Friday, May 30, 2014

A quote for the day...

I have future blog posts swimming in my head right now, but not enough time to make one happen.  So today you just get a good quote I was thinking about as I took a walk to the park with my family on this beautiful Spring (is it still Spring?  I'm not ready for Summer...) evening:

"It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature."

-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sweet potato burritoes

Yes, we've been on a sweet potato kick...

These were also awesome, except I didn't have all the ingredients for the avocado salsa verde sauce so I just  smeared a tiny bit of cream cheese on my tortilla then put the roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, rice, and salsa inside.  It was REALLY good.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sweet potato alfredo yumminess

Whoa.  This recipe blew us away.  I made this for dinner last week and I felt like I was eating at a gourmet vegan restaurant.  For real.  Give it a try.  I roasted some cauliflower in the oven (with olive oil, garlic salt, and italian seasoning) and put it on top of the pasta with this sauce.  It was delish.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Courage does not always roar

So today...

I stumbled out of bed with a headache to help my whining child get a sippy of milk.
My knee (which I mysteriously injured WALKING DOWN THE HALL last week) is still killing me.
I yelled at my son at least 3 or 4 times.  I'm talking, the-neighbors-might-have-heard-me kind of yell.
He consequently spent a good portion of the day in time a dozen timeout.
I looked at our bank account and got depressed
My lunch was whatever I could throw together in my state of food panic.  It wasn't pretty.
The kiddo refused to take a nap.  And then behaved as you would imagine for the rest of the afternoon.
My hair was in a ponytail.  Again.
I told my kid no when he asked repeatedly (and sweetly) if I would play with him.
I'm in the middle of another setback in my quest to provide a sibling for said child.
I seriously just wanted to crawl back in bed and cry.

Here's what I'm telling myself as I go to bed tonight:

"Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

-Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Middle of NOWHERE

I just got back from a wonderful trip to the middle of nowhere...aka Southeastern Utah.  My husband and I stayed in a bed and breakfast that is pictured below.  It is the tiny white rectangle near the bottom on the left.  It was...oh gosh, I don't even really have a great word for it.  Simple?  Beautiful?  Serene?  Relaxing? Refreshing?  Tranquil?  All of the above.  We had such a great time getting away from traffic, job, kiddo, house work, weeding (even though we love and are a bit obsessed with the yard), worries, and the world, really.  It felt like we transported ourselves back in time.  Funny to think of it that way because we were right next to Monument Valley which could be where some of Back to the Future was filmed...

This awesomeness of a bed and breakfast is totally off the grid.  For those of you who aren't hippies and/or don't have a husband who is in the business of being green :) that means this place isn't hooked up to the electricity or gas lines in the is run completely off solar and wind power (I didn't know what "off the grid" meant until my husband got into this stuff a few years ago.  Maybe you are smarter than I was).  We got the behind the scenes tour because we are nerds.  It was super cool.  The couple who owns it has lived there for 18 years.  They run their truck off used vegetable oil from the restaurant fryers in a nearby town.  And we thought WE were hippies!

Here are a few more pictures, just so you can get the idea of how beautiful and calm and relaxing it was.  Yes, I'm a little homesick for it...

You would NEVER guess it was off the grid if you weren't told beforehand (and if you ignored the huge array of solar panels in the back).  It reminded me of something I read a few months ago by Tammy Strobel - "Simplicity isn't about austerity.  It's a revolution in personal growth." 

Also, by Joan Winmill Brown, "I would sooner live in a cottage and wonder at everything than live in a castle and wonder at nothing!"

I had to look up austerity when I read that first quote.  It is defined as "extreme plainness and simplicity of style or appearance."  This place and the people who run it are evidence to me that first of all, simplicity absolutely doesn't have to equal austerity, and second, living your own authentic life is the coolest thing anyone can ever do.  I envied the satisfaction they so obviously get living this lifestyle of quiet solitude.  Living within their means, sitting on the porch watching the sunrise, mingling with guests from around the world.  So cool.  And so inspiring.

"We are happy in proportion to things we can do without."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The experiences

My husband and I frequently talk about wanting to provide experiences, not just STUFF for our kiddo.  And for ourselves for that matter.  The things I treasure most from my life are family scavenger hunts around the neighborhood on our bikes, camping trips in the rain, playing battleship with my dad on a Sunday afternoon when he would have rather been napping, learning how to sew a quilt or some pajama pants with my patient mom...

We aren't rich by any means, but the money we do have will be spent making memories, not buying more tvs for our house or new clothes to match what happens to be in fashion this month.

My husband sent me this link today.  It's a bit long to read and maybe a lot extreme for anything WE could actually do, but the idea of it gave me the chills.  I loved the quote at the end - "I don't know what our children will remember decades from now: The science experiments? The dinners with grandparents? The head lice? — but I can't imagine a nicer outcome than hearing them laugh at the memories."

You should read it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Curried Broccoli Couscous

This is what I made for dinner was delicious.  HERE is where I found the recipe, and here are the changes I made to it:

2 T olive oil
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
1 t curry powder
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
garlic salt
1 C couscous
2 T tomato paste
feta cheese

In a large saucepan, heat oil, add broccoli, and cook until tender-crisp.  Add curry powder, chickpeas, tomato paste, garlic salt, and about 1/4 C water.  Cook on medium-low.  In a separate saucepan, bring 1 C water to boil, remove from heat and add 1 C couscous.  Cover for 5 minutes then add to broccoli mixture.  Add feta and cashews right before serving.  YUM.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mothering {not just being a mom}

"The love of a true mother comes nearer to being like the love of God than any other kind of love."

