Wednesday, October 30, 2013

this is halloween

My kids get reallllllly into their Halloween costumes. 
I had no plans of a photo session this year.....but when I finally got their costumes done (you know, the day before Halloween) they put them on and asked for some "scary pictures". 

My little vampire bat. 
Just a few pictures of her swooping around looking for her next victim (she has already "sucked the blood" out of most of her stuffed animals, and our poor cat.)
And I must say, this boy makes the cutest Harry Potter. 
He is in the middle of book 5 right now and has been sooooooooo excited to actually BE Harry Potter.
He plays the part well, don't you think?

This was the easiest year ever for is what you need:
Vampire Bat:
black shirt
black leggings
black shoes
black fabric to make "wings" and sew to sleeves
black felt and elastic for a simple mask
vampire teeth
red lipstick

Harry Potter:
robe: after a bit of research I actually found it was cheaper to buy a robe online than to make it (plus my [lack of] sewing skills would never hold up to this kid running around for the next few months casting spells)
harry potter glasses- found online for $3
-he had a white collard shirt and red tie in his closet. we added some yellow tape to the tie
-wand-it's a stick!
-scar--it's eyeliner!
Happy Halloweening!

Monday, October 28, 2013

the weekly juice

I dusted off my juicer! I didn't juice very much this summer--we ate fruit and veggies with almost every meal (and snack) all summer.....and I never really felt the desire to juice.
Have you noticed lately that there is all this
"Juicing VS Blending" 
stuff floating around the internet?
People taking sides and battling out which is gets heated, let me tell you. 
What a dumb thing to argue about!
Juice sometimes. Blend sometimes. 
Do both. Don't do either. 
Who cares.
Don't waste your time choosing sides and stressing about which you should do.
We make smoothies--which we always enjoy--but I still love a tall glass of strong juice. 

I was so excited to see cranberries in the store. 
Cranberries are LOADED with antioxidants, which our bodies need....but they are so tart there aren't a lot of ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet without adding a ton of sugar. 
By adding them to juice with naturally sweet fruits and veggies, you can get the benefits of the cranberries without adding table sugar
(or high fructose corn syrup like many store bought cranberry juices).
Loaded Cranberry Juice
2 cups of cranberries
1 apple
1 carrot
1 piece of beet (I love beet juice, so for me--the bigger the beet, the better)
1" piece of ginger. When I first started juicing, I added tiny bits of ginger--it's makes your juice pretty strong and "spicy" as my kids call it. I am now adding quite a bit more than I used to--I love the kick it gives to the juice, and ginger is so good for your body during this cold season.
bonus: I stirred in a spoonful of chia seeds before I drank my juice (benefits of chia HERE)
bonus: I saved the cranberry, carrot, and apple pulp to add to muffins or oatmeal. 
bonus: I have yet to find a good use for beet my chickens got that.

What are you juicing these days?

more juice!

blogged 1 year ago: creamy veggie lasagna 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

places not things

places not things.......

That is our family motto.

Picture this. 
A giant dream home filled with only the best of the best furnishings and textiles. 
Fancy cars. 
Dressing right out of the catalogue. (But really, who orders clothing from catalogues these days anyway?) let's just say dressing.... really really nice.
Exotic vacations to foreign lands.

All this is basically opposite of my life.

I usually let this stuff just roll right off my back.....I am really quite good at not comparing.

I mean, it's kind of hard (and a bit humorous) to compare my life to others' when
a) we live in a tiny 100 year old house.
b) Robby's car has windows you have to physically roll up (remember that? so vintage!)
c) we all know my kids dress like orphans 9 days out of 10. (they do clean up nicely every now and then, I must say)
d)We camp. Yes, we drive alot and camp alot, and we love it....but exotic? no. I've never been further east than Denver, and I've never even been to a foreign land. Canada was AMAZING....but it didn't exactly count as a foreign travel....

And you know what? That's the way we like it. It doesn't bother me one bit.

But it's hard when my kids start to notice what all their friends HAVE (iTouch. it's always an iTouch. "mom evvvvvveryone has one!!"). 
And what all of their friends DO (soccer, baseball, gymnastics, tennis, art classes, piano,  horseback riding, fencing, drama class, pottery, chess club, cheerleading, tuba lessons, boy scouts, girl scouts, tae kwon do, rexquando, sorcery school, clown school.......)
You get the's a lot of stuff.

