Tag Archives: Cape Cod

A Season of Gratitude | and sheep costumes

We spent the last few days chasing around two very cute sheep.  This was the first holiday as a family of four that we’ve really been able to get out there (without a stroller) and do the things that people do on Halloween (I guess… it’s never been my jam). 

a season of gratitude

I picked up matching sheep costumes for Grace + Nick on a whim, and it was probably the best Target money I’ve ever spent.  Which is saying something.  They took to them instantly, crawling around our condo for hours (as Grace pointed out, “sheeps use all of their legs for walking”).  They made their public debut at the Cape this weekend, where we hit up the annual Green Halloween at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.  The museum was open (and admission was super discounted — $5 for kids, free for accompanying adults) and full of fun Halloween activities and surprises. 

a season of gratitude

On Sunday, we took my aunt Mary’s suggestion and brought our sheep to CJ’s Horse Ranch in West Barnstable for their Halloween Fun Day.  You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a pair of sheep ride ponies.  After a tractor tour and the pony rides, Grace and Nick got to meet and trick-or-treat with the horses. 

a season of gratitude

a season of gratitude

a season of gratitude

Everyone was so kind and generous, and our kids had so much fun at both events.  As I scrolled through the 890 photos I took, I kind of couldn’t believe they were real.  The whole weekend was pure magic.

A SEASON OF GRATITUDE

As I lit my soy Christmas tree scented candle this morning (it’s time), I knew I wanted that feeling of the weekend’s magic to last.  I knew I wanted to avoid the overwhelm that often sets in this time of year, as best I can.  I knew I wanted to soak up all that wonder and joy on my kids’ faces.  I knew I wanted to focus on the things that matter… which basically, aren’t things.  And I kept coming back to gratitude.  So I made us a printable chart thing.  Because that’s who I am, for better or worse.  

I’m planning to take a few minutes each night during this holiday season to write about gratitude– who and what I’m grateful for, etc.  And I’d love for you to join me, if you’re interested.  Feel free to use #gratitudeOTFT when sharing on social.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to see what everyone is feeling grateful for?  

a season of gratitude

click to download your free printable gratitude list

I’ll be sharing my list (likely weekly) here and on Instagram stories as well.  (And if it goes well, I promise to make us a new list for December…)

Also On Tap for Today:

Let’s hear it… what are you feeling grateful for today?

Currently | September 2017

It’s late September and I just took a blissful outdoor shower (one of my favorite things about our Cape house).  I’m telling you that partly so you know I prioritize hygiene, and partly to express what a gorgeous summer day it is in New England… despite it technically being, like, the fourth day of Autumn.  Whatever, man.

CURRENTLY | SEPTEMBER 2017

currently september 2017

Serious question: How to you make your hands look cool and/or normal in photos?

Currently reading

Per usual, I have started 14 new books… and finished 0 of them.  We read so many great children’s books this summer (I need to add to this list), but now that I have a little time to myself while the kids are at preschool, I have loaded up my Kindle with non-picture books.  And it feels good.  Here’s what I’m reading:

Currently listening to

  • A whole slew of great podcasts: Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave it, Call Your Girlfriend, Fake The Nation, Style Your Mind, Fat Mascara and LeVar Burton Reads.
  • The Daily Mix playlists from Spotify (they nail it every time)
  • Grace singing “There’s a Potty in the USA”… because she heard Miley in the car once and now our bathroom has its own anthem.  

Currently watching

  • For out of state license plates… I printed a 50 states license plate worksheet thing (from a website called Mom’s Mini Van… in case my life status was at all in question, that should clarify things) mid-way through August.  So many people vacation on the Cape, I thought it might be fun to keep track of the different license plates we saw.  There are plenty of New Hampshires, New Yorks, New Jerseys, Connecticuts, Vermonts, Pennsylvanias, Floridas, and Maines here.  And a surprising number of Ohios.  I got very into this whole game, like… very quickly.  (Note that most of the summer it was just me and the kids down here… so essentially, I was the only one playing.)  And I’m not saying I purposely took the wrong exit to catch up to and record an interesting looking license plate…. but I’m not saying I didn’t either.  I saw Oklahoma and not only beeped, but frantically waved, and judging by the driver’s look… he was not into it.  And then, on Labor Day, as we made our way back to the city, I saw Alaska on Route 6 and lost what very little chill I had left.  Nick claims he knows someone who up until recently had Hawaii plates.  Likely story.  I started a brand new sheet the day after Labor Day, and I’m not bragging, but I have 40 of the 50 states already logged.  It helps that the entire country moves to Boston every September to go to college.  In their moms’ minivans.  
  • Nick brought his Netflix membership back from the dead so we could watch Ozark (thanks to Tina + Mal for the recommendation).  It’s dark, but not too violent and now I am obsessed with money laundering, so that’s fun.  To clarify: I don’t personally launder money, I’ve just developed a hobby/part-time job being suspicious of people who might.
  • Also on Netflix, Gaga: Five Foot Two.  Liked it a lot.  Love her a lot.

