Everyday Life and Menu Plan 8.29.16

Well, it looks like our summer weather is over for the most part in Seattle. I think we did a pretty good job of enjoying the sun while we could. The kids experienced their first mini golf outing and it was HILARIOUS. I told them that we were not competing, because I've had ENOUGH of competition from them over the summer. It was all about having fun and learning how to use a putter. We didn't keep score and I let them pick up and move their ball whenever, or let them sort of draaaaag the ball the last foot or so into the hole. But that elation over seeing a ball disappear into a PVC pipe to shoot out of a hole elsewhere was priceless.

We hit up the pool a few times and yet another new beach.
Waverly Beach was fun, but parking was treacherous and slim pickings. Also, there wasn't as much sand to play in - a huge plus in MY book, not so much for the kids. But, the park made up for it and we had a lovely day there.

It was also school supply shopping week, and I lucked out with a VERY quiet day at Target!
And it's teacher meet and greet this week! And the following week... SCHOOL STARTS! I'm seriously not the only one that's excited. My kids are kind of burned out on the pool, the Y and EACH OTHER.
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie and Mommy Run Fast- be sure to check out all the great weekly menus! 


The Stack - August Library Haul

It's not a huge haul of physical books this month, yet I'm not sure how many I'll get to in September because I've got a lot of great digital content on my Kindle right now. However, I'm going try my best to eke out as much reading as I can - especially since the Olympics are over!

Shelter: A Novel by Jung Yun is a highly anticipated debut novel that came out in early spring and my hold finally came in. 
The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe (on Book Riots most anticipated of 2016, best books of February AND best of the year so far lists) was great find on the paperback picks shelf, so I'll likely hold on to if for awhile. 
The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater is here! I'm not sure if I want to end my adventure with the Raven Boys too soon, though. I'm both excited and wanting to put it off a little longer...
 And my mother finally got me to check out a Harlan Coben book: Fool Me Once. Even though I'm not a big fan of thrillers, her review and the description has me intrigued. Plus, millions of readers can't be TOTALLY wrong, right?

New digital books in the queue/ARCs:
Moonburner by Claire Luana (new YA Fantasy given to me by the author! She's a local runner!)
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Still in the queue:
I'm going to start in on the ARC of COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett as soon as I'm done with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Small Great Thingsby Jodi Picoult (a NetGally ARC)
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter 
Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

As always, I'm interested in any thoughts/if you've read the books on this list or others I should know about!


Everyday Life and Menu Plan 8.22.16

What a fun week it's been! I received my trial of Book of The Month Club and decided to utilize the adorable wine koozie that came this month by making frosé. (FYI, I chose Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, which is already AWESOME.)  

I used this recipe and just skipped the Aperol. DELICIOUS. Also, if you use this link and code REFER50, you can get a three month subscription for 50% off! (And maybe score me an extra book!)

As the first day of school looms close, we're squeezing in every last bit of summer we can. Lots of time at the pool and beach...
time with friends...
and rock wall time...
I capped off the weekend cheering on amazing Oiselle athlete Kate Grace, who made it to the final of the women's 800 and ran it in under TWO MINUTES - a FOUR MINUTE per mile pace, if that helps put it in perspective. This blog post from Sarah, who was in Rio cheering Kate on, is perfection. It was great to cheer her on among teammates at the Oiselle store - especially ones that I've know for years and happened to be in town from Chicago!
Hopefully I can bring the fun this week, too... 
Also, last week's Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe from Chrissy Tiegen's Cravings cookbook was DELICIOUS and we'll definitely add it to the rotation. As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie and Mommy Run Fast- be sure to check out all the great weekly menus! 


Denver and Beaver Creek Getaway

Oh, man. Trying to sum up an amazing trip like this is very, very, hard. Suffice it to say, these are (and will always be) my people, and my family. Yes, this girls weekend kicked off with a few hours spent with my ridiculously awesome nieces, nephew, sister in law and my big brother.
My face is slightly puffy from crying, because we hadn't seen each other in a very, very, long time. Also, I was operating on about four hours of sleep. My flight was at 6:30, and the security lines at SeaTac are notoriously awful (we waited for over an hour for our San Diego trip), so I set my alarm for 3:30AM to get parked and shuttled over to the airport on time.  Oof!

