Week In Review

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Monday is here again!

I hope last week went well and your weekend was peaceful, fruitful, and relaxing…as all weekends should be!

A hike in the hills behind our house.

A hike in the hills behind our house.

Our week was a bit hectic with this’s and that’s, Tony traveling here and there for interviews, and a couple of days of us both feeling under the weather. But we still managed to make the most of it.

Friday night we had breakfast for dinner...because bacon is fabulous any time of day.

Friday night we had breakfast for dinner…because bacon is fabulous any time of day.

We had a lovely, relaxing weekend.

Sunday morning breakfast.

Sunday morning breakfast. Sausage and egg scramble with spinach and tomatoes.

Sunday night's dinner grill.

Saturday night’s dinner grill. Grilled veggies with chicken & spinach sausages.

Mornings are getting chilly.

Abigail thinks the mornings are too chilly.

We got some fantastic Monday morning news.

 My husband has accepted an offer with a company and is now once again, employed!

Sunday night's dinner theme, "Go big or go home."

Sunday night’s dinner theme, “Go big or go home.”

It’s been a mixed blessing having Tony out of a job. You may think I’m crazy for thinking being unemployed has been a blessing.

There’s been oodles of stress of course, as we’ve been through so much change over the past three years. But on the other hand, its been an amazing experience to be given the opportunity to step off the merry-go-round and make some important decisions about what we want our lives to look like from here forward. I ran across this quote and I loved it. Because I will tell you with certainty, that no matter what kind of struggles you face, life is packed full of all kinds of blessings all day, every day.

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Tony typically travels for work, so with him home, we’ve been able to spend and incredible amount of quality time together. It has been fabulous!

There''s a big rock in the hills behind our property that he has dubbed "smoking rock". Gorgeous views.

There’s a big rock in the hills behind our property that he’s dubbed the “smoking rock”.

The biggest blessing to come out of this crazy life we’ve had for the last couple of years?

The view of our neighborhood from "smoking rock". The neighbors probably think we are looney tunes.

The view of our neighborhood from the “smoking rock”.

Time. 

The Free Dictionary calls it, “a period at one’s disposal”. And let me tell you, it’s been heavenly.

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They say you can never have more of it, but I disagree.

You have to learn to live in the moment and appreciate that experience. That’s the key to making the most of the time we’re given. Just by focusing on the moment, you create the feeling and enjoyment of more time.

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So we’ve been focused on soaking up the moments, whatever that may bring.

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Our leap of faith to make changes in our life has come back to us tenfold. Being able to focus on what is important makes for a richer, deeper, more incredible life experience. Has it been easy to make a whole heap of life changing decisions? Of course not. Life is not unicorns and rainbows, I don’t need to tell you that!

But, it has been so unbelievably rewarding in so many ways, I wouldn’t trade the stress or uncertainty for anything.

Catching up and visiting with friends.

Catching up and visiting with friends.

Soon we’ll have to get back into the swing of things and learn to manage our time differently again with Tony going back to work. But we’ll take these life lessons we’ve learned over the years and apply them for a more fruitful experience. That’s what so much of life is about. Learning. Learning to tweak and mold and fight for what you want so that you can experience the absolute best of what you’ve been given.

I’m certainly no expert on life, but if I had to give one piece of advice it would be this:

No matter what, take that leap of faith.

My two favorite men in the entire world.

My two favorite men in the entire world.

We’re looking forward to what the next chapter will bring!

Many blessings to you in the week ahead.

~ April

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My Corner of The World ~ Labor Day Weekend

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Everyone is enjoying spending time on the patio and loving the grassy back yard.

This is our cat, Chloe. She doesn’t get much camera time because she’s kind of a snot. But loving in her own way. Basically, she loves you when she feels like it and you’re allowed to scratch the top of her head for 3.5 seconds before she gets totally annoyed with your presence.

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These two of course love to love people and typically you can hug them, kiss them, and love on them as much as you want.

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They look like they’re fighting, and sometimes sound like it too. But it’s all just fun and games; they live for fun and games.

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Even the back yard Hawk came for a visit. Someday I’m hoping he’ll land on our fence-line so I can get a proper picture.

