November 3, 2013

Dealing with Allergies

For the past several months we have been dealing with a couple of allergies that Zoie has come up with.

The first is MILK. 
Easy enough to avoid. 
She can eat dairy products, but can't drink plain milk. 
We have experimented with all different kinds; raw, organic, homogenized...
You name it, she has tried it. 
Same reaction every time.
Horrible tummy ache and diarrhea for days, followed by blisters covering her bottom area. 
So sad. Breaks my heart. 
So... we avoid milk. Which is easy and she loves Almond Milk.
Crisis Averted!

Her second allergies is APPLES.
Not so easy to avoid.  
Apples are in everything!
They are a cheap, easy to grow, natural sweetener.
We do a pretty good job avoiding the obvious; apples, apple juice, and apple sauce.
The not so obvious we tend to struggle with.

I read all the labels.
I thoroughly check all sweet products that may or may not have apples in it or may be sweetened with apple juice. Apple as a sweetener is in everything from fruit snacks, to most juice drinks. 

My big issues came a couple weeks ago when Zoie ate a Twizzlers.
I read the label. Nothing.
She ate 4 of them. They are my favorite and we shared a pack at the movies.
The next day. 

So I called the Hershey Company, who makes Twizzlers.
They did a little research and got back to me with this:

There is no direct way of knowing whether or not apples are used in their product. They receive their sweetener from a company that makes "Artificial Sweetener". That company is only required to list the top 4 allergens in the ingredients list of their product. Which does not include apples. The other ingredients are not revealed to them.

My daughter had an allergic reaction to on of their products!
The only thing I want from them is knowledge. And they can't offer me anything to help.

So here I sit... wondering what I can and can't give my daughter to eat. She loves food. She will try anything I give her.... but how am I supposed to know what is safe when the company that makes the product doesn't even know what they put in it??

November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween yesterday!
We had such a great day.

First - A Throwback to last year. Zoie's first Halloween last year.
With her big sister Ry dressed as a Fairy.

It started off running errands in town.
(Got Costco done before the 1st. Yay me!)
Followed that with a long nap for Zoie.
Finished off by an amazing night of Pizza and Zoie Trick or Treating!

It was perfect!
Zoie had SO MUCH FUN!
And by the end of the evening she was even saying, "Trick or Treat!"
In the beginning when they opened the door she would say.
"Hi! Candy Mease!"

So Cute.
About a month ago she couldn't stop talking about Charlotte's Web. 
So she dressed up as Charlotte and I decorated her pumpkin as Wilbur.

I am not kidding you ... every single adult we passed on the street had to stop and say "Hi" to her. 
People were randomly handing her their candy. Someone even gave her their WSU glow stick! It was hilarious and she was taking it all in. It's like they'd never seen a baby dressed as a spider before.

Not to brag or anything... but we made One Cute Kid!

Checking out her loot!

Hope you all had a perfect Halloween!

October 17, 2013

Clean Eating - Granola Bars

I am loving this clean eating thing!
Who needs processed foods anyway?!?!

Yesterday I was CRAVING granola bars.
I LOVE LOVE granola and granola bars.

When I was a kid, my dad would buy these amazing granola bars at Costco. They were covered in chocolate which made them more like a candy bar than a granola bar and made by some no-name company that probably isn't even around any more.
Does anyone else remember these? They were in a black or dark brown wrapper?

yesterday for some unknown reason, I was thinking about those granola bars.
So I jumped online and started looking for Clean Granola Bar recipes.

I couldn't find anything that sounded really good.
So I decided to make my own. I took a little of several recipes I found online.
They didn't turn out too bad... quite tasty in fact.

Here are my:
Extra Nutty Coconut and Cran-Strawberry Granola Bars

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Chopped Almonds
1/2 cup Peanuts
1 cup Coconut
1 cup Dried Cran-Strawberrys 
(I found these at Win-co in the bulk section, but regular dried cranberries will work too.)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Then Boil (stirring occassionally) in a small saucepan:
1 cup Organic Brown Rice Syrup
1/4 cup Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla

This stuff is fairly expensive. We only have one store in all of Spokane that carries it. It doesn't taste great on it's own, but once mixed with the honey and vanilla it is de-lish!

Once liquid has boiled, pour over dry ingredients.
Stir together until well mixed,
Pour into a 9x13 greased pan. (I used a light coating of coconut oil.)

