Thursday, September 27, 2018

Today is so special and exciting because it's time to reveal our second profile in the Women Who Inspire series! September's spotlight shines on a truly extraordinary woman.

I met Stephanie when I was three years old and we were neighbors living a house apart. Our families became fast friends -- the type of friends that make blood relation pretty irrelevant. We have endured the unimaginably difficult together and have celebrated life's greatest joys side by side. When I dreamed up the series, Stephanie immediately came to mind and I'm so honored she enthusiastically agreed to the interview. Read on, and I think you'll see why...

1. Let's start with the basics! Tell us a little bit about yourself -- where you call home, what you do for a living, and who makes up your family.

Hello! I live in Lancaster County, PA. My husband and I talk about moving back to New England at least once a day, but I really love being close to my mom and having her participate in my kids' childhoods- and I have made so many great friends and connections here over the years! I am in my 14th year working as a gallery publicist and curator for a local art gallery here in Lancaster. I also hold the coveted, exhausting, glorious position of being a mom. My husband Richy and I have been together since we were 19 years old, and we have grown quite the little family for ourselves. Ben is 10, Nathaniel is 9, Ethan is 7, and Ellie is 1 1/2. Our daughter Madeline would be turning 12 this winter, but died just before birth. 

2. In your current role, you're a publicist for an art studio. Can you share with us what your job entails, and what your career path has looked like thus far?

I have always been in love with art and writing, and am so lucky to have a career that involves both. As a curator, I get to seek out artists that move and inspire me. As a publicist, I get to interview the artists and write press releases and articles for them. I also get to coordinate arts events, like a large scale scavenger hunt through the west side of the arts district in our city. I thrive when I am able to be creative and work with the community, so that part is always fun. The very best part of the gig, though, is that for the past few years I have been able to do it entirely from home. It has allowed me to be a stay at home mom while keeping my foot in the door and my brain engaged in a career that I love. Some days (most days... ok, all of the days) I worry that I am only doing a mediocre job at both parenting and work because I am trying to do both simultaneously, but I think that I would still be questioning my abilities even if I had more concrete boundaries between the two. And I just try to remind myself that worrying about these things is simply proof that I care deeply- which probably means I am actually doing alright.

3. You work from home... and you're raising four kids. How do you manage it all? Does the elusive "balance" actually exist? 

Hahaha well, sometimes it feels more like surviving than managing, but we make it work. I honestly don't know if true balance exists. Balance makes it seem like you could hold everything at once in your hands without dropping anything, and for me at least, that just seems overwhelming. Juggling seems a more apt description. In addition to having three boys (in three and half years!), a newly mobile toddler, and a job, I also volunteer at the kids' elementary school, coach soccer, and run a nonprofit organization. It sounds like a lot (and it is!) and I don't mean to glorify busyness, because I do think having unstructured family time is so important, but each of those things I have piled on my plate bring me so much joy. The best advice I can offer for anyone else with a gaggle of children and a cluttered schedule is just to lower your expectations (sometimes the house is going to be messy, sometimes the kids are going to have a bad day, sometimes you are going to have a bad day- that's ok!), focus on the things that matter, say no to the things that just don't fit, and do what you need to do to get through the day. 

4. Your first child, Madeline, was stillborn one week after her due date. Incredibly, you have channeled your grief to honor your daughter, while helping other parents in similar situations, by founding the Sweet Pea Project. Can you tell us more about the Sweet Pea Project?

Sweet Pea Project offers comfort, support, and gentle guidance to families who have experienced the death of their baby during pregnancy or infancy. We donate blankets to hospitals in all 50 states, so that when a baby is stillborn or dies shortly after birth, parents are given a soft blanket to swaddle their child in during the short time they spend together. This blanket also serves as a keepsake after they say goodbye, because so often there are very few tangible items to remember the child by. In many cases, our blankets are the only things these babies have ever touched, which makes them so sacred for the parents. We also donate copies of my two books, and hold community events. We have held writing workshops, poetry readings, and art exhibits, but our two annual events are the ones that stand out. In the summer we hold our Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic, which offers guests a well deserved day of family fun. And, coming up right around the corner, on October 15 we hold our Remembrance Gathering. This is a quiet, pretty little event where guests can write little love notes to their children on candles, which we float down a daisy lined stream to the sound of a gently strummed guitar as each child's name is read out loud.

