Saturday, June 27, 2015

Father's Day 2015

One of my favorite pictures from Father's Day weekend!

Looking back at Matt's first Father's Day - I don't think I spoiled him enough! Although, we did celebrate all weekend long - so I think I'm in the clear ;)
We had a lazy Saturday, I went for a (almost died on my) run in the morning and Matt built Kess a fort - it was adorable watching them crawl in and out of it! We hung out all afternoon and then did a BBQ with Matt's family that evening. It was fun to catch up with family we hadn't seen in a while and the weather was quite perfect! Not like the triple digit insanity we are dealing with lately ;)

Pretty proud of her fort - seriously, that grin kills me!

 That little bald head is my favorite! 

Sunday morning, we rolled out of bed, hustled to get ready for 9:00am church. Matt was teaching a lesson that day, so that kept us pretty busy. Kess was all over the place by 3rd hour - so we were ready to go home and take a nap ;) We did, however sneak in some family pictures before nap time - these might be my favorite!

Matt got to open his gift and then we relaxed until we went to my parents' house for a little BBQ. We got to stuff our faces with delicious food and chat until it was Kess' bedtime. It was a relaxed, mellow day - I think we all needed it!

Honey, I have loved watching you become a dad! I always knew you would be great, but I didn't understand how amazing you would be at it! Kess loves you more than anything; she lights when she sees you! I am eternally grateful to be spending forever with you.
Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Cookin'

I don't know what it is about Summer, but I love cooking "summer meals" more than I like cooking "winter meals"... call me crazy!

Of course, since starting the blog I've ventured out and have tried lots of new recipes. I will keep adding to the list and keep sharing with you, as well!
I'm all about quick meals. Right before dinner time is when Kess is losing her patience with me (or the other way around) and Matt is making his way home, so I don't have a lot of time to slave away over the stove.

Here are a few of our favorites so far!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
 I wasn't sure the hubby was going to like this, mostly because it's a lighter meal - he loved it. We ate the entire pan. I could did eat it out of the pan with a fork. No lie. *I ended up using ground turkey, because ground chicken was significantly more expensive than the turkey. I think it tasted great, so you have that option :)

Carne Asada 
Matt is a Carne Asada lover, so I decided to try my hand at it. I nailed it, in case you were wondering. This marinade is pretty quick to make, despite having quite a few ingredients. I only let this marinade for 15 minutes and it was insanely delicious - next time I'll pay better attention to the directions and let it sit longer. *I used pre-minced garlic - because it's easier.

Chili Lime Steak Rub
I actually used this one skirt/flank steak and diced the meat to make "street tacos". Add your favorite taco fixin's and some corn tortillas - perfect summer meal! This has a tiny kick, but nothing too spicy. Kess even had a bite or two with no issues - but that girl is a bottomless pit, she isn't too picky! ;)

Hope ya'll love these Summer favorites of ours. What are some of your favorite summer meals? I would love to try them!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Purpose Behind the Name

This post as been a long time coming, and I've struggled to write it because I honestly can't remember every detail about how the name "Beautiful Effort" came about. I knew I wanted a meaningful name for my blog as I wanted it to resonate with my audience and to capture their attention, but I struggled to come up with something for a while.
With that in mind, let's start from the beginning, shall we?
In October of 2009 I started dating Matt. We fell fast and we fell hard. We spent every possible minute we could with each other. So naturally, we depended on each other for almost everything. At the time we were both college athletes, trying to prove ourselves and constantly seeking more playing time. I remember feeling like I was constantly falling short. One day Matt said to me, "Kierra, there is beauty in effort." From then on, that was something we would say to each other when the other was struggling. We have found this little quote of ours to be fitting for almost every facet of our lives.
Christmas Day 2009, I drove over to Matt's parents' house to spend Christmas morning with them. Matt gave me a Boise State jersey with my soon-to-be new last name on it. I gave Matt a hard copy of one of his favorite books and a tile plaque that said, "There is Beauty in Effort." Something for us to display in our new home... we knew we were going to get married, but we hadn't made it official yet. Little did I know, Matt had a plan in place and proposed later that day... Read our love story here...
As we grew closer, fell deeper in love and decided to get married. He promised me effort. To always try. To always give his best. And on the day we got married, we promised that to each other. To always communicate, to always give our best effort to our marriage, our lives, and our children.
Then life happened. We spent years finishing degrees, buying a home, starting a business, building careers, starting a family... life got hard. In hopes of building a better life for each other, our marriage was set on the back burner it seemed. When I was pregnant with Kess, Matt worked more than he has ever worked. He was pulling outrageous hours just to get a tiny bit ahead before Kess arrived. I was scrambling to be prepared for our little girl, wrapping up my clients before I started maternity leave, taking birthing classes - you name it, we were drowning in it. We were both exhausted. There was some distance between us and we both felt it. I began to worry about what this meant for our new little family and if it would ever be better.
On our 4th wedding anniversary, I came home from running errands to a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our doorstep. I got teary-eyed as I read the card. "There is beauty in effort. Happy Anniversary. I love you!" What an amazing reminder to put my marriage above all else. We both had struggled, we both had been working so hard to make our lives better, which is noble and all, but not enough when your marriage is taking 2nd place.
As I toyed with starting this blog, I was struggling to find passion, happiness and love. I loved my marriage, my husband and my daughter, but I needed a little something for me. I talked with Matt about starting a creative outlet, and as the blog came about I struggled to pick a name. I thought about how much effort this was going to take and how difficult it was to put myself out there and to step out of my comfort zone. Matt kindly reminded me, "There is beauty in effort..." And there it was. Beautiful Effort was born in February of 2015.
Thank you all for joining me on this journey, I have found a peacefulness in my life that I was looking for. I have found more joy in my life by just putting in a little bit more effort. I truly believe there is beauty in effort. We may not always succeed, come out on top, or win in this life, but that isn't the purpose of this life. We must try, we must put forth effort and we will truly live.
If you are new to reading Beautiful Effort, you can start from the beginning... The Purpose Behind the Words

