Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In the Kitchen and Proof

This is what it looked like in our kitchen on Monday.

Big Cooking (2)
Photo by Emma

For the last few weeks I have been doing about 90% of our cooking one day a week. I cook up a weeks worth of meat, some of the veggie sides, and I try to throw in a few condiments and sides when possible. 

This weeks menu...

Big Cooking (6)
Burgers, Mahi Mahi, Chicken Nuggets, Fried Chicken
-In the oven is Brussels Sprouts and Bacon, and just plain bacon.

Here is Emma checking to make sure I didn't poison the nuggets. 

Big Cooking (5)

Big Cooking (4)
Brussels Sprouts Chips

In the top photo, I also have fresh green beans steaming, but those were being made for that days lunch. They do reheat well in our toaster oven, but I didn't buy enough to make more than one meal. Jared and I really like them. 

We have also been doing smoothies somewhat regularly again. We started up again with just fruit, then I slowly started adding in veggies. As long as the smoothie didn't end up green, Emma was game. 

Then I made this guy. 

Very Green Smoothie-
Very Green Smoothie

I always try to start my smoothies by blending up the room temp/fridge items first, then adding in the frozen items. For this smoothie, I blended up 1/2 a can of crushed pineapple with a few scoops of chopped, frozen collard greens. Once that was going, I added in a small chunk of shredded, frozen zucchini and blended a bit more. It smelled really yummy, so I poured a bit in a shot glass for Emma to try. 

She LOVED it. 

So, I added in the rest of the collard greens (maybe a 1/2 cup total), the rest of the can of pineapple, the rest of the zucchini (maybe a 1/2 cup in total), then tossed in a whole (cut in half) frozen banana. Once that was blended, I added a dollop of coconut oil for a dose of healthy fat, then served.  

Very Green SMoothie

Very Green Smoothie

I think she liked it. 

Has anyone heard of Eggs and Soldiers? It's a food served often over in the UK. It is now a food that will be served often here in our house. 

Eggs and Soldiers (2)

Eggs and Soldiers is basically a soft-boiled egg (the whites are cooked, the yolk is runny) with strips of buttered toast to dip in the gooey yolk. We don't do toast, so I made some yam fries instead. 

It was a big hit. Emma and I both loved them. And, they are easier to make then the over easy eggs I manage to screw up every morning (with less clean up even!). With our handy-dandy toaster oven, I can even make up a big patch of yam or sweet potato fries and just reheat them while the eggs are cooking. Win-win in my book!

Only problem is, now I need to buy some egg cups. Our improvised "cups" worked this morning, but were not as user friendly as a real egg cup (or so I imagine). 

So, curious what the proof is mentioned in the title? I'll show, then tell. 

She's Growing

Proof that the kiddo is growing. This summer, this skirt reached her knees. In case you can't quite see it in the picture, her skirt is know easily one of my hand-widths above her knee now. Into the donate pile with these!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Horse Lessons

Oh man, horse lessons are so much fun to watch. I keep trying to upload videos, but it doesn't seem to want to work. Bummer, cause watching Emma lope on Meggie is so incredibly cool! (For those unfamiliar, horse paces go walk, trot, lope, canter, gallop).

So the last few weeks of lessons in photos.

*I suppose I should explain how lessons work. Typically Jill, Emma and I go out to get Meggie from her paddock. Jill lets Emma do most of the work, but is there if needed. We bring Meggie in, brush her, tack her up (saddle blanket and saddle to start), then Emma does her ground work.

Ground work entails Emma holding onto Meggies lead rope and walking, trotting and loping Meggie in circles. She starts going one way, then switches to work both sides of Meggies body (very important).

Once Meggie is warmed up, it's time to put on the bridal and bit so Emma can ride.

Now, pictures!

From March 15th.

Horse Lessons 15Mar13- Catching Meggie (2)
We started showing up early so that Emma and I could catch Meggie and groom her before lessons. Gives Emma more ground work and riding time. 

Horse Lessons 15Mar13- Catching Meggie (3)
Meggie really is the perfect height for Emma

Horse Lessons 15Mar13- Catching Meggie (5)
Getting the halter on

Horse Lessons 15Mar13- Catching Meggie (6)
Tying the knot

Horse Lessons 15Mar13- Catching Meggie (8)
Leading Meggie to the barn

Horse Lessons 15Mar13- Catching Meggie
Such a cute pair!

Horse Lessons 15Mar13 (10)
Emma enjoys the ground work. She understands how important it is to the horse, and that it makes her a better rider.

Horse Lessons 15Mar13
A blurry photo, but a good shot of her posting.

