Temple Detox

Temple Detox
Courtesy of #dgdesignsphotography

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Let them eat cake! (and cookies!)

It has been a busy two weeks here on the Frickie Ranch. My Mr. brought home the flu and all four of us suffered through it. Luckily, we were doing better by Valentine's day and were able to celebrate a day of love with our lovely neighbors.
My loves and me on Valentines day 2014

I baked amazing sugar cookies covered with marshmallow fondant! I bought icing pens for the children at the party to write little notes on the cookies and deliver edible valentines to each other! I have been dying to try fondant for a long time. But fear of it being complicated or difficult kept me at bay. I finally just said, "I'm going to do it!" So without over thinking it, I dove head first into this project. You should have seen my dad's face when he saw and tasted these perfect creations. I don't know that he's ever been more impressed with me (I know he has of course, but his reaction was hilarious!) "You made these? How did you do it? How did you learn to do this? They are so perfect and fluffy!"

It was so successful that I dove head first into a birthday cake for my friends that same weekend! We were having a surprise Mardi Gra themed party. So my Mr. and I created a simple design to try and away I went. What a fun, very messy and sticky, challenge. I am now obsessed with cake design and want to create more. 

Giving credit where credit is due, My Mr. made the mask! 
Isn't he talented? 

I love new and exciting challenges that allow me to be creative. Baking has always be cathartic for me. Now cake decorating is taking it one step further! I have so much to learn, but learning is easy and fun when you enjoy the subject. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten, Dairy, Soy and Sugar free)

This will be a brief post, my sister told me I've been making them too long! Just kidding Sis! In truth I'm tired and want to get a good nights sleep, but I was dying to share this delectable, charming little cookie. They were created in a moment of desperation. "How do I manage a girls night out at The Melting Pot without getting to indulge in chocolate fondue!?" As I posted earlier, preparation has been my key to success dealing with these dietary restrictions for my daughters sake so of course I made my own dessert for the evening. I thought peanut butter cookies would be great, but I decided to be adventurous and try using cashew butter instead (the jar had been sitting in my pantry untouched for a month!). So here you go, my new favorite cookie. They are delicious with chocolate chips, but they can certainly stand alone if you want to cut out the chocolate. Dare I say, they are even better than my previously posted gluten, dairy, soy free chocolate chip cookie? Try them out and let me know what you think...

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Raw Honey
1/2 Cup Cashew Butter (or any nut butter of your choosing)
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/4 cup Almond flour
1/2 cup Cococut flour
*Optional: 1/2 Bag of Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat egg and honey together until fluffy. Add in cashew butter, salt and baking soda. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour and coconut flour. Now slowly stir the flours into the wet ingredients. Let sit for a minute as the coconut flour absorbs the moisture. Stir a bit more and add in chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 10-12 minutes and prepare for some moist, fluffy deliciousness.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Friendship, Sisterhood and the Power of Prayer

I love being a part of the military community. It's not perfect, humans will be human. But there is generally a feeling of good will and support that I haven't experienced elsewhere. Because of our nomadic lifestyle, we have to make friends quickly. They don't always work out, but often times when they do, those friends become family. In Okinawa, I had five women I consider not only my friends, but sisters. Sisters in Christ and sisters for life. It was such an amazing experience to have a peek into their lives and the opportunity to love and support them; imperfectly of course, because we are after all women with hormones and miscommunication often interferes! These women taught me so much about acceptance, unconditional friendship, love, forgiveness and strength. I miss them every day. The beautifully witty Katie who allowed me to support her during labor while her hubby was away defending our freedom. The vivacious Melissa whose open smile and passion for Christ is contagious! Then there was gentle Jill, whose sweet compassion and acceptance was such a blessing to me. And of course, my Wifey and Bosom Buddy.

