Support Local

This last week I did something incredibly fun and interesting. I went to a u-pick event at a local urban farm in the middle of the city. It was a beautiful flower garden that the owner/grower opened up to the public for a day to allow people to pick flowers.

20170811_180602_wm

It was blistering hot and we poured down sweat as we walked in between the tall stalks of flowers I had never seen before. I stared in awe of the pretty designs and colors as we clipped them to add to our 5-gallon bucket filled with water. It was an interesting experience squeezing past other people, some moms picking with their daughters and other couples out sweating in the sun to grab some beautiful flowers. Some women carried mason jars to design bouquets as they walked between the rows, some carried buckets like us and some had beautiful little baskets to pick with. It was really fun to see what everyone was choosing and how they were arranging the flowers.

20170811_181806_wm

For $20 we filled our big 5-gallon bucket up of flowers and headed home to start designing bouquets. By the time we were done we had filled our big vase, two smaller vases and a mason jar. There is now flowers in each room of my house and I love it. The bouquets are wild and totally unique. I have never been a fan of uniform bouquets anyways.

I love supporting local farms. To me it feels better. I get most of my produce from a local farm stand down the road where they grow all their own vegetables. It is easier on my pocket book and the vegetables are always super fresh. This weekend R and I are heading to do u-picking blackberries from a local farm. I keep drooling over the idea of syrups and cobblers. I love fresh blackberries because it reminds me of growing up picking blackberries for hours with purple fingers. But above all I love supporting local farms and areas that encourage us to buy fresh and buy local. The experiences are unique and I feel better about putting my money with small people vs corporations.

What do you do that supports local?

The best Boneless Pork Loin Roast Recipe

I buy random meat on sale at the store and then figure I will find a recipe by the time I go to cook it. Then when I pull it out for dinner I go frantically looking for a recipe till I give up and create my own. I just can never find exactly what I want. So that is what happened with this Boneless Pork Loin Roast, fresh corn and giant zucchini. I slaved over the oven for over an hour but the food that came out of that oven was truly amazing. I was groaning as I ate it. So flipping good. I suggest this meal to anyone to try. You just can’t go wrong with it!!

Boneless Pork Loin Roast with corn on the cob and zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 ears of corn
  • 2lb Boneless Pork loin roast
  • 3-4 zucchini (or in my case one giant one from the veggie stand down the road)
  • Lemon pepper
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Onion Powder
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • Aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Defrost boneless pork loin roast completely and let it sit at room temperature while you prep everything.
  3. Start a pan on the oven with some butter melting in it. Put a good pat of butter in that pan. You want it to completely coat the pan.
  4. While that heats up, in a small bowl, mix brown sugar with some lemon pepper, salt, onion powder and red pepper flakes. Mix together.
  5. Take your boneless pork loin roast and rub the mixture of brown sugar with seasonings all over getting every nook and cranny. Really rub it all in there really good and use up the whole mixture. Afterwards sprinkle some extra red pepper flakes on there.
  6. Place the boneless pork loin roast into the hot pan of butter and let sit for about 10 minutes on each side. You want the meat to be a dark brown color.
  7. While this is cooking in the pan, start prepping your corn. Take the corn out of the husks and grab a piece of aluminum foil, place each ear of the corn in its own aluminum. Season the corn with salt, lemon pepper and red pepper flakes. Stick a few pats of butter inside the aluminum foil with the corn. Wrap it all up tight. Place in baking sheet. Place in oven.
  8. When the boneless pork loin roast is done, place it on a roasting rack, pour the remaining butter from the pan on to the pork loin roast, cover it all with aluminum foil and place it in the oven setting a timer for 45 minutes.
  9. Right before the timer goes off prep your zucchini. Cut it all up into rounds. Place flat on baking sheet. Sprinkle lemon pepper and salt all over it. Add pats of butter on top. Place in oven.
  10. Once that timer goes off, take off the aluminum foil, baste the pork loin roast a little bit and place back in oven without aluminum foil. Cook for another 20 minutes or so. Check the internal temp before removing. Pork should be at 165 degrees in the thickest part.
  11. Once that is done your corn should be done and zucchini done. (corn should take roughly 45 minutes and zucchini roughly 20-30 minutes).

