Friday, August 22, 2014

Welcome to the arsenal, you beauty.

You guys.  Most awesome addition to my kitchen EVER happened last week.

So, I've been trying to save money by using rice flour in all of my gluten free recipes. I've been grinding my own rice using a coffee grinder that I received as a gift a couple years ago. It was working. But it was a painstaking process.  I'd grind, then sift, then grind, then sift, then.....well, you get it.  It took me 20 minutes or so to grind a cup of rice flour, and it was far from finely ground.  BUT it was working, so I went with it.

However, I've been eyeing a grain mill on Amazon for about 4 months now. I recently had the 1st anniversary of my 29th birthday, and with gift money, along with a couple of gift cards, I took the plunge!

Welcome to my kitchen, you beauty. 

Check out the evidence of this machine's awesomeness:

The pile of rice flour on the left is as find as I could get it with the coffee grinder.  The pile on the right is with 1 pass through the mill grinder - on the regular setting, not even the fine setting!

This 1 pound bag of rice flour was ground in approximately 5 minutes.

Can you understand why I'm so happy???

I think my new toy and I will be BFF's for a long time to come.

Now, since the very BEST time of year is quickly approaching, I better get to the store to stock up on rice for flour, as well as cans of pumpkin and snacks for football games!!!


Have a fab weekend, friends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Black Hills Bucket List: Camping Custer

It's been over a month since my last post.  I'm a bad blogger, I'm sorry.
So I probably forgot to mention that we purchased THIS!

We had a pop-up camper back in Ohio, but sold it before we moved to South Dakota, due to not having anywhere to store it here.  We had been wanting to purchase another for a while, and finally just did it.  We took it out on our maiden voyage this past weekend!
We took a giant chance, googled campgrounds, and decided on Big Pine Campground in Custer. Our chance turned out pretty stinking awesome, I must say.  We've camped a handful of times, so I can't say we have all the camping/campground experience in the world, but I think we have enough to know that this campground is AWESOME.  It's not huge, it's not fancy, but our site was spacious, gorgeous, and so relaxing.


I always forget how darn cold it gets around here once the sun sets behind the hills!
There were two small playground areas for the kids, one of which (pictured) was right across the gravel road from our campsite, which worked out beautifully.  The kids could play while we were at the site and we could still see them perfectly the whole time.

Saturday morning started out nice and slow-paced with pancakes and sausage, and some coffee under the pine trees.  Perfection.
After breakfast, we went to nearby Jewel Cave National Monument and toured 2 of the 171.6 explored miles of this awesome underground wonder. The pictures aren't great, as light was clearly limited inside the cave.  At one point, we entered a room, and after we were warned/advised, the guide killed all the lights.  He told us that if we waved our hand in front of our faces and thought that we could see our hands moving, that our minds were playing tricks on us.  It was a really crazy experience!
After the cave, we headed back to the campground, took a short nap, then just relaxed at the site.  Our plan for the weekend was some serious R&R, and we definitely accomplished that!  The boys played at the playground and climbed on the rocks lining the permiter of our site.  We made sauteed chicken and veggies (red and green bell peppers with yellow squash) for dinner, along with some fresh cherries.  It was so delicious.  Camping doesn't have to equal hot dogs!
Camping wouldn't be complete without roasting a marshmallow or two over the fire, of course.



We purchased ice cream at the camp store, and that, paired with my Bellini wine drink and a campfire made for a perfect Saturday evening.

The picture doesn't do this beautiful sunset any justice.  It was breathtaking.

And of course, what fun activity would be complete without a little interruption from our good pal, Diabetes. 

Sacked out after a fun-filled day at the campground!

Sunday morning, we made scrambled eggs with bacon, then leisurely packed things up and were back in Rapid City by 10:15 am.  These pictures show the view driving back home.  These Black Hills really are spectacular.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would easily give Big Pine Campground a 9.  It was so relaxing, extremely clean, and the staff/owners were so friendly.  The next time we choose to camp in Custer, we'll definitely be staying here again!
This coming weekend, barring lots of rain, we are planning to camp at Sheridan Lake.  I can't wait!
Have a super week, everyone!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 4th at the Farm

I hope everyone enjoyed the gloriously long weekend and spent it with family, friends, and loved ones!

