Mother’s Day Weekend

Gahhhh, this weekend, and Mother’s Day in particular, was so awesome! One of the best in my memory! It started with a phone call from Patty, asking if it would be alright to come out to visit. It pretty much set the tone for the rest of the incredible weekend 🙂 Saturday morning the kids and I went to the farmer’s market for broccoli rabbe, vanilla beans, asparagus, kale, and some flower pot painting. Jack painted a beautiful flower pot for me, and the woman running the booth helped him fill it with a mint plant.

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He’s extremely proud of his plant. We check it every day and water it every other day. At this rate, our entire garden will have been totally free! Our tomato plants are looking really happy, too, which is good because I was afraid the replant would traumatize them.

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After the market, I brought the kids home for naps, followed by a trip to Hamilton to pick up Patty. She arrived with a container of Babycakes chocolate chip brownie bites.

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We are best friends for a reason 😉 We left Hamilton and went directly up to Doylestown, taking the most roundabout route because we were too busy talking and eating to pay attention to where we were going. Typical. We finally arrived at Sandy Ridge Farm, where they were celebrating the grand opening of their new market!

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It is super cute and stocked with tons of fresh produce, as well as heaps of products from local businesses- Owowcow, Brad’s Raw, and Solebury Orchards were the big names. The kids were really excited to see Maurya, Julius, and Moms, and Carolyn just clung to everyone and bounced from person to person.

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Snuggle bug! The market was really cute, but with some super high prices. A simple box of shredded kale was priced at $4, which is double what we pay at the farmers market for twice as much, but overall it’s definitely a step in the right direction! We scored a container of fresh pea tops for $3. It’s great knowing that there are different options out there, in different areas, so we have tons of options. I am really interested to see what the market near Owowcow will be like!

Sandy Ridge was nice because the garden they grow in is right next to the store, along with the chicken coop and field, so that was fun for the kids to see.

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They were both loving the chickens. We’re looking forward to visiting the Milk House chickens sometime this week 🙂

After the farm we went over to Maurya’s to look through a bag of second-hand clothes, all super cute and total steals! We had smoothies and then Patty and I went home to get the kids settled, make a gorgeous salad, and get ready to go to the movies! Patty hadn’t seen Gatsby yet, and I wanted to give it a second look, so we caught the late show. We totally stashed a boatload of dark chocolate and blackberries in my bag so we wouldn’t be stuck with gross movie theater food. Patty is my soul mate in so many wonderful ways ;D

Sunday I woke up early to hang with the kids while Patty slept in. We did our smoothie thing, and gave Grammy her mother’s day gift- a handmade wind chime made from antique silverware from My Creative Recycling (check her out on Facebook)! It’s totally gorgeous.

When Patty woke up, we left to do some grocery shopping before she had to catch her train back home. Of course, she couldn’t leave without checking out Greenstraw and grabbing some juice and wheat grass!

 

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We hit up Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods for snacks and staples. It was great to have Patty there to help with the kids!

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We ended up picking out some exciting items…

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Hemp cloth wipes! I used to do the cloth wipe thing in New York, but it got to be more than I could keep up with, so I stopped. Even though Jack is almost out of diapers (woohoo!), I still want to continue our efforts to reduce waste. I picked up a bunch of these hemp wipes, because not only are they great for diaper changes, but they’d also be dynamite kept in a pouch in my purse, always ready to handle sticky hands and/or messy faces! I am so excited.

After we finished our shopping and dropped Patty off in Hamilton, the kids and I zipped back home. They had a date with their beds, and I had a brunch date with my Momma!

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Blue Sage, one of my favorite restaurants in the area! They’re an entirely vegetarian establishment, and most of their dishes can be made vegan upon request. The food is absolutely outrageous, but before last weekend they were only serving lunch and dinner. They just added a weekend brunch, and as soon as I heard, I knew it would be the perfect outing for mother’s day.