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I love watching the dogs watch the birds. They’re so observant! Especially Abigail. Romeo is usually preoccupied with making sure the bees aren’t after him.

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Did I tell you the fence gates are finally up? Yep, but not without that irritating dance we’ve become accustomed to with that company.

Make an appointment but don’t show up…one two three…we have to track them down…and one two three four…then make excuses….and twirl your partner…two three four…and then install it like a 10 year old did it…this is the point when you hear the needle scratch the record and the dance inevitably gets ugly.

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Yes the gates are up but…this one shouldn’t have a black frame, it should be powder coated to match the rest of the fence. And what’s with the major gap between the post and gate? This company really makes us appreciate Monadnock Fence in New Hampshire. They were so professional and did such a fantastic job on the fencing with that house. Too bad they don’t travel…

So for now we’re stuck with the current fencing company which shall go unnamed because honestly, I don’t want to promote them in any way, positive or negative. There are scratches all over the fence and the big double gate in front.

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Now, some may think we’re being too picky I suppose. Maybe people like scratches and dents on their new, very expensive, fence?

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Some of the bolts are in so tight they dented the fencing…along with scratching off all the paint and scratching the surrounding area. Attention to detail is not their strong point.

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Prior to this handiwork, Tony had to listen to the installer whine about how understaffed and over worked they are. And how somehow he just never gets the emails or messages his boss leaves him that he’s supposed to be at our house working on the fence. This of course is after he didn’t show up for our appointment to hang the gates, then rescheduled for the next day. The next day rolled around…and guess who wasn’t here? So Tony called him and that’s when the missed message excuses started and finally the guy wanted to reschedule again. Well, Tony had finally had enough.

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He hung up on him.

Yep. I was surprised too. Finally, someone willing to put their foot down besides me. Of course the worker called him right back. Maybe getting the hint that we are at our wits end. You would think that’s the case. So he showed up after all and installed the gates. But later when we walked the fence and looked at everything, we noticed all of the scratches, dents, and otherwise really crappy craftsmanship.

Do all of these scratches, and scraped paint look like a new fence to you? Me either.

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Tony had to put in another call to the job foreman “discuss” all the areas of concern last week. They played phone tag a couple of times and Tony let him know he’d be here all week and wanted them to make an appointment to come out here to talk about the fence.

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We also have not paid the second half of the cost of the fence which you would think would be a motivator to get them out here. But guess what? It’s now Saturday…the call went out on Tuesday…and nothing. I can already see where this customer service road is leading us. They could care less.

This is where you have to constantly remind yourself to count to 10 and take deep breaths and all that happy inner child bull$hit.  And stop trying to mull over in your head why such a popular fence company in this area has such incredibly negligent customer service. Because really, you’ll drive yourself mad with all the thoughts of “if this were my company I would…” and “why would someone scratch that all up like that?” and “why are they not out here taking care of this?” and finally, the inevitable shaking of your head and the “what THE HELL look?”…anyway, I guess this story is to-be-continued, unfortunately.

Luckily we had other more enjoyable things to concentrate on.

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My husband is a hang glider. Have I told you that? He’s checking the wind speed.

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He talked me into going with him last week and “helping” him launch.  It’s necessary to have someone to keep your wings steady when you’re getting ready to launch, because it’s typically windy.

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Set up and safety checks are extensive and took about 35 minutes or so. Not easy on a hill like that…in strong winds.

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Now, keep in mind, I’m not the adventurous one in this relationship. I like little adventures like road trips, trying new restaurants, reading, and being a food blogger. Strapping wings to my body and running off the side of a mountain?

That will never happen.

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In fact at this point, it was so windy and just the thought of watching him run off that mountain made my stomach feel sick. Call me un-adventurous or paranoid if you like, but I know a storm when I see one coming.

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Apparently in flying there’s some kind of mathematical formula for wind and force. When it’s windy, the gusts are 4 times that speed in force….or something like that. So I kept asking…”are you sure it’s safe, it’s awfully windy?” The wind was coming in at 18 miles an hour. The gusts were extremely powerful.

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Wanting to be as positive as possible and not an un-adventurous negative nelly…I just tried my hardest to follow his directions and be of help. And I prayed. I did A LOT of praying.

