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Road Trip Pillows

These road trip pillows are
an easy project, a great gift,
and a sure way to infuse some much-needed sanity
into your next family car trip.

I can describe 2016 as a year of NEW for my family.  Early in the year came a new baby.  In June, we bought a new house, and the move brought a new state, new neighborhood, new schools, friends, etc.  Of course, for the new house, we also purchased COUNTLESS new things, from the essential (a kitchen trashcan) to the utilitarian (a sectional for the family room), to the purely decorative (gorgeous new wallpaper for my daughter’s room).  Needless to say, we have acquired many, many new things… SO MANY!  We have shopped so much, in fact, that when Christmas came along, we dreaded the idea of spending even more money on even more stuff.  So, we decided to spend the money on memories, not things this year.  Instead of physical gifts, my husband and I gave my family a trip to Washington, DC. 

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September 16th Turkey Meatloaf

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A lighter version of a classic home-cooked meal,
this crowd-pleaser 
is hearty, delicious,
moist, and perfect for a fall day.

Happy September 17th!

You must surely be thinking: Why is September 17th a special day? Well, it is special because it is the day after September 16th, which is the day after September 15th. I may or may not have mentioned previously that I am a tax accountant, and September 15th is a huge filing deadline. For months before this momentous day, tax accountants work long hours, 70-, 80-, 90-hour weeks, to ensure that all partnership and corporate tax returns are filed on time. We work, and work, and work, and really do very little but work. We do not see friends, we neglect our families, we are lax about or health and personal hygiene, and, most notably, we do not sleep. However, it all does come to an end eventually, and September 16th marks the day of re-entry into normal life.

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Iced Coffee 101

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It turns out
there is more to iced coffee than I thought...

Does this happen to everyone? Sometimes, events all conspire to make me notice something special. One day, I learn about this thing, and suddenly it is everywhere. All my friends are talking about it, it is on TV and on the radio and in all the magazines, all over Pinterest, Facebook, etc. It was there all along, of course, but it is now mine, and I see it with fresh eyes and marvel at its existence.

This exact phenomenon happened with iced coffee. A few days ago, I opened to a page in Wine Spectator Magazine and saw a quick, one-page article of various ideas for iced coffee drinks. The recipes all called for coffee concentrate. I scanned the article and thought: what is this coffee concentrate? Because it seemed like some hard-to-find specialty item, or worse, something I have to make myself, I quickly dismissed it.

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Rainbow Stripe Baby Blanket

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An easy, quick knit
is also a great way
to use up your stash of leftover yarn. 
 

Once upon a time, but not so long ago, I was organizing my stash of yarn. This organizing is a futile project, really. My stash consists of mostly leftovers or scraps from previous projects, but also a few yarns I had purchased in the fiery throes of inspiration... and then never used. I must admit, I have quite a bit of yarn stashed in my house, and when I organize I find ever new ways to group them, without really getting rid of anything at all. While looking at all I have in the closet, I realized that I had enough colors of Lily Sugar ‘n Cream that I could line them up in a rainbow… and so I did. The yarn rainbow was my inspiration for this blanket. 

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Fall Festival at the Morris Arboretum

Fall Festival

Celebrate the start of fall
at an annual outdoor event,
which is sure to be fun
for the whole family.

Woohoo, the Fall Festival is this weekend!  

Autumn is by far my favorite season of the year.  I love the colorful leaves on the trees.  I love raking up all the fallen leaves, dragging them across our lawn on a giant tarp with such aplomb and with so many little helpers that it feels less like work and more like fun.  I love the bright orange pumpkins and pumpkin pie.  I love the cooler weather and fires in the fireplace, crisp, clean air coming in through open windows, apple picking and apple cider, and something delicious baking in the oven, heating up the house and no one caring a bit.  I love the general feeling of slowing down, of tucking in for the winter.  I love Halloween, and I love Thanksgiving.  I love the month of birthdays - three of my kids’ birthdays are in the fall, so the season is, in my mind, the complete embodiment of love and family and being with the ones I love.  Finally, autumn comes after busy season at my work.  Thoughts of fall activities get me though those 80-hour weeks and working non-stop and not seeing my family, and when it all ends on September 15th, autumn is here and I have time to enjoy it.  I absolutely love it!

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Easy Frozen Goodies

easy frozen treats

Sometimes there is nothing
like a popsicle
to make everything feel
like summer.

When I was a child, we lived in Bridesburg, a typical Philadelphia neighborhood. Our house was a row home on a street of row homes. Each house had a small yard in the back and an even smaller one in the front, and I cannot remember a single tree on our block. Needless to say, the summers were HOT amidst all that brick and asphalt and concrete. In addition, we did not have air conditioning at all when we came to the United States, so there was little relief from the Philadelphia summer. Maybe that is why, when I was a little girl, I was obsessed with frozen treats. Or maybe it was that ice cream truck, which made its way through our neighborhood every day. I remember longing for a cone or a slushie, while that tune of “The Entertainer” got softer and louder as the truck made its way down one street then up another.

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Eating in Season

Eating in season is the key to 
getting the best quality produce
at the lowest prices. 
Here is a guide to
what is in season all year round.

A few days ago, my mother in law stopped by and brought with her some blueberries.  These blueberries were not some average blueberries.  They were large and plump and absolutely delicious, bursting with perfect blueberry flavor.  They tasted just like blueberries should.  I later found out they came from a local farm, not the grocery store.  I am lucky enough to live in a country where I have access to pretty much any produce I desire, year round.  I eat blueberries all year.  However, they only taste this wonderful in the summer, during blueberry season.

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Ethan's Graduation

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And just like that, our oldest
has finished middle school. 
It is crazy to think
he will be starting
high school in the fall.

I must admit, scrapbooking this event brought a few tears to my eye.  I cannot believe how quickly time passes and how quickly kids grow up.

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Something for the Birds

Make a nutritious and delicious
winter snack for your
backyard feathered friends.

Winter is a challenging time for all the birds that choose to stick around and spend the winter here in New Jersey. 

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2013 Fitness Resolutions

2013 Resolutions


Here are a few ideas to help you
reach your fitness goals in 2013...
without replacing your desk chair
with an exercise ball.

It is the New Year, and, like I do every year, I have made a list of my resolutions for 2013. At the top of the list is the goal to be more fit in 2013 (and of course to lose weight).

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