Running is Back on the Menu!

FOOD

Well, it’s been 2 weeks since the last post (sorry about that – the drama kept on coming, but has hopefully stopped now). Fairly typical eats. Soups, salads, smoothies, curries, rice dishes, etc. Haven’t gone out much, which isn’t a bad thing, though had an awesome breakfast with my guy yesterday! Essentially a deconstructed salad with hummus. And strawberry mimosas!

Tofu/potato tacos for family Taco Tuesday!
Also made some homemade beans and cilantro slaw

Mexican restaurant near us had a great vegan selection. My guy and his oldest and me and my youngest went there. I could do without the slab of vegan cheese, but otherwise awesome.

Not pretty, but a simple tofu and rice curry dish I made in my rice cooker
Note the colorful lid from Amazon prime day!
Zoodles and Boca crumbles with extra veggies and marinara

Simple tofu Alfredo for a quick meal

Savory smoothie!

FITNESS

Running is back on the menu! And yoga too, of course.

LIFE

Let’s see, it has been a busy two weeks. Both work and school have been busy, though I can’t complain about either. It’s also been nice being home the entire month (save one night).

I had a quick overnight in Williamsburg for work. I would’ve come home, but it involved a work dinner and drinks the night before an all-day meeting being held up there, and I wasn’t going to drive the 45-60 minutes home. I didn’t get pics of the meal (my boss was there), but it was SO good. I split a main dish of roasted veggies with someone else (she’s a vegetarian), and we each got salads as well. It was SO good. Lentils and veggies tossed in a lemon champagne dressing. YUM.

Of course since I was up there, did a quick lap at Busch Gardens. It was HOT, but still fun.

Hot day. Fluffy hair.

Then it was back home and normal stuff. My youngest had a really rough day, so ended up skipping my typically Friday night fun with my boyfriend and watched Lord of the Rings with R instead. Poor bunny fell asleep halfway through.

Otherwise, typical week. Lots of studying, work, and spending as much time as possible with people I love!

Another book from my mentor! I have the audio also and really love it. Anyone working in a co-innovation space should read this!

I want this

Luna’s pre-bed game of “murder my toes”

As seen in the spa bathroom

Late lunch with R after she had her first massage!

Heat Domes Can Go Back to the Hell From Whence They Came

FOOD

Been a really busy week, and I don’t have a ton of food pics. Sunbutter toast, tofu green curry (been weeks since I’ve had any!), and pasta.

Ikea veggie balls!

Made a simple red curry sauce and tossed with whole wheat pasta and peas

For what I don’t have pics of – also orange “chicken” leftovers, smoothies, salads, tofu spicy soup, and a Beyond Meat burger without a bun (wasn’t confident the buns were vegan, so skipped it).

Most of the week, it’s just been me an R. M is out visiting his Dad and going to Comic Con (how cool is thatt?!) and A is in school and working nights. I try to leave leftovers for her, but she also stress cooks bento boxes, so most of her meals were already made. So meals have been quick and easy.

FITNESS

I WENT FOR A RUN AND DIDN’T CRY. Starting to get really pissed about this whole back thing. This past week has been pretty bad, so I was avoiding all activity – even yoga. But I got stir crazy – I don’t sit still well, and I finally figured that maybe inactivity is making my back worse (it will make the RA worse), so I figured an easy pace and a short distance wouldn’t kill me. I mean, other than being in the whole “heat dome” (yes, that’s what the weather peeps are calling it) and temps reaching 115 with the heat index, I went out early enough that, while hot an soupy, was a normal kind of hot and soupy and not the deadly version hitting later in the day.

Taken yesterday, but this has been the status quo for DAYS….
Not cute – but you probably shouldn’t be when working out. And DANG I have a lot of freckles….

LIFE

Not going to lie kids, this week has been a mixed bag, but a lot on the sucky side.

First the good news – I was off Monday because NS was still here! That meant a 4 day weekend. Also, work was really good this week. And R is going to do an intro to yoga course, which I think is great because she’s fairly stressed and I am a big believer in the power of yoga in general – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I’m hoping it has the same profound impact on her that it has had on me these past 20 years. Oh, and R and I went to see Spider-Man yesterday!

