Archive for April 2012

DIY - Raised Garden Beds

One reason Zach and I were so adamant on getting a house with a decent sized backyard was 
so that we could plant a garden and live off of the earth. Growing up on a farm, I value the art 
of gardening and getting that much closer to the land you live on. Living in the city, raised
garden beds were the perfect choice for us. 

Here is what you need: 

Also a level is important if you want your garden beds to be even! 
Zach made our garden beds a little more complicated, so this is the "easier" version. 

1. Decide how big you want your garden bed to be. We made both of ours 4'x8'.
2. Make sure that no part of the bed is more than 2' from the edge of the bed, this will 
make it so that you can easily tend your garden!  
3. Cut (4) 4' boards and (4) 8' boards. 
4. If you are wanting to secure the bed, you will want 4"x4" posts - cut these posts about two
 feet long. These 4"x4" post will be the four corners of your garden bed. 
6. Cut four more posts that will serve as additional support, being put in the middle of each board.
7. You may need to dig out the perimeter to make sure your beds are level. Dig just over a foot down 
for where the posts will go.
8. Take your two 8' boards and position them one above another.
9. Fasten a post into each side of this 8' board (like the above photo) and in the middle.
10. Repeat this to the other two 8' boards as well.
11. Repeat the same process with the 4' boards expect place the post in the center.
12. Secure one 8' piece into the ground, be sure level it out before filling in all the dirt.
13. Secure the board with some soil for the time being. 
14. Place one of the 4' pieces so that it is perpendicular at the end of the 8' piece that you just 
secured. Fasten into either the post, deck boards or to a Jerry-rigged 2"x4"... like we did!  
15. Repeat step 12 with the other 4' piece. 
16. Place the last 8' piece into place, making sure everything is aligned and level. 
Secure into place with plenty of screws. 
17. Add dirt, worms, your favorite veggies, some sunshine and rain! 

So excited to plant the seedlings that have been growing on our front porch into the beds. 
Stay tune for more photos on the progress of our backyard. 

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Vegan Pancakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

Breakfast time.
It's the ritual of grinding the coffee beans. Or how your sleepy gaze slowly awakens.
It's the quiet of the mornings...birds chirping, sun rising, and the anticipation of a new day.
It's the laid back feeling; sporting the sweatpants and in no rush to go anywhere.
It's breakfast time that I wish I had more of in my life.

The last two times I've had quality breakfast time, I ate pancakes that were made by my
mother and mother-in-law. To be quiet honest, I was totally jealous of the fact that they both made
the most delicious vegan pancakes ever - putting my flat, crispy ones to shame! So after being told that
 I probably was stirring the batter too long, I tested out another recipe that following Saturday.

Voila. Fluffy, non-crispy vegan pancakes! 

This is why I love my mom and mother-in-law.
You guys challenge me without even knowing it! :)
And now I won't beat my pancake beat to death anymore.

Vegan Pancakes
adapted from

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar/agave 
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup coconut milk/soymilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Add wet ingredients and stir just a little bit to combine the ingredients. 
You do not want to over stir or else you will have flat pancakes. Don't fret if there are 
plenty of lumps left, it's okay!  If the batter is too thick for your liking, add more milk. Pour
onto a hot greased skillet. Flip once bubbles appear and pop. 

Coconut "Whipped Cream"

1 can coconut meat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 can of coconut cream or 
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, warmed

Add ingredients to blender and mix till thick and creamy.
If too thin, add more coconut meat and put in fridge to cool.
Spoon whipped cream onto pancakes and add any fruit you like, I added mango! 
For double decker pancakes, add whipped cream and fruit in between layers.
Pour yourself a tall cup of coffee and prepare yourself to take in the breakfast time. 
It's quiet lovely.

Do you have a favorite breakfast food and/or ritual? 

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Weekend Adventures // Away to Austin

