The Weekend Extended

Morning Friends!

I know it’s Tuesday, but for me, this is the day I like to re-cap the weekend. Often on Mondays, we are still in denial that another week has started and holding on to those sweet two days of freedom. So here you have my weekend happenings: 

I kicked off the weekend by being an extra hand on Friday morning and allowing my sister-in-law to get a few things done around the house while I watched my newborn nephew Teddy. 

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Little nugget!

It was a GORGEOUS day on Friday, so I had big plans to be outside.

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And then my Spring allergies attacked and it was over-cast. Don’t worry, I pressed on and went to a wonderful yoga class Saturday morning, followed by a rejuvenating jog + power walk. Later in the afternoon, I went to the annual Irish Festival in Richmond’s historic Church Hill neighborhood. It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere, as opposed to the weekend prior’s Shamrock The Block. 

I enjoyed a couple Guinness beers (my new favorite!) and LOVED smelling these hand-made soaps. I can’t wait to get my hands on these bars this Summer.

Before heading back home, we endugled in the famous Mrs.Yoder’s Donuts. Kneaded and rolled by the Amish themselves!

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Good times. 

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. Whipped up this smoothie Sunday morning.

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While doing a couple loads of laundry on Sunday, I helped out my parents, who kept my neices over the weekend while my sister and brother-in-law were away. 

We played inside games and created these Play Doh sculptures. She loved how the turtles turned out!

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Today, they are calling for more (hopefully the last!!) wintry weather, so Monday night I got the urge to bake. I mixed up these EASY flourless chocolate-peanut butter cookies. RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!

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Gluten free for the win!

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Although, still a sweet, these are about the third or fourth baked good I’ve made myself whenever I have craved something chocolately lately, instead of buying chocolate bars or cookies. That’s a good excuse right?!

Here’s to warmer weather!

XOXO, 

Ellen

 

 

 

 

The Weekend Extended

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and St. Patrick’s Day! I thoroughly enjoyed having a Saturday off, begining with an exhilerating jog + power-walk through the neighborhood. The sun was out!!

Later in the afternoon, my friends came over for a cocktail before we headed downtown.

Once downtown we enjoyed beers (some green) and great music by one of my favorite bands – Three Sheets to The Wind!! The infamous yacht rock band played in the heart of Richmond. It was a FUN evening.

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Sunday, I went to a very restorative yoga class. This class is more intuitive than other yoga classes I take at my gym, but it’s a good one if you are getting back into a yoga practice because you can move at your own pace. I have a love-hate relationship with weight training, and I LOVE yoga, so I’ve started thinking why not practice yoga more and take a break from weights? I am just in the beginning “experimental” stages with perhaps a new exercise routine, so more on this later 🙂

Anywayyyy….Sunday night I made a TON of granola!! I got the recipe from my favorite new vegan blogger and tweaked it a little to use what I had on hand. IT.IS.DELICIOUS. There is a feeling of satisfaction when you make something from scratch, versus buying it at the grocery store. It just tastes better (hopefully!), and you tend to savor it more.

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Although St. Patrick’s Day was a dreary day here in Richmond, it was a day of celebration for my family. My grandmother turned 88!! She is one remarkable lady.

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Francie with my sister; her first of 19 grandchildren!!

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Have a great week!

XOXO,

Ellen

Things of The Week

When I woke up this morning, a feeling of delight came over me knowing that I have a two day weekend ahead!! But before diving head first into this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, here are a few things from this week:

A new (to me) tea discovery: Yogi’s Stomach Therapy tea. I love the inspirational sayings on the tea bags!

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My go-to sweet treat of late, homemade brownies! A couple weeks ago I made pumpkin-chocolate GF brownies, and this week I had a craving for chocolate, so I whipped up another batch! This time they’re just regular chocolate – – yumm!!

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On Friday night, my cousin and I went to the 63rd Annual Song Contest! What is a Song Contest you ask? It’s a tradition of our high school, Saint Gertrude, where each class  writes, performs, and choreographs a medley of pop songs, one slow song or balid, and the Alma Mater.

This year, my sister was one of the judges! This was a fun opportunity for her, as she was a Song Contest leader back when she went to Saint Gertrude. I can remember being the ultimate cheerleader with her entire class down in our basement while they practiced, practiced, practiced for the big performance. It was truly a full circle moment.

