We live pretty close to the very pretty town of Saratoga. In the summer it’s the place to be around here! We saw the NYC Ballet perform at SPAC a few weeks ago, they have the most beautiful state park, a great downtown area and it’s the home of the second oldest raceway in the US. I am not much of a gambler (pretty sure i’ve never even bought a lottery ticket) nor am I really into horse racing. It’s a pretty interesting culture down there in the summer though. Such fancy ladies, in their fancy hats, watching the horses with their tiny binoculars. hahaha! We decided it would be a fun day adventure to bring the kids to watch. Rowan was pretty in to picking her horse, of course based on jockey colors. Pink or purple were always her top picks. They would cheer, cheer, cheer for the horse getting others around us to cheer along with them when they had picked the same horse. Very cute. I ended up winning twice! Heck yeah. $5.40 and $8.75. Ice cream for all!! There was a delay for what seemed like FOOOOREVER and the kids were getting pretty restless. Life saver Rowan has packed her coloring sheets and crayons and it bought us another 20 mins. My friend Heather won a whooping .40 cents off that race (horse 6!), so it was totally worth waiting an hour for it to start. Doh! We can all laugh about it now. All in all it was a very beautiful day, full of lots of fun memories.
Someone may need to send help. I’ve become a crazy juicing addict. Last week after a few failed attempts to juice from our blender with a nut bag. I decided to bite the bullet and order a juicer. Oh man! I was excited waiting for that package to arrive. We ordered a Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed juicer. It was love at first sight that’s for sure. After watching one too many food documentaries on Netflix, I jumped head first into a light juice cleanse these last 6 days since it’s arrived. Because I am training for a half marathon right now though, I didn’t feel comfortable going all juice all day. Instead I’ve been drinking 4 juices during the day and then having a hearty (but healthy and vegan) meal at dinner. Usually quinoa, sweet potatoes, avocado and lots of veggies. I honestly have never felt better. It really made me feel so energized and goodness those juices are so tasty! I’ve found a ton of recipes online but also really like the “Reboot With Joe” by Joe Cross book. It has tons of good info about how to start juicing, recipes and information if you are thinking about doing a juice cleanse. Before I started I wondered “whats better, smoothies or juice?” I think the answer is both. Smoothies keep the whole fruit or veggie (so lots of good fiber) but they are so filing because of that. With juice you get a more concentrated amount of nutrients for the same amount of liquid as a smoothie. I also like that my juices lean more on the vegetable side with some fruit thrown in, where my smoothies always have more fruit in with some greens thrown in. Both are great. Just different.
The girls have been loving it too. Carrot, apple, ginger is a house favorite. I can not give Finley enough. She sucks it right back. We are heading out for the weekend and with a ton of produce still in the house and a family to feed on the road, I made 8 juices (4 kinds, 2 of each) to pack in the cooler and take with us. Here is what I made tonight…
1. Beets, Carrots, Apples, Ginger
2. Spinach, Swiss Chard, Apples, Oranges, Celery
3. Sweet Potato, Bell Pepper, Orange, Pineapple, Ginger, Lemon
4. Celery, Cucumber, Pears, Kale, Parsley,
It’s great that it’s summer and I can pick up almost all our produce at the farmers market. Come late fall I am going to a very sad girl. Stupid Northeast.
Do you have a juicer? What are your favorite juices to make??
Hands down my favorite thing about blogging will always be the friends made. Some I don’t get to see very often (or at all, boo!), but a few very special ones have ended up living near by. The first time I met Don and Rachel, I was on a long run (like at mile 18, ha!). I was sweaty, out of breath and probably looked crazy. I ran right by them on the street and we totally recognized each other from having emailed back and forth a few times. I loved that moment. It made the world seem so small. We ended up becoming very close with the Naylor’s. Addy and Rowan’s birthdays are only a few weeks from each others. We’ve bonded over so many common interests. One being our love of art! This past weekend we decided on a little family date and headed to the newly redesigned Clark Museum. The girls got sketch pads and pencils to use as we walked through the museum. They also had these flash cards of actual paintings in the museum so the girls could go on a scavenger hunt. Let it be known that we had our first “Soooo excited to find the paining, running at it with 2 small hands, full on touching the painting with 2 guards and 2 parents all yelling “Noooooo” experience”. Whew! At least it’s out of the way right? I felt bad. Rowan is a sensitive little girl and it very much embarrassed her and scared the crap out of her. Poor girl. Don’t think she will be touching any paintings again any time soon.
