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Friday, September 30, 2016

tales from the campaign trail

since tuesday when i announced that leko decided to run for president, we have received so much positive feedback, it has been crazy.  everyone is in full support of our furry five year old running the country.  so far we have 14 votes (9 human and 5 feline).  i have to say, i'm a very proud mama!

ryan's aunt sandy and uncle ed even printed out leko's campaign sign, laminated it, and posted it in their front yard!!!  i just about fell off my chair when i opened the email from them with this picture that they took of the sign in their front yard.  literally, i was laughing so hard i started crying.  by far this was the best thing i saw all week . . .

we told leko all about it when we got home that night.  his response you ask?  better to show you than to tell you . . .

he told me that life on the campaign trail is hard and he needs all of the beauty sleep he can get so that he looks gorgeous on tv.  he started by curling up on ryan's lap and passing out for a long slumber as ryan was sitting on the couch watching tv.  i mean, just look at that face.  that right there is the face of the next president of this country.  currently, he is deciding on which dollar bill his face would look best.  he's thinking that the 1 million dollar bill would be best suited for him.

oh, this kitten sure keeps us laughing!  he has recruited sandy and ed's cat "miss kitty" to help run his campaign.  he has also recruited 4 local kitties who live in our neighborhood to help spread the word as well.  thank goodness it's friday, it sure has been an exhausting week!

have a fabulous weekend (and vote for leko)!
love, laurie

Thursday, September 29, 2016

national coffee day

if you see folks buzzing around today on caffeine highs, it's because today is national coffee day.  to celebrate, krispy kreme is offering a free 12 oz. coffee and a free glazed doughnut to anyone who walks through their doors!  wawa is also getting in on the action by offering a free coffee of any size.  dunkin donuts is cutting the price of a medium coffee to 66 cents today (to celebrate their 66th anniversary), sheetz is offering free coffee to members who have a sheetz rewards card, and mcdonald's is offering free coffee with a coupon.

you can celebrate national coffee day at home too.  here are some of our favorite recipes that incorporate coffee . . .
baked mocha cake doughnuts with coffee cream cheese glaze
coffee pancakes
cinnamon swirl pancakes with coffee maple syrup
mocha cookies
cappuccino ice cream pie
tiramisu smoothie
mocha peanut butter banana smoothie
- our favorite chocolate cake recipe which incorporates hot coffee into the batter

have a delicous day!
love, laurie

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

dip healthy this fall with chobani meze dips

fall is here, and that means it's prime time for after-school treats, on-the-go snacks, football tailgates, and more.  for me, the dance season has started back up again, and i'm always looking for snacks between dance classes, the gym, yoga, errands, work, etc.

when you're reaching for snacks or looking for something to put out for guests, it's easy to fall into a rut with the same old "chips and dip" plate.  in our house we're all about finding healthy substitutions, so we're teaming up with chobani today to offer some simple ways to dip healthier when it comes to snack time and party time this fall.

we were thrilled when chobani introduced their savory meze dips this summer.  we just love that they feature real veggies, herbs, and spices blended with creamy chobani greek yogurt.  what's more is that they are made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients which makes us feel good about enjoying them!

chobani's savory meze dips come in four flavors (roasted red pepper, three pepper salsa, chili lime, and smoked onion & parmesan) and we've tried all of them.  ryan and i agree that the smoked onion & parmesan is our favorite.

go ahead and change up the classic "chips and dip" plate and dip healthy this fall.  substitute a meze dip for a traditional dip, and get dipping with some healthy alternatives to chips, pretzels, and crackers.  here are some ideas to get you started . . .

happy dipping!
love, laurie

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

leko for president

last night we sat down to watch dancing with the stars which is one of our favorite shows (and leko's favorite show too).  we were upset to hear that dwts was cut an hour short last night because of the presidential debate.

i don't get involved in politics at all, and i certainly don't watch things like presidential debates.  in fact i'm the least political person i know, mainly because i think it is all a bunch of nonsense.  i had no intention of watching the debate, but ryan was interested for the "entertainment value" so we left it on after dwts ended.  i have to say that after watching most of that craziness, i am convinced our country is doomed.  i can't believe that there are over 324 million people in the united states and we've narrowed it down to these 2 people.  it's just sad.

after watching last night, we decided that leko is running for president.  his platform is simple: "tuna fish for all!"  sounds a lot better than the crap i heard last night.  he has my vote!

love, laurie

Monday, September 26, 2016

update your fall style with firmoo

the weather was glorious this weekend!  it was the first official weekend of fall, and autumn was certainly in the air.  now that it's officially fall, a great way to update your style this season is with a new pair of glasses!

i'm a huge fan of firmoo's glasses and sunglasses.  one of the things that i love best about their glasses is that they are so light weight and comfortable.  i have several pairs and it's fun to switch them out depending on my mood/style.

this week you can update your look for fall with a new pair of glasses.  firmoo is offering 100% off any frames from this page now through september 28th with the code "flashfree" (shipping and handling fees are extra).

happy fall!
love, laurie  

Friday, September 23, 2016

have a wonderful weekend!

it's friday, and thank goodness for that.  this week left my head spinning and i'm grateful that the weekend will be here in just a few hours.  here are a couple of pumpkin pictures that i snapped at roba's last weekend.  yesterday was the first official day of fall, and it sure does seem like fall now!

