July’s printable calendar is inspired by the matching popsicle pajamas Grace + Nick wore last night. As soon as the paint on this sucker dried, we hit the road, staying up past our collective bedtime and making decent time from the city to the Cape.
Nothing beats an actual popsicle on a hot July afternoon, but popsicle pajamas are pretty great. And these painted ones aren’t so bad either. They’re mess-free and calorie-free… which is occasionally a good thing. Like, say, if you’ve already eaten four real popsicles. Or whatever.
A new Mama Beasts challenge kicks off on Sunday, which makes setting wellness goals extra easy — I find these challenges to be super motivating (a new session of classes just started, check out the website for more info) and love feeling extra inspired both during and outside of class.
In addition to specific challenge activities (increased vegetable/fruit intake, mileage, core work, etc.), I will also be conscious about staying adequately hydrated. I usually drink at least 100 oz. of water, but I’ve been slacking lately (and feeling ridiculously thirsty at night).
Start (and, like, somewhat finish) sleep training. We moved Nick in with Grace a month ago… and then he cut 5 teeth and stopped sleeping so I moved him back to the co-sleeper in our room. I love having him in there. But I haven’t slept for more than 4-5 hours straight since 2013. And I think that’s probably not okay.
I want to streamline everything. I was reading about people who eat the same breakfast everyday in order to not waste their decision making braincells (or whatever) and started noticing how much time and energy I waste waffling (which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with waffles). This is obviously not a fully developed idea, so I suppose my goal is: Figure out what “streamlining everything some things” would look like.
I love a good podcast. And I love pretending I have the technical know-how, requisite storytelling ability and captive audience to manage a successful podcast of my own. But um, I have none of the above.
I do have some ideas, though. A whole notebook full of ’em. And they’re free for the taking. Just please make sure, if you do go ahead and develop any of these ideas into the next Serial… let me know. So I can subscribe. Oh, and maybe let me do the MailChimp ad that will surely kick off each episode. Cool. Thank you.
THE NEXT SERIAL | IMAGINARY PODCASTS
Idea 1: Mystery Store
You might have one (or more) of these stores in your town, you might not… but you probably do. The signage is sort of murky. Maybe the store is called Jim’s or ABC America or Real Deal$ (for the record, I made these up, so if your store is actually called any of these things… sorry. I’m especially sorry if you used a dollar sign instead of an ‘s’ to spell the word deals. Really $orry.).
Or perhaps there’s no sign at all.
Maybe the store presents itself as one thing, but you kind of get the sense it’s another thing entirely. Like, you swear you’ve seen people walk in for a haircut and walk out with an electric keyboard. Or you notice a bunch of not-so-gently-used baby strollers out front, but the advertisements hanging in the window feature a “catch of the day” special.
Okay, so I’ve set the scene. The way this podcast works is simple, if not a tiny bit dangerous. You identify a store that fits the criteria outlined above. You enter the store, poke around a little (while describing the things you’re poking so your audience feels like they’re in the trenches with you, obviously), maybe act interested in something specific. When you’re finally approached by a salesperson, you engage them in some friendly banter and then BAM! You hit them with the million dollar question(or maybe $7.99 question, all depends on the store, right?):
OK. But what do you realllly sell here?
It’s anyone’s guess where the episode (and frankly, your life and safety) goes from here. Exciting, right?
Idea 2: Conversations from the floor
This one is inspired by the 2 year-old in my life. She seems to be spending an increasing amount of time on the floor. Sometimes she’s kicking. Sometimes she’s crying. Sometimes she’s looking for an errant cheddar bunny under the sofa.
Toddlers are really, really funny. This doesn’t always translate in the moment (tantrums can be really upsetting for everyone involved, and I don’t mean to make light of what seems to be an important phase of child development… except to say that we sort of all need a sense of humor to survive). But they’re funny, nevertheless.
Just this morning, I had the following conversation with Grace:
Grace: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mom. MOM!
Me: Yes, honey?
Grace: Mom. Mom. Mom. MOOOOOMMMMM.
Me: Do you need something, or are you just saying my name?
Grace: I’m saying your name.
Grace: And I need something. I need a reflection light.
Me: Can you tell me what a reflection light is?
Grace: I need it.
Me: I don’t know what it is. What do you use it for?
Grace: I need it to look at trees at nighttime.
Me: Can you tell me what it is again?
Grace: I said it. It’s a reflection light.
Me: A flash light? (lucky guess)
Grace: Yes. I told you. Please, you’ll get me one at the store today.
