School is OUT!

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First Day of school in Arkansas 2012
First Day in Colorado 2012

Last day of school.

We had been waiting and waiting for it.

We were so tired of the routine and ready to soak our feet into all that summer has to offer - popsicles, sprinklers, the pool, late nights, lazy mornings, bike rides, ice cream, tanned bodies, hot dogs, mountains, camping, all of it!

Last Day of school 2013

Earlier in the week the school had sent home an outlined picture for the students to color. A winner would be chosen and announced during the assembly on the last day of school. Their picture would be put on all the students' homework folders for the next year. Ava worked very hard on her picture and wanted so badly to win, but she knew she was up against many older kids and that morning she told me, "I don't think I'm going to win Mom." In her true fashion Mae colored it as fast and as hard as she could to just get it done and move on.

That morning I chaperoned them on their bikes for the short ride to school. I hurried home and got the rest of the family to rush back for the assembly. I almost couldn't sleep the night before after the principal emailed us with the news that Ava's picture had won the contest. I was so excited for her!

It was pretty cute to meet up with her and Mae's sweet faces in the crowd of kids.

When the time finally came the principal announced her name as the winner of the contest. Her bright green eyes lit up and she could not hide the bashful smile that spread across her beautiful face.


Her cheeks reddened as she carved her way up to the front of the room for her certificate while the kids chanted her name, "A-va! A-va! A-va!"

I turned into a boob and wiped my eyes several times as she hugged the principal and smiled over at me. I love her quiet confidence. I also love that my parents were able to see her and share her joy. 

An administrator told me that the judges had to verify with Ava's teacher that she was the one that actually did the coloring. Her teacher vouched for her as she has seen her work and had even nominated Ava for summer school classes that are reserved for kids who show special talent - that class starts next week :)


When I went to pick them up that afternoon she was still in shock as she quietly and proudly announced. "I even beat the 5th graders Mom!"

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We have adored their dear teachers and this great little charter school, but yeah we are totally ready for summer!!!


Yesterday we put together our summer fun list and they are already checking things off - it's going to be a good one.

oh yes! thanks for the reminder to upload her pic (it was on my other camera):



PB Oat Date Balls


Since my little sugar cleanse I have been really trying to stay off hardcore sweets like cookies, cake, ice cream, brownies, cupcakes, candy bars, etc. I have also really tried to stay off bread, chips, tortillas, and stick to brown rice, quinoa, and raw old fashioned oats for carbs.

These little balls satisfy my sweet craving without the guilt and without me turning into a zombie. Seriously yesterday I had a tiny cupcake and I about passed out.

What's also nice about these little oat balls, energy balls, or "laraballs" is that they are pretty versatile. You can add and take away ingredients to your own liking. The dates, oats, and honey are the main three ingredients after that you can add dried fruit, cocoa pwdr, coconut, nuts, nut butters, seeds, spices, anything!

Here are the most recent ones I made:

PB Oat Date Balls

1 c old fashioned oats (i pulsed them in my blender a bit)
1/3 c warmed honey (local is best)
1 c chopped dates (medjool are stickiest but Sunsweet works)

2 tb chia seeds
1 tb milled flax
1/4 c toasted unsweetened coconut
1/4 c toasted finely chopped pecans
1/4 c toasted finely chopped almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tb cocoa
1/2 c peanut butter

chopped toasted nuts for rolling. i used pecan and almond

Mix all ingredients in bowl then with oiled hands shape into 1" balls and roll in nuts. 

Makes about 2 dozen so go ahead and eat a couple...or 20 :)


Schmother's Day


Hi friends. I hope you had a nice Mother's Day.

I almost feel the same way about it as I do Valentines. I adored the little cards and sweet gifts made by my girls and I spoke with my mom whom I also love and adore. Saturday I took Ava and Roo with my to Costco and spontaneously I let Ava pick out some flowers for me.

This year I told Easy to just not worry about it - and I was serious. I really didn't care for a lavish gift and I definitely didn't want him to feel pressured to make some fabulous dinner, deliver breakfast in bed to me, and wait on me hand-and-foot.

Sunday morning Ava, Mae, and I dipped 24+ strawberries in dark chocolate and dressed them with chopped nuts and sprinkles. The hour that we spent getting the consistency of the chocolate just right, casting sprinkles all over the kitchen,  and licking our chocolate fingers together was perfect. More than anything I love creating things with them and spending time talking and laughing together.

I made ribs in the crockpot and cornbread on the grill for dinner along with a big fat salad - remember how we don't have any appliances?

Then we all stuffed our faces with strawberries and played a game of Uno together.

It was perfect.


Just before bed as Easy was doing the dishes I sat on the couch for a quick rest. My little Rose Bud crawled over to me (still not walking) and motioned with her hands for me to pick her up. She put her head down and gave me the best snuggles.  For about 5 minutes I was in heaven with her squeezing my neck and puckering up to give me the tiniest little kisses. 

I have learned to take note of these tender moments amongst the chaos that ensues our home.  Along with a deep breath I try to remember how I blessed I am to be their mother and that how no matter how many times I forget an important event, loose my cool, or neglect something  - they in their kindest of hearts think I am the greatest.


Chia Flax Stacks


Now that I'm back to eating fruit and whole grains again I've changed and boosted up my old recipes a bit.

My girls have been loving these pancakes in the morning drizzled with butter and pure maple syrup, while I take mine with a little peanut butter spread on top. Easy grabs a quick kiss and a handful on his way out the door.

Chia Flax Stacks

2 eggs beaten (or one duck egg :)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs milled flax
3 tsp baking pwdr
1 tsp agave
2 tbs warmed coconut oil
1 c unsweetened almond milk

Mix until flour has just absorbed liquid. If you want them a little thinner (I usually do) add a little more milk.