I felt early on that I never wanted Madeline to be the reason I was broken, or unable to live a full life. She was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to me, and I could not allow her legacy to be the destruction of her mother. Instead, I wanted to focus on helping others and building a community where families were able to honor the full truth of their families- embracing both their living children and the ones who had died. It has been inexplicably beautiful and humbling to watch as that delicate little dream came true over the last decade. It makes me feel like I am still mothering her- mothering her memory- in an important way.

5. You are the author of two books: Still. (2010) and to linger on hot coals (2014). What inspired you to create these books, and who do you hope reads them? 

I wish nobody ever had to read them. But unfortunately, one out of every four women will experience the death of a baby during pregnancy. Those bereaved mothers and the fathers who need to know that they are not alone in this, their families and friends who seek a better understanding of what their loved one is experiencing, and the medical professionals who need an inside look at what their patients go through outside of the physical components that they are tending to- these are the people that I hope find their way to my books. Especially to linger on hot coals, because there are so many voices contained in that collection. My hope is that one of those voices speaks directly to the broken heart of whoever is flipping though the pages, and that somehow, in some small way, it helps make the world slightly less heavy for that one moment in time.

6. What would you tell other women who feel compelled to create something -- whether it be a book, a piece of art, a nonprofit, or something else -- but don't know where to start? 

The best advice I can give is to just do it. Sit down and create it, or stand up and fight for it, make it happen. If you sit too long with the details and to do lists, you can get overwhelmed and anxious. Just run at it full steam ahead while the fire is still burning, and the rest will fall into place along the way. And ASK FOR HELP. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. None of the things that I have done would have been possible without the strong support I received from people who love me. My husband has always been great with just going along with my ideas, probably because he knows I cannot be stopped anyway. And my friend Beth, who is my counterpart in all things Sweet Pea Project, is wonderful at saying yes to even my most feverish ideas, and then sitting down to figure out what needs to be done to make them actually happen. 

7. You are no stranger to hardship or loss. You were diagnosed with a congenital heart defect as a small child that continues to affect your life each day and for which you have undergone multiple serious operations, and your father passed away when you were in your early twenties. How have you faced the challenges and times of heartbreak that have come your way? Where do you find your inner strength?

I allow myself to experience it all with complete honesty. I feel like, in our culture especially, people are so quick to want to help you heal, to put the sadness behind you and move on. I understand that the desire for that grows from love- nobody wants to see someone that they love struggling in agony and despair- but sometimes you just need to sit with that sadness, acknowledge it, experience it, allow it to be. If you just push it down or ignore it, true healing is never going to be attainable. And when I speak of healing, I don't mean a magical type of healing where you end up feeling "all better" at last. I mean the real kind of healing, where you have to relearn how to walk and the scars remain etched into your skin forever, and sometimes it aches a lot when it rains, but you have grown accustomed to it, and you have reinvested in the world, and you feel lucky to be here, living this life with contentment and gratitude.

8. You have also experienced much joy -- the greatest of all being motherhood. What's your favorite thing about being a mom? 

I don't know that I could nail that down to just one thing- or even just one paragraph. As exhausting as parenting is, there really is nothing in the world that could have fulfilled me more. I have loved every stage so far. There is nothing better than holding a brand new person who you grew from scratch inside your body. And there is nothing better than hearing that little person start putting silly strings of words and actions together. Last week my 1 year old took off her shorts, handed them to me, and said, "I don't want to pants." I love it. There is nothing better than adventuring with your kids as they get older. My 9 and 7 year olds and I went zip lining and did a high ropes obstacle course together last week. It was fun and challenging and such a cool thing to do together. And there is nothing better than sitting with my incredible old soul 10 year old and having deep discussions about everything under the sun. His brain and compassion and ability to understand the world amaze me. I could go on and on about everything I love and appreciate about journeying through life with these people. I am so very lucky.

