Friday, May 29, 2015

Psalm 61:2-4

 Psalm 61:2-4
"Hear my cry, O God;
 Give heed to my prayer.
 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
 Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
 For You have been a refuge for me,
 A tower of strength against the enemy.
 Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
 Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings."

I've kept coming back to this Psalm over and over the last couple of months while doing my devotions and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites. 

Sometimes in our pain or despair, He seems so far away and we wonder where He is. 

When I read this Psalm, I grasp that David is feeling like he's far away from God as well . That he feels like he's calling from the "end of the earth".  As far away as he could possibly be.

I can see the the reaching out of our hands, asking God to lead us, and then when we are near to him, just wanting to curl up and take refuge.  Refuge from the fears, worries and burdens of this world. 

It doesn't need to just be in the big battles of life, where we run to His for refuge.  Sometimes, it's in the quiet moments as well, where our hearts are faint and we're just a bit tired.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

I'm linking up today with Shay & Mel and I'm posting another "What's Up Wednesday" post.  They do this on the last Wednesday of the month and it's a fun way to recap what's been happening each month.  So here we go!

What we're eating this week

The weather has been so nice, but this week it's rainy and a bit colder.  So I'm totally taking advantage of it to make a pot of stew and another pot of chili.  Easy dinners to make and they're perfect on colder evenings.

What I'm reminiscing about

With Memorial Day weekend having just past, I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents.  Every Memorial Day weekend I would go up to the cemeteries in town with them and we would put flowers on all of our families graves.  They always had stories to tell, and they would tell us a little something about each one.

My grandparents have now been gone for a year and a half, and it's still so hard.  I wanted to go up to the cemeteries and help carry on the tradition, but I'm just not ready yet.  Being there makes it all too real.  And most days, I'd rather be in denial.

What I'm loving

I'm loving that we had a nice long weekend!  It was so fun to have Monday at home with Dan and the kids.  We had so much fun just lounging around the house.  The kids pulled out the Lego's and we just sat on the floor for hours building things.  My kids have all been outgrowing toys over the last couple of years, so it was fun to just see them play.

What we've been up to

Camping, yard work, spending time with family and soaking up some sun.  

What I'm dreading

I feel like my calender is always full of little things to do, and I'm dreading that I might not get everything done that I want to before the kids are home for the summer.  I just want everything crossed off my list, so the kids and I can run and play.

What I'm working on

The above... trying to just get everything done and caught up.  Pretty much chasing after the wind.  Because once the kids are home for the summer, this is how I feel...

What I'm excited about

In a couple weeks, Dan and I will be taking another little trip out of town.  It's more of a business trip for him and I get to tag along.  It's just for a night or two, but I'm excited!  

What I'm watching/reading

Ok, so I am not a TV watcher at all.  BUT I've recently been suckered into 2 shows that I shouldn't be wasting my time on, but just can't seem to help it.  Somebody stop me!!!  I started watching the Bachelorette... I know!  :(  But I'm hooked!  I need to see how it ends.  The other is The Bold and The Beautiful!  Again... I know!  :(   They had a really awkward situation and again I wanted to see how it ends.  This one I'll blame on all the laundry.  I was trying to find something to watch one day while I was folding mountains of laundry.  I knew doing laundry wasn't good for me!  Ha!

As far as reading, I actually haven't done a whole lot.  Who am I?  I've been doing my fair share of reading up on the royal family though.  I LOVE reading about them!  It must be my inner Princess!  ;)

What I'm listening to

Right now as I'm typing this out, I'm listening to nothing.  The house is completely quiet.  Bliss!!! 

What I'm wearing

I've been living in my capri's, t-shirts and flip flops.  This week I'm back to jeans and long sleeves.  You never know in Montana.

What I'm doing this weekend

I think we are going to drive up and visit Dan's parents.  We have to be back by Sunday because we are having our last Sunday school class for the kids until Fall.  The kids have been earning points towards a fun day and it just happened to work out for our last day. 

What I'm looking forward to

I'm looking forward to the kids getting out of school and letting them sleep in for a bit in the mornings.  I love a quiet morning where I can enjoy a cup of coffee before we all start our day.

What else is new

Nothing that I can think of.  We really aren't doing anything overly exciting, and I thought about skipping this months What's Up Wednesday, but I want to look back and see what we've been up to through out the year and I think this is a fun way to do it.  Even if there's not a whole lot is going on.

What is your favorite thing to grill/BBQ

We BBQ all the time.  Even in the winter months.  It's just too easy not to.  Usually steaks, burgers, salmon and chicken breasts.  I would love to learn to BBQ some ribs though.  I've just never even attempted it.  Sounds like it's time I try!  :)

What about you all?  What have you been up to?  What should I be reading/watching? 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend Fun

We loaded up the camper and headed to the river.  

As soon as we got there, we set up camp, then kicked up our feet and relaxed.

Miss Emma

Sunset down river.