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We took our time pouring over the menu. It’s prix fixe, and for $18 you get your choice of a starter, a main, and coffee or tea. There is also a soup available, as well as a side of potatoes and a number of fresh juices. I went with green tea, which came in this adorable stacked teacup/mug situation. Too cute!

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Blue corn johnnycakes with dried blueberries- Mum’s starter. These were served with fresh berries and a maple mascarpone, and were absolutely delicious.

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I started with the parfait, and…..oh my heavens. I seriously do believe that this may have been the single most delicious thing I have ever tasted. EVER.

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It was drenched in this incredible cherry compote, topped with a salted caramel something, and had the most delicious crunchy and light granola mixed in. Seriously, the stuff of dreams.

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I ordered the pan bagna for my main, which was also incredible, served with a delicious fresh salad.. I couldn’t even finish it, I had to take half home!

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Mum got a wrap sandwich, which I ended up being too full to taste, but she said it was delicious, so it’s on the menu for next time (NEXT TIME, NOM).

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We also got a side of the potatoes, because we had no idea we’d be stuffed full of deliciousness. I ended up taking these home as well.

I had such a blast being out with my Mum, and I’m really looking forward to doing it again. It definitely helped that the food was so outrageous.

After brunch, we stopped in to see Nana. Nothing much to report- she seems about the same, though it still surprises me every time just how much she forgets, and then by contrast, how much she can remember.

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Weird side-note: since getting back to a regular fitness routine, I’ve found myself becoming more and more comfortable with seeing myself in pictures. It used to make me cringe, but now it’s really not so bad. And I don’t even look any different! Just another reason to keep going, I suppose.

Home again, and time to throw some dinner together for the kids! The weather was extraordinary, and it felt like a real summer night. I couldn’t resist cracking out some fresh veggies and firing up the grill 🙂

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Yummm 🙂 Chopped up and tossed into a bowl with some farro and a lemon-balsamic dressing…

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Perfection. This is, hands-down, my favorite summer dish 🙂

My Mum presented me with a mother’s day card after I finished cooking.

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BAHAHAHA. She asked Jack to sign the card, and that’s what he did. Best. Card. Ever!

We ended the night at Owowcow, because it’s Owowcow and we are obsessed.

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Today served as a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for in my life. I won’t go into too much detail or try to list everything, but these past few weeks especially have been incredible, and it just keeps getting better as the weeks progress. I am thankful that this weekend provided me with some much-needed contact with one of my closest friends. Patty’s presence in my life is absolutely essential to my well-being, and I often feel like I just don’t see her enough. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her in two weeks, and maybe even next week for a yoga event taking place on the steps of the Philly Art Museum. Fingers crossed!

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It’s a good life we’ve got going here, and getting better by the day 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the incredible Mums in the world, especially my own ❤

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Books For Any Day, On A Rainy Day

One of the biggest goals I have as a parent is to show Jack and Carolyn how valuable reading is. It is no secret that I am a bookworm, and this summer I expect to read through a book about every other day. I want Jack and Carolyn to find the same magic in books that I have all my life, and so books are a huge part of our life and daily routine.

We usually read a few books throughout the morning, usually board books or simple picture books. Additionally, Jack has taken to sitting alone in his papasan chair in his room and reading for a period of time in the afternoon. We read a book or a few poems before naptime, and later in the afternoon sometimes Carolyn will want to flip through one while Jack plays cars, so we’ll do that. I keep a running stock of different books for them in the car, for longer trips to Princeton or New York. Finally, at night, we all sit together and read a book and five or six poems before they go to sleep.