Press firmly using waxed or parchment paper. It'll still be quite warm.
Let cool in fridge or freezer for a couple hours.
Cut into bars. You can choose the size. The bigger I cut them the more flimsy they became when room temperature. So I kept mine small.

They turned out really sticky, so storing them in the fridge would be a good idea.

With mine, because I was really wanting chocolate. I melted some dark chocolate chips and dipped the ends in it and let cool again. Then individually wrapped in wax paper for storage. 

They turned out SO good!


October 15, 2013

Apple/Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins

It is definitely fall here in the Pacific Northwest.
And for me, that means all things comfort.
Comfort food.
Comfort dessert.
Comfy Socks and sweats.
Comfy blankies on the couch with my loves and a good movie.

I LOVE Fall!
Fall also brings pumpkins.
I love all things pumpkin. 
We are planning a trip to our local orchard area, Greenbluff, on Friday to pick out the perfect pumpkin. I can't wait. So until then, I am tiding myself over with some pumpkin muffins.

Since we recently decided to go 'clean' with our eating here in this house, I went on the search for some yummy pumpkin recipes. 

I found a perfect recipe for Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins over at The Gracious Pantry.

They are De-Licious!

Although, I used chunky applesauce (since that was all I had), mine turned out to be more of a Apple/Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffin than just a Pumpkin Spice Muffin. I also used just plain Whole Wheat Flour instead of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, so they were a little dense. But I like that!

At any rate.
They are good!
You should make some!

You can find the recipe HERE.

Next I'm going to try her recipe for a Clean Pumpkin Coffee Creamer!
Bring It!!


October 14, 2013

Potty Training Progress...

We are still working on Potty Training over here.
Let's just say, it's a work in progress.
She likes the idea of going on the potty like a big girl.
But she's been very forgetful and doesn't like us asking her anymore if/when she has to go.

If there's one thing I have learned, it's that 
My Kid Likes to be Naked!

(Please don't take offense at the naked bum shots!)

Lately, Zoie seems to enjoy sleeping in the nude.
So every day at nap time, as soon as I leave the room, 
she strips down to nothing and goes right to sleep.

The nude sleeping is fine.
I have no problem with it.
She sleeps hot like I do, more power to her.
We could be our own personal heating blankets.
It's ridiculous.

The problem lies with the fact that she can't hold her potty when she is sleeping.
She's been doing okay during the day.
But when she is sleeping, its not good at all.
So every afternoon (cause she doesn't do it at night),
I go in,
and cringe at the current mess.
(Thankfully she hasn't pooped yet! Good Lord, could you imagine!)

She must really like sleeping in fresh sheets every night.

Needless to say,
potty training is still a work in progress!
And we're definitely working!

This is totally posed cause a pic of her actually going potty is just gross!


October 2, 2013

My Crazy Week

My week has been crazy so far... and it's only Wednesday.
I feel like I am always telling you guys how crazy things are and how busy I am.

Wonder if life will ever slow down?
Prob not.
Zach's Grandma used to tell us that life will go faster and faster every year.
Boy was she right!

My current to do list is a full legal sheet long.

So I'm going to get back at it.

Tomorrow I am going to show you all about how I redid my room!
Here is a sneak. Excuse the poor quality phone pic.

The lighting is really bad... but you can kinda get an idea.

It's amazing and I am so excited that it is almost done.
Feels like sleeping in a hotel.
Except the mattress and pillows are better. Wink Wink

Have a happy hump day!


September 27, 2013

Traveling to Montana

Headed to Northern Montana yesterday. It is gorgeous here. Beautiful, snow topped mountains and long, winding rivers overlooked by cloud spotted blue skies. 

It is gorgeous and yet I can't help but feel such a pang of resentment for why I travel here. I can't fully appreciate its beauty. 

You see, a month ago, my step daughter moved to Montana to live with her mom. Her mom made the move here in June and after spending the summer at our home in Washington, Ryleigh went to be with her mom. 

We didn't want her to go and wish every day that she was closer but at the time there was nothing we could do. The decision was made, the move happened, and now we have a long distance relationship with her. 

Every month her school has a three day weekend. Those weekends she will spend with us along with major holiday breaks and summer vacation. 

