Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Summer Wishlist 2018: Farmer's Market

I've been rather busy of late, but we did tick another item off the summer wishlist. The Saturday before last my son and I took a quick trip to the farmer's market. In the days before kids, my sister and I were regulars at the market, but these days it's more of an annual event. I missed two of the vendors I was counting on seeing (fudge and wooden toys) and saw many of my old favorites, as well as a trend toward fermented food. The highlight for me is Thai iced tea and my son loves the stretch bread.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

2018 To Do List: July

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space - I need to do a few more finishing touches on this, but it is essentially done!!
  2. Read at least 28 books - three books finished in July (20/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer ✅
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures ✅
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries 
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 39.5 miles for July (246.3/365) 
  18. Refinance my mortgage - Some loose ends still need to be tied up, but this is more or less done.
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty - This is life changing, yo.
  21. Get new glasses ✅ 
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day ✅, St. Patrick's Day ✅, Easter ✅)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed ✅
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Most Boring Currently Ever

Drinking: Water. I don't understand people that don't drink loads of water. It's really delightful.

Watching: Nothing really. I can't even remember the last time I turned on the TV. I'm just too damn busy. I'm even weeks behind on my General Hospital. And I've only watched a handful of minutes of Le Tour de France since it started.

Reading: I started this new-to-me book, maybe you've heard of it. Something about Harry Potter. It's quite captivating.

Playing with: Cars & trucks. Koala Crate musical instruments.

Feeling: Disbelief that it's almost August. What? How?

Enjoying: Time outside. Saturday hikes. Ice cream. Reading with my little man.

Looking forward to: Ticking things off my to do list. Eating ice cream. Reading Twitter messages. Going outside.

What are you up to these days?

Monday, July 09, 2018

Summer Wishlist 2018: Berry Picking

On Friday I saw our favorite local farm post about u-pick BLACK RASPBERRIES. Berries are super yummy. I love all berries. BUT black raspberries are THE BEST. I have picked commercially farmed red raspberries many times, but I've never seen black raspberries on offer. Saturday morning plans were set clearly.




Little man did pretty well as you can see (his berries are on the left). The best part is I can eat as many of "my" berries as I want without feeling guilty that I'm depriving him because he has his own and they won't stay fresh forever. We didn't pick enough to freeze because he is three years old after all, but we picked plenty to satisfy both of us.

And this checks a second item off the Summer Wishlist.

Monday, July 02, 2018

2018 To Do List: June

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space
  2. Read at least 28 books - two books finished in June (17/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer ✅
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures ✅
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries 
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 47.4 miles for June (206.8/365) 
  18. Refinance my mortgage - process continued, closing date in July
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty - We've got the pee thing pretty well down. Poop though, that's a whole other story.
  21. Get new glasses ✅ - Hopefully it will be the last time I have to use my ex's health insurance to get new glasses.
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day ✅, St. Patrick's Day ✅, Easter ✅)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What I Ate Wednesday

Well, it was actually what I ate Tuesday so I could post it today, haha. Two years ago at this time I was at my lightest weight ever, a thoroughly unhealthy weight. I was constantly sick, including a week long stomach bug during which time I lost another 12 pounds. My clothes were literally falling off of me. Since then I've gained weight, sailing right past my normal resting weight and out the other side. I have only a few pairs of pants and shorts that I can still squeeze myself into. The main issue for me is how I eat at work. I am bored, restless, disenchanted, etc. So I eat. It distracts me for a few minutes. And before you suggest I try nibbling at something like baby carrots (gak), I assure you I've tried it. If the food is unsatisfying I will just acquire something else, which often means I've eaten more not less (first the lame food, followed by the bad food).

Anyway, here's a look at one random day's food consumption:

Black tea with sugar and milk

Whole wheat waffles with lots of butter


Plain black tea

I only buy one of these a week because they're so expensive.

All that was left or I would've eaten more.

Same as above. Last few pretzels in the bag.

Veggie chili with a slice of cheese mixed in.

I eat one of these every day at work.

Office cake. I managed to not eat ALL that frosting.

