Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 Summer Bucket List

Always so much to do in the summer, so little time! Making a list of things we want to see and do always helps to keep our focus!

We never seem to cross off everything on our lists but that's what fall or next summer is for!

Kaydin's Summer Bucket List

*Swimming at the aquatic center
*Read 10 chapter books
*Get slushies from Tropical Snow
*Go to the art center
*Go to South Dakota with Grammy and Papa
*Visit Living History Farms
*Play with friends
*Set up the sprinkler in the backyard
*Get a new snail for the fish tank
*Stay up late til midnight one night watching movies
*Make beaded jewelry
*Make new loom band creations
*Fashion show

Mollie's Summer Bucket List

*Pick wild flowers
*Visit the various farmers markets around the city
*See Pitch Perfect 2
*Make homemade fruit filled, low sugar popsicles
*Visit Washington DC
*Harvest lots of food from the garden
*Go strawberry and blueberry picking
*Buy a surplus of strawberries, blueberries and peaches for freezing and preserving
*Lots of trips to the frozen yogurt shop
*Bike the High Trestle Trail
*Can chopped tomatoes from the garden
*Go to a few garage sales
*Visit the State Fair
*Indulge in a smore's frappuchino
*Make homemade ice cream
*Trip to Ames for dinner at Hickory Park
*Attend Des Moines Arts Festival

For more inspiration for our own summer bucket list take a look at our 2014 and 2013 lists.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Hemp Seed Streusel

I had been in a breakfast rut. Nothing sounded good, I always leave myself no time to prepare anything so I was ending up eating granola bars or whatever else I could find. But nothing with enough nutrients.

I always told myself to make a batch of healthy muffins for easy grab and go breakfasts. That was the one thing, though, that always fell to the very bottom of the to-do list and was never accomplished.

Once I came across Cassie's recipe for her banana muffins, I knew that recipe was at the top of the coming weekend's list! I knew we'd love them and they looked so easy.

These muffins are SO DELICIOUS! I knew they'd be good but these were mind-blowing. Probably the best muffins I've ever made at home. And so good for you, too! The nutrient packed breakfast I had been looking for.

When I initially made these I never intended to blog about them. Afterall, I only made a few tweaks to Cassie's original recipe. The idea was all hers. I only snapped a few pics for sharing on Instagram. But when changed my grab-and-go breakfast world, I thought I'd share here too to convince you to let some bananas brown on the counter, pour a splash of Almond Breeze Almond Milk with a Hint of Honey into the batter and bake up a batch for yourself.

Cassie's original recipe called for regular milk, but when I realized I had none in the fridge I reached for the Almond Breeze. Perfect addition to the recipe! Try it!

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Hemp Seed Streusel
Adapted from Back to Her Roots

Muffin Batter
1/2 cup organic butter, melted
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
2 very brown bananas, mashed
2 heaping tsp applesauce (I used my homemade that has a small amount of brown sugar and a little cinnamon in the batch)
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup Almond Breeze almond milk with honey
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour

Streusel Topping
3 tbsp brown sugar, not packed
4 tbsp white whole wheat flour
dash nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup hemp seeds
3 tbsp organic butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup muffin tin with butter, coconut oil, or non-stick spray.
2. Mix together butter, sugar, bananas, egg, vanilla, and Almond Breeze almond milk in a large bowl.
3. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour to the wet ingredients until just combined. Don't overmix.
4. Add batter to muffin tins filling full so you get full muffins with the muffin top.
5. To make the streusel, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, hemp seeds, and butter.
6. Sprinkle streusel generously over the muffin batter.
7. Bake for about 18-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze. All opinions are my own.

What is your favorite grab and go breakfast?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Scenes from the weekend 5.22-5.25 {Memorial Weekend 2015}

Lots of fun-- and rain :( -- this weekend!

Kaydin had her last day of 2nd grade on Friday, May 22nd.

Friday was also the campus graduation picnic. 

Saturday morning I woke up super early to venture down to the market before all the crowds. I got there right before 7am and the streets were filled by 7:25! 

This was at 7:50 when I was heading home.

The rose bushes are starting to bloom!

Saturday we spent the day building garden boxes. Love them!

After a day of working, I did not feel like cooking so a snack plate was made and we called it dinner!
Later in the night we joined our neighbors outside for awhile.

