Monday Meal Plan #10

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Halloween! I hope you had a wonderful pre-Halloween weekend!

Weekend Recap

The first part of our weekend felt like a blur. Friday was my daughter’s 7th birthday, so my husband came home from work early. He joined me at her school to pick her up, along with our weekend visitor: her classroom guinea pig, Zippy Chippy. The kids take turns bringing him/her home over the weekends and school breaks (assuming their parents are cool with it), and they get dibs over the birthday weekend.


After getting Zippy settled in next to our betta fish, we took our daughter to her dance class, then out for her birthday dinner of choice, Chipotle. I happened to have a BOGO burrito coupon, so it ended up being a very affordable birthday dinner! We had ice cream cake and she opened her presents at home, afterwards.

On Saturday, my daughter had gymnastics class, and that afternoon we met friends for Saratoga’s Fall Festival. There are activities like face painting, pumpkin rolling, and pony rides, but the main attraction is trick-or-treating at the business along Broadway. After the festival, we ducked into Glitter Nail Bar, for a small pedicure party with a few of friends. There was more cake and more presents, and the girls seemed to have a great time.

Pedicures after picture
Pedicures after picture

Yesterday was a much more relaxed day. We went trick-or-treating at the Spa City Farmers’ Market, then spent the rest of the day at home. I wish I could share a long list of thing I accomplished at home, but it’s pretty brief. I composed this blog post (score!), cleaned the fish bowl, changed sheets, and cleaned my daughter’s bathroom. Other than that, I spent a lot of time in a seated position.

The Week Ahead

Tonight we’ll be taking our daughter out for the trick-or-treating main event. Given the late hour we’ll get home and that Tuesday is a work/school day for all of us, dinner will be some form of take-out. I’m working Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and Thursday is (yet another) half-day for my daughter. We have our parent-teacher conference that afternoon, and I’m really looking forward to it. (In previous years, I’ve volunteered in her classroom and felt much more comfortable with her teachers and classmates. Her teacher this year doesn’t have parent volunteers in the classroom, so I’m feeling kind of out-of-the-loop.) On Saturday, my in-laws are visiting, so we’ll probably be having dinner out with them. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

What’s for dinner at your house this week??
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What’s Up Wednesday: October, 2016


It’s the last Wednesday of the month, which means it’s “What’s Up Wednesday”!

What We’re Eating This Week

This is not my best week for cooking. We were away last weekend, and I worked Monday and yesterday, leaving no time to hit the grocery store. As a result, we had mostly pre-made dinners – ravioli and a yummy Quiche –  to start the week. I’m picking up my game a little bit for the rest of the week, and I get to take Friday off from cooking, since it’s my daughter’s birthday. She requested Chipotle for her birthday dinner, and I’m happy to oblige. (Especially since I have a buy-one-get-one burrito coupon that my husband and I can use!)

What I’m Reminiscing About

My daughter’s past Halloween costumes. In order, they were: ladybug, jockey, Rapunzel, Elsa, and witch. The jockey was definitely my favorite, and while the costume itself was beautiful, at least 65% of girls were Elsa two years ago, which was kind of a drag.

What I’m Loving

Selling my used clothing at a local consignment store. I’ve been selling my daughter’s outgrown clothing at consignment sales and stores since she was a baby, but options for selling used women’s clothing in my area are very limited. A couple of weeks ago I visited a new-ish consignment store that sells women’s clothing, and I’m hooked! I’ve already made two trips there to drop-off items for sale.

What We’ve Been Up To

This month has really been a blur. I’ve been working three days a week, which leaves less time than I’m used to for keeping our house and family running, blogging, and life, in general. We were away last weekend, had guests the one before that, and will be busy again this weekend. Everything we’ve been up to has been good – working, celebrating, visiting with family – but I’d love to have some unstructured and unscheduled days to catch up.