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My job was to hold the hang glider down so it didn’t take off without him. That’s how windy it was. And it was not easy.  I am 5′ 4″ and although I’m not as skinny as I used to be, I am not a big person. The glider is at least 20 feet wide from tip to tip and weighs around 58 pounds. It’s awkward. Similar to holding an umbrella in a massive wind storm except bigger and heavier.

So he strapped into his flight suit and clicked into the glider and we had to wait for the perfect wind and not so many gusts. I had to stand on the bar to hold it down, because once he’s clicked in, if he gets a gust and it’s not under control…off he goes, unprepared, and it could end up with an ugly outcome.

Sounds like great fun, doesn’t it?

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We watched the weather which was getting increasingly worse and more than once, the glider tried to take off with both of us.

At the point where it lifted me completely off the ground, I finally had to tell the truth. My knees were shaking, my stomach was sick, I’d had a full body workout…and finally I admitted, “I am NOT comfortable with this.”

Luckily, we work pretty well as a team and he agreed. The weather was too crazy. So we had a few hairy moments as he clicked himself off the glider, got it turned around so it wouldn’t take off, and then began to tear it back down in the wind.

I’m not a fan of watching the people I love do dangerous things.

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There will be many more opportunities to fly in safer weather…and hopefully with a stronger helper than me. I did get some really beautiful pictures though.

We are still feeling so blessed to be back home.

We loved so much about New Hampshire, but we really missed the wide open spaces of Washing state!

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Moose like to hang out in that little area of dense trees at the bottom of the mountain.

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Farmland as far as the eye can see.

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The glider is so long the front of it rests on the dashboard.

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One last check just to see what the wind speed looks like before we head back home.

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Say Goodbye to The Dirt ~ My Corner of The World

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The majority of the landscaping for this season has been completed.  What a relief!

Remember the cracked driveway I told you about? (The fence workers drove their big truck on our driveway and broke the concrete.) That has one more day of dry time before we can drive on it.

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That machine is unbelievably loud. Prior to removing the whole square of concrete, they tried to drill out the crack and patch it. Not even two weeks later it cracked again so the fence company had to foot the bill for the entire section to be replaced. I’m betting they were not happy about it.

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These are the cement guys that handle all of our builder’s cement needs. Just so happens, I recognized the one in the red baseball cap who owns the cement company. We went to junior high and high school together! It’s been fun visiting with him over the past several weeks when he’s working in the neighborhood.

Right after this picture, Skip realized that they didn’t bring him the amount of “mud” he requested. Evidently, they charged him for it though. Then they had to wait for more and then they were going to charge him another delivery fee of $250! Well, after a lot of colorful language was spoken, they brought him a second load of what he ordered with no charge.

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Once the cement on the driveway was poured the landscapers got started.

Sprinklers lines being dug. That’s Jamal, he was our favorite. The whole landscaping crew was great, but he was here first and left last every day and had a keen eye for detail. He is also just a genuinely, nice, guy.

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Top soil and boulders for the terraced area and yard.

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We called Matt and Ken the “rock whisperers”. They knew just how to maneuver the fork lift prongs on that machine to spin all the rocks so they would have their best face forward.

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Contemplating where the best place would be to start the concrete curbing on the side of the house. It breaks easily if run over by a car and is $250 to have the curb guy come out and fix it.

We’d like to avoid that.

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More contemplating and the beginning of one of the beds. Tony and I purchased and planted all of the trees, bushes, plants, and flowers. We worked as a team with the landscapers and it worked out very well. Saved some big $$$$ by purchasing and planting our own greenery.

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Men seem to do a lot of contemplating. I knew exactly what I wanted and where I wanted it.

Women are weird like that.

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The house came with front landscaping but we felt it needed a little tweaking . We removed a few things that didn’t look like they would make it through the winter and added two trees and a few bushes and flowers.

I am in love with these two trees. I love their “uniqueness”. The nursery lady suggested I name them.

I may just do that. Is that weird?

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This is a Weeping Atlantic Cedar.

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And this is a Topiary Pine…but I can’t remember what type.

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These are the curbing guys. What none of us know at this point of my picture taking is that their FIVE hours of hard work will be destroyed by a massive rain storm three minutes after they drive out of our neighborhood.

