Monday, December 5, 2011

Budget Stress: Good-Better-Best

My return to Idaho is less than a month away.
(Okay, it's 27 days living, but only 20 days of work. Not that I'm counting or anything. Geeze. Happy now?)

I am ecstatic to once again be in the land of sunshine, family, and friends. Unfortunately, I will also be in the predicament of real-life-big-kid stress again. S. T. R. E. S. S. 

Life has recently uncovered some major flaws in the "Mand-o-lin Budget for a Job-Free Semester"... 
1. Airplane tickets to/from Alaska = mucho dinero.
2. Cars cost money even when you don't drive them.
3. Grocery costs nearly triple when you're allergic to gluten.
5. I repel technology. My new laptop has decided to malfunction in the motherboard area.
        AKA- I get to buy myself a new computer! Again! Joy!
4. Spending all of the money I have allotted myself this year would stress me out.
        Stress-free money is saved money.

Simply put- I love to buy things, but spending money stresses me out.
Big time.
Don't worry, I don't understand it either.
I realize I am certifiably insane, but "mental-breakdown-recuperation-fund" is another one of those things missing in my budget.
Let's not go there, my friends.

In working towards a solution to this problem, I have put together some "Good, Better, Best" scenarios.

GOOD: Sell my body for money. (Otherwise known as donate plasma). If I can shrink my grocery bill to fit to the plasma amount then things would be peachy. I could transfer the 'food' fund to the 'keep-in-my-account-indefinitely-to-make-me-happy' fiund. Lovely. The downside- if I eat more than I sell then I will want to get a job just to make sure I don't run out of money. This would mean remaining a productive member of society, and we all know how dreadful that is.

BETTER: Find some old people that live in castles and such. Adopt them as extra grandparents. Find a gypsy to hypnotize the old people... Badda-bing-badda-boom- money.

3 Person Dome Tent (7'x7'x4'3")BEST: Run away and live in the mountains as a nomad. I just bought a new tent, and am really super duper excited to use it. Why not make it my home?! Seriously though, cheapest house ever. No mortgage, no rent. I would catch my own meat and pick my own berries. This would give me the opportunity to hike all day long, shower in waterfalls, drink natural spring water on the rocks (literally), and sleep under the stars every single night. If I die? Two words: Natural. Selection.

That is my plan to sweet success. *Patent pending.*

<3 Living the Dream,

camping = my favorite thing

Friday, December 2, 2011

Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

I am purely ecstatic about the Christmas season that has come once again! This is the time of year that I feel people more openly acknowledge and express their love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, openly. While there will always be some that contest this happy season, I am grateful for all the opportunities that if affords me, personally. Christmas time brings an entire month for the human race to exude love and hope without fear of rejection or ostracism. Another blessing that comes along with this season is Christmas music. I realize there are some haters out there, but I find it incredible that in this day and age it is still socially acceptable to play music revolving around the Lord in public venues. To me, this is an incredible blessing. I hope that as we go throughout this season we can remember the true meaning of Christmas and share it with a smile on our faces and love in our hearts.
While I realize the constant reminder of our mother's inappropriate gestures with Santa can get old, and listening to electronic dogs bark out jingle bells can be obnoxious, it is all just a give and take for me. I will take an occasional Chipmunk serenade in order to hear truly magnificent proclamations of truth, such as the one below.

Some food for thought.... Enjoy!

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by the light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kinds lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus rain we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

<3 Living the Dream

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Anticipation Station

I cannot contain my excitement any longer.
In less than 2 months I will be moving back to Idaho!

I will definitely miss Alaska's people, wildlife, scenery, my family, and my dog. 
I will probably not miss,the freezing cold, non-pack-able snow, and the lack of sunlight winter has brought though. 

Rexburg will be like a tropical vacation. 

I love my life of econ and friends. I love seeing a temple everyday. I love getting to run away to UT to see my Grandma, Grandpa, and extended family. I love only being 4 hours away from family get-togethers and parties. I love that I'll live less than 5 minutes from Ry. I love that we'll go to the same school. I love having parties for no reason at all. I love buying 10 pounds of potatoes for $5. I love hearing inspired words everyday. I love that I will still be able to visit Grandpa Jim regularly to talk, clean his grave, and leave happy things. I love hearing devotionals weekly. I love visiting teaching. I love moving. I love change. I love love.

