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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!

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!