Chocolate Lover

Hi everyone! It has been entirely too long since posting anything from my world and today seemed like the perfect day to spend a few moments with you. The last several weeks have been a whirl-wind to say the very least and somewhat of an emotional roller coaster as we passed the anniversaries of my dad’s stroke and his passing as well as major holidays. These things have all been good and growth spiritually has definitely come as well as renewed mindsets and healing on some levels.I do realize this is all a lifelong process, but we are doing our best to march forward and focus on Jesus.

It is snowing locally today and with the weather the way it is, I have been reminiscing about days I have spent similar to this one. I definitely enjoy a cloudy day and with the soft peaceful snowflakes falling from the sky, it is perfect! Living here, snow is a distant visitor and never stays too long or as long as I would enjoy, so I welcome this weather with open arms. I have made a cup of tea and thought I would share a story with you today.

Alright, how many chocolate loving readers do I have? From white to dark and everything in between, there is definitely a little cocoa out there for everyone. Aside from the actual food, chocolate, I have a chocolate baby- Coco Chanel. In 2011, as a family (minus my husband) so really just my parents and I, really wanted a puppy. Our neighbor had friends with a chocolate lab we met and we were immediately smitten. We have never owned a lab, so I started doing some online research and looked around the state for breeders. We were in late November approaching the holidays and I spoke with numerous breeders on the phone looking for a chocolate lab. Why chocolate? Why not yellow or black? Well, yellow and black labs are almost a dime a dozen and the chocolate labs are gorgeous! I finally stumbled across a very sweet man who had 9 lab puppies ready for adoption. At this point in time, it was maybe a day or at the most two days after Christmas. I told this man that I wanted to come out and look at these puppies. I explained to Craig, we were just going to “Look,” nothing more. He was reluctant to believe my alleged “looking,” can you believe the gall? So, this breeder is located about 3.5 hours away from my city, so it was easily a 7 hour drive round trip. SO, picture it, December 28, 2011, my parents and I were thrilled to embark on this journey together. (Sadly, Craig was working that day, with no desire to take the day off. For one- the man hates any form of a road trip, and for some odd reason, did not have any interest in getting another animal because we didn’t “need” one). SO back to our journey, there was snow along the way and the car jams were perfect. We get to this small town and due to its remote location, we were advised once we saw and passed the Post Office, we would lose all cell service; so he asked us to give him a call once we were at the Post Office. We arrived at his address there was no house to be seen. We were immediately greeted by a John Deer tractor and the sweetest elderly gentleman we could have ever imagined to meet. We had to take a ride in the tractor up this massive iced over hill to reach his home and look at these puppies. The dirt road was super slick and there was a definite frost in the air to say the least. Once we reached the top of the hill and saw his home, he opened a garage door just off the house and nearly a dozen little puppies come stumbling out the door! In this litter there were 8 chocolate labs and one yellow. I believe all but 2 or 3 were females. My parents and I were in awe! How do you pick one? So, we each pick up a warm little pup and start looking at them. My mom, she is fairly predictable, always goes for the smallest animal in any litter. My dad just scooped one up and I picked up one that had the longest eyelashes I have ever seen! The breeder’s wife invited us to bring our three puppies in the house to set them down and get to know them and play with them before we made our decision. We sat down in their living room and began watching these three puppies. Immediately the smallest puppy my mom had, started chewing on my dad’s pants and anything else she could find. So we ultimately eliminated her. We had it down to two- after much deliberation and realizing we didn’t need two dogs, we opted for the girliest and sweetest love- the one with the longest eyelashes and the prettiest coat of fur. The breeder gave her her shots and gave us her AKC papers. We got to see and meet her parents, which were really sweet and this was the second and last litter her mother had given birth to. The breeder gave us a ride down the icy hill to our car and our journey home began. We threw many names out for this little puppy, but Coco Chanel, was by far the most perfect. She slept most of the way home and the smell of puppy and puppy breath was intoxicating! I know many people hate puppy breath, but I am a sucker- to me, it is wonderful!

