The Year End

Greetings friends and family!


2017 is coming to a close and we are so thankful for all the blessings we have been showered with this year, and what a year it has been! We had some amazing adventures camping at in Washington at Fort Flagler and Mount Rainier, and in Oregon at Mt Hood. Between camping and various trips to Chelan with extended family, we had a whirlwind of a summer. When we were home we kept busy with house projects, hiking, and homeschooling the kids.


Chis has had a very full year. He continues his job as a mechanical engineer at Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group here in Auburn. He is the head of the research and design department. The way I always describe his job to people goes something like this, “You know those big machines at Krispie Kreme that make and ice the donuts? He makes those.” That is quite a layman term for what he does though as he has been busy traveling all over the country (and out of the country!) seeing to the running of a new industrial oven that his company just patented, his name is on the patent and everything!

While tackling these very long works hours Chris has also started his MBA in Business Finance at Washington State University. Is he a glutton for punishment? Yes. Just kidding :). It was actually a joint decision that we made, well aware it was going to be a stressful, exhausting, but advantageous endeavor. It surely has been all of those things so far, but there is no time like the present. He has jumped right in, securing straight A’s no less!

With the extra workload and school , Chris simply didn’t have time to continue Brock Soccer which we were both very sad about. We are in the process of trying to rearrange the program to fit our new demands but as on now we have taken a break. To help reduce stress and keep active, Chris has been biking to work in the summers and swimming the winter which is a solace to losing his soccer outlet. Despite all these challenges Chris doesn’t miss a beat with the kids and I. He is the stellar father and husband he always has been and we are so grateful for him.


5.5 years old

Our little man is not so little any more. He is growing with leaps and strides. At five, he is taller than my waist and is always asking for “more meat please mom!” This December marks one year of his riding a pedal bike- with no training wheels! Caidoc is constantly on the move. Is he’s not biking, he’s climbing his favorite tree with an apple in his pocket to eat at the top- “To to like Johnny Appleseed mom!” , swimming at the pool, playing dress up, or wrestling with Chris. Despite his unending energy, is favorite thing to do is sit and play with his Legos.

Homeschooling Caidoc is such an awesome experience. He is incredibly bright (of course I might be bias… but probably not). He does 1st grade math and can already read, although he’s not very interested in reading as much as math- he is his father’s son! He is also taking a music class and a sign language class with his sister. He has a natural ability for sign language which is so fun! He particularly like these classes because they are held at “the farm” my parents house, which is holds the wonders of Calvin and Hobbs, an epic tree house, and copious uncles and aunts who willingly play tag with him for hours. We are so grateful to have Caidoc in our lives. He is such a blessing and a wonderful son!


3.5 years old

How our little Princess has grown! Her vocabulary is huge, with her most recently word being “flabbergasted” which she can use correctly in context, usually referring to how she thinks someone will react when they “see her fancy outfit”. Azelie wore her Maid Marian Halloween costume for about two weeks before I could convince her it need to be cleaned. I’ve come to embrace the fact that she would rather wear dresses than sweatpants, due to her necessity to “twirl”. She is gaining an interest in Caidoc’s Legos, but still prefers Playmobile because she likes to act out stories whereas her brother rather just build vehicles. Zelie certainly is becoming quite her own person which is such a joy to watch. She frequently tells us tales of her “brother she had before Caidoc” a boy named “Clork” who apparently lives with her big sister “Merida” in her house, the location of which seems to change based on weather.

Azelie is in a music class and sign language class with Caidoc, but is also taking ballet, which she likes as long as she can dance with a doll. Her current aspiration in life is to become a “ballerina with a bow”. Her imagination is second to none. We recently had to remove the mirror from her room since we kept finding her perfecting her dramatic fake crying which we were only alerted to by the deafening decibel she had achieved. We love our vibrant, beautiful, hilarious little girl.