Kaydin added a strawberry to make her drink fancy. 

Couldn't pass these up in the grocery store.

Sunday morning we went toad hunting in the rain. She was determined to find something and ran into this huge guy right away!

Sunday evening we headed up to mom and dad's house. Monday morning I went junkin'. Through all of dad's good stuff!

A few weeks ago my brother got some baby chicks. We had to go see them!

While Mom and I did stuff around the yard, Dad and Kaydin played catch with the football.

A hopeful trip through the grove for some morel mushrooms left us empty-handed.

We instead went asparagus hunting and found lots of loot!

Mom and Dad have lots of rogue chive bunches. This one made its way to my house to be re-potted.

Unpictured: the required trip to the Purple Cow ice cream shop in Pocahontas once that time of year hits for the seasonal shop to open its doors. :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

What to Bring for #blend2015

Only a few more days until Blend 2015!! Work has been so busy the last couple weeks I've barely had a chance to even think about it.

from Lindsay

But for the travelers that are attending for their very first time, I thought I'd throw together a short list of some things you should be sure to bring!


Well I'm not mentioning the usual things that should go in your suitcase like clothes, bras and shoes. The lovely ladies that have been planning Blend for the last year already provided us with an extensive packing list as far as clothing. I thought I'd share a few abstract things you need to make sure to bring with you!

1. Self-confidence

(from Erika)
This is huge when heading to a group get together where you may not know anyone in real life yet. This will be my 3rd Blend retreat and I was a little nervous my first year. It's normal but really not necessary at all! It's important to be yourself. I sure will be. Just take a look at my hair and notice all the gray hairs popping through. ;) I really should be getting a dye job this week before hopping on the plane, but I just really don't have the time and ya know what? It's really not needed. Big deal, I'm coming as my natural self! Just have some confidence and be yourself gray hairs and all!

2. An outgoing spirit

Photo from Katie
I'm guessing the reason you decided to attend Blend in the first place was to meet some new people. That's probably one of the main reasons most everyone attends. You can't meet new people if you don't join in the fun. I mean, I'm no trail runner but I'll still be right there on the trail hiking the darn thing and probably taking the shorter route turnaround. So don't be shy, muster up that outgoing spirit, join in the fun and strike up a conversation! Make some new friends!

And that's my packing list for you! Easy. Takes up no room at all in your suitcase! :) Let's see...did I forget anything??  Oh yeah- an extra bag for all the SWAAAAGG!  ;)

Can't wait to see all my past blends again and meet a bunch of new ones! See you all soon!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Colorado Vacation- July 2014

It's time for another travel recap! 

Last summer, Kaydin and I traveled to Boulder, Colorado, to see Tim while he was there for his Master's program. Our time was short but we saw a lot, ate some great food, got a little hiking in and had a great time! So glad to be heading back to Boulder again in just a few days, this time for Blend 2015!

On Saturday July 19th (my birthday!!) Kaydin and I headed to the airport super early to catch our direct flight that got us into Denver before 8am. Tim picked us up and we headed to find a place to eat. After reading great reviews of Sam's No. 3, that's where we ended up.

I choose the corned beef hash benedict. Something I don't usually order but it was pretty good!


After breakfast we strolled around the Larimar Square area for awhile and made a quick stop at Starbucks to cash in my free birthday drink of choice. 

Next up, we headed west to Red Rocks for some site seeing and hiking. I had seen the area and amphitheater in pictures over the years and we so excited to finally see it in person. 

The area is absolutely gorgeous! We spent a couple hours here just wandering around and taking pictures.

I wished we lived closer to this! What a great venue to exercise in and do yoga. And then of course the concerts that are always held here. Jealous!

Next on the agenda was heading to our whitewater rafting trip. We headed through the mountainous winding roads to the Clear Creek Rafting Company. We of course opted for something mild having Kaydin with us and this was a great option. Not so amateur that it was boring, still some rapids to go through but nothing dangerous or scary for a child. And plus, this venue offers a free photo CD of your trip on the water. Now I just need to locate that CD to actually upload and save the photos. ;)

After our white water adventure, we headed to our final destination of the day, Boulder. Tim had been staying on campus at the University of Colorado in the dorms for his two week stay. He showed us his temporary home and then we headed to the hotel we booked for the night. With only a twin bed and other suitemates close by, we opted for a hotel for Saturday night. Sunday and Monday night I had the pleasure of seeing Laura's home while Tim stayed on campus for his classes. 

