Friday, October 9, 2015

friday q & a returns!

Back when I used to be better at blogging I'd sometimes do a little Q&A....I thought we could start that back up we go....

Every week I get questions from all my kind/sweet/funny/adventurous/super cool readers 
via comments/emails/instagram/facebook.........and as many of you have learned I have the HARDEST time getting back to you. I just can't sit on my computer all day answering me crazy.  

For frequently asked questions (camera talk, etc,) check out the FAQ (which most definitely needs to be updated.)  

If I get questions related to specific posts/photos that apply to everyone, I will try my hardest to post them here every few weeks. .....ask away!

One of THE most frequently asked questions I've gotten over the past year and a half is 
Why did you decide to go back to school?
When I went to college the first time around, I had absolutely NO direction. I applied as a photography major and then decided 1) what was I going to do with that degree (haha funny, right?) and 2) I didn't have any equipment...or the money to get it all......was it really what I wanted to do? So I got an associates degree in "General Education" which basically equates to nothing, if we are being honest. I just had no idea what I wanted to do, I was tired of school, newly married, and felt like more school at that point would have just been spinning my wheels. So I called it good, and knew I'd go back someday. When Lucy was in school all day I knew that my time had arrived!
(I wrote about "going back to school" HERE)

headed to my nursing school interview. Lucy insisted on being in the tree to take my picture.......ok(?) 
Some things you should know, my chaco tan lines are ridiculous in my heels! Also, I played in a softball league this summer and the night before my interview I took a line drive right to my ankle--it was so swollen it hardly fit in my shoe. It was red and purple and huge--I kept my legs crossed throughout my entire interview process hoping no one would notice....I guess they didn't care--they let me in!

First day, of my first semester of nursing school.

Why do you want to be a nurse?

I love this question! I feel so strongly about this decision in my life that I am happy to share my answer. Many of you know I went through a whhhhoooollllllle lotta health junk a few years ago. In that time I saw doctor after doctor after doctor.....and I honestly hardly remember any of them. But I remember so many of my nurses. I had some really terrible nurses who treated my like a number, but mostly I had absolutely wonderful nurses who truly cared for me--held my hand when things got rough. I realized that a nurse can make or break your day, and I knew that I wanted to be that person who made someones day a little here I am!

Why blog?
I was recently asked why I decided to jump back into blogging when everything is so busy right now. Yes--it's super busy, and I'm sure I will have to skip posting from time to time, but I also really do love this little community we've built here. I loving sharing thoughts, food, and silly stories, and I always feel like my readers have so much wisdom to share with ME. I have been taking billions of pictures over the last year while I've been away, and I'm excited to share those too.

What biking gear do you recommend?
I get this question every time I post a biking photo on IG and I have to be honest......this really isn't my department. Robby has introduced me to the world of mountain biking and I am literally, just along for the ride. I have fallen in love with it--there really is such a thrill that I can't get from running. But I pretty much let him do all the bike-related-shopping. What I WILL say is if you want a good bike without paying ridiculous amounts of money, find a place that rents out mountain bikes--they sell all their rentals at the end of the summer. We are lucky to live in a popular mountain biking area, so we have lots of options to choose from, but it really is where you can find the best deals.

At least once a week I'm asked, "where is this!??" when I post a picture on IG. Here's the thing....I love sharing all kinds of great stuff with you guys, but some of it I've just got to keep to myself, sorry! If I'm up for sharing our favorite spots, I promise I'll tell you :)

From time to time I'm asked if I use essential oils
I am so late in the game on this one, but I have slowly started using them here and there, and finding oils I like. I don't recommend one brand over the other, but I mostly have been using Doterra--only because a handful of people I know well use this brand, and I can get their opinions and ideas on different things. Again, I'm not super in to it (yet...?), but here's what I can now say I swear by:
Serenity : I am not very good at sleeping (napping, yes. sleeping, no) It takes me forrrrrever to fall asleep at night, and then I wake up all night long. Since I've been using this oil (since spring) I SWEAR to you I sleep so much better. And  hey! Maybe it' placebo, but who cares, it's working!
Breathe : this has been great when my kiddos are feeling "stuffy" and has helped Jonah sleep better with his darn allergies.
OnGuard : It's been helping us fend off colds and flu since last fall....and it smells like Christmas.

