Thursday, June 30, 2011

Girl Time

Sometimes, you just need girl time.

 I love the husband and all... and as much as I am intrigued by the potential realignment of NHL divisions and being quizzed on geography... I LOVE girl time with Hayley. 

Yes, we were indeed viking princess warriors. I mean are. 

And for New Year's we went ice skating together. 

And we went to the Olympics in Vancouver! 

And saw the USA win gold! 

And we went to Disneyland. 

More than once while in undergrad at Cal Lutheran

She was a wonderful bridesmaid in my wedding - and caught one of the bouquets! (I threw three, but it was a surprise!) 

And she fixed the bustle on my dress (with pliers) moments before our first dance. I might add that she did so with flushed cheeks as well. ;-)

And we went to brunch at the Harris Ave Cafe this week! 

And it was incredible! A small breakfast spot adjacent to Tony's Coffee in Fairhaven that supports local farmers and food producers and makes a mean scramble. 

We couldn't decide on one thing so we split the Topeka Scramble with eggs, zucchini, broccoli, onions, cheese and potatoes and a slice of wheat bread from BreadFarm.

And the Huevos Laredos - an over-medium egg served with chipotle black beans, tortilla, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. The chipotle flavor really stuck out and was wonderfully spicy! 

Then we walked around a few boutique shops and spent time at Village Books - a fantastic local bookstore! 

Later in the afternoon we went to see Bridesmaids - which I think Ross would have actually enjoyed (but it was girl time!). It was raunchy, pretty hilarious at times, though I never enjoy vomit scenes. That's a boy thing I think - potty humor. 

We made a stop at Labels to do some shopping for the new job Hayley's starting! Labels is a really great place to find quality used clothing at a really great price. When I started my AmeriCorps position and needed dress clothes I went there and found Gap and NY label dress pants in good condition for only $6 or $7! 

And we made one more stop on our way home at the Grocery Outlet. I have never been - I prefer to get my food from the market or from our CSA - but I was really surprised to see what was inside! 

I would not buy my produce there, but they have tons of organic non-perishables at prices blew my mind! MaraNatha Cashew Butter for $2.50, Organic Peanut Butter for $1.99, Newman's Own Pasta Sauces for $1.99, and so on! 

Boxes of Nature's Path Optimum energy bars for $6!!! It was great. They tend to have a rotating inventory so you won't necessarily know what you can get, and Hayley warned me to check expiration dates and pop-tops (most of their products are close to the expiration dates, hence why they are cheaper), but the prices were unbelievable! I'm definitely going to frequent this spot more! 

And I'm definitely going to make time for girl time more often as well!!!!! 

Tomorrow - I'm going to blog about roasting the chicken

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Camera Troubles...

When my camera died my sister offered to send me her old Kodak EasyShare Z1012 IS that she doesn't use anymore. I was excited at the prospect of a really affordable fix to my camera problem... but I'm not too stoked on it. Perhaps I just need to learn how to use it better? 

I am not thrilled with how these photos turned out compared to my old point-and-shoot. My first digital camera was a Kodak Easyshare - and I decided I didn't want one again. It's also bigger and bulky which doesn't make it easy for traveling, camping or backpacking - PLUS it sucks out battery power like you wouldn't believe! I'm frustrated. 
 (But thank you sister + dad for sending it! I really do appreciate it.  =)

This was my old camera. I really liked the quality of photos this Canon Powershot SD1000 took, and it had a fantastic depth of field/macro setting for a point-and-shoot. On our honeymoon the lens got stuck open and the internet forums complained a lot about this problem and suggested the best solution was to "bang it on a table." It worked at that moment, but perhaps this is why the lens is jammed and doesn't focus anymore... 

So I told Ross I was just going to break down and order a new one, he sympathized and told me to just do it. It's an Olympus Stylus Tough 6020 in green. This thing is supposedly waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof - therefore, it will  be great for all the adventures Ross and I go on.  It's just so hard for me to function without a good camera. I suppose either way there will be a learning curve... but I also need something super portable, durable and lightweight as well. I hope I like this one! Plus it doesn't have a lens to open and get jammed. 

I'm going to be in the mountains for the next few days with my Summer Block at the North Cascades Institute. Should be a lot of fun and very interesting - I'll be back on Friday. See you then! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Local Love

Whew... almost done with week one of Summer Block and I am exhausted! It will sure be keeping me busy this summer! 

Week 1 of my Masters in Environmental Education summer school schedule: 
Meet and Greet and a Local Field Trip of the Lower Skagit and a weekend on a boat: the Indigo learning about meaningful watershed education. 

One stop included the one pictured above - Mt. Erie - is a great climbing spot, however, for today it was a place to view and a place to reflect. 

We enjoyed a nice morning drive down Chuckanut Drive and a stop by the Farm to Market Bakery for coffee and sweets! LOVE that there are food breaks included in the schedule! 

