Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valentines Decor

And I ask you, has there ever been a better time to own a giant pinkish red mirror? 'Tis definitely the season.

I wanted to jazz up our front room a little for Valentines. I still feel like it's lacking...something. Or somethings. I'm not really sure.

I copied some pinteresters with the doily-masonjars-twine idea, kept our Christmas lights up (yay!), kept the giant pinkish red mirror up (yay!), and made the little banner with a bunch of paper and stickers I already had on hand (yay!). And this super cute lovebirds printable, I got here. Mini paper globes idea came from here.

What am I still missing? I need help. Maybe a cute wreath or something? Also, not the greatest picture, I recognize. Oh, well.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Here's Emma Again.

Here's another guest post from my little sister, Emma. I hope she'll keep sending these to me, because I like reading them. :) Fun fact about Emma: she received her mission call this week to serve as a full-time missionary in Cusco, Peru. That means she'll be there for 18 months, teaching people about our Savior and His Church.

The big white envelope containing the mission call came on Friday. Friday night, we all skyped in: Grandma, Mom, Dad, Brigham, McKay, and Mary from Colorado; Emma, Sam, Elise, and some of Emma's roommates from Utah; Dana Lee, Kyle, & Breckyn from Colorado; Chad and me from here in Louisville; and Taylor & Jenny from Atlanta. It was so wonderful to hear her read the words, "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You have been assigned to labor in the Peru Cusco mission."

You may or may not know anything about how mission calls are assigned (or what Mormon missions are all about, for that matter). In a nutshell, the 12 Apostles (or some of them? can't remember.) meet together and review each and every missionary application. They pull up the picture of the applicant on a big screen and look over the needs for missionaries in the different missions in the world. (this is a big deal, because there are usually 50,000+ missionaries at any given time, and the number of applications has skyrocketed since the announcement that girls could serve at 19 instead of waiting til 21). And then, through prayer and revelation, they determine where each individual missionary is to be called. I know this process is directed by God. I just do. If you have ever opened a mission call or been present when someone else opens theirs, there is an overwhelming spirit there just letting you know this special assignment is from Heavenly Father. I've also heard that being a part of the call-making process is pretty darn special.

Anyway, I am so excited for Emma. I know she will be a diligent, studious, fun, & loving missionary, and I can't wait for her to fall in love with the people of Cusco! Here's what she sent me this week (this is a weekly assignment for her Book of Mormon class at BYU, and I offered to give it a home on my blog).

"This week in Book of Mormon the assigned reading was Alma 43-56. One of my favorite parts of that reading was Alma 48:17. At this point in The Book of Mormon, Mormon is telling us a little about Captain Moroni. Mormon says, “Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” I love this description of Captain Moroni because it is such a powerful statement. I don’t know that I could replace my name for Mornoni’s in that statement because I still have a lot of things to work on, but it is inspiring to know that this could have been said of a mortal man. It means that it is possible for us to live in such a righteous way that Satan’s temptations will be to no avail. It is also a reminder that the devil can only have influence in our lives if we allow it. Since Moroni was so steadfast, the devil wasn’t even able to get a foot in the door. The same could be true for us if we live like Moroni. I also like this scripture because it gives us a small glimpse of what it may be like at the Millennium when Satan is bound and has no power over us. Why not start working towards that now?"

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bedroom Makeover, Part 3

Just an update. Curtains are done, lamp shade is touched up, furniture is arranged how I want it. I am SO happy with how it is turning out. I have two things left on my wish list: an accent rug, and something(s) to fill up the one wall that is completely bare. (I am so needy). I LOVE this print on etsy and have been eyeing it for a while now. Isn't it so cute? I love the little people in it. Then I started wondering how successful I would be at creating my own little cartoon Chad and me. I think that will be this weekend's project. I may end up buying the etsy print after all, depending on how it goes. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bedroom Makeover, Part 2

Worked some more on Project Bedroom today. Sewed up these curtains, along with matching throw pillows, and painted the top of this little lampshade (although, it needs touching up--I wish I was better with paint). Fun, fun! If only I didn't have to go to work now...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bedroom Makeover, Part 1

I have been DYING to decorate our bedroom. Since we moved in, it has pretty much been on the back burner as far as decorating goes. Suddenly, about a month or two ago, I became overwhelmed with wanting to get the UGLY out of the bedroom. Mostly, it was just boring. White walls, beige carpet, brown door/door frames/window frames, and a BLACK bed frame (black and brown, cringe). Oh, and a hideous  bright red dresser I picked up at a yardsale last summer.

