This Weeks Eats 12.21.14

Ahhhh!  Our Christmas wish came true: 

An assortment of Lou's arrived this week.  Looks like Monday night pizza will be easy breezy for awhile.  Thanks mom.  She must've got the hint from my holiday wishlist!  I could do with some easy breezy.  I feel like we already had our sick week for the year in our house, but we got a bonus one this week.  Bleh.  I just realized that I haven't written anything since my last menu post.  It's made us push a lot of stuff back.  A blog hiatus seems in order...  Crazy how it seems like there's plenty of time until the 25th and then it's upon us all of a sudden.
  • Monday - Pizza!!!!
  • Tuesday - Satay Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice (moved back from last week since we did takeout when we were feeling too sick to cook.  Bleh.)
  • Wednesday - Christmas Eve!  Appetizers (including Salami Stacks) and Wine while watching Love Actually night!
  • Thursday - Christmas!  Braciole with Roasted Potatoes (a yearly favorite from Giada)
  • Friday - Greek Turkey Meatball Salad (great recipe from The Perfect Pantry)
  • Saturday - Penne with Vodka Sauce (an old Rachael Ray recipe)
  • Sunday - Chicken Taco Bowls (I just cook chicken in the crock pot with some salsa, shred it and put it over brown rice and black beans with tex-mex fixins)
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.

The holiday blog hiatus starts now, see you in the new year and happy holidays!

HAI.  Happy Holidayz.


This Weeks Eats 12.14.14 (and Baking Lately)

I just posted this to Instagram, but it bears repeating.  Those Linzer Muffins I tried the week of Thanksgiving turned out AWESOME.  I really had to restrain myself from devouring a dozen in just a day or two.  Doubling the recipe was definitely called for the next time around and I decided to sub in half whole wheat/half all purpose for the flour (still using the almond flour required) and they're just as tasty.  And really, who doesn't love a little surprise inside their baked goods?

I'm also in the midst of making bark for gifts and I tried this Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark I found on Pinterest, from Mama Say What.  It's very rich, but very good! 

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!


Year of Running 2014

I'm so glad that Miss Zippy is doing this link up again!  It's a fun way to reflect on the year in running.  Here's last year's, and here goes for this year:

Best race experience? 
I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the Seattle Rock n' Roll half marathon.  It SO COOL to do the whole VIP thing and meet Apolo Ohno, as well as have a yummy brunch with lovely local peeps afterward.  

But even without all of that, I really enjoyed the course, it was really well organized and fun.  I ran it less than a month after my worst half with the goal of just enjoying myself.  Which I totally did and even went a bit faster.  

Best run? 
My second leg of Ragnar, the night leg over Deception Pass Bridge.  NO QUESTION.  
The new fancy Ragnar lights for the bridge were awesome.  But also I loved my long downhill coast through the woods on my way to the bridge, while the cars lit the majestic trees.  And Ragnar just makes me happy!
Best new piece of gear?  
I think this was the year of good footwear!  I did a lot of running in Brooks Pure Cadence in 2013, and I don't think they did me any favors.  I love the way they feel and look, but they just weren't right for me.  I went back to the Adrenalines and they felt so clunky.  So I tried the Ravennas and looooooove them!
I'm already on my second pair and am feeling really good running in them.

Best piece of running advice you received? 
Ah, will it always be Lauren Fleshman giving the good advice?  But she gives the BEST and most inspirational advice!  During our retreat in Bend, she talked a lot about goals and making sure that they have meaning to us and not be about external influences/expectations.
Since I've been THISCLOSE to a sub 2 hour half marathon, it's just something that's stuck in my head and seems to be an obvious goal.  But, really, is it something that is meaningful to me?  I'm not so sure.  I kind of love my run streak goal, it just feels like me.  I love the daily check-in with my body and having this challenge to keep me on task.  I DO still want to get faster, and did get at least one PR this year.  I've even signed up for the race where I set my current half PR.  But I really like the idea of continuing the run streak, obviously, and to work on speed for shorter distances.

