Thursday, June 30, 2016


Is blogging still a thing? I wouldn't's been a while, hasn't it? This corner of the Internet has been dark for so long I may have forgotten what I'm doing, and I often wonder, why write? Who is reading--and who cares what I have to say? Why have I been putting myself out there for so long?

My second semester of nursing school brought with it paper after paper--millions of words written late at night on mostly-boring subjects, all of which had to be carefully formatted and cited--two things that will eventually suck the soul right out of a girl. Every corrected paper came back the same--top marks for research, presentation, flow, grammar, a bunch of other boring technical stuff (except my in-text citations--I've decided I really hate APA format), and always a comment scribbled large in red, "but I can still hear your voice". So I tried my hardest to write like a robot, presenting only facts stripped of all creative thought. And finally, after enough papers, I feel like they finally stifled my voice.

The last few months I've had ideas fill my brain--it's always overflowing--usually late at night or when I'm out on the trail. I'll jot down a note on my phone or in a little journal I have, but I can't seem to turn them into anything more than just a thought. They sit there like seeds that haven't been watered. I've slowly started sorting through some of those seeds, seeing if I could make sense of them--taking time to water and find a warm spot in the sun so they can grow.

So I've been writing a little here and there--in the quiet hours of the morning, and slowly piecing together thoughts to share again. This space is so outdated and dusty--links are old and broken, there are many questions unanswered, I know. Sometimes I feel like torching the place and starting fresh.....but for now, here's a very brief update from the last 6 months. If you follow along on my instagram (@_sheenarae) then nothing is probably new to you, but for the rest of you, I present to you: 
January-June 2016 (abridged version)

Started the year in Montana, atop a frosty butte. A new semester. Hospital clinicals--placed some IVs, pulled some staples, changed bandages on an amputated leg. Watched people come out of anesthesia which is super entertaining! Gave an enema on my birthday. Yeah--I turned 33, it wasn't my favorite birthday this year--the winter was long and dark and I was like, "HOW DID I GET SO OLD?!" We climbed a lot at the gym, went south for a weekend to get on some real rock, and took advantage of all the snow--the kids are skiing like champs!
uhhhhh......haha I can't remember much.  I think there was.....snow? My head was buried in those aforementioned papers. I played weekly pond hockey with some awesome mamas in the valley. Traded my running shoes for cross country skis. We headed south again for an icy cold campout (like frost on my sleeping bag in the morning, icy cold). Jonah got glasses. Climbed some more....
Clinicals at the State Mental Hospital--I learned aLOT.....but I'm glad that's over with--phew! Robby and I took a weekend date down to St. George (more on that later). I teamed up with my friend Mike Butler and he got me lifting weights and eating waaaaayyyyyy more protein. I have been a pretty scrawny runt my whole life and I've been working hard these last few months to get stronger so I could improve my climbing--it's working! (Mike is awesome by the way if you want to reach out to him for your own weight loss/weight gain program, check out his website!) So yeah, lots of weights, more paper writing, tests. Easter was in March so I got dressed and did my hair--go me!Iwww.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comMG_0660
I took an online Statistics class that I kind of forgot to pay attention to (I need deadlines), so April was all about learning what Statistics is (still don't know), so I could ace my final and be done with it forever (did it!) Jonah turned 11 (how?!) We got some more baby chicks. I stressed out over finals. We ran away to the desert again and ate at my very favorite restaurant in the whole wide world.
I finished my first year of nursing school and didn't die! I've been out of school since early May--and it's been the BEST! I started my pre-requisites for nursing school in January 2014 and have not had a lot of time off since. The first summer I had a few classes, and then last summer I had to take my TEAS test to try and get into my program, and then I had to apply, interview, stress stress stress. Then I got IN, and had exactly one million things to do over the summer to get ready for school to start--it never felt like a true vacation with all the deadlines weighing me down. So these last few summer weeks have been nothing short of the best days ever. I've been running, biking, climbing, camping, trying to keep the weeds from taking over my garden (it's impossible), and just hanging out with my family. Robby and I see each other again--our school/work schedules were so conflicting I felt like we would sometimes just wave in passing, but now we even go on real live dates.
Kids out of school! We've been to the desert, I took the kids to Montana, and we are loving summer evenings outside. Lucy got her cast off from her broken arm in May--she also turned NINE!
Biking is fun, and so are strangers who forgot to say "look here" when they take the photo. I forgot how much I love zipping through the trees on my bike.
Backyard jam sessions....
Early morning climbs with my girls....  
....and now, we are ready for July!
Consider yourself officially updated, and maybe next time I'll dive into those seeds I have growing.

