Lego House by Ed Sheeran
Sleeping to Dream sung Live by Jason Mraz
Breakeven by The Script
Just Give Me A Reason, Pink featuring Nate Ruess (my dance class "cool down" song)
Maroon Five's Daylight
China by Tori Amos
Father and Son, the classic sung by Cat Stevens
Third Day's For the Rest of My Life
Thrift Shop (the clean version) sung by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (remember I have a house of teens...and take a Club Dance class for exercise)
appreciating...old friendships and new relationships.
watching...weekly track meets and loving that my kids enjoy the lifetime sport of running.
planning...summer camping trips
anticipating... our annual excuse to dress-up in costume in support of a nonprofit I work with. This year we're going to be The Cat in the Hat for the Dr. Seuss theme.
navigating...high school registration - honestly, it seems as if it was last week that I was walking hand in hand to the kindergarten classroom and now he's excitedly registering for our last four years with him under our roof.
struggling... with the passage of time spurred by loss - the death of a college friend and two family friends; and my children's first childhood home burning down (a planned burn).
enjoying...planting flowers and preparing our garden
exploring... what makes ideas "stick" while reading this book
learning...how to be a better writer/storyteller
missing...time-off to experience true rest and relaxation
loving...this guy as we celebrate our Anniversary today! Grateful that I share my journey through life with him!
feeling...hopeful for what is to come!
Wow! I've missed you all!
Seriously, where did March and April go?
I can't remember having two busier months, ever.
Between work deadlines and commitments, weekend travels for sports, Spring Break and raising busy kids - my month slipped away and kept me away from this blog...and I realized how much I love sharing and posting.
Here are a few photo and Instragram snippets of mysterious March and April that encompass travels and activities covering our whereabouts across four states (a few more for the Hubs).
Experience Music Project, Seattle
Pike's Place Market, Seattle, Washington
Pop Warner Scholar's Banquet Winners! Reno, Nevada
Space Needle, Seattle
So, I have been bursting at the seams to share my new love with you all! My friend Holly sent me a package of a product she had fallen in love with, Wildtree, knowing that I have been striving to make healthy meal options for my family (and attempting to avoid processed foods with dyes, preservatives and additives such as MSG). Not only was this product all-natural, but it also was created by a woman with children with food allergies, such as myself.
You know I love cooking from scratch but with the busy schedules, practices and work, I often seek fast solutions that can get meals on the table quickly.
Enter Wildtree, a certified organic company - the natural solution for my family! Not only do the products speed the mealtime process, but the simple solutions are healthy, organic, all-natural and delicious!
Doing my due-diligence and personal research, I had to go beyond Holly's original box, and do some sampling and tasting on my family. Meal after meal prepared with Wildtree products continued to get the "thumbs-up" from my often "selective" (read, picky) eaters. We are all in love with the seasonings, rubs, spices, sauces, mixes, grapeseed oils. The Wildtree products help you create spectacular and amazing tasting dishes with just three or four ingredients, found easily in most pantries and refrigerators.
As you know, my blog has been free of advertising and I have not done any product testing for pay. This endorsement is my own because it has truly changed the hectic pace of my typical evenings with quick, healthy solutions. I signed up as a Representative, originally thinking that I could access the Wildtree products at a discount and as my friend had told me, for a $99 investment, I could "eat" the business kit, if I changed my mind. However, the Wildtree started selling itself!
My friend couldn't believe that I had "held-out" on her by not sharing my love of Wildtree upon first bite. She quickly placed an order after watching a group of teen boys devour the platter of red and yellow peppers, with other vegetables that I had brought to a team gathering. The boys dove in to the dips, not knowing they were "good for them" and finished off the veggie tray long before digging into the pizza.
I've hosted a few gatherings since trying the products and friends can't wait to place an order as they are shocked by the ease and flavors. Meats never tasted so good, vegetables come alive and entertaining is a breeze.
The very first items I introduced Wildtree to my family, I made the Fiesta Salsa Mix and the Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Blend. For the salsa, all I needed to do was to add the mix to a can of diced tomatoes. I had chopped, fire-roasted tomatoes on hand and added it together. The Hubs went crazy for it immediately. The Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Blend mixed with organic cream cheese and was to die for! I spread it inside cucumbers, celery and dipped peppers and it was the best dip I have ever tried, honestly! It's so good spread on bagels, toast, sandwiches - you name it.
My kids and I went to the Oregon coast for a few nights and I whipped out a gourmet breakfast with the Wildtree Crepe Mix and filled the crepes with my new love, Wildly Blueberry Jam and strawberries. They went crazy and couldn't believe I had made this kind of breakfast with a limited kitchen and no extra groceries (other than the strawberries).
My mom tasted a pound cake "cupcake" I had made with the Wildtree Not Your Everday Pound Cake mix, assumed it was made from scratch and commented how she had never had one that good. While I was away she had snuck over to my house to grab a second one for my dad to try. When she learned how it was made, she quickly wanted to place an order.
