Sweet, Sweet Summertime!

Guys, I freaking heart summer.... HARD! I don't know if it's because I was born in July (9 days until I turn 30!) or I am cold all of the time or that I find there are so many much fun outdoor things to do during the summer, but regardless, summer is just my favorite. That may or may not be why I have been somewhat MIA so my apologies for that. So what have I been up to? Well, let me share some of my activities with you thus far this summer. 

 June started with a yoga challenge. I have been trying to incorporate yoga into my routine at home now that I no longer have my hot yoga membership. I chose the gym membership over the hot membership due to the significant cost difference plus I missed the pool and spinning. So, finding a space and time in my house to do yoga regularly has become challenging because well, my animals like to try to join. BUT yoga helps me chill and not care so much that my dog has her arm over my arm while I chill in savasana. It's actually really comforting because I know it just means she loves me!
 Plus I have been cooking and meal planning a lot using Happy Herbivore's meal plans. They are delicious and always different and super easy to make. She also comes from a place of overeating and food addictions, which is super helpful for me. She has a member forum, which is like a support group, which helps since I don't personally know any other person who eats like I do for the reasons I do. This meal is Potato Rancheros Breakfast Tacos, which is baked potato, refried beans, and salsa in a corn tortilla. Super simple and delicious. 
 Lunch on the patio! I love our picnic table on the patio, which has excellent views of our enormous perennial garden and you can hear all the birds chirping in the apple tree next door. This meal is sweet potato enchiladas and kombucha! 
My hubby made a bunch of birdhouses with license plates from Idaho, Utah, and Montana, and then nailed them to our shed in a heart shape. So far only one has a family in them but maybe there will be more next summer!

 Kitty and I have been taking strolls along the greenbelt down by Riverside. This portion of the greenbelt seems to have a few less people (which is good to avoid other dogs) and also has easy access to the river. If the temperature if over 75 Kitty does not do well. The river allows her to cool off, keep her feet from burning, plus the girl loves to play fetch in water. She hates fetch on land... she just does not get the appeal. But if you throw a stick into the water she goes gang busters! 
 More delicious food! Spiced potatoes with kale (from our garden!) with a special sauce on top. 
 Blueberry GF muffins. Again from Happy Herbivore's cookbooks.
 Fresh strawberries from the garden. This one was our biggest one yet! 
 More yoga. PLUS our new hardwood floors, courtesy of Tyler from May. It lightens it up in our living room plus is so much cleaner than carpet when you have 1 dog and 3 cats, who shed like crazy. 
 Pickles from when Tyler and mommy sweetums canned pickles. Plus a beet black bean burger that is super delicious. And I normally do not like beets. My philosophy with all plants is to just keep trying the ones that I think are questionable. As of now, I only dislike grapefruit. I will eat all other plants. Sometimes I feel like my food choices are limited compared to others. But then I think about the folks who don't like this vegetable or this fruit and think, ya know, the concept of picky eaters is all relative. I don't know anyone who isn't picky. Even those I know who try just about everything, they might not enjoy spicy foods. Anyway, just an observation I've had. 
 This guy got in a cat fight! His nickname is now "Scarface" which suits him. He is definitely a great hunter but at the end of the day he is one of the most cuddly kitties I know. He is snuggling my foot now as I type this. A week later Kitty also got in a fight, but with a dog, a chow to be exact. I should have not walked in the dog park, but I thought the dogs were far enough away. Two dogs ended up getting close enough that Kitty lunged (she is on a leash while the others are not). The chow then immediately attacked and had Kitty's WHOLE head in its mouth. She left quite the puncture wound in the top of her head. Kitty is fine (after I had to drain the wound and apply hydrogen peroxide and triple antibiotic ointment on it twice a day for a few days) but it was pretty dramatic. The chow owner felt really bad so I do not harbor any ill feelings towards anyone.

I will say the only bad feelings I have is for the general media/public/society that only seems to call out pit bulls as ferocious dogs. Yes, they can be ferocious, but what about the other breeds like chows, dobermans, and German shepherds? Or truly ANY dog who feels a need to protect itself? It just makes me sad that pit bulls are the ones who have the worst rep when they are not the only dogs who can have a tendency to be violent. It's discrimination and it makes me frustrated.  