9. You are an activist. Tell us which issues you are most passionate about and what you do to work toward change. Are the kids involved? And if so, how?

I realize how lucky we are, and that we did not earn it. And I think democracy only works when the people get involved. There have unfortunately been a plethora of things to stand up against lately, and I have brought my children along for all of them. I think it is part of my job as their mother to not shield them from the truth, but also not scare them, so we have lots of long talks about everything and I let them ask questions. Truthfully, though, I think it comes a lot easier to children than it does to adults. They don't get bogged down in the politics behind things, they can clearly see what is the right thing to do without worrying about the red-tape involved. They have a lot less questions than you might think. And they make signs that are profound in their simplicity, and prove that they just get it. The last protest we went to was for family separation. It was insanely hot that day, and my husband was out of state for the weekend, but I couldn't not go. I packed up the kids and our signs and we went out there to sweat together, because if those were my children being ripped from my arms, I want to believe that others would take to the streets for us. And I think it is important for my kids to see that, the crowds of people standing together as a community, standing up for what they believe is right and good and necessary. It shows them that even when things are happening that seem terrible, there are always good people willing to stand up and speak out. It gives me hope.

10. What would an ideal day look like for you, from start to finish?

A day spent traveling and adventuring with my family is always my favorite kind of day. We actually had a pretty ideal day just the other Saturday. We had breakfast and then drove out of state to go hiking. We hiked for a couple hours and climbed to the top of a waterfall. Nobody fell in, so that was a little miracle right there. Afterward we went to a brewery on a farm. They had a food truck and a bunch of goats and those pretty dangling lightbulb lights and a fire pit and tons of space for the kids to run around. We were able to be entertained and relaxed at once- which I would say is probably as good as it gets when you have four children. The kids read in the car the whole way home (I am so lucky to have kids who are such great travelers because we do a lot of long trips in the car) and when we got home it was late and raining, so the kids all went to bed and Richy and I ordered in Chinese food and played Mariokart, our classic stay in date night.

Feeling inspired and a bit in awe? Me too! Thank you, Steph, for so openly sharing yourself with us -- I know every one of us is better for it. If you'd like to learn more about Stephanie and the Sweet Pea Project, please visit Click here to check out Stephanie's book Still. and here for to linger on hot coals. AND if you're within driving distance to Lititz, PA and would like to register to attend (free!) the Sweet Pea Project's annual Remembrance Gathering on October 15th, click here to register.

On Blogging (Honest Thoughts One Year In)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Deep thoughts on a Monday... why not?

Instead of the usual weekend recap (short story: it was relaxed and a little rainy), I thought I'd open up to you with some candid thoughts about this whole blogging thing. There are a couple of reasons I feel compelled to share:

1. To address the "what made you start blogging?" question. I am sometimes asked it, and I have asked it of myself, too.

2. I need to work these thoughts and reflections and hopes and visions out by writing them out, quite honestly. It's how I've always worked through things, so I figured instead of journaling I'd share them openly in this space. Maybe it will prompt some feedback on the whole process, which I'd love!

So, to start at the beginning, anyone who knows me knows I've always loved writing. It's how I communicate best, it's therapeutic for me, it's even often how I think. I also love sharing with others in the effort to make a genuine connection. To me, connecting with other people and finding out all of the similarities (and/or embracing the differences) we have is so important. 

I began blogging eight years ago, but it never stuck. Sometimes I wonder, if I had kept going with it, if it would have been beneficial to get my foot in the door early on. Back then, blogs weren't nearly as much of a "thing" as they are today. Believe it or not, most of the blogs I follow along with and read are blogs that I discovered all those years ago. If I had kept some momentum going, would I have stood apart from the millions of blogs there are out there now? The romantic answer would be yes, but I don't think that's true. The plain truth is, I didn't have anything that truly inspired me to blog back then.

