How to NOT plan your Honeymoon in one easy step

I would love to give you the answer to the title of this post right away... but then where is the fun in that? I've been waiting for a special occasion to tell this story and I figured our one year anniversary was the perfect time! 

Anyways, let me start from the beginning. 

When Marc and I were planning our honeymoon, we decided that we wanted to spend as much time as possible in our destination (Puerto Rico), so we planned to get married in the morning and fly out of Utah that afternoon. This would get us into Puerto Rico at around 5 AM the next day. 

We knew our hotel wouldn't let us check in till mid-morning at the earliest, but we comforted ourselves with the fact that the ocean and warm beach would be a perfect nap place while we waited for our room to be available. 

Doesn't that sound romantic? Dash off right after a small ceremony to a small island where we'd sun bathe and get a nice tan? I thought it did. 

We started our first flight in high spirits. We were off on an adventure! I couldn't believe I was traveling with my best friend to an exotic destination! I kept pinching myself to check if it was real.

The high spirits faded into exhaustion after getting MARRIED, three flights, and only eating McDonalds in each airport. When we finally got to Puerto Rico I was really looking forward to a shower and some fluffy blankets to cuddle up and sleep in... I could care less about the beach. But we made it! All we had to do was find a taxi to take us to the hotel!

After a ten minute roller-coaster taxi ride (complete with immediate stops and 0-50 mph starts), we arrived at the little boutique hotel. Taxi-man then said something in Spanish, but my brain that had been up for about 24 hours couldn't translate the number he'd said fast enough to give a response, so after a couple awkward seconds of silence from both Marc and I, taxi-man said "Fifty-five dollars." This immediately woke me up. Fifty-five dollars for a ten minute ride!? He had to be joking! But neither of us cared to argue, we just wanted to get settled in the hotel. So we paid his crazy amount and dragged our feet to the lobby. 

The hotel was adorable. Even as tired as I was, I took the time to take in each cozy detail as we waited to be helped. As I took in the Mediterranean styled details, I also realized that there was no place for us to hang out or nap. The boutique was quite small and only had one little love seat in the "lobby". 

"Woah, you guys are suuuuper early..." desk-guy stated after finding our reservation in the computer. We sleepily chuckled and said, "Yeah... we took a red-eye flight." 

"Oh, okay! Well... your room won't be ready till around 1 PM today. But you can leave your bags here with us until it's ready! We also have a roof with couches and a pool you can come back to when we open at 7 AM." 

My heart sank at the realization I'd have to do without my shower and soft bed for another 7 or 8 hours. But I was glad he could take our bags. So we left our bags and went back to the dark outside to a little bench that overlooked a bay with some city lights reflecting in the waves. The lights were pretty, and it was fairly warm so Marc and I sat and watched the pretty New Years lights for a while. It felt pretty romantic except for the occasional shouts of early morning partiers. We were beginning to settle in our little spot... then I saw some drunk men walk around the corner and right to the edge of the bay. 

"Uh, is that guy peeing?" I whispered to Marc my eyes wide with disbelief. 

"No.... yeah. Yep. Ooookay let's walk someplace else." He said. 

We walked down the street in a daze. The sun was finally creeping up... but it creeped into a cloud-filled sky. All dreams of sitting on the warm beach faded on that chilly walk. As we walked, we passed the Vanderbilt and Ritz Carlton hotels. Our hotel was on hotel row apparently. Since leaving Utah, we'd only eaten McDonalds in the airports, so like any other bored and tired American, we decided to go eat something. 

One of the hotels had a Denny's connected to it, so we dragged our feet up the steps into the diner. When I think "Denny's" I think about a quiet, greasy, breakfast restaurant, with elderly folks eating pie and coffee. Walking into this particular Denny's was NOTHING like that. We could barely hear each other over the club-like music, and it was dark inside, with a bar going down the entire length of the restaurant. Over in the corner was a table of sequin-clad hussies in hoochie-mama heels. We'd landed in the only club Denny's in the world. 

After an interesting and conversationally quiet (I don't think Marc and I exchanged more than ten words) meal in club Denny's, we decided to go back to our hotel and try to nap on the roof on their promised couches. The roof was very well put together, they did have several couches and a mini-bar with tables for the night scene. Marc and I collapsed on the couches, and no sooner had I closed my eyes, when it started to rain... 

"You know..." I half-chuckled as I zipped up my hoodie and looked across at Marc, "This will probably be hilarious tomorrow." 

