Mustang

images-1 I am the Mustang. I am strong. I am free. I am beautiful. I am as independent as the wind I chase. I know where my home is but I will never stay for long. I am only seen when I want to be, but I will always be heard. I am loyal. I am not brave, I just do what is necessary without considering the consequences. My trust is not easily earned. If you try and contain me, if you abandon me, if you treat me without the respect I deserve, my trust you will never obtain or maintain. I will not be captured. I will not be broken. I will not be used for your worldly advances. I will not be put on show for all your eyes to judge. But if I am lured away from the open space, one apple at a time, to a corral which is never closed, perhaps you will be the one who will truly see me in all my glory. For there is no heart so astounding as that of a Wild Mustang.

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Pea-mond Butter Banana Bread

Banana bread.

I have a soft spot for it, but don’t eat it often because there are certainly healthier options out there for me. But recently, I found a new recipe that I decided to tweak even just a bit more, and the end result was a much healthier, just-as-tasty version of this classic staple. The tweak was rather simple, I guess.

Peanut Butter and Almond Butter.

Now, I always make sure that I use the peanut and almond butters that contain ONLY peanuts and almonds.  No added sugar or salt.  Of course, the option is yours, but I was going for a healthier version of banana bread, so a healthy version of these butters was necessary to achieve my desired result.   10408489_1558532534425905_8133291141784764788_n Once you’ve added the bananas, you’ll see that I will blend “until they reach the desired consistency”. The ingredients will all blend together while the bananas are still pretty chunky. The more you use the mixer, the “mushier” the bananas will become. Blend less for more banana pieces in the finished product. I prefer my banana bread without the actual pieces of banana. My husband, however, only likes it if it has large chunks throughout each piece. So it’s entirely up to you. Just make sure the other ingredients have blended well.

The original recipe I worked with had the oven heated at 325°, and only baking the bread for 45-55 minutes.  When I checked the loaf at 50 minutes, the knife came out covered in batter.  I gave it another ten, and still, the inside wasn’t cooked anymore than before, but the outside was getting brown.  I covered it loosely in foil, left the sides open, turned the oven up to 350, and gave it another ten minutes.

Glorious Perfection. 10646817_1558532341092591_2799581992494710807_n This is definitely a new household favorite, and I hope you can enjoy it too!

Ingredients
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. almond butter
2 overly ripe bananas
2 eggs
7 tbsp sour milk*
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 c. all purpose flour

*to make sour milk, add one teaspoon white vinegar to the 7 tbsp. milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°
Spray/grease loaf pan with cooking spray or butter. I use a 9×5.5″ pan and prefer cooking spray to avoid burning.
Mix oil, peanut butter, almond butter and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Add bananas, eggs sour milk and baking soda; blend well. It will blend before the bananas are entirely “mush.” Continue blending until they reach the desired consistency.
Add 1 c. flour; mix.
Repeat with 2nd c. of flour.
Mix until just combined.
Place batter in the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour (60 minutes).
Check consistency with toothpick at 45 minutes. You can cover the top with foil if you are worried about burning the top, just make sure you don’t have it completely sealed. It needs to breathe so it doesn’t become soggy from steam.
Cool completely before removing from pan.

Serve warm, with butter or coconut oil, and enjoy! 10991052_1558532404425918_634462435662344462_n __

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Original Recipe, here.

Essential Oils – I’m Convinced

I am a serious skeptic.  Anything I read, anything I see on TV, all of those “As Seen on TV” advertisements and paid programs – I don’t believe any of it.  I also live on an insanely tight budget, that must serve a family of five, soon to be six, and never have enough money to “invest” into any of these things that could possibly save me so much money in the long run.  I eat relatively healthy, but tend not to be able to eat the healthy foods I would prefer to eat because I can’t extend my grocery budget enough to provide those healthy foods for all of my family members.  I tend to settle for the “more healthy” options, and occasionally get to splurge on the “organic stuff”, then just try and stretch out the little bit I do get to buy as long as I possibly can.  I end up buying knock off brands of OTC medications, and basic hygiene items, and realize they work just as well as the high end products I only get to buy with gift cards after Christmas.  And since I’m not insanely overweight, and have always been in good health, I wonder to myself if any of these gimmicks, any of these TV products, any of these “all natural” things could be worth the money at all!

