Saturday, March 25, 2017

Week in Review 3.25.17

Yellow Bowl

This week was a bit better than last week. I had some blood work done which included having my Vitamin D levels tested and it turns out there is a reason for my fatigue! I have low Vitamin D so I'm on a 8,000i.u. regime for two months and then I'll go back to 2000i.u. a day. This might also explain my thinning hair concerns. Hopefully I'll be back to feeling more energized with more hair soon! I'm pretty happy to have a reason for feeling exhausted other than I have children because that excuse is getting old.

Exercise


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Even though Scott was out of town this week, I still got in four good workouts. I did two boot camps, 1 barre3 and 1 yoga class. I've gotten a good system down for when he is gone and I'm figuring out which gyms have childcare. I'm still on the fence about my Classpass but I really used it this week. I'm at 59 workouts for the year. 

Food


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I've been feeling more inspired to get into the kitchen and cook! I love to cook but having to provide three meals a day, everyday starts to wear on a person. Even a chef doesn't want to cook every single meal. However, my joy for cooking has been coming back and I think part of it is that I've been simplifying. Instead of making fish tacos, I made fish stick tacos this week (we've been making them for about a month and are obsessed!). Instead of buying whole veggies and cutting them up, I've been buying precut vegetables. Yes, it costs a bit more and is a little less fresh BUT it means I'm eating more vegetables and that my friends is HUGE! 

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I made Salads in Jars this week for lunches and I'm planning on doing the same again this week. I got a lot of questions about it too so I'm planning a post about meal planning and salads in jars soon. Having my lunches pre-prepped for the week meant that I ate so well. I literally would pull a jar out of the fridge, grab a bowl and dump the salad in it. Then I'd stir it up to coat everything in dressing and dig in. I love it when lunch takes me 2 minutes to prepare. 

The Girls


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We returned to swim this week and it was awesome! The girls are both avid swimmers who can't wait for swim class. Molly currently takes two swim classes a week - one with me and one with her preschool while Maggie only takes one. I've offered to sign Maggie up for a second one but she has opinions about swimming when her sister swims only. 


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Since Scott was out of town at the beginning of the week, we mixed things up. I kept dinners really simple and we even went out to dinner with a friend one night. The girls were quite amp'd up all week and then Maggie got sick on Wednesday night. She's been moping around telling me that she does not feel good. Poor baby! 

Other Goings On

This week was both busy and slow. I'm on the preschool auction committee and the auction is tonight so I've been busy helping with last minute items. I sold raffle tickets on Tuesday and worked on the program. Now onto the centerpieces! 

I feel behind on my goals for the year so I've made some solid plans for next week to work on them along with pitching a few new publications. I have ideas swirling in my head and I need to take action on them.

Our family is also on the hunt for a kitten. Mel-B needs some animal companionship and the kids need a pet they can take care of. Oh I know this means more work for me but really one cat, two cat - they are about the same amount of work. We've been missing a second cat since Kato passed. We met a cat on Friday night but unfortunately he was not the cat for us. 

Stories Published


Whistler4


Seattle's Child: Whistler Provides Family Adventure, Even in the Off-Season

Seattle Refined: Self Defense 101: Give Yourself a Fighting Chance 

Seattle Refined: Yes, it's spring - but you can still find some last minute winter road trips
Friday, March 24, 2017

February Book Report

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I read a lot of books in February and then have taken forever to report on them. My reading was all over the place without any particular rhyme or reason. I read 6 books in this short month due to a short trip I took by myself that afforded hours of airplane reading time. 


The first book I read was Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It was comforting to read that we were already doing some things right and horrifying to find out that we were doing some things really wrong. For instance, my girls are competitive and we often fuel it by setting them up against each other. It feels innocent, i.e. "Who can clean the room faster? Oh Maggie is the fast one!" but that builds rivalry so we've been doing our best to stop that and instead we are saying, "Come on Team! Let's clean the room together! Many hands make fast work!" 


The Writing Life by Annie Dillard was an "assigned" book from my Coffee & Crumb's Year of Creativity group. I was fooled into thinking that it would be a short read due to the compact size of the book but Dillard's writing requires deep concentration and often tears me away from the pages with the journey's my mind is encouraged to roam on. I loved this book and took away so much from it. 


I was attracted to Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon because of the beautiful cover artwork which was designed by Yoon's husband. I ended up loving this book. It's a Young Adult novel about a girl with so many allergies, etc that she basically lives in a bubble. The teenage girl soon falls in love with the teenage boy next door and the adventure begins there. 


I am not a money genius but I want my kids to be confident with their money. Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You are Not) by Beth Kobliner was so helpful and one I know I'll go back to again and again. I did skip the teenagers information because we are years away from that. My biggest takeaway was there is no "RIGHT" way to do allowance, one just has to be consistent about it. The other one was to talk about money with your kids. Be open about how much things cost. 


