The Backyard Overhaul

So there has been quite a bit of radio silence here. As usual, life has gotten in the way. Someday sit feels as though life is speeding up! We have been busy with work and continuing with various house projects. Right now we are knee deep in the backyard overhaul.

When we bought the house almost 2 years ago there wasn't much going on in the backyard. I knew that I wanted raised beds for vegetables and Alex knew he didn't want to mow the grass. For resale value I was hesitant to remove all the grass, but I also knew there aren't enough hours in the day for me to care for an entire yard of vegetables. We decided to hire some help to create our vision and couldn't be happier with the plan Carol Lindsay from Design In A Day came up with for us. (More on that in another post.) First lets see what we started from.


Pretty empty. Take note of the 30 foot dead cherry tree in the left corner--this bad boy is going to have to come down. Alex is removing many rocks piled up in the back bed. At the time we had no idea just how many rocks we would be digging up in this yard!

The raised beds along the fence came with the house. Silly place for them--very little sunlight. I tried to grow flowers in them last summer which failed miserably. Unfortunately, the shed has to stay for now. Someday we may look at building something along the side of our house for storage instead. Note the weed factory that is our yard. Dandelions galore!


Hello boring patio. Nothing exciting to see here. The grill is chained to the concrete slab--gotta love living in SE Portland. Seriously, people will walk off with anything!

So that is where we started from in the backyard. In my next post I will show the design and some updates of prepping the backyard for plantings.




On Busyness

So it has been a while since I have posted anything. Almost six months in fact. It's funny how life gets in the way. It doesn't matter whether we work or not, have ten kids or none. We are all busy. So busy. I wish I had a good reason for my "busyness," but I really don't. My job has gotten much more demanding, and therefore stressful, in the past six months and I have found myself coming home after work and collapsing on the couch most night with a glass of wine and mindless Internet surfing.

Recently I was invited to take part in a Mind Body Medicine seminar and, of course, at first I tried to say no, that I was too "busy" to add one more thing to my plate. One of the instructors said that was exactly why I should make time for the class, and they were right. We have explored various methods of meditation, which was very scary at first. Sit still and not talk for ten minutes? Put away my phone and be alone with my thoughts? What the #%@! But it has ended up being an excellent experience and above all, I have learned the value of taking care of myself.

Sometimes I think we like being busy. There isn't the time to think about how we really feel about the conflicts in our lives. We don't have to face the facts that 99% of our life is completely out of our control. But is this easier? Does it make us happy?

So I may be fashionably late on this one, but I am going to choose my one word for 2014 to be "pause". I need to take time for me each day to think about the good and the bad. To ask myself the tough questions and to try and quiet the thoughts running through my head at 90 mph. And maybe I will make the time to blog a little more too!


Foodie Penpals

The Lean Green Bean

Hi friends! I have been following The Lean Green Bean blog for a few months and have been wanted to sign-up for the Foodie Penpal program. I finally got around to it this month and had a lot of fun. Basically you get paired up with two people -- one will send you a a package of goodies and then you will send to the other. You also include a hand written note to whoever your pal is. On the last day of the month you share what you got. Food by mail and a ready made blog post? How could I say no.

This month I got an awesome selection of snacks from Dominique from Hawaii. I love that she included some of the local flavors! The sea salt & vinegar chips were awesome--these weren't greasy and had a puffed texture like Pirates Bootie. I may have eaten them all one afternoon at work.... On Sunday I tried the Buddy Fruits after my workout and they were amazing. I had been keeping them in my bag for a post-workout blood sugar emergency and they were a perfect solution. A yummy blast of carbs with no fake sugar and tasted like actual fruit! I think they are technically food for little kids but I am so on board and will be stocking up. The package is resealable which is nice if you have the willpower to not consume all the gummy goodness in .5 seconds like me. We are going camping this weekend so the Kona coffee, Larabars and the Starbucks Via are all coming with us.

Although I might not do the Foodie Penal every month I will definitely sign-up again soon. Such a great way to try new healthy snacks and virtually meet some new people. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!


A Relaxing Weekend (Finally!)

When you live in Portland you don't take the summer weather for granted. Things have been pretty action packed around here. We have been camping, to festivals, had visitors twice, visited the farmers market multiple times and tackled various house projects. I've been feeling pretty burnt out. Thankfully, we didn't end up doing much this weekend.

We went to the gym, read, grilled and spent a small fortune at the ADIDAS employee store. Tried this new Larabar and it was awesome! It has pea protein powder in it and was also much more filling than a regular one. The crunchy peanuts gave it a really nice texture. Unfortunately, they are much pricier than the ones I usually get so they probably won't become a series regular in my diet. 
Our biggest event was to the annual Soap Box Derby on Mt. Tabor. It was a lot of fun, but one of the first rounds of racers had a pretty serious accident so that put a damper of things. I tried to get photos but they were going too fast! Managed to snag one of the "Wack-A-Mole" themed car which was a crowd favorite. This was such a "Portland" event and once again make me appreciate our weirdness!
Ialso watched a fair amount of trashy tv and finished reading Revenge Wears Prada. Being a big fan of the first book and the movie I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it was pretty disappointing. The whole book felt forced and the main character, Andy, didn't seem to connect with the character from the first book.
I also started reading The New Rules of Lifting For Women. If you are into fitness books this is a winner. The author does a great job pulling together current research regarding nutrition and exercise and manages to do it with some humor. Alex is reading Lou Schuler's most recent book right now as well. Can you say fitness geeks?

So how was your weekend? What did you do?