Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Homemade Almond Butter

What happens when the local grocery store switches bulk bin distributors and changes up their entire bulk section? A person might end up with a couple pounds of ridiculously cheap almonds. And what to do with all those almonds? Well, this person chose to use some of those almonds to make almond butter! The process is simple and really only requires one ingredient. Once you've got it down there are any number of ways to make any flavors you want. For me, I prefer oven roasted with sea salt! However, honey, cinnamon, and ginger are all great choices for add-ins.

Oven Roasted Almond Butter
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  1. Spread almonds in a single layer onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes in a 350* oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
  2. Once cooled, place almonds into food processor. Blend on high for several minutes occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides. 
  3. Continue to blend until the almonds are the consistency of play dough. This is when you add in the salt and any other flavorings you want. 
  4. Blend for just a few more minutes until the butter comes together. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June | Currently

packing all the things 
searching for our future home in the woods
navigating motherhood
getting through this pseudo-solo parenting gig
loving baby snuggles. 
taking in the new baby smell
thankful for our Fire Family
celebrating seven years for us and one month for the baby
counting down the days until the three of us are under one roof
making summer plans 
eating at all our favorite places 
trying to stick to the diet changes
starting a new reading list
putting things in order

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day in the Life | May 12, 2015

Day in the Life is an in depth memory keeping project started by Ali Edwards that captures all the details of a single day in one's life. I have written about this project and participated in it several times in the past with mixed results. This time around I was hoping to capture a look at our last few days at just two and my only "plan" was to share via Instagram. Little did I know what this day would bring.

7:50am // As is normal for days off, I've been awake for 2 hours already and he is still happily sleeping.

8:05am // Still hanging out in bed while BK snoozes and Tiny Krueger is wiggling up a storm. 

9:30am // I'm "working" on the ball and he's "working" over the phone.

10:25am // Breakfast at Bookman's

11:00am // 20 millionth bathroom break of the day and a bump photo

11:45am // Since Tiny Krueger is refusing to come out we get to do fun tests!

Since I was overdue we needed to do a NonStress Test to check out the baby's heartbeat and movements to make sure everything was still going smoothly. This is a standard "test" once you reach 41 weeks and if you go beyond that. Our results from this test were normal. We left our appointment with instructions to relax, eat normally, and take some walks to encourage baby out. So we did just that with a walk downtown to pick up some tea and we returned home for lunch. 

1:30pm // tea drinking and ball bouncing in between today's appointments

3:15pm // The radiologists keyboard reminds me of something that would be on a spaceship.

Another standard "overdue" test is to measure the amniotic fluid via ultrasound. We headed to the local hospital for the scan. The radiologist said the fluids were a little low but sent us home. Within an hour our midwife was calling and encouraging us to head to the hospital for induction. It wasn't part of the plan but it was now necessary to get the baby to come. We arrived at the hospital around 5:30pm. 

6:45pm // After some normal late term testing the plans have changed and we are hanging out in Labor & Delivery

7:47pm // Signing paperwork for the impending arrival of Tiny Krueger

9:45pm // Getting this party started. Walking the halls and doing squats to encourage the little one out

11:43pm // Not exactly what I had in mind when I talked about a new piercing! Ending the day thinking it is highly ironic that the one time I choose to fully participate in Day in the Life is the day I end up in the hospital. Oh life!

So that is a peek into what our Tuesday looked like. It started out pretty normal but ended with being admitted to the hospital and starting our unplanned route of meeting our baby. It was far from a normal day. I am not sure if or how I will fit this day into a project but I am really glad I have the limited photos and captions from my IG posts. I am also unsure if I will be sharing a full on birth story any time soon simply because it was just so long and emotionally draining being in the hospital and laboring for nearly 40 hours. So for now, it is nice having this little look at where that journey started. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

He's Here!!

Theodore Mason arrived Thursday May 14, 2015 at 1:12pm weighing 6lbs 10oz and 19in long!
More details to come soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thoughts on Pregnancy

We are slowly inching closer to the finish line. Every day, when I look at the calendar, I am slightly shocked by the amount of time left before this little one is here. In 3-ish weeks we will have a child to actually parent, not just a belly bump to talk and sing to, and rub on.