This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel was the Seattle Refined Book Club pick and I LOVED it. The book is about a transgendered child and how the family deals with it. Laurie Frankel is also a Seattle resident and so her descriptions of Seattle were top notch. I also loved how the family dynamics worked and kept thinking, this is how I would hope to parent in this situation. 


I read The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood years ago and decided to re-read it in light of the current political atmosphere and the Hulu Mini Series. It was just as horrifying now as it was a few years ago. The part that struck me the most was where Atwood noted that she didn't want to write about anything that hasn't happened somewhere at some point. 


I read the February chapter in Year Between Friends: 3191 Miles Apart by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes in the nick of time. I loved the February part, especially the recipes. 

Yearly Book Total: 11/52

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something from a link, I receive a very small percentage back. 
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Easy Peasy Fish Tacos

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Every Tuesday night in our house is Taco Night. I love tacos and wish that every night could be taco night but the other members of my house voted for Tuesday as taco night. Of course after I introduced these tacos, some picky members of my house asked if we could have them every night and even requested them for lunch several times. The best part, these are the easiest tacos I've made in a long time and even my non-cooking husband can make them. That's a serious win-win in my book!


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Easy Peasy Fish Tacos

by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 16 frozen fish sticks
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Taco Toppings: shredded red cabbage, sliced tomatoes, queso fresco, sour cream and 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
Instructions
Using a mini food processor, blend together the yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, cumin and salt. Set aside.
Bake the frozen fish sticks according to the package directions.
Using a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook each tortilla until brown, about 30 seconds per side. Place inside a clean towel to keep warm.
Serve tacos, "pass around" style. We like to put all the ingredients in separate bowls and allow everyone to make their taco per their liking.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Design Tips, V Bad Days and Self Defense are This Week's Links From Around the Web

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Blogging Tips from Design for Mankind

Alexander and the V Bad, FML Day This is one of our favorite books and something I often say to the kids so this was HILARIOUS to me. 

10 Everyday Photos to Take This Year because honestly the best memories are in the smallest moments. 

Self Defense 101: Give Yourself a Fighting Chance I may have written this but I think this is super important information for everyone. Learn how to protect yourself and hope that you never have to use that knowledge. 

Mason Jar Salad Prep I'm working to get back to meal prepping and this week, I used this site to make some salads. It was seriously the smartest thing I've done in a long time. I'm planning on doing my own post with more salad ideas soon! 




Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week in Review 3.18.17

I did not handle Daylight Savings time very well last week. Combined with the grey, un-ending rain, I was an exhausted mess. I limped through the days and decided to give myself some much needed TLC this weekend. We had a weekend without any plans and few items on our to-do list. So this post may be a day late but it isn't a dollar short!

Exercise

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I got in 5 workouts last week, mainly because I did two workouts on Saturday. I made it to four boot camp sessions and then took Molly to a free FitBit Local yoga session hosted by Obsessed by Portia. I've been a fan of Portia's work for awhile but only recently met her in person at a media event. She's the nicest person and has a sweet puppy that I want to steal. I was excited when I heard about the yoga event and when Molly asked to hang with me, I decided to bring her along. She wasn't interested in the yoga but claimed that she had a good time. I was thrilled to get five workouts in since I cancelled two workouts earlier in the week so I could sleep. Sometimes it is best to choose sleep over exercise. 

Food

Peanut Sauce Tofu with Rice

I made an amazing veggie tofu peanut sauce stir-fry for dinner on Friday that I need to replicate so I can share the recipe. It was amazing and Scott didn't even know he was eating butternut squash! I went back for seconds and only held off on thirds because I was so full! 

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I posted my recipe for Opal Apple Bars on Tuesday. Maggie helped me test them and enjoyed the taste testing portion the most. I liked pretending that they were perfectly ok for breakfast due to the apples and oats! 

The Girls

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On Friday, we took Mel-B to the vet for our Peaceful Preschool field trip. Molly was super excited because she wants to be a vet. While a bit traumatic for Mel-B, it actually made her a little less scared of the girls. They were very sweet with her in the vet room while she was having her examination. Maggie did her best to not screech but since she only has a volume of 12, it was tough for her. 

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Last week on the way home from church, Molly started crying that she was never going to be smart because she didn't know how to read. I reassured her that she was smart and that if she wanted to read, then I'd be more than happy to teach her. I got a book called, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons per a recommendation from my uber fabulous hair dresser (who has kids of similar age). I also picked up some BOB: Beginning Reader Books for her to compliment our lessons. She is loving our time together and really working hard to learn to read. Last night she read her first book to Scott and she was so excited. I love watching her learn. 

Other Goings On

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Earlier this week, I headed out to take photos with a friend for a story I'm doing. We were hanging out in the park when some ladies asked us if we were looking for a dog. They had found one on their walk and were going to leave it at the park. I couldn't let that happen so we borrowed their leash and took the dog to the vet where we were able to get him back to his owners. He was such a good dog and it was fun to pretend that I had a dog for a few moments. 