We’ve still been eating pretty clean/whole foods only in our house. It’s more just our way of life now a days. Which is what I wanted anyway. I really don’t love fad diets, I’m much more a supporter of healthy food choices that last a life time. I was watching a food documentary the other day and the guy said something along the lines of “instead of thinking ‘I can’t have it’, we should be thinking ‘I can have it, but I don’t want it.'” It’s so simple but so true. I feel like when we try to diet, it’s so hard to stick with the mentality of deprivation. We get stuck on all the things we can’t have. That sucks and it will never last. Becoming more informed about my food choices and what each food I eat is doing to my body, has made it so much easier and rewarding to make healthy choices. I can see things like processed food and think “I can eat that if I want, but really I don’t want to”. Knowledge is power! School House Rock really knew what they were talking about. It’s been fun actually to find recipes to make sweets and bake goods that use better, whole ingredients. I made a chocolate pudding the other night from Sidesaddle Kitchen and oh man, it was good.
My other go to lady is Angela from Oh She Glows. If you are looking for a killer cookbook. HER’S.IS.IT!! Her blog is just as amazing. Her Rad Rainbow Raw Pad Thai is one of my favorites. I am telling you it is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. I decided I had to share with you guys. I’ve had a julienne peeler for a few years now and have never known what it was. My mom had given it to me in my stocking and I thought it was just a crappy peeler because it never worked when I tried to use it on say, an apple. hahahaha. Doh! Then one day it clicked.
1 medium zucchini, julienned or spiraled
2 large carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
3/4 cup frozen edamame, thawed
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Ingredients for dressing:
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup raw almond butter (or try peanut butter)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons water
2.5 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1. Cut up all vegetables. Add the zucchini, carrots, pepper, and cabbage into large bowl. Toss to combine.
2. Prepare the dressing. I just add all ingredients to a tupperware. Cover with a lid and shake. You could always use a food processor. Dressing does thicken as it sits.
3. Top bowls with non-gmo edamame, green onion, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds. Pour on dressing and enjoy! Hemp seeds are my jam. I love them so much.
*Recipe from Oh She Glows
Our foster care class ended the day before we left for FL. All our visits were done, fingerprints taken and the piles of paperwork finished. We flew out the next day and I was emotionally ready. Ready to start the foster care journey as soon as we got back. It all felt like the right timing. Class end, family time happened and we came back refreshed and ready for our placement. Well, here we are almost 5 weeks after we’ve gotten back from FL and no word yet from our case worker. I know families who adopt (especially internationally) wait such long times and I am in no way saying I have waited a long time because I haven’t. But. I am realizing rather quickly that nothing in this process really goes according to your plans. It’s a system that needs families to rise up and help. Yet is so understaffed and busy trying to find homes for the children that need to be placed right now, they can’t find the time to finish certifying the new families. It feels like we are in this weird limbo stage. When we were in our weekly class it felt real, like we were working towards something. Now we just sit, and wait, and wonder when that phone call will come. I have to actively be in prayer over all of it because the waiting let’s the fear creep in. The questions build up with all the what ifs that could happen. So many scenarios, so many children, so many opportunities to help these families. But it can feel scary and overwhelming to me at night when I am alone with my thoughts. I know with out a doubt this is what we are supposed to be doing, but this stage of unknowns is very hard. If you can remember back to my Hillsong post last year. I wrote how going to that concert really changed a lot for me. And since than, the Zion cd has been one of my favorites. Especially the acoustic version! I’ve heard a lot of worship songs in my life and have really been moved by many of them but honestly, I can not even begin to express the power the song Oceans has on me. It literally makes me weep. The words. Oh the words. They just run deep into my soul. My most favorite lines are…
“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”
I feel like I am living this song right now and it’s scary and wonderful and oh so beautiful. But oh man, it’s a leap of faith.