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You can see the storm brewing…

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I asked him about the sky, but he said, “a few sprinkles won’t hurt”.

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We got more than just a few sprinkles and all of the edging was destroyed. They had to return the next day, dig all of it up and replace it.

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I spared him photo taking on the second day. I figured when he returned to replace all of their hard work on his weekend off, it was probably the last place he wanted to be. So I stayed in the house and kept my camera off and my mouth shut.

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Once the majority of the beds were in, greenery planted, and new edging was dry, they started placing the sod.

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Finishing touches were made to the beds, sprinklers were adjusted, drainage ditches were dug along the driveway, and the  gravel for the parking space for our trailer on the side of the house was completed.

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More men contemplating.

Nick on the far left, Tony my husband in the middle, and Jamal on the right.

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Then flagstone was brought in for the path to the future hot tub and the small terraced corner.

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Jamal cutting out grass for the flagstone path.

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I think all landscaping was accomplished in under 10 days.

To the right is a Maple Leaf Hydrangea. Gorgeous. I can’t wait until next year to see what it can really do.

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All of the hills beside us and behind us were sold by a local farmer (right next door) to the county for walking trails. We’re blessed to be able to enjoy that view every day and the wild life that goes along with it.

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Two Magnolia trees (Alexandria Magnolia), and a Fernleaf Buckthorne in the corner.

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A Flowering Cherry (Little Twist Cherry) that will only grow to be about 6-8 feed wide at the top…we’ll see. The area with hose and gravel will be the home for the hot tub.

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A Bloodgood Japanese Maple. Right now up close it looks like it’s in shock. Hopefully it will perk up. If not, we have a one year warranty on all the trees. Phew.

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A Crabapple tree (Prairifire Crabapple).

All the trees in the backyard are flowering trees with the exception of the Buckthorne.

A beautiful water feature will go in on the left side of this bed next spring.

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The tree in this bed is a Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Pine Tree. It will grow to be 35 feet tall and will live for at least 100 years.

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Gates go up this sometime this week.

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Then we’ll get our trailer out of storage and pray that it fits in the space its supposed to. Behind that fence post and future gates.

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Another gate will go on this end and they’ll finish off the fence.

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So all in all, working with our landscaping crew was an enjoyable experience. I actually kind of miss not having the hubbub going on outside and their funny personalities here every day.

Enjoying our coffee and tea on the patio and not having to deal with a dirt backyard and filthy dogs?

Priceless.

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A Week In The Circus

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Do you ever reach Sunday and feel so thankful that your week has come to an end? I don’t feel like that often, but this week has definitely been “one of those” weeks. Kind of felt like we were the ringmasters of a three-ring circus.

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This morning’s breakfast was organic creamy buckwheat hot cereal. Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, not a grain like many people think. I added organic unsweetened almond milk, organic nectarine, organic cinnamon, organic walnuts, and a tad bit organic raw honey.

A few unsavory things transpired this week that we had to deal with, but the highlight of our delightful week?

My husband was let go from his new job along with over 100 other employees including his boss who had been with the company for 17 years. His boss was informed 20 minutes before my husband who had worked for that company for 3 months was informed. They brought in a new CEO and that person revamped the company’s sales force and gave three-quarters of them their walking papers. If you have any experience with the corporate world, you know unfortunately, this is not unusual. Business is business. And business in this day and age is not what business was like “in the good old days” where you devoted your expertise to one company who was equally loyal to you for your entire career. So now we begin a new journey (another one!), trusting that everything most certainly happens for a reason and for our good. Prayers for stress protection for both of us and employment opportunities for Tony would certainly be welcomed if you feel it in your heart to add us to your prayer list.

We chose a see through fence along the backside of the property as it is owned by the county and not allowed to be used for housing.

We chose a see through fence along the backside of the property as it is owned by the county and not allowed to be used for housing.

As you can see we’re still staring at a backyard full of dirt. We switched landscapers after getting a rather frightening quote from the first guy. We had to put off the landscaping for three weeks with guy #2 but the price was worth the wait and we didn’t have to set aside any landscaping ideas like we would have with guy #1.

Even with the dirt backyard, watching the sunrise and breakfasts on the deck are delightful. A peaceful blessing!

Even with the dirt backyard, watching the sunrise and breakfasts on the deck are delightful. A peaceful blessing!

