After a Week of Website Drama, I’m Back with TONS of Pics – Food, Cats, and Anniversary Fun

Well, due to some website technical difficulties for the past week, I’m finally back up and running!  

FOOD

This has been one of those weeks that’s a combination of at-home meals, and dining on the go.  Every morning was either a smoothie or cucumber toast (it’s a good thing I love cuc toast, because my garden seems to keep pumping them out!).

And here are the grub highlights!

one of my fairly standard smoothies.  Water, banana, frozen berries, mango, and spinach.
one of my fairly standard smoothies. Water, banana, frozen berries, mango, and spinach.
smoothie and cuc toast on Daiya cream chese
smoothie and cuc toast on Daiya cream chese

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tofu lettuce wrap from the Busch Gardens food and wine fest
tofu lettuce wrap from the Busch Gardens food and wine fest

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lentil cake with tomato and sauce
lentil cake with tomato and sauce
smoothies with D
smoothies with D before work
grilled portabello mushroom burger with Italian pasta side
grilled portabello mushroom burger with Italian pasta side
sloppy potato!  Baked potato topped with lentil sloppy Joe's and some raw cauliflower
sloppy potato! Baked potato topped with lentil sloppy Joe’s and some raw cauliflower
veggie fajitas
veggie fajitas
Tropical Smoothie Cafe has Beyond Meat, and I grabbed their Jamaican jerk wrap.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe has Beyond Meat, and I grabbed their Jamaican jerk wrap.
pineapple chili with shredded greens
pineapple chili with shredded greens
simple bagel breakfast
simple bagel breakfast
Crissie's Smoothie Delivery Service!
Crissie’s Smoothie Delivery Service!
another smoothie selfie!
another smoothie selfie!

And of course, can’t forget the morning java pics!

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celebrating our anniversary morning with java together!
celebrating our anniversary morning with java together!

FITNESS

This has been a really great week on the fitness front.  Why?  I went back to hot yoga!  I was last at my studio in November.  It’s easy to say that life got too busy with moving, work, etc – but the truth is, I was a little heart broken, so I stopped going.

I had spent a year saving up to take yoga teacher training, and it was slated to begin the first weekend of December.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for nearly 10 years now, and I was finally going to do it!  Then I had to have a difficult conversation with D about the realistic time expectations, and together we concluded that there just isn’t the time in our lives for me to do this now.  Since that decision was made – I hadn’t gone back.  I was sad, disappointed, and perhaps a bit angry.  However, after over 6 months, I decided it was time to shake it off and go.  I’m so glad I did.

me after my first class back!
me after my first class back last weekend!
after work monday night.  Glad it's dark because the mascara was ALL over my face!  Must remember to take that off before class...
after work monday night. Glad it’s dark because the mascara was ALL over my face! Must remember to take that off before class…

I still want to be a teacher some day, but I realize it will be several years before I have the ability to commit to that.  Until then, I will be happy to be a student.

On the days I didn’t go to yoga (I went twice), I went running.  I also have a jog belt for the pool, and have done some of that too!

LIFE

It’s been a really good week for me.  I’ve gotten a ton done, and that always makes me feel relaxed.

A few random pics of the week:

my girls eating lunch outside on the porch
my girls eating lunch outside on the porch
flowers D bought me on Sunday
flowers D bought me on Sunday
Ginny is obsessed with wet feet
Ginny is obsessed with wet feet
buckets of margaritas!
buckets of margaritas!

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gin and tonic time
gin and tonic time
harvest!
harvest!
my in the backyard reading
my in the backyard reading
Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee!  R won...
Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee! R won…

Mine and D’s anniversary was Thursday, and even though we had to work, it was fun ending out evening floating in the pool, talking, and having a few drinks.

Happy Anniversary evening drinks - before taking it to the pool.
Happy Anniversary evening drinks – before taking it to the pool.

Our regular celebration actually happened yesterday though.  Every year since we’ve been in VA (which is 11 1/2 years now!), D and I have gone to Busch Gardens – without the kids.  We always have a great time, and yesterday was no exception.

pulling into the park
pulling into the park
about to get on the front row of the Griffon
about to get on the front row of the Griffon
sky ride
sky ride
drinks in Ireland
drinks in Ireland

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okay, strange cat mask in Italy
okay, strange cat mask in Italy

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Grads, Family Fun, and Food!

