Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week in Review 8.12.17

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Our big news this week is we got a kitten! His name is Lewis and he is a 2 month old ginger kitty. I've never had a ginger cat so I'm thrilled. The kids are so excited about him that they can barely sleep. Mel-B is less enthused. We have not introduced them yet and are keeping Lewis confined to the den but she knows there is another animal in the house. We're hoping to do some introducing this weekend but are taking it slow and seeing how the animals react to each other. 

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Exercise

I got in 5 workouts this week - two boot camp classes, two barre3 class and one Project November boot camp session
Project November was so awesome and full of hugs and high 5s. This week felt really good and I almost got in 6 workouts but skipped a boot camp due to angry wild animals either fighting or having sex in my backyard at 1 a.m. on Wednesday night. I was on high alert to protect my chickens. Poor Scott was almost run over by me in the middle of the night running to the window to check on them. Maybe I should count that adrenaline rush as a workout! Otherwise the hard barre3 class I took on Tuesday combined with the intense Project November bootcamp really made my rear sore! 



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Food

I got my first Gobble delivery this week. I got a promotion to try a free week so I figured why not try it out. Guys! This is so good! The girls loved the mac and cheese meal and I can't wait to try some of the other meals. They also sent me two balls of cookie dough to make cookies with which were delicious. 



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School starts in less than 4 weeks and before that Molly has something called Jump Start where she'll go to school from 9-Noon in about a week. My plan is to make her lunches as if I was making her school lunches. She'll eat them here at home but that way we can get in a groove and I can see if there are any logistical issues with her lunchbox set-up. 

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The Girls

The girls started a rock climbing class this week. They loved it and emerged sweaty and spent after their class. I consider that a HUGE win. They've been rock climbing all over the place when they aren't swimming or playing with the kitten. 



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Molly lost another front tooth which took forever. Scott finally convinced her to let him pull the tooth out and it was so loose, it just took a small tap. I remember hanging onto my teeth as a kid too so we've been trying not to pressure her but this one was just dangling there. 

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Other Goings On

I'm still going strong on The Minimalist Game. I cleaned out the entire linen closet this week and found way too many shampoo bottles. I took care of my subscribe and save orders on that one! I also cleared out a bunch of books and hope to really tackle my yarn this week. I've given away, thrown away and donated so much stuff. I'm loving this. 
Thursday, August 10, 2017

July Book Report

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I didn't get through as many books as I envisioned last month while on vacation but I did get through 4 really good books. I'm chugging away at the 2017 Summer Book Bingo and checking off my boxes. 


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I read "Stories of Your Life and Others (Arrival)" by Ted Chiang for the "Adapted into a movie" category in the 2017 Summer Book Bingo. This is a collection of stories with the one, Arrival being based on a short one within this book. I preferred the movie version but have been thinking a lot about another of the stories - Tower of Babylon. It is the story of Babylon as told from one of the miners and it was so entertaining. I am vastly interested in the stories behind the Bible and what was historically happening at that time. I felt like this story was one that could have been true, one that had little to do with worshiping God. 

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I read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin for the "Choose a book by its cover" category. Rubin took on a project to see if she could influence her happiness over the course of a year. I loved her ideas and some of her goals. They were all great ideas. One idea I've really taken away is, Boomerang Errands. Boomerang Errands are those ones that you attempt to complete but keep coming back to you for various reasons. i.e. You go to the doctor but then get sent for tests and appointments with other doctors so you never quite finish the task of going to the doctor. 

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I read "The rules do not apply" by Ariel Levy for the "Biography or memoir" category in the 2017 Summer Book Bingo. Levy was at the top of her game in a passionate marriage and a baby on the way when she lost it all. She was on assignment in Mongolia when she gave birth at only 5 months along. When she returned home, her wife left for rehab and her world fell apart. Levy's writing drew me in. I was practically unable to stop reading while at the same time itching to write like her. This is one book I think everyone should read. It is unapologetic and heartbreaking. 