I thought that way until last night.  I will not think that way again.  At least not about one particular thing.

Essential Oils.

In fact, I am now sure that I need every oil and oil blend known to man.

As I write this, it is Wednesday.  On Monday morning, I headed out to my garage, and worked outside until after nine o’clock that night.  By the time I was in bed, my throat was a disaster.  By late last night, I was barely able to swallow it was so swollen, and it hurt as if I had been dry coughing for hours upon hours.  I was miserable, and stressed.  I have a three year old, I am five months pregnant and I still live in a part of the country where winter is going to be around awhile.  I cannot get sick right now.

Now… go back in time just a couple weeks.  My mother-in-law had given me an oil diffuser and a few oils when we visited, after I had spoken with her about my curiosity with them.  I have a few friends who are retailers for the different brands, and although I had heard good things, I had not been convinced enough to spend the money for them.  But since she was so willing to give me the ones that she had, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try them… if I ever remembered to actually take them all out of the box.

Flash forward to yesterday one more time for me.

I had pulled out the diffuser out a little earlier in the day and had let it run with a few drops of frankincense for my hubby who was relaxing in our room for the majority of the day.  (He’s allowed to – he just had major reconstructive ACL surgery.  I digress…)  When I went to bed last night, the room smelled fantastic, which was a plus in and of itself, since our room gets extremely stuffy and the air does not circulate well at all.  I figured I would do a little research and see if any of the oils I had could be used to help soothe my throat.  In reading through the different articles, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try the Eucalyptus.

EucalyptusPolybractea

I applied TWO drops to the outside of my throat, rubbed it over as much surface area as possible, and rubbed it in.

I was SHOCKED.  Literally, within THIRTY SECONDS, it was as if I had never had any pain to begin with.  None whatsoever.  I was awake for a few more hours, and kept expecting the effect to wear off, thinking I was just numb or soothed to the pain, but it never did.

When I woke up this morning, I still had no pain at all.  I applied one more drop the same way I had last night, hoping to prevent it from occurring again, but I didn’t wake up with it like I thought I would!

I never in a million years would have imagined something working so well.  I still am not sure that all the others will work as well, as quickly, or as efficiently, but I certainly am going to give it a try.  If the others work even half as well as the Eucalyptus did, then I will be thrilled.  I have four precious babies that I want to be able to keep as healthy and natural as possible, and this very well may be the best option for that.

–Hannah

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“Be a Beck” – Borrowed Blog

I found this gem tonight on my Reader, as I desperately sought some kind of inspiration in order to write tonight.

Instead, I bring you, “Be A Beck” from Kelly Suellentrop of Are You Finished Yet.

““Being a Beck” means taking the high road. It means saying something nice about those who seek to tear you down. It means finding the humor in things that don’t go as planned. It means knowing what and what not to take seriously. It means controlling your own actions and reactions when you can’t control someone else’s. It means being confident enough to understand that the mud people sling has more to say about them than you. It means knowing that arguing with a fool only makes you a fool yourself…so let that fool just go on and talk like someone is listening. And it means quietly doing your own thing, doing it damn well, and letting your hard work, your talent, and your actions speak for themselves.”

Find her full article HEREabout jacklegs, Kanye, positive reinforcement discipline, and raising our children to “Be A Beck.”

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Being a mother of 3, soon to be 4, I must say, I love the reference.

Enjoy!!

— Hannah

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I Love My Mayhem

It’s not one of my Manic Mondays.
It’s Friday.
But I really don’t know the difference between Friday and Monday anymore, if I’m being honest.
Let’s be honest.
Having a three old is a manic mayhem whether it’s Friday or Monday.
Days like this, I love.
I haven’t stopped.
It’s totally ok.
Had you asked me at eight thirty this morning if I was going to have a peaceful, happy Friday, I probably would have told you, yes!
Why?