Katie, Me, Melissa, Wifey and Bosom Buddy

Now, the reason I feel bonded to these women was not just because they are awesome ladies and we had great times together. Nor is it the shared experience of being assigned to Okinawa that bonded us. No, the real reason I feel so close to them and love them so completely is because we prayed together. During one summer and fall, we gathered together every week to pray for our husbands. We would lift them up and cover our men with scripture. You can't help but feel close to someone else when they place themselves before the altar of God beside you and humbly ask for the grace to be a better woman and wife. There is no feeling like it. We weren't able to meet for long because schedules changed and circumstances interfered, but those months were enough to leave us knit together. We continue to send each other prayer requests to this day. I love it.

I've missed prayer and its powerful impact in my life, so I decided it is time to begin a new prayer group. This time, for my daughters. My Mr. still needs it just as much, but I believe our children are in desperate need of their Father God's covering. Not to mention my need to focus on God and ask for strength, wisdom and patience in raising these sweet cherubs.

I am so excited to share this powerful experience with my NEW sisters. My Power Puff Ladies. Yes, that is what we call ourselves. A group of military wives of all ages, with children of all ages, who have bonded together is the most pure example of friendship and support I have ever experienced. We make dinners, watch each others kids and help in any way you can imagine. We also have a passion for simply celebrating life! Every holiday has been an opportunity to gather in community and rejoice. It has been so much fun! In fact, I am so spoiled that all I have to do is wander out my front door and see my friends, chairs in a circle, shivering under blankets, braving the cold so that the kids can run and scream to their hearts content. All the while we chat and laugh and plan for the next celebration.
The Power Puff at Heather and Jenny's double Baby Shower
Ruthie, Roxie, Jess, Heather, Me, Amy, Mariam, Lindsey & Melissa

After a lifetime of struggling with friendships, God has taught me to love and accept completely. To simply embrace a friend and expect nothing from her while pouring out whatever I can into her heart. I love these Power Puff women even more because I see them setting that example for their kids. How powerful is that? A group of our next generation learning by example to love and embrace one another, support one another and party life away with one another! I can't think of anything more special. It make this year one of my favorite experiences. Many of these great ladies will be leaving in May, but until then I plan to enjoy my friends while they are here and I am praying, praying, praying for the new ones who will arrive this summer. Because, after all one can not have too many friends in life. And you never know who you will meet again. I could never have imagined that in just one short month my Bosom Buddy would live a two minute walk down the street! It is exciting to see how God rearranges the pieces of our lives every couple years, and how despite our imperfections He blesses us so abundantly. My Dad used to say "Jennifer, if you can count your number of friends on one hand you are truly blessed." Well, Daddy, I am ABUNDANTLY blessed.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Progress, Preparation and Gluten, Dairy, Sugar and Soy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am delighted to report that I finished week 1 of my Couch to 5K program. I have added distance and my run times were five minutes faster than last Saturday. Though, being honest, it is so much easier to run without my beloved Double BOB. It is an amazing bicep workout and increases my heart rate like crazy. Both good things.

It's very exciting to see and feel progress as I begin to strengthen my body. On this journey toward better health and fitness I keep running into one major obstacle: myself. Therefore, I have to be proud of getting outside when the temperature is in the 20's and snow and ice are on the sidewalks. Getting past my desire for comfort is one thing, but overcoming my sweet tooth is near impossible. However, with the current dietary restrictions I am under while breast feeding Diana, I am discovering a level of discipline that I did not previously possess. On top of that, in Okinawa last spring, as I trained for my first 5k ever, my friend Kelli introduced to me a new philosophy! "YOU'RE NOT A DOG, STOP TREATING YOURSELF LIKE ONE!"

Wait, what? Oh yes, I was treating myself all the time. I mean ALL the time. Go for a run? Make cookies! Weight lift or shadow box? Drink a cocktail! I was treating myself as motivation to keep up the good behavior. How backwards is that? I now realize that the good behavior brings it's own reward: the oh so sweet taste of success! So I've determined that I will not indulge in this bad, but very tasty behavior any longer.

