Friday, August 28, 2015

A Quick Break

I've just taken an unannounced week long blog-cation in order to catch up on a few things here at home in preparation for our real upcoming vacation. We'll be enjoying some much anticipated family time for the next week or so.

Stay tuned for pictures, I'll look forward to connecting with you again then!

Friday, August 21, 2015

10 Things I'm Grateful For This Friday

Most people anticipate Friday with an eye toward the upcoming weekend. This Friday, as I enjoy my morning coffee with a baby on my lap, I can't help but be thankful for what this last week held. 

Would you care to join me in my journal of gratitude?

1. Fresh eggs from our very own chickens sitting on the window sill.

2. Hand me down clothes for Ryder.

A fellow military Mama who lives in town was cleaning house in preparation for a move. She took her boxes of boys clothes to Goodwill, but they were already closed - and I'm so thankful, because instead she passed along over 25 great quality items and 2 pairs of shoes sizes 3-5 for Ryder. Wow!

3. A great first experience at the Honda dealership in Reno yesterday.

What I thought would just be an hour or two of waiting with the boys for a quick diagnosis of a noise the van was making turned into a 5 hour wait. But...since there was a recall on the airbag that they wanted to fix for us, we were given a great family size rental car to run errands while we waited. 

Plus, when we got back to the dealership we were told the brake rotors, wheel bearings, and alignment were all great, it was just worn tires with uneven tread making the racket. We already knew the tires were pretty worn and were anticipating replacing them already - probably not with the $725 Michelin's the dealer was suggesting though. ;)

4. A Christmas gift on clearance.

While waiting on our van yesterday I ran through TJ Maxx and Marshalls, something I normally don't have the time to do when I'm in Reno. While there I found Ryder's Christmas gift for more than half off, from a line of toys we've admired at a friends' home in WA - made in Germany - so they pass Braden's not-made-in-China policy. Shhhh....don't tell Ryder!

5. A 100% insurance covered breast pump.

I've exclusively breast fed both boys thus far, but in retrospect, I think having a pump would have helped with a lot of fussiness in those early weeks when I just couldn't be nursing baby 24/7. With that in mind, I called my doctor's office to just ask about insurance coverage and a few other questions. Within 3 days, I received an awesome quality electric pump. If God should send us another little blessing (no, I'm not pregnant ;) hopefully this will help!

6. The start of a new year of MOPS

This week we just met for registration and a play date at the park, but I'm certainly looking forward to some time spend encouraging and being encouraged by other Mamas!

Lynden enjoyed his park time too!

7. Health for the whole family.

Not a day goes by that Ryder doesn't ask me if he can help me make some 'smoothie juice.' I don't know if it's the thrill of using the Vitamix or being able to help add ingredients, but he loves to make and drink delicious smoothies. 

This morning's was banana, plain yogurt, pineapple, carrot, kale (from our garden!), flax seed, mango, fresh ginger (this is just a passing phase, but boy is it potent!), and milk.

8. My sweet boys.

I don't think I could make a list of things I am thankful for without including my busy two year old and happy almost six month old. Of course I'm thankful for their Daddy too, but he doesn't love the limelight. :)

9. Unexpected Generosity

Every once in a while I get in the mood to purge and just clean house. These last few weeks I've sold a few things laying around on our local FB swap/sell pages. One such sale was fabric I've had for ages that I no longer love and want to use my limited time sewing. I posted it for $5, but the sweet Grandma who bought the stack pressed a $20 bill into my hand and insisted I take it because it was worth more than that. All I can say is benefiting from the generosity of others has really encouraged me to be more generous as well. After all, nothing is really mine, just on loan, right?!

10. The ability to do what I love.

While I'm only self-taught and just have a basic machine, I love to sew for and sell some of my items on Etsy. I've been blown away by the amount of orders I have received and look forward to completing another order placed just this morning. I'm saving up for a new sewing machine!

Oops, I was planning on having just 10 but somewhere along the way I lost count.

11. Home days!

It's Friday, and while I can't say I have nothing to do (Haha!) I have nowhere to be but home. I love days like today when I get catch up on laundry, cleaning, one on one time with the boys, etc. in my most comfy clothes. Happy Friday!

Let's be real.
Not all days are like this. 

Some days the list doesn't overflow, it needs to be mulled over and sometimes I still come up short. But, the more I practice counting through my blessings, the more I see the little things as blessing from the hand of our good God.

What about you? 
What are you thankful for today? 
Share your list in the comments below...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Taste of Summer

Teaching three piano lessons during my prime dinner making hours this afternoon inspired me to do something light and easy for dinner.

Leftover steak from the Summer Supper Club, a few fresh peppers, and basil from our garden for a nice bright pesto to dress up a few paninis. Besides, who wants to cook when the temperature hits triple digits?

