Category Archives: Lifestyle

My favorite gifts for newborns

I received a gift card from Marshalls in exchange for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Did you know September is the month with the most births in the U.S.?  According to The Daily Viz, the days between September 9-20 are the most popular birthdays in the United States over the past twenty years.  It’s statistically probable (something I rarely have confidence saying, but I think we’re good…) one of you is celebrating a birthday or the arrival of a newborn, so congrats! And if you’re celebrating neither, but you like cute stuff… I’ve got you covered too with plenty of my favorite gifts for newborns, new parents and older siblings.

Throughout the month of September, Marshalls is offering an expanded selection of (really!) adorable baby items at incredible prices.  I have zero chill when it comes to baby things, so when I stopped in earlier this week to pick up a few gifts for an upcoming baby shower, I could barely contain myself.  

Whether you’re shopping for your own children, a family or friend, or getting a jump on holiday shopping (please mentor me), September is a great time to hit up Marshalls for baby gifts.

Here are a few of my recent finds (isn’t that the best part of shopping at Marshalls and other TJX stores?) and recommendations.

MY FAVORITE GIFTS FOR NEWBORNS

The staples

my favorite gifts for newborns

You can’t go wrong with bibs, burp cloths and swaddling blankets.  Our children are 3 1/2 and 21 months and we are still using all three in heavy rotation.  

Something soft

my favorite gifts for newborns

Marshalls has the best selection of blankets (many come beautifully packaged and ready for gift-giving).  I picked up two cotton quilts in gender-neutral grey and striped chambray that would be great for keeping a newborn warm in a stroller or car seat, but could also be used later on in a toddler’s crib or bed.

*Gentle reminder: please check out the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on safe sleep for babies here.  

Books and educational toys

my favorite gifts for newborns

You can’t go wrong with a good book (and it’s never too early to read to children).  I love this Baby Animals book because it’s interactive (lots of flaps and textures) and the bold graphics are perfect infants.  Marshalls has a great selection of books and educational toys at unbelievable prices.  Most books and toys are labeled for age appropriateness, taking the guesswork out of shopping.  I found a few of my kids’ favorites while I was there– Grace especially loves giving copies of her favorite books to her younger cousins and friends.

Looking for book recommendations? Here are a few of our favorite summer reads.

Something sort of ridiculous but incredibly cute

my favorite gifts for newborns

This two piece knit set had me swooning.  Is it practical?  Probably not.  Most parents register for the things they actually need… so why not include something over the top cute with that box of diapers or crib sheets or onesies?  This set would be perfect for newborn photos or snuggling at home during those first few sleepy weeks.

Unconventional nursery decor

my favorite gifts for newborns

How fun would this light box (a definite #marshallssurprise at less than $10) be in a nursery?  You could use it for monthly photos (something I forgot to do… every single month… for both children), post love notes, or simply write out your child’s name.  In a pinch, it would also make a decent nightlight at 3 AM.  

Don’t forget about mama

my favorite gifts for newborns

Don’t forget about mama!  Marshalls has plenty of small gifts for new mothers, too– and anything you can do to encourage moms to care for themselves will surely be appreciated.  Time for self care feels limited in the early days, so consider keeping things simple.  This rose water hydrating mist would be a lovely addition to any baby gift.  I love the minimalist packaging and super subtle fragrance, and it’s something a mother could use one handed… in the wee hours of the morning…

And something for older siblings

my favorite gifts for newborns

Okay, maybe don’t give a toddler a harmonica, especially when there’s a newborn in the house (says the woman who put a tambourine in Grace’s Christmas stocking just weeks after baby Nick was born… I blame lack of sleep…).  But I know those older siblings appreciate being showered, too!  These infant and “big kid” toys featuring characters from our favorite books would be such a fun gift for a family with more than one child… and soundproof walls.  

Seriously, though.  Skip the harmonica.  I stand by everything else.  Happy Birthday, September babies.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite gift for newborns, new mamas or older siblings?

Late summer bliss

August is winding down, people are talking back to school, stores are selling Halloween candy and pumpkin spiced nonsense… and I’m here, pretending to be immune to it all, soaking up some late summer bliss.  

late summer bliss balloon

This has been a summer to remember.  