Anyway, after showering and getting ready, Tim showed us around some of the city and we found a place to eat.

We settled on Cantina Laredo, a nice restaurant offering modern Mexican food. And delicious homemade guac! This restaurant was fun! Our food was awesome, service impeccable and prices very reasonable. 

The next morning we wandered Pearl Street while waiting for a table to open at Snooze, a popular breakfast place right on Pearl Street. From what I read and witnessed, this place is always busy with a lonnng wait. I can see why though. With locally sourced ingredients, a green and sustainable philosophy and really great food, this is a restaurant I can really get behind. Like I said, the wait was long, but we spent that time wandering the art festival that was going on and popping in and out of shops along the street. 

When it was time to eat, I stuck with the pancakes that they are so well-known for. And went with a variety pack! The top one pictured above was their special cake of the day, a savory choice. And maybe my favorite of the three. I can't remember all the deets but it was a cornmeal pancake topped with green chili, I wanna say maybe shredded corned beef (or some type of crisp shredded meat) and was so delicious. I really hope I have the opportunity to check out Snooze again on my next trip.

After our time on Pearl Street we headed out of town to see some more of the mountainous area. We opted to head north to Estes Park. I had been there in high school for our senior trip and I don't think too much had changed (at least in the downtown shopping area). We didn't have a lot of time to do too much here because of the backed up traffic so we chose one thing to spend our time on...

Inching our way up the mountain in a gondola with the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. The views were gorgeous, the weather was pretty good and the chipmunks were all around. 

At the top of the mountain you can buy peanuts to feed the chipmunks. We got pretty dang close to some of them. Kaydin loved spending her time trying to coax them near. I had fun just exploring the trails and rocks at the top.

Once we got back to Boulder it was already evening. We said goodbye to Timmy, took his vehicle and headed Laura's way. She took us to a cute little pizza shop, iPie, in Broomfield. 

And when we were done with our dinner, she took us to an even cuter (and soooo delicious!!) ice cream shop in Louisville, Sweet Cow.

In the morning, Kaydin and I headed out on a walk in a little nature preserve that was located just behind Laura's home. Kaydin was entertained by the dozens and dozens of prairie dogs that greeted us along our way.

After a shower, a drive back to Boulder and a quick lunch at Pei Wei we headed out of town to the west this time hoping to hike Boulder Falls while Tim was in class for the day. When we got to the little trailhead on the side of the road, it had been closed due to some falling rocks. Disappointing, but we were still able see lots of great sites and spend some time just enjoying nature. We drove, stopped for pics, hiked around, drove some more and on and on. 

After hours, we got back into Boulder and I had to try pretty hard to convince Kaydin to hike some more at Chautauqua. I was so interested in seeing it though since I knew that's was Blend 2015 would be held. Once again it was so beautiful, just gorgeous views. We didn't hike very far, we were both so tired and so hot. It was mid-90's that day with lots and lots of sun all day long, but I'm glad I at least saw it. The flatirons are so pretty! 

Once we were hiked-out and sick of the sun we set up shop at Starbucks right across from campus with a frap, some iced green tea and lots of ice water to wait til Tim was done with class so we could shower and head out to dinner.

We chose another Boulder favorite, one that had been featured on Diners, Drive-in's, and Dives, The Sink. They are known for their burgers and that's exactly what we all ordered. After such a strenuous day I was happy for a big, filling meal. This place is no frills, good food, and eclectic decor with signatures and autographs of all who've visited filling the walls.

Tuesday morning left Kaydin and I with a free agenda to meet Lauren for some coffee and iced tea, do some shopping at the 29th Street shopping area, get Timmy's vehicle back to him, rent a car to drive to Denver and catch our flight in the later afternoon. 

A quick but great vacation and I can't wait to do again! Tim knew I would love Boulder and he was right. It's a great city focusing on clean eats, green initiatives and a place I could easily call home if I didn't love Des Moines so much! :) I'm just glad I am returning in a few short days!

Have you ever been to Boulder?