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Hello again!  So…apologies to all of you who tried to subscribe to my new blog (www.thebrowngoatblog.com).  There was a bit of a problem with my subscription feature so none of the subscriptions went through.

I am learning a lot about having my very own website and what it takes to troubleshoot things!  I have spent hours this past week on live chat with tech gurus, unlike myself, and now the issue has been resolved.  So, if you would like to receive posts from my new blog (www.thebrowngoatblog.com), then please head back to my site and re-enter your email address to subscribe.  You will then receive a confirmation email which you will have to open and confirm with one click in order to complete the subscription process.

This week I have published posts about Rigby turning 6 months and Jack turning 6 years!

I appreciate all of you supporting me and this evolving blog.  Please hop on over to http://www.thebrowngoatblog.com and take a peak.

xxo, Stephanie

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I have some really exciting news to share!!  While I have been relatively quiet on here over the past few weeks, my creative energy has been used designing a new blog!  This is something that I have been wanting to do for a while so that I can have more creative freedom in my blog space and hopefully expand my online presence.  The great news is that it is now live and ready to be visited!  My new blog is http://www.thebrowngoatblog.com.  Beginning now, I will no longer be publishing new posts on this WordPress site.

On http://www.thebrowngoatblog.com I have a new post about our Halloween and several other posts lined up in the queue waiting to be published.  So, please click on the link and take a look around the new space.  If you have been a subscriber to this blog (or would like to become a new subscriber to the Brown Goat blog), you can easily subscribe by email on the new blog home page to receive new posts as they are published.  I apologize to all my current subscribers, because I am unable to transfer your email subscriptions to my new site so I am asking you to manually subscribe again, but I hope the effort is relatively quick and easy (and worth it).

I appreciate all of you being here and supporting me and this blog.  It is because of all of you that I decided to create a new space to share my creative work.  I am excited about this new chapter and hope you will continue to read along!  So, hop on over to http://www.thebrowngoatblog.com and take a peak.  I hope you like what you see, and will want to keep visiting and join in the new conversation.

xxo, Stephanie

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Happy Halloween!

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I hope your Halloween weekend is full of tricks, treats, spooks, and guts!

We have a lot of celebrating planned! Jack is excited about trick-or-treating with a few of his best friends to celebrate his birthday. And, we hope to make David’s birthday the special day he deserves, even if it will be properly celebrated a day late.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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IMG_0949Chilly Friday night soccer practice calls for a warm, comfort food dinner to be ready when we finally arrive home tired, cold, and sometimes wet from the Seattle rain.  This was a fun meal to prepareas I am always trying to think up new ways to use the slow cooker.

It certainly appealed to everyone’s tastes.  I think I would have liked it to be a bit more spicy, so perhaps using a spicier poultry seasoning or adding a bit of cayenne pepper would be a nice addition if you like spice, but it is yummy as it is too.IMG_0948

Slow Cooker Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients:

4 carrots, cut into coins
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
kosher salt and black pepper
1cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 biscuits
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preparation:

In a slow cooker, toss together the carrots, celery, onion, and flour.  Place the chicken on top and season with the poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the broth.
Cover and cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender, on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Thirty minutes before serving, cook the biscuits (I just used store bought ones).
Ten minutes before serving, add the peas, cream, and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Cover and cook until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more.
To serve, place the bottom halves of the biscuits in shallow bowls, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining biscuit halves.

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IMG_1253IMG_1161This past weekend we spent Saturday at Suncadia Resort.  It is one of our favorite day trip destinations, and this time of year it is particularly lovely. We love going to the resort’s Harvest Festival to spend a sunny afternoon getting lost in the hay maze, swinging on the rope swing, and just enjoying the festiveness of the season.  
IMG_1174IMG_1171 IMG_1175IMG_1179 IMG_1184 IMG_1204It was great fun to share our annual trip to the Harvest Festival with David’s parents this year.  We all had a rejuvenating day away from the city and, as you can see in the below pictures, the boys are pretty smitten with their Mia and Popi.

We almost always end our day at Suncadia relaxing in the gorgeous lobby or on the terrace of The Lodge with a coffee from the coffee stand or a beverage from the bar.  The view into the valley is stunning from The Lodge’s expansive windows.  This was our first visit since the completion of the 1,000 steps walk which leads, with 379 stairs, from the Lodge down to the river.  We walked about half of it and it is pretty amazing (and a great workout!).IMG_1216IMG_1299IMG_1308 IMG_1214 IMG_1267 IMG_1331

What is your favorite thing to do, or place to visit, in the fall?  Please share with me, I would love to know…

PS See photos from some of our other favorite fall activities: apple picking, Bob’s Corn Maze, and the pumpkin patch.

