Monday, April 23, 2018

On My Radar: Creative Flowers for Prom

Now that college is on the horizon for Sam it feels like we are checking off all the last things to do with High School. Last football game, last band trip, last spring break. This weekend will be her last Prom. 

With that we started talking about what she is wanting flower wise and what she has done in the past. She pointed out that she has rarely done anything conventional and we laughed over how true that is! One of our favorites was her first homecoming dance. She was going with a group of friends and we thought it might be fun to be really different. Steve and I found a balloon man at the Bellingham Farmers Market and he was game to help! Who wouldn't love a balloon corsage? 

Another very special corsage/boutonniere combination was the next year's Homecoming which Sam went to with a boyfriend. They both decided to make one another's flowers which turned out amazing!  They both included little special keepsakes to each others flowers that they could keep after the flowers faded. Sam's was made with a leather bracelet and she made her date's with a special metal framing. And Sam's included plants that were actually alive, so she was able to plant them! 

Sam went to a dance with the son of a friend of mine from college which was mind blowing for me! We knew he was easygoing and game for her to go really out of the box for his boutonniere. We had been noticing tropical flowers had been becoming very popular in our favorite advertising so we thought they could be an option. 

We found Rebecca at Rebecca's Flower Shoppe to be incredibly game and helpful. She created the incredible boutonniere above. And she was more than helpful with Sam making her own, helping with the idea of the wire. We are working with her for this year's Senior prom and are so excited to see what she comes up with. The reveal will come soon, but until then I can show you her inspiration. A scene from 16 Candles...

It makes me feel extra sentimental, both for her and for me. This is such a throwback for my time in High School. I can't wait to see it all come together. And to see her wearing her dance flowers one last time. Anyone else feeling nostalgic? 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Field Trip: Bellingham Farmers Market

Steve and I have had a standing date every Saturday to the Bellingham Farmer's Market. It just reopened for the season and it was time to re-institute our weekly date! Since it's Kate's 21st birthday weekend we decided to let her join us...just this once. 

We are new converts to fresh eggs ever since we tried those of Steve's co-worker Matt's farm, McIntyre Family Farms so that was one of our first stops. The eggs are delicious, gorgeous and it makes us feel good knowing the farmer (and Steve is excited knowing they use Scratch & Feed Feeds...his new workplace product). It will be a weekly stop for us for sure. 

Next we thought a grilled cheese sounded warming on a rainy day so we grabbed a classic from Something Cheesy. We treated Kate to a gorgeous plate from Cafe Vavilov that was almost too beautiful to eat. Kate is a vegan and it was a variety of delicious veggies and spreads. 

After eating there we realized they had used Raven Breads on their plate which led us to the idea of making fancy avocado toasts so we decided to bring home our own loaf of Raven's bread and multi colored radishes. 

We ended our tour of the Market with a couple of treats for Kate...a vegan cookie from Gathered Confections and a flower bouquet. It wasn't quite the date it usually is, where we have a chance to catch up with one another, talk freely about family matters, and hopefully just goof around together. But it was a wonderful time of being with Kate and hopefully making her feeling a bit loved. And the toasts we made for dinner were works of art! 

I love our dates to the Market to get a chance to connect, both with each other and our community. Is there a market you like to frequent? Is there something that you like to pick up from there? Tell me what to look for! 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Field Trip: McIntyre Family Farm

Thanks to Steve's new job at Scratch and Peck Feeds we are all getting an education into a whole new world.  We've always been interested in farms and where our food comes from. Now Steve has co-workers that own their own farms and lucky us, we get to visit! 

We were invited out to "lampapalooza" at McIntyre Family Farm by Steve's co-worker Matt & his wife Jena to see all the newborn lambs! I can't think of a better way to welcome spring.  Even better, it's helpful in battling the minor depression I am battling that seems to rear it's head this time of year. Family time & baby lambs here we come! 

We were allowed straight into the pen with their flock of icelandic sheep with all the babies! All the animals were very calm about us being in with them and around the baby lambs. 

With Matt's help and quick reflexes we were able to hold them too! They are the sweetest and just snuggle in! They were warm and sweet and hard to put down. 