Thanks to the one person (mom) who read through this! Talk soon

*I have so many unanswered comments on here--sorry about that! I really have not been around. I also have over 3000 unread emails.....whoops. While most of them are ads and what not, some of them are from YOU GUYS, and I'm sorry, I've just had to really prioritize my life this past little while and all things internet-involved are pretty far down my list. Thanks for always being here though!
*I get lots of questions about why I'm not posting recipes anymore. We really keep our meals pretty simple and most of what we eat is already on my blog. I just haven't had any extra time to develop anything new, let alone take pictures of it. When in doubt, make eggs!
*I always get such a great response when I post the gear we love and use--I will continue to do that, and I apologize for old links that may not be taking you where you want to go. I will try to get an updated gear list for you soon!
*If I get enough questions on this post, I can do another Q&A post like I've done in the past


Monday, December 7, 2015

slow days at Christmastime

"Let's get an early start". 
We talked over soup and bread Friday night--planning out our Christmas Tree hunt for the next day. We'd all been anxiously awaiting the weekend and the weather was looking absolutely perfect. 
I woke up to sunshine at seven, and thought "who needs an early start!", and went back to sleep, taking full advantage of a day off. 
No one complained. 

We eventually all woke up, Robby scrambled eggs while the kids gathered up snowpants and boots and mittens. We loaded up the dog, sleds, a thermos full of cocoa, and headed for the hills.

Not far up the mountain we found SNOW! Gobs of it! We've only had one snow down in the valley, and it didn't stick around very we were excited to get out and play. We parked the car and made our way through a clearing--our tracks were the first. 
tree hunt // the little red house blog
tree hunt // the little red house blog
tree hunt // the little red house blog

tree hunt // the little red house blog
We got into the trees--shady and cool--a surprisingly welcome break from the warm sun (it's funny how 30° suddenly feels hot when you're trudging through deep snow). The sun filtered through the forest ceiling and shone brightly in one spot--lighting up a lone pine. It was missing branches and awkwardly lopsided, about 4 feet too tall for our house.
It was perfect.
tree hunt // the little red house blog
The kids took turns being lumberjacks and we all yelled "TIMMMMMBER!!" as it fell onto the soft snow.
tree hunt // the little red house blog
trtree hunt // the little red house blogeehunt8
treehunt6tree hunt // the little red house blogtree hunt // the little red house blog
We attempted some awkward family photos, and then half carried/half dragged our tree across the clearing and back to the car. 
tree hunt // the little red house blogtree hunt // the little red house blog
And then the real fun started. 
The road was covered in snow, and we were the only people out for the day. We had a sled, a tow-strap, and two kids anxious for a good old fashioned sleigh ride. 
tree hunt // the little red house blog
tree hunt // the little red house blog

tree hunt // the little red house blog
They screamed and giggled for miles. Their little faces froze as the car sprayed them with snow.....and all they said was "FASTER!" They'd fall off, and drag for a while before they let go. As we laughed hysterically at their shrieks, I couldn't decide if we were the best parents....or the worst. The sun finally faded down behind the trees and we stopped for our hot chocolate and donuts, and helped them pick the ice out of their noses and hair. 
tree hunt // the little red house blogtree hunt // the little red house blog
Robby lit every single scrawny branch, we hung ornaments collected over the years, and topped it with a star. 
treehtree hunt // the little red house blogunt13
tree hunt // the little red house blog
I love these days when time slows down. When it's just me and my people, doing what we love. The Christmas season gets so busy--parties, shopping, eating, playing--it's all good stuff. My school is just totally ridiculously a bit crazy as we wrap up the semester, the kids have programs and projects due at school, so I'm trying my best to cut out everything we don't need--even the good stuff. If it starts to feel like "too much", I wonder if we really need it.....we probably don't. Focusing on my family and reminding myself that THESE days truly are the best days, helps me simplify. 

Slow days at Christmastime, I love this season.

How do you slow down and simplify the Christmas season?
I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving vs Giving Thanks

my family. june. so thankful for them.

***this  post is from two years ago. As I sat down to write some thoughts for this week, these same words kept coming back to me, so I thought I'd share again ***

Yesterday morning I went to Costco (along with 14,000 other people) to pick up some groceries for our upcoming Thanksgiving feast.

As I was bumped into, cut off, and shoved across the aisles, I felt everything but thankful feelings. People wore frowns and muttered under their breath. Carts were overflowing 17 pumpkin pies, yet their owners were still forcing their way and knocking down small children and elderly shoppers for a tiny "sample" of the same pumpkin pie that spilled over their cart.

People all over the country are planning their after Thanksgiving (or during Thanksgiving for some) shopping sprees.
Spend spend spend. Consume consume consume.

Is this Thanksgiving? Maybe this is what Thanksgiving has become. 
But is it Giving Thanks? 
NO. It's not.

We need to take a step back and just think about what Thanksgiving means to us. If we truly want to show thanks, I think it takes more than a feast with a giant bird on the table and a quick 
"I am thankful for __________, now let's eat"!!

