Chai Green Tea Smoothie

Welcome to my 20th blog post!

I had a friend request that I come up with a healthy chai latte recipe. Admittedly, I do not drink chai lattes too often. There are already so many good recipes for a vegan chai latte, so I decided to take the request and adapt it to my own morning routine. *I may decide to come up with my own latte recipe in the future, but I’ll have to think of something creative since it has been done so many times before.

My morning routine consists of vitamins, probiotics, and some kind of smoothie. My smoothie is usually made up of almond milk, maca, and either superfood powder, protein powder, or both. It’s nice to mix things up once in a while, which is why I am so excited to share this recipe.

If you like chai, this is the smoothie recipe for you. I combine chai spices with a matcha tea powder for a refreshing and energizing boost to any morning.

*Continue reading after the recipe to see my coffee hutch repurpose and to learn some new repurposing tips*

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Chai Green Tea Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Matcha powder
  • 1 tsp Chai spice (Chai spice recipe below)
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp Almond butter or Peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp Agave Nectar

(Additional options: – Vanilla protein Powder – Super green powder – Kale – Ect.)

Chai Spice Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Allspice
  • 1/2 tbsp Ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp Nutmeg

*Mix all the spices together and store in a container.

Directions:

Add all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until homogenous.

Enjoy!

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 A Trash to Treasure Hutch Repurpose

Back in November, my hubby brought home an old hutch for me to repurpose. It was so incredibly thoughtful for so many reasons. I tend to suffer from seasonal depression and keeping my hands busy on this hutch all winter was so helpful for fighting the winter blues. I can’t thank my hubby enough.

Here are the before and after images and the steps I took to give this beautiful piece of furniture life again. I decided to turn it into a beverage hutch… mostly for coffee and tea.

Step one was to detach the hardware and clean up the surfaces. There was also some really gross contact paper from the 1970’s in the drawers.

The next step was to strip off the varnish and the wood stain underneath. I Googled and used Pinterest for the best ways to do this. Most professionals unanimously agree that Citristrip is the best product for stripping varnish (Citristrip did not pay me to advertise their product. This is just my best recommendation.).

Unfortunatly, I discovered a layer of green paint underneath the varnish and stain. Really? Who uses woodstain over paint?! So I had to use the Citristrip a second time. The stripping agent worked very well. I was able to remove all of the layers.

  • Place a tarp on the ground before starting. This process is very messy!
  • Wear protective gloves. You do not want to get this stuff on your hand.
  • Brush a generous layer of Citristrip onto the surface, let it sit for about two hours.
  • Use a putty knife or a scraper to remove the varnish.
  • I also used a small wire brush to remove anything in grooves and cracks.
  • Keep a garbage bag and paper towels handy for clean up

There was a very sticky film left on my hutch after stripping and I couldn’t seem to clean it off with water or sand it down (it would just get caked onto the sand paper). So I went back to Google and found that Denatured Alcohol works very well for cleaning off stripped wood.                                                                         20171219_164759896058920.jpg

– Use gloves, a glass bowl and steel wool

– Wearing the gloves, pour the Denatured Alcohol into the glass bowl.

– Dip the steel wool into the Alcohol, let it soak and then scrub the wood. The alcohol evaporates very quickly but you can always use paper towels to wipe away excess moisture and grime.

*Denatured Alcohol is highly poisonous. Keep away from animals and children. Keep your hands protected.

After the wood is cleaned off, sand down for an extra smooth and clean surface. I used the alcohol again to clean the sawdust off the surface.

Hutch after it's been stripped

After a lot of elbow grease, my hutch was finally ready for it’s makeover. I hit Google again to try to find the best paint for wood furniture repurpose. I really did find THE BEST paint, General Finishes Milk Paint. (General Finishes did not pay for this advertisment. This is just my best recommendation. Although, this paint is so amazing that I would gladly advertise for them if they ever asked.) This paint is smooth and clean. It has the chalky finish of chalk paint, but it goes on more like a stain. I didn’t want to lose that beautiful chalky finish but I wanted to add a protective coat knowing that this hutch would see a lot of activity.  I ordered General Finishes Flat out Flat, another great product! It gives my hutch the protection it needs without taking away from the chalky finish that makes it so beautiful.

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I also added a wood stain and stencil to the countertop of the hutch. Click on the picture to read about how to revamp your old tired furniture by adding a fun stencil.

