Early Fall Capsule Wardrobe



Hey, hey! Long time, no write! Our new school year kicked off last week and, with it, my continued work as a substitute teacher. I LOVE working in the school, so it’s a good thing, but I’m sorry if I dropped off the earth a bit there!


Today, I wanted to share a bit about my very first capsule wardrobe with you all. 


I’ve tossed around the idea of a capsule wardrobe for some time now. What is it? Well, it’s basically a very pared down wardrobe with a limited number of articles used for a set time period, typically three months.


What held me back before? Well, honestly, the thought of choosing a range of clothes to cover a full three-month season kind of stressed me out. Connecticut is a state with dramatic changes in weather and, frankly, choosing garments to cover temps from mid-90s (like we had this week) to snow (which we will no doubt see some time in November) seemed somewhat absurd.


Then, I had an “ah-ha!” moment and realized that there’s no reason I had to choose 37 garments for a 3 month stretch. Instead? I chose about 26 articles (not counting shoes, accessories, sleepwear, or workout clothes) to get me through TWO months– September and October.


The plan is to craft a new “capsule” every two months, for the following seasons:


  • Early Fall (September and October)
  • Falling into Winter (November and December)
  • The Deep Freeze (January and February)
  • Sprinter (March and April)
  • True Spring (May and June)
  • Mild Summer (July and August)


Up first? Early Fall!


Here’s what it looks like:


Early Fall Capsule Wardrobe


And here’s what’s in it!


  1. black & teal chevron-printed sleeveless maxi dress
  2. navy floral short-sleeved dress
  3. black t-shirt dress
  4. navy convertible hi-lo skirt/sleeveless dress
  5. grey maxi skirt
  6. black maxi skirt
  7. black midi skirt
  8. navy and white striped midi skirt
  9. black capris
  10. black pants
  11. black leggings
  12. jeans
  13. grey long-sleeved knit top with beaded detail
  14. pale pink lightweight sweater with lace detail
  15. purple dressy short-sleeved top
  16. black & white dressy short-sleeved top
  17. navy cap-sleeved blouse
  18. navy sequined tank
  19. black lace-trimmed tank
  20. white lace-trimmed tank
  21. aqua tank
  22. teal tank
  23. teal & purple floral lightweight cardigan
  24. white jacket
  25. black dressy cardigan
  26. denim jacket


And that is it!


It’s too early in the game to tell you how well this is going to work overall, but I am really enjoying my wide-open, airy closet. It is so easy to see what I have and to make simple choices each morning.


Look for updates as we get further into this season! :)


Hit me up with any questions you might have…



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Ignorance is, indeed, bliss.



I did not substitute teach on the first day of school.


I was home for the day and able to get my kiddos both on and off of the bus, which is always a nice treat when they’re starting something new. I took the obligatory photos, welcomed back the drivers, and confirmed return times– all that usual stuff.




The first day, my youngest’s bus was due to arrive home at 3:31. Now, I knew it would be late, being the first day of school. I did NOT, however, expect it to be 4:15! Ah, well. So be it. By that time, I was already at the corner bus stop because my older two were expected home at 3:58. (Again, I knew they’d be late– I just didn’t know HOW late.) I welcomed them home at about 4:50.




The second day went more smoothly and, by the third, I was anticipating a rather well-oiled machine.


My youngest and I waited at the corner and watched the clock tick past 4:00. No biggie. Whatevs. We weren’t worried.


4:10 came and went.


Then 4:20.


Right around 4:30, the bus came around the corner (from the wrong direction, but who cared at this point) and dropped our kids off.


There were no other children on the bus.


A substitute driver leaned toward the door, “I missed your road,” she said apologetically. “I don’t know how, since yours is way easier to find than most on this route, but, by the time I noticed, I couldn’t turn around easily, so I had to come back at the end. I’m sorry.”


We parents nodded, smiled, assured her it was fine. Let’s face it– driving a bus isn’t easy, let alone being a substitute on an unfamiliar route!


And then I turned…


…and A. collapsed in my arms. He tipped his face up to mine (barely– that kid’s growing like a weed) and I took in his tear-stained face. He started to talk, but his voice just broke and fresh tears fell.