Penne with butter and parm

Mixed greens with croutons, craisins, shredded cheese, and blue cheese dressing

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Summer Wishlist 2018: Waterfall

I checked the first item off our summer bucket list this past weekend: hike to a waterfall. There are a lot waterfalls in the region, but none of them are on my side of town. Because we are still restricted by my son's nap schedule typically we hike first thing in the morning, then head home for a late lunch and nap. Google told me we could get to the county park that features a 137 foot waterfall in 37 minutes. I've spent a lot of time over the years at this park, including running a nature day camp there during college, but I haven't been in many years. I was so happy to see it again!


Friday, June 08, 2018

Summer Fun

Walk or bike ride? Walk.

Favorite picnic food? I'm not really a picnic person. I like potato salad and mac salad, but I'd rather throw a pb&j in a backpack and climb a mountain.

Pool or lake? Lake.

Favorite flavor of ice cream? Cinnamon buns. Chocolate chip cookie dough. Or vanilla in a pinch. Bring on ALL the ice cream. Except chocolate 'cause that's nasty.

Ice cream cone or in a dish? Dish. No thanks on the soggy, drippy cone mess.

Flip flops or slides? Neither really. I prefer Teva style sandals that stay on your feet. That said, I do want something I can just slip on and off for the ease of running in and out of the house this summer when we're playing in the yard.

Jean shorts or jean capris? Again, neither really. I don't love jean material. So restrictive. I'm all about comfort.

Favorite summer fruit? Berries. Apricots.

Corn on the cob or cut off the cob? On the cob. Plain. No butter or salt.

Favorite summertime song? Summertime by The Sundays. Or DJ Jazzy Jeff. Or Janis Joplin.

Favorite summertime activity? Hiking.

Favorite berry? Black raspberries.

Bikinis, tankinis or one pieces? I haven't gone swimming in years. I have a two piece with a skirt bottom. Unless the elastic is shot I see no reason to buy another one.

Dresses or skirts? Dresses. I like not having anything squeezing my mid-section.

One word to describe summer? Hot. Haha.


Inspired by Beth.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

2018 To Do List: May, etc.

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space
  2. Read at least 28 books - three books finished in May (14/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer ✅
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures ✅
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries - efforts underway
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 58.4 miles for May (161.7/365) Best month so far!! 
  18. Refinance my mortgage - process initiated
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty
  21. Get new glasses
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day ✅, St. Patrick's Day ✅, Easter ✅)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅
My May mileage really kicked into high gear with all the biking I've been able to do. All the bike miles are "commute" miles back and forth from the parking lot at work. After having put all these miles on my folding bike, I do wish I'd opted for a bike rack instead. The folding bike is great in a lot of ways. It's super easy just to toss in the car and drive off at the end of the day. However, it has no shocks and doesn't shift well (or at all?), so it's not the most comfortable on bumpy, hilly roads.

I started the refinance process at the end of May, and have a tentative closing date in mid-July. As anyone who's ever bought a house or refinanced a mortgage knows all too well, this process requires a lot of time and attention. So I'm anxious to put it all behind me.

We've managed to get peepee in the potty a few times, but we're not making much headway. The boy is a bit too attached to his diapers. Argh.

We planted a few zucchini seeds and a billion marigolds seeds, all of which were destroyed by rabid squirrels. OK, maybe not rabid, but they show little regard for our desire to grow things.

In other news, I took an undergraduate course on Child Development in May. I just finished the last piece of coursework last night, so phew. One less source of stress. It was A LOT of reading.

I also took the advice of a colleague who'd had success using it and downloaded a dating app to my phone. I can't (won't) date in the traditional sense (dinner and a movie), so this may lead to nowhere, but it's a few minutes of entertaining swiping every now and again. I can tell you one thing: dudes need to learn how to take more pictures besides the "here I am holding a big fish" pose and the "bare-chested in bed" pose. No thanks.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Summer Wishlist 2018

I've seen a few other bloggers create summer wishlists or bucket lists and it seems like a fun idea. Some of the items here are ones I pulled from my 2018 To Do List, but some are new. They may not all be possible, as money is EXTREMELY tight. But that's why it's called a wishlist, right...
  • go berry picking
  • go to the beach
  • climb a mountain with a fire tower with my son
  • go camping (in a tent)
  • get ice cream from the ice cream truck
  • go to the farmer's market
  • go swimming
  • hike to a waterfall
(That's all I can think of right now, but I may add more later if inspiration strikes.)

