Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 - A Year in Review


As 2016 comes to a close, I have to say it was a pretty good year for me. Yes, the election was devastating and I'm nervous about the next four years but over all, I had a pretty good year. 

1.  Workout 4 times a week - I stayed pretty consistent with this goal and really found my exercise love when I joined Sync Fitness. I also lost almost 20 pounds since May. While I have more to go, I'm feeling stronger, fitter and so much happier. The grief weight was really dragging me down. 

2. Complete Whole30 in January - I did this and thankfully this year, I am not doing it again! 

3. Keep purging the house with the Bowl Full of Lemons 14 Week Plan  - I purged a lot this past year and plan to keep it up in 2017. We have too much stuff and it needs to go. 

4. Complete Four (4) Day in the Life Challenges and participate in at least ten 10 on 10's - This was a fun way to stretch my photography chops. I feel like my skills really grew this year and I am so thrilled with my improvements. 

5. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - I did not complete this but I made some great strides. 

6. Grow a kick-ass Garden! - My garden was so awesome this year. I planted corn and it was fun watching it grow. My tomatoes were gang busters and next year I'm planting peppers earlier because when mine finally took off, they were taken out by frost. 

7. Read for 15 minutes a day - and by doing this, I read 60 books this year! I have a post coming up with a quick review of all the books I read. 

8. Volunteer with two organizations and include the girls - I volunteered with PEPS this year and led two groups - one of which was horrible and one of which was AWESOME! The second group, the awesome one restored my faith in humanity. The girls and I also volunteered with Mary's Place and I look forward to doing more of this. We also did the Treehouse Toy Drive and donated socks to WeCount. 

9. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls - Yeah.....

10. Get back to Blogging on a more regular basis and focus more on my writing - Totally did this and I have big plans for 2017. 
Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you Peace & Joy and a Happy New Year! 

(Taking one's own family portrait is hard, folks!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2017 Goals and My One Word


This past year, I went with "Present" as my word for 2016. While there is still room for improvement, I think I did pretty well. In April, I identified my phone as a major distractor and worked to stay present. I'm often in my own head, thinking of other things so this was quite a goal for me. 

This year, my word is "Release". I'm going to work to release the pain and anger around my parent's health and death. I'm gong to work to release stuff from my home. I'm going to release the negative from my life. Release!


In 2015, I worked hard to get my Sh*t Together and 2016 was a continuation on that theme. I am in a much better place now than I was at the start of 2015. Our country is not but I am. I lost almost 20 pounds this year, read 60 books, got super fit, improved my photography, traveled a lot and wrote a bunch. I plan to do a recap of this year later. 


This year, I'm focusing on 10 solid goals, two of which are repeats. 

2017 Goals

1. Workout 217 times in 2017. This works out to 4.5 times a week which is totally do-able! 

2. Participate in the Year of Creativity - I signed up for the Year of Creativity with Coffee + Crumbs where we'll have writing assignments based on monthly themes. I've also decided that I'll do a photo essay based on the monthly themes. 

3. Shoot one roll of film a month. 

4. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - This is a goal that I've been working on for almost 10 years. This is the year that I WILL COMPLETE THIS GOAL! (this is a repeat from last year) 

5. Finish my Miter Square Blanket. I started this blanket in 2007 and it's almost 10 years later! I can't wait to lie under the cozy-ness of this blanket so I'll be finishing this up in 2017! 

6. Read 52 books. I read 60 books this year so this might not be a hard goal to accomplish. 

7. Finish up various House Projects - I have a few lingering house projects that I want to get done. I'll be painting the bathroom and kitchen. I really need to paint the back deck and finish up the basement re-do. 

8. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls. Sadly I've only done one for Molly's 1st year so I have a lot of catching up to do. (this is a repeat from last year)

9. Become more politically active and work to be the change in my community. 

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. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Project 52 - Week 39

Project52 week 38


We spent a morning at the Maui Aquarium on our visit to Hawaii last week and I snapped these photos of the girls doing their thing. They are both getting so big! 
Friday, December 09, 2016

Project 52 - Week 38


We went on a whale watching trip yesterday and Maggie was so excited. Before the boat left, she was excitedly telling my aunt about the whales! I love her little passion. 
Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Join me for a Day in the Life Challenge on Thursday, December 8th


Starting on Thursday when you wake up, take a photo every hour (or more) to document your day until you fall asleep that night. You can join the Flickr group and/or tag your photos #adayinthelifephotochallenge on Instagram.


Here are some guidelines (adjust as needed for YOU!)

From the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep...
  1. Take at least one photo an house (but you can take more!).
  2. Post your photos to the "A Day in the Life" Photo Challenge Flickr group when you can. Posting your photos throughout the day as you take them is great (so we can see what everyone is doing in real time), but no worries if you cannot post until later. 
  3. Your photos do NOT have to be self-portraits.
  4. Include the time of the photo either as the title of the photo or in the description. (i.e. 9:45 am Hilarious Hand Holding! My friend and I had to walk really, really close to each other.)
  5. Use your phone or camera - whatever you want to use to capture your day, however ordinary or extraordinary it may be. 
  6. Have Fun! 

Since this is my 1 billionth time doing this challenge and I'll be away from home, I'll be shooting on my DSLR and posting later in the day, possibly all at once at the end of the day.  I've set up a new album on my Flickr photostream for December 8th challenge which you can follow here: A Day in the Life 12.8.16. Can't wait to see your photos and your day on Thursday! 
Monday, December 05, 2016

Monthly Goal Check-In (November)


Wow! Seriously, we have just 26 more days left of 2016. It's time to start thinking about my goals for 2017! Until then, here is an update on my 2016 goals. 

1.  Workout 4 times a week 
2. Complete Whole30 in January 
3. Keep purging the house with the Bowl Full of Lemons 14 Week Plan  - This is an ongoing project. I'm considering this done because every day, I'm purging! 

4. Complete Four (4) Day in the Life Challenges and participate in at least ten 10 on 10's - I did another 10 on 10 in November and will be doing my last Day in the Life Challenge this week! 

5. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - Yeah, I have some thoughts on why I'm not getting this done. 

6. Grow a kick-ass Garden! 

7. Read for 15 minutes a day 
8. Volunteer with two organizations and include the girls.

9. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls - So yeah, still haven't done this. 

10. Get back to Blogging on a more regular basis and focus more on my writing.

Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Make the Ultimate Cheese Plate


The Holidays are in full swing and that means celebrations, parties and gatherings. I love putting together a quick cheese plate for my guests and have even found it to be a great appetizer to bring along to parties. I especially love using Stella cheeses in my platters as their selection is superb and delicious!


A good cheese plate can be a conversation starter and a fantastic centerpiece. It may look complicated but a winning cheese plate can be simple to put together if you follow a few guidelines.

1. Mix up your cheese textures - have a soft, semi-firm and hard/aged cheese - to provide a wide selection. Stella cheeses are available in many different varieties and textures to match any celebration. 
2. Have different types of cheese - cow, goat, cheese. I always include Stella Parmesan Cheese in my cheese plates. It's got a great flavor. 
3. Go nuts with nuts, fresh fruit, olives, dried fruit and jam.
4. Offer 2 or three different crackers.
5. Give your plate 30 minutes at room temperature before serving to your guests.


Cheese Lovers Rejoice! Stella Cheese is hosting a contest to win a trip to Napa Valley -  'Enter Here To Win A Trip To Napa Valley With Stella Cheese'

Looking for more great and easy recipes? Check out the Stella Cheese website

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Advent Season 2016

November 28: Visit Santa  #mongrainadvent2015 Both girls screamed and cried and it was the best thing ever!

For the past few years, I've created an Advent Calendar full of activities for the girls. This year is no exception and I'm really excited about what I've put together this year. May the girls cry when they meet Santa, squeal with excitement at the Gingerbread Houses and end the season with delightful memories of the Advent Season. 