“Just go,” I told him. “Go on and run to the house. I’ll be there in just a sec’ and you can tell me everything.”


He nodded gratefully and took off like a shot.


Later, I spoke gentle words to him, saying, “Sweetheart– I’m sure it was upsetting when she missed the turn. I know you noticed right away and probably felt helpless. But I don’t understand why it was quite so upsetting for you. You had to know you’d get home eventually. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to have to sleep at the bus yard!” I smiled.


He looked at me with solemn blue eyes, “I just knew we would be so late. And we have karate tonight. And I was worried about getting my homework done and what if I had to stay up really late to do it and then I wasn’t well-rested for tomorrow?”


I put a hand on his shoulder and told him, “Buddy, you weren’t actually as late today as you were the first day of school, you know.”


Surprised, he asked, “Wait– how late were we today?”


“About a half hour,” I answered.


And, at that moment, C. looked up from her book on the couch…


“Wait– we were late?”


I burst out laughing. “Sweetheart, didn’t you notice she missed your road? Or that there was NO ONE ELSE on the bus?”


She shrugged, “The driver was there.” And went back to her book.


There are many times that C’s dreamy, distracted, and sometimes oblivious personality makes her life more challenging– getting ready, meeting deadlines, organizing plans– these things are hard for her.


But for that afternoon?


Ignorance was, indeed, bliss. :)

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The Back-to-School Menu Plan



My babies went back to school today!





While a part of me is super sad to see summer break coming to an end– and, gosh, this feels like an early start!– I am excited for them to get back into a routine and I am THRILLED to resume substitute teaching. I’m already lined up for the third day of school, can you believe it? It’ll be wonderful, though, to get back in the classroom and do something I love.


With “back to school” comes a feeling of “back to planning” for many of us and I’m no exception. While the weekend was full of pool parties, snacky game suppers, and local fairs, as of this morning, we’re back to a routine and a meal plan helps immensely in that department.


With that being said, here’s what we’re eating this week…

you gotta eat




B–Cereal, Apples, Milk (before 7:30AM Mass)

Brunch– Waffles, Scrambled Eggs w/ Cheese, Fruit

Mid-afternoon Snack– Fair Food (ice cream for half of us, fried dough for the other half)


D–Shells Alfredo w/ Chicken and Broccoli (a family pleaser I knew everyone would eat well)



B–Cinnamon Rolls, Scrambled Eggs, Clementines, Milk

D–Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Salad, French Fries (a fun, easy, “first night of school” supper)



B–Blueberry Muffins, Apples, Milk

D–Chicken & Rice Burritos




B–Muffins, Yogurt, Juice

D–Cheesy Beans & Potatoes (I have tons of leftover potatoes!!) (also? date night!)




B–Egg Wraps, Apples, Milk

D–End-of-the-Month-Soup, Garlic Bread




B–Cereal, Greek Yogurt, Bananas

D–Pizza – Large Pepperoni, Medium Mushroom




B–Migas w/ Guac, Fruit

D–Carnitas Soft Tacos




And that should do it!  





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Refreshingly Honest

I am on the cusp of my 39th birthday.  

No, for real. I’m turning 39. That’s not some cutesy way of trying to pretend I’m not yet 40 when I really am. I’ll be 39 in just a few short days.  

And can I be honest with you all? I’ve really loved my late thirties. While turning 35 felt somehow traumatic and eventful (I think because the pregnancy literature always made it seem that way), all the birthdays since have come and gone with happy celebration and continued joy.  

One of the things I really love about this age? I’m more comfortable in my skin. Instead of chasing imaginary problems like I was in my early twenties– please tell me I wasn’t the only one?– I’m embracing all the amazing things my body can do and working to help keep it healthy and capable for many more happy decades.  

What does that look like? Well, there are the usual things you would suspect. I try to eat well most of the time. I walk and hike and exercise whenever I get the chance (though, in the spirit of honesty, I must tell you that I need to get back in the groove of my daily walks!). I apply a sunscreen to my face every morning. I be sure to get the vitamins I know my body needs. I try to use health and beauty products that don’t irritate my skin overly much.  

Still, even with the best care and intentions, life sometimes hands us discomforts that we must deal with. Some of these aren’t fun to talk about.  