I didn’t break the bank on Prime days! Literally all I got were some fun colored mason jar lids, a new charging block for travel, and a skin care set from a new vegan line launched by Amazon. Just so happens I ran out of my moisturizer, so it was good timing to try something new. All told, spent about $50.

Bad news – some drama (and I HATE drama) that ended up sucking the time and energy out of several days. As such, I lost those days I would’ve spent on school stuff. Don’t regret it because family is always more important. But – ended up behind on school – which I really hate. Mostly self paced for research (aside from a quant/qual research course), so I’m behind the schedule I set for myself, but I still get twitchy when that happens. This led to several late nights and most of Saturday to just catch up. But that also means this coming week I need to double up on my research.

In the midst of the drama, did try to take time for fun. Including taking R out for froyo. Skinny Dip – a chain near us – always has vegan options too. Hello strawberry!

Clearly I was saying something funny….as usual… 🤣

Today was probably the best day of the week – got to spend it with my guy. Our lunch adventure was…not awesome…but not a total loss either. Went to a new spot that stepped into a wine bar that just closed (decent food there, but their people didn’t know wine, so not shocked it closed). I don’t think the new gig is long for this world either. Service sucked royally, drinks weren’t great, and our sides sucked. The mains were good though, so there’s hope. I hope it’s just newness issues needing to work themselves out, but it seems like a family run place where no one has actually worked in the food industry before. I wish them well, but with all the really good places in Virginia Beach, there’s no reason to go back…

I’m looking forward to this week. I always enjoy the fresh start feeling of a new week. While my back still twinges, running didn’t kill me, so that’s something to look forward to. Still won’t overdue it, but it’s better than nothing. I’m excited to really focus on my research, which I’ll have time to do. I have some good stuff cooking at work.

Tomorrow I have happy hour plans with a girlfriend. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday fun at my house with me, my guy, and ALL of our kids (it’s rare we get the full crew), Wednesday night I have class, Thursday no plans (aka – STUDY), and Friday is my night with my boyfriend. All told, life is pretty awesome.

Kuma had her check up. Needs to lose about 2 lbs (she’s down 2 from last year, woo!), but otherwise perfect in every way

My boyfriend gave this to A…who’s husband is Canadian….
He made some edits when he saw it! Though he did find it funny.

Too hot to do much than sleep. Oh wait…that’s their favorite pastime anyway, and we have AC…

Jambo Friends!!

FOOD

What a busy week! Mostly excellent on the food front too.

Of course smoothies, salads, and my sunbutter/banana sprouted grain toast. But I also had a vegan houseguest for the past 4 days, so that was fun too!

I made a big batch of rice and lentil stuffed bell peppers for the week.

Thursday I made red beans with vegan andouille sausage, rice, and corn bread. Forgot to snap a pic of it tho!

For a BBQ party on Friday I made a big batch of pasta salad and a southwestern spicy rice salad that both went over well.

Saturday morning NS (my friend and guest visiting all the way from Kenya!) and I went to Yorgo’s Bageldashery where I shared my fav quick vegan breakfast – the Peterman wrap – and some fresh juices.

Sunday morning a bunch of us grabbed brunch at Bay Local where we split a hummus appetizer and a hummus/veg lettuce wrap. He also had avocado toast – which I skipped due to the whole allergy crap.

Sunday night I made orange “chicken” with soy curls. It was amazing if I do say so myself.

Smoothies this morning, and then a last lunch outing before taking NS to the airport. We went to Orapax because they have a huge vegan menu. We got a pizza to split as an appetizer (it wasn’t awesome), the Athenian “chicken” wrap to split (which was very good), and the Mediterranean Beyond Meat burger (which was ok), rosemary fries, and Greek potatoes. Holy stuffed, Batman. The beyond meat burger was a request because it is not available in Kenya. Neither of us were thrilled with it, so at least he knows he’s not missing out!

FITNESS

Gentle yoga and that’s it. It seemed to be getting better, and then over the weekend it sucked. Ugh. I’m literally to the point where I’m just going to go for a run and if I make it without wanting to cry, I’m good.

