Sunday, September 29, 2013

Elephant Back

It was one of those mornings I couldn't pass up. Snow on the ground, the husband off of work, and a babysitter. It was a morning for a hike. No more than a quarter mile from the dorms is Elephant Back Trail that overlooks Yellowstone Lake.
We were the first people on the trail. We were definitely worried about grizzlies since there is one particularly big one that is hanging out around Lake Hotel. We fortunately came prepared with bear spray, hiked in a group, and when we were winded (I'm still adjusting to the altitude) we made plenty of noise. The snow almost felt magical, especially since it's only September. The hike climbed 800 feet, and once we made it up to the top, the snow was deeper. The trees were covered with a blanket of snow, and it is a hike I'll likely never forget.
The best part of the whole hike (3.6 miles total) was the point in which we first saw the view. On a switchback the trees open up and the silvery sky, lake, and trees appear. The white is snow, the sun glistens when it hits the slivery landscape like a shiny nickel. As we climb higher, the trail flattens and trees surround us. The sky is blue through the canopy. It's beautiful... but it's not winter. Or so I thought.
It was a good morning. A wonderful hike in the snow. I only wish we would have some sunshine. I miss the sun. I haven't seen it in a couple of days.

The next day we took a drive to Gardiner, Montana. We drove to the nearest grocery store, and for being really rural it was a nice store. We planned for the next weeks dinners and we turned around through Teddy Roosevelt's Arch and headed back to the lake. We stopped at Norris Geyser Basin and took a short hike through the geysers and springs. It's amazing how beautiful hot water and thermal areas can be. Beautiful blue crystal bubbling water is incredibly smelly though as well. The earth is obviously a living, breathing thing, and when in Yellowstone- it's a clear fact.

Not all about this traveling scenario is ideal. I'm easily entertained, but this weather is not ideal. I need some sunshine... Will you all in the South send me some please??

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is crazy

This life is an amazing adventure. My life is so different than it was just a few months ago. We're on the move. We're a traveling family when I was so stable and went to a job everyday of the work week. What I remember seems so distant, and still yet I have my own schedule and I still get a lot of "work" accomplished.

When we left this last time, it was definitely bittersweet. I do miss my home, but the exchange for this landscape is worth it. We had quite the adventure, and I'll start with our attempt (yes, attempt) to leave St. Louis. Our goal was to just drive a couple of hours, so that we could camp. And, we left, ate dinner, and filled up our sweet old Volvo with gas. Then, the old girl (the Volvo) wouldn't start. We have known there's been a bit of an issue, but we weren't worried.  When she didn't start for 30 minutes, we decided once she did we would go home.  Our efforts foiled, we were a bit discouraged, but the Volvo started the next morning, and we headed west. Yes, despite the fact that we could be in the same predicament again. The whole day, we never turned off our car. And we made it to a campspot called Sheridan in western Kansas.

This lake was in a valley, filled with rocks and trees.  To our east, the ridge was higher than our line of sight, so when the night fell upon us, the harvest moon- brilliant orange and beautiful, rose from behind it. Our night included making dinner and Adam and I having some adult time while the moon glistened on the water. It was one of those things that just doesn't always happen. It felt like a good omen, and we were going to make it west.

We had a lovely morning. I've learned something about myself  when I camp. I'm a morning person. I don't try to stay up late at a campsite... I'm usually tired and I often like to watch the sunrise. Considering this, we were right on the line for the time change, where, it wasn't until 7:20 that the sun finally rose. It rose beautifully just as the moon had done so the night before.
I had time to gather wood, start a fire (which I'm proud to say that I used the coals that were still hot from the night before), make coffee and breakfast. These tasks were done all while my daughter and husband slept in. It's a lovely thing to enjoy these small joys. I haven't always been able to "camp", but it's just like cooking a meal. It's all a process, and it becomes second nature after you do it a couple of times.

We had a quite a few tasks to complete while in Denver. Adam had a job... which took the entire evening, and we had to pick up the part for our Volvo. We also so our sweet sister who just started college in Lakewood, CO. It was a long day in the car, and we also didn't turn the car off unless absolutely necessary.  That evening we made it to Dubois, Wyoming. It was a full day to say the least.