There are 8 year olds with more more activities under their [black] belt than I will ever have.

Not only can we not afford so many activities and clubs and's just so much time away from each other. I don't want my kids gone every day after me crazy.

But a few weeks ago, I had a moment. 
A quick, weak moment where I started to feel sorry. Not for myself--but for them......are they missing out? Look at all these fun activities they could be doing after school, like cooking classes, tv/vcr repair, small business management (wait.....those aren't after school activities.....that's that commerical from the 90s) .....
But really, kids can do just about anything these days, and they DO do everything.

We sat down and talked about it as a family. If they really really really wanted to do _________, then we'd have to pass up our next family trip. 

"What do you think, kids?"

It took about 2 seconds for them both to say NO WAY. 
So we loaded the car and off we went.
I climbed up the rocks before breakfast one morning as the sun poured over the red earth in Moab. 
It allllllll came together (it always does in the desert)
I could hear my kids scrambling over boulders and chasing lizards with their friends. 
They aren't missing out. On anything. They are living, and living well.
Sure--our extra curriculars may be different than some of their friends', but that is what is best for MY kids. 
They come home from school and ride bikes and scoop chicken poop (and they complain the whole time, don't worry). 
They are the best little campers and hikers and explorers. 
And they are happy, which makes ME happy. 

Look at my grubby little family.....I just love us.
Every family is different.
This is my family, don't compare it to yours. 

We don't have everything (haha, not even close) but we have what is important to US.
Every family has different needs and wants, and have different ways of functioning together.
We have found what is best for OUR family.
While this house isn't our forever house, we will always live in something small, (and most likely very old) so we can spend our money elsewhere. 
I am totally willing to skip the shopping spree (who are we kidding, I hate shopping) so we can fill our gas tank for a road trip. 
And I will forever remind myself that just because my kids will never master the flute or be badminton king......they are living well, and they are loving life.....and hopefully learning something along the way.

I hope they look back and are thankful for memories of family road trips, camping under the stars, and dirty faces, and forget about all the "stuff" they never had.
I hope they value the experiences they had in life over all of the "things."

It is vital to your happiness to find what 
works for YOUR family. 
What is important to you....what do you value? 
Make it a priority.....who cares what anyone else thinks.
Stop comparing!
You'll be happier, I promise. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

in the fall....

in the fall we wake up to frost on the ground.
sun shining bright over golden mountains.
the afternoon heat thaws the earth and we peel off jackets and hats.
in the fall we explore.
tall white aspens reaching for the sky, piled high with yellow on top.
our boots keep our toes toasty in the light snow beneath our feet.

in the fall, we love burgers.
ok ok.
we always love burgers.
I feel like too many people retire their grills when summer ends, but we fire ours up all year long.
crisp wood smokey air and cozy socks just call for a big juicy burger.
After a day out in the leaves and snow a home grilled burger tastes soooooo good.
Especially when it's this burger.
This is our new favorite burger. 
There is so much going on, your senses are going to explode. 

Homemade BBQ Sauce
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c tomato sauce
1/2 c tomato paste
1/3 c brown sugar 
1/3 c molasses 
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (add more or less to adjust heat) 
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c vinegar 
pinch of salt
fresh cracked pepper (I like lots of black pepper in my BBQ sauce)

saute onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. add garlic and saute 3-4 minutes more. 
add onion, garlic, chipotle pepper and tomato sauce to blender. 
blend until smooth. 
pour back into saucepan and stir in remaining ingredients. 
stir and bring to a low boil. reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
you just made bar-b-que sauce. the burger.
Sweet and Spicy Burger
layer it like this from the bottom:
toasted whole wheat bun
 grass fed beef, grilled to perfection by my husband
pepperjack cheese
grilled pineapple
your homemade BBQ sauce
hot sauce for a little extra heat
toasted whole wheat bun


What is your favorite burger?

