Posts Tagged by family

Happy Holidays!

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Hope you get to snuggle some casts this holiday…or at least someone special 🙂

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My First Thanksgiving

Ok well this really wasn’t my first Thanksgiving, but it’s the first one that I’ve spent at home.  Alone with my husband and my cats and it was perfect!  I think part of the reason the B and I aren’t a big fan of the holidays is that it always involves a ton of travel.  Our families live a minimum of 2 hours aways and then when you add in holiday traffic, it becomes an exhausting trek.  We’ve never spent a holiday at home and this year we wanted to make that a priority.  So that’s what we did…  

I was super excited to make my own turkey dinner but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of a whole bird, so I decided to get a breast and two legs.  I brined them overnight so they would stay moist since the breast was boneless.

Thanksgiving_Brine

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That looks kind of gross….  But it really did help keep them moist, because they both came out delicious.

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Thanksgiving_Turkey_LegsThen I made a TON of sides, like I was having 8 people over.  Stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, carrots…the works!  Can you say leftovers?!?

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Thanksgiving_Potatoes

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And no Thanksgiving meal is complete without cranberry sauce, you know the good old jellied stuff.

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Thanksgiving_Plate

I also decided to make an apple pie, my first one.  It actually turned out pretty good and I topped it with some delicious caramel from Fat Toad Farm.  YUM!

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Thanksgiving_Apple_PieWe had a great day and have really enjoyed this kind of mini-vacation at home.  Hibernation has been in full effect 🙂  It’s been fun creating our own traditions and enjoying a holiday in our own home.  Yes, I missed my family, but this was really important to us. 

How do you spend your holidays?

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When Your Safe Space No Longer Seems Safe

Photo Source: CrossFit Mosaic

I read this horrible story this morning out of Winter Park, FL where the owner of CrossFit Mosaic, Richard Millsap, was shot and killed while teaching a class last night.  Apparently he was targeted, as the gunman walked passed many other people and shot only him. I’m really struggling with how horrific this is.

I go to CrossFit to escape all the crap of daily life.  The stress, the bills, the bad drivers, my anxiety.  It is a safe space for me to let all of my aggression out and work towards getting healthy…becoming a better person. That is why everyone was at CrossFit Mosaic last night and it is just beyond sad that it was taken away from them.

The coaches are what make CrossFit so special.  They are dedicated athletes who just want to see us succeed and become those better people we are striving for.  They guide us and believe in us even when we don’t.  From what I’ve read on the many posts to the CrossFit Mosaic Facebook page, Millsap was a strong leader and encouraged the members of his gym everyday.  He changed their lives and really did make them better people.  

I can’t even begin to imagine how the community is dealing with this.  CrossFit communities are more like a family than just people who go to a gym.  We not only encourage each other through tough workouts, but we provide a strong support system both inside and outside of the gym.  How will they be able to walk back in the gym knowing that it no longer seems to be a safe space? Will they ever be able to pick up a barbell again without remembering that terrible night?

I can’t believe we live in a world where no where seems safe any more, where trying to do something good can somehow be dangerous.  It seems that no matter where you go these days, you need to be looking over your shoulder.  Schools, transportation systems, shopping malls, and now gyms, no longer seem safe.  When will this end?  When will people begin resolving their differences without violence?  No one deserves this.      

As hard as it might seem, the best thing the community can do is persevere and overcome this tragedy.  Be strong and show what a positive influence their coach was in their lives.  They need to reclaim their safe space…we all do!  Let’s be the better people and not let these horrible situations define how we continue to live our lives.  There is way too much good out there and it WILL shine through.

My deepest thoughts are with Millsap’s family and the CrossFit Mosaic community during this difficult time…my heart breaks for you.  

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A Visit From Mom

Mom-SarahMy mom and I weren’t always close.  To say I was a difficult teenager is an understatement.  Seriously…I don’t know how she dealt with me.  Thankfully she forgave me for all my craziness and by my early 20s we were (and still are) best friends. She currently lives in South Carolina so we don’t get to see each other that often, but it’s always fun when we get to spend time together!

This past weekend she came to visit for a few days and we jam packed our days with good food and good fun!  After picking her up from the airport on Thursday, we headed to New Haven and had a fabulous Spanish tapas dinner at Barcelona.

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Friday was a lazy day.  We spent some time relaxing around the house, getting work done and Mom got in some good cuddle time with Cleo.  Neala wanted nothing to do with it.

Mom-Cleo

We all went out for froyo, which Mom had never had before (crazy…I know! ), and found this seriously cute shop in Milford called Most Naturally.  The store specializes in natural, organic and local items such as clothing, jewelry and home goods.  They have the CUTEST stuff!  We both went a little jewelry crazy 🙂

Most-Naturally-Jewelry

Saturday I took Mom to her first yoga class and she LOVED it! She’s an avid horseback rider and has been looking for other ways to supplement her riding.  I thought this would be perfect for her and I’m so glad she found it beneficial.  Later that day we went to something called Taste of New Haven.  These are historical walking tours of various different neighborhoods with stops at various restaurants and food shops along the way.  It was SO FUN!  We went on the Canal Quarter tour and I learned so much about this unique area.  And the food…YUM!  We stopped at 7 different places over the four hours of the tour and I can’t wait to do another one.  Expect a full review soon.

