August 30, 2013
I would never classify myself as a camper. Not that I don't enjoy it, I just haven't had much opportunity for it. The times that I did go camping, it normally involved cabins, lodges, showers, fresh water, etc., although I did participate in a survivor three-day camping trip once. Remind me to tell you about that sometime. It was legit.
I actually really enjoy camping, and one of our family goals this summer was to go on a little camping trip. With only a weekend standing between us and "summer's end," as defined by pre-college students in Davis County, we decided to take our trip last weekend with Drew's sister and her husband. Despite being rained on, almost the entire time, dinner being served at 9:00 because the meat took WAY too long to cook, not being able to have a fire because of the rain, and eating s'mores raw (which is actually not too bad, by-the-way), we all had a great time. In fact, C had SUCH a great time that she actually stayed up until 10:30! Wahoo! Seriously, she was wired.

Poker face.

Did you check off most of the summer activities on your to-do list?
Thanks for another great adventure, Lauren and Josh! Have a great weekend, all! And don't forget about the giveaway that Chelsea's hosting over at The Girl who Loved to Write. I'm giving away one of my maxi skirts in gray, so you DON'T want to miss this. Later!



August 28, 2013
So... after spending literally weeks googling HTML codes to make the perfect layout for my blog, I found out that my brother just so happens to be a MASTER-MIND when it comes to HTML code. Slap on the forehead, cough on the water you're drinking, slip on a banana peel, and miss the last step. But give me a break. It's hard to keep track of 11 siblings and their thousands of skills and talents! Wish I had known this sooner.
In any case, since beginning my blog about a year ago, I've done a lot of blog designing (and re-designing) and learned a few things. When I first started (BEFORE I knew that my darling brother was a genius), I was lucky enough to have a blogging friend introduce some of the basics of blogging and html code to me, which was a HUGE blessing since I knew as much about blogging as Miley Cyrus knows about restraint.
Anyway, I've learned a few things that I thought might be helpful for other beginning bloggers and renovators out there.
One of the first things I learned when I started to become more serious with my blogging was how to make a blog button.

Step 1: Size
Before you start deciding on what picture you want for your blog button, you need to decide on size. Since you're probably kind of new to this, a good idea would be to visit some of your favorite blogs to see what size buttons they offer and consider offering the same. I offer a 200x200 pixels blog button, 200x150, and 200x120. Consider these sizes when you're deciding what photo to use. For instance:

This is a great photo, but if I were trying to make a 200x150 pixels button...
As you can see, this photo would not be the best option, although works well for a 200x200 button.
*Note: A lot of blogs use passionfruit for their ads now, but it's a good idea to have a few button options available on your blog for others who want your button to appear on theirs.

Step 2: Resize, Crop, Edit
Once you've decided the size and selected your photo, you need to make it the correct size. You can use any photo editing program (heck, you could use paint if you wanted), but I would suggest creating an account with Photobucket because you will need an online program that will give you an html code for photos that you upload.
Whatever program you use, you will resize, crop, and edit your photo until it looks "just right!" (PicMonkey
is a great site that allows you to edit photos without having to make an account and is one of my favorites to use).
Step 3: Photobucket
Now that your photo is resized, cropped, and edited to your liking, you will upload it to photobucket. Click on the orange upload button...

select the photo from your files to upload...

then, click on your newly uploaded photo beneath the video ad, and you will be taken to your photo.
*Note: Be sure that you upload your photo to the file on your photobucket where you want it. It will automatically upload to your library, but can be moved. If you want it in a different file, move it now.

Step 4: HTML code
In the right sidebar, just under the advertisement, there's a box that says "Links to share this photo." Click on the code next to HTML and it will automatically copy the code for you.

Open notepad and paste the html code there. It should look kind of like this:
*Note: using a word document for HTML coding is the worst method of coding because sometimes it changes things around so that the code won't work. i used Word in this case for visibility. Notepad is best.
The first part after <a href= " is the website the button will take you to if you click on the picture. Copy your blog web address and paste it between the quotation marks.