- Joseph F. Smith

Is it too cliche to post something about mothers this weekend?  I hope not.  I am a believer that motherhood is serious stuff.  I owe pretty much all I am to my dear mother.  Her unselfishness, service, sacrifice, support, and love cannot be overstated. She is still one of the first people I call to cry to and laugh with.

And becoming a mother has changed, sometimes rocked, my world.  It has been so incredibly hard for me.  I don't think I've ever been the girl who yearned to take care of little babies and sacrifice all I am for another human being.  I have found that I am actually pretty selfish.  There have been soooo many days I've cried, screamed, put myself in timeout, and just flat out dreaded getting out of bed in the morning.

But then there have been these other beautiful moments of discovery and growth that I know I never could have had without this little person.  I find myself watching my son's eyes and facial expressions whenever he experiences something new.  I'd rather watch him than whatever it is he's so intrigued with.  Becoming a mother has made me a better person.

And then, I have dear friends who want to be mothers and aren't.  At times I envy their freedom.  Mostly my heart hurts with them.  There is something about becoming a mother that is so raw and difficult and consuming and nothing else I have ever experienced.  I want them to know it too.

A few years ago I was asked to speak in church on mothers day or about mothers or something.  I read this section out of the book Expecting Adam:

"The word mother is more powerful when it is used as verb than as a noun.  Mothering has little to do with biological reproduction - as another friend once told me, there are women who bear and raise children without ever mothering them, and there are people...who mother all their lives without ever giving birth... While mothers are often in short supply, mothering is not.  Against all odds, despite everything that works against it on this unpleasant, uncomfortable planet, mothering is here in abundance."

I know there is no way that can take the sting out of this weekend for anyone who longs to be a mother, but isn't it beautiful?  And true?

I watched this video yesterday and then I cried and cried.  I cried for the realization of how much my mother has given to me.  And I cried because I know I would do anything to be a good mother to my own child.  And then I cried some more because I should be about 20 weeks pregnant right now.  You have to watch it.

"One form of heroism - the most common, and yet sometimes the least remembered, is the heroism of the average mother.  Ah!  When I think of that broad fact, I gather hope again for humanity; this dark world looks bright - this world looks wholesome to me once more - because whatever else it is lacking, it is at least full of mothers.  Mother is the title of woman's supreme dignity."

- Kingsley

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A body without a soul

"A home without books is like a body without a soul."  
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

I LOVE books.  Sometimes I go to thrift stores and wander through the shelves and shelves for way longer than I should, looking for a good read.  For a cheap date, my husband and I will go to Barnes and Noble, pick out some interesting looking books, get a yummy treat from the Starbucks inside, and sit, and read...and read...and tell each other about the awesome things we're reading.

Books are wisdom.  They are thoughts and experiences, stories and perspectives I've never considered before.  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I even like the smell of a book store.  I'm a book nerd.

I have a list of books that I love (surprise...another list!)  Some I love purely because they entertained me.  Most I love because they inspired me or changed my view of the world or made me rethink how I'm living my life.  Here is my list in part...

My Grandfather's Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen
The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens
Expecting Adam by Martha Beck
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
The Scarlet Pimpernell by Emma Orczy
10 Great Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven by Michael Wilcox
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Siddartha by Hermann Hess
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
This I Believe and This I Believe II
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (lots of swearing, fyi)
Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Breaking Night by Liz Murray
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
These is My Words by Nancy Turner
Weakness is Not Sin by Wendy Ulrich
You CAN Buy Happiness by Courtney Carver
Eve and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverly Campbell
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Whoa, sorry that's kind of a LOT.  There's more too.  I just didn't list them all...

So, beyond my mom, sisters, and few close friends, I don't know who is reading this blog.  But if you are, and you love books, and you want to recommend some of your favorites, I am ALWAYS looking for a good book.   Please leave a comment!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cauliflower crust pizza

Another adventure in food.  I got this recipe from HERE but I changed it a bit.  I didn't steam my cauliflower like she says to.  I just stuck it in the food processor and mixed the other ingredients in.  And mine didn't end up looking as awesome as fell apart when we were eating it, but it was still delicious.  We topped it with mushrooms, red onions, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, and sun dried tomato.

p.s. there is a dairy free version at the bottom of her page

Try it!!!  I know it looks crazy and weird but it's yummy!

Friday, May 2, 2014


Last night I went for a walk with two of my dearest friends.  The path we were on was so beautiful, the temperature was PERFECT, and the company was refreshing after a long day of being mom.

We were winding through the backyards of a rich neighborhood full of BIG houses and immaculate yards.  After the walk, we drove around the neighborhood gawking at some of the huge houses.  I found myself wishing I had the money they had.  "What do these people do for a living?!"  I wondered aloud.

I tried to remind myself that less is more.  That I write this blog.  That I prefer minimalism over gluttony and consumerism.  But something has been eating at me for the last 24 hours since I got home from that walk.  I don't like it.  I don't want to focus on what I don't have, how much money I wish we made, how awesome the summer vacations of these people must be.  I REALLY want to be happy with what I have.

And so, the quote that's been floating around in my head...

"Who is rich?  He who rejoices in his portion."  - The Talmud