April Shout Out

There are some things I’ve been enjoying lately and I wanted to share them.

I love almond milk and after reading countless blog posts about how super easy it is to make your own I ordered this nut milk bag on Amazon. It is a product from The Raw Food World.  Making almond milk really is as easy as everyone says it is. Soak the almonds, blend the almonds with water and any flavoring (cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, etc.) then run through the nut milk bag. The bag cleans easily and dries quickly. I understand you can use cheese cloth, but this was well worth the $8.

I won a bag of Cocoa Goodness oat clusters and each of the flavors of Hot Oats from Love Grown Foods in a giveaway at Edible Perspective. The Hot Oats were perfect to bring to work when I didn’t have time to make my dinner. The ingredients are simple, real and unprocessed. Here is the ingredient list for my favorite the apple cinnamon – Certified Gluten-Free Oats, Brown Sugar, Apples, Red Seedless Grapes, Cinnamon. The Hot Oats are lightly sweet and filling and come in 4 different flavors – Strawberry Raspberry, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Banana Walnut and Peace Vanilla Almond. Now the oat clusters come in 5 different flavors, but I had to go with the Cocoa Goodness, of course…well I took one bite and hid it from my family so they couldn’t get their hands on it. It was so good. Not only are the products delicious and healthful the company itself is committed to educating children on the importance of food as fuel and  eating a healthy breakfast. The creators of Love Grown Foods, Alex and Maddy, are dedicated to working with schools to make healthy foods more affordable. They also have a great back story so stop by and check them out.

Speaking of Edible Perspective, if you haven’t visited Ashley’s blog please do. Her recipes are fantastic and her photos are gorgeous. Last week I made her Simple Smoky Black Bean Burgers with Tomato Corn Pepper Topping and they were a huge hit. They were so good my extremely picky 6 year old actually ate an entire burger.

A few months ago I won a giveaway on Peas and Thank You for a language learning app called Gus on the Go. I want to say a huge thank you to Alice for reaching out to me personally to welcome me to Gus on the Go. I told Alice about our struggle to successfully teach our son Portuguese, the language spoken in Mozambique. Unfortunately Gus on the Go is not yet available in Portuguese so I downloaded the Spanish version as my son is learning Spanish in school and it is similar to Portuguese in grammar structure. Carlos and I love the app. It is very user friendly and promotes learning through fun interactive a. The lessons are building blocks of knowledge expanding from basic vocabulary to more advanced use of the words. They now offer free printable resources to enhance learning. I am looking forward to possibly seeing Portuguese added to the list of 14 languages offered.

Though I received Gus on the Go and Love Grown foods as I gift I was not paid to write about the products. My opinions posted here are entirely my own. 

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Getting to Know Each Other

I can’t believe the weekend is over. Where did it go? I kicked off the weekend with a really great yoga class on Friday morning. I also managed to sneak in a 10 mile run outdoors on Saturday morning. It felt so great to run outside even if it was in the 20s. I kept thinking this is perfect running weather followed by who the heck am I? Carlos had asked that morning if we could go to the rock climbing gym so we jumped in the car after my run for an hour of climbing before his basketball game.

On Sunday, Carlos had ice skating lessons. The program he is in is phenomenal. The coaches are so kind, patient and encouraging. The group is huge yet week after week you can really see the progress the kids are making. This is echoed in the weekly emails we get from the head coach. He is so positive and clearly thrilled with how well the kids are doing. They are using sticks and pucks were introduced this week. As of yet Carlos has no plans to play hockey which is fine with us, but he loves to skate and looks forward to the lessons each week.

After skating we attended Open House at his school. It was so cute. He was proud to show us his work and his classroom. He adores his teacher and the feeling is obviously mutual. Needless to say I was feeling lots of pride and joy as well as a touch of sadness at how quickly my little boy is growing. Cue the Kleenex!

Nothing like a Monday morning to snap us back to reality. If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so everyone can see your FMM questions. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Getting To Know Each Other

1. What is your favorite color? I honestly don’t have a favorite color which drives my son nuts. My son declared his favorite color to be yellow when he was about 2 and hasn’t changed his mind since. I tend to be most comfortable around earth tones, nothing too bright or colorful.

2. Share one or more of your talents.  I got nothin’!

3. If you were spending the day getting to know someone new, where would you want to go?  Whenever I am meeting up with a new “mom” friend I love to grab a coffee or tea at Barnes & Noble or something outdoors with the kids like the playground.