BIG NEWS- I have decided to move. I love Davenport Apartments and all of the girls I have lived with, but am ready for a change. Frequent parties will still be held at my place... my new place. I plan to see you there.

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER:  We don't quit playing because we grow old.... we grow old because we quit playing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

...because of the brave.

I'm proud to be an American,
 where at least I know I'm free.

And I won't forget the men who died, 
who gave that right to me.

I'm so thankful for those who 
have served, 
are serving, 
or will serve.

Land of the free,
because of the brave.

God Bless the USA!

Thank you.

Grandpa Gossett                   Grandpa Jim
Grandpa Van                                                        Ryan Kilburn

Monday, November 7, 2011

Death via Education

I hope ya'll are having a great Monday morning.
If not, I have something that should brighten your mood....

Class registration for BYU-Idaho started today, and due to my mass amounts of credits, I am eligible to register tomorrow. Since most of my classes are upper level, there are only 1 or 2 class times to choose from.
This has made things just lovely.

Example: Managerial Economics is only offered from 8-930 on Tues/ make matters even more lovely, the dean of the econ department, Bro. Hirschi, is the instructor. He is way awesome, but this means Mandy will need to get her butt to class early and remain awake and alert the entire time.

This is going to be rough folks.

I am a lame student that prefers taking classes starting at 9 or 10:15. I then stay in the econ lab doing homework until 6 or so.... but from 6-1:30 or so is my party/work time. 
Looks like my party time will be starting earlier and hopefully ending earlier...

If you have ever been my roommate I'm sure you are experiencing near death via laughter.

On the upside, I have plenty of time to show my dear econ lab some lovin during the crazy long breaks between my classes. Hopefully I take advantage of that, rather than swiftly assuming the 3 minute walk back to my lovely bed. 

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

You may now place your bets on my total number of tardies and skips.

If that hasn't completely elated you, 

BIG NEWS- I am no longer a T.Swizzle hater.

Weird, right?! I don't really know when / how this happened. It is just a random realization I had the other day when my little sister was humming a Swift song. I can enjoy occasional Swizzy sing-alongs.

This is for reals. I realize this would be nearly impossible to believe if you have ever lived with, dated, or even known me.

I'm just as surprised as you are.

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: A day without make-up is a fine day indeed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's my day off, so our agenda today consisted of yoga pants, movies, and warm chocolate chip cookies. Heavenly.

I've experimented with a couple gluten free cookie mixes, but never found anything awesome. I don't like how gluten free cookies end up looking like greasy flat blobs. This time I took my hunt to Google, who helped me discover "The Baking Beauties", and this delicious recipe...

1 cup margarine (softened)
2 cups brown sugar
 2 eggs
1 tsp GF vanilla
2.25 cups GF flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose baking flour.)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinammon
2 cups GF oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Quick Oats.)
2 cups chocolate chips (I just poured one bag in.)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cream margarine and brown sugar.
-Add eggs one-by-one.
-Stir in vanilla.
-Mix in xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, and cinammon.
-Add flour.
-Add oats.
-Add chocolate chips.
-Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet*
-Bake for approximately 11 minutes.

*Note: For baking GF I cover the cookie-sheet with foil (to avoid cross-contamination) and a little baking spray. Works magically.

Delicious! I hope you try and enjoy these little babies. You should share your opinion/experience with me.

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: "Make-up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn't help if you're ugly on the inside...unless you eat the make-up." -Audrey Hepburn

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ode to Joy

Rest in Peace- Grandpa James "Jim-bo" Kilburn

My Grandpa Jim passed away earlier this afternoon. I am so happy for him, as he has needed this for awhile, but I am very selfishly sad for me. 

I am so grateful that he was able to go painlessly during an afternoon nap. He had been happily enduring for quite awhile now, and it was his time.
I love him.

Growing up, it was this wonderful man who instilled in me an appreciation for "good-minton", croquet, 
tether-ball, newspapers, pickled vegetables, catching grasshoppers, and diving into floaties in a freezing cold wading pool. He was always overjoyed to spend time with his grand-kids, and never missed an opportunity to do so. His positive outlook on life was simply contagious. I will always picture him with a camera around his neck and a smile on his face. 

