Tag Archive: 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

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.” 🌼 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

 

Wellness Check-in ~ November Edition

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

In keeping up with our wellness initiative at school, we sent out our monthly check-in message for November yesterday and I wanted to share it with you too.

How is everyone doing in the wellness department? Has our wellness enthusiasm gone down the tubes as we entered this extremely busy season of conferences, the holidays, and life in general? I sure hope not! The busier we are, the more important a role wellness plays in order to maintain our happiness and sanity. 😉 Life happens, I totally get it. Look how long it’s taken me to get out this email! I’ve been thinking about you guys and your wellness reminder since November 1st and I am just finally sending it to you. Better late than never… 🙂

Some things we have been up to this month – great job everyone!

  • social gatherings at friends homes
  • family gatherings
  • girls night out
  • paint night out
  • Spartan race finisher
  • half marathons, 5K’s, indoor cycling, rowing, yoga, HIIT training

spartanCTvX-jWUsAALF0o

For November and December, we would like to propose the following areas of wellness to focus on: Emotional/Spiritual, Social, and Physical.

Emotional and Spiritual: These components tend go hand-in-hand, especially during the holiday season.

A few ideas on this topic:

  • Maybe take some time to reflect on your year: give yourself a pat on the back for all of your accomplishments and set goals for next year.
  • Think about what makes you happy – are you doing any of these things?
  • What you are grateful for? Consider keeping a 21 Day Gratitude Journal – perfect timing with Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us. I think I’m going to start one on Thanksgiving Day!
  • How you are taking time for yourself during what tends to be an extremely busy time?

Social: The holidays are a perfect time for the social wellness component. There are often many gatherings of both friends and family and time to catch up with friends and family that you may only see a few times a year. This is all good stuff. Try to enjoy each moment, even though sometimes times with family can be stressful as well. 😉

Physical: It’s always a good reminder for everyone about the physical wellness component. As the weather gets colder, we tend to move less. Remember, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, it’s still movement.

A few ideas on this topic:

  • Walk around the playground during recess duty
  • Walk around your floor a few times before or after school
  • Whatever you choose, remember it’s for you, it should be something you enjoy.

I hope the teachers at my school read this message and smile. I also hope it encourages them to remember how important wellness is for everyone and to take care of themselves in any way that makes sense in their lives, especially now that the holiday season is upon us!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! We have a lot to be thankful for this year and always. <3

xoxo

Jenny

 

 

On being present…

be-presentI have been thinking about this A LOT lately. How can we stay fully present in a world full of distractions…

It’s the middle of January, I’m halfway through my first Whole30 + my second 21 DSD + modified AIP. Wow, that’s a lot. It’s all comes from a good place of self-love and healing, and I truly feel that I am on my way to more healing for sure, despite only feeling supported by a few people in my life… More on that later. (I am working on a reflection of this month’s experience – I promise!)

On Friday, this feeling of being overwhelmed really hit me while at school. There’s so much going on, all the time, for everyone. It seems like we do not ever get enough down time or “me time.” This has become my home life, work life, life in general. In my experience, and my circle, it feels like we are all running around like crazy people and like we can never get anything accomplished. I have had several conversations this month alone in which colleagues of mine, full-time teachers, full-time parents, feel this way. As the overwhelming feeling came over me, I tried my best to keep my emotions in check, and then I went to yoga on Sunday morning. Thank goodness for that.

The theme of class was how do we stay present in this world of distractions? While technology is great, and has contributed to so many advancements in the world, and is the reason for my career, I am a technology teacher after all… sometimes it is too much. How many of us have seen or participated in the following?

  • mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, maybe even while watching TV and not talking to their spouse/partner
  • checking the phone when out to dinner with friends or loved ones
  • using a device or keeping the TV on right up until bedtime

These things have become so commonplace in our world, that I am afraid we are losing touch with what’s important, what’s real: real people and real relationships. This scares me a lot. I am conscientious of this at all times. I have had the experience of taking a relationship for granted, that one day was there, and the next day was gone. So when I say, you never know when your last day is going to be, I actually know how that feels.

So… Trying to stay in the present moment, which ironically is always a mantra at yoga. It’s so easy to get lost in your thoughts, think about what’s next, what meal to prepare, which groceries to buy, what appointment or meeting is this week, etc., but our yoga practice forces us to be present on our mat and be there for ourselves, for our bodies for that given amount of time. It is so important. I am trying to take this feeling with me when I’m not on the mat. It is hard for sure, but will it be worth it? Oh yes, I can almost guarantee it. If I’m home with my kids, be home, be present, not randomly checking FB. If I have time at the end of the day to talk to my husband, then we should talk, be there, be present. And the list goes on and on…

Be well. Be present. As much as possible.

green_heart 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.

IMG_0838

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.

IMG_0833

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 sautéed onions, celery and carrots in bacon fat for about 5 minutes, then added some grated garlic and sautéed 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!

IMG_0832

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

A Few of Our Favorite Fall Things

Fall has turned into my favorite season… Apples, pumpkins, changing colors on the trees, awesome weather, awesome outfits, what’s not to love? I love apple picking, apple recipes, apple sauce, apple cake, apple muffins… anything with apples and cinnamon is just YUM! Don’t you agree?

IMG_0458

We went apple picking twice this fall and both visits we picked our faves, Macintosh and Macoun. The boys had fun picking apples, climbing in the trees, running through the orchards, and going for hayrides. At one farm we even saw some animals and played on the playground. And of course, a visit to the orchard isn’t complete without apple cider donuts and fresh apple cider. 😉

IMG_0457

IMG_0532 IMG_0527

On our second apple picking adventure, it was like summer outside! It was the last weekend in September and Carlson Orchards (my fave) still had some raspberries to pick. I had fun trying to get one little tiny pint filled.

picking raspberries

Every year I make apple sauce the night we get home from apple picking. It’s a Murphy household must. Everyone eats it with their dinner, but I think I love it the most. <3 Close second would be Braden. 😉

For years, I have been making apple cake. Since paleo baking is not really my strong suit, I really wanted to try some of my favorite apple recipes paleo-fied. Is that a word? I tried apple cake and apple muffins, and I was extremely pleased with the results. I will post the recipes in a separate post, I promise!

Pumpkin picking was of course on the list of fall fun. Brendan decided that in addition to the pumpkins we grew in our garden, we need a gigantic one to carve for Halloween.

IMG_0391

Braden & the CSA

pumpkin picking

jack-o-lantern

We also have taken our fall trip to Drumlin Farm (the first of many I’m sure). We have a Mass Audobon membership and go to Drumlin quite a few times throughout the year. It’s a fun trip to walk around the beautiful grounds and visit some animal friends. This day we visited we were just in time for grooming the pony, Midnight, Brendan’s favorite friend at the farm. Here they are digging in the garden.

drumlin fall

Do you guys love fall too? What fall traditions do you have?

Stay tuned for my apple and pumpkin recipes and experiments. Always a fun experience to try something new in the kitchen.

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!

20140109-213425.jpg 20140109-213645.jpg

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!! 😉

20140109-220822.jpg

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
20140109-220809.jpg20140109-220803.jpg

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

MurphyJ_PortraitSimple181483 - Version 2

Fall is the Best

macoun apples

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.