Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday again and that means I'm sharing some more of my Friday Favorites!
 Linking up today with Andrea, Erika and Narci

My husband has been on a roll lately.  For Mother's Day he built me some shelves that I'd been wanting for my side of the garage.  Isn't that what everyone asked for, for Mother's Day?  Haha.  But seriously, it was the only thing I wanted.  It makes me feel so much better when everything has a "home".  We just had so many random things, and no real spot to put them.  Now I do.  :)

A couple nights ago when Dan got home, he headed back out to the garage and built me a bench.  Sweet!  So now I'm trying to decide where I want it.  Inside, or outside, paint it or stain it... so many options.
Like I said he's on a roll.  I guess I better get on Pinterest and find some more ideas.  No sense in stopping him now, right?!  ;)

This has been my favorite place to hang out with the weather being so nice.  Either in the afternoon once the kids get home from school or in the evening after dinner.  So peaceful!  Eventually I'll get some furniture for the back deck, but until then, I love my Tommy Bahama chairs.  Keeping it simple.  ;)

We got Jesse's Seahawk Fathead's put up last week.  His room is very close to being done.  I just need to order curtains and repaint his dresser.  Here is a little sneak peak.  This wall is actually grey.  Like you see on the bottom of the picture.  The lighting was really weird and makes this picture look like there are lots of different colors on the wall, which isn't the case.  Just grey.  A couple of the other walls are blue.  As soon as it's done.  I'll post pictures of the whole room, with better lighting and my camera instead of my phone.

Our camper is all cleaned out and ready to go.  Well, except I have to make a quick trip to get grocery's.  I can't wait to head to the river, put my feet up and relax.  Life gets so busy and it's so nice to be able to step away for the weekend and just hang out with the family.

What are your plans for the weekend?  Anything exciting?

I hope you all have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Recap

And just like that, it's Monday again!   A fresh start to a new week.

Saturday we met up with my Dad's side of the family to celebrate my Great Aunt's 90th Birthday!  It's been a while since we've all gotten together, so it was a lot of fun to just sit around and laugh.  It's one of the things that, this side of the family does well.  Really well.  I remember as a kid getting together every Thanksgiving with this side of the family and I could just sit back in my chair and not say a thing and be totally entertained for hours. 

My Dad's parents have both passed away a few years ago, but this is the legacy that they've left.  My Aunt never married or had kids of her own, so she has inherited us and we are quite the crew!  Ha!

My Dad with his siblings and their Aunt.  My Dad is on the right. 

We stayed at a cute little place called the Nine Pipe Lodge.  It has the prettiest views, between the mountains and pond out back.  The kids were able to watch the geese and their goslings swim by and we even got to see an otter swim by as well.

The girls enjoying the best seat in the house!  

These 3 boys were all born within a 2 week period.  We've been taking their pictures together since they were babies.  Well, 10 year old boys aren't really into having their picture taken, so we just told them we wanted to see who could jump the highest.  They were good with that.

On the last picture we included another cousin who needed in on the jumping.  I'm thinking jumping pictures for these boys is much better than some stuffy standing still poses anyways.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our Favorite Gluton Free Products

Since going gluten free, I have heard different ways that gluten effects people and it's just astonishing to me.  My daughter was having stomach aches every single night.  We tried cutting out dairy, we made lists of what she was eating and could never narrow down what was the matter.  We even thought maybe it was just stress.  My Dad ended up buying a book and started telling me about the different ways that gluten can effect people.  Instantly I thought, if it works I'll try it and I'm so glad that we did.

Here is a small list of some of the effects that gluten seemed to be having on some of my friends and family until they changed to a gluten free diet.
  • Repetitive stomach aches
  • Chronic back pain and inflamed joints
  • Inflamed hair follicles
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
Just to be clear, I'm not a medical professional and I'm not claiming that eating gluten free will cure you of any of these symptoms or anything for that matter.  For some of my friends & family though, we have seen these symptoms become a thing of the past or until we indulge in gluten again.  ;)

I thought today I would share some of our favorite gluten free products that we've run across.  Our family has been transitioning over to gluten free for the last couple of months.  At first I was so nervous, and thought, "How are we going to do this?  We're all going to starve."   But have no fears, it's easier than you think.

Going gluten free really isn't the end of the world and here are a few things that we've tried and love!

1. Flour
Namaste flour is the only gluten free flour that I've tried.  I like it, so why keep looking, right!?  You can find this at Costco.  We make cookies fairly regularly, and this is what we use.  It says to use it cup for cup like you would any other flour.  I probably use just a little less of this than I would regular flour, as I've noticed it seems to make the cookies rise a bit more.  I like my cookies less fluffy and more flat and chewy.  So if you're supposed to use 2 1/2 cups I might end up using 2 1/4 cups instead.  I've also used this flour when making chicken fried steak and you couldn't even tell that it wasn't the regular flour I used to use.

