The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Be still my heart. A tidbit: “…tidying must start with discarding. We need to exercise self-control and resist storing our belongings until we have finished identifying what we really want and need to keep.”
“Abundance without Attachment” by Arthur C. Brooks. “First, collect experiences, not things.” An interesting article, especially considering the author’s occupation.
“Given the way he prepares, Tom Brady won’t be slowing down anytime soon” by Greg Bishop. “Our method relates to being physically fit, emotionally stable and spiritually nourished.” Thanks, Andy.

“The Sacred Art of Listening” and “A Generous Heart” by Tara Brach. I listen to her free podcast (available on iTunes) on my way home from work. Thorough, multi-faceted, thoughtful talks.
This weekend was a quiet one for us. Today we went for a ride in sleepy New Jersey. The muted landscape reminded us of a Wyeth painting.

This week we will spend time with friends and coworkers before heading back to Massachusetts. December has been peaceful and calm. We are enjoying the quiet.

November, December

The holiday season is flying by! Our time in Massachusetts was great, as always. We were lucky to make it home before the bad weather hit Philadelphia. A note to fellow travelers: Security opens at 4:30am. If you wake up at 1:30am and think it’s a good idea to be at the airport by 2:45am, you should probably roll over and go back to sleep.

We feasted on Tim’s peanut butter cheesecake:


Thanksgiving was delicious! It was especially wonderful to have everyone together to share the meal and play some 31:

On Tuesday, we went to Wegmans for our weekly shopping and found a 24 lb turkey on a deep discount. Always looking for a way to connect with friends and family, we bought the Grand Champion and enlisted three others to help us wrangle this big bird. Wegmans does it right: free range and local from the Lehigh Valley. Andy helped us brine GC and he made for a most delicious bird. We are grateful for the turkey dinner, turkey salad, turkey chili, and split pea soup.
Below, GC takes a brine bath:

We channeled Gabriel and thanked the turkey for nourishing us on our journeys:

We are enjoying our time before the holidays, reflecting on our greatest gifts–our relationships with others, our health, and our progress this year. Enjoying the quiet and peace of the season.


Above: Cape in December, Boston from the air.

Enjoy the start of your week.

A very happy birthday

We had a great birthday weekend! It started on Friday night with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A classic!

Tim was a moderator at the local Ethics Bowl competition, so I had Saturday morning to myself. Barre 3 had emailed a free birthday class and I went for a quick workout. Then I went over to Viking Pastries to pick up my cake. Wow! Tim had outdone himself! Marble cake covered in chocolate shavings. Tim was home for lunch and we headed over to Pinkberry for my free birthday yogurt. I’m telling you, it’s a good thing that place is so expensive or I’d be there all.the.time. Pomegranate frozen yogurt with berries! Yum.

I had the good fortune of having game night fall on my birthday. It was one of my most memorable and thoughtful birthdays ever.


Meredith had decorated beautifully, as always, and her special touches make everyone feel appreciated.

Then, we had a wonderful surprise–a birthday video from Amanda, Paul and Max! All the way from Belgium! Max prepared us a cake and “poured” Tim a special birthday beer. It was so nice to see those three! We miss you, Amanda, Paul, and Max!

Then we had another special surprise. Each member of the group had prepared something to say about the two of us. I was overwhelmed by the heartfelt comments, a reading, and a poem. It is something that we will remember forever. Our friends are truly our Pennsylvania family, and we are so grateful for them.

We sat down for a delicious cake, dinner, and games.





We left with happy hearts, Nutella, cards, and a beautiful plant that I enjoyed all day today:


What a beautiful birthday. Thank you so much to everyone who extended their well-wishes. I love you all!

This week we will be heading home to eat some turkey and celebrate this guy:


Have a happy and safe start to your week!

Photos of us and the monster cake by Chelsea, FB photo here.


From bowling last Saturday with Ross.

Some interesting reads as we head into the holiday season:

“Two dozen retailers won’t open on Thanksgiving–and they are shaming the ones who will.”

“It’s easy to get what you want…”

Simplify and savor life.

Giving: Fewer Gifts, More Thought.

Lovely shot by Tim, on our walk to the college. A nice reminder to focus on the present.

Buffalo chicken and a relaxing night

Tim is out at German class and I am relaxing here at home. Tonight, we made crock pot buffalo chicken wraps with blue cheese dressing, adapted from skinnytaste. They were great! We will definitely make these recipes again. It’s perfect for a quick meal that is high in protein. Some comments:

–I completely forgot to put the boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot until two minutes before I had to leave for work. I literally just dumped them into the slow cooker, covered them with water, set the timer to high for 8 hours, and ran out the door. I don’t think it really affected the overall flavor. Usually, I’d use chicken broth or vegetables as indicated in the recipe but all’s well that ends well. This is a great way to make shredded chicken for sandwiches, soups, and casseroles.

–Hot sauce is really, really high in sodium. The lowest sodium hot sauce we could find was Yuengling Hot Wing Sauce! Maybe the beer takes away a bit of the salt?

–Next time, I would grate both the carrots and celery to tuck into the wraps.

I went out to get my PPD vaccination for work but the clinic was closed! So I headed over to pinkberry for a little treat–pomegranate frozen yogurt with fruit. Now, I’m watching television and working on my Christmas list.

I saw an interesting article in the New York Times about fall risk in our aging population. Falls are one of the top things I address as an occupational therapist, and have seen firsthand how preventative treatment can make a significant difference.

A nice start to the week!

Recipes for a windy weekend

This weekend was cold and windy here in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, I put away all my summer clothes, washed the sheets and comforters, and cooked.

I  made a couple of great recipes that we will definitely repeat–Cheese Tortellini and Mushroom Soup (adapted from Skinnytaste) and Lowfat Banana Bread (adapted from Epicurious).

For the soup, I added kale and substituted frozen tortellini instead of fresh (frozen tends to be less expensive and just as good). We also added some hot sauce, but the mushroom flavor deepens over a couple of days and you don’t really need it. It’s a great, warming soup that has a different flavor profile. Since we live near the “mushroom capital of the world” (aka Kennett Square) we are hoping to try this soup with some other types of mushrooms. NOTE: avoid button mushrooms. Woody, heartier mushrooms are better in this soup.

The banana bread was really, really good (in my opinion). I tend to avoid “low-fat” recipes because they often include qustionable ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners or fats. This banana bread has only 1 tbsp of oil and no butter. I used nonfat Greek yogurt instead of the buttermilk (worked great and adds protein) and added walnuts and dark chocolate chips. It makes a large loaf. The mixing and sifting of the dry ingredients makes a big difference in the density of the loaf. Some other interesting substitutions could be coconut oil in place of vegetable, white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and raw sugar instead of granulated.


Today, we went for a very windy 30 mile ride in New Jersey. Wow! It was quite a challenge. I still loved being out there with Tim, though! Fortunately, I think my spinning classes have helped a little bit with handling resistance.

Excited for our week ahead!

Photo from our trip to Terrain.

Candies and Centuries




Our Halloweens are usually pretty tame here at PH. This year, we had roughly ten kids and then we went for a walk. People really go all out around here with decorations and it’s a fun night to admire the large homes and watch the kids running around. We had some good soup and bought some walnuts at MOMs. I am excited to curl up with the weekend paper, tuck into a pile of cranberry walnut pancakes, and spend time with friends.
Last weekend was our second century ride. It was in Onancock, VA and benefitted Virginia’s eastern shore. We stayed at a hotel and it was a nice little weekend. I am already psyched for next season!


Farewell, October!