Tag Archives: Yoga

Moving and Not Moving

FOOD

Despite going from living at one house and trying to empty it of all food, and moving to the new house and the realization that I have no staples anymore, it’s still been a great food week.

My breakfasts have been green smoothies and then Irish oatmeal in the latter part of the morning.

my standard smoothie - water, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and greens.

my standard smoothie – water, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and greens.

I had this every morning on my way to work

I had this every morning on my way to work

Once I get to work, it’s been heating up and eating the Irish oats with blueberries.

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This morning, I used my new Instant Pot (click here to learn more!) to make Irish oats with blueberries, banana, vanilla and cinnamon.  Ate some today, and have enough leftovers for half the work week!

I love the Instant Pot.  This took me 10 minutes total.

I love the Instant Pot. This took me 10 minutes total.

Lunches have been soups and salads mostly.  Quick and easy and can keep them in my fridge at work.

a BAS topped with a black bean chipotle veggie burger

a BAS topped with a black bean chipotle veggie burger

Lentil soup from Whole Foods

Lentil soup from Whole Foods

a HH soup of white beans, kale, and quino

a HH soup of white beans, kale, and quino

chickpeas, carrots, onions, garlic, and kale in a red Thai curry broth over quinoa

chickpeas, carrots, onions, garlic, and kale in a red Thai curry broth over quinoa

Dinners have been simple too.  Dishes with tofu, beans, rice, and various veggie and salad portions as well.

mostly BAS's like this one with veggies, quinoa, and cubed tofu

mostly BAS’s like this one with veggies, quinoa, and cubed tofu

Last night was our vegan drinks meet up and I did have a slice of vegan pizza and some garlic knots.  It was tasty, but I didn’t go overboard, which was nice.

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FITNESS

This has definitely been lacking.  I think I posted about the flu going around, well that turned into my youngest getting pneumonia too.  I did yoga at home, but that was pretty much it.  Well, unless you count packing and hauling boxes all over.  Otherwise I wasn’t really moving while I was moving!

Yesterday was my first outdoor run in a few weeks.  It was ridiculously cold, but still felt good.  My hope today is to finally go for a run in my new neighborhood!  D has been scouting out some routes for me, which is incredibly cute.

LIFE

Well, it’s been busy, but very rewarding too.  The contractors finished the walls last Friday, and the movers brought our stuff on Sunday.  So, it’s officially been one week since we started staying in the new house!  There are still things to do – like curtains, lamps, and the electronic hook ups (D has some monstrous project being installed on Wednesday with a new TV, speakers (which will include recesessed ones in the ceiling), which will more or less complete things.  We also want to pick up bar stools and collect and hang art work, but all the big things are done.

a couple new paintings!  Yes, we're cat people.

a couple new paintings! Yes, we’re cat people.

Many of our neighbors have stopped by to welcome us to the neighborhood, which has been incredibly nice.  I’ve never experienced this before, so I’m definitely digging on it.

Last night was Vegan Drinks at the new Cogan’s location in Norfolk.  We had a big crowd and it was a ton of fun.  Of course, had to snap a pic with NS and KP!

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In other news, my son won first place in a theater competition this past weekend!  It was for a 30 minute 2-person show, where it was mostly M performing a monologue to the audience.  It’s the first time his school has ever placed, much less won!  He goes to a regional competition to perform again in two weeks.  So proud of him!

M and his teacher (and the trophy!)

M and his teacher (and the trophy!)

R was finally well enough to go back to school this past week.  What a crazy time for her to be so sick and moving (no, we didn’t let her actually move anything).  I do have a collection of morning pictures to share though!

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And one where she kicked my butt at Yahtzee.  Twice.  Brat child.

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GOAL CHECK-IN

  • my goals for eating habits are going well.  Less processed foods and eating out, and more of eating balanced whole foods.  I can definitely feel a difference, though I haven’t weighed myself yet.
  • gluten – I haven’t been gluten-free, but I have been gluten-lite.  It’s harder than I thought while moving, but I’ve been able to stick to having gluten containing foods only 2-3 per week total.
  • meal planning – even though I haven’t done much grocery shopping, this is still going very well.  I plan everything for the next day based on what I have at home, and it’s been quite the key to eating well for me.
  • workouts – fail.  I mean really fail.  I’ve only run twice in two weeks and no hot yoga at all.
  • blog consistently – fail.  I haven’t blogged in two weeks!  It’s easy for me to say I’ve just been too busy with move and life and work, but still.  I could’ve found some time at least.  Same with the workouts.
  • wine habit – going great.  I recognized a couple weeks ago that it was a habit, and I needed to replace it with a healthy one.  So instead of grabbing a glass or two of wine every night, I’m drinking herbal tea.  I have a groovy new tea kettle, stocked up on lots of different teas, and every time I think I want a glass of wine, I drink tea.  I thought about just not having anything, but after reading the Power of Habit, realized it would be easier to just swap the habit.  So I still have a glass with me in the evenings, but it’s filled with something good for me.
  • reaching out when I need help.  I have also been doing this.  I have two other friends who happen to be working on ditching their nightly alcohol habits, and I wouldn’t have even known that if I hadn’t started talking to them about mine.

GIVEAWAY WINNER

A big congratulations to Andrea!  She’s the winner of the Best Green Smoothies on the Planet!  giveaway!!!

Would You Like a New House With That Flu?

FOOD

So my goal in the next week and a half is to buy no groceries if at all possible and eat what I have in the house.  I have a tendency to over-shop and then forget I have six bags of lentils, eight bags of rice, etc.  You get the point.  So it should be no problem whipping up some awesome healthy eats without spending a dime on groceries.

Why, do you ask, am I doing this?  Two reasons.  I have too much food lying around – more than my family will ever eat if I don’t stop grocery shopping.

Also – I don’t want to move it all to the new house.  Oh wait, what did I say there?  WE BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE.  More on that below ;)

So my eats this week have been oatmeal for breakfast (out of the old fashioned oats, and this week I’ll tackle the Irish oats!  Saving the best for last!).  Smoothies of course.  Lentils soups (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had 6 bags).

blueberry and banana oats.

blueberry and banana oats

lentil soup for days!  Been nice though because I can put almost anything in it, and it's been so cold, that soup is perfect.

lentil soup for days! Been nice though because I can put almost anything in it, and it’s been so cold, that soup is perfect.

