Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sneak Preview at the Zoo


The Zoo offered a sneak preview today of their brand new exhibit, the Bamboo Forest Reserve which features Sloth Bears and Asian small-clawed otters along with a fun play area for children. My Mom, Molly and I attended the sneak peak and had so much fun!


We arrived shortly before the 1:30 pm opening and stood in a very long line that lucky moved very quickly. Once inside, Molly snagged a sticker along with my Mom (everyone wanted stickers!). We made our way over to the Asian small-clawed otter exhibit where there was a huge crowd. We were able to get a great look at the elusive otters by patiently waiting for them. They darted out and then quickly darted back into their den. It's as if they didn't know they were the featured exhibit today. Or maybe they did know and just didn't want to be seen.


We next moved onto the Sloth Bear exhibit where we saw a very nice area but NO BEARS! They were being extremely sloth-like and hiding. Sneaky bears. We will just have to see them on another visit.


Molly and I checked out the new nature play area but it was really for older kids than Molly. It is a lot of fun but I think Molly felt overwhelmed. After checking out the play area, Molly and I got a photo with a GIANT OTTER. We almost had a re-enactment of Santa Claus but luckily we were able to avoid an incident and got a few fun photos.


We then took our time exploring the rest of the zoo and Molly conned my Mother into buying her a stuffed animal. She's getting quite good at the stuffed animal con.


Molly fell asleep on the way home and is now enjoying an epic nap. I think it was a very good outing! I can't wait to explore the new exhibit on calmer days and to see all the animals when they are finally in their new homes.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunny Days

Beach Boat

Last week, we had a few delightful days of SUN, SUN, SUN! Today the sun keeps peeking out and then hiding again so I've been entertaining myself with the photos I took of Molly at the beach last week. 


We live about a mile from the beach so I try to go there often. Unfortunately we usually have to drive because between us and the beach is a formidable set of 317 stairs. The stroller does not handle that many stairs gracefully. 


A few weeks ago when I was at Target, I spotted a cheap bucket and shovel set. I snatched it up and threw it in the car. I'm so glad I did because when I got to the beach, I realized that Molly needed some toys. Unfortunately though the shovel was quickly destroyed but I think we got our $1 of play out it. I ordered a new, sturdier shovel today. Hopefully it will last longer than an afternoon. 


Everyone in Seattle was at the beach last week. It was a wonderful 70 degree day that deserved some beach time. There were volleyball games going on, tightrope walkers, doggies and a super nice couple that played catch with Molly. They tried to teach her how to toss a baseball and found her to be very entertaining. I was grateful for their kindness when they noticed Molly watching their game of catch and decided to include her in their fun. The sunshine really brings out the best in people. 



Beach Bum

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I've been trekking away at my 8 in 2013 Goals and they are coming along swimmingly! 

As a reminder, my goals are: 
  • 2 cross stitch patterns (Woodland Sampler and Wee Little Stitches Star Wars people)
  • 2 quilts (One for Molly and finish up my Pinwheel Quilt)
  • 2 knitted projects (a Year in Temperatures scarf  and my Smitten Advent Calendar)
  • 2 photography challenges (Fat Mum Slim's January Challenge and something else that I really need to decide on)

I have been busy working on my Woodland Sampler and my Week Little Stitches Star Wars people but have recently gotten distracted by my Springtime Sampler! I'm almost done with the Star Wars people and have decided to make a quilted pillow out of the cross stitch. 


I have done nothing with my quilt goal. My basement is still in disarray which makes quilting difficult. I am however having a crafter-day with my friend today so I'm hoping to make some progress. 


My knitted projects are going very well! I knit almost everyday on the Year in Temps scarf and am working on my Smitten Advent mittens in between other knitting obsessions. 

I completed one of my photography challenges - Fat Mum Slim's January Challenge but have not yet decided what my other photo challenge will be. I have however kept up the Fat Mum Slim Photo Challenges. You can see them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reebeckisupergirl/collections/72157633352801240/

Friday, April 26, 2013

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Bites


I have an unabashed love for macaroni and cheese, especially the kind that comes in a box. Yes, the kind with the powdered cheese and all. However as I've aged (not so gracefully), I've come to really love homemade macaroni and cheese. Molly also has a deep love for pasta and cheese, as do most toddlers so I decided it would be tasty to make some macaroni and cheese. However because I'm now a Mother, I felt that I needed to add some nutrition. One of the other Moms at the pool told me that she adds roasted butternut squash to her kids pasta. Delicious! 