What's on your summer wishlist?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mother's Day on the Bog

What better way is there to spend Mother's Day (or any day) than with a hike at Second Home Nature Center? That's what we did, returning to the favored Bog Trail. The weather was perfect, starting cool and warming more than 20 degrees while we were out. We saw tadpoles, a giant snapping turtle, several painted turtles, fish, and frogs. We threw LOTS of rocks and sticks and watched people paddling in canoes.




Throwing rocks.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

2018 To Do List: April

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space
  2. Read at least 28 books - two books finished in April (12/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer ✅
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures ✅
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries - efforts underway
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 34.3 miles for April (101/365) Best month so far!! 
  18. Refinance my mortgage
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty
  21. Get new glasses
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day ✅, St. Patrick's Day ✅, Easter ✅)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅
I continue to plug away at my reading and mileage goals, but otherwise April was pretty slow for the to do list. My reading time during lunch has been much interrupted of late, which is frustrating but goes with the territory job-wise.

I've fully incorporated Aldi into my weekly shopping routine. I go there first, purchasing as many items as possible, then I race across the road to Wegmans to get the rest of what I need (items not available at Aldi). The only line in my monthly budget that is at all flexible is food. So I am focusing my efforts on spending less money on food since it's the only item I can control. I already switched to store brands whenever possible and stopped buying organic. But it's not like we can live on rice (my son won't eat rice). This past week I spent a total of $59 between the two stores and $11 of that was diapers (dude really, really needs to start using the potty). I am taking advantage of some food items already in the freezer and pantry, so I won't always be able to get the bill down that low. And of course now that I'm into an Aldi/Wegmans rhythm my Aldi is closing for renovations until the end of June. Sigh.

I may share more about my finances and budget in another post.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Birthday Weekend

Saturday morning (my birthday) we took it slow. We both needed some slowness after the mad rush Monday through Friday to get us out the door to school and work on time. Eventually we headed to Target so I could collect my free birthday drink from Starbucks (a large Green Tea Latte) and a couple cake pops. We also picked up hay for the guinea pigs and yeast because the grocery store hasn't had any for 2-3 weeks and I was craving some homemade bread.

From there we headed for Second Home Nature Center for my annual wildflower hike. Alas, the never ending winter wasn't really working in my favor. We found a few spring beauty, hepatica, and blue cohosh in bloom. Even that surprised me. I thought we'd come up completely empty. The trillium and trout lily were in bud, just barely. It was overcast and sprinkly, but still fairly mild. We also heard two barred owls calling ('tis the season) practically on top of us, but I couldn't search for them because my son was at the water's edge doing his best to throw everything not nailed down into the water (including himself?).

We encountered a man with his two year old son and got to chatting. He made it clear he was single and I tried to indicate the same, but nothing came of it. Do I need to be more direct? (That's not gonna happen.) Or was it the fact I hadn't showered in days? Who can tell.

That night we went to Panera with my dad where I collected another birthday freebie, a yummy tulip cookie. My sandwich was probably the worst I've ever had from Panera, but of course I ate it anyway.

The weather on Sunday was cold and dreary and raw, which made me grumpy. But at least I had fresh bread.

How was your weekend?



Trying to get my phone to ficus on the blue cohosh flower.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Currently



Drinking: Water. Black tea. Kombucha. Same as always. I found a new to me kombucha flavor yesterday and it is fantastic.

Watching: I started catching up on Designated Survivor this weekend because I finished my re-watch of ER. I think I had 7 or 8 episodes of Designated Survivor on my DVR, so I'll be working on that for a while before moving on to the next show.

Reading: Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. It's Fall by Linda Glaser.

Playing with: Wooden marble track. Shape magnets. Penguin ball.

Feeling: Miserable. I'm so sick of the constant drip, drip, sneeze, cough. It's been a good four months straight and I'm OVER IT. I scheduled an appointment with an allergist for mid-June (their first available, sigh). 

Enjoying: We finally had a mild, sunny weekend! It was fantastic. We went for a hike, played in the yard, walked to the playground, and generally just enjoyed being outside as much as possible.

Looking forward to: More warm weather. The end of the semester.