FITNESS

Since my last real post, I’ve gone on a few runs and did yoga at home.

However, I’ve been doing a lot of moving – packing boxes, loading them into my minivan, and taking them to the new house or the storage unit and unloading them from the van.  So in essence…I’m doing weight lifting!  I can feel it in my arms to be sure :)

LIFE

D and I closed on a new house this past Monday.  I am a highly superstitious person, and don’t like to talk about some things until it’s a “done deal”, which is why I haven’t posted about it before now.  D and I actually decided last spring that we wanted to buy a new house.  We’ve decided to stay in VA for at least another 7-10 years (so R can finish school) before we even think of leaving, so we decided now was a good time to buy that dream home with a pool.

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We wanted to wait until after summer to start looking because we had too much going on (I was in go-live hell, my parent’s came to visit, lots of work travel), so we looked a bit online, but started working with a relator in late September.  And we found our dream home in late October, made an offer, and there ya go.  We all agreed (sellers and us) to put off closing until after the holidays were over, but now it’s done, and it’s our house!  Oh, and it’s only a mile and a half from where we live now.  Same school district, which was important.

vegan foodie packing....

vegan foodie packing….

left the room for a minute to get the packing tape and found Ginny up here.  She's been having way too much fun in this...

left the room for a minute to get the packing tape and found Ginny up here. She’s been having way too much fun in this…

new house = new dishes!  HF helped me pick out the perfect ones.  Here's the first batch running through my new dishwasher!

new house = new dishes! HF helped me pick out the perfect ones. Here’s the first batch running through my new dishwasher!

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The only thing that isn’t perfect about the house is the wallpaper.  Kitchen, dining room, eat-in kitchen, and all 3 bathrooms are wall paper.  We have a contractor starting on Monday to get rid of it all and paint most of the house.  Then, it’ll be really perfect.  Death to wallpaper!  Oh, we’ll have before and after pics to share because I don’t think anyone will believe me about how crazy it is until it’s gone….

I’m also having a custom wall mountable wine rack made out of a wine barrel!  So excited.  Spice snobbery can be proudly displayed on my kitchen wall!  And it’s an up cycled Napa valley wine barrel.  See.  Dream home :)

Anyway, the hope is we’ll start living in the home around the very end of this month.  So I do apologize for the lack of posts this week, it’s been a bit hectic around here!

In other news, I’ve been sick and so has the young one, so that’s put some damper on the week.  We both appear to be on the upswing though, so that’s good news.

Monday's morning picture where R still felt good (though I was home sick).

Monday’s morning picture where R still felt good (though I was home sick).

Wednesday's morning picture where R and I were pathetically snuggled in bed as D was getting ready for work.

Wednesday’s morning picture where R and I were pathetically snuggled in bed as D was getting ready for work.

Wednesday afternoon, R decided to work on her Python coding.  Proud IT mama right here!

Wednesday afternoon, R decided to work on her Python coding. Proud IT mama right here!

just because she's ridiculously cute

just because she’s ridiculously cute

they're starting to finally get along!  Sleep on the same bed - just not too close.  Even playing somewhat together.  They've graduated to frenemies.  Only took a year and a half...

they’re starting to finally get along! Sleep on the same bed – just not too close. Even playing somewhat together. They’ve graduated to frenemies. Only took a year and a half…

poor sicko hasn't slept well most this week.  Face mask kept the sun out of her eyes so she could nap.  Worked wonders.  And this is today's morning picture :(

poor sicko hasn’t slept well most this week. Face mask kept the sun out of her eyes so she could nap. Worked wonders. And this is today’s morning picture :(

So thanks for your patience, and more to come.  Also, if you haven’t already, please enter my giveaway – you have nothing to lose and perhaps a new smoothie book to gain!  Here’s the link, and thanks for playing ;)

 

Candles & Cats Don’t Mix

FOOD

I start every morning with a cup of black coffee. And despite many people's claims that to truly get healthy one must kick the habit…not going to happen. One cup of coffee isn't going to suck my body into acidic hell. So it stays. And that will make me and everyone around me (especially in the morning!) very happy!

That said….

Breakfast yesterday was a green smoothie, lunch was a quick spicy tofu soup, I had a post-run snack of a baked potato with refried pinto beans and hot sauce, and dinner was a soup and salad.

my standard recipe of onion, garlic, tomatoes, and sriracha. This version was also cabbage and asparagus.

Breakfast today was a green juice (used up the last of my kale and cucumber!), morning snack was a green smoothie (and used the last of the pineapple), lunch was spicy hummus and gluten-free seed crackers (not pleased with this choice…truth be told…but found myself hungry after yoga, really sweaty, and no easy meal in site), a PM snack of Allegro hot chocolate in unsweetened coconut milk, and dinner was a butternut squash and black bean soup served over quinoa.

I've been loving making juices almost every day the past two weeks. I hope to get these in at least 3 days per week once I go back to work. It's also a great way to use up produce that's not going to last much longer!
threw in a scoop of Vega Vanilla Smoothie powder for some extra staying power
holy crap, this was good. Whole family loved it. D and M each had two servings.

FITNESS

Yesterday – shortly after writing my “come clean” post – I went for a run. I am on W2D2 (week 2, day 2) of the 10K app, and the run was just under 2.5 miles. I will be honest – it's a bit frustrating. The app includes walk breaks – and the goal is to build up the endurance – and I really just want to blow through them sometimes, especially when I'm feeling strong, but I also know that overduing it is dumb.

Today I went to a hot yoga class, and I have a new favorite instructor! I took his class earlier in the week, and he's just awesome. Great instruction, walks through the class to be sure everyone is in the right alignment, and has a great and playful energy. I have a feeling I'll be specifically seeking out his classes in the future.

LIFE

The past two days have been blissfully simple. Today was my last day off, and this time away from work has been quite lovely. We're gearing up for a busy year, so I'm glad to come into it after a week and a half off!

D is feeling great and is allowed to have fiber again. No raw broccoli or anything, but he's back to his green smoothies, is putting weight back on, and looks awesome. Kids have mostly been big lumps and enjoying their vacations too!

