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Five on Friday {The End of May}

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Goodbye May, I can’t believe you’re over. I enjoyed a four day holiday weekend which was so nice! We found out this week that the kids’ last day of school will be June 19th, about a week earlier than originally scheduled. We also learned that the local day camp they were supposed to attend is canceled. It was expected, but now that it’s real, Dana and I are like, “now what?!” We work, so it’s going to be a long, hot summer for the kids! Since I skipped last week’s Five on Friday post, here are five from the past two weeks:

1. Baking – This past weekend I made 4-Ingredient No Knead Bread. I am not a baker. And this is something I would have never tried if we weren’t in quarantine. Thanks to my mom, who found yeast in Rhode Island and mailed me some, I was able to give it a try. I think I was pretty successful for my first time!

I had been wanting to make soft pretzels since quarantine started, which was the reason for my search for yeast. Last weekend I was so happy to finally get to make them! This Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe was easy to make and the pretzels were so good! Again, something I would not have been able to make without the yeast my mom sent and some free time on my hands!

My daughter also did some baking and made some homemade chocolate chip banana bread.

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2. Watching – This week I watched almost the entire season of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix. It’s based on the book series by Sherryl Woods, which I have not read. But it’s a sweet, feel-good show about three friends living in a small town.

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3. Reading – This week I finished Anna K. by Jenny Lee. It’s a modern, YA retelling of the classic Anna Karenina. I read AK several years ago and don’t really remember it very well, so I can’t tell how closely this book followed the classic.

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I am currently reading The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. It’s a light, romantic comedy that I’m enjoying.

4. Eating – This week the Peekskill Brewery hosted a small, vegan pop-up. Peaceful Provisions, Freakin Vegan and Gone Pie took pre-orders that were available for pick-up on Monday. We tried Freakin Vegan for the first time and ordered a Philly Cheese Steak, Porkless Mac ‘n Cheese and Sweet Corn Tamales. Everything was delicious and vegan!

5. Yard Work – Two weekends ago we spent both days outside doing yard work.  We power washed the deck, did some major weeding, and stained the deck. 

Since then, on nice days I’ve been able to read out on the deck.

And enjoy some after work cocktails.

ICYMI:  

Monday I shared our weekly vegan meal plan.

Wednesday I shared Peekskill Take-out and Delivery Options.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Still Here….}

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Happy Friday. Yes, I took a three week long hiatus from the blog….I have not been motivated to sit down at the laptop to write after sitting and working on it all day. And…..I needed a break. But I came back strong with three posts this week (who am I?!)! I do enjoy writing, so hopefully, I’ve gotten my momentum back. I did realize while typing this post that I didn’t take any pictures this week, minus dinner photos! I hope all you moms had a wonderful Mother’s Day last Sunday! Here are five from this week:

1. Celebrations – This week we celebrated my mom’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, my niece’s birthday and Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, none of my family lives nearby so we weren’t able to have any socially distanced visits. Just three zoom calls this week to sing happy birthday and catch up.

2. Watching – This week our family binge watched Upload on Amazon Prime. The show takes place in the future, where when people die they can choose to be uploaded into a virtual afterlife. Nathan has died and ends up forming a friendship with his angel, Nora. It’s part sci-fi, part comedy and even part mystery. It is rated MA and there’s some language and sexual references. But the four of us loved this show!

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3. Reading – I think I’ve hit another reading slump. The last book that I finished was What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. But that was almost a week ago and I am nowhere near finishing another book anytime soon. This is one of Moriarty’s older books that I hadn’t read. I enjoyed this book and have found that I like her older books more than her newer stuff.

4. Home Projects – So what have I been doing in the past three weeks? Well, we decided to tackle a bunch of house projects. My daughter decided she wanted to redo her room, which includes painting her walls. We are making her do it (with some help from Dana). In the meantime, Dana has been working on giving the kids’ bathroom a face-lift – some new paint, hanging some bead board, new trim, a new vanity, new lights, taking out the medicine cabinet that’s been there since we bought the house, etc. This has been a slow process since he is working during the day. But, it looks like we have plenty of time!

5. Podcasts – Recently, I have been listening to ALL the news podcasts: The Daily (New York Times), Start Here (ABC News), Up First (NPR), The Journal (WSJ) and The NPR Politics Podcast. I like information and facts. Social media is horrible and I’ve found that these podcasts keep me informed and up-to-date on the what’s going on in the world, usually in 30 minutes or less.

