Sunday 31 July 2011


I have four sisters, and I'm not going to lie, I thought they would be the death of me growing up. But then I grew up and realized they were the best gift my parents could give me. One of these sisters in particular, my little sister, just two years (or twenty three months if you want to be specific) is my best friend (beside my awesome husband of course.) She celebrated her 25th birthday not too long ago, and since I wouldn't be there to celebrate with her, I handcrafted a little something special for her, so that she would know how special she is to me.

Without a pattern in hand, I took out my fabric box, found colors and patterns that remind me of Marin, and then got to work. The patchwork on the front of the apron is free handed, but machine stitched, with a solid color on the back making it reversible. Long red ties bring it all together, making it unique, quirky, fun, and stylish all at once - just like Marin.

Do you like to handcraft your gifts? What is your favorite handcrafted gift you have received?

Thursday 28 July 2011

Birthday Boy!

My little brother Dallin is not so little. He's quite tall in fact, and he just turned 21! For his birthday, he requested that I make him a New York style cheesecake. Whenever I have a project that I have not yet mastered (i.e a crack free top to a cheesecake) I turn to a cookbook, and the expertise of someone that HAS perfected it. Enter Our Best Bites. These two ladies have it going on in the kitchen! I made their Lime Coconut Cheesecake for Dallin, and EVERYONE big and small loves it!

look at that deliciously creamy, oh so delectable good!

Happy Birthday Dallin!

Monday 25 July 2011

Road trip!

We're off on our adventure to San Diego, and in preparation I made a few items for Darius to keep him comfortable and entertained. Ashley over at Make it, Love it designed a neck pillow for her little girl not too long ago, and I immediately bookmarked the project in my favorites. With one day to go before packing up and hitting the road, the neck pillow project got underway, and Darius LOVES it! I should have made this 'bad boy' (currently Darius' favorite phrase) a long time ago.

Along with the neck pillow, I created a treasure map for Darius to find items along our way. There are no less than four golden arches on the map, along with animals, and landmarks too big to miss (aka the grand canyon.) With a coin for each item spotted, and a trip to the store as needed to spend his 'monies,' we're hoping to keep Darius happy and entertained through the hours of travel to come.

What are your road trip tips for traveling with children? Do you use food as rewards or 'monies'? And tell me, are you not in love with the neck pillow project???

Friday 22 July 2011

Mouth watering...

lemon bars that is. I needed an item for a potluck at the reunion tomorrow, and thought to myself,"hmmm, didn't Cheri post a lemon-y recipe the other day?" With a bowl full of lemons sitting on the counter, I thought a recipe that could utilize them, as well as present a crisp summer taste, would fit the bill. And believe me, after tasting these, I fully agree with Cheri's proclamation that they are divine...seriously. Enjoy!

click on the picture to be redirected to Cheri's wonderful blog, and her delicious recipe!
What are your favorite potluck contributions?

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Put the Lime in the Coconut!

Oh me oh my! Between October 2009 and June 2010 I was spoiled rotten lucky to be able  to enjoy three tropical vacations. No joke! I went to Jamaica with my Dad and two of my sisters [your wedding was in the PERFECT location Val!] to the Bahamas with my little sister for her high school graduation trip [T you're a great traveling companion!] and then to Cancun, Mexico with my awesome hubby for our fifth anniversary [would you believe this one was my favorite of the three?] During my travels to all these amazing locations, my deep love of all things coconut grew into an obsession, and it became apparent that variations are endless.

Enter last night: I read a couple of blogs referring to coconut and pineapple in breads and muffins. Yum! But, seeing as I didn't have any pineapple on hand [I ate the last few pieces Monday night, so I really can't blame anyone but myself for the predicament] I decided to branch out, get creative, and look to my favorite mocktails for inspiration. In the case of lime and coconut, I can only say that they are meant for one another. This recipe has a hint of sweetness, loads of flavor, and surprise, surprise, it's chockfull of goodness for your body to enjoy too! These beautiful muffins have loads of protein, are gluten, lactose, and sugar free [coconut sugar is simply coconut]. Enjoy!