In this morning's meditation session, Ginny joined me…like she always does. This time, she decided to check out my candle a little too closely and ended up with a singed whisker! She was fine, but the room smelled awful, so I cut my meditation short (only 4 minutes in!).

I have a confession to make. I totally love the Biggest Loser. While I disagree with some of what they do (losing 15 lbs in a week…no matter how big you are…can't possibly be good for the long term), I do still find the show fun and inspiring. I can relate to people who want to change their lives, regain their health, and need help doing it. Thing is, I haven't watched it much the past few years and completely forgot about it. Until this week. And in between reading, cleaning, relaxing, and hanging out with my family….I've been binge watching the heck out of Season 16 on Hulu.

my Biggest Loser companion…though she clearly fails to see the value of the show!

 

GOAL CHECK IN

I know it's only been two days, but here's how I stand with it:

  • 100% gluten free
  • worked out both days
  • no wine
  • the crackers today – while GF, were still a processed food. I was really disappointed in that. I haven't bulk cooked, and when I got home from yoga, the kids were in the kitchen making lunches for themselves (tofurky sammiches!), and so I didn't have the room to make something. Truth is…I could have picked something better. Even a banana to get me through a half hour until I could reclaim the kitchen.
  • meditated yesterday for 8 minutes and today for 4. Yesterday's was bad…mind kept wandering…but that's part of the process. Today was great until the smell…
  • my goal is to be around 1200 calories per day. Nailed it today….was under yesterday (which is NOT good). I think it was partially because I slept in yesterday and also went to bed fairly early last night, so there really weren't enough hours in the day. And while I've been tracking my calories for years…there's a shift when I'm not drinking any!

 

 

See Ya Later, Alligator

FOOD


The past few days have been great on the food front. It's been nice being off, and the daily juicing has felt very luxurious! It's also something I hope to do more of in the new year.

a juice of Romaine, spinach, chard, kale, beet, and pineapple. And totally amazing! The book is interesting too ;)
Romaine, Swiss chard, cucumber, lemon, and ginger green juice.
a busy Sunday cookday! Polenta with a mushroom ragout (took 2 hours, but OH so worth it!), another pumpkin pie, mustard salad dressing, roasted beets, and a BAS of epic yumminess

 

baked veg risotto (which was a minor fail…had to drain off excess liquid), and topped with green beans. Not fancy, but still hit the spot.
green smoothie at the hospital waiting room with D (he was there for a procedure). Water, pineapple, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and mixed greens!
post yoga BAS from the Whole Foods salad bar
Moe's burrito with tofu, rice, beans, and veggies. On the road (and no, I wasn't driving….I was parked and snarfing my dinner!)
today's dual drinks! On the right was my juice of the day – romaine, kale, spinach, pineapple, cucumber, and beet. On the left, a late morning smoothie of water, banana, frozen blueberries, and mixed greens. Funny to me how they look almost identical (I can honestly only tell the difference because of the straws….)
NYE dinner at Mannino's and it was amazing! All vegan – zucchini appetizer (best I've ever had), pasta with EVOO, fresh garlic, and parsley, and the second best brussel sprouts I've ever had (still like mine the most!)

 

FITNESS

The past couple days – since my last post – have been one run and two yoga sessions.

I hurt my foot the other morning. It was dumb – it was 4am and Bumble was scratching at a box in my room leftover from Christmas. She was keeping me up, and I was ushering her out of the room and tripped. I twisted my left foot and scraped my right shin. Really stupid, and it hurt for two bloody days.

Oh, and my golf adventure on Saturday left me hurting by Sunday. How crazy is that?? Part of my lower back and neck were so sore. I seriously need to practice…

However, a hot yoga class on Monday eve definitely hit the spot! It felt so good and my back and neck stopped hurting.

Yesterday was raining mostly during the day, and since we hiked around the theme park in the evening (and I was letting my foot rest), I stayed in.

Today it was feeling good, so I went for a 3 miler through the neighborhood. Felt good to end 2014 with a quick run!

LIFE

It's hard to believe what's been jammed into the past three days!

Christmas clean up doesn't take me long. I'll be honest – not my favorite holiday – and once it's past (like, the 26th), I start to remove all traces. So yes, decorations are packed up and the tree is down. And if I hear one more Christmas song now that the holiday is over, I'll probably scream (I can only handle Christmas music on Christmas Day….and then only in small doses). Some day I'll get to the psycological root of my dislike of Christmas (may have something to do with watching Holiday movies in July during my youth), but for now, I'll just cope.

D was playing with his new lighting equipment and captured a couple fun pics! I love M in his Chelsea gear!

Yesterday we finally hit up Christmas Town. We go every year, but couldn't make it before the actual holiday. Between D's flare-up, A's work schedule, and the rain – last night was really the only day we could make it. It was cold, but still fun.

And today is New Year's Eve! D and I went out to dinner – alone – and had an amazing time. We went to a local Italian place in Portsmouth and had not only great food, but a fun time together (and chatting about scary movies with the staff!).

And now, 2014 is almost over (only 30 min left on the East Coast), and in reflection….I'm glad to see it go. It wasn't a “bad” year, but one that was more hectic than I want my life to ultimately be. There were some great moments to be sure, but I felt like much of my life was living me rather than my living my own life. Most of that was due to a crazy work schedule, but ultimately, all of it was my own doing. I have a tendency to take on too much, convince myself I thrive on chaos, and rarely take a breather. In the end, I spent 3/4ths of the year covered in hives and running from place to place. 2015, I hope, will be much different. But for now, I will take these lessons learned and combine them with some new plans and outlooks for 2015!

 

So Happy New Year my friends!

 

 

Pigeon, Pictures, & a Pretty Day

FOOD

Well, two days in a row of dusting off my juicer!  I love it, but I tend to go in fits and spurts when it comes to using it.  I will admit, that it’s mostly a time commitment thing.  I went to a slow juicer last year – which I’m glad I did – but it takes longer and I have to cut up the pieces first.  So, from beginning to end, it takes me about 20 minutes (picking and prepping the produce, juicing, and cleaning up after).  I don’t always allow myself that extra time in the morning!  And with my Vitamix, a smoothie takes about a minute.

cucumbers, kale, spinach, romaine, ginger, celery, and lotsa lemon!

cucumbers, kale, spinach, romaine, ginger, celery, and lotsa lemon!

