wordless wednesday :: in full bloom

cherry blossoms. sweet, gentle, delicate little things - letting us know that spring is here.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


wordless wednesday :: my baby forever

this is my baby.  my baby who is walking and talking and getting more independent each day.


i'm ready and not ready for this transition from baby to toddler.  okay, who am i kidding? she's already in full blown toddlerhood.  i'm just in denial.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


get cultured: homemade fermented salsa

i have so many thoughts in my head that i long to post on here and share, but i haven't had much time or energy lately to just sit and commit.  do you know what i mean?

so, i'm going to write about homemade salsa.

and this is not just any old salsa, friends.  this is living salsa.  it's ALIVE.  full of beneficial bacteria for your little gut with each bite.

before i go on, you may wonder why i'm making such a big deal about salsa.  and what's up with this whole beneficial bacteria thing?

well, just recently (like maybe 2-3 years now) we began on an eating journey more in line with a traditional diet.  this alone deserves a separate blog post, so i'm not going to go into much detail on how we got to where we're at today in our eating adventures, but i will say i have been learning a lot.

one thing i have been learning more about is fermented foods, and i have been fascinated with the science and research cropping up about the gut health and its relation to fermented food consumption. this post has a lot of great information and provides an excellent explanation of gut health (with links to research studies if you are a geek like me and like to read them).  and now over here, at this post,  you can read more on the history and benefits of consuming fermented foods (beyond just cultured yogurt).

and thanks to those articles, i now can skip having to explain why i'm making such a fuss over this salsa and share with you my experience.

i admit the fermented salsa has not been my first adventure in fermenting food.  the very first cultured food prodcut i ever made was homemade yogurt. that was fun, but the process is a bit more complicated than lacto-fermenting veggies.  so i branched out and tried my hand at making lacto-fermented cucumbers.  those were yummy, and the kids totally ate it up.  and then there was the lacto-fermented cabbage (a.k.a. sauerkraut).  it didn't taste like what i thought it would be...it was surprisingly good, and i'm not a cabbage fan at all.

ok, back to the salsa.  it's super easy, and a great first-timer recipe, especially if you're not quite used to eating many fermented foods.  this recipe is based on a combination of two.  the first is my husbands, and the second is one from the nourishing traditions cookbook.

adapted from the Nourishing Tradtions cookbook

4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 small onions (i used 1 medium), finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (you can use less, but we LOVE garlic)
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
juice of 1 lime
4 teaspoons of coarse, unrefined sea salt
*optional spice* 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl. Spoon into a 1 quart wide-mouthed mason jar. Press down lightly with a wooden meat mallet.  I don't own a wooden meat mallet so I used a wooden cocktail muddler, kind of like this one. Keep gently pressing down the veggies until the liquid covers all the veggies.  Be sure to leave 1 inch of room from the top of the jar, you don't want to fill it up to the top. Cover tightly and let the jar sit at room temperature for 2 days before moving it into the fridge.

it's delicious, and hard to believe that it's been fermented.  even my husband will eat this, and he's still quite shy about eating all of my fermented veggie experiments.

:: 36/12 ::

my dearest baby cash,

wait...can i even call you baby anymore?  you turned three today, so really you're not a baby anymore are you?  i know you'd rather be called a big boy.  especially now that you're in REAL underwear.

but i want you to stay my baby. remember when you were a baby?  that first time i met you, with that sweet newborn smell...oh man, how could i forget that?  i loved all the snuggles, and having you close to me pretty much all the time. 

you are such a sweet and precious boy.  you wear your heart on your sleeve, and aren't afraid to show us how you really feel. ever.

you hold your own with the rest of the "pack," and i think the time when emma and gibson can pretty much tell you what to do will soon come to an end.  and that's okay.  i love seeing you grow and discover who you are as your own person.
you are loving at heart, whether it's smothering your baby sister with affection or wanting to be cradled in my arms (still! and i'm totally cool with that, by the way).  to be quite honest, i kind of like the times when you sneak into our bed in the middle of the night, even though sometimes it means feet in my face or a random hand smooshing my nose.  it just reminds me of those baby times when i would have you close by. 

you know that mommy and daddy LOVE you so much.  SO MUCH.  i hope that your year as a three year old will be full of adventure, joy, exploration and growth. 

we love you sweet boy, and are so thankful you are a part of our family. happy birthday!
love you forever,


wordless wednesday :: wee babies

 these are our two littlest. only 18 months apart.

they are growing so fast, yet sometimes i still see them as my wee, little babies.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


remembering the man that had a dream

for the past few years, i've tried to plan a little something on martin luther king, jr. day.  since we homeschool, we really don't get a day off for this holiday, so we could easily let the day pass by without even bringing it up.

but i feel it's important for my kids to know who he was.  the man with a dream.  a dream that made such a great impact in our country.

i always have grand plans for activities we can do together...after the fact. but simpler does end up being better, and i'm glad i didn't make things too complicated.

we watched three videos together.  the first one was a brief kid-version synopsis of dr. king's life.

the second was more of an audio-book type video from the book, martin's big words.