ICYMI this past week:

Tuesday I shared my April reads.

Thursday I shared our first weekly vegan meal plan.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

Five on Friday {Just Another Friday….}

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Hello Friday!  Hope everyone is still doing well during these uncertain times. Obviously, there’s not a lot going on here or likely anywhere! Here are five from another unexciting week:

1. Birthday Celebrations –   This week we helped celebrate two more birthdays.  One was a birthday parade for my daughter’s friend and the other was for our neighbor. 

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2. Reading – This week I finished reading Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood.  This is a non-fiction book about the author, who was adopted as an infant. She is able to track down her birth parents and travels to Taiwan to meet them and her siblings.   

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3. Watching – This past week Dana and I binge watched season 1 of Jack Ryan.  I wrote about this on Wednesday’s Happy List because it was my first true binge watch in forever (eight episodes in 24 hours).  We haven’t started season 2 yet (hopefully this weekend!) because I will not want to leave my couch until I’ve watched every episode.

I may have a thing for John Krasinski, but if you haven’t seen his show, Some Good News (SGN) on Youtube, I HIGHLY recommend! It highlights all the positive things going on during this time……and John Krasinski!! I linked the first episode here. I literally laugh and cry during every episode.

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Ratatouille Pasta, Veggie Teriyaki Stir Fry Noodles, Basil Chickpea Curry, Smoky Sweet Potato Tempeh Scramble Tacos and Vegetable Vegan Lasagna. 

5. Family Game Night – We take turns picking shows to watch as a family and games to play on game nights. My husband chose Monopoly Ultimate Banking. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a game of Monopoly in my life. We set a 1 hour time limit for the game and were fine when it was over. The good thing about this game is that it’s electronic so there’s no paper money to have to deal with.

ICYMI: My Happy Lists for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {We have a 14 year-old!}

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Happy Friday! I hope everyone who celebrates had a Happy Easter. We got the kids a few things for their baskets and did an egg hunt. But otherwise, it felt like a regular day. The Governor announced yesterday that New York State will continue to be on pause until May 15th. I know that this is a necessary measure to contain the virus and keep everyone safe. I’ve never even seen the movie Groundhog’s Day. But it feels like I’m reliving the same day over and over again…..I hope everyone has as great of a weekend as you can. I still look forward to the weekends since I don’t have to set an alarm and I disconnect my work email on my phone until Monday. It’s the little things! Here are five from this week:

1. Birthday celebration – Tuesday, my daughter turned 14! Birthdays in quarantine stink, but we tried to make the best of it. We decorated the house with balloons and decorations.  We ordered takeout pizza for lunch, made a homemade luau dinner (at her request) had a Zoom get-together with my family, and even did a family tik tok. One of her friends stopped by and they had a quick socially distant in-person catch up and then she had a group Facetime call with some of her other friends.  She hates having a lot of attention on her (hmm, wonder who she gets that from!), and did NOT want a birthday parade or a neighborhood sing-along, like we’ve participated in for others. At the end of the day, she said she had a great birthday and that’s all I can ask for as a parent. This is definitely a birthday that she will always remember.

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2. Reading – This week I finished reading On Dublin Street by Samantha Young.  I’ve owned this book for years and I’m finally trying to read through some of the books on my shelf. This was a steamy, contemporary romance that I really enjoyed. It’s the first of a six book series, but I think I’m okay with just reading this one.

3. Watching – This past week we had a family movie night and watched What Happened to Monday? On Netflix.  We did have to fast forward through a sex scene, but besides that, it was a pretty good movie.  My daughter (and now son) and I are continuing our binge watching of Money Heist.

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Udon Soup, Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas, and a luau dinner that included Huli Huli Cauliflower (pictured), Teriyaki Tofu, Marinated Cucumbers, Homemade Dumplings and Fried Rice.

5. Family Chalk Art – I’ve seen similar art projects all over the internet and wanted to do one as a family. Of course I had gotten rid of all of the kids’ old chalk on a cleaning spree. When I looked online for some, the price was either ridiculously expensive or the stores were sold out. When we made a quick Walmart run to get some birthday and Easter supplies, I found some chalk! And so, we had a family art day this week where we all colored this for our neighbors.