4. What is your favorite meal?  If you had asked me this question 15-20 years ago I would have said pasta (and lots of it) with my aunt’s meat sauce. Today I adore ethnic food particularly Indian, Thai and Mexican, but those meals are best when I eat them at authentic restaurants. At home my favorite meal lately is a big kale salad with roasted butternut squash, loads of veggies and chick peas. I’m addicted to kale!

5.  Do you prefer to text or talk?  Texting is my preference because I really dislike the quality of my iPhone as an actual phone and since it’s my only phone I would rather just text than deal with the dropped calls or poor reception.

6. Share something about yourself that might surprise someone that you’re getting to know.  I had really big hair in the late 80’s and I saw some of the big name “hair” bands of the time like Ratt, Poison, Motley Crew and White Snake amongst others. Aqua net…oh yes I did!

7. Do you color your hair? Yes, thanks to my grandmother. I inherited the go grey in your 20s gene from my grandmother. I went gray around my right temple in my mid-20s. I hated it. My grandmother was so proud of the fact that she was totally gray by her late 20s. No thank you very much! I color my hair ever 5-7 weeks. I love my stylist. She’s adorable and always makes me feel very youthful.

8. Do you wear glasses or contacts?  I wear glasses for driving.

9. What is your favorite breakfast food?  I really love oatmeal though I’ve switched to more veggie based breakfasts like egg white omelets lately.

10. Would your friends say that you’re sarcastic?  Absolutely! I always have been and I don’t mean any harm by it. However, I am often misunderstood, but mostly by my family all of whom have known me my entire life and should get my sarcasm by now.

11. Do you prefer salty or sweet?  Sweet.

12. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  I’m not partial to any particular attribute. I suppose I first notice personality. I almost always developed an attraction to a man after meeting and getting to know him.

13. What is the last movie you watched?  The last movie I saw in the cinema was The Hunger Games. I went to the midnight showing on opening night. Yes I’m aware that was almost a year ago. I’m approximately 83 years old on my nights off and cannot stay awake long enough to watch a sitcom. I have been watching lots of food/nutrition documentaries on Netflix. These often take me days because I don’t have time to just sit and watch a movie in its entirety.

14.  Are you religious?  I believe in God and I’ve always thought of myself as privately spiritual, but I do not attend church regularly despite the fact that my son goes to Catholic school. I love learning about all kinds of religions and I will gladly attend a service of another religion.

15. Are you a neat freak, a slob, or somewhere in between? I’m extremely tidy. OK everyone who knows me would say I’m a neat freak. I can live somewhere in between for a few hours, but then I have to tidy up.

16. Share something from your bucket list that you hope to do someday. I have so many things I hope to do and many revolve around traveling to as many places in the world as I am able to safely. I am adamant about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with Carlos on my 50th birthday.

17. Are you a risk taker, or do you prefer to play it safe?  I am a risk taker to some degree. I love doing new things, but my desire to do things like parachute out of a plane no longer holds any appeal since becoming a mother.

18. Have you ever worn braces?  Yes. I was the first person in my grade to have braces. I got them in 4th grade and off in 6th. However, I now need to consider Invisalign for my bottom teeth which have shifted tremendously.

19. Would you rather spend an evening at a theater or at a club?  I like them both, but I would choose a salsa club over the theater any day.

20. If you could have three wishes, what would one of them be? I hate to end on a somber note. I am sending my thoughts, prayers and wishes to Mozambique in hopes that the flooding will soon subside and the waters would magically disappear so everyone could return to life as it was (I will post about this later in the week). We are feeling very helpless here and know all too well from experience what they are going through. My in-laws and friends are safe and most are out of the town, but thousands of people will soon face the task of rebuilding their town once again.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions. Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Inside Your Home

I woke up to this view yesterday morning.

A Room with a View

My husband, son and I enjoyed a long weekend in the Bahamas. We returned late last night just in time for me to shower, change and get to work for 11pm. It was well worth it though. We had a relaxing, fun filled, much deserved break. A post is in the works, but as I get back in the swing of things I am grateful for Friend Makin’ Monday today.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so everyone can see your FMM questions. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Inside Your Home

1. Do you live in an apartment/condo, townhouse or house?  I live in a modest 1920s three bedroom colonial.

2. What is your home’s coolest feature? I would have to say the beautiful hardwood floors as well as the wood burning stove in our dining room.
Wood burning stove and hardwood floors in the dining room
Hardwood Stove

I can tell you its coolest feature is definitely not that ceiling fan visible in the first photo. Uggghhh! The thing doesn’t even work.

