Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beach Vacation!


Last week, we packed up the car and headed to the Oregon Beach with a lust for adventure! We had loads of adventure, relaxation and exhaustion. The entire family was in need of a vacation away from our everyday lives and the beach helped us reconnect. It sounds a bit trite to say that but we really just needed some time as a family of four where we weren't rushing and we weren't tied down to a schedule.


The girls were able to dig in the sand, dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean (and run away screaming from how cold it was) and giggle into the night.

Molly spent most of the vacation in her favorite outfit - a swimsuit. I brought 4 with us and her grandma gave her another. All were worn and came home covered in sand.


We spent some much needed time with Scott's Mom and Grandmother who live near the beach. It was a delight to spend some relaxed time with them.


I know that I can not wait to visit the beach again next year. I feel like we are getting better about finding good beach homes, knowing what to pack (even though I still pack way too much) and knowing when to head to the beach. Until next year, I'll just gaze at my photos and remember our sweet beach vacation.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pumpkin Coconut Flour Muffins

It's totally not the season for Pumpkin Muffins but sometimes I start craving a good Pumpkin Muffin. What happened was one of Molly's little friends asked his Mom for a pumpkin muffin and that is when my craving started. I had also been presented a challenge to make something using coconut flour.  Coconut Flour is a great wheat flour alternative with the added bonus of being gluten free and high in fiber and protein. I wasn't ready to bake pumpkin muffins completely gluten free but I was interested to see how substituting some of the all-purpose flour for coconut four would taste. 

Verdict! DELICIOUS! The kids and I both loved the bit of extra texture that was added to the muffins. All of the muffins were gone in such a short time that I quickly made another batch and those also disappeared quickly. 

Want to learn more about baking with Coconut Flour? Click here!

Pumpkin Coconut Flour Muffins

by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients (16 muffins)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda together.
In a separate bowl, mix oil, pumpkin puree, sour cream, coconut cream, eggs, and 1 cup brown sugar together.
Add chocolate chips and dry ingredients to mixture. Mix until moistened.
Spoon batter into muffin tins and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan.
Powered by Recipage

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No Sleep, Creativity and Honoring Families are this Week's Links Around the Web!


You're Using the Internet WRONG! There are some major lessons in this article for me.

This is Your Brain on No Sleep This is my brain!

Creating a Place to Create I've been carving out space around the house for my creativity when really I need to take time to really craft the office/guest room into a beautiful place where creative magic happens. This post inspires me!

After a Stillborn, a Silent Delivery Room This is a beautiful story of a devastating loss. When a woman becomes pregnant, that is the day she becomes a Mother. When her child dies in utero, she loses a part of herself with that child. That part that holds all her future dreams, hopes and wishes. I actually hope to be able to volunteer for a photography organization someday that gives families who suffer such a loss, a memento to keep with them once their time it the hospital is over. Every family deserves pictures of their just-born baby.
Thursday, June 11, 2015

*Sniff* Last Day of Co-Op Preschool


Two years ago, Molly started off down the road to her first day of co-op preschool. She just a wee little thing but full of spunk. I remember that she could barely hold the chalkboard sign I had made for photos. It took us so long to get those first photos. We had to stop many times to fix the sign, wave to the garbage men and dance. 

1st Day of Toddler Preschool

1st Day of Toddler Preschool

She LOVED preschool from the start. She burst right in and held her own. She was the only kid who never ever came into parent education because that would have meant taking time away from playing and her little friends. We live down the road from the church where preschool is held so we always walked to school. Molly learned how to really march her little feet down the road. Our little walk was a time to talk about where we were going, what exciting things might happen in school and then our walk home was spent talking about our time at preschool. 

Last Day of Toddler Preschool

She grew so much over that first year and added a baby sister to her life. Preschool helped so much with that transition. Preschool is also where I figured out that Molly needed some speech therapy which only helped her sing even louder during circle time. Circle time has always been one of Molly's favorite parts of preschool. 

