Catching Up.

Shoot, I am SO far behind on life! I didn’t even post my CSA share last week. I was inexplicably depressed all week long- despairing, laying-in-bed, up-all-night, not-eating depressed. At first I figured I was just a little low, but after a third day of picking my food over and being very much inside my head, I knew something was up. The surest way to gauge my mental state is to watch what I’m eating, and how much. It’s a great way for me to keep track of how I’m feeling psychologically, as well as an entryway into the exploration of my relationship with food. I popped in to see a naturopath, who hooked me up with some camu powder and maca, and talked to me a little bit about what behaviors might help to get out of my funk. Easy: friends, more yoga, meditation, running, writing, something school-associated, and lots of time spent outside. I took the kids to parks, rolled out my yoga mat at sunrise and sunset, meditated for thirty minutes a day, and contacted my closest friends for quality time. I have a tendency toward depression- I think most people do- but if I don’t find a way to come out of it, it can screw me up for months. However, as the years have gone on and I delve deeper and deeper into those things I love the most- the interests I cultivate so passionately- I have found my depressive states to be less frequent. I try to maintain a positive focus, and find enjoyment in everything that I do.

So here I am, catching up after two strange weeks. Last I checked in, I believe I was still washing color out of my hair…

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After so much time away, I figured I’d share some pictures of what we’ve been doing these past two weeks ๐Ÿ™‚ First: last week’s CSA share:

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Clockwise from top left: cherry tomatoes, 2 heads of lettuce, new potatoes, cucumbers, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 eggplant, a bunch of scallions, spring garlic, green peppers, green cabbage, an heirloom tomato, and lots of summer squash. Also:

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The U-pick for that week: basil, lemon balm, nettle, chives, sage, dill, tomatillos, more cherry tomatoes, and yellow wax beans!

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And flowers, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

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I honestly don’t even remember how I used most of my share. My guess is either raw in salads or roasted. I wasn’t really eating, but I do remember roasting the potatoes with some sunflower seed oil and salt, which tasted pretty good to me. We also made baba ganoush from the eggplant, which the kids loved. Jack and Carolyn are such rock stars, and will eat just about any veggie. Jack even eats salad, and Carolyn has just discovered that she loves tomatoes!

I made a discovery of my own over the past few weeks: I can’t take the kids with me to u-pick anymore. Womp womp. They’re just…too active, and too busy for me to try to get my share picked.

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It’s a shame, because I really enjoy bringing them, and they enjoy going and learning about the different veggies. However, when I’m alone with the two of them, I end up spending all of my time either chasing them through the fields so they don’t pull up any plants, or trying to keep them within sight so they don’t pick from plants that aren’t ripe. On Wednesday I may try to go with just Jack, although last Saturday I went alone and loved the peace.

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For now, we’re going to stick to picking from our own little garden, which is really beginning to flourish!

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I had intended to take pictures of our garden harvest each week, but we’ve been using all of it so quickly that it’s difficult to separate ours from what we receive from the CSA. Right now it’s all tomatoes- both cherry and roma- but the eggplant are looking great, and should be ready in a few short weeks!

Like I said, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I love to be outdoors, and it gives the kids space to run around and let off some of that wonderful toddler energy.

Tyler Park:

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Solebury Orchards (to pick blueberries):

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The farmer’s market:

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Peaceable Kingdom Playground/Park:

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Every Friday night they have movies in the park, so that’s what the screen in for ๐Ÿ™‚

The Playground at Tyler Park:

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Jack’s new trick: climbing. EVERYTHING.

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I have been trying to get them out as much as I possibly can. They’ve both been presenting some challenges lately- defiant, picking at one another, misbehaving…I know it’s just another phase, but it’s leaving me pretty worn out. Getting them out of the house gives them something to focus on besides each other (or me).

A friend of mine invited us to meet her at the Children’s Museum in New Hope, which was a huge success:

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It’s difficult to put into words how ingenious this place is. There is everything and anything a child could want- a kitchen set, a mail room, a “grocery store,” a jungle gym, an “archaeological dig site,” a racetrack, a car parts station where you build your own race cars, lighted floor games, I could go on and on. The best part? The entire place is designed for kids, so I felt pretty comfortable letting Jack and Carolyn roam around and explore without chasing them down to make sure they weren’t breaking or destroying anything. It was brilliant, and I can’t wait to go back.

My Mum and I also took them to the Fallsington Library for story hour, crafts, and some playground time on Friday:

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Neither one of them sat through the story, and we spent most of the hour following them around the library and keeping them off of the bookshelves. I did manage to find this guy for a quarter on the used book shelf, though!

