Vegetarian Garbage Bowl

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This is Cody, the guy that cooked this, A.a Ron’s husband and the man behind the magic. I would like to introduce myself to the masses. Earlier today, I had some curry instant noodles. They were crap. I thought to myself “there’s got to be a better way to do this.”

I saw some shit chillin’ in the fridge, some veggies that needed to be used up. I had a vision in my head, cooked it up and made a delicious meal that everybody enjoyed.

About the man behind the magic part, not really…but in my mind, turning some veggies in the fridge into something delicious in a bowl, is magic. On a sidenote, the one part of this recipe that was the best and not to be missed were the diced purple onions at the end and a healthy helping of red chili flakes.

Now that I’ve introduced myself, I look forward to sharing more of my food adventures, experiences, successes and failures with who ever finds themselves reading this.

I may not be a “chef” but I can cook.

“Piece” out and about, eh. Right? [I'll explain later.]

– Cody

By the way, our daughter is peddling her rubberband loom shit, that every other kid in America is peddling right now. Ha ha.

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So, its Aaron again. That guy up there, he’s my husband and honestly…he’s pretty damn funny 99% of the time. The other 1% well, I still absolutely adore him. He really brings out the best in me and reminds me that life shouldn’t always be taken so seriously. He really saves people from a strongly worded letter or two. Not really but kudos if you can get that reference.

Expect to see more of him around here. We cook together, as a couple and family 90% of the time or more. If you’re curious about his sign off at the end? It had everything to do with the time spent in Canada. An affectionate nod to the country, if you will.

About this dinner? It was AMAZING. Straight up…delicious, easy and inexpensive. You don’t have to use any or all of the veggies we used here. You could definitely use whatever you have in your fridge to make magic with. Bottom line: being a vegetarian is actually not at all difficult. So if you’ve been curious, quit wondering. Make this dish and your mind will be made up after the first bite. Also, if you are still scared of curry powder…GET OVER IT. You can thank me later for how delicious it is.

Anyhow, enjoy this kick ass veggie meal. It could easily be vegan if you choose not to top it with an egg as well. I just happen to have a really deep affinity for eggs. I LOVE them. I dont have a cool, fun or funny sign off like my husband either. So for now, I’ll just say adios and thanks for checking out our recipe and blog. We are both really looking forward to sharing more recipes, food and fun in our daily life with all of you.

Also, as a photographer of quite a few years…we are both particularly fond of photos…especially of food and other beautiful things. However, there are times when you just have to live inside the moment, uninterrupted. Times when you want to tuck that little nugget of life away, unadulterated and only for your recollection and keeping.

Tonight was obviously one of those times. We snapped a photo of the finished product and then sat as a family to enjoy our meal together. Later, we would like to share with you a new hashtag project that we have been working on for a little while now and have finally found a way to share and encourage within others…

Lastly, if you are anything like us and love Halloween..get yourself down to Target and purchase some of these fun skeleton salad servers! We bought two pair! One pair is white plastic, for the car. We like to drive around and wave at people with our skeleton hands. So far, everyone in Midland has had a good laugh when they have come upon them. You have to live a little. Otherwise, what else is there in life? Anyway, enjoy the recipe!

All my best, A.a. Ron

Vegetarian Garbage Bowl

Vegetarian Garbage Bowl

Ingredients

  1. 3 cloves garlic [finely chopped/diced]
  2. 1 onion [diced, small]
  3. 1 bunch broccolini [cut stem down]
  4. 1 squash [quartered and diced]
  5. 1 zucchini [quartered and diced]
  6. 1 green bell pepper [diced]
  7. 1 small container mushrooms [sliced]
  8. Vegetable stock
  9. Butter
  10. 2 Tsp. Curry Powder
  11. 1/2 - 1 Tsp. Turmeric
  12. Sunflower Greens
  13. Eggs
  14. Asian Egg Noodles
  15. Olive Oil
  16. Sesame Oil
  17. Red Chili Flakes
  18. Purple Onion
  19. Salt & Pepper to taste
  20. Bragg's Liquid Aminos [as a replacement for Soy Sauce]