My example - I changed what was in red:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo 2013-04-30203704200x200_zps5178699a.jpg"/></a>

What mine looks like now:
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo 2013-04-30203704200x200_zps5178699a.jpg"/></a>

*Note: Do NOT eliminate the quotation marks around your website, and don't forget the "http://" before your web address, either.

The target="_blank" that comes after the website means that when you click on the button, it will open a new tab in the reader's search engine to view the site. To make it so that the reader will be taken to the site without opening a new tab, simply remove target="_blank".

Your button is now finished! Send this new HTML code to your blogging friend and they can paste it with the rest of their buttons.

Having a button is good, but now you need a text box beneath it for easy access.

Step 1: Code
This is the code you will need. The first part in red is the code for your button that we just created. The second part in orange and pink is the code for the text box that will go underneath your button. The blue is the orientation of the button and text.

<a href="" target="_blank" title="Chevron &amp; Lace"><img alt="200x200Button" border="0" src="" /></a> <center>
<textarea cols="13" id="code-source" name="code-source" rows="3"><center>
<a href=""target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" border="0" alt="200x200Button"></a> </center>

Paste your button code that we just made over the red text and again over the orange text, but LEAVE THE PINK AS IT IS. If you want your button and text box to be oriented to the left or right, simply replace all of the times it says center (in blue and some in pink) with left or right.

Step 2: Paste
Copy your new HTML code, the one you just made, and paste it where you want it to appear on your blog.

Good luck in your blogging! Was this helpful? Leave a comment if you have problems and/or questions.



August 26, 2013
With fall just around the corner and some leftover fabric, it was only logical that I make Chelsea some leggings for extra warmth. Unfortunately, it appears that I made the lime green ones a little too soon because she's growing right out of them! Are we sure that children aren't actually Grow-in-Water toys?

You will need:
1 model pair of leggings
Stretchy fabric (amount is dependent on your child's leg-length)
Double, or Twin needle (opt. but highly recommended)
Pattern paper (opt. but recommended)
3/4" elastic

*Note: Double, or Twin needles are really nice because they make your finished product look more neat. It creates two straight stitches on the top of the fabric and a zig-zag stitch underneath, so it really does three steps in one!

Step 1: Create Pattern
Lay your model leggings out flat, then fold them in half on your pattern paper. Align the legs with the straight edge of your pattern paper, then draw around them with 1/4" s.a. down the bottom to the crotch, and the crotch to the feet. Add an extra 1.5" to the top of the pants, and 1" to the legs. Cut out your pattern.

Step 2: Cut
Fold your fabric in half lengthwise. Pin your pattern piece to the fabric with the straight side on the fold. Cut out the fabric. Repeat this step to create another leg for the leggings.

Step 3: Hem
Lay both leg pieces out flat. Hem the legs of the pants by folding the bottom of the legs under 1" and using a double needle to sew in place with 3/4" s.a. If you don't have a double needle, fold the legs under twice at .5 inch and use a straight stitch to sew in place.

Step 4: Crotch and Bottom
Lay one pant leg out flat with the right side up, and lay the other pant leg on top of it with the right side facing down (right-sides together). Pin the two pieces together along the front and back where the crotch and bottom will be. Use a straight stitch to sew, followed by a zig-zag stitch on the outside of the straight seam to prevent fraying, or use a double needle, both with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 5: Legs
Now, with right sides still facing each other, lay out the leggings so that you are no longer looking at the side of the pants, but the behind of the pants, or the front. Pin each leg to itself and use a straight stitch and zig-zag stitch, or a double needle to go around the legs and crotch to sew closed.

