8.30.2013

Friday Things

Ahhh, the first day of school is in sight!  We had our meet the teacher day yesterday and got our school supplies.  Also, our school does the Staples SchoolKidz program where you can order your supplies in one big box at the end of the school year for the following year.  Holy lifesaver!  Every single item was accounted for and they even include labels with your child's name for labeling all the random crap.  WIN.  I did not have to stalk the aisles looking for just the right pencils, the right size set of crayons - a weight has been lifted, I tell you.  

I loved this post from Jen Hatmaker on surviving summer.  And just as I'm limping toward the finish line of summer, I'll be limping towards the finish line at the end of the school year, too.  It's a necessary, yet endless cycle.  By the end of May, my kids need a break from all the homework and some unstructured time - lots of quality together time.  



So much togetherness, we even started dressing the same!  We've lost our individuality!  Or, I dress 3/4 of our household and I like navy stripes...

And by the end of summer, that time is no longer quality. we need the structure and the break from each other and all of the endless SNIPING and FIGHTING and RESTLESS ENERGY OMG.  Ahem, on to fun random internet things...

Oh how I love Buzzfeed.  This 37 Essential Life Hacks is a revelation: I think #17 is my favorite.  I wish I had this information when I was in college.  Also, it's no secret I love Trader Joe's, this 23 Reasons Trader Joe's Is The Best Grocery Store That Ever Was is legit.

Those tricksters at Trader Joe's are always giving me deeeeelicious samples and making me buy MOAR STUFFF..




This sauce immediately went into my cart this week.  I think we'll slather it over our leftover carnitas for sandwiches in the near future.

OK, I need to talk about the VMAs...  How spectacularly awesome is Justin Timberlake??  I for one think that should be the most talked about portion of the show.  (Okay, except for this perfectly timed mashup with Sunday's Breaking Bad: from Huffington Post) JT's performance was at least fifteen whole minutes of singing and crazy awesome dancing.  I'm getting tired just thinking about it.  I juuuust missed the boat on being an N'Sync fan, as I was well into my 20s when they hit it big.  But do I have a vivid memory of being absolutely RIVETED by the an HBO N'Sync live concert special when I was about 26 and still living with my best girls in our Chicago apartment on Newport.  At the time, I remember we felt a little ashamed to be crushing on this Justin kid, mesmerized by his dance moves.  Boy, does he still got 'em.  I really had no love for Suit and Tie when it came out, but I have mad love for Mirrors and the video is a rather emotional one to watch.  That kid (yeah, he's a kid to me) deserved his moon men awards and a lot more attention from the weekend than we're giving him.  I've just gotta add it to the playlist.







Happy Labor Day weekend!

2013 Playlist
Wake Me Up by Avicii and Aloe Blacc
Hey Now by Martin Solveig
We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke
Take You Higher by Goodwill and Hook N Sling
Justice and Independence by John Mellencamp
Glowing by Nikki Williams
Easy  by Porter Robinson (and Matt Zo).
I Could be the One by Avicii featuring Nicky Romero
Pair of Dice by Tiesto
Ain't No Stoppin' by Ferry Corsten (featuring Ben Hague)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez
Apollo by Hardwell featuring Amba Shepherd
This Head I Hold by Electric Guest
Castles in the Sky by Ian Van Dahl
Feel this Moment by Pitbull, featuring Christina Aguilera
Into Your Arms by the Lemonheads
Just Give me a Reason by Pink
I Love It by Icona Pop
Little Secrets Passion Pit
Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane, remixed by Afrojack
Clarity by Zedd
Years by Alesso
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
She Wolf by David Guetta, featuring Sia
Alive by Krewella
Illmerica by Wolfgang Garnter
Drowning by Armin van Buren
Give Me Your Hand by The Ready Set
Language by Porter Robinson
Cry for You by September
You Are My Diamond by Tiesto - featuring Kianna
Arguru - Deadmau5
We Are by Jus Jack & Oza, featuring Aeone

8.28.2013

Orcas Island (San Juan Islands) with the Kids

After our first attempt at a mini family vacation last year, we were looking for a slightly less 'rustic' outing.  We thought we could handle more than an overnight with the kids and wanted a bit more bang for our buck.  What I really wanted was a place with a pool.  Spending afternoons taking turns with my husband sitting poolside and playing with the kids sounded like a real vacation.  Since we do love a ferry ride and hiking, we decided on a getaway to Orcas Island.  