Most inspirational runner?
Argh, this question is always so tough!  I must say that I'll never forget hanging out at a bar in the early hours of the day screaming at Meb as he won the Boston Marathon.  That was really amazing to watch.  I also really enjoyed watching Deena Kastor set the world masters record for the half marathon.  I loved listening to her on the Another Mother Runner podcast.  She just seems really down to earth and infectious with her love of the sport.  And, as always, all my running friends and teammates who inspire me daily.  Which, come to think of it...

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?  
I can do just one word: Inspired.  Our Bird Camp retreat to Bend was a big part of the year and you just cannot help but be inspired by so many women from all walks of life coming together and encouraging one another.  It was really something special and I can't wait for next year!  I also feel like I'm starting to get back some of the speed I had back in 2012 and I just feel healthier.  Running every day has made me inspired to run that much more.  


Books I Read in November 2014


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This was a predictably fun read, very much like Bossypants.  Not quite as funny, or at least the same brand of humor as Tina Fey, but maybe I should also listen to the audiobook.  It's always fun to read a memoir of someone who's life mirrors your own in many ways.  Being a 40 year old mother of two, I identified with all of her fun pop culture references of the 70s onward to what it's like with two little ones stealing your heart.  I also love how it reads like a self-help book - stating the obvious stuff mostly, like Daring Greatly, but in a MUCH more entertaining manner.  


The Dinner by Herman Koch

WHOA.  I had heard this novel compared to Gone Girl on several occasions and as I was about a third of the way into this book, I could see why.  The shift in perception of the characters happens much more subtly, over time, in this book.  But, it's still fraught with tension on every single page that you have to keep turning.  This would be a helluva book club book - lots to dissect about right and wrong and 'what would you do in this horrible situation?' kind of discussions.  


The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

I was intrigued by the premise of this book after reading this Bookriot post on books set in the afterlife.  There was a lot of good stuff in there - beautiful ideas about what might be in store for us in the afterlife, commentary on our potential future as a consumer driven society, and about the importance of connections we make with others.  I furiously turned the pages until the very end, it was a quick read, but leaves you hanging.  Though, I was happy to draw my own conclusions in some ways, I would have liked a little more closure in others. 


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This was an equal parts hilarious and yet disturbing read, which is quite the feat to pull off!  Though I thought one of the big reveals at the end was predictable (even when Moriarty tries to throw you off), the question of who dies at the school fundraiser and how it happened was certainly shrouded in mystery. Yes, the book kicks off with and revolves around a sort of 'whodunnit' theme.  I furiously turned the pages in the last quarter of the book.  As a mom of young kids, I really identified with each of the characters in different ways and it made for a more relatable story.  Although, I'm hoping that people who DON'T have kids realize that it's a SATIRE in much the same way as Where'd You Go Bernadette.  


This Week's Eats 12.7.14

It's been such a lovely weekend of family time, I've barely had time to pull my grocery list together we've been too busy enjoying each other's company.  

We've been doing lots of Christmas light viewing!  So a quick check in to post the weekly menu and back to couch sitting and snuggling.  I'm feeling a little slow today after date night at Daniel's last night...
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!


December Goals (and November Check In)

Recap on November Goals

Post every day on the blog for national blog posting month (NaBloPoMo).  
Really pleased with this goal met.

Keep up with the run streak.
Still goin' - 192 days and counting.

Try some new classes while I'm not training for a race.  
I tried Barre3 and Flywheel

Go to the chiropractor.  
Fail. With sickness sweeping through our house and the holiday, I just didn't get it in.  Maybe this month...

Get shopping and prepped for Thanksgiving.
Ah, t'was a lovely turkey day.

December Goals

On one hand, I want to reeeeelax in December.  It's my favorite month of the year, kicking off with a visit from Grandma (and this year BOTH Grandmas!).  The homework has eased up - we have a family traditions project to work on throughout the month, rather than the usual reading/spelling packets, which is WAY more fun.  And soon, there will be two weeks off of school!  Normally I am a fan of school.  But around the holidays, we have enough fun stuff going on to keep us busy.  I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune by January 1st...  Anyway!  As much as I want to kick back, there's always a list of stuff to get done in December.