Friday, October 18, 2013

friday senses

It's Friday!
Here's a peek at our week.
seeing: the colors are slowly fading out. lots of yellow still here in the valley, but the mountains are browning and the aspens are bare.....winter is coming soon to the mountain tops!
feeling: it was 19° when I woke up this morning. 19°!! That's cold! 
Flannel sheets, flannel shirts, and cozy slippers 24/7. 
thanking: all of you ladies who came out last week to say hello to Whitney and I, and celebrate our book! We loved meeting you, and may be doing it again next month--will you join us?
loving: reading about where YOUR place is after my desert post. I tell my kids all the time that we know God loves us because he made the Earth so beautiful for us to explore. I love that every corner of this world is different and I love that we can each find our own special place....made just for us!
 Listen to all these favorites listed yesterday: the ocean, the mountains, the forest, the river, the Pacific Northwest, Iceland, Greek Islands, Lake Powell, Michigan, the garden, Appalachia, Manhattan, the Wind River Range, the coast of many wonderful places (and now I want to visit them all). Go read everyone's comments!

reminding: October is breast cancer awareness month. Girls--make sure you are checking yourself at home and PLEASE oh please get to your Dr. every year. I just had my check up--it's not scary at all--promise-- so make sure you are taking care of yourself.....GO!

daydreaming: about camping last weekend with these two little mummies. can't wait to get out again.
feeling inspired:  I saw this video two weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. I feel like I'm a pretty active person and it made me feel lazy. We all have too many excuses......but life is more fun when you MOVE. Watch the quick video from Arc'teryx HERE (well worth your 3 minutes!)
running: in the cold! I LOVE running in cold temps.
I started this run at 26° and I love the burn in my lungs and the frost on my skin.
remembering: when Robby called from work last week and told me to get my bike ready.....we were going for a ride. Speeding down the hill through aspens, mud, and snow.
proud mama-ing: He begged and begged and begged to take a  picture of Delicate Arch. And then when the light changed he asked to take another. love him.
making: Hootenannies!
Every April and October our church has General Conference. We stay home on Sunday and wear our most comfy jammies (pjs not required, but highly recommended if you ask me) and listen to our church leaders speak. (THIS talk was one of my favorites this time)

One of our favorite conference breakfasts is hootenannies.
(other people call them different things......puffy pancakes maybe?
I have no idea where hootenanny comes from.....but it sure is fun to say)
9 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

Add ingredients to blender and let-er-rip, until well blended.

In an oven pre-heated to 425°, melt 2TBS butter in a 9x13 pan
When butter covers pan, add mixture and bake for 20 minutes. 
Your hootenannies will rise up and reach for the top of the put them on the bottom rack.

We topped ours with maple syrup, the last (insert tears here) of our summer peaches and raspberries, and homemade whipped cream (add a pinch of cinnamon to your whip cream!)

feel free to play along with Friday Senses on your own blog or in the comments

Happy Weekend!
let's see your #howweweekend on Instagram!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

whole wheat pumpkin muffins

mmm.....fall baking.
pumpkin and cinnamon floating through the house.

Today we are making muffins.
Remember in the late 90s when muffins were a healthy breakfast?
In high school, we would finish early morning basketball practice and grab our giant softball size triple chocolate muffin and Sunny D, and off to school we went. What a start to our day!
Those giant muffins are LOADED with sugar, not to mention a bunch of other junk you don't need to start your day or tide you over until dinner.
So I rarely make muffins. In my opinion, if I'm going to have all that sugar I'm going to have a cupcake.....right? In the Muffin vs. Cupcake battle, a cupcake will always win.

So instead we are going to make whole wheat pumpkin muffins, lightly sweetened and full of good-for-you ingredients. A healthy muffin option that won't get confused with a cupcake.
oh....but there are chocolate chips......because you've got to have chocolate chips with pumpkin.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
Naturally sweetened with bananas and maple syrup. 
Made with whole wheat flour, flax, and hemp seeds for a protein boost.

