Oct 23, 2012

I'm Trying to Quit

I tried to quit my blog. I really did. I typed up a post and everything. I tried publishing several times (at least 7) and each time, half of my message would disappear. Maybe it's a sign.

Anyways, I'm just not feeling the blogging thing lately. (I'm sure you noticed.) So, until further notice, I'm taking a break. It might takes weeks, or even months. Just the thought of saying, "I'm done" inspires me for some reason. It's time to live without thinking in terms of how I can blog about this activity or that.

Until then, I'll see you on Facebook!

Oct 10, 2012

"My New Red and Yellow Bike"

During the beautiful warm weather last week, Adrian figured out how to ride his bike! (With training wheels.) He has been trying since he got his bike in August. He would get so mad trying to push those pedals and I would get frustrated pushing him around on it. Finally, one day he just started pedaling! He was so excited, it's so awesome to see him succeed at something that he has been working so hard at.

He occasionally rides his bike with the neighbor boy who is 5 who also just learned to ride a bike--without training wheels. The neighbor (we'll call him "N") would zip up and own the alley and Adrian would roll down the slight incline outside the garage, turn around, push his bike back up, climb on, roll down. Repeat. The very first time they played (after my garage sale when we happened to be near enough, long enough for them to get chatting), N would give Adrian a little nudge to get him going. I bet he'll be pumped to see that Adrian can actually pedal his bike now.

Oct 9, 2012

Kale and Butternut Squash Soup

I have had an idea for this soup floating around in my head for a while now. Recently, I made roasted acorn squash stuffed with sausage and it was awesome. Adrian loved it too. Basically, squash and sausage are amazing together. Here is the recipe I threw together yesterday, it was delish. If you like Zuppe Toscana (from Olive Garden), you'll like this soup.

Please, no awards for my stunning photography.

(That was sarcasm.)

Kale and Butternut Squash Soup


1 lb italian sausage
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 medium butternut squashed, peeled and cubed into 1/2 in pieces*
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed (overnight soaking recommended but not necessary.)
5 or more leaves of kale, thick stems removed, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt or to taste
pepper to taste (you won't need much with the sausage)


Brown sausage with celery and onion. Drain fat. Add garlic and butternut squash, saute for several minutes. Add chicken broth and quinoa and simmer until squash is tender and quinoa is translucent, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in kale.

*I used 1/2 of a squash only because I wanted to roast the rest to use in my oatmeal this morning. It was really good with this amount but I wish there was just a little bit more.

Oct 8, 2012

October 6

This was Saturday. First snowfall (with accumulation) of the 2012-2013 season, October 6.

We moved to the U.P. on November 12, 2008. (Wow, it's hard to believe it's been 4 years!) It snowed that day--I can't say for sure if that was the first real snowfall--and it didn't stop until May. I mean, of course, we had a clear skies here and there but winter literally stretched to mid-May. That was the best thing ever. Seriously. We were used to downstate winters that last barely 4 months and don't always have much snow. I was already convinced that winters up here were brutal, snow upon snow upon snow and that they lasted half the year. That winter really did, so I think it prepared me for winter up here. There hasn't been a season that long or that cold since then. I actually don't mind winter up here and I look forward to the year we get back into skiing. So fun!

Oct 5, 2012

Eating a Rainbow

Gotta love grocery day! And this is only part of our produce for the week. The very best thing about switching to wheat-free and dairy-free is the variety and amount of produce that was added to our diets. Groceries are so much more inspirational when they have color!

Oct 4, 2012


Ooooeeee, well, hello there! Anyone, anyone?

We have been keeping ourselves occupied lately, did I mention that I'm trying to paint our entry? Can't even remember because I have been slacking on the updating. Anyhoo, it's turning chartreuse before my very eyes and it's kind of out there, but I think it's going to be really cool. My friend, Heidi, was here and she seemed a bit surprised by how bright it was but in the end she said it would probably turn out cute. Hopefully she's right. It is taking forever and a day to finish. When I first started priming I told Jeff I wanted it to be done by Saturday (it was Tuesday). I'm funny, right? I must have momentarily forgotten about my children. And the fact that I cook. And the fact that I don't generally enjoy living in a pig sty. It is slowly making progress though, hopefully it will be done by the end of the month. Then we'll move to the trim. Ha.

