Reviewing My Fave Snacks of 2020

Hey friends. 🙂

2020 has been anything BUT ordinary – and these snacks are anything BUT ordinary, also! I discovered all of these in the last few months and let me tell you, they have made my grocery pickup orders a little extra flavorful. 😉

Except for the wontons, I believe all of the other snacks are vegetarian, so that’s a nice bonus for all of you non-meat eaters!

(I’m writing this whilst on hold with College Board, suffering through their 80’s elevator music, and I need something to do with myself.)

*none of these images are my own*

First up: Late July Jalapeño Chips

Y’all. I cannot even begin to describe the perfection of these crunchy, crispy, flavorful chips. They taste like Cool Ranch Doritos except they’re HEALTHY and ORGANIC. But seriously, I have never tasted anything more similar to those Doritos. They’re just a little spicy and bursting will flavor all around. Please note that Late July also offers a Jalapeño Lime TORTILLA chip – but these are not tortilla chips. They are corn chips, yes, but not tortilla chips.

Health rating: 7/10
Flavor rating: 10/10
Overall rating: 10/10

Next we’ve got: Late July Korean Barbecue Chips

Are you starting to notice a trend?

Like the jalapeño chips, these ones are Late July as well. They are also extremely delicious, though I would have to rank them just behind the “green chips” (I call them green and purple chips because of the bag color – they’re actually both a nice golden yellow color). These ones are a little less spicy than the lime ones and that may be better for some of you more picky eaters. Still bursing with flavor, though!

Health rating: 7/10
Flavor rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 8/10

Let’s change it up a bit: Simply Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar

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Cheetos have never been the most healthy snack, but the brand recently released a more natural snack line – Simply Cheetos. Be warned, though – this snack is highly addicting! Cheetos did not cheat with the amount of cheese on these puffs. And if you’re looking for a more spicy snack, you can try their White Cheddar Jalapeño Puffs.

Health rating: 5/10
Flavor rating: 10/10
Overall rating: 8/10

And now for a whole meal: Bibigo Mini Wontons Chicken & Cilantro

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These are included in my list of foods I discovered in 2020, and they’re super popular around my house! We actually wind up eating these as a whole meal, but if you cook only a few it could definitely be considered a snack. (They stick to the pan super easily, so while you’re cooking them make sure you have plenty of non-stick spray or oil around.) These can be found at Costco and probably other places, but I get them from Costco. They’re really savory and great to dip in soy sauce!

Health rating: 7/10
Flavor rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 7/10

Lastly: Quaker Rice Crisps!

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Compared to the last few snacks I’ve listed, Quaker Rice Crisps are super healthy. They come in a variety of flavors, but my favorites are cheddar and buttermilk ranch. (I’ve never actually tried the sweet & spicy chily or the sour cream & onion, to be totally honest.) I get these in a box at Costco but I know you can get them from Walmart or basically any other supermarket as well. To me, biting into these can feel like nails on a chalkboard, but in a really yummy way. Which kind of makes it worth it. 😂

Health rating: 9/10
Flavor rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 8/10

I might come out with a part two of this next year, this was a fun post to do!

Have you tried any of these snacks? Do you think you will after reading this post? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,

Morgan

Answering YOUR Questions About Alaska! | Response Time!

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions! I’m excited for y’all to get to learn more about my beautiful state. (All pictures are my own.) 🙂

Do you prefer summer or winter? Winter is my favorite, because I love cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snow! But our summers are absolutely gorgeous here as well.

Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska


How hot does it get in Alaska? It really depends on the year, but we had a crazy summer this year and our temps were 20-30 degrees above average. I think the hottest it got was 95 degrees fahreneheit.

If you had to move to a different state, which one would you chose? So I have actually lived in southern California and I absolutely love it there. However, as soon as I finish a year of college in Alaska, I’m planning on moving to Minnesota or Colorado.

Ceremonial start of the Iditarod, Anchorage, Alaska, 2017

What are some foods Alaska is famous for? Alaska is famous for everything related to seafood – that’s Alaskan King Crab and salmon, plus moose and caribou meat. We also love Native Alaskan food as well!