Our experience with the fence company has been…problematic. They didn’t show up two days in a row when they said they would. I had to make a call in my serious mother voice in order to get them out here. Then, we had to have one of the posts removed so the landscapers would be able to get into the backyard with their equipment. When the fence people were removing it with a borrowed piece of machinery from the builders next door, they destroyed the post. Then when they were backing up…destroyed another one. I kind of had to chuckle after all of that. What’s left to do?

And of course, they were the more expensive gate posts. Prior to this happening, my husband came in from out of town and realized they had cracked our bran new driveway with their big truck when there was plenty of room for them to avoid the driveway all together. Not a good situation. Thankfully, the posts will be fixed (not on our dime), the driveway has been “patched” although not to my husband’s satisfaction, and fingers crossed, they’ll hang all the gates properly when the landscaping is finished.

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They hung a temporary gate while our gate is being powder coated to keep the dogs from roaming. However, they left an 8 foot gap in the fence on the other side and didn’t hang anything temporary as discussed. At this point, I just had to shake my head. Such lack of attention to detail. Then I noticed several of the fence boards are dented and scratched. So I had to make another call in my serious mother voice and have them come out again to hang the orange temporary mesh and remove the posts they dug out of the holes and just left lying in the yard in the path of the landscapers. We were told to place painter’s tape on the damaged fence boards and they’ll be replaced.

We went with a 5 foot fence on this side of the house as no building will be permitted their either.

We went with a 5 foot fence on this side of the house as no building will be permitted there either.

Abigail is mortified that she has to pee in dirt. She stands in the middle of the “yard” and looks back at us like, “you want me to pee in THIS?”  Romeo is fine with it and has found it quite entertaining to jump around smacking his paws in the dirt and making huge dust clouds.

Abigail and I would never make it in the old west.  Dust…ugh. Notice the cat is on the inside of the screen. We hadn’t realized she was out the other night and spent the entire night outside and then the entire next day in a window well that she was too old to get herself out of. She’s typically a grumpy, snobby cat, but after that adventure, I noticed she was quite happy to see me and be back inside the comfort of a home full of self feeding cat dishes and kitty treats.

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That’s what’s happening in our neck of the woods. Never a dull moment with us. Looking forward to an uneventful Sunday a peaceful week ahead, and wishing you the same!

Settling In

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Good morning!

Have you tried Chia seeds? They’re on my list of  new favorite things. I put them in my morning smoothies or add them to dairy free yogurt. But really, you can add them to anything, even a water bottle. Just hop on to Pinterest, and you’ll find all kinds of neat uses for them.

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They have a tiny crispness. They can gel with water for an egg substitute for baking. You can make jam with them and forgo the pectin. They make an interesting pudding, and best of all, they taste good…not gross and they’re extremely good for you.

My favorite dish as of late: stir fried broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. SO GOOD. You won’t believe it. Light and aldente, a tiny bit spicy, and perfectly, simply, easy. I have no idea why this picture is so small, I took it with my phone…but I promise it’s delicious.

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The third thing on my new favorites list? Turmeric milk. Sounds gross, but is extremely good for the healing of your tummy and for inflammation. Super easy too. You can go here to Melissa Ramos’ website for the recipe. You’ll love her, she’s hilarious.

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We are getting settled into the house now. What a relief! Everything is unpacked, put away in an organized fashion, and the house is mostly decorated. Minus curtains, but we do have blinds installed for privacy at night and sun protection during the day. Curtains always throw me for a loop. I never know if I like them or need them, or not.

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We have beautiful molding around the windows, I’d hate to hide that. But they do seem to be missing that “something”. We’ll see.

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This house has 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms, yet is still smaller than the house we had in NH. I was hoping it would take me less time to clean it. Having construction going on around us makes for a lot of dust and it took me several hours to clean the house from top to bottom yesterday. I need to find a routine so I’m not spending one entire day of my week cleaning house. Maybe 1-800-Maids? Ha.

They installed the fence posts last week .

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The rest of the fence was supposed to go up “yesterday…maybe today”.  I say supposed to because in the construction world, I’ve noticed time is relative.

