Wednesday, November 30, 2011

bowl of winter

Not a snowflake in sight.....but it's starting to feel a bit wintry. 
Yeah, ok.....maybe I still have a yard full (FULL!) of leaves to rake, 
but the trees are all bare and the nights are quite frosty. 
My oven begs each day to be filled with something delicious. 

We love granola, and eat it often. 
It's a good hearty breakfast, and the boy even likes to take it to school for lunch. 
But sometimes, I just make it because I LOVE how it makes the house smell while it's baking. 
It smells just like winter.
Cozy. Cinnamony. Edible. Winter.
granola1 copy
It's very versatile, and you can add whatever combinations of grains and nuts you have in your cupboard.
granola2 copy
Cinnamon Granola

add to large bowl:

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups rolled wheat (found in the bulk section of health food stores. you could also use more rolled oats or rolled rye)
2 cups puffed wheat (unsweetened)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 c pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff)
1/3 c coconut oil, in liquid form
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

mix all ingredients until well coated.

Spread out onto two lined baking sheets, and bake at 300° for 30-45°, until oats are browned and crispy.
Make sure to rotate the pans and give them a few good shakes during the baking process.
homemade granola
add milk or yogurt and your favorite fruit (we like it with pomegranate!)


Monday, November 28, 2011

this and that

penryn, california
penryn4 copypenryn1 copypenryn5 copypenryn3 copy.

How was your holiday weekend?
Did you eat butter and sugar until you just about burst? 
I sure did. 

Yet here I sit, dreaming about all the treats I'll be making over the next few weeks....mmmmm........treats.
So far on my list I have cookies and toffees and puddings. 
Oh my.

My favorite thing about spending time with family, is the late late (LATE!) nights 
(that turn into early mornings) playing games. 
We. Love. Games.
We found a new favorite, called Quelf....have you played it? 
If you have a wild and crazy group (that you are reeaaalllly comfortable with) to play with, I highly recommend it. 
It is crazy and weird and hysterical all rolled into one.
I have the video clips to prove it, and plan to use them over the next few years if I ever have reason to blackmail....
We also like to play Ticket To Ride and Settlers of Catan. 
nerd alert.
I would love to hear what games you like to play--we are always on the lookout for something new.

We really need to talk about The Muppets.
It is Fantastic. 
Capital F. 
I was laughing so hard I was crying, and I cannot stop thinking about it.
Go see it with your family.

Can I tell you a secret? 
I find Black Friday is absolutely disgusting.
that's all.

My sister-in-law sent me home with some kefir grains so I could start making my own kefir. 
This is weird stuff, let me tell you, but I am really excited to get it going. 
I will let you know how it goes.

I can hardly believe it's almost December! 
We are very excited about decking the halls around here. 
The Littles are already asking about our Advent Calendar I made last year....just a few more days until we can start. 

We are currently shoving our faces with the cutest, sweetest, most delicious little oranges that we brought home from Mandarin Hill in Loomis, California. 
I most likely have orange juice dripping down my chin as I type this.

What are your favorite Christmas albums to listen to? 
I love the classic songs, and I'm really enjoying the new 
She & Him Christmas album as we speak.

.....the end.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

day twenty two

crunch. crunch. crunch.

We have all known them at some point in our lives.
The One Uppers. 
When Robby and I were newlyweds, we were neighbors with a very talented couple of One Uppers. 

We got a new TV. 
THEY got a new tv (it was more expensive)
We found a deadly spider in our apartment. 
THEY found a deadly spider in their apartment. 
(It was bigger. And more deadly!)
We got in a tiny fender bender (c'mon!.....those Rexburg winter roads are a joke!)
THEY got in a tiny fender bender. 
(the damage was MUCH worse, and they were suffering whiplash symptoms.)
I had cancer. 
THEY BOTH had cancer and surely they would die within days.
(ok none of us had cancer, but we DO like to joke that they most definitely would have one upped us, even if we had cancer.)

On and on it went. 

