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Big Kid Season.

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Oh man, it’s cold again.  Cold.  This big old house has plenty of square footage but no insulation.  As it’s dropping down below zero at night we are waking up to 61 degrees inside and wearing crazy warm layers to keep from shivering.  Some people see great romance in the dramatic changing of seasons out here but this Ross family is finding it all a bit much to handle–my skin finds no humor in it either. Last weekend Cody played in his last soccer game of the season.  The wind chill was so cold this is what Cody wore while playing:

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New England does not mess around with it’s weather, people.

Oh but it has been so fun to watch him play–and allow me a tiny moment of proud mama bragging, he is good!  Seriously, he’s got some athlete in him :) …Cody is just blossoming into a full blown kid right before our eyes.  He’s in Kindergarten.  He turned 6 a couple weeks ago.  His preschool body has changed into a big kid that looks like a 2nd grader.  Cody is changing and growing and becoming more and more independent as the days pass.  Such a amazing thing to witness. And though I’m not one for lamenting over my boy’s growing up, when he and his brother just up and decided to start riding their bikes without training wheels in the driveway Sunday, I about lost it.

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I actually can remember learning how to ride my bike when I was little. A pretty pink bike with white walled tires and a flower banana seat I proudly sat on while my mom ran behind me.  I remember her letting me loose and I took of flying down the sidewalk so fast my she couldn’t keep up…such freedom…going anywhere I wanted; talking to the wind and the trees, singing & making up stories of adventure…there was nothing like it.  My best friend Whitney and I would spend hours down in our cul-de-sac playing who knows what on our bikes…it’s hard to believe Cody is there too.  He is starting on this new big kid season.  And B is right on his heels.  With Dub, well…Dub thinks he’s a big kid and we just let him think he is :)

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Best!

-dani

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Family Pictures!

View More: http://jamiezanotti.pass.us/jansen-family

I’ve been meaning to post these for a while now!  I just gush over these pictures of my handsome boys!!!  Such a blessed mama! While we were in Portland at the end of August, we had our pictures taken with my parents and sister’s family in central Oregon.  Jamie Zanotti Photography took on the huge challenge of shooting 6 adults and 6 children under 6!  And she was amazing!  If any of you in the Portland/Salem area are looking for someone with incredible talent, a kind and warm spirit and an undenyable gift for getting that perfect shot of your little one, call her up!!!

View More: http://jamiezanotti.pass.us/jansen-family

 

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Best!

–dani

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A dose of honesty.

Oh dear, it’s been a while!  And my, has the last 5 weeks gone by in a flash!

This being the first official weekend of football, I am pretty content while making my first batch of chili for the season and feeling the cool breeze whip through the trees and in my kitchen window.  When the middle of August rolled around I was so not ready for fall–no way.  Oh, but my soul is beckoned to the comfort of autumn leaves, warm tea and rain boots by these familiar sites of a changing season and I am more than ready for what’s to come.  More than ready…

We’ve rounded the corner and now this family of 5 is headed toward the last trimester out here in The Woods.  When I think back at where we started last late December, it’s incredible to see how much we have changed.  A man and a woman who have learned more about each other and their marriage in the last 12 months than they have in the past 6 years (We had our 7 year anniversary in August!); a mother and a father who have experienced parenting in a way that only seemed possible in idealized visions that had long been discarded; 3 brothers who have learned to love each other and want nothing more than to be together; and a family that has been molded and shaped through trials and challenges, joys and sorrows, and most importantly through faith in an unseen, loving God.

Much of what has been holding me back from finding contentment and having willingness to follow the Lord and His promptings were rooted in the fear of others.  The need for approval.  The need to be accepted.  And the horrible consequence of living in this fear of others and what they might think or say or do to you, is an inability to follow God’s will.  Why?  Because you have preset parameters for God:  I will do a, b or maybe even c, but don’t even think about 1, 2 or 3 because so-and-so thinks that’s wrong or that’s only what weird people do or I won’t have any friends if I do that…and thus begins the other consequence of living in fear of others:  you become extremely judgmental.  Critical.  Sarcastic.  Insensitive.  And even angry.  Because, let’s face it, living a life against what you know God wants you to do is hard.  Proverbs 13:15 actually says it.  You posture that if others aren’t doing it the way you are, they obviously are doing it wrong.  Even worse, you begin to rationalize they aren’t following the Lord.  This sin will penetrate all that is in you and you will slowly become what you are fighting so hard not to be:  unlovable.  

