Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Flow

I love the freedom that has come with this summer.

I love the feeling of the sun on my face as I sit under the shade of a tree watching the sticky drips of popsicle roll down my four year olds chin. I love breathing free knowing that there is no forgotten assignments due and no gymnastics classes to race down the road to. I love the reading of library books and the early morning yoga when the world is still quiet and peaceful.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot going on around here. The oven died, I gave a terrifying (for me, hopefully not for those listening!) talk in church, the freezer leaked water all over which warped our wood floor, frost and pot-guts have wreaked havoc on my garden, and the kids are running wild through the neighborhood. I’ll have to cook on our camp stove in the back yard for yet another week until the new appliances come and it’s been wicked hot for days now. Speaking of hot, yesterday, our air conditioner broke. Why not, everything else has? Today I am sewing like mad, trying to get my family ready for our pioneer trek coming up. I still have a million meetings, but they seem easier to handle when I’m not engulfed in winter craziness. Bills are piling up and the “want” list has been quietly tucked into a drawer for the time being.

There is a lot going on, but it’s a different kind of busy-ness.

IMG_5700[1]

Since J.L. passed away and my husband totaled his truck a few days later, I have put a lot of things on the back burner. My home isn’t clean. There’s graded papers and artwork left on my desk from the last day of school. There is a giant pile of mending sitting on the table, at least 72 unfinished projects, and the laundry baskets are overflowing. I still can’t see the floor through the toys down in the basement and bindweed is rapidly taking over my flower beds.

There will be time for those things but for now there are other things that are more important…

like running through sprinklers with my children.

IMG_5628[2]

I’m choosing to be there for my brother as he rips out old flooring, paints walls, and turns his new house into a home for his beautiful family. I’m taking slow walks with a sweet old granny dog who doesn’t have very many summers left. I’m painting neighbor’s barns and going for hikes with teenagers, not because I have nothing I could do. I’m just putting more weight in the things that I should do.

I can’t do everything and it’s ok.

IMG_5720[1]

This summer has been good for me.

There have been so many challenges and yet I’m learning to let go and live in the moment.

I’m allowing myself some breathing room and discovering that I can be a responsible, hard working mother and a nurturing, attentive one at the same time.

IMG_5716[1]

I want to live an authentic, happy life and in order to do that I have to be centered and confident in who I am. There is so much noise and confusion in this world but I don’t have to let it overcome me. I just have to slow down and relish the moment that I am in.

Because once that moment is over it will never come again.

I guess I am learning to be present, which is something that doesn’t come easy to a girl who’s mind and body must constantly move.

IMG_5681[1]

There will always be financial struggles, accidents, and broken appliances, that’s just life, but there will never be another moment like the one I am in, so I am choosing to experience it.

Thank you, J.L. for teaching me that.

 

Happy summer everybody.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Strawberry Lemon Water

My extended family has had a decades long debate over what a carbonated drink should be called. The California side says “soda” and the mountain fam says “pop” then add in my Texan sister who calls all of it “Coke” and you’ve got a real lively conversation.

Soda… Pop… Coke… Beverage…Whatever you call it, I gave up the habit 4 years ago for health reasons and haven’t looked back. But, I have to admit, I do occasionally miss my once beloved Diet Coke in the summer when it’s hot.

*Enter fruit infused water.*

I have always liked a slice of lemon in my ice water, but other than bridal showers and parties, I had never thought to branch out with other fruits/herbs until I ran across a photo from Jamie Oliver in my PINTEREST feed. I read his post and decided to try it out and I’ve been hooked ever since.

My current favorite is a mix of strawberry and lemon.

Making infused water is so simple. Just slice up some fruit and throw it in a pitcher of water. Chill the pitcher in your fridge for a few hours to allow the fruit to flavor the water then pour in a glass over ice and enjoy.

It’s that easy.

Infused Water Recipe Round-up {Gypsy Magpie}

 

Here are a few great infused water ideas to try.