I could sit here and type out all my thankful thoughts (family! home! food! running! cookies! on and on and on!) but what does any of it mean?
These words I type are not tangible.

LIVE a life that is thankful. 
Love those around you and show your thanks for them every day. Be kind and considerate. 
Don't spend money on and consume things you don't need just because you can. 
Shop till you drop? How is that being thankful?

Don't just celebrate Thanksgiving........ celebrate giving thanks, and do it every day.
There is a difference.

Take this week to love your family and friends. Enjoy time together. Savor that giant bird on the table and all the wonderful things that go with it. Be thankful for what you have, and even for what you don't have--it's those things that make us better. 

And always, always, give thanks.

Monday, November 23, 2015

november senses

november breezes.....brrrrrrrrr

breezy // the little red house
.....just a few happenings from the past week...

seeing: snow. our first flurries in the valley, and the mountain tops are growing more white every day.

missing: not gonna lie, I am truly missing summer. November has me all like, "blehck." The high trails are done for the season, the low trails are too muddy to ride, the fall color is long gone, and the world is just a colorless brown hue.....all that + lots of wind. 
So summer, I miss you.
waiting: but I am anxiously awaiting for our first turns in fresh powder....hoping for a good snow year!
celebrating: last week I had my last clinical in long term care--woohoo!! Come January we start up in the hospital....equally exciting and terrifying.
feeling: so excited for Thanksgiving! I've always loved this day--it kicks off the holiday season, and I'm really a big fan of giant feasts, especially those with mashed potatoes. 
black fridaying: I 99% hate shopping, especially in stores, especially with crowds. Friday I'll be taking REI's #optoutside challenge and spending some time outdoors....which I guarantee is waaaayyyy healthier, and quite a bit cheaper than shopping, am I right?

eating: Buffalo Blue Cheese fries at Cubbys. 
Because......why not.
fries // the little red house
reading: Nothing exciting. At all. Pharmacology anyone? But I'm looking forward to Christmas break and hoping to read a book or two--any suggestions? Something easy and fast that I really don't have to use my brain is a break after all.
researching: I recently wrote a paper about the use of medical marijuana for children with epilepsy--it's a fascinating topic to me. If you like that kind of stuff (medical studies....or.....weed?) check out this TED talk --super interesting!

running: I'm trying to get out to clear my head when I can--Charly and I had our first sloppy/muddy/icy run of the season. Looking forward to more.
winter run // the little red house
watching: with the dropping temps and the shorter days we find ourselves snuggling up in blankets watching a movie as a family each weekend. The last few Saturday evenings we've been glued to the screen watching Indiana Jones.....we love him!
driving: as I type this we are currently on our way over the river and through the........million miles of barren Nevada grandma's house we go!
studying: everything. My first final is next week and then the rest are spread out over the following few weeks. bad news: these next few weeks will be nuts. good news: I'm so close to finishing my first semester!
cursing: My chickens. We added a few hens to our flock last winter and they have all been fighting ever sense. The last few months have been terrible....they are literally tearing each other to pieces (it looks like there has been a giant pillow fight out in the coop), and one of them is eating the eggs. EATING THEIR OWN BABIES! We are lucky to get out and get one before she tears into them all (still trying to figure out who it is). Anyone want chicken for dinner?

the lone egg...

baking: I mostly stick to my same ol' cookie recipes and Whitney Ingram's famous brownies , but this week we branched out. My mom used to make these around Christmas time when I was little, so I decided it was time to add these into the cookie rotation. 
I added some cinnamon.....just because.
Mexican Chocolate Crinkles

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(I take no credit for this recipe. It's Mrs. Martha's.....all I did was add the cinnamon, swap out the vanilla, and roll in granulated sugar AND powdered sugar

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon Mexican Vanilla (since I am not often in Mexico, I like THIS one)
1/3 cup milk
1 cup(ish) confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling
1 cup(ish) granulated sugar (I added a bit of cinnamon to this as well)

Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, or the top of a double boiler, over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. 
Into a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. 

Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix on low speed until just combined. 
Divide dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. On a surface dusted with confectioners' sugar, use your hands to roll each portion of dough into a log 16 inches in length and about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.  (let's be honest, I didn't roll them into logs, I divided them up into four large lumpy roundish shapes, wrapped them up and put them in the freezer for about a half out, then took them out and rolled them into balls to roll in sugar)
Using your hands, roll the small pieces into balls.  Roll them FIRST in granulated sugar, then in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies have flattened and sugar splits, 12 to 15 minutes. 

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Mexican Chocolate Crinkles
How was your week?

Gear guide: 

-Athleta's Be Free tights--super comfy + warm, but breathable to you don't freeze in your sweat
-a good pair of wool socks