Roasting peppers over an open flame was a first for me. My husband walked through the kitchen while I was at work and raised an eyebrow, but everything turned out well. 

It just took a dry paper towel to strip the charred skin off and the peppers were cored and diced for our steak sandwiches.

If you're looking for a fail-proof homemade bread recipe, here's what I use. It only takes three ingredients (flour, salt, yeast) and requires no kneading! We go through at least one loaf a week. 

I'd have included a picture of the final product - peppers, pecan basil pesto and all - but I had a couple of hungry boys and a baby to feed in a short amount of time. So, I'll just leave you hanging here. 

And, as I begin this week, I'm working off of my second written weekly plan. I have appointments and goals for most days to help me prioritize tasks and stay motivated. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Summer Supper Club

On Saturday night we hosted the latest meeting of 
The Summer Supper Club.

It's as awesome as it sounds. 
Two great couples we've gotten to know through our church small group have teamed up with us to take turns hosting and just enjoying great fellowship over delectable dinners.

We've had an outdoor BBQ, Italian and Greek themed nights. 
Last night we opted for Surf & Turf with Steak, Shrimp and all of the extras.

What a fun bunch!

We took care of the food while the guys played horseshoes and manned the grill.

Ryder loves having friends over!

Our youngest members...

...and the rest of us. 
Well, minus me, because I'm taking the picture. :)

We sure love these sweet encouraging friends. 
Here's to hoping that the first ever Summer Supper Club turns into the Fall Supper Club!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Through Ryder's Eyes

Normally our phones and the iPad are off limits for Ryder boy, but this week there were a few days that I let him work on his photography skills. It was fun to scroll through my photos and see life as Ryder sees it. Here are a few of the highlights...

His very first selfie. 
And then one with Mama too.

Chubby toes up on the counter while he helps me stir up some waffle batter.

More from his perch in the kitchen.
Ryder loves to help when I'm baking and cooking! 

The favourite toys.

Ryder can't take the credit for this last one. But since a trip to the tractor store was the absolute highlight of his week, I thought I'd sneak it in here at the end. 

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Hamster Wheel

No, we don't have a hamster. I barely have time to clean up after our dog. 
But I'm tired of constantly feeling behind of late. 

So, to try to shake that feeling this week, I sat down on Sunday with a pen and paper and laid out my entire week. Our usual activities, a few household maintenance chores, and a list of extras if I find myself with spare time (haha!).

It seems like a visual reminder always helps me stay on track. 

Oh, and just in case you were wondering...
yes, this guy loves his green smoothie juice!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ryder's First Rodeo

Here I am

hot coffee and cookies sitting on the piano bench beside me
screen door open to hear the rain pouring down
computer open

It's one of those mornings where I don't have to be anywhere.
It's a rare 57 degrees in our desert.
Everything that's calling for me (laundry, Etsy sewing, messy kitchen, etc.) can wait.

It's Friday and I intend to enjoy it. :)

Last night I was able to take the boys out to the local Fairgrounds where a church friend was riding in a rodeo. One of the things I love about small town life is just such opportunities for the boys and I to get out and have adventures without having to deal with parking, huge crowds, and long lines. 

Here's beautiful Miss Mackenzie up on Badger.
Ryder loved seeing her and petting that pretty horse.

And she's off!

What's not to love about a kids rodeo?
Ryder was enthralled. 

The fence tasted good too. ;)

So proud of this sweet girl. 

Happy Friday Y'all!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Park Days are the Best Days

Park days are the best days.

Look who has graduated to the dinner table!

'Farm' life at its finest.

I was pampered by a sweet friend who did my nails this week - a true luxury - and enjoyed a night out with the girls and this handsome guy.

And just in case that all sounds too peaceful for a mother of 2, here's what we woke up to the other morning. Someone got into the fingerprint inside and then decided to go play in the backyard barefoot  and well, just about bare everything. Haha!

Just keeping it real. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

We're In Business!

We're in business!  
Well, the chickens are in business. 

After almost five months of feeding these little ladies, I finally collected 2 eggs this afternoon.

Braden's car headed off to her final resting place.

Unfortunately, the John Deere Implement Store was closed when we stopped by, but that didn't stop us from a quick 'drive' on the gator out front. :)

 We tried a new Asian Butter Lettuce Steak Wrap for dinner tonight. The bright colours on our dinner table tonight made me so happy!  Bring on the grilled tri-tip...

After all of that health food, we needed to fulfill one last category of the food pyramid. Plus, I've been wanting to try out The Pioneer Woman's chocolate sheet cake for a while now.  Just in case you couldn't tell, it's delish!

There's enough to share. 
Who's coming?