Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall's surprises

This is what fall looks like at nearly 9,000 feet…

We have a little dusting of snow.

It's a wonderful thing because it brings the animals a little lower which makes hunting season a tiny bit less challenging.

We have a group of bucks hanging around our neighborhood who are gorgeous! The range from 6 to 14 points. Beautiful.

Isn't he handsome?!

Our little family is battling a bad round of head colds.
Hoping to be better soon… it's pretty boring having no energy or motivation.

The hubster got up bright and early to make pumpkin pancakes for us. He's also stepped up while I've been down with this cold by doing ALL OF THE LAUNDRY and keeping the house tidy. I'm a lucky girl. Not quite sure how to show mu appreciation when I can hardly think/move/speak/etc, but I SO appreciate all he's done!

What does fall look like by you?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I love fall.


It's my favorite.

I mean, really. Look at where I live.


I also love playing in Photoshop.

That's my favorite, too.

I wouldn't describe myself as a very creative person, but I'm trying.

So, here you go. Free download! Yea!

Click HERE to download a free copy without the watermark!

Feel free to leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

World's Okayest Mom & a FREE PRINTABLE

Source Unknown
(If you know, please tell me so I can give credit!)
I found this picture one day while I was searching for designs I could draw on coffee mugs. (Thanks, Pinterest!)

I found it inspiring.

That is EXACTLY who I want to be.

I am fully ok with the fact that I will not be a perfect mom.
I will not pretend to be.

I try recipes that don't taste right. Sometimes I forget that there is a load in the wash (for a few days). My house isn't dusted or vacuumed or disinfected nearly enough. I yell at my kids and then feel really bad about it. Patience is a virtue I'm still working on. I have emotional outbursts more often than I care to admit. I don't spend enough time actually playing with my kids. More often than not, by the time 2pm rolls around, I'm more ready for their nap time than they are.

Right now as I type, my 3 year old is in minute 42 of fake crying in his room because he doesn't want to nap.

But, I'm taking baby steps.

"Progress. Just make progress. It's okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It's okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again - and again. Just make sure you're moving the line forward. Move forward. Take baby steps, but at least take steps…"
(Lysa Terkeurst in Unglued - Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions)

I have only been at this "being a mom" thing for a little over 3 1/2 years. Sometimes on really challenging days, I have no idea how I'm going to get out of my "funk," as I call it. That's why it's good to remind myself that...

"I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts right now. I can wallow in what's wrong and make things worse, or I can ask God for a better perspective to help me see good even when I don't feel good." (Lysa Terkeurst in Unglued - Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions)

I'm learning. I'm growing.

And, so are my kids.

In this moment, I'm hoping that by not giving in to the temptation to go talk to him about his fake crying, he'll start to grasp the fact that whining doesn't get my attention anymore.

As of two days ago, I announced to our 3 year old that my ears don't listen to whining. So far, so good. It actually allows me to not lose my patience. I simply remind him that I won't hear the whining. It's shocking how fast his words become intelligible.


Truth is, I want my kids to know that it's ok to make mistakes.

They see me do it e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.

That's why even before they can understand it, we started apologizing to them when we do something that deserves an apology.

By the way, there are not too many things that are more humbling than apologizing to a 3 year old (especially when you are apologizing for doing adult versions of the tantrums that the 3 year old usually throws).

We want them to know that even mommy and daddy do things wrong sometimes. Sometimes mommy and daddy need to say they're sorry, too.

How can our children truly understand and experience grace if they never get to experience giving it?

(By the way, the little mister is FINALLY asleep)

Apologizing to our children opens up the chance to have meaningful conversations with them about how we sin and God forgives us. We show them how we pray and ask God to help us to show patience, kindness, respect and gentleness to one another. We demonstrate that in and of ourselves, we will fail, but with God's help, we can succeed.

So, I wrote something on the chalkboard in our kitchen for a while as a friendly reminder to myself. It says, 'Be the mom you want them to remember.'

The mom I want them to remember is humble, willing to admit that she's not a perfect mom, but she's depending on God to help her to be the mom they need. I want them to remember a gentle mom who gives grace when she can and discipline when necessary. I want them to remember me pushing them to do their best and knowing that I'll be there loving them regardless. I want them to remember that I am a work in progress, just like they are, and that we can be a team - pushing each other toward the people God wants us to be.

So, I designed this little printable for you. If you feel the same way, download it. Print it out and put it next to the coffee pot. Save it as your lock screen on your phone or tablet. Let it gently remind you through the day that it's ok to fail because kids need to know their parents aren't perfect either. Let it remind you that you don't want to be remembered as the perfect mom, but instead the mom that was demonstrating humility, love, grace, truth, gentleness, patience, repentance,… Let them remember the real you.

*NEW* designs!
Both "mom" and "step-mom" are available in both colors.
All are set to be printed as 5x7s.
Download HERE

Or, you can still get the original (only available in "mom"):
Feel free to leave me a comment! I'd love to hear your story!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MY Pumpkin Scones

Scones are kind of a big deal to my family.

They have been a staple at nearly every family function requiring breakfast. Or a mid-morning snack. Or a mid-afternoon snack.

And when we don't have them, someone is sure to ask why!

We even make different kinds.