Well, after summarizing Chris’s and the kid’s year, there isn’t much to say. My days revolve around supporting and raising those three people, something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I am really loving homeschooling the kids, despite how trying it can be sometimes. Our house has gotten some upgrades in the way of a heat pump, repaired deck, new deck roofing, and more- home ownership is quite a challenge and a gift. I don’t find much time to blog these days, I usually want to spend my free time exercising, prepping food, or reading. Last year I joined a Pilates, yoga, and barre studio which I just love. The community of women is just wonderful and I go to classes several times a week. Most of my time is spent planning for trips, holidays, schooling, freezer meals, field trips, hikes, house projects, well, you get the idea! This year has been such a busy and exciting one. With the kids getting older, our scope for adventure has widened. I remember the days when taking both the kids to the library was exhausting but these days Caidoc and Azelie and I can go for a three mile hike and I don’t have to carry anyone! Watching the kids mature is such a bittersweet experience- mostly sweet. I cannot believe how blessed I am with such an amazing family!


We wish you all a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Thank you for being in our lives. Cheers!

The Brock Family

A Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget

My parents would tease me in high school that I had a “champagne taste on a beer budget”, embarrassingly, it’s true annnnd not much has changed. Luckily, I’ve learned to take the good with the bad. There is nothing wrong with liking nice things, but living beyond your means is not something to aspire to. My mom helped me learn that doing things cheaply does not have mean depravation, but rather an opportunity to take pride in exercising self control, creativity, and financial awareness.

So, whats my “Champagne”? I really like fancy bath products! Lotions, washes, scrubs, soap, etc. The market for these products is vast, but my taste usually falls in the “organic, raw, natural” category. So, places like LUSH and Burt’s Bee’s are my Achilles heel. Last year I went to LUSH with my sisters and mom (super fun girls trip!) and got their Cup O’Coffee scrub. I got the smallest container but for my budget, it was still a steep price. I made that jar last as long as I possibly could! Haha! I’ve experimented making my own scrubs had have had good success (Pinterest is a God send, am I right!? ). Recently I found a knock off recipe for the Cup O’Coffee scrub and I was so excited! I whipped it up as soon as I could, which of course was the next day because, Mom Life.

I had some mixing help 🙂 Those chubby little hands and arms just make me swoon!

The only thing I added that wasn’t in the recipe was this Indian Healing Clay. Now, many DIYs can actually end up costing as much as the product you are trying to reproduce, so it’s import to asses ingredients, making substitutions if necessary and better yet, not paying for them at all! One of my not-so-secret ways of obtaining ingredients for projects is by asking for them as gifts (the Indian Healing Clay was given to me by my brother). It does mean that you have to be patient in your planning for your DIY. Budgeting out all the ingredients is also an option, I usually don’t do this just because I see fancy bath products as a luxury, and not something I should be regularly budgeting for. I digress..

Here is the recipe! I really thought it made a wonderful replica of the Cup O’ Coffee Scrub. I melted the coconut oil in order to get it to mix, and I used honey instead of agave. It did make my face a little oilier than the LUSH product, but I usually use a face wash after an exfoliant so it worked just great for me. Good luck!



Homeschool lately

We have been homeschooling for two years now! I am so proud of my kiddos and really treasure being able to watch them learn and grow. While packing up C and A’s binders of activities, crafts, and school work I paged through them and was amazed to see how far the kids have come, mostly C. That is probably why I keep everything (well, mostly everything) so that I can see the progress at the end of the year, it is really encouraging! Here are some snippets of what of all the kids hard work.

This is a blurry picture, but it is significant to us since it was from one of C’s first speech therapy appointments, a journey he is still on.

We have had an awesome year of learning! I cant wait for it to continue. We don’t really stop schooling during the summer but we do take several week breaks and long weekends if we are traveling.

Most recently we finished a really fun science project. Science experiments are probably the kids favorite school activity. It is so fun to experience being a kids all over again with them- their curiosity is insatiable! C got this dino egg kit for his birthday and boy did he LOVE it. He was always asking to “hatch” another egg, begging for multiple a day! Luckily, I was able to draw it out a little bit and he and A worked on this project for a couple weeks.

We kept track of of the dinos and occasionally watched a YouTube video of our dino of the day.

Making the diorama after we hatched all the eggs was SO fun! We googled a picture so I could show the kids a sample of what I meant by “diorama”. C was so proud of all his hard work and we made sure A was able to join in the fun.

He is so proud of all his work! Isn’t it awesome?!

We have so much fun homeschooling and can’t wait to continue our learning adventures!





