9.03.2015

September Goals and August Recap

This is the first year in a REALLY long time that I was sort of sad that summer was over.  Despite the high level of sibling bickering and being together ALL THE TIME OMG, we had a pretty darn good summer of play, beach time, swimming and just relaxing.

Maybe it has something to do with my aversion to the youngest growing up?  Waaaah!

We still have a little alone time on Wednesdays, when she gets out of school earlier than her brother.  So I will cherish that time this year.

Alas, summer is over and I did get a couple of things done in August...

August Goals

Pack and escape for Birdcamp year two! 
Well, that was easy and fun!

Organize logistics for Ragnar Trail.
As many of us predicted, the race was cancelled, due to the devastating fires we've had in Eastern Washington.  I suppose it worked out for the best in my case, as I wasn't sure that I'd even be able to run with my husband's work schedule and beginning of school year commitments.

Do more hill work and start increasing my weekly mileage (see above)
So yeah, because of the unlikelihood of running Ragnar, I kind of let this fall off the radar!  I'm still streaking and just cruising along at 20ish miles a week.

Download pictures off my phone.
FAIL!  Moving to this month's goals.

Get school supplies.
Pretty proud that I got this done early in the month, armed with a list I braved an actual store.  In years past, our school has had some sort of deal where you can buy a big ol' box of supplies at the end of the year prior for a set fee.  SOLD!  However, that was not an option this year and I powered through.

Get kids haircuts.
Done!

Cross off as many left over items on the summer bucket list as possible!
The kids really just wanted to hit up the pool or beach, so that's mostly what we did in August.  With the exception of 'Camp Daddy' while I was at Birdcamp. They went bowling for the first time!

And they did the Iron Horse Trail tunnel hike, like they did last year while I was at camp.

I took them to a fun, albeit scary, new park with friends.  

And we squeaked in our yearly Remlinger visit!

But now it's time to put our noses to the grindstone for another school year.  Man, I'm gonna miss my little summer sanctuary...


September Goals
  • Establish a routine, and try my everloving best to be patient with homework.  September is such an onslaught of go! go! go! after the summer.  Hopefully we'll settle in quickly.
  • Check off all school commitments: new year paperwork, volunteer application renewal, volunteer training, curriculum night, etc. (Again: go! go! go! so! much! to! do!)
  • Fill out a new day planner. (Yes, I still like to write things down and it's my one fun back to school purchase for ME.)
  • Go bowling!  Since I missed out while at camp, I got another Groupon (that expires at the end of the month) for the place the kids went with dad.
  • Get myself a haircut!
  • Tackle dowloading/organizing those iPhone pics
Here we go...

8.30.2015

This Weeks Eats 8.30.15

We've had some awful wind storms this weekend and I'm writing this pretty quickly in case the power goes out!  Yesterday we went without for about eight hours.  Not too bad, and we had an excuse to go out to dinner.  And I picked up a new phone case while wasting time at the mall...

Thankfully, by the time we got home, power was restored and we had a few stiff drinks after we put the kids to bed!  Specifically, this blackberry bramble recipe that I learned about from Mama Kat's hilarious YouTube videos.  

The fridge is overflowing with blackberries, since the field where my son's soccer team practices twice a week is surrounded by blackberry bushes.  I made a syrup last week and it's been quite tasty with gin for the bramble recipe, as well as bourbon for a fun twist on a mint julep.  Highly recommend.

This week...  
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

8.27.2015

A Oiselle Birdcamp Story (Okay, Maybe Two...)

First I must preface this with a little writing tip, as some folks who do not know how to pronounce Oiselle (it's a hard vowel: Wa-Zelle) might think I have made a grammatical error in the title.  Heaven forbid anyone should think that! Moving on!

As with last year's retreat, there were so many awesome moments at Birdcamp.  Alas, if I were to write them all down, it would take me HOURS to finish this post.  Since I am lazy, I shall share just one that really summed up my experience...

It was the first night, our first gathering and breakout session after our welcome dinner.  We were paired off into groups, each led by one of the Haute Volée (elite team members) to talk about our goals.  My group was with Devon Yanko, a badass ultra runner and Olympic Trials marathoner, among other amazing accomplishments.  We were joined by Heather Stephens, our Volée Team leader from Oiselle HQ and the overall female winner of the Lake Sammamish Half in under 1:20 - her FIRST half! (Where I also accomplished my current PR nearly 40 minutes later, haha!)  Rounding out our group was Leana Keto, who seems to run marathons like NBD, has run a half dozen half Ironmans and just signed up for her FOURTH full Ironman.  Needless to say, I (the stay at home mom who runs roughly 20-25 miles a week and has no real desire to tackle a marathon) was feeling a little bit nervous to talk goals with these ladies!  

