open for questions.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

it feels like the internet's been really quiet lately.  or is that just me?  are we all beginning our winter hibernation already?  i sure hope not.  it's only october 1st!  get out there people!

it's october 1st!  i said that twice.  i'm sort of in my own head this morning, blame it on the rain.  not that it requires blame.  sometimes being in one's own head can really be a good thing.  what am i thinking about?  success, time management, having another baby, friendship, blogging, travel, fall food.  all over the board, it seems.

i always appreciate when bloggers, new or old, open themselves up for questions.  it seems we used to do this more often than we do now.  admittedly, my blog roll has significantly decreased in the last two years or so, but i can't remember the last time i saw a post like it.  is anyone still doing it?  (last time i did was 2011!)  i think a lot of blogging has changed, in fact.  has instagram taken its place?  comments have gone down (for me the reason is this: commenting on phones is stupid.  though, i'm sure the reason goes deeper.).  so has advertising.  "sponsor posts" have taken their place.  are people still starting blogs from scratch?  is it too late?  

all that to say, my point today is that new readers come along who, most likely, don't dive into every bit of the archives so here i am, a stranger to them.  hello friends, new and old!  not only that, but there are long standing readers who only know what i put out there.  while yes, i do blog what i'm comfortable blogging, i know there's a million things i'm still comfortable blogging but just don't.

so, let's chat?  is this a good idea?  i'm staying optimistic.

comment moderation is on, so that nothing will appear in the comment thread.  just in my email box.  then, i'll address the comments (you know, as long as they're kosher) in another post.  sound good?

and while we're asking questions, can i ask you some?
// why do you read blogs?  
// how did you hear about this one?
// what are your favorite posts?  
// what's your favorite blog and why?

have at it.  and thanks, as always, for reading.  

a fall fair.

Monday, September 29, 2014

steve's not ready, parker's blocking his face to show you his wristband.  
there's really only so much you can do from behind the camera.

he's into showing the camera things these days.

taco truck tacos!  yessssssah.

messy but delicious.  he ate around all sides of his taco which, as you know, is not the way to do it.
in the middle of some snarky remark, probably.  the hunts were not bringing their a-game to the camera.  and hurrah for a no waistband dress and weather warm enough to wear it this weekend.

this weekend was 80 degrees--both days, my friends!  that's like a little gift straight from the heavens for us massachusetts' folk who will be inundated with the cold soon enough.  (and then come my winter posts where i hem and haw about the weather... again.)

we went to a fall festival where we ate tacos, drank san pellegrinos (blood orange for the win), listened to music, and went on a tractor ride.  it was a fun way to spend the evening.

an aside: i love my new lily jade bag.  it fits everything (and more), looks good, and the straps go a million different ways (i love that feature).  i change it up routinely--from backpack to across the chest to shoulder straps.  versatile!  and it doesn't scream "i'm a diaper bag!" which is the best part.  thank you lily jade!!  (i also met the lily jade owners at the hundred event and they are theeeeee nicest people, for real.)

hope your weekends were swell, my friends.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2014


Some notes to carry us into the weekend together, shall we?

// I shared this article on my Facebook page, but it's worth sharing here too.  So interesting.  Since sharing it, and summarizing it for Steve, I've been trying to utilize the tips in it and telling Parker, "Wow, you worked really hard at that!"  Then Steve swoops in, not half a second later, "Parker, you have a natural proclivity for this, don't you!?"  He's a brat, doing untold damage, one comment at a time.

// Nothing fits anymore.  Nothing.  Waistbands are too tight (those damn waistbands) and shirts ride up.  Kids on the playground are running from the scary lady who's belly is showing.  I really should've gone up a size in my H&M maternity jeans.  I was bemoaning that this morning as I was dressing and Steve, again with the really helpful comments, suggested I wear his shirts and pajama pants for the rest of the pregnancy.  What I really want to clothe myself in is everything Ingrid and Isabel.  Have you ever worn their stuff?  It's like butter.  What are your favorite (inexpensive) maternity clothes?  I think I got away with more non-maternity last time because it was summer--dresses and stretchy skirts sufficed.  Now, it's cold.  And I'm still pregnant.  (Isn't this dress adorable though?  Can I get away with wearing it every day?)

// Elizabeth is back to blogging (sort of -- I don't want to make empty promises on her behalf but I think she's back?  Are you Elizabeth?) and I enjoyed this read since we're straddling the no-nap-sometimes-nap world as we speak.  Fear not, parents!  Quiet time can take the place of nap time. Or so we hope.