Step 6: Waist
Measure how long your child is around the waist using a measuring tape, or just holding the elastic around her waist to see how wide she is (My daughter is 19"). Set the elastic aside. Fold the top of the leggings under 1.5 inches and use a double needle to sew around the entire pant opening except for two inches in the back (fold the top of the leggings down 1" and then .5" under if you're using a straight stitch).

Step 7: Elastic
Slide your elastic through the casing (the tube that's now in the waistband). Overlap the ends by 1 inch and zig-zag stitch them together. Then sew the 2-inch bit of waistband that you left open to insert the elastic closed, with the elastic safely inside.

Get ready for fall! It's crazy how much faster time goes when you've got little ones, don't you think?

I can't believe that school is already starting again and that fall is nearly upon us! For some people, the beginning of the school year is exciting, and for some, it's not. Either way, be sure to stop bThe Girl Who Loved to Write and enter the giveaway. It's sure to brighten your back-to-school mood! Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!



August 23, 2013
TA-DA! Welcome to my new blog look! I have been DYING to get it up, but decided to wait until today so that I could work out some kinks. It's been quite the learning experience, in SO many ways!
Have you ever found yourself browsing through your favorite blogs and finding one that made you think, "Oh! I love the look of this one! I want mine to look like that!" Then you go to your blog, mess around a bit until you've made almost a complete replica of your "inspiration" blog.
Growing up as the last of twelve children has made me a master copier. I always wanted to dress just like my best friend, Robyn in elementary school so that we could be twins the next day, until her mom asked me to stop calling so late at night, or early in the morning. In high school, when I would decide what to wear, I'd think, "Do I want to look like Jessica today, Liz, or Linz?" And then there were the extra-curricular activities. Of course, I enjoyed all of them, but a lot of the reason I even considered participating in them was because someone else in my family did it.
So when I came across this article, I knew it applied to me. I had recently completely re-designed my blog after my "inspiration" blog when I read this and realized that what I was doing was copying someone else's art. Sure, the colors were different, but if the artist of my inspiration blog were to stop by my blog, she would recognize it in a second.
Not only did I experience the graphic-designing-artist-copy-cat guilt trip of a lifetime, but I was faced with the dilemma of discovering my own identity. Not only of how my blog looks, but of who I am as a blogger. Am I a fashion blogger? A tutorial blogger? A lifestyle blogger? What am I? Have any of you ever experienced this dilemma?
I'm a think-talker. Talking to people helps me think things out, which actually turns into a breached dam of speech-no filter. And that's why I called my mom. In the midst of my waterfall of words, I discovered that what I do best and enjoy more than anything are the things I do every day (doi!). Although I still love shopping and traveling, they're not really what make me, ME. Plus, I don't have the funds to be a for-real fashion or traveling blogger Maybe someday I'll get more into that, but that's not who I am right now.
No, what I enjoy most is sewing, teaching, graphic designing and photography (a slowly developing talent), and my family. And thus, I came to the conclusion that I will no longer to try to be something I am not, or show a side of me on my blog that I am not.
So, welcome to my blog, readers. I am me, and you are you. Let's get to know each other. Show what we're most proud of, share what we learn, and admit our mistakes. That's what blogging (and social media in general) are for, right? Thanks for stopping by today. I look forward to getting to know you. Please leave a comment with your own blog, instagram, twitter, etc. I would love to meet you.


P.S. I reserve the right to re-design my blog at any time to fit the style that I feel like, because I'm still trying to find what I like best. Thank you!



August 19, 2013
Even though I went to college THE DAY after graduation, I still had some time between summer semester and fall semester to enjoy the summer, and I got to take the summer memories with me. One of the best tips I can give you is this:
Don't spend spend so much time looking forward to the beginning of school that you forget that there's still one (two, three, whatever) weeks left of summer break.