Instructions

  1. Prepare for cooking by starting water in a pot to boil. You will need this to be ready midway through cooking the meal. Also prepare by chopping, dicing and prepping all veggies.
  2. Coat pan with olive oil. Approx. 1 - 2 Tbsp worth. Add 1 Tbsp butter [unsalted], add onions, garlic, green bell pepper, salt and pepper, curry and turmeric. Cook until translucent, not brown.
  3. Add zucchini and squash. Cook until tender. [shiny]
  4. Add mushrooms, cook until slightly tender [not mushy, still firm]
  5. Right after you have dropped the mushrooms into pan, add the pasta to the boiling water.
  6. Add broccolini, stir in and cook slightly, then leave to cook. Let cook 5 mins or so and DO NOT STIR.
  7. Add in 1-2 cups veggie stock or to veggie level. Add additional curry and salt and pepper if desired.
  8. Remove pasta from heat, drain in strainer...DO NOT RINSE. Immediately add to veggie mixture.
  9. Add 1 Tbsp. butter [unsalted] and a small splash of sesame oil; stir into mixture.
  10. Voila! Your dish is complete! You can eat it as is or you can top with a variety of items.
  11. We topped ours with diced purple onions, sunflower greens, red chili flakes, a splash of Bragg's Liquid Aminos and a fried egg. Though, poached would have been enjoyed also.
  12. We both agreed that a sprig of cilantro and a few avocado slices would have been perfection on this!
http://www.carsonavenue.com/vegetarian-garbage-bowl/

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

So, here’s the thing…Essential oils have become something truly important in our family. We use them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Honestly, I can’t ever imagine not using them again. There are just too many ways that we use them to help our family. That being said, I want to share with you the recipe that we use the very most in our family.

Back to school, to my husband and I always reminds us of back to school germs and the never ending cycle of illness that can quickly find its way into our home and making our family sick. When we have dropped the ball on using the oils and such, we have really come to regret it…and it even left me with pneumonia. Getting that sick was scary stuff, let me tell you. I’ve truly never felt closer to death’s doorstep. I will NEVER GO BACK TO THAT AGAIN. EVER.

Elderberry syrup is an amazing way to boost the immune system. In more recent years, it has really become more mainstream and available. However, this surge in popularity has certainly not helped to lower its selling price. I have three kids and let me just say that every illness travels fast, to each of them and then sometimes… back around again. If you are buying elderberry syrup at your nearest store at $15 a pop…well, its easy to let your guard down and rely on antibiotics instead. Elderberry syrup can be used daily to boost the immune system and prevent the flu, etc. but also as a rescue in treating the colds and flu that come our way. My sister in law says this syrup tastes like Christmas and I know it made our house smell nice when making it, so there is that bonus too! DSC_7711 DSC_7729 DSC_7719 DSC_7734-2 DSC_7736 DSC_7745 DSC_7809 DSC_7763 DSC_7768 DSC_7774 DSC_7778 DSC_7782 DSC_7784 DSC_7787 DSC_7791 DSC_7793 DSC_7799 DSC_7805 DSC_7819 DSC_7820 DSC_7824 DSC_7827 DSC_7831 DSC_7833 DSC_7843 DSC_7845

This recipe is SO easy. If you can boil water and keep an eye on things, you are set. If you aren’t certain as to where you can find the ingredients to make this…then please contact me. I do have access to the ingredients locally and they are rather inexpensive too. I would be more than happy to ship. Also, if you look on my sidebar of my blog, you will find Rose Mountain Herbs and they do carry elderberries.

If you have ANY other questions, concerns, etc. please feel free to find me on instagram, leave a comment here or email me: houseofprint2002@gmail.com // I will share in the coming week, a recipe for natural cleaner. We use it all the time for so many things, much like this.

Lastly, I signed up to sell doTerra and if you are interested, I can sign you up with a wholesale account to save a lot of money off of retail or if you are interesting in selling, there is that option too. I didn’t sign up with doTerra to build an essential oil empire…it’s just not in me. In my recipe, I list doTerra On Guard as the essential oil of choice for this recipe but you can certainly use Thieves by Young Living as well.

I will share my recipes and knowledge here but I am not about to push anyone in one direction or another with making choices like this. My family believes in a holistic and homeopathic treatment, healing and lifestyle…so that is where I am coming from with all of this. We are recently vegetarian as well, so there’s that fun stuff going on too! There are so many people using essential oils now and honestly, it is exciting to see and also to share with others. I can’t sing their praises enough. My husband and kids love them too!

