Double-Double Date

Dating your spouse or significant other is a blast, right? Sometimes I feel this pain of guilt because we basically never spend time with anyone else. Who would want to when you’re married to your favorite person!?

If you’ve felt that guilt and want to do something about it then read on!

The other couple for our date was actually Mr. Layland’s parents 🙂 Every now and then we’ll all play a game together but we tend to get so caught up in the game that there really isn’t a lot of conversation. For whatever reason, the strongest desire to “bond” came over me and resulted in this Double-Double Date.

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As always – you can alter this idea to make it your own!

We invited them to meet us in the kitchen at 6 o’clock on a Saturday. Around 5:30 I started making pizza dough. By the time everyone gathered I was a hot mess. There I was in the kitchen, pressing out pizza dough, probably covered in flour and trying to command the troops. Luckily my troops consisted of three other people.

I baked the crust while Mrs. Layland Sr made the Jello No-Bake Cheesecake. This is important! Take the time to think ahead and make sure you won’t be overflowing  the oven or stove. I did a no-bake dessert so we wouldn’t have to worry about that.

Each couple added on the toppings they wanted to their pizza and they were done in 10 minutes!. Whatever you do – make sure you put down like four hot pads or trivets so you don’t heat stain your mother-in-law’s special solid oak table. Not that that happened.

We ate dinner together and had a lovely time just catching up and talking about the latest. We shared stories and memories and had a great time just relaxing together.

After dinner we cleared the table for Double-Double Trivia!!!!

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I made it up 🙂

The idea for this game was inspired by the trivia game played on Friends between Rachel/Monica and Chandler/Joey. Our game was just for fun though. Everyone kept their own living space.

The categories are: WhatIfTrueFalse1FavoriteThings1, and DatingHistory2. Like I said, I always want you to be able to make these ideas your own so here is a customizable LighteningRound1 for you! Print these out and rank the questions on the blank side with their point values.

We finished the game in about an hour and had a blast! I thought because they were Mr. Layland’s parents they would have an easier time of it but we actually ended up winning!!! And we learned a lot about Mr. Layland’s parents 🙂

After the game we wrapped up the evening by eating way too many mini no-bake cheesecakes! Mmmm….

That’s life with Mr. Layland and Me!

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Take-Your-Pick Date Night

The other night I was racing around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. I had to pick up Mr. Layland from work in 15 minutes but I had just come up with a date idea!

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So in about 10 minutes I curled my hair, threw on a dress, gathered up a few things for the date and somehow still managed to forget my phone. Of course. I ran back inside and grabbed it and headed for Scottsdale Quarter.

The idea behind this date is that you can make it what you want. I get coupons all the time but rarely use them. For this date I found a coupon for World Market and Pottery Barn. We also had gift cards for California Pizza Kitchen and Target leftover from wedding gifts. This date in it’s perfect state would be totally free 🙂

When I picked up Mr. Layland he was surprised at my date night coupon stack and very excited for dinner. How can you not be excited? It’s California Pizza Kitchen!

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We pretty much have it down to a science here. We’ve gotten into the habit of ordering the same thing every time – Spinach & Artichoke Dip and a Hawaiian BBQ pizza.

After dinner we headed to Pottery Barn with a 15% off coupon. We almost got a cookie jar but…it wasn’t cute enough or sturdy enough. So we passed. It’s fun to check things out and get ideas for the future though.

I think that’s when it started – the obsession with smelling candles.

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We smelled one or two at Pottery Barn but then we hit up Bath & Body Works and they just put out their fall collection. Leaves, Harvest Pumpkin, Cinnamon Pumpkin, Orchard Apples….best believe it was smelling good in there!

“Leaves” was my favorite 🙂

As luck would have it they had candles at World Market too!

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They all smelled like soap though 😦 I wish I could say we got some really exotic item at World Market but someone kept the wrong half of the coupon?!? Oh well, it was still fun to look at all the international candy.

Like I said, we had a Target gift card from our wedding and I was hoping that we would find one thing that we would want as a couple. The only thing we wanted they didn’t have. Yes, we ended up smelling every candle in Target but unfortunately didn’t find one we liked enough to buy.

So we got Frozen and Saving Mr.Banks instead.

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You might guess that we watched a movie when we got home but we didn’t! There was a HUGE thunderstorm so we stood outside for a while to check it out. There was a clap of lightening that was THE loudest I’ve ever heard in my life — and I’ve heard my fair share of storms. It was actually a little scary!

If you can plan this date around a stormy night it was pretty cool but I’m sure a movie would make a fine finish 🙂

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

The Classic Birthday Date

I woke up yesterday morning with Mr.Layland by my side, a new job, and a ton of excitement. “I’m turning 25 today! Wahoo!” Part of me thinks that’s really old…and then there’s another part of me that knows it’s really not.

