Stop and Smell the Flowers

by Mary on July 27, 2015

Mary Jolley

It’s late. It’s only Monday. I’ve finally gotten my shower and have slipped back into my House Dress. I’m laying across my bed and don’t plan to move for 12 hours.

I haven’t read anything blog worthy. Haven’t found time to get more than about 100 pages into All the Light We Cannot See (good, though). I haven’t cooked anything utterly fabulous and picture perfect. (Although I did go PIN happy the other day).

It’s deep into summer vacation and I’m tired. This is the truth. I know you can relate.

We were out running errands and as we went by a lovely planter of flowers, my children stopped so they could smell the pink flowers that were the size of their heads. How grateful I am they stopped and for the simple lesson they taught. There is always time to stop and enjoy the wonderful little ordinary things!

May we find joy in the journey and time for the simple pleasures of life. May we be happy at home (and everywhere.)

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Tidbits about Life: Passion

by Kara on July 21, 2015

passionquote Well, that’s a relief!  I know we ALL have callings in life but figuring them out isn’t always so easy.  I’d say that the things that get me fired up enough to be considered PASSION are relatively few.  I can think of a few pet peeves that make my temperature rise, but actual things that I care enough about to attempt finding my “calling” through are slim pickings.

Like this last weekend… With friends, I went mountain biking with my husband.  Things were going fine; I felt like I was going to die, Tyson was giving vital pep talks, I considered the fact that a motorized vehicle was not going to appear out of no where to rescue me.  The only passion I felt that day was to keep my body in one piece, which ended up being miraculous that I did!

(Sorry rental bike company!)  mtnbiking

I love recognizing patterns when it comes to things I really care about.  It’s not mountain biking, but it is choosing and cultivating a happy life.  Can I call that a calling?  Maybe not yet, but I’ll keeping working on it.  Will you work on yours too?  There are a lot of things I want to learn about and I’m going to need you!

(I snagged that image up there from pinterest.  My apologies to it’s unknown creator.)

How to make the Best Fruit Leather

by Mary on July 16, 2015

Homemade Fruit Leather

One of my favorite things to do during the warm months is wander arround the local farmer’s markets. I love to see what is in season and taste the freshest produce. Berries are a summertime staple. Stone fruits such as peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots are some of my very favorites and are in season right now. Making your own dried fruit and fruit leather is delicious, healthy, and a great way to enjoy the season’s bounty.

Using a dehydrator is one of those kitchen activities that is part cooking, part science experiment. With a blast of warm air, you can turn slices of fresh fruit and vegetables into crispy, crunchy, vitamin-packed snacks. The dehydrator fan circulates warm air for maximum evaporation of moisture from food. Keeping it at a low temperature will keep the fruits and veggies raw, arguably keeping their vitamin, mineral, and enzyme count intact. You certainly don’t need to have a dehydrator to make these snacks for you and your family; I also include directions for making these in your oven.

I include a couple of my favorite recipes, but there’s plenty of room for experimenting. Just keep these 4 steps in mind when using your dehydrator.

  1. Arrange seasoned or plain slices of fruits or vegetables on dehydrator trays without overlapping. Pour fruit leather batter onto nonstick dehydrator sheets or dehydrator trays wrapped in plastic. In my dehydrator, the edges tend to dry more rapidly, so I spread fruit leather puree out so that the edges are ¼ inch thick and the center is only 1/8 inch thick.
  2. Set the temperature. If you want your food to stay raw, set the temperature to 105 degrees, if you aren’t concerned with the raw aspect, set the temperature to 135 degrees to speed up drying times.
  3. Check regularly and rotate trays if necessary. Turning fruits and veggies over can help ensure even drying. Dehydrating times can vary between 2 to 19 hours. To test for doneness, cut a slice. Food is dehydrated when no moisture beads appear in the cut.
  4. Cool and store in an airtight container in the dark, dry place for up to a month. To get a similar result in your oven, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, use convection if you have it. Place parchment paper or a nonstick mat on a cooking sheet and arrange slices on a single layer. Place in the oven and check for doneness just as you would in a dehydrator. Times will be much shorter in the oven.

Berry Fruit Leather

4 cups raspberries
1 cup strawberries
1 orange, peeled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup raw honey

Blended very well. I blend this with my VitaMix until the seeds are ground, it makes for very smooth fruit leather.

Summer Peach Fruit Leather – My all-time favorite!

5 ripe peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet the peaches are. If they are ripe Utah peaches, for example, no honey is needed. yum.)

Blend well in a blender.

Mini House Dresses are Here!

by Mary on July 3, 2015

Mary Jolley

Kara and I both have little girls and since the beginning, they have wanted their own house dress. They both love them so much, we had to make more.

Henry Mack mini house dress

We are so excited about how cute they turned out and we hope you love them, too!

Kara Smith



Your Summer Reading List is Here!

by Mary on June 30, 2015

Set out your beach chair, prop up your umbrella, sip your frozen lemonade and dive into one of these fabulous reads.

5 Books that are HOT right now!


1. HEIR OF FIRE (Throne of Glass Series). Okay. I haven’t told you guys about this fantasy series and I’m ashamed. It’s seriously one of my favorite right now and the 4th one comes out in September. I CAN’T WAIT! You’ve got plenty of time to catch up and read the first 3 books by then. No problem. Heir of Fire is #3 and I think it is the best so far. I love when a series gets better with each book. Love you, Sarah J. Maas.