Sunday, November 27- Attend the Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker 
Monday, November 28- Visit Swansons Nursery to see the Reindeer
Tuesday, November 29- Make a Paper Garland for the Tree 
Wednesday, November 30- Drop off Socks at the WeCount Box of Sox 
Thursday, December 1- Decorate for Christmas
Friday, December 2- Visit the Sheraton Gingerbread Village 
Saturday, December 3- Visit Santa Claus at University Village 
Sunday, December 4 - Make Christmas Cards for the Preschool Teachers
Monday, December 5- Visit Lahaina’s famous banyan tree wrapped in Christmas lights
Tuesday, December 6- Go Whale Watching
Wednesday, December 7- Go to a Luau 
Thursday, December 8- Sing Christmas Carols on the Beach
Friday, December 9- Collect Sand and flowers to make Hawaii Ornaments
Saturday, December 10- Celebrate Grandpa’s Birthday by floating candles in the ocean
Sunday, December 11- Listen to a reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas
Monday, December 12- Make Paper Bag Reindeers and Eat Reindeer Poop (Chocolate)
Tuesday, December 13- Make Christmas Treats for the neighbors
Wednesday, December 14- Collect Gifts for a Giving Tree
Thursday, December 15- Walk Olympic Manor and check out the Christmas Lights
Friday, December 16- Visit Snowflake Lane in Bellevue 
Saturday, December 17- Watch the Christmas Ships at Carkeek Park 
Sunday, December 18 - Drive Candy Cane Lane to look at Christmas lights
Monday, December 19 - Celebrate Mommy’s Birthday and take pictures of the Christmas Tree Lights
Tuesday, December 20 - Make Christmas Cards for Grandparents
Wednesday, December 21 - Celebrate Maggie’s Birthday!
Thursday, December 22 - Watch a Christmas Movie and eat Popcorn
Friday, December 23 - Buy Christmas Cookies for Santa at Larsen's Bakery
Saturday, December 24 - Christmas Eve Church Service

Scary Santa

Project 52 - Week 37

Project 52 - Week 37

Maggie appreciates a good Cheese Plate!
Friday, November 18, 2016

Project 52 - Week 36

Project 52 - Week 36

I took the girls to one of my favorite wall murals today to take photos for their Thank You notes. They actually participated a fair bit so I got my shot! It's rare these days that they will do posed shots for me.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Giving Back, Get Involved and What to Read Are This Week's Links From Around the Web


Give Big with Pure Gratitude PureBarre is hosting a day of Gratitude on Nov. 20th! Join in!

Barre3 Bring 3 Cans of Food for a free class between Nov. 17 and Nov. 24th

Get Involved! Reach out to Your Representatives! @karawrite has put together this great google doc with information on what to say when you call your representatives whether you want to thank them or ask for a call to action. Democracy is about getting involved and this election season has really awoken me to the importance of doing just that. I've always emailed my reps but not enough. I'm making this a priority in 2017.

13 Children's Books that Encourage Kindness Adding these to our library! STAT!

Don't Let 2016 End Without Reading These Books Must READ FASTER!

How Your Family Can Give Back this Thanksgiving I love all these suggestions!
Monday, November 14, 2016

10 on 10 (November)

A few days ago, a long anticipated app, Filmborn was launched. I was so excited about it that I wrote an article on it for Seattle Refined and decided to do my 10 on 10 in November using only the Filmborn app. It helped make a depressing day, much more fun.











Saturday, November 12, 2016

Week in Review - 11.12.16


I missed last week's week in review and then this week was just stunning. I never believed that Hillary would lose the election and the reality of that has been sinking in all week. This has spurred me to new action. I will be making some changes to my volunteer efforts in 2017, donating to some new organizations and getting more involved in my political community. My children deserve all that I can do for their future and so I will be doing all I can do.



