December 29, 2014

First Snow of the Year

Technically this wasn't the first snow fall of the year.
We did get a skiff about two weeks ago.
But it rained within an hour and shortly after was gone.

This last Saturday however, was the first significant snow fall of the year.
The girls had a BLAST!

And so did Ziva dog.

Especially Zoie.

Eating Snow

Making Snow Angels

Making footprints in the snow

She gets it from her dad...
who loves to drive doughnuts in the snow.
We are a snow loving family.

How do you feel about snow?

December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve.

The presents are wrapped.

The fridge is stocked.

We're tracking Santa on Norad.

The cookies are baked (read: purchased) and ready for Santa.

The Hot Buttered Rum is calling my name.

Santa has been visited, and our wishes told in secret.

Tonight we'll open our annual Christmas Eve gift of pajamas.

We'll eat our annual Christmas Eve dinner of 
Steak and Baked Potatoes.

We'll snuggle up with something warm to drink and watch White Christmas.

We're hoping for even a skiff of snow tonight.

Our Family is ready for Christmas 2014.

Merry Christmas from our big happy family to yours.

December 22, 2014

Christmas Eve Memories

When I was a kid, every year on Christmas Eve we would go to the North Pole and visit Santa.
We always waited until Christmas Eve.
Waiting was important to my parents and we learned to love the anticipation.

So on Christmas Eve we would all pile into the car and drive to Deer Park. There in the woods, on Antler Road was a beautiful set up of Santa's Village. Entering the driveway was like driving through the North Pole; lights everywhere. We'd all pile out of the car in our Sunday best and walk up the lighted pathway to Santa's Workshop.

Once inside we were greeted by Santa's Elves and led to Santa. It smelled like fresh cut wood and roaring fire with just a hint of chocolate and magic. It was wonderful. I don't remember there ever being a line. We'd all walk up and take our turn to sit on Santa's lap and excitedly tell him of our Christmas Wishes. 

Once the pictures were taken the candy canes taken we we'd be shuffled off to choose a toy. Every child that went to see Santa got a toy when they left. The hand carved wooden toys were stacked on what seemed like shelf after shelf. Choosing was always easy for the boys; rubberband pistols and rifles were their go-to gift every year. For us girls, it was always a little harder to choose. Wooden dolls, doll house accessories, trinkets, and ornaments... I do remember choosing a rubberband rifle once or twice.

After saying our goodbyes and choosing our toys, we would head back home and get ready for bed. Too excited to sleep, I would usually stay up late reading or playing in my room. I remember watching out the window to see if Santa woud fly by. Grasping at my last bit of belief that he might show himself. 

Sadly, Santa's workshop in Deer Park is no longer operating; though I have driven by there every year just to check. I will always have those precious memories to hold tight to when Christmas rolls around every year. 

I am working towards making these types of memories for my kids.
For this year, Zoie is waiting until Christmas Eve to visit Santa and the anticiation is killing her.

I love it!

December 19, 2014

Instagram: Snapshot of 2014

Do you all use Instagram?

I do! And if you want, you can follow me at ChasingZoie!!

I love posting to Instagram, I don't know why, but it seems so much more personal than Facebook. Although, most of my Instagram photos end up on my Facebook anyway.

Here are some of my pics from the last few weeks.

(Numbered Left to Right)
1. Zoie, Maci, and Ryleigh on the way to Nana's for Thanksgiving.
2. Zoie and Daddy.
3. Jocelyn doing Uncle JC's hair at Thanksgiving.
4. My handsome hubby showing off his No Shave November growth.
5. Ryleigh showing Zoie a "Silent Night"
6. Zoie making tracks in the snow with her bike... in her jammies.
7. Getting my hairs done.
8. Celebrating Ryleigh turning 15!
9. Driving back from Montana.

Have you heard of Iconosquare?
Have you gotten their email about your Snapshot?
Its amaze-balls!! 
They will create for you a video of your most liked photos from the year.
It's a beautiful way to look back.

This is my video for 2014

I encourage you to check out your 2014 video.
You won't regret it!

