A Fall Road Trip

Fall is my favorite season. All my senses seam to go into sensory overload in a good way. The air smells different. The temperature is cooler.  Foods are suddenly heartier and flavored with pumpkin or apple and spice. And then there is the fall foliage hitting it’s peak in the mountains. When our daughter Allyson got accepted to Dartmouth, then decided to continue playing the sax in their scatter band, I envisioned my husband and I going up every fall for a football game and watching the band perform. As a band mom for four years of high school, I knew I would miss those days. Life always had other plans for us though. We always seemed to drive up too early in the season or the other seasons entirely. Fast forward to senior year we finally made plans to do it right this time.

We picked a date that worked for Al and our sister (who just happened to make the move from Boston to New Hampshire!) so she can meet up with us too. We patiently waited all summer for our little getaway. Finally the weekend came! With our mom in on the trip, the three of us hit the road on Friday morning.

The ride up was beautiful. Here in parts of PA, we still have a lot of green on our trees. NY and MA had the most vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves of the whole trip. 

VT and NH probably hit peak color last weekend but still didn’t disappoint. There is one area approx. thirty minutes south of White River Junction, VT heading north on I91. No matter what season it is, it always mesmerizes me. I posted it to my IG account. Go check it out when you are done reading!

It takes about six hours to arrive at our hotel in WRJ and we are minutes away from campus in Hanover, NH. We arrived just in time for an invite to meet up with Allyson at the football field to watch the band practice.

It was a full moon this weekend. The moon looked so big and beautiful! No matter how many times I tried to capture it, no picture did it justice. But I do like this one from Friday night a lot.

We stayed at the field for a little bit then decided to head to town where we met up with Al for a later dinner and drinks.

I call this picture Reflections. That’s our mom, my husband Dan and Al.

Saturday morning we got up early for breakfast then squeeze in a hike before the afternoon football game. Al wanted to take us to Gile Mountain to the fire tower to show us the spectacular views. 

The hike itself was about an hour. I wish we had more time to explore but we needed to get back so Al could meet up with the rest of the band.

That’s our sister in the gray jeans and unfortunately the only picture I have of her from the weekend ūüėĒ

I have video of the performances but they are long so I will spare you. But this screen shot of them marching off turned out ok.

The band has a tradition that if our team wins (and we did!), the band will parade through Hanover on then over to the campus library where they quietly march up to the Tower room, aka the quiet room, and play music while the quickly march through. Then they quietly exit the building. Being the stalkers that we are, we finally got to see that too… And of course I filmed it. 

After the game, we said our goodbyes as Al had a social engagement to attend and the rest of us were going back to our sister’s new place about an hour away, meet up with her boyfriend and get another late dinner. I hope to see the area in the daylight sometime. Unfortunately it was already dark when we arrived. Their house is cute and they have a great, private back yard with chance visits by bears and foxes. They are right on the edge of the White Mountains with prime hiking spots to visit sometime. Lucky for us, they are big hikers too.

One new place in Hanover that I have to mention since I fell in love with the vibe here was The Skinny Pancake. It’s a small food shed & crepery chain out of Vermont. All the food is local and they have a good craft beer selection as well. We stopped in for a drink on Friday night and we loved the place so much we went back for breakfast. The decore is (or looks like anyway because I am not sure) reclaimed barn wood with tin ceilings and simple light fixtures. And our bartender reminded me of a young Jennifer Tilly. When we went back for breakfast, I chose the Noah’s Ark which was 2 eggs, bacon and two crumpled sweet crepes. No stuffed crepes for this dairy challenged girl. But everyone else really enjoyed theirs! I had to top off my breakfast with a pumpkin spice latte with almond milk.

Delicious!! 

What a great way to start the day… A great breakfast and a hike. Or how about watching a football game with a colorful mountain view and ending with a family dinner? I have to say it was pretty perfect to me. It was very hard to leave this morning and come back to reality. My little corner of PA is picturesque too but nothing compares to that part of New England. It was time to make the six hour drive home, pick up the pups from the kennel and settle back in to our daily grind of life. The next time we go back up will most likely be in June for graduation. Where does the time go? I am happy that we took the time from work to make the trip happen. It’s one I will remember for a long time.

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My Happiness Project – April

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April has flown by! Work is starting to get busy again gearing up for summer which is craziness for us.  I had a few posts planned but time got away from me.  Life happens and I have enjoyed every second of it!