Our dear sweet friends had their adoption finalization court date last thursday. It was just the sweetest day to celebrate. We were honored to be in the court room with them as their son was declared theirs forever. Sitting there in the back row listening to the judge, it was hard not to picture ourselves down the line. Of course with foster care we want the families to succeed first so it is different. However, if that isn’t the case, I know one day we will find ourselves in that same situation. My heart was filled with so much emotion watching Danielle and Caleb love on Abram that day. We will love each and every child that comes into our lives like they will be with us forever, but I know I have to keep praying and trusting that if/when a child goes home that it really is the best for them. It will be an honor for me to be their mama for however long they are with us.
* Side note: Rowan still trying to understand all of it asks “are we going to take care of their baby?” every time one of our friends give birth (and there actually has been a few births lately). Every time I have to explain that no, it’s not this baby but it will be another baby hopefully very soon.
Are you guys into the whole cropped top thing happening right now? I held off because honestly, I was annoyed at the whole trend. Call me old but all I saw were teen girls wearing them with low cut shorts and I kept wanting to scream “that is not how you are suppose to wear that!”. However, I did end up grabbing a few cheap cropped tanks at Forever 21 and I have to say, I kind of really love them. I’ve been in love with pairing them with a high waisted pencil skirts, jeans or shorts. My rule of thumb is there should be little to no skin showing. I am all for a little skin. Just not a whole belly. I think the key is to have the right proportions with everything else you are wearing. Here are a few pins I liked using a cropped top… 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Also, no one can quite rock a crop top like Julie can!
annnd… my sister left a comment below with a good point!
OK. Enough about cropped tops. Let’s move on to Rowan and Finley. These 2 are giving me a run for my money lately, yet have me laughing to no end all at the same time. They are becoming just the sweetest of friends. No one can make Finley laugh quite like Rowan can. Kev and I were doing some yard work on Sunday while the 2 of them were on the trampoline together and it was hysterical laughing from the both of them for like 30 mins. Finley can be such a bully sometimes though and Rowan with her sweet little heart won’t fight back. The laughter eventually seems to end with some hair pulling and tears but the laughing, oh the laughing. It makes my heart 10x bigger.
Overalls: c/o GUESS Kids (on sale!)
p.s. Omgosh. Rowan is soooo into posing in front of the camera with that remote. hahahaha!
I’ve seen quite a few “Summer Essential” type posts with favorites listed out of sunscreens, sun hats, snacks, bathing suit picks, etc… and I do love those posts. I do. Who doesn’t love a good round up? But you know what our summer essentials are? Water and fun field trips. That’s what summer is all about for us. Pools, splash pads, lakes, sprinklers, you name it, we want to use it or swim in it. Add a zoo, hike or ice cream (always ice cream!) and we can call it a perfect summer day.
What are your favorite things to do in the summer?
I’m not quite sure how to start this post. There have been so many thoughts running through my mind lately. Plans for our future. Goals for our family. Reasons why I blog. I’ve just been feeling unsettled. I keep coming back to this idea of a “simple life” but I am not quite sure what that is yet. I know I feel most at peace when I am away from my phone, this computer, enjoying life with my family. We sat the other night in the darkness of the Adirondacks, in front of the warmth and crackle of a fire. We were hand in hand talking about our day hiking and being all together as one and I thought, “how do I take this home with me?” I don’t want to leave this moment. It felt simple. It felt real. It felt like what I have been longing for. I don’t think the answer though is to sell everything, swear off technology and move to the woods. It sounds appealing but a little unrealistic for us. So how DO you find this simpleness right where you’re at? I don’t have the answer yet, but I do have some thoughts on how I hope to work towards that. I’ve been pulling away a bit from social media. I see the fun in it, I do, but at this stage in life I just don’t need the distraction. I’ve cleared out my Feedly account as well. Left only who is uplifting, inspiring and who I truly love. And really, this is where the internet can shine in my opinion. I love reading blogs with heart, worth and something to say. 2 blog posts that have really hit home for me lately (and were oh-so timely) were by my dear friends Monica and Lesley. Ooooh those posts were meant for me to read. I love those ladies so much.