IMG_20170807_195303_wm

I wish I could tell you how good this recipe was but I can’t put it into words. You will need to try it yourself. It was the best. The corn, the pork and the zucchini all came out simply amazing. I was groaning the entire time I ate!! So please give this one a try! You won’t regret it!

 

 

Ranch Happenings

There is so much going on I have been running non stop for what feels like weeks. R had a death in the family, we are at wedding crunch time (less than two months away), work for both R and I is crazy and life in general just never stops. So I have been missing in action on my blog but you can always check me out on Instagram (laughter_and_carbs) or Snapchat (horseylove84). I am always quickly updating those because I LOVE pictures.

This weekend I got the chance to sneak out of the house at midnight and go out to the horse pasture to watch the meteor shower with the horses. I just scratched their butts and counted the shooting stars flying by. Something about things like that take my breath away and make me feel lucky to live out in the country. Plus the horses love their butts scratched so they were okay with me gasps and sighs as long as I kept scratching.

20170805_215236_wm

Lately I have been snapping so many pictures of the moon, the sunsets and the sunrises because they have been breathtaking. The weather has finally dipped down to just beautiful temps (80s to 90s) and I feel fall coming. I love fall. Everything about fall makes me happy.

IMG_20170814_133800_585_wm

The chickens are laying. Ms. June, my oldest hen from the first batch had stopped laying in the heat wave we had (weeks of over 100 degrees) but she finally started laying again. Ms. Leghorn our Leghorn chicken lays daily and the small cream egg is our bantam who only lays periodically. But we finally have fresh chicken eggs sitting in our fridge again. They taste so good too! Gosh I missed having fresh chicken eggs!!

Ms. Leghorn is my buddy. Whenever she is in the yard she comes running when she hears me. I often will have June, Goldie and Ms. Leghorn following me around. Goldie is R’s mom chicken that she gave us. She is doing great. She made friends. I still hunt worms and bugs with her when I am home. She seems really happy. They are all really happy. Well except for the feisty silkie rooster who is now just getting annoying. He won’t touch R’s 10 year old son but spent all last weekend chasing R’s mom all around the yard. He is good with me if I tell him to stop, he will stop dead in his tracks and just stare at me because he knows my voice. But strangers he doesn’t do well with. He is funny though, he can run super fast, bounces off your legs and then stares at you shaking. It doesn’t hurt. Just more annoying.

20170806_175918_wm

Our ducks have such funny personalities. They got grounded from my yard because they were digging, so they are back in their duck run and they are so unhappy. Even though it is huge. The duck run is right by the kitchen window and every morning now when they can hear me making coffee, they run over and quack loudly at me. Silly ducks. They also yell at me when I get home. I think they liked the company of being in the yard. They tend to stay around me when I am outside and will follow me around. They even get really close to me now and beg for meal worms constantly. The other night though I watched them eat a small frog. Poor frog. They are definitely not vegetarians.

20170806_175837_wm

Last week we got a bunch of small feeder fish from Wal-Mart and put them in the clean duck pool. They had those fish ate up in 10 minutes flat once they figured out what was going on. They were so happy fishing and swimming around. I will have to do it again for them in the near future.

20170809_064842_wm

Tomatoes are growing like crazy around the ranch, as well as my squash plants and snap peas. Also, last year we smashed our pumpkins in the back 20 acres to see if a pumpkin vine would grow and guess what, there is a HUGE pumpkin vine growing right where the grey water spits out (from the dishwasher and washer). It has two huge buds. I keep thinking I need to take a picture and then forgetting. I am so excited. I hope the kiddo gets to pick his own pumpkin from the vine.

The horses are fat and lazy. I need to start working with them again but with everything going on we haven’t had a lot of opportunities. But I am determined now that the weather is cooler that I need to get out there daily. Fingers crossed. I miss riding so much.

The other day I was watching the sun rise over the pasture, with the barn in the distance and the horses grazing, I just smiled and realized how much I truly love our home. It is amazing to get the chance to live out there and have the animals I do. The kiddo got a bike for his birthday this last weekend and he rode all over that ranch for two days straight. These are the opportunities he gets because his Dad and I live out in the country. Since his Mom lives in the city he doesn’t have a place to ride a bike there or run after animals when he is with her. But when he is with us he gets so excited to collect eggs and chase the chickens around. It makes me happy! It is a good life!

