Sunday, February 28, 2016

words are powerful

A couple of years ago I was not hanging out with the best of people.
These People didn't think I was worth anything and so I didn't think I was worth anything.
As a result, I was not able to do the things in school that I was expected to.
I just could not progress because I didn't think I was worth progressing.
Ever since my interactions with These People I had just felt so stupid.
*I can't even get a C in any of my classes? I am so dumb!!*
Me feeling stupid would produce "stupid" results, which would make me feel stupid.....
I was at a low point for sure.
So when I went back to school last semester I reverted back to some of my old thoughts and feelings.
*What made me think that I could do this?
I'm not smart enough to go to school!
I should just drop out because I'm never going to pass.*
But then my knight in shining armor swooped in and let me know that all of those thoughts were only valid as long as I validated them.
But I could choose to validate other thoughts, thoughts that were actually true.
It took some coaxing for me to believe him, but he kept telling me that I was smart and worth it and good enough.
(He's a nice man.)
Because he kept telling me that I was smart, I started telling myself that I was smart.
And I started to believe it.
I was able to turn around my grade last semester and get a B+.
And then just the other day in anatomy I CRUSHED my ENTIRE class in an online quiz.
I just could not believe that I let Those People affect me so much back then that I could not accomplish the things I needed to.
It's amazing how powerful our words are to others.
And to ourselves.
It's not entirely a matter of "not letting it get to us."
It's also a matter of who we surround ourselves with.
And what words are we letting somebody else validate about themselves?
It's so easy (especially in a conflict) to say something hurtful and not think it's a big deal.
But to them it might be a big deal.
In the words of Albus Dumbledore: "Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

we don't wash our hands in this family

*Back in the dating days*
Every family has their weird little things that they do that nobody else understands.
I was babysitting for a young family and after the little girl went to the bathroom I asked her if she washed her hands.
She replied, “We don’t wash our hands in this family”.
*Uh….ok, you’re exempt?*
Whether they do or do not wash their hands, I don’t know.
But I do know that if it isn’t the hands washing thing, their’s something else weird that’s going on when I’m not there.
Because every single family has something weird about them.
And in the Derek/Mckenzie Winkel clan it just so happens to be talking in accents.
But I don’t mean that we occasionally like to talk in accents to make each other laugh.
I mean, I’m pretty sure that we are talking in our normal voices for only 10% of our day.
(And that’s the portion of the day that we are around other people.)
One day I even decided that we HAD to talk in our normal voices all day because I had forgotten what they sounded like.
That lasted approximately 10 seconds; we’re just plain addicted.
And it’s not only the sickeningly adorable “Shnookie-Shnoockums” baby talk.
That’s a rarity actually.
We range in our accents from Russian to Redneck Hick; with the latter being our voice of choice.
Now, whether these accents are good or not is irrelevant.
But that’s our dirty little secret.
So spill, what weird thing does your family do?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

uncut sunday

I drove past the new Provo temple the other day.
And instead of thinking of my husband, I thought of an ex.
A couple of years ago, before I met my wonderful Derek, I was dating a non-member.
And he made me happy.
But no matter how happy I was, I just could not get rid of the feeling that I needed to break up with him.
I, of course, put it off because he made me happy and why would I want to end that just because of one feeling?
But, eventually I did break it off because that one bad feeling outweighed all of the happy feelings.
And I didn’t exactly know how to explain to him why at the time.
I couldn’t just say that “the spirit told me to”.
And any other reason I gave, he just kept reminding me that he made me happy.
I just couldn’t help him to see why.
But I know why now.
Driving past the temple made me think about where I would be if I was still with that guy.
I would probably be wanting to go tour the new temple.
So we would go.
And I would be walking through this glorious building knowing that I would never get to set foot in it again.
One of the most beautiful buildings on Earth and I would only get to see it once.
(Of course, maybe he would convert. But of course, maybe he wouldn’t. And at the time he was pretty set against it.)
So now, I know how to explain to him why I broke up with him:
“Yes, I was happy with you.
But you couldn’t give me everything that I’ve ever wanted.
You couldn’t give me what makes up the very essence of who I am: a gospel centered life.
And someday I will grow to resent you for that.
And you will grow to resent me because I love that church more than you.
So, while you make me happy…..there’s so much more happiness that’s waiting for me.”
And now, I have found that happiness.
The happiness of marrying a man who makes me more happy than I ever dreamed was possible.
The happiness of marrying a man who has the same goals in life as me.
The happiness of knowing that I’m not selling myself short.
The happiness of getting to go into the most glorious buildings on Earth more than just once.
So, while I was happy then, I am happier beyond compare now.

