Friday, September 23, 2011

Some Happy Things in my Life!

3:45 in the morning 
on August 31st,
 we heard cracking thunder outside our windows and the sky kept lighting up with some of the brightest lightning I have ever seen.
It awoke Tracy and I from our nightly slumber and we knew that any moment we would have kids bursting through our doors to join us!  Sure enough, Ethan and Jade came running in shortly after we made that comment and Ethan hopped right in our bed in the middle of us and snuggled in.
It felt like a moment from “The Sound of Music”. 
He was quite nervous. 
We sat there all cuddled together and watched and listened for the next hour as we experienced the craziest storm ever...which included hail and rain and we even  got up and went to our front porch and enjoyed watching the hail pummel down.

I had the words to this song going through my mind all day long …
”When the dog bites, when the bees sting, when I’m feeling bad. I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel…So bad!!

Here are some of my FAVORITE moments from the month of August that brought many SMILES, JOY and HAPPINESS to my life!
FAMILY moments and simple pleasures 
are truly the things that bring my life the most happiness!
I am surrounded by such an abundance of beauty where we live.  Right across the road from our driveway is a field of horses.  The sunset was perfect this night I snapped this photo.  I truly never tire of the changing colors of the morning/night sky. I treasure and enjoy each sunset that I am able to experience!

My kids arrived home safe and sound from my parents house.
It is always a bitter/sweet time sending my kids to my parents.  I love that they get lots of ONE on ONE with my parents, but I am always a little nervous and hope that they don’t get in an accident while driving.    
It’s truly one of my most joyous moments of the year,
when I see my kids drive up after their visit and to hug and kiss them and to know that they are home with me once again safe and sound! 

“I am the one and only”…
LOVE this song! 
(here to listen to it)
Tracy is always surprising me by purchasing songs on iTunes
and then coming home and hooking his iPhone up to our speakers and playing the newly purchased songs and surprising me with them while I’m getting dinner ready.  
This song always makes me smile  
and I haven’t heard it for years.  
While the kids were at my parents house for a few days, Tracy loaded 
“Doc Hollywood” on our NETFLIX and we watched this together.  
Can I just say how much I LOVE that show
such a good show with a wonderful message!
It makes me both laugh AND cry!  Michael J. Fox is "The One and Only" and is definitely one of my all time favorite actors and plays the perfect character in this film!   
I could watch this film weekly and never tire of it.

 after a long hectic summer, I came home to an
open notebook on my counter with such a heartfelt note from Tracy… 
these notes mean more to me than any store bought gift!
These words touched my heart greatly to think how much I am loved and adored by my hubby.

(Click here for our FUN happy adventure of making tie-dye shirts and picking Huckleberries…these two moments definitely are at the top of the list of HAPPY moments for me in August)

Cross Country…
 Tis the time of year to head out and enjoy the weather and watch Jade run at his Cross Country meets…
I enjoy this time of year SO much and I love cheering Jade on from the sidelines while he runs.   
 He is awesome and ran such a great race this past week.

(I’m always amazed when I glance over at the team before a race and they are all kneeling down in a circle with arms folded and saying a prayer).   I’m also amazed at how NICE and kind all of his team members are to him.  He may be one of the slowest runners on the team, but he has one of the biggest fan clubs of anyone!
I spent a few days in August scanning in photos
from Tracy’s photo albums and his family’s photo albums  and every time I see a photo of Tracy when he was younger it just makes me melt looking at what an adorable little kid my handsome hubby used to be.   

Feeling so extremely blessed that our lives crossed paths 
during our college days and that I get to be the 
lucky one that got to marry him!
Eating lunch with Ethan at school…
 it’s amazing how such a little thing like going and eating lunch with kids is, but it is SO big to them!!  I'm savoring that he still takes my hand and walks with me down the hall when I come to the school to visit him and that he is excited to show me off to his friends. I'm sure once he gets in middle school next year things will be totally different.  What a priceless treasure these sweet moments in time are!     

