Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Weekend!

Do you have any fun weekend plans? We are driving to Colorado (pray for safe travels) to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Forrest's family. We are looking forward to plenty of family time, beautiful Estes Park scenery and eating lots of yummy Thanksgiving food!

Have a happy and safe weekend, and, in the meantime, here are some fun links around the web...

I admire this woman's bravery in confronting the hateful things people were saying about her.

Catching Fur - I don't know, it might give Catching Fire a run for its money. :)

You have probably already seen the ad for GoldieBlox, but just in case you haven't...

Speaking of ads, this one is crazy!!!!

Haha! I hope Forrest and I do stuff like this when Juniper is older.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Drips & Trips

Seems like everything is leaking over here. And by everything I mean the sky and Juniper's nose. While I love a rainy day, I do not particularly care for a drippy nose especially when our holiday trip to Colorado is right around the corner.

Whenever we take a trip I tend to go overboard with the planning and preparation. For example, we leave on Friday so this is what my week looks like...

Monday - Laundry
Tuesday - Grocery shop
Wednesday - Clean house & car
Thursday - Pack & prepare snacks

I don't know about you, but when I travel I like to snack... a lot. Since we are trying to make healthy choices, I didn't want the car to be an excuse to eat Oreos and Cheez-Its. I found a lot of great ideas from the website, 100 Days of Real Food and then some ideas that are variations of what we eat everyday. Here is a list of what we'll be munching on from Idaho to Colorado!

Cheese & Triscuits (did you know there are just a handful of ingredients in Triscuits??)
Carrot Sticks
Peanut Butter
Homemade Granola
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (our sweet tooth indulgence!)
Roast beef sandwiches
La Croix

There you have it! What are some of your travel go-to snacks? I'd love to hear.

My kitchen helpers (ha)

Because everything is better in a jar

PS - The posts might be a little more infrequent over the next two weeks. Keep checking back though because I'll be posting some Christmas gift ideas that I think you'll love. xo

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Weekend!

What are your weekend plans? Forrest has class all weekend and Juniper and I have a Christmas shopping trip planned.

As usual, here are some links for your clicking entertainment...

I'll admit, I'm intrigued.

Mom, I like this color. (hint: buy a cheaper brand :))

Ten True Things About the First Year of Parenthood. I really love this blog, especially because she is from Portland and her daughter was born around the same time as Juniper.

 I totally got choked up at this.

A chalkboard wall is such a brilliant idea for a kids room!

I wouldn't mind this book for Christmas. :)

Do you watch Parenthood? The episodes lately are so dramatic...and I love it!

Finally, for your viewing pleasure...

please ignore my ridiculous laugh

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eating Healthy - The Second Step

Last week we heard from Laura Chapman about the first step to eating healthy. Today she is back to continue the conversation as well as offer some surprising and encouraging advice. Enjoy! xo

Image by Icatus

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Motherhood is exhausting. It is mind-numbing, hair-pulling, cry-my-eyes-out exhausting.

It is also beautiful, life changing, and the most wonderful job I have ever had. My heart swells when I see Juniper's eyes light up over a favorite book previously forgotten, over the tinkle of bells, and over the sight of my face or Forrest's. Her wobbly steps are getting more bold and her jibber jabber fills the house - even at 6am. She is a light and a joy - as well as a terror. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


This happened on Saturday...

We have already decided we'll retake the class when it is offered in January. I am hoping that friendly exchanges with other moms will turn into play dates and coffee dates. Plus, Juniper didn't blow one bubble so I think it wouldn't hurt to keep working at it.


This tea is my new best friend. It is mild and comforting. Sweet but not cloying. A perfect way to end the day cozied up with either a good book or a knitting project (more on the latter later).

Image retrieved from here

I am lonely. Little things remind me of friendships that are states away - things like Catching Fire and the coming holiday season. Pictures fill my Instagram feed of friends laughing and spending time together and I just keep thinking - I should be there, but I'm here.

I'm trying, I'm really trying to put myself out there and make some gal-pals. But, it's hard, you know? Most of the women I have met are Mormon and I know I could/should get over my fear that somehow they'll convert me but something just holds me back.

We are the youngest couple by about ten years at our church and we love the opportunity to learn and socialize with the wiser and older crowd, but are we sacrificing something by not going to the church that is cool and has people our age? Is Juniper socialized enough by weekly story times and occasional cousin play dates? So many questions, so few answers.

Even though I am lonely, I am not depressed. My marriage gets sweeter every day, my daughter makes me laugh (and cry), friends that are states away pursue me through weekly phone calls and messages, and family is just a Skype call away. This season, this new place is teaching me contentment in all situations and my eyes are opened daily to the blessings present in my life.

Thank you for listening, for reading. What are some of your lately's?


Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Weekend

Hard to believe this was a year ago

What are your weekend plans? We have our last swim class (sniff) and piles of leaves that need to be transferred to black trash bags. Fun! I'm also planning on whipping up a batch of these.

If you're in a browsing mood, here are some fun links around the web... 

Who doesn't love Jennifer Lawrence?! She's amazing.

Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, I can't wait for Catching Fire to come out!! Will you go see it?

Speaking of movies (sorry), I also really want to see Ender's Game. The book is so good.

"The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity."

Have you read my friend Amy's blog? It's hilarious and thoughtful. I love it.

Happy weekend!



Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Goodness of Sauce


The baby is asleep.
The sky is gray.
A hot cup of tea is beside me (Honey Vanilla Chamomile by Celestial Seasonings).
Dinner is already in the works.

I am so thankful for a quiet moment in the afternoon which are few and far between in the Johnson household. Part of the reason I am grateful has to do with a very yummy sauce that I have been meaning to tell you about.

As you already know, I make a big pot of beans fairly regularly around here. It is cheap, a good source of protein and everyone from the baby to the husband likes it. Plus, there are so many variations - beans & rice, enchiladas, burritos, chili, etc, etc.

However, here's the thing: sometimes I feel that black beans and rice is, well, bland. Even if I doctor it up with some avocado, cheese, and salsa, I still get the feeling that this is a poor man's dinner.

There is a place in Portland called The Whole Bowl which serves a bean and rice dish but it is anything but ordinary and poor feeling. I think it has to do with their sauce. I found a recipe for the sauce back when we were living in Portland, so this past week I wanted to find it again and recreate it. But, here's the thing: there is also a place in Portland called Cafe Yumm! and they have a special sauce too. For some reason, I googled Yumm sauce instead of Whole Bowl sauce.

I'm actually really, really glad I did.

The Yumm sauce is a little tart (from the lemons) and a little savory (from the garlic and spices) and it is heavenly on a plain old beans and rice bowl. In fact, it elevates the plain old beans and rice bowl to oh-my-gosh-I-could-actually-eat-this-for-every-meal-bowl.

The ingredients are simple and cheap which keep this meal in a lovely price range.

I hope you try it and love it as much as we do.

Yumm Sauce
adapted from the Original Yumm Sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup almond meal or finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/4 cup cooked soybeans or 1/3 cup tofu*
1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro

Just put everything into your blender, food processor, magic bullet - whatever you've got, use it - and blend.

*I couldn't find soybeans at Winco and I loathe tofu, so I just added a few more garbanzo beans and it tasted fine.

One more thing, I couldn't find out how long this stuff is good for. I'm guessing a week in the refrigerator. Any other guesses?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Eating Healthy - The First Step

I am really excited about a new series of posts here at The Little Reviewer. Over the next several weeks, we'll be talking about healthy eating. 

The author of these posts is my friend of ten years, Laura Rice Chapman. I mentioned her once before, and I am one of her biggest fans (no really, I am). She is a wife, a mom (of two dogs), a friend, a doula and a nurse. She is also an inspiration and example of healthy living.

I hope you enjoy her story and thoughts on healthy living. xo - Elizabeth

Monday, November 4, 2013

13 Months

Juniper turned 13 months on Friday, and I want to tell you some of the funny stuff she's up to these days.

The church that we (finally) decided to attend here in Pocatello has a less than desirable nursery situation, so Juniper stays with us. We usually start the service in the sanctuary (at the very back) and sneak out near the sermon to hang out in the upstairs cry room which has some toys, comfortable chairs, and space to crawl around. Well, this Sunday we were in the sanctuary and the choir had just finished singing a song that was basically the word "amen" over and over. When they finished, Juniper sang out her own amen. It was precious but also hilarious, and I couldn't stop laughing. She has never said "amen" before and I was pretty sure that everyone heard it because her little voice echoed throughout the room. After the service, people kept coming up to us to say how wonderful and delightful it was to hear her singing. Since we are the youngest family there (by a good 10-15 years) I was relieved that everyone was so positive and happy by Juniper's singing and babbling.


Every night Juniper takes a bath. While she certainly doesn't need a bath every day, it is a nice way to segue into bedtime. Anyway, for her birthday she got all kinds of fun bath toys - thanks, Aunt Annika - including a small basketball hoop and three balls. As you might have guessed, Forrest loves shooting hoops with Juni but it is usually him making baskets and Juniper watching. Recently, however, she has started putting the ball into the hoop and then watching as we cheer like crazy people. I'm talking about waving our arms in the air, shaking our heads and screaming "yes!" Crazy people, that's us.


Sometimes after a nap, Juniper and I will cuddle on the couch together. Lately, she will hold my face in her hands and put her cheek to my face. Sigh. I love those moments.


She is getting so feisty and independent. No walking yet, but I think it's coming pretty soon. Sometimes I just want to freeze these moments, but it is so fun to watch her grow and learn about the world around her.