What are you up to these days?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

10 Items in Your Car

I used to have a super neat car. Not clean, but neat. I didn't let anything pile up or collect in the car. And then I had a baby. I could easily list WAY more than 10 items that ride around in the car all the time.
  1. Winter hat, big mittens, fleece gloves. Because it's still WINTER apparently.
  2. Pile of car toys: elephant, caterpillar, watering can, blue car, tiny tiny piggy, 2 wooden trains, a dump truck...
  3. Box of tissues
  4. Snow brush (this is in the car year round, regardless of the never ending WINTER)
  5. Folding bike (not that I've been using it for the last week, because WINTER)
  6. Picnic blanket
  7.  A slew of CDs I never listen to
  8. Bike helmet
  9. Baby blanket (for diaper changing purposes)
  10. Old towel (for mud, vomit, whatever)

Friday, April 06, 2018

School Lunches

My son started at a new school (daycare) this week. It's a smaller center without a full kitchen, so I  have to pack his lunch from now on. I'm sure this will get easier for me, but it's actually been more than a little stressful. Am I providing enough? Is it something he likes and will eat? Plus, I hate the idea of wasting food, so I want to avoid giving too much. Tricky business. My sister passed down her son's preschool lunchbox and it is super awesome. My Little Man loves it and loves that he can do it ALL BY HIMSELF.

Here's a look at some of his lunches from his first week.

Mini meatballs.


Deli turkey.


Peanut Butter on tortilla shells. Fruit twist (not licorice). Friday.

Monday, April 02, 2018

2018 To Do List: March

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space*
  2. Read at least 28 books - Four books finished in March (10/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer ✅
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures ✅
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries 
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 21.7 miles for March (66.8/365)
  18. Refinance my mortgage
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty
  21. Get new glasses
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day ✅, St. Patrick's Day ✅, Easter ✅)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅
*As I mentioned in my last post I started working on the family room, but my momentum has stalled and the room is probably less usable in its current state. Oops.

I bought myself a small tool kit which includes a hammer, so I can check that off the list. I spent TWO hours hanging two very small display shelves for pictures. Remind me never to do that sort of thing again. (It does look nice.) (As long as you don't notice the giant holes in the wall from where I sank the anchors in the wrong spot.)

I'm not sure how I managed to have more miles in February than in March, but that's what the spreadsheet says. I started riding my bike again to and from the parking lot, so that should help my miles. Assuming I don't die trying, that is. General consensus seems to be that I'm not riding far enough each day to enable my legs to get stronger, so it may never get easier (what??).

I finally found some St Paddy's lights for the fireplace. Yay!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Currently

Drinking: Pineapple Peach Kombucha. I splurge every week and buy myself one bottle of kombucha at the grocery store. I drink half on Monday and half on Tuesday.

Watching: I'm still watching ER. I've more or less abandoned most of my other shows in favor of ER. I realized recently that several of the things I'd been watching are no longer enjoyable and I was just watching them out of habit. And that's just silly.

ReadingMiller's Valley by Anna Quindlen. Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle. Pretend by Jennifer Plecas.

Working on: Shuffling stuff around to make the family room a more usable space. Unfortunately this does not involve much discarding of items (even though it should). More like carrying piles of crap to the basement. It's in the 'worse before it gets better' phase. Hopefully it doesn't remain there permanently.

Playing with: We spent a long time playing in the yard yesterday: throwing and kicking a ball, picking up sticks, playing in the sandbox, swinging, etc. It was wonderful to be outside again and not wearing snowpants.


Feeling: Amazed that my baby boy is THREE YEARS OLD today. And slightly bewildered. How is it possible when just yesterday he was a newborn? I reread his birth story this morning thinking I might share it today in honor of his birthday, but oof. No, still too soon. Maybe in another 3 (or 30) years.


Looking forward toSPRING weather. Milder temps. No more snow. Playing outside. Flowers.


What are you up to these days?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bread Baking Continued

I have continued baking bread since I last posted about it. I've tried a couple recipes, but it always boils down to having to touch the dough. I HATE IT. As in, can NOT deal. No, no, no. I found a no knead recipe and gave it whirl Monday night. You mix up the four ingredients with a wooden spoon and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours, or in my case, closer to 22 hours (work being so inconvenient and all). Then you're supposed to bake it in a dutch oven, which I don't have, so I just threw it on a cookie sheet like I've been doing with all the loaves. And voila! Bread! And I barely had to touch it at all. Perfect.

After 10.5 hours on the counter.

After 22 hours on the counter.

Yum.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bog in March, Snow

Saturday morning and with it, snow. But we needed to get outside and Little Man was in good spirits, happily agreeing to go for a hike. As always he hoped for his aunt and cousin to join us, but they were otherwise occupied. He didn't even balk at the snowpants, big coat, or big mittens. I was overly optimistic at how smoothly it all was going.