So teach me, all you smarty pants....what are your favorite oils and how do I use them?

Next question/comment:
I hope you start posting recipes again!
Me too.....because that would mean I was cooking! We really just eat so simply these days (it has to be easy, and it has to be quick.) So it's a lot of eggs, a lot of beans, pastas, a lot of grilled meats and veggies. Nothing fancy, or really worth noting here, I promise!

So let me ask YOU a question. 
I need some good crockpot recipes. 
I've never been a fan of the crockpot because I don't feel like the food tastes very fresh, and I'm not a fan of all the canned stuff that usually ends up in the pot. But I know you all have some good recipes to throw together quickly in the morning, and can cook all day--will you share them with me? Also, what crockpot should I get? 
Mine is too small.....teach me!

One of our favorite meals is a good BLT and whatever veggie we have on hand. 
Here are my little bean snappers, helping me with dinner. 
Sauté your green beans with garlic and pine nuts in olive easy and good!

Have a question? Feel free to ask!
Happy Weekend!

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I've been thinking a lot lately about seasons.
Summer has slowly faded away (my heart is still breaking a little), and we've been left with crisp air, chilly mornings, and sweaters and boots strung out all over the house. The mountains are burning up in reds and yellows, I've been waking often to rain, and we've had our first dusting of snow up on our favorite peaks.

But these aren't the seasons that have been on my mind.

These last two months of school have been a rough adjustment for out little family, I'm not going to lie. We are all constantly moving in opposite directions--I feel like I am flying though my weeks completely out of control--limbs flailing in all directions, uncertain of what is around the next corner (and there are just. so. many. corners!)

I was laughing at myself last week thinking of how I used to make LITERALLY almost everything we ate, from scratch. EVERYTHING! Some of you probably remember that too... YogurtAlmond milk! English Muffins! Who WAS that person?! Certainly it wasn't the same tired lady who slops together nachos once a week for dinner?

I used to run several times a week and practice yoga on the days I didn't run--always working to strengthen mind and body. I'm now happy to get a run in ONCE a week, and haven't been to yoga in an actual studio in over a year--my hips are paying the price.

I want to snuggle up with my babies, and watch movies and make cookies while it rains, and read the BFG with all different voices. I want my house to be picked up, and laundry washed and folded every day. I want to talk to Robby about life and things that are funny, and not just send quick kissy-faced texts when I have an extra minute.

I want it ALL.....and it's not working out that way. As we've been trying to adjust, I've been feeling down--I just can't do it all....not even close. And it's a hard realization, let me tell you. But these last two weeks I've made it my goal to see all the good that is happening within the chaos. It's pretty amazing, that once you start looking for something, you can always find it....imagine that.

Guess what I've found?.....Life is GOOD. It came to my attention that my kids have no idea how chaotic it is--they love school, soccer, they think having nachos and pancakes for dinner all the time is the best thing ever. They are becoming more and more independent and smart as we all take on more responsibilities at home.....what amazing little people they are....and they are figuring it out all on their own (and maybe sometimes they pretend they are the boxcar children....oh well). Just when I am feeling terrible about not helping Jonah with his book report he's like, "don't worry mom, I'm all done". And then I turn around and Lucy is frying eggs for breakfast. They've got this. We've got this.

I am finally figuring out how I need to organize my time, making sure there is always enough for playing and spending time together on the weekends--and they get my 100% undivided attention--we make the most of every single minute, let me tell you. I am doing my best to get rid of all the unnecessary things in life--cutting the fat--so my energy is not wasted on things that don't matter.

