Sierra's View: 2014

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

When the Apartment is Clean, Mama is Happy.

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EurekaPower #CollectiveBias

As many of you know, T Money and I live in a small 700 square foot apartment. It is teeny, but we love it so much. Needless to say, because our apartment is so small, it can get messy so quickly. And even when it's not messy, it looks messy because if you have one thing on the floor, it takes up a lot of room! 
It doesn't help that we have an 8 month old puppy who loves to dump her toys out and make fun messes all over our carpet. Recently, we got a Electrolux Ergorapido Limited Edition Vacuum
Seriously, this is the best vacuum in the entire world. 
This is Saylor, our AussieDoodle puppy. She loves to make messes. 
This is this AWESOME vacuum. 

Our door opens up directly into our family room, so throughout all of the seasons, our carpet gets exponentially dirty. We get dirt, mud, snow, and so many leaves just by people opening the door. We have to vacuum almost every day to keep the carpet looking clean and nice. 

With this awesome vacuum, it takes us like 2 minutes to clean up and it's wonderful!!! 
Some things I've noticed about it is it is:
It's compact and versatile. It is super small so it can fit into our teeny newly married apartment. But it does need a cord to get it going. It also has a removable handheld option. I love that it gets into all the little corners our other vacuum couldn't. It does awesome in the kitchen as well! 
Tanner looooves the camouflage look of the vacuum. Because he is such a hunter and outdoorsman, this vacuum makes him feel super stylish. It also helps want to actually vacuum ;) 

There is something seriously amazing about a clean home. I swear, when my apartment is clean, I am so much happier. I feel like I can actually get things done! I love that I have a husband who helps me clean with this vacuum everyday as well. This would be such a good gift for those outdoorsy men in your life…you know, who you want to help you clean :) 

You can find this vacuum for a LIMITED TIME ONLY online here. 

How Education Affects Lives.

I love teaching 6th grade.
I truly do. I love being around these hilarious, bright, and thoughtful students.

Now, some of you may be confused why I used the adjective thoughtful in the above sentence. That was not an accident. Yes, I am dealing with hormonal teenagers. I have a boy and/or a girl who cries every day. There are awful smells and annoying comments that occur on a daily basis. But, on the flip side there are also so many wonderful things happening in my classroom. I see students gain confidence in their ability to do math, I see children learning to handle conflict and learning how to be friends with one another. I enjoy lots of stories of laughter and ridiculousness.

The other day, I came in from recess and I saw one of my girl students in the classroom. I was about to lecture her about being inside, until I noticed what she was doing.

She had 24 handwritten letters and little candies that she was putting on desks. She had, on her own time and free will, written each student in the classroom a letter (and they were not short letters!) about the good qualities each student in the classroom possessed. As cliche as this sounds, I was almost brought to tears.

She came up to me and handed me a letter as well and then ran outside with a huge grin on her face. Essentially, in the letter, what she explained to me was that I had inspired her to write these letters to the other students. She said, "You do such a good job at making us feel so good about ourselves and I wanted to do that as well." You guessed it, I was teary eyed at this point.

It's moments like these that I remember why I am teaching.

Now, I am not a mother yet. But, after teaching for a few years now, I already see the exponential importance of education in a child's life. There is so much more to an education than making sure the students know how to do fraction models. Yes, that is so incredibly important. Students NEED to learn how to think and do math and grow intellectually. But education is about an entire facet of things, intellectually, emotionally, and mentally.

I have seen how having a good education makes people grow. I see how having a good education challenges people past their breaking limits. I see how having an education helps someone with his or her confidence. And for that, I am grateful. I am grateful that I was lucky to have a splendid education, and I am grateful that I am doing that to help students now. Education truly can change lives. I know this because it has changed mine.

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to live and teach in Kenya in a village a few years ago. This opportunity validated this importance of education to me. Those students would do anything for an education. And I have seen those students who continue their education, excel financially and in other realms of their lives. Education changes everything, people. This is something that I can promise you.

I have teamed up with IKEA today to talk about how you can do your part during this Christmas season to help those who need an education.

Education is the most impactful way to help children escape poverty; this change to their lives is immense. Because education has a direct impact on well-being, from better health to increased opportunities. It gives children knowledge skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves. When a child begins – and stays in school, he or she not only changes the course of their own life, but that of future generations.