I have a baby announcement for this month!

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Jacob Patrick was born on April 16th to our step brother and wife. ¬†I have not met the little guy yet but when I do,¬†there will be pictures galore! This one was taken from my MIL’s IPad.

I¬†have owned my Mindful Yoga Wheel for a month now and am slowly learning ways to use it. ¬†One of my yoga challenges this month is all about using props ( Straps, blocks, wheels…). ¬†This month of poses has helped me refocus and go deeper into my practice. Sometimes I feel stuck after doing the same poses and don’t feel progression in them. Typically, I stop doing them for a while and try new things… then I lose all that work. ¬†This is where the wheel and other props comes in. It is helping me find new ways to do “old” postures.

Spring is finally here! ¬†I love how everything has that new, bright green look to it. My allergies are not liking the¬†pollen too much but it’s not a bother when I can look at the pretty trees in bloom!

 

These pictures were taken on Saturday.  Sunday turned out to be a bright and sunny day.  We managed to get out of the house somewhat early so we started off with a walk by the lake.

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By 11:00AM the park was packed with runners, families on bikes, race teams and people in boats fishing. There was even a local photographer set up with props taking Mother’s Day photos. The little kids all dressed up in their fancy dresses and bow ties were adorable! ¬†It certainly was a good day for people watching.

One last thing I am happy about are my new sunglasses!  This is my first pair of prescription sunnies.  I have always had clip-ons or transition lenses but wanted a larger pair that actually blocks the sun.  These are working out better then I ever imagined!  I wish I had done this years ago.

So tell me….

What are you doing to enjoy this amazing spring weather? I know all you runners are in your glory! Am I right?

The forest is calling me home

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I love being outside in nature. It calms me to the core. This past weekend I was at the beach for my annual sister’s weekend. ¬†It was cold and rainy for two of the three days. The third day was just cold and windy. ¬†NOT the beach weather we were hoping for. ¬†It was a little disappointing but I was happy just walking on the boardwalk or sitting outside on the deck, bundled up under a blanket while¬†reading or taking a nap. I don’t know what it is about the past few days. Maybe it’s been the cooler temperatures ( 60-80*F ). Maybe it’s the lack of outside exercise since I have not ran in over a month. ¬†Maybe it’s the pull of the moon. ¬†Who knows! All I know is I can hear the forest calling my name. ¬†I can feel the pull of it like electric current pulsing through me. I need to be in the woods hiking for hours. Sadly, I am an adult and have a job to do or I would be there right now. ¬†If I do not have any plans come Saturday, I will suggest to my husband that we drive to one of our favorite hiking spots and get lost in the woods for several¬†hours. ¬† It will not be a hard sell. ¬†He loves it just as much as I do.

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Until then, you can find me outside sitting on my front porch after work or outback grilling up dinner. It’s only Tuesday. ¬†This is going to be a long week!

I also have a sudden urge to chop my hair off to my¬†shoulders. I will try to wait a few days on that just in case it’s a whim… LOL

Have a great week my friends!  Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

Friday’s 5 – These are a few of my favorite Fall things

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Happy first Friday of Fall! It’s been a rough week for me with not having any energy. ¬†I am sure my food choices have has something to do with it. ¬†Add in, doctor and car appointments, not sleeping well, no energy to exercise, rain… that adds to the mood of the week. ¬†So, I thought I would sit down and write about positive things that I am looking forward to over the next few months. ¬†Here we go… my latest Friday’s 5:

1. Meal¬†prep – I don’t do much prep over the summer months. We grill and meals are lite and simple. But when the weather starts to change, I like make a lot of soups, chili and stews. ¬†It’s time to dust off the favorite recipes and start making them again. ¬†Also on that list: ¬†roasted squash & baked sweet potatoes. ¬†These are two big staples of my breakfast and lunch for the next 6 months or so.

2. Crop Hunger Walk – The past three years, Dan and I have raised $1800 towards our local Crop Walk. ¬†This year we are¬†walking¬†it again! We are both on the committee to make this walk happen. Dan is helping with all the signage and I am taking on the treasurer seat for the first ¬†time! I am a little nervous about the new responsibility but excited to be apart of it all. ¬†This is our walk’s 30th year and I really hope we smash our record for donations making this the biggest year yet! In the past 29 years, our little community has raised over $640,000 and $154,000 of that has gone to our local food pantry, FISH. If you would like to help me with this goal, please click on the red words above to be directed to my personal donation page. Hunger is not a church problem. It is a world problem. 1 in 7 people go to bed hungry every night…. statistics show that most of them are women…. Moms actually. That saddens me. ¬†If you would like more information on how you can get involved in your community walk, Check out THIS website.

