Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chocolate Challenges & Family vaca

Chocolate is everywhere. And it is SOOOOOO good.  This is going to be harder than we thought.  On the first nights after we undertook the chocolate challenge (my new name for it, it feels more motivating when it is a challenge! I love a challenge!) we were laying in bed and all of the sudden Colin says, "Does this mean no more Dairy Queen Blizzards?!"  I honestly hadn't even thought through the fact that chocolate is in almost everything good.  From Blizzards, to cookies, to granola bars, it's everywhere. (And it's delicious I might add!) Anyway, not my smartest moment and I'm usually more thorough than this but when we originally made the commitment, I was mainly thinking of the chocolate I use to bake with, actual chocolate bars and chips but had forgotten about all the little chunks of chocolate that are hidden in most of my favorite treats.  So what are we going to do? Well, we are going to stay the course.  Without getting too crazy legalistic about it.  Our goal will still be that when we purchase chocolate or something that has chocolate in it, we will try to buy only fair trade chocolate and organic whenever possible.  HOWEVER, if there is an occasional slip up, for example, if it is really hot and you have been camping for days and you see a carton of Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato and you buy it and start eating without even thinking about where the chocolate came from.  In situations like these, we won't beat ourselves up, at least not yet.  Old habits die hard and lasting change takes a while to build.  So we will take it one step at a time.  Our main goal is going to be that if we buy it or make it it needs to be fair trade...if we happen to go to someone's house and they are serving french silk pie blizzards or our neighbors make us fresh chocolate chip cookies we won't turn them down (hint, hint, just kidding!)

On another note we had a wonderful, great, relaxing, hummmm, not sure if I can come up with the right adjective to sum up our camping trip to the Jackson Hole area.  It was wonderful to be together as a family enjoying the beautiful countryside.  It was really hard to have a sick little two year old and be living out of a camper.  It was a big reality check for us on the fact that we do have a kid with his own preferences, wants, needs and abilities and that they don't necessarily correlate with ours.  It was a lot of work.  But somehow it was still nice.  I am sure it will be one of those trips that as time goes by we forget about all the hard stuff and just remember all the good stuff.  Here are a few pics of the good stuff.

 Day one waking up sick.
 Fishing Pacific Creek.
Notice the sweet Mullet? Don't worry I gave him a hair cut yesterday...although the jury is still out on whether it looks any better. 
 Get me home to bed.
  Breakfast in the scamp, feeling a little better.
 Good thing Colin is confident in his manhood, otherwise the size of our camper might have made him feel a little insecure next to all these giants.
 There's a smile.
 Greys River Valley
 Man on a mission.  Which was actually to get back to the car and then home. It was sort of heart breaking if we weren't in the car all H would say was car, car, car, as soon as we got in the car he would say, hooooooome, hoooooome, hooooooome. But he has always been a homebody.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CHOCOLATE changes everything.

A quick update on some of the changes we feel God has been calling us to make.  Let me just start by saying it has been good. Very good.  It is so easy to for me to just get stuck on autopilot going about my routines and daily life without much thought behind my actions.  This change of routine, rethinking and new purposefulness in our daily habits (spending, waste ) has been awesome.  I think it has been more impactful for me, where I am in this stage of life (stay at home mom of a young one), in finding more than just purpose but also holiness in the little things that I do daily.  The realization that I have a chance, to use everything that God has giving me (even if it is just a few dollars for coffee or chocolate) to do something positive.

One of the areas we are looking at and trying to make changes is our food consumption.  This month we were focusing on coffee and only buying and drinking free trade coffee.  This has been pretty easy for considering we rarely make coffee at home, we have a new eating out budget which has limited my coffee dates, and there was only one place in town who didn't offer some sort of free trade coffee.  I know the ease of this change will quickly be forgotten as we embrace our next one. CHOCOLATE. I love chocolate, all shapes, all kinds and at all times of the day.  I made cookies last week and as I finished the bag of delicious dark chocolate chips, I knew this change would have to come sooner, I wasn't supposed to start until September! STOMP!  BUT I knew I couldn't go too long without chocolate.  So I started doing a little more research the cocoa industry.  Throughout this year CNN has done a pretty comprehensive report on the issue of slavery, if you have a few minutes and enjoy eating chocolate, I encourage you to read The Freedom Project.  If not, here some quick facts for you:

  • Americans eat an average of 11.64 lbs of chocolate a year. 
  • Most cocoa producers will never taste chocolate. Watch this video 
  • U.S. spends around $13 billion a year on cocoa products. Many cacao farmers live on less than $2 a day.
  • UNICEF estimates that more than 200,000 children are working in child labor in the cocoa industry, with around 15,000 of those children in slavery. Read more here.