However, if this new lifestyle is to be sustainable, I had to find a way to incorporate my hubby.  My Mr. would not be able to maintain our healthy eating without his cookies. I secretly suspect that is why he married me...he loves my baked treats. I had to find a way to abide by the new rules, but also subdue our cravings for sweets. Last night it dawned on me that I should prepare a gluten, dairy and soy free dessert for myself, because tonight I will be dining at my parents house. I do not want to be tempted by the desserts that will be offered. Because as the saying goes, preparation is half the battle. What battle? I'm not sure which one, but I want to WIN! So I gathered all my knowledge of baking with new flours, glanced over Elana's Pantry Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (her blog is amazing!) and created my own concoction. The first batch was pretty good...very close to what I was desiring, but I knew I could do better. So I tried again only to find PERFECTION!!!!! So, as I bid you adieu, I leave you with my new favorite recipe. I'm pretty excited to indulge in these cookies tonight!

Jenny's Gluten, Sugar, Soy and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Cup Anthony's Almond's** Almond Flour
3/4 Cup Anthony's Coconut's** Coconut Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tbsp McCormick's Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup of Grape-seed Oil
1/2 Cup of Raw Honey
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Enjoy Life Dairy***, Soy and Nut Free Mini Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, combine the vanilla extract, grape-seed oil, honey and egg. Mix wet ingredients until thoroughly blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Allow to sit for a minute or so, as the coconut flour will absorb much of the moisture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon cookies on to non-stick cookie sheet, or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Then pour a cup Silk Almond Milk and enjoy your sweet treats!

*Remember, Coconut flour products should be stored in the fridge!
**I bought the Anthony's flours on amazon.com in bulk. Buying in bulk makes baking with different flours less expensive.
** I discovered Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips in Wal-Mart's gluten free baking section!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Loving reflections of my Becca Boo and motherhood

I'm sitting in the family room watching Preschool Prep Sight Words 1. My daughter is beginning the process of learning to read. What? Where did my baby go? I ordered a book yesterday about Potty Training because she is showing signs that she is ready. What? Where did my baby go? Yesterday, she sat at her amazing little table. She just sat there coloring and playing pretend with wooden food from her little kitchen. What? Where did my baby go? She is going up and down the stairs on her own, opening doors, and having legit conversations with us. WHAT?! Where did my baby go? Who is this little child telling me what she wants with sign language and words? Who is this little girl saying "Pretty" to all my jewelry and wanting to accessorize her precious body? Who is this little lady that is so excited to be combing her own hair and brushing her own teeth? Taking showers by herself (with parental supervisions of course) standing under the stream of water giggling and relaxing? I am amazed that at a year and a half years old I am getting glimpses of the person to come. Who will she be? What can I do to encourage her in her interests? This morning, I was singing random notes (don't ask, it's what I do!) and she started singing with me. It was AWESOME! Will she be musical? How will that musical gift be expressed? Through dance, vocal modulations or instrumental talents? I am so excited to find out. But I have one request for my darling first born: don't rush it. Please don't rush growing up. As tired as I am with two babies under two, I am enjoying every moment of this precious time and it is flying by far to quickly. Here are two of my favorite moments with Becca:

One wintery afternoon Becca walked over to her kitchen and began to open and close the little doors, bang her pots and pans, and throw her dishes and food around. It was hilarious. I looked at my Mr. in disbelief and said "What is she doing?" He simply replied without hesitation "As far as she knows, she is doing what mommy does!" We got a pretty good laugh out of that. I do tend to slam doors and bang things around in the kitchen.

It was early one morning and some of Mr.'s Bible Study friends came over for breakfast. Becca was very excited and began to play in her kitchen. A few minutes later, she began serving the men fake food at the table. SO CUTE. They are wonderful daddies themselves, so they sweetly took the food and played along. My girl is a very natural nurturer.

It is truly as if my baby grew up the moment we brought her baby sister home. She comforts Diana when she cries, brings Diana her pacifier if it drops, brings me blankets to put on Diana so she won't be cold. In the morning, her first order of business is to go kiss her baby sister and make sure she is ok. This sweetness warms my heart as I see a compassionate, thoughtful, sensitive spirit within her. I have three prayers that I daily send up to God:

Lord, let me be wise and patient. Help me be the mother my girls need me to be. Not the mother I think I need to be, or that the world says I should be. But the mother you designed me to be specifically for these daughters of mine. That I would see each of my girls potential and talents, and raise them according to the bent in which you created them as you require of me in Proverbs 22:6.