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This past Sunday, we made our annual trip up to Bellewood Acres for apple picking with dear friends. The weather was perfect- sunny and warm in the sun, cool in the shade.  The children loved playing on the old tires and in the wagons as much, or maybe more, than picking apples.  We chose to walk out to the orchards this year rather than ride in the tractor and Rigby appreciated the stroll as a chance to fall sleep.

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We picked twenty pounds of apples.  I have already made plans for about half of them (hopefully the recipes will be yummy enough to share…stay tuned), but I have equally ambitious plans to enjoy many without alteration, aside from a big scoop of peanut butter for dipping them into.

Oh, and I keep dreaming of the frozen boozy cocktail I enjoyed post apple picking- apple cider blended with Bellewood Distilling gin and served in a mason jar.  So delicious and refreshing.  I may have to make one more trip up there just to grab a bottle of apple gin or brandy for our home bar.

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P.S. Our trip to Bellewood Acres from 2013.

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Five Months

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5 months old?!  It’s really hard to believe.  Even Jack who heard me tell someone that Rigby turned 5 months old over the weekend said, “Five months, already?!”

Rigby is a bright-eyed, flirtatious 5 month old babe with rosy apple cheeks and blue eyes that are full of expression.  He continues to be loud and has no qualms letting you know that he is tired or hungry.  He has also learned how to squeal this month and it is equally as loud as his cries.

This month was full of many marked events among which was a power outage from a wind storm that lasted for 50 hours!, a delay in the start to Jack’s school year due to a teacher strike, his first night away from home, a trip to the zoo, becoming the youngest supporter of Jack’s soccer team, the Yellow Jackets, and going to his first college football game.

Night time sleeping is going very well, yet we did experience the highly discussed 19-20 week old sleep regression in which Rigby work up several times throughout the night.  It coincided with his first cold, so it was all around a difficult few days, but we are on the other side of that and he is back to sleeping long night stretches.  His routine of late is an early bedtime of 6:30p (in actuality, he is ready for bed by 6:00p, but we are not quite ready to put him down then) and an early morning wake up of 6:00a.  He is still waking one time during the very early morning (lately around 5:00a) to eat and usually goes back to sleep with no trouble. Despite the great sleep, he still wants nothing to do with his crib and sleeps pretty much the whole night in the Rock and Play.  Not certain what we will do once he outgrows it.

Day time naps are so-so.  His morning is the most unstructured time of the day as we are still working to find our rhythm with Jack’s school schedule.  We walk Jack to school each morning and Rigby tends to cat nap both before and after this walk with, unfortunately, lots of crying as he tries to help himself fall asleep.  Afternoon naps are much better and longer, yet not without their share of tears before he gives in to his sleepiness.

When he’s sleepy and being changed into his pajamas, he stares very intently into my eyes without moving a muscle aside from the occasional smirk that he lets slip. He hangs onto my every word and I just might fall more in love each time.  He also might be the only person who enjoys my singing, but man is he a fan!  We have been singing Better Than Ezra’s “Something “Bout This Time of Year” and Frente!’s “Accidentally Kelly Street” a lot lately.

Rigby is definitely playing and interacting more these days.  He sits in his Bumbo chair several times throughout the day and is getting stronger supporting himself, which is good since solid foods are right around the corner (perhaps that is why he sheds buckets of drool all day long)!  He also enjoys jumping in the Jumperoo and has a particular affinity for the music and lights.  If ever on his back or in the carseat, he loves to grab ahold of his feet and sort of rock or place them into his mouth- reminds me of a little turtle that got flipped over on his shell. The highlight of his world, however, continues to be big brother Jack.  His eyes sparkle and his whole face lights up whenever Jack is within view.

We have started more purposeful reading to Rigby, realizing just a few days ago that his book time was with Jack’s books and his board books were essentially being ignored.  He enjoys listening and looking at the pictures if you can get him positioned just right in your lap, but he is also eager to grab at our arms and the book during story time.  He loves to try to close the book and stick the corner into his mouth.

Rigby is quite ticklish and I can hardly get through a diaper change without a laughing spell.  I continue to be completely addicted to it!  I just love his laughter.  We are starting to do sign language with him and he is an attentive observer.  His new trick is the beginning of a hand wave hello.  But, I have to be careful to praise as my excitement can be startling to him and he will pout out his bottom lip while tears swell in his eyes.

We love you so much sweet plum!

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Jack has been very involved for several years in choosing his clothes.  And, while he occasionally needs some gentle redirecting away from clothes with characters, for the most part his style is pretty rad in my opinion. I thought I would share what he chose to wear for the first few days of Kindergarten.

