Chatter Splatter: Come and Play!

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You guys, you HAVE to try Chatter Splatter Playgroup  if you have the time.  It is super duper fun, affordable and awesome.  Here is the description from their site (I started writing my own and realized theirs covered it lol):

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Chatter Splatter is held in Suburban Sports Training Center in conshohocken, PA. 

Chatter Splatter is a pay and play playgroup. You may come in anytime within the 2 hour time slot and once you have paid you can go and play. No need to RSVP just come by.

Included in the price, each child gets juice, fruit, and cookies. Each adult gets coffee. Fruit and cookies will be out 10:30am-11am. Coffee and juice is self serve on the counter for the whole 2 hours. 

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Cut-up fruit is perfect in size and fresh!

We are open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9:30am-11:30am.

$6 per child any age. If you have other children with you in your care (no other adults with you) they will be $4 each if they are 1 or over. If you are paying for other children but their parent/gaurdian is with them then the price will be $6 per child. 

Guys, this Play Space is LEGIT.  It is HUGE and has HUNDREDS of awesome toys (think ride ons, BOUNCE HOUSES, swing sets, etc.).  It is TOTALLY worth a trip out of the city and will guarantee that your littles will nap HARD!

Needless to say, we cannot wait to go back!  Email me for more details.

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The Easter Jew.

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Good Monday, everyone!  We are all suffering from a bit of Easter hangover this fine (gloomy) morning. Hope you are too!  It was a fabulous weekend and holiday. So, I get asked a lot, here is the deal:  I was raised Jewish and still observe Jewish holidays and traditions.  Zach goes to a synagogue play school so he gets that there too.  My kids’ Dad is Catholic and therefore my kids ALSO are exposed to those holidays as well.  And me?  Well my theory on religion is a LONG story but typically I feel that holiday celebrations are important traditions to have and likewise important to base the kids’ culture around.  So last week we made hamentashen…

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This past weekend, we did Easter!

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BTW, the bunny cake is SUPER easy.  Make a traditional cake mix but spread into two round pans.  Then cut to football like shapes out of the second one to form the following shape.

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Frost then coat with coconut.  Decorate as you wish!

OK, not THIS DIY Easter project was NOT easy.  In fact, it SUCKED and if I wasn’t so stubborn I woulda quit, but they DID turn out SUPER cute: Yarn eggs!

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I thought of the idea myself but didn’t fully think through what a pain in the A$$ it would be.

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And of course an egg hunt

And Easter Baskets for all!

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And our “traditional” Easter dinner.  I always make lasagna, ham, green beans and Easter bread.  YUMMMMM!  Oh, with a side of light saber fighting, of course 🙂

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Blog Love (aka affliliate links):

Lightsaber

 

Chicken with Capers and Crushed Tomatoes

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I die.  I know.  Betty Effing Crocker.  Geez between the cookies, the cabbage and this, WHO IS THIS GIRL?!  Ha ha..  The funniest part is, you guys must think I am such a healthy eater.  I laugh as I stuff chocolate covered gummies in my face 😉

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Seriously though, try this recipe.  NOW.  SUUUUUPER easy, and SOOO delicious. I made it based VERY loosely based on a recipe I saw on Runner’s World and needed to use up some leftover chicken breasts (with skin) from Blue Apron.  I basically looked through my cabinets and pull rout anything I thought might taste good with chicken and capers.  We are moving shortly so operation clean out has begun!  Here is what I used:

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Chicken breasts, half a sweet onion, Italian seasoning, Garlic salt (duh, my favorite), EVOO, can crushed tomato, can diced tomato, small can sauce, salt and pepper, 1 cup chicken broth or white wine

Preeat oven to 350.  First, chop the sweet onion and sauté for about 4 min in olive oil. Use a high sided oven-safe pan.  Then add the crushed and diced tomatoes.  Stir.  Add capers and sauce.  Season with Garlic salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning (or oregano, etc.).  Add your white wine (I DO NOT COOK WITH ALCOHOL) or for me, broth (turned out being a can of Campbells chicken and stars soup lol).  Simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  While it is simmering, pat dry your chicken. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Nestle the chicken in the sauce but do not fully submerge.  Put in oven for about 45 or until internal temp of 165.

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When chicken is done, put on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 3 min to crisp the skin.  Serve with sauce and pasta.  O.M.G. ENJOY!

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This meal got RAVING reviews!

PS:  this is the Green pan high sided pan I use

Oh also, I ran really fast today 🙂

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Interval training FTW!