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Time for me is concrete and when someone says they’ll be here to install our fence on a certain day, shockingly, I expect them to be here on that day.  They didn’t show up yesterday of course. It’s 9:30 AM right now and supposed to be 101 degrees today. It will be interesting to see what time they do end up rolling in… If it were me, I would rather install a fence in the morning when it’s 70 degrees than in the afternoon when it’s 100 degrees. But what do I know.

We’ve gone from a HUGE backyard in NH to a more reasonable size. It’s nice and private though which makes it feel a bit bigger. All the land behind us and to the right of us has been deeded to the county for walking trails with the stipulation that no houses will be built. It’s a gorgeous, wide open view. We love it.

So far we’ve seen lots of deer including babies, hawks, doves,  and have heard coyotes close by at night. The coyotes drive the dogs crazy and have made for some restless nights for us. I’m hoping they’ll move on and get as annoyed with the dogs barking and growling as we have.

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The landscaping for the back yard and side yard will start next week. Although the quote we received was astronomical as I had guessed it would be. Still made me gasp and shake my head in disbelief. Clearly, we’re in the wrong business. We had to move to plan B and set aside a couple of our more grandiose ideas for a later date. I’ll be SO thankful to be rid of the dirt. It’s been hot here, very hot. That makes the dirt fluffy and powdery and perfect for sticking to dogs and then to floors, and then to my feet which really grosses me out.

This is the beginning of the stormy sunset off the front porch the other night. I’ve missed the Washington sunsets.

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I received my co-infections testing results the other day. Negative!  It can mean a couple of different things, but for now I’m looking at it as a major blessing. If I was infected years ago, which I believe I was around 2009, then it’s possible I was “lucky” enough to have been bitten by a tick that only had the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria and wasn’t infected with the numerous co-infection bacterias. The Borrelia is bad enough on its own, no need for extra problems. If I was infected in New Hampshire last year, then it is possible that I do have co-infections but my body has not had time to create anti-bodies and they aren’t showing up in my bloodwork yet. I choose to believe the first scenario until if and when, someone can prove me wrong.

Soon I’ll need to get down to brass tacks and seek out a Lyme Disease professional. We need to figure out why I’m still symptomatic and what to do about it. That’s where all the controversy begins of course. Should make for an interesting journey. Right now I’m able to keep my most uncomfortable symptoms at bay with the use of Vimovo. An anti-inflammatory prescription drug that is combined with something to protect the tummy and pretty close to a miracle worker. I’ve been able to drop the dose from 2 a day to 1 a day with the help of turmeric, cinnamon, chia seeds, medicinal honey, blueberries, and tart cherry juice. Sometimes I flare up and have to go back to taking 2 for a couple of days but overall, it’s being controlled to a point where I can function properly on most days.

I’m also doing a no grains trial. I hate to say Paleo, but I suppose that’s what it is in today’s language. Extremely low sugar, no grains, lots of veggies and healthy fruits. Coconut flour and almond meal in place of grain flours. It’s likely that because I’m already allergic to gluten and dairy that I have other allergens lurking that are causing joint issues along with the Lyme Disease.

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Grains and sugar are both major inflammatories, so aren’t helpful when it comes to joint pain and swelling. We’ll see. I can’t see myself ever being 100% “Paleo”. But I am going to reduce the amount of inflammatory foods in my diet. I’d say 80/20 or 90/10 seems like a reasonable ratio.

I made this paleo banana bread day before yesterday. Quite tasty and extremely moist. Fluffier than the dense banana bread I’m used to, but delicious none the less. You can find the recipe here.

Today I’m making paleo mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it turned out.

That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. My goal is to blog more often and kick this once a month posting thing to the curb. I have tons of recipes planned for you and now that things are slowing down, I should be able to get back on track.

Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon!

Did You Think I Had Gotten Lost?

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I can hardly believe my last blog post was a month ago.

How time flies!

Father's Day desserts ready to go in the oven. Mixed fruit pies with streusel topping.

Father’s Day desserts ready to go in the oven. Mini Mixed fruit pies with streusel topping.

In case you missed the last couple of posts, we are back home in Washington state. I cannot even begin to explain how good it feels to be able to spend time with our son whenever we want!

A very, VERY, happy mama.

A very, VERY, happy mama.