I actually ended up getting a sandwich instead since I haven't gone to the grocery store/recieved a CSA box in a while... it was amazing! Artichoke, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, romaine lettuce, and fresh goat cheese. It was so good that I didn't take a picture before I ate it all. 

We also stopped by Snow Goose Produce (Our Prof - John - certainly knows the way to my heart!) which is famous for its ice cream. I didn't know why until today... 

Homemade waffle cones and the most ridiculously huge portion sizes ever!!!! A classmate got sick from eating the "single" scoop of ice cream... but my "1/2" scoop (hardly) of coffee ice cream was delicious and the homemade waffle cones are to die for! 

I also picked up some local and organic strawberries! Don't they look beautiful?!?!?! They were wonderful. 


In other news, our CSA with Cedarville Farm butchered their first batch of chickens this past week. Ross and I decided to buy two. "these birds are raised outdoors on pasture with spacious, open air huts to protect them.  They have ample access to the outdoors, lots of space to scratch and peck, abundant fresh air and water, and are fed a 100% organic grain ration.  They will be processed locally by a WSDA certified processor in Lynden.  Birds can be picked up the day of processing at the farm."

When we picked them up at the farm we not only received our fresh poultry but we also saw with our own eyes how these chickens lived. Thank you for transparency Cedarville! Now we know our food is good, clean, and fair. 

Going to be putting it in the crock pot to roast all day tomorrow while I'm on the boat! (Hopefully I'll be able to figure out my sister's old camera before so that I can take pictures on something other than my phone!) 

Try to support at least one local farmer this week! =)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Leavin' for Leavenworth

Something you may know about me is that I am a planner. I like to know what's going on days, months, even years in advance.

Last Saturday, however, I totally broke character. Ross ended up not needing to work for a couple days, and there were still 3 days until I started summer school, so I said "Let's go camping!"

And about 5 hours and 2 loads of laundry later, we had the car loaded up and were headed out with only a quick stop at the gas station standing in our way. The only thing I was wishing we had was a working camera... all these shots are from our phones. (The HTC Aria if anyone is interested - they did alright for photos.)

The weather was really crappy driving over, but we had faith in the forecast for sun and mid-70s. 

We arrived at Glacier View campground on Lake Wenatchee around 9pm - and it was still light enough to set up with tent without a headlamp. 

The campground was nice - right on the lake shore with quite the scenic view! We liked that this campground was a bit off the path (about 4 miles on a dirt road) and quiet, with trailheads, swimming and water sports all accessible. It's too bad it was super windy and not warm enough to swim! Bonus - the vault toilets were actually pretty clean! A good deal for $14 a night. 

The night was cool and windy, but we woke up to some sunny and clear blue skies! 

We stopped by this adorable little grocery in Plain, WA on our way to the climbing area to pick up some ice. 

Then we got to some climbing! 

With the help of our trusty guide, Leavenworth Rock, we found some fun top rope routes to warm up on the first day. Then on Monday we found some routes on the easier side of the Playground. Ross led the first pitch up a simple sport route. 

Then I led my first pitch ever! It was a 5.- sport route - simple, but that's a good place to start! I was a little terrified but I just had to trust my feet and I made it all the way up without taking a fall! 

We decided not to attempt the final pitch as it was a 5.8 (we don't feel comfortable leading harder routes yet) but we enjoyed top roping for the rest of the day. 

And the view from the climbing wall couldn't have been better! 

Icicle River

After the day got too hot and the rock was burning we went back into Leavenworth for some ice cream. 

This was such a treat - coffee ice cream with cookies, peanut butter, almonds and fudge. 

Once we were back at camp I started on dinner - a fantastic dinner if I might say so myself! I packed half of the noodles I bought at Pike Place Market from Pappardelle's and the other necessary ingredients for an easy camp dinner!  

Camp Mac'n'Cheese 

8oz uncooked pasta 
2 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp Flour 
1 cup shredded cheese 
1 cup milk (or powdered milk & water equivalent if you are on the trail) 
spices as desired 

In one pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and cook the pasta. Carefully pour off the water once fully cooked. 

In another make the simple cheesy roux (sauce). First, melt the butter, then add in the flour and mix. Then pour in the milk and stir frequently to prevent from scalding. After a few minutes, add in the cheese and spices and continue to stir until thickened. 

Put the noodles in the serving bowls, then pour the cheesy roux over the noodles and enjoy! 

Yummy! Love this photo Ross snapped of me... kinda. 

Our other camp meals were really simple (and whatever we had around the house!) 
Cereal for breakfast (milk packed in a glass juice bottle)
Granola bars and fruit for snacks 
Sandwiches on my swirl rye bread for lunch 

Then we enjoyed sitting by the first and watching the sunset over the mountains. 

It was chilly in the gusting wind! 

Though not for this Minnesotan. 

On the way home Ross spotted a beautiful waterfall! It was so hard to leave behind the sun and 10-15 degree warmer weather, but I did have to come back and start summer school (which is going to be great!).