The Lord used these Woods in the middle of New England to remove me from everything I had ever known, and He removed me from everything that I used to give me an identity.  And what did He do?  He showed me that I was becoming a judgmental woman who was so insecure about who she was, she was incapable of finding contentment in all that He had given me.  Out here, in The Woods the Lord has revealed to me an identity that was found in only one place:  Him.  Family, my husband, kids, people, church, clothes, event planning, the gym–all of that does not make up who I am, Jesus does.  They are all part of my life and are used by Him to shape me but they do not make up who I am.  

I’m just barely scratching the surface of this new, deepening understanding of my Father in heaven who created me to be His, but I am diving in head first never wanting to return from whence I came.  Trying to please others is a common struggle I see in many of us women.  Comparing against one another–trying to determine who’s way is the best way to look, dress, mother, be a wife, be a Christian…it’s a losing battle.  Choose the Lord and His will for how do those things, not others.  There is such promised freedom in letting go of this world!

Love,

Dani

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The Cape.

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Good morning! We had a blast on the Cape! It was a ton of work and full of Tyler and me wondering what were we thinking, but the kids had the time of their lives and we are so glad we made the trip.

The Cape is a beautiful, lush green island that is full of quaint Cape style markets, roadside eateries and homes. Though I was expecting Brewster itself to be a bit more walkable, but we stumbled upon our favorite restaurant with outdoor tables where we indulged in fish and chips, our first hot lobster roll and too much ice cream. This was the first time I have ever enjoyed fish and chips for the fish, not the fried outer layer :) We also found this amazing french bakery down the street from the resort. This place was a constant stream of people coming in and out of this tiny little Cape bungalow bring boxes and boxes of muffins and cinnamon rolls home to their families. We felt very “Cape Cod” there :)

Our French bakery.

Our French bakery.

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The atmosphere is slow and easy going. Just as I pictured. And most of the homes are tucked away from the road in the greenery, secluded from the peering eyes of people like me. I was hoping for a better glance at them but I decided it wasn’t worth the run in with the police. Even though people live quite the carefree lifestyle out there, it is not without a price as you can imagine. Very expensive. And a crazy amount of traffic. There are only a few main roads that take you where you need to go and EVERYONE is going somewhere. In fact, on a bridge overpass on the main artery leaving the island was a big, hand written sign that perfectly warned: “You Can’t Escape the Cape!” The summer is definitely the high months on the Cape, and we learned early that we weren’t going to be doing much exploring on the island. We made it to the Cape Light near the tip of The Cape and it took us about 2 hours each way to make the 40 min drive. So fun with three bored, tired and hungry children in the back…

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We did all we could to spend the littlest amount of time in our tiny one bedroom room. We had a kitchenette to cook our meals and a murphy bed in the “living room” for the big boys to sleep on, and Dub was tucked away by the door in his pack n play. We were partially underground, so it was real dark…we didn’t not have the glamorous stay at the co-called Mansion the resort touts. In fact we found out latter that no one stays in the actual mansion, they just want you to wine and dine there. BUT the Ocean Edge Resort was beautiful and quite dreamy. Listed as the best place to stay on The Cape with kids by Disney, it definitely lived up to the hype. Because most of the kid activities were for an older age group than ours, we staked our claim at the pool every morning and set up shop in the seasons worst heat wave. And let me tell you it was HOT. The humidity was so bad we were taking 3 showers a day just to keep up with the amount of sweat sticking to our bodies. When it came time to pack up our things, Tyler took out some shirts from the closet that he didn’t wear (we basically were in bathing suits all week–my kind of vacation if you ask me!) and they were damp–like more than damp, almost soaked. The humidity paired with the non-stop amount of in-window air conditioning in our room left the kids crackers wet and our bread moldy. AHHH!! It was crazy! I had to wash everything when we got home.