I remember when I was a teenager. I was spending a week at the shore and I was wearing a purplish blue bandeau bikini top. I dutifully slathered sunscreen over my shoulders, chest, and arms and headed out to frolic on a slab of slate jutting out over the water. All day long, I hung out there and enjoyed myself. That night, as I showered before bed, I realized the sunscreen had indeed done its job– my arms and neck and shoulders were just fine. But you know where I missed? The strip of skin between my breasts that got fried while the sun was high in the sky.  

Let me just say this: sunburned cleavage hurts.  

Also? It’s not the easiest to talk about. Especially when you’re only a teenager.  

But, as I said, I’m almost 39 now and one would hope that means I’m a little more comfortable addressing pesky discomforts that are unique to us as women. They are things we may not deal with all the time, but when we do? They’re annoying. And frustrating. And sometimes still difficult to discuss.  

Filed under that category? Discomforts caused by upset in vaginal pH.  

I know, I know. No one wants to read about these things. But you know what’s worse than reading about them? Being crazy uncomfortable because of them. What causes that discomfort?  

Well, vaginal pH is actually quite acidic, between 3.5 and 4.5 on the pH scale. (Science class refresher: 7 is neutral.)  As long as all is balanced, we feel good and comfortable and all is well. We don’t even think about things going on down there.  

Unfortunately, however, many things can upset that delicate balance. There are all sorts of normal, common things in life that can cause the pH level to rise and get off-kilter. These include menstruation, tampons, intercourse, medications, cleansers, menopause, and pregnancy. Any one or combination of these can upset the balance and keep us from feeling as fresh and comfortable as we should.  

Thankfully, we live in a day and age where we can (and should) talk about these things. By doing so, we learn that there are ways to maintain healthy pH and feel far more comfortable. One great option?  

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Part of being a busy, confident woman is learning to manage and care for my health just like I manage my work, home, and relationships– honesty and diligence go a long way in keeping everything balanced. To enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, leave a comment below letting me know how you find balance and take time for self-care as you get older.

RepHresh is the clinically tested, #1 trusted brand that empowers women to take control of their vaginal health. RepHresh Vaginal Gel is clinically shown to maintain healthy vaginal pH, helping eliminate feminine odor and discomfort. A single application can maintain vaginal pH in the normal range for 72 hours. RepHresh Pro-B Feminine Probiotic Supplement is clinically shown to balance yeast and bacteria to maintain feminine health.* Just one capsule per day helps maintain vaginal flora in a normal, healthy range.* Click here to learn more. 

I received free product and payment for this sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Like When You Were Dating



Have I ever mentioned I hate bowling?


Okay, hate is too strong of a word.


Have I ever mentioned that I really don’t like bowling?


It’s true.


Mainly, I find it stressful and I don’t even like to watch my ball roll down the lane. I don’t actually care what I score, but I feel like I’m on display up there and I can never figure out how to coordinate that confident combination stride/roll, so I just look awkward and uncomfortable.


Anyway, I really don’t enjoy it…


But my husband likes bowling.


He has fond memories of weekly Sunday bowling events with his family and is always eager to try to recreate this with our own. He realizes that I’m not a huge fan and that it’s unlikely to become a weekly tradition with us, but he still brings it up pretty frequently.


I’m not even going to sugarcoat this– it’s not fun for me. Even watching others enjoy it is not enough for me to have a great time. And, frankly, my husband doesn’t want me there as a spectator– he wants me to play. That’s what makes it fun for HIM.


And so…




There I was, wearing borrowed shoes and trying to find a ball with skinny enough finger holes for my skeletal hand.




Because it’s worth it.


It’s worth it to go ahead and do something that you don’t really enjoy just because it brings delight to the other person. It’s worth it to endure some awkwardness and channel humility if it means you’re part of a greater joy.


Basically, it’s worth it to behave like you would when you were dating… even when you’re married. :)



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Myths About Raising a Gifted Child




It’s only taken about seven years, but I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable writing about some of the ups and downs of raising a gifted child. I’ve become more confident in what I’m doing and I feel like I’ve learned a ton along the way.  I still fret that I’ll come across as being braggy when I tell A’s story, but I’m trying hard to push that aside and recognize that, if I’m just straight dealing the facts, it’s not boasting. It’s just sharing a story and that’s some of what I do best.


