Featured Our Travels

Breckenridge Snow Report – Fresh Snow with a Chance of Tears

There was great anticipation in the van as David looked up the Breckenridge Snow Report for the next day.  The snow was to blanket the mountain overnight and continue to fall the next day.  Fresh powder, on the day his boyhood dream was to become a reality!

He would finally get his chance to ski the coveted slopes of Breckenridge – or “Breck” as the locals call it.  He had fantasized about this moment since he first learned to ski in the early 80’s.  Riffling through winter sport magazines, imagining himself floating on the powder above the tree line.

Breckenridge Snow Report

He had skied in places like Whistler, Snowbird, Mt. Bachelor, and Park City – but never Breck.

We spent several days in the quaint mountain town already enjoying all it had to offer before the snow fell enough for the lifts to open.  As a family, we had ample time to gather gear from local businesses that would keep us warm in the colder climate.  We were happy to find a fully stocked reuse sports store in the next town over where we scored awesome deals on almost everything we needed – a relief because all we had with us was what would fit in a few suitcases.  We had been on the road since summer and those clothes weren’t transitioning real well.

kids breckenridge

David got fitted for special hard boots because he has funny little bone spurs on the tops of his feet so regular boots never fit right.  They were an investment but we were okay with dropping the dough because we were hopeful that this was our new family sport.  If you read {Part 1} of the Breckenridge Snow Report series you already know how that turned out!

ski in breckenridge

ski boots breckenridge

David was thrilled for the kids and I to become personally acquainted with the sport that meant so much to him growing up.  He was so kind to give us plenty of time on the snow before he hit the mountain himself.  Up and down we went on the magic carpet while he took care of Girlr and watched while the boys and I fell and got back up ad nauseum trying to figure out how to keep our skis steady underneath of us.

breckenridge snow report

 breckenridge snow report

He was so patient.  Just content to be in Breckenridge at all.  But I knew below the surface he was dying to get out there himself and see if it was really as good as he had always dreamed it would be.  I wasn’t with him on the slopes that day but all I know is what happened when he came back.

Breckenridge Snow Report

 Breckenridge Snow Report

Tears of gratitude.

He just came back and wept.  So thankful for being able to fulfill a dream that he didn’t anticipate happening until much later.  Part of what made it all the sweeter was that so many things in our life were falling apart all around us and here we were being blessed beyond belief.  Things were hard.  REALLY hard in so many ways and yet all we could do was thank God for His provision and goodness.  I will never forget the weeks we spent in that glorious and terrible place!

Stay tuned for the last in this Breckenridge Snow Report Series (silly name, I know) to find out what happened with E on those treacherous mountains!  And don’t forget to like our page on FB if you haven’t already!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Featured Our Travels

Breckenridge Snow Report: Broken Nose in the Forecast

The weather is perfect and the Breckenridge Snow Report is exactly what every skier hopes for on the day they hit the slopes.  It hasn’t snowed for a few days so the blowers are humming as they spray out white powder in anticipation of the real stuff to start falling.  It’s early in the season and there are few clouds, short lines, and the sun is shining.  David’s life long dream of skiing the slopes of Breckenridge was just realized (I’ll tell you about that in another post:)) and he is back at the condo with the kids.

breckenridge snow reportHaving experienced snowboarding a handful of times, my confidence surges.  The last few days I conquered Breckenridge’s bunny hill and after several more hours on it today, I am ready to take on something more legit.

I hop on the lift and enjoy the ride.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  Perfect.  Partway up I realize that we passed the bunny hill drop off long ago and I still can’t see where this ride ends.  A pang of regret hits my stomach until I push it out refusing the fear that is about to take hold.  What more could I ask for?  At the moment I don’t have to attend to the needs of my family and I can just breathe the crisp air and bask in the beauty of creation.

I am living the dream.

As I reach the top I am greeted by photographers who snap a quick picture before I head down the mountain.  These moments are meant to be remembered.