My main goals for the room: I want it to be calming, coordinated, and creative. Three c's. I've done some thrifting, fabric shopping, and rearranging, and I think it's time to start showing off a piece or two a day on the blog. Hooray for making a beautiful place to live!

So, here is the ottoman I picked up at goodwill. It actually doesn't look too bad in the pictures, but it was pretty dingy (the fabric, in particular). I had looked around at ottomans at target and walmart, and liked a few of them, but *didn't want to spend $100. (Note: "didn't want to" and "do you think money grows on trees?!" are used interchangeably here). I think it turned out pretty nice! I'm really excited to pull the rest of the room together with what I've got. Stay tuned!

before: cute little frame, dingy fabric-covered foam pad on top.

after: looking good, right? painted the legs green and upholstered with some fabric that  I'm hoping will tie the brown and the little bit of black together (if you can't tell, the fabric is a little of both). 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Let the training begin!

Today was my first official training day for the half ironman on June 1st. I say first "official" day because I've been running now and then, but today I swam. For the first time in--YIKES--several months, at least. I stuck to the goal on my training plan, which was to consistently swim 750 meters (.47 miles) for the rest of January (I'll move up to 3/4 mile in February). Swimming half a mile today was definitely a stretch, but I'm glad I did it. I was able to push through the moments of fear and the ridiculous parade of thoughts like, "What if you drowned right now?" and "The half ironman is going to be a lot harder than this. Just the swim alone might be too much." (I also couldn't help but think about the recent in-flight magazine article I read about the hoards of people who died last year doing the swimming portion of triathlons because of some swimming-induced heart condition no one knew they had--yikes). I think I was able to reassure myself because I've trained before, and I know how much easier training--particularly the swimming-- gets once I've done it a few times. The first time is always a little scary, though. Glad it's done!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I did something impulsive today. I was getting ready for work and thought, "It's time I trimmed my bangs." (referring to my side-bangs, the very non-daring kind that are just long enough to get swooped back behind your ear if you don't want to know they're there for a day). Then I thought, "No, I actually want to try those straight-across bangs." I've wondered what they would look like for a while now. My interest was rekindled over Christmas when I saw my sister-in-law Deanna's new straight-across bangs, which I thought were adorable.

I had straight-across bangs in 7th grade, and all I remember about them is a) not being able to get them to lay how I wanted them, b) using lots of hairspray just to have them get blown around by the wind and then c) having them get stuck in odd positions because of said hairspray and said wind.

But I felt brave today. Also, I think I've learned a thing or two about my hair since 7th grade. Either that, or 13 years have been long enough for me to forget the pain!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Last Chances.

I have a tendency to think it's always my last chance to do something. My family makes fun of me for it. I went through a stage just after I graduated from high school and before I went to college, when every time I asked to do something and my parents hesitated or said no, I would protest with, "But this is, like, my LAST chance to go ____ with ____ before ____!!!" (Imagine a really whiny teenager, and multiply by ten.)

It's become a family joke by now, and whenever we feel like doing something, we'll use the "could be my last chance" template. For example, "We better go to Cheesecake Factory--this could be the last chance to go on a Tuesday in Louisville with just the four of us." (when my parents were here). You get the idea.

Anyway, I can joke about it but I really do suffer from immense anxiety about missing out on last chances.

I have wanted to do a half ironman at some point in my life. Last summer I was supposed to do a shorter tri but backed out because I moved to Louisville, in part because all my training buddies (some of the young women from church in Alabama) also backed out when they couldn't figure out how to get to Nashville, where our race was supposed to be. Anyway.

But I don't always back out. I finished a sprint tri in 2009, then an olympic tri in 2010, and then another olympic in 2011. And then I whimped out last year. I really, really don't want to turn into someone who talks about doing things and then doesn't. But I'm afraid to say I'm doing a half ironman, because it seems like it'd be pretty easy for SOMETHING to come up and get in my way of doing it. I have that "last chance" feeling, though. Don't know why.

Can I just say I'm doing it? I already found an event three hours away (Muncie, Indiana) on June 1st. I already wrote up my training plan for the next 4 and a half months. My training plan starts THIS WEEK. I am shopping around for gyms with pools. I asked Chad how he felt about my spending a chunk of our money on the race (he approved). I am relatively serious about this, but scared. Oh, but I just have to do it! It really could be my last chance...before what? Oh, I dunno. It just could.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Book of Mormon Post, from a Special Guest Writer

I love my little sister, Emma. She'll be guest writing occasionally on this blog about her reading in the Book of Mormon. I've always admired Emma for studying her scriptures so consistently, so I'm excited to read some of her thoughts. Enjoy!