This recipe makes a fair amount so I decided to spread the love by making it into mini bites. I think this would be fantastic as a party food or just you know as lunch. The other great thing about this dish is how freezable it is. Make a big batch (double it if you'd like) and freeze for a rainy day. I love doing this because I honestly do not feel like cooking everyday but I always want homemade food. This way I get the best of both worlds as does Molly. 


Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Bites
Makes 24 mini bites


  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash, mashed 
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni 


1. Cook the macaroni in boiling water for approx. 10 minutes or al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and cook until the roux is frothy and pale. This should take about a minute. 
3. Slowly add the warmed milk to the roux and whisk until thickened, approximately 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Stir until thick. 
4. Whisk in the cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese until melted. Slowly add the roasted butternut squash and stir until combined. 
5. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese mixture and combine. 
6. Place a tablespoon or two of the macaroni mixture into each mini muffin tin. 
7. Bake for 18 minutes at 400 F. 
8. Cool in the muffin cups, remove and serve. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

17 Months with Molly Pop

17 months

You are a true kid now. My baby is no more. I now have a bonafide kid! And you are a busy, busy child. 

Air #fmsphotoaday Playing in the fresh, cold air this morning.

This month has been full of fun activities, lots of swimming and stroller sitting while Momma runs. Soon I'll be done with my half marathon and your days of stroller sitting can lessen. You do love our Tuesday runs around Greenlake though so I plan to keep those up. You check out ALL THE DOGGIES and I get some good exercise in. 

A Place #fmsphotoaday At the doctor's with the whiny sick child.

This month also brought your first ear infection. I took you to the doctor because you kept grabbing your ear and saying, "owie". Your canines have also been coming in all month! They finally broke through this week. Come on teeth! Come in! 

Recently you started saying, NO! NO! NO! in response to our questions. We've been asking you silly questions just to stump you and it is hilarious even if all the NO's are not hilarious. 

Blur #fmsphotoaday Molly was a blur of energy at gymnastics today.

You started gymnastics this month and LOVE it! You were so tired after your first class that you collapsed in a little heap. This is a great way to burn off your energy! Today you were trying to find your hop and I think gymnastics is going to help you find it. 


I also documented a Day in the Life of Molly Pop this month and I'll be doing this again. What a fun way to really know what a day in your life is like!

Stroller Freedom!

We've gone on a few hikes at Carkeek Park and Discovery Park. I hope that as the weather gets more sunny and less rainy that we'll be able to do lots of hikes. You love seeing the nature and I love the walking. 

Seattle Girls hike in the rain!

You also had your very first overnight away from Daddy and me. We missed you but did enjoy having the weekend alone. You spent the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa B. They were quite tuckered out from the experience but have agreed to take you again in August and October so we can attend some weddings. I suspect you are going to have so much fun on these overnights! 


Your vocabulary is coming along. You are saying more and more words everyday and finally know the cat's names - Tato and B (Kato and Mel-B).  You can usually tell me what you want to eat for lunch (usually cheese) and still love, love, love the water. I'm going to get you a life vest this summer so that we can go to the beach and be safe. You are so drawn to the water that I must enforce the wearing of a life jacket. We are also signed up for swimming at the outdoor pool in Magnolia all summer. That is going to be lots of fun! 

17 monthsGrumpy
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

11 Days


In less than two weeks, I'm running the Vancouver 1/2 Marathon, ok maybe run/walk/stumbling through it. I am however feeling way more confident about this race than I was a month ago. 


On Sunday, my training group ran 13 miles along Alki in West Seattle. It was a cool, crisp morning and the rain stayed away until about 5 minutes after I finished. I was able to run a few miles with a friend and I finished just around the time I figured I would. 


The only things I would have changed would be to have actually eaten breakfast before the run and to have planned my bathroom break better. I can't believe I forgot to eat breakfast! I was running 13 miles! That was VITAL FUEL! I did have some GU and jelly beans with me but I was HUNGRY when I finished and drove right to Starbucks where I inhaled a breakfast sandwich and some pumpkin bread. As for the bathroom break, I can only thank some kind homeowner for doing construction on their house and having a clean, unlocked potta-potty outside their property. Thank you whoever you are! 


I finished the 13 miles strong and didn't feel like death at the end. Oh I was TIRED and I ran faster than my coach expected which was an awesome feeling, but I didn't feel like I had run every ounce of energy out of myself. I'm finding that running post-Molly is different than running pre-Molly. I used to be able to just use up all my energy doing a long run and then I'd go home, shower and sit on the couch the rest of the day. Now I come home, shower, go out to eat, play with Molly, pray that she naps so I can nap, keep playing with Molly and pray that she goes to bed early so I can go to bed early. One nice thing about all the playing is that it keeps you limber. I used to get so stiff because I'd just lie on the couch after getting my muscles all inflamed. Now I'm rarely stiff and sore the next day because I had to keep moving after my run. 


