Sunday, August 14, 2016

August Favorites!

just hangin out....

I have received such great feedback on my "essentials" page the past few years, and haven't updated since last winter (whoops!). I will put a new one together for fall, but for now here are just a few of my current MUST HAVES that I am loving.
(everything on my list is tested and truly loved by my family--this isn't a sponsored post :)

Natural Calm. It's August. I'm not going to lie, this month is not my favorite. The whole back-to-school season stresses me out and I just haven't been sleeping at night--at ALL. A friend recommended this--it's a magnesium supplement--and the last three nights I have fallen asleep right away, and then STAYED sleeping all night (a miracle!). I've just been mixing a tiny bit (1/2tsp) into some warm water at bedtime and it works like a charm.
Doterra Triease softgels.  I'm the only one in my family who doesn't suffer from some kind of seasonal allergy (go me!), and right now everyone else is pretty miserable--runny noses, watery eyes--it's the worst. I don't know how these work or why, or maybe it's all placebo, but they seem to be taking the edge off for Robby and the kids--Jonah's sneezing has been cut down from ten in a row to just one :)
Hydro Flasks . For a while I kinda made fun of anyone who bought an expensive water bottle when you can pick up an indestructible Nalgene for under $10....and then I got super tired of drinking warm water all summer. I finally bit the bullet and tested one of these out and it has CHANGED MY LIFE! I can actually leave my water in the car while I go in a store or on a run, and when I come back THERE IS STILL ICE IN MY WATER!  I've been drinking so much more water, now that it's not burning my mouth every time I take a sip. I highly recommend the splurge.

me and my beet bouquet, cheesin it up.
Beets! Ok beets aren't exactly a grab-n-go snack, but we are eating them constantly! I love them roasted, but since it's too hot to turn on the oven right now, I've been slicing them, boiling them, and then adding to salads, or mixing them with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, chives and goat cheese! How do you eat your beets?
Orgain Protein Powder. I've been really trying to up my protein intake the last six months. I've never been a huge fan of protein shakes but lately I'm really liking this one. I've found that for me, I do better with the plant protein over whey (my gut doesn't always agree with so much dairy)--and this has been my favorite so far--it's not full of weird ingredients and sweetened with stevia instead of sucralose. I have a shake after every workout.
Epic Bars . Always a favorite--I've mentioned these before. I'm not a fan of just having them for a snack on a regular day--but when we are out hiking they taste SO good--I crave them. I like their new Epic bites too.

I've lived in my Birkenstocks all summer long--so comfy!
Brixton Hats  (above photo) I'm a huge fan of hats....then I don't have to do my hair! 
Prana's Kara Jeans I LIVE in these jeans. The fit is just right, lots of colors to chose from (the green is my fav), and they are super comfortable--I even climb in them.

Merrell Hiking Boots . The kids have put some major miles on these boots this summer--they tell me their feet feel great (they did 13 miles right out of the box) and they've been through puddles, mud, and small creek crossings and their feet have stayed dry. Pair them with a good sock--we like Smartwool .
Kids Camelbaks . This is a great size day pack for kids--the bladder holds 1.5 liters of water and it's big enough to carry a fleece, rain jacket, and snacks (and whatever rocks they pick up along the way.)
Patagonia running shorts . Hands down my favorite running shorts--three years in a row! So light and comfortable-I won't buy any other shorts to run in.
Houdini . This jacket (pictured below) is my new favorite running piece. It rolls up tiny so I can put it in my running pack, and it really keeps the wind away when you get high up in the mountains--click the link and you can read my full review.
Resistance Bands. I used to be all "cardio! cardio! cardio!" But since I've added weight training in, I feel so much better when I run, ride, and climb. These bands are a great way to mix it up with weights--and they all fit in a little bag so you can take them wherever.
Now I need some help from you guys! I'm looking for some new recipes....I definitely not going paleo--you know I'm a firm believer in good balance, but what I've found is working great for me right now is what I've decided to call "conscious carbs", meaning I eat more carbs the days I'm more active--running or biking-- (yogurt and oats for breakfast, a wrap for lunch) and less carbs when I'm less active (eggs for breakfast, salad and lean protein for lunch, etc). So I'm wondering if you have any great resources, favorite recipes, or instagram accounts that feature low carb meal ideas-some meatless dishes would be FANTASTIC! Mostly just good dinners and snack ideas (always looking for snacks for my long school days!) 

