fireworks

4th of July

I was a little apprehensive about the 4th of July this year. I was worried about how Bella would deal with the fireworks. Our street kind of shuts down and the neighbor puts on quite a show. We all get together, have a kind of impromptu potluck, Michael and I invite friends over…In the past when I just had the kitties, I’d check on them periodically throughout the evening when the fireworks started, they were clearly disturbed by the loud noises but didn’t seem too freaked out.

But Bella? I knew she’d be freaked out. She got pretty agitated in a thunder storm we had in the winter–not too bad but agitated enough. And the fireworks show was going to be right in front of our house essentially.

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I looked online to find some tips on how to take care of pets during the fireworks show and I also talked to our dog walker. She had some great tips. She suggested Rescue Remedy, to put a few drops in Bella’s water, as it’s a natural relaxer. She said to turn on all the TVs and radios to try and drown out the noise. She said Benadryl can be good too. Bella already takes Benadryl on occasion when her allergies start flaring up (per her vet) so I planned on doing that too.

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My poor baby. 🙁 I guess it’s pretty common for pets to run away on the 4th of July because they are scared and somehow get outside and run off. We were having friends over for a BBQ and the fireworks so I put the cats in a room with the litterbox, food and water and shut the door just to be sure they couldn’t get out.

We had 7 people over for a BBQ. Bella was outside with us all working on her social skills! There were a lot of people over and that made Bella a little freaked out but once she got treats and pets and they threw the ball for her she was good. Michael grilled up hot dogs and one friend brought a delicious baked bean dish, another brought a Moroccan sweet potato salad and there was also an amazing potato salad (it was so good!). Everything tasted great. I made a quinoa salad that turned out well, too:

Red Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Currants, Chickpeas and Cashews

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

From: http://www.floatingkitchen.net/red-quinoa-and-carrot-salad-with-currants-chickpeas-and-cashews/

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup red quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (from 1-2 carrots)
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup cashews (I used roasted and salted cashews)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (use the REAL stuff, Grade B if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15-18 minutes, covered, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa stand covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. Transfer the cooled quinoa to a medium bowl. Add the shredded carrots, chickpeas and currants. Toss gently to combine.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa salad, tossing gently to combine and tasting as you go. Stir in the cashews. Top with the chopped parsley and serve. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

Notes

Notes: If you don't have red quinoa, any color will do! The leftovers are delicious, but the cashews do lose their crunch. If you want to maintain that crunch, divide the cashews and stir them into individual servings as you eat your way through the salad. If you don't have currants, raisins or dried cranberries would be a great here. And agave could be used in place of the maple syrup.

Nutrition Facts

Red Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Currants, Chickpeas and Cashews

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 321
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=43468

I didn’t have parsley so added some chopped green onion and I really liked that addition. I think chopped celery would be really nice in this salad, too. When I make it again I’d probably skip making the carrots into ribbons and just chop them into small pieces. That would be easier to eat. (The quinoa salad was even better the next day for lunch.)

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Michael got these ridiculously large hot dogs from Costco–like bigger than the actual hot dog buns–but they were a hit and tasted great after being grilled. I’m not a huge hot dog fan but there is something tasty about a grilled hot dog that has a little crisp to it.

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We hung out for a bit drinking beer and finishing up dinner and then the fireworks started. I gave Bella a little Peanut-Butter-Benadryl treat and put her in her crate in the bedroom with her blanket. I turned on the TV and the radio and shut the door. I checked on her a few times during the evening and unfortunately the Benadryl didn’t put her to sleep. She was kind of wired and her eyes were really big but she didn’t seem too scared, so that was good. Our poor neighbor’s dog was another story. He was shivering and crying in their house. 🙁

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We set up our camping chairs in the neighbor’s driveway and they started the show. I’m not really sure what was happening here–it was kind of like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. One of the neighbor’s friends did laps around the island holding a lit sparkler, running while everyone encouraged him, until it fizzled out. It was pretty hilarious. The kids did their fireworks first.

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The neighbor turned on properly patriotic hair metal and then the teenagers did their fireworks. The neighbor stepped in a few times to do some REAL fireworks and then we all called it good a little earlier this year. The fireworks were gone by 10:30 and while there were still some going off in other neighborhoods nearby, it was mostly done. It was more low-key this year, which was fine because I had been worried about Bella and I was also getting sleepy from the 2 beers I’d had that night. God when did we get so old?