Our clan headed to northern South Dakota (just 7 miles south of the ND state line!) to visit Matt's mom on the family farm.  Or I guess "ranch" would be a more appropriate word, since that's really what it is.  The Rossow Angus Ranch. Pretty cool, really. :)

Anyhoo, we headed out of Rapid City around noon on Friday the 4th and got to Matt's mom's house around 5:30, but we lost an hour in the time change, so the drive took us four and a half hours.  Either way - long drive.

We let off some fireworks with Matt's mom and his Uncle Tim, along with 2 of Tim's nieces on his wife's side.  The boys loved the "sprinklers" (sparklers) and the fireworks.  As a result, they were up entirely too late!

Saturday, Matt worked at a tent sale in a town about a half an hour away, and was home by lunch.  After a nap (to make up for the previous night's festivities!), we just took a walk around the farm and relaxed.  It was insanely hot - high of 97. And the hills and elevation here in western South Dakota must be making a pansy out of me.  The humidity at the farm - holy moly.  I think I tried to drink the air a couple times.  Yikes.

Sunday morning, we went to church with Joyce, then had lunch at the drive-in ice cream place, then made the long trek back to Rapid City.  We got home around 5:30 pm Sunday evening.

It's now Thursday and we're still trying to finish the laundry and get everything back to normal!  This weekend will be a frantic rush of things, as we get ready for vacation next week!!!

But in the mean time, enjoy our photos from our weekend at the farm. Have a great rest of the week, friends!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jameson!

This sweet little nugget is celebrating his 3rd birthday today!

Holy moly, look how FAT he was!! :)

He's such a character and has so many facets to his personality!

When he's really telling you something, he cocks his head to the side, uses his hands, and wrinkles up his little nose.

Cutest thing:
He doesn't say "forget about" or "forgot about."
Instead, he says "get about fer" or "got about fer."
For example, Matt made coffee one morning, then left for work without it.
I was getting Jameson breakfast, and he says, "Daddy got about fer his coffee when he left for work."
It's ridiculously adorable.

He loves books and animals. 

He moves around a whole lot more than he did at his last birthday, but still climbs into my lap to snuggle just about every evening. He never needs to grow out of that.

He's an antagonist. He knows exactly how to push his brother's buttons and he does it well, and with regularity.

If Hendrix's behavior is less than awesome, Jameson is always quick to point out that he's currently being very big. :)

He's pretty much the head honcho, the boss, at daycare.  Matt picked him up one day, as he was in the process of telling his teacher who pooped their pants, what paperwork she needed to write up, and who she needed to give it to.

He's incredibly gross, but he thinks he's hilarious.  You go in for a kiss, and he'll straight up lick your face, then laugh hysterically.  Passing gas has almost become a contest and he's always a contender. Such a boy!

Each night after bath, I wrap him up like a burrito in his towel and hug him.  He always says, "Save me forever, mama!" That's another thing he never needs to grow out of.

He keeps us on our toes, and between pulling out our hair with the three-year-old fits and struggles, he keeps us laughing.

Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet boy. 
You're a rock star, and don't ever stop being you.
Stay tough.
We love you!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Don't Have Any Problems

These were the "difficult" moments in my life over the past week:

1) I was soooo relieved that we got a new water heater at our house, because previously, you had to keep adjusting the water faucet - little by little - all throughout your shower to keep the water from turning cold.  So annoying.

2) When I re-fill my water bottle out of the purified water machine at work, I have to fill it two-thirds of the way full with cold water, and one-third with hot water, or the water is too cold for me to drink, and I get a brain freeze.  

3) It's annoying that we now live on the opposite side of town, and the drive to my gym is 15 minutes, whereas it used to be 8.