*For every soft toy and children's book sold between November 9, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1.00 to children's education through UNICEF and Save the Children.
-$1.00 is split and donated to UNICEF and Save the Children.
-Since 2003, more than 11 million children have been impacted through 99 projects in 46 countries. Total amount donated $90.4 million (67 million euro).
-Last year, the IKEA Foundation raised $13.6 million (10.1 million euro) and over $1 million was raised in the US. This year, they will probably go over $100 million in total contributions since 2003.

Go to IKEA today and buy a soft toy. Do your part to help the education of these special children.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How We Wore It: Fashion Collaboration

Okay, so, when I received the email 
 to participate in this fashion collaboration, I might have laughed out loud. I love clothes. I really do. Yet, I am by no means a fashion blogger. Half the time I don't even get out of bed in time to brush my hair. 
But, I thought to myself: eh, why not? 
And even though I feel incredibly uncomfortable in front of a camera, I decided that I would step outside of my comfort zone and go for it. 

The original outfit was from the lovely Suburban Faux-Pas. 

I changed the outfit by picking one of my favorite blue paid shirts. I wanted to wear a vest, but mine is more of a puffy vest instead of fur. I have my little booties, but with black jeans. My outfit is a little more 'run around errands' friendly. 

You get pictures inside our teeny apartment tonight because I waited too long to take pictures when it was light outside. Procrastination at it's finest. 
Oh, enjoy the awesome lighting and fun little pictures everywhere. Adds character, right? Ha. 

This is my "Tanner--hurry up and take the photo" look. 

Maybe one of these days I'll take some cute fashion pictures. Ya know, with good lighting and like...not inside our 700 square foot apartment. Ha! This was so fun to participate in. I love seeing others' take on the outfit. It's so fun to see people's personality in what they wear, don't you think? :) 

Here are the other bloggers who joined me in this challenge. They're some of my favorite (and stylish) lifestyle bloggers. Check out their versions of the outfit!

Kaycie at Redhead Memories
Meghan at King and Ford
Krystle at Krystle, Darling
Brooke at Silver Linings
Alexa at He and I
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Danica at Danican Skywalker
Kyla at Fordology
Bri at Breezy Days

Now, I'm going to work on my Christmas cards. Who wants one? :) 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's Time to "Give Extra" Love to T Money.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ExtraGumMoments #CollectiveBias

There is something "Extra" special about the Holiday season, don't you think?  
Everyone is just a little more kind, a little more giving, and a little more loving. I am grateful for this Christmas season because I get the opportunity to stop and think about the ones I love and the ones that have gone the extra mile for me. 
More than anyone I know, T Money has done just this. 
I am so swamped with teaching all day, and then going straight to rehearsal/my show that I am never home. We can't forget my workout time and young women's, too. Essentially, my whole world is constantly nonstop. 
There have been countless days where I come home and the laundry is done and folded, the dog is clean and taken out, and the dishes are done. I am so grateful for all of the hard work that Tanner has taken so that I could have the time to enjoy my extracurricular activities. 
I decided to give Tanner a little gift including a little christmas tree (we don't have room for a full blown tree in our teeny apartment) with a pack of yummy Watermelon Extra Gum. I know it's not big, but I wanted to let him know that I am grateful for all of the extra work he has done during this holiday season. 

After all, it is the season of giving a little bit extra, right? :) 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Easy Meals for an Entertaining Holiday Party!

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMadeSimple #CollectiveBias

We all know that Christmas time is simply wonderful. 
With that being said, we all know that it is also incredibly busy with christmas shopping, activities, presents, and parties. It is a time of joy--and stress! Haha. 

As I have stated before and many of you know, I am in "A Christmas Carol" so my time is limited to cook during this season. I am incredibly busy, but I wanted to spend some time with my favorite people. It was also important to me to make sure that my time was spent with my husband and my friends and not stressing over what to make for this party.  So, I decided to put together some easy meals and throw a fun, entertaining party with these simple, yummy foods! 

Overall, the party was a huge hit. I love spending time with those I love during this time of year. 