Fortunately I have an Instagram feed and recently acquired old school journal to help with that remembering… (most days I forget where 90% of the things we need are… and then there was that one time Grace announced, “Mom, one of your children is missing!”… it was Nicky.  And he was in the driveway.  And yes, I was sure to write that down because it seemed both hilarious and intensely terrifying.).  

late summer bliss

The kids and I have spent nearly every day of the last 2 1/2 months down the Cape, free from the rush and routine of our city lives, which has been both exhilarating and disorienting.  We’ve missed Nick terribly while he’s been at work during the week, and packed as much adventure into our weekends with him as possible.  

late summer bliss tomatoes

late summer bliss 1

We put quite a dent in the summer bucket list we made as a family back in June (which I wrote on the first page of the aforementioned journal… I am basically a middle schooler trying to have the best summer ever).

FAMILY SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2017

  • Take an airplane ride (Grace) — LOL. NO.
  • Cape Cod Museum of Art (Elizabeth)
  • Feed the ducks at the lake (Nick)
  • Go on adventures (Grace) — I’m going to make an executive decision and call this done
  • Go to Provincetown (Elizabeth) — We took an impromptu drive up last weekend, but I sort of want to go back again immediately, if not sooner.
  • Farm visits (Elizabeth) — We’ve been to the Taylor-Bray Farm a few times this summer
  • Get a library card (Grace) — One of my favorite days!  We’ve made good use of that card.
  • Drive a race car (Grace)… this hasn’t happened yet, but we are taking her to the go-carts next week, so… that must count?
  • Plant a garden (Elizabeth) — Nick upped the ante (and kept things alive) by adding a drip irrigation system 
  • Play in the sprinkler (Grace)
  • Pirate museum (Nick) — We went to the Wydah Pirate Museum in July to see treasure from the Wydah, a pirate ship that wrecked of the coast of Marconi Beach in 1717 (the dive site is still active)
  • Berry picking (Elizabeth) — Blueberries!
  • Mini golf (Elizabeth) — I think we accomplished 3 holes before Nicky tried to go swimming in the decorative water feature thing
  • Bowling (Nick)
  • Eat at Hangar B (Elizabeth)
  • Band concert (Elizabeth) — we made it to 3 of Harwichport’s Music in the Port nights
  • Play in the pool (Grace) — No pools, but lots of “underwater diving” in Nantucket Sound
  • Make a safety plan (Grace)… can you tell she’s my daughter? Safety first, fun second.  Also, a safety plan would have really helped on a day like this one… so maybe I should get on this.
  • Go to the playground (Grace) — and not just any playground, legit the best playground
  • Fireworks (Grace) — Maybe this weekend in West Dennis?
  • Make tie dye shirts (Grace) — She made one for herself, Nicky and all of the cousins
  • Go to a “baseball concert” (Grace)… I think she meant a game… and I totally blew it (the Cape League season ended two weeks ago)
  • Bubbles (Nicky)… a solid contribution to the list
  • Drive in movies (Nick)

There’s still time, people.  THERE IS STILL TIME.

late summer bliss days cottages truro

I knew this would be a fun summer, but I hadn’t anticipated that it would be more significant than that.  My time alone with Grace and Nicky truly has been something special.  Something to cherish.  Something to reflect on. Something to miss when they’re older and can drive themselves to get ice cream.  Something to learn and grow from as a mother (and, like, a regular person). 

Late summer is perfect for this sort of thing (learning, growing, reflecting).  

late summer bliss lifeguard stand

late summer bliss 2

As the season begins to shift, we inevitably do too.  

Soon we will fall back into our routines.  We’ll spend more time actually doing things, and less time counting boats and birds.  We’ll have more structure to our days, and less sand in our shoes.  We’ll have a little time apart (likely important for the sanity of everyone involved) while the kids are in school.  And we’ll eat less ice cream (again… important).

late summer bliss days cottages

But for now, for these last few weeks, we’re going to live in our late summer bliss.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you living your best late summer life?

Meal prep + planning | with Roche Bros. + The Dinner Daily

Disclosure: I received a complimentary membership to The Dinner Daily and a gift card to Roche Brothers.  As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.  I am grateful to partner with brands that are such a perfect fit for my family + lifestyle.

Is there a person on the planet who wouldn’t like an extra hour or two each week?  If so, call me.  I want your secrets.  Lately, I’ve been giving myself that extra hour by not going to the grocery store and not relying on my own brain power (and a poorly organized recipe collection) to come up with an answer to “What’s for dinner?”  

roche brothers dinner daily

I like to make food that looks almost as good as it tastes.