The "I've got boogies" complaint started only a few feet down the trail. Spirits sagged. I wanted to throw myself face first into the snow and cry. Here we were in such a beautiful setting and I couldn't even appreciate it. I suggested we go back to the car (multiple times), but he kept choosing to go forward, even though clearly no one was having any fun.

We made it to the observation tower and carefully climbed the snow covered stairs. The wind whipped off the lake with such ferocity the snow stung my face. I tried crouching down below the height of the railing but it didn't help, so I dragged my very resistant child back down the stairs. Fortunately, it was at this point that we made a discovery that turned things around. There was open water under the tower and snow is fun to throw and kick into open water.

Eventually we got out to the end of the island where I mentioned the possibility of pancakes and sausage back at the building. We very rarely go inside the nature center, so this was a big departure for us. But dude LOVES sausage (eew). I buy the fake sausage to eat at home, but I suspected he'd be more than happy to eat the real stuff too. So that motivated him all the way back to the building. After we ate he ran around the exhibit area looking at the animals and playing with the touch & feel table. When it was time to leave, I steered him into the gift shop. I know this seems like an odd decision, but I wanted some maple candy. I was prepared to buy him a small (not edible) treat in order to satisfy my sweet tooth, but it ended up working out better than I could've have hoped for. He settled on a small rubber snake and after paying I suggested he show Mr. Snake where our car was. And that's exactly what he did, with enthusiasm and no fuss about leaving the super fun building.

Let's try not to worry about what happens next time when there is no sausage and Mommy does NOT want to go inside the boring, overly heated building.






Thursday, March 01, 2018

2018 To Do List: February

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space
  2. Read at least 28 books - Three books finished in February (5/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures ✅
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries 
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 23.2 miles for February (45.1/365)
  18. Refinance my mortgage
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty
  21. Get new glasses
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day ✅, Easter)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅
School pictures: I framed them (in cheap, boring frames) and have them propped up at the moment. I need a plan of attack for displaying framed photos, but decorating is not my area of expertise or interest.

Aldi (revisited): After additional shopping, I have determined that Aldi will never replace Wegmans for me. I have switched to Aldi diapers and other non-food items like garbage bags, toilet paper, etc. The produce is significantly cheaper, but selection and variety is limited and unpredictable. Things I have tried and rejected: cereal bars, granola bars, chocolate chips (nasty!), and a frozen pasta meal.

365 Mile Challenge: I even logged my first bike miles of the year. Yay!

Holidays: My son and I had lots of fun decorating for Valentine's Day. We've done some minor decorating for St. Patrick's Day (pictures will be shared in the March update), but I have been disappointed to find not much in the way of fun decor. The stores seem to have moved directly to Easter without much thought for St. Paddy's. I was hoping to find a string of shamrock lights to replace the hearts below.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Baking Bread: Attempt Number One

I'm reading Sourdough by Robin Sloan and it makes me want to bake bread. But as I've mentioned many times before, I'm not exactly a natural in the kitchen. I found several recipes proclaiming to be easy! or simple! on Pinterest and decided to try one last night since Little Man is always down for some measuring and mixing.

As it turned out the recipe that printed was bare bones and didn't include some of the more useful info available on the website. I suspect the bread would have come out better had I had the full description. But alas, what I have now is an incredibly dense, chewy, almost doughy lump.

Things I might try if I do it again: warmer water for the yeast (it was warm coming out of the tap, but the glass bowl was cold, aka room temperature), more flour (?), warmer spot for the bread to rise (Grammy used to place her dough in front of the baseboard heat, but my heat wasn't running last night), and shaping it into a loaf before letting it rise (I just left it on the bowl. The printed recipe didn't mention forming the loaf shape first, or at all actually). Live and learn. And try again, I guess.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Two Demands

The first thing my son says upon coming downstairs after nap or in the morning or after getting home is "put dishes away." On one hand this is awesome because I hate putting dishes away, but on the other hand this is not entirely awesome because he doesn't understand that the dishwasher is not always full of clean dishes. He will demand to put dishes away 800 times a day and sometimes melts down when there are still no dishes to put away. Toddlers, wow.


