Monday, January 24, 2011

Kombucha

 Have you tried it?
I am in the midst of a love/hate relationship with it right now. It's essentially a fermented Chinese tea, that I have been hearing more and more about. It contains probiotics, enzymes, polyphenols and organic acids that are supposed to promote health, well-being and balance in your body.

Their are a ton of different varieties and brands out there, but right now I have been trying different flavors in GT's Kombucha brand. A few things to note if you've never tried it but are thinking about it:

1. There is stuff floating in your drink. It looks gross, but it's actually the live culture that all of the healthy ingredients from the drink came from. I've found that if you don't think about it, you don't even realize when you've swallowed it.
2. The flavors I have tried so far have all been carbonated. Perhaps this is not really a surprise to anyone, but it was to me.
3. It has a slight smell and taste of vinegar. Nothing that strong, but it's definitely noticeable. I tend to like the flavors that have some juice in them to balance out that taste.
4. So far my favorite flavors have been the Gingerberry above and Strawberry Serenity.

I'm not sold on the health benefits yet, but I do think that it acts as a bit of an appetite suppressor and it keeps me from overdosing on caffeine from afternoon lattes :)


POST EDIT: One more thing to note. On each bottle, there is a little blurb that says, "DO NOT SHAKE". They mean it. I accidentally did this morning and I still can't open the bottle yet without Kombucha spilling everywhere!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The view from my front step when I woke up this morning...

Sure it's not the best mountain view money can buy but it's still so pretty. Also, note the moon! I think that means that I was up early, which for me is quite a feat!

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back at it

This weekend I got back into running again. It's the first time I've run since the end of 2010 and it felt really good to test out my new running gear from Christmas, which I'll cover off on in another post. I did a quick run with Charlie on Saturday, which was rough. But my run with him today was the best because Dan came along! We had never run together before and it was fun. I'm not sure that Dan would characterize it the same way, but with a regular running habit, I think he might.

My training plan for the half marathon kicks off the week of 1/31 and it has me running 11 miles the first week. Since I have not been running any, it's time to get my butt in gear.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 - 315 N. Goals

Last week I posted a list recapping all of the projects we were able to complete at the house in 2010. Here's a look at all of the things I'm hoping we can accomplish in 2011.

1. Paint our fence... (I referred to it's current state in this post, and it has not changed much since)
2. Hire a tree trimmer to take care of some tree branches outside of our expertise
3. Hire an electrician to remove some old knob & tube wiring that's still in our attic
4. Have insulation added to the attic roof
5. Remove wallpaper from the 2nd bedroom and paint
6. Have the remaining carpet removed downstairs and refinish all of the wood floors
7. Paint trim in dining room
8. Touch up paint in our bedroom and the sunroom
9. Paint wall under the stairs
10. Have front porch steps fixed and apply stone veneer
11. Remove rotting wood under front porch and replace with lattice
12. Install shelves in the downstairs linen closet
13. Pick out new paint colors for house exterior and paint
14. Have quote done for kitchen renovation in 2012

It's a lot, so even if we just get half of this list done I'll be happy. With a house as old as ours, I'm surprised I could keep this list to only 14 items!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Public Service Request

Dear News 1st 5,

I find the promo spot that you have been running for the past few months that announces that you now read obituaries during your morning newscasts weird and disturbing.

I know you may be lacking in the ratings, but really, obits? That's what you think is going to get people to tune in? I can understand that you want people to know about new station offerings, but seriously... obituaries month after month. It's just strange now.

I've already banned the local news (don't worry, all local stations, not just yours) from our home to avoid awkward newscasts and surprisingly frequent technical difficulties. Don't bring the awfulness into the commercial break too.

Seriously.

Stop.

Much appreciated,
A local promo spot viewer

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The World in 4 Minutes

So, I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to charts, graphs and statistics. This video shows a pretty interesting visual representation of wealth and life expectancy progression throughout the world from the early 1800s to present. I thought it was cool so I'm sharing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ode to 2010

Thought I would do one more 2010 recap in photos to capture the year in one post (last 2010 post, I promise). It was really a fun year all together and seeing all of these photos in one place, reminds me that I should really blog more throughout the year to capture all of these events.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Four!

It's hard to believe that this little guy went from 5 weeks old...
video
...to four years old in what feels like such a short span of time!
We are so thankful for our pup. Happy Birthday Charlie!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 - 315 N. Improvements in Review

Every year I start off by making a list of all of the things I want us to accomplish on the house as the year goes on. This year, we may have diverged from that list a bit, but really made a lot of headway nonetheless.
Here's a recap of what went down throughout the year.

February: Installed a new garbage disposal and a new bathroom faucet
May: Bought and installed a new water heater after ours died suddenly
May: Started a service to rid our lawn of ant colonies so they don't start coming inside
June: Trimmed trees around the house, cleaned out the garage and cleared the dog run
July: Painted the sunroom
May-October: Cleared out and revamped the right of way in front of the house (this deserves a post in its own right, which I will try to get to soon)
September: Bought a rug for the sunroom
October: Routed the sewer line and had the furnace inspected
November: Scraped the popcorn ceiling out of the 2nd bedroom and tore up and removed the carpet from the room.
November: Had insulation added to the attic eaves
December: Bought a new couch!

