My Morning Routine

Yesterday, my friend, Phyllis of Napkin Hoarder, shared a post about her morning routine, inspired by a recent article on Forbes.com about the morning routines of highly successful women. Phyllis wrote about her routine in order to show what the morning routines of regular (i.e., non-CEOs, non-Hollywood-types, etc.) look like. Her inspiration caught on, and my friend Danielle of Another Version of Mother shared her morning routine, too. I love this idea and their posts, so I am adding mine to the mix. Consider our morning routines yet another way the lives of women are vastly different. One routine, one approach to the morning is not better than another; we all ease into our days differently, though we all share a race against the clock.

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6:00 AM – My husband’s iPhone alarm goes off. He gets up and showers. Some mornings, if I go to sleep on time (say at 10 PM) the night before, I get up before him to write, read, or catch up on email. For the past few months, I’ve been stuck in a habit of going to bed too late, and consequently need every single minute of sleep. I’m a morning person, but if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m not good at all.

6:15 AM – I wake up, as my husband gets out of the shower and goes back and forth across our room to get dressed. I wake up via my alarm (which I let snooze at least once) or because I hear him moving around.

6:20-6:30 AM – I get in the shower to kick off my morning. Then, I get dressed.

6:30-7:00 AM – The kids wake up. They migrate into our bedroom, one at a time, climbing into our bed as we finish getting ready. They are each 100% ready to go when they come in, though sometimes, there’s a bit of snuggling. My husband leaves for work during this time, sometimes getting one of our early risers breakfast.

7:00 AM – The kids and I go into the kitchen. I’m dressed; they are still in pajamas. We all eat breakfast. The kids have cereal, milk, and vitamins. Sometimes, they have yogurt; sometimes, oatmeal. Their food choices go in phases. Lately, I have been eating a gluten-free English muffin with peanut butter and banana or egg and cheese. And tea—multiple cups of tea. The kids, R especially, typically ask for a second breakfast of fruit or more cereal. (That kid is in the midst of a crazy growth spurt.) While we eat, I empty the dishwasher, put snacks and lunches (packed the night before) in backpacks, make sure homework/library books/notes to teachers are in the backpacks, and place the packs by the front door.

7:30 AM (on a good day) – I cajole, threaten, or bribe the kids to get dressed. If I have been really organized, G’s clothes have been picked out and are hanging by day in her closet. But, that rarely happens, so it’s more likely that I am picking out an outfit for her that she will reject. I pick out another. She rejects that one. Exasperated, I give up and go into R’s room to select his clothes. He wears whatever I pick out—if I can get him to stop reading to pay attention to me. Eventually, after much frustration on my part, the kids will get dressed, brush their teeth and hair, and make their beds. (For R, this means placing his comforter on top of his stuffed animals. Lumpy, yes, but he’s trying.)

8:00 AM – “Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes.”

8:05 AM – “Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes.”

8:10-8:15 AM – We leave for school. Sometimes, we walk with neighborhood kids—it depends on the weather.

8:20-8:25 AM – We arrive at school. The kids hang out with their friends on the playground.

8:30 AM – The bell rings and school day begins. I try to say good-bye at the door, but the kids always want me to come inside. I walk them to their lockers, give hugs, and say good-byes. I say hello to their teachers, and sometimes, get a chance to catch up with G’s teacher.

8:45 AM – I arrive back home. I grab another cup of tea and head to the office.

9:45 AM – After a 15 mile commute, which takes about an hour (it could be worse!), I arrive at work.*

*Generally, three days a week, I go into the office, working a 10 AM-6 PM+ day. One day a week I work from home, which means no commute; I’m at my kitchen table, working, by 9 AM. And one day (the day the kids get out of school at 12:15 PM), I don’t (normally) work, so my morning routine includes (hopefully!) exercise after dropping the kids at school.

Everyone’s morning is different, right? The trick, for me, is to do as much as possible the night before. It’s been my saving grace since the kids were small.

What about you? What’s your morning routine?

Photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

A Room Update with Wayfair

Thanks to the folks at Wayfair for sponsoring this room update post!

When we moved in our home three years ago, we were in the midst of renovations. It was exciting to see the changes in our house—updates to bathrooms and the kitchen, new wallpaper and paint, new windows, and much more—but it left me with little time, energy, or money to decorate. So, I did what any resourceful homeowner would do: I reused almost everything from our previous house.