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For any of you who have “vacationed” with at least a couple of your small children you know as well as we do, that a vacation is not about us, but about them :) And truly if you are willing to accept that early on, the more fun you will have. No expectations of alone time or even a relaxing moment before your head hits the pillow, and you’ll find yourself marveling at how much fun your kiddos are having and what wonderful memories they are making–just as we were. Cody and B basically taught themselves how to swim, were being tossed in the air at least 10 feet by their daddy, eating ice cream like it was going out of style and watching movies every night from their own beds. Seriously, they were in heaven. Tyler and I were exhausted and not too keen on going to bed at 7:00 pm every night due to our tight living quarters, but truly it was a trip to remember and we are so thankful we had this opportunity while we lived out here in New England. Because Lord knows, we’ll probably never make it back.

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Best!

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Tornados?

Movie night :)

They aren’t related at all..

It’s been slow and steady out here. School’s out and summer is here! But there’s not much to report other than more crazy New England weather. We’ve been having some lovely amounts of humidity–so much that it makes my lotion slide off my legs before I even rub it in. Yesterday I got this crazy loud alarm sounding from my phone (like the world was ending) and it proceeded to tell me that there is not only a flash flood warning in our county but also a tornado on its way. Whaat?! Now, we’ve gotten flash flood warnings before and thankfully we live in the hills so we know we are safe from that, but a tornado?! Really? Then the sky suddenly darkened and the next thing we knew were are in a thunder and lightening storm with my nose pressed against the glass looking for a funnel cloud and ready to hit the basement! Thankfully it all passed with just some rain. The lightening storm is no surprise either. It’s basically an everyday occurrence out here now that it’s summer–so much so, the big boys barely even notice when the lightening flashes and the thunder roars. When Tyler came home that evening he told me there really was a tornado that went through a town near ours but it was only a category 1. Oh good, only a category 1. That’s not scary at all…??!!!!

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With the kind of weather we have experienced out here, we honestly marvel at the fact the pilgrims, early settlers, founding fathers all survived. I mean seriously–the ridiculously cold and snowy winters, flash flooding and terrible wind storms, thunder and lightening crazy enough to cause your hair stand on end and rush to the bathroom, and summer heat and humidity that makes you beg for the dry dessert–ahhh!!!

It’s all part of the experience :)

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I’ve started to yearn for some roots. To find a town and call it home for good. We are more than half way through this Year of Training and it has gone by pretty quick. But the somewhat uncertain future on the horizon has left me a little anxious for what is next. If feels as though we are in limbo. We live our daily lives here in The Woods but for only 5 more months–how do you make friends, encourage your kiddos to make friends, be involved with school and sports and neighbors and church when you know you are leaving? There are good things that come with this reality but it’s become more and more apparent that because of this weird situation of not staying here forever we are longing for the connection with people and places you normally have when you are rooted down somewhere. None of these things are a surprise, but what is a surprise is the emotional toll it can take on you. It’ll all change and our time will come soon…I know. We’re in Training…

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Tomorrow we are off to The Cape for the 4th of July! You cannot believe how excited I am for this trip. We booked this week for Brewster, MA back in late January knowing that we would just kick ourselves if we didn’t make it out to The Cape while living here. It’s such a dreamy place that us West Coasters hear about and think of the Kennedys and Martha’s Vineyard, seersucker and boat shoes, the warm shoreline and beautiful sprawling estates–I seriously feel like I was made to live there, don’t you think?? Well, maybe if we didn’t play in the woods in our underwear… ha!

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Best!

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What I bought with my SMP Living gift card!

Gift Card Picks!

Frist the preface:

1.  I am a J. Crew addict.  A confession that should not surprise you.  In fact the other day, I walked into a J. Crew store and the employees thought I was a Crew Associate…

2.  I live in The Woods.  I made every purchase online (save the blue linen dress) and everything but the sandals were on SALE and from J. Crew.  (Like crazy sale, seriously, it’s a good time to be a J. Crew lover!)

3. I have three young children.

Explanation:

As you may know, a month or so ago I won a contest put on by Style Me Pretty Living to create a Pintrest board tilted:  Spring Must Have Outfit.  Since I’m a regular on Pintrest I felt at home pinning some of my favorite items to create this board, and well–I won!  Crazy!!  So I got a $500 gift card to do some shopping!  And after many deliveries by UPS and FedEx, and many returns, I have finally ended up with 9 pieces that I am really excited about!

