Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 Goals, weeks 12 & 13

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 4/1/17 

Running: 300 miles: To date: 62.9 miles  So, six weeks till the 1/2 marathon. And I'm only up to 6 miles.  Hm.
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 48.44 miles 
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 7.96 miles (only once in two weeks).
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 51.99 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 368 minutes - nothing in 2 weeks eek!

Starting to stress about the half marathon.  Especially since they've changed it since I last did it. Now they are "nickel and diming you".  Like, you have to drive up (45 min or so) to pick up your race packet the day before.  If you want to pick it up here in my own town, it's $10.  (used to be free).  If you want to pick it up the morning of the race, it's $15.

So, just to kind of screw them, I was going to go with the "free" option. Except it will cost $10 in gas ($9.60 actually), even in my tiny car.  However, if I carpooled, or got several other people's packets at the same time, it would pay for itself.  Anyway.  I have time to decide.  But I won't be doing this race again.

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$96.77 & $83.69.  My produce box was missing something this week too.  Hopefully I'll get a  credit.  $1735.95 so far, or $133.53/ week.  This was a BIG week post vacation.  And party.

3.  Weight: I have no idea.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: Well, we went on 3 family hikes on our trip last week.  They were very short. About 3/4 mile each, took an hour (you know, 4 year old pace, with snowball fights).
Do game night once a week: Not much of this.

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket - less than 30 days to go

- crochet a purse: nothing
- participate in my quilting group's exchange: I cut a bunch of blocks.  We are all making 20 half square triangle blocks for each other.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  I did make two pink "pussy cat hats".  One to donate to the Yarn Bomber.  One for a friend.

6.  Sleep: Been a pretty good week, though vacation - not so much.  Got kicked out of bed by the 4 year old.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7. I'm making a lot of things over and over again.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.  REALLY need to.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.  But he did just come by this weekend (again) because our neighbor's backed up (again).  Yuck.

11.  Garden: need to plant stuff.  And more stuff.

12.  Spouse: we did manage March date!

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): Uh, lots of coffee this week.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  Been hitting the wine more the last few weeks.

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this on my running days.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail. March, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.  March, fail.  April, success on day 1!!  It was a no-baseball weekend.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vacation Post

This is just going to be a short compilation of our quick spring break (quick, because the kids were sick so much this weekend we had to only go for 1/2 week.  Not enough vacation time left.)

What did we do: Went to the snow
How did we save money:
- Winter gear - we have some from forever ago.  Bought the kids new boots ($20/each).  Which will probably never be worn again.  Will donate.

- Lodging - got sticker shock looking at Mammoth Mountain ($1280/ four nights, 1 BR condo, cheapest I could find.)  Googled, opted to go a little north to sleepy town of June Lake.  ($672/ four nights, 2 bedroom cabin duplex.)  Reverse Creek Lodge.  We really enjoyed this place.

- Food - took food and grocery shopped.  By far, the cheapest food was what we brought with us - mac and cheese, raw veggies, bagels, cheese & salami.  Next cheapest was shopping at the Vons in Mammoth (do NOT go at 6 pm on a Saturday!!)  But most of my shopping is NOT done in large stores, because they don't have the best deals.  Finally, when really out of something - the June Lake general store.  $5.49 for a loaf of bread, whee!!  But we needed to eat.  And they were really nice.

Approximate cost for food for the four days: $90.  Seems like a lot, but less than eating out for sure.  Plus way less pain and suffering than eating out with a four year old.

- Entertainment.  June Lake has a ski spot, which is much less populated and much smaller, and more family friendly than the southern neighbor, Mammoth.  It was also < 1 mile from the cabin.  It's also quite a bit cheaper - kids 12 and under ski for free.  And...we saved even MORE money by...not skiing at all.  People who ski regularly probably: 1. have their own gear.  2. Know how to get cheaper lift tickets on-line, or at Costco.  People like us, not so much.

We priced out skiing for 1 day at June Lake, and it looked like it would be approximately $600.  That's rental and lift ticket for hubby (who actually knows how to ski), rentals and lessons for the kids, and a lesson for me, who last went skiing in  1998.  The cost to do the same at Mammoth would have been quite a bit more expensive, at least $200.  We thought about it, but the June Lake website went down the night we were thinking about booking, so that sealed it.  

I realize that I'm not too old to learn a new skill. But...do I want to?  I mean, in the best of times, skiing is like golf - expensive.  And I live at the beach.  If I want to learn a new skill, shouldn't it be something like stand up paddle boarding, or rock climbing?  Something that doesn't require a 5 hour drive to accomplish?  Maybe if we go some day where we would ski for more than one day, it would be more worth it.  Cheaper cost per day.