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Finally, we’ve been spending a good deal of time at the Garden of Reflection:

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I’ve actually been coming here a lot on evenings I don’t have yoga, and practicing next to the fountain as the sun sets. It is unimaginably peaceful.

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I was a little wary of setting up right next to the fountain, since the park stays pretty busy even at night, and practicing yoga alone in front of a bunch of unsuspecting strangers makes me a little nervous, but I ended up getting tons of comments about what a GREAT idea it was, and last time I went I had two other people show up and join me. Awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

I practice twice a day, every day, but most of the time it’s with the kids crawling over and around me, and toy cars rolling under my hands and feet. I’ve been making a point of leaving each evening when Luis gets home and practicing outside, either in the backyard or at a local park.

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Getting down with some Krishna Das ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s made a huge difference in my ability to manage my stress. Of course, Thursdays and Sundays, I’m all about the studio ๐Ÿ™‚

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Every time I go, I feel so fortunate to be able to practice in such a lovely space ๐Ÿ™‚ We have a great regular group, and it’s such wonderful energy from start to finish and beyond.

I’m trying to stay on top of the stress-management stuff. I know it’s normal to be under stress, that it helps keep us moving and motivated, but too much can be paralyzing and overwhelming. As I bring to the front of my mind all of the challenges and tasks that I am currently juggling, it doesn’t seem so bad- it’s all just a part of my life, a part of me. However, actually staying on top of everything can be really tough. Oftentimes, I feel like there just isn’t enough of me to cover all the bases. Enter: yoga. Running. Meditation. Time spent with my friends. Tea!

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Tea has been huge for me. I ditched coffee- it just wasn’t doing anything for me, other than giving me headaches and a mid-day crash. I switched to green tea, with an occasional cup of Yerba Mate, and I feel so much better. The RoT Double Green is my absolute favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also been keeping my mala close at hand. It helps to have something to focus my mind on when I feel it’s getting away from me.

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I suppose I should mention that I registered for my GRE tests- both the regular and the English Subject Test. My applications for MFA/PhD programs are due by December 15th, and I’ll know in the spring where I’m headed for the last leg of my education. It’s been very surreal- I can’t believe that it’s finally happening. I passed Bucks the other day, and the realization crashed over my head that not only am I not a student there anymore, but I’m finished at Bucks, with all of my credits transferred out and my record sent off to Temple. It seems strange, after all this time, that I would have even gotten here. I think my mind needs some time to catch up to what’s really going on in my life, because lately I’ve just been sitting in disbelief while this whole other part of me soldiers forward, ordering study guides and writing my Statement of Purpose. It’s unreal.

In other news, I read at the New Hope Poetry Festival over the weekend!

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It took lots of encouragement from Greg and Eileen and several glasses of wine, but I did it, with two poems! Terrifying.

I managedto snap a few photos of the latest CSA share, from last week:

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L to R: celery, cucumbers, sweet peppers, long hots, scallions, 2 heads of lettuce, green beans, husk cherries (!!!!!!), summer squash, new potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, new garlic, new onions.

I am loving all of these uncured veggies- potatoes, garlic, and onions. They’re so delicate and fresh tasting!

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I’m back to eating, so I’ve been enjoying this week’s share to the fullest, trying to get a nice variety of foods in to make up for the past two weeks. We got a huge load of different tomato varieties this week, and with some supplementing from my plants I was able to produce a huge batch of gazpacho and a jar of fresh sauce:

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Both of these were made entirely from my CSA share and garden- no extra trips to the grocery store, just pure, local food ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve also been rocking out the buffalo tempeh:

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I’m so into it, and it needs to stop. I served it over salad with the PPK’s ranch dressing, but I’m not even going to try like it was healthy. The sauce/dressings are such a killer. I suppose it could be worse, though!

That….is a very sparse and glossed-over summary of our time, but any more pictures and I’m afraid this post will explode. Photo. Overload. This week is looking pretty busy, with a possible beach trip and LOTS of studying (8 hours on Wednesday- ACK). At least it gives me an excuse to catch some sunsets at the park ๐Ÿ™‚

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Notes from the Week(end).

