Friday Free-For-All – 05/31/19

Friday Free-For-All

Injury update: My foot is feeling better, thank goodness. I’m planning to give it a full week of rest before attempting some easy runs, just in case. I suspect that it’s something to do with my Achilles tendon and/or tight calves, so I’ve been doing lots of foam rolling and mobility stuff.

I’ve been on a sourdough baking kick. In fact, I’ve got some in the oven as I write this post! I’ve been working on getting sourdough “right” for a while now. I tried several different recipes and methods, and it just never turned out well. The resulting bread was perfectly edible, but it wasn’t the sourdough I was going for. Finally, I got serious. I bought myself a kitchen scale and started following Jen’s recipe and instructions at Peanut Butter Runner. She gives step-by-step instructions with videos, which were SO HELPFUL. Most of the recipes I followed just said something like “shape the dough into balls.” OK, but HOW??? Using Jen’s instructions has yielded perfect bread each and every time, and I will never go back to store-bought bread.

 

Sourdough

PERFECTION

We are counting down the hours to summer break. It’s been a tough school year for Ben, and we’re all starting to feel the stress. Thankfully, the end is in sight now; the last day of school for teachers is June 18, and we can’t freaking wait. Vera is just at such a fun age now, and I want Ben to be able to experience it too. Plus, we have so much still to do around the house and yard, and so much fun stuff on the docket this summer.

What’s one thing you’re excited for this summer?

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Friday Free-For-All – 05/03/19

Friday Free-For-All

I’m running a leg of the Vermont City Marathon Relay. This is a super last-minute addition to the calendar, and I’m pumped! One of Ben’s coworker’s mother’s team had a last-minute vacancy and I jumped at the chance. I’ll be running the longest leg (6.6 miles) with the most elevation (Battery Street hill), so I guess I’d better start throwing some hill training in!

Vera had her 9-month well child visit this week. Which is funny, because as of today she’s actually 10 months old. As expected, she’s perfectly healthy and hitting all the major developmental milestones. Growth-wise, she’s still very petite; she’s in the 19th percentile for height, and actually moved way up to the 29th percentile in weight (from 17th percentile at her 6 month appointment!).

My in-laws bought us a plum tree. They just showed up at our house with a tree for us, haha! It’s a Mount Royal Plum, which according to my research is extremely cold-hardy, and “so prolific that planting a second tree would be absurd.” It won’t bear fruit for a couple of years, but when it does, I can’t wait to make ALL the plum recipes.

What are your plans this weekend? I’ve got a bridal shower and a birthday party 🙂

Friday Free-For-All – 04/19/19

Friday Free-For-All

Woohoo, spring break! Ben’s break begins today, and we couldn’t be happier about it. The last few weeks have been a bit of a slog for both of us, and we’re ready to have some family time. Also, ALL OF THE PROJECTS. We need to get our garden prep going and take care of some stuff around the house that we’ve been neglecting.

Sleep training, round two. We’re also planning to use this break as an opportunity to try to give up overnight feeds with Vera. At her age, it’s not at all necessary, but it’s become a habit that is messing with our sleep and driving me a bit crazy. I haven’t had a night of uninterrupted sleep for almost 10 months and it’s wearing on me. I’m not at all looking forward to the process, but I’m looking forward to the results.

My husband is a cookie gobbler. I bake a lot, because homemade treats are cheaper and generally better tasting than store bought. Recently, I had to start dividing up cookies into “mine” and “yours” batches, because otherwise Ben ended up eating twice as many cookie as I did, and I was not happy about it. Seriously. That man can eat four enormous cookies in one go, whereas I like to make mine last a bit longer. So now we have separate containers.

My race is three weeks away. I’m getting very excited to race again. Unfortunately, fundraising is going a bit slower this year than in years past. A large portion of donations used to come from my work colleagues, and now that I’m not working anymore, well, those donations aren’t happening. I still have time, and I still have some family who are planning to contribute, but I don’t think I’m going to hit $1000 this year. If by chance you feel moved to contribute, the link to my fundraising page is here.

Do you have a spouse who eats a disproportionate amount of treats?

Friday Free-For-All – 04/12/19

Friday Free-For-All

SPRING! It’s finally here! My daylillies are coming up, my rhubarb is coming up, and all I want is to be outside. It’s supposed to be gorgeous tomorrow, and of course, that’s the one day this week I have indoor plans. Whomp whomp. I’m hoping for more warm, sunny days next week so I can attack our long list of yard work during Vera’s nap.

