8.31.2013

AMATEUR CAMPING


Haha. I'm laughing just thinking about how funny the past 24 hours were. Yesterday afternoon, Tyler started begging me to go camping. To start, I really do like camping but he wanted to drive two hours south to camp and then go to a natural springs park called Lava Hot Springs the next day. I was leaning against it because I knew by the time we got all the supplies, plus driving there and back, food and admission to Lava we would be looking at about $90. I was hesitant because I've been really trying to stick to this budget that I made for Tyler and I. (the budget that he doesn't seem to care about haha) Anyways, my husband is adorable, convincing and charming so we decided to go. Our friend Dane agreed to lend us his tent. I told Tyler that I would come but I was in the middle of writing our wedding thank you cards so I put him in charge of packing. We headed down to Idaho Falls to grab some supplies on the way down. We stopped for a late lunch at Cafe Rio and then dessert at a yummy frozen yogurt place called Orange Leaf. Good start right?

We then stopped by Wal-Mart. We got wood, a cooler, supplies for tin-foil dinners, and starbursts. 

I asked Tyler if he remembered our lighter so we could start a fire. What do you think happened? We then went and bought matches. Little did I know, this example would start a pattern. Our total was quickly adding up. We needed firewood, ice, a flashlight, and other random things that we either didn't have or were forgotten at home. $50 total. 

It was starting to get dark as we left Idaho Falls. By the time we got to our campsite two hours later, it was. We were so glad we got that flashlight. We set up our tent and started on our tin foil dinners. I was a little unsettled about these because let's be honest, they could go wrong in so many ways. Ty built us a fire and did an amazing job! He balanced our dinners on roasting sticks and felt like a true outdoorsman.

And guess what?
They turned out PERFECT!

During all of this, we had a large group next to of us that were being really loud and rowdy. We were having fun too though and it didn't bother us much. After eating our yummy dinner, roasting starburst and stargazing, we decided to go watch a movie on my laptop in our tent. I went to set up our bed. Tyler, my sweet husband, packed one memory foam mattress topper for us to sleep on, a pillow, and 1 (ONE) small blanket. It was 45 degrees, and we were both freezing. I was wondering how the night would pan out haha.

We got settled though and started our movie. As we were watching it, this group of (WASTED) people thought it would be a good idea to drive their truck up the mountain we were next to. We got out of our tent to watch, because it was kind of entertaining. They got it stuck and were being so reckless. I was getting nervous because they kept driving their 4-wheelers past us really fast and I was so paranoid that they would accidentally run into our tent in the dark! 

After our movie, we tried to sleep despite our lack of blankets, the freezing temperature, and the loud crazies next to us. It was a pretty rough night, and neither of us could get any sleep because we were just shivering all night! Finally, at 5am, we decided to pack up and head home. HAHA. We knew that we wouldn't even have fun at the swim park because we were both SO exhausted. We were laughing the whole time. Partially because we were freezing, partially due to exhaustion, and partially because how pathetic are we?!

I'm still glad we went. I always have so much fun with Tyler and we are just loving our newlywed life right now. It's the best to be married to your best friend. Priceless actually.


8.30.2013

PEANUT SATAY WITH COCONUT RICE

I decided that if I can actually remember, I should start to blog about some of the meals I make each day. Today for lunch I made a chicken peanut satay on top of coconut rice. I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs you can find here. I only changed a couple little things about it. It was sooo yummy. Anything with peanut sauce has always been a favorite of mine so I was excited to try it. It ended up turning out great and I would totally make it again. Tyler loved it too, went back for seconds (which is always a good sign) and commented numerous times how much he loved it and how he wants it for dinner every night. Ha. I loved the combination of the peanut sauce with the coconut rice. I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it!


Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Coconut Rice

The Chicken:
  2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
  1 cup Teriyaki sauce
  1/4 cup brown sugar
  2 limes
  1 Tbsp. ginger, grated or minced
  2 cloves of garlic, minced

The Sauce:
  1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  1 lime
  2/3 cup coconut milk
  2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
  1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1. Cut the chicken into chunks and place it in a gallon-sized plastic bag.
For the marinade: Zest one lime and juice two. Mince the garlic and grate or mince the ginger.
Combine the teriyaki sauce with the juice of two limes. Add the garlic, ginger, lime zest, brown sugar, and sesame oil.
2. Pour marinade into the bag full of chicken. Squeeze out the excess air sot hat the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
3. While the chicken is marinating, juice one lime. In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter coconut milk, sugar and lime juice. Add the curry powder and stir over low to medium heat until the peanut butter is melted. Remove from heat.
4. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Skewer the chicken and place on grill.
5. Cook, turning about every 5 minutes, for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is done.
6. Serve over coconut rice and drizzle peanut sauce over the chicken.

Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice
  2 cups white rice
  1 can coconut milk
  2 cups water
  1 tsp. salt
  2 tsp. white sugar
  Black pepper to taste

Combine rice, coconut milk, water, salt, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Add black pepper and additional salt if desired.

And voila!



8.29.2013


Today was the start of the school year ward barbecue. I wasn't really looking forward to it because I was tired, and talking to and introducing myself to lots of people didn't sound very appealing. Well, we went anyways and lucky for me, I have a husband who isn't afraid to put himself out there, introduce us and start conversations. He lead us over to sit with two other couples sitting and talking on the grass. We began talking with them and they were all so nice! I was actually starting to enjoy myself. Tyler asked one couple how they met and they continued to tell us their story, how they got engaged in one semester, and how they knew they were a "typical mormon story". Now look, prior to being married, I would've done a lot of judging in this situation. I would have thought that this couple is immature, not truly in love, and mainly going to regret their decision of moving so fast. But now that I am married to a man I have known for just a little over one year, I've really changed in how I choose to judge others. I don't know their story and the experiences they've had as a couple. As this couple continued to tell us about "their story", I turned over and caught a glimpse of the third girl in the circle turning to her husband and making a sour face while mouthing, "they're so crazy". This bothered me. And I think that part of the reason that it bothered me, is because in the world's standards of courtship, engagement, and marriage, Tyler and I moved fast too. Over the past few months, I've personally received a lot of criticism for getting married so young. People haven't always given me their two cents to my face, but they have to my parents, my sisters and to my friends. 

How do you feel about young marriage?
How would you feel about young marriage if you were to get married young yourself? Would your opinion change?

Here's what I now believe. Each of us has a plan here on earth. For some, it may be to be a talented artist, a successful singer and songwriter, an author, a mother, a father, encouragers, teachers, and lovers. I didn't plan on getting married young. But when Tyler came along and things were working out for us, I knew. At first I tried to deny it and run away from it, but inside, I knew. I was so happy to have met Tyler. Every girl dreams about their future husband and future wedding and knowing that mine was coming up was happy and exciting. Sadly, the part that I had to get over was the opinion of others. I knew that a lot of people wouldn't agree with the path I was choosing to follow by getting married young. I remember being so afraid of all the people that were going to gossip about me getting married and thinking I would rather just not deal with it by not getting married instead. I'm so glad that I didn't give in to the fear of those words, but those words still did hurt. 

But I have to say, that I made the best decision possible. I've always dreamed of being a wife and a mother and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with Tyler. Those feelings of fear were prevalent as Tyler and I were deciding to get married, and even a couple weeks after we were engaged. But I got to a point where I didn't care. Over time I learned something I hadn't known my entire life, and that was to not be affected by the opinions of others. I've become happier, stronger, more compassionate and understanding, and less judgmental. This life is too hard to be critical of others. We all need each others unconditional love and support. It makes all the difference in the world.

stephanie sunderland photography


8.27.2013


As of today, Tyler and I have officially been married for one month! It has been the most relaxing, exciting, fun, new different, adjusting, and best month of my life. Here's a few random tidbits about married life..

  • You’re both different. And that's just fine.
  • Being social isn't as fun as it was when I was single. 
  • Date nights are way more fun, mostly because the sexual tension isn't so high.
  • Being able to have and decorate your own apartment is a girl’s dream, if you didn’t know. 
  • Being able to use up your entire fridge and freezer, and not having to clean up after roommates anymore… is great. 
  • Being in a married ward is weird and I'm trying to get used to it. Everyone has a baby.
  • There’s no better feeling that being able to snuggle with your sweetheart before bed until you fall asleep and then wake up right next to each other. 
  • Husbands can be an adjustment to live with, especially after not having any brothers. He now pours his milk into a glass, puts the toilet seat down, and I am trying to be more tolerant.
  • I love to cook, more than I thought I would. He loves to eat. It works out great.
  • Sundays have become our most favorite day. 
  • Wedding gifts are the greatest blessing. We use our kitchenaid and vitamix daily. (For cookies and milkshakes of course)
  • It’s kind of fun to realize that we are starting our own family and can do it however we choose. We are off to a good start with couple scripture study daily, temple trips monthly, and FHE weekly.