LIFE

Well, the week started off really busy. I had to get all my work AND school work done by mid-day Thursday. That meant a few late nights and early mornings and zero free time, but it was worth it fully.

Thursday evening NS arrived! One of our good friends was retiring from the Navy after more than 24 years of service (plus his naval academy years) and the masses were gathering. NS came as a surprise – and it was priceless. He and I had been planning for several months, and it was just perfect.

Thursday evening was quiet at home. My boyfriend and BS came over (they met NS in Florida last year) and them, NS, and two of mine hung out for a bit. Not late since NS had just traveled for 30 odd hours to get here, but it was still awesome.

Friday was the retirement ceremony, a ship tour (which I skipped – been there, stationed on them!), then swimming and drinks at my house until going to MM (our naval retiree honoree) for the BBQ with 60+ people. We got home around midnight and crashed.

My girl touring the ship with my friends

Saturday was a beach day followed by a sunset dolphin watching cruise – and there were TONS of dolphins. No awesome shots because the ride wasn’t smooth, but it really was awesome. I skipped the after party (I was wiped), but NS got to hang a bit longer and just uber’d back to my house.

If you look really closely, you can see dolphins

Sunday was brunch with some of the crew and then NS and I went grocery shopping then back to my house where we watched two of my fav veggie documentaries. NS has been pretty much a lifelong vegetarian, but went vegan at the beginning of the year (and LOVES it). We did a lot of Amazon prime shopping for things he can’t easily get back home and just spent a lot of time talking about changing how he cooks, etc. It was really fun to share what I’ve learned after the long time I’ve been vegan.

Sunday night was just dinner with me, NS, and all 3 of my kids. It was a ton of fun and hilarious and I loved that NS could share what a typical crazy dinner in my house is like. Lots of stories, jokes, music, and laughter.

Today was low key. We had our coffee on the back porch and talked – like we had every morning he was here. It is my favorite part of the morning – just sitting outside early and drinking coffee. He brought me two bags of coffee from Kenya, so we definitely indulged in that (the “right” way in a French press and not the drip maker!).

Our friend BR came over with 3 of his kids to visit for a while. Then it was off to lunch and then the airport to say goodbye – for now. I’m really hoping to take R and go visit next spring. Will depend on a few things of course, but I really want to see Kenya.

So – this is why I’ve been a bit absent this last week. It’s been a very busy and wonderful time, and I cannot get over how lucky I am to have so many great friends in my life.

Back to business this week, but with an incredibly happy heart.

Meaningful Employment to Telemarketers

FOOD

Sunday I made a double batch of baked Mac no cheese, just because I knew everyone would devour the leftovers. BS and I were chatting about how his Dad really isn’t a fan of Mac n cheese, and we’ve decided he’s wrong. And perhaps not human.

My sprouts are done and they are glorious! It made a TON, and my eldest is already stuffing wraps with them and the homemade hummus. Love to see them eat good and healthy stuff. To be honest, my eldest is the best at that 🙂

Last night was red beans and rice. Super easy recipe that’s literally from the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book that I think my mom got in the 1960’s. I’ve adapted mine for the slow cooker and it is always perfect. This is the first time I used onion powder instead of onions though. My guy hates onions – but likes the flavor. And since SO many of my recipes are onion dependent, I’m working on tweaking some for future reference. I also used a new-to-me vegan sausage. I usually get Tofurkey, but they didn’t have any. And the Field Sausage flavors weren’t ones I wanted. So I got this, diced, pan fried, and then added to the crock about 30 minutes before serving. Dished over brown rice and a some cabbage (LOVE crunch – and need to add green foods to my meals).

Today was simple – coffee and banana for breakfast and Thai for lunch. Not hungry for dinner.

On a silly note, inadvertently my boyfriend and I have near-identical meal plans this week. Though I did burgers on Sunday and he’s doing them tomorrow – we both did red beans and rice yesterday, Taco Tuesday (of course), and even have Indian planned (for me Thursday, tomorrow is BBQ tofu, mushroom risotto, and salads).