Have a great weekend.
I think we'll make some cookies :)
Christmas is just around the corner!

December 18, 2014

Quick Taco Soup

I was Cah-Raving Tacos last night!
But alas...
I didn't have any taco shells or tortillas. 

That never happens!
We are a bulk buying family.

Chicken Torilla Soup?
Nope! No thawed chicken.


Taco Seaoning?

My pantry always has a costco box of diced tomotoes, black beans, and every kind of stock or broth you can think of.

Taco Soup ... just improvise a little.

Here is my tutorial on a super quick Taco Soup.

I started by browning about a pound of hamburger with a diced yellow onion.

Then drained a can of corn and a can of black beans.

Once the hamburger is fully cooked; drain the fat then add in the corn and beans.
Followed by two cans of diced tomatos and can of Diced Green Chilis.

(I didn't have any diced green chilis on hand so I substituted a can of Rotel for one of the cans of diced tomotoes and a can of Chilis.)

Let that cook down for a few minutes.
Then throw in a packet of Ranch Seasoning
and a 1/4 cup of Taco Seasoning.

a box of Vegetable Stock.
(You can also use Beef Stock)

Let it cook for 30 minutes or so.
Mine looked like this.

Enjoy with a dollop of Sour Cream and/or some Shredded Cheddar.
You can also crumble and top with Tortilla Chips.

So Good.

Next time you need a quick 30 minute meal,
this is definitely one you can turn to.

Taco Soup
1 Pound Hamburger
1 Diced Yellow Onion
1 14 oz Can Corn
1 14oz Can Black Beans
2 14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1 6 oz Can Diced Green Chilis
1 Packet Ranch Seasoning
1 Packet Taco Seasoning
32 oz Box Beef or Vegetable Stock

Brown hamburger and onion in a soup pot. Drain fat. Drain corn and black beans in a strainer, then add to the cooked beef and onion. 
Stir in tomatoes, green chilis, and stock.
Stir in Ranch Seasoning and Taco Seasoning.
Add more to taste if necessary.
Let cook for 30 minutes.
Serve with topping of choice.

December 17, 2014

Looking Back to Christmas 2004

Oh my aching heart.

Our second Christmas as a family.
Way back in 2004.
The kids were so young.
We were so young. 

I still remember it as though it was just last year.

But it wasn't, it was SO long ago!

Twelve Christmas's celebrated as a family.
The thirteenth one will be celebrated this year.

I love my family.

Awe... I love looking back.


December 15, 2014

On The Road Again - Weekend in Review

We just had another weekend of traveling.
It's a wonder our home remembers who we are.
Sometimes I feel like we are away far more often than we are home. 

Good thing I like to travel.
Or that would make me sad.

This weekend we drove to Montana to spend some time with my step-daughter, Ryleigh and celebrate her 15th birthday. You can read about why we are visiting her in Montana here.

How can she be 15 already?
I honestly have no earthly idea where the time has gone. 
We celebrated by opening gifts at the hotel 
during continental breakfast.
Then had a delicious birthday dinner at
It was delicious and we stuffed ourselves.

We spend most of Saturday shopping some local shops in Kalispell while braving the unfortunate rain we encountered. It would have been lovely to have had some snow for our Northern Montana visit, but it just didn't work out. 

On Saturday, we also took the girls to see Penguins of Madagascar.
The girls really enjoyed it.

If you decide to see it this winter, all of you adults will enjoy hearing the hilarious way they use famous names in regular sentences. 
We laughed out loud! 

Sunday we made a short stop in Whitefish, Montana to walk through all of the beautiful small town shops. The view of the ski hill was absolutely gorgeous. 

Then we enjoyed a beautiful drive home.
Actually taking some time to stop and enjoy some of the view,

throw rocks in the river,

and listen to our echos off the resevoir walls by the Libby Damn.

A great weekend spent on the road with family.
I think we're well rested and ready for what Monday brings.