Fast forward several years and I'm rocking my second baby in the middle of the night, night after night, alone with my sleep-deprived thoughts. I had long felt like there was this part of me -- the creative part, the part that yearns to write, share, and connect -- that was begging to be fulfilled. But how? And when? I thought to myself, yawning. Each night I pondered it and allowed myself to dream a little, the answer settled into my bones. I needed to write again. I needed to start a blog.

My vision when I started The Lucky Lifestyle just over a year ago, and it remains today, is that it's a destination where people (I picture most of my readers as women, but hey, men are welcome too!) click over to feel encouraged, inspired, comforted, and to laugh a little. I want to talk about all of the seemingly mundane parts of life that are really the best parts. I want to share things I love (style and fun finds) while also being able to talk about postpartum and juggling all the things and the delicious spaghetti sauce recipe I stumbled upon. 

I don't want to simply recap my days or use this space as a journal. First, because as much as I know people love a "glimpse into the life" of others (I do!), most of my days are pretty standard mom-of-young-kids days and it just doesn't seem like very inspired content. But if I can take the lessons learned along the way, the highlights (or lowlights - just as important) of those days and share them with others in a way that makes us feel a little less alone in the world, that's where the sweet spot of sharing is.

What's sharing without... people to share with? I am thrilled (like, beyond belief thrilled) that more than just a couple of people decide that this space is worth their time to visit. I know my readers range from those who know me personally and support me to those who just happened to come across my page and find it resonate with them in some way. I can't tell you how much each and every one of you (yes, YOU!) means to me.

Of course, I want The Lucky Lifestyle to keep growing. I worry that I won't be able to do this because my focus isn't on social media and getting "followers." It never was. I have a personal IG account that I post to frequently (@jenpadrontucker), but because I share a lot of photos of my kids (and other stuff, but mostly my kids) I keep it a private account and personally approve each and every request. I know, what a way to grow, huh? But my kids come before absolutely everything else, and my personal gut feeling tells me I'm doing the right thing (...for me! I know everyone has a different view on this and I respect them all. It is truly a personal decision.). I could make a public IG account just for the blog, but what would I post? I feel like it wouldn't be genuine because the things I want to share are the things I'm already sharing over at @jenpadrontucker.

One of the reasons I chose the word "Lifestyle" for this space is because I want it always to reflect just that: a lifestyle, not a styled life. There are endless beautiful pictures to gaze upon out there -- trust me, I like to look at them, too. But they're not real, gritty, genuine life, you know? Same thing with the word "influencer." It feels like that should be my goal; but the truth is, I don't want to influence anyone. I want to encourage (defined as: to give support, confidence, or hope to someone -- how perfect is that?). Is "encourager" a word? I think I want to make it one.

So, who knows. Who knows where this dream will lead? I hope it will continue to evolve in the ways that feel right, that the people who are meant to find it will find it, and I hope I continue to love it along the way. Because I really do love it. And that counts for more than a little something. ;)

If you made it this far, we are now best friends and you are my favorite. Thanks for reading a girl's thoughts spilled out on a screen. And won't you share what you'd like to see post-wise? What gets you excited to read?

Happy Monday!

Five on Friday: Apple Picking, Sales, Announcements & More

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hey, Friday, you beautiful thing you! 

What are your weekend plans? The girls have their last swim class tomorrow and there's a fall fest at the park down the street from us we might check out, but other than that our Saturday is gloriously free. On Sunday I'm going to meet one of my bestest girlfriends for lunch -- I'm so excited to leisurely eat, chat, and catch up. 

Let's jump into Five on Friday & some Friday Favorites!

1. Apple Picking. Earlier this week we crossed one of the items off our fall bucket list and took the girls apple picking. It's something we love doing every year, and this year it was especially fun because Hadley could run alongside her sister and really enjoy it. Now we have a couple of bags of apples we need to put to good use!