In some rooms, this worked great; it other rooms, it was just OK. I knew I wanted to make changes. Specifically, I wanted to update our den. The red pillows and accessories in that room worked in our old house, a 1930s colonial, where red had been an accent color throughout the main living space. Our current (and last, I like to say) house is a mid-century modern ranch with an open floor plan. Blue and turquoise have replaced the red in our main area, making our den look out of date and disconnected to the other rooms. Yet, like everything else on my crazy long to do list, updating my den was something I was going to “get to”—someday.

Enter the wizards at Wayfair!

[Read more…]

Delhi, India

Another in a series of posts about my trip to India last month…

On my last day in India, I spent my free hours exploring Delhi. Capital of this land of more than 1.2 billion people, Delhi is more than 570 square miles and was established in 736 AD, though some of its relics date the city back to circa 300 BC.

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Diwali flowers, Delhi, India

After having spent the day before with a tour guide, who, while instructive, was a bit exhausting, I elected to lead my own explorations. It’s possible to safely get about Delhi via taxi, subway, and auto rickshaw, but I splurged and hired a driver from my hotel for my journeys. The driver, a knowledgeable man from the Punjab region named Inder Pal, cost about $68 plus tip for four-and-a-half hours. It was money well-spent, as Inder Pal was a great driver, whizzing me around with efficiency, waiting for me while I explored various spots in the city, and surprising me with cold water and cool towels to counter the oppressive heat.

The first part of my trip about town had me buzzing about a neighborhood of furniture and interior design shops, looking for a mirror for my daughter’s bedroom. I eventually found it—in another neighborhood, at the end of the end of the day. I enjoyed seeing a bit of a non-touristy area, especially the many flower sellers who lined the streets, selling Diwali decorations.

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Lotus Temple, Delhi, India

Next, I headed to the Lotus Temple, a famous Baha’i House of Worship that is shaped like—you got it—an enormous lotus flower. The Temple’s shape is striking. I appreciated the flower inspiration, but part of me expected the Temple to launch into outer space, like a sci fi movie! I wandered around the grounds and walked up close to the Temple, electing not to go inside for the tour. The space is basically one large room that you can see from the outside, through the glass walls; I wanted to see more of Delhi—plus there was a line of people waiting to get in.

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Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi, India

We braved Delhi’s traffic to head next to Humayun’s Tomb, where the second Mughal emperor is buried. The Tomb is an inspiration for the Taj Mahal and was built in 1565. The Tomb is the resting place of Emperor Humayun as well as his wives, scholars, and even his favorite barber. A stop at the Tomb had been recommended to me by someone I follow on Twitter who used to live in Delhi, and it was well-worth it. I was a bit of an anomaly exploring the grounds on my own, but I didn’t mind. I found the Tomb oddly peaceful and quite beautiful.

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Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi, India

A visit to Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, was my next stop. Here Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life before being assassinated in 1948. The site focuses on the injustices forced upon Indians during the British Occupation, the resulting revolts, and Gandhi’s leadership and inspirational life.

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Crafts Museum and Gandhi Smriti, Delhi, India

Afterward, I had my driver drop off at the Crafts Museum. My guidebook said that the gift shop here was worth visiting, and it was right—though the prices were higher than the spots in the market and there was no negotiation (by this time, I was into the negotiations!). The Museum was hosting a textile exhibit while I was there, with works from all over India on display; there was gorgeous embroidery, scarves, saris, and more. The Museum also has a robust array of saris in its permanent collection and a traditional Indian home on display.

Afterward, at the suggestion of one of the attendants in the Museum’s gift shop, I headed to Sunder Nagar, a nearby neighborhood, for a bit of shopping and to finally find that mirror for my daughter’s bedroom. I passed Purana Qila and the Zoo on the way there. I picked up some gifts for family members in Sunder Nagar, spending the late afternoon wandering about. I also saw crowds of people heading into a bakery to purchase Diwali treats. You could feel the excitement!

An auto rickshaw brought me back to my hotel to pack and get ready for my departure home early the next morning. I had a busy day exploring Delhi, and I left knowing there was much I did not get a chance to see. Next time, I hope!