Today, I wanted to address some very common myths flying around about raising a gifted child. For those of you who’ve also gone down this path, you might recognize some of what I say. For others, it might be helpful to better understand this little subgroup of the population. Either way, I’d love to think we can openly discuss the joys and challenges of raising gifted little ones here.



Myths About Raising a Gifted Child



Myth #1: Gifted children do best when skipped ahead to a grade in which their peers’ academic levels better align with their own.


Fact: Other than academic proficiency, gifted children often share more in common with their same-age peer group than  with an older homogeneous group. Being able to read at a sixth grade level when you’re seven years old does not suddenly make you fit in with the eleven-year-old crowd. While some gifted children do skip grades and have success doing so, it’s important to consider the challenges that come along with that choice.


Skipping grades is often the recommendation in districts that do not have any funding allotted for gifted programming. Districts with gifted education coordinators in their employ, which are becoming rarer and rarer over time, tend to lean toward “meeting a child’s academic needs while in a setting with same-age peers.” In other words, your gifted child should be able to stay with his same grade while getting the enrichment and challenge he requires to stretch and stimulate his gifted mind. For most gifted children, this is an ideal situation.



Myth #2: Gifted is synonymous with “incredibly bright” or “extremely smart.”


This one is very, very tricky because, honestly, some schools do consider these to be the same. To clarify, let’s consider the umbrella of “Gifted and Talented” or “TAG” that so many schools use.


There actually is a clear distinction between giftedness and talent. The term giftedness is typically believed to designate the possession and use of untrained and spontaneously expressed natural abilities (called aptitudes or gifts) in at least one ability domain to a degree that places a child among the top 10% of his or her same-age peers.


By contrast, the term talent designates the superior mastery of systematically developed abilities (or skills) and knowledge in at least one field of human activity to a degree that places a child’s achievement within the upper 10% of same-age peers who are active in that field.


In other words, the “talented” kids are those who are extremely bright and learn exceptionally well. They are smart cookies and often learn faster than their peers and need additional enrichment to avoid total boredom. They often read early and at a high level. They frequently excel at mastering the techniques they are taught in mathematics. They almost always have someone along the way who helps teach parts of the material.


The “gifted” kids are those who display incredible aptitude for a subject without any real training. These are the musicians who sit at the piano and seem to play brilliantly with no instruction. The mathematicians who can solve complicated equations and understand abstract concepts intuitively. Like their talented peers, they perform at a high level, but the ways they get there are very different.



Myth #3: Gifted children are shy or introverted.


Honestly, gifted children vary in personality just like any other group. That being said, there are a lot of introverted kids among the gifted population. Many of them have very intense, personal, internal thought processes going on, so this makes a lot of sense. Added to that, some of them have found it difficult to find peers who want to talk about the same things as they do, so they clam up more.


But, as I said, this is not absolute. Our son is a HUGE lover of the microphone and can and will talk to anyone about anything. His expressiveness does make him stand out a bit in his TAG program, to be honest, but he’s not the only extroverted one. It should come as no surprise that there is no one “type” of gifted child.



Myth #4: Gifted children are the product of quality early childhood education, attentive parents, and excellent programming.


Nope, nope, and nope.


Listen– those are all good things. There’s nothing wrong with them. But anyone who tries to convince you that there’s a “formula” to develop a gifted child is sadly confused.


Those things can help a child achieve. This is why children with more privileged upbringings often perform better in school. There are definitely correlations to be found there.


HOWEVER, giftedness is pretty much a product of genetics and chance. Having a gifted family member does increase a child’s odds of being gifted. (Though it should be noted that just because one or both parents were gifted, this does not guarantee all offspring will be as well.) Sometimes, gifted children (and particularly prodigies) just seem to appear spontaneously. Either way, while it’s important for gifted kids to get the right programming, it’s never the programming that MAKES the child gifted.



Myth #5: Districts are required by law to provide appropriate programming for gifted children.