Every time I take the kids to the library or story hours at local bookstores, I am astounded by the number of books on the shelves. We have a huge collection, and somehow my Amazon cart always contains at least five new books waiting to be ordered. The library has been a great resource for us, because it allows us to try different books without dropping cash on them right away. That way we can get only the books that we really treasure, and the rest can circle on and off the shelves of area libraries! I thought I’d give you guys an idea of what we’ve been reading lately, and which books we couldn’t go a day without. It seemed fitting, since today is so wet and gross that we’ve spent the morning inside reading a bunch of these:

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Trucks, trains, and boats: this is Jack’s section of the shelf. He’ll read any book about anything with wheels or an engine, so it’s not difficult to pick out books, but these are a few of his favorites. His Chuggington book has flaps that you can lift up, and that’s always fun for him- Maurya and Julius gave it to him, because they’re geniuses. This is a great one for long car rides. The Little Engine is an absolute classic, and the smaller copy is actually my brothers from their childhood! I’m not crazy about him having open access to that copy, since every once in a while he’s been known to rip pages. My friend Brittany got him the larger edition, which has the most beautiful illustrations. I just love it 🙂

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Classics: the books I read as a child, that we return to again and again, that never get old. Eloise is a favorite of Carolyn’s, and I’ve been looking at Madeline books for her as well. Fox in Socks is my favorite to read, but Jack’s favorite is Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. King and King is a wonderful story about a prince whose mother wants him to marry, but none of the princesses he meets seem to fit- until he meets….another prince! It’s so cute. Fun fact: Are You My Mother was my mother’s book when she was a little girl!

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Aw 🙂

IMG_1997We also have a small stock of board books, mostly for Carolyn now, but Jack will flip through them from time to time. Urban Babies Wear Black and Foodie Babies Wear Bibs are two other favorites, but they’re out in the car. I’m really loving the “Little Miss” books- P & P and Jane Eyre! Too cute!

IMG_1990These are the universal favorites- the ones that, if every other book in the world disappeared, we’d survive on these few. They’re all popular with both of the kids and myself- I love, love, LOVE reading these books! Blowin’ in the Wind is an illustrated version of the Bob Dylan song. John Muth does the most incredible watercolor and ink illustrations, and we are obsessed, as you’ll soon see. A Book of Sleep is just a really solid pre-bed story that I enjoy about a little owl. Zen Ties and Zen Ghosts are both written and illustrated by Muth, and feature the use of Zen Buddhist philosophy, haiku, and a giant zen panda to convey meaningful lessons. One is a book that beautifully addresses bullying (and reverse bullying) through the use of color and numbers. I actually read it at Bucks last year for Reading, Writing Women because I thought it was such a treasure. Tales of Beedle the Bard are children’s stories from the Harry Potter books, and they’re all cute, but we really like the Tale of the Three Brothers. Finally, the two books that we couldn’t live without: Caroline Kennedy’s A Family of Poems and, our most recent addition, Poems to Learn by Heart. These are beautifully illustrated by Muth, and organized by Kennedy into overarching themes preceded by little introductions explaining her connection to the works. Her family had a deep appreciation for poetry, and in these volumes she shares some of her favorite works for children- most of them very famous and classic poems that I know and enjoy myself! It tickles me to know that Jack and Carolyn are growing up reading Frost and Dickinson.

As for me, I’m working my way through a knee-high stack of books that I’ve been meaning to read for some time. First things first, I am re-reading The Great Gatsby, in an effort to undo some of the movie’s garish imagery. After that, it’s on to East of Eden, The Bell Jar, and a collection of Flannery O’Connor short stories. I have also been really into Ben Yagoda and Steven Pinker, and will probably be tackling a few of their books toward the middle of the summer. I’ve been digging in to Nikky Finney’s works lately- she’s so dynamic, I can’t get enough. Elizabeth Raby is another favorite. Finally, I’m hoping to re-read both Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice sometime in August, because it’s been a while.

I am being treated to a surprise visit by Patty this afternoon- hooray! We’re going to grab smoothies, for sure, and then probably heading up to Doylestown to check out a new Farmers Market, and then maybe some food with Maurya and Julius, or if it’s getting too late, back home for…more food. Right now, it’s nap time, which is Mom-code for a full sixty minutes of having full use of my hands! 😉