3.  Do you enjoy DIY projects?  If so, what are you working on now?  I would love to channel my inner Young House Love (I adore YHL!), but truth be told, I have zero creativity. However, I never say never. One of these days I might just get my DIY on and create something fabulous or even just something mediocre. That would be better than where I’m starting from.
4. When using the dishwasher do you use powder detergent or liquid?  Get ready for it…my home does not have a dishwasher. We do the dishes the old fashioned way and use whatever liquid dish soap is on sale.
5. Do you have a TV in your bedroom?  We own one TV and it’s in the living room. From my teen years through my early 20s I always had a TV in my bedroom. I didn’t realize how poorly I slept until I lived in Mozambique and had no television at all. My husband grew up without TV and has never pushed to have one in our bedroom.
6.  Is your range gas or electric?  It’s a gas stove which I enjoy much more than electric.
7.  How often do you sweep/mop/vacuum?  I’m obsessed with my Bissell FeatherWeight Vacuum. It lives plugged in, in the bathroom because I hate hair on the bathroom floor and I seem to lose hair like crazy. So I zip that thing around the bathroom about 10 times a day. It is so light and easy to use on our hardwood floors that I tend to do a quick vacuum around the entire house daily.

FeatherWeight™ Vacuum

I also have a larger vacuum that I can use on the carpet on the front porch and our area rug in the dining room. I break that baby out about 3 times/week. I never sweep my house. I loathe mopping, but I do the kitchen and bathroom once a week and the rest of the floors once a month or as needed.

8.  What is your favorite place to shop for home furniture and accents? In my dream world it is Pottery Barn. I have yet to embark on a journey to the mecca of Ikea. The closest one is about 90 minutes away. I like Target and Crate & Barrel too. Honestly though I can’t remember the last time I bought anything for the house.
9.  Do you decorate for holidays?  Yes, only it looks more KMart than Martha Stewart so I tend to go easy with the decorations.
10.  If you could have HGTV come in and redo one room in your home which room would you choose?  My kitchen please!
Outdated kitchen – HELP!

We had big plans this year to either renovate the kitchen or bathroom, but other things needed to be attended to like replacing pipes and removing trees whose roots had attacked and burrowed through the aforementioned pipes creating a nasty recurrent plumbing issue.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Uniquely You

This weekend flew by. Carlos had a soccer game on Saturday, two soccer games and ice skating on Sunday. I am in the midst of working a six nights so that I can extend my days off at the end of the week. I’ve been cranking along with marathon training. My runs have been really great lately. I love my new new running tank tops. I wish the weather would stay warm enough to keep wearing them. I’m hoping Philly has a mild warm front the day of the marathon.

I cannot believe it’s Monday again which means Friend Makin’ Monday.  If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so everyone can see your FMM questions. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 

Uniquely You

 

1) Do you prefer to talk or text?

I actually prefer to text. I love my iPhone but the phone quality stinks and it’s often difficult to hear people or worse the call gets dropped. Plus I communicate better in writing.

2) How often do you make your bed?

Absolutely everyday! Most days my husband makes the beds because I get home after he and Carlos get up.

3) What sounds do you hear right now?

The hum of the washing machine in the basement. It’s awfully quiet now that the little guy is in school all day.

4) List three things that you always carry with you.

iPhone, water and keys (No I don’t carry my wallet all the time especially when I go running. One car break in was enough!)

5) What are your favorite TV shows?

I just discovered Drop Dead Diva on Netflix and love it. I also like the Amazing Race though I missed last season. Hopefully I can watch the new season online. I love How I Met Your Mother, but I haven’t seen any of last season so no spoilers please!

6) Is there a hobby that you’d like to devote more time to?

I would love to have time to learn more about photography.

7) What is your favorite drink?

Water

8) Share a couple of cool facts about your family.

My sister and my son have the same birthday. My grandmother and I have the same birthday.

9) List one thing that you will do for yourself today.

I will run 10 miles.

10) Share something that you’re thankful for today.

I’m always thankful for my husband and son so I will go with something else. I am thankful to have a job I enjoy and wonderful, supportive co-workers (they don’t even mind me blabbing about running).

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Fall Favorites

If you have taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so others can see your FMM questions and answers. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers by posting your own FMM post and commenting on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 

Fall Favorites

 

1. What is your favorite thing about this time of year?  I love the colors, smells and feel of fall. I love settling back into sweaters and jeans. I love the cool crisp air. You can’t beat running in the fall. Ok I can’t choose just one thing I love about fall. It’s my favorite time of year.