Stories Published

Yoga

Friday, March 17, 2017

Project 52 - Week 52

Project 52 - Week 52

Over the past year, I've posted weekly photos of my children in Project 52. I worked on my photography and had a great time documenting my children's lives. I am, however, thrilled to be done with this project. It was fun and I do plan on making a book for this project.

For this week's photo, I was photographing Apple Bars for a post with Opal Apples and Maggie decided to take her own photos while wearing her swimsuit inside out. She's a hoot!
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Apples! Apples! Apples! Take Back Our Lunch Apples with Opal Apple Bars!

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Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Opal® apples 
but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Last month, I shared my love for Opal® Apples along with how great they are for lunches since they don't brown. For my picky kids, this is awesome! We've been munching along on Opal® apples in our house and they are hands down our favorite ones. This week while checking out some new recipes, I stumbled upon a few apple bar recipes which looked perfect for the lunchbox. After making a few tweaks, I came up with a delightfully healthy and yet so sinfully tasting apple bar. I must report that I may have had three of these the first day I made them. Maggie agreed with me and polished off five of them. I wasn't sure there would be any left for the other members of the family but we made them last for breakfast and as a lunchtime treat the next day. 

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The beautiful appearance of the Opal® Apples which are Non-GMO Project verified along with the crunchy texture and sweet, tangy flavor really shines through in these apple bars. The fact that Opal® Apples are grown right here in Washington State exclusively by Broetje and Congdon Orchards delights me to no end.

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These bars should keep for about 4-5 days and will be a wonderful treat in your kid's lunchbox. This is one part of lunch they will be sure to eat! 

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I'm excited to announce that Opal® Apples is sponsoring a give-away of their Opal lodo’d bento lunch box and a sample box of Opals. Leave a comment below on how you like to incorporate apples into your child's (or even your own) lunch for a chance to win! Winners will be announced on Monday, March 20th

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Opal Apple Bars
by Rebecca Mongrain
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (24 bars)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 Opal Apples, peeled and sliced into thin slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. Stir in oats and sugars. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and eggs. Stir in the almond extract. Mix liquid into the flour mixture.
  5. Press half the dough into the prepared 9x13 pan and set aside.
  6. Using two 15-inch sheets of parchment paper (wax paper works fine too), place the remaining half of the dough between the two sheets. Roll out the dough into a 9x13 rectangle. Place on a cookie sheet indie the freezer for a few minutes.
  7. Place the sliced apples onto the 9x13 pan and slightly overlap each slice until the pan is covered.
  8. Remove the dough from the freezer and press on top of the apple slices. Press around the edges to seal the dough.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool in the pan before lifting the parchment paper out. Cut into squares and enjoy in the lunchbox!
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Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Opal® apples 
but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Week in Review 3.11.17

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The week after vacation is almost as hard as the week before vacation. I've spent most of it catching up with obligations and work, putting the house back in order with many loads of laundry, grocery shopping and so much planning. 

Exercise



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I got in 6 workouts this week - four boot camps, one Disneyland walking session and one barre3 class. Last week I got in 4 workouts - two Disneyland walking sessions (these were like 20,000 steps), one bootcamp and one yoga class. I'm at
 50 workouts for the year!


Food


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One our trip, I finished reading Dinner: The Playbook and it reminded me that I do love making dinner even if most of it is rejected by those I love. This week I made such delicious dinners. We had Salmon with Green Beans, Chorizo Tacos, Veggie-Loaded Fried Rice, and Buttermilk Herb Baked Chicken Tenders. So good! We ate a ton more vegetables (ok, more were offered and I ate more but I can't confirm that the kids ate more). 

The Girls


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We spent most of the week getting back into a routine after vacation. Scott was also away on a business trip and that added a twist. On Wednesday, I volunteered in Maggie's classroom for the International Day of Women so her female teachers could strike. It was actually a lot of fun! On Friday, the girls modeled for a magazine I write for, Seattle's Child. They needed children for another writer's story on Pike Place Market and my kids were up for the challenge. As a bonus, I got to meet our photographer which put a face with the emails. 

Other Goings On



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I'm still on a reading binge which translates to a book buying and library borrowing binge. I've actually been watching way less television so I can read, read, read. My Year of Creativity group is also helping with the reading since each month's lessons have book and essay suggestions. Some of the essays have brought me to beautiful tears this month. I've been reading this one, over and over again. 

Stories Published

7 Underrated, Unusual Coffee Drinks You Should Be Ordering

I've been on a bit of a coffee writing binge lately and let me tell you, that means I've been jittery! Next up in where to find the best mocha in Seattle! Have any tips?



Seattle Refined: 7 Underrated, Unusual Coffee Drinks You Should Be Ordering

Seattle Refined: Where to Find the Best Darn Latte in Seattle

 
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