No one in our family is starting school this year, but it still affects us (mostly because everyone else is and none of them will have time to do fun stuff anymore), so we're soaking in the summer-time sun and fun while we can. Here's what we did this weekend:

We played in a couple of bounce houses (for maybe 10 seconds each)
We met (and pet) a 14-foot python and a hungry tortoise!
We also met Captain Jack Sparrow on his ship, The Black Pearl, and Leo the Lion of Real Salt Lake!
Well, I was excited to meet Leo. Maybe Chelsea will like him more in a couple of years.
And then, on our way home from the BBQ, we saw an estate sale and met two fine cowboys, a bounty hunter and a giant roadrunner!
But this is why we REALLY stopped.
Can't stand in the way of a man and his love for cars!

My point is, be spontaneous and willing to step out of your comfort zone. Maybe you'll learn more about life and about yourself. Be willing to try new things and make some memories. I always get excited for the first day of school,  but when January comes around and the snow is almost more than I can bear, it's the summer memories that keep me warm (CHEESE!) Keep it real!



August 16, 2013
Ever since I was born, and all throughout high school, my mother woke up to make our family breakfast before school. We were really lucky that way. Some mornings we just had cereal, but for the most part, we had really good breakfasts. Waffles, Cream of Wheat, eggs, oatmeal with toast, etc. On our birthdays, Mom made us pancakes. One pancake for each year we were old, and we were expected to eat all of them (she made them smaller as we grew older so that we could).
This week's favorite foods linkup is for breakfast, and I want to share a pancake recipe. This recipe is for Cinnamon Banana Pancakes and is the BEST way to wake up in the morning (although waffles are really good, too)!

What do you like to eat for breakfast? Grab a Favorite Foods linkup button and join in the fun! It's a great way to meet new friends and get new followers. Plus, I'll be viewing your recipes and compiling them into a Blogger's Favorites recipe download for anyone who wants it, so be sure to tell your friends!

  • You must link the actual website of the recipe, not just your blog.
  • You must paste the favorite foods button somewhere within the recipe post.
  • You must share the recipe in the post that you link to, not just pictures of the outcome, because that's just mean!
You have all week to linkup and I can't wait to see your recipes! Happy cooking!



August 13, 2013
College isn't like your high school. For one thing, it's a lot bigger, and odds are there are some pretty confusing buildings on campus (the Snow Building and the Spori Building at BYU-I for instance), but let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you're new to campus, you probably don't even know which building is which. So here are a few tips for before the first day of school.
  1. Get a map - Just a simple map that shows all the buildings and what their names are will do. That way, you can begin to get your bearings around campus.
  2. Print off your schedule, or save it as a photo on your phone for easier access.
  3. Create a route from class to class, or class to home on your map that you've printed out.
  4. Test out your route - Go to each building where you have a class and find your actual classroom. This will save you time (and tardiness) on the first day. My first day at BYU-Provo, I didn't even know where the correct building for one of my classes was and showed up a half-hour late with tears streaming down my face. True story.
  5. Get your student ID - this is kind of important since everyone and their mom will be asking you for your ID number.
  6. The most important day-before tip of all... Pick out your first day outfit!
So, you want something that will make a statement and will tell a story about yourself, but isn't overly flashy. You want something that will reflect the norm for your wardrobe so you don't show up one day and all the guys be like, "DAAAAANG" and then the next day the guys be like "Woof" (That's code for "ugly." I didn't figure that one out until college after asking my husband what some guy in high school meant when he said it to me. Ouch.).
My first day outfit was an empire-waisted, green polka-dotted shirt and some jeans (it was in style then!), but if I were going to college again, this would be one of my picks. It's got just the right amount of summer-time lovin', teacher impressin', and eye attention:

Back to school: First Day

Back to school: First Day by susan-andrewchelsea featuring canvas bags

The shoes are the PERFECT pick because they're sensible. Do not even THINK about wearing heels your first day (unless you wear heels all the time and have developed the proper calluses). Since it's the first day of school, light baggage is an okay, but get a really good backpack for the heavy-load days.
At BYU-Idaho, the honor code doesn't allow for shorts or capris, but I'd roll the pant legs up a couple times. And the shirt, shades, watch, and belt? Love them. Peplum is very flattering on a lot of body types and the lace gives it that perfect touch of sweetness, don't you think?