My Favorite Mocktail Muffins
by me!
Makes 1 dozen muffins

1/3 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup soy flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup toasted shredded unsweetened coconut
3 egg whites
2/3 cup + 1 tsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lime zest (about two limes)
1 tbsp fruit of lime (about ¾ of a lime)
Juice of ½ a lime
¼ cup almond milk
1 tsp coconut extract
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line with muffin paper liners.
When oven is preheated, put the 1/3 cup of shredded coconut in a rimmed baking pan, and pop into the oven on the top rack for about three minutes. Don't forget about the coconut! It is perfect when toasted, but not so tasty when burnt!

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, the sugar, and the toasted coconut. In another bowl, whisk the Greek yogurt, egg whites, vanilla extract, coconut extract,lime zest, lime juice, lime fruit, and almond milk together until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir with a spoon until just combined, do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup to about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle raw shredded coconut over the muffin batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Friday 15 July 2011


If you're looking for the giveaway, and instructions on how to enter it, visit this post.

I feel like I'm inhaling deeply again, after not realizing that I had been holding my breath. Life has been SOOO CRAZY BUSY lately, that the pace just took my breath away in so many ways. But, with each task I've crossed off my list, my grin grows wider, my feet more firmly rooted, and my soul ready to fly.

Yesterday my amazing hubby and I signed some papers. Now, signing papers does not always make such an impression on me, but yesterday, it felt like life was turning a significant corner, the tides were shifting, and the sun was breaking through clouds - all at once haha. Our signatures, decorating beautiful dotted lines, bought us a house! A HOUSE!! We are thrilled to be building our dream home, a home that we thought we would never find in a million years, but which our realtor helped us dream about, find, and now purchase! Thank you Bruce for all of your hard work!!! Darius asked me which house is yours, "the one [to the right] or [left of us]." I told him we should let you pick for yourself, but either would be great. I'm telling you, if you want a fabulous realtor, call Bruce Dunham! Our home is at the electrical stage of the building process (it's a spec home, so we're receiving many upgrades for a fabulous, less than building price. Seriously great deal!) and we've been given a projected completion date of October 21st. So, we'll be in our home by Christmas for sure, but we'll just have to see how long before Christmas our move in date is!

That's just one thing, but do you want to know what else has been keeping me so busy lately? Of course you do! My cousin Lindsay came to town, and seeing as we've grown up hanging out as often as we can, the tradition has continued into adulthood. We grabbed our kiddos [Darius was off on an adventure, so Elias was flying solo with me that day] and headed to the Zoo. I haven't been there since Darius was a year and a half, and while Eli slept the day away, I had a great time catching up with my cousin, spending time with her Dad, and getting to know Linds daughter, sweet Maddie, better. Just think of all the hanging out we could do if you lived here Linds?

Last Friday my big brother and I planned a surprise party for our Mom's 50th. Can you even believe she's 50??? Seriously, this woman [mother of seven, and grandmother to three as she reminds all of us] is incredible, loving, smart, kind, generous, and a trooper to say the least. Anyone that can survive raising seven kids and still smile like that deserves more than a medal - maybe a tropical island to go and hide out from their seven kids and the surprise party they planned against their mothers orders?

My awesome hubby's work planned a Family Stampede Party for the day after my Mom's party, and so off we went as cowboy'ed up as we could manage. Darius saw the bouncy castles from the car, and in a reverent tone said, "I really hope that's my party." The first hour [no joke] was spent standing outside of the bouncy houses watching my sweet little boy go nuts! I'm so blessed to have enthusiastic children ahaha!

There's a glimpse of my crazy life. In a nutshell, life is busy, but great none the less. I look for opportunities to fit exercise into my everyday life, as my runs do not always slide so nicely into the jam packed days of a Mama in the summer. But, playing at the park, swinging across the monkey bars, swinging on swings, running, playing Frisbee, and laughing until Eli pees his pants, are all great workouts - so I guess it all balances out.

