The Backwards Date

Mr.Layland offered to plan our Friday evening last week! He told me we would most likely be staying at home and having a low-key date.

After a long week I was totally fine with that. However, when I got home he was waiting for me on the couch and he asked if I was ready to go.

“Go? I thought we were staying in?”

“Well we were – then plans changed! We’re going out! Well not yet – we have to eat dessert first.”

Dessert first = best date I’ve ever heard of in my life. Our date began with a Tres Leches cake and the perfect amount of delicious frosting!

*Bonus points*

After we ate half the cake we headed out for a night of sales shopping. Mr.Layland scored a pair of jeans for under $10 and a sweatshirt for under $10 and I spent over $100 on new makeup.

Yeah – not exactly savings but I decided it would be part of my graduation present 🙂

For those ladies who are curious, I went with the new liquid foundation by Bare Minerals and I love it! I also invested in a few brushes and their translucent setting powder. It’s really fantastic, check it out!

When I finished my makeover we headed to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. It was the perfect timing because I was hungry once we got done at the mall and then I realized we still had to eat dinner! Awesome!

It was 9 o’clock and as you can imagine it’s not a super busy time for a pizza place so we were a little under-served. Mr. Layland drinks water faster than any waiter can keep up with and that night was no exception.

Instead of coming by every 5 minutes to check on us we waited about 10 minutes before someone came by with water again. I know, I know #firstworldproblems but the pizza was as delicious as ever!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Make-It-Your-Own Movie Night

Raise your hand if you like movies!

I love movies but lately I’ve turned into a 95-year-old woman and fall asleep around 9:30 if we’re watching something. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. I designed this date to be more than a night where you just watch a movie together and call it a day.

I checked out To Kill A Mockingbird from the library (check your library for a DVD section!) because Mr. Layland had never seen it. I know, I know. Not sure how he’s made it this far in life without it but I think I got to him in time.

Since the movie is told from the perspective of Scout, the 6 year-old girl, I decided to gather up some childhood themed treats for us to enjoy while we watched it.

When I bought those Kool-Aid Burst drinks I automatically felt like I should be sitting at the popular table in 5th grade 🙂 I wonder if they’re still cool. They’re only $1 for six so if they are still cool, popularity is much cheaper now.

I was crazy about Muddy Buddies as a kid and luckily we had some on hand! Same with the pudding cups. I seriously scored with my timing. I had everything I needed!

As for the smoothies, when I was a kid I was convinced that if I wanted a treat all I had to do was make enough to share with my parents and they would be so thrilled with my offering that I could then eat the rest. I have to say my smoothie making skills have come a LONG way since I was 10 so these were actually really delicious!

Sorry Mom & Dad, pretty sure those smoothies were mostly juice, yogurt & sugar 🙂

I wish I could say I managed to stay awake for the whole movie but alas, I still fell asleep. In my defense I did make it past 9:30!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

The Gardening Life

I live in Arizona. Not much grows here.

If it does, it’s because there are some amazing plants that can survive the 115 degree summer that sometimes even I don’t think I can live through. They do it though!

I’m from North Carolina – where everything grows. As long as you can dig through the red clay and get some rich soil in your garden you’ll be set. One year we grew so much zucchini that we ended up giving a few to the UPS guy!

This is the first time I’ve tried gardening in a different climate and since I’m not fond of straight up killing things – I decided to start small.

This is a grouping of three different succulents that I bought about three months ago from Lowe’s. They need water about once a week and partial sun if they’re outside. They’re super easy to take care of and exactly the kinda of plant a new Arizona gardener should start off with.

About a month and a half ago I ventured into more real gardening and ended up with a beautiful little patio tomato plant.

Look! I have one tomato!

It’s my little baby…and probably the only one I’ll get. When I first saw it at about the size of a blueberry I got super excited and wanted to Instagram it — but figured that might be a little pathetic. So I guess I waited until now when it’s a little larger than a cherry tomato!