I've been wanting to do an update on our big 6-month-old. I'll save that for another day week.

I felt like such a green thumb today. Jeff's mom snipped some branches from her snowball bush so we could root them for our own plant. That was in July and I finally planted them today but I don't have much confidence that they'll survive. I have A LOT to learn about gardening, I'm sure. And considering the leaves were already turning color in the vase (I've been leaving it outside so I wouldn't forget to give it some sun) we won't even know if it survived until next spring. Especially with the snow we're supposed to be getting this weekend. If it isn't gong dormant now, it will be very soon.

Yes, you read that right, the forcast is showing snow. But then, it is October in the U.P. after all. The leaves showed their brilliant colors and they are quickly falling to the ground. As we were coming out of the grocery store a few days ago, Adrian noticed the trees across the street dropping their leaves and stood for a few moments in awe. I am so with him. Fall is beautiful. And really, really short.

We have Brother Matt here for a time. Not sure how long, he's here for work. I feel like we have seen family so much this year and none of them even live near us. It's awesome! I feel kind of spoiled. Aaaand, my sisters and my mom are coming in a few weeks!! I am super fired up to be hosting. We have been emailing back and forth making plans, hopefully we have some nice weather, but it should be fun no matter what. Everyone will make it except my sister Em. I guess we won't get so lucky as to have everyone there every year but we'll sure miss her!

Sep 19, 2012

Here I Am

I have been feeling super optimistic and motivated lately. I know this time of year always does that to me but man, I just feel excited. For lack of anything else to blog about (I keep starting posts and deleting them because they just tend to ramble) I thought I'd share that.

I think it may just be getting healthier in general--which is ironic because I have a nasty cold right now. A little over a year ago I was so fed up with feeling "off" all the time. I could cry if someone looked at me wrong, I felt kind of "blah" all the time, had no motivation whatsoever, was tired all the time, and I felt attacked all the time due to anxiety. I figured it must be a hormone imbalance. I went to see a wellness consultant that I had heard about in Marquette. I had just started searching online for a cause for all the symptoms I had. I came up with adrenal fatigue which I had never heard of before but I had nearly every single symptom. And there a lot. In fact, I had symptoms that I didn't even know were symptoms--freezing cold or claustrophobically hot when other people were comfortable, very dry skin, weak muscles in my hands and feet. Anyways, I got to the appointment and I was crazy anxious even though I really wanted to be there and as soon as I was alone in the room with Valerie, I just started bawling. Partially from anxiety, partially from relief that I was finally getting help with something that I've dealt with for literally, as long as I can remember. Before saying anything about my research, she immediately recognized adrenal fatigue. After a very long appointment, I left with many tips for eating better, which supplements and vitamins I needed to take, and the fact that I most likely had low thryoid as well. After plenty of research regarding the thryroid, I'm quite confident that that was a big part of my problem as well. Also, from what I've learned, the adrenal and thryoid are very closely affected by one another so it was important to get both of them in balance.

Side note: I did see a medical doctor after my visit with Valerie and after waiting 2 hours for her to see me, she was ready to write me a prescription for an anti-depressant. I'm glad that I didn't listen.

I followed her advice and sloooowly started feeling normal. For the first time in my life. My anxiety was way better, I actually cared about things that I should care about. Like seeing family and friends, going out, doing stuff, living, yeah, that's important yet, it wasn't something that meant very much to me because I just felt so "blah" all the time. I just didn't really care about anything. It took a lot to get me excited but not much to make me feel down.

Fast forward a few months, I got pregnant with sweet little Isaac, fast forward a few more months, I started seeing our current chiropractor. (I can't remember if I mentioned it before but chiropractic plays a big role in preventing breach babies.) Ever since I started getting adjusted regularly (3 times a week at first, then twice, then once, and now every other week) I have been feeling even better. Like a hundred times better that when I thought I was feeling better. I actually plan stuff now! Amazing! I mean really, that sounds so simple, everybody plans stuff right? But I didn't. If someone invited me to go somewhere I usually went but not before I thought really hard about an excuse to stay home. And I never initiated anything. It's not that I didn't want to hang out, it just felt like such a hassle and I was totally content to stay home. Nowadays, I'm always up for doing something with my friends. I'm also super motivated to get projects, cleaning, cooking, etc done at home--something I used to drag my feet over. I feel so much happier. It's so unusual for me to feel down or "blah" now that I can usually step back and figure out what caused it. (Sugar is usually the culprit there.)

