Thursday, May 30, 2013

oh yeah, blogging

Whoops. It happened again, I forgot to blog.

Here is a little peak at what's been going on.....thanks to my iphone for all the photos.

We finished school last week! yaaaaaaaay!!!! Overall homeschool was a wonderful experience--we all enjoyed it and we all learned (me too) more than expected. We liked it so much I'm still trying to decide what to do come fall. That being said, we are still very excited to start out summer break. I'm so happy to just be MOM for now, and not the grumpy old school marm.
Sunsets here can get pretty awesome.
That's all.
We drove up the mountain over the weekend and found it alive and well. Summer is on it's way (so yeah....still some snow at the tippy top) but we are so excited to be spending more time up there soon.
Saturday morning I got up before the sun and joined some crazy girls for a hike up up up through thick twisty trees, leg-ripping bushes, and slippery rocks (no trail, mind you) and we laughed the whole way.
Good way to start the day.
My baby turned SIX!!! Whhhhyyyyy???!! All she wanted was to go to the zoo. Here they are watching the leopard pace back and forth. It growled and she swears it was saying "happy birthday".
I've been running!
And running and running, trying my best to get myself somewhat ready (I'm not) for a 20 mile race this weekend......eeeeeek!!
not pictured:
chickens (always chicken stuff going on around here)
late nights with friends
backyard BBQs
family bikerides
sleeping in (finally! hooray!)
mapping out road trips
planning campouts
(Arrested Development, of course)
cookbook final review (we're close guys!)
annnnd.....I think that's it. 

Be back soon!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

let's just call it weekend.....

photo from last summer....
I'm calling it. 
The weekend starts.....right......NOW.
I have no idea what we will be up to but hopefully it will involve a trail, some grilling, and maybe we'll even dust off the ice cream maker. 
It's feeling like summer and I am loving it!

This is the last weekend in May for your #howweweekend photos and don't forget to GET OUTSIDE for our One by One Project!  (#onebyonechallenge)
It's been so fun seeing what everyone has been up to.

Happy Weekend! 

Homemade Ice Cream:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

the weekly juice

Strawberry's finally here!
We find ourselves each day with sticky sweet strawberry juice running down our arms and smeared across our cheeks. 
I threw some into our morning juice and WOW. 
A glass of early summer. 
bonus: lately I've been adding in some chia seeds to my glass
(see the benefits of chia HERE)
double bonus: you know I love beets.....this is really good with a big piece of beet thrown in. 
  Morning Glory Juice
1 grapefruit, peeled
1/2 lemon, peeled
3 carrots
 1/2 " piece of ginger
6-10 strawberries (depending on how big they are....but really, the more the merrier)
optional: a spoonful of chia seeds

I'm so happy that more produce is coming into season--I can't wait to try out some new spring and summer juice combos. 
What are YOU juicing this week?

more juice!

Monday, May 20, 2013

freshly ground whole wheat waffles

I want to tell you about my new favorite thing....grinding my own wheat. 
WonderMill sent me one of their electric grain mills and we have been putting it to work!
You wouldn't believe how quickly you can make your own fresh flour...... really is as simple as a flip of the switch and pouring in your wheat (or any grain for that matter).
So why mill your own?
The longer flour sits, the more nutrients it loses.....did you know that? A wheat berry will keep all of it's nutrients until it's turned to flour. So when you are using your flour right away you are getting ALL the nutrients the grain has to offer. 
"Once the bran has been damaged or cracked open, the inner elements are exposed to oxygen, which destroys the vitamins and oils in just a short period of time. Within twenty-four hours of grinding or cracking wheat, forty percent of the nutrients have oxidized. Within seventy-two hours of processing (just three days), ninety percent of the nutrients have been destroyed. From this point on, the flour still maintains its mineral content and (of course) its caloric value, but the life-giving vitamins and oils have been essentially destroyed—over twenty-five of them! By immediately using the freshly processed flour or grain, you are consuming and reaping the health and flavor benefits of these essential vitamins and oils." [source]
And fresh milled flour just tastes better--you can even smell the difference.
See? So easy a kid can do it!
So what are you going to do with that fresh milled flour?
Make waffles of course.
Whole Wheat Waffles

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 can (about 2 cups) coconut milk
1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups freshly milled whole wheat flour
1/4 c ground flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c old fashioned oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix oil,  eggs, coconut milk, honey, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and stir just until everything is incorporated--don't over mix. Batter will be thick.