Right now isn’t the best time for tomatoes in Arizona, the heat is getting to be too much for it. It typically needs full sun but when I had it out in the morning sun the leaves started to wrinkle up. I have it out of the sun now – mostly just hoping that I can get this ONE tomato to turn red and then “harvest” it and start earlier next year.

I’ve had a lot of fun keeping up with my little plants and even came up with a DIY project to go along with it!

See that wine bottle? It’s my watering can 🙂 I got it out of the recycling of the family I nanny for and decided it would make the perfect watering can.

I got a drawer pull from Hobby Lobby ($2) and super glued the ends to some cotton fabric and attached that to the bottle.

I’ve been using it for about a month and it’s working like a dream! When I get a real garden I’ll invest in a bigger (and real) watering can but for now, it works!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

I Love You Because

You know when you’re in that thing called love?

But you’re also really busy with that thing called life? How do you share your love with that special someone when both of you are so busy and just fitting in a date is difficult?

For the past few months Mr. Layland has had almost the opposite work schedule from me so our time together is mostly on the weekends.

This romantic DIY project has helped us to stay close even when we don’t see each other as much as we would like.

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UPDATE: I recently switched out the paper to coordinate with our new bedroom. I got the paper at JoAnn’s and absolutely love the little hearts!

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The first time I saw this in action it said, “I love you because…you did the dishes!” My cousin Travis and his wife Lexi are one of the cutest and happiest couples I know and it was their I Love You Because frame that I saw first.

I loved that idea so much that I made one for Mr. Layland last Christmas! Sometimes the things Mr. Layland writes on our frame are so sweet it completely makes my day.

What you need:

1 Matted frame (8×10 or bigger)

1 Sheet of scrapbook paper

1 Set of alphabet stickers

1 Dry Erase Marker

Take the mat out of the frame and use the outside edges to trace a rectangle on the back of the scrapbook paper. Cut the paper along the lines. Insert the mat and paper back into the frame. Spell out “I Love You Because…” along the top and you’re set to start writing cute little notes!

You can also add your anniversary date at the bottom. The 143 in mine means “I love you”.

This frame is one of my favorite things we have. It’s not only cute & people think it’s really sweet when they come over but it makes it easy to compliment each other! It’s allowed both of us to express our feelings and helped us to know that the little things we do don’t go unnoticed.

It takes thirty seconds to write a message and you never know, those words can change your loved ones’ day!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Rope Tire Ottoman

Every once in a while I get these crazy ideas for altering clothes or refinishing furniture and when it makes sense in my mind I go for it!

The lady I nanny for has one of those crocheted poof foot rests and I love it but I would have no idea where to start on making my own. So instead I thought, “It’s about the size of a tire…what if you covered a tire in rope & gave it this really cool spiral look?!”

So I did what any woman would do nowadays and I searched “rope tire ottoman” on Pinterest.

Someone had already thought of it! It’s always a bummer when you realize you’re not as original as you thought you were but at the same time seeing those results come up proved that I had a good idea!

 

Instructions

  1. Clean and dry the tire. Depending on where you pick it up, it could be really filthy, so take it outside to suds it up, rinse it off and dry it thoroughly.
  2.  Use the hot glue gun to secure the wood circles to the openings on either side of the tire. Hot glue dries quickly so you may have to set the circle in place and then secure it around the edges.
  3. You are ready to completely cover the tire with rope. To start, wrap the rope around itself in a flat spiral effect so there are no gaps. Using the hot glue gun, secure the first few coils while turning the rope in your hand. Lay the flat coiled rope in the center of the horizontal tire and continue winding and gluing as you go until the wrapped rope continues down the sides of the tire, completely covering it. Make sure to glue the rope together while also attaching it to the tire to get a tight spiral.
  4. When the rope has reached the base of the tire, cut it and securely glue the edge down.

At this point you have a few style options: Leave it as-is and set it in place for display, continue the rope spiral to the other side giving it a reversible effect, or attach couch feet for added height and polish.