Fall at the Quabbin Reservoir

2. What do you hope to do again before Summer is officially over? Too late it’s officially over! However, next week we are hoping to catch a little extra summer before winter arrives so I will be getting a pedicure and breaking out the flip flops, bathing suit and summer dresses for a short time.

3. When did you last go on a hay ride?  A few weeks ago at the orchard where we went apple picking.

4. What is your favorite pumpkin dish?  I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin in my oats, pumpkin in my yogurt but I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie.

My little pumpkin in 2008

 

My little pumpkin in 2010

5. Do you decorate your home for fall?  I do. I am beginning to restore my fall decoration collection after finding my bin of decorations moldy and wet a few years ago. I must have left the lid open when I put them away the season before. I try to buy one nice decoration each year. I also attempt to put a few pots of mums out on the front steps.

6. Do you have any hobbies that are seasonally specific? If so, what are they?  No, I don’t have any fall hobbies but I enjoy doing activities common in the fall like apple picking, picking out pumpkins, corn mazes and leaf peeping.

First time apple picking for both of us – 2011
Apple picking – 2012

7. Apple cider or hot chocolate? Hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick. Hot chocolate is a winter treat for me.

8. Are you a fan of football?  If so, who is your team?  I do like football. I just don’t have the time to watch it. I am a New England Patriots fan. Yes even after the crap they played yesterday and last Sunday. I’m also a UMass Amherst alum and would love to start going to a game or two each fall, but they just went up a division and now play in Foxboro, MA at Gillette Stadium where the Patriot’s play which is about 90 minutes away. They’re not very good, but I guess if they want to play in a higher division they have to have a bigger stadium.

9. Share a fond Fall memory.  My best fall memories have been made since Carlos was born. Now we do all of those “fall things” together and have lots of photos to cherish the memories. Probably the best fall memories are made by jumping in the leaves. It makes me a kid again. We enjoy the gorgeous fall hikes in our area. We did a really fun corn maze last year. Carving the annual jack-o-lantern with Carlos is always a blast. He has made my favorite time of year a million times better.

Carlos’ first fall brought so many memories most notably it was when he learned to walk.
First Leaf Pile of 2009

10. It’s not Fall until…The leaves start crunching under my feet. On Saturday, Carlos and I took a long walk on a new to us bike trail and we both seemed to notice at the same time that the leaves were crunching under our feet because we looked at each other and said “it’s fall.” What have I done to this poor child? It seems Carlos loves the fall too.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

So I guess it’s kind of obvious that I adore fall. Here are a few other favorite things about the fall season in case you haven’t had enough yet:

Favorite candle scent – Macintosh apple

Favorite apple – you guessed it Macintosh

Favorite fall recipethis Maple Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole from Angela at Oh She Glows. I’ve already made it once this season and I will likely make it a few more times. It is like dinner and dessert all rolled into one. If you haven’t visited Angela’s blog please do. She creates some of the most delicious vegan dishes not to mention the visual appeal of her photos.

OK that’s enough right?! I’ll stop now. I hope you’re having a great Monday. I’m off to pick up the little guy at school and then we are headed to the playground with some friends from school (this is more for the moms but it’s a win/win). Happy Fall!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Blog Stuff

We had a nice weekend. The weather was gorgeous, felt like fall. A friend from my Peace Corps days spent the weekend here. He was content with just hanging out and going with the flow of our plans. I get the feeling from a few of my friends that they find my home relaxing and come here to sort of get away from the hustle and bustle of their lives. This makes me happy. So we didn’t do anything terribly exciting. We went to a busy farm store and bought some local Macintosh apples, apple cider and corn on the cob. Carlos had his first soccer practice of the season. I ran an awesome 6 miles on Sunday.

Tonight we are going to an Ice Cream Social for my son’s school. The teacher said he had a great today and an excellent nap. Kindergarten really tires him out because he hasn’t taken naps in almost 2 years. He’s always been a good sleeper though. So we are off shortly, but before we go I wanted to share my answers for this week’s Friend Makin’ Mondays all about blog stuff.

If you have taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so others can see your FMM questions and answers. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers by posting your own FMM post and commenting on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

 Blog Stuff

1.  Have you ever met anyone through your blog that led to an in-person friendship/relationship? No.

2.  Most bloggers have a specific niche.  What would you discuss if it didn’t seem inappropriate on your blog? I would talk about my job more often if not for HIPAA (privacy) laws.

