Notes from the Week(end).

We were pretty slammed with activity this week, but then, I feel like I say that every week 😡 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 🙂

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 😉

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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 🙂

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 🙂

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! 😡

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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 🙂 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! 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 😉

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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! 😀

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! 😡

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Namaste!

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Memorial Day Weekend.

Whew! What a weekend! We lucked out with the weather- Saturday was a little drizzly and dreary, but by Sunday it was all clear, blue skies and breezy temperatures. The kids and I were loving it!

Saturday morning we were up and packing the car for a trip into New York. Jack was so excited to see Eli, it’s all he talked about. We met Patty first and got breakfast at one of our favorite spots- the Peacefood Cafe.

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IMG_2286Jack was so thrilled to see his Tia 🙂

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It was wet and overcast outside, so there was plenty of tea and hot soup in order-

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Kale and lentil soup

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Veggie tamale with roasted diced tomatoes on top.

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Roasted kabocha squash and broccoli.

The kids amazed me by being exceptionally well-behaved. It’s getting harder and harder to bring them out to eat, just because they’re both at a point where they want to make a lot of noise and explore EVERYTHING, so I was surprised when they were content to sit and snack on our croutons.

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Carolyn got up periodically to stand at the window, and Jack took a walk over to the dessert case, but other than that it was smooth sailing!

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Patty snagged two chocolate covered macaroons for us to share on the way out. Genius woman.

We followed breakfast with some playground time in the hope that J & C would burn off some steam. The one on 96th and Fifth next to the Reservoir is huge and has a variety of activities, so it seemed like a reasonable option.

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Giant sandbox!!! Aaahhhhhhh!!!!!

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Jack was loving this little balance beam/bridge situation, and insisted we try it ourselves. How could we say no? ;D

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I think we’ll leave the balancing acts to Jack 😉

We had some time to spare, so we walked down to the Guggenheim, but the line was outrageous. We ended up just walking down Fifth, enjoying the scenery and our time together.

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At one point it started to rain, and I ran back for the car while Patty and Luis waited under cover with the kids. We dropped them all off uptown, and Patty and I went back downtown to relax and chat over warm mugs of tea and cookie sandwiches.

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Also, juice.

Each time I see Patty, I feel more and more grateful to have met her. She is such a bright light in my life, I don’t know how I’d get along without her 🙂

I got home just in time to get the kids washed and in to bed, and jet back out to meet some friends at Isaac’s for a few beers before bed.

Sunday (yesterday) was more low-key, with the kids playing in the yard and lots of sandbox time. There was also an attempt to fly a kite, but it seems like we need a bit more open space.

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Our neighbor threw a block party in the afternoon, so around 3 we all got dressed up and walked a few houses down. The kids looked so sweet!

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IMG_2376 There was a big game of frisbee spanning three yards. Jack got right in the middle and just ran around waving his arms and trying to catch it. Amazing.

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I ended up going for a run later that night, even though my stomach was full of food. So bad- I didn’t cramp up, and I actually felt good in my lungs and my legs, but I could also feel the weight of the food slowing me down, and for some reason my throat was burning. I made it quick, but I still got out there and did it, which is what really matters to me.

Ally’s Mum texted me a few days ago to let me know there would be a parade in Yardley this morning, so we met her, Ally, and Laszlo  at her house earlier today and walked down to Main Street. There were tons of people, motorcycles, dancers, firemen, old cars, and FIRETRUCKS!

It was really special to be around so many men and women in different services. We are fortunate to have so many men and women who are willing to stand in the front lines to defend our country, and it felt good to stand and remember them today.

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It was wonderful, but these two were totally wiped by the time it was over. Jack crashed a few minutes after we got home.

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I did a bit of garden maintenance while they slept. My tea roses are doing so beautifully in the front planter 🙂 Every time I pass them I think of Chris, and the Spring Workshop, and what an amazing semester I had with all of them.

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The chocolate mint is also thriving!

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So maybe my black thumb is getting a bit of green on it? Who knows- the tomatoes, eggplant, okra, cabbage, and spearmint are all doing well in the backyard. Fingers crossed that we’ll have a nice supply of tomatoes this year!

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While the kids and I spent the day doing chores and watching the parade, James and Emily spent the day building cornhole platforms! Seriously- they built these! So neat. Tomorrow we’re painting them! Hoping we’ll get some use out of them on Jack’s birthday, too.

We ended our Memorial Day with a family barbecue 🙂 I thought about going out and seeing some friends, but it seemed right to stay home and spend some time together as a family. We grilled bean burgers (LOADED with fresh herbs from the CSA- sage, thyme, and oregano), topped them with sauteed onions, roasted up some asparagus, and tossed together a romaine and frisee salad. Last night James and Emily made a homemade Jack Daniel’s sauce, which tastes just like the Friday’s sauce. We smothered our food in it, and it was outrageous.

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It was great to sit around together eating delicious homemade food and talking and laughing. The kids were wild for the burgers and avocado, and of course Jack shoveled down asparagus as quickly as he could.

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Tomorrow we’re helping James and Emily paint, as well as making a desperately-needed trip over to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. We are in dire need of some pantry staples. Also,, I am out of chocolate. Never good.

On Saturday Luis presented me with an iPad, so I’ve been spending a good amount of time playing with it and researching the best apps for toddlers. I’m loving the Eric Carle app, and also Goodnight Star. So cute! Not to mention Vine, Facetime, and the simple convenience of a tablet. I am obsessed, and seriously considering bringing it to Los Angeles with me (as an alternative to the computer). I’m tempted to leave it, because I think it could be a big help to Luis in terms of keeping the kids occupied when he needs his hands free, but on the other hand, it would be a pain (literally) to haul my computer across the country, to two different cities, on a total of four flights. Big debate.

In all, this was one of the simplest and best weekends in my memory. I feel really good about being able to call my family mine. We’re a little offbeat and hugely unconventional, but you don’t need convention to love and respect one another and enjoy your time together- we are proof of that.

I hope everyone’s weekend was as charming and fun-filled as ours 🙂