Ladle into preheated (and greased) waffle iron, cook until golden brown. 
Serve with yogurt, strawberries, and real maple syrup.

We are still playing around with our mill so give me your ideas.... 
Do you mill your own grains? 
What kinds of flours are you making? 

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Guess what?
Our new hen Millie (she'd never laid an egg at her old home) surprised us with an egg on Thursday. 
And then Friday. 
And then Saturday. 
THREE eggs from a supposedly barren hen!
It was like Christmas morning.
(you know you live a simple life when you are ridiculously giddy over an egg)

Thanks Millie.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

one by one: get outside

If are just now joining us, please go back and read THIS POST about the One by One Project.....and feel free to jump right in!
I've been slacking. I've had all these ideas for our One by One Project....and life has got away from me. I can't is good... but let's jump right back in. 

So far we've worked on smiling, and small acts of kindness--both wonderful ways to benefit and bless the life of another.

This time, let's do something for ourselves.....

I like to be outside (you don't say?!!). 

It gives my mind a break--
no ringing, beeping, calling, answering.
no inboxes, outboxes or bills to put in mailboxes.
no floors to mop or socks to wash.
The only responsibility I have outside is to just, BE.
Consciously breathe the air. Deeply in, slowly out.
Feel the earth below my feet. 
Submerge all of my senses on a mountain, in the desert, near a river, under a tree.

Spending time in nature has changed for me over the past few years. 
It used to be something I would just DO every now and then. 
Now it's a part of my life--I need it, crave it. I go crazy without it.
 It's more than something to do--it's part of who I am. 
We try to get out to explore at least once each week--even if it's quick
it feels so good to get out.
(really, even a half hour can really recharge our batteries!)
We plan larger hikes as a family throughout the year on Saturdays set aside, and we look forward to more camping and weekend adventures as we dive deeper into summer.
I've made a small list of peaks that I just have to get up this year.
And really, I look forward to just spending time simply out in the yard--laying on a blanket to read--as long as I can be outside, all will be well.
Why is it so important to be outside?

"In every walk with nature 
one receives far more than he seeks"
-John Muir

I truly believe that if you add more "outside time" to your life, you will:
-be more patient
-be more calm
-improve your health--both physically and mentally
-reduce stress
-start to look at the world differently
-appreciate more

Whether it's a half hour lunch break in a quiet park, 
or a weekend excursion up a mountain--I want you to get out.

we had an extra some extra time in the afternoon last we headed for the hills
spring is slowwwwly making it's way up the mountain.....
So here is my challenge to you:
Do it!

I'm giving you two weeks....and I want to hear about it.
Please come back to this post (or email me sheenajibson at gmail) and share how getting outside has changed you for the good.
I want to do a follow up post in few weeks highlighting some of YOUR stories--so I'm counting on you guys to participate!

Please share this message--we all know someone spends way too much time behind a desk or on the couch.....
.....let's change that.

Now, turn off your computer and get out there!


I'm giving you until May 31 to spend sometime outside 
(or else.......)
The Genius Whitney Ingram tagged her outside picture on instagram let's see YOUR outside pictures for the next two weeks by using the same hashtag. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

short stories

So many little stories to tell.....

