Sunday, March 31, 2013

over the weekend

Such a good weekend!
My heart is so full after spending the springy-est Easter Sunday with my little family. 
The perfect end to our March (WHAT?! Where did March go?)

Friday. Pretty big day around here.....
We got.....The Chicks. Our girls.
We named them and gave them a home (uh, it's a box for now).
We'll be back to introduce the ladies tomorrow.....
We  played outside and colored eggs, and played outside some more.
Saturday I ran. And ran and ran. Charly and I found new trails, and explored the hills until they took us to the clouds. The sun was shining, the mud was starting to dry, and the trees were beginning to bud....perfect running.
Saturday afternoon we worked in the yard. 
Dirtied our hands and feet. Spent every hour of daylight outside.
Sunday we woke to birds singing (I swear it was a Disney tune) 
and headed to church in our Sunday best.
And of course this picture had to happen.
We feasted.
Roast Chicken (so I felt a little guilty roasting this bird with baby chickies living in my house.....)
The BEST potatoes ever (Martha's recipe)
Roasted Artichokes
Salad with grilled beets, blue cheese, and sugared pecans
Deviled Eggs
And for dessert......Lemon Cake!
Lemon Yogurt Cake
Ina Garten's recipe. The only thing I changed was using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and using a 9" round pan instead of a loaf pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt 
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided 
3 extra-large eggs 
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons) 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze: 
1 cup confectioners' sugar 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Grease a 9" cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. 

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. 
In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the coconut oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. 
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool. 
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the cake.

How was your Easter Weekend?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

sixty degrees

sixty degrees. 
maybe that seems cold to you. ...
but to us.....
oh! to us, summer is just around the corner. 
there is talk of swimming and popsicles and late nights under the stars.
sixty degrees is shorts and taking off jackets. 
the breeze in our hair and the sun on our winter skin. 
sixty degrees is mud that jumps up our back and birds calling out from bare trees. 
sixty degrees is we MUST get out of the house. 
the sweet mountain air.
welcome spring!
what is sixty degrees to you? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

the weekly juice

My juicer is back in action! 
I love pouring the kids a glass as we start school in the morning. 
It's been icy and cold, with snow over the weekend--so not exactly feeling like spring quite yet.
But this green juice tastes like spring to me--lots of bright "green" flavor, a great way to start out the day.
My boy loves it (I have yet to find a juice he doesn't like), my girl wrinkles up her nose and holds a bit of a grudge with any of my green juices...but she eventually drinks it down. 
I love anything with greens in it, and this one is also really good with a small piece of beet thrown in. It makes the WORST color juice, but I love the earthy taste.

Bonus: I mentioned before with another green juice, I take out the kale and spinach pulp (juice these first) and sauté them in some olive oil, throw in some sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and parm, and toss it with pasta.
Spring Green Juice
3 large pieces of kale
3 large handfuls of spinach
1 cucumber (or 1/2 a large english cucumber)
1 green apple
1/2 lemon (peeled)
1/2 lime (peeled)
1/2" piece of ginger

What are YOU juicing this week?

more juice!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

friday senses

this friday senses post is posting thursday.....oh well.

It's spring! it? Our forecast calls for snow.....
Regardless, we are seeing signs of spring each day--I just love this time of year.

