6.27.2016

Motherhood

I would be hard pressed to think of just one word to describe Motherhood, but I read it described as relentless elsewhere and that is just about perfectly fitting.

It is beautifully relentless.
It is frustratingly relentless.
It is happily relentless.
It is painfully relentless.
It is just relentless.

The same fights, the same chores, the same fun, the same games. Those moments that you want to last forever, and the ones that you want to pack a bag and run away from it all. I have spent so many moments in the past few years wanting to run away from it all. 

But I know those days will pass all too quickly. We are a third of the way through Gwen's childhood. Before I know it she will be off to college, or traveling the world, and the relentless chase will be... well, not "over," but maybe not so relentless.

So one day at a time.

And hear this, Mama. I see you.
In the store when your baby is having a meltdown. When you're at the end of your rope. When you are having a second to yourself. When you are having the best time with your little love. I see you.
And I send you all my love, because I get it.


"When my children remember their childhood, I want only for them to remember that their mother gave it her all. She worried too much, she failed at times, and she did not always get it right.. but she tried her hardest to teach them about kindness, love, compassion, and honesty. Even if she had to learn from her own mistakes, she loved them enough to keep going, even when things seemed hopeless, even with life knocked her down. I want them to remember me as the woman who always got back up."
- unknown

6.24.2016

Twice Baked Acorn Squash

This dish was divine. I'm just going to put that right out there to start. Trav and I each ate half the squash, and the moment I took my first bite, I was loath to give him his at all!

This recipe is another adaption from Good Life Farm. What can I say? She's been giving me some great ideas over the past few months.

She used sausage in her's, but I had some awesome chicken thighs already cooked up in my fridge, so I used those instead. But lets get to the recipe.


Twice Baked Acorn Squash 
(adapted from Good Life Farm)

1 Acorn Squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out.
1 small Chicken Breast or 1 large Thigh
1 clove garlic, minced
Breadcrumbs
Butter
Salt, Pepper, and Parsley
Grated Cheese, optional 

1. Preheat your oven to 375*.  Bake your cut Acorn Squash for 30 minutes, until soft.

2. While your squash is baking, cook your chicken. Melt some butter or bacon grease in a pan and add chicken. Cook, covered, until all pink is gone. Remove from pan, cool, and chop small. (You can also cheat, like I did and use leftovers from another night! Easy, easy, easy.)


3. Remove squash from the oven, and let cool slightly (until you can work with it without burning yourself!). Scoop out the insides, being careful not to break through the skin.


4. Give the squash a gentle mash to break it up and mix in the minced garlic, plus salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix in the chicken to combine.


5. Scoop the chicken/squash mixture back into the squash skins, and top with a sprinkle of cheese, then a layer of breadcrumbs, and finally dot with butter.


6. Pop the dish back in the over and bake for another 20 minutes. I flipped my broiler on for a few minutes at the end to get a nice brown on the top, too.


After that is the best part... the eating. 

Make this. Seriously. Its filling and flavorful, and good for you. Then come back and report on how you like it.

6.20.2016

Last Day of Kindergarten

9 months ago Gwen bravely walked in the front door of a brand new school, in a brand new state, to her first day of primary school. She was nervous, but brave and excited. I bawled my whole walk home.

First Day
Last Day:

I wish I could go back and tell that me not to be scared. That there would be bumps along the way, but that on the last day of school I'd be happily bringing home a girl that has grown to love her school, have great friends in her class, and be a hard worker who excelled.

A video posted by Meegs (@tattooedmeegs) on

I should have expected no less, but there was so much "new" in those days, and I had no idea what to expect. Neither did she. But what we've found is that she loves homework, is an amazing reader and writer (consistently ahead in vocab), enjoys math and social studies.

Gwen and her teacher.
Even better... she is respectful, sets a good example for her peers, and is a great friend.


Two months until 1st grade (HOMG!), and I'm going to feel a lot more confident watching her walk in that door.


6.17.2016

Everyday Cake

Sarah's recipe

Everyday cakes are not pretty. They don’t beg to be frosted and make an underwhelming entrance to the table. But these are the cakes you can keep on your counter. They’re better the second or even third day. They make excellent snacks, go well with tea or coffee, and you always have room for a little slice after dinner. I’ll admit to getting into a bad habit of grilling thick slices with butter on hard mornings.

Pretty cakes that lead with frosting and follow with the cake have their place. They take time and show considerable care when presented on occasions. I hope everyone has a homemade birthday cake, every year. But on the in between days, our every days, try a simple cake.

