Chapter Five – Devil’s Tower

Devil’s Tower was in Wyoming. Not that far of a drive. (Mom’s side note: it was a two hour drive) When we arrived at Devil’s Tower, we climbed boulders and ran the path. Devil’s Tower is a big rock which was magma that came to the surface but not all the way before it cooled. Then erosion brought it out to the surface the way we can see it today. I could tell by looking that it was bigger than Mount Rushmore. I also got my Junior Ranger Badge here too.

After that we went to Spearfish Canyon and saw a really pretty and big waterfall (I forgot the camera in the car). I felt the water and it was cold. I forgot but before that, we stopped at Bridal Veil waterfall. The water was the same temperature there as well. I was trying to get across the stream but unfortunately my foot fell in and got soaked. And that made it very uncomfortable.

It was a very fun day.

Chapter Four – Bear Country

It was a long drive to bear country … at least thats what it felt like. (Mom side note: it was a 4 min drive…)

Anyway bear country is not just bears it has big horn sheep, timber wolves, arctic wolves, otters, porcupine, beavers, badgers, bear cubs, and more.

My favorite were the bear cubs. They were adorable. We also went to the gift shop. Lincoln got a wolf toy thing. Logan on the other hand got a toy gun. Greg got a small fluffy black bear. And I got a bear that is wearing a sweatshirt that says Bear Country USA.

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Later we went to Dinosaur Park. It was fun except it was really hot. We climbed the triceratops, the T-rex, the apatosaurus, the stegosaurus, and the iguanodon. Then we went to downtown Rapid City for dinner. We ate at Firehouse. It was a good meal.

Chapter Three – Mount Rushmore

Me and Mount Rushmore.

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I was so excited to see my dream! First George Washington the first President of the USA. Next Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence AND… brought the first ice cream receipe to the USA.

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Third Theodore Roosevelt the first president to care about conservation stuff.  Last but not least, my favorite, Abe Lincoln he lead the civil rights war and freed the slaves.

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I also got my park ranger badge by completing a easy and small work book.

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The Literal Meaning of Everything

Kadence is now halfway through her first year of preschool. She goes MWF for 2.5 hours and it has grown her up quicker than I expected. She was already a pretty confident, independent child but this school interaction on her own has seemed to accelerate the process, which is good since she will be going into Kindergarten next year. At least, I think it’s good. Part of me wants to grab her and hide under a rock for awhile. I will see moments where she seems insecure about her hair or is sad about something a kid said to her at school and that home under the rock starts looking really luxurious. Then I remind myself that these are the important moments for me to grasp and teach her what’s important, what God thinks about her, and the basics of how to survive in this world.

Anyways, since she’s started preschool she feels empowered by her knowledge and likes to challenge what I know (which surprisingly enough doesn’t bother me- I think it’s kind of fun). She thinks deeper about things and tries to make sure I know what I’m talking about. Conversations like today’s are taking place more frequently.

Kadence, playing with toys while I’m washing some dishes, out of the blue says: Mom, you shouldn’t talk about choking, that’s not very nice.
Me: Huh? I didn’t realize I talked about choking.
Kadence: All the time you say, okey dokey artey-choking.
Me: Oh, I’m not saying artey-choking but artichokey. An artichoke is a vegetable.
Kadence: But why do you talk about vegetables all the time?
Me: It’s just a silly way to say okay. Nanny used to say it to me when I was little.
Kadence: But Mom, Nanny is a little crazy.
Me: This is true. Just remember, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Kadence: Now you want to talk about apples? You’re kinda crazy too.
Me: My point exactly.

I love this age.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Just wanted to share a few of the things I’m hyperfocused on right now!

Baked Oatmeal
Better yet, baked oatmeal in my adorable single-serving Le Creuset dish.
Click the picture above for credit to the recipe. I didn’t make it up. I’m simply a recipe follower, but I have to pass it on. It’s so simple to make.
•Preheat oven to 375.
•Mix in one medium bowl: 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1/2 cup milk, 2 TBSP creamed wildflower honey (or whatever honey you have), some chopped nuts (if you want- I love the texture and taste of the nuts but I’m not picky about what kind. I pick a handful of nuts out of my trader joe’s trail mix and chop them up), and 1/2 a cup of berries of your choice (or I have even used dried fruit which is good too).
•Put into an adorable little dish (greased) like I do or grease a muffin tin and fill the cups (as it doesn’t rise).
•Bake for 20 min. Then broil the top for about 5 min so that it has a nice crust.

It tastes so yummy. 20 minutes can be a long time to wait for breakfast. I suggest to double the recipe so that you make all 12 of your muffin tins. Then eat some, refrigerate some, or even freeze some. Then you have breakfast for a couple days. Re-warm in the microwave and drizzle the top with more honey and chopped nuts. Or skip the broiling step if you have a toaster oven and toast them to re-heat/crust the top. I also read that some people had a hard time keeping them together when they’re made in a muffin tin. I learned it’s when the fruit is on the side. When I make them in muffin tins I don’t add the berries when mixing. I fill the tins and then push in the berries so that I know each bite has some fruit and I can make sure it doesn’t touch the sides (so it can hold it’s form). Any which way, just make sure you let them cool before trying to dig them out.

