26 September 2013


Experiencing childhood as a parent can be so many things - awe inspiring, frustrating, peaceful, chaotic. It hasn't been until Benny started school that I've recognized some things as timeless. Sure, we all go through the baby and toddler phases of talking and walking. But no one remember doing that. We hear those stories from our parents.

But Benny is at an age now that I can remember. I can remember doing the things he's doing. I can remember my first grade classroom and my teacher and my friends. I can remember writing and playing and all things kid. I can remember losing my teeth and finding a quarter in the tooth fairy pillow. I can remember making my first friends at school - outside of cousins and friends I already knew.

Benny lost his first tooth last week. It had been loose for a few weeks. Benny ate a sandwich and after lunch discovered his tooth was gone. He was a little disappointed that he probably swallowed the tooth with the sandwich. But we addressed the tooth-fairy issue by having him write the tooth fairy a short note.

Benny has made lots of school friends. He's lucky that a handful of his friends from daycare also go to his elementary school. This has made transitioning much easier on everyone. But last year, Benny made a friend  in kindergarten who he didn't know before. It turns out that he lives less than two blocks away from us. The two of them are so fun to watch. They truly seem to click. I had wonderful, supportive friends in elementary school, junior high and high school. I love watching my kids make friends that could be lifetime friends.

23 September 2013

Book Review: Orange Is the New Black

I didn't know anything about Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison before July of this year. I happened upon the now-popular television series on Netflix when Nate and the kids were away for the weekend. I watched one episode and didn't stop. I finished the entire series in less than five days. Not my proudest moment, but the characters in the film are just so compelling.

When I found out that the series was based on a memoir, I knew I had to read it. I loved the series and liked the book - for very different reasons. If I had read the book before watching the movie, I would probably think differently about it.

I really loved the characters in the series, so I mostly read the book trying to figure out who was who. I did love the advocacy focus of the book. Kerman is very clear about how ridiculous the criminal justice system is - particularly because there isn't much focus on rehabilitation.

I would recommend the book - but definitely try to read it before watching the series. And if you haven't already watched the series, watch it now!

10 September 2013

Urban Homesteading LITE: Pickles

I'm not a real urban homesteader. I can only fake it up to a certain point. I will (likely) never raise chickens. I will never own a goat. I don't sew or make soap. But, I'm doing what I can to use what I have with as little waste as possible. Maybe I'm more of a modern-depression-era gal than an urban homesteader. No matter, it often shocks me to learn how easy it is to make things from scratch. I bake nearly everything from scratch. I'm starting to cook nearly everything from scratch as well - with the exception of bread, pasta and cheese - all of which are apparently easy to make as well. Periodically, I'm going to share the little nuggets of knowledge I've gained over the past few years.

I've been meaning to make pickles for the past few years. I assumed it would be hard - canning and all. I heard about refrigerator pickles, but never really looked into them. Until this year when The Real Dill posted a tutorial on quick pickling. Did you know that you can pickle in about five minutes?!? It's true.

What you need:
  • Large or small jars (I used old applesauce and tomato sauce jars)
  • Cucumbers, onions, garlic, carrots, etc., etc., etc.
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. herbs (I used chili peppers)
What you do:
  • Cut the vegetables if you want them to pickle faster. The bigger the veggies, the longer it takes to pickle them.
  • Stuff the veggies in the jars as tightly as possible.
  • Boil the water, vinegar and herbs.
  • Pour the liquid over the veggies, seal and put in the fridge.

We're on our third batch of pickles now. They are phenomenal. They will keep in the fridge for weeks, but they're delicious a few days after pickling.

03 September 2013

Fall Starts Now

Well, not now. Not technically. But when school starts back up I always expect that the weather will quickly follow the fall trends - with cooler temps. This year, though, we're experiencing some of our warmest weather of the summer. I know that I'll be complaining about colder weather soon enough, so I'm trying to enjoy the sweaty rides.

I'm working on a very cool giveaway for the fall months. Now that I'm not teaching, I'll have a little more time to devote to all things riding. Let's do it!

#everydayonabike in August

It happened again... I wasn't able to ride every single day this month. Travel and schedules prevented that from happening. And the one day when the temperature hovered at 95 degrees and I had a meeting 8.5 miles away. I decided to drive that day. However, it's been a good, solid month of riding - even with a short-lived but excruciating back injury at the end of the month.

School started a week ago. This year, I'm hoping to ride to school everyday since I can drop Lila off before I can drop Benny off. Last year, she was at a daycare that was just far enough away that it made the logistics of riding a bike to drop off pretty unlikely on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since both kids are a bit older and more used to the elements now, I'm hoping to outfit them appropriately throughout the school year and avoid driving as much as possible.

Other items of note this month: Benny got a new, bigger bike for his birthday. He's built up some good stamina over the summer months and now that he has bigger tires, I have to keep up with him instead of the other way around. That has made our trips to school pretty pleasant.

We are now up to 452 pictures on #everydayonabike. The photos on Instagram are slowing a bit - mostly because I'm forgetting to take a picture for every bike ride. But that doesn't mean I'm not riding. Here are the stats for the month:

31 photos // 19 photos posted by me // 12 posted by others

We're moving into fall, so some of the best riding weather is waiting!