Sarah’s Ten All Time Favorite Recipes

So what are some of my favorite recipes I have come up with over the years? Sarah tested and approved! I’d say I probably have at least 100 favorite recipes, but these are 10 of my really favorite ones. Enjoy!

Maple Lemonade

Cheesy Bacon Grits

Dry Cream of Mushroom Soup Mix

Asian Chicken Slaw Wraps

Asian Inspired Chicken and Veggies

Fried Egg over Savory Rice


DIY Mac n’ Cheese

Garden Veggie Couscous

Crab Mac’ and Cheese

Pumpkin and Gingersnap Pudding

Celebrating a Year of Alternative Transportation

I realized recently that a year had passed since I have had a personal car. No fan fare really, more I just looked at the calendar and realized it. So what better way to celebrate than to drive home a petty point? Our local school district goes back to school next week, with ginormous changes. We jump from 4 to 6 elementary schools, open a brand new 4 year high school in the center of town, and the Junior High Schools go to 3 year. It’s a mess to say the least – and for the first time the district is imposing a walking policy for people living within a mile (or so) who can safely walk to school. To say there has been pitchforks and raging hissy fits is an understatement. I do get the anger, change sucks. However, as a parent to kids who will now be bussed 5 miles across town, literally past 2 other elementary schools (which two we could walk to) my sympathy meter is low. I’d love if my kids could walk or bike to school. That won’t happen though, and I’ve dealt with my anger over it. (I can’t even walk to their school safely – a big chunk of it is missing sidewalks, and the school is actually outside of town, on the far side)

But to listen to these parents carry on, you’d think they had the worst commute ever. So I put on the kids’ shoes yesterday, and we walked an urban route, part of which covered the route these children will walk this Fall. Was it hard?

The first complaint is about hills. After walking about 1.5 miles, we crossed the state highway 516 in town, and headed up this hill. We made it up the hill in no time. It wasn’t hard, and no one needed to stop for a breath. (Looking back to the highway in the far distance) It’s an average 2 lane road, with a decent side-walk on one side. Our youngest is 5 and is asthmatic (however, I did pick a low forest fire smoke day, so I did cherry pick that)

At the top of the hill, it turns and heads back down (not visible, at the bottom it dumps out onto Highway 169, the other state road that runs through our town) It’s the same type road. The sidewalk is even nicer here.

Looking back, the boys were plodding along happily.

All this, and we passed the school in question. Love the salmon though on the fence!

A little farther and we turned onto the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail, that parallels Highway 169. The boys took a break and did some wild crafting with items found on the ground. It’s one of Walker’s favorite things to do when we hike.

The hike back into town was peaceful on the trail. We stopped for lunch, and then continued back home on the trail (we live on it). At the end, we had walked 4.26 miles. The boys were not tired – in fact, later in the day we walked back into town to do some shopping. But I proved my point to myself. That the hills were not as bad as made out to be, and that it wasn’t a bad walk. After all, if I am going to argue on Facebook, I better be able to back up my claims….which I did. The children will be just fine. And they probably will like it.

I still feel, a year out, that we are too dependent on cars. Cars let us live a lifestyle that we want. Life without a personal vehicle changes that quickly. We are resilient – and we can do it. Walking doesn’t make me feel third world, I feel free now – when I am not in a car I am nicer person. I don’t have to circle a lot to park, I just walk in. Would this work if I lived in the country? Not so much. But where I live now it does. And finding a car has dropped very low on my things to do list.

Henry’s Ridge Hiking: Sting’r Loop

Today was an impulse hike, to the Henry’s Ridge area in Maple Valley.¬†We had a tiny bit of rain overnight that pushed the smoke from the wild fires down enough that Alistaire could hike without coughing up a lung. The hot summer and continuing smoke has left us without many hikes in. However, this morning was cloudy and actually cool for a bit.

The theme was blackberries. Much of the loop was dripping in two types of them.

We parked along SE 281st Way (which has no homes on it) and started there. It is an easy entrance into the trail area, and is well-marked. We took the first trail to the right, Sting’r, and followed it through the woods.

Someone had rocked this section and the boys were very happy. First find was a “family” rock.

Not long after, Alistaire found this one.

I found this one up high, on a nurse log.

We left the trail and headed down Route 66 trail (a roadbed), to the retention ponds. One has plenty of murky water, surrounded with many birds calling. We took a break while Walker stuffed his face on berries nearby.

We walked the road bed heading back, to finish the “loop” to the next set of retention ponds.

Where we found two more painted rocks.

A log bridge, that goes over the water in wetter months, between the ponds.

It was a great quick hike. Not long. Peaceful, with lots of people out walking, and a few mountain bikers.