Happy Healing in your home! Please be in touch and let me know how it worked! If you have a chance, please head over to my facebook page..I’ve actually had this in the works for months, to share recipes and such but never was sure where to start with sharing. 

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Ingredients

  1. 2/3 C. black elderberries
  2. 3 1/2 C. filtered water
  3. 2 Tbsp. fresh/dried ginger root
  4. 1 tsp. cinnamon [ground]
  5. 1/2 tsp. cloves [ground]
  6. 1 C. raw honey
  7. 12 drops doTerra On Guard

Instructions

  1. Pour water into saucepan.
  2. Add: elderberries, cinnamon, cloves
  3. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 mins; until liquid has reduced by 1/2 or so and has thickened by quite a bit.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool, to be handled.
  5. Pour through strainer or sieve into glass bowl or container.
  6. Discard elderberries [or set to side to use in other things] let liquid cool to lukewarm.
  7. After liquid is no longer piping hot, add raw honey and stir well.
  8. After honey is added, add essential oils of choice and stir well.
  9. Pour into containers of choice, using a funnel. I choose to save glass jars and containers from various things to reuse for this purpose. Of course, be sure to sterilize the jars first.
  10. Store in fridge, take daily.
  11. DOSAGE // FOR KIDS: 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. :: 2x daily
  12. DOSAGE // FOR ADULTS: 1 TBSP :: 2x daily
http://www.carsonavenue.com/homemade-elderberry-syrup/

DSC_7849then of course, there are the dishes afterward..luckily, these aren’t too terrible. Be patient with me, if you have questions or find a typo…this post is going up at 1:30 AM…I should definitely be using that new eye mask my mom brought me this weekend and sleeping but school is in full swing for everyone and those germs are going to make themselves at home right where they shouldn’t be…with your children and in your home. Ugh..

 

embraced chaos.

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These girls are so animated, full of life, love and endless energy. Every minute and day spent with them leaves me breathless but in the very best way. Today, I am reminding myself, in the midst of all the chaos; of the life and love they live. I am counting my lucky stars, breathing deeply and loving them with all that I have. These days may be long but they will only last a short while. Before long, these girls will head off to college, [we hope!] with minds of their own. It is then that I expect; the hugs, random dress up sessions, giggles, whispers, messes and questions about life and desire for advice will be fewer and farther between. I am going to embrace this chaos, every single day for as many days as they will allow.

Raising children is by far the most difficult job I have held in my life. However, no matter how hard the situation or how short my patience, the challenge constantly brings me to a better day. A day where I am stronger, wiser and far more patient than ever before. My days with my daughters will not last forever, other duties and obligations will come upon each of them and myself and our interests, each unique.

I am absolutely in love with my daughters, they are the sunshine of my life but I never want them to be an extension of myself or my identity, that without which I could not function. I want them to grow and thrive and to walk along side them. Their blooming and blossoming will be with me serving as a witness and maybe helping a bit along the way. It will never be because of me.

Make no mistake, my work as a mother is something I take quite serious. No action in my parenting done haphazardly or without purpose but I know that the alarm will sound, 18 years will pass and off they will go. I am looking forward to celebrating with them, their success and supporting them through the expected failures or disappointments they are sure to face.

For now, I will embrace this chaos, even creating some of my own and appreciate the ways in which it will wear me down and give me an appreciation for life that can not be gained in any other fashion. I will live in the day and moment, being present as a mother and person in their lives. However, I will be present in the days and moments as a wife and as a person, myself. I will live and love my life and my loves with no abandon. All the while, pinning that dream trip across the pond. After all, these girls will grow up and fly the coop…or maybe they won’t. Either way, I will still be young, as will my husband and we will have some catching up to do with our travel plans and time alone. I will not feel guilty about this. In fact, I will and am looking forward to it but all of that gets lost and a little forgotten each time I add another chore to the to do list or another little voice screams “MOOOOMMMM!” as a means of scaring off their sibling and winning the battle.

One day, Europe, Brazil, Columbia, Australia…one day. Until then, I have pins and needles I am waiting on. HA! Name that movie and character. I know you know who it is!

birthday potstickers.