We had our time--our season--to take things slow, and now we are in a new season. I'm learning how to embrace it, how to run with it, and how to love it. I'm buttoning up my sweater, slipping into my boots, and stepping outside into the chilly morning air.


and as long as we are talking about seasons, I will share a very cinnamony pumpkiny and fallish recipe. Perfect for Sunday mornings in pjs.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins // the little red house blog

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins // the little red house blog

Whole Wheat Pumpkin and Zucchini Muffins
Naturally sweetened with bananas and maple syrup. 
Made with whole wheat flour, flax,chia, and hemp seeds for a protein boost.

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp Mexican vanilla (I like THIS one)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup-1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup-1 cup chopped pecans
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease muffin tins. Combine all dry ingredients and mix. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, pumpkin, zucchini, syrup, and vanilla--mix together. Mash in bananas. Mix in eggs until thoroughly combined. Dump in chocolate chips and slowly add in dry ingredients, a little at a time, until just mixed in. Do not over mix. Spoon into muffin tins (mixture will be thick) and place on bottom rack of oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes for regular muffins or 16-20 minutes for mini muffins. Muffins will be soft but a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean when they are done.

More fall baking:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

behind the square

last month. post-hike, pre-sushi selfie. Because it's 2015, so why not.

Social media is great, right? It's the perfect way for me to stay connected to friends, see the world from different points of view, I can use it to work from home, and let's all's fun! It's also the WORST....we all paint this picture of the perfect little world we live in--only showing our best of the best's not at ALL a real representation of life. And I think sometimes it's too easy to get caught up in that, don't you think?

You've heard the term "Keeping up with the Joneses", right? Did you know the phrase dates back to the early 1900s? I mean really, what was it that Jones Family was doing that was worth keeping up with--growing better potatoes? Riding a faster horse? Now, with social media, we know every little detail of the Joneses life. Where they are going and who they are with and how they got there! What they are eating and when they are eating it! What their perfect house looks like, what their perfect kids look like, and what their perfect face looks like, because now the Joneses share lots of pictures of their outstretched arms and close-up faces. They definitely didn't have to worry about selfies back in 1913.

Those Joneses are BUSY, and they are everywhere. Doing everything. And rubbing it in your face.

Obviously social media wouldn't be any fun if we all just shared things like the dirty (mismatched, obviously) socks all over our house, eating pancakes (again) for dinner, and late nights studying drug interactions for school (this involves mild anxiety attacks) let's not do that (phew!) But let's all just try to remember that the lives we see every day in squares aren't entirely real--everyone has all kinds of mundane and ugly behind-the-scenes stuff going in their lives, they just choose not to share it.

So in an effort to be transparent for a brief moment, let me tell you about how my Tuesday and Wednesday went down. After class I threw on my running clothes with hopes of a quick run while the kids went to soccer practice. But by the time I got them over to the fields, my day caught up to me and I was so tired, I couldn't even imagine running, let alone leaving the parking lot.....sooooo.....I did the next best thing, and curled up in the backseat of my car to take a nap while I waited for them.  I woke up groggy with a seat belt imprint on my leg, and promised myself I'd do some kind of workout at home. So naturally I walked inside and finished off the cookies from the weekend and did some pull-ups. And by "some" I mean three, because have you seen my arms? I'm not really a pull-up-kind-of-gal. 
I then stayed up until 1a.m. working on homework, closed my eyes and woke up  (I swear it was 2 minutes later), and had to start my day again. I spent 9 hours in class, 4 hours in the car, and sustained myself on granola bars and a hearty dinner of chips and salsa.


Want more honesty? I try to post several times a week on my IG account, and guess what? Sometimes those photos are just pictures I took over the weekend. So yeah, I am not a true INSTA-grammer. I am more of a WEEK-OR-SO-LATER-grammer. I know, I know, I'm blowing your mind right now. So rather than posting a selfie of drool running down my cheek as I desperately try to rest my brain in the backseat of my car, I'll post a picture of myself out doing something I love, or my kids being adorable, or basically anything to distract from the craziness that is my life sometimes.