Actually, maybe this podcast is more of a quiz show. You guess what the H a toddler is talking about. And if you’re correct, the toddler’s parents give you a handful of slightly moist Cheerios that they found between the seat cushions in their car.
Idea 3: The Pregnant Shopping CartImpulse ShoppingWhy Am I Buying This? Title TBD
I’ll happily hand this one off to any currently pregnant moms. Or maybe we can cast a wider net and call it Impulse Shopping. Whoever grabs this tasty snack cake of an idea can sort of the details.
I came up with this one while nine months pregnant, carefully placing my organic produce on the belt at the grocery store check-out when… What’s this? Six bags of sour gummy bears?
I’d be lying if I said things like this only happened when I was pregnant, but I believe my impulse shopping was especially cool, weird and interesting when I was expecting.
And if you choose to stick with the pregnant lady angle, maybe this podcast could have a sort of public service element whereby you educate the masses on what you should/should not say or do to pregnant women. Like in episode one, you could (genuinely) complement a mother-to-be for looking so radiant. You ask her how she’s feeling. You respond kindly and enthusiastically and non-judgmentally to any details she shares.
You don’t say things like “Whoaaaaa! You’re about ready to POP!” Or assert that you’re positive there is a “secret twin in there.” (And yes, these are things strangers said to me when I was pregnant.) And maybe you make a point of announcing into your micro-cassette recorder (Or does it all happen on your iPhone? I don’t know. That’s why you’re making the podcast, not me.) that you are not touching anyone’s belly. You’re just not.
Or…. maybe you just stick to interesting impulse purchases. Or maybe you empower a toddler to make impulse purchases in a mystery store. Yep. That’s going straight to the top of the charts.
Most days, my meal planning (if you can call it that) goes something like this:
Consider what we have on the counter, in the cabinets, in the fridge and sprouting on the deck
Hold baby Nick with one hand, rummage with the other hand
Hope something miraculously falls out and a. doesn’t hit me or Nick in the head and b. somehow lands in my mouth and c. is delicious. Oh, and nutritious.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to have a perfectly made summer salad fall into my mouth. Or onto my head, for that matter. As with most (all?) good things, it takes a bit of work. But not much. This is summer, after all. If you’re wondering what to eat in the summer, I’ve got a few (simple, delicious) ideas.
WHAT TO EAT IN THE SUMMER | 4 FAVORITE SALADS
Mixed greens with pears, bleu cheese, walnuts + dried cranberries
This is really as easy as slicing a pear and throwing it, along with everything else, into a bowl. I added a drizzle of Champagne vinaigrette because I like to pretend I’m fancy. In reality: It’s well past noon and I haven’t showered yet. Also, I just congratulated myself on wearing my “nice” sweat pants.
I basically eat this breakfast, lunch and dinner… all summer long. The heirloom tomatoes are Canadian, but the mozzarella is from Rhode Island and the basil is from South Boston (more specifically: my deck). So… it’s mostly #eatlocal. Or whatever.
Both babes were asleep at the same time for an entire 11 minutes last week, so I made myself an extra pretty platter from which to dine solo while Nick was traveling. That was a long sentence. The salad didn’t last nearly as long.
Chopped salad with sprouts
I tend to chop a bunch of vegetables at the beginning of the week for easy salads such as this. Instead of the usual greens, though, I used some Earth Salad (sprouted lentils, sprouted chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts) that I picked up at Whole Foods in the South End (it’s in the cooler next to the salad greens, alongside the cooked lentils).
Speaking of cooked lentils, I keep a package or two in the fridge because I am lazy like to avoid cooking as much as possible when it’s 90 degrees out. And because I love making this salad. And because I’m lazy.
I’m thrilled (and grateful!) that my recipe was included in Wayfair’s Simply Summer Recipes cookbook. The cookbook is free to download and features over 100 pages of summer recipes created by bloggers and tested by Wayfair team members. I love that they included their own notes after testing each dish. I hope you’ll check it out!
It’s been ages since I’ve shared what I made. Grace and I spend plenty of time drawing things like “Dad with a stroller” and “Dad with shoes” and “Grace in a bed” and “Grace in a different bed” and “Baby Nick with a shoe” and “Mom in a bathing suit.” My solo creative time, however, has been a bit limited lately. Everything is a bit rushed, weird, slightly ugly, and mostly unfinished.
Oh, and I’ll spare you the bathing suit drawing.
WHAT I MADE | 006
Materials used: Actual gouache (Holbein, jet black and Winsor and Newton, gold) and Holbein Acryla Gouache — which is not really gouache, but it is really fun to use (pale aqua, luminous lemon, pale peach and pale mint), Bee Paper cotton watercolor paper (6 x 9 inches, 140 lb)
Just a quick little doodle while thinking about… thinking. And the power of thoughts. Keep ’em positive, people.
