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Oh Hey it’s Monday! March 13

March 13, 2017

unnamedIf you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I just spent three glorious days at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with my best friend Heather.

My sister has been a Kripalu employee for many years in their Healing Arts department, and I’m embarrassed to admit that this was the first time I’ve come to visit this amazing place. We spent the week attending the R&R events (yoga classes, lectures, etc.), eating delicious meals (they even have silent breakfasts!), and truly embraced the term “rest & relax”.  Kripalu has many rules for your weekend, one of which is no cell phones, so we spent the weekend with our phones set down and away. When was the last time you discounted from your phone? We stayed in “the dorms”, with 24 other women in bunk beds (hello white noise coming from my ear buds), and spent quite a lot of time in the whirlpool & sauna (helpful hint: bring ice cubes with you!). Heather and I often talked about hiking in the mountains, but each time we walked past a draft or open door, the frigid 4 degrees changed our mind…

As a mother, wife, and small business owner, I often forget about myself and my needs as I’m sprinting throughout my day trying to DO IT ALL. This weekend was magical, and so very helpful for me to realize what truly matters and how to go about getting where I want to be with a clear open mind (and often disconnected from my phone).

Here are a few Monday links that I wanted to share:

  • Yoga Dance – ever heard of it? We went to a class Saturday at noon with DRUMS! The energy in the room was out of control. Here’s a peak at KDZ The Kripalu Drummers.
  • I tried drawing a mandala on the plane yesterday for the first time. Upon further research this morning, I realize there is a process to it! And I plan on practicing this: How to draw a mandala.
  • In the dining hall at Kripalu, we learned about Ayurvedic eating. Ayurvedic gives some great guidance for eating, especially when it comes to digestion.
  • Remember how I talked about setting INTENTIONS for the New Year? This weekend was all about intentions, and it reaffirmed the ones I had set, and I added a few more to my list. Have you made a list? Here’s a great one from the Huff Post: Creating Positive Intentions for the New Year.

So I’m ready to start planning my next trip to Kripalu. Who wants to come with me? Happy Monday!

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Back to Basics

Search, Find, & Explore

November 7, 2016

With a love of the outdoors from my childhood spent on Shelburne Farms, Vermont, I am always on the lookout for ways for my children to enjoy exploring as much as I do. As they’ve gotten older, I put my Art Degree to good use and began sketching quick illustrations of things we would find in the woods, or at the beach, even in our own neighborhood block. It was an instant hit, and quickly became something we looked forward to doing weekly as a family or with friends. As time went on, the need grew to have all the essential tools at our fingertips when we were exploring. Thus, my “Search & Find: Adventure Kit” was born, complete with a sturdy pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass, a small marker, and a trusty Search & Find Adventure Card.

One of our favorite things to do is hike in the woods, especially in First Landing State Park. As parents of three small boys (five years old and under), my husband and I have experienced the highs and lows of hiking with children all over the country, and we like to think that “we’ve got this!”

Enjoy these photographs from Jess Hill Photography of our most recent hike, and I’ve written a few tips at the bottom of the photos on how to have a great hike with your kids.

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Type of Adventure
Hiking while teaching your children an appreciation for nature, a fun family activity, and exercising

Where
Any woods big or small

Things to take into consideration while packing

  • Plan for “the sagging wagon”: Might need a kid carrying item: We love our backpack!
  • Snacks? Trail Magic (nuts & dried berries), sandwiches, apples or carrots
  • Water? Yes. Plenty.
  • Activity? Woods: Search & Find Adventure Kit
  • Protection? Be aware of the season when you’re hiking and what you’d need: sunscreen, or bug & tick protection

While on the Adventure

  • Be prepared to stop as many times as they need to
  • It’s Progressive. Don’t expect them to hike for over an hour!
  • Go in intervals – take your time! Snack between intervals, throw stones, collect nature items

Tricks

  • Collect leaves, sticks, stones, or nuts. (our rule: anything not living)
  • Bring your child’s friend – might get you another 30 min – 1 hour of “hiking”
  • Skip stones into water

And most importantly, have fun!