Lost Lake Trail, Seward, Alaska


What’s the weather like in the spring and summer? The spring is “Breakup Season,” which all states with snow have. It gets very slushy and rainy. Summers are also rainy and never get super warm. They are absolutely beautiful, however. Contrary to popular opinion, it is NOT always winter here!

Fireweed in Homer, Alaska, early August

What’s the coldest temp you’ve experienced? Around -20 Fahreneheit or so. Pretty chilly!

Victory Bible Camp, Sutton, Alaska in October 2019


What’s it like to have it dark/light most of the time, depending on the season? Very different experiences – when it’s dark in the winter, a lot of Alaskans have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s weird that it gets dark around 3:30 PM. In the summer, I love the light! Being outside in the warm at midnight is so amazing.

Rabbit Lake, Anchorage, Alaska


Biggest fear living in Alaska? I don’t have any really bad fears living here, fortunately. We don’t have poisonous spiders, which are my worst fear. Sometimes, when I read about bear maulings in the news, I get freaked out, but I just have to travel in a group, make a lot of noise, and carry bear spray. Also, I hate sliding around on the ice in the winter, but I just got my snow tires on my car today so hopefully I won’t get into any accidents this winter!

Nikiski, Alaska


Favorite thing about living in Alaska? I have the great outdoors so, so CLOSE to my house! Seriously, just a five minute drive and I can have miles and miles of skiing, biking, and hiking trails right there! Out of all 50 states, we have the lowest population density AND the greatest acreage of wilderness area, which is pretty amazing if you ask me.

Port of Homer, Alaska

Does it snow all the time in Alaska? Haha, no it does not. (It’s snowing right now, though!) It snows from late October at the earliest to mid-March at the latest (where I live, though AK is very spread out) although I remember one year we had a massive snowstorm in April. That’s super rare, though.

Sutton, Alaska

What are some unique cultural aspects of Alaska? Great question! Alaska’s culture is very unique from other states. We have a lot of Native Alaskan culture here, which includes traditional Native clothing and Native subsistence methods (fishing, hunting, etc), just to name a couple. Alaskans are very used to being “different” from the rest of the US, and we pride ourselves on our determination and “traditional Alaskan grit.” We like to be tough and work together to get throught the long, frigid winters. Alaskans are also known for being very friendly and cooperative. We really do love our neighbors. In Alaska, you can find a lot of dog mushing, gold panning, traditional basket weaving and animal bone carving, and Alaskan spirit!

Flightseeing over Anchorage, Alaska

What kinds of clothes do you wear in Alaska? I love this question! I’ll be very honest – Alaskans are known for not being super fashionable people. I mean, here in AK we truly prefer function over fashion. Shipping is crazy expensive, so we like wearing clothes we bought at Costco. A couple very Alaskan kinds of clothes are XTRATUF boots and parkas, but we also love wearing name brands, such as Arc’teryx, Patagonia, North Face, Eddie Bauer, etc. Alaska also has SO MANY unique Alaskan brands, such as AK Starfish Co., Alaska Chicks Co., and Happy AK. What we lack in fashion, we make up in durable, warm, and ridiculously expensive nice winter gear, haha!

Denali (AKA Mt. McKinley), Fairbanks, Alaska

You truly have to come to Alaska to get the full experience. And as always, if you’re planning on coming up, please visit me! I’m pretty far from most of y’all. 😉

If you have more questions, drop them below!

XOXO,

Morgan 🙂

Answering YOUR Questions About Alaska! | It’s Q&A Time Again

Happy Saturday guys!

As you all know, where I live is a big part of my blog. Alaska is unique, it’s unknown to many people, and that’s what sparks curiosity in many people. When I travel out of state – or even out of country – seeing people’s reaction when they find out I’m from Alaska is always one of my favorite things.

So, do you have questions? (They can be literally anything, guys.) Drop them below, and I’ll answer them next weekend!

XOXO,

Morgan

My School Supplies Setup | What It’s Like to Be Part of the Class of 2021

Hey guys, and welcome back to Swingsets & Snapshots!