Currently feeling

  • Relieved to be back in a routine.  As fun as this summer was, I definitely appreciate (and need) order.  
  • Itchy, because I saw a spider approaching me 2 hours ago, but I lost track of it… so it’s only safe to assume it’s in my hair, texting its friends to come over.
  • Especially grateful.  We got a flat tire on our way home from Grace’s dentist appointment this morning and I know it’s such a small thing, but I felt myself getting so frustrated.  And embarrassed for being frustrated.  I am so lucky to have who and what I do.    
  • Speaking of embarrassed: Why did I write what amounts to a 10 page, double-spaced essay on license plate hunting?

Also On Tap for Today:

What has been the highlight of your month so far?

 

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?

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?

Winter on Cape Cod

When we closed on our beach house last fall, I was longing for summer.  I looked forward to long days at the beach, warm evenings on the deck, and starry nights with our family.  While I know this coming summer will be wonderful, I can’t tell you how much joy and peace winter on Cape Cod has brought us.  It has been the best surprise.

We’ve spent nearly every weekend down the Cape since October, escaping the busy-ness of our (equally wonderful, albeit noisier) lives in the city.  There is something so calm and lovely about the off season.

WINTER ON CAPE COD

winter on cape cod 1

winter on cape cod 2

cape cod 3

winter on cape cod 4

cape cod winter 5

cape cod 6

cape cod 7

Calm and lovely, indeed.

…And there’s plenty of beach parking.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite local escape?

Meal + workout plan for the week of 3/13

…Coming to you live from snowy Cape Cod with this week’s meal plan + workouts.  The babes are napping, so I figured I’d make an attempt to get my act together for the week before we head back to the city.

this week's meal plan + workouts

Note to the entire internet self: I need to figure out if Tuesday’s storm is the real deal or not and plan my grocery shopping accordingly.  My favorite meteorologist (yes, I have one of those) seems to be on vacation, so I am essentially lost.

THIS WEEK’S WORKOUTS

+ (a decidedly wintery) MEAL PLAN

  • Spinach + black bean quesadillas
  • Vegetarian chili for lazy people
  • Spiced lentil + sweet potato stew (recipe from Rachel Ray)
  • Flatbreads + salad
  • Stuffed baked sweet potatoes + salad
  • Grilled cheese + tomato soup

Breakfasts will likely be some combination of yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, English muffins and/or a porridge made from my children’s table scraps… Lunch is usually a giant salad.  I expect these dinners will make for really good leftovers to tag along with my greens.  And my peasant parent porridge.  

Time to Google the weather.  Catch you on the other side… of the Sagamore.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on tap for your week ahead?  

On our walls | at the Cape

After three or four consecutive weekends in the city, we are back at the Cape, enjoying the peace and quiet of the off season.  Since closing on the house here in mid-October, we’ve been down as many weekends as possible.  We’ve made a lot of progress in some areas, but in other areas, maybe not so much… both kids’ rooms sort of look like the second child’s room in this hilarious BuzzFeed post that I can’t stop scrolling through. 

We have some really fun things up on our walls, though, so I figured we could start there. It’s been so fun to start from scratch, building an inexpensive collection of pieces we truly love. I think that’s really the only rule that matters when building an art collection: Buy what you love.

I’ve linked to products when possible, mostly because I think everyone needs at least one of Elizabeth May’s seagulls in their home.  Please note that some links are referral or affiliate links.

KITCHEN

on our walls kitchen

The first things to grace our walls were these Elizabeth May seagull prints (Seagull 15 + Seagull 16).  I absolutely love her style, and just saw that she has new Barack Obama and Joe Biden prints for sale in her Etsy shop so…. they will be joining us soon, along with her Maya Angelou and Susan B. Anthony portraits.  

Cool/important people art party at the Cape!

I used these brass matted Target frames throughout the house.  I am obsessed.

LIVING ROOM

living room on our walls

  • Photos of Grace, Nick + Clark,  all taken at the Cape
  • Minted signed print (Mid-summertime by Emily Jeffords) + a photo of Grace birdwatching with “the giant ‘noculars'” at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History 

*You can use your Ebates account for cash back at Minted (PSA for those not already using Ebates: sign up for an Ebates account and go to their website when shopping online– by going through them first, you’ll earn cash back at many of the sites you usually shop.  For me, that’s diapers.com, LOFT, Nordstrom, Minted, Athleta, etc.)

CapeAbilities flag

We have this Cape Cod flag, made by Cape Abilities participants, hanging on the wall heading upstairs.  Proceeds from these flags (this size was $35) support the organization, which serves individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod through a range of programs.  If you’re on the Cape, I highly recommend a trip to their farm in Dennis and store in Yarmouth.  They do wonderful work.