We were pretty slammed with activity this week, but then, I feel like I say that every week ๐Ÿ˜ก This is just an overview of the major components of our week:

1. Philly (and vegan food). Tuesday was my first visit at Temple- eek! I’m so nervous! I had to sit down with my advisor and discuss my giant course load for the Fall semester. I understand the necessity of it, that he needs to check with me and make sure I’m not totally out of my head, but on my end it gets a bit tiring. People are always telling me (and other people, for that matter) what can and can not be done, and frankly, most of the time it’s not half as difficult as they make it seem. I have a feeling this school year will be much the same- a challenge, but nothing insurmountable or unpleasant. I love what I do, and I love what I am aiming to do, and that makes everything seem like a fun and spirited dance.

I ended up grabbing dinner in the city at a veg spot I had been meaning to check out- HipCityVeg!

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It was really low-key and relaxed, although seating was limited. It wasn’t too busy, so I was able to snag a table, but I imagine it’s near-impossible when they’re slammed.

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All of their packaging is 100% compostable, which thrills me. It’s also cleverly designed- the sandwich is wrapped in a brown paper sleeve, and you just remove the front flap when you want to dig in. You can keep the sandwich in the wrapper while you eat it, which saves you from any sauces/toppings that may fall out.

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I got a deluxe veggie burger with some sort of special sauce. Delicious! I ate really early in the city and had gone for a long-ish run prior to that, so I grabbed a second sandwich for later:

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Chick’n and vegan ranch. Also delicious, and definitely worth a second visit. I’m looking forward to lunches in the city during the school year ๐Ÿ™‚

They wrap their chocolate chip cookies in cute brown paper and tie them with string. Adorable.

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2. CSA pickup, something I look forward to every week!

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I love going to pick up all the fresh veggies and brainstorming different ways of using them, but I also love actually being at the farm. It’s so peaceful, and everyone who works there and/or has a membership is so genuine. Everyone shares this wonderful common interest- the farm, and the lifestyle and values it represents. I feel very fortunate to be a part of that community. It has transformed my weekly pickup into a really special trip.

Of course, the food is also very exciting ๐Ÿ˜‰

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L to R: swiss chard, scallions, summer squash (SO MUCH SQUASH, AH!), two heads of lettuce, radicchio, two fennel bulbs, dandelion greens, sage, spicy hot oregano, chives, dill, green basil, purple basil, green beans, cucumbers (SO MANY CUCUMBERS), cabbage, and golden beets.

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Gorgeous! We have eaten everything except the fennel, cabbage, dandelion, and half of the beans. The CSA has shed light on how much produce we consume, and how quickly- a lot, and very. I’ve been juicing like a fiend lately, so a lot of the cucumbers have been swallowed by the juicer.

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I have also continued to preserve my herbs in oil and freeze them:

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It’s been wonderful to be able to take a cube of herbs and oil and toss it into a pan- so simple! We’ll be enjoying fresh herbs all winter ๐Ÿ™‚

3. New York. I went from soaking in the gorgeous landscape at the CSA to darting through traffic on the Upper West Side. I drove Abby and Eli home on Thursday night, but my Mum took the trip with me, so it wasn’t too bad. We even got dinner at Peacefood!

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Their soy apple ginger drink is absolutely ethereal. Mum and I split the nachos to start, and we each got a rice bowl topped with roasted veggies. Kabocha squash, zucchini, and cauliflower for me (with ginger oil dressing). We also snagged some chocolate-dipped macaroons for the ride home ๐Ÿ™‚

We got stuck in a bit of traffic coming out of the city, but it was perfect because we caught all the fireworks shows on the way home as we passed through different cities and towns. It was gorgeous, and so much more fun spending that time with my Mum. I am so grateful she took the trip with me!

4. Popsicles.

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It’s just been a thing lately. Frozen fruit + fresh juice + coconut yogurt + lime juice + ginger/cinnamon = yummy ‘sicles to keep us cool as the temperatures climb! Also, an excellent option for an after-dinner snack.

5. Princeton. One of my favorite places in the world! I am so in love. On Friday we took a trip over with Maurya and Julius- I needed to pick something up at Lulu. We got coffee at Small World and the walked around Urban Outfitters, followed by a stroll around campus. Old college campuses take my breath away- I couldn’t imagine going to school in such a beautiful place. Fingers crossed, most of my grad school apps are going to older schools with sunning campuses.

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Including Princeton! ๐Ÿ˜ก

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*le sigh*

6. Gardening. I came home from L.A. to find my tomato plants weighed down with the beginnings of fruit! It always surprises me when a plant I am tending to ends up producing- earlier in the season, I tend to feel like they’re just going to fake me out. Not so! Our tomato plants seem to have more young, green tomatoes by the day ๐Ÿ™‚ I even have different varieties!

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Beefsteak!

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Sweet cherry tomatoes.

