Thursday, June 26, 2014

Right Now

This is the amazing thing about Colorado Springs...

View on my quick jaunt during Kate's horseback riding lesson

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

Colorado flour in a fabric flour sack!
Plus blue birds (of happiness) are my very favorite.

Can't wait to get that sack washed and sewn into something fun!

Monday, June 23, 2014

DayBook 6.23.14


Outside my window...  dark and rainy and deliciously cool. I don't even know what the weather is like tomorrow.

I am feeling... a bit wound up. I always feel like that when I play tennis in the evening. It's past my bedtime, everyone else is in bed, but I've got energy that makes it impossible to sleep. I've had a little melatonin, currently drinking some chamomile tea while I type, and planning on meditating in a few minutes.

I am thinking... I was having some profound thoughts earlier... now I can't even remember what they were...
I am thankful for... rain.
From the kitchen... I made chicken pot pie filling today but ran out of flour for the crusts. That certainly put a damper on my big dinner plans! But now I have dinner figured out for tomorrow. I've also been loving these breakfast egg salad muffin melts (I add green onions also!) fixed in the toaster oven that was a gift from my mom (admittedly to Matt for Father's Day, but I think I'm reaping more of the benefits!). Still working on using up pantry and freezer items. Making slow progress.
I am wearing... a dark grey tennis skirt, a citron colored athletic top (that transitioned nicely from running to tennis) and my grey running hat (that I love!). And tennis shoes.
I am creating... a baby quilt. I love the top but the quilting is driving me crazy. I'm going to unstitch a bit tomorrow, and hopefully finish this week!
I am going... to get my hair cut. I love getting my hair cut!
I am reading... I've finished several books since the last time I did this (see Goodreads if you are interested). The Social Animal which is okay. Also listening to Daring Greatly as an audiobook. Really good, but I can only process it a bit at a time. I'm one page into Blue Like Jazz. I need a good fiction novel.
I am hoping... for a good night's sleep. I've been really tired lately.

I am hearing... grackles all. day. long. Makes me want to get out my BB gun and shoot at 'em! But right now I only hear the dishwasher.

Around the house... the house is running so smoothly right now. I painted my dining-turned-family room a few weeks ago. Still need to hang artwork and such. We have a lot to get done on the outside. We got hit with a massive hail storm (seriously, I've never seen hail that big! It was crazy!) and need a new roof and paint job. Thank goodness for insurance!

In the homeschool room... mostly on summer break. A little math about twice a week, still daily reading, and Kate starts an online writing club studying Charlotte's Web in a few weeks. I need to get into the homeschool room to clean/organize and start planning for next year. 

How I'm exercising... running, tennis, strength training. All three have had their ups and downs lately, but I'm in a pretty good routine now. My lower back is sore today which means I'm doing too much of the previous and not enough stretching and yoga. My goal tomorrow is to do a decent amount of stretching. Maybe I'll even do some tonight.
Something that irks me... gnats. And fruit flies!!
One of my favorite things... Desert Pepper Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salsa. I think I would die without it.

A few plans for the next week: Invisible Fence guy coming to fix what the tree pulled out, a playdate, a birthday party, a swim meet, a bar mitzvah, and our normal swim practice/tennis/tutoring kind of stuff.

Here is a picture I am sharing: look at these owls from my run today. I think that one with his wings spread was a juvenile. He looked a little fuzzy and wasn't very balanced on the branch. I actually thought he was a monkey at first glance! You know, because monkeys are so common in Colorado...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Crockpot Roasted Chicken Recipes

I can't remember when I discovered the miracle of roasting chicken in the crockpot, but it was relatively recently. Maybe in the last year? Definitely not more than 2 years ago.

I'm not exaggerating when I say it has changed my life. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating. But it does make me happy, and I love having chicken meat ready in the fridge. And homemade stock - yum!

There are oh-so-many recipes online for roasting a chicken in the crockpot. Just Google it if you need good instructions. I usually roast 2 chickens at a time for lots of extra meat. I get the organic whole chickens from Costco. (Although I do feel slightly guilty about that... how can Costco have access to so many organic chickens?!? Makes me wonder about the humanness of the operations. But that's where I get them because it's easy. Maybe I'll look into a better option this summer. Maybe Matt will let us move to a farm where we can raise our own chickens to eat. Probably not.) Anyway, I stuff both chickens with onions, stuff them into the crockpot, sprinkle with salt and pepper (or maybe some herbs if I'm feeling wild & crazy!), turn on the crockpot and let those chicks cook. After 6+ hours, that meat practically falls off the bone! (Should be noted that roasting a chicken in the crockpot does not provide a beautiful, crisp-skin, roasted chicken like the oven does. This is about meat, not presentation)

We usually have the chicken with whatever sides for dinner that night. Then, I pick off all the extra meat to use over the next week. I put the carcasses back in the crockpot with some carrots and celery (if I have them on hand), turn the crockpot back on, and let that all stew overnight (sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of simmering stock - yum!). The next day, I drain the stock using a colander, let it cool in the fridge, skim the fat, and either use (it's usually so thick that I use 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of stock to water) or freeze.

So that's how I get the chicken meat, but sometimes I feel at a loss what to do with all that meat. So this is a list of chicken ideas for lunch or dinner. Mostly for myself to reference when I can't think straight (i.e. most of the time). I'm planning on adding to it as I discover new ideas.

