bbq + food + beverages + family = it’s summertime, baby!

Food Ideas (that I have probably shared before and have forgotten).


BBQ Chicken:

Bake your chicken in the oven before everyone arrives/earlier in the day.

I do bone-in/skin on. Season with salt and pepper.

Throw on the grill just to warm it up, remove the skin, and then slather with BBQ sauce.

Chicken will stay moist which is hard to do on the grill.


Potato and Veggie Packets:

Boil small potatoes while chicken is baking.

Let cool to room temperature.

When you’re ready to grill, cut them up, add onions, squash, peppers, etc. and (the secret ingredient) Italian dressing.

Fold into foil packets and throw on the grill. Again, you are just steaming the veggies as the potatoes are already cooked so everything comes out at the same time.


Easy salad:

Cut up cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzerella cheese (I use the balls in the deli section), fresh basil, and balsamic glaze (found at Safeway or also the new vinegar and oil store downtown Rapid City).

So good. Trust me.


Everything is mostly done before people arrive, so you can enjoy being outside with everyone.


Happy Summer.


P.S. Avery’s beer bottle is empty. I feel obligated to state that he is teething and the cold, empty bottle felt good on his gums. No need to worry about my judgement.:)












because I could watch you for a single minute and tell you a thousand things i love about you


The kids played in the backyard with a slip and slide that allows them to race each other all afternoon.

While I was taking a picture of Avery (who hated the cold water and gave me nothing but dirty looks), the other two were messing around in the grass playing chase.

Claire leaped in Cade’s arms and gave him the biggest hug. I can’t believe I caught it!

Later, over lunch, I told them how fun it is to watch them together. How glad I am that they have each other.

Claire, looking over to Cade, said, “We have a new deal about hugging.”

Caeden: Yes, you can tell  her.

Claire: I can hug and kiss Caeden good night now!

Caeden: But, again, only at night.

Claire: You said you loved me yesterday.

Caeden: I do. That’s why I am finally allowing you to touch me.


Love you two to bits! You make me laugh!!


P.S. See what I mean?


Of loss. Of promises. Of love.



I lost a dear friend to cancer. Her funeral was today in Fort Wayne, IN.

She left behind two sons, Joe & Gabe. One a few years older than Cade and one a year younger.

And a husband who loves her more than life itself and who is still in shock. Even if you see this coming, you don’t.

And I haven’t talked to anyone about her. Not even Rylan, although I spent two nights crying in the dark because once the house was quiet, I could let myself feel her. Miss her. Mourn her.

Denise is the founder of Matilda Jane. The clothing that I dress Claire in because it’s modest and super cute and fun and comfortable. And also just because I am loyal to Denise and wanted to support her, which is silly as Matilda Jane has turned into an empire, but still.

I love everything she stood for. Everything she did. Charities and volunteering and donating and creating and loving and friending. Her optimism. Her light.

I am mad at myself.

In haste to clean up my phone, I deleted my last text message marathon with her while she was waiting to go to Houston for brain surgery.

And it was all I had.

This afternoon I was cleaning up the kitchen, and rearranging a few pretty things — I held a set of measuring cups in my hand that had been dropped one time, chipped, but too pretty to part with.

It’s the sister set that I gave to Denise ages ago. She would send me pictures of them every once in awhile, and in thinking about this, I lost it again.

I see post after post and post on Facebook about her. Tributes and notes and pictures and couldn’t think of a single word to say.

The loss of her leaves a void and I wish I could honor her better than that. To be speechless.

And then there’s David. Married for almost 18 years and her very best friend. He’s now going to raise their sons alone.

And I have a pretty good idea how he is feeling but I also know nothing helps.

His darkest days are starting. How do you address that?

And while all of this is whirling around in my head, I look at these pictures of Avery and Rylan.

I can’t believe somewhere along the way, I emerged from the other side.

I’m changed. Changed for the better and also for worse.

I understand the value of time and of relationships more than I ever have.

I also am fearful of loss in an almost crippling way.

I just look at my children and my husband and my parents and in-laws and I just want to hold them tight.

Loss reminds you of how good you have it — until  you don’t.

Hold on tight to your friends. Your family. What and whom you love.

If there was ever a reason to believe in the power of healing, just look above at the baby and the daddy. The wildflowers and the sunshine.

It’s God’s love language.




Yellowstone + Bear Tooth Pass | Family Vacation 2015





















There’s a gazillion pictures, of course, but here’s a sample of what we did this weekend.

Packed the SUV and headed off to Wyoming and Montana.

The kids were amazing! Interested, engaged, good spirits, happy to be there.

They will tell you that they loved swimming in the hotel pool best of all, but it was a toss up with Old Faithful.:)

The scenery is gorgeous … and it’s a trip I’d take again and again and again.






Ry’s birthday + a night at home


Planting Honey Crisp Apple Trees (gift from Nana for Ry’s birthday).

Years ago, I remember texting Rylan when we were still just dating, telling him to go to the grocery store and pick up some of these apples as they were just coming into season. Worried he wasn’t privy to these babies.

His Mom had beaten me to the punch, telling him the same thing.

Her gift of the trees included tags with each of the kids’ names on them and I can’t think of a better present – and I’m anxious for our very own apple orchard (for selfish, picture taking purposes).



On June 14th, Rylan had a birthday – we also celebrated Grace’s Baptism.

We had his party that afternoon, went to the Baptism and reception, and then came home and sang happy birthday & ate the most beautiful cake ever.

It was such a work of art! Scenes from the Black Hills surrounded it and a motorcycle (total work of art) sat on top.

Another gift from his Mom.

I am starting to look bad! ha!



Hello Handsome.

Here’s Nana and Papa – she’s the only one willing to dive in. The picture doesn’t do the cake justice. It was incredible.

The scene you are looking at is Custer State Park (where we got married), there is also Spearfish Canyon (a favorite place to ride and spend time), and finally Sylvan Lake (another family favorite/where we spent the first night of our honeymoon).

Mom and Dad were also there – probably babysitting Avery! Sorry I don’t have a picture of them, too. It was a fun day!



And here we are last night, playing outside.

Unloaded some outdoor furniture that I scored for 50% off (thank you Lori!) and the kids couldn’t get enough of the giant boxes to play in.

We have a huge surprise planned for them this weekend –  can’t wait to share it with you.