What I’m Dreading

My annual physical. I like my doctor. She’s very knowledgeable, a great communicator, and never makes me feel rushed. But, she always discusses weight and BMI. Always. I haven’t been on the receiving end of scolding from her, but my husband has, and that woman doesn’t mess around. At my physical last year, she said that my weight was in a healthy place, but that I shouldn’t gain more than a pound or two. We don’t own a scale, but since all of my fall/winter clothes are a bit snug, I’m confident that I’ve gained more than my alloted pounds. And I know I’m going to hear about it… Oh, and did I mention that I stupidly scheduled my physical for the Monday after Thanksgiving?? #whatwasIthinking

What I’m Working On

Decluttering my daughter’s room. It’s already packed with dolls, stuffed animals, books, and who-knows-what-else, and she’s got birthday and Christmas presents coming. That kid hangs onto every scrap of paper and plastic trinket, so I have to weed things out when she’s not home. I try to do multiple, small clean-outs, rather than do one big one, and risk her noticing lots of things missing at once.

I’m also prioritizing and getting ready to go through all of the resources in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. Technology terrifies me, I’m clueless when it comes to design and visuals, and I often feel overwhelmed by all of the other things a “real” blogger should know about. I’m thrilled to have this set of tools to help me out.

What I’m Excited About

This election season is almost over!!!! At the same time, I’m excited to cast my vote on November 8th. My daughter loves to come with me, and it feels great to participate in the foundation of our democracy. As wacky as things have gotten in our political world this year, I know I’m very lucky to live in this country.

What I’m Watching/Reading

I don’t really watch any TV shows, but I’m a bit of a news junkie. And while I’m very excited about the end of this election season, I LOVE the excitement of Election Day. My (presidential) election night routine is to get Chinese food for dinner, pull out the sleeper-couch in our living room, and watch the coverage of the election until it’s called.

As for reading, I’m currently in-between books. Earlier this month, I stopped reading a book before I finished it, which is hard for me to do. I then read The Bucolic Plague in a few days, and my next book is going to be, The Power of Habit. However, my pile of unread magazines was turning into more of a tower, so I’ve been reading magazines for the past week or so.

What I’m Listening To

Podcasts galore! In particular, this month I’ve been binge-listening to episodes of the Brilliant Business Moms podcast.

What I’m Wearing

All warm and cozy clothes, all the time. I got my first pair of straight-leg jeans in I-don’t-know-how-long in my most recent Fix from Stitch Fix, and I love them!! I’ve been wearing boot-cut jeans for as long as I can remember, and I now feel a little more up-to-date. I also started wearing my winter coat this week, along with gloves on some of the chilly mornings we’ve been having.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

We have a pretty packed weekend coming up. As usual, my daughter has her hip-hop dance class on Friday evening. We’ll head straight from there to Chipotle, for her birthday dinner, and home for cake and presents. Saturday morning, my husband will take her to gymnastics class, then we’ll hit Saratoga’s Fall Festival, until her birthday party at 2:00 that afternoon. On Sunday, we’re going to the Fall Fest at the Spa City Farmers’ Market, and doing some cleaning and catching up on life at home.

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Thanksgiving, some fun holiday events, and the start of my six-week winter break from my job.
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Monday Meal Plan #9

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful fall weekend. After last week’s crazy vacillation between summer and fall, it definitely seems like fall is here to stay. It was very windy over the weekend, and the trees lost a lot of their leaves. Even more depressing, darkness is falling earlier and earlier, now. Oh, and our anticipated low-temperature on Wednesday is 27 degrees – brrr!

Weekend Recap

My daughter’s seventh birthday is coming up this Friday, and the celebrations began over the weekend, with a family party at my parents’ house in Orange County (New York). (But does Orange County count as upstate New York??) We got to see some of my extended family members, as well as my sister and nephew. The two cousins played together non-stop, which was very sweet to see. It was a short visit, but a lovely time. Birthday present highlights included Taco Terrie, Pieface, an American Girl sloth, some beautiful clothing, and, of course, money.