Meal prep and planning can be both lifesavers and total time drains.  I start off with the best of intentions (namely, making a few days worth of healthy + delicious meals for my family)… and the next thing I know, I am alphabetizing my cookbooks.  And researching how to fish a wooden spoon from the depths of the garbage disposal.  And making a mid-prep run to the store because we’ve run out of olive oil.   And then promptly roasting 7 million chickpeas (when I likely only really need 3 million) when I return.

This week, however, my meal prep and planning have been 100% on point, thanks to both Roche Brothers home delivery + an amazing menu planning service called The Dinner Daily.  I feel like I’ve gained at least two additional hours (which I will promptly waste Googling “things I can blame on the solar eclipse” and “why can’t I fold a fitted bed sheet?” and “at what age will my children become embarrassed by me?”…) because of these two services.

roche brothers the dinner daily

You’ve heard me preach the gospel of grocery delivery before… but here’s a refresher, just in case.  

5 REASONS TO ORDER YOUR GROCERIES ONLINE + HAVE THEM DELIVERED 

  • When you order your groceries online (and either have them delivered, or schedule a time to pick them up), you save yourself the time it would take to get to the store and do the actual shopping.  This is obvious.
  • You also save your spirit whatever toll wrangling two toddlers in/out of the store might take.
  • And you don’t risk exceeding your budget on so-called impulse purchases… because you’re not there to be tempted.  I find that this cost savings usually offsets any convenience or delivery charge.
  • And you won’t come home only to find you already had cumin, but not coriander… because you can consult your spice drawer while you’re ordering.
  • You can order things that won’t fit in your car/wheeled shopping cart thing/arms/re-useable tote bags and/or that you’re embarrassed to be seen carrying in your front door… but that are useful and cost-effective to have (see: economy packs of TP).

ROCHE BROTHERS HOME DELIVERY

roche brothers the dinner daily

The holy trinity of my routine diet.

Having used a number of different services, I kind of love how Roche Brothers takes online grocery shopping and delivery to the next level with their specialized sorting and refrigerated trucks.  Once you’ve placed your order online (their website is super easy to shop and allows you to filter for items that are on sale, gluten free, organic, etc.), an in-store employee shops for your items and sorts them into categorized bins: refrigerated, frozen, ambient/shelf stable.  All items come directly from the store (rather than a warehouse, which is not true for all grocery delivery services…) and are kept at the appropriate temperature before being delivered.  All orders can be delivered literally to your kitchen.  Yes… even up several flights of stairs.  Frozen items arrive frozen, refrigerated items arrive cold, and everything is carefully packed.

roche brothers the dinner daily

I had a chance to watch Kelly at the Roche Brothers in Millis shop an order to be delivered, and learn a bit about the process.  I know I can be particular (is that a nice way of saying challenging?) about my produce and loved that Roche Brothers encourages their customers to include notes about the items they’ve ordered.  Do you want your bananas more green than yellow?  Cool.  Do you want an extra ripe avocado?  Cool.  Do you want to go into detail about how medium you’d like your medium yellow onion to be? Cool (I think.).  There are plenty of local options, too — including heirloom tomatoes from Ward’s Berry Farm (so obsessed).  

As Kelly scanned each item on the customer’s list, her tablet directed her to place it in the appropriate bin on the cart.  Their technology seemed far and above what I’ve seen elsewhere.  Semi-related: I can’t help but think of this scene from Silicon Valley.

roche brothers the dinner daily

When you pretend to be a chill person… but then you track down a delivery truck and take a photo of it.

I placed my first order for a day I knew we’d be in the city (unfortunately delivery is not available at the Cape… Extreme First World Problems: Elizabeth Edition), using my shopping list from The Dinner Daily (more on that in a second).  In addition to the ingredients for several meals from The Dinner Daily, I ordered some of our weekly staples (kale, Teddy’s unsalted peanut butter, cucumbers, berries).  I got a call earlier in the day because one of the items I ordered wasn’t available, and was able to make an easy switch.  Everything was in perfect shape when it arrived — I really couldn’t have been happier with the process.  

