Sunday, October 26, 2014

Eats (& Exercise)

We love our bread machine!
 I stumbled across this blog recently and now it's one of my new favorites.  She just started a new link up for meal planning that I thought I'd try out.

I have been meal planning for several years.  I'm definitely not a foodie nor am I a fancy cook, but I enjoy having our meals (and just about everything else!) planned out for the week.  I almost never cook anything original but I do like to make notes in my cookbooks regarding how a recipe turned out.  I have a copy of my grandmother's Chinese cookbook, and I love reading her handwritten notes on some of the recipes.  It's really fun for me to see what she thought about different foods.

So, here is our meal plan for the week.  And just for fun, here is my exercise plan for the week, too!

Monday:  Italian sausage pasta bake + 4 stroller miles.

We have some leftover pasta sauce from the weekend that I need to use up.

Tuesday: Chicken soft tacos + short run + weights.

Wednesday: Leftover night + stroller sprints.
I always build a leftover night into our meal planning week!

Thursday: Grandma's Quiche from the Blanche Lake cookbook + rest day.
Haven't made this one yet!

Friday: Chicken & Dumplings Soup from The Crockpot Lady + short stroller run.
This will be our "Boo Soup" this year for Halloween.  We will probably take M to trick or treat just at our next door neighbor's house, and then come home and pass out candy to the big kids.  That's enough fun for us! 
One of my favorite, and most-used, cookbooks!
That's as far as I've gotten right now.  As for exercise, I'd like to get a long run in on Saturday, and maybe do some cross-training/weights on Sunday.  I usually plan out our meals from Wednesday to Wednesday, so that our weekends are covered and I can shop on Thursday.  I hate grocery shopping on the weekends.  It is definitely a luxury to have time to shop during the week!  I also need to grill up some chicken to toss in lunch salads for the week, yum!  There's no snow yet, so we are still grilling!

What are you planning for your week?  I hope you have a great week!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recent Library Finds

We found some really cute stories this month!  

 M sat through his first chapter book - Stuart Little.  That was his special book to read with Dad - I didn't read it with him, but he kept me posted on what happened.  Pretty interesting to hear his interpretations. ;)  I am so glad that he loves reading.

Here were some of our latest favorites:

Cloud Dance
Loved, loved, loved it.  Beautiful images and soothing text.  The back of the book talks about the different types of clouds too, so it encourages learning about nature too!  Double win!  I immediately added this one and the others in the series (Water Dance, Mountain Dance) to our Amazon wish list.

Applesauce Season

This was a cute little book with fun illustrations about a city family and their tradition of making applesauce together.  Very sweet, and kind of different in that the family is based in the city and they don't go out apple picking in the country.  
All the World

I think this was my favorite.  Rich illustrations that provide lots of things to look at, point out and discuss with your toddler.  The lyrical text made this a lovely story to read right before naptime and bed.  It just gave me a warm, cozy feeling to read this while snuggling my M.  He loved it too, and frequently pulled it off the shelf to read.  Another one that we will be adding to our permanent collection!

M also loved I am Cow, Hear Me Moo.  It was pretty cute, but not my favorite.  

Those are all the ones worth mentioning this month.  Did you find any awesome Autumn favorites?  I bought Wild Child and love, love, love it.  Now I have to add all of Lynn Plourde's seasonal ones to my collection!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Doing the Pumpkin Patch Thing

It isn't really fall if you don't take your kid(s) to a pumpkin patch, right?  Last year, we went to a little farm nearby.  This year, I sweet-talked my husband into taking us over to Greenbluff.  Then, during the week, M and I tagged along on a home-school field trip through I-DEA (Idaho Distance Education Academy) with some of our older, home-schooling friends. 

Greenbluff is a cooperative of farms north of Spokane, WA.  It's a pretty popular place in the fall - you can pick pumpkins and apples, (probably other stuff too!), picnic, check out the farm animals, etc..  There are several different farms, and they've all got something going on.

We started at Knapp's Farm.  We told M we were going to a farm, and he seemed very excited and like he was looking forward to seeing farm animals.

Well, bless his heart, the "punkin' chunkin"* gun was a little bit too scary for him.  Even though it wasn't very loud!  I think it was just the anticipation of the unknown. Poor little guy.

So, we spent most of our time there looking at the tractors (which he loved), having our picnic and pushing around a little toy car.  They had tons and tons of pumpkins, but M did not want to pick one, so we didn't.  We drove around the area and checked out the other farms, but by the middle of the day, it just seemed like a zoo for parking and too crowded for us.