Monday we grocery shopped and left for Yellowstone. It's been pretty nice. We're in a dorm room, and we already settled in well. We have food and a menu- so that's my job. I'm the cook. Yesterday we had chili (wonderfully comforting since it is chilly out.) And, tonight we're having Saucy chicken thighs with prunes and raisins.

Yesterday (Tuesday) we saw a GRIZZLY bear. Oh. My. Word. Those creatures are fierce. huge. scary. We were on our way to the hike, and right outside the dorms-- the grizzly stood scratching and looking for food. We headed to the ranger-led hike, and we were late... so I'm nervous and hiking mad-fast just to try to catch up to the group. I finally did, but we met up with some Europeans and they weren't all about listening to the ranger. It took us an hour (that's it) to hike 2.5 miles... and I had Ryan on my back the entire time. I didn't even take a break. It felt good. The weather was beautiful, and we could see the Tetons from Storm Point, which I didn't get to see the last time.

What to hear one other thing? We're still (UGH!) trying to potty train Ryan. And, it's almost there. Still... she peed in her pants 2 times yesterday. Any advice?

Hope you all are well! I'm loving the snow-- it's coming down right now!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

It's one of those days

I got up today and all is well. But, you know what, I thought I was pregnant. Sadly, it was a reminder of my loss.

I think it's always a process, and I know that I would have been pregnant, and I should be trying to get pregnant again. I just felt such a blow. I am doing fine. I just have a bad day every now and again. It makes me remember how precious life is.

It might be silly to contemplate too long on this, so I'm finished. Just saying I'm remembering the life, but I'm not remembering it silently.

Let's Get Honest

I've been seeing a lot of overlap in my personal life... big "ah-ha" moments. Things that I'm reading all around have been paralleling each other. I've noticed some differences happening in my life and I know that God is working in my life.

I'm doing bible study with my sisters, Adam's sisters. And, it's Beth Moore's A Woman's Heart. It's really incredible, and she is an incredible speaker.  The reason I mention this is because I have noticed that we as humans are problematic. We all have problems-- I have problems... it's just the way it is.

I notice that a lot of my facebook feed is filled with articles and posts on the problems we have as women and the things that we analyze and over analyze. I myself am guilty of that. I find myself happy with other people and their lives while I find myself comparing mine to them. And, it isn't healthy. I spent quite a lot of time away from facebook for the first two years of my daugther's life. I was not in the right place to be looking at other's photos etc. I have a problem in that I start comparing myself/my life to others instead of embracing the beautiful life that I have. I admit this here. I confess it here. And, it's probably something other people can identify with.  I gave the good ol' facebook up on purpose, and it was good and refreshing.

This realization came to me after reading an article directed toward women and how our nature makes us do that... or our society makes us compare in this way. We do it constantly. We, as women, watch other people and the way they walk and dress and act. And, facebook is just one other way for us to perpetuate that. I thankfully have found a way to be in control and make good ol' facebook a positive outlet.

I am on facebook regularly. I think I've finally figured out how I can use my facebook visit positively. I keep what I need to do on my mind and I have a purpose in what I post...The reason I use it now is for the right reason. I'm writing (like I am right now). I'm identifying with others and trying to contemplate our problems. I'm attempting to start a cottage industry on etsy with my little shop... that I pray to God succeeds. It isn't easy- it's hard work. 

My life is changing all the time. I simply am writing this to you today to encourage you. I hope that with whatever you are struggling, that you find peace about it. I pray that you have realization and open your eyes to the beautiful wonderful things we are given by God. I realize that I'm not perfect and that I have problems too, but I want to be better!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A sweet memory

I write a lot. I use my journal. I type things here. I spend a lot of time in my head, and most of the time that's good. I have an awesome memory. I hardly ever forget the good moments, and I try really hard to forget the ones that were less than desirable.

Saying that, I was driving somewhere recently, and a memory of my husband and his friends when I first met popped in my head. I know a country song was playing, and the words went something like, "I wanna write you a song." I thought about that  in my life, and this memory came upon me. It surrounded me and over took me. I simply had forgotten this moment when Adam WROTE and SANG me a song.  God love my husband, he's got a different kind of voice. But, it was so romantic.