You can learn more about my trip to India here on Red Shutters and via social media (Twitter and Instagram). Look for #redshuttersinindia for updates from my trip!

Pie in the Sky

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I have to tell you about one of my favorite nonprofits – consider this a Thanksgiving PSA!

Community Servings is a food and nutrition program in Boston that provides services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Community Servings gives its clients, their dependent families, and caregivers appealing, nutritious meals, and sends the message to those in greatest need that someone cares.

Delivering nearly 500,000 meals each year to people who are too sick to care for themselves, Community Servings also provides nutrition counseling, job training, and technical assistance. It’s such a great mission, and this organization does important, life changing work. I’ve been proud to support them.

Since 1993, every November, Community Servings has run what might be my all time favorite charitable fundraisers: Pie in the Sky.

More than 150 Boston chefs donate their time to bake 18,000 pies, which Community Servings then sells for $28 each—the cost of a week’s worth of nutritious meals for its clients. Volunteers help package and distribute the pies, the proceeds of which help underwrite Community Servings’ programs. In 2013 alone, they earned $630,000 from Pie in the Sky!

Oh, and the pies are delicious.

For the past several years, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving with pies purchased through the Pie in Sky fundraiser. It’s super easy to order them online, and pickup locations can be found all over the Boston area. This year, I’ve ordered three pies: pecan, pumpkin, and apple. (Yum.) If they are anything like the pies we’re received the past few years, I know they’ll be no leftovers.

If you’re in the Boston area, I encourage you to check out Pie in the Sky!

Musings on Friendship

Today, a few blogging friends and I are writing about friendship. Check out posts from my fabulous tribe of lovely women: DanielleCheryl, Lisa, Melissa, and Phyllis!

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The Playdate

I have fully embraced my life as a working parent, but every once in a while I am reminded of the challenges my decision has on my kids. Sometimes, it’s small things—like a missed school performance—while other times, it’s big things—such as sad kids who want more of me. Lately, one of those small-turning-into-big things is perplexing me.

My kids spend so much time with their peer group: school, after school, dance, soccer, ballet, Tiger Scouts, Sunday School, and birthday parties. They have lots of time to connect with their friends and reach out to new kids they’d like to get to know better. But I know that the real way kids cultivate friendships is through the playdate, as that one-on-one time solidifies new relationships and helps the kids understand one another independent of other kids.

But the playdate is hard to manage when you are a working parent. Do you take off an afternoon off to pick your kid and his friend up from school? Do you squeeze playdates into the only precious weekend hours you have for your family to be together? Do you say, “Sorry, love” and try to make it up to your kid another way?

I’m working on shaking off the mommy guilt, fitting in playdates where I can, and realizing it’s a good challenge for me that my kids have friends!

In fact, a few weeks ago, my son went on an epic playdate: one mom hosted four or five kids at her house for a playdate that was so much fun (think water guns and empty cardboard boxes to make into forts), my son fell asleep at 5 PM when he got home. He is still talking about it.

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Greeting Friends

My daughter went to a birthday party this weekend that was populated largely by kindergarten girls. A few brave boys were there but the girls dominated. My daughter was the first guest to arrive. She and the birthday girl ran around the play space before the other friends arrived, hyping themselves up for the celebration. When the other girls showed up, it was as if a bomb of kindergarten cute exploded in the room. Squealing. Hugging. Shrieks of “You look so cute!” and “I’m so excited you’re here!” And more hugging. And lots of pink. I found myself wishing for empty cardboard boxes and water guns.

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Just as Important as Sleep

I recently shared messages with another working mom on the subject of “having it all.” She was asking how I balanced career, family, life, and still found time for blogging. My answer was something like, “Well, I don’t sleep enough. I don’t exercise enough. And, I definitely don’t have enough time for my friends.” It wasn’t the work-life balance question that stayed with me: it was the fact that I defined friendship as important as sleep and exercise. It is, after all. For all of us.

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Photo credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc

3 Things I’m Doing This Holiday Season

Yesterday, as we were driving through our town, we passed a number of houses that were already decorated for the holiday season. Big, beautiful wreaths graced their front doors, and sparkling, white light trimmed their homes. They looked lovely. I felt stressed.