And now you know a piece of my life behind the square....just a few things to keep in mind as you admire Mr. Jones exotic vacation or Mrs. Jones seemingly easy breezy and stress free lifestyle. 
Those Joneses are liars. 

Tell me about your day.
Your REAL day, not your internet day.
Your day behind the square.

depending on your thoughts on social media, you can unfollow or follow me on IG @_sheenarae

Monday, September 28, 2015

tried and true: Athleta's Be Free Knickers

Last month Athleta asked me if I'd take their Be Free Knickers out on the trail for a test run--I didn't even have to think about it....YES! I am always on the hunt for new and improved running gear, and over the past year I have fallen in love with Athleta's running capris and tights. They are all super light (they feel like nothing!) and I can wear them over and over again without wear and tear. Here is my review PLUS three different ways to wear them this fall.

It’s hard to beat Fall in Utah—the chill in the air, the crunch of leaves on the trail, and the colors are just insane! But fall also brings some pretty temperamental weather. We will wake up with frost on the ground and our frozen breath in the air, and then temperatures will be up in the 70s by afternoon.

As an avid trail runner, I need pants that will help me transition into fall running without me getting too hot or too cold—I want to be “just right”, and the Be Free Knickers are THE perfect pants for the season. I’m a busy mother, wife, and I’m also currently in nursing school, so as I go through my week, I never have a set running schedule—I have to sneak in my runs whenever I have a bit of extra time. Sometimes it’s early morning or right before the sun goes down—when the air is chilly and the wind is whipping. It’s often a run through the mid-afternoon heat while my kiddos are in school. The Be Free has me ready for any conditions the day wants to throw my way.

I have to talk about the performance of these pants, because they are pretty close to perfect. I’ve been trail running for over four years now and I am constantly on the hunt for the best gear. If it was up to me, and I wouldn’t scare off everyone else on the mountain, you’d probably find me out on the trail in my birthday suit. I hate when I can FEEL the clothes on me—it’s the worst when they rub and don’t move with my body. So since I probably shouldn’t run in the buff, and the weather is a little too cool for shorts, I reach for my Be Frees. The seams are in all the right places—they are flattering and look great, but don’t rub even after hours on the trail. Too often running tights fit perfect until they hit right below the knee—and after an hour or so I realize the elastic is digging in and I can’t think about anything except getting out of my running clothes. The bottom of the Be Free is tight enough to provide a flattering cut and keep them in place, but loose enough that I can literally wear these pants all day long and never need to take them off. The waistband is wide and doesn’t dig in, and the internal drawstring ensures the perfect fit. These pants are ideal for storage—two side pockets that are the right size for any extra calories I may need to take along, a back zipper pocket to fit my phone, and an internal pocket that my car key will fit in perfectly since I usually drive to the trail head.

When the weather gets chilly, they are my go to choice for runs. I can throw on a long sleeve top and warm headband—I’m good to go. These will pull the sweat away from my skin and then dry quickly, so I don’t end up cold from my own sweat.

Top and pants by Athleta. Shoes by Altra . Socks by Smartwool. Headband by Skida.
 sheena jibson for athletasheena jibson for athleta

The Be Frees are also ideal for a warm afternoon run. They are wonderfully thin—I really forget they are there (woohoo!), and they breathe well so I won’t overheat. I like to pair them with a tank so I can still soak up some vitamin D.

Tank and pants by Athleta. Shoes by Pearl Izumi.  Dog Collar by Willow Creek Leather
sheena jibson for athletasheena jibson for athleta

 After a few hours on the trail it’s always fun to head into Park City for a burger or a treat. These pants are so comfortable there’s never a need to change—I just slip some cash into the side pocket, throw on a sweater, my chacos, and a favorite hat and I’m ready to hit the town.