Before we headed home yesterday, we stopped by a much-loved place in my hometown, Jones Farm. It’s an absolutely charming family farm, selling their own produce and baked goods, plus custom picture-framing and gifts. They also have farm animals to visit and feed. I’ve probably been visiting Jones Farm for 36 years now, and I never tire of it! Yesterday we went on a hayride around their beautiful grounds, and took in the breath-taking mountain views. And my daughter “picked” a pumpkin.

Pumpkin-picking at Jones Farm

The Week Ahead

This is going to be another busy week for our family. I’m working Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; Wednesday is another school half-day for my daughter; and Friday is her big day! She’s having a small party with some friends at a local nail salon on Saturday, and we’ll also be attending Saratoga’s Fall Festival that day. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Saratoga Springs every year. There are lots of fun activities for the kids, plus trick-or-treating at the downtown businesses. And because one can never get enough Halloween candy, we’ll also go to the Spa City Farmers’ Market Fall Fest on Sunday. With that in mind, here’s what’s on our dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: Ravioli w/ roasted asparagus
  • Tuesday: Mushroom and kale (pre-made) Quiche w/ frozen veggies
  • Wednesday: Taco salads
  • Thursday: Stir-fried shrimp with broccoli and jasmine rice
  • Friday: Birthday girl’s dinner-out choice (Chipotle is currently the front-runner.)
  • Saturday: Slow-cooker pot roast w/ potatoes
  • Sunday: Leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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Friday Favorites: Saving Money Edition


I’m a big fan of saving money. I pick up coins I find on the ground, I check store flyers for weekly specials, and I even return our empty soda cans to the grocery store. (I paid for that deposit, and I like to get it back!) There are countless ways to save money, and I try to use as many as possible, within the time constraints of my life. Here are some of my favorite, easy ways to save money:


I clued into the idea of buying discounted gift cards fairly recently, and I’m so glad I did. It’s like getting a discount on my purchase, right off the bat! I use Cardpool to purchase my discounted gift cards. Their website says you can get cards for up to 35% off the value, but I’ve generally saved in the range of 10-20%. Since I do a decent amount of shopping online, I always check Cardpool before I make a purchase, to see if I can snag a discounted gift card to use. (They sell both physical and electronic gift cards.) And I haven’t done this, but you can sell them your unwanted gift cards for cash, too.


I’ve been using Ebates for over ten years!! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a great tool for saving money when shopping online. Before I make a purchase, I check to see if the store is an Ebates partner. (I’ve encountered very few stores that aren’t partners. Amazon, Gap, Macy’s, Target, Ann Taylor, Gymboree, Best Buy, and many, many more are all there.) Then I simply click through the Ebates site to go to the store, and shop like I normally would. I earn 1%, 2%, 3%, 6%, and sometimes more in cash back on these purchases. In fact, since I started using Ebates in January, 2006, I’ve received $863.78 in cash back!! I haven’t tried it yet, but Ebates recently started offering cash back on in-store purchases at some stores, using credit cards that you link to their site.

Rewards Websites

In my view, sites like Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and MyPoints are fairly similar. They all award users points for engaging in a variety of relatively quick and easy tasks: answering daily poll questions, clicking through links in promotional emails, printing and using grocery coupons, taking surveys, watching videos, and more. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can cash them in for gifts cards. I don’t use any other them to their maximum potential, mainly because I don’t have the time. But I always click through the emails I receive from MyPoints, answer the Swagbucks daily poll question, and occasionally, if there’s a higher cash-back percentage for a given store than offered by Ebates, I click through the store’s shopping link on one of these sites. I know some people earn hundreds of dollars or more each year with these sites, but I tend to collect a few $10 Amazon gift cards from them each quarter.

Grocery Savings Apps

Inspired by the show, Extreme Couponing, I went through a phase of religiously clipping and using paper coupons when I went grocery shopping. I still clip and use the occasional paper coupon (and earn rewards points for doing so!) from MyPoints, but these days I mainly use three apps to get cash back on my grocery purchases: SavingStar, Ibotta, and Checkout51. All of them work with my favorite, regular stores – Price Chopper, Hannaford, Target, and CVS- and all of them use either my store loyalty card numbers to automatically credit me for my purchases, and/or simply require a quick submission of a photograph of my receipt. Over time, I’ve earned $262.52 in cash back from SavingStar, $38.50 from Checkout51, and $18.75 from Ibotta, all for items I regularly purchase. I’m talking milk, produce, and toilet paper, not just processed food! (If you want to try Ibotta for yourself, click here and use my referral code, rbkhnjf, when you sign up. You’ll receive a $10, just for signing up!)