It was definitely a learning experience for me – 25 feet sure doesn’t reach as far as I thought it should! If you end up trying it out please let me know how it went in the comments below! Good luck!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

 

The 8-Question Date

Some nights Mr. Layland gets home late from work and I’m officially 90 years-old so I can only stay awake until about 11 o’clock. So what do you do on those nights when you only have thirty minutes together before one of you (me) starts talking nonsense?

Try this out.

It’s the 8-Question Date! You can make it ahead of time (I made mine when I had some down time at work) and have it ready for those short evenings together! You make a fortune teller or a cootie catcher or whatever you used to call it in Elementary School and customize it for a get-to-know-you date.

 

Here are the questions I used:

  1. Who is your hero?
  2. What is your biggest fear?
  3. What’s a new hobby you’d like to try?
  4. Name for top 5 past times.
  5. What desires do you have that we haven’t discussed?
  6. Tell me something I don’t know about you.
  7. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
  8. How did you feel loved this week?

I love this game because if you don’t have time for anything else, at least the two of you will get about 20 minutes of really good talking time!

That’s life with Mr. Layland &  Me!

 

 

Waterpark Fun

I heard a commercial on the radio for the Wet ‘n Wild water park last weekend and thought, “Wow, that sounds like so much fun!” Not to mention it’s consistently been 106 for the past two weeks. Seriously. Apparently this week I was really into surprise dates.

I’m the worst at keeping my own secret date ideas to myself because I get so excited about them but THIS one, I was determined not to tell until that day. So I kept it all to myself until I sent Mr. Layland these really obvious clues.

He guessed it right on his first try.

HINT #1 – You will need your swimsuit tonight.

HINT #2 – At some point we might feel a little LAZY.

HINT #3 – Things might get WILD!

When we spotted the water park from the road I got really excited. I know it was my surprise for Mr. Layland but I honestly think I was more excited. I tend to get a little enthusiastic about new things and heck – it’s a water park! Who doesn’t love that?

We got there and I felt like it was my first time at Disney World. We stashed our stuff in a locker, snapped a quick pic and we were off!

Photo: Wet 'n Wild date night!!! So much fun - best idea ever!!!#mrlaylandandme #waterparkdate #anothersurprisedate #whataweek #truelove #racetothefinish

I won’t go into detail of each ride we went on but I’ll describe my top three.

The Constrictor is a super windy tube slide. It’s dark the whole time and has a few surprising short drops. It was thrilling and we screamed like little girls.

Mammoth Falls was borderline terrifying. We got to cut the line because a mother and son needed another set of two so we only waited for about 20 minutes. The first 10 seconds is a twisted tube slide but then it DROPS. We’re talking Splash Mountain kind of drop…except I was backwards. Backwards! Right before we slipped over the edge I looked over at Mr. Layland and screamed at the top of my lungs. The drop swoops up a wall and you slide down into a shallow pool. All I have to say is, watching the ride in no way prepares you for it!

The third best was another two-person funnel ride, Maximum Velocity. I was surprised at how fast we went, it was just like a roller coaster! It’s a two person ride which was fun because we got to scream as much as we wanted and not bother other riders.

We decided that all the rides are faster and more exciting at night 🙂 It was the most exciting four hours you could have asked for and worth every penny!

 

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Yesterday at work I came up with a fantastic date idea. It’s ‘A Walk Down Memory Lane’ wedding themed date! I got the idea for the outfit choice from an anniversary date idea blog. Mr. Layland & I have been married for 7 months on Sunday so our 1st anniversary is still a few months away.

This idea would be better suited for an anniversary but I’m not the best at waiting when I come up with something fun to do. So we did it and had a great time!

I printed out a Welcome Home sign along with a description of two date ideas, one of which was this “Darling Date”. I set out a grey suit in the upstairs bathroom along with the tie Mr. Layland wore on our wedding day. He texted me his date choice (luckily it was this brand new date idea) while he was getting ready so I jumped into my wedding dress and forgot that it takes two people to actually zip into it. Ooops!