Nine years later we still talk about The One Uppers and laugh, and we always make it a game of one upping each other, and really, we are quite good at it. 
(seriously though, the two of us can turn just about anything into some kid of competitive game)

We had a recent conversation about one-upping, and after we finished I continued to think about it.  
It doesn't always have to be a bad thing, coming as a result of comparing our's to another's. 

We can "One Up", by simply thinking beyond. 

Yes I am thankful for fall color, 
but I am also thankful to look up and see the bare tree that so willingly dropped the color down to the ground.

I am thankful for family and friends, and this happy holiday week, 
but I am also thankful for the roads that connect us all together. 

I am thankful for my babies, 
and so thankful for a strong healthy body that brought them into this world. 

I am thankful for our soon-to-be-had Thanksgiving Feast
 (especially the mashed potatoes....),
and also thankful for the hands that will pass those potatoes across the table, and know that they are thankful for me also.

I am thankful for for a husband who works so hard at his job and schoolwork, 
but also thankful in the most sincere and non-cliche' way that he is my bestest bestest friend. Forever. In the whole wide world. BBFF.ITWWW!!

I am thankful for a  house that is cozy and warm, 
and even more thankful for the people I share it with. 

There is always something to be thankful for, and always always something not far beyond that. 

I have absolutely LOVED reading all the sweet (and some hilarious on this post!) comments of what you all are thankful 
for each day I post. 
I am thankful that this little blog is a fun creative outlet for me, and I enjoy sharing little bits of how we live with you. 
Even beyond that I am so thankful for great people I have met, 
and "met", cyberly speaking, 
because of it.
good, great, people. 
thank you. 
and you and you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

What are YOU thankful for this week?
and how can you "one up" it?

Monday, November 21, 2011

the unmentioned

sleeping. in her hat.
sleep copy
ok. let's get down to it. 

judging by the above image, you may be thinking today's thankful post is going to be something like
I am thankful for my adorably adorable children.
I am thankful that my adorably adorable children are such good sleepers. 
I am thankful blabiby blabidy blah, 
sentimental blah.

I AM thankful for my adorably adorable children, but my last few thankful posts have been leaning more towards the sappy side, don't you think? 
As much as I love thinking of all we have to be thankful for (and I am genuinely thankful), sometimes I end my posts with cheese dripping off my screen--I hope you are reading them with a side of crackers--I always do.

So today we are going to talk about things that we should all be thankful for, but in happy sappy blogland no one wants to talk about them.

The Unmentioned.  

I am going to go where maybe, just maybe, 
no blogger has gone before. 

This is deep stuff. 


I am thankful for toilets. 
Uh, yeah I am. 
And you are too. 
Sparkling white toilets in clean bathrooms with doors that close, with a roll of toilet paper (maybe on the holder the wrong way depending on who replaced it) within reach.
I have ran enough races, and used enough porta-potties to know how thankful I am for real, working toilets. 
I have camped enough in the great outdoors (and while it is beautiful), I would much prefer a bathroom to a bush. 

I am thankful for my toenails. 
They are ugly and smashed and crooked from years of running. But this summer I had a podiatrist suggest that I have them removed (REMOVED!!!!), so I wouldn't have to worry about them, being a runner and all. WHAT?! No thank you. But ever since I have looked at them (and their lack of pedicure) and just been thankful that no matter how ugly they may be, at least they are there. 

As long as we are talking ugly deformed things, 
I am thankful for my feet. 
My right foot is flat and hobbit like, oh, probably because there is an extra bone in it. (Please don't stop being my friend because I am sharing all my deformities with you). This spring after a race I ran, I was having some major issues with that extra bone in my foot. It kept me from running most of the summer, and it really made me realize how much I love to run....NEED to run. After it healed up I vowed to take care of my feet (with the exception of removing my toenails) so I wouldn't injure myself again. 

I am thankful for push-up bras. 
Self explanatory. 

I am thankful for whoever the man (or lady) is that invented chips and salsa. Bless them. 