While I give most of the credit to getting adjusted, I've made other changes as well. We switched over to natural personal care products (for me, the shorter the list, the better) we're eating more fruits and vegetable than I've ever eaten in my life--mostly organic. We eat a low-grain diet with plenty of protein and most recently, we cut out wheat and dairy. I mean, we have it every once in a while but it's not a regular thing anymore. If you would have told me even 3 years ago that we would make changes like this, I wouldn't have believed you. It has been so worth it. Most of the symptoms of low thyroid and adrenal fatigue are gone and every.single.symptom. has improved. No medication needed.

I still have a ways to go as far as my health is concerned, but sometimes when I stop to think about it, I am just blown away with how crappy I felt for so long, all the while thinking that it was normal and there was nothing I could do about it. Example: when Isaac was born I had more energy than I had pre-motherhood. I never needed naps and I felt so awake even with waking up several times a night to nurse.

I've wanted to share this for quite a while now and today I just decided to start typing. There are a lot of gaps in my story but feel free to ask any questions. I know this isn't an uncommon malady but I do know that a lot of people live with it, many, like me, not even realizing that they can feel any different.

Like I said at the beginning, I feel so much more optimistic these days. Jeff just mentioned the other day that I'm so much happier than I used to be. I think he likes me better this way. ;)

Sep 17, 2012

Bicycle Shirt

I've been having fun with freezer paper lately. I kind of want to paint everything. I love how Isaac's shirt turned out.

We have a lot of solid shirts around here so I should be busy for a while.

Sep 13, 2012


Fall is officially here in the U.P. We've been having some windy, rainy, dreary days. Perfect for getting a few things done inside. I spent yesterday cleaning house so I would be able to have a craft day today, guilt-free. I always have these grand plans of getting 17 projects knocked off my pile but I somehow only managed to finish a couple. Between both kids and the fact that I was out of much needed white thread, I'm lucky I got anything done.

I have been wanting to put designs on the boys' shirts with freezer paper so I went to Michael's a while ago searching for it. I mean, all the craft bloggers use it so it must be at the craft store right? Whoops. The guy at Michael's had no idea what I was talking about. I finally emailed Dana and she was gracious enough to get back to me. Oh, duh, you buy it from the grocery store. I had some fun this evening and I'm not done yet!

These last few days have been so nice. I feel like things are finally slowing down a little after the go-go-go of summertime. I'm looking forward to more crafting days--maybe this will be the year I actually have handmade clothes for our little family. Jeff did say he wanted me to design some shirts for him. You have no idea how happy that makes me.

Generally this time of year is super motivational for me, even more so than New Year's. This year it has been a little slow to get started, but I feel the momentum picking up!

Sep 10, 2012

Good-bye Summer

The garage sale was a success. Not a shout it from the rooftops, raging success, but hey, if I can make money off of stuff that was destined for the thrift store anyways, I call it a success. I planned to use the money to redecorate the entry/laundry room and buy a few clothes for Adrian who is in dire need. I have money for both. Yay!
Now the fun part starts: prepping the entry for paint. That was sarcasm. I should have started a long time ago. I'm hoping to be able to paint within a week, but judging by all the paint I have to scrape off the windows, it might be longer than that. [insert very sad face.] The previous owners took great care of the house for the most part but their painting skills leave something to be desired. Anyways, I decided I won't even buy paint until the room is totally ready to paint, taped up and all. That way I won't have the huge disappointment of my "quick" stairs project...the brand new paintbrushes are still sitting on top of the fridge, unopened.

Today I'm just trying to catch up with all that was neglected in the 4 days of planning/running a sale.

Like posting pictures of our camping weekend, a week late.

Adrian was so excited to get a Tonka Truck from Grandma and Grandpa L for his birthday. This trip may have been a lot different without it. He played with it the entire weekend and was covered in dirt all day, every day. Despite the unexplained puke (singular) on the way there and the couple accidents we dealt with over the weekend, he was a great.

And Isaac was perfect. What a happy camper!

