Menu Plan: Deliberately Easy



I’m kind of embarrassed to share this menu plan.



There. I admitted it.


I know some of the meals listed here are less than stellar. I don’t expect anyone to be one bit impressed with my cooking this week.


But, you know what? This plan is actually do-able! And with a schedule that includes evenings like Wednesday when horseback riding goes until 5:45 and then we need to be three towns over for an apprentice black belt grading at 6:30, well, I’m doing whatever I can! :)



With that in mind, here’s what we’re eating this week…

you gotta eat




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

Brunch– Bacon, Egg, Cheese, & Fried Potato skillets– my older two children rejected these fiercely based upon the maple flavor of the bacon. What the heck?? Ah, well. They still ate them. They just grumbled. ;)

Mid-afternoon Snack– Cheese and Crackers

D–Sunday Supper at Bama & Papa’s– chili, bread, crackers, fruit



B–Cinnamon Rolls, Grapes, Milk

D–Chili Mac & Cheese, Corn



B–Toasted Pumpkin Bread, Yogurt w/ sliced apples from a neighbor’s tree

D–Cheesy Beans & Rice




B–Toasted Pumpkin Bread, Apples, Orange Smoothies

D–Sausage Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks w/ ranch (IN THE CAR)




B–Scrambled Eggs, Cereal w/ Banana

D–Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo




B–Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins, Greek Yogurt

D–Pizza – Large Meat Lovers, Medium Veggie




B–Ham, Egg, & Cheese English Muffin Sandwiches

Pepperjack Pasta

D–Pepper Jack Pasta, Green Beans




And that should do it!  





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Capsule Wardrobe: I Cheated



When I started this whole “capsule wardrobe” thing, I really wasn’t sure how it would play out. Once I came up with my two month mini-capsule idea, I was feeling encouraged. After I actually chose the items I’d be wearing and packed up the rest, I was IN LOVE with my streamlined closet.


There was a blazing hot series of about nine days in there that challenged me a bit.


Then we had a string of cold, damp days that made me wish I’d included heavier sweaters instead of layering cardigans.


But, overall?


Still loving it!


It is truly remarkable to me how freeing it is to have a limited selection. That seems so counter-intuitive, but I really do find it so much easier to put together an awesome combo when working with a smaller selection.


Here are a few things I’ve learned during this very first capsule wardrobe:


Tips for Capsule Wardrobe Success


1. Accessories are KEY for me. Knowing that I can take the same basic pieces and add color and flair in a multitude of ways is empowering and encouraging. If I had to do the whole thing with only black flats and silver hoops? I’d have thrown in the towel by week 2, I bet.


2. There will be days it’s tough. Weather is a finicky thing and, even though I’d planned for both hot and cold weather, the reality is that my wardrobe was largely built around assumptions of 55 – 75 degree weather, our norm for September and October days. When we had a LONG streak of heat? I got a little sick of some pieces. It was okay, but they weren’t my fave days.


3. No one notices when you reduce your wardrobe. I’m serious here, people. You might think people will notice if you wear the same skirt within a week’s time, but they really won’t. People are paying far less attention to you than you think. I don’t write that to be mean– it’s just TRUE! With the exception of really unique, bold pieces, I’d say the likelihood of anyone noticing duplicated items is next to nothing.


4. When in doubt, start with black. (Or navy.) The couple of days I felt lackluster about my options, I dressed in one solid basic and then did some wildly fun accessory. I wore all navy with a big, bold, bright yellow necklace and sandals. I wore a black cardigan, black tank, and black skirt with red python boots. In both cases, I got oodles of compliments and I felt comfortable and confident.  (Again, see #1.)




5. I cheated. Just a tiny bit. I haven’t felt the need to reach into my wardrobe for other pieces or go crazy shopping, but I did snag a pair of leggings in a bold fall floral from Cents of Style and, well, I wanted to wear them while it’s fall, so I added them in. I’m still well under 30 items and I can’t say I feel particularly guilty. But, well, I’m an honest sort of gal about these things– so there you go.


