Running Shoes – One Way to Save Money

You know how you hear how inexpensive running is? Well the jokes on us runners right?! The only people who think it isn’t expensive are those that don’t run.

I’m not complaining really, because it’s worth it to me, and I sort of believe that if you track the cost of gym membership over the years vs. running gear and entry fees that maybe those who run (and don’t have a gym membership) are indeed saving money. I sort of believe that. ūüėČ

Anyway, I think it’s safe to say one of, if not the, biggest cost is running shoes. Again, not complaining, because when you find the right pair that work perfectly for you, it’s worth almost any price tag right?!

I kind of miss those shoes and the bright color! 

I’ve been very lucky to have a relationship with Fleet Feet Tacoma, and a Dad who supports my endeavors, so I rarely have to pay for my shoes. It’s one of the reasons I have been able to keep running after losing my job and being a stay at home mom. Our single income would not support buying running shoes as often as I need them.¬†
But, there is a new site that is going to help everyone save money on running shoes! It’s called ShoeKicker¬†and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the service!¬†
I had the opportunity to test it out before it went live yesterday, and it was easy to use, and accurate! Check them out, fill out three fields, hit “Show Me The Best Price” and viola you have a list of options to purchase your go to running shoe at the best price possible! So easy, and even if you only save a few $$ every little bit helps.¬†
Of course this only works if you have been fitted and know what shoe to shop for in the first place. So, don’t forget your local running store! Go get fitted, test run shoes if they let you, and check out the return policy. Most stores will let you wear them for a few days, some of them give you 30 days, to run in them and make sure they really work for you.¬†
I highly recommend buying your first pair of running shoes, or first pair of a new to you brand, at a local store. Returning them if needed is easier, they will be there hands on to direct you to a shoe that will work better for you if you do return a pair, and can offer advice on inserts or lacing that can make all the difference. 
But once you do that, and for sure know what works for you ShoeKicker is a great option for you, or for that person that gifts you your shoes, to help save money! 
I guess it’s easy to see that adidas is my shoe for life! No discounts on them, but I don’t care…they work so it’s worth it!¬†
Run on, and save some money! 

It’s The Simple Things

“This is so exciting Mommy”!

She has been waiting for months for her wildflowers to bloom. We planted a mixed seed packet clear back in late spring, and I don’t know if it was because it was so hot so early or what, but finally, finally there are flowers blooming.

I could tell this was going to be a mini sunflower a few weeks ago and once I mentioned that to Sky the watching game was on. She has been checking it daily, several times a day. The excitement has been building, and the anticipation was almost too much. She really wanted to “help” force it open, but somehow she managed to wait it out.

Finally this past weekend one of the flowers opened up, and she stood there admiring it and gently petting it for the longest time.

She can hardly believe that there are going to be more of the bright, sunny, yellow flowers in the next few days.

I love that with all the distractions of big, fancy, shiny, bright toys that make all sort of noise and do fun things that waiting for a simple yellow flower to bloom has been such a big deal to her.

The joy on her face when she walked out in her pj’s Saturday morning and realized the flower was open, and waiting for her was priceless. It’s a good reminder that we don’t really need much to be happy…to have moments of pure joy and beauty in life.

It’s so easy to get caught up waiting for the “big thing” that we risk missing out in the simple, every day, “little” things that bring a twinkle to the eye, a smile to the lips, and joy to our hearts.

Thank you for the life lesson munchkin.

Growing Pains

Parenting is one big exercise in getting our kiddos ready to live life without us really. It’s all leading up to the day they walk out the door, and walk into their own life, in their own space, making all their own choices. It’s our job to teach them how to think, be kind, and make good choices for themselves, and then set them free into the world.

I’ve noticed her beginning to pull away a bit the last few months. More alone time, more I’ll do it myself’s, more I don’t want to play with you, and less cuddle time, less need for reassurance (usually in the form of a thumbs up) during swim class & soccer, calling me Mama instead of Mommy. I can see her growing into her own, strong, independent self.

Her alone time = hours of coloring in her room.