Roche Brothers also provides a pick-up option, and these orders are often ready in store within 1-2 hours of being placed.  If you’re familiar with RB, you know they sort of go above and beyond [True story: Grace was 18-ish months old, I was at least 11 months pregnant with Nick, it was 3,000 degrees out and everyone was being rude… so I drove the 30 minutes in traffic to the nearest Roche Brothers because I knew people would be nice to us there.  And they were.]… so you won’t be surprised to know they encouraged us to call ahead if we have children in the car and need help with pick-up orders.

THE DINNER DAILY

roche brothers the dinner daily

Along with my tour of the Roche Brothers store, I had a chance to learn about their partnership with The Dinner Daily and meet its founder and CEO, Laurin Mills.  Laurin talked about how the company was borne out of her desire, as a working mother of three, to simply dinnertime, while making mealtime both healthy and enjoyable.  Basically, I was fully on board from the start.

roche brothers the dinner daily

If you know of a way to make chickpeas and/or farro look cute… let me know.

Each Friday, families receive their tailored menu for the following week.  Menus reflect your dietary preferences and designated store (they work with stores across the country and menus feature items that are on sale at your designated store) and family size.  Weekly menus include 5 dinner options and side dishes, all of which take fewer than 40 minutes to prepare and serve.  Many require only one pot and/or can be made ahead.  You can swap out meals that don’t appeal to you, leaving you with 5 really delicious, healthy and easy-to-prepare options.  

I’ve been using my Dinner Daily plan for three weeks now and cannot get over how great these recipes and menus are (especially on the vegetarian plan).  In addition to weekly menus, The Dinner Daily provides organized shopping lists (which make online grocery shopping that much easier– there is even an integrated option for this), a database of online coupons (if that’s your thing) and helpful blog posts featuring party menus and new recipes.  

I love that The Dinner Daily takes the guesswork out of what to make for dinner each night, which gives me more mental space to focus on important things like… how to get the spoon out of the garbage disposal.

roche brothers the dinner daily

Such an unintentional hipster.

Here’s what I made this week.

THIS WEEK’S MEAL PLAN (+ a few snacks)

  • Sweet Potato + Black Bean Bowls with arugula + orange salad from The Dinner Daily
  • Farro salad with tomatoes + herbs 
  • Gnocchi with tomatoes + spinach from The Dinner Daily
  • Spicy, Crunchy, Cream Polenta with a chopped salad from The Dinner Daily
  • Quinoa + Corn Cakes with Tomato + Cucumber Salad
  • Roasted chickpeas (I swear by this recipe from The Kitchn)
  • Quinoa Caprese salad
  • Feta + lemon dip with garlic and dill (recipe will be coming in hot later this week…) with fresh vegetables + pita

You can try The Dinner Daily for free (a two week trial) by visiting their website.

Still here?  Go enjoy that free hour.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Daydreaming: 9 truly covetable pantries from The Kitchn
  • A very windy evening walk on the beach 
  • Looking forward to some really fun houseguests this weekend!

What would you do with an extra hour this week?

 

3 Things Friday

3 Things Friday… or alternate title: I have 3 things I keep forgetting to tell you.  And it happens to be Friday.  Let’s roll. Or whatever.

3 things friday

Dill is amazing in bouquets.

How did I learn this?  I bought a $10 arrangement at the farmers market last week (a “too many flowers” sale was underway), and it wasn’t until we got home that I realized it was full of the most lovely, fragrant dill.  The yellow flowers look a lot like Queen Anne’s lace.  I suppose I’ve never been successful enough in my herb gardening to grow dill to the point of it flowering (I either eat it… or it dies), so I snipped a few stems at my parents’ house this afternoon and plan to add it to a vase of hydrangeas later today.  Or maybe I’ll just keep smelling it.  Regardless, you might consider adding some fresh herbs (mint, basil or rosemary, perhaps) to your next bouquet.

Major PSA for nature-loving seniors (+/or those who know one).

The National Parks Service Senior Passes (which gives people over the age of 62 lifetime access to parks and public land) will increase in price on August 28, 2017 from $10 to $80.  That’s $70 you could be spending on nature guides or Grand Canyon tee shirts or bug repellent or whatever.  Most sites allow Senior Pass holders to bring 3 friends along (regardless of their ages, and children under 16 are always free)… so maybe, call your senior friends.  Tell them to get their passes now.  And then ask them to take you to Yellowstone.  Find all the details here for purchasing your “America the Beautiful” Senior Pass online here.  Or click here to find a list of parks where you can purchase your passes in person (if you’re on Cape, hit up the National Seashore in Welfleet or Provincetown).  And if you miss the deadline, maybe consider buying a pass anyway.  