2. Sale Alert! The only bras I wear (I talked about them before -- who knew I talked about bras so much?) are on sale for HALF PRICE (the best sale I've seen!) on Zulily. This is the one I wear and love. There are always a ton of sales going on, but I like to share the BEST ones on things I can personally vouch for. If you're in the market for a new bra (looking at you, person who has had the same bra since college)... treat yourself!

3. Coming Soon: September's Women Who Inspire Profile! I'm thrilled to announce that NEXT WEEK our second Women Who Inspire profile will go live! I'm so excited to introduce you all to another incredibly strong, interesting, and inspirational woman. Keep a lookout next week for another announcement on the specific day the Q&A will be posted.

4. Podcast Recommendations. I am several years late to the podcast game, but I finally downloaded the app and am planning on listening to one at a time while on the treadmill. I've already downloaded a few on blogging, PR, and Oprah's Super Soul conversations. What should I add to the list? Please send your recommendations and favorite podcasts my way!

5. True words. You don't have to be one thing, or one way. You don't have to fit into a box. You are strongest when you acknowledge and embrace all of your facets. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

An Ode to Friendship

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

You know what is a really precious gift?


Think about it.

Life, hopefully, is long. We go through so much: from being kids out on the playground, to teenagers finding our own way and ourselves in the process, to young adults building a life piece by piece, much like we built towering buildings out of blocks on that playground so many years before. We, hopefully, find someone we love and who loves us back, but before that and sometimes even after, heartbreak comes. Some of us start a family and try our best to navigate the journey of raising small humans to be good big humans. We work, we succeed, we fail, we try again. We lose people we love. All the while, in between, we simply live life and, hopefully, enjoy the ride.

But what is the ride without someone next to you?

That's where friendship comes in.

There are the friends we make when we're so small that we grow up not knowing the difference between them and our family. We have been there for each other through it ALL: carefree childhood, sickness, losing a parent, getting ready for school dances, boy trouble, the awkward years (you know the ones I'm talking about). These friendships are held so dear because they are rooted in the very fabric of who we are, where we came from, and what we're about. These friends know everything about us, and love us anyway. These are the friends we can go months without talking to, and pick up right where we left off. 

Friendships formed in college and our young adult years are special because -- let's be honest -- there are some interesting (read: very fun and probably a little dangerous) memories made during this time, and those we make them with enter our lives at a pivotal time. There is so much transition during these years: living away from home, loneliness, independence, often a new city or state. The friends we connect with during these years are those we find home with when everything else seems unfamiliar. These are the friends who, decades later, we'll say "remember when..." and instantly be transported to a younger and probably slightly reckless version of ourselves who we have likely long since buried. And we'll laugh together.

It's likely we'll come away with strong friendships from places we've worked. We met deadlines together, stressed alongside each other, cheered each other on, and cried tears of selfish sadness, but also pride, when it was time for one of us to move on. Work friendships are so unique because we spend most of our lives at work, don't we? No wonder we so often come away with friendships that last long after a job ends. Our coworkers turned friends usually end up knowing most details of our life -- from what our typical lunch order is to who we're dating.

And then there are mom friends. These are the friends we make because of our kids, but whose companionship, constant texts ("Is this normal?" "My kid just had their 12th tantrum of the morning" "When is that due again?" "Haaaalp"), support, encouragement, and understanding become our lifeline during the precious, but tough, years we're raising our children. 

A lot of people will come into our lives, and a lot of people will go. But I'm a firm believer that once in a while, there will be those that step in and we immediately know them. They're meant to be in our lives. They enrich it, they make us laugh, they support us. They're just there. I have a wonderful family who I adore spending time with, but let me tell you... I don't know what I would do without my friendships. They are deep and true and they make me better, and I am so grateful for them. 

