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17 in 2017 // What Happened? What Didn't?

one of Ani's goals: learning to bake!

This year was a great one--we did SO much as a family and I really think by setting up some 'Things to Do' with the kids in my goal list for 2017, we made them happen rather than thinking we could do them 'someday'. We traveled a lot in 2017; we hit every state on the West Coast including Alaska! We started our 6th year of homeschooling and went a bit rogue in a few subjects like Math. I started and finished a beloved book series with the kids. There were a few things that didn't happen because of circumstances, but almost everything else DID happen, and I'm proud of that! Intentions + action for the win! 

What Happened

*Learn to make pakora and butter chicken (crock pot): This might be cheating but a friend of mine sells Epicure spice blends and they just came out this past year with a pakora packet. It's healthy, fast, gluten-free, and delicious and I'm counting it! I also made the most delicious butter chicken in my crock pot but I can't remember which (library) cookbook I used and that somewhat devastates me.
*Go to Portland: We hit the road with everyone + the dog for a 4 day trip down to Portland this summer and stayed in a nice + cheap little airbnb just north in Vancouver, WA. It was a cheap trip and mostly to just be tourtists to one of the coolest places in the country. It was weird. I loved it. I could live in Powells Bookstore. Shame on me for never blogging it, I'll have to share the pics and experience.
*Visit Burnaby Village and ride the carousel: We found out that BV is free in December, so we waited for a day when Stefan had off work before Christmas to go, and the kids loved it. It's an interesting little pioneer 'village' replicated after historical Burnaby, and the 105 year old restored carousel not only works, it goes fast, is beautifully done, and was only $2 per kid! Worth the trip.
*Hike in Joshua Tree National Park: This was something Stefan and I planned to do while in California for his brother's wedding, and the entire family came along. The first half of the trip I had to go to the bathroom so badly I could barely walk (true story) but once I-ahem-had some covering I was free to boulder with Stefan, my nephew + SIL's husband for awhile. We saw a rattlesnake sunning himself on a rock and Stefan took his favorite selfie of all time. I only wished we had been out there at night to see the gorgeous glitter sky one gets to view in the desert at night!
*Bike the Kettle Valley Railway + Othello Tunnels: This was a fantastic experience for the family, too, and our kids were the perfect ages to do it. We spent 1 day driving out to Hope, BC, and riding our bikes through the Othello Tunnels (worth the visit), and then drove to Kelowna that evening, spent the night at an airbnb after visiting with Stefan's grandparents, and next day role the Kettle Valley Railway section Myra Canyon with all the trestles. It was so beautiful, and because it's mostly flat, the kids really enjoyed the ride both days! Worth the trip.
*Go to the San Diego Zoo: I'm going to let you in on a secret I'm almost afraid to admit, but my home state's large zoo (the one that flip flops for Best Zoo in the US every year with the San Diego Zoo) is so much better than this famous and enormous zoo. I mean, we loved seeing the pandas, and taking a ride on the aerial tram, but as for layout, zoo exhibits, modernity, cleanliness...everything...I have yet to visit a zoo that beats Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. I can say I've been there, but I've had better!
*Use Gluten-Free Tempura Batter to make Onion Rings: Okay, so this is niche, but using NextJen's GF tempura batter was like one of my Christmas presents. We rarely fry food (ahem, I love it too much and it needs to be a treat!) but Stefan and I made these onion rings that were to die for. They were actually lighter + crispier than I've ever had (regular flour), ever. In January, I won a huge box of Next Jen's GF flours and items from the Vancouver GF Expo and I was thrilled.
*Go to the Seattle Renegade Craft Fair: Our family went down to Seattle for the day so Ani and I could attend this fair and although I'm so glad we did, I wish we would have planned other things for the day, as you could really only spend about two hours there. The items were beautiful, reasonably priced, and unique, but it was blistering hot in the venue. You can read all about it HERE.
*See La La Land with Stefan: Well, this was just fun. I love a good romantic comedy, and I love musicals, and this did not disappoint. I love the main song, and I LOVED the ending (it got mixed reviews). I don't make Stefan watch too many movies with me as we have different tastes, but I will say this, every movie I DO make him watch, he enjoys as well! (See also: The Greatest Showman). 
*Plan a surprise for my mom's 60th Birthday: I had to think long and hard as far as what I could pull off for her birthday that she would enjoy and that I could work out from afar and not just click and ship from amazon. Thanks to the help of her best friend and a few phone calls, I think she enjoyed her gift! And nope, I'm not telling as I might use it on other people!
*See friends in Alaska: Oh my goodness, the Alaska adventures. I am shocked I never blogged about this trip, but it was incredible. A friend of mine lives in Alaska, and 3 of us + husbands + 1 roommate + 2 dogs came together for an epic week. We're talking amazing whale watch experiences, glacier flyovers in a bush plane, white water rafting (sorta), and camping on the beach playing games until after midnight when it was still light out. The highlight of my year is often getting together with these two other friends, and with all the guys around it was just so much more fun.
*Read Through Narnia with Kids: This was a literary highlight (yes, you're allowed to have those) of 2017. Sharing a book series that I cherish with my kids, and watching them fall in love with it, too, made my heart swell. This year, it's Harry Potter, and I'm feeling the same feels. I hope they remember and cherish these times together as much as I will.
*Try surfing in Oceanside, CA: This was a life's bucket list I'd been dying to try--surfing--for ages. Our trip to California for Stefan's brother was a pretty amazing trip, and the day we spent at Oceanside was actually one of our family's favorite. The kids had a blast boogie boarding in the waves, and Stefan and I swapped a surfboard for hours of surfing. Stefan got up a few times and rode it til the end, and the best I could do was 3 legs up before bailing, but I had a great time, and we both decided it was 100% worth the money spent on rentals, and that we'd like to do it again. Worth it!
*Stay on Vashon Island: This is another place I have always wanted to visit and when a friend suggested it for her annual trip up, I jumped at the chance. It was beautiful, relaxing, so enjoyable, and the activities and eats were excellent, too. I would definitely go back again. You can read about that trip HERE.

What Didn't Happen

*Buy a Better Swimsuit: I decided to stick it out one more summer with my swimsuit since they are not a cheap thing (a quality one will cost at least $100) and it had a bit of life left. I'm glad I did but I REALLY need a new one now, as the old has been worn for 3-4 years and is completely stretched out.
*Visit the Britannia Mine: The one time we were supposed to visit this cool historic site in BC one of the kids got sick. A friend has just proposed a field trip for this Wednesday so we're going!
*Go to the Asian Night market in Richmond: I had also made plans with a friend to go to this, but over summer she became pregnant and had a hard time with smells + sickness. It's a good thing we decided to can our trip, as the unique smells of cooking/frying/spices would have been a lot for someone even without heightened hormones! This will hopefully happen this summer. 

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