Our car was so full I didn't think we would be able to bring any kind of stroller, but luckily I remembered the umbrella stroller at the last minute and it just fit--in fact, on the way home it was tied to the bike rack. I wasn't sure how he would do in it and if he was even big enough but it worked perfectly.

Adrian loved pushing him around and running back and forth between the 2 campsites.
Check out those toes!

There were some really great hiking trails at the campground. The guys fished for a good part of the weekend and Adrian got to go too. The girls plus Isaac went on a hike one afternoon. It was gorgeous. Another day Jeff and I ran these same trails together, it was so fun that I decided we need more running dates, there are TONS of running/mountain bike trails in our area. Plus, I never would have ran 4 miles by myself!

After 2.5 miles of walking, we were met with this scene:

I'm sure people say this throughout the country, but we live in a really beautiful state.

Jeff also got a birthday present from his mom and dad. It took me a while to catch on, but all it took was this one piece for him to figure out what was in the box. As you can see, he is thrilled. We both are actually.

If you have talked to Jeff anytime in the last 6 months you know exactly what he's into obsessed with right now.

I think we're both still a bit blown away that they gave him a beehive! That's only 1 of the 5 boxes. It came in kit form and he assembled the entire thing as soon as we got home. I'm not even sure if the rest of the car was unloaded. And somehow we did manage to fit it in the car (disassembled in the box).

We also hit the beach a few times, of course. The weather was perfect and so was the water. We spent a good deal of time searching for Petoskey Stones.

Isaac found the sand. It's so fun to watch him discovering new things!

Note to self: Take pictures of more than my own little family.

The only cloud hanging over the trip was my in-laws oldest dog, Toby, getting sick. He's an old dog and after our hike he started coughing/gagging a lot. My poor mother-in-law felt like she had a newborn again with the sleepless nights that weekend. We weren't sure if he would make it through the those few days, but he did.

This was our first year going to the Petoskey State Park. We usually go to Traverse City but decided to switch it up this year. I think everyone agreed that it was a nice park and we'll go again next year. It should be a completely different experience with a newly walking toddler...we'll see how that goes. ;)

With that, summer is officially over, but I'm still holding out for a couple more hot days.

Sep 6, 2012

Busy as a Bee

My poor neglected blog. Summer has been busy! Not the crazy, hectic, trying to catch my breath kind of busy, but a keep-you-going, fun, making memories kind of busy. As a result, my screen time has drastically decreased. That can only be good in my opinion. We went camping this past weekend in "Buttoskey" (Petoskey) with Jeff's family. Perfect weather, perfect baby, and a pretty good kid. (Let's not talk about the copious amounts of bodily excretions from a certain little 3-year-old...I just love a good puke clean-up. Not.)

More about that trip when I have the time. I'm having a garage sale this weekend so I need to get back to setting that up!

Aug 29, 2012

By the Way...

I have been so sick of my way too long hair and have been talking about getting it cut really short for ages. Ever since Isaac was born, it has been falling out like mad so I decided that now would be a great time to really go for it. Seriously you guys, it was so long and ridiculous I had to braid it to go to bed! It felt like Little House on the Prairie. Of course, as soon as I decided to make an appointment I found out that my hairdresser is moving! This is the second time this has happened to me up here. Anyways, I did manage to catch an appointment with her but now I have no idea where to go from here since I'll actually have to maintain my hair now.

A few things:

1. My hair is ca-razy in that first picture, I think I just pulled it out of a bun. And seriously, there aren't many pictures of me on this computer. Let's not even talk about the number of pictures that are actually flattering...and don't mind zombie eyes up there.
2. I never did get an official "before" picture. I tried to do it myself and I look like I just woke up. Lovely.
3. I never realized just how awkward I am when Jeff is behind the camera. I can't be normal. So this sideways glance is me looking at Adrian. Believe me, it was the best shot.
4. I'm still trying to figure out how to style hair this short. I had Jeff take pictures of me before church and well, yeah, my hair looked pretty terrible because I don't know what I'm doing. I happened to tousle it up because it was driving me crazy. It was really an attempt to soften the wax but I  accidentally made it look much better.
6. I had clippers used on my neck for the first time in my life. Yikes!
7. This is a tad bit shorter than I was going for since my bangs were a little too short--my own fault since I trim them myself.
8. Despite #7, I really like it. It will be fun to try out a bunch of different haircuts as my hair grows. (I may keep it short for a while now although I think I said that last time...)
9. Any short hair styling tips are welcome!