This time of year is bittersweet for our family. My husband has 2 brothers, 5 kids in the family total and all of us ladies, of these brothers got pregnant at the same time. All of these girls were born, in a row, 2 weeks apart, each. It was a sleepless summer for all of us, really. We now have 3 daughters in our family alone and all of these girls have become the sweetest and closest of friends. They have the best time together and are in tears, usually, when its time to say their goodbyes. We just returned last month, from vacationing with our family for a few weeks and our girls are really missing their cousins again during the summer holidays and days off.

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Cousins // Summer Vacation 2014 // Hogle Zoo, Utah2014-05-24_1400974918 Cousins // Summer Vacation 2014 // Lagoon Amusement Park, Utah2014-05-17_1400306659 Cousin time // Summer Vacation 2014 // Utah2014-05-17_1400358196

Cousin Time // Summer Vacation 2014 // Hogle Zoo, Utah2014-06-01_1401661706

Ella on her first roller coaster. She’s a dare devil and loves this kind of thing

Ella, our middle daughter and also the middle born of the 3 cousins, turns 7 this Saturday. I really wish I knew the secret to slowing the minutes on the clock and days on the calendar. It’s really something to have these 3 girls who are finding their voice and really deciding what makes them unique to this world. Something that greatly interests both my husband & myself, is seeing them step outside their box to try new things and then seeing foods that please their palette. The magic we make together in the kitchen, with each morsel and meal prepared is just something unexplainable. These are the moments in our lives that fill my soul and warm my smile.

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That being said, birthdays are certainly a time for celebrating and enjoying all the indulgences that life has to offer. For our family, this would include a favorite meal[s], treats and trinkets and whatever strikes your fancy. Really, its always too short a time to celebrate and appreciate the lives of my loves and the addition to our family.

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One of our absolute favorites as a family is potstickers or Asian dumplings. Truly, everyone loves them and could eat them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Serious. They are THAT good. & I am serious when I say, give my sauce a try on not just potstickers. Try it on pork, try it on salad, you name it. You really won’t be the same. Its that kind of good. I don’t know about you but we’re really trying to continue eating healthy over here and further clean up our act, going STRAIGHT PALEO/WHOLE 30. Whoa. Its hard some days, if you haven’t tried it.

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Ella asked for potstickers for her birthday and our neighbor has been waiting for me to make these again, also. So…Happy Birthday our sweet girl. Here’s to your wish of “eating, having fun and sleeping.” I’ve always known you were wicked smart and fun. This just proved it, yet again.

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potstickers.

