Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Recharging in Cooperstown, NY

Ever since we became parents, hubby and I have centered our lives around our little girls. Like many new-ish parents, we are both guilty of focusing on the kids' and their enjoyment much more than our own. Before kids, we enjoyed long and leisurely brunches at new and bustling restaurants downtown, stayed up late enjoying New York City's nightlife, or even just cuddling up to watch a movie. Now we are happy to grab an iced coffee on the way to the playground or squeeze in a dinner date night whenever possible. Prior to having children, we paid attention to each other's needs, had time to relax and enjoyed our own hobbies. We are still pretty good about attending to ourselves, but it gets harder and harder with two kids, busy jobs, and tons of errands.

This summer has been especially fun and busy as a family of four. Our weekends, especially over the summer, have been filled with trips to the zoo, days in the park, afternoons at the pool -- and while we enjoy every sun-soaked moment of it, we had been itching for a getaway without the kids. We were so excited to spend a weekend in Cooperstown to celebrate my friend Jen's wedding, and to sight-see, hang out with college friends, sleep in (as much as our body-clocks would allow!), and relax.

Cooperstown is the most adorable, quaint little town. Just over 4 hours from NYC, it's worth a weekend trip. We loved visiting the local farmer's market, the baseball hall of fame, and staying at the most adorable bed & breakfast (The White House Inn). The whole area is filled with sprawling countryside hills, beautiful foliage, farms and animals, cute bread and breakfasts, and is super-family friendly.


Of course, we had so much fun at Jen and Joe's beautiful and moving wedding -- everything was lovely, from the small and sentimental ceremony at the Farmer's Museum, to the fun-filled reception at Templeton Hall. We were so charmed and refreshed by the end of it all.


Meanwhile, the kids loved being spoiled at their grandparents house... it was a win-win-win for all!
Taking time out for romance is the best refresher for a marriage with young kids. If you haven't already, plan a kid-free weekend to recharge your batteries, reconnect with your spouse, and come back to parenting with a new energy.


What do you do to refresh your parental batteries?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Recipes: Five Weeknight Salads

In an effort to shed the last of the baby weight, I've been experimenting with carb-free meals that are light and satisfying. Which brings me to salads. I've hated on salads as meals for pretty much as long as I can remember, but when it comes down to it - on a hot summer night, a protein rich salad with spunk can be a very yummy dinner. Not to mention, it does wonders for your body.

Here are 5 salads from the past week, all of which were delicious, easy to make, and easy to clean up after -- perfect for weeknight dinners!!

Butternut Squash, Kale & Quinoa



 Roasted Paneer, Cucumbers and Tomatoes


Farro, Chickpeas & Arugula



Lentils & Onions with Feta



Avocado, Corn & Tomato



Whats your favorite summer salad?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Picks for Tots

It's that time of year again.... Nordstrom's anniversary sale, with amazing reduced prices on all the fall essentials (until August 4th). Stock up now!! 
Below are my sale picks for kids. 


1. Preppy Ralph Lauren Oxford & Chinos, adorable for the first day of school! ($65 marked down to $42)

2. Cuddly Velour Wrap Romper for a little bunny! ($38 marked down to $25)

3. Soft, Organic PJs by Hannah Andersson ($36 marked down to $24)

4. Tucker + Tate fall floral dress would be so cute with booties! from toddler to big girl sizes ($34 to $22)

5. A punchy, windproof down vest by Patagonia is just what he needs for a fall field trip ($79 marked down to $53)

6. I can't get over these Calf-Hair Slip Ons!! soo fashionable. ($80 marked down to $50)

7. Pair this adorable sweatshirt ($32 marked down to $21) with

8. This edgy faux leather skirt for a casual and chic fall look ($50 marked down to $33)

9. Organic Cotton Tee and Coveralls in a beautiful neutral tone ($38 marked down to $25)

10. Now is the time to invest in a designer Burberry Jacket that will be stylish and functional ($215 marked down to $140)

11. As much as I hate the return of socks, these cute Trumpette ones are the only way to go ($27 marked down to $17). 

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Being Mommy: World Baby

Introducing young little eaters to new foods can be tricky. I'm lucky that both my girls are relatively good eaters, but I sometimes wonder when and if they will ever develop a palate for a broad range of ethnic cuisines my husband and I enjoy. While little J loves all kinds of foods, and is comfortable with Indian flavors and spices, she is absoltely averse to trying chinese noodle dishes, thai curries, or even mexican foods. She scrunches up her nose at the different smells, and refuses to try even a bite of sushi. Silly girl!!