  • Set up and decorate the tree.  Done!  (Sometimes you've gotta put something on your list, just so you can cross it off.)
  • Hang the outdoor lights.
  • Get all the Christmas shopping done.  I'm not too worried about this as it's early yet, and we have Amazon prime.
  • Send out holiday cards.  I'm feeling pretty accomplished already, since we've taken our annual family pic and the cards have been ordered.
  • Make and deliver gifts for teachers.  I usually make bark and include gift cards in a coffee mug or some such reusable container.
  • Make an appointment to see the eye doc first thing in January and maybe squeeze in a visit to my chiro. My contacts are almost gone and I'm waiting until January, when those flex spending dollars kick in, to renew my prescription.
  • Decide on Christmas day menu and get shopping.
  • Keep up with ye olde run streak!


This Weeks Eats 11.30.14

Ah, last post of NaBloPoMo!  We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner and weekend.  So lovely, in fact, I just now realized that I took zero pictures of our table or food.  We were way too busy eating.  So, now we're on to leftovers.  Although, the only leftover that lasts more than a day in our house is the turkey.  The stuffing and potatoes don't even hang around for a full 24 hours.  But that's okay, I love making Turkey Cranberry Salad Sandwiches...

Now we kick things up into high gear this week, starting with my husband's birthday and going right through until Christmas.  I shall set my scale back 10 pounds, as they say.  
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!


Things I Learned During NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Part of me is ASTOUNDED that I wrote something every single day in November.  Well, I will have by tomorrow, as This Weeks Eats is pretty much written.  Yet, another part of me has realized that I make time for stuff I love to do.  Running, reading, cooking - all stuff I make time for every day.  One of my favorite classes in high school, and one that I got consistent A's in, was rhetoric.  So, yeah, I enjoy writing.  

One thing I learned was that if you have the time and the inclination, and the words are flowing, write a BUNCH of posts.  I think there have been nights when I've banged out up to three in one sitting.  Then I'll just go re-read and tweak them the day I publish.  This is basic blogging for dummies.  But, it's come in handy for someone who only writes two to three times a week.  I find it similar to when I get a bug to clean and then end up cleaning the whole house when I meant to do one bathroom.

And if I didn't have the inclination, I just gave myself a set time to write - even a few minutes.  Some nights I'd sit with a topic, look at the clock and say, "OK.  Write for the next fifteen minutes and then you can shut it down."  More often than not, I'd get in a groove and be able to finish what I started and go beyond that fifteen minutes.  Much like exercise - just get out the door and give it fifteen minutes and usually you want to keep going.

I also learned that even the weirdest of topics can be expounded upon and resonate with others.  I mean, who would've thought a post about LAUNDRY would spark conversation?  But it did!  Maybe in the future, I'll try to post a little more and just run with it even if it seems like a small or random topic.  (Not for awhile, though - I'm gonna take a little breather in December!)

Hopefully it wasn't all total filler.  I did have the opportunity to try Class Pass and a few new workouts to talk about, which was timely.  And it was cool to utilize a few fun prompts, which definitely got some writing cobwebs out of my brain and some entertaining interaction with my family and friends.  That right there is the best part of blogging, the connections I make with family and friends, new and old.

Thanks for putting up with me over the last month!


A Post Thanksgiving Friday Things

I thought it would be fun to resurrect my old 'Friday Things' post with cool stuff I've found around the internet.  Lots of good food for thought here, if you're still full like I am from real food.

This speech given by Monica Lewinsky is just phenomenal.  Truly.  It's long as far as videos go.  But I urge everyone to watch it in it's entirety.  SHE IS AN INSPIRATION.  Yes.  The FAQ below the video is a good primer, I love #7.

THIS: Why I want to delete half my Facebook friends during a national crisis. I'm really trying to be informed on both sides of the Ferguson crisis (and it IS a crisis), but man, everyone makes that hard to do. 

But I suppose we can thank Facebook for Benjamin Watson's words that seem to be the most true and heartfelt I've seen since the indictment.

This video on common core math quickly sums up why it's not a bad thing.  It's a wonderful thing!  I'm still on the fence with my feelings towards common core, having some reservations about our kids being the guinea pigs while it's being implemented and tested.  But, on the whole, it seems like a good thing.

This video on things that kids do that adults can't do made my week.  I can very much relate to the "I wanted the BLUE cup" and "Just look, looooook at it!"

Catching Kayla has probably been viewed by most every runner I know.  So, if you aren't a runner (or haven't seen it yet), this story about a super fast high school track runner with MS is a such an inspiration.

