Monday, September 15, 2014

Crazy (Awesome) Summer: Miece and Papa

A few days after we returned from Canada Belle's Miece and Papa came for a visit! Miece and Papa (yes, they have regular names) are my sister's in-laws and have become what I call my "bonus-in-laws." They love Belle as if she was their own biological grandchild  and boy did she fall in love with them during their visit. They don't have to be grandparents to her, they choose to be, which makes their relationship even more special to me. 

They arrived in the morning so we headed straight to Seattle for lunch and a walk around Pike Place Market. As soon as we got home Belle got straight to playing and giggling with her Miece and Papa. She kept grabbing Papa's hand and walking him around the house which was very surprising to me. Belle is usually very leery of new men and it takes her a while to really warm up to them....Papa was quite the exception. 

We took a day trip out to Crystal Mountain, no hiking this time, and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful views on an amazing day. 

The rest of their visit was filled with excursions to Olympia, Steilacoom, the park, American Lake, and outings in search of delicious food. Papa had a LOT of tea with Belle, there were many books read, and giggling. Oh boy was there giggling. Belle would follow Papa upstairs and I would hear endless giggles from upstairs for what seemed like hours. It was incredible how quickly she became attached to them. Anytime we were out somewhere she wanted to hold one of their hands, eat whatever they had, you name it. The days following their departure it was visible that Belle was missing their presence. I will never really be able to express my gratitude to them for assuming a grandparent role for my child. After my mother died, the fact that my children would only have one set of grandparents made my heart ache. I desperately wanted them to have two sets like most children...and because of Miece and Papa, they will. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

She Loves Him

When The LT returned from his 10 weeks at Yakima Belle wanted nothing to do with him. She didn't want to be held by him or even be near him for the first few days. It probably took a good week and a half before I could even leave them in a room together without her starting to get upset. It was irritating for me on a personal level because I desperately needed some me time after such a long time just Belle and I. On the flip side, it broke my heart to see how uncomfortable she was around him and how it hurt him as well. After about a month she was comfortable enough with him for me to be able to run errands and leave them at home together. By the time The LT was prepping to go to NTC you could really tell she loved him and was comforted by him and his presence. She got excited when he walked in the door and was so joyful when he played with her. Then he left again....

I was so so worried that upon his return we would be starting the cycle all over again. There was about 2 minutes of her trying to figure out what was going on the day we picked him up after NTC and then it was like they had never been apart. The last few months I see so many of these amazing daddy-daughter moments. You can see how much she loves him which is a direct reflection of how much he loves her. I try to catch them on camera whenever I can so I figured I'd share some of them here. Enjoy the sweetness. 

She wanted him to pick her up but wouldn't let him until she had her favorite things, to include her bunny and baby doll.

I don't remember why but this particular morning I didn't head downstairs right away so The LT got her up and watched cartoons with her while I was upstairs.

She imitates his posture and mannerisms all the time. It's stinking adorable.

She doesn't like to be confined in any way but she let him snuggle like this while watching cartoons in our bed early one morning.

The way she's looking at him says it all.

They stayed like this for several minutes which is practically an eternity in Belle cuddling. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Homemade with House 6: Greek Seasoning

Growing up in my house Cavender's Greek Seasoning was the go to seasoning for pretty much everything. Chicken, beef, pork, veggies, fish, and pretty much anything savory. My favorites growing up were baked chicken with it and steamed green beans with a little butter and Cavender's. 

After we moved to Washington I figured there had to be a way for me to make it myself. Save some money as well as get rid of the MSG...a discovery in my favorite seasoning that made me a little sad. It took me a few tries to get it just right but I think I've got a pretty good mix now. 

WARNING: Once you start using this mix you will want to put it on everything.

Caitlin's All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • 1 T Crushed Black Pepper
  • 4T Salt
  • 2T Onion Powder
  • 2T Garlic Powder
  • 2T Oregano
*Just place all ingredients in a bowl or jar and mix! It's that simple!