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I read "The Widow Nash" by Jamie Harrison for the "Fiction" category in the 2017 Summer Book Bingo. Dulcy has lived her entire life overshadowed by her father, Walton and his travels around the world as he chases cures for his syphilis. On his last trip, he loses a fortune and gains the wrath of his business partner and Dulcy's ex-finance, shortly before dying . As Dulcy travels from Seattle to New York with her sister and her father's body, she decides to disappear. Things get interesting from there. This was also a Refined Reads.


Yearly Book Total: 27/52

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something from a link, I receive a very small percentage back. 
Monday, August 07, 2017

Monthly Goal Check-In (July)

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July was spent vacationing so my 2017 goals were not really tackled but some progress was made! 

2017 Goals

1. Workout 217 times in 2017 - I worked out 16 times in June. I'm at 138 workouts with 79 more workouts to complete this year. I'll need to complete 4 workouts a week for the rest of the year to complete this goal. Totally do-able! 


2. Participate in the Year of Creativity -  This month was all about play! I played hard and wrote little. I had so much fun exploring and adventuring with my kids and I believe we all need a break. 


3. Shoot one roll of film a month - I shot two rolls of film this month and am taking them to the film lab to be developed. I can't wait to show off my film! 

4. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - I did not work on this goal this month. Too much playing!


5. Finish my Miter Square Blanket - I made one square this month but this project is coming along. 

6. Read 52 books. - I read 4 books this month. This means I have 20 books to read this year and 32 under my belt. Book Bingo is already helping me crush my book numbers.

7. Finish up various House Projects - I took some time this month to plan out my house projects and break them into little tasks. Hopefully this means I'll get some stuff done. 

8. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls - I'm still gathering my images. Five years of images takes a lot of time to gather and put in the appropriate albums. These books are going to be epic! 

9. Become more politically active and work to be the change in my community - Ermmm, yea about that... 

10. Learn how to make a really good stock 

Bonus Goal: Grow two new crops in my garden and add some chickens to my flock. 
Saturday, August 05, 2017

Week in Review 8.5.17

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Seattle is in the midst of a brutal heatwave and I've been cranky and hot. The smoke from B.C. wildfires is also drifting down this way creating a dome of humid hotness. The air quality was so bad one day this week that the kids had to stay inside at preschool. I kept them inside other than swim lessons that day too. Their little lungs can't handle the brutal air. 

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Exercise

I got in 5 workouts this week - three boot camp classes, one barre3 class and one Groove Yoga class. They were all awesome and so sweaty. I was a bit sad that my usual SHIFT class time has been changed to a yoga class but it felt so good to be back at my home barre3 studio taking a class from Crystal. All this working out has been exhausting though. I've gotten out of the habit but am getting back into it. I've been so tired all week from the smoke and all my exercise. 


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Food

I tried and failed yet again to get a One Potato meal delivery. I'm going to cancel my account since it is doomed. They sound great but I can't seem to get a delivery. It's them, not me.


I did however do an EPIC Costco trip and we are now so stocked up. I haven't done a proper one in a few months and I'm trying to get back on my meal planning, food prep and Costco game before school gets started in a few weeks. 

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I also made more yogurt this week, pitted 2 lbs of tart cherries so I can make a pie, shredded all the zucchini and carrots we got in our produce deliveries and ate a ton of vegetables. 

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The Girls

Molly has been complaining that she doesn't get any alone time with me so I took her out to dinner on Wednesday night and Scott took Maggie out. Somehow we both ended up at sushi restaurants which was sooooo good! The time alone with each of them was good too. 

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The girls are back in swim lessons and Maggie is almost swimming on her own. It is so exciting to watch her. Molly continues to be strong in her lessons too. They are really wearing her out which is exciting for me. The girls have actually slept better this week too! 