// Your comments were hugely helpful yesterday.  Whether they were actual hands-on advice or an "I'm right there with you!" I appreciated them more than you know.  So thank you very, very much.  I think Parker read the post because the last three days he's been totally easy-going.  I'll take it.

// Last two nights!  Nashville and Parenthood.  SPOILER ALERT: Of course, I'm disappointed in Rayna's decision but, as a Twitter friend pointed out, the tension would be gone from the show if she'd have chosen Deacon.  Of course.  And this being the final Parenthood season?  That's crap.  Especially because the reason is financial and not ratings.  I suggested on Facebook that we begin a fundraiser to keep it alive.  I suspect we won't raise enough money, though.

// I asked for book recommendations and, as always, you guys came through.  I think this book will be my next read.  I'm a bit of a sucker for books that I know will be made into movies.  Doesn't hurt that Reese Witherspoon will be the star either!  Oh, and every book on parenting that you suggested yesterday too.  I've got my work cut out for me.

Have a good weekend, everyone!  It's gonna be in the 80s here.  What?!

(that dreamy pin--originally here!)

parenting a toddler.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Starting with a throwback picture of easier times seemed fitting as we're heading into less easier, much murkier times as of late.  Heading into?  Nay.  We've headed there, we're in them, and we are three feet deep.  Hold onto your hats, people.  

You see, the first huge chunk of Parker's life was easy as pie.  This kid was so easy-going, we brought him everywhere, and he never cried.  Of course, I'm remembering this a little too fondly perhaps, but I definitely recall exclaiming to Steve on many, many occasions when he'd return home from work, "He didn't cry all day!  He's so easy going!"  Cause he was.  And he is.  But alas, I daresay that the "honeymoon" phase is over.  Hey, it lasted nearly a full three years so I guess I should count my lucky stars for that.  And also curse myself for, merely three months ago, telling Steve, "Terrible twos?!  Hardly!"  I may have chortled too.  Don't chortle.  It's asking for a curse on your head.

All the experts, moms, sisters, playground-goers, dental hygienists, grocery-store-check-out-people will tell you, "It's the threes, actually."  But I chose not to believe them, and to proclaim a victory over the twos.  Not so fast.

We've had some tantrums, some hitting, some crazy behavior that, quite honestly, has surprised me.  (Not my child!  Yes.  My child.)  And while it's all in the realm of normal, it just caught me so off guard and happened so quickly.  It felt a little bit, to this self-proclaimed emotional mom, like a betrayal.  Like the end of the sweetest, most innocent relationship.  I've cried a few times.

Additionally, I've found that I lack confidence when it comes to parenting a toddler (and, in a lot of ways, a teen--another tricky parenting phase).  Years zero through three I felt like I knew what I was doing and I didn't bristle at other parents' approach, though they be different than mine.  I was so sure that what we were doing was working for us, felt so confident in my decisions.  It's not that I regret anything, it's just that the situation has changed so we need new rules.  I'm not sure what those rules should be.  Do timeouts work?  How about bribes?  How much do I let him put his own shoes on and how much do I take the lead because time is of the essence and we have to get out the door?  Is it good to let them know they've hurt your feelings or is that considered manipulative?  Are you creating a spoiled child if you let them pick a matchbox car when you're at the grocery store?  Are rewards and punishments good or should praise be enough?  How do you handle a tantrum in public? What's right?  How much are my parenting techniques screwing my child up forever and ever?

As you can see, my  mind is reeling with questions.  This is only a small percentage of them.  Do you too feel like you're out in the wild, Bear Grylls' style, with absolutely nothing in your bag of tricks to help you through?

Let's talk.

No seriously, let's talk.

winter survival guide.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


is it time for one of these yet???  i hear enterovirus is going around.  do they try to freak us out with the names they come up with (remember NOROVIRUS) or is it just coincidence?  i think the former... i'm gonna call the next one teddy bear virus no matter what name they coin.  i've already been asked if i wanted the flu shot at an ob appt. and i've already had one wicked cold... i blame william, who came home with it practically the third day of school.  

all that to say yes i do think it is time for one of these, but if you think it too early, at the very least, you can start stocking your cupboards now so you're ready when the germs strike.  there is nothing worse (okay, very few things worse) than scrambling for supplies once you or the kids are already sick.  i cannot stand that and, as someone who's a bit of a self-professed germaphobe, i have learned that it makes me feel much more sane and in control when i know these things are already at my disposal.  

disclaimer: i'm not a doctor.  do your own research and determine if these things are right for you and your family!

