Feel Good Friday 98
The news of a loved one passing so young always causes us to reflect on our own lives. Are we living a life we’d be satisfied leaving, knowing we lived well, loved well and brought others joy as well as experienced it purely for ourselves? Losing Sarah so suddenly last week has certainly caused me to take inventory of my own life. And to applaud her because she was one of the most loving mothers I know and yet she lived her life truly as herself. As hard as it is to accept that she’s gone way too soon, she’s a role model to me: someone who loved her people well and was loved as herself. Over the past week, I’ve focused even more on making time for my family, filling my cup with special moments and experiences with them.
Pumpkins always make me smile
How to Support a Grieving Friend
First of all, I want to share what has helped me the most over the last week. I have had a few friends reach out and say things to the effect of, “Tell me all about Sarah.” A couple of friends invited me over for an evening of wine and conversation last week and it was incredibly helpful to be able to talk to people who didn’t actually know Sarah, to tell them all about her, share my memories. Even if I was teary-eyed, it was healing and brought a smile to my face to talk about all of our good times. The best thing you can do for someone navigating loss is just to be there and listen. Say to them, “Tell me al about this person you loved.” Ironically, 2 and a half years ago, Sarah lost a best friend suddenly to an aneurysm. She called me, unsure what to even say to her friend’s husband, what to put in a card for him. I told her, “The best thing you can do is tell him the stories about her that he wouldn’t know, your funny memories of her, the moments that were so her.” It’s in the telling and listening of the stories that we keep those people very much alive in our hearts. I have always believed in the power of story-telling as a source of healing, and it’s helped me immensely in this process. I’m grateful for the friends who made the space to listen.
Recipe Ketchup Catch-up
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Baking has always brought me comfort, so I’ve got a sweet treat, plus a couple savory dishes and a smoothie bowl to share today. Let’s start with the baked goods. Because dessert should come first.
Last weekend, I had the urge to bake and asked Wilder what to make. His response: cupcakes. We looked up some Halloween themed ideas and he zeroed in on Jack Skellington – he loves The Nightmare Before Christmas. I wanted to make cupcakes that were a little more fall flavored and came across this spice cupcake recipe that is absolutely delicious! We all love the cake part so much! We shared them with a friend who asked for the recipe as well. Emmy helped me make them and she created the faces after I topped them with white frosting. Note: We did have to buy black icing because, as it turns out, making black isn’t so simple and I just didn’t want complicated.
Wilder was in a mood when he ate his first cupcake so when I asked him to say cheese, this was the face I got. It’s too funny not to share! He reminds me of Damien. As in The Omen.
Sunday night, Chris was in the mood for a stir-fry and looked on our go-to site for dinner recipes, Half Baked Harvest. He came across this quick honey ginger pineapple recipe and replaced the chicken with shrimp. We also added Napa cabbage because I’d bought some at the farmers market. It was a delicious dinner, but smoked up our kitchen. Ha! The caramelizing of the cashews is what did it in, I think. either way, it was a healthy and relatively quick meal. I was just glad to have a night off cooking.
Simple Beet Salad
Saturday night, I cooked one of our fall faves, butternut squash soup. I don’t have the original recipe I found years ago, but it’s similar to this one. I’d recently picked up some beets from the farmers market, so I decided to pair it with a salad starring beets and goat cheese. I’d also grabbed a fig goat cheese at the market. This recipe was simple, healthy and delicious, complementing the soup perfectly. I think I’d like to try a more flavorful dressing next time, but overall a keeper.
Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl
My bowl is not nearly as pretty as the one pictured in the recipe, but I didn’t have any granola on hand. Either way, this pumpkin pie smoothie bowl is healthy, vegan and full of fall flavor! As you can see, I added raisins and pumpkin seeds to mine.
Fall Farm Fun
Fall is my absolute favorite time of year and it’s typically when I want to get out and do all the things. Of course, last week, I sat and stared into space frequently, took tearful walks and allowed myself the room to grieve which is not easy with a three-year-old around. By Sunday morning, he’d had it and had a lot of pent up energy. I looked at Chris and said, “We’ve got to get this kid out of the house today.”