Meet Your Teacher Day:

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Shirt: Gap Kids, Gray Skinny Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes, Star Wars Darth Vader Vans: Nordstrom

First Day: 

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Shirt: Bear Vader, a gift from Nona and Pops from Alaska; Gray Skinny Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes, Chuck Taylor Party High Top Sneakers: Nordstrom

Second Day: 

Shirt: Star Wars Sweatshirt, H&M, Pants: Skinny Jeans, Old Navy

Third Day:

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Shirt: Gap Kids, Pants: Gray Twill, H&M, Shoes: Pumas, J. Crew Kids, Backpack: Jack Skellington, Amazon

Fourth Day:

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Shirt: Sweatshirt, H&M, Shorts: Old Navy, Socks: Camp Socks, Gap Kids

Some things of interest this week:

Do you ever feel as overwhelmed as I do about the stack of unread New Yorkers growing in your living room?  Well, this might be just what you need.  I have used it for a few weeks now and have found it really useful!

Rigby turns five months this weekend…gulp!  I have been making plans for his introduction to solid foods for a while now and am getting so excited to use my Baby Breeza to make some yummy things for him to try!

I’m pining for a pair of glerups! They are a bit pricey for slippers, but I practically live in my Minnetonka slippers now that my work is at home.

We made this deliciously indulgent pumpkin desert on Wednesday to welcome Fall.  I recommend that you try it at least one time this season, it’s yummy!

There are a lot of restaurants in Seattle that are on my list to visit and Manolin falls near the top if only to see the gorgeous open kitchen, the beautiful bar with the dreamy turquoise brick walls, and the particularly attractive staff.  Check out the slide show in Bon Appetit.

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A Quick Way to Fitness

My fitness routine has been pretty much nonexistent since getting pregnant with Rigby.  I never felt energetic or well enough during the pregnancy to do much more than walking.  And, even walking was painful if it wasn’t slow enough.  And, now that I have two children who I have been at home with full-time since June, finding the time to build in regular exercise has been a bit of a challenge.

I savor the mornings when I can squeeze in a run.  Over Labor Day weekend, I was able to run around Green Lake alone and it was revitalizing.  It was also the only twenty-six minutes that I had spent without my boys since July!  So, time is precious to me these days.

With Jack finally starting Kindergarten, I am hoping to build in a regular exercise routine, but I will still need to find a routine that has the most impact in the smallest amount of time.  I also need to find something that I look forward to doing, or I will find multiple excuses not to.  A recent study led by Jens Bangsbo from University of Copenhagen in Denmark illustrated that a program they call 30-20-10 can not only make you faster, but can also improve your blood pressure and other markers of health.

The concept of 30-20-10 is to do cardiovascular exercise like running, biking, or rowing at a moderate pace for 30 seconds, a slightly more intense pace for 20 seconds, and a full out sprint for 10 seconds, repeating the cycle 5 times to produce one continuous 5 minute repeat.  The study suggests doing two cycles of the 5 minute repeat with a 1 minute warm-up and cool-down, totaling just 12 minutes of exercise.

I love this idea and know from prior race training experience that high intensity exercise makes a big impact.  What is so great about this particular approach to intense exercise is that the numbers are so easy and it only require a full out sprint for 10 seconds as compared to some programs that suggest 30 seconds or more.  I plan to start doing a few workouts like this each week…it will be interesting to see how it works with a running stroller!

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Kindergarten 

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Jack is scheduled to begin Kindergarten this week (he was actually supposed to begin today, but the teachers in Seattle have voted to strike regarding some wage disagreements, so the exact start date is unknown). But. KINDERGARTEN.  REAL school.  Yesterday, we had orientation.  We met his teacher and his classmates and explored in his classroom.

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IMG_0665IMG_0657IMG_0659In some sense, it seems perfectly fitting. He’s ready for this.  Yet, in another, I cannot actually believe we are exiting the early childhood chapter of his life and moving on to the next. It would be exhausting, of course, to remain in the baby stage, or the toddler stage, or any stage at all for that matter, but to be entering the school days stage with Jack is hard to wrap my mind around. How have we already arrived at this?

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A few days ago, I found myself watching a video of him taken on the day after we moved to Seattle, he was 19 months old.  I had to turn it off.  My eyes burned from trying not to cry.  My heart was swirling with so many emotions.  Last week we received an email introduction from his Kindergarten teacher and I read it aloud to him.  This time, my tears couldn’t be stopped.  As they were slowing welling up and trickling down my cheeks and I was stuttering on the words, Jack just sort of stared and then asked me if I was crying.  I told him how much I love him and how sometimes watching him grow so big makes me cry.  He gave me a kiss and a cuddle and told me “it’s okay” and I know, somewhere deep down, that it really is.

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I also know how lucky I am. How blessed my life is.  I am so grateful that I hold so many things so dearly that time has become something of an enemy.  It sure is hard to let go and to move on, but I can only imagine the joy and laughter and memories that the school days will bring to our lives.  It is time for our next chapter to begin.  And, maybe I am ready.

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