Friday, February 19, 2016

swimming suits

Spring and Summer are quickly closing in on us.
I think that everyone is getting so excited to go hiking, get out in the sun, and especially to go swimming!!!
I recently bought a swimming suit because I left my last one in Venice.
And there are SO many cute swimming suits out there.
So I decided to make a list of modest swimming suits that are cute and affordable.
The one from the picture above is the one that I bought and it is found at
It is high waisted bottoms tankini set and I love it.
It is exactly what I was looking for.
Below are more suits that I wish I could buy:
*All Websites are links*

Here are two more of my favorites from that site.
But there are so many more!

These are sort of a mix and match sort of deal.
They have a few cute patterns and solids to choose from.

Anthropologie for the win!!
Am I right guys?

This one might give weird tan lines but I think it's probably worth it.

Victoria's Secret surprised me with some pretty cute one pieces.
However, this one was my favorite.

There wasn't much on this site that I liked, but this one is definitely note-worthy. 

This site has cute swimming suits for you and some matching ones for the littles!

There are multiple suits here that are darling, but some are a bit pricier than the others!

I know that Albion Fit is not the most affordable place to shop.
But how could I NOT include them?
They are the most beautiful things I've ever laid eyes on.
And these two are just the beginning.

I think this company has lost some of it's mojo because they used to have a lot bigger variety.
However, the suits they still have are pretty darn good.

There are of course other places you can get swimming suits, but after all of my perusing of the internet these were my favorites!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


*This is NOT our current fridge*
Derek and I are avid Macey's grocery shoppers.
But this week I knew there were some great sales at Sprouts so I decided to do my grocery shopping there.
And BOY was that a mistake.
First thing I do when I walk in is head to the bread (which is just off to my right).
I look at all my options and realize that the bread they sell must have been shipped from France because it is so expensive.
I grudgingly grab a loaf, knowing that it's really cutting into my grocery budget.
Then I head to the meat and decide to only get 1 out of the 3 items I need.
*We shall prevail without our meats!!!*
Next, was the produce. I found a couple of good deals on things that actually looked normal.
But when the only reasonably priced apple is of the yellow variety??
*I guess we'll go without those too!!*
Then I started perusing down the aisles looking for the Poptarts and Pillsbury rolls that I need.
And that's when I realize that this store consists of 90% NUTS!
And I don't mean the workers.
Honestly, most of the store is various bins of nuts and grains.
Who needs that many nuts and grains???
And the last 10% is weird stuff I've never even hear of.
I just want me some darn Poptarts!!
And Clif bars??
I know for a fact that those sell for 5/$5 at my beloved Macey's.
I mean, I get that Organic products can be sold for more.
But the exact same Clif bars?
Why would you do this to yourselves people?
And pasta sauce for $3 when I can get it for $1 straight from a can?
No thanks!
I ended up leaving everything but the fish and asparagus and bolting right out of that store.
A few years ago I wrote this post  and have been reeling all day in confusion from it.
How did I do that back then?
Maybe I just had less patience and a bigger list this time?
Prices spiking lately because of the organic fad?
Who knows?
All I do know though is that I haven't died yet from not eating organic!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

uncut sunday

A group of popular bloggers have recently started a challenge for everyone to love themselves more.
And honestly, it is purely genius.
During this Valentine's season it's so easy to show love for the people around you.
But how often are we showing that love for ourselves?
Not by buying ourselves flowers or chocolate (which is definitely OK to do...).
How often are we talking positively about ourselves though?
It is SO easy to think negatively when we see all these beautiful, talented, smart, athletic women on Instagram, Facebook, and elsewhere on the internet and in the world.
For me, I feel that my negative self talk is purely comparison.
I can go my whole day thinking I'm beautiful or smart or funny.
And then I go to the gym and see that one girl that I want to BE because she is seemingly perfect.
I think I'm awesome, but when I see somebody that I look up to I can't stop myself from thinking I'm not good enough.
And that is just simply dumb.
Why can't I appreciate their abilities AND mine?
I want to take this challenge because I want to love myself instead of comparing myself to others.
I want to remember that I am worth something in the eyes of others.
This challenge involves avoiding all negative talk for 18 days!
(I think it coincided with when the blog was posted and how many days were left in February)
But you can start this challenge any day and go for as long as you want.
On her website (linked Here) you can see the printables that she includes to keep track of your progress.
And if you mess up, it's OK!
Old habits are hard to break, but as long as you recognize the mess up and decide that you still want to become better, it's just fine!
Her blog also has a lot of other inspiring posts that target inner strength and love.
So join the challenge and decide to start loving yourself more.