What food banks need most.  A friend shared this on Facebook and it's a handy list for the many ways to donate this time of year.  I also love how our local Safeway has prepared bags for $10 you can just throw on the register when you checkout.

photo via abcnews.com
I leave you with this, a dog dressed as a bear on a treadmill.  You're welcome.



As we're nearing the end of NaBloPoMo, it seems a no-brainer to do a post on things I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving.  More than anything, I'm so grateful for the current state of my mom's health and that she was able to visit us at long last for the most fitting holiday.

Yes, all visitors must learn about Minecraft.
Other things I'm thankful for, off the top of my head, in no particular order...

I'm thankful for my health - in the broader sense, for sure.  But, I'm just so glad I'm over whatever virus I had the other week.

I'm thankful for the break from homework, and sleeping in.

I'm thankful for my fitness - I feel like my running has been on a nice upswing lately and I'm so grateful to be injury free.

I'm so thankful for my weekly play date swaps with my daughter's best bud, giving me a few extra hours of time to myself once a week.

I'm thankful for food on our table, especially our traditional foods and yummy stuff from Trader Joe's.

I'm thankful to live in a place that I love.  
Yes, I talk about and miss Chicago a lot.  But there's a reason we've lived in Seattle for more than ten years.
I'm thankful for my favorite stretchy corduroy pants and cozy sweatshirts for lounging and eating all. the. things.

I'm thankful for wine.

I'm thankful for yoga!

I'm thankful for leftovers.

I'm thankful for friends near and far.

I'm thankful for my husband and my crazy punks.  

Happy Thanksgiving!


Crosstraining with Barre3

After getting out of my comfort zone to try Flywheel, I was excited to use my month of Class Pass to try out Barre3.  So, here's my rundown on the experience.

First off, I thought going on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving might be a bit quiet.  I was wrong.  This place is BUZZING with activity and every. single. spot. in the class was being utilized!  There were a handful of other newbies, so I'm thinking that people might have brought family or friends along who were on vacation for the holiday.  At the location nearest to me, they also offer childcare in the lobby area that has a few toys and a play kitchen.  So there was also the craziness of kids and moms getting situated.  It's great that they offer it, but my kids are a bit too old, I think.

Once I checked in and signed the waiver, they instructed me to grab a ball, small hand weights, a strap and to choose a space between two brackets along the barre.  And like I said, after I chose my spot, the class filled up quickly.  

from the Barre3 website
We got started right on time with some dynamic stretching and into an arm workout at the barre.  We moved on to a series squats, planks, a long series of 'donkey-kick' exercises, some more arm work, finishing up with ab work.  Everything was easy to follow as none of the instruction is in any weird terminology like an all Sanskrit yoga class.  Also, there were a couple of other instructors taking the class along with us to refer to during the workout.  Additionally, Barre3 has a Youtube channel where you can check out the workouts, and even do them on your own. Per the website, here's how they move through each of these exercises:

Our signature 3-step sequence delivers a balanced, total-body workout that you can do anytime, anywhere. All movements are low-impact and designed to burn fat, build muscle and break through plateaus.

1. Isometric holds work your muscles to their deepest point and increase strength and endurance. Holding still strengthens your muscles continuously; it also gives you time to make sure your alignment and posture are perfect before you move.

2. Next, we add controlled 1-inch movements. These create just enough relief in the muscles to maintain the integrity of the hold for maximum benefit. By layering on one inch, you heat the body, increase your core strength, and rev your metabolism.

3. After completely taxing the muscles, we flush out the body with functional, large, dynamic moves. This cardio blast lifts the heart rate, improves circulation, and energizes the body.

My body was definitely shaking during some of these moves, and I'm already feeling that donkey-kick series on my glutes.  Tomorrow's DOMS should be interesting...

All in all, it was a good workout, but there are a lot of things that we do in my bootcamp class that are similar.  And, well, bootcamp includes way more cardio and is included in my monthly Y membership.  Additionally, the Y offers a ballet barre class, as well as a yoga pilates class.  HOWEVER, if I didn't already have a gym I love, I'd definitely recommend it for a way to get some strength training in and switch up your routine!


