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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!

The Joker dances on a set of stairs. Below him are the words "Joaquin Phoenix", "A Todd Phillips film", "Joker", "October 4".

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!

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Five on Friday {Happy Leap Year!}

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Hello Friday, I’m so happy to see you! We don’t have any major plans this weekend, which is actually nice, since I feel like our past few weekends have been pretty busy. My son is on a two night Boy Scout camping trip, so we won’t be seeing a lot of him this weekend. Plus, it’s been a super busy couple of weeks at work and I can really use the downtime to relax. Here are five from this week:

1.  NYBG Orchid Show – Saturday we went to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) Orchid Show.  I had seen ads for the show and I had to go! I love orchids, despite not being able to keep them alive for the life of me.  We ended up buying a family membership for the year and I can’t wait to go back in the spring when the outside gardens will be in bloom.  The orchid show was beautiful and I have a post linked below if you’d like to see more pics!   

2. Reading – This week I finished Regretting You by Colleen Hoover. This was my first five star read of the year! I love Hoover, so I may be a bit biased.  However, this was such an emotional, but good read. 

3. Westchester County Knicks Game – Sunday we went to the Westchester County Knicks game.  Dana heads up the Westchester Chapter of the Binghamton Alumni and this is their annual family event.  It’s always a fun time watching the basketball game.  Unfortunately, the Knicks have been on a losing streak, and lost this game too.

4. Cooking – We’ve been cooking up a storm.  This week’s menu included Lasagna Soup, Vegan Alfredo, Roasted Potato Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce (pictured above) and Garlic Sesame Noodles.  I also made Chickpea Salad Sandwiches for lunch during the week. 

5. Eating – Monday we had a February birthday celebration for two of my HR colleagues. One of our coworkers made these Mardi Gras cupcakes. How pretty are they?! I brought one home for the kids to share.

ICYMI this week on the blog: 

Tuesday I wrote about the NYBG Orchid Show.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {February is Flying By}

Hello Friday! February has been flying by and I can’t believe the month is almost over! I am so ready for the weekend though.  Even though it was a four day work week, it felt super long! I got no posts published this week on the blog.  I’ve been working on some major projects at work and have been literally sitting and staring at my computer screens ALL day.  Coming home the last thing I wanted to do was sit with my laptop. The kids had no school this week and it was nice to not have any after school/evening activities.  Here are five from this week:

1.  Supper Club – This past weekend we hosted our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was Latin American. I made Oyster Mushroom Ropa Vieja and Dana made Cauliflower steaks with Chimichurri Sauce and tostones.  I say this every month, but it was a delicious meal!

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2. Reading – This week I finished The Escape Room by Megan Goldin.  It was a fast paced thriller which had some aspects that were a little unbelievable.  But overall, an enjoyable, fast read. I also had book club this week where we discussed this month’s book, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  This was a reread for me, but was as good of a read as the first time I read it.

3. Circus – Sunday night the Royal Hanneford Circus hosted us for their evening performance.  Despite performing in Westchester for over 50 years, this was the first time we had seen this circus.  It was a great show and a fun night out.

4. Walkway Over the Hudson – Monday we all had off from school/work.  Since it was such a nice day we drove up to Poughkeepsie and walked the Walkway Over the Hudson.  There’s always beautiful views of the Hudson River.

5. Eating – After our walk we found a new to us restaurant near Vassar College for lunch.  Twisted Soul Concepts has a variety of vegan menu options. One of our faves were these Korean Grilled Tofu Steamed Buns.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {President’s Day Weekend}


Happy Valentine’s Day! Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the holiday.  I feel like it’s become an overly commercialized Hallmark holiday. So we aren’t really celebrating in a big way, but we did get some chocolates and candy for the kids. The kids have a week off for February break starting tomorrow. I only have a three day weekend but we are hoping to squeeze some family fun in. Tomorrow night we are hosting our monthly supper club – which should be another delicious evening! Here are five from this week:

1.  All-County Concert – last weekend my daughter played her alto saxophone in the All-County concert.  This concert is where kids from 5 different school districts come together to play in one band, orchestra or sing together. There was a mandatory almost 8 hours of practice before the concert.  Plus she put in lots of practice time on her own. The band did an amazing job and even played a Lady Gaga mix!