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Once we arrived home, Craig was home and was not surprised after 7 hours of driving we came home with a dog. He held her and played with her, realizing, she was actually kind of cute. Since that day, Coco has us wrapped around her little paw.

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She attended all three obedience training courses at Petsmart and was on the list to become a PTSD service dog for my dad before he passed away. I realize I am biased, but she is perfect and I consider her my first child and Emie’s older sister. Craig swears other children will make fun of Emie if she tells them her older sister is a chocolate lab. I disagree! I even told Craig, if we ever get the urge to have another child, I would get a puppy- hands down! Now that we have a Labrador, I cannot imagine my life without one- they’re wonderful!

 

 

Thanks for reading today, make it a wonderful day and if you have a four legged furry child- give them extra smoochies today! I know I will be smooching on my babies too- as usual!

Brisbon-Sommer, Marissa 1120

When Craig met Marissa

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Today I am celebrating my sixth wedding anniversary with Craig and as part of the celebration of our marriage, I have opted to walk down memory lane and share how Craig and I met.

I am certainly a hopeful romantic by heart. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew God had a man He created especially for me. In high school, I was extremely selective when it came to dating and I knew I needed to be with people who shared my same morals and beliefs. When I was younger, I certainly wanted to be the girl who married her true love in high school and get married super young and have a family right away. This was not the perfect plan God had for me and I could not be more blessed as I have reflected back. I graduated high school and went to college. Of course, I wanted to meet someone, but there are slim pickings for genuine people to date. I am not a bar hopper or one who does things other people in the “world” do- yes, some may call it odd, but I am who I am- conservative to say the least. When you are living through the situation, you of course look at meeting someone in church, but my church is small and similar churches like it, and with those circumstances you can look around and see everyone paired up like Noah’s Ark.  It is easy to become discouraged, but I can honestly say, I kept the faith and knew then the time was right I would meet the man God had for me. Did I cry and feel disappointed in times of loneliness? Absolutely! I realized in my early twenties, if I had not met him yet, he just wasn’t ripe yet, but I continued to pray for him and I knew one day we would be together.

As I was approaching my junior year of college, I opted to try and meet new people and did some online dating and tried to broaden my network. There was a guy I started talking to in November of 2005. His name was Craig and I was a little surprised at how genuine he seemed online and on the phone. We opted to meet and there was just something different about him on our first date on December 7, 2005. There was no awkward conversation or awkward pauses and everything seemed to “flow.” Obviously he wasn’t my “perfect” match, after all, I was concerned he was not in church and initially he wasn’t interested in marriage or the idea of children, so I was concerned we really did not share many of the core qualities I was looking for. I remember calling my mom and my sister as I was leaving the restaurant after our first date and telling them about this guy. They both expressed very similar points of view, to “see it through” and “don’t shut the door.” They both encouraged me to just get to know him and if we become nothing more than friends, it was ok, and no one can ever have too many friends. We continued to talk and go out. We shared our first kiss on New Year’s evening 2006, shortly after the clock struck midnight. As we started dating, I did not want to be too pushy about him not attending church, but was hopeful he would eventually start to come with me. The other nice thing about both of us, is we are close in age and neither one of us had been married or had children or any other hurdles right from the start. Craig proposed to me on New Year’s Eve in 2006, and of course I accepted. Craig started coming to church and started to become more involved with my church family. I graduated college in 2007, and we both gradually started separating. We still were dating, but I honestly cannot explain the distance that was growing between us. In the fall of 2007, we ended our engagement.

We would still talk, but things were not the same as they had been, and again, there was not one particular catalyst for this change in our relationship. I was working full time and focusing on seeing where my career could go and he was working a lot too. I wanted to travel and play some, and I had many opportunities and did some neat things, but there was still a piece of my life that was missing. Craig would still come over for dinner and help us with small projects around the house on the weekends.