Marc just shook his head with a sleepy smile on his face, "And your dad told me to take care of you... I'm doing a lousy job of that so far." 

"Ohhhh come on! Club Denny's was fun!" I said sarcastically as I laid back down. 

Thankfully, the hotel staff took pity on us (probably because we both looked trashed), and finished cleaning our room 3 hours earlier than promised, free of charge! I have never appreciated a shower and a cozy bed more in my life! Our room was beautiful, and the rest of our trip will always be one of my favorite vacations... but we learned a very valuable lesson that day: Never start your honeymoon on a red-eye flight with a hotel room that won't be available till 1 PM! In fact, take your wedding day easy. Get a hotel in town or go home, heck! Even eat at a normal Denny's and load up on breakfast and pie! But whatever you do... don't do what we did. 

There you have it. How to not plan your honeymoon in one step! Even though I wouldn't change ours for the world. It makes a good story. Happy First Anniversary, Marc! I love you.


Five Christmas Goodies

"Marc! Smell this dessert!" I scurried across the kitchen to the table where we had just finished lunch and shoved the chocolate-y dessert under his nose. 

Before he could get a proper whiff, I quickly took the pan away so he couldn't swipe his finger into the dish and steal any. Then I promptly shoved it back under his nose to which he just gave me a quizzical and humored look. 

"So... we aren't trying any of it?" he asked eagerly yet slightly annoyed. 

"No! If we eat some we won't have enough to give out, and I'll have to make more. Which means I'd have to go back to town, and buy more ingredients, and it I don't have time to do that." (First world probs am I right?) 

Christmas is my favorite time of year. My mom and Grandma would make dozens of cookies every year. We'd have pies, fudge, sugar cookies, ginger cookies, homemade snickers, peppermint bark, ginger bread with lemon sauce... and an assortment of chocolate treats. Needless to say, there were several years as a child that I made myself sick with the excitement of gifts mixed with all the chocolate. 

This year is Marc and I's first Christmas together as a married couple, and I've loved starting to create our own new family traditions with him. Baking has carried over since I cannot seem to have Christmas without chocolate and goodies! With two part-time jobs and a new puppy, I haven't found time to bake quite as much as my mom always did (I don't know HOW she pulled off so many goodies), but I managed to bust out the cookie sheets and trays to make 5 yummies! Andddd here are the recipes in case anyone wants to try out some new treats!


Chocolate-Dipped Ginger Cookies
These are my families FAVORITE cookies. Here is the recipe we use to create these sugary-gingery-yummies!

3/4 Cup Shortening
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg
5 Tbsp. Molasses (or more)
2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt

Combine in order. Form into 1 Tbsp balls, roll in sugar and bake 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 
Melt white chocolate and dip cookies. Place on wax paper to cool. 


Rocky Road
Chocolate and marshmallow and peanuts. Need I say more? We ALWAYS have this at Christmas, and it's super easy peasy to make.

1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
3 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 Cup Salted Nuts

Prepare 8x8 square pan with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter in a medium pan on Low. When melted, mix in marshmallows and nuts till combined. Press into prepared pan and chill. (Best to store in refrigerator)

Powdered Sugar Fudge
We always had fudge for Christmas, and this is not a recipe I got from my family, but it's easy and came out so yummy and creamy! Find the recipe here. (I pressed Christmas-colored sprinkles into the top before I chilled the fudge).

Easy Peppermint Bark
Easy is what I look for in a recipe ;) Especially when I feel pressed for time. This peppermint bark is delicious. I have to hide it so I won't eat all of it... Find the recipe here.


Cow Sugar Cookies
Marc farms and ranches. So naturally I made cow-shaped cookies for our neighbors and friends. The first batch I tried to make black frosting using the primary colors that come in the normal pack of food coloring... and it ended in a puke green color... so don't try that! Buy black food coloring, buy black icing, save yourself!! 

1 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/2 Cups Sifted Flour

Cream Butter and Sugar together, beat in egg. Add Vanilla, Salt, and Sifted Flour. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Chill dough 3-4 hours before rolling. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Roll out 1/4" thick and cut. Bake 8-10 minutes or until barely colored. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. 

3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar (sifted)
1 Tb. Butter
1 Tb. Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Lemon Juice

Melt butter and combine all ingredients. Beat until smooth. *Add food coloring if desired.

Merry Christmas! Whether you celebrate with baked goods or not, may you be filled with the joy and love of Jesus as we celebrate His coming!