December 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday - December 4

It's another throwback kind of Thursday!
#ThrowbackThursday #TBT

Cathey is my Mama's best friend.
That's her handsome husband, Brian, looking on.
And my sweet Zoie, who loves Cathey as much as I do.

Cathey has been a big part of my life since I was 12.

I used to babysit her kids.
Her kids are like my younger siblings.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE her and her family!

She lives in California so we don't get to see her as much as we want.
In fact, I haven't seen her since 2012.

I need a visit!
I miss her!
I need a hug from her!

I also need a sandwich from her. 
Cathey makes THE BEST sandwiches.

I think I need to plan another road trip.
Let the planning begin.

Cathey and Brian we are coming to see you!
Hopefully sooner rather than later!


December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

This is my Grandma, Kay
She is Zoie's great grandma

And Zoie LOVES her!



November 28, 2014

November: The month of Facial Hair

Have all of you heard of this No Shave November 

or Movember? 

or NoShember?

How many have husbands or boyfriends participating?
(Insert raised hand here!)

The rules are simple, you go the entire month without shaving. Girls can even participate by refraining from shaving their legs for the entire month. 

All in the name of charity.

My husband was a little late jumping on the band wagon and didn't get started til around the 10th. But as far as I'm concerned that's still too early. 

I am not the biggest fan of facial hair. 

Don't get me wrong, I am all about raising awareness for men's prostate health, and even yesterday donated to the American Cancer Society.

You too can donate HERE!

My husband is a really handsome guy. (At least in my opinion) 
I've always had a soft spot for him. Wink Wink

At his current stage of hair growth, I'm sitting here on the fence, trying to decide if I should jump off on the 'like' or 'dislike' side. 

I really don't like the hair, but he still looks so handsome. 

More distinguished maybe? 

or maybe not?

I mean really, he keeps touching it like it's his baby blankie.

I want to like it because it looks good, but goodness those prickly hair kisses are aweful.

It's like kissing the wrong end of a pin cushion. 
Heck, it's like being a pin cushion.

I for one, can't wait for this month to be over.

Where do you sit with facial hair?
I'm stuck in a love/hate relationship.

You can read all about Noshember at the


There is a list of charities you can donate to HERE.


November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Tradition and a Pumpkin Soup

There are so many things to love about Thanksgiving.

The time spent with family
The food
The desserts
The pie
The tradition

My favorite of all of those comes down to a tie between the time spend with family and the food. Or maybe it's the desserts and the pie? Or maybe its the tradition. Okay, okay, it's all of it.

My favorite tradition started 12 years ago when I celebrated my first Thanksgiving with my now husband. We woke up early and went to Starbucks for a warm beverage. My favorite is a Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel, and Zach's is a Mocha Velencia. (Seriously Starbucks, bring back the Valencia.)

With our hot coffees in hand, we drove down to Riverside State Park and walked along the Spokane River. The best morning! 

To this day, I still love doing this and want to send THANK YOU shout out to the lovely employees at Starbucks that work on Thanksgiving Morning. 

You make my day!

One tradition that my mom started several years ago, is to make a soup to start off our always wonderful Thanksgiving meal. 
Cause why not add one more delicious something to our already big menu of delicious somethings? 

Since we clearly don't have enough pumpkin in our menu with the pumpkin pie and the pumpkin bread, and the pumpkin seeds we snack on; we now enjoy a nice cup of pumpkin soup as well.
It is a beautiful soup from Rachael Ray.

This soup is savory, creamy and delicious, with a little spice kick at the start and a sweet finish from the cran-berry, apple relish. The perfect addition to any Thanksgiving meal. 

It's my turn to make it this year and I'm going to make it ahead of time and put it in the crockpot for the big day. Yum!

You can find the recipe HERE.

Photo Courtesy of The Food Network

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
I'd love to hear about it!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2014

Meeting a Beautiful Baby and the Perfect Baby Blanket

One of my dearest friends, Jackie, recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl to her growing family of four.

Everyone say hello to Teagan Rose.

Isn't she perfect?!?
I finally made it out to see them the other day.
Her mama let me snuggle this sweetie for our entire visit.