Even though her coloring time gives me time to myself to do things around the house I have to be honest and say it hurt a little when she looked up at me and said “Mommy can you just leave me alone”.

I know she’s only 4, but the tides are changing. I guess the timing is right…she’ll be in school full time next year and I won’t be around all day every day for her. I already miss the days of having her all to myself, and those days aren’t even over yet.

It feels like I’m living life with a countdown clock. D Day is a little over a year from now when she starts kindergarten. I can’t even imagine how much she’ll change between now and then.

My focus…enjoy the moment, soak up every second I get to spend with her, say yes to every cuddle that does come my way. Once it changes, it’s changed forever.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

You want to know something funny, my husband does not like the word chipotle. He likes the flavor and food that contains chipotle, but he does not like the word. I find it fascinating that he can like something, but not like having to say it or hear it being said.

Thankfully he did like this new recipe I tried last night from July’s¬†Food and Wine¬†magazine. Monday is Mexican night, which usually always means my version of tacos, but last night I changed it up a bit so we could try something new.

Chipotle Chicken Tacos (click to visit the recipe).

A few notes:
– Don’t be afraid of the cooking time, because most of that time is hands off, chicken cooking in the oven time. It was kind of nice actually. I put the chicken in, had a glass of wine, read a book while Sky colored, and enjoyed the 45 ish minutes of cooking time.

¬†-You can do all the chopping and prep for the rest of the meal (it’s not much) while the chicken cools off enough to shred it.

-If cooking for kiddos as well then either use less chipotle (which I will do next time regardless…it’s on the spicy side) or set some of the plain shredded chicken aside before mixing in with the chipotle. Which is what I did for Sky and just made her a chicken and cheese taco.

I think I’ll try fresh, homemade tortilla’s next time, but to keep this easy for a work night Trader Joes has the best white corn tortilla’s around! Since there is 45 minutes of cooking time this may be a good option if there is a day that you’re home early from work or work from home, or even a weekend if 45 minutes is going to make dinner way too late. Or, cook & shred the chicken on a weekend and save it for later in the week, because the rest of the prep/cooking takes very little time.

Overall this is a really quick, easy, yummy meal, even with the cook time for the chicken, that I’ll be adding to our rotation of recipes.

Total side note…I’m so going to miss my fresh herbs. The store bought cilantro for these tacos was just not even close to being as good as what I’ve been growing. Impatiently waiting for the next batch to grow, and planning how to grow it year round, indoors. I can’t wait to make my guacamole with “real” cilantro. That’s the first thing I’m doing when this next batch of cilantro is ready!

Any favorite taco recipes out there that I should try?

Vacation Recap – We’re Back!

Wow, it’s been a bit! I was not anticipating having zero internet connection for almost 3 weeks. Ok, well not zero, but we were so far out/off grid that what internet we could find was so slow you couldn’t really do anything with it.

Our trip was actually two trips that ended up being to close together rather than come home for a few days, and drive across the state twice, we decided to add a 3rd part of the trip, to bridge the gap, and do a big old loop from W WA, down to SW Idaho to visit family, with a few stops in between.

Get ready for a long post (opted for one big vaca post rather than 3 posts about each portion of the trip) ton of pics (mostly Mark’s with the camera, but some from my phone as well) and non of them edited…no time to do that. ūüôā

First stop was¬†Silver Line¬†campground in Winthrop WA. We’ve stayed here before, and LOVE it! Very nice grounds, lovely lake, and if you get the right spots you have a huge open grassy area for kiddos to run around and play while enjoying a glass of wine, and view of the lake!

The view of the field, lake, and mountains from our spot.

My tip would be to get a spot along the open grassy field. The are not full hook up’s though. Power and water only. So, for a longer trip, like ours, we walked over to the bathrooms/showers when at all possible. The trailer was reserved for Sky or middle of the not potty needs.

The only negative to this campground is the dump station is on the only road out, so when leaving on a weekend, you can end up waiting for a long time if trailers in front of you are lined up dumping (it blocks the road). We were there Wed-Tues, so left on an off day and it wasn’t an issue for us at all.

