Dec 17, 2013

Glenwood gondola

And some more pictures from our trip that were unintentionally forgotten. They were waiting patiently to be shared and just needed someone to get some free time to do some blogging. :)

This was from our gondola ride in Glendwood. Lincoln and I both shared the adventure as "first-timers". I'm grateful for not being scared of heights, because not only was the view from up top was beautiful, the ride up was quite enjoyable looking out. 

We ate at the restaurant up on top, hiding from the wind and freezing temperatures. There wasn't much snow, but dang that wind went straight to the ole' bones. 

The only aspect I like about cold temperatures is when I'm warm inside looking OUTSIDE on cold weather. Maybe sipping on some hot chocolate with warm fuzzy slippers. THEN and only then do I like cold weather.
And I shrunk!! Okay, it's actually just a really big chair. As Job (from Arrested Development) would say, "it's an ILLUUUUSSSION!!!"

Dec 12, 2013

thanksgiving 2014

A Shideler Ranch view + jacuzzi tub + rubber duckies = HAPPY BATH TIME!
I barely took any pictures on my camera. But the few I got was all the proof I needed to show how awesome of a family I married into. Trying to get everyone together for a family photo, and a decent one at that (meaning seeing everyone's face--smiling or not) is always an adventure in itself. There's about 20 more of these photos before we got one "frame-worthy" picture. :) Only downside, we're missing some  family who were in Denver, and Lincoln, who was surprisingly upstairs sleeping through the talent show AND family photo-shoot chaos. He's just too young to expose to that much stress....maybe next year.
I called my parents on Thanksgiving and my mom proudly told me she was making Thanksgiving from scratch!!! Kudos mom! But then my dad said scratch meant opening it from a can. Either way, sounds like mom rocked it this year. :) 

Nov 19, 2013

using up those vacation days

The random weekend getaway when Ryan has a few vacation days left for the year. 

That one hotel that we thought we were staying at for our 5 year anniversary but a little mix-up left us in a dive hole.... well, we finally made our reservations in the correct little hotel right off the beach this time. When you have a baby, the less driving you have to do THE BETTER. 

Side story: Ryan loves Denny's. And we've made a habit to go once every time we go over to Cali. Why? I don't know. Ryan loves those grand slam breakfasts and he knows that we never go when we're home. I asked to go to a place called Kono's, right off the pier, for our first morning. I've always wanted to eat there, but during the summer months the line wraps down the sidewalk and I pitty the fool who would actually wait in such a ridiculously long line. But then there was the side of me that thought, "Any place where people stand in line that long for breakfast, it must be something special." Thanks to being there off season AND to the time change which allowed us to be up and ready by 630am, we were able to eat at Kono's with hardly any line. 

Important note, they only take cash. We made the mistake our first time when we didn't have enough cash and we're like...

" uhhh.... can you tell this is our first time and that we're lame tourists who didn't know??"

But the guy was cool and said we could bring the money back later, which we did because we went again the next morning, and the next morning after that. That's right. We went every day for breakfast! And when I asked Ryan if he wanted to go to Denny's and he said

 "No that's ok, we can go to Kono's again if you want," 
I felt pretty pleased the Denny tradition had gone out the window. I replied,
"No it's okay, we can go to Denny's. I know how much you love it."

I'm twisted okay? I just wanted to him hear say that he thought Kono's tasted much better and he wanted Kono's more than Denny's and he's so happy I suggested that place and that I'm the best wife ever. Is that so much to ask? haha. Well, he admitted it. It tasted much better, which is not a surprise. 
Case and point: go eat at Kono's. Oh goodness. Drool. 

Lincoln still isn't a fan of the sand. He runs to the end of our beach blanket, touches the sand, pulls his hand away and cringes, then runs away. It's rather cute, actually. Everything he does is cute though. :) He was a trooper as always, except for the night when we went to Joe's and ordered a huge bucket of crab. Of course the one time when our hands are messy and our dinner requires some serious "hands-on" to eat, Lincoln is trying to crawl out of the high chair, choking on a pear, throwing silverware, throwing up pear over the floor, and crying. I don't think we scarfed food down that fast in so long. 

Nov 12, 2013

chickpea curry

I've been meaning to do an update with Ryan's cleanse /healthy eating/ doctor's appointments etc. If you missed that post you can read it HERE. Anyway, the month was definitely a challenge. I felt like I was always in the kitchen, which was to be expected. When you're eating healthier at home, there's more preparation involved.