Well, ramble aside, I juiced a HECK of a lot this morning, ending with a full quart of green goodness!

For lunch, I ate all the leftover veggies from Christmas.  M ate the rest of the Tofurky this morning!

carrots and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil and maple syrup.  Just a smidgen of the stuffing still in there from the Tofurky still!

carrots and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil and maple syrup. Just a smidgen of the stuffing still in there from the Tofurky still!

Late afternoon I whipped up a green smoothie (though it always cracks me up when it doesn’t turn green!), and dinner was leftover red curry soup from Christmas eve.

water, cranberries, banana, strawberries, clementine, and mixed greens (Swiss chard, kale, and spinach mix from Costco)

water, cranberries, banana, strawberries, clementine, and mixed greens (Swiss chard, kale, and spinach mix from Costco)

Yesterday, I met AC out for lunch (silly girl went to work!).  Thai food, of course.  Green curry tofu, naturally :)

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I also picked up some vegan dark chocolate mix at Whole Foods, and whipped up a massive cup with the rest of my homemade vanilla soy milk!  I was SO yummy.

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FITNESS

I was planning to hit up the hot yoga studio yesterday, but ran out of time.  I did do the Evening Simmer Down 45 minute yoga class on Yogaglo though.  It was a pretty good class – legs up the wall is one of my all time favorite poses.  It was a very gentle class, and I found myself able to do pigeon without my normal modifications for my knees at the end!  That was encouraging, as it’s been a bit painful on one knee to do it – so I’ve been doing the modified version on my back for the past 6-7 months.

what it normally looks like!  My RA affects my knees (though it hurts when I don't move for too long - not when I'm active).  But this pose would be sore on my bent leg.  Not last night though!

what it normally looks like! My RA affects my knees (though it hurts when I don’t move for too long – not when I’m active). But this pose would be sore on my bent leg’s knee. Not last night though!

this is the modification I typically do.  Same stretch without the pressure on the knees.   I definitely listen to my body when doing yoga, and it's been screaming "pigeon modifications" for most of the past year.

this is the modification I typically do. Same stretch without the pressure on the knees. I definitely listen to my body when doing yoga, and it’s been screaming “pigeon modifications” for most of the past year.

Running makes my hips tight, and pigeon is my favorite way to open them back up again!

This afternoon I went for a run, and then hit up the golf course to try out my new clubs!  I definitely need to practice.  It would have been nice to actually hit the ball each time I tried ;)

To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  Hovering around 60 and very sunny, it was the perfect day for running and smacking balls around.

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LIFE

After lunch with AC yesterday, I hit up Whole Foods and Costco.  I was expecting the day after Christmas to be hectic, but both stores were relatively empty.

D played with his new camera lighting equipment he got from my parents, and made the kids pose for him.  Pay no heed to the overly dramatic pose of the eldest and the crazy bed head of the young one….

M & A.  Reminder...M is in theater and A is an artist.  Need I say more?

M & A. Reminder…M is in theater and A is an artist. Need I say more?

R and Ginny.  Who's looking highly unamused by the adventure.

R and Ginny. Who’s looking highly unamused by the whole thing.

Here, I think R is having MUCH more fun than Ginny.

Here, I think R is having MUCH more fun than Ginny.  Is it me, or does she look like she’s pleading for rescue?

M had two friends spend the night, A had to work, and R has spent the past several days building and programming a robot.  So far it has moved blocks, rolls around the house, and served as an attack cobra….

Today D went into work for most of the day.  He’s had time off to deal with his Crohn’s and wanted to be sure he’s all caught up on year end stuff!  Other than running and (trying) to hit golf balls, I did some morning meditation, read, did some laundry, and lazed about.  All told…lovely couple of days!

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my morning meditation partner! She also stays with me when I do yoga at home. And I admit to moving to the carpet so I don’t have to move her when she’s lying in the middle!

as a quick note, a big congrats to Jessi for winning the Happy Herbivore Holiday & Gatherings cookbook giveaway!

 

Christmas Contemplation

FOOD

Lots of tasty eats this last week. Happy hour with AC, lunch with D, plus whipping up dishes at home means plent of food and leftovers!

 

a simple baked potato topped with black beans and vegan sour cream

made some homemade pinto beans in the pressure cooker, and had meals for days! Corn tortilla tacos with beans, rice, and all the toppings.

taco salad!

happy hour with AC last week Friday. Sparkling wine, edamame, and roasted garlic and peppers!

cucumber, carrot, ginger juice

steamed cauliflower over pasta with a “cheezy” sauce and ground black pepper

stopped at Colley Cantina with D for some blackened tofu tacos

Of course we did have a holiday stuffed into the last week, and that always means special foods. Christmas Eve was homemade soups and sammiches! The soups I made were Tomato Tortilla and Red Curry Kale (my personal favorite!). Sammiches were a marinated tofu with a veganaise/mustard/nooch blend and sliced onions. Seriously I think it’s the best sammich I ever made (and mostly courtesy of Vegan Sammiches Save the Day). Oh, and Snickerdoodle cookies too!

 

Christmas dinner was Tofurky roast, cornbread, maple roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, herbed rice (recipe below), and balsamic brussel sprouts. And pumpkin pie!

 

Holiday Herbed Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice – rinsed
  • 1 tbsp either Earth Balance or Olive Oil
  • 2 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Poultry Spice
  • 2 cups water or broth (I used broth)

Directions

  • put Earth Balance or Olive Oil in a pan and heat. (I use my rice cooker, but if you don’t have one, you can do this over medium heat in a sauce pan on the stove.
  • add rinsed rice and stir to coat for 1-2 minutes
  • add poultry spice and mix well
  • add water/broth. stir, then pop in the garlic cloves (doing it whole gives a hint of flavor rather than full frontal!). If you’re using a rice cooker, just close the lid and select the appropriate setting (for me, it’s White Rice). If cooking stove top, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to simmer, and cook until all liquid is absorbed, approximately 20 minutes.