His second demand is to "bake something." He likes to sit on the counter and measure ingredients and mix them. Oddly enough he never shows any interest in eating the finished product, aside from one cupcake he nibbled at and never finished. Yesterday we made peanut butter fudge with a super simple recipe (pb, butter, vanilla extract, powdered sugar). I cut the recipe in half because that's a lot of fudge, even for me.


Friday, February 02, 2018

2018 To Do List: January

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space
  2. Read at least 28 books - Two books read in January (2/28)
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries 
  13. Try shopping at Aldi ✅
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge - 21.9 miles for January (21.9/365)
  18. Refinance my mortgage
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty
  21. Get new glasses
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room ✅
Aldi: I've now done my weekly shopping at Aldi twice. They do not carry everything I need/want, so I've started alternating weeks with my regular trips to Wegmans. I spend significantly less on the weeks I shop at Aldi, but if I end up spending significantly more on my Wegmans weeks to compensate then it won't be worth it. That remains to be seen. One major point of contention is their yogurt selection. They ONLY carry low fat or non-fat. No, no, no, people. Your body needs fat. Fat in dairy is better for you than the reduced fat kind that is loaded with extra sugar or god-forbid, sugar substitutes. I will not feed my son that garbage.

Baby gate: My dad took the gate down on Sunday and there have been absolutely no issues since then. And man, doing the laundry is SO much easier now. Why didn't I do this sooner?

I have also been eating more veggies and journaling more.

Monday, January 29, 2018

This weekend: the good, the bad, & the ugly

In bullets:
  • On Friday my boss closed the office an hour early because she and her husband were going out of town for the night. Bonus.
  • Once home, I rushed around doing some chores that are easiest sans toddler. In my haste I misjudged the stairs going down into the family room, thinking I was at the bottom when in fact I was not. My ankle rolled and something popped/snapped. I ended up curled on my side, screaming like a banshee. Thank goodness I was home alone. Eventually I was able to move and hobble around enough to appear normal when my son got home. It's only a little swollen and sore, but it bears weight, so I'm sure IT'S FINE.
  • Saturday morning we went for our customary hike on the boardwalk. Conditions were quite slick were the snow remained, which made walking a bit treacherous, always helpful on a weak ankle. But whatevs. The weather was mild and the woods were lovely.
  • I cooked a $1.99 frozen pizza from Aldi for dinner (living the high life, as always). When I was pulling it out of the oven, the oven mitt apparently had a thin spot and I jerked my hand because of the BURNING and the pizza slid off the pizza stone landing cheese side down on the bottom of the oven. All that was left was a crispy thin piece of naked crust. Tears were shed. And dinner ended up being much more lame than even a $1.99 frozen pizza.
  • Sunday morning we squeezed in some outdoor play time in the yard, including swinging, sliding, and sand. Not bad for JANUARY.
  • I invited my dad over after nap to assemble the balance bike he bought my son for Christmas. The assembly process was a nightmare, but at least he had the cutest "helper" ever. And then WITHOUT COACHING my darling not-yet-3 year old more or less invited his grandpa to take us out to eat at "Paneria" so he could "eat bread and grilled cheese." Hahaha! Well done, sweet boy, well done. And he ate every single bite.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Journaling and what it means to me

I prefer to write in full sized, wide ruled, spiral bound notebooks. The cheaper the better. My pen of choice is a Pilot Precise Rolling Ball with a Fine tip and blue ink. I will, of course, write in other notebooks with other pens if the situation presents itself.

I started journaling this way during the summer of 1998 and have been at it ever since. In a perfect world my goal would be a 3 page minimum every day. These days that is not realistic.

I don't write in my notebook as creative practice, although I have used it as a place to write first drafts of poems and stories. I have always used my notebooks as a dumping ground. A place to get what is in my head out. To vent.

I see my sister once or twice a month with children in tow, my father even less. The kids make conversation difficult at best. Aside from that, the only adult person I speak to on a regular basis (beyond the small talk, wow, it's cold outside types of conversations) is my boss and we have nothing in common. We are cordial, but we are not friends. That's it. That's the extent of my in person adult contact.

Even texts and emails are primarily limited to exchanging pictures and occasional brief commentary on activities.