The lamb that Sam is holding is only two days old! The mothers are very calm about allowing us to hold the babies. They hang around nearby but show very little distress. The funniest part is when Sam got down low with them all and the lambs started trying to chew on her coat and boots! 

Of course with Steve being a newbie to chicken feed we had to visit the chickens of which they have about 200! Sam was a bit terrified, especially when she paid a visit to the chicken coop and was followed by a whole crew of chickens curious about what she was doing! The McIntyre's sell their organic eggs along with various wool products at the Bellingham Farmers Market and the Queen Anne Farmers Market

Snuggling with babies, learning about chickens and being out in the spring air (rain or not!) was the perfect antidote to any kind of lingering blues. We actually started the day with a breakfast of their eggs which may become a standard once we re-start our Saturday dates at the Market. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Seasonal Suffering

Spring is here, and yet I still feel like I'd rather be cuddled up on the couch watching Netflix. With the crazy weather here that moves between sun and freezing rain one can feel a little nutty and off kilter. Throw in a little seasonal affective disorder and things can get really stupid. I have a few ideas of how to combat the ugly feelings until ready to fully embrace spring and all the good things it holds. 

Eat Well: When I'm depressed I would love to just bury my head in a bag of potato chips. But that leaves me feeling even worse than before. Instead we try and be sure to eat fresh foods and as many veggies as possible. Favorites around here are buddha bowls...a mix of a grain, a protein, veggies and dressing. And a great grab and go breakfast are overnight oats...easy to change up to have many different flavor profiles. 

Schedule: Staying to a schedule helps me keep from just staying in my pajamas or sweats all day. My mom used to say do one chore and one fun thing a day and that seems to be pretty good advice. If I can accomplish something and have one fun thing to look forward to it keeps me moving forward. 

Self-care: I know the this word is getting overused, but it truly is important. And it looks different for everyone. A favorite for me is a bath in my most favorite coconut milk bath soak from Herbivore Botanicals. Reading or a movie are other ways I keep myself reasonably happy while I wait for my creative spark to return. 

Support: I feel so lucky to have friends and family that understand and support me when I'm blue. At work we have a happy light on all day. We also have a station of essential oils available for all that ails us. My husband is the best at just being there when I need him. He doesn't try to fix things, just runs the bath, makes the dinner, or gives the hugs. 

The last thing I do? Plan ahead. I know this is just something to go thru and that it will truly feel like Spring to me soon enough. Having things to look forward will help to get me there. Right now there is a visit to SAM on the calendar along with a visit to the new juice place in Bellingham and maybe a drink (or two) at the new tiki bar that has opened. 

I have decided to treat these blues as a downtime. A time of conserving energy before getting out there again. A quote that I have seen on pinterest says "There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long. So don't expect yourself to do so either." So, I don't beat myself up about them and I hope if you suffer with me that you don't. And that everyone watches out when we are operating at full power! 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Today I did something that may seem unremarkable to some, but to me it felt like a big step. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went mountain biking. I believe the last time I went was before Steve & I were married and let's just say it didn't go well. There was lot's of mud and crashing and lots and lots of swearing. All of it me. I think I even threw the bike at him at one point. I decided then and there that it wasn't my thing and never looked back. 

Mountain biking is a huge part of Steve's life. Our daughters love it too. We live in a wonderful area full of trails. Steve is always great about taking part in the things I love. He's been wanting me to join them for a while. So I decided I would go for it. 

Today we decided to take an easy ride on the Interurban Trail to Larabee State park. It was about a six mile ride all around. We found an spot on the trail with a view to have a quick bite to eat before heading back. What is it about eating outside that makes food taste better?

 The views were gorgeous from the bike. There were small waterfalls, views of the bay from the trail, and the smell of campfires in the air. It really is a wonderful way to experience the area. Watching Steve enjoying the thing he loves is pretty special too. 

Hanging out with the two of them on bikes was really fun. I don't know if I would make it a regular thing, but I'm not as scared of it anymore. I would definitely do it again and try an even longer ride. 