What are you going to wear your first day of school?



August 7, 2013
I've given this a lot of thought, and I have come to the conclusion that I have married one of the most famous and well-known romantic novel characters of all time.

When I first met Drew, it was in the doorway of my apartment at BYU-Idaho. My roommates opened the door and there stood two men who introduced themselves. Drew stood tall in the back, quiet, but confident. The moment I saw him, I thought, "I want to go on a date with that guy," although I was concerned that he would be way too cool for me. He didn't speak much that night and left without hardly a word.
It was a couple of weeks later when we spoke, but this time I wasn't interested in him, but rather another man attending the social gathering. By then, I was over him, although I did entertain his tales of four-wheeling and soccer for a while until I came up with an excuse to escape.
It wasn't until a month or so later that we had our first date then started steadily dating, but it didn't last long. Five months following, Mr. Drew proclaimed his affections for me and I denied him because I was going to BYU Provo. Despite my rebuff, he met me at my apartment in Provo and we continued meeting from there. At one time, I was caught in a situation where I did not know where I was and needed rescue. I called Drew who made arrangements and rescued me. Soon after that, we proclaimed our affections and were married.

Remind you of any characters you know and love?

  • Quiet
  • Confident (at times, maybe a little too confident)
  • Tall
  • Handsome
  • Persistent
  • Patient
  • A great friend
  • Doesn't wear his feelings on his sleeve
  • Not exactly what you'd call... sensitive, though he does have his moments
  • Love language: Service
  • Comes off as "too cool" when you first meet him
  • Mysterious

Sound like any romantic novel characters that you know? Pity Jane Austen didn't write a sequel.

-Mrs. Drew


August 5, 2013
I learned something a few years ago that I have never forgotten. Recent events with friends have recalled it to mind and in an effort to save what I have learned and hopefully help any readers looking for answers, I am sharing it here.
It is my belief that one of the hardest things for we as humans to learn in our lives is how we receive revelation, or communication from the Lord. I am still learning how to listen to and understand His will for me, but I have learned that discerning revelation from the Lord is a lot like driving.
Before you get your driver's license, you find yourself in your Dad's old-person car that turns on the headlights automatically (so you don't forget) and has brakes more sensitive than that one girl in high school. At first, you make plenty of mistakes, not stopping early enough, stopping too soon, speeding, etc. etc. and each time, your father lovingly (albeit sternly) corrects you so you know what you did wrong and not make that mistake again in the future. The more you practice, the more you get a feel for the car, laws, and road and your father's corrections become fewer and fewer in between. Eventually, you get to a point where your father isn't saying anything anymore, even if that was the best left turn anyone's ever seen! Every now-and-then, you can't help but peek out of the corner of your eye to see if Dad's squirming or not, but he remains silent, until you run that red light (again).
When we're driving safely and following all the traffic laws, there's no need for Dad to say anything about it to us, and so he doesn't. It doesn't mean that we're doing something wrong or that he doesn't care. It just means that he trusts us enough to make the right decisions that will keep us safe. He will intervene when something we've done is wrong or unsafe.
Receiving revelation is like a stoplight. Sometimes when we pray, we get a solid green light, an undeniable truth that tells us to move forward. Sometimes we get a red light, warning us against the dangers that lie ahead if we continue. And sometimes we get a yellow light.
When the light turns yellow, we are no longer receiving a black and white, yes or no answer. Our question suddenly turns into a choice that is left up to us and our knowledge of the situation. It's no longer a question of can I go forward, but should I go forward. The yellow light is a time for reflection and study. Are you going to go, or will you stop? Is there danger ahead, or will you be okay?
The yellow light is the Lord's way of saying, "I trust you to study the question in your mind and make the wisest decision for yourself." He does not wish to tell us everything we must do. He wants us to experience life and to grow personally, and we cannot do this if we are being told exactly what we can and can not do. The Lord loves us enough to allow us to make our own decisions and maybe make a few mistakes, but he will always correct us when we go wrong, as long as we are willing to hear him. That is why He gave us agency.
Nothing can be more frustrating, and yet, so enabling as a silent yellow light. When I was deciding whether or not to marry Andrew, I prayed and prayed and prayed, but all I got was that yellow light. At the time, it was hard to understand whether or not that yellow light, or lack of answer, was an answer in-and-of itself telling me that Andrew wasn't right for me. But I knew that he was a good man and I knew that I loved him very much. It wasn't until I had decided to go forward, take a step, or leap, of faith that I received my green light.
Now that I look back on that experience, I am so grateful that I didn't get the green light right away. I look back and think to myself, "Self? You did good," and I think that's important. If there ever comes a time in our marriage where things are just really hard, I feel like I can look back on my initial decision to marry my husband and be reminded that he was my choice, and I can always feel proud that of all the choices I've made in my life, at least I made one that was right.
Don't be frustrated because you're not getting an answer, and don't believe, even for a second, that the Lord doesn't care about you or your circumstance. Anything that is important to you is important to Him. You are His child and He will always be there to help and support you. Maybe instead of asking for a yes-or-no answer to our problem when we're receiving a yellow light, it's time to ask for strength and a clear mindset so that we can make a wise decision. He will always hear you, and He will always help, but please... Keep your eyes on the road!