Sadly, no. While I will argue until I’m blue in the face that giftedness is, in fact, part of the spectrum of special education, the law does not view it that way and there is no mandated service for gifted children. Gifted funding is often some of the first to go because people assume the “really smart kids will do fine.” Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but, either way, it doesn’t seem fair that they don’t receive an appropriate education.



I’m going to delve into this issue more in a subsequent post, because I don’t want to cut it short here. Please feel free to leave any questions you have for me about this, or any other gifted issues, in the comments so I can try to address them fully. I’d love to know what you’d like to know more about. Thanks!

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Qualities of Rockstar Kindergarteners



Having both watched three of my own children complete public kindergarten and having worked in the school and taught kindergarteners, I thought I’d share a few traits that all the teachers I’ve known LOVE to see in their kindergarten students.


Please know that not all children can be expected to enter kindergarten having mastered these skills and all good teachers know this. Different needs and personalities absolutely factor into the equation. Two out of three of my own children did not have these all nailed down, and that’s perfectly fine! They still had successful years.


Still, if you really want to know what things help your child have a super easy transition and simplify the teacher’s life? Look no further–


1. Backpack Management.


Ideally, your child should be able to easily zip, unzip, pack, and unpack his own backpack. He should be able to find necessary items easily and hang it appropriately. This might seem very simple, but the number of children who get the zipper stuck on their backpacks EVERY DAY is pretty staggering. It’s a good skill to practice!


2. Sitting criss-cross applesauce and attending for approximately ten minutes.


The four- to six-year-old set is not designed to sit still for super long stretches. It would be unreasonable to expect them to stay in place for extended periods. Ten minutes, however, is not a long stretch. From short lessons to read-alouds to group discussions, sitting in your own spot without a lot of fidgeting is sometimes important. Children who can sit nicely and stay focused for these brief stretches are on track to meet the teacher’s expectations.


First to Last Day of K-- G

Don’t be alarmed when you see how much your baby grows over a year! *sniffle*



3. Mastering zipping and buttoning.


There’s no getting around it– teachers love having children who can independently manage their own buttons and zippers. Your child should be able to redress herself easily after using the restroom and, even better, fasten her own jacket or coat. Zipping one jacket is no big deal. Zipping twenty is a crazy time-suck.


4. Recognizing his name.


Though reading expectations have been enforced earlier and earlier as of late, it’s still not necessary for entering kindergarteners to know how to read. Still, he should be able to recognize his own name and find it above a coat rack, shelf, cubby, etc. This will enable him to do everything from put his stuff in the right place to make his lunch choice to see if he has a “job” for the day.


5. Tying her own shoes.


I’m going to get very real here with you– it seems very, very few kindergarteners can tie their shoes these days. My older two couldn’t when they were that age. We tried to teach A. and got super frustrated. With C., honestly, she had so many other things she was working on, it just sort of fell by the wayside. Our third was the only one of our three who could do this, easily, at age five and that’s because she’s fiercely self-sufficient.


My point is this– don’t be surprised if your child hasn’t mastered this particular skill yet. It’s not the end of the world. Do know, however, that if your little one DOES happen to be one of the ones who can do it, her ability will be appreciated. Teacher after teacher has told me that they’re thrilled to have competent shoe-tiers in their rooms, not only because that’s one fewer pair of shoes for them to tie, but also because other students are often fascinated to see their peers doing the tying and might be motivated to learn. It’s kind of like that good kind of peer pressure. ;)




Notice that I didn’t list a bunch of math and reading skills on here? That’s because entering K-students really aren’t expected to be able to read or add. Can some of them? Absolutely. Quite a few, actually. And that’s awesome! I’m not here to tell you that those aren’t valuable skills. But, when it comes to helping the days go smoothly and maximizing learning time, it’s the skills above that will actually have the most impact.


Moral of the story? Less “Your Baby Can Read’ and more “Your Baby Can Master Self-Care.” :)

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Times I’ve Eaten My Words



Today, I thought it’d be kind of fun to look back at some statements that I know for certain I’ve made either here on the blog or on social media that turned out to be totally untrue. Now, I wouldn’t say I was LYING, per se, since I believed what I was writing sincerely.


surprised face


Nonetheless, I made claims that I’ve since completely abandoned. So, let’s just say I was a bit short-sighted when making these comments…


1. Why do they make different styles of little girl underpants? Briefs, FTW!


I remember when my husband was out undie shopping with C. and he called to ask me if it mattered which style they got and I thought to myself (and said to him), “um, YEAH, it matters! Briefs, dude!” And so he bought the briefs and she wore them and, to this day, that style makes her perfectly happy.