 

How I Stay Sane

July has been rough. It has been full of so much chaos and stress. I have officially reached the point where I have stopped asking, “what else could go wrong?” Not a good idea right now with everything that has happened. But I am not letting it yank me too far down. I have faith that things will work out, things will fall into place and things will get better. But in the mean time my stress level is amped up, especially with wedding planning reaching crunch time and my work days being ridiculously stressful.

Here is how I know I am stressed, I actually look forward to my lunch time workouts. I have been finding solace in the hour I get to myself during the day. I put on my headphones, I put on my work out clothes, I usually go when the gym isn’t busy and I allow myself to just focus on my workout.

Now normally my workouts starts like this:

“wtf am I doing, I hate cardio.”

“This sucks. My god this sucks.”

Why am I sweating already, what the hell body, could you be anymore embarrassing?”

But at some point, usually about 5-10 minutes into my cardio session, I just suddenly feel better. I start getting into it. I start allowing my mind to focus on the movement and I even have been caught dancing a bit on the elliptical. By the time I am heading over to the weights (my favorite part of my workout), I am calm and focused. I don’t allow the stress to follow me to the gym. This is my time. This is where I get to be without the daily reminders of everything going on.

A typical work out for me is:

  • 15-20 minutes of elliptical
  • 20-25 minutes of weights

I never really go in there with a plan or mission. Mostly my mission is just to de-stress and work my body a bit. On Fridays I will usually shake it up by doing strength training exercises without the weight machines or some yoga/stretching after cardio. I also have been getting brave and getting on the treadmill to do some walking in hopes that maybe I can start up my running program again if I can trust that I won’t fly off the back of the treadmill.

I find that everything else sort of falls into place when I work out, slowly my eating improves, my water intake increases and I don’t really crave junk food as much. Just that act of using my hour long lunch to work out makes everything else just kind of click into place for being healthier.

It is nice to be falling in love with fitness again and to use it as a way to channel all my stress. My PCOS thanks me, my body thanks me and my mental state thanks me. So fitness doesn’t always have to be about losing weight and inches, it can just be about staying sane during stressful times and letting your body have a good outlet for stress.

Hot Days of Summer- Farm happenings

I feel like I haven’t stopped sweating since June. We have had a streak of non stop 100 degree days and my electricity bill is never going to recover. My A/C runs almost constantly except for the rare evenings when it cools down enough to pull air inside with my box fan. I am so over this summer. I haven’t been able to ride my horse because I work when it is the coolest outside (about 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.). It is driving me nuts. I just need some normal low 90 degree days or 80’s would be ideal right now.

I am so aware of the heat because I am responsible for keeping animals alive during this brutal heat. Chickens it turns out do better in cold vs heat. I already lost a bantam chicken, bantams are super fluffy and there was water but she just couldn’t handle the heat. I felt so bad. So during the hottest days I have been allowing the chickens to free range my yard. They have a ton more room to find shade, dirt they can roll in and cooler areas to hide from the sun. Between my very hot dogs and the hot chickens, I have craters popping up in the dirt areas around my house. I sacrificed the lettuce container to them and filled a small planter with fresh dirt for the chickens and they love it. They roll around endlessly getting all dirty. June has stopped laying eggs with all this heat. She hasn’t laid a single egg since the heat sky rocketed up. The babies are still too young to lay. So currently I don’t have any fresh chicken eggs. Sigh.

20170717_180735_wm.jpg

We are buying watermelon and Otter pops in bulk right now. The Otter Pops are for us humans. But between the ducks, chickens and horses, plus a little for me, we go through 2 big watermelons a week almost. The horses like theirs refrigerated. I discovered yesterday that Sophie eats it now, rind and all. Crazy horse. She has also become very good about bobbing for apple slices in her water trough. Helps her get extra water in her system and makes her work for her treat a bit. I am miss working her right now but this heat is too much stress on her and me.

One of the ducks has started laying for me. I have no clue if we have two females or a female and a male but I do know one duck is officially laying an egg daily.

20170717_065138_wm

On Saturday I found two in their kiddie pool, I don’t know if they both laid or if one poor duck laid two eggs. Her eggs keep getting bigger too. We went from small ones to now huge ones. I feel so bad for her. But each morning she wanders over to her favorite spot (right next to the air conditioner) and lays. Sometimes she does it in the pool but mostly she likes her spot by the A/C.