It was so nice to sit and visit.
We spend hours just talking and catching up on our past adventures and sharing our future plans. Life has been crazy and it's been a while since we got to visit.

I wanted to give her a special gift.
Something homemade.
Something she can keep forever.

I worked up this simple crocheted blanket and attached a super soft blankie to one side. It turned out just perfect for this perfect angel. 

I have several more babies on the way that need a blanket like this. I better get to work.

Looking forward to another visit with them soon.


November 21, 2014

My Mama's Pumpkin Custard

When I was a kid I used to love love love snow days.
Living in Eastern Washington, back then anyway, we had a lot of snow days.
No school meant that us kids were left home alone for the day. That almost never happened. My mom always did her best to be home when we were home, but of course, there were always exceptions.Snow days were one of those exceptions.

My little brother and I had a little tradition on those days.
We'd make pumpkin pie filling... and drink it like a smoothy.
(I'm pretty sure we omitted the egg, but I can't make any guarantees.)

It was our favorite!
My mom wasn't always happy with us.
Okay... she was never happy with us.
See, we didn't have canned pumpkin back then. My mom would grow our pumpkins in our garden, then cook them down and make the puree herself. 
We usually had enough to get through the winter... usually. 
Making all the pumpkin puree and freezing it was a lot of work. Something us kids didn't quite understand then. Our little anctic didn't last long. Once mom realized what we were doing, she quickly ended it.

One year my mom was pretty upset with us when Thanksgiving came around and she didn't have any pumpkin puree to make pies. Oops!

I still look back and remember those times fondly.
Even the times we got in trouble.

Ahhhh memories.

Back in the day, on cold snowy mornings, my mom used to make us Pumpkin Custard. It was a warm and delicious thing to wake up to. A wonderful way to welcome the snowy winter days. There was something so comforting about it. And the smell, oh the smell! It smells like Fall and Christmas all wrapped up together.

Since the snow started this morning, I am making this for Zoie.
This is the recipe I got from my Mama. I think it originally came from my Great-Grandma.

This recipe can be made either into a Pumpkin Pie, OR a Pumpkin Custard. A pumpkin custard is really just a pie without the crust. 
Which is my favorite part!

Mama's Pumpkin Pie/Custard

2 Whole Eggs, slightly beaten
16 Ounces Pumpkin Puree
3/4 Cup Sugar or Sugar Substitute
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 2/3 Cup Heavy Cream

One Uncooked or Pie Crust

Pie Instructions
Preheat oven to 425. Mix filling ingredients in order given. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15 Minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near center of pie filling comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
Serve with Whipped Cream or Cool Whip.

Custard Instructions
Preheat oven to 425. Mix filling ingredients in order given. Pout into 9x13 pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center of custard comes out clean.
Enjoy warm or cooled with a dollop of whipped cream or cool whip.

I prefer cool whip on my pumpkin pie.

Time for breakfast.

I can totally justify eating pie and cool whip for breakfast!
Enjoy the weather where you are.
I hope we get enough snow to make some angels.


November 20, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - November 20

Today is Thursday.
Which makes it Throw Back Thursday!

I love Thursday's. 
It's almost Friday.
The weekend is almost here.
And I get to reminisce with old pictures.

Today is a throwback to July 2006.
Camping with the Klontz Family at Skookum Lake.

From Left to Right: Ayden, Ryleigh, Josiah, Linda, Ariana, Kara (Me), Michaella

Caleb, Linda, and the kids recently moved back home after spending several years in Italy.
It is SO GOOD to have them back!

November 19, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday (Nov 19)

Good Wednesday Morning to You!

It's another beautiful morning here in Eastern Washington.
The sun is shining.
Only a few clouds in the sky.
Gorgeous.... And Freezing. 
According to my thermometer, it's 21 degrees this morning. 
Which is about 10 degrees warmer than last Wednesday. 

Ready for Spring!

To keep warm as I drive Zoie to school on this balmy morning, I am going with my basic, go-to leggings and Uggs look. 

I know its a little matchy matchy.
I've been trying to get my husband to get me a new pair of boots.
He's not having it. 