6. I’m starting to feel excited about the next one. I’m not sick of my clothes yet. Some of them– like those floral leggings and my beloved high-waist jeans– will no doubt stay for the next round. But it’s about time to pack in the  sleeveless dresses. My navy and white stuff is starting to feel too summery. I’m craving my hunter green cardigan more than the light floral one in my closet. So I’m ready. I think it’s going to be fun to pick out my November/December “Falling Into Winter” capsule.


Capsule wardrobing isn’t for everyone. I totally get that. But, if you’ve ever thought it might be worth trying, I’m hear to say– go for it! Make any tweak or adaptations you need to make it work and then give it a shot. The beauty of this is that you’re not making some giant change; no one’s telling you to give away the rest of your clothes. You’re just limiting and simplifying for a season and, as far as I’m concerned? That’s a beautiful gift to give yourself.

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HELP: Do I say something?



The skin on my upper chest/lower throat is frequently pink.


green cardigan

(Not too bad here– I had a hard time actually finding a photo that showed what I mean!)



I flush when I’m warm. I flush when I’m embarrassed. My skin is tender and reacts to all manner of fabrics/metals. If I happen to rub or scratch that area, it will be an angry red for quite some time.


This is just how it is.


I don’t have any skin conditions or problems, mind you– just fair, sensitive, easy-to-flush skin.


It’s never bothered me.




There is a woman– a lovely woman, I might add– who works at our church.


And EVERY TIME she sees me, she admonishes me for getting sunburnt.


“Oh, I’m not burned,” I’ll smile.


She’ll raise a brow.


I’ll stammer to explain but, as you might suspect, that just makes me flush more.


Vicious cycle.


I’d never worried about this, my friends. I really don’t consider it a problem.


But, every time I leave one of these conversations, I’m embarrassed, self-conscious, and wondering if everyone thinks I’ve fried my skin or have something wrong with me.


But what do I do?


Try to get over myself and ignore her?     (I’ve tried– that’s hard for me.)


Say something? And, if so…. what?


I’ve pondered approaching her privately and telling her that this is just how I’m designed and that her words hurt and embarrass me. That I wish she’d stop calling attention to it because it makes me feel self- conscious.


But is that overreacting?


I just don’t know.


I feel like I’m whining over something incredibly insignificant here. I know people have MUCH bigger problems than this.


But it’s bothered me for three years now. That seems long enough.


So… what should I do?

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Passionate Young Thinkers



As I drove A. off to chorus this morning, he was full of things to say. He spoke clearly, and with conviction, as he expressed outrage over our country’s continued celebration of Columbus Day.


His reasons were legion and solidly evidence-based.


He listed transgressions, cruelties, and inhumanities.


A travesty, his words, that we glorify this.


I recalled my own days of elementary school when we would craft ships out of construction paper and straws and label them the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Blissfully unaware of any shady side to the story, we hailed the tremendous glory of Columbus’s mission and achievement.


But I listened to A. I knew his words came from a fuller understanding of what happened. I knew he had been taught a full picture and had dared to explore it even further on his own.


And I smiled.


Because, while ignorance may be bliss, I am absolutely thrilled to be raising a passionate young thinker.


His generation could truly change the world.

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When the darkness looms and you feel the weight.



“I’m not sure why you don’t just focus on the pros, Mom,” my ever-wise ten-year-old said to me. “I mean– we live in New England! Fall is awesome in New England! And soon it’ll be Halloween, which is so fun, and then Thanksgiving when, face it, I get to eat tons of challah and turkey. And, after that? Christmas! It’s great!”


He has a point.


Of course he does.


Coping with SAD


I mean, really, it’s simply gorgeous out there. And don’t I point out to my children on a daily basis how stunning the trees are becoming? Don’t I breathe in deep gulps of cool autumn air each time I step outside? Don’t I snuggle into a thick blanket while allowing the window to let in bracing, chilly breezes each night?


I do.


And, yet.


My stomach twists in knots with each passing day.


Each week I drive home from karate, I have to force myself not to cry.


The light is waning, my friends, and I feel the weight.


If you’ve never dealt with the effects of SAD, those of us who do might seem slightly nuts to you. You might wonder why, as my son said, we don’t just focus on the positive and stop fretting about the silly light to dark ratio. I mean, who cares, right? To everything there is a season and all that.