If you’ve never been to Winthrop it’s a fun little town to visit. Old west style, wooden boardwalks and store fronts, some great food options, bars, winery, and cider brewer.

 Cider Tasting

 Right smack in the middle of the apple orchard!

 Apple Cider Doughnuts 

¬†Sadly this summer is the last summer the tasting “room” will be in the orchard. They are moving to a location in town, and this tent will be for event’s only. ūüė¶¬†

It was over 100 every day we were in Winthrop, that’s just hot! Really hot! So we not only made use of the lake, but this blow up pool as well. We also spent a lot of time inside the trailer with the AC on, reading, coloring, and playing moose ball!¬†

¬†Moose Ball…it’s a moose that pops bouncy balls out of his mouth when you squeeze his tummy. I put bowls and pans on the floor for us to try and get the balls into…Sky was actually really good at this game, and had a blast.¬†

 We picked one morning to hike up to a mountain lake. It was hot, but the water was glacier cold, so it was worth it. 

Yes Silas has his own camp chair. #spoileddog 

After we left Winthrop we drove up to Tonasket, WA to visit a friend that we met two years ago in Winthrop actually. He has a cabin on a mountain top about 10 miles outside of town, and we got to spend a few days there as a stop over before driving to ID. 
“Don’t be too cold for me water!”
The view from the cooking area. 

Cowgirl Shower. There is no running water or electricity, so everything has to be hauled in, but you know what…it’s totally 100% worth the effort. Peace, quiet, star gazing, and plenty of time to slow down and relax. We loved this stop on our trip so much!¬†

I don’t know if she was singing or what, but she had so much fun with Dan O!

From Tonasket we made our way to Hermiston, OR (we took a round about way to skirt around wild fires) for the mid point in our journey to Melba, ID. 
I LOVED Melba so much. It’s small, a few stop signs and tons of farm land. Acres and Acres of crop fields, with a few dairy farms, horse properties and vineyards thrown in. And, it pulled on my small-town heartstrings so much. I grew up small town, and it felt like going home.¬†
I don’t think there is anything better than 4th of July in a small town. The level of excitement and patriotism is off the charts. Especially since Melba is known for being the best fireworks show around, even better than Boise! I have to say while Tacoma does a good job, Melba is much, much better.¬†
This trip was special for me. I grew up looking forward to the times my cousins were at my grandparents the same time we were, and that only happened every 3 or 4 years. But, the memories I have of playing away the summer days with them are memories that I treasure. It was pretty cool to see them as adults and see our kiddo’s playing together and having fun like we did so long ago.¬†
Conveniently they all have home on the same big piece of property, and have great play spaces for the kiddos. After breakfast Sky would take off and we wouldn’t see her again until dinner time. She LOVED it, and keeps asking about when she gets to go back.¬†
¬†She got her first BB Gun in ID. Don’t worry she also has eye protection.¬†

 Pretty much that was the look on her face the whole time. This giant Mister is brilliant! 

 Waiting for the 4th of July parade to start with my cousins Sarah, and Becka

¬†Visiting my cousin Linda’s cupcake shop, so yummy!¬†

 Waiting for fireworks to start. 

¬†Daniel and Sky…those two got along so well, and if I couldn’t find Sky I just had to find Daniel and she was either with him, or he knew were she was.

¬†The parade was so much fun, and they threw candy at the kids so Sky has like 2lbs of candy to enjoy all summer long. Seeing the horses and rodeo royalty…that’s how little girl dreams are started right there.


 Like most dogs, Silas did not like the fireworks or the thunder that came with a massive rain storm. He needed cuddles. 

 Sky was given some awesome books for her birthday, and they kept her busy most of the road trip. She loves to read! 

