The Road Home

7 Comments

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

_DSC8059

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.

_DSC8056

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

_DSC8058

_DSC8063

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

_DSC8067

_DSC8072

_DSC8066

_DSC8104

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.

_DSC8111

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

_DSC8112

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.

_DSC8114

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.

_DSC8095

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.

_DSC8173

_DSC8175

A geyser I can’t remember the name of.

_DSC8168

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

_DSC8186

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

_DSC8202

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.

_DSC8190

This guy looked like he had a rough winter.

_DSC8219

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

_DSC8160

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.

_DSC8156

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.

_DSC8152

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.

_DSC8260

_DSC8232

We creeped along for at least 15 minutes.

_DSC8228

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.

_DSC8240

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.

_DSC8256

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.

_DSC8267

_DSC8269

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

_DSC8268

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.

_DSC8275

Always excited to sniff around.

_DSC8284

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

_DSC8289

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

_DSC8293

Happy, happy, happy.

_DSC8296

Organic Breakfast Salad

8 Comments

Good Morning!

_DSC8038

We are up to our ear lobes in boxes around the house and looking forward to the moving company’s arrival next week. We’re leaving a month before our house sale closes and praying that everything goes smoothly. 

_DSC8033

I’ve been trying to adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet at least 5 days a week. Breakfast is a tough one. I’m lowering my intake of eggs, grains, and heavy animal protein as much as possible.  Easter threw me for a loop with turkey, stuffing with bacon, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and berry crisp with coconut ice cream (all of my favorites!). Then of course, we had to have leftovers last night for dinner because it was just so delicious on Easter. Lots of salt, sugar, and other foods that inflame.

_DSC8034

So this morning I’m back to healthier eating. Since the whole Lyme Disease thing started in October I’ve been having increasing issues with major joint pain and arthritis. The doctor prescribed the anti inflammatories Diclofenac and Celebrex for me to try. Although I hate taking any type of medication and prefer to go with natural remedies, the pain from this arthritis and the swelling of joints doesn’t always make that possible. I prefer the Diclofenac. The Celebrex made me feel weird and didn’t work at all for the pain. I try to only take the Diclofenac for 3-4 days and then go off for a week or as long as I can stand it because it can be very hard on your stomach. But the key is to not allow the arthritis pain to get too bad because then it takes more medication to get it under control.

Along with trying to stay away from foods that cause inflammation and lessening my intake of animal protein, I’m also doing other natural remedies that are known to be helpful for arthritis. In the mornings I drink Organic Lemon Verbena Tea with medicinal honey to boost my immune system and fight bad bacteria. I made a fresh batch of turkey bone broth yesterday, and I also take high quality supplements daily. A multi vitamin/mineral, 8,000 IU’s of Vitamin D3, a probiotic, and a supplement for adrenal support.

_DSC8027

 I try my hardest to drink 90 ounces of filtered water every day, and every night I take two Tablespoons of Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate before bed. Tart cherries also have the added benefit of natural melatonin which aids in sleep. And it tastes delicious, which is a nice change from most supplements.

SWF101_Xl

That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. More packing to be done today. Hope you all have a wonderful day and if you have any arthritis remedies that work well for you, please share!

Organic Breakfast Salad

Organic Spinach

Organic Apple

Organic Strawberries

Organic Blueberries

Small Portion of Organic Turkey Breast

Organic Walnuts

Organic Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

_DSC8035

Pure & Simple Organic Body Lotion

6 Comments

_DSC7964

There is some controversy in the allergen world about beauty products.

There’s basically two schools of thought.

The first, is that it’s perfectly safe to use your food allergens like gluten and dairy on your skin. I’ve read all kinds of posts where people are touting that they have no negative outcome from doing so. 

_DSC7956

This includes body lotion, soap, face lotions and washes, and make up. They believe little, if anything, is absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream.

_DSC7957

The second school of thought is much different. They know that your skin is your largest organ and considering that people wear hormone patches, drug patches, allergy patches, slather hormone cream, cortisone and all kinds of other things on their skin prescribed by medical physicians that are meant to absorb…that our skin does in fact absorb all kinds of things and then shuffles much of it along to our blood stream and then through our liver.