4) I'm bored with our dinner menu, and I can't seem to find any new recipes that sound good, or exciting, to me.

5) I'm finding it hard to squeeze in time, between work and T-Ball and other social obligations, to do the things I enjoy, such as re-fashioning the dress I picked up last week for $3, or working on sewing my quilt for the bedroom I want to re-decorate.  It's tough with so much going on.

6) Jameson's infusion site came out as he was going to bed a few nights ago, and we had to replace the site with another one we had in our medicine cabinet. Then, the next night, the battery went out in his insulin pump, so we had to change that too. So frustrating.

7) Our wifi can be so flakey some nights, and Matt's web-streamed shows freeze and buffer several times while he's trying to watch them.  I'm ready to call the internet provider and give them a piece of my mind.
Now, go back and read those "difficulties" with the perspective of someone living in poverty, or in a third world country.

Yeah, I don't have any problems.
Have a grateful day, friends.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Colorado Springs - Part 2

You can read about the first part of our Colorado Springs trip here.

After we got home from the zoo, we all crashed out for a nap!  Well, Hendrix refused, as usual.  He and Tim, Sarah's husband, played Legos.  The rest of us snored for a bit!

After our rest, Sarah and I showered and got all gussied up for our girls night out that we had been planning for weeks!  Neither of us get out much, plus we see each other, like, two times a year.

Our first stop was Painting With a Twist!  I'm sure you've seen these places popping up everywhere lately.  You purchase your seat and materials, and you paint a picture as a group, led by an instructor.  I've been wanting to do this for a long time, so we did! Many of these places also sell wine and beer, so of course, we enjoyed a glass of wine while we became artists!

Our painting was called Delicate Tree, or something like that.  Ha. The instructor was using the pink and maroon hues, that you see in Sarah's painting.  But I am (extremely slowly) re-decorating my bedroom in an orange and gray theme, so I decided to use shades of orange for the leaves of my tree.  This painting was so much fun to do, and I can't wait to go back and do another one of these!

After we took off our smocks, we headed over to dinner at Tucano's - a Brazilian steakhouse.  If you've never eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse, get in your car and go find one right this very second.

I ate at one when I travelled to Fort Lauderdale back in 2009 (Fogo de Chao) and it was soooo amazing.  Sarah let me choose where we ate, and after a google search revealed that there was a Brazilian Steakhouse in the Springs, the decision was made!

It most certainly did not disappoint.  I chowed right into my plate before remembering to snap some pictures for the blog, so sorry for the half-eaten food! 

I ate until it hurt, then I took a few more bites. :)

I can now say I've tried a caipirinha that I've heard so much about.  It was meh.  A nice compliment to the delicious food, but I can't say I'd order it again.

On Sunday, we headed out to Garden of the Gods.  I don't have pictures from our adventure because I'm keeping them as a gift for my family later this summer, but it was so much fun.  Hendrix is sure right in his element climbing those rocks.

Once we got back to the house after our Garden of the Gods adventure, we rested, then played outside.

I just adore this picture of my boys.

Hendrix: I like to live on the wild side.  You think my driving's scary?  Right on.
Jameson:  Gahhhhhhhhhhh!  I don't know if I love it or hate it?

So it turns out that Sarah's husband, Tim, is a master at chocolate martini's.  Holy moly these were so delicious!  We grilled and enjoyed each other's company on our last evening together.

We got up early Monday morning, and were on the road by 6.  We made it home by 2:15, I believe.  The kids were antsy to get out of the car and be home by around noon, but hey - I think we all were.

It was a great trip, relaxing, and really enjoyable.  Sarah and her family are planning to visit us over Labor Day, so we'll have to come up with some fun activities, which is never hard in the Black Hills!

Next up for us is a trip north over July 4th weekend to visit Matt's mom and his grandparents' farm.  I'm really looking forward to unplugging and enjoying my family with some serious "Americana" going on.

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend.

Do you have any fun summer plans?