How surreal it is to think that we spent the last almost two years in New Hampshire. I’m not sure why it feels surreal to me, but it does.

The dogs are equally happy to be back home with Brandon!

The dogs are equally happy to be back home with Brandon!

The cats at my mom's house however...not as happy to see the dogs as the dogs were to see them.

The cats at my mom’s house however…not as happy to see the dogs as the dogs were to see them.

The oddest thing I notice is that I only miss two things about New Hampshire. Our huge bathtub that was surrounded by windows, and my favorite restaurant in Boston that has an amazing gluten-free menu, Legal Seafood.

Seriously, I miss nothing else.

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Strange because I loved so much about New England while we were there.

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Now that we’re back home and I’m able to spend all the time I want with our son and my mom, enjoy a city and all it has to offer, and have the convenience of good organic grocery stores… I can’t quite believe I made it almost two years so far away from family and city life.

Mixed fruit salad with brown sugar and lime juice dressing.

Mixed fruit salad with brown sugar and lime juice dressing.

I suppose the good thing is, I proved to myself that I’m able to adapt. Because while I certainly am extremely happy being back in Washington around my family, I wasn’t unhappy in New Hampshire.  And, I survived living 2700 miles away from our only child.

Yay me…Ha!

Marinated chicken skewers and marinated steak and onion skewers.

Marinated chicken skewers and marinated steak and onion skewers.

But I will tell you, there would have to be some extreme or unusual life circumstances for me to ever agree to something like that again. Life is just too short to live so far from the people you love.

We hit the ground running when we arrived in our hometown. We looked at numerous houses that all got the thumbs down, and right when I thought there was no hope of finding anything close to what we were looking for, we finally settled on something we could both agree on. All papers should be signed and sealed and we’ll be moved in (fingers crossed) by the end of this month. It’s new construction so after the move in, we’ll focus on fencing and landscaping. One of my favorite things in the world to do is fiddle around in the yard and garden. I’m hoping I can get my hands dirty at least a little bit before we run out of summer.

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Life has been crazy and we keep waiting for it to slow down, but of course that will probably never happen, and it hasn’t all been work.

There’s been lots of visiting and hanging out, enjoyable meals with friends and family, walking the dogs on their old stomping grounds, eating at our favorite restaurants, and basically just enjoying being back home. Tony has started working again and I’ve been promised that his travel schedule will not be nearly as demanding as it was in New Hampshire. We’ll see…

A family friend recently had a baby. We arrived in town just in time to get sweet new baby cuddles.

A family friend recently had a baby. We arrived in town just in time to get sweet new baby cuddles.

The other day I went to our storage unit where our entire house is stored and dragged out all of my jewelry making supplies.

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It’s been years since I’ve made any jewelry and I spent one entire day last week fiddling around with it and watching movies.

Incredibly relaxing!

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I tested positive on my second Lyme test in NH after 2 waves of antibiotic treatment, did a third wave after we left NH, and am supposed to be resting to “boost” my immune system. Rest does make a major difference in how I feel, but as with anything, it’s easier said than done. But I’m working on it! Oh yes, and low stress is key also. I just have to laugh at that one. I’m not feeling fantastic, but things could be much worse, so I choose to focus on the now and worry about the later, later. I should be getting the test results for the Lyme co-infections testing soon. I’ll worry about that and finding a specialist when the time comes.

Until we move into the house we’re staying in our 25 foot camping trailer.

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Some people gasp and shake their heads when they hear that. As if camping is a punishment!

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It’s a lovely trailer, and has made the last month and a half feel like a perpetual vacation. It’s incredibly relaxing and I have to admit, I’m thankful to not have to clean that huge house in New Hampshire any longer!

Romeo feels quite at home.

Romeo feels quite at home.

In fact, both dogs seem perfectly comfortable.

In fact, both dogs seem perfectly comfortable.

We’re camping at a Gun Club and it has been so peaceful. A lovely, dog friendly, place to stay. This weekend there’s a giant shin dig with tons of people, but typically several days a week we have the place all to ourselves.

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Once we’re settled in the new house, I promise, promise, I’ll get back to posting regular recipes for you! My diet will be changing to boost my immune system, so you can look forward to experimenting with me and trying new things.