As the year goes by I never think that we are doing enough (I have big goals), but when I look back I feel like we actually managed to accomplish a lot. I'll share our 2011 goal list in the next few days. It's pretty optimistic, but I'm a glass half full kind of person and can't help myself.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Books in Review

Bridge to TerabithiaBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never SeenThe Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)

City of ThievesThe Girl Who Played with FireThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestMockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)The HelpShelter MeSecond ChanceThe Other WomanJunky
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)BarefootAngry Housewives Eating Bon BonsShanghai Girls

I try to make a goal each year of reading at least as many books as I did the year before. This year, I made it by the skin of my teeth. I had to throw in Bridge to Terabithia last night in order to make it, which is kind of cop out, but still resulted in matching number of books read in 2009, so I'm okay with it. In my defense, I'm in the middle of about 5 books, so I blame being easily distracted to the last minute goal completion.
The books above outline what I read last year. I track everything on Goodreads, which if you have not been to is a great site that allows me to keep track of what I read when, and what I thought of books overall.
My favorite book of the year was Born to Run, but The Help and the Steig Larsson trilogy were also really entertaining reads. For 2011, I am going to try to diversify my reading a bit to include some new genres.
Here's a quick recap on my thoughts on the books above (as a general rule, I only give really horrible books 1 or 2 stars):

Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall: Fascinating book about a serious group of runners, featuring the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico. Whether you are into running or not, I recommend the read. It was really interesting and I learned a lot. (5 out 5 stars)

The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown: This is the third Robert Langdon installment and is pretty consistent in tone and pace with the other books. This one focuses mostly around Freemasonry and takes place in Washington, D.C. I liked it as much as I liked The Da Vinci Code (4 out of 5 stars)
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Patterson: A book from my childhood. It doesn't hold the same appeal to me now as it did then, but still a good read for a young adult book.... and a really quick one. I think I blew through it in an hour. (4 out of 5 stars)

City of Thieves, by David Benioff: This is what I'd call a comedic tragedy. It takes place during WWII in Leningrad and follows two unlikely heroes, as they go off on a seemingly impossible hunt to find eggs in order to secure their freedom. It's definitely the most unique war story I have ever read. (4 out of 5 stars)

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins: The third and final installment of The Hunger Games series. I thought it was just as good as the other two books and was surprised by how much I liked the series. Sad to know that the series is over. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett: I'm definitely not the first person to have read this book in 2010. As I'm sure most of you have heard of it, I will keep it concise. Loved the characters and the writing in this book. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson: Same as above, I'm sure most of you have heard about this series as well. I loved it. You definitely have to get through the first few chapters of the first novel to get into it, but once you do, it unravels into a really fascinating story. The last two books are pretty intense from a pace perspective. There were many times when I did not want to put the books down. (5 out 5 stars)

Shelter Me, by Juliette Faye: I started this book in August and did not finish it until the day before yesterday. It centers around a woman in the year after she is widowed unexpectedly with two small children. I think the premise of the book was good, it just never really kept me interested. I think it was well written, but perhaps to sad overall to really keep me engaged. (3 out of 5 stars)

Second Chance, by Jane Green: The 1st of two Jane Green books I read this past year. She is a british author, who pretty much writes a lot of chick lit. This was my favorite of the two books I read of hers. It follows a group of friends who are reunited through a loss after years apart. It was a quick read and entertaining. (4 out of 5 stars)
The Other Woman, by Jane Green: My least favorite read of the year, but a quick beach read if you need one. It follows the relationship between a girl and her soon to be mother-in-law, as they move through engagement to wedding and beyond. (3 out of 5 stars)

Junky, by William S. Burroughs: Dan brought this one home and I picked it up one day and finished it pretty soon after. If you ever need a reason not to do drugs, you should read this book. While it's a little to anxiety producing for my liking it was well written and an interesting look into 1950s drug culture. (3 out of 5 stars)

Barefoot, by Elin Hilderbrand: A fun beach read that takes place in Nantucket. I loved the scenery of this book and would recommend it if you're looking to remind yourself of Summer. I also like the characters although the story could have had more to offer. (4 out of 5 stars)

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, by Lorna Landvik: This story spans a group of friends' relationship over a series many decades. I liked to see how the times effected each character and really liked how each developed. A fun book that reminded me of the Ya Ya books. (4 out of 5 stars)

Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See: While I liked Snowflower and the Secret Fan more than this book, I still found it to be good. It focuses on two sisters' transitions from wealth in Shanghai to being immigrants in Los Angeles. It was somewhat sad overall and dragged at times once they were in the US. (4 out of 5 stars)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nor'easter 2010

One of the best parts about being on the East coast for Christmas was that we got to experience a huge Nor'easter while we were there. Even though we have lived at 6,000 feet for 5 years, we just don't see this kind of snow out here.

My Aunt B woke the boys up early the next morning to help with the shoveling. Greg had to borrow clothes from Paul. He looked awesome!


It pretty much made Dan's day to wake up and shovel. But all in all the boys were good sports about it.
I spent the morning wrangling my Grandpa to make sure that he didn't head out there with them, which may have been the toughest job of them all.  :)