Morning view up river.
One of these days, I'm actually going to use my camera again.  Darn cell phones are just so convenient. ;)

We were laughing at this because our GPS was telling us that we were out in the river.  Haha!  And notice the temperature…81 degrees.  The weather was perfect.  

Did you do anything fun or exciting this weekend?  I'm loving that it's already Tuesday! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday again and that means I'm sharing some more of my Friday Favorites!
 Linking up today with Andrea, Erika and Narci

My husband has been on a roll lately.  For Mother's Day he built me some shelves that I'd been wanting for my side of the garage.  Isn't that what everyone asked for, for Mother's Day?  Haha.  But seriously, it was the only thing I wanted.  It makes me feel so much better when everything has a "home".  We just had so many random things, and no real spot to put them.  Now I do.  :)

A couple nights ago when Dan got home, he headed back out to the garage and built me a bench.  Sweet!  So now I'm trying to decide where I want it.  Inside, or outside, paint it or stain it... so many options.
Like I said he's on a roll.  I guess I better get on Pinterest and find some more ideas.  No sense in stopping him now, right?!  ;)

This has been my favorite place to hang out with the weather being so nice.  Either in the afternoon once the kids get home from school or in the evening after dinner.  So peaceful!  Eventually I'll get some furniture for the back deck, but until then, I love my Tommy Bahama chairs.  Keeping it simple.  ;)

We got Jesse's Seahawk Fathead's put up last week.  His room is very close to being done.  I just need to order curtains and repaint his dresser.  Here is a little sneak peak.  This wall is actually grey.  Like you see on the bottom of the picture.  The lighting was really weird and makes this picture look like there are lots of different colors on the wall, which isn't the case.  Just grey.  A couple of the other walls are blue.  As soon as it's done.  I'll post pictures of the whole room, with better lighting and my camera instead of my phone.

Our camper is all cleaned out and ready to go.  Well, except I have to make a quick trip to get grocery's.  I can't wait to head to the river, put my feet up and relax.  Life gets so busy and it's so nice to be able to step away for the weekend and just hang out with the family.

What are your plans for the weekend?  Anything exciting?

I hope you all have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Recap

And just like that, it's Monday again!   A fresh start to a new week.

Saturday we met up with my Dad's side of the family to celebrate my Great Aunt's 90th Birthday!  It's been a while since we've all gotten together, so it was a lot of fun to just sit around and laugh.  It's one of the things that, this side of the family does well.  Really well.  I remember as a kid getting together every Thanksgiving with this side of the family and I could just sit back in my chair and not say a thing and be totally entertained for hours. 

My Dad's parents have both passed away a few years ago, but this is the legacy that they've left.  My Aunt never married or had kids of her own, so she has inherited us and we are quite the crew!  Ha!

My Dad with his siblings and their Aunt.  My Dad is on the right. 

We stayed at a cute little place called the Nine Pipe Lodge.  It has the prettiest views, between the mountains and pond out back.  The kids were able to watch the geese and their goslings swim by and we even got to see an otter swim by as well.

The girls enjoying the best seat in the house!  

These 3 boys were all born within a 2 week period.  We've been taking their pictures together since they were babies.  Well, 10 year old boys aren't really into having their picture taken, so we just told them we wanted to see who could jump the highest.  They were good with that.

On the last picture we included another cousin who needed in on the jumping.  I'm thinking jumping pictures for these boys is much better than some stuffy standing still poses anyways.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our Favorite Gluton Free Products

Since going gluten free, I have heard different ways that gluten effects people and it's just astonishing to me.  My daughter was having stomach aches every single night.  We tried cutting out dairy, we made lists of what she was eating and could never narrow down what was the matter.  We even thought maybe it was just stress.  My Dad ended up buying a book and started telling me about the different ways that gluten can effect people.  Instantly I thought, if it works I'll try it and I'm so glad that we did.

Here is a small list of some of the effects that gluten seemed to be having on some of my friends and family until they changed to a gluten free diet.
  • Repetitive stomach aches
  • Chronic back pain and inflamed joints
  • Inflamed hair follicles
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
Just to be clear, I'm not a medical professional and I'm not claiming that eating gluten free will cure you of any of these symptoms or anything for that matter.  For some of my friends & family though, we have seen these symptoms become a thing of the past or until we indulge in gluten again.  ;)

I thought today I would share some of our favorite gluten free products that we've run across.  Our family has been transitioning over to gluten free for the last couple of months.  At first I was so nervous, and thought, "How are we going to do this?  We're all going to starve."   But have no fears, it's easier than you think.

Going gluten free really isn't the end of the world and here are a few things that we've tried and love!

1. Flour
Namaste flour is the only gluten free flour that I've tried.  I like it, so why keep looking, right!?  You can find this at Costco.  We make cookies fairly regularly, and this is what we use.  It says to use it cup for cup like you would any other flour.  I probably use just a little less of this than I would regular flour, as I've noticed it seems to make the cookies rise a bit more.  I like my cookies less fluffy and more flat and chewy.  So if you're supposed to use 2 1/2 cups I might end up using 2 1/4 cups instead.  I've also used this flour when making chicken fried steak and you couldn't even tell that it wasn't the regular flour I used to use.

