6 things I’m loving in September.

I am feeling pretty deep into the throes of September right now. School has been back in session for almost a month now (!!!) and life is starting to fill up with all of the things. Homework, school lunches, after school clubs, school day volunteering (because I have to protect my Super Mom Reputation and also because I not-so-secretly love it).

Add in all of the other things like vet appointments, oil changes and grocery shopping; and the Self Care Goals like hitting the gym regularly, getting in regular writing time at favorite coffee shops and squeezing in lunch dates with my husband. The end result has been pretty hectic days – it’s filled with good stuff, but it’s a LOT of stuff. And after the slow burning days of summer, it can be a hard adjustment.

I’m taking a page from Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy (you know, like always) today and sharing some of the things that I’m loving right now in the midst of this busy season, when I kind of want to go talk to a chocolate cake in a dark room for a minute.

  • A great pedicure – My good friend Laura and I have accidentally created a wonderful tradition of getting pedicures together at the beginning of the school year. It’s a nice chance to reconnect after a busy summer and celebrate the return to our regularly scheduled fall lives. And I’ve discovered since then that I love having red toe nails! I almost never paint my finger nails, but there’s something about red toe nails makes me feel like I can rule the world!
  • London Fogs – I’m trying to limit the number of coffee drinks in my life because I hate having nice things or something. I discovered London Fogs maybe a year ago – it’s basically a chai latte but it’s made with Earl Grey tea instead of chai tea. It’s magical and soothing and makes a gloomy day feel a little cozier. It’s been a good substitute for mornings when I still need a latte style indulgence, but maybe with less caffeine. PS: for hot days, I’m digging iced green tea right now.
  • My new purse and lanyard – I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been wearing a tiny cross body bag to hold a few every day essentials. This teamed with a lanyard for my keys (which has apparently become the telltale sound / sign that mom is coming according to my kids) seems to be the magical button answer to not being burdened with a giant heavy bag. I’m trying to cut down on the amount of stuff that I have to carry everywhere and have a little minimalist zen vibe about me. It also makes up for the lack of pockets in my life. #girlproblems
  • This cute Cactus pen! I got this adorable little pen in an Owl Crate a few months ago and it has quickly become my favorite pen. It was good timing, too, because I recently decided that my nice fountain pens really need to start living at home because they don’t seem to like living in my purse. I was really surprised at how nicely this pen writes and the little cactus topper makes me smile every. time. Does anyone else take their pen situation way too seriously?
  • Listening to classical music while I write – So I mentioned making regular writing time for myself during the week. I’ve been taking my laptop to local coffee shops and trying to get in at least an hour of creative writing – either a great blog post or working on a current writing project (of which I have a couple right now). The big problem that I ran up against initially is that I’m very easily driven to distraction. Coffee shops are seriously noisy sometimes between the espresso machines, tables of talking people and adorable children and whatever background music they’ve put on. It’s stuff that I normally love about a coffee shop except apparently when I’m writing. I knew that listening to my own music collection on headphones wouldn’t work either – I’d just find myself rocking out to some good jams and forgetting what I was doing. So after looking up writing background music ideas, I went to Amazon and found this CD by Laura Sullivan called Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Piano Music Ever. The title is very accurate and also kind of doesn’t do it justice. It’s seriously terrific writing music and I’ve found myself turning it on while the kids do homework or sometimes when what’s on the radio is feeling extra meh. I’m not a big Classical Music fan tbh, but I love this CD and it’s definitely doing the trick.
  • Watching The Joy of Painting with a cup of coffee in the morning – I know, I’m seriously late to the party. I never watched this show growing up because I was not remotely the target audience. But I put it on at a whim the other morning while the kids were finishing breakfast and quickly found myself in a state of zen. He is the most relaxing man on the planet and his show was way better than I expected. By the end of the half hour, my husband and kids had joined me in the living room and we were all enamored and it was quickly decided that this is Our New Thing. I’m having a little Creative Inspiration moment right now which is definitely helping to feed into my interest in the show, but honestly it’s half inspiration and half therapy. I can be in the worst mood in the morning and five minutes into streaming an episode of Bob Ross painting a waterfall and I’m feeling one million percent chill, inspired and Best Version of Me. What better way to start your morning? Pro tip: It’s streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu but Amazon Prime has WAY more episodes to watch.

What are you loving right now?

Reminding Myself Why It’s Important To Remember

I debated whether to do this. I wasn’t going to. I did a “serious post” yesterday, as if that should be an excuse. But that’s not the reason, it’s just what I told myself this morning to make myself feel better. Then I read all your wonderful posts about 9/11 and temporarily reconfirmed that I wasn’t going to post about it. Other people have done a better job, have had much more significant experiences with this, have much better things to write about.

But the truth is, my 9/11 story is kind of embarrassing to me. I don’t want to write about it, because it isn’t anything I can be proud of. But I’m going to write about it anyway, because I want to be honest with you guys about who I am, and where I’ve come from. I don’t want to shy away from things because they are too serious, just because I prefer a lighthearted post. I’d rather talk about John Mayer or my recent vacation but FIRST I should at least pay my respects, so to speak.

I remember where I was. It was still in the first few weeks of my first year of college. I was young and naive and silly. I had a world view of about five inches in front of my terribly thick skull. I knew next to nothing, which is sad for a pretty smart person. It’s sadder for someone who went on to run the school newspaper. That morning was supposed to be my first day of my business 101 class. And I was kind of loathing it, even though I’d already lucked out and it had been canceled the week before also. It should have been obvious to me then that I didn’t really want to be a business major and was only doing it because it “looked good on paper.” Bad reason right?