Sweater and Pants by Athleta. Hat by Patagonia. Sandals by Chaco Ice Cream by Java Cow
super dorky blue steel by myself.
sheena jibson for athleta

 The Be Free Knicker is a great pair of pants to add to your fall wardrobe. And runner or not, they really work perfectly for anything—I find myself pulling them on several times throughout my week. Hiking, yoga, rock climbing, running errands and heading to class….I may never take them off.sheena jibson for athleta

Check out more of Athleta's Fit 6 Pants and head on over to the Chi Blog for a chance to win a pair of each + a pair for your friends! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

on the trail in kauai

back in April we spent a few nights in the jungles of is a little of what we saw.
The Walk.
Within thirty seconds of hopping out of the Jeep I was soaked. We grabbed our packs, hoisted them up onto our backs (praying the rain covers would work), and walked our first few steps on the red muddy trail. I felt like I was walking underneath a waterfall (which later I found out felt nothing like this). It was a constant wall of water streaming down that soaked my clothes, pooled on my skin, and drip drip dropped off the brim of my hat making it almost impossible for me to see. The rocks were slippery, the roots were reaching up and grabbing my ankles, and my pack was wiggling in every direction that I wasn't. 
This was a great idea…..(?)

this photo makes me laugh. we hadn't even gone a mile but we were completely SOAKED.....we look like we've been on the trail for weeks.
 A couple miles in, we reached our first river crossing. Small rocks marked our way across—a fairly easy hop skip and jump for anybody who wasn’t wearing a few days worth of belongings on their back. I hadn’t found my groove yet and still felt like my pack was working against me, so I cautiously stepped on the first rock to cross.....very unsure of how this was all going to work. I hopped to the next, wobbled over a few more, and on my very last leap to the safety of stable ground, my body went forward and my pack did not cooperate, so only one of my feet made it to shore while the other flailed mid air and landed me half way in the river. 
But really.....what's a little more water?
We added our mark to the beach full of cairns and hit the trail again. Without even realizing it, I'd found my rhythm. My pack had finally molded to my hips and shoulders, I felt my stride lengthening and my feet becoming more sure. The sun even came out to dry our wet bones. We became familiar with the pattern of the trail--as we'd head deep into the jungle the rain would pour down, and we'd slip and slide our way through blurry vision knowing that the sun would come as we climbed out of the trees. When we'd get back to the edge of the island--the sunshine and ocean breeze would greet us as we looked out over towering cliffs....down down down to the ocean below. In and out, in and out. 
This trail was grueling with a loaded pack. Up and down and down and up--but not only that--it was ROUGH. Rocky and rooty--I had to pay careful attention to each step. It was completely exhausting on my brain and my body. At about 10 miles in, we saw it--the beach we would call home for the next few days. The last mile seemed impossibly long, but the thought that I could take my pack off--and KEEP my pack off for a while, gave me some pep in my step and we quickly made our way to set up camp. 

The Hippies. 
(not pictured)
Everyone told us about the hippies we would meet on the end beach. We knew they lived there, we knew they'd be naked, we were ready for it. What we didn't know about was all the activities you could do while nude--you know--like naked hula-hooping, naked yoga, naked sword fighting (with sticks, thank goodness!) We were party poopers and didn't partake in any of the day's nude activities, and instead set up our camp in the trees, away from the naked village. We ate burritos for dinner, and washed ourselves up and filled our bottles from a waterfall that reached up so high up I actually think it was falling from the clouds. We sat on the beach and watched the sun melt into the ocean. We fell asleep to the sound of some guy playing a flute (I'm assuming that was also done in the nude.)

The Jungle. 
The next morning we left camp and headed up river to explore. We winded through the jungle, we swam in warm pools, we napped on the rocks and let the sun bake our winter skin (this was April--it snowed in Utah while we were gone!) We found moss covered totems, and each took a turn in the old prayer labyrinth that we stumbled upon. If you're thinking this all sounds so perfect and charming and magical, I'll bring it back down a notch by letting you know we also saw a man that looked like homeless Santa Claus jump into the water not all the views were equally incredible. But yes, for the most part is was all purely magical and felt like paradise.