  1. BBQ chicken sandwiches (no recipe - I just use my favorite BBQ sauce from The Saltlick)
  2. Rosemary chicken salad
  3. Creamy chicken taquitos (from our friend Lauren - these freeze really well!)
  4. Side with Big Island Orzo Salad
  5. Chili Blanco
  6. Chicken Barley Soup (Kate loves this!)
  7. Spinach Chicken Noodle Soup
  8. Tortilla Soup
  9. Mixed in with Runner's Fettuccine
  10. Chick-Chick Stew
  11. Chicken N' Dumplings
  12. Paninis
  13. Side with Nona's White Bean Soup
  14. Chicken Pot Pie
  15. Chicken Tetrazzini
  16. Chicken Quesadillas
So that's what I can think of so far from my repetoire... I am always open to suggestions!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Right Now

Enjoying the last few minutes of mountain air while I wait for towels to dry & then head home.

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Sunday, June 08, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

A session in my friend's massage chair

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This Makes Me Happy

A dad who is willing to wear matching shirts
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Saturday, June 07, 2014

Right Now

Cruisin' with Nina Sprinkles

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

More Hawaii Photos

Just a few favorites and ones that remind me of fun times.
Cracking macadamia nuts
Kate could have cracked nuts all day
Pretty, natural beach
(can't remember the name)
Sunset Beach...
at sunset
Cute Jack smile at U of H
(he really liked that little bird)
Amazing hike along amazing beach
Does it get better than this?
There were crabs and sea cucumbers and starfish
and maybe something else I can't remember along that reef
Big waves
Surprise wave at Kaena Point 
Can you see the two monk seals on the rocks?
Lots o' crabs!
Kaena Point hike
Lava demo at the Bishop museum
Kate & Nene 
Jack really enjoyed Pearl Harbor
Bellows Beach
Lovin' the waves

Hawaii Photos - Electric Beach

Underwater camera photos from our Electric Beach snorkel morning on our last full day. We left the kids playing on the beach while we went exploring with friends.

Trying to get a cute underwater picture. Fail.
Here I look like I'm grabbing Nona's boob!
Why do I always look so goofy??
Mermaid pose
Turtle posing nicely 
These guys were totally hanging out together
I wanted a photo of me like this
(see the turtle at the bottom?)
But all I got was this
And this.
At least I have documentation that I was there
Turtle buddies
Underwater selfie
This is a cool fish, huh?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

Neighbor's roses creeping over to me

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DayBook 6.4.14


Outside my window... beautiful morning. Sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky, the peak still has some snow, but everything in my back yard is green.

I am feeling... better.

I am thinking... about my to do list and where to start (which is one of the reasons I'm blogging... procrastinating on the to do list. And putting off my run.)
I am thankful for... a good night sleep.
From the kitchen... worked in the kitchen yesterday in what seemed like the first time in forever! Made myself a beet salad for lunch and Greek salad pasta (recipe stolen from my friend Elizabeth) for our dinner. I have another roasted beet, so I'll make myself beet salad for lunch again today. Want to empty the freezer, so in a bit I'll pull something out for dinner tonight. Maybe a pork loin?
I am wearing... running clothes. I figure if I put them on, I'm more likely to go. Even if I don't feel like it.
I am creating... I need to get busy on some quilting projects! Maybe I'll do a WIP blog post soon.
I am going... to stay home for a bit. It feels good to have not much on the horizon for awhile.
I am reading... I'm sorta between books right now... so unlike me! (I really need to gather all my unfinished books and get those done) I am listening to the audiobook of Lying. Short and sweet but so far seems worthwhile.
I am hoping... to cuddle a newborn baby soon.

I am hearing... the grackles squawking  at the cats outside.

Around the house... I picked up a paint sample and put it up on the walls of my dining room turned family room. I think I like it. The plan is to start painting next week (just don't have it in me this week)

In the homeschool room... I have no idea where we are with homeschooling right now. I need to figure out our summer plan. And blog about it for a little accountability.

How I'm exercising... not crazy regularly lately. Been active, but too much travel has been tough on the exercise routine. Tennis is picking up, trying to motivate myself back to running regularly, but I have been good about strength training 1-2x/week.

Something that irks me... cats that eat baby birds. Grrr...
One of my favorite things... cast iron anything.

A few plans for the next week: slow week, in a good way. Really not much planned which has been a blessing.

Here is a picture I am sharing: phone and laptop aren't syncing right now, and I don't feel like dealing with it... blah...

Monday, June 02, 2014

Books Before Movies Update 2

Just an update. Original Post. Last Update. Now I'm ready to start actually watching the movies!
  1. Labor Day
  2. The Monuments Men
  3. Winter's Tale - this took me months! Not sure it was worth the effort...
  4. Vampire Academy
  5. A Long Way Down
  6. Divergent
  7. The Fault in Our Stars *
  8. The Hundred Foot Journey
  9. The Giver
  10. Dark Places - finished this morning
  11. This Is Where I Leave You
  12. The Maze Runner
  13. Gone Girl
  14. Unbroken
  15. Wild
  16. Serena
Not on the original list but I'd like to add
17. The Book Thief

And there was another one, but I can't think of it right now...

* I listened to some of The Fault in Our Stars again with my friend Nona while I was in Hawaii. Love that book. Was reminded of another great line in the book, You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”