a frozen birthday party

frozen birthday party

frozen is so loved right now by cute little girls everywhere , and our reagan is no exception!  to no surprise she chose to have a frozen birthday party this year…and it was a blast to do!

frozen party sisters

of course no frozen party would be complete with out elsa and anna themselves!

frozen party games

the kids enjoyed making jeweled headbands, playing pin the nose on olaf, and creating snowflakes with glitter glue and ear cleaners.

frozen party treats

…and let’s not forget the treats!  we had plenty of them.  the dessert table had cupcakes, dipped marshmallows, wrapped ice gum, colored candy, jello and lots of chocolate goodies.

frozen party birthday girl

it’s really bittersweet each year when we celebrate my sweet babes. closing one chapter of their life, yet leaping in to the next… i love how my dear reagan is growing, and what a beautiful little woman she is becoming.  i love how full of spirit she is. she whole heartedly dives into each new stage of her life…she is brave, she is strong, she is creative, and she is alive!  that being said…i try to cling to every memory and my heart certainly stings a bit as they grow…its just so darn fast!  i cherish every minute i have with this little babe…simply put…i love her!

frozenpartythegirls

 

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little summer skirts

 

summerskirtswithducks

this summer has been jam packed with little adventures! (ummmm…our biggest adventure: one of my favorite friends was looking for a new home for some unexpected ducklings…and they landed at our house!)  we have been on the go non stop…gymnastics, swimming, parks, hikes, shopping, the beach, etc… the girls love to stay fashionable, and we have found that skirts are the greatest thing because they slip on over just about anything.  they keep these little babes modest (because…yes they would go everywhere in nothing but a swimsuit if i’d allow it!), they are easy to pack, and they look adorable!

summerskirtsreagan

today we did a totally spontaneous photo shoot wearing some of the skirts that we have made this summer.  it has been fun to let the girls pick our their favorite fabrics, trims, and threads, and teach them some basics about color matching and design.

summerskirtsbygarden

the possibilities are pretty much endless, and they are so fast, easy, and take so little fabric.  hmmm….maybe i should make a skirt for me…

 

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how can so much happen in just one blink?

seriously, how is it that so much can happen in just one blink.  they dance, they sing, they live, they play, they learn, they grow, they go…they go go go, they stumble, they fall, and they get back up.  and as they do, i hold their hand.  i wipe their tears. i sit by their side.  i watch, i listen, i cry, i breath, and i cherish it…trying ever so intently to soak up every minute i can.  yet even with this awareness…it goes by so fast.  too fast.  a day older, a week…almost a year.  eight years.  and then one day i blink…and open my eyes, only to discover they are, well…becoming little women.

growingupinarow

today i’m feeling a little (ok…a lot) guilty for not documenting more…i simply can not forget this magical time. (thank goodness for instagram!) there is so much i love about my beautiful little flock, our circus of a life, my sleepless imagination and i gotta start sharing again.

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fun in the tub

i was spring break this week and although i am totally laid up with this foot surgery…i had a couple surprise activities planned for the girls.

rainbow-bath-fun-webok you must know…liquid watercolors are the coolest thing ever!

liquid-watercolor-webthey can be used for a variety of different activities from art to play.  i suggest you get a few colors and have them on hand! (be sure to buy washable!!!)

first, i present the rainbow bubble bath!

four-bath-play-webwe just did a normal bubble bath using dish saop for the bubbles (because the bubbles are stronger than with a bubble bath soap) and then squirt the liquid water color onto the bubbles.

rainbow-bubble-bath-webnext, i present rainbow shower paint!

rainbow-shavingcream-paint-webalso very simple…get some shaving cream, and simply mix in the watercolor and paint till it is the darkness you like! (i did about 2 teaspoons)

rainbow-shaving-cream-paint-webbecause the liquid watercolor is washable, the clean up for both is really simple.  everything just needed a good rinse!  

clean-baby-girl-weboh…and instead of playing=messy kids…it’s playing=squeaky clean kids!  