3. If you could meet three bloggers, who would they be? Honestly I would love to meet all the bloggers I read, but for the sake of answering the question I will name 3. I would love to meet Biz, Marion and Carina. I think each of these women exemplify strength, intelligence and dedication. I also appreciate their support and honest opinions.

4. If you had to choose between Facebook or Twitter which one would you choose?  Facebook, though I have a love/hate relationship with it. I tweet every now and then, but I feel like I’m invisible out there. I enjoy some of the articles I find via Twitter. Other than that I am not sure I really grasp the concept of Twitter.

5. Do you vlog (video blog?) No.

6. How many blogs do you read on an average day? I read about 15 blogs regularly, but not all of the bloggers post daily.

7.  What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen online recently? I recently read this interesting article about how technology keeps us connected nearly all the time.

8. If you gave your blog a new name what would it be? I would probably just use my real name.

9. Have you ever attended a blog conference like Fitbloggin?  If not, would you? I would love to attend Fitbloggin though I think I would feel a bit out of place.

10. In the past I have asked why you blog.  Now I want to know why you read blogs?  What do you take from it?  I read blogs that I find helpful, interesting, and inspiring. I find 99% of the recipes I make from blogs I read. I love reading about people’s journeys to a healthier life. I enjoy learning about different ideas and experiences.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Summertime

This summer seems to be flying by. Carlos starts his first day of Kindergarten on August 29th. At this rate we will be there before we know it. There has been a lot of sun, tons of swimming, play dates, hikes, walks and fireworks. Today Carlos begins camp. I signed him up for a few different morning camps. This one is at a local park. The do arts and crafts, games, play on the playground, etc. It runs from 9am to noon which is just enough time for me to run, shower and do a few errands.

Carlos also takes swimming lessons Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the afternoon. They are learning strokes this summer. One of the best things I think you can do for your child is teach them to swim. We have an incredible program in town taught by my elderly neighbor. He has been teaching these lessons for over 50 years. He doesn’t use any flotation devices. You watch and think there is no way my child will learn to swim like this, but lo and behold they do. The goal of the beginner session is for the kids to swim (doggie paddle) from the deep end of the pool to the shallow end. This is a pool used for swim meets so it’s long. Carlos did it last summer so he is now in the next level of classes. I like how they continue to work with the kids once they know how to swim. Swimming is such a great activity and boy does it tire the kids out! Sleep has been absolutely no trouble this summer. In fact Carlos is usually asking us if he can go to bed by 7 o’clock.

So it’s been busy around here, but a good busy. Carlos and I have an awesome weekend coming up. I will be sure to blog about it. It involves dragons and a lot of color! This week’s Friend Makin’ Mondays topic couldn’t be more appropriate.

If you have taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so others can see your FMM questions and answers. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers by posting your own FMM post and commenting on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Summertime

1. What is your favorite thing about Summer? Being outdoors all the time.

2. What is your favorite outdoor activity? Running

3. If you had to choose, would you prefer to be too hot or too cold? I would choose too cold as long as I could bundle up with as much clothing and as many blankets as I like. I would choose too hot if I could live near water.

4. Does your appetite increase or decrease during warmer months? Does it stay the same?  My appetite graciously decreases in summer. I crave fruit and salads. I hate having to cook in the summer, but I do it anyway.

5. What is your favorite seasonal Summer fruit? Berries. We went blueberry picking yesterday and scored about 10 pounds!!

6. Would you prefer to spend a hot summer day at the mall or at a swimming pool? The pool definitely.

7. Are you more likely to tan or sunburn? I burn, but with sunblock I develop a nice glowing tan by the end of the summer.

8. How does your routine change when Summer begins? Carlos doesn’t have school in the summer so life gets even busier. I have had to rely on babysitters, early mornings and evenings for getting my workouts in. As I mentioned above we stay pretty busy during the summer. There is a lot more going on for kids in the summer. We spend a lot of time either at my mom’s pool, spray parks or at our favorite local lake with friends. To me summer is about being outside as much as possible.

9. What is the temperature outside where you are today? 82 degrees and climbing

10.  What is your favorite Summer holiday? My birthday at the end of August?! I guess I would have to say 4th of July though we don’t really do anything all that exciting.

I hope you are enjoying your summer too. Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions.  Don’t forget to visit Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!