FITNESS

Two runs since my last post. Contemplating going in the morning – but I’m not sure. Mornings and I are just starting to get along (ish), and I’m not sure I’m willing to push it….

LIFE

I mean, it’s only been two days, so not TOO much could have gone on. Been spending the past two days catching up at work after being out of the office for the better part of 2 weeks. And school of course (I actually have class at 8pm tonight).

I wasn’t planning to stay up on Sunday for Game of Thrones – though I got hit with some insomnia and was up anyway. Oh well. I did watch it Monday though, so I’m caught up. Thank goodness my guy has cable! Kuma had fun snuggling me while watching.

So something new I noticed yesterday. I’m an AT&T subscriber for my cell phone, and this started. I’m a fan! I miss the days where the do-not-call-list actually worked. Saying “death to telemarketers” is way to dramatic, so here’s hoping they all find meaningful employment instead and stop being the bane of existence for the rest of us.

Otherwise, been a typical early week of work and school. Tomorrow I’m going to figure out how to use my pressure washer and depollenate my back deck and lawn furniture.

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…

Home for the Holidays!

FOOD

Most of the time since the last post has been on the road and away from home, but not all!

PRT – or pre-road trip was all about cooking up what I already had in the house. I didn’t want to grocery shop when no one would be home.

One meal was a Gardein skillet thing. It wasn’t bad.

There was oatmeal and smoothies for breakfast. And since I had 2 blocks of tofu, pressed that and made jerk tofu, coconut rice, and tamari mushrooms.

Then it was road trip food, of which I’ve taken very little photographs. We packed a lot of snacks, so that was mostly what we ate. Also got a falafel at a rest stop in Chicago! That was fun.

There was one fun night at a restaurant in Youngstown, OH – which turns out to be where one of my coworkers is from! Salad and pasta primavera.

Oh, and my sister did homemade pizzas last night. Tried the So Delicious Mozzarella for the first time. It was good, though I think I still like Daiya better.

FITNESS

Nothing since I left on Friday – didn’t even pack workout clothes. Winter in Wisconsin – I’m not running outside!

But the few days before I went to the gym each day.

LIFE

So this holiday season is a bit unique. It’s my first one without all my kids with me since having them. My oldest is in Toronto celebrating with her soon to be husband’s family. My middle is in Albany meeting and celebrating with his girlfriend’s dad and family.

So, R and I came to my hometown in Wisconsin to spend the holiday with family. It started with a road trip Friday morning. An overnight in Ohio, and arrived late afternoon on Saturday.

Day 1 and all excited! Also, grandest Kumaventure yet!
The rest of the 2 days was largely R and Kuma sleeping

Elevators confused her…

Ah Chicago. Did not miss your traffic…

On Sunday was my big family party, which was awesome. First time all the cousins have been together in at least 10 years – mainly because I don’t often come home. My cousins all have kids now, and many are similar ages to R, so she had a totally great time – which made the whole trip worth it.

My cousin hosted the party at my sisters house. Fun tags on the wine!

R and her cousins goofing off in the game room

All the cousins’ kids! So fun to see them all together
My BIL wearing his white elephant gift – one I brought

The youngest cousin!
Me and most of my cousins. I really do miss them all.

Christmas Eve R and I and my niece and sister went to see Mary Poppins, which was really good. Then had pizzas.

Today is a quiet day. Will go over by my mom’s in a few hours, spend time there, then bring her back to my sisters for dinner and gift exchange. All told, a quite and nice trip home – though I miss my older two a lot and hope they’re having a great time.

Tomorrow we hit the road for our journey back to VA!

Last Thursday the kids and I actually exchanged our gifts. My youngest got me a Ninja Foodi! I’m SO excited. I used it that night to make the jerk tofu. Can’t wait to get home and play!

I’m also looking forward to NYE. That evening my boyfriend and his kids and me and mine are having our Christmas. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Otherwise – fun times!

End of day 1 travel selfie sent to my guy. Of course he had to send me one too!

Kuma and Jordy getting to know each other
Kuma, my sister, and I watching Bird Box on Netflix Saturday night.

Next 3 pics are a progression of my Aunt feeding Kuma….

My Year of Less

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