2. Pasta
We buy Barilla pasta.  I found it at our local grocery store.  I heard good things about it, tried it and loved it.  We can't even tell that this pasta is gluten free, which is the way I want it.  So... I still make pasta dishes, I just use this brand of pasta instead.

 3. Bread
We buy 2 different kinds of bread.  We buy Franz for sandwiches as it's the best bread we've found that's fresh.  Since gluten free bread is more expensive, I've just been letting Gracie eat this bread and having the rest of us, eat regular bread.  Gasp!  It really effects her, but the rest of us are okay to eat regular bread, especially since it's not very often.

Udi's bread we buy from Costco in the frozen section and I like to keep it frozen in our freezer at home and just take out a couple of pieces when the kids want toast.  It lasts longer that way, and we seem to go through more toast these days instead of sandwiches.  All of us use this bread for toast and again, it tastes good.  I just use a butter knife to separate the bread since it's frozen.  No need to thaw it out.  It works good... just takes a couple of seconds longer to toast it.

4. Pancake Mix
We have went through a few boxes of this Betty Crocker Bisquick mix and we all love it.  I haven't tried making home made pancakes from scratch yet, but until I do, this is what we buy.

5. Crackers/Snacks
These rice chips with sea salt are my favorite.  We bought these before we went gluten free.  My only wish is that Costco sold them in a large bag.   Also this Glutino brand is really good.  We like the pretzels and they also have a thicker cracker like crouton that works good to break up and put in salads. 

Gluten free products seem to be becoming more and more popular.  Every time I go to Costco, they seem to have another product that they didn't the time before.  One day when we stopped in, they had a whole section out in the middle of the floor with just their gluten free products.  Thank you Costco!

Being gluten free is still pretty new to us, but it's something that we are in for the long haul at this point.

Have you all tried or heard about any gluten free products that you or someone else loves?   I would love to expand my horizons.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Roping, Dust & Cattle

 Over the weekend, we rounded up the cows and sorted out the calves.  It was time for their vaccines.   I was just in charge of pictures. 
 With as dry as it's been this year, it was fun getting some pictures with all the dust.  It sure makes for some interesting shots.
And a mouth full of dust!  ;)

Hope you're having a great week so far!

Friday, May 8, 2015

24 hour getaway

Wednesday afternoon Dan and I loaded up our bags and headed out of town.  Well, actually out of state.  Ha!  We went to Spokane Washington, which is only a 2 hour drive this time of year.  He had an appointment over there and I'm all for a quick trip out of town.

Dan booked us a room at the Davenport Hotel, which is one of our favorite hotels over in that area.  It's in my favorite part of the city and the hotel has so much history and old architecture which I love.

This is the original hotel, and isn't it pretty!  We stayed in the Tower this time which is right across the street.  We love both buildings, for different reasons.  The original hotel is very quiet and eloquent.  The tower on the other hand is lively!  They have a happy hour and just an overall fun atmosphere.  Not to mention the funky decor.  Haha!

Exhibit A... The elevators
Hahaha!  Leopard print is BIG in this hotel!  I made Dan stand still so I could get his picture. Lol
Again the leopard print...
Before we got ready for dinner, we stopped in the lounge for happy hour and ordered an appetizer. Most of the seating in the lounge was leopard print as well.  Along with Safari animals mounted on the walls.  Haha!  So very different from the older building. 
I have been hearing about fried okra over the last couple of years from some of the southern blogs that I read, but I've never tried it or even seen it cooked up before.  So that's what we tried.  It was... fine.  It didn't really have a flavor.  They brought out a container of ranch dressing to dip it in, but the ranch was the only thing with flavor.  It just wasn't quiet like I was expecting.  I told Dan if we make it down South one day, we'll have to see how they cook it.

After happy hour we got all dressed up and walked over to dinner.  My Uncle lives in Spokane and I'd asked him for recommendations for a good steak and seafood restaurant.  I also specified that I wanted it to be somewhere a little fancier so we could dress up.  We never get to dress up and I thought it would just be fun! 

I stopped the first group of people we came across on the sidewalk and asked them to take our picture.  They took the first picture and then the sweet lady asked if she could hold my purse so we could get more of a posed shot.  
I must not be from the city because I gladly handed over my bag and posed.  I'm sure Dan was thinking the whole time, "You can't just give your purse to a stranger!"  Haha! 
It was a short walk from our hotel, like half a block.  Perfect! 