I am thankful for the NBA lockout, 
and how it is blessing my marriage with precious extra hours of our lives together. Bless those greedy spoiled men who won't play until they get more money. Bless them, every one. 

I am thankful for the times my 4-year old gets words confused and instead of calling the mannequins we saw in the mall "mannequins", she was calling them "cannibals". 
I am thankful I had the sense not to correct it, because it was HILARIOUS. 
Cannibals everywhere!

I am thankful for wonderful and clever television that makes us laugh and laugh and laugh and escape the world.
Thank you Community, Parks and Rec, Modern Family and Up all Night for that. 

I am thankful for television remotes, because who wants to get up to change the channel. How did they survive back in olden days? 

(you know, the 80s)

Also, thank you Jimmy Fallon. Can we be friends?

I am thankful for two adorably adorable children that are old enough and able to help out. I am thankful I can send them outside when it's raining to get the dog. I am thankful they will so willingly unload and sort the Costco purchases. 
See, you thought I was going to get sappy about my kids there, huh? 
No, I am just thankful for child labor. 

Speaking of Costco, 
oh dear sweet Costco, I love you.
Who knew shopping for things 20 lbs at a time could be so much fun?!
I am NOT thankful for the people who will actually shove you out of the way to get to a sample of a bean burrito. 
The Costco Sample Eaters are crazy! 
( I figured since this is a non-sappy post, I could include something I am not thankful for ) 

I am thankful for mashed potatoes. 

I am thankful for those few friends on facebook that, really, you only keep un-hidden because their daily hourly play by play updates are just too perfectly detailed. 
9:05"I've got a case of the Mondays!" 
9:06"Gearing up to clean the bathroom! I hate cleaning the bathroom" 
9:07"What's your favorite music to listen to while cleaning the bathroom?" 
9:08 "MONDAY! OYE!" 
9:19 (you were starting to get worried)
"Bathroom cleaned! Take that!" 
9:19:34 "Watch out world!"
( I am serious, I have people like this in my life, you know you do too)
Regardless, it always makes me smile.

I am thankful for cold days where I can use "oh, it's cold today, I probably won't shave my legs because I need the extra layer of warmth" as an excuse for "I just really don't want to shave my legs today."

Although I AM thankful for razors, because if I never shaved my beastly legs, then you really probably wouldn't be my friend.  

I am thankful for the shameless self promotion that having my own blog allows me. 
Did you know I'm photographing a cookbook for the always amazing Whitney Ingram? 
Did you know she has a blog
Did you know, I would be tickled if you would follow them? 
Only good can come of it, I assure you.
As long as we are self promoting here, did you know that I too have a facebook page? 

So as we wrap this up, let's go back to the photo above. 
Adorable sleeping babe? Yes. 
But what I'm really thankful for is that giant furry hat she loves so much. 
It NEVER comes off. 
Which means I don't have to do her hair. 
(sidenote: I have no idea how to do little girls' hair. 
she hates having her hair done. 
we struggle in this department of mother/daughtering. 

I could go on and on......this is fun. 
But I will stop here. 

I am thankful you are still here with me, 
and thankful that I know you will share your own  "unmentioned" things to be thankful for. 

let's hear it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

inhale. exhale.

sunny afternoon
fallplay2 copyleaves2 copyleaves1 copyfallplay1 copy
can you smell that? 
fallen leaves. 
scattered across the lawn, 
waiting to be scooped up into a pile. 
jumped in. 
buried in. 
tossed back into the air.
do it all again. 
but it's the smell that gets me.....
when I close my eyes and 
it takes me back. 
I am little. 
I see a giant pile of crunchy color, waiting just for me.
I hear squeals of happiness, 
in my memory.
they melt into reality.
I open my eyes from my day dream 
and see my Littles taking the plunge in to the pile of gold.
We throw them in the air, I close my eyes and breathe them in.