Listen people. This is amazingly good and healthy. Gotta love that.

Blogs
These are 2 of my favorite blogs right now:

My Crazy Life as a Farmers Wife : I want to be this woman. This is my goal. Well, minus the wheat and potato farm. I try to stay away from either of those 2 things as much as possible…but that’s another story. 😉

Keeper of the Home : This site is a constant of mine. It has so much good natural health information. I’m pretty much convinced this gal knows everything.

Natural Cleaning/De-toxing the House
I’ve been doing a lot of reading/documentary-watching on the daily toxins we come in contact with. You all know how we’ve been trying to eat cleaner- staying away from toxic GMO’s and factory farmed animal products but what good does that do if I wash my clothes in toxins, my hair, rub it on my body, and clean my house with them?

Not very much good that’s for sure. We are a family full of tummy problems. Toxins are very hard for the body to get rid of. One of the ways it does this is by making more fat. Toxins are not water soluble, but fat soluble. Our family also doesn’t have a lot of extra fat to absorb the effects of toxins. Instead, it goes straight to destroying the balance of our gut flora and digestive system (which is more than just your colon and intestines- it’s your liver and kidneys too).

This movie is extremely helpful. What I like about this film is that it doesn’t just give you the food industry is gross speech, but gives you ideas of what you CAN do to be in control of your health. I highly recommend it to all. The first half does address obesity but the second half is very important to people of all sizes. Click the image to watch a trailer.

Buying organic or “green” laundry soaps, cleaners, beauty products can be expensive and we’re on a tight budget. Oddly enough, making your own “green” products is relatively cheap and easy. Read more about what to do from the Keeper of the Home blog I referred to earlier: Spring Clean the Toxins. She has lots of ideas but here is the recipe that I use for my All Purpose Cleaner. It works so incredibly well. Also, I started using a microfiber cloth on cleaning days (or a couple- when you’re done, wash them so they’re ready for next week). They pick up so well. On the day to day spills I still use paper towels but this helps. Instead of putting in a drop of essential oils, I just by the lavender castile soap from Whole Foods (the 365 brand). It smells so good. You’re only using a 1/2 tsp per spray bottle made so it lasts…FOR-EV-ER. My mother-in-law is working on the making of beauty products, whew. One less thing for me to obsess over. 🙂

Deck Gardening
I have a brown thumb. I have never been able to keep plants alive. That may be an issue in my aspirations to become a farmer. I also currently live in an apartment…which means I have no land of my own. So, I’ve decided to practice in containers on my deck. I’ve started out very, very small (since I don’t trust myself yet) and have been obsessing over these plants. Most mornings you can find Kadence and myself on the deck talking to the little tomatoes (which we got so excited about when they showed up). I’m going to take a few boring minutes to document what I’ve learned from this year so that next year I have a place to go to remember…
Dear Jennifer (I only refer to myself as Jennifer when I’m in trouble): This is too many plants for this container. 1-2 plants per 5 gallon container not 5 plants in a 5 gallon container. Somehow tomatoes are growing but you have lost a lot of foliage to yellowing of lower leaves- you will most likely get more tomatoes if the plants have more space and aren’t competing for nutrients from the soil. Your saving grace has been this website with it’s plant brews. The tomato plants act all happy when they get one of these concoctions…lucky you, but don’t do that again next year. Give them space.

Dear Jennifer: The herb pot is a fabulous idea. Saves you so much money- $3 for a fresh herb? Pssh. No more. Plant more basil next year. You use it a lot. The salsa deck garden idea (tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapenos) was a cute idea but not very practical. Cilantro loves sunny but cooler weather. You had cilantro coming out your ears during the cooler weeks of spring. But once it turned 80, the plant began to bolt. Once it bolts (as pictured) and flowers, the leaves turn bitter. Cilantro doesn’t like warm soil. Nothing you can do about it. Part of nature. However, tomatoes and jalapenos aren’t going to be ready until it’s hotter. That means the cilantro season and tomato seasons don’t coincide. Next time plant the cilantro in the fall when the tomatoes and jalapenos are done (and canned), then make salsa and can it. Or do both Spring and Fall but freeze your spring harvest. On a side note, the Lavender is lovely…haven’t done anything with it yet but I have grand intentions of trying to make my own lavender essential oil…I’ll let you know how that goes.

Dear Jennifer: This is just humorous. This little pot is not appropriate. You need another 5 gallon planter for 1-2 jalapeno plants. This is most likely why this is the lone pepper. Once he is fully grown and harvested, you are going to attempt to re-plant the plants in a bigger container. Good luck. Hope you don’t kill the plants. Don’t do that next year. You did, however, learn a very good tip when your flowers were dropping (instead of turning into peppers). Put 1 TBSP of Epsom salts into a spray bottle. Fill with warm water and shake it to dissolve. Spray the leaves and flowers. It changes the PH balance of your plant. Not sure exactly what happened there but your plant was much happier after you did this and began to actually grow this lone pepper.

Other than these mistakes it has been a fun adventure. Trust yourself and your ability to google problems, and plant a lot more next year. Like, can’t even walk on the deck more. 😉