Lord, I claim the promises of Psalm 91. I declare your covering over my family, and especially both my daughters. May every day they live, every breath they take be one step closer to finding your son Jesus and asking Him to be their Lord and Savior.

Father, I ask that you save my daughters hearts. Keep them pure and honest. Prepare them for the men that you have destined for them. I lift up their future husbands and pray that they would have a heart for you Lord, and that their parents would as well. I pray that our families would be joined in peace and love when the time is right, and that their future marriages would be filled with love and respect. I pray their husbands will love them with the steadfast, gentle passion and care that their father has loved me. And that I may model for them how to be a loving, gentle, respectful and wise woman and wife.

The great responsibility placed upon the shoulders of all mothers can be overwhelming. I admit I have days in which I feel as if I will just fall to the ground in tears underneath this pressure. But daily I am not only finding just enough grace, just enough energy, time or patience to make it to bedtime, but the ability to rejoice and enjoy all the special moments that get us to that precious time of sleep. I love my job. It is a calling that is challenging and a great honor. God has bestowed two great gifts upon me and I have determined to hand them back to Him. They are His children whom He loves and adores more than I can fathom. I know that if I just ask Him, He will grant me all that I need (and more!) to lead them to the foot of the cross and into their Father's arms.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Orders and My Wifey and Bosom Buddy

Not even 12 hours after my last post, we received our new orders. QUANTICO! It is exactly what we were praying, hoping and longing for. That makes our stay in this home four years total! My Mr. is so excited to be an instructor and have the chance to mentor young Marines. I think this assignment is right up his alley. God has blessed us once more. I can not help but shake my head in AWE of His great plan for us. I have to admit the idea of being in one place for FOUR years makes my head spin. I have not lived in one house, apartment, or room longer than a year and a half in over 10 years (and then usually it was a three year stint at most). Just to clarify, we did spend three years in Okinawa but moved to a new apartment half way through our stay. I'm a nomad by birth, an Army Brat and now Marine Wife. Four years seems like an eternity!

Now, in order for you to share completely in my excitement today, I have to go back in time and share a bit of our Okinawa history...

Lonely and depressed while Justin was away fighting in Afghanistan, I forced myself out the door to a birthday party. There was a sweet girl at the party who just didn't fit in with that particular crowd. As hard as she tried it just wasn't happening...she was just pure sweetness, the kind that many people are skeptical of, asking "is she for real?" I moved my chair over to sit by her and keep her company and was delighted to find a humorous, upbeat, and delightful new friend. The following day was Mr. and I's anniversary and I decided to plan a brunch with friends to keep me from feeling so lonely and sad. My new friend attended the brunch and as we finished up, I mentioned how much I didn't want to be alone. She sweetly said "Can I go home with you?" Well, we ended up talking ALL day, we went out to dinner, came back to my place and chatted late into the night. We had similar experiences, our husbands were both deployed, we were both faithful Christians and it just seemed like our friendship was meant to be! I recall my mom saying "Jennifer, you never know who there is in Okinawa that needs you to be her friend." Well, this little lady needed me. And I needed her just as much. She started a part time job and would come over for dinner announcing "Honey I'm home!" as she entered my apartment and I was there, ready with dinner on the table. We laughed, cried and played the deployment away and secretly worried our husbands wouldn't get along...until the time came for both to come home. My Mr. arrived first and two weeks later I helped her get ready for her Mr. Our worries were soon put to rest as the men in our lives hit off and have been friends ever since. I call this sweet friend my Wifey. My deployment wife. The only one who will ever understand what that time in my life was like, how it changed me, and how it changed my marriage.