My hope for you is that no matter where you are along this twisting and turning ride, when you recognize someone as a true friend -- someone worth sitting next to and hanging onto -- you do just that

The Boardwalk + This Week's Menu

Monday, September 17, 2018

We spent yesterday afternoon at the boardwalk. I did what any sane adult human would do and enforced a mandatory kitchen dance party before we left to "Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters. My little girlfriends have moves, let me tell ya!

We had no idea that there was an air show scheduled, and we could've done without the announcers voice booming over the boardwalk speakers for two hours -- however, we have never been to an air show and it was pretty cool to see. First order of business was, of course, to order armfuls of terrible-for-you food including but not limited to crab fries, cotton candy, gelato, and diet coke. We walked up and down the boardwalk with my brother and his family, who we met there, and then ducked into the amusement park area. We rode on a few rides, and I was so proud of C, because she bravely hopped on the giant pirate ship ride with me (picture evidence below!). H's favorite was definitely the carousel, and my favorite was (and is always) the ferris wheel. I'm all about perspective, both figuratively and literally. ;) There's nothing quite like taking in the Atlantic Ocean from high up in the sky with your favorite people. 

We let the kids bury their little feet in the sand for a few minutes, but we weren't prepared for a beach day so we mostly stuck to the boardwalk. It was, honestly, the perfect official end to summer. Even though we've had a season chock-full of summer fun, it just didn't feel complete until yesterday. 

What did you do this weekend? I hope it treated you well!

On to this week's menu:

Monday - Breakfast for dinner (eggs, tater tots and Morningstar "sausage")

Tuesday - Chicken patty sandwiches with rosemary fries

Wednesday - Tacos with rice and corn

Thursday - Pasta with sausage, spinach, and tomatoes (thanks, Ashley, for the recipe!)

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Out

Friday Favorites: Shades of Grey

Friday, September 14, 2018

Everyone's favorite day of the week is here at last. 

What are your weekend plans? Assuming the girls continue to feel well (they each caught a little cold midweek but are doing well now), we have swim lessons tomorrow and a birthday party and Sunday we're hoping to head to the beach/boardwalk for one last summer hurrah. :) I'm also keeping the Carolinas in my thoughts as they brace against Hurricane Florence. Praying for the safety of everyone (including my family in both NC and SC) and their homes and businesses.

Today I'm sharing a few favorite finds for fall in one of my favorite shades: grey. Grey miiight be my favorite neutral -- I love that it can be soft and classic, but also edgy. It looks great paired with black, but pops when paired with gold (think a grey sweater with gold jewelry -- all the heart eyes!). Do you like grey too?

Sweater ($23!) // Dress (Would be cute with a blazer!) // Mules (Those studs)

Skinny Jeans (90s vibe) // Booties (Check out where they're from!) // Sweatshirt (Love it)

Have a great weekend! xo

Remembering + Belated Weekend Recap + This Week's Menu

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I had a few questions about these sweatshirts (I die) from my Instagram post -- they're from Old Navy and the coziest things ever. C is in a girl's Small and H is in a girl's XS (eek!). I am in girl momma heaven.

I guess I'm pretending this weekend was a long one, as well! I meant to post yesterday but we had a pretty busy day of play dates, some work, and C's first day of lacrosse (only a few tears!). ;) How was your weekend? Hope your week is off to a great start.

Saturday we had swim lessons and mostly played inside since the weather wasn't nice. In the evening I met my girlfriend (hi, Sarah!) locally for dinner and a movie! Such a treat. We saw the movie Searching, which I thought was pretty good. Kiiiind of slow, but the end made up for it. Have you seen it?

Sunday we hit the road at nap time to drive to my cousin's house in North Jersey. They were having a 30th birthday/housewarming celebration -- lots of fun! Again, the weather was gross, but it didn't matter since we spent most of the day inside hanging with family.