You guys, there is seriously a recipe for every taste bud!

 

1. OPC/I Heart Naptime’s Citrus & Mint

image2

via OPC featured on I Heart Naptime

 

2. Cucumber Ginger Lemon Mint Water by City Farmhouse

Cucumber Lemon Ginger Water

via City Farmhouse

 

3. Monica breaks it all down into steps for you here on this great post… Naturally Flavored Water by The Yummy Life

Flavored_Water7_Copy.jpg

via The Yummy Life

The raspberry lime one is seriously delicious. I don’t have a muddler like she suggests, so I just use a wooden spoon if needed.

 

4. Ditch the Juice Box Fruit Infused Water Recipes by MomAdvice

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

via MomAdvice

I have made the all citrus and the berry water and both were fantastic. My kids definitely liked the berry one the most out of any infused water I have made.

 

5. I haven’t tried this one yet, but this will be the first thing I do when my cucumbers come on in my garden this fall.

 Strawberry Lime Cucumber & Mint Water from Back to Her Roots

strawberry water

via Back to Her Roots

 

See, so easy!

Now that you’ve seen how to do it, you won’t even need a recipe, just use what you’ve got on hand.

 

**Have you tried infused water yet?

If so, what is your favorite?**

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Adventure Bags

When I was a girl, my folks would load up our old truck and we would head off to some remote corner of the west. My dad worked hard so he could play hard, even if it was only for an afternoon. Our family business took a lot of time, energy, sweat, and sometimes tears to run and my parents soon learned that in order to stay sane they needed to give themselves, and us kids, a little time to be free.

We called those trips “adventures”.

Original Adventure Bag Patch {Gypsy Magpie}

Our adventures took us everywhere from Capitol Reef to the Sequoias and to the hundreds of tiny towns, deserts, and mountain valleys in between. To be honest, it didn’t matter where we went or if we were gone for days or merely hours, all that mattered was that we were together as a family. {And, that there wasn’t a can of stain, piece of tack strip, or roll of heat seam tape in sight! Sorry Pops, you know it’s true.}

Our adventures were OUR time, that little sliver of light that refilled the soul and energized the tired mind. 

Adventure {Gypsy Magpie}

My mama started my first Adventure Bag over 30 years ago, sewing patches that we found on our trips onto a tiny blue duffel bag. Now as an adult, and parent myself, my little blue bag has become one of my most precious possessions. I don’t think my parents had any idea that their spur of the moment “adventures” would have such a lasting effect on our family, but of all the things that they did for us, other than teaching us how to work hard, their complete love of their Savior, and their loyalty to each other, those adventures had the most impact. It was on those adventures that we learned about overcoming fear, expressing love, and finding joy. It’s where we were strengthened as a family and, in essence, learned to like each other.

As I sat and looked at that bag a couple months ago, I felt the urge to recreate a little bit of my past for my children. I want them to learn the value of discipline and hard work, just like my parents taught me, and along with that I want them to learn to fly.

Adventure Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

There is nothing quite like a giggly little girl reeling in her first wriggly fish or the wonder in a young boy’s eyes as he looks down from the majestic mountain he just climbed.

You just can’t capture those moments, they have to be experienced.

So, I set to work.

I found 4 duffels on a killer sale at CABELA'S, well, plus 1 more not so little one for me. {That tiny blue bag can barely hold my shoes now so I figured I deserved a new one too.} I purchased the medium sized Ripcord Duffel Bags for the kids and the large size for me. But, any brand bag would do. You could use a duffel, backpack, or even a pillowcase if that’s what you had.

Duffel Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

After I got the bags, I dug through all my little hiding places {you mom’s totally know what I’m talking about here} until I found the patches I had quietly been saving from our family trips.

Then I pulled out my sewing machine, scissors, and coordinating thread.

