Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Muffin Wednesday: Coffee Cake

Muffin Wednesday is back!!!!

Baking muffins with my students was a pretty big deal in the past. But with duties added to my plate, it sorta fell by the wayside in recent years. But this year, we're making it a priority again!

Today, Beto and I whipped up some coffee cake muffins from a Scratch and Grain mix. The local business, featured on Shark Tank, is one of our internships, and they sometimes send over kits. Yes, please! This was the Organic Coffee Cake and Muffin Kit - just add milk, egg and butter.

Beto learned each step, from measuring butter to greasing the pan to stirring the batter and crumb topping. Then we shared with our friends: 
Yummo! A tasty treat for a fall-like morning in CE2 :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

No. 35

No. 35 was The Alpine Legacy by Mary Daheim:
Another fun mystery set in Washington. I love all the Pacific Northwest references :)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

DACA Community Forums

Do you need information about DACA? Two community forums are coming up - including one next week at Tigard High School.

Legal experts will be available to answer general questions.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Garlic Festival 10K, pancakes and a tiny parade (8/12/17)

It's now September, so of course I'd better talk about a race I ran in August. Ugh. Where has the time been going?!?

Brad was out of town on a canyoneering trip, and I was bored. Summer plans just kept falling through, and I was desperate for something fun. The weekend of August 12 offered a bunch of different race options in our area and also at the coast! Since I was home alone, I figured I might as well pick one :)

I decided on the Garlic Festival 10K in North Plains. I've seen this advertised for years with this cute little elephant garlic:
The course was a simple loop around Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course:
I'm prepping for a hilly half in October, so the elevation profile seemed like a good training run:
I arrived nice and early, parked a couple blocks away in a neighborhood, and walked to the starting line. I hit the porta-potties before the line grew and did a little warmup jog. The weather had been super hot, but, fortunately, Aug. 12 was cloudy! I can handle hot a lot easier when the sun isn't beating down on me! I even felt a couple rain drops on the run :)

I wasn't there to race, just to have a structured training run. I kept the pace comfortable, my main goal just to run the entire hill. And I did it - no problem!

Coming down the backside of the hill, I cranked up the speed a little. I always take advantage of gravity :)

With less than a mile to go, the course went gradually uphill - nothing big, but enough to tire me out in the final stretch. The photog caught me working hard:
A thumbs up, even though I was running out of steam:
Eryn came to join me for the Garlic Festival after and was waiting at the end:
There was a woman ahead of me in a purple tank top. I turned the corner and dropped it down a gear... and I took her right at the finish line :)
All done! Finishers got medals, socks and elephant garlic :)
I finished in 57:16, a 9:13 average. That's good enough for 76/207 overall, 31/123 female and 8/25 female 40-44. For a training run, I'll take it! I hadn't raced in a while, and it felt great to pin on a bib and stretch my legs a bit.

The race was put on by ORRC, which always does a great job! They offer quality races at good prices. This was well organized and well supported, and the course was great. I would definitely recommend this race.

After I cooled down, Eryn and I went to the pancake feed at the senior center. It was perfectly small-town :)

Then it was time for the parade!!!!! We found a spot on the curb right outside the senior center. A few floats went past:
Then the elephant garlic man:
Handing out GARLIC!
A tractor:
And a cement mixer:

And about 5 minutes later, here came Grand Marshall Kenny:
Kenny zoomed around the street on his scooter. And then it was over. Um... we almost died laughing.

Eryn and I were sitting alone on the curb, and people kept throwing candy our way. Because no one else was around, and we didn't want the candy to rot in the street, we collected this whole pile:
After the parade, we followed the crowd to the festival and checked out the vendor booths. We really wanted to try the "world famous" garlic mashed potatoes and garlic ice cream, but we were STUFFED from the pancakes. Next year!

We both bought books at the used-book sale and then called it a day, happy with our small-town adventure :)

Happy September!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Nos. 33 and 34

No. 33 was John Sandford's Rules of Prey on audiobook:
After finishing all the Baldacci books, I had to find a new author to binge. This was the first Lucas Davenport mystery - good enough to keep me entertained while doing chores and yard work :)

No. 34 was Mary Daheim's The Alpine Gamble:
I picked up this one at a cool used-book store in Portland. I've read her stuff before and they are fun little mysteries.

The author is from Seattle, and the stories are set in a small town outside Everett. There are many references to Washington and Oregon. The main character's friend lives in Tigard, Ore. Um... super random!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Elk Mountain, King's Mountain Traverse (8/7/17)

The first weekend in August was supposed to be spent climbing Mount Shasta. It's been on our list for a long time. Sean wanted to climb, too, so he booked tickets from Phoenix, and Brad planned the whole four-day excursion.

Our weather has been dry all summer - lots of great opportunities to get outside. But, as luck would have it, a storm rolled in that weekend in Southern Oregon/Northern California. We watched as the weekend approached, disappointed as predictions of thunderstorms appeared. It's not a good idea to stand atop a 14,000-foot rock pile while holding a metal rod during a thunderstorm.

Our self-appointed deadline approached, and we had to decide before Sean lost his airline tickets. Reluctantly, we pulled the plug. But we watched the weather through the weekend, confirming that we made the right decision - it looked yucky down there!

Still, we were beyond disappointed to miss the trip. Our summer hasn't gone as planned, and to miss one more trip was sad. And since mountain weather was poor around the area, other options were limited.

Brad had Monday off to climb Shasta, so we decided to instead hike the Elk Mountain, King's Mountain Traverse off Highway 6 in the Coast Range. We've hiked King's a lot, and we tackled Elk a few years ago, but we've never done the loop. 
Ours was the only car at the Elk Campground trailhead. Another guy pulled in right after us and hit the trail while we were still booting up. But we caught and passed him after a short distance. We never saw him or another person the rest of the day!!!

Elk Mountain is very steep, gaining about 2,000 feet in about 1.5 miles - it feels like it goes straight up! The trail is rugged, and I was thankful we were going up and not down those slippery slopes.

We reached the top and, as expected, found little view. Wildfire smoke from Canada destroyed our air quality and beautiful skies for a while earlier this month.
The loop continues!
Leaving the summit was a bit tricky with steep, slippery slopes coming off the back. After a bit, we hit the old road and had some normal hiking conditions for a while. I should have taken some pictures of that after my hands were free. Oh, well. After 2 miles, we turned left at the trail junction and started toward King's Mountain.

The map in the book lists the "Pinnacles" but didn't say anything about them. Well, it got a little dicey while hiking along the back side of those big rocky pillars. In fact, there was a rope hand line at one point. I was thankful for that rope - it would have been rough without it.

The trail was more rugged than we anticipated. I know it's a common trail-running route, and there's even a race or two in the area. I have no idea how one would run most of that trail. Wow.

After lots of sweating, huffing and puffing, we reached our second summit:
Still no view:
Just down the trail is a picnic table - our destination for lunch! Cheese, soy jerky and French bread:
After resting and refueling, we started down to the King's Mountain trailhead. Then it was a few miles on the Wilson River Trail to return to the car. Still, no other people! The Wilson River Trail was just gorgeous, and I want to go back with my running shoes :)

After 11 very hot miles, two happy hikers:
Since we were parked right next to Elk Creek, and we were super hot and dirty and sweaty, we stripped down and went in for a cooling dip. It was cold, but much better than the snow-melt streams we're used to! So refreshing!
It certainly wasn't a four-day climbing trip on Mount Shasta, but it was a challenging, beautiful hike to check off our to-do list :)