Ethan devouring the Harry Potter series books… 
in the past month he has read the first four books and just started the 5th one.
He is an “action mode” kid and I love 
 that he has to have a wand in his hand
(that he cut and carved with his new knife he bought)
while he reads his books.
(anytime he comes across a spell in the book he has to 
hold his wand and say the spell
truly priceless!)
 He has definitely caught the reading bug!!  
I am just sad he is growing up too fast. 
He reads every spare second he gets (there is many a lunch/dinner time, when he can't put down his books long enough to eat) AND anytime we go anywhere in the car, he takes his books with.
He is SO adorable and makes me SMILE lots with his enthusiasm and zest for life!
 It cracks me up when I see him squatting when he reads and sometimes when he eats. 
He could seriously sit like this for hours and it is comfy to him!!!
It was a joyous day when I finally got Easter taken down from my entry shelf and YAY, I actually have Fall/Autumn decorations up for us to enjoy this next season.
I love FALL...
love the crispness in the air, the color ORANGE, the gorgeous colors of the changing leaves, pumpkin patches, straw and corn mazes, hay rides, caramel apples and all of the many other things that come with Autumn Time...
love the yummy baking of apple pie, pumpkin muffins and cookies, spiced cider, meal in a pumpkin and bowls of hot chili...

SO grateful for the abundance of little things
in my life that make it so BIG!!
Happiness is NOT a new beautiful house with all of the latest trends,
or a new shiny car, or new clothes, or home decor...

HAPPINESS is... taking time to appreciate all
of life's "Simple Treasures & Pleasures"
Happiness is... enjoying wonderful experiences
& relationships with family and friends  
Happiness is... "Loving the Life You Have"!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kimmie in Real Life! (week 16)

This week was kind of a "catch-up" from the craziness of the previous weeks and SO, I don't have too much to share as we spent half of the week, eating sandwiches from leftover sandwich fixin's from the previous weekend, AND we enjoyed green smoothies for three different meals. 

Needless to say, it was a great week and now I am finally caught up on this thread of posts for a week.

Here are the food highlights! 
We were in absolute HEAVEN 
with these yummy apples we had to enjoy all week long!
I purchased an 20 pound box of Gala apples for $8.00.
WOW, these apples were freshly picked from the orchard they grew in and were crunchy, juicy and the best snack enjoyed all week long!
I just got some delicious apples from my neighbor as well that we will be enjoying for a few weeks.
I love when my kids are hungry and begging for a snack and we have an abundance of apples to cut up and enjoy!   They never tire of eating apples!
"An apple or two a day keeps the doctor away"!
YAY, we were SO excited to be able to enjoy some more Green Smoothie on three different days this week!
My family never tires of the yummy creations we put together.

This was a "throw together whatever you can find in the fridge/freezer smoothie.
These random ingredients were absolutely delicious together!
YES, when it's this time of the year, 
Zucchini Quiche, Casserole and Bread are enjoyed multiple times. 
Once harvest is over,
(other than enjoying zucchini bread and an occasional quiche through the winter),
we have to wait until next year to enjoy them again.
 I absolutely LOVE this muffin recipe
and I am hooked on adding in the ground flax seed and whole wheat flour as it makes a really hearty but moist muffin and the leftovers (if there are any), freeze well to pull out to add to lunches.
Such a yummy meal...
delicious corn on the cob from our neighbors garden,
juicy, ripe cantaloupe
and a delicious salad!
Everyone was thrilled when this was served for dinner!
 It had been a long week and I decided to surprise 
my hubby by making his favorite...
Definitely, a hit anytime they are made up!

It was a hectic Saturday
as I had to work and I came home to Tracy up to his eyeballs in projects
and so the quickest thing I could think of to throw together
was to whip up a batch of these tasty  
Buttermilk Biscuits
along with a smoothie!
Butter and fresh local honey spread atop these muffins were fantastic!!