Taken aback by the steep drop at the onset of the coarse, I hold my ground with out falling for a quarter of the way down the mountain.  My legs are shaking from the strain of hours on the bunny hill.  I realize now that I shouldn’t have spent so much time over there.  I am in over my head and I know it.  This run has exponentially more people than the beginners coarse and I fear another skier will run right into me if I zig zag down the mountain, so I keep my skis pointed down the mountain.

I’m going so fast, I lose control and careen into the plastic fencing that serves as a barrier between me and the trees.  Thrashing hard on my back side I slide to a stop and start to cry.  I am cold, alone, and scared.  I feel weak and my legs won’t stop shaking.  I am stuck with no other choice than to ski myself down this horrible mountain.

I opted out of professional ski lessons in place of the brilliant educator known as YouTube.  No one told me I could ski side to side on the steep mountain to slow myself down on this kind of run.  Seems like everyone is going so quickly.  Not wanting to cause a crash with a skier behind me  I keep myself primarily face forward.  Which is unfortunate because the next turn of events found me thrown like a rag doll down the mountain, thrusting my face full force straight into the afternoon ice.  The impact causing my head to spin and blood to pour from my nose.

I sat there bleeding out, weeping while skiers passed by.  I was a few football fields distance from the bottom of the run by this point.  I wiped my face best I could as my fingers froze, put my gloves back on and as I got up to make my way down I turned and another skier saw my bloody face.  “Oh sh@#!  Should I call the ski patrol to evacuate you off the mountain?”  Standing up from the crimson snow I say “no.”  All I wanted to do was fall into the arms of my husband and cry my eyes out.

We were staying at The Grand Lodge at Peak 7 so all I had to do was take a short gondola ride over and walk back.  Having very little experience with hard boots the walk back was  slow.  Every step reminding me of how much I hated skiing.

breckenridge snow report

Breckenridge Snow Report

My nose was hurting from the fall and burning from the cold.  As soon as I walked in our place I burst out into tears and muttered something barely coherent about how I NEVER wanted to ski again!

I was never examined by a doctor so I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty positive I broke my nose that day.  My years of playing basketball in high school – on the prestigious C-team – full of balls to the face and soreness for days didn’t hold a candle to what I was feeling.  It literally hurt to breathe!

kids compassion

I must have read the forecast in the Breckenridge Snow Report wrong because the forecast for me that day was a broken nose and a crushed spirit.  And did you read about what happened to E the very next day?  Even though I was traumatized by those two events, I don’t give up that easy.  I fully intend to be brave and journey back to the mountain and strap skis onto my feet one day.  I can assure you, when that day comes I will not be taking ski lessons from YouTube!

If you found my blog looking for the actual Breckenridge Snow Report, you can find it here.  Thanks for reading and be safe!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road


Featured Strong Luv Uncategorized

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I wanted to share with you some quick and easy Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas just in case you are anything like me and have really good intentions and poor overall follow through when it comes to giving neighbors, teachers, friends or family meaningful gifts.

handmade gift ideas christmas

I am a horrendous baker so I can’t just whip up a few dozen cookies, wrap them up pretty and give them away.   It is a serious detriment. It usually plays out something like this:

  1. Emily gets a couple of good ideas on homemade Christmas gifts to make.  Things that will really knock the receivers socks off.  She gets really excited about finally making it happen this year.
  2. The ideas Emily comes up with are somewhat complex, time consuming to make, or outside of her abilities (i.e.. baking or embroidery).
  3. Emily musters up the courage to face her homemade christmas gift past failures and is determined to overcome.
  4. Just days before Christmas, Emily finds a little time after the kids go to bed to throw something together.
  5. It doesn’t turn out well,  never gets completed, or in the saga of baked goods – they come out flat and/or taste atrocious.

It is the same story almost every year.  It’s sad.  I lump that failure into my unsent christmas cards – good intentions that were never realized – and call it a year.