FOOD

Okay wow, it’ll be another photo collage of tons of eats!  I’ve had family in town for nearly two weeks, so there has been quite a bit of food since my last post a little over a week ago.

pineapple-tofu stir fry!  M's friend was spending the night, and this was his first exposure ever to both tofu AND stir fry.    At one point my Dad said "if you didn't tell anyone, no one would know it's tofu".  That defeats the purpose for me - you SHOULD know what you eat.  And know that plant-based food is awesome.
pineapple-tofu stir fry! M’s friend was spending the night, and this was his first exposure ever to both tofu AND stir fry. At one point my Dad said “if you didn’t tell anyone, no one would know it’s tofu”. That defeats the purpose for me – you SHOULD know what you eat. And know that plant-based food is awesome.

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eating the first slices of cucumber from my first harvest of my first garden!!!
eating the first slices of cucumber from my first harvest of my first garden!!!
morning smoothies for my sister and I
morning smoothies for my sister and I.  It was my only smoothie of the week.  My Dad was sleeping downstairs, so I really couldn’t use my blender.  The greens are from my garden!
a fav meal.  Rye toast smeared with Daiya cream cheese, cuc slices (you know...harvest!) and sprinkled with dill.
a fav meal. Rye toast smeared with Daiya cream cheese, cuc slices (you know…harvest!) and sprinkled with dill.
more of this the next day!
more of this the next day!

We certainly had a few meals out the past week…

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And obligatory morning java shots!

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My brother in law is the chef in his house, so he and I tag-teamed two dinners.  It was fun playing in the kitchen with someone who loves to cook.  His family and mine have different eating habits, and with the kids, it was easier for us to each make our own versions.

One night was sloppy joes!  Mine were a spicy lentil version.  D fired up the grill, and MS (my BIL) made potato pockets – which were awesome, and we also had asparagus and pineapple (which had dark chocolate balsamic vinegar on it before grilling – and topped with some brown sugar and cinnamon after).

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I put the pineapple on my bun and topped with the lentil joes, and it was one of the most amazing things I’d ever eaten!

The next night was Mexican Monday!  I made a tempeh version and toppings included some cabbage slaw (just lime juice and a little raw sugar and salt), cilantro, tomatoes, onion, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, and vegan sour cream.  My niece and nephew are pretty particular and really only like daddy’s tacos, so MS made his, and everyone was happy with PLENTY of food to eat!

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It was nice to have a smoothie for breakfast this morning again though!  I’ve missed them this past week.

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Today’s lunch was a sloppy baked potato.  Meaning it was a baked potato with sloppy joe filling and sour cream.

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FITNESS

It’s been all runs, walks, swimming, and hikes the past week.

I snuck in a couple runs while family was here, but we’ve been so busy – but active – that I definitely got my sweat on!

Monday was a short hike at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, and yesterday R and I went down to the marine science museum and did the nature hike there – which was absolutely incredible!

crazy looking mushroom that R spotted
crazy looking mushroom that R spotted

Today was a great run in the middle of the day.  It was only in the 80’s (vs. the high 90’s and 100 degrees we’ve been having the past several days), and I apparently had some energy to burn, so I did 3 miles with a bunch of sprints peppered in there.

LIFE

Okay, so…my son graduated!  That’s why so much family has been in town, which was very sweet.  The ceremony went off well, and they got nearly 500 grads through in 1 hr and 5 minutes.  I was incredibly impressed!

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Grad party was Saturday, and we had a packed house.  It was a hot day, so having the pool party was perfect!

yes, someone bought M a giant inflatable swan...which is now named Meredith.
yes, someone bought M a giant inflatable swan…which is now named Meredith.

Speaking of the pool….that’s mostly what we did when C (my sister), her husband, and kids were here.  We did a few things out an about too, but they were only here for a few days, so it was mostly just trying to spend time together.  D also picked up an underwater digital camera, so there were many fun pics!

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R
underwater cousins!
underwater cousins!

My niece and nephew had never seen an ocean, so we went to the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach on Sunday morning.  We went early to beat the tourists and the heat!  It was fun to walk along the surf, find shells, hit up the little shops, and then back to the house for swimming!

the younger cousins at beach front breakfast!  G, R, and M :)
the younger cousins at beach front breakfast! G, R, and M 🙂

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My niece M (yes, I’m realizing we have a lot of M’s in my family) is really into the Civil war.  So, on Monday we went to First Landing State Park where they just so happened to have a civil war spy adventure!  The kids were given a decoder ring, and found codes hidden in the park to decipher a message!  Eventually we found out that the cavalry – which was 200 strong – was going to arrive on the East road in 5 days, and that the ship carrying supplies would arrive in 3.  Too cool.  After that, we did a short hike.  It was another scorcher, and it just wasn’t fun for everyone in that crazy heat!

