May 252017
 

Sunday we took it easy. Which was probably a good thing…the amount of stress and stuff that’s been happening lately really pointed out how badly we needed some down time. I took a few short naps on Sunday, which was nice. I was fighting off a little head cold or something so I didn’t feel up to working out much. Which was a bummer. I had a list of hikes I wanted to check out. 🙁 Next year, I guess…

Sunday afternoon Michael and I took Logan for a walk to the downtown area. It was less than a mile walk and it was nice to get outside in the sunshine after laying around most of the morning. The sunny walk revitalized me a bit.

We walked around downtown a bit and got some ice cream. 🙂 Logan loves ice cream! We did a little shopping and then walked back and Logan fell asleep in the stroller. (He wasn’t great about napping on vacation, so we took what we could get!)

My dad played with Logan for a bit and Michael, my mom, and I played Scattergories (one of my favorites) on the front deck. It was SO nice outside! It was heavenly just listening to the wind in the trees, the birds and the nearby kids and dogs playing.

Then we fixed dinner. I made a big clean-out-the-fridge salad and some beans with bacon, and Michael grilled up some of the fancy bratwursts we got at that meat/growler shop on Saturday!

I had the Creole sausage and it was great! Very spicy!

We sat outside on the patio and had our last vacation dinner. I was bummed that vacation was ending. Especially since we didn’t get to do about half of the stuff I had hoped to do in Bend this trip!

Monday Logan got us all up bright and early. He was obviously 100% better and was ready to run and play and jump and climb and walk everywhere. I think he was catching up for the several days he didn’t feel good.

Last coffee on the porch. I loved that porch. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

We packed up the car and said goodbye to my parents.

We timed it perfectly. My dad wore out Logan so by the time we got in the car to drive home, he was REALLY ready for a nap! He slept for about half the drive. We got over Mount Hood and stopped for Subway (not a lot of lunch options on the road–especially not good options on the diet).

We stopped at the Wildwood Recreation area to have a picnic lunch. It was a really cool spot! Perfect for little kids to explore.

After lunch we walked around a little bit to let the little dude stretch his legs and explore. He loved it! He wanted to check out everything he saw. It looked like there were lots of trails and places to walk. There was a creek and places to have picnics. We definitely want to go back and explore some more.

After a little walk we got back in the car. It was a nice little pit stop! We got home at a decent time and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and cleaning up.

It was a really great vacation. We didn’t get to do everything I had on my to-do list. There is so much stuff to see in Bend and since this was the first time we’d been there in summer, I guess I had higher expectations for trying to do all the things! Logan being sick kind of changed those plans–as it should. I guess we’ll just have to go back next year! 😉

May 092017
 

I wanted to share some photos of our recent yard makeover! I am ridiculously excited about it. Our yard is very big. It’s a great space for a dog to run around. The problem is that the upkeep is very hard. Every year we end up spending the entire summer working on battling the blackberry bushes and weeds and we barely make a dent in it. That’s no fun AND it means we have to make a decision every weekend–do we do responsible adult stuff or go for a hike and enjoy the summer?

So this year we decided it was time to bring in a professional. I got a name from a friend and Oscar came out and gave us a good quote. We hired him on the spot. Him and his crew came out and in one day they transformed our entire backyard!

I wanted to share the photos because I’m so excited about it! (And if you live in Portland and want Oscar’s info, message me!)

Before:

After:

They managed to get rid of all the ivy and blackberry bushes that were clogging up the fence and bushes (and edged the lawn).

And in the other corner of the yard, the blackberry bushes had completely taken over.

Before:

After:

NO BLACKBERRY BUSHES! Not a weed in sight! They trimmed the trees and bushes and it looks amazing! We were so happy with Oscar’s work. There is no way we could have even come close to making the yard look like they did.

The next weekend we had Johnson’s Bark come out and put down bark. We went with the dark Hemlock. About 5 years ago Michael had done it all himself and it was a back-breaking, multiple day effort on his part. This time? They used a giant hose to spray the bark around the yard.

After the bark dust:

How amazing does it look now? We LOVE it!! Our yard makeover in addition to have the deck rebuilt last year means we are going to spend a LOT of time outside in the yard this summer. I’d really like to get a firepit and spend as much time out there as possible.

The next thing to do: plant our veggie garden and some other plants in the yard. (I also still need to plant our living Christmas tree, ooops!) Then we are going to build a little rock path through the yard. We’re also talking about building a fire pit.

Well the weather has been kind of nice lately. Last night we sat outside on our new deck to eat dinner and enjoy our yard! Here’s the amazing recipe we used:

My Sister's Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: Between 450-600 depending on chicken size

From: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/7486821187/my-sisters-phenomenal-grilled-green-chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1¼ cups packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup packed mint leaves
  • ¼ cup Red Boat fish sauce
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • zest from 1 lime
  • plenty ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice (or 1 teaspoon maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs

Instructions

  1. Make the marinade by blitzing the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice in a high powered blender until smooth.
  2. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. The marinade can be pretty salty, saltier than if the marinade is used as a sauce.
  3. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over it.
  4. Store the chicken in the fridge and marinate for at least an hour and up to a day.
  5. When you're ready to cook the chicken, take it out of the fridge an hour before you're going to grill it. (If you are baking the chicken, roast on a wire rack for ~35-45 minutes at 400 F. Start with skin-side down, and flip skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.)
  6. Set the gas grill on high and after the chicken is placed on the grates, decrease the temperature immediately to low.
  7. Grill the chicken for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F), turning every 5-7 minutes. But be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface – otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates!
  8. Serve the drumsticks with lime wedges.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=52086

It was so nice sitting outside on the deck in the warm, sunny evening.

I had a salad and a glass of wine. Logan was refusing to go to sleep (we really need to get some black-out curtains).

The chicken was really, really delicious! This recipe is a winner. Definitely recommend. 🙂