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be the light!

be-the-light

a few weeks ago i gave a lesson at church to a group of women called the relief society.  it is an amazing group of women who have been so very supportive and inspirational to me and my family.  with this recent foot surgery i am required to stay off my foot and elevated for 6-8 weeks, and they have been graciously bringing in meals for our family.  this is so helpful because ryan has gone from full time working firefighter to full time dad/caregiver over night.  it has really helped lighten his load.  it’s an honor to be a part of such a great organization, 6 million women strong, one that helps it’s members and all people alike.  in short, the relief society has provided countless hours of service and immeasurable acts of relief to people around the world.

i’m not sure i have ever been so moved by a lesson that i want to share it on my blog, but this one really hit me hard! it focused on the importance of strengthening and preserving the family unit….the most valuable unit on earth and in heaven.  i won’t go in to all of details, but the most important point i took from the lesson was that we have to be the light.

be-the-light-bowl

i handed out these little light bulbs to everyone who who came to the meeting that day.

be-the-light-quotei LOVE that!  it is just was so clear. the light…the workshop…it paints such a great image in my mind of how this works.  i know with out a doubt that i must be the light in our home.  my mood, my attitude, my actions, my words, my ideas, my activities, my goals, my outlook…my very countenance should reflect…light.  i know that when i am the light, my children and husband will be energized…charged, even ignited to go and take on the world.  and then…their little lights will shine.  ahhhh, it is the sweetest reward.  it’s truly the best thing for me to see…it’s simply…bliss.  

and so it’s simple really, it starts with you…be the light!

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ireland…my nature girl turns 6.

irelands6bigday

my sweet ireland.  lover of animals, dragons, climbing, and all things nature…she is our earth child!  she turned 6 and asked to go to a farm sanctuary for her birthday. she is SO awesome!  after some serious research and lots of planning, this is how our fantasic weekend went…first stop was the olympic game farm.

gamefarmtrip

we have mixed feelings about this place.  it is great for us to see all of the unique animals, most of which are unwanted by zoo’s, pet owners, and old film companies…the game farm is basically a retirement center for large animals.  of course it is not ideal for some of the animals that clearly were meant to be in the wild, but better here than being mistreated or neglected. with so much land dedicated to the farm, there are quite a few wild indigenous animals that have made the game farm their home.  it is a pretty cool place to take the family, and a great laugh as you will most definitely get chased by buffalo who will stick their whole head in your car and give you a lick…(check out my instagram roll for some hilarious pitures!)

then we made our way into to mountains where we stayed at an awesome bed and breakfast…the elwah ranch.

irelanddayattheranch

there was a huge storm that night and we had to snuggle to keep warm because the power went out…we woke up to fresh fallen snow…it was magical.

speaking of magical…the highlight of it all…the precious life animal sanctuary.

preciouslifesanctury

this place…it is amazing.  i called and spoke to the owner of the farm and told him about sweet ireland and her birthday wish.  his name is ralph, and he is so kind hearted, hardworking, and was so good to oblige us.  i told him we would love to come spend some time on the farm and help out for a morning…he welcomed me, our entire crew, and i am sure…the help!  it was a surprise snow day, and we did not come prepared to get our vanagon up into the mountains, so we had to hike into the farm, which was so fun for the girls.

farmsanctuartylong-stack

ralph is so wonderful with these animals.  they are his friends, as it should be.  he has saved rabbits, cows, horses, turkeys, pigs, goats, dogs, deer, and ducks.  he treats them with such love, respect, and belonging.  he works effortlessly to tend to them, and does so with compassion.  what an amazing example he has set for my little flock.

irelandinherelement

at the entrance to his farm there is a wood carved sign that displays the poem, ‘if i can stop one heart from breaking’  written by emily dickinson.  it reads:

if i can stop on heart from breaking,

i shall not live in vain;

if i can ease one life the aching,

or cool one pain,

or help one fainting robin

unto his nest again,

i shall not live in vain.