elderberry syrup.
so, this is a no brainer.  it's easy and so, so, so much cheaper to make your own than to buy it at the store.  i made that batch on the left last week and it'll last a good month or more.  that amount at a store would cost me at least $50.  i literally have everyone line up--from steve right on down the line--and give them all a spoonful of it every day.  it keeps the immune system working better and, when actually sick, decreases the severity and length of illness.  i use these elderberries and this recipe and it's made me quite a few batches the size you see in the picture (and i'm still on my first bag).

congaplex.
if you've been reading long enough, you're probably rolling your eyes right now because i have mentioned congaplex so many times.  it's just that good.  i'm nervous if i have a cold and my stock is low or depleted.  have congaplex all the time and take it often (when sick).  all the research i've done has shown it's pregnancy safe, and is a whole food supplement thus difficult to overdose on.  i've taken upwards of nine a day.  i buy them at a naturopath nearby but have gotten them here before too.  more information here at their site (i've heard the best things about the company as a whole.).

nature's plus animal parade.
this is the latest multivitamin i've gotten for parker.  i can't quite figure out what is the best multivitamin for young children at the right price point.  so far, i'm happy with this one (and he loves it too).  every day he exclaims "viamin!" and if he has a shirt or pants with pockets, he likes to carry the vitamin around for a little while before he eats it.  it gives him a sense of control, i think.  ha.  i'd love to hear what vitamin you've heard about or have experience with that's good.

onguard oil blend.
this is my second winter really utilizing essential oils and i gotta say, i'm sort of into it.  this is just one of the many i frequently use, but probably my favorite one through the germy months if i had to choose.  (oregano oil, breathe blend, and lavender are also high on the list.)  on guard goes into the diffuser and on soles of feet when sick.  it also smells awesome (think cloves, cinnamon, orange.  very christmas-like.).  we have this diffuser and i've been really happy with it.  i also love the minimal look of it.  i know you can buy directly through the doterra website, but i think their shipping per bottle is for the birds, so i typically buy on amazon (even though i actually have a membership).  i think one bottle per winter is sufficient (and maybe more than you need depending on your family size).

bach's rescue remedy.
this is just a homeopathic stress reliever and i really like it.  i've had it for over a year but have more recently really relied on it when i'm getting anxious or stressed out.  call it placebo affect, call it legit, i think it works.  i've given it to the kids when i can tell they're anxious about things, and i've used it myself many times.  i notice a direct correlation between me getting really stressed or anxious and then getting run down and sick within days.  that takes a toll on your immune system!  this helps. 

other things we do: 
tons of fruit.  tons of chili and soup (best with homemade stock!  i most often use a chicken carcass these days and do it in a crockpot so there's no need to hover over it.).  less carbs.  more vegetables and good fats from butter and meat, etc.  parker and i have started making homemade popsicles about once a week that feel like dessert but really are pretty healthy (i do put a big scoop of vanilla yogurt in them, but that's all the artificial sweetener that goes into them.).  i also include a huge handful of spinach when we make those, and he gets the biggest kick out of dumping bags of frozen fruit into the blender, being the official button-pusher and official popsicle-stick-placer.  i also make my own antibacterial spray (i also buy it from the store--both work) but it's so easy and cheap to make with tea tree oil (a cheap oil as far as oils go!), water, and these amber bottles.  we also take probiotics, daily.  as well as cod liver oil.  getting everyone on board with this isn't always easy and there are many days i forget my supplements too, don't get me wrong.  i'm not rigorous (i wish i were more rigorous!) and i still crave sweets (especially when i'm pregnant).  chips, crackers and cheese, nachos, ice cream, chocolate, caramel, etc.  i wish i didn't crave it as much as i do, but it's just not the case.  so, don't beat yourself up if you feel like this is impossible.  i figure these things just give me a little more wiggle room for the ben and jerry's vanilla heath bar ice cream that i keep sneaking spoonfuls of.  you with me?

here's a list that includes a few of the same and a few different things.  once there, you can scroll down for some more crunchy stuff.  anything i'm missing?  what do you do?

sunflower field sunset.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"i am soooo not amused by being strapped in this thing."


the other night i was scrambling around like a madwoman after dinner to get us all on our bikes and on the road by 6:30.  you see, a few days earlier, i had dropped william at a football game and happened down this farm road (lies.  i was looking for these sunflowers that i heard existed.).  really, i was just in search of said sunflowers, but what made the whole thing that much more spectacular was the sunset.  i don't know if i've been deprived of sunsets my whole life, or haven't paid enough attention to them, or haven't been in the right place to see them, but they are nothing short of amazing to me.  miraculous even.  maybe they're just that way for everyone, a life full of sunsets or not.  i better stop cause i'm starting to sound cliche.