This picture was from my Freshmen year Song Contest, back when it was held in our brother-school’s gym!!

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We had a great time this year cheering on all of the classes!

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Have a fun and safe weekend!

XOXO,

Ellen

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Words to Live By

Tuesday I was home sick and started cleaning out desk and kitchen drawers and organizing documents into files. I came across little “words of wisdom”:

“Life is a Journey – and the end of one part is always the beginning of another.”

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” – Kenneth Blanchard

“You are entirely up to you. Make your body. Make your life. Make Yourself.” – Nike Ad…I keep this one on my fridge!

The next few quotes are ones from a compilation of quotes endorsed by Alden Aaroe my dad gave us at Christmas.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t be too big for small things and you won’t be too small for big things.”

“Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more.” – Oscar Wilde

“Don’t judge a man by his relatives; remember, he didn’t choose them.”

“A smile can add a great deal to one’s face value.” 🙂

“Why can’t life’s problems hit us at 18 when we know everything?”

“Happy memories recquire preparation.”

“You’ll win more friends with your ears than with your mouth.”

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”

“Maybe hard work never killed a person. But have you ever heard of anyone who rested to death?”

“A rut will at least keep you in the right track.”

“If you want to write something that has a chance of living on forever, sign a mortgage.”

“Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.”

“Your place in the sun is not in the shade of your family tree.”

“Those who laugh, last.”

“It is nice to be important, but it is important to be nice.”

“Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.”

Now that you’re all inspired, have a great day!

XOXO,

Ellen

Aunt Ellen

Last week my family welcomed another little bundle of joy, Teddy! Unfortunately, I had a very quick visit with him at the hospital, so I walked over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house on Sunday to spend some QT with my second nephew.

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Teddy is just the sweetest! And just look at those long fingers! He’ll likely be a darn good athlete or maybe a pianist? We’ll see 🙂

Being an aunt (of four!) is SO much fun!! I am very lucky that everyone lives so close by. I never mind babysitting when they ask me to because I love to play and spend time with them. On some days I’ll just call to see if it’s okay to stop by because I miss seeing them!

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Teddy’s big brother Liam with their golden doodle, Grady! Liam is a cautious little guy, but I think he’ll have a heart of gold like my brother 🙂

It’s so cool seeing my family’s genes in this youngest generation. People say that my niece Mary Archer is a “mini” Ellen. I take that as a compliment 🙂 We definitely have similar hair!

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Mary Archer’s little sister Taylor is another sweetie pie. I think she started giving hugs at just 6 months! Although, as Taylor approaches age 2, she is becoming quite stubborn! We still love her 🙂 She holds a special pocket of love in my heart for sharing a May birthday with me.

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I cannot wait to see what life has in store for these kids. I want so much to continue to shower them with love and a little “please and thank you” along the way.

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My heart melts.

XOXO,

Ellen

More White Stuff

We could use a brighter start to this Monday here in VA. Today’s forecast calls for 3-6″ of snow!!! It’s March 3rd!!! Can you tell I’m over it?? When we got our first batches of the white stuff, it was kind of fun to hibernate and do “snow” like activities; walks, make hot chocolate and tea, and bake.

At this point, I’m ready to be more active, get outdoors, and soak up the sun!! C’est la vie.

Speaking of white stuff, I discovered a new yogurt topper last night when yet again my chocolate-coconut date “bites” failed. This is the second or third time that when I go to mix up dates, nuts, and coconut flakes into the popular raw bites, everything won’t seem to stick together. I even added more peanut butter in an attempt to make everything gel together. Nope. Didn’t do the trick. Maybe I blended everything too long? Do I need a new blade on my food processor? I plan on making a batch of hummus this week, so I’ll let you know how that turns out and if I do need to a new food processor.

At any rate, I preserved the date mixutre, and now I have a delicious new topping for yogurt and oatmeal bowls! If you’d like to blend these ingredients together and SUCCESSFULLY form them into bites, or just keep it for topping, here’s the recipe:

25-28 Pitted Dates (I used a package of the Mariana brand)

1/3 cup Dry Roasted Almonds

1/2 cup Coconut flakes

2 T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/4 Natural, Unsalted Peanut Butter

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I hope weather conditions are warmer where you are!

XOXO,

Ellen