Barefoot by the Sea

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

HODGEPODGE: Home is where the heart is!

A huge shout out this week to Joyce who is FINALLY moving next week! So come join the hodgepodge this week! Click here to join the fun! 
1. Besides your very own house, describe a place where you feel most 'at home'?  On a farm. I grew up visiting our local farms and it's always been a place I've loved. As a child, I took horseback riding lessons every week. I've passed that tradition onto my children so it's a place we tend to visit weekly or whenever we can. Life just feels simpler there - which is ironic because there isn't too much that's simple about farming as far as I can see!

2. When did you last 'hit a home run' with something? Explain. My kids. They are doing so well - they are amazing and I think that where they are concerned, I've hit a homerun. They amaze me every single day. I'm one lucky Mama!

3. Tell us about something you love in your house or kitchen that is 'homemade'. I know a lot of Moms do this, but I display the kid's artwork throughout the house in gallery frames. There are a few scattered throughout the house. Special ones through the years and they definitely make me smile! 

4. 'A man's home is his castle'...which of the world's ten most captivating castles (according to The Travel Channel) would you most like to visit and why-
Mont Saint-Michel (France), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany), Glamis Castle (Scotland), Windsor Castle (England), Chateu de Chambord (France), Hampton Court Palace (England), Prague Castle (Prague), St. Michael's Mount (England), Leeds Castle (England), and Swallow's Nest (Ukraine) I think Prague Castle is amazing, I would love to see it and honestly, when will I really have a chance to visit the Czech Republic? When I was a kid, I loved INXS and the video Never Tear Us Apart was filmed before the wall came down in the late 80s. I guess I've been fascinated since then. Weird what you remember. 

5. What's a recent or upcoming plan or project that's required you do a little homework before getting started? Did the homework cause you to abandon your plan or adjust it in some way? We haven't done too many house projects lately. This Summer, I expanded my garden a bit and made sure to get the appropriate soil and crop rotation before planting. It was a success! In fact, I pulled it ALL just yesterday - and my flowers were still blooming! But, with temperatures dipping into the 40s during the day, it's just a matter of time before Jack Frost hits the area. I'd rather do it manually! 

6. In your opinion, is homework an unnecessary evil or a valuable practice? Should schools be done with homework? Why or why not? I'm on the fence. I think homework in moderation is a great way to reinforce concepts, study for tests and yes, work on projects. When kids come home, stressed from projects or have to skip out on sports or activities in favor of homework? I don't think that's right. With the average school day 7.5 hours, I think they are working a lot there. I do like the idea that a child should receive 10 minutes of homework for the grade in school they are in. For example, 1st grade = 10 minutes, etc. Read the NEA article here

7. Share a favorite memory of your childhood hometown. I grew up in Belchertown, Massachusetts, in the western area of the state. In the summer, my Mom would take me to the library every week. It was really old, it smelled like books and the librarians were MEAN. They hushed little kids and gave you the stink eye if you weren't quietly reading. But, I LOVED it there. I loved the smells and the books and discovering the new books. By the time I was a little older, the librarians knew me by name and even smiled at me!

8. Insert your own random thought here: So in that INXS song I referenced above, there's a lyric: "I'll make wine from your tears"...but I always sang it as, "I'll make quiet farm-a-tears!" Told you I've always loved my farms!

Rock on friends! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Udemy Online Courses 75% off Coupon! #sponsored

Question for you, how many of you stop and take the time for yourself? Whether it's reading a great book, enjoying a night out with your significant other or friends, spending a day shopping, enjoying a glass of wine, getting a pedicure or something as simple as taking a bath. If you lead a busy life, sometimes it's really hard to place your priorities in front of other things. I think this is especially true for mothers. Life has a way of pushing and pulling you in different directions, a lot of people rely on you and it's tough to make yourself a priority.

When I think back about my life right after college, it feels almost luxurious. I had started a new job, had a small apartment and didn't have to worry about too much other than myself. I spent the weekends catching a movie or shopping, pedicures were not unusual and I most definitely hung out with friends on the weekends. Life seemed pretty simple and my priorities were at the center. I was young, in my first "real job" and had it all figured out. Boy was I wrong! What I did learn over these past years was that I have new interests, passions and goals. I often think back about college and majoring in advertising in journalism, although it's a solid degree, I sometimes wonder why I didn't choose differently. Thinking I don't have time to head back to school right now, I was excited to learn about Udemy. Udemy is an online university that offers a wide variety of courses that you can take right from the comfort of your own home. Ideal for someone like me, who needs flexibility and the option to take courses at my own pace. 

I'm currently taking The Yoga of Awakening at my own pace, on my own time. I'm really enjoying a little more "me time" by doing this! 

I wanted to share with you guys that you can also take this course at Udemy for 75% off, as well as many other courses on Udemy. Simply click here to see the offerings. 

Please note, this was an opportunity through Moms Meet and Udemy. I did receive a credit to take this course however all opinions, as always are my own!