But I got smart this year.  I decided to go the no bake route and create some simple & edible homemade Christmas gifts for our neighbors and friends.  And they turned out SO GOOD.  Next time I will spend a little more time on beautiful packaging as it was somewhat of an afterthought.

But seriously, I made Christmas treats and they were good enough to give out this time!

At this point you should really be rejoicing for me.  If you are not cut from the same cloth as me, you are probably saying to yourself  “I don’t get it.  You just follow the recipe and it’s fine.”  I assure you this is not the case.  Cookies especially seem to have it out for me.  I have fought against it my whole adult life.  I’m leaving my baked good dreams behind.

It’s liberating!

I made three different things:

  • Peppermint Bark Popcorn in a Mason Jar
  • Peppermint & Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix in a Mini Mason Jar
  • Peppermint Chocolate Marshmallow Pops

Peppermint Bark Popcorn

homemade christmas gifts
peppermint bark popcornIngredients:

  • 16 C popped popcorn* (fresh, or about 2 bags non-buttered microwave popcorn)
  • 3 bars of white bakers chocolate
  • 1 6 ounce box candy canes – crushed with a rolling pin
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil (optional)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips


Air pop the popcorn.  Lay popped corn out on large sheet pans lined with parchment paper.  Melt the white chocolate and stir in peppermint oil(optional).  Drizzle it evenly onto the popcorn.  Toss it around a bit to get a nice coating.  Top with crushed candy canes and drizzle with melted chocolate. *This will make 4 quart size Mason Jars worth.

homemade christmas gifts

Peppermint & Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe:

homemade christmas giftshomemade christmas giftsThis recipe is what you will need for 1 Mini Mason Jar.

  • 8 Tablespoons of Starbucks Hot Cocoa Mix or your own favorite Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 2 Tablespoons of Crushed Candy Cane – for our family and friends that are sensitive to food coloring I used dye free candy canes
  • Top off with Mini Marshmallows – I used these natural ones

* Make sure to include a tag with directions to mix the entire jar with 4 cups of  hot milk

Peppermint Chocolate Marshmallow Pops

homemade christmas gift ideas

Directions: Melt chocolate.  Insert lollipop sticks in marshmallows and dip them in the melted chocolate three quarters of the way up.  Dip the chocolatey marshmallows in a bowl of crushed candy canes.  Line them up on parchment paper and let them dry. homemade christmas gifts homemade christmas gifts homemade christmas gifts
homemade christmas gifts

It melts me every time a friend or neighbor blesses us with something they’ve made.   I hope this gives you some great ideas for a few EASY homemade Christmas gifts you can make for your neighbors or friends in a snap. IT’S NOT TOO LATE! Now, even us non-bakers can get in on the goodie giving action with our head held high!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Featured Strong Luv Uncategorized

Family Tradition – Words of LIFE Handmade Christmas Ornaments

We are starting a new family tradition this Christmas, and I just love it.  This is a brilliant one for me because unlike other Martha Stewart Super Moms, I have 3 unfinished baby books and countless scrapbooks which have yet to be cracked open.   So any family tradition that can play double duty is a keeper!

family tradition

This art project family tradition is a perfect one for anyone with minimal craft skills too!  Even the kids can do it.  All you need to make them is:

Plastic or Glass Ornaments. (Found at Michael’s Craft Store or on Amazon)
Wax Paper
Thin Ribbon or String
Paper of Choice for Tag
Mini Leaves or Confetti (optional)

That is it!

You don’t have to use wax paper but I really like the delicate look that was achieved from ironing two pieces of wax paper together.  They look delicate but they aren’t.  Make sure to iron them on the wool setting.  Go slow and pass over the two pieces until they are bonded together.