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone gave me some special time with Steve and Sam I would have missed. I feel proud for something again that used to really scare me. I'm trying to make sure that I don't miss out on anything. Life feels too short. And this is a start. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Deep Thoughts: When Sex is Like Pizza

Recently it was brought to my attention that there is a conversation that still needs to take place, both with my girls and among my friends. That conversation happens to be about sex. It's one I had assumed I had already covered with my daughters. We had always had open and honest conversations about sex and dating. 

It turns out that this conversation never ends, and there is still a lot to to talk about. I found this out when we read a book called Girls & Sex:Navigating the Complicated New Landscape with my book group. This of course led to an animated discussion of what this "new landscape" might look like. Which led to a discussion of what changes need to come. 

I immediately talked to my daughter about some of the topics we covered. One which was female pleasure ignored as long as men were covered. This led to a conversation about masturbation with Sam in the car on the way to school. Let's just say we almost had a throw yourself from the car a la LadyBird. But it led to a short discussion and an agreement that we were both available for any further questions. 

The reading of the first book led to another book by Al Vernacchio. He wrote a book called For Goodness Sex which challenges the way we teach sex education. He is the sex educator that is proposing that we discuss sex with the metaphor of pizza rather than as baseball. We suggest we should be approaching sex in a way that is respectful and requires communication rather than competition.  I could never be as simply eloquent as him so I have attached a link to his Ted Talk here. I agree with him wholeheartedly. And who doesn't love pizza? 

What I have found so interesting when talking about this with friends is the response among them. It turns out we all need to continue to have conversations about sex. And there is always something to learn about how we approach it. I hope that the pizza model takes hold. And I hope we all continue to have open conversation about things that matter. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Field Trip: Oscar Night at the Four Points by Sheraton

At some point a long time ago we got rid of our cable and never looked back, relying instead on Netflix, Hulu and Youtube to keep us up to date with our tv and movies. The only thing missing for me, and it's a big one, is awards shows. There's just something about the red carpet, and seeing all the artists being recognized for their art. This year's Oscars was one I was really interested in with movies that have both entertained us, and rocked us. 

Thankfully I have a loving husband who decided to treat me this year to cable in the funnest way possible. He set us up with an overnight stay at a nearby hotel with cable so that we could watch the 90th Academy Awards. We chose the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel since it's minutes away from home, has cable, and has a pool which is helpful for bribing our girls to bring us take-out if needed in exchange for swimming! 
This may sound kind of extreme but it wasn't too crazy. It has been a while since we took the time for a date night. And an overnight was fairly reasonable. 

To make it a celebration I packed along some unbreakable champagne glasses and my Valentine chocolates that had yet to be devoured. We brought along various movie treats though there is a chance of real movie popcorn if that bribing works. 

Though we are a typically active family, there is something so fun about getting into your jammies in the afternoon and just snuggling up and watching the red carpet and the Oscars. Our girls went and got us movie popcorn for an extra treat. And also a dinner of sushi!

The night was a really fun break in the stress of Steve starting a new job, Sam in the process of dealing with preparing college, and just all the stuff of life. Sometimes all we need is a little reset. Do you ever do something goofy like this? Please tell me if you have any fun ideas that we can use in the future! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Deep Thoughts: How do you feel about Pot?

I live in Washington state, a place where the use of marijuana was legalized some time ago.  At first that felt like just a profusion of billboards all over town telling you the best place to shop for it. 

But now that things are calming down a bit there feels like a change is in the air. The hippie vibe is there if you want it, but there is also a sophistication and an education taking place. 

I recently met up with my friend Morgan of MOMAD productions to talk about many things, among them pot and it's place in our lives. She's incredibly tuned in, savvy and smart. Our conversation showed me that there are many involved conversations we could have, but I'll start with this. 

When do you think it will be the norm to go to a party and along with alcohol there will be offerings of different things to smoke, or edibles? I am picturing a day when instead of bar carts there are smoke carts, or tables. 

Maybe I should preface this with my own take on things. I grew up in California up until the 5th grade and my first memory of being around pot was being in a park and smelling an unusual scent. My mom told me that people were smoking "grass" and I thought they were literally picking grass and smoking! 