 The area is  very pretty, with lots of gentleman farm-style homes and rolling hills up against the mountains.  Since M fell asleep in the car, we drove up to Mt. Spokane to check out their ski area.  There were lots of cyclists biking the road down from Mt. Spokane, and the foliage was beautiful, even though it was kind of foggy and rainy out by this time.  It looks like a nice place to hike, with some good views of maybe Spirit Lake or Twin Lakes?

In all, it was not a bad day for a little adventure in Washington.

Carver Farm is closer to CdA.  It doesn't have a scary cannon, and I don't think it has any farm animals either.  This time, M had a great time running around in the field, picking up the little pumpkins and walking through the corn maze.  Maybe he liked it more because his friends were there?   He got to bring home a mini pumpkin, 2 gourds, and 2 tiny pumpkins.  Apparently, on the weekend, they have free tractor rides too.  I KNOW M would love that!

So, we can cross the pumpkin patch off our list for the year! 
How sweet is this picture?  Love him!

*I just cannot bring myself to actually pronounce "pumpkin" like "punkin."  I guess I am a grammar snob after all.  But this is what people call it, so there you go.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#7QT: Our Ordinary Week

Bits and Pieces from Our Week:


Swim Class Selfie!

We started up swim lessons again this week!


Working on matching and fine motor skills on a rainy morning.


We tagged along on a field trip to the pumpkin patch with our older, homeschooling friends.  M enjoyed this trip a lot - he loved searching for his gourds and little pumpkins.  Now we have quite a collection!


I am slowly working my way through The Magic Years.  It is an older book; my aunt - a child psychologist - gave it to me and highly recommended it.  It takes me a while to get into it, but I do enjoy it.  More importantly, I am finding it relevant!  I'll post more of my thoughts on it when I finish it.


We have family coming to visit this weekend!  Cousins from Wisconsin will be rolling in, and we can't wait to show them around.  This will be their second visit to CdA.


We have had some fun stroller runs this week - including my new favorite "Stroller Sprint" workout.  My husband recommended this workout to start trying to increase my speed.  I do 8 reps of 30 secs of sprinting with a 1 minute recovery period.  I'm usually pooped by the 4th rep!  When I first started pushing M at a sprint, he said "Mommy, why so fast?"  Then, when we finished, I asked him if I was running fast, and he said no.  So, I guess it wasn't that impressive after all. ;)


We did an easy two miles around the neighborhood this morning.  First time it was cold enough for headgear for both of us.  Can you see all of the other random things that rode along in the stroller with us?

Have a great weekend!  For more Quick Takes, check out Jen at Conversion Diary here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Suburban Bike Safety

One of the things I love the most about our small town is its bike-friendliness.  We can bike from "the suburbs" to downtown, and even to the Washington state line (and from there into Spokane - I've also noticed a bike lane at the airport!) all on paved biking trails that are separate from the road.

Biker Gang of 2
Our town seems like a bike-friendly community, and there are efforts to increase awareness of bikes on the roads (like this group) and to encourage bike usage.

I try to designate a few days each week as my "car-free" days - so long as its not too icy or snowy out.  When I'm biking, I am nearly always pulling my toddler in our bike trailer, and thankfully, he loves to ride along and see the world this way.  I love the extra exercise, time outside and time away from my car.  It is a win-win-win!
No selfies while biking.
Recently, we tried something new and biked to a different library than the one we usually frequent.  This required us to cross a 4 lane divided highway, that is basically the main thoroughfare running north out of town.  It has sidewalks and crosswalks and crossing signs.  We obeyed them all as we crossed, but the timing of the signs required us to hang out on the sidewalk in the median for about 5 minutes, waiting to cross the second half of the street, before we could get back on the north/south bike path.

Biking the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes - no cars to worry about!
The median was just barely wide enough to fit both my bike and trailer without either part hanging out into the busy traffic.  I kept watching all of the traffic.  But I have seen one accident at this same intersection where one of the vehicles spun out of control towards the sidewalk. 

Recalling this accident made me second-guess my decision to bike this way.  Had an accident occurred while we were waiting in the median, we would have been lame ducks, unable to move out of the way quickly enough.

So....I'm probably not going to bike to this library again.  As much as I enjoyed it, it is not worth the risk.  My husband and I were talking about it, and it would be so awesome if there was a bike overpass (or tunnel?) at this intersection.  There are literally hundreds of homes located on the west side of the highway, but the north/south bike path is on the east side of the road.  So is the Farmer's Market.  So, you really can't access the bike path without crossing the big highway.

Making roadways safer is good for drivers and bikers, and might encourage more folks to bike around town.  I hope there are continued efforts to improve bikeability in CDA!   

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday at Tubbs

Happy Monday, Friends!