My dad's famous (ok, well, they're famous in my mind since we used to sell them at the Burlington Chocolate Fest) Scotty's Scones were big, moist, and baked full of yummy things. Sometimes blueberries and cinnamon, sometimes cranberries, sometimes chocolate chips (my fav's!).

Grandma's scones, on the other hand, were carefully shaped into triangles and cooked up on a hot griddle. They were perfectly browned on the outside and warm and wonderful on the inside. She put raisins in her's, and while that was fine, once we started making them for ourselves, we switched it up to chocolate chips… or when we're feeling sassy, white chips and craisens. Yum. Talk about melt in your mouth!

Anyway, I've always enjoyed the pumpkin scones at Starbucks in the fall.

I mean, who doesn't?!

The problem is, the recipes circulating on the internet, Pinterest, etc don't do the real ones justice.

And, while I'm not claiming that mine are as good or better as theirs, I gotta say, THIS will be my go-to pumpkin scone recipe from now on.

I combined my dad's, my grandma's and my idea of what should go into a pumpkin scone and this is what I came up with.

(I just ate one and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it!)  ;)

My Pumpkin Scones
     *makes 8

For the Scones:
2 C flour
1/3 C sugar
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tarter

6 T cold butter

1/2 C pumpkin puree (slightly heaping)
1 large egg
1/3 C plus 1 Tablespoon half and half
2 tsp vanilla

*NOTE* If you want your scones a little more spiced, make your cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger measurements slightly heaping.
You could also use 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice in place of these four spices.

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Cut in 6 tablespoons of cold butter with a pastry blender (or stick the dry ingredients and butter in a food processor until crumbly)

Mix together the remaining wet ingredients and add to the dry/butter mixture until just mixed.

Pour mixture onto a floured surface and sprinkle flour on top.

Pat down into a flat circle (about an inch thick).

Using a large knife, cut circle in half one way and then in half the other way… do this one more time to make 8 equal triangles. (See picture)

Place on a greased cookie sheet or a sheet lined with parchment paper.

Tip: I've found it's way easier to move them front he counter to the cookie sheet with a spatula!

Back in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown. Don't let them get too brown! Watch closely!

Now for the fun part.

Instead of plain frosting or a totally spiced frosting, I decided to go with Cinnamon frosting. I'm so glad I did. I just winged this and it turned out yummy. Just enough spice and paired with the scones, it melts in your mouth.

You can decide if you want it to be more of a frosting or more of a glaze. It's your preference.

For a glaze, mix together:
1 C powdered sugar
scant 1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 T milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

For frosting, mix together:
1 C powdered sugar
scant 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 T milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

*Adjust measurements as needed to reach desired consistency and taste. Add more milk to thin it out. Add more powdered sugar to thicken it up. Add a tiny bit more cinnamon (or any of the spices used in the scones) to make it have a little more of a kick. Or, for a plain frosting or glaze, leave out the cinnamon!

Personally, I store them unfrosted and make the topping as needed… that way you don't have to worry about the frosting melting off if you heat them up a little or thaw them in the microwave after freezing.

Light your favorite fall candle and enjoy!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The easiest, tastiest, most customizable soup… ever!

Here's the thing. 

Camp life means that you never really know if you're going to be home in time to make dinner. Or if your husband is going to be home in time to eat the dinner you make. 

Some nights are fine. Some are big question marks.

And, because we live so very far from where we grocery shop (about an hour and a half - one way), it is so helpful when a recipe makes extra that I can freeze for nights when dinner is awfully difficult to prepare.

This recipe is a winner.

Not only is it super easy and so delicious you'll think you're sitting at Olive Garden, but it's completely customizable for any dietary restrictions you might have!

It can be gluten free, dairy free, meat free, whatever!

And, it's still delicious.


Make it without the noodles, freeze it, and then the only thing you need to have on hand is pasta to cook up! Simple, quick, and perfect for cool fall nights and cold winter nights!
(I also keep dinner rolls frozen for this very situation, although my husband likes Ritz and slices of cheddar cheese on the side.)

Hearty Minestrone Soup

1 T olive oil
2 diced carrots (I do 3 - we like carrots)
2 diced celery ribs (I cut them big because my family members pick them out)
1 large onion (again cut big to pick out)
2 chopped garlic cloves (honestly, I just use minced garlic)
1 can diced tomatoes and juice (I ALWAYS use 2 cans. Makes it richer)
1-2 bay leaves (I do 2 because of the extra tomato juice and I sometimes add more broth)
1 scant T dried sage
6-8 cups chicken broth (homemade - I'll post this recipe soon!)
1 can kidney beans
2 C kale, chopped
6-8oz pasta (could use gluten free)
salt, pepper, parmesan (optional)

Heat olive oil and garlic in large soup pot over medium/high heat and sauté until the garlic is lightly browned. 
Add carrot, onion, celery and cook until starting to soften. Season with salt and pepper. 
Add tomatoes, bay leaf, sage and chicken broth. Simmer 30 minutes.
Add bean and kale and simmer 20-30 minutes. Season.
Put pasta in bowls and serve soup over.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, if wanted.

Serves 6-8 (supposedly - I fill up two large ball jars after we're done eating to freeze. It makes a good amount!)
       *adapted from

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
It's delicious!