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Other Goings On

I started The Minimalist Game on August 1st where you remove the number of items from your house that correspond to the date. i.e. On August 3rd, I removed 3 items from the house. So far I've cleaned out three drawers in the kitchen, given away at least 15 items on my Buy Nothing Group and am already feeling lighter. I'll never be a true Minimalist but I can definitely get rid of clutter and junk!

Stories Published 

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Seattle Refined: A Guide to Exploring Yellowstone National Park
Thursday, August 03, 2017

8 ways to beat the heat during Seattle's Heat Wave

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Seattle is in the middle of an intense heat wave and we are melting! Few people have air conditioning in their homes so anything above 90 degrees gets melty fast. Here are 8 ways to beat the heat until we return to our usual 70 degree weather.

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1. Head somewhere cool - Take in a movie in an air conditioned theatre or head to the mall. Now is the time to tackle your Back-to-School shopping. Head to Costco and hang out in the refrigerator room.

2. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! - Drink lots of plain water. It'll help keep your body temperature regulated and Seattle water tastes so good!

3. Close your shades - Open your windows at night to let in the cool night air and then shut them in the morning. Pull down the shades to keep your home cooler.

Sweet Cherry Granola Yogurt Popsicles

4. Eat Popsicles - Here a few quick and easy popsicles to help cool yourself: http://seattlerefined.com/eat-drink/summertime-is-popsicle-time

5. Take a cool shower or bath - Cold water is a great way to cool down and it feels really good to rinse off your sweaty body.

6. Exercise early - Exercising in the early morning will allow you to get a good workout in without worrying about heat exhaustion. Heat rises our heart beat which means we exhaust faster. Avoid working out in the mid-day heat.

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7. Go swimming - Head to the pool, splash park or a wading pool for some cooling relief. Here is a list of splash parks and wading pools in Seattle. Any of the Lake Washington beaches are wonderful places to cool down too.

8. Limit time outside in the sun - Try to stay out of the direct sun and make sure to slather on the sunscreen.

Safety Tips:

  • Never not leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges and pets in a parked car, even with the window rolled down even for 5 minutes. 
  • Recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The King County Department of Health has a great list of symptoms and how to help. Signs to watch out for: high body temp, red skin, rapid pulse and confusion. 
  • Check on your elderly and mobility challenged neighbors. 

Stay cool friends!
Monday, July 31, 2017

The 100 Day Project

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While on vacation, I completed a HUGE project - the 100 Day Project which I started back in April. I took a black and white photo everyday for 100 days. I've tried to complete this project two other times but failed miserably after about 40 days.

A post shared by Rebecca Mongrain (@reebecki) on

After successfully completing this one, I decided my previous attempts were too ambitious. The last two times I tried to knit a swatch a day which sounds doable but takes at least 20 minutes. This time though was a grand success and so much fun! The key this time around was keeping it simple and a less than 10 minute daily commitment. This meant that some days I spent forever getting the perfect shot and other days, I'd sneak into my kid's bedroom after bedtime to quickly snap a shot and upload it to Instagram.

I had so much fun completing this project and plan to make a book out of it for myself. I love looking at the photos I made over 100 days. You can see all my photos here: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/100daysofreebeckibwphotography/


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Week in Review 7.29.17

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We were home all week and it was fabulous! We're still settling back into our routine and conquering the laundry. Today is a bittersweet day. Today marks three years since my Dad died. We miss him everyday and the girls talk of him often. I know he would have loved adventuring with his grandkids. Today is also my good friend, Meg's birthday! Happy Birthday Meg! 

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Exercise

I eased myself back into exercise this week with three boot camp classes and one SHIFT class. SHIFT just kicks my ass in such a good way. I can only handle about one of them a week. Next week I plan to get back to my usual 5-6 workouts. I currently have four classes scheduled and need to figure out the other 1-2 classes. 



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Food

I spent so much of this week in the kitchen and I LOVED it. I started a sourdough starter on Monday and a batch of Kombucha on Thursday. My kitchen is a fermenting haven. I made pretzels with some discarded starter. My CSA gave me a huge bunch of tomatillos so I made a batch of salsa verde and canned it. I also bought a flat of blueberries that I need to cook up into jam. 