Your first reaction is probably:  boring!  But it’s not!  Promise!  It’s easy to make inspiration boards with your top 10 list for the season, complete with jewelry and bags and a variety of color and so on, but the reality is you already have a closet to coordinate with and you also have a life.  Yes, I decided against the long pleated flowy skirt because, well, let’s be real, when would I wear that thing?  Changing diapers or running to the park or perhaps cleaning the floors?  And I forgot the 4 inch wood wedges for the same reason.  Creating your own style isn’t just wrapped up in the current trends, but it’s also about finding the intersection of functionality and personal expression so you can build a wardrobe that is perfect for you!

I also chose pieces I knew would transition into fall and next year.  I really needed a simple white blouse and I had been lusting over this one since last year.  It came up on sale–bam–ordered it and now I have a classic silk blouse in my closet that will last the seasons.  The blue linen dress is perfect to have on hand for going to church or to dinner or even to a casual afternoon wedding.  It’s extremely flattering with a fabulous layer of organza lining to add some fullness in the skirt and I love that it’s a bold regal blue. The white peplum shirt is just adorable and I can wear that will all of my crazy printed pants!  Oh and speaking of pants, those thistle printed white jeans are amazing!  Love them!  (And they are on crazy sale right now!).

I had some anxiety in choosing almost everything from one store.  My favorite store to be sure, but was I making a mistake?  Shouldn’t I have some variety in my pieces? Well, after much deliberation I felt like it was not only the easiest way to do it (since I had to do it all online and I already know my size and the quality of the brand) but also, it’s just me.  I love the Crew and as long as I feel good in their clothes, I’m not going to stop shopping there!

1.  Ponte peplum top–J. Crew

2.  Collarless shirt in thistle print–J. Crew

3.  Cropped matchstick jean in thistle print–J. Crew

4.  3″ chino short–J. Crew

5.  Polka dot string top & bottom–J. Crew

6.  Blythe blouse in silk–J. Crew

7.  Linen cap-sleeve dress–J. Crew

8.  Joe’s ‘Kody’ Sandal–Nordstrom

9.  Vintage cotton tank in block stripe–J. Crew

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The Shore.

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Well, we finally did it.  We made it to the shore!  It’s been a goal of ours since we arrived and with the crazy heat wave we’ve been experiencing we thought now was the prefect chance.  Yesterday was our Saturday morning t-ball game with the big boys.  It was a cool 71 degrees at 7:00 am, and as I was dressing our children in thigh-high green woolen socks, thick polyester pants, a green jersey, Nike tennis shoes and a baseball cap I started to wonder if we’ll have our first bout of heat exhaustion in the car ride to the field.  71 degrees may not seem like much but the humidity out here is insane!  I walked out side the other morning and felt like I was transported to Puerto Rico.  Ever been?  That’s what it feels like.  Moist, hot, heavy heat pushing down upon your body.  No reprieve though the wind blows and the shade is just as hot.  Praise Jesus we have air conditioning, but with the hope to not blow our savings on our electric bill we are very conservative with the temperature and wearing the smallest amounts of clothing possible to stay comfortable.

So we make it to the field, sweating from the 50 yard walk from the car to the dugout.  It’s 10:00 am now and 82 degrees.  Let’s just say the team is a little less than enthusiastic at this point.  It’s almost impossible for the children to actually throw a ball and Cody was already asking to take his shirt off. But the game started and thus we started sweating.  Now people, I am a sweater.  I come from a long line of sweaters.  I’m not going to name names but a certain someone in my family may have wrapped me in multiple wool blankets as an infant in the summer months of August and I blame her for causing my sweat glands to be overactive :)  Anyway, Tyler, Dub and I are trying not to melt into the grass and the boys on the field aren’t even moving.  I mean, when the ball eventually gets hit by the other team, no one even walks to retrieve the ball.  It was hilarious.  These poor boys were laying on the ground or hunched over trying to survive.  After the first inning, I went to peel off Cody and B’s wools socks to help relieve some heat from their little bodies.  They may have looked ridiculous but I know the other kids were jealous.  We made it 3 innings in 1 hour and finally they called the game.  By then Dub was a walking grease ball of sunscreen and dirt.  He would involuntarily collect grass, small twigs and bugs on his legs and arms as he toddled around the field.  Thank goodness it was over, clothing was shed and we hopped into the air conditioned car to get home.