What are you keeping busy with this summer? Do you have travels planned? Or big life events eating away your free time?

Tuesday 12 July 2011

busy, busy

If you are here about the giveaway, head on over to this page. Thanks for stopping by!

Well, the days are flying by, and I'm just barely keeping my head above water. Darius is dying to be outside ALL THE TIME, Eli is eating constantly [and begging for real food,] family events seem to occur daily, I have been hunting for a house [with and without my amazing husband, but always with our incredible realtor,] and then doing a LOAD of work to make the perfect house our home...we'll see tomorrow if all my hard work has paid off. In the meantime, try out this workout I blasted through yesterday before resuming my hectic chicken with it's head cut off pace.

I did an arms workout designed by Jillian Michael's in the months FITNESS magazine, then followed it up with an abs workout in the same magazine, which you can watch here. After completing all those sets, I hopped on the treadmill for a solid 3.20 miles, and felt  super sweaty AMAZING after all was said and done. Even though the stress in my life is mostly positive right now, it's still added stress and it's important to channel it in a constructive way. Running, lifting weights, really sweating in general, are great ways to beat the 'stressed out' blues.

How do you deal with stress? Do you have a go to solution for the normal ups and downs of life? Or do the stress-y bits and pieces pile up and bog you down?

Thursday 7 July 2011

30 Day Sweat Challenge [recap]

If you're here to enter the giveaway, click on over to this post, and follow the instructions at the bottom. Don't forget to bring your friends and family on over to enter as well - spread the love!

This is rather late, but better late than never! June is over, and the 30 Day Challenge is now complete. I don't know about you, but I only missed two days - of the days I was actually able to breath well enough to workout that is - and feel great about it. I didn't take leap and bounds in my fitness levels, but the point for me was to maintain my fitness through a crazy busy month, so I am happy. It seems that June's hectic pace has only increased now that July - and summer yeah! - is in full swing. I've had to be incredibly innovative at times to fit in my workout, while keeping my boys happy. Take today for example:

Darius was begging to go outside. I was still in need of a workout, and Eli was down for a nap so it was my chance to get it done. Not wanting to put off my little man's heartfelt desire to run in the sun, I grabbed my running shoes [I was already in workout attire - rule number one as a Mom, is to dress in your workout clothes first thing in the morning, so you're ready to grab you're chance to sweat when the opportunity presents itself,] a pen, and paper and dashed outside after my anxious boy.  While walking around the acreage, I scrawled "kettlebell swings, lunges, air squats, kettlebell snatch, sprints" and set to it! After twenty some odd minutes I had completed three sets, was sweating buckets, breathing hard, and Darius was happily playing in the hot July sun.

Really, is there anything sweeter than watching your kids enjoy playing outside? I swear that boy is pure joy. So, when life gets crazy for you, get creative! Don't pass on your sweat session just because its hard to fit in the time to workout - make the time, and you'll feel better.

How do you squeeze in your workouts when life picks up it's pace? Do you have a 'go to' workout you do in a pinch?

Saturday 2 July 2011

Oh Canada!

If you're looking for the awesome sauce giveaway here it is! If you've been reading for a while, but haven't become a 'follower' of the blog, make sure you do so and enter the giveaway today!

Holidays are a great excuse reminder to make everyday memorable. I love the excitement in the air that accompanies celebrations, and thought I'd get myself in the Canada Day spirit by making a color co-ordinated supper. And the results? Simply delicious!

Red and White Chili
by me!

1 parsnip, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 beets, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cartons chicken broth
1-2 tsp garlic
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp marjoram
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
three bay leaves

Add all ingredients to a crock pot, stir to mix ingredients, then set on high and cook for a couple of hours. After two to three hours, turn the crock pot down to low, and let simmer until ready to serve.

Garnishes: Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla chips, avocado slices - all together, or just one!

Do you have any favorite holiday recipes?