so there i was, driving and trying my best to keep my eyes on the road because the sunset was incredible.  the whole thing was incredible.  i knew i had to bring the family back, and by bike if we could manage it.  we did.  there we were, riding to this farm while the sun was going down (i underestimated how long three miles both ways would feel when you're out of shape and pregnant and your bike has no gears but the rest of the family's bikes do have gears but that's beside the point).  the sunset just kept changing and becoming more colorful and more unreal as we rode.  you could take your eyes off it for a moment, look back, and it'd be altogether different.  and all of this over an enormous field of sunflowers.

doesn't get much better than that.

and just like that, it was gone.

zulily this morning.

some of the cute things on zulily this morning.
broken tricycle!  schylling toys!
(i had that pull-a-phone as a kid.  loved it.)

sign up here if you haven't already.

travel series no. 3: sarah's guide to martha's vineyard!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Good morning!  Today we have Sarah to tell us a little bit about her home... Martha's Vineyard!  Thanks so much Sarah!

I’m Sarah - a hungry mom of two young boys (Dylan, 3 and Gray, 8 months), home cook, and recipe developer. I live with my family on Martha’s Vineyard which has its pluses (there is no Target) and minuses (there is no Target!). After being a summer kid for 30 years my husband and I took the plunge and moved here full time two years ago. The island’s community, natural beauty, and charm is contagious. My blog, Two Blue Lemons, documents the meals from our kitchen and general Martha’s Vineyard adventures. I am the co-author of Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Snacks being published by Roost Books in July 2015.

And now, some of Sarah's favorite things about living in Martha's Vineyard.

1. Cinema Circus 
I love the handcrafted costumes, local food offerings, and creative circus put on by Ringmaster, Rory the Lion, Ellie the Elephant and the entire crew of Cinema Circus.  These amazing afternoons are made up of filmmaking, film watching, circus shows, face painting and more.  It is a child’s dream and a parent’s (because it’s free!). 
 2. Long Point Wildlife Refuge 
The Vineyard has a strict town beach sticker policy during the high season which can be frustrating but Long Point doesn’t require a sticker, which I love.  You have the best of both worlds at Long Point – miles of ocean beach, perfect for body surfing and boogie boarding, as well as fresh water ponds for easy swimming and kid friendly fun.  When you visit, make sure to go early as the parking lot fills up fast but if you’re willing to walk down the beach you’ll always have plenty of space. 
Click to read more!!

i want a time out.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

parker gets them, why can't i have one?  i mean, i would kill for a time out.  i would kill for a nap.  i will give you one million dollars if you tell me, "bridget.  go take a nap."  and the child, he just protests such things.  the other day's gestational diabetes test is probably the closest to a time out i've had in awhile.  almost a spa day if i'd arrived donning a white fluffy robe and the office had hiked the heat up just a smidgen more.  i considered the robe, anyway.  

it ain't right.

let's move on.  the past few days have been rough.  some anxiety (the middle of the night kind which is always so much bigger at the time than it is in the light of morning.  crazy nighttime mind tricks.), some cold (so much nose-blowing and sneezing, which then leads me to this confession on facebook), so much toddler tantruming (we really need to dive into this in a future blog post), so much teenage drama (we won't probably dive into this but goodness gracious me), financial stress, our pets heads are falling off...

put it all together and what do you get?  am i about to break into down down baby?  is this the early 90s?  are you still with me?

it's clear, even as i write, that i am in dire need of a good night's sleep.  i'm beginning to make very little sense and as i sit here my pile of tissues is growing around me such that i may actually be trapped by it soon.  but, what was the point of all of this?  i guess it's something like this if a neat wrap-up is necessary: we're all in this together.  everyone's got their shitty days and mine was today (yesterday).  

how was yours?  tell me something good.  or bad.  i'll take either.