That last sentence scares me a bit. While I feel more than ready, I also feel completely unprepared. Does that make sense? 

Maybe it is the amount of change happening all at once. Or the fact that we don't really have anything set up. Maybe it is just me being hormonal. Which is entirely possible. Maybe this is what becoming a mother means. Worrying about silly things even when you know it is all going to be okay. 

I think some of these feelings and thoughts come from pregnancy not being what I had expected it to be. While I have been blessed to have a "smooth" pregnancy, it definitely is not as easy and beautiful as often depicted. I think like most, I was expecting stereotypical horrible morning sickness throughout the first trimester and then a redeeming burst of energy and feeling good during the second. Not here. 

For me, second trimester was marked by malaise, apathy, and a ton of aches and pains. I felt good for maybe 6 weeks. At the 25 week mark I developed severe pelvic girdle pain and pubic symphysis dysfunction. I never imagined that it could be considered "normal" to feel like my pelvis would shatter into a million pieces just by trying to roll over at night. So knowing that my expectations of how pregnancy was going to be were inaccurate makes me nervous about how labor and parenting are going to be. 

With all that complaining out of the way, I have to say that despite feeling "not myself" I am extremely thankful and amazed by all that my body is doing. Going into pregnancy, my blood pressure and heart rate had always been all over the place. My blood sugar was questionable and I was considered obese. Throughout my pregnancy, I am the healthiest I have been in years. My vitals have stabilized, my blood sugars are normal. That is so mindboggling to me but I remain overall incredibly thankful for this whole experience that is only just beginning. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March | Currently

reaching the beginning of the eighth month! 
wondering where the time has gone.
crying at all the things including (but not limited to) cute animals, radio songs, and not knowing what to eat. 
recuperating after a much needed trip to California last week. 
missing being surrounded by my huge extended family and our friends that are like family.
thankful for our ever growing Fire Family all across the country.
overwhelmed by the unending love and support from all of them. 
bringing all the baby things into the house.
installing our own baby seat into the car.
turning our spare/craft room into a temporary guest/baby stuff storage room. 
embracing the upcoming changes. 
leaning into the unknown. 
reading consent forms and handouts and informational pamphlets.
putting a pause on any other reading as I can't focus.
packing lesser used items here and there. 
tossing the unneeded things
watching the temperatures bounce all over the place. 
loving (secretly) the random blizzards we've been getting this month.
resting as much as this little one will let me. 
counting down the remaining days. Just about 50 left.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Big News!

Do you want to know what is equally nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time? Finding out, at 28 weeks pregnant, that your husband got a permanent position that requires you to move 4 hours from where you have spent the last 10 years! Wanna know what is even more crazy? Realizing that your husband will have to move 6 weeks before your due date! 

We have been waiting for Berkeley to get a permanent position with the US Forest Service for over 6 years now. Hiring for Federal Wildland Firefighting is unique and the first two weeks of February is a crucial time where it seems like the rules are made up and things move in the blink of an eye. For us, Berkeley had a telephone interview on a Friday around 3pm and was offered the position Saturday morning by 9am. And he accepted by 10am! Yes, we made a huge life decision in less than hour with a single face to face conversation and single text that read "If you think this is the right job, Take It! And we'll figure out the rest later."

We are currently in that "figure the rest out later" stage. What we do know is that in roughly a month Berkeley will be moving to start his new position while I spend the last 6 or so weeks of pregnancy in Flagstaff. Insert a million crazy feelings here. Berkeley will be back and forth as May nears and will hopefully spend two weeks here once the baby arrives. The current plan has the baby and I joining Berkeley by June! 

Since all hell broke loose late in 2013, we had somewhat joked that May 2015 would be our New Year. After so many losses and set backs and now we are thisclose to two of our biggest goals/dreams becoming reality! We used that benchmark as a year since someone close to us passed away. Then we found out that was when Baby is due. Now, by the end of May we'll be a family of 3 in a new home with a permanent Federal position. This really is turning out to be our New Year!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Curried Lentils and Chicken

For some reason, pregnancy has left me completely apathetic to cooking and food. I have little desire to spend any time thinking about what I want for dinner, let alone actually being in kitchen. I haven't even really had cravings! It is pretty sad, really. Every now and then, I get a small wisp of something that could be craving and I find the easiest way to satiate the need. That is how I whipped up these curried lentils.