March 19th
Horse Lessons 19Mar13 (2)
Playing the bean bag game. Jill (Emma's trainer) places bean bags around the arena for Emma to maneuver Meggie into specific placement. Then Emma needs to throw the bean bags into a circle in the middle of the arena. She loved this activity. 

March 22nd
Horse Lessons 22Mar13 Treat Time (2)
No pictures of Emma actually riding or doing ground work. Here she is trying to turn Meggie loose, while Meggie and Otis try to get at the homemade treats they know she has. 

Horse Lessons 22Mar13 Otis (2)
While Emma is busy with Meggie, Otis decides to check out what I am holding. 

Horse Lessons 22Mar13 Treat Time (4)
As you can see by the big smile, Emma loves giving them treats. 

Horse Lessons 22Mar13 Treat Time
All gone! Time to get out of the cold. Brrr!

That's it for Montana horse lessons for a bit. We may have someone lined up to teach Emma while we are in Texas, but we have no idea what is going to happen while we are there, so we will just play it by ear. 

We will miss Jill, Meggie, and Otis, but we look forward to starting lessons back up the moment we get back to Montana. Mama's even gonna take lessons when we get back!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What's Coming and What's Been

In four days, Jared, Emma and I will be leaving for Texas. At this point, we know for sure Jared will be there for a month.

Not so sure for Emma and I.

Apparently Jared is required to stay on base. As it, can't sleep off base in a rental with us. Added to that, we are not approved to stay in his room with him. So...when we get there, Jared is going to chat with the base hotel manager to see if Jared can transfer his officers room for a family room. We'd have to pay the difference (a whopping $2.50 per day), but it would be so worth it for all of us to be able to stay together.

If that doesn't work, Emma and I will hanging out for a week or so then heading home.

Maybe in a new truck.

We are finding having one vehicle here a bit tough. Jared ends up having a TON of running around to do at work, with no rhyme or reason, so not having a car makes it hard on him. For Emma and I, it isn't a big deal not having a car, except when we have horse lessons. There is no way for us get to horse lessons without a car.


I would love to be a one car family, but it just isn't going to work. We talked about getting Jared a motorcycle, but that really only serves one purpose, and while fairly inexpensive in vehicle terms, not very practical. We know we eventually want to be able to tow horses, or a camper, or, well, stuff so we figure lets just get what we want for the next 10-20 years.

Enter, the truck. Trucks are way less expensive in Texas, and we don't have time to look now. So, we'll start looking once we get to Texas.

If we do end up stay the entire month in Texas, Emma and I will head home when Jared heads to California. With the trouble we are having figuring out housing in Texas, we decided to skip that drama for California. Emma and I will hang out at home, then maybe take the train out to California for the last 2 weeks that Jared is in California. I mean, we can't completely miss out on the beach now can we?

Enough about what's coming. How about a bit of whats been happening.

Emma has moved out.

Over the last month or so, we've been doing a bit of rearranging in the house. After clearing out the craft room and moving our bedroom into that room, we had plans to leave the other bedroom empty. The thought was to get use to living in a smaller space.

Then I got bugged not using a room we were paying for. So, we moved all of Emma's toys and books into that room. The bed frame for the bunk bed was still in there, but we had no mattress on it, so we put some boards on there for her to use as a platform for her animals.

Then on Thursday night, she asked if she could sleep in there. We piled a ton of blankets onto the platform, but it wasn't comfy so Emma decided to come back into our bedroom.

On Friday night, this is what we ended up with.
Moving Out 22Mar13

Everything went well for the most part. Emma had a bad dream at one point and I woke up to her whimpering in her sleep. I immediately ran in there and soothed her only to realize that she wasn't even awake and that my soothing actually woke her up. She apologized for waking me up. So cute. 

And here was last night. 
Moving Out 23Mar13

We put the twin mattress onto the bottom frame, using some pallets to create a bit of a platform next to the mattress. No problems last night. My baby is growing up. She has officially moved out without looking back. 

Well, I suppose she does still need me for some things. Like making breakfast. Off to fry up some eggs!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Still Alive

We are still here! It's been an odd couple of weeks, lots of feeling lazy and such, but we are still here.

We have been doing lots of cooking and foodish experimenting.

I know most of you aren't all that interested in the foodish stuff, but I'm gonna bore you with it anyway.

Egg Drop Soup. Emma loves egg drop soup. For her birthday a few years ago, we asked Emma where she would like to go for her birthday lunch, and she asked for egg drop soup.