My first sourdough came out… ok. It’s got a lovely, crusty outside, and a nice, springy inside, but it really doesn’t taste like sourdough. It’s odd. I don’t think it’s an issue with my starter; the dough rose just fine. I’m not sure. All I can do is keep practicing, I guess. And over time, my starter will get stronger, so the flavor might get better. I’m also excited to try other recipes–sourdough pancakes, anyone? English muffins? Mmmmmm.

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Two of the audiobooks I had on hold through my library came in at once. That’s a whole lot of listening. And audiobook rentals only last for seven days each, so I’ve gotta push through them both quickly. Thank goodness for my Aftershokz Bluetooth headphones!

Do you like audiobooks? When/where do you listen to them?

 

Friday Free-For-All – 04/05/19

Friday Free-For-All

Well, the decision of whether or not to renew my blog domain registration was taken out of my hands. I was literally sitting down at my computer to cancel auto-renew when I got an email from WordPress thanking me for my payment. Crap! For some reason, I thought the renewal date was much later this month. That’s kind of crippling the rest of my month spending-wise, but I’m taking it as a sign from the universe that I’m not quite done with my little blog just yet.

We have a very full weekend ahead. “Oysterfest” with my in-laws tonight, TWO birthday parties tomorrow, and then my folks are coming to visit Sunday. Bring it on! I’ve been feeling pretty isolated lately (being a stay at home mom who lives in the boonies will do that to you), so I’m excited for some social events.

The weather around here has been downright bipolar lately. One minute sunny and blue skies, the next, blowing winds and sleet. It was 60 degrees on Wednesday and 35 on Thursday. COME ON SPRING, LET’S GO ALREADY!

A friend of mine is looking for someone to split the Vermont City Marathon with and I SO WISH I could do it. After the crapfest that was VCM 2016, it would be so nice to have a positive experience with the race, but I simply can’t afford the registration fee. That and I’m definitely not in shape to run a half marathon at the end of May. I mean, maybe I could do a super short training cycle and get there, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Boo to being fiscally responsible.

Have you ever had to turn down a race because you couldn’t afford registration?

 

Friday Free-For-All – 03/29/19

Friday Free-For-All

We’re finally all healthy after last week’s illness. I was the first to go down, and I honestly thought Ben and Vera might be spared. But then Ben and V both woke up sick on Saturday morning, and there went that theory. This week involved lots of cleaning and lots of laundry to banish germs, but I think we’re in the clear. Now hopefully that’s the last round of illness for a while! Come on, spring!

I’ve been slacking with blog stuff lately. I have two product review posts that I just can’t seem to find the energy to finish. Once again, I’m feeling very “meh” about the whole blog situation. My domain renewal is coming up and I honestly can’t decide whether or not to renew. We’re on a really strict budget right now and while $26 doesn’t seem like a lot, that’s a quarter of my discretionary spending for the month of April. It feels like maybe not the right choice, especially when I haven’t exactly been churning out blog posts.

I’m attempting a sourdough starter. Sourdough is my favorite kind of bread, but it’s kind of fiddly. You have to make or acquire a “starter,” which is basically a colony of wild yeast, and use that in your recipes. It’s a living thing that you have to “feed” and take care of, which is a lot of pressure, haha. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and since I’ve been baking a lot of yeast breads lately, I figured, why not? I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Have you ever made sourdough bread?

Friday Free-For-All – 03/15/19

Friday Free-For-All

Our Friday is off to a rough start. First, Vera woke up at 4:20 and was fussing. I was trying to let her settle herself back to sleep, but than an ENORMOUS crack of thunder scared the poor babe half to death. Upon visiting her in her room, I realized she had a very dirty diaper, hence the crying. So I changed her and fed her and did something we haven’t done in months: I brought her back to bed with me. And get this: we slept in until 8:30! That never happens! So now our schedule for the day is totally out of whack.

Anybody else feeling pretty gobsmacked by Daylight Saving Time? I’m loving having more daylight hours, but losing that hour of sleep sucked. Thankfully, Vera’s schedule hasn’t been too disrupted. We actually used DST to our advantage. For a while we’ve been meaning to shift Vera’s bedtime a bit later so it didn’t interfere with our dinner time. So basically, DST accomplished that for us. We put her to bed at what would have been her normal time, but what is now an hour later. Woot!

Our run of bad car luck continues. Ben caught a rock to the windshield of his truck the other day, and now it has a nice big crack. OK, Universe, we’ve had enough car trouble lately, can you PLEASE lay off?!

If you are looking for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe, I have one. The “Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited” from Smitten Kitchen is hands down the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever made. Big, dense, crispy outside and moist inside. Yum, yum, YUM! I’ve made the recipe once a week for the last three weeks because the cookies just keep disappearing somehow, I don’t understand it…

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Do you bake regularly? What’s your favorite recipe?