The funny thing was that each of us started the conversation by talking about things we knew of each other, and shying away from talking about ourselves.  And, of course I deferred talking about my goals until the bitter end, frantically combing my brain for anything interesting I might be up to in my running.  As the self depreciating words were coming out of my mouth, "I'm just doing the mom thing, keeping up with my fitness, maybe a goal 5K soon or 13.1 next year..."  Leana piped up with something along the lines of, "Um, Andrea, you are killing it with your run streak - what day are you on?" Oh. Yeah. That! (460 as of today, BTW.) It took someone else to point out a pretty nifty accomplishment I've achieved in my running.  To me, since I'm not a crazy high mileage runner, or fast runner, I had completely glossed over the streak.  It's just something I do now, like brushing my teeth.  But it's still a goal, albeit daily.

What's even more awesome, it made Devon chime in with, "Ohhhh, yeah!  Were you the one who commented on the Facebook thread where someone asked about the pros/cons of rest day vs. run streak?"  Now, I hope everyone I know has the pleasure of meeting Devon one day.  If she read this, she'd probably chuckle at me, but I must say I was initially a little unnerved to answer.  She is a straight up super tall, super cool, and absolutely no bullsh*t kind of gal. I very sheepishly admitted that I did, because I was the only person that was in favor of streaking - with the caveat that as a 20ish mile a week runner, it's TOTALLY doable and that it should be like a 10 minute meditation on rest days.  After my admission, she said that my comment was really insightful and she thought it was great.  To hear that from her was pretty awesome, and the fact that she and the other elites on our team are interacting with us on Facebook is such a rare and fantastic thing.  

Being able to interact with women of all different abilities and talents was my biggest takeaway from Birdcamp this year.  We ALL have something to learn from each other and bring to the table.  One of the most striking things Lauren said as she introduced almost 20 elite members that made it to camp this year, is that one day, they want to be us!  To be able to have running as a part of their lives when they inevitably move on to other pursuits is truly a goal for elite runners - really interesting food for thought.  That Lauren, always so insightful!  So if you're ever at a loss for what your strengths are, or need someone to lift you up, having some sistas in sport it a good way to go.  I was definitely feeling pretty high all weekend.



I usually don't write long Instagram posts, but for the following picture, I did.  Because, I think, it also sums up the Oiselle experience.
Looking through #Birdcamp15 images and trying to pick out the best one to sum it up, I had to go with this one. I got this shirt at my first Oiselle sample sale shortly after I joined the team over 3 years ago. It's had a good run, and I loved it dearly, but I knew what joy it would bring to @fleshmanflyer, since she's always trying to bribe it off me - oh, and it's the shirt that made her discover Oiselle, yet she never got one of her own. This team is about lifting each other up, and supporting each other (even giving the shirt off your back, deodorant residue and all). The structure of things has changed A LOT since the days when @kristinmetcalf would post our race results on a white board picture to Twitter! And the way it is now, they expect NOTHING from me. Yet they have given me so much over the years and will always have my heart. Lauren repeatedly asked what she could give me for her shirt: keep fighting the good fight lady, I expect nothing. Much love!

Thank you Oiselle Team, and especially everyone at HQ for the years of awesome and for another fantastic Birdcamp.  

And time for the photo dump!  Thank you, Andrea, of Thomas and Velo Photography for the beautiful pictures (team shot above, and the next two).


















Until next time, Leavenworth...

8.23.2015

This Weeks Eats 8.23.15 (Plus Birdcamp Food and Beverages!)