quick phone snap from a recent springy run around "town"
Seeing: The grass is greening, the ground thawing. We have a tiny, odd, bush-tree in our yard and just today I noticed the littlest buds. There is snow falling on the mountain as we speak.  Some kind of flower is popping up throughout the yard at random....something from a bulb. I'm anxious to see what they become.
Smelling: Cows. It's so funny hearing different people's reactions to a spring "cow smell". I love it--but I know it's because I grew up with that smell every spring, so to me it's familiar. It smells like home. Others DETEST it.....which I get....I mean... it smells like cows. But to me it means that spring is here.
Tasting: How amazing fresh eggs taste....thanks friends with chickens! 
Anticipating: We should be getting our own chicks next week!
Hearing: So many birds here! And they are so loud some mornings I swear they are in my house.
Reading: The Magnificent Mountain Women. It's about women in the 1800s and early 1900s who climbed Colorado's peaks.....and some of them in dresses. Love reading about these awesome ladies. Also reading: Over the Hills and Far Away: Stories of dwarfs, fairies, gnomes and elves from around Europe. We are reading from this book each day. I wanted to study fairy tales, but was interested in some of the non-traditional as well. These stories are great! Some are fun and magical, others are quirky and odd, and it's pretty obvious why they haven't been turned into a Disney movie yet.
Celebrating: this guy's birthday this weekend!!! I love this picture of him from last summer.
Gardening: Some of you have your gardens going already....don't you?!! Oh I am so anxious to get some garden beds in up here. I want to get some greens in so badly......hopefully soon.
Homeschooling: we are learning about people who lived long long long we made some "cave art" to tell a story. 
Eating: Pizza. I really like good pizza.
If you find yourself in Provo, Utah, you simply must try Slab Pizza. 
The above pizza has potatoes, bacon, feta and rosemary.....fantastic!

And then below we made (these pizzas were a week apart....promise!)
Butternut Pizza
-your favorite homemade pizza crust
-drizzle of olive oil
-shredded mozzarella
-shredded smoked gouda
-roasted butternut squash
-caramelized onions
-pine nuts

and a salad with
-mixed greens
-sundried tomatoes
-goat cheese
-olive oil and balsamic
Running: Don't worry (you weren't, I know) I've been running all this pizza off. I've been able to get out a few evenings now and enjoy a quick run before dinner. I love running the quiet roads and getting myself more acquainted with the area (and the local farm animals, naturally.) I need to find a race to sign up for! What are you running this year?

please feel free to play along with Friday Senses in the comments.
Let's see what your weekend looks like--tag your instagram photos #howweweekend for a chance to be featured.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

homeschool: the first few weeks

  I've spent the last few months researching thing I've learned? People become intensely emotional over the subject. Good and bad. It was just yesterday I saw that a well known blogger asked for some information on homeschool, and while she received some great resources and ideas, she also received a couple handfuls of hateful, ignorant, and completely unnecessary comments. 
Let's not do that here. Please respect my choice to teach my kids as I please. Please be respectful to other readers and commenters. Thank you, and you. And you.

she reads. 
all photos from my iphone. 
I have had SO many many many questions about homeschool over the last couple of weeks. This is so funny to me, mostly because.....well......I don't know what I'm doing, let's be honest. 
I thought I'd share my experiences so far, and check in along the way to see how things are going.

Why Homeschool?

Very popular question for me right now.
I first started thinking about it last year, when I had a first grader and preschooler. Nothing terrible had happened at public school (I find this a common question when someone switches over to homeschool), I LOVED the schools my kids were at, and their teachers were fantastic. This year was also a wonderful school year. I really can't imagine my kids having better teachers-- they were learning and growing and loved going to school. I have nothing against public school (at least our school), yet I kept wondering about homeschool. 
I just felt like it was something I would like to try.

And then we decided to move.

I realized what better time to test the waters of homeschool than right now!? It didn't make sense to me to switch my kids schools with only a few months of the school year left. Let's try out homeschool for the rest of the year and see how we all do.....yes let's do that.

What curriculum are you using?
a little of this, a little of that.
Because this is only for a few months, I didn't want to rush out and spend a ton of money on books/workbooks/supplies/etc.
I met with both the kids' teachers before we left and got an idea of where they should be by the end of the year. I was even sent home with some language and math worksheets for my boy to help me finish out the year (so nice!!). I scoured the web for the best deals on books, and was pretty proud of myself when I found a book for a cent! Forty four cents! A couple dollars. Thank you Amazon and for selling used books.
I bought a few workbooks new, and we go to the library weekly for new books to read, and to supplement our History Book (I'm using THIS one--w/ the activity book, and really enjoying it so far).
I'll also rely on the library for Science resources.
NOTE: obviously kindergartners aren't learning history and do very little science, so it's all just a bonus for my Lu right now to get all of this:)

Will you homeschool forever?
Who knows?! So far, so good, we all really enjoy it. That being's been two weeks. I am set on doing what is best for my kids, so we will see where this takes us. I have heard wonderful things about the schools up here, and we are excited to go check them out and see what we think. If I think our little homeschool is a better fit for next year, we may stay  home.....we will just have to see what is best for our family.