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

farm animals at ritter's cider mill

after we left roba's farm on sunday, we made a stop at ritter's cider mill to pick up some apple cider before heading home.  they had a few farm animals, including a new young cow, so we paid them a visit while we were there!  i always get such a kick out of the alpacas (especially that brown one) because they have such great personalities!

love, laurie

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

animals at roba family farms

after we picked apples on sunday afternoon, we headed over to roba family farms.  the weather held out for us so that we could walk around and see all of the animals.  here are a few pictures from the farm . . .
love, laurie

. . .

previous trips to roba's: 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015

Monday, September 19, 2016

apple picking!

we absolutely love going apple picking every fall.  it's become a tradition now and we couldn't wait to go again this year.  for the last few weeks, we had been planning to go this weekend.  unfortunately, we found out that ryan had to work a show that came into town so he couldn't join us, but my mom, my dad, and i still went.

the weather forecast didn't look so great for sunday, so we went prepared with umbrellas, rain ponchos, and i even wore my rain galoshes.  it had rained in the morning a little bit, but the rain stopped in the afternoon, so we headed up to the apple orchard after lunch.  it was really overcast and humid, but we lucked out because it didn't rain at all while we were there.

we picked a bunch of apples.  i actually picked 39 just in my bag alone (and that isn't counting the 2 apples i ate while i was there)!  we had a great time riding the wagon to the orchard, walking up and down the rows of apple trees, and picking/tasting all of the varieties of apples.  now i have to figure out what to make with all of these apples!

love, laurie

. . .

previous apple picking adventures: 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015

Friday, September 16, 2016

fun links

today it's cool outside and it actually feels like fall.  the weather was all over the place this week, ranging from mid-90s during the day to 50s in the evenings.  it was crazy.  the forecast for this weekend doesn't necessarily look stellar, but i'm glad it's the weekend all the same.

since it's friday, here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently . . .

1. neat historical photos you didn't see in history class

2. i love this bicycle pillow

3. a crazy camper

4. i want this for dinner

5. an ingredient list of the human body

6. i'm usually not a fan of the word "princess" but i do like this shirt

7. seven moves that shed fat fast

8. you had me at "mango raspberry"

9. the 23rd season of DWTS is underway, and i'm routing for laurie

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, September 15, 2016

tuscan kale and garbanzo beans (vegan)

our weeknights are so hectic and crazy, so i really appreciate when we have something ready to go in the refrigerator for dinner that can just be reheated as we run from one event to another.  i like to do what i can on the weekends to prep for the week in order to make our week nights easier.

over the weekend, ryan was flipping through wegman's menu magazine and found this tuscan kale and garbanzo bean recipe.  it sounded great, so i made a big pot of it on sunday and it has been feeding us all week long.  it's a healthy recipe, packed with lots of veggies.  it's both delicious and filling, and it's vegan too!

tuscan kale and garbanzo beans
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 40 minutes
yields: 10 servings
adapted from wegman's menu magazine

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 large carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 oz.) cans low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28 oz.) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
3 dried bay leaves
1 (24 oz.) jar tomato sauce
3 1/2 cups water
16 oz. kale, cleaned and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

in a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  add the diced onion, carrots, and celery.  saute until tender (about 5-6 minutes).  add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.  add beans, diced tomatoes, spices, and bay leaves.  cook for 2-3 minutes.  add tomato sauce and water.  bring to a simmer on high, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.  discard bay leaves, add the kale, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  serve warm.

love, laurie

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

new pointe shoes for a new dance season

we paid a visit to the gaynor minden boutique in chelsea when we were in nyc on friday and i just love it there!  i was only ever there once before in november when i last bought pointe shoes.  i was due for a new pair for the start of the new dance season.

since we knew we were going to be in nyc on friday, i called the boutique to make an appointment for a fitting because i knew i wanted to change a few things about my shoes this season.  the timing was perfect because our dance classes just started back up.  the experience was great (they have the best customer service) and i even walked out of there with an unexpected discount too!  that made me a very happy dancer!

dance shoes don't stay pretty and clean for very long, so i couldn't resist taking a few pictures before they get all dirty this season . . .

. . . and just for fun, a side-by-side comparison of my old shoes after just one season.  they're not completely dead yet, so i can still get a little bit of use out of them, but i knew they wouldn't survive the whole season!

love, laurie