Thursday, July 30, 2015

Feeling Thankful

This week, we're thankful for:

Garbage Trucks

A Happy Bather

Hand-Me-Down Toys From A Fellow Navy Wife

A Daddy Who Builds Awesome Forts

And Sweet Brotherly Snuggles

Life is always sweeter when I count my blessings!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Remembering The Fruit

Sometimes life gets busy. 

I've had some challenges with feeling on top of things these last few weeks. 

Quiet Time
Yard Work

I enjoy each task, yet somehow when time gets tight, the buildup steals my joy.

Breakfast on the go looked like this at least a couple of times last week. :/

It's a good thing that I don't have to conjure up my own happiness. I needed to be reminded of that this week. A new Bible Study I've started recently was just what I needed to bring things back into focus. I'm not doing it all on my own - nor should I be. 

As I'm walking in the Spirit, all these things will manifest themselves:

Self Control

In other news - God blessed us this week in a way we were not expecting. Braden's car died about a month ago and since then we've been making do with my truck and his 2 wheeled vehicles. It really hasn't been that bad. But, we were anticipating a long drawn out car hunt looking for a particular make of van in our price range. That's difficult enough in a well populated area, let along in our small town. We were even in the midst of planning a whole day of car shopping in Sacramento when my Facebook feed included a post from a church friend here in town looking to sell a van - our van! 

We are so thankful for how the Lord provided this new addition. Braden has been suggesting some classic 'Soccer Mom' names for her. Haha! I don't care, I'll not have to heft heavy bags of chicken feed and water bottles into the bed of my truck any longer. Call me crazy, but I'm excited to enter the Taxi Mama world.  


Friday, July 24, 2015

After 3 Years, It's Gone!

Cleaning the shower drain finally got to me and I decided have about 3 years worth of hair chopped off on Wednesday. Ryder declined to smile for the camera - silly guy.'s gone.

I'm excited to send my foot+ long braid to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an organization that provides wigs free of charge to women with cancer.

It'll always grow back, right?!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Goodbye Old Friend

This week we pulled the plug on Chinequa. 

She had been sitting and suffering in a vegetative state for a few weeks and finally it was determined that she wasn't worth the $ needed to get her back on her wheels again. 

Goodbye old friend.

Lots of memories have been made to include Braden's old red Trailblazer.

Both of our kids came home from the hospital in her.

Ryder learned to drive in her.
Well, sort of...

She collected donations for the squadron homecoming.
And hauled tons of our groceries in her time.

She took us on one last big road trip back home to Canada to see some family and friends.
That coffee sitting on her roof if for my sister, not another date. ;)

And she ended her long life with a lot of attention and TLC from this guy.

Let the minivan hunt commence!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Fire Hall and First Harvest

My garden has come a long way since Spring. Today I finally got around to picking and freezing a few bags of fresh kale. We'll mostly be using it in our breakfast smoothies, but I also found a great recipe for Spicy Kale & Corn Stuffed Chicken that we had for dinner tonight - excellent!

Here is my first batch of greens. There's plenty of lettuce to make a great big green salad to go with our Sunday lunch tomorrow. And back out in the garden I found a beautiful green squash tucked amongst the leaves. :)

One of the great things about living in a relatively small town is the fun community focus. Today the fire hall hosted BBQ for our local residents. Ryder loved seeing the trucks and equipment up close - maybe as much as he loved the free ice cream cone. 

And then we were done....

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baby Fun

I'm can't think of anything sweeter than a new little baby! While I'm enjoying my big and little babies, I'm also looking forward to helping a sweet friend (and fellow Navy wife) welcome her first little one. 

In spite of my endless 'to do' list, I took a little break to make a few handmade gifts. :)

Here's the finished product. A reversible bib and natural maple teether with nautical prints. 

Bunny Eared Teethers

Reversible Bibs

Thanks Pinterest!  
I'll be making some for Lynden next. 

And because I had so much fun making these ones, I went ahead and bought a whole bunch of certified organic cotton and flannel to make a few gift sets for my Etsy shop as well.  You may not hear from me for a while.... ;)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What To Do When It Feels Like Your Kids Get In The Way Of Life:

Since getting back from our long weekend camping trip I've been feeling pretty sluggish and fighting to get up and get a lot accomplished in the mornings. On Friday I finally decided to go ahead and write down what I hoped to get done during my day.

What is it about a list that inspires and motivates to action? Must be a weird personality thing. Here's what I came up with: 

The list stuck to the counter in my kitchen so pardon all of the water marks. :)

While I did go ahead and plan out my day from early on - the baby was up at 5 and Ryder was up at 6 - somehow the kids didn't pick up on my get 'er done mentality. Haha! Just a few things to accomplish, seems pretty reasonable, right? Well, those things turned into many more...