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After everyone left I took Bella outside to do her business and Michael sat with her for a bit outside. She was overly excited and kind of spazzy but didn’t seem scared so that’s good! All in all she did great on the holiday. I slept like a rock and thankfully wasn’t hungover for Boot Camp the next morning. 🙂

Devilishly Difficult

I almost called this post “Quivering Quads” because my legs felt like Jell-o after our 4th of July hike! Michael and I ate a normal breakfast, picked up a foot long sandwich to share from Subway, and hit the road. Our destination was The Gorge. Remember a few months ago we attempted Devil’s Rest and turned around? Well we were determined to do it this time.

The place was packed with fair-weather hikers out enjoying their sunny holiday. The weather was beautiful! Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and about 70 degrees. Michael and I blazed a trail up Wahkeena Falls. I was telling him about the awful news stories I’ve read lately about hikers falling and dying on Eagle Creek. Michael said that it was most likely inexperienced hikers doing dumb things (which we see SO much on our hikes). My argument was that Eagle Creek is a treacherous, dangerous hike and they need to install railings at the worst parts of the trail.

At exactly that moment we were having a conversation about the dangers of hiking, a guy in front of me on the trail stopped, tried to turn around and lost his balance. He was starting to fall off the side of the trail when I instinctively grabbed his arm and pulled him back up to the trail. It was total reflex (thank you weight lifting for giving me the upper body strength to grab a guy 3x bigger than me!!) and after the fact I realized it was probably dumb of me to grab him–he could have pulled me down with him!

He was fine and Michael and I continued on past the waterfalls and the throngs of day hikers. We set a really good pace up the trail. There were a lot of beautiful wild flowers along the trail. This one in particular was gorgeous and I was told by another hiker it’s Columbine.

The washed out part of the trail that we were on last time was still washed out but had been trampled on enough to make it a bit easier to traverse. It was still uncomfortable grasping onto the side of loose, wet soil on the hillside to get passed it.

We got to that fork in the road where you can take the Vista Point Trail, Devil’s Rest or Larch Mountain and we sat for lunch. I devoured my half of the Subway sandwich, famished after hiking for nearly 2 hours. We shared a Gatorade and then headed up Devil’s Rest.

I saw a lot of people attempting Devil’s Rest this time. I kid you not, most of the trail is straight up. I did not get a picture that does the elevation justice. Trust me. It was brutal.

And I kept thinking….How the HELL did I do this hike 25 pounds heavier??!?! It’s a strenuous part of the hike that will make your hamstrings, calves and quads scream for mercy. We stopped to rest at some of the scenic lookout points.

I believe that is Mount Adams in the distance, across the Columbia River in Washington. We were THAT high up on the hike! There were views of the Gorge, the trees below and blue, blue sky. It was worth the knee-creaking it took to get up there.

It got to the point where it was feeling like it was the Never-Ending-Hike. We were both getting tired but at least we’d finally done Devil’s Rest together! We turned around for the brutally difficult downhill climb. I was worried about my knees. They were starting to ache a bit and all I wanted was to be back to the car.

Michael and I tromped down the trail and then he turned to me and said, “Did we go this way? I don’t even remember this part of the trail because it was so long ago.” Truth! It was becoming all a blur.

We finally made it down to the trailhead. We were both tired, sweaty and my thighs were jiggling like Jell-o. Ouch ouch ouch. It turned out to be the longest hike we’ve ever done at over 9 miles!!! Holy cow. It was a “dog bone loop” (we learned that term the hard way) with an elevation climb of 2300 feet.

Good for Kids: Iffy. There are a few parts of the trail that are dangerous but for the most part it’s ok for kids.
Good for Dogs: Probably ok. Leash recommended because there are a lot of dogs there.
Cost: Zero. Parking lot fills up fast, get there early.
Activity Level: Strenuous
Scenery: Spectacular.
Verdict: Fantastic hike but you will be sore the next day!

Hike Stats:
Time: 3:48
Calories Burned:  1440
Mileage: 3 miles to Larch Trail, then 1.6 to Devil’s Rest – total 9.2 

We got home and got ready for dinner. The neighborhood was having a BBQ (and our neighbors may have had Washington  fireworks…ahem…) so I made up a bunch of kale chips with kale from the garden, Michael cracked some beers and we joined the neighborhood party!

I made good food choices. We had brats and the kale chips and I had a taste of all the other foods at the BBQ (fruit, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad). It was such a fun night! I really like our neighborhood and the neighbors are super fun to hang out with. I wish we did more block parties than just once a year on the 4th. I might have to suggest it. 🙂

Quick question: do you guys prefer the smaller photos or the larger photos?

QUESTION: Longest hike you’ve ever been on? How was your holiday?