So now we are headed to this beautiful country that I can't help but look at with a twinge of anger. Maybe some day I will let it go if the anger and resentment and see this place for the beauty it is. But until then, it's just okay.

September 22, 2013

Halloween BOO! Skirt

Happy First Day of Fall, Ya'll!!

I am ready for Halloween!
There, I said it!

I am done with summer and ready for fall.
I am ready to pick apples
and drink pumpkin spice lattes
and pick the perfect pumpkins for my porch
and watch the kids play soccer
and go on a hay ride at the orchard.

Seriously People, I have never been more ready for Fall!

With Fall comes Halloween.
With Halloween comes CUTE Halloween clothes.

I made this adorable Halloween skirt for Zoie and couldn't wait to show it off.

The Chasing Zoie Halloween Boo Skirt
Available now on the website for only $15!

For the next week, to get us ready for fall and in the Halloween spirit,
I am giving you a coupon code for $5 off!
It's only good until Saturday the 28th!

Use coupon code HALLOW5
You can find it on the website, HERE

Happy Fall, Ya'll!


September 19, 2013

Potty Training

We've started it.
The dreaded potty training.
I've known it's been coming and I think that is why I've dreaded it.

Every part of this parenting thing has been a huge blessing.
The only thing about it I have not looked forward to; well except the teenage attitude of course, is potty training.

I'm not really big on cleaning up potty from my living room carpet.

While we were on vacation Zoie did a pretty good job at Nana's. Went in the potty several times on her little toilet. But since we got home on Sunday afternoon, things haven't exactly gone to plan.

The last couple days have been good. She's only had one accident and quickly ran to the bath saying, "pee pee potty, pee pee potty." It was so cute I couldn't help but laugh.

I really could use some help at this point.
I want to do it right.
I think I'll get some more books to read on it today.

If any one has ANY advise for me ... I am READY for it!


September 18, 2013

It's Wednesday?? Right?!?

Good Morning Friends!
We've been getting back in gear and trying to get settled after our weeks vacation away.

Zach and I went on an Alaska Cruise!
With no kids...
It was heaven!!

(Forgive the poor quality of the phone pic.)

I have a lot to share about our trip and the amazing things we saw. 
However, we are SO disorganized right now I can't even find my camera card. It's a lot of work getting caught up with all of these businesses we have going. 

Going away is a HUGE blessing.
Returning home is a HUGE stress.
(I'm sure some of you can relate)

On another note:
I recently made some ADORABLE reversible dresses for the cutie girls over at The Foley Fam!
These girls are Packer Fans if I ever saw them.
Green and Gold!
Go Pack!!

Please contact me for your custom reversible dress!


August 29, 2013

Getting Fit

Three weeks ago, my bestie and I decided to get fit!
We even created a blog for ourselves to keep track of what we are up to and our progress. Just for us!

I finally got off my butt and got in a little exercise.
When I say, "A Little", I mean, "A little".

I'm not SO lazy, I've just been swamped the last couple weeks.
 Finishing up summer break with Ryleigh.
Creating dresses and skirts for the website.
Meeting with my friend and web designer for some much needed counseling and business input.
Sewing... a lot of sewing. Can't wait to share what I've got coming out for Christmas.
Yes, I'm thinking about Christmas already.

Back to getting off my behind and getting in a little exercise.

Zach took off for work early this morning and after listening to the dog whine after hearing the truck leave her behind, I decided to take Zoie and Zive (the dog) for a walk.

Walking down our road with a stroller this time of year, isn't exactly easy.
It is the best example of a washboard dirt road I've seen in a LONG time. Pushing the stroller down the road is a challenge all in itself. But Zoie LOVES it. Which I can tell from the, "More Mama" screams.

At the end of our road, there is a cemetery on one side, and a field with goats and a llama on the other side. The cemetery, which in the evening is a bit scary, during the morning hours was somewhat peaceful. beautiful actually. I found myself thinking of people there. The beautiful stone that were chosen by loved ones to remember family and friends. The stories of all the lives there, wishing I could have a conversation with someone from the late 1800's and hear about their life in our area. Wishing I knew their history.

The llama, who normally runs to greet us on our journey, wasn't in the big field today. That didn't stop Zoie from yelling Hello to him. The horses down the road remind me to call someone about getting Zoie some riding lessons. She loves horses and I hope that is something that she will like to learn about.

Can you see him? Hiding in the distance.