_DSC7958

I of course reside within the second school of thought. I once read a blog where the woman said she uses absolutely nothing on her skin that she cannot eat right out of the jar. This made sense to me.

If you’re allergic to gluten and dairy or numerous other things, why would you rub them all over your largest living organ, every single day?

_DSC7960

Soft peaks after about 10 minutes.

There are lotions on the market that are free of dairy and gluten. However, have you ever read the ingredients list? I’m not willing to lick that off of a spoon.

_DSC7961

Stiff peaks after about another 10 minutes. It will end up being the consistency of butter cream frosting.

This home-made lotion is simple. Anyone can make it, it only has 2 ingredients that most of us have on hand. You can add a few drops of essential oil if you have those on hand too, but it’s not necessary if you don’t. I added a few drops of lemon and a couple of drops of peppermint.

Pure & Simple Organic Body Lotion

*Makes 2 Cups

2 Cups of  Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup of Organic 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I filled a small saucepan halfway with water and set a glass bowl in the top. Bring the water almost to a boil and add the coconut oil. Stir until thoroughly melted. Remove the bowl from the hot water and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Add the olive oil. Pour the mixture into the bowl of your mixer and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Attach the whisk. Whisk the oil mixture on medium high for 10 minutes and on high for 5-8 minutes until it emulsifies and is light and fluffy. Scoop into a container with a lid and keep in a cool place in your bathroom. Apply all over your body after a warm shower or bath.

Blueberry Lemon Bread & An Early Morning Walk

10 Comments

Good Morning!

Glazed Lemon Blueberry Bread is on the menu for breakfast this morning.

_DSC7955

I’m sure I’ve told you before how much my husband loves sweets. I’ve been trying to really reduce the sugar content in my diet since I’ve been having some health issues, which means he has had to suffer as well.

So this morning when Tony left to go on his morning run, I decided I would surprise him with a sweet bread.  What kind of wife would I be if I didn’t take pity on my poor, sugar loving, husband?

_DSC7954

For some reason on Saturday morning we were both filled with early morning energy and decided to hop out of bed and take the dogs for a walk.

_DSC7839

_DSC7901

Red Winged Blackbird

_DSC7915

The Rindge/Jaffrey Rails to Trails trail has beauty at every turn.

_DSC7873

Everything was so calm the forest was a perfect mirrored reflection in one of the many ponds.

_DSC7877

Every time the Geese quacked, a little puff of breath floated through the air.

_DSC7832

Going for an early morning walk rather than an afternoon walk certainly paid off.

_DSC7853

For several weeks we’ve walked without my camera and every time I mentally pinched myself for not bringing it along. This time I made a point to remember, and was rewarded with the Great  Blue Heron.

_DSC7861

They usually fly away as soon as they see the dogs, but this one allowed me several shots before deciding he’d had enough. They’re so huge, it really is amazing to see them fly so gracefully.

_DSC7862

The walk was peaceful and beautiful, and the wildlife was stunning. They were extra patient with me and my camera, almost as if they knew I wanted a few last, very special, shots.

_DSC7820

_DSC7887

We’ve seen almost every animal and water fowl  New Hampshire has to offer since we moved here with the exception of the Fisher Cat and Moose.

_DSC7882

_DSC7923

And I can certainly live without seeing a Fisher Cat.

_DSC7848

I thought for sure with the presence of so many swampy areas that we would see at least one moose on our early morning trek, but no such luck. We have a couple of weeks before the moving company comes at the end of the month, maybe we’ll spot one before then.

Even the dogs were photogenic.

_DSC7926

The Bear made a visit the other night.

1932250_10152300146329259_4520342372370556868_n

It never crossed my mind that he would be interested in our bird feeders now that we have a fence.

10246660_10152300146164259_850580325023664183_n

Silly me, bears aren’t worried about fences and only have one thing on their mind. Food.

There are big bear claw marks on a few of our trees along the back fence line. This one must be pretty light on his feet because he barely bent the thin wire fence as he climbed over.

1510914_10152300146039259_3179052826710575389_n

1549457_10152300145839259_6390868604913635542_n

Luckily the vinyl fence was a quick fix, but we have yet to receive the bill, so it may not be a painless fix.

