staycation

My husband and I booked a hotel in the city and are heading in after work today. We have dinner reservations tonight, a half-marathon (for him) and lots of yoga (for me, though he’s going to come to a class or two as well), brunch, and a baseball game planned.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Our last overnight trip together was a weekend away in December 2018; we stayed at a hotel in Pittsburgh last summer over vacation but went down with the kids and then met them the next day for a baseball game, so it’s not the same level of kid-freeness.

Anyway, I won’t be planning any meals this week but am looking forward to recapping the restaurants and getting back to swing of things next week!

 

meals, may 17-24

Because 3 and I planned our first adventure, I’d already figured on burgers for Friday but I’m thinking I’d prefer a lighter fare, so I’m switching things up a bit.

I have been feeling a bit defeated that my weight isn’t going down at the pace I was planning. I’ll have periods where I’ll drop and then plateau and it’s frustrating. My body is definitely changing composition (thanks, yoga) and I’m fitting into clothing differently (and clothing that previously was too tight to wear), which is great but that number is just not moving. I know that I should be grateful for the endurance I’m building (and I am) and that my running pace is decreasing — I am definitely seeing all types of non-scale victories but that doesn’t help me not dwell on the number.

I’ve been reading that people who are healthiest tend to eat the same things over and over. I have been doing this, largely, but I think I’m consuming far more meat products that I’d prefer. I used to not eat meat at all and now it’s center stage in all three meals, basically.

This week, we are going to mix things up a bit: open-faced breakfast sandwiches and refried bean tacos for lunches during the week and then grilled meat and salads for dinner. I am hoping this brings more of the balance I’m looking for and won’t require so much day-to-day cooking on my part. I have been getting A LOT of chicken kebab salads from a local place (it’s a nice .75miles r/t walk) and I like that they serve pita with their salads, so I think I’ll grab some of those for us to have with ours to really round everything out if we want to add a little more substance. I also think I’m going to roast some baby potatoes as an alternate carb option.

My husband and I are going away next weekend for a few days, so it’ll be nice to see how this works and if it’s worth our while when we get back from our long weekend trip.

 

end of semester recap

Well, folks, I made it through the end of the semester! Monday marked my last day of classes and yesterday I spent some time updating grades. I will submit and finalize everything on Friday upon my return from 3’s and my FIRST SUMMER ADVENTURE!

We are leaving in about 30 minutes to head on a mommy-3 retreat and we are both so excited. 3 has been talking about his “abventure” all week and told me today that he can’t wait until we get there. I can’t wait either!

This week has been really remarkable. On Monday, I had students wait in a line to talk to me after class and tell me that they looked forward to attending my class every week. It was so nice to hear. The biggest compliment, though, was from a student who casually mentioned that it really meant a lot to him to see how I tried to connect with all of my students and build a community within my classroom. I know that this is not something that most professors do and I’ve definitely been told by colleagues that I really shouldn’t care about my students, but it was honestly one of the most appreciated comments I’ve ever been given about my work.

I’ve been looking to transition out of teaching for a while and started doing some consultant work here and there; nothing really steady or serious. I’ve been working on rebranding and marketing in 2019 and have a few big projects in the pipeline that I’m excited about. Monday’s end to the semester really left me on a high note going into a summer and at least a fall sabbatical.

Monday’s high was quickly knocked down by Tuesday’s low. 3 was just not having any part of that day. He went to daycare on Monday and we know when he goes he is over-stimulated and under-rested. This trickled into Tuesday like a waterfall… it was throw-himself-on-the-floor tantrum after tantrum accompanied by screaming and crying. When it was nap time, I ate two giant bowls of ice cream and took a nap myself (I may or may not have cried myself to sleep).

The evening was better for both of us, even though I was so upset all day that all I’d eaten was breakfast (eggs) and ice cream, so I ended up missing my yoga classes in lieu of a salad and some cabbage. It was worth it. I had S relax and read in his room before bed and he got a good night’s sleep and is ready to take on today’s big adventure.

 

mother’s day

For years, Mother’s Day left me in a strange place. I was a step-mother being celebrated for my contributions to my family but yearned for a child of my own at the same time. It was difficult to be appreciative and not show outward aching at the same time. When 3 came home, that all changed of course…

This weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day and it was all lovely. Yesterday, I was showered with love and hand-made gifts from 11 & 13. They each made me mugs that were thoughtfully painted and they were both proud to tell me that I could use these mugs for my tea. I can’t wait!

Their mom took them to Michael’s to get a craft for me, which is appreciated. She has not always been so accepting and approving. Last night, when she came to pick 11 & 13 up, she texted my husband to let him know she got to the house and to have him wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. 11 & 13 left with handmade cards from an in-town printing press, flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries in hand.

Before that, though, we went to Davio’s and had an Italian dinner (and a glass of Moscato for me). It was a delicious meal and our server complimented all three kiddos on their behavior (and their appetites).

I also was taught a new dance this weekend. I honestly wonder what the neighbors think, as there are frequent dance parties that take place in our sitting room and kitchen space. The newest dance I learned is where I catch an imaginary ball and then look like I’m tying a bow with my fists. It appears there are dramatized facial expressions as well.

All-in-all, a great weekend that led up to today. For Mother’s Day, my husband and 3 took me to brunch at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard and surprised me with tickets to the Red Sox game! The weather in Boston was less than fantastic today, but after a Mother’s Day winter hat purchase, I was comfortable enough to make it through the game. Fortunately, my husband got us seats under the grand stand, so we stayed dry the duration of the game.

After a stunning Sox victory, we drove home, admiring the city and recapping our day. Then, we ordered pizza and cheesecake, because is there really any other way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

meals, may 3-9

Well, it’s May now! I have two weeks of classes to go and the day after my last class, I’m taking my toddler on our first summer adventure. My husband and the older two will meet us for a fun post-school swim before heading home and back to school/work the next day. I’m so excited!