Let’s be honest, many of us are not thrilled at the prospect of returning to school this year – and that’s not only the normal back-to-school dread, but the thought of returning to school online. Those of you who are able to attend school in-person are very fortunate!

I’ve finally decided to reveal a bit more of my personal life on my blog so I have a place to talk about it. So if you didn’t guess by the title of this post, I’m a senior this year.

Ooh, I just got goosebumps.

To me, and everyone who graduated this spring/is graduating next spring, our senior years look absolutely NOTHING like we imagined them to be. Sports are functioning outside-only, so no real swim practice for me. There’s no homecoming dance or football game. We didn’t have our junior prom, and it’s almost guaranteed we won’t have our senior prom, either.

I realize that doing school online is difficult for everyone, no matter what grade they’re in. But having to do senior year online adds an extra little touch of difficulty and loss. There’s a lot the Class of 2021 is missing out on.

I’m sure I’ll be talking about this more as the school year goes on but I wanted to start the post off like this so it’ll make more sense when I talk about what classes I’m in. And without further ado, here’s my school supplies setup for the 2020-21 school year!

Our district set up our schedules very differently this year. No one is taking for than three classes in a quarter. We will be taking the same classes first and third quarter and second and fourth quarter. We also have to do a semester’s worth of work in a quarter so we can do the whole year’s material in a total of one semester. Confusing, right?

My schedule for first and third quarter (the schedule I’ll be starting the year with) is as follows:

1st period – Algebra 2 (I already took this class as an underclassman but I’m retaking it just because I want to solidify my basic math skills before college)

2nd period – AP Literature & Composition (the only class I think will be remotely challenging)

3rd period – Forensics (I absolutely LOVE the teacher I have for this class and I’m so excited!)

I also have my ASL 4 class which is not through the school district, as well as another work-at-my-own-pace required class called Alaska Studies.

Second and fourth quarter, the only scheduled class I am in is AP French. (Second quarter I’ll still have AK Studies and I’ll have ASL 4 the entire year through).

I don’t really think you guys honestly care about my schedule that much but I’m putting here just in case you’re curious. 🙂

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Here’s the little setup I have on the left side of my desk – a basket for books I don’t yet have, my binder, my planner, and my school supplies.

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This year, I’m decorating my binder with stickers!

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My planner is blue and pink tie-dye. The image is cropped because my name is on it and I honestly can’t figure out how to blur it out. Does anyone have recommendations for websites where I can blur names?

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The inside of my binder – I have stickers for inside the planner tucked into a pocket. You can see my tabs and pencil pouch as well.

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This is what my desk currently looks like. 🙂 

School-related update coming soon, probably at the end of next week.

When do you start school? How are you feeling about it? Let’s chat in the comments below!

XOXO,

Morgan

Life: July 2020

Life_ July 2020

Soooooo July happened.

Straight up though, I really do feel like all of my Life posts are blending together. I’m trying my best to make sure I post about something other than my increasingly-boring corona summer life. (IDK guys, is it boring? Should I stop doing these posts?)

– Friends

I spent a lot of time this July going on big mountain bike trips with my dad and brother and also with my guy friend D. We did a 50 kilometer (that’s 32 miles) bike trip in early July:

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in black and white so you can’t see our faces 🙂

And here’s another one where I went with my dad and brother:

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Alaska: the most gorgeous place you could ever live

Hammocking is kinda like a sport here, and we did a lot of that too.

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look at my tie-dye hammock ahhhhh it’s so aesthetically pleasing :))

Oh wait, here’s a picture from yet another bike trip:

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hehehe D is a good photographer

Anyway, I’m going biking with D again tonight.

While we’re on the subject of friends, I had a few rough experiences with a specific friend this summer and I realized it was too unhealthy for us to continue to have a relationship and I’m no longer talking to her. If you’ve had to let go of friends recently to protect your mental health, just remember that you’re not alone! A lot of people have had to do that, unfortunately. The pandemic has caused huge divides that extend beyond our communities and states . . . they reach other states and countries. Sometimes you have to let go of people, but remember to extend grace and ask what YOU could be doing for others.