2. RED QUEEN by Victoria Avayard. I picked up this book because the cover is amazing, so naturally I knew it would be great. 😉 And… it is! Warning. This is the first in a series and the rest have not been published, yet.


3. READY PLAYER ONE, by Earnest Cline. I can’t wait to see the movie of this one. Insane video game treasure hunt where people live through their avatars.


4. SERAPHINA, by Rachel Hartman. Dragons that are totally different then I’ve ever seen before (and I’ve seen my share of dragons.)


5. THE THIEF (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1). I have always been a fan of ancient world mythology and this series does a good job of giving me just a taste of it throughout the incredibly complex story. I am so impressed at how Megan Turner weaves the characters together as the plot progresses. I love when a book surprises me!

What are your summer reads? Tell me on Twitter or Instagram!!

Finally – A Veggie Lasagna that Rocks!

by Mary on June 15, 2015

I have always loved lasagna. It was hard to compete with the traditional meat and cheese version until I developed this recipe. I would choose this healthy-flavor-packed lasagna every single time. This is a dish I even feel good serving to guest. It’s my go-to if we have a vegan or a vegetarian coming over. It totally rocks. The key to this lasagna is to dice the vegetables finely; this creates a layer that mimics the texture and feel of the traditional meat layer, but this taste so much better! Serves 6.

Vegan Lasagna

Veggie and Sweet Potato Lasagna

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz white or baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 24 oz jar of prepared tomato marinara sauce
  • 2 cups of pureed sweet potato (from approx 2 sweet potatoes)
  • 1 package (9 oz) no boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2-3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • To make the sweet potato puree, pierce the skin in several places with a knife. Either set the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with tin foil, bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or set them on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Peel the skin and discard. Mash insides with a fork. Set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, red bell pepper, carrot, Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add ½ the jar of marinara sauce or about 1 ½ cups. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and remove from heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Divide the box of noodles into four even stacks. Assemble the lasagna by covering the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with half the remaining marinara sauce (about ¾ cup). Next, lay out one stack of noodles in a single layer. On top of the noodles, spread ½ the vegetable mixture evenly. Top with another single layer of noodles. Next, spread out the sweet potato evenly and top with another layer of noodles. Then, add the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining noodles and spread the remainder of the marinara sauce over top. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Cover with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 50-55 minutes. Remove the tin foil half way through to ensure the top gets crisp and golden. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

sweet potato lasagna  Don’t forget to email subscribe to stay connected!

Super Fun Series: Cinder

by Mary on June 1, 2015

I love reading young adult novels. They are (usually) fast-paced, imaginative, and end happily. I love dissappearing for a couple hours into creative new worlds.

When I read the premise of Cinder, honestly, I was skeptical. Cyborgs?! Lunars? But, it’s fantastic and I think the following books in the series just get better, which is rare. I love the way Marissa Meyer loosely ties in classic fairytales to her futuristic saga.

Cinder_Novel I cannot wait for book 4: Winter to come out this fall.

If you’ve read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Tell me on Twitter!

We’re giving away one copy of CINDER over on Instagram tomorrow. Don’t miss out.

happy reading. Mary

In Print

by Kara on May 25, 2015

magazine So, our house had Glamour Shots taken.  Does anyone remember those?  The thing I remember is their trick to use banana combs to push all your hair to the front making it look really full and thick when it wasn’t.  That’s how I feel about these pictures.  Brian Judy worked some serious digital magic.  Yes, this is our house, but it’s perfectly lit and all signs of the 6 humans that live here are hidden away.

Does my house ever look like this?  No, I wish.

Is it fun to be in a magazine?  Yes.

The magazine is a small local publication and while getting the house ready for the spotlight was a lot of work, these photos are fun to have!

karadining karabackpatio

The Best Pina Coladas

by Mary on May 18, 2015


I love pina coladas (non-alchoholic). I love the the tropical flavors; one sip sends me straight to a beautiful beach. Trust me when I say this is fantastic – creamy, sweet, and delicious.


pina coladas – guilt free!

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (comes in a can and looks like this, make sure to stir it and put it in the fridge several hours before if you can so it is nice and cold)
  • 1/4 scant cup pure grade b maple syrup

Blend all ingredients well in your Vitamix. ENJOY with your eyes closed.

Mother’s Day

by Kara on May 11, 2015

drewmothersday kamglasses breakfastinbed I’ve learned to not put a lot of expectations on Mothers’s Day, so this year I was blown out of the water!  My team really pulled this one off.

Motherhood is an interesting thing and to say that I have it figured out is completely false.  Even still, the days keep coming and I find myself down this road of parenting with all offspring alive and mostly not malnourished.  #winning

Most days I play referee to exuberant pleas of the others wrong doing and get the evil eye from my youngest, arms folded, feet planted.  I have to laugh that these 4 kids got me as their mother because I find them so funny and perplexing and intricate that I hardly have any time left to teach them anything at all.  I consider the day a success if I am able to hide around a corner in the hallway and jump out to scare them, or pin them down and tickle them too much, or give them a hug that is way too long and they push me away.

My only real goal in mothering is to love these kids and I hope that your mom hiding in the house to scare you reads like capital L.O.V.E. because it is just so good.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Happy Mother’s Day (late, just like everything else I do)