April 15, 2014

Crock-Pot Chai Tea

I know many of you love the Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate Recipe, I do too. It's my go to crowd pleaser. I can remember helping my mom with a holiday breakfast she was planning. She realized she didn't really have a way to fix a large amount of coffee. So we made Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate and poured in a pot of coffee in place of some of the water. It was yummy!

This Chai Tea recipe comes from the idea that if I could make Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate why couldn't I make Crock-pot Chai Tea. I love a good cup of Chai Tea but I'm kinda picky about it. I don't want it to be too spicy and I like it sweet. One chilly night some friends were coming over and I wanted to make something warm but different than the hot chocolate. I began researching homemade Chai tea and I decided to combine a couple ideas, omit a few spices and put it all in the crock-pot.
It actually worked and it was good. I served the Chai Tea in some of my great grandmothers tea cups. It's not everyday that I get to use these cups, plus it's always nice for your guests to feel like royalty every once in a while. They were tiny cups so multiple refills were required.

This Chai Tea is super simple to make. The main flavoring came from cardamom, cinnamon sticks and ginger. If you like a spicier tea you can add peppercorn. I used vanilla tea bags but realized after an hour or so that it wasn't looking like Chai Tea so I added a few black tea bags as well. Bits of the tea and spice did end up floating around so I used a small strainer to strain each cup of tea. You could just strain all the tea at once and transfer it to another container. Also this tea is awesome chilled. I had some leftover so I put it in a pitcher in the fridge. It didn't last long. Here's the detailed recipe:

April 10, 2014

This will make you smile

We recently fostered some puppies for a couple nights, you might have seen quite a few pictures on my Instagram feed. These puppies were just too cute not to share. Originally we thought we would just foster one puppy since we already have two big dogs but the rescue had 2 sisters that shouldn't be separated yet. If they have siblings they like to keep them in pairs as long as possible so they can comfort each other. 
This rescue program is such a great idea. A lot of puppies come from other states that have kill shelters meaning if they are there over a certain period of time they will just be killed. Volunteers foster the puppies until adoption day where most of them get adopted because they are just too irresistible. If they aren't adopted a new family fosters again until the next adoption day. If you're in the market to get a puppy you should see if there is a program in your area to volunteer for. It's a great way to see which puppy would be a great fit for your family. If you're not in the market for a puppy you could at least get a puppy fix for a couple nights. 
They have those adorable pudgy bellies and make the cutest faces. Even though they're still learning where to go to the bathroom you learn their behaviors pretty quick and of course just take them out every hour at least. 
Can you tell this sister was the mischievous one? She was very active, much more talkative and always playing.
This puppy I would often loose. At first I was worried but then I realized she was just finding a quiet place to take a nap. She loved to snuggle up with shoes or under the sofa. 
Of course when I let them outside she was much more of an explorer. 
This was probably their first time being in an outdoor open space like this. They were very fascinated by the spring snow that was leftover and they loved climbing on the rocks. 
I love the way puppies run.
Blanca's teaching the puppy to sit. 
Princeton taught the puppies bad habits like how to eat plants.

The big dogs also play rough and frequently wrestle. The puppies were scared at first 
but soon they joined in the fun and wrested each other. 

By far one of the cutest things was watching them sleep and snuggle up together. 
Watching them eat was pretty cute too. They would try to fit as much of themselves in the bowl as they could. 

I wouldn't blame you if you wanted a puppy now. I was sad when we took them to adoption day but I'm happy that someone else will get to enjoy them. Don't forget to see if there's a rescue in your area you can volunteer with. It will make your heart so happy. 

April 3, 2014

Backpacking Dominguez Canyon

A couple weekends ago we took a long weekend with some friends and went backpacking. That's one of the things we were excited about moving back to Colorado for was the outdoor adventure. For me living in a city can be hard, so it's necessary that I can easily get outside and enjoy God's creation.
This trip really took it out of me. I've felt exhausted since I got back and unfortunately came down with either a head cold or allergy problems. The experience is always worth it though. I knew I wanted to share this adventure here on the blog since so many of you enjoy living vicariously through me. In case you don't know when you backpack you put everything you need to for living on your back. These packs can get heavy with shelter, clothes, food.... You hike into a wilderness area and find a spot to put your tent. These spots aren't designated campsites they are usually spots far away from signs of anyone else. The first night we actually hiked in a short distance and set up in the dark. This was our first camping spot which was more "designated."
The next day we continued hiking through the canyon for a few miles until we found a good spot to set up camp. We always try to find spots next to water and with plenty of options for wood so we can have a fire. 
This pool of water was right next to where we camped. I love these experiences because they can be challenging but most of all they are so peaceful and awe inspiring. 

Walking through this canyon was like walking through one of the most magnificent museums in the world.
Except it was free and wasn't crowded! 

It was full of colorful landscapes that outshine the most famous paintings.

We stumbled upon ancient rock carvings called petroglyphs.
There were ruins left behind from the mining days
and subtle signs of spring everywhere.
Not to mention the most interesting of rock formations.
This is the best time of the year to visit Western Colorado. The snow has melted it's not too cold and it's not too hot. Those rocks in Dominguez Canyon will really heat up in the summer.

We always leave this type of trip feel refreshed and happy. It truly is the best kind of vacation! Next time you and your family are thinking about a vacation think about a backpacking trip. There are tons of reasons why you should get out and explore the wilderness where you live but the main one is that it costs next to nothing and the experience itself is priceless.

March 20, 2014

Bring Spring Inside

I cut off some branches again this year and brought them inside, I filled a vase full of different ones. Almost a week has gone by and they are just starting to show some pink. It's so exciting to watch this process up close.
I shared this post last year but in case you missed it here's how you too can bring 
Spring inside and enjoy some blooms early. 

Are you seeing signs of Spring where you live? Today is officially the 1st day of Spring! So whether you are seeing it around you or not be encouraged you will soon. Happy 1st Day of Spring!