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.
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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?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Colorado Springs Trip - Part 1

Haaaaaaapy Finally Summer!

It's craziness that it's June already, but has it no been the longest winter ever?  I don't think the cold dreariness was limited to western South Dakota.  Pretty sure the whole country felt like this winter was never going to end.  (Well, except those jerks who live in year-round warm places like Southern California or Arizona. <-- I'm messing around of course.  Some of my family and loved ones are those jerks.  Haha.)

Anyhoo, our little foursome decided to get away for Memorial Day weekend, so we travelled down to Colorado Springs to visit my cousin, her husband, and their daughter!

We left Friday morning and stopped about halfway to CoSpr in a teesy weensy little town called Alliance, Nebraska.  At a place called Carhenge.

Get it now?  

Yeah, this place really exists.
Roadside attractions at their best.

The boys thought it was pretty cool and enjoyed getting out of the car to work their legs for a few minutes!

(Oh, who am I kidding, we all 4 enjoyed this random little piece of Americana.)

We made it to Colorado Springs around 4:30pm I think, and we were all so happy to have made it!  The last hour of the trip seemed to take forever!

The boys got to see their cousin, Mikaela, and the cousin-fun started immediately with loads of play!

We discovered Friday evening that we had run over a nail somewhere.  Turned out it couldn't be fixed, and so we had to get a new tire on Saturday morning.  Fortunately, we were able to purchase a used tire for about $40, and are getting the damaged one replaced for free, as it had about 300 miles on it.

After the not new new tire was put on the car, we headed to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo with the kiddos!  We were so excited, as we hadn't been to a zoo in about two years.  The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is really pretty with very nice exhibits!



The kids (and adults!) got to pet a baby wallaby.  She was so soft, fuzzy, and adorable!



The zoo wore us all out!  Hendrix never naps in the car, and Jameson rarely does anymore.  But they were both zonked out in minutes!

After the zoo, we headed back to Sarah's house for a bit of relaxation before our mom's night out!

Stay tuned for Colorado Springs, Part 2!




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Recipe: Gluten Free White Cake

Someone has his 3rd birthday approaching! Since the whole idea of cake is now not so simple, I knew I wanted to experiment with a cake recipe in hopes that I wouldn't have to buy a $76 cake at a bakery somewhere!

Instead of searching specifically for a gluten free cake recipe, I decided to modify my normal "simple white cake" recipe and see how it turned out. 

The original recipe includes regular flour, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, and milk.  I love the simplicity of it, and the fact that there's no oil or shortening in it.  All I did in terms of modifying it was subbing gluten free flours and adding xanthan gum.

First, you add all of your dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk them together. 

In a separate bowl, cream your butter and sugar. 


Then, add the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix until smooth. 


Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ones and mix until well-blended. 




Pour into an 8x8 baking pan. Isn't mine so classy and lovely? (Hey, it's well used.)


Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 



To frost this bad boy, I laid it upside down on a plate, and just used some simple Betty Crocker whipped vanilla frosting. I might make my own frosting for the actual birthday event, but to get an idea of how this cake was going to turn out, pre-made and pre-canned frosting worked just fine. 


This cake stood about 1 inch tall. Haha! for Jameson's birthday, I'll make two and layer them. 



The verdict?? 

Tasty. 

I wouldn't call it the best cake I've ever had, but it WAS tasty. I let the boys try it after dinner that night and their plates were clean in about 2 minutes flat, so I'd call it a success with them!




Interested in making this cake? You can find the original recipe here.

For my GF flour blend, I used 40% brown rice flour, 40% white rice flour, and 20% tapioca flour. The tapioca flour is Bob's Red Mill, and I grind my own rice flour - Great Value brand rice if you must know.  Haha.

Let me know your thoughts if you do make this cake!

Do you eat gluten free?

Do you have a go-to GF cake recipe?

Any special celebrations in the coming weeks in your family or circle of loved ones?

Have a GREAT Memorial Day weekend, and a huge THANK YOU to all those who have served or are currently doing so!