 Along with the busyness of my week, I had 2 days where I did some canning.
I took some of my abundance of zucchini and bottled up some relish with a recipe that my sweet friend Tauna passed along to me.
Since we LOVE tuna sandwiches, this will be SO yummy to add some of this to our sandwich fixin's.
(post coming in a few weeks with canning info and canning recipes,
which this recipe will be included in that post)
I also took our garden tomatoes and
bottled up a batch of Tomato Soup.
This soup is AWESOME and we enjoy it all throughout the year, when we need something quick to eat, but I haven't planned something else.
I got this recipe from my sweet friend Connies' for the recipe

The only adjustments I made to it, were I adjusted the salt to 1/4 cup
and the sugar to 1-1/4 cup, other than that, I followed her recipe.
WOW, this tastes SO fresh and if you don't have time to make a pot of homemade soup,
this is the next best thing.
Serve it with some homemade breadsticks,
OR, grilled cheese sandwiches and it is a perfect meal!
Week of September 11th to 17th
Buttermilk Pancakes
Zucchini Casserole
Took leftover sandwich fixins' and made sandwiches for dinner

Steel Cut Oats
Sandwiches on Multi-Grain Bread, chips, string cheese, banana,
Zucchini Quiche, Green Smoothie
(made 2 batches of French bread and a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies to deliver to people that had done thoughtful things for us, like pick cherries off their cherry tree, and bringing us a large bag of FRESH raw almonds)

Steel Cut Oats
Sandwiches on homemade Hoagies, chips, grapes, string cheese, chocolate chip cookies
Leftover Zucchini Quiche, Green Smoothie
(made a batch of Zucchini Pickle Relish)

Huckleberry Muffins, Green Smoothie (I did CHATS at home from 7-9 and so I was able to be there to send my kids off to school!)
Sandwiches on homemade hoagies, chips, apple, Goodie Bars
Broccoli Slaw Salad, corn on the cob, cantaloupe

Steel Cut Oats
Broccoli Slaw Salad, muffins, apple, string cheese
(made a batch of French Bread for Jade to take to his Pasta Party for Cross Country)
(also made a batch of energy balls so Jade could have them for energy for his Cross Country meet on Friday) 
(spent all afternoon bottling up homemade tomato soup)
Since we had to drop Jade off at 6:00 to a party, take Ethan to Stake Pack Night at 6:30 our dinner consisted of Garlic Cheese toast and apple slices

Steel Cut Oats
Tracy (leftover tomato soup, bread and butter, apple, peanut butter balls)
Jade (school lunch since he had a cross country meet today, but he took string cheese, apple and peanut butter balls for energy before his run)
Kimmie and Ethan (tuna sandwich, string cheese, apple, peanut butter balls)
(made a batch of Snickerdoodles to surprise Tracy with, since these are his favorite)
Tracy decided to take us to Wendy's after Jades Cross Country run and we got Chili and baked potatoes

(I had to work from 8-12)
Tracy sent me out the door with fried eggs, toast and apple
He and the boys enjoyed this same breakfast as well
Lunch consisted of a yummy smoothie, Buttermilk Biscuits
We took the kids to town as Jade has worn out his running shoes and so we went to find him some new shoes. Tracy took us to get Pizza as a "we made it through a hectic week" celebration.

I'm SO grateful for the ABUNDANCE  
that I have in my life right now.
 An abundance of healthy, nourishing things to eat,
an abundance of clean drinking water and water to bathe in,
and abundance of clean, fresh air to breathe,
an abundance of health in my home,
and abundance of beauty that surrounds me,
an abundance of friends and family that love and care about me
an ABUNDANCE of love in my home 
with my three favorite people in the world...
Tracy, Jade & Ethan!
I am blessed beyond measure 
and just when I think that life can't get any better, 
it does! 
 Life is Oh, So Good!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kimmie in Real Life! (weeks 14 & 15)

(cute little packages of cookies delivered to family and friends this week)

So, I know that this challenge should have ended 2 weeks ago,
but I still have butter, cheese, flour, sugar and plenty of other staples ingredients left (however, I'm getting really low on raisins, paper towels and laundry soap, but should make it a few more weeks)  
and I also have a large abundance of garden produce... 
SO, I am going to go the rest of the month to see if I can make it 4-5  months instead of 3 months with no major shopping.
I really think I can do it!