We are still very new to this whole thing, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to stay organized and on track. Last week we started out fairly easy with just working on Math, Reading, and Language Arts. This week we added in History, and we are reading together alot more. Next week I'll add in Science. I am trying to incorporate different kinds of art, extra writing, and lots of hands on activities into what we are learning each day.

For example: 
Last week in math we had talked about measurements. Inches, centimeters, and estimating. After lunch one day, we grabbed notebooks, pencils, and rulers and set off on a little hike. The kids measured whatever they wanted to-plants, rocks, animal tracks in the mud, a spider, etc. They had to draw what they measured in their notebook, and write their measurement. 
On another day we went out for a walk through the sticky spring mud. When we got home I had the kids write about all of the "spring things" they saw on our walk. (words and pictures for HER, a few paragraphs for HIM). It's not all that springy here quite yet--but they wrote about all the mud, the birds we saw, the warm sunshine, the bugs. I told them we'd go to the same place in a few more weeks and see how it's changed.....and write about it again.

other bits:
-I like a routine. We get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, read scriptures with daddy before he leaves for work, and then get started. I don't want to drag our feet all morning and start school late.
-I'm exhausted. I've crashed at 9 the last two nights......this is so early for me! I'm still trying to find a balance being mom AND teacher (oh yeah, and getting my house unpacked.)
-I LOVE having them home all day. It makes me so happy when we are eating lunch together.
-I got them journals right before we moved. We write in them every few days--whatever they want to write about (sometimes it's really funny to when he writes "I like to eat pickles".)
-there is waaaay too much information out there. I say this because it is easy to get overwhelmed. I talked to a few people about what THEY do for schooling, and that gave me a starting point for my own research.

I'd love to hear any of your ideas! 
Whether it be activities you do, resources you use, your favorite books......please share. 
I will check in on the subject every now and then to let you know how we are doing, what fun things we are up to, and if I'm pulling my hair out yet.....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

hello, self

happy, happy girl
Saturday my feet were reunited with the trail.

With all the recent chaos of packing and moving and unpacking and more never-ending sorting through boxes in our new has been five long weeks since Charly and I had been out, and WOW!
 Mud splattering up my back has never felt so good.

There are very few things that come naturally to me. I love to try all kinds of activities, hobbies, projects--sign me up for something new! I have gotten quite good at dabbling in this and that (can one be a professional dabbler?).  I can practice and work hard at something, but nothing feels as comfortable and natural to me as running on a trail.

As soon as my feet hit dirt my mind is at ease. Even on a new trail--winding through trees and dodging low branches feels like home. 
A fork in the road? So exciting! Which way should I go today? 
Mud? No problem. Jump it, run around it, or splash right through it. There is a great feeling of accomplishment when I end a run with sticky spring mud freckling my face.

I love to feel my body working hard--legs getting stronger, heart beating steady, lungs bringing in and out the crisp mountain air. The sunshine warming my winter skin. My feet taking their place--knowing exactly where to go over rocks and roots, quick steps up and down the mountain.

We are constantly adjusting in this new life. We love it--yes we do--but there is newness all around. A new house to make home. New streets to navigate. New aisles of grocery stores to wander and wonder where things are. New people to meet. All the newness, while exciting and fun, can leave us looking for just a little bit of something familiar. The kids have their room--all of their very favorite things in place on walls and on shelves (and already cluttering the floor). They spend so much time in there each day, and have told me with smiles on their faces that it feels like home to them (phew!). 
Robby has his work--same work, same people-something familiar for him. 

So I was bursting with happiness as my legs stretched out, feet pounded the dirt softly below, and Charly bounded up ahead.......I had found MY familiar--out on the trail. 
Even on a new trail, I quickly found myself.