During the hotter days I leave a sprinkler on low for the ducks and they love it. It keeps the grass green but they also LOVE to play in it. Cracks me up. The other day I was watering the citrus trees on the other side of the fence and they were face deep in the weeds over there with their butts in the air.

20170722_101148_wm

These two are so funny to watch but they are also trouble makers. They have discovered my potted vegetables and I have to chase them off in the mornings. They like to poke at the tomato plants and that is a no no. They very much have a routine of what they do and when. They also are the play ground monitors. Little Birdie (my oldest silkie) is a little bit of a ditz is what I call her, she kind of wanders around doing her own thing and is a little dumb. The new rooster (one of my babies is a gorgeous rooster) has decided he likes her the most and tries to mount her. Whenever he is too aggressive, one of the ducks goes over there, gentle pulls Little Birdie to the side and tells the rooster off. It is so comical to watch.

I almost have R convinced I need a mini pig or goat. Okay, I don’t have him even remotely convinced I need those things nor do I think we have the space for them. But a girl can dream!

Sweet and Savory Tri-Tip Roast in Crockpot

It is hot. Super hot. It has been weeks of over 100 degree days in a row with little to no relief. I sweat just walking to my car in the morning most days. So believe me when I tell you I don’t want to have to use my oven very often right now.

R defrosted the tri-tip roast he found for Sunday’s dinner and I dug through recipes to find one that I liked but I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to make. First of all I was limited on what ingredients I had and driving to the store was not something I wanted to do when it takes 25 minutes just to get to a store. So I winged it. I told R this could go bad or good. He is always down for trying anything. I have to say though, it came out good and full of flavor. Which was my goal! Definitely a good recipe to keep on hand for those days you don’t want to heat up your house. It used fresh fruit but also had a balsamic vinegar marinade. Made it a sweet and savory kind of dish.

There are a couple parts to this recipe, the rub to rub on it before it sits overnight in the fridge and the marinade to pour over it. I listed each one out separately below. Try it and tell me how you like it!!

Sweet and Savory Tri-tip Roast in Crockpot

Ingredients:

Rub:

  • Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Sage
  • Rosemary

Marinade:

20170723_133412_wm

  • 1/4 Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Honey
  • 3 tablespoons of stone ground mustard
  • Red Pepper flakes

Other Ingredients:

  • Tri-tip Roast
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3-4 shallots
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 Ripe Apricots
  • 1-2 Ripe apples

Directions:

  1. The night before, take your rub and mix it all together in a bowl. Take your tri tip and rub a little olive oil all over it. Rub the seasoning into the tri tip evenly. Place it in plastic bag, if you have left over rub just pour it over the roast in the bag. Place bag in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. The next day, prep your crock pot by adding a little olive oil to the bottom and sides. Cut up onion and line the bottom of the crock pot with the onion slices. Take some shallots and slice them, placing them with the onion at the bottom of the crock pot. Add some whole garlic cloves as well.
  3. Slice up your ripe apples and apricot, place on top of the onion. Save some pieces for the top as well.
  4. Place your meat on top of all of this, pour the balsamic vinegar marinade over the top, add some additional red pepper flakes if you wish. Also add some garlic and shallots with some apple slices and apricot slices over the top.
  5. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Pull out the meat and discard the rest.

Afterwards I sliced it up for some tacos but you could eat this with just vegetables on the side as well.

Enjoy!!

 

 

T-Bone Steak

It is almost a holiday weekend and it feels like my Friday is running so sloooooooow. I am obviously ready for some days off since work has been extremely busy.

At the house, my plants are producing and I find myself constantly popping a cherry tomato or strawberry into my mouth.

20170626_175954_wm

Every once in awhile I share with R but mostly I really just kind of use them as pre dinner snacks. Once the big tomato plants start ripening though I will have to then start making salsas and homemade spaghetti sauce. I really love having a garden.

I even share with the chickens and horses at times. Thinking of horses, because of our 9 day heat streak of over 100 degree days, the horses sat. I work during the day so by the time I got home it was so boiling hot I wasn’t going to do that to them or me. So now that the weather is reasonable again I have been wandering out to the pasture to spend time with them again. The trouble maker gelding of course loves to knock over my buckets and bite Sophie when she is trying to work with me. He needs a job so bad. He just can’t sit still which is why him and R are such a good pair.