11 more days until my race! I'm getting excited! 
Monday, April 22, 2013

Whole30 Dropout

Whose drink is which? Hint: Mine is not pink

It was the wine that did me in. I went out with some girlfriends and could not resist a glass of wine. Then, like a downward spiral, I also had dessert and it was delicious! I was honestly surprised that wine is what caused me to "cheat" on Whole30. I like wine but when I had to give up alcohol for pregnancy, I never missed it. I rarely drink now days, maybe one or two drinks a month.

Shake and cake to round out the evening!

I think it was the social act of going out with friends and knowing that I like a small treat. I like the glass of wine and the dessert you share with friends. It's a nice way to hang out with friends.


I also missed cheese. I missed it so much. I started giving Molly more cheese than necessary because I wanted her to eat what I was missing. And eating out made all of this harder, so many things have cheese! I was able to work around my restrictions most of the time but after three weeks, I was weak.


I also started to feel spacey. I became forgetful and was dropping things. My blood pressure was really low which I'm happy that my blood pressure went down because it was always borderline high when I was pregnant. I wasn't happy to be spacey, forgetful and clumsy though. I added in one piece of bread a day and I stopped feeling spacey. Maybe it was all mental but whatever it was, I needed it.

It was also difficult being the only person in my family on this program. Scott wasn't interested and Molly is too young to discuss it with me. All the cooking and prep work took a lot of time too. There are no shortcuts or pizza deliveries on Whole30. I did my best to prep ahead for the week and I think that is vital to success on this program.


It wasn't all about missing dairy and feeling spacey though. I actually felt really good while doing Whole30  I dropped a few pounds and felt strong. I enjoyed eating more vegetables. In fact, I'm still eating more vegetables with a little bit of dairy and bread. I'm re-reading It Starts with Food and I'm planning when I'll attempt my next Whole30. Have you attempted Whole30 and did you do the whole 30 days? What were your secrets to success?
Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Moments


This morning we all slept in a bit, headed out for breakfast at our new favorite restaurant and then walked around Greenlake. We also found the missing rain boot. It's been a great day so far! 


Serious Walking

Stroller Freedom!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Leek Kale Gratin


A few days ago, before the world fell to crap, I asked on Twitter about recipes and kinds of food people wanted recipes for. I got so many great responses and I'll be incorporating those into the blog. The one that stuck with me this was a request for more veggie friendly recipes. I had just seen a beautiful leek gratin on Instagram and I couldn't stop thinking about it. 


I consulted my Gratin resources and came up with an extra cheesy gratin that is both a comfort food and a vegetable dish. Molly totally dug it but she's a cheese-hound so she can't be trusted. 


This gratin is a fantastic way to incorporate comfort food and vegetables into your meal. It's been super rainy in Seattle this week and we needed a bit of comfort food at dinner. Combined with a nice fish and a small green salad, the gratin helped hit the spot. 

Shaved Cheese Blend

I found this awesome shaved cheese blend at Trader Joe's. It was the perfect topping to this gratin. It added a bit of flavor but did not overwhelm the subtlety of the leeks. 

Uncooked Leek Gratin

Leek Kale Gratin
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 lbs leeks, trimmed to just white and light green and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup chopped kale, sauteed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup vermouth
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
12 oz (1 1/2 cups) Gryuere cheese, grated
1/2 cup shaved cheese blend or shaved parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare your pan. I used a 12" Cast Iron Skillet and lightly greased it. You could also use a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking pan. 
2. Rinse leeks to remove any dirt and bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Simmer leeks in the water for approximately 5 minutes until tender. Drain well. 
3. Using a small saucepan, slowly warm the milk, chicken stock and vermouth. Be careful not to scorch the milk mixture. 
4. At the same time as you are warming the milk, prepare the roux. Melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan (a dutch oven is perfect here) over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and cook until the roux is frothy and pale. This should take about a minute. 
5. Next slowly add the warmed milk mixture to the roux and whisk until thickened, 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Simmer for a minute or two more. 
6. Whisk in the Gruyere until melted. 
7. Place the leeks, cut side up in the prepared pan. Spread the sauteed kale over the leeks evenly. Pour the sauce over the leeks and kale. Top with the shaved cheese blend.
8. Bake until the dish is bubbling and golden, approximately 35 minutes. 

Leek Gratin
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