Family

Change is Hard

change is hard

change is hardHas anyone ever denied that change isn’t hard? Nope.

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the changes we’ve been making around here, and how we have all been adapting pretty well and going with the flow. New house, new commutes, new routines, new chores, new garden spot ;), and on and on… Good job us!

One change that’s been particularly hard has been dealing with the kids school situations for next year. I keep wondering, should it be this hard? Is this a sign that I shouldn’t change? I don’t know… My older son is going to change schools starting next year and while enrolling in a new school is not a big deal, the day-to-day is more than just the school for most parents. We have to think about dropping off and picking up too. Finding an after school for the few hours that we need help was challenging and still not resolved completely. I keep thinking, we currently have a situation that is working very well, why am I stressing out so much about this? Should I not make the change? Hoping I get an answer that will help. 😉 Finding a place for our younger son was equally as challenging. I contacted twelve preschools in November and there were very few that had openings for next school year and are none are as flexible as our current school. I don’t know, I know that things change, and that we all have to adapt, but dude, change is hard!

The other change I am mourning is the loss of my precious Wilson Farm CSA. It seems silly to drive to Lexington for our weekly CSA share now that we’re in Natick, but I’m just sad that to make that change. Of course we will be fine and will love which ever CSA we decide to join this summer, but dude, change is hard.

We wouldn’t change our decision to move for anything. We are incredibly grateful for everything: our hard work, our health, our beautiful family and our new home, but can we all just admit that change is hard! And sometimes it feels good to say it out loud!!

Be well my friends!

xoxo

Embarking on a New Journey

To say that this year (school year) has been a whirlwind, is an understatement. The winter months tend to be a little challenging for me in general, so my blog posts become a little more infrequent (always working on that), but this year in particular has been interesting… And I thought you might be interested to know what we’ve been up to lately.

As many of you know, and for those who do not, after years of talking about enrolling in a nutrition program to pursue my passion, I finally did it! I enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Association‘s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program and started the course-work in September. I knew it would be a busy year: working full-time, taking care of my family, and back in school for the third time (feels like 100th), but I was up for the challenge and ready to commit to the time and the learning. Brian is totally and completely supportive as well, which is such a huge help! The program is an online format with three face-to-face workshop weekends in Hartford, CT, which is an ideal location for me because it’s close to Boston, but also because my family is right near there! I also didn’t have to make a ton of time sacrifice for my current job, which is excellent. The fall was rolling along pretty smoothly. We studied the Basics of Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology, Digestion (big one!), Blood Sugar Regulation (big one!) and Fatty Acids, just to name a few. It was a lot of material, but I was keeping up with the modules (video lectures, audio lectures, reading and homework assignments) and thoroughly enjoying the content.

newhouseAnother thing that many of you know is that we have been looking for about five years, yes five years, to buy a single-family home. We have been looking and looking and looking for THE house… that unique older home with historical characteristics that you don’t see in newer homes. We were never the easy people to sell a home to because we weren’t selling anything, we wanted to keep our two-family as an investment. Keeping the two-family was the grand plan all along. We drove quite a few realtors crazy because we could never just “find a house.” It wasn’t that easy, we were looking for something very special. And to be honest, I didn’t think it was out there. Well my friends, in October, Brian found THE house. When he first showed me the listing, I told him he was crazy. Maybe I actually said, “Are you insane?” Without going into so many details, because there are many, we took a chance, and put in an offer on what seemed like our dream house. We closed and moved in in January. Whirlwind!

So, to say we are embarking on a new journey, is truly an understatement… but we couldn’t be happier. Life is busy with life: relationships, work, kids, studying and new house tasks, but we are having fun, trying to stay sane, and enjoying the moment. Time passes by too fast, and if I’ve learned anything through these past few months, is that patience is truly a virtue. With patience, you can do anything. So here’s to chasing your dreams, taking the plunge, and just going for it. We have done that in a few short months. Excited to see what’s ahead, but so incredibly appreciative of the now, and TODAY.

With so much gratitude,

💚 Jenny

Gratitude Journal Reflection

gratitudejournalRight around Thanksgiving, I decided to try a completing a 21-Day Gratitude Journal, and also encouraged the teachers at my school to do the same. I wanted to post the pictures here because I know many of my readers do not follow me on Instagram or Facebook – where the gratitude journal was originally posted.

Overall, it was an awesome exercise of gratitude. Some days were harder than others, not because I wasn’t grateful for things in my life, but just because I was feeling blah. I decided to just go with it and if I missed a day, no biggie, I just picked up where I left off. I have a tendency to be really hard on myself, and when trying to pay gratitude to all the beautiful things in life, being hard on myself has no place.

Here’s recap for your enjoyment.

Day 1 – my family

Day 2 – siblings

Day 3 – my niece Alley

Day 4 – friends

Day 5 – my parents

Day 6 – colleagues

Day 7 – yoga

Day 8 – the beach

Day 9 – sunsets

Day 10 – lifelong learning

Day 11 – strength: Strength in life, difficult situations, and yoga.

Day 12 – hope

Day 13 – precious moments

Day 14 – I am grateful for the pure joy this time of the year brings my children (holiday season).