Now for the fun part, embelishments. Copper is very trendy right now and I am all about it, so I went with copper details. Copper ceiling tiles for the backboard as well as copper hindges and knobs!

Lastly I added a decorative molding piece (Found at the craft store) to the center. Then it was finally time to add it to my kitchen.

Completed repurposed hutch

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This has been my biggest repurposing project yet. It came out exactly how I imagined it should look. What a great feeling to put a lot of energy and time into doing something right and have it be a success. I have a lot of ideas for future repurposing projects and now I know how great it can be for dealing with the winter blues!

 

SW Sweet Potato Hors d’oeuvres

First of all, my apologies for not updating my blog in over a month, I have really missed it! My February calendar was packed and then my oven broke, also breaking my heart a little. I had to make stove-top dinners for two weeks! Good thing my hubby and I love stir-fry.

I am excited to share this week’s recipe because I’m not just sharing one recipe; I am sharing three recipes that when put together, make one delicious appetizer. You can take one of the recipes and try it alone if you wish too.

I feel like I am constantly saying, “Oh that food is my favorite!”; I say it so often and about so many different kinds of food that I honestly don’t even know what my true favorite is anymore. I bring this confession up because I love southwestern food! I always have, when I was a kid I tried to put salsa and ranch on everything! Then I discovered guacamole and a whole new love affair was born. This recipe is a southwestern style hors d’oeuvre with all of those wonderful flavors I’ve loved since I was a child.

*Keep scrolling to read about my visit to The Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.

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Southwestern Sweet Potato Hors d’oeuvres

Prep time: 30 – 35 minutes (unless you have a chopper or food slicer, that’ll cut your time in half.)

Makes 30 – 40 (a rough estimate because it depends on the size of the sweet potato)
Hors d’oeuvres Ingredients:

  • 3 log shaped sweet potatoes (This is my recommendation if you want all your hors d’oeuvres to resemble the same size.)
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil or cooking spray

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 vine ripe tomato seeded and chopped
  • half a red onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and loosely chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. of finely chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste

Pico de gallo Ingredients:

  • 3 vine tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • half a red onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and finely chopped
  • juice from half a lime
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt and garlic to taste

Directions:

  1. Set the oven heat to 450º and grease 1-2 baking sheets in olive oil or cooking spray
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes 1/8 inch thick and place them flat on the baking sheets
  3. When the oven is ready, place the baking sheets in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes pull out the baking sheets and flip the potato slices. Then, place back into the oven and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, you want them to get tender, but not crispy or burned.
  4. While the sweet potatoes are baking, make the guacamole and pico de gallo (instructions below).
  5. Assembling: Place the sweet potato slices on your serving platter. Add a dollop of guacamole to each slice, then top the guacamole with a teaspoon of Pico de gallo. If you’re entertaining and want the hors d’oeuvres to look even fancier, garnish with fresh cilantro.

*Always be prepared. You may just find you have left over guacamole and/or pico de gallo, imagine the possibilities! Tacos, burritos or southwest salad!!! Or maybe a yummy snack with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Guacamole Directions:

  1. Prepare the ingredients (i.e. chopping)
  2. In a food processor add minced garlic, cilantro, and jalapeño. Blend on high for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the avocados. The best way to do this is to slice vertically (avoid slicing through the seed), then squeeze the avocado into the processor (when you squeeze a ripe avocado the seed should pop right out.). Also add the lime juice squeezed from a whole lime and a pinch of salt. Blend in the processor until it is creamy and smooth.
  4. Transfer the avocado mixture to a bowl ( can be a serving bowl or a storage container).
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and chopped red onion. Fold them into the avocado mixture. Adjust the taste with a little more salt or lime juice.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately.

*Even with the lime juice, guacamole does not last long. You’ll want to eat this within one to two days.
Directions for the Pico de gallo:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and toss until the tomatoes and onions are coated evenly. Adjust taste to your liking.

*We love spicy food in our house, which is why I use Jalapeño. But if you are sensitive to spicy foods you can still make these recipes delicious and to your liking. Leave out the Jalapeño. Leave as is or add whatever you want.I recommend adding some cubed mango to the Pico de gallo. Mango is such a good complement to southwestern foods.