In any event, the area is surrounded by the Inyo National Forest.  Our cabins had sleds that you could borrow.  The owners of the lodge directed us to a nice little spot with lots of places to sled.  And no snowmobilers!  So, our days went like this:
1.  Wake up.  For me, that usually meant "wake up on the couch".  Because the upstairs was HOT.  I would wake up at midnight sweating, and move downstairs where it was cooler.  I usually woke at 5:45 or 6.  Kid #1 woke up at the same time.  Kid #2 always ended up moving from his twin bed in the kid room to the king bed in the parent room.  So daddy and Kid #2 woke up at 7, and not always well rested.

2.  Drink coffee (instant, because we had it).  
3.  Make and eat breakfast - bagels, eggs, toast with nutella, toast with almond butter and bananas.
4.  Go for a hike.  There was a snow-filled hill behind the cabin area.  We climbed it, including some rock climbing.  At the top, we wandered through another cabin's yard (more than 50% of the homes here are second homes, usually only inhabited in the summer).  This got us to a road, and we wandered down some streets back to the cabin.  The hike usually took an hour, was about 0.75 miles (you know, hiking with a 4 year old) - and involved a LOT of snowball fights.

5.  Watch TV, make and eat lunch - sandwiches and raw veggies, or grilled cheese and soup.

6.  Do the dishes.  Go sledding (which involved a drive).  We sledded for an hour in the afternoon - more snowball fights, made a snowman one day.

7.  Go back to the cabin.  Warm up, have cocoa, make and eat dinner, watch more TV, maybe play a game, read.  Bed at 9.

Pics below!





















Monday, March 20, 2017

Instant Pot Pasta and Meatballs

So, I got an instant pot.  On Amazon Prime day.  It was a super duper deal.  If you don't know what this is, you have been living under a rock.

It's a 6-in-1 or 7-in-1 combo appliance which is the best thing since sliced bread. Or so they say.  I heard lots about it forever and ever, before I finally bought one.  It's a Canadian invention, I think.  So, thanks!

Why did you need one?  Good question. I already have a crock pot, a rice cooker, a yogurt maker, and two pressure cookers.  Did I get rid of those?  Of course not.

Anyway, unfortunately I haven't tried a lot of things, because I'm too busy to try new recipes.  Thanks baseball.  And full time job.

What I *have* been using it for is recipes that I already made and liked, and adjusted.  The instant pot has been great for cooking dried beans (without paying attention to a pressure cooker).  I haven't tried yogurt (too busy for that).  I have a great recipe for Mediterranean chickpeas and rice - I used to make it in the stovetop pressure cooker, but I had issues with burning.  Perfect in the instant pot.

So here's the magic: one pot pasta.  I've waxed about how awesome this is before.  Problem is: it sticks to the bottom of my enamel cast iron dutch oven.  When I got the instant pot, I googled pasta.  I found a bunch of recipes.  I merged them together to try and match what I was already doing.

And so here it is, with one caveat: I've never done it.  It's totally my husband's meal, usually on Thursday but sometimes Monday.  I decided to blog it in case we accidentally throw away the back of the envelope that it is written on.

One (instant) pot pasta:
1/2 an onion, diced
other veggies as desired, diced
olive oil
1 24-oz jar of spaghetti sauce
1 24-oz jar of water
12 ounces of pasta (I use penne, fusilli, whole wheat works well too)
frozen meatballs (I think we use about 1/2 bag, so 8-12 ounces)

1.  Turn on the instant pot to saute. Add oil and onion and veg, saute until soft.
2.  Add pasta, sauce, water, and meatballs
3.  Press cancel on the pot to stop saute
4.  Close lid, make sure vent is turned to "close"
5.  Press "Manual"
6.  Set time to 5 minutes

It will start on its own.  Heat up, get to pressure, cook 5 min at pressure.  When done, let it natural release for 10 mins (counts down too), then open vent for quick release.

Enjoy.

Now, if you are a pasta snob...keep walking.  This absorbs the sauce into the pasta.  It's delicious.  It's easy.  The kids love it.  It's not fancy.  It won't come out al dente.  It's a bit mushier than the standard 1-pot pasta.  But I don't care.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Goals Week 10 & 11

Whoops, I guess I missed a week?  How did that happen?