I am so grateful to be able to still hear  him exclaim, "Hi, honey!" as if seeing me was the most important thing he ever did, and will always remember grandpa replying to the question 'how are you?' with an enormous smile and a...
"Better than I deserve, as usual."

I have been so blessed to be in Rexburg near him. During this time he has been my reliable date for, afternoons, Bingo, even Valentines Day. I love him so much. He was always there with a listening ear, ready for all of my stories, and always able to offer words of encouragement and advice. He has seen me through the ups and downs of the past two years. Happiness was always shared whenever things went right, and hugs were always offered when I needed to escape from real life. No matter the time, day or night, he was there for me. 

He may have not remembered me for the past few years, but he was always friendly and inviting. I am so grateful to have been able to be going to college so close to him. I got to experience him as more than just a Grandpa, as a true friend as well.  It was like my home away from home. He always overflowed with glowing compliments, and never missed an opportunity to tell me I was beautiful or made his day. Such a great example of being happy despite everything. 

Since his rest-home days we have always had each other's backs, creating some pretty memorable experiences. Like the times I verbally assaulted the nurses and staff, or the time he gave the male CNA he thought was my boyfriend a talking to. I will be forever grateful for the laughs we shared. I will never forget all the frantic bathroom searches in order to find where he had gotten himself lost, or the female resident that always yelled at us for smiling too much during exercise time. It was all so great!

I have always felt a strong connection with my grandpa, because we have many similarities. Out of all my family members we are definitely the most alike. We both are extremely stubborn and independent, we'd rather save money and live little than spend what we've got, we laugh at our own jokes, have a great appreciation for the macarena, prefer to be outside, love the water, are overjoyed by pickles and apples, love to work, and definitely love to play. We both would be lost without my dad, happiness seems to come easier to us, and we are both Kilburn's.
Being a Kilburn is an awesome thing and I hope we can do it as proud as my grandpa has.

My grandpa Jim truly embodied the words of President Monson,

"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family. One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."

I love you, Grandpa. You will be greatly missed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Heels. Head. Standards.

A square peg in a round hole....

You all know the saying. I assume you are familiar with the feeling as well.
Why do we do this sometimes? 
(I say we, as if I am not the only one... humor me.) 

Like when you know something/someone isn't for you, yet you keep trying in hopes of that changing the inevitable? Interesting how that is.... we either apply more pressure on the peg in order to get it into the hole, or we compromise, lower our standards, and sand down the sides of our peg.
Oftentimes I realize when something isn't quite right or when I get the answer I wasn't exactly hoping for. Depending on my level on desire, I keep trying and pursuing that thing, as if asking God if He would like to change His mind about the item at hand. Silly. Stupid. Waste of time. God doesn't change His mind.

We mustn't forget:

Pinned Image
Heels: Confidence. Nobody deserves your love more than you do. High heels do wonders for your mood (and butt). They instantly make you feel 100% better about whatever outfit you are wearing. Heels promote strutting, showing people what you're made of, and tackling all of life's problems. As my girl Audrey Hepburn says, "Happiest girls are the prettiest girls." This applies to males as well, (even if they only wear heels in private).

Head: Resilience. Erase all negativity of thought. You are a child of God. At some point we all fall, fail, cry, and hurt... that is a given. How you handle misfortune is your choice. Don't let life get you down. Choose gratitude and happiness for every day you live. As the love of my life, Rocky Balboa says, "It ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward." 

Standards: Remember who you are and what that means. You deserve the very best, but nobody is going to hand it to you. Never compromise your standards for any thing or person, ever. You'd rather wait longer than settle for something less that eternal joy. Never settle. As Dr.Seuss says, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Never forget that each moment you have the opportunity to be a good example.

I promise you that the Lord has a plan for each one of us. We don't always know what that plan entails, but if we press forward with faith, I know that everything will fall in to place. 

Embrace your peg!

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: Carry on.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When Sleep doesn't come.

Currently I am extremely tired yet unable to sleep. While it is frustrating, I think it is self inflicted. My mind is going about 100 miles a minute...  my idea to solve this: write it out. Perhaps dishing all the thoughts can help bring the happy slumber.

You may want to skip this one. All it contains are the brutally honest thoughts on my mind.
AKA- Boring I'm sure.

