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.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Weekends in Ohio

We spent three weekends in Ohio in the past three weeks!

We had a great time playing MagiQuest and riding the waterslides at Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati/Mason.

Then we spent time in Columbus for a soccer tournament and went to visit the Ohio State University.

Then we headed to Cleveland for my dad's 70th birthday party and a surprise Cleveland baseball game!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2019 Goals Update - April

How are your goals going for 2019? April is over halfway done and I'm able to check some things off. 

2019 Goals

Things I can complete
  • Run six races this year (As of April 23, I've done 2!)
  • 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. 
  • Bake something new - We didn't have to bake mochi, but we made this for the first time!
  • 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
  • NHSC - my last season as Commissioner is underway

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 
  • Sold a story to a new magazine, Smartypants Magazine for Kids

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

2019 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run - DONE!

Another Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is done! This was my ninth year and it was amazing in so many ways.

My training was on track all winter and I was injury free. I only had one bad cold that kept me down for a few days.

Race day was incredible. The trees were in bloom. The weather was 50 degrees at the start, no wind. This is me at the start waving at my friend. I'm still amazed she found me in the crowd!

I had a fantastic road trip friend. She got more great photos! (And she found a delicious way to celebrate post-race...)

I exceeded my fundraising goal!

I ran a pretty fast first six miles. I definitely struggled the last four and didn't go under 90 minutes like I hoped. That is such a frustrating mark for me. But I did crush the 95 minutes that I thought was going to be a tough goal. I finished in 91:08 and I'm telling myself to be proud.

We were able to celebrate with a delicious Mexican meal after the race. This strawberry margarita had a spicy sweet rim! Yowza!

So, I had a really wonderful weekend and I'm so grateful for everyone who helped make it possible. I'm taking a few rest days and then I'll be back running and working hard. Next year will be my 10th Cherry Blossom! I can't wait....