I liked going the herbed rice route this year rather than the heavy mashed potatoes. This meal was heavy enough!

my day-after-Christmas green juice! It was SO good too. Romaine, kale, celery, fennel, ginger, lemon.

 

FITNESS

My Christmas morning run was absolutely awesome. It was a beautiful day – about 60 and sunny – and it was great to take off in a t-shirt and fly thorugh the neighborhood.

Aside from yesterday’s run, I’ve had a few other runs, kickboxing, and yoga.

 

LIFE

The past week has been a whirlwind of activities. Most of my collegues takes at least some time off this time of year (myself included!). That meant this past week was focused on being fully caught up at work so it’s not a struggle when I go back on Jan 5.

It was also the last mad dash to get Christmas finished. Shopping, wrapping, shipping, etc.

she was SO over wrapping! Which I completely understand.

Christmas Eve was our traditional pj and family game night. We all get new jammies, put them on, and then play our new game! The winner picks breakfast the next day. This year’s adventure was Headbanz Act Up. It was SO much fun. I played it with my sister, niece, and nephew last month when I was visiting, and knew I had to get it for my family. A and I tied, and breakfast was biscuits and gravy, potatoes, and smoothies!

Christmas Day itself was very low-key, as most of our holiday’s tend to be. We slept in, did the gift and breakfast thing, then relaxed all day – doing our own things – until it was time to make dinner.

R playing with her Lego Mindstorm. Ginny deciding if she’s going to attack it!

new golf clubs for me!!!

But now that the day has come and gone, the rest of the week off can just ease on by, and that’s an awesome feeling.

Most people get contemplative at some time in their lives. For many it’s New Year’s or their birthday’s. For me, it always seems to be around Christmas. I take stock of my life, and look more at things I want to change. Don’t get me wrong, I think of the great things too, but it’s around now that I focus on things I want to do. It’s my time of renewal, so to speak. And because I’m a planner, I guess it makes sense that this happens for me just before the new year kicks in.

This is a time for raw honesty, but at the same time, to be non judgemental. More to come on these thoughts in the coming days as they become more solidified in my mind.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and continue to enjoy some fun and peace through what’s left of 2014!

 

Knowing The Season Based on How Hot or Cold Your Workout Clothes Are

FOOD

I finally made a batch of homemade vanilla soy  milk.  It’s been on my to do list for a few months, but I’ve been lazy.  Seriously, I have no good excuses…I have a soy milk maker for crying out loud!

I have honestly gotten complacent about making my own dairy-free milks and was mainly subsisting on Silk Soy Milks (their Very Vanilla is amazing) for quite awhile.  Unfortunately, now that they’re making Almond Milk, I can’t buy their brand for risk of cross contamination (with R’s allergies, I just won’t take the risk – and if you read their food label, they can’t guarantee nut-allergy safety).  I haven’t found another soy milk brand I like, so have really just been using So Delicious Coconut Milk (which I like for most things).  But I really wanted a very vanilla-type milk, so decided it was time to make my own.

I used to buy my soybeans in bulk because of my milk making, but since it’s been so long, I didn’t want to use beans that are too old and sitting in my garage!  This last Sunday, I picked up some fresher beans, and went to town.  No real recipe to post because I followed ideas from others.  Soak the beans, peel them (easiest to as they’re submerged, and just rub the skins off – it reduces the beany-taste), put them in the Soy Milk maker with 2 tbsp of gluten-free oats (it makes it nice and creamy!), strain, then add a small amount of salt and any other ingredients you want.  I used some raw sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean (to make it VERY vanilla).

it really is an amazing feeling to make your own food from scratch!   Ease of mind too, when you're dealing with food allergies.

it really is an amazing feeling to make your own food from scratch! Ease of mind too, when you’re dealing with food allergies.

Most my other eats this week were typical.  Green smoothie breakfasts, leftover Sunday bulk cooking lunches (hello Cream of Broccoli Soup!), and a holiday party lunch at the Yardhouse where they have a Gardein menu!

soy milk, pineapple, banana, mango, and spinach.  I LOVED that I took this to a meeting this week, and not only was there another green smoothie drinker in the house, but one of my co-workers took a swig (and loved it!)

soy milk, pineapple, banana, mango, and spinach. I LOVED that I took this to a meeting this week, and not only was there another green smoothie drinker in the house, but one of my co-workers took a swig (and loved it!)

green smoothie to-go!

green smoothie to-go!

Gardein orange chick'n with brown jasmin rice.  Seriously...I can get this out and about now!  And with a White Ale, it was awesome.

Gardein orange chick’n with brown jasmin rice. Seriously…I can get this out and about now! And with a White Ale, it was awesome.

For dinner tonight, I really wanted something light.  I love cooking my rice with a tea bag thrown in.  It imparts a different flavor profile, and can really change a dish.  Tonight was green tea, but I’ve done chai or spicy teas for a more Indian feel.  Green tea for an Asian feel.  You get the idea…just play with the teas and make what sounds good!

Green Tea Rice

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 green tea bag (and play with flavors for different meals…I’ve used Pumpkin Spice tea to flavor rice I was serving with maple and cinnamon roasted squash!)
  • pinch salt

Directions

  • I use my fuzzy logic rice cooker (everyone should have one…it does everything), but you can cook the rice based on the package directions – just throw the tea bag in at the beginning).
  • Add your choice of veggies and toppings.  Tonight I did steamed carrots, Mirin (a sweet Japanese vinegar) and Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce).  If I wanted a heartier meal, I’d throw in Chickpeas and black sesame seeds too.

The bottom line is to play with it.  Earth balance + brown sugar = a sweeter dish.  In these dishes, I let the tea drive the flavors.  There’s no need for your food to be boring (it’s sort of my life’s motto….life is too short for boring food!)

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And lastly…my friends at the FoodDuo have posted one of my favorite recipes in their 12 Days and 8 Nights of holiday dishes for compassion!  It’s an easy Balsamic Brussel Sprout recipe that’s sure to sway the ardent brussel-sprout hater!  I made them for my family in WI at Thanksgiving, and am pleased to report they were a hit.  They’re doing an amazing series of vegan food bloggers, their favorite holiday recipes, their holiday wishes, and their charities of choice, so definitely check them out.  I’m so honored to be part of their blog series, and there are some incredible recipes to be had….like jello pie.  Really?!  I’m making that….