GUEST ROOM/DEN

guest room on our walls

I normally wouldn’t paint over someone else’s work… but I figured a mass market paint-by-number is fair game, right?  You can find similar vintage paintings at thrift stores and on Etsy or ebay, often with wooden frames, for $20 or so.  I used leftover paint from another project and simply blocked off a third of the image with blue painters tape and added a single coat of paint so that the original painting is still visible up close.

OUR BEDROOM

our bedroom on our walls

I hadn’t planned to hang the tapestry and Top Knot print together, or even in the same room… but then I saw them side by side and loved the repetition of those red stripes. The rest of our room is super white and restful, so these pieces punch things up a bit.

The tapestry is from the Pillowfort kids line at Target, but it totally works in a grown-up room.  Kids decor is often less expensive… and more cool.

GRACE’S ROOM

Grace on our walls

Grace fell in love with this swan (and her tutu), and who could blame her?  The framed print is actually a Valentine’s Day card that cost $3 ($15 including the frame). Framing greeting cards is an easy, low commitment way to add a little something to your walls.

NICK’S ROOM

Nick on our walls

One of the artists for Modern Map Art generously sent us this print, which I thought would work perfectly in Nick’s room (I’m going for a mostly navy vibe in there).  There are several options for Boston, all in local team color ways.  My photo doesn’t do the print justice, so I recommend checking out their website to see more detailed shots.  They sell similar prints for cities all over the globe, as well as some really cool ski maps.

I love how major and local streets have been painted over the map in red.  It’s really bold and graphic and I think it pairs well with the anchor tapestry (another kids department find).  

Plus, it’s nice to have a little Southie with us at the Cape. 

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite piece of art or inexpensive decor tip?

 

 

Oh buoy.

Oh buoy.

oh buoy

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

These beauties are on the side of Capt. Cass Seafood, at Rock Harbor in Orleans.  I think this would be a fun scene to paint… one of these days.  In the meantime, I’ve cracked open a new sketchbook + some gouache and painted a wonky purple chair.  It’s the first time I’ve painted something start to finish in ages.  But both babes were asleep and our condo was mostly under control and I’m sure there were 40 other things I should have been doing, but I chose to paint instead.

Because when creative inspiration strikes, it’s best to *seas* the moment… get it?  Seas…. buoys… Lord, help me.  

I spent 10 or so minutes earlier this week brainstorming things I wanted to paint, write about, cook, read, watch, learn more about, listen to and create.  I’m hoping that list will help ward off my next creative low tide (there I go again).  

Perhaps you’ll think about making a similar list?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s inspiring you today?

 

Winter rest

This time between Christmas and the New Year has turned into the perfect little winter rest.  Nick had a few days off from work, we let Grace play preschool hooky for the week, and welp… baby Nick, Clark and I live on a very flexible schedule that revolves around naps and snack time.  And laundry.  But mostly snack time.

winter rest

We’ve been hiding out (but not really, because everyone knows we’re here) down the Cape, watching the birds.  And eating soup.  Hanging up some artwork and setting up a basement gym.  Reading my favorite Wendell Berry poem and resting.  Binge-watching Super Store once the kids are in bed.  Coloring and playing trains.  Trying to perfect my recycling system.  Hunkering down and staying in.

The largest part of me is an optimist and is fed by hope.  But there’s that tiny part of me that is cynical and practical and maybe even a little wary.  So I’m grateful for this week, this winter rest, both because it seems like the perfect end to an imperfect year… and because I know that time like this will give me a deeper well to draw from in the future. 

That favorite poem I mentioned (you can hear Wendell Berry read it here) starts like this, “When despair for the world grows in me…”

And it ends like this, “For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

So that’s where I will be until 2017.  Resting.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Spending a few hours at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History before it closes for the winter
  • 5 heart-opening yoga poses for the new year from mindbodygreen
  • Performing a very scientific experiment involving a waffle maker + cinnamon rolls

How do you keep your well of sanity/balance/happiness/gratitude/Cheez-Its full (or at least, not empty)?

O Holy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m listening to O Holy Night on repeat (this is my absolute favorite version, one I’ve shared the last few years, I think).  Granted, I’ve sort of been doing that since before Halloween… but whatever.  Some years you just need more Christmas music than others.

o holy night

I took this photo at a lovely vintage shop on the Cape called Gatherings by the Sea (isn’t that a great name?).  I’m pretending that’s why my current elf workshop situation looks like.  

Amidst the toys and socks and sink full of dishes and errant wrapping paper tubes, baby Nick is peacefully napping (safely, like, in his crib… not under piles of laundry).  And Grace is talking about how camels probably don’t fit in the manger, but they should try to come in any way, because baby Jesus loves camels.  And I’m listening to O Holy Night with the fullest heart.

Wishing you a similarly perfectly unperfect Christmas.  And a happy first night of Hanukkah.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Cookie butter rolls: sounds like Christmas breakfast to me from Food52
  • Looking forward to lots of family time!
  • Trying to find the Christmas pjs…

What is your Christmas looking like?