"Hello everyone that reads Cammie’s blog! My name is Emma, and I’m Cammie’s little sister. I am taking a Book of Mormon class at BYU this semester and one of our assignments is to share some insights that we have while doing our assigned readings. This class studies Alma chapter 30 through the end of The Book of Mormon.

For my class, we were assigned to read Alma chapters 30-35 for the week. One scripture that I really like in this is Alma 30: 44, especially the end part that says, “…yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” I really like this because it is a reminder to me that I can remember God’s hand in my life every day by all the little things that happen and everything surrounding me. I don’t need a huge miracle to see that God exists because He can be found in all the details. The complexity and beauty of this earth is always a great reminder of God’s love for us and His existence. Today it snowed quite a bit in Provo. Everything looks really beautiful and it’s awesome to take a moment to admire how God made us such beautiful surroundings. Other things testify to me that God is real because of their complexity. I am taking an anatomy class and it is remarkable to learn about all the different parts of us and all the different processes that take place in us. I think something so amazing could have only been designed by Heavenly Father. I’m grateful for this scripture because it reminds me that everything witnesses that God is real."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Next time, a picture.

I saw the funniest typo I have seen in quite a while the other day at work. I stopped by the office to drop off some paperwork. No one was there, because it was after hours. I noticed what looked like a waiting-room chair that had been removed from its place and was sitting in the front office (where the secretaries and medical records people sit). There was a sign taped to the chair, with the handwritten command, "Urinate on chair" sprawled across it. I did a double-take (obviously), and after some confusion decided that the person must have meant to explain why the chair was out of place, and to warn fellow staff not to sit on it--in other words, I think the intended message was probably, "Urine on chair." Hahaha. Ha. Haha.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Feliz Dia de Reyes!

Well, today was our big Dia de los Reyes (Kings Day). We had a small (very small) handful of presents leftover, since we haven't exercised much self-control in the present-opening arena. The funnest part of the day, anyhow, was probably hiding little slips of paper inside the Rosca, and then finding them. I've never actually had a Rosca before, but I knew it was supposed to be a big circular sweet bread (I saw one at Walmart, go figure). Ours was an orange monkey bread Rosca. Really, you're supposed to hide a little Baby Jesus figurine in the bread for one lucky person to find. (or money? okay, the point of this is not for me to educate anyone about the traditions of Dia de los Reyes, because obviously I'm taking stabs in the dark.) Anyway, we didn't hide a figurine. Instead we wrote out lists of our favorite memories of 2012 and resolutions for 2013, wrapped them in tin foil, and hid those in the bread. It was fun to pull out each other's and read them. New family tradition? Maybe. I think the game could only be enhanced by little kiddos clamoring to pick the right slice of the Rosca.

Also, we've been working on a couple of home-improvement projects. One of my Christmas presents for Chad was a new area rug! Only instead of forking over $100 for a big one, I decided to buy some supplies so we could paint one ourselves (people do that now!).

I looked around a lot on different blogs and found that plenty of people were painting cool prints and designs on flat-woven rugs (see here, for some examples), but the one I wanted was a $40 rug from IKEA, and IKEA doesn't ship items and they're not in our area. So for some reason I thought a drop-cloth would make a great alternative. The problem we have run into is that it soaks up paint like crazy (hello...probably because that is what it was designed for). But a couple of coats later, it is looking better.

My pointers on rug painting:

1. Paint is expensive. If you buy a drop-cloth (around $15), a rug pad (also around $15), and paint ($11 per small can, and we used 3), and other supplies like brushes and painter's tape, you might be spending just as much as you would have to buy a rug. (But still, maybe not. Some large rugs are upwards of $100.) But on the flip-side, you can pick your own design and colors, which might be worth it to you.
2. Get a rug pad, to keep your rug from slipping.
3. A drop-cloth is good because it is cheap, and readily accessible online or at hardware stores. However, it soaks up paint, so be prepared to paint multiple coats. All things accounted for, I probably would have preferred that plain flat-woven rug from IKEA, but that's hard to say since I've never tried painting one.
3. Use painter's tape, just like others recommended. It'll save you from ugly or time-consuming mistakes.
4. Choose a design you love, and then figure out how to transfer it to the rug. We did a google image search for the letter S until we found the one we liked best. We printed it in a word document with a grid overlay, and then we drew the same grid onto the drop cloth and used it as a guide to sketch out our S.