FITNESS

You want to know the difference between winter and summer in Virginia?  It’s the workout bag….

Seriously, if you keep a workout bag in your car, you can definitely tell the season.  In the summer, my clothes are hot when I show up at the gym (or yoga studio) in the winter…they’re freezing.  This is how I know that winter has begun…

I threw my yoga clothes into my car on the way to the office on Wednesday.  My hot yoga studio has four locations (two in the area), and knew I could hit one up at the end of the day.  I always keep my Manduka yoga mat in my vehicle, so it was just a matter of shorts, a tank, and some shoes/flip flops (that aren’t work heels) to wear home.

Yeah…I forgot this isn’t summer and it’s not that easy….

I got to the yoga studio…wearing my work skirt, tights, high heels, and sweater…but no jacket because it was a little warmer than the previous weeks.

So not only did I have to put on clothes that were chilly….I had to leave in shorts, a tank, and sweaty as hell after an hour in a 100+ degree room…with no coat.  I go back to that sweatsicle blog post….let’s just say the drive home was uncomfortable…

Oh well, it was nice going into the hotter-than-hell room after putting on freezing clothes.

I’ve mentioned before that I hate winter, right??  Ugh…hard to believe I’m from a cold weather state!

LIFE

The past few days have been busy, but not in an “I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out” way.  I’m used to early mornings and late nights, but in the end…I completely love what I do.  I realize that I’m in the lucky minority who gets to say they love what they do every single day.  And sometimes it’s more challenging than others, but I’d not change it for anything!

My eldest, A, is home from University, and that’s been a trip.  She has a tendency to spread out where the rest of us don’t (her pillow and blanket are on the couch, her food and cups are left lying around), and while I’m glad she’s home, it’s making me nuts.  I keep walking around the house and finding her crap everywhere.  She must be making her roommate crazy….

D is still doing his daily #morningpicture with R!  I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 years of him taking a daily selfie with the young one!

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Other than that, not much to report.  D is feeling much better, and we’re still focus on healthy (no fiber) weight gain.  He has a few more procedures to make sure we’re on the right treatment path, but the fact that he’s feeling better and doesn’t need surgery is enough for me.  We can work the rest out!

So for now, I will leave you with a few pics…..

Halloween is my favorite holiday...the rest are sort of unimportant!  A had the brilliant idea of putting a Santa hat on Jack to make it work.  Brilliant....

Halloween is my favorite holiday…the rest are sort of unimportant! A had the great idea of putting a Santa hat on Jack to make it work. Brilliant….

totally my cats.....

totally my cats…..

Bumble, the Tree Killer....

Bumble, the Tree Killer….

 

Shopping, Shakespeare, and Food

FOOD

The past few days have been a combination of dining out and cooking up fun stuff.

A work lunch was Thai food (green curry, go figure), and then I took the kids out for dinner on Thursday.  My phone was actually completely full, so I didn’t get pics of those meals (crazy, I know!).

Saturday I had lunch out and about while Christmas shopping.  People are crazy, and I was happy to escape with a book for a quick and quiet meal.  Thai for me again – but not green curry this time!  I know it must seem like I eat Thai all the time…and I suppose it’s at least once a week.  Thing is, it’s never something I can enjoy with my family because it’s too nut heavy, so I do go solo (or with friends) often.

fresh veggie rolls

fresh veggie rolls

Tom Kha Tofu soup hot pot!

Tom Kha Tofu soup hot pot!

For dinner last night I made mac no cheese and salads!

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Breakfast this morning was a green smoothie in my Sammie cup, lunch was a salad from the grocery, and dinner was an awesome mushroom lasagna and fresh French bread.  By the way, the secret to awesome French bread is to have a pan of water in the oven while the bread is cooking – keeps it nice and moist!

water, 1/2 banana, pineapple, Vega vanilla smoothie protein powder (it was a post-workout drink), baby kale, and spinach.

water, 1/2 banana, pineapple, Vega vanilla smoothie protein powder (it was a post-workout drink), baby kale, and spinach.

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FITNESS

I cannot get over the places I have muscles that I never realized were there!  Needless to say, kickboxing is going well and I really do like it.  Repeated a DVD today and didn’t get annoyed (yet), so that’s got to be a good sign!

I woke up this morning just before 7, had a cup of coffee, and then did my kickboxing workout before anyone else was up and about!  It was quite cool, actually.

I also went to a hot yoga class today.  The only complaint I could have about my yoga studio is that they never seem to have fun.  The instructors are very serene and I have never ever been to a class that I would consider playful.  Truth be told, sometimes I like playful classes (like those that play modern music or even funky stuff like Mustang Sally!).  Today’s instructor is someone I’ve never had before, and I could tell that her energy levels were well about the standard “zen” most of them exude.  I made a point of mentioning to her after the class that I appreciated the energy she brought to the class.  It was a nice (and butt kicking) class.

LIFE

This has been a good week.  I know I’ve mentioned a few times that my husband has Crohn’s disease, and while the past few weeks have been rough (and nerve wracking wondering if this was the flare that would require surgery…it thankfully isn’t!), I’m happy that he appears to be on the upswing!  He has a few more procedures to be sure they have him on the right treatment plan, but otherwise it’s looking up.  Unfortunately, he has lost a ton of weight (about 20 lbs, and he’s a skinny and tall guy to begin with!), so now our focus is on healthy weight gain.  The caveat is that he can have no fiber, so I’ve been spending a lot of time planning meals for him to get his weight and energy levels back on track as he heals.  I just wish his doctor took more interest in eating habits and the impact they have on disease.

I went to Newport News and Williamsburg yesterday to do some Christmas shopping.  As much as I like (and do) shop online, I also want to support my local businesses, and do try to do that as well.  Other than people who get all dumb, rude, and incapable of parking, I did pick up a few things for friends and family.  I’m pretty much just down to finishing shopping for my kids, and we’ll be good to go!

One cool thing about Williamsburg and the Colonial Williamsburg area on the holidays is their Shakespeare performances they do in the streets.  I stopped and enjoyed a quick scene during my outing yesterday!

