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!

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Jack’s Birthday Weekend!

WOW, it’s been a wild week! I can’t believe I haven’t been on here to write about Jack’s Third Birthday! We had a party for him last Saturday, two days before his actual birthday. What a blast we had- between spending time with all of our friends, enjoying the day, and stuffing ourselves with delicious food, it was just perfect.

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It rained in the days leading up to the party, as well as the days following, but somehow Saturday was gorgeous and rain-free. Patty came the night before to assist with the cooking, and thank god she did- I really needed the help! We made A LOT of food:

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I was told that the food was outstanding, which was exciting to hear, since it was not only entirely vegan, but also organic and gluten free- even the cake! I wanted to showcase delicious, healthy food- the food that the kids and I eat every day- without sacrificing flavor or scaring people with strange and unfamiliar ingredients. I believe it was a success!

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We employed my brother to hold the pinata while the kids (and some adults) busted it open!

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Jack loved having all of his favorite people together in one place ๐Ÿ™‚

After the kids went to bed, some of the adults hung around and boozed it up in the backyard. We got a bonfire going, along with a few games of cornhole, followed by guitars, singing, and hat poetry. A great end to the night!

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Jack was out of his head, between all of the people and the presents, the food and fun, it was almost too much for him. I kept imagining how much fun it will be to one day host the kids’ birthday parties in our own home- which isn’t too terribly far in the future!

Abby and Eli came to stay for the party, and ended up hanging out for most of the rest of the week. I can’t fit all four kids in my car, so in order to get Eli and Abby back to New York, Luis had to stay with Jack and Cal. The only day that ended up working out for everyone was Thursday, so they ended up spending the week with us.

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Unfortunately, it rained the ENTIRE time they were here, which meant we were stuck inside. I somehow managed to survive a five-day four-child madness marathon by building them forts and letting them sit inside and finger paint.

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My cousin Lisa had come to visit from Connecticut for Jack’s party, and we managed to get all of the kids over to visit our grandmother:

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It was a big group- eight children! So fun ๐Ÿ™‚

Jack and Abby were my assistants, accompanying me on most of my errands while Cal and Eli got some Papi time. We managed to catch a few dry hours- long enough to get over to Milk House.

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We also went blueberry picking at Solebury Orchards! I was determined to get Abby out there during her visit- she LOVED the blueberries I bought at the Saturday market, and she hadn’t ever been to a farm/orchard before. I initially thought we’d just go up and pick up a few pre-picked containers, but it was so beautiful outside, it felt like a crime not to take advantage of the weather. Also, pick-your-own was so much cheaper than the pre-picked- we got three overflowing quart containers for $10 (which would have been $18 otherwise), plus extra snackage while we were picking. Exercise AND a savings? Win!

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They loved it- we picked three quarts, and I sent one of them home to New York with Abby. We ate another quart, and froze the last one. Jack, Cal and I will be returning on Thursday to replenish ๐Ÿ™‚

Monday was Jack’s actual birthday, and although we had a party for him two days before, I still wanted to do a little something to acknowledge his day. He’ll only ever turn three once! My Mum, Emily and I took him to Starbucks for a hot chocolate ๐Ÿ™‚

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I also managed to bake a dozen cupcakes, and Emily iced them. We did a little cake-and-candle celebration after dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Happy Birthday to my favorite little boy! ๐Ÿ™‚

I won’t go on too much about what we’ve been up to this past week- there’s just too much to say, so I’ll save it for tomorrow, but I do want to note that Jack ran his first race on Saturday morning!

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I had registered for the Run Over Cancer 5k to support research for pancreatic cancer, and they were offering a kids’ 1/4 mile fun run prior to the 5k, so I signed Jack up! It was AWESOME, I can not even tell you. Jack wasn’t 100% sure what he was doing there at first, but he seemed to get the general idea as we stood near the starting line. He was also really excited that we both had racing bibs on ๐Ÿ™‚ As we waited for his race to begin, I told him he was going to run all the way around the track, and he got excited and tried to take off immediately. Whoops.

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Carolyn wanted to run too ๐Ÿ™‚ Next year!

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Waiting for the start….

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…GO!

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I snapped a few photos as they took off, and then jogged across the field to meet him on the second turn. He was one of the littlest runners, so he was way in the back of the pack and I knew he might not be able to run the entire loop.

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He blew me away, and ran the entire thing while I jogged next to him on the grass. Toward the end he reached out his hand and shouted, “hold my hand, Mama!,” and we ran the rest of the way and crossed the finish line together.

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My heart ๐Ÿ™‚

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I can’t describe how it felt to watch Jack enjoying a sport I have come to love so deeply. I want to encourage him and Carolyn to pursue whatever truly fulfills them, and if the things I cherish and value most don’t fulfill them the way they do for me, then I will respect and understand that. However, it just stopped my heart to see my little guy with a racing bib on, smiling and rounding the final curve of the track. I am so, so proud of him ๐Ÿ™‚

The 5k was just a few minutes after the kids’ race, but the temperature was already climbing into the high eighties. It was absolutely brutal- I struggled through the entire race, between the heat and a blister that formed on my heel during the first half-mile, I was absolutely dragging. Fortunately, I had a wonderful cheering squad to keep my spirits up!

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Seriously though, this blister. It is way too gross to post here, but I’ll tell you it covers the entire back of my left heel and is the color of a red delicious apple. It also hurts like hell. I want to tell you that I am sidelined for the week, but I got impatient and cranked out a quick mile today. Pain beyond pain, but it needed to happen- I am so excited for the half marathon in the Fall, the last thing I want is to have to walk part of it because of poor training.

We have, of course, had a busy end-of-week and weekend, and I am looking forward to sharing pictures and stories with you guys tomorrow. Also, some pictures from last week’s CSA share, and a rundown on my brand new yoga mat. Namaste!