 I am so thankful for this man, and the many ways that he spoils me!
I tried to take pictures of our food, but the pictures didn't do it justice.  It was probably the best steak that I have EVER had!  Sooo good!!!  Now it was definitely a pricey restaurant and one that we won't eat at often because of that, but if you feel like splurging a bit and happen to be in Spokane get dressed up and go have a steak at Churchill's

We left the next afternoon, and were back home in time to get the kids off the bus.  It was the perfect little 24 hour getaway. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Questions and Answers

I was tagged by Kelli to participate in a little question and answer post.  Click here to check out her blog.  You'll love her!

1.  What do you feel is your best character trait?

I've been thinking about this one, and I guess one of my better traits would be "helpful" for lack of a better word.  Even though it's a good trait, it has given me many sleepless nights.  If someone tells me a problem that they are having, I want so desperately to help them fix it.  My mind doesn't want to shut off until all is well in their world again.  The problem is, I can't fix everyone's problems, and honestly most people don't need me to.  Haha!  I also try and be helpful by using humor.  Sometimes people take themselves too seriously and I like to bring in some humor and lighten things up.  Life is a lot more fun when we can laugh at it and ourselves. 

2.  If you were granted 1 wish what would it be?

To pick only one wish is so hard!  I guess I would pick a selfish wish, and wish that my kids would find salvation through Jesus Christ.  It's something that each one of them has to choose on their own and I just want them to choose Jesus, so my Mama heart can quit worrying about them so much.  My son Jesse was baptized a couple of years ago and gave his life to Christ and I am praying for my girls to accept Him as well.  I know they believe in Him and love Him, but still they wait.  I don't know if it's the fear of being baptized or what... so I just keep praying, praying, praying!!!

3.  If you could pick a different time period to be born in, what would it be and why?

Well if I got to pick who I would be as well, I would be born into royalty in a grand ol' castle somewhere where we would all attend balls and wear big fancy gowns.  Haha!  Maybe all the men would walk around saying things like, m'lady.  Hahaha!  I'm not sure what time period that would be, but it sounds fun.  :)

4.  What is the most challenging part of blogging for you?

My biggest struggle is feeling like I don't always have something to write about.  We live a fairly simple life and most days we are just doing the same thing as everyone else.  Laundry, bills, cleaning and being a family.  Nothing too glamorous.  But I keep blogging, because I know years from now, my family and I will look back and reminisce on these days.

5.  Favorite place you've ever visited?

This would probably have to be Cancun Mexico.  Dan and I went there on our honeymoon almost 14 years ago.   We loved the beach and the resort, but it was also nice because we got to do some sight seeing as well.  We loved loading up on a bus and seeing Chichen Itza and the little Mexican towns along the way.  We were able to do some shopping from some of the small local vendors and then sat down at a fun authentic Mexican restaurant where they danced and entertained us while we ate.

We also stopped by at this underground swimming hole.  It was the neatest little spot.  Dan and a bunch of people jumped in.  I sat and watched because I have seen way too many movies and wasn't about to jump in and have something pull me under.  I'm so not a risk taker.

6.  What is your #1 priority in life?

To be pleasing in the eyes of my Lord.  I strive so hard to please Him.  Unfortunately I often feel like I fail Him.  But thankfully, His grace is always there.  I know we are saved by His grace through our faith in Christ Jesus and not through good works, but still... I want Him to be proud of me. 

7.  What is your favorite thing to do with your free time?

I always have my nose in a book.  So if it's nice out and I have free time, I'm gonna read while catching some rays.  If it's cold, I'm gonna fill up my gigantic bath tub and soak while reading.  Books, heat and a big old glass of ice tea and I'm in my happy place.

8.  One thing you could change about yourself at no cost? 

Hmm... maybe my Mama belly.  Having 3 kids was not the easiest thing on my poor stomach.  Besides the wonderful stretch marks... my belly hasn't been flat since the year 2001.  Ha!  I have always had a great metabolism, but for some reason, my stomach has forgotten that. 

The runner up would be my teeth.  I refused to get braces when I was in junior high, because I had such a happening social scene.  Ha!  Now I'm realizing that getting braces at the age of 13 would have been a lot nicer than at 32.  I have a consultation next month.  Eeek! 

9.  Who is your role model?

I have two...My Mom and my Grandma.  Through these two women, I understand the importance of family.  They have modeled well what it looks like to be a good wife, mother and grandmother.  I attended a funeral last week and what they talked about really stuck with me.  They said that no matter whether you plan to leave a legacy or not, you will.  So make it the legacy that you want.  I would be privileged to do life as well as these two ladies have.