My J.R. was still asleep.
I felt like I had actually slept enough.
I was able to sneak in a few minutes just laying in bed, awake, but enjoying the silence.
Even with a hungry toddler, I made the time to make french toast while she sat quietly eating her cereal.
So I figured…
I’ll sit down and start an entry for today.
I’ve had one idea building for the last few days.
It needed pondering to be written tactfully.
But it needs to come out.
So I sat down.

Dora was on the T.V.
I wasn’t sure if that was going to interfere with my concentration but I think I’ve become pretty good at blocking out the toddler-type noise these days.
But not the toddler-type silence that screams something is up.
Sure enough.
I had not been down for five minutes when I turn around.
And BAM.
My adorable angel of a toddler has taken her sippie cup full of milk, and proceeded to dump it on the top of her head, patting it gently into her hair.
None on the table.
None on her clothing.
None on the floor.
None on her chair.
BUT SOAKING HER HAIR.

Brilliant.
Impromtu bath time.
Writing will have to wait.
Just as the hair got washed…
Hey!!
Let’s pee in the tub!
Ok.
Bath time over.

I had taken away the television privilege after the milk fiasco.
I wasn’t sure how great of an idea that was going to be until I looked out the kitchen windows at the sunshine that had actually decided to show up.
Park time it was.
How long does it take one mom, one dad and a three year old to pack a picnic lunch and get out the door?
An hour and ten minutes.
But two sandwiches, three cucumber roll ups, tupperwares of blueberries and bleu cheese, pepperoni sticks, cheese sticks, a pitcher of pineapple juice, chicken strips and a clean family room later –
WE’RE OFF!
Thankfully we were able to cram almost two hours of park time in before it clouded over too much to enjoy the temperatures anymore.

Now we are home.
Daddy is resting his healing knee.
J.R. is quietly watching cars.
Occasionally she comes in the kitchen to play patty cake, but that’s not as bad as spilled milk.
I’m cooking and creating, as I do when I need some quiet.
And my night will end.
It will end with a tired three year old.
It will end with a tired Daddy.
It will end with a tired Mommy.
It probably won’t end until there has been some other kind of manic mayhem to tire me even more.
But it will end.
But we made it through one more day.
One more day I won’t get back.
We are one day older.
We are one day closer to our future.
We are one day closer as a family.
And I am one more day in love with my mayhem.

#dontcryoverspilledmilk

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Family Isn’t Always Blood

Wednesdays Wonderings –

Realizing lately more than ever that family really isn’t always blood, and how incredibly blessed I am to have the chosen family and friends that I do.  Some of us are closer than ever, some of us are reconnecting better than we ever have before, some I only get to talk to occasionally but never seem to grow apart from, and some of us are just starting down a road of friendship based on more important matters than just our choice in bars or alcohol.  But no matter what our relationships look like, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve found my “village”, that I have people I can actually trust and count on for unconditional support and love and help when I need it.  That’s not something I’ve felt much in my life and I love that I am having that now later in life.

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Baja Style Fish Taco Sauce

My husband and I both love a good fish taco, and when we can make them at home, it is even better – better for multiple people, better for our budget, and better for individual tastes.  The toughest part is finding that signature white sauce that restaurants always serve with their tacos that make them so flavorful.  After playing around at home with a couple different recipes, and adding my own spin on things, I found what seemed to be the perfect blend of flavors that everyone loved.  It was quick and simple – great for a busy mom of 3!

Ingredients

2 TB fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 TB Sriracha hot sauce
1/2 TB chili paste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon – ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix together the lime juice, sour cream, mayo and Greek yogurt; the consistency should be saucy and easy to pour.  Add the rest of the ingredients, adding more of the spices if you like a bit more of a kick.

I served this with our fish tacos and a cilantro lime dressing, which complimented this baja sauce fabulously.  I will update this with a link to the recipe for the dressing when that post is complete.  The entire recipe served 5 tacos, and we had plenty left over.  It keeps well, as long as it is refrigerated, and is a great dip for veggies if you want a quick snack the next day!

Enjoy!