1. General Conference. It is in the morning! I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a huge opportunity to listen to what the Lord would have us know and do via our living prophets. Conference starts in only 6 hours now... one of those silly things brought about by the Alaskan time difference. The first session starts at 8 am and the second at noon, an odd comparison to the 11 am and 3 pm times of Minnesota. There are quite a few things I would like to hear addressed this conference, and am so grateful to have in order to research things whenever I would like. I am also reminiscent of last session of conference....I was fortunate enough to watch it with someone I love and am missing quite a lot right now. I am grateful to be able to watch this session with more people I love, AKA my family. This time is a little different for me, because I can't exactly pinpoint what I need to take away from this conference, but am excited to find out. Conference is a blessed time. While I know we all have different things on our mind, I know our questions can all be answered if we sincerely and faithfully listen to the words spoken this weekend.

2. Heartbreak. Yes, I know, pathetic and girly of me, right? (I told you that you didn't want to read this.) Anyways....all I'm saying is that love is a good thing, whether or not it works out in the end. I guess it is a fortunate thing, heartbreak that is, because it reminds us of the privilege we had of having loved in the first place. I guess the feeling of letting someone down or the realization that you are walking away from so many potential things is one of the hardest parts for me. But, sometimes you gotta leave when you gotta leave. The hardest part is knowing that someone you love may not want to be a part of your life anymore....that's a tough pill to swallow. Maybe what they say is true, maybe true lovers can't remain friends. Hard. Like Charlie Brown says, "Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love." Once you reach a certain point there isn't much you can do, except have faith in the future. I am grateful to love, and hope to always continue to do so.

3. Mission. I really want to go on one!! I guess that's basically all I have to say on this topic. I had a dream the other night that I got my call to was so intense. *One should note that I hardly ever remember my dreams, so this was extra special. Anyways, I am grateful for the people I know that are serving and that will serve. There are so many people out there needing to hear that they are loved. Let's hope I can get my health in order and the money saved. I'm sure what's meant to be will be. Where there's a will there's a way!

4. Work. I have a great boss, some great coworkers, and I love payday! My theory on why we are paid every other week: to remind us that we love our jobs. It's like getting your batteries refreshed. Random, but I get a lot of money taken out of my checks here, so I'm thinking my tax return will be bomb, and probably an answer to  future prayers. :) Don't you love how life works out?

5. Victoria's Secret. There are NO Vicky's in the entire state of Alaska. In fact, the nearest one is over 1300 miles away. Yes, I am disgruntled about this, but even more so I am concerned. Does this mean Alaskans don't wear underwear? Such a sickening thought. I don't know where else one would buy bras and panties. I love me some underwear and am praying that The Secret will ship to Alaska...if not we are going to have some major issues.

6. Urban Outfitters and J.Crew. Add these babies to the list of stores nowhere near. I have resorted to browsing their sites, have become addicted to this online experience, and am fairly certain I will have to take Urban up on their free shipping policy to anywhere in the US (hoping AK counts). No, I'm sure ya'll can't tell today was payday. Anyways, this girl has got to get some more clothes! It's supposed to snow 3 days this week and I don't have a coat or boots yet. I am in massive need of more leggings, scarves, and sweaters. Quit rolling your eyes. I wear leggings as pants and I like it. All my former roommates can attest to my "unique" style. Whatev. I am Mandy and I like odd things.

7. DVR. I'm grateful to be able to record conference to watch and re-watch. This heathen has to work tomorrow, so I am grateful to be able to still listen to the 2nd half of tomorrow's block at a later time. 

8. Sleep. I want some. Going to pray and try again. Goodnight lovelies.

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Novice Alaskan

We all know the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do...."

World pictures
I have been blessed to be able to experience new and exciting things, people, places, and ways of life. I love trying new things. I feel like oftentimes we don't want to try in fear of failure and embarrassment. Stop thinking that! There is no shame in trying something new. Worst case scenario you don't enjoy it, who cares?! How else would you truly know? Be daring.

I realize that I have lived and loved many different places, it's true. I don't think there is anything wrong with enjoying experiencing different lifestyles. I love it! I am so grateful for it.
My life is incredible.