Being married is so fun and I am a lucky girl to be married to Tyler.


8.25.2013


The past few days I've been spending time with Tyler's family for the Vance Family Reunion! It's been so much fun to spend time with his family, and especially Tyler's little sisters, who are the cutest girls ever. We spent the first day at an amusement park called Silverwood. You know that feeling where your stomach goes into your throat, you can't really breath and a rush of adrenaline flows through your entire body? Well that happens to be one of my favorite feelings in the whole world and so I was ALL over the roller coaster rides!

Rachel and I


The main cabin


Walking into Silverwood - so excited!


Stephanie, Rachel and I waiting in line


Today, I got to go to the temple for the third time since Tyler and I have been married. We went to the Spokane, Washington temple. It was such a beautiful temple and I have fallen in love with Spokane. There are huge pines and evergreens EVERYWHERE and it's breathtaking! In Utah, you can spot the glowing temple and golden Moroni from far away, but its a little different in Spokane. As we drove up to the temple, we were getting closer but I couldn't see anything. All of the sudden, the temple appeared out of no where and it was surrounded by beautiful trees! We had a little dilemma when I forgot my temple recommend but there's no better feeling to finally be in the temple, even after a stressful morning, and feel at complete peace. I'm so grateful for the Temple and to be married to my best friend!


8.23.2013


This week, I am in the beautiful Couer D'Alene, Idaho. It is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Driving here, Tyler and I had one of the funnest road trips of our lives! We decided to take the more scenic route to get here from Rexburg, and I am so glad we did.






It started out with us driving passed a small town in Montana called Dell. My dad has talked a few times about this place to eat in Dell called Calf-A. (Clever.. ) We were feeling really spontaneous and decided to stop for some food. It's a restaurant-style diner that is in an old schoolhouse from the early 1900's. They still haven't taken down the chalkboards and letters up on the wall. I overheard that the population in Dell is 37 people. 37!!! Either way, it's a small town with a big restaurant. We walked inside and didn't know exactly what we were supposed to do and just stood there uncomfortably. A couple minutes later, we asked one of the women if we should seat ourselves or wait to be seated. She walked over to another table with 3 men and asked if we could sit there. At this point, I was feeling extremely awkward and uncomfortable. After she had said that, I suddenly remembered my dad telling me about that - they seat everyone "family style" and at the same table as complete strangers. We hesitantly sat with these three men and began talking with them. When the men found out that I was from Utah, they had a lot of questions about the LDS Church so Ty and I had an hour-long missionary experience as they were very curious, open and accepting. We became good friends with these strangers and it turned out to be one of the best afternoons! We said goodbye, and they went on their way. The waitress came over a couple minutes later and said, "Just so you know, they covered your check. They didn't want you to know until they left." I was so touched with their generosity for a young couple who were complete strangers just an hour before. It made me want to go out and do a random act of kindness for someone else. Here are a few photos of the one-of-a-kind "Calf-A":









8.21.2013


Let’s rewind to one year ago. I was enjoying my summer, dating – and loving it, and working my dream job at Nordstrom. Summer 2012 consisted of taking my senior trip to Cancun, camping, adventuring in Provo Canyon, snow cones, going to country concerts, and a trip to New York City. I had just graduated high school and was planning on attending BYU Idaho the following January.

Here is an excerpt from my journal in August of 2012,

“I can’t believe summer is coming to a close, and let alone I am graduated from high school! Life is really exciting right now, and I feel really grateful for all of my blessings. Some of my future plans and dreams are to save money (I figured out that this whole growing up thing is actually really expensive), graduate college, maybe go on a mission, a humanitarian trip to Africa, service, study abroad and many more family vacations. I have LOTS of things that I am going to accomplish, and I am so excited for the future. I’m also really excited to get married, but I don’t think I want to do that until I have checked these things off of my bucket list.”

If I have learned one thing over the past year, it is that things don’t always happen as we plan them to. Oftentimes, the Lord has a different plan for each of us, and it is better than we could ever plan for ourselves. I never in a million years thought I would be the girl to get married right out of high school. When Tyler and I started to get serious, and I realized that it was happening fast, I didn’t feel old enough or really ready to get married. I had things I still needed to do! But as I thought about it, I realized that marriage is something you can never fully prepare yourself for. It’s something that two people go in together with a mindset to learn and grow together. I am grateful for a man with whom I see eye-to-eye with, and for someone that I can still accomplish so many of these adventures with. My future is still packed full with amazing adventures and fulfilling my dreams, they just may be a little different. 

And I’m so excited.