“People are decorating for Christmas already!” I announced, exasperated. “It’s so early! We should get on that.

holidaysMy husband laughed. “They probably hired people to do it for them,” he replied, which reminded me of the neighborhood my brother and sister-in-law live in Salt Lake City. There, most people hire out their holiday decorations, an expensive undertaking, but the houses do look festive and attractive. (My brother and sister-in-law hang their own decorations and their house looks wonderful.) Back here in Massachusetts, we (okay, my husband) decorate the exterior of our house, too, but usually not until after Thanksgiving, and not nearly as extensively as the homes in my brother’s neighborhood or the ones we saw last night in our town.

That brief flash of oh-we-have-to-do-that-too shook me a bit. I don’t want that kind of a holiday season: no keeping up with others for us. Instead, I want a holiday season focused on tradition, shared rituals, and meaning. To that end, I’m vowing to do three things differently this holiday season:

  1. Scaling Back. I have my son to thank for this one. On one of our walks to school last week, as the kids were talking about writing to Santa, R said, “Sometimes, Christmas is too much.” Further discussion helped me understand his comment: previous years’ celebrations—with all of the presents—overwhelmed him, and he’d like a different kind of Christmas this year. Surprised that a seven-year-old could come up with such an observation, I was also pleased (I’m counting it as a successful parenting moment), as that is just what I had in mind this year. So fewer presents will be under our tree this year—though explaining to my daughter that Santa will not be able to bring her a live unicorn, a real baby bear, and a dog might be tricky. The presents that will be there will be more significant, and, I hope, now that my kids are getting older, more appreciated.
  1. Slowing Down. The kids are off from school for two weeks, and my husband and I are taking off about the same amount of time from work. We saved vacation for this purpose, and plan to spend the weeks together as a family, decompressing from a hectic year and getting ready for 2015.
  1. Staying Focused. We’ve started several important holiday traditions over the years, and we’ll be sure to continue them this season. We’ll decorate our Christmas tree with ornaments we’ve gathered over the years, and we’ll hang the stockings made for us by beloved family friends. We’ll make a gingerbread house, we’ll go see the Boston Pops Holiday Show, and the kids will be in the Christmas Eve pageant at church. Our Elf on the Shelf, Charlie, will reappear Thanksgiving weekend, and we’ll celebrate the people we love even though we’ll be apart from cousins, aunts, and uncles this holiday (a scheduling quirk). We’ll focus more of the beauty of Christmas and much, much less on the wrappings.

I like these vows! Will we stick with them? Or, will we get caught up in sparkle and temptation? My instinct is that we’ll carry it through—especially since the kids are on board (well, except for that live unicorn request). I’ll be sure to report back.

What about you? What are your holiday plans?

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Photo credit: D1v1d via photopin cc

Wild Kratts Live!

After last week’s trip to Annie, you would have thought my husband and I would have sworn off taking the kids anywhere. However, we’re a determined sort, so we rallied today and took the kids to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA to see Wild Kratts Live!

wild_kratts2_red_shuttersMy kids, R and G, are big fans of Wild Kratts, a PBS Kids show that features two brothers, Chris and Martin Kratt, who go on adventures and teach kids about animals. As you would expect from a PBS Kids show, there’s a high educational quotient in the show, so my husband and I have placed it on our short list of approved shows for our kids. R and G buzz about with new facts about animals and animal habitats after each viewing, and my son’s deep interest in whales has been fostered by the show’s commitment to ensuring children understand and appreciate animals.

So, when I heard that Chris and Martin were taking their popular show on the road, I jumped at getting tickets for my family. R and G were thrilled that we were going to see them in person—though I’m not sure they really believed Chris and Martin were going to be there until they walked out on stage.

That’s when the pandemonium set in. R and G were beyond excited to see the TV faves in real life. So was every other kid in the auditorium. The kids cheered, yelled out answers to the Kratt brothers’ questions, and bounced about in their seats.

Wild Kratts Live! was essentially the TV show on stage, which was fine for the kids. I thought live animals would be present (no idea how I got that idea in my head), so I was disappointed—but did I really want to see a snake? No, right?