This post shows how absolutely CRAZY and non-stop my past 2 weeks have been.  
(I really love that I have been keeping track of what we ate, what I baked, etc... each day. It's a journal for me and I am grateful I have been doing this). 

Here are the food highlights...
 These energy balls are SO yummy 
and full of a good balance of protein/sugar
for all of us, especially for Jade when he runs Cross Country.

Neighbor kids have also enjoyed these when they come to play at our house
and I hear the words.
"Mom, what can we have for a snack" 

I just make them up and keep them in the fridge
so they are nice and firm and then when any of us need an  
energy PICK UP, 
these are perfect to grab and eat.
I send Jade with two of them in a small container in his lunch box
so he can eat them before he runs each day after school.
Artichokes are truly one of our favorite things to enjoy. 
WOW, we had the best sale EVER on them...they were 2 for $1.00 and SO I bought $4.00 worth of them. Enough for two meals worth and we all got our own. 
yummy, Yummy, YUMMY!
I made up 1/2 batch of tortillas
browned some sausage and drained it,
cooked some eggs with onions and bell pepper
topped with cheese and put on some fresh tomatoes, 
filled tortillas and rolled them up,
I took 2 of the burritos and cut them in half and we each enjoyed 1/2 a burrito along with our Artichoke.
I took the other four burritos, wrapped them in Saran Wrap and put them in our lunches the next day.
This dish is always a hit anytime it is made up!
Jade had a Pasta Party for Cross Country and was asked to bring a Pasta Dish. 
I had people asking for the recipe when I came to pick him up and they couldn't believe how good it was.
I'm so glad Tracy found this recipe and made adjustments to it to perfect it with ingredients that we always have on hand, because it is definitely 
one of the biggest hits with the kids!

What a JOY it was to go out to our garden
and turn over leaves and find the surprise of GREEN BEANS! 
Many a people in our neighborhoods have had really bad problems with beans this year and hardly anyone has had any grow successfully.  
I only ever make Shepherd's Pie at Harvest Time because I only like to make it with FRESH garden green beans (not ones from a can) and so we were in heaven with this yummy meal.
I also added in a large zucchini and used RED potatoes and onions from our garden as well.
It is SO satisfying making meals 
with veggies that you grew yourself!

I know in this picture my fridge still looks cluttered,  
but it was a 100% improvement from what it did look like.   
While cleaning out my fridge I came across a package of Smoked Salmon that expires in a month and so I made up a yummy batch of Smoked Salmon and Artichoke Dip for our lunch the next day.
Tracy had splurged and purchased a Rotisserie Chicken on our trip to town and we enjoyed it with some fresh fruit for lunch.
 I took the leftover chicken and carcass, 
boiled it up and made a yummy gravy and we enjoyed  
Hawaiian Haystacks for two different dinners.

Our family LOVES these because everyone gets to top them however they like and they LOVE all of the yummy fresh veggies that you can top them with.

This meal is very economical
and if you are swimming in produce,
it is perfect to have a fun way to use your produce up.
 I had a week of LOTS of baking...
there were only a few of my bread recipes that I didn't bake up this week.
Multi-Grain rolls and Hoagie Buns seem to always be the biggest hit!

Many desserts were made as well this week.
Coconut Cream Pie,
Lemon Meringue Pie
Seven Layer Goodie Bars
Double Chocolate Cookies
 and Fruit & Nut Cookies were what were served at the anniversary party!
I love making sure nothing goes to waste!
SO, I took the leftover rolls from the party and 
cut them into chunks, 
put them on a cookie sheet and 
baked them at 350 degrees until they were lightly browned.