ICYMI: My Happy Lists for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday!

Tuesday I shared my March reads.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Happy Easter}

Happy Friday and Happy Belated Passover for those who celebrate.  This week has felt very long! It was supposed to be Spring Break for the kids, but due to the Governor’s orders, school had to be in session.  However, all of my kids’ teachers assigned enrichment activities and they had no actual assignments that they had to submit. So they both did a whole lot of nothing except watch TV or spend time on their electronics during the day when Dana and I were working.  I am actually looking forward to next week when they are back on a somewhat regular schedule. This weekend is going to feel strange, celebrating Easter with just the four of us. Normally, we host Easter and do a joint family birthday celebration for my daughter, who is turning 14 on Tuesday.  This year though we were supposed to be in Maryland celebrating the holiday at my sister’s house. We will make the best of the situation though and be grateful that we are healthy and together. Here are five from another unexciting week:

1. Baking – this week my daughter decided to bake vegan sugar cookies.  It was her idea of being productive. I was all on board, as long as she cleaned up after herself! She made the cookies and we all got rewarded with tasty, homemade cookies. 

2. Reading – This week Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin.  This is a nonfiction, memoir that a friend from work recommended. I thought it was just an okay read and after I finished it, I read about the criticism and discrepancies of the accounts told in the book.

3. Watching – My daughter and I have started watching Money Heist on Netflix.  It originated as a Spanish drama series but eventually got acquired by Netflix.  I enjoy having a show that we can watch together and this suspense/action series has a lot of episodes for us to watch.  I also am halfway through watching the 4 episode limited series, Unorthodox. This Netflix show is about Etsy, a girl who leaves an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and moves to Germany to start a new life.  It’s based on a book and inspired by the author’s life.  

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Falafel, Chickpea Meatballs on Garlic Bread, Vegan Tacos, Tuscan Farro Soup and Beer Bread and BBQ Tofu with cornbread and roasted broccoli. Very few restaurants near us offer decent vegan takeout options. As a family, we’ve talked about how it’s much cheaper and tastier for us to eat at home.

5. Anniversary Celebration – Saturday was my 16th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated by ordering takeout from a vegan Caribbean restaurant.  It was a bit of a ride, but a beautiful day! We enjoyed the meal at home for lunch and then all did some yard work, since it was so nice out.  Definitely not how I imagined us celebrating but the best we could do during this time.

ICYMI:  My Happy Lists for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday!

Happy Easter! Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Happy Anniversary to Us!}

Happy Friday.  I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe.  These are some scary times and everyday I have to remind myself to be grateful that I am together with my family, trying to do the best we can each day. That looks different every day, but we are managing. On a positive note, tomorrow is me and Dana’s 16th wedding anniversary! We plan to take a drive to get some take out from a vegan restaurant in Rockland County that I’ve heard about. Otherwise, we obviously don’t have big plans!  Here are five from this week:

1.    Shopping Finds – This week we scored on our grocery shopping trips. We were able to find tofu and chickpeas on our weekly trip earlier in the week. Dana ran out to the store early yesterday morning and was able to get toilet paper and flour, two things that we have not been able to find! Seriously, these little wins made me so happy!

2. Reading – This week I finished What You Wish For by Katherine Center.  It is an ARC from Netgalley that I read on my kindle that is being published in July.  As with all of the Katherine Center books that I’ve read, it was an enjoyable read.  

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3. Watching – This week we finished binge watching Tiger King (Netflix).  That was a crazy, entertaining show! For something a bit more serious, my daughter and I binge watched Unbelievable (Netflix) about two women detectives who try to find a serial rapist.

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Salad Pizza, 15 Minute Lo Mein, Tempeh and Kale Enchilada Casserole, Greek Eggplant and Potatoes and Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.  

5. My Happy List – For April, I started posting a daily happy list post.  It’s just three things that are bringing me a little happiness (and might hopefully make you smile as well).  You can check out today’s, yesterday’s and Wednesday’s posts!