– Family

For Independence Day I cooked a huge dinner for everybody. We didn’t go to any barbecues but unfortunately a lot of other people did and we wound up with a HUGE Covid spike in Alaska. Our restrictions got a lot worse because people are *cough cough* having a veryyyyyy difficult time following rules. Oh yeah, my brother also had to get tested for Covid because he has some medical issues and was having a hard time breathing one day (and had low oxygen levels as well) so my mom took him to the doctor and he was tested. It took about ten days to get results back and it was negative, fortunately, but we had to quarantine better that week just in case.

– School

Ahaha, we’re back to having school be a part of my Life posts . . . school is starting in just a few weeks. Our district is going back online-only after an original plan of going three days a week. That’s kinda a bummer but I totally respect and understand why they made that decision. This school year is going to be a lot of work and I’m going to have to make a lot of big decisions and really stay on top of stuff. Even though I’m not happy about the prospect of online school, I cheered myself up by getting a cute new binder and decorated it with stickers. I also ordered my planner for the year, which I always do to stay on top of things. 🙂

– Skiing

I’ve sort of neglected ski training a little bit and switched to mountain biking more frequently. Skiing was kind of stressing me out and I lacked a lot of motivation, so my decision to cut back on training was a good thing for me. I still rollerski all the time and do strength training, but biking brings me a lot of joy and I’m really glad I’m making more time for that as well.

– The good stuff

  • I made these really cool Spotify-inspired decorations for my room (tutorial coming soon, guys!)
  • My mom and I FINALLY painted my trim and y’all it literally looks soooooo good, I’m so happy with it
  • I got a drinkbelt for rollerskiing (it’s like a fanny pack for skiing) so now I can stay hydrated on long skis – I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s hard to keep up the pace when you’re dying of thirst
  • Our library opened for curbside pickup so I’ve been doing a lot of really good reading!
  • Our yard has looked so nice and we’ve had a lot of really great sunny days, like this one:

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look at my handsome boy, y’all

– July favorites

What I’ve been listening to:

  • Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” album
  • Gabby’s Barrett’s “Goldmine” album (review here)
  • “Send Me on My Way” by Boy Meets Girl
  • “Budapest” by George Ezra
  • “Buttercup” by Jack Stauber
  • “the 1” by Taylor Swift (did you guys even know she released an album? no one talked about it because corona-related news took over the media)
  • the “Watermelon Sugar” cover by Avenue Beat and Maddie & Tae
  • “Everywhere I’m Goin’ by Avenue Beat and Maddie & Tae

Shows I’ve been binging:

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (I finally finished it last night, all seven seasons!)
  • Atypical

Books I’ve been reading:

  • the System Divine series by Joanne Rendell & Jessica Brody (10/10 RECOMMEND Y’ALL)
  • Again Again by E. Lockhart
  • Brave Enough, Olympic Nordic skier Jessie Diggins’ autobiography (lol I read an autobiography guys, it was really good though)
  • the Glittering Court series by Richelle Mead

Haha this post was sort of short but like I said, the days really blend together. Catch you next week!

How was your July?

XOXO,

Morgan

Scrunchie Style Lookbook | Two-Fifty Scrunchies!

Hello my scrunchie-wearing readers!

At least, I hope you wear scrunchies. If you don’t, no judgement, but if you would like to know where to get some, look no further!

Natalie of Taking the Cake started an Etsy shop, TwoFiftyScrunchies, where she sells high-quality, functional, and stylish scrunchies. I absolutely love Natalie’s scrunchies. The colors are super vibrant and they compliment all of my clothes super well. She sent me some in exchange for a little review, and I decided to do my first lookbook featuring her scrunchies! Thanks, girl!

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The point I would like to make is that these scrunchies can go with anything. My friends and I wear scrunchies year-round at school. Here’s one of Natalie’s scrunchies (from her Grape Juice scrunchie pack) paired with a tee-shirt and shorts.