Since I have yet to recap this year's Birdcamp trip to the Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth (I'm still trying to wrap my brain around another awesome retreat), I can say that we ate the most amazing food!  We were treated to the 'snack table' again with Ziploc bags for squirreling away chocolate, almonds, crackers and various treats to our rooms...
...as well as fresh fruit, bagels and yummy nut butters.  Wild Friends samples were available to all again this year, as well as Nuun, Run Gum, GenEthix, Picky Bars and other fun swag (like Paper Birch Design wooden tags and Stance Socks, which I love now.)
And all of our meals were served buffet style at the Kingfisher Restaurant, which specializes in sustainable, organic fare (with a garden on site) and it was all amaaaaaaaazing.  Sadly I have no pictures, but every morning we'd drool over eggs with avocado salsa or sauteed spinach, fresh made granola, and the most mouth watering scones.  I'd bring Ziploc bags from the snack table and steal a scone for later in the day!  Lunch and dinner were filled with scrumptious soups, salads (heirloom tomato! fresh grains!) and fresh fish and beef dishes with the most flavorful and delicate sauces.  

I don't know what it is about Birdcamp that brings out the kombucha, but for whatever reason,  Humm kombucha was ON TAP at O'Grady's - the cafe and sundry shop at the resort.  And they had GROWLERS.
Needless to say, my roommates and I each bought one and transformed our trash can to a cooler!  Sadly, with a Oiselle group visiting, we drained the shop of Humm by the second day.  Luckily the only place they have it on tap within a 50 mile range of Seattle is a quick jaunt from my house.  Yay!  The coconut lime flavor is definitely my favorite.
Speaking of beverages, I tried a DELICIOUS grapefruit Hefeweizen at Der Hinterhof in downtown Leavenworth.
Very hungry and thirsty ladies, after a morning long run and a float down the river! Hijacked this photo from Mary Margaret, who I was THRILLED to meet in person this year!
Upon returning home, I immediately found it in my local grocery store.  It's kind of ridiculously bright orange colored, but worth it if it's available in your neck of the woods.

Okay!  Back to the weekly grind of menu planning and making my own meals.  Sigh.
  • Monday - Pizza
  • Tuesday - Green Curry Turkey Meatballs (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
  • Wednesday - Grilled Maple Sriracha Chicken and Roasted Broccoli (trying this recipe from Table for Two)
  • Thursday - Sloppy Joes (our family recipe is similar to Pioneer Woman's)
  • Friday - My husband is ditching me for a work event, so I'll likely have one of my 'lone wolf' meals
  • Saturday - Baked Ziti (from the Flour Sack)
  • Sunday - Fiesta Ranch Chicken Burrito Bowls (trying this recipe I found on Pinterest from Carlsbad Cravings, since I have leftover Ranch mix from the 'Cracked Out' chicken recipe we tried two weeks ago.  It was okay, I'd use much less biscuit dough in that recipe and maybe thin the soup mixture out with a bit with milk.) 
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

8.09.2015

Veggie Masala Tacos and This Weeks Eats 8.9.15

I shared this pic on my Instagram a few weeks ago of my new favorite meal.  Well, not the meal, a few of the ingredients.
Trader Joe's was doing a demo on the Vegetable Masala Burgers with a tasty slaw, made from their Tzatziki Sauce and shredded cabbage on pita bread.  It was DELICIOUS.  I had wanted to try the burgers, but until then, I wasn't sure how to prepare them.  I took this slaw idea and ran with it.  We made these tasty tacos at least twice last month and I thought I'd share the recipe!  Unfortunately, I was too hungry to take a pretty picture - you'll just have to take me at my word.

Veggie Masala Tacos

Ingredients:

package of Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burgers
for slaw:
container of Trader Joe's Tzatziki Sauce
package of Trader Joe's shredded green cabbage
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup of shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
for spicy relish:
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
warm flour tortillas for serving (or naan)

Cook the burgers according to package directions and cut into quarters.  While the burgers cook, mix the slaw ingredients (Tzatziki through cilantro) and relish ingredients (tomatoes through olive oil).  Place two pieces of the cooked burger on warm tortillas and top with slaw and relish.  Easy peasy!

I have heard that there is a Sambal Matah (Indonesian Salsa) available at Trader Joe's, which would probably be an excellent stand in for the spicy relish - but I haven't found it yet. Wah!

This week is a short list, as I'm headed off to Bird Camp on Friday!


As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


8.07.2015

Books I Read in July 2015

Six books!  I definitely went with easy, breezy summer reads in July...

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

This was a fun chick-lit read.  I enjoy hearing about the royal family, but have never gone out of my way to learn more about them.  This fictionalized story based on Will and Kate had me doing some internet reading and investigation on the pair!  There is a character based on all the major players in the royal family, even though the names are changed and the 'commoner' princess is an American.  I found myself deeply contemplating the life that Kate signed up for with Will and how he must navigate such an extraordinary life.  (And I must admit, I also did some wikipedia research to see how their romance matched up with their alter egos of Nick and Bex.)  It was fun to read this along with Janssen and read her review.