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {What Day Is It?!}

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Hello Friday, is that you?  The days are just running together and I’m seriously losing track of time!  I thought I’d be posting so much more on the blog, since I’m home all day. However, after working from home, staring at my laptop screen for so many hours, I’m just not feeling very motivated to stay on it any longer than I have to.  I thought I was doing okay for the most part with the social distancing. But after looking at the news and social media, I almost had a breakdown the other night. It’s hard to believe that we may be living like this for months. But I got myself out of my funk by reminding myself how much I have to be grateful for, even during these difficult times.  It was really helpful and I know that it’s normal and expected to have bouts of sadness and unease. Here are five from this unexciting week:

1.  Weekend Walk – As long as we are allowed to be outside, we are going to spend time there, getting some fresh air and exercise.  Last weekend we took a drive to Bear Mountain State Park. The kids made it clear that they were NOT going to go on a hike so we walked around Hessian Lake.  It was a lot more crowded than I was comfortable with. So we did the 1.4 mile walk pretty quickly and left. It was still a beautiful day with scenic views, even though it was a short visit.   

2. Reading – Although I’ve been reading, I’ve not been getting in as much reading time as I thought I’d be during this time.  This week I did finish Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner which was an enjoyable read. It’s been years since I’ve read any of her books and I was surprised that I liked this one as much as I did.  

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3. Watching – This week we only watched two movies. We all watched Motherless Brooklyn together.  Then my daughter and I watched Last Christmas. It was fitting that it was snowing the day we watched it.  On Netflix, we started watching Tiger King. It’s a crazy, diversion!

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Vegan White Pizza, Roasted Peanut Butter Cauliflower and Carrot Salad Bowls, Chickpea Shawarma Wraps, Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Pot Pie, and General Tso’s Cauliflower.

5. Social Distancing – During the day Dana and I are continuing to work from home while the kids are doing their online school work.  After I log off at 4 PM, we either all go for a walk, or the kids play volleyball or badminton outside for a bit while Dana and I walk.  I also try to do yoga, since my back is not happy with me sitting at the dining room table all day working. This week we ordered takeout one day from Izla.  Although we can only eat the sides, rice, tostones and yucca fries made for a tasty lunch earlier this week.  

I didn’t post any new posts this week. But in case you missed last week’s posts:

Indoor Family Fun During This Stressful Time.

15 Ways to Entertain Yourself At Home During Social Distancing.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {We Will Get Through This….}

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Happy Friday!  This week has been one unlike any other.  I know we are all feeling unsettled during this public health crisis.  It seems like everything but the grocery stores are closed now. For now, our schools are closed until the 31st, but who knows if that will change.  As we’ve been told, things are going to get worse before they get better. But I know that we will get through this. I am very thankful that Dana and I both have jobs that we can do from home and that my kids are older and able to manage their online school work on their own. It’s obviously not been a very exciting week, but here are five from this week:

1.  Weekend Hike – last weekend the social distancing began.  We ended up going on a hike (along with a lot of other people who had the same idea!) since it was such a nice day.  

2. Reading – I finished Her Daughter’s Mother but book club, like everything else, was canceled. We walked to our local library Monday and I picked up some holds and other books, before they closed for the next couple of weeks.  I have just started Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center, which has been on my to read list.  

A man in a suit with a gun in his right hand is flanked by five other individuals in the middle of a street which, behind them, is folded upwards. Leonardo DiCaprio's name and those of other cast members are shown above the words "Your Mind Is the Scene of the Crime". The title of the film "INCEPTION", film credits, and theatrical and IMAX release dates are shown at the bottom.

3. Watching – We’ve been having family movie nights most evenings.  Together we’ve watched Inception and Austin Powers, both on Netflix.  Dana and our daughter watched Doctor Sleep, since they both read the book.  I don’t like scary movies so I skipped this one.  He was a bit disappointed and noted that the movie was very different than the book.

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Halushki (sautéed cabbage and onions with egg noodles) for St. Patrick’s Day, cauliflower korma (using a jarred, non-vegan sauce) with basmati rice and naan, chickpea meatloaf with roasted potatoes and a roasted vegetable risotto.

5. Social Distancing – During the day Dana and I are both working from home.  But besides the cleaning and cooking, I’ve been reading, doing a paint-by-number and working on puzzles. Dana and I also started another 30 day Yoga with Adriene series. Revolution is actually a 31 day series, but an oldie that we haven’t done.

ICYMI this week on the blog: 

Monday I wrote about Indoor Family Fun During This Stressful Time.