The show, unfortunately, experienced a number of technical problems, including a broken curtain that would not open after the intermission and sound issues. These did not diminish my kids’ enthusiasm. Asked afterward what he thought of the show, R said, “It was great, Mom!” G gave high praise: “I loved it!”

On our way home, we stopped for dinner at the new Wegman’s that opened up in Burlington, thereby confirming that we are 100% suburban dwellers. (Dinner and grocery shopping in one place! What a Saturday night!) I had never been to Wegman’s before, but have heard all about it from other parents and neighbors. From the toy train that traveled above the food aisles to the already-in-place Christmas treats, the kids were enthralled. I have to do a more research to see how the prices compare to other area grocery stores; our first visit uncovered some good bargains, so I suspect we’ll be back.

The Question Mark Jar

FOUND: Small toys, too numerous to count. Legos. Playmobil swords. Assorted game pieces. Chapstick. Favors from kids’ birthday parties. A deflated balloon. A tiger-shaped container filled with bubbles. An infant’s teething ring. A pirate pacifier. Erasers. Hair ribbons. Rubber bands. Green oval glass pieces left by previous homeowners, dug up by children in backyard, provenance unknown. Magnets. A Matchbox car.

My favorite kids’ movie is “The Incredibles.” I love how Mrs. Incredible’s superhero power is to stretch her body into whatever shape is needed to protect her family. Her arms can become 20 feet long to catch a falling baby; she can turn her body into a flotation device or parachute to quickly move her children away from imminent disaster.

question_mark_JarAs much as I’d like to be that flexible, my superhero power, delivered to me at the start of motherhood, is less glamorous: I find things. Missing shoes, books, and clean underwear. Mail, the tape measure, the iPhone charger, and the apple peeler. A favorite lovey, a purple marker, and that “thing-I-made-last-week-you-know-that-one?” That stuff is never where it’s supposed to be, at least according to my family, and after precisely 0.05 seconds of looking, I hear “Mommy! Where’s ______ [fill in the blank with the name of the missing object]?” Or, “Hey, Kimberly, where’s _______ [again, you can guess what goes in that blank]?”

My theory is that the missing item is not really lost; it’s just that no one actually looks, preferring to call me for help. However, I don’t want to undervalue my power; I really can find stuff. My technique is to visualize where the item should be (and where it usually is). If it’s not there, I stand still, close my eyes, and find a picture in my head of where I think it might be now or where I last saw it. That usually works. Sometimes, I get tripped up and can never find the missing item—like my daughter’s pink and white spotted stuffed puppy. It’s been missing for a year, and I have only recently accepted it might really be gone.

Another strategy is my superhero “I-can-find-it” arsenal is my Question Mark Jar. The jar sits on a shelf in my kitchen, next to glass containers filled with tea and loose change. Inside are items I find scattered about my house. Small and often abandoned, I find them underneath the sofa, underfoot as I walk through the kids’ rooms, and in the basement. Sometimes, they are broken; most often, they are just left behind, their purpose no longer clear. I put them in my Question Mark Jar, waiting for the moment someone is looking for them. Some items never leave the jar, while others are in immediate demand.

The Question Mark Jar, with its ability to produce long-lost toys and other paraphernalia of family life, is seen, as a result, as a mysterious, special resource. My children look at it reverentially. In quiet, eager voices, they ask to look inside, knowing they can only do so one at a time, with no bickering or grabbing when the jar is open.

My son, especially, is always awed when I agree to take the jar down from its shelf and let him sit at the kitchen island to explore its treasures. He takes everything out, one by one, examining each piece thoroughly. “This is G’s!” he will say. Or, “I’ve been looking for this!” he will call out, laying claim to a handful of small toys. “Can I have them back, Mommy?” When I agree, he makes a small pile of finds to take to his room. My Question Mark Jar gets a bit emptier, but my superhero powers are sharp, and soon it is filled back up.

My Book Clubs

Tonight, my book club celebrated its one-year anniversary. Fourteen of our 17 members gathered in an Asian fusion restaurant in our town to toast our 12 months of meetings and celebrate one another’s friendship. We also had a book swap; I took home Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

book_clubThis group is the third book club in which I’ve participated. I joined my first in my 20s. The group brought together a mix of young professionals who found one another after seeing a listing at the Brookline Booksmith. We met in coffee shops to discuss our books. Over the years, we narrowed down to a small, committed group. I became friends outside of the book club with some of them, attending their weddings and celebrating their career successes. The group eventually disbanded, as people moved on from Boston and as commitment to the group competed with other obligations.

