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Camping

It’s September 1 and summer is over. I proclaim it. My know-it-all son would remind me that the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on September 22 at 10:29 p.m.

He’s right, I guess. But I don’t really feel like waiting for 21 more days for summer to be over. (Although I am a little disturbed at Starbucks and their early Pumpkin Spice latte release. It’s too soon.)

However, a new season cannot be properly embraced until we make sure that the former season was paid due respect.

We went to the beach.

We picked raspberries.

We had swimming lessons.

I ate my weight in watermelon.

But if you look back at my Summer Bucket List, you’ll note one important line item.

Camping.

I was bound and determined to get my kids in a tent!

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Who cares if it was in the backyard? Makes wearing your princess nightgown that much more convenient.

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Who cares if I baked the tater tots in the oven right through the patio door? Have you tried cooking tater tots in a fire?

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Who cares if I ate more s’mores than tater tots? I knew I had a long night on the ground to look forward to.

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In addition to baseball, bike riding, and croquet, we also ate popcorn and watched The Berenstain Bears.

And when I woke up this morning with both kid’s random legs and arms thrown across me, I knew that it was the best night.

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I also knew that I’m a once-a-year camper. My back still hurts from that night of “sleep.”

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Nothing a Pumpkin Spice latte won’t fix…

The Ultimate Bob’s Red Mill Taste Test

I’m definitely not a hoarder. I truly get a lot of joy from throwing things away.

Things I threw in the trash today:
The cupcake liners from Miss Rae’s kitchen set
Magnetic checkers (as the magnetic board is long gone)
146 pieces of paper that my children colored on (don’t tell)
A broken tiara
Ping pong balls with dings in them

And I have zero guilt. Not one iota. But you’ll note that none of the above items technically belong to me. So is it fair that I’m throwing away my children’s treasures, but not my own?

Case in point. I have a Bob’s Red Mill addiction. I hoard Bob’s Red Mill grains. So, in fairness to the broken tiara and the magnetic checkers, I went on a tasting spree to determine if I even like 1/2 the grains I own.

Note: for consistency sake I ate all grains below with peanut butter and banana, like I do with every hot cereal I eat.

1. Oat groats

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Oat Groats (and the wheat berries below) were the most time intensive of the grains. They take a long time to cook and you have to plan as such. I soaked them overnight and used my rice cooker for an easy morning meal. I like the Oat Groats. The flavor was good, I enjoyed the “chew” factor and they kept me full all morning.

Score: 8/10

2. Rolled Spelt

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This grain was the most reminiscent of regular oats which is probably why I liked it the best. It cooks slightly longer than rolled oats, but has an almost nutty flavor. Yum.

Score: 9/10

3. Kamut

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My score for Kamut probably isn’t fair because I think that I waited too long to try this grain and it went rancid. It cooked up quickly (kind of reminded me of Cream of Wheat) but the flavor was just…off. One time my mom accidentally made a casserole with rancid sunflower seeds (remember that baptist dish, Unk C and Aunt B?) and the Kamut tasted like that. Blech. I threw the remainder away.

Score: 6/10

4. Sorghum

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This grain actually smelled/tasted like popcorn. I probably would have liked it better for a savory meal because it was kind of strange for breakfast. Not bad, but I was glad I had a small package because I probably wouldn’t cook it again.

Score: 7/10

5. Wheat berries

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The Wheat Berries were very similar to the Oat Groats but took even longer to cook and were even chewier. Meh. I’d eat Oat Groats before Wheat Berries so will probably toss these.

Score: 7/10

I think my taste testing was helpful, because it convinced me to toss two of the five (and I used up the sorghum). I love it throwing things away! Makes me feel like a queen! Too bad I don’t have a broken tiara…

She & Him, 35/52: the B&W edition

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

She: Carnival rides at the Walla Walla County Fair

Him: East Oregon Children’s Museum

Best 5 Minute Hummus

Don’t feel sorry for me because of my lunch.

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I didn’t have much time to be creative in my food choices this morning as this is what my children consider “getting dressed for school.”

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Don’t feel sorry for me because of my lunch.

I stress ate half of a watermelon around 12:30 and wasn’t that hungry afterward.

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Don’t feel sorry for me because of my lunch.

My sweet husband brought me Dutch Bros. and saved an otherwise unfortunate day.

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Don’t feel sorry for me because of my lunch.

Because the hummus I ate was AMAZING!!!

I continually go back to the Minimalist Baker’s recipes and this recipe for 5 Minute Microwave Hummus was mind-blowingly good.

You microwave your canned chickpeas with a garlic clove and then purée as you would any other hummus recipe. Best ever. Super smooth and super flavorful. I’m never making hummus any other way again.