Wednesday I shared 15 Ways to Entertain Yourself at Home During Social Distancing.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Keep Calm}

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Hello Friday!  What a crazy week it’s been here.  We live in Westchester County, right in the middle of the New York Coronavirus crisis. While neither the school district that I work in or my kids’ school have closed…..yet, there’s lots of panic going on around here.  Stores are out of hand sanitizer, cleaners and even toilet paper! Everything is getting canceled to promote social distancing. Saturday my son is working stage crew for our middle school play. They have limited the audience to one parent per cast/crew member, but I think we are going to drop him off and watch the live stream of the show just to be on the safe side. Then the plans are to lay low for the rest of the weekend. Here are five from this week:

1.  Weekend Fun – My daughter has qualified to apply for the National Junior Honor Society. She needs volunteer hours, so the two of us spent four hours last weekend volunteering at a local food pantry and then making sandwiches for a Midnight Run. Then after my son and I went to the grocery store to buy supplies for Supper Club (see below) we went to our high school track. He wanted to practice running but then convinced me to walk the nature/wellness path with him. It was a beautiful day and a nice walk with him.

2. Reading – I just finished Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova.  This is my monthly book club read and book club is next week, if it doesn’t get canceled before then!

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3. Watching – I made it about halfway through Joker before I had to go to bed.  But Dana and our daughter stayed up and watched the whole movie. Dana and I also just started watching Mad Men on Netflix for the first time.  We are enjoying it, but it’s infuriating on so many levels about how women were treated in the 1950’s. Plus, all the smoking (and drinking even when pregnant!).

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Vegan Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos, veggie burgers and fries and Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Pasta.

5. Supper Club – Sunday we had our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was Thai. I made a Vegan Pad See Ew with tofu.  I couldn’t find wide rice noodles so ended up using regular pad Thai rice noodles.  Dana made Tropical Thai Coconut-Tapioca Pudding for dessert.

ICYMI this week on the blog: 

Thursday I wrote about the Westchester Knicks.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

Five on Friday {Spring Ahead}

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Happy Friday! This Sunday we lose an hour of sleep as we “spring ahead.” I’m super disappointed with the lack of snow this winter. But I have to admit, I’m loving these spring temps! And it’s going to be lighter earlier! Coronavirus has hit Westchester County, so there’s been some panic. You cannot find hand sanitizer on store shelves, schools have closed, and some people have been quarantined to their homes. And of course, yesterday, Dana came down with a cold. Hopefully, he will be better by Sunday, since we have our monthly supper club. Here are five from this week:

1. Weekend Fun – Saturday Dana and I went to Woodbury Commons outlets. C. was on a Boy Scout camping trip and A. went ice skating with some friends. I was in desperate need of some pants and found some at Ann Taylor Loft and the Old Navy outlet. On the way home we stopped at the newly opened Aldi’s in Monroe-Woodbury. It’s the closest (only) Aldi’s near us. We found a bunch of vegan food items including vegan sour cream. This was our first time trying it and I have to say that it’s not that bad!

Sunday evening after C. came home we went bowling. It’s been on his family bucket list for awhile. None of us did very well but it was a fun night out together.

2. Watching – This weekend Dana and I watched Parasite, winner of the Academy Awards: Best Picture.  We also watched Gemini Man, starring Will Smith. I started binge watching The Stranger on Netflix.  It’s based on Harlan Coben’s book, which I read several years ago, but I don’t remember anything about it…#bookamnesia!  It’s so suspenseful and I highly recommend!

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3. Reading – I haven’t gotten in much reading time (because, see above!). I’ve been slowly making my way through Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. It’s a suspense/thriller book, which is usually my favorite genre. But it’s moving a little slow for me.

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Vegan Meatballs with pasta, Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Cialntro Chimichurri Sauce, Lentil & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Wraps and Sheet Pan Garlic Tofu & Brussels Sprouts.

5. Baking – This week I had time to bake. I never was a big baker, but since becoming vegan, this was my first time baking anything. I am always a fan of muffins since I can freeze the leftovers. I made Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins. They were super simple to make and used applesauce instead of eggs. The muffins had a different consistency than what we are used to, but they were moist.

ICYMI this week on the blog: 

Thursday I wrote about the Westchester Knicks.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!