Exercise was great these past two weeks. I ended my Transformation program with a lost of almost 7 lbs and a 1 1/2 inch loss from my bust and waist along with a 2 inch loss from my hips. I kept up my 3 day a week boot camp sessions and pushed myself to lift higher weights.

I also attempted a cycling class after a month off for my hip bursitis. I've pretty much graduated from PT for it and wanted to see where I am. I left early but only 10 minutes early. My hip is sore today but otherwise I'm good. I think I'm almost back in the game with much stronger hip muscles.

I took Molly to Family Boot Camp at my gym where she said she wasn't going to participate but then ended up having so much fun.


The largest cabbage I have ever seen arrived in my organic bag from @fullcirclefarms today! It's destined to be slaw. #filmborn

Since my Transformation program has ended, I've been indulging a bit more which needs to be nipped in the bud. I did discover that the Magnolia Metropolitan Market has some awesome sushi and a poke bar. I may have gone there twice this week for lunch. 

I also received the largest head of cabbage I've ever seen from Full Circle Farms last week. I am preserving some kraut with it and making so many meals of cabbage slaw. 


I participated in a filming last week and had the opportunity to try Heritage Distillery Brown Sugar Bourbon. It was delicious! 

The Girls


Our big news with the girls this week is that Maggie has potty trained. After talking with her preschool teachers, we decided to do the three day plan and she did awesome! She's had a few accidents but is really doing great!


I also took our family portraits this past weekend and while we got a great shot (which I will reveal later), it was so hard! Next time I attempt this, I'm going to ask someone to come and stand behind the camera tripod to engage the kids.

Other Goings On


At the end of my Transformation program, I was giving an awesome book, "You are a Badass" and I can not wait to dig into it. I just need to finish my parenting book club book and then I'm going to learn how to be a better bad ass! 

Stories Published


Friday, November 11, 2016

Project 52 - Week 35


Dear Molly and Maggie,

We held elections this week and it was disappointing to say the least. I had really hoped that our nation would have elected in our very first female president. Instead we did not. I've been crying all week, trying to make sense of it all. I want to raise you two to be strong women, women who get things done, women who are respected for their work. Our current culture means this will be an uphill fight but you see, your Mom is a strong woman who gets things done and doesn't let adversity get in her way. 

Because I have few words at this time, I'll end this note with Hillary Clinton's words in her concession speech. Believe these, my girls. 

"and to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."


Friday, November 04, 2016

Project 52 - Week 34


We spent some time at the Children's Museum this afternoon. The girls were wild and ran straight to the Sound Transit bus to play. 
Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Monthly Goal Check-In (October)


Just when I think that the months can't go by any faster, they seem to speed up! I can't believe it is already NOVEMBER! 

1.  Workout 4 times a week - I've been working out 5-6 times a week with my Transformation project and loving it. I've been going to PT and my hips are doing so much better! I'm considering this goal tackled and done. 

2. Complete Whole30 in January 

3. Keep purging the house with the Bowl Full of Lemons 14 Week Plan - The purging continues! I'm about two weeks behind but getting it done! 

4. Complete Four (4) Day in the Life Challenges and participate in at least ten 10 on 10's - I'm going to do a Day in the Life Challenge in November (TBD) and did another 10 on 10 in October

5. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - I have scheduled time to work on this at least once a week to get this done but honestly I may need to finish this in 2017. 

6. Grow a kick-ass Garden! 

7. Read for 15 minutes a day- This is such a habit now and I totally do this everyday. I'm considering this crossed off too. 

8. Volunteer with two organizations and include the girls.

9. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls - So yeah, still haven't done this. 

10. Get back to Blogging on a more regular basis and focus more on my writing.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Molly and Maggie are really into Halloween this year and love their costumes! I sense they'll be wearing them for months to come. We have big plans for Trick or Treating tonight and I'm hoping the rain stays away.




Project 52 - Week 33


Rebecca Mongrain's Blog © 2013.

Design by The Blog Boat