Once I hit High School I dated many guys that were into it and was in many situations (concerts, etc) where it was around but I just wasn't into it, only finally trying it again in my 20's. Once again I didn't find it that interesting so I only tried it twice. 

Now that it's all around us and legal I've been interviewing friends on their views on it and if they would either light up or partake at a party. Most say they wouldn't. Some say they would if depending on the host. Others that I would never suspect of being curious have said that they would try it on their own at home. 

This post is meant to be neither pro nor con on the subject. I just wonder how things will change. I have to admit to being naive and thinking when this lovely coffee shop we met up at, Trove Coffee opened I thought they might be selling pot infused lattes. They don't, though I did have a hemp milk latte. Some say that day isn't too far from now. 

I'm not sure if anyone would feel comfortable in commenting on this post but I am honestly wondering what you think. Do you feel like the gentrifying of pot will be a gradual thing? Or quicker than any of us expect? 

(ps. A shoutout to Trove Coffee who serve delicious coffee and awesome food from Avenue Bread and Wake & Bakery in a gorgeous setting!)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Field Trip: Dark Table in Vancouver, Canada

For Valentine's Day my husband took me on a delayed surprise trip to a surprise destination. Do you remember when dining in the dark was a trending thing? Steve found there is a restaurant doing just that in Vancouver. While it's no longer trendy it's still a fascinating and fun thing to try! We ended up at Dark Table

Of course all my photos are from outside. You are greeted outside, order from a menu there, then wait for your server to come and retrieve you. Steve found out there are five servers covering twenty-five tables. The cool thing is the workforce is mainly blind or visually impaired, making it a wonderful employer for the non-sighted in a tough job market. And the most able people to guide you in the experience. Once you enter thru the doors you are entirely in their hands. 

And that is when the adventure begins. The led us to the restrooms first (we had just driven up from Bellingham after all!). You travel thru curtains before hitting the bathrooms which have lowered lights. When we came back out to the curtained area we waiting in a scrum of people for our server to retrieve us. 

And though we really enjoyed the food, our server really made the evening for us. She was named Rose and told us to yell for her if we needed anything "just like on the Titanic!" She was hysterical and incredibly comfortable with us. She led us carefully thru the restaurant with hands on shoulders, flawlessly handed us drinks and food (both hot and cold) and made the meal incredibly fun. 

The cons of eating there? There were a couple of times when we had "air bites"...where we brought the fork up to our mouths and there was no food on it! The other thing we found that was funny was not being able to pace ourselves. When you were eating your dessert all of a sudden you realized you were done! 

The pros? One is you get to see if you know food like you think you do. You order your main course and drinks, then the rest is a surprise. We found we were pretty good at figuring out the ingredients in the salad. And maybe we figured out our dessert! 

And the best thing? An evening to fully focus on one another. We were fully unplugged. And there was nothing to distract us. We didn't find ourselves checking out what everyone was doing.  Just one another's voice across the table. And each others hand when we could find them! 

The waitress claimed that at least a couple a week has to leave because the dark is too much. And I can't even describe how dark it is! Do you think you would enjoy it? 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Field Trip: Skagit Skate

My sister and I have been working at getting our families together and meeting halfway between our two places. This made our latest get together at Skagit Skate a perfect halfway point. 

There is something so cool about taking your kids to do the things you did when you were young. My sister and I spent many weekends skating when we were young. Being California girls it was something that you did at a rink or on your street. But there was something special about being under the mirror ball with your favorite music playing. 

These things from our past are starting to disappear. The movie rental place that we have been going to for years is closing. There's nothing wrong with Netflix, but there was just something about shuffling around the rental place searching for the night's entertainment. At least our girls were able to enjoy a slice of our past for a couple of years! 

Thankfully our girls enjoy all the "old school" things.They find them fun and also incredibly photo worthy! So our time together is full of skating, eating, visiting and lots of photos. And my sister and I get to show off what little of our skating skills are left! 

And we get to watch our girls have just a taste of what life was like when we were kids. All of us goofing off together is just another crazy layer of life. We are hoping to continue on this track. Next time we are thinking bowling!