Cut narrow strips from the paper and write the unique attributes of each person on separate strips.  Since it’s 2013, David and I decided to each write 13 things for each one of the kids.  For our ornaments, I wrote 13 things about David and had each child tell me the most awesome thing about their daddy.  I wrote them down along with the child’s name beside the word that they thought best described their daddy.  He did the same for my ornament.

handmade christmas ornaments

family tradition holiday

handmade christmas ornaments family tradition

Before we rolled them up in scrolls for a Christmas Keepsake, we prayed over our kids and told them about what virtues and characteristics we saw in them.  It was a sweet time.  We got to explain what some of the words meant.  You could see them sit a little taller with each word of life spoken over their lives.

We spent a little time thinking about words that accurately described them this year.  I want to be able to pull these handmade christmas ornaments out someday, unroll the scrolls and remember who they really were at this moment.

handmade christmas ornaments

family tradition

I hope that gave you some inspiration to start your own family tradition this year.  They take a little effort but in the end it is so worth it!  What are your favorite Christmas family traditions?

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

family fun Featured Strong Luv

Scavenger Hunt Ideas this Holiday Season

This is the first of many Scavenger Hunt Ideas that I will be sharing with you on the blog.  I have so many fond memories of going on scavenger hunts when I was a kid.  They are especially fun if you are in competition with another person or team to see who can find everything on the list first!

scavenger hunt ideasFor this Holiday Scavenger Hunt I tried to include all the things that bring a smile to my face when I think of Christmas – which is why I excluded, long lines, drunk Santas, fruit cake, and ugly sweaters.   Oh wait!  On second thought, I should have included the sweaters.

I would have added peppermint mochas, adult eggnog, and early bedtimes to the list but I thought the kids might not appreciate it so much so I left those items out.

What I did include on the Holiday Scavenger Hunt Ideas List was:
  • A Snowman
  • Wreath
  • Poinsettia
  • Candy Cane
  • Santa
  • Mistletoe
  • Nativity Scene
  • A Snowglobe
  • White Christmas Lights
  • Colored Christmas Lights
  • A Reindeer
  • Red Bow
  • Star
  • Christmas Ornament
  • Snowflake
  • The Grinch
  • Rudolph
  • Angel
  • A Train
  • Blinking Lights

Here is the printable version:

scavenger hunt ideas

Click image for PDF to print!

I hope you like this fun little activity.  Do it together as a family or send Daddy out with one of the kids for a holiday treasure hunt date that ends with some hot cocoa topped with extra whipped cream!

Make sure to print it out and add your own ideas on the back.  We all have our own special family traditions and things that make the holidays extra meaningful so jot a few of those down and voila, you have your own custom scavenger hunt list that your kids will love!  Fun, FREE, and memorable!  Love it.

Do you have any fun Scavenger Hunt Ideas that would be fun to do as a family?  I’d love to hear.  Also, if you haven’t yet, make sure to check out my Christmas Pinterest Board.  I am also filling out some gift boards as well if you are looking for some ideas on things to buy your kiddos!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Featured Our Travels Reviews

Theo Chocolate Tour

I had the pleasure of going on the Theo Chocolate Tour at Theo’s Factory in Seattle with my Mom and two sisters.  We were downtown for a couple of days celebrating my mom’s birthday and my sister suggested we take the chocolatey tour. She had done it before with some of her girlfriends and thought it would be fun.  She was right!

theo chocolate tourIt’s always nice to do something a little less commercial and off the beaten path when it comes to exploring what a city has to offer.  These types of tours are especially good if you have already seen the more touristy attractions and are looking for something interesting that you haven’t done before.

I’m a sucker for good design and Theo Chocolate Factory has that in spades.  From the live edge wood benches and shelves to stained concrete floors.  They even embellished the ceiling with leaves cut from thick waxy paper in different shades of green.  The canopy transports you to the tropics where cacao trees grow!

Not a bad start.

Theo Chocolates Seattle

Theo Chocolate Tour

Theo Chocolate Tour

My mesmerization of the decor was sweetly interrupted by bowls of chocolate samples being passed around while the tour guide gave the history of the Theobroma Cacao (chocolate) fruit tree.  It’s greek translation literally means “food of the gods!”