3. Fall hiking РThis is my favorite time of year.  There is nothing more breathtaking then to emerge from dense forest to a clearing blazing with yellows, orange and reds of the bushes and grass that surrounds you.  Add in a clear blue sky and sun shining overhead and I feel like I have found heaven.

4. Running – Fall weather is perfect… not to cold / not too hot. Need I say more?

5. Mums, pumpkins and corn stalks – OH MY! ¬†I love looking at how people decorate the front of their homes for fall. ¬†Every year I say I am going to do it too… Maybe this is the year.

What about you? Do you have any traditions or favorite activities you are looking forward to? Do you have any “to die for” recipes I need to try? ¬†If so, please share in the comments below! ¬†

Birthday Weekend Recap

Hello everyone! how was your weekend?  As some of you know, Friday was my 39th birthday! Since I remembered to take pictures this weekend, I thought I would throw down a quick recap of the weekend highlights.

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I started Friday with a vacation day from work and a run at the lake. I had decided the day before that I wanted to see how far I could go on this run. ¬†The trail around the lake has many rolling hills and it is a challenge but lately I have been enduring the hills and pushing past them without walking as much. Once I got to 4 miles, my legs were felling good but I was getting tired. ¬†However, I did not want to stop and decided on going 5 miles. At that mile marker, I figured I was so close to a 10K and I had no place to be so why not push further? ¬†I wanted to walk it so bad but managed to visualize other runner friend’s Instagram pictures for motivation and pushed through it. ¬†I still cannot run a full mile without walk breaks but I can feel my endurance building. I think the hills are helping. Overall, I was so happy after finishing! ¬†This was a goal I had set by fall and I already hit it. ¬†I finished up the run with yoga and some snacks by the water. The Runner’s high lasted well into the evening!

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Lunch at the historic Pineville Tavern. We have never been here before and plan on going back soon! Look at Dan’s wedge salad – It’s HUGE! ¬†I had the turkey burger and we split zucchini fries with Allyson ( she had pizza ). ¬†I have never had zucchini fries before but they tasted just like cheese fries minus all the grease.¬†They are known for their snapper soup. Dan had a cup and agreed that it was one of the best he has ever eaten. Also, they played 40’s/big band music which minded me of my dad which made the experience extra special somehow.

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Later that night we headed up to Bethlehem for Musikfest to see Weezer play.  What a great show!  They sounded just like on their albums.  It was a beautiful, cool night. Perfect for an outside show. The moon over the mountain was a bonus for the atmosphere.  I even got the two of them to agree to a quick selfie before we left.

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On Sunday, Dan and I took the new Subaru up to the mountains for a little hiking and off roading. We decided to try a new trial system – new to us anyway… The hike was frustrating with trails that were impassable, a lot of evidence of bear activity that made us nervous and I saw I dead porcupine too. ¬†This was the fist time ever seeing one. ¬†I didn’t even know PA had porcupines¬†but apparently we do! The dead rodent was the last sign that we need to get out of there! So we made it back to the car and took off for dirt roads before heading home. I am loving the new car! ¬†It is¬†a lot of fun to drive, especially on those mountain roads. To quote Richard Gere is Pretty Woman, ” It corners like it’s on rails.” LOL ¬†It is also very comfortable on long drives which are the norm for us. We have had fun joy riding over the past 11 days managing over 700 miles covered.

Overall it was a great weekend. I am ready to see what this year has in store for me. ¬†I hope to make this an epic year as I cruise out of my 30’s.

Have you seen any good summer concerts lately? Did you do any birthday projects leading into to at the start of a new decade? If so, please share your ideas!

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Weekend update: How we enjoyed the first warm spring days

Life has been really crazy the past few weeks. ¬†You know how it is when you have no time for anything and have nothing to show for your absence? ¬†That’s how I feel right now. ¬†I did make sure to slow down and enjoy the weekend! ¬†Last week I started working out again. ¬†The week started with a long yoga session on Monday. ¬†Then Tuesday was leg day and Wednesday I ran. ¬†I managed to get in a 2 mile run by the lake. I am sure it would have gone better if this run took place BEFORE leg day. It was not the smartest plan but at least I got out there and did it! My legs felt really heavy and I swear I was walking fasted then I ran (Or that’s how it felt anyway).

