A little (late) 2016 in review. This was the year that I really returned to myself and started to focus on my interests and passions. I found myself diving into the world of essential oils, something that I had been putting off for years out of fear of the unknown and the cost of investment.
What I didn’t realize back in January 2016 when I took the plunge was that I was investing in myself. Investing in my health and wellbeing as well as my families. This spiraled into me focusing on other passions such as my health coaching that had taken a backseat to motherhood and life. It also had me expanding my health coaching into essential oil education.
Additionally, I have felt empowered to focus more on my partner and love of my life and together we found a babysitter whom we love and we have a date night at least twice per month but usually three times.
Along with more focused time with my partner we spent the year really focusing on quality time with our kids exploring Portland and the PNW.
I have devoted more time and effort to my relationship with friends and have found myself surrounded by a group of really amazing people. People whom I have come to respect, love and whom I can rely on for support.
While this isn’t to paint a perfect picture, because things are by no means perfect, it is to say that when you take the time to follow your interests, explore new things and rededicate yourself to the things/ones you love life can be so much richer.
So cheers to 2016 and I look forward to what 2017 has to bring (especially this babe who will be joining us in June).
Doing: Cleaning. Call it early nesting or just an a lack of keeping up on household chores but I feel like I spend most of my time purging and cleaning our house. We have a tiny house and with two kids I feel like we just keep accumulating more things without letting go of things. I recently went through boxes of kids clothes and shoes that I had been holding on to simple out of laziness. Finally I set up a consignment appointment and was able to get rid of a bunch of things and the remainder is being donated along with a massive amount of my old clothes that are either too worn or I just know I won’t be wearing in the near future when considering pregnancy and postpartum time.
I must be doing other things than cleaning though right? I have a really great and FREE Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Postpartum and Babies that starts next week (pssst there is still time to join us) and I am working on a Spring Detox starting the first week of April – I’ll share more when I create the group.
In other ‘doing’ news we went to Seattle for Neil’s birthday at the start of January and then we went to Vermont to visit family at the end of January. As for February the month just flew by and was mostly spent catching up on life after the holidays and all the snow that literally shut down Portland.
Thinking about: I am constantly thinking about all the things I want to get done before this baby arrives. I’m also thinking about what we need for when this baby arrives because after Alder was born we had decided on having no more children so we sold everything and now all we have is a carseat and a few swaddle blankets. I know babies don’t need a lot but for us we would like to get a nice reclining rocking chair, a bassinet, a new stock of cloth diapers and eventually we will need to figure out clothes for this baby. I (of course) want a new wrap and ring sling – what can I say it’s the babywearing educator in me and knowing that I will be wearing this baby most of the time. Comment below if you have suggestions for newborn products.
Watching: Moana. We took the kids to see Moana as their first theater movie when we were in Vermont and since then we have been watching it at home at least every twice per week and when we aren’t we are listening to the soundtrack. I have to say I would watch this movie and listen to the soundtrack even if we didn’t have littles – it is just so good. I also re-watched/finished Haven on Netflix and Neil and I have been watching Top Chef and This is Us on the weekends. What have you been watching? Any suggestions?
Looking forward to: I am looking forward to this weekend. We have no major plans except Edith’s ballet class and doing a big declutter dump, recycle and donation drop off. Otherwise we are just enjoying the weekend and I’m hoping I can get a bit more organizing done and some work. I am also looking forward to having a mama’s night out to see Matilda at Keller Auditorium. Apparently it is “The best musical since The Lion King” according to TIME Magazine. I have seen broadway production of The Lion King and it was pretty amazing so I am hoping that this lives up to TIME Magazines claim. For those of you who are in Portland the show is running 2/28-03/05 if you want to check it out for yourself.
Reading: I have been reading Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies by Stephanie Fritz aka The Essential Midwife. This book has been one of the resources for my upcoming class series and I have been reading it for my own pregnancy since this is my first really using essential oils. Otherwise my reading has been limited to kids books but I am taking suggestions if you have any.
Loving: Hu Chocolate that I buy off Thrive Market because it is the best deal and the best chocolate I have ever had.I could probably do an entire post on my favorite food items right now – would that be of interest to you? Not food related I have been loving my snoogle and eye mask because without them I don’t think I could sleep. Urban Oreganics Baby Balm that Neil got be for Christmas. This baby balm is wonderful for babies but also expecting mamas and really anyone who could use a really wonderful moisturizing balm. I use mine on my stomach post-shower to help with stretch marks and to soothe my itchy belly.
What are you currently doing, thinking about, watching, looking forward to, reading and/or loving?
Many years go when I was a student living in Boston I would go to California Pizza Kitchen on a semi-regular basis. Back in those days I was vegetarian so eating at CPK was super easy for me. Back in those days my go-to menu items were the Tuscan Hummus, Margherita Pizza and Chinese Chicken Salad (obviously hold the chicken).
