Sunday, November 03, 2013

Pumpkin Scones for My Camden

It has been cold and rainy this weekend, Steve is at drill, and the boys and I are hunkered down here at home, as Camden has been running a fever for three days now, poor boy. Times like these make me want to be in the kitchen, making food for my boys. Camden hasn't had much of an appetite, but I thought I would make some pumpkin scones for him in hopes of getting him to eat something. Pumpkin scones are his favorite, and we use to be able to get them year-round at Starbucks, until sometime last year, when the powers that be decided they would be a seasonal item. That, along with the fact that they aren't cheap, prompted me to attempt to whip some up that he would like just as much. I have made scones many times before, and it always bugs me how they spread all over the place and sometimes come out in weird shapes. I have always wanted a Nordicware scone pan, but they are too pricey for me. Imagine my luck the other day when I found one at my local thrift store. The price? $2.65 - - much more to my liking than the $39.99 retail price. Score! I give the pan 5 stars...the scones came out perfectly, and they came out of the pan easily. The recipe I used came from Taste of Home, and can be found here.

Saturday, November 02, 2013


It has been quite some time since I have been here. I hinted (ad-nauseum) that I had lost interest in writing here, and I had - - it didn't feel like fun anymore. The whole reason I started writing this blog was to chronicle our every day life so I would be able to look back and remember all of those moments that get lost in the shuffle of time. I have been missing that, so, for myself, I am going to try again. Life has continued to get busier and busier, the older the boys get, and sometimes it seems as though it is hard to remember much of anything!
October was a rough month for us, from start to finish. I love Halloween but I have to say that I was quite happy to see the month come to a close. We are starting November in style, with fever and sore throats! Camden is spending today "laying low" and I am hopeful that by tomorrow he will be back to feeling well. I have been fighting some sort of cold all week that refuses to amount to much of anything, other than being annoying. This morning, Griffin is saying his throat hurts as well. Hmmm.
I am having a bunch of trouble with Blogger this morning, but I really don't know if it is Blogger, or the laptop I am is very, very slow. Anyway I had typed up a good three paragraphs, which promptly disappeared, so I will have to save that for another day. Bummer.
Scout is new to our family since joining us as a 6-week old puppy in July. She is a handful, but I am confident that once she is an adult, she will calm down and be a great pup. We are already noticing her mellowing out a little. "A little" being the key words there.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Smoothie Experimentation

This weekend has been a bit of a bust. Steve returned from Cambodia Friday evening - - we were so happy to see him! Unfortunately, he had to get up at 4:00 the next morning, and leave for drill weekend (about 3.5 hours from home). Also, I woke up in the middle of the night, running a fever and experiencing chills and body aches...ugh! It seems that the horrid cold/virus that has been going around finally caught up with me. Of course it happens on a drill weekend! Luckily, my boys are awesome, and they have been very good for me. Camden tends to worry when I am sick, so I have to try to act completely normal, even if I just want to suck my thumb and whimper. I can tell you that it was a challenge, yesterday! So here we are on day two, and with any luck, Steve will be home in about 8 hours. Hooray!
I have not felt like eating much the last couple of days, so smoothies seemed like the perfect solution. I had been dabbling in them a bit, before getting sick, after reading this post on my friend Jen's blog, and also just from a nutritional standpoint. I have had some significant digestive issues for the past few years, which were complicated a little more when I had my gallbladder removed a couple of years ago. Anyway, fruits and veggies are particularly difficult, so I rarely eat them. I was recently reflecting on my diet and kind of realized that it lacks nutritional value for the most part, and I need to figure that out. I did a bunch of reading and found that blended fruits and veggies might be a way to get what I need, so I have been trying out some smoothies.

I was inspired by Jen's green smoothie, but was a little afraid of the spinach. Not because of the flavor, but because roughage and I do not get along. At all. Anyway, the green smoothie I made contained frozen pineapple, frozen mango, frozen banana, a bit of vanilla soy milk, a dab of vanilla extract, a drizzle of agave nectar, and frozen spinach. I Googled frozen vs. fresh spinach and found that frozen is just fine to use. Plus, it costs less and I don't have to worry about it going bad. This smoothie was absolutely delicious.

This is my smoothie from this morning - - frozen organic strawberries, frozen banana, vanilla soy milk, and a couple of heaping spoonfuls of vanilla Greek yogurt. This is definitely my favorite right now.
I have also tried a peanut butter, banana, and soy milk smoothie. If you like peanut butter and banana, you will like it. The flavor is very mild. I think next time I will substitute some of the soy milk with Greek yogurt for a thicker result.
Does anyone else drink smoothies? What are your favorite combinations?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Time Warp

Roy has recently taken to getting himself up onto the roof of our house, and then claiming that he has no idea how to get back down. Here, he can be seen sticking his tongue out at me, when I told him he was on his own.