On Friday night, Dan and I tried a new place to eat called The Local.  I had heard about this place earlier in the day from one of those Groupon type sites.  Although I did not buy a coupon, I decided this is where I wanted to go that evening for dinner. Since we eat out at least 3 days a week, we get bored of the same old and are in need of new places to go.  This place did not disappoint! Located in an old train station, the place is small but they open the old platform for outside dining as well.  Here is a little bit of what they are about:

“The local believes in bringing farm fresh food to the plate‚Äôs of the Indian Valley area. We partner with as many as 12 local farms to source our produce, dairy, and proteins.Our mission is to show people how good local food can be. Our target customers are those who care about what they eat and are motivated like we are to keep money in the local economy as well as anybody just looking for a good meal.”¬†

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fresh, lite and tasty

We arrived early without a reservation and was seated right away.  Reservations are highly suggested because they really fill up fast! I did not realize this was a BYOB. So, that was a bummer. The tea and soft drinks are drinks are served in mason jars which I thought was charming considering the old time feel of the remnants of the train station still visible around the place.  The service was top notch.  Our server was very knowledgeable of the menu and they were very accommodating with my dairy allergy questions. See the picture above? That was my order off of the small plated menu. Both plates were excellent! We ended the meal by sharing a slice of salted caramel pie.  Holy cow that was amazing!  All deserts are either made in house or brought in locally as well.  Overall, this was a great dining experience and I highly recommend them to anyone. I can not wait to go back again. They have brunch as well so I look forward to an early morning trip out!

On Saturday I worked for a little bit in the morning. ¬†The upper 70’s weather was calling me outside so by 11:00AM I was eager to go hiking. Dan and I headed out to French Creek SP. I used to go here as a kid with my family. ¬†My dad would fish here sometimes. However, this was our first time hiking. There are 35 miles of trails and we took on 7 of them. ¬†It was our first hike of the year and we enjoyed every second of it! ¬†The weather was perfect, the trails were empty and the hike was fairly easy. I should not have chose that long of a hike to break in my new hiking shoes. ¬†Luckily, I thought ahead and packed band aids. I ended up with a sore¬†heal and took off my shoes as soon as I was back at the car. ¬†My toes were killing me but otherwise, no blisters. We ended the night catching up with an old friend that just moved back to town. ¬†It was good to see her but exhaustion started setting in and we were back home by 10:30PM.

first signs of spring

first signs of spring

Sunday was yard work. We finally got the back yard cleared of the tree limbs that we lost in the ice storm back in January. ¬†It took 1.5 hours of dragging the limbs to the back of the property and picking up sticks for the fire pile. ¬†Now it’s all done and I can start to focus on weeding the gardens. Yard work and especially weeding is a big stress reliever for me. I actually look forward to this part!

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That evening, we uncovered the grill and made shrimp and sweet potatoes. ¬†It felt so good to be grilling again! It also felt good to be sitting on the deck with a glass of wine in my hand and the evening sun on my face. ¬†That was short lived as we are in another cold front. ¬†But this too will pass! Oh yeah, one other thing I did was cut my hair. ¬†My pony tail was getting too long and I felt the need for instant change. ¬†So I grabbed the scissors, chopped off 4″ and I love it!

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I have not been sleeping well the past few nights and yesterday I was feeling very off my game. I ended up working only a half day. When I got home, I intended to take a short nap and woke up 4 hours later! I guess I needed it.  I did not feel run down any longer but my TMJ was in high gear. I had a headache and must have clenched my jaw in my sleep because I felt like a chipmunk.  Chewing was difficult so this squashed my plans for cooking meat for dinner.  I ended up with a nutbutter and jelly sandwich, the rest of the So Delicious ice cream and a smoothie later on in the evening. I did not get a workout in yesterday as planned so I will need to make up for it tonight. Today though I am feeling much better with only a little jaw discomfort.

I cannot believe Easter is next weekend already! I still have not found shoes that I like or a statement necklace to go with it. I am sure I can pull together something from my closet though.  I am sad that Allyson will not be home to have dinner with us this year.  However, I look forward to watching my niece and nephew have their egg hunt.

How was your weekend?  Did you try anything new?