1. Exercise: as of Saturday 3/18/17 

Running: 300 miles: To date: 54.19 miles  Whoo boy this went up a lot!  
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 38.84 miles (this week we had a birthday and sleep issues)
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 7.31 miles (very sad.  Last week the pool was closed one day and the lifeguard didn't show one day.  This week I made it once).
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 44.14 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 368 minutes 

So, yesterday I ran a 10k race.  I finished in 1:12:19, a 11:39 pace.  Which is about 50 secs per mile faster than my training.  And I am PAYING for it today (ow).  I hit the carbs REALLY hard yesterday too.  I was pretty tired.

This was 3 minutes faster than the 10k that I did in September.  And it goes to show how they are all different.  I really enjoyed the course...along the ocean for a lot of it, quite a bit of it in dirt.  I run/ walk, so I played leap frog with 5 people for 4 miles until I could no longer leap them.  The old guy?  Turns out he's 73.

September was big, and I finished 47/87 in the 45-49 age group.
Yesterday was small, and I finished 10/10 in the same age group.  My coach was 3rd.

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$96.77 & $83.69.  My produce box was missing something this week too.  Hopefully I'll get a  credit.  $1323.51 so far, or $120.32/ week.  Not bad.  Hm.  I wonder if I'm missing some receipts.

3.  Weight: I have no idea.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: More like daytime games on weekends.
I am enjoying the hikes with my friends on weekends with the run group, but have to get the kids out!  There's water in the creek!


5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket - working on it.  It's looking good!

- crochet a purse: nothing
- participate in my quilting group's exchange: I cut a bunch of blocks.  We are all making 20 half square triangle blocks for each other.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Right now we are cleaning out closets - never did dig through stuff after Christmas. Donating stuff to the elementary school rummage sale.  Not our school, but a different one.

6.  Sleep: Um.  So little guy had a cold.  Monday night, he woke up crying every hour.  So little sleep.  Tuesday night I slept like the dead.  Turns out it's because hubby slept with him.  Weds night was worse than Monday, because he just wouldn't let me leave his room.  I was awake for hours.  Friday night I couldn't sleep because of race nervousness and last night was awful because big kid had a sleepover.  Please don't ask me how last week was - I don't remember!

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7. I'm making a lot of things over and over again.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.  REALLY need to.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.  

Honda is going to be fine, still driving the rental.  It's an SUV and pretty sweet, but kinda big.

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch.  Now we are discussing hiring a landscaper to do the work.  Friend in the neighborhood.

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date.  We went to the school fundraiser last weekend and had a great time.  Wasn't much of a date - we tend to socialize with others!

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): Uh, lots of coffee this week.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  I don't even drink that much anymore, but I did open a bottle Friday night. Bought two bottles at the school fundraiser.

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this on my running days.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.  We did make it to the neighborhood potluck today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Recipe Links - focaccia and orange muffins

Because these days, this blog has devolved back into what it was in the first place - a location where I can find the good recipes that I've made before...I'm posting links.

You see, finding the "right" recipe is hard.  Remembering it?  Harder.  Sometimes, I print out recipes.  I have a PILE over the microwave.  If it's good, it stays.  If not, I toss it.

Sometimes, I find a recipe on Pinterest. If I like it?  I copy it over to the "recipes I've made and like" file.

Sometimes, one of the recipes from my cookbooks is awesome, and I put it on the "cookbook" tab.

Sometimes, I made up a recipe and posted it here years ago.

Today, it's a couple of links for things we've made this week.  That I want to repeat.

First: orange muffins.  We used lemon and blood oranges.  Should reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup next time.

http://www.feedyourtemptations.com/fresh-orange-muffins/

Second: rosemary garlic focaccia.  Now, I used the focaccia recipe in my bread machine instructions, and just added the garlic and focaccia on top.  That was yummy BUT messy, as the garlic and focaccia just kept falling off.  So TODAY, I put it in the dough, and we'll see how it tastes.

https://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/222623649/shaved-garlic-and-rosemary-focaccia/

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2017 Goals - Week 9

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 3/4/17 

Running: 300 miles: To date: 33.15 miles  (4.1 miles in pouring rain today)
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 19.4 miles 
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 6.74 miles 
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 37.89 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 353 minutes 

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$127.23.  My produce box was missing 2 baskets of strawberries!  First ones of the season.  They said they'll give them to me next week.  I was really looking forward to them! 😪

3.  Weight: 139

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: More like daytime games on weekends.