20170627_185039_wm

Sophie I can tell is a bit bored. Mostly she likes working with me and runs up to me when she sees me walking over to the pasture. So I have decided to do some liberty training with her after a ton of research and tutorials. I think it will be something fun for her to learn and a great way to further bond with her. So starting next week we are on liberty training and I am going to work with her on the one reign training as well. I think it is good motivation to work with her daily and keeps her mind busy so she doesn’t keep giving me that bored desperate look. She really does like using her brain.

So the other day R was responsible for pulling out the meat for dinner and what does he pull out, this huge 25 oz T-bone steak he picked up at the grocery store. I have never really cooked T-bone steak before and especially not a huge one. So I experimented with it a bit and it came out actually really good. We were able to split it in half and share it between us for dinner with some vegetables on the side.

T-Bone Steak done right…

Ingredients:

20170626_180851_wm

  • T-Bone Steak (I had a 25 oz one)
  • Lemon pepper
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter

Instructions:

  1. Start preheating broiler. Mine only has one setting so I am not sure what setting it is on.
  2. Heat up a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. While the skillet heats up season the T-bone steak with lemon pepper, salt and Italian seasoning. I rubbed it in a bit too and was really generous with the seasoning.
  4. Once the skillet is hot (you can do the water test), pop the T-bone steak on the skiller and cook about 6-7 minutes on each side. You might need to adjust this depending on thickness and size of your T-bone steak.
  5. Once done, either take the entire skillet and place it in the broiler or transfer it to a pan. Place the T-bone steak under the broiler for about 5-7 minutes on each side or a little bit more if you like it more well done. You can also stick a meat thermometer in there and check the internal temp before eating. I always keep one handy and am constantly checking my meat temps.

20170626_183615_wm

I have to say, I was pretty proud of this steak. It looked amazing and tasted excellent. I got through about 3/4 of my piece and I finally had to call mercy. This steak was HUGE. I don’t even remember the exact size, I am estimating it was 25 oz though.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Home Projects

Now that the massive winter rain has disappeared and we are left with sweltering heat, I have been working on my honey to do list. Now this list isn’t for R, mostly it is for me to remember the projects that I am working on. I love our home, mostly because of where it is at and because I can walk out to see my horse any time I want. Problem is, it is small and has less storage space than I am used too. My old house had a walk in closet, bigger closets in each room, a pantry and nice size laundry room. Technically they are both three bedrooms and two bathrooms but there was a bit of a downgrade in storage space. So I am working on some space saving stuff to make it feel less cluttered right now. So I have an ever growing project list.

Master bedroom/bathroom:

Closets revamping

Take sliding doors off closet and add gauzy curtain instead. Something similar to this:

Image result for curtains as closet doors

Currently we have awful sliding doors that don’t work half of the time and they make it so half of the middle part of the closet isn’t usable without shoving yourself into the closet. So I stumbled upon this idea and love the look of it. Currently I have a blue floral pattern on our bed so I am hoping to find really flowy blue curtains or white gauzy curtains. I am hoping this will also clear up some room to shove the dresser into the closet and clear up some room in our bedroom.

Master bathroom Jacuzzi tub into a shower too:

Our shower is on the opposite end of our house where the other two bedrooms are. In our bathroom is a nice Jacuzzi tub that I love but when there are guests or when R’s kid is here, it would be nice to not have to tromp all the way into the other bathroom for a shower. So I am working on coming up with an idea to hang a nice shower curtain and add a handheld shower head for when guests are at our home and we don’t want to go all the way across the house to get a shower in.

Windows:

I need to add some black out curtains to our bedroom windows. The morning sun comes in our window and my eyes pop open the minute it does. We have those slat curtains currently and they do NOTHING. So I was thinking some nice black out curtains and they might also help for keeping the cool air in right now.