I’ve also been reading Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider and I really love what she has to say so far.
“Living slower requires living with intention. And to live with intention means to make little daily choices that resonate deeply in our souls-that make sense deep in our being and ring true.”
Even the forward is good (of course, hello Ann Voskamp):
“Simplicity is never a matter of circumstances; simplicity is always a matter of focus…To realize that the real hidden cost of everything you buy- is how much life it cost you to get it. That life is not an emergency but a gift to slow down and savor. That it glorifies God to spend your extraordinary life paying attention enough to the moments you enjoy God. That the moments all matter. The daily decisions add up to the sum of your life. And a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.”
Word. Doesn’t that just stop you in your tracks?
I want to live with intention and I don’t want to waste moments. I don’t want to be jealous of what others have or achieved. I don’t want to multitask my way to the top while pushing everything else that matters to the side. I want to be present in the tiny moments with my husband and children. Now granted, I know that we all need to work to make money. We can’t escape that fact but I think there are ways to live simple, work hard and be successful too (although success may be different than what the world sees as successful). Kev has worked so hard over the years for our family, but he has also worked real hard at letting work just be work. When he is home, he is physically and mentally here with us. He loves what he does but he loves us more. A job is not what defines you. And for me, I’ve always had very big dreams for this blog. It’s taken me since Rowan was born to realize my job as being a stay at home Mom is much more important than my goals for this blog/business. Letting go of that internal struggle is very freeing.
Tonight I got to swing on a swing (one of my most favorite things) by myself for like 15 mins while Kev and the girls played on the playground. I didn’t check my phone, I wasn’t counting down the minutes till we had to leave for the next thing, I was just there. Swinging in the setting sun, watching the girls laugh as Kev chased them. The breeze felt warm and I prayed that God would help us find our way. That He would lead us into more of these simple moments and that I would appreciate them. Because I think that is a key piece to all of this. I think we need to be grateful for the things we already have, the places we already are and the moments we already live out. I think we need to start with thankfulness. I also prayed that God would help keep my focus on Him. Jesus is what truly matters at the end of the day anyway, focusing on him will always lead your path straight.
So. I don’t really have an ending to this post. It was more like a stream of conscience of what I’ve been thinking about/working on lately. The girls are going to have a sleepover with their grandparents this weekend and Kev and I have big plans of cleaning out/simplifying the house. Garage sale here we come! To end this all- Here are a few pictures of a day this past weekend where I had that same “at peace” feeling. Being on top of a mountain can really clear your mind and put a lot of things in perspective. Whiteface mountain you were good to us!
I was for sure nervous about bringing the kids camping. I worried if they would sleep good, would someone fall in the fire (it’s like my biggest fear in life), eat good, or just all around hate it? All in all though, we had a pretty successful and super fun weekend away in Lake Placid. We booked 3 nights but because it was suppose to rain all night the first night and we weren’t going to get up there till late anyway, we decided to just head up early Friday morning instead. 2 nights ended up being a good amount for a first time camping with the girls. I will admit they were beat by the 3rd day. I think we could have gone another night if we had planned for that 3rd day being super chill and relaxed, with some actual naps and downtime for the both of them. The other days there were go, go, go. Lots of hiking, friends, swimming, late nights, early mornings and no naps for Miss Finley except in the stroller, car seat or backpack. Our kids are really go with the flow and are used to mixed up schedules and late nights so it wasn’t too big of a deal. They were generally in good spirits having so much fun.
