Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Yogurt salad dressing by Helen

We have a LOT of greens in our refrigerator right now. In part, this is because I go to the farmer's market weekly and stock up. In part, it's because I received a few boxes of greens from Taylor Farms. We have some eating to do in my house. And, although I can sit and eat a bowl of kale at work (in my attempt to clean up my mid-day diet, which sadly has devolved again to Twizzlers and peanut M&Ms) my kids are not super thrilled to do this.

Dinner salads are an easy sell - and Connor eats them without dressing (which is how I typically eat them as well). But it was a wild and crazy night last night at our house, and I needed to occupy one child because she would not stop whistling tunes intended to drive her brother crazy and another child because he would not stop his non-stop singing and dancing of the Macarena (which he must have picked up at school). Rather than have them share kitchen table setting duty, which requires them to pass each other multiple times, I set Helen up with some Greek Yogurt, pepper, meyer lemon olive oil from a fancy story near us, and my friend's home made mustard (which at this point I am sparingly using because it's almost gone) and told her "make some salad dressing".

She was, admittedly, a bit skeptical. I knew it would be a win for my beet salad (the greens provide a little bitter, the beets are sweet, so it needs something tangy. I did not know it would become Helen's very favorite thing in the world and would end up drenching her bowl of greens.

So there. Rough recipe is:
1/4 cup Stonyfield Whole Milk Plain yogurt
1/4 cup meyer lemon olive oil (ours was from Olio)
Pepper to taste
2 tsp mustard (ours was homemade,  it's on the sweet and tangy side)

Serve on top of bitter greens and watch your kids chomp them down.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

School 5K

Whew - this wrap-up is late, but for the record, Helen ran her school 5K a couple of weeks ago. We spent the month of April training - and by that I mean I ran with Helen 3-4 times a week for 0.5-1.5 miles. One of our runs would take place on Saturday or Sunday and it was our "long run". Because Connor had a band trip the day of the race, he was able to escape training for the most part, but several times he ran with Helen while I was cooking dinner. That was nice!

I decided to make some of our long runs "destination runs" so we would start at our house, run to a dog park, run to the farmer's market, run to a Starbucks to get hot cocoa - something to make it so we could just get out the door and use our run to get to something else. Then, Ed would come and pick us up when we were done with whatever we had run to do. I think it worked well, and it meant we had some chatting time after our runs, which Helen and I both like.

For our last long run, it was around 90 degrees, so definitely not ideal conditions. Ed joined us as we ran most of the course (only it's a teeny bit harder than the actual course because from our house, there's an extra hill and then we skip a nice flat part of the actual course).

Running and photography is hard! Sorry to cut you off, Ed.
By the time the race arrived, I figured Helen could run it in 28:30 miles, which in my book is a pretty solid run. Helen's official time was 28:36!! I was definitely impressed with her. She worked hard. A friend of hers had decided to start training for the race 3 days before the race, so she did not have as great a race. After Helen crossed the finish line, she went back and cheered all of her friends on.

But - the absolute highlight of the event is that this friend came up to Helen and said "Helen - you were so fast! You might even win an award! You worked really hard for this. I'm so impressed with you." And that is a nice thing for anyone to say. For a 9 year old girl who is tired from running a 5K to say it impressed me a lot.

The only lowlight of the run was when a boy in Helen's class heard her coming up on him in the home stretch. He was exhausted, Helen was running hard and getting faster. He moved to the center of the path to try and block Helen out. I reminded him he needed to share the path and Helen flew by.

Officially - Helen was the first finisher in our family. Ed tried his best to catch her at the end but he just couldn't do it.

Congrats on another great 5K Helen!

Before - with my friend from the Netherlands!




Friday, May 19, 2017

National Zoo!

For as many times as Ed and  have attended the National Zoo's annual fundraiser, Zoofari, it's somewhat surprising I've never written about the event. It's top notch. Food tents from probably 100 restaurants - all serving small bites of something delicious. (Pro-tip - resist all sandwich and pizza type items, there are usually only 2-3, if you attend. Eating them dooms the stomach to getting full too early. Even though I don't eat meat, I was so full the first year I attended I had to implement a "soup only" rule midway through the event, because chewing would've been too hard.)

In any case, last night was the big event, and again - Ed and I met up with friends and ate, and ate, and ate - and even when it sprinkled a bit, we just kept eating (though I did grab a second plate to keep my macaroons that I was bringing home for the kids dry). Most importantly, we won a backstage visit with an Andean bear with our friends, which will be awesome, whenever it happens. We've won a backstage sloth bear tour so many times, Helen and Connor used to think it was just something our family did annually.