Have a great weekend!  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Moving Hodgepodge

This week's hodgepodge is here! Thank you Joyce!  She's in the final stages of her home being built (congratulations!) and still has committed to this!  Come join the fun and wish Joyce well on her newest, exciting adventure!  
1. What would you say is your strongest sense? My sense of sight. I'm always taking it all in, observing and watching. I love people watching and I love the seasons. I definitely am in tune to colors, destinations and the outdoors. I love, more than anything, seeing my children. Their faces, their expressions: it's priceless.
2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not? I don't think so and I can't say why but the idea that a ghost is just hanging out next to me is creepy. Then again, I like to think there are angels around us, which is a much happier thought. 
3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain. During the busy weeks, during theater season, at the very beginning of the school year when we have two open houses at two different schools, parent teacher conferences and everything in between. I feel that hustle and bustle and like we are flying from place to place without stopping. Not my favorite sensation! 
4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? When I was in the 10th grade, I had my first "real job" working as a hostess at a restaurant. I remember being intimidated and nervous but overall, it was a good experience. I also remember helping out busing tables and having to carry the giant, over-sized trays and failing miserably. We were required to clear the entire table all at once and I just couldn't do it. Needless to say, I wasn't scheduled to do that job too often. I lasted one summer. If I were to own a restaurant, I would want to own a farm to table restaurant and have a seasonal garden to pick from!
5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there. My Grandfather traced his family tree and was very interested in his lineage. In 2005, I asked him if I could "interview" him because he had so many amazing stories to share. He agreed and looking back, I'm so grateful that I have the story of his life. After he died a few years ago, he left a gigantic family tree album. It's amazing to see the history of our family. I was shocked and saddened to hear his younger brother died of the 1918 Flu Pandemic. He's an excerpt of his story... 

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like? I had light purple walls and a lot of Snoopy pictures hung up. I also distinctly remember a Charlies Angels poster. As I got older, those were replaced by pictures of Madonna that hung over my gerbil's cage, I had a huge waterbed in the center of my room and it was common for me to dance around to the Grease soundtrack for hours. I also may have painted nailpolish "lipstick" on Diana Ross' Upside Down album cover and hung it from my wall. Am I dating myself here? Isn't it scary that I STILL have that album, and the Snoopy phone that I used to talk for hours on! Oh and let's face it, EVERY Snoopy phone needs to be decorated with a gold lame necktie:
In middle school I discovered 21 Jumpstreet and my room became a shrine to Johnny Depp. I had a lot of posters and was a little embarrassed when my Dad brought me home a Patrick Swayze poster when Dirty Dancing was the big movie. I didn't have the heart to tell him I wasn't a fan (sorry ladies) so I carefully hung the poster in back of my bedroom door. 
7. Anyone who knows me knows I love my family

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Magic of A Cookie and a Recipe

There's something so comforting about making a batch of homemade cookies. Sometimes when things get too crazy and we've been running around all week, making an old-school batch of cookies is strangely satisfying to me. I love the smell of cookies baking and then of course, who could deny a delicious, warm, freshly baked cookie? 
So let me tell you a little bit about middle school, do you remember it? I do, that time when you start to feel a little more grown-up but not quite independent. The time when you start pushing some boundaries, feeling emotional, rolling your eyes more, having a bit more drama...and just when you've got some of that under control boys start creeping into the picture. My daughter is in 7th grade and with two years of middle school under her belt (yes we start in 5th grade here), it's hilarious when she's referring to the "younger kids". Let's be real here, there's a bit of satisfaction knowing you've gone through those first years, now part of the upper grade hierarchy. It's always amazing to see how much children change during these years. Lately, I watch her carrying herself more confidently and maturely. I'm happy to report she has a solid group of friends who look out for one another. She has a good group of teachers who seem to be well suited for middle school aged kids, encouraging them to use their knowledge and intuition. Still, I rarely hear people speaking positively about their middle school years. It's a time when you really start to separate yourself from your parents and get more embedded with your own social circle, increased academic demands, sports and just a general feeling of more pressure. Which brings me back to the simple comfort of your mom baking a batch of cookies, sometimes it's something insignificant that encourages that much needed connection. A warm treat and a good mother/daughter talk, and that "safe place" where she knows she really can be herself, open up and share what's going on in her life.   

A lot of my favorite old-school cookie recipes have a high refined sugar content. I set out on a mission to make a healthier batch of cookies and was pleased with the results. This one uses maple sugar as the primary sweetener and the result was a delicious, moist, health(ier) cookie. 
Magical Everything Cookies 
  • 1 cup of rolled oats 
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (I use dairy free)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg and vanilla. Stir in the maple syrup. Add the flour/oat mixture and then fold in the pumpkin seeds, raisins and chocolate chips. 
  2. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Drop the cookie by tablespoon onto the sheet and using the back of your spoon, flatten a bit. Bake at 325 degrees for 14-16 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. 
  4. Enjoy!
Have a wonderful Monday!
- Jessica
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