When the Hubs is home for lunch on Fridays, he typically must rely on leftovers vs. a homemade lunch but with the Wildtree soup mixes, whipping up a savory, homemade, healthy soup has never been easier. The Healthy & Hearty Lentil Soup Mix is made with protein-packed lentils and I swear we were fighting over who was going to have the leftovers the following day, as it was that good!
This link takes you to my Wildtree website and ordering from my spot helps keep this blog alive. You are going to have to try this for yourself to truly understand how good and easy Wildtree makes your mealtimes.
Here is my "I Love Wildtree" Menu Plan Monday:
Monday (Track and High School Registration/Orientation - gulp!)
Chicken Fajitas (You can mix the Wildtree Fajita Seasoning Blend and cut your proteins then pop it into the freezer for a super fast meal.)
Peppers and Onions
Tuesday (Track Practice)
Chipotle Lime Rub Flank Steak (this was the second product we tried. Low in sodium, the spices blend into the meat and create a taste sensation, perfect for those watching sodium intake but there is no compromise in flavor)
Baked Potatoes with Wildtree Dill Blend mixed with sour cream
Wednesday (Track Meet)
Mediterranean Couscous (recipe linked with Kalamata olives, pepper, squash, basil and Wildtree Grapeseed Oil)
Thursday (Track Team Swim Night at Pool)
Quinoa Salad with Mango and Cilantro and Grapeseed Oil
Friday (Dinner with Friends)
Tiramisu made with Wildtree Mocha Mousse and Cheesecake Blend, mascarpone cheese, lady fingers and whipped cream ad topped with chocolate shavings.
Saturday Brunch (Attending a Non-Profit Auction for Dinner)
Homemade Chicken, Apple and Sage Patties made with Wildtree blends
Pizza or Calzone made with Wildtree Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with Wildtree Pizza Blend Sauce
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Wildberry Dressing
Monday (Track Practice)
Opa! Greek Seasoning Blend Chicken Kabobs with Peppers and Zuchinni
The Grapeseed Oils (recently touted by Dr. Oz*) are not only delicious but they are good for you. It has no cholesterol and actually aids in cholesterol reduction, has one of the lowest levels of saturated fats of all oils and is expeller pressed using a chemical-free process that extracts oil from the seeds of grapes after wine production - an environmentally sound practice requiring no new farmland or water to produce.
I love grapeseed's high flashpoint for cooking and how it lets the pure flavor of foods to come through.
*Dr. Mehmet Oz ,world renowned heart surgeon, shared that grapeseed oil, high in linoleic acid, has shown to help control hunger and reduce body fat by promoting insulin resistance. Grapeseed oil signals to your brain that you are full. He promotes having two teaspoons of grapeseed oil daily prior to our lunch meal to aid in weight loss.
Recently, out-of-nowhere, typical to Miss B's blunt line of questioning, my daughter asked me how I am "always so happy". She continued to tell me that her friends had noticed that I was "always smiling". First of all, this made me chuckle because I can think about all the times that I am not happy and what a good snow job I must pull off on those around me. Then I think that there is no way she doesn't know when I am not happy as reflected in my reaction to her not getting up in a timely fashion in the morning, the rolling of the eyes exhibited by the pre-teens and teens in our house, the squabbling and teasing amongst siblings, the complaints about rules...I could go on and on.
But honestly, I am so thrilled that this kid sees me as being happy because SHE makes me happy! I love being a mom to our kids. Of course, parenthood is not easy nor perfect...let's be real. But, wow, I feel lucky to get this opportunity to help steer these kids into adulthood and enjoy them along the way.
So, Miss B's comment made me really think about happiness.
When I am happiest, I am doing something that really matters in the world. Perhaps it is as small and organic as making my own family feel loved or as large as writing a grant that will solve a huge problem for a non-profit changing and saving lives. No matter what, I realize that happiness is a state of mind and only I can determine that happiness.
I remember at one point someone telling me to smile from the center of your self when you were nervous, sad or glum and to pull that smile forward until that smile ended up on your face.
In high school, I tried to always walk the halls smiling, to exude happiness (and as a result, my first boyfriend coined me with the nickname "Smiley"). I think it's next to impossible not to smile back at someone sharing a smile with you. I believe that sharing a smile with strangers is one of the most simple ways we can melt unhappiness, break barriers and open ourselves to inner joy. I think the old saying goes "Frown and you frown alone, but smile and the whole world smiles with you."
So, what makes people happy?
Alan Epstien, Ph.D., author of How to Be Happier Day by Day believes happiness comes from the attitude we bring to everything we do and every action we take.
The Happy Book author, Barbara Ann Kipfer equates happiness from finding and noticing the little things in life.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines happiness as 'a state of well-being and contentment: joy; good fortune; a pleasurable or satisfying experience; felicity'.
I love this adapted list originally created by Stephen Covey ,
"What Happy People Do Differently":
When I was fresh out of college and enjoying the beginning of my career, this horoscope was printed and it's been saved in a journal over the years:
Enjoy what's yours already. Family, a great job, love from your friends - all of these things (and others!) are what give you simple happiness every day.
A few of my favorite happy things:
I could go on and on...
I'd love to know what makes you happy?