Egg Drop Soup (6)

Egg Drop Soup (8)

Egg Drop Soup (10)

Egg Drop Soup
All gone!

The secret (at least in our house) for good egg drop soup is good chicken bone broth (a.k.a stock or broth). We have tried making egg drop soup with beef bone broth, but the flavor is so much stronger, that neither Emma nor I liked it much. 

For those interested, here are some links (here, here, and here)that explain how awesome bone broth is for your body and health. The first one also tells you how to make beef bone broth. 

The last week of February was spent recovering from a dairy overdose. You would think that after the first two episodes we would realize that dairy just needs to stay out of our diets, but sometimes cheese, ice cream and yogurt are hard to resist (especially around holidays and parties). So, a little here, a little there, and what do we end up with?

Poor Emma with a leaky nose, going through a box of tissues a day for 3 days straight, with an irritating cough, scratchy throat and bags under her eyes. 

This seemed to help a bit. 

Steam Bath
Steam bath with eucalyptus essential oils. 

This also seemed to help, at least to distract her. 

Playing with Oobleck 
(I have another not so good photo that actually shows how red and raw her nose is, but this picture is a better quality picture)

The first day she wasn't feeling well, she decided to make a felt horse for her friend. She worked on it throughout the week, and she did a great job on it. 

Isahia's Horse
Emma working on a felt horse, with tissues close at hand. 
(I forgot to take a finished photo)

So, that was the rest of our February. Like I said, March so far has been pretty lazy and slow, but crazy and busy at the same time. This week and next week, Emma has horse lessons 2x a week, I have  a doctors appointment and a chiropractor appointment, Emma and I have dentist appointments, Emma has 2 more art classes, we (as a family) are spending Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday in Missoula (I have an appointment on Monday there), a playdate on Wednesday, and something else I am probably forgetting. 

Oh, and we leave sometime around the 28th for a month in Texas, then two months in California. So I should probably add packing into the next two weeks somewhere. Which will include cooking enough food for us for the three day car drive as well as a meal or two to get us through the first few days in Texas (till we can find suitable food). 

It makes me tired just thinking about it which is why I keep putting it all off. Here is what we have done so far this month. 

A hike and lunch out (3)
Walking the trails on a nice day 
(that ended up being colder than we expected)

A hike and lunch out (4)
Emma trying to get Jared to keep racing her.

A hike and lunch out (2)
He did. 

After walking the trails we went out to lunch, then did groceries. 

A hike and lunch out (5)
Jared is actually coloring, he just holds the crayon weird and you can't see it. 

Emma's been making cakes lately. Duct tape and cardboard cakes. At least they don't have gluten. 

Emma's Cakes (2)

Horse lessons are going great. I don't take as many photos due to the not so awesome lighting, but I do have a few photos and 2 videos for your viewing pleasure. Um, never mind. The videos are taking forever to  upload. Photos though!

Horse Lessons 8Mar13 (3)
Every lesson starts with ground work. 

Horse Lessons 8Mar13 (6)
This week she got to walk around the barrels and the learn the proper way to reverse direction. 

Emma is learning some pretty technical stuff (for her age) and having lots of fun at the same time. We love Jill, our trainer, and wish that we could stay here forever so we could always work with her. With Jared's job, there is a good possibility that we will be back here again before he retires, so we have that to look forward too :0)

There has been lots of painting going on here.

collaborative art 13Mar13 (2)
Emma's Lion

collaborative art 13Mar13 (3)
Emma critiquing the dragon she drew that I painted (I added the scales).

collaborative art 13Mar13 (4)
The watercolor paints we used. You can see all the colors we created on the cover.

Emma is on a drawing and watercolor painting kick (which I love watching). Yesterday she suggested a competition to see who could paint a watercolor with more colors (both of us working out of the same watercolor paint set). She drew both of the pictures, and we painted them together. Jared got to be the judge. He decided that mine had more colors, but Emma's had a wider variety of colors. Very diplomatic. 

And last, the foodish experimenting. We have started making more cultured, fermented foods. A week or so ago I made gingered carrots from the cook book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Follon. No one really likes to eat them straight from the jar, but added to our homemade mayo with some seasonings, it makes a fantastic salad dressing/dip. 

I also started making water kefir. Water kefir is a fermented drink made from sugar water and kefir grains (little bunches of yeast and bacteria). Mixed with a little lemon juice, it makes fantastic lemonade. 

Why all the fermented foods and drinks? Probiotics and healthy enzymes, both of which are essential for a healthy gut. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy body.

And, that's as much as I am gonna say about it. To tired to jump on my soap box.

Hope you all have a good weekend!