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The Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

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The Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a real treasure that can be found in one of the most unexpected places; In the middle of nowhere, tucked between the valley of the surrounding mountains of western Montana. I had come across gorgeous pictures of this place a few years ago and knew it was going to be one of those places I just had to visit and see with my own eyes. My hubby and I recently made the decision to leave Montana within the year, so I honestly never thought I’d get the chance to visit the garden.

My friend and I had an engagement that took us to western Montana, to a town only 20 minutes away from the Ewan Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. When we were done with our engagement, I convinced her that this was a place she would not regret visiting.

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Here is an excerpt from their website http://www.ewambuddhagarden.org/on the purpose of this special place.

“Dedicated as an International Peace Center, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas supports people in cultivating inner peace and in preserving the ancient culture of Tibet. The mission of the Garden is to provide visitors of all faiths with an opportunity to generate profound merit, to reduce global negativities, and to bring about lasting peace. Through the use of the ancient symbols of Buddhism, the Garden awakens one’s natural inner qualities of joy, wisdom, and compassion.” – the Ewam Buddha Garden website.

I am not a Buddhist, but I have studied Buddhism a bit and I have so much respect for their culture and beliefs. Most of my favorite quotes come from the Dalai Lama himself.

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.” – Dalai Lama

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When we pulled up, they hadn’t yet opened their gates. So we sat and patiently waited while one of the kind workers came to open the gate and welcome us. I am already completely in love with the mountains and the mountains surround the garden were breath taking. It is the perfect place to find peace.

It was a chilly day with lots of snow and ice on the ground. The meditation pond was frozen over. There was a thick fog rolling in over the mountains and yet it was stunning. I didn’t care that my fingers and toes were starting to freeze, I just drank in the sights. I can’t imagine the kind of beauty inside and out of the garden during late spring and summer.

Here are some more sights from the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.

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Irish soda bread

Last year I made Irish soda bread for the first time and I really enjoyed it. It’s not sweet like corn bread, but it does have a subtle sweetness to it; which allows it to be used in a variety of ways. It get’s its name from the baking soda in it that is used as leavening agent instead of traditional yeast. It also bakes faster than yeast bread.

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My favorite way to eat Irish soda bread is with either a hearty vegetable stew or chili. It makes for some great comfort food; especially while being cooped up inside during a long freezing winter.

Another yummy way to enjoy it is toasted with a generous spread of marmalade or peanut butter. My hubby will even just eat it plain for a snack. What is your favorite way to eat Irish Soda Bread?

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 TBS of raw sugar
  • 4 TBS of vegan butter (Melted)
  • 1 flax egg ( 1 TBS ground flax seed + 2.5 TBS of water. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of vegan buttermilk ( 1 1/2 Cups of almond milk mixed with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes)

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 425º and grease a 9” round baking dish.
    2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar. Once the dry ingredients are all mixed in, make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients to the well and then begin to fold it into a dough with either a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
    3. Once the ingredients are mixed in, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until the dough has completely come together. Then form the dough into a ball.
    4. Place the dough onto the prepared baking pan and score an X (about a half inch thick) through the top center with a knife. Sprinkle a dusting of flour on top.
    5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350º and bake for another 40 minutes. You want the final color to be a golden brown.
    6. Let cool and enjoy!

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Sweet potato breakfast

Have you ever tried a baked sweet potato for breakfast? I love making all kinds of stuffed sweet potatoes. One the favorites in our house is a south western sweet potato; I bake the sweet potatoes and then fill them with all of our favorite taco fixings.

I wanted to try something new for breakfast and I’ll admit this isn’t an original idea of mine. I saw several other vegan bloggers posting delicious pictures of their sweet potato breakfast. But maybe some of my reader don’t follow hundreds of other vegan bloggers like I do. So I tried my own and it was so good. Very filling! I thought I’d share this clever idea and maybe you’ll have something new to try. Because trying new things is good for you!

*In my recipe I give suggested toppings, but like pancakes the choices for what you want on your sweet potato are infinite.

breakfast baked potato

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato (per person)

Toppings shown:

  • Maple syrup
  • peanut butter
  • banana slices
  • blueberries
  • pumpkin seeds
  • chia seeds

Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 400° F.
    2. Pierce each sweet potato along each opposing side with a fork or a knife. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    3. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Once tender take out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
    4. Once the sweet potato is cool enough to handle slice open down the center. And scrape the insides with a fork to break it up and allow the toppings to settle in the potato.
    5. Drizzle with maple syrup or agave for some extra sweetness
    6. Add your desired toppings.
    7. Enjoy!