2. Pasta
We buy Barilla pasta.  I found it at our local grocery store.  I heard good things about it, tried it and loved it.  We can't even tell that this pasta is gluten free, which is the way I want it.  So... I still make pasta dishes, I just use this brand of pasta instead.

 3. Bread
We buy 2 different kinds of bread.  We buy Franz for sandwiches as it's the best bread we've found that's fresh.  Since gluten free bread is more expensive, I've just been letting Gracie eat this bread and having the rest of us, eat regular bread.  Gasp!  It really effects her, but the rest of us are okay to eat regular bread, especially since it's not very often.

Udi's bread we buy from Costco in the frozen section and I like to keep it frozen in our freezer at home and just take out a couple of pieces when the kids want toast.  It lasts longer that way, and we seem to go through more toast these days instead of sandwiches.  All of us use this bread for toast and again, it tastes good.  I just use a butter knife to separate the bread since it's frozen.  No need to thaw it out.  It works good... just takes a couple of seconds longer to toast it.

4. Pancake Mix
We have went through a few boxes of this Betty Crocker Bisquick mix and we all love it.  I haven't tried making home made pancakes from scratch yet, but until I do, this is what we buy.

5. Crackers/Snacks
These rice chips with sea salt are my favorite.  We bought these before we went gluten free.  My only wish is that Costco sold them in a large bag.   Also this Glutino brand is really good.  We like the pretzels and they also have a thicker cracker like crouton that works good to break up and put in salads. 

Gluten free products seem to be becoming more and more popular.  Every time I go to Costco, they seem to have another product that they didn't the time before.  One day when we stopped in, they had a whole section out in the middle of the floor with just their gluten free products.  Thank you Costco!

Being gluten free is still pretty new to us, but it's something that we are in for the long haul at this point.

Have you all tried or heard about any gluten free products that you or someone else loves?   I would love to expand my horizons.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Roping, Dust & Cattle

 Over the weekend, we rounded up the cows and sorted out the calves.  It was time for their vaccines.   I was just in charge of pictures. 
 With as dry as it's been this year, it was fun getting some pictures with all the dust.  It sure makes for some interesting shots.
And a mouth full of dust!  ;)

Hope you're having a great week so far!

Friday, May 8, 2015

24 hour getaway

Wednesday afternoon Dan and I loaded up our bags and headed out of town.  Well, actually out of state.  Ha!  We went to Spokane Washington, which is only a 2 hour drive this time of year.  He had an appointment over there and I'm all for a quick trip out of town.

Dan booked us a room at the Davenport Hotel, which is one of our favorite hotels over in that area.  It's in my favorite part of the city and the hotel has so much history and old architecture which I love.

This is the original hotel, and isn't it pretty!  We stayed in the Tower this time which is right across the street.  We love both buildings, for different reasons.  The original hotel is very quiet and eloquent.  The tower on the other hand is lively!  They have a happy hour and just an overall fun atmosphere.  Not to mention the funky decor.  Haha!

Exhibit A... The elevators
Hahaha!  Leopard print is BIG in this hotel!  I made Dan stand still so I could get his picture. Lol
Again the leopard print...
Before we got ready for dinner, we stopped in the lounge for happy hour and ordered an appetizer. Most of the seating in the lounge was leopard print as well.  Along with Safari animals mounted on the walls.  Haha!  So very different from the older building. 
I have been hearing about fried okra over the last couple of years from some of the southern blogs that I read, but I've never tried it or even seen it cooked up before.  So that's what we tried.  It was... fine.  It didn't really have a flavor.  They brought out a container of ranch dressing to dip it in, but the ranch was the only thing with flavor.  It just wasn't quiet like I was expecting.  I told Dan if we make it down South one day, we'll have to see how they cook it.

After happy hour we got all dressed up and walked over to dinner.  My Uncle lives in Spokane and I'd asked him for recommendations for a good steak and seafood restaurant.  I also specified that I wanted it to be somewhere a little fancier so we could dress up.  We never get to dress up and I thought it would just be fun! 

I stopped the first group of people we came across on the sidewalk and asked them to take our picture.  They took the first picture and then the sweet lady asked if she could hold my purse so we could get more of a posed shot.  
I must not be from the city because I gladly handed over my bag and posed.  I'm sure Dan was thinking the whole time, "You can't just give your purse to a stranger!"  Haha! 
It was a short walk from our hotel, like half a block.  Perfect! 

 I am so thankful for this man, and the many ways that he spoils me!
I tried to take pictures of our food, but the pictures didn't do it justice.  It was probably the best steak that I have EVER had!  Sooo good!!!  Now it was definitely a pricey restaurant and one that we won't eat at often because of that, but if you feel like splurging a bit and happen to be in Spokane get dressed up and go have a steak at Churchill's

We left the next afternoon, and were back home in time to get the kids off the bus.  It was the perfect little 24 hour getaway.