They were the perfect bread crumbs 
for our Zucchini Casserole.
This is such a yummy way to use 
garden zucchini, carrots and onions.
It throws together quickly and reminds me of Thanksgiving 
with it's "stuffing like" texture and taster.
Truly delicious!!
It was a decadent 2 weeks with many
delicious and yummy homemade treats to enjoy!
The only photo of a smoothie I got this week.
WOW, we felt like we had gone to a smoothie shoppe 
and purchased was that good!
I know that this the furthest thing from being frugal, 
but this is only something we purchase once a year.
When I take my kids school shopping each year, I let them pick out a bag of individual chips for the first few months of school lunches.   
After these are gone, we don't purchase anymore until the next years school shopping trip.
(Chips are definitely something that we don't each much of.)
Needless to say, these came in REALLY handy for our two picnics. Everyone that joined us for the picnic could grab their choice of chip to enjoy with their lunch.
With how expensive large bags of chips are right now, this was actually quite economical as well.
SO, speaking from this last weekend's experience, I do have to say that this is a another HELPFUL thing to throw in for a  multi-day family trip or picnicking experience.

Sometimes convenience is more important 
then the cost of something!
Friday and Saturday were two family days with Tracy's family...
Friday we went to Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
Saturday we headed to Yellowstone to see the sites.

With getting home close to 11:30 each night I didn't have time to do any bread making and I didn't have any loaves in my freezer to pull out.
However,  I was able to throw together a Potato Salad  
AND two batches of Chocolate Chip Cookies for us to add to our picnic lunches.
YES, I know my challenge is 3 months of No Shopping (only produce and milk), but we had to make an exception to this rule to accommodate our family outing with Tracy's family.
We purchased deli ham and turkey, alfalfa sprouts and French Bread
(I brought a container of sliced tomatoes from our garden, sliced cheese and mayo/mustard all mixed together).
If you need a great way to fix sandwiches on a picnic.
purchase a loaf of French Bread from the bakery department,
slice it into 4 pieces,
slice each piece in half,
top with your sandwich fixins'
and VOILA, perfect, yummy sandwich!!

If you can't have homemade bread, 
this is the next best thing to it!
August 28th to September 3rd
(Tracy and I left early and went and spent 2 hours picking huckleberries before church) 
(kids ate Fruit & Nut Granola cereal that we had in our food storage for breakfast)
Unthawed another loaf of bread and made roast beef sandwiches for lunch that we enjoyed with chips and grapes...we packed these in the cooler and went and spent another 3 hours picking more huckleberries
Came home and put berries on cookie sheets in freezer and made a batch of buttermilk pancakes and added in fresh huckleberries to the batter
(we ended up with 51 cups of berries...just a little over 3 gallons)

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy and Ethan) Roast beef sandwiches, grapes, gumdrop bread, (that I had pulled out of freezer), cherry tomatoes from our garden
(Jade) Leftover broccoli salad, peanut butter and honey sandwich, grapes, string cheese 
Made dough for tortillas before I went and picked up Jade from Cross Country...after we got home I rolled them out and cooked them
Dinner we enjoyed Artichokes (they were on sale 2 for $1.00) and we shared breakfast burritos.
We made Apple/Huckleberry Pie and homemade ice cream for dessert
(made a batch of peanut butter energy balls)

Steel Cut Oats
(lunch for all of us) Breakfast burritos, banana, grapes, leftover pie
Shepherd's Pie (made with green beans, zucchini, potatoes and onions from our garden) French Bread
Finished rest of our ice cream, pie and also enjoyed some homemade OREO cookies
(took French Bread and cookies to my neighbor that was celebrating a birthday...also delivered cookies to a lady that I go visiting teaching to)
(made another start of ARTISAN Bread) 

