Feel Good Friday 73
Well, it’s been an absolutely gorgeous week here in North Carolina. We’ve had an unusually long spring season and I am savoring it! Usually it’s in the 50s, then we get a week of the 60s, a week of the 70s and BOOM hades. The gods have been smiling on us though and we’re having a pleasant spring, allowing for outdoor adventures a-plenty. Chris has been away again this week, and while it’s challenging, I made a mind-set decision at the beginning of the week to make the best of it: enjoy the 6 car rides to and from soccer practice with Sawyer, make the most of my time while he gathered with his team, read to Wilder in the mornings before school, get outside as much as possible, remind myself how much Emmy loves her little brother even though Chris being away means I rely on her help much more in the evenings when I go to practice. That decision made this week not only livable but pleasurable. And I’ve got SO much to share with you today, once again! Grab your coffee, toss some whiskey in it if you’d like, and grab a seat.
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If you’re looking for a safe and fun activity to get you moving outside and creatively inspired, I’d suggest checking a city near you for murals. Greensboro is chock full of them! Last Friday, I decided to take a little drive over to our midtown area to grab photos for work content and invited a friend. We had an absolute blast galavanting all over midtown, posing and taking photos. (I actually shared a couple of those photos here.) I thought I’d share a couple shots from our jaunt.
The last one I want to show you is inside Hotel Denim, a boutique hotel in Greensboro which was created out of the old Cone Mills. If you’re not aware, Greensboro has a deep history in the textile and denim industry. Throughout the entire hotel, you’ll find murals at each end of the building. This mural features Moses Cone. By the way, if you’re ever looking to visit our special little city, Hotel Denim is where I’d recommend staying.
A fun family game
While we’ve struggled to make time for date nights as we set out to do weekly early in the pandemic, we have held on tight to our weekly movie and game nights. After a year, I think we were all feeling a little of a game-rut settling in. My parents gave the kids Double Ditto for Christmas but we had just sorta stuffed it into the cabinet and forgot about it . . . until it was my turn to pick! I read the directions (which took only like 30 seconds which is always a good sign for me!) and it sounded super simple – which it is – so we gave it a go! Double Ditto is SO much fun and goes by really quickly which is always a bonus for this girl. We’ve now played it a few times and each time we laugh out loud and have a blast. I definitely recommend this one if you’re in a game rut.
Coming Through My Earbuds
Taylor Swift released her Fearless: Taylor’s Version album last week and it’s such a great revisit. I remember listening to that album when I painted furniture in the basement of our first Maryland house in Severna Park. The new version features bonus songs that weren’t there originally and some of the originals are stripped down a bit. I sang along while I cleaned the house last weekend and found myself in tears. 13 years ago, I had a one year old daughter and instead of thinking of her, I thought of my own past while I listened. Now, I have a 14 year old daughter who is heading into high school next year. Listening to the song Fifteen has so many new feelings I wasn’t prepared for. My heart shattered as I started worry about things that are sure to be coming soon: Emmy’s first heartbreak, crushes on older guys, new friendships. I hope that she stays true to herself and doesn’t lose sight of who she is and instead, “realizes some bigger dreams of” hers. OK, I’m not crying.
Do you like seafood? See food. And salad.
After meeting with a health coach and talking about my goals, it became clear to me that I needed more protein in my life. I use a powder in my morning smoothie (this is my favorite) but the rest of the day was quite lacking minus an egg and some beans or nuts. I’m a pescatarian, but we hadn’t even been eating much seafood. I’ve been making an effort to add more of it to my meals and this gave us the opportunity to try some new recipes.
Salmon pictured is not a new recipe, but I was just pleased with how it turned out. I sprinkled it with salt and pepper, drizzled oil and placed lemon slices on top and roasted it with asparagus. The new recipe this particular evening came in the form of a blackberry and butternut squash salad. We actually took a couple of recipes and combined them to come up with this dish. Also, I totally mangled my salmon during the plating process so I’m glad you got to see it fresh out of the oven. 😉
For the salad body, we used this recipe but toasted the pecans instead of glazing because I didn’t want needless sugar. I added the blackberries and used the maple-dijon dressing from this recipe. Chris and I both enjoyed this salad. If you recall, last week I shared one that he was not a fan of, so he made a point to tell me this was a keeper. I love that it sorta blended seasons. The reason behind making it was that I had a huge butternut squash left, but soup season is behind us, so I was looking for a salad that used it but had a touch of spring flavor.
