Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miss You

So about 2 months ago I went to Jackson Hole Wyoming to meet up with my Aunt Amy and my Grandma Lentes! I would have told you about it earlier....but I wanted to spend some time working on practicing my photoshop editing skills.
But then I didn't practice at all, but I did edit them a little bit.

Anyway, it was super great to spend a weekend with them. It is absolutely beautiful in Jackson Hole. Even just the drive from Boise was gorgeous, I felt like I was traveling through all these small mountain villages nested into the valleys that were just sleepy and peaceful.
The town is a ski resort for sure but it's set against the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone is just a short drive.
We took some driving tours of lakes and rode the Gondola up to 10,500 ft!
AMAZING! I can see why people move west....not just to run from the law (although I'm sure that happens).
It was such a gift from God to be able to have the time and money to take that trip.
Mr. Gill and I moved to Idaho from Indiana the day after christmas. We haven't been back in the midwest since then and I haven't seen anyone in my family in 10 long months.
We are blessed to have 2 of Mr. Gill's sisters here in the treasure valley with us, and his mom and one other sister were able to visit in May-which was awesome but a girl misses her Mom you know what I mean? I talk to my mom every couple of days-and sometimes even my dad will yell hello on the other end of the phone but-its not the same. I miss the smell of their house, the sounds my siblings laughing all together....the way that my mom likes to twirl my hair when she's sitting next to me....I like it when anyone does that btw. And this is weird but ALL my siblings will agree that stealing a sip of coke from my dad's glass tastes better than if we have our own (I think it's the sweetness of the forbidden fruit....since dad did not like us drinking his pop).
All this to say that having a chance to be with my family for a weekend was wonderful. I stayed w/my Aunt Amy for a summer after high school (convinced me to go to school for therapy) and w/my Grandparents right after college when I started my first job in I feel like I am pretty close with those two wonderful ladies. I mean, once you live w/them they know how messy you are in real life and love you anyway-so that's close. I was just myself and enjoyed hanging with them knowing that I was already known and loved by them....that's a gift that family *biological or not* can give you.

Moving to Boise has been a beautiful thing for Mr. Gill and I. Not only an act of obedience to being called here to start the church but also we've learned a lot about who we are as individuals and as a married couple. It has not always been easy......but often beautiful things do not come from the easy route or a 10% effort.

Things that show beauty are things that had to push their way up through the dirt, that were pushed in pain and strenuous effort into life and often things that require a lot of sacrifice to continue to grow. Worth the effort?
Yes! A million times yes-the beauty God give us is always worth the effort...but-hello, it's effort.
And I miss my momma! and sisters and baby bro.
And my dad with his sweet cigar smell and golf stories....and all our friends....and seeing where Mr. Gill and I had our first date/dance/run/picnic....all of those beautiful things. :)

I miss Indiana.

But we are headed back to visit in just a couple of weeks! So....I'll be good to go for another 10 months ;)

Its kind of surprising the things you miss when you are gone for a while? What are the things you notice yourself missing when you aren't with your family? Or in the place you grew up?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Betsy's Granola Bars

Hey Guys!
Today I'm going to post my first tutorial.

**I Know so exciting!!**

My friend Betsy gave me this recipe a couple of days ago and I'm trying to convince her that she should totally start a blog because she's SUPER informative about food and....don't tell anyone but blogging is pretty easy.
So if you like this, make sure you comment below so Betsy can see how great her recipe is so she'll start her own blog!!

Ok-here we go.

Homemade Granola Bars

So pretty right? And super easy.

Preheat your oven to 325*.
You start with 2 cups of oats. Measure them out and throw 'em in a big bowl because we're going to mix everything together in one spot.

Add 3/4 C of Flour to the bowl.

And 1/4 C wheat germ and and handful of ground Flaxseed. The flaxseed is totally optional though, but-hey we're trying to be healthy-ish here, why not?

Then add 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder (I didn't have any I used 1 tsp of powder and I think it was fine). Isn't the measuring spoon pretty? My little sister got me those for my birthday!

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C Honey, which will come out of the measuring cup better if you spray it w/nonstick spray me.

1/2 C Chocolate Chips

1/2 C Peanut butter (which I didn't have. I looked everywhere-so I added more honey and a splash of maple syrup instead).

1/3 C Dried Fruit. I used tart cherries and golden raisins.

Handful of nuts. I used chopped almonds. (I let Mr. Gill pick the nuts out since I'm mostly making these for him to take to work on the days I don't have a lunch packed for him......which is almost everyday.)

Mix it all up and smoosh it into a 9x13 pan. I lined it w/parchment paper to get it out easier.

Bake @ 325* for about 20 minutes. Let it cool completely and then lift it out of the pan by the parchment paper and cut into desired size bars!

Doesn't it look wonderful? And *somewhat* healthy? No transfat included folks!

You could totally customize this w/whatever mix-ins you wanted. Shredded coconut and dried mango? Mmmm :)

Here's the recipe

2c oats
3/4 c flour
1/4 bc wheat germ
some ground flaxseed (optional)
1/2 tsp b. soda
1/2 tsp b. powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-3/4 c honey
1/3 c choc chips
1/2 c peanut butter
1/3 c raisins (i use golden)
nuts (optional)

Smoosh into 9x13 pan and bake @ 325* for 20 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reasons To Smile

The beginning of September has been a busy one for Mr. Gill and I.
We've started to take on some new responsibilities with the church and are branching out into some new ideas as well.....but I just want to share a few photos of things that make me smile here in Boise.

These are cowboy boots (they may or may not be plastic) that I picked up at the Free Store. Maybe it's being in the West that makes cowboy boots that much more appealing but-when I saw these beauties @ the Free Store when my sister in law Steph and I stopped in...I just couldn't leave them there.
The Free Store is a shed here in our neighborhood that people bring stuff that they would normally take to Goodwill and people can shop. You don't have to bring something to take something...and there are people that volunteer to keep it organized.
Reason #72 why I love where we live.

This picture is not so much about the gelato (although is was the BEST RASPBERRY Store bought gelato ever thank you very much) it's about the ADORABLE ramekins.
I got them at Winco....which is pretty much like the West's answer to Aldi's.
I love them and I bought 6, two of each color....yellow, orange and red. I can just think of a hundred things to do with them, and maybe 3 don't involve baking :)

This photo is all about the food. It's my new favorite snack. Regular plain greek yogurt (Thank you Laura for introducing Mr. Gill and I to the wonders of Greek Yogurt) w/a drizzle of honey.
So good and creamy and tart and sweet all at the same time.
And one spoonful = portion control......right;)

And Last but not least....

Mr. "I'll sleep when I'm Dead" Gill!

That quote is what he says to me all the time when I mention being tired or wanting a nap. I just couldn't pass up a chance to catch him in the rare act of snoozing during the day time....hehehe.
He did though, bring home those flowers for no reason at all. And I actually love that he can take a nap.....because then I can either lie down and take one too OR get some serious stuff done around the house!
Hope you had a great weekend friends!