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Today was working out, grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking.  A typically, but very nice Sunday.  Saturday’s used to be my favorite day of the week, but now I think I love Sunday’s more :)

Hope you’ve had a great weekend too!

 

As a side note, don’t forget to enter my cookbook giveaway from Dec 12th!!

 

Oh Green Smoothies, How I Have Missed Thee!

FOOD

So happy to be eating at home.  First smoothie in over a week!  Only down side is I made it too frozen, and was then cold until I made tea to warm me up.  Damn winter.

First I had to core and slice up a pineapple!  I actually did this last night, but used a contraption my Aunt J got me last year.  $2 for a pineapple at Costco that I sliced up myself vs buying pre-cut pineapple for MUCH more at the grocery.

First I had to core and slice up a pineapple! I actually did this last night, but used a contraption my Aunt J got me last year. $2 for a pineapple at Costco that I sliced up myself vs buying pre-cut pineapple for MUCH more at the grocery.

coconut water, banana, pineapple, baby kale, and spinach.

coconut water, banana, pineapple, baby kale, and spinach.

yum!

yum!

Lunch was an attempt at a wrap, but the whole grain tortillas I bought yesterday kept tearing…so it was more like a salad on top of parts of a tortilla and mostly eaten with a fork.

romaine, black beans, corn, and BBQ sauce.  Recipe courtesy of Happy Herbivore...it's amazing and a simple lunch.

romaine, black beans, corn, and BBQ sauce. Recipe courtesy of Happy Herbivore…it’s amazing and a simple lunch.

I was feeling the need to bake some goodness for my family (mainly because my husband went out and bought…gasp…PACKAGED COOKIES).  Yikes.  Oatmeal-Raisin it is!

recipe from the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

recipe from the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

And dinner was Indian!

can't make Indian without some homemade garlic naan!

can’t make Indian without some homemade garlic naan!

the key to perfect saffron rice is to pinch and soak the threads in hot water (or non-dairy milk) for about an hour before making.  Use this time to soak your basmati, and you get plump and fluffy rice every time

the key to perfect saffron rice is to pinch and soak the threads in hot water (or non-dairy milk) for about an hour before making. Use this time to soak your basmati, and you get plump and fluffy rice every time

whipped up a base in the Vitamix of soy yogurt, green chilies, garam masala, salt, lime juice, Earth Balance, and a splash of coconut milk.  Simmer, and add veggies.

whipped up a base in the Vitamix of soy yogurt, green chilies, garam masala, salt, lime juice, Earth Balance, and a splash of coconut milk. Simmer, and add veggies.

after cooking completely, add about 1/2 cup of tomato.  Salt and pepper to taste!

after cooking completely, add about 1/2 cup of tomato. Salt and pepper to taste!

speaking of veggies (see what I did there?!?)...5 cups of assorted carrots, potato, and cauliflower

speaking of veggies (see what I did there?!?)…5 cups of assorted carrots, potato, and cauliflower

and enjoy a spicy, warm, and wonderfully filling dinner

and enjoy a spicy, warm, and wonderfully filling dinner

FITNESS

For today’s workout, I went to Hot Yoga down in Norfolk at my favorite studio, Hot House.  It was a 60 minute stability class, and was perfect for many reasons.  One, I’m a bit stiff from the traveling, and doing this class in the intense heat always loosens my muscles up well.  Also my brain has been a bit scattered the past few days – between traveling, catching up on work emails, and worrying about D – I needed the mental break that yoga always give me.  I’ve been lax on meditating the past few weeks, and it’s starting to show in my frayed nerves.

LIFE

Last night was M’s last performance for The Little Mermaid.  He was Sebastian, and it was an awesome show.  What cracked me up was the line of kids after the show that wanted his autograph or to pose for pics of him.

Sebastian (M) and Chef Louis posing before the show!

Sebastian (M) and Chef Louis posing before the show!

Then it was a night of trying, but failing, to go to bed early.  It was 930 when I tried…and 1230 am when I finally succeeded.  Then up early this morning (630 am) to get M off to his SAT’s!  Hard to believe that University is just around the corner for him.  And he wants to be an English teacher, which is pretty cool.

I had the house pretty much to myself all morning.  D slept in late – part of the Crohn’s is he gets no nutrients and lacks energy and is super tired – and R always sleeps in on the weekends.  I did dishes, some Christmas shopping on Amazon, finished laundry, and managed to watch an episode of Sleepy Hollow (I needed a new show, and Hulu has the entire series!).

After yoga, I came home, made lunch, showered, and have been mostly puttering around the kitchen.  I’m having lunch with NS tomorrow, so I’m doing some of my bulk cooking today.

Ginny "flops".  It's what we call it because she completely becomes boneless cat, lies upside down, and wants her belly scratched...

Ginny “flops”. It’s what we call it because she completely becomes boneless cat, lies upside down, and wants her belly scratched…

when I play in the kitchen, these two pester me for a coffee cup full of fresh water from the fridge.  So spoiled....

when I play in the kitchen, these two pester me for a coffee cup full of fresh water from the fridge. So spoiled….

me putting away dishes really just made a bed for Ginny

me putting away dishes really just made a bed for Ginny

she likes to hang out above the shower and freak me out

she likes to hang out above the shower and freak me out

Happy Saturday!!!

 

 

A Tale of Thanksgiving, Dating (and Breaking Up With) Bourbon, and Travels to the Cold Midwest

FOOD

Well, what a week!  I flew home to WI the day before Thanksgiving, cooked a bunch of holiday vegan food, went out to eat with my sister and cousins, and then went to Chicago for several days for work.

So…I had access to a kitchen for a few days and took advantage of that, and otherwise mostly ate out (except for an awesome vegan meal my sister made of black bean soup and local fresh grain bread with a balsamic/olive oil dip – of which I forgot to take pictures because I was more concerned with catching up with my sister who I haven’t seen in a year and a half!).

After I arrived and my Dad picked me up, we went grocery shopping, drill battery hunting, and then off to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.

This, my friends, is a yummy drink that swirls frozen margarita with frozen sangria.  Genius.