Amazon Prime

While it may seem counter-intuitive that a service with a $99 annual fee actually saves me money, hear me out. Amazon sells pretty much everything known to man. My husband and I purchase a couple of things from them every month. Before we decided to spring for Prime, the item(s) we purchased didn’t always meet the ever-increasing minimum dollar amount for free shipping, and we would play Amazon’s game of adding something else to our cart to qualify. When the minimum amount for free shipping increased to $49, we decided it was time to sign up for Prime. Now, it’s much easier – and less costly! – for us to make smaller purchases from Amazon. Plus, we love that the free shipping takes only two days, and our daughter loves that she can listen to as many KidzBop songs as she wants for free through the Prime music benefit.

What are your favorite tools for saving money??

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Dwarfism Awareness Month


This is a guest post from my sister, Lynn, about my adorable nephew, Charlie. 

Meet my son Charlie.  He is a cheerful, smart, handsome 7 month old – an overall great guy.  On the day that he was born, Charlie was diagnosed with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.  As his mother, one of my greatest fears is how he will be treated, by a sometimes unkind world, simply because of his stature. You see, Charlie is like most other 7 months old, only a bit shorter. (Note from Aunt Amy: Charlie is actually one of the sweetest and most joyful babies I’ve ever encountered.)


Prior to my son’s diagnosis, I knew almost nothing about dwarfism.  I had seen the occasional TV show – some exploitative and some not.  Though I had sometimes seen Little People (LP) out in the community, I have never actually had a conversation with an LP.  When I learned about Charlie’s diagnosis, I initially struggled with our new reality.  Though it was certainly an unrealistic expectation, I imagined having an easier time with a second child.  Suddenly, I had a baby with a genetic condition about which I knew very little.  I was concerned about the possible medical complications associated with achondroplasia.  I worried that Charlie’s potential would be greatly limited by his stature.  I wondered about how he would be received by the world that still feels free to openly mock Little People.  Before even leaving the hospital with my new baby, I was lucky enough to be connected with the Little People of America.  This amazing organization provides a variety of services to Little People and their families.  I have connected with many people through our local district and around the country.  They are a source of support, resources, and social connection.

The last seven months have not always been easy but Charlie is an amazing guy.  He is sweet, social, and charming.  He is a great addition to our family.  He has introduced me to a world of amazing people – LP’s, parents of LP’s, and families of children with medical special needs.  I have learned more than I ever could have imagined.  As an advocate for Charlie, I believe that it is important to share some of this information with others.

Here are some basic facts about dwarfism:

  •  Charlie’s form of dwarfism, achondroplasia, is the most common.  However, there are over 200 different types of dwarfism with an estimated 30,000 Little People in the United States and 651,700 LP’s in the world.
  • 80% of Little People are born to average sized parents.  Most often, dwarfism is the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation.  My husband and I are both average height.  Neither of us have any family history of dwarfism.  One set of Charlie’s genes are now altered and carry the mutation for achondroplasia.  Should he choose to have children with an average height partner, there is a 25% chance that each child will have achondroplasia.  If his partner also has achondroplasia, the chances increase to 50%.
  • People with dwarfism are usually no taller than 4 foot 10 inches.  The average height of a man with achondroplasia is 4 foot 4 inches.  The average height of a woman with achondroplasia is 4 foot 1 inch.  People with achondroplasia have an average-sized torso, a larger than average-sized head, and shorter than average arms and legs.
  • The word “midget” (often referred to as the “m” word) is considered highly offensive.  The term was used to describe LP’s who were put on display in sideshow acts.
  • Most types of dwarfism have medical complications, some more severe than others.  Charlie has severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  He was oxygen dependent since he was three weeks old.  Just last month, my husband and I made the difficult decision for Charlie to have a tracheotomy.  This immediately eliminated his OSA.  Learning to care for an infant with a trach has been a bit overwhelming but we are all literally sleeping easier.
  • Dwarfism occurs in all races and ethnicities.
  • Such terms as Little People, LP, Person of short stature or Person with a form of dwarfism are all acceptable. Most people with dwarfism see the word “dwarf” as acceptable. Most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label.  When he is older, Charlie will decide what language he prefers.  For now, we refer to him as a Little Person.
  • In the dwarfism community the word “average” is used instead of the word “normal.” Example: “Average sized parents” rather than “normal sized parents”.
  • Dwarfism is not a reason to assume that someone is incapable. Little People can do just about anything an average sized person can, just sometimes in a different way.  Charlie will live in an averaged-sized world.  My husband and I will make some accommodations at home and in school.  Beyond those, we will encourage Charlie to try anything he would like to do and be resourceful to make it happen.
  • Dwarfism is not an intellectual disability. A person who has dwarfism is typically of average intelligence.

October is Dwarfism Awareness Month

Sometime this month, please take a moment to educate yourself and make the world a kinder place for Charlie and all Little People. Here are some fantastic resources to learn more:

When I first learned about Charlie’s diagnosis, I did a little research, since, like Lynn, I was not particularly at all knowledgeable about achondroplasia. I was relieved to learn that Little People have average lifespans and no intellectual limitations. The only differences are physical. At the same time, I was concerned that people could be unkind to Charlie, because somehow a social acceptance of making fun of Little People seems to persist. Please share the information in this post with others, and help ensure that Charlie and all Little People receive the love and respect we all deserve. Many thanks!!

Monday Meal Plan #8

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Our weekend started when I took my daughter to a Brownie bonfire on Friday night. I was a Brownie for a year when I was a girl, and it wasn’t for me. But this is my daughter’s second year as a Girl Scout, and she’s really enjoying it. There are a couple of after-school meetings each month, many great activities and events, and lots of time with her good friends. As a parent, I really appreciate the positive values of team-building, self-confidence, and leadership that the Girl Scouts teach.

I was thrilled to have a pretty relaxed day at home on Saturday. I spent some time reading The Bucolic Plague, planted the last of the spring-blooming bulbs, made pumpkin bread, and did some laundry and cleaning. Yesterday, my in-laws came for a visit (from New Jersey), and they took us out to lunch at a yummy restaurant in Saratoga Springs, Scallions. We then checked out the fall festival at West Mountain. I got to chat with my in-laws, while my husband and daughter went on a haunted hayride.

The Week Ahead

My daughter has the first of four, fall early dismissal days today. School is dismissed at 11:40, and the teachers spend the rest of the day holding parent-teacher conferences. I’ll be hitting the grocery store in the morning, then taking my daughter to her doctor’s office to get her flu shot after she gets home.

This week, I’m working Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and home again on Friday. I’ll be using that day to bake a cake or cupcakes for my daughter’s family birthday party at my parents’ house, (about 2.5 hours away), on Saturday. We’ll get to see a number of my family members, including my sister and one of my nephews, who are coming in from the Boston-area. We’re spending the night there, which means I won’t be cooking that night – woo hoo! On Sunday afternoon, we’ll drive home, so I planned a quick and easy dinner for that night. With all that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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I’m Throwing in the Towel


I really, really love checking things off of lists. It’s one of the reasons I chose my Day Designer planner when I was looking for a new one: each day has a to-do list on the same page as my hour-by-hour calendar. Swoon… In many ways, this is a positive trait, since it pushes me to finish things I’ve started. However, it also makes it difficult for me to throw in the towel before I’ve completed something – even when it’s clear that I need to.

In recent years, I’ve come to understand how limited time can be, and have started pulling the plug on things, rather than spend waste more time on them. Exhibit A: I used to force myself to read all of the articles in magazines, because I didn’t feel like I’d really read the magazine if I didn’t. These days, I give an article a paragraph or two, before deciding if reading on is really how I want to spend my time. I’ve also made this shift with books, and today I’m sharing the decision I just made to stop reading a book I’m only a little more than halfway through.