But then there was G. While my older two really don’t care what we buy for them to wear, G. is just pickier about it. She won’t wear jeans, for example. She can’t handle 3/4 length sleeves. Halter necks drive her a bit crazy. Honestly, it’s not that hard to accommodate her preferences, so I’ve deemed it a “little deal.”


One of her pet peeves? Waist bands that come up too high. Now, don’t get me wrong– we’re not talking low riders slung around her hips. She mostly wears knit leggings or skirts where it’s easy to just pull them right below the belly button and call it good. No big deal.


But when it came to undies? She was forever uncomfortable in the higher cut styles, They bothered her during gymnastics and she was always squirming. Buying a slightly lower cut (like a boy short or moderate bikini) was a game-changer for her. And, honestly, her underpants are always covered, so I’ve decided it really doesn’t matter much, now does it? She’s not wearing this cut to be “sexy.” She’s just wearing it because it doesn’t drive her crazy!



2. Boys should never wear skinny jeans.


Okay, I think I actually said MEN had no business in skinny jeans, but I would have included boys if you had pressed me. I still don’t think most males really belong in super-snug-fitting jeans. I don’t consider it the most flattering cut, even on the most fit among them.


But I buy them. Every year.


My A. is five feet tall and right around eighty pounds. He is tall and lanky and built to run. He’s super hard to fit in pants. Last year, when pair after pair after pair of straight-leg, carpenter, boot-cut, etc. jeans ballooned around him like a paper sack, I threw my hands in the air and ordered  a pair of skinny jeans. And you know what? They fit him great. They aren’t even close to tight on him. They just look like normal old straight leg jeans.


So, yeah. I buy boys’ skinny jeans.



3. “You’re not too busy to clip coupons.”


I said this one at least five times! And you know what? I still actually believe it’s true. There are so, so many little pockets of time that we all have in our days. Even when we’re running crazy, they’re still there.


But the honest truth is this– just because you probably COULD? Doesn’t mean you want to. And that’s okay.


Here’s the bottom line– when you’re busy, and many of us are indeed REALLY busy, you have to prioritize what time you have left. Make no mistake– we pretty much ALL have at least a little bit of leftover time. Some people use it paint, some go for a walk, some bake cookies, some clip coupons. Those are all choices, no matter what we tell ourselves. (Sidenote: this is why it’s SUPER annoying when people say, “I wish I had the time to read… must be nice!”… because, of course you have the time to read– you just choose to use it for something else!)


Anywho, life is about choices. And, in some seasons, clipping coupons might be a priority while, in others, it’s just not. Speaking for myself? I do almost all my shopping at ALDI and the reduced bakery stand at another market. I still have the skill-set to organize and orchestrate a super couponing haul and I still get a little high from it. But, for now, this season of my life has me spending my margin time on other tasks… and that is okay.



So there you go. Time changes things!


How about I go ahead and make another blanket statement that I might regret later? —


I will never own a selfie stick.*


There. I said it. Now let’s see what happens in the next few years…



*I don’t think I’ll ever own a selfie stick. But, if I do, Lord, please don’t let me be one of those people who can’t manage to keep the STICK out of the SHOT. That’s all I’m asking. ;)



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If You Could Only Have 5 Foods…



…what would they be?


In the spirit of old-schooly blogging– since my blog is now seven years old and all (WHAT…???)– I thought I’d ponder which five foods I would never, EVER want to have to live without.


Couple things:


1. I could live without these foods. Obviously. But I can’t imagine wanting to!!!

2. These are all FOODS. Drinks deserve their own post some day. Were I to include drinks, you can bet that coffee would have ousted one of these. I adore coffee. Hot. Black. All the livelong day.



Ready? Here we go!