Simple “Life Hacks”

Who doesn’t like finding things that makes their life easier? That’s right, no one (okay, maybe someone out there doesn’t, but obviously they have issues. Just kidding). One of the billion benefits of social media and the internet is the ability to share what have become known as “life hacks”; a strategy for making activities more efficient. Sometimes they can be idiotically simple, which always leaves me thinking “WHY have I not thought of that?!” Luckily, I didn’t have to because, well… internet.

Today, I thought I’d share a few of my “life hacks” coming to you from these very own little gray cells. These are by no means ground breaking ideas, but they do make my life a little easier/more productive every day.

Water Bottle

I could go on and on about water consumption, but since I know good ol’ inter-webs and (and host of much more qualified people) have probably already saturated (haha! get it?!) you with that information, I’ll just leave this little link here in case you’re curious. It can be tricky getting enough H2O in our bodies, if we haven’t made a habit it. I’ve discovered an easy way to form the habit of drinking at least 64 oz a day is by having a designated water bottle that I bring with me everywhere and that stays close by me at home. I’ve tried many different water bottles but this one stands the test. One year in and still going strong! It is glass with a removable silicone wrap, but has been dropped and hasn’t broken or even chipped. It’s 32 oz which means I usually only have to fill it up twice, it only has two pieces to clean, is dish washer friendly, and fits my standard car cup holder. Need I go on? I love this thing. Being a mama of two I was sure this would break at some point but NOPE! I can’t recommend this enough for getting in your daily water needs. And no, I’m not getting paid or anything to say that (I’m not that cool…yet ;). Here’s where you can find this beauty.

Yes, this askew picture is driving me bonkers too. It’s the photographers fault, the bottle isn’t naturally lopsided.


Coffee Syrup

Now this is not anything new, I’m pretty sure heaps of people make their own coffee syrup. But this one of those things that I’m always glad I take the extra ten minutes to make because homemade is so much healthier than the store bought options (isn’t it always?). Not to mention, DIYing it will save ya a good chunk of change over time. I recommend taking a stroll on over to Ikea and buying a couple of their glass bottles and whipping up a batch of your own. I go classic with a vanilla sugar based syrup; here is my recipe:

2 cups organic raw cane sugar

2 cups water

1 1/2 table spoons pure vanilla extract

Bring sugar and water to boil and boil for 3 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, stir in extract. Allow to cool before transferring into a glass bottle with a funnel.

Feel free to get creative! I’ve found good recipes for maple, cranberry, mint, etc coffee syrups on Pinterest. Bonus: these make great gifts.



I love coupons. There, I’ve said it. I love to get deals, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy couponer lady that you’d see on TV or anything. Let’s get real here folks, it’s the 21st century, there’s an app for that! Specifically, I use the Ibotta app (again, not getting paid or anything) It’s a small way of saving if you use the app casually like me. But, every little bit helps, am I right? I find I “cut” the most coupons while watching a tv show or on my stationary bike. There are many coupon apps out there, but I find this one to be by far the most simple to use.


That’s just a few of my life hacks, but my never-failing daily ones so they have been put to the test of time and stood strong. I hope you are able to use them, or get inspiration for some of your own! Let me know if you have any to share with me, I sure do love a good life hack.




Resurrection Rolls

Easter is so close I can smell it! No, seriously, can anyone else smell the fragrant cherry blossoms? It means that spring is finally here and with it, the anticipation that Lent is coming to a close. This is one of the best times of the year, don’t you think?

This has been a more successful Lent than past years. With C and A getting older, I’m able to do more Lenten projects, and make more commitments for myself and the family, since their comprehension levels and attention spans are maturing. Also, I’m not pregnant or nursing around the clock, which means I have more energy than past Easter seasons, haha!

One of my favorite Lenten projects to do with the kids is Resurrection Rolls. Also, know as Hocus Pocus rolls, these are a quick and easy hands on lesson of the burial of Jesus. C remembered making these rolls last year (at 3!) and could recount the main “take away” points. For that reason I recommend doing this project with even your littlest tots. Just mentally prepare for some mess and sticky fingers, and shirts…possibly hair and pants if you’re anything like us.


There are recipes for these rolls on Pinterest, but I am going to show you my own that incorporates the scripture passage and directions for each step to break it down for little minds. Ready? Let’s go!