Pickled Cabbage.

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Because after you post about baking delicious cookies, you should always pickle some cabbage. Balance, people!  OK, try this at home FOR SURE.  I originally got the recipe from Blue Apron (the Alsatian Spiced Chicken for you BA subscribers) and adjusted it to make the WHOLE head of cabbage (just increase the ingredients a bit).  This was soooo delicious as served below mashed potatoes and chicken as the BA recipe had me make, but I was craving the cabbage later in the week and made another huge batch. YUMMMM.

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1/2 pound red cabbage

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1.5 cups water

1 tbsp Sugar

Wash and dry cabbage.  Remove core and halve the cabbage, separating the leaves.  Boil the water in a large frying pan (high-sided pan).  Add cabbage and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 12-14 minutes or until cabbage is tender and water has cooked off.  Reduce heat to medium-high and add sugar and vinegar. season again with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

 

Intense Baking: Hamantashen Edition

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OOOOK, so for all you gentiles and not-knowing Jews,

Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.

The Origin of Hamantaschen

“Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word meaning “Haman’s pockets.” Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther. In the story, Haman is the Grand Vizier of Persia and a rabid anti-Semite. When Mordechai, a Jewish member of the king’s court and relative of Queen Esther, refuses to bow down to Haman, the Grand Vizier plots to have all the Jews in the kingdom massacred. However, Queen Esther and Mordechai discover Haman’s plot and are able to foil it. In the end, Haman is executed on the gallows he planned to use on Mordechai.

Jews eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration of the holiday, which commemorates how Jews escaped Haman’s dastardly plans. One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Another explanation is that the three corners represent Queen Esther’s strength and the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (source)

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They are filled with all sorts of things including fruit (jelly-like) and chocolate.  I decided to make these babies w Zach as he LOVES to bake/cook with me and was excited to “pinch pinch pinch the corners.”  So, we made them!  We used this recipe (modifications noted):

 

 

½ pound unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 cup sugar (I put in a bit more for “good measure”)

3 eggs

3.5 cups flour

1.5 tsp baking powder (didn’t have; used baking soda)

0.5 tsp salt (forgot ooops)

1 tsp vanilla (also forgot but instead used 1tsp ORANGE ZEST- GREAT addition)

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Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and blend thoroughly. Add remainder of ingredients and mix well. Divide in to three parts, wrap each in waxed paper and chill briefly in refrigerator. Take 1/3 at a time, flour a board and roll as if for a pie. Use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut circles. Fill with no more than 1 tsp of fruit or chocolate (otherwise it will overflow). Fold in triangle and pinch edges. Bake on slightly greased cookie sheet 20-25 minutes.  20 min was perfect for me.

Look, NOT an easy recipe as the excessive rolling and cutting, filling and pinching can be a bit intense 🙂  BUT they were DELICIOUS!  We made ours with cherry, apricot and Nutella filling.  I just LOVE cooking/baking with my littles.  Enjoy!

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Werkin’ It With Kiddos

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Hellooooo!  Hope you all are enjoying this schizophrenic weather 😉  I wanted to do a post on how I work out with kids.  So, at any point in time, we will have between 1 and 3 kiddos around.  So yes, finding the time to work out is tough. But for me, it is SUPER important. My workout time=my therapy and EVERYONE is way happier when mama gets in in 🙂  So, here are a few bullet points…

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Multi tasking at its finest!  Strider+Robo vacuuum

1. I do what I can, when I can.  If I have ten minutes, I do ten minutes.  During the week when I am home with the kiddos, I do my runs on the treadmill in the downstairs play space OR at the gym depending on many factors.  If G is in a bad mood and I know gym day care isn’t going to cut it, I will run a few miles sometimes with him playing in the play space.  It is good for him to play independently and we like to chat while I’m running 🙂  Sometimes, that won’t work either as he LOVES to try to put his hand in the treadmill belt (gives me a heart attack) so I will quit and get my run in during the boys’ naps.  During the week I tend to do runs between 4 and 6 miles. I keep my weekly running schedule loose to accommodate the kiddos.  My long runs take place on the weekends (more on that below).

2.  I supplement my work outs with my Stamina In Motion Compact Strider.  I have posted to FB about this lovely piece of equipment MANY times and cannot wax poetic enough about it.  Less than $100, fits ANYWHERE due to how compact it is (great for city), super light and easy to store, etc.