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Bucket List

I've been trying to think of some fun things that Kess & I can do this summer - we will include Matt too! ;) ...when he isn't slammed at work! 

Without further ado... the Summer Bucket List 
*not listed in number of importance* ;)

1. Pool day #errday ... I can't pull that off, can I? OK, go to the pool as many times as we can!
2. Go to the zoo
3. Eat a SnoCone
4. Light off "mini-fireworks" on the 4th of July (before Kess' bedtime)
5. Make "mocktails" 
6. Take Kess on a bike ride
7. Blow lots of bubbles
8. Go on lots of walks/runs/stroller rides
9. Finger paint
10. Can our garden
11. Go to Hyde Park & get a treat at Goodies
12. Go to the Boise Farmers' Market
13. Walk on the Boise Greenbelt
14. Stand on the BSU Blue Turf
15. Go to the Fair

I will be posting on our Bucket List adventures on Instagram @beautifuleffort as we check them off our list! You can find them all under #BEbucketlist

What's on your Summer Bucket List? Share with us, we are always looking for a new adventure!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Forever Family

The morning of May 2nd, Matt and I dropped our sweet Kess girl off at my sister's & headed to the Boise, Idaho LDS Temple!
Matt and I were civilly married May 14th, 2010 - so getting sealed in the temple has been a long time coming! It has taken us a while to study, learn and prepare for our endowment. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the endowment, it is an ordinance ceremony that helps us prepare for the afterlife. Part of the ceremony is a scripted reenactment of the fall of Adam & Eve. We also make multiple promises with our Heavenly Father. The temple teachings are done through symbolism, which is pretty incredible. 
Before this ceremony we were given our garments... (here is a little video that explains the garments that endowed Latter Day Saints wear.)
As we were waiting to go into our endowment, I felt eternally blessed to finally see Matt wearing all white. So clean, sacred and pure. 

The endowment session was pretty overwhelming - lots of information coming at you in a short amount of time. Matt and I didn't have much time to discuss what we had learned because we were set to be Sealed to one another right after. By this point, my sister has brought Kess to the temple, so she could be sealed to us after Matt and I were sealed together as husband and wife. 
Our sealing was incredibly spiritual and gave Matt and I such an uplifted feeling. We were very emotional, much more emotional than we were on our wedding day. I don't think either of us could believe that we were finally here; finally each others' forever. No longer "Until death do us part."

After we were sealed, one of the temple workers brought Kess in; Matt and I both lost it! She looked so beautiful in her pretty white dress. For those of you who have kids, you understand how much love you feel for your children - this was amplified by knowing that she would be ours forever. Kess was a little overwhelmed by our family and friends who were with us, and that fact that she hadn't seen Matt or I for a few hours. She didn't want to let us go. My mom held her during the sealing. Matt, Kess and I held hands as a little family of 3 and were sealed for all time and all eternity. What an amazing gift that is. I am eternally grateful for making the covenants that I have made, not only with Matt and my family, but with my Heavenly Father as well. 