Amongst busy lives, little trips away can be a blessing. 
Packing light, I took off to visit one of my best friends, Kenz, out in Austin, Texas. 
During this mini vacation, we celebrated Kenzie's birthday with a cookie crawl... think pub crawl, 
minus the booze. Hitting up the best bakeries in Austin, we filled our tummies with sweet goodies and 
giggled how cute Kenz looked in the chef hat and apron we made her wear. 
Wanting to absorb as much of Austin life as possible, we made our way around the city. 
Chowing down on lots of food, hitting up the shopping district, and taking in tons of great sights, 
Austin has so much to do and see! Here are just some of the killer spots we visited...
Via Instagram
1. Torchy's Taco - a yummy food truck that boasts some rad taco's - the fried avocado is delish
2. Rogue Running - of course I had to visit a running store! Not only is this store cute, the staff is
amazing. We ran with the Rogue running group on Saturday along Lake Bird Lake, which is definitely
something I recommend to anyone going out to Austin! 
3. Quack's Bakery - part of Kenzie's cookie crawl, Quack's had some of the fanciest desserts and
an awesome Vegan Trail Mix cookie! 
4. Hopdoddy - several friends recommended eating at this burger joint, including the lovely Megan,
from The Fresh Exchange. After finishing our 12 miler on Saturday, a hearty veggie burger was just what
 I needed.... of course there was french fries and beer involved. :)
5. JuiceLand - I want to transport this quaint little juice shack back to Michigan. Probably one of the
best green smoothies I've ever had here. With an abundant list of smoothies, juices, shots, & cocktails,
I wanted to try everything. The Ginger Kale Smoothie & wheatgrass shot had to suffice. 
6. Austin Java - before leaving on our flight, we had a lovely brunch of breakfast tacos and coffee at
Austin Java. I was really surprised at the length of the menu & how you can customize your own tacos! 
7. Buffalo Exchange - if you love to thrift shop, Buffalo Exchange is a must go to! This fuchsia dress
was my favorite find of the day. 
8. Whole Foods Market - since we don't have one in Grand Rapids, I drooled my way through this
store. It's definitely an experience in itself. Please Whole Foods, come to GR!  
9. Mother's Cafe - the ultimate vegetarian/vegan restaurant...and don't forget dessert. The chocolate
cake and chocolate peanut butter pie are incredible!  
10. UT Campus - In the center of Austin lies the University of Texas' campus.
It's pretty big and worth the walk or drive past. 

The atmosphere in Austin is so different than Grand Rapids. There were so many things that
I'd love to bring back to Michigan, but I guess that's what makes each place unique. I know I'll be
returning to see more shows, eat from more food trucks, and explore some of the spring pools
we didn't get to visit.
So, so long for now Austin. 

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Run Away

I've always thought of most of my daily runs as as way to escape, to disconnect. It's a place where 
the cares of the day slide aside and all I need to focus on is the path ahead. With jam packed days, 
running is a moment I get to myself; to reflect, de-stress, and unwind. 
It's where I run away. 

Running is a huge part of my life and my career. It's worked it's way down deep into my being, becoming a hobby I couldn't live without. I've missed blogging about this passion and the experiences it brings. It's been about a year since I stopped posting on my old running blog, Run Miss Runner Runnington, and I'm happy to bring some of that back here. Giving you a glimpse of my running experiences, training tips, and of course awesome running gear. 
Here is to running away! 

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Being Me

Why do we have so much trouble being ourselves? 
This thought has often made it's way through the cracks and crevices of Kate's mind. Do we fear opening
up and being completely honest? Is it the conformity to be what everyone else expects us to be that prevents us from showing others who we truly are? I'll admit it, there are times when I lock it up and put my true self away.. but more often than not, I think I do a good job of being me. And I've come to a point in my life where I'm really proud of that. I'm weird, dramatic, and way to frank...but no matter how often people tell me that, it doesn't change the fact that that's who I am. 

Being strong willed and independent has given way to not really caring what others think of me. On occasion this frankness sometimes comes back to bite me, but for the most part, I think this allows me to embrace who I am. A couple weeks ago we did self evaluations at work. After we discussed the core values we believed we held, we went around our group and expressed to each other what we saw in our peers. I was taken aback when one of my co-workers said that I was very candid...that I dressed the way I wanted and said what was on my mind. After hearing that, the rest of the day I felt so empowered by her statement. It made me feel secure and proud of myself, that being me, was a value in itself. :)

Everyone is so different and I love embracing that, especially in myself. There were times back in high 
school where I struggled with the fact that I didn't want to be like everyone else and that I didn't seem to
 fit in. I didn't realize it then, but it was my way of establishing my individuality. Giving way to knowing myself better and what I wanted for my future. I doubt I'd be living in Michigan, married to my soul mate, working my dream job, running marathons, blessed with beautiful friends, and living such a healthy lifestyle if I hadn't had embraced myself and said, "I'm going to do what I want and be who I wanna be." 

Friends, be who you wanna be. 

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Before & After: Ottoman

I found out the hard way that reupholstering is serious business... that someone with little sewing 
experience can easily get overwhelmed. Yelling at the sewing machine is bound to happen and money 
will be wasted on cheap fabric. But aside from all that, the results are something that will always make
 me smile and fill me with a sense of accomplishment every time I pass it. 

Ottoman from an Estate Sale: $15
Fabric (1 yard): $21.00
Cotton Batting: $8.00
Thread: $4.00
Cording: $0.36
Total: $48.36

I didn't want to spend more than ten dollars on fabric (yeah I know, I'm cheap), but after the first and second trial with really chintzy and horrible fabric, quality material sounded pretty good. With this reupholstering job came loads of teaching points for future projects. 

1. Invest in quality fabric
2. Document how a piece is assembled when you take it apart
3. When frustrated, step away from the sewing machine
4. Write down all measurements before going to fabric store
4. Buy lots of stuffing! 

Even though it took 10x times longer than I wanted it too - I got a one of a kind ottoman for under $50. 
And that's legit. 

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