Everything is just stuck in my head with no outlet. It finally occurred to me a few days ago to pick up the pen again. Even though I'd declared my intention to journal more in 2018, it was merely a casual wish to restart the regular practice. I hadn't made the connection until I put the pen to paper the other day that if I don't have anyone in my life to talk to, I should at least "talk" to myself.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Saturday Morning Hike

My sister and I took advantage of the mild temperatures to get the four of us out for a hike together. It was the first hiking I've done in 2018. It was not without challenges, but all I can hope is it's worth it in the grand scheme of things. I'm not in the best place mentally, so it's easy to see how TV and fast food would be the easier option.












Friday, January 19, 2018

Currently

Eating: A multigrain bagel with cream cheese. I super love free food from meetings I don't have to attend. Win, win.

Watching: I've been on a big ER kick. I randomly discovered there are reruns every Saturday, so I record them every week. I haven't watched any episodes since their first run, so it's been a lot of fun to revisit old friends.

Reading: The Last Season by Eric Blehm. Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone. The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown.

Listening to: Amazon's Toddler Time music.

Playing with: Magnatiles.

Feeling: Frustrated. With my job. With my commute. With my lack of patience with my son.

Loving: My son's ever increasing ability to communicate. He can now tell me when something hurts or is bothering him.

Looking forward to: Going for a hike tomorrow. My son and I both need some outside time and hopefully some time with my sister and her son.

What are you up to these days?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

50 Things About ME: Now with Updates

Since I first posted this more than 10 years ago, I thought it might be fun to redo it and make changes to make it more current and up-to-date. Changes will be added in red.

1. I do not like ice in my beverages. I prefer most at room temperature or just slightly cool. (I think I should've been born in Europe because I also don't like air conditioning. Or foods served at extreme temperatures.)

2. I do not like lemon in my water. Gak. And no, I can't just pick it out.

3. I have lived in 3 states: NY, MA, & FL.

4. I always wanted freckles. I threaten to steal my little step-brother's all the time.

5. I love Anne of Green Gables (freckles!) and believe in kindred spirits and the depths of despair.

6. I've been inside my "house of dreams" but couldn't afford it at the time.

7. I think everyone should drive Smart Cars. The world would be safer and happier. And cuter. But since that will never happen I would actually like a bigger car. More room and safer. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

8. I've only climbed 3 of the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks. I dream of one day being a 46er, but every summer passes without me doing anything about it. I've now climbed 21 of the High Peaks but have had to take a few years off while pregnant and mothering a young child. This is still most definitely a life goal of mine.

9. I love good sushi, especially the Dynamite roll I used to get at the Beach in FL. Kinda over sushi now. I never eat it anymore.

10. I never had a curfew growing up.

11. I never got grounded either.

12. My first car was a Renault. The heat was broken on, the window cranks had no knobs, the speedometer was broken, and the doors didn't lock, but I loved it.

13. I crochet scarves and blankets. I don't crochet anymore.

14. I want to be a mom. I AM a mom.

15. In fact, I actually look forward to pregnancy itself. I HATED being pregnant. 

16. I am not career driven. Ideally, I would like to be a stay-at-home-mom. But since we are not independently wealthy, that will never happen. As a single mom, this dream is dead.

17. My hair is beyond straight and baby fine. I am constantly considering getting a body wave like I had in middle school, but people are always talking me out of it. I don't care about my hair anymore. If it's clean occasionally that's good enough.

18. I love soynut butter.

19. If given a choice, I would almost always chose to have tofu in a dish rather than meat (i.e. in Thai or Chinese).

20. I had my first paid job as a camp naturalist (counselor) at the age of 17. I'd volunteered for 40 hours a week for at least the two summers prior to that at the same educational day camp.

21. I worked as an IMAX projectionist, retail assistant manager, and naturalist before getting into my current career as an office lady.

22. The thumb on my left hand is double-jointed. So are my hips.

23. I can still put my feet behind my head if I try. I haven't tried this recently, but I suspect I would still be able to.

24. I have 4 piercings: both ear lobes, belly button, and tragus. I took the belly button out when pregnant, so that's down to 3.

25. I have one tattoo: a star on the top of my right foot. I have two tattoos now. The second is a quote on the left side of my ribcage.

26. I have a Darwin's Tubercle on my left ear.

27. I am a very light sleeper.

28. I took 5 1/2 years of French in high school and regret having not kept up with it since then.

28. I am extremely sensitive to caffeine and try never to drink any after noon. Thanks, Dad, for passing that trait on.

29. The fact that I don't have clear skin has been a huge issue for me and my self-esteem. I wish I had not been told that I would outgrow my pimples after I left my teen years behind. What a lie and a let down.