I became part of my second book club in my 30s. We were all women, all working on our careers, and, since many of us were recently married, all adjusting to life in couplehood. I knew some of the women going into the club; others, I became friends with along the way. During our time together, our lives grew to include first homes and, eventually, children. My son was the first child born of this book club. Quickly, more babies followed; at last count, 18 kids have been born to members of this book club. We lost members as they moved out of state, but we kept our group together for several years, until relocations around the Boston area and the growing demands of balancing career and family made meeting up too hard. Now, we’re Facebook friends and send holiday cards. I get together with some of them frequently, others not as often as I would like.

My current book club consists of women from my town. We all met through a parent group; our commonalities include our geography, a love of reading, and motherhood. I knew only one of the women before joining the book club. The rest of the women are new friends, a development I’ve especially appreciated now that I am in my 40s and know how hard it can be to new connections like these. It’s been a pleasure getting to know them through our monthly meet-ups at one another’s homes and our discussions of our books. We’ve read a mix of fiction and nonfiction this year and our conversations about our selections have been interesting, engaging, and, most of all, something to which I look forward. We also share parenting tips, travel stories, information about maneuvering through the school system, and other personal tidbits that makes the book club expand to more than just books.

The best part about all of my book clubs is the community that they have created. I am one who can get so easily lost in a book, which, while always enjoyable, is a solitary endeavor. My book clubs have pulled me out of myself to see these stories through the perspectives of other people, which has broadened my worldview and helped me to grow. I’ve been encouraged to try books I would not have taken on—some of which were great finds, others not so much (I will never like Jane Austen). Oh, and, of course, I love the wine and camaraderie that comes along with the gatherings!

Looking to join a book club? Check out your local library or bookstore for assistance, or resources like this and this

Photo credit: Miss C.J. via photopin cc

Homemade Applesauce

Tonight, when I really should have been putting badges on my son’s Tiger Cub shirt, doing laundry, and going through the pile of mail sitting on my kitchen counter, I made applesauce.

applesI love homemade applesauce. It’s my go-to dessert (yes, it’s a dessert in my book) and after dinner I-just-need-something treat. I had been craving it all day, ever since my mother-in-law and I discussed what we could bring to Thanksgiving (we’re down for pie and alcohol). Talking about pie got me thinking about what goes into pie, which, of course, got me thinking about applesauce.

Homemade applesauce takes about 25 minutes to make, and you can find gazillion recipes online with step-by-step instructions for how to make it in your kitchen. My how-to is super easy:

  • Peel as many apples as you’d like (8-10 is my normal amount; use any kind of apples you have on hand).
  • Cut up the apples (you can core them first, if you’d like).
  • Make sure the pieces are a consistent size so they cook evenly.
  • Put the apple slices in a pot.
  • Add water, apple juice, or apple cider – about ¼ to ½ cup, enough to cover the bottom of the pot and prevent the apples from burning.
  • Add spices* (see below).
  • Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes.
  • When the apples are soft and broken up, you are ready to go!
  • Let the applesauce cool and enjoy!

*A note about flavor: I don’t add sugar to my applesauce (it’s sweet enough!), but I do add cinnamon, anywhere from a ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon, depending upon the number of apples used. You could also add nutmeg, allspice, and sweeteners of your choice (coconut sugar, maple sugar, brown sugar).

A note about consistency: I like my applesauce a little bit chunky, so I mash the apples while they are cooking with potato masher to make chunks smaller. If you are a smooth applesauce eater, let the applesauce a cool a bit after cooking, and then blend it in a blender or food processor to get rid of the chunks.

Tip: The applesauce smells yummy while cooking, so be advised that you may need to hide the final product from your loved ones lest you be forced to share the applesauce with them.

Tonight, I transferred the hot applesauce into a dish, mixing in unsweetened coconut flakes and almond slices. I then sat on my couch and watched my town’s trivia bee on cable access to cheer on my son’s teacher who was competing (her team didn’t win). Badges, laundry, and mail could wait.

Photo credit: Taboada Testa. via photopin cc