Day 15 – I am grateful to be someone’s marigold.

My friend recently shared with me such an incredible compliment “you’re my marigold Jenny.” đŸŒŒ Read this great article about supporting each other, especially during the first year of teaching. http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/marigolds/

Day 16 – homemade ornaments

Day 17 – our garden

Day 18 – homemade gifts for friends

Day 19 – my little blessings

Day 20 – our pantry

Day 21 – new adventures

Have you ever completed a gratitude journal? What did you think?

💚 Jenny

 

Homemade Bone Broth & Turkey Soup

This post is dedicated to all of my friends who have become my family, and have been there for me, unconditionally… you know who you are! xoxo

I did it! I made my very first batch of homemade bone broth. Can you tell I am excited? I feel like such an accomplished paleo girl now.

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This amazing event all happened over our Thanksgiving break. I drafted this post, and then in true Jenny fashion, did not publish immediately, so it has sat here as a draft. 🙁 I am truly sorry about that! I am working on my blog post drafts getting published quicker, but I tend to go back over them, and over them, and add details, corrections and pictures. Maintaining a regular blogging schedule is hard for a full-time working mom!

Rewind a little… We started collecting bones in a bag in the freezer for a couple of weeks from our various weeknight dinners. My amazing husband Brian, who usually does the dinner clean-up routine, kept cracking jokes, “Do you want me to put these in the bone bag?” We don’t know why it was so funny, but say that out loud to yourself, it really is funny. 😀

Bone broth is pretty simple to make. I used about 3 lbs. of bones, water, apple cider vinegar and salt. You simply combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-24 hours, the longer the better, according to several recipes. Some recipes also called for vegetables and other seasoning if you’re planning to drink the bone broth each day, so it’s not so bland. I knew I would use it in my soup so I kept it simple this time around.

As I sat in the kitchen smelling (well kind of smelling, I was sick with some weird sinus and congestion thing for 14 days…) the turkey soup made with our Thanksgiving leftovers and my very own bone broth was cooking away on the stove, thoughts of my mom were all around. She would be so proud! I cleaned off the rest of the turkey from the legs and wings for the soup, and while I was doing it, my mom was in my mind the whole time. She felt present in the room. This is something I try to explain to people, but there really are no words. It seemed like she was there, patting me on the back, sending me her amazing cooking thoughts and skills. Every year after Thanksgiving I have fond memories of my mom making turkey soup with the leftovers from our turkey. We always celebrated Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, but my mom was sure to make her own turkey so we would have enough leftovers to last for a while. She also made the most amazing stuffing known to mankind, and we would have enough leftovers of the entire meal to have a Thanksgiving meal several times after the actual Thanksgiving. My mom is definitely an inspiration to me and my adventures in the kitchen.

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I was also inspired to try making bone broth and turkey soup because of this bizarre illness that ended up plaguing me for 14 whole days. It started with a stuffy nose one evening, and when I woke up the next morning I couldn’t breathe and had a killer headache. It felt sinus related and so I proceeded to drink tons of water and chamomile tea. I also picked up a homeopathic remedy at Whole Foods. At about Day 12, after a few people gave me a funny look because my eyes were puffy and watery, I asked my school nurse, “should I suck it up and go the doctor?” Her response was, “did you try a neti-pot? (which she had suggested days earlier…) Yes, you probably should go.” I couldn’t smell or taste anything for a whole 14 days, but I am happy to report on the 15th day I woke up feeling like myself again. It worked its way through my body, and I truly believe my turkey soup helped tremendously. Healing from within. It actually works.

The turkey soup was simple enough. I sautĂ©ed onions, celery and carrots in bacon fat for about 5 minutes, then added some grated garlic and sautĂ©ed for a few minutes more. Once the veggies started to soften, I added my perfectly gelled bone broth, brought to a boil, added the turkey and let simmer until the carrots softened, about 20-30 minutes. My son Brendan said “turkey soup sounds yummy mommy!”  I steamed some kale separately, and put the turkey soup on top for a hearty lunch. Yum!

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Until next time…

What kinds of leftovers did you cook up this post-Thanksgiving or post-holidays in general?

Do you carry on any traditions from your childhood to your own family?

green_heart Jenny

Little Things That Make Me Smile

It’s the little things that make me happy.  I wanted to share some recent little things that made me smile.

1. December break. We had almost two whole weeks off for December break and it was really awesome. There was no rushing around, we just were home and enjoyed time with the kids. Brian worked a few days in between, but for the most part we had a lot of family time. I loved waking up  and having time with the kids. We had breakfast together, played a lot, watched some movies and just enjoyed being together. I also practiced yoga a bunch of times, went to the gym and saw  some friends. A date night would have been nice in there, but overall, very relaxing and much enjoyed!

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2. iPad Mini. My husband and kids got me an iPad mini for Christmas. It’s really cute and the perfect size. I read two books over December break. Thank you to my loves for such an awesome gift!