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Here’s one of her key lime scrunchies with my favorite black flowered romper!

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And finally, another Grape Juice scrunchie paired with a fall outfit (that familiar chill is approaching, guys . . .)

If any of you are looking for some lovely scrunchies, go check out Natalie’s shop!

XOXO,

Morgan

An Honest Review of Gabby Barrett’s Album, “Goldmine”

Hey y’all! Happy Monday!

Last summer I did my first album review on SS&SS (one of my first posts, actually). This album was “GIRL” by Maren Morris and you can check out the review here. I haven’t done another album review since then because, in all honesty, I haven’t discovered an album where I actually liked the majority of the songs since then. I’ll admit, I’m picky about my music – but then, who isn’t?

 

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not my image

 

Gabby’s music reminds me a lot of Maren’s. It’s country-meets-pop and is created by a wonderful female artist. Gabby is quickly becoming one of my favorite singers and her latest album, “Goldmine,” did not disappoint.

While I had to include a disclaimer in my review of “GIRL,” “Goldmine” is a very clean album. I’ve never encountered profanity in any of Gabby’s songs (don’t quote me on that, I may have missed one), so I honestly think her music is appropriate for any age.

Let’s start with the song “I Hope.” This song has been playing on both country and pop stations since it was released in July 2019. Gabby included a remake of “I Hope” that she dueted with none other than Charlie Puth. Personally, I like the duet even more than the original. This is by far Gabby’s most famous song – it’s about a scorned ex-girlfriend who discovers her ex got together with another girl.

I hope you both feel the sparks by the end of the drive
I hope you know she’s the one by the end of the night
I hope you never ever felt more free
Tell your friends that you’re so happy
I hope she comes along and wrecks every one of your plans
I hope you spend your last dime to put a rock on her hand
I hope she’s wilder than your wildest dreams
She’s everything you’re ever gonna need
And then I hope she cheats
Like you did on me

10/10 very catchy.

“Write It on My Heart” is probably my favorite song from this album. Gabby sings about leaning on the person you’re in love with and letting them see all of the parts of your life, good and bad.

Give me all your secrets
Give me your hometown
Give me meet your mama
Don’t leave nothin’ out
Everything that came before me
Even all the broken parts
Every chapter of your story
Write it on my heart

It’s a super sweet song with a beautiful message. With the exception of “I Hope,” which is written with a slightly more vengeful tone, all of Gabby’s songs have good messages. “Footprints On The Moon” is about how anything is possible, considering people have literally walked on the moon. “Jesus & My Mama” is about how Gabby refuses to change herself for any boys – after all, Jesus and her mama love her, and that’s what’s important. “You’re the Only Reason” and “Hall of Fame” are, sticking with a classic theme in country music, about true love.

My one complaint about “Goldmine” is the very co-dependent message that one of the songs sends. Check out the lyrics to “Rose Needs a Jack.”

We all should have somebody
Makes us feel like we’re somebody
Every me needs you, every pair needs two
Every June needs a little Johnny Cash
Every Rose needs a Jack
Makes you dance, makes you smile, makes you laugh
Every Rose needs a Jack
That’ll love you if it all goes bad
Every Rose needs a Jack

Personally, I dislike how Gabby says that all girls need a boy in their lives. It’s not true at all, and let’s be honest, some girls don’t even want a boy by their side. If you do, great. If you don’t, also great.

I do appreciate how Gabby mixes this message up a bit with “Strong.”
Lovin’ somebody more than my own breath

Knowin’ that I’m right where he belongs, oh

Bein’ home in the arms of my best friend

Where the light always stays on

That’s where I feel strong, oh

That’s where I feel strong, oh

See the difference? In “Strong,” the man Gabby loves is complimenting who she really is. She can do anything she wants without him, but when she’s with him, she feels even more powerful.

To wrap this up on a good note, check out “Got Me,” featuring Shane & Shane. This is one of the few songs in the album that doesn’t discuss boys.

Nothing can separate me from amazing grace
Jesus, you’re all that I need
If everything falls apart and I don’t know where to start
You bring me back to my knees
‘Cause you’re good
And a God who’s got me
Who’s got me

It’s more like a worship song, in all honesty.