I keep ours in a 12oz mason jar with a re-purposed Parmesan cheese container top so I can just shake it out on to whatever I'm cooking. If you use a 12 oz jar, a doubled recipe will almost fill your jar. Put your jar in your spice cabinet and you will always have some on hand when you need it!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crazy (Awesome) Summer: Canada

One of our bucket list items for living in Washington was making a road trip up to British Columbia, Canada. The LT had never been to Canada and I had only been to Ontario (we lived there for a year when I was younger) and Eastern Canada. The LT had block leave in August so we figured it was a good time to make a trip. 

We rented a two bedroom vacation condo in Whistler. Having the condo worked out incredibly since it allowed Belle to have her own bedroom and we also had a kitchen to make some of our meals in. Where we stayed was within a five minute walk of the upper village and about  15 minute walk from the main Whistler village. Aside from one rainy afternoon we had perfect weather. The worst part about the trip was that Belle was having a rough time with teething. We had a few nights where she was up a lot and several 5 AM wake-ups. Overall it was restful in the sense that we were away from home, work, chores, etc. but exhausting since Belle was having a rough few days. 

The drive North went great. We stopped North of Seattle for lunch and a pit stop at the Lululemon outlet where I scored a few things for half price. We stopped again in Vancouver to stretch our legs and get a snack. Belle watched Frozen on the iPad which allowed us to drive a little further than we would have been able to otherwise.

One day we took the short drive out the the Whistler Olympic Park. Even without all the snow it was beautiful. The LT got to shoot on the Biathlon range...he was like a kid in a candy store when he found out he could do some shooting. 

There was lots of lounging and snuggling. A little swimming. Overall, just a lot of good ol' fashioned family time. Oh, and that picture in the you a good idea of the amount of junk we brought with us. 

We did a lot of walking and exploring of the Whistler village. Every day we walked down for at least two meals and saw new things each time we ventured out. 

Lots of yummy food was eaten...and very few pictures of it taken because we were hungry and forgot about those sorts of things. There were also lots of adorable toddler mealtime shenanigans.

Then it was time to drive home...which took FOR-EV-ER. It took us an hour to get through the border crossing. Then, we had to deal with no less than 5 accidents from North Seattle to JBLM. Thank goodness we have the iPad with movies on it because I don't think we would have made it home with our sanity otherwise.

Luckily we were able to stop at a Sonic on the way for lunch. Belle was to in to her special drink (water in a Sonic cup) and tots to look at me for a picture. Oh, and the pic in the center is probably my favorite shot from the whole trip. 


...well at least for this installment of Crazy (Awesome) Summer

Friday, September 5, 2014

Life Right Now

The last few weeks have been incredible and exhausting. We've had some awesome excursions and visits from family along with exciting life events for friends of ours. So here's a bit of what's bullet form because it's late and I'm lazy.
  • A fabulous friend of mine just got engaged! She asked me to be a bridesmaid and Belle to be a flower girl! Can't wait to celebrate with her and her beau next summer. Speaking of her beau...I finally got to meet him when they came up to Seattle for a short get away. Couldn't be happier for them!
  • Friends of ours from TCU (the husband was in ROTC with The LT) who were also at Ft. Sill with us, just welcomed their baby girl! She's beautiful and I'm looking forward to stalking the new mama on Instagram for baby photos.
  • A friend of mine from TCU (we were in all our Kinesiology classes together) also welcomed her baby girl to the world. Sweet little thing decided to come over a month early but both she and mama are doing great.
  • OTHER friends of ours from TCU (Dual military through ROTC) just announced they are expecting! 
  • We are finally starting to make headway on getting The LT's CCC (Captain's Career Course) dates nailed down. CCC will be back at Ft. Sill and we are very much looking forward to being down south again. Purely out of superstition I refuse to put any details here because I don't want to test our luck.
  • Pending above CCC date confirmation we may be making a super fun trip this winter. Can. Not. Wait. To. Book. Tickets. Again...superstition, so you'll just have to wait to find out. 
  • A friend of mine from here at Fort Lewis has a baby boy due any day now and I can't wait to meet him! Every time my phone buzzes I hope that its her telling me she's at the hospital in labor. 
  • I am determined to get back in to shape before we leave Washington and (more importantly) before I get pregnant again. No, not pregnant. No, not trying to get pregnant just yet. I have reserved hourly care for Belle every Wednesday for the next 4 weeks because there is a ballet class in Tacoma from 10-11 am on Wednesday mornings. This is also my motivation to do more at home work-outs in preparation so I don't completely die/make a fool of myself in ballet class. Hourly care will be good for Belle too as it will give her some socialization with other kiddos and adults.
  • I'm finally back at a good and healthy weight for me. I lost way too much weight after Belle was born and WAY too quickly. Between stress and exhaustion from having and infant, what I now realize was postpartum depression, and some other things I had a really rough time getting back to a healthy weight. All my clothes fit like they should again which is an amazing feeling which also fuels my motivation to get my fitness level up to where it should be. 
  • I ordered an Erin Condren planner for myself as an early birthday present and I am IN LOVE with it. I already feel infinitely more organized and my mind is more at ease these days because of it. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