Kitchen Area:

I want to add a door between the laundry room and kitchen. Our laundry room is right off our kitchen and it currently has a doggy door for the dogs so it has become the doggy room. We have a baby gate we use to keep out the dogs from the rest of the house during the day. I have noticed that during this heat wave we have been struggling to cool down the living room and I think it is because of the open doggy door/laundry room area. So my hope is to add a door. Now R is suggesting a vinyl accordion door but I am cringing hard core at that so I am thinking a nice sliding barn door might be doable or a bi-fold door. Something like one of these:

Frameport 24 in. x 80 in. Louver/Panel Pine White Interior Closet Bi-fold Door42 in. x 84 in. Z-Bar Knotty Alder Interior Barn Door Slab with Sliding Door Hardware Kit36 in. x 84 in. Melrose Solid Core Primed Composite Interior Barn Door Slab with Sliding Door Hardware Kit

Kids room:

We just won more visitation with R’s son at our home on a monthly basis, so we are working on his bedroom finally. It has been just sitting empty until we went to court. We picked up a nice captain’s bed with storage and a cute little I guess you could call it entertainment storage unit with lots of drawers. It needs a good coat of paint and then I will be gluing down Lego boards and filling one of the drawers with Lego’s. I will also add hooks for him to hang jackets. I am making his closet area into a reading nook with pillows, a bean bag chair, a string of lights and some curtains. I have been debating adding one of those cute kid tents. I have a chest in there that needs a paint job and then it will become a toy chest or blanket storage chest for him. Lots of fun ideas are swirling around in our heads.

Guest room:

Because I don’t want R’s kid to feel his room is also a guest room I am making my office into a guest room. To be honest, I rarely go in there to do paperwork. I love the office, it has lots of light and a view of the horse pasture out front but I just don’t like sitting at a desk after spending all day at a desk so I tend to use my computer in the bedroom or on the couch. So my idea is to take my craft cubbies and filing cabinet and place them into the closet nook. Cover that closet with a curtain as well. Take my homemade desk that R made for me and is very special to me and move that outside where we can use it as a nice place to eat on warm evenings. That way I can fit our queen bed in there and guests will have a nice space to sleep in.

Outdoors:

We currently have a dead tree in our yard. The old tenants never watered the grass and the tree died. Breaks my heart because it would have provided added shade to our yard. So our landlords have discussed taking it down and making it into a cute bird bath for the yard or bird feeding area. Great idea but I am also going to discuss with them adding a few extra trees around our bedroom window area. We desperately need shade by one of our windows that gets a lot of hot sunlight and a nice tree would be perfect.

I have two more apple crates hanging around the house. One I already converted into a planter with lavender and strawberries. I also made one into a temporary home for the chicks while they were too young to go into the coop yet. So that one will be converted to a planter as well. But the littlest one we have is shallow and I have this great idea to make it into my garden supplies holder. Currently I am taking over R’s shed with my gardening tools, seeds, planters, etc. So I am going to take one of the crates, paint it green, add in this adorable medicine cabinet I found to hold seed packets and make it a little gardening supplies area right by the shed. This clears up space for his tools and projects while making something cute and decorative for the yard.

I have lots of constant ideas popping into my head and we have pallets to experiment with. So I am working on ideas to build with those as well. So here is to a summer of getting our smallish house a little more functional plus I really love home projects! They make me very happy!!

What are you working on??

 

Crock Pot Chuck Roast

Was cleaning the coop the other day and spotted the artichoke plant in full bloom. With how busy it has been we all forgot about the artichoke plant and they got to bloom. I have to tell you, artichoke plants in bloom are beautiful! I don’t know why people don’t make bouquets out of them because they are truly unique.

20170612_183501_wm

Also happening around the ranch, June Cash (the oldest hen) has taught Mrs. Leghorn (one of the teenage hens) how to perch on the fence. Sigh. I really need to get around to clipping all of their wings the little troublemakers.

Found a treat that the chickens love on hot days, watermelon and even the ducks join in when I throw it out there. It is literally gone in a few minutes. Even had the horses try some, the gelding is all for it but my mare was not interested in the slightest.

I am working on getting the weeds down in the garden. They over ran when we all got busy and though the veggies are still coming up, they are fighting their way through weeds. So each evening I work on a bit at a time. It is a slow process but it is making a little bit of headway. Got the beets cleared, the snap peas, the tomatoes, the carrots and spinach. Despite this though the squash is already huge and blooming. My tomatoes in planters in the yard are super happy and I am popping cherry tomatoes in my mouth as I walk around most evenings. The lettuce bucket is out of control, I probably should pick some soon for a big summer salad. I just love having all these fresh fruits/veggies coming up!