Now I know what you're thinking. I'm another one of those annoying ladies that wears leggings for pants. I've been hearing everywhere lately.
"Leggings aren't pants! They are supposed to be worn like tights!"

I hear it and I don't care. 
I like them.

Don't hate me. It's comfortable.
And I always make sure my bum is covered with a tunic or long sweater. I promise!

What I Wore:
Boots: Uggs Bailey Button
Top: Maurices Clearance Last Winter

On a side note:
I'm going to visit my friend and deliver what's inside this package this morning.

More on what's inside later this week.

Have a Happy Wednesday.

November 17, 2014

Weekend in Review

We had another busy weekend.
Not surprising after having another busy week. 

Friday night my dad stole Zach away for an evening out.
There was a "Man Show" at the fairgrounds this weekend. I was assured they had a great time. Enjoyed dinner at Outback.
And my husband brought home another RC plane.
Yay me!

Zoie and I were able to spend the evening just the two of us.
We had hot chocolate and popcorn while watching Mary Poppins in bed.
The best date ever!

Saturday we RAN.
All. Over. Town.

Cause how else would you plan a busy Saturday?
Got a million things to do? Sleep in til 7!

My sister had asked to take Zoie for an overnight with Maci that night also.
I think they had a good time.
As evidenced by the chalk drawings in the driveway.
Even though it was only about 20 degrees out.

I made a pumpkin soup for Jake to take to a Thanksgiving pot luck with his friends. 
It turned out super yummy!
He totally took credit for making it.
I'm okay with that.
(Recipe to follow later this week)

Saturday evening Zach and I ventured out to the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights to meet up with some family for dinner. I even got a little dressed up.
I put on makeup and curled my hair.
All in the same day.
I assure you, this never happens.

After dinner, we gambled a little and then headed out for our hour drive home.
Wish we would have gotten a room.
Now that would have been smart thinking!

Sunday was another day of sleeping in.
Catching up on the DVR.
Running a couple errands.

Then a Birthday dinner for my step son.
Who turned 23!
What the heck?!?

Dinner was delicious.
Dessert was even better.

Happy Birthday Jakob!
Enjoy the next year!
We Love You!

I think that about covers it.
How was your weekend?

November 13, 2014

Zoie Turns 3 in a Cowgirl Kind of Way

Most days I wake up and can hardly believe what day it is. 

Do ya'll ever have days, weeks, or even years like that? 
Last Saturday, November 8, I woke up and my baby was 3!

Three years just flew by like it was nothing.

 Seems like we just welcomed her to the world. 
It's been 3 YEARS! 

Our little Cowgirl is pretty much obsessed with all things horses.
So we had a Cowgirl Party!

I chose to go the traditional cowgirl/boy color route.
I just like it better than pink. It's a personal preference.  

I got the idea for this super simple banner from The Foley Fam.
I think it turned out great!

Since the weather was forecasted to be a bit chilly, I had a hot chocolate bar set up in my garage and fire barrel in the driveway. The hot chocolate was a hit.

We had BBQ from Dickey's Barbeque Pit here in Spokane. Their pulled pork was delicious and the mac n' cheese was a huge hit with the kiddos.

The ponies showed up as soon as the sun was breaking through what had been a cold and foggy morning. Perfect Timing!

We had a pinata and cake and I think all the kiddos had a great time.
I know that I did!

Here's a few more pics to round things off.
I know it's a lot, but I just can't help myself. 

"Howdy Partner!"

Maci was cold. She looked like the perfect Outlaw Cowgirl!

Zoie and her trusty stead, Smokey.

"Lots of Tootsies Mama!"

Cookies ~ Cake ~ Cupcakes ~ Candy
I may have gone a little overboard. There were a lot of leftovers. 
In fact... I had a cookie for breakfast this morning.
(Shhhh... It's our secret!)

It only took me a month or two to plan and put everything together. 
Wish I would have taken more pics of the kids playing.
Hind-sight and all that Jazz.
Next time :)

Time to start planning for next year!