Sunday, September 21, 2014

Going the Distance

I did something I never thought I'd do this evening. I ran 9.16 miles. I am sore and tired, but so thankful I accomplished such a (for me) far distance. I run my 15k in just 2 weeks. And, God willing, I will finish it!

Before I ran, I checked out some good blogs to help me do my best. To see what I read, click here. After getting some positive mental reinforcement, I ate a banana, drank a lot of water and had some chia seeds. It helped me go the distance for sure! (That and prayer for my survival.)

Dave and the girls were a huge help to me on my jog tonight! They brought me water 3 times, and had a "survival pack" of facial tissues, chap-stick and tootsie rolls. The tissues were such a blessing half way through! But, the cheering and encouragement were the best. (I'm so thankful for them.)

And now, I'm ready to sleep! Running is exhausting, and my toes and feet hurt...and so does every other muscle in my body. --Please let me know if you have any good running tips. I'd love to hear them before my big race!

Thanks so much for reading my post this evening. Love yas, Amber

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homemade Applesauce

Take 3 pounds of apples, peel and core them. Put them in the crock pot with 1/2 a cup of water. Cook for 6 hours, and you get something that looks like this:
Pulse in the blender until applesauce-y consistency.
Yummy Applesauce!
Then put the applesauce in a jar or container.
Re-purposed Applesauce Jar
Done.

This makes for the best applesauce ever! It actually tastes like apple cider. It's so delicious, and so unprocessed. Let me know if you try it out!

Blessings, Amber

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pumpkin Day and Chia Seeds

I made pumpkin muffins yesterday! They were delicious with dinner and a delicious breakfast this morning. If you'd like the recipe, you can get it by going to an earlier post of mine here.

Do you ever have days where your energy stream seems to keep up with at least part of your to-do list? Those days are awesome (and exhausting)! and I had one of those days yesterday. Yesterday I did a list of home chores, decorated my home for fall, hung some pictures, finished my homemade applesauce, ran errands, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and made pumpkin muffins!! (And now, my house is almost as messy as it was before I started cleaning yesterday. Ha.)

Yummy Batter! (Can't resist it.)

They're Delicious!!
(Here's the weird, re-purposing tip for the day.) And what do I attribute all this energy to yesterday? Chia seeds! (Thanks Aubrey for getting me started on this!) I started drinking them in the morning! I get up, put a half a teaspoon of them in some water and drink it down. And it really has given me energy! Coffee certainly doesn't keep me feeling like the energizer bunny. I love the taste, but....

(See the blue muffin tin? Those are mine. They have chia seeds in them. If I would have thought of it sooner, I would have thrown seeds in the whole batch. Good and good for you! Shhhh. Don't tell my kids.)

Today, I was productive in other ways. I finished putting out some fall decorations, jogged for 30 minutes, took care of kiddos....this list doesn't sound as impressive, but at least I did it all with a boost of energy from drinking my morning seeds! Who'da thunk?

Thanks for coming by today! I hope you have had a pumpkiny day! -Amber



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Belated Blog Birthday


Hello all! Dave had a monumental birthday 3 days ago. He turned 35! And, his request for his birthday was to relax. I guess I got a little too used to relaxing myself because I haven't been on here in a few days. 

Anywho, I wanted to share some pictures and videos from our relaxed day with all.
"Graveyard Cake"
 I'm so mean.
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate/Peanut Butter Glaze
The cake was super delicious! Lydia thought it was a batch of brownies. But, it actually wasn't. 

Here we are singing Happy Birthday. Julia was manning the camera. I wish we would have gotten some footage of my littles singing to Dave. Oh well.


And, here is one more video of Saige being a stinker. I asked her to sing and dance again to the song we were all singing together at dinner. She gave me this instead.


Thank you for coming by my blog today!

Love, Amber

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dorm Lighting

Julia and Lydia read every night before they go to sleep. The only tricky thing about that has to do with the fact that Lydia and Julia share bunk beds. Lyd is on the bottom bunk and J is on the top one. When Lyd is trying to read at night, her bunk is really dark and it's so hard to see that she usually asks to sit in Julia's bunk with her. Of course this causes commotion and undue stress amongst my girls. So, dorm lighting was my solution.