There are some dishes we really loved that will become regular dishes in this home. I'm planning on going back and making some freezer dinners with those recipes to cut back on time in the kitchen. I'd rather have one hectic crazy busy day in the kitchen cooking with a few easy weeks of meals, than preparing something new every other day. EVENTUALLY.... and I mean..... eventually..... I will have a big list of these freezer meals I'll share with you all. :)

This was a recipe we scarfed down...literally. Maybe it was the change in spices that added major variety to our dinners. We both love Indian food... who doesn't?... so this dish really hit the spot. And it scored a huge bonus with me because it was easy, fast, and not too many ingredients. This will be on my list for freezer dinners.

Chickpea Curry
vegan, gf

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbs oil ( i used coconut oil)
2 cups white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 -15ozcan chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
2 -15oz cans cooked chickpeas

2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium. Add the garlic, onion, sprinkle a little salt to help onions soften faster. Once onions are translucent, add chopped mushrooms and spices and cook for a few minutes until mushrooms soften and release juices. Then, throw in the tomatoes with it's juice, coconut milk, and chickpeas. Cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Serve over rice! I would have really loved some naan with it as well. NEXT TIME!

Ryan is in the process of having blood work, tests, and an ultrasound done. There wasn't any improvement with his joints after a month, although we're both aware months could pass before we see any changes.....or no changes. We are carrying on with healthier eating but not as extreme. We are not vegan. We like meat, we like dairy. To cut those out permanently is not realistic and, in moderation, we feel just fine having them in our diet. :) But we are aware of how much we were eating and are cutting back on them. Ryan has committed to cutting back on soda, especially diet soda with the aspartame. He told me numerous times how he had more energy without the soda this past month. I was crossing my fingers he would eliminate it entirely, but unfortunately that was a big fat no. But a soda or two a week is a huge improvement from where we were before this change. I'll still have a bunch of recipes to share from that month so I'll keep them coming for anyone who cares to try them. :)

Nov 6, 2013

family hike

I'm singing to myself, "It's the most wonderful time of the be in Arizona!"
It's mother nature saying thank-you for putting up with the excessive heat this summer. And the mountains right along our house have been glaring down on us to come hike them. And we did! And we will again! Lincoln fell asleep in his carrier and was out for half of the hike. Must be nice while someone carries you to the top for you to enjoy the view, and then fall asleep on our way down. We're happy to do so, Lincoln. :)

Nov 4, 2013

7 month milestones and some really good advice

Lincoln turned 7 months this month. Yep! 7 WHOLE months and about 7 inches of hair! jk. 
This has been my favorite stage, especially since he's mastered clapping. There's Ryan and I standing in front of him, wide-eyed, clapping and cheering YAYYY!!!! And soon to follow, Lincoln will join in and clap with us. Sometimes it takes some concentration, sometimes it just flows naturally for him...either way, he's the best at it. 
I took his 7 month pictures, but he despised just laying there, especially since he is a crawling machine. So I pulled the whole, "clapping and yayyy!" card on him and he actually bought into it. All the pictures I have of him for his 7 months is him clapping, which is perfectly suiting for him at this time. 

Did I mention he's part Canadian? Ok no, not really. We're Americans here and proud of it! But he must be getting some Canadian influence from somewhere because a majority of his talking sounds like this
 (in crescendo)
eh? EH! EEHHH!

And another milestone???
He stood up on his own!!! it may have been only TWO full seconds. But he STOOD UP!!! 
My clapping-standing-Canadian, eh!

And here's some advice for the Parenthood Club, I haven't had one of these in awhile but this is a good one, I PROMISE. 

1. What to do if your child appears to have poor circulation in his knees?
I had Lincoln sitting on my lap when I looked down at his knees and shins. I immediately panicked, his legs looked like the circulation was being cut off, a musky grey color. I checked the capillary refill time (the nurse side of me kicked in) but it was fine.What the?? Upon closer examination, I realized, the musky grey color in his legs was actually a light layer of dirt he picked up from crawling around the kitchen floors!!!!!
DISGUSTING RIGHT?? but a huge relief that it wasn't anything else. But still, DISGUSTING!

So pretty much, if you can't figure out why your baby's legs are cyanotic looking, check the cleanliness of your floors. I now have Linc's chubby dirty legs as my indicator to mop. :)


I owe my parents BIG time. "I owe ya one" is becoming a frequent comment to my parents as of lately.. especially my dad who has helped babysit on Fridays while I cover some shifts at the hospital. He's quite a natural with Lincoln and I'm grateful they're able to spend some time with each other. If Ryan gets transferred out of Phoenix I'll be heartbroken to have Lincoln away from his papa and nana, who also double-duty quite nicely as his babysitters. :) My dad even stayed the night last Monday so Ryan and I could go to a concert. I made it up to him by making him breakfast the following morning before he left for work and packed him a lunch to take too. He even admitted to having a good night's sleep because he had the guest bed all to himself instead of mom hogging  taking more than her fair share of the bed at home. :) Love you mom.