After spending quality time with my brother and his family, I headed back to the airport to await the other two gals flying in from Chicago and for our Denver girl to pick us up. And we didn't stop talking for three whole days.
Seriously, you'd think I'd crash early after so little sleep the night before. Nope. Stayed up talking until 2AM. Again, oof! 
This tasty Five Spice Old Fashioned kept me going. Linger in Denver is a seriously yummy restaurant.
On Friday we headed out towards Beaver Creek, with a stop in Vail for lunch at Mountain Standard.
And we had a fabulous time checking out all of the shops, our favorite (which also had an outpost in Beaver Creek) was a lovely boutique called Frinje. We probably spent an hour in there trying on clothes, sunglasses and jewelry. But the only jewelry I went home with was this AMAZING kitty ring that I gave to my daughter, though I may borrow it from time to time...
It was unseasonably chilly and rainy (which was fine by this Seattle girl), but still beautiful. Vail reminded me of our local little mountain getaway in Leavenworth (where I was last summer, actually), but on STEROIDS. 
Now that I think about it, a lot of things about the Denver and surrounding area reminded me of home: the mountains, the microbreweries, the hiking, lots of active-lifestyle folks, marijuana stores... Anyway! Once we got checked in at the fantastic Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, I headed straight to bed for a power nap while the rest of the group hit the hot tubs. I woke up to my friends informing me that they were treating me to a belated birthday dinner! First we hit up Revolution for some complimentary apps (fresh tortillas with different dipping sauces - YUM.) and cocktails. 
The 'Up in Smoke' was delicious: marinated and grilled pineapple infused cachaca with lime. Then we had amazing Mai Tais at our dinner destination: Hooked
You guys. This dinner was an experience we won't forget! Even my one friend who is not all that into fish took one for the team and had fun with it. We did the 'you call it' option where you decide on the type of fish you want to eat and they choose one fish that can feed your entire party and it's prepared in as many ways as possible. 
For us, that was a 3 1/2 pound fish prepared SEVEN different ways, including sashimi, nigiri, a roll, ceviche, a filet and two ways (chimichurri and a ponzu like sauce) on the bone. DUDE. Plus we'd eaten TWO appetizers, an amazing fried shrimp and a poke trio. So full, but so happy!
The next day we walked off some of our huge meal with a little hike behind the resort. It was then that I realized, oh yeah - altitude. Like Bend, but worse! 
But it wasn't too strenuous of a hike and it provided some lovely views as well as evidence of the sun returning in full force.
So after a margarita lunch at the Coyote Cafe (their exclusive 'Old Soul' margarita was super tasty), we had pool time! I should take this moment to say that the Park Hyatt thinks of everything and was just a lovely place to stay. I guess you get what you pay for! The waiter at the pool came by asking if we'd like complimentary otter pops, there were toys and goggles available for use and everyone was just so very friendly.
There was also an art show going on the weekend we were there, which was awesome and now I want one of these crazy expensive lounge chairs that were for sale for my backyard...
The last night we ate tapas at Metropolitan and ended the evening with 'black and blue' Manhattans (containing smashed blueberries and blackberries), s'mores and my first game of Cards Against Humanity at the bar in our hotel. 
Now I get it! And I want to play more! We closed out the bar and got to see the bride from the wedding taking place on the property saunter in, so that's always a fun time. Surprisingly, we all felt pretty good the next day and were able to go for another hike before hitting the showers and the road to the airport.
Aspens really are beautiful and I learned that a grove of them is the largest living organism on the planet. So cool!
Saying goodbye is really hard, but even when we go years without getting together, I know we are just as close as ever. I love you guys. Let's not wait three years for our next shenanigans, though, ok?