At the end,
we only made it a little over a mile. I would have liked to go further, but at the end of the road was a dog that didn't take to kindly to Ziva. So we were forced to turn around.

Recorded with the MapMyRun app.

Hopefully, we can go further tomorrow. I need to keep this up if I'm ever going to be a #fitmom.


August 16, 2013

Preschool and Planes

I've been reading a lot of blog posts about pre-school lately, or school in general.
It seems to be a popular topic this time of year.
The time when mama's all over the blog-o-sphere start writing about back to school shopping and preparing to get back into the swing of the fall routine.

Crazy to think we're already nearing fall.
Even crazier to think that Zoie is old enough to even start thinking about preschool at all.

These last two years have flown by!
She's going to be 2! 

So... Back to subject.
Zach and I have been talking A LOT about sending Zoie to preschool this year. She isn't quite two yet, so it might be a bit early. Our thoughts though, are that she could really use the socialization aspect of it. I don't want to send her to daycare. I want to send her to a place where she will learn something and maybe make a few friends.

Don't get me wrong, we teach her every day. She is always learning something.
But, it's kind of hard to get Zoie to play with kids her age.
She is very independent.

We have older kids in our house. She loves playing with my niece, Maci, but she is 7. With Maci, Zoie does more following than playing together. It's hard with that big of an age gap.

Most of my friends have older kids as well. When she is around kids her own age, she tends to sit by herself and read or play quietly. It was really cute the first time, but now it sorta breaks my heart a little. I want her to run and play and have fun with kids her own age and own size.  

Preschool is Cool!!
Now I just need to find one in our area.

What are your thoughts on preschool and what age do you think kids should start?

On another subject

Zoie went to her first movie in a theater the other day!
My mom and I took her to see Disney's Planes.

It was super cute and Zoie did a great job.

She sat in her seat with her popcorn and Twizzlers and watched almost the whole thing. She got a little restless near the end of the film, but overall she behaved and did much better than I thought she would.

Hope you all are having a great summer!
We sure are, can't wait to fill you in on everything we have done.

August 12, 2013

I'm Ba-ack...

I was only going to take a break for a month. Then the time away kept getting longer and my thoughts on blogging and topics of what to blog/share further onto the back burner. Today I sit here (by the pool mind you) and I have about a gazillion topics and ideas running through my mind. 

I am supposed to be relaxing. Well, I guess I've had the last two months for relaxing and it's time to get back on the gravy train. 

I'll give you a more detailed explanation as to my absence as soon as I can figure out how to put it in words that won't upset or anger anyone. I'm still gettin there. The wounds are still fresh (so to speak) and I'm not sure I can explain without portraying the anger and betrayal that is still so fresh in my mind and heart. 

So for today I'm just going to sit here and enjoy the view of my girls swimming and having a blast thanks so much in part to my dear friend, Suzanne, for letting us borrow her pool. 

Happy Monday Friends!
It's good to be back!!

June 10, 2013

A Little Announcement...

Good Morning Friends!

It is with great weight on my heart that I have to place my blog on hold for a while.
Don't worry! Not long!
Just a month or so...

We have some incredibly stressful things going on in our little family that I need to deal with.
Things that should be handled with my whole heart and full attention.

I love you and appreciate you all for reading.
I will be back soon!
With my whole heart,
And A LOT to share!

You can continue to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Don't forget to check out the website, Chasing Zoie!
We have some adorable new handmade dresses. 
You HAVE to check them out!
PERFECT for 4th of July!


May 30, 2013

Growing Girl

I think my girl is growing!
To say "It's About Time" is a complete and total #Understatement!

This kiddo has weighed in at barely 20 pounds since she was 8 months old.
While she continues to grow taller, she just gets thinner and thinner.

#Iwish #Ifonlyitworkedthatwayforme

Over the last two days, Zoie has slept anywhere from 12 to 14 hours at night.
Taken 4 hour naps.

Eaten 3 helpings of spaghetti in one sitting.

Ate a whole PBJ by herself.

Finished 2 packets of instant oatmeal.
#Seriously #whohastimefortherealstuff

And ate a HUGE plate of taco filling.

And that doesn't count all of her other meals and snacks!
Normally this kid eats like a bird.
A bite here...
A bite there...

We were starting to wonder how she was surviving??
But a few days ago a switch flipped.
And now she is our big eater.