The most enlightening thing I discovered in this research was my slavery footprint, apparently 79 slaves  work for me, I'm not exactly sure how they tabulate the score and I want to argue it because it didn't let me clarify on several things AND I don't support slavery!!! BUT apparently I do and I think that's the point. - If you do nothing else, go to this website and take the test.  Share with me your score! It will make you think about everyday products in a whole new way.

So what are we doing?  No more mass produced/big company chocolate for the Betzlers. So, to start, I ordered a 5 lb. bag of raw, organic, free trade cocoa, from Latin America (where slavery is not an issue).  For now, this was the most affordable way to buy chocolate, so this is where we are starting.  Hopefully, I will soon be able to find affordable chocolate chips because I am going to miss them. I'll keep you all updated on our chocolate finds (Choconat & Divine are two great companies - just not in our budget for regular chocolate consumption).

What is a girl to do with 5 lbs. of cocoa powder to do? Well, we started with greenish-smoothies.
 Frozen bananas, kale, cocoa powder, honey, almond milk. They were really good, I'll add more chocolate next time though :).

Supposedly, raw organic chocolate is a super food, that combined with all those greens in Hudson's never know what might happen!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A week in pictures

We are home and it feels good to be home.  BUT some homesickness is already creeping in for our Arizona home.  Lots to catch up on and not much time to write, so here are a few pictures of the Arizona good times.
Aunt Amanda and Ellie
I love this one, Ellie looks lost in thought.  Keep it up Elliott, I like a deep thinker,
especially one who knows how to have fun too!
Animal Sounds, it's a nail bitter.  You should read it if you haven't. 
Two year olds at play.
So much fun with cousin Stephan.
My little loves!
Hello, I'm perfect!
Last night with Pa and Lala :(
Cousin love.

Monday, August 13, 2012

23 months going on 16 years

It's good to be home.  Really good if you are Hudson as Prescott is the land where dreams come true.  There is nothing that this boy would rather do than sit in the front seat of my car and pretend to drive. BUT when Pa is around there is no more pretending, dreams become reality.

Don't worry they didn't go farther than the front of the house, but for Hudson that was more than enough (apparently for Pa too, it looks like having more fun than H!)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

2 years ago...

We were looking at our photos the other night and we happened to stop at August 2010.  It was so fun to take a few minutes to stop and reminiscence.  A LOT has changed in two years!  It really is unbelievable.  I often get discouraged that we are not done with the house yet, but looking back at the pictures was a good reminder for me that we have done a lot of work and have come along way!  As we were looking we realized that so many of our friends and family have wither never seen our house or only saw it before (and I know some of you were worried about me bringing a child into it! It was a mess!) so we thought we would do a quick photo tour to give an update...and hopefully convince some hesitant, long distance loves that we do live in and nice place and come see it in person!  We promise you won't have to sleep in a trailer in the drive way (still feel bad about that Jess!)
The construction pictures were all taken in August 2010, about 50 days before Hudson was due!! I didn't do a great job of photographing everything, so most of the before pictures are from when we walked through the house with a realtor (not our stuff.)  Here we go!
                                                            Walking in the front door -
The before view from the front door...
The new view from the front door.
The old kitchen...
The new kitchen (below).

We were able to re-use and refinish all the old cabinets.
Notice all the little Hudson touches?  Trucks and trains are parked all around and if you look closely there is a little blue string from Hudson's balloon in several pictures. It has been floating all around the house, sneaking in pictures and scaring me at night. 
Britt, he uses your guys in the most imaginative ways! We will come back to the sunroom.
Back to the old entry way.
The new one.
The old living room. Yes, that is a full sized stuffed grizzly bear.
The new, I think Hudson would probably prefer the bear, but oh well!
The old bathroom. AND the master carpenter who made it all possible.
The new.
Shower in progress
Shower completed!
Hudson's bedroom before.
Hudson's bedroom after.
Now for the fun part and all the real work, the addition.
The house use to end here.
But Glenn punched a hole in the wall.
And Steve helped him turn it into a beautiful addition!

Looking into the Sunroom!

The window seat I always wanted!

Colin made this sweet reading lamp from an old railroad light.
Looking back into the kitchen from Sunroom.
Again, thanks to everyone (especially this guy) who helped! We could not have done it without you! THANK YOU!
Like I said, I sometimes get discouraged because we aren't done yet! But it is a work in progress, we still have the master bedroom and bathroom to finish (the construction is done, I just need to organize and decorate) and some outside landscaping to finish up.  Here is one pic of the outside from last year, we have done lots of work since then, but I hear Hudson moving around in his bed, so my time is up!

Ohh and we figured out how to get the Scamp cushions back into their covers.  Of course, all we had to do was google it and there was a super easy but not so obvious solution.  If you need to wash some cushions but are afraid you will never get them back into their cover or if you are just board, check this out this link (fast forward to 1:26 to watch the magic) And yes, we spent all night doing this, although Colin was not quite as excited about it as the ladies in the video.