Jul 082015
 
I don't feel comfortable unless I've got a book backlog - these books are waiting on my night table, and I've got another virtual stack in my kindle

I don’t feel comfortable unless I’ve got a book backlog – these books are waiting on my night table, and I’ve got another virtual stack in my kindle

So half the year is done (wha. . . ?) and I’m taking a look back at how I did towards my goal of reading 52 books in 2015 (one a week on average). I managed to read 20 books, which is respectable but puts me behind for the second half of the year – I’ll have to average 1.2 books per week for the rest of the year in order to make my goal. I made more of an effort to read than I might have without trying to hit 52 so that’s positive. I also helped start a book club and we had our first meeting after reading Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder. I have to say I didn’t love the book but I really enjoyed the discussion we had about it, and I’m looking forward to hosting our next meeting this month!

Looking over my list, I’ve managed quite a mix of genres from both fiction (14 books) and non-fiction (6 books). The fiction books were almost entirely sci-fi and thrillers, although one of my favorite reads was decidedly chick-lit. The non-fiction was more of a mix of memoir and historical novels. I decided to come up with a top 5 list from the first half of the year, which was harder than I thought it might be since I really liked a lot of these books.

1.The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins. Wow this was a great thriller – I really didn’t guess any of the twists beforehand which is totally satisfying. One of those books that pulls you right along and is almost impossible to put down – sorry family!

2.The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan. This chick-lit novel is written by the Fug Girls and has just the right mix of flirty gossip, fun fashion and a kicky storyline. It’s nothing deep but it was a great summer read for sure.

3.The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir. Anything that’s soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon is probably pretty good, and The Martian is no exception. It’s a fun read, full of great inner dialogue as the main character figures out how to save himself from quite a jam. I think it’ll be a great movie – in fact as soon as I finished the book I went online to see if it would be made.

4.The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel by Michel Faber. This novel seems at first to be a straightforward sci-fi story about colonists on a distant planet, but I soon realized it was more the story of a husband and wife negotiating the shifting terrain of their marriage, and its conclusion is devastating yet hopeful. I was deeply surprised by this book – it was much more than I thought it would be.

5.Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo by Matthew Amster-Burton. I’ve always enjoyed the author’s writing, especially his first book “Hungry Monkey” about cooking for and with his young daughter. They’re from Seattle and his daughter is just about V’s age so that adds a layer of interest for me, and I love traveling with my kids, so reading about his travels with his daughter was great. This book is part travel memoir and part travel guide with a lot of Japanese food history thrown in as well. I was ready to book a trip to Tokyo when I finished!

Now it’s on to the next half of the year – got any suggestions for a book I’ve just got to read? I’d love to hear it!

I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ’em out! Also, some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via the link this website will receive a small percentage of the sale, and we’ll be eternally grateful!

May 292015
 
Seattle Art Museum - photo by David Herrera

Seattle Art Museum – photo by David Herrera

Summer is almost here, and with it comes the chance to visit some of our region’s many great museums. The Seattle area is full of museums, from big to small, covering a wide range of subjects or just one in great detail. Take some time to check out this list – maybe you’ll be reminded of an old favorite or find somewhere new to explore! Something to remember is many of these museums offer free admission on the first Thursday of each month – check the websites for details, but do know they’ll be much busier on these free days.

Transportation Museums

Museum of Flight | Seattle

Future of Flight Museum and Boeing Factory Tour | Mukilteo

Flying Heritage Collection | Everett

McChord Air Museum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord | Tacoma