I'll tell you the who's, what, where, and when.

It was the first summer we met. We'd been hanging out for a few weeks. We had probably just became boyfriend and girlfriend. I didn't cook at that time much because I was the guest at the house where he resided at the time. He lived with two buddies, Noah and Mush. So, a typical evening at the tan house (lava mountain lodge) included dinner, cleaning up, and Adam making cookies. I usually picked up dish duty, as I should, for the boys making food.  This particular night was a little different.

Music was often playing around. There were guitars and one of those bongo drums around the house. A harmonica wasn't hard to come across... It wasn't unusual for someone to be playing some type of musical instrument at any moment.

I was cleaning and one by one the boys started playing these said instruments, and soon after, Adam serenaded me with a song in his own flavor. A song that I couldn't ever forget... but, did.
I should write out the lyrics and try to attempt the rhythm, but how do you portray this image in my mind? They had set this stage. This one moment in time, one night in Wyoming. And, Adam sang.

Well, my baby called me up
She said, I'm comin' down tonight.
I said, well, come over baby,
I'm gonna make it right tonight.

Cause she's my baby,

She's my honey.

She's my girl.

And, there were more lyrics, and Adam definitely has them written somewhere.
I was blushing. I felt so special. I'd never been treated with such a fantastic gesture. It wasn't one of those things that happen any more to a girl. It's like one of those scenes in a movie that we all secretly wish still did. It was so unplanned, but it was perfect.

Does that make you smile? A little romantic gesture. Let me tell you. That is something that I love about my sweet husband. I sure am thankful for God blessing me with a husband that loves me. And, I'm so thankful for the time that we had to get to know one another.

I decided that I should write about this. In case someone is a hopeless romantic and smiles about sweet nothings like this.

Future Plans

Life is crazy busy while at home. We have lots to get prepared before out next stent out west. We'll be gone for several weeks again. Wyoming is our destination (again!) and I am stoked. Hey, maybe I'll even find Lake Louise this time around!

We're leaving a few weeks from now, and although I love traveling, it's been really wonderful to be at home and to be with Ryan. I still don't have a schedule- we have days that are kinda the same where as we do a lot in the mornings- come home for nap time- and prepare meals at home. It's been wonderful this week in particular.

My dad and an old friend of his stopped through while on the way to Columbia, Missouri. I made some new things- out of my regular scope of recipes. It was really hot the day that they made it into town, so I made a cucumber juice. Now, this is a treat. I adapted it from Sunny Anderson's Mean Green Cucumber Juice recipe on the food network. If you look it up- definitely use less sugar. It's really sweet and delicious. I would try it first just as the recipe calls! It's wonderfully fresh and delicious especially on a hot, sticky day.

The other things that I made for our meal were firsts too. I made an almond encrusted tilapia- from a repertoire of  other fish that I have created. And, Brocolli and cheese quinoa.  It was a delightful meal- wonderfully summer.

Almond Crusted Tilapia:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond slivers, pounded into a coarse grain (I did this in a ziplock bag with a dough roller)
1/4 cup corn meal
1/2 cup panko
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. cumin
1-2 eggs
fresh lemon slices
salt and pepper
as many tilapia filets as you think you can eat! I made 7 large filets

Heat Olive Oil in a iron skillet to medium high to high.  Once oil is hot, place dipped fish in hot oil. Pan fry for about 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown. I set up a cookie sheet covered with cornmeal once they were finished frying, and placed them in a warm oven at 350 degrees so that I could complete the other filets. As to not crowd the pan, I did two filets at a time. Once the oil is good and hot,  some of it may be soaked up in the fish, so I did have to add more from time to time.
Tilapia is not a flavorful fish, so this is a well seasoned recipe. The lemon really brings out the flavors of the fish and the almond crust! I used lemon liberally! Another suggestion to add or have at the table is a lemon garlic aioli sauce.... a simple mayonnaise with lemon and garlic... YUM!

The broccoli cheese quinoa is easy and indulgent. I used steamed broccoli, Colby jack cheese, 2 cups cooked quinoa. My one trick here is stone ground mustard added in to the mixture. I added one tbsp. of that zesty stuff and it was delicious. Use the amount of broccoli and Colby jack cheese to your taste....