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So, if I had a short run, am feeling antsy and need to get some energy out or am taking a rest day from impact (running) -I don’t really take REAL rest days unless my body is telling me to do so which is…not often lol- I will hop on this awesome piece of equipment.  Sometimes I will do my whole workout on here (about an hour?) in front of the TV while the babies are napping, but sometimes I will split it into several smaller timed workouts.  My kids think it is hysterical to watch me on it, so they will hang w me playing in the living room, while I “stride.”  If you can get on for just TEN minutes, it raises your metabolism and helps your cardiovascular system even if just in small bursts.  OBSESSED with this thing.  Oh, and it has arm straps which I haven’t tried yet but will soon!  Speaking of arms…

3. Strength training- I will admit, I don’t do it.  I feel awful admitting and typing that but it is true 😦  When I have time to work out, I absolutely tend to devote said time to cardio.  I truly feel like you can fit strength training into your cardio (THINK POSTURE- more on this later) and to be honest, carrying my “love to be carried” kiddos all day surely helps.  Many people ask if I “do abs.”  The short answer:  NO.  Sorry.  What I DO DO though, is I ALWAYS focus on my abs when I am running. The purpose is two-fold:  focusing on your core when running helps your form and takes the pressure off other muscles and easy-injury areas.  Secondly, tightening our abs when running is a form of “doing abs” (LOL).  If you tighten your abs for +/- an hour it tends to help in time 🙂  BUT, with that said, I am starting to incorporate a bit more strength training into my workout routines.  Natural strength training is great, but when I see programs like GOTR focusing on warming up, strengthening and stretching, I can’t help but want to at least try to dedicate a bit more time to it.

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carry two for natural strength training 🙂  lol

 

4.  It takes a village-Use your support.  I don’t really use childcare except for when I volunteer for GOTR and the only time I really need HELP HELP is for my long run on the weekend.  I try to do it Saturdays usually because I LOVE resting Sundays (I still do a light running or cardio workout but still…).  But it takes at least 2 hours and so I need reliable help.  The boys usually hang with their dad or someone else who is fun so that I can do this and for that I am SUPER appreciative.

5.  Use your kids- I LOVE (love as in love/hate lol) taking G in the jogging stroller for a run from time to time.  I don’t do it super often as it is hard as HELL and he can get antsy but when I do it is great.  Running with the jogging stroller is a GREAT way to train HARD and when you do your next run solo, BOY does it seem easy!  I want to get out more often with the stroller and plan to do so in the spring.  I have the BOB and love it.  I also use it with BOTH boys on walks as Zach sits in the front nook part.  Both boys fit perfectly.  #ghettodoublestroller LOL

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Poor dude fell asleep with his hand in the snack cup!  Hate when that happens!

6.  Do it for the right reason.  I don’t work out to loose weight.  Truly.  I get way more of a rise out of being able to run 10 miles without being winded than loosing 3 pounds because God knows those 3 pounds could be MANY things 🙂 I work out because it keeps me physically and mentally healthy (sane) and because I like to do it.  And I DO truly get a “runners high.” I was researching and found this awesome article that explains the phenomenon.   I also like setting a healthy example of being active for my boys.  And, ya know, I wouldn’t mind sticking around a bit for them too from the health benefits 🙂

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On Breastfeeding Number 2

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Gabriel is now 15 months, so I wanted to check in on how breastfeeding is going. It is an FAQ…

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So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know a couple things about my breastfeeding history with both Zachary and Gabriel.  I am a HUGE proponent of breastfeeding but am totally non judgmental and totally get why it doesn’t work for some.  It is really funny actually because I was SUPER on the fence about breastfeeding when I was pregnant with my first.  Then I had him and I had a ton of problems (inverted nipples, had to use nipple shield for like 6 months, oversupply, mastitis, etc.).  Anyway, I knew I would breastfeed my second and thought it would be a walk in the park because I was an “expert” and Zachary was still on the boob when I was 20 weeks pregnant with G.  He eventually weened himself and that breastfeeding relationship came to an end the way I had always dreamed it would.  Now, with G, remember, I thought it was be easy. BAHAHAHHAHAH.  It was so bad that the LACTATION consultant told me I couldn’t “nurse on those babies.”  Yup.  I won’t get too graphic (I already used the words “inverted nipples” and if you aren’t interested in breastfeeding you should have excused yourself from this post a paragraph ago) but my ladies were DESTROYED.  After some healing via pumping, a tongue tie alteration and TONS of work, we established what I consider to be an amazing breastfeeding relationship. Because I stay at home with the littles, G still nurses primarily on demand, which at 15 months means he has a typical schedule but comes on over for small sips in between when he is thirsty (or I am convinced, when he is bored).  He typical schedule is nursing: wake up (~730), small morning graze, before nap (~1230), after nap (~330), once around 6pm then before bed (~730).