We surprised her flowers and chocolate for such a great job! 

2. Reading – This week I finished Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. It was an okay read, but I didn’t love it.

3. Eating – last weekend after a very chilly walk by the river my husband and I stopped at Peaceful Provisions.  They make vegan doughnuts and we enjoyed this deliciousness! 

4. Buying – I’ve been on the lookout for a large tote pocketbook for work. My only criteria was that it needed to be large enough to fit a book and have an outside pocket for my keys and phone. I found this bag at Marshall’s and am loving it. It even came with a matching smaller hand bag and a clutch/wristlet. I love all things gray plus it’s PETA vegan approved. 

5. Cooking – This week’s menu included Vegan Buddha Bowls (pictured above), Portabella Mushroom Reubens (minus the cheese), veggie burgers with fries and ramen soup. 

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my January reads.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Where’s Winter?!}

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Hello Friday! For once, I can say the week feels like it’s flown by! It’s been busy with the usual and as always, I’m happy for the weekend to be here. In the beginning of the week we were expected to get some snow/sleet yesterday……but nothing! Rainy and 40 degrees. It’s too warm for snow! Today, there’s a high of 51 degrees…..in February! I’m not going to lie, I don’t mind not having freezing temps. But this is winter. I want snow days (one of the few things I like about the season!) which require SNOW!! Here are five from this week:

1. Date Night – Last Friday night the Westchester Broadway Theatre kindly hosted us for their press night production of Five Guys Named Moe. I have a blog post linked below all about the show. It was a great production and a fun date night out.

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2. Watching – This weekend Dana and I watched Hustlers and the Downtown Abbey movie. Both were good in their own way. I didn’t realize that Hustlers was based on a true story. And even though I didn’t watch the Super Bowl or the half-time show, I did see pictures and everyone’s comments. Both Hustlers and the half-time show prove that J. Lo has an amazing body and I hope to look that good when I’m her age!

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I also watched Miss Americana on Netflix. If you are a Taylor Swift fan you have probably already watched this! And even if you aren’t a big fan, I recommend watching. I enjoyed watching her evolution from teen country star to modern day music wonder woman.

3. Reading – I am almost finished reading American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. After a family tragedy, a mother and her son attempt to escape Mexico and find refuge in America. They go from middle-class to migrants as they make a long and dangerous trip. I think this book is a good read. In my opinion, it’s well-written and had me invested in the story from the beginning.

I was halfway through reading it before discovering all the controversy over this book. Critics have pointed out that Cummins, who has identified herself as white, is writing the story from the perspective of Mexican American characters. They believe that this isn’t her story to tell and allege that Cummins has written many errors in her descriptions of Mexico. Oprah selected this book as her book club selection and after lots of backlash about the choice has stated, “….this selection has struck an emotional chord and created a need for a deeper, more substantive discussion.” The book is already being adapted into a movie.

4. Cooking – This week we made Peanut Tofu with Coconut Rice, Instant Pot Pad Thai Stir Fry (not in the Instant Pot), Spicy Beanless Garden Chili, Mediterranean Wraps and Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. We’ve been cooking A LOT and eating at home most of the time. A lot of restaurants don’t offer very many vegan options. Plus, we feel like we can make pretty tasty food at home which is a lot healthier and cheaper than what we’d get eating out.

5. Internet Reads
*Any other documentary fans? I’ve got some watching to do….but I love that Miss Americana made the list!
*It’s almost time for spring cleaning! I can use all the help I can get!
*I love the sleep score tracking on my Fitbit. However, I’ve been noticing that I need to work on getting better sleep. Even though I’ve been going to bed before 11 PM every night, I’m barely getting a little over six hours of actual sleep. Any sleep advice I can find, I read! I’m even thinking about getting a weighted blanket. Do any of you use a weighted blanket?