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What friendship looks like to an introvert.

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I have always been a shy person, but I haven’t always been an introvert. I became an introvert when person after person I opened myself up to began to burn me and judge me for the things I’d say or the things they knew about me.

Moving across the country to Montana, away from all I’d ever known was especially hard. I had the same close friends since I was 2 and 5 years old, Karen and Cody. I had other friends growing up, but those two girls were my go to. So many friends come and go while you’re a kid or a teenager. Sometimes people move away, sometimes you grow apart, and unfortunately sometimes you get burned. But these two were always there for me and I hope they can say the same about me.

In Montana, I found myself in the middle of a whole new terrain, at 25 years old and not really knowing how to go out of my way to strike up new friendships.

Introverts don’t desire to have as many friends as they can possibly have. Most probably wouldn’t even want as many as ten. They desire a few intimate friendships, confidants, someone they can feel safe to be themselves with and this kind of relationship takes a lot of energy and time. I know I’ve spent months, even years keeping people at arms length while feeling out for a potential friend. All the while wondering “Can I trust this person? Will they stick around or get bored and dump me?” Introverts are typically uncomfortable with surface relationships. Small talk can be especially painful. It pains me that people probably think I don’t like them, when really I am just awkward as hell.

Allowing a person to get to know me is terrifying, but for good reason. Example, I’ve only lived in Montana for 5 years and in that short time have already been burned by multiple people. Maybe they didn’t mean to hurt me, but when I open myself up to someone it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. It’s a big deal for me and if I thought I had a friend when I really didn’t, it leaves me feeling bitter and I tend to hid away for a while to heal before I go back and give someone else a try.

It’s not all just about trusting people. Fact of the matter is, I love my animals and my hubby and 99% of the time I would rather stay in with them than be around other people. In the rare occasion I am at a party in someone’s home, I typically hang out with their pets. Animals don’t play mind games and they’re good company.

*I need to mention that not every introvert will be able to relate to my story. Everyone has their own reasons for being who they are. My husband for example is also an introvert, but he is not shy. He is simply an introvert because he doesn’t really like people. He has very high standards and a very low tolerance for certain personalities.

So what does friendship look like through the heart of this introvert?

  • Being consistent is a huge start.
  • Being included and remembered. Everyone likes to feel included, but I have spent years at a time feeling like I was invisible and could disappear and no one would ever notice.
  • Don’t assume if I’ve turned down an offer to hang out,that I don’t ever want to. Sometimes it’s scary to leave my house (did you know there are people outside?).
  • Share your interests and respect my own.
  • Spending either one on one time together or in a small group. If the group exceeds 4 I am just going to act like I am invisible and think of a way out. If we do go out with a large group, don’t forget that I am there too! If the relationship is new, don’t expect to get to know me around a large group.
  • If I ask you to do something and you turn me down several times in a row, I’m out. Asking anyone do to something is outside of my comfort zone, I can only take so much rejection before I “get the hint”.
  • If I let you into my home, you’re a shoo-in. My home is my safe place, a judgment free zone and I have welcomed you into my safe place. It’s a big fricken deal. The biggest element of friendship for this introvert is when I get to a place in our friendship where I finally feel safe enough to relax and be myself. In other words, I’ve let my guard down. If you’ve been welcomed into my home, it probably coincides with letting my guard down.

Introverts have a lot to offer in friendship. If you can be patient and understanding long enough to earn the trust of an introvert, you will be blessed with a loyal and loving confidant. Someone who fits the true meaning of a best friend.

Classic pancakes and furry children

I love foods that are versatile. It makes it really nice for meal planning when you can keep making a favorite recipe and just play around with the flavors or ingredients a little bit to keep it interesting. And what is more versatile than pancakes? There are infinite ways to eat pancakes, but like with all versatile recipes you’ve got to start with a base first.

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My hubby and I eat pancakes just about every Sunday. It’s one of my favorite times of the week. Here is my classic pancake recipe that I make most often. It is like a blank canvas, now all you have to do is decide what you want to top them with. If you need an idea or want to try something new, I added a very simple recipe for a blueberry yogurt sauce.