1. Red Raspberries


I have such mad love for red raspberries, I can’t even explain it. I don’t even think they’re fruit. They can’t possibly be good for me. I could eat them by the quart if I could afford it. They are PERFECTION. Sweet, but not too sweet. Compact, juicy, and delightful. Oh, raspberries…


2. Swiss Cheese


I love all cheese, truth be told, but I can easily sit and just eat a whole block of swiss, by itself, slice by slice. I’ve been surprised to learn that swiss cheese is actually a bit polarizing. This blows my mind since I find the flavor nothing short of AH-MAZING, but… to each his own. And more swiss for me.


3. Broccoli


I adore broccoli. I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though not usually all on the same day. I buy loads of it and it shows up on the menu plan with shocking regularity. One of my very favorite breakfasts involves a ton a broccoli, a couple eggs, and some sharp white cheddar. I think it’s fab on pizza. I don’t actually think my family loves it as much as I do, but they tolerate it.


4. Avocado


I didn’t discover my passion for avocado until G. was born. My doctor insisted I stay on a liquid diet for some obscene amount of time and, since I was nursing, I WAS STARVING. I requested a lactation consultant and let her advocate for me so they would finally feed me! When they did, they brought an amazing cobb salad and the avocado just rocked my world. Since then, I’ve fallen ever-deeper in my infatuation and my G. looks forward to eating guac just straight off a spoon with me.


5. Eggs


Eggs are fantastic. They’re quick, easy little protein powerhouses. When I run out of them? I pretty much panic. I don’t even know what to do with myself without eggs. Obviously, if we had an allergy in the family, I would figure out what to do with myself. But, since we don’t, I live in world in which eggs make a very regular appearance. I prefer mine with veggies more than bacon — I know!!!– and I especially love them dripping with salsa. I love eggs!


 * * * * *


So there you go.


That was hard, actually. I like lots and lots of different foods and limiting myself to five was a serious exercise in restraint. Fun, though!


How about you? If you could only keep five foods in your diet, what would they be? I’d love to hear in the comments! (You know, old-school style. ;) )

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How to Model Self-Love



We were all laughing and smiling until our faces hurt. It was a calm, beautiful day out on the lake and I couldn’t really think of anywhere I’d rather have been at that moment than on a boat with friends.


My boy was at my side, watching his youngest sister try to learn to water ski. My middle daughter sat in the front, letting the breeze at the bow blow wisps of brunette hair away from her brow. She absentmindedly poked at her calf and turned to the girl beside her.


“I have plump legs,” she declared.


“You have what?” the teen girl queried, perhaps thinking she’d misheard.


“They’re plump. See?” She poked again.


I’m sorry to admit that my first response was actually laughter, but it was. I mean…






Of all the nine-year-old girls I run into, C. is perhaps one of the LEAST likely to be labelled “plump” in any way. Skinny, scrawny, bony, waif-ish… those are all more likely categories that she’d be tossed in.


And so, honestly, it struck me as funny when she stabbed a finger into a rail-thin calf and declared it “plump.” The absurdity of it caused a giggle to erupt before I could even really think about it.



But now I have thought about it. And it makes me kind of sad.


I mean… I look at those two girls above.


They’re both healthy. Neither one has ever had a weight-related health issues (I mean, once C. got ON the charts, that is). G. probably looks thick and sturdy to you when you see her next to C, but if you saw her among a peer group, you wouldn’t think so.


Do I really think C. views herself as “plump”? Probably not. I don’t actually think she has a strong grasp of the word’s meaning. A vague understanding, yes, but not a clear picture.


So why does it matter?


I think it matters because she’s obviously seen and heard other girls or women poke their bodies in a self-deprecating way while sighing about being “plump.” It wasn’t me in this case, but I only know that because I don’t use that particular word.


But I use others. I am positively vile to myself sometimes. If a friend spoke to me the way I spoke to myself? I’d want to slap her upside her nasty little face.


I’m failing miserably at this whole “model self love” thing.


I’m not sure I really know how to do it.


And then G. scrambles back onto the boat, climbing easily and pulling her weight around a post one-handed, muscles bunching.


She beams up at me. “Don’t I have big shoulders, Mommy?”


Before I can figure out how to even answer that, she tosses her wet braid and grins over one of those tanned shoulders.


“I’m so glad, because these shoulders help me do ANYTHING!”




I guess maybe that’s how you model self-love.




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