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb. [approx.] ground turkey / pork / protein of your choice
  2. 2 - 3 cups - napa cabbage // chiffonaded
  3. 3 -4 carrots // julienned
  4. 1 - 2 cups - kale // finely chopped
  5. 1 -2 garlic cloves - crushed or finely chopped // we like garlic A LOT!
  6. 1 small - medium white or yellow onion
  7. green onions // chopped
  8. 1 small splash sesame oil
  9. 1 small splash olive oil
  10. Salt [kosher] & Pepper - to taste
  11. 1 package potsticker wrappers. We used round but you can use what you can find.
  12. also: feel free to add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, etc.
  13. Sauce:
  14. You can change the amount of these ingredients to your liking. Some like it spicier, some like it with more of a vinegar taste or more sweet. Feel free to experiment with it to your liking.
  15. 1 Tsp. to 1 Tbsp. Chili garlic sauce to taste
  16. 2 - 3 Tbsp. Chinese hot mustard
  17. 1/2 Cup Soy sauce
  18. 1 Tsp Garlic paste [not necessary but we love garlic]
  19. Honey - a swizzle or so, if any.
  20. Green onions - to taste
  21. 1 splash or so - Sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Mix recipe for sauce in advance of making potstickers. You will add some of this to meat mixture.
  2. Heat pan to a medium heat, add splash of vegetable & sesame oil.
  3. Place meat of choice in pan. Add salt & pepper, garlic & onion.
  4. Add carrots, cabbage, kale and green onion to pan. Toss all items together gently.
  5. Saute the entire mixture until cooked all of the way through, being careful not to overcook or cook until the meat is "dry" You just want the cabbage to be tender, carrots to be al dente, etc.
  6. *At this point, if you want any dumplings steamed, you will want to start the water boiling.
  7. When meat is cooked most of the way through, add a few Tbsps of the sauce. // add this according to your taste and liking. Also, don't hesitate to also add more chili paste or sriracha, etc.
  8. Remove mixture from heat, get a small dish with water, lay out potsticker wrappers on plate.
  9. Add 1 Tbsp or so of the mixture to the potsticker wrapper's center. Fold wrapper onto itself, taking care to close the mixture inside. You can do this through fancy pleats or just the pressure of your hands...really..it all TASTES DELICIOUS...
  10. We add about 6 - 8 dumplings per time to the pan. We are just using a pot with boiling water and the steamer basket we have for another pan on the top of the pot..easy peasy..
  11. Some of you may not like your dumplings steamed or boiled at all..and thats fine too.
  12. If you are planning to pan fry them, heat your pan or griddle so its nice and hot.
  13. In a bowl add about a 1/4 cup or less of olive oil and then a splash or even a little more of sesame oil. You will absolutely love the sesame oil added to the mix...
  14. We like to do a combo of steaming and pan frying. So after you steam these lovelies, put them in a hot pan or on a griddler to pan fry them. We use a Cuisinart Griddler and its AMAZING. Seriously!
  15. After you brown them up on each side, thats it. They are done. EAT THEM UP. Fast.
  16. & we use the leftover mixture in lettuce wraps or in salads.
  17. More than anything, make the sauce, keep it in your fridge in a big jar. You really will find a million things to eat it on, with or because of...it is just that good.
  18. Make it SAUCY:
  19. Add soy sauce, chili paste, chinese mustard to bowl.
  20. Add a splash of sesame oil. As in DROPS, NOT A MAJOR SPLASH HERE...
  21. Add garlic paste if you like that sort of thing.
  22. If you don't care for the bite of a vinegar and spicy sauce, add a tsp or so of honey.
  23. We personally love Madhava brand honeys...the whipped one is amazing!
  24. Mix all items together and add chopped green onions. As many as you like. They are yummy.
  25. I'll be sure to post the recipe for the vegetarian potstickers that we made soon!
  26. & for those curious about my precooking the filling and it not being the standard way to make these...I have found that they are FAR less oily inside and also, I don't know why but I just CAN'T trust ground pork or turkey being cooked all the way just by being steamed...Plus, you get to incorporate the sauce into the meat. Just be careful to cook the mixture until "TENDER" and not dry...that's the ticket.
http://www.carsonavenue.com/birthday-potstickers/

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adventure.

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It seems all too easy to get caught up in the to-do lists of life and really just the mentality of fitting 50,000 tasks into a day that only holds 24 hours. On the days where you are busy but nothing in “specific” to get done, it seems at our house that anxiety starts to kick in. Everyone gets antsy and the girls seem to breed chaos by the minute.

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Those are the minutes that make you miserable and can really make or break a day’s success. My husband and I have long been advocates of taking an adventure. Much to the surprise of so many, there does not have to be a plan or destination in mind to jump in the car and just GO!

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Last summer, it was one of those anxious days. A storm had actually just rolled by with the most intense wind and angry, heavy clouds. We got in the car to chase the rain originally. The girls really wanted to run in the rain and I won’t lie, I wanted to watch. [I hate water!] It ended being a total bust on the end of chasing rainclouds but the sunshine was just as nice.

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I love that our kids want to dance in the rain, soak up the sunshine and that they are ALWAYS ready to jump in the car and have an adventure. Some of our best memories have come from these times in the car with nothing on the date book, no agenda for our time spent together. These are the times when our kids get the best of us. There is little to nothing else on our minds as a distraction or worry. These days I am very mindful about giving them these little nuggets of adventure and quality time together, uninterrupted. Even if it means grocery shopping and having to navigate though a boatload of people in the parking lot. It’s all a moment in our lives and time together, worthy of remembering and tucking away for safekeeping.

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& the award goes to…

BEST DAD EVER!!

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Here’s the thing. Normally, I just absolutely can’t / won’t do cutesy.

It’s just one of those things that goes against every single fiber of my being.

I am a mom to 3 beautiful daughters. However, our days are not consumed with all things princess, rainbows, butterflies and glitter. Sure, Olivia lives in a castle in her dreams at night but she lives alone and cares for a bazillion animals. That castle has been in her dreams ever since she has been old enough to speak in complete sentences, really. These girls are fearless, tough and intelligent. Truly, they are a force to be reckoned with and the combination of them together in defense, is likely to be deadly. Or at least that’s what we are hoping for one day.