10.  Tell us about 1 goal you are currently striving to achieve.

Well, I haven't been striving as well as I should be towards my goal.  I really want to tone up my body and get rid of my Mama belly.  I've been trying to be more conscientious of my eating habits, but it's time I started exercising.  :(  Not just every once in a while, but actually go after it.  I don't enjoy exercising and I've never experienced these "endorphins" that people talk about.  Haha!  But regardless, I need to just make it happen.  If you are wanting to do the same, go check out Tiffany's post from yesterday.  It gave me another boost to get my bum moving and reach my goal.

Well, that's it for today!  If there is anything else you'd like to know… ask away.  :)

Hope you all are having a great week!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday!

Today I thought it would be fun to link up over with Shay and play along with What's Up Wednesday.

What we're eating this week...

This week has seemed a bit busy, so I've been slacking on dinners.  I made breakfast for dinner on Monday.  But who doesn't love pancakes and sausage?  ;)  Yesterday, I didn't get home until 9:00 so Dan picked up a couple pizza's for him and the kids.  Tonight we are grilling some steaks and then I'm hoping to make fajitas and stir fry this week as well.  

What I'm reminiscing about...

Days of old.  Gracie and Emma got out a box of pictures from when the kids were little.  My niece came over and us 4 girls ended up looking through them for a bit.  So fun to see pictures from the past!

  What I'm loving...

My awesome husband is making me a table for our deck!  He just has to sand it and stain it and then it's done!   I love it!!!  I had originally found a table online for $1200 and thought, "Yeah, right!"  Well, it looked basic enough, so I showed Dan a picture of it, and he made one!  I can't wait to use it!  I just have to find some chairs I like and then we can stain the table to match.  I'll be sure and post another picture when it's all done! 

I'm also loving these chocolate coconut almonds from Costco.  They need to quit selling these!  They are super addicting, and we just can't stop eating them. 

What we've been up to...

It has been grand central station around here lately.  But that's okay because things are getting done.  We had a load of logs delivered and then this week Dan had hired someone to come in and cut them up and stack them.  We no longer have to think about firewood this year and it's done come fall.  Wahoo!!!
Also, we've been having our back deck refinished.  It's getting close to being done and I can't wait to be able to use it!  The white balance on my phone must have been weird, because the wood really doesn't look this orange. 

What I'm dreading...

I need to make time here in the next couple of weeks and clean out my storage room upstairs.  It's way past time!  I store our Christmas stuff up there along with everything else that we don't use all the time.  The stuff just seems to keep accumulating, and it's time I go through and reorganize and put things aside to get rid of.  It's my biggest project and I'm not looking forward to it at all... but it's time! 

What I'm working on...

I've been working on getting the house reorganized before summer gets here.  The last thing I want to do when the nice weather gets here is to be inside.  I've currently been working in Jesse's room.  My friend came out and painted it for me.  She LOVES to paint and I don't.  She's also really good at it, so she paints and I trade her by taking family pictures for her.  Perfect solution!  Pictures of the room will be up soon!!!

What I'm excited about...

The kids have just over a month left of school.  I am so excited for them to be home and for us to be freed up to go and do things again.    

What I'm watching/reading...

We watch 19 Kids and Counting and we are anxiously waiting for the next season of Fixer Upper.  Other than that, I don't really care to watch tv.  I'd rather be reading.  I probably have 5 different books that I'm reading at the moment, but a novel is always my favorite.  The others, I can read a chapter here and there.  But with a novel,  I can hide out in the bathtub for a couple of hours and relax!

 What I'm listening to...

If I'm in my car, I am usually listening to the "Message" which is a christian music station.  If I'm playing my itunes, it can be a mix of so many different things.  When I was growing up, my Mom always listened to country music.  My Dad listened to anything other than country music.  More along the lines of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, the Grateful Dead...  So to say that I listen to a wide variety of music is an understatement.  Haha!  Being as my kids are with me a good percentage of the time, I really try and make sure what we listen to is appropriate for all ears.  Here are a couple of my favorite songs at the moment...

Wild Child by Kenny Chesney
Shotgun Rider by Tim McGraw
Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns
What a Savior by Laura Story
He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli

 What I'm wearing...

The weather has been so nice here in Montana.  Everyday is different though.  Some days we can get away with short sleeve shirts and the next day it's back to a jacket.  But for it being April... there wasn't much complaining around here.  ;)


What I'm doing this weekend...

I don't think we have any big plans this weekend.  I need to organize the camper and get it all ready.  I meant to get to it earlier this month, but we ended up doing more things around the house instead.  

What I'm looking forward to next month...

Lots and lots of camping!!!  Letting the kids build forts in the woods and just being out and enjoying the outdoors. 

What else is new...

The kids have been out riding the horses lately.  They've actually ridden more than I have this year.  Except Jesse.  He isn't interested in horses at all.  He's been riding the cousin's 4 wheeler or shooting hoops.  He is his Daddy's son for sure!  :)