Friday, February 12, 2016

valentines minute to win it

Valentine's Day is upon us!
And since it's on a Sunday our dinner plans will be happening tonight.
But, it's still OK to celebrate Valentine's on Sunday in your own house.
And what better way to say you love someone than to try and crush them in Minute to Win it?
Below I have 5 games that use a bag of candy conversation hearts.
So buy a bag and collect the rest of the things from around the house!

Candy Face
Each player has 1 minute to move the candy heart from their forehead to their mouth! But you can only use your face, no hands!!!

Bottle Drop
See who can drop the most conversation hearts into a narrow neck bottle in under a minute. The longer the distance, the more challenging it is.

Heart Relay
For this one you have to have a cup full of the candy hearts on one side of the room and then an empty cup on the other side. Each person gets 1 minute to see how many hearts they can move to the empty cup using only a spoon.

Heart Stack
Each player has 1 minute to stack the hearts as high as they can. The player with the tallest tower at the end of the minute wins!

Heart Pick Up
Using two pencils or chopsticks or tweezers, each player has to transfer as many heart candies from one place to another as fast as they can. They player with the most hearts on their second plate at the end of the minute wins!!

Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ice castles

One thing that definitely needs to be added to your Utah Winter bucket list is the Ice Castles in Midway.
This was my first time going and they are so beautiful!
I can't believe I haven't gone before now.
There isn't all that much to see, but the things you do see are amazing.
We went at night and the lights they have going on just enhance all of the ice structures.
But it would be just as pretty during the daytime as well (and far less busy).


It ends February 15th! (Previously it was ending in March but it has changed)
Weekend Ticket Prices: Children- $8.95 Adults- $12.95
Weekday Ticket Prices: Children-$6.95 Adults-$9.95
Located up Provo Canyon in Midway
Wear Boots!!! (Derek learned this the hard way. There is sometimes a foot of sand-like snow)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

uncut sunday

Death is a strange thing to think about.
You don't say goodbye with the idea that sometime in the future there's a possibility that you'll see them again.
You say goodbye with the idea that you'll see them again in another manner that you can't quite comprehend.
I thought that I was pretty good at dealing with death after working at an assisted living home.
But then "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson started playing and the flood gates opened.
(Why you gotta do me like that radio?)
And it's not necessarily a sadness for the person leaving.
Because they are now released from their mortal trials and pain.
It's more sadness for the people left behind.
The wife and children and other loved ones.
Their pain is where the sadness comes from.
But the one sweet thing that comes from death is the hope of being reunited.
I'm so grateful that I'm part of a church that knows that death is not the end.
How beautiful to think that my grandma will someday be back in the arms of my grandpa, singing his ears off.
And Derek has been given strict instructions that he is not allowed to die until the exact moment that I do.
It's only fair.

Friday, February 5, 2016

pinterest hacks tested: smartphones

Here it is people:
Pinterest Hacks tested by yours truly.
This time I will be testing Smartphone hacks that I've found whilst browsing Pinterest.
Let's begin:

1. Hiding your cards in your phone case:

This is a good idea if you're going to go to a concert or party or something and don't wanna bring your wallet. You can just put important cards (what's more important than your library card?) and credit cards in your phone case. However, if you lose your phone you haven't lost just your phone. You've pretty much lost all of your important cards too.
Verdict: Tentative pass.

2. Put your phone in a cup:

The cup amplifies the sound so if you have troubles sleeping through your alarm put your phone in a cup before bed and when your alarm goes off it will definitely be loud enough to wake you up. (Also, notice the nightstand my darling husband made me of his kind-of own free will!) This also works for parties if you don't have some sort of sound system.
Verdict: Pass.