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup-1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup ground flax
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease muffin tins.
 Combine all dry ingredients and mix. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, pumpkin, syrup, and vanilla--mix together. Mash in bananas. Mix in eggs until thoroughly combined. Dump in chocolate chips and slowly add in dry ingredients, a little at a time, until just mixed in. Do not over mix. Spoon into muffin tins (mixture will be thick) and place on bottom rack of oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes for regular muffins or 16-20 minutes for mini muffins. Muffins will be soft but a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean when they are done.
let muffins cool on a rack and enjoy! 
What are you baking this week?

blogged 2 years ago: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
blogged 3 years ago: A Hike Through the Aspens

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

my place

I'm a firm believer that everyone has a place. 
Where the air fills your lungs just a little bit fuller and the sun shines a bit brighter on your skin. 
A place where your mind is clear, and your heart is full.
The desert is my place.
I grew up in the mountains--a green little valley in Montana. 
When I was in the 6th grade, my family moved eastward to the plains. Fields of wheat rolling gently into rocky mountains. A place I love to visit now and constantly miss, but never fully appreciated when I was a teenager ready to fly the coop.
I married a California boy, and while I always enjoyed a visit to the beach, it never had the sparkle I always imagined it would. 
So I just assumed I was a mountain girl. 
That was my place. 
It's where I was born, and our current home in Utah has mountains on mountains on mountains. 

I didn't know what I was missing.

I visited the desert a few times as a teenager. Arches and Zion National Park.
I remember being WOWd by the redness of the rock and the softness of the sand......but I was a teenager and let too much pass me by. 
On and off over the next 10+ years of my life there were bits of desert here and there, but never anything that left a mark. 
And then two Aprils ago, my little family went to Moab. (here)
I loved it. 
We explored and let the dirt fill our shoes. 
But I still didn't know.
Not yet.

The next month I found myself in Zion. (here)
We played in the canyons--up and over rocks.
And then I went for a run. 
About 12 miles through the desert mountains. 
Over the slick rock, through the powdery fine sand. 
It was deep within the walls when I knew. 
Towering red cliffs hanging over my head.....I felt it. 
This was my place. 
The dessert.
I knew.

It's my drug. 
When it's been too long, I crave it. Need it.
My mind aches and my feet beg to be stained red with earth.
I get anxious counting down the days until our next trip.....and it never, ever disappoints.
In the past few years we have been lucky to explore all different areas of the Utah desert--and each place has it's own gifts to offer. 
Moab is a giant playground.
Negro Bill Canyon
To truly experience the desert, you have to camp. 
You have to see the starry sky at 1am when you head to bed. 
You have to breathe in the cold air at night as you hide your head in your sleeping bag to escape the chill. 
You have to see the clouds open up and empty out in minutes, leaving a rainbow connecting the cliffs.
You have to wake up and climb the rocks. Find a quiet place to sit and think before you start your day.
Clear your head and prioritize. 
Study the rocks that surround you and wonder how many others have sat in that same place.
You have to go with friends. 
Friends who will play and laugh and explore with you.
You have to watch a sunset. 
Watch how the rock changes from pink to orange to a fiery red.....all in minutes.

a quick hike up to Delicate Arch at sunset
The desert is my place. 
I can find peace and excitement in the same moment.
I have ran away to the desert and buried my problems in the earth. 
The sands have stained my hands, my clothes, and left a mark on my soul.
I enter the desert with a jumbled mind and always leave with a clear vision of what is important.
And it's always, always hard to leave.

I would love to know.....where is YOUR place?
Don't know yet? Keep looking! Your place is out there somewhere.

last fall's moab trip HERE
all of our desert travels HERE

Monday, October 14, 2013

riding moab

I know I know. 
I've been gone so long!
But I have the best excuses, promise.

We skipped town for a few days last week and headed for the red sands of Moab.
We loaded the car with sandals, sleeping bags, and of course.....bikes.

I don't get out on my bike as often as I would like to, and after last weekend I just don't understand why?! There is something so addicting about quad burning climbs and wind whipping your face on the downhill. Add that to red rock mixed with desert sunshine and it makes me never want to leave.

Here are a few phone snaps from our rides....

slickrock trail
amasa back trail (I ran a race here, remember?)
Ali and I ditched the bikes at the top and hiked out to enjoy some desert solitude on the cliffs.
check out last year's Moab bike trip HERE

After a day spent biking on the rocks, be sure to grab a burger at Milt's!

Also, since the beginning of the year you've been tagging your weekend fun #howweweekend on Instagram. There has been such a good response that you can now follow @howweweekend (come find me!) where I'll be sharing YOUR weekend photos. 

I'll be back with more desert soon!