Things You Should Know About Me…

Under the Monkey Bars

  1. Yoga is my therapy.
  2. Sometimes there’s bacon in my purse.
  3. I love half days, snow days, weekends, and summer vacations.  I’d like to keep my girls home with me indefinitely, but that’s called homeschooling and it’s not for us.
  4. I love to travel, hate to pack.
  5. In the morning, I won’t leave the house without the beds made and an empty sink.
  6. I’ve never drank a cup of coffee but I absolutely adore coffee shops.
  7. I hate crafts.  H A T E.  Don’t even get me started on glitter…
  8. I love a good sale.  Honestly, it doesn’t even have to be good.  Just a sale.  I love sales.
  9. I believe laughing is the best medicine; I don’t take medicine unless I absolutely must.
  10. I won’t eat gluten and I avoid sugar, soy, and dairy.
  11. I was a cheerleader from grade 5 through college.
  12. Speaking of college, I met my soul mate and the love of my life at Villanova University.
  13. I have a water bottle and two snacks with me at all times.
  14. I am obsessed with European culture.
  15. I wear many hats: mother, daughter, sister, wife, aunt, friend.
  16. I’ve lived in two places in Pennsylvania and four towns in Massachusetts, but never felt so at home here in Newburyport.
  17. I was green before it was cool; I hate to waste anything useable.
  18. I’m a dog lover, yet allergic to dogs.
  19. Politics aren’t my cup of tea, but I’ll take a cup of chai, french breakfast, or green tea any day.
  20. I’m a go big or go home kind of gal.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I’m just getting started…

Variety is the Spice of Life

Under the Monkey Bars

Under the Monkey Bars

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Variety is the Spice of Life.”  It’s one of my favorites.  If I was the type of person to hang a sign in my kitchen, that would be it.  But I’m not that type of person.

For me, this saying translates to eat a varied diet.  Varying your diet will give your body all of the different vitamins and minerals to use for energy, growth, and stability.  Hear me out.

Eat as many different kinds of fruits and vegetables as you can.  Eat them raw, roasted, sautéed, cooked, blended, and juiced.  Not canned.  Don’t eat them out of a can.  Eat TONS of veggies.  I eat about eight servings of vegetables a day so that I don’t need to take a multivitamin.

Under the Monkey Bars

Eat lots of different grains and starches.  I’ll give you another saying to remember, “Everything in Moderation.”  If you must eat wheat, cut down the amount you’re eating drastically.  Wheat is not processed correctly in the States and therefore, it’s not good for anyone…but that’s another post for another day.

I’m going to go with moderation on dairy.  My chiropractor recently mentioned that dairy should be eaten as a condiment.  Interesting point.  The food pyramid is all kinds of messed up.  Don’t follow it.

If you eat meat, you might as well eat all kinds.  Seriously, if you’re going to eat a chicken, then why not a cow or a pig?  I grew up eating only chicken and pork, hockey puck pork actually.  Yum.  You can imagine my face the first time I ate a steak at The Capital Grille.  Don’t get me started on duck.  Definitely add fish in there too.  Mix it up every day, and every week.

Change up your fats too.  Cook with EVOO, coconut oil, butter, and ghee.  If you are not allergic, buy every kind of nut under the sun.  Except peanuts.  Those guys make me all kinds of nervous, and they are not nearly as good for you as almonds!

Here’s the thing: I don’t care if you don’t like a certain food.  You have to try it at least ten times before you can even say you don’t like it.  I’m serious.  If you change your diet and eat a wide variety of foods, your palette will change too.  Promise.  And be a good example.  You can’t expect the monkeys to eat it if you won’t!

Vary what you eat each day.  Yes, oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast— but not every day.  Vary each and every meal: your breakfasts, snacks, lunches and dinners.  Throw your stomach a curveball; it makes it work harder.

Variety is the Spice of Life.  Everything in Moderation.  You can expect to see more details on these topics in future posts.

Annie Times Three

Under the Monkey Bars

Annie the Musical came to Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center for the holiday season.  We scored some last minute tickets and pulled the girls from school for a morning matinee with friends.

While waiting for the show to start, we chatted with the girls about all of the history at the theatre, which I went to as a little girl when it was the Wang Theatre.  We admired the architecture and the grandeur of the building, as well as the glittering chandeliers.  We talked about FDR and what it was like to live in the 1930’s during the great depression.

Sweet Pea asked, “Are any of my friends from orphanages?”  It’s striking how empathetic she can be no matter the situation.  I explained how Social Services brings together foster kids and loving adoptive parents.

Under the Monkey Bars

After the show as we walked out of the theatre, one of the ushers asked the girls if they enjoyed the show.  Bean replied, “Loved it!  WAY better than school!”  And you know what, it was way better than a school day.  What a fantastic learning experience!  We absolutely loved the show and had a fabulous day in the city with friends.