Our music class* was canceled this morning, so I took this big boy for a 4 mile stroller run down by the lake. 

In his mind, I'm sure this was the most exciting stroller run ever because we saw: (1) a working excavator, (2) a working dump truck, and (3) a police motorcycle pulling over a big truck (he even remarked that the truck looked "just like Daddy's" but thankfully it wasn't his!). 

Then we went to the playground where he played for 10 minutes before running over to Tubbs Hill because he wanted to find a trail and go hiking.  So, that's what we did.  I asked him if he would please help me climb up this rock, and you know what he said? "Of course!!"  He is so sweet.  It was a wonderful morning to be outside together.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

We do the Music Together program.  Are you familiar with it?  I think it's fantastic - M loves it!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nature Walk/Back to English Point

We hiked a new-to-us trail at English Point this weekend.

 Three miles was a long way for our little runner.
 But I think you can tell he loved it!

Have a wonderful week, friends.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Angel Week!

Happy Friday, Friends!

This was a busy week in the Liturgical Year with lots of feasts on the Calendar.  My husband and I both converted to Catholicism from Protestant denominations, so celebrating these feasts is new to us* and we are in the process of figuring out what works for our little family.  I'm enjoying discovering the histories of these feasts, and also how they are celebrated differently in different cultures and countries.

*we did celebrate St. Lucia Day on occasion, since my family is Swedish!

Here's what we did this week:

Feast of the Archangels!  Also known as Michaelmas, of course.  This one is special to us for lots of reasons, including that we were married in a little church named for Saint Michael.  Saint Michael is also the patron saint of the military, and my hubs did a few years serving our beautiful America, and my brother and brother-in-law continue to serve.

I intended to make devil's food cupcakes with M and use those little cocktail swords so we could stab the devil, but I couldn't find the cocktail swords.  Lesson learned to look early next year, or stock up!  This was definitely not an original idea by me, but something I've seen on other websites/blogs.  We had the best time making the cupcakes, M even cracked 1 of the eggs for me.  He loved it, and I loved doing it with him.  The kitchen was a disaster mess, but we had so much fun!

We prayed St. Michael's Prayer at dinner, and I tried to talk with M about the Archangels, but it was mostly over his head. =)  He did like the cupcakes though!

The lawyer in me also thought it was interesting to learn that Michaelmas marks the beginning of a legal term in the UK, and the Idahoan in me was surprised to learn that it is considered the beginning of hunting season and is a harvest feast day. (source)

The Feast of St. Therese of Liseaux was celebrated on Wednesday.  We continued to feast on our frosted cupcakes.  I watched this interesting video.  This part stood out to me the most: "In every moment, what is the demand of love?"  The answer to that question, then, guides how we should act.  I'm encouraged to reflect on this daily, and throughout my day.

A is for Angel.  We are very, very slowly working on letter recognition with M.  We are reading The Gift of an Angel and coloring pictures of angels.
Probably time to get some more printer ink?

The Feast of the Guardian Angels.  Last spring, my prayer group spent one session talking about guardian angels.  It was fascinating.  I honestly hadn't ever really thought about them before, other than just in passing, so it was pretty interesting to hear other perspectives.  One point that someone raised and was very memorable to me was that our guardian angels love to be close to God, and so we are encouraged to attend Adoration as frequently as we can.  I never thought of it that way, because I was never really thinking about having a personal guardian angel.

We baked an Angel Food Cake for dessert on Thursday.  After our baking chaos earlier in the week, I didn't get too carried away, it was the "just add water" kind.  Turns out, I don't love Angel Food Cake.  And D pointed out that we enunciate it completely differently.  Who knew?!  #southerner 

An interesting read about Angels here.  H/T to the ladies hereThis was also very helpful to read!  Same group of ladies, fun fact - some of them were my suite-mates in college. =)

Whew!  That was a lot of dessert for one week for us.  Good thing I had some good workouts too - 2 stroller runs and a killer strength class.  My glutes are still crying from the squats.  Hoping to also get a swim in and some weekend runs.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Any good ideas for celebrating with a two year old?  Please share!

Check out for more quick takes!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter


This is just a short quick post to mention this wonderful novel that I recently read: Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter.

I loved it.  It was just so much fun to read, I got completely sucked in by the character development and plot.  I like to alternate between reading fiction and non-fiction, and this book was great to fill up my fiction tank.  And did you know that reading fiction is good for you?

Interestingly enough, the author will be speaking in Coeur d'Alene tonight at a dinner sponsored by the Idaho Humanities Council.  The event is sold out but if you are going, please let me know what you think!

As my son would say, "Super readers, to the rescue!!"