Olympic Flight Museum | Olympia

LeMay America’s Car Museum | Tacoma

Northwest Railway Museum | Snoqualmie

Bellingham Railway Museum | Bellingham

Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center | Seattle

Bellingham Maritime Museum | Bellingham

Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum | Kent

Foss Waterway Seaport | Tacoma

Puget Sound Navy Museum | Bremerton

Naval Undersea Museum | Keyport

Children’s Museums

Seattle Children’s Museum | Seattle

KidsQuest Museum | Bellevue

Imagine Children’s Museum | Everett

Children’s Museum of Tacoma | Tacoma

Children’s Museum of Skagit County | Burlington

Kids Discovery Museum | Bainbridge Island

Hands On Children’s Museum | Olympia

Discovery Village | Gig Harbor

Art Museums

Seattle Art Museum | Seattle

Henry Art Gallery | Seattle

Frye Art Museum | Seattle

Bellevue Arts Museum | Bellevue

Museum of Glass | Tacoma

Tacoma Art Museum | Tacoma

Chihuly Garden and Glass | Seattle

Whatcom Museum | Bellingham

Science & History Museums

Pacific Science Center | Seattle

Burke Museum | Seattle

Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) | Seattle

Experience Music Project Museum | Seattle

Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park | Seattle

Last Resort Fire Department Museum | Seattle

Washington State History Museum | Tacoma

SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention | Bellingham

Camlann Medieval Village | Carnation

Pioneer Farm Museum | Eatonville

Cultural Museums

Hibulb Cultural Center | Tulalip

Native American Cultural Center for Indians of All Tribes (Daybreak Star Center) | Seattle

Nordic Heritage Museum | Seattle

Northwest African American Museum | Seattle

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience | Seattle

 

I’m always looking for somewhere new to explore, so if I’ve missed one of your favorite museums, drop me a comment and let me know!

 Posted by at 11:21 pm
Mar 262015
 

lean and clean turkey burger with recipe

These lean and clean turkey burgers and heavy in our dinner rotation lately. Right now my kids are obsessed with “make your own” dinners. Make your own tacos, make your own pizza, and make your own burgers – basically anything that they get to assemble on their own is a hit. We have “make your own ” burgers just about weekly, and like to rotate between beef burgers, salmon burgers and ‘clean’ turkey burgers.

This recipe is quick and simple to prepare, and fits in with the kind of healthful eating we try and stick with. We like to fix oven roasted potatoes instead of french fries, and usually serve peppers, carrots, or cucumbers alongside as well.

Lean and Clean Turkey Burger
(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for frying burgers)

1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. The mixture will be really soft and sticky. Wet your hands with a bit of water before you form the patties to keep the meat from sticking to your fingers. At this point you can put the mixture in the fridge to chill if you’re not ready to cook yet, otherwise proceed to the next step.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat while you begin to form the patties. Once it’s hot add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and then as you make a burger set it right into the hot pan and pat it down a bit, then move onto the next one.

3. Cook the burgers for about 7 minutes per side, until the patty is entirely cooked through. If you want to add cheese, top the burgers with a slice once you’ve flipped them and they have about 3 minutes left to cook. Pepper Jack cheese is delicious on these!

4. Serve on hamburger buns with your favorite toppings. Some of our favorites to choose from are bread & butter pickles, salsa criolla, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados or guacamole, and ranch dressing.

lean and clean turkey burger

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Mar 202015
 
Make Your Own Canvas Beach Windbreak

Last summer we had a marvelous two week beach vacation planned at one of my very favorite spots to visit – Cannon Beach, Oregon. It’s a dreamy beach, miles long and extra wide so there’s plenty of room for walking, running, flying kites or building sandcastles. The only drawback is that it can get windy […]

Jan 152015
 
Manila Clams with Wine, Butter and Garlic

Yum, one of my favorite simple suppers is steamed Manila clams with white wine, butter, garlic and shallots. It’s so easy you don’t even really need a recipe, although I’ve got one for you. This meal manages to be unfussy yet elegant at the same time, which is often just what we need at our […]

Jan 072015
 
Super Sweet New Year's Gifts

I made homemade caramels and marshmallows for holiday gifts and they turned out so delicious that I really needed to come up with some pretty packaging to compliment them. I started out with some cardboard boxes that are usually used as disposable baking pans. Next I added some decorative cupcake liners and nestled the caramels […]

Dec 272014
 
Homemade Caramels and Marshmallows

I love making homemade gifts for Christmas – some years almost everything I gift is homemade and some years it’s only a little token. This year I’ve got a serious sweet tooth going on so I had to try my hand at marshmallows and caramels. First up were the marshmallows – I have had the […]