"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist." -Oscar Wilde

Thursday, July 11, 2013

America's Birthday

I realize the Fourth of July was a week ago, but this is literally the first chance I've had to sit down and write something. I'm a workin' girl these days. I'm not really a fan of the Fourth of July- I think people make a big deal out of it for the wrong reasons, using it as a reason to stay up late, drink, spend a lot of money on fireworks, and party with friends. This year I was able to spend the Fourth with my family, which was awesome considering last year I was working at the dog kennel.

My family and I decided to go for a hike at a beautiful state park with lots of waterfalls about an hour from our house. Leaving our house at a reasonable time is a hard thing to achieve at out house. We like to stay up late and sleep in too much. After my dad and I got up early to weed our garden with instructions that everyone was to be ready to go by noon, sure enough, we didn't get there until 3 in the afternoon, and after a late lunch, we decided to hike around a little bit.

In order to see the waterfalls, you have to hike down into a canyon, so walking up hills can't be an issue or its bad news.  After hiking down an over-populated trail to see the parks most well-known waterfall, we decided to keep hiking. Since we had just eaten lunch, we didn't take any water or food and our cell phones didn't have service. We had a map with the length of the trails and how many waterfalls were on them, so with that, we set off. Well, it turned out that the lengths of the trails on the map were incorrect, as my dad and I were able to figure out from years of running and knowing how far it feels to go a certain distance. As we walked, we kept going downhill, and although the waterfalls were pretty, after two hours of walking we started to get a little worried. 

Finally, we came to a fork in the path, and, because our two options weren't marked, we spent ten minutes or so consulting the map and finally made a decision hoping it would take us up and out. There was another group pushing a stroller that had stopped at that point too, and we passed them as we made our decision. Eventually, we knew we had made the right choice, and also heard the other group behind us as well. We made it into a game to stay in front of them because we refused to be passed by people pushing a stroller up the hills! Finally, after 3.5 hours of walking the trees started to thin, and with that, we climbed into the car and drove home. There was a lot of sleeping in the car on the way back. Even though we were tired, the hike was incredibly beautiful and the sheer power of the waterfalls is absolutely incredible!

After we made it home, the rest of the evening was just spent setting off fireworks and watching other ones. Pretty uneventful, but after the excitement of earlier that day we were about done with adventures. It was fun to spend the day with my family, and I realized how thankful I am to be home for the summer! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Balls

We're having a nice heatwave here in the Pacific Northwest, and of course I have a sweet tooth. I can't/don't want to use the oven, so I decided to try a no bake desert. Of course, I turned to Pinterest, and after being totally overwhelmed by the number of pins associated with no bake desserts, I decided to make something that was easy, with ingredients I knew were in the pantry. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

These are perfect. Sweet. Chocolate-y. Peanut butter-y. Healthy. Filling. Easy. Fast. Cheap. It doesn't get any better than that. Copy down the recipe. I'll wait while you grab a pen and paper. You won't be disappointed.

No Bake Peanut Butter Balls
(Original Source: http://www.snack-girl.com/snack/no-bake-peanut-butter-ball/)

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 peanut butter (I used crunchy, but either will work depending on what you want)
1/4 cup maple syrup
chocolate chips

Pulse oats in a food processor until flour- like. Add other ingredients and pulse in food processor until dough forms (mixing in a bowl works too!). If dough is too dry, add water or more maple syrup. After dough is mixed, mix in chocolate chips if desired. Roll the dough into golf ball size balls and enjoy!

If they last more than 10 minutes, the leftover balls can be refrigerated for a cool treat later!

Another bonus: all you need is a food processor, medium sized bowl, and a spoon. I love easy clean-ups.

You're welcome. (I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, but by the time I had a chance to take one, the balls were gone. I think they're pretty self explanatory, and there's pictures on the original post!)

Instead, in honor of the sunny weather, I think this picture is a good fit. I took it a few years ago on a beach trip with my family, and its just so beautiful. I never get tired of looking at it.