It has been a long time, and a lot has happened. I would love to catch up, but I wouldn't even know where to start. The school year has ended and I think the boys and I have been breathing a sigh of relief for the past week. Maybe it has been mostly me. This past school year was very challenging for me, as a mom. The pace was frenetic at times, and it was fraught with many obstacles. I am proud of my boys. They both faced some tough times this year, but they came out better for them. They also racked up a lot of accomplishments. They are both wonderful students and hard workers. I love them both more than life itself and as hard as the past few months have been, I would do it a million times over.

Steve has been in Cambodia for the past few weeks and will be back in Idaho tomorrow. We are all missing him and wanting him back home with us.

We recently lost one of our chickens. Stella died very suddenly one morning, and I suppose we will never know what happened/why she died. We have added two new girls to our flock - - Lucy and Lola are approximately 14 weeks old, and are currently finding their place. My older hens are pretty docile, but are still keeping the younger girls on a short leash.

Our bunny is doing great. I just love her. When she moved in with us, her cage sat in our living room so that she could get use to the sounds of our house and of our voices. That was over three months ago, and she is still in the living room. Kiara is a very social bunny, and I think we are afraid she will be too lonely anywhere else. Even Steve, who doesn't really possess that warm-and-fuzzy gene when it comes to animals, has said as much. I can also report that Kiara has a strange affinity for Steve. Why is it that animals are drawn to the person who could take them or leave them? I don't get it! 

Lots of fun things happening for us this summer. 4-H camps, swimming lessons, the Cherry Festival, the Gem County Fair, among other things. I am happy to have my boys home with me. Here's to summer!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Saturday - 9:44 a.m.

Workout complete and second cup of coffee in the works

Sorted laundry waiting to be washed

Girls squawking in the yard

This one is under the weather

This one is busy, cashing in his allotted video game time

And this one is busy looking cute, because she cannot help herself.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Kiara the Bunny

Most of you know by now that Kiara the Bunny joined our family back on February 15th. She arrived in grand style via courier, traveling from her former home in Los Angeles, California, to our home here in Idaho. She belonged to a childhood friend of mine and his late wife, and she was clearly loved beyond measure. In my last post I kind of ranted against Facebook, but I do have to make note here, that Kiara and how she came to live with us is just one of the many blessings that Facebook has bestowed upon me. So, no, Facebook isn't all bad, is it?
I was told that Kiara is between 5 and 6 years old, so I would say she is probably elderly, for a bunny. She seems to think that she is a cat. She is extremely social and loves to be talked to. She is very tame, is easy to pick up, and loves to hop around the living room. She is litter box-trained, so she is a very clean girl. She does live in a cage, however, and she has a play pen that she spends most of her time in. We are still in the process of getting to know her, but we do know that she is a nice addition to the family, and we just love her. As you can see in the second picture, she is a pretty round, so we are working on getting a few pounds off her.
Roy and Smokey still do not know what they think about her. I think she would like them to play with her, but Roy is mostly scared of her, and Smokey is a little more curious than I'd like her to be. I think they are all just trying to get to know each other.
 I feel really lucky that my friend entrusted her to me. I really hope we are caring for her in the way that he hoped we would. We sure do love her!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Facebook Killed My Blog

It finally dawned on me the other day that Facebook killed my blog. I am constantly wondering why I don't write here like I use to, and I really think that is a big reason why. Facebook is quick, easy, and convenient, while sitting down to organize my thoughts isn't. Also, when I post something to Facebook, I feel silly coming here and talking about the same thing.

The thing is, I started this blog for myself, a long time ago, before Griffin was even born. It was a great way for me to keep track of memories. I love to look back on old posts I wrote - - a lot of it I already have forgotten about.

I have been feeling really conflicted about Facebook lately. I am pretty sure I won't be deleting my account, but I am going to be making a concerted effort to spend less time there. I think as a stay-at-home mom, it has been an easy way for me to feel "connected" to the outside world, especially when the days get long and the weather makes life isolating. But, how connected are we really, on Facebook? I love seeing pictures that people post, and there are definitely certain people who always make me laugh. That part makes me happy. However, sometimes it all feels like a downer for a whole bunch of reasons. It has been feeling like that a lot lately.

I have missed a whole bunch of milestones over the past few record of them because I didn't take the time to sit down here and write about them. So, less Facebooking, more Blogging.