Dormly Lit

I Added Flowers
 I added flowers to make my girls love me more. It totally worked.

My girls loved the additional lighting to their rooms. And I'm so glad they can read separately, and hopefully with a lot less squabbling. Let me know what you think!

Thanks for checking in! -Amber


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Word for Neighborly Conduct

I have moved so many times, I've lost count. When I was about to enter college, I counted that I'd moved 20 times. Since Dave and I have been married, we've also moved several times. When we lived in Bartlesville, we moved 4 times. Out of the 4.75 years we lived in Houston, Dave and I moved 4 times. Since we've been married we've lived in 3 different states. Before I got married, I lived in 7 different states. And, with Dave's job being the way it is, there is a possibility that we may move again in the next 5-8 years. And, can I tell you something? Moving is still really, really hard. It's hard even if you like were you are moving to, and it's almost excruciatingly painful if you are moving away from family or loved ones. Moving makes you miss weird stuff, like grocery stores and particular ice cream shops. And it really, really makes you miss family, friends and the close relationships you've had with them. And it can make you very timid or shy. I'm not make this stuff up. (Don't believe me? Ask the dishes.)

It's funny when I meet a new person, and they find out I am new to the area, they always ask where I am from. This is a weird question for someone who moved their whole lives. My answer usually goes something like this: "Ummm...Houston, kinda; Dave and I met in Bartlesville. I lived there the longest. I also lived in Anchorage. But I lived in Kansas twice too. Topeka-ish? No, really Oklahoma. I think." (Their response: "Wha? Where's Battlersville? Are your parents in the Army?)

Every time I've moved, whether it was across the country, or across a large city, there was a new culture to learn. Every moving experience has always been exciting and frightening. Getting to know new people is always the hardest. It's uncomfortable to start up a relationship with someone when you can't really tell them you don't like the town they call home. Or that you think they seem nice, but that you really just miss living by your mom and dad, and it kinda hurts to talk about it.

Moving also forces you to ask yourself basic questions like: Where do people get their groceries? What are the elementary schools like? How far is that from our church? How will we connect with a new church body? Will my talents and God-given gifts be accepted at our new church, or will there already be a ministry fulfilling that role? If there is, will they allow me to use my gifts too? What kind of house will we live in? How will people view our family? Will people visit us if we live here? Are the neighbors welcoming, or are they the type of people who keep to themselves? ---People, questions like these and moving can make a person really, really LONELY.--- 

You wanna know something I realized today? As I was texting with a friend who just moved from North Dakota to Mississippi, I realized that there aren't really many ministries out there for people who move frequently. Sometimes you get lucky, and you move to a great place, like North Dakota, and the people are really welcoming. But for the most part, this doesn't happen. Usually people continue on with their previously established relationships and allow new people to sit on the sidelines. And for a new person, the separation (that comes from people not including you) feels tangible. The wonderful people who have ministered to me the most in times of relocation are the people who have invited me and my family into their homes while understanding some shyness on my part. As well as some of our neighbors who brought us goodies. (Advice Alert: Even though including a new person into your conversations, neighborhood or home can be a bit awkward, it's important that you and I do just that anyway.)

(And, unless you are moving due to a vocation in ministry, there aren't a lot of ministries that people who move a lot can take part in either. It takes so long to allow people to see your heart and allow you to start doing ministry with them. (We had just been blessed with the opportunity to teach in a Sunday School class for the last 6 months that we lived in Houston.) Maybe God will lead me to write a Bible Study for people who take a similar path to the "40-year roaming Israelites" and apply it their own crazy lives.)

I wrote this post today in reflection of some emotions from going through a move recently myself, and hurting for a friend who is going through one too. And, I wanted to encourage those of you who might read my blog:

Go invite someone you don't know well to lunch! Take your new neighbors a cookie...or a salad. Try to think what it would be like to be them. If you know someone who moved away, text them. Call them. Write them a letter. Check in on them. Let others know you are praying for them. Because they are probably hurting. (Especially if they are a mom.) Be a blessing to someone today. 