Now, to address the cutesy thing. Last spring [2013] I am not really sure what sparked the idea for trophies but I like to think of this as an exception to my rule. Cutesy chic, maybe?! & who doesn’t love a “best ________ ever award?!”

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These trophies were so fun, easy and inexpensive to make! I do wish that I could and would have shared them with you all sooner but there is always Grandparents Day, birthday parties, school awards and Mother’s & Father’s Day next year. I even made one for my aunt and labeled it “le tour de aunts” / “le tour de france” // Cute.  There I go contradicting myself again.

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I’ve long been in the process of re-doing my blog and finally getting a GOOD GRIP on things. I have finally seen the light of day and here in a few days, a new blog will be up! Along with an online marketplace in the time to follow that; featuring my “House of Tooth” products and a variety of other things; including my recipes and experiences with doTerra Essential Oils and really a variety of natural products & solutions! I’ve been a busy little bee in the past month’s time. Homeschooling our girls has taken a fair chunk of our time and it’s something I will never be regretful of. Also, we took our family vacation a bit early into the summer, visiting all of our family in Wyoming and Utah. It was AMAZING and it’s still every bit as bittersweet and sad to be back home and back to adult obligations and schedules, minus all of those faces we love and miss so very much everyday!

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Anyway, enjoy these sweet little trinkets for Father’s Day! We aren’t much on Hallmark Holidays in this house. It’s more about the everyday living and loving one another, always. So, that being said, no trophies will be given here. We are just going to hang out, enjoy one another’s company and maybe go paint somewhere by the side of the road. That’s for another post. It’s one of our favorite family activities and it’s so relaxing and fun!

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Happiest of Father’s Days to all of you Dads, Grampy’s, Papa’s, Two Pops or whatever other names you go by this year or maybe have for many before. Also, if you are wondering about the trophies awarded to “t-rex”…its my mom, or Nana. It’s also a story for later but we lovingly call her “T-Nana-Saurus Rex” or “T-Rex” for short and she loves it, don’t worry. Love you Mom!

 

P.S. // Though its fun & funny; don’t try to steal our nickname for Nana either…I have a project in the works & you heard it here first! Just asking nicely ahead of time :)

when life gives you lemons…

DSC_8105I wanted to share with you a few images from last year, around this time. I will share the recipe later this week, as I am busy, busycleaning and prepping for my parents to return from Hawaii and come to visit us tomorrow, after their flight lands. My brother is also coming.

Later, I will share with you the story of my family and our journey. My brother and I are new to each other’s lives due to his mom moving away and never telling my dad that she was pregnant and also gave birth to a sonand when you see him, you know, without any doubt, that my dad is the other half of his genetic makeupthey look almost like twins..its crazy.

I can’t believe that I went all my life wishing for a brother, only to actually get one, years later. It’s crazy cool & so amazing for my girls to have an uncle that loves & cares for them so much.

Also, I have truly enjoyed getting to know himthough, there are moments that it is hard.

Mostly, when I act like a jerk and say “my mom & dad” when I know damn well they are also his “mom & dad” as well..it’s just habit & it flies right out of my mouth..but it still feels really bad. Also, I am working hard to remember new special days, like his birthday & to learn all about his “other family” because I know they are also so important to him and we all share him now.

It’s all fairly new to myself and my girlsbut I am just thrilled to have him in my life. FOREVER.

My mom’s birthday is on CINCO DE MAYOor the 5th of May, of course.

Last year, in our planned move to Canada, we were visiting all of our family before our move… & we were so lucky to spend my mom’s birthday and mother’s day with herwe made this pie for her, in celebration of the wonderful woman that she is & how special she is to each of us.

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DSC_8350 and with that..I want to share with you the core of the post I was writingabout life & lemons.

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Our best laid plans can soon be our biggest challenge[s].

When life takes a left turn on a road planned straightit throws us for a loop & leaves us in the lurch. Some may search endlessly for the answer, only to end up frustrated & often upset…

I believe very strongly that our life is not always ours to plan.

Everything happens for a reason. 

Yes. I am another one of those people. An eternal optimist, I am not. Realistic? YES.

I just think that if we were all meant to plan our lives..it would seem certain that our hard work and efforts would offer us a guaranteed reward; preferably of our choosing and to our liking.

We would all be exceptionally happy, all the time, no matter what..