If you’ve read my fall reading list post, you know that I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam, is on it. I heard the author interviewed on several podcasts this summer, and her time management message really resonated with me. As a result, I picked up several of her books at the library, and decided to start with this one. I started out strong, but have lost my momentum, and haven’t read a single paragraph in several days. (No, the irony of struggling to finish a time management book is not lost on me.) Coincidentally, I read another blogger’s post about the books she had read in September, commented with the books I had read, and mentioned that I’d just started reading I Know How She Does It. The blogger commented back that she had not been able to get through it, and asked what I thought of it. When I read this reply, something clicked, and I knew that it was time to throw in the towel on this book.

What’s Wrong With It?

I don’t dislike this book, but there are two, big reasons that I’ve lost interest in it. First, I heard the author talk about it several times, so I already knew the message. A little more than halfway through, I haven’t discovered anything that different from what I heard on the podcasts. As I said, I like the author’s premise: that many of us think we’re busier than we really are, and that while it’s difficult to achieve balance every day, most people achieve a good amount ofbalance throughout any given week. To demonstrate this, she recommends that people track their time for a week, then review how they spent it. I tracked my own time for a week, and while I wasn’tsurprised about how I spent most of it, it was helpful for me to see just how unfocused I can be when I’m not at work, and juggling home, blog, and parenting. Adding more structure to my at-home days would definitely be helpful. (If you’d like to track your time, Laura Vanderkam provides free documents for doing so here.)
The second reason I lost interest in I Know How She Does It, is that it’s not exactly applicable to me. The messages about prioritization and time management definitely apply to everyone, but the target audience for this book is full-time, working mothers, who earn $100,000 or more per year. Mother? Check! Work full-time? Nope. Earn $100,000. Negative. The women profiled in the book all met these criteria, and the descriptions of how they spend their time were interesting, but not particularly relatable for me.
So, after renewing the book from the library, and carrying it around my house for several days, I’ve pulled out my bookmark and set I Know How She Does It in the library return pile. What am I picking up next? Drumroll please…

Have you decided to set aside any books before you finished them?

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Monday Meal Plan #7

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday! I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing, holiday weekend.

We’ve been having a lovely fall weekend. On Saturday, my husband took my daughter to her gymnastics class, then we hung out at home for a while, before I made a quick grocery run. That evening, my husband and I went out for a belated anniversary (11th) celebration dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant, and took a short walk around downtown Saratoga Springs. Yesterday, we met friends for a picnic in a Spa State Park. The moms went for a walk in the park after lunch, while the kids played on the playground, and the dads supervised them. The weather was lovely, and the fall colors in our area are approaching peak. It’s such a gorgeous time of year!!

Our family’s schedule this week is kind of unusual. We’re all off from work and school today, back at work and school tomorrow, and on Wednesday, I’ll be home with my daughter, who has another school holiday. We get back on-track on Thursday, and I’m working a third day again this week, this time on Friday. After work on Friday, my daughter has dance class until 6:00, then a Brownie bonfire with her Girl Scouts troop. We’ll grab a quick dinner out in between dance class and the bonfire, and my husband will fend for himself, which probably means a bowl of cereal. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan this week:

  • Monday: Burgers on the grill and roasted asparagus.
  • Tuesday: Slow cooker coconut curry lentils (didn’t happen last week, as planned)
  • Wednesday: Red burritos with beef and beans and roasted veggies
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Quick dinner out for the ladies, and my husband is on his own
  • Saturday: Ground turkey chili w/ avocado and cheese (and maybe some chips)
  • Sunday: Leftovers

What’s for dinner at your house this week?