Adventure Bag Supplies {Gypsy Magpie}

I didn’t take pictures, but you get the idea, I started sewing on all the patches. If you don’t sew, you can totally use BADGE MAGIC, PATCH ATTACH, or any other no-sew adhesive.

My favorite patches were a gift that I have been saving for just the right project. They say “Made with Love by MAMA” and ain’t that the truth! I sewed those sweet little things right on the end of the bags which will probably bring embarrassment to my son in a few years, but they make me happy so he’ll live.  

Made with Love by Mama Patch {Gypsy Magpie}

Because I am a procrastinator, I didn’t even start on the bags until the morning we were supposed to be leaving for Marysvale. {More on that in the next post!} I guess, as always, the last minute pressure finally got my rear in gear!

Here is a little pic of the kids and their new adventure bags taken right before we ran around the house like mad packers.

My Magpie's and their Adventure Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

So, here’s the thing, patches and duffels are a fun little detail but they aren’t necessary. They are just the frosting on the cake. If it works for your family then by all means go for it, but if not that’s ok too. The meat and potatoes is the adventure, the exciting or remarkable experience that awaits you.

Adventures don’t have to be big or expensive and they can be totally tailored to your family’s interests. It can be as simple as sleeping on the trampoline under the stars, taking a picnic to a park in another town that your son has always wanted to play at, snowshoeing by the light of a full moon, finding a hike you’ve never been on, or even following a little dirt road just to see where it ends.

Taking an adventure is about getting out of our ruts and opening our eyes to the world around us. It’s about seeing our spouse or child in a new light that brings with it a deeper love and understanding. It’s about turning off the screen and truly being with each other… body, soul, and mind. In this ever spinning world, we all need a moment to unwind and remember why we chose the life we did.

Love and Adventure {Gypsy Magpie}

My kids will probably never see the Tuscan villa’s of Italy or the Eiffel Tower in France, but they will have seen the magic in a campfire and a sky awash in stars. They will know the feeling of mud between their toes and the taste of fresh berries on their tongues.

More importantly, they will know that even when life was busy and hard that their parents made time for them.

That we loved them, in our own unique imperfect way.

 

“As soon as I saw you I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.”

~A.A. Milne

 

Adventure: an exciting or remarkable experience.

 

 

**What are your family’s favorite adventures?**

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Man, the Legend

Last week the unthinkable happened… 

A horrible accident with a tragic outcome.

I found myself in a crumpled heap on the floor when the messages started coming in that JL was gone. In my mind, this strong, vibrant man was invincible and would no doubt live forever. How could this happen? So many questions were racing through my mind.

I met JL ten years ago when we moved into our first home. He and his wonderful wife lived on my street and they took an interest in my little family the moment we started unloading the first boxes out of the back of the truck. JL didn’t even know us, and yet he walked right up and started toting boxes into the house. It was hard to not instantly fall in love with his twinkling eyes and big laugh. Over the years he lifted me up whenever my shoulders began to droop. He knew the names of each of my children and he went out of his way to let them know that they were important. When my husband was gone on the road, you better believe that JL knew it and his eye was on my house to make sure we were safe and secure. In our church group, JL was one of the beloved Candy-men. Sunday mornings he filled his coat pockets with sweets and would lovingly pass his treasures out to the little kids and crying babies in the chapel. He was always giving and everyone loved him.

The past few days as I have read the posts and comments on Facebook and Instagram I have noticed a pattern…

JL made people feel special.

He always had a kind word, a hug, a wink, or some small gesture to say that you were a valuable human being and that he saw and celebrated your worth.

He made time for those around him.

If JL knew you, he loved you and you were family, simple as that.

As I have processed it all the past few days, I have come to a realization, I want to be like that. I want to be the kind of person who brings others up. The kind of person who doesn’t hide her light from others but instead lets it beam brightly from her face just like JL. He understood the worth of a soul and the power in a simple smile. I want to know it too.