Steel Cut Oats
(lunch for all of us)Shepherd's pie, French bread, apple, homemade OREO cookies
(went and had lunch with Ethan...great time!)
Made Baked Mac and Cheese and Artisan Bread for Jade to take to his Cross Country Pasta Party
Tracy, Ethan and I enjoyed a delicious smoothie for dinner made with the rest of our homemade yogurt, huckleberries, blueberries, grapes, Swiss chard, celery and ice
(made Salmon and Artichoke Dip)
(took Apple Huckleberry Pie to my sweet friend Tauna)

Steel Cut Oats
(Tracy me and Ethan) Salmon and Artichoke dip, Toasted Artisan Bread, string cheese, cherry tomatoes from our garden, grapes, homemade OREO's
(Jade) had school lunch as it was a cross country meet today and he didn't want to have to drag his lunch box to the meet, however for snacks to give him energy before running he ate peanut butter energy balls, grapes and string cheese)
(crazy night...had a cross country meet up at Green Canyon and then had to race back to be to back to school night and so we grabbed burgers at Burger King at the south Rexburg exit and barely made it to the elementary with 5 minutes to spare for back to school night)

Steel Cut Oats
Salmon and Artichoke Dip, toasted Artisan Bread, string cheese, grapes and peanut butter energy balls
Pulled a jar of Bottled Tomato Soup and served it with fresh corn on the cob and toasted Artisan Bread

Smoothie made with fresh raspberries, peaches, banana, yogurt, grapes and ice
Tracy bought a Rotisserie chicken from town and we enjoyed sandwiches for lunch 

September 4th to 10th
Peaches, Bananas and Zucchini Bread
Had Tracy's brother and sister-in-law over and Tracy had purchased a Rotisserie Chicken the day before and so I pulled off the meat, boiled the carcass for about 45 minutes and took the broth and made Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner
Enjoyed Peanut Butter Energy balls and double chocolate cookies for a treat as well
(my sister-in-law and I enjoyed an afternoon of baking...she baked some lemon cupcakes and Seven Layer Bars and we made a batch of Double Chocolate cookies, ground some whole wheat flour and made a batch of Multi-Grain Rolls as well.

Crazy day getting ready for Tracy's parents 50th anniversary party
each grabbed a banana and Tracy fried us an egg and we had it on a toasted Multi-Grain Roll for breakfast
(spent morning baking French Bread, Multi-Grain Rolls, Lion House Rolls, Coconut and Lemon Meringue Pie, Double Chocolate and Fruit/Nut cookies)  
 5:00...was one FUN night of celebrating with Tracy's parents and family

Steel Cut Oats
(my house was such a wreck from baking for the party and we got back so late, I didn't have time to throw lunches together so my kids ended up eating school lunch and Tracy and I went and had lunch together since we didn't get to connect much this past weekend)  
Leftover Haystacks,

Steel Cut Oats
Multi-Grain Rolls with tuna fish, grapes, apple, string cheese, Seven Layer Bars
Zucchini Casserole (took my leftover rolls from the party, broke them into pieces, toasted them and made casserole from our zucchhini, carrots and onions from our garden)
Went with Tracy's mom, sisters and nieces to ZUMBA!  WOW! what a fun, exciting workout. Had such a great time!

Steel Cut Oats
Zucchini Bread, string cheese, cherry tomatoes, apple
(went with Tracy's family to "Fat Cat's" and enjoyed pizza, bowling and mini-glow in the dark golf)

Smoothie with peaches, pineapple, grapes, banana, yogurt and ice
Lunch...ham/turkey sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes and sprouts, potato salad, grapes, string cheese, homemade chocolate chip cookies, chips 
Ate dinner at Merry Piglets with Tracy's family (beef fajitas with all of the fixin's)

Green Smoothie
Lunch...ham/turkey sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes and sprouts, potato salad, grapes, string cheese, homemade chocolate chip cookies, chips
(bought a loaf of bakery french bread, cut it into 4 pieces and made sandwiches with it)
Enjoyed ice cream at Old Faithful Inn while we waited for Old Faithful to go off

Have a wonderful, enjoyable,
happy and healthy week!