Food, family, and fitness... all with a bit of style.

What's Up Wednesday....January Edition

Hi friends....well here we are, the last day in January! One whole month into 2018! Gosh that seems crazy, and yet Christmas feels like it was so long ago!
So excited to link up with ShayMel and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday....January Edition. 

 A fun monthly post where we answer these questions....

Frozen Beach Trip

Hi friends! We are beach people...we love the sand in our toes, the fresh water...the calm the water brings.
But we usually "beach it" during Summer months or on a Winter getaway to Florida.
This past weekend we decided to check out our local the dead of Winter.... and it was so fun!

Something New for Your Family Table #3 Carrot Ginger Soup

Happy Monday's the last Monday of January!! We have been trying all kinds of plant-based meals and have a great list of recipes to share with you. 
In week one, we shared our recipe for black bean soup.
A favorite in our house!

Friday Favorites....

Hi friends! Can you believe this is the last Friday in January?? One month closer to warmer weather here in the Northeast!
As always, I am linking up with three of my favorite blogging friends,  ErikaNarci & Andrea to share some of my favorite things from this week.

January 2018 Book Review

I can't believe we are already doing our first book review of 2018! Last year I really wanted to get back into reading and I did just that. I set a goal to read two books a month and I read 36 books last year. If you missed that review you can catch up here.
2017 Book Review
This year I still have reading at the top of my "What I want out of 2018" list. This month I read 4 books... a pretty good start. I have had a few people message me lately asking when do I have time to read?? I decided to share a little bit of when and where I read in a post yesterday.
A little post about Reading
I had one "ok" book, one book that I just dreaded reading each day and two that I LOVED! Here's the scoop on what I read this month.
I started the Elin Hilderbrand Winter series and read book one in November. I quickly grabbed book two, because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Image result
That was December. And well here I am reviewing it in January. Not sure what happened last month, but not much reading was accomplished! Anyway, I liked the first book more than the second and there are two more in this series. It follows the life of a family on Nantucket that owns an inn. There are all kinds of stories interwoven between the owner of the inn, his children, his ex, you know....lots going on. It's definitely in the "fluffy" book bucket, but I love Hilderbrand and I love I will continue on with the series, but probably not until November.😉
This movie is coming out in March and it seems to be geared towards my kids age group, so I grabbed A Wrinkle in Time with thoughts of me reading it, then the kids. I love reading the book and then seeing the movie (although yes, I am usually disappointed).
A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet Book 1) by [L'Engle, Madeleine]
I have to say I did not like anything about this book. I am not sure if  it's because it was sort of sci-fi like or what, but me and this book did not jive. It was about some children trying to find their father who was in some other world or time... I think? I was so lost and not into it, I just wanted it to end. Honestly, I did not read the last 30 pages. I dreaded reading this book each day and thought...this is silly. Why am I reading a book I don't like?
Is it me? Did anyone else "get" this book? I was just so lost.
Maybe this will be one where I like the movie more than the book???
After one "ok" book and one "ugh" book I really needed a good one to get me back to my reading sweet spot. And with this one, I found it.

I had seen this one shared by quite a few bloggers over the past few months and it had been on my "to read" list. It was good...I mean really good...the book you read in a weekend good. It was the story of Emma and how her husband, her one true love,  dies at sea and his body is never found. She picks up the pieces of her life and finds love again. She is engaged to be married with someone from her past and thinks she has found true love again. When she gets a call that her husband has been found (years later) she gets thrown into a whirlwind and has to decide who is her one true love.
This was a good one friends. Not a sappy love story, but one really about true love. A perfect book for your February reading list!
Last year I read from The Things We Keep from Sally Hepworth and it was so good. I told myself I would read more from her.

I grabbed this one and she did not let me down. This was the story of three women, three generations of midwives. When the youngest, Neva discovers she is pregnant she keeps it a secret from everyone. The secret gets out and unravels some secrets from all three women. It was such a great story about women, becoming a mother and the true meaning of family. One of those books that I instantly connected with the characters and could not wait to see what happened next.

And that's my review for January. I am accepting all recommendations for books....we have a trip planned next month. #lotsofreadingtime
Please drop me some of your favorites in the comments!
See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites.....there's always room for one more at our family table.

A Little Post About Reading.......

Last year I made it one of my goals for the year to read a bit more. I did pretty well with that goal, fell back in love with reading and have it as a goal again for this year. Lately I have gotten a few messages asking me when I have time to read.  So I thought I would share a little post about just case reading is on your goal list for this year.

Image result for reading quote

Tuesday at Trader Joe's

Happy Tuesday friends!! Last weekend I was near Trader Joe's and stocked up on a few favorites....and picked up a few new things. I love checking out new food stuff, so I thought I would share some favorites.
The store is not "conveniently" close to me... meaning it's a half hour drive. And in my world, that's too far for me to make a weekly trip 😉. 
Then I saw this meme and it made me laugh!
Image result for trader joe's meme
Last Summer I shared some of my favorite Trader Joe's stuff, and you can check those out here. I still love all of those things and have a few more to add to the list.