So I overslept, and I ran to class, trying not be late so early in my college career. I got there and it was kind of pandemonium, but I didn’t know why – it was the first day, I had no idea what to expect. And it was my first class of the day because I like to sleep late (still do). Back then I was lucky and didn’t have a job or a 2 year old telling me what time to wake up. I was still a kid.

I heard in a grape vine kind of way that class was canceled. I didn’t bother asking myself why so many people were still hanging around, I simply turned around and walked back to my dorm. I ran into a roommate I think, I don’t really remember. We talked about going to the beach instead, it was still warm for September. We went to the dorm first to find swim suits I think. Somewhere along the walk, the truth began to leak out. I began to hear bits and pieces of what was going on, but being an ignorant naive 17 year old I didn’t care yet. Something bad happened, but not here. Okay. Beach?

By the time we got to the dorm it was becoming more real, but only in the sense that it wasn’t over and it might reach me after all. It might have something to do with me. My roommates and I began thinking about what we could do for US – we still hadn’t turned on a TV. Why watch the news? We were young and pretty. We had funner things to think about. So after surveying the room and deciding that we had enough water to last at least 6 months (bottled water is useful?) and tons of Ramen Noodles – and one of my two roommates was a nursing major – we decided we were probably competent enough to be of use in a disaster. And we went about our day.

I walked back to campus, still not sure if my next class would be canceled (it wasn’t, but it wasn’t mandatory to go – basically if you had “nothing better to do, you could come and talk about what was going on, but if you had a family emergency, etc. you wouldn’t be marked up for not showing up). But it was somewhere between the walk to class and getting there that I turned my fool head in the direction of a TV and SAW what was going on. I then promptly decided it was too scary and turned it away and walked to class (seriously).

Somewhere over the course of that day I grew up a little. By the end of the year I grew up a lot. At some point I decided I had to care about what was going on around me. It had to matter. The next year I joined the school paper, eventually ran the news department and eventually ran the paper. I still don’t like reading “boring news” but I try to catch headlines and Care. I try to remind myself that it matters and it affects me and just watching the weather or reading the comics probably won’t give me the full scope of what’s going on.

Eventually I learned just reading the college or even local or American paper might not be truly enough to see the whole picture – especially where politics and global events are concerned. But by the time I learned that, I also became a mother and learned reading the whole news (online now) could be just as destructive as it could be constructive. It could have me lying awake at night terrified to go to sleep, talking myself down from running to my son’s room and sleeping by his side all night. Because at the end of the day, when it’s not still a little bit all about me, it’s about him.

Point is, I remember, but I’m not proud. So in a way, I try to forget so I can like me again. But I think it’s important maybe to remember, to remind myself why I’ve grown and why I’m better where I am now than where I was then.

A Month of Menu Planning: September

So not only is it Monday, the start of the week, but it’s also September 1, the start of the month. That means a few things: Rent is due, vacation is in FOUR days, and it’s time to put up my menu plan for the month of September.

I’ve made a few revisions since my first attempt at this whole menu planning thing, deciding some things were too heavy or time consuming to plan to do every week, and other things needed a whole night of their own. All of my “themes” are totally just a starting point, and not set in stone – because this is supposed to make planning my dinners easier not mundane, boring and restrictive.

So here’s my menu plan for September:

The Themes

Mondays: freezer food-ish
Tuesdays: italian night
Wednesdays: all american meal
Thursdays: stir fry / skillet meal
Fridays: soup & sandwich
Saturdays: pizza night / mexican night
Sundays: something easy & preferably light

Week One

Monday: LABOR DAY Brie wrapped in filo dough w/ cherry preserves and fresh fruit
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup sounds heavenly
Thursday: Orange Chicken w/ basmati rice & Asian veggies
Friday: We’ll be on Vacation until…

Week Two

Monday: Beer-battered fish, French Fries & Caesar Salad
Tuesday: Gnocchi, Red Sauce w/ Ground Beef, Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Chicken Strips, mashed potatoes & corn on the cob
Thursday: Trader Joes Chicken BBQ Teriyaki, Asian Veggies, Basmati Rice
Friday: grilled cheese & chili
Saturday: Build Your Own Soft Taco / Burrito Night
Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie (Mrs Budds)

Week Three

Monday: chicken strips, mashed potatoes & corn on the cob
Tuesday: Multi-Colored Spiral Pasta (w/ garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese), Caesar salad & a peasant bread
Wednesday: Hot Dogs, Mac’N’Cheese, Baked Beans (the magical fruit)
Thursday: Orange Chicken w/ basmati rice & Asian veggies
Friday: grilled cheese & Italian Wedding soup
Saturday: Spinach and Feta Pizza perhaps?
Sunday: Mexican Pizza Enchilada Style

Week Four

Monday: Frozen Pizzas w/ frozen apps
Tuesday: fettuccine Alfredo, broccoli, grilled chicken
Wednesday: Hamburgers w/ build your own sides
Thursday: Trader Joes BBQ Teriyaki chicken, Asian veggies, basmati rice
Friday: Grilled Cheese & clam chowder
Saturday: It’s Game Night at Chez Momma, so we’ll do a cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza and two spinach feta pizzas and maybe some homemade breadsticks, too? I might even make a dessert (maybe)
Sunday: Brie wrapped in filo dough w/ cherry preserves and fresh fruit

Week Five

Monday: steak and cheese sandwiches, Caesar salads
Tuesday: Swedish meatballs & pasta
Wednesday: FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER, beer battered fish, mased potatoes & crinkle cut carrots
Thursday: Orange Chicken, Asian veggies, and basmati rice
Friday: Grilled Cheese & chicken noodle soup
Saturday: fried chicken, potato wedges & corn on the cob
Sunday: Build Your Own Burritos

Huge thanks to Simple Mom who inspired me with this whole menu planning idea in the first place!

What’s on your menu plan this month?