On the second night as I was putting Rowan to bed, she told me she didn’t want to sleep outside anymore. I said that was ok and that we would be going home in the morning. Then she started crying because she didn’t want to go home. hahaha. Go figure. Both kids slept really well for the most part. Both slept through the night and woke up around the normal time they get up at home. Maybe just a tad bit earlier. Once one is up though, everyone is up. Our tent is a larger tent that you can put up 2 dividers in to create 3 tiny rooms. This was super helpful. We used one of them to create a little room for Finley. She was the one I was worried about not going to sleep if she could see everyone else. It was always well past their bedtimes each night so that was helpful. Everyone was very tired and ready to sleep. We would put Finley to bed first. Let her fall asleep while we quietly got Rowan ready and brought her down to bathrooms to brush her teeth and go potty. Once Finley was asleep, in Rowan would go. Her and I shared the air mattress because she can not keep a sleeping bag on her and would wake up balled up in the corner of the tent with no blankets. Kev or I would just lie with her till she fell asleep and then it was campfire, drinks, and late night chats for Kev and I (my favorite part). When the fire would die out off to bed we would go. We brought our trusty 4moms Breeze playard for Finley to sleep in. Man, I love that thing. So easy to set up and travel with. The only thing that was a bit difficult was keeping Finley covered up. I should have brought a heavy sleep sack for her so I didn’t have to worry about her all night. The first night it got down below 50. I kept waking in a panic that she was freezing. She moves around all night, so it’s impossible to keep her covered. Lots of layers that is all I can say.
We didn’t cook all our meals because there are some awesome restaurants around Lake Placid, but we did bring a cooler with some food. We cooked breakfast, brought items for lunch, and food for one campfire dinner. Our cooler had milk, eggs, cheese sticks, yogurt, a bag of cut up veggies, apples, cherries, hummus, veggie burgers (and a real burger for Kev), ketchup and sweet potatoes. We also brought paper plates, bowls, utensils, cups, cereal, honey, bread, peanut butter, olive oil, grater, knives, apple sauce, 1 frying pan.
Breakfast: Cereal & milk, scrambled eggs, sweet potato hash.
Lunch: Packed for hiking. pb&honey sandwiches, veggies and fruit
Dinner: Veggie burgers, chips, veggies and hummus
I think anyone can do it! It really is a lot of fun and your kids will think it’s pretty dang cool. The girls thought it was awesome to cook the food over the fire. They loved all the exploring and I loved building family memories together. I just kept thinking about being able to show them these pictures when they get older and tell them stories of our first camping trip together. It felt really special to me. I think if you go with no expectations you will be better prepared. You really do have to just roll with the punches and have fun. And be prepared for all the laundry when you get home. Oooooh the laundry.
Here are my take away tips….
1. Like I just said… Try to just roll with the punches. Nature, kids and camping can all be unpredictable. You will have more fun if you don’t set up expectations of how it will all go. Just have fun, enjoy your kids, let them get dirty, stay up late, really live the experience.
2. Pack lots of layers for everyone. If you are camping up north like us, the weather can be unpredictable. Hot during the day, super cool during the night. Lots of blankets and light layers to wear.
3. Pack simple but healthy food. Things that are easy to prepare, cook and clean up. Prep as much as you can before hand. Cut up veggies and bring them in a ziplock bag, etc… I found lots of great options of things to bring at Trader Joes. Lots of great snacks and packaged food (veggies burgers, salads) for meals.
4. Start small. If you are feeling nervous don’t dive in head first. Try a night in your back yard first, or even one night close by. It will give you the confidence you need to take a longer trip. It will also help you figure out exactly what you might need to bring.
5. This light up ladybug was an AWESOME addition to our tent. It was the perfect night light for the girls when they fell asleep but also it was a great light to turn on when kev and I got into the tent. Not too bright, didn’t wake up the girls but also let us see what we needed to get.