I am thankful. 
Thankful to be able to play outside in the sunshine. 
 Thankful for my sense of smell, and how it triggers my brain and makes me remember being little once too.
(It is crazy to see your kids doing things you once did. 
full circle.) 
Thankful for memories. 

We are on day sixteen here of being thankful. 
There are SO many things to be thankful for......we are loving thinking of new things each day.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


not me.

I don't know what it is.....
well, I do. 
But I can't pin point the exact thing. 
Maybe you get it too.....

The drive there. I'm giddy.
That first step from the cold hallway into the heated studio.
Unrolling my mat--making my little space for the next 75 minutes. 
Those first few breathes. Letting go of everything.
Warming up. Warmer, warmer, warmer. HOT.
That first drop of sweat felt slowly rollllllling down my nose. 
Onto the mat. 
Followed by 
three more drops.
How it feels when I finally get that pose I've been working on. (oh don't worry, it didn't look quite like that. wow.)
How it feels when I fall flat on my face (FLAT. on my FACE.) 
from attempting another.
Laughing at myself for falling, but being happy that I tried.
Bending, twisting, stretching. 
And laying down at the end. 
Sleeping Deep in thought.
Going home and planning out when I'll be back.

I am thankful for yoga in my life.
I blogged about it before here, and even since then I've grown so much. These last few weeks I've found this new love--digging deeper and pushing harder. 
Fearing less, and falling more. 
I love it.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the weekend

aaahhhh soup.
veggie soup

(yes, I count Friday as the weekend around's like "Weekend Eve")

I am so thankful for the weekend. 
After school and work and school and more school and homework and studying and blehck, my little family is back together again. 

I am thankful for loud music during Saturday morning chores. 
I am thankful for no schedule, no routine, no nothin.
I am thankful for friends who come to visit and eat delicious pizza with us.
I am thankful for staying up way too late watching movies and eating hot cinnamon brownies by the fire.
I am thankful for adorable kiddos in their Sunday best walking to church with umbrellas. 
I am thankful for electricity!!
Oh lights and heat how I love you. 
We went about 6 hours without power today, and BOY! We really take for granted how easy it is to switch on the lights, don't we?

I realize that just one week ago I declared my thankfulness for soup, but since I can't post without a picture, why not talk about soup some more! 
I love that on "soup nights" I don't even have to think about dinner or plan anything out that day. I love that I can just look at what I have on hand, stir it all together in a pot and have hot bubbling soup on a cold rainy night. 

Fall Veggie Soup
or "Butterfly Soup" as my kids named it
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup collard greens, chopped
1 cup winter squash, peeled and diced (any winter squash you have on hand--I used Red Kuri squash, but butternut, acorn, pumpkin, or any other winter favorite would work great)
2 cups (or 1 can) diced tomatoes
2 cups(or 1 can) cannellini beans
3/4 cups dried farfalle pasta (or "butterfly" noodles as we call them)
4-5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
S&P to taste

Saute onion, carrots, celery, greens and squash in olive oil for a few minutes. 
Add in garlic and S&P. 
Add in all remaining ingredients except for pasta, and bring to a low boil. 
When soup has reached a low boil, add in pasta and simmer until pasta is done, OR if you want your soup to simmer longer (I like to let it simmer for a while) cook until pasta is just underdone, and then turn soup down all the way and let it simmer until you are ready to eat and pasta is tender.

I love soups like this because you can add as many veggies/beans/pasta as you like for a very filing meatless soup. You can swap out the beans for potatoes, add extra pasta, or whatever your family likes. 

top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
veggie soup

What were YOU thankful for this weekend?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

day ten

little helper.
helper1 copyhelper2 copy
Each and every day, I am thankful.
Thankful that I am so lucky to stay home and be a full time mom to my Littles.
Mom. THE mom. ME!!
There are days I wake up and realize......wait.....
....I am the one in charge here! ha!

But I love it so much, and I'm so grateful to be here every day for all the fun, messes, laughs, tears, messes, and.....messes.