As we were driving back home Tyler and I were thinking about the rest of our day and how it would be impossible for us to go outside since the high was supposed to be 91 (!!!), we thought, “Why not go to the shore?!”.  No preparations or packing had been done beforehand–in fact if you understood just how out of our comfort zone this decision was for us, you would be clapping right now.  I mean, we plan. Or should I say, I plan.  I am organized, clean and tidy.  Deciding on the fly to drive an hour and a half to a beach with a 5, 4 and 1 year old is not in my repertoire.  BUT that is EXACTLY why we are here:  growth and excitement!  Ha!  Yes, so we left the kids in the car with the air on in our driveway and Tyler and I ran around the house collecting swim suits, towels, sunscreen, diapers, food and more food!  Anything and everything we could think of we threw it in the back of the suburban and we drove off in search of the Long Island sound.

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We plugged the address to a beach “resort” down in New London, Connecticut and looked for the best route.  Now, I could keep writing about our “short-cut” drive through the center of Connecticut and how it was supposed to be much faster because it “looked like” a direct path to the coast and how it took over 2 hours to do so….BUT I’m not going to.  (Yes, over 2 hours.  It should have taken 1 hour and 15 mins.  The baby was pumped, let me tell you.)  We arrive to New London and it was like another New England dream.  It was definitely a beach town but once you got through “down town” the streets were lined with gorgeous Cape Cod and Dutch Colonial style homes with grand lawns and grander cars.  It was stunning.  I was trying to take pictures of this but it was a bit wild in our car by that point, rendering my brain useless for snapping photos.  But just take my word for it, it would be a gorgeous place to live!

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The “beach resort”…well, the beach was “free” but we paid 20 bucks to park.  Sure, ok, someone has to pay for the amenities.  There was a pool and water slide after all!  We walk up to the boardwalk with all of our gear and look out on the ocean–beautiful!  The weather was much more bearable, in the low 80s with little humidity, and the the place was bustling with families and people…well, actually, it was packed.  Like crazy packed.  As we stopped looking at the view of the ocean and then down on the beach itself, I felt like I was in Europe.  When I went to Greece in college, the beaches were always packed with crazy amounts of bodies just right next to each other, fighting for a piece of sand to claim as their own.  Personal space?  What’s that?!  I’m pretty sure Tyler and I had our mouths ajar the entire time finding our way through the masses to get to the water.  We really didn’t know what was going on or what to do!

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Ah, but the boys were PUMPED!  Oh man, they could hardly wait to take their shirts off to get into the ocean!  It was awesome.  They had soo much fun!  Last year it was like pulling teeth to get them into a pool, let alone the ocean.  It’s amazing what a year does.  But as soon as we saw the red plastic cup band of college students make their way to the water, we decided to go check out the amenities…

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…the pool and the slide of course cost extra money.  It would have cost us $35 to go to the pool as a family.  So that was a no.  But we found a little kid water park area and had a ball.  The big boys were nothing but crazy and Dub had died and gone to heaven.  He never looked back once we set him down on the cement.  In fact, when ever I tried to sneak up on him and take a picture he would bolt in the other direction–he was so stinkin’ cute!  The kiddie area may have been ghetto in reality but our boys had a fantastic time :)

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When 3:30 rolled around we had been outside for quite a long time and I was worried that Dub was going to turn into a lobster, so we headed on back to the gates to get some soft serve before we made the long, sticky, sandy journey back to The Woods.

Driving home, I was just beaming.  We had such an amazing day–t-ball and the shore and we were going to end it with a bang at Frankie’s Pizza.  We’ve made a lot of memories out here in New England, and they just keep coming!

XOXO

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3 Things.

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Here’s another addition to my Things. series: 3 Things I miss about Portland.