Let's talk about ALASKA- I love this place! I have been so blessed to be introduced to so many different people and lifestyles. I realize I have only been here a short while, but am grateful to have been welcomed with open arms. I want to especially shout out to the Taylor family. These people are wonderful, fun, loving, and will always be considered family to me. I love ya'll, thank you. <3

Today was my day off so I took the Alaskan drivers license test and passed with flying colors. 100%. Yeaya! You can all rest assured that I know the laws... whether or not I abide is a different story. While doing this I also registered as an Alaskan voter. Step 1 towards being Alaskan: Complete.

Bradley shot a massive caribou this weekend and I have been so excited about it. I got to go to the Taylor's and experience cutting the meat off of a dead beast. Awesome! Totally disgusting. Blood everywhere. I loved it! No joke, I had so much fun. I am so grateful the Taylor's let me join in. You are probably shocked that I cut meat off a dead animal and enjoyed it. I may be shocked as well. This gun-shy hippie had fun. Step 2 towards being Alaskan: Complete.

Yup, it's official, I am a novice Alaskan! Happy!

I love my life. I have the best family and friends that anyone could ask for. I am the luckiest person.

<3 Living the Dream,


Sunday, September 18, 2011

My name means "luckiest person ever" in Egyptian.

"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."
-Gordon B. Hinckley

I am so blessed.

There have been many awesome things in my life this week. 
Some highlights:

I have had multiple opportunities to spend time with wonderful people this week. I was able to have some goofy girl time and some crazy adventure time. I am grateful to be in Alaska. I love the people and am grateful for the opportunities here.

I should probably talk to ya'll about the dead moose parts I touched this week. Yup. I definitely did....and kind of liked it. Aside from the evil odor they were exuding it was awesome. I was reminded of the dissection portions of science classes. That was my favorite part, so I am excited to experience this more. I am grateful for the kind people of Alaska that have been letting me join in on their adventures and learn more about the dreamy Alaskan way of life. I love it. 

I had a big-fatty-massively-important prayer be answered this week. I know I am loved and that He believes in me because He prepared a way for me despite my imperfections.

Tuesday evening my mom told me that she had seen a 'help wanted' sign at the store in town. I hurriedly printed out a copy of my resume (which is probably unnecessary in Delta Junction, Alaska, but a formality I followed nonetheless,) and went to the store. I submitted an application and went home hoping to get an interview within the week. Ten minutes later I received a phone call. Ten minutes! No joke. I am the most blessed person I know. This phone call was Heaven-sent. The owner of the store told me that she had a full-time position available and would love to have me fill it. She told me that she would pay me 80% more than I had been previously making and that I would also receive tips. I was told I could wear whatever I wanted, could have Sundays off, and could start the next day if I wanted. YES! I definitely could oblige to that.

This is a great opportunity for me. While there are a few things I wouldn't mind changing about the job, I am so grateful to have it! Beggars can't be choosers, especially in a small town. I am making bank and am grateful to be able to save up enough money to get me through the school year without working. I have never done that and am excited to be able to spend even more time in my beloved econ lab. No, you are actually not sensing sarcasm in that statement. I love economics! I am hoping to return to those good grades I used to receive a scholarship for. I may even have the time to double major now. I have been wanting that for quite some time and may make that dream a reality. I have been working and going to school full-time ever since I was 15 years old and am grateful to get a little break soon. My life is wonderful. I am the luckiest person on the planet!

I have been thinking a lot about angels and miracles lately, and was so blessed to have those topics discussed in church today. While there are many doctrinal complexities I have yet to unravel, I am still grateful. I believe that gratitude is a key component to recognizing the miracles and angels in our lives. I believe that whatever we seek we shall find. If you believe the world is a horrible place then you will recognize all of its flaws before you see all the beauty it holds. I believe that there are angels among us that answer our prayers. I believe that if we follow God's plan we can be angels for other people. I am so grateful for the times that I have been able to help another soul and am so grateful for the incredible angels that work mighty miracles in my life. I believe that if we choose to, we can recognize miracles constantly in our lives. Nearly everything can be viewed as a miracle if we have gratitude in our hearts. 

I hope that we can all follow President Hinckley's counsel and try a little harder to be a little better.

I believe that this life is all about choices. I believe that we can choose what we want to be. I believe that happiness is a choice, and that gratitude is the quickest way to reach it.

These are just some random happy thoughts of today. 
Forgive me for my rambles. 

<3 Living the Dream,

REMEMBER: Faith precedes the miracle.