One day in 2009, things just started to change and I feel as though Craig and I stepped into a new phase in our relationship. It was like a light turned on and we just “knew” this was the time. We started dating again in the late summer. As fall approached Craig decided to take my mom ring shopping for me and they picked out a new, bigger, prettier ring than I could ever have imagined. On October 9, 2009, he proposed to me a second time. I, of course accepted and we opted for a quick engagement and planned a quick elopement over a weekend. Neither one of us wanted a large wedding or any of the “bells and whistles” so we kept it nice and simple, but exactly what we wanted. Our pastors from our church took the drive up to marry us and it was so meaningful to both of us and my parents. On November 6, 2009, we were married in Parker, Colorado. We did not live together before we got married, because I did not believe in premarital activities outside of marriage.

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FBEmelie-0120In 2012 we welcomed our perfect baby girl into our lives. We certainly are not the “model couple,” but we love Jesus and put Him first above everything in our marriage and the decisions we make. I have never been with anyone who makes me laugh so hard, make me so angry, but yet so happy. He also puts up with all of my many antics and hair brained ideas and somehow goes through it regardless of what he REALLY wants to do. I am abundantly blessed that God created this man for me to share my life with and continue to grow with in this crazy thing called life.

Wishing you a very Happy Anniversary Honey, I am so blessed to share my life with you and to raise our beautiful little girl together. I love you!

It’s a great pumpkin…

DSC_0724“Every fall, the leaves on the trees turn brown and fall off the branches, pumpkins grow big and plump in their patches. The air grows cooler, and people start to think about their Halloween costumes. And every fall, Linus writes a very important letter.” Charles Shultz captures the essence of childhood in his amazing stories of Charlie Brown. I know I was always a fan of Peanuts when I was growing up and now I have the opportunity to share these fun stories with Emie. Reading the stories are so fun, they bring fond memories of my dad and I want Emie to share in these same memories too.

DSC_0515The last several weeks have been one fun adventure after another. With each activity, I have definitely kept my Nikon by my side to capture precious moments. DSC_0752

We have hiked in the mountains and looked at leaves turning, balloon watched, pumpkin patched, decorated, and baked. When we went to one of the pumpkin patches Emie had a wonderful time. It was somewhat of a playdate/photoshoot and pumpkin picking event.

IMG_4240Now that we have a porch full of pumpkins it was the perfect excuse to plan a pumpkin carving party this week and I just know Emie is going to have a blast. I also know my chickens will be loving the pumpkin seeds and “stuffing” to snack on too.

The shop has been busy shipping out our festive Halloween bows too- as a brief side note, thanks so much to those who are supporting our small business. I know we thank you often, but we genuinely appreciate your business and spreading the word to your families and friends.

DSC_0382As for this week, I am happily planning delicious fall snacks and activities with Emie. I want to hear from you, what are your family Halloween traditions? Are you dressing up? Share your stories and fall favorites with me. Make today great, and thanks for stopping by to read. So… I have to ask, will you be waiting in the pumpkin patch this Halloween night for the Great Pumpkin to arrive with toys for all the boys and girls? I’m sure I can guess where my sweet baboo will be! (smiles)DSC_0583

City Homesteading?