1. ODOT.  You guys know what ODOT is?  Granted, I am hyper aware of such things due to my husband’s work in the commercial contracting industry, but ODOT is the Oregon Department of Transportation.  All of those lovely “Road Work” and “Flagger Ahead” signs, cones, flaggers in orange and yellow with signs, detour signs, reader-board signs…SIGNS!…the men and women who tell us drivers where to go and when to slow down…yeah, you know what I’m referring to now.  Probably the most annoying part about summer in Portland, Oregon is all of the road work.  OK–you get the picture.  So we don’t have that out here.  No CDOT no MassDOT with SIGNS–just pure chaos.  Actually what they do have is a poor lonely police officer in a hat waving around in the middle of the road.  What?!  One person and half the time you can’t even see them until you’re about to hit them!  Now, I am not one to be lobbying for more government involvement in my life, but let’s just be honest, when a a huge back-ho is digging out a hole in the side of the road with no cones or warning signs and then decides to go rogue and jump over the curb and drive into on-coming traffic, you are starting to wonder where in the world is the government ;-)

2.   Cost of Living.  Now, if you are a native to Oregon and have never left, this may come as a surprise to you, but you pay much less for your utilities than the average American.  Large rivers and Natural Gas are some of the wonderful God-given resource to North America and is what gives the Pacific Northwest specifically an incredibly low cost of living.  It’s what keeps you from paying through the nose when comes time to heat your houses, cool your houses and cook your meals.  You may think you already pay a ridiculous amount of money during the cold & warm months for your gas bill but let me just put these feelings to rest:  our monthly heating oil bill was $600.  Yes, folks, a month.  That’s not in Yen, that is the gold standard we’re talkin’ and Tyler and I are longing for the days of cheaper energy.  It’s not like the stone age out here, but the majority of the homes in these older communities are still on heating oil and we don’t have the Bonnevlle Dam to give us a lower power cost.  In fact, we are ranked 49th in the country for the price per kilowatt, just above New York and Hawaii…let’s just break it down:  we pay at least 1/3 more out here for almost everything.  Food is ridiculous.  I walk into Stop and Shop, the so-called cheaper grocery chain and I end up buying generic food for Whole Foods cost.  It’s insanity.  Gas.  It’s a good 20-30 cents higher than crossing the  boarder up to Massachusetts.  Clothing.  Taxed till kingdom come.  And don’t even think about buying a gun.  It’s all a little maddening (if you can’t tell…) ….I’m not even going to go into income taxes in this crazy state–it’s the 3rd highest in the country–right behind New York and New Jersey.  AHHHH!!!!  I’m stopping now.

3. Restaurants.  Oh please don’t tell me you don’t know Portland is one of the top Foodie cities in the country?!  Because it is.  Ranking in the highest in almost any online poll or food article, Portland has 24 restaurants per every 10,000 people–that’s 10th in the country per capita!  Pretty crazy when you think about it.  I had just always assumed that’s how every city was–wrong.  It’s not even close to that kind of quantity or quality in Connecticut.  When someone gives you a suggestion for a restaurant it’s right up there with Applebee’s.  Dear goodness, give me some good food that my table and booth don’t smell like!  And a menu that doesn’t include fried cheese, Cobb salad and pizza.  I will admit the obvious, we don’t get out much, so it is actually working in our advantage out here. But it’s just sad, people.  Just sad.

TGIF

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Happy friday!  Ah, it feels good to be a the end of the week.  And even better when it’s warm and sunny outside–prime time for a little BBQ and inflatable pool time.  That’s right:  inflatable pool.  We were soo tempted to buy one of those above ground pieces of work, as most homes have around these parts, but we decided against it…we happen to be one of the only homes in our neighborhood without a fancy in-ground oasis and I hopin’ we get in on some of that action this summer when they see us dying in the humid heat of New England!  But until then, inflatable heaven is what we got.

Dub, walkin!!!  (See our fabulous pool in the background?!)

Dub, walkin!!! (See our fabulous pool in the background?!)

It was Dub’s birthday May 1st.  Oh dear, with the third one you actually have to kinda be reminded that a birthday is coming up–seriously, this last year has gone by so fast it just doesn’t even seem right that he’s that old!  No worries, we didn’t forget and we had a great celebration outside on our deck–well, the four of us did.  Poor little Dub was so tired he could have cared less about his double decker sprinkle cake, he just wanted to go to bed.  Didn’t even want to taste it.  That’s ok, we ate it for him :)  Along with growing up, Cody lost his first tooth the other morning and has one about to give way any day.  Isn’t 5 a little early?  Oh dear…so big!

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Yes. This is on my car.