And speaking of food--I've been posting a few super easy meal ideas on Instagram Stories (@_sheenarae). Why are there Instagram stories? Who knows....still trying to understand it myself, but I'll post quick ugly food shots every now and then--check them out!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

these days

watching the "show
lu said animal heaven is in the sunset 
We live for summer evenings. We lay low during the day, the heat slowwwwwly melting us into sticky, lifeless, human puddles, and then emerge back in to real life as the sun begins to sink behind the mountain. The breeze starts to blow, we open windows, doors, and always hope for rain (we got our first storm in weeks!) We head out to the garden--it's being overtaken oh-so-slowly by weeds--and pull some veggies for dinner. Our feet are stained--we never wear shoes, our fingernails have a constant layer of dirt. We don't mind. We check the squash--little pumpkins, smooth spaghetti squash coming right along, the zucchini plant that frosted (twice!) is coming back to life with teeny tiny zucchinis. The branches on the plum tree are getting heavier by the day--tired from the weight of their almost-purple treasures--we constantly check to see when they'll be ready to pick--any day now. We prepare for our battle with the magpies who are patiently waiting as well. The backyard is overgrown with flowers and thistles as tall as me--they reach out and grab our legs as we pass. We start to count the ladybugs we find--(don't forget the two on her, and the one in my hair)--but we lose track. If we sit out there long enough, we sometimes see the two young bucks that wander through every now and then. We see the lightening in the distance, and sit to watch the show that Mother Nature prepared--just for us, I'm sure of it.  As the sun melts away, the clouds change from grey, to orange, to pink.....and fade out slowly back to silver.
We head back into the house, and finish cleaning up from dinner. I replay the evening in my head and remind myself that it's these moments--these little tiny moments that are, in fact, the big moments. These are the days, aren't they.
A Summer Supper
Not really a "recipe"....but boy did it taste good. I feel like we eat like kings in the summer time!
-grilled hamburger patties--fresh beef from the farmer's market (mixed with rosemary and topped
with blue cheese and pickled jalapenos from the garden)
-farmer's market beans sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts
-beets from the garden, boiled and tossed with butter, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper (wishing I had some goat cheese too!)
-garden tomato

serve with a side of shade and cool outdoor breeze!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


wake up, sleepy head.
We spent fourteen nights away from home in July--on the road to California, back to Utah, on to Montana. Each time we had a few days in between, but I never really felt like we were "home"--we were constantly going and the month just FLEW by. Our time away was spent camping, so we brought only necessities. A few shirts, shorts, swimsuits. Food, jackets, a couple pairs of shoes. Ok we DID bring fun stuff like bikes, kayaks, fishing gear and all the makings of a good s'more, but for the most part, it was only what we needed.
We've been home these last few days, and I've spent all my time catching up around the house-- doing mounds of laundry, unpacking gear, trying to finish projects I started in June (whoops). I can't help but look around our house and think.....why do we have so much STUFF?

I feel like the world right now tells us we need MORE. And everything must be BIGGER. More clothes. Bigger house. More "likes". Bigger cars. 
More things = more happiness, right?

Over the last few years we have downsized, and downsized again. Our house is twelve hundred something square feet--my kids' bedrooms are so close I can hear them snoring at night. Robby and I share a closet that I can touch both ends of at once, which is fine I guess--I hate shopping anyway. Don't get me started on our bathroom--big enough for only one person at a time--and it's still tight (and we are small people!) 

I'm not the most organized person, but I'm learning to keep what we need, and get rid of what we don't. (It's a process! I'd love to hear how you do it!) I'd rather fill my home with books to read and rocks we tripped over in the desert, than things that have no meaning or serve no purpose. 

And for now, it works for us. But occasionally, I crack. I hear the world screaming "more!" "bigger!", and I start to feel a little lesser....and smaller. And it slowly chips away at my confidence in how we live, and what we prioritize....and I feel like I NEED more...and bigger.

But then we head out in our little camper, and I cook in the same pot for every meal, and hang our towels to dry between the trees. I'm again reminded that it's not the "stuff" that makes me happy, but the people I'm with, and the world that I am experiencing--and I really don't need much to do that, do I?
I think, I have everything I need.