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So is it possible to live in the city and be a homesteader? I can honestly say since we have purchased chickens my entire outlook has changed on how I want to live my life. Last year we not only got the chickens, but also decided to stop buying breads in the stores and make our own. I was honestly amazed at the amount of money we saved the very first month by making our own bread. We have come across a sandwich bread recipe of which I am happy to share with you. We also make any other bread products we need. It probably sounds excessive, but each month we use a 25 pound bag of flour between baking and cooking. We do not even eat that much bread in our family, but with Emelie she adores peanut butter toast and so having bread is essential. Our sandwich bread recipe is awesome because I can make up to 4 loaves at a time and freeze them. We have started shopping more farmers’ markets and we are eating a significant amount of fresher and healthier things. Keep in mind, when I first met Craig, the man would not touch a salad with a ten foot pole, but he has since learned to eat them and there are so many possibilities to make a salad delicious and satisfying. Not only as a family, but personally for me, I just feel better eating cleaner without all of the processed foods and preservatives. We are ultra particular about the meat we buy and have become spoiled with grass fed beef. We are hoping to eventually share a cow with someone and have a freezer full of delicious meat. We rarely go out to eat and are even less likely to eat fast food.  I personally cannot justify the cost of the food out, but it’s so filled with empty nonsense with minimal nutritional value. Now, honestly, I will not deprive myself if I want something utterly delicious and decadent, but I have come across so many recipes, I can make what I want from scratch. We have decided to build a planter box to plant some vegetables at home. We have never had the greenest of thumbs, so these plants are definitely being planted with prayers, crossed fingers, and highest of hopes they blossom and grow. Browsing on Pinterest and doing a little research we opted to try and plant some beets. There is nothing yummier than an oven roasted beet on a fresh salad.

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According to some research, beets are able to be grown nearly year round and so we have purchased three varieties; I must say, this is exciting and something to look forward to. In the midst of shopping for seedlings, I came across a large variety of pumpkins to grow and cook with, and even though I am not the largest pumpkin fan when it comes to baked goods; I am getting better. I found seeds to grow some blue pumpkins! I figured it would be excellent to grow some pumpkins with the other veggies we are trying to grow and now is the perfect time to attempt any hopes of having an established plant from seeds within a few months. My mom and I have laughed with Craig that honestly he shouldn’t be surprised if he comes home from work one day and we have a little nanny goat on the back patio. Who doesn’t want fresh goat milk from home? Needless to say, I realize I am not allowed to have a goat, but it is utterly hilarious to pick on this man. I just want to do so much more as far as homesteading is concerned. It is a new energy of fun things I want to try and see where it goes. Are you a homesteader? Is it possible to be a homesteader in the city? Share your experiences with me, I am eager to read your insight. Make it a fabulous Friday!

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Horses and Cows and Sheeps OH MY!

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Hello Everyone! I have been pretty awful about keeping up the last several weeks. I cannot tell you how often I think about writing to you and sharing parts of my day with you. This past week we had a fun family outing with the opportunity to visit our local state fair. We opted to go on dollar day and it was honestly the best $3 spent all month! Walking into the gates the smell of sweets, fried food and grilling filled the air. You could hear the laughter and music from several families and groups of people. Craig was immediately smitten with a large diesel truck that was available to enter and win. He has high hopes one day he will win of these trucks. I do not share the same admiration for these vehicles, but it definitely aids his daydreaming. I humored him briefly as he entered to win and I know he is keeping his fingers crossed. We headed toward the 4H barn, which for those of you unfamiliar with a 4H barn, it is primarily for youth and children. DSC_0393-2DSC_0370 I will be completely honest, I truly adore this barn and seeing all the baby animals to pet. From a litter of chocolate lab puppies to a six week old baby calf, Emie and I were completely smitten! DSC_0372-2There were baby chicks, a pony, and goats with several other animals in between.DSC_0472 From the 4H barn, we headed to the horse stables to look at the horses. The stables were relatively empty as most of the horses were across from the stables in the arena competing. We walked to the arena and watched the horses ride around. They are such gorgeous animals. We went from the arena to the Dairy Barn and I can honestly say, the Dairy Barn is my most favorite place at the fair.

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That evening all of the steer where getting freshly washed, blow dried and brushed for competition. The equipment used to get these animals looking their very best is extensive. I adore cows! The fact they were freshly cleaned, made them even more inviting! I could pet them, let them lick us and have wonderful times giving them extra lovies. The farmers for these steer were so friendly and informative. What I find most impressive is the young people who work hard on the families’ ranches and play a major role in how the animals are cared for. I learned so much from them, and honestly, they inspire me to go and buy land and fill it with livestock and animals! They would tell us about the breeds, ages, names, or anything else you could possibly imagine! Many of the steer were competing to be sold. DSC_0457The hard part of any conversation about the steer is that if they are sold at the fair they would be taken to slaughter and if not sold they would be going home to eventually be slaughtered. It’s so hard to be so drawn to an animal that ultimately is used for food. I would venture to say we spent an hour in the Dairy Barn!