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

Speaking of Everyday Reading, this was a recommendation from Janssen.  I'd seen it floating around for years now, but didn't pick it up because I was wary of another YA dystopian series.  I gave it a go and it certainly falls under summer reading/brain candy fare.  The characters and dialogue are somewhat trite - it was the first time in a WHILE that I felt like I was truly reading 'YA' meant for a younger audience.  But I still found the story enjoyable.  Maybe it's because I've never watched The Bachelor and this book is filling that void in my life?  Regardless, I'm for sure going to finish out the series because I do want to know what happens and it was a super short and easy read.  

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The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Keeping with the summer reading binge of fluffy books, I picked up The Husband's Secret.  But with Liane Moriarty, I feel as if there is some heft to her stories and I find them really, really enjoyable.  It's helpful that she writes characters that are my contemporaries: middle aged mommies. (Sigh.) The crazy situations in which the women in her novels find themselves are so compelling and I can't help but placing myself in their shoes.  Of the three Moriarty books I've read (in addition to What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies), this included some tough subject matter (losing a child, would you cover up a murder?) which she dealt with deftly. 

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Armada by Ernest Cline

It's a good thing that I have a rule about getting through at least the first 100 pages of a book, as things got a little too gamer-geek tech-speak at the beginning.  I'm glad I stuck it out, because this was really fun - a rollicking good yarn. (I think that's the first time I've used the word 'rollicking.')  Nowhere near as original and awesome as Ready Player One, but it will also make a great movie!

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The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I quite enjoyed this YA novel, as it was SO evocative of  my early teen years.  (We didn't summer at a beach house, but our old house had a pool and we did go on spring break trips to Florida where my older brother and I were allowed to bring along a friend each.  I was always crushing on my brother's friends - so I could easily relate to Belly being the younger sister always feeling left out.)  But there's something relatable for everyone in this sweet coming of age story about first love.

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It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Yep, I just kept on going with the Summer series!  It's just as good as the first one and I blew through it and have picked up the last one from the library.  Just excellent beach reads.   


8.04.2015

Update on Summer Bucket List and August Goals

Yay!  I'm glad to be back after my little summer blog break!  A couple of times I went to go reference what we were having for dinner during the week, and then realized I didn't have the menu (with handy links) on the blog.  Must get back to that next week...  In the meantime, I figure it's best to start back in with some goals.  There aren't as many items crossed of the summer bucket list as I'd hoped.  The second week of July, my oldest was siiiiiick.  Then the kids had a summer camp week.  And the crazy heat we've been having does not make us very adventurous.  On the super hot days, the backyard sprinkler and local beach that are so close to our air-conditioned house are the most appealing options.

Summer Bucket List
  • Visit at least two more new beaches, we're in a bit of a rut with two local favorites (Did one today!  Enatai Beach Park is a PERFECT little spot for a beach day with the kids.  We'll definitely be back)
  • Hit up a new pool 
  • Go to the movies on a hot day (Inside Out was delightful)
  • Make s'mores dip (DEFINITELY going to get this done in August - perhaps this recipe.)
  • Keep the annual visit to Remlinger tradition (It's been TOO HOT - hoping for a good day to go this month.)
  • Pick berries (We'll probably go to the Mercer Slough for blueberries again - so easy, so good!)
  • Go to a free outdoor concert
  • Picnic at a new-to-us park
  • Mini golf
  • Do at least one more family hike - maybe Wallace Falls, as it's been a few years
  • Visit the mister at work downtown and go out to lunch, maybe even check out the Great Wheel
  • Find a babysitter for my annual birthday dinner to Daniels 
  • Take a month long blog break!
Well, at least the most important items (the last two) got crossed off.

This month:

August Goals
  • Pack and escape for Birdcamp year two! Woot!
  • Organize logistics for Ragnar Trail (I'm now our team captain, eep!)
  • Do more hill work and start increasing my weekly mileage (see above)
  • Download pictures off my phone (I had to get my iPhone fixed last month and it died before I could make sure it was backed up/I could get all my pictures off of it.  Now that it's fixed, I really ought to do this!)
  • Get school supplies, ZOMG
  • Get kids haircuts
  • Cross off as many left over items on the summer bucket list as possible!