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A Barefoot Books Giveaway



For a few years, I had a small business selling children’s books from the independent publisher, Barefoot Books, out of my home. My daughter was about a year old when I started, and it was a great way for me to get out of the house, engage with the adult world, and make a little money on the side. I was drawn to Barefoot Books because of the quality of their products, the beautiful artistry, the multicultural stories, and their commitment to sustainability. A few years later, life became busier, and I was no longer able to commit the necessary time to running my Barefoot Books business. Although I haven’t been an active Ambassador for them in quite a while, I still love their books.



The board book, Listen, Listen, was my introduction to Barefoot Books. My daughter received it as a gift for her first birthday, and I fell in love with it right away. I’m a sucker for seasonal change, and Listen, Listen walks the reader through the natural beauty of the four seasons. My husband and I read this book to our daughter countless times, and it actually gave us our first window into her understanding of language. Before she could speak a single (clear) word, we would open up Listen, Listen, and tell her to point to the owl, or the sunflower, or the bee. Much to our amazement, she pointed right to the objects we named for her! I’m certain that she learned quite a few new words from the time we spent reading this book to her.

The rhythmic, rhyming text by Phillis Gershator, highlights the sights and sounds of the seasons. To this day, I often find myself saying, “Sizzle, sizzle, summer sun,” on hot summer days. But it’s Alison Jay’s illustrations that I absolutely adore.

Listen, Listen_text Listen, Listen_text Listen, Listen_text

A second favorite Barefoot Books title of mine is I Took the Moon for a Walk, also illustrated by Alison Jay (and written by Carolyn Curtis). This one is about a boy who, well, takes the moon for a walk one night. It walks the reader through the nocturnal sights and sounds the unlikely pair encounters on their excursion together. This is an especially good book for kids with a fear of nighttime or darkness.

interior2_image_3294_1 interior3_image_3294_1


Although I no longer actively sell Barefoot Books products, I still have some remaining inventory, and I’d like to share it with my much-appreciated readers. The first books I’m giving away are these two gorgeous board books, Listen, Listen, and I Took the Moon for a Walk. To win  this set, enter below. This giveaway will end at 11:59pm on Wednesday, October 12th. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler

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Monday Meal Plan #6

Monday Meal Plan

Happy Monday!! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Weekend Recap

Our weekend was a nice blend of relaxing and productive. My daughter has dance class from 5-6pm on Fridays, and we’ve gotten into the habit of picking up take-out food on our way home. Last week was no different, and we went to one of my favorite local spots, Sushi Thai Garden. As is almost always the case, I had green curry with shrimp, and as always, I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Note to self: plan better for dinners at home on Fridays to save some cash.)

Saturday was our 11th wedding anniversary, but we postponed our celebratory dinner for a week, because I wasn’t able to get a babysitter in time. Instead, I slept in a bit, read for a little while in the morning, and took a nap. During the afternoon, we picked up some pumpkins for outdoor decorating, I made a quick grocery trip, and my daughter and I went for a early evening Target run. (Have you ever been to Target on a Saturday evening? It’s absolute bliss.)

Our pumpkin haul

Yesterday, I slept in a bit later, got the ragu (see below) going in the slow cooker, made Rice Krispie Treats, and took another nap, before heading to a friends’ house for lunch and football viewing. These friends are great and generous hosts, and we always love going to their house.

The Week Ahead

I typically work two days per week at my part-time job, but for the next few weeks, I’ll be working three days per week. I can hear the full-time working mothers groaning as they read this – and I don’t blame you – but this is going to take a little adjustment on my part. (I’m not a big fan of change.) I’ll be working Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week. In addition, my daughter has a Brownies meeting until 5:30 on Monday, a doctor’s appointment Wednesday afternoon, and dance class on Friday evening. Nothing too crazy, but a lot going on during the afternoons and evenings. With that in mind, here’s what’s on my dinner meal plan for this week:

(A word about this week’s plan: I’m terrible at estimating sizes and quantities. As a result, we usually end up with more leftovers from recipes than I anticipate. This happened several nights last week, and I ended up not making a couple of the dinners I intended to. So if some of the meals on this week’s plan seem very familiar, it’s because I didn’t get to make them last week, as planned.)


What’s for dinner at your house this week? 

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