We Celebrated Earth Day by Starting Our Garden (with High Mowing Organic Seeds)!

I’m a little late in sharing how we celebrated Earth Day, but hey– we celebrated it right?! 😉 As a Stonyfield YoGetter, we received some High Mowing Organic Seeds (from Wolcott, VT) to start plants for our garden. We eat organic as much as financially possible, so I am SO EXCITED to make it even more affordable by having a garden this summer!

High Mowing Seeds

Many people don’t think about the importance of starting your organic garden with organic seeds. Most importantly in my book, they are non-GMO. Certified organic seeds have to be non-GMO, but I love that High Mowing Seeds went the extra step and got certified by the Non-GMO project.

One of the other reasons organic seeds are great is that they have been produced to perform well in organic growing conditions–which is pretty similar to your backyard! Many of the conventionally grown seeds grow best in conventional farming conditions, i.e. with lots of fertilizer and pesticides. :-(

Lastly, they help to strengthen the overall demand for organic products. By seeking out and supporting organic seed producers, you are voting with your dollars. You are showing the market that you want to see more organic seeds and organic plants. It makes sense when you think of organic gardening like building a house. You want to start with a good, solid foundation–that’s your organic seeds! So, go ahead and check out High Mowing Seeds (Vermont represent!).

We started a bunch of plants that I hope will thrive and be transplanted into our garden within the next few months! I can’t wait to have fresh veggies, flowers, and berries to cook with this summer…

Do you have a garden? Have you explored using organic seeds?

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Meal Planning ~ Save Money and Your Sanity!

When people used to talk about meal planning, I used to sigh and blow it off. I don’t have time for that I thought to myself. Sometimes I feel like it’s a struggle to just sling dinner onto the table! 😉 I will now admit that meal planning is actually an AWESOME idea and if you’re like me, it will save you time AND money!

Meal Planning

So, how do you get started meal planning without sucking up hours of your time? Well, I decide to start using some of the kazillion Pinterest recipes I pinned! I found that keeping a loose rotation of meals, i.e. pizza, dinner salad, pasta dish, etc., works well for our family. We love having things like pizza on Friday, but now we are getting adventurous with all of the pizzas we find on Pinterest!

Before I find and print the recipes I plan on making for the week (I choose 6 recipes and plan for one night of leftovers, you can adjust according to your preference), I look at what’s on sale at Stop and Shop. I try to look for recipes based on what I find on sale. For example, if chicken is on sale, I might do a pizza with BBQ chicken and a pasta bake with chicken for two of the meals.

Now go through your cupboards and check off all of the ingredients you already have and make a list of what you need. Now you can hit the store and shop from your list, instead of impulsively buying whatever looks good. :-) Now I no longer stress about what to put together for dinner, I know ahead of time what we’re having and I prep what I can in advance.

I can’t describe how much easier it’s made meal time around here, and as a bonus, we are trying all sorts of new dishes! It’s also helping to justify my mild Pinterest addiction. 😉

Do you meal plan? 

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It’s Marathon Monday!

If you live in Massachusetts, you are (maybe) home celebrating Patriots Day or watching the Red Sox, or watching the Boston Marathon (or any combination of the three!). I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not too damp and rainy for Marathon Monday, but you never know what you’re going to get with April weather here in New England!

We had a beautiful weekend weather-wise here on the Cape, sunny and in the upper 50s to low 60s! It was simply phenomenal, and we spent almost all of it outside. On Saturday, we celebrated my mother’s birthday off with a trip to Spohr Gardens for the first of two Daffodil Days.

Since our spring was late, many of the daffodils weren’t blooming yet, but I’m sure they will be in full effect next Saturday! On the Daffodil Days, they have activities for the kids like a wishing tree and face painting, beautiful chamber music, book sales, and more. It’s a great place to enjoy beautiful views of Oyster Pond and the ocean in the distance.

I carved out time for my Virtual 261 Fearless Run in honor of Katherine Switzer (#261 in her first Boston Marathon) and her work with the 261 Fearless Campaign, along with Skirt Sports.