ICYMI this week:

Wednesday I wrote about Five Guys Named Moe.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Goodbye January}

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Hello Friday! I am so happy to see you! The week seemed to drag on, but I feel like the weekend flies by! This past Wednesday was my two year work anniversary. It feels like I’ve been working in the HR office for much longer than that. I have to say that it’s my coworkers who really make the workplace enjoyable.

Dana and I are up to Day 27 of Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Day Home challenge. This was his first time ever doing yoga and he’s loving it!

This weekend is my daughter’s final cheer competition of the season. I never thought I’d be a cheer mom. And until she decides that she’s going to try out for JV next year in high school, I’m pretending I’m not. Here are five from this week:

1. Reading – This week I finished Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. I thought this book was okay but I preferred her other book Girl, Wash Your Face more.

2. Snacking – We go through a LOT of snacks during the week…..with an 11 and 13 year-old who are are bottomless pits it’s inevitable! I found these From the Ground Up Butternut Squash Pretzels at Shoprite. They were not a hit with the kids. I didn’t think they were bad, but they do have a butternut squash flavor, which both kids didn’t like. We are not strict about vegan snacks, the kids have decided they want to eat cookies, chips, granola bars, etc. But these are vegan.

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3. Watching – This past weekend we had a family movie night and watched Abominable. This was a cute movie about three teens who help bring a Yeti back home. Three of us also watched the 2019 remake of the Lion King. The original movie came out when I was in high school. I remember singing a medley of songs from the movie for a chorus concert. So, this movie brought back high school memories.

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I also binge watched the entire series of The Goop Lab on Netflix last weekend. Health and wellness have been a real interest to me recently. Since I listen to a lot of podcasts focused on health and wellness topics, I enjoyed actually seeing some of these practices in action.

4. Cooking – This week’s menu included Ramen Stir Fry (pictured), Vegan Lasagna, Vegan Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Coconut Cauliflower Adobo with Rice and Veggie Burgers and fries. Everything was delicious! We keep saying we don’t feel like we are missing out on anything being vegan.

5. Drinking – I rarely drink, but once in awhile we visit a craft beer store and stock up on craft beer (for Dana) and hard cider (for me). This week I tried Bantam Rojo. It wasn’t as sweet as I like and reminded me of a rose wine. But it’s a new-to-me brand and I want to check out some of their other ciders.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I posted Snow Much Fun!

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Ready for the Weekend}

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Happy Friday! Do you love short work weeks as much as I do? This weekend is filled with another cheer competition and hopefully not another snow storm! Here are five from this week:

1.  Cheer Competition – Last Sunday I spent the entire day at my daughter’s second cheer competition. This time, there were three other teams in the modified category. Although her team got special recognition and pins for having no deductions, they ended up coming in 3rd place. They did a great job! It was just a super long day for the both of us.

2. Reading – Last weekend I finished Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. I didn’t know much about this book before I started reading it, but I highly recommend it. It’s a contemporary fiction book that tackles issues of race and privilege.

Cheer - Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

3. Watching – This week my daughter and I started watching Cheer on Netflix.  It’s a documentary about a competitive college cheer team in Texas. All I have to say is wow on so many levels. I didn’t know much about cheerleading before she started this year and watching this show makes me not want her to continue! 

4. Supper Club – Last Saturday we were supposed to host our monthly supper club. However, we were hit with a snow storm and had to cancel. Since we had all the ingredients for our dishes, Dana and I decided to cook. The theme was “caramelized” and I made a Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto and he made Caramelized Tofu with Brussels Sprouts. Everything was delicious!

5. Cooking – We have been continuing our vegan journey and have been eating some tasty dinners! This week we had Spicy Potato Kale Bowls with Mustard Tahini Dressing (pictured), Kung Pao Chickpeas, Vegan Tacos with Tofu and Mashed Potato Gnocchi.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I posted about Trivia Night at the Peekskill Brewery,

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!