¬†Most of the crop field have these sheds in them, spaced out all throughout, and it took a few days before we came across one we could see in. They are bee hives! Pretty smart! I hare this only because I’ve never seen that before and thought it was kind of cool.¬†

¬†Like I said, dreams were started…riding Seven.¬†

Sky can’t drive past a horse field without wanting to ride, and after the parade it was pretty clear we needed to try and make a horse ride happen. Thankfully my cousins know some horse people and arranged for Sky to have a ride and watch roping practice. Dallas, let Sky warm Seven up before they headed into practice. He taught her to neck rein, stop, and go backwards and was super patient with Sky. It was fascinating watching them practice and hearing the feedback and changes that each person needed to make, I learned a lot, and Sky would like a set or horns a rope to start practicing on.¬†
 This was the coolest (both in wow factor and temp) spot on the river ever. Perfect for a picnic, fishing, and beating the heat. The fish were biting like crazy and we all had a blast! 

¬†The sunset on the 4th, from the top of Mark’s truck. So pretty!¬†

There are so many more pics I wanted to share, but per usual my phone and blogger are not playing well together, so they either didn’t come through at all, or are really wonky.¬†
A few observations/tips about traveling this long, off the grid, in the heat, and with a 4 year old & dog:
-Something will go wrong, be ok with it and roll with it. We ended up at vets twice with Silas, he’s fine, but you just can’t get upset with the 3 hour delay of sitting in the emergency vet clinic.¬†
-When out and about outside dinning is a must with a dog. You can’t take him inside, so base dinning options on outside eating area, or get it to go and find a park. That’s good for the kiddo as well…burn energy at the park during lunch. Also, there will be handing off of the pet when strolling through town, and shopping. One of us was almost always waiting outside for the other and then we’d switch. Something to keep in mind when deciding if the pet is going on vaca with you or not. ¬†
-We plan for 4 hours worth of miles per day, because 4 hours inevitably turns into 5 or 6 with potty breaks, dog vomit in the truck etc. We could have made it to Melba in one long 9 hour day, but that would not have been fun for Sky or Silas, and it’s their vacation too. Same with the trip home from Melba, we could have done it again 9 or 10 hours, but not fun for all, and thankfully my aunt and uncle are pretty much exactly half way, so we stopped for the evening at their place.¬†
-Don’t assume that “produce” stands means well stocked produce! I didn’t purchase any fruit or veggies before leaving, because we were going to “farm” country. But, in Winthrop anyway, it was almost 100% fruit, with maybe a few sweet onions if they happened to be calling themselves a produce stand. That plan failed, but thankfully the grocery store was well stocked.¬†
-When it’s 100+ plan one “thing” a day, do it early, and then spend the rest of the time staying cool and hydrating.¬†
-Water, water, water! Especially when staying somewhere off grid with no water. We did’t run out, but it would have been not fun if we had. Thankfully we were prepared and had plenty of clean water for drinking. Extra propane is a good idea as well. Day 3 of the trip there was a burn ban activated so only propane grilling allowed. Between that, and being off grid for a few days, we powered the refrigerator in the trailer with our propane. Didn’t come close to running out, but just a good reminder to always be prepared.¬†
-Accept that plans may need to change. I was pretty sick for about 5 days, to the point we were going to cut the trip short and come home, and we were all ok with that. No use getting upset, just roll with it. Thankfully on D Day I finally was feeling better. 
-Bed time rules, food rules, don’ts, and no’s can all take a little break. It’s vacation after all. Loosen up and let everyone have a good time…withing reason of course.¬†
-E readers are sort of the best thing ever. I read 4 books in 2 1/2 weeks. It was so hot, and buggy in the evenings, that by 6:30 or 7 we were in for the night. Plus, it was get ready for bed/calm down time for Sky. So the three of us would get comfy in the trailer and read, color, or play moos ball. If not for my e reader though I would not have had a big enough selection of books to keep me going. 
-It’s ok if regularly scheduled workouts don’t happen. Chances are you are doing activities anyway, and doing things outside the norm, for me it was swimming, and getting some exercise anyway. Plus, we all need a break now and then! ¬†
Thank you to Dan O., my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and my Dad (for the quick visit with Sky on our way through town). You all made this trip so memorable for us and we had so much fun!