We decided (because I am in charge around here) that we needed to make something yummy while brother was at school. After a little recipie digging, we chose Cinnamon Swirl Bread. 
I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, and decided to start from there. I changed it to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose, and added the vital wheat gluten and a little bit of pumpkin puree. 
cinnamonpumpkinbread9 copy
Whole Wheat Pumpkin and Cinnamon Swirl Bread
recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

1/4-ounce packet "highly active" active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBS vital wheat gluten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons  unbleached all purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to brush on dough

1) If you're using "highly active" or active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.

2) Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a smooth dough. Adjust the dough's consistency with additional flour or water as needed; but remember, the more flour you add while you're kneading, the heavier and drier your final loaf will be. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, until it's nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

4) While the dough is rising, make the filling by stirring together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

5) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat it into a 6" x 20" rectangle.

6) Brush the dough with the egg/water mixture, and sprinkle it evenly with the filling.

7) Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log.

8) Pinch the ends to seal, and pinch the long seam closed.

9) Transfer the log, seam-side down, to a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.

10) Allow the bread to rise till it's crested about 1" over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. Again, it may rise more slowly for you; let it rise till it's 1" over the rim of the pan, even if that takes longer than an hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

11) Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after the first 15 minutes. The bread's crust will be golden brown, and the interior of the finished loaf should measure 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.

12) Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. 
Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
cpbread1 copycpbread2 copycpbread3 copycpbread4 copycpbread5 copycpbread7 copy
I'm so thankful for the little hands that helped.

I doubled this batch (the recipe above is for one loaf) and made two loaves......because, well, we eat a lot of bread. My loaf pans are a bit larger than the pan the recipe calls for, but they turned out fine--just a little bit shorter, and less perfectly bread-shaped.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

day nine

after school
room copy
I am thankful for my little house.
ok ok, most days. let's be honest.
(just don't ask me while I'm making a big dinner)
Now I won't lie--I have to swallow down a lot of unkind words I've said about our house, but at the end of the day, each day, I am very thankful for it's teeny-ness. 
Let me tell you why.

We are always together. 
heehee, like it or not. 
The rooms spill into each other, both architecturally, 
and in  content.
[tiny] kitchen meets "dining room" meets "living room". 
All in one. 
Modge-podged together with photographs and treasures from our grandma's basements.
The toys from the bedrooms leak out and make their way under 
The Table to the secret fort. 
"The Table"
(yes, it's a proper noun in this house)
is used for eating/reading/working/projects/games/
piling random stuff/you-name-it.
It's a gathering place. 

But the best part.....
....late at night, when everyone is sleeping, I hear them. 
Each one. 
The one beside me. 
Charly at the door. 
The boy in his room, and the girl in her's. 
Their tiny breaths of sleep bounce down the hall and into my ears. 
breathe in, breathe out.
And I hear it all from the comfort of my bed. 
Thank you, tiny house.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Nevernudes Strike Back

We interrupt this month of thankfulness for breaking news:

The Nevernudes are back from last year with an shiny new race video.
(unfamiliar with Nevernudes? You, my friend, need to watch 

This was my fifth relay that I've ran, and it did not disappoint. 
12 people. 
188 miles of Las Vegas desert. 
24 hours.
18th place out of 500 teams.
ragnar13 copyragnar10 copyragnar8 copyragnar9 copyragnar7 copyragnar4 copyragnar3 copy
24 hours jam packed with:
-best of friends
-a giant smelly van
-cutoffs (surprisingly really comfortable to run in)
-hot hot heat (quite literal heat, not the band)
-freezing cold night
-port-a-potties as far as the eye can see
-my husband dancing on a van, with strangers stopping to film him. really.
-sleeping in weird places (including, but not limited to: the van seat, the van floor, the front seat of the van w/feet out window, front seat of van w/feet on dash, a very bumpy empty lot next to a gas station, a park under a tree with a thousand people walking by watching you drool)
-oh yeah.....and running. lots of it.

Thanks to Ryan for the awesome video.

Can't wait for the next one!