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I did not receive a One Potato order this week which was frustrating since I was positive that I ordered one. I'm trying again this week so we'll see if it works out this time around. Luckily I was able to order from Acme Farms and Kitchen to fill our dinner gaps. 



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I did however get my August Menu done and plan to do a big Costco shop next week to stock up for the month. 


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The Girls

Molly lost one of her top front teeth this week and we also saw the dentist for their 6 month check up on Friday. The dentist said she has a mature dental mouth and that we might need to do some ortho work in a year or two. $$$$$! 

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The girls marched with their preschool in the Greenwood Seafair Parade. It was a last minute decision to go so I was unprepared. The girls did great and turned around when we said it was time. It ended up being a fun evening, if a late one. 


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Maggie had her face painted on Thursday at school and now on Saturday, I am still wiping paint off. She's gone swimming twice and had two baths and yet, the paint continues! 

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Other Goings On

I'm still reading a lot and started 1984 this week. I can't believe I haven't read it before. It is AMAZING. 
I neglected to share this earlier but the Seattle Refined book club reviewed Elizabeth Strout's "Anything is Possible" and I had thoughts to share.

Stories Published

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Week In Review 7.22.17


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We spent this week in Palo Alto as Scott had to work. The girls and I enjoyed staying in one place for 5 nights and loved the hotel pool! It was a fun week full of relaxing, adventures and connecting with a dear friend. 

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Exercise

Formal exercise returned this week and guys, I am so sore! I went to two barre3 classes at the Los Altos location and they were pretty good. My hips were so angry at me though after spending a day at the Monterey Aquarium that I cancelled my third class on Friday morning. I was practically limping after a day at the aquarium and had shooting pains down my leg. Not good! I've had hip problems for awhile and think all the hiking and car time in the last two weeks have not been helpful. I'll be working to get back on my hip exercise program and am going to go get some acupuncture when we get back to town. We also spent so much time swimming in the pool this week. We were out there every single day except Tuesday when the pool was closed. 



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Food

Food was so much better this week since we were in Palo Alto, CA for Scott's work. We stayed at a Hilton Home Suites which allotted us a small kitchen. I went grocery shopping on Monday and picked up lots of greens and fruits for salads and snacks. Our vegetable intake was on the up and up this week! I also got some of my beloved kombucha but none of it was as good as my Puget Sound Kombucha! Additionally our hotel provided a really good breakfast and "nibbles" at night. The "nibbles" were literally a full-fledged meal. I took the girls down one night when Scott was at a work dinner and found a huge spread which took care of my "what are we going to eat for dinner" dilemma. 


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I also had the opportunity to meet up with a friend from Junior High (I like to keep friends forever!) and we had the most amazing (and un-photographed) Tea Leaf Salad with Burmese tea leaves, fried garlic, yellow beans, peanuts, sesame seeds, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers and dried shrimp. It was so good! 



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We tried Creamistry for dessert one night. They make your ice cream using liquid nitrogen in front of you. It was a bit gimmicky but fun. The ice cream was tasty too!

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We'll be back home on Sunday night so I've planned out our meals for the next week and got my grocery shopping done online. I'm trying out One Potato this week so some of our meals come from them. We'll be having: 

  • Monday: Sausage and Slaw
  • Tuesday: Tacos
  • Wednesday: Tofu Stir-Fry 
  • Thursday:  One Potato Veggie Chicken Fajitas
  • Friday: Pizza 
  • Saturday: One Potato Steak Fajitas

The Girls


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The girls were much better this week which I attribute to staying in one place, eating healthy food and getting good sleep. We had some adventures but we also had days where we just hung around the hotel and chilled out. We took in Happy Hollow Farms and made the trek to the Monterey Aquarium. Both were fun experiences!


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