I had prepped for the event by only having yogurt for breakfast and a light lunch, because I wanted me stomach to be empty.

That, friends, is the key to a power breakfast, brought to me by Stonyfield! And also, a power snack, which I employed a few times last week as I made presentations at a few places outside my office.

Besides winning the bear tour (proceeds of which go to fund the zoo's conservation efforts), my friends also won a backstage penguin tour. It takes place in Pennsylvania and is only for 4 people, so my crew won't be joining. But cool - right - given that Stonyfield is partnering with the AZA Safe program and one of the animals being protected by this program  is a penguin.

A normal person would've taken a lot of great food photos last night, but it's really hard to balance a camera, a plate, lines, plenty of fancy cocktails, and good conversation. So, the camera was left behind.

Instead,  I leave you with one of my all-time favorite Zoo photos, for when they used to be open in the morning and allow runners through. I miss that run, a lot.

Admission to the National Zoo is always free (you pay for parking if you decide to park there),  which might explain the many hours we've spent as guests there. They let you bring snacks in (yay!), which makes this a trip that can be quite easy on the wallet.


Thank you, Stonyfield, for the zoo recommendations and yogurt!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Whole Me - Prana Discount Code - Style!

Summer has come, gone, and come again - which is, I suppose, the definition of spring. Seriously, there have been runs in 80 degree + weather, but I was wearing long sleeves a few days ago. Friday's run was cancelled due to a monsoon outside my door, and Saturday's 5K was a perfect 50 degrees.

I've been spending much more time contacting my Senators than I ever have in the past. I needed to remind myself of this:

So while the Senate takes a moment to breathe before they start throwing legislation at us again, I'm focusing on a joint campaign by prAna and Stonyfield: #TheWholeYou. I'm making sure my wardrobe has a few new pieces that are:

  • reasonably stylish
  • travel easily
  • acceptable at bot the playground and at happy hour
And I'm making sure I bring a daily snack to work that will fill me up - without being junk food. Seriously, I need to turn my diet back around if I'm ever going to get faster. I'm taking daily walks at work, and something I'm proud of is that I've started biking to work. In the past six weeks, I haven't used my car to commute and I've only gotten on the metro for 3 rides - twice going home and once going in to work. 

I'm ready for summer, whenever it decides to arrive! This dress will roll up perfectly in my bike bag and be ready to wear once I arrive at work.

Use this code for 15 percent off your order at prAna: WHOLES17CHG.

Disclaimer: I was given this dress, but I actually own several prAna outfits that I purchased, and Ed owns a few shirts from prAna. I like their clothing, and the coat I got last winter is really warm! Stonyfield also send me coupons for yogurt. THANK YOU! 


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Here We Go Again

I'm sure I've written this post before, but I can't find it. So, just so the record is clear - it is May and it is no longer acceptable to make any demands on my time related to school. Capiche? School has proven itself irrelevant enough that we are solidly in the "just get through it" stage and softball and baseball are taking up those evening and weekend hours where we might've been able to contemplate school, could we muster the ability to care.

School teachers get this. They're in their own sprint to the finish, trying to balance cramming for state run tests with needing to keep students engaged for 6 more weeks. That cannot be an easy task.

Other parents do not get this. Now that I have children in two schools, I have two teacher appreciation weeks to plan for, along with a coming email about end-of-year celebrations, gifts, etc. I don't reject the notion of doing something for the teachers. They're gutting it out - daily - and I've seen them after state tests finish. Rather than phoning it in (as I have already done), they turn on the good stuff. That favorite lesson plan that doesn't quite fit into the curriculum is sure to make an appearance and the willingness to try something nutty is high. But I do reject the stream of emails reminding me to send in particular items, wear particular colors, bake for this, provide a hand for this, and more.

Here's what I want. I want one email at the start of May laying out every damn commitment you expect me to make over the next 6 weeks. I want 1 signup genius that covers it all. I want to sit down with my calendar and figure out a strategy for getting through that doesn't involve compromising the other work I'm trying to do (both paid and volunteer). And I want 1 email summarizing every item that needs a donation - be it a class party, a thank you gift, or something else. Favorite teacher retiring? Get it on the list. Another teacher is having a baby this summer? Add it. Someone needs to use a hot glue gun to put some precious memories in a book? Yeah, that too. Most importantly, if you've already decided on the date of something, get it out there.

But here, friends, is the golden rule. If the project wasn't started in April, it's too damn late for this year. Hold your great idea until next year or summer. Really, people will appreciate it more and you will forever have my thanks for not adding one more thing to my pile.