These are the ingredients I used: 

  • STOUFFER'S® Party Size Entrées, 57-96 oz. (Lasagna with Meat & Sauce)
  • NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Peppermint Refrigerated Cookie Dough
  • NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, 12 oz.
  • NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Rolled & Ready Sugar Cookie Dough Sheets

To prepare for this party, I (with the help of others) gathered these ingredients and cooked them before people arrived. 
My mother and friend helping me make the cookies before the party!

First, I gathered all of the ingredients we were going to use and put them on our table with cute decor. 

Second, we (Tanner, Bri and I) took the Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Dough and put it in the oven, because, well, I don't know about the rest of you, but we are "eat dessert first" kind of people and this goes for preparing the food as well. :) 

We added EVEN MORE chocolate to those cookies (because, well, who doesn't love more chocolate?) with our Nestle TollHouse Semi Sweet Morsel Chocolate Chips before we stuck them in the oven. 

Next, I grabbed my "Roll and Ready Sugar Cookie Dough Sheets" and make cute little stars and gingerbread men with them. These are so awesome--you simply slide the cookie dough out and use your cookie cutters to make a quick and easy cookie process (you all know that I am about that!) 

Finally, Tanner wanted some "actual" food so we took our party size lasagna and stuck it in the oven. 

 Wah la--its done. And delicious! That simple! 
We, then, decorated the house with cute Christmas Decor. Our little table was decorated with flowers and a Christmas tablecloth. (Yes, I am aware it's the middle of December…I still love flowers). This is one of my favorite Santa's as well.And those stockings?! Oh, my heart. So beautiful. My dear mother made them for us. 

After we decorated, I finally got T Money to step away from socializing and eat the food. He loved it. 

Tanner enjoying the cookies and lasagna at the party. (Doesn't he look so excited to have his picture taken while eating?!) 

We put the lasagna into little bowls so the kids could eat them too. It was a huge hit!!!

After we ate and enjoyed the delicious food, we gathered together for a group photo--and to finally watch a Christmas movie together. Our bellies were full and we were happy! 

The kids also had a tackling contest :) 

The cookies and lasagna were a huge hit... and I got to spend time with those friends and family whom I loved, which is the most important part, right? :) Nothing better than holiday Christmas parties, am I right? Does this make you want to throw a party? You may steal any of these ideas if you would like to use these for your own Nestle party!

I found these ingredients in the dairy, baking, and refrigerated sections at my local Walmart. 

Also, Nestle is giving away $1,600 in Nestle Gift Baskets. 8 winners will receive a $100 Nestle gift basket and 2 winners will receive a $400 grand prize Nestle gift basket. 

Do you like to throw parties during the Christmas season? Do you like attending them? 
I need help with themes for my parties this season. What do you suggest? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Award Winning is Fun.

I like winning awards, don't you?
The adorable Britt from My Little Sunshines nominated me for the "One Lovely Blog" Award. Thank you, you sweet thing! You're adorable. 
I am always so flattered when people read my blog and actually are moved and inspired by what I say--or they just think I'm super funny and good looking ;) 

I have been awarded a few of these awards over the past few months and well, to be honest, I haven't passed them onmostly due to a busy schedule. But, I wanted to be involved in this one! 

Here are the rules:

You must display the award logo at the top of your post
You must thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog
You must add this set of rules so your nominees know what to do
You must add seven facts about yourself
You must nominate seven new blogs and leave links to each of them
You must let the nominated know that they've been chosen for the award
You must follow the person who nominated you back on Bloglovin’ (if you have one)

Here are seven facts about me:

1. I am currently playing Mrs. Cratchit in the musical "A Christmas Carol". If you are a local Utahn, come check out the play! It opens the day after Thanksgiving (Friday!) 
2. I am a 6th grade teacher.
3. I lived in Kenya for two months a couple of years ago. 
4. I have an 8 month old puppy named Saylor. She is a mini australian shepherd/mini poodle (aussiedoodle) and she's the cutest thing in the world. 
5. I have been married to my husband, Tanner (or T Money) for almost a year and a half! Woo hoo. He's the best. 
6.  I am obsessed with basketball. It is my favorite sport to watch. I love BYU basketball and the Boston Celtics (for family purposes!) I know more about basketball than a lot of males. 
7. I'm obsessed with flowers, polka dots and dresses. 

