weekend recaps" so this upcoming week, my goal is to blog as things happen rather than being 3 days late! I apologize for lagging in the area… But I have a good excuse, I promise! My weekend consisted of this sweet husband of mine bringing me flowers..

A trip to Idaho Falls to my new favorite Thai restaurant..

Pad Thai.. the ultimate. You can never go wrong with Thai.

& grocery shopping, of course!! This week I tried to get mostly fresh fruits and veggies, we're trying to be way more healthier. 

I know exactly what you're thinking now… healthier? Why are you in the popcorn isle then? It was a short-lived temptation that I then walked away from. Should've captured that moment instead, walking away is much more rare than picking up popcorn.

Hope your weekend was beautiful! 



Neither Tyler and I have really ever tried budgeting. We decided to give it a shot to try to make our money last longer. The main part of this was that we realized we need to cook more at home. Now, I absolutely love to bake and to cook but I'm in school full time and I just don't have as much time as I wish I had! We find ourselves grabbing sushi or running to costa vida one too many times a week. (It's taken me months to get to this point… I love my sweet pork salad & my sushi..) I realized that not only will it be healthier to make time for cooking, but it will also help us to save money! 

So I only work about 10 hours a week, and Tyler can't work because he is Canadian and that requires a working visa which is a long process to apply for. I've had a lot of friends ask me how Tyler and I survive off of my 10 hours a week job. Tyler has a fund set up by his grandfather that we use for school and living. We feel so very fortunate to have this! So for now, our budget is very simple. We use the money that comes from my job for groceries, gas (which isn't ever very much - Rexburg is so small) and date-night money. Then, we only use our bank account for paying for rent each month, bills like that. We feel that this plan is going to work out really well for us and I am excited for the challenge of a budget!

I'm a complete amateur budgeter, but here are some basic steps that we are going to try that I really think will work for us. 

1. I made a "Dinner Planner" for us to fill out each week so that the meals are set in stone. This will help us to stick to a plan and avoid last minute dinner runs because we've been busy all day.

2. Use cash! My husband likes to swipey-swipe (who doesn't!?) and so we have decided for us the best method for spending our gas money, grocery money & date-night money will be to only use cash. This will help us to avoid the temptation of unnecessary purchases.

3. Have a cheat day! I'm not anti-eating out, I promise. Tyler and I love taking trips to Idaho Falls to go out to eat because they have a much larger selection of restaurants. We are allowing ourselves to eat out once a week as a date.

4. Keep it simple. Each families budget will be unique to them. Don't get too complex with it because it will become harder to keep it up. 

5. Be smart. Save, catch the sales & "make do".

I know this post is kind of boring, but I needed to do it for me. To be honest, I don't know how long this will last, but I want it to! I guess that documenting my plan is my own way of  commitment.

Do you budget? What works for your family?



As I'm sure you know, today is Veteran's day and sadly I've never thought about it as much as I should. I found this cute picture of my awesome Grandpa Ashcraft who served in WWII. 
I feel so grateful for those who have served, and who do serve. It's such a brave act of service and they deserve holidays without end! Thank you thank you!!

This weekend was a great one, once again. Tyler and I went to the temple, did our weekly grocery shopping (is it strange that I look forward to grocery shopping?) and went to dinner in Idaho Falls. 

"Movember" lasted about 4 days for this guy. We're okay with that. 

Tyler played basketball with his "#1 homie" Kyle. These boys are so funny.

 We went for a beautiful Sunday walk and I didn't even need a jacket. IN IDAHO. Is this real life?

I've found that I live for weekends. (But who doesn't?) Mostly Sundays - and that's because I get my husband all to myself. We made a goal when we got married that Tyler will try to avoid doing any homework on Sundays at all costs. So far - so good! We've already felt the blessings from doing this & our time spent together is sweeter than ever. 



This morning I woke up and checked Facebook in bed. Before we talk about what happened on Facebook, I am slightly embarrassed that the first thing I did was check Facebook… but I did and that's that.. Yikes! On Facebook, my cute neighbor posted a picture of outside… everything was completely covered in snow!! I jumped out of bed, opened the window and sure enough, SNOW!

So of course, I had my husband (No I don't have a personal photographer) trench out to the snow, that was by then melted, to snap a few shots. Now you know how girls get photos of themselves on their blogs. It's not a tripod, a random passerby. It's my husband who was anxious to get back to his breakfast ;)

Happy Wednesday!

+ not sure if I've mentioned, by I'm back on instagram again! yay! @mrsmadelinevance 
+ 22 days until thanksgiving and yes I am counting down.
+ that awkward moment when you press publish too early and that explains this short and random post.

Did I mention I have to read an entire book by tonight? Procrastination at it's finest, people. That's where I'll be...