Circle of Life
Our first story hurts my heart......last week I had mentioned that our little chick Pebbles wasn't growing like the others. As the days went by she began to move a little slower and sleep a little longer. We came home from church on Sunday and found that she had never woke up. It was a sad sad day for my Lu--Pebbles was HER chick, her baby. We snuggled and she cried, and snuggled and snuggled some more until her tears had soaked my shirt. We had a proper funeral (I mean, of course we did.....for a chicken.....because that's normal) and said our goodbyes. 
She had a hard afternoon--she's so sensitive this one, and loves like no other. 
I'm so lucky to be her mom and to be loved like that.
But I wouldn't tell you a sad story without a happy ending!
Friday night Robby went to get our coop (no more chickens in the house!) A friend from work was getting rid of it--perfect for us! What we didn't realize (until he went to GET the coop) was that they still had one hen left......and she was coming home with US! Her name was Chuck, and she was completely barren-never laid an egg in her life. I didn't really know what we were going to do with her.....until.....
Until our sad afternoon a few days later when poor Pebbles died. We decided that Lu's new pet and very favorite would be Chuck. She was long as she could rename her. And she did. 
Meet Millie.
A gigantic barren Orpington who gets carried around on a hip like a baby.
(also totally normal.)

Sugar Sugar
Remember that time I announced I was going off sugar for the month? (You should remember, it was only last week) That is really funny that I said that. Well, I made it 6 full days. It actually wasn't that hard skipping out on the treats--I craved my usual piece of chocolate after dinner (and let's face it, usually lunch as well), but I skipped it and felt good about my decision. But I was also trying to ease up on other carbs, which the more I think about, the more hilarious it is. I had mentioned I'm adding mileage to my weekly runs, and that doesn't go over so well with a lack of carbs in my diet. My 5 mile run felt fine--no problem. Eight miles felt like I weighed 300 pounds and was running through Jell-O. It was terrible. I realized I needed some more carbs in my diet, so before my 12 miles on Saturday I had a big bowl of oatmeal with fruit and pure maple syrup......I felt better than I had a few days before, but still slow and sticky. So after laughing at myself and realizing how silly I'd been, I decided I'll try out my sugar cleanse when I'm not running so much. And naturally I ended my say-no-to sugar campaign with a Ruby Snap Cookie.

Mother's Day
I went to bed on Sunday evening giggling. What an odd day is was--we had a funeral for a chicken. 
But other than that, we had such a good afternoon. I read, napped, and feasted on grilled burgers with my favorite people. I sure do love these two--I feel lucky each day that they were sent to me. 
They are wild and crazy and dirty and silly and I just love watching them grow.
Summer Senses
These last two days have felt like summer--hot hot heat and sticky sweat dripping down. The taste of grilled burgers, veggies, and popsicles on my tongue. I hear squeals and giggles from outside in the late afternoon until the sun drops out of sight. I smell the fresh summery air--trees and dew and afternoon sun. And I see summer........well.....ok, it actually looks like spring still....Blossoms, baby animals, and new life on the mountain--it's perfect, really. 

The Cookbook
Every few days I get an email from Mrs. Whitney L. Ingram with a few sample pages from her upcoming cookbook.....and I see MY photos on the page! It's crazy! And it's happening! Soon! Things are coming together more and more each day, and we should have a date sometime soon--I will keep you posted.

Eggs and Greens
Does all this chicken talk lately make you hungry for eggs? I love eggs.....we are counting down the days (we are so far away) until that magic moment when our own eggs start to arrive. 
I have some combination of a fried egg and greens several times a week--breakfast lunch or dinner, I'll take them all. Here are two to try:

Sauteed Kale, Egg, and Goat Cheese
Sauté kale and leeks in some olive oil and a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. After it's cooked for a few minutes, crack your egg into the kale and let it cook until it's done to your liking. 
Add some salt, pepper, another squeeze of lemon to the kale and a few crumbles of goat cheese (or feta).
Egg and Spinach Salad
-fried egg
-baby spinach
-pine nuts
-goat cheese
-a splash of balsamic and olive oil

the end.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

tiny flock

Our girls are growing up! 
They are true teenagers......eating and sleeping the day away while their awkward bodies grow grow grow.