What does it say about me that one of my most pressing issues is whether or not older more experienced people are getting deals on parks?  I don’t know, but I’m pretty okay with it.

Make this list before you travel.

Summer is still in full swing in New England (I will purposely smash my shopping cart into your display of Halloween decorations.  Consider yourself warned, stores.), and if I’ve learned anything over the past two months by the beach, it’s that it pays to know where the closest urgent care center is.  How’s that for some mama drama on a Friday?  

In all seriousness, though, when we bought our Cape house, Nick and I made a list of the closest urgent care, ER, and vet office.  I saved all three in my Waze app like the true Type A Worrier that I am.  Ideally, you’ll never need to visit these places, but in the event you do… save yourself some time (and a tiny bit of stress) by knowing where to go and how to get there.  And in case anyone’s keeping score, all of the male members of our family (including Clark) have had some sort of medical emergency this summer.  Survival of the fittest… just kidding… kind of.  #GIRLPOWER

Also On Tap for Today:

Got a PSA of your own to share?

 

 

 

To just be happy.

“I go to the ocean to calm down, to reconnect with the creator, to just be happy.”

–Nnedi Okorafor

In a world such as this, it’s so easy to worry, to fear, to fret.  To slip into a funk and hide there (and if there are good snacks, maybe stay there for a day or two).  So when we have a chance (no matter how fleeting) to just be happy, I believe it’s imperative to take it.  

Bring a friend (and sunscreen) with you. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Pretending I am a Polar Seltzer limited edition expert (mostly I just drink a lot of seltzer and imagine I know about flavoring)
  • Can I kick my iPhone addiction? Great article on creativity and boredom from qz.com
  • Attempting to convince Nicky that his name is not, in fact, Grace

Where do you go to just be happy?

Yesterday’s misadventures.

First up, a photo that has nothing to do with anything. It’s just something nice to look at while I go free association about yesterday’s misadventures.

yesterday's misadventures

THINGS THAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY:

In the order which they occurred… I think…

  • Nicky snuck a half-eaten banana into the dyer while I was unloading laundry.
  • I woefully underestimated the timing for our morning routine and had to forgo a shower (but figured I’d sneak one in mid-morning #lol #no).
  • Immediately after we dropped Grace off at her summer program, Nicky fell and cut the back of his head badly enough to need stitches.  
  • He was such a champ.  I was a wreck.
  • While he was getting tended to (and squirming a bit), I somehow ended up with surgical glue on my face.  Apparently it will come off in 5-7 days.  Can’t wait for that.
  • I drank an iced coffee and cried in my car. (Hi again, caffeine.)
  • We made it back from urgent care in time to pick up Grace (and I exhaled for the first time in over an hour).
  • No luck on the shower.  But Jesus cranked up the humidity, so… poodle hair.
  • Speaking of poodles, all five of us (Grace, Nicky, Clark, his cone and myself) went to the vet.
  • The vet took one look at our motley crew and called for back-up (this literally happened), as if having an additional vet tech in the room would prevent my children from attacking or eating dog treats or… something.
  • Clark’s most recent bad luck (a scratched cornea) isn’t healing and will likely require surgery.
  • I called Nick (for, I think, the 5th time of the day).
  • I cried in my car again but this time I pretended to be fake sneezing (my kids love fake sneezing and I’ve never been above a cheap laugh).
  • We bought matching sweatshirts for the family (it seemed like the right thing to do).
  • I found the aforementioned banana.
  • We survived.

Once both babes (and Clark) were safely tucked in bed and the house was quiet, I sat at the kitchen table for two entire hours.  Just breathing.  I barely noticed how dark it was until I sort of came to, wondering if I should be searching for additional bananas.  If I’m being honest (which I endeavor to do, obvi), this is not the first banana/laundry incident we’ve had… this week.

 

Days like yesterday are memorable because they almost never happen (thankfully) and because they serve up gentle reminders of all sorts.  