Aug 28, 2012

Breakfast Chat

As we were eating our breakfast this morning Adrian told me, "These eggs are yummy! Thank-you!" And then a few minutes later, "These eggs are yummy! Thank-you!" -pause- "I said it again!" And then a moment later, "These are the best eggs I ever had!" They were good omelets, I sauteed onions then added chopped fresh spinach and chopped tomoatoes, some minced garlic, and a sprinkle of dried basil. A little feta cheese on top doesn't hurt either. Delish! Of course Adrian likes to wreck all eggs with ketchup but whatev.

Now, let me take a moment to tell you why this is so ironic; a few days ago I made the same exact omelet. I thought it was delicious and ate it right up. Adrian on the other hand, took two bites and told me, "I'm full, I don't want anymore." I was okay with that. Generally when he does that, he'll come back five minutes later exclaiming his absolute starvation and I present him with the rejected food (especially if it's something he has willingly eaten before, in this case he had). Sure enough, complained of hunger so I told him to eat his omelet. We happened to have an poolside invite that day so I was running around trying to get the house in order and get ready to go. While I was upstairs he said something funny about me throwing something of his away and I asked if he had thrown his omelet away...sure enough.

So, these are the best eggs you ever ate, huh?

Aug 23, 2012

Sweet Baby

Little Man is 5 months! I am just blown away by how much faster time flies with the second kid. And I'm guessing it doesn't slow down anytime soon.

He is still just as happy as ever, my perfect little chubbers. Everyone always asks, is he always that happy? and yes, he really is. Sometimes I feel guilty because he is just that good, he's totally content to roll all over and kick on the floor all day long and I get so busy with everything else in my day that I probably don't take enough time to just snuggle him up. And I should because he is just growing so darn fast.

He loves to stick out his tongue, I think he's trying to blow a raspberry, but hasn't been successful yet. He found his thumb about a week ago and he loves it. I think it's the cutest thing and sometimes he just gets so into it like sucking his thumb is the very best thing in the entire world. Mostly it's his left hand but sometimes it's his right and it's not uncommon to find him sucking both thumbs at once.

He's grabbing things pretty successfully now and I sometimes find him sucking on Adrian's Duplos that are always all over the floor. He's still a pretty good sleeper (although I blame my coffee habit for his stopping sleeping through the night) he soothes himself to sleep most of the time. At night, when I notice that he's getting tired, I lay him in in crib as we're getting ready for bed and he'll roll around and every once in a while he pops his head up and gives us a big grin. Before I know it, he's sounds asleep.

A little update on the baby wrap, he still loves it and so do I. I don't carry him around in it quite so much these days because he really loves to move around, but I still use it for hiking or grocery shopping when Jeff isn't with me to carry the 1 ton car seat. He still likes his legs all tucked up inside although I occasionally let them hang out if it's too hot. (To answer the question about yardage from the baby wrap post, you could probably get away with 2 1/2 yards of fabric. 2 yards might be just a tad short. Sorry I didn't reply 3 months ago!)

I feel like we're adjusting quite well to life with 2 kids. Although we didn't choose this age gap, I think it helps that Adrian is old enough to have some independence. And also, like I said, Isaac is a perfect baby.

Aug 19, 2012

Tomato, Tomahto

I kind of want to write an entire blog post about tomatoes. We went to the Marquette farmer's market again on Saturday. Jeff was working so this time it was just me and the kiddos and we got there towards the end. It had been raining off and on and all of the vendors were packing up even though there was still a half hour to go. Wimps. Anyways, when we went the week before we tried this AMAZING cherry tomatoes from one stand and brought a pint home with us which we quickly devoured like candy and on our chicken salad.

I asked what kind of tomato they were because they were so good, but the guy wasn't sure which one they were. He had 2 different varieties of these orangey-yellow cherry tomatoes and you could only tell them apart by taste. He told me to come back the following week and he would have both kinds (they were mixed together that week since he didn't have a ton of each yet) so I would be able to try them and figure out which was which. Oh my gosh you guys, I seriously can't get over these tomatoes. I like tomatoes but I don't generally like to eat them plain. I cannot wait to grow them next year just so I can snatch them off the plant and snack on them. Yum!