From Seattle, the drive to the ferry at Anacortes goes by really fast in just over an hour.  No distractions were needed for the kids on the way there; they were excited to get on the ferry and were nonstop chatterboxes about looking for whales.  In the summer, I highly recommend getting to the ferry about two hours prior to departure.  We thought that since it was an off peak travel time (as indicated by the WSDOT website) an hour would suffice.  We made that departure by the skin of our teeth.  Gah.  




The hour and a half sailing to the island also went by super quick.  We brought our lunch, watched the beautiful scenery and did some puzzles!


There are puzzles of all sizes on different tables throughout the ferry - very cool.


After driving onto Orcas just after two o'clock, we drove straight to Moran State Park (don't forget your Discover Pass) to check out the amazing views. 




 Lucky for us, the top of Mount Constitution (the highest point on the San Juan Islands) can be reached by car.  We drove past all of the day trippers that descended upon the town of Eastsound (that we'd explore another day) and drove up the winding roads to the observation tower.




Pro-tip: if you have a toddler that's a 'runner' - just be careful, there are some areas they could go a-tumbling down the mountain.  Luckily, my 'runner' has grown mature enough to ask permission before wandering off.  And then subsequently whine incessantly when we said that, no, he could not go down past the rock wall that was there to keep us from falling to our doom.  Not that this stopped a group of teens that were there.  Oh man, the teen years... *shudder*  

There are hikes a plenty at Moran State Park, with varying levels of difficulty.  So we drove back down the mountain and did a few miles near Cascade Lake.  It was a nice hike, but I think on this outing we finally came to terms with the fact that our three year old daughter just ain't into it.  Pretty much every family hike we do, my husband and I end up carrying her (increasingly heavy) form on our shoulders.  Not fun.  Quite the opposite of her brother at the same age, but what can you do?  We gave it about three miles and decided to call it a day and check in to our hotel.


Path from our building to the mansion which now houses the resort's restaurant and museum.

Rosario Resort is located on the grounds of the Moran Mansion which was built in the early 1900s by Seattle Mayor and Shipbuilder Robert Moran.  It's also on the National Register of Historic Places.  Plus, they have two pools!  Decision made.  From the outside, the buildings look a little dated.  But, once you open the door to the rooms, they are VERY nice.  


Kindle time
The Bayside suites were a really great deal: one room with two queen beds and a separate king bedroom (each with their own flatscreen tv) and a nice little porch with a partial view of the bay.  


Breakfast alfresco
And there are deer that roam the property that are pretty much domesticated.  Definitely a highlight of the trip for the kids.


Just petting some deer, no big.


The beds were super comfortable, not that we did much sleeping...  Even though baby girl is out of her crib and used to a regular bed, sleeping at a hotel was just too exciting for her to drift off.  We would have just left the kids to their own devices and play until they passed out, whatever the hour.  But big brother actually wanted to sleep and kept getting mad at her.  So yeah, we took turns sitting like a sentry each night (with kindle in hand) in a, thankfully, cozy overstuffed chair at the foot of their beds until she finally drifted off around midnight.  Maybe we should go somewhere with three rooms for next year's family vacay?    

Of course, as we got closer to the date of our trip it was clear that a nice little bout of crap weather was rolling in just in time for our arrival.  


Raaaaain. Womp, womp.