This, my friends, is a yummy drink that swirls frozen margarita with frozen sangria. Genius.

my veggie hot pot of yumminess for dinner.

my veggie hot pot of yumminess for dinner.

a vegan Thanksgiving with my parents and sister and her family!  Cornbread, maple roasted root veggies, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, vegan stuffing (mom made that one), tofu pot pie, and green bean casserole!

a vegan Thanksgiving with my parents and sister and her family! Cornbread, maple roasted root veggies, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, vegan stuffing (mom made that one), tofu pot pie, and green bean casserole!

The night I arrived, I spent time in the kitchen drinking wine, listening to Irish music, and cooking.  Sort of like I never left VA (expect I didn’t know where anything in the kitchen was!).

chopped mushrooms to make the base for the green beans

chopped mushrooms to make the base for the green beans

roasted butternut squash for the soup

roasted butternut squash for the soup

using my mom's Ninja to make the soup!

using my mom’s Ninja to make the soup!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my sister and I went around town and stopped for tapas and drinks at a neat place called Stilt that’s local to her.

sweet potato fries, squash soup, and pretzels with stone ground mustard.  And beer for her and wine for me!

sweet potato fries, squash soup, and pretzels with stone ground mustard. And beer for her and wine for me!

Saturday night was a major reunion of sorts.  In my estimation, it’s the first time this group got together in about 9 years!  Three of our cousins and my sister and I.

all the pretty girls!

all the pretty girls!

tofu hot wings which were delicious!

tofu hot wings which were delicious!

AC will be happy...I finally tried a bourbon drink!  This was a bourbon sour with a beer float on top.  Quite good, actually.  And my sister's yummy mojito.

AC will be happy…I finally tried a bourbon drink! This was a bourbon sour with a beer float on top. Quite good, actually. And my sister’s yummy mojito.

And then it was off to Chicago for a conference.  And here were some of my eats along the way…

butternut squash soup.  So glad it's a thing this time of year...

butternut squash soup. So glad it’s a thing this time of year…

roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries

roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries

grilled asparagus with sea salt and lemon

grilled asparagus with sea salt and lemon

went to a Greek place that really didn't have much vegan options, but did whip me up some yummy veggie kabobs!

went to a Greek place that really didn’t have much vegan options, but did whip me up some yummy veggie kabobs!

Greek beets....a cold dish of beets in garlic and olive oil.  It's the exact dish that turned me on to beets years ago!

Greek beets….a cold dish of beets in garlic and olive oil. It’s the exact dish that turned me on to beets years ago!

my standard hotel breakfast...steel oats, potatoes, OJ, and toast.

my standard hotel breakfast…steel oats, potatoes, OJ, and toast.

FITNESS

Well one thing is for sure…there’s no way on earth this girl is running outside in the Midwest in the middle of winter.  No way…no how.

Snow.  Cool to see in movies...not so cool to be in....

Snow. Cool to see in movies…not so cool to be in….

So, it was treadmill runs, yoga, and even a zumba class with my sister!

All fun stuff, but was glad to get home to mild weather that I can run in outside :)

Funny how thin one’s skin gets when moving south….though I was never meant for the cold, even as a kid!

LIFE

It’s been a really great, if not crazy, week.  I flew into Chicago last week Wednesday and then went to WI for the holiday weekend.

plane selfie!!

plane selfie!!

Thanksgiving dinner was at my parent’s house with my sister, her husband, and two kids.  I got to cook, play a game with my niece and nephew (after being told I buy them overly complicated games…they got back at me by bringing them and having me play!), and have Thanksgiving dinner with my family for the first time in eleven years.  The last time I was there for Thanksgiving was right before accepting a job and moving to VA.  So I bet you can all guess what I was thankful for this year!  While I missed my husband and kids, I know they had a great time without me.

my eldest, A, was home from college.  Apparently fell asleep completely wrapped in my blanket, and Bumble kept her company all night!

my eldest, A, was home from college. Apparently fell asleep completely wrapped in my blanket, and Bumble kept her company all night!

I spent a night at my sister’s house, and we caught up, attempted to watch movies, but really just talked through them (Love Actually and The Bourne Identity), worked out, went shopping, hung out and played another game with the kids, and then hung out with some cousins.

Sunday I took the train down to Chicago, checked into my hotel, and hit the bar to wait for my friend to arrive.  It turns out watching a Packer game in Chicago is a totally different experience.  I honestly don’t watch (American) football and normally couldn’t care less, but it was fun.

I had dinner with BS then went to bed to get ready for the conference the next day.  I also had too many bourbons.  So as much as AC wanted me to start drinking bourbon (she’s a big fan) it seems we’ve had only a brief love affair….we started dating on Sunday and promptly broke up on Monday…..

The conference itself was amazing.  I got a ton done, and was even interviewed (on camera!) for a publication specific for my industry.  Kinda crazy.  AC came down (we’re in related lines of work), and even though we shared a room, we hardly saw each other!  Our specific work responsibilities meant we were interested in different parts of the conference, but we still managed a fun night on Tuesday at a lovely GE 100th Anniversary event.

the most awesome hotel picture ever.  This was in my bathroom...it says (if you can't see it)...Your comfort is important to us, and with that in mind, we would like to inform you that opening the windows will allow flying insects and spiders into your room.

the most awesome hotel picture ever. This was in my bathroom…it says (if you can’t see it)…Your comfort is important to us, and with that in mind, we would like to inform you that opening the windows will allow flying insects and spiders into your room.

my last morning in Chicago turned out to be sunny (if not crisp!).  My hotel was on Michigan Ave, so it was a nice walk through the loop for breakfast and window shopping before heading back to catch the shuttle to the airport.

my last morning in Chicago turned out to be sunny (if not crisp!). My hotel was on Michigan Ave, so it was a nice walk through the loop for breakfast and window shopping before heading back to catch the shuttle to the airport.

Then I came home, worked, and took care of D, who’s in the middle of a pretty ugly Crohn’s flare-up right now.  We’re in the waiting game of test results to determine next steps, and he’s hanging in as best he can.  It’s impossible not to be worried about him though.  Send happy and healing thoughts his way, if you’re so inclined.

Other than that, it’s cleaning, shopping, cooking, and just being happy to be home!