Once I moved out of Boston I don’t think I visited a CPK again until this Fall when I was kindly invited to visit the Bridgeport Village CPK. One of the reasons that I never visited again was because my diet changed from vegetarian to plant-based and I had it in my head that there just weren’t enough options but I was oh so WRONG. The team at the Bridgeport CPK was super nice and they hooked us up with so many amazing plant-based options so let’s get started.
To start I went with a mojito mocktail however if I could have indulged in alcohol I would have gone for one of their many tasty sounding sangrias.
We started with the Tuscan Hummus which if you remember is one of my old go-to menu items and it’s seriously amazing. I would go to CPK just to get this and only this because it’s that good.
Next us is the White Corn Guacamole & Chips another really tasty starter. I loved the addition of jicama, white corn and black beans and both my littles gobbled up most of this guacamole and chips.
Next up another really delicious starter that could easily be an entree – the Lettuce Wraps done vegan. These were so delicious and was one of Neil’s favorite dishes we tried.
If that wasn’t enough food we also got two different salads – the Roasted Veggie and the Thai Crunch with Avocado (no chicken). I will put a disclaimer here that we eat honey and both of the dressings for these salads contain honey. If you do not partake in honey most of the salads can be made vegan by taking off the dairy and meat and they can do an oil and vinegar for salad dressing.
As for these salads I was really into the roasted veggie salad and Neil was all about the Thai crunch. The roasted veggies were just so delicious and exactly what I was in the mood for at the time. The Thai crunch had amazing flavor, a nice crunchy topping and the avocado was the perfect addition.
We were stuffed at this point but we powered through and tried a few bites of the Asparagus & Spinach pasta. Now this pasta was probably my least favorite dish because without the salty parm that normally would be on it it was lacking a bit of flavor. I would personally recommend asking for a few lemon wedges to squeeze over the pasta to brighten it up and give it just a bit more flavor and then it would be practically perfect.
We also tried a few bites of the California Veggie pizza (no cheese) before packing it up and finishing it off the next day at home. This pizza was really delicious. I loved the crust and the veggies were super fresh. A great option.
Before I wrap this up let’s not forget about the kids! At this point the kids were feeling pretty full as well but Edith was thrilled when her fusilli with tomato sauce came out and she ate about half of this huge portion. CPK can also do a simple fusilli with olive oil for kids as well if you little one isn’t into tomato sauce.
As for Alder he went with a super simple kids mushroom pizza (no cheese) and he thought it was pretty great. I love that there are some simple and tasty kids options available.
Overall we had a great dining experience, we really enjoyed the food and we will be back. Again we would like to thank the Bridgeport CPK for having us in and we are already making plans go come back for more of that Tuscan Hummus.
*Disclaimer: CPK invited us in to dine on them. As always all opinions are my own.
Coffee shop dates are some of my favorite and I wish I could sit and have a coffee with all of you. If we were sitting down to a cup of coffee it would likely be something single origin and African. I would also want a bagel with tofutti to go with it. While we are sitting enjoying our coffee I’d ask about your day, what’s been going on in your life and how your family is doing. I would then share with you about our most recent family adventure to Vermont.
Our last trip to Vermont was nearly three years ago, in April 2014. Edith was 21 months at the time of our last visit so she didn’t remember much of it and this would be Alder’s first trip to Vermont and first plane ride. We don’t often make the trip to Vermont because the cost for all of us to travel there is expensive and trying to coordinate time off for Neil and traveling with kids is always complicated. Plus my parents are both retired and are able to visit us regularly.
Our flight out to Vermont went really well. I was nervous that Alder’s weak stomach would get the best of him especially after the Blue Star Doughnuts that we had right before our flight but I came prepared with a roller bottle of DigestZen that I applied before the flight and a towel and barf bags ready just in case we did have an accident. We lucked out though and Alder’s stomach was fine and both kids did amazing on our very long day of flying.
Most of our trip was spent with my grandmother and parents. We spent hours upon hours playing Hand and Foot – a variation of canasta. The kids also got to take advantage of the snowy weather and play outside for a bit – although I will say they weren’t quite as enthusiastic about the snow after all the snow we had here in Portland just before our trip.
We spent the last few nights of our trip in Burlington where we visited a few of our favorite places and got to spend an evening chatting and laughing with friends. We tried to find some fun activities for the kids and ended up taking Edith and Alder to see their very first big screen movie – Moana. We also took them to ECHO where they had a blast.
I will say after our visit to Vermont that I still love Vermont and will always be a Vermonter but I right now Portland has my heart. I love the community we have here in Portland, how family friendly Portland is and of course the food and coffee scene is far superior here – with the exception of TOMGIRL Juice which had the best juice and fresh rolls – we need a TOMGIRL in PDX.