Anyway, the concert was awesome. I was able to break out my cowboy boots that I've worn like 5 times in the past 10 years so that's always exciting. We had lawn seats, but we still had an awesome view and liked having a big blanket to give us more space. We laughed at how territorial everyone was in the lawn section. The bigger the blanket, the more space you claim for your area and we were the ones with the queen sized blanket!!! HA HA HA HA

And  a cool photo I found. One of their songs included a patriotic verse and they had some Veterans come out. The crowd went crazy with US pride and the photo I take of them onstage showed a guy in front of us saluting.

Great concert!

Oct 31, 2013


Best birthday ever! Oh ya know, just sitting out on our back patio, looking at my beautimous flowers from Ryan (who says he chose them because of the fall colors) and smelling my sugar cookie candle AND watching Ryan cook me my birthday dinner. :) I love watching him cook. Yes, part of it is because I know I'm able to take a break from it, but also because there's something about a man I right or am I right? Oh, and he was grilling some pork chops. First time grilling some meat after our cleanse for Ryan (more on that coming later). 
And then, because he knows me so well, he made me a BIG chocolate banana & walnut cupcake, because to me, that's a yummy dessert! I had my boys singing happy birthday to me; well Ryan sang while Linc  clapped because that's his new talent.... and it's THE.BEST!
My boys sure know how to make me feel special.


It's Lincoln's first Halloween today and I'm pretty sure he couldn't care less. He's actually napping right now, which if I had any smarts, I would be doing the same. 

Halloween is my FA-FA-FA-FAVORITE! So of course I wanted to have the BESTEST costume for Lincoln and do all the spooktacular things involved with Halloween. I tried my best to decorate our little home with painted pumpkins and cut-out bats on the wall.... BUT there's been a lot of things going on this past week....blah blah blah, so unfortunately, 2 top priorities were put on the back burner: Lincoln's costume and going to the pumpkin patch. I have to slap myself and say, Stop putting more on your plate than you can eat! There are some things that aren't worth being squeezed into "to-do's" just to say you did it..... it'll end up giving you gray hair and a heart attack because of the unneeded stress it put you through!! Take a deep breath, Elizabeth. 

No apologies, Lincoln, for not having you in an extravagant costume or taking you to a "real" pumpkin patch farm for your first Halloween. Instead, you have a simple ghost onesie your unstressed mom made for you out of LOVE that only took 20 minutes. And instead of driving you to the pumpkin patch that  mommy REALLY wanted to go 40 minutes away, you were able to cruise in the comfort of your stroller (instead of that stupid car seat) and enjoy the view on our 10 minute walk to the most humble road-side pumpkin patch instead. And guess what? You pretty much had that WHOLE little pumpkin patch to yourself!! I think your first Halloween turned out better than what I had originally wanted.... silly mom, when will I learn. 

Oct 26, 2013

out of the woodwork

These pictures are terribly blurry. I finally talked Ryan into getting a nice camera when Lincoln was born after repeatedly telling him "I promise I'll learn how to use it!!!" and pulling the "we'll save money in the long run" talk. Well, I'm learning, but it will be a long process. I realized when we went for an evening walk the other night, I have no idea how to take a picture of people with the sunset in the background. I had two options: 1. capture the beautiful sunset and blacken out Ryan and Lincoln or 2. make sure it's light enough to see Lincoln and Ryan but completely white out the sky. It's a work in process I tell ya.

The sunsets have been so colorful, one of the perks of Arizona. Now if I can just capture a beautiful sunset with my boys in front of it, THAT will be a picture that gets framed for display. I'll take the white sky for clear pictures of my boys any day though.

Our evening walks have become a little ritual I really look forward to. And so do all of the neighbors. We never realized we had so many young families in our neighborhood until the evenings started to cool down. There's a parenthood club right here on our street! yippee!

This morning we had a service project for church. I was planning on feeding Lincoln and then have Ryan watch him while I was gone, but as I went upstairs to hand off Lincoln, Ryan was dressed and ready to go with me! I was stoked! Seeing my husband on an early Saturday morning, painting at a church service project, with little Lincoln in the stroller by his side.... I don't think I could be any happier.

Oh wait, maybe the fact that Papa and Nana Z are coming over to babysit tonight while Ryan and I go to a fancy-shmancy restaurant (compliments of his work).... let's just say it's a great Saturday and it's only 10am.

Oct 20, 2013

for dessert AND breakfast?! I know. We're crazy.

I've been on cooking/ baking overload lately. My only complaint, the dishes. We finally have a nice dishwasher, but I'm like my mother-in-law. I prefer to do them by hand. I really just need to slap my hand and tell myself to enjoy the luxury of a dishwasher after going so many years without one.

