Mid-week catch up and Sawgrass Lake

October 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Monday we walked to school, but I didn’t take a photo. It looked like this:

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Later I went back to school to volunteer. Here’s my OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day):

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At school I cut paper…

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put together homework packages…

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and hung out with Mack while he had lunch.

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I can’t remember what else happened on Monday, but the next pictures I have are from Monday night when we watched The Walking Dead and I made a cocktail.

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That is the dregs of a NorCal margarita: tequila, club soda, lime. It’s really good, low carb, and I think it’s my new favorite drink.

I took these photos some time on Monday because Chewie looked so sweet in his spot of sunshine.

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On Tuesday I drove Mack to school because we were going on a fieldtrip that started early in the day. OOTFD (outfit of the fieldtrip day):

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I love this top from Gwynnie Bee. It’s these same flowers that grow in our neighbor’s backyard and spill over into ours…like these that I took photos of at Sunken Gardens on Sunday:

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The top is totally sheer, so it was the perfect thing to wear on a fieldtrip to a county park and environmental center on a 90 degree day with 90% humidity. Fall had not arrived here yet as of yesterday.

On the school bus:

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At Sawgrass Lake County Park:

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I have been to many (many, many) fieldtrips to this park, as well as many playdates there when the boys were little, but it is a gem.

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The kids first had to take a pre-test…

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then they learned about all of the data we were going to be collecting that day. The kids had to break up into teams to test the nearby canal’s pH, turbidity, and oxygen levels, as well as air temperature and a couple of other things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

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They also had to record observations found in the environment and use fields guides to identify plants and animals that they saw.

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I got teamed up with Mack and his friend to test the canal water’s pH with a testing pen.

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The kids really got into the data collection. They were loving it.

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After the data was all collected, recorded, and discussed we went on a short hike around the park.

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Our teacher/guide for the day was fabulous. Here she has the kids demonstrating weathering, erosion, and deposition.

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Some of our observations…

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-35This is a juvenile alligator. You can tell that he/she is still a baby because they lose those yellow stripes between 2-3 years old.

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My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-43Apple snail shell. These are invasive to Florida and get their name because they are the size of an apple, or fist-sized. This one was empty, but these huge things are everywhere out there. People use them in aquariums so that’s how they ended up in our local waterways.

My Fascinating Life Caroline Calcote-40Fieldtrip shoes. The kids love them, so don’t judge.

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Our teacher/guide asked the kids how many stripes they thought are on the back of a six-lined racer, a type of lizard. It was disheartening to hear many of them yell out, “Three!” Luckily, most of them answered, “What do you think a rat snake eats?” correctly. Maybe there is hope for the future.

Once we got back into the classroom the kids took a “post” test (and improved their scores tremendously, as our guide gave them all of the answers throughout the day) and got to check out all of the animals and other interesting things on display.

Grady the rabbit roams freely in and out of the classroom. They just leave all the doors open, even the ones leading to the outdoors. He’s obviously pretty happy there.

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Mack got to hold a snake.

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I learned that the term “aquatard” is not an insensitive name for me during the first leg of a triathlon. It’s actually part of the water cycle in Florida.

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The fieldtrip was great, but it was also LONG. It took up the entire school day.

Last night my friend Amy invited me to come hang out with her out at the beach. We were going to get drinks and watch the sunset but then it was raining. So instead we went to a place in Treasure Island called Middle Grounds Grill for dinner. I didn’t photograph my food, but the seasonal salad and New York strip steak with veggies were excellent. I would definitely recommend this place!

I did photograph my drink. I was going to order a NorCal margarita, but then I saw this on the menu which was just sort of a fancier version of that.

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We both got one without the agave nectar, and it was delicious. I definitely want to recreate this drink on my own some time. Thanks for the invitation Amy!

Luckily last night’s rain brought a cold front, and it was so nice out this morning on our walk to school. It was still shorts and tank top weather for me, but the humidity had noticeably dropped and I didn’t break a sweat. This is Mack chastising Chewie for filling FOUR poop bags on our walk:

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He missed his evening walk last night because of the rain and he pretty much refuses to poop in our yard unless it’s a dire emergency. He is spoiled by his morning and evening walks.

Today I stayed home all morning doing laundry and catching up on some things. The afternoon has been the usual run-around of picking up boys at various places and taking them to other various places. Time to go make dinner.

Cya.

Walking, painting, cooking

October 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Ack. Time ran out on me today. I got engrossed in the kitchen and lost the afternoon. But, I committed to trying to blog every single day this month, so I’m going to try to bang one out.

This morning Chewie and I walked Mack to school.

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Every day we pass these two guys on the walk to school.

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They go ballistic, running the fence and yapping their heads off. Chewie just sort of smirks at them. I love dachshunds. We like seeing these little dudes every morning, as spastic as they are.

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Chewie gets sad when Mack leaves us to go into school. He has to gaze after him and I have to drag him away in the opposite direction. He and Mack are tight.

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When I got home I made breakfast, but got interrupted by a phone call from my Dad. I sent my parents Vinnie Tortorich’s Fitness Confidential, the Hartwig’s It Starts with Food, and Jimmy Moore’s Cholesterol Clarity. He wanted to talk about it all, which was great. Apparently my Mom is fired up and is already changing her diet. Dad is understandably more skeptical. We’ll see how it goes for them.

So I warmed up my breakfast a half hour later.

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After breakfast I drove out to the beach to help my friend Amy with some painting in their adorable beach cottage. We were painting cabinets, which I’ve never done before.

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I painted this cabinet (this is after two coats):

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I only got one coat on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts before I had to leave.

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I hope I was some help Amy! Mostly I just went over to hang out with her, so that was accomplished.

When I got home I had a surprise in the mail and that’s what killed my afternoon. Melissa Joulwan sent me a copy of her new cookbook, Well Fed 2!!!

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The book is being released on October 22nd and she was nice enough to send me an advance copy for review. If you have been reading my blog the past couple of months, then you know that I LOVE Well Fed.

The new book is thicker than the first one!

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I dove right into the book and all plans I had for the afternoon and for what I was making for dinner just flew out the window. I tore into the book while I ate my lunch.

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I am going to do a longer review of the book in a few days after I play with it a little bit more. But I managed to make four recipes out of it today just with what I already had on hand.

I made kickass ketchup:

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Awesome Sauce:

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Classic Coleslaw:

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and Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes.

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Dinner saw so good.

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The boys thought the cole slaw and salmon cakes were great. Mack literally raved about the salmon cakes. Cal really liked the awesome sauce, but Mack only kind of liked it. I think it might have been a little too garlicky for him. Next time, I’m using a smaller clove of garlic. But Cal and I really liked it just like it was! Both the Awesome Sauce and Cole Slaw utilized homemade mayo, which I already had on hand (also using Melissa Joulwan’s recipe from Well Fed…it’s also in Well Fed 2).

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I can’t wait to make some more things from the new book! I would go ahead and pre-order it if I were you. You can get a free 35-page preview of Well Fed 2…check out Melissa’s blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, for more information about that as well as her preview of the book. Ahhhhh, girl-crushing.

Cya.