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Sunday was quite the adventure.  We said goodbye to B and set off to Eastern Connecticut for a fun girls day.  We met up with my Mom’s friend Judy from Massachusetts who I’ve known my entire life at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods where we would be spending the night.  We headed off to the seriously cute town of Stonington for lunch at the Dog Watch Cafe.  Lunch was great, but the highlight was definitely the table of pirates that came in.  

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Stonington is right on the water and is an incredibly quaint New England town.  B doesn’t know it yet, but I am definitely dragging him back there for a day trip.  

Stonington

After driving through town a bit, we decided to go check out one of the local vineyards.  We decided on Maugle Sierra Vineyards and I fell in love with it as soon as we pulled in the driveway.  It was very rustic looking and the views were gorgeous.  We went into the tasting room and decided to try the tasting of all 8 of their wines.  The wine was anything to write home about, but the experience was great.  Every Sunday they have live music beginning at 3pm and a local lobster truck comes by for some good eats.  A ton of people showed up for this and it looked like a great way to spend a Sunday evening.

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We headed back to Foxwoods to relax a bit and get ready for dinner at craftsteak.  Whoa…what an incredible dinner!  Pork belly, local beets, ribeye, spinach, carrots, mushrooms…you name it, we ate it!  Such a memorable dinner 🙂

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Craftsteak- Mom-Judy-Sarah

After dinner we headed over to Comix for a night of laughs.  There were 4 comedians for their One Night Stand…2 were good, 2 were not so good.  Still got a bunch of great belly laughs in, which I always enjoy.

Comix

We then made our way back to the casino where Mom and Judy tried their hand at some of the slots and I proceed to have one too many martinis.  What a seriously fun night!       

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The next morning we all slept late made our way to breakfast.  We said goodbye to Judy and Mom and I headed north to the airport.  The time flew by while she was here and I can’t believe her visit has come and gone so quickly.  It’s probably because we were having so much fun!  I’m so lucky to have a great Mom who I can share these moments with…until next time 🙂

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Feasting Poolside

Ahhhh holiday weekends.  These are the times to eat too much, drink too much and relax!

Pool

Well that’s pretty much what my day consisted of yesterday.  B and I came down to NJ to visit my Dad and Stepmom and basically do a whole lot of nothing.  B’s parents, my uncle and two of my cousins also joined us to partake in the relaxation.  It was 95 degrees out so when we weren’t eating, we spent our time in pool cooling off and enjoying some refreshing beverages!

Crabbie's!

Crabbie’s!

While this was fun, my favorite time is always meal time 🙂  I made a lot of the sides with my Stepmom while B and my Dad manned the grill.  We definitely got the better side of the deal because we were in the air conditioning.  B’s Mom set up the tables in a wonderfully shady spot and we were good to go.

The family supervising B's grilling techniques..

The family supervising B’s grilling techniques..

Dining Al Fresco

Dining Al Fresco

So here’s what we gorged ourselves dined on!

B’s family is from Albania and his mom makes some delicious Mediterranean dishes!  She brought a cheese pie and a spinach pie.  Sadly since I found out about my egg sensitivity, I haven’t been able to eat either of these, but everyone else enjoyed them.

Cheese Pie (top) Spinach Pie (bottom)

Cheese Pie (top)
Spinach Pie (bottom)

They also brought B’s favorite feta cheese from a Greek specialty store, Titan Foods, in Astoria.  It’s a sad day in our house when it runs out, so I put a bunch out for him along with some Wave Hill Bread we brought from home.

Wave Hill Bread & Feta

Best Bread & Feta Ever!

For sides, we grilled up some eggplant, onions and peppers.  I also roasted some local CT asparagus and tossed it with a lemon vinaigrette.  My stepmom had roasted some beets from her garden the night before, so I tossed those with some feta and parsley, and also made a Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and feta.

Salads & Veggies

Eat ALL the Veggies!

And finally the proteins…burgers, dogs and shrimp all cooked perfectly on the grill.  Simple and delicious!

Shrimp Burgers & Dogs

FOOD!

FOOD!

We even had a visitor join us for our meal!

Baby Bunny!!!

Baby Bunny!!!

After lunch/dinner/our only meal of the day, it was back in the pool along with a lot of lying around to digest before diving into the decadent desserts B’s mom brought.  Baklava, galaktoboureko and kataifi…whoa!  I can usually only have one bite of these because they are SO sweet, but they are still delicious 🙂

Greek Desserts

What a great day…just what I needed.  Quality time with family, floating around in a pool and stuffing my face.  In the craziness of our everyday life, it’s important to remember to take some time for ourselves and spend it with the people who matter.  Enjoy the beauty that surrounds us and fill your belly with good food.

Look closely...

Look closely…

My skin is sun-kissed and my heart is full….I LOVE days like this!  Makes all the bad ones melt away…

Sarah Pool

How did you spend your holiday weekend?? 

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