But telling someone who suffers from SAD to just “cheer up” is akin to telling someone with anorexia to just “eat something already.” It just doesn’t work that way.


And so, dear ones, if, like me, this time of year is kind of hard for you. If you’re noticing the earlier and earlier sunsets and flat dreading the arrival of the time change in a few weeks, please know you’re not alone. You’re not crazy. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate the season– you just miss the light. And, for some of us? That’s normal.


Here are a few reminders of things that might help you to feel a bit better as we face ever-shortening days in the next couple of months:


  • Get plenty of vitamin D and B. These vitamins really help support energy and can help you feel better.

  • Get outside. Getting out into the light every day you can will really help, both physically and psychologically.

  • Exercise. Resist the urge to hibernate. Exercising releases natural endorphins that can help you feel more upbeat.

  • Smell– and drink– citrus. Orange, lemon, tangerine, and lime– these are all uplifting scents and flavors.

  • Tell people how you’re feeling. You’d be surprised how many people deal with SAD to some degree or another. For a long time, since I wasn’t really “clinical”, I ignored my feelings and thought I was just dumb and weak. Talking about it has really, really helped me see that I’m not alone. Even those who don’t share my sensitivity to changes in light have been very supportive and kind. That helps immensely.

  • Finally, consider planning a Winter Solstice celebration of some kind. While it is, indeed, the shortest day of the year, it also marks the shift to the days growing longer… and that’s definitely not anything to be SAD about. :)

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It’s not okay, but it will be.



Our little former micropreemie, C, is now in intermediate school.






She was only two when I first started writing in this space. Now,- she’s a fourth grader.


This was the first year since we moved to Connecticut that she attended a new school. Two years of preschool, kindergarten, first, second, and third were in the same space.


So it was new.


People ask me how the transition went. How she’s doing. If things are going well.


I tell most of them that’s it’s been great– she’s done beautifully. It’s mostly true.


But the truth– that I share with only a very few people– is that, in the six weeks since school began, C. has yet to get to go to library with her class. And she LOVES library. She adores books and reading and escaping into a world of words. It brings her great joy.


I know that she receives lots of services and therapies. I know that scheduling is brutal. I know that people are trying to fit in a lot.


But… library. :(


Added to that, she’s missing snack. Again, I think it’s been her crazy schedule and all her movement around the building, but she’s been told that she can’t have her snack and, thus, she misses it. Added to the fact that she’s a slow eater, she’s simply not eating enough during the school day. C. is healthy enough, but she hovers ever on the brink of underweight– she simply NEEDS to eat more than she’s getting. Even if it takes her awhile.


And, so, when people  who know C. well hear all this, they get frustrated. Irritated. Angry, on her behalf. And they say to me, “Have you called them? They need to fix this! This is not okay!”


And I respond, each and every time, “It’s not okay. But it will be.”


Because, you see, I have always and ever approached my relationship with the school from the angle the we are on THE SAME SIDE.


They are not my adversaries. They are not there to make our lives awful. They are not singling us out or trying to upset us.


I walked into today’s PPT with complete confidence that these situations would be resolved without issue.


And you know what?


They were.


Some of that might be luck. Some might be having a good school. Some might be that they weren’t hard issues to solve.


But, without a doubt, some of it is because I voiced my concerns completely from a place of, “Oh, hey, let me tell about what’s been going on so we can get it all sorted out.”


Attitude? . . . Matters.


Approach? . . . Matters.


Be confident, parents of students with special needs. Know your rights and know your priorities.


But, also, know that the people at the table? They’re fighting on the same army.


It wasn’t okay.


But it will be now.

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Did you know???



Hey, so it’s Tuesday! And guess what? I’ve managed to get something written every day of October so far. I know it’s cheesy, but I’m kind of proud of myself for that, actually!