A pumpkin patch sounded perfect. I googled and found one in Kernersville that I thought perhaps wouldn’t be as busy as the Greensboro hot spot because I wanted it to be as safe as possible. We made our way to Smith Hollow Farm as an entire family . . . which means we were practically dragging our teens, especially Sawyer. Notice that they didn’t want to be in this photo:
However, this place had something for everyone! There were hayrides and horseback rides, games for cowboys of all ages, including tetherball, duck races, lasso practice and archery stations and so much more.
Wilder’s favorite part was the hayride
By the time we left, Wilder was exhausted and melting down, I had beat my oldest in tetherball (little did he know how much I played and loved that game in my youth!), the family had found their way out of a corn maze while Wilder played with a truck in a pile of dirt, and the teens begrudgingly admitted that they’d had a good time. Plus, we bought a couple pumpkins and sweet treats from their bakery.
It was busy but not crowded at all as there’s so much space and totally safe and we’ll definitely go again next year!
Halloween Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
Studio DIY has a fabulous neighborhood Halloween scavenger hunt you can print out and do with your kiddos. I printed it last year, but Wilder was a little young at the time. This year, he was all in! Luckily, our neighborhood goes all out on Halloween, so we were able to walk and find every item on the list. Emmy joined in the fun with me and Wilder and we went for two short evening walks this week to complete it. Wilder was just so happy to be taking an evening stroll outside! We’re going to have to find a Christmas one as well. 🙂
Sinister Family Fun?
Emmy has finally come to the age where she loves horror movies as much as I do! And in trying to spend more one on one time with each child, she and I have had a couple of slasher movie nights. We did try to get Sawyer to join us, but he’s too cool these days. Or too scared. 😉 Here are a couple of flicks that are perfect for watching with teens.
Freaky made us laugh more than it frightened us. Vince Vaughn plays a teenage girl almost too well:
In all honestly, There’s Someone Inside Your House was pretty horrible, but Emmy enjoyed it and it’s a perfect teen horror movie. Also, let’s be honest. How many horror movies are actually quality films?
Confessions of a Nail Biter
I’ve been a nail-biter my entire life, but I tend to go through phases where they grow well. Last fall, I was in one of those phases when I decided to try those nail polish stickers because a friend gave me some. It was a huge mistake for me! At first, I was thrilled. They were easy to put on and felt strong. However, when it came time to remove them, they wouldn’t budge and I had to scrape, destroying the fingernails I had worked so hard to grow. It’s taken me a long time to get them back to a point where I am not embarrassed, so I decided to treat myself to new nail polish and art.
I’d heard amazing things about Olive & June and decided to try it. I selected several colors I loved (they happen to be a ridiculously close match to the palette of my Love Mezay print!) I’ve since painted my nails twice with their polish and am totally sold. The topcoat really seals it in and they feel fantastic, but it also removes easily
Trying to keep myself from biting, I also decided to add a little nail art to my tool box. These nail decals are so fun and the shop has every pattern you can imagine! I bought a few sheets and Emmy and I had a nail day Sunday. Of course, she wanted to paint Ghostface on hers, and after painstakingly creating one, she realized she’d be there for hours and removed it.
Dress Like The Year You Were Born
When I was shopping locally with Our Village Goods a few weeks ago, she had this top for sale and I loved the fall colors. I’m typically pretty plain and boring in my fashion choices, so this one was stepping outside of my comfort zone, but something compelled me. I wore it earlier this week and got so many compliments! I love that its unique, vintage so eco-friendly, fall colors, and probably from around the time I was born, if not older. Maybe I should start to be braver in my choices.
Well, friend, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Chris, Emmy and I are off to see the wizard Wicked at our local off-Broadway venue and then, hopefully, to the zoo on Sunday. Trying to soak up outdoor family-friendly time before we’re hunkered down for the winter. Wishing you all the fall things this weekend! We’re just here for a gourd time.