Certainly, no one would choose to face the struggles & challenges they are presented with… Wouldn’t we all plan a life free of upset or disaster..filled with peace, life, love and laughter for ourselves and those we love and hold dear to usworld peace would surely exist..

I want to share with you a favorite quote of mine..

It was shared with me a few seasons agowhile deep in conversation with the CEO of the company my husband worked for at the time. This man became a friend to myself and my husband & gave me much inspiration and motivation each time that we had a conversation. The quote is taken from Crime and Punishment, a book written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.        Mr. Dostoyevsky had a most beautiful way of communicating through words the social, spiritual and political upset and psychology of the people in the world and their behaviors.

He lived a life riddled with the ups and downs life offers & much unexpected circumstance…  Working as an engineer, journalist & obviously being spoken of; as a great and highly accomplished writer and psychologist of literature, across the world. His ways of progressive thinking also led him to be imprisoned & at one time sentenced to death. This sentence was later commuted to 4 years of hard labor, which ended due to his onset & signs of epilepsy.

“Suffering is part and parcel of extensive intelligence and a feeling heart.”

I feel there is much to be said of this statement and also of the man who wrote it.

Sometimes we think we know another person..or we think we truly know ourselves..

We go about our day..making assumptions about ourselves or about others and their lives; without permission or literal justification in doing so. Often times, not taking accountability for our actions or further realizing or fixing the hurt or upset this may cause another person..

In more recent years I have been challenged by many things; my health, the most significant. During these times of stress, upset and physical illness, I have struggled often with my mental stabilitieshowever, now also having a feeling heart, soul & a patience as never before.

There is so much to be gained from & said of our lives, in every aspect and opportunity… Beginning & ending with our perspective & the connections we allow ourselves with others..

If you extend yourself to share your heart, soul and mind with othersthe reward will be felt   & seen in the greatest depths of your soul. It will undoubtedly change your life & perspective.

I can speak to the truth of this..because I have lived, seen and felt it for myself. 

Life gave me lemons….[as it does to everyone, at some point during their life here on Earth.]

..& for a short while, I allowed them to be squeezed in my eyes and cause pain to my skin. Blinded completely to all the things going on around me or inside of my heart and my brain.     Slowly recognizing the consequence I may have caused for myself or another person.

The end note here, is this; Yes, life will throw you a curve ball or squeeze lemons in your eyes. Obviously, we can’t predict or foresee our futurenegotiating for a better outcome or situation. We can, however, negotiate our current & daily life, through our choices every single day.

I plan to offer myself the opportunity of a positive perspective and to actively seek change both of and for myself and for the world around me..being mindful of others in my journey.

I will be accepting of these lemons that come my way and use them as tool to gain strength.

After all, it is through suffering that we build character and learn about ourselves, at our core.

At this point, I would not trade my past for anything; regardless of any pain, upset or failure. My joy that I seek and find in my new everyday..would not be nearly as sweet, without it.

All my best. Im off to do dishes with my helpful husband [who I am so thankful for!]

#throwback

Pardon my dust. A blog redesign is definitely a must. Yep, I like to rhyme..now and then.

That’s what happens when you have 3 kids. You identify with others through rhyming and talk of constant sleep deprivation.

In light of my last post and the world of the internet and social media & connections.. I thought it fitting to say how thankful I am for connections via social media. Strangers, often turning into friends; relationships formed. Gone are the days of meeting someone at a playdate or the market.

I have been so fortunate to have someone connect me, through Instagram; with someone seriously wonderful, to do some sprucing up of my blog… SoI am pretty excited about that, as well as other things Tis the season for spring cleaningand new beginnings.

I have truly about a million photos of my family to sharemy loves, as I often call them. & I intend to share frequently hereeven the oldies. Those are still the goodies..in my mind. #throwbackthursday all the way people! I will never tire of seeing these faces, seeing their smiles and remembering the laughter in the moment.

IMG_4010 | Summer 2013 | Visiting Utah | Olivia, driving with Dad |

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 | Summer 2013 | Visiting Utah | Ella, driving with Dad |

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| Summer 2013 | Visiting Utah | Savannah, driving with Dad |

I found these while searching for a video that my husband recorded this past summer.. With “Two Pops”[you can learn about his nickname here.] Anywaywhen I find the videos..I cant wait to share them.