I'm excited to see how it turns out. Happy Kings Day! You should give someone a hug to celebrate.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Aruba, Again. Also, Christmas 2012.

Being in Aruba for Christmas was awesome in some ways. I can't say there is anything particularly magical about the island during the Christmas season. Yes, there were Christmas trees at every roundabout, and we made a visit to the Cas di Lus (a fake little traditional house they build up on a hill and decorate with lots of Christmas lights). We also noticed it was Christmas when our beloved pan keshi (cheese bread) was sold out by the time we got there at noon on Christmas Eve. But otherwise, it felt a lot like being in Aruba at any other time of year (which is AWESOME, by the way).

The perfect part, though, was going to Church on Sunday, and going to the branch Christmas party on Sunday night. Several people performed Christmas musical numbers, we ate great food, and TONS of people were there. I have never seen that branch building so full before. Chad and I sang, "Merry Christmas, Baby," with Chad playing guitar and me playing piano. I'm really good at agreeing to musical numbers and forgetting that I get really nervous and embarrassed when I actually perform. But overall, the party was great.

Going back to Philadelphia on Christmas Eve was a great choice. We had so much fun being there for Christmas morning. I spent most of the day Christmas Day playing music with Kaitlyn and Ainslee--Kaitlyn got a ukelele for Christmas, and Ainslee plays guitar. We did some mad Taylor Swift and Ingrid Michaelson covers. It was so fun!

This was my first year not going home to Colorado for Christmas (other than on the mission). I definitely missed my family, but altogether, I'd say it was a great Christmas. Also, Chad and I decided a couple months ago to celebrate Three King's Day (Dia de Reyes) like they do in Latin countries, so that we wouldn't have to lug all of our presents with us to Philadelphia. So the season continues! Except, we lost our reserve to save the presents and have opened one or two every day, pretty much. Now I think there are...two left. Good thing Dia de Reyes is tomorrow!! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Aruba, Part 3

Warning: Lots of pictures today. I could spend the rest of my life documenting this trip on my blog if I only go 2 pictures at a time.

So our second day in Aruba, we woke up and drove to Bright Bakery to pick up one of my favorite treats of all time--pan keshi (cheese bread). It's got Gouda cheese stuffed in the middle of a loaf of slightly sweet bread. (side note: I'm glad we got it that day. We tried a day or two later, and Christmas Eve, and both days they were sold out by the time we got there.) Anyway, bread in tow, we headed to the Hooi Berg (which I had always believed to be the highest point in Aruba, until we went to Arikok National Park on this trip and found out that the highest points are actually within the national park. Boo.) There are stairs all the way to the top, and it takes about half an hour if you don't stop for breaks. It's worth the hike, in my opinion, because you get a good view of most of the island, including the shorelines, the refinery, all the red-tiled roofs, and the cactus. 

The Hooi Berg looks much less puny in real life. Bad angle, I guess.

A view from the top.

Another look from the top.

Made it!
After our hike, we decided to stop by "the Waf." I don't know if I'm spelling that right, because I've never seen it written out. The Waf is where you would probably spend a lot of time if you were a tourist on a cruise ship--it is a strip of little outdoor shops near where the cruise ships come in for the day. It feels just about like any other flea market with trinkets and souvenirs. We stopped by to pick up some gifts, but mostly in hopes that we would run into my dear friends Carlo and Jela, who I got to teach as a missionary years ago. And we were not disappointed! Jela and her son, Carl, were there running their shop. They sell beautiful hand-painted canvases. It was fun to see them again.

Across from the Waf, in front of a fancy shopping area.

with Jela and Carl! 
 We spent some time taking silly pictures and trying pastechi--a typical local food. A pastechi is basically a fried calzone filled with Dutch cheese, or sometimes with cheese and meat. Yum.

pastechi. tastes better than it looks here.

And finally, we headed off to do more snorkeling. As mentioned in an earlier post, we first snorkeled at Baby Beach, which is a fairly popular spot to snorkel. On this, our second time snorkeling, we went to the far west end of the island (before you reach Arashi Beach), which was a spot recommended to us by Bill (a native). Chad was more impressed with the snorkeling here than at Baby Beach, but I got kind of cold and my mask wasn't working great, so it wasn't my best day. But we also stopped by one of the shipwrecks on our way back to San Nicolas, and snorkeled there. It was pretty awesome to snorkel right around the ship, where lots and lots of fishes like to hang out. 