We’ll talk soon, and until then, many blessing to you from Gluten Free Zen!

The Road Home

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After weeks of packing and the anticipation of moving back to our home town, we finally headed out of New Hampshire on May 1st. I have to say, that even though New Hampshire is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and we enjoyed our stay there over the past almost two years, I had absolutely no regrets leaving. Not even a sprig of emotion.

We had a couple of neat stops on our 6 day trek back to Washington State. We’re in our home town now and boy does it feel wonderful. Crazy, and busy, and surreal, but amazingly wonderful. It even smells like home. I didn’t realize until we returned, that nothing in NH was familiar. Even the smells. And I didn’t realize how nice familiar is. A wonderful feeling!

Niagara Falls, NY

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Yes, that’s ice floating in the water. The east coast had what seemed to be, a never-ending winter. It was 38 degrees when we left on May 1st.

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This is looking over at the Canada side and below is a big iceberg.

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Getting closer to the wide open spaces we missed so much!

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This was our 4th trip across country by car, and the three prior trips were all done on the same route. This time I wanted to make sure we visited Niagara Falls before leaving the east coast and then we decided to head toward Wyoming and drive through Yellowstone through the east entrance. In the east entrance and out the west entrance.

It was not a disappointment, but Yellowstone never is.

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Yellowstone Lake, still frozen solid in May. In many areas around the east entrance there was still 5 feet of snow.

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A little thermal pool off to the side. I kept thinking how wonderful it would feel to slip right in there and soak for a while. However, thermal pools in Yellowstone have a very unpleasant sulfur smell. Not to mention that many of them will burn your skin off. They have warnings that tell of stories where children were walking where they shouldn’t have been, fell through the crusty layer and were burned to death.

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There were more Bison in the park than any other time I’ve visited. They are HUGE. Just their heads alone are an incredible sight.

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This time of year they are grazing and wandering around with their babies, very relaxed. Evidently come Fall, it’s rutting season and they are not pleasant to be around. One of the park officials told us, “that’s when people get gored”. Eek.

This little sweet thing was looking right at me.

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A geyser I can’t remember the name of.

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Our selfie while we waited freezing for Old Faithful to faithfully blow.

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It blew, we watched, we took pictures…then we raced back to the car to the heater and the dogs.

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Surprisingly, the park had only been open a few days, and there were still a lot more people than I would have guessed. It was fun to listen for accents and languages and try to guess where everyone was from while we tried to ignore the cold.

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This guy looked like he had a rough winter.

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You would not believe how close people were standing to this Grizzly.

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The park rangers say stay away 100 yards, but people were being people and it sure looked to me like they were a lot closer than that. Bears can sprint at over 30 miles an hour people, remember that. Yellowstone is not a zoo.

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I stood on the seat of our truck and stuck my head out the sunroof.  I’m fully aware of the fact that I can’t run anywhere near 30 miles an hour.

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This Bison looked at me so intently it made me a little nervous. But I took the majority of our pictures through the safety of the sunroof.  This time of year they meander and they could care less that the road is full of cars and people are taking pictures. But like I said, Fall may be a different story. Not only that, but if you visit in the Fall and have young ones, you may be explaining the birds and bees a little sooner than anticipated.

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We creeped along for at least 15 minutes.

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This family crossed the river. They were very cautious and slow and I was impressed that the one in front was clearly their leader and they trusted him.

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It took them about 10 minutes to cross. A neat thing to watch while we were waiting for Buffalo to make their way down the road.

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This is Earthquake Lake, located in Southwestern Montana. In the 50’s there was an earthquake and then a huge landslide that did not turn out well for many campers.

It’s beautiful now, but still kind of eerie.

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That area with the snow and no trees is the site of the landslide.

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Once we hit Montana, it was starting to feel more and more like home. Abigail couldn’t wait to get out of the car and run through the wide open spaces. In case you don’t know, New Hampshire is very dense and in the spring and summer it’s like a jungle. There are mountains, but people from the west coast would call them tall hills. Even the dogs were happy to see the mountains and get a fresh breath of wide open spaces.

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Always excited to sniff around.

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And finally, back in our home town, reunited with our favorite kid in the world.

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The dogs were elated to be back on their old stomping grounds.

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Happy, happy, happy.

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