Materials used: Random letter stickers, Pilot Varsity pen (pink, water soluble), magazine clippings, matte medium, watercolors
The new season of the Get Messy Art Journal program centers on the theme of introspection (much more my jam than last season, which just didn’t do it for me). This is the first self portrait I’ve done in years. It’s a bit wonky, but so am I. So maybe it’s very true to life?
Materials used: Acrylic paint (sky blue and black), magazine clippings, matte medium, Micron (black 01), Gelly Roll pen (white), watercolors
I love that smiling, proud lady. I’ve been holding onto that image for a while and figured it was time to put her somewhere more dignified than in a stack of tear-outs.
Materials used: Acrylic paint (Golden heavy body + high flow), watercolor and gouache paint
I really liked this week’s Get Messy prompt around ink blots (members have access to a great tutorial from Vanessa on this). The mix of paint made for some really fun texture.
Materials used: Goauche (a mix of brands — Holbein, Winsor and Newton, Plakkaatverf, Daler and Rowney), Bee Paper
And the bottom doodle was in preparation for Mary Ann Moss’ gouache class, which starts Friday. Just a little playing around with paint mixing and experimenting with how much/how little gum arabic would prevent my gouache pans from cracking. Judging by the crack-iness, I didn’t exactly handle it…
If you count soothing a teething infant and successfully potty training a toddler to be exercise… I hit it out of the park last week. And if you don’t (because you’re a reasonable person), I barely hit it out of the living room. Which is where I spent 90% of my time. Sitting on a floor covered with beach towels (see: potty training).
If we’re counting actual workouts, this was sort of an all or nothing kind of week. Better than a plain old nothing week. I guess.
ALL OR NOTHING | LAST WEEK’S WORKOUTS
TUESDAY:TIU daily workout, and nap time yoga in our bathroom. Because it’s quiet in there. And bizarrely spacious.
Prepare yourself for a tangent.
I think I was, like, 2-3 months pregnant with Grace when we had our home inspection. It was blazing hot and I had round-the-clock morning sickness. We hadn’t told anyone we were expecting, so I think maybe our realtor and home inspector thought I was very emotional about the condo. Or that I smelled something. Or that I am a rude person. Regardless, at one point I stopped paying attention to the air vents and window seals and circuit board things and was trying to figure out how un-okay it would be to lay down in the current homeowners’ bed… and then I thought about bed bugs… and then I almost threw up.
When I finally got my act together, I found three grown-ups (my husband, the realtor, and the home inspector) just chilling in the master bathroom, moving freely and not, like, bumping into each other. Or any of the fixtures. And, having felt like I alone was the size of three grown-ups at the time, I took that as a sign that this was the right place for our family.
And now I do yoga in there. And occasionally take showers.
WEDNESDAY: Class with the Mama Beasts. I hadn’t been to class in a week and definitely felt like I was sucking wind. Is that an expression? I think so. We did a lot of hill running, and I found myself swearing a lot questioning whether or not I was ready for Sunday’s road race. Regardless, it was a very good workout and one I was happy to be able to fit in, knowing I’d likely be held hostage for the next day or two by the “big girl undies” we picked up on the way home.
I sort of condensed the two day potty training method into a day and a half, so Thursday was literally spent doing nothing but that (and taking care of the baby, obvi). It was exhausting. But kind of awesome. Grace is so cool.
FRIDAY: Class with the Mama Beasts… this counts as more of a nothing than a something, mostly because I spent the better part of the hour opening and closing Grace’s travel potty seat, opening and closing various bottles of anti-bacterial gel, and talking about pee. I tried to give it my all when I was actually participating, and I know it was good to get out of the house, but it was a bit of a wash. Such is life at the moment.
I really look up to Colleen… even though I am taller. Apparently.
SUNDAY: Corrib Classic 5k in West Roxbury. I loved being able to run this with so many other Mama Beasts members. It was just last year that I was asking my sister-in-law Colleen about the group after seeing so many women running in matching shirts. I joined the group a few weeks later and have been so grateful for the workouts and the supportive community. I pushed Grace and Nick in the double stroller and did my best to keep up with Colleen (until that last hill… not happening). I finished nearly 2 minutes faster than the Marine Corps Honor Run (my first post-baby/double stroller race), which seemed like a pretty awesome way to celebrate baby Nick being six months old. It was definitely an “all” day.
This week I’m aiming for more consistency. And less rambling about home inspections and potting training. Who’s with me?