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We have Little League t-ball tomorrow–third game of the season and we are loving it!  Apparently we are in the “official” Little League program.  I had always assumed it was a universal term for younger boys playing baseball, but it’s more like Q-Tip.  You know, where we call every little cotton swap a q-tip, it is actually a brand name.  Got it?  Yeah, I’m learning.  And coming from a non-baseball watching or interested family, I am finding t-ball is the perfect arena for me (and the boys) to get my feet wet :)  This is serious stuff.  Opening Day was like it’s own holiday here in Somers–in previous years there was a parade that went through down-town Somers on Main St., but this year we marched through a mile long stretch that landed us right down onto the fields where a prep-rally of sorts was held and free hot dogs and chips were handed out to all who attended: t-ball all the way up to the Big League divisions.

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The banner that led the way on our march.

As all of us were lining up for the ceremonial march I was marveling at the amount of people there and the excited expectation of all of the parents and players.  And, to my surprise, I really enjoyed the march.  I really enjoyed the prep-rally.  And I really enjoyed our little 20 min, everyone-gets-a-turn-2-inning game :)  I’m not sure if this is how all Little League season openers go, but I thought this was pretty darn special.  How we love this little town in The Woods!

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B taking his first swing–a natural if you ask me (or Tyler) :)

Hangin in the outfield.

Hangin in the outfield.

With the weekend just about here, I thought I would share with you a side dish that is one of our family’s favorites!  Well, not just a favorite, but basically a staple in the spring/summer months.  By the time mid-April/beginning of May rolls around jalepeno, cilantro & lime are in our meals at least 3 times a week.  And if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s more like 5 times a week–I LOVE these flavors.  Fresh and bright–perfect for asian/Thai dishes and of course Mexican food!!  It may seem weird with this combo of feta, walnuts, corn & jalepenos, but do not let that keep you from enjoying this unexpected dish.  Plus, it could not be any simpler to make!

I did not create this delicious dish, nor will I ever claim to have done so with any recipe that I share!  So here you go:

Feta, Walnut & Corn Salad  (Real Simple 2009)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears)
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeños, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Feta before serving.

XOXO

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8 Maxis under $99

Top Maxi's Under $100..

Oh my goodness, I think spring has come to stay in New England! I can’t tell you how good it feels–the trees are finally starting to bud, our grass is green–it’s just beautiful. And as soon as the temp goes up my maxi dress comes on.  Hanging around the house in a glorified moo-moo is pure happiness, let me tell you!  I’ve got one on right now.  Seriously, if you don’t have one you are missing out on one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you’ll ever have in your closet.  You can wear a jean jacket, a button-down shirt, a cardigan; flats, heels, wedges–almost anything with it to dress it up or down.  Today it was a little breezy so I put my on jean shirt with a belt and threw on my Toms, BAM! I went from mama at home to running errands.  It’s perfect.  And as long as these miracle dresses are in, I’m keeping a nice collection of them ready at hand :)

I found these 8 maxis all under 100 bucks.  Not too shabby if you ask me.  Obviously stripes are a big trend this year as well as as the floral print, and don’t be afraid to go bold with color!  When you are choosing a style, it’s important to consider one with shape, such as a tie-in waist or a belt, or if it doesn’t have a waistline, add a belt.  Because, even though wearing a long tube of fabric is a fabulous excuse for not having to try too hard in the morning, we don’t need to look like a frumpy bumpy because we lack shape!  (A critical difference between a moo-moo and a maxi :)).

My favorites are #2 by Sabine.  It’s a bright, pretty floral with pleating in the skirt.  Very feminine and very wearable.  And #5 by Michael Stars. It’s a perfect basic black maxi with a built in (stretchy!) waistband and a cute racerback.  Probably will be purchasing it soon…oh and I like #1 too… :)

1. Caslon Racerback Jersey Maxi Dress $68

2. Sabine Santorini Pleated Maxi Dress $89

3. Gap Striped Drawstring Maxi Dress $69.95

4. Michael Stars Horizon Wash Scoop Neck Midi Dress $69 (more colors)

5. Michael Stars Racerback Maxi Dress $98 (more colors)

6. Gap Striped 4-1 Dress $59.95

7. Target Mossimo Women’s Crossover Maxi Dress $29.99 (more colors)

8. Sabine Cecily Printed Maxi $89