A Trip to Trader Joe's for Thanksgiving

I just realized that it's about time for my yearly Trader Joe's picks.  (Here's 2012 and 2013.)  Although, since much of what I get remains the same, I thought it'd be fun to share a bit of what I picked up on my pre-Thanksgiving shopping trip!

  • Candy Cane Joe Joe's - These are irresistible.  Did you know they make an ice cream?  And, as in previous years, the dark chocolate covered ones are a MUST at this time of year.
  • Walnut Baking Pieces - I pretty much have these on hand all the time, but they come in extra handy for all the holiday baking - like Cranberry Orange Bread.
  • Cranberry Sauce - giving TJ's a go, since I'm trying to save time this year and stove space.
  • Salted Caramel Gelato - I'm thinking this will be good with pumpkin pie - or aaaaaanytime.

  • Turkey Gravy - When making a fresh turkey breast, you just don't get the drippings that you would when cooking a whole turkey.  I usually add what little bit of fat is rendered to the pre-made stuff.
  • Canned Pumpkin - For more Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Muffins and of course Bridesmaid Pumpkin Soup.
  • Broth - I buy my boxes of broth from TJ's year 'round, and we need lots for our turkey brine and stuffing.
  • Sweet and Spicy Pecans - These are the BEST THINGS EVER, especially for holiday salads or snacking.  

  • Chestnuts - You would think this are easy to find during the holidays.  You would be wrong!  Before our local TJ's opened, we'd start scouring different stores for cooked and peeled chestnuts as soon as November 1st.  Now I can count on finding them easily every year.
  • Dark Chocolate Stars - These chocolate covered shortbread cookies are just as much of a holiday staple as the Joe Joe's - simple and delicious.
  • Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Pita Crisps - A little on the sweet side, but great with savory cheese spreads and dips.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies - This was a total impulse buy and O.M.G.  I have hidden them from my children and have one with my afternoon coffee.  They are just insanely good - hazelnut spread sandwiched between two hazelnut shortbread cookies.  Yeah, my house is overflowing with cookies...


Discovering the Right Yoga for Me

Given that I did a post on Flywheel, I thought it only seemed right to designate some internet space for how much I love my yoga studio's hot hatha class!  

my studio and trusty striped mat that stands out in a crowd
My take on yoga over the years has been lukewarm, at best.  I used to try and do videos from time to time in my 20s, to get some 'zen' and maybe some strength work.  Alas, I found it frustrating and BORING.  Plus, I feel like I need to sweat in order to get my endorphins.  I slowly came around to liking yoga a couple years ago when I was introduced to Jasyoga.  Their yoga for runners is not sweat-inducing, but very much 'zen' and not boring yoga.  I always feel like I'm floating on a cloud after a nice and calm stretching session.  They are all about ease and bringing it into every facet of your life.  
first Jasyoga class almost two years ago!
Since it's kinda hard to get to Seattle for Jasyoga sessions, and I found that the traffic negated my cloud-floaty feeling, I started seeking out some yoga in my neck of the woods.  One of my mom friends (who's daughter is my daughter's best bud) had eventually left the Y for a monthly membership at a local hot yoga studio and could not stop singing it's praises.  I was dubious, as there's no way I'd ever leave the Y, but was intrigued enough to seek out the ubiquitous Groupon 10 pass class.  Seriously, I think every yoga studio has a standing deal for new members on Groupon.  Always look into that first before trying a new studio!

I went with her to a warm Vinyasa class and it was a good workout, but I didn't feel that 'ease' afterwards.  I felt like I was at a fast-paced dance class and has zero clue about the moves.  Luckily, the instructors are fantastic at the studio and the teacher that day is almost a legend around these parts (Brian!) and helped me through each pose.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't LOVE it.  

I then did a complete 180 and tried the 'yin' yoga class that's offered, which is all about stretching and relaxation - yay!  But, sitting in some of the stretching poses for several minutes felt like an eternity and I got antsy.  Holding a pose for nearly five minutes doesn't sound like a long time, especially if it's just a nice easy stretch like pigeon pose, but no. Just not for me.