Friday, February 01, 2013

The Butler's Tray

So...while sick with the flu last week, I discovered the joy of Downton Abbey. I have heard about this show over and over, but had never seen it. I just knew it would be right up my alley, what with my love for all things British and all. Steve and I don't watch a lot of television as far as series go -- in fact, just last week, we started watching 30 Rock on Netflix, just as the series was preparing for its series finale. That's how behind the times we are around here! Anyway, perhaps I am the last person on the planet to watch Downton Abbey, but I am happy to say that I am all caught up to the current season, and waiting with baited breath for Sunday evening so I can watch the next episode.

I can't begin to tell you what I love most about the show - - the scenery, the costumes, the story line...all of it absolutely perfect in my eyes. I will tell you that Mr. Bates is right up there at the top of my list. Lord Grantham's valet is a man of few words, and dashing beyond measure. Oh, how I love that character! 

While lying in bed, watching episode after episode, I kept noticing the butler's trays that were popping up in so many scenes. I kept thinking how familiar it looked. The tray you see above, I found at my local thrift store a few months back (no surprise there), and it usually sits in the center of our dining table. Sometimes I use it for coffee or snacks. Anyway, it is nearly identical to the butler trays on Downton Abbey. I love to obsess over little details like this. Now, of course, I love my little tray all the more. When I bought it, the best detail on the tray was a piece of tape, stuck to the back of it:

I wish I knew who put it there, nearly 90 years ago, and what the significance of the date is. Things like this always make me think of my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Steen. When I was a student in her class so very many years ago, I remember her saying that she loved to be traveling in the car at night, and seeing a light on in a random house. She said she loved to catch a glimpse of a person in a window, and she would wonder about that person, or family...what were the details of their life? I have never forgotten that, and often find myself doing the exact same thing. I also do that with items such as this tray. Who did it belong to? What does that date mean? Was it a prized possession that was cast aside at the end of a life, winding up in a thrift store with piles of other people's former belongings? Whatever the case, I'm so happy to have it in my home now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


That flu shot that I kept putting off? Wish I'd gotten it! I had a couple of bad colds around the holidays, which I assumed was the flu because it was around the time that Steve and Griffin had it. I never ran a fever then, like they did, and I just attributed that to my stellar immune system. Turns out those were just little wussy colds that I had, because now I actually have the flu, and I am miserable. Started out over the weekend with an annoying tickle-cough, and a sore throat. Then, I woke up yesterday morning with the full-on body aches, fever, snot, headache, and every other bit of unpleasantness that goes along with it. I seriously cannot recall the last time I have felt so awful. Still running a fever tonight, but I am hoping I will wake up feeling a little better in the a.m.
I had to post this picture of the Walgreen's knock-off of TheraFlu that Steve got for me yesterday. Seriously, Wal-Flu? That's the only name they could come up with? It makes me laugh every time I see it. Then again, I maxed out the Internet at some point yesterday, so I am bored stiff. I do not like to lay around so I am also going stir-crazy, but alas, I am as weak as a kitten. Thank goodness for Steve - - he has been pulling double-duty and taking care of everything for me.

Now, please go and get your flu shot!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thrift Store Chic

I think I have mentioned before that I love thrift stores. For some reason, I seem to have a knack for stumbling upon crazy finds of all kinds. One thing I really love to buy at thrift stores is clothes. I know some people are not a fan of this, but I am, because I know that there are treasures galore to be had. I am by no means a fashionista, but I am much better dressed now, than before I began shopping thrift.
I love, LOVE clothes. I use to love getting dressed up each day for work. However, I have been a homemaker for the past 6+ years, and I will admit that I did spend quite a bit of time trapped in the rut of the stay-at-home mom - - sporting my "uniform" of jeans and t-shirt, not really caring what I looked like. I still wear jeans most days, but I during the summer I like to wear skirts or dresses most of the time. I also love fun tops and sweaters, and I love to get dressed up for church, or a rare night out with Steve.
The best thing about shopping at thrift stores, in my opinion, is that I dress better now, than I did when I paid full-price for clothes. All of the clothes I use to fantasize about having, I now can have! I know this sounds strange, but it is true.  In my experience, there are two brands of clothes that I see in nearly every thrift store I go into, and they are Banana Republic and Ann Taylor Loft -- two of my favorites. About 50% of the time, the items either look brand new, or still have the tags attached. What I want to know is, who ARE all of these people who spend oodles of money on expensive clothing, only to never wear them, and then surrender them to thrift stores?!? Whoever they are, I hope they keep doing it!
Take yesterday, for example. I have been in need of some new long-sleeved shirts. I purchased the three shirts pictured above from two different thrift stores. I'm pretty sure none of them had ever been worn (I'm getting pretty good at being able to tell!). The shirt on the left is from Target and probably retails for about $10.00. I paid $1.45. The Shirt in the middle is from Banana Republic and retails for $49.50. I paid $3.99. The shirt on the right is from Ann Taylor LOFT and retails for $39.50. I paid $3.95.
Above is an example of one of my finds with tags still attached. This is a beautiful silk dress from Banana Republic. As you can see, the retail price was $150.00. It was marked at $3.95, but I got 50% off that price, so it was practically free.
I love slip-on shoes, and couldn't believe my luck when I found these never-worn Cole Haan Nike Air slip-ons. As best I could find, they retail around $130.00. I paid $3.75! I am pretty picky about buying shoes at thrift stores - - they have to look completely new for me to buy them. I cannot believe how many never-worn shoes can be found in thrift stores.
I absolute LOVE these Aerosole suede boots I found recently. They are so comfortable! They retail for approximately $130.00, and I paid $5.95 for them. Good deal, I'd say!