It has been days full of crazy projects at work and evenings full of getting things done around the ranch while trying not to sweat my booty off.

We are in the middle of an 8 day heat wave of over 100 degree days. I am not ready for this kind of summer yet. I have frozen a ton of jugs of water in hopes that the chickens will stand near them when they get too hot. I am also wetting down their soil and checking their water. I am hoping to convince R to help me install a mister system for out there and on our porch as well for the hotter days. The problem with our heat spells is the evenings don’t cool down all that much so there isn’t much relief from the constant baking heat and even with an ac running full blast it can’t compete with the relentless 108 degree days.

On hot days nothing makes me happier than letting the slow cooker do the work instead of having my oven blast out more heat. So I have been all for the crock pot love! Experimented with a chuck roast and it came out delicious. Just simmered away on low in the crock pot the entire day and was ready to eat by the time I got home! I don’t like to put vegetables in my crock pot with my roasts because I find it makes them soggy so I just threw in some brussel sprouts in the oven quickly.

20170613_180516_wm

As a side note I finally bought real adult knives for the kitchen. You know, the one’s that come with lifetime guarantees and free sharpening for life. I can’t believe how much fun I am having cutting up vegetables and meat. Oh my gosh I now know what I have been missing out on all these years! I threw those cheap Wal-Mart knifes right into the camping box and walked away. Boo ya!

So here we go…

Chuck Roast in the Crock Pot

Ingredients:

  • 2lb chuck roast
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Make small slits in your roast randomly on the front and back, slide garlic cloves into those slits. Rub your chuck roast with olive oil making sure it all gets coated. Seasoning it generously with salt, lemon pepper and Italian seasoning. Rub the seasoning in.
  2. Place seasoned roast into crock pot with one cup of water on low for 8 hours or more or high for roughly half of the time.

Viola! Done! Pretty simple right??

For the brussel sprouts just cut them in half removing the outer leaves and place them into a bowl. Add in some balsamic vinegar, salt, lemon pepper and olive oil. Tossed it all around and it then bake it at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Came out as the perfect side dish!

Dinner is served!

Adventures and Heartache

I am struggling to feel normal again after this last weekend. Some parts of the weekend were so fun that I am still smiling over them and some parts of the weekend were so horrible that I am still cringing. I have been struggling to get back into my routine and instead have been crawling home to immediately put on my pajamas. Not to mention R brought home a cough with us so he has been struggling too. I have been avoiding him like the plague. For a man who is normally never sick it is always disturbing to see him not feel well. Poor guy!

But before I go into the weekends adventures, lets talk work outs

I nailed every single one of my lunch time workouts last week. All five days…

Screenshot_20170526-143059_wm

I struggled with cardio last week for some reason. I felt like my breathing was off and I sweated a little harder than normal. It was not fun. But I pushed myself to do my minimum of 10 minutes. Like I have said before, I tell myself to do at least 10 minutes and if I need to stop after that I can. Most days I pushed till 15 minutes and one day I pushed till 20 minutes. So I got the cardio in but I wasn’t happy about it. For the most part I ate at home and stuck to my healthy eating choices as well. The results were 3 pounds lost! It was nice to step on the scale and actually see a loss again. I knew I wanted to get in exercise all last week because I had a feeling this weekend would throw off my work outs a bit and I was right.

We had plans to go to southern California for our holiday weekend. R had mediation for a modification in the custody of his son and we normally spend holiday weekends visiting his son anyways because it is an extra day off of work. We had decided to leave Sunday and give ourselves Saturday at home to get stuff done. But R had another surprise up his sleeve instead. Instead of taking Saturday to be at home, he got me packed early, got the pet sitter for an extra day and drove me over the Nevada state line to a very amazing surprise.

VEGAS!

20170527_200115_wm

Because I didn’t have a lot of warning I wasn’t able to do a lot of planning plus we were only there for a night, but I still had the most amazing time. He found a beautiful room with a view of the strip right next door to Paris Las Vegas because I am obsessed with the Eiffel Tower and going to Paris one day.