The Way Out.
We woke the next morning, packed up our belongings and loaded them onto our backs (WHY did our packs seem heavier.....we'd eaten so much food!) We quickly found our pace and talked and laughed and tried to take it all in (impossible.) We got to a river crossing and stashed our stuff in the trees and set out to find another waterfall. I felt so light and bouncy without my pack, I practically ran up the trail, anxious to get in the water and let it restore my aching limbs. I was chilled from our quick swim, but I knew I wanted to climb up under the waterfall--when would I get a chance like this again? The closer I got to the fall, the more I realized how ridiculous this was going to be. Rather than the gentle mist I'd imagined myself gracefully standing in, looking wild and natural like a local jungle queen, the weight of the water barely let me lift my head. I choked and sputtered as buckets of water dumped over me, threatening to drown me as I stood there. I looked less like a queen, and more like a soggy idiot. Those soap commercials sure are misleading.

saying goodbye...
don't slip!
I'm really good at closing my eyes in pictures.

much more painful than it looks like it would be...

The Burgers and The Coke
Even though my pack felt like a big awkward extension of my body, I was having so much fun exploring, I decided  right then I wanted to live like this--out of a pack--with just my few belongings and my feet to get me everywhere. I would eat jerky and peanut butter forever, grow gardens with the naked locals, and learn how to carve my own flute to play through the late evening hours. But as we followed the trail out for the last few miles, the sun beat down and we kept waiting for those familiar rain clouds when we'd head back into the jungle....they never came. Just the hot, hot heat and the dust from the trail filling our mouths.....I soon found myself dreaming of ice. Ice cold.....anything. I wanted an ice cold Coke and a burger. TWO burgers. and fries. and iccceeeee. So the last hot mile of the trail I found myself abandoning the idea of living in the wild, and chanting with each step, "burgers and coke, burgers and coke, burgers and coke." It set my pace and helped me push through the last mile. The trail spat us out at a beach, and we dumped our packs and ran (no really, you should have seen us running) straight INto the ocean--diving in head first to wash away the dust and pains of the trail.
And then we headed to town for burgers and a Coke.

the crew.

just a few extras for those of you that are curious
The food:
backpacking food
-Find a rice and beans mix that will cook up quickly in water and bring some tortillas, cheese and avocado and it will be the best tasting burrito you've ever had after a long day on the trail. add hot sauce for a bonus.
-Bagels + smoked salmon + cream cheese
-Kodiak Power Cakes ALWAYS a favorite around here. top with nut butter or syrup (sometimes you can find teeny tiny bottles in the store. worth the weight if you ask me:)
-Good 2 Go Bars (a new favorite--these are awesome!)
-Epic Bars  bars. of. meat. Initially they tripped me out but when you are starving after being out ALL day long they taste soooooo good and really fill you up.
-Justin's Nut Butter great for bagels, tortillas, oatmeal, pancakes, or just eating!
-Barney Butter Packets I found these and love their unique flavors for spreading or just eating plain for some extra calories. 
-Honey Stinger Waffles and Chews  always good for a quick energy boost
-Nuun I add this to my water when things get hot and sweaty. It has all the good stuff you need to put back into your body when you sweat it out.

The Gear: 
Prana Asha Shorts These shorts were the best! Kept the water off my skin. super comfortable, super tough.
Patagonia Undies : You need good undies when you are out for days and constantly getting soaked. These are comfy and dry quickly. Check out their Barely Bra too--so comfortable!
  Backpacking Towel : Loved this little towel--it packed away small in my pack and soaks up so much water after a waterfall bath. I have a ton of hair that stays wet forever (seriously I don't think my hair was ever 100% dry the whole time we were in Kauai) but this towel would pull a lot of moisture out of my hair. It also dries quickly.
Smartwool Socks : Good socks are a must for days on the trail--especially when your feet are getting wet. 
LifeProof Phone Case: I would only have a few photos if I didn't have this waterproof case on my phone. Its AWESOME for rain and underwater photos (those coming next post)
Chacos. duh.
A stick....which will help with balance sometimes....but you may still fall in the river.

all photos were taken with my iPhone.
more Hawaii to come!