Bean and Sweet Pea had not seen the original Annie movie from 1982 when we went to the musical.  I realized why I hadn’t let them watch the movie after we saw it.  While the songs and story line are generally uplifting, the climax scene with Annie climbing the bridge was terrifying for Sweet Pea.  That night she had horrible nightmares, or as she would say “night mirrors” (and, no we don’t correct her!).

Under the Monkey Bars

We finally made it to the little movie theatre in Lincoln, New Hampshire on New Year’s Eve.  We loved, loved, loved the new Annie.  Even Don enjoyed it.  The new Annie movie freshly updates a classic.

Here are some of the things Sweet Pea said as we left the movie theatre:
“That was such a cheerful movie!”
“I’m shivering with happiness.” (it was F R E E Z I N G out!)
“I’m so happy for Annie.  I’d like to be there at the end with the balloons, the band, and the singing!”

A few days later, Sweet Pea said, “My head is playing both movies and I’m trying to figure out the differences.”  Interesting…

In the opening scene, we loved the contrast between the red head student Annie with the main character Annie.  It really set the tone that this was going to be a different kind of Annie than the original.  Bean thought Annie was a strong, smart girl who was very likable.  I loved Annie’s spunkiness and style.  The FDR reference was so perfect that even Bean picked up on it.  I don’t want to spoil all of the details, but I would say that original movies aren’t always better.

Thirty-three years later, the Annie story and songs are still relevant.  The movie was a bit long; but we didn’t notice until we left the theatre.  Our 6 and 9 year olds were in full attention, as were the 37 year olds!  There were only eight people in the movie theatre, so we sang along and danced in our seats.  I can definitely see a few Annie dance parties on the patio this summer!


Note: This is not a sponsored post.  We purchased the theatre and movie tickets on our own.

Rainy Day Sisters

Under the Monkey Bars

Raincoats :: Hatley
Backpack :: Land’s End
Skinny jeans :: GAP
Bean’s Boots :: Mini Boden
Sweet Pea’s Sneakers :: Saucony Jazz

School mornings are crazy at our house.  I would imagine that’s true in most homes across the country.  Making breakfast, getting dressed, putting together lunches, refereeing sibling arguments, and somehow getting the kids through the school doors without a tardy slip, or as Sweet Pea calls it: a ticket (and yes, she has belly crawled by the office before!).

Sometimes there are moments that make you stop amid the hustle and bustle…and smile.  Yesterday I had one of those priceless moments.  Chaos hit the mudroom when we realized it was raining, scrambling to find umbrellas.  There are only ten steps from the car to the school door, but we definitely can’t miss a chance to accessorize.  I finally put my shoes and coat on, rush out the door and stop.  I’m so glad I did because what I saw absolutely made my day.

There in our driveway stood a big sister holding an umbrella for her little sister, shielding her from the rain and everything else in the world.  But that wasn’t even the best part.  When I picked up the girls at school, they were waiting for me in this exact position: face to face, sharing an umbrella, and their love….and melting my heart.

One of the most important things to me is raising loving sisters.  I want that for my girls more than anything.  Sometimes Bean and Sweet Pea fight more than usual, and at those times, I refuse to set up play dates.  They are forced to play together, read together, and love each other.  It works like a charm.

These are the moments that seal themselves in our memories for a lifetime.  Cherish them….and don’t forget to pull out your phone to take a quick picture!

Note:  This is not a sponsored post.

My Favorite Fall Outfit

Under the Monkey BarsUnder the Monkey BarsUnder the Monkey Bars

Leather Jacket :: Levi’s {similar}Sweater :: Free People {last season}
Wide Strap Tank :: Zara
Leggings :: BCBGMAXAZRIABoots :: Frye
Watch :: Michele Chronograph

It’s funny how fate can jump right into your inbox.  The day I decided to start this blog I received an email from Kelly Mintz at SEE Shore Photography looking for a model for a teaching shoot.  Not having any good pictures of myself was on my list of excuses as to why I couldn’t start a blog.  Here we go…

On the day of the shoot, I realized pretty quickly that the photography student, Vicki Hendrix, was really talented.  It was fun to model for Vicki while listening to Kelly teach.

For the shoot, we went to Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm in Newbury, a historical 230-acre farm that was home to a Lithuanian family for most of the twentieth century.  I wasn’t aware of the history of the farm until I just googled it now.  See, I’m half Lithuanian.  Pretty cool connection! This little farm is full of old world charm, New England style, and I totally love that.

I chose this outfit for the shoot because it is truly me.  It’s comfortable, and it can go anywhere at anytime.  The true test of a good outfit, don’t you think?  I could never go into a store and buy an “outfit.”  To me, an outfit comes from various sources and becomes uniquely your own.  I love to bring clothes home and see what pops out of my closet to create a unique outfit.  I have less time to put things together these days, which makes it even more of a challenge.

The girls and I sometimes have “fashion challenges” where we wear clothes or accessories we haven’t worn in a while.…or ever.  It’s a fantastic closet cleaning game.  Try it in your closet.  It’s amazing what treasures you can find in there!


Note: This is not a sponsored post.