I'm curious....
Where are you most comfortable? 
Where do you go to find yourself?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

one by one: small acts of kindness

If you are just now joining us, please go back and read THIS POST about the One by One Project.....and please jump right in!
We have been in our house now for 13 days. 
In those 13 days I have experienced more kindness than my brain can even begin to comprehend. 
I am warm and fuzzy all over despite the chilly mountain breeze.
Our good friends spent an entire day of their weekend helping us unload and unload and unload our life into our house.
We have been welcomed by neighbors--with smiles and handshakes and treats. 
A seat was saved for us at church on Sunday.
It was the loaf of homemade bread that did me in. 
Such a simple act, yet I had to hold back tears as I received it in my doorway.
Our family has been welcomed into this community so quickly, and it's everyone's small acts of kindness that have made us feel like we are right where we are supposed to be. 
And all in less than two weeks.

Your second One by One Challenge:
a small act. 
nothing grand. 
small and simple things that are easy to do, 
yet could make a huge difference to a neighbor. a friend. a stranger. 

-take your neighbor's garbage can in for them at the end of the day
-return a shopping cart in the parking lot for a busy mom
-visit with a neighbor
-let someone go ahead of you in line at the store
-pop a few extra quarters in the meter

There are so many little things we can do!
I asked my kids what we should do to be nice to someone and they said 
"let's draw people pictures!"

Even kids understand what makes people happy.

While I don't want to hear what acts of kindness you are doing 
(remember--then it doesn't count if you tell everyone about it), 
I would love to hear if you have been on the receiving end of a small act of kindness. 
It really is the best feeling.

good luck! have fun! 
be kind.

for some great ideas of simple acts, check out Julie's blog
or leave your own ideas in the comments here.

and if you can, spread the word! the more people we can get in on this, 
the more of a difference we can start to make.
one by one.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


the sky here is just so blue.
the air is crisp and clean, as only country air can be.
I wake up every morning and I'm filled with Christmas morning giddiness.....that view out my window!
I have even got out of bed and peeked out a few times in the middle of the night--the stars live here! I wish you could see them. millions and millions blinking down.
spring is coming, I see it. feel it. smell it.
there is a faint smell of local dairies in the air.....I love a good dairy smell, don't you?
the ground is thawing, mud is squishing.
our house! it's coming along........a bit here....slowly there.
I have my kitchen together, and starting to find my way around.
I've cooked two nights in a row--a miracle! chicken tacos. black bean, bacon, and butternut soup.
the sound of my mixer twisting and turning, made it officially home. chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, straight into happy bellies.
monday morning we will slowly work our way into homeschool. a bit this week, full swing next week. so exciting and just a little bit terrifying at the same time.
this week I will get out and run some more! there are too many trails here and my feet are just begging to get dirty.

I got out my camera this week! another miracle.
a few scenes from around the house
my favorite cookies.
I think I post a picture of these every few months but we just love them so much. want better chocolate chip cookies? move to higher elevation. they are chewier and more good! if that doesn't work for you, add a sprinkle of kosher or sea salt to the top as they come out of the oven.....mmmm..... (recipe here)
we love guacamole
out of limes? try juice from a lemon, an orange, or do like Summer and use apple cider vinegar!
an easy throw-together soup. recipe below.
Black Bean, Bacon, and Butternut Soup
......something you throw together when it's five o'clock and you didn't plan anything for dinner....

6 strips of bacon
1 small onion, diced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth
pinch of red pepper flakes
dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish

Saute bacon until crisp, remove from pan. 
In bacon drippings saute diced onion and squash until both begin to soften
add red pepper flakes and garlic
salt and pepper to taste, continue to cook veggies
add beans, broth, and nutmeg
bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. crumble bacon and add into pot. simmer until squash is tender (the longer you simmer, the more the flavors can mingle)

top with chopped cilantro and enjoy!

I'm feeling so inspired these days....this new environment combined with spring air is filling my giant head with all kinds of ideas. I've had thoughts of where I wanted to take this blog and changes that needed to take place, and I feel that now is such a good time to make them happen. I have not forgotten about our One by One Project and can't wait to get going on it again with you all. Posts will be sporadic for the next little while as we continue to get settled, but I promise good things to come ( chicks:)

see you soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

we have landed

we are here! moving day came and went in a blur (wait--what day is today?)
we are slowly unpacking our life into this new (very old)
little home.....and we are loving it. 
someday maybe I will find my camera and take some real pictures.....but for now,
here you go...

be back....soon...ish....maybe.