Soup or weather, weather or soup.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I feel like all I can talk about these days is soup or the weather, the weather or soup.  I sit down here and details about the smell of sautéing onions and garlic or the sweater I need to wrap myself up in every morning flow forth but not much else.  It's that time of year.  Not quite hibernation but we're getting there, so we need to pull our resources, stock up on some fatty meats and beans, and hunker down.  I want bay leaf wreaths on every door, I sort of want to paint my bathroom black, and I definitely want to make more chili.  I light a candle every morning and it remains flickering throughout the day, unless I go out.  It's a spicy fall smell.  I'm playing Phil Keaggy on Pandora which takes me through a lot of great guitar; you should check it out.  I think about dinner at 3 pm and actually look forward to making my way from couch to kitchen to start it.  The opening of cans, the sizzling of meat, the dicing of onions.  It's methodical and makes this place feel more like home.  I have little energy for much, but for cooking a hot meal these days?  Endless, it seems.  I stack the bowls, place them on the table, and ladle huge spoonfuls of black bean soup into each one while we sit around the table.  The other night it was a triple batch and we have leftovers.  We plopped scoops of sour cream and sprinkled grated cheese in ours.  We're keeping our windows wide open while we sleep and the room is chilly in the morning.  Our duvet gets put to use.  Even doing the laundry feels less chore-like and more keeping-home like these days.  I can't wait to pick out some pumpkins, maybe some mums, and place them on my stoop.  Should I let Parker take some paint to them?  Should we draw some black jack-o-lantern faces instead?  Which color mums?  I'm looking forward to seeing a fall stoop at my own house and others, looking forward to walking the aisles at the farm determining which pumpkins will make it home.  We went for a six mile bike ride the other night to catch the sunset down this farm road.  I think fall delivers the greatest sunsets, in this area anyway.  I want a good recipe for crockpot apple sauce and I want to drink hot cider and eat cider donuts too.  I waver on whether a day of 90 degrees would be welcome or not.  

To encourage the feelings of coziness in your own home, might I suggest: this throw // this cd // this pullover // this soup // these mugs (for the cider) // these slippers // this blog post (which totally inspired mine) // + finally, the pumpkin candle of your choosing (or, if you're me, whichever one smells best from your local Marshall's)

Yes, that should do it.

no more waistbands.

Monday, September 15, 2014

{dress: c/o shabby apple}
{shoes: (old) target}

i'm to the point in pregnancy where i want to rip all pants off of my body unless they have a soft and very stretchy elastic waist by 4:30 or 5 pm.  seriously.  if you happen to stop by after those hours, expect to see me in sweats of some sort.  the other day i was cooking and couldn't step away from the stove but the PANTS HAD TO COME OFF.  i begged steve to grab my sweats and, right there in the kitchen, had to do a quick switch.  i threw the jeans down in digust!  they landed in a rumpled heap on the kitchen floor.  the waistbands!  i cannot abide them!  so, this dress came right in time.  it's sort of perfect for fall (that rusty color!), and... best of all... no waistband.  

now what i'll be wearing for the next 10+ weeks is beyond me.  this won't really do once the snow falls.

Cucumber Tomato Panini.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

So I talked about how, during the summer, I feel totally uninspired in the kitchen.  Well, when it comes to lunch, I feel uninspired one hundred percent of the time.  Months September, October, November, straight on through till August.  Repeat for another year.  It's just, I wake up and it's go-time with breakfast.  Then I know I'm going to have to deliver something come dinner so lunch ends up being like... apples and peanut butter (if I'm having a particularly healthy day) or like Trader Joe's cookies with a handful of almonds to cancel those out if I'm being particularly lazy.  Or, as was the case last week, a bag of popcorn and a glass of lemonade.  Who wants to legitimately cook three meals a day?  You?  Are you also a crazy person?  (Note: I'm not always cooking breakfast, sometimes it's just cereal, but a lot of the times it's yogurt pancakes or an egg scramble of some sort.  I love eggs in the morning.)

But then, but then, I went out on a lunch date.  And, I decided to order this cucumber sandwich on a whim.  I'm often a chicken-salad-wrap-or-sandwich-when-out-to-lunch kinda gal but not this time!  I strayed from my normal course and am so glad I did.  This sandwich was so good.  There are times--and it's definitely not all the time, I'd estimate six times a year--when I enjoy a meal so much that I wake up thinking about it, and that continues straight on through the day.  I told you it's six times a year so you'd know I'm not just falling in love willy-nilly with every meal that is placed in front of me.  This makes me more legitimate, you see?

So, this sandwich was really good and I took stock of everything in it and was like, "I can do that."  And so I did.  It tasted exactly the same.  Now I bestow unto you this magical recipe so you can make it in the comfort of your own home as well.  You're welcome.

But, for the record, apples and peanut butter and/or a handful of cookies is still easier.

Cucumber Tomato Panini
(enough to make one sandwich)

two slices of bread--a ciabatta, French, whatever you prefer, really
a few slices of cucumber (I sliced diagonally so they'd be bigger slices)
a few slices of tomato
a handful of sprouts
two slices of muenster cheese
a smearing of mayo
a decent amount of honey mustard

Put it all together, cheese towards the outside of both sides so it's closest to the heat and can melt and hold ingredients together.  And... enjoy.  Then, tell me what you think.

Note: I used a pan and a flat lid to press it down and trap some of the heat.  A panini press would work great too.  Just be sure to butter/mayo/olive oil the outside.

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