On Sunday, while reading my favorite weekend post, Nine Favorite Things on Half-Baked Harvest, I came across Tieghan’s recipe for sheet pan Hawaiian pineapple shrimp tacos with creamy jalapeño sauce. This dish was easy to make (I love a good sheet pan meal!) and delicious! I will say, Chris cut the pineapple and it was too big to roast like it was supposed to, plus too big for inside the tacos. Don’t worry though. He commented on it himself so I didn’t have to point out his mistakes like I normally do. Kidding. Sorta. OK, but we both do it to each other! Actually, Emmy and I tease Chris because he’s famous in our house for saying, “It was good, but what I’d do differently next time . . .” As soon as I hear those words muttered my eyes instinctively roll back in my head. Anyhow, I had my shrimp and fruit on a bed of lettuce, but the pineapple chunks were a struggle for his tacos. Even so, it was a delicious seasonal meal and we will make them again. But what we’d do differently next time . . .
My favorite book of 2021
Yeah, I could say this book was my favorite so far, but I know it will remain in that slot. Jenny Lawson is a long-time favorite author of mine. She writes about mental health with humor and rawness that’s unmatched. The page above is from an entire chapter in her new book, Broken (in the best way possible), dedicated to “awkwarding.” In it, she shares a tweet she wrote about an awkward moment that left her feeling foolish. It hit her audience hard and they started coming at her with their own awkward moments that fill the pages of this chapter. I laughed SO hard. Not to mention, it’s totally relatable. How many times have you said, “You, too,” to a waiter when they tell you to enjoy your meal? We all do stupid things and they need to be celebrated. #celebratethestupidmoments
Adorable little plant
Here in Greensboro, there’s a sweet young lady who has a pop-up plant shop and she travels to different events and retailers with her green friends. I’ve become a bit of a groupie. A couple of weeks ago she had a giveaway for a baby begonia (by the way, am I the only one who sings that to the tune of Baby Beluga?) and I won! Here’s my little cutie, Bogart. Just look at her polka dots!
A good laugh
Snowball needed a grooming so we brought her to our regular place and she came home looking Amish. I posted the above photo on facebook with this caption:
Groomer: what would you like?
Us: thinking something inspired by Dumb & Dumber
We are currently calling her SnowLloyd. Because why not? Poor thing – she even looks embarrassed.
The best part of spring is all of the flowers in bloom. I received that iris from a sweet old woman cleaning up her bed when we first moved here. This year is the first that it’s flowered and, as you can see, we’re excited. And we need a hair cut.
One of my all-time favorite flowering bushes is the lilac. They smell like no other and remind me of my New England childhood. We don’t have any, but I pass this one in my walks each day.
While I was bummed about having to go to the soccer complex three nights this week, a coworker told me about a little hiking trail with a trailhead at the soccer park. I enjoyed a couple of nice walks along the path, thanks to her! Now I have something to look forward to when I go aside from listening to an audiobook or reading. I actually sent the photo above to Chris while I was out there and he said, “Where are you?” I said, “We skipped soccer to go hiking. JK- at soccer.” He had no idea this magical hidden gem existed!
I spied these fiddleheads unfurling. They remind me how beautiful it is to let go and let yourself open up.
Mayapples are a favorite plant of mine because they provide the perfect little ground covering from viewing above, but also become ideal shelters for magical creatures like forest fairies.
new Superhero movie
My older kids and Chris love superhero films. I have to admit, while I don’t consider myself a fan nor do I watch all of the series, I’ve really loved the movies I’ve watched with the family. Last weekend for movie night, Chris chose The New Mutants. It’s certainly not the best of the bunch, but I loved that it included teen story lines and overall enjoyed the movie. Anya-Taylor Joy of Queen’s Gambit fame (and Peeky Blinders) is fabulous in it, of course! Check out the trailer:
Soccer Drives and Conversations
Speaking of soccer, I’ve genuinely enjoyed my car rides with Sawyer and the conversations they’ve opened up for us. He’s growing into such a kind young man. Plus, his coach said he’s seen a huge improvement this season and he’s now a starter, which has done wonders for his confidence. Tuesday night, we had a conversation that I wanted to share because it made me think.
A Little Moment
Lastly, you know how I love to capture these precious little moments in life. Wilder is blurry in this photo and Catcher’s long-haired is in the way, but it was the joy for me. It took Wilder a little while to learn to jump with two feet but he finally got it a couple months ago. Now he loves to jump and is still in the stage of being very proud of this new-found ability. Wednesday morning, I was making our smoothies when Wilder started jumping in the kitchen. I said, “Wow, look at you go! You are jumping so high!” And he proudly replied, “I’m getting stronger!” Yes, you are, kid! May we all take a moment to notice the things that we are getting better at, bit by bit and day by day. Just keep practicing.
If you’re still here, thank you. That was a long one. Hope you have a fantastic weekend! We’re off to some local farmers markets because I need to grab some photos for work. It’s a tough job, I tell ya.