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Classic Pancakes (vegan) + Blueberry Sauce

Makes 9-10 with a 1/4 measuring cup for a scoop

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Cups nut milk
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for the blueberry sauce:

  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 container of vanilla dairy-free yogurt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl use a sifter while adding the dry ingredients.
  2. Blend the dry ingredients then make a well in the center.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the well and whisk together with the dry ingredients.
  4. Place a frying pan on the stove at medium heat. Once heated add coconut oil or nonstick spray to the pan (REPEAT this step before every pancake).
  5. My suggested pancake scoop is a 1/4 measuring cup. For larger pancakes, use a larger cup.
  6. Pour the batter in the center of the pan. Wait 2-3 minutes, bubbles should start to appear in the batter. As soon as you see a bubble near or in the center of the pancake, it’s time to flip it. Let the other side cook for about 1 minute and it should be done.
  7. Top with desired toppings

Directions for the blueberry sauce:

  1. Add the yogurt and blueberries to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and pour on top of you pancakes.
  3. Enjoy!

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My Furry Children

Many people don’t know this about me, but for the sake of openness and relatability I will share. I cannot have children of my own without the help of special medication (I paused a really long time after typing that… Is this really something I want to share? Yes, I shared this for all of you struggling with infertility, you are not alone.). So aside from the fact that I already adore and respect animals, I truly consider my “pets” to be more like my children. I’d do anything for them. They are so faithful and giving. They love me unconditionally. If I am having a bad day, they are there for me. In fact they have been there for me in more ways than I could ever express. In some ways they’ve even helped save my life.

There may come a day when my hubby and I feel ready to shell out the cash to have a biological child or consider adoption, but for now we are more than happy to share our family and home with these four amazing furbabies. Allow me to introduce them.

Meet Harry Hopper

Harry Hopper

Harry came to us about a year ago and yes he is named after Harry Potter. He started his life at a petting zoo (which anyone who is familiar with rabbits knows what a traumatic experience that must have been for him.). Then he was sold to a rabbit breeder, who soon after adopted him out or sold him (idk) to a kindergarten classroom. I work at the school where he was the kindergarten class pet. He was still fairly small the first time I saw him at school, so he was exchanged quite a bit for the first year of his life. He spent quite a few months as the class pet. Then, knowing my love for animals I was approached about rabbit sitting while the teacher was out of town. I happily obliged.

We had a wonderful week, he got along with our kitties and was enjoying all the space to hop and jump around. When it was time for him to go back to school, it was expressed to me that he’d become a little more of a handful than expected and I was informed that he would be spending most of his time in his cage and weekends alone at school. This broke my heart. I happily offered to adopt Harry.

Neither me nor my husband had ever had a pet rabbit before. We were two cat people deep in a whole new terrain. Having a rabbit is a lot like having a puppy. They pee and poop everywhere, they dig at carpets, they chew on furniture, remote buttons, cords and clothes. But like puppies, they can be trained (FYI: they have to be spayed or neutered first.).

We got Harry neutered almost immediately and then started potty training shortly after. We decided “who needs a dinning room?” and my hubby built him a large 7’x5′ playpen. He’s out of his pen while we’re home to mingle with the rest of the family.

In the beginning, Harry did not like to be picked up. He would jump if he even thought I was going to pick him up and then once I would get a hold of him he would frantically fight his way out of my arms (for months I had scratches all over my arms). After several months of building a trusting relationship, I can honestly say that now Harry actually looks forward to me picking him up. We even have a morning routine, I greet him at the door of his pen every day and scoop him up. He nuzzles his face into my neck and we hug for a short while.

I love this little guy, he has taught me so much, and I am so happy to be able to give him a safe home and a family.Soaking up the sun

Meet Gimli

Gimli is the newest member of our family and yes, he is named after a dwarf from “The Lord of the Rings”. We adopted Gimli when he was just a month old. We adopted him with the hopes that he and Harry could become companions. We were concerned that Harry was feeling lonely. Nearly ten months later they still have not bonded and we have to keep them separated at all times or they will fight.

Gimli was neutered when he was 6 months old and we waited a month for his hormones to level out and then we tried to slowly introduce him to Harry. It went horribly and every attempt since has been just as ugly. Poor Harry is so submissive and patient (he so badly wants a roommate) and Gimli is just out for blood.