20170527_215922_wm

He took me to the most amazing dinner right in the Eiffel tower where we watched the Bellagio Fountains go off every 15 minutes or so. We walked the strip and got the most amazing daiquiris. I definitely got my steps in that evening. So many stairs and walking. We still didn’t cover all of the strip either. We went to bed at 3 a.m. and of course woke up at 9 a.m. to start getting packed up to go. 3 a.m. bed times are for young people damn it, not people in their 30’s.

20170528_002605_wm

It was truly the most amazing experience. There were so many people there dressed up to their best and some were barely dressed at all. There was just so much to see and do. I have already started my list for the next visit.

The next day we were on limited time because we needed to get to Southern California but we made one last stop at the Hoover Dam before we went. Well we didn’t stop but we drove over it and that was pretty amazing. Next time I am dying to go inside and do a tour. The whole entire time we drove over the dam R just kept yelling about Transformers. Such a goof!

20170528_145938_wm

It was truly a wonderful experience! One I wish we could have taken my step son on but maybe next time.

By the time we arrived in Southern California we were pooped. We went to bed early and woke up ready to hang out with the kiddo. I had a pretty bad feeling about this trip because of how his ex had started acting since we filed the modification paperwork. She was never easy to get along with but she has been slowly getting really bad over the last month or so. R’s son has been really upset about not being able to get more contact with his father since she has been not answering her phone during their scheduled video chats and basically just treating R like an enemy instead of like a co-parent. Anyways, R’s son has been starting to throw these fits that we have never witnessed firsthand because he has always been so good with us. His son had a cough, had been run pretty hard that weekend by his mom and was pretty exhausted. So it was inevitable that he would have a huge tantrum.

I know that his mother deals with them differently but since she refuses to discuss them with us like we have asked her too now for WEEKS, we had to deal with it in the best way we know how. I don’t believe in spanking and R is coming around. So he let me handle it and I did what worked for me when I was a kid, I let him calm down. I ignored him flat out. I let him scream and be belligerent but I refused to acknowledge any of it. I calmly just told him that I would listen when he calmed down but I will not listen when he is yelling or screaming. It worked, I was a bit shocked too, but he calmed down when he realized he wasn’t going to get my attention by doing it. He came out, R held him while he finished quieting down and then we all cuddled and hung out in our pajamas watching movies. Later on we discussed it, we talked about alternative ways to express himself, we talked about why he felt the need to scream, we talked about it all and really he admitted that he was tired and didn’t feel good. It left R and I shaken though. It was our first hard parenting moment together. We did joke around afterwards though because when R’s son was yelling at us he kept lumping me into things like, you guys hate me, you guys wish I was never born, you guys don’t let me do what I want. I felt like a real parent right there at that moment! Anyways, after he got some down time he was much better and the rest of the visit had no issues at all.

I was proud of R and myself for handling that tough moment with grace and calmness.

Mediation was the next day and we took the kiddo to school. I can’t tell you the bright smile on this kids face when he was walking in with his dad. He really loves being with his father so darn much. Mediation on the other hand was a circus. His ex made it seem like R was this absentee father even though he has been busting his ass to be in his sons life for years now with her blocking him every time he tries. It broke my heart to see R walk out of there just confused on why she continues to act this way. Her own son is begging to spend more time with his father. This is a child who loves his dad and a dad who really loves his son. I am really just ready for the drama she creates to be over. It is all all game to her. I thought my almost two year divorce was hard, it was a walk in the park compared to this custody hearing. The worst is she has yet again cut all phone contact even though she agreed in mediation to 4 days a week at 6:30 p.m. R has been calling and calling, she has been ignoring. She agreed to the mediator to do co-parenting courses and to communicate from now on through a court email program, R signed up for both, she has yet to do either. I can’t imagine how R is feeling dealing with her but I know that I am just ready for this entire mess to be over with. I can’t imagine after the judge looks at all our proof of her lying, manipulating and emotional harmful behavior saying that R can’t have more time with his son. But family law is so weird I just am hoping for the best!

So as you can see, there was some great parts of this weekend but there was some really emotionally tough moments too. I haven’t worked out this week. I have barely been surviving this week. I know I will go right back to working out after I get a weekend to get back into the swing of things but for now I am just trying to survive the rest of today. Last night I put myself into bed super early and I felt decent this morning but still not completely my old self again. But I know eventually I will snap out of it and start up my routine of taking care of animals, riding horses and laughing at my goofy R!

So, how was your holiday weekend?