1. Breakfast (nurse Lynden, change diaper, take Ryder to the potty, get everyone dressed)

2. Bike Ride (leave, return home to pump up tires, return home to leave Dixie who was terrorizing the neighborhood dogs, finally get home after our ride to find that Ryder has had an accident in the bike trailer - sigh..., another trip to the potty, laundry, get dressed)

3. Pull Weeds (nurse the baby, rescue Ryder's tricycle stuck on the rocks, coach Ryder on where and where NOT to throw rocks, hunt for lizards with Ryder and find a few other creatures instead)

Can you spy the camouflage creature?

4. Wash Dishes, Clean & Clear Counters (shower, make lunch, feed everyone lunch, put Ryder down for a nap, wash one dish, feed a bite of food to Lynden - yes, he's started solids!, wash one dish, wipe that last whole bite that is dribbling down his chin, wash one dish, feed Lynden a bite, etc.)

5. Fold Laundry (change yet another dirty diaper, nurse the baby, pour a 5th cup of coffee, scrub crayon off of the floor, find a full episode of The Pioneer Woman to watch - yes, this is relaxed as I get these days. :)

6. Deep Clean Master Bath (Set Ryder up with water and a snack to 'watch the thumper go boom boom' instead of being scared of the thunderstorm, What?! It's 6 already! Time to make dinner...)

Sometimes at the end of days like these I look back and wonder what I did all day. If you have kids at home, I'm sure you can relate!

As you can see, not so streamline as originally planned. But, at the end of the day, all of the important things got done and these two were just as happy as could be. 

I need to remind myself of this often, but for today, my consolation is this:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Days like this are not a write-off. 
They aren't treading water. 
They don't keep us from really living life. 

They are real life!

So, are you a Mama? 
Glorify God.

Are you single?
Glorify God.

Wherever you are, 
whatever you're doing, 
there - glorify God. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Easy Peasy Granola Bars

I'm on a hunt for the perfect granola bar recipe. Taste is important, but I also don't want to have to run out and buy any unusual ingredients that I don't have stocked in my kitchen on any given day - no, I don't normally have Rice Krispies on hand. I also want to get back to a more whole food lifestyle for our family and that can be hard with lunches to pack and a busy schedule with kids.

It's a little ironic that in today's batch I tossed in a bag of Reese's Pieces that have been sitting on a shelf in the back of the pantry for ages. But we can talk about my partially hydrogenated hypocrisy later. Next time I'll use the organic dark chocolate chips I picked up at Bob's Red Mill on our recent road trip through Oregon.

Here is the everyday cast of characters:

Granola Bars
1 C Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/2 C Honey
1/2 C Coconut Oil

2 1/2 C Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 C Almonds
1/2 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes - Shredded is fine too
1 t Salt
Optional: 1 C Chocolate Chips

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well. Pat into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Wait at least 20 minutes until cutting.

The beauty of making homemade granola is that you can be super flexible with ingredients. Don't have any almonds? Use walnuts or pecans. Don't have coconut? Leave it out. It's hard to go wrong with minor deviations like that. Like me, you'll learn over time what tastes best and works well for your family.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Good Fish Dinner

Did any one else read this book as a child?

For some reason, it was one of my favourites growing up. The hungry fox takes a fish from the back of the wagon headed for market and when his fox friend sees and smells the delicious fish dinner, he decides to get some fish for himself. Unfortunately, he can't stop at one and as he is stealing fish after fish for himself, the wagon driver catches him and ends up with a fox pelt to sell at the market along with his fish.

This is totally unrelated to todays post, but I thought of the title while putting together my recipe of salmon cakes that we had for dinner last night. See, a good fish dinner it fits. Ha!

Tired of the same old same old grilled salmon I usually make, I did a little Pinterest-ing last night and found a yummy looking salmon cake recipe. And since it's been a while since I shared a recipe...

Doesn't everything taste better battered, breaded and fried?

That's what my husband said at least.

Anyhow, my recipe was loosely based off of this one by Aubrey who blogs at Homegrown & Healthy.

Fresh Salmon Cakes

1.5 lbs salmon filet
2T butter
3 eggs beaten
1C bread crumbs (I don't usually have Panko, so day old or toasted bread blended or food processed works well)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon + 1T
2T fresh parsley minced
2t chill powder
2T olive oil

1. Melt butter in a hot skillet and cook the fish through - about 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness.
2. While the fish cools, mix the rest of the ingredients together - leaving out the olive oil. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
3. Divide the salmon mixture into 6 equal portions and form a patty with your hands, packing it together quite firmly. Return to the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Heat the olive oil in your skillet and brown the cakes on both sides. It may take 2 batches, depending on the size of your skillet.

I recommend serving them hot on caesar salad (what we did) or on a brown rice and veggie bowl (what we're doing with the leftovers). Even my boys loved them. Delish!

Oh, and here's my baby sitting up. Where has the time gone?