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I am Blessed with Chaos

As a parent, at the end of the day, I tend to have zero patience, I’m running on empty, and if a child pulls one more book off the damn bookshelf that I just put away ten seconds ago, I am going to turn into Ursula. But I have to stop. I have to stop, and leave the room, somewhere out of their little eyes lines of vision, to watch. Just … watch. Watch them in all of their beautiful chaos, creating messes, causing noise, just being children and I force myself to remember that I AM BLESSED in this life I have chosen. I chose to live a life where my floor is never quite as tidy as I want it to be, there is always another dish in the sink or another pair of pants on my laundry room floor, and there always will be. I am blessed because my children are able to pull things from the shelf, or even climb the freaking shelves, because they don’t have to worry about tubes or machines getting in their way. I am blessed by their noise in my home every day, because even though I cherish, and often times plead for a moment of silence, I don’t have to dread the silence of a home that was once filled with their voices but is now forced into a deathly silence. I have learned to love the fact that I have dirty laundry on my floor, because whether it’s grass stained knees, or banana spots on their white shirts, or mud all over everything else, they can run and play and fight just like children should. And I know that there are others who are not experiencing this chaos that I complain about. I am human. I want my home to be clean, I want my children to listen and obey and get along without finding something new to fight about every 30 seconds. I want my home to be one of peace… But as I watch friends, family, strangers, go through these valleys, some of which seem to have no end, I am reminded of how blessed I am, and I am forced to lay my heart gratefully and humbly at the feet of my Savior. God has seen fit to bless me, only so that I can turn around and be a TANGIBLE, physical blessing of His love to those around me who are going through trials of their own. My own are trivial compared to some, and I have no right to complain. I am blessed so that I may bless others, and I am blessed by Him so that I when I have to travel through my own valley, I can truly understand how much of a blessing I was to the others God used me to help. And so friends, stop. Watch your children. And be thankful for the chaos that you live in, because as you beg for a moment of peace, someone else is desperately begging God for your chaos.

My Chaos. 6 1/2 years 3 1/2 years 3 years.
My Chaos.
6 1/2 years
3 1/2 years
3 years.

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Do To Others

OK, So here’s the deal – I typically stay out of all the social media drama and let people say whatever they want. It’s unnecessary and hurtful and does nothing to empower or uplift anyone. Unfortunately, I don’t always hold my tongue like I should. So with that I will simply say this – I am who I am. I am not perfect. I’m certainly not all that I want to be, but by the grace of God, I am not who I used to be either. God has taken all the crap in my life and redeemed it for the better, and even though others might try to rob me and my family of that grace, it will never change. If you don’t like me, that’s fine. You can say whatever you like about me, about my family. That’s your choice. But I choose to treat any of you the same as I treat my family – with all the love, grace and respect that has been shown to me by God and by the friends and family He has blessed me with. And to those of you who have been there, no matter what – much love to you. I couldn’t do this life without you.

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The Musing Mama’s Simple Crock-pot Chili

Chili is not a complicated recipe, and most are so similar that posting my recipe seemed repetitive.  However, after my Instagram photo prompted more than one request for me to do just that, I decided it could not hurt.

Ingredients:

32 oz. Vegetable Broth

Ground meat or meat replacement

1 can Red Kidney Beans (not drained)

28 oz. Diced Tomatoes (not drained)***

1 cup Rice

3/4 cup White Onion

Garlic Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder and fresh squeezed orange juice to taste

*** I typically use canned organic tomatoes, and I do not drain them. The paste helps to thicken the chili. Fresh tomatoes work just as well for flavor and texture, but you may need to change the amount of broth, or add a thickener to make up for the thickness of the canned tomatoes.

Directions:

Defrost meat or meat replacement

Sit broth on high until hot

Add meat or meat replacement to broth, along with seasonings,  and heat on high until meat is cooked.

Add beans and rice, leave on high until rice is cooked.

Add tomatoes.

**At this point, if the chili is still too thin for your liking, adding rice small amounts at a time until cooked, allows for a slow thickening to preference.  Remember also, that it will thicken the longer it cooks***

Add orange juice.  I use a satsuma (mandarin), slice it in half across the middle (rather than down) and squeeze just what I get from one good squeeze (probably just a tablespoon or two).

Leave for 3-4 hours on low.

Add onions, and allow 1-3 hours, depending on your schedule.

Serve with your favorite sides, and top with sour cream or cheese!

Easily serves 4-6 people.

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