First Day of Preschool 2014

This year, preschool grew to two days a week - one day that I stayed for and the other one where I left. I was worried about Molly being upset about me leaving her at school. There was nothing to worry about. In fact, Molly often wanted me to leave on my work days but I couldn't. 


Preschool was a nice return to our routine after last year's summer of sadness and change. Tuesday mornings were a break for me as Maggie often napped and Molly was off learning and growing. Thursdays were good for all of us. Maggie went to daycare and made some fantastic friends while Molly and I went to preschool. 


Next year I'll be starting this whole process again with Maggie but today, today I teared up when it was time to leave the classroom. I almost sobbed into the teacher's shoulder even though I'll be there again in a few months, just with a different child. Molly will head off to a drop-off preschool where she will really blossom. Until then we're going to spend the next few months splashing in pools, hiking, finding adventure and making a summer of fun! 
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sunshine Adventure, Parent's Weight and Two Kinds of People Make Up This Week's Links

Sunshine Adventure Awaits in Suncadia - A few weekends ago, we headed up to Suncadia for a long weekend of fun and adventure. It was one of the best times we've had in a long time.

The Things Parents Carried - This cleverly written article really touched my heart and reminded me that while I sometimes feel like a Sherpa, there will come a time when my arms are empty and my heart aches to hold little bodies again.

Snacking - All the snacking!

There are TWO kinds of people - TWO KINDS, People!

Can Reading Make You Happier? - It makes me happier.
Friday, June 05, 2015

Soak in the Sun and Spread the Love with Huggies Diapers #UltraHug Selfie Contest

I bought a pool for the backyard today and they already love it!  #100DaysofSummer2015

Summer has arrived in Seattle and we are soaking in all the sunshine we can. The girls and I spent most of the day outside in the backyard, splashing in the pool. I almost couldn't get the little one down for a nap because she wanted to keep playing outside. I think I might have some real water babies on my hands. As the afternoon waned, we were joined by some friends and the fun continued. 

As I lounged under the deck umbrella today, I was thinking about my Mama friends and how lucky I am to have a great village. I know I'll be forever indebted to the PEPS organization for introducing me to most of my awesome circle of Mamas. 

PEPS has been supporting Puget Sound regional families since 1983.  PEPS parent support programs educate, inform and create community. PEPS is a vital resource for new mothers and new fathers in the Puget Sound region, with parent groups serving thousands of families annually. During one of the most vulnerable periods for new parents, PEPS provides immediate and accessible support, creating "extended families" that often last a lifetime.

I recently learned about an initiative by Huggies that could really support PEPS in an awesome way. Huggies is awarding $2000 each to 10 community organizations that are nominated through their #UltraHug Selfie Contest! I'd love for PEPS to be one of those organizations. 

Keeping it real with my two sweeties on a Summer Day! #UltraHug I'd nominate PEPS for the $2,000 grant.

About the #UltraHug Selfie Contest

From April 20th until June 25th, Huggies will be accepting all selfies of you and your baby with the hashtag #UltraHug, and featuring them in a collage on the campaign landing page. On July 6th, voting will begin to narrow down the 20 finalists to 10 winners who will win a $2,000 grant from Huggies for their nominated community initiative.

Entering the #UltraHug contest easy, peasy.  Snap a photo with your cutie baby and share with the following steps: 
  • First, take a selfie of you and your baby and upload that selfie to Twitter or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtag #UltraHug
  • In your same post, make sure to include a text nomination (approximately 100 – 120 characters) including a name and/or identifying description of a community project in the US, which you would like to nominate. Make sure the community project is something near and dear to your heart.

Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers offer long-lasting leakage protection you can count on, so you can focus on all of your baby’s daily adventures. The range of sizes fit babies from newborn to 35 lbs. Only Huggies Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers have a new, unique quilted liner to lock away wetness better.. They have a conforming, gap-free fit to keep your active baby dry throughout the day The trusted Leak Lock® System has quick-absorbing layers for up to 12 hours of protection. 


Thursday, June 04, 2015

May Book Report


After sharing my April Book Report angst, May redeemed itself in a big way. I read three books and made a nice dent in a fourth.