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket - working on it

- crochet a purse: nothing
- participate in my quilting group's exchange: nothing.  I don't even remember what this is.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Right now we are cleaning out closets - never did dig through stuff after Christmas. Donating stuff to the elementary school rummage sale.  Not our school, but a different one.

6.  Sleep: Meh, okay this week.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7.  Did make some blood orange/ lemon muffins that we improvised on.

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.  REALLY need to.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.  

On top of that, our car just got crunched pulling out of the driveway today.  Same thing happened EXACTLY 8 years ago.  A row of 3 big-ass SUVs parked in front of our house, blocking view of oncoming traffic.  Here's to hoping it's not totaled.  The car is 8 years old with only 60k miles on it.  It needs to live another decade.  It's a honda!

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch.  Now we are discussing hiring a landscaper to do the work.  Friend in the neighborhood.

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date: nothing.  We need a date.  We will at least get one at the school fundraiser this coming weekend.

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): Okay on this one.
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  I don't even drink that much anymore, but I did open a bottle Friday night. Something about having to drag my 4 year old out of preschool - carried him screaming and kicking to the car.  (He wanted daddy.)

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this a couple of days.  I do best when I just fill my big bottle twice.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Goals - Week 8

1. Exercise: as of Saturday 2/25/17 - Not my best week due to rain and sleep.  I ran 2x, but didn't swim at all, and didn't bike either.

Running: 300 miles: To date: 29.01 miles  
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 9.6 miles 
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 5.04 miles 
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 35.44 miles
Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 319 minutes 

2. Grocery bill: Keep it under $7000 ($134.62/wk)$993.88.  This was a big week.

3.  Weight: 136.2!  Stomach flu weight hasn't come back yet.

4.  Family:
Go on 12 family hikes: fail. fail. fail.
Do game night once a week: Lots of UNO

5.  Crafts:
- Crochet a blanket (a "thermometer" granny square blanket, based on the temperature each day). Moving along.  Afghan #1 will be 120 blocks and will end by the end of April.  Unfortunately, they must never reorder yarn at my Michael's.  I had to sub a different blue for the 50-60F already, and now it's almost empty.  And I had to sub ANOTHER blue.  The only way to get it online is to buy 3, and shipping is expensive.  So I could spend $49 and get free shipping, but that's WAY more yarn than I need, KWIM?

- crochet a purse: nothing

- participate in my quilting group's exchange: nothing.  I don't even remember what this is.
- make 12 snowflakes: nothing
- attempt to make socks: I've pinned a bunch of instructions?  Been really busy taking care of sick people.

6.  Sleep: Meh, okay this week.

7.  Food: eat vegan 2 days a week. I'm not sure when or if I'm going to jump back on this train.

8.  Cookbooks: Try 1 recipe from every cookbook I own.  Ditto.  See #7.  I made chili, but does it count if I change almost everything in the recipe?

9.  Work:
     a. Skills: Learn enough programming to automate the data pulls for problem lots (which requires pulling data from 2 different databases).  Haven't worked on this yet.
     b. Personal:  Don't engage.  Really.  

10.  Home: Contact contractor/ architect on adding a second bathroom.Nothing. But we did talk to the plumber about (finally) replacing the sewer line.  Nothing like $8k bill!  Haven't gotten the written estimate.

11.  Garden: actually plant tomatoes this year.  Baby steps. Nothing
Ooh, need to add: put some ground cover in the back dirt patch

12.  Spouse: once a month lunch date: nothing.  We need a date.  We will at least get one at the school fundraiser in March?

13.  Beverages:
- Drink less coffee and more tea (one cup coffee per day): I only had one cup today!
- Do not buy any wine aside from my two wine club memberships.  I went to pick up my wine shipment today. I hadn't been in awhile - and this is the winery that is 45 minutes away.  She said I had 2 shipments.  But I ended up with 6 bottles of wine.  That's more like 3 shipments (I get 1 red, 1 white - 3 times a year).  I was going to hit them up for donations for the auction - but I chickened out because they were packed.

So, I'm confused because when I get home, my 6 bottles are 2 white and 4 red.  Maybe they changed my membership?  My 2 bottle membership is old, and they don't offer it anymore - I got grandfathered in for years.  Anyway.

I figured since I rarely drink anymore, and my OTHER wine shipment comes in a week (another 6 bottles), that I would just donate wine from my personal stash to the auction.

- Drink two 24-oz bottles of water a day, minimum.  I managed this a couple of days.  Was really dehydrated this week.

14.  Mom's nights/ dad's night once a month: Jan, check.  Feb, fail.

15.  Host friends.  Jan, check.  Feb, fail.