10258911_10152300145959259_176226391172725642_n

Needless to say, all of the bird feeders have come down and have been packed away until we move back to an area where bears aren’t usually a worry.

10176256_10152300145729259_8921505597923644921_n

Plenty of exciting and beautiful things to miss when we leave New Hampshire, but the West also has a beauty all its own.

Getting excited to move in the direction of home!

Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze

2 1/2 Cups of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

2 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 Cup of Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar

1 Cup of “Buttermilk” (1 cup almond milk with juice of 1/2 lemon)

3 Organic Eggs

1/2 Cup of Avocado Oil

4 teaspoons of Lemon Zest (about 2 lemons)

1 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups of Organic Frozen Blueberries

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk all of the wet ingredients together and add to dry ingredients. Fold until fully incorporated. Fold in the frozen blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. 

Lemon Glaze

1 Cup of Powdered Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Dairy Free Butter, melted

2 teaspoons of Freshly Grated Lemon Zest

2-3 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Whisk in bowl and drizzle over cooled bread.

My Corner Of The World

10 Comments

Spring is finally showing itself in New Hampshire.

_DSC7637

For some reason, it feels like this has been the longest winter on record. Thankfully, New Hampshire gets a fair amount of sunshine all winter long. Just when you think you can’t stand another snowflake, the sun peeks out and blue skies are visible enabling you to endure just one more crazy New England storm.

_DSC7725

Today we’re promised sunny skies and 60 degrees. I’ll be sure to take a break and soak up some of that sun.

_DSC7716

We’ve been very busy packing, getting things ready, and trying to prepare for a future that still has quite a few unanswered questions. I like to be in the know, have a plan, have all the details locked up tight. If you need something organized, I’m your gal! You know, typical Type A. This is turning out to be a very big lesson in faith, patience, and letting go.  Add the ups and downs of crazed menopause hormones to that, and well…life can sometimes feel like a three-ring circus.

To de-stress, we’ve been squeezing in some beach time with the dogs before the leash laws begin, watching movies in the evening together, reading, taking walks, and trying to keep our minds occupied on anything other than the “what, how, when” scenarios us humans are so fond of torturing ourselves with.

_DSC7707

I also love to take breaks throughout the day and see who’s visiting in the backyard.

I’ve been trying to get a photo of our female Cardinal for a year. She must be feeling brave!

_DSC7720

They’re very skittish. She usually chooses to eat at the back of the feeder and peeks around at me. And if I move even a fraction of an inch, she makes a quick escape.

_DSC7692

 We will certainly miss the quiet of the country and all of our furry and feathered friends. And the lightning bugs! I’m so happy I was finally able to see them. There are certain things we won’t miss though. The summer humidity brings a lot of bugs. And I mean a lot. Like the jungle. Mosquitoes, black flies, spiders, and all kinds of flying things I didn’t even know were in existence prior to moving to New Hampshire.

And then the ticks. Unbelievable quantities.

_DSC7683

Speaking of ticks, a few days ago I went to the doctor and had more blood drawn for an extensive Lyme Disease test. I won’t be satisfied until someone can prove to me that the two waves of antibiotics worked and we caught it fast enough. Then, there’s the unsettling worry that I’ve had it for quite some time, and this was just a flare up.  This particular test is supposed to be the absolute gold standard test amongst Lyme Disease Professionals. It needs to be taken when symptomatic, which I am. They will grow it for 8 weeks. If it’s negative at 8 weeks, they will grow it for another 8 weeks.  As we’ve talked about in my Lyme Disease series, the bacteria has the ability to cloak itself, so we have to be patient and make sure we’ve given them every chance to come out of hiding. A negative after 16 weeks should be good news.

_DSC7724

The DNA test was negative, which you would think would be a good thing, but there’s a yes and no to that answer. The Lyme bacteria do not like to stay in the blood. Not long after you’re infected it moves from the blood and settles into muscle tissue, joints, and the nervous system. So if you get a positive on the DNA test, then it’s definitive. You definitely still have the Lyme Disease bacteria in your body. If it’s negative, all that means is maybe  you don’t have the Lyme bacteria or it may mean that you didn’t catch it quickly enough and it’s moved out of the blood stream.