While I'm talking about snorkeling, I'll share what I learned about snorkeling in Aruba. Just in case you're ever in Aruba, or snorkeling in Aruba. :)

Where and How to Snorkel in Aruba:

1. Ask local people where to go. There are certain places marked on the map that attract a lot of tourists, that don't seem to actually be the places where you can see the most fish. A good example of this is Baby Beach. Lots of tourists snorkel in the cove there, and you can see a fair amount of fish. However, someone recommended that we drive just past the Baby Beach parking lot to an area where this is a narrow channel flowing towards Baby Beach. We hopped in and just floated down for half a mile or so. We saw SO MANY FISH. 

2. Sometimes, just stay in one place and stop swimming, but keep your head underwater. I'm not sure if the fish forget you are there, or decide you're not a threat, but sometimes they come out from their hiding places if you just idle for a minute or two.

3. It seems like you find more fish closer to the reefs, so if you are swimming in an inlet with a barrier reef, you might just swim along the reef. 

4. Our favorite places, in order: 1. The channel just east of Baby Beach (tons of fish, NO swimming required, but you do have to walk through some rocks to get to some deep-enough water). 2. Mangel Halto (feels like a neighborhood beach, big area to cover and plenty of fish in some areas). 3. Baby Beach (nice area, especially if you want to lay on the beach when you're done snorkeling). 4. The beach between the shipwreck and Arashi Beach, near the west end of the island (I can't remember much about this one, but I think there was a nice beach area to lay out on and plenty of fish).  

5. It would be so awesome to have an underwater camera. We saw so many amazing fish and we wished we could get pictures. Although, sometimes it is nice to just enjoy something without focusing on documenting all the time. 

6. Your experience could be totally different than ours depending on the time of day, the weather, or your personal preferences. Just explore and have fun!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Aruba, Part 2

So, where was I? Snorkeling, right?

Much of our trip was spent going to church functions and also visiting people I had gotten to know as a missionary.

I had a blast introducing Chad to Sister Dowling. I had explained to him before we went that she is sort of... mean. Okay, not really. She just pretends to be mean, most of the time. But you know she secretly loves you, because after she spends one or two hours delivering berating comments, she'll usually say, "I love you, dushi," as you're on your way out the door. (You can guess why, when I described her that way, Chad wasn't sure how excited he was to meet her.)

Anyway, her advancing age and continued health problems have taken their toll, and she is now confined to her home most of the time. She uses a walker to get around the house, and a wheelchair if she ever leaves the house. So visiting with her was bittersweet, because it is hard to see someone with so much spunk be so limited by her body.

The first day we visited, the exchange went something like this:

Sister Dowling: Who's he?
Me: My husband!
Sister Dowling: Your husband?!
Me: I told you I was bringing him to meet you.
Sister Dowling: You told me you was bringing someone special, you didn't tell me about no husband.
Me: Oh, well, the special person was my husband. This is Chad.
Sister Dowling (turning to Chad): Oh, so you love the ugly woman?
Chad: Er, I think she's pretty...
Sister Dowling: Well, I see you does wear glasses, so I can forgive you for that.

She totally won him over, though, in spite of (or because of?) her sassiness. The hardest part about being there was hearing her repeatedly express the feeling that no one (particularly people from church) cared about her enough to visit. While I know this may have been exaggerated somewhat (several church members reported having some contact with her, if not frequently), it made me sad to think about her living out her old age a lonely, bitter woman. I think I needed the reminder that there are probably people around me who feel no one cares. These pictures aren't the greatest, but the hours spent in her home with Chad will always be a special memory for me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Favorite Posts.

Maybe you're new to this blog, and would like to be directed to some of the better posts on here. Really, who has time to wade through 4 years worth of scribbles? Some of these may not be interesting to other people, but they are the ones that mean something to me and I feel represent some of my most genuine, funniest, and/or best self.

Aruba! here, here, and here
Funny rants here, here, and here
Projects I'm proud of here.
Therapy stuff here and here

I may add to this list in the future. Really, I should be going to bed now instead of doing this, so I'm gonna.

Take a Button!

Reeally, I insist! It's yours! :)

And if you send me yours, we can make a trade.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith


Need to contact me? Feel free.

cambellsoup [at] gmail [dot] com.

I love hearing from you, so don't be shy!


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