3. Make a phone stand:

I was excited for this one because I hate trying to lean my phone against other things or just resorting to lying it flat. (First world problems amiright?) I saw stands that people made from sunglasses and some from paperclips. For those ones I give a FAIL. Yeah, they don't even close to work. So I dug some more because I was determined!! I found a couple of binder clip ones that failed but then I found this ^ binder clip one that somewhat worked! Once you get the directions down it works pretty well. The second one was from an old gift card that had a worthless amount of money on it. I just made 4 cuts in it and it works awesome-ly. Both are not always completely stable, but for the most part they get the job done.
Verdict: Pass.

4. Put your phone in a Ziploc bag:

I was actually very hesitant about this one because I feel that touch screens don't really work unless you're touching them directly. So pretty much you put your phone in a sealed Ziploc bag if you're going to be around the water. And it worked surprisingly great! It scrolled as if I was touching it directly and water just slicks right off of it and doesn't really affect the scrolling. I would note though that if you have long nails it could snag a hole in the bag while you're scrolling so be careful. I also don't know how well pictures will take with it on because I didn't think about trying that out until just now. But I assume if you held it taut it would work just fine.
Verdict: Pass.

5. Putting contact info on lock screen:

This is such a smart idea for if your phone gets lost. Because now that we aren't in the dark times, all of our phones have locks on them. So if it gets lost it's not like somebody can just go into your contacts and call "mom". So it's important to put contact info of a loved one on the lock screen for the person who finds your phone to call. My phone has a setting where I can program it in my lock screen settings (Shown under the date). But Derek's doesn't. So my solution to that is to go to your notepad and insert a picture you want as the background and then under it type the info. Take a screenshot, crop it, and set it as your screen. Wallah!
Verdict: Pass.

Pretty much the only fails I tested were using sunglasses and paperclips as phone stands. Just don't even try it.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

siracha chicken

This chicken is SO good and gives me an excuse to use my Siracha!
(Which I always love)
I paired it with rice and a side of sliced tomatoes.
And I must say, it was pretty darn good.
Enjoy :)

Siracha Chicken:
4 Chicken breasts, diced
1/3 C. Cornstarch
1 C. Water
2-3 Tbs Siracha (depending on how spicy you want it)
5 Tbs. Soy Sauce
1 Tbs. Minced Garlic
1/4 C. Sugar
2-3 Tbs. Honey (Depending on how sweet you want it)
2Tbs. Corn Starch+ 2 Tbs. Water

In a small-medium saucepan, combine the water, siracha, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and honey and stir. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Whisk together the 2 Tbs. cornstarch and 2 Tbs. water until dissolved. Add to saucepan and stir until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Add diced chicken and 1/3 C. corn starch to a large plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat chicken. Drizzle a large pan with oil over medium heat. Add chicken and saute until browned and chicken is cooked through. Add the sauce and stir to coat.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Puberty Instagram Pics: 

Once upon a time I was in the fifth grade.
And everybody knows that in fifth grade the girls attend a special assembly and the boys attend a special assembly.
And at these special assemblies you learn all about your bodies and how you will change into strapping young ads and lovely young ladies.
And of course, after that assembly every kid in the fifth grade wanted to be a strapping young lad or a lovely young lady.
Now we were way too cool for this fifth grade stuff.
We wanted to start puberty!!!
And i was no different.
I had been scheming for some time how I could become the top dog in my group of friends and now I had my perfect opportunity.
At recess one day, out in the cold bitter air, I brought the girls into a tight huddle, away from the boys, to tell them a secret.
"Guys. I'm definitely a lovely young lady now."

Word soon spread that I had become one of the few fifth graders to make that step in life.
And everybody was in AWE.
I was the fifth grade goddess for a whole week!
(Until Mark stuck a pencil up his nose and STOLE the show.)
But during that week I felt on top of the world.
And the more people that knew, the more questions I got.
And for a not-quite-yet-a-lovely-young-lady it gets real hard to keep a story straight when you're busy memorizing presidents and states!
I started to get worried about all of the questions and mismatched answers and I knew I had to have some real evidence in case anybody came snooping around about my story.
So I took to my journal, as any maturing young adolescent would.
And in that day's false entry I wrote only one sentence:
"Today I started my puberty."

I don't think you just START your puberty.
You don't wake up one morning and think,
"It has begun."
But I clearly hadn't listened well in that special assembly because I thought "period" and "puberty" were interchangeable.
My evidence was obviously flawed.
Years later I eventually became a lovely young lady, but at that point you want NOBODY to know that you started your "puberty".