To wrap this review up, go check out Gabby Barrett’s album, “Goldmine.” Of course, you should consult with your parents first, and just remember that all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

And if you need more country-meets-pop music by another talented female artist, here’s another link to my review of “GIRL.”

Have a great week, everybody!

What do you think of Gabby Barrett? Do you like country-meets-pop?

XOXO,

Morgan

Life: May / June 2020

May _ June

Better late than never, right? I got to mid-June and realized that I still needed to do my post for May and basically decided to combine them. May was pretty slow and basically nothing happened anyway, so if I add in June there are more stories to tell. 🙂

– Friends

So May was kinda cool, I celebrated my birthday and was able to have some friends over to hang out in the backyard with me. We played Heads Up! and ate cupcakes and it was overall very fun. I’ve gotten to see my friends a lot more and reconnect and do a ton of activities outside so that’s a big yay!

Recently my friends and I have been hammocking a ton with our lovely Eno hammocks. We bike on some of the trails in town and then go off the trail and into the woods and usually get eaten alive by mosquitoes, but it’s all in good fun. We just have to remember to take bug spray.

– Quarantine

Quarantine is pretty much coming to a close in Alaska. Our state reopened so we can go to restaurants, shops, and pretty soon, church. My family in general still isn’t eating out (unless it’s something like pizza) or doing shared food which is slightly awkward at barbecues but oh well. Unfortunately, a lot of cities have had to mandate masks because literally NO ONE wears them so that’s blown up and sparked a ton of debates in my state. At least we can be safe inside now.

My family decided to have me and my brother stop going to youth group though, because a lot of people at my church are way too comfortable getting way too close to other people. That’s really sad to me because now I can’t hang out with my friends at my youth group or help out with the younger kids at our middle school youth group. But I’d rather be safe than sorry, you know?

– Skiing

Ski training continues! I’m hiking, downhill biking, doing core exercises, and rollerskiing to prep for swim and ski season. (That reminds me, today is interval day 😉 I think all of my training is really paying off and I feel a lot stronger . . . plus when I flex in the mirror I actually look kind of muscular . . . don’t tell anyone. 😂 I went rollerskiing with a few guy friends the other day and one of them got their pole stuck in a storm drain and it snapped in half . . . so stuff like that happens. Oops.

– Storytime 😬

My brother and dad and I are very into downhill mountain biking and we go all the time. For a while, we were going around five nights a week. About four weeks ago, my dad sent it a little too hard on a jump and the back of his bike hit him from behind and he went down really hard. I was right behind him, so I braked really hard, almost running into him, and helped him pull his bike off the trail. Later that night, at around midnight, I heard this huge crash from upstairs and I got out of bed. Turns out, my dad had a HUGE bruise on his lower stomach and the blood had drained out of his head and to his stomach, causing him to pass out. What worse is he pulled my mom’s dresser on top of himself as he fell, and it was on half of his body. My mom called 911 and eight paramedics showed up at our house with an ambulance and two fire trucks. It was extremely scary, but my dad didn’t need surgery or anything. And now he’s back to biking, although he has to go kind of slow and be careful.

So that was our excitement for June!

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– The good stuff

  • I went camping with one of my friends and her family and my family the other week and it was super nice to not have to social distance with them as much . . . their family is super careful like ours so we’re more comfortable around each other 🙂
  • The weather has been amazing, it hit 75 on the Fourth of July!
  • Speaking of the Fourth, I had a massive food coma . . .
  • We did do takeout for something other than pizza for Father’s Day – we got Thai food, and it was DELICIOUS after four months of not eating it (although the time before that I got food poisoning, so it was a nice little break, lol)
  • We sold our old minivan and now my Subaru has an actual parking spot in the driveway 😂
  • I redid the photo light string in my room, the one you can check out in this post, with updated pictures of this last school year!
  • I GOT CHACOS FOR MY BIRTHDAY (those are shoes, by the way, lol)

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– May / June favorites

What I’ve been listening to:

  • “Summer Feelings” by Lennon Stella ft. Charlie Puth
  • “Miracles” by Colton Dixon
  • “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink
  • “Savage Love” by Jason Derulo
  • all of Gabby Barrett’s album, “Goldmine”

Shows I’ve been binging:

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Outer Banks
  • Dead to Me

Books I’ve been reading:

  • the Scythe series by Neal Shustermann
  • re-reading the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber
  • Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
  • not a ton of reading this month, unfortunately . . .