Here's two recipes I baked this past week:

I made an Apple Cinnamon Cobbler. I bought a ridiculous amount of apples. Ridiculous, I tell ya. Like, 4 FULL bags of apples. Gala, Red, and Granny Smith. Why? Because it's fall and apples were ridiculously cheap. 3 pounds for $1? Yes, don't mind me while I impulsively buy lots of apples and then figure out what to do with them all later on.

Apple Cinnamon Cobbler
(Vegan and Gluten free substitutions, sugar free, dairy free)

8-10 apples (any kind, peeled, cored, & chopped. Peeling the apples was a pain in the neck so the first 3 were beautiful and the rest looked disastrous)
1 tbs cinnamon
1tbs flax meal (optional)
lemon juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 honey (or pure maple syrup)
1/3 coconut oil - melted
1.5 cups oats (gluten free)
2 tsp salt (and a little more sprinkled on top after baking)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, mix chopped apples, agave, lemon, cinnamon, and raisins in bowl and spread over 8x11 pan. In small bowl, mix honey until smooth consistency, and then add oats. Pour on top of apples and spread. I slightly mixed it all together instead of keeping oats just on top. Bake 30-40minutes or until apples become tender. Serve warm for dessert and then have next morning for breakfast. I ate it cold this morning and actually preferred it that way. I know. I'm weird. I also doubled the oat mixture to have more of the "crumble" with the apples. My dad came over to babysit on Friday and he had some. He loved it, but he said it needed a little more salt. We sprinkled more on top and he was right, much better. I made an executive decision to make some official alterations to the recipe. Thanks dad! Store in fridge.

Okay, this next recipe, I made last Sunday. And it was supposed to last us the week, but we ended up eating almost the whole dish in one evening. I made it again on Thursdsay, and we have one square left that I set aside for Ryan's lunch tomorrow. These babies go fast in this house.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bars 
(Vegan and Gluten free substitutions, sugar free, dairy free)

3 cups old fashion oats, gf
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 can 100% pumpkin puree (15oz)
1/2 cup honey
1/8 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbs cinnamon (or 1/2 tbs cinnamon, 1/2 tbs nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8× 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Make oat flour: Place oatmeal into blender or food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour. The second time I made this recipe, I made less oat flour and used more full oats (about 1.5 cups of flour, 1.5 cups full oats) to make it more of a granola bar. If you use more oat flour, it turns more into a cake. Place oat flour and remaining oats in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, honey, vanilla extract, oil, and applesauce for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. You can also add all of these ingredients to the food processor as well. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in 1/5 cup of chocolate chips and dump all that goodness into your pan, and for safe measure, sprinkle on some more chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. 
Best part about these? Another dessert AND breakfast combo. Serve warm out of the oven for dessert or cut them up in bars and wrap individually for breakfast/snack throughout the week. PERECTO! And on a completely unrelated note, aren't these the cutest hind legs you've ever seen? :)

Oct 16, 2013

solution for all the veggies starting to go bad in your fridge.

Since we've started this month with Ryan's cleanse, I've really looked forward to dinner time. It's like the stars have aligned to make our evenings so enjoyable. I'm having the best time trying out new recipes (some great, some not so great). When I start preparing for dinner, I put Lincoln in his chair with some toys at the kitchen counter, I turn on Pandora to either Motown or Mana (Spanish station) and I'll start preparing food while singing and dancing for Lincoln. :He's too young to be embarrassed by his mother. :)

Before this month, we weren't the best at sitting down together and eating as a family at the table. But now, since the stars have aligned, we've been eating out on the patio every night. Dinner time is right at sunset, so we have beautiful skies and cool evening weather. We drag Lincoln's high chair outside and he'll jump in on conversation and steal the spotlight every night. Last night our food went practically cold because we were too busy laughing at Lincoln gnawing on an orange and making his puckered faces. :)

Dinner wasn't a planned meal. It was more like, we have a lot of stuff going bad, let's just grill it all and eat it all tonight. It was a double bonus, no food was wasted AND it tasted great!

Grilled Veggie Sandwich
Green Peppers
Red Peppers
Yellow Squash
Salt & Pepper
Cooking oil
Toasted bread (gluten free optional)
And another other veggies your heart desires

I used a mandolin slicer to make long thin strips of zucchini and squash. Then just hand cut the peppers into large chunks that would lay on the grill. I drizzled oil, sprinkled salt & pepper on top, and put them on a med/high heat. Grilled until tender. 

While the veggies are grilling, I smashed up some avocado, chopped some tomatoes, and mixed them together with a dash of garlic salt. Toast some bread, spread the guacamole mixture on it, and throw on some veggies. I threw some leftover cooked potatoes and broccoli on the grill to reheat for a side. I put them on tin foil with oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bam. Delish.