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The final night here was movie night, and we watched Megamind.  Here’s a shot of all the cousins getting ready for the flick!!

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Yesterday my sister and her family left.  R had a dr’s appt (physical for camp next month!), and we decided to spend the day together – which was really awesome.  We learned about local sea life and did a nature hike.  We’ve decided that we must do at least one nature hike a week.  We really do live in an amazing state…we have it all…mountains, oceans, rivers, marshes, forests, and everything in between (okay, we don’t have tundra or deserts, but that’s okay with me!).

yesterday's morningpicture!
yesterday’s morningpicture!

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My Dad left this morning, so today has been getting life back to routine.

And I leave you with other random shots of the week!

harvest!
harvest!

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my boys!
my boys!
R saw this yesterday and thought it was hilarious
R saw this yesterday and thought it was hilarious
M (BIL) was photobombing my wine shot
M (BIL) was photobombing my wine shot
Bumble by the pumpkin
Bumble by the pumpkin

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uncle D and M doing something fun on the iPad.  Two little techie peas in a pod right there!
uncle D and M doing something fun on the iPad. Two little techie peas in a pod right there!

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Pumped Up Kicks, Family, and Lotsa Pictures!

FOOD

6 days of food.  I really can’t believe it’s been 6 days, but it’s been so crazy around here, that it’s just flown by.  If you keep reading, you will totally understand.

But I do apologize, in case you missed me 🙂

Since I’ve been home from TX, it’s been lotsa smoothies, salads, and fun home cooked meals.  Mostly.  There was definitely a Thai green curry working lunch, and a pasta dish when out with R and my dad!

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my fav new smoothie jar!
my fav new smoothie jar!
mac no cheese....
mac no cheese….
with a boca chickn patty
with a boca chickn patty
a BAS!
a BAS!
same BAS with salsa and tangy home made soy yogurt
same BAS with salsa and tangy home made soy yogurt
pomegranate plunge!
pomegranate plunge!
tofu green curry
tofu green curry
home made sofrito...
home made sofrito…
to put into the @terryhope Venezuelan (sweet-ish) black beans.  Served like we love with daiya shreds, vegan sour cream, and chips for scooping.
to put into the @terryhope Venezuelan (sweet-ish) black beans. Served like we love with daiya shreds, vegan sour cream, and chips for scooping.
smoothie with Garden of Life raw protein powder.  Don't use it often, but definitely did on Saturday (I was out of greens!).
smoothie with Garden of Life raw protein powder. Don’t use it often, but definitely did on Saturday (I was out of greens!).
spicy penne with artichokes and broccoli
spicy penne with artichokes and broccoli
mall pho!
mall pho!

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veggies before grilling (broccoli, baby potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms)
veggies before grilling (broccoli, baby potatoes, asparagus, and mushrooms)
after grilling with baked beans and a veggie burger
after grilling with baked beans and a veggie burger
fajitas!
fajitas!
another BAS
another BAS
arugula pesto pasta with salad
arugula pesto pasta with salad
smoothie!!
smoothie!!

FITNESS

Remember how I “accidentally” left my running shoes in Austin?  Yeah.  About that….

NEW KICKS!!

so clean and bright!  Alas, know it won't last (especially since my first run was in the rain!)
so clean and bright! Alas, know it won’t last (especially since my first run was in the rain!)

I’m shocked and shaken that I have changed my shoe model.  I’ve run in Brooks Ravenna since 2009 – after the Shamrock 1/2 marathon in Virginia Beach when my blisters were so big they had their own orbits.  I was fitted for the Ravenna’s, and it honestly felt like I was running on little clouds.  Did my first (and thus far only) full marathon, and nary a blister.

Imagine my shock when I went to get fitted, dutifully tried “other” shoes, and actually liked another pair more?!  I almost feel like I’m cheating on a trusted partner.  Except my feet are really happy, so I’m sure I’ll be over it soon.

Clearly, runs have been my workout of the week!

LIFE

I loved traveling to Austin and seeing all the awesome vegan bloggers, cookbook authors, chefs, and amazing people.  I won’t lie though…I’m happy to be home.

Well, it’s been a crazy week!  My Dad is in town visiting, which is nice.  He got here on Friday, so it’s been a lot of family time.  And beer.  I’m from WI, and my Dad brought all the beer with him to my house!!