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From there we headed back to the horse stables since the horses were out of the arena. We were happily petting and feeding these large and gentle animals. We were able to speak again with different ranchers and owners of the horses and learn about the competition they would be doing in the coming days. I find it entertaining and informative to learn so much about all these different animals. Emie was thrilled to pick up large handfuls of hay and feed the horses! DSC_0481She also loved their ticklish whiskers and warm breath coming out of their noses. By the time we were done with the horses, the night was over! DSC_0531-2Things were closing down and we were headed back to the car. We were able to walk through various vendors and watch some of the rides in the Midway. I would say one of my favorite rides to see at night would be Ferris Wheels. I am beyond frightful of heights so getting on most, if any, rides is impossible for me. However, I do enjoy watching others riding! I am hoping Emie has inherited a bravery gene and will show her mommy how things are done. I hope you have enjoyed reading my fair stories today. Thank you for stopping and I’m hoping your day is absolutely fabulous!

Long Weekend

Post Labor Day weekend greetings to my faithful readers. This weekend was really nice, much needed and greatly appreciated. First off, the Bowtique did its first sale with promotion to test the waters prior to the Grand Opening on October 1st. The sale was a complete success and gave us more exposure and that is always good! Looking forward to more business and satisfied customers. As we grow closer to more of the holidays, things are only going to get more exciting and this past weekend was a terrific start!

Additionally, is anyone else eager for fall? I must ask, because to me, Labor Day is the ultimate kick off to fall and all the fall decorations. I am somewhat reminded of one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, in the beginning when Joe and Kathleen are first communicating via email. I remember them chatting about loving fall in New York City, and the great things the season brings. Having fall approaching has making Joe wanting to buy school supplies and he says that if he knew Kathleen personally, he would send her a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. Many of the comments they share in their messages I completely relate to. I suppose I do rely on a lot of movie content in my life and I do incorporate it into my daily life. My point to this aside is, I’m ready for fall! Now that school is in session (even though I do not have a school age child) there are many things to look forward to in the coming weeks and I feel like Labor Day helps pave the way for it all!

As a family we did decorate this weekend for Fall/Halloween. We didn’t do any outdoor décor yet, but we put out some fall leaves, pumpkins and put up some lights. I even picked up a new candle at one of my favorite stores for fall. It is called “Sweater Weather,” and it is delightful to say the least. I lit the candle over the weekend and it is just wonderful. There is a certain warmth and comfort that comes with all of these sights and smells.

We also made it a point to purposefully rest this weekend. Over the last several weeks we have definitely been spread thin and our immune systems were not quite up to par. There have been many working hours- more than usual, the excitement of a brief weekend getaway to visit Kellie, Brett and Riley and everything else in between. Needless to say, we needed some sleep-in and down-time relaxation. We were able to sit outside for brunches and dinner and enjoy the beautiful days and nights in the yard. On Monday evening we had a special treat to eat outside under the canopy while it was raining. The smell of fresh rain and listening to it fall while eating was amazing. The food definitely tasted more amazing! Although there was a certain amount of daily “to-dos” and such it was nice to not have the typical strict agenda and to enjoy one another.

Chatting with Mom off and on we were reminded about how much we enjoy baking many of our “fall-favorite” goodies and we put those on our list of yummies to eat and bake. I am looking forward to sharing some of our favorites with you! Our local state fair is also coming to town this week for a couple of weeks so we were talking about taking Emie again this year. You can count on exciting stories from that journey too!

Well, I am going to sign off for today. I would love to hear about your long weekend and what you are most looking forward to this fall. Thank you for coming by and reading today. I look forward to visiting with you again soon! Make today a wonderful day with renewed minds and spirits- we serve such an awesome God and He blesses us with new opportunities to better serve Him each day.