I am no god, but this is my kind of food baby!

theo chocolate factory

theo chocolate factory

We went when the factory was partially shut down so we didn’t get the entire picture with the machines whirring and chocolatiers working away decorating delicacies.  Even so, it was interesting – and yummy.

At the end of the tour you end up in the gift shop where you can purchase chocolate on your way out.  Besides chocolates and caramels to share with David and the kids, I bought a couple of burlap sacks that held the cacao beans while they were in transport.  I haven’t decided what I am going to do with them yet, but I love decorating with things gathered along the way that remind us of cool stuff we’ve done or places we’ve been – so I won’t let those go to waste.

theo chocolate tour

theo chocolate tour

The tour guide does a good job of walking you through the process from plant to package.   They are clearly well trained in explaining Theo’s commitment to quality and sustainability because I went from knowing nothing about Theo Chocolates to feeling some loyalty to them.

If you are considering taking the Theo Chocolate Tour yourself and aren’t sure if its suited for your children, the company recommends kids be 7 or older.  My sister brought her baby without incident.  There were a few kids there who were younger than 7 and they did great.  You have to make that call depending on your child’s activity level and ability to stay engaged.  I don’t think I could take all three of our kids by myself at this point but it is a great date idea and would love to take one of my older kiddos if it was just the two of us.

Whether you live in the Emerald City or are just visiting, the Theo Chocolate Tour is definitely one to consider if you are looking for something fun to do that is out of the box.  And if you are a Seattle native, it’s a perfect thing to add to your staycation itinerary!

Don’t forget to “like” my FB page or follow my boards on Pinterest for more ideas on creative ways to enjoy life with your loved ones and connect with the  world around you!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Featured Our Travels Uncategorized

Eating Fried Frog Legs – Frog Legs Recipe Included!

I took the leap and tried fried frog legs for the first time recently and have to say, I showed ridiculously poor frog leg eating skill and etiquette.  I was so worked up with the idea of eating fried frog legs for the first time that it never occurred to me that they wouldn’t be boneless.


My brain totally went blank.  It took a while to compute that I had just bit into bone.  I actually thought – wow, this is really tough meat!

fried frog legs

fried frog legs

frog legs

frog leg recipes

I can’t say I’ll be lining up for fried frog legs again any time soon.  They were basically deep fat fried bones with very little meat on them.  It was fine.  But, i mean, I just ate fried frog legs!  Cool right?  The boys were pretty impressed.  Unfortunately, it was girls night out so my little guys didn’t get in on the action.

We will have to remedy that.

As a little girl we had a lot of foreign exchange students in and out of our house.  They introduced us to all kinds of “strange” ethnic foods.  I basically grew up on fish head soup and yogurt cake so I guess once you’ve gone down that path it’s not a big stretch to find yourself bellied up to a frog leg buffet.

Seems like a pretty natural conclusion to me.

Whether you are in a far away land or your own backyard, experiencing culture through food is so much fun! If you want to try fried frog legs for yourself, here is a recipe.  Go for it!  Chances are your kids will think you are hardcore!

So it was me vs. fried frog legs.  The frog legs came out on top.  But I’ve learned a few things, and next time around they won’t be so lucky.

What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever tried?
Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Featured Our Travels Reviews

iFLY Indoor Skydiving – No Life Insurance Necessary

David recently surprised me by taking me to a place called iFLY Indoor Skydiving here in Seattle.  We first spotted the iFLY building when it was under construction on one of our visits to see family before we moved back for good.  I have wanted to go indoor skydiving at iFLY ever since.  I am a big fan of free falling, and need more of it in my life.

He knows me well and this kind of date is right up my ally. We first went skydiving about a year after we got married.  The Man didn’t want to go but I persuaded him to do it for the sake of love.  I was 21.  And he was convinced he was about to DIE.

So convinced in fact that he got his life insurance and all of our finances in order and made sure I knew where every last bit of our assets debt was at the time.  You know, so I could take care of myself after he was gone!