That’s about it for May and June! I hope everyone in the US had an amazing Fourth of July!

How’s everyone’s summer going? Are your quarantine restrictions lifting? How was your Fourth of July?

XOXO,

Morgan

 

Sunshine Blogger Award (Thanks, Faye!)

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Long time no see! Well, not that long I suppose. I’ve been outside, enjoying our beautiful summer (I hope y’all are doing the same).

Faye nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award – my first award on SS&SS! Thank you so much Faye. Go check out her blog, everyone!

The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your blog post.

The questions for me:

What is your favorite song and why?

My favorite song changes on a regular basis, but the one I keep coming back to is “Beautiful People” by Ed Sheeran ft. Khalid. I love Ed Sheeran’s voice and for some reason the lyrics in this song really resonate with me. The beat is also great!

Favorite book series and why?

My all-time favorite is The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick. The series is middle-grade fiction and I discovered it years and years ago, but the characters are all so different (it’s told from five different POVs) and the plot lines of each book are creative and fun. Plus, the author’s sense of humor is absolutely hysterical. They’re a great read for any age in my opinion.

Favorite movie and why?

I love The Parent Trap – the original and the remake. I can’t really choose which one is better. The twins are so mischevious and the movie is super entertaining.

Favorite flower and why?

My favorite flowers are hydrangeas because they’re super puffy (in a sense) and come in all different colors – depending on the pH level of the soil, in fact!

Favorite memory and why?

There are so many to choose from! I used to live in California (after being born in Alaska and relocated back and forth) and I have a lot of great memories from living there. My favorite one is actually from the day after I moved there. I got to meet our neighbor’s Chihuahua, Chloe. I was only eight at the time and Chloe and her owner were the first people I met there. Chloe passed away last year, but my own Chihuahua, Callie, reminds me of her.

What is a small thing you are incredibly proud of?

Hmm. (Anyone else have the problem where they have problems answering questions they would normally have an immediate answer to?) I guess I’m pretty proud of my bookshelf, actually. The one that’s rainbow color-coordinated, remember?

Do you have a bunch of friends or a few or really close friends?

I’m going to have to say I’m smack dab in the middle, honestly. I have two friend groups – my school/ski friends and my church friends. And then I have super close friends who aren’t in either of those groups who I love to death.

Are you a straight A’s kinda student, a few B’s and C’s, or failing kind of student?

Straight A’s, lol.

Do you play an instrument and if so, for how long?

I played piano for about nine years. I occasionally will go sit down and play, but I don’t do it consistently anymore. I would like to pick it back up, but I’m not sure I have the time.

What is a fact about yourself that is immediately apparent to new people that you meet?

Probably the fact that I’m pretty athletic. Besides the fact that I wear workout clothes a lot, I look like I’m in good shape. (Year-round ski training kind of shows.) 😂

Alternatively, what is a fact about yourself that only your closest friends (and now the internet) knows?

This is already on my blog, but the fact that I love swingsets! It’s easy to share that kind of information to my fifty followers, but I only have a couple of friends in real life who know that.

Here’s who I’m nominating:

Tess @ impatient, imperfect

Emmie @ Diary of a Daydreamer

Anyone over @ Yes, We Are Insane 🙂

Olivia @ Blogging and Bubble Tea

Arabella @ Sparks of Ara

Diamond @ I Have 12% of a Plan

… and anyone else who wants to do it!

Your questions are (I knew I was forgetting something . . .)