I had him come downstairs to help me and surprised him then with my outfit for the night. It was actually a really sweet moment ❤ Once I got situated in my dress we headed off to the Chick-fil-a drive thru! The high school kid at the window smiled when he saw my dress as if to say “Well! I know what story I’ll be telling all MY friends later!” As he gave Mr. Layland back his card he failed to suppress a huge smile as he asked, “So uhh…what are you guys up to tonight?” I giggled and Mr. Layland smiled and coughed a little then responded, “Oh ya know, just hanging out.”

Like this is a thing people do.

We took our dinner to the 5th level of a parking garage to look out at the city lights and take some pictures. I love the lights at night here. I haven’t spent much time outside since I moved to Arizona because of the heat but last night was lovely.

On our wedding day we stopped to take a walk around a park before the family luncheon so we drove there and recreated our walk. It was a nice chance to talk about the past 6 months and our feelings and expectations for the future. I can’t believe almost 7 months have gone by since that day we got married!

We both agreed we love each other more now than on our wedding day and I expect that love will continue to grow ❤

When we got home I made double chocolate fudge brownies and we watched Guys & Dolls. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and some good entertainment to finish off a wonderful and memorable night!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

 

Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies

If there is one thing that reminds me of home it’s ridiculously moist and gooey brownies. For whatever reason I haven’t made brownies since I got married so last night I decided to change that. To finish off our Walk Down Memory Lane date I made these double chocolate fudge brownies and thought about them all day.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy & the results are heavenly. I picked up a Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix from Walgreens on my way home and luckily had chocolate chips on hand!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C water
  • 2/3 C oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the contents of the package with the water, oil and eggs. Fold in 12 oz chocolate chips. Spread the mixture into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 24-26 minutes. Let cool.

Growing up we always left the middle brownie for my mother because we’re a moist-centers-are-the-best kind of brownie family. Now that I’m the woman of the house I guess it’s just my right to take the center brownie! I’ll admit that the entire pan is delicious so it didn’t really matter to me.

The brownies only lasted 24 hours in our house. Good luck making them last in yours!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Camelback Mountain

You have to try it!

We have attempted to summit Camelback Mountain on two different dates. The first time, the sun set before we got to the top so we had to turn around. The second time, everyone and their dog (literally) decided to hike Camelback that day which made for a very crowded trail.

I’m determined to make it to the top eventually! It’s a fun and challenging hike. I say challenging but families bring their small children and hike it together. I secretly hope they don’t make it to the top because it would be sad if some 7 year-old can beat me out on a hike.

I’m from North Carolina where our hiking trails are surrounded by trees and only at a look out point can you see the valleys below. Here in Arizona you can see the valleys below the entire time. No trees. Lots of rock. I love hiking Camelback because I think I’m rock climbing. Mr. Layland is less convinced.

I’ll admit, the first time we hiked it I was still new to the landscape of Arizona and was amazed at the very rock I stood on. The second time, I was less amazed and really just wanted to get to the top. The mountain never ended though! The trail kept going and going and going. It got to a point where I was convinced there WAS no summit and in fact, this was just a rouse to get people to hike this never-ending mountain. Then it occurred to me that as much as we had climbed UP we now had to climb DOWN. I would have made a terrible pioneer because the thought of going back down that mountain almost made me cry.

That’s when I decided that Camelback should have a chairlift with a few stations along the way. So when you’re me & all you want to do is be done and get a chocolate Frosty at Wendy’s — you can hop on that chairlift and move on with your life!

Mr. Layland stayed positive the whole time and I know that the next, and possibly last time we hike Camelback he will be there by my side, encouraging me to keep going.

Here is my advice on hiking Camelback: bring lots of water (a chocolate Frosty wouldn’t hurt) and don’t feel too bad if you don’t make it to the top! Try again next time!

 

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!