Last, but not least...I have wanted a genuine kilt from Scotland for as long as I can remember. You know,  the ones with the big kilt pin near the hem? One day, I stopped in at a consignment shop that I love, and stumbled upon the above gem. It is a genuine Lochcarron of Scotland kilt in the Isle of Skye tartan, tags still attached. It was marked $12.95, but was 50% off. Perhaps I was the only person around in the market for a kilt (safe bet). Anyway, when I got home, I had to get right on the Internet and look it up. I knew "real" kilts weren't cheap, but was pretty surprised to learn that this particular one retails for $185.00!
I have found that since I started making a concerted effort to shop for my clothing at thrift shops, my wardrobe is a lot more varied and a lot less boring. While I am not a "label person" (meaning, could care less what brand of clothes I wear),  I love being able to buy clothing that I could never justify buying, much less afford, in real life.
Happy thrifting, everyone!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rosette Cake

It recently dawned on me that it has been approximately 21 years since I took Wilton cake decorating classes. I use to sell a lot of cakes back then, but haven't done any, except for family, in recent years. Times and styles have changed quite a bit, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to try and teach myself some new methods. One of my favorite types of cakes that I have been seeing a lot of are rosette cakes. I love to look at all the different kinds on Pinterest. I am particularly fond of this Neapolitan version, from I am Baker:
In the recent issue of Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate magazine, there was a recipe and a tutorial for a rosette cake, so I decided to give it a try.  
 For the cake, I used a Pillsbury triple fudge cake mix. I have absolutely no problem with cake mixes. Personally, I think they taste better than scratch cakes. In my experience, I have had a very difficult time finding a scratch recipe that produces a moist cake, while mixes are always moist. In between each layer is Smucker's hot fudge sauce. Once it is assembled, it goes in the freezer for an hour.
Next comes a thin layer of butter cream. I tinted mine blue, because the boys told me to.
The rest is easy-peasy. All you need is a pastry bag (I love Wilton disposable bags) and a large star tip. Then, you just cover the whole cake in spirals. I had to fill in a few holes here and there, but mostly it came out fine. I love the end result! I definitely need to practice a few more times before I would consider selling one. I love how many variations there are on this type of cake.  
I was hoping to get a good picture of the inside of the cake, but my lighting was a bit off, and it appears I smashed the cake on the left side. With this particular recipe, I loved the hot fudge between the layers. So good!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A Fresh Start

I love the start of a new year. I suppose like everyone else, I think of all kinds of things I might want to do differently, things I want to accomplish, things I want to try. I am not much of a resolution-maker (I know myself too well!) but I do spend some time reflecting on the year that has just come to and end, and looking ahead to the new one.

Lots of great things happened in 2012. It was a busy, busy year, and both boys grew in leaps and bounds. They also faced different challenges. We had lots of fun adventures together. I am excited to think that we are nearly half way through the school year and summer vacation will be upon us before we know it.

2012 was also a very rough year. It was a long process of working through the aftermath of a difficult deployment, all while trying to keep life running smoothly, as best as we could. I will tell you that it is a very happy time when a deployment comes to an end, but then begins the process of working through the damage that occurred, during it. For me, I am very happy to be putting 2012 behind me, and to march forward with what I learned from it. 

2012 was also the year that I lost my beloved Riley. I have struggled so with his absence, and couldn't get over the depth of grief that I felt. Somewhere in December though, things started to feel lighter, and I am glad for that. I will always miss him, but I am glad not to feel so sad when I think about him now.

As I mentioned before, I am not a "resolution" type of person, but I do think about goals. I would say that my goal for 2013 is one of health. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten the exercise thing down pretty well, and now I am ready to delve deeper and make even better choices for myself and for my family. I am also aware that strength training needs to come into play for me, but I reeaaallly don't like it so have been avoiding it. 41 is approaching quickly though, and I need to quit making excuses.

So, here's to 2013 and all that is in store!
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