  • What is something huge you’ve accomplished that when you look back on, you are incredibly proud of?
  • Something you absolutely have to do before you die?
  • Biggest regret in the last month/year/your entire life?
  • What is something you would love to do, but you are too scared to do it?
  • What is something you admire that other people can do, but you can’t? (It can be about their personality or an actual skill.)
  • Go-to outfit?
  • What does your dream room look like?
  • What is the first thing you would do if you were the opposite gender? (Lol for me, it’s running at night . . .)
  • Favorite song to jam to in the car?
  • What moment in your life would you love to go back and re-live?
  • Where would you absolutely love to be right now?

Have fun! Thanks again for the fun award, Faith!

XOXO,

Morgan

 

I Made Mint Chip Ice Cream | Melty Melty Melt

This should be fun!

Ice cream is my favorite dessert – no, food – and it’s getting hot outside and it’s the perfect treat to cool you off.

You guys. I don’t cook. I can’t cook, rather. I burn everything, even things that should not physically burn. I do like baking a lot, though. I’m not sure where ice cream falls. But whatever. I made some, and if you would like to follow my incredibly uncomplicated (hehe) instructions, you can make some for yourself! (Or your family. Mine ate it all.)

For this recipe, you will need an ice cream processor. You can’t just put it in the freezer and expect it to do something. Haha.

I’m loosely following this recipe. Mint chip is my favorite flavor, and I’ve never made ice cream before, so we’re starting with something basic.

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Ingredients!

You will need 6 ounces of chocolate chips, a pinch or so of salt, a cup of heavy whipping cream, a cup of milk, six egg yolks (not shown, because we only had four eggs at the time and our chickens had make more eggs before I could get very far in the recipe, which resulted in the actual ice cream consumption being delayed by a day), 2/3 cup sugar, and either peppermint extract or food-grade peppermint essential oil.

Measure that milk and heavy cream . . . (they look the same lol)

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As well as the sugar . . .

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And the salt . . . and put it all in a pan.

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Stir stir stir! Combine it as much as you can.

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Put it on the stove and heat it over medium until all the sugar dissolves (this may take a little bit, be patient).

While that is combining, chop up your chocolate chips to whatever size you want. Just make sure whatever size they are will work in your ice cream processor. Mine won’t work with any add-ins bigger than the size of a chocolate chip.

Then pop those in the freezer in a plastic bag.

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Next, we’re going to whisk the egg yolks together. Ooh, pretty yellow color.

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Slowly pour the milk-cream mixture into the eggs. If you pour it in all at once, the heat will cook the eggs and then you’re going to have scrambled eggs and that’s yucko.

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Put it back on the stove and heat it up until it begins to thicken. It should coat the back of your spoon (preferably a wooden spoon, mine is not) and not run and be drippy everywhere.

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Get a bowl of ice water . . .

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And pull the mixture off the stove. Put it in the ice bath for about five minutes to stop the cooking.

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Now we’re going to add the peppermint! This is to taste, and if you’re using peppermint extract you’ll need more to get a miny flavor than if you’re using essential oil. Make sure your oil is food-grade! Some is and some isn’t. This Young Living Vitality peppermint essential oil is food-grade (not sponsored). I used five drops, but my mom said it was too minty so it’s really personal preference. I thought it was just right. You can taste the mixture to see if it’s the flavor you want.

Now, you’re going to either leave the mixture in the ice water for about twenty minutes – or put it in the fridge for a couple of hours, which is better. You just want it to be completely chilled.

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Now, process the mixture in your ice cream machine. Mine is this Cuisinart that I got for my birthday. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

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Add in the frozen chocolate, carefully folding it in.

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Ta-da!

Now, leave the ice cream in the freezer in an airtight container (NOT the processor bowl –  that can damage it, apparently) for a couple of hours to solidify.

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My final product!

Guys, it tasted like legit ice cream . . . I’m honestly kind of surprised. The ice cream is pretty yellow for mint chip, it’s more of a vanilla-y color, but other than that, it’s real mint chip ice cream!

Would y’all try this ice cream? Have you ever made ice cream before? What’s your favorite flavor? Let me know!

XOXO,

Morgan