This was just the push we needed to bite the bullet and make the (costly) whale watching tour reservations, since our lazy pool afternoons were looking unlikely.  If you are ever planning a trip up to the San Juan Islands (Orcas, San Juan or Lopez) keep an eye on Groupon (and the like) for whale watching deals.  I'm a little sad I didn't, but I'm glad I called the charter operator directly to make the booking (Deer Harbor Charters, had a great experience).  The owner was able to give me advice on which boat I'd want to go out on with small children.  We might have ended up on a smaller one if I'd made the earlier/more convenient online reservations.  I cannot imagine if we had been on an even smaller boat, thank God I talked to the guy, plus he gave us a discount for staying at the Rosario.



Despite the cold sideways rain, and the hellish 90 minute return trip from seeing the whales (it was too cold to hang out on the sides of the boat and I didn't think to bring any games/distractions for the kids), it was SO worth seeing these amazing Orcas.




Now, we weren't as close as the picture appears, since my husband was using his zoom lens to it's fullest.  I'd say we were about the length of a football field or two away, as that's as close as you're allowed to get.  I think if we go back to the San Juans, I'd try first to take a picnic to Lime Kiln Point State Park and try to watch them from land.  I read this suggestion in this NY Times article, which could make for a much closer view of the whales.  And we'd definitely pay to go out on a boat again, especially if we had a normal sunny summer day!


Raincoats went on pretty quickly, and going stir crazy in the stuffy cabin was preferable to standing in the wind and rain on our way back to Orcas.

My last bit of advice for visiting the islands would be to make dinner reservations for ANY restaurant at ANY time on ANY day of the week.  I did a fair amount of research on visiting Orcas and nowhere did it stress the importance of reservations.  Silly me, I assumed that since we were eating rather early (5:30ish with the kids) during the week that this would not be necessary.  So much for all the research I did on the restaurants to try.  We wandered from place to place trying to get some dinner after a very long day without real food.  We did a big brunch at Rosario before the whale watching trip, and then only ate snacks.  The earliest anyone could seat us was 8:30pm.  Um, no.  So we ended up eating at the burger/fish n' chip joint at Rosario for the second night in a row.  It was good, but we really wished we could have experienced more of the food Orcas had to offer.  Oh well.  We did enjoy our one lunch in town at Chimayo.  Excellent Mexican fare.  




The town is adorable and we had lots of fun during the daytime perusing all the shops.  I highly recommend stopping by 'Orcas Arts and Gifts by Suzanne' with kids.  The shop owner gives a gift to every well behaved girl and boy.  My son talked to her nonstop after he was told this news, as if the goal was to entertain (which, come to think of it, is often his goal in life).  Since they were both very good and didn't break anything (which was a feat in that store) she gave big brother a shark tooth (ermagherd!) in a little bejeweled pouch and my daughter a small pearl, also in a little sparkly pouch.  This was probably the best part of the vacation for them - right up there with petting wild deer, staying in a hotel and, oh yeah, whale watching.

8.25.2013

This Weeks Eats 8.25.13

Last week's recipe experiments turned out very tasty!  I'll definitely make the Buffalo Chicken Burgers again and the peanut sauce for this Thai Crunch Salad was to die for.  I switched it up a bit and made Thai Chicken rice bowls instead.  We just grilled up some chicken, sauteed the veggies a bit and put it all over rice with the peanut sauce drizzled over the top.  


I think I would like to turn every meal into a rice bowl.

This week I'm finally trying the Martha Stewart recipe that's taken over Pinterest in the last few months - the one pot pasta deal.  Will report back with my findings...


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

8.23.2013

Friday Things

How funny is this 'hot dog legs' tumblr??  I admit I'm guilty of taking this picture myself...


dunno how hot dog-esque my legs are, though.
Alas, I think my pasty Seattle legs have seen the last of real summer weather and it's a good thing we spent all day at the beach earlier this week - looks like things are taking a turn...