Finally, I tried a straight up Hatha class.  Which I think I avoided because it's the type of yoga I tried to do when I was younger and didn't like at the time, but I LOVE it now.  Maybe it's the hot class, and those sweaty endorphins, and the fact that I appreciate what it brings to my fitness.  It's just the right ratio of strength, stretching and relaxation.  The poses are challenging, but easy to follow and modify if necessary.  I really feel that all of the poses, mainly incorporating balance and core, make my back less achy and help my running form - hopefully keeping me free from injury.  

I encourage everyone to give yoga a try - each type of class to see what floats your boat.  Never in a million years did I think I'd start doing yoga regularly, but it's been almost a year now and I've moved on from the Groupon and thrown down for 10 class punch cards.  At the very least, I go about every other week, now that I'm not feeling any running niggles.   Also, they hand out cool, damp, lavender scented towels at the end of class and it's THE BEST THING EVER.  I definitely feel like I'm walking on a cloud when I leave.  


This Week's Eats 11.23.14 Thanksgiving Time!

Writing up the menu every year for Thanksgiving is pretty easy for me now, I just cut and paste from previous years!  I don't have much new to add this year, although I might try and make these Linzer Muffins I saw in the most recent Cooking Light issue for a weekend treat, along with our Cranberry Orange Bread.  I just love hitting the store this time of year, with all the end caps filled with yummy, festive and traditional foods.  The Ferrero Rocher boxes and cases of sparkling cider are things I NEVER buy.  But it makes me happy to see them, ya know? 

A nearly $150 trip and I was still able to use what I like to call the 'single lady' cart: as in, I am a free and breezy lady, shopping without kids!

roast turkey breast (we buy a 5lb breast and have used Alton Brown's brine recipe for about the last six years - DELICIOUS) 
classing New England style stuffing with sausage and chestnuts, I also add granny smith apples to this recipe we've been using from Cooking Light for about ten years 
hash brown potato casserole - this Cooking Light version has also been a staple of ours for many years 
crescent rolls - trying my aunt's recipe this year, wish me luck - I HATE cooking with yeast...
mixed greens salad I use the bones of this recipe, omitting chicken/bacon and add Trader Joes spicy/sweet pecans and apples
cranberry sauce - bought jarred stuff from Trader Joes this year
pumpkin pie - I just pick one up from the store as the kids are really the ones who eat it and they're not very particular about their pie
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!


Riff on a Deserted Island Theme

Okay, writing on a Saturday is HARD.  Plus I spent a good deal of my free time going out for a run since I've been feeling better.  So!  I'm pulling up one of Miss Zoot's easy peasy blog prompts from last week:

Someone's paying you to move into one of those tiny house everyone is talking about. If you can survive a whole year in that house with just the things on this list, you get a bajillion dollars. Tell us how you fill in this List Of Things You Can Take With You:

5 books: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (so awesome and LONG) The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet (do you see a theme here?  Long? Yes. Awesome? Yes.) Harry Potter Anthology by J.K. Rowling (I'm making a ruling that one day there will be a Norton Anthology of Harry) A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (meets criteria) and something brand new and notable - maybe something by Rainbow Rowell, Jojo Moyes or John Green.

3 outfits: A Little Day Dress and my Zella Leggings
so comfortable and easy!
Oiselle Long Rogas and a Winona/Gwen Tank (a running outfit), and um, really that's all I'd need.  But I suppose I'd add my pair of Gap moto khakis, that are great all year 'round, and a simple black top.

You have a fridge/stove/oven - but you can only take 1 counter-top appliance.
a microwave, that's easy!

1 DVD collection of a TV show (your budget doesn't allow for Netflix)
ahhhh! so HARD. I think I'd go with Friends, but Battlestar Galactica would be a close 2nd

1 childhood artifact
I don't even have a childhood artifact on me NOW.  So, a photo album? Or yearbook?

They will give you ONE subscription to a magazine - what is it?
Hmmm, this is tough...  I think I'll go with Self, since it has a little bit of everything.


What the Kids Are Reading Lately

It's been quite awhile since I did one of these posts, so here's some great stuff the kids have enjoyed reading lately!

Hits for the four year old:

That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems - we never go wrong with his books and this little twist on a Red Riding Hood theme is hilarious.
Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman - yep, that Neil Gaiman.  Chu has a special talent and following along on his day is filled with suspense and humor.
Good-Night, Owl by Pat Hutchins - super cute story of an owl who just wants to get some sleep.
Zorro Gets and Outfit by Carter Goodrich - ohhh my gosh we are ALL loving this discovery of a book about a pug named Zorro!  In this installment, Zorro gets an embarrassing outfit, but learns that being different can be a good thing.