6. Be prepared for everything. I MEAN EVERYTHING! to smell like campfire. I just threw in another load of laundry and it was like a campfire punched me in the face. hahhaha. Man, that smell is strong. It’s great when you are beside one but at home, ugh! You will have to pretty much wash everything that you bring camping with you. So… because you now know that, just let your kids re-wear clothes. If they aren’t terribly dirty than I just let them wear items again the next day. Why make something else dirty? They don’t care. Neither do the woods.
7. Bug Spray. Sun Screen. Socks. First Aid kit. Tylenol. Matches. Wipes. You may not need it but at least you will have it.
8. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Really! If it doesn’t go smooth the first time around, don’t give up. Try again another year. Maybe the next time it will be better.
1. I have super bad eye sight (like -6.25). I used to just wear my contacts daily, but I’ve been leaning more and more towards glasses lately to give my eyes a break. I will be honest and say, I do love my trendy, cheap eyewear but I’ve found that with constant wear they’re starting to feel stretched out and too big. They’re always sliding down my face. The lens aren’t the best either. They always feel like there is a slight film over them. I’ve been looking for something more high end and was excited when DAVID KIND eyewear approached me to try out their home try on service. You fill out a style questionnaire and then they’ll send you this lovely case of glasses to try on. What really caught my attention was their commitment to quality lenses. It really makes a difference for someone who is going to wear their glasses a lot. You should definitely try them out!! I loved almost all the glasses they picked out for me.
2. Ballet. Ballet. Ballet. Rowan loves ballet. We like to watch ballet videos on You Tube and Netflix and then dance along with them. Anyone know of cute ballet lesson type videos? She takes ballet but not during the summer and I think she misses it so much. How cute was she at her recital?
3. These mosaic kits (above) are like the best thing ever. They are made by a bunch of different companies and in a bunch of different styles but Rowan just loves them. She will sit for like an hour putting all the stickers on. It’s really cute and a total life saver on the plane! Here are a bunch we like on Amazon.
4. We’ve been keeping life pretty busy around here. I think it’s so we don’t sit around stressing about all the changes that lie ahead. Everything is done on our end for the foster care certification. We are just waiting on our social worker to finish writing our home study. Being in the limbo stage is weird and if I find myself sitting around too long, I start letting my mind wander to all the “what if’s”. Keeping busy with fun adventures has been a great distraction. Also, I just love spending time with my family.
5. Grocery shopping has been such a bummer for me lately. I have favorites from a bunch of stores and I try to buy organic and unprocessed as much as I can, but there isn’t just a one-stop shop to get all these items at a good price. I am spread out over Trader Joes, Whole Foods, BJ’s, weekend farmers market and our normal grocery store. The problem is that I hate getting the kids in and out of the car all day long. It’s exhausting driving all over town with them just to get our grocery shopping done. How do I figure out a better plan? Just go grocery shopping at night when Kev gets home? Just suck it up, pay more and shop at one place? Whole Foods would be the most well rounded place to get all the things I need I guess. There is only one Whole Foods in our area and it just opened. It kind of makes me all ragey on the inside when I am in there though. It’s packed, the aisles are too small and some people are just wackos. Hahaha. This really isn’t a real problem, I am just venting because we literally spent ALL DAY trying to get all the items we needed for the week. It just feels like a waste of time. Can we please make eating healthier less of a hassle?
6. Camping this past weekend was so fun! I have a whole post planned with some pictures but also tips on what worked for us with the kids. Is there anything better than being away from it all? No service on your phone, lots of stars, a good beer and a roaring campfire? I think not.
7. Why are decisions on where your kids go to school so difficult? Oh boy! I’ve struggled with what to do for Rowan next year for PreK. Mornings? afternoons? 4 days? 3 days? closer school? better program? The list goes on and on. And don’t get me started on kindergarten. Anyway, seeing her graduate preschool was about the cutest (and most ridiculous) thing ever. The family picture up top is from her graduation a few weeks back.
Cheers to a random post on a random Tuesday night in July.