I was exhausted this past week. I missed my beloved Tuesday night yoga class and Wednesday’s run/weight training. I just had no energy to give. I’m hoping to get back to normal this coming week. Over the weekend, my husband and son are doing a 5K walk together (likely in the rain). I’m going to meet them after yoga for brunch at a place in Boston we’ve never tried. If we’re being truthful here, I’m dying a slow death waiting for the rainy season to end and am really just trying to stay as positive as possible.

Friday, we are going to take it easy and make a casual meal with steak frites with chimichurri and serve it with a tomato-mozzarella salad. Simple and delicious.

Saturday, we are going to be home and I’m looking forward to making something healthy and different. We will start our morning with yoga/soccer and then follow it up with stuffed acorn squash from True Roots (P11) for brunch. For dinner, we are going to stick with goat cheese stuffed jalapeños (True Roots, P150), buffalo shrimp, and something else that is yet to be determined (but possibly buffalo chicken/spinach artichoke dip).

Sunday, we are meeting for brunch after the 5K & yoga. I know that we are going to indulge (hello, pancakes or crab meat hash!), so I wanted to keep dinner easy and healthy: Tumeric-glazed mahi mahi (True Roots, P67) and a healthy side of beets.

Monday is Monday. I have two classes left and this class starts our presentations. I am going to make Chrissy Teigan’s sesame chicken noodles recipe (Cravings, P89) to eat in my car before class. 

Tuesday is always tough to plan because I have yoga and I’d like to get in two yoga classes. This means that I’ll probably try to eat a substantial lunch and take a small snack to have between classes and a smoothie for the way home. I’m not sure that this is sustainable but I’d like to try it. I came up with chicken sausage, spinach, and potatoes. I’ll take crackers as a snack to have between classes and a smoothie for the car-ride home.

Wednesday, finally! Family dinner night! Buffalo chicken salads — I know this is no surprise. This week, we are going to try to remake SweetGreen’s buffalo chicken salads: pickled celery & carrots, blackened chicken thighs, tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce, and caesar dressing.

Thursday is typically our date night but we won’t really have any this month due to travels of our sitter and then us, so we will make something date-night worthy at home: 3 requested Chrissy Teigan’s Cacio e Pepe (Cravings, P79). I use chickpea pasta, shredded parmesan and will probably add more arugula to the mix. This recipe is a big hit in my house.

Breakfasts during the week will be easy: Eggs & fruit. (If you’ve not noticed, we eat eggs with great frequency.) Lunches for all will be chicken sausage, potatoes, and spinach.

Here’s to a great week of eating ahead!

charcuterie boards

I have enjoyed using my many cookbooks to put together meals when we have guests visiting. Our most recent purchase was a book titled: Boards & Platters:

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I took inspiration from a couple of the boards in here and created my own spread. My family REALLY liked the tahini-coconut dip for vegetables and we will be making this regularly as the summer rolls in because vegetable trays are that much easier to have on hand than salads are to make.

We had a great spread with sourdough bread and fresh Italian; a fruit tray with raspberries, blackberries, and dragonfruit plus some sugared & baked pink grapefruit for a special treat. To that, we added a tray of genoa, napoli, and soppressata salamis as well as a nice mortadella (our local grocery didn’t have pistachio mortadella though that is my preference). Additional accompaniments to this were goat cheese, drunken goat cheese, raclette, and manchego cheeses plus orange marmalade, organic cacao chocolate spread, and grass-fed butter. Then, came olives and spicy gardinia to bridge the gap between the meats/cheeses and the vegetable tray which has Easter radishes, purple/yellow/orange carrots, a yellow bell pepper, snap beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower (along with the tahini dip mentioned above).

This spread was fresh, filling, and delicious and was a big hit (as were the mimosas served with it).

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What are your favorite spreads for entertaining?

april vacation

We are excited for the kids’ April vacation week as well as the upcoming Boston Marathon to cheer on my husband!

We’d originally planned on 13 attending an art camp but received notice that due to low enrollment,  it was canceled; instead, we’ve come up with a plan for the kids to enjoy their week off of school:

Friday: Family dinner with my parents & brother.

Saturday: Husband and I will go out for packet pickup and a date, so I’m sure the kids will be sugared up since they’ll be with their grandparents all day (the ice cream parlor we can walk to is now open).

Sunday: Church & Family Day to prepare for the marathon; maybe we will walk to the beach if the weather is nice and a big family dinner in the evening.

Monday: Boston Marathon! The weather is suspect for now but we are hoping it clears up some. If it doesn’t, I think we will have to take the T and just mill around the Pru for a little while we wait for my husband to finish. I’d really like everyone to see him cross the finish line.

Tuesday: Zoo (weather dependent) with my parents. My husband and I are heading to yoga Tuesday night, so my parents will get a few extra hours to spend just with the kids and play games/eat sugar.

Wednesday: Girls’ Day — 13 wants to do some shopping; she has birthday money that is burning quite the hole in her pocket.

Thursday: 13 has to have a cleaning and tooth extraction and 11 has a cleaning, so we will probably lay low the rest of the day.

Friday: Chores/Relaxation/Reading.

Saturday: We are getting all gussied up and heading to high tea at a local place. The kids have never been and I think it’ll be a really nice end to their vacation week.

Sunday: Easter Sunday church & brunch.

I really enjoy the school vacation weeks — it’s like an entire week of Saturdays — no real structure (outside of bedtime consistency), breakfast/lunch/dinner together daily, and fun activities. My husband works from home a couple of days to spend more time with the kids, too. It’s a really nice break in the schedule and gets us excited for summer.