30. I am a jeans and sweatshirt kinda gal. Unless I'm home. Then I'm a sweatpants and no bra kinda woman.

31. I collect postcards.

32. My best first kiss story was the time Christian and I went to the dump in Long Lake to look for bears.

33. I have been donating blood since high school. I've recently been turned off by the American Red Cross because they call me at all hours. Sunday, 9pm. That does not put me in a giving mood.

34. I am a bit of a control freak and tend towards the obsessive.

35. I am, however, not neat and clean when it comes to keeping house.

36. I do not like beer. Or most liquor.

37. I enjoy classical music and opera.

38. I was sweet sixteen and never been kissed. (I do not count the kindergarten boyfriend's kisses, you see.)

39. I have a wicked sweet tooth.

40. Bungalows are my favorite style of houses. Now I would prefer anything one level with laundry on the main floor.

41. I like simple, clutter-free decor. Preferably country or farm-style. And yet, my house is one big fat clutter.

42. I am allergic to dust, mold, and some pollen. Aren't we all?

43. Both of my eyes are -4.25. I wear contacts whenever possible. I have no idea what my prescription is currently. My eyes have improved and are now -3 something and no longer the same in both eyes. I only wear glasses now.

44. The first concert I went to was PHISH, New Year's Eve '93 in Worcester MA. What an experience.

45. I am a dog person. I do not believe that cats are designed for indoor use. I am a guinea pig person now.

46. I like taking snapshots of people I know. I like taking pictures of my son.

47. I have excellent short-term memory and awful long-term memory. I excelled at classes that involved memorization, like French and dendrology.

48. I started watching Star Trek: TNG because I thought Ensign Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) was cute. I liked Voyager quite a bit, but never got into DS9 because of the Ferengi. Yuck.

49. I have a weakness for shoes and purses. I don't buy purses anymore.

50. I love pasta and bread and all things starch.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

2018 To Do List

Some of these items will look familiar. Some are small, some are big, some will be hard to assess, some are long shots.
  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a more usable space
  2. Read at least 28 books
  3. Hang snow shoes
  4. Hang rabbit art (x2) in my son's room
  5. Acquire a hammer
  6. Get rid of clothes my son has outgrown
  7. Get rid of clothes I don't wear/like
  8. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  9. Go to the Adirondacks
  10. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  11. Frame 2017 school pictures
  12. Spend less money on weekly groceries 
  13. Try shopping at Aldi
  14. Eat more veggies
  15. Eat more fruits
  16. Journal more
  17. Complete 365 Mile Challenge
  18. Refinance my mortgage
  19. Make my own kombucha
  20. Get my son to use the potty
  21. Get new glasses
  22. Decorate the house in some way for smaller holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter)
  23. Grow some sort of veggie this summer (zucchini? tomatoes?)
  24. Have the driveway sealed
  25. Take down the baby gate at the top of the stairs to the family room
And GO!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

2017 To-Do List: Review

  1. Rearrange/clean the family room to make it a usable space 
    1. Move books down there to make it a library/family room?
  2. Get rid of items we don't use and/or don't like 
    1. clothes
    2. furniture DONE 
    3. kitchenware
  3. Read at least 24 books - 32/24 DONE
  4. Develop a system to ensure bills get paid in a timely fashion DONE 
  5. Hang wall art 
  6. Hang some sort of window treatment (curtains? blinds?) in family room DONE - 3/19/2017
  7. Blog at least once a week - 51/52 
  8. Purchase new bras DONE 
  9. Purchase new underwear DONE - 2/5/2017
  10. Go on a date
  11. Go swimming, preferably in a natural body of water
  12. Take my son camping in a tent in the woods for at least one night
  13. Frame a picture of my son for my desk at work DONE - 1/17/2017
  14. Go to the Adirondacks
  15. Take my son to the zoo DONE - 1/14/2017
  16. Install anti-tip straps on the TV
  17. Open a 529 account for my son DONE - 3/8/2017
  18. Visit Second Home Nature Center at least once a month - 12/12 DONE
Thoughts:
The family room is possibly more crowded now than it was a year ago. We use it occasionally anyway, but not it the way I was (am) hoping for.

I am most pleased with having achieved my reading goals and with having visited the nature center every month.

I am most disappointed with my failure to go to the Adirondacks.

I have not yet decided if I will put together a similar list for 2018.