 We also did the Dirty Dash for a 3rd time! My mom joined this time as well as my cousin, Amber, which was really fun! It was a little disorganized and the location was not as cool as Bogus Basin, but we still got muddy and got in some exercise. It was a blast spending the afternoon with my fit family!

 Father's Day! We celebrated by going to Jurassic World and then dinner at On the Border. It was a fun afternoon with the family and a great day to thank my dad for all that he does.

 Lemon Blueberry oatmeal... Delish!

 Homemade Kombucha that we are selling by the growler! If you are interested contact Tyler or me.

 5 and a half years ago, when I bought this house and moved in, my sister and I painted the living room "raspberry" or pink or red, depending on the person's opinion who commented on these walls. Tyler and I decided it was time for a change and decided to make it a little brighter in our living room. 

 So we put primer all over the pink, plus primer in the new color, and still had to do 2 coats. So, 3 coats including primer total was put on the raspberry wall, which led to...

 THIS! A gorgeous tangerine color that Tyler and I love! He also painted our oak fireplace white, making the orange pop even more. 

*Disclaimer: This is  NOT BSU orange, nor is the blue on our front door and garage BSU blue. I am an alumnus, yes, and I enjoy watching the games, but we are not a "BSU household". We just don't like sports that much. I got a great education at BSU and am proud of my city and college but I am not a die hard fan. Tyler would just like to say, "Go Sports"

 Our living room all put back together after a month of disarray between the floor make over and then the walls. I am in love! 

 And a comparison shot

 Then we ventured to Tyler's homeland of Montana for the 4th of July. Tyler's parents and grandparents have cabins outside of Polson, Montana on Flathead Lake. 

Sunset on the Lake from the dock. Whenever I get there I have to book it to the dock and put my feet in the water. This year the water was actually sort of warm, which is crazy because the lake can be 300 ft deep in some spots and comes from Glacier. The temps have been in the 90's early this summer so the lake was warmer than normal. For me this was great news as the water was comfortable! I spent way more time in it this year than in years' past. 
 The boat house with the boat, R n' R

 Genevieve with her two cousins floating off Wild Horse

 Cynthia and Daniel chatting with Brady, their nephew

 On the left the fish Tyler caught 3 years ago. On the right the fish Tyler caught this year. Quite a difference! He is pretty stoked about this year's catch! 

In addition to the photos shown, we have been enjoying tending to our garden and spending time with friends. We have had a few BBQs, an outdoor movie night with the Gables, a trip to McCall for the night, and other fun things to enjoy the warm summer evenings. Our garden is continuing to grow and giving us so much produce, we can hardly keep up! Next year Tyler and I are planning on putting in garden boxes for the whole front yard. I am tired of watering grass when I could put that water to better use. Tyler and I love planting, pruning, harvesting, and canning. The food just TASTES better when you grew it from seed! 

The last thing I want to share is a couple of tricks I have learned and been using over the last few weeks in order to have delicious food ready fast. This photo here is from this morning's breakfast. It's potato, chickpeas, and kale scramble with salsa and hot sauce. I also used the following spices: turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. It turned out great! What was even better is the potato was already cooked and the beans were not from a can.

  I tested out putting a bunch of potatoes in a crockpot to cook instead of using the oven. You put a few fork holes in each potato, cover it in foil, and load them in the crockpot. Put the settings on low and cook for 8 hours. The potatoes come out perfect! Then take off the foil and put in the fridge in an open container and voila! Ready made potatoes for the week. I bought a 5lb bag of potatoes for 98 cents this weekend! Super cheap and very filling. My new favorite thing is to top my potato with yellow mustard. Don't knock it 'til you try it! 

 As for the beans, I buy dry beans (they are between $1-2) and I soak them in water for 4 hours. Then I throw them in my pressure cooker on the stove for less than 10 minutes and I have soft beans! You get way more for your dollar this way versus canned plus you avoid sticking your beans in a BPA lined aluminum can. These a pretty easy tricks and I encourage you to give them a try!

I hope you all are having a terrific summer! 

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