the last video was of his "i have a dream" speech.  we didn't watch the whole thing, but i think being able to see him in action made an impression.

we talked a lot about how people look different from the outside, and how God made each of us unique and special. we talked about how within our own family and among our friends there are people with different colored skin, and how we treat one another.  my favorite example that i use every year is about their daddy and his arm-covered tattoos.

i tell them that when some people see a person with lots of tattoos, they automatically think he/she is bad and/or mean.  "is that what you think of your daddy when you see him?"  i would ask.  just watching the kids' expressions, seeing how they're working it out in their minds, is amazing.  the response is always a resounding "no," with a look of shock on their faces-why would anyone think their daddy is a mean person?

our activities were simple (i got some from here).

my favorite (and i think it was the kids' favorite too) was coloring a chain of people with different colors.  i love how each of them had their own interpretation of "different colors."
i'm thankful that my children love people for who they are on the inside, not by how they look on the outside.  while i may not judge people based on the color of their skin, i think that if i'm honest with myself, i can still be quick to judge people on outside appearances in certain situations.  sometimes i wish, i was more child-like in that respect, and not so quick to pass judgement on people merely on how they look.
i'm thankful for the reminders today brings me: the privileges we enjoy today that are often taken for granted, and what it looks like to really love your neighbor as God commands me to do.

happy martin luther king, jr. day!


wordless wednesday :: digging for gold

there's buried treasure in there somewhere...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


wordless wednesday :: dusting

this past week, our friends and family in cleveland (and other places in the northeast from the sounds of it) got hit with some major snow and some seriously COLD weather. 

last month, we got a snow day, which in all honesty pales in comparison to the snow we've been used to in cleveland.  but being in an area where winter precipitation now comprises of rain instead of snow, getting A snow day, even if it was a dusting, was a treat!
and for cash, it was a tasty treat.
stay warm, cleveland!

more wordless wednesday here and here.


2013 recap

well, everybody's doing it, so i think i'm going to join in too.

a look back at 2013...

we kicked of the year with a potential job transfer for my husband, which would move us back to seattle. by march we were preparing for our big move cross-country, and in april we said good-bye to our beloved CLE.  after almost 8 years, God said it was time to go back.  back to where it all began.

as we waited for our cleveland house to sell, the kids and i made our temporary home in spokane, wa with my parents, while aaron spent his weekdays in seattle working and his weekends in spokane (about 250 miles one-way trip for him) with us.

gibson, emma, leilani and i celebrated birthdays at ibu and grandpa's house.  gibson and emma both got to pick out their very own birthday cake with ibu.  i didn't get to pick mine, but emma designed one for me, which was very sweet. and little leilani celebrated her first birthday with a yummy birthday brownie cake, which she devoured.

when daddy was back on the weekends we enjoyed being able to explore the area.  some favorites included hanging out at lake couer d'alene, strawberry picking, the carousel ride, doing the caber toss at the spokane highland games, and an afternoon at wonderland family fun center for some mini golfing. it was a funny feeling to be back in the city where i spent my high school years, but this time with a family.  kind of a weird nostalgia...if that even makes sense.

after 5 months of trying to sell our house, it was clear that God did not want that home sold.  although we had been enjoying the time exploring spokane and having our kids get to know their ibu and grandpa better, it was time to take an alternate approach with our home so that our family can be re-united again. 

within 2 weeks of deciding to rent the place, we found someone.  it was an answer to our prayers.  even though things didn't work out how we imagined it, i firmly believe it worked out the way God had planned it.  and God's plans for us, based on our past experiences, have turned out to be the best plans for us, even if it isn't always easy.

in september, we were all finally living under the same roof again.  we found a little house to rent that overlooks lake washington, and i admit that it's a pretty sweet view out there (minus the telephone lines).  what a treat to be back in seattle and living in a place with a lake view...a girl can get spoiled that way.

i think everyone was happy to finally have access to all their stuff, and be able to sleep in our own beds again.  the kids are back to their usual antics, and i think we are slowly settling in. 

we have had fun exploring the city with our kids, and being able to hang out with my sisters and brother.  there have been so many great memories made already, and i'm sure there will be more to come.

i guess 2013 gave us what we've always had every year...ups and downs.  granted some years may be tougher than others, but i think the past few years for us have been tough.  thankfully, we don't have to let the tough parts in our lives over-shadow our experience of a whole year.  each year, we can find moments of joy and happiness, and those are the ones i want to cling to.  i don't want to forget the challenging parts either, because those experiences have helped shape me into the person i am at this point in time.  BUT, the joyful moments (big and small) are the ones i will cherish and remember most: happy faces, giggles of delight, snuggles, kisses, dates with my man, the shower of blessings we received from our friends during our moving process, one step closer to becoming debt-free, baby feet, coffee, chocolates, sushi, a certain little boy that likes to join us in bed in the wee hours of the morning, family time, silly time, church, and warm socks.

so farewell, au revoir, auf widersehen, adios, and ciao 2013.  thanks for the memories, but now it's time to look ahead...

happy new year, everyone! 


merry christmas!

there is much to rejoice and be joyful for!

love and hugs from our family.  merry christmas!

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