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M had his theater awards ceremony this weekend, where he won two awards!  Can’t believe he’s graduating this week!!!

from left...A, R, me, my Dad, and M
from left…A, R, me, my Dad, and M
D wasn't in the shot because he was the photographer!  Love watching him in action!
D wasn’t in the shot because he was the photographer! Love watching him in action!

Speaking of M…he’s 18 today!  Holy cow, my son is an adult!

his friends did the perfect surprise party...M was moping all day about his bday...and the evening ended up being perfect!
his friends did the perfect surprise party…M was moping all day about his bday…and the evening ended up being perfect!

And of course, miscellaneous morning pictures, life pictures, and cat pictures!

my morning java shot.
my morning java shot.
Ginny has a crazy obsession with shoes.
Ginny has a crazy obsession with shoes.
and boxes!
and boxes!
and eating R's wet hair....
and eating R’s wet hair….
and lying on my arm when she's decided I should lay off the computer.
and lying on my arm when she’s decided I should lay off the computer.
and stealing my desk chair....
and stealing my desk chair….
and eating R's hair (again)....
and eating R’s hair (again)….
and shushing her....
and shushing her….

The morning pictures…

a rare one with M too!
a rare one with M too!

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Miscellaneous life shots…

I had a morning java partner today.  I'm sorry, but he's so dreamy it kills me.... ;)
I had a morning java partner today. I’m sorry, but he’s so dreamy it kills me…. 😉
me and R at dinner Saturday night!
me and R at dinner Saturday night!
it was a hot day today, and D jumped right in after getting home from work.
it was a hot day today, and D jumped right in after getting home from work.
M and A
M and A

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Dad, R, and I stopped up at one of the local farms this weekend.
Dad, R, and I stopped up at one of the local farms this weekend.
baby goats - they were so sweet!
baby goats – they were so sweet!
another morning java pic!
another morning java pic!

And finally, some garden updates!

what D is calling "legit eggplant!"
what D is calling “legit eggplant!”
baby cukes
baby cukes
cherry tomatoes coming in
cherry tomatoes coming in
my first zucchini!
my first zucchini!
romas
romas

I Am No Longer a Black Thumbed Vegan

FOOD

For the last day of VVC, I was only there for breakfast before I had to head to the airport.  Once again though, it was awesome!

this version had tacos and hashbrowns!  If I were smart, I would have put the hashbrowns in the taco...but the shells were just too small for that.  Plus a slice of toast with coconut butter spread and a slice of vegan cheese.
this taco version had tofu scramble and hash browns! If I were smart, I would have put the hash browns in the taco…but the shells were just too small for that. Plus a slice of toast with coconut butter spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

At the airport I had more time to kill than I planned, and stopped for a mimosa and olives.

a drink and my Surface.  A girl needs little else....
a drink and my Surface. A girl needs little else….
other than, perhaps, olives.  Life would've been complete if I had popcorn too....
other than, perhaps, olives. Life would’ve been complete if I had popcorn too….

Once I was home though, the big heavy meals had to end.  I realized that I usually have a very light breakfast – a smoothie – maybe a mid day small snack, and then lunch and dinner.  Well, at least lunch…but that’s a topic for another day where I psychoanalyze my overly hectic life and inability to always eat consistently.

Anywho….

Breakfast yesterday morning was a green smoothie in my new smoothie jar!

mint chocolate smoothie.  So Delicious coconut milk, banana, vanilla, spinach, and raw coco nibs.
mint chocolate smoothie. So Delicious coconut milk, banana, vanilla, spinach, and raw coco nibs.

Lunch was a taco baked potato.  Seriously, I love taking a baked potato and filling it with taco stuff.  In this case, it was black beans, vegan sour cream, and topped with hot sauce.

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Dinner was a salad with lettuce I GREW.  Yes, I yelled just there.  I’m growing things, and this is monumental.

fresh lettuce, clipped from my garden and into the spinner!
fresh lettuce, clipped from my garden and into the spinner!
freshly picked radishes to add to it
freshly picked radishes to add to it
turned it into a meal-salad by adding some cooked brown rice, arugula, tomatoes, and black beans.  Topped with a homemade strawberry dressing I made two weeks ago.
turned it into a meal-salad by adding some cooked brown rice, arugula, tomatoes, and black beans. Topped with a homemade strawberry dressing I made two weeks ago.