I started off with a book I've been meaning to read since I was pregnant with Maggie. Waiting for Birdy was hilarious. There were quite a few times that I woke Scott up because I was laughing so hard while reading in bed. I'd highly recommend this book if you are having a baby, having your fourth or just like humorous writing about parenting. It's heartfelt, true and so, so funny.


This Is Where I Leave You is told from the view point of a man who has just found his wife cheating on him with his boss, whose father has just died and has been told he needs to sit shiva with his estranged family. Yet, this book was also hilarious. Scott kept asking me why I was laughing so hard while reading this and I often couldn't answer because I had gone to that place where you start silently laughing while tears roll down your face. The story is a bit cliche - wife cheats on husband, husband's father dies, life goes horribly wrong - but the way it is told in such a unique way that I couldn't put it down. I didn't want this book to end but it did. I was left a bit bereft as I searched for my next book to read.


I have no idea who or where I found the recommendation to read, The Room but I'm so glad I put it on my library hold list. The best way to describe this book is Fight Club for Work. Bjorn is a Swedish bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at work. No one else in his department will acknowledge the existence of the room and eventually his co-workers become fed up with Bjorn's behavior. They join together to get him fired but somehow the tables get turned on them. I read this book in one night when our internet was out. It was such a great way to spend an evening and this book left me shaking my head.


A friend recommended this book on a walk around Greenlake. She said that Station Eleven was the perfect apocalyptic tale and while I'm only 12% into the book, I can honestly say that it is! Look for my full report on this book, next month.

You can see all my book reports here.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Grief, Death and Sunken Ships are This Week's Links Around the Web


On Grief - As the year anniversary of my father's passing nears, I've been thinking more about grief. Those first days after someone passes are lived in a daze but then you start to accept that they are gone and you begin moving on with your life. One thing you don't do is forget them. This line from this post really spoke to me, "Rather often I am asked whether the grief remains as intense as when I wrote. The answer is, No. The wound is no longer raw. But it had not disappeared. That is as it should be. If he was worth loving, he is worth grieving over." And so I'll always grieve for my Father and for all that my children lost with his death, because he was worth loving. 

Sheryl Sandberg on the end of sheloshim for her husband - I may not always agree with Sheryl Sandberg's idea of leaning in but her words on ending sheloshim for her husband spoke so deeply to me. "I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well." Her honest and poignant words are heartfelt and beautiful through their grief. 

Wreck Of A 221-Year-Old Slave Ship Is Confirmed Off South Africa This is a significant find for archaeologists, "because there has never been archaeological documentation of a vessel that foundered and was lost while carrying a cargo of enslaved persons. The Sao Jose is all the more significant because it represents one of the earliest attempts to bring East Africans into the trans-Atlantic slave trade - a shift that played a major role in prolonging that tragic trade for decades."

Surreal Photography These photos look like something out of a techno-color dream. They are amazing. 
Monday, June 01, 2015

The barre3 Anywhere Challenge Starts Here!


I got up this morning and attended my usual 6 a.m. barre3 class which kicked off my barre3 Anywhere Challenge! I've prepped for the challenge by signing up for all my classes for the month of June, purchased a sweet turquoise core ball to enable at home workouts and planned my first barre3 challenge recipe


The girls and I hit up Costco to load up on veggies and fruit. Tonight we're having Summer Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo and since we have ballet this afternoon, I decided to prep ahead. I made the Mango Pico de Gallo and some Pico de Gallo (sans Mango) for me. I shredded the cabbage and have the chicken defrosting in the fridge. When we get home from ballet, I'll cook up the chicken and start assembling tacos! 


Tonight I'm going to cut up some fruit for snacks and get some veggies prepped for the week ahead. We all eat better when I have fresh fruits and veggies prepped. I'll hard-boil some eggs too. What tricks/shortcuts help your family eat better? 

I'm ready for the challenge! 4 barre3 workouts, at least one barre3 recipe and One 10-minute online workout each week. You in? 
Rebecca Mongrain's Blog © 2013.

Design by The Blog Boat