-emily dickinson

robin-in-his-nest-webi painted this because i was so moved by everything that ralph stands for, and so inspired by everything irleand loves…and because…in my mind, this is how it should be.

(please if you feel so moved…go to his site and make a donation…he runs this magnificent farm out of his own pocket, and i can only imagine how expensive it is. i have done enough research to know just how difficult this kind of farm is to run…he is saving animals not using them for gain!  he primarily single handily maintains the farm, and it is not open to public…he was just willing to let us come and be a part of his routine for the day.  he does get a few volunteer groups at times…so we are going to be visiting the farm again this summer, and are looking to put together a work crew of volunteers!  if you are interested…please, PLEASE respond or email me!)

it was an awesome birthday wish, and i am so grateful that she has such a warm heart.  it allowed our little family to have quite the adventure, a great time together, and a reminder of the peace we should keep.  happy birthday to my young but old soul…my sweet girl…my earth child!  i love you.

teamkiloatthe-farm

 

 

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on letting go. really just letting go…

the last few weeks have been quite eventful.  i had planned to use them catching up on old blog posts, preparing for fun new content, painting, creating, volunteering in the school, working out everyday, teaching, cooking, finally doing that post holiday deep cleaning in the house…playing, crafting, and adventuring with my little flock, training them for gymnastics tryouts…oh, and of course having homemade muffins made for the family everyday…the list goes on and on…

instead our poor little family has been hit pretty hard with sickness.  sinus infections, colds, coughs, reflus, bronciolitis, fights, neck pain, back pain, tummy pain…more infections, and major fatigue.  also, we finally got in for sweet little silver’s torticolis treatment…only to be discouraged when we found out she is loosing WAY too much weight and is not thriving…so she has been attached to me non stop!  then today, the cherry on top…i found out that i have to have foot surgery.  again.  on the other foot this time.  umhhh…defeat. in short…i’m feeling really maxed out and super spread thin.  i just don’t see how i can do it all right now?

the last few days, and especially today, i have been thinking about how i really need to ease up on myself…to just let it go! let the expectations go!

hotairletitgoweb

its not unusual that i resign to let things go, resign to have faith, and resign to trust in a bigger plan because it is the only option left(trust…it’s a hard one for me!)  what if instead i could learn to practice letting go.  yes, practice it!  i have to practice gratitude (by the way my gratitude practice today: doctors who can do for me and my family the things i could in no way do for myself or them.)  it’s seems i have gotten in the habit of misleading myself.  i tell myself that if i hold onto pain, discomfort, and unrealistic expectations for myself…it will give me some control, some comfort, something to hold on to.  a layer of protection maybe?

oh healing soul…that is not the protection you need.  you simply need is an armor forged in perspective and an arsenal of unconditional love.  this will help you clearly prioritize your true center.

be brave little girl…and let it go!  let go of the self judgement that comes with that laundry list of unrealistic expectaitons you have set for yourself.  hey…it’s doable, you have done it before. you let go of the fear that came when ryan deployed….both times!  you let go of the sorrow that came with loosing your name when you regretfully sold heidi grace designs.  you let go of the emptiness felt when you miscarried.  you let go of grief that accompanies ill family members.  you let go of heartbreak that clings to martial stress (this is a work in progress.) you let go of the discouragment that came with those new mama blues.  you even let go of the defeat that shadows realization that in this season of your life, you just can not have a perfectly clean house.  none of these are greater than the other, pain is pain.  though this list has left some unhealed battle wounds…you hold them as a reminder, carry them like a badge of honor…then as you chisel down what matters…it is really quite clear:

teamkiloferry

so when life gets busy, gets lonely…gets hard…take a breath, remember you are more than you used to be…recenter your perspective and let the expectations go!

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roots and shoots soup

roots an shoots soup or stew….so tasty, and very healthy!

rootsandshootssoup

soup:

1 box of vegetable broth

6 carrots

6 small sun chokes

3 parsnips

3 celery stalks

3 small purple yams

1 turnip

1 yellow onion

1 rutabaga

1/2 minced garlic

1/4 c. ginger syrup

chopped parsley to taste

salt and pepper to taste

chop the above vegetables to desired sizes, add to broth and season. cook in crock pot on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.

stew:

same as above

after it has stewed for about 2 hours, add the following:

3/4 c. gluten free flour

3/4 c. nutritional yeast

enjoy!