After the training we boarded the rickety plane.  He was shaking slightly and I was just in heaven.  I have a thing for turbulence.  It’s like some sort of drug my body craves.  When most people are completely terrified of the plane going down – I am in my own little world.  so. very. happy.  The statistics are in our favor so I just sit back and enjoy the ride.

That said, my sole skydiving experience was a bit of a disappointment.  The free fall was much shorter than anticipated and for the most part the event was a serene one.  Not really what I was going for.

iFLY indoor Skydiving

And I have to say, iFLY was much the same.  It was fun, just not the life altering have to go back immediately kind of fun.  You don’t really get the free fall feeling.

You are more concerned about whether you are holding your body correctly so you don’t bump into a window wall or fall flat on your face.  When things start looking shaky the skydiving instructor gives you some hand signals to help you self correct and if that doesn’t work, he gently repositions you himself.

If you want them to shoot you high in the vertical wind tunnel, you have to pay an extra 10 bucks for about 10 seconds.  Which is kind of insulting after already laying down $60 for 2 minutes.  But it’s an experience you don’t want to miss so you throw down the money and go with it.

The extra ten dollars was worth it since it was the only rush inducing part of the whole thing for me.  I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, just that for the most part it wasn’t a big rush.

ifly indoor skydiving

ifly indoor skydivingifly indoor skydiving seattle

One of the best parts about going to iFLY indoor skydiving is watching the instructors who take a turn at the end of each cycle and show you all their crazy tricks.  If you are not inclined to try out the wind tunnel yourself, you can go watch for free.

All in all, it was a fun experience with my man.  Not an extreme rush but definitely not a bust!  We liked it enough to go back and plan on taking the boys so they can experience it for themselves during our Seattle Staycation!

If you plan on going, make sure to check with Costco to see if they are currently selling iFLY indoor skydiving gift certificates.  I saw some at our Costco for $40, which is where we will be purchasing the tickets for the boys!

Have you ever been skydiving – indoors or otherwise?  I’d love to hear about it!

If you haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to like my Facebook page so you can stay updated on our family shenanigans and get inspired to do some of your own!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Featured Strong Luv

Blessing Bags for the Homeless – Finished Project!

blessing bags homeless
If you have been following my Blessing Bags for the Homeless Series, you know that our family has been busy putting the bags together.  We wanted to make them extra special and document it along the way so that you guys would have some resources to help you make blessing bags of your own.  I published the Basic Blessing Bag Checklist, the Blessing BACKPACK Checklist, Card Printables to personalize your bags and encourage the receiver, and even Inspiration from Mother Teresa! Now you get to see how they turned out!!! These blessing bags are smaller than the backpacks obviously but they are so nice to have on hand in the van with us so that when we come across someone asking for help at an intersection we can hand it to them out the window.

blessing bags for the homeless

I posted several videos on YouTube to help people who are interested in putting these bags together.  I’m only linking to two of them in this post.  If you want to see all of them you can check them out at my Home Sweet Road YouTube channel.

If you want to do something a little more elaborate check out the video I did on Blessing Backpacks for the Homeless

We also put together some blessing bags for KIDS.  You won’t generally see homeless kids running around downtown, however, sometimes the homeless people that you do encounter have children.  Sometimes they are in transitional housing or shelters.  We wanted to make a few bags for children who are in this unfortunate situation.

In an effort to make putting these bags together as easy as possible for you, I gathered some items that you can just click add to cart and Amazon will send them right to your door.  Doesn’t get much easier than that friends!

If you do end up doing this with your family make sure to set appropriate expectations for your children regarding the reaction of the receiver.  It can be disappointing for our little guys if they are expecting a big response and don’t get it.

I really hope the resources I pulled together help you serve those who really need it this season.  Don’t forget to follow my homeless and blessing bag Pinterest boards for more inspiration.

Emily Oak

*Please note that the links in this post are affiliate links.  This simply means sometimes I recommend a product and if you choose to purchase that product via my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help keep my candle burning so I can keep bringing you great tips! I truly appreciate your support in this way. Thank you.