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions

  • I feel silly here…but blend it.  Eat it.
really yummy salad dressing.  Olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
really yummy salad dressing. Olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

 

This morning I was in a rush, so after my morning java on the back porch, I noshed a banana on the way to work.  Thankfully, I stock my desk with emergency meal things, and had this oatmeal once I got there and ran into my morning meeting.

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It’s possible I was in a rush, because I actually made my lunch.  Another ginormous BAS (big ass salad, for new readers!), but this time using some homemade tangy soy yogurt and salsa as a dressing.

I also whipped up some tofu eggless salad, and made a sammich.  My favorite sammich, actually.  This version had sliced up silken tofu (the Mori-Nu in the sealed package, not the fridge version), so Just Mayo vegan mayo, yellow mustard, turmeric, diced white onion, and diced sweet pickle.  I didn’t measure, but it’s pretty straight forward to figure out.  Put on rye bread with tomato and lettuce.

all packed up!
all packed up!
BAS
BAS

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For dinner, I made slow cooker red beans for red beans and rice.  Stupid simple really.  Recipe is a family fav from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook, but in the slow cooker with half the water and no meat.  Easy peasy.

FITNESS

Well, it’s entirely possible I lost my running shoes.  Or perhaps I left them in my hotel room in Austin in order to make room in my tiny suitcase.  Yeah…that’s probably more likely.

Though in my defense, they’ve been dying a slow death, and in my last run in TX, the sole tore apart.  And I haven’t made it to the store to buy new ones.

I have done yoga and home workouts like boxing that don’t require shoes…

LIFE

Well, it’s been a crazy few days!  My last day in Austin was only a partial day because I had to catch my flight.  Even leaving early, I didn’t make it home until after 1 am my time on Monday morning!  Part of that was weather delays, and part just the drama of traveling.

The last pics of the fun stuff I got at VVC!

new buttons to feed my obsession!
new buttons to feed my obsession!

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Sights from the airport….

Texas is a very proud state.  Which I find commendable.  I do find it weird that they emblazon their state on everything though.  I saw Texas pasta, signs shaped like Texas everywhere I went, and so on.  These were at the shop at the airport.
Texas is a very proud state. Which I find commendable. I do find it weird that they emblazon their state on everything though. I saw Texas pasta, signs shaped like Texas everywhere I went, and so on. These were at the shop at the airport.
and so was this guy.  Sorry it's blurry, I was circling for a few minutes trying to figure out how to take his picture without being obvious.  He's a hipster cowboy!  Big had, handlebar mustache, big belt buckle (but of something kinda hippie), what looked like pajama pants, and cowboy boots.  I had a hard time not staring.  I've never seen one before :)
and so was this guy. Sorry it’s blurry, I was circling for a few minutes trying to figure out how to take his picture without being obvious. He’s a hipster cowboy! Big hat, handlebar mustache, big belt buckle (but of something kinda hippie), what looked like pajama pants, and cowboy boots. I had a hard time not staring. I’ve never seen one before 🙂

I got home, and M was still awake.  D had to work nights starting that night, so he was already gone.  He did turn down the bed though, and leave me this sweet note!

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Then I did some unpacking and the girls had a blast with that.

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Then it was work and busy, busy busy!  Lot’s of snuggly cats though.

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Ginny figured out how to stack her toys and play with both at the same time...
Ginny figured out how to stack her toys and play with both at the same time…

Perhaps even more exciting is seeing how much my garden has grown!  I tried once – about 14 years ago – to grow a garden, and it was a colossal failure.  This was pre-vegan days, and pre “wanting to be one with nature…but not get it on me” days. Well, I still don’t like nature on me so much, but I’ve really wanted a garden.

I’ve also never successfully kept a house plant alive, though I stopped trying about 15 years ago.  After all, dead plants give room character.

I’ve become obsessed with it, to where I inspect it several times per day and get totally excited about every little sprout and flower.

In the 3 days I was gone, I swear I was like a freaked out new mom.  Has anything new grown?  Look how big it’s gotten!  Like I left my newborn and missed her first word or something.

But alas, I digress.  The most important thing is that it’s growing!  Food is sprouting – heck, even harvested radishes already!  So now I am convinced that should civilization fall, I can still take care of myself and my family and grow food!

No longer will I be known as “she of the black thumb” and “the vegan who kills all plants”.

MY HOW MY GARDEN GROWS!!

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No morning pics yet this week.  R had an ortho appt today and yesterday she stayed home.  Perhaps the rest of the week!