As a side note, I used ingredients that were more in line with my dietary restrictions and what I had at home. Culturally, coconut milk is used in curry dishes, instead I used almond milk as I am allergic to coconut. I also cut out the white potatoes I would normally used and subbed in carrots and kale which I had on hand. Lastly, Berkeley and I like spice so we use a lot of curry powder.

  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 1 lbs carrots, washed and sliced into pieces 
  • 3 stalks kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder plus more
  • 1 tsp ginger 
  • kosher salt and black pepper 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • Approx. 1 3/4 lbs chicken (I used breasts and thighs)
  • sour cream or plain yogurt
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the lentils, carrots, kale, onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the broth and almond milk. 
  2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and curry powder. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. 
  3. Fifteen minutes before serving, shred the meat; return it to the slow cooker.  Stir to combine, adding more water if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Serve topped with the sour cream or yogurt.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

String Art Craft for Kids

Since leaving that hourly craft job back in 2012, one of the things I have been doing has been devoting my free time to our church congregation. For the longest time that was just me helping with our Events Ministry. At the start of the year, I was promoted to the Chairperson. As a result, the last few months have been dedicated to coming up with some events for various age groups.

In November, I briefly mentioned a craft day for kids I had hosted with one kid and a paper craft. Well that idea has become a more regular event for 2015. My goal is to be cost effective and fun for kids ranging from 3 to 5th grade. This past Saturday, we had 10 kids and we did string art for less than $2 per participant!

The secret here was using fence pickets from Home Depot. We got two pickets that were 5.5" by 6ft for $2.30 per piece. We don't have a table saw or anything like that for clean saw cuts at home so we had the guys at Home Depot cut the wood into 12" lengths. As a side note, they will do two cuts for free and it is 50 cents per cut after that. That added to our overall cost but we still left Home Depot spending just a touch over $10 with the additional cuts and a box of 1in panel board nails. Last on my list of supplies was the string. For us, it was a mix of yarn I had at home and an assortment of craft string I got with a 50% coupon at JoAnn's.

As for the directions here, they are pretty straight forward. I traced heart and cross shapes on the boards with pencil. Then I hammered the nails in so that they were securely in the wood. From there just wrap the string around each nail in whichever design you'd like starting with the end knotted around one nail. Since this was a church event, we finished each piece with a saying from our lesson's scripture with paint pen. And that's it. Super easy and super fun!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Five: 2nd Trimester Essentials

Yay for hitting 26 weeks on Tuesday! Not so yay that some of the things that were bugging me during the first trimester have been still bothering me throughout the second. For today's Friday Five, I wanted to share some of the things that have been helping me through the physical discomforts as our baby has gone from avocado size back in November to butternut squash size currently.

Friday Five: 2nd Trimester Essentials

Maternity Tees from Old Navy // As the bump gets bigger, I have had to move away from my go to Target v-necks and start wearing something meant for pregnancy. I grabbed a handful of these jersey knit tees for a great price. They are soft and comfy and are great for layering. The length and side ruching will continue to accommodate the impending expansion. 

Merrell Mix Master Trail Shoes // These shoes have made several appearances on my Friday Fives. I love them. They are minimalist trail running shoe that I got at the end of 2013. The current style from Merrell is the Bare Access Trail. I love how light and comfy they are while providing plenty of traction on slippery sidewalks. The mesh upper is also great for my slightly increasing shoe size.

Body Pillow // Yay for widening hips and the hormone relaxin. Not! A body pillow has been a real relief with all the aches and pains I have at the end of the day. Most people have upgraded to Snoogles or Boppy body pillows, but for us a standard body pillow from Target with a cover has been working wonderfully.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter // Growing belly = stretching skin = extreme itchiness. Throw in the dry environment here and I was miserable for a few weeks. My regular lotions weren't cutting it. I got a free sample of the Palmer's lotion for stretch marks that has Vitamin E and it has been awesome.

Emergen-C Vitamin C // These little packs have been helping me fend off any cold/flu nastiness thus far. One of my main concerns about working with winter was being about coughing, sniffling little ones. Thankfully, I have been able to thwart the germs thus far. 

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