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on working at marriage…

ryan-with-canvasa few days ago ryan and i got in a doozy of a fight…then, just a couple days later ryan took me on a date. our first “official” date since silver was born.  he arranged for my parents to watch the kids, then….drumroll please….he took me to a local art store to buy some new canvas.  they were having a huge sale and we got so many beautiful new canvas…fresh and ready for creating…

no big deal right…wrong, here’s why:

first of all, money is pretty tight for us right now, and spending what we have on canvas was not in the budget…ryan is stingy…um, i mean frugal (wink, wink), so it’s pretty meaningful.  then there is the fact that i have started, failed, and restarted creative ventures so many times, and ryan would be so justified in not finacially supporting another one…but he continues to support me.  he calls it his best “investments.”  finally, his faith and certainty in my talent.  he sees it when i don’t.

long story short, i’ve been struggling with just where my creative path is going to lead, in fact i’ve been struggling just to even get on a path at all.  ryan knows that this struggle is very destructive for me.  so, he took me to buy canvas…a couple new brushes, and some paints.  I LOVE IT!  he does know me!  don’t get me wrong…our marriage is work, but it is the most worthwhile job i could  have.

you know, i used to work so hard at my job.  i’d stay up till all hours of the night,  forgo meals, and dismiss self care if it meant i could use that time to work.  i loved work…i craved it…i championed it.  it was never simple, usually a challenge, and almost always exhausting.  but it was worth  it!  i am a visionary…and when the work seemed too  much, i would rely on a vision..an end goal to carry me through…

the reward was simple…knowing i was moving toward something more than myself…something greater than me alone.

so it should be with marriage…

ummm….wait, what about those lovely chick flicks(that my ryan says are just as bad as a violent/crass action dramas).  the ones that leave you wondering why my own marriage isn’t daily displays of passion…acts of affection shown by rainbows, chocolates, and beautifully planned dates with music, dancing and fireworks…that’s love right?

hmph…what about surviving physical and emotional pain, or staying up half the night fighting then waking up ready to work it out.  what about the suffering…what about being right along side each other through tragedy…through heartbreak…or celebrating your greatest creation…our children.  what about problem solving uncontrolled circumstances that will change things forever…what about for better or for worse…  or,  how about when you together you are still…when the world you created seems like total chaos…or looking at this world, and realizing that the two of you together have created something extraordinary…something more than you could ever do alone.

our life is a roller coaster ride, full of twists and turns, ups and downs…and an occasional turn into a cave of darkness.  i am in the front seat, and i hold on to the hope that i am not on this ride alone.

rollercoaster-inworks

(this is totally in the works…but i like where it’s going…)

ryan and i have had our share of trials, and although sorry to admit, we have more often than not, let our marriage be the casualty to those trials.

with that i will remind myself of this…it’s work.  IT’S WORK!  it’s work…and your best work comes with fortitude. this marriage is the most valuable work you will ever do.  for yourself, for your man, and for your girls.  what you make of marriage will cultivate your own happiness, how i treat my man will nourish his happiness, and showing the girls how it’s done will lead to their happiness.   ps…he can be quite charming!

charming-ryanforweb

 

 

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protein crispy bars

 

chocolate, maca, peanut butter, cashews, quinoa and protein crispy bars…oh my!

protein-peanutbuttercrisps

1 c. coconut oil

1 c. peanut/almond butter

8 tbs agave

1 tbs maple syrup

1/3 c. maca powder

1/2 c. cocao powder

1/2 c. vegan protein powder

3-4 c. quinoa crisps

3/4 c. raisins

1 c. crushed cashews

melt the coconut oil, and peanut butter on low heat.  mix in all other ingredients in order.    pour into pan. let them cool completely before eating.

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