That's why I was so excited to see that Plum Organics has launched a new line of baby food called "World Baby," featuring recipes from Morroco, Mexico, Thailand and Italy. These blends are flavorful and nutritious, and the best part is that they expose new eaters to a variety of tastes like coconut rice and black beans. Little Leela loves these squeezies, which are perfect for on-the-go meals! It's easy to fall into a rut when making food at home for your little ones, but Plum Organics is sure to jazz up your mealtimes. And because everything is organic, I never have to worry about what is going in her belly. Hopefully these will kick off a lifetime of adventurous eating!

 
Today, we're giving away a World Baby Starter Pack... the perfect way to introduce your baby to foods from around the world. A lucky winner will receive one each of: Roasted Pumpkin & Coconut Rice, Beans & Rice with Sweet Corn, Zucchini & Spinach with Pasta Marinara, and Lentils & Roasted Squash with Apricots. Just use the comment section to tell us about your baby's favorite food, and a winner will be chosen at random.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman



If you're looking for a well written and captivating summer read, look no further. What She Left Behind is an incredible novel of parallel stories of two women living in the 1930s and 1990s. Izzy and Clara, although they live in different times, are similarly complicated, strong women with many of the same struggles. Essentially, this is a book about love between parents and children, but told with so much suspense and heartbreak -- I found it remarkably powerful.

Many years ago, Izzy Stone's mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Feeling betrayed by her mother's apparent insanity, she has refused to visit her mother in prison. She is living with a foster family when she comes across a stack of letters and journals that belonged to Clara Cartwright when she was 18 years old in 1929. Clara's story provides a window into Izzy's own life, and forces her to review much of what she has dismissed.

The writing is deeply emotional and psychologically driven,

"But how many were victims of of circumstance, women left penniless by husbands who abandoned them or died, women who lost children and needed help coping with unbearable grief, women banished by parents who disapproved of their decisions? How many were at Willard because of a single angry outburst, or because they had grown old and been abandoned by their children, or had lost their parents at a young age and had grown up in an orphanage? How many were sane when they got here, but after months of abuse or overtreatment with ice baths and sedatives, would never be rational again?”

This provocative and thoughtful book will draw you in and surprise you with a completely unpredictable ending. I'd recommend it highly!

Happy reading!!



Friday, July 11, 2014

Picking, Baking, Drinking & Eating...Blueberries!

Blueberries are one of our family's favorite fruits -- we go through about a box a day. The kids enjoy them and I love to include them in various baked treats, smoothies, and snacks. So you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of blueberry picking! Last weekend, we had a wonderful morning picking blueberries with our family in New Jersey. Everyone had such a great time picking ripe, delicious fruit right off the full branches, and popping {a few too many} into our mouths as we hunted. Even little Leela loved filling her belly with lucious berries.


We retrieved about 10 pounds of yummy berry goodness! While its been fun to snack on these constantly, I decided to use them in different ways as well. Jiya and I had so fun baking with blueberries....and it was the perfect rainy July 4th activity.







and I also made a delicious Blueberry Mango Iced Tea with fresh mint, which may have been my favorite creation.


What's your favorite blueberry recipe?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Two Weeks in East Hampton


We spent the first two weeks of June in East Hampton... getting some much needed rest and bonding time with the kiddos. Everything felt so hectic leading up to our vacation -- we were both slammed at work, and getting ready for 2 weeks away with the kids requires a lot of planning, organizing and packing!! It was so nice to arrive and settle in....


Hubby was able to join us for long weekends, which were spent at the beach or by the pool... having tons of water and sand fun with the kids. We were lucky to have our nanny come with us, giving us plenty of kid-free time in the evenings. We love the area restaurants and enjoyed checking out some new ones like Sienna, as well as revisiting favorites like Nick & Toni's and Pierre's. We had some friends visit us with their kids as well, which was so much fun for all!


Our favorite discovery of the vacation had to be this wonderfully calm beach in Sag Harbor - Haven Beach - that was sunny, shallow and had a wide stretch of sand and even a playground right on the water! It was the perfect beach for a young family... the kids loved swinging there, and we got to relax a bit.





It's so nice to spend so much time outdoors, especially with little ones in tow. I loved taking long walks with them, skipping stones, building sand castles or even just having breakfast on the patio with the birds chirping in our ears and the wind blowing through the trees. So much better than being cooped up in an apartment!


Jiya and Leela both loved our getaway, and it really got us ready for the summer... hoping for lots more family time outside!