Virtual 261 Fearless Run

Virtual 261 Fearless Run – complete with kitchen reno in the background! :-)

Later on in the day, we hit up the Flying Bridge for a harbor view cocktail on opening weekend, followed by a birthday dinner cooked by moi. I made a lemon cake with raspberry butter cream frosting that was SO TASTY! I used boxed cake mix, but used this recipe for the butter cream frosting, and I highly suggest trying it—it was unreal!

On Sunday, I played catch up around the house and work, but found time for a quick outing to Peterson Farm to check out the new lambs. They are so adorable, and I wanted to jump the fence and pick them up. They are so cute chasing each other (and their moms!) around and making their tiny baa noises. :-) Here are some pics:

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Favorite Things Friday ~ Recipes We’re Loving

It’s Friday!!!!!!! Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited?! It’s been a busy week, but next week we’ll have some downtime with school vacation, and then I get to go to California to see my niece! We have been super busy with lacrosse starting, but I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in our newly renovated kitchen. I thought I would share some of the recipes we tried recently that have been popular on my Instagram feed. :-) Just click on the title to get to the recipe if you feel inspired!

  • Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing— I used white wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar in the dressing recipe, and I think it actually tastes better than it would with the cider vinegar! This salad was absolutely delicious, and even the boys liked it- WIN!Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
  • Light Pasta Bake with Chicken Sausage, Mozzarella, Spinach and Tomatoes— I have made this recipe twice, once without the red pepper flakes and once with them. I actually love the extra kick of the red pepper flakes (just 1/2 tsp), and surprisingly so did my almost 5-year-old! It’s a super easy meal to make and healthy to boot!
  • Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza— We usually do pizza night once a week, and this was an AWESOME addition to the line up. My older son and I love artichoke hearts, and they are such a good compliment to the spinach pesto. We usually buy the pre-made pizza dough in the bakery section at Stop and Shop.Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza
  • Oatmeal Cookies— This is a Martha Stewart recipe I found when searching for an oatmeal cookie recipe that only used 1 1/2 cups of oats, since that’s all I had left! I skipped the cinnamon and the raisins and added a cup of chocolate chips instead. They were to die for– must have been the stick of butter and chocolate chips! 😉
  • Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes— Need I say more? :-) These are nice and fluffy, and you don’t even need to get buttermilk– just add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The recipe says you can use frozen or fresh blueberries, but if you use frozen ones, make sure you thaw them first!

What recipes are you loving lately? Comment with a link to your favorites! 

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30 Something Father Figure ~ Finally! The Outdoor Season is Here.

Falmouth Lax

Yesterday was a great New England day. April in the northeast can be a crazy month — it could snow, or at least be raw and rainy; or it could reach the 60s-70s and start to feel like summer. Cape Cod is always about 10-15 degrees cooler in the summer than points inland. Usually that means we get robbed of a spring (like last year), but this week started to tease of summer.  This is good news for lacrosse season!

Last week the town lacrosse league kicked off the season, which also meant my debut as an assistant coach. I was really looking forward to this, and so far it’s been a lot of fun. I really like working with kids, even if it’s a little hectic with almost 40 6-8 year olds. Although soccer was my main sport, I played a little lacrosse in my younger days.

We have some more experienced coaches running things, so I’m just there to help out and make sure that every kid gets attention. My son who’s almost 7 is on the team, and I love that he’s excited to have me as a coach. I need to practice some more with him at home, but he doesn’t seem to have the attention span for practicing.

I feel bad that I’m coaching my older son while my almost 5 year old is over on another field in the instructional league. He hasn’t mentioned anything about it, so hopefully it’s not a big deal. I have a feeling I’ll be sticking with this for the years ahead, so I’ll get a chance to coach my younger boys soon enough. In general, I think this whole experience is great for me– I need the outdoor activity, it works with the family lifestyle, and I get to meet other guys in similar situations to mine.

With the warm weather on the way, it means we’re back in mountain biking season. I went for a ride on Sunday, and I’m really looking to make it a big year on the bike. I need to find some more people to ride with though, it makes it a lot more fun. One of my friends is moving to the Cape full time this summer, which is great.

We already talked about the places we want to ride. There are a ton of great trails within 15 minutes. I’m still pretty bummed out about my disappointing ski season (in terms of days on the mountain), but I might go one last day this weekend; if not, at least I can get back to my outdoor activities now that spring is here.