Yep, after a wee bit of rain this weekend - it looks like the highs barely peek into the 70s for the foreseeable future.  Although, I am glad the best running weather is upon us!  Speaking of which, it's gonna be perfect for everyone heading to Oregon for the mother of all relays.  It's that time of year again: Hood to Coast weekend and if you want to follow some of the action, check out #NuunHTC and #HTC13 on Twitter - many great gals are running for Nuun again.  AND, this year Oiselle is teaming up with Every Mother Counts (yes, including Christy Turlington-Burns) to run the mother of all relays for the first time.  Meet the team here and follow their shenanigans: #RunEMC and #MotherFlockers Yeah, I will be reliving my own relay experience and keeping my fingers crossed that #PartyLikeAFlockStar gets picked for next year's HTC lottery - second time's a charm?  

I am absolutely loving this song Wake Me Up by Avicii and Aloe Blacc.  It's so fun to see a mashup of something so blues-y with the techno.  Enjoy it now, because I fear it's already beginning to be overplayed on the radio... 




Happy weekend!

2013 Playlist
Hey Now by Martin Solveig
We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke
Take You Higher by Goodwill and Hook N Sling
Justice and Independence by John Mellencamp
Glowing by Nikki Williams
Easy  by Porter Robinson (and Matt Zo).
I Could be the One by Avicii featuring Nicky Romero
Pair of Dice by Tiesto
Ain't No Stoppin' by Ferry Corsten (featuring Ben Hague)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez
Apollo by Hardwell featuring Amba Shepherd
This Head I Hold by Electric Guest
Castles in the Sky by Ian Van Dahl
Feel this Moment by Pitbull, featuring Christina Aguilera
Into Your Arms by the Lemonheads
Just Give me a Reason by Pink
I Love It by Icona Pop
Little Secrets Passion Pit
Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane, remixed by Afrojack
Clarity by Zedd
Years by Alesso
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
She Wolf by David Guetta, featuring Sia
Alive by Krewella
Illmerica by Wolfgang Garnter
Drowning by Armin van Buren
Give Me Your Hand by The Ready Set
Language by Porter Robinson
Cry for You by September
You Are My Diamond by Tiesto - featuring Kianna
Arguru - Deadmau5
We Are by Jus Jack & Oza, featuring Aeone

8.22.2013

My Take on Runner's World Hummingbird Muffins


It's been awhile since I've shared what I've been baking lately and it's not for lack of trying out different recipes.  I've been falling back on all the usual suspects, but I did discover my new favorite banana bread recipe this summer, as well as these amazing Hummingbird Muffins.  I found this recipe in the April issue of Runner's World and they are a huge hit with my family.  I add whole wheat flour, substitute milk (or you could use kefir or buttermilk) in lieu of oil, ground flaxseed if you don't have protein powder and walnuts instead of pecans.  Enjoy!




Muffins:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or kefir, buttermilk or canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of ground flax (or 2oz of vanilla protein powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 15-oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 mashed bananas

Crumble

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl beat sugar and honey with eggs. Whisk in milk, applesauce, and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk everything well and add walnuts, pineapple, and bananas. Whisk until combined. 

Prepare 15-18 muffin tins. Fill each about 3/4 full - almost up to the top. 

Combine all crumble ingredients. Sprinkle each muffin with the crumble mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8.20.2013

July 2013 In Pictures


Yep, I realize August is more than half over - just doin' a little catch up!


Bubbles
Playground
Beach Fun
First Shwings Race
Swinging with Dad

First Movie Outing
Sharing a Chair (!)
Hammock Time
Library Girl
Complex Sandcastle Structure

Annual Raspberry Pickin'
Pony Ride
Favorite Remlinger Fun
Selfie with Furbaby
Sleeping with Book Buddies

Aftermath of Mudpie Making 
Favorite Ragnar Photo
Finish Line
Hospital Time
Taking a Turn in the Hospital Bed 

Bedtime Story Reading
Checking out an old Firetruck at the Car Show
Hungry Pug
Chalk Flowers and Bees
Climbing a Tree

8.18.2013

This Weeks Eats 8.18.13

Ahh, back to normalcy and I'm so very glad to be menu planning - again.  I had hoped to have something to say about the food on Orcas Island; alas, our little vacation was great, but it was also quite the comedy of errors in regards to missed opportunities with meals and other things (I'll have the travelogue up soon-ish).  Let's just say that we're happy we planned to have the weekend to recover.  We did decide on forking over lots of cash to go on a whale watching tour, and that certainly did not disappoint!