Anyways, I went back to his stand yesterday and he didn't have any. Not just because we were late, but he hadn't brought any at all. Instead, he had some bigger--but still smallish--tomato varieties. They were $2.50 for a pint and he had about 2 and a half pints left. He gave the rest to me for $2.50. This was the reason I wanted to go late in the first place. ;) These other varieties were every bit as good. In fact:

Jeff looked at me like I was crazy as he drizzled peanut butter onto his frozen strawberries.

Have you been to the farmer's market lately? I was pretty disappointed to hear that there are only a couple more weeks to get the local produce when we just started going.

Aug 16, 2012

Daily Journal and Fishing

Summertime is getting away from me! It's the middle of August and it already feels like fall in the U.P. The tips of many of the maples are just beginning to change. Perhaps next month I'll get back to more regular blogging.
Jeff went fishing overnight on Monday with my cousin Tom. It was my first night alone in our new house and I survived to tell the tale. Or lack of a tale. It was a peaceful night, thank goodness. Of course, I had Adrian to protect me, he was pretty excited to go to sleep in our room. He's been sleeping in there more often than not lately but he generally starts out in his own room. I enjoyed a few evening hours alone and devoured the rest of the birthday cake. Kidding. Actually, I'm serious and it was good.

I thought the guys had good luck fishing when Jeff brought home a cooler of salmon weighing 20-something lbs, but apparently they didn't do well at all for that area. I guess they'll just have to go again! Tom is coming over for supper tonight to enjoy some of that fish.
Last night, I had a few ladies over for craft night (you know, since I finally have the space to do that). I had pinned this journal calendar a while back--yeah I think all of my projects for craft night come from Pinterest--and started on it last night.

I didn't actually read the post on Design Sponge until I was about halfway through making the calendar so mine is a little different. I didn't have enough index cards so I mixed them in with colored cardstock and I decided to leave out the month dividers for now. I'll probably just keep the current date at the front and file it to the back each day. I also used both sides of each card since the cardstock is thicker than the notcards; there wouldn't have been enough room for 366 cards. (Dont' forget Leap Day!) I'm excited to have this since I like to journal, in theory, I just don't always remember to do it. This way, I can quickly jot down something from my day and be able to look back each year. How fun!

Aug 13, 2012

A Happy Birthday Weekend

We had a Happy Birthday weekend in this house. Jeff and Adrian both celebrate their birthday on the 11th. I had plans to have a houseful for a party but so many people ended up being out of town so it was a pretty small gathering in the end. We had fun nonetheless and visited with a couple we haven't seen in a while. No pictures of the guests because I am so awkward and I feel silly asking for permission to post pics. Please tell me I'm not alone. (And feel free to to tell me that I can, nudge, nudge.) ;) I actually completely forgot to take a picture of all the kids together, silly me.

Jeff started car-pooling last week [jumps for joy] so I have a car on the weekends that he works. This will be the first time in a long time that I will actually make it into church on those weekends. So nice. On Friday I was able to run all over town buying stuff for our little party. It took for.ev.er with the kids by myself. When I got home I had to fly around making cakes and cleaning and making a fun little banner for the porch.

I don't bake. When it comes to cooking, I can tweek a recipe or completely wing it. Baking on the other hand, I follow the recipe word for word and it's still mediocre at best. So the cakes were good but not great but boy, this frosting was the bomb. I wanted to freeze it and eat it like ice cream. I won't even tell you what's in it because I'm still trying to forgot. (Yes, that picture of the cake is in my living room, we have very little natural light in the kitchen, unfortunately.)

We gave Adrian Duplos for a birthday gift and he is loving them. He keeps talking about playing with his "Dupwo Wegos." Now I just need to find more thrift shopping/garage saling to add to his stash.

On Sunday, we hiked up Sugarloaf with some other friends and then grilled supper at our house. Love that we can do that now! We actually just picked up a cheap charcoal grill since I haven't found one otherwise. Can't wait to use that every day.

It kind of felt like my birthday this weekend. So fun to have friends visit our new home!