Most birthdays are like any other but turning 25 is a bit of a milestone so I starting thinking of what I’ve accomplished so far…

I graduated college.
I served a mission.
I got married.
I just started a job that I love.
I’m currently writing for a magazine.
I started a blog that I love writing for!

Thinking about where I’m at was a really good “check in” exercise. Try it!

I made a skirt this weekend and decided what better day to wear it than my birthday?!

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This is my $3 skirt. I made it out of curtains. Seriously, no joke. I followed this tutorial for the gathering of the skirt and then made my own waistband and added in a zipper. I was really pleased with how it turned out. It’s really light so it’s perfect for Arizona.

Day 2 at my new job was a little crazy but really enjoyable. The office is in the same location where Mr.Layland works so we drove together and he opened the office door for me and kissed me goodbye ❤

I could really get used to this!

On Monday I started working as the Administrative Assistant at I-ology. When I walked in on my first day there was a bowl full of treats on my desk! I can already tell I’m going to love working here. The current assistant is training me this week so we went to run errands together  in the afternoon and I got to pick out my own birthday treat.

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Sorry for the lame picture, I didn’t want to ask someone to take my picture and become the new office dork. Don’t you love the neon pink writing?! Pretty sure I turned 5 not 25.

At the end of the day I met up with Mr. Layland downstairs and we headed off to try a new place for dinner. It’s called Fired Pie. Once upon a time it was a place called Pellini where they served noodles in a tortilla. For obvious reasons they didn’t last long.

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The crust was thin, the toppings were delicious and that guy sure knew how to drizzle on the right amount of sauce! We had the Hawaiian BBQ and the Chicken Alfredo. Both were good but the BBQ was my favorite because it reminded me of CPK pizza.

I didn’t take pictures during dinner because I’m trying to better about “being there” during dates. Mr. Layland took me to lunch on Monday as a “Happy First Day at Work” celebration but also to tell me that he was offered a new job! It was the best early birthday present ever!

We stopped in at Barnes & Noble because it’s one of my favorite places 🙂 and that’s when my BROTHER called me! It was so nice to just talk and catch up for a little. I got to tell him about my new job and about the offer that Mr. Layland got and it felt so good to realize how nicely things are panning out.

And right when you think things couldn’t get better…

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There were balloons when I got home! The whole family was there and we had (another) ice cream cake. Mr.Layland wanted to get me a nail light you use with gel nail polish but the mother I nannied for got me one as a going away present. Oops! I guess I’m really predictable this year.

Some of you might be anticipating an epic “Mr. Layland Date” but you’ll just have to wait. When the sun sets it’s still a thousand degrees outside so we’re going to save it for when it cools off a bit. He got me a voucher for horseback riding!!!! I can’t wait!

I got to do everything I ever wanted to on my 25th birthday ❤

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Snot Jeans, Social Media &The Honest Truth About Marriage

At 9 o’clock this morning I already had snot on my jeans.

I work as a full-time nanny and I hadn’t been around the kids for an hour before I had somebody else’s bodily fluids on my clothes. Awesome.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but kids aren’t always as cute as they are on Facebook. They cry and whine and get sick and that leaves you with absolutely no patience and a heck of a lot of snot.

To the mothers out there – kudos. Times a thousand. You’re doing the impossible.

In all of my non-snot-jeans free time, I’ve been thinking about two things: marriage & social media.

Technology seriously is amazing and makes it easier to keep in touch with family, friends, old roommates & classmates. In all the excitement of sharing pictures on Facebook and Instagram I think this idea of sharing has put a twist on marriage that is new to this generation.

Dates are interrupted to take a quick photo which is immediately posted to the cyber wall of “here’s the latest exciting thing I’m doing in my life”.

I know, because we do it too.

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I never started this blog with the intention of pausing dates for pictures or getting stressed when Mr.Layland gets called into work because I have to find something new to write about instead of the fact that he’ll be gone. Sorry about that, honey.

I hope that these posts, especially about our dates, are helpful and give y’all some ideas to adopt in your own dating life. The dates we go on ARE fun and we have a great time together but other nights I’m in bed by 9:30!

Sometimes social media gives off this vibe that couples are only ever having fun and doing amazing things and you start to think, “they’re always so happy…why aren’t we that happy?”.

Don’t worry, every couple has issues and “days” and challenges. We just don’t usually post about those things. Marriage is less about the thrilling Facebook-worthy dates and more about that half a brownie your spouse brought home for you.

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Marriage is more about those inside jokes that aren’t funny to anyone else but keep you close as a couple and make you laugh every time.

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Marriage is about feeling comfortable enough to make silly faces and laugh together, especially when you’re not feeling like sunshine and rainbows.

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And finally, marriage is about those sweet little texts you get during the day. The small reminders that your loved one is thinking of you and despite your insanity – is still planning on doing things with you in public.