Featured Our Travels Uncategorized

Living in Seattle – One Year Later

snoqualmie ridge

It’s amazing the difference a year makes.  This week marks one year since we moved back to Seattle.  We were originally going to settle down somewhere in or near Boulder, Colorado.  We wanted to be nestled up against the rocky mountains after having lived in the flats of the midwest for five years.  We dropped our stuff off at a storage unit in Denver before our road trip began and didn’t know when we would see our belongings again – and didn’t care!  We were SO excited to explore the open road.

Living like a free birds and traveling from place to place was the experience of a life time.  Longtime dreams were fulfilled, adventures were had.   It was AMAZING.  As time went on though, it became increasingly clear that our son’s health concerns were something that had to be addressed as the issues around his special needs became more and more difficult to manage.  Our business was not getting the attention it needed to thrive on the road and our support system in Colorado was not as solid as we thought.

We were devastated.  Our hearts were broken.

Our time on the road was clearly winding down and to start over again in a new place with few resources and support was a foolish thing to do moving forward.  We needed to find a home, set down roots, and regroup.  We needed help.

We came to Seattle weary and worn, battered and bruised.   In desparate need of family to surround us while everything was falling apart around us.  So:

  • Our family of five moved into my parents ONE BEDROOM basement apartment!
  • We lived out of our suitcases for the next 6 months while our stuff was packed away in Denver.
  • David closed our business, went back to Microsoft and got health insurance.
  • We went to doctor after doctor to try and find help for our son.
  • We put the boys in public school for the very first time.

As time passed things began to settle down.  We slowly transitioned from being on life support to breathing on our own once again.  Getting our footing little by little and coming out of what was the most difficult season of our lives yet.   I feel like I have aged about ten years in one!  The lines of my face show it and the tenderness of my heart bears witness.

I am grateful.  Grateful that our lives have purpose.  That each chapter of our story always ends with the beautiful pen stokes of an author who reminds us that he knows the end from the beginning.   That precious things are formed in darkness and that the movements of our heart towards trust, love and openness – when everything in us wants to shut down – count.

It’s hard to be vulnerable.  To tell others that you are weak and need them to come along side of you.

I’m thankful for:

  • Our family and friends who rose to the occasion and embraced us at our messiest.
  • Doctors that were insightful and dedicated to helping us.
  • Fresh air.
  • Breakthrough for our son!!!  I’ll have to write about Neurofeedback and how it has transformed our family!
  • A home next to the cascade mountains.  The picture above was taken from our guest room and every time I look out our windows I am reminded that God’s ways are better than mine.  Every time.
  • David – who has my heart.

We always said we didn’t want to permanently move back to Seattle because of the grey skies, rain and traffic.  I don’t know that we would have moved back had the pressure not been as intense.  Now, I can’t imagine anyplace I’d rather be.  We have fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest in a way that we never imagined possible.  This time we are armed with copious amounts of vitamin d, rain boots, and the carpool lane!

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the BEST thing for us is the very thing we would never do for ourselves?!  If you are in a difficult season, I hope this reminds you that there is hope and that your darkness is forming something rare and beautiful in your life.

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road


Favorite Things Featured Style

Quality, Comfortable & Cool Shoes – The Frye Company!

cool shoes fry bootsWhen talking about shoes and boots that will go the distance — The Frye Company makes some freaking COOL SHOES!

Before having kids that I packed on my back all over the place, I chose high heals over comfort and quantity over quality.  Just like your heart changes when you have children, your feet do too.  Your desire to be stylish gets bumped down on the priority list a bit – that’s why as a mom and a traveler, I’m so glad I stumbled upon this quality, cool shoe company.

If I had to choose between never having a good pair of leather boots again or never having chocolate again, it would be a toss up.  I kid you not.

