Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Another New Race in 2019

I've done five races this year - 5! I know I set the goal at six back in January, but I didn't know if I could actually fit races into my schedule. I'm pretty excited that not only am I about to meet this goal, four out of the five races I've done are new to me. It's good to push myself out of my comfort zone, while keeping some familiarity.

By July, I thought I'd only done one. I had forgotten about the Frigid Five I did in January. That was a new race. Cherry Blossom was two, then nothing for months. Then in July I panicked and did two almost back to back, the Yinzer 5K and North Boros YMCA 5K. Both of those were brand new to me. Even though I did new races, I was familiar with the courses.

Then in August, I did the Passavant 8K, which was a new distance AND a new race AND on a Friday evening (  love evening races), but again on a familiar course.

So now, do I do my sixth race at a new to me event? Or an old favorite like the Great Race? It's exciting to have this choice and to know I can really achieve this goal!



Monday, August 5, 2019

Goals Update!!

Some updates on my goals:


- I'm planning to run my fifth race of the year Aug 16. It's an 8K on a Friday evening.

- I did a group run for the first time in....19 years? I've run with friends and such, but this was the first time I showed up for a training run with total strangers. I only did 3 miles, and only 1.5 of that was run with other people. It wasn't a transcendent experience, but it was enjoyable. I was definitely moving at a nice pace.

- I'm attending a new conference...leaving in two days!!

- I really want to finish the YA manuscript. I don't have work for hire contracts right now. I'm wondering if I should tackle it.

- Camping...could it happen over Labor Day? We'll see. The kids want to do it.

2019 Goals

Things I can complete
  • Run six races this year (As of July 22, I've done 4! Thanks to my amazing family for running the Yinzer 5K and for my oldest for running the North Boroughs YMCA 5K with me!)
  • Finish my YA manuscript
  • Finish the Rosalie manuscript - Revision completed, in process of sending this out
  • Go camping 
  • Co-Read a book with each kid - I read "The Great Brain" out loud to the middle and youngest on a car trip. That's 2/3 for sure. The oldest and I are reading "A Separate Peace." He's NOT loving it. 
  • Bake something new - We didn't have to bake mochi, but we made this for the first time! The oldest and I also made gnocchi, which again didn't require baking, but was tough and delicious. I have added Croque Monsieur to my "to bake" list. 
  • Go for a group run - COMPLETED! 
  • Attend a new conference 

Monday, July 22, 2019

2019 Goals - July Update


How are your goals going for 2019? July is almost done and that means the year is over halfway. I like that I'm hitting goals. It means I'm staying focused. The one thing I've definitely lost focus on that I doubt I'll do this year is finish that YA manuscript. 

2019 Goals

Things I can complete
  • Run six races this year (As of July 22, I've done 4! Thanks to my amazing family for running the Yinzer 5K and for my oldest for running the North Boroughs YMCA 5K with me!)
  • Finish my YA manuscript
  • Finish the Rosalie manuscript - Revision completed, in process of sending this out
  • Go camping 
  • Co-Read a book with each kid - I read "The Great Brain" out loud to the middle and youngest on a car trip. That's 2/3 for sure. The oldest and I are reading "A Separate Peace." He's NOT loving it. 
  • Bake something new - We didn't have to bake mochi, but we made this for the first time! The oldest and I also made gnocchi, which again didn't require baking, but was tough and delicious. I have added Croque Monsieur to my "to bake" list. 
  • Go for a group run
  • Attend a new conference 

Ongoing things I want to do well:
  • Moms volunteering - doing a state level project
  • SCBWI volunteering (Now I'm the RA!) 
  • Writing coach 
  • Writing club - almost done our first ever session. Completed our six weeks and had an amazing book launch! Lots of people asked if I'd do it again. Then I coached two weeks of writing camp! I've learned a lot here. 
  • NHSC - my last season as Commissioner is underway. Spoke too soon....probably will be commissioner again. 

Stuff I will work hard on but can't guarantee: 
  • Find the right agent
  • Write more for the educational publishing market - Signed a contract March 1, 2019! 
  • Continue to write for Highlights - Achieved in Feb 2019!
  • Continue to write for Cricket magazine - I have some fun stuff coming out this October!
  • Sold a story to a new magazine, Smartypants Magazine for Kids

Monday, July 8, 2019

Try It: Colorado Vacation

We just finished up a wonderful family vacation in Colorado. We stayed in Monument and Breckenridge. We visited lots of lovely other towns. And we tried LOTS of new things.

The kids tried new foods including pate, Caeser salad, chicken wings, trout, venison jerky, and pho.



We tried new activities, like horseback riding.



We did white water rafting which was very, very cold and a hot water springs pool which was very, very warm.




We tried two escape rooms. We solved them both.





We tried hiking into caves, up to mountain tops and hanging lakes, and under waterfalls.






We tried panning for gold. Twice.




We tried wearing cowboy hats and oxygen bars.











We also tried sitting around together and doing nothing. That was kind of hard at first, because we are so used to doing something.

But after chatting, laughing, and sitting by the fire, and more laughing, it felt really good to just spend time together.







Saturday, June 22, 2019

Try New Foods Using This Poster

A friend gave us this poster and it's kind of cool. I like how it shows all of the new foods we have tried and how many more new foods we need to try.



There are 132 different dishes on this poster. I am not sure we've tried even half!

I'm always encouraging my kids to try new foods. We like to eat out (and we're lucky we can afford it). There are some decent options in Pittsburgh, but I do wish there were as many as places like DC or Chicago. I know we'll never get to NYC level. We do try to pick new and unique places here in Pittsburgh, but it's hard to have a successful restaurant if people aren't familiar with your cuisine.

From the poster, you can see we're not too familiar with a lot of Scandinavian and Eastern European dishes. We definitely have to work on that. The nice part of this poster is that it suggests foods I've never even heard of. So, I can try cooking them myself.

I'm willing to make new foods at home, but when I don't know how it should turn out, I don't know how to judge if it was any good. That doesn't always stop me. A few months ago I decided to make Yorkshire puddings even though I really had no idea what they should look like. I got pretty good at it.

I'd love to try this with a South American and Asian poster. But in the meantime, I'm going to visit the website below and get some new recipes.

If you've cooked something you can read on the poster (I know it's small print) and can recommend it, please leave a comment!



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Summer Structure

It's the first week of summer vacation and our Summer Structure plan is on the second day. So far so good.

I've found my kids actually like having a schedule, even though they complained about...for ten minutes. Then they jumped right in and did it.

What would be on your kids' Summer Structure list?


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Van Gogh in Bloom at Phipps

My friend and I treated ourselves to a Mother's Day gift with a trip to Phipps to see Van Gogh in Bloom.

Phipps recreated some of Van Gogh's paintings in different rooms.


In my opinion, the recreation of Starry Night (below) was the most interesting.




No matter how many times I visit Phipps, the Orchid Room is always a delight. I think this is the first time I've seen bromeliads blooming.



I also love the butterfly room.



The spiral of this cactus was incredible.



These funny yellow blossoms were called Billy's Buttons.




The outline on these makes them look painted, but they are real.