And here is a quick PRO/CON list I made:

PROS:

  • Easy
  • Cheap
  • Great antibodies for my littles-Zach is 4 and has NEVER had an antibiotic
  • Good natural birth control (don’t mark my words lol)
  • Keeps weight off
  • Super healthy for babies and Mommies
  • Studies have shown it decreases Breast Cancer chances

CONS:

  • Physically exhausting and taxing on the body esp when combined with tough training schedule
  • Tough for a type-A person (who me?!) because amounts are intangible
  • I can feel like a prisoner to the house as neither littles have taken a bottle ever
  • I am the only one who can do “night duty” which THANKFULLY doesn’t occur too too often (<once a night usually thank GOD)
  • I haven’t “owned” my body for almost 5 years between a constant stream of pregnancy, b-feeding, more pregnancy and more b-feeding

So, what is my plan for weaning number 2?  I have none.  Just like I had none for Z.  It will happen.  Dude won’t go off to college still breastfeeding… we hope 🙂

My 2 Favorite Organizations

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I just wanted to share my love for my favorite 2 organizations:

  1.  Girls on the Run (GOTR)– So, I actually first heard of this amazing non-profit organization via someone else’s blog (no longer active).  I thought it would be so fun to volunteer but I was working full time and just couldn’t swing it.  Fast Forward to this Fall, and I received an email from the director looking for volunteers in the Philadelphia area (I was still on the mailing list).  I was stooooked and jumped on it immediately.   I LOVE this program. I love the girls, the mission, the lessons, the physicality, the underlying values, ALL OF IT.  I am SO unbelievably lucky to be involved.  I will keep you posted 😉  Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 7.21.56 PM
  2. Generations Connect – I’ve blogged about this before, but it is DEFINITELY worth another post as it is an organization I am so grateful to be a part of.  Our mission is to bring joy & respect to our elders through children & music (we also do crafting and socializing along with a service dog).  This past Sunday’s event was so so fun!  I brought crafting items for spring decorations and a lovely service dog was there too!  She (Molly the service dog) was so sweet and very popular with the residents!  We meet once a month and alternate Saturdays and Sundays.   PLEASE email me if you are interested in coming with us or learning more about the program!   Find us on FB!

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Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that little synopsis!  What is your favorite organization?

Newtons For the Win (FTW)

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Edited:  This post was written a LONG time ago, and never published (life got in the way) but a few people have asked about my running shoes because they are relatively scarce..so here it goes if you are interested…

I have been meaning to write this post for a LONG time and the nice Newtons rep at the Expo Saturday was the final push I needed!  So, as you know, I have struggled with major shin issues in the past.  Or maybe you don’t know if you are a new reader.  Long story short, I WAS a heel striker.  Badly. My right leg is also a bit longer than the left.   Really.  So because of these aforementioned issues, I struggled with shin splints for a few years and then eventually a full-blown stress fracture in my left shin.  It cost a LOT of money (MRIs, Doctor appointments, orthotics, many different shoes, etc.) and a LOT of time away from running.  Both things that I couldn’t deal with.  Right?  Anyway, I managed the situation (temporarily of course) with MANY modifications to my running including compression socks for EVERY run, switching shoes (Brooks Ghost alternated with Asics Gel), stretching a lot, and days off when I didn’t necessarily desire them.  I felt like I was “doing well” but didn’t realize how much better it actually could be.

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My gorgeous Gravity shoe (II)

At the race expo for the Rothman 8K, the vibrant neon colors of the Newton booth were yelling my name.  Actually, let’s be honest, my little helper boy ran over there and in an effort not to loose him, I followed 🙂  I started talking to the Newton rep and was “sold.”  OK, let’s be honest again, I am not hard to be “sold” on buying anything, much less a running product.  So, I took my (EW PINK- I was first really thrown by the color, not a pink girl…backstory later) running shoes home, put them aside and ran in my old Brooks for the Rothman 8K (which I actually did quite well in).  So the following week, I decided to test my “Gravity” pair out and wore them around all week, not for running, but just in daily life.  They are MUCH different from any shoe I had worn and have a much different technology about them, which is what I was interested in primarily.  For one, the rep told me that it would “encourage” me to become a mid-foot striker, improving my gait and thereby alleviating my shin issues.  Uh-huh. Secondly, she told me that I did not need to alternate my Newtons as I did with other brands and their gel-like cushioning. When I had gone to Rothman doctors about my shin problems, a suggestion they made was to alternate my shoes daily as the cushioning needs a full 24 hours to “revamp” itself.  Hmmm… With the Newton rubber “lugs” you do not need to wait for the cushion to regenerate; it is there for you when needed!  As an FYI, the previous Gravity shoe I ran in (pictured above) has four lugs and the new ones I bought at this weekend’s race Expo (Gravity III) have 5 lugs.  I cannot WAIT to try them out!  Here is the scientific info behind the Newton brand from their website:

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Click here for an awesome “correct form demo” from their site as well.