Something New for Your Family Table #2 Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend!
We are a few weeks into our routine of incorporating more plant-based meals into our weekly meal plan and I am loving it.! Last week I shared one of our favorite soups, and this week I wanted to share a new recipe we tried. I came across this Broccoli Quinoa Casserole from Eat Good 4 Life.
I followed the recipe pretty close and just made a few changes.
It was loaded with lots of goodness.. quinoa, broccoli, pesto, spinach and cheese.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday friends! Gosh this week flew by and I am so ready for the weekend.
As always, I am linking up with three of my favorite blogging friends,  ErikaNarci & Andrea to share some of my favorite things from this week.
Saturday we went to watch the men's basketball team play at University of Buffalo. Luke and some of his teammates got to play at halftime!

Three Things Right Now

Happy Friday Eve! Gosh this week has gone by fast! 
Today I thought I would share three things about my crew right now. A little peek at what everyone is into right now.
Ella is currently one month out from her school play. She is a pirate dancer in the fifth grade production of The Magic Tree House, Pirates Past Noon. She has been loving learning her lines, songs and sharing all fun she has at rehearsals. We can't wait to see her perform!
She is still the most organized in the house. She loves her new Happy Planner and wrote a little blog post about it last week.

Our Favorite Banana Bread

Hi friends! It's the middle of January and I thought it's a perfect time to share a comforting recipe!
 Not sure about you, but some weeks we just don't eat all of our bananas....and I hate to toss them. So naturally banana bread is the answer. And you really cannot beat the smell of this baking away on a Saturday morning!
Here is my recipe for our favorite banana bread.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For topping (optional)
2 TBSP brown sugar
3 TBSP chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 and line a 9x5 loaf pan  with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. set aside.
Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy.
Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mix for one minute more. 
Add the mashed bananas, mixing until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients, mix and add to the prepped loaf pan.
Sprinkle with the brown sugar and walnuts if desired.
I like to line the pan with parchment paper. I find most things do not stick to it and you can easily pull the loaf out of the pan after baking.
Bake at 325 for 55-65 minutes. Use the toothpick method to check for doneness.
It is so moist and tastes amazing warm! You could easily swap out the loaf pan for a muffin tin if you wanted to make muffins.

Tuesday Talk....Snowvember

Hi friends! I am linking up with  Erika &  Ashley for Tuesday Talk. A monthly link up where we can talk about any and everything!
Today I want to share some pictures and memories from Snowvember here in Buffalo. This was a crazy week in November when we got almost 7 feet of snow!! I thought it would be fun to look back at that crazy week! And since I was not blogging then...I thought I would blog about it now.
This is one of my favorite pics. This shows the city of Buffalo, with Lake Erie to the right. 
Image result for snowvember photo
That wall of white was the snowstorm that pummeled those suburbs south of the city....and we were behind that wall!
I took this picture on November 15th. We had a little bit of snow and Luke was loving the Snowman he built.
It started to snow on the morning of November 17th and I took this picture of our backyard at 7:30 in the morning. 
It snowed all day and when we went to bed at 11, the snow was quickly moving up our front porch.
We got up the next morning and had about 3 feet of snow.
It was still snowing and school was cancelled and neither Paul nor I could make it to work.
The kids were happy to get out and play in all the fresh snow!
But it was still coming down pretty good... you can barely see Luke here.
It was fun for a while, but then it started to get scary when there seemed to be no end in sight.
They upped the snow forecast and it looked as though we would have well over 5 feet of snow when it was all said and done. 
We bundled up, grabbed some beer and walked to our neighbors for dinner. 

Luke entertained us with some old Halloween costumes.
Wednesday morning was a pretty morning. Our yard looked like it was covered in marshmallow. Those trees in front have a 3-4 foot trunk you can usually see, but there was just so much snow!
This poor tree couldn't take all the weight of the snow. 
We were worried about some of our landscape dying because of the weight of the the snow. We did our best to try and knock some of the snow down. I will never forget trying to walk through the waist deep snow to get to the trees. It was just crazy.

The sun came out and we did what we could to start digging out. 

Paul tried to find his chairs and fire pit under the snow and relax for a bit!
And then it started to snow again. 
We made mini ice cream cones with the snow.

These were some long days. There was not much to do. The plows had not been to our street, so we could not get out. We played games, watched movies and went to a different neighbors house every night for dinner. We would bring whatever items we had and put together some sort of potluck dinner. By the fourth night I felt like a contestant on Chopped. Ha!

Even our playset was halfway buried!
After 4 days we got to the corner of our road and there was just so much snow. This picture cracks me up because of the sign that says "No Outlet". There really was not way out.
There was so much snow that the plow trucks could not make it down our street. 

The kids poured Gatorade in the snow to make Sno Cones
Finally after 5 days on November 22 a crew of huge trucks came in to clear the snow. 
Paul and I showing we made it though the craziest snowstorm of our lifetime. 
The craziest part was on November 24th it got really warm and melted so much of it! I mean 2 days prior to this picture, the snow was up over the slide!
It was really a wild week. We could not get to work for over a week. The kids did not have school for 2 weeks. There was so much snow of the roof of the school they cancelled it. We were thankful for good neighbors to spend time with and we sure cleaned out our freezer and pantry.
The kids still talk about the storm and how crazy it was!
Have a great Tuesday friends!
See you tomorrow...there's always room for one more at our family table. 

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