Brocolli Cheese Quinoa

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 bunch steamed broccoli
1/2 block of Colby jack cheese, shredded
1tbsp stone ground mustard
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix together cheese when quinoa is hot to make sure it melts!

I hope you enjoy these recipes. I did. It was a wonderfully satisfying meal and perfect for a summer night.

I've been a busy bee. I opened my etsy shop! I have a few other items to post for sale, and I've been running to get prepared for our next stint in Wyoming! I gotta be in tip top shape to hike with Ryan on my back! I know it's getting close to winter there, so I've got a lot of packing to do with warm clothes.

Still, I'm excited!

One last piece of information. The disposable camera I had from Leidy Lake was damaged at Walgreen's. So, I have no pictures from that lovely day at the first of the summer. At least I wrote it down! A verbal image is almost as good, right?

I'd love to hear from you! Comments and suggestions on anything you'd like to see on the etsy store, or things I should create on my trip, paintings, etc. This is my 89th post, so I'm thrilled! That's pretty good, right?

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Things don't go my way

Things can get difficult sometimes, huh? What is the best way to fuel this issue we have as humans? Our mouths. I am quite concerned about what I say or don't say most of the time. I'm very happy when I don't have to speak. And, I'm often overly conscious about what I should or shouldn't say. Why are our mouths in so much control instead of our brains. Why do we fly off? Why must we constantly keep our mouths in check?

Probably because what we say can be so hurtful and so foul. It's a devils workshop if you ask me. I am pretty sensitive. I work hard at using encouraging words and I also have a "sponge" for a daughter. She hears everything. And, we have to always be conscientious about that.

Ultimately, I don't always effectively control my mouth or my words, and sometimes, I hurt others. It's a flaw, but know that I am constantly trying to correct this muscle of mine that seems to be out of control periodically.

A harsh word stirs up anger... Anybody ever heard of that? Man. It's a killer.

The zoo was nice today though, and Ryan and I saw the new Sea Lion Sound! It's incredible. The tunnel walk goes under water allow you to see the sea lions swimming above! The tunnel is so cool! I loved it probably more than Ryan did.


I've had my creative juices flowing a bit lately, and I'm looking for 2 long term projects to do that require few tools. I made that painting last week, but I'm in the need for a muse for my next painting project. I'm a watercolor fanatic. I'd like to try some flowers or animals again. Any suggestions?

Also, I'm interested in Finger weaving/Finger crocheting. I'd love to make a huge blanket out of extra large yarn. Does anyone have suggestions on where to start? I'm going to youtube it later.

I would also like a pair of leg warmers, extra long/thigh high so to scrunch down for camping. I'm not don't knit or crochet, so I'm always looking for assistance.

My palate is bored right now with food. And, that is so terribly unusual for me. I'm under a spell... I guess from that stomach bug- things just aren't back to normal.


We went to Art Outside last night and heard some amazing bluegrass homegrown right here near St. Louis in Belleville, Il.  Check out the song, Where I stand by Old Salt Union. Youtube it, right now, You'll love it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be surrounded by family that loves you. It's refreshing. It's special.

My family is small, but they are dear to me, and last week we saw both of my parents, Adam's siblings and parents, and my sister, and distant Sterling relatives. It always amazes me that family can be so welcoming and we can find shelter in them.

Our visit with our loved ones are always cherished, and we sure squeezed them all in! It was fun too.

What wasn't fun was puking all the way home. Ryan and I got a stomach bug, and we both hurled a couple of times on the drive home. I'm finally feeling better, but there's nothing like a quick gastritis to knock you down. My stomach still isn't quite right, but I'm coming around slowly.

As to other news, I'm healthy. I did go to the doctor for my annual checkup, and all of my womanly tests came back negative which is fantastic. That is an answer to my prayers.

Today's post is short and sweet! We have lots of work here in St. Louis, and I am prepping for my etsy shop to open within 2 weeks. I have some cool stuff to sell! When it's up an running, I'll let you know!! For those who love beautiful vintage things, my shop is for you!  I'll share the name with you soon!