House 6 Creations: End of Summer Sale

Y''s time....time for a SALE over at House 6 Creations!!!!!

I've got some stock that's been hanging around the office for long enough...I'm tired of looking at it and ready to make room for new things on the shelves. This End of Summer Sale is from now until....well, there is nothing left in the sale album! GET. YOUR. STUFF. NOW. Stock up on baby gifts or get that one thing you've been eyeing for a steal of a deal because a lot of it is marked down by 50%. That's right, FIFTY PERCENT...half off...HALF!! There's wet bags, whales, snack bags, sandwich bags, carseat canopies....all on sale!!! 

So, go NOW and check out the sale album. Then share it with all your friends. And while you are at it share House 6 Creations with all your friends and make sure they like the page so that they can stay up to date on all the H6C news! OH! And don't forget about H6C's new Etsy shop...check that out and like it too!!!

On a less-enthusiastic-about-my-sale note...I promise to get back to regular blogging ASAP. I've been uploading an ungodly amount of pictures from our adventures of the last 3 weeks. Like seriously...holy pictures Batman! Fingers crossed blog posts will be written over the next few days for your reading pleasure starting next week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Homemade with House 6: Biscuit Mix (Dairy Free)

For the longest time I was a HUGE fan of Pioneer Baking Mix for biscuits. I still think it's tasty but most (if not all) breakfast mixes contain some sort of dairy which made them all no-go's for Belle. Also, they can get expensive if you use them on a regular basis. I figured there had to be a way to make some sort of dairy free biscuit mix and save money in the process. Pancakes and waffles weren't hard to make dairy free for me since I used old recipes of my mom's that just meant switching cow's milk for something else. Biscuits were hard...all the good recipes scratch recipes use buttermilk and I wanted something that just required the addition of liquids when I wanted to make biscuits. 

As per usual, I took to the web (namely Pintrest) and found this Bisquick copy cat mix! She breaks down all the costs and how to make pancakes from the mix. Here's the proportions for biscuits:

-2 1/4 cups mix
-2/3 cup milk of choice

*Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Serve with goat cheese and honey or jam if dairy free or butter if you aren't. I usually get 7-8 biscuits per recipe. 

That's it! I use goat's milk since Belle can't have cow's milk products and they taste exactly the same. You can use whatever type of milk you prefer....almond, coconut, soy, cow, goat, whatever your heart desires!

I love how simple it is to make this mix and how few ingredients it takes. All you need is:

- 5lb bag of flour
- Sugar
- Salt
- Baking powder
- Shortening

You will also need a large bowl or pot to mix it in and something to store it in. I use a 1 gallon jar but you can use ziplock bags or whatever you have on hand. Check out the original instructions at Fake it Frugal 

I keep the instructions on the lid so I never have to think about it and if anyone else makes them they don't either.

This, plus a large something to mix it in, is all you need! Seriously!

I usually put half the flour in the pot, the salt, sugar, and baking powder. Then one stick of Crisco cut up followed by the rest of the flour and the second stick of Crisco. Now get to mixing...I would love to be able to tell you that you can use your mixer or something but you're going to have to dig those hands in and do it the old fashioned way. Just keep mixing until all the Crisco is incorporated and it has a crumbled texture. You don't want any big chunks of Crisco in your mix so just keep working it until it looks and feels right.

Once it's all mixed grab a scoop and get it in that jar of yours. I PROMISE it will fit in this 1 gallon jar but you may have to pack down those last few scoops to get it all in.


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