I haven't weighed her because our scale is broken.
Which honestly doesn't hurt my feelings AT ALL.

But I know she's growing.
She'll be 25 pounds in no time.

19 Months old next week!


May 29, 2013

A Cling-On and a Car Chase

Good Wednesday Morning!

I forgot it was Wednesday! Thank goodness for calendar reminders cause I would have forgotten a lot this morning. Always something to do.

So last night, Zach and I made it away from the house, without children!
It was great... sort of.

Poor Zoie started crying as soon as Sarah (Our wonderful neighbor and babysitter) walked in the house. Zoie usually LOVES Sarah. 
It was heartbreaking to leave her behind. 

Zach and I don't usually leave any of the kids a lot. For the last ten years, I can probably count on two hands the number of times we've left the kids with a babysitter. You're probably saying, "What??" I know, I know... But when we only had the big kids for weekends, why would we leave them with a sitter. It's always been important for us to spend time with our kids. Isn't that why we have them? To be a family? Together?

Don't get me wrong... I am ALL FOR a Mommy and Daddy night out!
Just not all the time.

So last night, we really wanted to see a movie.
It's been months since we went to a movie... alone... without kids.
Needless to say, Zoie was not thrilled with being left behind.

Zoie started crying and poor Sarah hasn't dealt with that side of her before.  She screamed for Mama. She screamed for Dada. She screamed
 and screamed 
and screamed.

And I became that mom! 
You know the one. The lady in the theater with the cell phone tucked under her coat. Texting and not watching the movie we just paid $11.50 for.
I hate that lady!
Not my proudest moment.
This time, it was me texting.
Ignoring my giant cup of Diet Strawberry Fanta.
Ignoring my Reeces Pieces.
Ignoring the movie.

I know.

Poor Zoie...
Dinner didn't work.
The bath didn't work.
But finally,
after about 45 minutes and 1/2 of the move, the texting stopped as Sarah took Zoie outside for a walk with Ziva.  

And then it started up again.
She locked herself out of the house!
Don't be alarmed... It's easy to do!
We have one of those door knobs that still turns on the inside, even when it's locked on the outside. In fact, locking herself out of our house is how my mother met Sarah in the first place.

In this instance, Sarah was lucky that Ari, my step daughter, was only a mile away and able to come to her rescue.
And we were able to catch the end of the movie without any further interruption.

I have come to realize though, that we have entered that stage of Zoie's life.
A little thing I like to call, the "Cling-On" stage.
All of you moms should know exactly what this is. The time in a toddlers life where your little one wants everything to do with you and nothing to do with anyone else. 

How do/did you deal with your "Cling-on"? 

As for the movie:
Not Bad!
Not the best of the franchise.
Pretty sure Michelle Rodriguez has had work done.
Irritating when they don't look the same...

Can't wait for the next one!
You know there will be a next one!


May 28, 2013

Memorial Weekend 2013

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend!
Did you get your 'Thanks' in where they were needed?

We spent a lovely weekend with the girls and my niece, Maci, camping in Montana.
Well, I don't know if any of you would call it 'real' camping?!?
We camped in a trailer... In an RV park... With wifi and cable tv... 
Pathetic ... I know.

Well, not completely pathetic. We still do all our cooking and eating outside.I just like having a real bathroom and a shower only steps away from our camp site. 
And I like sleeping in a bed and not on the ground :)

This weekend we ventured over to Flathead Lake in Montana.
If any of you have not been here; it is BEAUTIFUL country.

Here are a few pics of our family and some things we saw.

Two Bull Buffalo (Bison) 
or Tatonka (If you ask my husband who is obsessed with Kevin Costner films)

Baby Buffalo
Mama was not far away from this little one.

Views from the TOP of the Bison Range.

Views of the Kerr Dam

The Kerr Dam separates Flathead Lake from the Flathead River.

Our family, before we conquered the 354 steps down to the viewing point.
*It wasn't as hard as people made it sound coming back up (wink)

View of Flathead Lake from Highway 93 on the drive into Polson, MT.

Some ranchers were moving their herd from one field to another.
Something you don't see very often these days.
Very Cool! 

Well, that was our trip in a nutshell.
The rest of our time was spent eating ice cream, swimming, riding bikes, and relaxing.
Couldn't have been a more perfect weekend.