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Roma:

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Our first eggplant blossom:

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Red cabbage, coming along nicely:

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Jack’s mint! ๐Ÿ™‚ Still going strong!

IMG_3424I am planning to write a post summarizing my experience with my potted garden, but I’m going to wait until I have actual product to taste test and show to you ๐Ÿ™‚ I am looking forward to next year, when I’ll have time to plot out a raised-bed garden in the yard, but this has been a great trial and preparation period. I can’t stress the difference it has made in my general attitude- helping a plant to grow and flourish, and seeing (and enjoying!) the product of its work is a great way to add a little magic to your day.

7. Nails! Emily has been staying with us for the summer, and she loves to paint nails, so I have been enjoying some gorgeous manicures ๐Ÿ™‚ We even got Carolyn in on the action!

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8. Exercise (particularly running and yoga)! I ran a 5k over the weekend (and Jack ran his first race!), and I have three more coming up in the next three weeks (Peace and Love Bug Run, Color Run, and Running the Yards). It’s all in preparation for the Philly Rock and Roll Half, and it’s been hugely motivating to have actual races to run during my training. Saturday was brutal, but I was glad to have done it, and even more proud of Jack.

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Honestly, the best part of racing, besides crossing the finish line, is pinning my bib up on my cork board. I love looking at all of them and thinking back to the awesome races I’ve run- it’s great motivation to keep going!

I have been incorporating a lot of exercise into our routine- more than we ever have, I think. At it’s core, it’s an effort to spend as much time outside as possible. The benefits of sunshine and fresh air are tragically underestimated.

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We’ve been aiming for a walk a day, mostly into town or on the Tyler nature trail. I run four days a week, cross train for two, and I do yoga every single day. I can’t find the words to describe the benefits of daily yoga practice- of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, maintaining a daily practice and spiritual study is definitely in the top three. It’s also something I enjoy sharing with Jack and Carolyn (and everyone else in my family, apparently!)

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I actually ordered a new yoga mat last week. My original mat was from Lululemon, and while the color was pretty and it looked cute, it was definitely not my ideal mat- way too short, and incredibly thin. I bought it at a time when I was just getting into yoga, and was therefore less concerned about function. Lululemon is definitely top-notch for athletic wear and accessories like bags and scarves, but they are NOT a mat company. Now that I practice regularly, I really needed a mat that I felt comfortable on and could trust- enter the Manduka Pro in Black Magic.

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The Rolls Royce of yoga mats- this thing was made for asanas. I bought it in the extra length- seventeen inches longer than a standard yoga mat, and two inches wider. No more flying off my mat trying to get into down dog! It is also 1/4″ thick, which makes a world of difference when you’re holding a difficult pose for minutes at a time.

Here is my Lulu mat laid over the Manduka:

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Big difference, literally, and it matters. Having more room on my mat gives me more room in my mind to focus on my practice and trust that when I’m moving around, the mat will be there when I need it to support me.

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Manduka also sent me a free yoga towel to try out- don’t mind if I do!

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It’s standard size, but it doesn’t matter too much since I don’t use it every time I practice. Since I had the mat and the towel, and it was about 100 degrees outside, I figured hot yoga was in order. I went for a quick (and sweaty!) hike, and then rolled out my mat for some sun salutations:

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soaked. The towel worked wonders, though, absorbing any and all moisture while providing great traction. I also tested both of them out in the studio last night, with similarly satisfying results. The Pro mat is huge, especially in a room full of standard mats, but I could care less. I am so sold. I also have one of Manduka’s travel mats coming my way, so I’m anxious to try that out. It’s super lightweight at around 2 pounds, so it’s a great on-the-go option. The Pro is perfect in every way, but it weighs SEVEN pounds, which is a lot for a mat. However, I have a great bag with a comfortable shoulder strap, I don’t have to lug it around too much, and I’m used to hauling two children around. I’m trying to think of it as a boost of strength training ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Last bit of exciting news relating to health and wellness: we have a Barre3 opening in Newtown! They’re offering free classes all week, but the most exciting part is….THEY OFFER CHILDCARE!!!! I am so, so excited. I managed to get in on a few classes this week, so I’ll be sure to report back and review. I’m sure it’s going to be great. Newtown is turning into such a healthy and progressive little town. All we need now is a Lulu and a Trader Joe’s! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m off to get some yoga in before the kids wake up, followed by lunch and a walk through Tyler- here’s hoping the weather holds up! It was brutal being stuck inside last week, I’m not sure I’m up for it again! ๐Ÿ˜ก

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Namaste!