With the exception of making my house smell like a barn, these girls have been pretty easy to keep.
The first two weeks they lived in one of our over sized moving boxes. Just chick food, water, a heat lamp, and five fuzzy chicks in a box. We changed their bedding (pine shavings) every few days and listened to their peeping (alllll night long). 
(oh ps. they are in my house because it's cold outside and we don't have a garage.....please don't keep them in your house if you don't have to)
By week 2 they were testing out their wings and getting too close to the box top.....time to move into a bigger place. 
We took Charly's large dog crate (it's huge) and made a new home, with a door that latched and a roof overhead. As they've continued to grow and their fluff has magically transformed into feathers, they haven't needed anything more--just extra food (they never stop eating) and we have someone on vacuum duty 24 hours a day(seriously though, almost). They scratch and flap and flutter and spew their bedding out of their cozy home. And have I mentioned they stink? Because they do. We now change their bed daily--and let them roam around the yard as we do so. And they LOVE it. Pecking at bugs and stretching their wings. Being toted around by my little animal loving country girl. 

They have their feathers now and will be out in their coop this weekend.....I can have my house back!
To see them as chicks (cuteness overload) and for breed info click HERE

Question for any chicken owners out there:
Our Pebbles is still really small. (3rd photo from the bottom) She eats and drinks just fine, and doesn't act sick in anyway.....she's just so far behind her sisters. Her beak is curved down and seemed long--and after talking with a helpful gent at the feed store I clipped her beak back a bit last weekend, to see if that would maybe help her get more food. (Never thought I'd be trimming a chicken's beak, that's for sure.) I've been reading up and learning that sometimes they just grow slower.....but I'm wondering if anyone has experienced this? Thanks!

If you are interested in getting chicks, I'm here to tell you that you can do it! It really is pretty easy so far. Your local feed store will have everything you need to get set-up....including the chicks themselves.  It's still a while before we will be feasting on their beautiful eggs, but for now they really are quite the little entertainers.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

zebra slot

Last week when we found ourselves in the desert, we knew we wanted to explore someplace new. 
We sat around the campfire Friday night--and after ghost stories were told and marshmallows had been roasted, we planned our adventure for the next day.....

Zebra Slot Canyon in the Escalante area of Southern Utah it would be. 
We packed up lots of drinks, snacks, and swimsuits just in case we found water (although we didn't), and headed over the rocky hills to the trail head. 

my desert family.
One of my favorite things about the desert is that there are so many hidden treasures to be found. Looking out from the start of our hike (below) you would never guess that the nearly barren landscape is hiding slot canyons, caves, and new worlds to explore.
The smooth red trail and desert grass soon turned to mounds of smooth red rock--shaped and weathered by years of wind, and begging to be climbed on.
The kids dubbed this one "The Portal"
The rock twisted and turned into waves. 
Waves built up into mountains. 
Mountains melted down into rivers made of the softest sand. 
And it went on and on and on like this--the desert sun soaking into our skin as we wandered.
A few miles in, we found our destination.
Our Group. 
I love these people. 
We had 15 of us in this little canyon--dads lifting kids up up up and over rocks and walls all the way to the end. I would have loved to have gotten an overhead shot of nine kids crammed between the narrow was quite the sight!
I wish you could have seen it here--felt how it felt.
These pictures do it no justice at all--there is no feeling. The depth is wrong. You can't feel the coolness of the rock, or the softness of the sand. You can't see how the shadows fall as the canyon bends and bows. You can't hear the echoed giggles of the kids up ahead, and wonder about the voices that filled the walls years and years ago. 
There is no sand on your skin, no red stained feet. 
I am so grateful for photographs--all my memories constantly captured. 
But no photo can take the place of living and breathing the air inside of these walls......
Our little troop. 
We did around 6 miles and these guys more than earned their extra s'mores that night.
What have you explored lately?