What the seven year old is enjoying, in addition to mind-numbing books about Minecraft:

The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary - oh, I'm so glad we've started reading Cleary books!  
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne - the Dinosaurs Before Dark is great, or really any that happen to strike his fancy at the library.
Stink Solar System Superhero by Peter H. Reynolds - Stink, who happens to be Judy Moody's brother, never fails to make my kid laugh.
Dinosaur Cove by Rex Stone - time travel, adventure, excitement and stories about dinosaurs - what's not to like?


A Day in the Life (With One Photo an Hour)

It really worked out well that Miss Zoot's daily prompt for NaBloPoMo was about routines, since I had planned a 'photo an hour/day in the life' kind of post for today.  Our weekday routine is pretty consistent, and it's all about... 

  • getting the big kid to school (and the little one to preschool three days a week)
  • going to exercise on my own or at the Y
  • showering and lunch
  • some type of activity for the little one (soccer, swimming, playdate, etc. - she has something planned for every day but Tuesday, when we go to the library or just laze about) 
  • some quiet time before the big one gets home and a little bit afterward, so he can decompress before...
  • the dreaded homework hour, which I have whittled down to two nights a week, so it's not too terrible
  • dinnertime
  • a TV show for each kid 
  • bedtime routine
  • mom and dad relax time

The weekends involve much more sleeping, TV and much less homework!  Saturdays are my favorite days because for one, that's my sleep in day (my husband gets Sundays).  We take about an hour to clean the downstairs after lunch, errands, whatever.  I know, cleaning isn't fun, but a clean house is!  And we have our weekly date night dinner (in our nice clean house) after the kids go to bed.  Afterward, we make cocktails and watch new or old favorite movies.  Saturdays are like a carrot dangling at the end of every week.  

So, here's a typical-ish weekday in pictures!

7AM hour: everyone gets up, dressed, I make breakfasts and my son's lunch.
8AM hour: get everything packed up for the day: school stuff, running/gym stuff and head out the door and get kids to school.
9AM hour: exercise and shower.  Normally if I go to the Y, it's more like a two hour outing.  But, on this day, it was a 'rest' day so I just did my mile to keep the streak going.  Every other Wednesday, though, I try to go to yoga.
10AM hour: if I didn't exercise for more than an hour, time to run errands.
11AM hour: Since I didn't do yoga, I had time for a Starbucks outing on this day!
12PM hour: get the littlest, and on this day her buddy for a playdate, from preschool.  Also, instead of going straight home for lunch, I took advantage of the weather and took them to the park to play.
1PM hour: lunchtime and some time spent in my least favorite spot of the kitchen while the kids play, cleaning up after the morning and afternoon mess.  Sometimes I'll do dinner prep during this time, too - especially if it's a crock pot meal.
2PM hour: more playtime for the girls and it's time to get big brother for some of his downtime, as it's early release day.
3PM hour: homework wasn't too bad, just a few writing exercises and alphabetizing words.  As I said before, I whittle the homework down to two nights a week.  He does his daily math sheets while on the bus home, so that takes a load off.  I give him a pass on the weekly 'word work' packet he gets on Monday and we split the rest between Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving Thursday for another day off or for anything we missed.  He doesn't get to play Minecraft until he's done his work, so he's usually pretty motivated.  
4PM hour: on this day I'm packing both kids up for swim lessons.
5PM hour: the dreaded showering and changing of two kids in a very small shower space after lessons, stuffing them in the car and braving rush hour traffic to get home.
6PM hour: dinner time.  My husband finished everything up while we were out, yay!
7PM hour: each kiddo picks a Netflix show to watch before bed (they're really into Wildkrats right now) and my husband and I take turns taking them upstairs to do the nightly routine, books, etc.
8PM hour: adult TV time!  
9PM hour: more couch time, usually writing and reading with this little nugget.
And we head off to bed at 10PM, maybe 10:15 if we want to watch a bit of the news.  Exciting life we lead, eh?  I wouldn't trade it for the world.