Gimli himself is a wonderful little rabbit. He is so sweet and loving. He’s also very clever. My hubby built him a large pen like Harrys and he has figured out at least a half a dozen ways to escape. He can also be mischievous and feisty at times, but he is learning. He’s our binkier (if you don’t know what a bunny binky is, go look it up on YouTube. It is adorable.). When it’s his turn to be able to run around the house, he’s all over the place! He loves running back and forth at top speed, got to get that exercise. But don’t take your eye’s off him! Trouble.

While it has been incredibly frustrating that he won’t bond with Harry, we’re hoping with a little maturing and time he will learn to accept Harry. I certainly won’t give up on him. *If you’ve ever bonded two rabbits successfully I would love some advise.

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Meet our twins Haylie-May & Butters

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We adopted Haylie and Butters over six years ago during our first year of marriage and believe it or not, they are from the same litter. It’s hard to put into words what these two mean to my hubby and I because they literally mean the world to us. They have been through so much with us. When we moved from New York to Montana, I refused to leave them behind, so they and my other kitty at the time (who has since passed on… ♥) made the 1700 mile road trip with me. They’ve moved six times with us, that’s nearly once per year they’ve been alive. They’ve lived in small cramped houses and they’ve lived in big nice houses. They’ve helped us through so many trying times and have even had to endure some themselves, from freezing temperatures (because of a broken heater) to numerous surgeries. There is such a bond between us I can’t gush about them enough, but I will certainly try.

Haylie-May

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Haylie-May is our little sweetie pie and chatter box and my only girl (We have to stick together.). When we brought her home for the first time she was just a little ball of poof.

Haylie has the spirit of a natural nurturer. She loves all the other animals, she gives them all kisses. She’s never scratches or gives my hubby and I attitude. She loves children, whenever we have little visitors she beelines straight for the door to greet them.

She’s only done it for me a couple of times, but she gives my hubby back messages all the time! I get so jealous, but she really has a soft spot for him. She’s a daddy’s girl. Her routine with me is to always be the first one to greet me when I come home and she’ll lay down in front of me and ask for belly rubs. Our cats are not like other cats, they LOVE belly rubs! They can’t get enough of them.

A unique characteristic about Haylie is her fluffy toes. It’s like she has hobbit feet. It is also like she is always earing socks, so this makes her kind of clumsy sometimes. When she’s running too fast she’ll skid across the floor as she tries to come to a halt. And sometimes she slips if she’s running too fast up her cat tree.

To an outsider it may seem odd to say that Haylie has a great sense of humor, but she makes me laugh on a daily basis. It’s a telepathic understanding and with just one look we both get it. She always brightens my day!

Butters

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The biggest baby in the house is Butters. No one ever told him to grow up and stop being a kitten, so he never did. He is the embodiment of innocence. As our most photogenic baby it could be misinterpreted that he is the favorite. As a mommy I do not have favorites. But there is no doubt that I am Butters favorite (hubby is in denial.), he is the biggest mommy’s boy and honors me with unyielding love and attention every day.

Butters is the most peculiar cat I have ever encountered. First of all, he has thumbs. I realize that’s a fairly common occurrence for cats, but he will actually use his thumbs to pick up toys.

When we adopted him he had a strange head tilt, that we found out soon after we brought him home, was from an unattended ear infection. With antibiotics and ear drops his head tilt eventually went away.

Butters also has a very rare condition called Stomatitis, which means he is allergic to his own teeth (roots and all). It was clearly causing him a lot of pain, so the vet recommended his teeth be removed. It was really scary and heart breaking to do, but he’s no longer in pain from it and we won’t have to worry about infections spreading into his throat. Now we call him our gummy bear.

Butters has so many quirks it’s difficult to figure out which ones to share and which to not. He is just so wonderfully odd and really uncat-like. For example, he has the heaviest feet, cats are known for their stealth quiet nature,  but you can hear Butters walking around in the next room.

More than anything, Butters loves to snuggle. I can not sit down without him crawling onto my lap within a minute or two. He can never seem to get close enough either; during weekend mornings, when we sleep in he will literally wrap his body around my head. He’s even tried to wrap himself around my face.

The secret to getting butters to fall asleep is to rub his belly. It’s a nightly ritual. He has his own bed above my pillow. He crawls into his bed when I crawl into mine and I rub his belly until he falls asleep. When we travel away from home, I’ll sleep with my hand above my head without even thinking about it, subconsciously wishing Butters was with me.

I could type on and on about how this little guy brings so much joy into our lives. He just has so much love to give and I am so blessed to be his mama.

Some more snaps of my furbabies

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