Here are the people I nominate (all of whom I have met in real life and I LOVE as people and bloggers! Some of these ladies are some of my closest friends, even) :
Brooke from Silver Linings 
Miki from What I Always Was. 
Kelsey from Stories of Kel 
Bonnie from The Life of Bon
Deidre from Deidre Emme 
Danica from Danakin Skywalker 
Amanda from We & Serendipity

There are so many more people I want to nominate. Can I just nominate you all?! Haha. xoxo. 

Also--if you want to read some more good stuff from yours truly, I'm talking about that lovely thing called Self Esteem over here. Check it out. 

I am not sure if I will be around the next couple of days to post, so I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. I will be hibernating pretty much the entire day. Rehearsals until midnight and then school the next day will pretty much be the death of me. 


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Peppermint OREO Cookie Balls!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#OREOCookieBalls #CollectiveBias

One of my favorite things about the holidays are all of the yummy treats that we get to eat (and have to keep off!) Heaven knows that I am the worst cook in the world, but I wanted to get in the festive mood, so I decided to do something quite simple. T Money LOVES OREOS, I decided to make some Peppermint OREO Cookie Balls. Peppermint during the holidays is a huge hit. What I did is take the original OREO Cookie Ball recipe and just added peppermint candies on top of them. 

I think that baking is something that I need to start doing more of, especially during the holidays. My mother always makes treat plates for families in our area who need a little extra love or who have been good friends to them. I thought that this was such an incredible idea and it's something that I want to try to do. I think I might make these cookies again and put them on these Christmas treat plates. What do you think?

These Peppermint OREO Cookie Balls are a huge hit! They are absolutely delicious and they are, quite honestly, simple to make. This is a recipe that I need to keep for years to come! 


-1 pkg (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
-36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
-4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
-Optional Ingredient: One package of peppermint candies (chopped) 

Make it!
-MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
-SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.
-CUSTOMIZE it with your own ingredient additions or decorative skills.
-REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.
-I added chopped up peppermint candies on top of it! **Optional***
Share and enjoy!

I found these Oreos in the "Candy-seasonal" aisle at my local Walmart. 

Check out this coupon for 50¢ off a package of OREOs! 

P.S. Don't forget the  #OREOCookieBall Pinterest party taking place on Pinterest on Saturday, December 6 at 12pm ET. Click here to join this fun event!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Date Night Ideas!

I am so excited to have Brooklyn on my blog today. Brooklyn is an adorable, fun, sweet lady who writes about her growth in marriage and relationships. I have loved reading her blog and getting to know her through this blogging world!

Hello lovelies! I'm Brooklyn from A Little Too Jolley. If you want to get to know me you can learn more about me HERE.

But today I'm here to share ten fun holiday date night ideas!

1. Make a Gingerbread House together.
Most groceries stores have premade kits that are super simple to put together or you can go all out and DIY!

2. Watch a Christmas movie on Netflix.
I made a list of a TON of Christmas movies you can watch on Netflix. Watching movies is the perfect way to enjoy some cuddle time together which I truly can never have enough of.

3. Look at Christmas lights.
Get into your PJ's, drive around, listen to Christmas music and find the houses with the very best Christmas lights!

4. Do some Christmas shopping. 
Make a list of all the people you need gifts for, hit up your local mall and go cross something off your to-do list while holding hands with your honey.

5. Find a local ice skating rink and go skate.
I swear ice skating is in almost every Christmas movie, it's tradition! And if you fall down, I guess your spouse will just have to pick you back up. 

6. Bake, decorate and deliver sugar cookies.
Try a homemade recipe or pick up a simple mix. It will be a blast decorating and talking about who you could deliver them to. 

7. Attend the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.
Both performances are sure to bring the Christmas spirit. Lots of cities you can find cheap or expensive tickets depending on where you go to see the performance. 

8. Go sledding. 
Buy a sled, find a local hill, and have at it!

9. Take pictures.
 Find another couple, go out and take turns taking "family pictures" for your Christmas cards.

10. Create your own holiday bucket list.
Decide what things you both want to do during the holiday season and hang it up somewhere where you will both see it! 

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