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So next time you see a post about how fantastic someone else’s life is and wonder where you and your snot covered jeans went wrong — just remember your own brownies and text messages and inside jokes ❤

That’s life with Mr.Layland & Me!

 

All Day Date

Every once in a blue moon I get the whole day with Mr. Layland. It only happens that often because we both work so much. Who decided that?

One day last week we both had work off so we planned to make the best of it. We each wrote down ideas for meals and activities and put those strips of paper into mason jars.

We pulled out three meals and then as many activities as we had time for. The first meal we chose was P.F. Chang’s…for breakfast. At that point we decided we could each replace one meal or activity if we would rather do something else. Needless to say, we didn’t have P.F. Chang’s for breakfast.

Before we got ready for the day we went for a swim! I love having a pool in the backyard – it’s a necessity in Arizona. Hands down.

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The first place we went was a little place we like to call True Food. Everyone else calls it that too – we’re not special or anything. It’s a healthy, organic, “would you like some kale with that?” kind of place. It’s really good food but I wasn’t feeling the kale.

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We actually got the same thing: the Turkey Burger! Mr. Layland loved it and ate all the sweet potato hash I shared with him 😉 I have to say I love the flaxseed bun they make. It’s delicious!

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I’ve also tried the Bison Burger and the BLT that’s made with tempeh and not bacon. My feedback? Well, it’s not bacon so…just know that if you’re looking for a real BLT this is not the place.

Next up: IKEA.

Neither of us had been before so we were in furniture heaven. We walked through the entire store (because you have to) and I was really impressed with the glass jars they have for baking supplies. I’m definitely ordering a few of those.

As we drove around we checked another thing off the list. Karaoke!

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One of our favorite things to do is sing in the car. At the top of our lungs. Who doesn’t love that?! Our repertoire includes songs from Newsies, Ke$ha…and pretty much everything on the radio. We’re thinking about going pro.

It’s never a date with Mr.Layland unless some shopping is involved 🙂 We don’t have to buy anything but we have to check out the usuals — GAP and Banana Republic. He’s more of a GAP lover and I’m all about BR. They just get me.

We hit up the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and I have to say this room was the coolest thing there and about the only art I understood.

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We looked at everything and had puzzled looks about 95% of the time.

Amazingly, we both wrote down car wash! Growing up we never went to the car wash so now I get excited like a four-year-old at Christmas when I get to take my car through the wash.

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With a squeaky clean car we headed home, after a long and wonderful day together. It was then we realized that we had scheduled a meeting with some people from church and had totally forgotten about it! So we ran to the store, grabbed a healthy Newman’s Own frozen pizza and dashed home to tidy up.

We had our meeting, ate our pizza and ended the perfect day with a show!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

No, I didn’t write this. I wish I had, it’s a genius book!

Have you ever heard of The 5 Love Languages? Congrats, if you have! If you haven’t — go buy a copy or download the e-book or check it out of the library because understanding the difference between each love language makes loving your spouse or significant other a lot easier.

Not that they’re hard to love ❤ It just helps you understand HOW they feel most loved.

It’s a game changer. I promise.

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This book is it’s companion piece directed at married couples. And so far it’s a great “together” book. Each chapter concludes with a “Your Turn” section where it has you either answer questions or write down thoughts as a couple. If you only have thirty minutes for a date, why not read a chapter?

I always thought these books were for couples who had issues but I’m finding that that’s not the case! The “Your Turn” section has helped us discuss topics and address issues that haven’t even come up yet. By reading the chapters together we’re learning about marriage, developing our relationship and coming closer to God all at once.

Dr. Chapman lives in North Carolina (I’m not bias at all :)) and approaches marriage counseling from a Christian standpoint. His analogies and examples sometimes involve scripture but often times are based on the experiences of couples he has met with before.

I love learning about marriage with Mr. Layland at my side. Hopefully, you and your spouse will enjoy this book as much as we have!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Pool Drive-In

Once again, Mr. Layland produced a spectacular date!

Monday night he said he had a surprise date planned for Tuesday which I thought was interesting since he wasn’t scheduled to get out of work until 10 p.m. Right then he said he couldn’t wait to tell me and let me know he was actually going to get off at 6 p.m.!

Mr. Layland had an unusual dinner set up for us.

Chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cream soda & fruit tarts for dessert. Delicious obviously but I couldn’t figure out the theme.

We took the food out to the backyard. Yes, the backyard!

Here’s what we rigged up…

Photo: Movie night in the pool! #allMrLayland #imarriedagenius #HPmarathon #datenight #detailscomingsoon

The dinner was meant to be like the feast they have in Harry Potter in the Great Hall!

So we ate dinner & swam around while watching Harry Potter! It was the coolest date ever!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!