A reminder that we have so much (excellent healthcare, reliable transportation, a generous and kind support network, clean clothes, plenty of bananas, a Frenchie who promised to live forever, and the resources to manage all of this).  A reminder that I need to take care of myself in order to best take care of others (no more staying up ’til 2 AM reading about shipwrecks #reallife).  A reminder that there is power in laughter and tears and tears disguised as sneezes.  A reminder that children are resilient and brave, even if their behavior is also terribly risky and awfully terrifying.  A reminder that quiet time is rarely wasted time.  A reminder that even (or especially) as a mother, it is important to be vulnerable and receptive to help.

I hope your yesterday treated you well.  And that your today did too.

Also On Tap for Today:

What gentle reminders are you serving up (or being served)? And who wants to watch You Got Served with me?

 

June 2017 | Currently

True Life: I meant to post this last month.  In May.  But I forgot.  So here we are… pretending I have my act together.  The more things change, the more I stay the same  (consistently inconsistent).

june 2017 currently

JUNE 2017 | CURRENTLY

May 2017 Currently

CURRENTLY MAKING

  • …moves on my soon-to-be-launched Etsy shop.  This was/is one of my major goals for 2017.  I’ve got the behind-the-scenes and initial concept (functional art) down, and plan to have about a dozen or so pieces finished this weekend.  I hope to be totally up and running before the end of this month.  My fingers are crossed that you’ll like it!
  • …a concerted effort to consume media carefully.  It’s such a careful balance between living under a rock and being entirely overwhelmed, especially given the current political happenings.  And by happenings… I mean… God help us.
  • …a summer bucket list.  We’ll be spending as much time as possible down the Cape, and I’m excited to share some of my childhood favorites (flying kites, mini golf, watching for whales at Race Point, um… ice cream, looking for sand dollars) with Grace + Nick.

CURRENTLY WATCHING

  • …the Stanley Cup finals.
  • …video from James Comey’s hearing today (can’t help myself).

may 2017 currently

CURRENTLY EATING

  • …a bunch of delicious smoothies (thanks to Molly for a few new recipes — local friends, check out her smoothie and meal prep parties!).  With the requisite cute straw, obvi.  
  • …more mindfully + thoughtfully.  Now that I am no longer breastfeeding (and bonus: baby Nick is sleeping so much better!), I’ve been doing my best to reset my diet a bit.  It’s been a month and a half or so, but I feel like my body is still sort of like… what are we doing here?  I wasn’t expecting the transition to be so rough, but here I am.  Trucking along.  I’ve eliminated most sugars (a wild craving for me while nursing) and yes… I’ve been caffeine + Diet Coke-free for 3 weeks.  I’m not doing anything revolutionary, just getting back to basics and re-learning how to treat myself as well as I can.

CURRENTLY READING

june 2017 currently

CURRENTLY ENJOYING

  • …the life-changing magic of tidying up sleeping.  I’m still waking up a few times each night, but still.  I am sleeping more (and hopefully better) than I have in years.  The credit goes largely to my children for (finally) getting with the program, but Nick gets points for the new blackout curtains, too.  The rest of my secrets will remain secrets until I share them here (ASAP #sharingiscaring).  I went to a great workshop at the WELL Summit Day of WELLness on sleep, and so much of what Sara DiVello shared really resonated with me.
  • …Grace’s end of the year gymnastics routine.  I could watch her dance and tumble and jump all day.  And some days, I’m lucky enough to do just that.
  • …how special old Clark is.  He’s the best dog and sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve him.  I’m so glad he promised me he’d live forever.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO

  • Elastic Heart (Piano Version) – Sia
  • Team – Lorde
  • Breaking the Law – Emeli Sandé
  • Living in Twilight – The Weepies
  • Slow Dancer – Noah Gundersen
  • Buckets of Rain – Neko Case
  • Romeo and Juliet – The Indigo Girls
  • Dust to Dust – The Civil Wars
  • Wish You Were Here – The Milk Carton Kids

june 2017 currently

CURRENTLY FEELING

  • …proud for growing this sweet pea plant from seed.  And keeping it alive (so far).  
  • …grateful that it didn’t rain today.  For the first time in 800 years (or so it feels).  My hair looks like a poodle moved in and plans to stay.   And all my shoes are permanently damp.  But one day of sun, man, and it’s all good.
  • …deep regret for not putting that folded laundry away sooner.  ‘Tis now 10 PM and well… ain’t gonna happen.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your current playlist or reading list? 

Mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

Sunday seems like the most popular day to meal prep, but I seem to get my best work done on Tuesdays or Wednesdays or Thursdays… or days that aren’t Sunday.  Mid-week meal prep suits our current schedule, as Sunday nights are often reserved for commutes back to the city from the Cape, frantic searches for missing lunch boxes, and dining on popcorn and apple sauce (for me… don’t worry, the kids are always well fed) while I stare into a nearly empty fridge.  

I got all of this (fairly simple, hardly impressive) prep done during baby Nick’s hour and a half nap on Wednesday, with the exception of the muffins, which Grace and I made together this afternoon.

And with that… here’s what I prepped this week, along with a few (non-popcorn) menu ideas.

MID-WEEK MEAL PREP + MENU IDEAS

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

In the pot: My 900th batch of Sprouted Kitchen’s everyday lentil soup.  I’m pretty sure it’s called everyday lentil soup because you’ll want to eat it every day (eternal thanks to my friend Laura for sharing the recipe).  If you’re in the market for some lemon pepper, I use Frontier Co-Op (found it at WFM) and love it.  (You know, as much as one could love lemon pepper… or whatever.)  Other things I love: this cast iron dutch oven.

For breakfasts and snacks, I made a few jars of Lee Holmes’ Energizing Chai Chia Breakfast Pudding from the Naturally, Danny Seo website (scroll down on this link for the recipe).  I skipped the stevia and used almonds and walnuts (no cashews in the house… that’s going to be the title of my next jam).  Semi-related: this magazine is so beautifully designed.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

These are my usual (meal prep) suspects: chopped vegetables, cooked quinoa + a salad (cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, Crave Brothers perline mozzarella, fresh basil).  I stocked up on these glass, 4 cup Pyrex containers at Target in February, but I believe they’re still available online.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

While the soup was simmering and I was chopping vegetables, I threw a few sweet potatoes in the oven (pierce with a fork, bake at 400 degrees F for 45-ish minutes). I like to reheat these and top with lentils and/or black beans, salsa and some shredded pepper jack for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.  The kids love them mashed up a bit with a pinch of cinnamon.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

And last, but not least, best my mini chef and I made a batch of mini flourless banana and chocolate chip muffins (and a half batch with blueberries instead of chocolate).  I goofed around with the recipe a bit and forgot to take notes, but I have a feeling we’ll be making these again very soon.  Like… maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’ve heard good things about these recipes from Clean Food Crush and Averie Cooks (both are gluten free).

Oh… and popcorn.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite make-ahead meal?

April 2017 | Currently

This is what life feels like at the moment, as I realize May is less than a week away:

  • Press 1 if you’d like time to slow down.  
  • Press 2 if you’d like to time to speed up to the part of the day when both kids are asleep and you can hear yourself think.
  • Press 3 if you have no idea what you want.

Now imagine me pressing 1-2-3 over and over again on the imaginary keypad of an imaginary phone.  Basically, that’s April in a nutshell.

april 2017 currently

APRIL 2017 | CURRENTLY

Currently enjoying

currently april 2017

  • What I’m calling a gentle return to consistent running (as gentle as things can get while pushing the beast that is a double running stroller).  No pressure, just getting out there.  Granted, I am registered for a few upcoming races, but in the interim, I’m enjoying getting back in the groove.
  • A turn for the better, weather-wise.  We spent this past Sunday visiting the baby animals (including two lambs that were only 3 days old!), checking out the plants, and enjoying a picnic lunch at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon (about 30 minutes from the city).  It’s remarkable what good weather and fresh air can do.  Like, it practically makes me a nice, normal person.

Currently watching

currently april 2017

  • Nick and Clark follow each other around, looking for adventure.  And snacks.
  • This Heineken ad, which seems like a masterful foil to Pepsi’s faux protest nonsense.
  • The last few episodes of The West Wing.  I must have inadvertently and magically saved them for times like these.  Imagine if CJ was Press Secretary in real life?

Currently reading

currently april 2017

Currently listening to

  • An old Ben Folds playlist. Nick and I danced to The Luckiest as our first dance at our wedding, and I think I played it thirty-seven times this week.  Grace asked me to turn it off all thirty-seven times.  Whatever, kid. Also on the playlist: Still Fighting It, Fred Jones – Pt. 2, and Philosophy… that intro always makes me wish I could jam on the piano. 
  • A whole slew of podcasts.  Current favorites: Pod Save America, With Friends Like These, Body Kindness, From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, Call Your Girlfriend, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Up First, and Book Club Appetizer.  I’m also looking forward to DeRay Mckesson’s new podcast, which launches next week.  I’ve all but sworn off TV news (I can’t quit political rantings on Twitter, however… old habits), and find that a lot of these podcasts fill the void nicely.  Without driving me insane.  