- Sarah, Good Life Farm

Big, decadent, frosted desserts are wonderful on occasion, but I have to say, I agree with Sarah. They aren't my go to, nor are they what I want most days. Even for my birthdays I normally prefer a crumble, a cobbler, or a cookie cake to a large frosted thing. However cakes like this, denser, milder, and simpler, they are wonderful anytime. I made this one first in Pennsylvania, since I wanted to try the original recipe before I tried adapting it. Plus, then I had two very willing taste-testers to help me consume it.

With honey butter, and wine...

The second time I made this one, was attempting both high altitude adjustments and some personal taste adjustments, with the intention of taking most of it to yoga teacher training. I have to say, it was harder then I thought to share! I won't fret though, I will certainly be making this again soon! 


Everyday Cake 
Adapted from Good Life Farm (Suitable for High Altitude)

Ingredients:
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus 1 Tbsp, sifted
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 shakes of cardamom
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus 1 Tbsp

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and set it aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then add in the vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Set aside.


3. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next, but don’t over-beat it at the end. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.


4. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving warm or room temperature.

My Version
With less then a cup of sugar, this cake is not super sweet; and because of the whole wheat flour and corn meal, its not super soft. In fact, it reminds me more of a loaf or bread then a normal cake.


But it is also lovely with honey butter, and so satisfying grilled with a little butter and smeared with jam. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

6.13.2016

Yoga Girl and Those To Which We Aspire

Anyone who is really devoted to a certain activity normally has certain other practitioners that they admire. Teachers or professionals, they represent a certain level that you aspire to and there is nothing more exciting then getting to meet or study with them.

This year is a big one for me yoga-wise. Besides my teacher training, Wanderlust is coming in just a few weeks, and part of my excitement is the knowledge that I'm going to be studying with Kathryn Budig, Chelsey Korus, and Matt Giordano while there.

Another yogi on my list has always been Yoga Girl, aka Rachel Brathen. A few month ago I found out she was coming to Colorado, and I had to jump on that chance! This past weekend I headed up to Vail for the one of her classes (The Art of Letting Go) at the GoPro Mountain Games.

The location alone made it worth the trip. Vail is gorgeous!!




The class was a standard all levels class, but with a really incredible twist, as she had us pair off for some special sharing. It was intense and beautiful, and really made the experience unique.

There were about 600 of us there!

And even more awesome... afterwards she stuck around to meet anyone who wanted to meet her!


We lined up, and one by one she greeted, listen to, and hugged at least 300 of us!


It was a fun, beautiful day, and I'm so glad I had the chance to learn from such a sweet soul.

Now all I need is a class with Shiva Rea (and some private classes with one of these yogis), and my current list will be complete!

6.10.2016

Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands {2016 Roadtrip #3}

Nebraska: check!
South Dakota: check!

Last Friday I picked Gwen up from school in a fully loaded car, and we were on our way to check out another National Park/Monument. This time we headed North-East to the Badlands. Originally, before some scheduling adjustments, we had planned this trip for a three-day weekend. However, leaving right after school meant we only lost a half-day. We ate lunch in the car, and arrived at bedtime.

I didn't get one of South Dakota... the road we came in on was too small!
The drive wasn't too bad. A bit long, but pretty. Nebraska and South Dakota are very... wide open. We've had that on previous trips, but they are so much greener then southern Utah or Arizona! Google did decide to send me down 20 miles of unpaved, rutted road, which was fun in my Toyota Echo... but we made it just fine.  ;-)


And the view at the end was worth it!



We got our tent set up and settled in for the night.

Saturday we headed over to Jewel Cave National Monument for some cave exploration. We had a little over an hour to kill before our tour, so we did some hiking first.


The tour itself was about an hour and a half, and it was pretty fascinating down there! Different crystals, different colors, different formations... all naturally made.


After that Gwen and I got some lunch in Custer, SD, before heading to check out the Crazy Horse Memorial. Unfortunately it was too late to walk down to the mountain, but too early to take the bus, so this was the closest we got.


Still the information center has some fascinating items, and we enjoyed the side stop.

After that it was on to Mt. Rushmore!




We checked out the viewing area, found some of our favorite state flags in the walkway, then hiked around the Presidential Trail...


We got to look up some stone noses, and enjoy how pretty the Black Hills area really is. We ate some lunch in the car on our way back to the Badlands, where we were treated to another gorgeous sunset.



Sunday we got up, packed up our campsite, and headed out to drive through the park. We hiked the Notch Trail....


The white topped posts mark our trail route...


It was a moderate-strenuous hike, and the sun was hot, but the view at the end was gorgeous!!




We headed back to the car then... 



Checked out another "scenic vista"...


Then it was time to head home, under some very wide open blue skies!



We made one quick stop for some food, in a tiny Nebraska town, then headed home, arriving at dinner time. It was a great trip, though it felt wonderful to take a shower and climb into some clean sheets that night! I'm already looking forward to the next trip.