This man didn’t have an easy life by any means. I struggled wondering why the Lord would let this happen to them when they had already been through SO much. JL and Dawnette have pushed through heartache, blended a family, lost loved ones, and lived with disabilities and major health issues, among a million other things.

And yet, through it all, they have been two of the most loving, giving, faith-filled, and joyful people that I have ever known.

 

 

When I think of JL and Dawnette, I think of the words to this hymn.

Cheered Up Print

via romawinkel Etsy Shop

They chose to find joy in the rocky road they journeyed down and to search for the sunshine amongst the storm clouds. They acknowledged the bad and they experienced the hard, but they didn’t let it hold them captive.

I want to be like that.

So this summer I’m putting down my phone. I’m not going to stress over the details of my church calling. I’m not going to let the clock or the negative words from others {or in my own head} control me.

I’m going to be present in the moment with my family but even more than that, in my own heart.

 

Be All There {Gypsy Magpie}

 

I’m going to take adventures big and small.

I’m going to laugh as loud as I want for as long as I want.

I’m going to serve others because I want to, not because I should, it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s expected of me.

I’m going to love even when it’s hard.

I’m going to find joy even when it’s not easy.

I’m going to make time for people, campfires, music, and fun.

 

Campfires {Gypsy Magpie}

 

Music Heals {Gypsy Magpie}

 

IMG_5088[1]

 

I’m going to search for the gems hidden in the small, ordinary, and mundane that surrounds me.

And, I’m not going to wait until it’s too late to tell someone that I care.

 

The Man, the Legend, JL {Gypsy Magpie}

 

I dedicate this summer to the one and only JL Clyde… may his legacy live on in me and in the lives of every single heart he ever touched.

“God be with you ‘til we meet again.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Easy Raw Granola

I am addicted to granola.

I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a granola out there that I wouldn’t love. A few years ago one of my closest friends, KYNDRA, gave me her recipe for Raw Granola and I have been in love ever since!

If peanut butter, coconut, and banana are your thing then this is right up your alley!

{Now, I just have to apologize right now up front! I am not a food photographer or even a decent photographer for that matter, so please don’t judge this awesome granola by my very poor camera skills! Try it out and I swear you’ll love it.}

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

Here’s how… because it’s crazy difficult.

Just kidding, it’s seriously easy.

 

Start by mixing together your oats and coconut in a large bowl.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

Next add the nuts.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

If you have whole almonds, just process them for a bit in your blender or food processor until they are the size you want. Same goes for the banana chips and any other nuts you may want to add.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

The awesome thing about granola is that it is completely customizable to your tastes and what you have on hand. If you want to use pecans instead of almonds, go for it. If you hate bananas replace them with something else like sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, or flax. Maybe you don’t like the way chia seeds get stuck in your teeth? Leave them out. If you’re doing the paleo thing, then try all nuts and no oats. 

You get the idea.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

Once you get your dry ingredients to you liking give them a stir and set the bowl aside.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

It helps if you have a happy little helper to do the mixing.

Now mix together the wet ingredients in a blender or separate bowl.

Again, if you don’t like peanut butter supplement with another nut butter. It’s all up to you.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

I like using my blender because it’s already dirty from grinding the nuts and I don’t want to wash more bowls.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry then let your dreamy eyed happy helper do more mixing while you sweep up the mixing mess she left you on the floor.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

Once it’s all incorporated stick it in the fridge until ready to use.

Because this is a raw granola, make sure to store the leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

I love this granola sprinkled over Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey on top. But, it’s also delicious eaten as a cereal with almond milk or as an ice cream topping.

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

 

 

Easy Raw Granola by Gypsy Magpie

SunFIND PRINTABLE RECIPE HERESun

 

My favorite thing about this granola is that it tastes like dessert.

What could be better?

Try it out and then make sure to come back and tell me what you think!

 

P.S. I just want to point out that I made my first PDF! Thanks to the lovely A TYPICAL ENGLISH HOME for the awesome tutorial! You don’t even know it but you made my day!