I've got two new recipes on the menu for this week, hopefully those will not disappoint either - how's that for a segue? 
I'm linking up with Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers, be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

8.09.2013

Friday Things, Gone Fishin'

Well, metaphorically 'gone fishing.'  I'm doing another hiatus on the blog next week; although, this one has been planned for awhile.  We're doing a combination of staycation/small road trip vacation instead of hanging at Children's Hospital for a week!  I've got lots of great stuff from the internet for today to make up for it, and I can tell you at least one thing that will be on our weekly menu next week:


Portillos!

We're finally trying the Italian Beef kit!  The cooking instructions are a bit more intimidating than the hot dogs, which is why we've shied away.  But, we could put off our cravings no longer.

Lately, Friday Things might as well be called Oiselle things, but there's been so much great stuff goin' on!  Here's the latest blog post announcing all the new VolĂ©e Team members.  Check it!

OK, in case you missed these internet gems:

Fascinating and fun facts about one of the best tv shows ever: Friends, of course, from Buzzfeed

Speaking of tv, it's no secret that I'm a big Sons of Anarchy fan, and the fact they made a parody on Sesame Street cracks me up.



(Also, the Cookie Monster take on Icona Pop is pretty hilarious.) Since gun running biker gangs are fair game, perhaps the crazy life of a science teacher turned drug lord is next?  I'm hopeful that they'll give a nod to one of my other all time favorite TV shows, Breaking Bad.  Walter White and my boyfriend Jesse Pinkman are back THIS SUNDAY.  Thank the lord.



I get a lot of "oh, is your son so excited for Shark Week??" because of his shark obsession and, puhleez people, I'm not showing him most of it!  I've DVRed a few shows, but in my opinion, most of it is a bit much for a six year old.  This shark cat was fun for the whole family.




Stephen Colbert is also a favorite in this household, and his rendition of Get Lucky by Daft Punk is destined to be a classic Colbert Nation moment.  And Robin Thicke did his thing on the show after Daft Punk did not.  I'm not a huge fan of Blurred Lines, he totally loses me with "what rhymes with hug me?"  WHAT?  Seriously, what innuendo rhymes with hug me??  The 'F' word?? No. That does not rhyme.  BUT, Jimmy Fallon can do no wrong, and you've probably seen this - but, just in case...



My favorite is when he does this bit with Carly Rae Jepsen.

For this week, I'm adding Hey Now by Martin Solveig to the playlist - a repeat artist from last year's list.




Happy weekend and happy WEEK!


2013 Playlist
We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke
Take You Higher by Goodwill and Hook N Sling
Justice and Independence by John Mellencamp
Glowing by Nikki Williams
Easy  by Porter Robinson (and Matt Zo).
I Could be the One by Avicii featuring Nicky Romero
Pair of Dice by Tiesto
Ain't No Stoppin' by Ferry Corsten (featuring Ben Hague)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez
Apollo by Hardwell featuring Amba Shepherd
This Head I Hold by Electric Guest
Castles in the Sky by Ian Van Dahl
Feel this Moment by Pitbull, featuring Christina Aguilera
Into Your Arms by the Lemonheads
Just Give me a Reason by Pink
I Love It by Icona Pop
Little Secrets Passion Pit
Sovereign Light Cafe by Keane, remixed by Afrojack
Clarity by Zedd
Years by Alesso
Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
She Wolf by David Guetta, featuring Sia
Alive by Krewella
Illmerica by Wolfgang Garnter
Drowning by Armin van Buren
Give Me Your Hand by The Ready Set
Language by Porter Robinson
Cry for You by September
You Are My Diamond by Tiesto - featuring Kianna
Arguru - Deadmau5
We Are by Jus Jack & Oza, featuring Aeone