Currently feeling

currently april 2017

  • Grateful for moments of solitude here and there, not to mention a loving + supportive family.  I found this piece of “almost sea glass” (in cobalt glass, no less) while taking a solo beach walk at the Cape towards the beginning of the month.  It wasn’t sharp enough to worry about someone’s safety, so I’m certain the right thing to do would have been to throw it back into the surf so it could become actual sea glass… but I kept it.  In a lot of ways, I’m feeling like the human version of somewhere between almost sea glass and actual sea glass.  As I shared in an earlier post, this month has felt like a real time of transition.  Having quiet time to reflect has been really good.  Life is amazing and strange and weird and wonderful.  Also, if I write a memoir, please talk me out of titling it “Almost Sea Glass: The Elizabeth Story.”  And more importantly, talk anyone and everyone out of publishing it.
  • Excited for the next few weeks.  Full schedules, full hearts, can’t lose.  Or whatever they used to say on that football show. (JK…Friday Night Lights was the best.)

OK.  Time to turn into sea glass.  Or maybe, like, put on real pants.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • All about Comic Sans (aka the font that burns my eyes) from The Guardian
  • Painting “magic beans” with Grace (in reality: they are seeds we found on the sidewalk and maybe this isn’t the safest idea… but regardless, we are painting them with sparkly neon paint)
  • The Benefits of Solitude from The Walrus

What has been the highlight of your April?

 

 

Hopeful waiting.

It’s the day before Easter and I’m sitting at our kitchen table at the Cape.  The house is quiet in a way that it is almost never quiet.  

hopeful waiting

Nick and Grace went to run errands, picking up bird seed and putting air in our running stroller tires.  Baby Nick is napping.  And Clark is perched on a side table (definitely not allowed, but I’m not in a rule enforcing mood), keeping watch over the neighborhood.

As soon as Nick was asleep, I started checking items off my list.  We have family coming down for the holiday and I am buzzing with excitement.  I set out our dishes and started thinking about what would go where.  I rearranged items in the fridge and pretended like I had functioning spacial relations skills (I don’t).  I contemplated ironing the tablecloths, but

  1.  LOL, NO. 
  2. I don’t think we have an iron at this house

I was four or five items in on the list when something grabbed my attention– a bird chirping in the yard or a neighbor out walking (our weekend life on the Cape is so different from our regular life in the city).

I decided to scrap the list (for now) and just listen.  

There are so many pieces (big and small) of the Easter story to meditate and pray on that I think I could start and never be done (and for sure, my list would remain unfinished).  But it’s the hopeful waiting that I’m feeling especially aware of today– the way that faith can carry us forward because we know there is good to be found (and celebrated), the way it can help us transform times of worry, anxiety, stress or restlessness.

I have such a tendency to fill the time, as if doing, doing, doing would speed us along to the next thing.  (Though most often, it feels as if life is speeding ahead and I’m hanging on to the tailgate… and not in a cool, like, stunt-person-on-a-skateboard way.)  When was the last time you really sat still?  It seems like a luxury, I know.  But is it?

I sat in that place of hopeful waiting for some time (I lost track… mostly because I had also lost my phone, which also serves as my clock… and like 900 other things).

The baby will be waking up soon, and Grace and Nick will be bounding in the door shortly.  Clark may or may not fall off the side table in excitement.  My sister, brother-in-law and nephew will be arriving soon too, and the house will be filled with happy noise.  It will be even more full tomorrow.

Eventually I’ll get around to labeling which food goes on which platter (I’m not ready to show my entire deck of neurotic cards just yet).  I’ll head out to the store, finish stuffing the eggs for tomorrow’s hunt, and go for a run.  We will help Grace dye her eggs (they’ve finally cooled down) and watch her attempt to play fetch with Clark as Nick trails behind them.

I might feel the day getting ahead of (or away from) me, but there is still so much to look forward to… so I will come back to that place of hopeful waiting.  And the place of no ironing, too.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Passover, Easter + Springtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your mind today?