One was filmed back in 1970 and others before then & some of them don’t have sound. One of them, a video of Two Pops and his Beautiful Bride, Colleen, on their Wedding Day. I am just so thankful for having this video & glimpse into how our family started… “back in the day” as our middle daughter, Ella would say.

Enjoy these little snippets of our life. Everytime I come across these little moments, I have tucked away.. I just can not imagine traveling this journey in life, with any other people.

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| summer 2013 | date night while visiting Utah | SLC . UTAH |

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| Spring Break . 2013 | Ella & Olivia Playing Dress – Up | Midland . Texas |

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| Cupcake Math | My Homeschool Math Activity that the girls love |

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| The girls with my “Grampy” | Summer 2013 in Wyoming visiting family |

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| Canada . 2013 | Kisses after Date Night | I love him. |

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetA glimpse into our kitchen, currently… | Midland . Tx | Where we make memories |

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| Summer | Utah . 2013 | Savannah’s “camera” “hotel room key” & “comment card” |

“I never had to choose a subject – my subject rather chose me.” \\ Ernest Hemingway

time is fleeting. & babies dont keep.

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Each year, the days seem to pass by quicker than the last…
Year after year, it becomes us to to hold on tighter;
Watching, with great amusement and for some fear; as the days and years speed by, ever quicker.
& so it goes…

A beautiful cycle.
A life well livedeven when running a great race in order to keep up with it all.

How can we find anything but joy as we are filled with breath each day, another day living and feeling.

For mothers, our work is never done and in all truth, a day could easily never have an end…

Which, I am certain, is why, we crave the presence of people, places and things in our everyday lives.

For myself, beauty is in nearly every single situation, place, person, thing…..
A beauty, impossible to re-create, by any standard.
Beauty that can only be seen by life being lived.
Absolutely busy, dirty, crazy, consuming life.

In the years past, stress and chaos would easily find its way into my life and heart.
After soul searching, deep and true; changes were made.
no longer does chaos envelope and worry me.
God has softened my heart and my OCD need for everything in its place.

Surely, there are baskets and bin, labeled and placed.
The driving need to properly place them and keep them right facing, no longer consumes me.
My children, lovely and growing up far too quickly; are messy and like to fight, A LOT.
Much to many people’s surpriseI am OKAY with that.

Nothing is certain in life.
I am “picking my battles” so to speak..
Let me just tell you the weight and worry it has lifted from my heart and mind.

I am so very thankful to the Lord for listening when my heart was low…
and truly for letting me find my many purposes in this life again.

As mothers, wives and women, in general; we are in high demand, to many.
We infamously over commit, multi tasking and juggling with the best of them.
Wearing every hat and shoeuntil the day finally closes and we pour ourselves into sleep.

My message to you is thisbe busy with the day, keeping a home for those you hold dear.
Never be so busy or consumed, with the frivolous and often selfish, details of a modern life…
Seeking perfection, a beautiful home, laundry kept up, cookies baked…
Keeping so busy, that you run short of time to enjoy your babies; no matter their age.

No baby is too old or too big to be held close, snuggled tight, words of love whispered in their ear.
Enjoy your life, letting it consume you, filling your soul to the absolute brim, with joy.
Motherhood is a beautiful blessing and is not granted simply by biologic relation.
Something I make certain to remind myself of, often and always.
Picking my battles, sustaintaining my family and marriage.
I will speak more on the beautiful things this has done for our marriage another time…

I am sharing photos of some Easter Weekends, gone by in our home.
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Last year, we were divided as a family and our hearts were SO very heavy.
My husband in Canada, for work and myself, flying home right before Easter and Birthdays…
This year, we are all SO very grateful to be united again, all 5.
Missing our families in both directions, of course but grateful to hold each other tight.

My grandma, another mother to me, used to make the cake included in the photos.
I can only remember it being so wonderful and a favorite treat by so many of us…
As I share and begin traditions with our children, new and oldI am blessed to now call this recipe my own.

I am going to spend this Easter Weekend NOT being consumed by all the things one could worry over..
I am going to thank the Lord for my blessingsboth quietly and out loud…
letting my girls hear these words of thanksseeing and knowing a humble and imperfect heart.

May you find your balance and the permission from yourself to pick your battles.
Including with yourself. & if you should be in the mood to bake…
with your babies, for your lovestry this recipeIt is DELICIOUS.

Side note: dont be afraid to make substitutions for what you do or dont have…

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