Lord knows I pray that I can be one too. -Amber

Monday, September 8, 2014

Garden Update

So, I haven't had the opportunity to write about my garden lately. It's still doing well! I actually made some really yummy salsa this weekend from ingredients I got from my garden and bountiful baskets. I got to share the goodness with my neighbors.  (My sharing made Dave a little sad. And we are already almost out of salsa.) Fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, onion, garlic, a bit of sugar, salt, pepper, a bit of cumin and chili powder: YUM! (Don't worry about Dave, I will make him some more.)

Nonetheless, the thing in my garden that has me a tad stumped would be my brussel sprouts. Have you ever seen those things grow? It's actually pretty neat. I don't know, though, if I'm supposed to cut the whole plant off at the roots, or just pick one brussel sprout at a time. (I have 8 total brussel plants.) I know I've seen them in the grocery store, sold all attached to each other. But I don't know if that's the correct way to harvest them. (I have to figure this out soon because we may have our first freeze this week. High of 81 degrees F today. High of 51 degrees F tomorrow.)
The Brussel's Underbelly

The Top
 Please don't mind the weeds in the background of the above picture. They love my garden. Also, something has been eating the leaves of my brussel plants, but thankfully not the veggie. I don't think the actual leaves matter that much.
Lookin' Good
 These little morsels are gonna taste delish sauteed with some olive oil, bacon and apples. Deliciously fall goodness.....
Looking Down From the Top
 And just because,
Saigie Swinging Amongst Our Yard of Weeds

Dave just finished half of our sprinkler system this weekend, and it is now too late in the season to seed our grass. So it looks like next spring will be our first opportunity. Saige and my other two girls don't seem to mind a bit. :)

Happy (soon to be) Fall Y'all! -Amber

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Weather Forecast Says...

I have been holding myself off in putting out fall decorations. Even though the other morning the air was so crisp and cool that it felt like fall to me already. Just the feel of that gloriously cool morning, and my heart leaped right into my throat. (I am just so excited for Fall, y'all!) I've tried, really tried, to heed the warning of the people up North when they tell me fall and winter are great but that cold gets OLD really fast. And I believe them, but I can't put away my excitement for pumpkin scented and flavored everything, falling leaves, hues of brown and gold, and deliciously hot soups and ciders. (Because we lived in Houston for 5 years, it sorta feels like I've been waiting for this to happen at least that long!)

On the other hand, I am also thankful for days like today, when the sun is shining, and the temperature is a beautiful 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Because today was so nice and beautifully warm, I was reminded of these pictures I took from our home just this week:

Truly Beautiful!

Taken from Our Deck

More of the Same: Pretty and Pink


A Shot From the Front
After looking at these pics, though,  I decided to see what the weather would be like the next few days. And the next few days are supposed to be the same nice and warm as well...until next Wednesday. And, I am not even kidding, there is a chance of SNOW in the forecast!! Maybe I'll stop holding myself back on the fall decorations this week. (Yay!!)

Love, Amber

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Door Re-purposing (Part 2) and Devil's Tower

Hello again! How are you all of you? I haven't been posting much lately because I haven't been feeling super awesome. I think I am struggling with allergies because whatever I have keeps coming and going through the day. (And, since someone will wonder or ask...I'm 99% sure I'm not expecting. Only God knows for absolute sure....)
But, despite that, I have been doing some re-purposing that I have been wanting to share with you all for a while now.
Right before our last trip, I had a sweet group of friends over to my house. The same day our guests came was the same day that I finished painting the doors I mentioned in a blog post a few weeks ago. (To see that post, click here.) When I first started these doors, I still felt there was a good possibility we would be doing school at home this year. And even though that isn't the plan any longer, I still decided to go ahead and set the doors up like this:
Right Side Door
 The doors are in front of two little desks that I thought the girls might use for school. I thought it would work well to put the doors there because they are magnetic, and the girls can put artwork or school work on the doors. Right now, the doors are pretty bare, but I'm sure we'll have some good stuff on there soon.
Left Side Door
 I think the doors will also help fill in the empty wall space we have on either side of the T.V.
View of Our Downstairs Living Area
I think the doors look pretty good there, and will look better with some fun additions. Now we're another step closer to getting settled. Yay!