_DSC7707

It’s important to keep track of symptoms because many people think the infection is gone, when in fact, it’s just dormant. Unfortunately, many of my symptoms have returned along with an ugly dose of some type of arthritis after a hiatus from the antibiotics . The doctor thinks I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but the tests are coming up negative. However, 1/3 of people who have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis test negative. It’ can feel like a never ending guessing game. There’s also Lyme Arthritis. And then, studies show that you can  have Lyme symptoms off and on 6 months to 1 year after treatment . So even the symptoms aren’t definitive! Lyme Disease diagnosis and treatment can be very confusing and frustrating.

So for now, we wait.

_DSC7689

We visited our favorite Sugar House last weekend. Once you’ve had pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup…there’s no going back to that Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin Syrup. So we stocked up. Ten jugs of Grade A Medium maple syrup for pancakes and waffles, and 3 bottles of Grade A Dark for baking.

You can go here to see our first visit to a local Sugar House last spring. It was so much fun!

_DSC7656

I hope the beginning of spring is treating you well! Forgive me for being so behind on all of my blog visits. Don’t give up on me, I’m counting on the fact that life will slow down, if even just a bit, over the next few weeks.

_DSC7634

There’s a Mourning Dove nestled in there. I wondered why he chose to take a nap out in the rain.

_DSC7678

So much for the “squirrel proof” feeder.

_DSC7696

The Red Tail Squirrels are very creative. The Gray Squirrels are curious and act like they’d like to come into the house for a look-see.

_DSC7661

They also like to tease the dogs. And although the dogs have never caught one, it doesn’t stop them from plotting.

_DSC7665

Well, it’s getting to be that time when the house starts to stir and things begin to get busy. Until next time, have a lovely rest of your week and a relaxing weekend!

Pumpkin Bread with Honey Cinnamon Butter

11 Comments

_DSC7804

Now is the time for us to start whittling down our pantry items. We’ll be heading out of New Hampshire in about 3 weeks or so if everything goes as planned.

_DSC7795

You may think it’s too late in the season for pumpkin bread, but once your house is bathed in the rich scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, you’ll change your mind.

_DSC7803

Spring has just arrived in New Hampshire. We were beginning to wonder if it would ever happen. We still have a bit of snow on the ground; this morning it’s foggy and raining. But this afternoon, we’re promised partly sunny skies and a high of 61 degrees. It’s only 44 right now and I already have the slider open in anticipation. Forty four degrees, fog, and a quiet drizzle is the perfect kind of morning to relax with a hot cup of tea and a slice (or two) of spicy pumpkin bread.

This pumpkin bread happens to be egg free, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and nut free.

And it’s delicious.

_DSC7811

Pumpkin Bread

1/3 Cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 Cup dark brown sugar

2 Tablespoons ground flax plus 6 Tablespoons water (egg replacement)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1 15oz. can organic pumpkin puree

2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place ingredients in mixer in order and mix on medium-low until fully incorporated. Spread into an oiled bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

_DSC7810

Honey Cinnamon Butter

The amounts will depend on how many people you are serving and your taste. I used about 6 Tablespoons of butter, about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of honey. Just add all ingredients to a small bowl and whip with a fork until combined.

_DSC7807

Blueberry Pancakes with Cinnamon Maple Syrup

3 Comments

_DSC7760

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Blueberry Pancakes

2 Cups of  Artisan Flour Blend

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

4 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

4 Eggs, separated

2 Cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Tablespoons of Melted Non-Dairy Butter

Frozen or Fresh Blueberries

Measure dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk. Measure almond milk, melt butter, crack and separate eggs. Beat eggs to stiff peak. Add the milk, vanilla, butter, and egg yolks to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in egg whites carefully until fully incorporated. Fold in blueberries.

_DSC7768

Heat a large skillet on medium, butter the skillet, and ladle batter onto skillet. Flip when bubbles have formed on the surface.

_DSC7762

Cinnamon Maple Syrup

1 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

2 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon

Heat syrup and whisk in cinnamon.

_DSC7759