Resurrection Rolls

Things you will need:

Puff pastry (homemade or store bought)

~ 12 Regular sized marshmallows

1/2 cup Granulated sugar

2 Tbs Cinnamon

1/4 cup Butter melted

Rolling pin

3 small bowls

Cookie sheet and cooking spray (pr parchment paper)

Passage of John 19: 38-42



First assemble your supplies, don’t call over the kids yet!

  1. Roll flat your puff pastry on a floured surface. I highly recommend making your own to avoid all those gross artificial colors. I love this recipe, and I doubled it. I made my pastry the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. It rolled out beautifully. Once rolled about about 1/4 inch in thickness, slice into squares or strips with a pizza cutter as shown below. I’m not exact on this, I just make sure the marshmallow can fit.
  2. Melt butter in a bowl
  3. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl
  4. Put marshmallows in a bowl
  5. Pull up scripture passage, on your phone or take out your Bible and locate it.


Now it’s time to call the kiddos over to help out! I like to follow the “Tell, Show, Do” method. Below is a suggested script.


  1. Read aloud the passage (or summarize if kiddos are very small) and explain that they get to “act” it out.
  2. Hand a marshmallow to each (some sampling might occur, don’t worry, it happens here too 🙂 ) tell them that,
    1. “After Jesus died on the cross, He was taken down and buried. We are pretending this marshmallow is Jesus”
  3. Show them how to roll the mallow in the butter, saying
    1. “first they cleaned His body. We are pretending that this butter is the water and aloe they used”
  4. Then roll the mallow in the sugar mixture saying,
    1. “then they put spices in His burial wrappings. We are pretending these are those spices”
  5. Next wrap the mallow in a slice of puff pastry forming a ball shape and saying,
    1. “then Jesus was put in a tomb, this is our tomb”
  6. Have them do it themselves and repeat till all the marshmallows are wrapped
  7. Double check the seals on the dough, sealing them all around the mallow by pinching cracks together
  8. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray
  9. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, the varying thickness of the pastry can make timing fickle, just keep an eye on it
  10. Once you put all the mallows in the oven say,
    1. “Now Jesus was in the tomb three days, let’s pretend that while our rolls are in the oven we are waiting those three days”
  11. Once the rolls are done (they should be lightly browned) take them out and slice one open for the kids to see that the “tomb” is empty!



*Don’t be daunted if the script part seems long to explain, it really only takes less than a minute.

* The rolls might pop open and ooze in the oven, no worries! They won’t be ruined and then you’ll be able to see inside them that much better.


The rolls are quite yummy, even the next day! I hope you have fun with these folks, the look of surprise on those little faces can be quite amusing. Cheers!

Back again

Wow, it’s been awhile since I posted! I’d make up all the usual excuses, but you know how it is; the holidays come and go and in the momentum of getting the routine back, the little things can get away from you. At least they get away from me.

As I’m soaking up some rare sunshine on this very chilly afternoon, I’ve just wrapped up a project we’ve been meaning to finish for ages: the sandbox area! We’ve been working on several house projects, most are the “boring” kind; paint a random wall, researching more efficient heating and cooling options, and just plain old maintenance. But, this one was fast and pretty fun!

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We already had a sandbox, made from old pallets Husband picked up from work. But the area around the sandbox was a grassless dirt pile. As much as I wanted grass around the box, the boisterous sand tossing thwarted my best efforts at seeding. So, after much debate of pea gravel vs wood chips, the wood chips got the vote since we were worried about the pea gravel (which would inevitably migrate across the yard occasionally) becoming a deadly projectile while mowing.

Using more recycled pallets we framed the wood chips and pavers, but not before we laid down some landscape fabric (who knows if that seeding will decide to finally make a come back?!).Husband spruced up the sandbox by replacing the cover and wrapping it with a tarp (curse this Seattle rain!). I made the chalkboard out of, get this, cement backer board! I read a brilliant blog that mentioned how they got long life out of their outdoor chalkboard and that was the secret! I’m happy to say that after two coats of chalkboard paint it is working great and has withstood the rain already very well.

Well folks, that’s been one project that we’ve been busy with lately but stay tuned for more, I’m determined to not let my little blog lapse so badly again. You’ll have to keep me honest 🙂



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