3. Shopping. I went on a few shopping trips over break. It’s sounds lame, but these little trips make me smile… Gotta love these marked down deals from Lulu! Can’t pass up a marked down fitted jacket!! 😉

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I have been looking for an Om necklace forever… and finally found one! I also finally got the Alex and Ani bracelets – Om, Path of Life, Lotus and Tree of Life. Love. <3
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Obviously, it’s not about the stuff, it’s about being happy and at peace. Little things make me smile, and when I feel stress coming on, I’ll look at the smiles on my kids faces, or look down at my bracelets, and hopefully take a deep breath, and smile.

What makes you smile?

Happy New Year

I cannot believe it’s been a month since my last post… that just tells you how my month went I suppose, huh?

Another holiday season has come and gone, and another new year is upon us. Every year we always say how time flies by… and each year seems to speed by! We are always trying to enjoy the little moments that happen each and every day, but as we all know, some days that’s easy to do, some days it’s really hard.

To be perfectly honest, I used to really despise the holidays, mostly because it reminds me of loss, and not having my parents here anymore. Now that I have my own children, though, I have really come to like the holiday season again, and it’s really nice.

IMG_2637A few highlights from our holiday season
 Starting on December 1st, Brendan started asking when the Christmas tree was going up (we got it on December 6th!), we started finding our Elf on the Shelf Buddy each morning, and the season wouldn’t be complete without our Advent calendars from Nana. As each day passed, even though it was a month filled with  busy workdays and weekends, finding Elf each morning with Brendan and seeing the smile in his eyes as we got closer to Christmas, always made me smile inside and out. Braden was even excited about Christmas. He loved looking at the lights on the tree and playing with his new toys.

So here we are in January… For the record, I’m not a huge fan of resolutions. I think that each day is a work in progress on this journey of life, and I try to make the best of it. Some days, weeks, even months, may present their share of challenges, and I try to remember that each new day is just that, a new day to be the best I can be. It totally sounds cheesy when I type it out, but it’s really true. One day at a time… that’s all you can do.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and Happy New Year, from our family to yours. <3

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A Few of My Favorite Fall Things

I already posted about how much I am loving fall this year…  I wanted to share some of my favorite fall things with everyone. 🙂

Favorite Fall Item #1 ~ Macoun Apples and Apple Picking: Apple picking at least once during the fall season has become a yearly tradition for us. Usually when the Macoun apples from the first apple picking trip are all eaten and used for baking, we head out one more time to pick up a new bag of deliciously fresh, seasonal and local apples from a farm nearby.

Side note: I did make another attempt this season at my favorite treat, apple cake, in a gluten-free format.  The taste was delicious, but the consistency was a little crumbly for my liking, and I’m way too hard on myself to post the recipe until I find something that comes out awesome.

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If you didn’t already know, I love Trader Joe’s. We go there weekly, at least, and have some TJ staples in our house at all times. This time of the year everything at Trader Joe’s is PUMPKIN.  Yesssss and Yummmm!!!

Favorite Fall Item #2 ~ Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Herbal Tea: One look at this and I had to have it. Pumpkin and rooibos in one little satchel, yes please!  Mmmmmmmmm, so good.

Pumpkin Spice Rooibos

Favorite Fall Item #3 ~ Harvest Blend Herbal Tea: I was going on and on about how much I loved the Pumpkin Spice Rooibos and my friend Angela mentioned this deliciousness that she shared with her mom. She promptly brought me a box the next day and I was instantly hooked. I have since purchased four more boxes, because as we all know, it’s seasonal, so once it’s gone, it’s GONE until next fall!

Harvest Blend

Favorite Fall Item #4 ~ Anything I can make in my crock pot: Please welcome this amazing soup/stoup to my recipe collection – Quinoa and Kale Minnestrone Soup/Stew.  The ingredients looked delicious when I saw the recipe, then I made it and was beyond my expectations.  Recipe coming soon…

Quinoa Kale Minnestrone

Favorite Fall Item #5 ~ Pumpkins, of course: How could I not love pumpkins, especially ones grown in our very own garden, by my cutie son Brendan. <3  Check him out… so proud!

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Fall is the Best

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Fall is seriously turning into my favorite season. I love the weather. I love the cooler days but still sunny and beautiful. I love the leaves changing. I love the weekend events: apple picking, pumpkin picking, baking with all of fall’s awesome fruits and veggies (we made banana bread this weekend), and playground and farm visits with the kids.

This weekend we made our annual apple picking trip. Everyone always asks where we go, and every year we keep going back to the same place because it’s NEVER busy, the apples are delicious and it’s beautiful.  We drive out to Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA just to get our favorite apples, Macoun.  We had another beautiful day this year with tons of apples, cider donuts and apple cider of course. Brendan loves picking the “gigantic” ones and we love eating them too while we’re walking through the orchard.  He always finishes up his apple picking adventures with a cider donut and some apple cider. Yum!

Now onto what we can make with our apples.  We already made homemade apple sauce.  Brendan and Braden enjoyed some of that awesome-ness.  We will make one, or possibly two, apple cakes and maybe even an apple crisp (or apple crist as Brendan says it’s called.) 🙂

Stay tuned for those delicious recipes, I will be sure to share my gluten-free apple recipes when I make them.