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Asian Inspiration with the New Stop and Shop World Menu!

Since our whole family LOVES any type of Asian cuisine, we were super psyched to try out the new Stop and Shop World Menu line–particularly the Asian-inspiration items! We consider ourselves connoisseurs of dumplings and gyoza, so we had to try out the pot stickers. We also picked up some vegetable spring rolls to pair along with our chicken and broccoli stir fry.

Stop and Shop World Menu Spring Rolls

Stop and Shop World Menu Spring Roll Close Up

Eating out can get expensive with a family of five, so we’re trying to cut back. Most of the time I cook at home, but I will admit that my husband and I have quite a weakness for Chinese and Thai take-out! It’s nice to have tasty options like the Asian-inspired line to help beat that temptation (we picked them up for $3.50 on sale this week, and there are also coupons in front of the freezer case for $1 off).

Stop and Shop World Menu Pot Stickers

I am happy to report that the appetizers were gone in a matter of minutes! We each tried a spring roll and too many pot stickers to count! For a dipping sauce, I used this recipe, and it was great for both the spring rolls and the pot stickers.

I also picked up some of the World Menu Italian seasonings: the Arrabiata and Bruschetta mix (I can’t wait to use this one come summer time when we have fresh tomatoes and basil!). If you are more of an Italian person, you should check out the Gnocchi or the Broccoli Rabe and Smoked Provolone.

The next time you find yourself craving take out but it’s not in the budget, head over to Stop and Shop and make your own! :-)

30 Something Mother Runner received a Stop and Shop gift card in exchange for sharing the above information with my readers. All writing and opinions are 100% my own.

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5 Helpful Hints for Stroller Running

5 Helpful Hints for Stroller Running

William and I have been logging quite a few miles in our jogging stroller now that the weather is nicer here, and I thought I would share a few helpful tips for those of you who are already stroller running or are looking to start! It’s such a great way for the two of you to not only get exercise, but get outside for a healthy dose of fresh air and nature!

  1. Run slightly to the side of the stroller keeping one hand on the handle bar and using the other hand as you normally would while running. This tip was the one that helped me the most when I started running with a stroller. It’s pretty awkward to run without your arms, so keeping one free helps alleviate this feeling. It also helps you keep a more normal form (or at least as normal as it can be while running with a stroller!) while you are running. When you use both arms to push the stroller, you tend to lean forward more than you would running without a stroller. Think of it like running on the treadmill while gripping the bar in front of you–it doesn’t simulate normally running stride, and it’s less efficient.
  2. Use the leash. You may balk at using the stroller leash, but all it takes is one wipe out or misstep and your stroller could get loose and crash into something, or worse run into the street! Using the leash is safe and gives you extra piece of mind while pushing your little one.
  3. Lock Your Front Wheel— Locking the front wheel of your jogger is an important safety feature. If you hit a bump or a rock and your front wheel is not locked, you can lose control of the stroller and its precious cargo. You can leave it unlocked if your walking leisurely, but if you run, lock it! :-)
  4. Bring Extra Layers, Snacks and Water— You never know what the conditions will be when you’re out running, so it’s always a good idea to take advantage of the storage basket under your jogging stroller. Store an extra shirt or sweatshirt for you and your child. Don’t forget snacks and water too!
  5. When Possible, Run on a Bike Path or Walkway without Traffic. I know this sounds kind of like common sense, but there are a lot of distracted (and disgruntled!) drivers out there. Running on a path that is closed to traffic will help keep you both safer, especially in low light or adverse weather conditions.
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5 Must-Haves for Your Race Bag

5 Must Haves for your racing bag

Since spring racing season is now upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to include my 5 must-have pieces of gear to stash in your race bag. There’s nothing worse than getting to the start line of a race and realizing your forgot something important….like safety pins! Without further ado, here’s my list:

  • Safety pins— Unless you have race belt to attach your number, you will need safety pins. Usually you will find a set of 4 safety pins in your race expo bag or at number pick up. Occasionally I pick up an extra set or two to stash in my running bag. I would stash a set in an inside pocket of your running bag, so you are never stuck at the start line wondering how you are going to attach your number!
  • On the Run Nutrition— I like to use GU on my long runs/half marathons, so I always have an extra one in my bag. While many longer distance races have nutrition along the course, it might not be what you are used to consuming on the run. Better safe than sorry (especially during a race!).
  • Extra layer of clothes and socks— You will generate  A LOT of heat during a race, and the heat stops as as soon as you stop running. Especially after longer distance races, you will find that you will be sweaty and begin to feel chilly. An extra sweatshirt or warm up pants is a must! Ditto for your feet, so pack some extra socks.
  • Post Run Snack— As with on the course nutrition, you don’t always know what foods will be offered at the end of a race. If you have a go-to post-run snack, pack one in your bag. My favorite post race snack was at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon/Marathon, where they gave out Philly soft pretzels!
  • Road ID/Personal Identification wear during the race— While your race number is linked to your personal information, and your name may be on your big, it’s much better to have personal identification on you during a race in case of emergency–especially if you have a medical condition! In medical emergencies, seconds count, and it will be much easier to get you medical care and notify your emergency contacts if you are wearing a Road ID or carrying another form of ID.

What do you stash in your race bag? 

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Spring, Is That You??

I think spring may have come, like for real. There’s a change in the air, and I can actually see my bulbs coming up! We had a mostly sunny Easter weekend here. We took the boys down town for the Easter Egg Scramble on the library lawn. I love our town–they always put on such great events for kids downtown during holidays.

Easter Egg Scramble

Checking out the haul!

 

The kids could bring their Easter baskets and get treats from the different shops along Main Street. Since we already got candy at the scramble, we only stopped at a few stores for extra treats. :-)

I had a beautiful easter morning run yesterday, complete with osprey sightings (bird nerd alert!). Even though it was pretty windy, the sun was shining and that was good enough for me! It’s so nice to see the sun regularly, after our snowy winter! It’s like everyone is starting to come out of hibernation…

After my run, we went up to my in-laws for an Easter egg hunt and lunch. I love watching the boys search frantically for their Easter baskets and Easter eggs. I’m not used to eating such a large meal in the middle of the day (complete with red wine ;-)). I felt like taking a nap afterwards, but instead decided to start raking the leaves out of some of my flower beds and my herb garden.

It’s amazing how much a little bit of gardening will get you feeling the spring fever! I can’t wait to see flowers and get my herbs into the ground. I ordered a germination station on Saturday to start planting our seeds. I’m going to put it in the boys’ playroom, so they can watch the seeds grow before they get transplanted into the garden. I haven’t had a garden since I grew up in this house, so I’m beyond excited to have one again!

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Portland ~ More Fun at the Portland Art Museum

In addition to visiting the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine on our trip to Maine, we hit up the Portland Art Museum. My almost seven year-old has always been very interested in art– both creating it and viewing it, so I knew he would love a visit to the Portland Art Museum.

Portland Museum of Art

It was nice to visit the museum on a week day–we felt like we had the museum to ourselves, save for a few school field trips. The Portland Art Museum is a great one to test out with kids, since it’s a manageable size. You won’t feel like it’s overwhelming or that the kids will be exhausted from all the walking! 😉

We started off by visiting the creative space for kids in the McLellan House. The Portland Art Museum has some great programs for kids and parents. I love that they are striving to make art fun and entertaining for our littles! In the kids’ room there is a desk and colored pencils for sketching, pieces of art for inspiration, and a place to hang up completed works!

Portland Museum of Art

Portland Museum of Art

They also have cards that have an art piece located in the museum with a space for the child to draw their own interpretation of the artwork right next to it. There are also questions to help the child further investigate the art work. It’s such a great idea, and James loved it.

Another thing of note for families, there is a great café area to grab a quick breakfast or lunch. It’s a beautiful space and bathrooms are nearby (baby changing areas in the women’s AND men’s bathrooms!). There are also umbrella strollers (limited number) that you can use while exploring the museum. I love that they have a little bag attached to the back of each stroller with kid friendly items inside!

Overall, we had a wonderful time at the Portland Art Museum, and we look forward to returning on our next trip! For more information on visiting the museum, click HERE.

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