Hug yourself and flip away on a warmed skillet. 

I'm planning to make some Toasted Almond Date balls later today from the basis of this recipe I posted a few months back. Get excited! 


Busy Busy Busy

Sooo busy this time of year. I feel like I'm attached to my calendar. I hate that. School parties, graduations, field trips, summer planning, etc.

I feel like I need to do a little blog dump.


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On day 20 of my 21 Day Sugar Cleanse we hit up the original Sprinkles after our friend's wedding in LA. 

We picked out 6 cupcakes to eat/share/take home to the girls. I had a small bite of a peanut butter one and I thought a bomb went off in my mouth. Soooo much sugar, so much flavor, it was incredible. Then just a few minutes later I felt like I needed to go into hibernation. I felt drained and a headache ensued. Dang. It was worth it though. Totally. 

Since then I have had tiny bits of dark chocolate (80% or so cocoa) and FRUIT!! I used to not care at all for grapefruit and now it's like a total gift from God. I have also added some hearty carbs to my diet like Muesli, whole grain bread (no sugar or other crap in it), and agave. Other than that I'm still pretty sugar free and loving it. I feel great.

I have a few recipes I'm excited to share soon. :)

Thinking about doing it?? I say go for it. Hands down an amazing experience that will change how you approach food, it'll change your energy, and your habits. I'm a believer.


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Since my running post I have found my groove and have been steadily increasing my distance. I am starting to want to run - amazing, right?!? Easy and I have been getting up at 6am every morning and taking turns hitting the road. It's so nice to have the extra encouragement. 

My playlist (thank you for your suggestions!)  is also pretty good at getting me going:

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I am finally able to garden again. 

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For real!

No more tomatoes in pots or herbs snuck into the landscaping. I can't even tell you how excited I am about it!!  I have been composting since we moved in and a few weeks ago I was finally able to get our raised beds put together. On Monday Easy's work gave out free compost so I loaded up the van with it and started to get our soil ready. Too bad that we had such a lingering winter and I couldn't get it going sooner.


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A few of you spotted our pretty blue appliances on Insta. They are Big Chill, came with the house, and Easy and I have had a little of a love/hate relationship with them. They are fun and I adored the oven, but the fridge was so inconvenient and they didn't match the other appliances, or really, the rest of the house.

We sold them. 

So we have yet to find replacements and I have 2 gaping holes in the kitchen where they once sat.

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A fridge in the garage, a crockpot, electric skillet, grill, and rice cooker are serving us very well - as well as the food trucks that come into town from Denver weekly.

On that note, we missed Cinco de Mayo due to our California travels. Boo!

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I'm thinking tonight we will celebrate Ocho de Mayo and call it good with beef carnitas.

*the end*


Celebrating 10

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I arrived at 3:30 pm into the Burbank airport.

It was 95 degrees out and the air smelled as wonderful as it always does in Southern California.

Easy pulled up and greeted me with the best anniversary kiss and a nice cold (sugar-free) beverage.

Once we got settled in the car and headed to Santa Clarita we attempted to solidify our plans for the evening. Our 10th wedding anniversary.

Our options were Santa Monica Promenade for dinner then cruising along the pier, a quiet dinner in Valencia at a fancy restaurant then just relaxing at home, or a quick dinner then a hike to one of the best waterfalls in So Cal.

After Grandpa got home to watch Rosie and struggling to make a decision we finally took off to the mountains to find an unmarked trail off an unmarked road to find a giant yes...unmarked waterfall.

Tar Creek Falls.

And to make things even more interesting we were fighting daylight which meant - no dinner for Hayley - just a quick stop at the store for head lanterns, nuts, jerky, and water.

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We managed to find the trail with some pretty specific written directions found online and we took off down the mountain - running much of the way to make up for the sun setting.

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We had to keep reminding ourselves to stop and look at the landscape. It really was stunning even with the fires being so close by.

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By the time we got to the riverbed it was dusk and when we reached the pools the sun had long gone down. The water levels were also pretty low with such a dry winter/spring. We wanted to go further, but with it being another 20 minutes down to the 70ft fall we just didn't feel good about pressing on in the dark bouldering over huge rocks all the way there. The pools were beautiful though and at another time we would have loved to have swam in them.

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We headed back 2.5 miles in the dark with our flashlights, almost missing the trailhead out of the canyon, and talking the whole way about our 10 years of marriage: our triumphs, our trials, and our goals for the next ten years.

Maybe at our 20 year we will make it to that waterfall. I'd like to think so.

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We have found that our lives are complete with each other. We love being together. We adore our children. We have built something beautiful, something eternal, and we are having a lot of fun in the meantime.

Once we got back into town at 10pm we were dirty, a little sore and I was starving! Easy treated me the best way he could - with a big fat juicy burger from In-N-Out.

It was perfect.


TEN (whoa!)

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Today Easy and I celebrate our 10th anniversary.


Isn't that amazing? And crazy? And so so wonderful?!

Oh, I remember that day! I remember feeling giddy and blessed and hopeful - and loving that we chose each other. Nothing else mattered to us.

It was so simple. Easy. Beautiful. We made promises that we have kept and will continue to keep - for like ever.

Right now he is in CA for a work trip. I am meeting him there today with our little Rosie in tow. Tomorrow we will attend a dear friends' wedding at the Los Angeles temple where we were married exactly 10 years ago.

I am feeling so blessed that we will be able to stand in those same places we walked hand in hand as newlyweds - content, happy, together, and even more in love.

ps. that kinda flew by!

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