Today, just for fun, I thought I’d share some random things that you may or may not know about me. Because… why not? :)



(Random cat shot to go with a random post!)
  1. I’m an extrovert. Like, a pretty serious extrovert. More than a day alone has me running out the door seeking human interaction. I never sit by myself in a restaurant or cafeteria and I honestly can’t even get through recess duty without talking to people pretty much the whole time. I love talking with people.
  2. I don’t eat pie. I just don’t like it. Hardly seems worth the sugar and calories for something I don’t enjoy, right?
  3. I used to LOVE amusement park rides, but then pregnancies ruined me and I couldn’t handle spinning. AT. ALL. I recently discovered that taking bromine, however, allowed me to ride the rides without feeling ill– so hooray for that!
  4. Not only do I drink my coffee black, I have ALWAYS taken my coffee that way. I never “weaned” myself or made a conscious change– I have never, ever, EVER liked stuff in my coffee.
  5. I like doing laundry. It’s really one of my favorite household chores.
  6. I have amazing skills when it comes to remembering kids’ names, but can go months before realizing I don’t think I even ever knew a grown up’s name. And, really, how embarrassing is it to ask someone you’ve been chatting with for months what their name is??? (See #1 if you’re wondering why I have so many of these situations.)
  7. I have really good posture. However, my right shoulder is higher than my left. This is not due to any curvature of the spine– rather, it’s because I carried a heavy backpack on just one shoulder for so many years growing up.
  8. I’m a Gemini and was born in the Year of the Dragon.
  9. My hair is naturally light brown, though I’ve had it every shade from blonde to red to dark brown over the years.
  10. I like shopping for baby boy clothes even more than baby girl clothes and I get SUPER DUPER ANGRY when people say, “all the cute stuff is for baby girls!”


I’ll leave off there for today! I’m sure I’ll have another day of sharing randomness with you all. But, for now– any surprises there? Anything you relate to? Chat it up in the comments! :)


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Menu Plan: Chilly & Busy



I swear it was hot as heck barely a week ago. And now… brrrr!



Last time I posted a menu plan, I hinted at the upcoming busy-ness of life and we are now in the full swing of it. Because we didn’t have enough going on already, A. managed to get himself elected to student council and invited to a small TAG Music Composition group. I’m on the crazy train, but I sure do love it– it’s so fun watching your children discover their passions!


So, anyway, it’s busy blah blah blah and it’s starting to get brisk out there, so having a plan for nice, warm meals is a nice place to start!




With that in mind, here’s what we’re eating this week…

you gotta eat




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

Brunch– Pancakes, Cheese Omelets, Mixed Fruit

Mid-afternoon Snack– Crackers and juice at church school. And, um… mini candy bars. Just keepin’ it real, peeps.

D–Macaroni & Cheese w/ Broccoli (<–this is one of those absurdly cheap and easy meals that my kids just LOVE)



B–Cinnamon Toast, Grapes, Milk

D–Roasted Chicken w/ Herbes de Provence, Wild Rice, Mixed Veggies



B–Salted Caramel Yogurt w/ Homemade Granola

D–Chicken Soup, Beer Bread




B–PB Toast, Apples, Milk

D–Cheesy Beans & Rice




B–Egg Wraps, Apples

D–Chicken and Dumplings, Carrots




B–Cereal, Greek Yogurt, Bananas

D–Pizza – Large Pepperoni & Sausage, Medium Onion, Chicken, & Tomato




B–Breakfast Skillets (potatoes are on sale again!!!!)

D–Chicken Parm, Italian Wedding Soup




And that should do it!  





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Eating Down the Pantry



Want to know the real reason I never participate in those “Eating Down the Pantry” challenges?


Well, here. I’ll show you.


bare shelves


This is what my fridge, freezer, and pantry look like before I go shopping.


Every month.


I can honestly say that “food waste” is one thing with which I do not struggle one bit.


Now, if ever there’s a “Keep Your Floor Spotless Each Day” challenge, I should probably sign up…


ahem. ;)

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Books! Books! Books!



I’ve been working in the school library a lot lately. I’ve shelved books, entered new bar codes into the system, and read stories to classes. I’ve wandered and meandered and discovered so many new (to me) and delightful books and series.


Unlike my forays into the public library, here I am able to spend some time completely alone, free to explore. I’m also forced to look at titles I wouldn’t otherwise know about as I return them to their shelves or look them up for students.


I was trying desperately to make a mental note of some of the cool things I found.


But then… guess what I found out?


I can have my own school library card.


I can’t begin to convey my excitement about this. What an awesome discovery! What a new delight!




I know where I’ll be spending my break time at school now. :)

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