Also, I mentioned "our last trip" in an above paragraph. On that trip, we planned that on the way back, we would use our time wisely and go see a wonderful National Monument. It was hardly out of the way, and it was a great learning experience for our girls. I loved it too, as I'd never seen it! Dave loved telling the girls about when he got to see it with his family as a kid. Here are few pictures from that adventure:
Devil's Tower and 3 Little Stinkers

Always Posing!
 Saige looks half asleep in both of the above shots...
Climbing Rocks with Dad
 Saige wasn't very happy when her Daddy made her hold his hand on the big rocks. But, after watching Saige slip multiple times and almost have some pretty horrible wipe-outs, I was so thankful Dave made her hold on!

 Did you know that Devil's Tower is located in WY near the towns of Hulett and Sundance? Did you know that there is neat place to camp at the base of the monument with shops, a pool and a playground? Did you know that Devil's Tower is 5112' above sea level? I didn't either....until I went there.


From a Distance...
Devil's Tower is a really, really neat place to visit. On the way to the tower, I started thinking maybe it was a bit silly to go out of our way to see a huge rock, but once we got closer, I knew that deciding to go would be very rewarding. We hope to go again on another trip to or from the Denver area!

Thanks for reading!! Love, Amber


Friday, August 29, 2014

A Wedding Barn = Re-purposing

My cousin, Jamie and her husband have a barn behind their house. However, this big red barn isn't used for animals. It's used for weddings and wedding receptions. Say what? It's true. It's equipped with sweetly rustic restrooms, a kitchen area, and a large reception area. I can just imagine tulle and Christmas lights draped all over the place in this barn.Or maybe just a thousand daisies. Or wildflowers peeking out of every corner! Any way you wanna decorate it, it is the quintessential rustic wedding barn, and I'm glad I got to see it and that I get to share it with you!

 I wish I would have gotten some better pics of the barn, but I couldn't fit my nice big camera in my teeny tiny personal bag. Please enjoy the iPhone pics I got regardless...

Downstairs Reception Area
If you think that's nice, wait til you see this:
The Upstairs Ceremony Room
 The light flow in this place slays me! It makes for a beautifully hazy, gloriously lit picture.

The Back of the Ceremony Room
 Light just floods in beautifully.
Another Angle of The Arch

Hangin' in the Barn
 In the above pic my Aunt Barb (Jamie's mom) is on the left, and my mom is in the middle. They look like twins, but they aren't. Then there's my cutie pie niece, Madelyn and my sis, Aubrey.

Me and Momma in the Barn
 I don't get many pictures with Mom. So I'm glad I asked Aubrey to steal this one.
"Proud to be an American!"
This barn will only get more spectacular as they continue to work on it! I am totally convinced of that. And to be honest, I am very jealous that
a) I didn't think of the idea first,
b) that it's not behind my house, and
c) that the landscaping right outside of the barn looks like this:

A Spectacular Spot for Outdoor Wedding Day Photography
 So, if you plan to get married in a town East of St.Louis, and would love a beautifully rustic barn wedding, let me know! I've got the best of connections for ya! (Junk Gypsies, my cousin has you beat on this one.)

Much love, Amber

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Birthday

Despite all the craziness of my grandpa's passing last week, I still had an incredible birthday on Sunday. My wonderful husband, sister and brother-in-law surprised me with a little family party on Saturday night and a date night with my hubby in Fort Collins, Colorado on Sunday night. I found my new favorite shop while we were there, and I also ate a delicious dinner at the Melting Pot with Dave.

In addition to those happenings, on Sunday morning, I also ran the farthest I've ever run. I huffed and puffed in the thin Wyoming air while my sister danced around like 7 miles is equal to a flight of stairs. Nevertheless, it was great and I am so thankful that I am capable to run such a distance. (Please pray for me. The 15k happens on October 5th. Yikes!)