Yesterday was the 25 year anniversary of losing my dad. It's hard to believe, and even harder to put into words. I have grown up almost entirely without a father, but thanks to my mom and our loved ones keeping his memory so very much alive and to the personal memories I do have, I have always felt his presence. He was handsome, smart, fun, loving, caring, hardworking, loved to play guitar and tennis, was fascinated by the latest technology and cars. I took some time yesterday to revel in his memory and even talked to C about him a bit, and it felt good.

Speaking of remembering, of course, today is the 17th anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Again, the number of years that have passed is difficult to fathom. I think we all remember exactly where we were when we found out what was happening. I was in 9th grade -- first some whisperings in math class, and then we watched TV live in my English class. My teacher cried. We were dismissed from school early. I remember watching President Bush address our country that night at my next door neighbor's house. Even at 14, the gravity of what had happened was evident. I'm remembering all who were affected, and especially those who lost their lives and lost loved ones.


A day late, but here's our menu for the week:

Monday - Kielbasa, mac & cheese, broccoli

Tuesday - Chicken stir-fry with Asian veggie blend & rice

Wednesday - Crockpot cheesesteaks with fries

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Pesto raviolis with peas

Saturday - Out

PS - On the topic of food, I tried this tomato cream sauce recipe last week and it was everything I dreamed (plus a hit with the kids). Let me know if you try it!

Five on Friday: First Day of School Edition

Friday, September 7, 2018

This was the strangest week, wasn't it? I mean, I'm not complaining. Longer weekends and less workweek is always a win -- but it sure did throw me off thinking every day was the one before. ;) If you have kids, did they go back to school this week? C had her first day yesterday and she was SO excited, which made ME excited and happy. Not so thrilled was her partner in crime, miss H. As soon as we dropped C off, H looked at the empty carseat beside her and started crying "Miss sissy! Miss sissy!" When we picked her up, she couldn't run over to where C was sitting fast enough. Those two, I tell ya.

Because of all the above, it's been quiet over here this week. Sorry about that! Next week, we'll get back on track. For now, let's jump into Five on Friday:

1. Back to school. C is in class this year with her two besties and already played with a new friend yesterday. She couldn't wait to tell me about the treasure hunt they did, or the fact that she saw her old teachers on the playground, or (grumpily) that she got sand in her shoes. She filled me in on all the details but when we asked her for another recap at dinner, I guess it was just a little too much because she replied "Mom, I just kind of want to eat my dinner." Four going on fourteen.

2. New book + any recommendations? I'm more than halfway through The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena and so far it's really good. I have to stop myself from reading at night so I can actually, you know, sleep - ha! So now I need recommendations for books to read after this one. I usually love self-help/inspirational titles and fascinating biographies or autobiographies, plus mysteries/thrillers. I tried skimming the ever-popular Girl, Wash Your Face and You are a Badass at the bookstore the other night, but I just couldn't get into either. So maybe I'm not in much of a self-help mood at the moment. Send me your favorite books!

3. Delicious banana bread. C helped me (and by helped me, I mean she did everything but crack the egg and handle the oven) make this delicious banana bread on Wednesday and I think we only have one slice left. If you're looking for a yummy treat that doesn't require a ton of time or ingredients, you have to try this!

4. Fall bucket list, if you missed it. If you missed my post on Tuesday, I shared our Fall Bucket List! What's on yours?

5. Enjoy your weekend! "There is beauty and truth even in the seemingly mundane." 

Fall Bucket List | 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Happy Tuesday! 

This week is destined to be a good one, because it's nice and short. Due to the long weekend, I'm going to skip the usual recap and weekly menu (but let me know if you need any ideas, because I do have our super-simple menu ready to go). 

Instead, let's kick off the unofficial beginning of fall with a Fall Bucket List! Click and save the one below, pin it, or just use it for inspiration to make your own. I can't wait to spend a lot of time outdoors with the girls (it's the simple things like jumping in big piles of leaves, right?), take them to the 100th anniversary of my hometown's annual street fair, go on apple and pumpkin picking hayrides, make treats, and carve spooky lanterns. What's on your must-do list this season of all-things-pumpkin-spice? 

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