#searchfindexplore

 

 

 

Local Spots

The Uninterrupted Mother’s Day Wish List

May 5, 2016

Orchard Cove Photography Mother's Day

Photo courtesy of Amanda, Orchard Cove Photography

Mother’s Day has become more significant for me ever since I became a mother. Having three boys has been a dream come true, as cheesy as it may sound. My days and nights may often seem long and weary, but the months and years are zooming by right in front of my eyes. In the past five years, I have sang the same three bedtime songs more times than I can count. I can give you quite a soothing rendition of “On Top of Spaghetti” if you like! I have wiped tears, cleaned “boo boos” armed with superhero bandaids while sneaking Neosporin onto it, and have comforted those upset and tired bodies tucked neatly into my arms. I have taught myself to draw trains, Power Rangers, Paw Patrol pups, and Ninja’s (thank you art classes in college). I have spent A LOT of time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals, some of which get eaten. And to my surprise, I’ve turned into somewhat of a decent cook and actually enjoy cooking! There is nothing better than hearing my children tell me “mom this is a good dinner!”, or “wow mom, good drawing!”, or the best yet “I love you mom”. Having these little humans look up with wide eyes full of love makes me so proud and happy that they are mine. My favorite part of being a mother is watching them grow, learn, and experience the world around them, especially those big milestones like walking, talking, reading, writing, riding a bike or swimming! My three sweet blond boys complete me.

Mother's Day hands

I had about a whole 5 minutes of uninterrupted time to hash out what I’d like for Mother’s Day, beside that gigantic steaming cup of coffee (cream & sugar please!).

On Sunday, in no particular order I’d like:

  1.  Someone else to wash ALL the day’s dishes. I’m not kidding, I don’t want to pick up that sponge once.
  2.  Stacking rings from Lisa Leonard. (I’ve been oogling over these for years)
  3.  An uninterrupted night of sleep, preferably in a hotel/inn or even at my in-law’s house down the street. By myself.
  4.  Good food all day, that doesn’t involve me preparing it. Esoteric, Tautog’s, Commune, Zeke’s, Three Ships Coffee, Gringo’s, Java Surf, The Green CatCroc’s to name a few nearby.
  5.  Stuff picked up off the floor and put away, NOT by me. Guessing the baby gets out of this one…
  6.  BEER. Preferably “heady” IPA’s. I’ll take anything chilled, while sitting on my porch or at the beach. (Local brews are preferred; O’Connor’s, Back Bay, Smartmouth, Commonwealth, YVBC)
  7.  A month of membership to local fitness boutique: HIT & Run so I can continue to get FIT and STRONG! (I will need this especially from drinking all that heady beer)
  8.  Handmade cards and artwork from the kiddos – my favorite is when they draw our stick figure family.
  9.  The bathroom cleaned, but not by me. Spotless please!
  10.  Relaxing family time. Can be at the beach, at home, in the park, in the garden, preferably accompanied by beautiful weather and sunshine.

Not too much to ask, right?! RIGHT.

I also polled my local mom friends to see what was something that they wanted for Mother’s Day. The responses were honest and to the point! Some practical (some a little pricy). But all wonderful ideas on how to celebrate the mothers in your life.

“A Bloody Mary and a babysitter.” – G

“Uninterrupted sleep for 12 hours.” – A

“A chocolate donut from Crispy Cream.” – L

“A day without an agenda or expectations.” – D

“A night stay at a hotel so I can sleep as much as I want, order room service and read all the magazines I’ve been collecting that I never have the chance to read. Accompanied by a bottle of champagne!” – M

“Coming home to an empty dishwasher and a clean kitchen.” – T

“Work in my garden and have someone else cook dinner for me.” – M

“I want my husband to clean the damn toilet!”- H

Need more ideas? Check out these ideas from my Virginia Beach mom friends.

Gardening
A plant to put in the garden to enjoy all year round, especially one that blooms around Mother’s Day (iris or lilac)
A Wind Chime from Wild Birds Unlimited
An Orchid (Orchid Station or Whole Foods)
A Flower Arrangement or succulent plants from Roost Flowers
New gardening tools
Gift card to a nursery to pick a few plants to dig in the dirt together on Mother’s Day

Jewelry
Gold disc necklace with kids initials monogrammed on it
A charm with son’s thumbprint on it
23451 keychain or earrings from 
The Lemon Cabana
Anything from The Beach Nut
Addison Weeks “Bendall” Cuff Bracelets
Be Brave Necklace

From/with the kiddos
Handmade cards from kids
Tea with mommy
Professional Photographs done of Mother & Kids
Mother’s Day Brunch with the husband and kids
A picnic basket for a lunch (and a hike) on the beach at First Landing State Park
Paint your own pottery – Mug with foot and hand prints

Pampering
Mani, Pedi, Hair, Massage at Massage Luxe, with Misty Smith
10 pack classes to your favorite fitness/yoga studio (Wareing’s Gym, Hot House Yoga, HIT & Run, Fushion Fitness)
Spa Day at Dupre’s
Lunch at Eurasia, with wine!
Brunch at Bay Local

Shopping
An afternoon alone to wander around Prince Books with a cup of coffee
A whole day of shopping at MacArthur Center
New athletic gear (Anything from Lululemon, LA BL & Athletica)
Any household goods from West Elm

Let’s end with a video that will probably make you (good) cry.