By the end of the trip we were already to get back home and doing so was kind of a big mess. Our flight out of Burlington ended up departing late because they had to defrost the plane before we could leave. Combine our late departure with a far too short layover we ended up finding ourselves running through the Chicago airport to make it to our flight. We made it though and finally arrived home late Monday night.
Now that we are home we are attempting to catch up on a few weeks worth of laundry and I’m trying to get over the jetlag. So happy to be back home in Portland though.
Coffee of the Week: Holderness Hunkute -Ethiopian. I have to thank Holderness Coffee for sending over this bag and I am hoping they will make their way out of Corvallis and up to Portland coffee shops and stores because this was one good cup of coffee.
Over the past few months I have been have been trying to decide what direction I want Running With Tongs to go in.
One of the things that keeps coming up in conversations I’ve had with other bloggers is how I’ve approached dividing my content between my several blogs and social media accounts. The one question that keeps coming up is “Why do you have so many accounts?”. The truth is, I’ve been hesitant to mix my content on Running With Tongs since getting negative feedback several years ago when sharing my stories of my first pregnancy.
It left me feeling pressured to separate my life as a mom from my interests in food and fitness. But without sharing all of this, I feel like I’m not giving a fair representation of who I am to you. The truth is, I’m not just a lifestyle blogger or a parenting blogger. I am a mom. I love food and fitness. I’m passionate about natural body care and make up. I’m an essential oils educator and wellness advocate. I want to share all of this with you. These are the things I want to talk about with my friends and that’s what we are here, friends.
I’ll still be maintaining a couple different social media accounts, but I’m incredibly excited to get back to writing and sharing a lot more of me and my passions with you here on Running With Tongs.
I’m back! This is the first time in 10 years that I have been away from blogging for this long. This is also the first time in 10 years that I haven’t felt like I had to put out content even though mentally I just wasn’t completely focused. I’ll be real this pregnancy hasn’t been my easiest and most nights I’m in bed with Alder at 7:30pm because my stomach is just not feeling it’s best and while I don’t want to get too political this election took a huge toll on my mind and my spirit. Pregnancy + Post-Election Stress + the Holidays left me with the decision to just take a break until the new year. So it’s 2017 and I’m feeling re-energized and I have so much to share. Side note while I have been absent from this blog I have finally converted over to Instagram stories and I’m super active over there if you want to join me.
So let’s chat about a few things:
First, I’m pregnant. Yes that’s right baby #3 is on the way. I’m officially in my second trimester and while I have shared this on social media already this is the first the blog is hearing about it. It’s been a bit of a struggle; I’ve been pretty sick this time around and with 4.5 year old and 2 year old pregnancy is just about as easy as it sounds. This pregnancy is also feeling slightly neglected and I guess that’s how third pregnancies go. I’m trying to think of some ways that I could make this pregnancy a bit more special but I’m just coming up blank – any ideas? Also any questions about this pregnancy?
Second, RWT is getting a bit of a content face lift. I am working on a post completely dedicated to this topic so keep your eyes peeled for a post regarding content in the next week or so. Also I’m always interested in hearing what you would like to see more of on RWT so share in the comments below.
Third, I’m just really excited to be back. That’s it. Oh and I’ll be catching up on replying to comments over the next few weeks.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and I look forward to sharing another year with you.
This easy granola bar recipe is a sponsored post brought to you by Graceland Fruit. Who is ready for a new EASY recipe? Well I finally have one for you. Life has been crazy lately so my time in the kitchen has been all about quick and easy while still being healthy.
My entire family is all about snacking and having easy to grab foods for on the go whether it’s work, a playdate, post swim lessons or a fun family outing. While we love to grab fresh fruit because honestly what could be easier but we love to have something that isn’t just fruit. That is why I am just loving these new bars.
How easy was that recipe? I really love the addition of Graceland Fruit dried blueberries and cherries but you can easily customize these bars based on what you have on hand. These bars would be great with nuts and seeds or even swap the peanut butter for your other favorite nut or seed butter.
You could also form the mix into little balls instead of bars. They also travel really well. Grab them from the freezer and toss in a lunch bag and go. Quick, easy and delicious!
What is your favorite granola bar combination?
GracelandFruit makes packages of dried cherries, cranberries, and blueberries and is now available on the West Coast at Fred Meyer and QFC stores.
The information on this blog is for information purposes only and no guarantees are made concerning the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of that information. The blogger behind this website accepts no responsibilities for errors or omissions on the site.
Remember that any advice, tips, or recommendations you receive from this blog are not to be substituted for professional advice, please consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise or diet plans. Visitors should take action based on the information provided at their own risk, as the blog owner is not responsible for any losses, damages, or injuries, that occur as a result.