Not because I don’t LOVE chocolate.  I do — dark chocolate specifically — and consume it on a daily basis.  For me, good leather boots are really that awesome.  My current favorites are from the Frye Company.  Frye boots are the reason behind my love affair with good leather.  That, and our friends amazing couch.

Do I sound creepy yet?!

Peta hates me.

If this is a complete foreign concept to you, you most likely do not own a pair of good boots that fit your feet just right.  I know I didn’t until just a few years ago.  I discovered them by accident and have been wrecked ever since!  I never would have looked twice at my Frye boots due to budget but the pair I found was heavily discounted and I had some christmas money to burn.  Looking back — not a penny wasted!

The ones photographed do have a slight heal – which i don’t recommend if you are going to be walking the city for hours – but a quality pair of leather shoes usually have much better support than cheap ones and I wanted to show you the ones I originally fell in love with to illustrate the point that if you do invest in a quality pair you will have them for years to come.   I have had these for around five years and while they could use a polish they are about as good as when I purchased them.

cool shoes frye company

cool shoes fryeI like mine so much I created an entire tradition around them!  I am a frugal girl for the most part but when it comes to my feet I like to get a quality pair of boots made of good leather.  After christmas each year, I take money I have been given or some that’s left over and splurge on a solid pair.  I find a style that I can dress up or down so I can get some good life out of them.  It makes me {and my back} happy.

Join me in my tradition this Christmas and get yourself a pair!  These are my current favs.  Click on the image if you want to get more info about them from amazon!


What about you?  Did your preference in shoes change after having kids?

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road



Featured Strong Luv

Blessing Bags for Homeless People — Card Printables

blessing bag diy for the homeless
One of the things we wanted to add to our Blessing Bags for the homeless of our area were hand made cards.  We included 3 in the Blessing Bag / Backpacks and one in the Standard Blessing Bags we put together.  The cards are meant to be opened on different days to remind them that they are not alone, but I don’t really care if they open them all at once!

These Encouraging Cards for the Homeless included:

  1. One to open on CHRISTMAS — which we wrote a scripture verse and a note of encouragement
  2. One to open when you are FEELING DOWN — we wanted to lift their spirits with a little bit of sunshine!
  3. One to open on your BIRTHDAY — in this card we included $5 to buy themselves a pastry or cupcake at their favorite bakery.  We also added little “balloons” which we made by gluing two cut circles together with a toothpick in the middle.  We thought it would be nice to decorate their birthday treat.  I doubt that whoever gets the bags will actually wait until their birthday to open the card but it’s not my business and I just want them to feel so cared for.

Hand making cards can be an undertaking, especially if it’s not your thing and you are making a bunch of blessing bags, so I went ahead and made some for you to print out and cut to size if you’d like.

I loved a card I saw from another blogger.  What she wrote was so heartfelt.  Since I always freeze when it comes to writing something profound or awesome in cards I just went ahead and stole the words right off of her Pinterest board!  Thank you Blair!  She has a wonderful Blessing Bag Post.  Another great post from Joy’s Hope features the “blessed to bless” bag project that she did with her family.  Love it!  You should check them out!

If you decide to print these cards out for your Blessing Bags, make sure to use card stock.

blessing bags printables for homeless people
Cut this in two and insert into two separate bags. I love these words. I found them on pinterest!

CLICK IMAGE TO PRINT *Since every resource I provide on the blog is free, the only thing I ask of you is to please share it with your friends on FB, Twitter or Pinterest (the buttons to do so are below my signature) – Thanks in advance!


christmas card printable
You can cut these and use them as four separate post cards or fold them to make two!


you are a masterpiece printable
You can print this out and use it for two separate cards. These are my favorite!


Birthday card printable
I specifically made this so that you could cut out the circles and make them into little “balloons” like I did, and use the front as a birthday post card OR you could just cut it in two and fold it over for a more traditional card.


I hope these blessing bag card printables will help you add a special touch to your bags or backpacks!  For more inspiration on this project check out my blessing bag and homeless boards on Pinterest.  You can link to them below.

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road