Saturday Night Festivities
We had grilled chicken and veggies for my birthday dinner. How did my people know that I like that sort of thing?

Blowing Out the Candles

Yay for Cake!
 Dave had this cake made just for me. It was butterfinger flavored. Yum! I know that my sis had a hand in the cake planning too! Thanks Sis!
Flattering....I Know.
 Sunday Night Pics:

Remember I said I found a shop I loved? It is called The Perennial Gardener. Dave was on the phone while I perused through it until it was closing. When Dave came in to see the few small items I purchased, I gushed about how much I loved the store and I told him, "I could spend thousands in here!" Dave's reply was typical, "Well, good thing it's closing then!"
Chandelier I Loved

Hanging Metal Things from The Ceiling = Pretty.
 On our walk to the restaurant, I fell in love with this old world alley:

Pictures just don't do the store or these gorgeous alley flowers justice!

My Handsome Date

Looking Forward to Our Dinner Goodies!
Dave and I got the four-course meal. It was SO good and delicious! (I think my stomach is still mad me for eating all that cheese!)
Meat and Veggies Bubbling Away!

Mmmmm...Chocolate Covered Strawberries




 Thank you so much to my family who put all of these festivities together. --Aubrey also bought some super cute earrings for my birthday, and Dave gave me some super sweet gifts on Sunday after I regained consciousness from my run. He got me a bird feeder deck extender thing, a new cd and the beautiful black rain jacket that I fell in love with when we vacationed in Maine. Isn't that so sweet?

Anywho, I have to get to bed. These pictures reminded me that I have leftover cake in the fridge, and if I don't sleep now, that over-sized slice will be gone by morning! G'night! -Amber

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Goodbye

 My sister and I got to go to the St. Louis area the past two days to spend time with family due to my grandfather Leonard Niggli's passing on Monday. It was such a wonderful excuse to see extended family, even though it was a very sad occasion. I took a bunch of pictures for your viewing pleasure. Please enjoy:

Me and my Cousin Jamie's Youngest Sweetie, Laney Mae
Aubrey, Madelyn and Grandpa Gene

Grandpa Gene Daiber took us for a ride on the Kubota to see his fishing ponds while we were in his neck of the woods. I have a date with my fishing pole and that pond next time we go!

The Place Where my Grandpa Niggli Was Buried

Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Niggli's Gravestone
Grandpa Niggli's gravestone hasn't been added yet. I plan to visit the graveyard at another time though and get a picture of Granpda Leonard Niggli's gravestone.
The Graveyard
 After visiting my Grandpa's grave sight with my parents, sister, and neice, we all went to see my cousin Jamie's house and barn. I loved driving around learning more about the history and heritage of my family. I bet you didn't know that the Niggli name is Swiss. I still have very extended family that owns the Mohr Niggli winery in Switzerland! (Visiting this winery is on my bucket list!)

After all that, we went to my cousin's house and barn. I included some pictures below:

My Cousin Jamie's Barn (downstairs)
 The above shot is of the downstairs of the barn. There is a reason why I am sharing this with you. I will tell you more about it soon!

The Amazing Upstairs Barn
 Isn't it gorgeous the way the sunshine spills through the barn slats? I just love it!

 I loved spending time with family! We had a huge party of people at Mazzio's Pizza.

My Cousin Kristin and Mom Visiting

Aunt Carla and Cousin Hayden

Aubrey and Grandma Daiber at Grandma's House
Baby Madelyn


Madelyn was gracious enough to eat some ice cream with me as an early birthday celebration kick-off for me. Isn't that sweet of her? She's so excited I'm turning 32.

This trip was a wonderful whirlwind. I am so thankful I got the opportunity to go! I love and miss all of my family dearly. Thankfully when we going again, it will be under happier circumstances. 

Flying Home
This is what the three of us did on the plane ride home. I wish I could sleep easily like my lil' sis.

With such a full end of this week, I am exhausted! May you all have a wonderful weekend! I will get back on here soon!

Love, Amber