Memorial Day has come and gone. Time to put on your white pants, your white shoes, your white hats…. and make a summer bucket list.
We have time booked down the Cape (I’d be happy if the only item on my summer bucket list was “be at the Cape as much as possible, if not more”) and a weekend in Maine for a wedding, but the rest of our summer is free for all sorts of adventures. Or naps.
Mini golf. We pass by the golf course at Franklin Park a few times a week and Grace is fascinated. She keeps asking if Uncle Christopher will take her (and a dog… presumably Clark?) golfing. I sort of think mini golf might be more our speed. Holiday Hill in Dennisport is an old favorite, but there’s also McGolf closer to the city, in Dedham.
Take a boat somewhere. Another special request from Grace.
Swimming lessons for both babes. We took a little hiatus when Nick was born, but he’s now old enough for class and Grace has missed taking lessons, so we’ve got them signed up for back-to-back classes. We spend so much time near the water (we live across the street from the ocean + my parents have a pool), that focusing on water safety is sort of a non-negotiable. Plus, lessons are fun. And baby bathing suits are ridiculous.
Visit a lighthouse.
Read 5+ beach books. I feel like I used to read 1,003 books each summer. And if I counted how many times I’ve read Elmo Goes to the Potty, I’d probably be close already. And it’s been less than 24 hours since Memorial Day. But I’m talking about real, actual, normal, grown-up books. Please let me know if you have recommendations!
Visit Martha’s Vineyard and/or Nantucket. Both are easy trips from the Cape… and require boat travel, thus checking off two bucket list items. I love being efficient (mostly because it’s a very rare occurrence these days).
Make a non-dangerous (if that’s possible) slip-n-slide. Maybe get helmets. And mouth guards.
Mix protein powder, nut butter and oats in your food processor or blender.
Add agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt and pulse until dough is well combined.
Move mixture to a small bowl and carefully stir in chocolate chips.
Roll dough into small balls and place in a parchment-lined container, store in the refrigerator. Or just, like, eat them.
Recipe notes: You can use your favorite protein powder for this recipe — chocolate or vanilla would work great. And feel free to use maple syrup in place of agave. Oh, and you can omit the chocolate chips (thereby omitting the fun… but, hey) if you’d like.
I used a brand-new blend from Bob’s Red Mill line of nutritional boosters and am completely hooked. It’s made from pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, probiotics, and sweetened with monk fruit extract. It is gluten free, vegan, a good source of omega-3, an excellent source of iron, and high in protein and fiber.
No weird chemicals. No weird tastes. Just balls.
Disclaimer: I received complimentary samples of Bob’s Red Mill new nutritional boosters for an Instagram project (you can follow me here: @ElizabethEv) with Sweat Pink… but I didn’t want to keep this good stuff from you and just had to share it On Tap, too.
It took nearly all month, but the sun is shining and the temperatures are more May-like than November-ish. So we’re eating ice cream dairy-free sorbet (I’m like, Live a little. And my stomach is like, Please don’t.).
May 2016 | Currently
Grateful for improved weather – that cold, rainy stretch we had earlier this month made me feel positively… negative.
Happy that we got to see my extended family this weekend at my cousin’s wedding down the Cape!
A bit itchy. I don’t want to rush nature along and I know trees need their leaves and all, but I wouldn’t mind coming home from a walk or workout and not feeling like I’m wearing a pollen sweat suit. Or whatever.
Relieved (speaking of itchiness) that Clark’s vet referred us to a dermatologist who’s helping us get his allergies in check (hopefully). We started his immunotherapy injections last night, and I feel like an especially weird dog person, but these are the things you do when you love your aging, semi-grouchy, fully-sensitive French bulldog.
Like I need a new big project or goal or challenge to work towards. But maybe I should just put away last week’s laundry.
Lots of vegetables and fruits and sprouted things. Not so many nachos and pizzas and processed things. Girlfriend needs to reign it in a bit.
Aaaaaand the aforementioned lemon sorbet. With rainbow sprinkles. Just do it.
Currently listening to
The Bon Iver radio station on Spotify — it’s extra chill, which is good, because I am extra not.
Grace sing “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of rosies!”
The OJ miniseries (that’s definitely not the official name, but you likely know what I’m talking about… and you also know I’m too lazy to Google)– I was skeptical when my parents recommended it (sorry!), but Nick and I got completely sucked in.
Not much of anything art-wise… but I just signed up for a new painting class (Mary Ann Moss’ Oh My Gouache — totally obsessed with the name) and started a new large format sketchbook earlier this week.