Edited to add as of March 11- STILL running SUPER happy in my Newtons.  I am now on the  Gravity IV but will be test driving these babies as soon as I can scrounge together $175.

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These are NOT cheap running shoes but for me mean EVERYTHING and are so necessary.  Have you ever run in Newtons?

Obsessed ;)

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Helloooo!  Happy Monday!  The weather is a beaut’ today!  Hope you are able to enjoy!  Anyway, I wanted to share ten of my favorite things of late…and anyone who knows me knows that when I like something, I don’t just like it…I get OBSESSED.  So, here ya go!

1. Sahale Snacks (my flavor is below)-

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Running to my car to grab my stash now!  YUMMMM

So, it seems like these babies are only available in the Wawas around here (?) I know.  Ask me how I found them…Car hunger.  It is the WORST, right?!  Between breastfeeding a large 14 month old and running a good deal of miles per week training for my upcoming races I get ravenous QUICKLY and I don’t like it.  Not one bit.  So in a car hunger fit, I found myself munching on these and holy yum.  So, now I keep a bag in my car, stroller and diaper bag.  I know.  So, seriously though, I can be a real a-hole when I’m hungry.  Oh, and I like to chuckle at the “serving size.”  😉

2.  ACME (Markets) Monopoly- Don’t judge.  Mama’s gotta save some cash.  Ha! Who am I kidding?  I am totally one of those people who actually thinks they have a chance at winning the lottery in the off chance I play.  Seriously.  But don’t go thinking it makes me some sort of eternal optimist though, because I give equal consideration to the same odds for horrific things happening.  Don’t Google.  Just don’t.   Anyway, Zach likes to “play” this with me too.  You know you have a problem when a lady walking by your cart as you are leaving the store gives you her “playing pieces.”  Proud, not pleased.

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2. My Glasses- Lately I have been wearing my glasses a lot more for several reasons…

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My eyes have been SO dry (because of aforementioned breastfeeding) so giving them a break from contacts feels soooo good.  Also, Zach now wears glasses, ADORBS by the way, so I like to wear mine too.

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I can’t.  So cute. 

3. Blue Apron- I’ve Blogged about this before but am having another spike in love for this fabulous service.  Last night I made a surf ‘n turf, mixing and matching two of the meals we were given to cook this week.  Some of the stuff was going to either go bad or need to freeze (I tend to forget about frozen meat/fish) and one of the sides was totally not appealing to us.  It was delicious!

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Sorry. Pretty awful picture, but it is catfish, steak, potatoes and cheesy kale.

4.  My new Stamina In Motion Strider– YAAAAASSSS!  Now I can cross train.  AT HOME.  In front of my TV (stores right behind couch–SOOOO compact for the city home).  LOVE this machine and it is super reasonable.  PERFECT for a city home.  Not gonna lie, I was skeptical about it at first, but it is LEGIT.  And less than $140!!  G (and Z) like it too…

IMG_64915.  Cape Cod Salted Caramel Popcorn- UM…YUM.  That’s it.

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6.  Emergen-C…Every night before I go to bed I take this in a shot of water.  I SWEAR by it. I have not gotten sick since I started doing this a couple months ago. I believe!

7. Gerber Cheddar Crunchies- G is absolutely obsessed with these. It is hysterical. We PLOW through them and have to buy the 3-pack.  Also, I plan to do a craft with the boys when we finish one more container.  Think homemade drum set. Ohhhh yeaaaaa…

8. Our sno-cone maker (only $24.99)- I bought this last year at Target (it was on clearance, so I don’t think they still have it, and was an impulse buy as it was summertime and I wanted something fun to do with Zach) and we LOVE making son cones.  It is such a fun activity and I really think kids creating and making their own food is so beneficial.  Got it out today with the high temps!

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9.  This guy’s creativity as an “almost 4 year old”

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My headband was his “helmet”

10.  This guy’s smile

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SO BLESSED.