Fast forward a month, I had started work as a substitute teacher and Wifey was busy working as a travel agent. With the husbands home it meant less time together...and then one day Wifey declared "I met this new girl and she is WONDERFUL! You HAVE to meet her. You'll LOVE her." I wasn't so sure...they started spending a lot of time together and I'll admit I got a bit jealous. Well, Wifey planned a dinner party and invited this new girl. The day before she sat me down and said, "You have to meet her and spend time with her. I just know you'll love her. Stop being silly." So, I decided to put forth my best effort at the dinner party and see how great this new girl was. I loved her. She was sweet, sensitive and I just had a good feeling about her. I offered to show her around the island and get her out of the house while her hubby was away. We bonded pretty quickly and this awesome lady is who I call my Bosom Buddy. The fact that she had a love for Anne of Green Gables sealed the deal.

So the three of us became very close friends! Our husbands got along famously...and often got themselves into trouble with their manly antics. We called ourselves the "Bigg-Frick'n Hoodenpyle" gang (a compilation of our last names). We had fun exploring the island together and breaking bread after church. Fast forward a couple months, I found out I was expecting our first child. Two weeks later, Wifey found out she was expecting her first child. Later that same month, Bosom Buddy was expecting her first child! All unplanned, unexpected and welcomed surprises! The three of us bonded together through our pregnancies, complaining, rejoicing and eating away the months as our bodies changed. All three of us were having GIRLS! And now we will be Belly Buddies for life!

Fast forward a year and a half: I live in Quantico, my wifey is in Arkansas and my Bosom Buddy is in transit to QUANTICO! AHH! I'm so excited to have her back in my life. She is a grounded, wise woman of the Lord and I find such comfort in her grace and gentleness. She is truly another answer to my prayers because I sincerely miss all my Okinawa ladies (Katie Jill and Melissa are more great stories but too much for one post!). So, on this beautiful but very cold snowy day, I am dancing around like a little girl wishing she was a ballerina because I have something very special to look forward too. My Wifey wrote saying she is planning to visit us in June for Becca's birthday! Ohhhh, how fun it will be to have the three little girls together as they enter their second year of life! I am giddy and excited and had to share, because I just KNOW this is going to lend sweet stories to share in the future, or at the very least, darling pictures of wee friendship.

TOP: Bosom Buddy, Wifey and Me
Bottome: Adabelle, Riley,  and Rebecca 

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Wonderful Day and Dairy Free Pudding!

I don’t expect to write every day but today was the best day I have had in long time and I’m feeling super motivated! I want to record it so I can remember this feeling in the future when I might not feel so great. After only three hours of sleep, I woke up to sweet Becca giving me kisses. Luckily, they are magic kisses because suddenly I had energy and decided we should go for a family walk/run. It was day 2 of my Couch to 5K program. I successfully finished, running the whole way with my beloved double BOB stroller AND we ran further and faster than day 1, so hurrah! Progress. I am however, sore, stiff and walking like I’m 20 years older than I actually am. We then spent the afternoon at my parent’s house. They recently moved 8 minutes down the road. Crazy. Yes. Good for me? YES. After three years in Okinawa, it’s been a treat to be able to see my mom as frequently as I have. Watching the girls get to bond with both sets of their grandparents is a blessing; we are only 45 minutes away from the Frickie grandparents! I’m praying the Marine Corps will take this into consideration with our next assignment…TBD soon! Yes, I know the Marine Corps doesn’t care that we love being close to family. A girl can dream right? Anyway…my grandparents, Becca and Diana’s GREAT grandparents Delaney came to town for lunch. Four generations at the table. It was awesome! We looked at old family photos and laughed about stories I had never heard before. Again, what a blessing to have this time after our island isolation!
Diana with Great Grandparents Delaney