August 2, 2013
I know I've been talking about food lately, and it must be because I actually have a house with a kitchen and all the "regular" appliances, and let me tell you... cooking/baking is much more enjoyable with a dishwasher to help you clean up.
One thing I have been struggling with is coming up with a menu for my family of three. I feel like we're eating the same dinners over and over and over again because of my lack of creativity (and lack of funds). Trust me, I've got PLENTY of great recipes I want to try, if it weren't for the "odd ingredients."
Anyway, it's because of this dilemma that I'm looking to you, readers and bloggers alike, for help! That's why I'm starting a Friday Favorite Foods linkup! Every Friday, I'm going to post a new recipe I've tried and loved and invite you to share one of your own! Sometimes it'll be just breakfast ideas, sometimes lunch, dinner, and (probably a lot more often) desserts. Why don't we start this off right?
Today is just the announcement of the beginning of a new era... or, just announcing that next week is when the linkup will officially start, and I want to start it all off with a recipe I just tried for a delicious Chocolate Italian Love Cake. I've never heard of this before, and you better believe that I found it on Pinterest! Let's begin, shall we?


Author: Adapted from Paula Deen, c/o
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins   Cook time: 1 hour  Cool time: 6 hours
Serves: 15

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix, and the ingredients needed to make the cake according to the package
  • 2 lbs. ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (5.1 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Set aside.
  3. In another bow, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread to fill the pan evenly. Once the cake batter is in place, carefully pour the cheese mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter. Spread to cover the cake batter as best as you can.
  5. Bake the cake at 350* for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Once the cake is cool, stir the pudding mix and milk together with a whisk until combined. Carefully, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined.
  7. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.
  8. ENJOY!

It may take a little time, and I'll admit, not the cheapest dessert around, but this stuff is g-ood, ESPECIALLY on the second day.

So start gathering your thoughts, recipes, and ideas and get ready to start linking up with me next week! At the end of each week, I'll gather all the shared recipes and compile them into a Blogger's Favorite Foods recipe book to share with everyone! So if you want it to be good, make sure you share your recipes and get your fellow bloggers to share. Let's make this fun (and tasty)!
For next week's linkup, feel free to share any type of recipe you feel so inclined to share, whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or just a snack. I'll see you there!

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