Local Spots

Picking Perfect Pumpkins in Pungo

October 13, 2015

Pick your own Pumpkins

Wagon Ride

Cullipher Farm Market Pumpkin Patch

Sunflower Maze & Cinderlla Pumpkin

One of my favorite Fall traditions to do with my family is to head out into the Pungo farmland, and pick pumpkins.Nothing screams “Fall” more than the fresh cool air, vast green fields filled to the brim with pumpkins and gourds of assorted colors, shapes, and sizes. Not to mention the thrill of tugging a metal wagon to pile high with festive decor, and you get to use extra large clipper shears to slice through the vines. Round it out with mazes winding through sunflowers, cotton and corn, and you’ve got yourself quite a nice Autumn activity!

Our “go-to” farm to hunt for the perfect pumpkin is at Cullipher Farm Market‘s pumpkin patch. We scooped up their Groupon (it expires November 1st), and headed out on a Friday afternoon. The 23 mile car ride to Cullipher’s patch didn’t phase my boys, the excitement of the impending adventure kept them entertained, and they loved to point out the horses in pastures or guess what was planted in various fields as we drove closer to our destination. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, as white puffs of clouds dotted blue skies with a sunny yet crisp breeze. As it was a weekday afternoon, we shared the “pumpkin town” with only a handful of other families. As we trekked through the 8 acres of fields, my four year old son wanted every single pumpkin he came across. Hard to choose from so many well shaped “perfect” pumpkins! After a bit of negotiations from my part on how many we could take with us, we settled on three orange pumpkins (one with cool “spikes”), and a green cinderella pumpkin. Saving the mazes for last, we navigated our way through a field of friendly sunflowers, while listening to the happy honeybees buzz in the blooms. The kids enjoyed the cotton and corn maze, and the main topic of discussion the entire ride home was about how our clothes were made of cotton. As usual, Mr. Cullipher ended up making an appearance at the patch. Always fun to catch up with him and hear how his family is doing! On our way home, we also made sure to hit up the Farm Market for seasonal treats and locally grown produce, located just a few miles North of the pumpkin patch.

It was so much fun, it makes me want to go back and do it all again this week!

Cullipher’s Pumpkin Patch is open Wednesdays – Sundays, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Their hayrides run on the weekends only.

Happy Fall ya’ll!

Looking for pumpkin patches located throughout Hampton Roads? I recommend checking out MyActiveChild.com’s 2015 BIG LIST of Pumpkin Patches.

 

Back to Basics

The handwritten note

November 18, 2014

Letter to Grandma

When I open my mailbox and see a handwritten address on an envelope sticking out from the bills, flyers & coupons, it makes me smile. Don’t you just love getting notes too?

My mother was a thank-you-note “stickler.” We wrote thank-you’s for every occasion. Looking back now, I’m thankful that she kept on us, and helped us to create a good habit of expressing our gratitude to our loved ones. However, as I moved out on my own, I wasn’t as organized with keeping up with my notes. I do apologize to Ms. Emily Post, who is probably rolling over in her grave thinking of those forgotten thank-you’s that haven’t been written.

Recently I’ve made more of a conscious effort to send notes on a regular basis. It could be a short note to my grandmother, sharing with her what my kids are up to at the moment. Or scribbling a few lines to my best friend, just because.

I take joy in picking the perfect pen and digging through my collection of stationery to find the ideal card. Writing the note is the fun part, without hesitation, diving in and writing whatever. Keeping it simple and matter-of-fact is the easiest, talking about what you’ve recently done, or something you’re looking forward to doing. I always slip in a few sentences inquiring on how they are doing or what’s new in their life. Addressing the envelope is my next favorite part. Often it takes a few minutes to find their address in my tattered and worn address book. And I always have a few “forever” stamps tucked in my wallet. Placing it in the mailbox and moving the flag to the upright position gives me a sense of accomplishment and leaves me feeling great about re-connecting with that person to whom the note is addressed.

That said, I’m now reminded that it’s time to write Grandma Betty her weekly letter.

What you’ll need to write a note:
• One “Forever” stamp
• An up-to-date book with your important addresses
A piece of paper (plain paper, notecard, sticky note, paper napkin, ANYTHING!)
A writing tool (pen, pencil, marker, crayon)
5 minutes
A mailbox