Don’t feel sorry for me because of my lunch.

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Feel sorry for me for this pile of laundry I have to do. Tonight. Because J Man must wear his blue Italy soccer jersey to school tomorrow.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Real life conversation between my daughter and I to follow. I have not embellished anything.

Scene: we’re at my parent’s pool, splashing and playing.

Miss Rae: “Mommy, do you have a baby in your tummy?”

Me: “No…does it look like I have a baby in my tummy?”

Miss Rae: “Well…”

In her defense, Auntie Jen is pregnant and there’s been some baby talk around the house. Regardless, someone needs to teach that girl what you should and shouldn’t say to a lady.

Especially a lady in a swimsuit.

Especially a lady in a swimsuit who’s been training for a race and is recently ravenous.

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These scones won’t help matters.

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My favorite cookie is for sure chocolate chip. My second favorite is peanut butter (duh). But my third favorite is definitely oatmeal chocolate chip and these scones are a tribute to that cookie.

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Honestly, they are purely an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie in scone form. And since it’s not socially acceptable to eat cookies for breakfast, but scones are almost healthy (ha!) you should make and devour these scones, secretly knowing that you’re eating cookies for the most important meal of the day.

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Don’t overdo it, though. You don’t need random strangers (or your own daughter) questioning your fertility status.

I really shouldn’t be too concerned. Miss Rae also told me that when she was a baby she lived in Unk C’s tummy. She’s obviously slightly confused, so I’m trying not to take her pregnancy statements too seriously.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients

1 tsp egg replacer
2 TBS water
2 cups AP flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 TBS earth balance vegan butter
3/4 cup almond milk
1 TBS vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Combine egg replacer and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and pulse until sandy in texture.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg mixture, and vanilla. Add to food processor and pulse, just until combined. Add chocolate chips.

On a floured surface, press the dough into a circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Bake at 400 for 18 minutes.

Kindergarten

I blame it on the emotion of this day, but I’ve lost all will to clean.

A friend from across the world came to visit me at 5:30 this morning. We wrapped up in blankets and drank coffee on the back patio because:

A) I didn’t want to wake up the kids
B) Our house was a disaster.

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I warned her via Facebook.

I’m not cleaning because I’m tired. I’m not physically tired (I’m getting adequate sleep and running enough to chase away lethargy), but I’m emotionally spent.

Sometimes, all the time I struggle with change.

Today, the kid who used to look like this:

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(Thanks to a former student for finding this picture in an old yearbook:)

Now looks like this:

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And is officially in Kindergarten.

I cried. A lot. Enough that I had to leave his classroom, go home and pull myself together and then return to school to finish filling out paperwork. I told you. Emotionally spent.

His report for the day?

“I like my teacher but there is going to be too much homework because she said we will have 12 quizzes everyday.”

I mentioned it’s Kindergarten, right?

I guess we’ll just be adding a stack of homework to the ever growing pile on the breakfast bar. My house will never be clean again.

Novel, but not great: yellow watermelon

There are some things in life that people only like because they’re novel.

Exhibit A: this vegeburger using a glazed doughnut as a bun.

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This was my mom’s dinner choice when we were in Santa Cruz last month. It shouldn’t surprise me that she ordered this as she’s also the lady who likes nutritional yeast on ice cream. I tried a bite. It was ok. Not gag-worthy, but not something that I’d order again. Novel, but not great.

Exhibit B: This dress (I hope).

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I absolutely H.A.T.E. (That’s me spelling because we don’t use the “h” word in my house) this style of ‘short in the front/long in the back’ dresses. I don’t even find this novel, but others apparently do and I hope the trend goes away fast.

Exhibit C: Yellow watermelon.

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I first saw this watermelon at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market and I had to have one.

A) Because I always try to buy things at the market. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t buy things from Farmer’s Markets, the vendors don’t make money and then they stop coming and then the “Farmer’s Market” turns into a Mary Kay table and a lady who makes soaps that all smell of patchouli.

B) Because yellow watermelon! How cool is that?

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Before you drive between 30-300 miles for the WW Farmer’s Market, just to experience your own yellow watermelon, here’s the scoop:

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It tastes fine. It tastes like watermelon (shocker). It is very labor intensive because there are 1569 seeds and cutting the fruit into chunks worth eating took a lot of time.

Novel, but not great.

Exhibit D: I typically believe that Buzzfeed falls into the “novel, but not great” category but these Tips for Runners are brilliant. After my run today I definitely needed #’s 5, 14, and 19.

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And I gotta say, some of that yellow watermelon was pretty amazing following my 8 miles!

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