My Mr. said adieu to go study and attend an evening class (he sure loves his extracurricular activities!) and the girls I and stayed to visit with my parents for a while longer. Honestly though, I took a nap while my parents played with the girls! HURRAY! As if that wasn’t amazing enough, I went to Wal-Mart BY MYSELF! That was the first time I have been alone in MONTHS. I ooed and awed at the gigantic store, and its colorful wares until my head was spinning. I resisted the temptation to buy EVERYTHING….until I found myself in the gluten free section of the baking isle. Due to Diana’s tummy issues, I am now 100% Soy and Dairy free. I also decided to also go gluten free because I have noticed that I have sensitivity to certain wheat-based products (ie: my knees swell after drinking beer, tummy bloating after eating bread). WELL, I am delighted to share that I found gluten, soy and dairy free strawberry poptarts, chocolate chips, and granola bars! As I type I am slowly munching on a Glutino strawberry poptart, which is surprisingly good. I’ve been experimenting with different flours (I bought two different kinds today!), sweeteners and dairy replacements, but sometimes its nice to just be able to grab a quick snack. Especially because my girls are demanding and time to cook or bake is hard to come by. However, I have found some time experiment, so tonight as I close, I will share my FAVORITE new recipe! Because just thinking about it has me drooling for more:

 Dairy Free Pudding
1 150z Can of Coconut Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (McCormick’s is gluten free!)
2-4 Tbsp. of Powdered Sugar
2-4 Tbsp. of Coco Powder

Put the can of Coconut Milk in the fridge overnight. I've learned that if you shake the can and you hear water the quality isn't as great. When you’re ready to make the pudding, take it out of the fridge and scrape the hardened cream from the top. Try to avoid the coconut water that will be on the bottom- the more water you have present the more liquid-y the pudding will be. Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with 2 Tbsps. of powdered sugar and 2 Tbsps. coco powder; add more of each until you reach your desired taste. Use a hand mixer to blend. Keep blending until you reach desired fluffiness. Voila! Enjoy and be sure to share, this makes 4 servings in a small custard bowl.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beginning anew

Welcome to the Frickie Ranch. To clarify, it's not really a Ranch. Just a sweet house that we call home for however long the Marine Corps decides to keep us here. The Ranch descriptive is from a baby shower I co-hosted for a lovely lady who I have had the pleasure to befriend. She is a country girl and as such we gave her a country themed shower! The location? The Frickie Ranch! Since then it has stuck. I like it! Mr. and I dream of owning land one day and perhaps we will make it a real Ranch...but for now, the only animal we have living in our humble home is a rescue dog named Kitsune (Kit). Our Oki Mix. But she is not the only living memory we brought back from our adventures in Okinawa. I am proud to introduce my daughter Rebecca Leigh Frickie: a beautiful, lively, intelligent, loving and rambunctious one and half year old. But wait! That's not all! Conceived in Okinawa but born in Virginia, we have the sensitive, sweet and gorgeous Diana Grace Frickie. Our life has changed so much since my last post in 2010; I cannot possibly fill you in on everything. So we begin anew, and the blog evolves from the journaling of a young newlywed to the story telling of a momma. Now that we have all the introductions out of the way, let's begin. Ok, I honestly don't know where to begin. But that is the story of my life in a nutshell. Focus- I have a lack of it. Seems like every day I walk around in circles as I try to keep both girls fed, clean and happy, the house clean, and husband happy and fed too! 2014 finds us in a chaotic stage of life as we adjust to having a 9 week old baby girl and a 1.5 year old tyrant! I feel very blessed to be surrounded by family and friends. Their love and support is invaluable as I wade the waters of motherhood. Some days, I think "Oh, I've got this!" and other days I find myself chatting with God about how much he needs to help me cause I'm sinking fast. Sometimes, both of those things happen in the same day or even hour! But I digress- FOCUS: I'm going to admit that I just looked the word up and I have had a revelation.  

1. To cause to converge on or toward a central point; concentrate.
2. a. To render (an object or image) in clear outline or sharp detail by adjustment of one's vision or  an optical device; bring into focus. b. To adjust to produce a clear image. 
3. To direct toward a particular point or purpose. 

I've been so distracted as of late, that I've neglected my time with God, and His Word. So I am going to adjust my daily practices and FOCUS on GOD and He will direct me toward my true purpose, and render the path clear! WHOA...all that from looking up a word in the dictionary during my ramblings. It sure does feel good to write again. Well, baby #1 is up crying so I better wrap this up. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!