The temple ordinances are extremely sacred, hence my vague description of the day. If you want to know more about eternal families, temple ordinances or the Latter Day Saint religion please feel free to ask me or go to

*I'm bummed I didn't get a picture of everyone who came to our sealing! I should have slowed down & got a quick shot of everyone who made it - because you were all so important and instrumental in our journey to the temple! A huge thank you for coming to support us!*

 Matt's family - Mom's side
Matt's family - Dad's side

My siblings, parents and grandparents

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Birthday Celebration

Last year, I celebrated my 24th birthday by going to dinner with Matt and starting our Hypnobirthing Class! I know, calm down party girl!

I knew this year would be even better because I have Kess here with me to celebrate instead of being 34 weeks pregnant! Little did I know that it would be one of, if not the funnest birthday I've had yet!
Saturday morning, Kess slept in about 30 minutes longer than usual (talk about a great birthday present!) Matt got up before me and started breakfast! I was treated to bacon, eggs and toast. I usually cook breakfast so this was a treat! After we finish eating we are sitting around the table & Matt tells me that he needs me ready to go in 30 minutes. I asked why, because we had already discussed going to the Farmer's Market after Kess' morniing nap. He said, "I booked you a Hot Stone massage & a manicure at Two Rivers. Your massage starts at 9:30!" Ahhh! This guy nailed my birthday present this year! I gave him a big hug and kiss, then skipped and squealed all the way back to our room to get ready! I hustled to get ready, but knew I needed to be cute because Matt & Kess would be meeting me for lunch after my spa day! 
I jetted out of the house, hoping I wouldn't be late. I hit some construction on the freeway, my local friends know that our freeway construction is a total pain in the... ya know! ;) I, of course, keep speeding through the construction zone and as I take my exit, I get pulled over. Frreeak! I haven't gotten a ticket since I was 19. Matt's gunna kill me! 
The officer walked up to my window and asked told me he pulled me over because I was speeding, and asked if I knew what the speeding limit was in the construction zone, I lied and said, "Isn't it 65?" I know it's 55... He said, "Well you were going 72, and the speed limit is 55." "Oh wow, yes that's a bit over, I'm sorry." And then asked where I was going to quickly. I laughed and blurted out, "This is going to sound ridiculous, but my husband booked me a spa day!" He laughed and said, "Ok, let me see your license and registration." I panicked a little thinking that now I'm really going to be late! The officer walked back and said, "It would be a really big bummer if your spa day cost you an extra $100. Slow down and have fun!" I promised to slow down & gleefully thanked him! I kept my promise and didn't speed the rest of the way!
My massage was heavenly! Carrying around Kess & trying to get back into an exercise routine have taken a little toll on my body, so the hot stones felt so great! After my manicure I met Matt & Kess at the Grimaldi's (Coal Brick-Oven Pizza.) Neither of us have been, so we had to give it a try! We really like it! Not our favorite pizza of all time, but we would go back again!

We got home and Kess girl took her afternoon nap. Matt and I decided to nap, too! (another birthday present!) After we all woke up from our little snooze, Matt told me that my day wasn't over yet. He & Kess were going to hang out for the night & I needed to be ready because my ride would be here by 4:30! What??
I hustled to get ready, Matt and Kess help me pick out an outfit. There is a knock on the door. I know who it is, because I saw a brief text on Matt's phone when I handed it to him a few weeks ago. I still didn't know what exactly what was going on... My sister Santanna was at the door! YAY! Girl time!
I kissed my 2 favorite people and we left! Santanna told me that we were going to have some girl time and get some dinner at Barbacoa! I am pumped because Santanna and I don't get too much girl time together - we usually have 2 little ones in tow ;) 
We get to Barbacoa and Santanna tells them that she has a reservation for 2 under Kierra Kaiserman & one of the hostess' tell the other that our table is outside and to the left. She leads us to our table and as I turn the corner my mom, mother-in-law and my friends shout "Surpirse!!" Oh my gosh! I was so happy and so shocked! It was so much fun to have most of my friends all in the same place! We got to chat and laugh hysterically, share bites from each other's meals! Such a blast! Santanna made cupcakes from scratch, which were delicious! We finally wrapped up the meal with plenty of pictures! I truly needed this day! Matt put so much effort into giving me some much needed free time and Santanna planned the best girl's night! 

 My sweet friend Macey dropped by, even though she had a soccer game to play in! 

 My mother-in-law, momma & sister

I was pretty excited about this cotton candy! 

I spent my official birthday (today) with my Kess Kess, hung out with my momma, sister and mother-in-law a little bit throughout the day. I rented a Redbox movie and Matt brought home Chinese food. We are planted on the couch, sending emails, writing blogs and watching our movie!! 25 is shaping up to the pretty dang great!